5 Things that Motivate Narcissists

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is more extreme than putting oneself on a pedestal. As part of the Dark Triad, (Narcissism, Psychopathy and Machiavellianism) it signifies that the sufferer may be a danger to others and even commit serious crimes (Psychology Today 2019). In this article, I will be discussing 5 things that motivate those with NPD. I will provide explanations why and show how they can make the sufferer dangerous.


1. Superiority


Narcissists need to feel better and more important than everyone around them. In their heads, no one else matters (The Little Shaman 2018a). If you make them feel less than this, they will set out to make you feel inferior in an attempt to regain feelings of supremacy. The narcissist’s superego compels them to pursue unrealistic and grandiose goals (Vaknin 2008b). Being feared enables them to feel in control and dominant. The way they see another’s failure or suffering as their success can put those around them at risk. For example, they make you feel trapped using threatening behaviour and aggression to feel like they have power over you (Decision Making Confidence 2019).


2. Self-Preservation


Narcissists live in a fantasy world where they are all that matters. When they look at others, they see a mirror of themselves. If they don’t like what they see, they will abuse you without considering it to be abuse. This will then allow them to feel like they have overcome their insecurities (The Little Shaman 2018a). For example, if you feel as though a narcissist is targeting you personally, you will feel as though it is something to do with you. However, an attack from a narcissist is never personal, it is always all about them. As a way of burning themselves in effigy, they target you, abusing and upsetting you to try to feel rid of what you represent in their mind (The Little Shaman 2018b).


3. Manipulation and Control of Others


In the eyes of a narcissist, other people are tools to help them achieve their grandiose goals. They can also be hurdles to overcome in their pursuit of them. Either way, narcissists see others as inhuman. This way of thinking makes them unable to see that their actions are wrong. They are unable to understand that others are equal to them, that they can feel, making them dangerous. Tactics such as the silent treatment are commonly used by narcissists as it effectively punishes those around them causing stress and making them feel trapped. The more upset you become, the more in control they feel (The Little Shaman 2018c).




4. The Perfect Person


Sometimes a narcissist will appear on the first encounter as charming and savvy. They can be good storytellers. They deceive you into thinking they are something they are not (Hill 2014). Believing you are the perfect person for them, they think they can use you to improve their image. They make you feel special. The scales then tip and you are no longer the perfect dream (The Little Shaman 2019). They take out all their insecurities on you gaining satisfaction from your reactions. Some refer to this kind of narcissist as an ‘energy/emotional vampire’. They provoke or frustrate you simply to gain attention, draining your energy and hindering your mood (Orloff 2019). As explained above, narcissists cannot understand that others are human too. This means that they cannot truly love you and never will. They can only love the way you make them feel (The Little Shaman 2018b).


5. Avoiding Boredom


Narcissists quickly get bored when they aren’t getting what they want. The longer you are around them the more you will pick up on the flaws and insecurities that drive them. You will become so accustomed to their tactics that you will no longer react in a way that pleases them. After they have discarded you, they will seek out someone who isn’t familiar with their tactics. (The Little Shaman 2019) The cycle then continues in the narcissist’s hunt for attention, approval, admiration, fear, etc… (Vaknin 2008a).


Overall, the fact that narcissists are unable to see the effect they have on others makes them a risk. Narcissism is a symptom of psychopathy, many psychopaths share this lack of empathy. (Tracy 2015) Not all narcissists are psychopaths. But narcissists can cause debilitating and traumatic experiences for those they target.



Reference List

Decision Making Confidence (2019) Examples of Narcissistic Abuse <https://www.decision-making-confidence.com/narcissistic-abuse.html> [23 August 2019]

Hill, R. (2014) Spot the Narcissist <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VtkRM0LSwx8> [12 August 2019]

Orloff, J. (2019) The Emotional Vampire Survival Guide <https://drjudithorloff.com/the-emotional-vampire-survival-guide/> [12 August 2019]

Psychology Today (2019) What is the Dark Triad? <https://www.psychologytoday.com/intl/basics/dark-triad> [12 August 2019]

The Little Shaman (2018a) 5 Things You Need To Know About Narcissists <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kIyymYnuMoA> [12 August 2019]

The Little Shaman (2018b) Games Narcissists Play <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=22JOEHhQM1I> [23 August 2019]

The Little Shaman (2018c) Narcissists and the Silent Treatment: When the Narcissists Ignore You <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TBu1CvjvWC0> [23 August 2019]

The Little Shaman (2019) 3 Reasons Narcissists Discard People <https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ie61BrtGeEY> [12 August 2019]

Tracy, N. (2015) The Narcissistic Psychopath: Are Narcissists Psychopaths?, HealthyPlace. <https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/psychopath/the-narcissistic-psychopath-are-narcissists-psychopaths > [12 August 2019]

Vaknin, S. (2008a) Narcissists, Narcissistic Supply And Sources of Supply, HealthyPlace. <https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/malignant-self-love/narcissists-narcissistic-supply-and-sources-of-supply>  [12 August 2019]

Vaknin, S. (2008b) The Narcissist’s Inner Judge (Superego and Narcissistic Defenses), HealthyPlace. <https://www.healthyplace.com/personality-disorders/malignant-self-love/the-narcissists-inner-judge-superego-and-narcissistic-defenses> [12 August 2019]

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