Cultural Narcissism in the US

As with all things evil, the origin can be found at the fall of Eden. We see there our father and mother, Adam and Eve, deciding to take what they believed they deserved instead of trusting God to provide. COVID-19 has only exposed this problem. It turns out that the virus among us isn’t simply biological; it’s a virus of the spirit and heart as well.

A Virus of the Heart

One of the strongest contrasts that has come to light via COVID-19 is the portrait of those who sacrifice for the needs of others versus those who live with a self-centered agenda. The latter exhibit disregard for others’ needs to the point of lacking empathy. This has been true on both sides of the aisle. We see it in those who urge quarantine while judging folks who go out in public, as well as those who take more exposure to risks scoffing at those who take precautions. In both cases, we see people with eyes only for the ways in which they themselves are being impacted. They extend little, if any, grace toward those whose needs look different than their own. We see the “us versus them” lines get drawn even uglier than usual.

The COVID-19 spotlight also exposes a sense of entitlement that is rampant in our culture. We believe that we are owed special treatment, that our needs and desires should be ranked higher than others’. We believe that authority exists to serve us, while denying our responsibility to honor authority. In fact, we fail to take responsibility on many fronts. The most devastating of these is the failure to consider (and care about) how our choices impact others.

Lastly, we see our cultural narcissism showing up in our difficulty dealing with stress and adapting to change. When change has been forced upon us by government mandate we have responded with anger, grumpiness, criticism and panic. We see group tantrums erupting at one end of the spectrum, and totalitarian controlling at the other.

The Good News

But Covid-19 isn’t only bringing out the bad, it’s also bringing out the good Despite the widespread narcissism of people wanting it their own way, there are those shining stories of heroism found in the lives of ordinary people: grocery clerks, delivery people, emergency responders, and medical personnel to name just a few. All these people who show up for work, day in and day out, to keep us fed and supplied, to keep our garbage from piling up and our lights on and water running. What if the truck drivers had stayed home or the factory workers decided not to make protective equipment? All these people deserve our continued gratitude for the personal cost of all that they are pouring out for the greater good.

In the end, the pandemic is costing everyone. We’ve lost loved ones, jobs, stability, connection, freedoms we were accustomed to, and more. If you’re struggling to adjust to the new normal and how your world has changed as a result of the pandemic, you are not alone.

We at the Marriage Recovery Center want you to know that we are here to help. We want to help you use this opportunity to look within, to examine your values, to discover what’s causing you anxiety, and to find what is worthy of your trust and hope.

To learn more about our programs dedicated to healing from narcissism and emotional abuse, contact our client care team at (206) 219-0145. You can also visit the resources section of our website, where you can find a library of content on a variety of topics.