April 10, 2008

Descriptions of Healthy Narcissism

Check this link: Healthy Narcissism

"Healthy adult narcissism is characterized by empathy, a sense of humor, creativity, wisdom, sense of personal responsibility, the capacity for developing and maintaining satisfying intimate relationships and altruism. This is the ideal state for adults."

"My way of looking at narcissism is as a continuum. Narcissism is like a dementia: from healthy narcissism to pathological to narcissistic personality disorder to psychopathy. It is important to see that everybody has narcissism, self esteem, self regard, self protection and a normal sense of entitlement. There are a lot of normal aspects to narcissism. In stressful situations, anybody's self esteem can react to the extreme temporarily."
~Dr. Elsa Ronningstam

* * *

"Healthy narcissism is a mature, balanced love of oneself coupled with a stable sense of self-worth and self-esteem. Healthy narcissism implies knowledge of one's boundaries and a proportionate and realistic appraisal of one's achievements and traits." ~Sam Vaknin
* * *
"Healthy narcissism is the appearance of a strong, vital, cohesive self striving with ambition and ideals toward the full realization of a person's skills and talents. Healthy drives for growth possess a greater sense of urgency and strength than unhealthy drives to repeat the past. " ~Link:Heinz Kohut, CandleInTheDark

* * *
"A distinction must be made between 'normal' or 'healthy' narcissism on the one hand and 'pathological' narcissism on the other. We all have some degree and variety of narcissistic delusion which, if it is not too great, is normal and healthy. But the pathological narcissist has a level of delusion that is divorced from reality.

Kernberg used a theoretical frame to differentiate between 'normal' and 'pathological' narcissism, combining ego psychology and object relations theory. Normal narcissism refers to well integrated representations of the self and others, whilst pathological narcissism relates to an impaired intrapsychic structure with grandiose self-representation and a severe pathology in object relations. Lubit compared 'healthy' and 'destructive' narcissism in relation to their long-term impact on organizations." ~ View this link to see a comparison table between healthy and unhealthy narcissism: Winning Teams

* * *

"Getting a good balance between taking from others and giving to them is called "Healthy Narcissism" by the psychoanalytic community. Healthy Narcissism is the ability to have reciprocal relationships where the need of each of the partners is balanced with the needs of the other.

Healthy narcissism is having just the right amount of self centeredness to get some of your own needs met and as well as some of the needs of others. It’s a balance between giving and taking. Healthy narcissism means using appropriate adult communication, having appropriate boundaries and setting limits for your own self protection. It means giving up old survival patterns that no longer work and using adult behaviors that give you more of what you want.

Mature Healthy Narcissism is the middle ground between caring for self and the caring for other. It includes those centered, conscious choices that fall within the center of the continuum. It is the equilibrium between taking too much and giving too much in regards to the other person. Moving towards the middle of the Narcissistic-Co-dependency continuum where there is not too much and not too little of either giving too much to others or expecting too much brings balance into a life. By learning the balance between giving too much and taking too much and learning the skills of communication that create intimacy." ~Link: The narcissistic co-dependency continuum 
by Lynn Namka

* * *

"The practical test, so far as I know, is that with normal people, no matter how difficult, you can get some improvements, at least temporarily, by saying, essentially, "Please have a heart." This doesn't work with narcissists; in fact, it usually makes things worse." ~Joanna M. Ashmun

* * *
"...it is not ideal to divest everybody of narcissism because normal narcissism is a source of pleasure in living, of enjoyment of self, enjoyment of healthy self-affirmation, healthy aggression, enjoyment of sexuality, eroticism, love, intimacy. This is all part of normal narcissism. And what I am trying to say, in essence, is that I see no contradiction between normal narcissism and the spiritual orientation, although there is all the contradiction in the world between abnormal narcissism and spirituality." ~Otto Kernberg, The Seeds of Self

* * *
"At the same time, one can certainly look at the early tendency for a child to be egocentric. This is a natural thing, but we could say that as you grow up, what you must learn to do is to conquer your egocentricity. This is not saying, though, that you're conquering your ego. This is an aspect of your behavior, of your attitude. And you must conquer your egocentricity and learn to develop consideration for other people. Now if you do this, you can hold on to your ego—and by this I mean the sense of the direction of the person in terms of how they envision their development in life—and you'll be fine." ~Henry Stein on Alfred Adler

* * *
"Healthy narcissism is a realistic sense of self that is based in one’s real assets; and the confidence to risk failure and to sustain effort towards some goal." ~Dr. Sandy Hotchkiss 


  1. There is no such thing as healthy narcissism. The dictionary defines narcissism as: an EXCESSIVE love or admiration of oneself.

    A natural love or admiration of oneself is NOT NARCISSISM.

    It is a natural love or admiration of oneself.

    Why do people want to dilute language so much rather than understand the meaning of a word?

  2. Hi Mission!

    It's my understanding that Heinz Kohut is the psychologist who's theories about narcissism differed from Freud's. Kohut viewed narcissism on a continuum from healthy self-interest to pathological self-interest.

    I don't write the theory. I just reports it!

    I've provided several links to writings by well-respected psychologists, attempting to explain the point at which, someone becomes pathologically self-invested.

    Even Dr. Nina Brown who writes about the DNP (destructive narcissistic patterns) views narcissism as a spectrum disorder on a continuum ranging from healthy to unhealthy. In her perspective, someone can be considered 'a narcissist' based on narcissistic traits even though they might not be clinically narcissistic (five or more traits based on DSM criteria).

    Perhaps the dictionary's definition of narcissism is based on a Freudian definition of narcissism? Since his time, psychologists have researched healthy narcissism extensively.

    I like the idea of narcissism on a continuum because it gives us a way to gauge ourselves during a healing process (or throughout life as we 'mature' unhealthy self-investment to more altruistic and generative behavior).

    In general however, I think most people view narcissism as a 'sin', a bad thing, a perversion of our human moral nature.

    I've never looked up the term in a dictionary though...you've inspired me to do that today!

    Thanks for posting. I appreciate people's comments very much.



Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...