Narcissism is a pattern of thinking and behaving in adolescence and adulthood, which involves infatuation and obsession with one’s self to the exclusion of others. It manifests in the chronic pursuit of personal gratification and attention (narcissistic supply), in social dominance and personal ambition, bragging, insensitivity to others, lack of empathy and/or excessive dependence on others to meet his/her responsibilities in daily living and thinking.
Five (or more) of these criteria must be met for a diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
· Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);
· Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and special;
· Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply);
· Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;
· Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;
· Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;
· Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration.
· Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, “above the law“, and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.
The narcissist’s relationships are self-serving and, therefore shallow and superficial. They are centred around and geared at the regulation of his self-esteem (obtaining narcissistic supply for the regulation of his labile sense of self-worth.)
The narcissist is not “genuinely” interested in his intimate partner’s experiences (implying that he does fake such interest convincingly.) The narcissist emphasizes his need for personal gain (by using the word “need”, the DSM V acknowledges the compulsive and addictive nature of narcissistic supply). These twin fixtures of the narcissist’s relationships render them one-sided: no mutuality or reciprocity (no intimacy).
The Narcissist fails to regard other people, situations, or entities (political parties, countries, races, his workplace) as a compound of good and bad elements. He either idealises his object – or devalues it. The object is either all good or all bad. The bad attributes are always projected, displaced, or otherwise externalised. The good ones are internalised in order to support the inflated (grandiose) self-concepts of the narcissist and his grandiose fantasies – and to avoid the pain of deflation and disillusionment.
Research shows that most narcissists are born into dysfunctional families. Such families are characterised by massive denials, both internal (“you do not have a real problem, you are only pretending”) and external (“you must never tell the secrets of the family to anyone”). Abuse in all forms is not uncommon in such families. These families may encourage excellence, but only as means to a narcissistic end. The parents are usually themselves needy, emotionally immature, and narcissistic and thus unable to recognize or respect the child’s emerging boundaries and emotional needs.
Any challenge, mildly negative remark, or disagreement from another person is considered criticism, rejection and even mockery. They take these personally as an assault or betrayal and lash out at the person who provoked them. Narcissistic rage often results in physical and/or emotional abuse.
Raging narcissists usually perceive their reaction to have been triggered by an intentional provocation with a hostile purpose. Their targets, on the other hand, invariably regard raging narcissists as incoherent, unjust, and arbitrary.
Narcissistic rage should not be confused with anger, though they have many things in common.
1. Challenge to their Confidence: People with narcissism often place unrealistic demands on their partner or children. These demands are frequently challenged by the person in the relationship. When challenged, the narcissists’ brittle egos are unable to accept the idea that they were wrong or seen as imperfect. They turn this into a personal attack and respond with rage toward that person to regain their sense of superiority.
2. Injury to Self-Esteem: When a narcissist’s shortcomings are pointed out by someone, they feel an overwhelming sense of shame. The narcissist then lashes out toward the person who pointed out the shortcomings. The rage is executed to seek revenge upon the accuser. The need for revenge results in explosive rage and does not die down until the narcissist feels the person was dealt appropriate punishment.
3. False Sense of Self: The narcissist has a false sense of self. Underlying this false sense of self are feelings that he is not loveable for who he is or what he offers in relationships. When a lover or partner begins to feel doubts about the narcissist, that is when the narcissistic rage surfaces.
Narcissism: IT’S THE CULTURE.Published in