Monday, November 12, 2007

Grandiosity Without Self Respect

Narcissism is, in many ways, a failure of self respect. Could anything be more ironic?

This is what I mean.

When a little child wants a toy that another child is enjoying, she demands it, telling herself that SHE must be the one to have it because SHE is important and that other child isn't.

That's a little rationalizer learning the art.

Now, how does she go about getting that toy?

Answer: any way she can. She may grasp at it and physically fight for it. She may scream and bawl and carry on as though that other child is killing her by simply not going without things to give Brat whatever she wants. She will make such an obnoxious racket that no one can stand it, and adults may even snap at the other child, telling her to give Brat what she wants so that she will shut up and they all can have some peace.

You see, Brat isn't above degrading herself that way. She is just a little child, at the age before children have any self respect. Nothing is beneath them at that age. Because they are very little people in a world of giants.

Soon they develop a personality and sense of personhood and gain some self respect. By the age of seven they are already above stooping to certain things. They would rather go without them than make screaming meemies of themselves just to get those things.

But the budding little narcissist never gets there. She never gains enough self respect to keep her from doing the most degrading things to get what she wants.

Even animals are sometimes better. One reason I love Cairns is because these terriers won't prostitute themselves to you for a treat. They get offended if they catch on that you are trying to train them to do tricks for treats, and they sulk off as if to say, "Take that treat and shove it, babe. I ain't prostituting myself to you for a treat."

Not that they're untrainable. But you have to make them want to do your trick to show off to you how smart and grand they are. They will study your every move and try to discern what you're trying to communicate to them, so they can do it for you just to make you "Ooooh!" and "Ahhhh!" But the moment they sense that it's manipulation instead of a game, their pride gets hurt.

Hard to believe, ain't it? Dogs have more self respect than malignant narcissists. There are things a dog is too proud to do, but not a malignant narcissist.

A narcissist will do anything to get what she or he wants - ANYTHING: scream, act crazy, carry on like it's the end of the world, act too stupid to know how stupid they're being, stomp their feet like a Drama Queen, hit, kick, sulk, bust things, blather a wall of flak that doesn't even make sense - anything to get you to give in and give the brat whatever he or she wants. They have no self respect. Nothing is beneath them.

Kathleen Krajco