HomeVOLUME 8October 2023 On being a narcissist


DR ICHAK ADIZES does some deep digging into the past to understand his behaviour. The results are life-changing and very touching, and the humility with which he is able to accept himself and change is worth cultivating.

I was accused by my first wife and now by my second wife of being a narcissist, egocentric, and more; much more. I used to get very upset when the accusations came my way. “What do you want from me? What is it that I am doing that drives you to this name calling,” I used to yell back. I never received a satisfactory answer. 

In 2014, at the Anthony Robbins Date with Destiny program, in a flash I understood it very well. As part of the program, Anthony Robbins turned the lights low and led us through a well-known exercise where you try to recollect your earliest memory. A year earlier, I had an incredible breakthrough when I first attempted this exercise. I understood very clearly the source of my yearning for love. And I recognized that it has driven my behavior all my life. 

What occurred? I succeeded in recalling my early childhood experience at a Bulgarian concentration camp in Macedonia. I was five years old. Transporting myself back in time, I saw my grandparents being taken to the death chambers while I, a child of five, gazed at them being herded onto a cattle car as the doors slammed closed on them. And I knew in a moment of clarity, at that instant of remembering, that my heart had closed. I could not risk loving anyone out of fear that I would only lose them. That fear has weighed on me all my life. 

Anthony pushed me to return to an even earlier period in my life. And his pushing worked. I understood my wives. I remembered myself as a baby. Recently born and crying my heart out. I wanted my mother’s milk and she was not giving it to me. I felt rejected. I recalled myself actually screaming. I was hurting, not only physically but emotionally as well. Then, Anthony said, look at who else is in the room. How are they behaving? As I gazed back into the room, into that scene of more than seventy-five years earlier, I realized my mother was crying. She had given me as much milk as she had. There was simply no more. At that time all feeding was natural and she gave what she had. And so she was crying as she watched me weep, knowing she could not satisfy me.

And suddenly I understood: I was not being rejected. I was just over demanding. I finally understood my wives and their complaint; and not only my wives, but with my employees too, I was over demanding. No matter how much they gave, I wanted more. Well, my friends, it is never too late to grow. Never too late to learn. In the business world there is a saying: when you hit oil, stop digging. In other words, there is no use digging more. You have already got what you wanted. In personal growth, however, when you hit oil dig some more; and some more after that. After oil you might hit gold.

It is never too late to grow. Never too late to learn. 
In the business world there is a saying: 
when you hit oil, stop digging. 
In other words, there is no use digging more. 
You have already got what you wanted. 
In personal growth, however, when you hit oil dig some more; 
and some more after that. 
After oil you might hit gold.

Sharing with you my pains and joys,




Dr. Ichak Adizes

Dr. Ichak Adizes

Dr. Ichak Adizes is widely acknowledged as one of the world’s leading management experts. He has received 21 honorary doctorates and is the author of 27 books that have been translated into 36 languages. Dr. Adizes is recognized by Leadersh... Read More