Narcissism is basically an individual’s attitude or mindset that they are incredibly important and the world should revolve around them.
I was shocked by this statistic and wanted to know more about why this number is so high, so I decided to do some research. Here, in my own words, is what I learned and my conclusions.
When we think of narcissists we think of hugely selfish people. Which narcissists usually are, but there’s a twist to how they become like this that we wouldn’t really expect.
Here are two ways narcissism can develop: Narcissism can develop when parents or caregivers treats a child as loved, important, and accepted while denying completely that child’s imperfections. It can also develop when parents or caregivers treat a child as loved, important, and accepted only when no imperfections are visible [meaning they remove their love and acceptance (reject the child) when imperfections become visible].
So despite being treated, all the time or some of the time, as a very important person, never is the child truly, wholly loved.
Thus, from this, the child either learns to do as the parents have done and deny they have imperfections (utilizing self-deception, which requires lying to oneself and others on an ongoing basis), or they learn to expect and demand love when they are within their “perfection” because this is the only time they feel they deserve love or are capable of gaining it.
Therefore, maintaining a reality or illusion of perfectionism becomes a narcissists addition. Flaws mean being unloved. So they can never have flaws, never make mistakes, never take the blame, and never say they are sorry.
Meanwhile, the people closest to narcissists see their imperfections the clearest. And when these people express aloud the reality of the narcissist’s failures they can easily become the narcissist’s enemies because they reveal the truth. And even in the narcissist’s moments of perfection (when from their perspective they should be the most lovable) those closest to them often stay at a distanced because of the lies and inconsistencies surrounding the narcissist’s life. Therefore, love from those whom the narcissist desire it the most often remains elusive.
Because of this and the way they perceive themselves and the world, narcissists flip-flop back and forth between ultimately loving themselves or ultimately hating themselves with almost nothing in between. They are some of the most insecure people while at the same time some of the most arrogant and egotistical people.
It’s a strange paradox, but this is what the lie of human “perfection” does to us. It tears our lives in half, forcing us to live a falsehood while denying the irrevocable truth of who we truly are.
From a narcissist’s perspective, love is only attainable through perfection. But perfection is something humanity, outside of God, can never truly achieve. Therefore real love (unconditional love) is something narcissists particularly struggle to receive and in someways cannot receive without first shattering their own world of “perfection.”
They have to become a whole person in order to be wholly loved. But to be a whole person they have to accept simultaneously both their “perfection” and their flaws. Truly be themselves, because only as their true full selves can they actually experience real love.
But the fear of being whole and wholly known in order to be wholly loved is a terrifying thing to not just narcissists. Every last one of us, at one level or another, fears rejection. We fear that if we are seen for who we truly are we will be unlovable and therefore forever alone.
Being wholly loved is not to say that everything we do and say is loved, rather its that we are wholly loved regardless of the mistakes we make or the flaws we have. Wholly loved is when you are fully known for who and what you are and not rejected but instead cared about, loved, and wanted.
Rom 5:6-8 “For when we were still without strength, in due time Christ died for the ungodly. For scarcely for a righteous man will one die; yet perhaps for a good man someone would even dare to die. But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
Gal 2:20 “I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.”
1Jo 4:10 “In this is love, not that we loved God, but that He loved us and sent His Son to be the propitiation for our sins.”
Eph 2:4-9 “But God, who is rich in mercy, because of His great love with which He loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ (by grace you have been saved), and raised us up together, and made us sit together in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works…”
Rom 8:38-39 “For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”