Saturday, March 10, 2007

Narcissists Need Counseling, not Love

Ivanhoe Newswire
By Betsy Lievense, Ivanhoe Health Correspondent

ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) -- Psychiatrists diagnose narcissistic personality disorder when a person has an inflated sense of self-importance, requires constant attention and admiration, and lacks empathy, among other traits. Previous studies have linked narcissism with self-hatred, but a recent study reveals narcissists' conscious and unconscious views of themselves are really fairly consistent.

Researchers at the University of Georgia in Athens used two psychological tests to compare 114 narcissists' conscious and unconscious views of themselves. Researchers recorded each participant's reaction times to computer-generated word associations to determine unconscious thoughts or feelings about themselves.

Narcissists had uniformly positive views of themselves, report researchers. Although the narcissists rated themselves high in status, dominance, intelligence and self-esteem, they gave themselves lower scores on kindness, morality and emotional intimacy.

"My concern after talking to lots of people who work or live with people who are narcissistic is these people think, 'Well, narcissists hate themselves deep down inside, so if I just love them enough and take care of them, they're going to be just fine,'" University of Georgia psychologist Keith Campbell, Ph.D., told Ivanhoe.

"That isn't what we find in the research. If you get in a relationship with somebody who's narcissistic, or you work with somebody who's narcissistic, and you give them a bunch of love, they'll take advantage of you and manipulate you."

According to Dr. Campbell, narcissists need to take it upon themselves to work on their compassion and their ability to be close to people.

"It's very hard to change somebody who's narcissistic," said Dr. Campbell. "My suggestion is not to try to change anybody. Instead, encourage them to get some very specific help on how to relate to people better, how to relate to people in a more caring, open, less confrontational way."

Ivanhoe Newswire