I just read an article about the trend of calling people narcissists and “over-diagnosing” narcissism. There is some truth to this problem. People who haven’t experienced a real narcissist with Narcissistic Personality Disorder might throw the term around about someone who is cocky, posts a lot of photos, brags, takes selfies, etc…. That really does minimize true NPD. Yes, it is narcissistic behavior, but not all people who do narcissistic things are full-blown narcissists. Calling too many non-NPD people narcissists cheapens the term so that when we really do deal with a narcissist, people cannot imagine how bad the real thing is. In this way, the article makes a lot of sense.
On the other hand, I think society under-recognizes true Narcissistic Personality Disorder. If you’ve lived with or been close to someone who had it, you probably felt traumatized and emotionally battered by the narcissist’s lack of empathy and extreme manipulation. When we try to reach out for help, people who haven’t experienced it cannot understand just how bad it is and we have trouble finding the support and validation we need. In this way, while society is learning to call people narcissists over small behaviors, the general public is pretty ignorant about NPD.
And this includes victims! Just think how many people out there have been dealing with a narcissist yet don’t know it? They know they are miserable, but they don’t have a name to explain what they are experiencing. I would love to see more widespread awareness and education about Narcissistic Personality Disorder so we can prevent narcissistic abuse instead of trying to recover from it after the fact.