Sunday, May 07, 2006

Narcissism...on the Rise? Can EQ Help?

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Myths are other people's religion. Their attempt to explain what science now explains i.e., how the sun gets across the sky every day; or to explain universal things like human nature, that we will never be able to answer, like why it drives women nuts when their man is unfaithful, or why some kids just won't listen and have to do it the hard way.

Here is a poem written by Theodora Goss called "Echo and Narcissus." For a little background on the myth, Narcissus was a gorgeous young man who spurned all the nymphs as not good enough for him, preferring to stare at his own reflection in a pool of water. Echo was a nypmh who got herself in trouble with Juno who was, in turn, having trouble with Jupiter's latest infidelity. Juno cursed Echo, taking away her words. All she could do was repeat back the last words she heard.

She fell in love with Narcissus the minute she laid her eyes on him. When she was pursuing him, he would say "Come here" and she could only reply, "Come here." It seemed like a fight, but he wasn't interested anyway.

The diagnostic term "Narcissism" is named after Narcissus. See symptoms below.


Echo calls from the hillside.
Narcissus is there,
And she plaits white-flowering clover
Into his hair.
The place where he lies is a tangle
Of elder, and vines
Of the honeysuckle dangle
As he reclines.

The pool is deep that he watches
And small fishes dart,
While Echo brushes the crickets
From his rags of shirt.
I saw them there one morning,
I and a deer:
His indescribable beauty,
Her constant care.
She echoed the sounds of the crickets
(What could she say?),
And he burned in his singular beauty
On the common day.
Now there's a pair perfect for each other ... and I don't mean that in a good way. Could EQ help? Well, first off, Narcissists lack empathy, and that's one of the competencies we teach.

Take a look at the diagnostics -- you must have at least 5 to get the "NPD" Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

1. Grandiose sense of self-importance, e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements
2. Preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is "special" and "unique" and can only be understood by, or should only associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his/her expectations
6. Interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his/her own ends
7. Lacks empathy: unwilling to recognize or identify with feelings and needs of others
8. Often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him/her
9. Shows arrogant haughty behaviors or attitudes

from The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV

Narcissists lack a number of EQ skills that can be learned. All the Narcissists I have known have been exceptional - incredible physical beauty or exceptional skills or talents like athletic ability or singing voice, universal sex appeal, genius IQ, charisma, some attention-grabber like being a twin, or a child prodigy at the piano. This fellow could be, if his parents aren't careful, and yes, parenting plays a role in this.

Narcissists have been "spoiled", though tortured as well, in a mind-warping parental one-two.

How could you send a child out of your home thinking they'd hung the moon and the stars, and, that having been done, the planets now revolve around them? Don't let your child or grandchild grow up with that narcissistic personality. Bone up on how to develop your child's empathy and other EQ competencies with my ebook, "How to Develop Your Child's EQ." Some of the research suggests it's partly because of parents who are too controlling and rigid, while flexibility, creativity, and interpersonal skills are all part of EQ. It's a book you MUST read if you're a parent or grandparent. You owe it to yourself, and you owe it to the child/teenager. Order HERE. This is not, of course, diagnosing or curing, because I'm not a psychologist or doctor or anything like that, it's just common sense coming from a coach who works in the field of emotional intelligence. If someone lacks computer skills, we teach them. If someone lacks interpersonal skills, we teach them.

Visit me on the web at,, 210-496-0678. Coaching, Internet courses, ebooks, business programs, 30 and 60-minute consultations. Email for fr** EQ ezine.

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