One of my favourite psych ‘disorders’ is narcissism. This may have something to do with my Psych degree, or it may have something to do with meeting so many narcissists. Or it might just be all about me. See, that’s the irony of narcissism: a little can be quite healthy, a lot turns you into a deluded freak. And as artists aren’t we always trying to believe in ourselves? Except for those of us who already, perhaps a little too much, do?
Psychology today has a series of articles on narcissism. Do they really hate themselves? (Not enough, some might argue, & the article does finish by reminding us the world isn’t just. Which, y’know, most of us didn’t really need to be reminded of.) Apparently implicit and explicit self-esteem can now be measured. Over at Harvard’s Project Implicit, you can take a test to check out your implicit self-esteem in the area of professions. I’m pleased to note even implicitly I identify more with publishing than engineering. At least the subconscious is playing along, eh?
The narcissistic boss requires excessive admiration (admiration more than liking, which explains a lot) and is interpersonally exploitative. And The Field Guide to Narcissism examines the charisma (often short-lived) of the narcissist:
Intensely narcissistic people often live tumultuous lives, as few people can tolerate them for long. But having a milder version of the personality type comes with many side benefits. [snip] Mild narcissism also seems to help people recover from accidents or other trauma—it gives them an unrealistic sense of their own invulnerability, and they believe that they will be able to handle whatever else life throws at them. As one researcher put it, being somewhat narcissistic is like driving a huge SUV: You’re having a great time, even while you hog the road, suck up extra resources and put other drivers at higher risk.
Sounds kinda nice, actually. Relaxing, like.
And finally: Is there an epidemic of narcissism today?
Ahhhh, the cult of personality.