Is Narcissism bad?

by phil on Wednesday Sep 24, 2003 9:27 AM
psychology, disorders

Maybe you are narcissistic... the question is then, "is this bad for my health." First, a definition of narcissim...

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by self-centeredness. Like histrionic disorder, people with this disorder seek attention and praise. They exaggerate their achievements, expecting others to recongize them as being superior. They tend to be choosy about picking friends, since they believe that not just anyone is worthy of being their friend. They tend to make good first impressions, yet have difficulty maintaining long-lasting relationships. They are generally uninterested in the feelings of others and may take advantage of them. (source)

My initial pass on narcissism in regards to pros and cons..

- I think self-attention can create self-awareness as a nice side effect. Focusing on yourself can help you improve yourself
- The opposite end of narcissism, a non-self centered nature, can be obviously self-destructive
- It can be fun to be narcissistic
- Self-expression probably springs a bit from the well of narcissism, and self-expression is one of the root inspirations for art
- Narcissists probably do many great things in the name of self-glorification, and as a result, may indirectly benefit others.

- Being a sarlac pit can leave you dissatisfied... i.e. there's only so much you can do just for yourself before you start to feel empty and meaningless, i.e. it's like eating too much chocolate
- Continuing on the above, meaning in life or altruism may be impossible with a narcissistic personality
- Narcissism means less attention on others, which means people will be less benefitted by your efforts
- Disconnection with reality... i.e. "the world does not revolve around you" which could lead you to frustrating situations where you expect things to necessarily go in your personal favor and instead they go otherwise.


Kohut's Dog said on May 11, 2004 11:53 PM:

Narcissism is the chief ingredient in evil, as Scott Peck writes. Hitler, Stalin, Saddam Hussein, and the Rev. Jim Jones were all narcissists, warped by abused childhoods into feeling unworthy, unlovable. For the rest of their lives, they over-compensated for their inferiority complexes by pursuing dreams of glory that extorted the attention of others--for whom they had no empathy. They denied their true, hated selves, and instead became actors in a grandiose play that could be called, "Me God, You Die." Narcissism can too easily become nihilism, and, whenever possible, should be left in Pandora's box.

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