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The challenge of narcissism

Some men in anger management are classic narcissists, they have no idea beyond their immediate needs as to how the world functions. They are difficult men to live with, often grandiose so  have enough dysfunctional characteristics that relationships are unpleasant for their partners. Very often with narcissism there is  an undercurrent of rage which breeds further impatience and abusiveness.

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It was initially thought this was a moral problem (which it still is) but recent research has indicated there are biological malfunctions going in their brains. We are wired with what are called mirror neurons, where the brain automatically picks up queues from others and we mirror their behavior. Someone yawns and soon others follow, or stretches and others stretch. We catch on automatically. This contributes to our awareness of the other and if we want to get along this is an essential component of relationships.

Research indicates narcissists do not have these neurons, so there is an automatic lack of empathy. Presumably the wiring in the brain got fowled up early on with some attachment malfunction  that often occurs in the first year, leading to semi permanent brain functioning poorly, no different than say ADD.

Having this knowledge could make empathy training more meaningful, of course the man has to be motivated. Pointing out his brain handicap might lead to some serious personal reflection. To be challenged where his relationships don’t work and why cannot be dismissed lightly, however inconvenient.

Narcissists are comfortable walking over people, the truth is they are not as smart as they think.

Source: National Post


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