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Online Narcissism: How to Identify Writers With NPD

Dr. Thomas Swan has a PhD in psychology from the University of Otago. He has researched several psychological traits and disorders.

The term "narcissism" comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who couldn't resist his own reflection.

The term "narcissism" comes from the Greek myth of Narcissus, who couldn't resist his own reflection.

What Is Online Narcissism?

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is diagnosed when an individual exhibits a cluster of symptoms related to an elevated sense of self-importance or worth. Online narcissism refers to the emergence of these symptoms on the internet.

Many individuals on social media websites believe that the world should be interested in every aspect of their lives. Similarly, on writing and blogging websites, narcissists take advantage of the self-publishing platform to soothe their vulnerable egos, and it is this phenomenon that will be focused on here.

The symptoms that manifest in someone who is suffering from NPD are varied, but they often include:

  1. A tendency to emphasize and exaggerate traits or achievements that may prove to be reputationally beneficial.
  2. A belief in being special and unique in the world.
  3. Is callous, exploitative, manipulative, and envious of others.
  4. Requires persistent positive reinforcement from those considered allies.
  5. Has an inability to apologize or take responsibility for one's actions or words, but is quick to demand apologies from others.
  6. Suffers from an extreme sense of self-importance and self-preoccupation to the point of being paranoid about the opinions and conspiratorial motivations of potential critics.
  7. Has a sense of entitlement and a preoccupation with fantasies of success.
  8. Has delusions of grandeur that are sometimes derived from supernatural beliefs, including astrology, past-life regression, and some forms of religion.
  9. Demonstrates superficial charm or glibness, which is used to derogate critics without alienating allies.
  10. Lacks empathy, intimacy, and may only experience short-lived egocentric emotions (i.e., coldness).

This cluster of symptoms may be described as a dispositional defense mechanism that develops over many years to cope with a vulnerability to psychological pain.

NPD sufferers are remarkably insecure, and this persecution complex is strengthened when they are inevitably trolled online (perhaps sometimes by other narcissists). Unfortunately, the trolling intensifies their detachment from the world and perpetuates a need to comfort their bruised ego with further narcissistic behavior.

Narcissistic Defense Mechanisms

How to Tell an Online Writer Is Narcissistic

This section will describe how narcissistic personality disorder manifests on writing sites and in social media profiles. The clearest indication that someone has NPD is the presence of vainglorious, self-indulgent ramblings in their profile. However, there are more subtle clues, such as:

  • An excessively long profile, suggesting that the writer believes they are important enough to hold someone's attention and interest for an extended period of time.
  • Use of adjectives such as inspirational or profound to describe one's own work.
  • Description of one's readers as having excellent taste.
  • Boastful accounts of unnecessary facts such as the number of countries one's followers come from.
  • The emboldening of boastful information to emphasize its importance.
  • The use of astrology, past-life regression, or a spiritual experience to support a delusion of grandeur regarding one's potential or certain superiority.
  • A description of what the writer does not like about other people, suggesting a projection of the writer's own negative traits onto others.
  • A description of one's work as beyond the comprehension of fools or inferiors.
  • A demonstration of poor spelling and grammar, but they are oblivious due to an unwillingness to believe in personal faults.
  • The grammatically-incorrect capitalization of words to emphasize them. Most of the words chosen for capitalization will be flattering. Ironically, many readers will frown upon the poor use of grammar.
  • Repeated claims of uniqueness demonstrating absurd and deluded levels of perceived superiority.
  • Reference to oneself as being alone or stranded in one's own brilliance.
  • If they have a qualification, they will typically state it more than once, and will misrepresent it in flattering ways (e.g., describing an economics degree as a science degree).
  • Will often end the profile with a lengthy copyright notice and/or disclaimer. Although most people who use these notices are not narcissists, an NPD sufferer will always have one because they believe their perfect work is at considerable risk of theft.
  • Will use overly legal language in the notice and/or disclaimer. This warns potential thieves not to mess with the writer, and satisfies the writer's belief that they are professional and capable of intimidation.
  • Will take self-publishing to self-indulgent extremes. They often have over-priced vanity projects on Amazon and several blogs.

These elements may also appear in the narcissist's work:

  • The placement of the writer's own quotes onto images to "immortalize" them.
  • The lack of linking to or quoting other people; even famous people whose words could add a worthy perspective on the subject. If there is such a quote, then the writer may be seeking to compare themselves to this person.
It might not be this obvious, but you get the idea!

It might not be this obvious, but you get the idea!

Case Study of a Narcissist

Interactions with narcissists are generally unpleasant. This is because they seek disequilibrium by enhancing their ego and weakening yours. Understanding that you are dealing with a narcissist can save a lot of time and effort. To test the veracity of the above deductions about writers with NPD, the following research was undertaken.


A writer's profile was found that included all but one of the features listed above. The person in question will of course remain nameless. Be advised that narcissism is a central part of Hare's Psychopathy Checklist and provocation is not advised (although only a minority of narcissists are psychopaths).

The profile was almost a thousand words long, replete with claims of personal profundity and wisdom. Of special note was the use of astrology to produce a delusion of grandeur. The writer stated his birth sign as "the Dragon," before comparing himself to the animal and remarking that the Chinese revere dragons as if Emperors (with incorrect spelling). If you have ever read Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon, this might cause concern (see video below).

The writer used the word "unique" a total of eleven times, describing his unique knowledge of life and death and his place in this world as beyond merely unique. He talked of standing alone on an island, reaching out to unknown worlds, and bragged about the number of countries his followers come from.


Further research was undertaken to understand how this writer interacts with others. In his recent history, he had attacked someone in an online forum. When the other person had replied angrily to the provocation, the writer produced two symptoms of NPD. He addressed everyone on the forum and stated that he did not "appreciate the abusive attitude" of the other person. This suggested that the writer believed his words on the matter were important enough for everyone to read and it showed that he can play the role of victim to garner positive reinforcement from potential allies.

Although no-one on the forum gave any such reinforcement, the other person apologized to the writer to avoid further argument. Demonstrating a third symptom, the writer failed to apologize for his initial comments.

In the initial attack, the writer hid his derogatory comments behind sarcasm and an attempt at charm. Despite the superficial inanity of these attempts (limited to exclamation points and emojis), the writer used the subsequent altercation to bolster his ego further by claiming his words were "too subtle" to be understood. When confronted by other internet users, the writer claimed that he was misunderstood for this reason. The use of superficial charm to avoid condemnation for his callous behavior suggested a further avoidance of responsibility and another symptom of NPD.

Paranoia can be a last resort.

Paranoia can be a last resort.

The Paranoid-Schizoid Position

When charm failed to win allies, the writer adopted the paranoid-schizoid position, a fifth symptom of the disorder. He accused the other person of using a fake name and of "pulling the same stunt" previously. He then requested IP information from the forum moderator to justify his paranoid theory.

As well as paranoia, the writer prefaced his conspiratorial claim with the words "get some help," suggesting a projection of his intensifying insecurity onto his adversary. Nevertheless, he still attempted to mask the absurdity of the claim by following it with an exclamation point, betraying a final attempt to maintain credibility with his established formula for charm.

How to Deal With Online Narcissists

If confronted by an online narcissist, it is best to restrict your responses to short statements such as "I respectfully disagree" or "we must agree to disagree." Pitying, ignoring, or agreeing with a narcissist will only strengthen their delusions or intensify their attention-seeking behavior.

Narcissists take criticism of their opinions as criticism against themselves. Any detail you provide regarding your disagreement will be used to justify the view that you despise them. As a result, the narcissist will often project or repeat what hurt their feelings the most without realizing it.

By restricting the detail of your comments, you deprive them of their supply. If they cannot construct a reason for your perceived hatred of them, they are less able to bolster their ego by derogating you in return.

The narcissist desperately needs you as a supply. Thus, their likely response will be a request to elaborate, and an accusation that your disagreement was baseless. This can be safely ignored. In this way, you foster some uncertainty regarding their delusions without allowing them to find a reason to despise you as an abuser.


Narcissists are attracted to writing sites, blogging, and social media for a couple of reasons. The self-publishing aspect of these sites spares them the criticism and rejection that might arise from having their work peer-reviewed. Furthermore, the narcissist can more easily assess their work as superior to that of the local writing community.

Authors on writing sites and social media can be tested for NPD by analyzing the self-descriptive writing in their profiles. In this article, I reported on a case study of a writer whose profile strongly suggested the presence of the disorder. The individual's interactions with other internet users revealed five symptoms of NPD, supporting the hypothesized diagnosis and the validity of self-descriptive writing as a diagnostic tool.

The best way to mitigate or avoid an unpleasant confrontation with an online narcissist is to limit the scope of your exchange. Disagreement without elaboration will prevent the narcissist from personifying your words, curtailing their ability to produce the disequilibrium of egos they desire.

Further Reading

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and does not substitute for diagnosis, prognosis, treatment, prescription, and/or dietary advice from a licensed health professional. Drugs, supplements, and natural remedies may have dangerous side effects. If pregnant or nursing, consult with a qualified provider on an individual basis. Seek immediate help if you are experiencing a medical emergency.


Tana on October 19, 2016:

Oh..I forgot to mention this person had the daring obligation to criticise leading scientists for their factual statements about whale intelligence, when they aren't even a scientist themselves and doesn't study the creatures up front. More like someone who just trots around the net finding any old post they see and taking it as fact and "research", haha!

Tana on October 13, 2016:

Thank you for this article! You have written it very well. I have recently got into a little bit of a situation with someone on this site. They believe they are the all-knowing, ultimate person who is more intelligent than those who disagree with them, casting out their rivals as being too stupid to agree with them.

This person had the nerve to say they'd come across my "kind" before and was quite rude, making me to feel I was the one in the wrong and that my arguments were cliche and invalid. I now understand the mentality and I will be careful if encountering the person again.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on June 23, 2015:

Thanks for the comments everyone.

GoodFridayAuthor, I’ve had some problems with a person like that who makes up stories about people and tries to destroy their reputation. This person also pretended to be a victim. I’ve found a great solution is to go to the website moderators, the web-host, the social media company, or to Google (if it’s a blog) and report it. They’ll probably have a policy on defamation and will take the content down. In my experience, it’s more effective than going to the police, although the police will be able to file an incident report. The website moderators will sometimes remove the person’s account entirely to prevent liability for it. I got some good results last year when someone did this to me on several websites. The accounts used by the person are all now deleted after legally valid cases of defamation were made.

Chuck Fasst, thanks for commenting. That sounds like an interesting set of hubs.

Kristen, I would hope so too, though I’ve encountered a few borderline cases! As with most disorders, NPD is a spectrum where the point of disorder is little more than an arbitrary line.

Chriswillman90, you make a good point. I’d agree that being pretentious is a sign of narcissism. I wouldn’t say all examples of pretentiousness are. Being pretentious is like trying to take a shortcut to success, which will be attractive to narcissists, but not a defining characteristic. I know what you mean about “thinking my work is incredible”. When I go back and look at things I wrote 3 years ago, I see so much that I’d like to change. It’s helped make me a little more modest, perhaps! Failure can be a great motivator for growth, and one thing I’ve noticed about narcissists is an inability to grow as a person (e.g. underdeveloped spelling and grammar usage).

Thanks lyoness913. Yes, social media is a good place to spot them. I laugh at the profiles of some of the twitter users who follow me. Often they’ll have many more followers than people they follow. This usually means they follow people, wait for the follow back, then unfollow. I use a service called `justunfollow’ to catch them in the act, then I block them.

Thanks Pollyanna. I’ve done some moderating on social media too, though I’m extremely liberal in what I let through and don’t take much of an active role in it. I’d actually say moderating on the internet attracts narcissists because of the power it grants them. As you say though, it can put you in contact with a lot of narcissists who feel entitled enough to rant and rave about their posts being deleted. I’d say both sides are often at fault. I’ve posted in communities where moderators have been particularly nasty and dismissive. It sounds like you’re one of the good ones.

Thanks CrisSp for your visit and comment. Sometimes it’s difficult to distinguish between trying to impress people and being narcissistic. I think you’re sufficiently modest and in contact with reality to not be a narcissist!

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on June 19, 2015:

I was in hiatus and this is my first read on HP after quite some time. Very fascinating subject and mind you, I went to check my own profile after reading your hub just in case, I showed some signs of NPD on my writings. :) Well, maybe you could tell me?

Great, useful hub.

Pollyanna Jones from United Kingdom on June 19, 2015:

This is a terrific article, and very helpful. I've ended up in moderator roles on the internet over a course of 15 years, and have had to try to deal with all sorts of unpleasant behaviours. It was extremely difficult at times, as I would try to resolve. It was very stressful and upsetting at times, then I came to realise that some people just don't respond to reasonable mediation. I learned to post to "agree to disagree" and leave it at that, and kick them if their abusive and/or trouble-making behaviours continued. I wish I had found your guide earlier!

Summer LaSalle from USA on June 18, 2015:

Interesting article! I know of some people on facebook and twitter who seem to display these characteristics, but I can't say I've ran into any writers yet.

Voted up and interesting


Krzysztof Willman from Parlin, New Jersey on June 17, 2015:

I think there's a correlation between a narcissist and a pretentious writer because they both believe everything they do is amazing and everyone will think so. That's my biggest pet peeve in the writing community, but I'd be lying if I said I never behaved in such a manner. There are plenty of times when I thought my work was incredible only to find out I was very wrong. I may also share some of the symptoms described in this NPD article (especially imagining vast successes and fantasizing about them).

Great hub and necessary for the growing online community.

Kristen Howe from Northeast Ohio on May 09, 2015:

Thomas, this was an interesting here. No one should be narcissistic here on HP I hope. Thanks for sharing your thoughts, too. voted up!

Chuck Fasst from Portland, Oregon on May 04, 2015:

Good info. If you would like to see how a Narcissist writes, I will be releasing the writings of murderer, Christian Longo to my Hub in the near future.

GoodFridayAuthor on July 05, 2014:

Great article. I know someone in the online equine tourism community who is just one such narcissist. She has herself annoyed all sorts of people for all sorts of reasons (myself, through having stolen my husband some years ago) but writes extensively online about being persecuted and being a victim - literally - where she herself is guilty of gross and sustained harassment of people in her community and names them by name on the Internet (she has been warned by police but this does not appear to stop her, she literally all out says publicly she will not be stopped and is looking to take legal action against her so called persecutors ). She cites the smallest detail as having to do with persecution allegedly, and I just can't believe she can't see or is not embarrassed about what she is doing, it is like there is any excuse for celebrity and is real playground stuff. She gets trolled in a minor way but puffs it up to be more than it really is - she has a background in women's magazines and seems to want to create a saga out of everything. Everyone in her community hates her and her level of obsession indicates she's got at least NPD and no doubt other personality disorders. I am not going to name her by name as it would divert too much oxygen her way!

I wonder if her explosions on the internet over the past few years are to do with her getting older, she is nearing 50 and was always very concerned with her looks? Young people spouting guff are annoying idiots. Older people spouting interminable amounts are just plain sad.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on June 14, 2013:

Thanks for commenting MJennifer. It's true that narcissists are quick to note those traits in others. They may be competitors for the same supply. It took a clear example for me to write this hub, but I've noticed some of the behaviors in myself at times. Only online, although I think we all get a bit agitated and defensive from time to time. A good nights sleep usually does the trick!

Marcy J. Miller from Arizona on June 13, 2013:

What an interesting assessment of how NPD manifests itself online. I've also witnessed this behavior on various sites. You did an excellent job in codifying the specific online tendencies these folks have. One of the most amusing aspects of the NPD epidemic in the cyber-world is that those who are the clearest examples are those who will never recognize those traits in themselves, but will often jump on the "everyone else is a Narcissist" bandwagon. And, of course, they're always the victim. Thoroughly enjoyed this, Thomas!

-- MJ

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on June 13, 2013:

Thanks for the comment Bill. The alternative reality they construct is not something I've gone into much here, but it's certainly fascinating. Ultimately it's a defense mechanism, as the reality forms a place to retreat to; a place where harm doesn't exist. I think the worst time in dealing with a narcissist is when you don't know what they are, and expect them to act like a normal person. Once you know, you lower your expectations and it's no longer a surprise when they behave the way they do.

Bill Beck from Ohio on June 12, 2013:

I am rather late in life to understanding narcissists. Understanding may be a bit of an overstatement, but relative to where I was, say, ten years ago, I am much more informed about their presence in our lives, or communities, and our world.

A few things about them are absolutely fascinating, while also somewhat threatening. The thing that mystifies me the most is the lack of empathy. Once I began reading about it, and laying that over the narcissists in my life, or my friends lives, I find that motives, words, and actions can be entirely misunderstood. So much of what we do and say comes from a foundation of universal empathy. When you remove all empathy as a factor in a given interaction, it may resolve some mysteries that you have wondered about most of your life.

I am very fortunate to have been raised by a father who had a narcissistic mother. Somehow, intuitively, my father told me that I had right and title to my views and feelings. I found that I had a much easier childhood than some of my friends, whom, we suspect, had narcissistic parents. Self determination was an epiphany to some of them in their 30's and 40's.

On the other hand, I was very slow to understand certain complex forms of office politics, and social politics because I naively never imagined a person as disingenuous as some narcissists. I was very slow to learn about their alternate reality, and ability to move back and forth between that and our common actual reality, and be so believable while doing so. Can't get enough of the subject now.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on March 12, 2013:

This idea of emotional detachment is an interesting one. Not letting people get close enough to probe one's emotional scars and vulnerabilities. It suggests an insecurity and over-sensitivity to anything potentially painful, which should make them clam up. However, it means the narcissist is always looking out for what might cause pain, and because of their underlying vulnerabilities and insecurities, they will interpret innocuous encounters as threatening. This is what I see in the internet encounters: people interpreting mere disagreement as a slight against themselves. They personify every word, and it feeds their defense mechanism, causing them to lash out by degrading the other person.

I believe this rejection and personification of disagreement happens unconsciously and immediately based on a number of factors such as voice tone, body language, and above all, choice of words. It is universal though. We all approach some statements with a view to disproving them, or even fighting against them. For example, some racist or sexist words are very evocative - but for the narcissist everything is outrageous, everything offensive. Their sensitivity and insecurity makes it so. That's just how I see it though.

I agree that abuse could cause this. Going more into my realm of expertise, repressors are known to have high opinions of themselves (social desirability), and are theorized to be products of childhood abuse. Psychopaths are common products of abuse too. Repression arises to counter high trait anxiety - a trait that may develop due to abuse.

Getting the N to admit a problem would be difficult, and like you experienced, they seem to relapse into their old ways. Perhaps the best way to treat a narcissist would be to replace their method for generating self-esteem with something else. I can't immediately think of a way that would be sensible though.

Your experience sounds horrible. She wanted you back because she desperately needed the supply, but on the other hand, the lack of supply had helped her to reflect more and understand the pain she was causing. Once the supply returned, so did the lack of empathy. You did the right thing to withdraw from the relationship. I'm not one for condemnation, but people should be warned before entering relationships with known narcissists. Not by ex-partners of course, but by professionals. Of course, getting that diagnosis is tricky, and so we come full circle.

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on March 12, 2013:

* obsessively keep them at bay

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on March 12, 2013:

It certainly makes plenty of sense. This actually gives me an idea, although there are still many problems such as the fact that a narcissist, even if during a period of self-reflection, is unlikely to actually seek any help or even be coerced into therapy. The first thing that needs to be done it get the NPD to acknowledge the fact that they have a problem... and this is the main problem. Even if do realize it's them that's the problem it's still highly unlikely that they'll ever admit it.

Facing up to therapy can be a traumatizing prospect for many narcissists, many of them have a realm of underlying issues which often stem from being sexually/physically/emotionally/mentally abused and so they are simply scared that these issues may be brought back up and the last thing they want to do is relive those experiences (understandably). There's also the issue of repressed memories (which I've also noticed a pattern in).

I fought extremely hard, as though my life depended on it (which I felt it did), to get some help with my situation when I was being victimized. Things were more extreme than you can ever imagine. I managed to get an (unofficial) diagnosis by-proxy from my doctor but it really didn't help at all.

After I initially escaped I cut off all contact and disappeared with no trace. When I got back in contact my covert N ex she was willing to do or say anything to suck me back in and I used this fact to my advantage. Instead of even considering a word she said to me (but acting like I was), I used some conversational hypnosis tactics to subtly dig away at her exterior defenses and managed to get her to acknowledge that she was the problem. What I found beneath can only be described as a scared little child who was literally full of fear of the world and the people around her. She couldn't let them get too close for fear of being victimized herself, she had to obsessively keep them at way and control them to keep them where she wanted them.

This was a massive turning point but when it , came time to actually go for therapy things changed drastically. Suddenly, denial and repression kicked in, she instantly went back to her old ways. I was the problem again, it was all my fault, I was the one who needed help, etc.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on March 11, 2013:

Thanks for the link and quote; that paper seems to `reflect' what I was saying quite well! It makes sense though, because a desire for superiority invariably arises from a feeling of inferiority/vulnerability. I think it's rare to find one without the other. I like that the paper talks about allowing and validating the N's illusions, but being careful not to reinforce them. Mirroring my earlier deduction, this `feigned trust' could help specialists to address the N's defenses.

I agree on the child-like behavior of deprived narcissists, but I think cutting off the supply can work better online rather than in real life because the N is less able to force him/herself into your life via the internet.

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on March 09, 2013:

True but the N becomes a monster when deprived of supply and can become very depressed, angry and dangerous. In relation to your previous comment, judging by what I'm reading at the moment, you've hit upon a very important point. Here's a quote:

"Rather than thinking about narcissistic patients as grandiose/entitled or vulnerable/depleted, I think it is useful to assess both grandiose and vulnerable aspects of narcissism in patients and the pattern of oscillation. Mental shifts between grandiose self-states and depressed, defeated, and vulnerable states can provide momentary windows into more reflective, non-defensive spaces. The occurrences of these shifts are difficult to predict. Nonetheless, these are highly valuable opportunities and the therapist must be vigilant for them and seize these moments"


Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on March 08, 2013:

That must have been hell. I suppose the mercurial nature would suggest there is a trigger for it, though no-one is to blame for pulling the trigger other than the narcissist. I found that Vaknin's idea of narcissistic supply made a lot of sense to me. Cutting off the supply would reduce the instances of narcissistic behavior. Short of total seclusion, that would probably be impossible to do though.

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on March 08, 2013:

"Undoubtedly, some live in their delusion, but in others the strength of the disorder may fluctuate, allowing some humility. "

I'm glad you suggested this, from personal experience I think this is very possible. There did seem to be a cycle to the narcissistic behaviour, it was literally like living with two different people; one an angel and one a demon; Jekyll & Hyde.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on March 08, 2013:

Hopefully in those situations the therapist will be able to take a step back and realize what's happening. It may actually allow them to feign trust so they can genuinely help the narcissist.

Good point, I suppose they would be the last people to self-reflect. Though I wonder how constant the narcissist's reality is. Undoubtedly, some live in their delusion, but in others the strength of the disorder may fluctuate, allowing some humility. There are different strengths of the disorder, so perhaps some commendable traits remain in the weaker variety, emerging infrequently... like someone with Alzheimers or dementia for example.

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on March 08, 2013:

"how accurate can a diagnosis be when it's on someone who is familiar with the methods used to diagnose?!"

Excellent point! Narcissists often end up manipulating therapists to tagteam the true victim, if someone actually manages to get them to therapy somehow. The N might agree to go but will inevitably claim it was them who wanted to go, as soon as they get there, and then make out that the true victim is the problem.

"If one then consciously evaluates their behavior, could this not lead to a realization that one is a narcissist?"

Narcissists don't self reflect - they seek self-affirmation through the manipulation of others (projection). It's all about denial and repression and upholding the false self - confront the false self and you are putting yourself in a dangerous position... the Brian Blackwell case for example (which I also wrote about recently).

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on March 08, 2013:

Yes, it makes me think he was pretty close to being diagnosed a narcissist. Also, how accurate can a diagnosis be when it's on someone who is familiar with the methods used to diagnose?!

The psychopath diagnosis would suggest a lack of shame, like you say, so it's difficult to see him confessing to narcissism out of shame about how he's behaved. Very confusing. His apparent track record for lying would indicate he's being manipulative with his admission too.

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on March 08, 2013:

Well, given the fact that NPD is so complicated, contraversial, etc it's difficult to pinpoint anything specific and he may very well have a very good argument for every single point he has ever made. I still think he's worth listening to (and he can also be quite entertaining to watch). He does offer some valuable insights.

Also, if he is a psychopath then really that makes him a narcissist by default but not just simply a narcissist - a narcissist who also has a lack of shame/guilt/conscience therefore he must have a pretty good grasp on the topic, especially considering he's managed to get an official diagnosis.

I remember a part of one documentary where he suggested that somebody shoot the kids who were around them out playing in public, because they were making too much noise.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on March 08, 2013:

I probably read some of his work without realizing it was him. I bet he would have hated that! I just read your hub about Vaknin and left a comment. I was stunned; he appears to be a fraud. His conclusions do seem completely logical though.

I'm still not entirely clear about it being a contradiction. The defense mechanisms employed by narcissists will often be unconsciously driven, right? If one then consciously evaluates their behavior, could this not lead to a realization that one is a narcissist? On holiday last year I caught myself boasting about something to my friends that, on reflection (weeks later), was totally uncalled for. The unconscious motivation behind our behavior is not always clear until we reflect on it, in my opinion. Whether someone chooses to admit they're a narcissist after the event is another issue, but some probably will.

Vaknin lying about his qualifications would be consistent with narcissism (his "grandiosity gap") though the diagnosis didn't show it, so I'm not sure what to conclude about him.

Do you have information on how he may have manipulated the field with inaccurate conclusions about NPD for his own selfish ends? I've found his videos useful, but if there is inaccurate information in them, I'll remove them.

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on March 08, 2013:

Indeed, Vaknin was the first person to ever write about NPD on the internet back in the nineties and his work still dominates the topic of NPD even today as a result. However, I have studied Vaknin and watched documentaries with him in, etc. He has also now been diagnosed as an Anti Social Personality. As I've pointed out many times before, the term "self confessed narcissist" is a contradiction in itself.

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on March 08, 2013:

Haha yes, I guess some might say that it takes one to know one. I often worry if I'm being boastful sometimes. I think it's difficult to draw a line between pride and narcissism. I suppose narcissism is extreme, externalized pride.

I must admit that I wasn't familiar with Sam Vaknin before writing this, but I found his videos to be the most enlightening on youtube, and the most relevant to this article. Cheers for commenting!

Marc Hubs from United Kingdom on March 08, 2013:

Despite Sam Vaknin being the world's leading author on this topic (although some people regard him as a fraudulent "self confessed" narcissist), I recognize a lot of these traits in his material!

Thomas Swan (author) from New Zealand on March 08, 2013:

Thanks grand old lady!

Mona Sabalones Gonzalez from Philippines on March 07, 2013:

Very interesting hub:) I was wondering how narcissism can be conveyed online and you explained it very well. Thank you for writing this article.