Collective Narcissism and Its Social Consequences

Sabah Bari ’24

Figure 1: A Black Lives Matter protest against collective narcissistic groups.

Narcissism is a personality disorder in which individuals exaggerate their self importance and believe they deserve excessive attention and admiration. This disorder can be prevalent within a group, creating collective narcissism. With collective narcissism, the group seeks validation from external support. This group is typically formed by individuals who share similar beliefs such as their political viewpoints. Since members of this group are narcissists, they all combine their ideals into one, and create a grandiose view of themselves. Collective narcissism is a threat to society because the group has a biased perception that can ultimately target minorities.

Collective narcissism can come from generational hierarchies or can be recently created, but either way, it gives power to extremist ideologies. These extremist ideals can be projected upon minorities, and researchers are able to see these issues through patterns of people with low self-esteem. This low self-esteem is the reason that narcissistic people discriminate against minorities; they do not fit the way the narcissistic people describe themselves. This can include differences in their skin color, race, nationality, language, or religion. Researchers believe that collective narcissism groups target minorities because they feel that their individuality is threatened, and that they must be better than everyone else. Even within collective narcissism, there can be intergroup hostility in which members will exclude certain members of the group who they feel do not accurately represent the group anymore. Members who believe that they accurately represent the group are people who feel the need to demonstrate their importance and dominance.

Collective narcissism fuels violence because of its hostile nature. This personality disorder can be a major threat to society and create hate groups with extremist views. The correlation between individuals’ low self-esteem and collective narcissism can be a menacing issue to society. 

Work(s) cited:

[1] A. Golec de Zavala and D. Lantos, Collective narcissism and its social consequences: the bad and the ugly. Current Directions in Psychological Science 29, 273-278 (2020). doi: 10.1177/0963721420917703. 

[2] Image retrieved from:

https://unsplash.com/photos/2hHX2vNsYcc

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