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.
Thanksgiving means more than a single holiday. Responsible people render it daily in their undertakings. But in this age of rampant narcissism and entitlement, cultivating gratitude is difficult. So, far too few give thanks with their actions. Rather, they take, use, exploit, and injure – all for their own gratification. And they do such things without compunction because they feel entitled.
I have much for which to be grateful. Your validation and promotion of my work has always inspired and sustained me. It’s impossible to say how much such support means to me. So, from the bottom of my heart, “Thank you!”
Brash and vulgar narcissists naturally offend us. So, we naturally want to keep our distance and watch our backs. But charming narcissists are in some ways more dangerous. Like I say in In Sheep’s Clothing, dealing with them can be like getting whiplash. You only fully realize who they are and what they’ve done to you after the fact.
If there’s one thing we’ve learned about disturbed characters it’s this: They all-too-readily take ownership of what they haven’t earned or merited.
The dominant thinking on bullies has changed dramatically over the years. Folks used to see bullies as insecure and cowardly underneath, with something to prove. But the truth is often much simpler: some people taunt and torture because it feels good. These folks enjoy fighting and provoking fights. To them, it’s fun.
You can confront compensatory grandiosity with relative ease and safety. The vulnerable narcissist merely seeks reassurance. So, the more you reassure them, the better they inwardly begin to feel about themselves. But you can’t deal with or confront the truly egomaniacal narcissist with the same ease or in the same way.
Egomaniacal thinkers attribute everything they’ve ever achieved solely to themselves and their greatness. To acknowledge any higher reality would only make them feel both dependent and indebted. The haughty among us want no part of that.