Malignant Self-Love…

October 28, 2009

SubhanAllah…I was reading a medical article right now….Has anyone heard of Narcissistic Personality disorder?  It is classified as a mental disease.  (First of all…I know society has a huge stigma at times regarding mental diseases- but they are no different than having diabetes or lung cancer. The area of illness just happens to be the brain)

Anyway…here are some excerpts from the article…I bold-ed the important parts…

To be diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, a patient must demonstrate a consistent and long-standing pattern of maladaptive behavior starting in adolescence or early adulthood that exemplifies 5 or more of the following criteria:3

  1. A sense of grandiosity and self-importance that is not necessarily commensurate with the person’s actual achievements or standing.
  2. Unrealistic and dearly-held fantasies of extreme success, power, beauty, or romantic love. For example, such a person may choose to remain single rather than date those they deem beneath him or her.
  3. An overweening sense of superiority and a constant desire to associate only with the best of everything (eg, best health club, best doctor, best institutions) as a way to enhance one’s own self-esteem. For example, an aging business executive who insists on only dating young supermodels or a wealthy socialite who insists on befriending only other high-status society matrons.
  4. A desire to always be the center of attention and to be widely admired for his or her achievements. This desire largely stems from low self-esteem.
  5. A sense of entitlement and an expectation that others will readily cater to his or her needs.
  6. Interpersonally exploitative to the extent that others merely serve to further his or her own wishes and desires. The patient with narcissistic personality disorder is solely concerned with his or her own advancement in life and will manipulate, exploit, or sabotage others to achieve his or her end goal.
  7. A lack of empathy and sensitivity to the feelings and experiences of others. People with narcissistic personality disorder often talk at length about themselves with little interest in the experiences of others.
  8. A feeling of deep-seated envy towards those he or she perceives to be better situated than themselves. Also present is an egotistical belief that others are envious of him or her.

Patients with narcissistic personality disorder are also acutely sensitive to rejection or criticism and may avoid people or situations where there is the possibility of feeling “less than.” When criticized, they may become furious and lash out or withdraw into a shell of sullen hate. At the core, both of these reactions are thought to be due to intrinsically low self-esteem or a feeling of inferiority.

SubhanAllah, I’ve heard about it, but when you read it, you can’t believe that this could somehow be medical.  The arrogance, the hasad, the love for compliments….This is why excessive praise of others is highly discouraged in Islam.  Some may shake off the comment, but others THRIVE upon it.

From a medical point of view, they can’t even explain it…


The exact mechanism of the development of narcissistic personality disorder is unknown. Biological, psychological, social, and environmental factors all likely play a role, but further research is necessary to confirm this supposition. Several psychodynamic theories point to an unhealthy early parent-child relationship as salient in the development of the disorder.

If it truly is a medical condition, which I really can’t get my head around, I feel like there are so many ways to prevent it mentioned in Islam.  Arrogance…the first sin…it is really deadly!!

Our origin is mere dirt.  Our beginning was being a helpless baby that can barely open its eyes…Maybe without a name for a week…Helpless without speech or strength…Always in need of someone to take care of our every need…

I remember the first Ayah from Surat Al-Insan…

Has there not been over man a period of time, when he was nothing to be mentioned?

Does Insaan…not remember the time where he didn’t even EXIST? When he was nothing….and now he has a disorder of being so “into themselves”….SubhanAllah, on what basis do we humans love ourselves?  It is just astounding when we think of it… What are we in this huge universe but small, needy slaves of a magnificent creator?

What is the object of greatness we see in our reflections??

Of course, everything comes in balance…Muslims-People in general actually-should be confident.  Should be sure of themselves.  But our greater confidence and love should be in Allah-the creator of the creation.

Finally…Look at this weird fact:

According to current research, narcissistic personality disorder is present in 0.5% of the general United States population, in 20% of the military population, and in 17% of first-year medical students.

First-year med students??? First of all, you are FIRST-YEARS.  Second, wow.  Just because they pass an interview and held an awesome GPA all of a sudden they are amazing…. There are other interviews to encounter that they may not pass….

Wallah, humans are weak and we have no power, no matter how hard we work or try to force good things to happen.  If Allah wills something, then it is over any will in the world.
We try our best, but Allah is the best of planners…

Let’s all try to be a little more humble…remember where we came from, where we are going next, and who we shall stand before to be judged..