Narcissistic Families: Avoid Becoming One

Recently, I read Drs. Twenge and Campbells’ book, The Narcissism Epidemic. In this book, the authors explore how narcissism has reached epidemic proportions and discuss its individual and social costs. In reading the book, I couldn’t help but think of the ways narcissism has impacted not just individuals, but also families.

Recently, I read Drs. Twenge and Campbells’ book, The Narcissism Epidemic. In this book, the authors explore how narcissism has reached epidemic proportions and discuss its individual and social costs. In reading the book, I couldn’t help but think of the ways narcissism has impacted not just individuals, but also families.

Several months ago I wrote a blog for Dr. Oz exploring narcissism. In it, I concluded, “By failing to connect with other human beings around them, people who suffer from narcissism live their lives imprisoned by their own inflated egos and empty pride.”  The impact of this imprisonment is that narcissistic people lose out on the richness of meaningful relationships with other human beings.


In a similar vein, I’ve personally and professionally experienced families who live on narcissistic islands. Like narcissistic individuals, narcissistic families spend their days pursuing material and external accomplishments rather than establishing meaningful relationships with other families, religious and social communities. As a result, these families face a greater risk of developing destructive behavioral patterns including abuse and addictions. 

While I could share with you my theories on the reasons family units have developed narcissistic traits, I’d rather focus on what families can to do avoid developing them.

1) For starters, families need to make sure they are part of a larger community. This community includes the social, spiritual and physical aspects of their lives.

2) Families need to devote at least one day a week fostering meaningful connections with other families. This could mean joining or starting a weekly dinner club with other families, attending religious services or becoming part of a sports community.

3) The best way to connect with other people is – in person!  Social networking sites are a great way to pass time, but when it comes to being with another person, nothing beats doing it the good old fashion way (that means face to face – not Facebook to Facebook).

4) Every year families should develop a strategic plan for itself that outlines what the family members will do individually and collectively to connect to the outside world. 

Just like a river needs to flow to the sea, families need to flow out into the communities and the world around them. By connecting with others and giving back, families will thrive and grow, not stagnate and become emotionally polluted.

4 Steps to Shedding Your Pandemic Pounds

Forgive yourself, and start walking toward a healthier you.

For those of you who have put on the Pandemic Pounds or added several new COVID Curves, you are not alone. Alarmingly, the American Psychological Association has recently published that almost half of all adults in their survey now have a larger physique. In fact, 42% of people reported gaining roughly 15 pounds (the average published was surprisingly 29 pounds but that included outliers) over the past year. Interestingly, 20% of adults in this survey lost about 12 pounds (I am surely not in this group). Clearly, there is a relationship between stress and weight change. In addition, one in four adults disclosed an increase in alcohol consumption, and 67% of participants distressingly revealed that they have new sleeping patterns.

This past year has brought about what has been called the 'new normal.' Social isolation and inactivity due to quarantining and remote working have sadly contributed to the decline in many people's mental and physical health, as demonstrated by the widespread changes in people's weight, alcohol consumption, and sleeping patterns. Gym closures, frequent ordering of unhealthy takeout, and increased time at home cooking and devouring comfort foods have had a perceptible impact. In addition, many people have delayed routine medical care and screening tests over fear of contracting Covid-19 during these visits. Unfortunately, the 'new normal' has now placed too many people at risk for serious health consequences, including heart attacks and strokes.

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