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Narcissism Revisited

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You may recall that the Narcissistic Personality Disorder derives its name from the myth of Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water (Mailbox, Nov. 15). But NPD is no myth. Signs and symptoms include a grandiose sense of self-importance; delusions of grandeur; need for constant praise and admiration; sense of entitlement, exploiting others without guilt or shame; demeans, intimidates, bullies or belittles others. NPD sufferers are often incapable of empathy and are resistant to changing their behavior toward others — even when it is a detriment to them.

Another way of viewing this is through Freud's construct of the id, ego and superego. The id is the dark instinctual personality striving only to bring about satisfaction and pleasure. The ego is our surface personality, the one we show the world. The superego can be regarded as our conscience and inhibits the passions of the id. Think of the devil as the id sitting on one shoulder and the angel as the superego on the other, each trying to influence behavior. With NPD, the id usually wins and infiltrates the ego.

Think of our president's advisors as his superego, urging: "Best not to say that or do this. Show empathy for those struggling with tragedy. Try not to have everything revolve around you. Don't strike back at every perceived offense. Tone it down. Read the script. Act presidential."

We know who and what is winning that battle of wills.

Edward "Buzz' Webb, Mckinleyville


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