In this issue
April 9, 2014

Jonathan Tobin: Why Did Kerry Lie About Israeli Blame?

Samuel G. Freedman: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Jessica Ivins: A resolution 70 years later for a father's unsettling legacy of ashes from Dachau

Kim Giles: Asking for help is not weakness

Kathy Kristof and Barbara Hoch Marcus: 7 Great Growth Israeli Stocks

Matthew Mientka: How Beans, Peas, And Chickpeas Cleanse Bad Cholesterol and Lowers Risk of Heart Disease

Sabrina Bachai: 5 At-Home Treatments For Headaches

The Kosher Gourmet by Daniel Neman Have yourself a matzo ball: The secrets bubby never told you and recipes she could have never imagined

April 8, 2014

Lori Nawyn: At Your Wit's End and Back: Finding Peace

Susan B. Garland and Rachel L. Sheedy: Strategies Married Couples Can Use to Boost Benefits

David Muhlbaum: Smart Tax Deductions Non-Itemizers Can Claim

Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D.N., C.D.E : Before You Lose Your Mental Edge

Dana Dovey: Coffee Drinkers Rejoice! Your Cup Of Joe Can Prevent Death From Liver Disease

Chris Weller: Electric 'Thinking Cap' Puts Your Brain Power Into High Gear

The Kosher Gourmet by Marlene Parrish A gift of hazelnuts keeps giving --- for a variety of nutty recipes: Entree, side, soup, dessert

April 4, 2014

Rabbi David Gutterman: The Word for Nothing Means Everything

Charles Krauthammer: Kerry's folly, Chapter 3

Amy Peterson: A life of love: How to build lasting relationships with your children

John Ericson: Older Women: Save Your Heart, Prevent Stroke Don't Drink Diet

John Ericson: Why 50 million Americans will still have spring allergies after taking meds

Cameron Huddleston: Best and Worst Buys of April 2014

Stacy Rapacon: Great Mutual Funds for Young Investors

Sarah Boesveld: Teacher keeps promise to mail thousands of former students letters written by their past selves

The Kosher Gourmet by Sharon Thompson Anyone can make a salad, you say. But can they make a great salad? (SECRETS, TESTED TECHNIQUES + 4 RECIPES, INCLUDING DRESSINGS)

April 2, 2014

Paul Greenberg: Death and joy in the spring

Dan Barry: Should South Carolina Jews be forced to maintain this chimney built by Germans serving the Nazis?

Mayra Bitsko: Save me! An alien took over my child's personality

Frank Clayton: Get happy: 20 scientifically proven happiness activities

Susan Scutti: It's Genetic! Obesity and the 'Carb Breakdown' Gene

Lecia Bushak: Why Hand Sanitizer May Actually Harm Your Health

Stacy Rapacon: Great Funds You Can Own for $500 or Less

Cameron Huddleston: 7 Ways to Save on Home Decor

The Kosher Gourmet by Steve Petusevsky Exploring ingredients as edible-stuffed containers (TWO RECIPES + TIPS & TECHINQUES)

Jewish World Review July 27, 2009 / 6 Menachem-Av 5769

Who's the narcissist?

By Jack Kelly


http://www.JewishWorldReview.com | In his hit piece on Sarah Palin for Vanity Fair, Todd Purdum wrote: "More than once in my travels in Alaska, people brought up, without prompting, the question of Palin's extravagant self regard. Several told me, independently of one another, that they had consulted the definition of 'narcissistic personality disorder' in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders — "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration and lack of empathy" — and thought it fit her perfectly."

Bill Clinton last year described Mr. Purdum as a "sleazy, slimy scumbag," despite the fact that Mr. Purdum is married to his former press secretary, Dee Dee Myers. I suspect the anonymous Alaskans are a product of Mr. Purdum's imagination. But because he has Gone There, I now feel free to write something I've thought about a lot, but have hesitated to put into print.

A person who wrote two autobiographies before he was 45 is no piker when it comes to extravagant self regard.

Virtually all politicians exhibit some narcissistic traits. But columnist Charles Krauthammer, a psychiatrist, asked last year: "has there ever been a presidential nominee with a wider gap between his estimation of himself and the sum total of his achievements?"

"Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist," wrote Shmuel (Sam) Vaknin, a psychologist who's written two books on narcissism, in July of 2008. "Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. (They) lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless."

Only after lengthy tests and personal interviews can a qualified mental health professional determine whether someone suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, Mr. Vaknin acknowledged. But for his article in the American Chronicle, Mr. Vaknin constructed the kind of psychological profile the CIA commissions on foreign leaders.

If Barack Obama is a narcissist, it's not his fault. "Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence," Dr. Vaknin wrote.

Barack Obama's father deserted him at age two. He was a product of a racially mixed marriage, which can be stressful even when the marriage is stable. His mother carted him off to Indonesia (and another culture) at an early age, and then divorced his stepfather. She shipped him off at age 10 to live with his grandparents in Hawaii.

"Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's 'True Self' into a 'False Self' which is omnipotent, invulnerable and omniscient," Dr. Vaknin wrote.

Among the narcissistic traits Dr. Vaknin observed in Mr. Obama are he:

  • subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions;

  • ignores data that conflict with his fantasy world;

  • feels that he is above the law;

  • craves to be the exclusive center of attention, and

  • has a messianic-cosmic vision of himself.

If Mr. Obama is a narcissist, it would explain otherwise odd things, such as his notion that an iPod loaded with his speeches is an appropriate gift for the Queen of England, and his frequent references to himself in virtually all of those speeches.

President Obama is constantly in campaign mode which, Dr. Vaknin said, is another sign of narcissism: "The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments."

Mr. Obama is experiencing the first rough patch of his presidency.

After six months, his job approval rating is 10th among the 12 postwar presidents, according to Gallup.

President Obama's signature issues are foundering even in a heavily Democratic Congress, as moderate lawmakers fret about their cost. Mr. Obama has responded by lashing out at critics rather than by seeking compromise.

Narcissists overreact to criticism, and can quickly fall into a rage if their plans are frustrated, Dr. Vaknin said.

So what happens if the cheering stops?

"Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression," Dr. Vaknin said.

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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan administration.

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© 2009, Jack Kelly