Many folks these days have narcissistic features in their character. However, that doesn’t necessarily make them a narcissistic personality. Nor does it necessarily mean they have a personality or character disorder. It helps to understand the vast spectrum of narcissism.
Some problematic cultural norms have become so commonplace and deeply ingrained that we hardly ever think of them. Moreover, we rarely think of the impact they have on character formation. The values a culture promotes and the behaviors it rewards shape not only individuals but also the society at large. Societies of noble character are built upon people of solid character.
Some narcissists blame to avoid shame. But many narcissists today have no shame. Such narcissists blame only to justify their cruelty and attacks.
The main key to self-empowerment is simple: keep your attention, time, and energy focused where you have power.
Covert aggressors use manipulation tactics to get their way. They fight in subtle and underhanded ways. And they know how to look good without being good.
Narcissistic bullies act out of a sense of entitlement. And they injure without compunction because they lack shame and empathy.
Manipulative narcissists are covert-aggressors who use various, subtle tactics to charm, disarm, and otherwise take advantage. Playing on your emotions, many find the game of getting the better of you amusing and satisfying. They enjoy “toying” with you.
These days we have all kinds of ways to explain people’s dysfunction. And while there are indeed times when a perfectly healthy person’s biochemistry suddenly and for no apparent reason goes kaflooey, and cases where unpredictable tragedy so traumatizes that it temporarily impairs even the most well-adjusted person, more often, a person’s character not only predisposes the problems they experience in life but also exacerbates those problems when they occur.
At the heart of narcissism of the grandiose type lies a lack of reverence. Reverence for what? Anything or anyone other (or “bigger”) than self. Grandiose narcissists find nothing outside of themselves worth revering, so they have trouble having empathy.
Character matters more than ever in our age of widespread narcissism – a culture of entitlement, relativism, and permissiveness that has kept too many from outgrowing their infantile egocentricity and developing the character necessary to be socially responsible.