The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 4/4

26 May

By now, members of the Me (parents), or Me Me Me Generation (children of Baby Boomers) who might be reading this series of posts have become angry and may accuse me of being an idiot and even a racist for daring to say too many white parents have raised a generation of narcissists—about 30 million. Of course that leaves 50 million that were not raised by parents obsessed with the self-esteem of his or her child.

Here’s the rub, over a thirty year period, I saw it happening in my classroom. I don’t need the studies that Joel Stein refers to in his Time Magazine piece. I taught about 6,000 students in the public schools from 1975 to 2005. In the 1970s the self-esteem narcissist epidemic was just getting started and in the late 70s and early 80s, many of my students cooperated in the classroom, read the short stories, read the books and actually studied and worked.

Then we come to the 30 million, because if you are perfect, why read, why study, why work? If the teacher isn’t entertaining the students and students feel bored, why pay attention, why cooperate? And narcissists are very loud and sure of themselves—in fact, they are convinced that everyone else is wrong.

It may even be too late to fix what’s broken, because there is an industry that feeds this cult of self-esteem and it may be impossible to stop this terminal illness from killing our culture through narcissism.

But maybe it isn’t too late, because we don’t see this obsessive level of narcissism among most minority parents and children, and it has been predicted that minorities will be the majority by 2043. Maybe America’s minorities—along with the few white parents who aren’t inflating the self-esteem of their children—will save this country by not raising children to grow up and become sociopathic narcissists.

What has the price of inflated self-esteem been so far? To find out, I suggest you read Joel Stein’s piece in Time Magazine—the May 20, 2013 issue.

– a few facts for thought –

In 1950, the U.S. suicide rate for ages 15 – 24 was 4.5 per 100,000. These suicides were from members of the Greatest Generation born 1901 – 1945.

In 2005, the suicide rate for ages 15 – 24—all white members of the Millennial generation—was 10.7 per 100,000 (an increase of 238% compared to 1950), but for nonwhites of the same Millennial generation, that number was 7.4 and for Blacks 6.7 per 100,000.

However, for Baby Boomers, the U.S. suicide rate decreased in 2003 compared to 1950. In 1950, suicide for ages 45 -54 was 20.9 per 100,000 compared to 15.9 in 2003—the Baby Boom generation.

Note: suicide rates increase dramatically after age 45 but have improved significantly since 1950. In 1950, the suicide rate age 65 years and older was 30 per 100,000. In 2003, the suicide rate for the same age group dropped to 14.6 per 100,000. Source:

The Greatest Generation and the Baby Boomers were not raised by self-esteem obsessed parents. Therefore, has the cult of self-esteem practiced mostly among white middle-class parents of the Baby Boom generation caused the increase in suicides to more than double for white Americans born to the Millennial generation or is that just a coincidence?

Return to The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 3 or start with Part 1


Lloyd Lofthouse is a former U.S. Marine and Vietnam Veteran.

His latest novel is the award winning Running with the Enemy. Blamed for a crime he did not commit while serving in Vietnam, his country considers him a traitor. Ethan Card is a loyal U.S. Marine desperate to prove his innocence or he will never go home again.

And the woman he loves and wants to save was trained to kill Americans.

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16 responses to “The Price of Inflating Self-esteem: Part 4/4

  1. ladyinthehouse

    May 26, 2013 at 06:44

    I have written about entitlement many o times. Self-esteem, if over used, is a detriment to this world. No doubt!!

  2. gehennalion

    December 20, 2014 at 20:46

    My parents tried to murder me when I was a kid. I sure as hell wasn’t raised in this “self-esteem” movement you talk about. The issue for me is how god-damned hard it is to make a decent living these days. Why don’t you focus on reality instead of relying on generalized theories that aren’t based on any evidence?

    “Millennials had helicopter parents!!!!!” What evidence do you have of this beyond what you read in the news, or what you see from your own anecdotal evidence? It’s both tripe and hogwash. If it were easier to make a living, and if things were cheaper, and there was more social mobility, then life wouldn’t be so bad. But life is different now for the Millennials than the past few generations can understand. So face reality and accept it instead of relying on bizarre, abstract ideas that have no grounding in evidence.

  3. MariaGF

    August 29, 2016 at 11:27

    I suppose I fall into the ‘millennial’ group (born 1985). My parents had a very hands off approach to parenting and I was pretty much left to get on with it. They certainly weren’t helicopter parents and I was never given money for things like university or driving lessons so I don’t think anyone could call me spoilt in any sense. I was the eldest child, so they were busy bringing up my brothers and didn’t get involved after I started highschool. However, I did know several students in my class whose parents seemed to be flitting around them constantly checking their work, talking to teachers on their behalf to get them special treatment, paying for them to learn to drive or go to college/university, then paying towards a deposit for a house. Holding their hand at every moment. They never had to pay rent or get weekend/evenings jobs during school and I always found it a bit weird. Those same students are now the adults talking over everyone else, demanding special treatment, acting shocked if they are not the very best at everything they do. They cannot cope with any failure whatsoever. Inflation of self esteem certainly hasn’t made them better humans.

    On the other hand, these same egotistical adults seem to be doing quite well in the workplace. Their loud opinions get them noticed, and lying or bullying their way up the career ladder seems to be a successful approach. I now work in HR and sit in on interviews or deal with things like mediation and employee engagement and it has been interesting to see which methods lead to promotion or dismissal. I have had the chance to work in the same companies as several of my ex-classmates and it has been a huge eye opener. I am still in touch with a lot of my graduating class and as a general rule the ones most affected by the economic depression were the ones who did not have pushy parents or inflated self esteem. They don’t think to use bullying, lying or other tactics to get on, as they can cope with the idea of failing. So they do. Their confidence is not based entirely on achievement, so they don’t think to use underhand tactics as a last resort. Unfortunately, this means they are still mostly stuck in the dead end jobs they managed to find after graduation. And, as every millennial will tell you, now that the economy has picked up employers have somehow forgotten there was a massive jobs shortage and will throw your less than stellar CV in the bin.

    Gehennalion is correct in pointing out how screwed millennials are as a whole. The government has basically thrown an entire age group under a bus and moved on to the new batch of graduates, conveniently forgetting about us. However, I would suggest that those with a hugely inflated self esteem have been affected least (specifically out of the millennial group – I can only speak for my peers). After witnessing countless interviews and management conversations in board rooms I would strong suggest to any millennials reading this that they adopt the same type of behaviour. No one is going to rebalance the playing field for you, so you will have to play as dirty and aggressive as you can. In fact, use the government as a role model – lie, cheat, steal, make others do the work for you then take all the praise, blame other people for your mistakes and never under any circumstances take any responsibility for fixing the mess after the dust settles. Basically, screw everyone that isn’t you and if anyone gets hurt as a result then that’s their problem! Best of luck.

    After watching things that go on behind the scenes for the last decade I have recently adopted this approach myself and was promoted after just two months. I would have loved to have followed my parents’ example of being a moral and helpful citizen, but in today’s world that will just result in my bankruptcy and living on the streets. The game is no longer fair for millennials, so you have to ignore the rules if you want any sort of chance at life. Copy those spoilt, loud, aggressive, cheating kids you went to school with and you’ll be okay.

    • Lloyd Lofthouse

      August 29, 2016 at 14:47

      It worked for Donald Trump, didn’t it — copying the spoiled, loud, aggressive, cheating kids he went to school with?

      • Ellie

        August 30, 2016 at 02:02

        I’m in the UK, so although I’m aware of Donald Trump I don’t know much of his background. But yes, he does seem to use that type of approach and doesn’t appear to have done all that badly for himself. That is the type of world we live in now. It’s dog eat dog and the Rottweilers are doing very well out of it.

      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        August 30, 2016 at 07:52

        Then I think it’s time that you are introduced to the real Donald Trump.

        Donald Trump’s father funded his early real estate ventures and when The Donald got in trouble, daddy bailed him out. When his dad died, The Donald inherited about $200 million from good old dad. The Donald has also done very well for himself thanks to government corporate welfare.

        In 2011, the Los Angeles Times reported “Trump has thrived with government’s generosity”

        Once The Donald’s daddy was gone and he got into trouble with his busienss ventures, he turned to bankruptices to bail himself out while paying himself big salaries as the CEO of failing corporations that often never made enough money to pay their bills from day one. reports on The Donald’s corporate bankruptcies, corporations that he owned and/or controlled. The Donald has bragged often about him never personally going bankrupt, but he never mentions how many times some of his business ventures have gone under and how he always walked away with more money while not paying the vendors and workers he left behind. He even bragged in 2012 that if he ran for president he’d make a profit from it. He also lies that he is funding his own campaign but never mentions that he is loaning that money to himself and spending most of it paying his own business ventures for hotel rooms, restaurants, flying from location to location, etc. And when people donate to him, guess what, he uses some or all of that money to pay himself back.

        The Donald also has links to the mob. When he was in his twenties and the government came after him for discrimination, not renting to blacks in his thousands of apartment rentals, he turned to the New York crime families main lawyer to get him out of trouble and that lawyer became a good friend and advisor who taught him everything he knows about how to deal with trouble — you lie and you lie big and you lie repeatedly and you bully people in court by outspending them.

        “What Trump has to say about the reasons for his long, close and wide-ranging dealings with organized crime figures, with the role of mobsters in cheating Trump Tower workers, his dealings with Felix Sater and Trump’s seeming leniency for Weichselbaum, are questions that voters deserve full answers about before casting their ballots.”

        Then there are the endless court cases Trump files to bully people in business and silence critics.

        Here’s an Exclusive from USA Today: “Trump’s 3,500 lawsuits unprecedented for a presidential nominee”

        From Fortune magazine: 5 of Donald Trump’s craziest lawsuits

        The Lawsuits of Donald Trump from the Atlantic

        The Daily Beast: Donald Trump Sued Everyone but His Hairdresser

        Donald Trump Will See You in Court

        Last, but-not-least, there are his lies, his endless, repeated lies. The Donald is the emperor or lies. No other presidential candidate in history has lied as much as he does, and he has a history or seldom if never admitting he lied no matter how much evidence there is proving he lied. Only 9 percent of what he claims in his campaign speeches is true.

        Vanity Fair reports “Why It’s Pointless to Fact-Check Donald Trump

        For a comparison, Hillary Clinton’s claims/statements are true 22 percent of the time – more than twice The Donald.

      • Ellie

        August 30, 2016 at 08:06

        Ok, glad I’m not in the US. Sounds like you guys are getitng to vote for different types of cancer over there!

      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        August 30, 2016 at 08:23

        It’s called a choice between bad and badder. But if bad or badder steps over the line to far, the U.S. Military is already prepared to take care of the problem just like so many dictators and tyrants around the world have been removed by their own military.

        The oath of office for U.S. military officers says it all. “I will support and defend the U.S. Constitution of the United States against all enemies both foreign and domestic”

        The Oath of Office (for officers):

        “I, _____ (SSAN), having been appointed an officer in the Army of the United States, as indicated above in the grade of _____ do solemnly swear (or affirm) that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign or domestic, that I will bear true faith and allegiance tot he same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservations or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office upon which I am about to enter; So help me God.”

      • Ellie

        August 30, 2016 at 08:43

        “But if bad or badder steps over the line to far, the U.S. Military is already prepared to take care of the problem just like so many dictators and tyrants around the world have been removed by their own military.”

        Ok, well that’s a good back up plan at least. I’ll watch and hope.

      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        August 30, 2016 at 08:19

        You also said, “It’s dog eat dog and the Rottweilers are doing very well out of it.”

        The grizzlies will eventually eat those rottweilers you seem to admire. Here’s an example of one of those grizzlies. Another former U.S. Marine, 4-star General John Allen.

      • Ellie

        August 30, 2016 at 08:40

        I think you misunderstood me. I don’t admire these types one bit. I hate that I have to act like them in order to live a basic existence. It shouldn’t be that way. But society is so messed up now that this type of behaviour is rewarded whereas just working hard, saving and being a good citizen gets you nowhere. I don’t want to live in poverty for the rest of my life (and compared to many of my peers I am doing quite well) and the government (in the UK at least) has made it very clear that they are doing nothing to help those that graduated into their recession. We’ve been completely forgotten about.

        So we have two choices.

        We can either continue trying to play by the rules and be a nice, moral, upstanding members of society and continue to watch all the dicks of the world surpass us. We can go home at night and worry and complain about our low paying, insecure, or non-existing jobs, masses of student debt and quietly nod in shame while everyone tells us how terrible, lazy and useless we are for causing this mess.

        Or… we can copy the behaviour of those who are doing well, stop giving a damn about rules or morals or being ‘nice’ and actually have a chance at a basic standard of living. Maybe get a small home before middle age or even one of those crazy pension things we hear people talking about. I spent several years trying the first option and had nothing to show for it, whilst watching the type of behaviour that employers rewarded time and time again. I’ve decided to mimic that behaviour and the results have been immediate.

        I will continue to support politics that improve the system, but I have very little hope that it will and I’m not about to risk my life waiting for it to happen. I don’t respect Donald Trump or those of his type one bit. But I will learn from people like him if it gets and keeps a roof over my head.

      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        August 30, 2016 at 08:49

        You were right. I did misunderstand you. We all have choices to make, but when we make them, we also still have to face our image every time we look in a mirror. If you become like the Donald Trumps of the world to survive and when you look in that mirror you have no problems with the person you see, then you have become just like them.

        Eventually, the people (and there are a lot of us, billions) who did not choose to become like the Donald Trumps of the world will boil out of their nests with pitchforks, just like they have through all of recorded history to get rid of the few who torment them with their corruption and greed. A perfect example of that is the history of Vietnam when it was occupied by China for 1,000 years. The Vietnamese, no matter the suffering and loss, rebelled repeatedly for that 1,000 years until they threw off the Chinese yoke of oppression.

        For example, I didn’t become like Donald Trump and I still managed to put a roof over my head and have enough left over to feed myself and live a comfortable existence. I’m not alone. Where I live, I’m surrounded by famlies that are doing the same thing. They are the workers who mow lawns, paint houses, clean pools, teach our children, work in factories, work in retail stores, work in theaters selling tickets, work in markets selling food, work in real estate selling houses, etc. We are many. The Donald Trumps of the world are few.

      • Lloyd Lofthouse

        August 30, 2016 at 08:55

        Not every officer in the military will honor that oath but enough will, and their troops will follow them, to make it a bloody mess.


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