Narcissus walks the tightrope between a healthy love for oneself and its pathological celebration. To the point of becoming a diagnosis: narcissistic personality disorder.
Narcissus was a very beautiful young man; he drowned in his beauty and gave life to a flower. Ovid gathered up this flower and turned it into a myth, Freud turned it into a psychiatric reality: narcissism. It inhabits our loves, appears in our conversations, and seduces politicians and artists, as well as criminals. A tightrope-walker of self-esteem, Narcissus walked the tightrope between a healthy love for oneself and its pathological celebration. Which can become a diagnosis: narcissistic personality disorder. As long as we try to cage it with just one definition, we will never be able to know it: we need a sextant and the ability to navigate the reefs and breakers of self-esteem. There are arrogant narcissists and very shy ones, those with tough skin and very thin-skinned ones. They all swim in an archipelago of possibilities: satiated with arrogance, surrounded by charisma, blessed with success, crushed by depression, tormented by dissatisfaction, possessed by a void, suicides out of frustration. They can poison a relationship to the point of sadism and manipulate others to the point of psychosis. Almost always, they are hounded by four beasts: fear, rage, envy, and shame.
Vittorio Lingiardi, psychiatrist and psychoanalyst, is a full professor of dynamic psychology at the Sapienza University of Rome. In 2018, he received the Premio Musatti of the Italian Psychoanalytical Society and in 2019 the Research Award of the Society for Psychoanalysis and Psychoanalytic Psychology ( Division 39) of the American Psychological Association. With Einaudi, he has published Diagnosi e destino (2018).