What is Narcissism?
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) describes narcissism as a personality disorder that“revolve around a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and sense of entitlement. Often individuals feel overly important and will exaggerate achievements and will accept, and often demand, praise and admiration despite worthy achievements.”
Pathological narcissism, is not akin to typical narcissism—someone with a hedonistic or self-centered sense of self —but rather someone with a very weak sense of self. Obama’s narcissism is pathological.
Narcissists seek power. That is the whole purpose of their existence. Power for them is the elixir of life. Those who know about NPD can’t help but notice it in Obama’s posture, the tone of his voice, his demeanor and particularly his grandiose claims and unscripted adlibs.
Narcissim has degrees. When it is extreme it shows in the posture and the way the narcissist walks and talks. Obama’s posture, exudes haughtiness. He is all puffery. Compare his posture to those of Hitler, Stalin and Saddam.
Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:
– Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and “ideals” (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, refuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy.
– Ignores data that conflict with his fantasy world, or with his inflated and grandiose self-image. This has to do with magical thinking. Obama already sees himself as president because he is firmly convinced that his dreams, thoughts, and wishes affect reality. Additionally, he denies the gap between his fantasies and his modest or limited real-life achievements (for instance, in 12 years of academic career, he didn’t publish a single scholarly paper or book).
– Feels that he is above the law.
– Talks about himself in the 3rd person singluar or uses the regal “we” and craves to be the exclusive center of attention, even adulation
– Has a messianic-cosmic vision of himself and his life and his “mission”.
– Sets ever more complex rules in a convoluted world of grandiose fantasies with its own language (jargon)
– Displays false modesty and unctuous “folksiness” but is unable to sustain these behaviors (the persona, or mask) for long. It slips and the true Obama is revealed: haughty, aloof, distant, and disdainful of simple folk and their lives.
– Sublimates aggression and holds grudges.
– Behaves as an eternal adolescent (e.g., his choice of language, youthful image he projects, demands indulgence and feels entitled to special treatment, even though his objective accomplishments do not justify it).
Nixon’s Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The authors find that the key aspect of Nixon’s early development was the creation of his narcissistic personality, which shaped his later life and career. Healthy narcissism is the foundation for self-esteem and balances independence with dependence on others. But a narcissistic personality is maladaptive and contradictory. On the one hand it consists of an overt grandiose self and on the other a hidden hungry self that is dependent on other people. The grandiose self must be protected at all costs, and, when it is not, the resulting feeling of humiliation leads to rage, envy, and paranoia.
“With Richard Nixon,” the authors write, “we see exaggerated narcissism….Nixon organized his personality at such a level that he had an exaggerated need to be ‘number one’ in his own eyes as wel1 as in the eyes of others, to maintain his self-esteem and to avoid the anxiety of acknowledging his ‘hungry self'” (p. 91). These needs can be seen in his drive to collect titles and offices from his high school days on, his need for applause, his obsession with racking up historical “firsts,” his bending truth to maintain his grandiose self, his collecting of White House tapes (useful for supplying his narcissism), his periodic withdrawal into a glass bubble, his dislike of the media (whose probing threatened grandiosity), his psychosomatic disorders at times of crisis.
Vamik D. Volkan, Norman Itzkowitz, Andrew W. Dod. Richard Nixon: A Psychobiography. ( review William E. Pemberton)
According to retired ABC News journalist Ann Compton, Barack Obama launches into “profanity-laced” tirades against the press in off-the-record meetings with reporters. In a C-SPAN interview, Compton also derided the President for leading “the most opaque” administration of “any I have covered.” The journalist, who retired in August after a 40-year career, revealed to C-SPAN’s Brian Lamb: “I have seen in the last year Barack Obama really angry twice. Both were off-the-record times. One, profanity-laced where he thought the press was making too much of scandals that he did not think were scandals.
She explained, “And I don’t find him apologetic. But I find him willing to stand up to the press and look them in the eye, even though it was off the record and just give us hell.” After Lamb wondered if the President had a point, she chided, “We cover what we are allowed to cover. And when policy decisions and presidents are inaccessible and don’t take questions from the press on a regular basis, I think they reap what they sow.”