Andrey Mozharov (andreymozharov) wrote,
Andrey Mozharov

Popular Narcissism.

Narcissism is a complex and many-sided psychological phenomenon.  If one tries to define it in simple language, schematically, we are in the risk to distort its meaning, to bring to the vulgar understanding. It is recognized that the myth of Narcissus, even in different interpretations, brings us closer to understanding this phenomenon, it also hints at the cause of narcissism, and indeed being its symbolic (archetypical) image. Much is written about this myth.

      In common sense narcissism is understood something like this - it is excessive or even exclusive self-love. If we discard the major part of it, we probably get some dry residue, which by itself did not clarify much, because it easily falls under the selfishness, egocentrism, and even megalomania. After all, in fact, where there is all-consuming love, on the other side there is her opposite overwhelming hatred. In severe narcissistic  personality disorders, such person falls into one or the other extreme, and, if you think over it deeper, the expression of this most self-love in its very narcissistic manifestations, more like hate. "I love myself only so much that I hate myself for I can love nobody else, and this love will never bring satisfaction, peace of mind and saturation, because I can not satisfy myself, I can not divide myself into two, I cannot embrace myself, I can not kiss myself on the lips ... I have no one to strive for, because the object of all my innermost desires - that is myself. The condition of a narcissistic personality is a state with paired omnipotence and nothingness.

    Love, by the way, is neither an abstraction nor the fruit of art or literary fiction. Love is a psychological fact that has many shades and manifestations. Love is a connection between two entities being in the process of exchange of psychic energy, psychologically - it could be a link with the subject and an object. In the case of narcissism one can speak about the connection of subject and object the latter becomes the image of his own (in myth - a visual image, but in the psychological sense – one’s own view of oneself (self-perception). Typically, this is a false self-perception, the idea of oneself as a super good, fine, the only and unique person who is at the center of the universe, and all other persons that are considered by narcissistic personality as objects that revolve around and serve the means to achieve his own purposes. If a narcissistic personality wants to have this or that, he/she either gets it or if the goal is unattainable, depreciates the object (a person, idea)  against the background of his own grandeur, and this depreciation may be up to the desire to destroy the object. If a Narcissus fails both he begins to think of himself as a nullity because the "resistance" of external objects undermines his “myth of omnipotence”.  Psychic energy (libido) of narcissus fixated, so to speak, to itself ( it got caught in an endless loop). A clear illustration of this is the image of the Ouroboros, Dragon biting its own tail.

    Envy is another sign of narcissistic personality. This envy can take pathological forms: Narcissus believes that other people have something that he lacks, but since this something can not be expressed, it is identified with everything that belongs to the object. What is it, a narcissus does not have, but other people do? - Love, the ability to love, the ability to establish contact with the object, as with the subject, i.e. with the person. Besides there must be recognition of this person, as an equal, having the right to exist, and there must be desire to establish contact with him/her. The ability to love can include co-dependence. It is incredibly difficult for Narcissus to depend on another person, because dependence implies the recognition that you are not omnipotent, that you are not "navel of the earth" that you are not perfect, that you could be weaker than the other person, perhaps, less intelligent, not so beautiful, that you can be similar to others (non-unique in something). Then there is the antithesis Envy-dependence, I envy you, because I can not recognize my dependence but you can.

    The primary love relationship can be called the ties between a mother and a child. The quality of this connection, of course, affects the subsequent ability of individuals to establish relationships with others. But there is a deeper relationship. The fundamental relationship that everyone has in its possession is his/her connection with nature which symbolizes the mother principle, which generates a man as a bodily creature, animal, growing and dying (i.e, returning to her bosom). This relationship with the mother archetype can never be completely broken, because we are forever connected with it by our body  This is a very deep connection hardly comprehensible. Transforming the nature exclusively for their needs, people strive to get rid of this connection, from the fundamental dependence. Ultimately our civilization is a reflection of our own self-admiration, as the crown of creation. It looks like everything must be subordinated to the implementation of the plans for the incarnation of our narcissistic almightiness. The motto of the narcissistic humanity: "It's for me, for me and me again!" Is today's crisis is not the result of consumer attitudes toward everything and everyone?

    In modern psychoanalytic approach it is presumed that the narcissistic part of the personality is inherent in all people. In common language it sounds like: “we are all, to some extent, selfish”. Moreover it is very prestigious to be selfish nowadays. It is believed that only a fairly selfish person can achieve success in life. So Narcissus is suffering from his egotism, and often in need of assistance because of misconceptions of himself that prevented him to live and establish strong relationships with other people. The task of therapy is to help such a person "look away" from his own "I" and re-learn how to give, at the same time get satisfaction and a sense of fullness.

   In conclusion, I would say that according to the approaches of analytical psychology unconsciously we all are connected to each other. Collective unconscious invisibly affects not only the individual but also society as a whole, through the psyche of individuals. Perhaps if we all become a little less narcissistic, and learn how to establish right human relations based on the recognition of existence of everything that relates to “non-self”, then our world will be a little kinder, more stable, it would be less cruel, less filled with hatred and envy ... 

 December 2008-January 2009

  (Andrey Mozharov)
Tags: narcissism
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