Narcissism

Narcissism is an attitude of intense self-love, self-idealisation and an artificially inflated sense of one's own value, significance, importance and self-esteem, which calls for others to defer to, and recognize these highly valued attributes as an actual reality. Anything or anyone who questions or jeopardizes this view is likely to provoke a reaction of superior indignation followed by an attempt to discredit any other view.

The sexual instinct is directed towards one's own body or psychological attributes. By corollary, the narcissist is indifferent to other persons, unless by attracting their favorable attention his self-admiration is proportionately enhanced.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder affects approximately 1% of the population. According to Jeremy Hoffman BSc, Adiele Hughs BSc, Andrew Allard BA and Sarah Greenough BSc, numerous attributes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder are displayed in the character of Captain Jack Sparrow and they analyse it in this very interesting 4 page report.

The psychoanalyst believes that a narcissistic individual is incapable of bestowing love upon anyone other than himself. Sometimes this extreme self-valuation of the person is made in defense against a sense of inadequacy and belittlement.

Psychoanalysts differentiate between primary and secondary narcissism. Developmentally, it is regarded as normal for the infant and young child to place this kind of value on himself; in moderation it is an aspect of normal pride in the self and its capacities and achievements.

Secondary narcissism Freud defined as that which occurs when love-objects are taken away or when the libido is redirected from the external objects or persons toward which it has been flowing.

Narcissism becomes a problem when it interferes with a person's capacity to acknowledge others and their skills and attributes, obstructing the development of a mutual relationship which can acknowledge the prime qualities in the other person.

The relationship with a narcissistic personality is likely to be a very one-sided affair, catering for the narcissistic needs of one person and obliterating any mutuality in the relationship.

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Comments 39 comments

Scott.Life 6 years ago

It may only affect 1% of the population but on Hubpages I'd think it's more like 60%. Very concise and direct article.


Hmrjmr1 profile image

Hmrjmr1 6 years ago from Georgia, USA

very interesting Well Done!


darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia Author

Scott, I think you're right!


lorlie6 profile image

lorlie6 6 years ago from Bishop, Ca

Very informative, darkside-thanks.


Laura du Toit profile image

Laura du Toit 6 years ago from South Africa

Very interesting - I would have thought that it affects a much larger percentage of the population but I suppose there are other personality disorders that present themselves in a similar way.

Thanks for sharing!


frogdropping profile image

frogdropping 6 years ago

I have worked with a couple of adolescent narcissists. Literally the world revolved around them. Or be damned. Sweet as pie when they were the focus.

I physically fought (also part of my job) with one on a few occassions.

Scotts perection of how many we have on HP is a little scary! Maybe they need a virtual pool to stare into, in order that they'll take root and flower. That should rid trolls from the halls :)


Linda Myshrall 6 years ago

It seems like artists of all types tend to be sort of, well, 'out-there'. I'm no analyst, but if it weren't for their gifts, they wouldn't be able to relate to anyone on any level at all... a la Hemmingway, Van Gogh, Michael Jackson. I guess we'll have to put up with the one to enjoy the fruits of the other... even in Hubville. I liked this article. I bet there are a few reading it that are asking themselves... 'Am I?'...


dusanotes profile image

dusanotes 6 years ago from Windermere, FL

Darkside, very good Hub. I'm not sure the percentage in America of one percent is accurate, because it seems to be a much bigger general population problem. I think television has added to that problem, pulling inward instead of being among people and helping others get along. Altruistic service is sometimes lacking from these types. Good Hub,


jiberish profile image

jiberish 6 years ago from florida

It would be interesting to list the names of some well known politicians with this disorder. Good Hub!


Danielle Farrow profile image

Danielle Farrow 6 years ago from Scotland, UK

Interesting - thank you!

I especially love the link to the Captain Jack report, and not only because it includes the mythology associated with the word narcissism. ;) (For those who don't know, I really love mythology!)


rmcrayne profile image

rmcrayne 6 years ago from San Antonio Texas

That psych report on Jack Sparrow was a hoot! Interestingly some notorious killers are/were narcissistic.

BTW Laura, many psych reports wiil identify a primary diagnosis, but citation of multiple additional traits is common. Example: Borderline personality disorder with narcissistic and hystrionic traits.


MissE profile image

MissE 6 years ago from Texas

I pretty sure I knew I guy with this problem in high school!! LOL! Interesting topic and a well written hub.


rebekahELLE profile image

rebekahELLE 6 years ago from Tampa Bay

well done, DS. I used to be in love with a man who truly had this disorder, not just into himself as some think it is. I didn't find out until later and I was amazed at what I found out about his lifestyle. It truly is a sickness, and not just a person who thinks only of himself (many of them, but it's not the same as true narcissism.) :)


Jeffrey Neal profile image

Jeffrey Neal 6 years ago from Tennessee

Good hub! Nice job.


mayhmong profile image

mayhmong 6 years ago from North Carolina

I think we all are guilty at some point in life with this matter. And its sooo true with Captain Jack Sparrow!


Mrvoodoo profile image

Mrvoodoo 6 years ago from ?

Hahaha, that picture of captain Jack sure does remind me of somebody's avatar.

I wonder where your inspiration for this hub came from. :D


darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia Author

Mr Voodoo, while researching this subject I came across the case study on Jack Sparrow. Interesting reading! The photo of Johnny Depp is the same one from that report. Any resemblance to other people real or imagined is purely coincidental.


Disturbia profile image

Disturbia 6 years ago

Good hub darkside. I think I know more than my share of these characters and been married to at least two. One an artist and the other a musician, oh my but wasn't it always all about them... LOL. But seriously, this is really good info. Thanks.


Pacal Votan 6 years ago

Well, if you have to possess all the above traits to qualify for narcissism, then indeed no more than 1% of the population can be called narcissists. But if we could exclude just some of the required behaviors then this might tend towards a higher number, I think. Maybe even I could stand a chance to qualify.


RedSonja94 profile image

RedSonja94 6 years ago from Michigan

Very well written. I love it!


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

I think this characterist is an extreme example of what is already within us all. It is about survival - the id (I want, satisfy me, base instinctual desires) and on the scale (say 0 - 10 and 5 being 'norm' or average) the extreme narcissist rates 10. The quality of this characteristic has gone over the top. It is necessary, however, that this gene needs to be in the human gene pool for humans survival. This is probably why the characterist has not been irradicated in the course of evolution. Unfortunately, personality extremes like this can be problematic - it is one of those 'evils' that is necessary for human beings to function effectively. Does this make sense?


darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia Author

I doubt a psychological characteristic or psychiatric problem can be attributed to evolutionary development. One would hope that autism would have been eradicated by the course of evolution.


shazwellyn profile image

shazwellyn 6 years ago from Great Britain

Ummm... some genes go a bit crazy... rogue genes, genetic mutations. They seem to stay in the gene pool or reappear a few generations down the line. Our genetic make up is our personal receipe, so to speak. I think that these receipes can conflict with other ingredients and have an affect in individuals behaviour .. dont want to go down the nurture/nature debate (far to vast to write here), but environmental conditions add to the make up of the individual. However, primarily and basically, I think that we all have the narcissist trait, to a lesser or greater extent. As you said in this hub... 'Psychoanalysts differentiate between primary and secondary narcissism. Developmentally, it is regarded as normal for the infant and young child to place this kind of value on himself; in moderation it is an aspect of normal pride in the self and its capacities and achievements'. Therefore, this is a trait which necessitates human survival. This trait doesn't simply disappear, it just gets dealt with in the subconscious and runs (similarily msdos runs on a computer like the subconsious runs in a human - its there, doing its work, but no one notices).

As regards to 'autism', you should read my hub on http://hubpages.com/health/The-Jewish-Social-Ostra... - you might see what I mean.

I hope you get what I mean. With a subject like this, one needs to do a proper thesus as it harbers much psychological debate.

I wish you well

Shaz x


Jim Bryan profile image

Jim Bryan 6 years ago from Austin, TX

Interesting Hub Darkside.

I feel you've focused more on Type II Narcissism (Narcissistic Disorder) while neglecting Type I Narcissism (Narcissistic Syndrome) altogether. Type II is found in approximately 1% of the US population, but Type I is considerably more prevalent. Judges, policemen, lawyers, doctors, pilots, politicians, sales people, models psychiatrists, therapists, business executives, and artists of all sorts (including writers) are often Type I Narcissists (though these fields also tend to attract more Type II personalities, as well), otherwise, they could not do what they do for a living or would not be successful in their field.

Like many "ailments" of the mind, the Syndrome tends to be something the person develops as a controllable survival trait, while the the Disorder represents a break from reality. For instance, we'll look at likely behaviors from each group regarding rejection from the opposite sex:

Two men (one Type I, the other Type II) go out on a date with a woman. Each man thinks the date went well (they are Narcissists, after all) and after a make-out session in the driveway, each expects to culminate the night with a furtherance of "similar activity," shall we say. The woman in question, however, decides not to pursue this, at this time.

The Type I would likely deal with rejection internally. If led to believe that she likes him. he may decide that she "must not be feeling well" or has to get up early, etc. If he thinks she does not like him, he may assume she is stupid or perhaps even that she is a lesbian. Regardless the rebuke cannot be because she doesn't actually like the narcissist, but rather that some outside circumstance (including acts of nature) prevents her from seeing how wonderful the narcissist is. Perhaps it was the meal (and in his mind, he will blame the waitstaff), perhaps it was the movie (in which case he may blame the cast, crew, the kid serving popcorn, the noisy guy in the back, etc). Regardless, even at extreme behavior levels, the worst a Type I will likely do is resort to verbal attacks, whether direct or indirect. The parable or "Sour Grapes" will eventually assuage his ego, if nothing else. If he does not get the type of attention he wants from her, he will assume she is not right for him, and move on. In his mind, he will reject her.

A Type II is more likely to become angry and externalize this, even to the point of violence. While thought processes similar to those above may be present, the will likely be more extreme, as will his behaviors. He may call her names (slut, whore, dyke, etc). May damage property; slashing tires, breaking windows, etc. A Type II may even assume "no means yes" and rape her.

The Type I feels that, "no one is better than me," while the Type II feels that they really are *better* than everyone else. It is *not* a subtle difference.


darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thanks for the excellent explanation there Jim. I had to devour that with the help of a knife and fork it was so meaty!


Kori Lee F.P. profile image

Kori Lee F.P. 6 years ago from Northern Arizona

I think your type II description is right on. I have researched this disorder quite a bit. My brother married a vampire-and my brother is the blood that she needs to survive. My brother was a great guy and very into his immediate family, sister(me) mother, father and grandparents. We were not the Waltons but we were pretty distant with each other. Ever since he got married we do not exist. It is her way or the highway. I wonder what insecure boy marries this kind of monster. They do everything together. It is sad really. It is like my brother is gone.


darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia Author

Sorry to hear that Kori Lee. I've seen what you've described in action, though not in immediate family. It's not something I'd wish on anyone.


Jim Bryan profile image

Jim Bryan 6 years ago from Austin, TX

Thanks darkside, I do tend to be a bit...um...thorough at times. I'd like to address Lori's comment, I hope you don't mind.

Lori, I was once a boy who married a woman like that. I lived through the angry (sometimes violent) outbursts, the forced seclusion from others, separation from family, etc. This forced separation is vital to this type of dysfunctional relationship so that the other person is forced to rely on the Narcissist for just about everything. It's not so much trying to please the other person, but appease them (and as the relationship progresses, this may become a regular occurrence). If this is the case with your brother, then he will have to come to this conclusion on his own. Anything you say against her will be used by her to reinforce the statements leading to the separation. It's about control, and any threat to that control will be seen as an attack. In my own circumstance, it was a sad and stressful period of my life.

That being said, it's not something that is unrecoverable. I hope your brother isn't caught in this type of destructive circumstance, but if so, he's an adult and will have to deal with it.


darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia Author

Jim, your input (and thoroughness) here is most appreciated!


Kori Lee F.P. profile image

Kori Lee F.P. 6 years ago from Northern Arizona

Hi Jim,

Thanks for the support- and thank you to dark side for a great hub where we can express our opinions and woes. I know that my brother's journey is his own now.


lyricsingray 6 years ago

Darkside I am the eldest daughter of a father possessing this disorder and it is so sad at the same time bordering on abusive. I commend you for bringing this to the forefront and writing about it. Also for creating this written in a way that is one can understand and learn from. Such a great job on such an important topic. I thank you.


darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia Author

Thank you Lyricsingray. After publishing this and reading more material on it, my eyes have certainly been opened.

It has allowed me to understand at least one person I know, in real life, better.


myownworld profile image

myownworld 6 years ago from uk

Excellent insight...I never understood it's meaning till now; we all live and learn! Keep writing... :)


darkside profile image

darkside 6 years ago from Australia Author

It's a nasty little affliction. I for one have made an effort to steer clear of such people, at least in real life. It tends to take a while to figure out if people online have it, because we don't have the benefit of face to face interaction, body language and the nuances of speech to weigh up whether they're just flamboyant or right up themselves.


beHuman 6 years ago

Yes darkside, it is a nasty, even evil thing this affliction, one single N can carry on for years, leaving a trail of destruction, sucking everything just like a vampire.

The destruction in my own experience takes the form of creating friction and discord between the people they know, using lies, backstabbing, character assassination etc and the N cannot allow the people they have been polluting against each other to meet without them being present. This could give rise to being found out, the one thing that may moderate their poisonous behavior is the question "what if they find out?". This is the stuff I consider to be the most damaging.

The attention addiction aspect of NPD is very obvious, and in itself its not nearly as damaging if the N is seeking some form of 'positive' attention i.e. if they are doing something to gain attention, worship etc that can have positive outcomes for their 'audience'. Its the devaluation they engage in, the intent to destroy someone else that they perceive is getting the things they 'deserve' that is in my own experience the really nasty evil stuff.

If you know an N and can trigger their narcissistic rage episodes, and watch what happens, that will give you lots of evidence as to why I refer to them as a 'creature' and not human at all. Beware though, that rage will be turned toward you and they will attempt to sabotage and destroy everything about you. Its not for the faint hearted, and I'd strongly recommend that if you have an N about, just enforce your boundaries and get rid of the thing.


Sparkster 5 years ago

Great hub, I also write on this subject and I find it strange how it's estimated that only 1% of the population suffer with the disorder yet so many people seem to have suffered because of it - naturally stealth narcissists can 'hide' themselves from exposure therefore the statistics are naturally going to be less than actual.


sparkster profile image

sparkster 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Extremely well written hub. Although officially only 1% of the general population are considered to be NPD the disorder can be so well disguised that I believe that figure is inevitably lower than the true percentage.

As mentioned in a comment above, at Hubpages it seems to be 60%. The internet, particularly web 2.0 sites like Hubpages, attracts narcissists of all sorts because it provides them with an extra way of deriving attention, admiration and adoration from the public.

It's a perfect cover to use as the mask of sanity.


Christine 4 years ago

It is official, we are in a narcissistic epidemic. The 1% that everybody is talking may well be those narcissists that have been diagnosed with NPD. It is important to remember that the spectrum of narcissism exists on a continuum, from healthy narcissism, to unhealthy traits, and all the way to pathological Narcissistic Personality Disorder. By the way, the narcissist does not have to display all of the traits associated with the full blown pathological stage of narcissism in order to do untold damage to their victims

There is such a high incidence of victims presenting themselves in therapy, that it has now given birth to a new condition known as Narcissistic Victim Syndrome (or Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome). A syndrome is a set of signs and symptoms that present themselves in a cluster.

Victims of narcissistic abuse display a particular range of symptoms that makes it easy for the trained eye to distinguish narcissistic victim abuse from other forms of abuse. It is time that victims are given back their dignity, and one of the best places to start is in the therapy room where the victim can get the chance to understand that they have been a hostage in a "war zone". Many victims believe that they are going out of their minds, the truth is, they are being slowly and systematically been driven out of their mind by the narcissistic relationship they find themselves in.


Ken 4 years ago

There are many good comments here. Thank you.

I believe that a narcissist is within him or her self a person of many levels of intensity. During their daily affairs, they can seem quite docile but explode instantly if they think it is justified. The docile side of them seems okay, sort of acceptable to you, at least leaving you in temporary peace, but the angry side is the one you cannot really deal with satisfactorily. In this way, they are like two people in the same body: one that fools you by appearing human most of the time and the one that destroys you: operating as the monster who is attacking and venting at you.

When you are unknowingly involved with one, have been taken in,I would say it is this inevitable,sudden attacking or criticism of you for some state of affairs, (blaming you for what is a failure in their minds, for what appears to them to be a logical explanation, but which to you does not fit, does not seem true or accurate,is therefore unjustified), this is how you can recognize you are dealing with a narcissist.

There will be possibly a threatening or imploring nature to this talk as well. It will sound whiney and sulking too. To you the effect will be that this person is weird or strange and you will be left puzzled, like you are dealing with a person who has stepped out of him or her self.

It is time to plan your exit!

We owe ourselves to learn to recognize them. The arrogance is the first sign, the strange eyes a second, the presentation of their thoughts as being too subjective, the impatience of their wants and need for action by you on and at their behest, their signals to control you and the action taken for such: these are the signs that must be picked up on.

It must be recognized that they are incredibly complex individuals because they want to control, take charge and exert power. When they are smarter, more intelligent, I think they are just better at doing this and at the sametime they are always evolving to grow stronger, more efficient at what they do as well.

I like the idea presented in one comment that they are creatures because at times, it seems that you cannot reach them, that their minds are going to take them where they want to go regardless. It gives you and leaves you with a feeling of helplessness and uselessness, making you unsettled and unhappy.

In this way, even when you have moved on, made the separation, it is disquieting to know that this type of unreachable mind is walking around out there victimizing others.

It stays with you unfortunately.

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