The Daffodil trait… I mean Narcissism

Narcissism is a trait, if you have none, then you can’t care for yourself, if you have too much, then you can’t care for others.

Empathy and compassion are learned skills.

A “Narcissist” is someone who needs to improve those skills.

Most folks learn some degree of those skills on their own.

Some ND/HSPs do not learn self-regulation without being directly taught. So some ND/HSPs with neglectful/traumatic/unhappy childhoods can develop narcissism as a coping strategy. NTs tend to be more resilient.

The core of narcissism is anger.

If you only understand your own mind – then if someone does something different from your expectations, it makes sense that you would assume they are being mean and get angry. Anger is an emotion that is supposed to protect us, encourage us to defend our boundaries. At the bottom I have an example of how this works.

Correlation is not causation. And being HSP doesn’t imply Narcissism. I believe being a Narcissist, especially the vulnerable kind, implies being an HSP with childhood attachment trauma.

PersonA & PersonB – both have autism.
PersonA may or may not be aware of it in themselves and is not aware of it in PersonB. PersonB is not aware of it in either of them.

Having a discussion.

PersonB replies to PersonA.

PersonA: You just hurt my feelings. (see trauma)

PersonB: (had no intention to do so, feels like they are being gaslit as hurting the other person is not their experience)
“<Explains why PersonA is wrong/mistaken/shouldn’t feel that way – without first acknowledging PersonA’s experience.>”

PersonA: (feels gaslit and ignored/unheard)
“Why is it so hard to apologize? Don’t you care that my feelings are hurt?”

PersonB: (Now confused and angry, why should they apologize for something they didn’t do? Feels emotionally blackmailed. In addition to feeling gaslit, is also hurt that PersonA thinks that PersonB would try to hurt PersonA. Gets defensive and lashes out in anger – says something deliberately hurtful = Narcissim.)
“Why would I care when you don’t care about what I’m feeling?”

This is why starting with I statements and sharing needs is so important. Both people had a chance to get things back on track.

PersonA could instead say:
I’m feeling really hurt, I need <support/connection/clarification>.

Or PersonB could have replied with:
You’re feeling hurt in response to something I said? Do you need a hug? And can you explain what part was hurtful and why? I’m confused and I want to understand because I care about you. Hurting you was not my intention, so I think there must be a misunderstanding/miscommunication occurring.

Post Oct 5 2022 ^

Edit Jan 10 2023

I can only speak for myself. Before I learned more about Autism, I thought my husband was a Narcissist. I think the reason most Narcissists don’t agree with that label is because it is a label of the external behavior that others observe more so than a description of their internal experience. So if you try to explain to someone exhibiting Narcissistic tendencies they will believe you are trying to attack or gaslight them, so then of course they get defensive and strike back.