In current circumstances it may help to remind ourselves of the significance of narcissism. Thank you Wikipedia for most of the following.


Narcissism is the pursuit of gratification from vanity or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes. The term originated from Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. Narcissism is a concept in psychoanalytic theory, which was popularly introduced in Sigmund Freud‘s essay On Narcissism (1914). The American Psychiatric Association has had the classification narcissistic personality disorder in its Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) since 1968


The term “narcissism” comes from the Greek myth about Narcissus (Greek: Νάρκισσος, Narkissos), a handsome Greek youth who, according to Ovid, rejected the desperate advances of the nymph Echo. These advances eventually led Narcissus to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to consummate his love, Narcissus “lay gazing enraptured into the pool, hour after hour,” and finally changed into a flower that bears his name, the narcissus… The concept of excessive selfishness has been recognized throughout history… It is only more recently that narcissism has been defined in psychological terms

A required element within normal development

Healthy narcissism might exist in all individuals. Freud said that this is an original state from which the individual develops the love object… He argued that healthy narcissism is an essential part of normal development.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a long-term pattern of abnormal behavior characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive need for admiration, and a lack of understanding of others’ feelings. People affected by it often spend a lot of time thinking about achieving power or success, or about their appearance. They often take advantage of the people around them. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of situations.

Empirical studies

Campbell and Foster (2007) review the literature on narcissism. They argue that narcissists possess the following “basic ingredients”:

  • Positive: Narcissists think they are better than others.

  • Inflated: Narcissists’ views tend to be contrary to reality. In measures that compare self-report to objective measures, narcissists’ self-views tend to be greatly exaggerated.

  • Agentic: Narcissists’ views tend to be most exaggerated in the agentic domain, relative to the communion domain.

  • Special: Narcissists perceive themselves to be unique and special people.

  • Selfish: Research upon narcissists’ behaviour in resource dilemmas supports the case for narcissists as being selfish.

  • Oriented toward success: Narcissists are oriented towards success by being, for example, approach oriented.

Featured image is Dali’s Narcissus

3 thoughts on “Narcissism

  1. Interesting post on Narcissists–what wasn’t addressed was the Narcissist who uses it to cover up a serious lack of self esteem–the more people she can ‘pull over’ to her side, the more she can say to herself, there, now. Look at all the friends I have.

    I know there are N’s who truly believe they were hand-picked to be God’s chillun, but there are those who use it as a way to draw attention to themselves, at the expense of everyone else.

    Maybe Im interpreting the words improperly, or perhaps this is a subset of Narcissism; in a way it’s like looking at one of those drawings where it looks like an old lady, blink and it’s a young woman.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Yes, sounds like a sort of narcissism to me.
    Maybe an underlying lack of self esteem underlies all narcissism?
    As we develop and become comfortable in our own skin, the need to keep bolstering our own ego dissolves.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. exactly. As often as she said, “I don’t care what the neighbors think” she frequently said, “What will the neighbors think…I’ll never be able to hold my head up in town…”

    I always got the feeling she was trying to live up to her idea of what other people thought of her. It sounds a bit wearing, frankly.

    And you’re right, of course. It’s so restful, in many ways, to not mind what people think–and you do get a very cool reputation, too.


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