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The Narcissist's Excessive Extravagance

Linda Martinez-Lewi Ph.D.

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The narcissist is constantly restless, never at peace with himself even though he/she may appear to be self satisfied and confident. Narcissists have difficulty living in the moment. They are always planning and plotting their next big win, their next acquisition, their victory over rivals and competitors.

Narcissists live in a delusion that protects them from reality. They successfully create their own world. The narcissist is constantly hungry for an ego fix. The satiation of his hunger takes innumerable forms. Material acquisition is an essential part of his answer. Is it the next perfect residence (when he owns five others) a second or third private plane, a custom built yacht, a helicopter, a more attractive partner. Extravagent lifestyles offer the narcissist the perfect package to assert his sense of grandiosity, self entitlement and superiority.

I have known a number of individuals who lead highly self indulgent lives. This does not mean that these people are always narcissists. I offer a brief vignette to add flavor and color to the narcissist's lifestyle. I am speaking about an affluent couple who spend most of their waking and sleeping lives on luxury cruises. The husband is a high level narcissist. Many of the couple's travels are around the world jaunts. At the captain's table every night, the couple is applauded and lauded for their social and economic standing in the world. After three months on a luxurious cruise, they return home to rest up for their next exotic trip. This is their life script. One might ask: why would anyone want to live like this? The answer is they are narcissists who obtain their ego rewards in this manner. On the cruise, the couple is treated like royalty. The husband (who is a not so secret alcoholic) regales fellow passengers with endless stories of financial largesse and self importance. On the ship he is a charming, ebullient fellow. What could be better for a narcissist on the receiving end of the royal treatment with a built-in captive audience day and night.

Deep inside the narcissistic personality, lives a darker reality. This is the unconscious part of him that feels completely alone and worthless. “The narcissist's experience of emotional emptiness is beyond longing or sadness. It is a severe and intractable wounding, a pain so savage and deep that it seems intolerable. " The narcissist's excessive acquisitions, arrogance and grandiosity represent attempts to deal with these core psychological wounds.

Many wealthy individuals who collect objects of great beauty and value are not narcissists. They purchase millions of acres of pristine land to preserve for all of us. They create foundations that educate and assist those are financially less fortunate. Many wealthy individuals purchase great art that is generously exhibited and shared with the public.

Most of us appreciate beauty whether it is created by Nature or crafted by man. The experience of beauty enriches our lives. Whether we are standing on a bluff overlooking the glorious blue ruffles of waves or the presence of an original painting by a great master, we are uplifted and expanded. The experience of beauty is multifaceted, It is a young child's full smile, lighting up his face and ours. Each individual creates his own memorable moments of beauty and wholeness.

One of the keys is to keep it simple. When we lead a life without delusion, we see things as they really are. We are at peace knowing what is really important and vital to our lives. As we grow, we learn to become lighter, less attached to things, to give more, to experience greater peace with each moment.

Linda Martinez-Lewi holds a Ph. clinical psychology and is a licensed marriage family therapist. She has extensive clinical training in narcissistic and borderline disorders. Dr. Linda Martinez-Lewi is the author of the book “Freeing Yourself From the Narcissist in Your Life. "

Dr. Martinez-Lewi has worked for many years with patients experiencing psychological problems as a result of personal and professional relationships with narcissistic personality disorders. She has clinical experience treating patients suffering from childhood trauma, anxiety disorders, and depression.

Dr. Martinez-Lewi has been interviewed on numerous radio talk shows throughout the country.

Visit her website at:


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