Simply stated, narcissism is an inflated view of the self, combined with relative indifference to others.
There are two distinct categories of pathological narcissism: exhibitionist and closet. Both stem from an inability to adequately develop an age-appropriate self due to problems with the quality of nurturing provided during their childhood by the primary caregiver, typically the mother.
The closet narcissist is more likely to have a deflated, inadequate self-perception and also a palpable awareness of the emptiness within. The exhibitionist type, on the other hand, maintains an inflated, grandiose self-perception that is out of touch with reality. Without investigation or reflection, the exhibitionist type assumes that others are just like him. The closet narcissist desires constant approval from others, while the exhibitionist constantly seeks admiration and ego-stroking.
The seven deadly sins of narcissism:
- Shamelessness: inability to process shame.
- Magical thinking: seeing oneself as perfect.
- Arrogance: diminishing and degrading others with self-importance.
- Envy: coveting others’ images, possessions, or achievements.
- Entitlement (a.k.a. privilege): feeling and acting extra special and better than everyone else.
- Exploitation: using others without regard for their feelings or interests.
- Lack of boundaries: no boundary between self and other.
At the community level, we need to work to reverse the alarming trend of narcissism in society by promoting altruism in children and teens. This can be accomplished by incorporating the explicit teaching of emotional intelligence and mindfulness through both traditional learning institutions and home schooling.
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