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Narcissism...how normal is it? Or nightmare father II.

 
 
dlowan
 
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 02:12 am
I was reflecting, as is my wont, as I drove from hither to yon today.

One of my reflections was about narcissism. Now, my daddy dearest was a mighty narcissist before the lord....nobody, and I mean NOBODY was capable of doing ANYTHING properly in his eyes...(hmmmmm...perhaps he met criteria for obsessive compulsive personality disorder more than narcissism...but who gives a flying....?) Nobody was as smart, capable, talented, moral etc than he. Except when he was evil, bad, hopeless etc......because he had failed to make everything PERFECT! Had failed to stop the sun in its tracks, defeat entropy and death, catch a falling star, get with child a mandrake root, show us where all past years are and who cleft the devil's foot....


So, I was reflecting on how this had affected, me and how much, if at all (shudder) I was afflicted with the same delusions (gibber).

Then I wondered: How nutso IS this? Is it pathological, or do we all, secretly, feel the same about ourselves?

Is narcissism normal? Or do "normal" folk have a reasonable and balanced assessment of themselves and their capacities?


Don't ask me! I'm the spawn of a narcissist!



 
Roberta
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 05:34 am
I don't have much experience with narcissists, deb, except maybe at work. But I think to some extent we all think we are the center of our own universe. Expecting to control forces outside ourselves may be the difference between somewhat normal and somewhat (or a lot) meshuga.

I don't know how your father's narcissism affected you, but I'm sure that it has. You seem a rational bunny from my distant perspective. How do you think it's affected you? (Just reread that. I think I've been in therapy too long.)
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 05:40 am
@dlowan,
Quote:
Is narcissism normal? Or do "normal" folk have a reasonable and balanced assessment of themselves and their capacities?


Don't ask me! I'm the spawn of a narcissist!


God, I don't know what's "normal" & what isn't, Deb.

It's all pretty much a matter of degrees, from where I'm looking. Various shades. White, various greys, through to black.

However, I was tangled up with someone with such "tendencies" for quite a while ... & (how can I put it?) it can be quite a debilitating experience.
Thomas
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 05:50 am
@dlowan,
I detest narcissism. It just doesn't look good on me.
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 06:12 am
@Roberta,
Lol!! Everything affects one...I'm just interested in what people have to say about how much ALL of us are pains about this stuff more than
too much personal navel gazing.

I kind of suspect we are more maniacal about this than most of us own up to...but what would I know? (I guess most won't own up here though, eh?)

I'll certainly own up to some tendencies that way, meself!
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 06:14 am
@msolga,
Hmmm....was it way obvious that that person was different?
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 06:14 am
@Thomas,
Thomas wrote:

I detest narcissism. It just doesn't look good on me.


Yes...but would the rivers know how to flow and the rain to fall if you weren't here to tell them?
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 07:36 am
@dlowan,
Yes! Smile
He was quite self-obsessed, had highly inflated ideas about his own importance & achievements .... & would be most put out if his views were not shared by his nearest & dearest. Sharing those views & approving of them was almost a condition of the relationship. I could go on, but it makes me rather weary, remembering .. Wink
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 07:47 am
There's normal, every day first-born entitlement type narcissism and then there's pathological narcissism that is typically a component of sociopathic and psychopathic behaviors.

M and I chuckle when Mr B, his mother, and my daughter K are all in the same room -- it's a meeting of the first-borns which is more like a gathering of the royal family. My eldest sister was the same way. In fact, we called her "Your Highness" when we were growing up. I don't think they cause emotional distress to others unless the recipient is particularly sensitive to that sort of thing.

The other end of the spectrum, however, can cause real problems for loved ones. Self esteem gets beaten on constantly with the partner becoming a verbal whipping post for everything that's wrong with the world. I posted the symptoms of clinical narcissism on a thread last year -- I'll see if I can find it and repost them here.
Thomas
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 07:49 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:
Yes...but would the rivers know how to flow and the rain to fall if you weren't here to tell them?

Don't be silly -- of course not! Doesn't mean I have to be narcissistic about it.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 07:56 am
@JPB,
Found it

Quote:
DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL OF MENTAL DISORDERS, THIRD EDITION (Revised) (DSM-III-R)
American Psychiatric Association Press,
Diagnostic criteria for 301.81 Narcissistic Personality Disorder
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy and hypersensitivity to the evaluation of others, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
(1) reacts to criticism with feelings of rage, shame, or humiliation (even if not expressed)
(2) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
(3) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior / "special" without commensurate achievements)
(4) 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 (or institutions)
(5) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
(6) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations, e.g., assumes that he or she does not have to wait in line when others must do so
(7) requires constant attention and admiration, e.g., keeps fishing for compliments
(8) lack of empathy: inability to (genuinely) recognize and experience how others feel, e.g., annoyance and surprise when a friend who is seriously ill cancels a date
(8b) (DSM-IV) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
(9b) (DSM-IV) is preoccupied with feelings of envy
George
 
  4  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 07:59 am
I'm so vain, I thought this thread was about me.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  2  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:02 am
@JPB,
JPB wrote:

. . .
Quote:
DIAGNOSTIC AND STATISTICAL MANUAL OF MENTAL DISORDERS, THIRD EDITION (Revised) (DSM-III-R)
. . . (1) reacts to criticism with feelings of rage, shame, or humiliation (even if not expressed) . . .


Seen a few flame wars when two or more of these are gathered.
0 Replies
 
dlowan
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:20 am
@JPB,
Hmmm...but do some just hide it better?

I'm only half joking. I really do wonder if we're not a lot more that way than most of us let on.

I mean, how many of us don't secretly think we are better drivers than others? How many can resist, when watching someone doing something and having a bit of a hard time, trying to butt in ourselves?

JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:33 am
@dlowan,
I imagine that everyone has a bit of superiority about them - except those suffering with real self-esteem issues. And, I'm only half joking about birth order... I think there's a real component of mild narcissism in first-borns. I've seen the pattern throughout my life. In traditional families they were raised to be leaders, particularly men, and were expected to take over as head of the family. The means used to get ahead were less important than the achievements. I've no idea whether those traits are natural or taught, but I've no doubt they exist.
0 Replies
 
George
 
  3  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:35 am
@dlowan,
If you see humility as a more attractive quality than narcissism, then your
very narcissism may prompt you to project an air of humility. And you may
be quite good at it. Even be vain about it.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:39 am
@JPB,
By golly, that's him!!!! Wink
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:42 am
@dlowan,
dlowan wrote:

Is narcissism normal? Or do "normal" folk have a reasonable and balanced assessment of themselves and their capacities?


To answer this specifically I think there are normal manifestations of some narcissistic traits that don't qualify the person as a narcissist. The DSMV indicates five or more of the traits before a clinical diagnosis is made. Of course, as with most of these "conditions", the assessments are subjective.

Someone who thinks they're a better driver than everyone else on the road isn't a narcissist - they're just easily frustrated. Put that in context with the way they see everything else in their lives and it may be an issue.

The way I see it is that if you have a million little things that drive you batty then it's your problem. If they affect the way you interact with others then it may be their problem too.
0 Replies
 
JPB
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:43 am
@msolga,
Yeah, I had a brief encounter with one of those too. It still affects me to this day.
msolga
 
  1  
Reply Wed 17 Mar, 2010 08:59 am
@JPB,
I certainly wish my encounter had been brief, JPB!

I have just about gotten over the effects! Wink
 

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