Are Narcissists Aware That They Are Narcissists?

Excluding covert narcissists, Individuals with NPD are not the most subtle characters.

Narcissism can manifest in various ways, including covert and overt. Overt narcissists are highly extroverted, boasting about their accomplishments and achievements, seeking validation and admiration. Covert narcissists, on the other hand, may appear more introverted and charming but still possess a deep-seated sense of entitlement and superiority.

Overt narcissists can be so relentless in their pursuit of supply that it’s painfully obvious that they are exaggerating stories, trying to use other people or completely fabricating information; it raises the question, are narcissists aware that they are narcissists? Do they realize all the negative behaviors they are engaging in and how their behaviors affect others?

In this article, we will explore these topics related to narcissism and whether or not narcissists are aware of their behaviors.

Are Narcissists Aware That They Are Narcissists?

No, is the simple answer to the question. Narcissists do not see anything wrong with their behaviors and how they treat other people. They are essentially ignorant to the fact that their actions are unjustified and that the negative consequences of their actions on others are unacceptable.

At Choosing Therapy, the author says that to understand why narcissists do not realize they are narcissists, you must understand the differences between ego-dystonic and ego-syntonic behaviours.

Ego-syntonic behaviors are those that align with our self-perception and personal values. It means that our thoughts, feelings, and actions align with who we think we are, and we don’t feel any inner conflict or moral concerns about them. People with ego-syntonic disorders, like narcissism, are often unaware of and unaffected by how others perceive their desires.

They don’t see their behavior as problematic because it matches their beliefs and values. On the other hand, ego-dystonic behaviors are experiences that don’t match our internal beliefs. These could be thoughts or feelings that we find unacceptable or even repulsive. Ego-dystonic disorders occur when a person’s symptoms conflict with their belief system, like in Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder (OCD).

Narcissists believe they are better than others; they have an exaggerated sense of entitlement, leading them to expect they deserve everything they seek. Additionally, since they feel superior to others, it feels natural for them to treat people like objects and not care about the consequences of their actions.

Additionally, narcissists are so self-centered and lack empathy. Therefore they only care about and prioritize their own needs. For example, a narcissist may use you for affection and attention but provide very little in return and only show you any affection when they need something in return.

This is completely acceptable to narcissists because they deserve your attention and shouldn’t have to do anything for it; even though it hurts you emotionally, they can’t empathize, so they don’t even consider it.

How Do The Behaviors Of A Narcissist Affect Others? Do They Care?

No, because they do not take accountability for their actions. When faced with the consequences of their actions, such as people viewing them negatively or the narcissist developing a bad reputation, individuals with NPD will take a stand and defend themselves because they believe their actions are justified.

Narcissists will often abuse their victims emotionally, physically, and mentally to fulfill their needs without caring about all the negative consequences that this can have on their victims. According to author Amanda Lundberg, People who have experienced narcissistic abuse may show signs of emotional, physical, psychological, verbal, and domestic abuse.

Victims of abusive relationships suffer emotional harm and sometimes physical harm. Psychological abuse involves sabotage, spreading rumors, refusing to communicate, and using various tactics to manipulate and control.

Long-term abuse can lead to symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), particularly in those who have experienced other traumatic events. Narcissistic abuse can also cause deep feelings of shame, a sense of powerlessness, and intense emotional flashbacks.

Additionally, because narcissists do not take accountability for their actions, they do not consider or care about the long list of consequences that their actions have on others. They can easily dismiss all the negative attention to people not understanding them because these people are inferior and incapable of realizing how special the narcissist is. 

A narcissist believes that they are worth more than other people; they see all of their narcissistic qualities as benefits because only the narcissist is important, and these qualities help them get the things they need and desire, such as attention, affection, validation, admiration, praise, and power.

As we can see, the consequences of the behavior of narcissists are far-reaching and long-lasting, causing a detrimental amount of harm to their victims that they may or may not ever recover from. Unfortunately, individuals with narcissistic personality disorder do not care about the consequences of their actions, making it highly unlikely that they will ever change and become less toxic.

However, there is hope if the narcissist wakes up and discovers a willingness to change within themselves. If this happens, there are forms of therapy that narcissists can use to become a more well-rounded individual and minimize the impacts of narcissism on themselves and others.

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What Happens When A Narcissist Becomes Aware?

When a narcissist becomes aware, they can finally begin to change. Once the narcissist is capable of self-reflecting, understanding that their behavior is unacceptable and is impacting other people, they can develop a willingness to change that, with proper help, can make change possible.

For narcissists who have developed a sense of self-awareness, there are steps they can take to break free from the bonds of narcissism. At Psychology Today, the author says that individuals with NPD can live healthy lives by accepting themselves, achieving genuine success, and developing empathy and healthy, loving, lasting relationships.

For a narcissist to achieve real change, they must work on the following:

Doing Things The Right Way

The narcissist must get used to taking an authentic approach to their actions and creating meaningful personal and professional relationships with others. They can create a solid reputation as reliable and trustworthy with consistent effort and commitment to improving.

Work On Mindfulness

Narcissists can minimize friction, conflict, and misunderstandings by being mindful of their thoughts and behaviors, and promoting positive and constructive social interactions. Mindfulness allows them to gain insight into the underlying motivations behind their actions. This enables them to make informed decisions that consider their own needs as well as the needs of others.

Seek Help and Support

As narcissists become more self-aware, they may regret the harm they have caused. They need to be gentle with themselves and understand that their past actions were a way to cope. With this awareness, they can avoid repeating mistakes and build healthier relationships. Talking to a therapist can help in their personal growth and healing.

By taking these steps, combined with a desire to change, narcissists can make positive progress in their journey of self-discovery, learning how to interact with the real world in healthy ways. This will allow them to consider the needs of others and their own, helping them make genuine connections with others and adding meaning to their lives.

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In conclusion, individuals with narcissistic tendencies lack the awareness to gauge their actions’ significance. Narcissists don’t realize they are narcissists and don’t see their behavior as wrong. They believe they deserve special treatment and prioritize their needs without considering how it affects others. They lack empathy and don’t understand the emotional harm they cause.

Narcissists lack accountability for their actions and disregard the harm they cause to others. They believe they are superior and their behavior is justified, often dismissing negative attention. Victims of narcissistic abuse suffer emotional and physical harm, and long-term consequences can include PTSD.

Narcissists prioritize their own needs and desires without considering the impact on others. However, change is possible if a narcissist is willing to seek therapy and work toward personal growth. Narcissists can break free from destructive patterns by embracing self-reflection, respecting boundaries, practicing consideration, and making genuine connections.

They must be mindful of their thoughts and behaviors, seeking support from therapists and support groups. With dedication and a willingness to change, narcissists can build healthier relationships, experience personal fulfillment, and minimize the harm caused by their past actions.

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