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Is it just me, or is narcissism getting more prevalent?

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Justsomeguy posted 6/22/2019 09:51 AM

Some amazing replies to this thread. Thank you. So my take away is that as a lay person, I cant diagnose. I get that. But I am also not a chef. I may not be able to tell you exactly why a meal tastes bad, but I can tell it is off.

I think the take away for me after distilling all of this is that a WS is either someone with a PD or a general asshole. If the latter, hope remains. If the former abandon hope for change. That at least gives us a place of agency.

cocoplus5nuts posted 6/22/2019 12:53 PM

I think the take away for me after distilling all of this is that a WS is either someone with a PD or a general asshole. If the latter, hope remains. If the former abandon hope for change. That at least gives us a place of agency.

They are all assholes. We always have agency. At the end of the day, it really doesn't matter whether anyone has a diagnosis or not. Like has been said, what matters is whether or not the CP is making positive changes.

Some just won't. Doesn't matter why they won't. We can't fix them. That's when we have to decide; stay and accept them as they are, or leave.

Ephimera posted 6/23/2019 22:42 PM

I think people often confuse entitlement with NPD. I agree that today's society creates a huge sense of entitlement. I see so many WSs claim "I deserve to be loved" and god save the BS who cannot let go of As and love them the same way.

So people continue with "I deserve to be happy", "I deserve to be loved", "I deserve a promotion"......

Not ever accepting that these things need to be earned!!

empathy-killing affluence

If affluence kills empathy, does that mean people only have empathy because they need to use others? And those not well off will lose empathy if they earned enough money?

For example, if the average Joe/Jill parks their car in a red zone, they will get a hefty ticket. That ticket could cost as much as a week's worth of groceries, or school supplies for their kid, or whatever, so having to pay that fine is an incredible burden on them. This is what teaches them the lesson.

This implies that the only reason this person is doing the right thing is because of consequences, not because it is inherently the right thing to do.

For me paying a parking fine is no issue. But I never park in a spot I am not supposed to because it would be wrong.

They build in selfish, inflated sense of self questions ("I often know what is right" or "I am good at just about everything") with lack of empathy questions ("When people are ill, I wonder if they deserve it" or "People make a lot of foolish mistakes") and correlate those to judge levels of narcissism.

I guess I could be a narcissist then, since I would say that yes, I often know what is right, yes, I am good at many things, and yes, I often see people making really stupid decisions. The only one I would not say yes to is wondering if people deserve to be sick.

Yes. I don't even consider them to be human beings, because you cannot interact with them as you would an average human being. You have to treat them like the deadly predators that they are and tread accordingly. The damage that they do is truly shocking.

If narcs are pathologically incapable of empathy, and can only think of themselves, can we blame them? Blame suggests choice. I am no psychologist, but do full blown narcs have the ability to be different?

When two people are in conflict, it is often very tempting to see the other person as fundamentally flawed. Especially when the conflict is intense, it is easy to view the other person as irrational and/or evil rather than a decent, reasonable (but perhaps mistaken) human being.

^^^This. It is very difficult to step outside our own emotions and see that the person hurting us may not be evil.

Rideitout posted 6/24/2019 05:21 AM

If affluence kills empathy, does that mean people only have empathy because they need to use others? And those not well off will lose empathy if they earned enough money?

IMHO, yes, to both. I've seen people get "turned on" to money and watched them become entirely different. They "lose empathy" because they just have little/no use for other people anymore, they can buy what they need. No reason to borrow, no reason to work together on something (hire it out), etc. Some people really do have empathy for one another, but it's a lot rarer than we all think it is. Most of us walk past people living in the street every day without a 2nd thought. "Well, it's their fault, they are drunks/addicts/etc". And that might be true, but they are also people, people with feelings, hopes, dreams and cares. We, however, as a society, do not care a whole lot. And the richer you get, the more everyone starts to look like a homeless bum. Hand out, asking you for something. It's a well proven effect that wealth is isolating, and I think this is a big part of it.

Most human interaction is based on the need to "use" another person for something. Yes, sometimes it's just idle chit chat, or just random talk/interaction, but, most of the time, it's because I need something or you need something that we're talking. Yes, I'd argue that CLOSE friendship (which would be maybe 5-10 people) would be an exception to this, but, lets say you have 5 close friends. How many other people do you interact with? 50? 100? 500? No matter the number, "interaction without intent" is rare if you look at your 5 close friends and your 50 "friends" where you interact with intent.

IMHO, people lie to themselves a lot about their nature. "I love meeting new people", live in a city, and wear their iPod headphones everywhere and take taxis so that people won't talk to them. Pay for private clubs so that there's not too many people who might interact with them. Stay in exclusive hotels that always have a low amount of people there. Fly to exotic, uninhabited locations for vacation. On a private jet that the people "they love meeting" can't get onto. Pretty much the first thing that most people do when they get really wealthy is to start isolating themselves. Buy a big hose behind even bigger gates/doorman. Ditch the subway and take a private car everywhere.

Sure, we all like to be around the RIGHT people. But who are the "right" people? In many cases, they are the people who can "do" something for us. Attractive women are high on that list, they are always wanted in every circle because, well, they can "do" something that's very valuable to a lot of wealthy men. Other wealthy men are welcome, because, again, they can "do" something for you, introduce you to someone, invest in your business, etc. But it's pretty rare for a rich guy (and I suspect rich woman too) to just make a new friend randomly, it's almost always with some intent in mind.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 6/24/2019 06:02 AM

This implies that the only reason this person is doing the right thing is because of consequences, not because it is inherently the right thing to do.
For me paying a parking fine is no issue. But I never park in a spot I am not supposed to because it would be wrong.

Ephemera, youíre right. There are plenty of people like you and I who wouldnít park in a red zone just because they know itís the right thing to do.

Itís more that there are a certain group of people who are going to park in the red zone anyway because they feel entitled to do so. Who cares if an ambulance or fire truck doesnít have a place to park, screw it, their time is more important, didnít you know? The difference is that the wealthier the entitled people are, the less consequences they face.

So the problem isnít with the people who are empathetic/not entitled. The problem lies with the people who would already act entitled anyway having enough money that they are basically living in a boundary free world. They can do what they want when they want because even if they get in trouble for it they can just throw money at the problem and make it go away.

And yes, like RIO said, the wealthier you are the more you can afford to isolate yourself. The more we distance ourselves from each other, the less empathy we have. Itís natural, most people have a base line of empathy, and that empathy increases the better we know people.

Living in a large city I know Iíve walked past many homeless people, many of whom most would deem ďcrazyĒ. My perspective changed a ton when my brother was diagnosed bipolar and his psychiatrist told us that he was at high risk for homelessness if he did not stay on his medication. Now I see these people in a completely different light. I always felt terrible for them, I always bought them meals and donated to food drives, but now knowing that many of them suffered from untreated mental illness, I have even more empathy than I did before.

Weíre so busy living our lives that we donít realize how much we really do things just for ourselves. Like the asshole who would park in a red zone. He wouldnít think twice about it, because remember his time is so much more important. But when he has a heart attack and some other person is parked in the red zone and the ambulance canít get to him, you bet your ass heís gonna be indignant that someone would do such a thing! Because now that itís affecting him, all of a sudden the rules matter

steadychevy posted 6/24/2019 06:59 AM

Very interesting thread. I have no idea if narcissism is increasing or not. Possibly there are better tools at diagnosis. I do go with the idea that it doesn't really matter if Cluster B or some other cause for our love to betray us so badly without thought or regard. Whatever the cause they were capable.

I don't park where I'm not supposed to. Not in front of fire hydrants, disabled parking stalls, close to corners at intersections, etc. I can afford the tickets. The towing would cause a hassle but is affordable. I don't park where I'm not supposed to even if I don't know the reason. There must be a reason and I just don't do it.

Some of the examples provided resonate about affluence, though. We had an incident locally that I'm quite aware of. We have a fire ban and off road vehicle ban in our area because of extremely dry fire hazard conditions. On the last long weekend a group of people camping in our wooded country side had large campfires and were burning around on their quads on roads and tinder dry forest. When confronted by the by-law officer she was told they had more money than she had tickets. Might have been bullshit but it was said to her.

Not an atypical situation on long weekends in our area where some people come to destroy. We very much welcome those who come to enjoy the tranquility and peace.

Rideitout posted 6/24/2019 07:38 AM

Human nature is best revealed in those who have money and power. And we've long ago learned an important lesson, "absolute power corrupts absolutely". It's just who we are as a species. It's one more of those awful things about humanity that many of us refuse to examine, but, it's right there in front of us.

To loop this back to infidelity, look at what happens when opportunity comes knocking. Now, this mostly applies to men, because most women have ample opportunity for NSA sex, but, give a man lots of power/fame/money and watch the fireworks. What do you guys think the actual infidelity rate is in Hollywood? Or in "under 50" CEOs? Or men under 40 with a new worth of 10M+? Well, the 2nd two groups, I know them pretty well, and I can tell you, of course, personal experience only, it's near 100%. The power is too intoxicating and the prize too alluring. These guys get "anything they want" all day long, and it's just one more step on the ladder of narcissism to "why not get a BJ at the office, I deserve it". And their entire world is so isolated, you can't imagine it until you see it first hand. But I've watched about 1/2 a dozen or so people go from the "bottom" of a company to the upper echelons, and the result has always been the same. But what is that really saying? Men who make a lot of money are flawed in some way? Or does making a lot of money just amplify the flaws that were already there? And the corollary for women is attractiveness; women who are unattractive and suddenly become very attractive exhibit, in my experience, a similar behavior pattern. They don't "need to be nice" anymore, and, much of the time, they're not. I think that's probably the crux of it, it's not that men or women are better or worse, it's just that "power" has a corrupting effect on all of us; men obtain that power with money and women with their appearance but the source doesn't really matter, it's the effect that power has that really tells the story. Now, of course, before someone says it, yes, there are rich and powerful men who are very nice to everyone they meet and have a bunch of "normal" friends. And there are stunningly attractive women who will demurely brush off a come on and are very nice people. But, if you're looking for boorish behavior, the first place to look would be "rich men and gorgeous women", because, IMHO, you're likely to find it there far more than the general population.

Hephaestus2 posted 6/24/2019 07:51 AM

Anyone driving slower than me is an idiot and anyone going faster than me is a maniac.

Hephaestus2 posted 6/24/2019 08:37 AM

You don't become a narcissist because you get rich. It could be true that you will get more selfish as you get wealthier but wealth doesn't create personality disorders. That's not what the term "personality" means. If it changes with external conditions, it isn't "personality". It's something else.

Rideitout posted 6/24/2019 09:20 AM

You don't become a narcissist because you get rich. It could be true that you will get more selfish as you get wealthier but wealth doesn't create personality disorders. That's not what the term "personality" means. If it changes with external conditions, it isn't "personality". It's something else.

Chicken or egg.. I'm not sure we know. Psychopathy is present in about 1% of the population, depending on the study, it's 10-20X that number when you get to the highest levels of a company. Might be that dark triads get promoted and move through company structures well (in fact, I'm nearly sure that's true), and also that functioning at those levels with the associated income and trappings amplifies and/or triggers more dark triad characteristics.

No matter the case, you take 2 men, tell me one is a construction worker with a 9-5, and the other makes 5M a year as the CEO of a company, and I can tell you which one, in my experience, is very likely to exhibit narc/socio/psychopathy. No, not all of them. But a lot of them. Especially if they are younger men, the numbers really seem to climb then.

But, to the original topic, is this becoming more prevalent? Yes, I think it is, because we are "selecting" for it. If the path to success is often through the dark triad, well.. Guess what? You'll get more of that behavior. It's not surprise at all.

And no, people don't suddenly develop these behaviors when they become a CEO. They are latent, IMHO, in most of us. They just go on full display once you have no "need" for the social niceties anymore. I see it kind of like addiction, it's there in a lot of people, but a lot of people will never "bring it out" by drinking to excess or using drugs. So those people never display addiction (at least not classically) because they've never been in a situation where it can arise. Doesn't mean that they don't have the propensity for it though, just that it's never been "triggered". I feel the same way about the dark triad, a lot of people have it, but only some get "triggered". And a huge trigger is wealth/power (for men), fame (for both), and good looks (for women).

cocoplus5nuts posted 6/24/2019 09:22 AM

Anyone driving slower than me is an idiot and anyone going faster than me is a maniac.

Heph is right. Stuff does not cause personality disorders. Now, there may be a correlation between those with PDs and being wealthy. I read that someone had studied CEOs of large companies and found that they are exhibited PD traits (can't remember which one). The conclusion was that people with that PD are more likely to be rich and "successful" CEOs because of the PD, not the other way around. They don't care about others. They only care about being the boss. They will hurt anyone along the way to get there.

Idk if entitlement is any more of an issue now then in the past. I think that's just the culprit de jour that the older generation uses to justify their dislike of the younger generation. I think it's a good thing that people are starting to acknowledge their own worth. While you do need to earn a promotion, you shouldn't need to earn love or happiness.

HeHadADoubleLife posted 6/24/2019 09:52 AM

Anyone driving slower than me is an idiot and anyone going faster than me is a maniac.

So true.

I had a driverís ed teacher who put things into perspective really well. He said, when you see someone driving like a maniac, swerving in and out of traffic, maybe even cutting you off - remember there is a reason. Sure, they could just be an asshole. But maybe they really have to pee. Or maybe theyíre rushing to pick their kid up from child care. Or maybe their wife is in labor and they couldnít wait for the ambulance.

Same with someone driving too slow. Maybe they are just that douchebag texting on their phone. But maybe itís a little old lady who is scared of driving so she drives a little slower. Maybe itís a newly licensed driver who is nervous about driving completely on their own now. Maybe they are lost and theyíre looking for the address.

It doesnít really matter why they are doing it, itís still dangerous and ďentitledĒ and ďselfishĒ. The rules of the road are there for a reason of course, and they arenít abiding by them. But no matter what, you still have to use your defensive driving skills to make sure that youíre safe in that situation. And wonít the rest of your day be better if your blood pressure isnít sky high just because youíre assuming this person got in their car today and decided to drive like a maniac or an idiot just so they can piss you off?

This really applies to everything. If we all assume that any person out there has a reason for doing what theyíre doing, and they didnít just wake up that day with the intention of making our day worse, you stay a lot calmer.

And yes coco Iíve read similar studies re: psychopathy or other PDs being more prevalent in CEOs, because the PD actually puts them at an advantage for being more successful. It makes perfect sense to me.

I also read something a long time ago about ďgod complexĒ in surgeons. Not sure if there was a PD in particular being discussed. But the gist was that the level of confidence required to be able to cut people open and literally ďplay godĒ with someoneís life is off the charts. And of course I would want anybody cutting me open to be supremely confident that they could do it - nobody wants a nervous nelly holding the scalpel! But where does confidence in your abilities become too inflated and therefore cross over into the narcissistic spectrum?

I seem to remember also that surgeons are also taught to disconnect from their patients, because if they donít the toll that constant death would take on them would be tremendous. They have to train themselves to have less empathy in a way, because empathy can actually hurt their performance. So in a way, the people who are already disconnected, who have less empathy, maybe even those with Cluster B disorders, would probably fair very well in that field. Kinda creepy to think about

DevastatedDee posted 6/24/2019 11:06 AM

If you've known people who are actually sociopaths or narcissists, the difference between someone who acts a bit like them and the full-blown disorder is shockingly clear. The true cluster B person is terrifying. There is nothing in their eyes. There is nothing but a black hole inside them feeding on the world. Knowing one of them is a truly surreal experience. They aren't human in the way that we understand "human". They're more a force of nature.

Thing is, a person with a lot of narcissistic traits can be completely incompatible with a healthy relationship without having the actual disorder. Impaired empathy all by itself is, to me, a disqualification for being in a healthy relationship. Lots of people are lacking in sufficient empathy. Lots of people aren't full-blown narcissists.

My WH is close enough to one to disqualify him from being with me. He isn't that black hole of evil, though. He's just very fucked up.

RIO, you crack me up. I could become the most beautiful and wealthiest woman in the world and even if that affected my empathy, I'd never be able to become full-blown personality-disordered. Those who are wealthy AND sociopathic are wealthy because they were sociopathic. Those men and women are incredibly skilled liars and manipulators and have no limits at all. That's a fantastic recipe for financial success if they direct themselves towards it.

Gumdropped posted 6/24/2019 11:40 AM

Lack of Guilt/Lack of Insight
Needs constant Admiration and Validation
Lying (Infidelity.....)
Everything is a Show
Emotionally Cold
Never takes Responsibility
Takes advantage of you/others regularly
Revels in others Misery
Doesn't like to be alone
Poor Boundaries (Infidelity.....)
Doesn't listen
According to the book "Should I Stay or Should I Leave" if your partner is showing 15 or more of these traits you are likely dealing with a Narcissist.

Rideitout posted 6/24/2019 12:03 PM

Interesting list. Made me think though, I'm not sure that it's really narcs that are on the rise. I think it's sociopaths. The men I know, armchair diagnosis, don't seem to think they are "all that". They just don't care about other people at all, which is certainly present in narcs as well, but I think sociopathy is a better description of it.

The "fabric" that hold people together has been torn repeatedly over the past 100 years. Lots of things doing it, most recently, technology (allowing people to go deep into small groups of like minded individuals and totally block out those around them), before that it was the death of religion in many areas (ripping apart the bond that used to exist between otherwise dissociated groups of people). But it's been a long, slow process to get where we are today, with more and more "self-interest" at every step of the way until, one day you wake up and sociopathy seems "normal". Probably the most telling example of this is abortion; how we've normalized this behavior is a broad testament to the power of groups and crowds. Now, let me say, I support abortion and reproductive rights in general, so, I'm just as "normalized" as anyone on this issue, but, if you think about what we're really doing, examine it as an impartial party.. Wow, that's some really unreal behavior that's become the "norm" for society today. There are tons of other examples, the less inflammatory one, walking past the guy begging for change in the street with 100 bucks in your pocket and not giving him a dime. Justifying it to yourself "He'll drink it anyway". But is that the "real answer"? I'd like to think it is for me, but.. I'm not sure. I think the real answer might be "I just give no s**ts about him" and would rather stay in my own world and pretend he doesn't exist. Leaving him to fend for himself in the streets, something we wouldn't do to an stray dog, we regularly do to our fellow man.

How do we put this fabric back together? Well, the more we need one another, the more we'll pull together for a common cause (hence, as discussed earlier, the reason that this behavior becomes more acute the richer/more famous/more attractive a person becomes). If something awful happened to this country that threatened it's existence, I think that would pull us together again. A global economic collapse might do it too. Absent that, I'm not sure how you do it. And don't see signs of it abating, if anything, it's accelerating. This MAY not be a bad thing, "rational self interest" is a reasonable and valid way to conduct yourself. It's just not the "story" that we like to tell ourselves about who we are as a people, even if the reality looks more "Atlas Shrugged" than a Disney movie.

Chaos posted 6/24/2019 12:23 PM

I look at that list and think to myself, that describes most teens that I know [including mine] and many adults from time to time. Heck - on some days depending on my mood, I could tick off quite a few on that list. I'm not a narcissist.

What I do think [based on my armchair psychology degree] is that society in general is more tolerant of and making more excuses for bad behaviors than ever before. Entitlement mentality [irregardless of reason] is on the rise.

Gumdropped posted 6/24/2019 15:12 PM

I look at that list and think to myself, that describes most teens that I know [including mine] and many adults from time to time. Heck - on some days depending on my mood, I could tick off quite a few on that list. I'm not a narcissist.
What I do think [based on my armchair psychology degree] is that society in general is more tolerant of and making more excuses for bad behaviors than ever before. Entitlement mentality [irregardless of reason] is on the rise.

Hey Chaos I agree with you. Also yes its on the rise globally. And I have lived thru having two teenagers. My concern, as with I think the other BS here is that our own chosen partners may mirror this behavior. It explains alot about how the WS please themselves and their mindsets when they cheat. I have done a lot of extensive reading and watching videos of Psychologists etc who specialize in this personality disorder. And spoken with my own IC. I am of the belief that my WH definitely has a lot of the items on the list but also pray that with some help and IC his level of Narcissistic tendencies can be worked on. Hope....the one thing that keeps us hanging on....

Loukas posted 6/24/2019 15:32 PM

I miss the days when a narc was a cop.

I do always wonder though, how many folks here are aware that they themselves could be labeled a narcissist by their betraying spouses? Armchair psychology and all...

Anyway, I donít for one second believe narcissism is on the rise. Cíest juste le mot du jour. Itís really easy to label anyone who was wronged you as a Ďnarcí. Ironically, doing so sounds very narcissistic? Regardless, itís all very counter healing and sounds very ďblame-shiftyĒ.

deephurt posted 6/24/2019 15:41 PM

Most cheaters tick off a lot of those traits but are not necessarily narcs. I guess they show some of the traits though.
Mine is not a narc but also during his a, I would say he ticked off 16 of those traits and now he is much lower so I donít know what that would mean but he isnít a narc but he does have general anxiety disorder. He was seen by psychiatrists and diagnosed. Now he is on meds for anxiety and some of the traits in that list have disappeared.

Here is why I always advocate for not guessing and getting proper diagnosis. My wh was told by a doctor he had depression and our family doctor prescribed meds for that. He had to change the ends numerous time but he took it for 15 years at least and his a was the last 9 of those years. He was difficult to live with. He was angry most of the time. I would say some was likely guilt from the a but I donít believe he had any during the a. He was selfish and immature and practically manic from anxiety-I know this now.

After dday, he tried to kill himself, saw an actual psychiatrist and was told that he has depression but it is a by product of having anxiety and that general anxiety disorder is actually the main illness that had to be treated and that all the medications that he had taken for depression actually made the anxiety much worse-again we can see this now. The psychiatrist got him on the correct meds and not only did he say he felt so much better, his mind was clear and he didnít understand any of the things that he did or said during his a. He was acting like someone he didnít recognize after his mind felt clear. He still has anxiety and he is very open about when it hits him and expresses himself as well as he can but the episodes are fewer and he can express himself whereas before he said his mind was jumping all over the place and always to worst case scenarios and it made him feel like a different person. He always tried to cover up his anxiety but now he doesnít and he feels much better now that he is on the correct medication.

I do believe that the world has become more entitled over the decades. I used to see it happening when our son was in school. People are teaching their kids to be entitled -not all obviously but I used to see it when our sons friends would get into trouble and their parents would do whatever they needed to get them out instead of having their kids face the consequences of their actions. I have friends and family in the education system and it is rampant. The kids are disrespectful and have no fear of being in trouble. The system has taken away the teachers ability to use any form of discipline to keep order in the classroom. Itís easy to see how and why itís happening. The kids have too much power and parents donít back the teachers and school where discipline is concerned. Of course when you give a kid an excuse to get out of trouble, they will take it. I think we would see a reduction in entitlement if all parents made sure that their kids faced consequences of their actions, both good and bad. I may be way off base but thatís what I see and what the people I know in the education system that I know also see. If I got in trouble at school, I was terrified about how much trouble I would be in when I got home-and I was never physically abused btw. Now parents get angry at the teachers for trying to discipline.

[This message edited by deephurt at 3:44 PM, June 24th (Monday)]

KingRat posted 6/24/2019 15:49 PM

I think the jury is still out. People as a whole don't change that much in few decades. However, persons do. Anyone who has children knows that toddlers are the most narcissistic creatures. As we get older, we generally become less narcissistic because responsibility forces our hand, whether that be parental, financial, social, etc. Obligations demand sacrifice. As healthy adults, we all move from self-centered to being more selfless. We gain empathy through experience; it is not an innate response.

My grandfather lived through a depression to watch his buddies die face down in the mud. So from his perspective, anything short of that is entitlement. So from a 40 to 50-year-old's perspective, a 20-something is going to seem much more narcissistic. We forget when we were young, I'm sure to folks of his generation, we were shiftless cream puffs.

This goes back to Heph's point, is the world becoming more narcissistic or is the lens from which we view it from magnified. Again, I don't think there is any hard evidence to definitively support one conclusion. However, me thinks the latter. #Nocountryforoldmen

[This message edited by KingRat at 3:51 PM, June 24th (Monday)]

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