This from our pal Peter, who's feeling the heat for harping about the narcissistic tendencies of local children.
Some bloggers have become annoyed with me because I appear to be harping on concerns about narcissism being inculcated in our young due to overly-indulgent/overly enmeshed parenting.
My reason for persisting in trying to illuminate this problem, however, is not simple pettiness (or narcissism) on my part. I am adamant about this issue because the effects of narcissism go far beyond irritating behavior in restaurants or coffee shops or bookstores. As Paul Krugman points out in his column in today's NY Times, narcissists wreak havoc on our society and world because of their self-centered lack of empathy for the needs and feelings of others.
One difficulty in facing up to this epidemic is that the origins of a narcissistic disorder can seem benign in childhood because narcissists are generally not created from harsh, abusive parents, broken homes or any number of early traumas. Narcissists are created from parents who give their offspring a false sense of entitlement, parents who try to prevent their kids from having to experience the natural frustration that comes from living in a social environment where the needs of others may conflict with their immediate desires and impulses.
Here's Mr. Krugman on some of the damaging effects on a macro scale:
"It has long been clear that President Bush doesn’t feel other people’s pain. His self-centeredness shines through whenever he makes off-the-cuff, unscripted remarks, from his jocular obliviousness in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina to the joke he made last year in San Antonio when visiting the Brooke Army Medical Center, which treats the severely wounded: 'As you can possibly see, I have an injury myself — not here at the hospital, but in combat with a cedar. I eventually won. The cedar gave me a little scratch'...
Arguably, the current state of the Republican Party is such that only extreme narcissists have a chance of getting nominated...We shouldn’t be surprised, then, to learn that these men are monstrously self-centered...All of which leaves us with a political question. Most voters are thoroughly fed up with the current narcissist in chief. Are they really ready to elect another?"