Usable Insight – Know Any Sado-Narcissists?
My last living mentor, Warren Bennis, passed away on 7/31. A few days later, there was a gathering at his home to share condolences with his widow Grace Gabe and to celebrate what Warren meant to all of us. What was peculiar, but not surprising was Warren’s ability to make you feel so special, so what we all had in common was our love for Warren as well as the feeling of having been loved him [you can read my tribute to him at: Warren Bennis (1925-2014) – A Personal Remembrance].
At the gathering I spoke with Marty Kaplan, Norman Lear Professor of Entertainment at USC. And in a matter of fact manner he told me that in a strange way he was comforted to discover that Norman Lear, Warren and he had in common a mother that he referred to as a sado-narcissist. Marty originated the term, which I had never heard before, and mentioned it in his recent blog, “If Norman Lear at 92 is What, I’ll Have What He’s Having,” about Norman Lear who has recently finished his memoirs.
It immediately struck a chord regarding many parents I have heard about for 30+ years as a clinical psychiatrist. And hearing the term, sado-narcissist, seemed both descriptive and helpful, because sometimes when you can give something a name it gives a little more feeling of control
I’m sure you can guess what it means, but in case you can’t, it’s a person who is not only self-centered and self-absorbed (the proverbial “stone you can’t get water from”), but they also take delight in hurting and demeaning you (“the stones that may break your bones” and damage the heck out of your spirit and stomp on your soul).
I told Marty to write more about it.
Does the term speak to any of you? If so, please share in the Comment section.
I re-published this blog at the TED linkedin Group, because it does seem like an Idea Worth Spreading.