Replace "narcissist" with "cystitis," and you realize that even a small amount you don't need

In the last (long) time the concept of narcissism is slowly but surely shifted from complex textbooks of psychopathology first in the popular-scientific texts, then TV, and finally sounded in the kitchen, inevitably izbrisati.

On TV and the kitchens still believe that "narcissism" is synonymous with "narcissism". Here is a popular the same conclusion: "a Small amount of narcissism never hurt anyone".

Replace the word "narcissism" with "cystitis", "schizophrenia" or "ptosis" and you will understand that even a small amount you don't need.

The basics


1. A few paragraphs in an eyeliner. The Roman poet Ovid 2000 years ago told us a story about a young man who fell in love with his own reflection in the water and died of longing for the unattainable "beloved". The young man's name was Narcissus, of course.

The paradox of the origin of the term "narcissism" is that the term belongs to Sigmund Freud, but he was, in fact, belongs only to the term.

Neither Ovid nor Freud to look for relevant information about narcissism is not worth it. All the most valuable theory of narcissism (and its related approaches to the treatment) came later.

Here is a partial list of names due to be mentioned in this regard:

  • Otto Kernberg,
  • Heinz Kohut,
  • Nancy McWilliams,
  • Gary M. Yontef,
  • Elinor Greenberg,
  • Harm Siemens,
  • Spagnolo Lobb.
2. It is considered that narcissistic traits are laid as a response to a specific family and colosally context:

  • excessive or contradictory demands on the child from adults
  • the experience of humiliation or chronic unfavourable comparison with other, more successful or beloved children,
  • the experience of "star" of acute success (or successes), which is experienced as an indispensable condition for parental love and acceptance.

The development of the narcissistic disorder also contributes to:

  • the presence devalues, depressed or emotionally insensitive important ones,
  • ignoring the actual emotional and personal experience of the child,
  • the use of the child's success as their own vain purposes (the child as a narcissistic extension).
3. In the most General sense, the narcissistic suffering is understood as a complex of personal characteristics, including:

  • complexity with the formation of identity and self-esteem;
  • the difficulty of creating adequate motivation and evaluation of their actions, success, themselves and others;
  • painful response to real or perceived failures (and, as a consequence, a high probability of depressive disorders);
  • a polarized (or even split into "black" and "white") and the emotional-personal sphere;
  • the difficulties of establishing deep relationships, forming attachments to the Other.

The severity of narcissistic suffering (like any other) can have different degrees on the scale of the defeat. From narcissistic injury (suffering occasionally enlivened in very specific conditions, reminiscent of children's and traumatic) through accentuation (the person is characterized by certain personal traits such as competitiveness, painful feelings, fear, comparisons, etc.) to malignant narcissism, when we are dealing with a lesion level of personality disorders (difficulty testing reality, emotional instability, low capacity for relationship, etc.).

4. A leading feature of narcissistic identity — its polarization. Family context, the descendant of which is the narcissistic man, is usually depreciation, overstated demands to the success of the child, humiliation, traumatic comparisons with other, conditional parental love, etc. All of these factors create a person who is extremely difficult to rely on their own bodily, emotional, and cognitive experience in the knowledge of themselves and the world. Simply put, if all life you are a little loved, a lot and not good compared with anybody else, if you felt that the mother and father for their parent's happiness you need to show something bigger than yourself — all this is very disturbing to perceive the world as it is and yourself in it.

5. Such a person has difficulty with the appeal to "me". "Good" or "bad" at it are strongly linked to the external evaluation and the experience itself depends on how "successful" or "relevant requirements" he worries himself in every next moment.

This is what I call a polarized emotional-personal sphere: depending on momentary success/random assessment/imaginary conformity to the sample, such a person feels that a king, a loser, a genius, a jerk, etc.

Often you can see that the feelings and the opinions and actions — there is no flexibility and the adequacy of reality. Rather, the pendulum just moves from one pole to another and back.

Interestingly, from the point of view of external functionality, such people can be very successful and not too much, but internal drama continues to live by the laws, regardless of external realities.

So, I frantically take care of yourself and hard to do sports as long as it helps me to get a high evaluation of others. Accidental collapse, failure, disapproval some important character can so unsettle me that in a month I will dwell in the commune of downshifters and I will say with certainty that this is something that I always lacked.

As you might guess, there is no truth neither there nor there. The truth is that I have no idea who I am, and that is fine for me.



Narcissistic cognitive style (habitual way of thinking) has a number of characteristics. I want to concentrate on the main of them — cognitive polarization. The term I came up with right now, though don't be surprised if it was without me: I never invented anything original.

So, cognitive polarization is a direct product of cleavage in the personal and emotional spheres, which we discussed above. Exactly the same as narcissistic personality moves from experiencing himself over to experience the epic (with a full sense of authenticity actual experiences), just as the sphere of intellectual ideas about the world is organized for such people according to the dual principle. Memories are often split into tragic or heroic, dreams about the future can have huge or catastrophic.

  • "I've never been",
  • "He always was",
  • "We never — we always do."

Of course, the picture I describe, looks like a caricature, so the severity of it is rare.

In some cases, cognitive polarization can cause impulsive or reactive, and sometimes uncritical behavior, especially in a psychologically difficult situation. All bad — it is necessary to immediately do well, and forever. The error must be corrected immediately. Fell? Immediately become. Sick? Immediately to cure. Died? Sure to resurrect. Or at least give birth to a new or find similar. The pendulum continues to swing, skipping the middle.



Working with a narcissistic disorder in psychotherapy is long, complicated and never ends. The previous sentence may sound depressing, but it's true. But the truth is the main deficit, which is a narcissistic being.

One of the main strategic directions of the therapist's work with narcissistic dynamics to facilitate the meeting of client with the current truth of his life. This particularly applies to Gestalt therapy as it traditionally has always paid great attention to the client / the therapeutic process in real-time, relevant experience and phenomenology of the client.

Tactically work with such people can look very different at different moments. However, its main target usually remains the integrity of the actual experiences of the person and strengthening the client's ability to sustain itself actual experience and contact with the other person (the therapist) in real time and stream that experience.

Under the current experience I understand the maximum comprehended the fullness of human life in any given moment of time: awareness of real feelings, impulses and accompanying all this bodily process, the client in contact with a therapist. The latter is extremely important since one of the main features of a narcissistic personality is weak the ability to be in contact (dialogue) with Others, and to trust him in your current mental process.

I'm a little afraid to tighten the theoretical prelude. You may find that a long journey would be disproportionate to the simple idea that struck me funny a few days ago and for which I'm writing all this. So let's get down to business.



Let's tear off the eyes from the soul of the endoscope and change the scale. If you look at the narcissistic epidemic from the point of view of history and geography, will be released around next. Conditional(!) interim milestone narcissistic fertilization of the egg can be considered as published in 1931 the book of James Adams "American dream". Despite the simplicity, the beauty and attractiveness of the declared in her ideals (freedom, happiness and universal self-realization), after half a century, it turned out that being adopted lightly, the American dream greatly disfigures the soul of the dreamer. Despite the vastness of America and neskonchaemoi her all the best, it turned out that the social Elevator to the top is not all luck. That McDonald's invented only two. But nine-tenths of the population are doomed for life to assemble a Burger, salad and a loaf of bread in a big Mac. Fulfillment was not enough at all.

The most poisonous in the American dream I believe the semantic and the motivational vector directed to the future. Self made person believe that all will be if to pull their socks up. There are possibilities, limitations null and void, the home country is beautiful, and eternal life. In General, I think America should feel just as intense as unconscious guilt for the occurrence of the epidemic of narcissism as Germany for Nazi crimes. It is clear that the Soviet psychic reality in this sense is no better, but being rejected by a war far back, we are only now beginning to guess something of what America has long said aloud: pendulum flying back.



They say "we" are behind "them" for the next 15-30 years. Entertaining geography narcissistic polarization can be seen in the example of the evolution of acrylic nails. If we take an imaginary journey through a nail salon from Ekaterinburg to Munich, we will see that long red knives pale and shortened to the suburbs, and in Munich the manicure with disappear as something alien to nature and unnatural.

Meanwhile, in the mass of the people (neither "there" nor "here") have not learned to hear themselves instead of Evert existing someone else. It seems still to distinguish one from the other.

  • "Modesty" does not mean "mediocrity".
  • Taking care of yourself does not mean got everything I wanted.
  • Look natural does not mean to walk in the men's shorts with unshaven legs, if you're a woman.
  • To be tolerant does not mean loving to talk through the fence "Hello" to our neighbor, the pedophile.
  • Not necessarily to lose both legs, to do dressage.
  • Don't have to be mentally retarded to teach at the University.
  • To develop means to find the optimal path forward.

Be willing to succeed — fine. To be beautiful — it's nice.

But to take its place — much prettier and nicer than to take someone else's.

And to each of us to find, and we will need many years. And maybe of the decade.


Author: Pauline Gaverdovsky


Also interesting: the Three faces of Narcissus. Not children's portraits of identity in children's stories

How to recognize a sociopath at home or work and the time away


P. S. And remember, only by changing their consumption — together we change the world! ©



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