Is the American Dream a Mental Disorder?

by James Jaeger

Have you noticed the word "narcissism" being tossed around more and more these days? I have. In fact it made me wonder if I was one. After all I tend to be a big dreamer and I even believe in unrealistic things like the American Dream. But seriously, this got me so worried I started to dial my psychiatrist. Then I thought, before I spend another grand on mental therapy, maybe I should at least look up the definition of the word. So here's what the experts say in Wikipedia:

nar·cis·sism ('närs??siz?m) noun.

Excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one's physical appearance.

Extreme selfishness, with a grandiose view of one's own talents and a craving for admiration, as characterizing a personality type.

Self-centeredness arising from failure to distinguish the self from external objects, either in very young babies or as a feature of mental disorder.

Wow, sounds like these narcissists are really bad. But what really got my attention was the last two words of the "psychoanalysis" definition that it is a "mental disorder."

A mental disorder? Can my psychiatrist really handle this or should I call my psychologist or even my scientologist? Hell, what if NONE of them can handle my problem. After all, these guys are only human. Maybe I need to call my pastor. Who do you call when suddenly you realize that the very definition of narcissist -- "excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one's physical appearance" -- may apply to yourself? And worse, isn't the very act of calling one's therapist an EXCESSIVE interest in oneself?

I was becoming a wreck. And by now it was more than just my mind; my physical appearance was degrading. I was sweating and pimples were starting to show up all over my cheeks. I knew I was becoming more of a narcissist every second. My finger twitched as it hovered over the dial pad to my shrink's office. MY case can probably ONLY be handled by some serious pharmaceuticals.

Indeed, when my Dad was practicing psychiatry I well-remember how happy his patients looked when they left his office with a prescription. If the drugs worked for all of those people, who was I to think they would not work for me and cure my growing, rampant and insidious narcissism.

After all I WAS guilty of dreaming and goal setting all my life. Not only did I obsessively believe in the AMERICAN Dream, I obsessively believed in MY dream. I was so far gone I even dreamed that I would one day build a big movie studio in Hollywood. I had charts and graphs all over the walls and trunk-loads of executive training manuals. It was totally and completely crazy. I dreamt that I would have a few jets and go from meeting to meeting by helicopter. Good God, those drugs to handle my case are only a phone call away. What am I waiting for?

I should NEVER have read any Scientology books -- especially The Power of Positive Thinking or Think and Grow Rich. These books started me on the road to narcissism, "a grandiose view of one's own talents". What talents?! I don't even HAVE any talents -- as I am now beginning to realize.

Even with these therapeutic realizations, I was so worked up I decided to look further into the Wiki definitions before calling my professionals. If I could at least make some sense of what the experts were saying, maybe my treatment would go smoother. So here's what they said along with my realizations:

WIKI WROTE: >Pathological grandiosity has been associated with one of the two subtypes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (Gabbard, 1989)[4] Characteristics of the narcissist-grandiose subtype (as opposed to the narcissist-vulnerable subtype) include: Being labeled the "oblivious narcissists".

JAEGER WROTE: Good God, this sounds serious. Even though I have no idea what they mean, it still sounds serious. I guess this is what the psychiatric drugs will handle. This mental disorder is so insidious, one can't even comprehend it.

WIKI WROTE: >Observed lack of insight into the impact they have on others

JAEGER WROTE: Geeze, it seems that everyone out there is unaware of their affects. I wonder if everyone is also a narcissist? This disease must be spreading like wild fire. I bet even the psychiatrists, psychologists and scientologists don't know how bad it is.

WIKI WROTE: >More likely to regulate self-esteem through overt self-enhancement.

JAEGER WROTE: Hey, my mother taught me that cleanliness and good health were aspects of self-enhancement. I guess she was wrong. I now realize it's narcissistic to be too clean or too healthy -- OR to listen to your mother.

WIKI WROTE: >Denial of weaknesses

JAEGER WROTE: Wow, how brainwashed I was. All the philosophical and strategic advice over the millennia, like Sun Tzu's Art of War and The Prince by Machiavelli are all inadvertently advising people to be narcissists. They're telling us all to deny our weaknesses, even from our enemies. We should tell our enemies all about our weaknesses and only then can one avoid a disease worse than death, narcissism. Sun Tzu would have been proud of the enlightened thought coming from our modern psychologists and psychiatrists.

WIKI WROTE: >Intimidating demands of entitlement

JAEGER WROTE: Many positive thinking books advocate setting goals and going after them and "never giving up." So I guess it's wrong to feel entitled to things, even if one works for them. And the demand for equality is narcissistic for is this not another type of entitlement? One should be happy with nothing and demand nothing or they are a would-be narcissist.

WIKI WROTE: >Consistent anger in unmet expectations

JAEGER WROTE: Jeeze, I have no idea what "consistent" anger is but I bet it's something that only a narcissist must have. Thank God my psychiatrist will know how large of a dose I will need.

WIKI WROTE: >Devaluation of people that threaten self-esteem

JAEGER WROTE: Gosh, I wonder if this is really true? What if a convicted criminal or a rapist says you're fat, should they be taken just as seriously as a fit gymnast or a health-food coach? Hey, maybe I will book an extra hour or two to discuss this with my psychologist. Maybe I should even take an hour with a lawyer. I'll ask my psychiatrist who he would recommend for legal advice.

WIKI WROTE: >Diminished awareness of the dissonance between their expectations and reality, along with the impact this has on relationships

JAEGER WROTE: This is pretty complicated. I hope I will be able to get through it.

WIKI WROTE: >Overt presentation of grandiose fantasies

JAEGER WROTE: Just from my study of narcissism at Wiki U, I can now see that setting goals and seeking to achieve them is NOT what any good group member should do. I now also see that the adage of "aim for the star and you hit the cherry tree and aim for the cherry tree and you hit the ground" is quite selfish, hence narcissistic. Not only is it grandiose and self-centered, the idea that an individual could accomplish anything above the level of the mud surrounding a cherry tree is nothing other than a "mental disorder." Boy, am I glad I studied up on narcissism before calling my therapists, preacher and lawyer.

WIKI WROTE: >Conflict within the environment is generally experienced as external to these individuals and not a measure of their own unrealistic expectations

JAEGER WROTE: Indeed. Whoever wrote this was quite wise. People should only have realistic expectations. After all, if you are a little Black boy, get used to the idea that you will simply NEVER be President of the United States. To think otherwise would be narcissistic. Where was Big Pharma, and our national shrinks, when we really needed them? Obviously they missed the opportunity to properly drug Obama while he was young. Now look what's happened, one of them got out of the cuckoo's nest. And those little White boys that walked on the moon. They're no better. Who failed to properly drug them before they became dreaming narcissists? Thank God we put an end to the U.S. Moon program 40 years ago. We already have enough unrealistic dreamers here on Earth.

WIKI WROTE: >The differences between grandiose and vulnerable narcissist subtypes have been studied (Dickinson & Pincus, 2003):[5]

JAEGER WROTE: Thank God for the studies of Dickinson & Pincus. Without experts like this humanity would be totally lost. Even L. Ron Hubbard could learn a thing or two from these guys.

WIKI WROTE: >This overall finding confirms past theory and research that suggests that these [grandiose subtype] individuals lack knowledge of the impact they have upon others, and thus, have an unrealistic view of themselves in relation to others (Gabbard, 1989, 1998; Kernberg, 1975; Kohut, 1971, 1977).

JAEGER WROTE: Hey I can see how the line between realistic and unrealistic dreams is probably blurry so I would think the safest thing modern civilization could do is make sure no one dreams or CAN dream. Obviously, to the degree a dream is NOT stated as a goal and the goal is NOT accurately broken down into a program and projects, a would-be narcissist could become even more unrealistic. But even if the only impact "narcissists" have on others is exposing them to poor planning, this is quite serious because a mentally balanced group member should not be exposed to ANYTHING that s/he can't fully tolerate. To do otherwise would be politically incorrect. I can now see why it's so important for all Americans to confront the fact that not only is the American Dream is dead, but THEIR dreams must be dead as well -- otherwise they are prone to becoming narcissists. Mothers and sisters should take note.

WIKI WROTE: >Indeed, this very lack of insight into their impact upon others is what incited Gabbard (1989) to enlist the label "oblivious narcissists" to describe their social presentation and distinguish them from their vulnerable counterparts.

JAEGER WROTE: I don't know what Gabbard said in 1989 but if everyone remembers it after all these years it MUST be important, if not quite meaningful to our friends with shrink drugs.

WIKI WROTE: >Grandiose narcissistic individuals expect another's immediate and undivided attention, and are oblivious to the effect their direct demands of entitlement have on others.

JAEGER WROTE: Unfortunately, the Wright Brothers probably used to impose their "grandiose" plans of flight upon their family and friends so much they drove them nuts. Too bad the psychiatrists and psychologists of the day weren't able to more quickly identify them as "narcissists". Look how many people have been killed by their so-called airplanes. If narcissists were meant to fly safely, God would have given them more practical dreams.

WIKI WROTE: >And, by virtue of their ability to maintain the grandiose self through self-enhancement, grandiose narcissistic individuals are less susceptible than their vulnerable peers to the chronic emotional consequences of threats to entitled expectations (e.g., distress, lowered self-esteem, interpersonal fearfulness).


WIKI WROTE: >The grandiosity section of the Diagnostic Interview for Narcissism (DIN) (Second edition) is as follows: The person exaggerates talents, capacity and achievements in an unrealistic way.

JAEGER WROTE: I'd rather be unrealistic than untruthful but I'm sure my pharmacist would disagree. The word "unrealistic" is pleasantly subversive because no one has a full definition of "reality" in the first place. Especially our buddies, the psychiatrists. But nevertheless, thank God the psychiatrists are able to maintain population control by reminding us to take our pills daily on network TV. But people who promote their good works, or put their best foot forward, are some of the most dangerous narcissists because these types most likely advocate competition over pills. Every psychiatrist, psychologist and Big Pharma leader well-knows that only narcissists have the gall to individuate from the group by attempting to compete, excel or refrain from drugs. This is the very definition of "excessive and erotic interest in oneself" and no doubt it leads to "an excessive interest in one's physical appearance" and health. Next, people who are overly healthy will be talking about the ridiculous dream of so-called "life extension." Everyone except the narcissist knows they must die. Everyone except the narcissist knows that we all eventually will need expensive psychiatric drugs to even live, or be "normal."

WIKI WROTE: >The person believes in his/her invulnerability or does not recognize his/her limitations.

JAEGER WROTE: I now realize that those "positive thinking" books that teach "the only limitation on you is the one you acknowledge" are full of crap. Only what your psychiatrist, psychologist, lawyer and government official say provide proper limits for the individual -- all else promote excessive dreaming and self-esteem that leads to narcissism. The justified vilification of so-called positive thinking exercises -- especially those aimed at strengthening the individual -- supports the collectivist mentality, the only realistic mentality in today's society. And this collectivist mentality -- now aided by the infinite wisdom of our psychiatric and psychology communities -- may make everyone feel as if they are a "narcissist" -- but that's only because they ARE narcissists. So it's high time we put down the American Dream and focus on the American Narcissist. And the good news is, even this malady can be treated by either Big Pharma's product, or joining the collective -- maybe even the DemoPublican Party. So if you have any big dreams or grandiose fantasies, see your shrink. Be normal once again. Stay in the line. Individuals cause trouble. Individuals argued with King George and see where that has gotten us: a global empire that mass-murders the people of the world in the name of liberty.

WIKI WROTE: >The person believes that he/she does not need other people.

JAEGER WROTE: And if you are not a member of the collective and find yourself wandering towards narcissism, perhaps because you dare to be a big-thinking individual -- just STOP it! Stop over-examining and downgrading other people, projects, statements and dreams in an unrealistic manner -- UNLESS THEY DESERVE IT. And believe me, they all deserve to be put in their places.

Hey, even though the pharmaceutical industry is a multi-billion dollar business that depends on diseases in order to exist, the more identifiable diseases in the catalog, the greater potential for profits. And this means you and your narcissism can get treated more quickly. After all, if only 50 human maladies exist when 200 could exist by arbitrarily subdividing maladies and defining new ones, that's four times more potential revenue. Big Pharma, your neighborhood shrink and friendly psychologist are all there to help you and your dreams resolve their problems.

So when Big Pharma realizes that kids on sugar really suffer from a malady now cataloged as "attention deficit order," we should rejoice and rest assured that modern medicine will also find a way of making sure our kids don't become narcissists by unrealistically dreaming. Yes the American Dream is dead -- let's keep it that way.

Originated: 02 October 2016

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