Many psychologists would argue that a person with higher self-esteem, which is what most humans have, is more likely to have healthy social relationships and form more democratic norms in their social relationships and interactions with others. Thus, the concept of “Narcissistic Ego” is based on self-esteem. A higher self-esteem typically leads to healthier social behaviors and a better ability to interact within the community and so on. On the other hand, narcissistic behaviors generally are not correlated with higher self-esteem. narcissists have poor self-evaluation and see their self-worth as being worthy only of themselves. This makes them bad peers and is why they seek out relationships with those who cannot love them back – people who cannot validate or approve of them, people who lack self-esteem.
So, what causes these two psychological traits? In general, the causes of narcissism and social dominance are related to the individual’s perception of their own importance to others and their inability to attain this importance. If a person feels that he or she is worthless, they will try to improve this image by either exaggerating their importance or unduly magnifying their flaws. As children, we are taught to believe that our life stories should be a happy ending. Thus, when the child believes that his parents or anyone else in the community can cure or change them, this in turn causes them to have unrealistic expectations about social norms and the ability of others to treat them as they deserve to be treated.
In addition, narcissists have short attention spans and a great ability to please others by pretending to be something they’re not. Because they lack self-evaluation and self-awareness, it becomes easy for them to attract people who are envious or have low self-esteem. With these psychological traits, one can see how the shared environment of a democracy could lead to the erosion of those psychological characteristics that are necessary for meaningful interaction. For instance, a nation with a Democratic economy, a free press, open dissent, and a vibrant culture could have high self-esteem and narcissism self-evaluation, but would also have lower economic growth, less intelligent citizens, and a more abrasive political culture.
This erosion can also take place between nations rather than within them. The U.S. has a very diverse population, which could easily lead to an increase in xenophobia and support for right-wing authoritarianism. In other words, a democratic society with a strong sense of national identity and pride could inadvertently push toward an increase in narcissism and other negative self-beliefs. Similarly, a nation that place a greater emphasis on individual freedom and a lower priority on collectivism could also see an increase in narcissism and similar personality disorders.
One could make the argument that narcissism is the result of an emerging global political ideology, combined with a post-modern cultural moment. Yet a closer examination of the historical record would seem to suggest that narcissism and similar personality disorders are rooted in deeper cultural issues. For instance, human societies that place a greater significance on gender norms tend to be characterized by greater narcissism and social deviance. Conversely, societies with a greater concern for traditional values and social order tend to have higher rates of political correctness and social tolerance.
To address this problem, researchers have sought to examine the relation between narcissism and self-esteem. In general, narcissists tend to have low self-esteem, but the degree of this low self-esteem typically varies between individuals. However, there is a correlation between narcissists and lower self-esteem; that is, individuals who endorse extreme political ideologies and/or are preoccupied with building social capital will typically possess lower self-esteem. In other words, those who believe they are at the mercy of an ever changing progressive political ideology will likely develop a higher level of self-doubt and self-affirmation and a lower level of social approval.
This perspective suggests that the solution to the narcissism-paradigm dilemma may lie in developing greater psychological awareness and understanding of the unique nature of narcissism and its social perquisites. According to this school of thought, the first step in this direction would be to recognize that the causes of narcissistic behavior are rooted in multiple psychological variables. In other words, the study of narcissism must address the various theories of psychological causation. Finally, the approach must also take into account the varying levels of social approval a person’s perspective (conservatives, liberals, moderates, and radicals) represents.
Narcissistic personality disorder is a complicated and vast condition. It has been described as a complex interplay of genetic and environmental factors that produce an individual’s self-image and sense of self worth. The cause of narcissism does not appear to be a static or one-size-fits-all factor. It is likely, however, that different aspects of political ideology contribute to the heightened levels of self-esteem and self-sabotage in contemporary societies.