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I am an Off-the-Chart Narcissist

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Recently I was doing some research for a projected essay on the “pickup artist” phenomenon, when I came across a rather interesting piece in Psychology Today titled “How to Spot a Narcissist.” The article contained a link to something called the “Narcissistic Personality Inventory,”  a widely-used test designed by psychologists. On a whim, I devoted a few minutes to taking this test — and got quite a shock. My score was 29.

To put this into perspective, scores between 12 and 15 are considered “average.” If you score over 20 you are officially a narcissist. The “interpretive” portion of the test adds this helpful remark: “Celebrities often score closer to 18.” Great. This means I might be a bigger narcissist than Angelina Jolie.

I took the test again, this time thinking a bit more about each item and trying to be completely honest with myself. I again scored 29.

The test consists of 40 items. In each case you are supposed to choose which of two statements describes you best. Item One, for example, asks you to choose between Option A “I have a natural talent for influencing people,” and Option B “I am not good at influencing people.” I chose Option A, since it is true and has been all my life (in fact, I believe I started influencing people as a zygote). This was my first mistake. Because it was a very narcissistic answer.

My other narcissistic answers included “Modesty doesn’t become me,” “I can usually talk my way out of anything,” and “I will be a success.” But consider that last one. The other option was “I am not too concerned about success.” That’s not true of me — and it’s not true of most people, in fact. Do I have a basic conviction that I am (or will be) successful? Yes. And that’s a good thing, isn’t it? But I’m getting ahead of myself . . .

I knew I was in trouble when I chose “If I ruled the world it would be a better place.” The other option was “The thought of ruling the world frightens the hell out of me.” Well, in a way it does. Ruling the world would be an awesome, intimidating responsibility. However it’s also true that the world would be better off if I were in charge. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being arrogant, because I recognize that becoming King of the World would probably involve a rather steep learning curve. But could I do any worse than the present bunch of scoundrels and fools? In fact I’ll wager that probably everyone reading this website would rather have me in charge.

And that must mean that I’m right. Right? I mean, “I know that I’m good because everyone keeps telling me so” (#4, Option B). Actually, that was one of the “narcissistic” responses I did not pick. However, I did pick “I think I am a special person.” I picked this for the same reason I picked “I am an extraordinary person”: I have an unwavering commitment to the truth.

The fact is that I am special and extraordinary, for too many reasons to list here. One reason, however, is something I have in common with a good many of the other special and extraordinary people reading me right now: I have seen through the bullshit. I have seen through the bullshit that passes for truth in our society, and spoken out against it (okay, I’ve spoken out against it using a fake name — but at least I’ve done something). I’m not one of the herd. This isn’t me flattering myself, it’s the truth.

And this brings me to a general problem I have with this entire test. Saying you’re “special” or “extraordinary” is only a problem if you aren’t “special” and “extraordinary” — in other words, if these claims aren’t based on anything. I had a similar problem with how the test treats what it calls “authority.” This involves how (or whether) you perceive yourself as a leader. In fact, a great deal of the test is devoted to this. For example, I chose “I see myself as a good leader,” “I like to take responsibility for making decisions,” “I would prefer to be a leader,” and “I am a born leader.”

I chose these because I have discovered in my life that I actually am good at being a leader – and I’ve been that way for as long as I can remember. I’ve always been the one who stepped in, organized things, and helped make things happen. And, oddly, people have always tended to just allow me to do this, because, I suppose, “People always seem to recognize my authority” — another option I selected, because in my life it’s usually been true.

I also chose “I like to have authority over other people,” because the alternative was “I don’t mind following orders.” Ugh. The trouble with that is that “I am more capable than other people” (#39, Option A). All my life I’ve been bedeviled by people who were lazy, disorganized, and incompetent. In fact, I work in a profession where you can distinguish yourself just by being minimally competent. The truth is that I am very self-critical: I don’t think I’m nearly as energetic, organized, and disciplined as I should be. Nevertheless, in those areas I have always tended to outshine the people around me. When I encounter someone I perceive as in some way more authoritative and knowledgeable than me, I’m always delighted. And yes, I would follow them. Over the barricades, in fact.

Some more about me, me, me: “I have a strong will to power.” Picking this one was irresistible, given my liking for Nietzsche. But it’s true. Given the choice, I’d rather have more power than less; more control over my life and my surroundings (and, yes, other people), than less. And, as Nietzsche taught us, “life is will to power.” I chose “I will never be satisfied until I get all that I deserve” because why should I shoot for less? (This ambitiousness is the reason why someday “I am going to be a great person,” and somebody will “someday write my biography.”) I checked “I insist upon getting the respect that is due me,” because what kind of person would I be if I didn’t? I am not so proud of checking “I like to be the center of attention” and “I usually show off if I get the chance.” But it’s true. For the psychologist, all of this makes me a pathological narcissist. I just kind of think it makes me a man. And I’m okay with that.

On one level, this test really is anti-male. Many of these “narcissistic” traits are classically masculine traits. But the problems here are actually much worse than this, and it’s Nietzsche that gives us the tools to understand them. What’s behind this test is slave morality: resentment against the strong, capable, self-confident, and self-affirming, whether male or female.

The test breaks narcissistic traits down into seven categories: authority, self-sufficiency, superiority, exhibitionism, exploitativeness, vanity, and entitlement.

The good news is that I scored pretty low on vanity (I don’t linger before mirrors). I scored highest of all on “authority.” But wait, that just means “leadership qualities” — and isn’t that a good thing? And what about self-suffiency? Since when did that become bad? “Superiority” certainly sounds bad, but all it really amounts to is a sense of being a person of real merit — which could be entirely justified. “Entitlement” is a related idea: it means recognizing that your merit entitles you to certain just desserts (a feeling Aristotle had much to say about, as we shall see anon). But why is that bad? Even “exploitativeness,” as portrayed in the test items, really just comes down to an ability to get people to do things. And that’s morally neutral. (I can agree, by the way, that “vanity” is a bad thing – as I will shortly discuss – but “exhibitionism” is often just a reflection of having a healthy thumos.)

In sum, the test basically tells us that having leadership qualities, being independent and self-sufficient, recognizing your own merit and wanting others to recognize it, and being able to get people to do things are all signs of a psychological malady. It’s transvaluation of values time, folks! And the slaves have got the knives out . . .

Aristotle’s moral ideal was what he called “the great-souled man” (megalopsuchos). He defines this individual as “one who, being worthy of great things, requires of himself that he be worthy of them.” In other words, he “thinks himself worthy of what he is actually worth.” He’s not just “special,” he’s “extraordinary”: and he knows it. Aristotle, as he usually does, contrasts this virtue with two vices. “On the other hand,” he writes, “the man who requires of himself that he be worthy of great things when he is not worthy is called ‘vain.’” Now, the basic problem with the Narcissistic Personality Inventory is that it gives us no way to distinguish between the great-souled man and the vain man: between the man who is justified in thinking himself great, and the man who is not.

Yes, I fear the great-souled man would rate as a terrible narcissist, if examined by today’s psychologists. And here’s the smoking gun: Aristotle tells us that “if a man both is and thinks himself worthy of great things, and especially of the greatest, he would be concerned with one thing most of all.” That thing is honor — praise, acclaim, approbation — the “greatest of external goods” (greater than money or possessions, for example).

So a great-souled man is concerned with honors and dishonors as he should be. And, apart from this argument, great-souled men do appear to be concerned with honor; for it is great men who think themselves worthy of honor most of all, and they do this in virtue of their worth.

In other words, the great-souled man wants “to amount to something in the eyes of the world” (#18, Option B). Goodness! If he goes on this way he might “insist on getting the respect that is due [him],” and not be satisfied “until [he] gets all that [he] deserves.”

Aristotle makes it clear, however, that the great-souled man is not moved by honor of just any sort:

A great-souled man, then, is concerned with honors and dishonors most of all, and he will be moderately pleased by great honors bestowed on him by virtuous men, as if he were receiving what belongs to him or even less; for no honor could equal the worth of his complete virtue. Yet he will of course accept it, since virtuous men can have nothing greater to bestow on him. As for honor paid to him by ordinary people and for actions of little worth, he will regard it as entirely unworthy, for he will consider those actions beneath him; and likewise for dishonor, for dishonor does not apply to him justly.

The vain man, on the other hand, is overly pleased by honors, and undiscriminating in who he accepts them from. The honor of vicious people is as pleasing to him as the honor of virtuous people. And he is not above being crushed by the disapproval (or “dishonor”) of others, no matter who they are, since their approval means so much to him. The heart of the “narcissistic personality” really is what Aristotle would call “vanity,” and this is what people are responding to negatively when they think they’ve pegged somebody as a “narcissist.”

But, again, the criteria for narcissism developed by today’s headshrinkers give us no way to distinguish between the genuine article — the great-souled man — and the pretender, the vain man. And this is no accident. While I always responded to Aristotle’s description of the great-souled man (in Book Delta, Chapter 7 of the Nicomachean Ethics) with admiration and a desire to become that man, Aristotle’s moral ideal has provoked quite different reactions from others. For example, it made Bertrand Russell (a kind of real-life Ayn Rand villain) “shudder.”

To the resentful mediocrities in this world there are no great-souled men; there are no great men worthy of great things. There are only vain men: only pretenders (“narcissists”) waiting to be exposed and “treated.”

Now, the opposite of the vain man — the opposite sort of vice Aristotle discusses — is the “low-minded” man, “who thinks himself worthy of smaller things than he is worthy of.” But this is pretty close to the picture of mental health that emerges, indirectly, from the Narcissistic Personality Inventory.

To see this, consider the portrait of me that would emerge had I chosen quite different options on the test:

“I am much like everybody else.” “I am no better or worse than other people.” “I am essentially a modest person.” “I prefer to blend in with the crowd.” “I am not too concerned about success.” “I don’t mind following orders.” “I just want to be reasonably happy.” “Being an authority doesn’t mean that much to me.” “It makes little difference to me whether I am a leader or not.” “I try not to be a show off.” “I like to do things for other people.” “I am not good at influencing people.” Etc.

Who would agree with all of those statements? Why, the man of the future! The Last Man. The man without a chest. The man without qualities. The man happy to queue up and empty his pockets. The man who is contented enough just to have 500 channels. The man delighted to fit himself into the System as best he can. And with the help of Soma, he can do it! All necessities provided, all anxieties tranquilized, all boredom amused. This is the ideal citizen our psychologists are working to create – and working to free from the depredations of dangerous narcissists!

The good news about psychologists, though, is that they are always changing their minds. Psychology is the only “science” in which something can be declared no longer to be a disease simply by majority vote of a professional organization. In 1973, the American Psychological Association removed “homosexuality” from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM). Now, to be clear, I don’t think homosexuality is a mental illness. But the APA’s decision in this case was clearly motivated not by science, but by politics. A similar sort of unscientific arbitrariness is to be detected in the APA’s “criteria” for such maladies as Attention Deficit Disorder. It seems increasingly obvious that psychologists are now manufacturing and dismantling “disorders” at will. And many of their categorizations seem curiously tailored to the financial interests of pharmaceutical conglomerates.

Well, lately there has been fierce debate within the APA about whether to retain Narcissistic Personality Disorder in the DSM. (One obvious argument for eliminating it — which, to my knowledge, nobody has yet raised — is that narcissism of the phoney, vain variety is now the norm for modern Westerners.) Last year, the organization decided to retain narcissism in the DSM, but with major changes to its definition.

Still, the debate continues. Narcissism may yet one day be banished from the manuals. And I, for one, ardently hope that this day will come. For when it does, I will officially be cured.

 

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37 Comments

  1. Greg Johnson
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 12:41 am | Permalink

    I took the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and scored a 7. Although maybe I should add a point for sharing it.

    I invite others to take it and share their results.

    • Stig
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:10 am | Permalink

      I scored 20, but was somewhat uncertain of a couple of my answers. Tried to answer honestly, but as Costello pointed out, it is hard not to stand out in this kind of society. In a Traditional society, I like to think I would be rather like everyone else.

    • Morgan
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:50 am | Permalink

      I scored a 6.

    • Jef Costello
      Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:06 am | Permalink

      The test demands TOTAL honesty, Greg. Or it is useless.

      • Greg Johnson
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:19 am | Permalink

        Yes, that’s the sort of quip I would expect from a narcissist like you. Face it Jef, it’s lonely at the top.

      • Jef Costello
        Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:23 am | Permalink

        Pure envy.

    • Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:25 am | Permalink

      29.

      Had I been handsome, I would have rung the bell.

      I feel like I’m owed a couple points because I shattered the paradigm with my jaw-dropping “narcissism”.

      There was one question like “People should respect me more” or something to that effect.

      Cloying urge for more respect? Pfft. I’m too “narcissistic” for that.

    • Patrick
      Posted April 18, 2012 at 12:02 am | Permalink

      I scored 26. Breakdown was somewhat similar to Jef Costello’s (thank you for the brilliant article) (I don’t mean to reinforce your narcissistic traits in saying that and hope you find me worthy to complement you).

      I agree that the test is aimed at “normal” people who only think they are great (but actually are not). It asked me to have a look at ‘the symptoms of a narcissists’, which is an article explaining that narcissistic behaviour might have been okay for the king of England 400 years ago but would not be appropriate for our society. That made me think that maybe being a narcissist – even if I don’t wield the same power as English kings did – isn’t so bad after all.

  2. Robert
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:27 am | Permalink

    Look also for Sociology of Deviance, Labelling, Psychiatrists as agents of the state, and social constructions of madness.

  3. April Gaede
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 9:36 am | Permalink

    I scored a 27 and that was toning it down a little……..

  4. BasilX
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:17 am | Permalink

    Psychology is pseudo-science,like “social sciences”.It is one of the instruments that
    moulds modern men and women.
    I do not believe in tests.They assign equal weight to trivia and substance.
    As Costello correctly pointed out ” a great soul man” and “a vanity man” are both
    belong essentially to the same category.Perhaps that is the way today the society
    looks or” it ought to look” according to the the psychologist.
    “Is not the great athlete a hero,a role model”,and “who decides what is a great soul” ?

  5. rhondda
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:32 am | Permalink

    I wonder what score Vlad the Impaler would get?
    My score you will never know. I burned my copy of the DSM. It is an eeeny meeny miny moe book.
    Ashes to ashes
    dust to dust

  6. MOB
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:46 am | Permalink

    With the aid of my friend and advisor, Delusion, I squeezed out a 15 on this seriously flawed instrument.

    Greg, I have to support Jef’s call for Honesty (TOTAL hints of tyranny).

    Jef, I would expect no less than a 29 (isn’t 7×4=28 the upper limit?) from a man who self-identifies as Alain Delon.

  7. Posted April 9, 2012 at 12:00 pm | Permalink

    I scored an 18, which seems about right. Highest points for Exhibitionism (4).

    There are uglier un-masculine traits of narcissism, such as vanity……one should take steps to curtail those traits. I find vanity to be quite feminine on a man, but it is an ugly trait for both sexes. I say this as a fairly vain/braggy person, trying to become more modest.

  8. Andrees
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

    23.

  9. Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:02 pm | Permalink

    The problem I have with these tests is that the questions don’t pose real contradictories, so I always find myself wanting to answer yes or no to both. So, if I say “No, I don’t want to rule the world” that doesn’t mean, it seems to me, that I “don’t have a problem with following orders.”

    I’m a bad test taker [I hate 'puzzles' and crossword type stuff as well; shut up, Sherlock, just solve the crime and let me go home] being one of those people who agrees with Alan Watts: the opposite of ‘left’ is ‘taken’.

    As for Mr. Costello, if that IS your name, “However it’s also true that the world would be better off if I were in charge.” may be true, but the real question is:

    “Do you feel that you have a special plan for this world?”

    http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:TMuXLzh39MkJ:www.cultofcthulhu.net/2010/03/devotees-of-decay-and-desolation/+&cd=10&hl=en&ct=clnk&gl=us&client=firefox-a

  10. gwood
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:27 pm | Permalink

    Gore Vidal said a narcissist is someone better looking than you.

  11. Dominion
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 1:31 pm | Permalink

    It’s worth looking at the fact that the great-souled man is not limited to any one section of society. A great-souled man who is a political ruler has it in him to become a great Statesman who works to better the State and the nation which he serves, whereas the vain man will become a sellout, a panderer, and most probably a front man for someone else’s interests. A businessman or merchant can be either honorable and respected, working not only to earn profits but to make trade beneficial to all, or he can become an oligarch who subverts all other interests to his own. A spiritual man can be either one who seeks to better himself and to live by and manifest the Tradition which he follows and is informed by, or he can be a charlatan, who whispers into people’s ears what they want to hear, and becomes the Guru who manifests nothing but the Kali Yuga.

    In the end, the difference is that the man described by Aristotle would take as more important the praise of a laborer or farm worker with honor, than that of an Industrialist, Priest or King who has the power to do great things but whose actions are guided by vanity and self-destructive unwarranted arrogance. And if he gets the chance to rule the world, he would surely do so with something like the fear of God in his heart, alongside the knowledge that his actions are just, right Jef?

    BTW, I scored a 24, but I’m uncertain about some of my answers and I think that could just as well have been as low as 19.

  12. Alaskan
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:03 pm | Permalink

    I have you all beat: 5

    However, had I taken this a decade ago, it would have been much higher. With age, comes needed humility.

  13. Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:10 pm | Permalink

    The grandiose features of narcissism are only pathologized where they are not proportionate with reality. The best example here is the reality TV stars who score the highest of any celebrity category since they want to be famous despite having no talents.

    Successful people with narcissistic characteristics are a minority of full-on narcissists. The other 99.9% of proper narcissists in the world are on Jerry Springer, in strip clubs, etc.

    But even of the celebrity narcissists, they are still fucked up. They are Charlie Sheen, Lindsay Lohan, Kim Kardashian, Michael Jackson, etc etc. Then others may have turbulent relationships and other issues but not on the scale of the aforementioned. The non-narcissistic celebrities (or those who aren’t off the charts) are the ones who don’t have meltdowns.

    The NPD is not a diagnostic tool. It only narrows the population down to those who may suffer the internal problems which underlie narcissism. We spot these people by their grandiose and outrageous conduct. The Last Psychiatrist (dot com – go read if you haven’t) once put it something like: a bit of egotism is healthy, but an egotist is only one who thinks they are the best kid on the playground. A narcissist thinks they are the *only* kid on the playground.

  14. Fourmyle of Ceres
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:32 pm | Permalink

    THEIR GOAL IS GENOCIDE. OURS. WHAT’S YOURS?

    Jef Costello in blockquote:

    However it’s also true that the world would be better off if I were in charge. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not being arrogant, because I recognize that becoming King of the World would probably involve a rather steep learning curve.

    I didn’t take the test, and I don’t need to.

    If “the world would be better off if (Jef) was in charge, and this is “not being arrogant,” then I can only say one thing.

    It ain’t bragging, if you can do it.

    While we await your plans for World Domination, perhaps, just perhaps, The Cause could be assisted in the meanwhile by sending money to counter-currents, each and every month.

    The smallest good deed is greater than the grandest of intentions.

    Thank you.

    What’s In YOUR Future? Focus Northwest!

  15. Donar van Holland
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:33 pm | Permalink

    Funny, how a test about narcissism leads to the spectacle of men boasting to each other about the amount of points they have scored!

    I took the test and scored only five. I knew I was rather neurotic, but now I fear I may actually be one of the last men… Herr Nietzsche will be so angry with me!

    On the other hand, the tests definition of narcissism is really far too broad. I like the definition of M. Scott Peck much better. He defines narcissism as taking too little responsibility in one’s life, and neurosis as taking too much responsibility. In fact, the only trait in the test that I think fully belongs to narcissism would be “exploitativeness”.

  16. Donar van Holland
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

    Why waste emotional energy on some pedant who cannot refrain from ignoring the article’s subject to mouth one of his favourite certainties?

    “The scholar, without good breeding, is a pedant; the philosopher, a cynic; the soldier, a brute; and every man disagreeable.”
    - Philip Dormer Stanhope, 4th Earl of Chesterfield

  17. Alaskan
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 3:48 pm | Permalink

    Does anyone remember Socrates and his position of ignorance, humility as being THE prerequisite for true greatness? Or perhaps Codreanu? Vain, know-it-all, narcissistic people are typically wild cards and are of little use to a serious organization with higher ideals and goals.

  18. April Gaede
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 5:41 pm | Permalink

    Having our politically incorrect beliefs is difficult in this day and age. Often we feel like we are standing alone as the only people around who are not still caught in the Matrix.

    Because of that, people, like us here on the extreme right, tend to HAVE to have a high sense of self or at least belief in our personal truth to be able to stand up against all the hate and vitriol that is constantly sent our way.

    I think I scored so high, not because I think that I am the cat’s meow or that I am all so attractive ( because I dont) but because I am sure that I am correct and that all the multiculturalists and leftists are so wrong.

  19. Michael (Germany)
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 6:52 pm | Permalink

    If you compare the description of the narcissist with the self-description of the alpha man on pick up artist blogs like Chateau Heartiste, you will notice the striking similarities. It is quite obvious that the old adage “one man’s bliss is another (feminist, psycho-analyst, judaic-minded) woman’s pathology” is quite true.

    It is unsurprising, that many of the commenters here score high on the cultural-marxist’s yardstick of pathological tendency, id est man-against-time-mentality. Man Against Time is one hell of a road-bump on the way to egalitarian-totalitarian future.

  20. Sandy
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    I got a three although I could have answered a couple of questions either way but on the bright side that gives me bragging rights for being first – sort of. Is that a good thing? Could somebody out there give me directions? Please.
    Seriously, I doubt if that test is for real for if I really felt that insecure I wouldn’t be supporting such a potential “heat score” as C-C.

  21. Fourmyle of Ceres
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 7:47 pm | Permalink

    THEIR GOAL IS GENOCIDE. OURS. WHAT’S YOURS?

    Flavia has made fascinating observation, tying the discussion back to the metapolitical purpose. I’d like to address her remarks.

    Flavia in blockquote:

    Yeah, it’s those Father Knows Best married types that will bring on the New Era. Shut up.

    Such psychological “tests,” with all of their limitations, deserve framing in a broader political context. Remember, the purpose of most of “psychology” has been to make you fit into a System someone else defines, to THEIR satisfaction. Neurosis derives from the inability to map the defined Reality onto to observed Reality. In effect, the Consensus Trance breaks down, requiring ever greater amounts of self-medication to keep the neurotic trapped in the new normal.

    Think of such tests if taken by, say, the Founding Fathers. How do you suppose a Jefferson would score? A Franklin, a Washington, a Hamilton, an Adams or two? My guess is, they would show the validity of the test up to a point. Past that point, the test could not measure those qualities of spirit that made them the great men they were.

    Those are the same qualities of spirit we would do well to develop among ourselves, before we are tranquilized into happy serfdom, whether it is young Arya in “Game of Thrones” practicing with her sword, or our young men finding masculine validation in the work of the Pagan Priesthoods, and maybe even starting smarter Fight Clubs.

    THOSE will be the leaders of the Living Foundation of the New Nation, Racial Homeland, a Northwest Republic.

    What’s In YOUR Future? Focus Northwest!

    • Jaego Scorzne
      Posted April 10, 2012 at 11:49 am | Permalink

      Like Dion Fortune, I can see it both ways. We mustn’t forget St Paul’s “When I am weak, then I am strong.” And Christians can be very strong – and dangerous to others. But real Christianity means cultivation of the cardinal virtues – which gives the Holy Spirit a solid base to work with. And the the supernatual virtues don’t eliminate them but infuse them. No matter – all forgotten now. 12.

  22. Cold Bustard
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 10:07 pm | Permalink

    You can tell this definition of “narcissism” is skewed to shame leaders and free thinkers. Such people’s confidence is unshakeable because it has been tested and developed by nature, and reinforced by the orderly results that follow their decisions.

    “Self-sufficiency” is not a characteristic of so-called Narcissistic Personality Disorder anyway, as far as I know. According to the literature I’ve read (and considered re: my own relationships) narcissists are anything BUT self-sufficient; they rely on others in a parasitic, exploitative manner and never take full responsibility for their own decisions. Self-sufficiency would imply discipline and a sense of responsibility. Narcissists only manipulate people and situations toward transitory ends like sexual attention or material gains.

    As “leaders” they can be charismatic and inspiring at first but they only have their own petty interests in mind and this eventually becomes obvious when the going gets rough. Never are they called upon to lead, rather they actively seek out positions of power and influence (but only where wealth or material resources are involved). If things go well they will try to take all the credit, if things go wrong (and they will) they will use a scapegoat and flee elsewhere.

    The difference between a natural leader and a narcissist is that a natural leader will take responsibility for poor decisions as well as good ones. They admit their mistakes so they can learn from them. Narcissists merely become experts at finger-pointing.
    Regardless of the political abuse of psychiatric terms, I still find narcissism to be a useful one, not too easily confused with the virtuous characteristics we seek to foster.

    • Greg Johnson
      Posted April 10, 2012 at 3:33 pm | Permalink

      Very well-said.

  23. Verlis
    Posted April 9, 2012 at 11:43 pm | Permalink

    Everybody says there is RACE problem. Everybody says… just kidding.

    I took the test before reading the rest of the article. I scored 22 the first time. I expected to score deep in narcissist territory so I purposely tried to tone down some of the answers on questions where the alternative option felt plausible, like the one about following orders (I don’t mind, provided I believe the person issuing them is competent or worthy of respect). Then I read Costello scored 29 and went back and changed my answers to what I would have given hadn’t I been trying to tone them down and scored 30. (I win!)

    I find tests like this interesting but seriously underwhelming. I think it’s incredible that in all the decades psychologists have been studying this this is the best test they can come up with. I would like to see finer detail and more awareness of the ambiguities — I know you’re supposed to ” got with your gut” but sometimes the false dichotomies are maddening. And I definitely agree with Costello that “narcissism” is hardly necessarily the “disorder” psychologists present it as.

    Anyway, in honor of narcissism, I will reveal that my real moniker is “Silver,” not “Verlis” (which was meant to be Silver in reverse but I misspelled it).

  24. Mark
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 2:37 pm | Permalink

    I could be wrong about this, but there is a class of narcissists that are classified the way they are because they not delusional. They are aware that if they are a 5’5″ 150 pound male that they are not Schwarzanegger in his prime.

    It is the phallic narcissist
    http://www.sociopathicstyle.com/continuum/phallic.htm

    I read this description, and I said to myself, “is there anything wrong with this person”

    “The least amount of narcissism and therefore the least commitment to The Sociopathic Style™ is in the phallic-narcissistic personality. This is a person who is a perfectionist and who is very concerned about self-image. They are fairly reality based and can be quite successful. They often have to be right. Their grandiosity is held in check to a great degree by the reality of their accomplishments. They are often driven to succeed and are often seen as successful. Sexuality for these individuals is based on proving their own sexual attractiveness and their power is derived from the kind of person they can conquer sexually and often by the number of people they can conquer sexually. Life is seen as a problem to be conquered with physical skill and mental prowess.”

  25. Lew
    Posted April 10, 2012 at 5:45 pm | Permalink

    To my surprise, I scored a 6. It was surprising because I have gone through adult life always thinking I had a bit of narcissistic bastard in me. I have been called narcissistic or arrogant more than once by women and colleagues.

  26. Deviance
    Posted April 14, 2012 at 10:50 pm | Permalink

    Psychoanalysis and psychiatry as disciplines were entirely created, funded and popularized by Jews and Pharmaceutical giants. Especially drug-based “therapies” (which never have healed and cannot heal anything, because real mental illnesses, such as schizophrenia, are caused by topographic, physical anomalies in the brain). There are also many ethical, scientific and philosophical issues raised by the widespread use of psychoactive drugs, but I think they are instinctively understandable by everyone here.

    As to psychology, it used to be a very noble science which got lexically reclaimed in the 1960s and is now known as the disastrous mixture of self-improvement and self-acceptance voodoo talk you see everywhere (especially in the women’s press) and pathologization/drugging of normal behaviors (cf. this article, or Breivik declared insane by the first psychiatrists who examined him).

    There is so much to tell on the subject that I could write a 800-page treaty. But, basically, psychology is a mean of crowd control, very similar to religion, which is extremely powerful, and has unfortunately fallen into the hands of our enemies.

    On a political level, for example, it has been known for ages that if you frame with efficacy your adversary as a sicko or a frustrated loser, you have instantly won. Joseph Goebbels and Julius Streicher used a lot this technique against their opponents in Nazi Germany. Bolshevism was for example called by Goebbels a “pathological criminal madness” in a 1937 speech directed to the average Germans. But that was only rhetoric. The Jews and the Soviets went way further than that: they actually put their opponents in psychiatric hospitals and submitted them to compulsory treatment for the first time in history.

  27. Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:27 pm | Permalink

    I only scored a 6. I did strongest in the self-sufficiency area, and didn’t register at all in four of the areas. I’m not surprised, since I’ve always been primarily a loner and have preferred to keep my interactions with other people, apart from family and a few close friends, to a minimum. Like the Aryan hero Arjuna, I’m occasionally tempted to just chuck all the politics and stuff aside and go and meditate in a forest for the rest of my life.

    • Posted April 17, 2012 at 10:29 pm | Permalink

      I hasten to add that I’m not holding myself up as an Aryan hero on the same level as Arjuna. It struck me that my last line could be interpreted that way. Perhaps I should add a few points for writing that (and then deduct a few for this qualification).

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