Advertisement

Narcissism and concern for others: A contradiction in terms?

  • Rami Tolmacz
  • Yael Friedemann
  • Yonit Doron
  • Zach GerberEmail author
Article
  • 10 Downloads

Abstract

Although concern for others and narcissism seem contradictory in nature, clinical evidence and theoretical writings on pathological forms of concern suggest that the relationship between these two constructs is more complex. The current research, comprised of two studies, examined the relationships between types of narcissism, forms of concern, and selfobject functions. In Study 1, the findings showed that pathological concern was positively associated with selfobject needs, and further showed that this association was mediated by covert narcissism. Study 2 partly replicated these findings and broadened the theoretical scope to include self-compassion, a potential inverse construct to pathological concern. The discussion focuses on the developmental aspects of pathological concern and its significance in both intrapersonal and interpersonal domains.

Keywords

Concern Narcissism Selfobject functions 

Notes

Supplementary material

12144_2018_113_MOESM1_ESM.doc (52 kb)
ESM 1 (DOC 51 kb)

References

  1. Agam, N. (2008). On Narcissism and the Needs of Others/Self – an Empirical Examinations of Key Terms in Kohut’s Psychoanalytical Theory of the Self. Unpublished thesis paper, Tel Aviv University.Google Scholar
  2. Akhtar, S., & Thomson, J. A. (1982). Overview: Narcissistic personality disorder. American Journal of Psychiatry, 139(1), 12–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Aspinwall, L. G. & Staudinger, U. M. (2003). A psychology of human strengths: Fundamental questions and future directions for a positive psychology. American Psychological Association.Google Scholar
  4. Banai, E., Mikulincer, M., & Shaver, P. R. (2005). "Selfobject" needs in Kohut's self psychology: Links with attachment, self-cohesion, affect regulation, and adjustment. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 22(2), 224–260.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Barbanel, L. (2006). Removing the mask of kindness. Northvale, NJ: Jason Aronson.Google Scholar
  6. Barry, C. T., Loflin, D. C., & Doucette, H. (2015). Adolescent self-compassion: Associations with narcissism, self-esteem, aggression, and internalizing symptoms in at-risk males. Personality and Individual Differences, 77, 118–123.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Berman, E. (2012). The happy prince, the giving tree: The fantasy of parenthood as self-annihilation and its relevance to psychoanalytic treatment. In L. Aron & A. Harris (Eds.), Relational Psychoanalysis: Expansion of Theory (Vol. 4, pp. 159–176). New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
  8. Boleyn-Fitzgerald, P. (2003). Care and the problem of pity. Biothics, 17(1), 1–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Bowlby, J. (1979). The making and braking of affectional bonds. London: Tavistock.Google Scholar
  10. Brislin, R. W. (1980). Cross-cultural research methods. In I. Altman, A. Rapaport & J. F. Wohlwill (Eds.), Environment and culture (pp. 47–82). New York, NY: Springer.Google Scholar
  11. Cain, N. M., Pincus, A. L., & Ansell, E. B. (2008). Narcissism at the crossroads: Phenotypic description of pathological narcissism across clinical theory, social/personality psychology, and psychiatric diagnosis. Clinical Psychology Review, 28(4), 638–656.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Cooper, A. (1981). Narcissism. In S. Arieri, H. Keith, & H. Brodie (Eds.), American handbook of psychiatry (Vol. 4, pp. 297–316). New York: Basic books.Google Scholar
  13. Davis, M. A. (1980). Multidimensional approach to individual differences in empathy. JSAS Catalog of Selected Documents in Psychology, 10, 85.Google Scholar
  14. Frankel, J. (2017).Ferenczi’s evolving conception of narcissisic pathology and its basis in trauma. The American Journal of Psychoanalysis, 77(3), 213–222.Google Scholar
  15. Gabbard, G. O. (1989). Two subtypes of narcissistic personality disorder. Bulletin of the Menninger Clinic, 53(6), 527–532.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  16. Gebauer, J. E., Sedikides, C., Verplanken, B., & Maio, G. R. (2012). Communal narcissism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 103(5), 854–878.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Gerber, Z., Tolmacz, R., & Doron, Y. (2015). Self-compassion and forms of concern for others. Personality and Individual Differences, 86, 394–400.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Helgeson, V. S., & Fritz, H. L. (1998). A theory of unmitigated communion. Personality and Social Psychology Review, 2(3), 173–183.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Kohut, H. (1971). The analysis of the self. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  20. Kohut, H. (1977). The restoration of the self. New York: International Universities Press.Google Scholar
  21. Kohut, H. (1984). How does analysis cure? Chicago and London: University of Chicago Press.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Kohut, H., & Wolf, E. S. (1978). The disorder of the self and their treatment: An outline. The International Journal of Psychoanalysis, 59, 413–425.Google Scholar
  23. Konrath, S., Ho, M. H., & Zarins, S. (2016). The strategic helper: Narcissism and prosocial motives and behaviors. Current Psychology, 35(2), 182–194.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Luchner, A. F., & Tantleff-Dunn, S. (2016). Dysfunctional empathy in vulnerable narcissism. North American Journal of Psychology, 18(3), 597.Google Scholar
  25. Masterson, J. F. (1981). The narcissistic and borderline disorder. Psychology press.Google Scholar
  26. Neff, K. D. (2003a). Development and validation of a scale to measure self-compassion. Self and Identity, 2, 223–250.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Neff, K. D. (2003b). Self-compassion: An alternative conceptualization of a healthy attitude toward oneself. Self and Identity, 2, 85–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Pincus, A. L., & Lukowitsky, M. R. (2010). Pathological narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder. Annual Review of Clinical Psychology, 6(8), 421–446.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Preacher, K. J., & Hayes, A. F. (2004). SPSS and SAS procedures for estimating indirect effects in simple mediation models. Behavior Research Methods, Instruments, & Computers, 36(4), 717–731.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Raskin, R., & Hall, C. S. (1979). A narcissistic personality inventory. Psychological Reports, 46, 55–60.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Raskin, R., & Hall, C. S. (1981). The narcissistic personality inventory: Alternate form reliability and further evidence of construct validity. Journal of Personality Assessment, 45(2), 159–162.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Rose, P. (2002). The happy and unhappy faces of narcissism. Personality and Individual Differences, 33(3), 379–392.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Serkownek, K. (1975). Subscales for scale 5 and 0 of the MMPI. Unpublished Manuscript.Google Scholar
  34. Shavit, Y., & Tolmacz, R. (2014). Pathological concern: Scale construction, construct validity, and associations with attachment, self-cohesion, and relational entitlement. Psychoanalytic Psychology, 31(3), 343–356.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Tolmacz, R. (2008). Concern and empathy: Two concept or one? The American Journal of Psychoanalysis., 68(3), 257–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Tolmacz, R. (2010). Forms of concern: A psychoanalytic perspective. In Mikulincer, M. & Shaver, P. (Eds.), Pro-social Motives, Emotions, and Behavior. The better angels of our nature. pp. 93-107, Washington DC: American Psychological Association. Washington, DC.Google Scholar
  37. Twenge, J. M., & Foster, J. D. (2010). Birth cohort increases in narcissistic personality traits among American college students, 1982–2009. Social Psychological and Personality Science, 1(1), 99–106.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wink, P. (1991). Two faces of narcissism. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 61(4), 590–597.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Wispe, L. (1986). The distinction between sympathy and empathy: To call forth a concept, a word is needed. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, 50(2), 314–321.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Wispé, L. (1991). The psychology of sympathy. Springer Science & Business Media.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Rami Tolmacz
    • 1
  • Yael Friedemann
    • 2
  • Yonit Doron
    • 3
  • Zach Gerber
    • 4
    Email author
  1. 1.Interdisciplinary Center (IDC)HerzliyaIsrael
  2. 2.Bar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael
  3. 3.Interdisciplinary Center (IDC)HerzliyaIsrael
  4. 4.Bar Ilan UniversityRamat GanIsrael

Personalised recommendations