narcissism

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narcissism

(närsĭs`ĭzəm), Freudian term, drawn from the Greek myth of Narcissus, indicating an exclusive self-absorption. In psychoanalysis, narcissism is considered a normal stage in the development of children. It is known as secondary narcissism when it occurs after puberty, and is said to indicate a libidinal energy directed exclusively toward oneself. A degree of narcissism is considered normal, where an individual has a healthy self-regard and realistic aspirations. The condition becomes pathological, and diagnosable as a personality disorder, when it significantly impairs social functioning. An individual with narcissistic personality disorder tends to harbor an exaggerated sense of his own self-importance and uniqueness. He is often excessively occupied with fantasies about his own attributes and potential for success, and usually depends upon others for reinforcement of his self-image. A narcissist tends to have difficulties maintaining healthy interpersonal relationships, stemming largely from a lack of empathy and a propensity for taking advantage of others in the interest of self-aggrandizement. It is often found in combination with antisocial personality disorder.

narcissism

a stage of psychosexual development and a pathological psychological state, taken by some social theorists to describe late twentieth-century Western culture. Based on the Greek mythological character Narcissus (or Narkissos ), who fell in love with his own image as reflected in a spring and whose fate was to fall in and drown, the term has been widely used by psychological theorists and practitioners and social theorists.

In psychoanalytical terms, narcissism refers to a phase of self-love in which the sexual object of desire is the self, representing a regression. The work of post-Freudians, particularly Melanie KLEIN, helped explain the precise process by which this is converted to a continuing disorder. Klein's research with children showed that, in early stages, a child makes no distinction between his/her ego and the surrounding environment. Failure to qualify this in later stages locks the individual into a kind of fusion of self with object images. The inability to differentiate between fantasy arid reality may lead the individual to internalize images of beauty youth, wealth and omnipotence, a ‘grandiose’ conception of the self, which acts as a defence against all that seems bad in the environment.

Sociologically, the term is most recently associated with Christopher Lasch's The Culture of Narcissism (1991). Lasch employs the concept to characterize a profound cultural change in which a particular ‘therapeutic outlook and sensibility’ has come to exert an all-pervading effect on modern society. This outlook reinforces ‘a pattern created by other cultural influences, in which the individual endlessly examines himself for signs of ageing and ill health, for telltale symptoms of psychic stress, for blemishes and flaws that might diminish his attractiveness’. There are obvious connections, but also important differences of emphasis, between Lasch's thesis and GIDDENS (1991) proposal of identity crises in late modern society, where an intensified focus on the body and its presentation is a way of creating, sustaining and stabilizing the self (see Shilling, 1993). Thus, for Giddens, unlike Lasch, contemporary ‘regimes of the body’ are often positive.

narcissism

[′när·sə‚siz·əm]
(psychology)
Excessive self-love.

narcissism

, narcism
1. an exceptional interest in or admiration for oneself, esp one's physical appearance
2. sexual satisfaction derived from contemplation of one's own physical or mental endowments
References in periodicals archive ?
Subject and object in this model, then, are not interdependent opposites; it is important to emphasize also that they are not identical, as they are in the "feminine" position that Mulvey postulates in which the woman identifies narcissistically with the image of the female, and "becomes" the image, erasing the subject/object distinction.
No one much hungers, except Toby, narcissistically.
Many people read narcissistically, to see themselves and their world reflected back at them, to feel validated.
The initial trust building phase, accomplished by sustained empathic listening and resistance to taking sides, is complicated and precarious with narcissistically vulnerable couples.
Kucich's claim that Kipling repeatedly employs "a narcissistically omnipotent bullying group that recognizes itself both as the legitimately despotic center of social order and as its permanently alienated victim" is not entirely novel (156).
One may narcissistically seek to create ex nihilo an imagined or "infinitized" self: a hubristic self which wills to become "absolutely its own master," forsaking the relational call of the other (p.
Psychologically, Edgar offers us the tableau of the son desiring and killing the loved and yet resented mother, at the same time he narcissistically is killing his own offspring and "sibling rival" (and thus the protagonist secures forever the status of an only, favored child): the novel is thus a complex performance of an attempt to maintain an impossible and strangely masculine limbo state: a cultural neurosis in and of itself, that privileges, at once, both boyish charm and infantile violence.
No figure in the book, ultimately, is more narcissistically concerned with his poetic image, more genially and ineffectually aware of the anonymous suffering that suffuses the world.
A little smugly, perhaps even narcissistically in the know, traits not shared by Vladislavic, Sinclair "reads the hidden language of the city", making "strange connections between people and places"--the artists, writers and film-makers of London at the edge of the century--all the while "walk[ing] the reader into a deranged [urban] remapping" that has no regard for English niceties and national propriety (publisher's cover description).
to the task of creating value," Hemingway had, almost narcissistically, perfected his "understated" literary style while refusing to confront both the politics of the color line and the full humanity of African American life (CE 98).
Parental alienation is about people who narcissistically project their whole reality on to a child - 'I don't need you, so the child doesn't need you'.
Accordingly, he places himself in the exclusively passive but narcissistically gratifying position; men may wield their sticks at him as it pleases them, but that is their desire not his.