This is a guest article by Sam Vaknin. Sam Vaknin, Ph.D. is Visiting Professor of Psychology in Southern Federal University, Rostov-on-Don, Russia and Professor of Finance and Psychology in CIAPS (Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies). Sam Vaknin ( http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/mediakit.html ) is the author of Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, international affairs, and award-winning short fiction.
The Age of Narcissism is Upon Us
“Narcissism” is a cultural meme, a buzzword, and a leading topic of study in academe. Yet, it is precisely this popularity that threatens to obscure the true nature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Pathological narcissism may be the undiscovered, and most under-reported, epidemic of our age.
Some say that our whole civilization is infected with narcissism.
Many (maybe even the majority of) criminals and abusers are narcissists, or have narcissistic traits.
So what is “Narcissistic Abuse”?
All of these, and more, are part of it:
- Emotional abuse,
- Mental cruelty,
- Systematic abusive manipulation,
- Pathological control,
- Pathological deceit
Narcissistic Abuse can, and does, occur in any setting. It can affect one person, or an entire community.
- In a relationship,
- In a family,
- In the workplace,
- In School or College
- In any other community,
Wherever it occurs, Narcissistic Abuse always causes lasting damage , often serious damage, sometimes very permanent damage.
Narcissistic Abuse is difficult to prove at all, let alone sanction or control.
For the victims recovery can take far to long. There are too few resources and too little is understood.
Some of the questions which are still wide open:
What is pathological narcissism? Is it a mental health disorder – or an adaptation to our anomic, sick, and, yes, narcissistic civilization?
Where is the demarcation between assertiveness, self-confidence, and self-esteem – and grandiose fantasies? What is the relationship between healthy narcissism and the pathological kind?
Is leadership – corporate, political, social – enhanced by narcissism, or diminished by it?
Should we encourage our children to be more narcissistic?
How are narcissists made? Is early childhood abuse in the family really the precursor or is the etiology far more complex and involves an interplay with peers, role models, and the prevailing culture?
I coined the phrase “narcissistic abuse” in 1995. But what does it mean in an age when narcissism is no longer a diagnosis but a pejorative? Are the victims somehow complicit in their own maltreatment? Is codependence just another form of pernicious malignant narcissism?
We don’t know the answers to these queries. We are casting in the dark. But one thing is for sure: narcissism is here to stay, possibly as the organizing and institutional principle of our age.
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