I feel bad for saying this, but I'm actually not sure how much most of the comments and compliments I've received help, after reading this essay on /r/raisedbynarcissists.
I think a lot of it may have to do with how my ego was inflated, growing up, as a homeschooled Mormon. I was told over and over again that I was part of a chosen generation, I was a prodigy, I knew better than almost everyone else, I had more authority in my little finger than the Pope did in his whole funny hat, I was going to live while the earth was cleansed with fire ... a lot of things designed to inflate the egos of young people and tie their self-worth to the church, which I was explicitly told to do.
Then finding out that in order to keep getting that treatment, I would have to lie. But not processing it that way, because lying was out of the question. And not realizing that the people around me did it anyway, all the time.
I think I eventually saw that in the situation I was in, all the ego-inflatingness I received really said more about the people dispensing it than myself. People would tell me things that reinforced their own cultural narrative. They liked that I exemplified some part of the story they told themselves about how the world works. Sometimes it was painfully obvious, like when a mentally ill "friend of the family" who was staying with us told me how I would pilot the spacecraft we apparently kept in our basement.
They didn't really want to know that I masturbated, or was depressed, or felt sick very often, or had never had a full-time job. They wanted me to exist in their minds as an object.
I understand hugs, and listening, and mirroring my distress, as signs of love and affection. Compliments just go right past us. We used to treasure the ones that we got for our writing, but somewhere along the line we started to feel they were so hyperbolic as to be unbelievable. We're not sure why.
Compliments based on the kind of person we supposedly are don't even register. They are like telling us "God has a plan for everyone," or having cishets ask about our relationship when they assume that we're in one like theirs. It's at once disturbingly personal and very impersonal, and it doesn't bother us so much as make us nervous. Because we feel like the person is outlining the conditions on which they will relate to us, and if we do something that contradicts the image they have of us in their mind they will shun us.
I feel like they don't know what they are talking about, and even if they're saying something nice they're really just saying how much I affirm something they believe in.
I think the compliments I've been most touched by are when people describe the effect that I or my writing have had on them. That feels like a thing I can take credit for. The best I can say about myself, then, is that I remind other people of what's important to them, or have helped them escape from a bad situation.
The worst I can say is that I'm terrible and shouldn't exist. I tell myself that at least ten times a day, just as a reflex. It's usually brought on by either doing something I find enjoyable, or hearing someone tell me that I'm awesome.