They Walk Among Us: Narcissists on the Loose

egg narcissist

You might associate the term narcissism with people who are self-absorbed. In fact, NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) is a relatively new term. The narcissistic personality was first described by the psychoanalyst Robert Waelder, in 1925. The term narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) was coined by Heinz Kohutin, in 1968. NPD is characterized by “a life-long pattern of exaggerated feelings of self-importance, an excessive craving for admiration, and a diminished ability to empathize with others’ feelings.” According to Wikipedia, narcissistic personality disorder is one of the eleven subtypes of the broader category known as personality disorders. The latest example of a public figure who suffers from an egregious case of NPD is Donald Trump.

While Mr. Trump is an overt, lesser range (crude) narcissist, NPD encompasses many other subgroups. The largest subgroups are lesser range, midrange, and greater (ultra) range. Descriptions of each of these subgroups can be found readily on the internet. Another subcategory of NPD is overt/covert. Each of these subgroups is a danger to society at large, but covert narcissism is less easy to detect. Overt and covert narcissists do share many characteristics, perhaps the most insidious of these being pathological lying.

Because people with NPD constantly crave attention from others, they often gravitate to groups of people. Covert narcissists are particularly drawn to philanthropic organizations, where they can associate with those who are caring and empathetic, qualities they do not have, but which they mimic and are labeled with by association. Think of the chameleon, who cloaks itself in whatever color that serves as its immediate background.

I would posit that all of the male celebrities who have been outed and prosecuted as sexual predators (e.g., Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein) are narcissists. Though it might appear that these “vampires” are plagued by a sexual addiction, the main goal of those with NPD is control. This does not mean that presidents and directors of organizations are all narcissists, but some worm or buy their way into groups and positions of authority. It is all about self-aggrandizement.

Although most narcissists are men, according to many clinicians, female narcissists do exist, and can be just as vicious as men, if not more so. I have encountered female narcissists in Ajijic. Ladies, have you ever met another woman for the first time and immediately sensed hostility? Female narcissists despise female empaths. Know that it is nothing you said or did. It is just the opposite with male narcissists, who are drawn to female empaths and target them.

How these soul-sucking vampires become what they are is of little consequence, but the more one knows about narcissism, the more fortified one will be. Like with other personality disorders, clinicians and others in the field of psychology are split on their opinions of the origins of narcissism; some say nurture, some nature, and others say a combination of the two. I tend to take a case-by-case stance. I am of the opinion that for some narcissists, there is a genetic component, while others revert to narcissism as a result of trauma (emotional, physical, or both) during early childhood, somewhere between the ages of three and five. The result is the same; the authentic self begins to retreat in favor of the false self, or façade, in an effort to cope with the pain. Narcissism is a survival technique of sorts. Unfortunately, the façade does not serve the narcissist well in the end. They are miserable much of the time, but will rarely let anyone see that unless they are playing the pity card in order to garner narcissistic fuel.

Why am I writing about this particular topic? I have several reasons, one being the cathartic value of ordering my thoughts on the page; another is to educate. I would urge you, if you suspect you are being or have been assaulted by a narcissist, to explore the topic on YouTube. HG Tudor, a self-proclaimed greater/ultra narcissist, is a prolific blogger, and Dr. Ramani is also very good. One good, short book is Prepare To Be Tortured: The Price You Will Pay for Dating a Narcissist, by A. B. Jamieson. Another good book, accessible to the layperson, is Borderline, Narcissistic, and Schizoid Adaptations, by Elinor Greenberg, Ph.D. In addition, Quora Digest has a section on narcissism.

A third reason for writing this essay is that I recently disengaged with a narcissist. I want you to realize that Narcissists are no different from other predators. They are very good at flying under the radar- Witness other sexual predators, among the clergy and other “trusted” professions. They are seldom called to account. It is up to us to be vigilant wherever we live, wherever we go. For they walk among us.

April 2022 Issue

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