Articles about narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder are very popular because the disorder is serving as a trope to make people make sense of what doesn’t make sense. Humans are selfish being. The experience of human life is essential ego-centric. According to most philosophy, our reality is defined completely by what we see, know, and experience personally. Part of the reason we are so often at odds with one another is that we are struggling to make someone else’s ego our own ego- meaning, we want someone to be different than who they are and to be more like us. Survival is essentially a selfish characteristic because we are concerned with preserving ourselves. Reproduction can be considered selfish because we want to create more of our genetics. We work hard to get what we want, to get where we want, because that’s what we want. Inherently, we are all self-centered. Some of us have high self-esteem about it, some of us don’t. We’re all just doing what we can to take care of ourselves to the best of our ability.
However, we aren’t narcissists because of it. We use the disorder of narcissism to rope together a bunch of behaviors that we think are unacceptable by others when that human quality of selfishness and self-centeredness goes too far. For example, alcoholism and narcissism share a lot of qualities and even many behaviors. The lengths someone struggling with alcoholism might go to in order to lie about their drinking, protect their drinking, and continue drinking is astonishing. “The persistence of this illusion is astonishing,” writes the authors of Alcoholics Anonymous. “Many pursue it into the gates of insanity or death”. Alcoholics are unwilling to give up their ego, as broken and insecure as they are, because of their want for alcohol. While this is extreme, it isn’t uncommon. All of us are doing small acts of rebellion and self-sabotage every day to cling tighter to our ego and consider our ideas better than others whether that’s participating in a little bit of road rage or indulging in a sweet treat we swear we won’t tell anyone else about.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a clinically diagnosable personality disorder in which the ego plays a significant, guiding role in someone’s life, as a means for survival. In many ways, narcissism is just a case of the human condition gone wrong. Everyone is struggling on a spectrum of self-centeredness and labeling people helps us separate ourselves from needing to relate to them simply because it is easier not to.
The shame and stigma of mental health disorders like alcoholism and narcissistic personality disorder help us to find a way to categorize the hurt and pain they cause into something simple like a “sickness”. It’s hard to remember that people who are struggling with mental illness are indeed “sick” and need to get well, as opposed to being “bad” people who need to be corrected into goodness.
Healing and wellness are possible if you are struggling with alcoholism or a personality disorder. Harmony Place offers a luxury residential experience in a warm and welcoming environment for men and women to recover from their dual diagnosis issues. For a private consultation and information on our full spectrum of care from detox to transitional living, call to speak with one of our wellness coordinators today: 1-888-789-4330