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Thursday, November 10, 2011

Narcissistic Epidemic

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.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity.

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

.

suRELY we shOuld
...................................................exIT
our sELF
to
find
wHO We are
who they aRe
who yoU are

exhibITionISm kILLs the cat, thoUGH...

By human being (An amazing one), A.K.A. nooshin azadi

11 comments:

the walking man said...

I understand the need some have for attention that is unwarranted but it is something that by age 5 should be out grown.

Personally I prefer to be just left the hell alone unless I make myself available for whatever reason. Then I will take care of the reason be it social or commercial and be on may back to my preferred state of isolation. How is it we have come to fear solitude?

Val said...

Being a self centered idiot is a choice, not a mental illness or personality disorder. These people are responsible for every bit of misery on this planet, in families, the work place and in government. The only way to fight this 'epidemic' is to do good deeds quietly thus swimming against the current of narcissism.


Today's example of narcissim among the rich and famous: According to Forbe's magazine, author Stephen King is worth $400 million dollars. Today, Stephen King, who is in the process of promoting his newly published book donated, out of his $400 million dollar bank account, the underwhelming amount of $70 thousand dollars to help the poor people in his state of Maine with their heating bills! Humble, generous and he made sure it made headlines everywhere. Jerk.

/t. said...

social networking,
tweeting, blogging, commenting...

hey, look at me -- i have something to say

but maybe not much :)

× × ×

/t.

tipota said...

"Just over 30 years ago, in “The Culture of Narcissism,” Christopher Lasch, a historian at the University of Rochester, took what was still mainly a narrowly clinical term and used it to diagnose a pathology that seemed to have spread to all corners of American life. In Lasch’s definition (drawn from Freud), the narcissist, driven by repressed rage and self-hatred, escapes into a grandiose self-conception, using other people as instruments of gratification even while craving their love and approval. Lasch saw the echo of such qualities in “the fascination with fame and celebrity, the fear of competition, the inability to suspend disbelief, the shallowness and transitory quality of personal relations, the horror of death.”
Christopher Lasch "The Culture of Narcissism" 1979

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/02/07/books/review/Siegel-t.html?pagewanted=all

great post querida!

Kert said...

I am a bit iffy about dubbing certain cultural phenomena as pathology. I agree with Val that most of them had a choice and are totally in control with what they are doing. And thus, regarding what they have as pathology is a bit undermining for some of us who are actually mentally ill -- and are actually suffering.

But I agree with you that people nowadays have increasingly become narcissistic. I mean, gosh, we don't need to know that some person bought pepsi and enjoyed drinking it. And again, the constant need to be the center of attention -- for some people it's never enough. And it really bugs me!

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JanetK said...

Hi, nice to see a posting after so many months. Does anyone see a connection between narcissism and the epidemic of concern for image rather than substance?

Mariana Soffer said...

the walking man


People are afraid to find parts of their real self, they dont want to know who they are, I bet they preffer to be machines that
function pefectly than human beings with feelings, good parts and awfull parts. Besides people can't stand to do insight cause it makes them
communicate with themselves, nowadays real communication is death there is just hypeconectivity. People think all of the previously told stuff happens
only while alone (pffffff).

Andy Coffey said...

Mariana,

I have a few friends who have been deeply injured by bosses and family who have this condition you describe. Faking a Cancer diagnosis, was among the bizarre behavior of one boss. Good heavens. The world is amazing, isn't it. The novels: pretty nice compared to the real thing, at times.
Great to see your fantastic blog. Thanks.

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