Have you lost track of how many articles on narcissists and narcissism you’ve read? How many checklists have you pored over recently as you compared notes and re-examined the proof? How has the explosion of narcissism-education, abuse exposure, and narcissist melt-downs affected you personally?
In the past, narcissists thrived in secrecy and separated their victims from support, which is how the pandemic of narcissism spread wide and far for so long. But no more. The end of narcissism as we’ve known it is here.
In the past, it’s been shoved into closets and kept in the dark. But now? Truth-tellers are breaking the code of silence on social media and it is contagious. The more lists we make, the more others can validate their own experiences.
The more we tell our stories, the more strangers tell their stories. We are educating. Loudly listening. Spilling dirty laundry taboos into the compost so the tea can rot. Even young teenagers today know what “gaslighting” and “word salads” are!
Let’s recap some basics, to make sure we’re aligned with popular definitions. The main traits to look for when measuring narcissism are the three “Es”:
3. Empathy impairment.
Two main differences when discussing narcissists are
We know narcissists come in an array of flavors, depending on where they get their narcissistic supply. They might be:
What they ALL have in common though, is they are insecurely attached. They lack the ability or desire for actual connection and trust. They would rather feel special than loved.
Most studies, so far, state that the actual disorder is untreatable. As a holistic healer and a daughter of an NPD, this is a hard one for me personally to accept.
Having ‘narcissistic tendencies’ is a trickier scale to navigate, since western culture supports narcissistic non-listening as a recipe for success, and worships the individual over the collective, but I still haven’t witnessed someone with high tendencies on the narcissism scale who’s ever actually changed.
Imagine a long red line.
In the very center of this line, we have a healthy, confident person. Someone who knows themself; is aware of their skills and deficiencies, able to digest criticism, and can feel humbled or shame when appropriate.
Leaning away from this healthy ego-center in one direction… we find people who are more interested in expressing their views and invested in their perspectives than relating to others. This is where intensifying degrees of the “three Es” present. People on this side of the scale are allergic to criticism and questions. If we reach the far end of this predisposition, we find the disorder NPD, next to the Sociopaths, and the Psychopaths at the very end of the scale.
In the opposite direction of this ego spectrum, we find empaths and empathics, (those with empathic tendencies), beginning with degrees of codependency, intensifying into an increasing lack of self-representation, a build-up of passive-aggressive bitterness, ending up finally at the distorted, unhealthy, (sometimes deadly) edge of Echoism. An extreme Echoist has lost their sense of self, puts others first, and keeps themself on high edit.
We now know there is a collective polarization which is part of the architecture of narcissism. (As a recovering echoist, and someone with codependent tendencies, I have a pivotal role in tracking my patterns to free myself from the orbit of the familiar).
It’s my responsibility to shift my brain synapses into unchartered electrical firing. It’s why I get so excited when I see more empathics waking up — this is where I DO see people change! And if those of us who have been echoing and reflecting the narcissist stop our pattern, where does that leave the narcissist? Alone. It leaves narcissists not being worshipped, feared, given special treatment, or with the ability to ruin others’ holidays, states of mind, or lives.
The season of secrets is coming to a close — yet we who deal first hand with a narcissist or who come from a family system built with narcissism have choices to make:
Will we cling to our trauma bonds? Will we stop believing the lies in our heads? Can we lay down the role of being a forever audience? Will we finally. Stop. Being. An. Echo?
Empathics everywhere are realizing it’s our VOICE that’s the antidote. The superpower we’ve been waiting for — is our story. We speak out about our secrets, abuse, needs, boundaries — and the scale tips. Narcissists never planned to have to deal with Team Empathist. They never expected their secrets to be told.