#46 – The Narcissistic Personality

From time to time, I get requests from listeners asking for more coverage of the various diagnostic categories such as depression, autism, obsessive-compulsive disorder, and so on. So, it’s in that spirit that I invited today’s guest to talk about the Narcissistic Personality. Regular listeners will recall Maria Hess, Ph.D. who I interviewed on teaching with passion back in Episode #20. Maria regularly teaches a class on Abnormal Behavior at Sonoma State University, where I taught for most of my own career. And, it’s worth mentioning that she was a recent winner of that University’s Excellence in Teaching Award. Recommended reading by Dr. Hess includes Why Is It Always About You: Saving Yourself FromThe Narcissists in Your Life by Sandy Hotchkiss, as well as any books by leading authors in the area James Masterson and Steven Johnson. In this episode, Dr. Dave relates his story about “winning” the Liar’s Contest in Lolo, Montana. Thanks to the Ron Helman Jazz Ensemble who provided the jazz track behind the Liar’s Contest story. You’ll find their tune, “Old Folks,” on the Podsafe Music Network. The show closes with a podsafe number, titled, “Be Here Now” by Freedom People.



  1. Reinhard, booklover
    Posted April 16, 2009 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

    Narcissism is a topic that resonates strongly with me. I may not be a narcissist in the classical sense but I am a very selfcontained, cautious, shy, sometimes even distrustful person. So I think I cary some kind of “narcissistic” wound within me.

    There’s a great insightful book from the swiss jungian analyst Kathrin Asper called “Verlassenheit und Selbstentfremdung” (Abandonment and Self-Enstrangement) that helped me a great deal understanding some of the emotional upheavals in my life.
    Asper goes deep into the reasons for those kind of childhood wounds and draws heavily on fairy tales, (IIRC) Kohut’s Self Psychology and some attachment theory. Very moving, analytically precise and archetypical stuff, a “deep read” if you will.
    I don’t know if this book is available in English, I think it may be the book with the title “The Abandoned Child Within: On Losing and Regaining Self-Worth” by her. Yes, reading the reviews on amazon, I think it’s the book I read in German.

    Highly recommended if you are up for some “digging deep” stuff”.

    Reinhard from Austria

  2. mat
    Posted September 10, 2009 at 2:09 pm | Permalink

    Reinhard…. thanks for the excellent book tip. BTW, although Amazon carries it, it’s surprisingly pricey (aprox. $78 U.S.), but I especially appreciated one reviewer’s description:
    “Underneath this colourful maelstrom lies an hypothesis: pathological narcissism is the direct outcome of early childhood abuse and trauma, mainly in the form of abandonment or neglect. Narcissism, in other words, is a defence against hurt and emotional injury. To eradicate it, one must revert to one’s roots and deal with unrsolved pain and conflict with caregivers and significant others (in other words, one’s mother). This is the orthodoxy and it is supported by a large body of therapeutical experience.”

    FYI, a PDf version is available for download for $12 online at caliber.ucpress.net:

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