I stumbled upon Dr. Drew Pinsky’s “Narcissistic Personality Inventory” today at USA Today.com, and wound up taking the test. As an author and a blogger, I assumed that I would have a higher than normal score. Wouldn’t you have to, if you write about your life just about every day? Sheesh, the whole blogging world is a big “look at me”-palooza, whether we mom bloggers are writing about appearing on The Today Show or penning an open letter to the parents who let their kids run wild at Panera.
So I scored an 18, which is slightly higher than celebrities generally score. I even scored higher than Dr. Drew Pinsky, TV star, himself. But it’s important to note here that the article quotes his book, “The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissim is Seducing America,” which states, “Scoring high on the narcissism inventory, or high on any of the component categories, doesn’t mean you have a disorder, or that you’re a good or bad person.”
But what’s interesting is that the book has an entirely different subtitle over at Amazon: How Celebrity Narcissism Is Endangering Our Families–and How to Save Them.
So maybe it does mean I have a disorder. Or at least, that I’m ruining my family. It’s hard to say.
I scored high in Authority and Self-Sufficiency and medium in Superiority. I didn’t rack up many — or any — points in each of these areas: Exhibitionism, Exploitativeness, Vanity and Entitlement, presumably because I didn’t answer “yes” to statements like, “I like to look at myself in the mirror” and “I like to look at my body.” (If only they had this question: “I am happy to have so many surgical scars and radiation tattoos, because it will make it easier for investigators to identify my body if I wind up a headless torso in the Hudson River.” Also, “I watch too much Law & Order.”)
Personally, I see some of these traits as a positive. I mean, if all of us chose, “I wish I were more assertive” or “Compliments embarrass me” what the hell would we watch on TV, read or listen to on the radio? The entertainment industry is made up of assertive people who like a nice compliment now and then, bloggers included.
Certainly the statement, “I am more capable than other people” fit yesterday when one father forgot to bring the official league game cards to our soccer game, and so, our team had to forfeit the game. We then scrimmaged and won, but it doesn’t count, because, well, the cards were an hour away on the father’s kitchen table. So I grumbled before the game, “Next time, I am bringing the cards.” Because, in this case, “I am more capable than other people” may well have applied. I don’t see how this is ruining my family. It’s just making for a good soccer season and less grumbling.
I am not “uncomfortable to be the center of attention,” or else I would have hid in the closet when The Today Show rang my doorbell and then who would have talked about moms being bullied online? And “Everybody likes to hear my stories” better be true, or else why would I have published five books and blogged for seven years? If nobody likes to hear your stories when you’re a writer, you’ll never be the center of attention, and then you’ll never sell books or get readers to visit your blog or comment on your magazine articles. And if I don’t believe “I will be a success,” I don’t know who will.
So, perhaps it’s true that I’m a narcissist, but I venture that anyone who writes about their lives, acts, sings, plays music before crowds, hosts the Duck Tours in various cities across the U.S., dresses up in Civil War garb and reenact battles, puts up photos of their bald heads at Planet Cancer, tweets from the Springsteen concert or tries out for American Idol are also narcissists. Maybe we do it because we like to entertain or inform other people. Maybe we like to make other people feel less alone, or to make them laugh on a lousy day. Maybe Dr. Drew is right, and we all just do it because “we like to be the center of attention.”
Whatever the reason, you’re welcome.
Share Share, that’s fair: How did you score? What do you think that says about you? About everyone else?