No, it's not your imagination. There do seem to be more narcissists around today, especially of the more malignant type. The world is also filled with good people, and once you've had a run in with a sick personality, you begin to appreciate them a whole lot more.
But the sad truth is that our society does seem to be a breeding ground for narcissists. At least one researcher believes this is partly due to how we're raising and educating our children. Dr. Jean Twenge, PhD., is convinced that praising our children for everything they do, and continually telling them how special they are, is a good recipe for raising a monster. This message is also reinforced by schools, who assign various "all about me" projects. The fruits of this new parenting style are clearly in front of us, she contends.
Dr. Twenge has even penned a book about this called The Narcissism Epidemic. In her research, she studied the results of a questionnaire given to college students. The results showed a spike in narcissistic thinking. She also believes the first step toward changing this toward a healthier balance between lack of confidence and excess self esteem is to first recognize the problem.