Excerpted and adapted from “Does a narcissist know he is a narcissist?“
“While they know they’re narcissistic, they consider their narcissism in a very positive light. First and foremost, narcissism is all about image and reputation management.
While narcissists are aware that there are some negative connotations associated with ‘narcissism,’ they would rather be respected and admired for being seen as a ‘big deal’ than for being liked for kindness, thoughtfulness, and empathy. They see themselves through a very distorted lens, which amounts to a greatly inflated self-construct.”
Narcissists are very much aware that they are narcissistic, but they tout/promote positive attributes associated with trait narcissism and downplay shortcomings associated with the narcissistic personality characteristics.
Individuals high in narcissistic traits, particularly those who are more pathological (as seen in clinical narcissism or NPD), view the world in all or nothing terms.
They perceive themselves as being all good and others as all good or bad. These dichotomous thinking patterns are cognitive distortions, making it difficult for narcissists to appreciate the nuance and gray areas in life.
Dialectical thought patterns, as opposed to dichotomous thought patterns, help most people appreciate the duality in life events and in our judgment of others.
While narcissists know they are narcissistic, they consider their narcissism in a very positive light, if not as a strength.
Any shortcomings associated with trait narcissism may be considered trivial to them. It’s very hard for narcissists to develop a critical view of themselves unless they have been truly humiliated. This is because, given their self-construct, they can’t tolerate criticism from others.”
– Jordan Schaul, ScapegoatStrength.com