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Is Bill Cosby A Narcissist?

“He was like, ‘Let’s take off your clothes and get you in to bed because you’re so sick and we need to take care of you, I’m bilol cosbyhelping you.’  He put me in bed and then started taking his clothes off, I was like ‘no, no, no’.”  – According to Tamara Green (alleged victim).

Born in 1937, Cosby was a latchkey kid who grew up in Philadelphia with a father who drank heavily and a mother who worked cleaning houses.  Cosby shined shoes to help with family finances.  His father joined the Navy when the boy was young.

As a very young boy, Cosby learned to captivate his family by telling entertaining stories and by stretching the truth to make people laugh.  He was so good at it, one of his early teachers said he should be “either an actor or a lawyer, because he lies so well.”

By the time he hit his teenage years, his identity was wrapped up in being a storyteller.  At the same time, storytelling was a means of controlling his younger siblings.

Eventually, he went off to Temple University on a track scholarship.  At school, he’d memorize Jerry Lewis and Jack Benny routines and would regale his fellow students with these and his own bits.

Working at a bar near school for extra money, he sometimes filled in for the house comedian.  Before long he was doing so well, he began touring.  His reputation grew.  He was offered a recording contract. His records won Grammies.

Cosby had been gaining a reputation as a raging egotist along the way.  An audience member at the Tonight Show claims that while Cosby was guest hosting, he ranted at her mercilessly about who was going to win a Laker game.

When he was filming The Cosby Show, he became the number one star of the number one TV show in the country.  According to some reports, as his fame and power grew, so did his egotism and temper.

Cosby has been accused of mistreating the writing staff who slaved night and day to please him.  The story has it that he would blow cigar smoke into the writers’ faces, as he told them how much he disliked their script.  And then the staff would go back to their offices to write an entirely new script.  “I’d call him an egotist who worked his writers like pack mules,” wrote Cheers and M*A*S*H writer, Ken Levine.

In his personal life, accusations began to surface, first from Autumn Jackson, a young woman who claimed to be his daughter.  He admitted to having an encounter with her mother, but would not admit to being her father.

The Cosby Show made him wealthy beyond his dreams, and eventually, the most famous star on TV.  In interviews and appearances on talk shows, he took credit for saving networks and even saving the half-hour TV comedy. And he deserves that credit.

Later in his career be received the Bob Hope Humanitarian Award and the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor.  Cosby was was given honorary doctorates, and since, has been referred to as “Dr. Cosby.”  His on-screen TV ws listed as  “Dr.” Cosby.

When accusations of sexual assault, and drugging and raping women surfaced, he denied everything.  At least 14 women  (all called Jane Doe in the court records) have claimed to be drugged and raped by Cosby.

According to Tamara Green, he excelled at playing “mind games.”  When he learned  she was going to the press with her story, Cosby showed up in her brother’s hospital room to entertain the entire floor, to the delight of her brother, the nurses and her brother’s friends in the hospital. Her brother, who was severely ill, was so pleased, she decided not to say anything.

Recently, more women have launched accusations of rape, using their real names.  Now that Cosby is older, and less powerful, they say they want to fight for their dignity.

It’s not known yet whether Cosby is guilty. However, in one case of sexual assault, he settled with the woman out of court, without admitting guilt.

Does Cosby have Narcissistic Personality Disorder?   I don’t know.  I’ve never met the man.  And it’s never a good idea to “diagnose from afar.”

However, if a therapist were to try, they’d have to ask themselves the following questions:

Does he have a grandiose sense of self importance?
Does he require excessive admiration?
Does he lack empathy for his underlings?
Has he been exploitive of others?
Does he have a strong sense of entitlement?
Does he show arrogant or haughty behaviors?

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 Image credit: Creative Commons, Bill Cosby 5, 2001, by eeyoreox, is licensed under CC By 2.0















Is Bill Cosby A Narcissist?

David Silverman, MA, LMFT

A lot of careers can really knock you around. The compettiion is fierce, in graphic design, architecture, you name it -- especially in creative careers in Hollywood. Writers and performers get slammed with rejection constantly. If you're going through something -- anxiety, addiction or depression -- I help people like you get through it. And thrive. Let me help you get your dream back on track.

Please check out my website: My story: my brother grew up with a severe case of OCD, and while I just a kid --- in family therapy with him, I witnessed a miracle as he was transformed, and now is enjoying the life he deserves. I went to Stanford University to study Psychology, and USC Film. I've worked in FIlm/TV and experienced high levels of anxiety, and got slammed with rejection myself. I learned how to get through it. Today, I love to help people to regain the lifestyle they deserve.

David Silverman Psychotherapy

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APA Reference
Silverman, D. (2017). Is Bill Cosby A Narcissist?. Psych Central. Retrieved on July 15, 2020, from


Last updated: 18 Jun 2017
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