JEAN M. TWENGE, PhD: “Is Donald Trump Actually Insecure Underneath?”

I’m often asked how you can spot a narcissist. Here’s my standard list:

  • Brag or show off
  • Name-dropping
  • Name brands or flashy possessions
  • Look at themselves in the mirror a lot
  • Turn the conversation back to him/herself
  • Insults others
  • Declarations about being the “best” or “great” without details
  • Emphasizes his/her status

I wrote that list two years ago — long before Donald Trump started running for president. Yet it could have been written just for him. As others have pointed out, the Donald is a textbook case of narcissistic personality. He is clearly functioning well and thus can’t be classified as having narcissistic personality disorder, the clinical-level form, which by definition only describes someone whose traits are causing them difficulty. Trump, instead, displays narcissism as a personality trait — the type we focus on in The Narcissism Epidemic.

Here’s the question: Is Trump’s narcissism a cover for insecurity? This is known as the “mask model” — the idea that grandiose narcissism is a show to distract people from the deep psychic pain underneath. A recent piece in Time made this claim, arguing that Trump is trying to cover for a “profound insecurity and lack of self-esteem.”

Here’s the problem: At least for grandiose narcissism like Trump’s, there’s no evidence that the mask model is true. Narcissists have high self-esteem on average, not low, and the most aggressive people are those with both high narcissism and high self-esteem. Children who become narcissistic are not those shamed by their parents, but those told they are special.

Perhaps the best evidence comes from studies measuring self-esteem in a subtle way, such as with an implicit self-esteem measure recording people’s reaction time in pairing words like “I” and “me” with words like “bad” and “good.” People who score high on grandiose narcissism also score high on implicit self-esteem. In other words, deep down inside, narcissists think they are awesome.

This is also just plain common sense: Does Trump really seem like he is insecure underneath? Does he seem to be in a state of psychic pain, or even covering for one? No — he’s having the time of his life. So why does he seem to crave all of the attention and adulation? The Time article argues that Trump is trying to fill a deep “psychic hole.”

I have a more straightforward explanation: He likes all of the attention because he thinks he deserves it. It’s never enough not because of psychic pain, but because he thinks everyone should pay attention to him. Attention is fun and gratifying; it has nothing to do with insecurity.

Why the Mask Model of Narcissism Is Dangerous

I will go further: I think it’s dangerous to believe that narcissists are insecure underneath. Not only is it not supported by empirical evidence, but it promotes the idea that the way to deal with narcissists is to boost their self-esteem and heal their “wounds” through more love and affection. This is like suggesting that the way to cure obesity is by giving everyone more doughnuts. The narcissistic person who ruins relationships through his self-centeredness does not need more love or attention — he needs to get kicked to the curb. The young adult who takes advantage of everyone around her does not need her self-esteem boosted — she needs to learn responsibility.

Narcissism is known as the “disease that hurts other people,” and the cure for it is real life — losing a relationship because of selfishness, losing a job because you’ve alienated people. Yes, we should try to understand narcissists and realize that their behavior is explained by this personality trait. But that does not mean we should believe that they are actually insecure — that myth undermines our understanding of narcissism because it presumes that it’s only skin-deep.

Many, many people have been hurt in relationships with narcissists by believing that they can change the person with more love. If only that were true — but sadly, most of the time, it’s not. We can have empathy for people with narcissistic traits, but that does not mean we have to believe they are suffering underneath. Most of the time, they are making other people suffer. They won’t suffer themselves until bad things start happening to them, often as a consequence of their narcissism. It is sad, but it is not due to insecurity.

Trump is not insecure. We should not be looking for the source of his “psychic pain” or expect that someday he will break down and show his true, doubting self. He really does think that he’s that great, and that his ideas are that great. If we believe otherwise — about him or anyone else with these traits — we risk underestimating the true power of the narcissist.

 

~via PsychologyToday.com

CAMERON DAY: “What I Would Tell My 22 Year Old Self”

You’re at a great age, in a great time in human history to contribute to the awakening of many people over the course of your life.

So here are some things that I would have dearly liked to know at age 22.

1. Avoid all channeled information, and definitely don’t open yourself up to channeling

You will of course be presented with some good truths in channeled materials, but they will be limited, distorted and organized in a way to keep you locked in a slightly larger box than you were in before. More details can be found in my two “No Longer a Lightworker” articles from 2013.

I still get questions from people asking if I think this or that channeled source is valid. My answer is always the same: NOPE!

2. Delusional positivity is never useful. Do not suppress any “negative emotions”

Don’t hide from your own shadow content or try to cover it up with positive thinking. When the darkness is welling up from the depths of your subconscious, dive in and get to work.

3. The best teachers have been through at least one “dark night of the soul”

They may not always talk about their dark night experiences, but you can hear and feel it in the depth of their communication and their ability to have compassion and understanding for people who are currently struggling with their own shadow content.

My first “dark night” was when I was 12, with three more at ages 17, 21 and 32. They were incredibly difficult, but I am grateful for the growth that came from them.

4. Make sure that whoever you are learning from lives according to their teachings

I believe that all spiritual information has to be tested in the laboratory of “real life” so that it’s not just philosophy without any practical application. Many people are teaching philosophy that they have not tested, nor have they themselves been tested as to the strength of their resolve.

5. Be patient with your journey. Share and teach when you feel the deep desire to do so, and not one minute sooner

Spend the time necessary to learn useful tools and use them to work on yourself. Realize that your journey may take years to mature to a level where you are ready to lend guidance to others.

Give yourself plenty of space to enjoy your life, too! You don’t have to work on yourself every single day and deny yourself new experiences.

Be curious, explore, travel, meet new people, fall in love, experience heartbreak, make mistakes, apologize, take responsibility for all of your actions, share your experiences with those who have the ears to hear.

One day you will “just know” that you are ready to take on the responsibility of teaching what you know to others. At the same time, don’t delay unnecessarily. You don’t have to be perfect to be a great help to others. In fact…

6. You will never be perfect, so stop trying to be

Focus on being your most authentic self, even if people in your life tell you that you “should” be something else. Those people are probably not authentic themselves, so don’t let them control you.

7. Live your life in integrity and authenticity, and take care of yourself before you attempt to help someone else solve their problems

Do not compromise yourself in order to make someone else feel better about themselves. Insecure people will try to keep you down at their level, and you will probably need to walk away from them so that you can rise to the level of your own highest potential.

There is a lot more I could say, of course, but I divulge just about everything that I know in my various classes, which are all available online.

Much Love,
Cameron Day

 

~via AscensionHelp.com