TED Conversations

biped since1991

This conversation is closed. Start a new conversation
or join one »

Narcissism; a means to self-preservation

We often ridicule and discourage narcissism, elitism, and other qualities that pertain to an individual’s sense of superiority and well-being. We quickly call it neurotic, and determine it as a pathological disorder.

I would like to question the very line that determines normality or abnormality. (Pertaining to narcissism for the sake of consistency)

+1
Share:
progress indicator
  • thumb
    Aug 11 2011: Here are two defintions:
    1) self-admiration: excessive self-admiration and self-centeredness
    2) personality disorder: in psychiatry, a personality disorder characterized by the patient's overestimation of his or her own appearance and abilities and an excessive need for admiration.

    I guess my point would be that even if the line is blurry, one does not want to go near it.
    • Aug 12 2011: i have a problem with those definitions.

      who is defining them, the 'self-loving one" or the one that notices him.
      • thumb
        Aug 12 2011: The definitions came from the Encarta World English Dictionary. I'm not sure if this answers your question, but if I were to address the 'who', I'd say, "others see a narcissist, the narcisisst sees only themself". Make sense?

        P.S. I removed my second comment for no other reason than I meant to reply to you.
        • Aug 12 2011: no, it does not answer the question, it evades it.

          and yes i get what you are trying to say. it isn't saying much.


          sorry
    • thumb
      Aug 13 2011: Isn't there also a factor of "inability to perceive the situation from another's perspective"? I.e. mirror neurons not firing, inability to remember things that don't fit with their internal narrative. I've worked with an actual narcissist, and it wasn't an issue of high self-esteem. (Since I pretty much only select people with high self-esteem to associate with, it's pretty easy for me to spot the differences.)

      While I'm sure I have been been called a narcissist by people with low self-esteem, true narcissists lack what I call "extrapolatory empathy" an ability to understand what someone else might be feeling even when you haven't experienced that situation. Mine, unfortunately, is over-developed.
      • Aug 13 2011: that is a good definition, although this particular pathology does not limit itself to "narcissism"

        under the various definitions of autism, there is a word that describes the complete lack of "extrapolatory empathy". i studied it in my 11th grade, forgotten now. (not psychopathy)

        but its interesting you mention that you only associate with those who hold credible self-esteem.
        this would mean that people with lower self-esteem are likely to call you narcissistic, again that's only if self-esteem is the criteria for this supposed pathology.

        i guess this is one of the things i am trying to point out, who is defining narcissism, those with low self-esteem? no self-esteem?

        when you say you have worked with an actual narcissist, what do you mean? is it someone you think is an actual narcissist? someone who calls himself an actual narcissist?
        • thumb
          Aug 13 2011: There is a distinction to be made between having high self-esteem and having low self-esteem and itemizing your good points in order to distract people from your lesser points. For instance, people who actually have high self-esteem can comfortably associate with others who equally have high self-esteem. People who don't, on the other hand, tend to take everything as a personal attack.

          The narcissist in question? Commentary on aspects of projects that were going less that smoothly was met with "are you calling me stupid?!" Comments about other people doing a good job? "Are you saying I'm not?' Her entire universe revolved around her in ways that people who erroneously use the word "narcissist" to mean "selfish" or snobbish, uppity, or even panglossian clearly do not understand.
  • thumb
    Aug 11 2011: society/culture creates norms. so that is what normally dertimines such things. but what role could narcissism play for someone other than prove you can lie to yourself very well?
    • Aug 12 2011: yes, society/ culture creates norms, if we call norms the line, then society is entirely capable of pushing the line one way or the other.

      whats interesting is when we begin to compare the lines of different societies.

      depression in society x will be high on prescription drugs, in society x1 people help each other resolve one another problems, and in society x2 there is no such thing as depression.
  • thumb
    Aug 12 2011: Narcissism is what you can call an excessive self-love. The word excessive itself explains it all.
    It might also be called a kind of inordinate fascination with oneself (yourself).
    Psychology dictionaries say that it is an extreme selfishness with a grandiose view of one's own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.
    Some consider that it's a mental disorder.
    • Aug 12 2011: yes, I'm aware of the definitions,

      you say excessive explains it all, you see that's the very problem.
      excessive to who? to me? you? or the person being excessive?

      even if we do come to some consensus on what excessive really is, does that really solve the problem?
      read a few posts, i have tried to explain this with some clarity.
  • thumb
    Aug 11 2011: narcissism: if you don't love you, then who will?

    I guess this is "normal" narcissism: when it improves your self-esteem. However, when it crosses the boarders of what's reasonable, this is, when you constantly think you're better than others in everything, then it's abnormality
    • Aug 12 2011: i think what troubles me is how quickly we come to stick that label on people.

      think of a time when you were ecstatic, and for good reason, but lets say that you held on to this feeling for a little longer than what people are comfortable with.

      the problem with being ecstatic is that people notice it very quickly, at first they are happy for you, some maybe envious, then their happiness soon fades away to only be replaced by some kind of contrived hate.

      soon the awareness of being judged by another person overwhelms you, and then you revert back to "normal" behavior.
      • thumb
        Aug 12 2011: it's true. but you can always don't care about what other people think of you.
        • Aug 12 2011: and that's when you are labeled a narcissist.
      • thumb
        Aug 13 2011: Hmm. Isn't that "manic" not narcissistic?
        • Aug 13 2011: manic, mania; overly hyperactive and unconditionally excited.

          Fábio Nunes suggest we ignore other peoples judgement and expectations on oneself.

          the ability to freely ignore a persons discomfort with one's behaviors is one of many supposed symptoms of narcissism.
  • Comment deleted

    • Aug 11 2011: the other way? i dont think i am following you.

      could you elaborate a bit more