Causes of the Narcissism Epidemic in American Culture
Cause #1 - The Self Esteem Movement
The increase in narcissism in individuals is, we believe, just an outcome of a massive shift in culture toward a greater focus on self-admiration. (The Narcissism Epidemic, pg 37)
The cultural focus on self-admiration began with the shift toward focusing on the individual in the 1970’s. In the three decades since, narcissism has grown in ways these authors never could have imagined. Parenting has become more indulgent, celebrity worship has grown, and reality TV has become a showcase of narcissistic people. (The Narcissism Epidemic, pg 4)
“Americans abandoned the vision of themselves as part of a interconnected social system – a connection of parents to children and grandchildren and of community to community - and instead turned to the narcissistic pursuit of the self as a source of value, almost like a religious experience.” (The Narcissism Epidemic, pg 64)
I never understood the self-esteem movement. Why praise people without a good reason?
In the United States, the ethnic group with the lowest self-esteem, Asian Americans, achieves the highest academic performance. So, the group with “alarmingly low self-esteem” is actually doing the best in school. US high school kids have not improved in academic performance over the last 30 years, a time when self-esteem has been actively encouraged and boosted among American children (The Narcissism Epidemic, pg 47)
Another reason has to do with the fact that many Asian american families are more tight-knit. Except mine and a minority of other families, sadly the percetnage is increasing. I visited a retirement home full of Vietnamese seniors in Othello part of Seattle.
Cause #2 - The Age of the Weak Parent
On a recent trip to Babies R Us, Jean was distracted by the display of bibs at the checkout counter. In large white letters on pink and blue, they announced : “Chick Magnet”,” Super Model”, “Princess”, and “I’m the Boss”. This is just a glimpse into the new parenting culture that has fueled the narcissism epidemic. It says a lot about a culture that people think a six month old wearing a “Super Model” bib is cute. It is increasingly common to see parents relinquishing authority to young children, showering them with unearned praise, protecting them from their teachers’ criticisms, giving them expensive automobiles, and allowing them to have freedom but not the responsibility that goes with it. Not that long ago, kids knew who the boss was and it wasn’t them. It was mom and dad. And mom and dad weren’t your “friends”. They were your parents. Parents want their kids’ approval, a reversal of the past ideal of children striving for their parents’ approval. (The Narcissism Epidemic, pg 73)
With daycare, surburan isolation, foodstamps and other things like child support, alimony. DAYCARE IS PAID BY THE GOVERNMENT FOR LOW INCOME FAMILIES. WTF???
I was born in Vietnam and came here when I was about 2. To be fair, I have been to daycare, I have used foodstamps. But I never fit in this culture, particulary in middle and high school.
"If you tell thid to the typical American, they'll freak out on you, hate on you, and tell you you're not good enough to be an American or some such. Most American's can't take ANY criticism, even if it's constructive, and will just tell you to get out of the country (love it or leave it), if you don't like something. I wonder if they told that to Mother Theresa, too!"
I have been called candid before.