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Friday, October 14, 2016

Bespoke Narcissus

Judith Beheading Holofernes
First – LOVE Caravaggio. Of course.

Having declared that...rantward ho.

I’ve known my share of narcissists. I bet we all have a few horror show acquaintances, friends or relatives of this stripe.

Once it becomes clear to me that a person is all about themselves, that they're actors in search of audiences, trolls on the hunt for a Brooklyn Bridge (or, more likely, a blog with a lot of commenters), I stay, whenever possible, well the fuck away. If I'm unfortunate enough, at some social event, to be stuck in conversation with them? I don my Super Adult mantle. You know, listening, nodding, asking the odd short question and NOT reacting to tossed off insults/bait except to exit for the bar or loo.
A study in 2008 by Shedler and Westen et al suggested the official diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) was too constricted. Their research revealed that in addition to the “classic” arrogant narcissist with an over-inflated self concept, there is also a “fragile” narcissist whose grandiose behavior is actually a defense for underlying feelings of inferiority and inadequacy.
The grandiose (or malignant) subtype is characterized by marked arrogance, contempt for others and a strong belief that they should only associate with other people as special as they are (or more powerful). A fragile narcissist displays the typical characteristics associated with NPD but also tends to be gloomy and depressed. The high-functioning/exhibitionistic narcissist also exhibits the typical characteristics of NPD (especially the over-inflated self view) but appears more socially at-ease and highly articulate. (source)
The folks I’ve known have generally been a blend of the grandiose and fragile flavors. Common to all is/has been a pronounced lack of empathy and compassion. Unless of course displaying compassion benefits them in some way. I only mention it but...
So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. Matthew 6:2
At least the ego rockin’ boys and girls are occasionally doing good works. There’s that. I’m just not going to be in their adoring, oh-you're-so-good-and-wonderful swooning audience. Nope, no can do.

And then there’s Trump. If life was a Marvel comic, he’d naturally be a super villain with some bone chilling name like Captain Parasite. You know, feeds off the labors of others without giving anything of worth in return – takes and takes and takes all in service of his rapacious ego and empty core.


After interviewing Trump back in ’90, Mark Singer, a New Yorker writer, came to the conclusion that the apricot hellbeast was “an existence unmolested by the rumbling of a soul.” (source) Trump IS Narcissus only without the charm...or beauty...or self-knowledge. OK, referring to Trump as a narcissist is mebbe a slam on narcissists. Sorry. Trump's more of a depraved superego gone supernova and a half.

In the June issue of The Atlantic there's a fascinating piece, The Mind of Donald Trump where a psychologist analyzes Trump's personality. It's long (and well worth it) so pour a cuppa before sitting down to read. 

And then, longtime political blogger, Steve M. over at No More Mister Nice Blog has a brill post up I'm Not Sure Republicans Could Have Headed Off The Trumpocalypse. He begins by saying I can barely keep up with the Donald Trump news and he's off to the races., READ!

1 comment:

  1. Sorry, been too busy with holidays and whatnot, so I'm just now catching up with blog reading. You description of "fragile" narcissist whose grandiose behavior is actually a defense for underlying feelings of inferiority and inadequacy" set off some bells. We'll talk.