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The Narcissist You Know

Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age

By Joseph Burgo
15-minute read
Audio available
The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age by Joseph Burgo

“Narcissism” has become a buzzword and a snap diagnosis, but how much do we really understand about this condition? The Narcissist You Know (2015) unpacks the myths and the truths. Narcissism isn’t just a serious psychiatric disorder, it’s part of life – we all share some tendency toward it. By analyzing a wide range of narcissists – many of them celebrities – Joseph Burgo reveals the hidden shame that lies behind all the pain.

  • Anyone interested in psychology
  • People who want to learn how to deal with narcissists

Joseph Burgo, Ph.D, is a psychotherapist, psychoanalyst and writer. He has practiced psychotherapy for over 30 years, and is also the author of Why Do I Do That? Psychological Defense Mechanisms and the Hidden Ways They Shape Our Lives.

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The Narcissist You Know

Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age

By Joseph Burgo
  • Read in 15 minutes
  • Audio & text available
  • Contains 9 key ideas
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The Narcissist You Know: Defending Yourself Against Extreme Narcissists in an All-About-Me Age by Joseph Burgo
Synopsis

“Narcissism” has become a buzzword and a snap diagnosis, but how much do we really understand about this condition? The Narcissist You Know (2015) unpacks the myths and the truths. Narcissism isn’t just a serious psychiatric disorder, it’s part of life – we all share some tendency toward it. By analyzing a wide range of narcissists – many of them celebrities – Joseph Burgo reveals the hidden shame that lies behind all the pain.

Key idea 1 of 9

Narcissism is not one illness but a continuum of disorders.

There’s a lot of talk about narcissism nowadays. With the rise of social media and the selfie, it seems that being narcissistic has become normal.

But narcissism isn’t a trivial word to be casually thrown around. It’s actually a dangerous tendency that exists in all of us. We’ve all lacked empathy toward others and acted egocentrically at one time or another. And while some of us only have this tendency in small amounts, there’s a whole spectrum of narcissists out there – and some of them are highly dangerous.

In fact, there’s an officially recognized psychiatric disorder called Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which defines the criteria for the 1 percent of the population who are pathological narcissists. These are the kind who often get jailed for crimes like murder or rape.

But there’s another section of the population that often passes under the radar: the 4 percent who qualify as Extreme Narcissists – narcissists who don’t fit the psychiatric definition, but are still much more dangerous than “lesser” narcissists like you and me.

While they may not commit as many crimes, Extreme Narcissists are terrified of being seen as inferior to others, and use vicious and elaborate tactics to maintain an image of superiority. Many highly successful celebrities are Extreme Narcissists – but it’s also likely you know one yourself.

That’s why it’s so important to learn how to identify and deal with Extreme Narcissists: you need to protect yourself. But not only that – you also need to identify your own narcissistic tendencies.

Why?

Because being even a bit narcissistic can bring out the narcissistic tendencies in others.

For example, imagine you live in a shared house with other people. If you act narcissistically and keep eating all the food without replacing it, the others will start doing the same thing. In the end, everyone will behave increasingly narcissistically.

We’ll learn more about Extreme Narcissists in the blinks that follow. But before you judge them too harshly, remember that they‘re in constant fear of being losers.

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