Narcissism is a constellation of personality traits and behaviours continuously redefined by the recovery industry. Selfishness seems to be the only common theme of what is defined as narcissism. Millennials are often described as narcissistic nowadays, but so were boomers by their parent generation.
Narcissism may be viewed negatively because excessive selfishness can be societally and inter-personally destructive. We see a redefinition of narcissism from being defined as a problem of independence to a problem of interdependence, possibly due to political reasons.
Origin of term[edit | edit source]
What constitutes narcissism has been up for debate for a long time. The word is derived from the Greek myth of Narcissus, a tale which told of a man who stared at a young version of himself through a reflection in a body of water. He was enamoured at his image, but eventually relalized his love for himself could not be reciprocated and then transformed into Flower. This was preceded by Narcissus romantically rejecting a mountain nympth named Echo, and the magic water reflection trick was a trap set by the God of Revenge (named "Nemesis") for Narcissus rejecting Echo.
Thus, we see that the origin of the word narcissism referred particularly to vanity that leads one to romantically reject others.
Modern Usage[edit | edit source]
The definition of Narcissism has expanded beyond vanity, and there is no longer any formally associated meaning about romantic relationships. The term is now mainly the domain of the, "Recovery Industry", namely psychology and psychiatry. The term's definition is usually cited through the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) rather than other sources nowadays. DSM-III had the largest influence on the definition of narcissism, mainly because the most popular test for narcissism was derived from it: the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI).
NPI[edit | edit source]
The Narcissistic Personality Inventory or NPI, derived from the DSM-III defines Narcissism through the following axes, primarily:
- Sense of Superiority
Given the NPI definition of narcissism is also the colloquial definition, we see that the colloquial definition of narcissism has expanded way beyond just vanity. Why these particular traits? Because politics.
DSM-IV[edit | edit source]
The DSM-IV has the modern accepted "medical" definition of narcissism, which is measured along the following axes:
- Excessive envy
- Lacking empathy
- Needing excessive admiration
- Excessive fantasies of superiority or pure love
- Sense of Superiority
Thus the newer definition, unlike the NPI version, does not consider desire to dominate, self-sufficiency, or exhibitionism to be traits of narcissism anymore. Therefore, being a camgirl, a libertarian, or a venture capitalist was no longer defined as narcissism. But envy of their wealth is now "medically" narcissism. And fantasizing over romance like the Greek God Echo was not "medically" narcissism. Why? Because politics. The DSM makes decisions based on votes by a few recovery industry people who make decisions based on societal factors/politics, not on scientific consensus on anything empirical in the body.
DSM-V[edit | edit source]
The definition of narcissism was then redefined quite a bit for the diagnostic manual mainly used in 2019, the DSM-V, which lists the criteria as:
- Dependence on others for own identity
- Personal standards that are 'too low or high'.
- Goal-setting based on approval from others
- impaired empathy
- hyper-sensitivity driven from selfish concerns
- over or underestimate own effect on others
- Antagonism caused by entitlement, grandiosity or sense of superiority
- Excessive attention and admiration seeking
And it also states that narcissism born from drug abuse or other medical conditions would not be considered narcissism. Here we more of an introduction of social anxiety and autism criteria, and a larger focus on low-self-esteem. Entitlement and a sense of superiority are now no longer criteria for narcissism unless they cause antagonism. Fantasies of pure love are no longer narcissistic. A follower-mentality is also now narcissistic, effectively diagnosing most of Asia as having a component of narcissism. Interdependence is now seen as more narcissistic than independence, unlike prior definitions. Vanity, or a excessive valuation of own image or achievements is now no longer narcissism, meaning beauty-obsession, pretension, etc would no longer be seen 'medically' as narcissistic traits as of 2019.