When I first met my ex-husband in 1995, he joked about being a narcissist. I thought nothing of it at the time because the term was not widely used. In fact, I knew so little of the word “narcissist” I thought it just made him that much more eccentric and artsy...lol.
Eight years later, when I was banging my head against the wall trying to understand why our relationship had gone from a fairy-tale to a train wreck overnight and he reminded me that he told me he was a narcissist from day one, I finally looked into the true meaning of the word. When I did, it was such an “A-ha Moment” for me that I decided I must help build awareness so others would not live in the dark like I did for years. Understanding narcissism is critical for anyone living in today’s modern, consumer driven and self-obsessed society.
I just read an article in Esquire Magazine that I must share with you. The title is “In Praise of Narcissism - We Love Ourselves and We’re Finally Honest About It,” by Stephen Marche
Below is a link to it:
I encourage you to read it and would love to hear your thoughts on it. Thanks to the academic authors of “The Narcissism Epidemic” we now have solid proof that the scourge of delusional narcissism has now become an epidemic in our society. Author and researcher, Jean Twenge found that among 37,000 college students, the rise of narcissistic traits from the 1980s to the present was as steep as the rise in obesity!
If pathological narcissism is more of an epidemic than obesity, shouldn’t it garner the same level of attention as an issue we as a society must proactively address? While I am not diminishing the importance of tackling childhood obesity and applaud Michelle Obama for making it a priority, the unfortunate truth is that our society does NOTHING to address the increasing problem of pathological narcissism. In fact, quite the opposite is true. As the article in Esquire Magazine points out, our culture does everything to REWARD and PROMOTE narcissism!
As the article states:
“In a shockingly brief span of time, narcissism has come from nowhere to dominate all human activity. Amazingly, the term narcissism was coined only a little over a century ago, to describe what was then considered a psychological ailment: people taking sexual pleasure from themselves. If we have progressed in any field of human endeavor over the past century, it is self-pleasuring. Masturbation has made greater strides than the microchip — growing more accessible, more open, faster, and less shameful every year. Narcissism is the same: no longer, properly speaking, a disease at all, but our way of life. The economy runs on it. The educational system has shifted almost entirely to living-up-to-your-potential goals. Parents value their children's self-esteem far more than they do their virtue or knowledge. Even technology drives narcissism: The streets are full of people who no longer look up; the world comes to them through the self-directed glow of their phones. Narcissism, not love, makes the world go round.” ~ Stephen Marche
Pathological narcissism has become an epidemic larger than obesity and we have proof that this is the case. Our focus going forward should be on finding ways to decrease its emergence in our youth instead of constantly rewarding it the way our society does today. Pathological narcissism is damaging our ability to relate to one another as humans, setting us up for failure in all of our relationships. I truly believe our society needs to take this epidemic much more seriously than it does. I will devote much of my future research and writing to contribute to ways in which we can reverse the staggering and unfortunate growing phenomenon of pathological narcissism that is a byproduct of today’s modern society.
As Historian Daniel Boorstin so famously said years ago:
“As individuals and as a nation, we now suffer from social narcissism. The beloved Echo of our ancestors, the virgin America, has been abandoned. We have fallen in love with our own image, with images of our making, which turn out to be images of ourselves.”