AN ARTICLE ON SLATE.COM by Emily Yoffe about the big... HUGE... problems caused by narcissism is getting a lot of notice on the blogosphere. I got a lot of flack from the Brooklyn bloggers a while ago because I was ruthless and relentless in my writings about the future damage that the super-enmeshed parents in Park Slope were sowing the seeds for by their over-identified, boundary-dropping ways with their kids.
Time to observe some of the reaping -
Here's an excerpt from Emily's piece:
"This is the cultural moment of the narcissist. The narcissists did it. Some commentators are fingering them as the culprits of the financial meltdown. A Bloomberg columnist blamed the conceited for our financial troubles in a piece titled "Harvard Narcissists With MBAs Killed Wall Street." A Wall Street Journal op-ed on California's economy suggested that Gov. Schwarzenegger's desire for voter's love ('It's classic narcissism') helped cause the state's budget debacle. A forthcoming book, The Narcissism Epidemic, says we went on a national binge of I-deserve-it consumption that's now resulting in our economic purging."
"Narcissistic personality disorder is a psychological condition that impairs a person's ability to form normal relationships and wreaks havoc on those who have close encounters with it. When true narcissists are in charge, other aspects of their makeup — a feeling the rules don't apply to them, a need for constant stroking — can have disastrous consequences."
And still more, thank you, Emily:
"Narcissistic personality disorder is not simply about taking normal egoism to extremes. NPD is one of fewer than a dozen personality disorders described by the American Psychiatric Association. Personality disorders are seen as a failure of character development. Others include anti-social personality disorder (these people are also commonly called "sociopaths" or "Bernie Madoff") and borderline personality disorder (think of Livia Soprano).
"Elsa Ronningstam, a psychologist at Harvard Medical School who specializes in NPD, points out the myth of Narcissus is not really about self-love but the inability to love. Eleanor Payson, a therapist in Michigan and the author of The Wizard of Oz and Other Narcissists, says of people with NPD, 'They have a primitive, undeveloped sense of self.' To compensate, they create a grandiose image to distract from an inner state that Payson says is one of 'almost malignant anxiety and emptiness."
And finally, on one of my favorite people who should be run out of the parenting business:
"Octomom Nadya Suleman explained in an interview that she started having her brood so they would fill 'the void, the feeling of emptiness' inside her she said was the result of an unhappy childhood. When the first six kids apparently failed to understand their Sisyphean life's work of making their mother feel loved, Suleman pushed on and had eight more. Perhaps this latest batch — once they get out of the neonatal intensive care unit — will discharge their obligations better.
"People with NPD act as if they are special beings who are exceptionally intelligent, accomplished, beautiful, or sexy (or all of the above), to whom lesser people (pretty much everyone else) must bow. For example, the late real estate heiress Leona Helmsley did time in prison for her belief about herself and her husband, "We don't pay taxes. Only little people pay taxes." Narcissists like to leave posthumous landmines in their wills, and in hers, Helmsley excluded two grandchildren and left $12 million to the individual she cared about the most, her Maltese, 'Trouble.' (A judge considered the dog's needs and cut its award to $2 million.)"