Mature character demands we outgrow our natural egocentrism. But an entitled, egocentric, narcissistic culture holds many of us back.
Culture and character have an intertwined and interdependent relationship. And they impact each other in some very dynamic ways. More character-impaired individuals now populate the culture. And they have “enabled” the erosion of principles once widely revered and promoted.
People who have overcome their infantile narcissism and have learned to care beyond themselves are altruistic and empathic. And people who are altruistic act for the greater good. They are the folks who see the big picture.
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.
It can be particularly difficult to tell just where someone lies on the character disturbance spectrum. All too often in troubled relationships the extent of a person’s character disturbance only becomes evident long after much damage has already been done.
Dealing with any person who has a serious character disturbance or disorder is never easy. And there are no foolproof methods to neutralizing the distress such a person can bring into your life. But faithfully following some general rules can help make life with a narcissistic boss or co-worker much more manageable.
Narcissists love only themselves and all those things they see as “extensions” of themselves.
When the disturbed character wants something, he doesn’t necessarily think about whether it’s right, good, or legal — or whether his pursuit of it might adversely affect anyone. He only cares that he wants it. His incessant concern for himself and the things that he desires creates a pattern of thinking which embodies an attitude of indifference to the rights, needs, wants, and expectations of others.