A brief recap of what we discussed last time we defined and discussed in detail Narcissistic tendencies in ourselves or people we have encountered … Narcissism goes by other names: “arrogance, conceit, vanity, grandiosity, and self-centeredness.” People with Narcissistic tendencies see themselves as fundamentally superior – they are (in their minds) special, unique, entitled, have a false sense of self…etc.
What are the causes of narcissism?
(1) Childhood (helicopter parenting)
Parents who pamper a child by always giving him his way, who neglect a child, or are so needy or intrusive that they repeatedly force the child to meet these needs, can all lead to narcissism. Permissiveness and pampering tend to program children with undeserved feelings of entitlement or superiority. These children don’t learn humility and respect for others because their parents haven’t set limits and modelled mutual respect.
Children who grow up in wealthy or influential homes but whose parents are not sufficiently emotionally nourishing can sometimes also develop the strong sense of entitlement and a lack of sensitivity to others that characterizes narcissistic tendencies.
(2) Low self esteem
Sadly very Low self-esteem can cause narcissist tendencies, a narcissist believes that flaws are to be hated and concealed and that only perfection and superiority can be displayed. Thus, they view themselves and others with a perspective that swings from over-valuation to loathing. In their quest for approval and acceptance, they use their charm and charisma. Once dependent on others’ approval, the smallest hint of disapproval can send them into a state of punishing vengeance.
People with adequate self-esteem are usually willing to look at themselves with honest self-reflection and consider areas in which they could improve. This makes sense because they have empathy for the flaws and inadequacies in both themselves and others
In our society today we are constantly bombarded with images on what is supposed to be the ideal look, person, boyfriend, children, husband, success… media defines who we should be and gives us a reference point on what perfection is… We begin to construct a false Ego or image of ourselves and try to live up to that false self we have created … This way of thinking just contributes to the rapid growth of narcissism in our culture.
(4) Social media (self-branding)
Social media is one of the worst offenders of fostering modern day narcissism because they encourage mass peer-validation.
Typical examples Facebook, instagram, YouTube, twitter and so on social media websites encourage self-promotion, as users generate all of the content of the best part of their lives to look important, look special and to gain attention and status and self-esteem.” The trouble with this aspect of social networking is that nearly everyone presents an “unrealistic or fake portrait of themselves”
This encourages self-validation outside ourselves… Example checking out the number of likes or followers or comments we have… we get an endorphin rush makes us feel good and we become addicted.
(5) Narcissism due to sudden fame and fortune
Road to hell is paved with good intentions what I mean here we might have good intentions to be good leaders, good pastors, good role models, but sudden fame and fortune could breed narcissistic tendencies when not kept in check… typical example Some very successful politicians, religious leaders and businessmen and women are rather narcissistic. They have great vision and drive to succeed, but they like things their way, eat up the admiration of their followers, exploit others to fulfil their understanding of the needs of their business, church or society, but lack deep caring for others and true humility. They may be admired from a distance or seem successful in terms of growth, numbers, outreach, and influence, but not in terms of their close relationships with others. When it comes time to give up the leadership reins, they struggle to let go since that means giving up prestige and control.
(6) Reality TV shows
Reality TV shows encourage narcissism in our young people today, reality TV are the breeding ground for narcissism, a survey was done in the states that it’s not the celebrities with real talent that scored highest in the narcissistic list, it was the reality TV stars, who dreams are to be famous for its own sake without working hard for it.. They just want to be famous and don’t care why…
Reality TV is very popular, and it is supposed to show “real life” and real behaviour, without the façade of fictionalized dialogue and storylines. But because reality TV stars are so narcissistic, it’s really a showcase for narcissistic behaviour. To many older people, it’s funny. But for many younger people (the impressionable age) — the main consumers of the reality shows on, say, MTV — it shapes their view of the world. Narcissism begins to seem normal and acceptable and they end up picking some bad behaviour.
(7) Access to credit
Access to credit breeds narcissistic tendencies in us as we have the opportunity to pursue a fantasy instead of a dream our wealth is phoney not real; it is driven by credit and loose lending from the banks. Most people use their loans for status purposes in the western culture people get loans for breast enhancement plastic surgery there are even credit options or payment plans…. Here in Nigeria we get loans or bribes to fund our big weddings, vacations, high rent etc… “Lavish lifestyle” I call it…. The banks now have exploited the trend toward narcissism promoting it instead. They come up with slogans like; if you really can’t afford to live like people who are richer than anybody else, we have a solution – CREDIT! Credit cards, Mortgages, loans. You can buy the big house, the expensive SUV, the designer clothes, the mile-wide flat-screen TV – now! And pay us later.
(8) Extreme Individualism
Individualism is the belief that the needs of each person are more important than the needs of the whole society or group.
When individualism is exercised to the extreme it encourages narcissism we become a dog-eat-dog society, with no solidarity, where it’s every man for himself and nobody cares for their neighbour or the poor.
Reflect on these causes and see if you have had a direct experience, have you observed or encouraged? Next part of this series I will discuss the effects of narcissism in all areas of our lives.