Narcissists vs. Stoics: A Table of Differences

— Reviewed by Dr. Sandip Roy.

The differences between narcissists and Stoics are not just in their actions, but also in their basic outlooks on life.

  • Stoics embrace a philosophy of self-control, humility, and acceptance of life’s inevitable challenges. They focus on virtue and reason over fleeting emotions or desires.
  • Narcissists, on the other hand, are often impulsive, arrogant, and aggressive, especially when they feel insulted or rejected. They also tend to show others down to feel more self-important.

For starters, a narcissist is an overly self-centered person who needs a constant supply of attention and admiration. They cannot empathize with the pain of others. Their relentless attitude of “me-first, others-last” leaves those around them feeling used.

In extreme cases, this personality manifests as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This study found patients with NPD scored high on perfectionism, shame, and aggression.

In contrast, Stoics live for virtue, mindfulness, and emotional detachment from external events and experiences.

Narcissists vs. Stoics

A Stoic can avoid being emotionally controlled by external events as they are disciplined to focus exclusively on their own thoughts, beliefs, and actions.

In sharp contrast, narcissists have fragile ego and emotional volatility, and often try to control and manipulate others.

Narcs vs Stoics-Pin

Here’s a table of differences between the two of them:

CharacteristicStoic PersonNarcissistic Person
Self-perceptionHumble, focuses on reason and virtueGrandiose sense of self-importance, inflated ego
EmotionsExercises self-control, maintains equanimityFragile ego, easily threatened and lashes out, aggressive
DesiresPrioritizes inner peace over material possessionsEntitled, constant need for admiration and validation, envious and jealous
RelationshipsValues genuine connections and mutual understandingExploitative, lacks empathy, leaves others feeling used
AdversityViews challenges as opportunities for growthBlames others, refuses to take responsibility, perfectionists
FeedbackOpen to constructive criticism, seeks self-improvementRejects criticism, sees it as a personal attack, feels shame
EthicsStrong moral principles, acts with integrityUnethical behavior that they justify by their sense of superiority
MindsetFocuses on what’s within their controlObsessed with controlling people, perceptions, and situations
PerspectiveRecognizes the impermanence of things and peopleDemands constant validation and attention, has grudge against those who disrespect
GoalsSeeks wisdom, virtue, and a life well-livedDriven by selfish motivations, vanity, and pursuit of admiration
Emotional RegulationDetached from external events, avoids emotional overwhelmEmotionally volatile, fragile sense of self-worth
Handling PeopleUses Stoic discipline to safeguard emotional well-beingExhibits narcissistic traits and behaviors that upset others
Table: Narcissists vs. Stoics

Final Words

When dealing with narcissists, this Stoic discipline of avoiding emotional overwhelm can be particularly helpful.

Stoics can effectively deal with narcissists by using their cultivated focus on only what lies within their control. This safeguards their emotional well-being.

√ Also Read: How To Be Stoic With Narcissists, Selfish & Mean People?

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