The American Psychiatric Association publised the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) in 2013. This is the manual used by mental health providers to determine diagnosis and treatment options for specified mental health issues. When the researchers came to the diagnosis of Narcissism, they were in disagreement as to whether it should be considered a diagnosis since society had become more narcissistic in nature and were reaching the tipping point of normalized behaviors. To over simplify the concept: When enough people have the disorder that it is a normal part of society, it is no longer a disorder but a variance. Or another way to look at it: If the majority of people believe the lie to be truth; the lie by default becomes the truth. The greatest example of this was the Holocaust when Adolph Hitler created the death camps murdered over 1.1 million men, women, and children. Non-Jewish citizens believed the propaganda and lies that the Jews were the cause of all their problems and eagerly participated in the killing of innocent people. If you hear the lie enough, you start to believe it. That is, unless you challenge the lies with the truth.
The number of people who live their lives without care for how they impact the lives of others is growing. Narcissism is widespread as sociopathic terrorists justify their cruelty, destruction, and pain not by societies standards but by their own selfish ambitions. Some say those people are "calloused" or "uncaring" when in fact they don't possess the ability to care and don't have a desire to be empathetic. Compassion is seen as something weak and therefore it is rejected by those who live their lives feeling less or avoiding feelings altogether. They must tear others down in order to feel lifted up. It's a lie they tell themselves and they want others to believe it too. When the ones they are destroying do not agree and push back against the attacks those seeking control become more angry and their fire and furry is intensified until the only solution (for them) is to kill the one who is standing in the way of their objective: Total control.
Consider these questions...
Do you feel beat down, misunderstood, and shamed by your friends and family? Are educators and the media trying to tell you that you are something other than what you know to be true. Have you ever attempted to find love and understanding and found judgement and shame instead. Do others say you are over sensitive, critical, or easily offended when you have a sense that something is wrong? Do you wonder why you feel attacked for having a differing opinion about anything? Do you resist all the criticisms, push away from those judgments and then beat yourself up later by asking, "Why can't I be more like them?"
I feel your pain. Literally.
There are people in the world who have an uncanny depth of understanding that goes beyond the masses who live their lives free from the concerns of others. But what we are experiencing today goes beyond feelings; it is a direct attack on your subconscious beliefs that is undermining all that is good and true. There has been a gradual shift in the world that has been (for the most part) unnoticed or ignored for decades. Standards for what is true have been torn down and lies have replaced the truth. This is happening in nearly every relationship where individuals see their needs are more important than the needs of their parents, their siblings, their spouse, or even their children. It is happening in the workplace where employees are directing employers on how they should run their business even while taking no responsibility for their own job. It's happening with our politicians who live by their own standards. There is a division of principals tearing apart America and those who were unprepared are reeling in disbelief that what they are learning could even be a possibility let alone reality.
When I have clients who come into my office and are feeling the effects of polarization in their lives I offer them a solution to finding balance: Understanding paradigms.
Everyone has a paradigm or a perspective on what is true.
Example: I can believe the Earth is flat. When I can find enough people to support that belief then I know my perspective is true. It's my belief and I have a right to live my life according to that belief no matter the evidence against it. You on the other hand offer a paradigm or perspective that is completely opposite of what I believe. You tell me I'm incorrect in effort to influence me toward your perspective that the world is round. You offer science that has proven the Earth is round, that we are part of a universe, and even offer that there are other planets in our solar system. Even though you have evidence to contradict my perspective I have become so connected with other "like minded" individuals that I would have to leave them in order to live in the truth. My fear of disconnecting from those living the lie is so strong that I choose to continue living the lie in exchange for the sense of belonging. What I have to lose is much greater than what I have to gain so I refuse to change.
This example displays a conscious resistance rooted not in ignorance but in choice. When someone makes a decision to live the lie, even when they know it to be a lie, there is no evidence against that choice that can sway them. They reject the truth and everything associated with the truth and now you are rejected as well.
There is one truth. Everything else is a lie. A partial truth is not truth, it is a lie. Truth is absolute and measurable. Feelings are not truth. They are subjective and based on personal bias. What I believe to be true can absolutely be a lie. And what I know to be true can be based on prejudices and motives that have nothing to do with truth. I can have my perspective and you can have yours and we can be polarized by our beliefs; but somewhere in the middle is truth. Seek truth because that is the only place where compromise can exist. Otherwise, we are playing tug-a-war between two paradigms and neither is completely true.
In the Bible (John 14:6), Jesus said, "I am the way, the truth, and the life." His words, his actions, and his life were all examples of good, righteous, and faithful standards for healthy living. When society lives by standards based on what is good we flourish as a family, as a community, and as a nation. When standards are replaced to benefit only those who have power, wealth, and control, the rest are left in servitude to the wants and needs of the few.
16 There are six things the Lord hates, seven that are detestable to him: 17 haughty eyes, a lying tongue, hands that shed innocent blood,
18 a heart that devises wicked schemes, feet that are quick to rush into evil, 19 a false witness who pours out lies and a person who stirs up conflict in the community.
Proverbs 6:16-19 (NIV)