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Conceit in the hall - management


The perpetrators of the contemporary spate of pecuniary frauds in the USA acted with cruel disregard for both their employees and shareholders - not to declare other stakeholders. Psychologists have often remote-diagnosed them as "malignant, pathological narcissists".

Narcissists are obsessed by the need to defend and avow a false self - a concocted, grandiose, and demanding psychological concept archetypal of the self-absorbed personality disorder. The false self is projected to the world in order to bring together "narcissistic supply" - adulation, admiration, or even dishonor and infamy. Any kind of concentration is as a rule deemed by narcissists to be preferable to obscurity.

The false self is inundated with fantasies of perfection, grandeur, brilliance, infallibility, immunity, significance, omnipotence, omnipresence, and omniscience. To be a narcissist is to be committed of a great, inevitable individual destiny. The narcissist is anxious with ideal love, the construction of brilliant, revolutionary controlled theories, the constitution or authoring or painting of the best work of art, the founding of a new discipline of thought, the accomplishment of great wealth, the reshaping of a country or a conglomerate, and so on. The narcissist never sets realistic goals to himself. He is eternally anxious with fantasies of uniqueness, best breaking, or awesome achievements. His wordiness reflects this propensity.

Reality is, naturally, quite assorted and this gives rise to a "grandiosity gap". The difficulty of the false self are never contented by the narcissist's accomplishments, standing, wealth, clout, sexual prowess, or knowledge. The narcissist's grandiosity and sense of prerogative are by the same token inadequate with his achievements.

To connection the grandiosity gap, the malevolent (pathological) narcissist resorts to shortcuts. These very often lead to fraud.

The narcissist cares only about appearances. What matters to him are the front of wealth and its attendant common condition and egotistical supply. Witness the travestied excessiveness of Tyco's Denis Kozlowski. Media concentration only exacerbates the narcissist's dependence and makes it present on him to go to ever-wilder extremes to confident continual bring from this source.

The narcissist lacks sympathy - the capability to put himself in other people's shoes. He does not accept boundaries - personal, corporate, or legal. All and all and sundry are to him mere instruments, extensions, bits and pieces absolutely and uncomplainingly accessible in his pursuit of self-absorbed gratification.

This makes the narcissist perniciously exploitative. He uses, abuses, devalues, and discards even his close and dear in the most frightening manner. The narcissist is utility- driven, obsessed with his overwhelming need to cut his concern and make conform his labile sense of self-worth by securing a continuous bring of his drug - attention. American executives acted devoid of regret when they raided their employees' hostel funds - as did Robert Maxwell a age band before in Britain.

The narcissist is committed of his superiority - brainy or physical. To his mind, he is a Gulliver restricted by a horde of narrow-minded and green Lilliputians. The dotcom "new economy" was infected with "visionaries" with a despicable bearing towards the mundane: profits, big business cycles, conservative economists, distrustful journalists, and careful analysts.

Yet, deep inside, the narcissist is painfully aware of his compulsion to others - their attention, admiration, applause, and affirmation. He despises himself for being thus dependent. He hates associates the same way a drug addict hates his pusher. He needs to "put them in their place", debase them, establish to them how defective and imperfect they are in assessment to his regal self and how diminutive he craves or needs them.

The narcissist regards himself as one would an costly present, a gift to his company, to his family, to his neighbours, to his colleagues, to his country. This firm conviction of his exaggerated meaning makes him feel free to exceptional treatment, elite favors, distinctive outcomes, concessions, subservience, burning gratification, obsequiousness, and lenience. It also makes him feel immune to mortal laws and come what may beautifully cosseted and insulated from the inevitable cost of his deeds and misdeeds.

The self-destructive narcissist plays the role of the "bad guy" (or "bad girl"). But even this is surrounded by the conventional community roles cartoonishly exaggerated by the narcissist to catch the attention of attention. Men are liable to emphasise intellect, power, aggression, money, or community status. Egotistic women are expected to emphasise body, looks, charm, sexuality, female "traits", homemaking, brood and childrearing.

Punishing the defiant narcissist is a actual catch-22.

A jail term is a waste of time as a deterrent if it only serves to focus awareness on the narcissist. Being infamous is back up best to being illustrious - and far preferable to being ignored. The only way to efficiently punish a narcissist is to hold back conceited bring in from him and thus to check him from appropriate a notorious celebrity.

Given a plenty sum of media exposure, book contracts, talk shows, lectures, and civic awareness - the narcissist may even care about the whole hideous issue to be emotionally rewarding. To the narcissist, freedom, wealth, communal status, family, ability - are all means to an end. And the end is attention. If he can assured consideration by being the big bad wolf - the narcissist readily transforms himself into one. Lord Archer, for instance, seems to be positively basking in the media performance provoked by his prison diaries.

The narcissist does not victimise, plunder, terrorise and abuse others in a cold, calculating manner. He does so offhandedly, as a manifestation of his authentic character. To be truly "guilty" one needs to intend, to deliberate, to contemplate one's choices and then to desire one's acts. The narcissist does none of these.

Thus, punishment breeds in him surprise, hurt and enraged anger. The narcissist is stunned by society's insistence that he must be held held responsible for his deeds and penalized accordingly. He feels wronged, baffled, injured, the victim of bias, discrimination and injustice. He rebels and rages.

Depending upon the pervasiveness of his magical thinking, the narcissist may feel inundated by overwhelming powers, military cosmic and intrinsically ominous. He may acquire exciting rites to fend off this "bad", unwarranted, persecutory influences.

The narcissist, very much the infantile outcome of small delicate development, engages in magical thinking. He feels omnipotent, that there is nobody he couldn't do or do if only he sets his mind to it. He feels omniscient - he hardly ever admits to ignorance and regards his intuitions and intellect as founts of objective data.

Thus, narcissists are arrogantly confident that introspection is a more critical and more capable (not to bring up easier to accomplish) approach of obtaining data than the systematic study of exterior sources of in a row in accordance with authoritarian and boring curricula. Narcissists are "inspired" and they despise restricted technocrats.

To some extent, they feel universal for the reason that they are also celebrated or about to befit eminent or for the reason that their consequence is advertising or is being manufactured globally. Greatly engrossed in their delusions of grandeur, they decisively have faith in that their acts have - or will have - a great affect not only on their firm, but on their country, or even on Mankind. Having mastered the management of their human location - they are confident that they will constantly "get away with it". They build hubris and a false sense of immunity.

Narcissistic imperviousness is the (erroneous) feeling, harboured by the narcissist, that he is not influenced to the cost of his actions, that he will never be effected by the consequences of his own decisions, opinions, beliefs, deeds and misdeeds, acts, inaction, or attachment of a number of groups, that he is above admonish and punishment, that, magically, he is bubble-like and will astonishingly be saved at the last moment. Hence the audacity, simplicity, and precision of some of the fraud and corporate prowling in the 1990's. Narcissists on the odd occasion anxiety to cover their traces, so great is their contempt and conviction that they are above mortal laws and wherewithal.

What are the sources of this unrealistic appraisal of situations and events?

The false self is a childish reaction to abuse and trauma. Abuse is not imperfect to sexual molestation or beatings. Smothering, doting, pampering, over-indulgence, treating the child as an augmentation of the parent, not respecting the child's boundaries, and burdening the child with undue expectations are also forms of abuse.

The child reacts by constructing false self that is possessed of the lot it needs in order to prevail: boundless and at once accessible Harry Potter-like powers and wisdom. The false self, this Superman, is apathetic to abuse and punishment. This way, the child's true self is fortified from the toddler's harsh reality.

This artificial, maladaptive separation concerning a vulnerable (but not punishable) true self and a punished by (but invulnerable) false self is an helpful mechanism. It isolates the child from the unjust, capricious, emotionally precarious world that he occupies. But, at the same time, it fosters in him a false sense of "nothing can ensue to me, for the reason that I am not here, I am not accessible to be punished, hence I am immune to punishment".

The comfort of false imperviousness is also yielded by the narcissist's sense of entitlement. In his high-flying delusions, the narcissist is sui generis, a gift to humanity, a precious, fragile, object. Moreover, the narcissist is confident both that this exceptionality is as soon as evident - and that it gives him distinctive rights. The narcissist feels that he is confined by some astrophysical law pertaining to "endangered species".

He is confident that his hope gift to others - his firm, his country, humanity - ought to and does exempt him from the mundane: daily chores, boring jobs, chronic tasks, own exertion, arranged investment of income and efforts, laws and regulations, community conventions, and so on.

The narcissist is permitted to a "special treatment": high alive standards, continual and abrupt catering to his needs, the purge of any friction with the boring and the routine, an all-engulfing liberty of his sins, fast track privileges (to privileged education, or in his encounters with bureaucracies, for instance). Punishment, trusts the narcissist, is for common people, where no great loss to humanity is involved.

Narcissists are possessed of extravagant abilities to charm, to convince, to seduce, and to persuade. Many of them are able orators and rationally endowed. Many of them work in in politics, the media, fashion, show business, the arts, medicine, or business, and serve as pious leaders.

By advantage of their durable in the community, their charisma, or their aptitude to find the disposed scapegoats, they do get exempted many times. Having recurrently "got away with it" - they arise a assumption of own immunity, founded upon some kind of communal and even cosmic "order" in which a variety of associates are above punishment.

But there is a fourth, simpler, explanation. The narcissist lacks self-awareness. Detached from his true self, not capable to empathise (to appreciate what it is like to be a big name else), unwilling to constrain his events to cater to the feelings and needs of others - the narcissist is in a continual bizarre state.

To the narcissist, his life is unreal, like inspection an in competition describing movie. The narcissist is a mere spectator, mildly interested, critically entertained at times. He does not "own" his actions. He, therefore, cannot appreciate why he ought to be punished and when he is, he feels grossly wronged.

So committed is the narcissist that he is destined to great equipment - that he refuses to acknowledge setbacks, failures and punishments. He regards them as temporary, as the outcomes of a big cheese else's errors, as part of the hope mythology of his rise to power/brilliance/wealth/ideal love, etc. Being punished is a amusement of his precious energy and funds from the all-important task of fulfilling his mission in life.

The narcissist is pathologically green of ancestors and believes that they are just as green of him. He is paranoid, on guard, ready to fend off an imminent attack. A punishment to the narcissist is a major astonish and a nuisance but it also validates his disbelief that he is being persecuted. It proves to him that brawny armed forces are arrayed alongside him.

He tells himself that people, green with envy of his achievements and mortified by them, are out to get him. He constitutes a danger to the conventional order. When mandatory to pay for his misdeeds, the narcissist is constantly derisive and bitter and feels misunderstood by his inferiors.

Cooked books, corporate fraud, bending the (GAAP or other) rules, sweeping tribulations under the carpet, over-promising, assembly ostentatious claims (the "vision thing") - are hallmarks of a narcissist in action. When community cues and norms further such behaviour instead than inhibit it - in other words, when such behaviour elicits profuse self-absorbed bring in - the configuration is durable and be converted into ingrained and rigid. Even when state of affairs change, the narcissist finds it awkward to adapt, shed his routines, and change them with new ones. He is ensnared in his past success. He becomes a swindler.

But pathological egotism is not an lonely phenomenon. It is embedded in our contemporary culture. The West's is a egotistic civilization. It upholds self-absorbed principles and penalizes another value-systems. From an early age, family are qualified to avoid self-criticism, to cheat themselves a propos their capacities and attainments, to feel entitled, and to exploit others.

As Lilian Katz experimental in her chief paper, "Distinctions connecting Self-Esteem and Narcissism: Implications for Practice", available by the Edifying Assets In rank Center, the line connecting enhancing self-esteem and development conceit is often fuzzy by educators and parents.

Both Christopher Lasch in "The Civilization of Narcissism" and Theodore Millon in his books about personality disorders, singled out American association as narcissistic. Litigiousness may be the flip side of an inane sense of entitlement. Consumerism is built on this communal and communal lie of "I can do whatever thing I want and possess all I aspiration if I only apply for myself to it" and on the pathological envy it fosters.

Not surprisingly, self-absorbed disorders are more conventional among men than among women. This may be since self-importance conforms to manly communal mores and to the current ethos of capitalism. Ambition, achievements, hierarchy, ruthlessness, drive - are both community morals and egotistical male traits. Community thinkers like the aforementioned Lasch speculated that contemporary American civilization - a self-centred one - increases the rate of incidence of the self-absorbed personality disorder.

Otto Kernberg, a notable scholar of personality disorders, definite Lasch's intuition: "Society can make considerable psychological abnormalities, which by now exist in some percentage of the population, seem to be at least superficially appropriate. "

In their book "Personality Disorders in Avant-garde Life", Theodore Millon and Roger Davis state, as a be of importance of fact, that pathological conceit was once the ambit of "the royal and the wealthy" and that it "seems to have gained bump only in the late twentieth century". Narcissism, according to them, may be connected with "higher levels of Maslow's hierarchy of needs . . . Persons in less fortunate nations . . are too busy frustrating (to survive) . . . to be arrogant and grandiose".

They - like Lasch already them - attribute pathological self-importance to "a civilization that stresses distinctiveness and self-gratification at the amount of community, explicitly the United States. " They assert that the disorder is more prevalent among a number of professions with "star power" or respect. "In an original culture, the narcissist is 'God's gift to the world'. In a collective society, the narcissist is 'God's gift to the collective. "

Millon quotation marks Lair and Caponi's "The Role of Civilization in the Advancement of Egotistic Personality Disorders in America, Japan and Denmark":

"Individualistic egotistical structures of self-regard (in characteristic societies) . . . are instead self-contained and autonomous . . . (In leninist cultures) self-absorbed configurations of the we-self . . . denote self-esteem consequential from biting identification with the reputation and honor of the family, groups, and others in hierarchical relationships. "

Still, there are evil narcissists among survival farmers in Africa, nomads in the Sinai desert, day laborers in east Europe, and intellectuals and socialites in Manhattan. Malevolent self-absorption is all-pervasive and autonomous of civilization and society. It is true, though, that the way pathological conceit manifests and is knowledgeable is needy on the data of societies and cultures.

In some cultures, it is encouraged, in others suppressed. In some societies it is channeled alongside minorities - in others it is fouled with paranoia. In leninist societies, it may be projected onto the collective, in characteristic societies, it is an individual's trait.

Yet, can families, organizations, ethnic groups, churches, and even whole nations be in one piece described as "narcissistic" or "pathologically self-absorbed"? Can we talk about a "corporate background of narcissism"?

Human collectives - states, firms, households, institutions, following parties, cliques, bands - attain a life and a creature all their own. The longer the alliance or link of the members, the more interrelated and conventional the inner dynamics of the group, the more persecutory or frequent its enemies, competitors, or adversaries, the more intensive the animal and emotional experiences of the folks it is comprised of, the stronger the bonds of locale, language, and annals - the more rigorous might an assertion of a conventional pathology be.

Such an all-pervasive and all-embracing pathology manifests itself in the deeds of each and every member. It is a important - all the same often implicit or underlying - mental structure. It has explanatory and extrapolative powers. It is continuing and consistent - a archetype of conduct melding distorted cognition and short emotions. And it is often heatedly denied.

About The Author

Sam Vaknin is the biographer of Cruel Self Love - Conceit Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East. He is a journalist for Focal Europe Review, PopMatters, and eBookWeb , a United Press Global (UPI) Elder Affair Correspondent, and the editor of mental physical condition and Focal East Europe categories in The Open Almanac Bellaonline, and Suite101 .

Until recently, he served as the Cost-effective Advisor to the Authority of Macedonia.

Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak. tripod. com; palma@unet. com. mk


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