STUDY ALERT: Narcissism vs. Self-Esteem: Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Lead to Violence?

August 30, 2014 in Study Alerts

Threatened Egotism, Narcissism, Self-Esteem, and Direct and Displaced Aggression: Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Lead to Violence? 

Brad J. Bushman Roy F. Baumeister 

It has been widely asserted that low self-esteem causes violence, but laboratory evidence is lacking, and some contrary observations have characterized aggressors as having favorable self-opinions. In 2 studies, both simple self-esteem and narcissism were measured, and then individual participants were given an opportunity to aggress against someone who had insulted them or praised them or against an innocent third person. Self-esteem proved irrelevant to aggression. The combination of narcissism and insult led to exceptionally high levels of aggression toward the source of the insult. Neither form of self-regard affected displaced aggression, which was low in general. These findings contradict the popular view that low self-esteem causes aggression and point instead toward threat- ened egotism as an important cause.



2 Responses to “STUDY ALERT: Narcissism vs. Self-Esteem: Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Lead to Violence?”

  1. Nicole Kaufmann says:

    Wow, I can attest to that from personal experience. I have found that simply setting boundaries and firmly sticking to them brings out very aggressive and even violent responses from a narcissist. After having been intimidated for years by these reactions, I now tend to use it as a measure of mental soundness. I find the facade tends to crumble quickly when a narcissist is presented with a unwavering ‘no’. I guess this can be interpreted as an insult. It definitely declares that I do not buy into their self-delusion, which threatens their egos.

    I have also found that these people tend not to have a ‘self’ to begin with, which probably explains why they so desperately cling to an illusion. It’s like the internal navigation system or core is missing or underdeveloped and their whole existence is created from mind. There is no connection between the mind and the heart. Truly sad if seen from that perspective, I can empathize. But there is no room in my life for violence, and until the narcissist can come to the realization that there is something wrong with their behavior, no change is possible.

  2. Shirley says:

    I love the point you make about passion being hard work as opposed to the opIe7ito.pt&#821s;s exactly what makes people passionate – the work and commitment needed to see a passion through. If you don’t have that, you just accept the status quo when things get tough – where’s the fun in that? :)Danny Brown’s last blog post..