Pretend that every single person you meet has a sign around his or her neck that says, "Make me feel important."
Cultural values had radically changed provoking an important modification in social and individual behavior. It started when people began to expose their private life in public and to provoke or participate in public scandals that were transmitted through mass media. This behavior allowed many of them to became public figures (famous persons). Being the center of attention became an important cultural value. Why they became famous had no importance at all.
The change in cultural values, along with the need to interact more with computers and less with humans (reducing empathy), was probably among the factors that triggered this epidemic.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders DSM IV, a widely used manual for diagnosing mental disorders, defines narcissistic personality disorder as:
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
It has been decided, not so long ago, that narcissism should not be considered a personality disorders, the DSM-V will not include this condition.
Did it became too common to be classified as a mental illness? Probably It is not convenient for US reputation to have such a high percentage of mentally-ill people, therefore they removed this disorder along with 4 others. Nowadays most US citizens are considered as mentally healthy.
Narcissism is so pervasive that impacts core social values to the point of provoking irrational behaviors. Our culture is replete with examples of them which are symptoms and contributing factors to narcissism:
- Botox and tanning to fulfill unrealistic notions of physical beauty
- Greed and materialism with emphasis on extravagant homes
- Social networking (vacuous and/or inappropriate content: 25% of teen girls have appeared nude)
- Music lyrics (the average teen spends at least thirty minutes a day listening to songs describing degrading sex)
- "Hooking Up" (a convenient phrase for very casual sexual relationships)
- Loss of perspective between work and pay, value of a dollar, and value of earning for accomplishment
wHO We are
who they aRe
who yoU are