I was reading about narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) the other day.  Of course, this made me consult the authority, Wikipedia.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Narcissistic_personality_disorder.  I don’t recall why.  I think I had just had a discussion with a Dean somewhere.  In any event, I started to wonder if I, too, had NPD.  I thought I would share with you my results, symptom by symptom:

  • “Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments.”  I am superior.  I’m not just saying that because I published in a high-ranked law journal and therefore some student at a higher ranked school told me so, but also because I was that student once. See how far I’ve come?  I’m no longer the student who is determining who is awesome, I am the person asking the student to determine my awesomeness.   That’s progress.
  • “Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others.”  I don’t need constant attention.  Okay, yes, I’m constantly on Twitter and occasionally write a blog.  I’ll forward a lot of e-mails, too.  I also write amazing articles.  My students also tell me I’m cool.  But what’s wrong with a little external validation?
  • “Envies others and believes others envy him/her.”  I think that others envy me, but only because they aren’t me.  I mean, I’m awesome.  See points 1 and 2.
  • “Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence.”  Well, when I look in the mirror, particularly when the light shines on my hair just so, I really am freaking hot.  And successful.  I mean, I’m a professor!   What says power more than working at the same job forever?  Just ask any government work (currently available due to furlough) how awesome that is.  The fact that I have this job just proves I’m smart.
  • “Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others.”  That is not at all true of me.  Sometimes, when people tell me that they want me to publish my article, I am seriously in tune with their feelings that I need to publish my works!   And sometimes when students ask really dumb questions in class I merely ignore the questions rather than belittle them.
  • “Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior.”  Did you just call me arrogant?  Who are you to call me arrogant?  That’s just the dumbest thing I’ve heard in the history of dumb.  Really the fact that I’m talking to you right now only suggests how I pity you.  And that kind of compassion can’t be arrogant, right?  QED.
  • “Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic.”  Law professors never have that.  I mean, just the other day I was telling the Dean that I would teach any time he wanted, so long as it was not Thursdays and Fridays, and not before 10:30 a.m. and not after 2:00 p.m.  See how reasonable I am?

So far, I think it is clear I don’t have NPD.  Let’s see if there are other factors.  “Appearing tough minded or unemotional?”  Well, I just don’t let my emotions get in the way of my superior analytic skills.  “Fragile self-esteem?” Not at all.  One time I had a colleague tell me I’m stupid and I just went and read the comments on the back sleeve of my book for a pick me up, and then searched for myself on Google after I stopped crying.

I don’t know whether or not I convinced you I’m not a narcissist. But I convinced myself, and that is all that matters.  I’m so freaking humble, someone really ought to recognize me for that.