Our narcissistic culture has fueled much ego inflation. Healthy self-esteem will flourish when society decides to make character matter again.
It’s hard to understand why someone would lie when the truth would suffice. And it’s especially hard to understand why someone would lie when the truth might well serve them better. Pathological liars aren’t crazy. There’s actually method to their apparent madness. They may drive you crazy with their antics. But once you understand why they do what they do you can restore your sanity.
Narcissistic bullies act out of a sense of entitlement. And they injure without compunction because they lack shame and empathy.
These days we have all kinds of ways to explain people’s dysfunction. And while there are indeed times when a perfectly healthy person’s biochemistry suddenly and for no apparent reason goes kaflooey, and cases where unpredictable tragedy so traumatizes that it temporarily impairs even the most well-adjusted person, more often, a person’s character not only predisposes the problems they experience in life but also exacerbates those problems when they occur.
Narcissistic grandiosity is mostly a matter of exaggeration – especially exaggerated self-importance and capability. And, when such grandiosity goes unchecked, it can lead to much bigger problems.
At the heart of narcissism of the grandiose type lies a lack of reverence. Reverence for what? Anything or anyone other (or “bigger”) than self. Grandiose narcissists find nothing outside of themselves worth revering, so they have trouble having empathy.
Character matters more than ever in our age of widespread narcissism – a culture of entitlement, relativism, and permissiveness that has kept too many from outgrowing their infantile egocentricity and developing the character necessary to be socially responsible.
An unfortunate number of folks bring all sorts of pain into their lives because they neither love themselves enough nor know how to love themselves properly. But self-love can be pathological, too, which is what the narcissism spectrum is all about.
Narcissists get “stuck” at the egocentric stage of emotional, psychological, and spiritual development. And their self-absorption keeps them from paying attention to and learning from what only caring, intimate relations with others can teach them.
Relationships naturally grow in strength, depth, and wholesomeness in the absence of character disturbance. And when our most important relationships are solid, we can expect the makings of a healthy community. It all starts with character.