A study done by New York University researchers suggests that those who fall under the grandiose type of narcissism are not narcissists at all because their behavior resembles psychopathy and those who fall under the vulnerable type are not true narcissists because they do not seek power or dominance.
Seeking positive reinforcement is never a bad thing because we all do something to make ourselves better but when self-enhancement becomes the predominant goal in nearly all circumstances and how they resort to seeking it out may become precarious and inappropriate.
The vicious cycle of narcissism or as Pascall Wallisch likes to call maladaptive cascade has three phases:
Many narcissists don't actually realize that they are the problem because they are resistant to change.
Narcissists are people who behave in ways that many belief is driven by self-love but it isn't. Most of their behaviors are actually driven by self-hatred.
They are crippled by insecurity and shame. Their life is an attempt to regulate their image and this can manifest in behaviors like flaunting on social media, taking credit for other people's work, or even by usurping attention over brunch at the expense of someone else.
Much of narcissists' behavior comes from deep-seated insecurities and with that thought in mind, we can show compassion towards them instead of getting into a competition with them.
For narcissists to change they must be motivated to change for themselves.