What Is Narcissism?
By Karyl McBride, Ph.D.
The term narcissism is related to Greek mythology and the story of Narcissus. Narcissus was handsome, arrogant, and self-involved-and in love with his own image. He couldn’t tear himself away from his reflection in a pool of water, and ultimately his self-love consumed him. He died gazing at himself in the water. In everyday usage, the word narcissistic refers to someone who is arrogantly self-absorbed. Self-love, on the other hand, has come to mean a healthy love of oneself that does not preclude the ability to love others.
But, what is the psychological definition of narcissism-and, more specifically, maternal narcissism? The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes narcissism as a personality disorder classified by the nine traits listed below. Narcissism is a spectrum disorder, which means it exists on a continuum ranging from a few narcissistic traits to the full-blown personality disorder. The American Psychiatric Association estimates that there are approximately 1.5 million American women with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. While NPD is rare, non-clinical narcissism is a pervasive problem. In truth, we all have some of these traits. It is perfectly normal to have some of the traits at the low end of the spectrum. However, the further along the spectrum of narcissism, the more problems are encountered.
Will I Ever Be Good Enough?
Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers
By Karyl McBride