Narcissists are everywhere and come in all flavors, but one that’s grabbed a lot of attention recently are the parents who don’t vaccinate their children. That’s right: Parents who think their healthy children are too special to receive vaccinations are narcissists.
Bold statement? Yes. But let’s look at a couple of facts, shall we?
According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which is published by the American Psychiatric Association, people with narcissistic personality disorder have the following shared traits, which dovetail almost seamlessly with the arrogance and presumption of the anti-vaccination movement.
1. Narcissists have an inflated sense of self-importance — so do anti-vaxxers
Believing that you, as a parent armed with Google and a couple of books, know more about protecting your child’s health than the sum of decades of pediatric medicine is pretty stunning. Anti-vaxxers are not only willing to bet their own child’s health on their own perceived superior knowledge and intellect, but they’re willing to bet the health and welfare of everyone else’s child on it too. If that’s not an inflated sense of self-importance, then what is?
Anti-vaxxers are also betting your tax dollars on their knowing more than everyone else.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. saves about $27 per $1 spent on DTaP vaccines and $13 per $1 spent on MMR vaccinations — thanks to reduced medical costs to treat sick kids and the loss in overall productivity that a sicker society creates. So parents who choose to not vaccinate their kids are putting a huge expense on top of an already strapped health care system.
2. Narcissists and anti-vaxxers want to be recognized as “superior”
Anti-vaxxers expect people to simply accept that their hunch trumps the medical advice of doctors and public health officials all over the world. Science? Science is for other dummies, not anti-vaxxers.
From whooping cough to measles, we’re all paying the price for a few parents who think they know better than science. The Disneyland measles outbreak has already infected more than 100 people and could continue to spread. Over the past year, California has seen the worst whooping cough (pertussis) outbreak in 70 years. And yet, this delusional group continues to insist they actually know better than health care professionals.
Here’s a comment from user “applejuice” on Mothering’s “I’m not vaccinating” forum:
“The fact that no measles cases were reported in 2000 may be the result of clueless young pediatricians not knowing what they are looking at,” applejuice writes.
Yes, you have cracked the case, applejuice. Doctors just don’t know how to diagnose measles. You are clearly much smarter than they are.
3. Narcissists and anti-vaxxers both have a sense of entitlement
Believing that your choice to go against medical advice is more important than the health and welfare of everyone else is nothing more than a childish sense of entitlement, plain and simple. Take a visit to any of the anti-vaccination forums out there, and you’ll be waist-high in equal parts government conspiracy theories and pretzel logic designed to inflate the intellect of the anti-vaxxers.
Or how about this from commenter “mamakah,” responding to the Disneyland measles outbreak:
“We have a Disneyland trip planned in just under two months. DS is unvaccinated, and although I’m not afraid of measles, I acknowledge that for some it could be problematic and don’t necessarily want him to be a/the ‘typhoid mary’ and contract and spread the disease via airports, airplane rides, etc.”
You acknowledge that your kid could make innocent people very sick? Well, thanks so much for that. How about getting your kid vaccinated before taking him on a plane?
4. Narcissists and anti-vaxxers have an inability (or unwillingness) to recognize the needs of others
Some kids simply can’t handle vaccinations. Kids fighting cancer and other life-threatening illnesses can’t protect themselves, so when anti-vaxxer parents choose, through some delusion, to not vaccinate their own kids, they are putting these sick children’s lives at direct risk. They know this and choose to endanger other people’s kids anyway. Empathy, much?
What parents who refuse to vaccinate are ignoring is something those pesky scientists call “herd immunity,” or the idea that when enough of a population is vaccinated, it protects everyone. Sick kids and even adults who really can’t handle vaccines rely on herd immunity for survival. Once a certain percentage of the population is walking around without immunizations, we’re all at risk. Anti-vaxxers know full well that their choices impact others, and they do it anyway.
5. Narcissists and anti-vaxxers expect special favors and unquestioning compliance with their expectations
To walk into a school with a kid that isn’t vaccinated and expect that school to take the kid no questions asked is pretty brazen. Conservative politicians have taken up the anti-vaxxer cause under the banner of “personal liberty.” As if endangering the rest of society with deadly, treatable diseases is somehow an unalienable right protected by the Constitution.
Consider this: Not only are parents who choose to not vaccinate spending the rest of our money and endangering the rest of our children, but they’re putting future generations at risk.
Before the rubella vaccine came out in 1969, an outbreak killed 11,000 babies and caused birth defects in 20,000 between 1963 and 1965 in the U.S. alone. Mothers who receive the rubella vaccine protect their unborn children from defects, including heart defects, vision loss, hearing loss and other debilitating disabilities. So it’s future generations — our kids’ kids — that will continue to be impacted by reckless anti-vaxxer behavior.
6. Narcissists and anti-vaxxers behave in an arrogant or haughty manner
What is more arrogant than inflicting your own off-brand of medicine on the rest of your community? What is haughtier than expecting everyone to just deal with the fact that your unwillingness to vaccinate your child could spread deadly disease to everyone?
Check out this comment from anti-vaxxer Anne Jividen, who is convinced she’s the only one who really knows the truth.
“Sorry, I just watched the CNN piece on the Disneyland measles outbreak… and I’m feeling snarky and extremely frustrated over the lack of real information concerning this latest outbreak. Just more and more bashing of the unvaccinated. I’ve also noticed how MSM has stopped reporting how many vaccinated people have also contracted the infection as the outbreak peaks.”
Yes, anti-vaxxers are narcissists with no compunction about endangering the rest of society, because they believe it’s the right thing to do. So let’s start treating these people like they’re afflicted with the personality disorders they are and stop letting them hijack the health and well-being of our communities.
More on vaccinations and anti-vaxxers
One graph will convince you why you need to vaccinate your kids
Dear anti-vaxxers: Stop using autism as a bogeyman
Parents share why they don’t vaccinate