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Narcissistic Personality Symptoms

  1. grandiosity / exaggeration
  2. fantastic thinking / romantic
  3. believes special / unique
  4. requires admiration
  5. entitled / demanding
  6. exploitive / manipulative
  7. lacks empathy
  8. envious / jealous
  9. arrogant / haughty

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All text is copyrighted © Stephen McDonnell 2000, 2001, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007,2008, 2009. 2010, 2011.



The Ancient Greeks knew about Hubris and Narcissist.

Narcissism comes from the Greek legend of Narcissus. Paul Coelho version

More on narcissist mirrors, narcissistic mirrors, Echo personality here.

"The effectiveness of myth, its reality, resides precisely in its power to seize and influence our psychic life. The Greeks knew this so well, and so they had no depth psychology and psychopathology such as we have. They had myths. And we have no myths as such -instead, depth psychology and psychopathology. Therefore, as I have been repeating for years, psychology shows myths in modern dress and myths show our depth psychology in ancient dress" James Hillman

The legend goes there once was a young man named Narcissus whose beauty caused everyone he met to fall in love with him. A nymph, Echo, fell in love with him but he ignored her, breaking her heart. Nemesis, the god of revenge and retribution, put a spell on Narcissus to make him fall in love with his own image in a pool of water, there he stayed mesmerized by his own reflection till he died, after which the gods turned him into a flower.

Another retelling of the myth of Narcissus.

"Narcissus was the son of Cephissus, the river god, and the nymph Leiriope. By the time he was sixteen everyone recognized his ravishing beauty, but he scorned all lovers - of both sexes - because of his pride. The nymph Echo was hopelessly in love but she was hindered by her inability to initiate a conversation. Eventually Narcissus rejected her. She wasted away in her grief to a mere voice. A young man, similarly spurned, prayed that he would love himself unremittingly. The goddess Nemesis answered this prayer by arranging that Narcissus would stop to drink at a spring on the heights of Mount Helicon. As he looked in the water he saw his own reflection and instantly fell in love with the image. He could not embrace his reflection in the pool. Unable to tear himself away he remained until he died of starvation. But no body remained - in its place was a flower. " (Ovid)  

Freudian origins of Narcissism

Dr. Sigmund Freud based his theory of Narcissism on this legend.
Here is a comprehensive site explaining it. He initially cited homosexual behavior as a perfect example of "self love", versus heterosexuality where the "other" is loved. (It seems strange that contemporary feminist writers have taken up the 'other' in their theories.) At one time The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders classified homosexuality as a disease - it has since been dropped from the manual.

My Theory

What many people misunderstand is what a narcissist sees in the mirror; they do NOT see themselves, but another image they project into the mirror. (The image in all mirrors is reversed, all mirror images are false to begin with - distorted.) They see a 'perfect image' of themselves that is not based in reality. This image of themselves beckons to them. They no longer see themselves as they are but as superior or perfect (Mirror on the wall, who is the most beautiful of them all?). They see a dream, and everyone must see the same thing they see - much like Alice's trip through the looking glass. (The N wants to take you into their mirror world.) The mirror in fact is empty. In their mirror minds they walk around in a fantasy world they have imagined. (They want you to join them there or they want to impose their fantasies on the real world.)

In fact narcissists live in a dream world, a one dimensional world, where everything must be just as they like it. Look at NPDs and sometimes you will see that they are not there - they look through you as if you do not exist. When they think you are important or useful to them, then they put the full force of character and power to bear on you. They become magnetic, dynamic, over powering. You will do what they want, you will act the way they want you to. They want to be your god, your master or mistress. (They want Narcissistic Supply) If you fall for them, you feel like you are drowning, while all around you other people talk to you, try to tell you how wrong you are, how you are being abused, but you are underwater, and it all seems so distant and meaningless. You can be captured in the narcissist's mirror world- if you let it happen. A caveat; narcissists have always existed, but they can only hold power over individuals or countries, if you let them. In a way, if a narcissists abuses you or others, it is your fault - they need others to succeed at what they are doing. Hitler was elected to power.

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