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Narcissism

This section on Narcissism is designed to 'help' provide a greater understanding of the condition; it is not intended as any form of condemnation or judgment of Rugby League players or others involved in the game; nor is it aimed at any other individual who may suffer from one of the many forms of Narcissism. It is a 'societal' problem; not restricted to a sport and not a means by which anyone should be judged or labeled. It is also not intended to provide any form of excuse or defence for the behaviours often exhibited by the Narcissist, particularly those of an antisocial nature. Narcissism provides no legitimate mitigation for any inappropriate behaviour. If ignored however, it will continue to cause significant harm to those peripherally associated; friends, teammates, family, the clubs, the league et al. It requires serious attention.

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Narcissus 

What is Narcissism  Signs & Symptoms  Origins of Narcissism  Group Entitlement or 'Narcissism'  Narcissistic Supply           The Naricissist's Allies   High Self Esteem or Healthy Narcissism?   The 'Female' Narcissist  Summary   What is the Answer?

It is the combination of Narcissism & Nihilism that truly defines post-modernism.
Al Gore


One of the pitfalls of celebrity status, fame or notoriety is that of Narcissism, or more accurately 'acquired situational narcissism'. Unfortunately, Narcissism is becoming increasingly prevalent within society and is no longer restricted to the minority.

Examples can be seen across all socio-economic groups; in many occupations, professions & vocations; in sport, politics, religion and so on. Once the hallmark of actors, the rich & famous, artists, musicians & rock 'gods', it's now pervaded our very suburban precincts. This is not to imply that a narcissist lurks around each corner or that someone is either a narcissist or not. It is not that simple; not that 'black or white'. There are degrees of Narcissism and differing manifestations or exhibited behaviours for these.

Suffice it to say, Narcissism exists; it is increasing in both intensity & numbers; and is exerting great pressures throughout society. Our culture, being based on temporal, superficiality, image & materialism; along with a 'fast food' mentality of 'immediate gratification' enhances and promotes the development of the condition. If seeds were sown in earlier developmental years (primarily early childhood & adolescence), the greater the likelihood of it occuring or being exhibited.

There are a great many factors involved in relation to the subject of Narcissism and much of this is covered in the text book; 'Mental Health for Rugby League'. For the purpose of this website & need for relative brevity, many of the details are in 'point form' or summarised.

narcissism

 

 
What is Narcissism?
 
Narcissism, according to the Oxford Dictionary - 'a morbid self-love or self-admiration'. In Psychology and Psychiatry it is expanded to include 'self-obsession', 'self-centredness', 'conceit' 'vanity', 'egotism', 'over-inflated self worth'. It can also be described as 'elitism' when applied in a group setting. The Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) IV-TR, the clinicians diagnostic reference tool, describes it as; "An all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts".

There are also differing types of Narcissism; from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, 'Malignant Narcissism', 'Reactive of transient Narcissism' to 'Acquired Situational Narcissism' (ACN). It is the latter for which this section is primarily dedicated. 

When we 'break down' the term Acquired Situational Narcissism (using the Dictionary meanings & definitions) it can be seen as:

  • Acquired:- 'To acquire - 'to gain, get, come to have'.
  • Situational:-  relating to 'place', with its surroundings; set of circumstances, state of affairs, condition; employee's position or job.
  • Narcissism:- As described before - 'morbid self love or self-obsession'. 

As you can see, ACN is a form of 'Narcissism' where the symptoms are evident as a result of 'circumstances' that have been 'achieved' or 'acquired'; such as  an individual 'thrust into the spotlight' or a world of increased attention or profile, fame or fortune and so on. As a reminder, being placed in situations such as these does not, in any way, imply the individual concerned will develop or exhibit ACN or the associated symptoms. 

 

 

 
Signs & Symptoms of ACN

 

One of the many mistakes people often make in their appraisal of potential Narcissism, is the failure to see its manifested symptoms in the context of demographics, cultures & sub-cultures and the variety of developmental & social factors that can affect how it's exhibited. Most literature tends to focus on the 'high end' of the spectrum or scale, or the 'extreme' symptoms. Narcissism knows no boundaries; it is potentially applicable to all. From the 'wealthy' & 'famous' movie star or celebrity, politician, businessman right down to the local 'small town' footy player whose fame & notoriety is played out on a much smaller scale. The only difference is the increased likelihood of developing ASN as one 'rises' the ladder of profile & success. Remember, it is the attention & recognition they seek. This can be accomplished at any level, though often more likely to be 'fantasy-based' when exhibited in a smaller societal microcosm.

 

 

·     Grandiosity – claims, or believes, to be an expert on most things/exaggerates abilities, exploits, physical, sexual or intellectual prowess/ brags (sometimes in quite a subtle or inferred manner)

 

·     Believe they are special or unique – places them above the law, society standards, values, morals etc./pretends or presents a façade that they are more important than they are 

 

·     Lack of, or reduced capacity for, empathy- unable to see things from another’s perspective/ inability to sustain meaningful relationships

 

·     Manipulative & exploitative – they use others without consideration for any cost, loss, or negative outcome that might occur

 

·     Envious & jealous – resents those who have something they don’t; to the point of deliberately destroying that which is envied or criminal activity to procure that which is equivalent or better

 

·     Requiring of admiration– superficial in attire & behaviour; flatters those who admire them; dismisses or ignores those who don’t 

 

·     Entitled & demanding – expectation of favours

 

·     Arrogant & ‘haughty’ – both in posture & body language – dismissive in demeanor/maintains a rather ‘distant’ position in group settings with a slightly enlarged personal space

 

·     Experiences feelings of ‘shame’ not ‘guilt’ – Guilt is recognition of wrongdoing or error, shame is self condemning with no admission of any culpability

 

·     Fantasies of superiority & grandeur - not seen to most observers, being more internal & ‘dream-like’, though occasionally evidenced by extraordinary or showy, exhibitionist acts incommensurate with their social standing or appearance

 

·     Hypersensitivity to any perceived negativity, insults or vague ‘slurs’ – ‘hates’ or despises those who do not admire them or who may infer they are less than perfect or may have negative aspects to their persona

 

·     Lack of any substantial ‘psychological’ awareness or ‘insight’ – no feelings of remorse or guilt for any misdemeanors or hurt inflicted upon anyone

 


Whilst there are many signs & symptoms, as noted above, the key factors are:

  1. Lack of Empathy or capacity to view things from another's perspective; to understand another person's feelings; to care about another's feelings - 'because it doesn't apply to the Narcissist or their own feelings, thoughts emotions etc., they couldn't care less'.  
  2. Overvalued opinion of 'self worth'; to the point of grandiosity &/or superiority (in reality or fantasy) 
  3. An 'unconscious' over-compensation or defence for underlying feelings of anxiety. often secondary to poor self esteem; the 'false self' attempting to 'hide' the 'real self'. 

As stated before, the Narcissist is more interested in 'what people think of them'; the reaction to their presence or being, rather than 'who they really are' or their genuine value or worth.

 

 
Origins of Narcissism

Narcissism has its roots in developmental stages, though aspects pertinent to genetic predisposition and biochemical factors should not be discounted as potenial contributing factors. ASN is traditionally believed by experts to be of late onset; adolescence or beyond, though it is probable that many of those who succumb to, or exhibit ASN most likely had the pre-morbid traits & tendencies already. These underlying characteristics and behavioural 'seeds' could quite possibly provide the unconscious motivation, a type of self fulfilling prophecy, whereby they are drawn toward those socio-economic situations, occupations, sports & fields of endeavour that enable the Narcissist to satisy their internal needs. One could draw the analogy of the 'fuel just waiting for the fuse to be lit'. 

 

Abuse by parental figures, peers, role models & significant others is one of the primary factors common amongst those who develop Narcissistic behaviour, as it is with many other 'Personality Disorders or Disordered Traits'. This abuse can take the many forms; physical, verbal, sexual, psychological &/or emotional. Similarly, the 'smothering', 'protective', 'doting' behviour of a parent or parents may also contribute, as can the 'idealization' of the child.

 

In essence, it is that which impinges upon an individual's capacity to develop the correct, healthy & necessary skills to participate in and interact with the world around them in a socially acceptable & appropriate manner; to develop a healthy self esteem, sense of self & clear identitiy; to comprehend boundaries and societal & cultural values. Narcissism of any type can be seen as a defence mechanism employed to protect the fragile ego & questionable self esteem; to reinforce the 'false self' and hide or suppress the 'real self'.

 

Classically, ASN or any type of Narcissism is associated with celebrity status, wealth &/or fame. though brain injuries &/or medical or organic conditions may result in 'reactive/transient' narcissistic and antisocial behaviours. The latter is of significant concern to body contact sports where concussion and head injuries are common and the use of illicit, recreational substances is well reported. Both can result in trauma to the brain and can often go undetected.

 

The developmental processes through which we all pass are generally universally accepted by most scholars. These identified periods of our lives are 'transitional'; from birth to death; covering the full gamut of our existence. To grow and mature one must pass through these stages of 'transition', from one to another (the next). 

 

Emotional & social retardation due to poor transition through the adolescent years and the mere 'chronological' passage into adulthood has ill-prepared the league player for the rigours and vicissitudes of simple existence, let alone the extra burdens, pressures & stress associated with life as a footballer. When does one progress to the next stage? Is it only when injury or retirement necessitate or enforce such a change? If so, then the effect at this time of life can be devastating.  


Some of the 'causes' for the origin of Narcissism

  • Abuse (physical, sexual, emotional, verbal, psychological)
  • Idealization as a child
  • Devaluation as a child
  • Conditional love & acceptance during early childhood
  • Overly 'protective' parenting
  • Bullying (both victim & perpetrator)
  • Low self esteem
  • Poor or inadequate setting of boundaries when young
  • Misplaced priorities displayed and protrayed by parental figures or role models
  • Distorted perception of 'competitiveness'


narcissism 2 

 

 

 
Group Entitlement or 'Narcissism'


Most coaches would have a fairly sound concept of 'group dynamics', given their need to work within a 'team' environment. The task driven excercise of Rugby League requires an understanding of player's roles, abilities, skills, temperament and basic personality type and how that melds and meshes together within a 'team'.

To get the best from a player and the maximization of their potential and skill, the coach's aim is to build confidence & self belief. When translated across the entire playing roster, the team's confidence, as a whole, rises. The team must believe it is 'better' than its opposition. If not, winning becomes unlikely; and that is the goal; to win.

There is nothing wrong with this approach. It is employed in every facet of our lives and in nearly every occupation; particularly those that employ a group of 'team' framework. To get the best from the team, you need the best from the individual and vice versa. Three (3) other essential elements to a strong, sustainable & effective team (or group) are (1) interdependence; (2) sense of belonging & (3) identification with that team or group.

The problems arise when extrapolated outside the sport and the very field on which it's played. Remember, fans, the media, club officials, sponsors etc. will always provide 'Narcissistic supply' (or unconditional positive feedback - admiration & acknowledgement); even off the field and in general social settings. The player does not have to earn it, work for it or even deserve it based on their individual personality or effort. It is freely given in bountiful quantities; and merely by the identification with the team/group.

As such, a sense of elitism or entitlement can often be seen in the behaviours of sportspersons in social situations. It can become a type of expectation; without challenge; almost a right. All behaviour is not necessarily appropriate, though the assumption is that it's surely tolerated and accepted (because of who they are), including that which is contrary to societal values, norms, mores & expectations.

As a group one can feel somewhat protected and more likely to be adventurous, as the group members provide the necessary safety, encouragement and support. They may believe themselves to be superior or 'better than' those average individuals that share the same social setting. Any challenge to this does not indicate restraint, but retaliation or 'justifiable' response; often aggression and antisocial acts. Women provide the 'male' Narcissist, or 'group member' with a much needed 'trophy' and many are only too willing to accommodate. They too are impressed and overvalue the narcissist or admired group member. Some unfortunately are not (the naive, vulnerable or overly trusting) or they have their own 'agenda'; possibly a degree of notoriety themselves or their own 'trophy collecting'; they are those who often expose the misbehaviour or speak out about the wrongdoings of the player.

The other pertinent fact is that the consumption of alcohol and the partaking of illicit substances will often cloud any residual judgment or capacity to reason the player might have. Narcissism plus alcohol/drugs is a particularly dangerous mix.

Given the propensity for elitism to develop in a group (in this case, footballers), there is little doubt that a sense of entitlement, superiority, power & prejudice will result. The group is narcissistic, not the individual members. If you throw one or two genuine narcissists into a group such as this, the adverse effects will probably intensify, particularly when substance use such as alcohol has been added to the mix and has already lowered self control & reduced inhibitions. The individual narcissist's internal drive and 'desire' for excitement, control & their inherent 'above the law' belief & grandiosity can often provide the catalyst for group misbehaviour.      

 

 

 

Narcissistic 'supply' - what is it?


The answer to this is very simple; Food! The difference is that this type of food is not tangible in a visible, tactile, consumable way; it is that which refers to 'mental food' or input, and is potentially dangerous in its possible consequences. It occurs at both a conscious & unconcious psychological level.

The best comparison to 'Narcissistic Supply' is that of 'junk food' or similar food substances. Most would generally agree that the over-indulgence in unhealthy foods will acheive unhealthy results. There is also the capacity for 'craving' of these unhealthy substances. The same applies to our 'mental food'. Unhealthy input, overindulgence or cravings will have an unhealthy result; psychologically & socially.

Mental food takes the form of input from others around us; in all forms of feedback; in a range of social, occupational levels & settings and in a multitude of relationship types, societal, group, interpersonal; casual or intimate.

Whilst this can be 'narcissistic supply', it is not the psychological basis for the 'need'. It is the Reaction that is most sought. The Narcissist is seeking attention; wishing to be noticed, talked about, looked at; they seek the reactions of others in their presence. It is their addiction of choice.


Examples of the sources of 'Narcissistic Supply'

  • Constant positive feedback
  • Public adoration, adulation & recognition
  • 'Freebies' & 'Favours' - often expected & freely given
  • Publicity - audio-visual, print & publications
  • Advertising exposure
  • Access to, and participation in, events & social gatherings of higher social, economic & political status

  • Even 'negative' feedback & exposure is 'Narcissistic supply' for some. "League's bad-boys".

 



All this supply is freely given to generally all of higher profile, celebrity status or those of wealth &/or fame. The well-balanced, well adjusted individual takes it for what it is, understands why it occurs, and feels somewhat undeserving of the degree of attention; humbled and politely appreciative. Some may even avoid or shy away from situations where this might occur or be displayed. For the Narcissist, however, it is a requirement; a need; a 'must have'; it is who they are & why they exist.

Narcissistic Supply in Rugby League

narcissistic supply - player



This diagram indicates that which the Player gives to those directly or indirectly associated with them. These differing entities profit from the player; some can be considered ‘needs’. The benefits noted are not in themselves ‘Narcissistic Supply’ though should any individual in these particular areas be a Narcissist, one can easily understand how this then becomes ‘Narcissistic Supply’. Should this player cease to exist, retire, disgrace themselves to the point of no return, the Narcissist will fill the void with another. It must be noted that ‘family’ & ‘true’ friends might not necessarily adopt this approach and certainly the player in this situation is not considered a Narcissist; it applies to any player.

 

narcissistic supply - others



The diagram represents the sources, flow & types of ‘Narcissistic supply’ the player might receive. As stated before these elements are given freely to any player (or high profile athlete, celebrity etc.); it only becomes ‘Narcissistic supply’ when the individual receiving it is a Narcissist. Any player put in this position will find this type of ‘food’ difficult to digest. Who among us would not like the positive input from others; the unconditional acceptance and admiration and all its temporal trappings. No matter whether narcissistic or not, this type of supply will have an impact on the player’s life; one way or another. It would be nigh on impossible for an individual to escape an effect that will surely ensue.

 

 

 
The Narcissist's Allies

 

Individuals or organizations who are fully aware of the Narcissist’s personality and inappropriate antisocial behaviour, but who make decision that the benefits of engaging with them outweigh those negative aspects. They put aside their own principles, standards & value system for success &/or profit. These are those who protect the Narcissist, ‘cover-up’ indiscretions and spend an inordinate amount of time trying to make their life easier. The gifted league player with an unfortunate history of poor behaviour springs to mind. The club knows of his prodigious talent and the value to the team in this respect; surely they can manage his behaviour. This is not only evidenced in league & other sports, but also in politics, business & religious organizations for example.

 

There are those who are similarly aware of the narcissist’s behaviour and character traits, but who attribute these failings to external causes such as relationship problems (his wife/partner left him), parental marriage breakdown (his parents recently split up), lack of understanding from previous club (the clubtreated him badly & reneged on promises), poor relationship with former teammates (they were a bunch of ‘dickheads’ & didn’t make him feel welcome) and so on. They insist its only temporary and even actively support them by ‘going in to batfor them’ and speaking on their behalf. Examples of these might be player managers, other teammates or previous coaches &/or club officials.

 

These groups of people adopt the attitude of denial. They do it for one of two reasons; (1) they ignore the negative behaviour of the Narcissist, tell themselves that it’s ‘normal’ behaviour; turn a ‘blind eye’ or ‘look the other way’. They generally prefer to see only the ‘good’ or the perception of good in, not only the Narcissist, but the world generally. (2) There are those who avoid any disharmony or conflict and do so at any cost. They will go out of their way to avoid, through denial, any unpleasantness that may ensue from the negative & destructive behaviour of the Narcissist. A parent or parents, siblings, relatives, close friend and even a partner may adopt this approach. They can even be enraged at the ‘preposterous’ notion that this individual is in any way ‘bad’ or at any information suggesting misbehaviour.

 

Finally are those who have been completely deceived by the Narcissist. They believe the alibis, excuses & lies that follow exploits of antisocial behaviour and do so repeatedly. They allow themselves, unconsciously, to have their judgment manipulated and their values changed. Often times they too have Narcissistic traits, even vicarious Narcissism. The ever-enduring, long suffering fan, the ‘bestmate’, a family member, pastor, priest or member of a religious group and possibly a partner or spouse.   

 

 

 
High Self Esteem or Healthy Narcissism?


There is a degree of conjecture as to the reality of 'healthy narcissism' as it is intrinsically linked to and intertwined with 'self esteem'. There is no doubt that the capacity to empatize, to love another, to understand others' feelings etc. is contingent upon our own feelings of 'self love', 'self worth', 'self acceptance'. If we cannot feel these things toward ourselves, how can we feel them toward others; at any level of involvement?

Therein lays the fine line. To what extent do we like, accept or 'love' ourselves? Is 'Narcissism', any narcissism and to any degree, healthy or acceptable? Narcissism must always be viewed as a protective mechanism. If it consumes the persona of the individual in every aspect of their lives; it will take control and most definitely become unhealthy. If, however, it is employed on occasions where a defence of self esteem & self worth os needed, then it may be considered 'healthy'.

Many supporters claim 'healthy narcissism' can be identified by two (2) main factors; the capacity for genuine 'empathy' & the ability to recognize and function in 'reality'. Unfortunately, these same two (2) characteristics also identify Narcissism of a pathological nature.
 

Other traits or behaviours attributed to 'Healthy Narcissism'.

  • Creativity
  • Genuine sense of humour
  • Charisma
  • Motivated by 'esteem of others' (praise, acknowledgement & recognition)
  • Strong leadership qualities
  • Determined & focused
  • Altruism & generosity combined with confidence & high self worth
  • Wisdom
  • Conflict resolution skills of a 'non-judgmental' confrontational nature

 

 

 
The female Narcissist


female narcissist 

 

I’m sure by now, most women would be applauding the apparent denigration of the narcissist – HE deserves it! But let me assure the reader, ‘it cuts both ways’. Just because ‘Narcissus’ in Greek mythology was male; does not mean that narcissism belongs only to the male of the species. Quite the contrary, narcissism sits just as well with the fairer sex, despite being more prevalent in men.

All of the traits and behaviours, self obsession and feelings of inflated, overvalued self appraisal are not gender bound. They translate equally well, though perhaps demonstrated and manifested in a slightly different manner; as of course one would expect.

 

In her 2006 book ‘Generation me: Why Today’s Young Americans are more confident, assertive, entitled- and more miserable than ever before’ Dr. Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D. discovered in her extensive years of studies & surveys that there was and is a startling increase in the overvaluation of the individual & their opinion of themselves. She wrote ‘In the early 1950’s, only 12% of teens aged 14 to 16 agreed with the statement “I am an important person”. By the late 1980’s, an incredible 80% - almost seven times as many – claim they were important.’ She goes on to say” Narcissism is one of the few personality traits that psychologists agree is almost completely negative. Narcissists are overly focused on themselves and lack empathy for others, which means they cannot see another person’s perspective. They also feel entitled to special privileges and believe they are superior to other people.”

 

Whilst this statement & the studies conducted are not gender-based, it is relevant to make reference in this particular section, due to the rapid growth in the fashion industry & the focus on the superficial aspects of appearance & image through role modeling and media, financial status and so on. These are areas generally targeted at, but not restricted to, women, especially younger adolescent females.

 

The danger for those of high profile within the sport; at what ever level and on whatever stage (environment) in which it’s played, is the potential for attachment to the female narcissist.

 

To begin with, it is essential to recognize the predatory characteristics that exist in both male & female narcissists. The basic elements of reduced or lack of empathy & grandiosity are also shared, along with superficiality, desire for reaction, attention, adoration and admiration.

 

This section does not intend detailing the ‘total’ picture of the female narcissist in relation to their overall societal involvement, but rather as it is in relation to those participants of Rugby League; and the player in particular.

 

By attaching themselves to a higher profile individual; in this case a player, the female narcissist is able to fulfill many of those needs they crave and feel they are entitled to. It is a means of receiving their narcissistic supply through ‘association’ & ‘attachment’.

 

The aspects pertinent to the female narcissist in their involvement with league players are as detailed below:

 

 

  • Attention seeking – This is two fold. (1) they desire to be physically admired & (2) they require the secondary attention received by ‘who they’re with’. The higher the profile, the greater the chance of being the centre of attention. 

 

  • Image – Enhanced by the profile, fame &/or fortune of their partner. They must look the best, have the best, be seen with the best and associated socially with the best. 

 

  • Reactions – This is a dangerous characteristic as it involves both positive and negative elements. It relates to publicity seeking behaviour and can be viewed as either the ‘strength & support’ behind her man or the ‘victim’ of her partner and his possible negative publicity. In both scenarios, a reaction is elicited. 

 

  • Superficiality – Tend to be materialistic and ‘shallow’ in priorities. Clothing, jewellery, cars, houses/apartments etc. These are essentials of life and requirements of their partner. They are considered as part of the image; and the most important factors to be considered. 

 

  • Indiscretions – Less antisocial than their male counterpart; tending to be more covert & subtle. Other women are more likely to observe these characteristics, being more ‘in-tune’ with the female mind & behaviour. The characteristics are often anecdotally tagged as ‘conniving’, ‘manipulative’, ‘deceptive’, ‘bitchy’, back-stabbing’, ‘jealous’, ‘drama queen’ etc. 

 

  • Emotional sincerity – Generally, the level of emotional sincerity in relationships is virtually nil; being unable to experience true feelings of love & companionship. Their obsession with themselves prohibits any possible genuine feelings for another.  

 

  • Empathy – Much as with ‘emotional sincerity’, the female narcissist is incapable of seeing things from another’s perspective. Token, ‘fake’ expressions of apparent empathy can be exhibited, though there is no truth behind this and is not sourced from any internal, psychological sense of altruism or understanding.  

 

  • Sexuality – Often times they present as ‘hypersexual’ though this belies their dissatisfaction with sex and their lack of enjoyment or pleasure. It is a means of manipulation, power and control. It lacks any true intimacy and can often be the result, as with their narcissism, of abuse (particularly sexual) at a younger age. As with the male narcissist, ‘trophy’ collection is often the intention of sexual activity. 

 

  • ‘Playing the Game’ – Can be charming, convivial, affectionate, forgiving, seemingly perfect, though it lacks consistency & longevity. It tends to be temporary and can quickly degenerate. They can become easily ‘bored’ or may find a better option along the way. In this case, they may change from partner to partner without any emotional regret or sadness.  

 



 

The damage as a result of engaging or becoming involved with such a person can be very detrimental to the player involved. They may have become emotionally attached and the resultant conflict, separation and loss may result in depression, anxiety, stress and poor coping mechanisms to deal with their feelings. Physical problems may ensue and on-field performance can be adversely affected.

 

Another disturbing effect is the potential for accusations and revelations of sexual misconduct or other related incidents that may occur. As mentioned in the introduction to this section, the media & the general public find the behaviours of sportspeople fascinating; particularly if it involves misconduct outside the sporting arena. Indiscretions and inappropriate activities have no time limit. Weeks, months & years may pass, yet if the social conditions are suitable, these incidents may surface, allowing the ‘victim’ to expose the player, or players for their actions.

 

Relationships & families are torn apart, careers are jeopardized, the game is further discredited and the individual player is personally tarnished, labeled & psychologically damaged.

 

The female narcissist cares little for the marital status of a player. They care little for genuine emotional attachment or planning for future contentment in a relationship with the player or high profile individual; nor are they concerned with society’s value system. It is the ‘here & now’ that matters; the power and control that can be attained; the associated attention to be gleaned.

 

Not all involvement with these individuals will result in these scenarios. Some evolve and develop into longer term relationships, even marriage. This could provide the ‘point of relative stability’ often evidenced in narcissism. If the player’s profile is maintained, then they may be satisfied. If their desire for superficial, materialism is met, this too may provide for continued involvement with their ‘supplier’.

 

Attention seeking & publicity is a 'trademark' of the female Narcissist who's snared a high profile sportsperson.  

Always remember the perils of publicity - 'Good & Bad'

 

 

Summary



 

  • Not every    Rugby League player or sportsperson suffers from ‘Narcissism’. Not even those who find themselves being exposed for indiscretions ‘off field’. 

 

  • Not every indiscretion or act of antisocial misbehaviour can be attributed to the outworking of Narcissism. 

 

  • The possibility or probability that an individual might develop ASN, reactive or transient/temporary Narcissism is somewhat proportional to the stage on which they perform and the notoriety or profile they attain. 

 

  • Self esteem issues and inappropriate coping & social adaptation skills are fundamentally linked to the manifestation of Narcissism. 

 

  • Narcissism can be found in numerous professions, occupations & sports; and also in the general public at large. 

 

  • Narcissism occurs in varying degrees; from Narcissistic Personality Disorder to Acquired Situational Narcissism to Reactive/Transient Narcissism. The prognosis for ‘recovery’ or ‘cure’ is dependant on the severity or level of pervasiveness. 

 

  • A degree of Narcissism is considered healthy for most individuals, though it must be viewed contextually and relative to components of healthy self esteem. 

 

  • Narcissism has its roots in developmental processes and genetic predisposition. 

 

  • Arrogance, Conceit, Vanity, Selfishness etc. whilst in themselves unpleasant ‘Narcissistic’   traits, do not constitute ‘true’ pervasive malignant Narcissism or a Narcissistic Personality Disorder per se. 

 

  • Abuse in childhood can result in the development of Narcissism; as it can with any serious personality disorders. 

 

  • Conditional love or acceptance/approval in childhood can result in Narcissism later in life. 

 

  • ‘Doting’, ‘Smothering’ overly ‘Protective’ parenting can also initiate the development of Narcissism as does 'Idealisation' of the child concerned. 

 

  • Bullying, or being the victim of bullying, can be warning signs for maladaptive behaviours later in life. One of these may be that of eventual Narcissism. Both impact heavily on self esteem. 

 

  • The term or definition of Narcissism should not be taken or used as a derogatory means of insulting or demeaning an individual; nor should any of this chapter be assumed as an attack on the participants of Rugby League.  


 

 
What is the answer?


As stated before, Narcissism has its roots in developmental processes. It is therefore essential that prevention is best achieved through the undertanding of those who oversee the development & personal growth of the individual. This involves parents or parental identities, siblings, relatives, role models and significant others, authority figures such as teachers, coaches and so on.

Narcissism is also a societal problem with our culture contributing greatly to misplaced priorities, uncertain self image and labile self esteem.

We can do little with respect to the larger overall societal framework, though we can, to a large degree, do our part in our own 'small corner of the world'.

Education and appropriate, socially acceptable role modeling are the most effective methods of dealing with this ever-increasing problem.

Just as we seek out financial advisors to help us manage our income & financial future, so should one whose profile is lifted or heightened, seek out the appropriate advisor/s as to how best they manage the increase in fame, fortune &/or notoriety; how to best psychologically cope with it and how to maintain a level of reality and healthy perspective in their life.

The educational aspect should be one of a sustained & systemic, coordinated, strategic, sincere and chronologically longitudinal plan. If this sounds 'long winded' & overly 'complex', let's break it down into each specific individual element. 

 

  • Sustained means the concerted ‘long term’ & ‘continuous’ effort to address the issues of concern; not merely applying ‘Band-Aid’ solutions or employing ‘quick-fix’ methodology. 

 

  • Systemic is the application of education throughout the Rugby League fraternity; involving all those who participate, at all levels and in all roles. 

 

  • Coordination of various agencies and services is essential for the facilitation of optimum education and the greater probability of success. The intersectorial management of both public & private resources is paramount for the overall achievement of goals. 

 

  • Strategic planning and implementation will provide target group specific services to areas of need; prioritizing through ‘needs analyses’ and assessment tools. 

 

  • Sincere. Honesty, empathy and sincerity in the manner by which education is provided must exist. The ‘receiver’ of education or informational material is more likely to accept when it is obvious the ‘sender’ cares about them; their welfare, their long term well being. 

 

  • Chronologically longitudinal relates to age demographics and the need to implement education from Junior League/entry level through to our elite NRL players. 

 

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Michael J. Salamon, Ph.D., FICPP
Senior Psychologist/Director
ADC Psychological Services, PLLC
1728 Broadway, Suite 1
Hewlett, NY 11557

 



 

 

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