Narcissism in personality trait is generally conceived of as excessive self love. In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a man who fell in love with his reflection in a pool of water.
The NPI was developed by Raskin and Hall (1979) for the measurement of narcissism as a personality trait in social psychological research. It is based on the definition of narcissistic personality disorder found in the DSM-III, but is not a diagnostic tool for NPD and instead measures sub-clinical or normal expressions of narcissism. So, even someone who gets the highest possible score on the NPI does not necessarily have NPD.
Why might you be interested in your level of narcissism? Psychologist and psychoanalyst Sheldon Bach says in his 2006 book Getting from Here to There: Analytic Love, Analytic Process:
Overinflated narcissistic pathology reflects an exaggeration of subjective awareness to the detriment of seeing oneself as one person among many, and thus forms the basis for a sadistic orientation to other people. Others are devalued, and one’s need for them denied; there is a hypomanic affective tone. Deflated narcissistic pathology, on the other hand, involves an exaggeration of objective self-awareness, a devaluation of one’s own experience, depressive feeling, and a masochistic engagement of other people. In treatment, overinflated narcissistic pathology results in a mirroring transference (Kohut, 1971), where the analyst is a part-object whose function is essentially to admire and affirm the patient. Conversely, deflated narcissistic pathology creates an idealizing transference (Kohut, 1971), “in which the analyst is expected to embody everything the patient cannot hope to be” (p. 20). Here, the patient feels insignificant and clings to the idealized analyst, who, in a different way, functions as a part-object.
Bach sees narcissism as we all do, as an obsession of self image. In this case, it is not our physical appearance where the obsession lies, but in our perceived power complex.
People with overinflated narcissism see their subjective observations as more valuable than others, and in that, they see themselves as more valuable or legitimate than others. This sense of self importance may influence them to enjoy bringing others down, as bringing others down is the same as “the look in the mirror”. Bringing others down gives them proof that they are more important, and more powerful than others. They may seek out sadistic behaviors in order to confirm their position of power.
People with deflated narcissism are obsessed with their own power complex as well, but are convinced that they are less important or valuable to others. So they too seek out situations to prove their perceived power position, and this can turn into masochistic engagements or activities.
At the end, he describes how things often work out in therapy with sadists and masochists. Sadists turn therapy into a way of celebrating themselves, as they try to convince the therapist of their alternative motivations twords sadistic behaviors, and masochists end up idealizing their therapist as they would a dominant in BDSM, or they totally disregard their thoughts, because they aren’t the persons dominant in BDSM. Masochists end up being much more hostile than sadists when their kinks are questioned, and will use sadistic techniques to bring the therapist down, in an effort to make what they say less true and meaningful. Sadists will often take a much calmer approach, trying to make the therapist understand why they enjoy sadism, but since the sadist already devalues the opinion of the therapist, the therapists opinions mean much less to sadists than masochists. To Bach, this affirmed that sadism and masochism do always go hand in hand, as Kraft-ebbing also suggested. Sadists will indulge masochistic approaches, and masochists will indulge sadistic approaches. For sexual or social enjoyment, we select which side to engage based on our perceived power position.
So, where do you sit on the scale?
OTHER FUN BDSM QUIZZES
• Do You And Your Partner Share Hidden Fantasies?
• Are You a Left or Right Brainer?
• Which of the Five Love Languages Do You Speak?
• Does Your Enneagram Personality Affect Who You Are In Your D/s Role?
• What’s Your MBTI Personality Type?
• What is the Psychology of Your Sexuality?
• What is Your Safeword?
• What’s Your BDSM Role?
• Map Your Kinks
• What Kind of Sexual Deviant Are You?