narcissism“You’re such a narcissist!”

It’s easy to see why people with moods are often accused of being narcissistic.

When we are depressed we become focused on ourselves and our mood and our pain. This is also what happens to people with chronic pain of other types.

And when we are manic, we become preoccupied with our importance and specialness.

But how to distinguish the typical self-preoccupation of almost anyone wrestling with the up and down of moods, from more extreme forms that may require special attention?

We were recently asked this question by one of the people who’s visits this site and we thought we would post some thoughts.

Self preoccupation is only part of what makes someone a narcissist. The key to the term, in the language of psychology and psychiatry, is the notion that the narcissist is so unable to deal with any feelings of inferiority or doubt that he or she has to leap to the opposite extreme and insist that he is great and special all the time.

The power behind this need is such that it tends to drown out any feelings of empathy and concern for the other person. Hence the narcissist is not just preoccupied with him or herself, but absolutely has to convince the world that he or she is better, more powerful, more significant than anyone else.

In other words, unlike the self preoccupation of anyone dealing with depression and mania, the person with narcissism is self-preoccupied all the time, and not just self-preoccupied but specifically preoccupied with proving that he or she is wonderful, special and loveable, as a way of avoiding the sense of doubt that lurks in the shadows of his or her mind all the time.

If you wonder if this term might apply to you or someone you love, these are good books on the topic: