Part of my ongoing series exploring psychological concepts through a song, this week’s topic is narcissism. Named after the Greek myth about Narcissus, a man who fell in love with his own reflection, then died because he couldn’t stop looking at himself (because the Greeks were pretty brutal), narcissism is found in folks who think they’re awesome.
A little narcissism never hurt anyone, but on the far end of the spectrum is narcissistic personality disorder. Hallmarks are an inability to accept any criticism, overly grandiose ideas, inflated sense of self-worth, arrogance, a short temper, and a pathological need for admiration, paired with a lack of empathy for others.
As with any personality disorder, others tend to notice there is a problem before the person is aware or acknowledges a problem.
Say it with me, now: NARCISSISM IS NOT SELF-ESTEEM. Narcissism tends to come from a feeling of being lacking, and any threat to this fragile self results in aggression, impulsive behavior, and increased frantic efforts to win admiration and personal recognition.
The best song I’ve found to represent this is a great tune by Guster called “Center of Attention” (lyrics here).