Coverage of narcissism has exploded in the media over the past several years but in truth it has always existed, so is narcissism really becoming an epidemic or are we just more aware of it?
In the eighties there was a huge drive to instil self-esteem in children, but rather than instilling self-esteem and teaching children that they have an inherent worth what has been suggested is that entitlement was taught to the new generation. For example ‘you deserve it’, and a ‘you can have anything you set your eyes on’ attitude. In addition the media has simultaneously promoted a ‘you can have anything’ mentality that has resonated with recent generations.
I believe these two factors have contributed to an epidemic of narcissism but let me be clear, in psychology there are varying degrees of narcissism on what they call a narcissistic spectrum. Clinical narcissism (narcissistic personality disorder) is still very rare and therein lays the confusion in the media as to whether narcissism is really on the rise. Whilst clinical narcissism on the very extreme high end of the spectrum remains rare, average narcissists who are simply on the higher end of the spectrum have increased in numbers.
Make no mistake the ‘average narcissist’ can still have a very destructive impact upon those he or she is close to and ‘average narcissists’ can be incredibly self-serving and destructive however they differ to clinical narcissists who have a more extreme form of dysfunction in their lives.
Do you know of anyone who you think may be a clinical narcissist? What makes you think so? How have you handled the relationship you have with them? Please share your thoughts in the comments below to gain encouragement, insight and support from our community, we’d love to hear from you.