The diagnosis 'narcissism'
appeared surprisingly correct, at least as regards my case.
a. The context in which
this diagnosis is usually given, namely, the juridical one, remains dubious. The theory is developed for a medical, not
a juridical context. It is highly dubious the diagnosis is understood in
b. It is incorrect to give this diagnosis, if correct, without any
clarification. Even within the medical field, there are several views, and
it is not real to expect that jurists, who are not educated with this
knowledge, should be able to explain this diagnosis correctly.
c. Research should make clear which knowledge jurists and predators'
'therapists' factually have about this diagnosis and how they go about. The training centers should accept the consequences.
It was a good intermediate step to change the positive
statement of the diagnostician into a question
and to forward this question to a real therapist who works
in-depth - thus, not a behavioral 'therapist' who only brushes up
superficially and who, consequently, would enlarge the narcissism.
narcissistic elements in myself was difficult, but thereafter things went
nearly automatically: the same elements simply crumbled off gradually. The
literature mentions this as well. It is striking to read these 'modern' insights
in a myth from thousands of years ago: as soon as Narcissus becomes conscious
of himself and his situation, his illusion, there is no Narcissus.
Denying the problem is a
crucial characteristic of the problem. This provides a paradox for the
patient: the more he or she denies, the more he or she confirms the diagnosis.
This makes the diagnosis difficult. After all, stomachache or stress
can be reported by the patient, but a narcissist never will tell about or
acknowledge his or her narcissism.
This paradox has a therapeutic
counterpart: as soon as one acknowledges narcissism within oneself, it will
disappear. A therapist will be glad, but the diagnostician will see that
their diagnosis melts away before their eyes; narcissism disappears as soon as one
The theory of narcissism developed from Sigmund Freud's deterministic and mechanic drift
the Symington's theory of 'a choice as reaction to a trauma'. The latter is plausible and is confirmed by my experience. The latter theory and
method gives more chance for healing than the first.
a. If I have a look
around me, I recognize several elements of narcissism's
characteristics. I see them especially in many politicians and famous
artists, the 'stars'. I see them especially in men, heterosexual and married
men especially. In the helping profession,
and especially those who combat child sexual abuse, I see many
proud salvation fantasies. In this field, women are more
fanatic than men.
Many prominent figures in public life are narcissistic personalities.
[...] I don't think to exaggerate if I say that our world is dominated by
people, in politics, science, art and the media, who ask themselves at
first how they succeed in being loved. They often see it as a synonym of
René Diekstra, 2002
In the Dutch newspaper NRC, March 24, 2002, Elsbeth Etty quotes
the Dutch historian Presser, who described Napoleon as
'an uncommon egocentric narcissist, living outside of reality and so
doomed to downfall'.
She also quotes a Dutch psychotherapist about the late Dutch
politician Pim Fortuyn:
'He is completely absorbed in himself, that's a typical narcissistic
She quotes also a clinical psychologist about the same politician:
"He is fired with an out of control narcissistic personality disorder."
b. Research on a broad sample of
the population could tell us how much narcissism there is, so we could see how much
it is a characteristic of our
c. As I look at the people I knew with pedophilic feelings, in
some I see narcissistic features, but in others I don't.
d. Thus, the diagnosis 'narcissism' may not routinely be given to people
with pedophile feelings only because they have those feelings. This happens,
in my opinion, and this is not correct and not
e. It is not only wrong to routinely give this diagnosis routinely to these people, but
also to disclose it in the media. It gives the impression
that these people always have this disorder, while others do not. This is definitely untrue.
As regards to the content, we are
dealing with a serious problem on a very fundamental level.
Autism and early depression are in line with narcissism. The standard
cause, the early deprivation of the mother, can have serious consequences. These can be
long-lasting, difficult to recognize and
difficult to cure. Thus, the problem asks for serious attention,
especially among the 'normal' population. Narcissism is a
characteristic of our culture and society, The Narcissistic Society,
as Christopher Lash named his book.
In my opinion, we easily fall into a depression, if we suppress our
vitality and if we lose contact with our deepest self. This
depression is not only personal, but it also reflects the fact that
our society, although we celebrate individuality, is not able to feed
and support us humans with all our possibilities.
[...] so we spread the depression, which is the characteristic emotional disease
Thomas Moore, 2001, p. 6
a. Childcare workers and other
social workers should be very attentive to this. That is: attentive to
unnecessary separation of child and caregiver, attentive to possibly being
emotionally unattainable (especially the mother figure), and
attentive to possible standoffishness (especially the
Attentive also to the possibility of replacing the mother with a permanent
caregiver. This caregiver, the childcare
worker, should be able to establish this substitute, but still personal
contact with the children. Their job is far more than nursing
according a timetable, more than establishing a functional distance and practising
of behavior modification techniques. For this, the managers' staff has to
create the conditions.
b. The politicians and the generals, the proud people who make war and
create streams of fugitives, who murder parents and make children orphans -
or who spread AIDS by refusing medicines - or who otherwise separate
parents and children by juridical or asylum policy - should take the above