NPD

Psychological projection is a defense mechanism that occurs when an individual unconsciously attributes their own feelings, thoughts, or attributes to another person. Projection is a way for people to cope with and protect themselves from unwanted or uncomfortable emotions such as guilt, anger, or anxiety. In essence, psychological projection involves transferring one’s own emotions, thoughts, or motives onto someone else, as a means to avoid confronting or dealing with them directly.

Sigmund Freud, the founder of psychoanalysis, initially conceptualized projection as a defense mechanism. According to Freud, the mind has various ways to protect itself from psychological distress or anxiety, and projection is one of many methods. While Freud’s work laid the foundation for understanding projection, our understanding of the concept has evolved over time, with many modern psychologists examining its cognitive, social, and emotional aspects.

Several factors contribute to the likelihood of an individual engaging in psychological projection. These factors include personality traits, social and cultural influences, and situational factors. People who are more prone to projection often have a higher level of neuroticism or difficulty regulating their emotions. Social and cultural factors can also play a role, as people may be more likely to project certain emotions or traits onto others depending on societal norms and expectations. Situational factors, such as stress or emotional conflict, can further exacerbate the tendency to project.

Types of projection

There are various types of psychological projection, including:

  1. Complementary projection: This occurs when an individual projects their own feelings or thoughts onto someone who has a complementary role in their life, such as a partner or coworker. This type of projection can often be seen in relationships, where one person may accuse their partner of being unfaithful when, in fact, they are the ones who are struggling with feelings of infidelity.
  2. Complimentary projection: In this form of projection, an individual attributes positive qualities or traits that they themselves possess onto someone else. This may be done to reinforce a positive self-image or to maintain a sense of self-worth.
  3. Projective identification: This is a more complex form of projection in which an individual not only attributes their own emotions, thoughts, or motives onto another person but also manipulates the other person into actually exhibiting those characteristics. This can be seen in interpersonal relationships where one person tries to control or manipulate the other to confirm their own beliefs or fears.
  4. Collective projection: This occurs when a group of individuals projects their shared feelings, thoughts, or motives onto another group, often as a means of maintaining group cohesion or protecting the group’s image. This type of projection can be seen in situations of intergroup conflict, where one group might blame another for problems that actually stem from within their own group.

Negative consequences of projection

Psychological projection can have several negative consequences, both for the individual engaging in projection and for those on the receiving end. For the projector, it can prevent them from taking responsibility for their actions, feelings, or thoughts, thereby hindering their personal growth and emotional development. It can also distort their perception of reality, leading to poor decision-making and strained relationships.

For those on the receiving end, psychological projection can be confusing, hurtful, and damaging. It can lead to misunderstandings, conflicts, and emotional distress. Additionally, being subjected to projection can cause individuals to question their own reality and self-worth, potentially leading to feelings of self-doubt or depression.

Projection in politics

Politicians and their supporters often engage in projection as a way to deflect criticism, discredit opponents, and maintain a positive image of themselves or their party. Projection in politics can manifest in various ways, including the following:

  1. Accusing opponents of misconduct: Politicians may accuse their opponents of engaging in unethical or illegal activities that they themselves are involved in, as a way to deflect attention from their own actions and create doubt about the opposition (classic example: when then-Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich waged a campaign against then-President Bill Clinton for having an affair, while he himself was having an affair with a Congressional aide on his staff).
  2. Misattributing motives: Politicians might project their own motives or goals onto their opponents, suggesting that the other side is pursuing an agenda driven by selfish or malicious intent. This can be a way to delegitimize the opposition’s policy proposals or campaign messaging.
  3. Stereotyping and scapegoating: Projection can also be seen in the form of stereotyping and scapegoating minority groups or other marginalized communities. Politicians may project their own insecurities, fears, or prejudices onto these groups, blaming them for social or economic problems, as a way to rally support and distract from the real issues at hand.
  4. Groupthink and collective projection: Political parties, factions, or movements may engage in collective projection, projecting their own faults or shortcomings onto rival groups. This can help maintain group cohesion and reinforce a shared identity, but it can also contribute to political polarization and conflict.

Projection in politics can have several negative consequences, including the distortion of facts and reality, the exacerbation of political polarization, and the perpetuation of stereotypes and prejudice. It can also hinder constructive dialogue and compromise, making it more difficult for politicians and policymakers to address pressing issues and find solutions to problems.

To counteract the influence of projection in politics, it is essential for individuals to remain vigilant and critically examine the claims and accusations made by politicians and political parties. Media outlets and journalists also play a crucial role in fact-checking and holding politicians accountable for their statements and actions. Encouraging open and honest dialogue, promoting empathy and understanding, and fostering critical thinking can help mitigate the impact of projection in the political arena.

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Emotional blackmail is a manipulative tactic used by individuals to exert control and undue influence over others by exploiting their emotions, fears, and vulnerabilities. It typically involves the use of threats, guilt, or negative emotions to pressure someone into complying with the manipulator’s demands or desires.

Forms of emotional blackmail

  1. Threats: The manipulator may threaten to harm themselves, the victim, or someone the victim cares about if their demands are not met.
  2. Guilt-tripping: The manipulator may try to make the victim feel guilty for not complying with their wishes, suggesting that their refusal indicates a lack of love, care, or loyalty.
  3. Fear: The manipulator may use the victim’s insecurities, anxieties, or fears to manipulate them into submission.
  4. Obligation: The manipulator may insist that the victim “owes” them something, such as a favor or support, in order to pressure them into compliance.

Emotional predators use blackmail

Emotional blackmail can be subtle or overt and may occur in various types of relationships, including romantic partnerships, friendships, family, and professional settings. Emotional predators (often people with personality disorders) tends to use psychological manipulation techniques to get what they want from you — without much (or any) regard for your own feelings in the matter, or the ethical dubiousness of doing so.

Recognizing and addressing emotional blackmail is essential for maintaining healthy boundaries and relationships.

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Negging is a manipulative tactic often used in the context of dating and interpersonal relationships. It involves making backhanded compliments or subtle insults aimed at undermining someone’s confidence and self-esteem. The term “negging” is derived from the word “negative,” and it is typically employed to make the target feel insecure or uncertain, causing them to seek validation from the person employing the tactic.

Negging is often associated with pickup artists (PUAs) and their strategies for attracting romantic partners. The idea behind negging is that by lowering a person’s self-esteem, they become more susceptible to the manipulator’s advances and more likely to seek approval or validation.

Negging examples

  1. “You’re really pretty for a girl with glasses.”
  2. “I like how you don’t care about what people think of your outfit.”
  3. “You’re surprisingly intelligent for someone who talks so much.”

Negging is part of the broad pantheon of tactics used by emotional predators. It can have negative consequences on the target’s emotional well-being and can potentially lead to toxic or abusive relationships. It’s essential to recognize negging as a manipulative tactic and maintain healthy boundaries in relationships. If you encounter negging, it is crucial to assert yourself, disengage from the interaction, or seek support from friends, family, or professionals if necessary.

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Word salad is a term used to describe disorganized speech that can occur in various mental health conditions, including some personality disorders like Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). In the context of NPD, word salad may not be as severe or disorganized as it is in conditions like schizophrenia, but it can still be difficult to follow and understand.

Word salad in NPD is characterized by a mix of unrelated or loosely related words, phrases, or ideas, which may be used to manipulate, confuse, or maintain control in a conversation. This type of speech may be a defense mechanism employed by someone with NPD to avoid responsibility, deflect criticism, or maintain their sense of superiority.

Word salad almost seems like a kind of pseudoscience or paleological babble that narcissists use to hold the floor with their own agenda, such that anyone who is trying to challenge them can’t even get a word in edgewise.

Some common features of word salad in NPD include:

  1. Tangential thinking: The person may go off on tangents, bringing up unrelated topics or ideas in an attempt to distract from the main point or issue at hand.
  2. Circular reasoning: The person may engage in circular arguments, repeating the same points over and over without ever reaching a resolution or addressing the underlying problem.
  3. Evasion: The person may use vague language, refuse to answer direct questions, or change the subject to avoid taking responsibility or admitting fault.
  4. Gaslighting: The person may use word salad to make others doubt their own perceptions or understanding, in order to maintain control and avoid accountability.

It is important to note that not everyone with NPD exhibits word salad. However, when it does occur, it can be a source of frustration and confusion for those interacting with the individual. Effective communication with someone who engages in word salad may require patience, setting boundaries, and seeking support from a mental health professional.

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental health condition characterized by (as the name implies) narcissism, including a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for admiration. People with NPD often have an inflated sense of self-importance and believe they are special or unique in some way. They may be preoccupied with fantasies of power, success, beauty, or ideal love. However, behind their grandiose façade, they often have fragile self-esteem and are highly sensitive to criticism or rejection.

NPD is part of the Cluster B family of personality disorders. People with NPD tend to exhibit odd, sometimes bizarre behaviors that are offputting to others and tend to have serious effects on the individual’s life.

NPD diagnosis

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) outlines the following diagnostic criteria for NPD:

  1. A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, characterized by a sense of self-importance and an exaggerated sense of achievements and talents.
  2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited power, success, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  3. Belief that they are special and unique and can only be understood by other high-status people or institutions.
  4. Need for excessive admiration.
  5. Sense of entitlement, expecting to be treated in a special way or given priority.
  6. Exploitation of others for personal gain; using the tactics of emotional predators; narcissistic abuse.
  7. Lack of empathy, an inability to recognize or care about the feelings and needs of others.
  8. Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of them.
  9. Arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

The symptoms of NPD may vary in intensity and presentation, but they are typically stable and longstanding. The condition may start in early adulthood and may be diagnosed only after adolescence, as it is difficult to differentiate between normal developmental narcissism and pathological narcissism in childhood.

NPD: Lack of empathy

People with NPD may have difficulty in maintaining close relationships because of their lack of empathy and preoccupation with themselves. They may feel entitled to special treatment and have unrealistic expectations of others. They may exploit others for personal gain and may become angry or hostile when their expectations are not met. Additionally, they may struggle with criticism or rejection and may react with rage or humiliation.

NPD is often co-occurring with other mental health conditions, such as depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. It may also be comorbid with other personality disorders, particularly Borderline Personality Disorder, as individuals with BPD may exhibit traits of NPD, such as a need for attention and admiration.

Treatment for NPD often involves psychotherapy, particularly psychoanalytic or psychodynamic therapies, which aim to explore the underlying psychological factors contributing to the disorder. Cognitive-behavioral therapy may also be effective in addressing maladaptive beliefs and behaviors associated with NPD. However, individuals with NPD may be resistant to therapy, as they may not recognize the need for treatment or may be unwilling to acknowledge their role in the dysfunction.

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Personality disorders are a group of mental health conditions that are characterized by persistent and inflexible patterns of thinking, feeling, and behaving that deviate significantly from cultural norms and cause distress and impairment in various areas of functioning, such as work, relationships, and self-image. Personality disorders typically begin in adolescence or early adulthood and tend to persist over time.

There are several types of personality disorders, each with its own unique set of symptoms and diagnostic criteria. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is the standard diagnostic tool used by mental health professionals, identifies ten personality disorders organized into three clusters based on their shared features and clinical presentation.

Cluster A personality disorders

Cluster A personality disorders include paranoid, schizoid, and schizotypal personality disorders, which are characterized by odd, eccentric, and suspicious behavior. People with paranoid personality disorder have a pervasive distrust and suspiciousness of others and may interpret benign remarks or events as threatening. Schizoid personality disorder is marked by a lack of interest in social relationships, emotional detachment, and solitary pursuits. Schizotypal personality disorder involves eccentricities in speech, behavior, and appearance, as well as unusual beliefs and experiences.

Cluster B personality disorders

Cluster B personality disorders include borderline, narcissistic, histrionic, and antisocial personality disorders, which are characterized by dramatic, erratic, and emotional behavior. Borderline personality disorder is characterized by unstable mood, self-image, and interpersonal relationships, as well as black and white thinking and impulsive and self-destructive behavior. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) involves a grandiose sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy, and an exaggerated sense of entitlement. Histrionic personality disorder is characterized by excessive emotionality, attention-seeking behavior, and exaggerated expressions of emotion. Antisocial personality disorder involves a disregard for the rights of others, a lack of remorse or guilt, and a tendency towards impulsive and irresponsible behavior.

Antisocial personality disorder, or ASPD, includes individuals colloquially known as sociopaths and psychopaths. All of the disorders within Cluster B include excessive narcissism as a foundational core, and within ASPD that extreme self-regard has a dark and amoral character referred to as malignant narcissism.

Cluster C personality disorders

Cluster C personality disorders include avoidant, dependent, and obsessive-compulsive personality disorders, which are characterized by anxious, fearful, and perfectionistic behavior. Avoidant personality disorder involves social inhibition, feelings of inadequacy, and hypersensitivity to criticism or rejection. Dependent personality disorder is marked by a pervasive need for others to take care of them and an inability to make decisions without excessive reassurance or advice. Obsessive-compulsive personality disorder involves preoccupation with rules, order, and perfectionism, as well as rigidity and inflexibility in one’s beliefs and values.

Effects and treatment

Personality disorders can cause significant distress and impairment in various areas of functioning, such as work, relationships, and self-image. People with personality disorders often struggle with interpersonal relationships, have difficulty maintaining employment, and may experience problems with substance abuse, self-harm, or suicidal ideation.

Treatment for personality disorders typically involves a combination of psychotherapy, medication, and support from family and friends. Cognitive-behavioral therapy, dialectical behavior therapy, and schema therapy are all effective in treating personality disorders. Antidepressants, mood stabilizers, and antipsychotic medications may also be prescribed to manage specific symptoms. It is essential to seek help from a mental health professional if you or someone you know is struggling with a personality disorder.

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A scapegoat is a person or group who gets unfairly blamed for the wrongdoings, misdeeds, or crimes of others. Scapegoating is the act of doing this to someone.

The term comes originally from the Bible, in a story from Leviticus where a Jewish chief priest symbolically laid the sins of the people on a goat before releasing it into the wilderness. The goat psychologically cleansed the bad deeds of the population, serving as a convenient mechanism for group healing.

The modern scapegoat

In contemporary times the scapegoat metaphor is used to describe situations where a guilty party gets away scot-free by loudly and vociferously blaming an innocent “enemy” instead. This can be on a small scale like a workplace or a family, but it can also be on a larger scale within society — labelling entire groups or racial identities as “enemies” fictitiously and thus, dangerously.

Scapegoats have a close cousin in the political realm, in the “Us vs. Them” core dynamic of fascism. Fascists essentially pretend that only Outsiders are dangerous, because it gives anxious people the illusion of safety. This ideology increases the followers’ dependency on the in-group, to the point of hero worship or even cult worship.

The illusion of control

Scapegoating is often driven by prejudice and bigotry, fear, and a need to maintain the status quo. When people feel threatened, either by external factors such as economic or political instability or internal factors such as a sense of personal inadequacy, they may look for someone to blame. Scapegoating can provide a sense of control and empowerment, allowing people to believe that they are doing something to address the problem. However, this illusion of control comes at the cost of dehumanizing and harming others.

Scapegoating can have serious consequences for individuals and communities. The scapegoated individuals or groups can become marginalized, ostracized, and stigmatized. They can experience discrimination, harassment, and violence, both on a personal and group level. Moreover, scapegoating can distract attention from the real problems and prevent work towards constructive solutions. By focusing on blaming individuals or groups rather than addressing the root causes of problems, scapegoating can perpetuate injustice and inequality.

Dealing with scapegoating

Preventing scapegoating requires recognizing its underlying causes and addressing them. This can involve promoting empathy, understanding, and open communication, and fostering a sense of community and shared responsibility. It can also involve challenging the narratives that promote scapegoating and promoting a more nuanced understanding of complex issues, with less black and white thinking. Educating people about the dangers of scapegoating and the benefits of cooperation and collaboration can also help to prevent it.

Scapegoating is a harmful and unjust practice that involves blaming individuals or groups for the problems of a larger community. It can have serious consequences for the scapegoated individuals or groups and perpetuate injustice and inequality. Preventing scapegoating requires recognizing its underlying causes, promoting empathy and understanding, and challenging the narratives that promote it. By working together and taking responsibility for our collective well-being, there’s no reason why we can’t build a more just and equitable society.

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Black and white thinking is the tendency to see things in extremes, and to view the world through a very polarized lens. Even complex moral issues are seen as clearcut, with simple right and wrong answers and no gray areas in between.

Also referred to as all-or-nothing thinking or dichotomous thinking, black and white thinking is a very rigid and binary way of looking at the world. Black and white thinkers tend to categorize things, events, people, and experiences as either completely good or completely bad, without acknowledging any nuance or shades of gray. This can manifest in various aspects of their lives including relationships, decision-making, and self-evaluation. Black and white thinking can be a defense mechanism, as it provides a sense of certainty and control in situations that are complex, uncertain, or anxiety-provoking.

For example, a person who engages in black and white thinking may view their work performance as either completely successful or a complete failure, without considering any middle ground. They may view themselves as either a “good” or “bad” person, based on a single action or mistake. This type of extreme thinking can lead to feelings of extreme anxiety, depression, and self-doubt, as well as difficulties in personal and professional relationships.

Black and white thinking in political psychology

Black and white thinking can also be seen in political or social contexts, where individuals categorize people or groups as either completely good or completely bad, without acknowledging any nuances or complexities. This type of thinking can lead to polarizing beliefs, rigid ideologies, and an unwillingness to engage in constructive dialogue or compromise.

The origins of black and white thinking are complex and multifaceted, but it can stem from a variety of factors, including childhood experiences, cultural and societal influences, and psychological disorders including personality disorder. For example, individuals who have experienced trauma or abuse may engage in black and white thinking as a way to cope with the complexity and ambiguity of their experiences. Similarly, cultural or societal influences that promote a strict adherence to binary categories can also contribute to black and white thinking.

Psychological disorders such as borderline personality disorder, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and eating disorders are also associated with black and white thinking. For example, individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD) may see themselves or others as either completely good or completely bad, without any middle ground. This type of thinking can lead to unstable relationships, impulsive behavior, and emotional dysregulation.

Narcissists too, especially malignant narcissists, tend to exhibit black and white thinking, with the frequent framing of any narrative as being primarily about themselves (good/The Hero) and everyone else (bad/The Other).

Challenging black and white thinking

There are several strategies that can be used to challenge and overcome black and white thinking. One of the most effective ways is to practice mindfulness, which involves being present in the moment and observing one’s thoughts and feelings without judgment. Mindfulness can help individuals to become more aware of their thought patterns and to challenge any extreme or polarized thinking.

Another strategy is to engage in cognitive-behavioral therapy, which focuses on identifying and changing negative thought patterns and beliefs. This can involve examining evidence for and against the black and white thinking, as well as exploring alternative perspectives and possibilities.

Overall, black and white thinking can be a limiting and damaging cognitive pattern that can negatively impact various aspects of an individual’s life. However, with awareness, practice, and support, it is possible to overcome this pattern and develop a more nuanced and balanced view of the world.

Related to black and white thinking:

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Grandiosity is a psychological term used to describe a pattern of behavior characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a preoccupation with one’s achievements and abilities, and a need for admiration and attention from others. Grandiosity can manifest in a range of behaviors, including boastfulness, arrogance, entitlement, and an exaggerated sense of one’s own abilities and accomplishments.

People who exhibit grandiosity often have a huge ego — and an exaggerated sense of their own importance and abilities. They may believe that they are unique, superior, or special, and that others should recognize and acknowledge their exceptional qualities. This can lead to a sense of entitlement, as individuals with grandiosity may feel that they deserve special treatment, privileges, or attention. They may become upset or angry when they feel that their needs are not being met or that they are not receiving the recognition they feel they deserve.

Grandiosity traits

Grandiosity can also manifest in a tendency to exaggerate or embellish one’s accomplishments and abilities — or even to outright lie about them, or completely fabricate them. People with grandiosity traits may feel the need to constantly promote themselves and their achievements, and may be inclined to brag or boast about their successes. They may also be prone to exaggerating their abilities, skills, or knowledge, and may present themselves as experts in areas where they have limited experience or actual understanding.

In addition to an inflated sense of self-importance, grandiosity is often accompanied by a need for admiration and attention from others. Individuals with grandiosity may crave recognition, praise, and validation from others, and may go to great lengths to gain (and keep) attention and admiration. They may be drawn to positions of power or influence, where they can exert their control and influence over others. However, they may also become resentful or angry if they feel that they are not receiving the level of attention or recognition they believe they deserve.

The downsides of grandiosity

Grandiosity can have a range of negative consequences for individuals who exhibit this behavior. People with grandiosity may have difficulty forming meaningful relationships with others, as they may be more focused on promoting themselves and seeking attention than on building genuine connections with others. They may have little empathy for others, which can make their friendships and attachments very one-sided, with too much time and focus directed toward the grandiose person and too little time for the other person(s).

They may also have a tendency to overestimate their abilities, which can lead to poor decision-making and mistakes. In some cases, grandiosity can lead to reckless or dangerous behavior, as individuals may take risks or engage in behavior that is outside of their abilities or experience. Their supreme overconfidence can lead them into risky activities, and they may lead others into danger as well.

What causes grandiosity?

There are a range of factors that can contribute to the development of grandiosity. Some individuals may have lived through early childhood experiences that led them to believe they were exceptional or entitled, while others may have a personality type that is prone to grandiosity. In some cases, grandiosity may be a symptom of an underlying mental health condition, such as narcissistic personality disorder, bipolar disorder, or other personality disorder. Grandiosity can also operate at the group level, with collective narcissism driving the inflated self-importance and sense of entitlement for a particular organization or class of people.

Treatment for grandiosity typically involves therapy and counseling to help individuals understand and manage their behavior. This may include cognitive-behavioral therapy, which can help individuals identify and challenge their negative thought patterns and beliefs, and develop healthier ways of thinking and behaving. Additionally, medication may be prescribed to treat underlying mental health conditions that may be contributing to grandiosity. With appropriate treatment and support, individuals with grandiosity can learn to manage their behavior and develop more positive and fulfilling relationships with others — on the other hand, it is generally quite rare for a grandiose person to even seek help and treatment in the first place, largely due to their own overconfidence and conviction that they do not require any professional assistance.

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cluster b evil narcissist

When the most common psychological defense mechanismdenial — hardens into an outer shell so impenetrable as to be worn like armor, you have yourself a clinical narcissist. They may not — and probably will never — be diagnosed as members of a group of personality disorders known in psychology as Cluster B; but unmistakably, you cannot seem to find empathy in them no matter how high or low you look.

They think of themselves as special; chosen; beyond the fray — rules do not generally apply to them, but oh do they ever to you. They tend to see the world in black and white terms, a Manichaean struggle of hierarchy vs. fairness, with strict social status to abide by and perpetuate — a world of dominance and submission, with themselves at the top.

The higher on the Cluster B scale you go (with psychopathy at the top), the less empathy these individuals possess. Without empathy, there is no basis for forming a conscience. One could say the classic defining hallmark of this group of personality disorders is that the people exhibiting them have little to no conscience. The general consensus from research to date indicates that somewhere between 4-8% of the general population has very weak or no conscience at all — a scary figure when you think of it in terms of being about 1 in 15 of the people you will meet in your lifetime.

Cluster B includes:

  • Narcissism — This is the root trait of all the Cluster B personality disorders. We all exhibit narcissism to some degree, and it’s a large part of childhood and teen development to learn how to balance it with sociality. As with all life skills, some develop it more or less well — and if the narcissistic phase is never fully outgrown, adults can be emotionally immature in surprising and at times dangerous ways thanks to a kind of profound psychological arrested development. When the self-absorption is so severe as to profoundly disturb aspects of their lives, that is when clinicians might say a person has a narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD.
  • Borderline — Perhaps best known culturally from the movie Girl, Interrupted (1999), borderline personality disorder of BPD is characterized by intense mood swings, impulse behavior, fear of abandonment, unstable self-image, dissociation, and self-harm. One way to think of BPD is as a sort of failure to form an integrated personality.
  • Histrionic — The least well-known of Cluster B, histrionic personality is extremely dramatic and over the top, well out of proportion to the magnitude of events or circumstances. They have an overwhelming desire to be noticed, and will behave extremely or inappropriately to get attention.
  • Sociopath — Sociopathy takes narcissism and adds more sadism into the mix. A narcissist could hurt you and not really care either way, while a sociopath will derive from pleasure from it and often go out of his or her way to cause harm for the purpose of reaping that enjoyment. Though not as unfettered as psychopaths, sociopaths can be prone to violence and criminality at the worst, and are commonly cruel and mean-spirited at best.
  • Psychopath — The psychopath is the scariest of the bunch. Unbelievably horrific folks like Ted Bundy and Hannibal Lecter were almost certainly psychopathic — committing horrific and murderous crimes that have shocked generations in their brutality and stomach-churling details.

Common traits and behaviors:

See also:

Collective narcissism is a bad solution to modern anxiety β†—

From Calvinism to the Cold War, a study in why supremacism gets it wrong.

Libertarians are the Narcissists of the Far-Right β†—

One of the extremist factions in the right-wing shares so much with the narcissist.

😱 Psychology Dictionary 🀯 β†—

Why do we do the things we do?

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I’ve been reading John Stuart Mill’s “On Liberty” and am reminded of the quintessential liberal definition of the term:

The only freedom which deserves the name, is that of pursuing our own good in our own way, so long as we do not attempt to deprive others of theirs, or impede their efforts to obtain it.”

— John Stuart Mill, On Liberty
(emphasis mine)

It seems to me that Libertarian proponents tend to make a systematic error in portraying liberty as only commensurate with the first part of Mill’s description: essentially interpreting it as, “I should be able to do whatever I want, and have no constraints placed upon my person by the government whatsoever.” The idea of “cancel culture” is a reflection of this ideal, whereby the right wing complains that moral constraints that apply to everyone should not apply to them.

This mentality misses completely the essential boundary established by the second part of Mill’s quote: that doing what one wants has limits attached, and that those limits are a proscription on engaging in activities which either harm others, or deprive others of their own rights in pursuit of liberty. An essential part of the social contract, the concern for others’ rights naturally stems from concern for your own — as the collective will bands together to guarantee our rights in common, everyone has a stake in preserving the system.

Harm

Being fixated with avoiding taxation, the Libertarian will proclaim that the government is coercing him out of his hard-earned monies — but this fails to recognize the real harm being done to the lower classes by the deprivation of funds to support the basic level of public goods required to preserve life at a subsistence level as well as social mobility: the essence of the American dream.

In short, Libertarian dogma tends to be singularly focused on the self-interest of the upper classes without any attendant regard to the rights of others that may be trampled on by either class oppression or the capturing and consolidation of political power in the hands of the wealthy. It fails systematically to recognize the perspective of the “other side,” i.e. those who are harmed by the enactment of the Libertarian ideology — much as a narcissist lacks empathy — and with it, the capability of seeing others’ perspectives. You could in some ways consider it yet another form of denialism, as well as a cousin or perhaps even sibling to authoritarianism.

The Libertarian narcissist Venn Diagram is practically a circle.

Libertarianism sees itself in control

It believes its ideology should dominate others despite its extreme minority status. The Libertarian narcissist wants to get the benefits of the social contract and civil society, without having to pay back into the system in proportion to their usage of public resources at scale. The Libertarian political philosophy violates the fundamental, cross-cultural principle of reciprocity — exhibited in societies through the ages.

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