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Home » Blog » Healthy Narcissism vs Unhealthy Narcissism

Whether it’s due to our huge changes in culture and societal values, morals and norms, advances in technology or even our parents in some cases it’s definitely true to say that a larger percentage of narcissists seem to be present for all of us in everyday life in some form with some people even calling it an epidemic.

I do believe that there is a certain amount of narcissism that is necessary to survive and certainly thrive in the world these days. Without it you may struggle to really make progress in the workplace. So what are the differences and when does it start to look unhealthy and ultimately damaging?

healthy narcissism 

Yes there is such a thing! Hopefully this is where most of us sit on the spectrum. So what does this look like? Aspects like knowing you deserve good things and having a healthy level of self confidence, self esteem and self respect.

But a healthy amount of narcissism looks a lot more like a dedication to one’s own happiness and success – along with the ability to empathize with and generally care for other people and their feelings.

It’s that fine balance between making sure you are looking after yourself and making sure you have enough empathy, care and compassion to look after your fellow man too!

Another way of looking at it might be that healthy narcissism is you loving yourself and knowing that you are awesome – but not requiring other people around you to be less than or in order for you to feel validated and worthy.

the qualities of healthy narcissism include:

  • A healthy level of self esteem and self worth
  • A healthy sense of pride in the self and accomplishments
  • The ability to admire others and accept it from others
  • The ability of empathize with others
  • Understanding and recognising the needs of others
  • Emotional resilience
  • Good self love, self respect and boundaries within relationships
  • Authenticity
  • The ability to tolerate the disapproval of others
  • Cultivating hpes, dreams, ambitions and belief in one’s personal power and ability.

unhealthy narcissism

Unhealthy narcissism is a narcissist one of the most obvious signs is that they are unable to feel genuine empathy, at least not when it doesn’t directly benefit them to do so. You may at times think a narcissist in your life does infact care and is very empathetic towards you and others but true empathy isn’t something you can turn on and off to suit your personal needs.

  • An inflated/grandiose sense of importance
  • Arrogant or haughty behaviours/attitudes
  • Envious of others of believes other are envious of them
  • A need for excessive attention or admiration
  • Lack of empathy for others
  • Exploitative or ruthless behaviour
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Controlling & Jealous
  • Fantasies about own success, brilliance, beauty or power.
  • Believe they are special or superior
  • Hog the conversation & show little interest of fake interest in you
  • Emotion phobia – real human interaction and emotions scares them. A deep discomfort with feelings & emotions, They often steer clear of everyone else’s emotions as well as their own.
  • Playing emotional hot potato – A way of getting rid of the emotions or feelings as quickly as possible often by projecting them onto someone else sometimes to the point where the other person ends up actually feeling them for them! Effectively denying and/or getting rid of their feeling whilst deliberately triggering it in you. “I don’t want this emotion. Here, you take it!”
  • Placing people on pedestals – in a weird way this make them feel special, if someone special wants them then they must be special too.

The bottom line is that healthy narcissism must coexist with healthy levels of empathy and it’s skills. The lack of these things starts to flip narcissistic traits into the unhealthy realms.


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