Selfish Jerks: An Explanation — Why We Made a Video About Narcissism

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is real and more relevant than ever. Understand why it matters in 2.5 minutes:

I’ve always been fascinated with serial killers and mass murderers. From books on Charles Manson, John Wayne Gacy and Ted Bundy to documentaries on murderous dictators like Hitler, Stalin and Pol Pot, I could not get enough as a young person. While my friends were reading fantasy or mystery books, I read about Jonestown.

I always wondered why these subjects fascinated me so much. I think I was trying to answer this question: what drives people to behave in such depraved ways? What could cause a person to kill so easily and without remorse? Are they fundamentally different from you and me?

My fascination with this subject inspired an interest in psychology and abnormal human behavior. Specifically, I’ve come to see personality disorders as one way to answer my question about the unfathomable behavior of some of my fellow humans.

Could personality disorders be at the root of these people’s actions? Or, more pertinently, could these disorders explain things that we see in the news today?

Lately, narcissism, which is marked by an extreme sense of superiority, entitlement and lack of empathy, has been in the news more than ever. Political figures are known for their narcissistic tendencies.

I’ve come to see two ways to think about narcissism. First, we are all a little narcissistic, just like we are all a little selfish or vain. This form is normal and usually harmless.

But there is a second, more extreme form that’s dangerous. In this case, narcissism is a personality disorder and individuals who are diagnosed with it are likely to behave in distressing ways that impact their relationships, work, school or financial affairs.

In fact, narcissistic personality disorder is part of the dark triad of personality disorders. The name “dark” triad comes from the disorders being known for malevolence and harm to others. They are:

  • Psychopathy (being a psychopath) — Lack of empathy, callousness, impulsivity and thrill seeking
  • Machiavellianism — Extreme self-interest, lack of principles, manipulative, exploitative
  • Narcissism — Extreme sense of superiority, entitlement, need for attention, lack of empathy

What is known about personality disorders is discouraging. The disorders are deeply ingrained in the individual and don’t often change over time or across situations. The causes are unknown. There is no known cure or proven medications for treatment. However, therapy may help some manage the disorder.

That. Is. Fascinating.

We made the Selfish Jerks video to explain the reality of personality disorders and specifically, narcissistic personality disorder. I believe the more we humans understand what drives people to behave the way they do, the more prepared we can be to react rationally and responsibly, especially in the workplace. Awareness is the goal of the video.

Please consider sharing this page, the Facebook post or YouTube video.

Below are a few resources we used as sources for the video, if you’d like to learn more:

Mayo Clinic on Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Web MD: What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Harvard Business Review: Narcissistic Leaders: The Incredible Pros, The Inevitable Cons

Wikipedia Links:

Mental Health Resources:

National Mental Health Consumer Self-Help Clearinghouse 1–800–553–4539

Center for Mental Health Services National Mental Health Information Center 1–800–789–2647

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