We are hearing a lot these days about narcissism and conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh. Opinions differ about whether Rush Limbaugh is narcissistic - Before you form your own opinion it's important to understand narcissism.
Everyone has some degree of narcissism within them, and some of this is healthy and known as self-esteem or self-confidence. But when the narcissism level becomes too high, it can indicate a self-hatred and develop into very serious problems.
The term “narcissism” comes from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a beautiful young man that hacked off the wrong person and was sentenced to fall in love with his own reflection in the water. He could never receive love back from himself, of course, so he pined away for his reflection until he turned into a flower, the Narcissus.
Once self-esteem becomes more than self-esteem, it can become Narcissistic Personality Disorder, where the person is, well, insufferable, hard to live with and miserable. The following are some clues to indicate if Rush Limbaugh (or someone you know) may be a narcissist…
“I am perfect”. A narcissist sees himself as above the fray, looking down on the rest of the world. He believes that he possesses the knowledge to solve the problems of the world, and if people would just wake up and see things his way life would be so much better.
Arrogance. A narcissist is often terribly disappointed when life does not deliver perfection. Because his narcissism is based on a deep-seated (and often unrecognized) hatred of himself, he will plunge into despair at the slightest of problems. Often he will pump himself back up by finding someone to degrade and humiliate. A narcissist can be extremely cruel to the one closest to him, as that person often becomes a verbal battering ram that a narcissist requires to get him back where he needs to be – above the world, looking down.
No boundaries between himself and others. A narcissist cannot see the individualism in others and expects all to conform to his expectations. He becomes very angry at those with opposing views. He sees others only as extensions of himself and expects perfections from them.
Pathological lying and manipulation.
Superficial charm and fake friendliness that hide a seething anger under the surface.
Blustery blow-hard or quiet and angry. These are two general types of narcissists. The blustery blow-hard seems to have little sense of self and rages through life loudly. The quiet and angry narcissist has a terrible self-perception and is painfully aware that he is totally empty inside. Both exhibit most or all of the above qualities and both probably failed to develop an appropriate self-worth as a child.
Please be aware that these are only possible indicators of an unhealthy narcissism. A therapist should be consulted for a diagnosis and assistance if a person possesses several of these traits. Left unchecked, Narcissistic Personality Disorder can literally ruin a person’s life, not to mention those that are close to him.
Oh, and since I don't listen to Rush Limbaugh I have absolutely no opinion on whether he is a narcissist. I will leave that to the pundits.
Note: I used male pronouns throughout the article for convenience and consistency, but Narcissistic Personality Disorder can occur in either gender.