In many respects, narcissism is the fuel that prompts charismatics to go farther than the average individual in achieving goals within and without crisis situations. Eminent psychologist Alfred Adler described this aspect of narcissism as the “Superiority Complex.” Maniacci (2007) asserts:
They see others from the vantage point of who is above—or below—whom. If they are not on top, they feel grossly inferior. Others tend to feel inadequate around them. They are overly responsible, too involved, and far too controlling. When confronted with the possibility of not being superior, these people blame, attack, and criticize others. They may be wrong, but others are more wrong than they are. They hate the notion of not having a purpose in life, and they often work too hard and far too long. Winning is everything, and they are willing to cut corners, cheat, or even hurt others if they perceive themselves as losing. Winning is not the only thing: It is everything. They are excessively concerned with their appearance, and while they often take care of their outward appearance through dressing well and superb hygiene, they often neglect their inner health, both emotionally and physically. They are far too busy achieving to be worried about such things, and after all, they are special, so they don't have to worry about diets, sleep, and their health—nothing could ever happen to them (p.138-139).
When these characteristics are exemplified within charismatics, it is often seen as “missionary zeal” and “the love and concern” for people. In actuality, people are mere pleasantries utilized to implement and bring to fruition an ultimate goal. “In advance of performance, narcissists seem to care most about attaining desirable rewards associated with meeting or exceeding performance goals, and they typically show less concern about the prospect of failing to achieve the desired goal” (Wallace, et al, 2009. P. 79). It is important to note that these vainglorious acts are cultivated by an enabling culture. Western culture, which relishes and embraces its Judeo-Christian leanings, inherently support the narcissism of individuals generally and charismatics, specifically. A tenet which espouses man being created in the image of an omnipotent God-head, by definition relegates man to a superior position. If everything is created by a superior being than how did man become the inheritor of this largesse? Man’s self-importance, through scriptural edict or ethnic domination, saw fit to find self-defining roles to pit his esteem against real or perceived adversaries. “Throughout history, the pretense of masculine superiority has had to be continually reinforced by patriarchal laws, religion, and cultural rituals and ceremonies that elevated men and made woman subservient, all too often through the application of brute power and violence. The appearance of harmony between the genders was more often the experience of subjugation by fear, male dominance followed by the submissive acts of women who had been stripped of power and status in the world” (Bitter, 2008, p.271).
Bitter. J. (2008 Fall). Reconsidering narcissism: An Adlerian-feminist response to the article in the special section of the journal of individual psychology. The Journal of Individual Psychology, vol. 64, issue 3, p. 270-279, 10p.
Maniacci, M.P. (2007 Summer). His majesty the baby: Narcissism through the lens of individual psychology. Journal of Individual Psychology. Vol. 63, Issue 2, p.136-145, 10 p.
Wallace. H.M., Ready, C.B. , and Weitenhagen, E. (2009 Jan-Mar.). Narcissism and task persistence. Self & Identity. Vol 8, Issue 1. P. 78-93, 16. Chart.