Author explores age of entitlement in “The Narcissism Epidemic”

Dr. W. Keith Campbell, author, "The Narcissism Epidemic"

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In a culture where social media allows us to brand ourselves, and reality shows model narcissistic lifestyles — is it any wonder that one psychologist is calling this the “Age of Entitlement”?

A new book, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement, explores this troubling trend.

Author Dr. W. Keith Campbell, a professor of psychology at the University of Georgia, defines narcissism as having an inflated sense of self and thinking you are better than others. Narcissists want fame and money and don’t have close, warm relationships. They brag, name drop and take responsibility for good things while blame others for bad things.

“All of us wrestle with issues of ego. In some cases it’s helpful; in some cases, it really hurts us,” Campbell said in an interview with the DorobekINSIDER.

Calling it a “double-edged” sword, narcissism can help someone emerge as a leader among strangers and perform in public. At the same time, narcissists are untrustworthy, manipulative and don’t learn from their mistakes because they blame others, Campbell said.

Colleagues of narcissists should be careful not to be manipulated.

Maintain a “strict relationship” and take notes to protect yourself, Campbell said. He also suggested using narcissists’ ego to manipulate them.

“Puff them up,” he said. “People do this all the time in Washington.”

When overseeing a narcissist, there are “high levels of entitlement,” Campbell said.

Managers of narcissists find they want more flexibility on the job and bigger decision-making roles.

“The best advice is to recognize it and don’t trust. Don’t make yourself vulnerable,” Campbell said.

Campbell said he’s worried — and hopes readers of his book are too — about the implications of the “Age of Entitlement” on future generations.

“Is this really the culture we want to pass on to them, or are there values that are more enduring that we want to pass on?”