“I don't care what you think unless it is about me.” Kurt Cobain
Narcissism is a serious life-long psychiatric disorder with no cure or effective treatment. It is believed to affect about two percent of the adult population making it one of the most common personality disorders. Despite its prevalence, it remains one of the least studied and least understood psychiatric disorders.
The term narcissist is often used to refer to someone who is self-centered or arrogant. However, in the clinical sense, narcissism is much more than being obsessed with oneself.
NPD (narcissistic personality disorder) is characterized by extreme self-interest, grandiose thoughts, beliefs and statements, and a complete lack of concern for the needs of others. However, the most striking feature of the disorder is the inability of these individuals to feel remorse or experience blame.
"Narcissists do not consider the pain they inflict on others; nor do they give any credence to the feelings of others. They simply do not care about thoughts and feelings that conflict with their own." Dr. Les Carter
The following are common traits among Narcissists:
- An exaggerated sense of one's own abilities and achievements.
- A constant need for attention, affirmation and praise.
- A belief that he or she is unique or "special" and should only associate with other people of the same status.
- Persistent fantasies about attaining success and power.
- Exploiting other people for personal gain.
- A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment.
- A preoccupation with power or success.
- Feeling envious of others, or believing that others are envious of him or her.
- A lack of empathy for others.
Hollywood has long had an interest, dating back to the 1940s, in depicting individuals suffering with mental illness. Personality disorders such as antisocial, histrionic, borderline, and narcissistic have been of particular interest to Hollywood filmmakers. Its seems fitting that the four personality disorder which are clinically referred to as the "dramatic cluster" of personality disorders have received so much attention from Hollywood filmmakers.
The following is a list of Hollywood films that portray characters suffering with narcissism:
- Gaslight (1944)
- A Streetcar Named Desire (1951)
- Arthur (1981)
- Wall Street (1987)
- Rain Man (1988)
- Scarface (1983)
- Small Sacrifices (1989)
- Basic Instinct (1992)
- To Die For (1995)
- Matilda (1996)
- Cruel Intentions (1999)
- Magnolia (1999)
- The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)
- American Psycho (2000)
- Zoolander (2001)
- Queen of the Damned (2002)
- Norbit (2007)
- Dorian Gray (2009)
- Arthur (2011)
- Beastly (2011)
- Shame (2011)
Hollywood does not always get it right. In its desire for the dramatic, they will often unfairly depict narcissists as sociopaths. The key difference being that a sociopath has no conscience whereas a narcissist lacks empathy. In addition, narcissists are not particularly violent whereas a sociopath is much more likely to be.
Source material: APA 2000, DSM, Wikipedia, Healthyplace.com