Thursday, October 27, 2011

A Cure for Narcissism

What time is it?

It’s time to get over the idea that insight is therapeutic.

Those psychotherapists who still believe that they are in the business of doling out insights are not going to like the news.

Then again, how did they ever come to believe that a mere idea, a wisp of a thing, if even that, is going to cure what ails you.

Hopefully, they are not so addicted to this idea that they get DTs.

The new research on narcissism should disabuse them of their belief.

If therapists are still hoping that they can cure a narcissist by telling him that his precious and charming personality is really a disease, they are not going to be happy to read the new research.

Telling someone that his personality fits into a bona fide category in the bona fide DSM IV does nothing to impel him to change his errant and arrant ways.

If you read Jeffrey Kluger’s report in Time Magazine, you will be struck by the fact that narcissists are well suited to one-night stands, but ill-suited to long term relationships.

All things considered, this must give us pause.

In Kluger’s words: “It's a deep and all but certain truth about narcissistic personalities that to meet them is to love them, but to know them well is to find them unbearable. Confidence quickly curdles into arrogance; smarts turn to smugness, charm turns to smarm. They will talk endlessly about themselves, but when they ask about you — well, never mind, because they never do.”

I doubt that a man (or woman) can live on one-night stands alone, but our culture encourages them.

If adult Americans attain puberty during their teen years and choose, thanks to cultural influences, to marry in their thirties, then they are more likely to have more one-night stands and fewer relationships.

If they choose to postpone marriage in favor of career advancement, then relationships are a threat to their careers. The culture has primed them for one-night stands.

Those of us who are older, and presumably, wiser, believe that one-night stands are bad for most sentient humans.

Still, if that is what you know, then you will have developed the skills that make you a more proficient pick-up artist, or make it more likely that you will be picked up.

A narcissist is the kind of person who is most likely to thrive under such conditions.

If a narcissist is being rewarded for his narcissism with a steady stream of hot, commitment-free sex, it’s not going to be very easy to persuade him that there is something wrong with his personality.

The same applies to celebrities, especially those who work on short-term projects, like movie shoots or recording sessions.

People who work in an office or on a team are going to have a very strong incentive to get over their narcissism.

Narcissists are not, however, going to take it all lying down. They will defend their arrogance. As the eminently narcissistic architect, Frank Lloyd Wright said: “Early in life, I had to choose between honest arrogance and hypocritical humility. I chose honest arrogance and have seen no reason to change."

This means that Frank Lloyd Wright should not be your role model. It also tells you that it is difficult to treat narcissism if you live in a culture that values authenticity over sociability.

If you do really do not care about other people beyond serial quickie encounters, or if you are so thoroughly infatuated with your own greatness that you see no need to have other people in your loife, then you can only overcome these habits with hypocrisy and fakery.

If one set of social skills makes you great at short-term encounters, then, if you should want to develop long-term relationships, you will need to learn new social skills

Narcissists love themselves, true enough. They receive rewards for their self-love. Yet, many of them remain narcissists because they do not know any better.

If the narcissist knows in his heart that he is better than everyone and that he need not descend to their level, then he needs to train himself to show respect and consideration towards other people.

At first, it will not feel natural; it might even feel hypocritical.

If authenticity allows people to rationalize rudeness, then perhaps we should be on better terms with inauthenticity.

Narcissism is impervious to insight. What it really needs is what I will call outsight, but only in the sense that it knows how it looks to other people.

Insight will not motivate the narcissist to change his ways. For that he will need to look at himself as though he were looking at someone else. If Narcissus did not recognize that the image he was looking at was his own, then narcissists need to understand that their feelings about themselves are inaccurate representations of how they look to others.

A narcissist might become mesmerized by his beauty, but he should also be made to see that, for all of his boundless self-esteem, he looks to the world like a complete and utter fool. Narcissists are trapped in an aesthetic; they need to learn to function according to an ethic.


8 comments:

Memphis Steve said...

I thought that it had already been established that there is no curing a sociopath and that a narcissist is simply a kind of sociopath? I also was under the impression that narcissists enjoy being the way they are, for the most part, because they generally get what they want in life. I'm not an expert, but these were my impressions from what I had read so far.

Stuart Schneiderman said...

People commonly say that sociopaths are narcissists, but not all narcissists are sociopaths.

As I see it, narcissists are simply in love with themselves, to the point where they ignore signs from the outside world that tell them that they are overestimating themselves.

Being full of oneself and being a sociopath are not exactly the same thing... though both are inconsiderate of others.

I agree with you that narcissists get most of what they want out of life, but they also have to adjust their goals in terms of what is attainable for someone who is not well suited to sustain long term relationships.

Anonymous said...

i found your article very interesting reading. I am dealing with Narcissism first hand in my own life. It is refreshing to read something that leaves the door open to a real recovery and healing.

Anonymous said...

YES!!!!!!!!! there is a cure for narcissism. I used to be a narcissist and I am healed.
The cure is simple, it is all about morality,
You have been disobedient of the 10 commandments, and you have suffered great pains during your youth, which injured your soul and allowed the devil to take grasp over it. It makes you afraid to fight your urges to sin, because you are so injured inside. If you follow god's rules, and help those you hate, even if you feel disgusted with yourself, and force yourself to do act of kindness (as many as it takes to clean your soul), if you do this and resist your addictions, you will reach happiness, and believe me it is greater than the feelings of lust, is greater than the feelings you get when you abuse a partner, it is a feeling of real true confidence, not fake, and you will never be afraid again….
If you put 100% of your commitment to change, even though I know you feel like you're amazing and there is nothing wrong with you, and you might not even want to try to change.
force yourself to give a sad person a shoulder to cry on, if you force yourself to give in to another's demands for once, when you know it will make them feel better,
if you force yourself to listen to someone who is crying and at least pretend you care, yes you will feel like a fake person at the beginning, and it will take many acts of kindness ad torture to let go of your pride, and you will feel used, and sick to your stomach to how dumb you feel, but it you keep doing that for as long as your soul needs to wash away all that envy, and jealousy, and dependence of attention, I PROMISE YOU at one point maybe far from now, maybe close to now depending how messed up your soul is, you will find so much happiness, and I can promise you it is a feeling better that sex, better than your addiction to attention, it will feel real and it will be everlasting,
that is the cure for anyone who is willing to try it.... just don't sin, and do acts of kindness, as many as it take to wash away the harm you have done to other by abusing your partners...
NEVER GIVE UP, try it... it works... only the strong ones can recover

Anonymous said...

Whomever wrote the last reply about curing yourself is really touching my wife whom i love so dearly is a narcissist she has a good side bit like u said the devil has a hold of her... I need your help because i don't wanna give up if u got out this state i would love to talk with u please it would mean the world to me.... Please contact me... I will pray with all my heart for u to get a hold of me God is Great!! Here's my email Kalotia 81@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

Sorry there's no space in the email address i messed up Kalotia81@gmail.com

Anonymous said...

“How to Win Friends and Influence People,” by Dale Carnegie, helped me immensely. Of course, my initial intention with reading the book was to further develop manipulative skills (surprise, surprise), but what he prescribes is in actuality the practice of empathy. Again, I looked at paying attention the concerns of others, seeing things from their point of view, etc., as a means to an end. But I have to say by practicing (or mimicking if you want) empathy, I began to actually feel it for the first time in my life. Likewise, the sort of fake social interactions I used to engage in became genuine as I started making real friends. Kind of ironic, but I think an element of narcissism is the narcissist’s blocking-off letting people care about him/her as a person, which is kind of tough when all they’re projecting is the sort of fabricated person they believe will impress others.

-John

Anonymous said...

I consider myself to be a recovering narcissist. It has been very frustrating to look and look for help and find so many sites talking about what horrible people narcissists were but offering no suggestions on how they can "get well" or be different. Things just go from bad to worse. I always reach out asking people, how should I do this, what is the best way to handle that, and many times there is no help there. I read scripture and all kinds of spiritual material over and over and am now studying empathy and learning to listen to and care about others. It has been so frustrating to want help and have so few sources where that can be found and to tell someone, to tell them without being ashamed, this is what is wrong with me and I am trying to get better. People with all kinds of other addictions can do that and even though I have been all over the internet looking for a recovery group for people with this disorder, there isn't one, although there are lots of people who make fun of them. Anyway, atleast I am trying and still pray to find someone who can come in and help me with the things I do not know how to handle. Thank you for listening.