Let’s continue our discussion about Narcissism with more dialogue. As many of you know, a straightforward essay format is useful, but lacks the nuance that a give and take can bring. Whether you call it the Socratic Method, a healthy debate or just good pedagogy, dialogue illuminates in ways that a lecture (and essays) cannot. It also helps me to clarify and sharpen my own thinking. So, what could be better?I really thank all the people who write in—it makes this project bigger than just an exercise in thought. It becomes a real conversation.

So, let’s dig in. Here’s a follow up (with slight editing) from an insightful contributor:

My main problem with the prolific overuse of the term “Narcissist” is that it groups people into the hackneyed categories of “Bad” or “Evil” people. This, in turn, can be used as an excuse to justify one’s position and behavior, and sometimes hide your own narcissism behind accusations of “Narcissism” towards your once significant ex.

In some way the dumbing down of conversation is a symptom of just how regressive people can get when a relationship falls apart. Calling someone a narcissist (or a borderline) are weak ways to feel superior. Yet, heaven protect the classic neurotic person who is married to or divorcing a person with a classic personality disorder, because it’s going to be very bad for the uncertain and more nuanced neurotic. They are facing a spouse or ex spouse on the other side who wants to win at all costs and will use his or her full arsenal (intelligence, influence, money, violence etc) to achieve those ends. A label can help a pretty innocent neurotic get with the program of self protection.

In so many dysfunctional relationships, the convenient moniker “he/she’s a Narcissist” becomes the fashionable response. It’s just become too convenient and trendy, today, that in the breakdown of a dysfunctional relationship, one or other (or both) parties is referred to as “The Narcissist”. Which is, putting it simply, a way of saying “I am good and you are bad; you are the enemy” thus excusing your own unpleasant or manipulative behavior because “they are a bad person who “deserves” what I throw at them – and I am the good person so I am allowed to behave this way”…Read more