August 24, 2010

How Many Narcissists Does it Take to Screw In a Lightbulb?

One. S/he holds it steady while the world revolves around her.

Although I could be imagining things, after reading three books on the topic, I'm sensing a shift in our society away from "others first" and towards "me first".  After being on the receiving end of the finger the other day (from a very cocky teen on a long board in the middle of the road), I'm starting to notice more thoughtless and rude behaviour on a daily basis.

I know I have blogged about this subject before, but I have to admit, I'm truly worried about the demise of well mannered and respectful people as the rude, impolite, thoughtless, and self-centered climb to power. Based upon what I have read, this shouldn't come as a surprise to me. Since the 70's parents have been telling their children that they are special, schools have gotten rid of 1st, 2nd, and 3rd prize ribbons to award EVERYONE a ribbon.  In many neighbourhoods, kids are given everything and expect it and parents are happy to oblige.
The result? In 2000 I took a job at the university and worked in that position until 2006. The change in student attitude and behaviour went from day to night in a matter of 6 years. We have more students telling us where to go when reprimanded for not following the rules than ever before.  As a sessional lecturer for the school, I am challenged routinely for a better grade when the work is below par.  Students are feeling more entitled than ever before and we don't think this is going to permeate into our society...we got another thing comin!

"The kids these days" are being raised with the belief that it is all about them. As a result, rules don't apply, their entitlement is a given, credit cards are abuse because they shouldn't have to work for anything that they can get now and the feelings, needs, and existence of others is none of their concern. Of course there are many great kids out there who don't fit this mold. So if you know some of these kids, tell them how appreciative you are of them.

Even my own niece expects expensive gifts and doesn't say thank you when she gets them. For some reason, parents aren't questioning the fact that kids need the laptop and cell phone before heading off to school. I'm amazed that a parent will provide their kid with a cellphone and pay their huge text bill without question. What we assume as normal these days completely amazes me.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental disorder. It also relates to sociopathic and psychopathic behaviour. Just by watching one of the dozen cheesy entertainment shows you see this behaviour playing out right before our eyes. I am literally grossed out by the "Real Hollywood Wives" and those slimy layabouts on "The Jersey Shore". These people are text book narcissists that we can't look away from. Think about how better our lives would be if we stopped watching others on TV and the Internet and started focusing on making our neighbourhoods a better place.

At any rate, I highly recommend these books if you are a parent or work with kids/teens/young adults. I don't mean to pick on the "youth these days" as I realize there are many adults with the same "it's all about me" attitude. I, myself, have my self-centered days. Like anything else, awareness is the key to change.  If you can start thinking less of what the world can give you and more about what you can give the world (excuse the JFK reference) then perhaps you CAN be the change you wish to see in the world (excuse the Gandhi reference). Say "hi" to strangers, lend a hand, volunteer, donate money anonymously, give your old clothes to the less fortune (and not to a second hand store for cash), be kind, be patient, and be aware that it isn't about's about US.


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