I am wondering - because I'm trying to understand it - what exactly is a narcissist? I've read so many things about it until my head spins. It's a term that gets misused and over used I think...

I just need to understand it. Thanks....

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In my experience, there's narcissistic personalities, and narcissistic personality disorder.  They all share one thing in common:  it's "all about them".  There are spectrums for both. 

From what I've learned, narcissism is both genetic and environmental.  Someone can have the genes only, which makes them narcissistic, and this goes along with a feeling of insecurity and "fear of missing out".  If someone with the genes also has a terrible upbringing where they experience traumatic abuse and loss of control, they are likely to develop the personality disorder too.  A personality disorder is "a fixed pattern of behaviour which is harmful to oneself and others".  Someone without the genes will just be normal but traumatised, perhaps acting a bit narcissistic but the behaviour isn't fixed. 

Try this set of articles, I think they're very good.  http://psychologia.co/malignant-narcissism/ 

I was best friends with someone who turned out to have the full blown personality disorder.  I find these traits in common in most narcissistic people: 

- glamorous, dazzling company

- wants to be surrounded by "minions"

- has to be number 1

- can't be shown to be wrong

- pointlessly controlling

- dominant, alpha personality

- substance abuse

When things go wrong is when the person is under pressure and having a terrible time - then the nasty side comes out.  It's a defense mechanism against feeling uncomfortable. 

^^^ I think Simon has the gist of it there.

Very comprehensive answer.

Narcissistic supply:  they need to get their egos stoked the whole time. 

Trump and malignant narcissism

Thank you to all who replied. It's complicated because what you described is the 'textbook definition.' Practically speaking it doesn't add up....

How doesn't it add up? He's functional, and I wouldn't say it's the malignant narcicism described, but the more general characterristics seem accurate.

I don't strongly disagree with you, and I'll bet you have some useful insight after researching!

(LOL maybe they'll get it right in DSM VI?)

Belle, if you won't explain your reason(s) for it's not adding up, I for one will know you are playing Eric Berne's "Why don't you ...?", "Yes, but...." game.

In that game, people make efforts to help someone but nothing they do is enough. One person wins and everyone else loses.

I know the game well; I used to fall for it and offer help. I now stop the game by returning the responsibility to people who ask for the kind of help that with a little effort they can give themselves.
Postscript. The game is not maliciously intended. When early caregivers don't know how to maintain relationships, they are unable to pass the skills along.

(I'll bet Belle's done the research, and we'll see some of it.)

"people make efforts to help someone but nothing they do is enough. One person wins and everyone else loses.

- you're describing a trait of narcissism, and I'm pretty sure @Belle isn't a narcissist.  You waited 10 minutes for an answer; she's probably doing something else more urgent. 

@All: yes of course we all know Trump is a narcissist, duh....but I was doing some research about the behaviors of my biological grandmother: how she acted and treated her kids to try to figure out which mental disorder she was suffering from lol....and I thought narcissistic disorder may be one of them....When Im at a computer I'll see if I can type a synopsis of her behaviors.

People can have narcissistic tendencies without having a full blown personality disorder. 


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