Has the Black Community Become A Breeding Ground for Narcissism?
What if our community’s state is just as much about our skin as it is our psyche?
I accidentally dated a narcissist once — a malignant narcissist at that, a top-tier terror. If you’ve never dated a narcissist, I pray for your sake that it stays that way. It is, in fact, as debilitating as they say. These days, we’re all discussing narcissism, but through a limited lens. Social media has normalized the impact of narcissistic abuse while failing to focus adequately on where the disorder begins. I didn’t see my narcissist coming because I was looking in the wrong direction, on guard for a more sinister stranger than the charmer that chose me. It is the narcissist’s grandiosity that everyone warns you to watch for, but narcissism, at its core, is a deficit of self-esteem. What looks like confidence is really a ripped self-image, an obsession with people’s opinions and how they’re publicly perceived.
Now, narcissism is different from overconfidence and certainly not the same as egocentrism. The egocentric individual is like a child playing checkers, so glued to their side of the board that they cannot see things from their opponents’ perspective. On the other hand, a narcissist sees both sides of the board; they just don’t care about your half. For the narcissist, their story begins in childhood, where an unhealthy home environment coupled with an unsupportive community manifests in a variety of traits and attitudes sometimes suppressed until adulthood. Under the weight of these compounded unaddressed experiences, such as neglect, abandonment, physical abuse, and poverty, these narcissistic behaviors begin to bloom. But when shared unaddressed traumas render an entire community at risk for NPD, what does that mean for its members?
Narcissists aren’t born; they’re bred. And although traits can take until early adulthood to show, they’re formed well before then. Psychologists believe that narcissistic personality disorder is the outcome of an individual’s exposure to a complex combination of factors; some nature, others nurture. Researchers agree that individuals diagnosed as having NPD tend to have similarly abusive adults in their lives as children. Across the board, we find that people with NPD in adulthood experienced one…