Exploitative narcissists come in two varieties. Some choose not to care. Others simply can’t care. In either case the exploiters among us are only concerned with themselves. And in their minds, others exist for the sole purpose of serving their desires.
In my book Essentials for the Journey I make the point that the infantile perspective I describe above is natural and normal at our early stages of development. The whole point of proper socialization – the forging of noble charcter – is outgrowing this tendency. Emotionally mature characters recognize that the world doesn’t revolve around them. Rather, they understand that they’re but a part of a much larger reality. But seeing the bigger picture and one’s place in it is only the beginning. Caring about how one operates within this larger context is foundational for developing character integrity. Our very presence inherently has impact. And everything we do affects everything and everyone else in some way. Wholesome characters care a lot about such things. Narcissists don’t care about such things. And and the most malignant narcissists – those devoid of empathy capacity – simply can’t care.
Expoloitative narcissists almost always have a selfish, hidden agenda when they “love bomb” or otherwise seduce you. They might show great interest in you, which can be highly intoxicating. However, their interest is almost always self-serving. And, sadly, that’s a fact hard for many to appreciate on the front end of a relationship. Too many folks these days mistake interest for regard.
The Narcissism Spectrum
In times such as ours, narcissism of some type and/or degree is a feature of many folks’ character. Moreover, the type and seriousness of a person’s narcissism matters. Professionals at one time believed it was easy to distinguish between someone with troubling personality traits and someone with a personality “disorder.” However, our old definitions are not suited to our times, mainly because some of the most disturbing ways of operating in this world are actually functional, as opposed to dysfunctional, especially in a culture of entitlement, permissiveness, and relativism, even though in the end, people inevitably get hurt.
You can hear me discuss the narcissism spectrum, gaslighting, and several other topics with Timmy Gibson on his podcast on Spotify. And I discuss the nature of exploitative narcissists on the latest installment of Character Matters.