Even on the occasion of the pandemic that is afflicting the whole world, they have emerged, inevitable, the narcissists who always know more than others.
There is a principle that is never denied: narcissists believe they know more than experts. During the pandemic on TV, in newspapers, on social media, people who seem to have a degree in all scientific subjects emerge: medicine, nursing sciences, virology, politics, economics, geopolitics, etc. Not only that, but the Internet and social networks are also full of people used to questioning any information, even if the various sources are reliable. They are people with whom it is impossible to open a debate because they always position themselves one step above the others and consider the hypothesis, they support certain, safe, and proven. According to them, there are no doubts or loopholes.
Narcissists represent the most negative side of society. These people are far from promoting the progress of humanity. Indeed, they hinder it with their obvious self-centeredness. They are almost always poorly informed people who however continue to disseminate information. Far from presenting proposals, they are trained only to criticize, and, before any proof, do not hesitate to use the data to fuel discussions, mistrust and even fear.
When narcissists start to intervene on any topic boasting more knowledge than the experts, only confusion and disagreements are created. If the ego dominates every conversation, situation, or daily interaction, people end to exhaustion.
Also, we must not forget about people who live with a narcissist. It is important to remember that this personality trait presents a broad spectrum of behavior. So, there will be those who will show only a few traits and others who will manifest a clear narcissistic personality disorder. In the latter case, cohabitation can be very complicated and exhausting, especially if you are forced to live together because of the quarantine or a similar crisis, because, in such a contest, any psychological disorder or personality characteristic is amplified.
With this attitude, boast of knowing more than the experts, in reality, arises from a profound need of the narcissist: the need, that is, to demonstrate an alleged intellectual superiority. But, in an attempt to appear smarter on any topic, even scientific, they try to dominate and overwhelm others. But in reality, as some studies have shown, these people have low self-esteem. The vision they have of themselves drives them to adopt protective behaviors that lead to exaggeration, delusions of grandeur, and to always criticize everything.
Unfortunately, narcissism is a widespread reality, at any level and in any context. The problem is that, far from helping, as it would be necessary in difficult times, they amplify the difficulties by increasing the distances between people.
And in fact, in companies, narcissistic leaders are neither welcome nor helpful.
Having a critical view is important, there is no doubt about this. But those who believe they know everything and deny everything without providing useful information and without offering a constructive perspective are of little use. Destroying and criticizing just for the pleasure of doing it is of no help to anyone.
In adverse times we would need above all people who are able to find compromises and create spaces for constructive discussion so that ideas can be developed to help each other. We need to feel united, and if someone feeds the disagreements by continually criticizing, it only creates malaise and discomfort. We need bright personalities, but humble and also equipped with emotional intelligence.
In today’s society, there should not be a place for narcissists. Instead, often we are forced to live with them. However, we can avoid giving them power or empowering them, to avoid fueling unnecessary and counterproductive discussions. Giving space instead to those who, with adequate cognitive humility, are able to listen, appreciate other points of view, and suggest well-founded proposals.