Barbara Oldale

Barbara Oldale’s multiple academic pursuits — BA in English, Registered Nursing education, and Theological Studies — gave shape to an early career in nursing and ministry, and primed an interest in Athabasca University’s Master’s Degree in Interdisciplinary Studies (MAIS). The MAIS program, from which Oldale graduated in 2019, offered the opportunity to research and combine various disciplines. Oldale’s major focus areas were Equity Studies (Indigenous issues and Feminism), and Global Studies (Politics, Economics, Sociology, and Psychology).


This essay retrieves information primarily from psychology and sociology to describe key elements of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) which is characterized by an exaggerated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for other people. Its causes and effects upon the individual, on his/her relationships, within the workplace, within positions of leadership, and collectively, within society are explored. Differences between the two types of NPD, grandiose and vulnerable narcissism, how they may interact within a single individual as well as how they interact more widely within interpersonal relationships and among leaders and followers are discussed. A description of the disorder falls under the scope of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) 5 and social theories that pertain to the relationship between leaders and followers within a collective. Potential remedies to NPD are included in the appendix tables, but the essay suggests that caregiver styles are key factors in the prevention of NPD. The discussion alludes to the porous nature of the individual and his/her culture and suggests the importance of cure, or at least a rechanneling of the disorder to promote positive outcomes for the individual and to prevent social chaos. United States President Trump is cited as a case-in-point leader with NPD characteristics.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly

Narcissus, a beautiful young man, felt thirsty after a day of hunting, went to a pond for a drink of water, saw his reflection in the pool, and fell in love with his image. While he was in the woods a nymph, Echo, saw Narcissus and fell madly in love with him. She tried to embrace him, but he would have nothing to do with her. Heartbroken, she wandered the glens alone until only an echo of her voice remained. Meanwhile, Narcissus pined for fulfillment through love of himself but could never attain it. Frustrated by his obsessive desire for admiration and love, he eventually took his own life (The Roman Version of the Myth of Narcissus — Ovid).

Some claim that an egotistical and superficial self-love similar to Narcissus’ afflicts modern societies on a scale larger than ever before. This paper aims to explore NPD and, more generally, collective narcissism. Several questions impel the research. What is NPD? How problematic is it? What are its causes? And what are its effects upon the narcissist, upon his/her relationships, and what are its impacts upon society? How prevalent is narcissistic personality disorder within leadership and power positions, and how disturbing is it to the workplace and to nations? Do benefits accrue from the disorder? If so, what are they? This is a large topic, but the focus here is upon its adverse effects with the intent of promoting awareness to minimize or prevent its occurrence. In addition to highlighting what is known about the topic, a table of suggestions to alleviate, rechannel, or prevent the worst effects of this complex disorder is appended.

My interest in this topic is personal. My closest family members, friends, and I have been negatively impacted by NPD. While the immediate aftermath is filled with anger and heartbreak, often the victim of a narcissistic relationship, as did the mythical Echo, suffers lingering, sometimes life-long self-esteem damage. Narcissistic love relationships hold great charismatic appeal and start with optimism yet characteristically, soon falter and fail. On a larger, even global scale, humanity has witnessed the narcissistic dysfunction of people in positions of power and the whirlwind of chaos and destruction they wreak.

Research Method, Analysis, Theories, & Strategies

The research method is an exploration and analysis of the existing literature and data available via secondary sources. Extractions and references come from journal articles and relevant book chapters or sections, blog sites, and a documentary film. The psychological research generally draws upon both qualitative and quantitative analysis derived from inventories and questionnaires, particularly the Narcissistic Personality Inventory which is a tool used to measure narcissism levels in certain individuals.

The background information first defines NPD and describes how it is differentiated from healthy narcissism. Secondly, possible causes that in turn may illuminate the prospect of its prevention are explored. Thirdly, the unhealthy nature and effects of the disease as presented in the research question are discussed. The analysis draws upon relevant information accentuating the problematic nature of the disorder at three levels: the micro (intrapersonal), meso (interpersonal), and macro (cultural--organizational--political) levels. The discussion demonstrates how the individual at the micro level of NPD impacts successively larger social structures which requires the merging of psycho-social perspectives.

Foundational to the exploration of narcissism is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) criteria for NPD. Other theories pertinent to the discussion of NPD are the theory that NPD presents in grandiose narcissism (GN) and vulnerable narcissism (VN) forms; a theory which links dark triad variables; how social domination orientation (SDO) and right-wing authoritarianism (RWA) are correlated with narcissism and conservative politics, and a hypothesis that there are sadistic and masochistic tendencies within all people and collectives which impact collective narcissistic tendencies. Other ideas that will be considered are cultural differences in the acceptability of narcissism and that it has proven to be a heritable trait.

Sources and Interdisciplinary Approach

The literature review reveals that a great deal is known about narcissism and that personality disorders are an important field of study as attested by the DSM-5. It is surprising to discover that socio-historical studies on narcissistic leaders have been addressed, but within the common mind and imagination, narcissism has become prevalent, normalized, and at times idealized. These discoveries should be more widely known, particularly through the media, in a comprehensive fashion so that the public can make more informed decisions regarding recognition of the problem and its impacts upon interpersonal relations and political decision making.

Although this study is interdisciplinary, psychology is the central field because NPD is widely studied within that discipline. Neuro-biology and genetics naturally combine with psychology and psychiatry in the discussion of NPD. The topic is also firmly rooted in sociological studies, and it is of concern to business, particularly in the area of leadership styles. One of the first to describe NPD, psychoanalyst, Heinz Kohut, described personality as “not indigenous to psychoanalytic psychology; it belongs to a different theoretical framework which is more in harmony with the observation of social behavior and the description of the (pre)conscious experience of oneself in the interaction with others…” (Kohut, 2013, xiv). Social science combines with a focus upon historical studies of how particular leaders, as well as their followers, have behaved narcissistically which has variously driven people and countries into acts of heroism or into acts of war and atrocities. The study of this personality disorder incorporates the neurosciences, business, politics and social-psychology as aspects of this personality disorder. It is difficult to determine if the source of the problem lies more poignantly within the individual or society, but it appears that they both contribute to and reinforce the negative pathology.

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

Narcissism is a trait that occurs to varying degrees in all of us and can be described as a drive to feel special (Malkin, 2017). Most psychologists have determined that narcissism exists on a spectrum of one to ten with a score of greater than six considered to be pathological (Webber, 2016; Malkin, 2017; Fan et al, 2010). Healthy narcissism is where an individual has a slightly unrealistic positive self-image that promotes a greater sense of happiness, self- confidence, better relationships, and fewer bouts of anxiety or depression. While pathological or extreme narcissism may manifest in either overt or covert forms and the narcissist may appear to be happy, self-confident, and superior, this is a superficial pretense based upon a damaged or overcompensated self-estimation, a false self-esteem resting upon an uncertain sense of self and identity (Malkin, 2017).

The latest medical guide used to diagnose and define NPD is the DSM-5 that lists the dominant characteristics of both grandiose and vulnerable narcissism. Table 1 taken from Afek (2018) describes and differentiates between the two forms.

Table 1 - Characteristics of Grandiose and Vulnerable Narcissism
Maintains a grandiose sense of self-importance; others are devalued. Feels superior to others.
Has fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love. Feels entitled (as fantasized).
Believes he/she is special and can only be understood by other special high-status people or institutions. Is hypervigilant.
Requires excessive admiration. Feels deep shame due to secret grandiosity.
Feels entitled to favorable treatment or automatic compliance. Expects to feel special and demands exclusivity.
Is often envious or believes others are envious of him/her. Is defensive due to a conflict-ridden inner world.
Is arrogant and exhibits haughty behaviors and attitudes.  

(Afek, 2018)

Zeigler-Hill, Green, Arnau, Sisemore, and Myers (2011) clearly summarize the differences between GN and VN: the grandiose quality of NPD is marked by an overly positive self-image, exploitation of others, and exhibitionistic behaviors, while the more complex vulnerability characteristic consists of dysregulation, negative self-image, self-criticism, negative affective experiences, interpersonal sensitivity, and social withdrawal. Although the individual may fluctuate between grandiose and vulnerable narcissism, grandiosity is the dominant trait which is characterized by an inflated sense of self. That inflated sense of self with a unique talent or success in a specific field allows the narcissist to attain feelings of self-reassurance, recognition, and affirmation of his/her superiority.

The lack of empathy in narcissists is a common theme frequently examined in NPD literature. Studies have shown that lack of empathy, or an inability to recognize how others feel, is not the true problem. The DSM-5 defines it as an unwillingness to recognize or identify the feelings and needs of others (DiPierro, Sarno, & Preti, 2018). As such, empathy, or lack thereof, may fluctuate depending upon the situation and whether another’s feelings are relevant to the narcissist. If a situation exacerbates fear of losing control or appearing vulnerable, or if empathy does not serve the narcissist’s purpose, none will be exhibited (Baskin-Sommers, Krusemark, & Ronningstam, 2014). The data shows that the narcissist is cognitively aware of another’s emotional state and often excessively attuned to the reactions of others yet ignores or responds empathetically only if the consequences are perceived as relevant and beneficial to one’s self.

Onley, Veselka, Schermer, and Vernon’s (2013) research recognizes the fact that NPD is a mixture of both adjusted and maladjusted tendencies often combined with psychopathy and Machiavellianism to form the dark triad, drawing into itself the stronger negative characteristics. The widely researched and tested NPD traits are feelings of entitlement, exhibitionism, exploitation, lack of emotional empathy, openness to experience, and extroversion. Psychopathy heightens the disorder by contributing characteristics such as impulsivity, a complete lack of empathy, and high thrill-seeking behaviors. Charm, manipulation, deception, and insincere emotions which benefit or promote one’s self-complete the triad with Machiavellian tendencies. Most commonly, when the three traits combine, studies have shown that men are more likely to exhibit these characteristics (Onley et al., 2103). Compounded, the three traits are difficult to distinguish, but a quality of mental toughness is congruent with each dark triad component. “Mental toughness involves being dedicated, motivated, focused, resilient, and having an affinity for challenge” (Onley et al., 2013, p. 1088). Mental toughness contributes enormously to the attainment of narcissistic aims and goals in competitive situations, and it multiplies both positive or negative effects.


The prevalence of NPD in the literature is debated. Psychologists who give precise percentages of the population suffering from this disorder say that it is quite rare, between 0% and 6.2% with an average of 2% in a Chinese sample (Yu, 2018). Some social personality psychologists say that narcissism is a normally distributed personality feature (Zeigler-Hill et al., 2011), but Boccassini (2018) offers her opinion that generalized narcissism has been on the rise for generations, rising from 1% to epidemic proportions as a result of the emphasis on technology and consumption, which she claims appeals to human superficiality. She calls NPD a

“highly infectious pathology which is creeping into the genetic code of the corporate model of society” (Boccassini, 2018, p. 29).

Age and gender conditions complicate prevalence rates as does its comorbidity with other disorders and difficulty in diagnosis. Young (2016) declares it to be more prevalent in males than in females, however, other studies indicate this is not the case (Zeigler-Hill et al., 2011). Webber (2016) suggests that narcissistic qualities decline with aging and remain highest in adolescents and young adulthood when humans are naturally more self-absorbed and searching for their identity. She claims that in the general population, NPD is not widespread nor on the rise. As discussed in conjunction with the dark triad, many authors agree that NPD is difficult to diagnose alone and is often comorbid with borderline personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, and obsessive-compulsive disorder (Diamond et al, 2014; Gawda & Czubak, 2017; Onley et al., 2013). Webber (2016) asserts that true pathological narcissists often evade detection, and frequently it is not until the narcissist is faced with a setback such as job loss or divorce that the ego crumbles, and the individual’s fear, weakness, and vulnerability are exposed.

Causes of NPD

Genetics and Neurobiology

Research has found that several causative factors are responsible for this personality disorder: genetics, neuro-biological components, caregiver styles, and socio-cultural dynamics. By studying twins in the East and the West, it has been determined that a genetic basis is moderately heritable and largely independent of other variables for the narcissistic qualities of grandiosity and entitlement (Luo, Cai, & Song, 2014; Young, 2016). Twin studies are important in the study of heritable personality traits because monozygotic twins growing up in different environments contain identical genetics. Therefore, it can be determined that grandiose and entitlement personality characteristics can be inherited. Miles and Francis (2013) discovered a significant father--daughter link for narcissism by reason of the fact that a father’s single X chromosome is passed to every daughter but not to sons. This implies that a narcissistic father may pass the disorder to his daughter. Neuroimaging, combined with personality studies, provides evidence of the presence or absence of emotional or cognitive empathy and self-focus through fMRI (Fan, Wonneberger, Enzi, de Greck, Ulrich et al., 2010). For example, the anterior insula and other core regions of the brain register both empathy and self-focus states, but when the focus on self is high, as in the case of NPD, there is no place in the brain for empathy to simultaneously register because self- focus is consuming the neurological networks in those regions. Alexithymia, the inability to identify and describe emotions in the self, is a common feature in subjects high in narcissism as demonstrated in research tests (Jonason, 2013). This has led researchers to hypothesize that self-focusing, daydreaming, fantasies, and mind-wandering may be central aspects of narcissism.

Caregiver Styles

In addition to the evidence that narcissism may be grounded in biology, there is strong confirmation that nurturance and caregiver styles may either negate biological effects or compound and/or create the disorder where no biological basis previously existed (Webber, 2016). Genes may either weaken or strengthen traits that typically manifest early in life, and these may be impacted and altered by parenting styles, relationships, and the child’s socio-cultural environment (Webber, 2016). Alternatively, a child’s temperament, which includes a genetic component, may negatively impact a caregiver’s ability to provide a supportive environment for the child. But the evidence indicates that if a caregiver is empathetic to the child’s needs, a secure attachment is created which produces an individual who is more responsive to the needs of others (Baskin-Sommers et al., 2014).

Many studies specifically link maternal authoritarian parenting styles with the development of NPD. Zeigler-Hill (2011) explains the impacts of negative parenting by saying that the underlying maladaptive schemas of entitlement, emotional deprivation, and defectiveness arise from overcompensation for feelings of imperfection stemming from cold, rejecting, authoritarian parents or from overly indulgent parents. Children of such parents develop cognitive schemas to organize and make sense of events in their lives, and such events and schemas often interfere with the development of autonomy, connectedness, worthiness, and with realistic expectations and limits. As well, traumatic interactions and/or repeated negative exchanges with caregivers may cause relationships with significant others to be experienced as threatening to the child. An adolescent’s independence may be threatened, or he may feel inadequate (Zeigler-Hill, 2011). In order to compensate for these insecurities, a superiority mentality arises in which threats to autonomy, self-worth, and unrealistic expectations or limitations are avoided or denied. But over time, the threats themselves are instilled and become deeply rooted negative beliefs about the self, others, and the world. Dysfunctional perceptions, emotions, thoughts, and behaviors are the outcomes of the negative self-image which becomes elaborated upon and extended throughout the narcissist’s lifetime.

Negative parenting manifests in many ways such as lack of supervision or warmth, and in inconsistent discipline, corporal punishment, psychological control, authoritarianism, parental distrust and coldness, or overvaluation of the child (Cramer, 2011). Major traumas and losses in early developmental periods may also form a wounded self that is susceptible to narcissism (Afek, 2018). When a mother’s inappropriate responsiveness or authoritarian behavior during a child’s infancy and early years combines with insufficient attention, or, alternatively, overindulgence during the child’s adolescent years, a maladaptive narcissism is instilled which reinforces the youngster’s negative personality characteristics. A “study found that dramatic, aggressive, attention-seeking preschoolers were more likely to end up as narcissistic adults” (Webber, 2016, p. 58). Cramer (2011) found that NPD is predictable: a child by the age of three with maladaptive behaviors will be a willful narcissist by the age of 23. The psychological defenses that develop during childhood usually persist into young adulthood, and denial, which is a common coping mechanism, protects the child but also prevents him/her from recognizing the negative consequences of the maladaptive behaviors. Since a positive sense of self is dependent upon positive regard from parents, without it, social skill development and the development of self are impaired. Self-doubt regarding personal competence retards adolescent development, meanwhile, a false self is created and maintained. Alternatively, when a parent lavishes the child or adolescent with unsupportable praise, a grandiose sense of self develops which inevitably requires a constant supply of ego gratification in the form of a steady flow of support and admiration from others.

Various theories advocated by psychologists regarding parental deficiencies are presented as Table 2 in the appendix. The gist of the research is that healthy parents guide their offspring, help their children cope with frustrations, enable them to delay immediate gratification, and facilitate the integration of both good and bad self-images into a realistic self-concept. Defective parents who respond critically and with hostility often create feelings of shame and inadequacy within the child. The child’s devalued self is then denied, split off, or projected onto significant others. In this way the child is effectively distanced from feelings of shame or unmet challenges. The general result is a child who is hyper-sensitive to criticism and is saddled with a grandiose self-image. A mirror hungry personality arises to protect her/him from the actuality of low or no self-esteem (Post, 2014). The grandiose narcissist (GN) learns to convey certainty and strength and genuinely must be strong in order to ward off inescapable inner doubts. The vulnerable narcissist (VN), on the other hand, retains his/her wounded feelings and projects his/her idealized self onto others. An ideal hungry personality attaches as a follower to an admired, larger-than- life hero, and feels incomplete without merging with the idealized other. Together the two types may create a lock-and-key interpersonal relationship or behave as leaders and followers who feed off one another.


The role culture plays either checks narcissism or allows it to flourish. Societies that value individualism and competition promote narcissistic personality pathology, although some researchers have found that grandiose narcissism holds across cultures (Rohmann, Neumann, Herner, & Bierhoff, 2012). The element of competitive superiority/grandiosity is more pervasive in cultures such as those found in the U.S., Canada, and Europe. In the U.S., New York has four times the rate of NPD than a less competitive state such as Iowa. Because Asian and Middle Eastern countries highly value and respect collective modesty, GN is less prevalent, but VN may be as widespread, and the tendency to exploit in order to get ahead of others may be as pervasive. In fact, Singapore has a term, kiasu, for the competitive need to get ahead of others at all costs for fear of losing out to a rival. Kiasu manifests as an exploitative trait seen as acceptable in Asian countries (Loke, Lowe, & Ang, 2018). So, narcissism is encouraged and acceptable in various forms although it manifests differently, for example, through grandiosity or via exploitative traits depending upon collective values.

Intrapersonal and Interpersonal Effects

The inner worlds of GNs and VNs manifest similar insecurities. Both lack emotional empathy, and they are often at a loss as to how to connect with others and how to manage interpersonal interactions (Baskin-Sommers et al., 2014). As overly sensitive and easily hurt and shamed individuals, they have difficulty managing emotions and holding onto a stable sense of identity while simultaneously maintaining healthy work, friendship, and love relationships. Their covert, hypervigilant, and rigid psychological defenses work against healthily-functioning relationships, and while they are prone to higher highs and lower lows, they still crave admiration (Marchlewska, Cichocka, Panayiotou, Castellanos, & Batayneh, 2018; or Webber, 2016).

Behavior in interpersonal relationships manifests differently; however, between GNs and VNs. VNs are temperamentally sensitive, reacting poorly to even gentle criticism, and need constant reassurance. They may console themselves by feeling special even via a negative trait such as believing they are ugly, misunderstood, or a genius (Webber, 2016). They self-enhance because the distinction soothes them and provides them with a stable sense of self. But their deep-seated insecurity and fragile self-esteem contributes to depression and self-defeating, masochistic personality styles. It is hypothesized that VNs experience hyperactivity of limbic circuitry in response to emotional stimuli and hypoactivation of the neural circuitry that self-regulates. This neurological situation triggers feelings of intense shame, envy, and rage which combined with mental states such as self-criticism, self-hatred, provoke feelings of inadequacy and loss of control. Their typical response is to withdraw from social situations (Baskin-Sommers et al., 2014). Those suffering from VN often struggle with borderline personality disorder as well, which is a disorder characterized by instability in interpersonal relationships, identity problems, and difficulty controlling emotions (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). When this double dysfunction is operative, the individual projects the unpleasant characteristics of his/her self onto others. This can be particularly problematic and damaging to children of VNs. In relationships VNs exhibit low self-esteem, a strong need for interdependence, high game- playing tendencies, and possessive love attitudes. They are pragmatic, exhibit a willingness to sacrifice, and are highly romantic (Rohmann et al., 2012). These VN qualities often generate attachment anxieties, defensiveness, and mania which compound and exacerbate relationship problems.

On the other side of the NPD spectrum, GNs appear extroverted, exhibit attention- seeking behaviors, and may become aggressive and fight back if they feel slighted or vulnerable or if their self-worth is threatened (Webber, 2016). The GN may have an exaggerated perception and recall of personal transgressions such as insults, being taken advantage of, betrayal, or physical hurt. They are often hypervigilant, impulsive, and hostile in situations rife with ambiguity or uncertainty (Reidy, Foster, & Zeichner, 2010). They tend to socialize with people of high social standing and fantasize about success, power, beauty, and perfect love. They easily and confidently approach others and are game players in the art of love. They act in an arrogant and superior fashion, devalue others, insist upon perfection, accuse others of imperfection, and use others as appendices or mirror images to themselves. GNs are exquisitely sensitive to criticism, and the narcissistic self can quickly fall apart. When that happens, devaluation of those who criticize them ensues in order to maintain their superior self-image. Their perpetual sense of inner emptiness is quenched through excitement-seeking, risk-taking, sexual conquests, exaggerated work, grandiose projects, strong egocentrism, and symbiotic merging (Zvelc, 2010). Consequently, GNs need to hold themselves in positions of high self-esteem, to construe themselves as highly independent, to focus intensely upon themselves while maintaining a low focus on the other (Rohmann et al., 2012).

While there appear to be few benefits to being a VN, the GN has wide appeal in short- term relationships and in the workplace because the GN is driven by goals of power, admiration, and competition (Baskin-Sommers et al., 2014). At first glance the narcissist is charming and easily attracts friends, lovers, and, in the political realm, voters. People gravitate toward them because they are great talkers, and they are sociable, confident, and self-assured (Webber, 2016). Their openness to experience and extroversion rewards them with popularity, social success, socially desirable outcomes in the workforce, and successful short-term relationships. Their mental toughness is an asset in terms of personal resiliency, in managing short-term relationships, and in the achievement of personal goals such as positive vocational and workplace accomplishments (Onley et al., 2013). Because they appear confident, intelligent, and attractive, they are often preferred by the opposite sex and are more likely to become leaders.

They are less prone to low self-esteem or neuroticism than their counterpart VNs while benefitting from a robust sense of personal agency (Young, 2016). But their inner life is an emotional void. One narcissist confessed his neediness and emptiness in this way: “It’s like my brain is constantly seeking something. It’s like I’m always chasing a carrot at the end of a stick. Nothing I do satisfies me, at least not for long. I feel like I only do things because I’m supposed to, because society does it. I don’t feel like I belong anywhere or with anyone” (Grey, 2013, para. 4). The gap between what they feel and what their persona projects can be substantial.

Most narcissism blog sites reveal the disillusionment, victimization, and heartbreak experiences of those who fall in love with a GN. Initially they were ecstatic to have found their ideal love match, only to be summarily devalued and discarded after their usefulness was expended. Typically, a narcissistic relationship proceeds through three phases: 1) over-valuation and love-bombing is the time when the partner feels s/he has found a soulmate, 2) devaluation is the period when the narcissist erodes the victim’s self-esteem over time by insulting or cutting remarks, triangulation, or abuse, and finally 3) the narcissist discards the victim and often moves on repeating the process with another partner (Grey, 2013). While the over-valuation phase is mind-boggling and ecstasy producing, the devalue and discard phases are confusing and heartbreaking. The discarded, wounded, and rejected announce their shock and recognition as having been targeted by the narcissist who had never actually loved them but merely exploited them to supply the enormous egotistical void within. Recovery of the victim’s self-esteem after the relationship ends may take years, because the shock of betrayal and cruelty is often extremely damaging. Longer term narcissistic romantic relationships and narcissistic work circumstances eventually become characterized by rivalry and antagonism (Wurst, Gerlach, Dufner, Rauthmann, Grosz et al., 2017). Over time, lovers and co-workers begin to dislike and cease to admire the narcissist because of his/her lack of commitment, selfishness, disrespect, intolerance, perfectionism, low emotional intimacy, and minimal love, warmth, caring, or trust. Aggression in these situations becomes commonplace, and when dissatisfaction intensifies in interpersonal relationships, susceptibility to infidelity and divorce grows. Yet Lavner (2016) debates this and found that while wives who were GNs had steeper increases in marital problems, GN husbands had fewer negative effects on marriage durability. This would be an interesting study in itself, indicating perhaps the genetic and cultural normative differences and expectations for males and females. For example, it is known that women’s self-esteem is better maintained by their ability to sustain intimate relationships with others, while men’s self-esteem is derived through an independent stance (Brizendine, 2006). Therefore, women without narcissistic traits may more naturally make more sacrifices to maintain relationship connections with their GN husbands.

Normally, however, in the long term, GNs in relationships become derogating, exploitative, and insensitive, with resultant conflicts, acts of revenge, and lack of forgiveness. The fallout from such relationships is enormous as friends and lovers flee from the narcissist for safety. Wurst et al., (2017) compares a relationship with a GN to eating chocolate cake: there is an initial rush of excitement and positive feelings that one cannot resist, but the long-term sluggishness, costs, and regrets outweigh the initial pleasure. The lament of a narcissist’s target is reflected in the lyrics to Mirror Man: “I thought your eyes were fixed on me, but now I know, yourself is all you want to see” (Wurst et al., 2017 p. 281).

Workplace Issues

GN supervisors or CEOs offer both benefits and harms to an organization. Driven to positions of leadership and power, a GN may benefit a corporation via his overconfident trading stance, through risk-taking by which new firms are created, by pioneering new products and technologies, and the ability to recover faltering organizations (Chatterjee & Pollock, 2017). Leader GNs have a talent for garnering media coverage that may heighten organizational success, and team members who admire and are deferential to their GN boss often work harder and perform better while attempting to please. In the long term, however, GNs often have accompanying dark triad traits that are destructive to an organization (Wang, Zhang, Ding, & Cheng, 2018). These leaders will bully and coerce employees to silence, become derogative and aggressive, punish, criticize, exclude, may become interpersonally abrasive, are amoral, and lack personal integrity (Young, 2016). Antagonizing GN behaviors lower employee commitment and job satisfaction and create a toxic work atmosphere that often triggers depression and burnout which reduces organizational innovation. Because the GN leader is self-centered, feels entitled, and has grandiose self-referential beliefs, workers develop a malicious envy where, fueled by frustration and aggression, they seek to pull others down to their own level; therefore, the goals of the organization are thwarted (Braun, Aydin, Frey, & Peus, 2018). Narcissistic CEOs often overestimate their skill levels, misread contextual cues, make quick decisions which are questionable, are reckless, commit illegal acts, and are exploitative for personal gain which ultimately produces organizational chaos. When GN leaders dominate decision-making processes, competition among subordinate directors intensifies, and, eventually, key personnel are lost to the organization (Chatterjee & Pollock, 2017; Baskin-Sommers et al., 2014). The Enron fraud scandal in 2001 is an example of GN leadership which produced organizational chaos, competition, theft, bankruptcy, jail terms, and suicide (Gibney, 2005).

National Effects

NPD and political leadership go hand in hand. As in the case of workplace CEOs, narcissists often emerge as national leaders owing to their GN characteristics. They feel entitled to their position, have no qualms about exploiting others, must feel special no matter the cost, and they are empathy impaired such that others’ feelings do not matter (Malkin, 2017). While Malkin calls narcissism and politics a lethal mix, Macenczak, Campbell, Henley, and Campbell, (2016) label it a mixed blessing because there is a trade-off between success and ethics. On one hand, GN leaders are ambitious and power seeking, self-confident, and highly optimistic, but when their grandiosity combines with unethical behaviors like stealing, rule-breaking, cheating, and extreme risk-taking, their distorted judgments bring lawsuits, wars, stock market bubbles and crashes to fruition.

But how effective are GNs in national leadership positions? Interestingly, the more narcissistic a presidential candidate is, the better his ratings are. But when GN leaders become impulsive and bullying, they are more likely to face impeachment charges (Young, 2016). If the NPD leader characteristics combine with psychopathy, which is often the case, under pressure his thought processes may become increasingly disordered. Reality may be ignored or distorted, paranoia and impaired judgment may worsen, and heightened reactivity and ill-conceived planning are often set into motion. Gaslighting targeted individuals, a form of psychological manipulation, becomes a common occurrence. The combination of NPD and psychopathy thrusts malignant narcissists such as Hitler, Kim Jong-Un, and Putin into positions of power where they view others as pawns in their game of kill or be killed (Malkin, 2017). But Post (as cited in Zisser, 2015) alternatively claims the possibly dual nature of narcissistic leadership:

Narcissism is at the heart of charismatic leader-follower relationships, associated with some of the most heroic moments in human history. Consider the reparative charismatic leadership of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King who…left the vivid air signed with their honour, but when a wounded followership follows, as if hypnotized by the siren song of the late morning, destructive charismatic leaders like Adolf Hitler or Osama bin Laden, as they pursue their grandiose narcissistic dreams of glory—it can produce nightmares for us all (p. 717).

It seems that narcissistic followers require lock-and-key leaders, somewhat like Echo, who yearned for Narcissus’ love and followed him everywhere. The mirror hungry personality, a GN and larger-than-life hero in need of a constant stream of admiration, may pair with an ideal hungry personality who feels incomplete without merging with the idealized other (Post, 2014). Similarly, several social theorists emphasize the relationship between collective narcissism and narcissistic leaders. Chichocka, Dhont, Makwana, and Back, (2017) suggest that conservatism itself is positively linked with narcissism, its contingent self-esteem, and concomitant defensiveness.

Social theorists identify two types of conservatism which characterize narcissistic collectives. Individuals with a social dominance orientation (SDO) believe that inequality is inevitable, that some groups are, by right, superior and should maintain power over others. SDO predicts prejudice towards socially subordinate groups, such as unemployed people or those suffering from mental health issues. Another conservative group, right wing authoritarians (RWA), strive to maintain traditional social arrangements whereby order, stability, and submission to authority are necessary to guard social arrangements, to provide cohesion, and to maintain certain moral standards. Both groups exhibit ideological attitudes that accept inequality and a preference for an in-group based hierarchy.

SDO individuals hold anti-immigrant attitudes and are prejudiced toward groups that threaten the in-group status. While SDOs prefer to elevate their nation’s international status, RWAs seek maintenance of the national norms or the status quo. Collective narcissism predicts bigotry, anti-immigrant feelings, and hostility toward outgroups. When combined with right wing authoritarianism, SDO, and xenophobia, world-wide populist movements emerge. Both SDO individuals and RWAs follow a leader who represents their collective narcissistic perspectives. These phenomena are witnessed in Trumpian politics with his slogan, Make America Great Again, the Brexit vote in the U.K., and the rise of the National Conservative Law and Justice Party in Poland. These three reflect a type of lock-and-key, collective-narcissistic relationship (Marchlewska et al, 2018).

Psychology theorists such as Reich, Fromm, Sartre, and Adorno maintain that sado- masochistic tendencies also exist within the collective psyche (Burston, 2017). They believe that people exist in relationships that either objectify others (sadists) or are willingly objectified by others (masochists). Whereas the sadist takes pleasure in dominating and humiliating, masochists take comfort in submission and feel anxious unless they are neurotically attached to a more powerful person. These theories, too, reflect lock-and-key, mirror hungry and ideal image narcissistic relationships played out individually and within the collective. Fromm suggests that when sadistic and masochistic traits are on the rise in society, authoritarian and anti-democratic regimes flourish (Burston, 2017). Adorno theorizes that there is a striking correlation between pseudo conservative and proto-fascist thinking among Americans, and between these and racism, anti-Semitism, and intense religiosity that generates right wing phenomena and authoritarianism.


Many writers use Donald Trump’s presidency as a case-in-point example of how NPD leadership characteristics spawn discord, chaos, and authoritarianism. Important points made by these authors are that Trump exhibits the triple E’s of NPD: he exhibits a sense of entitlement, he exploits for personal gain, and he is a perfect model of empathy impairment (Malkin, 2017). He is an extrovert who brags, boasts, freely insults people, mocks, exaggerates, and exhibits impaired judgments. On numerous occasions Trump has displayed poor judgment by blurting out classified U.S. intelligence information and revealing Israeli secrets and covert CIA meetings with North Korea which may have dire consequences. At times he verges on paranoia, while he creates chaos within the White House, Congress, judicial bodies, and gaslights those who disagree with him. Meanwhile he belittles women, people of color, and ethnic minorities. As a populist leader, he takes advantage of and manipulates the collective by appealing to in-group narcissistic resentments and feelings of injustice and to their fears and prejudices (Marchlewska et al., 2018). Boccassini (2018) blasts Trump as the behavioral paradigm of a white, patriarchal, self-absorbed, ego-driven leader of monumental insignificance.

As in antebellum Germany, many right-wing conservatives in the U.S. today feel that their way of life and privileged positions have been threatened by migrants, ethnic minorities, African-Americans, women, and homosexuals (Burston, 2017). Today, as in pre-war 1933 Germany, a great many of the U.S. populace feel victimized following war deaths and debt, by economic depression and uncertainty, loss of employment, and a poignant loss of global prestige and power. Trump’s nationalism comments and Make America Great Again slogan are similar to pre-war Germany’s desire to make Germany great again, as they fill a vacuum in a fearful populace (Burston, 2017). In Germany, as now, people blamed the liberal democratic government, Jews, and immigrants for their situation, and in that mindset hate speech and violence arose. Burston names fascism as “a collective phantasy system spawned when malignant group narcissism privileges their favored racial or ethnic group, (while) devaluing and or demonizing all others” (p.7). These collectives are opportunistic, they privilege and venerate their own narrow reference group, and they are prepared to form coalitions with kindred and/or inferior outgroups for the expediency of political advantage. The more prevalent authoritarian traits and tendencies are within a population, the more likely the collective is to embrace fascistic movements, especially in times of crisis.

Narcissists, within the collective and under authoritarianism, rally, obey strong leaders, and respond aggressively to outsiders particularly when they feel threatened (Burston, 2017). They may build walls, close mosques, ban Muslims, or refuse immigrants who are seeking refugee status. While adhering to social norms, they submit to those who personify their identified values, and feel antipathy toward those who challenge in-group norms. It appears that collective narcissism permits the rise of narcissistic authoritarian leaders who threaten democratic institutions and promote hatred and violence in order to maintain in-group perspectives and grandiose self-images. If collective-narcissistic perspectives in Germany before the great wars are akin to the situation in the U.S. today, checks and balances must be strong enough to prevent further deterioration of national and international relations. It is hopeful to note that immediately following the U.S. 2018 mid-term elections, more women and minority candidates have run and won in Congressional elections than ever before (CAWP). This may prove to be a counter against U.S. collective, narcissistic tendencies.


The boundaries between self and society are more permeable than previously understood. As Bal (as cited in Repko, 2012, pp. 110-111) proclaims, “…the individual necessarily bleeds over into the social domain…” and “there is transference from individual to social psychosis.” The research on narcissism and NPD reflects the organic and porous nature of society whereby society and culture, in the form of its corporate--political--economic situation, affects individual personality while, simultaneously the single individual has specific impacts upon his/her culture. It is interesting to observe how corporations, which are legally persons, have come to collectively embody NPD. They have demonstrated their ability to hijack governments, exploit the poorest through sweatshop labor, pollute the earth with synthetic chemicals and toxic wastes, and destroy habitats in an entitled, uncompassionate, self-serving, for-profit manner (Achbar, Abbot, & Bakan, 2003). Institutions have become carriers of what was previously known as a single individual’s personality disorder. The economics, wars, political situations, and traumas a nation experiences may give rise to protectionist—conservative—narcissistic perspectives which generate social norms, affect freedoms, impact the value of children, women, and minorities with respect to expectations, roles, and treatment. At the deepest level, sociopolitical conditions may enhance or repress personal awareness and responsibility.

Can it be that when enough individuals encode narcissistic qualities, large institutions begin to exhibit those same characteristics? Boccassini (2018) suggests that narcissism is a highly infectious pathology that is creeping into the genetic code of the human and corporate model of society. We have been in the grip of the disease for generations now and are trashing our living world through our narcissistic and pointless consumption. We may collectively be Narcissus gazing at a superficial image which has kept us in its grip; we are egotistical, short- sighted, following illusions and blind alleys, and we are pushing ourselves towards extinction.

The aim of this essay has been to explore more deeply the causes and effects of pathological narcissism within ourselves and within society. Repko (2012, p. 111) advises that recognition of disorder and dysfunction leads to the royal road of wisdom. Unlike Narcissus we must plunge deeply within the waters of ourselves and self-reflect in order to explore the profoundly dysfunctional nature of our society and ourselves. Gazing at a superficial, reflected image will never provide the healing for which many yearn nor fill the void. As Boccassini (2018) says, narcissism is untreatable because narcissists frequently do not consider themselves to have a problem. She indicates that although each person may not have NPD in the modern age, we all have narcissistic problems. She believes that narcissism reflects the shadow aspect of living in an objectified, counterfeit, soulless consumer society that thrives under the themes of materialism and deadly rationalism.

While psychological theories differ regarding the manner in which dysfunctional parenting, mothering in particular, promotes or constructs NPD, the research points strongly to the importance of warm, loving, guiding, and responsive parenting along the developmental pathways of infancy through adolescence. Wise and supportive parenting might counter the inherited and cultural influences that contribute to the establishment of NPD, dysfunctional relationships, social-political disturbances, and environmental destruction. Has society’s refusal to embrace the softer, feminine-anima values, as it unwaveringly focuses on consumerism, rationalism, profits, and technology, provided fertile ground for the promotion of personality disorders? Who nurtures children now that everyone is employed in the workforce to earn a dollar that will satisfy a craving for the next technological instrument, fad, or whim? How has the move in the last half century toward two-career families impacted the nurturance of children, and has the outcome been for better or for worse? How can society better emotionally and financially support and respect women in their parenting roles with the aim of rearing well- adjusted children?

It’s apparent that NPD is foundational to other personality disorders and to social- political dysfunctions. Populism as a form of conservatism is on the rise in many countries today and can be seen clearly in the rise of Trump’s appeal to his hard-done-by base clamoring to protect their threatened position and status. A GN, as charismatic leader, appeals to a populace which feels entitled, lacks empathy, and has no conscience when it comes to exploiting or harming others. Behind this behavior lies fear, vulnerability, and weakness. The dynamic emotional bound between narcissistic, charismatic leaders, and vulnerable narcissistic followers may set into motion disruptive, revolutionary, anti-institutional, and far-reaching social upheaval (Weber, 2013, p. 91). History reveals the potential for violence and wars when this kind of symbiotic relationship takes power and flourishes (Glad, 2002). It seems that individual and collective narcissism reinforce one another.

Social theories are in accord with the notion that right-wing authoritarianism and social dominance orientation contain strong elements of collective narcissism which exist to protect their in-group status. They deliberately reject minorities, outgroups, and immigrants who are viewed as threatening to hierarchies or approved social norms. Notions that sadistic and masochistic characteristics are present within each person and society promote the lock-and-key characteristics of mirror hungry and ideal hungry personalities and perhaps the relationship between grandiose and vulnerable narcissism. If fairy tales contain wisdom, the Narcissus tale calls us to look deep into the waters of the psycho-social life to prevent distortions and superficiality, and to avoid shallowness and dysfunction, heartbreak, and death. We owe it to ourselves to peer deeply into the depths of our own psyches, because that is where personal, relational, and societal healing begins and where demonstrably warm, loving, and supportive relationships flourish. Table 3 is a compilation of suggested methods for healing NPD at the individual, interpersonal, and at societal levels such as within the workplace and nations. Cures abound if one is willing to lower defenses and risk more than a superficial gaze.


This essay has examined key points in an exploration of the nature of NPD and how it presents in two forms that often manifest in a single individual. It has touched upon the causes of the disorder and its effects within the individual, upon his/her relationships, and more broadly within the workplace and in political arena. There is some discussion about the symbiotic relationship between narcissistic leaders and collective narcissism, and various theories are introduced to examine the nature of the problem. The essay cites Trump as an example of a narcissistic president who adversely and sometimes chaotically impacts national welfare and imperils global well-being, but it also notes that he could not do so without supporters who also exhibit and reflect narcissistic characteristics. The reciprocally reinforcing nature of narcissism upon the individual and upon society more broadly is noted. Emphasized is the important role that parents, particularly mothers, play in the prevention of NPD in their children. Suggestions for how to prevent or rechannel the disorder productively are presented in the appendix. More research could be conducted which demonstrates how, in today’s technological and consumeristic society, parents can better support the development of healthier mindsets and behaviors in their children.


Appendix Tables

Table 2 - Parent-Child interactions Create the Child’s Sense of Self and Personality (Afek, 2018)
Theorist Theory Regarding Narcissism and Poor Parenting
Kernberg Narcissism serves as a defense against the denied dependency on an object perceived as threatening and abusive and the feeling of envy and aggression triggered by that object. The child dissociates against the threat (often maternal) that both idealizes and devalues the object-parent. This allows the developing child (narcissist) a way out of dealing with this menacing emotional world. It creates the typical narcissistic personality structure characterized by fusion of the ideal self, the ideal object, and the actual self-image.
Rothstein Narcissism serves as a delusion of perfection and as a defense against parental abandonment anxiety early in the separation-individuation process.
Masterson Narcissism is a defense fixation occurring at the separation-individuation level of development due to frustrated separation-individuation needs and parental emotional unresponsiveness. The model is one of defensive retreat into a cocoon of illusory self-sufficiency, denial of the need for relatedness to a significant other. It is triggered by the child’s distrust of the maternal figure; if he can’t trust mother, he identifies with her and assumes her role. He becomes his own self-supporting mother.
Symington Narcissism is a defensive denial of the innate infantile need for a life giver that is the source of emotional life and biological survival. Denial comes as a result of traumatic experiences with mother in which the child experiences emotional abandonment. The child still needs the parent so disowns the infantile need for the life-giving object yet remains dependent and related to the life-giver.
Bromburg Narcissism is a defense against an invasion by the experience of otherness that becomes intolerable. It is employed to deny and ward off the threatening otherness of the others. Emotions and needs such as envy, inferiority, and dependency threaten to emerge in the context of relationships with separate other rather than the self-object. The disorder becomes a compensation for and a defense against feelings of inadequacy, imperfection, and inferiority.
Post The child experiences loss of blissful symbiosis with the mother that gives rise to the pursuit of narcissism as a defense against a painful reality in which an internal sense of shame becomes a core part of the emerging identity. It is a response to a cognitive sense of failure to attain ideals and fantasized perfection which causes a sense of inferiority where
1. Shortcomings are exposed to the world or 2. The child looks in the mirror and sees its real self falling short of his idealized grandiose self.
The life-long task becomes: ridding oneself of shame and repair and restore the wounded self-esteem. The narcissist will project his shameful self-concept on others to disown his own shame.
Kohut Narcissistic personality disorder reflects unfulfilled normal narcissistic needs of early childhood, which re-emerge in their archaic form in adulthood. Kohut did not perceive narcissism as defensive and made no reference to the distinction between normal infantile narcissism and pathological narcissism.
Table 3 - Potential Solutions to Address and Prevent Narcissistic Disorders
Parenting Be aware of infant/child behaviors which indicate a disposition to narcissism:  
  • Low reactivity to sensory stimuli in infancy and to other’s distress in toddlerhood.
  • Yu (2018)
  • Low demandingness and low responsiveness or indifference in childhood may produce narcissistic precursors which predict adult maladaptive narcissism.
  • Cramer (2011)
  • Dramatic, aggressive, attention-seeking preschoolers are likely to be narcissistic adults.
  • Webber (2016)
  • Proactive aggression in children.
  • Reidy (2010)
  • Presence of persecutory dreams which might spring from the affective experiences of idealizing and devaluing others.
  • Yu (2018)
      When parents show warmth and affection and spend time with and show interest the child feels worthy and develops healthy self-esteem.
    • Don’t place the child on a pedestal or over evaluate.
    • Say, “you did a good job”, not “you deserve to win” or “why weren’t you as good as?”
    • Don’t focus on success because this leads to insecure parent-child attachment if the child feels s/he can never measure up. A fragile ego creates narcissistic thoughts and behaviors to shore it up.
    • Teach: you don’t have to be the best, just be the best you can be. No need for a competitive attitude.
    • Teach the child self-compassion which stabilizes self- worth.
    • Focus children upon relationships, community, and connection with others because unhealthy narcissism is a way of coping with attachment insecurity. The more secure the narcissist feels, the more the narcissistic traits diminish.
    Webber (2016)
    Individual-Intrapersonal Relationships Colonization creates patriarchy norms which contain plenty of narcissism. The answer is to decolonize, dissolve the boundaries between the self and collectivity, between the individual and the system through:
    • Practice Embodied Learning which incorporates body and mind through various disciplines such as: Practicing Qi Gong Journaling
    Ng (2012)
      Privilege the All One over the Alone. Boccassini (2018)
      Techniques which promote the integration of self and other representations may construct the ability to be emotionally involved with others Di Pierro, Di Sarno, & Preti (2018)
      Narcissists see things only from their point of view; they mistake their desires and intentions for the outcome of their actions; they think they have been loving if they feel loving irrespective of their actions on others.
    • Psychotherapy which is loving, cures a person so s/he can offer love and be concerned for the needs of others and be relieved of rage and hate which is characteristic of narcissism. When a therapist listens, intervenes to resolve patient resistance to talking, is nonjudgmental, noncritical, caring, patient, understanding, free of emotions, agendas, and thoughts, they can offer the patient the talk that cures.
    Bernstein (2001)
      The most effective and frequently used spiritually oriented interventions in the treatment of NPD are:
    • Mindfulness
    • Meditation
    • Forgiveness
    Rosenblum (2014)
      The treatment of NPD is possible via Metacognitive Interpersonal Therapy (MIT). It:
    • Stimulates an autobiographical mode of thinking.
    • Improves access to inner states and awareness of dysfunctional patterns.
    • Promotes adaptive patterns of thinking, feeling, acting, and promotes autonomy and agency, reduces perfectionistic regulatory strategies.
    • Helps the individual attend therapy.
    Dimaggio (2012)
      The overwhelming male force, power drive, patriarchal force that characterizes the narcissistic condition is successfully transformed through:
    • Introversion.
    • Connection to the inner world.

    Knowing fully one’s own character: beholding the deepest self, attaining full knowledge of the heights and depths of one’s own character, finding the sacred union of lover and beloved (the feminine reflection of the higher self).
    Boccassini (2018)
    Interpersonal Relationships Dialectical Behavior Therapy is a skill-based approach which helps the narcissist identify personal needs and values and respond appropriately to feedback from others.
    Mentalization-Based Therapy promotes reflective function and increases understanding of one’s state of mind.

    Integrative interventions create a balance between grandiose, vulnerable characteristics and self-reflective capacity, life context, and urgency.

    Because vulnerable narcissists have difficulty tolerating their own emotions there is a need to find ways to leave a situation appropriately, by maintaining a level of self-protection and self-respect.

    Don’t condemn the narcissist but shift to proactive therapeutic understandings and interventions.
    Baskin-Sommers, Krusemark, & Ronningstam, (2014)
      Use Transference Focused Psychotherapy (TFP) for patients with severe personality disorders especially re: sexuality and love relationship problems. Diamond, & Meehan (2013)
      Couple therapy helps but is dependent upon:
    • The narcissist’s ability to curtail acting out.
    • The level of defensiveness and vulnerability.
    • The couple’s complementarity of narcissistic gratification.
    • Developing separateness, less enmeshment, develop better and more direct communication.
    • Expressing needs and wants.
    • Taking responsibility for expressing anger.
    Links & Stockwell (2002)
      Cognitive behavior therapy leads to improvements in the interpersonal relationship, impulse control, and treatment compliance. Cukrowicz, Poindexter, & Joiner (2011)
  • Adjust hiring and promotion practices, include caring and compassionate practices in selection/promotion processes.
  • In selection of leaders, require clearly defined behavioral criteria, take leaders’ relational orientation into account.
  • Elevate leaders who level up followers.
  • Hold leaders accountable to fair play rules.
  • Foster self-awareness and humility in management.
  • Monitor deviant behavior.
  • Braun, Aydin, Frey, & Peus (2018)
  • Managers should strengthen interactions with employees and institute a leader member exchange which moderates the relationship between supervisor narcissism and employee negative anticipations.
  • Institute a mandatory narcissistic personality test for managerial candidates and don’t hire narcissists.
  • Institute punitive measures for acts that harm the collective interests of the organization.
  • Make the environment feel safe and comfortable and welcome employee opinions.
  • Wang, Zhang, Ding, & Cheng (2018)
      Organizations need:
    • Regulatory watchdogs, institutional investors, business media who call for greater board independence from executives who run publicly traded corporations.
    • Greater alignment between the personal qualities of a CEO and his incentives.
    • Mindful composition of team members.
    • Boards need to know their CEOs better.
    CEOs need to be aware of their own tendencies in order to make better recruitment decisions and to create better structures in the CEO’s world.
    Cheliotis (2011)
    Leadership Operate under the moral philosophy of humanism which binds humans in harmony and love without stifling individuality and difference. Under humanism narcissism acquires benign forms. As a citizen of the world there is pride in achievements; it accentuates pride in individual differences; loving neighbor is a type of loving the self because “I am human too”.
    • Focus upon the achievement of a goal which leads to progressive ideals and aims.
    • Immortal fame is won through unique distinctions.
    • It depends upon preserving plurality and not relating to others as idealized self-objects.
    • Narcissists can attach to significant others who truly value progressive goals and resist authoritarianism.
    Cheliotis (2011)
      Should NPD Presidents be allowed to pull the country into the abyss with them? Suggestion:
    • Assemble a panel of politically independent specialists within government. These might include forensic psychiatrists, psychologists, profilers from the CIA, FBI, or law enforcement and
    • Provide assessments of a Presidential candidate.
    Malkin (2017)
      To relieve social tensions:
    • Allow people to address their fears and uncertainties.
    • Assure of solidarity and support.
    • Teachers should address issues in the classroom and defend academic and press freedoms.
    • Support the progressive wing of the Democratic Party.
    • Acknowledge past failures.
    Burston (2017)