Givers & Takers

Commentary by Dr. Ursula A. Falk

The Narcissist and the Altruist


The narcissist thinks only of himself.  His gratification originates from Me, Myself and I.  He is the only one that counts.  All others are  handmaidens to please him and to adore his existence.  He is the little boy or she the little girl that never grew up.  He/she is the infant.  The infant cries and his every need is met.  If not, he cries louder.  The narcissist wants to be pleased at any and all cost to others.  He need not reciprocate or care about the one who satisfies his desires.  He will only go as far as he must to satisfy his desires of gratification for himself.  We can see it so clearly in the two terrorist brothers who were willing to destroy all of Boston to aggrandize themselves.  They did not care who hurt, who lost a limb, who expired, and what pain that it cost to him and his loved ones.  To an extent it can be seen by  some actresses and actors, and to models who are adulated and who adulate themselves and only think of the gratification they receive from the applause.  The narcissist will eat all the food that he/she enjoys even if there is nothing left of the delicacy for other diners that share a meal together.  They will take without giving and will expect more.  They adore themselves and like the infamous Dorian Grey they want to be young forever and will admire themselves in the mirror, be it outside on the wall or inside their psyche.  Nothing can satiate their “me, myself and I” needs.  In the most serious cases they will readily step over dead bodies without feeling any remorse for having killed the subjects that are lying under their feet.

These folks can be found everywhere to a smaller or larger extent.  They go to any extent to achieve their “I” gratification.  Some of the major politicians are narcissists. Hitler is the best known.  He killed his friends if they did not do his instant bidding.  If his paranoia raged, he had them murdered if he thought they might not do what he intended or directed. Dr. Mengele, the brutal German “doctor” during the Nazi era, murdered countless Jewish children, dissecting them and doing brutal experiments on them without anesthetics, slicing up their frail bodies and enjoying the torture, the flow of the blood, and the flesh that he cut out of them with glee.   Our leader and his female accomplice exhibited and declared that it did not matter that four of his important appointees, including the American ambassador to Libya, were annihilated.  He ignored their cries for help and his Secretary of State screamed that it did not matter what occurred.  Neither of these two narcissists cared about the tragedy, the deceased, or their loved ones.  The two “leaders” were only concerned with themselves and their position to retain their status, be able to take their multiple Hawaiian and other vacations, and live in splendor from the working people’s tax money.  Again we see the lack of caring, the lack of conscience of the narcissistic  personality.

The altruist is the person who can give without receiving material things.  He can enjoy seeing the needy helped, the hungry satiated, the cold warmed with the material gifts that he has given to warm their homes and their bodies.  He thinks of others rather than concentrating on himself.  He is able to put himself in the service of his fellow man.  This can already be seen in children who can share without problems.  The altruist is not the one who gives merely to be recognized for his good deeds by others.  He does not have to have himself incessantly praised for his good deeds (“An die grosse Glocke hangen” is the German Jewish phrase for this – meaning that a large public bell does not have to be heard extolling the giver).  Altruism is often exhibited by the person who gives from the heart.  His inner gratification is great.  He is happy within himself.  The accolade that he feels is internal, seeing the needy relieved, satiated, and happy.

In our Jewish religion, our world, we admire the Nadven (giver), the tither, the one who gives with all his soul, his heart and his might.  “bechol levovcho, bechol nafschecho, ufchol meodecho.”


 Dr. Ursula A. Falk is a psychotherapist in private practice and the author of several books and articles.

Home ] Up ]