When does Selfishness become Narcissism?


hi everyone Dr Liz here. Today I thought I would do a video about when selfishness turns into narcissism. Like where’s the Tipping Point on that?

I have quite a bit of experience working with Children of narcissistic parents mothers in particular and  in my personal life as well. As a therapist you get very very good at identifying narcissists particularly as a couples therapist. I did couples therapy for over a decade many many years so this is where these thoughts are coming from.

Now I did not research this. Usually I research I don’t know the F out of all kinds of stuff but I didn’t go searching for articles this time. Nothing like that. I thought I’ll just share my thoughts and I would love to hear your thoughts in the comments below about your experience of selfishness versus narcissism.

Now let’s talk about the scale here okay and where it falls on the scale. So over here you have the extreme narcissist that never thinks about anybody else takes advantage of other people, always blaming, often plays the victim, obsessed with their own appearance, how they look. That type of thing.

And when it starts to affect all kinds of areas of their life we usually do call that narcissistic personality disorder. It’s really intractable and changeable.  There can be some improvement there with real commitment to therapy or process or working a process. But typically it’s not a huge improvement.

Okay then on this side of the scale you have the co-dependent who goes above and beyond to help other people doing things that people don’t even ask them to do, people pleasing, not really considering themselves and what they need at all. And that carries with its own set of problems. So people pleasing is often a straight line to resentment which then is a straight line to self-pity and sometimes victimhood.

Now sometimes a narcissist will pair with a codependent because they don’t even have to ask to get their needs met. The codependent does it already. Like they the narcissist don’t have to work hard at all. The codependence they are doing everything for them making them feel good all that kind of stuff.

Now let’s go in the middle here. So here you have like thoughtful people people who do consider both you and their own needs. And then we work our way up the scale to selfishness.

So let’s say someone says “oh I’m selfish in my free time.” That type of thing. Then where does that tip over into narcissism? That’s a big question here. Where does selfishness tip into narcissism?

And I would say that it’s it’s when someone stops not just considering the other person but also extending themselves for another person. Now the other person may be the public domain – they’re not very considerate in public, they’re not very thoughtful in public let’s say they treat service workers really badly even if they’re one themselves –  that type of thing.

Sometimes that will show up in friendships where a friendship starts to feel unbalanced like the other person is never willing to meet in the middle or you always eat where they want to eat. They don’t compromise. The conversations are always about them. They’re never checking on you. It doesn’t feel like you’re there’s an exchange going on.

Or it may show up in someone’s personal life where they’re not extending themselves for the partner. They are not saying okay what would you like to do when your birthday rolls around? Or when holidays are there and where do you want to travel to? Or where do you want to eat tonight? Or you know how can I help you? That’s extending themselves for the partner.

Sometimes it’ll start to show up in all of these areas and I think it does tip over into narcissism when it does that.

Sometimes it’s just on one area that that starts to show up but then it’s got to be put in check. So in-check means sometimes the partner has to speak up and say hey this this isn’t okay. It seems like you’re now just taking.

We all have these takers that want to take this part of ourselves and then we have the givers the giving part of ourselves. And you do need a balance there between the two. So if one partner’s saying hey it looks like your taker is taking over here and that’s something to look at –  what’s going on, when does it happen, is it happening all the time, how can it be adjusted?

Like really looking at those factors.

Sometimes with friendships that can also be addressed or sometimes it’s more comfortable for people just to drift away from that friendship if they feel like they’re not really being considered or listened to or thought about.

The workplace is a little harder. So that’s another video – narcissism in the workplace or selfishness in the workplace. And when does it tip over?

So hopefully this gives you a better idea of my thoughts around the issue. I would again love to hear your comments about it. Uou can always see more about me over at my website or subscribe wherever that button is to get the videos when they come out and also get some free hypnosis files over there.

If you feel like you are in a relationship that doesn’t feel great there’s one for emotional stability over there. Reduced anxiety. Feel better about yourself –  those type of things or you can always search me up on the podcast- lots and lots of free hypnosis on the podcast, over 20 files now. Hope you have a wonderful day. Peace.

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Peace and Health,

Dr. Liz