As I’ve pondered the massive mistake that was my marriage and the specifics of my “relationship” with my ex-husband, Man-baby, I keep coming back to the difference between narcissism and self-esteem. One is healthy and the other destructive, one leads to hell and the other to happiness.
I am not a shrink of any sort, other than a search and research project on how to cope with narcissists, I am going out on a limb with my hypothesis here, it seems to me that the main differences are an ability to empathize and a desire to contribute to the greater good.
A narcissist looks in the mirror and sees only himself. He is in love with himself and wants to be given to. He cannot put himself in the shoes of another, he believes he got where he is all alone. Gratitude and compassion are incomprehensible for him.
In contrast, someone with healthy self-esteem looks in the mirror and sees not only himself but also everyone who has crossed his path, those who stand behind him, so to say. He loves himself and seeks to take care of himself and give back to the people who have helped him and to pay it forward for people who may need a hand. He can imagine how he would feel if he were to walk in any pair of foot wear and so he is compassionate in his interactions. He knows he is not an island and is grateful for his blessings and the help he has received. He wants to contribute to the greater good rather than be famous, rich or powerful.
The narcissist is forever infantile, he cares only that he gets what he wants, he has an immature relationship with himself where he is in love with himself but does not actually love himself enough to take care of his own needs and wants. Like a young baby he is fascinated by his own face in a mirror but cannot take care of himself.
Developing self-esteem means having a mature relationship with ones’ self. It means loving one’s self enough to take care of one’s own needs. It means growing up being responsible for one’s actions and words. It means understanding that we are all unique but no one is any more special than anyone else.
So what are your observations? What are the key traits you have witnessed in the selfish narcissists of the world? What do you admire about people with a healthy sense of self and purpose?