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800px-Woman_looking_in_a_mirror
Looking in a mirror doesn’t make you a narcissist

Is everyone a narcissist at heart? Has the selfie generation finally become obsessed with itself to such an extent that a stubborn character flaw and possible mental illness has now become the norm?

Everyone assumes narcissists are wrong and should have help to overcome their obsessions about and total love of themselves. Often the term is thrown at people as a form of abuse, almost akin to sexist or racist.

However, a new book by Dr Craig Malkin says ‘its a normal, pervasive human tendency: the drive to feel special.’ Too little of it is not good.

Do you feel special? Not in the Clint Eastwood way of saying ‘do you feel lucky?’, but do you actually see yourself as superior to others, even if you don’t always broadcast that fact?

 

The Book

You can buy his books The Narcissist Test and Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad-and Surprising Good -About Feeling Special  and read that the ‘narcissism epidemic’ is a spectrum of narcissism from utter selflessness to arrogance and grandiosity, and the term is one of the fastest rising searches on Google!

Malkin argues that the word “narcissist” seems to mean something different every time it’s uttered. And when it is used in a negative, insulting way, ‘that’s especially troubling news for millennials, the people born after 1980, who’ve been branded the “most narcissistic generation ever.”’

Have a quick check on who and what this generation demands at our blog How to Handle the Millennials (19 May 2015).

The new book offers a guide on how to promote healthy narcissism in our partners, our children, and ourselves.

Dr Malkin’s Blog is freely available. He writes frequently on Huffington Post where there is a selection of his articles that shed light on his theory.

He has put online a free and ‘informal, brief version of the Narcissism Spectrum Scale which offers you a rough sense of where you fall in the spectrum. Being too high and too low on the spectrum are both associated with problems. ‘If you know where you fall, you can work on moving towards the healthy centre of the spectrum, which comes with a host of benefits, including, greater self-confidence, a passion for life, and mutually caring relationships.’

So, why not give it a go?

The Narcissist Test

On a scale of 1 to 5, indicate how much you agree or disagree with each item, using the guide below.

1. I secretly believe I’m better than most people.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

2. Obstacles rarely slow me down.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

3. I’m great at a lot of things compared to most people.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

4. I press on even in challenging tasks.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

5. I know there’s something special about me.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

6. It’s hard for me to enjoy compliments.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

7. I’m self-confident, but caring.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

8. I don’t like to talk about myself.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

9. I feel uneasy when I’m the focus of attention.
1-Strongly Disagree
2-Disagree
3-Neutral
4-Agree
5-Strongly Agree

You can submit your answers online to Malkin, but The Sunday Times (26 July 2015) has published a version with an indication of just how far you are (or are not) a narcissist and how you can benefit from it.

Or you can just keep the result to yourself.

Image: Bill Branson