From ideas

The root cause of narcissism (and aggression towards women)

Gabor Mate and the causes of narcissism in people (like Jian Ghomeshi)

There is a time in life, in infancy, when we are all narcissists. In this early developmental phase we implicitly believe the world revolves around us, and properly so: we have but to feel a need, and the world moves to meet it. The people who remain stuck in narcissism, whether everyday narcissism expressed as ordinary self-centredness or the extreme forms we label as pathological, are the ones who never fully developed past that early stage. We graduate from a developmental phase only if our needs at that stage were fully satisfied. And in our society, most children do not get their needs met.

The growth of a healthy self depends on emotionally rich, attuned interactions with parents who are emotionally present and available. Stressed, depressed or anxious parents, or those who were themselves traumatized, may be incapable of providing their children with such interactions. In our increasingly alienated, isolating, and hyper-stressed culture, many children grow up under conditions characterized by what the seminal psychologist and researcher Alan Schore has called “proximal separation”: the parents are physically there but often emotionally absent. In this context healthy human development is impaired. Thus narcissism pervades our culture.

I am a big fan of Mate, he has helped me understand a lot of the issues I have had as an adult but I always find him talking about narcissism fascinating.  

If you looked up “proximal separation” in a dictionary, it would show my home as a kid.  My parents were there but were always emotionally absent.  Since they were emotionally absent, they never realized that was the case.  I’m the same way as a parent.  Jordon is the one that has seen it and helps me relate to the kids.  The difference is that Jordon sees it and can call me on it.

The rage against women is rooted in what the late feminist scholar Dorothy Dinnerstein identified as the “female monopoly of early child care,” where an isolated woman is seen by the child as the sole source of nourishment, physical soothing, and emotional support. In a mobile and economically unstable society, it falls upon an individual female to become the entire world for the child. The male child, finding his needs frustrated, develops rage. As the brilliant Canadian psychologist Gordon Neufeld points out, “frustration is the engine of aggression.”Rage against the mother later becomes generalized into rage against women. In pathological cases, that hostility is acted out precisely in moments when intimacy is sought, such as sex, because it was in early moments of vulnerable intimacy that the narcissistic wound was sustained. The rage is an implicit memory of intense proximal separation. Many boys also witness and absorb the hostility of their overworked and emotionally alienated fathers and, unconsciously, blame their mothers for not having protected them.

We Are Moving to Detroit and So Should You

In January 2014, Lowe Campbell Ewald moved 500+ employees to a city that recently filed for bankruptcy. Why? Despite media reports, Detroit is quickly becoming rich in creativity, innovation and inspiration. With a “we’re all in this together” mentality, everyone is utilizing their skills to not only help one another, but define Detroit’s future. Whether you’re a designer, innovator, entrepreneur or an investor, the talent is moving to Detroit. And so should you. 

To Understand Depression, Understand Fun

Erika Forbes, PhD, is Associate Professor of Psychiatry and Psychology at the University of Pittsburgh and director of the Affective Neuroscience and Developmental Psychopathology Lab. She completed her AB at Harvard University and her PhD at the University of Pittsburgh. She is a clinical and developmental psychologist by training, and her work examines the neuroscience of mental health in young people. Specifically, she uses techniques such as functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate how unusual brain function in response to rewarding or pleasant stimuli is involved in the development of depression and substance use in adolescents.