Relationships. Advertising. Entertainment. Politics. Religion.
Mostly though, I believe the distortion can be how we see ourselves.
Next, I stumbled upon this article on the PSYCHOLOGY TODAY website and thought it was worth sharing. Joe Navarro has studied the life, teachings and behavior of cult-leaders; Jim Jones, David Koresh, Charles Manson, Bhagwan Rajneesh and Warren Jeffs, just to name a few.
What he said was that these individuals were or are all pathologically narcissistic.
Then I started researching about the differences of narcissism v. self-esteem. It’s pretty stark and worth understanding better. I thought I knew the difference.
Here’s a quick guide of the differences.
Hey, the more we know, well, the more we know, right?
We all possess some narcissistic traits. I’ve certainly had to take a look at myself. It wasn’t easy at the time, but I’m grateful I did, and my relationships improved because of more awareness
It’s the extremes of these traits we need to notice.
Healthy narcissism is the characteristic of possessing realistic self-esteem without being cut off from a shared emotional life, as unhealthy narcissists tend to be.
Joe Navarro (former FBI agent): “From my studies of cults and cult leaders during my time in the FBI, I learned early on that there are some things to look for that, at a minimum, say caution, this individual is dangerous, and in all likelihood will cause harm to others.”
They all have or had an over-abundant belief that they were special, that they and they alone had the answers to problems, and that they had to be revered. They demanded perfect loyalty from followers, they overvalued themselves and devalued those around them, they were intolerant of criticism, and above all they did not like being questioned or challenged.
And yet, in spite of these less than charming traits, they had no trouble attracting those who were willing to overlook these features.”
Here are some of the traits to watch out for and avoid if possible.
Link to entire list: https://www.psychologytoday.com/dangerous-cult-leaders
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, or brilliance.
- Demands blind unquestioned obedience.
- Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
- Has a sense of entitlement—expecting to be treated special at all times.
- Is arrogant and haughty in his/her behavior or attitude.
- Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him/her to bend rules and break laws.
- Is hypersensitive to how he/she is seen or perceived by others.
- Publicly devalues others as being inferior, incapable, or not worthy.
- Is frequently boastful of accomplishments.
- Needs to be the center of attention and does things to distract others to insure that he or she is being noticed by arriving late, using exotic clothing, overdramatic speech, or by making theatrical entrances.
- Has insisted in always having the best of anything (house, car, jewelry, clothes) even when others are relegated to lesser facilities, amenities, or clothing.
- Doesn’t seem to listen well to needs of others, communication is usually one-way in the form of dictates.
- Haughtiness, grandiosity, and the need to be controlling is part of his/her personality.
- Behaves as though people are objects to be used, manipulated or exploited for personal gain.
- When criticized he tends to lash out not just with anger but with rage.
- Refers to non-members or non-believers in him as “the enemy.”
- Habitually puts down others as inferior and only he/she is superior.
- Treats others with contempt and arrogance.
- Is constantly assessing for those who are a threat or those who revere him/her.
- The word “I” dominates his/her conversations. He is oblivious to how often he references himself.
- Hates to be embarrassed or fail publicly – when he does he/she acts out with rage.
- Doesn’t seem to feel guilty for anything he has done wrong nor does he apologize for his actions.
- Believes he/she possesses the answers and solutions to world problems.
- Works the least but demands the most.
- Seems to be highly dependent of tribute and adoration and will often fish for compliments.
- Uses enforcers or sycophants to insure compliance from members or believers.
- Sees self as “unstoppable” perhaps has even said so.
- Conceals background or family which would disclose how plain or ordinary he is.
“There’s only one corner of the universe you can be certain of improving, and that’s your own self.”
— Aldous Huxley, writer & philosopher