July 6, 2011

When A Culture Is This Invested In The Lie, The Culture Is Finished

psychology today cover.jpg
what does the author all of us want to be true?

The title of the article is called, How To Spot A Narcissist, and it is similar to thousands of such articles about narcissism by being exactly the same thing.

Here are some sentences from the article, taken entirely at random, see if you can detect the theme:


Narcissists will be thrilled to hear that as a group they are rated as more attractive and likable than everyone else at first appearance...

Tucker Max and his ilk stoke our attention and our ire --sometimes in equal measure. They are a decidedly mixed bag; therein lies one of the many paradoxes of narcissism...

Women who score high on tests of narcissism consistently dress more provocatively than their more modest counterparts; male narcissists resort to displays of wit and braggadocio...

A cross section of the narcissist's ego will reveal high levels of self-esteem, grandiosity, self-focus, and self-importance...

Erica Carlson and her colleagues found that college students scoring high in narcissism rated themselves more intelligent, physically attractive, likable, and funny than others, as well as more power-oriented, impulsive, arrogant, and prone to exaggerate their abilities!

How can narcissists maintain their inflated self-image even though they know how they are perceived by others?

In the sexual realm, promiscuity is a key strategy that allows narcissists to maintain control...


And it closes with an offer to self-test using the Narcissistic Personality Inventory.  Go ahead, take it.  Let me guess: you scored low.

Of course you did.

II.

Whether the article is technically accurate is besides the point, the point is why it exists, why they all exist.

Read the article: who is a narcissist?  The narcissist is the other, the unattainable other.  It opens with Tucker Max, who has had lots of sex with beautiful women.  Since you chose not to be able to have lots of sex with beautiful women, you aren't a narcissist, which is some sort of consolation prize, I guess.  Enjoy your Netflix queue.

All of the photographs, except one, are of super hot, super sexy women. 

psychology today model.jpg

Are you a super hot, super sexy woman?  No, you're pretty, but you're not so obsessed with your looks.  And you're obviously smarter than her.   Phew.  You're not a narcissist.  You can go back to torturing your boyfriend's soul.


Narcissists thrive in big, anonymous cities, entertainment-related fields (think reality TV), and leadership situations where they can dazzle and dominate others without having to cooperate or suffer the consequences of a bad reputation.

Not you?  You should stop wearing deodorant, it masks the delicious empathy.

There is one picture is of a man:

man borken mirror.jpg
and it seems abstractly arty enough to be a reasonable depiction of narcissism, except this is the title of that photo: man looking at his reflection in a broken mirror.  Oh, so it's the mirror's fault.  If only this shirtless Effexor success story could get a quality mirror, then he could see himself the right way.  (Who wants to go po-mo?: note that the hot chick has a perfectly good mirror.)

There is one other photo of a man and a woman, both looking at themselves in hand mirrors.  Get it?  That's not you, right? 

psychology today couple mirror.jpg


The photo is a deliberate lie of their/your unconscious
.  If you want that to be technically and psychologically accurate, if you want to rock your ego, the proper depiction would be each one looking at the other person's reflection in the mirror.

psychology today couple mirror reverse.jpg



Because a real narcissist doesn't see himself, he sees himself reflected back by the other person.  Is this chick correct enough to be the kind of woman that the kind of man I want everyone to think I am would be with?  "What?"  I know it's hard, but you have to do the work. 


III.

The article, like the thousands of others, offers explanations as to why we're often attracted to narcissists.  (NB: that must mean you're not a narcissist.)

They're "attractive," "extroverted," "talented," "dominant".... and maybe these things are true and maybe they are not but the reason they are mentioned is the same reason there are always obligatory references to evolutionary psychology, so that you can say: you were tricked, you were seduced, you were manipulated, as if you had no responsibility in the matter. 

You think you chose your partner for the good qualities and the bad ones are baggage; but you chose them both because they fit your needs.  That the relationship later failed didn't mean you were getting something from it.  "Blaming the victim!"  I'm not blaming the victim, I am observing a universal rule: the common denominator in all of your failed relationships is you.

I've written well over a hundred words about who is or isn't a narcissist, not to out them but to force you into the condition of self-reflection, to force you to ask, "do I do this to other people?"  Is this me?"

My next sentence was going to be, "spotting a narcissist won't do you any good," but even that statement is a hedge.  The spotting is a deliberate defensive maneuver.  "That guy, and thus not me!"

Spotting a narcissist will get you nowhere because the problem isn't the narcissist, the problem is you.


---

Read this: A Generational Pathology








Comments

Yes!... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 12:25 PM | Posted by MH: | Reply

Yes!

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Damn, TLP, you got boring s... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 12:36 PM | Posted by unimpressed: | Reply

Damn, TLP, you got boring since I read you last year.

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Said the shark to the fish ... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 1:10 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Said the shark to the fish before he ate him.

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Eh, this is a bit too much ... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 1:14 PM | Posted by T. AKA Ricky Raw: | Reply

Eh, this is a bit too much of an overgeneralization. Narcissism isn't an on and off switch but rather a continuum or a spectrum. All of us have narcissist traits to a degree, and these narcissistic traits are what the clinical NPD sufferer exploits when charming his or her victims, but having narcissistic traits doesn't magically make the average person with their average narcissistic traits and hangups as much of a problem as the full-blown clinical malignant narcissist.

I think you're conflating narcissistic traits, which all of us are guilty of having to varying degrees, with clinical narcissism and creating an equivalency of culpability between the two that I think simply isn't there.

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I've been through the archi... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 1:36 PM | Posted by Florence: | Reply

I've been through the archives, didn't see anything, and so have to ask. You seem fascinated by the narcissism question. Have you ever considered writing something about how to deal with a Capital-N Narcissist if you must? Coping strategies other than "run away!"?

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What kin... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 1:51 PM | Posted by I'm Jack's Broken Mirror: | Reply


What kind of furniture woman defines me as a person?

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Err, doc, joining the choir... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 2:00 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Err, doc, joining the choir, I say:

There are lots and lots of articles teaching me how to spot a narcissist, there are articles gently aiding me in my self-deception, there are articles which show me that to spot a narcissist I only need to see the mirror - for god sake, there's even a whole blog dedicated to this!

But a question remains: where are the non-narcissists?

Madre Teresa?

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You've read one TLP article... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 2:12 PM | Posted by Washington: | Reply

You've read one TLP article you've read them all. Yeah yeah, this article isn't REALLY about what I thought it was about, the problem is me, etc. I get it already, and the lecturing tone got old a while ago.

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You guys are expert at miss... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 2:22 PM | Posted by TheCoconutChef: | Reply

You guys are expert at missing the point.

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I don't think anyone misses... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 2:23 PM | Posted, in reply to TheCoconutChef's comment, by T. AKA Ricky Raw: | Reply

I don't think anyone misses the point. Just because some people disagree with the point doesn't mean they've missed it.

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Brilliant post. So prescie... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 3:39 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Brilliant post. So prescient, so true. As ever.

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I don't get how the problem... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 3:48 PM | Posted by Bubba Bean: | Reply

I don't get how the problem is me.

1.)The problem is me in that I keep having relationships with TLP Narcissists, and read articles which help me blame them for failed relationships by putting them in boxes like DSM narcissism which justifies my failures as not my fault (when it is because I see merits in that sort of person in the first place)?

2.)Or is the problem me because I am TLP Narcissist and read articles that put others into boxes that make me not focus on my own Narcissism but focus on that of others? Thus never being able to see my own shortcomings?

3.)Or is the problem me because I don't know whether it is 1 or 2 and thus is probably two?

4.) Something else?

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They are wrong abt spotting... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 3:49 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

They are wrong abt spotting a narcissist, and what the narcissists are like. Sure, there are attractive narcissists. but there are a lot of unattrative narcissists - possibly outnumbering the attractive, charismatic narcissists.

Like I have commented here before. WE might informally call them "losers," or "annoying," or "bossy." They cannot catch a clue abt how they are not awesome, so they are not very sensitive to interpersonal feedback. So, they will give brags and give advice without realizing they have failed to observe interpersonal give-and-take.

In therapy, this may not be immediately obvious to us therapists since we are paid to give undivided attention, anyway.

Most of us worry about diet, so we try to watch it, and exercise, but that is for us mere mortals. But a narcissist cannot end up overweight and unattractive, and if they do, they are still awesome, so they end up without the drive to exercise, and so on.

Same with quitting smoking.

for some reason, there is the science fiction tie-in. Maybe because the heroes are drawn with bold strokes, rather than the subletly of other fiction.

Be on the look-out. This overweight, sci-fi obsessed person may be trying to fly wit the rest of the eagles, but us turkeys are keeping him down - he may get pissed enough to come exact revenge on us. Do not burst his bubble, or you may get shot...

http://www.medsvstherapy.com/2010/12/trigger-you-want-cops-to-come-in-and.html

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Guys, just relax. You'll a... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 3:53 PM | Posted by Tlp: | Reply

Guys, just relax. You'll all be dead soon and none of this will matter at all. Stop wasting your time fretting and go try to enjoy life a little.

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It is true that we want our... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 4:00 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

It is true that we want our culture to save us from painful realizations.

Now that the economy is not quite so bad, our personal unsecured debt level is back on the increase: we want to tell each other how successful we are with our vacations and big cars or whatever.

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I get it already, and th... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 4:04 PM | Posted, in reply to Washington's comment, by Anon2312: | Reply

I get it already, and the lecturing tone got old a while ago.

Why not go read something else, then? The Internet is a big place.

Why take up a few seconds of a thousand strangers' time by posting banal information about your own feelings that can't possibly be of any interest to anyone except perhaps your mother or spouse?

Hint: You don't get it already.

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Paradoxically then, the bes... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 4:39 PM | Posted by Neovenator: | Reply

Paradoxically then, the best way to spot a narcissist is to look in the mirror. And yes, I did feel that was far wittier than anyone else will.

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It's not even that I disagr... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 5:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Anon2312's comment, by Washington: | Reply

It's not even that I disagree necessarily with the articles here (when they actually have a clear point), I just find the "coming down from the mountain to blow your mind with some wisdom" and "oh shit, you never even saw that coming did you?" tone tiresome, especially when you're not hearing anything new. Don't know why that bothers you so much. Or why you think my mother or spouse would be a more appropriate audience for my opinion, instead of the comment thread of the actual article. Apparently I don't "get it" just because I find the author's writing style really repetitive and full of itself.

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Is there anyone you truly <... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 5:18 PM | Posted by chickadee: | Reply

Is there anyone you truly don't hold in disdain, especially among women? Lately it's been difficult to tell.

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I especially liked the mirr... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 8:25 PM | Posted by E.K.: | Reply

I especially liked the mirror observation. And I find the accusations and insults hurled against the reader quite entertaining. But Alone, if you confronted your externalizing patient in the office in the same way — what would you expect the result to be?

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So when are you going to ad... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 8:31 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

So when are you going to address the other articles in the issue? Please, oh please, start with "Why smart people have less sex." LOL!

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And here we are again. Ever... (Below threshold)

July 6, 2011 11:06 PM | Posted by Michael Duff: | Reply

And here we are again. Everybody's a Narcissist. And the people who think they're not narcissists? Why, those are the worst of all because they're Lying To Themselves about their narcissism.

I repeat my previous request. If you want to help us overcome our narcissism, show us the opposite. What kind of behavior is NOT ultimately a product of narcissism? Take a break from condemning the whole human race and show us a way out.

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@ Duff: 1. Don't be ... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 1:47 AM | Posted by Dave Johnson: | Reply

@ Duff:
1. Don't be a woman.
2. Don't own a broken mirror.
3. Don't take effexor.
4. Don't be a good looking, fit, young man with all your hair.
5. Do be a psychiatrist.
6. Do not be a psychiatrist who publishes popular books/studies.
6. Do be a father, don't be a mother (see #1 for an explanation).

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The ironic thing is, you wa... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 2:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Michael Duff's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The ironic thing is, you want to know what isn't narcissism, because of narcissism.
You're worried about being narcissistic, but you're unsure of how to define yourself as not-a-narcissist.

The answer?
Stop defining yourself as not something.

Be you, as opposed to nothing.

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Calling out TLP for being r... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 2:58 AM | Posted, in reply to Anon2312's comment, by DisappearHere: | Reply

Calling out TLP for being repetitive isn't a sign of narcissism. I don't see how you got that idea.

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Of course I'm a narcissist.... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 2:58 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Michael Duff: | Reply

Of course I'm a narcissist. Everyone with a blog is a narcissist. Anyone who posts a public comment is a narcissist. The way he's defined it so far, anyone who has ever done anything to get attention or curry favor with others is a narcissist.

I've spent a lot of years working to control and channel my narcissism into things that can help (or at least avoid hurting) other people.

I'm not just trying to take the piss out of TLP here. I think he's identified a legitimate problem in our society, but right now it's a problem with no solution. He's shown us what we are, but I've seen no advice on how to fix it.

He sounds like he's on a moral crusade against a particularly modern kind of sin. I'm cool with that, but once you admit you're a sinner, what comes next?

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I am not being flip when I ... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 4:12 AM | Posted, in reply to Michael Duff's comment, by Zo: | Reply

I am not being flip when I tell you, you are pretty much fucked.

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".. the problem is you."</p... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 5:12 AM | Posted by Hypocrisy Illustrated: | Reply

".. the problem is you."


I always like it when TLP concludes his remarks with this one.
Very empowering...
It's all in your own hands (and head)...
Adjust your attitude and everything's better...


However what is new about such a media story pandering to people's hunger to make them feel superior to everybody else? Take down fantasies that undermine the great and strong never go out of style.
What's new here?

People are jealous of the very successful; create films or stories that show these elite either as immoral or unsatisfied without the humble everyday family life that the reader or viewer suffers.

People are jealous of the extraordinarily attractive and gifted; show these gifts as curses that damn the beauties to shallow superficial existence and the prodigies to insanity or ostracism.

People envy the attention and fame given celebrities; show these unworthy characters not as witty or clever, but rather attention hungry pathological narcissists.

You're (the viewer and reader) perfect just as you are. No need to spend all that tedious time in the lab, the library, the gym or in front of the piano. Just remember to pay the cable bill, and we'll make everything feel ok.

Time Magazine nominated "You" as person of the year in 2006 and illustrated this with a nice little printed mirror to reflect the reader's image back at him. Likely that TLP would favour recycling the same trick from time to time.

After all "the problem isn't the (fill in the blank,) the problem is you."

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@ Mr. Duff<blockquote... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 5:33 AM | Posted, in reply to Michael Duff's comment, by Hypocrisy Illustrated: | Reply

@ Mr. Duff

Of course I'm a narcissist. Everyone with a blog is a narcissist. Anyone who posts a public comment is a narcissist.

I've often wondered about this myself.

Why are we all here (in this here Blogosphere)?

Why do we bother sharing thoughts and remarks?

What is it about our social instincts that makes us take part?

Is it enough to know or seek the truth "alone"?

Who do we think we are to know better than our fellow men?

Why do we find it necessary to try and drag our neighbours kicking and screaming to whatever we think is the light?

What is the instinct that motivates such evangelisation?


I think he's identified a legitimate problem in our society, but right now it's a problem with no solution. He's shown us what we are, but I've seen no advice on how to fix it.

What solutions are available to an individual? Does any individual have the duty to fight to change an unwilling society? How did that work out for Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber? The only approach I can imagine would be to check out of a society that doesn't appear compatible with our character and to join another community, a cult or something. Instead of focusing on our own self, then we could focus on something external, perhaps the narcissistic great leader or prophet instead.

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@ Mr. Duff<blockquote... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 5:34 AM | Posted by Hypocrisy Illustrated: | Reply

@ Mr. Duff

Of course I'm a narcissist. Everyone with a blog is a narcissist. Anyone who posts a public comment is a narcissist.

I've often wondered about this myself.

Why are we all here (in this here Blogosphere)?

Why do we bother sharing thoughts and remarks?

What is it about our social instincts that makes us take part?

Is it enough to know or seek the truth "alone"?

Who do we think we are to know better than our fellow men?

Why do we find it necessary to try and drag our neighbours kicking and screaming to whatever we think is the light?

What is the instinct that motivates such evangelisation?


I think he's identified a legitimate problem in our society, but right now it's a problem with no solution. He's shown us what we are, but I've seen no advice on how to fix it.

What solutions are available to an individual? Does any individual have the duty to fight to change an unwilling society? How did that work out for Ted Kaczynski, the Unabomber? The only approach I can imagine would be to check out of a society that doesn't appear compatible with our character and to join another community, a cult or something. Instead of focusing on our own self, then we could focus on something external, perhaps the narcissistic great leader or prophet instead.

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I guess it's only fair that... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 6:38 AM | Posted, in reply to Hypocrisy Illustrated's comment, by Michael Duff: | Reply

I guess it's only fair that I take a shot at answering my own question.

Let's start with the basics. We love ourselves and we want attention. Stop fighting the label and stop worrying about what constitutes "excessive." How do we get what we want without turning into monsters?

We can choose the rock star model and play into the worst stereotypes we see on this blog. Most of us aren't pretty enough or talented enough to do that, but some people still try. They marry way below their social status or abuse their power at work, sucking up attention, giving nothing in return -- leaving a trail of broken hearts and exploited victims in their wake. This is what I think of when I hear the word Narcissist -- not the deluded single mom, but the power-hungry boss.

Being in love with yourself is a vice, but it doesn't become a crime until you hurt other people. The frequency and magnitude of that damage, the costs that your narcissism imposes on others, that's what you've got to watch out for.

Most people who aren't exceptionally lucky or exceptionally pretty adopt a "conformity" model of narcissism. They learn that the best way to get attention is to honestly be of use to other people. Join the team, be the office hero, do the extra work and be what everybody expects you to be. Say the right things, buy the right products, dress your kids in the latest fashions and be what society tells you to be.

Slightly more advanced would be the "transactional" model of narcissism. Find what you're good at it and trade it for money, attention, and praise. Start a blog to feed your ego, but ironically, the best way to get attention on your blog is to write stuff that is actually useful to people.

I think that's what TLP is doing. He loves the attention that comes from this blog, but he's not stealing it, he's earning it, by giving us all something valuable to read. This is the model I'm striving for. I recognize my own narcissism but I'm determined to be fair about it. I seek attention by projecting the best of myself, by providing value for others in the best way I can, hoping that some of that output comes back to me in the form of recognition and reward.

Been a damn slow process, let me tell you, and a real blow to the ego when the brilliant post you spent a week on gets fewer "Likes" than a Lolcat video. But every now and then you help somebody. A post takes off, an email hits your inbox and you get to feel like a good person for a little while.

But what happens when a narcissist decides to starve himself? Cut yourself off from everything, shut down the blog, unplug the phone, throw out the magazines and decide that even transactional narcissism is more vanity than you deserve.

When you starve the beast, when you decide your natural need for attention and validation is evil and wrong, that's when people really go crazy. That's why I worry about TLP's obsession with narcissism. I worry that he's not making the distinction between crazy celebrity narcissism, like the kind we see celebrated in magazines, and ordinary, everyday narcissism that can actually become a force for good.

The alternative to self-love is self-loathing and when a person falls all the way into self-hate -- that's when motherfuckers really get dangerous.

So there is a matter of degree here, and I worry that distinction is being lost, as we all rush to label ourselves.

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Nice thoughtful reflection.... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 7:53 AM | Posted, in reply to Michael Duff's comment, by Hypocrisy Illustrated: | Reply

Nice thoughtful reflection.

"...and we want attention."
This is the bit that is hardest for me to understand.

I keep asking
"Why do we hunger for attention?"

If narcissism is overgrown self-love, why isn't self-love enough?

Why do we need to have external validation to reflect that self-love back at us?

I suppose the only answer is that; we do, we just do because it is our instinct as social animals. No need to think about it any more.

I used to believe that we are so free that we can choose anything, even our desires, a freedom that would make it even possible to reject or negate these desires. But nobody "chooses" their sexual drive, nor do we choose our instincts for social integration.

Perhaps self-abnegation and asceticism are an ultimate expression of freedom, but what is the point? To demonstrate that we are greater than our biology, more than mere animals? Awfully painful to reject all our nature to prove something to an indifferent universe.

I'm not sure if asceticism is linked to the self-loathers that you mention. But they are perhaps slipping into the pattern of "When you starve the beast, when you decide your natural need for attention and validation is evil and wrong, that's when people really go crazy." I don't know about that. This might be true, but it goes against all those tired old maxims, "Go your own way." "Do your own thing." "Be independent." "Don't worry about what the other kids think." They haven't been deceiving us about that have they?

I fear that the self-loathing that you mention is probably still just narcissism, only the other side in which the narcissist has built up a false vision of the self that is irreconcilable with the a world that gives no social validation in reflection.


So I come back to the question of the social element. I think I understand what these narcissism "performers" are doing. They're perversely thinking of their audience, giving their peers the show of wit and swagger that they expect. I'm just so selfish that I don't understand why it's worth the bother to make that clever facebook post to attempt to impress a bunch of people whose opinions don't really concern me.

Why do I take part in these discussions? I'd be lying if I said I don't get a little kick when somebody acknowledges my contributions - even if in the form of an impolite and impertinent attack. It still stings even when some stranger far away with some silly alias attacks me and calls me names.

Ultimately I feel kind of guilty about taking part in these discussions. Perhaps I'm just projecting here, but I harbour no illusions that this pleasantly distracting mental masturbation is anything more than the middlebrow posturing of a bunch of dilettantes. All of which amounts to nothing. It's like a cheap shortcut to some kind of fake intellectual recognition. Instead of having the fortitude to spend the time in the library with study to become a real expert worthy of attention, I come here in the hope that my half-baked ramblings get a some kind of attention without all that hard work.

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"... ironically, the best w... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 8:33 AM | Posted, in reply to Michael Duff's comment, by Hypocrisy Illustrated: | Reply

"... ironically, the best way to get attention..." is to create stuff useful, interesting or provocative for the audience.

I like it, your transactional narcissism concept.

So the narcissists really are thinking of other people (their audience) all along. How altruistic.

Sounds like the invisible hand of capitalism?

Some play an instrument.
Narcissists play a crowd?

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Duff,My quick and ... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 10:44 AM | Posted by theunderweearbandit: | Reply

Duff,

My quick and dirty take on what TLP is saying is not that approval seeking is narcissistic, nor is ego, nor grandiosity, and most certainly not self-love. Narcissism is the attempted maintenance of an image that fundamentally isn't true and perceiving others solely in relation to that image.

Narcissists don't seem to actually love themselves otherwise how would they be susceptible to a narcissistic injury? Someone possessing self-love would just blow off the exposure.

So suppose the greatest boxer in the world was an arrogant ass. He would not fall under this definition of narcissism since his exploits in the ring are real. Everyone may feel nauseous while he extolls his exploits in the ring, but those exploits are real. He did the work, or has the talent to be who he claims to be.

The narcissist is the dude promoting his fighting skills (whether subtly or through bragging) when, unbeknownst to his audience, he has never been in a fight.

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no, you don't get it becaus... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 10:57 AM | Posted, in reply to Washington's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

no, you don't get it because u can't stop talking about urself. idiot.

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Do you do anything else?</p... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 12:00 PM | Posted by rarely alone: | Reply

Do you do anything else?

I'm bored. Not by the topics, but rather by your voice. After a while, the "I am alone in the woods with the right answer and if you drink my kool aid then you still suck but maybe not as badly as the rest" is getting in the way of things here.

I enjoy your insight but you bore me to fucking hell with the rigidity of your approach. Hey, this is starting to smell like a personality disorder! You did mention your self-loathing once. How hard does that drive you? Are you putting inordinate demands on the world to see things your way? Does narcissism as a topic provide your cognitive kill-switch? It's undeniable that much of what you post on is true. But the meta-factor is getting to me. If you truly are a psychiatrist, and not just a medical school reject nut job, remember: physician heal thyself. Then you might be able to drum up some writing that is respectful and therefore actionable for the reader. I AM a psychiatrist, and I can assuredly say that you have not offered too much in the way of TREATMENT here. Most of what you write needs to be stated, indeed. But YOU need some balance. The "Nike treatment plan," as your solution to narcissism strikes me ("Just stop it"), pays little mind to the development of narcissistic defenses in the first place. How about focusing on attachment and early childhood mental health as a way to prevent some of this destructive approach to coping in our world? Or emotional intelligence as a process of personal growth? Sigh. Wake up, grow up, you boy/girl/panel/minority preacher. And as for the good posts, well, keep 'em coming. You (ya'll) are a piercing wit in need of both polish and restraint, and perhaps a more public and engaged forum. The book idea is a reasonable start, but NOT a valid end-point. Drop the ALONE and come teach the residents and fellows outside your program a thing or two about how to survive graduate medical education an intact critical-thinker. You'll reach many more poor black innocents that way, than with Louis C.K. scatology video posts, which I agree are pretty funny. Good luck, I'll keep trolling these depths I'm sure, though it pains me.

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1. Stop getting so defensiv... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 3:20 PM | Posted by OldMonkey: | Reply

1. Stop getting so defensive over the net, particularly for an article as this one. It only brings out your insecurities.

2. No you fucktards. A narcissistic person is not someone who creates a blog. You create a blog for either personal reasons such as sharing [underlined] your views with the rest of this virtual community or political and social reasons such as spreading out the "truth" and even for the purpose of shameless propaganda.

The keyword here regardless the intention is S.H.A.R.I.N.G. If you were truly a narcissistic person you would either make it private so you would be the only one glorifying your thoughts or justifying your lifestyle and personal statements with sentences that glorify your ego excessively.

3. By stating things like "everybody has narcissistic traits" you are a hopeless humanitarian overgeneralising. It is like saying "everybody is good and bad" so hence who gives a fuck. No it is not like that. Your actions define you and not the other way around.

4. Self-importance, self-focus and self-esteem are natural and thus human traits. It is not irrational nor narcissistic to take care or be aware of your self and judgemental of the things you do and say or even the way you would like to come across to people. The keyword here, as in order to be a narcissistic person is the part where you are striving EXCESSIVELY to show off your self PUBLICLY. Putting it down to slang terms aka Attention Seeking Whore, ASW.

5. Relax, take it easy.

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I like this distinction a l... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 6:41 PM | Posted, in reply to theunderweearbandit's comment, by Michael Duff: | Reply

I like this distinction a lot, but is TLP really making it?

Seems like a large portion of the audience doesn't know what he means and is simply using narcissism as a placeholder for "anything I don't like."

The clinical definition of narcissism is pretty clear, and it lets a lot of us off the hook, but TLP seems to be arguing for a much broader definition that includes damn near everybody.

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"Narcissism is the attempte... (Below threshold)

July 7, 2011 6:53 PM | Posted, in reply to theunderweearbandit's comment, by dammitjim: | Reply

"Narcissism is the attempted maintenance of an image that fundamentally isn't true"
I believe the bandit has the right of it here.
N's attempt to maintain the false image because the other (false) image of themselves is unpalatable to them as well, and they must hide it.
The false image at the core of N's is self-loathing, arising from abuse of some kind...emotional, physical, sexual...
Many years later, after doing a 'bad thing' most normals (we all have N-tendencies) self-correct, saying; "I DID a bad thing, and will be better, not do it again, etc."

N's get stuck on Bradshaw's toxic shame and think;
"I AM the bad" (reinforced by abuse patterns)

This is unacceptable to them...heck, to all of us (remember, I WAS bad, I DID bad as a normal, I've self-corrected) Hence the construction of the opposite to hide the real feelings of toxic shame and its resultant self-loathing.

It's sad, the way N's ping pong back and forth btwn these two polar opposite and FALSE self images.

The problem is me righto! For not recognizing this.
I've self-corrected.

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Main reason I can see is th... (Below threshold)

July 8, 2011 12:44 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Main reason I can see is that dumb people are emotional , impulsive, given to whim.

Intelligent people tend to be more frontal lobes and planning and less impulsive, this is true of males as well as females. This is why intelligent people are less sexual in general.

If you take a dumb, dumb, dumb animal of a person, it's easy to tell their sexuality and their gender. Heterosexual males who are dumb act like gorillas and scream at women they see and beat each other up and impulsively try to have as much sex as possible. Heterosexual females choose very poor long term partners, based on archaic fitness cues (e.g. "duhhh he's tall and aggressive I'm gonna fuck on him"). They do not practice family planning and as a result have a litter of children before their mid 20s.


Smart people do none of these things; due to inhibition, lack of impulsivity, and long term thinking, evaluation of risk and consequences.

When intelligent people do have lots of sex it's usually because they are also narcissists or manic or afflicted with some other condition which mitigates their intelligence. If you think you are god and are beyond awesome and rules don't apply to you, this no longer becomes mutually exclusive with intelligence's normal inhibitory capacity on sexuality.

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Is there any proof the brai... (Below threshold)

July 8, 2011 3:56 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Washington: | Reply

Is there any proof the brain works like this or is this just the explanation you've come up with to explain the lack of sex in your life?

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OMGThis is like that... (Below threshold)

July 8, 2011 3:59 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

OMG
This is like that episode of the simpsons where bart kept saying "i didn't do it" and he got famous, until one day something snapped and the audience was like THATS NOT FUNNY.

I have never seen this kind of backlash before on this blog.

I suspect maybe Scott Adams mischief is afoot?

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May be, we need theory wich... (Below threshold)

July 8, 2011 11:40 AM | Posted by Marián Šarkozy: | Reply

May be, we need theory wich explains why is narcisism so inconvenient strategy today.Of course in some way it must be helpful. Everyone has a compulsion to act like "narcisist". And not acting like that cost energy. Culture always costs energy, that´s why we call it culture. Of course why is psychology envolved is that monkey dont get orange. But psychology today says that narcisist is monkey that get its orange. That kind of monkeys isn´t psychological problem that´s moral. I very like all this blog, and find it very helpful. Thanks.

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Once more. What Psych. Toda... (Below threshold)

July 8, 2011 12:04 PM | Posted by Marián Šarkozy: | Reply

Once more. What Psych. Today says to monkeys is: Some monkeys got orange, because they pulled their leg much stronger then you. But that kind of monkeys has broken fingers. That´s why they are not happy. Logical, but not true. True is that monkey can´t get orange through that small hole, and if some has orange it means that It picked up from tree, not from box.

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Look, it goes deeper than m... (Below threshold)

July 8, 2011 7:35 PM | Posted by Zo: | Reply

Look, it goes deeper than most of you seem to realize—and there's nothing fun about. Have you heard of the Terrible Twos? That famous struggle is the toddler refusing to admit the existence of other people, which would mean that Mother and I Are No Long One ... while her dawning awareness is that there damn well are other people. The famous Other. A great many people don't make it to three years old, and are pretty damn broken walking around in adult bodies. Refusing to admit the existence of the Other ... or with a glimmer, and fighting any sign of the Other. It's as common as dirt, and pretty much implies the absence of Empathy, that state in which we can feel the other person because they are like us. We are kin. People with NPD don't have kin—and do incalculable damage, ignoring or perhaps unaware of the general social contract.

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Er ....No Longer One.... (Below threshold)

July 8, 2011 7:37 PM | Posted by Zo: | Reply

Er ....No Longer One.

I'm going to expand on this thread on my blog, http://www.humorlessbitch.com , and WordPress will correct all my spelling mistakes.

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I've been an avid fan of TL... (Below threshold)

July 8, 2011 10:02 PM | Posted by T.C.: | Reply

I've been an avid fan of TLP for years. I love the SSDI posts, The Wrong Lessons Of Iraq and the Middle East Narrative posts are my favorites thus far (although I love the stories, and the politiking USvComstock, A Trip You May Have Taken, The Barbarians Are Coming....all good stuff) I'm an English grad student at a mid level state institution, before that I worked in a warehouse and as a dishwasher. I'm a woman, plain, not attractive, fairly intelligent (awful at math, good at writing) I work hard and I've overcoming some fairly grinding poverty (homelessness as a teenager) drugs and abuse issues. I'm getting there, shakily, but getting there as I turn 26. I share this here because it is anonymous.

Here's what I don't get:
I hate myself. Loathe myself. under my breath I say "stupid, retard, freak, ugly, bitch, cunt" all day. I make dumb mistakes. I don't count well. I do have a boss who makes remarks like that and I did live with a guy who came at me with a knife one night when he was drunk, and I have a history of abuse and bullying, so I know where this comes from. I am not saying this to get pity/sympathy/hugs, I don't care about that. This is building up to my point--my point being that I am afraid of being too much--I was born extremely premature, bad motor skills, small eyes, spastic freak, mongoloid. I'm dumb but smart. Went to retard school but read Dostoyevsky. I am afraid of being in the way--a big, dumb, ugly, spastic freak who should have been aborted. I am a published writer (small journals) and I have the respect of my professors (I think) but I think they pity me. Here is what I am afraid of--I would love to teach, and I hope to one day, but more than anything my biggest goal is to never make anybody unhappy--never piss anyone off, never act like I am deserving of more than I ought to be. I literally loathe every fiber of my being. I am scared, after reading this, because I am a pathetic loser, that this makes me a narcissist. Hating myself, that is. The tricky thing is this becomes one more reason to hate myself "stupid freak bitch narcissist cow" I say in my head. I've read Baudrillard, Lyotard, Foucault, Hegel, Marx, Saussure, Wittgenstein, Plato, Aristotle, Lefebreve, I know about the simulacra, the false space of advertising, the carceral system of pomo branding blah blah blah. I will never stop hating myself, it is wired in me--I just want to know, so I can resign myself to suicide...does my self hatred make me a narcissist? I feel like such a piece of shit for saying this as the planet heats up and debt rises and the USA starts illegal wars and England slides into fascism and NATO invades sovereign nations...I am lucky to be American and white, although I am working class I am privileged, I know, I know...I just loathe, hate, cannot stand my stupid retard freakish self. And, if I am a narcissist because of this, well...I know what I deserve then.

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What do you think would hap... (Below threshold)

July 8, 2011 11:14 PM | Posted, in reply to T.C.'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

What do you think would happen if you stopped hating yourself?

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With respect and concern, t... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 12:48 AM | Posted, in reply to T.C.'s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

With respect and concern, this is something to discuss with a mental health professional in person, not a bunch of opinionated anonymous people on the internet.

TLP is working a medical model approach of mental health(problem focused). This approach misses the many strengths and unique positive attributes that each of us have. Reading TLP without considering the "other side of the coin" can leave you a bit jaded and feeling overly guilty, especially if you are struggling with low self-worth. Also, my belief is that many of the people talked about in these articles may have narcissistic tendencies but these don't necessarily define them as people, ie they may have narcissistic habits but aren't "narcissists."

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What you don't know about n... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 2:12 AM | Posted by Casandre Trine: | Reply

What you don't know about narcissism, and why you are smart/stupid, bullied, socially awkward, etc. could fill a book.

The name of that book is:
"The Complete Guide to Asperger's Syndrome" by Tony Attwood.

Many adults are on the spectrum and have no idea. Geniuses, criminals, artists, "losers," celiacs, gluten & lactose intolerant.

The physical/medical approach to help balance the Asperger's biochemistry (and therefore brain function) is in:
Healing our Autistic Children by Julie A. Buckley, MD

This is not to say narcissism is the same thing. It is to say that you don't know how Asperger's may be affecting you or someone you know until you know something about it. Most people know little if anything, or have misconceptions. It is not psychiatric alone. It is neurological, physical, not a character defect. It is often misdiagnosed.

If you take the quizzes, be honest. They are not designed to give you an "other" out.

http://www.rdos.net/eng/Aspie-quiz.php
http://glennrowe.net/BaronCohen.aspx

The real lie they are invested in is how grain and processed foods are affecting our brains and bodies, keeping us all too sick and exhausted to make effective changes in society while making the healthcare industrial complex rich, or causing mentally ill extremism (religion & politics). But the Food and Drug Industry will fight to keep that information from becoming mainstream. Wheat especially is like oil. We have amber waves of it, and it is used in almost everything. Much like lead and the Romans.

Serotonin and other neurotransmitters start in the GUT, not in the brain.

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I used to think I was aspbe... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 2:38 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I used to think I was aspbergers. It made so much sense. I am a complete social retard, in my own world, am abnormally apathetic about social interaction, LOVE TO TINKER which is a remarkably abnormal tendency as I am female. Most MEN have better social skills than I do, and are more interested in socializing. I am like on the far end of poor social skills by even male standards.

Then I realized aspbergers was too convenient of an excuse, besides I read nonverbal language relatively well (not perfectly but I can clearly pick up double meanings and can "tell" if someone means something else, or if they say one thing but feel another thing).


I do agree that modern diets and chemicals may be producing fucked up people... but I don't think calling it autism/aspbergers is helpful.

If I call myself "aspbergers" that only helps me justify my chronic social retardation/failure/inability to speak or demonstrate appropriate reciprocity in conversations the way my siblings and coworkers and everyone else easily can.

I don't want ot justify that, and I don't want to delude myself into thinking I am an awesome genius for failing at speaking.

There may be a biological basis for it but if it can be changed I will try as hard as I can to change it. Once I give it a label like aspbergers, that's it, I am now deluding myself into believing I am an "artist and a genius" and why bother changing something tha tmakes me aswesome and special? Cept it doen't, it just makes me afraid to confront my landlord, afraid/ confused /overwhelmed by talking to maintenance men, uncertain of how to make eye contact when dealing with my coworkers and bosses, etc etc etc. None of that makes me awesome. It makes me suck.

Sure I can memorize facts like a robot if I want to and have been so named, sure I can solve problems if I want to and if it's a mechanical problem I"ll kick it's ass probably better than most men, and I am also a very good artist. But my failure to speak and communicate didn't do those things it's just a byproduct of my fucked up brain.

I don't like this tidal wave of losers calling themselves aspbergers. If you suck and you fail, that isn't a good thing.

It would be like throwing garbage on the floor and trying to say that its the same as having an awesome party. UM NO just because garbage on the floor is a byproduct of a party (sometimes) doesn't logically translate into throwing garbage on the floor being the same as partying.

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I'm not saying everyone has... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 4:38 AM | Posted by Casandre Trine: | Reply

I'm not saying everyone has Asperger's Syndrome. I am saying everyone is being made sick from grain and processed foods/chemicals, and it is affecting their physical and mental functioning (as if those two things are separate.) Gluten and lactose intolerance are associated with 200+ diseases, top of the list are hypothyroidism, diabetes, arthritis, osteoperosis, depression, bi-polar disorder, and autism.

I know someone who thinks they know everything about their own autism, which is probably actually Asperger's, but they haven't read any new information in over 10 years. Gall bladder gone, neuropathy setting in, mood swings, yet they continue to eat whatever and drink beer because they're not overweight. Therefore it is impossible to converse with them on the subject.

Then there's toxoplasmosis. Google that.

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It seems like you think, th... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 12:37 PM | Posted, in reply to T.C.'s comment, by gogo: | Reply

It seems like you think, that reading Foucault etc... is in some way contrary to hating yourself, but isn´t. Because your hate is proof of your inteligence. May be if you begin like yourself you will never look so inteligent... and never like yourself as you like you now.

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"With respect and concern, ... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 1:53 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by OldMonkey: | Reply

"With respect and concern, this is something to discuss with a mental health professional in person, not a bunch of opinionated anonymous people on the internet".

When you type does it all comes straight out of your ass?

Unless you have an extreme condition of narcissism in which it jeopardises your life and work status, you don't need to discuss it with a mental health professional because narcissism is a natural human trait. Not something that requires "mental health professionalism" because being narcissistic doesn't mean you are brain damaged nor something that endangers the public.

Requiring professional help is not a playground like you think it is kiddo.

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Narcissism:Is an o... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 2:35 PM | Posted by Epoetker: | Reply

Narcissism:

Is an overly broad term that should be split up into more proper descriptions like vanity, pride, self-regard, solipsism, and other more usefully targeted terms.

Because when everyone's a 'narcissist,' no one is.

I don't fault TLP for not defining narcissism well enough, I fault him for not differentiating between the varieties of a person with more and less narcissism. EVERYONE IS SUNK IN THE SAME MORASS is far worse than pointing out which people are sunk the least, or which are nearest to land.

They who have no Divine Will should not presume to name the creatures of the earth.

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Hey OldMonkey,When... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 2:54 PM | Posted, in reply to OldMonkey's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Hey OldMonkey,

When someone is considering suicide (assuming that wasn't a troll post) they would benefit from seeking professional help, period. You didn't understand the context of the post you were quoting.

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By the way putting -1 or us... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 4:14 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by OldMonkey: | Reply

By the way putting -1 or using that vote thing is childish. If you can dispute my statements then type it.

Secondly, no it is not a troll post. You are the one who went on saying "a bunch of opinionated anonymous people on the internet" as if all of us are not related with psychology nor psychiatry. You know some of us are related to those field and hence have something to say.

This article is about narcissism and how to spot one, not about a type of narcissism that needs clinical therapy or evidence indicating that whoever is narcissistic should seek a "mental health expert". So giving me an example of someone who is suicidal is irrelevant.

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Responses gave me something... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 4:20 PM | Posted by T.C.: | Reply

Responses gave me something to chew on.
Also: forgive me if I inspired concern/worry in any posters. Although I do consider suicide frequently, it's more that if I was indeed informed that yes, yes I am a narcissist, it seems that the world needs less of them and that they are toxic to the survival of the species, so if I was one, I would more look at it as doing the world a favor to spare them from the pain my existence would unleash on society. It sounds silly, but an old lover called me a narcissist (I'm still unclear why, it had something to do with an argument about politics and my commitment to socialism) and I read this article and subsequently freaked out, racing thoughts and all that.

I would see a medical professional, but I don't have the money or the time. I live in an isolated area and work two jobs, and I would never be able to find a ride to go see a shrink. The friends I have here also don't believe in it/think it's a symptom of American neediness, greed, stupidity and first world privilege, so I wouldn't have much support. I have a good advisor, so he helps when he can.

Thanks again for responding, I'll cease my threadjacking now.

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Oldmonkey,You misu... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 6:45 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Oldmonkey,

You misunderstood the context and the content of what I wrote. I know what the article was about. I wasn't responding to the article. I was responding to one of the earlier posts about the article (hence the "in reply to"). Your counterarguments are to arguments that I never made (rather your interpretations of my statements). Also, I wasn't referring to your post as the troll post rather the one I was responding to earlier. You didn't understand that either. (See, this is how you respond to people maturely).

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Ah my bad. Apologies ect. C... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 6:53 PM | Posted by OldMonkey: | Reply

Ah my bad. Apologies ect. Case closed.

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Please oh please do an arti... (Below threshold)

July 9, 2011 7:31 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Please oh please do an article on Dr. Drew.

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Where's this idea that TLP ... (Below threshold)

July 10, 2011 12:49 AM | Posted by D: | Reply

Where's this idea that TLP is trying to make the reader feel awful coming from? The primary conclusion of the articles on narcissism seemed to be that, whether you love or hate yourself, your conception of yourself simply isn't that important.

https://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2009/01/can_narcissism_be_cured.html

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Suicide of any narcissist w... (Below threshold)

July 10, 2011 7:57 AM | Posted, in reply to T.C.'s comment, by gogo: | Reply

Suicide of any narcissist will not help the world. It will only intoxicate world with narcissism. May be you need help of professional, but may be you can handle it yourself. You can find on this blog how: "Just pretend not be an N!" It wasn´t joke it really works. If you honestly want to not to be a N, you will get what you want. Of course it is hard work, but all good things with sense you can do are the same.

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I'll say one thing, it's su... (Below threshold)

July 10, 2011 2:49 PM | Posted by Castle: | Reply

I'll say one thing, it's surprising they actually have a woman on the cover. Normally, criticizing women is forbidden in our feminist/celebrate all things female culture, particularly if it's a negative trait like narcissism.

Of course, to be safe, the first picture under the article is of a man and the first story about Tucker Max. Phew. "Sexist" crisis averted. After the appropriate amount is written about male narcissists, about 8 paragraphs, something specific is finally written about women.

That's why our culture is dying, we have to wade through mountains of bullshit so as not to offend anyone.

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"I'm cool with that, but on... (Below threshold)

July 10, 2011 4:54 PM | Posted, in reply to Michael Duff's comment, by Gene Callahan: | Reply

"I'm cool with that, but once you admit you're a sinner, what comes next?"

Periagoge. One would hope.

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I'm reminded of the Psychol... (Below threshold)

July 10, 2011 7:43 PM | Posted by Nicklemt: | Reply

I'm reminded of the Psychological classic "David and Lisa"

If we remember the movie,David's mother is usually 'diagnosed' as a narcissist.

Your comments about the man and woman who should be looking at the other person's reflection reminded me of one scene in particular where David's mother comes to his school and while yes, she's only there for appearances (and because David's father and David are now absent more often than not, because she needs a dose of recognition), her main concern is how David (an extension of her own importance) stacks up against the others.But the point isn't to see how good of a parent she might be and others to think of her as, the point is to assure herself that those other kids David might hang out with meet acceptable standards of her own grandiosity.

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Than again most parents fee... (Below threshold)

July 10, 2011 7:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Nicklemt's comment, by Nicklemt: | Reply

Than again most parents feel this way about their kids, especially when the kids are they're bullied (because isn't that an attack on them too? No. Not really). But we don't call all parents narcissists now do we? That would be ridiculous and insulting to the whole of generations and only truly appreciated by people who haven't had kids.

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@ Michael Duff. It seems li... (Below threshold)

July 11, 2011 12:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Michael Duff's comment, by Ruth: | Reply

@ Michael Duff. It seems like you're asking yourself very good questions. Personally, I use the Dalai Lama and a few other Buddhist teachers such as Thich Nhat Hahn as my examples to try to emulate--at least, my idealized versions them! They are both famous and successful, but I imagine that they are just trying to be helpful and share what wisdom they think will reduce suffering, and through meditation they seems to be relatively free of both self-love and self-hate. So, if people ask them for their thoughts, they give them, and if/when people stop asking for their thoughts, they'll just go back to gardening or whatever they do during their free time and not worry about it. (I don't believe the supernatural aspects of many forms of Buddhism, but the basic psychology and ethics and day-to-day living seem like a helpful antidote to American popular culture.)

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Not related... can you psyc... (Below threshold)

July 11, 2011 6:51 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Not related... can you psychoanalyze Immortal Technique? you talk a lot about other rappers, but I think he's a weirder guy than the rest of them and I think it would be cool if you read about him.

I promise if you write about him I will paypal you a modest $5

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wCEycZBHwzs

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I'm thinking I need a paint... (Below threshold)

July 12, 2011 8:59 AM | Posted by Jess: | Reply

I'm thinking I need a paintball gun to mark the narcissists when I spot them. What would be the correct color?

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Fluorescent-red-neon-light-... (Below threshold)

July 12, 2011 2:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Jess's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Fluorescent-red-neon-light-like, of course.

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...and I think that's reall... (Below threshold)

July 12, 2011 2:28 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

...and I think that's really not your point, Alone.

I was being provocative, because, to me, it's impossible to not think of that hypothetical non-narcissist, that guy wich have "finished" your supposed road-trip-to-a-better-world Alone's holy bible thing.

And it seems to be a long, long, way long road.

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I used to think... (Below threshold)

July 13, 2011 5:55 PM | Posted by Ivan: | Reply

I used to think I was aspbergers. It made so much sense.

To anonymous "Aspergers",

It's odd that you class yourself as a "complete social retard" when your post is so clear. You even use paragraphs where genuine "retards" would put it all in a huge block of type. You can see such specimens on this page.

On paper, you communicate well. I don't know what is the next step for you, but you sure aren't crazy.


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I love that cover :) It is ... (Below threshold)

July 18, 2011 9:17 AM | Posted by holiday apartment london: | Reply

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"If you are reading its for... (Below threshold)

July 24, 2011 3:00 AM | Posted by Pablo: | Reply

"If you are reading its for you". Technically if you read the post you are assuming a narscisitic position, therefore you are the problem. I don't see the anything wrong in this.

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I don't get how th... (Below threshold)

July 26, 2011 4:07 AM | Posted, in reply to Bubba Bean's comment, by DataShade: | Reply

I don't get how the problem is me.
Are you unhappy? Are you old enough to not be considered a minor? Then forget what might or might not be wrong with everyone around you, the problem is you. What's wrong with you (beyond "TLP-style narcissism") is going to be different for everyone, but if you're blaming others or looking for someone outside to fix things, you're wrong.
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This was sharp as Occam's r... (Below threshold)

July 26, 2011 3:35 PM | Posted by Jacketrooper: | Reply

This was sharp as Occam's razor. I just found this blog and I am already in love with it.

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I dared to write today beca... (Below threshold)

September 13, 2011 3:30 PM | Posted by André: | Reply

I dared to write today because lately my mind has been wracked by a difficult dilemma.
I am a general surgeon and I have already completed my residency but this field is definitely not my vocational one.
For some time now I have been thinking of beginning a new residency, and it seems to me that I could dare to follow my instinct. I have the deep felling that psychiatry is my calling, not a very rational feeling based on many solid arguments as I didn’t have an extended interaction with this specialty. Mainly I wish for something more inner oriented and providing a training that will allow to better understand my nature and simultaneously the others.
On this particular moment I fell that I am a man trying to make a good decision but I fear that this move could finally be done a little bit too sudden, like a big leap into a dark zone without the proper tools or knowledge.
By all accounts I am conscious it is a great change, but I motivate myself to become more fearless and somehow to master my doubts.
I wish to explore a little bit in advance, to have just a glimpse, throughout your answers (if you will be so king to consider giving me one), the concept of being a psychiatrist , to gain some inside information about the ordinary life of a psychiatrist, the everyday challenges and difficulties one must confront and overcome.
Basically I want to know if it could be hard for someone with a somatic background to reshape his pattern of thinking and found interest and finally joy in this field of psychiatric disorders?
I know for a fact that I am a high motivated individual with a positive attitude towards new challenges and I feel prepared on the rational level but am I really prepared emotionally to climb this abrupt slope facing my career?
I am not trying to spin this as a "my tragedy” kind of story and have a covered incognito counseling session via your blog. I will not dress it up in the narrative of a surgeon trying to find the metaphor in life and all that nonsense. This isn’t a tragedy, not in the Greek sense of tragedy describing a character's fall from grace due to an unrecognized, fatal moral flaw nor in the modern sense of it. I am just trying to avoid, with your help, a decision made in circumstances characterized by a momentary lack of information.
I deeply believe that one’s actions reflect on the intrinsic worth of the individual so, for not devaluating mine in my near future, I dare to ask you:
- Is psychiatry suitable for a guy with prior surgical background?
- If am I to follow my instincts and pursue this specialty will I be capable enough to adapt to the new environment of pathologies given the facts that I am 35 years old and I have a rather rigid and “catesian” education?
Please excuse my lack of eloquence, but as you have already noticed throughout my words, English is not my maternal language.
Please be so kind and not judge me so hard for my daring.
André

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You should have just writte... (Below threshold)

June 16, 2012 6:31 PM | Posted by Kal Ross: | Reply

You should have just written at the end. You chose these people in your relationships because you are a narcissist. problem solved.

now, with that being said, I will go and look at myself in the mirror.

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February 14, 2013 8:18 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

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Then why are you still read... (Below threshold)

October 11, 2013 11:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Washington's comment, by Atarii: | Reply

Then why are you still reading?

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"I don't get how the proble... (Below threshold)

February 6, 2014 5:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Bubba Bean's comment, by Tripp Hanning: | Reply

"I don't get how the problem is me.

1.)The problem is me in that I keep having relationships with TLP Narcissists, and read articles which help me blame them for failed relationships by putting them in boxes like DSM narcissism which justifies my failures as not my fault (when it is because I see merits in that sort of person in the first place)?

2.)Or is the problem me because I am TLP Narcissist and read articles that put others into boxes that make me not focus on my own Narcissism but focus on that of others? Thus never being able to see my own shortcomings?

3.)Or is the problem me because I don't know whether it is 1 or 2 and thus is probably two?

4.) Something else?"

The problem is you, because you _______.
So, #4.

I think of myself as a narcissist, but am working on being a benevolent one.
Meaning, I think of myself as worthless if I am not good to, or for, someone else. So I keep trying to enhance my 'self' and my 'self-worth' in the hopes that I may enrich someone else's life.

Best advice on how to not be a narcissist does in fact come from Alone:
""Help me, please, I think I'm a narcissist. What do I do?"

There are a hundred correct answers, yet all of them useless, all of them will fail precisely because you want to hear them.

There's only one that's universally effective, I've said it before and no one liked it. This is step 1: fake it.

You'll say: but this isn't a treatment, this doesn't make a real change in me, this isn't going to make me less of a narcissist if I'm faking!

All of those answers are the narcissism talking. All of those answers miss the point: your treatment isn't for you, it's for everyone else.

If you do not understand this, repeat step 1."

To paraphrase a bit: You don't get how the problem is you, because you _______ ... focusing on yourself.

Focus on someone ELSE, someone worth that focus.

Sometimes I truly wonder why Alone hasn't done a post about the Louie episode (S02E09 Eddie) where Louie's good friend, another comic played by Doug Stanhope, is planning on committing suicide.

Louie's response:
"You know what, it's not your life. It's life. Life is bigger than you. If you can imagine that. Life isn't something that you possess; it's something that you take part in, and you witness."

Life/this world/truth/reality has no need of/for you. You are lucky to be a part of it.
YOU ARE NOT THE POINT.

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"Responses gave me somethin... (Below threshold)

February 6, 2014 5:44 PM | Posted, in reply to T.C.'s comment, by Tripp Hanning: | Reply

"Responses gave me something to chew on.
Also: forgive me if I inspired concern/worry in any posters. Although I do consider suicide frequently, it's more that if I was indeed informed that yes, yes I am a narcissist, it seems that the world needs less of them and that they are toxic to the survival of the species, so if I was one, I would more look at it as doing the world a favor to spare them from the pain my existence would unleash on society. It sounds silly, but an old lover called me a narcissist (I'm still unclear why, it had something to do with an argument about politics and my commitment to socialism) and I read this article and subsequently freaked out, racing thoughts and all that.

I would see a medical professional, but I don't have the money or the time. I live in an isolated area and work two jobs, and I would never be able to find a ride to go see a shrink. The friends I have here also don't believe in it/think it's a symptom of American neediness, greed, stupidity and first world privilege, so I wouldn't have much support. I have a good advisor, so he helps when he can.

Thanks again for responding, I'll cease my threadjacking now."
T.C., read my previous post where I quote Alone & Louie, above; they have some powerful stuff on the subject.

Any help you do seek, from whomever, should assist in taking the focus off of you-yourself for 'your' sake.

Psychotherapy enhances narcissism, at least to the extent that it makes one more talented at focusing on oneself.

"How does that make you feel?"

Again, paraphrasing Alone:
The better you become at pretending NOT to be a narcissist, the more likely you are to better connect with others to your mutual/collective benefit.

Also, about you old lover ... taking a guess, but the more correct your old lover was about your narcissism, the more likely your old lover was a narcissist.

"What do you think about that?"

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You think you chos... (Below threshold)

May 10, 2014 11:44 PM | Posted by Tobias Boon: | Reply

You think you chose your partner for the good qualities and the bad ones are baggage; but you chose them both because they fit your needs. That the relationship later failed didn't mean you were getting something from it. "Blaming the victim!" I'm not blaming the victim, I am observing a universal rule: the common denominator in all of your failed relationships is you.

I literally just realized when I read this that a big reason I got out of a previous relationship is also a big reason I got into it in the first place. I got out because I felt like I couldn't trust her enough to take things any further. I got in because she pretended to see me the way I needed to be seen at that time. Never thought of it quite that way before.

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