A lack of narcissism is attractive

Narcissism viewed pathologically

Attractive, successful, dominant, self-centered and - reckless; a "social virus" has attacked many people, says the social psychologist Professor Hans Bierhoff from the Ruhr University Bochum, and that is narcissism. And living with a narcissistic person is a challenge.

Narcissists ask a lot from the people they live with: confirmation, confirmation, and confirmation again. Woe to those who also seek contact, compassion or solidarity in the narcissist, they will be disappointed.

According to Bierhoff, one meets more and more people who have increased an actually quite normal appreciation of themselves into the delusion of unshakable self-glorification.

"Narcissists experience a grandiose feeling of their own importance combined with fantasies of unlimited success and the need for power and recognition," summarizes Bierhoff.

That sounds unsympathetic, but narcissists are still in business. In the last 25 years the phenomenon has "increased very strongly", says Bierhoff.

A need for power and recognition

Where does narcissism come from? For example, Cristiano Ronaldo. Recently the "Süddeutsche Zeitung" portrayed the Portuguese soccer player from Real Madrid as "Narcissus from the flower island" Madeira. Rightly.

In fact, after scoring a goal, the athlete walks across the field with his arms outstretched, as if the statue of Christ from Sugar Loaf Mountain in Rio had landed on the football field.

God knows, albeit unconscious, at least megalomaniac quote. Ronaldo's tricky dribbles first greed for applause and then for the goal.

And after the game, he likes to stroll bare-chested across the lawn to show off his muscles.

The cameras then transport the whole thing to the football fan. "The narcissistic appearance in everyday life is promoted by the media," says Bierhoff.

Especially people who have high standards and who have learned that only output, performance and performance count in life can feel confirmed here. What remains are a bad example and high standards.

Can You Love Narcissists?

Middle-class children with ambitious parents are particularly vulnerable. They tie their offspring in anticipation of being extraordinary and special.

Narcissism is above all a reflection of social conditions. Psychologists discover in the narcissist an actually deeply insecure person who tries to compensate for his weak self-image.

For those affected, their own narcissism is not a problem, they are doing really well. But nobody is an island, not even a narcissus. But at some point he too will want to cooperate, connect or enter into partnerships.

"Narcissists look very attractive and can advertise and win over a partner in an extraordinarily charming manner," says Bierhoff. However, the narcissist stumbles in maintaining and nurturing the relationship.

Partnerships, which ideally also serve to bear and appreciate the weaknesses of the other, are therefore anathema to him. Bierhoff asked students about it. He first determined their narcissism using a questionnaire.

Bierhoff then asked the test subjects how they rate the attractiveness of their partners. The result: the role of the partner's status, education or income was surprisingly dominant.

"We found that narcissistic partners clearly overestimate their attractiveness," said Bierhoff.

No sense of togetherness, no trust

Relationships with narcissists are very difficult, summarizes Bierhoff. As long as the partner serves the narcissist's own goals, he is welcome, if he becomes useless, he will be dropped.

Bierhoff even speaks here of "exploitation" of the partner. We-feeling, true intimacy and deep trust - none.

Narcissists tend to keep their distance, want to be admired by their partner, and are jealous, possessive to exploitative, says Bierhoff. "Increasing self-esteem is and will remain her primary goal."

"Relationships with narcissists tend to be unhappy and unstable," said Bierhoff. "There is always the alternative of separation." Cristiano Ronaldo's love life seems to confirm the thesis. He is said to have many quickly changing amours.

"Narcissists rarely seek help from psychotherapy, they have no obvious problem," says the psychologist. "A lot of narcissists come because their partners send them."

However, the success of the therapy is often limited. But the biography of the narcissists holds surprises in store. Bierhoff: "Sometimes, when narcissists age, they may get involved in social projects, for example. Because older narcissists are typically less narcissistic than younger ones."

Even with Cristiano Ronaldo there seems to have been some kind of purification. He now plays much more helpful to the team, said an English football expert, according to "SZ".

Hans-Werner Bierhoff, Michael Jürgen Herner: Narcissism - the return, Verlag Hans Huber. ISBN 978-3456847511

When is a person narcissistic?

Narcissistic personality disorder is only listed in the ICD 10 under the heading "Other specific personality disorders

(F 60.8) ". In Appendix I of the ICD-10 edition" Research Criteria ", however, it is further characterized.

At least five of the following characteristics must be present:

  • Sense of size in relation to their own importance (e.g. those affected exaggerate their achievements and talents, expect to be seen as significant without corresponding achievements)
  • Dealing with fantasies about unlimited success, about power, sagacity, beauty or ideal love
  • Inner conviction to be "special" and unique and to be understood only by other special people or those with a high status (or by corresponding institutions) or to be able to be with them
  • Need for undue admiration
  • Claim attitude; unfounded expectation of particularly favorable treatment or automatic fulfillment of expectations
  • Exploitation of interpersonal relationships, taking advantage of others in order to achieve one's own goals
  • Lack of empathy; Refusing to acknowledge or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • more frequent envy of others or conviction that others are jealous of those affected
  • arrogant, haughty behaviors and attitudes.