The Difference Between Narcissism And Confidence


The Difference Between Narcissism And Confidence

Many people tend to confuse narcissism with having high self-confidence, but the truth is, these two qualities could not be more different from each other. From a distance, narcissism might even look attractive, but when you come closer, you will realize that it’s one of the most toxic behaviors out there. So, never confuse narcissism with self-confidence.

On the surface, many individuals with a strong narcissistic streak may appear ultra-confident. They love being the center of attention and often believe they rarely make mistakes. Most tout their own perspective and do so without inhibition. The unwavering belief that they are right, upstanding, and honorable is strong. Some boast that they don’t have a filter, because they feel entitled to say whatever they want.

Yet, many of these personality traits indicate the presence of an extreme and robust defensive structure, not confidence. Although defense mechanisms are normal and necessary, when they are impenetrable, rigid, and static, they may be a barrier to the deeper emotional capacities which allow for self-awareness, conscientiousness, and attunement to others.

This points to the possibility that the person who seems confident may actually be profoundly insecure and may protect himself or herself from an awareness of insecurities with a hefty and unconscious defensive system. Like a force field, this structure keeps out uncomfortable emotional states that threaten a fragile sense of self. 

Deflection, projection, distortions, and denial act in unison to protect the person from the pain of accountability, insight, and empathy.

Read 5 Most Common Signs of Narcissism

Extreme deflection and projection allow the person to expel accountability and place blame elsewhere, contributing to the individual’s desire to control and police others. A situation may arise when the person cannot deflect accountability because he or she has been “caught red-handed.” In this scenario, the person may unconsciously employ the cognitive distortion called a victim stance in order to escape consequences.

For example, Lisa is caught submitting an employee’s work as her own. When she is confronted, instead of feeling deep remorse, she cries and tells her boss her pet is sick, and she hasn’t been able to concentrate on work. Lisa uses an emotional hardship to excuse a nefarious deed.

A person should always attempt to access support when going through a difficult time; however, using a personal hardship to excuse a separate behavior that hurts another is an indication that the person may be utilizing the victim stance cognitive distortion.

A second example illustrates the unconscious and extreme use of deflection and projection. Rick enjoys attention from others. He welcomes the recognition and often spends time chatting and texting with individuals who admire him.

Yet, when Kara, Rick’s partner, heads out for a “girl’s night,” Rick accuses her of being provocative and a flirt. He calls her repeatedly during the evening to check up on her and picks a fight when Kara arrives home. Kara is embarrassed, upset, and tired of the conflict, so she stops going out with her friends. In this example, Rick lacks insight and projects his need for adoration and attention onto Kara, which allows him to feel entitled to correct, control, and dominate the situation.


Extreme defenses alter a person’s version of reality. The person views the world through a distorted lens, which often allows him or her to feel like a victim. “Badness” is unfairly projected onto others, and the person feels honorable and upstanding when he or she can “set another person straight.” A sense of entitlement and a need to punish or correct others is frequent. Often this person is able to easily align other people with him or her through the use of a common scapegoat.

Alternatively, a person who is truly confident walks with defenses that are flexible and malleable. He or she has a more secure sense of self that is able to tolerate awareness of insecurities and vulnerabilities. Softer defense mechanisms allow painful feelings to penetrate a person’s conscious awareness.

Although the uncomfortable feelings tax a person’s sense of self, they may allow for the development of insight, self-awareness, accountability, and empathy. These experiences may feel unpleasant, but they allow a person to evolve as a human being and embody qualities that create and sustain healthy relationships. They also indicate a person may have a high EQ or emotional quotient.

Read The Anatomy of Narcissism

Take the example above. Lisa made a mistake. She experienced a serious lapse in judgment. However, if Lisa were truly confident, she would not need to employ the defensive artillery which prevents her from experiencing authentic remorse.

An active conscience and intense remorse are healthy capacities that motivate an individual to take responsibility for his or her actions, make amends, and repair the damage that was done.

Instead of playing the victim in order to garner sympathy for herself, Lisa takes responsibility for her mistake, conveys a sincere understanding of how her mistake hurts others and goes to great lengths to make amends. Because searing remorse is painful, the experience is not easily forgotten, and Lisa is less likely to repeat the mistake in the future.

Taking the second example, say Rick has softer defenses that allow him an awareness of his insecurities. He opens up to Kara: “Kara, you are so lovely. Sometimes I worry I am not good enough for you. Maybe it is silly, but I worry you’ll fall for someone else when you go out with your friends.”

Hopefully, Kara values Rick’s ability to open up and be vulnerable. She may offer empathy and support: “Rick, I only have eyes for you. You mean everything to me. That doesn’t just go away when a Luke Bryant look-alike walks through the cafe door. I love you.”

An awareness of insecurities allows a person to cope with these insecurities in a healthy way, which may promote healthy self-regulation. If a person is unaware of his or her insecurities, he or she may be unconsciously employing deflection and projection to an extreme. An individual who is highly and rigidly defended may be unable to access the deeper and uncomfortable feeling states which tax his or her fragile sense of self.

Read How Cognitive Distortions Harm Us

Yet it is these feeling states that allow for self-awareness, insight, and empathy. Differentiating between the victim stance cognitive distortion and authentic accountability is also critical when assessing a person’s EQ. Insight, self-awareness, and empathy are capacities that allow an individual to grow, evolve, nurture, and empower those around him or her.

Written By Erin Leonard
Originally Appeared On Psychology Today
The Difference Between Narcissism And Confidence pin
The Difference Between Narcissism And Confidence pin one

— Share —

— About the Author —

Up Next

Do you often feel Defenseless and Defeated? 7 Signs of a Narcissistic Relationship

Am I In A narcissistic relationship? signs that confirms!

Do you constantly try to make sense of things that do not make sense? We know how exhausting that might be, constantly running in a loop with no ends not only drains you emotionally but also has serious effects on your physical and mental health.

If you can relate to the first sentence, you might have ended up with a narcissist, that is, someone having Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This article discusses the 7 undeniable signs of being in a narcissistic relationship.

7 Ways a Victim Behaves in a Narcissistic Relationship

Up Next

Are Narcissists Delusional? 7 Signs Of A Delusional Narcissist

Are Narcissists Delusional? Signs Of Delusional Narcissists

Are narcissists delusional? It’s a question that has intrigued and confused many people out there. You must have come across certain people who seem to be a bit too obsessed with themselves, and who are always seeking admiration and validation from others. But what lies beneath this self-absorbed façade?

Are these people simply self-centered beings, or is there something lurking beneath the surface? Today, we are going to take a deep dive into the world of the delusional narcissist, and discuss seven glaring signs of a delusional narcissist.

So, are you ready to have your mind blown as we explore the darker side of narcissism and the tangled path it leads down? First let’s talk a bit about whether narcissists are delusional or not.

Up Next

Brain Fog After Narcissistic Abuse? 8 Ways Narcissists Can Muddle Your Brain

Brain Fog After Narcissistic Abuse? Reasons Why It Happens

Have you ever heard of the term “brain fog”? Brain fog is like a maddening haze that seems to muddle your thoughts, makes you forget what you were saying, and has you searching for your clothes in the trash bin? Well, today we are going to talk about a specific sort of brain fog – brain fog after narcissistic abuse.

Imagine that you have just escaped from a toxic and abusive relationship with a narcissist. You are slowly picking up the pieces and trying to get your life back in order, but somehow you feel like your head is not in the right place. Everything still feels very odd and you still feel very lost.

Even though you are free from the clutches of your narcissistic ex, this bizarre mental fog just won’t lift. Let’s explore how narcissists cause brain fog, and the link between brain fog and narcissistic abuse.

Up Next

Manipulating A Manipulator: 8 Subtle Tricks That Will Give You The Upper Hand

Manipulating A Manipulator: Subtle Psychological Tactics

Ever found yourself tangled in a web spun by a master manipulator? It’s a frustrating dance where you are treated like a pawn in their toxic mind games, and your are always the one who is one step behind. But what if I told you there’s a way to turn the tables? What if manipulating a manipulator may not be that hard?

Yes, you read it right. This isn’t just about defending yourself and holding onto your sanity; it’s about mastering the art of subtle manipulation.

In this article, we are going to talk about eight remarkably clever and subtle manipulation tactics that will empower you to regain control and outwit even the most cunning of manipulators. So, are you ready?


Up Next

Toxic Bosses Unmasked: 20 Warning Signs to Watch For

Toxic Bosses Unmasked: Warning Signs to Watch For

Having a toxic boss can really take a toll on you mentally, and toxic bosses are seriously so horrible. This article is going to help you understand the traits of a toxic boss so that you know which behaviors are not normal and ethical. Read on to know more about the signs of a toxic boss or toxic bosses.

We hear about toxic bosses all the time, but how do you know when a boss is “toxic”? “Toxic” is, of course, a vague descriptor. Are bosses toxic when they throw fits and scream, or only when they break the law?

Or are they toxic when they are immoral or unethical? Are they toxic if they’re nice one day and nasty the next, or just when they make you uncomfortable, nervous, or sick? These are valid questions because these individuals are easy to identify when their behaviors are outrageous; but perhaps less so when their behavior

Up Next

How to Deal With a Compulsive Liar: 9 Effective Compulsive Lying Treatment Techniques for Peaceful Relationships

Tips for Compulsive Lying Treatment and Restoring Trust

Ever met someone who constantly distorts the truth, weaves elaborate tales or downright lies all the time? Dealing with a compulsive liar can be perplexing and frustrating. This is why it is crucial that you learn about compulsive lying treatment and how to deal with compulsive lying in a healthy way. 

Welcome to the world of compulsive liars and compulsive lying, where every story seems too good to be true. These individuals spin elaborate tales effortlessly, blurring the lines between fact and fiction. 

Let’s unravel the psychology behind this intriguing phenomenon by exploring the mysteries surrounding compulsive lying, exploring compulsive liar symptoms, what causes compulsive lying, and most importantly, the available compulsive lying treatment options. 

Up Next

7 Glaring Characteristics Of A Shallow, Superficial Person

Superficial Person: Major Signs Of A Shallow Person

In a world where social media reigns supreme, appearances often take center stage, and the allure of superficiality can be hard to resist. You must have encountered many such people whose charm seems as fleeting as a summer breeze, leaving you wanting for something deeper and more meaningful. Well, you may have come across a superficial person.

Today we are going to take a deep dive into the world of superficial, shallow people, characteristics of a superficial person, and how to deal with a superficial person, so that you know how to distinguish between a genuine person and a not-so-genuine one.

Where facades reign supreme and authenticity takes a backseat, let’s explore how the world of a superficial person looks like.