Personality Disorders, including narcissistic personality disorder, are so prevalent today for a few main reasons:
Reason 1: People have become disconnected from God, and from their spiritual dimension
This is maybe obvious, but the less God is in the picture, the more mental illness prevails. To put things very simply (and you could literally write a whole book on each of these subjects, but I'm trying to stick to basic concepts in this post) - the human soul can only function at its full potential and capability when it's connected to God in a real, tangible, fundamental way.
In a very real sense, God is the guardian of conscience. When God, and notions of spiritual 'reward and punishment' are out of the picture, then personal gain and selfish interests become the prevailing concern for the vast majority of people.
So that's the first reason personality disorders are so prevalent today, including within the Jewish community.
Reason 2: Bad emotional health habits are 'the norm' in our modern society
The bible identifies the three things that make someone emotionally healthy. They are:
Empathy means that you can see the other person's point of view, and compassion means that you feel other people's pain - both of these are usually either severely impaired or completely lacking, in people with a Cluster 'B' personality disorder.
But these days, they're also very hard to find in modern society as a whole.
Instead of embracing and encouraging compassion and empathy, modern society - with its emphasis on 'being in control' and 'perfection' and 'keeping up appearances' is encouraging people to act in very emotionally-unhealthy ways.
Blame, criticism and competition are the name of the game - and it's very hard for healthy, balanced compassion, accountability or kindness to flourish in those circumstances.
So widespread bad emotional health habits are the second reason personality disorders are on the rise. (Again, there's a lot more to say about all these reasons, and this is just an overview. We’ll explore all the areas in more detail when we move on to discussing solutions.)
Reason 3: Spleen meridian, aka 'The energy of compassion' is very weak in many people today
Here’s where it gets a little weird, but stick with me, keep an open mind, and you'll hopefully learn some amazing things.
According to Traditional Chinese Medicine, the spleen meridian is the main 'energy of compassion' in the physical body. When the spleen meridian is weak or compromised in some way, PEOPLE DON'T HAVE THE ENERGETIC RAW MATERIAL THEY NEED IN ORDER TO FEEL COMPASSION OR EMPATHY.
In the holistic model, the body simply mirrors the emotions and the soul, and vice-versa. When people have little or no compassion and empathy, their spleen energy is very weak. When they have weak spleen energy, they'll normally have very little healthy compassion or empathy.
This can occur in one of two main ways: either they'll have no compassion for anyone, including themselves (which can develop into a full-blown personality disorder), or, they'll have plenty of compassion for everyone else, and none for themselves (these are often the people who suffer the most from people with personality disorders).
Here's what takes spleen energy out:
On the soul front, people's spiritual fortitude and belief in God are at rock-bottom levels (btw, believing in God is NOT the same as being 'religious', but that's a discussion for another time). When you don't have a strong, genuine connection to God, your mind, emotions and body are already operating at sub-optimal levels, energetically and spiritually.
On the emotional front, compassion and empathy are in such short supply in the modern world that having feelings, and certainly expressing them, is increasingly considered to be a sign of mental illness.
In place of compassion, accountability and kindnesses, we have selfishness, grandstanding, and superficial relationships, where people talk the talk about unconditional love, caring and acceptance, but increasingly can't walk the walk.
On the physical, energetic front, spleen meridian is being severely compromised in a whole bunch of ways. The huge increase in chemicals and preservatives being used in our food system (up to 17,000 and counting) all takes out spleen. Pesticides take out spleen. Radio frequencies and television signals take out spleen. Facebook and internet use take out spleen. Japanese nuclear reactors going into melt-down take out spleen.
Also, the amount of stress, negative emotions and negative people we all have to contend with on a daily basis is increasing, as belief in God diminishes. If you don't believe God's going to help you pay your bills, you get stressed. If you don't believe God has a miraculous way to solve your problems, you get despairing. If you don't believe God's got a plan for you and your life, you get incredibly lonely, cynical and even nihilistic, when trouble strikes. All this stuff takes out spleen, as does regular updates about all the terrible things going on in the world (aka 'the news').
And negative people…well, so many of the negative people in our lives have personality disorders, creating a vicious cycle where they create poisonous, negative, uncaring and critical atmospheres that continue to hurt them, and disrupt their own spleen energy, as much as it disturbs, hurts and disrupts the spleen energy of the people around them.
That last thing to mention here, is that World War II, in all of its terrible glory, was the single most traumatic event ever to occur to humanity collectively, and the Jewish people in particular.
That trauma affected everyone that lived through it in a deeply profound way, that I believe has still not properly been dealt with, including many members of the Jewish Community.
Even if your ancestors weren't personally caught up in the Shoah, the last 65 years have seen huge, and hugely-traumatic resettlement of whole communities to new countries, including Eretz Yisrael, as well as at least 6 wars in Israel alone.
But trauma doesn't always have to be so dramatic:
Sirens going off is traumatic. Rockets falling is traumatic. Small children losing their lives in bizarre circumstances is traumatic. Economic turmoil and debt is traumatic. Divorce is traumatic.
As we've learned, severe trauma can sound the death-knell for the spleen energy in the body, unless it's identified, and steps are taken to reverse the damage that's been done.
The good news is, there are things we can do to tackle all of the factors contributing to the huge rise in personality disorders, and that's going to be the focus of the next few posts.