Thursday, August 28, 2014

Profiling Predators

Writing for Slate, Katy Waldman characterizes the current attention we focus on narcissism as the “syndrome du jour.” Tongue in cheek (hopefully), she dedicated the article to herself, since “there was no one else so incandescent, so charming, so wittily expert in the field of personality disorders as the one who appears in my mirror every morning. . .”

Katy’s attempt at humor falls flat, at least for me. There is nothing funny about the upward trend of narcissism over the last few decades. Narcissism is toxic to any family, to any team, to any community, to any society.

Numerous studies have documented the gradual increase in narcissism. Ms. Waldman even refers to one—a 2008 study documenting that today’s college students score higher on the Narcissistic Personality Inventory than students in 1979. Dr. Jean Twenge, the same person who conducted the 2008 study, recently updated her research and reports that narcissism continues to rise. (The revision to her book, Generation Me, is due out next month.)

This is no laughing matter. As an investigator for more than 45 years, I have encountered predators of all kinds. Killers, con men, pedophiles, white collar thieves, thugs or even those who exploit others in ways that fall short of criminal, all have at least one thing in common. They are narcissists. Narcissism is a defining characteristic of predators. Thus an increase in narcissism, even if it’s not clinically diagnosable, should be cause for great concern, not light hearted joking. The more narcissists, the more predators.  (more...)

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