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So What If I'm a Narcissist?

Photograph by Getty Images

A recent study appears to demonstrate that parents who offer too much praise may cause their children to become narcissists. Oh really? Well let’s add that to the list of claims made by eye-opening scientific and psychological studies like Breastfeeding Has No Long Term Benefits, Bathing Your Baby Regularly Is Harmful, and C Sections Are Tied to Childhood Obesity. If we rule our lives by every opinion and research that comes out, we are all doomed.

This particular study has me a bit worried; I don’t want moms to stop praising their children because they believe that they will turn out to be psychos. In fact, I firmly believe the traits of narcissism actually mirror my own personality and I am still lovable, right? Well, even if you don’t think so, I do.

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I am a narcissist. I was not raised in a household where I received excessive praise from my parents, but I did receive excessive praise from teachers at my schools, who allowed me to create programs and events to my heart’s content.

I will admit, I was a bit spoiled by my parents as well. But I was handed ample treasures and opportunities because I was given certain criteria that I had to meet in order to receive those things, and I decided to always do what I had to do to get what I wanted. When it came time to ask for money, clothes and trips out with my friends, I could not be denied.

The qualities that the DSM categorizes as a personality disorder are all qualities that empower me to take risks in life, dream bigger and become more accomplished.

This idea that I could get what I wanted by doing what I had to transferred over into every part of my life. It led me to start my own magazine at the age of 13, organize neighborhood field trips mentoring children by 15 and creating the life I envisioned in my mind for myself, a life very similar to the "Sweet Valley High" character, Elizabeth.

I went on to become the first person in my family to go to college, the first to graduate, the first to have a professional career and the first to move out of state by myself. The qualities that the DSM categorizes as a personality disorder are all qualities that empower me to take risks in life, dream bigger and become more accomplished than the average person. When I look at the primary traits of a narcissist, I fit right in and I’m still living, functioning and making a way for myself in this world. Take a look.

"Has a grandiose sense of self-importance"

Of course I do! I think I am awesome, divinely selected to share a message of healing and bring peace to the world. The crazy part is, I actually TRY to do these things through all of my creative work.

"Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love"

What is wrong with feeling powerful enough to create the exact type of success that you envision? If I am going to create a goal for myself and go after it, why not imagine that I will reach the highest point of success? Who would set a goal and then limit it? That does not make sense.

"Believes that he or she is 'special' and unique"

Well, I have to believe that I am special and unique and purposed in this world or I would not be able to make sense of the fact that I do not easily connect with others. I offer myself the explanation that focusing on my goals is more important than fitting in, and this philosophy has helped me through many lonely times when I wondered if maybe I was from another planet.

If you are worried that your child may become a narcissist, I say don’t be.

"Requires excessive admiration"

While I do not “require” excessive admiration, I do believe that if I am not appreciated in a certain manner, then I should have no dealings with the person, social group or activity. I do not desire followers, but I do expect that what I have to contribute to the interaction will be respected.

"Has a very strong sense of entitlement"

I know myself. I know what I bring to the table. I know what I put into any endeavor that I engage in and I know what the result should be. I am easy-going enough not to be a brat when I do not get my way, but smart enough not to continue to engage with people who dismiss my worth.

"Is exploitative of others"

I exploit people all of the time, but I think of it in a good way. I am always looking for my next story or my next interview and my mind is always trained to turn any story I hear into something that will become a part of my creative portfolio. But I think that is what journalists do.

"Lacks empathy"

Maybe it is my Asperger's but I do find that I am detached from understanding the emotions of others. Whenever I experience emotions of my own, I feel that they are a choice.

"Is often envious of others"

The only people I am envious of are other bloggers who have more followers than I do and bloggers who earn more income through their blogs than I do. I hate them. I have been doing the work, figuring things out on my own for 10 years and I deserve a massive following too, dammit.

"Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes"

I am awesome. I have to know it and share it with others because otherwise, I would never be able to convince people to give me the interviews I need or convince media platforms to give me a shot at creating content for their sites. I am the one. I choose to be who I want to be and no one can ever take that away from me.

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If you are worried that your child may become a narcissist, I say don’t be. Whoever they are and whatever challenges they face, they will learn to adjust and make it work for them. Love your children. You are the only ones in the world to offer them this time of unconditional love. If they wind up being narcissists anyway, tell them to go out and change the world. And they just might, because they already believe they can.

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