After seeing the phrase, toxic narcissism, for about the two-millionth time, I did a search on signs of a narcissist. Since the browser I use is Brave, and since Brave doesn’t use Google, I don’t know how many hits I got. But I did learn this: Depending on the source you choose, there are between five (WebMD) and 21 symptoms (Mayo) Clinic) of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD because where would we be without abbreviations?).
I don’t know all that much about the DSM 5. But if the folks who compile that thing ever ask for my opinion, I’m going to humbly suggest they stop splitting hairs, take narcissists, sociopaths, pathological liars, racists, politicians, and most of the people in Hollywood, and put them under one category: Chronic Jackass Disorder (CJD). Because I’m so open-minded, I’ll leave it to the compilers of the DSM 5 to determine if they’d prefer Center of the Universe Syndrome (COTUS) to CJD
Eschewing nuance for simplicity (plus, I’m lazy), I’ve opted to work with WebMD’s five broad symptoms of NPD, all of which are manifested by narcissists, sociopaths, pathological liars, racists, politicians, and most of the people in Hollywood. And I’ve added a sixth. In lieu of WebMD’s explications of these five symptoms I’ve added my own to indicate precisely how apt they are for narcissists, sociopaths, pathological liars, racists, politicians, most of the people in Hollywood, and all others who present with CJD:
- Sense of Entitlement. All those with CJD/and or COTUS believe what’s theirs and theirs and what’s yours is theirs. If they don’t have it, they won’t rest until they’ve found a way to get it. And they won’t hesitate for a moment to use coercion … or worse.
- Manipulative Behavior. All those who make everyone around them suffer from their CJD and/or COTUS have the ability to wheedle, cajole, con, plead, beg, whine, pout, throw tantrums, and hold their breaths till they turn blue. While some people in Hollywood get paid to do those things on occasion, its particularly painful to watch it happen in Congress.
- Need for Admiration. This is actually a misconception. The people who exhibit CJD and/or COTUS don’t need admiration, as long as you’re telling them how good, wonderful, beautiful, intelligent, uniquely brilliant, and stunning capable they are, all the time.
- Lack of Empathy. To be fair to those with CJD and/or COTUS, it really is a rather daunting challenge to care about anyone or anything else when you don’t give a shit about anyone other than yourself or anything other than your own personal interests. Let’s have some empathy here, shall we?
- Arrogance. Come on. Really? If you were better than everyone else and the center of the universe, wouldn’t you be entitled (See #1 above) to a little arrogance?
- Self-Love. We’re not talking about the garden-variety self-love we can find in every self-help, feel-good book, blog, podcast, or website. We’re talking about the self-love those with CJD and/or COTUS experience that causes them to spend more time looking in the mirror, getting cosmetic surgeries, and taking selfies than they spend working, sleeping, and eating combined.
When it comes to CJD and/or COTUS, we need to be careful not to rush to judgment. Even jackasses and centers of the universe deserve to have a little slack cut for them on occasion, no?