narcissism

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Related to narcissists: Narcissistic personality disorder

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 ?
Perhaps they make a hasty denial, but any observer can see how much the narcissist loves to hear the words her mother used to tell how much she loved her.
Here are just a few of the traits that narcissists typically display:
Narcissists run into trouble when they believe what they want to believe rather than what the evidence indicates.
Chapter 5 deals with two questions: Why would anyone want to subject him- or herself to working with a productive narcissist and, having decided to align yourself with one, how do you work for, with, or around him without losing your mind or letting your own ego take a battering?
Lead author Dr Erica Hepper said that the results clearly show that if narcissists are encouraged to consider the situation from their teammate or friend's point-of-view, they are likely to respond in a much more considerate and sympathetic way, which is good for their own wellbeing, as well as for the people around them.
James outlines three types of toxic individuals who are rife in the workplace and likely to be high up in the office hierarchy: the Machiavellian, the narcissist and the psychopath.
The team unexpectedly finds that narcissists acknowledge their own narcissism and assume that their arrogant strut is frowned on by others.
If narcissists ever admit or come to terms with their condition they may seek the help of a psychologist to try and identify the reason why they feel frustrated, angry and alone.
One argument might be that narcissists are admitting to cheating, but saying that everyone else does it, too, but that's not what we found.
On Facebook they can be divided into narcissists and voyeurists.
Using a variety of critical approaches, contributors consider the spectacle of pregnancy; mother-daughter relationships; mothers as predators, narcissists, and absent victims; and the ways in which cultural anxieties are displaced and projected onto marginalized mothers.
Individuals With Narcissistic Tendencies Appear to be Attracted to the Entertainment Industry -- Rather Than the Industry Creating Narcissists