None of us think we're a narcissist. Except we are. Being high on the spectrum of narcissism is much more common than we realize, and as one of the top, poor coping mechanisms, narcissism impacts us severely in our decisions in life and death. The reason that being high on the spectrum of narcissism is so common is that we confuse narcissism with self-confidence. But, narcissism is different than true self-esteem. Narcissism is about tightly wound control to frame a narrative which appeases a dissonant self fractured into two identities, the shameful and the idealized, due to untapped pain. Real self-esteem, on the other hand, is born from a humble and balanced approach to self, neither loving ourselves too much to avoid self-correction and apology, nor loving ourselves too little and engaging in self-destruction. Real self-esteem is about letting go of the control of our self-image in favor of accepting that we are imperfect but still lovable, and perfect but still in need of work.
But just in case we'd rather cling to the wrong way of building ourselves, here is a mini-tutorial to get started on building narcissism in yourself or someone else. Enjoy.
1. Practice narcissism yourself. Narcissism begets narcissism. If you want to increase your chances of raising a narcissist, be the model yourself for that child. Make sure that you are always correct, and when you're not, get so upset so that the difference can't be discussed. Make sure that when your child needs compassion and tolerance themselves, that you find them to be the problem. Make sure that when you come into conflict with them, as you inevitably will because they are not miniature extensions of you, that you create shaming chaos rather than loving balance. Make sure you make them know what a problem they are, what an inconvenience they are. Don't just tell them; show them. You must ensure that they fully question if they are lovable so that they too can develop their own fractured identity.
2. Deny that your child is real. Narcissism is best cultivated when you see your child as a lesser iteration of your secretly hated self, not as a separate, sentient, divine individual who is dependent on you for sustenance and therefore in a vulnerable position. It is key to make sure that you never see your child as another individual to whom you are being unjust; you must see them as an extension of you, beholden to harsher rules than you would have for yourself because you know that you have always done everything perfectly and they need to surpass that.
3. Deny your child's inner world. Children aren't born narcissists, they are bred that way. They can easily be guided to the beginnings of narcissistic coping when no one takes the time over time to explain to them that silo-ing off their injury to not feel pain only serves to reinforce the imbalanced narrative they were building about themselves. You may or may not be a strong narcissist yourself to impart your precious knowledge to your child, but don't fret, you can still succeed. Just make sure you ignore your emotionally raw child's desperate tendencies to describe himself and his life in extremes. Ignore his choosing faulty and isolating defense mechanisms instead of liberating virtues. The goal is to ignore your child's emotional state and to shun helping him develop a balanced outlook.
4. Avoid discussing reality. A wonderful way to breed narcissism is to avoid having real discussions about conflict. Make sure you shy away from discussing varied perspectives and trying to understand where the other person is coming from. It's key to show that conflict is best resolved with avoidance, sanctimoniousness, or harshness.
5. Help build walls. Every narcissist needs heavy fortification of their heart. This encircling wall will serve to keep pain and vulnerability in, and everything else out. It will even serve - after some time - to block the narcissist from accessing her emotions. You want an impenetrable wall. Any penetration is dangerous. It'll allow pain, which is the start of edifying empathy for self and others, which we clearly don't want.
6. Practice the roller coaster. Another good technique for encouraging narcissism is to make your child go on an emotional roller coaster every day. Make sure you build them up with false praise and promises one minute, then tear them down by not following through or being angry, cruel, or violent the next. This way you'll help set the child up for a solid disequilibrium whereby he'll have to make up an alter ego of conceit to keep sane from the shame. Make them swing the same way you swing, and keep showing them that there's no questioning your methods or perfection.
I hope this satirical guide helps to get you started on your way to building you own future narcissists. You don't need to practice every item to start, just one goes a long way. And remember, it's what the world needs more of. We already have too much coping.