What is all the talk lately about Narcissists & Narcissism ?
The Confusion began because the words narcissist and narcissism have almost completely changed their meaning over time. This change was due to a personality disorder (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) which most professionals will agree is poorly named. The experts agree on this because most people have difficulty with people with this disorder, not because of their narcissism, but rather their aggression and lack of perfectionism (1) , both of which can become highly problematic when coupled together with the charismatic qualities the word narcissism really describes.
(Symptoms of the word narcissism in relation to Narcissistic Personality Disorder)
- ‘Two faced’ – putting friends and family down behind their back.
- Narcissistic rage; has trouble admitting their mistakes and may become angered by even mild criticism.
- Blames others for their failures and lack of success.
- A different person in private than in public.
- Irresponsible and unreliable (often trading off other people’s hard work).
- Arrogant, acting superior to family and close friends.
- Lives in a fantasy world which may include porn, romance novels, flirting, affairs, computer games and dreams of fame and success.
- May be addicted to this fantasy behaviour.
- May have other addictions such as alcohol, tobacco, gambling, drugs, shopping, and/or sex.
- Will lie and distort facts and change the events of history to suit their own agenda.
- May use people, steal and be irresponsible with money.
- Distant and emotionally unavailable unless they want something.
- Lacking empathy for others; especially the people they exploit.
- Controlling and often unable to relax.
- May appear charming and even humble in public.
- Provokes people and then blames them for the fight.
Where once upon a time charismatic showmen such as Marilyn Monroe or Liberace (neither of whom were aggressive or low in perfectionism) would have been described as narcissistic, today this word usually describes a person with the symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the list above. To be described as narcissistic in this way a person needs to have all three of these qualities; charisma (which includes a desire for attention), aggression (especially when criticised) and usually (but not always) a lack of perfectionism.(2)
Narcissism as a disorder is rarely diagnosed. If you live with a marriage partner with these symptoms please visit our website here . . . Signs of Narcissism in Your Marriage for a marriage checklist.
To view Steve’s next movie on Narcissism please visit the page here