Understanding Abuse Narcissists Narcissists don’t really love themselves. They’re actually driven by shame. They have an idealized image of themselves, which they convince themselves they embody. This is what they admire. But deep down, narcissists are aware of the gap between their idealized image they show the world and their shame-based self. They work hard to avoid feeling that shame, even if it means destroying a relationship or causing pain to their loved ones' self-esteem. Many of the narcissist’s coping mechanisms are abusive; hence the term, “narcissistic abuse.” Here are some examples of What Narcissists Do Typically, narcissists do not take responsibility for their behaviour and shift the blame to you or others. Some, however, are capable of feeling guilt and self-reflection.