Instagram account “thelovingavoidant” says what I think:
“Stop conflating avoidant attachment with narcissism! It harms the small population of people who have actually dealt closely with the abuse of for-real narcissists. It also harms the huge number of people currently avoidantly attached who are in no way narcissists.
I see a lot of anxious-attachment-centered Instagram accounts allowing the word “narcissist,” which refers to a very specific and relatively rare diagnosable personality disorder, to become synonymous with avoidance. It seems to be a catch-all term for folks who have relational difficulties in that they try to connect relentlessly with someone who either isn’t interested or can’t match their level of interest, isn’t willing to do the work, or simply is triggered by relationship anxiety to distance.
Aloofness, distancing, and being closed-off do not equate to the extreme sense of self-importance, nor any of the other acute symptoms, that constitute full-blown narcissism. Almost everyone regardless of attachment style at one point or another, in some setting or another, displays what might be understood as narcissistic *tendencies*.
Narcissism is a diagnosis, not a means to heap 100% of the blame onto 50% of the equation of an anxious-avoidant dynamic. It is a DYNAMIC, which indicates a system consisting of multiple parts—namely two in this case (if monogamous.) I am not in any way saying that no avoidants are narcissists, or that none are emotionally abusive—any more than I would say that the anxiously attached are never these things. But looking at the attachment style of avoidance *on its own*—it is not emotional abuse, nor is it narcissism. It is a coping mechanism for anxiety and trauma, just like anxious-preocupied behavior.
We need to stop over-using this niche term in order to shame 26% percent of the population.”