What is success in a narcissist's point of view

Political psychology

Hans-Jürgen Wirth

To person

Dr. rer. soc., Dipl.-Psych., born in 1951; psychological psychotherapist and psychoanalyst; adjunct professor for psychoanalysis at the University of Bremen; Publisher of Psychosozial-Verlag, Goethestrasse 29, 35390 Giessen.
Email: [email protected]

Power is attractive to those with narcissistic personality disorder. There is a turning away from ideals to which they are actually committed.


No power for nobody ", was one of the slogans of the 1968 movement. Jacob Burckhardt wrote exactly 100 years earlier in his" Weltgeschichtliche Reflections ":" And now power is evil in itself, no matter who exercises it. "[1] But The students of the Paris May '68 not only demanded the abolition of power, but also formulated: “The imagination of power!” and “All power to the people!” Power is a dazzling phenomenon that arouses highly ambivalent feelings, fantasies and evaluations On the one hand, power is devalued, condemned, even demonized; on the other hand, it triggers fascination. Many people admire and envy those who wield it and secretly dream of having infinite power themselves.

Interestingly enough, the concept of narcissism is similar to that of power: it too has a highly ambivalent tinge. Sigmund Freud contrasts narcissism with object love. [2] The more you give away your limited libidinal energy to other people as love and affection, the less there is, so to speak, left to love yourself. Conversely, if you primarily think of yourself, you would no longer have any reserves of love for your fellow human beings.

Narcissism appears to be associated with egoism and therefore as an anti-social trait. When we label a person as narcissistic, we devalue them and characterize them as selfish, self-centered and impaired in their social relationships. Narcissistically disturbed personalities are considered difficult to treat psychotherapeutically, and the increase in narcissistic disorders postulated by some authors in the "age of narcissism" [3] is interpreted as a sign of profound social decline. The American sociologist Richard Sennett even declares narcissism to be the "Protestant ethics of today" and leaves no doubt that he regards the terror of intimacy as a basic evil in a society that is oriented towards narcissistic goals and values. [4]