Narcissus stayed by the fountain unable to eat or drink, eventually dying. The myth of Narcissus is a good illustration of the damage that total self-love can do to a person. There is a misconception about narcissistic people. This confusion is the belief that narcissistic people are in love with themselves, but according to the DSM-III criteria published in 1989, the narcissus is not in love with HIMSELF, but is in fact in love with his REFLECTION.
This does not mean that a narcissus has no love for others, but it is miss-directed love. They get their identity from the love of the image they portray to others. In other words, the better they look to others, the better they feel about themselves. Narcissistic people can be self centered, selfish and maintain an inflated sense of self. They use people to advance their own desire.
The act of compassion and forgiveness are nothing more than tools that help him to maintain control. When forgiveness is offered from a narcissus it is an implied statement that they are in a position of authority, which is often the case. Many narcissuses are intelligent, and have leadership qualities, drive and ambition. It is all these things combined that make a narcissus difficult to understand. The effect that a narcissus has on others Joseph Page2may or may not be seen right away, but with closer inspection and greater awareness of a true narcissus it becomes more obvious.
I would like to give some examples of people that may be narcissistic. This is my own observation and does not rely on scientific fact or psychological experience. The body has always been a source of fascination for men and women. The way we look on the outside is a good judge of how we feel about ourselves on the inside. I am aware that this line of thinking crosses many forms of moral thinking, but this is my opinion, my paper and my beliefs as to what narcissism means today. I mentioned in the first paragraph that self-love could be healthy for the mind and it helps to bridge a connection between the body, mind and soul.
The problem is not in the way people take care of the body, but the amount of time spent on creating perfection. These people are narcissistic; the image in their head is trying to come to life. The body reflected in the mirror is nothing more than a mold that they sculpt to match the image in their mind. The few bodybuilders I have spoken with explain the frustration that working out continually brings. It is a race against time and the sense of urgency never leaves. The way they feel as a person is connected to the appearance of their bodies.
The hours at the gym are not spent with idle chitchat with others, but on time-consuming analysis of their weak points. They seem to always look in the mirror with admiration, but it is with a critical eye that they see. To the outsider this all may seem like an exercise of vanity, but for many people in the situation above, it is an exercise in survival. They just as soon die than not work on themselves. Joseph Page3I think there is a connection between homosexuality and narcissism. The fact that a person is attracted sexually to a member of the same sex is a fact that they are narcissistic.
The male homosexual seeks perfection in himself and his partners. The male body to a homosexual is a temple to be worshipped. The ritual dance of attraction between males is like dancing with oneself. The object of desire is SELF and the act of sex is masturbation with a mirror.
The case can be argued that homosexual men do not love themselves and therefore place their love in the image of a member of the same sex, because the image is an extension of their own reflection. This shows why many homosexual relationships do not last very long. They are in love/lust as long as the image of loving themself can be maintained, but the veneer can only last so long and when the other person becomes real with time, they too become real, and the mirror image becomes cracked and distorted. It is time to move on to seek a replacement to fulfill the fantasy with out the reality. The examples I have given so far helps to lead into my final thought, which is the detrimental effect narcissism had in the myth Echo and Narcissus and the effect they have today. Narcissus was unable to love anyone.
He had many admirers, but he was too busy with his own self. The nymph Echo was in love with Narcissus and tried many times to get his attention, but he would belittle and ignore her, as is the case for many narcissistic people. When Echo was finally able to get him to notice her, Narcissus was so hurtful and mean that he shamed Echo into retreating to a tree to hide her blushes, where she finally died of lost love. Narcissus never thought of Echo again, but he did find love in a reflection in a fountain.
Narcissus wanted the love of the reflection, unaware that it was himself that he was in love with. Narcissus died waiting for this love that could never come, he died because he was in love with an image. Joseph Page4The same is true for narcissuses today. They are in love with an image; this image can be them in the mirror or the reflection of themselves in the eyes of another. It is not that they mean to love themselves, many times they are not aware that they have misplaced the love they should be giving to others onto themselves.
It is their right to be given this attention and worship, sadly they end up going from relationship to relationship, and hurting endless people in the process.