One of the official definitions of narcissism is Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity.
According to Wikipedia Some of the symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder are:
- Reacts to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation
- Imagines unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance
- Requires constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
- Easily becomes jealous
- Lacks empathy and disregards the feelings of others
- Is easily hurt and rejected
- Sets unrealistic goals
- Wants “the best” of everything
- Appears as tough-minded or unemotional
Now the image we tend to have of the word Narcissistic is of a beautiful person who stares in the mirror all day and flicks their hair. But according to the symptoms above I would technically be diagnosed as a narcissist! Now to someone who suffers from low self-esteem that has got to be the biggest piece of BULL I have never heard.
Low self-esteem is a low and negative image or perception of oneself. We shy introverts spend our days worrying of what others think of us, what we look like, what we do etc. No one knows how deep the hurt, insecurity and anxiousness runs unless they have been in our shoes. They see us as these quiet, shy, wet, mousy wallflowers who tend to kill the party. They don’t understand the effort it takes for us to involve ourselves in group activities, social gatherings or even in the presence of new ‘friends of friends’. I once came back from clubbing with friends feeling mentally and physically drained. I didn’t realise how uptight I was until I literally felt my shoulders un-hunch upon entering my front door.
So according to those symptoms above, the line between low self-esteem and narcissism is very fine indeed. Because due to my excessive interest in myself and my short comings, “I’m not pretty enough, I’m too fat, my nose is too big, my lips too small, my shoulders too broad (lets not go on)” my self esteem tends to deteriorate daily.
So I get jealous more easily; of the growing number of perfect beauty’s these days. I get easily hurt and rejected; seeing men’s eyes not linger for even a second, yet that girl next to me receives that jaw-dropping-drooling-stare. Which causes me to delve even further into my imaginations and those unrealistic fantasies of beauty, power, success and romance, that would give even Mills&Boon a run for their money. These unrealistic fantasies come with a free gift of “unrealistic goals” (just like a Happy Meal), which makes you desire nothing but the BEST in life (not the best material things but the best successes and experiences). So when reality waves its face, the crash down from very high expectations does a real number to your soul and spirit. So this is where the constant NEED for attention and reinforcement originates, because by this point my conscience is my worst enemy and the only way forward is the hope that someone else realises my internal struggle.
So is someone low on their self-esteem a narcissist? They focus and obsess on their image as a narcissist does, only difference being that we shy introverts have a negative image of ourselves and our narcissistic opposites have a positive image of themselves. So how can I get over it, move on and finally be able to walk down the street without worrying that someone is looking and judging me? How do I embrace my God given body and stop obsessing over every flaw the mirror points out?
The ultimate life goal for me (and those who know exactly what I’m going through), is to be able to be comfortable in my skin and achieve that eternal, serene, mind peace. Time, patience and world experience is the only answer to my problem. It’s just a shame that the damage it will leave on my soul before the final goal is met will either make me or break me.
Now I know that beauty is only skin deep, and it’s whats on the inside that counts, but in the superficial world that we live in, those words seem to have lost there meaning.