What is Narcissism?

Written by Sam Vaknin


A pattern of traits and behaviours which signify infatuation and obsession with one's self torepparttar exclusion of all others andrepparttar 126198 egotistic and ruthless pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition.

Most narcissists (50-75%, according torepparttar 126199 DSM-IV-TR) are men. The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of a "family" of personality disorders (known as "Cluster B"). Other members of Cluster B are Borderline PD, Antisocial PD and Histrionic PD. NPD is often diagnosed with other mental health disorders ("co-morbidity") or with substance abuse and impulsive and reckless behaviours ("dual diagnosis"). NPD is new (1980) mental health category inrepparttar 126200 Diagnostic and Statistics Manual (DSM). There is only scant research regarding narcissism. But what there is has not demonstrated any ethnic, social, cultural, economic, genetic, or professional predilection to NPD. It is estimated that 0.7-1% ofrepparttar 126201 general population suffer from NPD. Pathological narcissism was first described in detail by Freud. Other major contributors are: Klein, Horney, Kohut, Kernberg, Millon, Roningstam, Gunderson, Hare. The onset of narcissism is in infancy, childhood and early adolescence. It is commonly attributed to childhood abuse and trauma inflicted by parents, authority figures, or even peers. There is a whole range of narcissistic reactions fromrepparttar 126202 mild, reactive and transient torepparttar 126203 permanent personality disorder. Narcissistic Supply is outside attention usually positive (adulation, affirmation, fame, celebrity) used byrepparttar 126204 narcissist to regulate his labile sense of self-worth. Narcissists are either "cerebral" (derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements) or "somatic" (derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests"). Narcissists are either "classic" [see definition below] or they are "compensatory", or "inverted" [see definitions here: "The Inverted Narcissist"]. The classic narcissist is self-confident,repparttar 126205 compensatory narcissist covers up in his haughty behaviour for a deep-seated deficit in self-esteem, andrepparttar 126206 inverted type is a co-dependent who caters torepparttar 126207 emotional needs of a classic narcissist. NPD is treated in talk therapy (psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioural). The prognosis for an adult narcissist is poor, though his adaptation to life and to others can improve with treatment. Medication is applied to side-effects and behaviours (such as mood or affect disorders and obsession-compulsion) usually with some success. The ICD-10,repparttar 126208 International Classification of Mental and Behavioural Disorders, published byrepparttar 126209 World Health Organisation in Geneva [1992] regards Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) as "a personality disorder that fits none ofrepparttar 126210 specific rubrics". It relegates it torepparttar 126211 category "Other Specific Personality Disorders" together withrepparttar 126212 eccentric, "haltlose", immature, passive-aggressive, and psychoneurotic personality disorders and types.

The Shattered Identity - Part I

Written by Sam Vaknin


I. Exposition

Inrepparttar movie "Shattered" (1991), Dan Merrick survives an accident and develops total amnesia regarding his past. His battered face is reconstructed by plastic surgeons and, withrepparttar 126197 help of his loving wife, he gradually recovers his will to live. But he never develops a proper sense of identity. It is as though he is constantly ill at ease in his own body. Asrepparttar 126198 plot unravels, Dan is led to believe that he may have murdered his wife's lover, Jack. This thriller offers additional twists and turns but, throughout it all, we face this question:

Dan has no recollection of being Dan. Dan does not remember murdering Jack. It seems as though Dan's very identity has been erased. Yet, Dan is in sound mind and can tell right from wrong. Should Dan be held (morally and, as a result, perhaps legally as well) accountable for Jack's murder?

Wouldrepparttar 126199 answer to this question still berepparttar 126200 same had Dan erased from his memory ONLYrepparttar 126201 crime -but recalled everything else (in an act of selective dissociation)? Do our moral and legal accountability and responsibility spring fromrepparttar 126202 integrity of our memories? If Dan were to be punished for a crime he doesn't haverepparttar 126203 faintest recollection of committing - wouldn't he feel horribly wronged? Wouldn't he be justified in feeling so?

There are many states of consciousness that involve dissociation and selective amnesia: hypnosis, trance and possession, hallucination, illusion, memory disorders (like organic, or functional amnesia), depersonalization disorder, dissociative fugue, dreaming, psychosis, post traumatic stress disorder, and drug-induced psychotomimetic states.

Consider this, for instance:

What if Dan wererepparttar 126204 victim of a Multiple Personality Disorder (now known as "Dissociative Identity Disorder")? What if one of his "alters" (i.e., one ofrepparttar 126205 multitude of "identities" sharing Dan's mind and body) committedrepparttar 126206 crime? Should Dan still be held responsible? What ifrepparttar 126207 alter "John" committedrepparttar 126208 crime and then "vanished", leaving behind another alter (let us say, "Joseph") in control? Should "Joseph" be held responsible forrepparttar 126209 crime "John" committed? What if "John" were to reappear 10 years after he "vanished"? What if he were to reappear 50 years after he "vanished"? What if he were to reappear for a period of 90 days - only to "vanish" again? And what is Dan's role in all this? Who, exactly, then, is Dan?

II. Who is Dan?

Buddhism compares Man to a river. Both retain their identity despiterepparttar 126210 fact that their individual composition is different at different moments. The possession of a body asrepparttar 126211 foundation of a self-identity is a dubious proposition. Bodies change drastically in time (consider a baby compared to an adult). Almost allrepparttar 126212 cells in a human body are replaced every few years. Changing one's brain (by transplantation) - also changes one's identity, even ifrepparttar 126213 rest ofrepparttar 126214 body remainsrepparttar 126215 same.

Thus,repparttar 126216 only thing that binds a "person" together (i.e., gives him a self and an identity) is time, or, more precisely, memory. By "memory" I also mean: personality, skills, habits, retrospected emotions - in short: all long term imprints and behavioural patterns. The body is not an accidental and insignificant container, of course. It constitutes an important part of one's self-image, self-esteem, sense of self-worth, and sense of existence (spatial, temporal, and social). But one can easily imagine a brain in vitro as havingrepparttar 126217 same identity as when it resided in a body. One cannot imagine a body without a brain (or with a different brain) as havingrepparttar 126218 same identity it had beforerepparttar 126219 brain was removed or replaced.

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