JEAN M. TWENGE, PhD: “Is Donald Trump Actually Insecure Underneath?”

I’m often asked how you can spot a narcissist. Here’s my standard list:

  • Brag or show off
  • Name-dropping
  • Name brands or flashy possessions
  • Look at themselves in the mirror a lot
  • Turn the conversation back to him/herself
  • Insults others
  • Declarations about being the “best” or “great” without details
  • Emphasizes his/her status

I wrote that list two years ago — long before Donald Trump started running for president. Yet it could have been written just for him. As others have pointed out, the Donald is a textbook case of narcissistic personality. He is clearly functioning well and thus can’t be classified as having narcissistic personality disorder, the clinical-level form, which by definition only describes someone whose traits are causing them difficulty. Trump, instead, displays narcissism as a personality trait — the type we focus on in The Narcissism Epidemic.

Here’s the question: Is Trump’s narcissism a cover for insecurity? This is known as the “mask model” — the idea that grandiose narcissism is a show to distract people from the deep psychic pain underneath. A recent piece in Time made this claim, arguing that Trump is trying to cover for a “profound insecurity and lack of self-esteem.”

Here’s the problem: At least for grandiose narcissism like Trump’s, there’s no evidence that the mask model is true. Narcissists have high self-esteem on average, not low, and the most aggressive people are those with both high narcissism and high self-esteem. Children who become narcissistic are not those shamed by their parents, but those told they are special.

Perhaps the best evidence comes from studies measuring self-esteem in a subtle way, such as with an implicit self-esteem measure recording people’s reaction time in pairing words like “I” and “me” with words like “bad” and “good.” People who score high on grandiose narcissism also score high on implicit self-esteem. In other words, deep down inside, narcissists think they are awesome.

This is also just plain common sense: Does Trump really seem like he is insecure underneath? Does he seem to be in a state of psychic pain, or even covering for one? No — he’s having the time of his life. So why does he seem to crave all of the attention and adulation? The Time article argues that Trump is trying to fill a deep “psychic hole.”

I have a more straightforward explanation: He likes all of the attention because he thinks he deserves it. It’s never enough not because of psychic pain, but because he thinks everyone should pay attention to him. Attention is fun and gratifying; it has nothing to do with insecurity.

Why the Mask Model of Narcissism Is Dangerous

I will go further: I think it’s dangerous to believe that narcissists are insecure underneath. Not only is it not supported by empirical evidence, but it promotes the idea that the way to deal with narcissists is to boost their self-esteem and heal their “wounds” through more love and affection. This is like suggesting that the way to cure obesity is by giving everyone more doughnuts. The narcissistic person who ruins relationships through his self-centeredness does not need more love or attention — he needs to get kicked to the curb. The young adult who takes advantage of everyone around her does not need her self-esteem boosted — she needs to learn responsibility.

Narcissism is known as the “disease that hurts other people,” and the cure for it is real life — losing a relationship because of selfishness, losing a job because you’ve alienated people. Yes, we should try to understand narcissists and realize that their behavior is explained by this personality trait. But that does not mean we should believe that they are actually insecure — that myth undermines our understanding of narcissism because it presumes that it’s only skin-deep.

Many, many people have been hurt in relationships with narcissists by believing that they can change the person with more love. If only that were true — but sadly, most of the time, it’s not. We can have empathy for people with narcissistic traits, but that does not mean we have to believe they are suffering underneath. Most of the time, they are making other people suffer. They won’t suffer themselves until bad things start happening to them, often as a consequence of their narcissism. It is sad, but it is not due to insecurity.

Trump is not insecure. We should not be looking for the source of his “psychic pain” or expect that someday he will break down and show his true, doubting self. He really does think that he’s that great, and that his ideas are that great. If we believe otherwise — about him or anyone else with these traits — we risk underestimating the true power of the narcissist.

 

~via PsychologyToday.com

NIKKI SAPP: “How To Be Confident While Remaining Humble”

“There’s a thin line between confidence and arrogance… it’s called humility. Confidence smiles, arrogance smirks.”

~Unknown

 

Somewhere along the line what we recognized as confidence may have been misconstrued a little. We started associating traits like aggressive, loud, opinionated and arrogant with being a confident person. You’ve probably seen the type, or maybe you are the type.

They know FOR SURE that what they believe is the unequivocal truth. Therefore they need to tell everyone about it… constantly.

When they aren’t able to convince someone to believe exactly as they believe they may be caught calling others, “asleep” or a “sheep” or any other plethora of derogatory names that I probably can’t mention here. We also may have misconstrued what it means to be humble a little bit too. Being Humble is associated with weak, shy, meek, and someone who cowers to others.

Someone who is so unsure of themselves or their beliefs that they keep them to themselves and are too insecure to tell everyone they meet their opinion on everything. Is there a way to be both? Can a confident person also be a humble person? In order to answer that question we must dissect what it means to be truly confident, and how does “artificial confidence” come about.

“Because one believes in oneself, one doesn’t try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, doesn’t need others’ approval. Because one accepts oneself the whole world accepts him or her”

~Lao Tzu

 

There are many reasons a person may develop artificial/arrogant confidence. One may be cognitive dissonance, which means they may be holding on to a belief so tightly that when evidence is presented that contradicts this belief they may be completely unwilling to look at the new evidence. They may have become so attached to this belief that it has become a part of their sense of self.

Since they are completely attached to who they think they are it may be a painful experience for them to open their mind up and see things from a different perspective. The actual energy behind holding on to a belief so tightly that you are unwilling to let it go is fear.

The human ego is always afraid to be found out, so to speak, therefore, any threat of someone or something coming along and debunking one of its belief attachments may bring about a negative emotional reaction such as anger. Anytime anger is involved we can be assured that fear is the culprit behind it.

Genuine confidence doesn’t need to get angry because there is no part that fears being wrong or that others aren’t believing them. Another reason a person may develop artificial confidence is because they are insecure.

An insecure person may not truly believe in their theory or themselves so they feel if they can convince others that they are absolutely the right one they can at the same time convince themselves.

This is often done in an aggressive manner, because they are attached to the outcome of people believing them. Again, the fear behind not achieving the outcome they desire is causing them to act in a rude or aggressive manner. Genuine confidence can remain quiet, kind and humble because there is no underlying fear that needs other people to believe exactly what they are saying.

Genuine confidence is humble. It kind of realizes that most people are operating from their own level of understanding and trying to convince them that they are “stupid” or “wrong” usually won’t work anyway. The humble part of them realizes that LIVING and BEING their truth is always more effective than incessant talking or convincing ever will be.

Also, humble confidence isn’t attached to being right. In fact, it happily welcomes new ideas and beliefs because it knows that only when it opens itself up to seeing things from all perspectives is it able to perhaps learn something new.

“The time which people spend in convincing others, even half of this time if they spend on themselves, they can achieve a lot in life.”

~Arvind Katoch

 

In order to maintain humble confidence about our beliefs we must do two things. One is question ourselves….constantly. You may ask yourself, “Do I know absolutely without a doubt that this belief is true?” Meaning, “Did I see it with my own eyes”- normally the answer to this will be no.

So not to say that you won’t have some beliefs about things that involve situations that you weren’t physically there, but it just means that you always maintain a healthy sense of doubt about your beliefs.

This doesn’t mean that you’re unsure of yourself, it means you are wise, because it means you are open to hearing new evidence. Or you can ask yourself, “Is it possible that I am so attached to this belief that it has become a part of who I think I am?” Or even, “Does it matter if the person I am telling about my belief believes me or not? In this present moment does the fact that they are convinced or not convinced change anything in this exact moment in time?”

“Confidence is silent.

Insecurity is loud.”

~Unknown

 

You may find that most of the time, the answer to that is “no.” The other thing a person can do in order to remain humbly confident in their beliefs is to realize that every person they come in contact with can only understand things from their own level of understanding. Which means they are only operating from their own personal programming which may or may not be completely different than yours.

So yes, there may be times when you tell someone something and you enlighten them to something that they hadn’t thought of before but there will also be times where any effort to convince will fall on deaf ears.

When you are unattached to the outcome, you will be fine with either without getting frustrated or angered. Once we realize that our “truth” may not be someone else’s “truth” we can completely relax into interpersonal relationships and take every interaction with a human being as a potential learning experience, which will allow us to always be learning and growing as a person.

 

~via FractalEnlightenment.com

MATEO SOL: “6 Ways You Hinder Your Self-Growth Without Knowing It”

Our “self-esteem” is a very delicate illusion. We are so off-centered when it comes to locating the origin of our self-worth, that the smallest realization of an imperfection in ourselves can bring up all kinds of insecurities.

When a person begins working with their soul, they will start through self-exploration to gain energy, vitality, and clarity. They will also, however, notice the ‘shock’ of beginning to see their own unconscious selves and their deep inner fragmentation (e.g: all your sub-personalities).

These contradictions within ourselves that speak of who we truly are beyond the social and cultural conditioning in our lives, are humbling, but more importantly, they can also be disturbing. If we were to discover and consciously become aware of all these contradictions at once, the shock would be so great we would most likely go insane.

Our brains have a limited capacity to process all the intellectual and sensory information that we encounter at any given moment, and because of this the unconscious mind exists. In essence, the unconscious mind is a psychological “buffer” which is a part of the brain that stores all the unprocessed information the conscious mind can’t handle.

The unconscious mind works as a shock-absorber, and in psychology this is known as a “defense mechanism”. There are an infinity of defense mechanisms going on within us at any given moment, but these are some of the most common I’ve observed in our practices:

Innocent Bystander

One of the greatest hindrances in anybody’s journey of self-growth is to fool themselves into thinking they haven’t done anything wrong. This may be why the recovering addict’s first step is to acknowledge they have a problem. Most people live in denial or avoidance of exploring themselves because it keeps them from properly recognizing their more unsavory traits and capacities.

“The world is screwed up but I’m completely guilt free” is their basic outlook on life. They refuse to see the interconnection between their actions and lifestyle with the external world around them.

Innocent Critic

This defense mechanism is very similar to the Innocent Bystander, only this one avoids guilt by actively criticizing the world and people around them. Criticizing is our way of rebelling against society and wanting to find a way out, of wanting to be outside of the ‘herd’ while still feeling a sense of false participation.

Critical thought is a necessary instrument in any persons self-growth. But often these “critics” use critical thinking as way of boosting their ego, to feel smarter than the ‘herd’ who haven’t realized what the critic has. Unfortunately, noticing what’s wrong with the state of affairs of the world isn’t enough unless you actively apply a solution to the problem. It’s the essential difference between the paths of self-discovery and self-understanding.

Suppression

Unquestionably, a major obstacle in living a fulfilling life to the maximum of your potential is your inability to be authentic to yourself (it’s the key element in Self-Love). All too often we live with an inner tension of controlling desires that we fear will be socially unacceptable. Let’s say you like a movie or a song that you know your friends don’t like, or maybe you are attracted to someone you know everyone will disapprove of, so you suppress that feeling.

The suppression won’t make the feeling go away, in fact, what happens is that you might be so good at suppressing the feelings that your unconscious mind learns to switch between your authentic self (“I like this person or thing”) to your false sub-personality (“I don’t like the person or thing anymore”).

In the end, the unconscious defense mechanism of “suppression” is protecting you from experiencing confusion as to whether you like something or not by jumping from one extreme to the other. Not only does suppression hinder your self-growth, but it can also contribute towards emotional, psychological and physical repression resulting in a host of sicknesses.

Repression

Repression differentiates from suppression in one important way. While suppression is initially a conscious process of having a desire and learning to avoid or ignore is, repression is an entirely unconscious process.

For example, you might have had a traumatizing experience as a child that unconsciously affected your feelings towards whatever the experience involved. This unconscious defense mechanism basically serves to protect you from feeling pain or other difficult emotions connected to the memories of what is being repressed.

Sometimes, religious beliefs or social conditioning can be so strong that desires that would normally be consciously suppressed (such as sexuality for instance), become automatically unconsciously repressed. You don’t even become aware of what exactly were the desires of your original authentic self, and this makes you completely out of touch with your true self. This self-denying defense mechanism makes it very difficult to learn and cultivate Self-Love.

Reactive Extremes

In psychology the technical term is “reactive formation”, and this is something you’ll observe everywhere. The nature of the unconscious mind is that it requires absolute certainties — it needs to see the world in black or white. There is no grey, or “in between”.

Many people who had a very strict religious upbringing for example, grow older and become disillusioned with the dogmatic ideas they’ve been taught. These people unconsciously find atheism a very attractive option, and become fanatical anti-God advocates, almost dogmatically. Another example of a reactive extreme is the person who finds it difficult to deal with, or understand, other people, and as a reaction decides to become a hermit and go live in the mountains.

Going to reactive extremes can also be illustrated in the case of sour grapes (or the false pretense that we don’t care for something we really do care for, which can be illustrated in the Fox and the Grapes fable). In this situation, our unconscious mind realizes that we are fixated on a certain topic so it protects us by going from one extreme to the other, e.g. from love to hatred.

Blameless Victim

I’m sure we’ve all come across an angry victim of life, someone who blames other people or the world for their difficulties. But everyone uses blame as a defense mechanism to some extent. In truth, what we’re defending ourselves from is our own responsibility for dealing with the unpleasant experience we’ve been given.

To indulge in blame is to give up personal responsibility and mentally delegate it to someone else, convincing ourselves that we are not responsible for the state of our lives, instead blaming it on some “outside force”. The blameless victim mechanism blocks us from seeing clearly just how we are contributing to our own suffering.

Essentially, the blameless victim is one of the fiercest protectors of our ego. It causes us to feel that we’re never failing ourselves, or that we lack the maturity or strength to come to terms with the reality of the situations we’re confronted with. Whatever happened is not evidence of our own inadequacy, but of someone else’s.

Have you observed any defense mechanisms in yourselves or in others? Let me know in the comments below!

 

~via Wake-UpWorld.com

DIANE KATHERINE: “6 Reasons Empaths Freeze Around Inauthentic People”

empathProtection

When an Empath comes across fake people it is common for them to shut down as a form of protection.  This can be seen as stumbling over words or one’s memory and thought process being affected. Anyone who is not emanating truthful vibes will put an Empath on high alert.

In my days as a hairdresser, I could never understand why when I was with certain clients, who came across lovely, I would get awful feelings inside. It was only when I discovered I was an Empath that it all made sense to me. I was feeling their pain that they were hiding in fake behavior.

There are many levels of falseness and many reasons for it. In the early days of discovering of one’s Empathic abilities it may not always be easy to pinpoint just why someone feels so bad to you.

Here are some traits and behaviors that may leave you feeling awful:
  1. Someone who wants to loved by everyone they meet acts overly nice to get adoration.
  2. Someone being filled with hate or anger yet working hard to convince the world otherwise.
  3. Someone having had an emotionally destructive childhood leaving them insecure and in pain, yet playing the tough guy.
  4. Someone building a totally new personality to hide the person they believe will not be accepted by society.
  5. Someone being full of insincere praise for you.
  6. Someone making up stories to make themselves sound interesting

And this is how you may find yourself reacting:

  1. Avoiding being in their presence, yet not really having a reason to do so (as in they did not say or do anything to hurt you).
  2. Not being able to talk to them. Sentences literally won’t form in your mouth and your brain acts like you have no memory. You find yourself just asking questions and if you do talk it feels like it makes no sense.
  3. Having a sense of dread in the pit of stomach that won’t go until you are no longer in said person’s presence.
  4. Any more than an hour spent in their company will drain you and leave you feeling ill.
  5. Feeling guilty because you may like person but dislike how it feels to be with them.
  6. Feeling helpless around them.

Now just because an Empath feels fakeness and untruths in another does not mean they do not fake themselves. For some, when they feel bad around a faker it may mean they are picking up a trait they do not like about themselves and they too hide it from the world.

We all have to put a face on and act fake at some point in our lives, but for some it’s everyday. We may have to be upbeat and happy when we feel sad or depressed, we may have to act annoyed when we are actually indifferent or we may have to pretend to love a job we actually detest. In some cases faking it can get us through difficult situations, but living it daily is not healthy.

It is important for the Empath to uncover any hidden traits and emotions, because whilst we bury a side of us we do not like we will never be happy or feel complete. However, the problem we have is that many of us do not know the root cause.

One of the biggest causes of unhappiness on this planet is people not knowing themselves and when we hide a side of us from others without knowing the reason, it will cause us pain. Being true and authentic is emotionally freeing. Quite often, many of the traits we buried have in fact been inherited and passed down the family line or they may even be from a past life. Wherever they stemmed from it is important for us to uncover these traits, and if they can’t be changed (some traits are hardwired), accept and learn to live with them.

Sensitive people will bury negative traits because we know how destructive they are but burying them does not lose them. They will always show up and cause damage.

Hate, anger, jealousy and fear of rejection are four traits most often buried. We may hate someone for the way they have behaved towards us. Anger may have been inherited from an angry parent. Praise and attention being bestowed on a childhood friend or sibling may have led to a jealous streak and being rejected as a child, by an unknowing parent for instance, may have built up inside as an intense fear of rejection. All very simple and innocent triggers, but all of which can snowball and lead us to have deep set insecurities that we feel have to remain hidden. When we recognize and accept a trait in self, it loses its hold.

~via AwakeningPeople.com