11: Why is Always About You?

Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of NarcissismWhy Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism by Sandy Hotchkiss

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one was passed along to me.

Read in March/April 2013.

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Part I describes the 7 deadly sins of the title:

  1. Shamelessness (shame = personal flaw)
  2. Magical Thinking (fantasy world)
  3. Arrogance (value = relative)
  4. Envy (need to be superior)
  5. Entitlement (expect to get what they want)
  6. Exploitation (lack of empathy)
  7. Bad Boundaries (violate others’ boundaries)

The boundaries one is worth thinking about—helps to understand why certain gifts can be so uncomfortable—these types of gifts are not about doing something nice, really thinking about the receiver, but about molding them in the shape of the giver (narcissist).

Part II discusses where narcissism comes from. Hotchkiss claims narcissism originates in toddlerhood—occurs when child doesn’t develop healthy sense of self. Adolescent narcissism is also a normal stage, but people can get stuck there. Children of narcissists often become narcissists themselves; those who don’t are shame-driven, drawn to people who resemble their narcissistic parent(s).

Part III discusses strategies for defending yourself from narcissists: know yourself, embrace reality, set boundaries, cultivate reciprocal (i.e. healthy) relationships. I thought this section wasn’t as helpful as it could have been. Sort of, “yes, and…?”

Unfortunately, there’s not a lot you can do to help/change narcissists because the first rule of being a narcissist is not admitting you’re a narcissist. It’s like Fight Club. So someone you know is a narcissist, you have two choices: a) flee! or b) tolerate them. (Here’s the moment where you wonder “I don’t think I’m a narcissist. Does that mean I am one?” Well, if you’re questioning whether you are, you’re probably not. Self-awareness!)

Part IV describes narcissism in different scenarios (e.g. love, work, family). Narcissists, of course, consider themselves “special” so if you know someone like that (and you probably do), they might be a narcissist. Read Part I and find out.

Part V was about preventing narcissism.

Decent overview, but I wasn’t thrilled with her conservative agenda. If y’all just believed in Almighty God, society wouldn’t be overrun with narcissists, don’t ya know? 🙄