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Yet, all of these associations are arguably true, particularly the last. "Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a common and often disabling syndrome.Although persons with narcissistic personality disorder are often difficult to treat, certain psycho therapeutic strategies have been identified which can lead to effective interventions with these clients," according to Schwartz and Farrell and Edson, on the other hand, seem to believe narcissism is a psychopathology that is genetic, and, as such, is not much likely to be affected by any treatments currently available.When, toward the end, she offers a little of her own experience, she does it in the second or third person with a few choice anecdotes — one that involves a herd of wild horses, another that takes place in the back seat of a late-’90s Pontiac Bonneville. I found myself thinking of this book as a kind of corollary to Larissa Mac Farquhar’s “Strangers Drowning,” which shows how selflessness can turn destructive when empathy goes into overdrive.
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Few people associate narcissism with Narcissus, the mythical character in antiquity who drowned because he was so fond of looking at his image reflected in the water of a pool, fell in and drowned.
“I’m an essayist; I write the word I all day long, and I’m nervous when I do,” she writes near the beginning.
“More than anything, I don’t want you to think me self-absorbed.”You won’t.
It’s a much more interesting place than static, passive victimhood, “where all the narcissistic romance websites invite you to be: in the center of the world, stuck in time, assessing the moral status of others, until love is gone.”In “How to Quit,” an essay published in n 1 a few years ago, Dombek owned up to being what someone less imaginative than she might term an enabler. and/or love people with a dead parent or two, bipolar or otherwise depressed people, musicians, writers and/or pathological liars,” she writes. They always just seem to me like the best people in the world.” Dombek has been burned by more than one narcissist, it would seem, but she’s no longer a moth to the flame.
“Drunks, drug addicts, sex addicts, compulsive gamblers and/or people on or recovering from deep, life-threatening benders: These are the only people who really hold my interest, which means that I usually am friends with . “The Selfishness of Others” rejects the rush and sweep of feeling for something measured and resilient.
Instead she is curious about the solace it seems to offer at the time: “You’ll find your own life described with uncanny accuracy by perfect strangers who seem to know you, and comments sections that are choruses of grateful recognition.” Dombek’s armchair psychologizing is more playful than diagnostic — she’s the type of therapist to ask thoughtful, open-ended questions that leave you scratching your head at the end of a session and prod you toward an “aha” moment.
She discerns the neediness that throbs through the person who believes himself to be the lover-victim of a narcissist: basically a masochist who thinks he’s an angel.
The narcissist is anyone and everyone — the bad boyfriend or bad girlfriend, the bad analysand (“From the perspective of Freud’s emerging ‘science,’ if they didn’t need therapy, their self-sufficiency must be a case of arrested development”), the millennial in the middle, probably no more self-involved than any other generation — which makes him a bit of a straw man.
Dombek questions the measurements of social psychology, reliant as they are on self-reported emotions and states of mind.