Maybe we throw around the N label too freely.

Hand with pointing fingerletter_N

We need to be careful about labeling someone as having NPD until we have gotten to know them well enough to be sure, or if we’re labeling ourselves, it’s best to wait until a therapist can confirm our suspicions (even though we’re probably right).

I think ACONs and other victims of abuse are sometimes quick to label people narcissists who may actually have some other disorder such as Borderline Personality Disorder, OCD or OCPD (some people with these disorders can seem very cold or unempathic), Schizoid Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder, Avoidant Personality Disorder (covert narcissism is often confused with this), or even Aspergers (Aspies are often accused of being unempathic just because they don’t express their emotions very well). Some conditions are easily confused with NPD because some of the behaviors or attitudes they show may be similar.

Narcissists are actually a small minority of the population (estimates about 1-4%, but it may be much higher since most people with NPD never present for therapy or diagnosis). Also, the times we live in and a society that rewards narcissistic behavior have probably made NPD more common than it used to be.

Whenever we do pin the N label on someone (including ourselves), it’s our own subjective opinion. In most cases, the person in question probably does have NPD (we are all adults here and it isn’t that hard to see the red flags), but remember it’s an informal diagnosis, not a bona fide diagnosis made by a mental health professional.
Remember to use care, because these are dangerous labels with a terrible stigma, and can be more damaging than helpful if the label isn’t accurate.

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24 thoughts on “Maybe we throw around the N label too freely.

  1. It seems so strange to me that narcissists would get such a bad rap. Psychopaths are “badder” than Narcs. And every psychopath is also a narc. Self-love just seems natural to me.

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  2. Dear Lucky, if it looks like duck, walks and sounds like a duck…even someone with an 8th grade education – and a C minus report card to boot – knows when he or she spots a duck. NO, we are NOT throwing about the narc-word – we are simply calling people on their duck-droppings. As for “professionals,” most of them are Christless – why waste ones time, money – but most importantly – risking ones eternal soul on shrinks’ false teaching. I had gone for counseling some years back – whaddabuncha new-age hooey – and i wasn’t even a Christian at the time. They wanted to put me on dope, so i got oudda there!!!
    Unfortunately, way too many Gospel preachers have not studied up on narcissistic behaviors – even though such behaviors are described throughout the Scripture. And way too many people are left in the dark. Yeah i know i have to forgive, but simply painting on polyanna smiles doesn’t get it – that’s just bearing false witness. Getting over the past and forgiving this or that crudball is a process. Preachers don’t seem to understand that even saved people have problems with forgiveness and trust. Thanks for letting me post.

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    1. Your posts are always welcome. I don’t disagree with you either, just think we have to be careful, and that includes labeling ourselves too. (I think a lot of people tend to do that).
      If you do label someone a narc, don’t tell them! (I wrote about that elsewhere). There’s a lot of good reasons to not let them know what you think.

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  3. Dear Lucky, a resounding Amen to your advice on that one. Matter of fact, i don’t want anything to do with certain people, it’s all i can do (per the Lord’s grace) to not say something inappropriate. Still very upset with them, so i stay away – maybe i’ll miss their company…in about 500 years ;/

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    1. If you think the word “narcissist” id’s thrown around too freely get a load of how the word psychopath is used. Any time people see someone doing something bad, they say, “That psychopath” or “That sociopath” The word is just a synanom got negativity.

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    2. I’m sorry you have had bad experiences with certain people, but if they’re bad for your soul, you’re right to go no contact with them. I doubt God will be angry with you and He’s probably proud of you for holding your temper too because “letting ’em have it” gets nowhere with those kind of people.

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  4. What irritates me is that so many people have no idea what narcissism is, and they throw the word around because they think it makes them sound erudite or something. I hear it misused frequently as a synonym for egotist. It’s a lot easier to spot a big ego than it is to diagnose an actual psychiatric disorder, but saying someone has a big ego is just stating the obvious (big egos are almost impossible to hide, and most egotists make no effort to do so) — so people say the person is a narcissist, because it sounds like a diagnosis rather than just a statement of the obvious.

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    1. There’s a lot of people who really don’t have any idea what narcissism is, going around calling people narcissists. I agree, they think anyone with a “big ego” or is full of themselves is a narcissist. In fact, narcissists hate themselves and have a damaged ego, which causes them to overcompensate. But not everyone with a big ego is a narcissist, they could just be conceited assholes.
      To get the NPD label you have to meet 5 of the 9 DSM criteria for the disorder.

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