Narcissism: is there a plus to the minus?

“He’s such a narcissist,” we say over a coffee with friends, usually gossiping about someone who we think has an inflated ego. Whether this is indeed the case answer the researchers from the New York University, who studied more than 300 people, who found that the narcissistic trait is due more to uncertainty and is a compensatory adaptation mechanism (Kowalchyk, M. et al, 2021). Narcissism, in which there is a sense of grandeur, obsessive fantasies about personal qualities and successes and the need for continuous validation of these concepts by others, is defined as pathological narcissism. Thus, two types narcissism are evident – the one based on uncertainty and the grandiose one.

But narcissism, as everything in life, has its plus. For example, Thomas Dane of Trinity College Dublin tells of a study in which character traits such as persuasiveness and consistency in entrepreneurs with a narcissistic personality structure help them raise funds through so-called “crowdsourcing” much more easily. Dr. Francesca di Pietro of Trinity College reports that these persons use rhetoric to persuade and attract investment, while demonstrating dedication and consistency in their actions, prompting fund managers and private investors to trust them. Of course, if the actions of the narcissistic entrepreneur are excessive, they have the opposite effect.

Photo source: freepik

During the Covid-19 pandemic, one type of non-closed businesses employees stood out in the crowd – the narcissists. The word “hero” tickles every narcissist, reports a research from Ohio State University. Raising the activity to the status of a hero leads to opportunities to peak in front of others and to feel even better with themselves.

These employees believe that they are the best at what they do – to be at the frontlines for other people and to be remembered for this rewarding work. They are happy to talk about their work outside to their blocked in another lockdown friends and family, which makes them feel important and different from others. What would we do without them?

Although there is no research and no direct relationship between exposing oneself to danger in order to maintain a “hero” status and the next research, it comes in very handy: narcissistic people are more mentally resilient to stress and danger. Dr. Papageorgiou of the University of Belfast reports that there is a direct link between narcissistic traits and mental resilience to stress and even a link to reducing depression.

The next time we are preparing to label someone a “narcissist” (or other “diagnosis”), it is good to remember that each character trait has a minus and a plus. And while you eat chips on the couch or work from home, a narcissist travels with a delivery to you and is proud of it.


Mary Kowalchyk et al, Narcissism through the lens of performative self-elevation, Personality and Individual Differences (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2021.110780

Narcissism can lower stress levels and reduce chances of depression (2019, October 29)
retrieved 27 March 2021 from

Stephanie D. Freis et al, Effects of narcissism in essential workers during COVID-19, Personality and Individual Differences (2020). DOI: 10.1016/j.paid.2020.110533

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