KUALA LUMPUR: The massive accumulation of luxury goods indicates narcissistic behaviour, says psychiatrist Dr Abdul Kadir Abu Bakar.
“From a psychological perspective, a person who acquires a large number of expensive items may have a sense of pride, satisfaction and accomplishment. It is something similar to narcissistic behaviour,” the expert noted.
The former Malaysian Psychiatric Association president said there were studies that linked buying luxury items to a heightened sense of pride, and the feeling of having something that no one else had.
“It is about flaunting wealth, and thinking they can get away with it,” he said when contacted.
His comments came following revelation yesterday of the staggering value of the cache comprising luxury handbags, watches and jewellery seized from three properties linked to former prime minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak and his wife Datin Seri Rosmah Mansor.
Dr Abdul Kadir also recalled the excessive collection of more than 1,000 pairs of shoes, clothes and accessories, left behind by former Philippine First Lady Imelda Marcos after her family fled to Hawaii following a popular revolt in 1986 that overthrew her husband Ferdinand Marcos as president.
“With the case of Imelda’s shoe collection, she likely displayed something similar to narcissistic behaviour rather than depression or addiction. It is about having a large sum of money and buying what you want with it. It is about possession,” he said.
However, he acknowledged that there are cases of real addictions when it comes to shopping.
“For behavioural addiction, there must be a pattern that is ingrained and enduring for more than 12 months. If they don’t do it, they get distressed, and have withdrawals. They are always out seeking to buy new things.
“There are also cases of shopping addiction linked to depression, like in the case of actress Winona Ryder, whose shoplifting was a cry for help,” he said.
According to AFP, authorities estimated Marcos and his allies to have stolen about US$10bil when he was in power, with less than half recovered so far through litigation and negotiated settlements with Marcos cronies.
The entire jewellery collection, now stored at the Philippine central bank, includes diamond-studded tiaras, a golden belt with a diamond buckle, necklaces, brooches, earrings, belts and other gems that included a pink diamond.
A portion of Imelda’s shoe collection is now housed in a museum in Marikina in the Philippines.