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.
- High Sensitivity Does Not “Overlap” With Narcissism | Psychology Today
Narcissism is often seen as arising due to a troubled childhood. Some but not all HSPs have had the kind of childhoods that could produce narcissism.
- Is There a Link Between High Sensitivity and Narcissism? | Psychology Today
- Why is Narcissism Adaptive in Youth? | Psychology Today
- Do You Think of Narcissism as an Autistic Spectrum Disorder? | Psychology Today
- The True Roots of Narcissism | Psychology Today
“The root of the disorder is actually a strict resistance to feeling vulnerable with anyone at any time.” … “Despite the outward appearance of grandiosity and superiority, the narcissist actually lives in a state of anxiety and hypervigilance.”
- Unhealthy Narcissism and Anger | Psychology Today
- 7 Serious Misconceptions About Narcissism | Psychology Today
For sociopolitical reasons, psychology has been slow to acknowledge that the primary cause of NPD and other personality disorders is attachment trauma in early childhood. There are always genetic and epigenetic factors in personality development, but insecure attachment is what gives rise to the unstable self-esteem, emotional alienation, lack of individuation, and grandiose compensations that drive narcissism.
- What Psychology Is Getting Wrong About Narcissism | Psychology Today
- To Heal Your Inner Child, First Disempower Your Adaptive One | Psychology Today
- Your partner isn’t a narcissist. He has autism. And so do you. – Penelope Trunk Careers
- Michelle says: Maybe another angle is, if you’re autism-spectrum, then what can you do personally to try not to be narcissistic to people in your life, since you might be at some risk for it.
Personally I use CBD, which seems to improve my empathy and my ability to automatically think of others’ perspectives. I do a lot of health treatment and thyroid and general autism treatment (methylfolate for MTHFR, immune support, detox support, ozone), which have made me noticeably less autistic than the rest of my family who haven’t done these things. I learn extensively about narcissism to try to recognize the patterns if I slip into them (I am most prone to it if really struggling with my chronic health issues and barely getting by).
This YouTube channel has lots of videos from a “narcissist perspective,” that can help you recognize the thought patterns of that state and try to avoid them: https://www.youtube.com/c/GoldenGoldman
Yes, some therapists will string a patient along for years. And there are good therapists out there who want their patients to get better. Here’s a reference that looks helpful:
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.