24-year-old diagnosed with narcissism shares insight into disordered thoughts: 'I speak not for recognition but for absolution'
Editor’s Note: This article contains mentions of mental illness and mental health struggles. Please take care while reading, and note the helpful resources at the end of this story.
A content creator who says that she has been diagnosed with narcissism is sharing insight into the misunderstood personality disorder in a series of TikTok videos.
Lilith, the 24-year-old woman behind the account @toxiccwaste0, shared in one video that she was formally diagnosed with narcissism in 2021, but didn’t take the diagnosis seriously until a year later. Overall, she identifies as being an “oppositional, co-dependent narcissist” with borderline personality disorder.
She explained that she had previously had experiences where former partners and mental health professionals had suggested she might be narcissistic, but that it wasn’t until a recent breakup that she really decided to examine herself.
“I finally had to be honest with myself about why everything in my life was going the way it was,” she said.
Narcissism, or narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), describes people who exhibit a pattern of needing admiration and lacking empathy, per the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). There’s debate over the etiology of the disorder — some studies suggest people can have a genetic predisposition to it, while others point to childhood developmental experiences as the cause.
It’s a very serious psychological disorder, but it’s often misunderstood — especially since the term is thrown around colloquially to describe someone who acts arrogant or selfish in certain situations, which can mean people don’t take the diagnosis as seriously as they might.
“It’s a common misconception that to be a narcissist, you must be self-unaware,” Lilith said in one video. “The moment that I recognized I was a narcissist, it’s not like everything I was doing just magically went away. I was just aware that I was doing it.”
Getting help for NPD can be difficult, especially since no medications are prescribed to help with the disorder and the inflated, grandiose thought processes of people with NPD can make it difficult for them to ask for help.
“It felt impossible to me to not only admit that I was a narcissist, but that I was abusive in general,” Lilith explained in another TikTok. “My awareness, as the years went on, just kept opening up to the things I was doing.”
Of Lilith’s followers, some are supportive of her openness and others seemingly view her stories as bragging. One commenter, for example, told Lilith that her NPD was “an excuse” for her to continue “choosing to be mean” to people.
“It’s not that I’m choosing to be mean, it’s that I’m choosing not to be mean all of the time,” Lilith replied. “My immediate response is to be mean.”
In a popular video, Lilith was asked about the worst thing she has ever done to someone mentally or physically. In response, she said she viewed her relationships — whether friendships or romantic — as “mental chess.”
“Everything I said and did was planned and thought out, to get reactions and to get people to do certain things,” she added. “I push people to very bad places.”
In one relationship in particular, Lilith claimed she had a man send her $150,000 over the course of the pandemic — with nothing in return.
“I would give him doses of what he wanted, but I was mostly just really abusive,” she admitted. “I thought that manipulating people and having the ability to implant thoughts into people’s brains by [suggestions] was cool, and I liked doing it. And now I feel disgusted.”
“Girl,” one commenter wrote. “Why the fuck did u admit this.”
“I have made terrible choices in my life and have greatly affected others w/ my decisions,” Lilith replied in a comment. “I speak not for recognition but for absolution.”
In a follow-up, Lilith elaborated on why she’s so open to answering brutal questions about her shameful past. Ultimately, she said, no amount of social shaming can trump the guilt she feels for what she has already done.
“Clearly, speaking about it is helping people,” Lilith continued. “At the end of the day, whether or not I admit it, I did it. I have to live it.”
“Even though I was victimized in my early life,” Lilith added, “I am not a victim anymore, once I made the decision to victimize and harm other people because of my trauma.”
If you think you might have narcissistic personality disorder, check out Stop Walking on Eggshells for more information, coping tips and resources — but remember to see a professional for a diagnosis. If you think you know someone who has NPD, Out of the FOG has information and support for caregivers and loved ones.
If you or someone you know is struggling with mental illness or mental health concerns, contact the National Alliance on Mental Illness at 1-800-950-6264. You can also connect with a Crisis Text Line counselor at no charge by texting the word “HOME” to 741741. Visit the NAMI website to learn more about signs and symptoms of various mental health conditions.
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