What is Narcissism?

Like many other psychological issues, there is a range of narcissism from mild to severe. Because of our inherent ego (as analyzed by Freud), a tendency to want to protect, celebrate and honor yourself is .

Yet, some people go much farther on the narcissism scale. Depending on the severity and the person’s self-awareness, a narcissistic individual can be very difficult to relate to. Not surprisingly, many of their relationships . In cases, a relationship a narcissist can be emotionally abusive and damaging, particularly where children and significant others are involved.

The Mayo Clinic defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as:

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. Those with narcissistic personality disorder believe that they’re superior to others and have little regard for other people’s feelings. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, vulnerable to the slightest criticism.

After years of sitting in a counselor’s , I finally asked myself whether I have narcissistic tendencies. I value my friendships, my marriage and relationships with my kids. And I don’t want to be that self-absorbed person that can only talk about themselves and seek to control every situation in which they find themselves.

I have also come to certain realizations regarding my parents, siblings and spouse. While I cannot change their , I can change my own reactions. Based on my personal experience, you may be able to deal with narcissism, in mild situations, with the proper tools and approaches.

NOTE: not a psychologist. If you are in a relationship with a person that shows of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (whether a co-worker, lover, spouse or parent), you may wish to seek professional advice. 

Narcissists only have eyes for themselves

Source: nasrulekram on Flickr creative commons

The Myth of Narcissus: Self- Ends in Tragedy

Narcissism is a term based on the Greek Mythology story of Narcissus. Briefly summarized, the myth tells the tale of a handsome man, Narcissus, who was punished for rejecting the love of a water nymph (Echo). The gods caused him to fall in love with his own image, reflected in a pond. Narcissus stared at himself for and , days and days.

Unfortunately, the reflection could not reciprocate any love, no how obsessively Narcissus worshiped it. Nor could he take a drink of water from the pond because, to do so would shatter the “perfect image” and expose his flaws and needs.

Eventually, Narcissus died of heartache, and a flower grew in his place.