Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?


Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

mikeS said Oct 12, 2008, 12:57 PM:             

  I recently posted this on my blog because I thought it a bit long for a thread. However, on second thought, maybe it might initiate some discussion. My thanks to Nicole.It seems fundamentally evident that, in order to aspire to a career in politics, one must eventually seek ‘votes’ to advance one’s career to ever higher office. Seeking votes means essentially being liked and to be elected to political office means being liked by more people than others seeking the same office.  This requires the acute and finely detailed tailoring of one’s ‘self’ in order to be liked, as opposed to NOT liked. This process easily eliminates those who are unable, for whatever reason, to tailor the ‘self’ in a way that generates votes through ‘likability.’ This tailoring process seems so deeply inherent to a political career, that the political aspirant may need to compromise his or her longstanding values and standards to achieve votes. A career in politics is not necessarily compatible with higher values like integrity (maybe this is why so much corruption exists in the field).   In fact, if standards and values are not to some degree compromised in order to increase ‘likability’ and collect votes, then the politician will eventually be eliminated from the field or at the least stuck in less esteemed positions. This elimination process, particularly in seeking the highest offices in which more votes are required, tends to produce a specific character type that, in many cases, may be inclined toward personality or character dysfunction almost to the point of a full-blown personality disorder.    I have found that the specific character disorder frequently exhibited by political aspirants is labeled Narcissistic Personality Disorder by the American Psychiatric Association, APA, (In fact, the spiritual philosopher, Ken Wilber, believes that “narcissism” is one of the most significant impediments to Deep Spirit, although his “narcissism” is a bit more complicated that the APA’s definition).       The APA has never, to my knowledge, made any psychological classification of politicians. However, I believe it is warranted. The problem is that in the field of politics it can be very difficult or almost impossible to identify those politicians with the disorder, since we all realize and tend to accept that politics is often a personality competition of celebrity proportions. Therefore, we could be witnessing a full-blown Narcissistic disordered personality right before our eyes, yet fail to recognize the symptoms of the disorder due to the very nature of politics in this postmodern age.          My point in this essay is in relation to the appearance of Deep Spirit and not necessarily, the appearance of narcissistic symptoms. However, Narcissism impedes Deep Spirit, particularly in those exhibiting symptoms of the disorder, and is generated primarily from fear. More specifically, in politics the fear is of not attaining votes because more voters dislike the political candidate. This is the fear of un-likability, that we all on some level experience. Yet my being disliked by many people may not result in the need to tailor my personality in order to be more liked so as to enhance my career, but for the politician this tailoring is crucial to career enhancement.             

Narcissism is a personality or “character” disorder actually diagnosable through the psychiatric model of mental disorders as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual or Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). The officially accepted criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder according to the DSM-IV is as follows :             

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:




recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)  to be(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects          



with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love   is preoccupied(2)         


(3) 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)    



(4) requires excessive admiration       



(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations          



(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends             

(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others             

(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her             

(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes             

Although Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a classification of the psychiatric model of mental disorders, the condition is pervasive to the personality or ‘self’ and is essentially impervious to medications, and most psychotherapies. In other words, if you are afflicted with this ‘disorder,’ narcissistic personality is what you ARE and you most likely can be NO different since the core ‘self’ IS the disorder and will not change (at least, not in this lifetime, anyway). This is different from psychiatric mental disorders which are primarily due to brain or neurochemicals imbalances and can be treated through medications             

As the symptoms reveal, there is an almost complete self-absorption with little regard for others or the suffering of others. In fact, others are seen as only means to greater enhancement, or advancement, of the ‘self.’ Therefore, any spiritual perspective of ‘oneness,’ any unity of perception or converging of perspectives to include the collective as opposed to the Narcissistic individual, is essentially absent or at the least, greatly minimized.             

I contend that many of our national leaders meet, if not all the criteria, many of the symptoms of this character disorder (notice that only 5 of the 9 symptoms need be met for the diagnosis to be applied).             

Based on the limited research available regarding Narcissistic Personality Disorder it appears to be the result of early childhood deprivation or neglect in terms of building healthy psychological ego-self structures. Based on current statistics, only a very small percentage of the U.S. population is afflicted with this disorder (many medical statistics claim only 1% of the population, however, since narcissists rarely admit to the symptoms of this disorder they rarely attend treatment and thus fail to be statistically counted).             


Due to the grandiose nature of politics, individual politicians must be predisposed to acquiring high public esteem and self-glorification through the acquisition of ‘votes’ related to election and re-election. This election process tends to funnel, collect and lump together those who may be prone to narcissistic personality disorder, particularly at the highest political levels. This is a bit different then celebrity status, although certainly there are many narcissistic personalities in that field as well. Yet, since celebrities tend to be esteemed based on some artistic talent and exist primarily to entertain, politicians need not exhibit any specific talent other than that of tailoring the personality so as to attain the greatest number of votes thereby beating opposition. In addition, a movie or rock star can enhance their celebrity status through controversy, while a politician’s career can be completely derailed through anything less than a perfect personality and a stellar past. Therefore, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, though evident in other careers, is abundantly manifest in politics at the highest or national level.             

However, this is not to assume that all politicians exhibit the full-fledged disorder with most of the symptoms. It may be more indicative of a greater possibility of manifesting the “traits” or “styles” of the disorder. Some politicians will be more narcissistically disordered, while others may be less afflicted. But I contend that due to the nature of the career, most will exhibit symptoms even those who seem to appear the most “honest” (I hate to say it, but George Bush tends to conform quite adequately to this model of narcissism)             

One thing is certain however, the higher the office the greater the likelihood that those elected will exhibit symptoms of the disorder as opposed to merely traits or styles. Therefore, we will suffer, more or less, dependent on the degree of Narcissistic Personality symptoms the elected office holder is afflicted by.             

Based on this, and my strong belief that regardless of one’s professed religion, seekers of Deep Inner Spirit tend to be more inclined to a more generous “worldcentric” perspective and a vision that integrates all levels of our evolving global society. This vision is completely opposite of narcissism and actually demands the clearing of narcissistic symptoms (traits and styles) in order for others, as opposed to ‘self,’ to be even considered, let alone considered through a correspondence with a deeper Spirit within.             

However, Narcissistic individuals are very adept at “lip-service” or telling us what they believe we want to hear regardless of the truth factor (this is why outright ‘lies’ are referred to “mis-stating” the facts) in order to enhance likability and acquire votes . Due to this magnified self-absorption, they tend to lack a “worldcentric” perspective and are terminally ‘stuck’ in an egocentric view of the world and others. In fact, they tend NOT to be capable of considering any other perspective but their own (unless, of course, other perspectives are similar). The Narcissistic personality is dysfunctionally self-absorbed and wholly self-oriented and obviously not amenable to the progress of an evolutionary collective consciousness that seeks to encompass all perspectives, all the time.             

So, when you cast your vote this November, stop to consider which of the politicians seeking office seem to meet the above psychiatric criteria. This may help to insure that you are not voting for a candidate who is Narcissistic Personality Disordered having one chief value in mind above all others and that is the glorification of self. If this is the primary perspective they hold, then most likely they should not hold public office.             

Clearly, we are approaching difficult times ahead and the leaders we choose will need a foundation of Deep Spirit in order to help us seek that same foundation within ourselves. If we elect officials, no matter what party, who are personality/character disordered, we have no one to blame but ourselves for the disorder and corresponding symptoms we will no doubt experience. Of course, this statement may initiate an examination of the two-term election of George Bush and the question:
Can a large segment of a national population be Narcissistic Personality Disordered? I’ll leave that to brighter minds than mine, but the implications are bone-chilling.             

Peace Angels,
mike S              


Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Alan said Oct 12, 2008, 3:01 PM:             

  A narcissist is simple a man or woman who’s ego is so out of control that even in this egoic age they’re out of balance.  

I have had up close personal views of narcissists.  Of course, power draws people who live solely for themselves and  to please their self-image.  As does wealth.  These are the flames the intensely ego-centric flock to, like moths, only to burn.
This is why we have this pain-filled world, I agree.  
Time to declare war on greed.  (for money, power, pleasure, whathaveyou)
Time to stop declaring war on eachother.  Every time we do, we lose sight of the real enemy
as surely as Iraq had little to do with bin laden.





Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Nicole said Oct 13, 2008, 9:36 AM:             

  Alan and Mike, thanks.Mike, I am very grateful for you beginning the discussion with this marvelous blog of yours. It’s interesting, I just read a blog by Marmalade which is an in-depth personality analysis and comparison of the current candidates and past presidents, with a lot of detail of what leads to success in presidency, including the ability to lie well and being impulsive and passionate rather than collegial. It’s a very detailed blog though and I can’t do it justice so I hope you will check it out yourselves – Politics, Personality, and Character  I would love to hear what Marmalade and others think about this thread.    Alan, you’re so right about losing track of the real enemy. It has never been other people.    Light and peace,       Nicole          




Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 13, 2008, 2:20 PM:             

  Thanks for the advertisement of my blog, dear Nicole.  As you know, I have a strong interest in personality.  Its quite fascinating all of the info that is out there.I noticed this thread when it was first posted.  I don’t know that I have much to add.  I can see the perspective of leadership roles attracting narcissists.  The one thing I would question is the issue of personality disorder.  If narcissism has offered survival value to the human species, then its not fair to call it a personality disorder.  Similarly, I’ve heard the theory that Attention Deficity Disorder may simply be a type of personality that no longer has a place in our society and such people are unfairly medicated.  The problem is that the world now is different than it was when humans evolved personality traits.  Narcissism may be quite benificial in a leader of a tribe but maybe dangerous on the largscale of international politics.  Also, maybe traditional cultures had ways of controlling narcissism from going out of control.   Marmalade   

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Alan said Oct 13, 2008, 2:46 PM:             


Having lived with a narcissist, while I disagree with the very idea of ‘personality disorders’ a great deal, I can say that if the definition of personality disorders includes maladaptation, eg a state of being that causes extreme harm to the self or others, Narcissism must be a personality disorder.  We probably disagree about the idea that this state of being is or has ever been helpful.  Narcissism ruins everything it touches.  The story of King Midas is a very good myth about it.
In leaders, it is the most dangerous thing in the world…. whether tribe or nation.  These are just my .02 though…
Also, I’d be interested in reading a study about narcissism cross-culturally.  In Japanese culture, for example, as far as I know the children are so asked to empathize with each other that an individual who seemingly has no empathy at all (eg, a narccisist) is probably less of a likely phenomenon.  In fact, this set of behaviors, to me, is no more than a symptom of the larger imbalance of this particular society.  





Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 13, 2008, 3:20 PM:             

  Alan,I haven’t ever studied it much, but from my meager research it seems that narcissism is a broad category.  I guess its important to know whether this thread is about narcissism in general or only narcissism as a personality disorder.  Here is something from the Wikipedia article:  Johnson [9] discusses Narcissism as constituting a spectrum, from a severe disorder with much in common with borderline personality disorder, to a much less severe, high-functioning form he calls “the narcissistic style.”   
“People who have a narcissistic
personality style rather than narcissistic personality disorder are relatively psychologically healthy, but may at times be arrogant, proud, shrewd, confident, self-centered and determined to be at the top. They may not, however, have an unrealistic image of their skills and worth and are not so strongly dependent on praise to sustain a healthy self-esteem.” [10]
As there are different types of Narcissism, I’d guess there are probably different causes of it also.  As an example I noticed acquired situational narcissism:    Acquired Situational Narcissism is a form of narcissism that develops in late adolescence or adulthood, brought on by wealth, fame and the other trappings of celebrity     





disorder.  pesonalityI was wondering about the social components to narcissism in our culture.  Maybe narcissistic personality style is common, but maybe narcissistic personality disorder isn’t.  Furthermore, maybe they exist on a gradient and maybe there is something about our society that turns the personality style into a          



, but this leads people to an even greater focus on their own personal problems because they have no one else to turn to.   is discouragedA cross-cultural study would be interesting.  I’ve read something about Japanese culture that relates to your comment.  The author was saying that Japanese culture has the opposite effect from what would be expected.  Individual expression         


I liked your last point.  Is Narcissism a personality disorder or a societal disorder?    











Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

mikeS said Oct 13, 2008, 3:48 PM:             

  I realize the title of this post was rather pejorative and exaggerated. Nevertheless, I was not addressing “leadership roles” per say since clearly in many industries and fields leadership does not rely as heavily or at all on ‘likability’ or attractiveness. Many leaders rose to leadership positions meritoriously or through talent and there is not the need to tailor the personality so acutely as with politics.If narcissism has offered survival value to the human species, then its not fair to call it a personality disorder.   That would be an interesting discussion as to whether personality disorders have survival value. As Alan points out, they are maladaptive to the person and society and do tend to impair the individual or others in some way. There are many different personality disorders and I’m mostly familiar with antisocial (sociopathic) and narcissistic from 8 yrs of work in a prison.
Actually, it seems to me that Narcissism would have little survival value since it is not amenable to leadership roles beneficial to the tribe.
In addition, although I use psychiatric diagnoses in my work, I am also very suspect of the criteria. Rarely do individuals meet even the minimum requirments and personality disorders often overlap with mood disorders. This is why I mentioned “traits” and “styles” in my initial post. Attention Deficit is a mood disorder and treatable through drugs and personality disorders are frequently untreatable since it involves impaired ego development usually traced to childhood parenting in combination with genetic predispositions   My  point was  that diagnosable “narcissistic personality disorder” may be more observable through the political arena than in any other public realm. In addition, due to the postmodern politics, and the cult of celebrity, this may be more true than in previous times. In that sense it would be a societal problem particularly if the society is narcissistic, but that would also make it less visible TO the society. A good book on sociel narcissism would be “Culture of Narcissism” by Christopher Lasch, which is quite an indictment of American society.    Thanks : )
mike S       

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 14, 2008, 1:16 AM:             

  Hey Mike!  I’m not really in disagreement with you.  I just like to complicate
things. I was reading that research shows that Japanese are more self-critical. 
Self-criticalness intuitively seems quite opposite from Narcissism.  But I also
noticed that in an articleabout narcissism that strong self-criticism is
sometimes seen in relationship to strong self-regard.  I came across the view
that it might be helpful to separate two types of narcissism.  One more overt
and what is typically thought of as narcissism, but the other more hidden. 
Here is a paper that speaks about narcissism amongst Japanese being more
of the latter type:          

That paper also points out how narcissism relates to dependence.  Its not 
that  narcissists think only about themselves but that they think too much
about how others think about them.  They need confirmation of their own
self-regard.  Its the need for social acceptance that can lead to the
self-criticalness when they don’t live up to those externalized expectations.            

Of course, narcissism is very different in various populations.  The narcissism
of politicians is probably quite different than narcissism of prisoners, and the
narcissism of both of those populations probably would be quite different than 
narcissism amongst more average people.            

As a different perspective, here is an book excerpt about the relationship
between personality traits and narcissism:    

p. 234: One of the facets of FFM antagonism is arrogance, the central
trait of NPD (American Psychiatric Association, 2000, Millon et al., 1996). 
An advantage of the FFM dimensional classification of personaity disorder
though is the ability to distinguish between arrogant persons who are high
versus low in neuroticism. A longstanding concern within the clinical
literature on narcissism is the distinction between narcissistic
persons who
are consistently self-confident, arrogant, andconceited (what
Ronningstam, 2005, describes as the “arrogant narcissit”) versus the
narcissistic person who is quite insecure and self-conscious (the
“shy narcissist”; Ronningstam, 2005). The dimensional perspective of the
FFM would not create subtypes of a diagnostic category to address the
considerable variation that does occur, but would simply describe the
extent to which a person high in arrogance is also low in the anxiousness,
self-consciousness, and vulnerability facets of neuroticism. Further
distinctions would be provided by the extent to which the person is low in
extraversion (the shy narcissist) versus high in extraversion (the outgoing,
interpersonally engaging narcissist), or high in conscientiousness
(the narcissist who is relatively successful in school, college, and career).

And here is narcissistic personality disorder translated into FFM traits:    

High Neuroticism
Chronic negative affects, including anxiety, fearfulness, tension,
irritability, anger, dejection, hopelessness, guilt, shame; difficulty in inhibiting
impulses: for example, to eat, drink, or spend money; irrational beliefs: for
example, unrealistic expectations,perfectionistic demands on self,
unwarranted pessimism; unfounded somatic concerns; helplessness and
dependence on others for emotional support and decision making.             

High Extraversion
Excessive talking, leading to inappropriate self-disclosure and social
friction; inability to spend time alone; attention seeking and overly dramatic
expression of emotions; reckless excitement seeking; inappropriate attempts to
dominate and control others.        

Low Openness
Difficulty adapting to social or personal change; low tolerance or
understanding of different points of view or lifestyles; emotional blandness and
inability to understand and verbalize own feelings; alexythymia; constricted range
of interests; insensitivity to art and beauty; excessive conformity to authority.             

Low Agreeableness
Cynicism and paranoid thinking; inability to trust even friends or family;
quarrelsomeness; too ready to pick fights; exploitive and manipulative; lying; rude
and inconsiderate manner alienates friends, limits social support; lack of respect for
social conventions can lead to troubles with the law; inflated and grandiose sense of
self; arrogance.             

Low Conscientiousness
Underachievement: not fulfilling intellectual or artistic potential; poor
performance relative to ability; disregard of rules and responsibilities can
lead to
trouble with the law; unable to discipline self (e.g., stick to diet, exercise plan)
even when required for medical reasons; personal and occupational aimlessness.


Here are some other links that interested me:         …-a070739740             



Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

mikeS said Oct 14, 2008, 5:39 AM:             

  Whoa! Marm,You are ‘researcher extraordinaire’!  In addition, I did not necessarily perceive you as disagreeing or agreeing. The point is achieving synthesis through the ongoing dialogue. I only feel disappointed if my posts stimulate NO discussion (I think you have said as much before).The point of ALL my posts, blog and threads, is to either initiate discussion, for OR against, and continue it possibly toward such a synthesis. I have not cornered the market on knowledge, nor am I narcissistically certain of anything (neat how I slid that in!)   You seem to have deconstructed the DSM-IV Narcissistic classification. I love deconstructing accepted beliefs and although I have not heard of FFM It certainly looks credible (although i do take issue with the old freudian term “neuroticism” which is rarely used in clinical circles due to its being so nebulous).    

The narcissism of politicians is probably quite different than narcissism of prisoners, and the narcissism of both of those populations probably would be quite different than narcissism amongst more average people.




disorder shine brightly as the prison environment lends itself to that presentation.  narcississtichis disorder in politics, but as soon as we put him behind bars we would see his  demonstrateon environmental factors. In other words, the same narcissist would covertly  be dependent psychosocial environment. To say that one type is overt and another covert, I believe, would the thebased on  be differentI disagree in that the “narcissism” would be the same, however, the behaviors would          



japanese narcissism, but could we posit then a further contrast in that  the narcissism of Japanese culture is much more covert than American? Yet, the narcissism is the same psychological phenomenon, only tailored to the cultural norms?   regardingI have not yet read the link you provided         


I will look over the links you have provided since they seem highly informative.    



However, my general point from the previous posts was that we could see, if we know what to look for, Narcissism (based on the DSM, but maybe even more adequately based of FFM) in the highest level of politics. My hypothesis was that at the highest level of political functioning, those most deeply afflicted by this disordered personality could be seen. But, again, only if we know what we are looking for and thus, I used the DSM criteria as model. I do feel we need to differentiate between average everyday narcissism, or selfishness, and the narcissism of a disordered personality.       



My suggestion that the disorder is “destroying the world” is related to the idea that if you place a conglomeration of Narcissistically disordered personalities in one big room, say the U.S. Congress for instance, with the intent of making decisions beneficial to the world, most likely nothing will get done and thus the world will gradually devolve into some form of self-destruction. Quite a leap, I know, but that’s my general thesis.
Sometimes I wonder if, in our politically correct society, we have a tendency to water down what are truly dysfunctional personalities. I feel this neither serves well the person nor the society.          



believe me when I say that I genuinely look forward to your complicating things further!! : )             

Peace Angels,
mike S             


Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Nicole said Oct 14, 2008, 9:11 AM:             

  Mike, I too am very pleased at the level of discourse this has generated, with Marmalade and Alan’s input! You guys all rock!I’m really looking forward to getting my teeth into that link about the Japanese, seems particularly relevant this week as I’m in the midst of arrangements for the pre-conference activities in early December with my colleagues in Tokyo and surroundings 🙂  Light and peace,   Nicole   

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 14, 2008, 3:11 PM:             

  Mike, this comment of yours stood out to me.My suggestion that the disorder is “destroying the world” is related to the idea that if you place a conglomeration of Narcissistically disordered personalities in one big room, say the U.S. Congress for instance, with the intent of making decisions beneficial to the world, most likely nothing will get done and thus the world will gradually devolve into some form of self-destruction. Quite a leap, I know, but that’s my general thesis.

Its always a strange experiment when you stick a bunch of similar people together.  The similarities become magnified.  I first noticed this when visitng type forums.  Put the same type in a single forum and you get weird social dynamics.  Its an educational experience because you quickly discover what distinguishes people amidst their similarities.  I wonder what the social dynamics are in a group of narcissists?  I wouldn’t want to be the observer.  It could get ugly.   Marmalade    

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 14, 2008, 2:13 PM:             

  I just thought of something amusing.I learned about FFM through studying MBTI.  FFM is a popular topic on MBTI forums and there has been correlations made between the two systems.  Both models have been researched on their own, but also some research has been done on how well they correlate.  Here is a paper about this:   FFM Extraversion correlates to MBTI Extraversion
FFM Openness correlates to MBTI Intuition
FFM Agreeableness correlates to MBTI Feeling
FFM Conscientiousness correlates to MBTI Judging    The fifth FFM factor of Neuroticism doesn’t correlate as strongly but does have some correlation to MBTI Introversion.        So, the fun part is if we take the FFM correlation to MBTI (ignoring Neuroticism) and add it to the FFM correlation to Narcissism.  What we get is that the ESTP type correlates to a Narcissistic personality.   The real fun part is looking at the MBTI analysis of politicians.  I’ve looked around at various blogs, articles and forum discussions.  There seems to be a consensus that McCain is an ESTP.          Of course, MBTI focuses on the positive and isn’t designed to understand psychiatric disorders.  But its a fun game to play.  Here is a humorous page about negative descriptions of MBTI types:             

ESTP: The Conman
As an ESTP, you are driven to succeed and to win. Your personality is dominated by your drive to test yourself and to triumph over your fellow man.
This generally expresses itself as an overwhelming urge to prove your self worth (and fatten your wallet) by taking advantage of the suckers, marks, and dupes who surround you–after all, isn’t that what they’re there for? It’s not your fault that their stupidity and gullibility lets them believe you when you say that Hershey’s Kissesses exposed to your patented psychic amplifier rays will let them fly! As your hero and fellow ESTP, P. T. Barnum, once said, “it is morally wrong to let a sucker keep his money.”
As an ESTP, your greatest fear is failure. Under no circumstances will you permit yourself that kind of weakness, which makes you ideally suited for a job at Enron, where your natural talents can be recognized and rewarded.
RECREATION: ESTPs enjoy recreational activities such as card sharking, pool sharking, and conning little old women out of their lives’ savings. They’re often fond of polo as well.          




Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 14, 2008, 2:46 PM:             

  Related to FFM is the SLOAN model that takes the traits and describes all of the possible combinations.  This makes it more of a typology system like the MBTI.  MBTI ESTP translates into 2 SLOAN types:  SCUEN 
(2.9% of women; 3.2% of men) 

not easily hurt, spends more time in group activities than solitary activities, comes alive at parties and in crowds, not very religious, would not want to give up drinking or smoking, not mystical, not big on science fiction, does not care if people think poorly of them, not very introspective, fits in most places, does not like to go days without speaking to people, likes change, trusting, not very intellectual, underachiever, not easily moved to tears, thrill seeker, does not like to compromise, not apologetic, avoids difficult reading material, relaxed most of the time, likes danger, not punctual, impatient, not upset by the misfortunes of strangers, believes in an eye for an eye, not detail oriented, uninterested in the needs of others, avoids responsibilities, not known for generosity, more dominant than submissive, underachiever, likes crowds, aggressive, willing to take risks, not embarrassed easily, not passionate about improving the world, show off, socially comfortable, acts as they please, not bothered by disorder             

(4.5% of women; 2.1% of men)       

quick tempered, thinks winning is no fun unless people know you have one, does not keep emotions under control, prefers to do things with others, emotional, not very intellectual, prone to envy, comes alive in night life activities and crowds, vain, would not be happy if poor, prefers instant gratification, easily hurt, not very introspective, wants to be famous, seductive, does not readily admit mistakes, more comfortable when things are imperfect, would rather spend than save, feels best when others find them physically attractive, materialistic, finds ordinary tasks draining, wants things done their way, overwhelmed by unpleasant feelings frequently, spontaneous, easily frustrated, impatient, low self confidence, prone to jealousy, misbehaves, improper, acts out frustrations on others, opinionated, non known for generosity, more pleasure seeking than responsible, ambivalent regarding the suffering of others, hard to reason with, does not accept what others say, does not value solitude, unpredictable

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Nicole said Oct 15, 2008, 8:26 AM:             

  Thanks, Marmalade, I really enjoyed that link with all the twisted MBTI characters! LOLOL!Thanks too for the SLOAN model, that’s an approach that was new to me. You are a veritable wealth of fascinating information.  Love,   Nicole      

Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Marmalade said Oct 15, 2008, 12:50 PM:             

  Yeah, I love that site.  I wonder if it was written by a disgruntled INFP.  The INFP description is not entirely unflattering.  Its good that the INFP population is kept from outgrowing its niche.There are few things that interest me more than personality.  Its researching personality that got me interested in the world wide web.  Its the web is a veritable wealth of fascinating information.  Marmalade   



Re: Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

Nicole said Oct 16, 2008, 9:05 AM:             

  I think it’s quite likely that it was a disgruntled INFP, LOL! I especially enjoyed “The Cult Leader”, as an ENFJ :):)Love,  Nicole   

21 thoughts on “Is “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” Destroying the World?

  1. Scanning this, I agree with many points but disagree with a couple. The first narcissist that came to mind in politics was Edwards, hehe. I still say I don’t like categorizing different types of personalities, but arrogance can ruin a person and everything they touch. You mentioned somewhere neglect leading to narcissism and Bush being a narcissist. I think more likely his problem was he was spoiled and wasn’t able to figure out how to do things on his own, IMO. I have known a serious narcissist or two in my life. They make good actors/actresses. There is a place for everyone. Not saying I like hanging out with them- I can’t stand them. But I still say live and let live. They reap what they sow, I believe in Karma- although not exactly in the way Hindu’s do. People have to live with themselves.

    • From the perspective of psychology, any type or trait taken to the extreme can have problems. Trait research, however, shows that most people are closer to the middle. Those at the extremes are the exception to the rule.

      That could be partly why any type/trait brought to the extreme is problematic. Since most people aren’t at the extremes, most of society is designed for the average person in the middle. Modern civilization is a bit different in that people at the extremes can still play a socially beneficial role in certain kinds of careers. But if society doesn’t have clear rules and methods for controlling, sublimating and redirecting extreme behaviors, it can lead to very destructive results.

      The highest ideal of Myers-Briggs and Jungian psychology in general is understanding differences in order to allow everyone to be themselves in the best way possible. It’s all about live and let live. It’s usually those who lack psychological insight that have difficulty accepting people are different. Jung was against strict categories, but he believed strongly in self-exploration and self-understanding… which is assisted when you have a psychological language to explain your experiences and observations.

      I posted this without reading all of it again. I forget what I might’ve written about Bush. I think it’s safe to say most presidents have at least some narcissistic and/or sociopathic behavior. It’s almost impossible to make it very far in national politics if you don’t have these traits even if only mildly.

      I’m not sure about someone like Obama. Bush made statements like “I’m the Decider” and claimed to be on a Mission from God, but Obama seems to have a very different kind of attitude. In terms of MBTI, I’d describe Obama as an NP (Extraverted Intuition) because he likes to think things out very carefully and consider all possibilities (in terms of FFM, this is Openness; in terms of Hartmann, this is thin boundary type). Whatever Obama may be, I don’t think he is a narcissist and I think President Clinton was more of a sociopath (or at least more of a smooth talker) than Obama.

      I don’t know if Obama makes for a good president. Personality wise, I like him more than most politicians. I get the sense that he is very intelligent and thoughtful. I wish he was less of a centrist and more strong on what he believes, but even so I find him to be a breath of fresh air after the last administration. For Washington politics, I suppose he ain’t half bad.

  2. I agree about MBTI- it seems to be a little more allowing. I think as long as someone isn’t committing any crimes…

    Because of your interest in psychology I suggest you take a trip out to hollywood, and observe, hang out with some of the people there. Actually, go to beverly hills or calabassas, one of those areas. Hang out with some of the people and observe the narcassism. There isn’t much going on in their brains other than what you see. I am trying to figure how it could be problematic, though. The narcassist I knew desired to be actresses or actors and always talked about themselves. They didn’t seem to do much harm or commit any crimes. Other than waaay too much mirror gazing. But get this- in that society narcissists are respected more. It is soooo backwards.

    The reason I thought of Edwards was the $1000 haircut! do you remember that leaking? That guy was a huge narcissist. Was clinton? I thought he was a good president that accomplished a lot, narcissist or not. Sure, he cheated on his wife, but I think that was more lack of impulse control than anything. Obama seems like a good president. He may or may not be narcissistic but he presents himself well and has confidence.

    Here is what I am wondering and I am probably going to do a blog on this…I thought the Roman empire seemed fairly narcissistic as well as hedonistic. That is perhaps what led to its crash- they promised the people too much, thinking they could never fall, and were overcome by the Goths. Do you feel that is where our ’empire’ is going with too much narcissism? I know the rest of the worlld- or a lot of it- thinks of the Us as a narcissistic state… what is your opinion of the turn society is taking with our idolizing entertainers? You actually don’t see much of it at all in the midwest compared to a lot of parts of the country.

    • I should first note that I fixed the formatting a bit on my post. You should be able to read it all now. For some reason, part of it was cutting off on the right side.

      Hollywood would drive me crazy. I’m just a simple midwesterner. I was raised by midwestern parents who raised me with midwestern values. The midwest does create some actors, but it certainly isn’t a mecca of actors. Instead, the midwest (especially the region surrounding the Mississippi river) is more known for producing writers and artists. We are more quiet, contemplative types… with a good dose of Protestant work ethic.

      Some people think midwesterers are boring because we don’t like to stick out. Generally speaking, midwesterners prefer the simple things in life and focus on practical matters: family, farming, gardening, community politics, etc. I live in a relatively exciting town for Iowa, but there isn’t much going on downtown besides lots of restaraunts, bars, bookstores, and a few theatre venues (mostly for local theatre productions). Even though there is plenty going on, most of it is on the smaller scale.

      I don’t like large cities of any variety. I went to high school in Columbia, SC which is a large city, but I didn’t get much sense of narcissism in the South… except from some of the old wealth types with their plantation culture. I found the South depressing. Maybe it was just because I lived in a big city. Narcissism wasn’t the problem, but Southerners are so divided by class that there isn’t the neighborliness and friendliness found in the midwest. Then again, there isn’t much neighborliness and friendliness in most big cities.

      I was just reading an article in a local news magazine. It was written by someone from the Southside of Chicago. In recent years, we (and many other small midwestern towns) have had an influx of poor people from Chicago (for complex reasons partly involving Chicago and the federal government changing how welfare is given). It has been a culture shock for midwesternerns who like to think of themselves as not being class conscious. Despite a bit of antagonism from some locals, midwesterners still try to be neighborly. In the article, the person wrote about his neighbors stopping by to introduce themselves and brought a pie along.

      That is just typical midwestern behavior. I don’t know if it is the opposite of narcissism. Maybe it’s just small town behavior. I’d be curious if small town communities in other regions (such as the West Coast) are this open and friendly towards strangers moving to town.

      As for Edwards, I can’t say much about him. I do recall the expensive haircut. Besides that, I’m not at all familiar with Edwards as a politician or as a person.

      And, as for Clingon, I don’t know that he is a narcissist at all. My point is that, between Clinton and Obama, the former is more likely to fit that description than the latter. Maybe narcissism doesn’t fit Clinton, but I think a case could be made for him having some sociopathic behavior (not necessarily in a bad way). It’s hard to tell.

      I’ve heard Clinton took lessons from Tony Robbins and so that is where he learned how to work people. My conservative dad always admired how Clinton would be fully present to each person when they shook hands. Clinton probably learned that from Tony Robbins, but I think it came natural to Clinton to some extent. I don’t know how to determine sociopathic behavior because it depends on the motivation behind it. Did Clinton actually care about other people or did he just act like he cared because he enjoyed the attention of being liked and because he enjoyed playing a social role?

      Narcissism is a confusing category and I can’t claim to fully understand it. In the above discussion I posted, I mentioned research done in Japan which demonstrated that Japanese was a very narcissistic culture for the very reason of it being socially repressive of the individual. In some ways, an outwardly individualistic culture such as America is less narcissistic. As I recall, I was making that argument.

      Another confusion came up in relation to generational cohorts. I think it was Twenge who wrote a book about the Millennial generation being narcissistic, but either Strauss or Howe criticized this view. Strauss or Howe said that the data didn’t support Twenge’s argument. Millennials are extremely other-oriented to a fault, the complete opposite of narcissism. The reason Twenge was confused is that Millennials learned the language of narcissism from their Boomer parents and from the culture in general that has been impacted by Boomers. It’s the Boomers who show high levels of narcissism.

      It’s hard enough thinking about all of this on the broad level of present society. It’s hard to come to any clear conclusions when looking back at history. Is idolizing entertainers a sign of society-wide narcissism? If it is, to what extent does it become destructive? And are there any mitigating factors?

      I definitely think the parallells between the American and Roman Empires are very strong and possibly meaningful. The connection between correlation and causation isn’t always certain. Even if there are external similarities, does that mean there is an underlying cause that is also similar? I honestly don’t know.

      There is an avenue of thought that interests me even more. Is there something about civilization in general that encourages or amplifies traits such as narcissism and sociopathy?

      The ideal of the individual human having inherent worth is a notion that began to spread more widely during the Axial Age. Christianity was a later blooming of the Axial Age. What many people forget is that Christianity was a religion that arose out of urban culture which was a great mixing of differnt people. America seems similar in at least this aspect. Also, Christianity (and Judaism) arose out of a slave culture. I think modern Western society still has elements of slave culture mentality: hierarchical structure, wealthy leisure class, imperialistic conquering of other nations to ensure cheap labor and goods, etc. This is what George Lakoff calls the Strict Father model which is presently popular with conservtives and which is based on a traditional Christian worldview.

      • There is plenty of narcissism in the Boomer parents, but millennials have taken it to a whole new level. Check out George Simon’s book: Character Disorders: the Phenomenon of our Time.

        • I suspect that isn’t true. Technically speaking, narcissism means someone who is very self-focused. However, Millennials are extremely other-focused. They are obsessively social, including high rates of volunteering. If anything, they are the exact opposite in being superficially group-minded. As a GenXer, my criticism of Millennials is that they don’t have enough independent-minded self-focus.

  3. Southern California WOULD drive you crazy but for me, for my husband, for everyone I know who grew up there and leaves and then goes back for a visit the same thing happens. It is like a huge rush of excitement. The fast cars, the open traffic, the beautiful people, the mountains, the fancy restaurants, the fashionable clothes, the breathtaking houses… I have always felt like it is ‘home’ going back since it is where I grew up. That is why I refuse to go back for a visit right now, or anytime soon… it is a HORRIBLE place to raise children and my son comes first. There are no values- teens get all sorts of plastic surgery in high school before they are done growing, eople breath smog instead of air, the schools are overcrowded, narcissism is encouraged and being humble means being weak, the bad kids are the cool kids, etc, etc) As for the view out there on the midwest: they hate it. When my friends found out I was moving here their face was pure disgust. They make fun of the accents, they make movies making fun of the accents, and they call all the people fat and all sorts of horrible things (even though people here longer lives )

    I was surprised to see that here people kind of have the same reaction to that area although the midwest is too nice to outright say anything bad about the west past ‘I’m sorry’ when they hear where I am from. Still, a visit just to observe would be worth it since you are interested in psychology- to escape the winter. You won’t get the true feel unless you hang out with some ‘natives’ though.

    I am surprised you call the south unfriendly. You always hear about ‘ southern hospitality’. It is the only region of the country I have never been, but I don’t think I could handle the humidity. I do find the midwest incredibly friendly. I would have a really hard time leaving because of that.

    I think the japanese culture is very humble. Narcissistic or not… I think you can read way too deep into these labels. When someone lacks empathy, that is another story. But I would suggest that makes a person a psychopath. I don’t think there is a problem with cultures that encourage individualism at all. And you and I have discussed Rand frequently, who may have been a narcissist. She frequently mentions that you have to thoroughly love yourself before you can fully contribute and I can see wisdom in that. She rejects any fear or being timid but being proud and working hard. There is such a thing as overdoing it though. You need to set your own limits- but I think the point is that it is your right to do so as long as you are not harming others. If you want to be boastful, do so. Just be aware there may be repercussion with it and make sure you have accomplished what you are boasting.

    People tend not to like those who are boastful, and I think that is what a narcissist will have to face. But what crimes do they commit other than arrogance and idiocy? Surely they have empathy somewhere? Or wouldn’t they be classified with psychopaths??

    I see Obama categorized as an Enfj online and that makes sense to me. But I also See him as a P, so perhaps ENFJ and ENFP???

    I bought a book at an antique store on roman civilization saying the romans on a trip a couple weeks ago. I just opened a random page and landed on in the middle where it said Romans persecuted Christians for disregarding worshiping their statues. Score one for Romans being narcissistic a-holes.

    • I’ve only been to the West coast once. I have family and a friend who lives in Oregon. I haven’t visited any of the other West coast states. My favorite author (Philip K. Dick) was a lifelong Californian. So, my sense of California is filtered through the demented mind of a sci-fi writer. I liked Oregon, but I suppose it’s quite different than California.

      BTW did you know there is an Iowa City in California? I’ve heard that it was formed by Iowa Citians who moved there. Many people who go to the University here end up moving elsewhere since the job opportunities are limited for certain careers. For some reason, I’ve known many Iowa Citians who have moved to Portland, Oregon. Maybe Oregon seems a more friendly place than California. Like Iowa City, Portland is the home of at least one writers’ workshop.

      My oldest brother, who moved to Oregon twice, has in recent years lived in several towns around Iowa. What is interesting about rural Iowa is that it’s filled with quite a few old hippies. The hippies moved out to the West coast when younger and many of them ended up moving back because land and housing is cheaper here.

      My own sense of the United States probably isn’t normal. I spent most of my childhood in the town I live in now, Iowa City, which isn’t a typical Iowa town. Eastern Iowa is fairly liberal being closer to Illinois and the NorthEastern states. Western Iowa and other rural parts of Iowa can be relatively conservative, although less conservative than the South or Mormon country. When I lived in South Carolina, I lived in Columbia which is probably the most liberal city there. When I lived in North Carolina, I lived near Asheville which is probably the most liberal city in that state. So, I’ve tended to live in relatively liberal places. Part of the reason is because my dad is a professor and so I grew up in university communities.

      I’m sure my view of the world would be very different if I’d grown up in conservative areas. My parents grew up in the more conservative Indiana and both of them are conservatives. My brothers and I all grew in liberal places and we are all liberals. That demonstrates how much the environment can impact a developing mind.

      Anyways, I don’t think I’m necessarily representative of the average Midwesterner. My general worldview and values are Midwestern, but I don’t think have regional pride in believing the midwest is superior to the rest of the country. The Midwest is simply the Heartland, then center of the country. We are in the middle and so we are average, moderate… what some would call boring. We don’t have great povery or great wealth. We are middle class and working class combined. Southerners have pride and some West Coasters seem to have pride, but maybe pride (or at least vocally stated pride) isn’t some thing Midwesterners possess. So, I don’t know if I’m a normal Midwesterner or not. Since I’ve lived other places and have travelled around some, I can’t say I have any particularly negative view of any region.

      I’m not sure what the average Midwesterner thinks of the West Coast. Some Midwesterners do feel that there way of life is under siege. Small family farms have been losing profitability for about a century now as big factory farming has taken over. Good factory jobs have been going away as corporations have sent their factories to other countries. Many of the rail lines have closed down.

      The rural Midwest is particularly hurting. The midwest was always known for several things that are disappearing. People are moving away from small towns. This has caused the downtowns to die in most of the small towns. Also, the government has decided to close down most local schools and instead create massive regional schools. On top of that, minorities from the big cities and from Mexico are bringing in new cultures. Midwestern values was built on small farming communities, but it’s questionable if those values can survive if most of the small farming communities disappear. The last holdouts are the Amish. We have one of the largest Amish communities around here, but I’d guess that even traditional Amish culture is in decline (which can be seen in the liberalizing of their communities).

      Is the South unfriendly? I guess it depends on how you think about it. They have a formal friendliness toward strangers, but they don’t have the neighborliness that the Midwest is known for. My mom learned this when we first moved down there. In the Midwest, when someone invites you over for coffee they mean it. In the South, they don’t always mean it. It’s just a formality, but it’s expected that you won’t take them up on it. This is particularly true of the upper class Southerners. In general, Southerners are very class conscious and so they tend to only associate with those in their class. Southerners have more of a group mentality. There families and churches form their self-enclosed communities. It’s hard to become accepted. You have to live in the same neighborhood for decades before you can have a friendly relationship with your neighbors and even then it might not be possible.

      The upper class Southerners particularly seem isolated in their self-enclosed groups. The working class are more friendly, but even among working class there is a more enclosed mentality than is found in the Midwest. Southerners see relationships in terms of family. You aren’t just a friend. If you become friends with someone, you are a friend of the family and are considered a part of the family. However, if you aren’t considered a friend of the family, Southerners tend to relate in a more formal fashion. This attitude was less pronounced for the younger generation and social relating in general was less formal for kids.

      Southerners have a group mentality. I think that is part of the reason they have strong regional pride. Midwesterners may have pride in their community, but it’s much more muted and much more open. You are only a Southerner if you were born in the South. Everyone else is a Yankee no matter how long they’ve lived there. In the Midwest, once you move to a community you are a part of that community.

      I can’t say how narcissism plays into all of this. One important point is that narcissism isn’t only encouraged to different degrees in different cultures but also it manifests differently. That is partly why I brought up Japan.

      In Japan, boasting isn’t as socially acceptable, but the research I saw showed that the Japanese test high on narcissism compared to some countries. The explanation is that Japanese culture discourages self-expression and so discourages the tolerance towards the self-expression of others. People don’t talk about their problems which means people don’t listen to the problems of others. Instead, every individual dwells on their own problems in isolation which causes the Japanese to be very self-obsessed. In America, we believe in self-expression but we also believe in tolerating and listening to the self-expression of others. So, America’s individualism actually causes Americans to be very aware of other people and less stuck in their own minds.

      Anyways, that was my understanding when I looked at the research. I haven’t studied narcissism all that much and so maybe I’ve misunderstood some aspects of it. The main issue I remember is that there is both introverted and extroverted forms of narcissism. Most people think of narcissism only in terms of its extroverted form.

      Okay… now let me respond to your last comment.

      Yep, the Romans didn’t mind any religion just as long as it didn’t exclude worship of (or, to state it differently, pay respect to and show allegiance to) the symbols and icons of the Roman Empire. Jews had a troubled relationship with the Romans and that troubled relationship was inherited by the Christians. The funny part is that the Christians later on inherited the entire Roman Empire and incorporated it into Christianity. When people of other faiths (or of other Christian traditions) refused to worship the symbols and icons of the Catholic Church, the Catholics persecuted others just as they once were persecuted.

      I think it’s fair to say almost all civilizations of the past could be labelled as narcissistic a-holes. Worshipping one’s own culture and expecting others to do the same was the norm of the ancient world.

  4. Hi,
    What an interesting post and thread!
    I don’t have academic credentials in psychology, but I believe personal life experiences are worth something, so I hope you don’t mind me sharing from a solely personal experience with narcissistic personality disorder.
    I believe that a person with the actual personality disorder, specifically a malignant narcissist, is a dangerous individual. To quote Mike, ” Narcissism ruins everything it touches,” I completely agree.

    In my experience, a malignant narcissist is a sadistic person without empathy for anyone, who uses other people to an extent that seems barely human, who lies constantly (unless the truth will hurt the other person) and feels wonderfully intelligent for every lie he or she gets away with, who slowly and meticulously attempts to breakdown another person’s sense of self and independence, who only want the people in his or her life to succeed if that success makes the narcissist look good in some way. I believe that a malignant narcissist ultimately could care less if those who love him live or die.
    I don’t think our society or any society would be losing anything if the narcissists who destroy their families, sparing no person, child or adult, went to an island together and lived happily ever after.

    • Well, I don’t academic credentials in anything. I just find psychology to be a very interesting subject. I don’t mind the sharing of personal experience. Part of my own interest in psychology is for personal reasons.

      I’m generally of the opinion that anyone with any severe enough psychiatric illness should be in a psychiatric hospital. The only exception would be if their psychiatric illness is very well controlled through some combination of medications, therapy or possibly a group home situation.

      I doubt most narcissists are dangerous. But any person with a severe psychiatric can potentially be harmful to themselves and to others. What I wonder is how many narcissists are so severe in their condition that they become a potential threat.

      • Hi,
        As to people with “severe enough psychiatric illness should be in a psychiatric hospital,” these are more accurately called institutions. In my state, every single “hospital” is under fire for severely abusing patients. Several of these facilities have been shut down and the one remaining is in bad shape. I don’t know the answers. I do know that America’s mental health system is broken.

        As to your “doubt (that) most narcissist are dangerous,” I must say, I am surprised. There are many victims, including children, who have been seriously psychologically and emotionally hurt, traumatized and damaged by a narcissist. It is very serious.

        Psychological abuse is real and the person abusing is just as dangerous as is the person who physically abuses people.

        Having narcissistic traits is different than being a toxic narcissist who leaves trails of hurt and often seriously traumatized people in their path, especially his or her spouses and children.

        • What state do you live in? I live in Iowa. I haven’t heard that psychiatric hospitals in Iowa are in bad condition or have a history of abusing patients, but I haven’t ever looked into this issue. I’m sure funding for psychiatric health is very different state by state. I’m not sure if America’s mental health system is broken or if the mental health of Americans is broken. It would seem to be one of the two.

          I was referring to narcissism in it’s most general sense as a psychological trait, a set of behavioral tendencies. I wasn’t limiting the term specifically to the psychiatric condition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Narcissism as a psychological trait probably isn’t uncommon, but narcissism as a personality disorder is relatively uncommon (0.5-1% of the population).

          I’m not sure what the correlation of clinical narcissism itself with violence, but many narcissists are diagnosed with other psychiatric conditions and apparently they have higher rates of drug addiction and suicide. Obviously, narcissism so severe that it leads to diagnosis probably most often implies a person who has major problems. However, it should be kept in mind that non-violent narcissists are probably less likely to be diagnosed with clinical narcissism and probably could go their whole lives undetected.

          I wasn’t dismissing abuse, whether physical or psychological. I’m very much concerned about the violence in our society. I was just trying to be objective about the facts relating to narcissism.

          • hi,
            I understand and thanks for your reply.
            I live in NC but to the best of my knowledge, abuse is going on in institutions all around the country. I enjoy reading a blog “Spit,bristle&fury,” who offers a great deal of information as to the conditions in our institutions and also the treatment of people with mental illnesses in general. It is in my blogroll if you are interested in that subject.
            If I knew where it was much better then I would move so my son would have better care. The system is broken maybe because of what you say, that the mental health of Americans is broken. Either way it isn’t working and abuse is psychiatric facilities is nothing new.
            As to narcissists with the personality disorder, well, they have no real need to seek out help. And to the violence, I think mental abuse is violent. It ruins lives the same as physical violence. Narcissists are extremely toxic in personal relationships. They leave victims not knowing what is real and not being able to trust their own minds. They are grand at manipulation and pretending to be who you want them to be — but it is too much for me to talk about in this thread.
            I think narcissists are violent at home and with the people who are closest to them. Often they are leaders in the community so from the outside, it is hard to spot them and also the violence in their lives is well hidden.
            I appreciate your response. Thank you.

          • I lived in North Carolina for a time. It’s a beautiful place, but I truly doubt that the Bible Belt has the best psychiatric hospitals in the country. Maybe sometime I’ll look at the data comparing states. As for data I have seen, the South and the Bible Belt in general have a lot of social problems compared to other parts of the country.

            I was in NC for 3 consecutive summers (at a YMCA camp outside of Asheville). I believe it was in 1996 when I was going down a back road in NC and I saw a billboard that blew my mind. The billboard was a public health message stating that “Epileptic seizures aren’t caused by demonic possession.” I am not kidding. Only in the Bible Belt would you see a message like that.

            I don’t know where it’s better, but any state that has billboards like that isn’t a place where I’d want to live. It’s difficult enough just having psychological issues.

            The town I live in (Iowa City) is probably above average in the way the mentally ill are treated. There are a couple hospitals here and there is a large population of those with mental and physical disabilities. So, there are good sevices here and many people move here specifically for the services. There is at least one institution that I know of which my sister-in-law worked at, but I haven’t heard about any horror stories about it. However, some of the older people at that insitution used to be at a different institution decades ago which wasn’t as nice. It was the institution that Bill Sackter (“Wild Bill”) was institutionalized in. Are you familiar with Bill Sackter? There were a couple of movies made about his life.


            Still, no place is all that great for those who don’t easily fit into society’s standards of normality. This is why so many people with psychological issues end up homeless (except for sociopaths who end up as CEOs, politicians, and lawyers). There are many homeless people around here. One of the homeless guys is a schizophrenic, but he takes care of himself more or less and isn’t a burden on society. Even though Iowa City is an extremely liberal town, there is still much conflict in the relations between the homeless and the homeful. Many people fear the homeless… sometimes for good reason, but usually not. There was a conflict a while back where a homeless guy was killed by an officer which I wrote about:


            There has been difficulty in getting a new homeless shelter built because everyone responds with “not in my backyard”. Very recently, they passed a new law saying people can only beg in specific places. I was reminded of that new law because I noticed you had linked to a blog post of yours on the About page of the Spit, Bristle & Fury blog.


            I think it’s hard for people to feel compassion for another person’s difficulties and suffering if they themselves haven’t experienced many difficulties and much suffering. I don’t specifically understand the experience of dealing with a narcissist as you have, but I still can empathize with the experience. Suffering is in many ways similar no matter what the cause.

            I feel particularly sympathetic towards the homeless because I realize how easy it is for life to turn out badly, how easy it is for anyone to become homeless. You could have had a normal life for decades and suddenly get a mental disease that maybe makes you lose your job and bankrupts you with medical costs. We are all vulnerable, but most people like to pretend it will never happen to them because they are good, responsible people. I heard a lady on the radio who had lost her job. She said she always thought the unemployed were just lazy until she personally experienced it herself and realized how hard it could be.

            The problem is that those with power and money tend to be the very people who lack compassion and understanding of those who suffer and struggle. Those with power and money generally have little incentive to help others. It’s the same reason why politicians are willing to send other people’s children off to war. Even in a smaller liberal town like Iowa City, most people living comfortable lives simply look upon the homeless as problems to be gotten rid of or nuisances to be ignored. The downtown business association would love to outlaw all homeless people from the downtown (and outlaw anyone else who doesn’t have money to spend). It’s because of the political influence of the downtown business association that the anti-panhandling law was passed.

            It seems to me the whole game is rigged. The sad part is that it’s the sociopaths and narcissists in power who prevent those with other mental illnesses (schizophrenia, depression, etc) from getting the help they need. I think we should put everyone in power on medications that alters their neuro-chemistry so that they actually feel empathy and compassion.

          • I was doing a websearch about different states in terms of psychiatric institutions and mental health. I couldn’t find any state by state comparisons of psychiatric hospitals, but here is what I found. The first shows the Midwest to have the best health care overall in the country. Second shows North Carolina spends little money on mental health compared to other states.


            “They found that patients visiting hospitals received the worst care in Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, Vermont, Alabama, Kentucky, Mississippi and Tennessee. Less than 7 percent of the hospitals in these states are considered “top-performing,” according to the study.
            The best care, meanwhile, was found in Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Ohio and Wisconsin, the study said.”

            Click to access NCPA_Report_Card_II_-_Final1.pdf

            “1. North Carolina’s per capita expenditures on mental health have not kept up with inflation, with a 38% decline in constant, inflation-adjusted, dollars from 1990 to 2002 that ranked the state 49th in the country.
            2. In FY 2002-03, North Carolina’s per capita spending on mental health was 55.1% of national per-capita spending, ranking 43rd in the nation:
            a. Per capita spending on community mental health was 34.5% of the national per-capita figure, ranking 45th.
            b. Per capita spending on Residential Treatment and Supported Housing was 5.7% of the national figure. North Carolina ranked 41st of 45 reporting states in FY 02-03.
            c. When per capita spending on community mental health is combined with Residential Treatment and Supported Housing, North Carolina ranks 50th.
            d. Per capita spending on Central Office functions was 11.3% of the national figure. North Carolina ranked 47th in FY 02-03.”

    • For most psychological issues, it isn’t nature OR nurture but rather nature AND nurture. Many psychological traits have genetic components or otherwise manifest at a very young age. Here are some links to data if you’re interested:

      Click to access npi16_jrp.pdf

      Still, even if you’re born with genes that predispose you to certain traits, there are many factors that determine if it manifests, how it manifests and to what degree it manifests.

      For example, research has shown Introversion as being traits that are observed in infants right after being born. But there are also other traits such as Openness which would impact the expression of one’s level of Introversion. Also, if one had a parental figure or mentor who was very Extraverted, one could learn to act in more Extraverted ways even if learning those behaviors would be more difficult.

      Another example is the differentiation some make between psychopaths and sociopaths. Psychopaths are considered born that way and sociopaths are considered to have developed because of external factors. The external factors could be toxicity from poisoning, early psychological trauma or a social situation that encourages sociopathic behavior. Research shows that sociopathic behavior is more common among those in positions of great power. The question is: Did they become powerful because they were already sociopaths? Or did they learn to behave sociopathically in order to become successful in their chosen careers?

      I’m of the opinion that most of the time it’s a combination of nature & nurture, but there are definitely some psychiatricical issues that are primarily one or the other. In doing a websearch, I noticed several descriptions of Narcissistic Personality Disorder explain that there presently are no known causes. There are many hypotheses being tested, but there is apparently no professional consensus about causation.

  5. In case anyone is interested, the commenter dogkisses started a thread in response to what I’ve written here.,7115.0.html

    There apparently was a misunderstanding between dogkisses and I. Dogkisses said in the forum thread:

    “When I read what he said about how every person with a serious psychiatric illness should be in a “psychiatric hospital” which really means “institution” in this country, well, that is not the subject of this forum, but I was surprised. It is sad to me that people are so willing to lock a person up for life in an institution, especially when America’s mental health system is broken and the institutions in my state are all under fire and some are forever gone due to severe abuse to patients by employees.”

    The misunderstanding here might be the definition of severe. What I mean by severe is that someone is a danger to themselves or to others. Determining such severity, of course, is a challenge.

    My point is simply that those who need help should get help. If the health system is broke, we should try to fix it. However, when Reagan dumped all of the psychiatric patients out on the street, that was hardly a solution considering that just created a homeless population with psychiatric problems. I’m pretty sure that homeless people with psychiatric problems get plenty of abuse.

    “I cannot believe someone who admits to not having any academic credentials in any medical field would say what is in quotes below — as to narcissists (not) being dangerous.”

    As for this comment, I think I answered it in my response above. Dogkisses is obviously unaware that not all narcissism is pathological. There is a lot of research about narcissism as a psychological trait which some people have without being pathological and which most people experience when young. Even certain cultures can have higher rates of narcissism without being pathological cultures. Supposedly, some research shows Japan to have higher rates of narcissism.

    “What do you do when people say these things? Ignore them? Really, couldn’t he have Googled NPD and learned that there are VICTIMS!?”

    Well, I’d recommend that you patiently listen to them and try to intelligently understand what they’re actually saying. I definitely wouldn’t recommend jumping to conclusions about the other person.

    I have Googled many times about NPD and about narcissism in general. The entire post was about the hours of research I’d done on it at one point, but I’m constantly researching about psychology all of the time. I’d recommend to dogkisses that she should Google narcissism in terms of psychological traits because she would learn that narcissism is a broad category that extends beyond “malignant narcissism”.

    Having academic credentials doesn’t in and of itself mean much of anything. One of the people I was responding to in the post was a psychotherapist and he was unaware about the research on narcissism which I pointed out. I believe in education and the best kind of education is self-education. I’m always learning something new. If dogkisses wants to discuss the actual research rather than simply making baseless judgments, then I’d happily discuss it. I’m willing to admit I’m wrong if I see new evidence. Dogkisses, however, didn’t back her strong personal opinions with any psychological research or other data.

    Anyways, I’m far from being dismissive of psychological trauma. I’ve written in great detail about how psychological trauma plays out in our society. One of my favorite writers (Derrick Jensen) has written about this in even greater detail.

    Also, I’m not dismissive because I deal with my own psychological issues. I have fairly severe depression, but I wasn’t arguing that I should be put in a psychiatric hospital. When I was talking about severe, I meant SEVERE in a life-threatening way. Psychiatric hospitals should be options of last resort, but they are better than forcing psychiatric patients into homelessness or sending them off to be housed in prisons as we presently do.

    The funny part is that I was saying dangerous narcissists should be sent to a psychiatric hospital and dogkisses was saying they should be sent to an island. The motivation for my suggestion was that: 1) those who need help should get help, and 2) those who need help and are a danger themselves or others should be placed in an institution where they aren’t a threat. Dogkisses alleges I’m heartless and yet she is the one who wants to send all narcissists to an island.

    The thing about many victimizers (whether narcissists or some other variety) is that they typically were once victimized themselves (most often as a child). If you stop the victimization cycle, you’ll stop victims turning into victimizers. Since our whole society is built on the victimization cycle (as Jensen contends), it would be difficult to take all of the victimizers (many who are in positions of power) and send them to an island. Even if you could do that, all of those victimizers would create an even more horrendous society which would form a threat greater than even our present society.

    Obviously, dogkisses was projecting onto me and responding to her own projection. She saw me as a part of the enemy camp or else just another ignorant dupe. I think she realized she was overreacting when she said:

    “I may be insensitive to narcissists, just a bit! I did say on there that I think they should all go to an island and live with their own kind.

    I’ve never in my life been so insensitive to a person, or a group of people who have problems, as I am to narcissists. I can’t find a warm place in my heart for them.”

    That is the problem. Cold-heartedness leads to cold-heartedness, violence leads to violence, victimization leads to victimization. I admit I have plenty of hate in my heart for those who I see as a part of the problem, but I also realize we all are a part of the problem because we are a part of this same society. It would be nice to think that narcissists were just an isolated aberration. However, if we’re honest, we’d see that this is not the case. Our society encourages sociopathic behavior… especially for those seeking wealth and power. Everything we do in this society victimizes someone just like the military fighting terrorists just creates new generations of terrorists.

    I’m sorry that dogkisses had a bad experience with a narcissist, but she is just one person. We all are dealing with various forms of suffering. It’s easy to feel righteous in one’s suffering (I do it all the time)… not that it’s very helpful.

    • Hello Mr. Steele,
      Wow. You didn’t give me any breaks here did you?

      The reason I went to the forum was to gain a healthier perspective on how your words effected me. Obviously you took what I shared in a forum quite personal. It was about me and my experience, not you. I should not have posted the name of the thread, but instead only the words that struck my emotions.
      I realized I had taken some things you said personally, which is what I asked for help with in the forum. I know that sometimes my emotions get in my way. I was attempting to deal with my own demons.
      I also thought what I had shared in the forum would have stayed there. You have shown me that I was wrong.
      I did not and do not view you as an enemy.
      The forum is a place to explore feelings we are left with after a narcissist. I was trying to understand my own reactions and the webofnarcissism is a place to do this.
      I regret that you took what I said there as a personal attack and it sure seems like you retaliated.
      I’ll certainly be more careful in the future of what I post in any forum.

      My second reply to you was an attempt at communication with you, which I honestly believed might lead to future communication. — and then I saw this response.

      My remark about not having a warm place in my heart for narcissists is true. I am not ashamed of that. I am only human, not a saint. I don’t feel love in my heart for people who are cruel and intentionally attempt to literally ruin other people’s lives.
      If you believe as you stated that I saw how I had overreacted, then why criticize me for realizing this?

      Aside from my direct personal experience, I have Googled narcissism. I’ve studied about it too. I’ve spoken to professionals about it in my healing journey. The most enlightening understanding I have has come from talking with other victims.
      I certainly do understand there is a spectrum, that we all have narcissistic traits, and there is a huge difference between that and a “malignant narcissist.”
      Yes, I had a bad experience with a malignant narcissist. It is by far one of the most horrifying experiences I’ve ever had. I will say that my cold attitude towards a severe narcissist is one that is shared by many people who have been at the receiving end of a narcissist’s sick behavior.

      I would have preferred you not post every word I said in the forum, and instead have taken time to think first so you could take your own advice: “Well, I’d recommend that you patiently listen to them and try to intelligently understand what they’re actually saying. I definitely wouldn’t recommend jumping to conclusions about the other person.”
      It sure seems like you did not take the time to think about why I visited a forum and you surely jumped to several conclusions about me, quite publicly. Maybe you feel better now?

      As to me saying they should go to an island, well sir, I know this is not realistic. I said it as a way to lighten a subject that is deeply disturbing and hard to talk about outside of places like that forum.
      As to me being righteous about my own suffering, as you say you do, “all the time,” you are wrong.
      I am a caring person, even though I do not care much about narcissists who destroy lives.
      I know and love other people who suffer in life. I help people in my life on a regular basis who suffer. Most of the time, I am trying to help someone else in my life. I am no stranger to other people’s suffering.
      You say I called you heartless. I’m not sure I did that either. My first response was that you simply were not aware of the damage to so many lives that narcissists are responsible for.
      It’s too bad that you felt that I had personally attacked you by sharing my experience in an attempt to understand it better and in what I thought was a private forum.
      As to me being, “just one person,” I don’t even know how to respond to that remark.

      • This is the internet. Nothing is private, especially not in a forum. The reason I knew about the forum is because WordPress notifies me of every connection someone makes to my blog. Several people from that forum visited my blog and several of them spoke critically of me or about what I wrote… just as you had. I knew you were just emotionally reacting, but it doesn’t change anything. I have nothing against someone venting and I don’t hold any negative feelings toward you. I merely responded to you in kind.

        I’m sorry that it turned into conflict, but I don’t take personal attacks lying down. There are two reasons I took it personally.

        First, I’ve dealt with severe depression for most of my life. I personally know about suffering and have felt it to the extent of attempting suicide and being hospitalized. So, my interest in psychology is very personal. This isn’t abstract theorizing.

        Second, I take my studies very seriously. It’s one of the few things that gives my life meaning and keeps me going. I study subjects such as psychology because I want to understand the world, understand others and myself. To be blunt, I didn’t appreciate your dismissive attitude towards my desire to understand, towards my decades of obsessive study.

        It seemed to me that you were acting like no one else could know suffering like you have known. That is true to an extent. Each of our lives is unique and for the most part we all suffer alone. I visited your blog and read about some of your troubles with your health. Life is unfair. We sufffer and then we die. That is life.

        Every person’s response to suffering is their own. It’s not my place to tell you whether you should be compassionate towards narcissists or not. I really don’t care. Anyways, I’m no exemplar of compassion. Righteousness can be opposed to compassion, but sometimes righteousness and compassion can originate from the very same suffering. I was exaggerating about feeling righteous all the time. It’s true, however, I particularly act righteous in response to righteousness and it seemed obvious to me that you were taking a righteous stance towards me.

        Your response was emotional and so was mine. It’s no big deal. Emotion is just emotion. If depression has taught me anything, it’s how to go with the flow of emotions. When I have an emotion, I feel it and act from it. I don’t fight my emotions because that just makes my depression worse. I wouldn’t claim that my way of dealing with emotions is the best, but it’s my way of dealing with emotions and it’s gotten me this far.

        As for you being, “just one person,” we all are just one person. It’s just a fact of life. Your suffering is just a tiny drop in a sea of suffering. The suffering you or I feel is minor compared to the suffering many people feel: child prostitutes, slaves, tortured prisoners, people starving to death, people who lived their entire lives in war zones, and on and on. Life sucks beyond imagination.

        Even so, I do feel that trying to understand it all does matter.

        You’re free to comment in my blog all you want. I don’t dislike you. In fact, I empathize with your experiences to the little extent I know of them. If you show respect towards me, I’ll show respect towards you. You don’t seem to be a mean-spirited person. I’m sure you mean well. Just realize that I’m a person who responds in kind. So, relate to me in the way you’d like to be related to.

        I can be a fairly forgiving person most of the time, but I’m not patient towards negativity pointed in my direction. I just don’t have it in me to just take it, to just turn the other cheek. I wish I was a better person, but I’m not. I’m just who I am.

        If it means anything to you, I’m sorry that we got off on the wrong foot. And I’m sorry that you’ve had a difficult life. I really do mean that. I’m sorry.

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