The Pink Flamingo is a fan of pop-psychology. It is worth absolutely nothing. As a writer, though, it is good for shaping characters. Because of this, you do have a tendency to pick up information. As a daughter, I’ve spent some time reading up on narcissism. My mother has basically been stalked and harassed by a text-book narcissist for most of her life. A narcissist is a wounded person. Their narcissism has been developed for them to cope with a situation from their life. They have a tendency to personality problems to begin with – but an incident in childhood will push them over the edge.
“While the psychopath displays more antisocial features, the malignant narcissist desires “unlimited power”.
This week there is something of an awesome commemoration of Apollo 13 and the remarkable feat of saving the crew. A phrase was born:
“Houston, we have a problem.”
“….But narcissism isn’t just a combination of monumental self-esteem and rudeness. As a personality type, it ranges from a tendency to a serious clinical disorder, encompassing unexpected, even counterintuitive behavior. The Greek myth of Narcissus ends with the beautiful young man lost to the world, content to forever gaze at his own reflection in a pool of water. Real-life narcissists, however, desperately need other people to validate their own worth. “It’s not so much being liked. It’s much more important to be admired. Studies have shown narcissists are willing to sacrifice being liked if they think it’s necessary to be admired,” says Roy Baumeister, a social psychologist at Florida State University in Tallahassee….”
“...Obama is, according to Newt Gingrich, “potentially the most dangerous (president), because he so completely misunderstands reality.”…”
“…A narcissist is someone who never grew out of being a selfish child. They find it hard to share and even harder to share the limelight, always wanting to be the focus of attention. They invent stories to get what they want and pretend they are more important than they are and blame others for their own wrong doings. Narcissism flourishes in those who are charming and attractive, because this means they will get away with this behaviour more easily. They may appear humble and very likable in public and may choose a less socially adept partner as their ‘foil’. Narcissists will usually get angry or sulk (and feel very embarrassed) if they are seen to be wrong or have made a mistake, and like a child they might throw tantrums or rages and ‘rewrite history’ instead of admitting their misdeeds. …”
- Need for admiration and a lack of empathy
- Exaggerated sense of self importance
- Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited succes, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love
- Believes he is special, can only be understood by associating with high status people
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has sense of entitlement
- Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends
- Lacks empathy
- Is envious of others or believes others are envious of him
- Arrogant, haughty, patronizing or contemptuous behavior or attitude
- Treats people like dirt
- Blame others for their failures
- They must be the star
- Absurdly vain, extremely ambitious
- Treats those not “special” as worthless
- The world revolves around me – you must cater to me, my ideas, feelings, and thoughts
- Will not take responsibility for angry behavior
- Excessive need to be loved, adored, feel special
- Rage when needs not met
- Controlling behaviors
- Inflated self-esteem
- Very rude
- Must be at the center of everything
- Not necessarily that bright
- Do not feel doubt or remorse
- Will step on others to get what they want
- Inability to engage in team work
- Shocking selfishness
- It is all about the narcissist
- Do not cross a narcissist
“…Translation: Grandiosity is the hallmark of narcissism. So what is grandiose?
The simplest everyday way that narcissists show their exaggerated sense of self-importance is by talking about family, work, life in general as if there is nobody else in the picture.
Whatever they may be doing, in their own view, they are the star, and they give the impression that they are bearing heroic responsibility for their family or department or company, that they have to take care of everything because their spouses or co-workers are undependable, uncooperative, or otherwise unfit.
They ignore or denigrate the abilities and contributions of others and complain that they receive no help at all; they may inspire your sympathy or admiration for their stoicism in the face of hardship or unstinting self-sacrifice for the good of (undeserving) others.
But this everyday grandiosity is an aspect of narcissism that you may never catch on to unless you visit the narcissist’s home or workplace and see for yourself that others are involved and are pulling their share of the load and, more often than not, are also pulling the narcissist’s share as well.
An example is the older woman who told me with a sigh that she knew she hadn’t been a perfect mother but she just never had any help at all — and she said this despite knowing that I knew that she had worn out and discarded two devoted husbands and had lived in her parents’ pocket (and pocketbook) as long as they lived, quickly blowing her substantial inheritance on flaky business schemes.
Another example is claiming unusual benefits or spectacular results from ordinary effort and investment, giving the impression that somehow the narcissist’s time and money are worth more than other people’s. [Here is an article about recognizing and coping with narcissism in the workplace; it is rather heavy on management jargon and psychobabble, but worth reading. "The Impact of Narcissism on Leadership and Sustainability" by Bruce Gregory, Ph.D. "When the narcissistic defense is operating in an interpersonal or group setting, the grandiose part does not show its face in public. In public it presents a front of patience, congeniality, and confident reasonableness."]
In popular usage, the terms narcissism, narcissist, and narcissistic denote absurd vanity and are applied to people whose ambitions and aspirations are much grander than their evident talents. Sometimes these terms are applied to people who are simply full of themselves — even when their real achievements are spectacular.
Outstanding performers are not always modest, but they aren’t grandiose if their self-assessments are realistic; e.g., Muhammad Ali, then Cassius Clay, was notorious for boasting “I am the greatest!” and also pointing out that he was the prettiest, but he was the greatest and the prettiest for a number of years, so his self-assessments weren’t grandiose. Some narcissists are flamboyantly boastful and self-aggrandizing, but many are inconspicuous in public, saving their conceit and autocratic opinions for their nearest and dearest.
Common conspicuous grandiose behaviors include expecting special treatment or admiration on the basis of claiming (a) to know important, powerful or famous people or (b) to be extraordinarily intelligent or talented. As a real-life example, I used to have a neighbor who told his wife that he was the youngest person since Sir Isaac Newton to take a doctorate at Oxford. The neighbor gave no evidence of a world-class education, so I looked up Newton and found out that Newton had completed his baccalaureate at the age of twenty-two (like most people) and spent his entire academic career at Cambridge. The grandiose claims of narcissists are superficially plausible fabrications, readily punctured by a little critical consideration. The test is performance: do they deliver the goods? (There’s also the special situation of a genius who’s also strongly narcissistic, as perhaps Frank Lloyd Wright. Just remind yourself that the odds are that you’ll meet at least 1000 narcissists for every genius you come across….”
Narcissists = Grandiose
“…They live in an artificial self invented from fantasies of absolute or perfect power, genius, beauty, etc. Normal people’s fantasies of themselves, their wishful thinking, take the form of stories — these stories often come from movies or TV, or from things they’ve read or that were read to them as children.
They involve a plot, heroic activity or great accomplishments or adventure: normal people see themselves in action, however preposterous or even impossible that action may be — they see themselves doing things that earn them honor, glory, love, riches, fame, and they see these fantasy selves as personal potentials, however tenuous, something they’d do if they didn’t have to go to school or go to work, if they had the time and the money.
As Freud said of narcissists, these people act like they’re in love with themselves. And they are in love with an ideal image of themselves — or they want you to be in love with their pretend self, it’s hard to tell just what’s going on.
Like anyone in love, their attention and energy are drawn to the beloved and away from everyday practicalities. Narcissists’ fantasies are static — they’ve fallen in love with an image in a mirror or, more accurately, in a pool of water, so that movement causes the image to dissolve into ripples; to see the adored reflection they must remain perfectly still. Narcissists’ fantasies are tableaux or scenes, stage sets; narcissists are hung up on a particular picture that they think reflects their true selves (as opposed to the real self — warts and all). Narcissists don’t see themselves doing anything except being adored, and they don’t see anyone else doing anything except adoring them. …”
No sense of humor:
“...Narcissists have little sense of humor. They don’t get jokes, not even the funny papers or simple riddles, and they don’t make jokes, except for sarcastic cracks and the lamest puns. This is because, lacking empathy, they don’t get the context and affect of words or actions, and jokes, humor, comedy depend entirely on context and affect. They specialize in sarcasm about others and mistake it for wit, but, in my experience, narcissists are entirely incapable of irony — thus, I’ve been chagrinned more than once to discover that something I’d taken as an intentional pose or humorous put-on was, in fact, something the narcissist was totally serious about. Which is to say that they come mighty close to parody in their pretensions and pretending, so that they can be very funny without knowing it, but you’d better not let on that you think so….”
“...Narcissists are totally and inflexibly authoritarian. In other words, they are suck-ups. They want to be authority figures and, short of that, they want to be associated with authority figures. In their hearts, they know they can’t think well, have no judgment about what matters, are not connected with the world they inhabit, so they cling fanatically to the opinions of people they regard as authority figures — such as their parents, teachers, doctors, ministers. Where relevant, this may include scientists or professors or artists, but narcissists stick to people they know personally, since they aren’t engaged enough with the world to get their authoritative opinions from TV, movies, books or dead geniuses/saints/heroes. If they get in trouble over some or another opinion they’ve put forth, they’ll blame the source — “It was okay with Dr. Somebody,” “My father taught me that,” etc. If you’re still thinking of the narcissist as odd-but-normal, this shirking of responsibility will seem dishonest and craven — well, it is but it’s really an admission of weakness: they really mean it: they said what they said because someone they admire or fear said it and they’re trying to borrow that person’s strength….”
“...Narcissists work for a goal, too, but it’s a different goal: they want power, authority, adulation. Lacking empathy, and lacking also context and affect, narcissists don’t understand how people achieve glory and high standing; they think it’s all arbitrary, it’s all appearances, it’s all who you know. So they try to attach themselves to people who already have what they want, meanwhile making a great show of working hard. Narcissists can put in a shocking amount of time to very little effect. This is partly because they have so little empathy that they don’t know why some work is valued more highly than other work, why some people’s opinions carry more weight than others‘. They do know that you’re supposed to work and not be lazy, so they keep themselves occupied. But they are not invested in the work they do — whatever they may produce is just something they have to do to get the admiration and power they crave. Since this is so, they really don’t pay attention to what they’re doing, preferring the easiest thing at every turn, even though they may be constantly occupied, so that narcissists manage to be workaholics and extremely lazy at the same time. Narcissists measure the worth of their work only by how much time they spend on it, not by what they produce. They want to get an A for Effort. Narcissists lack empathy, so they don’t know what others value or why. Narcissists tend to value things in quantitative ways and in odd quantities at that — they’ll tell you how many inches of letters they received, but not how many letters or from how many correspondents; they know the price of everything and the value of nothing….”
“…Narcissists are not only selfish and ungiving — they seem to have to make a point of not giving what they know someone else wants. Thus, for instance, in a “romantic” relationship, they will want you to do what they want because they want it and not because you want it — and, in fact, if you actually want to do what they want, then that’s too much like sharing and you wreck their fun and they don’t want it anymore. They want to get what they want from you without giving you what you want from them. Period. If you should happen to want to give what they want to get, then they’ll lose interest in you….Narcissists are very disappointing as gift-givers. This is not a trivial consideration in personal relationships. I’ve seen narcissistic people sweetly solicit someone’s preferences (“Go ahead — tell me what you really want”), make a show of paying attention to the answer (“Don’t you think I’m nice?”), and then deliver something other than what was asked for — and feel abused and unappreciated when someone else gets gratitude for fulfilling the very request that the narcissist evoked in the first place. I’ve seen this happen often, where narcissists will go out of their way to stir up other people’s expectations and then go out of their way to disappoint those expectations. It seems like a lot of pointless work to me.
First, narcissists lack empathy, so they don’t know what you want or like and, evidently, they don’t care either; second, they think their opinions are better and more important than anyone else’s, so they’ll give you what they think you ought to want, regardless of what you may have said when asked what you wanted for your birthday; third, they’re stingy and will give as gifts stuff that’s just lying around their house, such as possessions that they no longer have any use for, or — in really choice instances — return to you something that was yours in the first place. In fact, as a practical matter, the surest way NOT to get what you want from a narcissist is to ask for it; your chances are better if you just keep quiet, because every now and then the narcissist will hit on the right thing by random accident.”
Personal information – very secretive – the whole birth certificate debacle explained:
“...Narcissists don’t volunteer the usual personal information about themselves, so they may seem secretive or perhaps unusually reserved or very jealous of their privacy. All these things are true, but with the special narcissistic twist that, first, their real life isn’t interesting to them so it doesn’t occur to them that it would be interesting to anyone else and, second, since they have not yet been transfigured into the Star of the Universe, they’re ashamed of their real life. They feel that their jobs, their friends and families, their homes and possessions aren’t good enough for them, they deserve better….”
“…Narcissists are generally contemptuous of others. This seems to spring, at base, from their general lack of empathy, and it comes out as (at best) a dismissive attitude towards other people’s feelings, wishes, needs, concerns, standards, property, work, etc. It is also connected to their overall negative outlook on life…”
“…Narcissists lack a mature conscience and seem to be restrained only by fear of being punished or of damaging their reputations — though, again, this can be obscure to casual observation if you don’t know what they think their reputations are, and what they believe others think of them may be way out of touch with reality…”
“….Narcissists are (a) extremely sensitive to personal criticism and (b) extremely critical of other people. They think that they must be seen as perfect or superior or infallible, next to god-like (if not actually divine, then sitting on the right hand of God) — or else they are worthless. There’s no middle ground of ordinary normal humanity for narcissists. They can’t tolerate the least disagreement. In fact, if you say, “Please don’t do that again — it hurts,” narcissists will turn around and do it again harder to prove that they were right the first time; their reasoning seems to be something like “I am a good person and can do no wrong; therefore, I didn’t hurt you and you are lying about it now…” — sorry, folks, I get lost after that. Anyhow, narcissists are habitually cruel in little ways, as well as big ones, because they’re paying attention to their fantasy and not to you, but the bruises on you are REAL, not in your imagination. Thus, no matter how gently you suggest that they might do better to change their ways or get some help, they will react in one of two equally horrible ways: they will attack or they will withdraw. Be wary of wandering into this dragon’s cave — narcissists will say ANYTHING, they will trash anyone in their own self-justification, and then they will expect the immediate restoration of the status quo. They will attack you (sometimes physically) and spew a load of bile, insult, abuse, contempt, threats, etc…
….they don’t want to change — they want the world to change. And they criticize, gripe, and complain about almost everything and almost everyone almost all the time. There are usually a favored few whom narcissists regard as absolutely above reproach, even for egregious misconduct or actual crime, and about whom they won’t brook the slightest criticism. These are people the narcissists are terrified of, though they’ll tell you that what they feel is love and respect; apparently they don’t know the difference between fear and love. Narcissists just get worse and worse as they grow older; their parents and other authority figures that they’ve feared die off, and there’s less and less outside influence to keep them in check….”