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Is Don Draper the Devil or a Narcissist? July 23, 2010

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

If you’ve had a close encounter with a narcissist, you know exactly what Don Draper would do.

The Devil in Don Draper is the lead story in the Calendar section of the Los Angeles Times today. In case you’ve been living in a cave, Don Draper is the ever so manly ad man star of AMC’s Mad Men, the fourth season which premieres Sunday.

As I read the article by Mary McNamara, I observed the following Red Flags:
1)  In three seasons, Don Draper “has not done one single thing that wasn’t driven by rabid self-interest.”
2) “He lies to everyone all the time.”
3) “He cheats on his wife, he cheats on his mistress…”
4) “…the idea that his behavior needs to change does not seem to cross his mind – ever.”
5) He manages to “seem like he’s doing the right thing when that is not his intention at all.”
6) His children exist on the periphery of his life – cardboard cutouts at best.

While the writer comes to the conclusion that Don Draper is the devil (sans pointy tail), those who know a thing or two about NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) should have heard the bells a ringin’.

I religiously watched the first season of Mad Men because a friend who didn’t have cable watched it at my house. Sometimes I found Mad Men almost painful to watch as the women are stuck wearing those pointy bras, and when they get knocked up they have to go visit a relative. These are women whom the men refer to as “girls.” But the set design is spot on.

After the first season, I only watched Mad Men sporadically.  My interest picked up when my trainer told me that actor John Hamm, who plays Don Draper, was now having his hair cut at a local salon.  I’m sure he looks a lot more 21st century than on the the show and doesn’t really reek of Aqua Velva. I have yet to make a sighting.

But back to Don Draper aka The Devil. The character took on another man’s identity and reinvented himself to distance himself from his sordid beginnings. His walking talking False Self exudes confidence and cool, yet it’s all a facade. Gee, where have I heard that before?

After reading the article, I dug a little deeper and came across two great posts on The Last Psychiatrist unmasking Don Draper’s narcissism. Part 1: Don Draper Voted “Most Influential Man” and Part 2: You Want to be Don Draper?  You Already Are. Interesting reads! You gotta understand that there are men out there who aspire to be like Don Draper, who is but a figment of his own imagination. That’s scary talk.

Personally I think aside from being a Somatic Narcissist, Don’s got a bit of sociopath under the hood. Sociopaths make great sales people, so the field of advertising would be The Promised Land.  And I’ve already said that narcissism is like the ground fog that swirls around all the Cluster B disorders, including sociopathy and psychopathy. (The only people Don kills are consumers, though his emotional distance and affairs killed his marriage.)

Finally, my favorite take on the Devil is on the Home Page of Halycon, which is also on my blogroll and a great resource site. I think Don Draper might qualify, but see if you buy it.

Photo Credit:  Google Images


1. LettingGo - July 23, 2010

Ladies, Jan brings up a great point. What shows do our guys enjoy watching and why? Do they identify with the Don Draper’s? If so, you have a Counterfeit Prince on your hands who hasn’t dropped his mask yet! If they idolize a N on TV, then the mask is slipping and you need to run.

I’m not even sure that’s the point I brought up, but you can run with it. 🙂 I just found it odd that women swoon over this character (okay, John Hamm is eye candy), and there are men who think his character is the embodiment of a Real Man. Meanwhile, it’s clear that there’s nothing real about him. Don Draper is a fake and lives in fear of being exposed. Sound familiar? I’d love to see the demographic of the viewers, as my husband is convinced it’s women who love this show. If that’s the case, then it’s a golden opportunity to see a narcissist in action. It’s amazing what you can get away with when you have a pretty face. Jan


2. Devil or Narcissist? « The Critical Thinker(tm) - July 24, 2010

[…] Read more of this post here. […]

Hello to all my virtual friends in the Philippines and destinations beyond. Jan


3. Bev from England - July 29, 2010

I dont know this show at all jan….but i do know dexter and i love him and hes not exactly mr nice guy is he? lol somehow he gets us on side…even tho hes an empty pyschopath…….

i wonder if its just cos its tv or what ????????? but Ns and Ps can be v attractive till u know better….n lets face it if u dont get too close to them u dont usually get to know better…

i watch a real life docu tv show here whos star is a narcissist….. i cant stand her but find a morbid satisfaction watching an N at work….

Lesley Skyped me the other day and said she hasn’t heard of Mad Men either though it has a rabid following here. You bring up a very interesting point – I do think it can be fascinating to watch them from afar (as in when you’re sitting on the couch and they’re characters on TV!) Even actors agree that it’s much more fun to play a bad guy. But the strange thing about both Ns and Ps is that most people only get to know the good guy, which is but an image. Now you’ll have to let me know about this reality show in the UK. Jan



4. Deb Estep - July 30, 2010

Hey Jan,

I don’t know this show at all. I have seen 1 commercial on TV this week advertising the start of the new season.
It does make me wonder how many folks who are living with an
undiagnosed NPD in their lives might relate and actually SEE their partner in this character’s personality ?

I just read an excellent article this AM about Mel Gibson.

Here’s a link:


xo xo

Hey Deb -The link to the article on Mel Gibson and writer’s own experiences with her abusive ex are excellent reading. The thing about Don Draper’s character is he comes across as very cool. He’s like James Bond only his cigarette lighter doesn’t turn into some lethal weapon (ooh, how’s that for a Freudian slip?). He’s the “walk into the room and women can’t take his eyes off him” kinda guy, whereas in real life, most of those with NPD are pretty damn ordinary. Jan


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