By discontinuing the use of this label.
This may turn into a bit of a rant, and I don’t often do that on my blog, but today, well, I’ve had enough of this so-called ‘Narcissism’ epidemic. Excuse my language, but it’s pure horse manure.
It feels like every day, something pops up on my Facebook feed about Narcissism. About how narcissists can ruin your life by being toxic in relationships, by thinking they’re so important, by taking too many selfies, blah blah blah.
Narcissism is simply a label. A not very nice label, slapped on people who have treated us badly, who seem to think they’re the best thing since sliced bread, etc. And handily enough, a narcissist won’t even know they’re a narcissist, so we’re the only ones who can ‘diagnose’ them as such.
Have you read the traits of a narcissist? I challenge anyone to read them and tell me that some if not all of those things apply to them too. Hell, most of them apply to me! Are people saying I’m a narcissist because I write a blog? Because I take selfies? I was taking selfies way back before they were even a hashtag! Does that mean I’ve always been a narcissist?
Oh wait, if I think I’m a narcissist, then it means I’m not one. Phew.
All this label does is create victims. The person who is with a ‘toxic narccissist’ is the victim, and they have the right to name, blame and shame the ‘nasty narcissist’. All that does is give away their power to the person they are blaming. Instead, why not see that the ‘Narcissist’ may have some inner work to do, and until they’ve done that, being in a relationship might not work? No blaming, no labelling, no shaming, just recognising that it is simply not the right time for you to be in the same space as each other.
Do you know what I see when I see a so-called narcissist? I see someone who doesn’t know what it feels like to be loved unconditionally. I see someone who does not love themselves. I have known and been in relationships with people who fit the ‘profile’ and do you know what? What they were missing was love. Pure, unconditional love. Don’t forget also, that your relationships with others are simply mirrors of what is going on inside you. So where are you not loving yourself?
Brené Brown talks about the ‘epidemic’ in her book – Daring Greatly, and she says in there that there isn’t a rise of narcissists, but there is a rise in shaming and blaming certain behaviours.
What I find sad is that in a pre-emptive way, people are beginning to label themselves as narcissists, every time they take a selfie, as if just that simple act is enough to be labelled with something potentially damaging.
What if they’re taking a selfie because they feel good about themselves on that day, an there’s no one else there to take the photo?
On one hand, we’re telling people they’re beautiful, they’re amazing, they need to have more self-esteem and they should believe in themselves, and yet on the other we telling people that they’re narcissistic and think too highly of themselves and need to stop taking those damn selfies, because really, they’re not all that.
How does this make any sense?
So I propose we end this narcissistic epidemic, and instead begin a revolution of unconditional love.
First step? Let’s drop the negative labels, and see each other as the human beings that we all are. We are all spiritual souls in human bodies, doing the best we can do with all that we are, let’s begin by honouring that.
Rant over, I love you guys, even those of you who take selfies 😉
Michelle is the author and publisher of 10 Visionary Fiction novels, all available on Amazon in paperback and on Kindle. She spends her days helping Indie Authors to publish their books, taking photographs of mushrooms and making gluten-free cakes.
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Narcissism isn’t a “label”, it’s a real, actual psychological diagnosis. If it gets applied to people in absentia, that’s because narcissists rarely seek help — the people who have to deal with them do.
Like a lot of proper psych terms, it has a colloquial use as well, and like any other professional jargon that makes it to mainstream use, it gets misapplied. See also: retard, spas(tic), psycho, schizo, OCD, hyperactive. On that point I think we agree.
It’s disingenuous, though, that you went after the easily-disproven examples (selfies) rather than accrual narcissistic behaviour.
It’s pretty easy to distinguish: a selfie or a blog isn’t likely to actually hurt anyone else, however much it may annoy them. Narcissism does hurt other people though.
If you don’t like the term, use “lying”, “bullying”, or “gaslighting”. Those are the behaviours that make narcissism dangerous to others, not photography habits.
I totally agree, and I haven’t said that it’s not an actual diagnosis, I am just tired of seeing it used to label people in a negative way that is totally unnecessary. This blog is the first time I have ever used the term, and I plan on never using it again.
The reason I used the selfie example was because when I searched on Facebook, the hashtag – #narcissism – came up with over 95k hits, and when scrolling through, the majority were attached to selfies, and the idea that taking a selfie implies you are a narcissist.
My main point was not about whether or not narcissism exists, but about whether it’s helpful or kind or appropriate to label someone as such.
Thank you for your comment 🙂
The term narcissist is lightly applied to anyone who displays certain behaviors (talking about themselves a lot, taking selfies, putting themselves first). I prefer the terms selfish and self-centered for people who really have difficulty putting others first. But, at the end of the day I do think that they are people who simply have things to work through that others may not. Some of them may never change because they are happy with the way they are and the way things are. Some people may eventually change when they feel like change is necessary. For example, I think that becoming a parent (or having some other type of really deep relationship) can make some people realize that they need to put others first.
I do not think that taking selfies makes you selfish, self-centered, or narcissistic. At least not inherently. Like you said, maybe they just like the way they look (which is GOOD) or don’t have someone to take the picture for them. I do agree that there is a bit of contradiction going on. We talk about self-love and self-worth, but then shame people who display those very things beyond a certain undefined level. It’s silly and could be damaging if people actually confront the person they think is a narcissist. Can you imagine finally getting to a point where you like the way you look and deciding to start posting a lot of selfies only to be told that you’re a narcissist and that no one wants to see your face so much? Harsh!
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Absolutely! How do we know what someone has been through to get to the point where they currently are? We don’t, and I feel that using this kind of label in the way it is being used currently is not healthy or helpful to anyone.
We’re also taught that we are selfish if we don’t put others first, yet told we’re going to burn out if we don’t take care of ourselves and make ourselves a priority.
We live in a world of contradictions, and I think we are all doing the very best we can do, every day. Thank you for your comment, Tiffany 🙂