To have character integrity you have to not only be genuine but also principled. Moreover, to be properly principled you have to both respect and be willing to subordinate yourself to some “higher power” or authority.
Mental health professionals have known for a long time that there’s a relationship between anger and depression. And that’s just one more reason why heeding the “8th Commandment” to master our anger and aggression is so important.
Anger is a widely misunderstood emotion. Some have maligned it as an evil in itself. But it’s one of our most basic emotions. Nature put it there for good reason. We become riled to mobilize ourselves into action to remove a threat to our welfare. But just as being too frequently or intensely anxious can be problematic, being chronically or excessively angry can also cause trouble.
Teaching the important life lessons necessary to overcome our natural, inherent narcissism and making sure the environment supports and reinforces those lessons is a significant challenge, especially in a culture where people who glorify themselves get mounds of attention and are even held up as heroes.
A narcissist can be of the “vulnerable” or “neurotic” type (see also Two Main Varieties of Narcissists). Such inwardly insecure characters crave love and affirmation and seek it by trying to prove their exceptionality. But in our age it’s more common for a narcissist to be of the “grandiose” or character-disturbed variety and such characters are … Continue reading Grandiose Narcissists and Shattered Illusions
Some see the narcissist as “a legend in their own mind.” And because the way a narcissist views their self-worth and capabilities is almost always inflated, it can indeed be a pretty ugly picture when their grandiose illusions are shattered.
Sometimes reality challenges the grandiose self-image narcissists have. And when a narcissitic wound is deep and the reality behind it too self-evident to deny, the consequences to those made to take the blame for failure can be profound.
Aggressive personalities are narcissists through and through. But they’re far more than simply egocentric, vain, grandiose, etc. It’s not so much that they simply don’t care about you. Rather, they fully intend to exploit or get the better of you, and that’s why they’ve always belonged in a different category.
We know that empathy capacity varies in human beings. But we also know that the mere capacity for empathy does not make a socially conscientious human being. Empathy must be nurtured. That’s often a very challenging task for individuals who lie somewhere on the character disturbance spectrum. And there’s mounting evidence that it’s most likely an impossible task for those at the extreme end of the spectrum.
The tragedy we witnessed two days ago is an old, old story becoming far too commonplace in our character-deficient age. We live in a complicated, demanding world and there are too many among us who never developed the character resources to deal adaptively with life’s challenges – especially failure – and to profit from their experiences, including their disappointments. It’s far too easy to just point a finger. And sadly, for too many, it’s easier still to place that same finger on a trigger and shoot.