The vain Narcissus staring at his reflection.

Narcissus, also known as Narkissos (Greek: Νάρκισσος), was the son of the river-god Cephissus and a hunter from Greek mythology known for his great beauty. He fell in love with his reflection, not realizing what it was. The word narcissist is derived from his name.

Echo and Narcissus

Echo was a beautiful nymph who constantly talked. One day, Hera was looking for Zeus whom she suspected to be having affairs with some nymphs. Echo distracted Hera by talking so Zeus could amuse himself with more mountain nymphs. Hera discovered Echo's treachery and cursed her to repeat the words of others.

Later, Echo fell in love with the vain Narcissus. Narcissus was very beautiful and left a trail of broken hearts. When he was hunting stag one day, Echo sneaked up on Narcissus. He asked who was there, but Echo responded by repeating his words. Finally, Echo revealed herself and ran towards Narcissus. Narcissus rejected her, which her left heartbroken. She remained lonely until only her voice was left

A daffodil; member of the genus of Narcissus plants


Narcissus reflection

A man named Ameinus was in love with Narcissus. Narcissus wanted nothing to do with romance of any kind. He sent Ameinus a sword and told him to prove his love. Ameinus plunged the sword into himself, but not before he asked the gods to curse the vain Narcissus. Nemesis, goddess of retribution, cursed Narcissus to fall in love with his reflection. He remained at the small body of water, staring at his reflection, until he died of starvation and thirst. The spot where Narcissus passed, the Narcissus flower sprang.

Psychology terminology

  • In 1898, an English sexologist, Havelock Ellis, used the term "narcissus-like" in reference to excessive masturbation.
  • In 1899, Paul Näche was the first to use the actual term "narcissism" in a study of sexual perversions.
  • In 1911, Otto Rank published the first psychoanalytical paper using the term "narcissism" in reference vanity and self-admiration.
  • In 1914, Sigmund Freud published a single paper devoted to narcissism called On Narcissism: An Introduction.
  • In 1967, Otto Kernberg introduced the term "narcissistic personality structure."
  • In 1968, Heinz Kohut was the first to propose "narcissistic personality disorder" (NPD).
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