Epidemic Tsunami: Delusional Narcissism

From Fox News website ( this article was

    also featured on EWTN Radio in a discussion with a Catholic psychologist

, earlier today ):

A new analysis of the American Freshman Survey, which has accumulated data for the past 47 years from 9 million young adults, reveals that college students are more likely than ever to call themselves gifted and driven to succeed, even though their test scores and time spent studying are decreasing.

Psychologist Jean Twenge, the lead author of the analysis, is also the author of a study showing that the tendency toward narcissism in students is up 30 percent in the last thirty-odd years.
These data are not unexpected. I have been writing a great deal over the past few years about the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.

On Facebook, young people can fool themselves into thinking they have hundreds or thousands of “friends.” They can delete unflattering comments. They can block anyone who disagrees with them or pokes holes in their inflated self-esteem. They can choose to show the world only flattering, sexy or funny photographs of themselves (dozens of albums full, by the way), “speak” in pithy short posts and publicly connect to movie stars and professional athletes and musicians they “like.”

We must beware of the toxic psychological impact of media and technology on children, adolescents and young adults, particularly as it regards turning them into faux celebrities—the equivalent of lead actors in their own fictionalized life stories.

Using Twitter, young people can pretend they are worth “following,” as though they have real-life fans, when all that is really happening is the mutual fanning of false love and false fame.

Using computer games, our sons and daughters can pretend they are Olympians, Formula 1 drivers, rock stars or sharpshooters. And while they can turn off their Wii and Xbox machines and remember they are really in dens and playrooms on side streets and in triple deckers around America, that is after their hearts have raced and heads have swelled with false pride for “being” something they are not.

On MTV and other networks, young people can see lives just like theirs portrayed on reality TV shows fueled by such incredible self-involvement and self-love that any of the “real-life” characters should really be in psychotherapy to have any chance at anything like a normal life.

These are the psychological drugs of the 21st Century and they are getting our sons and daughters very sick, indeed.

As if to keep up with the unreality of media and technology, in a dizzying paroxysm of self-aggrandizing hype, town sports leagues across the country hand out ribbons and trophies to losing teams, schools inflate grades, energy drinks in giant, colorful cans take over the soft drink market, and psychiatrists hand out Adderall like candy.

All the while, these adolescents, teens and young adults are watching a Congress that can’t control its manic, euphoric, narcissistic spending, a president that can’t see his way through to applauding genuine and extraordinary achievements in business, a society that blames mass killings on guns, not the psychotic people who wield them, and—here no surprise—a stock market that keeps rising and falling like a roller coaster as bubbles inflate and then, inevitably, burst.

That’s really the unavoidable end, by the way. False pride can never be sustained. The bubble of narcissism is always at risk of bursting. That’s why young people are higher on drugs than ever, drunker than ever, smoking more, tattooed more, pierced more and having more and more and more sex, earlier and earlier and earlier, raising babies before they can do it well, because it makes them feel special, for a while. They’re doing anything to distract themselves from the fact that they feel empty inside and unworthy.

Distractions, however, are temporary, and the truth is eternal. Watch for an epidemic of depression and suicidality, not to mention homicidality, as the real self-loathing and hatred of others that lies beneath all this narcissism rises to the surface. I see it happening and, no doubt, many of you do, too.

We had better get a plan together to combat this greatest epidemic as it takes shape. Because it will dwarf the toll of any epidemic we have ever known. And it will be the hardest to defeat. Because, by the time we see the scope and destructiveness of this enemy clearly, we will also realize, as the saying goes, that it is us.

Dr. Keith Ablow is a psychiatrist and member of the Fox News Medical A-Team. Dr. Ablow can be reached at info@keithablow.com.

Read more: www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/01/08/are-raising-generation-deluded-narcissists/#ixzz2IqKQyjgW

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4 comments on “Epidemic Tsunami: Delusional Narcissism

  1. With their abandonment of spiritual patrimony ( including catechesis on the virtues ), the herky-jerky, huffin’ – an’ – puffin’ – to – look – hip Brave New Churchmeisters have made their own unique contribution to this unholy catastrophe.

    St. Thomas reaffirms the constant insight of the great Doctors and Saints when he makes plain that the most valuable virtue is HUMILITY, for it is the foundation of all the rest. And another spritual master comments, in Fr. Tanqueray’s classic, “The Spiritual Life” that meekness is the surest sign of true sanctity. Its absence the surest of reprobation.

    Behold, brave new bishops and popes! Behold…….

  2. It is hard to believe that narcissism has increased since the self-indulgence of the boomers in the 1960s.
    Although the current president of the U.S. clearly demonstrates a severe case of pathological narcissism and a grandiose sense of entitlement that derives from the liberal collapse of standards due to affirmative action policies, how new is this really? MENSA nerds aren’t self-involved, narcissistic, and delusional?
    The psychology Ph.D. types doing the studies are beyond narcissism and self-esteem issues? Come on.
    There are no standards of achievement or excellence now as a result of liberalism and political correctness. But this has been developing over a long time.
    There are just more spoiled kids from only-child families. They believe what all four parents competing for their attention tell them.
    They see Kim Kardashian, Bill Clinton, and Barack Obama showered with praise and success, and realize that any con artist, however mediocre or fraudulent,
    can make the big time in America. Why not them?

  3. American society has lost any concept of what the standards of achievement and competence should be for American high school or college students.
    That may be part of the problem and it does have something to do with liberal affirmative action, political correctness, and multiculturalism.
    We should, however, remain suspicious of those too eager to step forward as the enforcers to chop students down to size. What’s the basis of their authority to determine who needs to be humbled?
    On the other hand, with a president suffering from pathological narcissism in the White House, running the country from such delusions, no one in the mainstream media seems concerned to humble him. Why the disconnect?
    Americans used to detest the idea of being ruled by tyrants and emperors. Now they pamper them.

    If there is a problem with narcissism, it starts at the top and runs right through the cultural elite who consider themselves high achievers and the cream of the crop. Maybe there needs to be a national discussion about that – the liberal sense of entitlement which goes with the cultural elite’s claim to power.
    But is that narcissism worse than FDR’s, Napoleon’s, or Nero’s?
    Isn’t that just the way dictators are (i.e., sick, delusional, troubled by the grandiosity of pathological narcissism)?

  4. Rivera is no doubt well intentioned. However, his cut against “triumphalism” comes not with good grace. He actually sounds like a teen recruiter from the anti-Catholic side, a sort of hip televangelist trying to jive talk HIS organization’s agenda past the campus megalomaniacs he’s trying to impress.

    Anyway, while I could be wrong about that, my concern is that the sub-text to his remark typifies the EEEEWWWW!TN mentality I find among the torn-jean hoodie crowd one finds living their lives on the rock: GOP Big Tent Catholicism.

    Electrified, Santo Subitized, charismaticized and zionized right down to their corpuscles, these poor li’l tykes may be baptized but their catechesis is faulty. An honest evaluation of the difference between the average collegiate Catholic and his evangelical bro would likely find there’ s almost none, save for some trace amounts of sacramental and/or dogmatic theology probably ingested at Grandma’s supper table ( but almost certainly not traceable to the homilies or “catholik skool” miseducation to which li’l Juniper or Audrey were subjected as youngsters under Bishop Bubbles and Sr. Mary Applesauce’s ever-watchful eyes ).

    In other words, “dumb as a stump” would actually be an order of magnitude IMPROVEMENT, a step UP from Juny’s or Audrey’s current knowledge of dogma, spirituality and the most basic elements of philosophy. So, what Rivera would have to demonstrate is that these minds full of spiritual mush would actually have a clue about what the Catholic Church has every right on earth ( and in Heaven ) to ( gasp! ) BOAST of!

    If ol’ scratch can’t murder ’em in the womb, he’ll get the little Catholic kiddies another way. A little patience, two generations of spiritual doltism and, it’s off to the races. Today’s littlest ones, raised by catechetically clueless parents and then shoved down the Revolution’s gigantic assembly line to “catholic skools” run by diocesan Bolsheviks are mental, emotional and spiritual cannon fodder by the time they get to “kollidge” these days. Even “catholic kollidges.”

    In the “Dark Ages”, during Medievalism – oh the horror! – ten year olds KNEW the entire Psalter, by heart, in Latin! They were studying Greek and Roman rhetoric, hacking their way through grammar, analyzing SERIOUS mathematical problems and writing at a level that I doubt 1/10th of 1% of today’s collegiates could match.

    But, we musn’t tell the children THAT! Oh, no! They’d feel “inferior”, their little “happy places” would be overturned! They might grow up thinking – yes, actually THINKING! – that they got a raw deal from the Church of What’s Happenin’ Now if they ever learned the truth about just what the Church actually USED TO DO, as a matter or routine, in some of the most backwards, pagan places in the world!

    Oh, the horror!

    But then, we can’t put too much blame on the Riveras of BraveNewChurch. After all, most of them probably have their BA from a modern “catholic kollidge.”

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