Essay on The Personality Disorder: Narcissism

Essay on The Personality Disorder: Narcissism

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The personality disorder, narcissism, was named after the Greek mythological figure Narcissus. The myth goes that Narcissus was so indulged in self-love that he gazed and fell in love with his own mirror image, refusing to leave he died beside his own reflection. In “The Double” by Dostoevsky, the protagonist too suffers from narcissism, an obsession with his own self. This self-obsession manifests itself as he finds himself reflected by the life around him, driving himself mad over the lack of control and grief of these reflections. Mirrors, Golyadkin’s doppelganger and society are all elements of mirror that looms over this internal conflict. As Golyadkin exclaimed, “I’m my own executioner!”(89) For Golyadkin his own refusal to fully comprehend and see fully his own reflection brought about his downfall. The conflict over his own identity shows that reflections serve as the cause and effect for Golyadkin’s decent into madness.
Golyadkin’s extreme preoccupation with his own identity in society turns the world and individuals into mirrors wherein he would perceive himself. He cares most dearly not for people but what impressions they have towards him. Evidenced by the way he acts and feels around other people. In Golyadkin’s conversation with his doctor, the narrator describes the protagonist as having “spoken throughout with the utmost clarity, precision and assurance, weighing his words and relying on those calculated to produce the best effect.” (13) This showcases how Golyadkin is anxious over the impression he gives and not over giving the truth to his doctor. This goes similarly in many of his bizarre behaviors in society. For instance, Golyadkin would “change(d) his big notes into notes of smaller denominations, losing o...

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...s coming for a long time!” (144) This perhaps shows that Golyadkin always knew of his own inner conflict but refuses nonetheless to accept this dishonest part of him.
Golyadkin narcissistic personality curses him with a preoccupation with his own self. This relates to way he interacts in society and his mind’s creation of Golyadkin junior. As he becomes fixated with his own self, he sees his own reflection in everything in his life. This constant self-awareness of his own desire and insignificant self becomes the downfall for the protagonist. Perhaps Narcissus like Golyadkin, not only found love in his own reflection but also hate. Maybe it was the uncertainty of his own reflection that kept him from fixating on his mirror image. That by the end, Narcissus grew exhausted over this conflict of self-love and self-hate that he resigned from the world.

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