Are narcissists and experts diametrically opposite?

Expert = someone who likes to develop understanding about how something works, the cause and effect, how to reach a goal

Narcissist = someone who is obsessed about controlling a situation, who cares how other people think about him (or her), does not have any intrinsic ‘self’, so can only validate based on how other people are behaving, is likely (but not definitely) of low empathy levels

They are not obviously opposite. A narcissist can understand cause and effect, and is often highly motivated to achieve the goal of being publicly validated. Perhaps we can say, a narcissist can understand his or her own expertise.

But can a narcissist understand or value anyone else’s expertise? Expertise which can help someone feel more valued? A narcissist in business or politics may value the communications people who can make him or her look good.

But the narcissist does not have any incentive to validate anyone else, or understand anyone else’s value, unless it is a pathway to increased self validation. (If you’re building a website which makes me look good, you’re a great programmer).

Expertise is about making something run well, reliably, achieving goals, and as a general thing, that is good, so long as the goal is good, and it usually is. The narcissist can’t appreciate an expert in general.

The narcissist may even feel threatened by the expert, if it messes up the narcissist’s games and manipulation. (I can tell a great story, but you know how to fix the computer, which someone may value more).

This is an interesting point in politics because we have two people which are commonly regarded as narcissists, Donald Trump and Boris Johnson – and one of the most important roles of someone in a powerful position of politics is assigning the people to roles of managing important government functions. Perhaps this is another good reason to keep narcissists away from power.

 

 

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