Narcissus, from Greek mythology, was the son of the nymph Liriope and the river god Cephissus. Though Narcissus was very beautiful, he was unkind, and scorned the many who adored him. When the nymph Echo saw Narcissus, she fell in love with him. She could only repeat his own words back to him, and he rejected her. Heartbroken, she roamed the woods until all that was left was the sound of her echo. Nemesis, the goddess of revenge, heard of this. She led Narcissus to a pool so that he could see his own reflection for the first time, and he fell in love with it. There he languished, not able to part with his visage looking up at him from the water. The flower that grew on the bank of the pool where he died is the narcissus, also known as the daffodil or jonquil.
Greek Mythology.com: Narcissus, the Self-Lover
The term narcissism was first used to describe the mental disorder of pathological self-absorption by Havelock Ellis in 1898. Early theories suggest that narcissism results from childhood experiences, specifically parenting. Inordinate criticism can result in “vulnerable narcissism,” in which the narcissist experiences a lack of self-esteem and so acts out in a grandiose manner in order to off-set this internal inferiority. Excessive praise, on the other hand, can result in “grandiose narcissism,” in which the narcissist uses external validation to maintain their sense of being special and superior. (Britannica.com)
Being on the receiving end of true narcissism can feel like being used or manipulated, whether in an intimate relationship, a friendship, or a co-working situation. The narcissist is focused on being admired, immersed in their self-superiority, and so is unable to understand the needs of others. The narcissist lacks empathy and comes across as cold and uncaring.
Although most of us engage in narcissistic behavior at times, according to Cleveland Clinic: Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), a person diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) will demonstrate at least five of the following characteristics:
Narcissism is a condition with an underlying psychological cause. Fortunately, it is possible to develop the skills to improve. This involves therapy and practicing awareness of the needs of others, as well as developing a healthy self-esteem that does not rely exclusively on outside validation.
WebMD: Narcissism Symptoms and Signs
Science Direct: Narcissism
Jacqueline Denny, ACC, CHPC, LMT