Do Filipinos suffer from narcissistic personality disorder?

It’s official. I finally got confirmation that a lot of Filipino men are so into themselves. I thought it was just me but a recent survey conducted by global market research company, Synovate Inc. revealed that 48 percent of Filipino males felt they were sexually attractive. This revelation made another global media outlet, CNN International conclude that Filipino men are the most narcissistic in Asia.

I have always wondered why a lot of the men in the country carry this look about them that seems to say, “I can give you a good time.” And I don’t know if I should be happy or sad with the news that I was right about my assessment of most Filipino men after all.

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On one hand, I should be happy because now I know how to deal with them, which is to avoid them like the plague. On the other hand, it makes me sad knowing that there is very little evidence that a cure for narcissism exists. I mean, how do you make someone admit that they are so arrogant? It is possible, but you will have to devote an entire lifetime talking some sense into them. And if the survey is accurate “ that almost half the population of Filipino men is conceited – the implications of this are very serious, the least of which is that “nine out of 10 Filipino men polled said they liked to look good for themselves, not anyone else.

Narcissism is defined by the dictionary as “an excessive love or admiration of oneself. It is also defined as a psychological condition characterized by self-preoccupation, lack of empathy, and unconscious deficits in self-esteem.”

We all possess varying degrees of inclination to narcissism. A healthy dose of love for or admiration of one’s self helps us function normally. It helps us appreciate our own look and more importantly, our achievements. In other words, when we have the right amount of narcissism, we become confident individuals. This assists us in getting ahead in school, in our careers and forming a healthy relationship with other people. And this means we can enjoy life more.

But an excessive dose of fondness for our own greatness could be bordering on insanity and delusion of grandeur. It can actually affect the way we deal with the people around us. Cases of narcissism have recently become unchecked and all of a sudden now acceptable thanks to people’s obsession with being famous like Hollywood celebrities. Likewise, the advent of social networking sites did not help people stay grounded in reality. In sites like Facebook for example, we see a lot of people exhibiting narcissistic behavior all the time.

It is easy to spot narcissists in social networking sites. They are the ones who cannot seem to get enough attention. They are the ones who post updates on the minutiae of what they are doing very frequently. They also change their profile photo everyday — as if the new one is perceivably better than the last one. You can even call what they are doing “spamming”. Narcissists fail to realize that posting updates and changing photos frequently could make them come across as unstable or “mental” to some.

In various forums online, narcissists participate in the discussion not to learn but to brag about what they know. They are easily offended and take things very personally. Unfortunately, on-line forums and social networking sites is where narcissists thrive.

An overdose of this personality trait called “narcissism” is associated with egotism, vanity, conceit and selfishness and is now considered a disorder.

A person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder has been described as someone with “an inflated sense of self-importance and an extreme preoccupation with themselves”. The cause of this disorder is said to be unknown but the disorder can be traced back to bad genes; abusive household or perhaps demonic possession…ok, that last one is a bit of a stretch. But you can just imagine the kind of environment that will breed or develop a personality disorder such as that.

One online source revealed that “a narcissist is someone who never grew out of being a selfish child. They find it hard to share and even harder to share the limelight, always wanting to be the focus of attention”. In short, a narcissist can also be described as simply immature.

PubMed Health described the symptoms of a person with narcissistic personality disorder below. Someone who may:

React to criticism with rage, shame, or humiliation

Take advantage of other people to achieve his or her own goals

Have excessive feelings of self-importance

Exaggerate achievements and talents

Be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence, or ideal love

Have unreasonable expectations of favorable treatment

Need constant attention and admiration

Disregard the feelings of others, and have little ability to feel empathy

Have obsessive self-interest

Pursue mainly selfish goals

In my role as a blogger, I have encountered quite a number of narcissists. They often force their views on other people by using written abuse, aggression and defensiveness. People like them do not acknowledge that other people are entitled to their own opinion. They quickly label people “idiot” or “stupid” but fail to see the flaw in their own thinking.

The behavior of narcissists on the Net mirrors what they are like in real life. In real life, they most likely also tend to use verbal abuse and force their way through even with their loved ones or those close to them. This is why you see a lot of Filipinas suffering in harmful relationships. It is a result of a combination of a society that suppresses women and a society that harbors machismo or excessive masculinity at the same time. It is quite destructive if you ask me.

Unfortunately, since narcissists use force to get their way, they also tend to be the ones who end up in power. Perhaps this is why a lot of the issues in the Philippines always end up reaching an impasse. Hardly anything gets resolved. This is because most politicians in power have excessive feelings of self-importance and are just preoccupied with “fantasies of success, power, beauty, intelligence” but they don’t really have a lot of substance. More importantly, most Filipino politicians pursue selfish goals regardless of how they affect other people.

Unless Filipino men who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder remain undiagnosed and untreated, they will continue to hold positions of power unrestrained, wreaking havoc on Philippine society.