Narcissists are around us in all walks of life. All performers, to a certain degree, are narcissists, otherwise they wouldn’t want to get on stage and perform to an audience. It depends to what extent narcissism takes over as to whether or not it becomes detrimental to those around the narcissist and to the narcissist themselves.
There is a wide spectrum, from low self-esteem, through healthy narcissism, to extreme narcissism. Beyond that is a psychopath. A narcissist is not necessarily a psychopath but a psychopath is also a narcissist.
Dancers have to look at their own reflections in mirrors constantly, trying to perfect how they and others see them. Perfectionism. Adoration and perfectionism for their own talent and their looks is a given. as a dancer needs to know what an audience thinks of them. Where they stand in the hierarchy of the ballet class, ballet company and ballet world is very important.
Narcissistic traits and how to recognise them:
Here are the main traits of a narcissist as listed by Psychcentral.com. Having all of these would probably mean the person has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
- Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
- Requires excessive admiration
- Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
- Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
- Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
- Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
- Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes.
Did you recognise any of these traits in others; stars from the past and present, your director maybe, or ballet teacher, colleagues, friends, relatives, partners or even your parents?
There many high profile business people and politicians, whom I will not name, but look at the list above and fit the traits to the names.
Click here to take a narcissist test, it’s not a diagnosis but just gives you an idea of where you are on the spectrum.
Origins of Narcissism
Where does the name Narcissist come from? Sigmund Freud, the father of psychoanalysis, took the name from Greek mythology about the young man, Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection and drowned trying to kiss the image of himself. Another character in the story is Echo. She is a nymph who fell in love with Narcissus, who continually spurned her love for him. Eventually she physically faded away and only her voice was heard as an Echo.
John William Waterhouse [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons
Are you an Echo? Do you constantly have to do someone else’s bidding, if so then this is probably a co-dependency relationship?
I will write an article about healthy narcissism at another time but please respond to me privately if you wish to talk to me about anything that you’ve read in this article.