Speaking of different perspectives, of accepting the existence of many points of views, and realizing the real and potential misunderstandings that could derive from partial knowledge and limited views, inspired me to take a look at the story of Narcissism from a different perspective. Not only I realized that Kohut was right about the fact that people often try to hide their flaws by emphasizing the positive aspects of themselves which often comes out the wrong way and is perceived by others as bragging or as a narcissistic nature of that individual’s personality, and not only I discovered that this reaction and fear to others’ criticism is a derivation of self-criticism that each one of us performs quietly and rapidly in our minds, but I also came to the understanding that not all the stories we hear about are as they seem to be. For example, we learn from Greek Mythology that Narcissus was one beautiful young man, one of the pagan gods, who was sure about his beauty but also upset that others could not understand him. And so, Narcissus looking at himself’s reflection in the pond, realizing how perfect he was, he fell in love with himself and then he jumped into the water to reach for himself. And this is how he died. Now this is the most retarded way of telling a story and expecting to fool people with this story, and yet it happened. People, of all ages and all generations believed in such story to be quite normal, and the worse of all happened when Freud decided to label one of the personality disorders by this name. But, let’s look at the story of Narcissus a bit differently. From the angle I saw it, as usually I was not convinced by the details of this story, and so I questioned, “Why would Narcissus jump into a pond, risking dying, in order to touch himself and make love of himself?” Conclusion one can make at this point is that Narcissus was either an idiot, therefore not a god, that could not realize where his own body was, or he was chasing something else in the pond, something that he perceived as very beautiful and worth risking his life. Hence, Narcissus was either a devoted lover, or as Pausanias tells a different version of this story, Narcissus found his twin sister being kept captive inside the pond and risked his life to save her. Hence Narcissus was a hero. So which one of these three versions makes more sense to you? Now, we can see how people were fooled to believe that Narcissus was in love with himself. They may have asked him what is he looking at, and he may have answered, “No one, just myself.” And if he did say that, then he was definitely trying to save his sister, and has to keep it a secret, risking not only his life by jumping into deep and unknown waters, but also risking his reputation by telling everyone that he was in love with himself. And the story of Echo, that poor girl that was in love with him and he harshly refused, could Echo be just an Echo after all? An empty shell that just repeats what she is programmed to say, and so she is not herself? There you have the complete story of Narcissus, and I found it outrages that Freud did not look at these stories more carefully before throwing labels left and right for all the personality disorders that he analyzed. The same thing goes with the story of Oedipus and how he killed his father to marry his own mother which Freud immortalized it as Electra or Oedipus disorder where the child falls in love with the parent of the opposite gender, while in fact is the parent who instills such ideas in the child’s mind by showing signs of jealousy and disapprove toward child and other parent’s relationship.
So, as I did my research in Narcissism for my Master Theses and came to realize so many different versions of this ancient story, I learned that it was Eros who fooled Narcissus into believing in a lover under water that needed to be rescued. Indeed the story as it is told by Konon, a contemporary of Ovid (Ovid also wrote about Narcissist and unfortunately only his version is accepted and known worldwide, and now is a big question why?) tells us that Narcissus was fooled by Eros because Eros was jealous of him and wanted to punish him for certain insult he endured many years ago. Now, I can add my piece of the puzzle into this story as I perceive it. Could it be that Eros indeed held Narcissus’ sister captive and he was daring Narcissus to jump into the water, to save his sister or lover? Eros hope or plan could have worked either way. Either Narcissus dies and he has the girl for himself, or Eros uses Narcissus’ image to make the girl fall in love with him and then pretend to be the invisible lover as in the story of Psyche? Indeed what face could he show to Psyche? He can only show her images of Narcissus, that’s all. And that is why, people should not jump into conclusions (or pools of water, without a submarine LOL). To me Narcissus is a hero.Therefore, the name of this mental and personality disorder should be the Erotic Personality Disorder. Join me on this quest?

4 thoughts on “Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Erotic Personality Disorder? Whatchamacallit?

  1. When I approach such topics like Narcissism, I take into the consideration the context in which they are written. For instance, these stories are Greek and in those times, they were experiences a “renaissance” type explosion of psychology, and were still unrefined theories. These stories and their different versions could just be the various attempts at describing patterns they saw in personality types. Afterall, they are purely fiction and allegorical. The discrepancies you find in the variance of the stories truly can not yield us any further explanation or revealing of the disorder, because they were based upon A) an introductory understanding of these behaviors, B) very little clinical knowledge of the disorders. It wasn’t until the modern world of psychology began detailing the patterns of these personality types and behaviors in the DSM, that we began to have a ”truer” understanding of the various mental disorders.

    Renaming the disorder to Erotic Personality Disorder does not change the established patterns that scientists and psychologists have found to be hallmarks of the Narcissistic condition, and therefore seeks only to confuse and befuddle those who have not read the alternative versions of the story, which in my opinion, do nothing to further clarify or point out any discrepancy.

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    1. I have done my whole research on this disorder and I have studied this discrepancy very deeply. But, unfortunately this blog is for masses and I have no intent to explain all the scientific research I have done on this topic just to satisfy some curious minds. Nevertheless, you may want to refer to my previous posts to make such connection, if that helps. Thank you for reading my post, anyhow.

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