The difference between narcissism and self-confidencePosted: July 7, 2009 | |
Check out Sam Vaknin (you can get there via melove54, top of the page – link to YouTube video – or go to YouTube), self-proclaimed narcissist. Jees! That’s my husband! Well, not literally – I was not married to Sam Vaknin but the characteristics of him and my abusive ex are identical: the portrayal of grandiosity beyond reality, need to come across as perfect, constant tetchiness about the immediate environment, focus on self – yikes! Painful to watch. Then we get to see his poor wife! OMG! That’s me! Having to always look up to him, make him the focus, do his deeds, pretend like you have a say in the matter when the reality is you don’t!
It got me thinking about my relationship and how difficult it was for me, when I began to realise I was trapped in an abusive relationship, to garner support from anyone within our circle of friends, acquaintances and family. The problem was, because he was so accomplished at putting on this play, this facade, creating a great self-image, no-one saw or experienced him as I did. What they saw was what he wanted them to see: this brave, courageous and charming persona – so when I started to complain, the response I got was less than supportive. Most of them tried to make out that there was something wrong with me – there must be; that I was complaining about this ‘great’ man whom I was “lucky” to be with (yes, believe me, some people even said that to me!!). I understand now that there is a vast difference between narcissism and self-confidence. Here’s my take on it:
- Narcissism is all about self. Self-confidence is inclusive.
- Narcissism is about being better than………..Self-confidence is about being as good as you can possibly be and/or as good as everyone else.
- Narcissists want recognition and attention. Self-confident people want to do what they love and do it well.
- Narcissism is about entitlement. Self-confidence is about celebrating achievement.
- Narcissism is about projecting a false image. Self-confidence is about taking pride in what I know, what I have learned/studied and what I know I am good at.
- Narcissists lie. Self-confident people are goal-oriented and want to win but make no false promises.
- Narcissists repress their emotions/feelings. Self-confident people possess freedom of expression.
- Narcissists are manipulative. Self-confident people are persuasive.
- Narcissists are motivated by power and control. Self-confident people are motivated by achievement.
- Narcissists are obsessed about appearance. Self-confident people care more about their abilities.
- Narcissists care little for human values. Self-confident people value being human.
- Narcissists value material possessions. Self-confident people value experience.
- Narcissists value notoriety. Self-confident people value dignity.