For reasons that I won’t bore you with now, I’ve been researching the ins and outs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder over the past week. According to the DSM (abbreviation for Damn Sassy Manual), this disorder involves a sense a self-importance and entitlement, a need for admiration, and a lack of ability to identify with the feelings of others. Narcissists expect others to cater to their needs, and they get angry when this doesn’t happen.
Truthfully, most of us are a little self-important. If you’ve ever fantasized about becoming famous, or if you still sometimes brag about crushing your opponents in the 3rd grade spelling bee, congratulations – you’re narcissistic.
Don’t worry, though. A certain amount of narcissism is normal, and even healthy, in people. A small dose of self-centeredness keeps you confident and assertive, and reminds you to take care of your own needs now and then.
However, if you’ve ever fallen in love with your own reflection, and then died because you couldn’t tear yourself away from it, you may have a tiny problem. I’m looking at you, Narcissus.
All of this reading and writing about selfish, exploitative, and entitled people has got me thinking about celebrities. If we think about it, there are quite a few famous people who could meet the criteria for NPD. Now, I could point everyone’s attention to a certain orange-skinned, fox-haired blowhard of a politician, but that would be too easy, wouldn’t it?
For lighthearted funsies, I say we keep the focus on non-real characters that appear in movies and TV. This activity will not only help increase my understanding of the personality disorder, it’ll also be good typing practice, because my fourth finger forgets to type that third ‘s’ of narcissism Every. Single. Time.
Get your shit together, finger.
5 characters who might be narcissistic…
Regina George, Mean Girls
Evidence for narcissism – She obviously has a sense of superiority, and is controlling, deceiving, and uncaring. She demands admiration from others, and cuts down her friends’ successes with negative comments. She strongly believes that others are envious of her.
Evidence against narcissism – None. She and Narcissus would make a great couple. You know, if either of them existed.
Also, as a side note – where the hell has Lindsay Lohan disappeared to for the past few years? I’m thinking aliens.
Miranda Priestly, The Devil Wears Prada
Evidence for narcissism – She’s demanding and cold. She expects perfection from her employees, and harshly criticizes their mistakes. She insists on having the “top” or “best” of everything (i.e., restaurants, hairdressers, etc).
Evidence against narcissism – Miranda seems to have some level of awareness of how she’s perceived, which isn’t typically seen in the self-absorbed crowd.
Michael Scott, The Office
Evidence for narcissism –He exaggerates his achievements, and fantasizes about being loved and admired by all who know him. He is often shallow and callous, and is oblivious to how his remarks affect others.
Evidence against narcissism – Michael does occasionally express real concern and empathy toward his coworkers, though he usually follows it with an insensitive joke of some sort.
Jenna Maroney, 30 Rock
Evidence for narcissism – She’s attention-seeking and self-centered, and is threatened by anyone else with talent. She’s even in a relationship with someone who dresses and acts just like her, which I feel like is proof enough.
Evidence against narcissism – She shows some care in her relationships with Liz and Paul.
G.O.B. Bluth, Arrested Development
Evidence for narcissism – He’s arrogant, and constantly seeking others’ approval. He’s always “on stage” – both literally and figuratively. He expects others to take care of him, and struggles to maintain friendships and romantic relationships.
Evidence against narcissism – *crickets chirping*
In defense of G.O.B., Jenna, and Michael, I have yet to finish their TV series, so maybe these characters blossom into warm, grounded humans. Maybe not.
So friends, what did you think of my list of narcissists? Can you think of any other characters who might meet these criteria?