Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Yunnies on the Couch

In this week's New York Times, as part of their "Age of Riches" series, they write about the "Challenges of $600-a-Session Patients," about the special ways the ultra-rich approach psychotherapy and how the new "elite" of this Gilded Age are different from the wealthy of the past.

Says one psychiatrist, “Now I see so many young people--people in their 30s and 40s-- who’ve made the money themselves... In my experience, there was a high incidence of depression in the people who were born rich. And by contrast, the people today who are making a fortune are so often narcissistic in a way that excludes depression.”

Again, we are moving from a neurotic age to the Age of Narcissism.

photo: lawrence l's gossip girl set

Not all rich people are narcissistic, but the ones in this article seem to be, and it provides illustration for my yunnie theory.

The narcissist expects the people around him or her to be available at any time. When one patient could not make a certain time, his assistant said to the psychiatrist, “He’s having dinner then. How about 10 p.m.? He’s flying out to the Hamptons, but we’ll send a car for you and you can ride with him and do therapy on the helicopter, and then we’ll send you home in the morning.”

They also devalue therapy and are highly resistant to it. Narcissistic personality disorder is ego syntonic, which means it feels like a normal part of the self, not something the person wants to change, like depression or anxiety. "Most of the therapists interviewed said the rich were also far more able than the average patient to not show up for a session or give up on therapy altogether."

photo: lawrence l's "gossip girl" set

Narcissists see people as interchangeable--one is easily dropped and exchanged for another: “Superbly well-to-do people tend to have much less of an impetus to work through things now... They have so many opportunities to seek gratification that they’re not hurting in the same way. I’m thinking of a narcissistic and unmarried patient in his late 40s who, in another time and under most circumstances, you’d have said missed the boat. He could get gratification through his wealth and move from one model to another, so that he didn’t really need to maintain a relationship.”

And bear in mind: “To generalize, it’s not the priority of people who are successful on Wall Street to be intimate... It is their priority to be aggressive. Many will not open themselves up to intimacy even in love affairs. They are slow to trust anyone — even the therapist.”

With an "extremely low tolerance for frustration," these patients often end up disappointed and disenchanted in life. “These people have to win,” but no one can win all the time. Wanting what you want, when and how you want it, in a city that is chaotic, messy, and filled with individuals with minds of their own, has got to be frustrating to the narcissist. Prioritizing aggression, he or she aims to win against this city, to beat the people and institutions who fail to gratify.

Unfortunately, money and power end up winning too often. And we see the results of that around us every day.


Anonymous said...

But seriously--frightening

Anonymous said...

According to you, yunnies are in their 20's. Yet, according to the article, “so many young people--people in their 30s and 40s-- " So, this means that you too are a yunnie or at least a narcissist.

1. a person who is pessimistic about the present and foresees a calamitous future
2. the book that records his angry lamentations

1. a rolling stone gathers none

Jeremiah's Vanishing New York. Your New York?

Isn't this what narcissists do, shameless self-promotion?

A yunnie: "They are grandiose and believe the world revolves around them."

With the disappearing of YOUR NY, "It only reflects the narcissist's internal sense of terrifying emptiness"

Perhaps, you're the one who needs to be in that couch, to talk about the projection of your self-loathing and self-hatred towards the yunnies or whomever.

Anonymous said...

Non yunnies can be just as bad
hate-jealousy-envy on any level is not a good thing

bakerina said...

Looks like you struck another nerve, Jeremiah. You must be shocked, shocked. ;)

Anonymous said...

Before you yuppies came, NEW YORK CITY was a real city of neighborhoods. Now you YUPPIES come hear with your ears stuffed with IPODS and living in your glass condos. Then you kick out the middle class and bring your High pitched lisped california accent voices into our neighborhoods.

Go back to where you came yuppies. You all suck and your a bunch of robot aliens.

Jeremiah Moss said...

true--and i didn't even write the NY Times article.

fact is, people with narcissistic personality disorder cross all ages and socio-economic spectra. "yunnie" is just a shorthand way, inherently limited, to talk about a fascinating cultural, social trend taking place in the city right now. it's certainly not rigorous research.

my scientifically unfounded idea is that new york, with its reputation as a competitive, aggressive, and fashionable city, attracts this personality type, perhaps especially in their youth. and since poor and middle-class narcissists cannot afford to move here, it's those with wealth we are seeing.

i hope someone, somewhere is doing the research and i bet that we will see there has been an increase in pathological narcissism over the past 20 - 30 years or so, leading to the troubled (and troublesome) adults we see today.

Anonymous said...

I love you Jeremiah--you care and so do I

john said...

i hope these people's kids will rebel against and offend every last yunnie sensibility. theyre gonna be so repressed its definitely possible.

RustySharpedge said...

I found your blog on Friday when I had really slow day at work. I'm fascinated by the content here and I've been following it every day since.

I'm a native Californian who spent 7 years (the most interesting, progressive years of my life) living in New York. My Queens-bred wife and I have been longing to return after 4 years but we're not sure that the city we love is still there. During recent visits I've felt kinda depressed by the increasing genericization (sp?) of the city, both in terms of the enviornment and type of people you see on the street.

I dunno. Just wanted to let you know that another random guy out there found something that connected in some way. Good work.

eeps. said...

i completely recognize my ex's symptoms in that article. no wonder he refused to see a therapist when i began to point out some of those things to him. yunnies want to be yunnies. they think 10 years of being a yunnie will later be erased by early retirement/a beach house. i hope all of them end up alone in a big glass apartment.

Anonymous said...

Someday this war's gonna end...

Anonymous said...

1) the entire culture is narcissistic. big fat shlubs from tennessee (new england etc) who shop @ wal mart are narcissists. people have a broader platform in modern times. like cell phones to scream into, "you tube" to post on, reality TV, jerry springer. EVERYones a star! do your thing everyone is special. its the 60s hippy types who created this. then trickle down factor. media, tv commericials, sitcoms etc etc. let it all hang out, be a slob yada yadda. share your stuff, no shame. i rest my case. the entire USA (all economic levels) are narcissistic. no one counts but them. 2) NEW YORK CITY yunnie yuppie: the city ALWAYS had the same kind of people, the yunnie professional type. the difference is that they would mostly live between york & lexington ave up town like 70s/80s. & midtown @corporate apts. or murrey hill turtle bay. many on long island. they were called bridge & tunnel people as the weekends in NYC were full of them. the ranch house of yesterday is the loft of today. so those people are now living in manhattan & going to different neigborhoods. there is more building because women have careers. 35-60 yrs ago they would get married & live in a house (ranch house). so we need double the amount of apts for singles. & people stay single longer, so they may not leave the city so fast. the other reason for all the building & migrations is global businesses. men & women from all over the world come to nyc to work in corporations, even if it is for a short time. the other factors for change are: cheap travel, mobility for tourism, euro vs the $. the rise of the new middle class from other countries. cheap air travel is the kiss of death. last reason: new money! there are more multi millionares from eastern europe, china, india, than ever before. they buy apts. for investment. societal changes, mobility, & no more rules. why not? rules are bad for business. as long as everyone does what they do the dollar keeps rolling in & the corporations rule the world. dont focus on some professional young people, see the whole picture. it is what it is. disgusting.