Grandiosity

Because of the commotion of worldly affairs a person is unable to see their own sins…

There is natural, healthy narcissism, and there is unnatural, unhealthy narcissism. The former occurs as a part of age-appropriate human development. The later becomes obvious when an individual’s wants overpower their needs or when parenting demands that children fulfill the needs of the parents instead of those of the child or when organic brain function itself is antisocial. Healthy narcissism develops in children who develop their life-potential undistracted, both notionally and emotively; the roots of unhealthy narcissism will expose themselves over time. Humility is associated with the former; grandiosity one indication of the later. When you find grandiosity, you can count on it that you will also find narcissistic disturbance.

A person who is grandiose seeks to be admired because their narcissism demands attention. They usually excel at everything they do because they are very capable at doing it, otherwise they do not attempt it. They admire themselves for their beauty, their cleverness, their talents, their notions, their achievements. Grandiosity is usually tied to depression because should achievement fail, depression follows. Depression lurks behind the façade of success. And a grandiose person’s partner is always narcissistically cathected, constantly occupied with dependence and acceptance and admiration, either positively or negatively.

Certainly the Christian desert dwellers knew what made them most human…humility. They fell when they lost this focus, grandiosity being one such indicator. They were clear on what was required to maintain truly human equilibrium. For them it mattered not just that things got done, but why they got done and how they got done.

In the end it really does matter why people do things; it matters why people want to join us as Catholic Workers and not just that we grow food or provide blankets for the poor.

…the excellences which are cultivated in the world…lovingkindness and peace-making…are quite possible to be cultivated by strenuous persons. But the purity of heart by which people see God…and which governs these, cannot be acquired except by humility.

– POHF, Wallis Budge (tr.)