Lightning Rod

Interesting thoughts here about Taylor Swift, probably the biggest megastar he music world has ever seen. I have to confess a liking for her music. I’ve always liked her music. Taylor isn’t the best singer but I rather like the wobbly vulnerability of her vocals and no one can write catchier songs. For several years (when she was a “country” artist) she came across as this sweet, innocent victim-type of girl, a girl moms didn’t mind taking their 12 year old daughters to see. But I always suspected something a little off about Taylor–that she wasn’t quite what she seemed. Is Taylor a psychopath or is she just a narcissist? I think a little of both.

Whatever she is, who would have grokked that this virginal girl next door who sings songs about love gone wrong was really a card carrying member of The Dark Triad? But that’s what psychopaths and narcissists are best at: putting on masks.

CLUSTER B

Taylor Swift

everyone’s favorite fantasy…

blank_spaceWhen I was a teen, I made some gay friends. We would watch TV together and this one was gay and that one was gay. Celebrities are almost always a repository in which to dump our own “stuff.” But nobody seems to fulfill that role better than Taylor Swift. According to various opinions, she is a really nice, unpretentious gal whose talent made famous, a danger to the morale of the country, a psychopath or a member of (victim of?) the Illuminati.

Taylor Swift, the Psychopath

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“The Duggars: Abuse and Conservative Religion”

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Michelle and Jim Bob Duggar; Josh Duggar (inset)

The article I’m going to post is about half a year old, and was written following the sexual abuse scandal involving Josh Duggar (the Duggar’s oldest son) of the reality show 19 Kids and Counting.   I haven’t watched all the episodes, but I firmly believe that sexual abuse as well as malignant narcissism is a huge problem in the Duggar family.   Josh is probably not the first abuser.  His parents, Michelle and Jim Bob, are both very controlling and both use their ultra-conservative religion to control and shame, and isolate their kids from learning anything on their own.   The fame and fortune from their reality show no doubt provides a ton of narcissistic supply to both Michelle and Jim Bob.  I see many of their kids as scapegoats and flying monkeys.   Josh seemed like he was a Golden Child.

I’m posting this article now because it’s still relevant. Sexual abuse is not going away anytime soon and has been with us probably as long as human beings have been around.  What do you think of the Duggars?  Do you think Jim Bob and Michelle genuinely love their children, or are their children just props in the narrative of moral and religious “perfection” they’re selling to the world?  Will any of them ever dare to break free of the prison of their huge, dysfunctional family and its narcissistic rulers?

The Duggars: Abuse and Conservative Religion

Until a few weeks ago, I had no idea who the Duggar family was. To my surprise, it appears that many people in North America have been following this conservative Christian family. Further, the Duggar’s seem to be very influenctial among various Evangelical Christian lobbying groups. It seems that they have become a sensation because of their reality TV show, 19 Kids and Counting. Even as I read some things about the family in the news in recent weeks, it seemed to me that the Duggar’s were faux celebrities much like the Kardashian’s and Paris Hilton: they never really did anything but yet they seem to be famous.

I received an email from one of my colleagues, a psychologist in another part of the country, who asked what I thought of the Duggar’s and the current sexual abuse scandal. It was her question that prompted me to learn more about the family. While I have clearly never met the Duggar’s nor have I watched their TV show, what I found in the press seemed to fit the pattern of domestic abuse.

Read the rest of Lou’s article here.

Test of the 3 R’s (acquired situational narcissism vs. NPD)

narcrealityshows

I just read an interesting article by Sam Vaknin (author of Malignant Self-Love) describing a condition that afflicts some celebrities and other high-profile people or people who achieved overnight success, called Acquired Situational Narcissism (ASN). It can also occur in codependents of a narcissist (what the ACON community calls “fleas”). ASN can mimic NPD, but tends to diminish over time or if the person’s fortunes change. But a more important difference is that a person with ASN isn’t lacking what he calls “The Three R’s.” These are:

1. Remorse
2. Remediation
3. Restoration

Narcissism is used as a coping strategy but doesn’t necessarily become a life sentence. I’ve done enough editorializing, so here is the article.

The Test of Three R’s
By Sam Vaknin
http://www.selfgrowth.com/articles/the-test-of-three-rs

Acquired Situational Narcissism can be induced in adulthood by celebrity, wealth, and fame. But, it may also occur in a variety of other situations. Codependents, aiming to fend off gnawing abandonment anxiety, can resort to and evolve narcissistic and even psychopathic behaviours and traits in order to cater the whims of their “loved” ones; in anomic societies and depraved cultural or religious settings, people with a conformist bend tend to adopt antisocial modes of conduct and personal style so as to “fit in” and belong.

How can we tell whether one’s narcissism is of the ephemeral, derivative variety – or an integral, immutable, and inalienable feature of his or her personality? By applying the test of “Three Rs”: Remorse, Remediation, and Restoration.

To qualify, remorse has to be expressed repeatedly and must be heartfelt. It should entail a modicum of sacrifice, embarrassment, and inconvenience. Regretting one’s misdeeds in public is more convincing than sending a private missive or whispering “sorry” anonymously. Remediation requires making amends and offering reparations, which are commensurate with the offending acts and bear some symbolic relation to them. Thus, financial abuse can be absolved only with the aid of a monetary compensation that corresponds to the damage done and suffered. Finally, restoration involves affording one’s victims the opportunity for closure, if not forgiveness, so that they can move on with their lives.

True narcissists and psychopaths fail the Three Rs test at every turn: their remorse is feigned and ostentatious; they provide little or no recompense; and they never put themselves at the victim’s disposal to allow her to achieve that she needs most: closure.

Read the rest of Sam’s article here.

Related to this, on February 22, writer/producer Nancy Fulton will be interviewing Sam Vaknin about the portrayal of narcissists in media and entertainment. More info can be found here.

Cognitive dissonance and NPD.

narcissism_childhood

I’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of cognitive dissonance and its role in creating a narcissist or turning a narcissist into a malignant one.

Cognitive dissonance is the mental stress or discomfort experienced by an individual who holds two or more contradictory beliefs, ideas, or values at the same time, or is confronted by new information that conflicts with existing beliefs, ideas, or values.

–Wikipedia

A computer will crash or stop working when given conflicting sets of instructions. Although people are not computers (because we have emotions and a soul), if we receive conflicting sets of “instructions” or information about ourselves, it causes so much mental distress that a personality disorder can develop if the conflict appears very early in life.

A child who is constantly invalidated by narcissistic parents tries to correct the cognitive dissonance by “becoming” what the parents tell them they are. If the parents tell them they are evil, bad, always misbehaving, etc. they may become aggressive, overt narcissist themselves to “match” the parents’ assessment of them. If they are told they are incompetent, a loser, stupid, etc. they may develop covert narcissism or BPD instead.

Golden/spoiled children.

Veruca-Salt

Spoiling a child is actually a form of abuse, because being a golden child negates the child’s own reality that they are human and less than perfect. The spoiled, golden child will either try to be as “perfect” as they are told to match their parent’s unrealistic assessment (and a grandiose false self develops from that) or they know they can’t ever be the image of perfection their parents insist they be, and to correct the cognitive dissonance they may become rebellious or adopt covert narcissism (in which the child believes they are worthless and the parents are wrong) as a coping strategy.

Other personality disorders.

Borderline personality disorder (BPD) is also a way to correct cognitive dissonance. I think BPD develops in many children who were both golden children and scapegoats (which is often the case with onlies) who were given inconsistent parenting, sometimes abused, sometimes treated like little gods. That’s why they’re so conflicted and seem to act in contradictory ways that confuse themselves and those around them.

Not all abused children develop narcissism or BPD, but it’s my belief almost all children of narcissists develop personality disorders, all of which are the adult incarnations of childhood attachment disorders.

Malignant Narcissism.

monsters-nietzsche

Malignant narcissism is NPD that is high on the spectrum and mixed with antisocial (ASPD) traits. A low-mid spectrum narcissist (or even a non-narcissist!) can turn malignant during adolescence or even as an adult. I think this is almost always due to some choice they made or action they were forced to engage in that went against their conscience. Let me explain how this works.

M. Scott Peck in his book, “People of the Lie,” (the book that popularized the concept of malignant narcissists as “evil”) told the story of a man who narrowly escaped becoming evil/malignant. The man, a non-narcissist who loved his family dearly, suffered from debilitating panic attacks when crossing a certain bridge on his drive to work. Even though he didn’t believe in the devil, one day while suffering a severe panic attack he made a “deal with the devil”–he told the devil he could take his favorite son’s life in exchange for allowing him to cross the bridge without having any more panic attacks. Of course nothing happened, and the son was fine. The man, filled with remorse over having these thoughts, told Dr. Peck about it, and was told he did the right thing to repent, because otherwise he would have become evil himself, especially had something actually happened to his son. If he had turned to darkness and narcissism, it would have been to correct the cognitive dissonance between what he had done and his internal moral compass. He would have had to discard his previous moral standards and embrace darkness.

A person forced to engage in something they find morally reprehensible, such as a soldier forced to kill innocent civilians, can turn toward darkness. Many veterans return suffering severe PTSD and in some cases seem to have lost the souls they went to war with. Many, who have committed atrocities in war, correct the cognitive dissonance created by doing something that went against their conscience, by discarding their conscience altogether. This isn’t a conscious choice usually, but is the end result of severe PTSD. (I think all personality disorders are, in fact, manifestions of severe PTSD caused by chronic abuse starting when the personality was still forming.)

It’s my opinion that adolescence is when malignant narcissism is most likely to develop, because adolescents are by nature risk-takers and trying to establish a separate identity from their their parents. This usually takes the form of some type of rebellion, and rebellion is normal as long as it doesn’t go too far. Some adolescents may be “dared” by their friends to engage in antisocial activities. Adolescents are so eager to be accepted in a group of their peers that sometimes their desire for acceptance overrides their conscience, which isn’t fully developed yet. If these antisocial activities hurt others (such as robbing someone’s house on a dare), the teenager’s fledgling conscience is halted in its growth, and may be discarded altogether. It’s at this point an adolescent can turn to malignant narcissism. This is why the choices kids make are so important. Here’s an excerpt from my article, “Healing Narcissism: Stephen’s Story,” in which a fictional boy I called Stephen turns to narcissism as a coping strategy, and it all began with a dare.

The Choice.

bullied_child

Stephen recalled a dare when he was 8 years old. A group of boys who had bullied him dared him to set a paper bag of dried dog poop on another boy’s rickety wooden front porch and set it on fire. The boys promised him that if he did this, they would no longer bully him and they would be his friend and protect him against any further bullying. Stephen knew that doing this could set the other boy’s house on fire and at first he protested, explaining what could happen. At this point he still had a conscience. But the boys threatened him and told him if he didn’t do it, their bullying would become worse and they would kill his pet rabbit. Stephen believed them, so against his will, he complied.

They set out after dark for the targeted house. The boys watched from the darkened yard as Stephen lit the paper bag on fire and hesitantly walked up the front stairs of the boy’s porch and set it next to a dead potted plant. The deed done, all the boys ran away before anyone saw them. Stephen looked back in time to see the flames ignite the plant, and quickly start to spread over the railings of the rickety old wooden porch. He felt awful and considered going to the police, but he didn’t dare. He went to bed that night and had terrible nightmares.

The targeted boy’s house burned down and he, his baby sister, and his mother had to be taken to the hospital to be treated for smoke inhalation. Soon after, the family moved away, never to be seen again. No charges were pressed because no one knew who the culprit was.

To protect himself from his unbearable feelings of guilt and shame, Stephen shut off his painful emotions of guilt and conscience. From then on, the group of bullies accepted him as one of them, and they continued to engage in tormenting other children and even petty crimes.

This is an example of cognitive dissonance. Stephen would not have been able to live with himself had he not turned to narcissism as a coping strategy. The irony here is that, the more intense the child’s guilt or shame over committing an act that goes against their morals (or the more heinous the act), the more likely it is they will turn malignant, because to do otherwise would mean the overwhelming shame they feel could likely cause them to become severely depressed or even suicidal. This isn’t an excuse for anyone to turn to narcissism (or malignant narcissism) as a coping strategy, but is an unfortunate reality.

Acquired narcissism.

narcrealityshows

Sometimes people who become extremely successful, such as celebrities, sports stars, business leaders or politicians, can become narcissists, even if they were not narcissistic before their success. It doesn’t happen to all of them, but if it does, this is another example of how cognitive dissonance tries to “correct” things. In order to close the mental gap between their actual assessment of themselves as imperfect humans and the adulation they receive from the outer world that treats them as if they’re somehow more than human, a successful person can turn to narcissism to align their self-assessment with the way they are regarded by others. This is why some celebrities become so full of themselves or manipulative. It’s a form of acquired narcissism, but because it’s acquired fairly late in life and isn’t due to a choice, this type of narcissism may be temporary and only last as long as the person remains famous or very successful. If they fade into obscurity, the person faces a narcissistic crisis, but after that I think they can return to a non-narcissistic way of being in the world.

Can an adult turn into a narcissist?

crossroads1

I believe the answer to this is yes. While most cases of NPD are formed during childhood as a reaction to abuse or neglect, there are situations where a person who is not a narcissist can later become one, even as an adult. It can happen because of narcissism being, essentially, a choice. Even a small child makes a choice to become a narcissist, even if they’re not really conscious of that “decision.” In an adult, it may be more conscious, but once made, the personality can change dramatically.

An adult who becomes a narcissist is probably more easily healed, because the disorder is less deeply ingrained in the personality, but I think there are certain situations where if someone makes a choice to walk in darkness, something evil grabs hold of the soul and there is no turning back to a normal way of relating to others. Here are four scenarios in which I think a person can acquire NPD.

1. Abandonment or abuse starting during adolescence.

teenage_depression

Teenagers are narcissistic by nature and vulnerable to peer pressure, so they often act out in risky ways and experiment with the illicit and unhealthy. This is normal to some degree. But for a few, if familial abuse or abandonment begins during the teen years, the narcissistic behaviors of adolescence may become a lifestyle and coping tactic that the person will not let go of as they enter adulthood. I believe my ex is an example of a psychopathic malignant narcissist who did not become one until the age of 13, when he found his father dead in the bathroom in the middle of the night and his mother refused to do anything and left it to him to take care of his father’s body. Although his mother had always been a malignant narcissist, my ex was a good kid until that point; after that he changed.

In most cases though, I think narcissism starting during adolescence is likely to be fairly mild. I have been in communication with a young man who believes he is a narcissist. He explained to me that he was raised by loving parents but his mother became severely depressed when he was in his early teens, and began to ignore him due to her depression. He didn’t understand it was her depression causing her sudden coldness; he thought she she didn’t love him anymore. He explained that’s when his narcissistic behavior patterns began. In such cases, I think the narcissism that develops is actually a condition called DNP (destructive narcissistic pattern disorder) which lies below NPD on the narcissistic continuum, and is a more easily treatable form of narcissism where the person does retain some ability to feel empathy, love, and remorse.

2. Choosing evil.

fearofbridge

M. Scott Peck talks about a man who almost became evil in his book “People of the Lie.” A family man who loved his wife and children suffered from severe panic attacks, especially when driving over a certain bridge. Although he didn’t believe in the devil, he made a “deal” with Satan that if he could pass over the bridge without suffering a panic attack, that Satan could do what he wanted to with his favorite son. He didn’t think it really counted since he didn’t believe in the Devil (and nothing happened to his son), but he realized later that if he hadn’t repented, his own soul would have been seared. I think when a person knowingly chooses evil over good, the soul can be damaged or destroyed. It’s even possible that making such a choice allows an entryway for an evil entity that works to destroy all goodness in that person. The change can be dramatic and happen almost overnight.

3. Severe reaction to trauma.

ptsd_soldier

Related to the above, I think sometimes a person can engage in evil through no choice of their own. Victims of Stockholm Syndrome, who identify with their abusers and cannot escape, will sometimes be forced to commit evil acts or help their abuser carry them out, such as Patty Hearst back in the early 1970s. It sometimes happens in war, too. A normal person forced to kill innocent civilians will often develop PTSD, but for some soldiers, in order to protect themselves from their unbearable guilt, they learn to shut off all their emotions and any feelings of empathy or remorse, and come to regard other people as less than human. Unfortunately, a few veterans have their hearts hardened during war, and become cold-blooded narcissists.

4. Overnight success.

narcrealityshows

Celebrities and other people who achieve overnight success or fame have to be careful not to let their success go to their heads. Many celebrities are narcissistic, which begs the question: were they narcissistic in the first place and that led to them becoming rich and famous, or did becoming rich and famous turned them into narcissists? I think both come into play, depending on the individual. Certainly narcissistic personality types are the most drawn to fame and fortune, but I’ve heard of cases where a highly successful person was kind to others until fame and success went to their heads. I think though, since evil wasn’t chosen by the person under these circumstances, that a celebrity who didn’t already have NPD can discard their acquired narcissism if their arrogance and sense of entitlement is pointed out to them, or they realize they have hurt someone. So a celebrity’s narcissism may not be true NPD, but a condition called “situational acquired narcissism” which may be temporary.

Are reality show participants all a bunch of narcissists?

narcrealityshows

I recently saw a study that indicated that among all types of entertainers, reality show stars have the highest levels of narcissism (comedians were second, which surprised me).

narcissistchart
Click on chart to enlarge.

Dr. Drew Pinsky, contributor of this study and a celebrity psychologist who has even hosted his own reality shows (“Celebrity Rehab” among others) had this to say about reality show contestants. It’s easy to see why the study is probably correct. Many if not most reality shows feature people who have no real talent or special ability, other than airing their dirty laundry and personal issues on national television, or just acting like jerks and getting rich and famous for it.

VH1, once a respectable music video alternative to MTV, has become Reality Show Central, and their reality shows tend to be the dumbest of them all, with the most most offensive and unpleasant “stars” you could ever imagine. The premises of these shows are also questionable, even if at times humorous. I remember a show called “Tool Academy,” where young men (and sometimes women) who acted like total tools were sent to be on the show by their wives and girlfriends. The show was run in the typical “Ten Little Indians” format of most game-type reality shows, with one person (who displayed the most “toolish” behavior) eliminated each week, until the winner–the guy whose behavior had improved the most–was announced as the winner.

Another VH1 show, “Flavor of Love,” featured the narcissistic rapper, Flavor Flav, an aging, unattractive, yet inexplicably desireable has-been as the “prize.” Some prize. Flavor Flav was insufferable, annoying, vain and conceited but every week a group of girls would engage in ugly catfights over his attentions, with one girl eliminated each week (for reasons that were completely arbitrary and based on Flav’s personal opinion formed on “alone time” with that girl.)

One of the contestants from “Flavor of Love” became a reality star in her own right–a highly (and probably malignantly) narcissistic girl named Tiffany “New York” Pollard. “New York” possessed every tool in the narcissist’s bag of tricks–gaslighting, triangulating, tantrum throwing, blame shifting, abusive behavior, lack of empathy, and whiny, wheedling self-centeredness–and she got most of Flav’s attention (although she did not win). She was also hilarious, and that was probably some of her appeal. Not surprisingly, New York got her own reality show, predictably called “I Love New York,” in which men would compete for HER as the prize.

Production Stills from the Flavor of Love spinoff,"I Love New York"
Tiffany “New York” Pollard

A similar show in the same vein (and made by the same producers) was a short lived reality show called “Megan Wants a Millionaire” in which a girl named Megan, a materialistic and shallow nobody, got to choose her dream rich guy, who would become the winner after everyone else was eliminated. The show made news when one of its contestants–an arrogant, sleazy and malignantly narcissistic piece of human scum named Ryan Jenkins (who was one of Megan’s favorites and probably would have won) brutally murdered and then dismembered his girlfriend, Jasmine Fiore, in a hotel in Canada, and then stuffed her body into a suitcase. Immediately following the murder, the show was cancelled, so there never was a winner. Megan may have been wound up with Jenkins killing HER if he didn’t win. I remember getting uncomfortable feelings watching Jenkins–and wondered what Megan saw in him. I couldn’t quite put my finger on why, but Jenkins gave me a bad case of the heebie jeebies.

There are many shows of this ilk, and they’re everywhere. MTV started the reality show trend back in the 1990s with “The Real World,” which showed a group of “normal” (but hand picked through an audition process) twentysomethings living together in a house. The most narcissistic housemate would almost always become the most famous, even if they had a lot of haters. Now MTV’s offerings are more likely to be game-show based or documentary-like, such as the hit “Teen Mom.” While the show has its merits (showing how these young girls cope with raising a child without a husband or decent job), it also rewards questionable behavior, such as getting pregnant before one is ready to handle the responsibilities of a child. I have actually heard of girls who deliberately get pregnant just to be able to audition to be on the show. The girls on “Teen Mom” become instant stars, and because the girls are getting paid handsomely to be on the show, the actual “reality” of this reality show (like most others) is questionable. Most real teen moms struggle with poverty or near-poverty, but these girls only pretend to be impoverished for the sake of the show.

There are other non-contest shows like TLC’s “19 Kids and Counting,” featuring the supersized Duggars; the defunct and controversial “Jon and Kate Plus 8”; and of course, the enormously popular “Keeping Up with the Kardashians,” which has made megastars of its namesakes. Jon and Kate, now divorced, obviously both have NPD, especially Kate, who used her many children as a ticket to stardom. Kate has parlayed the success of “Jon and Kate” into a career as a reality star and has also appeared on the show “Dancing With the Stars,” among other shows. I feel sorry for her kids, with such a fame-whoring, self centered, attention seeking excuse for a mother.

I haven’t watched The Kardashians, so I don’t know if the sisters are narcissists, but I fail to see how a show about a family with daughters whose only claim to fame is the fact their father (Bruce Jenner) used to be a famous track and field athlete and is now a motivational speaker, ever got so popular. Yet people want to be just like Kim, Khloe and Kourtney, and their very average countenances regularly grace almost every entertainment and women’s magazine.

keeping-up-with-the-kardashians-50e980ae8abea (1)

Then there is Oxygen’s “Bad Girls Club,” which is exactly what its name promises. Although the premise of the show (like “Tool Academy”) is the improvement of the girls’ selfish, combative, narcissistic behaviors, with the winner showing the most improved personality and etiquette, people don’t really watch the show for the bad-to-good transformation (which is most likely fake and scripted anyway)–they watch it to see the catfights and the girls’ bad behavior–it’s nothing more than digital rubbernecking. Of course, to get on the show, a girl has to act like a complete bitch, so in effect, the bad behavior is glorified.

Michelle Duggar of the TLC hit “19 Kids and Counting” gives me mega N vibes. While putting on this mask of being an angelic, meek, deferent, soft spoken, ultra religious Mother of the Year, I highly suspect this act is fake as hell and Michelle is actually a media savvy, manipulative operator behind the scenes, much like Kate Gosselin. Having babies seems to give Michelle a narcissistic rush, but once each child becomes a toddler, she pans them off to an older sibling (always a girl) who is to be their “buddy” and basically raise that child herself, so Michelle can focus on having the next baby. Evidently once she had her 19th child she finally became too old to birth any more children. Her last pregnancy ended in miscarriage and she has not become pregnant since.

Another of TLC’s offerings (which I think has been cancelled) was a show called “Toddlers and Tiaras,” a documentary-style behind the scenes look at child beauty queens and their parents, who shamelessly exploit their young children and push them into these pageants. Almost without exception, the parents are narcissists who try to turn their child into a showpiece, whether the child wants to participate or not. The children’s own wishes and interests are not respected and in some cases, the parents’ (usually the mother’s) behavior borders on abuse. When all the makeup, fake tans, fake teeth, and creepy sexualization of the child is finally done, the kid looks more like a doll than a human being, and it’s chilling to see. Only a narcissist would understand the appeal of making a child look like that.

toddlersandtiaras
Believe it or not, this is a child, not a doll.

Talent contest shows seem to have more legitimacy since some of the contestants actually have a talent, such as singing, cooking or dancing (and usually, the most talented are the ones that make it farthest and go on to win). Still, I think narcissism is a motivator for many of the participants, and NPD is highly represented among both the contestants and the judges.

Mean, abusive, tantrum throwing judges like Gordon Ramsey of “Hell’s Kitchen” is a good example of a highly narcissistic judge who is probably malignant as well. The contestants’ terror of Ramsey’s narcissistic rages is one of the show’s attractions. Simon Cowell, a savvy business tycoon who made his fortune with his empire of singing reality shows like “American Idol.” “America’s Got Talent,” and “The X-Factor,” is probably still most famous for his mean, sarcastic, and abusive commentary to the fledgling singers on the once popular show, “American Idol.” People would tune in just to see what he would say to some poor hapless auditoner. While Cowell gives generously to charity, that doesn’t mean he’s not a narcissist.

simoncowell
Simon Cowell

I read a horrifying story once about Cowell and I don’t doubt it’s probably true (unfortunately I can’t locate the link right now). Some years back, Cowell developed an attraction to a contestant named Nikki McKibbin. At first Cowell was nice to her (he was always nice to contestants he liked), but one day he told her (not on the show itself) he thought her eyes were so pretty he wanted to remove them and keep them in a jar by his bed. Ms. McKibbin was understandably so spooked she decided to stop speaking to Cowell and started treated him coldly offset. Cowell, suffering narcissistic injury, got back at her by henceforth being extremely critical of every one of her performances, where before he had been nothing but complimentary. Nikki must have been popular in spite of Cowell’s campaign against her, because she went all the way to 3rd place.

This year’s “American Idol” winner, a rock singer named Caleb Johnson, is from my town (Asheville, NC) and while there is no argument he’s extremely talented (and an unusual winner for being a hard rocker on a show that features pop singers), he displayed enough narcissistic traits during his appearance on the show it would not surprise me if he has NPD–but of course that could have been due to the scripting too (I don’t think these reality shows are really based much on actual reality).

calebjohnson
Caleb Johnson

There was an incident where during an interview which occurred offset, Caleb called his fans “retarded.” This could have just been the ignorant gaffe of a young guy who didn’t quite know how to handle overnight fame and having to deal with the media, so I’m not going to judge his behavior too harshly. I have no proof he has NPD.

In summary, narcissism does seem to be highly represented among reality show participants (and is definitely glorified on these shows), especially the shows that reward and showcase bad, immoral, or abusive behavior.

Famous people who have NPD

parishilton

This is not my own list, but I agree with most of the people listed in this blog post.

Here is the entire article:

There are many people all around us that suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), more commonly referred to as narcissism. There are many well known individuals who display characteristics of narcissism, if not full blown NPD. They range from politicians to celebrities, from ministers to business leaders. Some writers and researchers believe that successful and famous people have acquired or situational narcissism; they do show narcissistic traits but only after they have worked hard, sometimes for years, to get there. But that success often produces a personality pattern replete with narcissistic traits. Others believe that these people were narcissistic to begin with and sought out opportunities and fields that would satisfy their narcissistic needs. Either way, once they become famous it leads to narcissistic thinking and behaviors; they have lots of money and/or fame, don’t wait in line at restaurants or events, have limo service, and are asked for photographs and so on. This often leads to demanding behavior, feeling they are above the law, becoming more exhibitionistic and many have public social or emotional meltdowns (frequent run-ins with the law, drug and alcohol abuse, attempting suicide, etc.).
Let’s take a look at some of the famous people who show personality traits that suggest narcissism. Most of them show grandiose thinking and exaggerated self-importance, many believe or fantasize about the power they have, most believe they are special, need to be admired and feel entitled. Many dictators and criminals had or have narcissistic personalities as well as the Hollywood celebrities; some are negative role models and some are positive. Hitler and Stalin both had grandiose self-images as did Casanova, Marquis de Sade, Peter Sellers, and the heart surgeon Christiaan Barnard. Other likely suspects are Madonna, Margaret Thatcher, Paris Hilton and O.J. Simpson. Here are just a few of the many that come to mind:

hitler

Jim Jones
Saddam Hussein
Warren Beatty
Ryan O’Neal
Alec Baldwin
Sharon Stone
Elvis Presley
William Shatner
Joan Crawford
Pablo Picasso
Ike Turner
Lee Harvey Oswald
Donald Trump
Kayne West
Charlie Chaplin
Marlon Brando
Eva Peron
Simon Cowell
Liberace
Adolph Hitler
Joseph Mengele
Joseph Stalin
Ted Bundy
O.J. Simpson
Paris Hilton
Madonna

donaldtrump

The author also has Marilyn Manson on the list, but while I do think he has psychological issues, I don’t think that he is a narcissist. From what I have read of him, he has exceedingly low self esteem and was bullied in school. Narcissists are rarely victims of school bullying.

Many of these people are successful and talented entertainers, and as such have contributed in a positive way to the world, so while they may be narcissists, some of them are probably not malignant narcissists or psychopathic (this just means they are less high on the narcissist spectrum than people who have contributed nothing to the world except evil and misery or have led a parasitic, exploitative lifestyle. Some may even possess small amounts of empathy and give generously to charity.)

simoncowell

Here’s a few others I would add (not a complete list by any means):

Kanye West

The Koch Brothers
Rush Limbaugh
Ayn Rand (she glorified narcissists in her books and a serial killer was her role model)
Scott Peterson
Osama bin Laden
Susan Smith
Jodi Arias
Dick Cheney
Sarah Palin
John Edwards (D-SC who cheated on his wife while she was dying from cancer)
Joel Osteen
Bette Davis
Joan Crawford (may have been Borderline rather than NPD)
Bing Crosby
Mick Jagger
Ted Nugent
Justin Beiber
Nikki Minaj
Most televangelists
Most Reality TV stars
Many rap and rock stars (narcissism is part of their whole badass “package” but it may not be genuine)

justinbeiber

Many people have accused Barack Obama of being a narcissist, but I disagree.

I found this interesting chart showing different high-profile professions and the corresponding level of narcissistic traits. Not surprisingly, Reality TV scores highest. (Click to enlarge the chart)

narcissistchart

The distinctive “look” of psychopathy: gazing into the face of evil

blackhole
Gaze into the void…

Psychopaths and malignant narcissists are very good at putting on masks to get others to trust them. They can seem warm and charming when they want to. But sometimes they can be caught when their mask is momentarily down (usually when they’ve been called out–or caught), and it’s here when we see the emptiness and evil inside them.

I’ve described this look before–I’ve seen it on my mother’s face and it gave me nightmares for weeks. I saw it once on my ex’s face when he was drunk and angry. It’s not so much a demonic look (which has a sort of life to it) as a dead, lifeless look that is far worse. It’s a malignant look that makes you want to get away from them fast. Like there’s nothing inside them except an vast and endless black void of nothingness. It’s like standing at the precipice of a black hole, and what can be more terrifying than some nameless void that can suck you into itself–and can even swallow light?

Many people have mentioned the intense stare a psychopathic person will fix you with, even when they are trying to charm you into trusting them. During the “wooing” phase, you may think this intense stare indicates attentiveness and strong interest in you as a person, but actually all they’re interested in is how they can use you and later destroy you. Make no mistake–they are predators out for the kill. If you have met someone who seems to stare at you excessively, or in a predatory way that makes you uneasy, that person is probably a psychopath or malignant narcissist trying to get their hooks into you. RUN LIKE HELL.

I don’t think evil is the opposite of good. I think evil is the opposite of somethingness–evil is pure black nothingness. Here are some examples of the dead, reptilian eyes of known psychopaths and malignant narcissists.

dennis_rader_1973
Serial killer Dennis Rader

jodiarias
Convicted murderer Jodi Arias. Her trial footage shows as many fake tears and mask-changes as Scott Peterson’s and none of her “emotions” seem genuine.

scottpeterson
Scott Peterson, unfaithful husband who murdered his pregnant wife and unborn child.

susansmith
Susan Smith, who murdered her two young sons by sinking them in a car she drove into a lake because she wanted to please her lover, who did not want children.

SO.0511.Mothers2.HO
Actress Joan Crawford (“Mommie Dearest”), who was an alcoholic and abusive mother to two of her adoptive children (some reports classify her as having Borderine Personality Disorder with Histrionic and Narcissistic elements, rather than NPD)

In some cases, psychopaths show a distinctive smirk or sneer. Their eyes may twinkle, but it’s a hard, cold, glittering twinkle that is malevolent and creepy. Behind the twinkle, the eyes are still reptilian and dead. You may see this look when they think they’ve pulled one over on you–or perversely, when you’ve pulled one over on them–and they are ready to kill you either literally or figuratively. Here are some examples of this look:

Osama Bin Laden Headshot
Osama bin Laden, fundamentalist Islamic mastermind who ordered the attacks on the World Trade Centers and the Pentagon in 2001.

charlesmanson
Mass murderer Charles Manson, who never killed anyone himself but had his cult of followers do his dirty work for him. Some think he’s psychotic and therefore not responsible for his actions, but he’s a psychopath who knew exactly what he was doing and has never shown an ounce of remorse.

dickcheney
Former Vice President Dick Cheney, the brains behind the disastrous and dishonest Bush administration and our “preemptive” invasion of Iraq. Cheney and his cronies bailed out or pardoned corporate criminals like Halliburton. How could you trust a man with a face like that?

kochbrothers
The Koch Brothers, multibillionaire CEOs who by their words and deeds have shown their disdain and comtempt for the “little people” which includes both the poor and middle class. These jerks have zero empathy and seem very psychopathic.

ojsimpson
Former pro football player and actor O.J. Simpson during his famous 1995 murder trial. This insolent expression became his trademark look while he was on trial.

tedbundy
Serial killer Ted Bundy’s infamous look of psychopathic glee. *shudder*

unknownwoman
I don’t know this woman, but she is a malignant narcissist who apparently gets her jollies making the people who lived in her building miserable. Someone on another website about narcissists was being attacked by her and called her out. I wouldn’t have included her here, but this is one of the most frightening looking people I’ve ever seen. Her eyes look like those solid black eyes you see in horror movies of demonic people. I have no doubt this woman is as evil as she looks.

richardramirez
Serial killer and alleged Satanist Richard Ramirez.

I’ve also included this Court TV program covering the arrest and trial of murderer Scott Peterson. Notice how he uses tears to manipulate the police and interviewer, but how insincere he seems and the way he arranges his facial features into whatever “mask” he thinks will help his case. There are those who insist he is not guilty (and I had my doubts too) and of course being good looking like Ted Bundy, he had a number of “groupies” who defended him, but he’s an intelligent manipulator and after watching this video, I absolutely believe Scott Peterson killed his wife and unborn son in cold blood.