Can autistic people exhibit a higher degree narcissism?

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AnomalousAspergian
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16 Dec 2021, 10:37 am

Do many autistic people have a higher tendency to exhibit narcissistic traits than non-autistics? This has been on my mind for a while and it was flagged up again when I was talking to someone the other day.

I recognise that society does not accept us and that the current social model of society is not geared towards supporting autistics and including us. I think this has led to many autistic people to acquire alot of mental health issues. As a result, this can often lead to them blaming NTs rather than recognising that their autistic traits may also play a role. True enough, we do have a hard time being accepted by NTs and I think that may be due to an attitude that is focused around selling ourselves and embellishing our achievements to nauseating highs to the point where it is exhaustingly competitive and is almost resembles a Hobbesian war against all. We are all mandanted to say something good about ourselves, to sell ourselves.

Additionally, many people - not just autistics - within society at the moment professing a very extreme libertarian "empowering" view which goes along the lines of: "I don't care what you think of me, I will just be me and if you don't like or don't understand that it is your problem."

This tends to be quite a common attitude among many groups, not just autistic, and it is often not helpful. In fact it is corrosive. I think this is counterproductive to open discussion and it isn't sustainable in a democracy that is built around cooexistence as well as supporting the more vulnerable. I do recognise that us autistics are on the receiving end of many of society's pressures that it imposes on us. However, I notice that some on the spectrum who I have spoken to entirely lay the blame on neurotypicals for everything and professing that we are mentally superior beings or even the future of human evolution which I find preposterous, dangerous and egotistical. While I recognise that some autistics may harbour such a view because of past trauma created through being rejected and abused by society, it can also be quite counterproductive to understand where they are coming from, presuming they want to listen.

If many autistic people do exhibit a higher degree of narcissism, I wonder to what extent this could be due to autism being a developmental disorder, therefore they may have a personality or cognitive mindset that is lower than their actual age. Again, it is difficult knowing whether this is the case or not as the current narcissistic rightwing climate is very unsupportive of autistics and other marginalised people, which is a problem in itself.



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16 Dec 2021, 6:02 pm

Autistic people often hyper focus on their special interests. That combined with not reading non verbal cues of people trying trying to say “enough, you are boring me” leads NT’s to perceive autistic people as narcissists.


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17 Dec 2021, 2:46 am

Yes, Autism & narcissism typically go hand in hand. If you can't put yourself into other people's shoes/employ empathy and cater to other people's emotional needs, then you will end up being consumed with your idea of 'self' & inevitably an extension of that is identity politics.

The only friends you'll have then are people who will view you like a 2D cartoon character & it is skin deep superficiality. Anything these friends do is just to reinforce the group/collective narrative of caring about you - usually not actually being there for you in any real, tangible sense.

NT's will just think you are a selfish ass.

Not learning empathy is a lose-lose situation.


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17 Dec 2021, 2:50 am

Libertarianism is only as good/useful for ensuring you don't have a gun to your head by authoritarians. The social costs of libertarianism are deadly and it is a toxic, childish ideology that serves predatory capitalists.


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17 Dec 2021, 4:46 am

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Autistic people often hyper focus on their special interests. That combined with not reading non verbal cues of people trying trying to say “enough, you are boring me” leads NT’s to perceive autistic people as narcissists.


Which kind of makes me laugh. So many NTs will constantly interrupt and talk over you, never realizing you're not showing any interest or engagement in their monologue.



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17 Dec 2021, 11:42 am

Funny how autistics are expected to put ourselves in other people's shoes but most NTs typically fail to put themselves into our shoes. The burden is always on the autistic person. It's a bit like expecting a person with one leg to walk more than the rest of us with two legs.

By the way aren't narcissists usually highly socially skilled?


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17 Dec 2021, 2:16 pm

AnomalousAspergian wrote:
I notice that some on the spectrum who I have spoken to entirely lay the blame on neurotypicals for everything and professing that we are mentally superior beings or even the future of human evolution

The number (or percentage) of NT's who believe they are mentally superior beings is far higher than the number of AS people who believe they are mentally superior beings. In terms of both percentage and total count, there are far more narcissistic NT's than AS. (In this statistic for "mentally superior beings", I'm including NT's who believe they are 100% mentally healthy and only AS people are "sick".)

This indicates that NT people exhibit a higher frequency of narcissism.

However I do agree that when AS people (or any other people) are victims of bullying, then these bullying victims need to be careful to avoid falling into the trap of accidentally developing unhealthy narcissism as a self-protective mechanism in response to the bullying. This can happen to any victims of bullying, including NT's who are bullied.

If an AS person does develop a narcissistic illness, then it's not all bad. The narcissistic AS person can then improve his/her life by becoming a president, boss, or other leader. Many NT's admire narcissists. If you want to be a leader of NT's, then it is frequently a requirement to have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, or at least a large degree of arrogance and pride. The majority of NT's have no respect for nice ethical leaders -- even the term "nice guy" is used as an insult.



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17 Dec 2021, 2:30 pm

I feel the source for narcissism is loneliness. If you do not get feedback from others about being a good person; you often create that scenario for yourself.



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18 Dec 2021, 9:03 am

Aspinator wrote:
I feel the source for narcissism is loneliness. If you do not get feedback from others about being a good person; you often create that scenario for yourself.


I ould agree that anti-social attitudes can manifest out of loneliness. I would question that loneliness is created solely out of one's failures as individual attitudes are nearly always shaped by the collective whole of society, unless someone is a complete hermit.



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18 Dec 2021, 9:15 am

blitzkrieg wrote:
Yes, Autism & narcissism typically go hand in hand. If you can't put yourself into other people's shoes/employ empathy and cater to other people's emotional needs, then you will end up being consumed with your idea of 'self' & inevitably an extension of that is identity politics.

The only friends you'll have then are people who will view you like a 2D cartoon character & it is skin deep superficiality. Anything these friends do is just to reinforce the group/collective narrative of caring about you - usually not actually being there for you in any real, tangible sense.

NT's will just think you are a selfish ass.

Not learning empathy is a lose-lose situation.


You echo some similar points that I hav previously thought about. There are most likely regressive, reactionary, insular forms of identity politics. If various identity groups that are trying to find things in common with others groups rather than retreating into their respective identities, it can be progressive. I don't think identity politics can be avoided as is an inevitable part of a pluralistic, democratic society. Anything can be called 'identity politics' when we talk about various demographics. To reject it entirely seems a foolhardy venture, which I have already attempted to do. That said, it does stem from a largely postmodern, hypersubjective, solipsistic individualism that I believe you have alluded to.

To be honest, I think they may well be very empathetic and emotionally sensitive autistic people that face problems in communication which lead them to be misunderstood as being narcissistic. It may well be that there are a significant number of autistics who simply wants to be understood by someone who has their shared interests and passions. In a society that is increasingly insular and only bothered about the individual in relation to market value I suppose that it poses added difficulties for NTs and autistics alike, emphasis added for autistics who already have added social difficulties or challenges.



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18 Dec 2021, 12:25 pm

Rotter wrote:

However I do agree that when AS people (or any other people) are victims of bullying, then these bullying victims need to be careful to avoid falling into the trap of accidentally developing unhealthy narcissism as a self-protective mechanism in response to the bullying. This can happen to any victims of bullying, including NT's who are bullied.


can you explain this point further please?



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30 Jan 2022, 1:36 pm

ASPartOfMe wrote:
Autistic people often hyper focus on their special interests. That combined with not reading non verbal cues of people trying trying to say “enough, you are boring me” leads NT’s to perceive autistic people as narcissists.

To me the answer is relatively simple.

Yes you can be both a malignant narcissist and an autistic, but if you are, you're behavior will be so over the top that'd it'd be hard to miss. I'm not fan of the idea that you can group signs of mild narcissism and mild autism together. Everyone has traits of narcissism, especially if you're naturally more disagreeable.

Malignant narcissism and narcissististic behavior are not the same thing.

Aspergers and Malignant narcissism are both relatively rare conditions, despite what a lot of arm chair pysc majors want to pretend. The odds someone is both in my opinion is relatively low, and when they are it's quite obvious.

People want to act as if you're either a malignant narcissist or completely normal like it's a binary thing. It's become very trendy to label people you dislike as narcissists. It gets out of hand fast, letting your ego getting the best of you is a bad thing and it happens to everyone. People want to use the term narcissist so they discount the idea they need to keep their own ego in check, it's why people are in love with the idea so they can pretend the problem is limited to malignant narcissists.


People go over the moon with the term narcissism especially when their ego collides with another. See the Trump effect, where people obsess over his ego while turning their ego on full blast.


Anytime someone is in conflict or turmoil their stress responses are naturally gonna make them more egotistical. It means people are more likely to label the other as narcissistic. It's a very nasty trend in my opinion.

People are naturally inclined to put themselves first and assume they have the winning position in a conflict.



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01 Feb 2022, 1:21 am

Earthbound_Alien wrote:
Rotter wrote:

However I do agree that when AS people (or any other people) are victims of bullying, then these bullying victims need to be careful to avoid falling into the trap of accidentally developing unhealthy narcissism as a self-protective mechanism in response to the bullying. This can happen to any victims of bullying, including NT's who are bullied.


can you explain this point further please?

There are three main capacities involved in the body-mind relationship, which involve being receptive, protective and projective.

When people are verbally insulted or also physically assaulted, the receptive states of mind are damaged as like getting a bruised 'ego' (a pained sense of self) or actually getting a black eye, and the protective states obstruct or block that damage (such as becoming emotionally numb and or as having a swollen shut bruised eye), which can involve the insulting words and assaulting actions being traumatically / dissociatively (in an unconscious way) mimicked and thereafter adopted as normal or triggered behaviour ~ which is projected towards or at others; as being a means of aggressive or also violent protection ~ whether or not it is required.

The victim can become as such a persecutor or bully, or else a campaigner or rescuer.


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01 Feb 2022, 1:26 am

AnomalousAspergian wrote:
blitzkrieg wrote:
Yes, Autism & narcissism typically go hand in hand. If you can't put yourself into other people's shoes/employ empathy and cater to other people's emotional needs, then you will end up being consumed with your idea of 'self' & inevitably an extension of that is identity politics.

The only friends you'll have then are people who will view you like a 2D cartoon character & it is skin deep superficiality. Anything these friends do is just to reinforce the group/collective narrative of caring about you - usually not actually being there for you in any real, tangible sense.

NT's will just think you are a selfish ass.

Not learning empathy is a lose-lose situation.


You echo some similar points that I hav previously thought about. There are most likely regressive, reactionary, insular forms of identity politics. If various identity groups that are trying to find things in common with others groups rather than retreating into their respective identities, it can be progressive. I don't think identity politics can be avoided as is an inevitable part of a pluralistic, democratic society. Anything can be called 'identity politics' when we talk about various demographics. To reject it entirely seems a foolhardy venture, which I have already attempted to do. That said, it does stem from a largely postmodern, hypersubjective, solipsistic individualism that I believe you have alluded to.

To be honest, I think they may well be very empathetic and emotionally sensitive autistic people that face problems in communication which lead them to be misunderstood as being narcissistic. It may well be that there are a significant number of autistics who simply wants to be understood by someone who has their shared interests and passions. In a society that is increasingly insular and only bothered about the individual in relation to market value I suppose that it poses added difficulties for NTs and autistics alike, emphasis added for autistics who already have added social difficulties or challenges.


This is a very clever & insightful post!

I enjoyed reading this.

I agree with everything you have said here. I have also tried to reject identity politics, in years gone by, but that made me very unpopular with Autistic folk.

For me, as a British person growing up in the 1990's, absorbing rich culture in the media & elsewhere, watching identity politics develop has been like watching people go from being living, complex, 3D cubes into 2D squares.

It has been painful & despairing to watch, as 2D squares are unable to comprehend 3D cubes and then become nasty to them in ways they don't even realise or intend.

Identity politics is fundamentally, the deliberate dumbing down of society, in my view.


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Last edited by blitzkrieg on 01 Feb 2022, 3:52 am, edited 1 time in total.

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01 Feb 2022, 1:30 am

ChiefEspatier wrote:
ASPartOfMe wrote:
Autistic people often hyper focus on their special interests. That combined with not reading non verbal cues of people trying trying to say “enough, you are boring me” leads NT’s to perceive autistic people as narcissists.

To me the answer is relatively simple.

Yes you can be both a malignant narcissist and an autistic, but if you are, you're behavior will be so over the top that'd it'd be hard to miss. I'm not fan of the idea that you can group signs of mild narcissism and mild autism together. Everyone has traits of narcissism, especially if you're naturally more disagreeable.

Malignant narcissism and narcissististic behavior are not the same thing.

Aspergers and Malignant narcissism are both relatively rare conditions, despite what a lot of arm chair pysc majors want to pretend. The odds someone is both in my opinion is relatively low, and when they are it's quite obvious.

People want to act as if you're either a malignant narcissist or completely normal like it's a binary thing. It's become very trendy to label people you dislike as narcissists. It gets out of hand fast, letting your ego getting the best of you is a bad thing and it happens to everyone. People want to use the term narcissist so they discount the idea they need to keep their own ego in check, it's why people are in love with the idea so they can pretend the problem is limited to malignant narcissists.


People go over the moon with the term narcissism especially when their ego collides with another. See the Trump effect, where people obsess over his ego while turning their ego on full blast.


Anytime someone is in conflict or turmoil their stress responses are naturally gonna make them more egotistical. It means people are more likely to label the other as narcissistic. It's a very nasty trend in my opinion.

People are naturally inclined to put themselves first and assume they have the winning position in a conflict.


I agree with all that you have said, but I genuinely do think Trump is narcissistic.


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01 Feb 2022, 1:32 am

AnomalousAspergian wrote:
blitzkrieg wrote:
Yes, Autism & narcissism typically go hand in hand. If you can't put yourself into other people's shoes/employ empathy and cater to other people's emotional needs, then you will end up being consumed with your idea of 'self' & inevitably an extension of that is identity politics.

The only friends you'll have then are people who will view you like a 2D cartoon character & it is skin deep superficiality. Anything these friends do is just to reinforce the group/collective narrative of caring about you - usually not actually being there for you in any real, tangible sense.

NT's will just think you are a selfish ass.

Not learning empathy is a lose-lose situation.


You echo some similar points that I hav previously thought about. There are most likely regressive, reactionary, insular forms of identity politics. If various identity groups that are trying to find things in common with others groups rather than retreating into their respective identities, it can be progressive. I don't think identity politics can be avoided as is an inevitable part of a pluralistic, democratic society. Anything can be called 'identity politics' when we talk about various demographics. To reject it entirely seems a foolhardy venture, which I have already attempted to do. That said, it does stem from a largely postmodern, hypersubjective, solipsistic individualism that I believe you have alluded to.

To be honest, I think they may well be very empathetic and emotionally sensitive autistic people that face problems in communication which lead them to be misunderstood as being narcissistic. It may well be that there are a significant number of autistics who simply wants to be understood by someone who has their shared interests and passions. In a society that is increasingly insular and only bothered about the individual in relation to market value I suppose that it poses added difficulties for NTs and autistics alike, emphasis added for autistics who already have added social difficulties or challenges.


Yep, identity politics for me, from 2012 until probably 2018 - I actually found emotionally and intellectually repulsive. Wokeologists, mostly, from my perspective, were insulting non-woke folk, for being racist or homophobic, them not really understanding sarcasm or context or anything relevant to a political conversation and simply slapping a figurative label on people's figurative heads, and attacking that strawman almost inevitably and regularly - whilst the person underneath the label on their figurative foreheads, were just endlessly tired, frustrated, nervous & upset that literal savages were taking over the world.

Also, witnessing the more intelligent wokeologists, knowing that what they were pushing was illogical BS, whilst pushing it for social brownie points (the consequences such as mass male suicide and real lives affected, be damned). Ugh.

Circular stupidity, really, in all.


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