Thursday, November 08, 2007

Addictions and narcissism

Anyone can become addicted to just about anything but people with high levels of narcissism are particularly prone to addictions.

Nobody enjoys the feeling of being wrong, making mistakes, failing, losing, being criticized, ignored, rejected, or disregarded, but we endure it. And as unpleasant as it is, feeling bad about ourselves just as frequently results in change and improvement as unhappiness. Feeling bad can often lead to learning and growth.

Narcissists though cannot and will not tolerate feeling bad about themselves. Narcissism, by its very nature, is an obsession and a compulsion. The narcissist is addicted to the illusion of his superiority, power, and control. He must always feel good and feel good about himself. So, with his difficulty in postponing gratification, his disinclination for self-denial, and the power of his illusory, grandiose, self-image, the narcissist is susceptible to all sorts of obsessions, compulsions, and addictions.

Successful narcissists are invariably obsessed with their work, often to absurd degrees. Narcissists often also overuse or abuse alcohol, drugs, sex, or food, get hooked on shopping, sport, religion, or become obsessed with “love”, money, security, power, their health, (hypochondria is common), their appearance, or be adrenaline junkies chasing thrills. They invariably believe they are lucky, that they are life’s winners, and so are susceptible to gambling addiction. Multiple addictions are common as can be seen on any Saturday afternoon for example, in hotels and bars all around the country where many of the men who congregate are addicted to alcohol, nicotine, and gambling.

Narcissistic personalities are liable to become obsessed with or addicted to anything that:

* allows them to self medicate to numb pain, discomfort, or any unpleasant emotion.

* helps them escape their vulnerable real self and fears about illness, death, misfortune, or the unpredictability of life.

* can act as a symbol of their rebellion against other’s control or influence and help prove they are free and not controlled.

* helps them demonstrate that “I do as I please, whether you like it or not”.

* demonstrates they are thumbing their nose at normal social expectations to prove that they are superior to, and different from, other people.

* helps them gain acceptance from a group to which they want to belong.

* gives them an excuse or justification for bad behaviour so they can avoid responsibility for it.

* soothes them when they are not feeling “special”.

* satisfies a need for stimulation.

* helps them avoid awareness of their limitations, failures, and ordinariness.

* consoles them when they don’t get what they want.

* relieves boredom and helps fill an inner emptiness.

* makes them feel good (and what narcissist can say no to pleasure?).

* helps them escape into a worry, thought, and trouble free state.

* gives them the illusion of control.

* lets them withdraw from the stresses and demands of reality.

* makes them feel strong and powerful.

Ultimate Self

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