The Norwegian Personality Disorder

Narcissism is sick or harmful self-love. It’s not just a matter of falling in love with one’s own mirror image, like Narcissus in Greek mythology, but this personality also enjoys his/her own skills, abilities, successes and products.

We’re used to thinking of it as individuals having a personality disorder. These are people who think highly of themselves and their own significance. A natural consequence of these thoughts is that they are so unique in their own eyes that only people with a similar status can understand them. The operative word is self because a narcissist is self-confident, self-absorbed, self-sufficient, self-reliant, self-loving and inevitably self-destructive. A narcissist is sort of under cover or clandestine because nothing is real.

What if an entire society has this disorder, what if society actually encourages this behavour? Some people point to most of the Americas, Russia, Japan, Germany, Britain and France as countries with strong narcissistic traits. Most countries may have a collective narcissism today, and I nominate my own country. Norway is probably high on the list.

A Norwegian flag from the Constitution Day parade. We like to think that everything Norwegian is good and that it's typical Norwegian to be good. In fact, my country isn't that great.
A Norwegian flag from the Constitution Day parade. We like to think that everything Norwegian is good and that it’s typical Norwegian to be good. In fact, my country isn’t that great.

We tend to believe that we are better and smarter than anyone else, and that we deserve special treatment. The latter is especially evident in sports where Norwegian athletes have specialised in using fuzzy rules to their advantage, and sometimes they probably cross the line to doping. Nevertheless, it’s never their fault when they are being suspected of cheating. Most Norwegians defended the skier Therese Johaug after her 13 month ban from sports, and it’s always been Norwegian policy in equivalent cases from other countries that no matter how little or how the substance entered the body, there are no excuses. The are no alternatives to the strongest condemnation possible, and many also argue that this athlete should never be allowed to compete again. The only exceptions are Norwegians. We are unique in every way.

There is a lot of collective narcissism in international politics and Norway wants to be a player in the best league. We are desperate for some praise from the more powerful countries, and every time a celebrity lands at the airport in Oslo, journalists are practically begging them for some “trophy words” about our capital and us as a people. That way we can feel good about ourselves. Norway pays just as much to the EU, if not more than members, to get the benefits of membership. It appears that my government is trying to pressure Britain because it doesn’t want our neighbour to have what we have. We are talking about a country/union with the fifth largest economy in the world and the tenth strongest military. I don’t know how Norway is ranked, but even with our oil we are most likely puny compared to the big players. Perhaps it wouldn’t be so bad to work with our old friend and ally instead of turning them into an adversary?

I haven’t watched a conventional TV-channel for years, and I’m particularly thankful for that during the Olympics. I know the games have started, but I’m trying to avoid news these days. The Norwegian narcissism is nauseating enough on an ordinary day, but it’s hard to live with it during the winter Olympics. I listen to music and podcasts on iTunes and Spotify a lot, as well as watch a few favourite series on Netflix. There is a wonderful absence of Norway in my entertainment now, which gives me a lot of interesting impulses.

Narcissistic People and Cultures


7 thoughts on “The Norwegian Personality Disorder

  1. every nation has it narcistic disorder … Norwegians perhaps has high self confidence because of social financial security that is provided to these who need it. Norway is asociated with thinking as a rich country that life is much more confordable with financial security of any job. let it be as this. I know most of the people that are happy to earn money or get it from NAV on social support of any kind. Norwegian should be proud of LO, ” The Norwegian Confederation of Trade Unions (LO) is decidedly the largest and most influential workers’ organisation in Norway. LO has a strong position in society and has set its stamp on society’s development for more than 100 years.” Keeping Norwegian jobs secured is really needed in today world. we can learn from this, all countries in the world. what we can complain about Norway is the Legal Abuse that people meet in Court System in Child Protection cases. Other than that I wish Norway is the Country that everyone should enjoy the Nature and some kind of happines.

    1. Thank you for your response, Stefan. You are correct, there are things we can be proud about and strong unions have definitely made life better for most people in Norway. You also point to one of the biggest problems. The Child Protection Services, and the fact that few people are willing to criticize the government, are big parts of the reason I resent my own country. It’s not easy being a minority, have low income, or to be different in any way here. The many cases with the Norwegian CPS have influenced my opinions, but you are correct, there are good things about Norway, and hopefully I can appreciate things better in the future.

  2. Recent studies prove your point – Norwegians think they are better than others. Very odd, considering the country is supposedly built on “equality” (which is in reality suppression/everyone has to be the same)…. I feel Norway suffers from “covert narcissism”, which is a sub type of narcissism that has a pseudo humble facade. There is also lots of envy in Norway, which has a high correlation to narcissism. Of course most Norwegians will be extremely upset reading this and accept no fault. But then again, narcissists never take criticism well 😉 as they perceive themselves as perfect and superior.

    1. Haven’t heard the term covert narcissism before, but it is very accurate. I see things from both sides as my wife is American and we have international friends, but you are right. Norwegians wouldn’t see the point at all. There are strong expectations to anyone moving here, and this is clearly not an easy place to fit in.

  3. The thing with covert narcissists is that they, unlike overt narcissists (see f ex Trump) often are well liked and have a humble facade. They are often in the helping professions. They appear saintly,

    Translate this to Norway. An example: they have a great reputation for being environmentally friendly, and trumpet low carbon footprint, but ramps up oil and gas production in the Arctic, which means it will increase its emissions by half again – making a mockery of its Paris Agreement promises.

    I feel there is one external facade (humble, equal, honest) and one internal, narcissistic and hypocritical in Norway. It does not suit me. I have for example worked in cooperation with NAV as a consultant, and NEVER seen so many breaches of human rights and downright abuse. All done with a soft tone and exclamations that we WOULD NEVER do this. We are NORWAY.

    No I’m done. Moving in 10 days in fact. They can toot their horn as much as they want. For me, Norway is like a dark womb, where you are never allowed to be born (individuation is prohibited so people and places look like clones). It is a dysfunctional matriarchy, just as the US is a patriarchal one. Covert and overt narcissism.

    1. I heard someone say “oh my wow” recently. I couldn’t stop laughing, but sadly Norway isn’t much fun. Pretty hard criticism from you, but unfortunately highly justified. Also understandable that you are leaving.

      It makes me sad thinking that Norway may have had the right materials to build a the best society. I guess perfection is not possible, but I think Norway could have come closer than most countries. We messed it up.

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