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What is narcissism?

Michele Borba
Psychology
Researchers define narcissism as “self-centered, arrogant, and entitled.” It’s not just attention-getting or wanting to be liked, but a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration -- an exaggerated sense of self-importance where the person believes they are special and require excessive admiration from others.”

The phrase, “so-and so is such a narcissist,” is often used in our culture and generally means just a self-centered person. But there is a clear difference when narcissism rises to the level of being a true psychological problem. The danger is too hefty a dose of narcissism and an unhealthy overriding belief and exaggerated view that “I’m better than all” can turn into a personality disorder robbing a person’s psychological and emotional well-being, and there are two big dangers.

First, the narcissist generally has an inability to form healthy, long-term relationships because narcissists are so focused on themselves.

Second is that narcissism diminishes and even shuts down a person’s capacity to empathize or feel for others.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.