Narcissism* = Insolent Pride – A Psychiatrist’s Perspective – Part 1

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“Narcissism, or self-absorption, takes many forms. Some are normal. Some are normal in childhood but not in adulthood. Some are more distinctly pathological than others.  The subject is as complex as it is important.  It is not the purpose of this book, however, to give a balanced view of the whole topic, so we will proceed immediately to that particular pathologic variant that Erich Fromm called ‘Malignant Narcissism’.

Malignant Narcissism is characterized by an un-submitted will.

All adults who are mentally healthy submit themselves one way or another to something higher than themselves, be it God or truth or love or some other ideal.  They do what God wants them to do rather than what they would desire.  “Thy will, not mine, be done” the God-submitted person says. They believe in what is true rather than what they would like to be true.

To a greater or lesser degree, all mentally healthy individuals submit themselves to the demands of their own conscience.  Not so the evil, however. In the conflict between their guilt and their will, it is the guilt that must go and the will that must win.  The reader will be struck by the extraordinary willfulness of evil people.

They are men and women of obviously strong will, determined to have their own way.  There is a remarkable power in the manner in which they attempt to control others.”

[Emphasis mine]

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M Scott Peck, The People of the Lie, Simon and Schuster, Inc., copyright © 1983, pg. 77-78

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“Unsubmitted will”, “attempt to control others”, are characteristics of insolent pride.  One with insolent pride will NOT submit to God or others, and will seek to have “their will be done”, instead of “Thy will be done”  M Scott Peck called it malignant narcissism.

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* Narcissist is the modern colloquial term for what the Bible calls “insolent pride”.  Please see here for an explanation.

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