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Do narcissists like to be famous?

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You bet they adore being famous, or even notorious. This, by far, is their predominant drive. Being famous encompasses a few important functions: it endows the narcissist with power, provides him with a constant Source of Narcissistic Supply (admiration, adoration, approval, awe) and fulfils important Ego functions. The image that the narcissist projects is hurled back at him, reflected in the eyes (or in the imagined eyes) of those exposed to the celebrity or fame of the narcissist. This way he feels alive, his very existence is affirmed and it begets a sensation of clear boundaries (where the narcissist ends and the world begins).
There is a set of narcissistic behaviours typical to the pursuit of celebrity. There is almost nothing that the narcissist refrains from doing, almost no borders that he hesitates to cross to achieve renown. To him, there is no such thing as "bad publicity" � what is important is to be in the public eye. Because the narcissist equally enjoys all types of attention and likes as much to be feared as to be loved, for instance � he doesn't mind if what is published about him is wrong ("as long as they spell his name correctly"). The only bad emotional stretches are those that are endured by the narcissist during periods of lack of attention, publicity, or exposure. The narcissist then feels empty, hollowed out, negligible, humiliated, wrathful, discriminated against, deprived, neglected, treated unjustly and so on. At first, he tries to compromise and obtain attention from ever narrowing groups of reference ("supply scale down"). But the feeling that he is compromising gnaws at his anyhow fragile self-esteem. Sooner or later, the spring bursts. The narcissist plots, contrives, plans, conspires, thinks, analyses, synthesises and does whatever else is necessary to regain the lost publicity. The more he fails to secure the attention of the target group (always the largest he can access) � the more daring, eccentric and outlandish he becomes. Firm decision is transformed into resolute action and then to a panicky pattern of attention seeking behaviours.
The narcissist is not really interested in publicity per se. Using typical conversion, displacement and projection mechanisms � the narcissist always appears to be different than he is. He appears to love himself � and, really, he abhors himself. Similarly, he appears to be interested in becoming a celebrity � and, in reality, it is the REACTIONS to his fame that interest him: people watch him, notice him, talk about him, debate his actions � therefore he exists. He goes around "hunting and collecting" how the expressions on people's faces change when they notice him. He places himself in the centre of discussions, even as a figure of controversy. He constantly and recurrently pesters those nearest and dearest to him in a bid to reassure himself that he is not losing his fame, his magic touch, the attention of members of his reference group.
Truly, the narcissist is not choosy. If he can become famous as a writer � he writes, if as a businessman � he conducts business. He switches from one field to the other with ease and without remorse because in all of them he is present without conviction, bar the conviction that he must (and deserves to) get famous. He grades activities, hobbies and people not according to the pleasure that they give him � but according to their utility: can they or can't they make him known and, if so, to what extent. The narcissist is one-track minded (not to say obsessive). His is a world of black (being unknown and deprived of attention) and white (being famous and celebrated).
Based on my book "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited"  My ex and I are both professional musicians that play the same instrument. When I met him I was at the top in my class, getting all sorts of work and I was highly respected. He seemed supportive of me...at first. He began a slow, insidious put-down of my talents and abilities in the form of subtle criticisms. He began to demand that I attend all of his shows to watch him play. He would tell me that he was the greatest and that he was wasting his talent in my town, also that the only reason he stayed was because of me. (Talk about a guilt trip, right?) Well, long story short, over a years time I nearly quit playing to support him and his musical goals...tsk tsk.Shame on me. I smartened up in time and kicked him to the curb.All the musicians in my circle have confessed they avoided me because of my "ego-maniac boyfriend." No one likes him anyway, it seems. I have restored my self confidence and now I play full time. I haven't heard a peep out of him!
� 2003 Lidija Rangelovska Narcissus Publications
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