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Welcome friends and fans. Thank you for following my work and sharing your feedback. I deeply appreciate the thoughtfulness and gratitude so many of you have conveyed in your comments and messages. I’ve been moved not only by the pain and power of your stories, but the courage you’ve shown in sharing them. I wish I could reply to each of you, at length, but due to the volume of correspondence I receive, I’m no longer able to. But please know that I read all your questions and comments and often address the issues they raise in my articles. One other disclaimer: HIPPA law restricts psychologists from providing therapeutic advice or conducting sensitive conversations through social media or email. I apologize for any inconvenience this might cause. If you’d like to set up a confidential face-to-face, skype, or phone consultation, please call my office: 617-491-1660. You can find fees here. I‘m grateful your interest and support! - Craig Malkin.


Proof, Once and for All, That Narcissists Are Deeply Insecure

Monday, February 01, 2016



There’s a long standing belief, reinforced by books like The Narcissism Epidemic, that narcissists actually feel great about themselves, despite everyone’s suspicion—dating back to age old wisdom about schoolyard bullies—that no one who has to push people down to feel bigger than everyone else on the planet could possibly possess anything even approaching healthy self-regard.

Much of the “evidence” that narcissists have high self-esteem comes from a measure called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory, which includes items like “I am assertive” and “I’m a born leader.” Narcissists, who tend to score high on the NPI, claim to have terrific self-esteem and oodles of confidence on all or most of these items. Ergo, the researchers concluded, they must have high self-esteem.

The only problem is study after study shows that once you pull out the self-esteem heavy items on the NPI, nothing healthy is left.

Zilch. Nada. Bupkis.

Which stands to reason.

Would anyone gifted with truly high self-esteem need to insult others to feel superior, attack anyone who criticizes them, treat people like playthings, pick “trophy wives” and “trophy husbands” over loving partners, demand constant accolades or—in intimate relationships—perfect unwavering attention, and finally, devalue love and relationships? Because these are all features that NPI narcissists seem to proudly flaunt right along side their “high self-esteem.”

Savvier researchers recognized that the emperor had no clothes. Extroverted narcissists of the kind measured by the NPI say they’re great at everything, so it’s no surprise they’d claim to feel great about themselves, too. Which led one set of researchers to try something new. They hooked the narcissists up to a lie detector (fake), then asked them how they felt about themselves. Suddenly their high self-esteem vanished.

And psychologists didn’t stop there. They also devised new measures, ones that didn’t lump healthy self-esteem in with nasty habits like exploitation and entitlement. (That’s the solution I chose, by the way, for the NSS). Once again, what appeared to be healthy self-esteem vanished like Keyser Soze.

Perhaps the most damning evidence that narcissists are not, in fact, secure, is their open admission that they devalue caring relationships. Sorry narcissistic guys and gals, by definition, that’s about as insecure as it gets: it’s called insecure attachment (avoidant, to be precise).

So are narcissism and self-esteem the same? Not by a long shot.

And here I'm talking about why: 


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After teaching at local universities, Dr. Malkin became a Chief Psychologist at Harvard Medical School’s Cambridge Hospital, in Cambridge Massachusetts, where he instructed interns, residents, and fellows in the theory and practice of psychotherapy. In 2003, he left this position to expand his private practice and continued to supervise and teach for Harvard Medical School’s training program. Read More...


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