Confessions of a Recovering Narcissist
To be a good CEO, you need to un-learn what got you there in the first place
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) cannot be medicated. It is treatable only through therapy. The problem is therapy is rarely sought by the afflicted. It cannot be cured. I don’t know what DSM stands for, but it sounds important. What follows are the DSM criteria for NPD, along with my self-assessment:
Grandiosity with expectations of superior treatment from others
At my worst.
Fixated on fantasies of power, success, intelligence, attractiveness
Check. Check. Check. Have given up on the last one.
Self-perception of being unique, superior and associated with high-status people and institutions
Needing constant admiration from others
Love it. Love me.
Sense of entitlement to special treatment and to obedience from others
Desperately trying to un-learn this. Have made a ton of progress, thanks to Manuela.
Exploitative of others to achieve personal gain
I prefer to call it borderline sociopathic empathy for the mutual, non-zero improvement of humanity. Just kidding.
Unwilling to empathize with others’ feelings, wishes, or needs
No. Phew. My parents taught me this.
Intensely envious of others and the belief that others are equally envious of them
I want to be Batman. I love the Lion King. Would kill to be Abraham Lincoln. Which sounds weird.
Pompous and arrogant demeanor
My Mom would kill me. My sister as well. They do. The women in my life
The act of founding a company is its own act of narcissism. “I alone can do this.” If you want to make your kid a narcissist, so he or she can become an entrepreneuer, here is your game-plan :
An oversensitive temperament at birth
As Gaga would say, baby I was born this way.
Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback
A wise man once told me feedback is the breakfast of champions. I try to eat it. It don’t taste like Lucky Charms.
Excessive praise for good behaviors or excessive criticism for bad behaviors in childhood
I don’t remember much excessive praise — excellent was expected. That’s a son of an immigrant and a teacher thing. And a great sister. They saved me. Bad behavior started in college. I was on my own and out from under their watchful eye. That’s when things got dark.
Overindulgence and overvaluation by parents, other family members, or peers
We don’t do this much in the Midwest. It’s not, uh, Midwestern.
Being praised for perceived exceptional looks or abilities by adults
Skipping a grade screwed me up. If I had been good at sports, I’d be a nightmare.
Severe emotional abuse in childhood
Hell no. Wouldn’t even make a joke about that.
Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents
I love you Mom and Dad. You are the best.
Learning manipulative behaviors from parents or peers
I am not sure how I learned this. But I figured it out.
Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own self-esteem.
No. They are humble people.
Narcissism comes in degrees. A little narcissism is good.
At least that’s what I am telling myself.