Looking back on U.S. history, certain presidents clearly stand out as larger than life. Andrew Jackson, TR, LBJ -- these were flamboyant and domineering men, and also great leaders. Yet our greatest leaders often have dark sides as well.
Twenge and her colleagues argue that the increase in narcissism is related to the fact that American culture has increasingly celebrated individualism. This is exactly the kind of message that they might point to as reflecting the cultural dimension of this personality shift.
How does a person fall for a narcissist? Individuals who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder can generally charm the pants off of anyone, so it is easy to fall into victim mode and blame these emotional con-artists.
I believe people have much to teach us and that we truly are equals. I was raised to believe that people, given the chance, can make something of themselves. But I do not value someone being wealthy or having stuff or having power as being successful.
Andrew Whiten and Richard Byrne argue that primate intelligence stems from "Machiavellian Intelligence" -- the ability to manipulate and deceive others in the competition for scarce resources. According to this view, manipulative tendencies co-evolved with mind-reading ability.
It's one thing to see that there is a growing number of narcissists in America today. But the real concern is not the individual narcissists among us, but when our society embraces and accepts narcissism as the norm.
It is highly unlikely that the narcissist nearest you will ever find the need to change. If anything is to shift, it will come from you. Your first step is to realize that you deserve to treat yourself in a worthy manner.