The Toxic Relationship Between Narcissism and Shame
When self-impression collapses, self-worth needs to be maintained at all cost.
What starts as a natural narcissistic expectation to have needs and wants met regardless of convenience and cost in childhood can develop into narcissistic difficulties in adulthood. We deserve our needs to be met however there are unhealthy consequences to self and others when a clearly communicated boundary is pushed in search for attachment and attention.
Shame is at the core and all encompassing.
When the sense of worth is threatened a person struggling with narcissistic traits will come very close to looking into the dark and unforgiving eyes of shame. The shame then needs to be dislodged, thrown away, forced onto someone else, concealed and covered up - anything and everything as long as those eyes change focus. In many cases that shame lands on the nearest and dearest. It then feels that there is no escape for anyone when shame takes hold.
Paradoxical conversation with narcissism and shame using popular categories
Classic - The traits are out in the open, unreserved for all to see. Denial some might say. The premise being that there is nothing wrong with asking...no...demanding...for the needs to be met. Shame won't stand a chance...surely?
Vulnerable and/or Inverted - They are victims too. Shame has no right. Where was shame when they were abused? Their abuser clearly did not have shame, at least that is what theories say. ( For someone to cross the boundary into abuse, they cannot feel shame, otherwise they would not be able to cross that boundary). Why is shame trying to put the spotlight on them now. Look, they are overly generous, look at all the good things they do. Shame leave them alone.
Communal and/or Spiritual - What better way than confuse shame by fighting for a cause. Hah, got you shame! No one will suspect, no one will know the shame they carry because people are too busy admiring them for changing the world for the better. They are just too good for you shame.
Malignant and/or Sadistic - Shame won't win - they are a bigger, badder, better! Shame will rue the day it laid eyes on them.
Overt - What you going to do shame, they are not hiding anything. They will punch a wall and blame that wall and will make sure everyone knows that the wall is at fault here.
Covert - They will be ever so quiet (until pushed), ever so sneaky. Shame might be too busy to notice this. If a wall is punched, it will be apologised to and mended immediately. So no harm.
Cerebral - Well they are far too clever. Shame, what is so clever about shame? Shame annihilates that is all. Not complex at all actually not as complex as them. It will be fun playing with shame at its own game and winning. Does the wall even exist?
Somatic - One more surgery, or that muscle enhancer. Shame will love them! Take a photo of them next to that wall please.
Conclusion has to be that shame is the true offender and needs to be worked through for the people that have suffered at the hands of narcissists as well as for those with narcissistic traits themselves.