Posts Tagged ‘narcissists’

What Can Be Done About the Narcissim Epidemic

May 17, 2020

The authors of The Narcissim Epidemic: Living in an Age of Entitlement, Twenge and Campbell offer a wide range of solutions to the problem of narcissism. They address changes that need to be made structurally by government and different industries. Given that neither HM nor his readers would be capable of implementing these changes, this post will deal with activities to be done by the individual. These changes will lead to a more satisfying and fulfilling life. It should be clear from the posts that narcissism is not fulfilling and leads to unhappiness.

Let’s begin by discussing the Chief Narcissist, Donald Trump. There was a previous post, Trump vs. a Buddhist monk, which argued that the monk is a happier than Donald Trump. His meditations produce this happiness. But what about the multiple billionaire Donald Trump? He is the president of the leading country in the world, but is he happy?

He doesn’t act happy. At the smallest slight he attacks people with nicknames and insults like an elementary school bully. There are many examples of this, but perhaps the best was his response to why his administration had taken no effective actions for the coronavirus epidemic in February. Trump had played a campaign video that purported to show his activities against the virus. Unfortunately, there was nothing in it about the month of February. When a reporter asked about this gap, Trump responded about January, when the reporter responded that the question was about February as it was obvious that the administration had done nothing during February, Trump’s response was that this reporter was a horrible person and told her so to her face. Now a response like this from any adult would be quite remarkable, but from the President of the United States?

Trump is proud of his wealth and he judges people by the amount of wealth that they have. But this is a losing quest, there will always be people who either are wealthier or who soon will be wealthier than you. Moreover, Trumps wealth is in question. He refuses to release his taxes. Moreover, he had suffered so many bankruptcies that American banks would no longer lend him money. So where did the money come from for all the building projects he had underway? The answer came from one of his sons, who said that the Russians had loaned him the money. The reality is that Putin owns Trump, and that Trump getting financing from the Russian mob goes way back (see the healthy memory blog post “House of Trump House of Putin”).

Narcissim’s fundamental problem is a sense of entitlement that comes from self-esteem (HM disagrees with the book’s authors on this point, read that post to understand why).
Research has shown that self-esteem is harmful. One example being a reluctance to try new things because it might make them look bad. Rather than self-esteem, use the terms self-affirmation or self-confidence, meaning that people can accomplish much more than they think they can, provided they persevere.

There is no “we” or “us” in narcissism, it is all about me or I. People need to think about others, and have empathy for their problems. They need to work well and share with others. They need to be concerned about the welfare of their fellow humans. These practices yield benefits to one’s own mental and physical well being.

A recurring theme in this blog is that growth mindsets are needed for a healthy memory. One should constantly be learning new topics and skills. This provides memory health, by engaging System 2 processing (thinking) in lieu of a heavy reliance on default (System 1) processing.

Doing so will lead to a more fulfilling and satisfying life that results in a cognitive reserve that largely reduces the risks of Alzheimers and dementia. Another prediction for narcissists is that they are at a high risk for Alzheimer’s and dementia.

© Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com, 2019. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Douglas Griffith and healthymemory.wordpress.com with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Dark Side

March 9, 2019

This title of this post is the same as the title of a chapter in Daniel Goleman’s book “The Brain and Emotional Intelligence: New Insights.” Goleman begins, “Psychologists use the phrase the dark triad to refer to narcissists, Machiavellians and sociopaths.” As for examples, look no further than President Trump. He has hit the trifecta here. Goleman continues, “These types represent the dark side of emotional intelligence: such people can be very good at cognitive empathy, but lack emotional empathy—not to mention empathic concern. For instance, by definition the sociopath does not care at all about human consequences of their manipulation, and has no regrets about inflicting cruelty. Their feelings of any kind are very shallow; brain imaging reveals a thinning of the areas that connect the emotional centers to the prefrontal cortex.”

Goleman outlines deficits in emotional intelligence. Sociopaths have deficits in several areas key to emotional intelligence: the anterior cingulate, the orbitofrontal cortex, the amygdala, and insula, and in the connectivity of these regions to other parts of the brain. It is possible that deficits such as these can account for much of Trump’s behavior.