It would be a mistake to think that just because someone has a personality disorder they cannot have a significant impact on the world. in fact, there have been several famous narcissists in the past and in our recent history who have shaped world events and contributed, for better or worse, to our shared cultural history.
While narcissism causes numerous dysfunctional traits in a person affected by npd, it can also result in perseverance and focus that help the individual achieve their goals, if only to emphasize their importance.
Reading: Famous people who are narcissists
here are the 13 most famous narcissists from our past and present who have had a significant impact on the lives of others:
- alexander the great
- napoleon bonaparte
- henry viii
- adolf hitler
- donald trump
- kim kardashian
- kanye west
- steve jobs
- jim jones
- kim jung un
- mark zuckerberg
- ted bundy
It’s interesting to see how many famous people have narcissistic traits that have worked in their favor. these 13 influential people have made their mark on history in many cases because of their narcissism rather than in spite of it.
1. alexander the great
While there wasn’t a psychologist there to examine Alexander the Great, he definitely exhibited many of the stereotypical characteristics that indicate he suffered from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
he thought in binary terms. either you were with him or against him. those who were with him, his faithful soldiers, undertook numerous military campaigns, which cost the lives of many, just for his personal conquests and his glory. he never showed any emotion at the loss of the soldiers or generals from him. instead, he focused solely on his grandiose vision of his life.
2. Napoleon Bonaparte
The phrase, “Napoleon complex,” which means acting excessively aggressively to compensate for feelings of inferiority and low self-esteem, was named after Napoleon Bonaparte. everyone who knew him believed that he was a tyrant, but his grandiose ideas prevented her from seeing that and made her believe that he was special.
in his book, thoughts, he wrote, “it was precisely that night in lodi that I came to believe in myself as an unusual person and became consumed with the ambition to do the great things that hitherto It had been nothing more than a fantasy.”
3. henry viii
Although Henry VIII was considered handsome and charismatic, he was among the cruelest and most selfish leaders in history. her vain search for a son to be heir to his throne caused him to behead two of his wives and break ties with the catholic church and found the church of england so he could divorce another. he lacked empathy and was said to be overly concerned with his appearance, all of which are typical narcissistic traits.
4. adolf hitler
perhaps there is no better example of a narcissist than adolf hitler. he was without a doubt the cruelest leader in our modern history. he oversaw the massacre of millions of innocent people and incited the second world war. he did all of this because he believed himself and other white Germans to be a superior race to anyone else on the planet.
He showed no ability to empathize with his victims, many of whom he had tortured or experimented on before their deaths. he lied and spread false propaganda about the superiority of the Aryan race, and demanded the total acquiescence of his followers. he typifies the worst qualities found in narcissists.
5. donald trump
donald trump is a leader in our recent history who displays all the qualities of a typical narcissist. he only cares about his needs, even dismissing the needs of his family members as unimportant compared to his own. he is hypersensitive to any criticism and often interprets any resistance to his policies as a suggestion that he failed or did something wrong.
he constantly promoted himself above everyone else and that overshadowed any discussion of his policies as president of the united states. he was incredibly mocking of his political rivals and, like hitler, he too demanded the total acquiescence of his followers. he showed no empathy for anyone he hurt and had frequent childish outbursts on his twitter account, the wording of which suggested he was in a narcissistic rage.
the singer madonna is among some of the most famous artists who exemplify the typical exhibitionist narcissist. She has admitted that she longs to be the center of attention and has found ways to reinvent her image when she felt that her fans’ attention was dwindling. she is also rumored to make unreasonable demands on her employees and apparently has little empathy for making them work long hours in difficult working conditions.
7. kim kardashian
kim kardashian and kanye west are a typical example of two narcissists who got married. her narcissistic self-promotion has made her one of those famous people for no real reason other than her personality. She has constantly posted updates of her daily life online, and it is rumored that she has posted certain controversial materials such as a sex tape to gain more fame.
8. kanye west
Like his self-promoted wife, Kanye West will stop at nothing to stay in the spotlight. This was perhaps best demonstrated when she took Taylor Swift’s microphone at an awards show to proclaim her belief that another artist should have won that award. she humiliated swift and became the center of attention. it didn’t even matter that much of the attention was negative.
He also declared that he would run for president during the 2020 election in an attempt to take the spotlight away from Donald Trump, whom he claimed to support. Narcissists typically try to put down people they admire because they think it shows how good they are. although he and his narcissistic wife remained married for seven years, they have since separated as is common in narcissistic couples.
While his charisma and charm attracted numerous investors and made him a billionaire, Steve Jobs was notoriously narcissistic to the point that he was eventually fired from his job. he was always worried about how important he felt and how brilliant he was.
He lacked empathy for other people and constantly bullied and exploited those around him. he was also envious of the attention paid to other people, he was arrogant and extremely controlling and manipulative. All these characteristics make it clear that he suffered from a narcissistic personality disorder.
10. jim jones
jim jones was one of the most notorious cult leaders in american history, and he was clearly a narcissist. he attracted over 900 followers whom he convinced to follow him to a commune he named jonestown, named after him, in guyana in the 1970s. later, when he was threatened with official action to free some of his followers , prompted them to commit mass suicide. those who did not drink his Kool Aid poison were killed by those followers who refused to question his orders.
He was clearly a narcissist, regardless of the feelings of others or delusions of grandeur. he told his followers that he was the savior and justified his abominable behavior, which included sexual abuse and violence, as a way to help people overcome their problems.
11. kim jung un
as christina robinette points out, kim jung un is a “classic narcissist”. She has claimed to have cured Sars, Ebola, and AIDS, as well as climbed North Korea’s highest peak despite the fact that she is not physically fit. he makes these outrageous claims while abusing north korean citizens who are at risk of imprisonment or even execution for failing to react with an obvious emotional response to news that he might be in danger or even the simple fact that he is losing weight .
Allegedly, he has also killed potential rivals, including his own brother, whom he allegedly poisoned with a perfume spray. he lacks the ability to maintain relationships with other world leaders and demands constant attention and praise from those around him. he lacks any semblance of empathy as his citizens are starving due to his leadership failures. like many dictators, he is clearly narcissistic.
12. zuckerberg brand
zuckerberg, who is the founder of facebook, is what many people would call a productive narcissist. these are narcissists whose grandiose visions include the desire to change the world. however, they do not believe that they should follow the same rules that everyone else should follow. Zuckerberg has definitely broken a lot of rules in his quest to transform the way we communicate. he is also aggressively competitive, a typical trait of productive narcissists.
13. ted bundy
Ted Bundy was a psychopathic narcissist who confessed to killing over 30 women, although many people believe he killed more than that. He was convicted of murder and executed in Florida in 1989. He had many narcissistic characteristics, including his ability to charm women into helping him, a ruse he used to capture his victims.
He was also an accomplished manipulator and managed to escape custody twice. he was extremely self-centered and loved being the center of attention. His narcissism was such that he represented himself at trial, and in a surreal performance, he repeatedly referred to himself as Mr. package
These 13 famous or infamous narcissists, all of whom have or had various traits consistent with npd, do not represent an exhaustive list of famous narcissists throughout history. some of them are or were positively productive, while others have used their focus, charm, and whatever talents they may have had to commit unbelievably cruel acts.
Regardless of whether they have done good or bad deeds, however, they have all displayed the typical characteristics of narcissism. These include a lack of empathy, a desire to be the center of attention, and an inability to consider the needs of others. even those who have contributed positively to our culture or the world have not necessarily done so for altruistic reasons.
Now that you have a better understanding of how narcissism can manifest itself for better or worse, you may also be interested in this article on how narcissism is classified in the DSM-5.
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