Narcissism Why are narcissisms so personable

Narcissism - A Personality Disorder

People push towards the light, not to see better, but to shine better.
Friedrich Wilhelm Nietzsche (Human, All Too Human. A Book for Free Spirits, 1878-1880. Volume Two. Section Two: The Wanderer and His Shadow)

The Narcissism of the I Generation

The Myth of Narcissus
According to the ancient Greek legend, Narkissor (Narcissus) was the beautiful son of the river god Kephisos and Leiriope. As courted by the ladies and accordingly haughty, he also rejected the love of the nymph Echo. Therefore, Nemesis, the goddess of righteous anger, punished him (Aphrodite is also mentioned in Greek mythology as the avenger Echos). Narcissus develops an insatiable love for the reflection he sees in the water.
There are two versions of the "first narcissist" ending. The first says that by a divine providence a leaf falls into the water and tarnishes Narcissus' reflection. Narcissus dies, shocked by the supposed realization that he is ugly. He is transformed into a daffodil. According to tradition two: Narcissus falls in love with his reflection in the mirror, wants to unite with him and drowns in the attempt.

See also The egocentrism of the child

Narcissists are self-centered people who neglect others, display selfish and self-centered traits. Self-interest takes precedence over the common good and if they love, then only to be loved themselves. Narcissism means much more than simple self-love, narcissism is an inner relationship to the self in order to maintain an inner balance, well-being and self-confidence. Narcissism, therefore, is not necessarily abnormal or pathological.

A distinction is made between positive and negative narcissism:

  • "Positive narcissism"means a positive attitude towards oneself, which causes and maintains a stable self-esteem. A" positive "narcissism expresses itself in a positive attitude towards oneself, ie that these people have a stable self-esteem that is maintained even if there are setbacks . Positive narcissistic people rest in themselves, radiate warmth and are turned towards others. Positive narcissism is a healthy part of a harmonious personality. See also self-love and on the page.
  • "Negative narcissism"is based on a lack of self-esteem based on an infant-parent relationship that did not show the child enough empathy and affirmation. A pronounced or" negative "narcissism means that these people are predominantly self-centered and have a more passive need for love and "to love just to be loved." A relationship with a narcissist is characterized by the giving of the partner and the taking of the narcissist. There is no balance with alternating give and take. Narcissists are hardly or not at all capable of empathy (compassion with others). They have (almost) no self-esteem and are dependent on constant confirmation from outside. If this does not happen, serious problems arise. Often negatively narcissistic people also tend to devalue others in order to enhance their own ego.

The pathological form is that Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is characterized by a grandiose feeling of personal importance, fantasies about unlimited success and power, belief in one's own particularity, desire for excessive admiration, excessive expectations, exploitative relationships, lack of empathy, envy, arrogance. The central symptom is an unstable self-esteem, often associated with a feeling of emptiness and the inability to perceive feelings, especially joy. Other phenomena often found are increased vulnerability and sickness, as well as an egocentric attitude. The characteristic attitude of those affected by narcissism is an indifference to other people, which appears as egoism and arrogance. Ambition and excessive demands on oneself often lead to a fatigue syndrome. Here, however, often the own shares are not seen, but external causes such as work conditions, the supervisor, etc. are made responsible. The depressive moods have a flat to superficial effect, but the lack of drive and impetus is experienced by those affected as very stressful. On the physical level, there are sleep disorders, headaches, functional heart problems and sexual disorders. In closer contact, those affected can appear very lively, charming and enticing. Especially when they want to achieve something, they can be very manipulative. However, they often present themselves as emotionally cool, arrogant and hurtful.

Psychologists at the University of San Diego (California) have been studying the degree of self-love and selfishness of students with the "Narcisstic Personality" test since 1982. It includes questions like, "If I could rule the world, would it be a better place?" or "Do I like to be the center of attention?"

People born after 1982 are therefore the most narcissistic generation in recent history and rather far removed from any social orientation. This American finding coincides with youth studies from German-speaking countries, according to which there are more and more young people who develop few sustainable social relationships, who cannot integrate themselves socially and who ultimately focus on themselves.

A new field of activity for narcissists is that social networks, because according to a meta-analysis (Gnambs & Appel, 2017) these are the ideal medium for presenting yourself. Data from 16 different countries on four continents were evaluated for the study. The more often a user uploads pictures of himself on social networks and the greater the number of his friends, the greater the likelihood that he is a narcissist, regardless of gender or age. These people also spend more time in their networks than the average visitor. Two different types of narcissists were also found: The cocky narcissists are more common on Facebook, Twitter and Co., while the vulnerable narcissists are characterized by a high degree of insecurity, show an oversensitivity in dealing with other people and are more likely to have an urge to withdraw from the public eye. The usage behavior is also influenced by the respective culture in different countries, because in countries like India or Malaysia, where the individual counts less than the community or where roles are clearly defined, social media are an opportunity for narcissists to get out of control break out of rules and present themselves in a way that would otherwise not be possible for them in public.

Incidentally, in recent years, according to some researchers, one Culture of the victim role Widespread in Western societies, because in a survey of several thousand people, up to a third of those questioned stated that they had already played the victim in order to achieve a goal. The more sincere someone seemed, the more likely they were to be helped. This aspect of a personality is among other things narcissistic embossed or sometimes wears psychopathic Trains. A victim role sometimes ensures respect and courtesy in other people, with such "victims" then behaviors are tolerated that would never be accepted by others, which is probably the primary goal of people who take on this role.

According to Werner Leixnering (Linz) this is formed Narcissism trend also in the world of work, because in his opinion it is no longer as communicative as it used to be. You sit alone in front of the computer, and more and more things are going on through one-man or one-woman businesses. These I-AGs lead to a feeling of being thrown on oneself and to the fact that the abilities to empathize with others wither. In addition, ever more technical environmental offers developed, such as electronic media, computer games, etc., in which one is ultimately often alone. In addition, many parents - probably on the basis of their own experience - stimulate their children very early on not to be considerate of others with a view to future professional success.

The Causes of Narcissism are not only a certain hereditary disposition, but also family relationships. Narcissism mostly arises in the early childhoodwhen normally self-esteem and individuality develop. Narcissistic children are often not noticed later ("I was like air") and their needs are not supported or overwhelmed ("you are my big boy, you can do it on your own"). But often they will too guardedso that they don't have an opportunity to develop healthy self-esteem. Often the mother is very dominant, the father is in fact absent. In marriages in which there is a crisis, the sons are then treated by the mothers as "replacement partners" and expect from them the attention and care that they do not get from their partner. Later on, this excessive demand can lead to a noticeable discrepancy between great self-confidence on the outside and an inner insecurity and vulnerability. The child is confronted with double messages, has difficulty orienting himself and learns to present the behavior that brings him the most benefits. The later narcissistic person has never learned that he is also loved for himself, even if he does not perform well. This is how a strong one develops Egocentricity. Narcissistically disturbed people tend to be skilful tactics with little consideration for others and radiate emotional coldness.

According to the psychologist Beat Stübi (2011), narcissism has never been as widespread as it is today, because in current studies every fourth student shows increased narcissism values. He does not locate the origin of narcissistic development so much in a lack of attention and affection in childhood, but that the opposite of a lack of attention can lead to narcissism: indulgence. "Which middle-class parents consider their child to be just« average »? Many of today's children learn that they are special and that everything revolves around them. If the above-average« talent »does not come true in the course of life, the only thing left is that the flight into the “illusion” so as not to endanger self-worth. The German social psychologist Hans-Werner Bierhoff speaks of an “ICH inflation.” It has developed so strongly because the social norms in the last 50 years in the western world In this vacuum, an “offensive” narcissism could ideally spread. () The young people use role models in show business as orientation - they are socialized into a narcissistic society. “Pro7” already features “Germany's next top model ». So far, 13,374 young women in 21 German cities have applied personally. Female beauty has always been sc Honored - but the cult of beauty has probably never been as strong as it is today. Research shows the same result again and again: Those who are rated as “beautiful” are also considered to be “intelligent”, “personable” and “successful” at the same time - only because of the external impression on a photo. The reality for the young women mentioned above is harsh: the fact is that the majority of people are just average "beautiful", "intelligent" and "talented" ".

The currently most important or recognized Forms of therapy are the cognitive / behavioral and supportive (supporting) techniques as well as depth psychological and / or disorder-oriented treatment methods that specifically address the specific problem areas of a disordered personality. In addition, pedagogical or psychagogical therapy methods are also suitable in order to use as much self-awareness and self-directed possibilities for change as possible. The narcissistic client should be in the psychotherapy learn to reduce one's own demands, to withdraw, to practice a certain adaptation to the environment and to look for the problems not only in others but also in oneself.

Self love is the unrestricted Accepting oneself in the form of unconditional love and is an important one requirement for relationships with other people and the world. Self-love can also be clearly seen from egoism or narcissism demarcate, because while an egoist only thinks of himself and walks over corpses, a self-loving person always tries to bring his ego, his wishes and needs into harmony with his environment. Narcissists are concerned with selfishness before the common good, and when they love, it is only to be loved themselves.

People who don't love themselves often fall into depressions and / or become unbearable for their fellow human beings, since with the loss of self-love they have lost an important orientation for charity.

There are many reasons for not loving yourself little, such as the body that you find ugly, an environment in which you actually don't want to live, something material that you don't own. Therefore, an important prerequisite for self-love is to create an environment in which you feel comfortable and in which you can build self-confidence in order to be able to compensate for inadequacies.

Self love is

  • the benchmark for charity
  • a good medicine for the sick and sick
  • the best advisor
  • a good shield against our fears
  • practical and sensible
  • the power that can make you a winner even without victories
  • important because only then will we find out who we are
  • necessary because this is the only way to hear what the body is telling us
  • indispensable because it keeps you human.

Small self-test on narcissism

According to Johanna Winkler (Head of Psychiatry at the Wagner-Jauregg Hospital in Linz) you can use the following questions to determine whether you have narcissistic traits. The more often you answer “yes”, the more narcissistic the personality appears.

  • Do you value being more beautiful, better or more successful than others?
  • Are you often admired?
  • Do you impress others as a personality?
  • Do you often rely on yourself?
  • Is it an honor for other people to be friends with you?
  • Is your opinion more important to you than that of the others?
  • Do you need other people's approval for your self worth?
  • Do you feel offended when someone criticizes you?
  • Do you find it difficult to sense or identify with the feelings of others?

Dealing with Narcissists

Narcissists are often charming and attentive at the beginning of a relationship, but after a while their true colors become apparent and they begin to manipulate, suppress and devalue their partners, whereby a relationship with a narcissist can be so traumatizing that it can turn negative can also affect the future relationships of the non-narcissistic person. Since the narcissistic disorder is a Self-esteem disorder This disorder is also expressed by the fact that the person concerned leans heavily on the partner and expresses that he or she feels weaker and worse. However, these remain Feelings of inferiority in the background, because most narcissists behave autocratically and outwardly extremely self-confidently in a kind of overcompensation. By the way, contrary to popular belief, narcissists often have a very high empathy, but they mainly use this to feel where others are vulnerable and where they can do something for their own benefit, so that they hit the sore spots in their partner with this tactic. Long-term relationships often mean traumatization for the partners of narcissists, so that those affected completely lose their trust in relationships in general or avoid all ties in the future and no longer accept commitments.

Narcissistic people are also characterized by their behavior after a breakup, because they usually react like offended children and act hatefully, with the ex-partner being made bad at work and among friends. The ex-partner orthe ex-partner becomes an enemy in the eyes of a narcissistic person who has to be destroyed. It is particularly typical of narcissistic partners that they do not feel responsible for anything after a breakup, reject all responsibility and assign all guilt to the other. It is not uncommon for their children to be manipulated and drawn into the parents' conflict, because narcissistic people do not shy away from playing off their own children against their partner, making them bad or devaluing them, or persuading the children that the other parent is not them loves more.


Gnambs, T. & Appel, M. (2017). Narcissism and Social Networking Behavior: A Meta-Analysis. Journal of Personality, doe: 10.1111 / jopy.12305.

OÖN from 03/10/2007 (06-11-12)

Stübi, Beat (2011). Megalomania and beauty cult. Insist 1/11. ' (11-05-09);art114,1058249 (13-02-09)

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