Archive for March, 2020

The Antidote to Big Trouble

Posted in Uncategorized on March 4, 2020 by michaelcogdill

Just saw a brilliant truth in such simple terms.

“Empathy is the antidote to narcissism.”

Those who can feel what others feel, especially in hard times, strengthen those around them. Think of someone who checked on you when you were ill, or simply embraced your grieving. This is the living out of faith. The doing of Love.

The absence of this, though, is something doing us all harm, perhaps now more than ever.  In conversations around major social troubles like cyber bullying, domestic violence and crime, we hear about a lack of self esteem.  A widespread and sinister problem, for sure.  But perhaps it’s a problem that, when turned inside out, becomes the current epidemic of narcissism.

Scientists are grappling with questions:  Do narcissists actually feel they’re grandly special and superior?  Or does their behavior mask feelings of inferiority, insecurity?

Are they eagles in their own minds or roosters just pretending?

No matter, narcissism is more common than ever, and often so well disguised.

This article clarifies the difference between narcissism and healthy self esteem.

Notice in there a distinction I hope will echo way beyond this page.


Self-esteem, defined as global evaluation of the self, is related to narcissism. However, recent data provide evidence that narcissism differs from self-esteem in various domains. Narcissism and high self-esteem both include positive self-evaluations, but the entitlement, exploitation, sense of superiority, and negative evaluation of others that are associated with narcissism are not necessarily observed in individuals with high self-esteem.

Entitlement.  Exploitation.  Sense of superiority.  Negative evaluation of others.

These are acts of weakness.  They carry no esteem.  We don’t like being around such.  But look at a message board, a social media site, and see how long it takes to find someone doing such as these.  It is rampant.  It is saddening.

But as the saying here goes, the antidote to narcissism is empathy.  We kill narcissism by silence and a kindness unreachable by its venom.  We best fight it not by battle, but by giving ourselves and others peace.

Many of you know I’m a devout advocate for domestic peace, seeking to end the suffering of intimate partner violence.  So much domestic abuse finds its warning signs in acts you can read about here.  I started to describe it as postmodern Narcissism — something new.  But no.  It’s not new at all.  It’s as old as what drives such stories as the Garden of Eden, Cain and Abel, Antony and Cleopatra.

 But it’s seeing a new expression — one as easy to find as big braggart, a veiled insult or some other little dig that stirs big trouble.

All of which, and whom, we all must beware.