Naturally, all people should have a certain, healthy dose of self-love. However, there is a clear line separating self-love from narcissism. Basically, people with a healthy sense of self-love know how to differ reality from fantasy and have the capability to show empathy towards others, loving them in a mature way. Unfortunately, narcissists do not possess any of these qualities and their self-love is actually not present, but, rather, they are in love with a projection of one's False Self which takes over the True Self, overwhelming it.
The False Self
Every narcissist is obsessed with an image of him/herself which is not real. This projected image is admired by them. Therefore, narcissists indulge into acts of fantasy, believing that these are completely true. Since others interact with the narcissist, he/she is assured that the False Self actually exists. Of course, this False Self is an inflated image of the narcissist, being much more perfect and beautiful than he/she actually is. Narcissists feel that they are the best and the most successful people, entitled to anything they want. Thus, if they ever fail to get what they believe is theirs, they may even become aggressive, getting into verbal and even physical conflicts.
Our self-esteem bases itself greatly upon the fact that we are individuals with limitation. Being aware of your capabilities is the key to success, through balancing your positive and negative sides, setting realistic goals.
Since narcissists lack this level of self-esteem, they are actually very dependent and inferior, even though they will never show it. Subsequently, they create a world of their own, where their behavior is justified, knowing little about their true selves.
The Unknown Self
As it was mentioned above, we may only know how to love others by truly loving ourselves in the first place. Since narcissists have never felt this level of self-love, let alone empathy towards others, they spend their lives living a lie, which devours them bit by bit. Preferring to be alone, they actually desire presence of other people who can feed their false ego. Thus, this psychological problem backfires on the sufferer. The narcissist stays isolated and alone even though he/she needs other people to admire him/her.
Behavioral Patterns of a Narcissist
Narcissism is commonly triggered by some kind of feeling of guilt, rooted deep inside one's past. This guilt can be sexual, social or ancient one. These doubts and self-punishing acts keep on troubling the narcissistic individual, who judges him/herself through certain levels of subconsciousness.
Also, narcissists hate intimacy with other people. Intimacy stands for closeness, dependence and strangling feeling of deprivation from freedom. They do their best to avoid intimacy and are very happy when they succeed.
Finally, narcissists fear all the default aspects of life which all other people fear or await with anxiety. Thus, narcissists do their best to destroy or isolate their objects of love. Thus, eventually, they turn on themselves since self-love is the strongest trait a narcissist has. This, of course, leads to gradual self-destruction.