Monday, March 7, 2011

Quotes by Authors Writing about Narcissism II

Cynthia Zayn and Kevin Dibble

Narcissistic Lovers
“Wasn’t the beginning of your relationship almost like a fairytale? Your N made you feel so significant. He even convinced you that you two were made for each other. You had so many things in common with him. And wasn't it uncanny how none of the other women in his past measured up to you? You began to realize just how special you were. Perhaps you were meant to be together. Buying into the idealization phase is a rush. Once we allow ourselves to feel as if we have rescued someone from a long and difficult journey, there is no turning back We want to be that savior. We want ours to be the best relationship and the most important time in his life. Accepting that we have been “narcissisized” means denying our special status. WE tend to grow accustomed to that special side of ourselves. Why would we give that up without a fight?" 

Albert J. Bernstein
Emotional Vampires
“More than loving themselves, Narcissists are absorbed with themselves. They eel their own desires so acutely that they can’t pay attention to anything else. Imagine their disorder as a pair of binoculars. Narcissists look at their own needs through the magnifying side, and the rest of the cosmos through the side that makes things small to the point of insignificance. It’s not so much that these vampires think they’re better than other people as that they hardly think of other people at all. Unless they need something…They’ll try so hard to impress you that it’s easy to believe that you’re actually important to them. This can be a fatal mistake; it’s not you they want, only your worship. They’ll suck that out and throw the rest away.” 

Dr. Les Carter
Enough About You, Let’s Talk About ME
“Narcissism is so powerful that it can be displayed in a broad variety of behaviors and personality types…the eight primary ingredients common to a narcissistic pattern of behavior:

1-An inability to empathize; that is, an inability to experience another person’s feelings and perceptions from that person’s point of view
2-Manipulative or exploitive behavior
3-A sense of entitlement
4-An inability to receive direction
5-An insatiable need for control
6-A haughty or judgmental spirit
7-An unwillingness to acknowledge reality
8-An ability to create favorable public impressions

James F. Masterson
The Search for the Real Self
“Narcissistic supplies come from “mirroring,” or what we might call “reinforcing feedback.” The narcissist looks to others in his environment, and to the environment itself---clothes, care, home, office---to reflect his exaggerated sense of importance and perfection. He must surround himself with the right people who will appreciate and advertise his best qualities, announcing to the world that he is unique, special, adored, perfect, right. Wealth, power, and beauty in himself and those who are part of his life---family, friends, colleagues---must also be perfect since their perfection highlights his own and justified his grandiose image of himself. Many observers would rightly consider these attributes to be superficial and not accurate indicators of a person’s real worth, but the narcissist takes them seriously, and as long as he has enough of them, he can continue to believe in his omnipotence. Many people seek perfection, knowing it is impossible to achieve and that they can only strive for it. The narcissist, however, not only believes it is possible but claims it rather than seeking it. In other worlds, he is perfect and is entitled to have his activities and relationships reflect it. He doesn’t have to work or struggle for it. Should he not receive enough supplies ot justify this claim for himself, or if the mirroring from the environment is inadequate, his grandiose self is frustrated and the anger and depression that underlie it emerge.”

Neville Symington
Narcissism: A New Theory
“It is extremely important to be able to recognize people dominated by a narcissistic character structure. For one thing, such people, however gifted, cause considerable damage to the social structures to which they belong---to their families, their work organizations, clubs, societies. ..Of greatest importance, however, is the ability to recognize narcissistic currents in our own characters. None of us is free from narcissism,  and one of the fundamental aspects of the condition is that it blinds us to self-knowledge. You will often hear people say, “Oh, I’m very narcissistic”, or “It was a wound to my narcissism”. Such comments are not a true recognition of the condition; they are throw-away lines. Really to recognize narcissism in oneself is profoundly distressing.”

Beverly Engel
The Jekyll and Hyde Syndrome
“When people suffering from narcissism experience disappointment in their partners, this can also set abuse in motion. Typical narcissistic individuals often become intensely attracted to people in a short amount of time and will tend to idealize their partners, viewing them as more beautiful, talented, popular, or giving than they actually are. When this idealization wears off, people with NPD may become so disappointed that they lose any respect they once had for their partners. This lack of respect is expressed through belittling, dismissive or sarcastic comments or put-downs, and a blatant lack of consideration. They are deliberately trying to push their partners away since the partners no longer meet their standards. 

When people suffering from narcissism are faced with the inevitable ending of a relationship, either because they are unable to ignore the fact that the relationship is a failure or they are interested in someone else, they will inevitably become abusive. Unable to accept any responsibility for the failure of the relationship or for their attraction to someone else, they must make their partners responsible----in their own minds and in their partners’. In some cases, it isn’t a question of the narcissistic individual becoming abusive but of his or her previously hidden abusive nature being revealed. To justify his or her desire to end the relationship, the narcissistic person will force the partner to behave in unacceptable ways so that the partner can then be invalidated."

Steven Carter and Julia Sokol
Help! I’m in Love with a Narcissist
“It would be wrong to think that the world consists of only two types of people: Narcissists and non-narcissists. It’s a rare person who doesn’t have some degree of narcissism. Narcissism in adults really exists on a continuum, ranging from subtle to wildly toxic and pathological. In some situations, appropriate narcissism can be self-protective and necessary. Isn’t it easy for all of us to get caught up inside our own problems and our own point of view? By itself, this is not destructive. But when somebody has no ability, or has completely lost the ability, to experience others as having their own, equally important sets of needs, this person has crossed the line into more serious stuff. Sure, all of us are trying to get our needs met. But when “my needs” become the only needs that count, we are in serious narcissism country. At the far end of the spectrum is the toxic narcissist. This person is totally self-absorbed with almost no capacity for self-awareness or self-knowledge."

Nina W. Brown
Loving the Self-Absorbed
“The destructive narcissist is someone who has a set of behaviors and attitudes that are less intense and fewer in number than those that describe a pathological narcissist…What is the Destructive Narcissistic Pattern? Grandiosity; Entitlement; Impoverished self; Arrogance; Need to be unique and special; Narrow emotions and expressions; Lack of empathy; Inappropriate or no sense of humor; Emptiness at the core; Inability to recognize or respect others’ boundaries; Tendency to be attention seeking; Hunger for admiration; Envy; and Expecting favors without returning them.”

Stephen M. Johnson
Humanizing the Narcissistic Syle
"Some of my best friends are narcissists…these people are no character disorders. They are people tortured by narcissistic injury and crippled by developmental arrests in functioning which rob them of the richness of life they deserve. They are good people, contributing people who are hurting---and often very badly. They are living the narcissistic style.

“[The narcissistic style] is part and parcel of our life-denying culture, which places accomplishment over pleasure, status over love, appearance over reality. It is the endemic result of our culture’s material perfectionism. It bridles a very significant proportion of our people and cripples some of our most gifted and giving individuals. Yet while the culture reinforces it, its breeding ground is the family. Though Madison Avenue plays on its existence and fosters its development, its roots are much deeper…in  good deal of the literature, the narcissistic character disorder as well as the narcissistic sytle, has been given a bum rap…”

Joan Lachkar
How to Talk to a Narcissist
“The characteristics of the pathological narcissist overlap those of many of the narcissists described in this book, but there are distinct differences. Whereas the pathological narcissist is dominated by many severe primitive defense mechanisms, he is not necessarily cruel and sadistic, as is the malignant narcissist. He still answers to a restrictive and punitive superego or internal voice as opposed to the antisocial narcissist, who has no conscience...Pathological narcissists are extreme in their narcissistic defenses and behavior. They engage in almost a narcissist feast or frenzy, are totally self-absorbed, lack empathy and display indifference or apathy to the emotional needs of others. Pathological narcissists have a highly exaggerated sense of self and are dominated by such primitive defense mechanisms as guilt, shame, envy , control, domination, splitting, projection, projective identification and paranoid anxiety---including many unresolved Oedipal issues…In addition to showing little or no regard for the feelings or sentiments of others, pathological narcissists believe the world centers solely around them. Some refer to these narcissistic personalities as “users”…Pathological narcissists share the common narcissistic desire to attain power, fame, wealth and beauty and are in need of constant praise and admiration of others. The desire to maintain a healthy relationship becomes overshadowed by these defenses. In other words, love and intimacy are replaced by primitive defenses such as the need to dominate, to control and compete, as well as Oedipal rivalry.”

Neville Symington
Narcissism: A new theory  
"When it comes to a concept of the self, we have to look into how the self is structured. As with all realities, the self is inherently relational. It is always in relation to other selves in the human community. From birth, even from conception, this is so. If when the baby was born there was no tendency in it to find its way to the mother, to the breast, it would die. This relational nature permeates all the parts of the self in the way that gravity permeates all matter. We shall come to see, as we go on, that the core of narcissism is a hatred of the relational---a hatred of something that is inherent in our being…In its hatred of the relational, one of the ways that narcissism operates is to destroy separateness. In people dominated by narcissistic currents there is a failure of separateness between themselves and others, and they will assume that you think in the same way that they think."

Elan Golomb
Trapped in the Mirror 
“The narcissistic parent who so often suffered from shame for personal shortcomings in the eyes of his scornful parents looks at his own child with disgust and subjects him to the scorn he once knew. He masters the trauma of his own early experience by taking the active role and doing it to another as helpless as he once was…the narcissistic parent lives on within the mind of the adult, even in the absence of the real parent. This inner parent is known as an introject. It keeps reinforcing childhood roles and behaviors acquired for survival. The introject still threatens to withhold love if the child departs from its program. There is no place to run to, no geographical hiding place to get away from this harsh inner voice. The child of a narcissist grown has the job of rooting out the influence of the inner parent by careful examination and analysis.

The final and tragic irony is that the child of a narcissist may himself have acquired many narcissistic traits, up to and including being a full-blooded narcissist. Some common features might include: self-centeredness, the compulsive need to be right and to have other people submit to his views, an inability to take criticism, the desire for perfection in self or in others he is close to hypersensitivity combined with the continuous feeling of being mistreated, an exaggerated need for acclaim and support, and an even more desperate need for reassurance that he is loved.”

Otto F. Kernberg
Aggression in Personality Disorders and Perversions
“[malignant narcissism is] characterized by a typical narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial behavior, ego-syntonic sadism or characterologically anchored aggression, and a paranoid orientation, in contrast to the antisocial personality proper, still have the capacity for loyalty to and concern for others or for feeling guilty; they are able to conceive of other people as having moral concerns and convictions, and they may have a realistic attitude toward their own past and in planning for the future.

Their ego-syntonic sadism may be expressed in a conscious “ideology” of aggressive self-affirmation but also, quite frequently in chronic, ego-syntonic suicidal tendencies. These suicidal tendencies emerge not as part of a depressive syndrome but rather in emotional crises or even out of the blue, with the underlying (conscious or unconscious) fantasy that to be able to take one’s life reflects superiority and triumph over the usual fear of pain and death. To commit suicide, in these patients’ fantasy, is to exercise sadistic control over others or to ‘walk out’ of a world they feel they cannot control.

The paranoid orientation of these patients (which psychodynamically reflects the projection onto others of unintegrated sadistic superego precursors) is manifest in their experience of others as idols, enemies, or fools in an exaggerated way. These patients have a propensity for regressing into paranoid micropsychotic episodes in the course of intensive psychotherapy, thus they illustrate most dramatically the complementary functions of paranoid and antisocial interactions in the interpersonal realm….some of them may present rationalized antisocial behavior---for example, as leaders of sadistic gangs or terrorist groups. An idealized self-image and an ego[syntonic sadistic, self-serving ideology rationalizes the antisocial behavior and my coexists with the capacity of loyalty to their own comrades.”

Paul Meier, Lisa Charlebois, Cynthia Munz

You Might be a Narcissist If…
“Healthy people continually self—evaluate and try to learn and grow. They accept feedback from others and understand that they may not always be right in how they view themselves or situations. When it comes to their attention that a certain attitude or behavior is getting in the way of their relationships, goals, or aspirations, they attempt to make changes to improve the quality of their lives.

It should be noted that it often takes quite a bit of time, consideration, and focus for adults to begin exhibiting new behaviors. Often this is just because old habits can be hard to break. However, the more a person is character disordered (again, it is always on a continuum), the more his thoughts, attitudes, feelings, and behaviors (traits) interfere with his ability to maintain healthy relationships with others. The intensity of his character disorder is defined by his level of insight (whether he is able to view himself realistically ---even after receiving feedback from others), his ability to have empathy for how his behaviors make another person feel, and the degree of motivation he shows to change his behavior because of the insights he lacks in viewing himself and others in a realistic way. Therefore, a person is character disordered when:

1-He lacks realistic insight into himself
2-He tends to project blame onto others (accuses them of doing the things that he is actually doing rather than taking responsibility for his actions).
3-He has little or no care about how his behavior hurts the people he loves.
4-He shows little or no motivation to change