If you have access to the internet, you’ve probably gathered that Kanye West is something of a narcissist. He refers to himself as a musical genius and has compared himself to the likes of Steve Jobs, Michael Jordan, and even God. He, in fact, has Jesus performing on stage with him during his current tour. (Because, really, who else would possibly be qualified to share a stage with Kanye?) And he has been quoted as saying, “There is nothing more to be said about music. I’m the f—ing end-all, be-all of music. I am one of the greatest rappers in the world. I have, like, nuclear power, like a superhero, like Cyclops when he puts his glasses on.” So it’s really not hard to ascertain that the guy thinks pretty highly of himself. (Quick side note: wouldn’t a Cyclops only need only one glass, not glasses?) But in case you need absolute proof, I’ve outlined some of the DSM criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder and I’ve found a Kanye quote that personifies each one.
According to the DSM (the reference manual for diagnosing mental disorders), a narcissist is somebody who:
- Has a grandiose sense of self-importance— “I will be the leader of a company that ends up being worth billions of dollars, because I got the answers. I understand culture. I am the nucleus.”
- Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love—“I knew when I wrote the line ‘light-skinned friend look like Michael Jackson’ I was going to be a big star. At the time, they used to have the Virgin music, and I would go there and just go up the escalator and say to myself, ‘I’m soaking in these last minutes of anonymity.’ I knew I was going to make it this far. I knew that this was going to happen.”
- Believes that he is “special” and unique—“I’m a creative genius….For me to say I wasn’t a genius, I’d be totally lying to you and to myself.”
- Requires excessive admiration—“By not giving my album a classic rating, you diminish your magazine’s credibility.” (Kanye discussing the fact that Vibe magazine gave him four stars instead of five for his College Dropout album)
- Lacks empathy—“It’s only led me to complete awesomeness at all times. It’s only led me to awesome truth and awesomeness. Beauty, truth, awesomeness. That’s all it is.” (Kanye on his bluntness and the infamous Taylor Swift incident)
- Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes—“I think what Kanye West is going to mean is something similar to what Steve Jobs means. I am undoubtedly, you know, Steve of Interet, downtown, fashion, culture. Period. By a long jump, I honestly feel that because Steve has passed, you know, it’s like when Biggie passed and Jay-Z was allowed to become Jay-Z. I’ve been connected to the most culturally important albums of the past four years, the most influential artists of the past ten years.”
It’s pretty clear that Kanye meets the criteria for the diagnosis. And it may not come as a shock that his baby momma and now fiance, Kim Kardashian, has some narcissistic traits too. She obviously requires excessive admiration (have you seen her Instagram?!?!) and has a grandiose sense of self-importance (why else would she feel like the whole world needs to see her go about her daily routine of mani/pedis and professional makeup applications on Keeping up with the Kardashians?). And, like a typical narcissist, she requires external confirmation of her importance and value. To that end, she posts nearly nude selfies on various social media outlets and poses for Playboy so that everybody can tell her how hot she looks.
So now the question is… what happens when two narcissists end up in a relationship together? Do they live happily ever after in a house filled with mirrors and self-portraits? Or do their inflated egos compete with each other, creating a lot of tension in the relationship?
Typically, narcissists don’t do well in relationships. They tend to rub people the wrong way. I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually enjoy interacting with people who talk at me and regale me with stories of their own greatness, while never actually acknowledging that I exist. So people with narcissistic personalities at a very pathological level may not have very many long-term friendships and may never find a willing partner. And if they do, their need for constant attention and validation may ultimately drive the other person away. But somehow Kim and Kanye found each other (I’m guessing her ass is like the North Star and guides rappers and professional athletes right to her). Narcissists typically surround themselves with other people whom they perceive to be special and worthy enough of their time. They want to be seen with people who make them look good by association. In that way, other people serve as mirrors to reflect their own feelings of greatness. Kanye no doubt sees Kim as the ultimate trophy that proves just how special and wonderful he is. And Kim probably sees Kanye as a high status power player in the world of music and fashion who can bolster her own reputation and who can handle her perceived hotness. So maybe two narcissists can be happy just stroking each other’s egos, using each other for their own personal gains, and helping each other maintain their increased sense of self-worth.
I’m not sure what’s in store for Kim and Kanye’s relationship. Do these crazy kids really have what it takes to make it long-term (or at least past the 72 day mark)? Will they bless the world with a little South West and live happily ever after in their world of gold toilets, 15 karat rings, and self-important Twitter rants? Or will Kim’s ass and Kanye’s ego just be too big to avoid a major clash? If the relationship history of the Kardashian clan tells us anything, it’s that this marriage is a long shot at best. I guess we will just have to see how it all plays out on the E! network and in the tabloids. But I’m willing to bet that Kim’s longest relationship will be with her plastic surgeon.