dilbert | The word “narcissist” gets tossed around a lot, especially when Donald Trump is in the news. That word can mean at least three different things, depending on who is saying it. For example, calling someone a narcissist could mean…
1. I don’t know what big words mean, but I use them anyway. (That’s at least 30% of cases.)
2. The target of the accusation has “Narcissistic Personality Disorder” as defined by the Mayo Clinic to include these traits: Inflated sense of importance Deep need for admiration Lack of empathy for others Fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism
3. The person doing the accusing has “Narcissistic Accuser Syndrome” as I define to have these characteristics:
- Dislike of confident, successful people.
- Hallucinating that you have the diagnostic skills of a trained psychiatrist.
- Hallucinating the ability to determine a stranger’s level of empathy, and their need for admiration, based on limited evidence seen out of context.
- Inability to distinguish between a smart operator with a strategy of aggressive response to critics versus a person with fragile self-esteem.
- Inability to understand that labeling one individual with an inflated sense of importance and fragile self-esteem at the same time is harder to explain than you want it to be.
- A deep desire to rationalize one’s own lack of success by imagining the only way that other people attain it is with the help of some sort of personality disorder.
Did I write this defensive-sounding post because I’m a narcissist? I hope so, because that’s what I strive to be.
I’m a big fan of being admired, assuming I did something worthy. I find the goodwill of others to be one of several sources of personal motivation, and a legitimate one. Am I allowed to make the world a better place and enjoy the fact that others appreciate the effort? That seems like a reasonable deal for everyone. If you do something good for the world, I promise to admire you, and I hope you enjoy the feeling. Maybe it will encourage you to do more good stuff.