I knew my mother was pretty far along on the narcissism spectrum, but I wasn't sure that I'd been all that damaged as a result. Until, that is, I reached page 118 of "Will I Ever Be Good Enough? Healing the Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers" by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. There it was, all laid out in front of me: the exact retelling of how my last relationship devolved and fell apart. According to McBride, when times get tough, the daughter of a narcissistic mother may get codependent and "end up stifling [her boyfriend or husband] with her overwhelming demands, jealousy, and insecurities. She will want him to be with her at all times and expect him to meet all her needs, particularly her emotional needs…[When he can't] she will feel the same disappointment and emptiness she did as a child and blame her spouse." As I continued to read, humbled, I thought: the good news is that I can get better; the bad news is that I'm not the only one who comes from a narcissistic parent and heads ill-equipped into love and dating.
It's no secret that people are getting married later these days than in previous generations, and in this culture of hook-ups and "modern female dating anxiety," we're at no loss for theories that explain why. Some people say today's twentysomethings are delaying marriage to focus on careers and build close friendships instead, but another explanation paints a less flattering picture of young people: apparently, they're all just a bunch of narcissists. In an article on The Daily Beast this week, writer Hannah Seligson, explores this theory, writing: "narcissism, even in small doses, has shifted courtship into a high-stakes relationship culture. Now that people think more highly of themselves, expectations of what a relationship should be like have skyrocketed into the realm of superlatives. Twentysomethings not only expect to waltz into high-level career positions right out of college, they also expect partners who have the moral fortitude of Nelson Mandela, the comedic timing of Stephen Colbert, the abs of Hugh Jackman, and the hair of Patrick Dempsey." Read: Are You Narcissistic?
Ever since John Edwards explained away his affair with Rielle Hunter, saying, "I started to believe that I was special and became increasing egocentric", we've been thinking about how it is just SUCH a dealbreaker to date a guy who's a narcissist. After all, who wants to end up in a bitter divorce battle like Christie Brinkley, whose ex-husband, Peter Cook, (who admitted to lying and cheating) was diagnosed as narcissistic by a court psychiatrist during their publicized divorce trial proceedings. But how do you tell if a person is a narcissist before you get caught up in their web of egocentricity? We took a look at the actual key factors in the diagnosis for narcissism and found out that a lot of women we know have the real life experience to back up the facts. All the info you need to know, after the jump…
Being called "narcissistic"—stemming from the Greek mythical character Narcissus who fell in love with his own reflection—isn't necessarily the most flowery of compliments. One automatically thinks of the guy who uses a spoon to gaze at his reflection during brunch, or the chick who can't bear to leave the house without a throng of male admirers—or any other combination of self-bloated annoyingness. Throw a rock hard enough and you'll find one (or twenty).
University of Georgia researchers used personality questionnaires to determine 130 Facebook users' levels of narcissism, then showed the profiles to strangers. Based on a user's number of friends, level of attractiveness and degree of self-promotion in the main photo, the strangers were able to pinpoint the narcissists with a high degree of accuracy.
We've seen enough married political figures with upstanding reputations, adorable kids, and kick-ass wives—maybe even especially those— cheat. The thing we've yet to uncover, though, is why. We get the human nature, sex thing. A USA Today/Gallup poll conducted in March of this year — right after the Eliot Spitzer scandal broke — found that 54 percent of Americans know someone with an unfaithful spouse. We're no math whizzes, but it seems to reason that unless each of the 1,025 people polled was referring to the same couple, that means half of all relationships in the U.S. suffer from infidelity—and people talk about it. But, with so much at stake and so many falling before them, how can men in the public eye cheat on their wives—and expect to get away with it?