Unless you’ve been living under a rock, you have undoubtedly heard of or read the book Fifty Shades of Grey by British author E L James. This modern day romance novel is filled with passion, bondage, and narcissism.
The title character of the book, Christian Grey, is a young, hot billionaire who gets his jollies by dominating women in the bedroom. His prey: Anastasia Steele. This recent college grad, and virgin, has fallen under the trance of this dark and brooding man. Through his manipulation of her emotions, he gets her right where he wants her: in his “playroom” filled with whips, handcuffs, and other BDSM (Bondage/Discipline, Dominance/Submission, Sadism/Masochism) utilities.
Readers around the country are falling for this book and its title character. And why wouldn’t they? From Anastasia’s point to view, Christian is handsome, wealthy, and good in bed. But, his domineering ways are the product of his narcissism, which surely came from his troubled childhood (being neglected and then adopted at the age of four). Narcissism can occur as a defense mechanism to such trauma, especially at such a young age.
When Christian Grey meets Ana Steele, he finds a young and clumsy girl who he realizes he can definitely manipulate, with her blushing and succumbing to him every step of the way. She has never kissed a man before, and here she ends up, with some guy whose idea of intimacy is tying her up and whipping her. What a great guy to get involved with.
The books ends (it is the first of three in the trilogy) with Ana leaving Christian (or Mr. Grey, as she has to refer to him) after he whips her six times and she then confesses her love for him. He yields nothing in return. This is a great way to sell books—no doubt—leaving the readers wanting more because of this cliffhanger.
But, it gives a bad name to young, college-educated girls. Ana Steele is supposed to be a smart, bright girl who has exemplary grades and is a virgin, nonetheless. When she meets Christian Grey, she becomes his sex slave and throws all of her good sense out the window. Narcissists are excellent at getting others to do and behave exactly how they want them to. This is because love and empathy are lost emotions to them. They cannot feel bad about using others.
Narcissists, like the fictional Christian Grey, thrive on the kind of power they have over people, like Ana Steele. In the book, he says repeatedly that he needs to punish her, that he needs to hurt her, though he will not say why. (Perhaps the truth will be revealed in the following two books of the trilogy.) Narcissists find people they know they can manipulate and seduce, with no regard to how it makes others feel. Sooner or later, the behavior drives people away and they are left where Christian Grey is at the end of Fifty Shades of Grey—alone.
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