Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Is Rush Limbaugh A Narcissist?

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.


  1. I have wondered myself. I think rather he is hard-hearted and arrogant. He's too witty and insightful to be a narc in my opinion. Also, he's too clever at lying and doesn't seem to have anyone coaching him. I listed signs of various anti-social personality disorders here:

  2. High level narcissist are god-like in their ability to manipulate. There are so many facets to manage that would derail most of us who would try to pull off the same level of deceit, but people like Rush Limbaugh were born with the natural skill to do this. I have a sibling with similar talents, that I did not see until we inherited a business together. These people are very special. Here is a list of some talents:

    They are able to track and recall minute details of almost everything if it something that will help them progress their agenda's

    They successfully recruit and con multitudes of 'proxies' so that if they are ever seriously questioned, it is the accuser that looks like they are deranged rather than the narcissist themselves as the proxies rise to defend their benefactor. These relationships are usually tended like gardens over many years with subtle flattery and grandiose guestures. For instance, my sibling would fly to the graduations or weddings of his proxy's children to show how much he regarded their friendship, then complain to me about how oppressive the cost and inconvenience of this was to him.

    The problem with Rush L. and his ilk is that most people are unfamiliar with this level of sophisticated deceit that they simply cannot understand it. Also, people are so naive when it comes to someone skilled at assessing and complimenting them. Once that hurdle is breached by the narcissist, it is childs play for them to carry on the manipulation.

    When it comes to (but not limited to) pundants(like Rush) and political candidates, the critics get caught up with the idea that the narcissist will have to bow to their logic and fact finding. It simply is not true. They hold none of these values. Of the elements of the old "Who, What, When, Where and Why" the first four are pretty transparent data points, but when you get to Why, that is when the real intrigue begins.

    High level narcissists juggle truth than ethics by being dissociated personalities. The one I know has two selves that I have labeled Sweet and Sour. They vacillate between these personalities to suit the task at hand. Sweet does not know about the dastardly things that Sour does, so he can convincingly try to mitigate and deny accountability for the damage, while Sour is the controlling true self uses him as a puppet to be the 'face'.

    Sam Vaknin (a self aware high level narcissist) has some great videos about narcissism. I think he is reading them from his book, which I have not read due to the price, but may someday. It seems missing in our local libraries even though they claim to own a copy. But because he is a narcissist, he has created a multitude of videos of himself readingh his work. Some have annoying sound problems(clipping) until he finally fixed that.

  3. I would perhaps go as far as Psychopath; many such hold high offices in big corporations as well .