The main distinction between children and adults is that children have no ability to take care of others. If intelligence were the distinction, then prodigies would have to be classified as adults, and the cashier lady at school and Wilben Mayor would have to be classified as children.
This is because the ability to take care of others can only come after a person has learned how to take care of herself. This takes time and experience, and children just haven’t lived long enough to gather experience.
Narcissists and borderlines are essentially children who never grew up. It’s officially recognized in psychology that children are narcissistic by nature. This basically means everything is about them, everything – including negative things. So it isn’t just the definition of narcissism that you’re used to, the one of the guy or girl who thinks they’re hot shit. If Mom is having a bad day and acting like a dick, a child will think it was his fault, because he can’t yet understand the truth that other people have lives of their own, with problems and feelings that have nothing to do with him.
Children are also “borderline” by nature – that is, they’re needy and dependent. So why isn’t narcissism and borderline behavior considered pathological in children? For the same reason that constantly shitting your pants is normal for a six-month-old baby, but not normal for a teenager: because some behaviors are developmentally appropriate only for certain ages.
That’s why it’s completely useless to insult the sadness and confusion of teenagers. You wouldn’t insult a baby for having dirty diapers because she literally can’t help it. It’s the same for teenagers, poor creatures. Making fun of their behavior without any helpful solutions is a waste of time.
So when I use “borderline” and “narcissist” I describe only the age group 21+. This is obviously an arbitrary age I’ve picked, because people mature at different rates according to their life experiences and when their hormones decide to calm down / their prefrontal cortex develops. I’m just assuming that 21, in general, is the age when most people start to become the person that they will be for the rest of their lives.
Egotists and narcissists often look alike. An egotist is a real adult; a narcissist is a child standing on stilts. A push in the right place will knock her over. A narcissist is always afraid of this happening, and thus is constantly on the defensive.
Halsey: “Are you insane like me? Been in pain like me? Do you tear yourself apart to entertain like me?
Do the people whisper about you on the train, saying that you shouldn’t waste your pretty face like me?”
Hayley Williams: “There’s no one road. We should not be the same. But I’m just a ghost, and still they echo me. They echo me in circles.”
Only narcissists seek for others to copy them exactly, to validate their harmful behaviors. Egotists encourage others to adapt to their own personal situations – in other words, to learn to be happy with their own lives, whether or not that involves imitating some of the egotist’s own behaviors – because egotists know that what is right for them may not be right for others. This understanding is only possible when a person is capable of seeing outside of herself, outside of her own life, to perceive the needs of another person.
I happened to cross paths the other day with someone who used to know [redacted]. I told him that I loved her, and that she had a boyfriend and I was glad for it. He was completely confused by this statement. He tried to insinuate that I’m just waiting for my chance to swoop in and claim her. (“You just have a big crush on her!”)
It’s impossible to explain to a complete narcissist what it’s like to have the inclination and ability to care for another person because they have no experience of doing that. The pathological narcissism of an adult-aged person is completely different from the natural narcissism of a child, because a child has no choice. A narcissist chooses not to learn to take care of others.
How could I explain to him that it’s possible for me to find someone attractive, and to not want to claim her as my own because I know that she’s happier with someone else? All he knows is “mine” / “not-mine”; and nothing that isn’t “mine” means anything to him.