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How Narcissism Can Lead to Social Isolation
There once was a Greek myth, about a hunter known as Narcissus, who was well known for his beauty. One day as Narcissus encountered a lake, he saw his reflection in the water. As time passed, he continued staring at himself and found a profound admiration of his vanity. As Narcissus fell in love with his reflection, he never looked away and abandoned the world around him, leading towards his death. The story of Narcissus leads to the term Narcissist, which means a person who has an excessive interest in admiration of themselves. As proven in the story of Narcissus, narcissism lead him toward a state of social isolation, which is a situation any narcissist can find themselves in.
Narcissism is a personality disorder than can moderately develop based on both biological and environmental factors. Children who have Narcissistic parents for example, have a higher chance of developing Narcissism and making it a heritable trait and based on genetics. Forms of early narcissism can appear in ages as early as preschool years and may increase over time. A study made by Kohut in 1971 states that narcissism occurs from the lack of both empathy and consistency provided by parents to their children. From this, the child wants attention from others as he/she is lacking it from their parents.
Apart from biology, the growth of social media has affected the environmental factors of narcissism by increasing them at high rates. Due to high impacts made by social networks such as Instagram, Snapchat, Facebook and more, narcissists believe that others are interested in what they are doing and it motivates them to inform and promote themselves throughout populations (Psychiatric Times). Yet, social networks also lead to people feeling emptier and more dependent on their insecurities based on standards created in social networks.
The average narcissist will have an increased sense of self-worth on how they value themselves in opposition to others. For example, narcissists enjoy staring at their own image and admiring their vanity. They also think that the people around them are interested in their lives and that they influence others. Thus, most narcissists need unrestrained admiration as they tend to overvalue themselves by devaluing the people around them (Lowen). Placing yourself first in a friendship outlines the qualities of intimacy and transparency which are needed to withhold a stable friendship.
Overall, due to how narcissists only truly care about themselves and are mostly unable to have a genuine care for others, they make themselves unbearable to the people around them. Their qualities of high self-esteem easily turn into arrogance, charisma turns into foolishness, and the more they focus on themselves, the less they care about their environment. Throughout a wider perspective, narcissists have less friends throughout their life as in order to make themselves feel like they are always first, they must treat others unfairly (Twenge). Since narcissists are not interested in other people apart for their attention and that they don't appreciate their surrounding, it will lead them to social isolation as no one would want to be around them (Wallace).
In conclusion, an appraisal of narcissistic values throughout your life can only lead you to a path of social isolation because you’re not able to give worth to your environment, are unable to care about others genuinely, and are self absorbed.
Campbell, W. Keith., and Joshua D. Miller. The Handbook of Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Theoretical Approaches, Empirical Findings, and Treatments. John Wiley & Sons, 2011.
Kohut, H. (1971). An Analysis of the Self: A Systematic Approach to the Psychoanalytic Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.
Lowen, Alexander. Narcissism: Denial of the True Self. Touchstone, 1997.
“Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Rethinking What We Know.” Psychiatric Times, 19 July 2012.
Twenge, Jean M., and W. Keith. Campbell. The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. Atria Paperback, 2013.
Wallace, H. M., & Baumeister, R. F. (2002). The performance of narcissists rises and falls with perceived opportunity for glory. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 82(5), 819-834.