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Narcissus and the Origins of Narcissism


THIS is what we need to remember — let’s take our obsession with needing Narcissists to be diagnosed with NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) OUT of it!

People often argue that we shouldn’t label someone a Narcissist unless they’ve been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This post gives you the origins, not just the pathologized version that has been used by Psychologists, the medical profession and pharmaceutical companies to make money out of their treatment which has just turned into an excuse for their behaviour. So here’s your mini History lesson………….

Narcissus, in Greek mythology, was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope. He was distinguished for his beauty. Narcissus’s mother was told by the blind seer Tiresias that he would have a long life, provided he never recognized himself (Clue 1 there — Narcs never recognise themselves as such, they pretend, even to themselves that they are different people).

Narcissus was a beautiful youth, and Echo the nymph loved him. Narcissus did not return her love, and as his punishment, Nemesis, daughter of Night and an avenging deity, required Narcissus to stare at his own image in a pond (obviously where the saying ‘she/he is my Nemesis’ comes from).

Seeing his own handsome reflection looking back, Narcissus mistook the “other” for a water sprite. Entranced, Narcissus fell in love with this reflection — its lovely eyes, beautiful hair, handsome body.

Unable to leave the allure of this image (Clue 3 — Narcs LOVE looking at themselves in the mirror, taking gym selfies and commenting on their looks. My narc ex once stated, ‘At least I’ll always have my looks,’ as he searched for his reflection in a car window while in his motorbike leathers. He may still have his looks, but he no longer has his 28 year career in the Police Force due to his behaviour). Anyway, back to the story……..

Narcissus eventually realized that his love could not be reciprocated and he melted away from the fire of passion burning inside him, eventually turning into a gold and white flower.

Luckily, this story has not spoilt my love of Daffodils and I see this as a metaphor — where a Narcissist causes devastation and destruction, (often when they leave or are left), seeds of surviving hope can grow and turn into something beautiful that represents new beginnings, happiness and peace!

If you’ve been affected by a Narcissist in your life, it’s very likely you need help to heal. That’s what I’m here for! DM or email me with the word ‘Narc Recovery’ and we can set up a time to chat.

With love

Liz x