Narcissism is becoming more well-known on a daily basis and its symptoms, or behaviours, are now widely recognised. Perhaps, more than others, there is one man to thank for this. One man who, through his public presence, has brought narcissism into the spotlight and shown it for all to see; not as a psychology professional, nor published in a paper, but as a living and breathing embodiment of the personality disorder.
This man has put himself into a position of power through a campaign of manipulation and lies, supressing any opposing views and making outlandish statements; and whilst he was elected through democratic process, he got there through sheer demagoguery.
He is now facing criticism on all sides, and even his own agents are refusing to pass information to him. He is still right at the beginning of his new endeavour, having just started in his position at the top of the hierarchy, yet already he has all bar a small circle questioning his suitability, motives, and even his mental state.
As narcissists thrive on attention, I will not be naming this man. Perhaps we have reached the point where we should no longer offer the limelight he so desperately craves.
This man concentrates on meeting the demands of his ego over the needs of others, demonstrating a lack of empathy and openly making statements considered to be racist, homophobic, sexist, bigoted and chauvinistic, whilst offering no genuine apology and disregarding or even attempting to justify them. He appears unable to distinguish the ambitions of others from his own; seeing complimentary goals as his creations and confrontational ones as deliberately targeting him, no matter the actual intention.
He shows an inability to see the world through the perspectives of others, despite statements to the contrary; apparently only empathising with people who possess similar viewpoints. He offers no genuine gratitude to those that do support him but assumes their compliance. He denies remorse, failing to apologise no matter what proof is presented, and instead maintains his own infallibility.
Without a doubt, he constantly exhibits self-focus during interpersonal exchanges, always bringing the conversation back to his achievements, how things affect him, and what he thinks. He struggles to sustain satisfying relationships; people around him are there to serve his interests including, it appears, his family, and anyone who questions him is expelled. He flatters those that show him admiration or affirmation whilst scolding and attacking any who disagree.
He is hypersensitive to insults, whether real or imagined, and paints all opposition as being part of a grand conspiracy. He targets individuals as enemies; rather than trying to understand their perspective and offer a counter-argument, he launches personal attacks and credits unrelated events to them, grouping things together as a singular, negative campaign.
He displays no signs of guilt but inflates his own status to avoid shame, changing details and rewriting history. He displays himself as more important than he actually is, with no regard for democracy or the rule of law; giving himself titles and placing his name in large letters. His body language and personal presentation is aloof, often showing an attempt to dominate others, and his eccentric appearance is part of his persona that he tries to use to establish a sense of consistency and uniqueness. He manipulates images to show himself being glorified by others, deliberately misleading or manipulating to assure and inflate his own standing. He constantly exaggerates his achievements and brags about his success, intelligence, and experience. He claims expertise in many subjects, putting his knowledge ahead of that of experts and professionals, and disregarding facts in favour of his own assumptions.
In her book Why Is It Always About You? Dr Sandy Hotchkiss details the seven signs of narcissism, which can be summarised as:
- An inability to process shame healthily, leading to shamelessness;
- Viewing themselves as perfect whilst projecting faults and shame onto others;
- Arrogance maintained by inflating their own status and diminishing, debasing or degrading others;
- Envying the achievements of others and minimising them through contempt to assure their own superiority;
- Self-entitlement and unreasonable expectations of favourable treatment, with failure to comply resulting in others being deemed 'awkward' or 'difficult' individuals, and complete defiance triggering narcissistic rage;
- The exploitation of others with no regard for their interests or feelings, including assuming all others are subservient;
- A failure to understand boundaries and seeing others as either there to serve their will or of no consequence at all.
It appears that this man meets the criteria, and other studies or descriptions of Narcissistic Personality Disorder appear to confirm this potential diagnosis. If that is the case, and he is a narcissist, then he should not be in the position that he been elected to. Maybe now it is time for us to stop paying him attention. He doesn't need to be named, just ignored.
Instead of looking at what he says in his abrupt outbursts, if we concentrate on his actions from a legal standpoint alone, he will quickly lose his power. He is a mouthpiece for his ego, not a real threat.
If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?