Sunday, March 6, 2011

Quotes by Authors Writing about Narcissism

Sigmund Freud

On Narcissism

“The child shall have things better than his parents; he shall not be subject to the necessities which they have recognized as dominating life. Illness, death, renunciation of enjoyment, restrictions on his own will, shall not touch him; the laws of nature, like those of society, are to be abrogated in his favor; he is really to be the center and heart of creation, “His Majesty the Baby,” as we once fancied ourselves to be…At the weakest point of all in the narcissistic position, the immortality of the ego which is so relentlessly assailed by reality, security is achieved by fleeing to the child. Parental love, which is so touching and at bottom so childish, is nothing but parental narcissism born again…” 

Wendy T. Behary
disarming the narcissist
“So what do we call this personality type, the one that causes you to lift an eyebrow at curious paradoxes of character? Though these people seem well-assembled and self-assured, sometimes with a saccharine wit, they can so quickly pull the rug out from under you, reducing you to boredom, tears, apprehension, or disgust without a flinch. We call these people narcissists.”

Alexander Lowen
Narcissism: Denial of the True Self
“Narcissism describes both a psychological and a cultural condition. On the individual level, it denotes a personality disturbance characterized by an exaggerated investment in one’s image at the expense of the self. Narcissists are more concerned with how they appear than what they feel…acting without feeling, they tend to be seductive and manipulative, striving for power and control….On the cultural level, narcissism can be seen in a loss of human values---in a lack of concern for the environment, for the quality of life, for one’s fellow human beings. A society that sacrifices the natural environment for profit and power betrays its insensitivity to human needs. The proliferation of material things becomes the measure of progress in living, and man is pitted against woman, worker against employer, individual against community. When wealth occupies a higher position than wisdom, when notoriety is admired more than dignity, when success is more important than self-respect, the culture itself overvalues ‘image’ and must be regarded as narcissistic.”

Sandy Hotchkiss
Why is it Always About You?
“There is nothing new about narcissism. There have always been vain, grasping, manipulative characters who have an inflated perception of themselves and little regard for others. What is troubling about contemporary culture is the extent to which these personality flaws have received a widespread stamp of approval. Narcissism is not just tolerated in our day and age, it is glorified.”

Jeremy Holmes
“Liking oneself is a precondition for liking others. Yet to be in love with oneself is at best suspect, at worst a tragic fate condemning the afflicted to a life deprived of true intimacy. Narcissism is a universal psychological phenomenon, with healthy and unhealthy forms. Pathological forms of narcissism may be an attempt to find basic security in the face of environmental difficulty or trauma. Psychological treatment can help lessen the fundamental loneliness of the narcissistic sufferer.”

W. Keith Campbell
When you Love a Man Who Loves Himself
“I do not believe that narcissists have any loving, kind person ‘deep inside’. I do not believe that narcissists hate themselves…and secretly want to be in stable, loving relationships. Narcissists are just in it for fun, ego, and power…Narcissists are the people in our society who really love themselves and they have little desire or ability to love others….the best recipe for loving others seems to be a combination of low narcissism and high self-esteem."

Jean Twenge and Keith Campbell
The Narcissism Epidemic
People with high levels of narcissism---whom we refer to as ‘narcissists’---think they are better than others in social status, good looks, intelligence, and creativity. However, they are not. Measured objectively, narcissists are just like everyone else. Nevertheless, narcissists see themselves as fundamentally superior---they are special, entitled, and unique. Narcissists also lack emotionally warm, caring, and loving relationships with other people. This is the main difference between a narcissist and someone merely high in self-esteem: the high self-esteem person who’s not narcissistic values relationships, but the narcissist does not. The result is a fundamentally imbalanced self---a grandiose, inflated self-image and a lack of deep connection to others.”

M.Scott Peck
People of the Lie
“Since narcissists deep down, feel themselves to be faultless, it is inevitable that when they are in conflict with the world they will invariably perceive the conflict as the world's fault. Since they must deny their own badness, they must perceive others as bad. They project their own evil onto the world. They never think of themselves as evil, on the other hand, they consequently see much evil in others.” 

Eleanor D. Payson
The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists
“...[the] higher versus lower functioning NPD person [is] primarily characterized by the degree of conscience and concern for right and wrong behavior. At the heart, a sense of conscience is based on the ability to recognize that the  rights (feelings, needs, freedom) of others are equal to those of our own. For the NPD individual, this recognition is impaired in differing degrees of severity, at times combining unlawful (sociopathic) behaviors, which can involve significant danger to your own safety in a relationship.”

Richard M. Restak
The Self Seekers
“The outward signs of narcissism may thus extend from relatively mild to completely disabling forms of the disorder. In its worst----the condition of pathological narcissism---the personality is marked by impulsiveness and a tendency toward explosive or chronic rage.”

“One of the most distressing developments over the past several years has been the appearance of a subgroup of narcissistic personalities in which there is an infiltration of the pathologic, grandiose self with aggression. This aggression typically takes the form of a pride at being cool or callous, pride at not caring about others or not needing anybody. Within this malignant, distorted version of narcissism you get heavily sadistic elements.”

Harriet B. Braiker
Who’s Pulling Your Strings?
“The one quality among all others that narcissists have that makes them most likely to manipulate others is their strong sense of entitlement. This means that the narcissist simply expects special favors or accommodations from others without assuming reciprocal responsibilities in turn. As a result, if or when ‘the mark’ does not comply or do what is wanted, the narcissist will express anger or surprise.”

Drew Pinsky
The Mirror Effect
“Narcissism… springs from an opposite relationship with the self: not self-involvement, but a disconnection from oneself. The key to understanding the Narcissus myth is not that he fell in love with himself, but that he failed to recognize himself in his own reflection. In other words, true narcissists are not self-aware. A real narcissist is dissociated from his or her true self; he feels haunted by chronic feelings of loneliness, emptiness, and self-loathing and seeks to replace that disconnection with a sense of work and importance fueled by others. Narcissism is also marked by a profound lack of empathy, a fundamental inability to understand and connect with the feelings of others.

"These traits---the profound lack of self-knowledge and the inability to experience an empathetic connection with others, force narcissistic individuals to fixate on the reactions of others in order to shore up their own sense of self. For the narcissist, the whole world is a mirror; life is spent in constant pursuit of a gratifying reflection, a beautiful self-image to help stave off feelings of internal emptiness.”

Linda Martinez-Lewi
Freeing Yourself from the Narcissist in Your Life
"Beneath the bravado and grandiosity lies a pervasive emptiness. The high-level narcissist constantly turns to the rewards of the external world (praise, adulation, material possessions) to fill the painful inner void. The narcissist projects a bottomless rage, secret envy, and closet paranoia. The narcissistic ego is brittle, vulnerable to perceived psychological injuries and slights. In later years the high-level narcissist is often crushed ay a sinking enervating despair…the narcissist suffers from a hardened hart, and is incapable of empathy.” 

Beverly Engel
The Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome
“In spite of their air of self-sufficiency, narcissistic individuals are actually more needy than most people. To admit that they are needy or to admit that a person or a relationship is important to them forces them to face feelings of deficiency. This, in turn, will create intolerable emptiness, jealousy, and rage inside them. To prevent this from occurring, narcissists must find ways to get their needs met without acknowledging their needs or the people who meet them. This they accomplish by viewing people as objects or as having need-fulfilling functions.” 

Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert M. Pressman
The Narcissistic Family
“We found one pervasive trait present in all of these [narcissistic] families: the needs of the parent system took precedence over the needs of the children. We have found that in the narcissistic family, the needs of the children are not only secondary to those of the parents, but are often seriously problematic for the latter.”

Karyl McBride
Will I Ever Be Good Enough?
“If your mother exhibits narcissistic traits, you may usually feel that she doesn’t really know you because she never takes the time to focus on who you really are. We daughters of narcissistic mothers believe we have to be there for them---and that it is our role to attend to their needs, feelings and desires---even as young girls. We don’t feel that we matter to our mothers otherwise.”

Elan Golomb
Trapped in the Mirror
“The grandiose narcissist may not feel the emptiness of her life, although her narcissistic traits cause suffering in all those with whom she has intimate contact. She only comes to recognize that something is wrong (not necessarily with herself) when the environment no longer supports her grand illusions and she fails to live up to expectations of greatness. At this time she may become depressed and seek psychotherapy to relieve the pain.”

Simon Crompton
All About Me
“The growth of consumerism has been one of the shaping forces of a narcissistic culture…Our obsession with bodily appearance may be tied up with our attempts to position ourselves in a society where [social] rankings are otherwise increasingly difficult to see.”

Elsa F. Ronningstam
Identifying and Understanding the Narcissistic Personality
“Few disorders are the target of such negative criticism, blame, hostility, and misunderstanding as NPD. It is my hope that a deeper and more thorough understanding of the complexity of narcissism and narcissistic functioning can help to promote the development of flexible and integrated treatment strategies in the future.”