Jonathan Swift was an Irish-English writer and satirist of the 17t and early 18th century, whose main theme was to highlight the unfairness of the society around him. Whilst he is most famous for his novel “Gulliver’s Travels”, the biting satire of which has been eviscerated in several Hollywood films, he also wrote another, more biting commentary on the so called “Irish Problem”. “A Modest Proposal” was written in 1729 and was a reaction to the famine in Ireland and the English Government’s indifference.
The pamphlet advocated fattening up Irish babies, killing them and eating them thus reducing the number of starving Irish peasants and simultnaneously giving them an income. His intention some suggest, was to try to use his powers to effect a change, but what happened was a total misunderstanding by the population at large. Few understood that it was satire, many reacted with outrage and a very few, suggested it might be a good idea.
What has this got to do with Narcissism you might ask? Well in this article I am going to set out a recipe for ‘how to become a narcissist’ with the intention only of highlighting the difficulties which narcissist face in the world, not to exhort people to become narcissists or to trivialise a serious mental health issue. My intention, unlike Swift’s is made explicit to avoid confusion.
How to make a perfect narcissist?
Here are my top five ingredients for making the perfect narcissist (Satire Warning….)
1. Understand that life is a B***h and then you die!
You have to believe that the world around you and the people in it have no merit and what is more they are all after your space. Friends are not to be trusted either, for sooner or later they will all let you down and lovers are in the same bracket but you have to let the close if you want sex and /or children. If they let you down get rid of them. Happy people shouldn’t exist so it is your job to take them down a peg or two.
The rationale behind this attitude is the conditional love which blighted their early life and may also be a tad of running the scripts which you may have learned from an emotionally illiterate parent too.
2. Everything is or should be mine!
The late great Steven Covey had a mantra “win/win or no deal” As a narcissist you must always work for “win/ lose” and if you can’t have it, then destroy its value to the winner. When you win, it has to be the greatest, the best ever and more people came to it than anyone else’s. Your bling must be ostentatious and you building or house the biggest around. Remember gold is the only colour worth having! You don’t need to be consistent in your ideas or position on anything loyalty is for losers. If you are male then your wife isn’t there for love but as a trophy which you can exchange when the gloss fades- hell, marry Miss World if you have to.
The reason this is essential to narcissism is because as a child you will have only been praised for achieving exceptional success, criticised for doing well but not good enough and no way will your success as a team player achieved any recognition at all. You will also have memorised the language of boast from your parent. Even mere mortals can run their parent’s scripts and a narcissist has to be even better than that!
3. Make People feel sorry for you
You don’t show it but deep down inside there is a little hurt boy or girl who never got the love she needed and that makes you weak. It makes you have a self-loathing which like a snake has shrunk your heart to the size of a peanut and when you are alone in the dark sometimes you can hear the words of self-doubt whisper in your ear. But even this can be turned to your advantage. Narcissists are great at throwing pity parties – poor me. You can tell your story of how you have suffered and how you have climbed out of the pit. There are a hundred different ways you can besmirch those horrible people who have made your life hard. The best thing about pity is you can talk about your favourite subject for hours and hours- you!
And everything will be so much better if you can find your own, pet, empathic person to leech off. They are born to help and you can suck them dry, then you can use their skills of reading and understanding to exploit others because they can give you the lowdown. Even better still be and difficult to understand this will keep them occupied for even longer. The origins of this behaviour lie in the hard knocks to self-esteem a narcissist has had during childhood and they learn to “do unto others how you would be treated but do it first”.
4. Grab the headlines and grab praise too, you deserve it more than anyone
When you praise someone else you only need to do it to glorify yourself. It can be the beauty of your daughter (no names no pack drill). Do charity but only if is high profile, tax deductible and gets you noticed. Offer to help in impossible situations and your valiant efforts will make headlines and a point of talking for weeks and if someone takes you to task for failure you can dine out on the monstrous ingratitude and their failure to give you a good brief.
Power is more important than anything else so keep an eye on the winning team and swap allegiances if it maintains your position. Surround yourself with clever people and make it impossible for them to leave you until you have no further use for them. It doesn’t matter how you do it just do it.
The origins of these behaviours lie in the inconsistency of praise given by significant people and the fact that a child may have only received praise for winning or being the best.
5. Learn to be a good liar to yourself and everyone else
This is the only way to deal with matters of conscience and ethics – squash them dead! But you have to believe your own lies and unlike most people, you won’t get caught because when challenge you attack back and behave like an innocent victim – how could they make these things up about me its “fake news”. But remember, you can make up whatever you want about the other person, particularly if they are happy and virtuous and have something you want. Pile on as much dirt as you can and get away with. Remember there is one perspective that counts and it is yours. Every fibre of your being has to believe that you are right, always and attack is the best form of defence.
Another thing, you don’t have to be consistent. You can change tac mid-sentence if you have to. |In fact if you do it several times within a single context, a meeting, a speech and interview, they will be so confused by the end you will lose them. Don’t forget to repeat your catchphrase over and over. If you say “it’s going to be awesome” over and over, that is all people hear
Lying is the defence of the hurt child who has found out that the consequences of telling the truth about failure, a misdeed or anything else was, or is far worse than a convincing lie. The only way to keep this up over time is to banish any cognitive dissonance you may have so lying becomes a way of life which damages everything.
There you have it, if you can master these five strategies you will be a narcissist my child!