The Oxford dictionary defines narcissism as, “selfishness, involving a sense of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a need for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.”
Researchers in the U.K. find the trait is on the rise in the modern era.
An ongoing study at Queens University Belfast into modern narcissism finds it can lead to professional success for many people, through those around them may despise the individual. Family therapist Shannon Thornton says there’s an element of Catch-22 in how they are integrated into the social fabric. “The narcissism does work for them, but it doesn’t work for anybody else. But oddly, we are attracted to people who believe in themselves. It’s a conundrum.”
They’re the people we love to hate. The researchers find our revulsion doesn’t disturb them much because they are, by nature, self-absorbed anyway. They develop a mental roughness developed by years of rejection, and are willing to see failures as someone else’s purview, according to the British researchers. “They really just have a distorted sense of reality,” says Thornton. “You get into a dark place when you have a completely warped sense of what’s happening around you.”
But it is the age of selfies and it’s a Kim Kardasian kinda world we live in, and we give every appearance of being as enthralled by them as they are with themselves.