Narcissism today is a very common subject. In this article, you will learn 5 signs to find out the reasons that it has evolved into a “modern epidemic”.
The term “narcissism” has piqued our interest for decades, but social scientists now argue that it has evolved into a “contemporary epidemic.” The term ‘Narcissism‘ was coined almost 2000 years ago by Ovid, who penned the ‘Legend of Narcissus,’ which relates the story of a gorgeous Greek hunter named Narcissus who falls in love with his reflection in a pool of water.
He becomes fixated on his own attractiveness and is unable to escape his mirrored image till he dies.
The eminent psychologist Dr. Sigmund Freud’s essay ‘On Narcissism‘ was the first to develop the notion of narcissism.
Through his study on the ‘ego‘ and its relationship to the outside world, he popularized this new idea. The pursuit of fulfillment from vanity or egotistic appreciation of one’s own attributes is defined as narcissism. This is classed as ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder‘ by the ‘American Psychiatry Association‘ (NPD).
Narcissism is a spectrum that ranges from healthy to pathological.
Normal human functioning includes healthy narcissism. It represents the necessary self-esteem and self-assurance based on real accomplishments and the ability to overcome obstacles. However, narcissism becomes an issue when a person is excessively focused on themselves and
craves entire praise and attention while ignoring the feelings of others.
Substance misuse and serious depressive disorders result from a failure to meet this desire. This results in ‘Substance Dependency Disorder‘ (SDD) in teenagers, who exhibit overt narcissistic and pro-social behaviors, demonstrating a link between self-centeredness and addiction.
Sedatives such as psychedelics, alcohol, hallucinogens such as marijuana and LSD, stimulants such as heroin, opioids such as opium, cocaine, and morphine, and anti-anxiety medicines such as Xanax are among these substances.
Through inflating, narcissists unconsciously suppress an unspoken and intolerably bad self-image.
They transform into glistening, colossal beings encircled by psychologically impassable barriers. The purpose of this self-deception is to make them impenetrable to external criticism as well as their internal sea of uncertainties. In her book ‘Trapped in the Mirror,’ Elan Golomb characterizes NPD in this way.
Narcissists are unable to form intimate relationships with others because they treat others as if they were items in a vending machine, using them to meet their own demands and never acknowledging that others may have their own feelings.
Whether as a personality feature or a medical condition, narcissism is full of irony and paradox.
It is important to remember that Narcissus weeps when he discovers his image does not reciprocate his love. This means that putting on lofty airs, acting with self-satisfied arrogance, or being consumed with various dreams of perfect brilliance or beauty will not, and cannot, lead to a loving relationship with the self.
Self-love that is healthy and non-egotistical originates from unconditional acceptance of oneself without the need to declare superiority over others. Narcissists are well aware, albeit unconsciously, that they are not who they appear to be.
Indeed, one of their main protection mechanisms is to constantly project onto others the defects and anxieties that they are unable or unable to acknowledge.
They are critical of others’ flaws but entirely unaware of their own; their self-love must be viewed as deceit, a stunning success of self-deception. They can only love their idealized, fake selves – a mirage that will never be able to repay the fantasy-filled love.
Their faulty self, buried beneath their outward bravado, is imprisoned and forced to live in exile for the rest of their lives. And, in order to protect themselves from a reality that regularly contradicts their grandiose assumptions and pretensions,
they are forced to deploy a vast defense mechanism, which they must implement with extreme rigidity.
Although only a small percentage of people are diagnosed with NPD, practically everyone has narcissistic tendencies. Narcissism and self-deception are survival instincts without which many of us would just jump off the bridge, Todd Solondz explains. The defenses are very required for true narcissists to compensate for their ego deficits and reduce feelings of shame.
They may lead to suicidal sadness if they are not provided; narcissists do not like themselves, and the more they boast and insult others, the more likely they are to cover up for their deeper, generally hidden emotions of inadequacy and lack of affection.
They strive to project themselves as gifted, extraordinary, and unique, blinded by their idealized self-image, which makes them conceited and arrogant.
TS Eliot claims that individuals who desire to feel important are responsible for half of the harm done in the world. They don’t mean to create harm, but the harm they inflict is uninteresting to them. Or they are oblivious to it or justify it because they are engrossed in the never-ending battle to think well of themselves.
This distinguishes between malignant narcissists and those who are merely unconcerned about how their actions might affect others. It’s just another way of drawing attention to their supreme self-absorption, which prevents them from identifying with other people’s emotions.
“I don’t care what you think, unless it’s about me,” Kurt Cobain says. This demonstrates the narcissist’s lack of interest in the outside world unless it directly affects them.
Unless they are required for the former’s assertion of superiority, they are entirely incapable of real concern in the affairs of others. Because they always succeed in misleading themselves, narcissists are also brilliant scam artists.
It’s especially heartbreaking when they suffer from memory loss and lose pieces of the person they care about the most. According to Sam Vaknin, a narcissist devours others, consumes their produce, and discards the empty, wreathing shells.
Fear is a complement to hate, and narcissists enjoy being feared because it gives them an intoxicating sense of omnipotence. The distinction between narcissism and self-love is a subtle one.
Narcissus falls in love with an image or reflection of himself, with the persona, the mask, rather than with himself.
Narcissists see themselves through the eyes of others and adjust their lifestyle, conduct, and emotional expression in response to the adoration of others.
Narcissism is a state of willing blindness, a refusal to look behind the surface.
“To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance,” Oscar Wilde argues, yet this concept of self-love also swings toward the pathological and auto-erotic.
Prof. Jean Twenge distinguishes between narcissism and the concept of self-esteem. Individual successes are important to someone with high self-esteem, but so are relationships and caring for others. Narcissists, on the other hand, lack empathy and hence are unable to value and care for their relationships.
Prof. Twenge and Keith Campbell, a Narcissism expert, collaborated to see if persons born in recent generations score higher on Narcissism assessments than those born in prior generations. The ‘Narcissistic Personality Inventory‘ (NPI), which was created in 1988, was utilized to assess its subjects.
It is the most generally used measure of narcissism in social-psychological research, with the most common version being a 40-item forced-choice variant.
I Individuals would be clinically identified as NPD patients if they met the following 5 criteria, according to Freud and Kohurt’s theories:
Self-importance or uniqueness with a grandiose sense of self
Obsession with visions of limitless wealth, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
Cold indifference to fury, inadequacy, shame, humiliation, or emptiness in response to criticism, others’ apathy, or defeat
At least two of the following inter-personal relationship feature disturbances:
- Entitlement – expecting exceptional treatment without taking on reciprocal obligations
- Extra-personal achievements
- Relationships that frequently shift between overidealization and depreciation
- Empathy deficit
- Shame, rather than guilt, as a source of vulnerability
- Refusal to express regret or gratitude
The ‘Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism,’ as defined by Hotchkiss, include shamelessness, exploitation, magical thinking, jealousy, entitlement, hubris, and improper limits.
When narcissists are reprimanded, they show themselves pitifully incapable of maintaining emotional composure or receptivity, which is known as the ‘narcissistic dilemma.’ These disturbed people, on the other hand, have an abnormally developed propensity to criticize others.
Their problem is that their strict walls, their reluctance to ever let their guard down, even among their closest friends, ensures that they will never acquire what they really need, which, sadly, they are completely unaware of.
People are not born narcissists, significant contextual influences shape their personalities.
They create unreasonably high standards of behavior as a result of being neglected and ignored as children or being continually disparaged or berated by their parents. Unable to live up to their parents’ unrealistic, perfectionist demands, they imagine an “ideal self” who could obtain the parental acceptance, if not admiration, that they need.
Narcissistic supply, narcissistic wrath, narcissistic damage, and narcissistic abuse are the primary components of narcissism. Narcissism comes in many forms, and the causes aren’t fully understood. In some cases, inherited genetic abnormalities, as well as environmental variables, are assumed to be to blame.
- Neglect or abuse throughout childhood
- Unnecessary parental indulgence
- Parents’ unrealistic expectations
- Promiscuity sexual
Influences from other cultures
A study shows changes in levels of narcissism among college students, i.e. the youth, over the last few decades, it been rampant in the society of the United States today because these youths are the future leaders, and narcissism is very harmful to society as a whole and can cause failure in academic and other endeavors.
Twenge and Campbell performed a survey in American universities from 1979 to 2006 and discovered an increasing change in NPI scores, implying that the
average college student today embraces narcissistic tendencies more than their counterparts two decades earlier.
The growth of narcissism in the American population could be due to the fact that Americans are now taught from an early age that they are incredibly special and unique, which boosts their self-esteem. Narcissism is characterized by extroversion and assertiveness.
It’s partly attributable to contemporary American society’s heavy emphasis on materialism and wealth, with a concentration on individual enjoyment and achievement. As evidenced by the dramatic changes in society that occurred during the industrial and post-industrial periods, narcissism now grips the entire planet.
Over the last few decades, society has shifted from an emphasis on the collective to a concentration on the individual or self.
Here comes the ‘self-esteem movement,’ which has become the key to life success. Rather than allowing their children to earn self-esteem through hard work, the parents attempted to “confer” it on them.
The rise of individualism and the corresponding decline in social standards, which followed society’s modernization, resulted in a shift away from the concept of what is best for others and family and toward what is best for “me.”
The commercial world, with its singular focus on wealth and celebrity, has produced a “empty ego devoid of social significance.”
The ‘Generation Y‘, also known as the ‘Millennials‘ and ‘Generation Me,’ is a generation of young adults born between 1975 and 1995 who are accused of being narcissistic, selfish, entitled, and having unrealistic expectations from life.
The advent of technology, as well as the massive popularity of social networking sites such as Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, MySpace, and YouTube, has altered how we now spend our free time and communicate with others.
Internet addiction is a relatively new field of research in mental health, and several studies have found that addiction to social media sites like Facebook and Twitter is significantly associated with narcissistic behavior and low self-esteem.
The idea that the current generation is getting more narcissistic as a result of the “like effect” (a theory that claims that the amount of “likes” on social media leads to higher self-esteem) has been highly disputed.
Because modern youngsters are constantly comparing the number of “likes” or the quality of an image to that of another, this effect develops negative self-esteem, which is the polar opposite of egotism. With an ever-increasing number of “likes,” the ego will never be satisfied.
Furthermore, having complete control over one’s perspective of social media allows modern kids to see an inaccurate, distorted image of themselves to which they can compare themselves.
Thus, posting selfies on social media on a daily basis encourages narcissism, which is a scream of ego-satisfaction. Social networking sites are thought to be outlets for narcissistic expression, and Gen Y, who are between the ages of 17 and 21, are especially susceptible to its harmful impacts.
According to Lucy Clyde, If you’re a narcissist, you’re looking for a favorable image of yourself in the world, and you’re always looking for affirmation.
As a result, you’re probably significantly relying on social media to curate your own life.
The term “selfie,” which was named “Word of the Year” by the Oxford English Dictionary in 2013, has become quite popular with all teens and young adults in today’s technological era. A “selfie” is described as “a snapshot of oneself taken using a smartphone or webcam and uploaded on social media.”
Selfies and publishing them on social media have become unavoidable components of daily life for Generation Y, encouraging narcissism. Millennials, those between the ages of 18 and 33, are hyper-connected with a little understanding of or concern for others.
Today’s “Generation Me” is afflicted with the “Selfie Syndrome,” in which people upload, tag, and remark on self-portraits, assuming that others are interested in their everyday activities and that they want to tell them what they’re up to.
Selfies represent how openly parading your Narcissism is fashionable, if you include an encouraging message underneath your selfie, no one will be able to perceive your Narcissism.
Continually snapping selfies will not make you attractive; may you someday find someone to love you as much as your selfies imply you love yourself. Today, a selfie without a filter is used to gauge one’s degree of confidence.
If you could take selfies of your souls, would you find it appealing enough to post? If you could take photos of your souls, would you find it attractive enough to post?
It appears that those who are continuously posting selfies do not have mirrors like the rest of us, nonetheless, mirrors should not be taken too seriously because one’s genuine reflection is in one’s heart.
Increased narcissism poses a threat to young people’s emotional and psychological well-being since it leads to self-improvement and self-promotion, which prevents them from forming long-term meaningful connections.
In addition, when they are criticized, they are more likely to react violently and aggressively.
Narcissists may be more attracted to online interactions because they are unable or unwilling to create meaningful relationships that require time or emotional commitment. The proliferation of smartphones and other sophisticated devices has made it incredibly easy for people to access social media, contributing to widespread narcissism.
Managing and modifying one’s online profile material is an important part of the online identity and “e-personality” of today’s youngsters. Narcissistic people can use social networking sites to keep the content of their profiles completely focused on themselves.
They perpetuate their selfish mentality by posting status updates, remarks, and images that solely show themselves and not others.
They can use their online profiles to project a social identity that they want to project by exaggerating particular character features and presenting a persona that they believe is desirable to the general public.
Lack of empathy for others causes Gen Y to be preoccupied with their own frustrated selves and mental distresses as they grow up – they leave their houses but are only focused on themselves, shooting selfies – and therefore can never fully emerge from their own selves.
They lose touch with moral ideals and struggle to break free from their own worries. Plastic surgery is becoming more popular around the world as people want to improve their appearance in the eyes of others, which is a terrible side effect of the increase of narcissism.
They are always emotionally and spiritually unsatisfied, yearning for something nebulous they can’t possibly imagine,
and project a perpetual distance in all interactions, even the most intimate ones.
Psychotherapy, or talk therapy, can be used to treat ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder‘ (NPD). However, there are some advantages to narcissism. It is fundamentally linked to leadership, as both concepts share common characteristics such as dominance, extroversion, confidence, and power.
Narcissists become good and successful leaders
as a result of these factors, which are fueled by their need for self-aggrandizement, grandeur, and power. Individualism is now associated with materialism and narcissism. As a result, the world’s collective narcissism is enormous, collective narcissism leads to the destruction of the earth.
Consumption and our rising sense of self-importance are driving us to obliterate one species after another from the planet. In the end, our narcissism can turn out to be our nemesis.
“It is not love that should be depicted as blind, but self – love.” – Voltaire