People tend to care more about themselves than the greater good of others
As we continue to investigate this “social-psychological” problem of “What’s wrong with people?”, it has become evident to many in both mental health and pastoral care that people appear more self-centered than at any time in history.
It seems that in western civilization especially, we have become a “me first” society; this is not to disparage President Trump’s America First agenda which has been sorely needed. On the world stage, the United States has been and continues to be the most caring and giving nation in the world. On an individual basis, however, people, in general, seem increasingly less concerned for their fellow man and more concerned about themselves.
This “Me, me, me” attitude has developed an increase by smaller side culture groups (too numerous to mention) promoting their cause(s) in such great emphasis that their particular cause and need seems far greater than what it is in actuality.
The result is very “in your face” and sometimes profane and vulgar bumper or rear window stickers used to intimidate; the intention is usually to emphasize, “I’m more important than you” or “My cause is greater than yours”.
We used to be a “Good neighbor” society. New neighbors were welcomed to our neighborhoods, villages or towns. If someone moved in next door to us, we introduced ourselves; made a cake or casserole and let them know we were there “for them” should we be needed. This usually resulted in men exchanging tools needed for repairs and children playing together.
In the current trend of “Me, me, me” and self-gratification, there is little if any concern or even acknowledgment for our neighbors or anyone else. This attitude results in people shoving or stealing someone’s place in line, needlessly cutting in and out of traffic, not obeying traffic signs and failing in general to acknowledge our own bad behavior.
In essence, we have become a Narcissistic personality disorder society.
I had a Psychiatrist friend who used to say; almost every patient he saw had Narcissistic personality tendencies. My experience as a psychologist was very similar and we would often have long discussions about this very serious subject and bear in mind, this is a serious subject.
Since most murderers, rapist, and thieves are usually diagnosed as a narcissist, just imagine the problem of an entire society with this disorder; it certainly helps to answer the question of “What is wrong with people?”
The DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) , which is often utilized by most of us as mental health professionals to diagnose psychological disorders, suggests that narcissistic personality disorder causes significant impairments in personality in terms of functioning and is accompanied by a number of pathological personality traits or symptoms (which will be mentioned later).
Although it is estimated by the National Institute of Mental Health that only one percent of those diagnosed with personality disorders actually have Narcissistic personality disorder, it is important to point out that less than ten percent of the population actually receive any actual mental health treatment (even though nearly fifty percent have enquired at some point about professional counseling). This brings to question such a low estimate of those with an actual Narcissistic personality disorder.
Most of us in professional mental health agree the problem is far greater than one percent.
Regardless of the percentage, the problem is real and increasingly affects our society; so what do we do?
First of all, never hesitate to obtain professional psychological help.
Here are some of the symptoms of a Narcissistic personality disorder:
- An exaggerated sense of their abilities and accomplishments
- Constantly seeking attention, affirmation, and praise
- A belief that he or she is unique or “special” and should only associate with “like-kind”
- 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
If you or someone you know demonstrates any of these traits, Narcissistic personality disorder might be the problem and it is not to be taken lightly. Seeking professional help is essential and can make a difference.
There is good news, many counseling and psychotherapeutic techniques have been proven effective in the treatment of Narcissistic personality disorder.
These treatments include:
There are also the words of Jesus from the New Testament, “So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you,” Matthew 7:12.
© 2018 Lee W. Outlaw III, PhD