Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
is a mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others. They are seen as being in love with themselves.
But lurking behind this mask of extreme confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that falls in a heap with the slightest criticism. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the “ugly duckling,” even if they painfully do not want to admit it.
NPD causes problems in many areas of life. People with NPD may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they are not given the special favours or admiration, they believe they are entitled to. They may find their relationships unfulfilling, and others may not enjoy being around them.
4 main types of Narcissist.
I'm not going to go into the four types in great depth because that is a whole different article in itself. But I will try to touch on the basics.
The grandioso narcissist: They seek the limelight. Are exhibitionistic and charming.
The vulnerable narcissist: Opposite to the above, they are insecure and unhappy in their lives. They experience distress anxiety, guilt, and depression more often and the above.
The communal narcissist: They want others to see them as a most trustworthy and supportive person, friendly and kind to all, but only for their own ends.
The malignant narcissist: They are at the extreme end of the continuum of narcissism due to their cruelty and aggressiveness. They are paranoid, immoral, and sadistic.
The narcissist is someone who has buried his or her true self-expression in response to early injuries or treatment and replaced it with a highly developed,
compensatory false self.
Signs and symptoms of NPD and the severity of symptoms vary. Some folks may show some or many of the symptoms below.
People with this disorder can:
Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance.
Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration.
Expect to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it.
Great at exaggerating stories and achievements.
Violate rules and social norms. For example: pushing in, stealing, consistently breaking appointments, and disobeying traffic laws.
Borrows items or money without returning.
Break promises repeatedly.
Shows little remorse and blames the victim for one's own lack of respect.
Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty, or the perfect mate.
Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people.
Monopolize conversations and look down on even belittle people they perceive as inferior.
Expect special favours and compliance with what they want.
Take advantage of others to get what they want.
Have an unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others.
Envious of others.
Believe that everybody envies them.
Behave in an arrogant manner, coming across as conceited.
Must have the best of everything — for instance, the best car or office or home.
Be very charismatic and persuasive. When they are interested in you (for their own gratification), they make you feel incredibly special and wanted. However, once they lose interest in you (most likely after they have gotten what they want, or become bored), they may drop you without a second thought.
Manipulating anyone and anything to get what they want.
Convince you that you are saying or doing things that you are not actually doing or saying. Causing you to lose self-esteem and increasing self-doubt.
At the same time, people with NPD have trouble handling anything they perceive as criticism, constructive or not, and they can:
Become impatient or angry when they do not receive special treatment.
React with rage or contempt and try to belittle the other person to make themselves appear superior.
Have difficulty regulating emotions and behaviour.
Experience major problems dealing with stress and adapting to change.
Feel depressed and moody because their results are not perfect.
Have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, vulnerability, and humiliation.
NPD may be linked to:
Parents demonstrating excessive adoration, excessive buying of affection, the child always getting his or her way. A one child family tend to do this more often.
Parents demonstrating excessive criticism, the child being never good enough.
There may also be inherited characteristics.
NPD typically affects more males than females, and it often begins in the teens or early adulthood. Keep in mind that, although some children may show traits of narcissism, this may simply be typical of their age and does not mean they will go on to develop NPD
Complications of NPD, and other conditions that can occur along with it, can include:
Problems at work or school
Depression and anxiety
Physical health problems
Drug or alcohol misuse
Suicidal thoughts or behaviour
Prevention is only good when the person is of a young age and highly influenced by their family unit.
Demonstrate sound parenting practises.
Parents to show love and compassion towards their children.
Parents to set guidelines and behaviours that need to be followed.
Parents to set reward systems for good behaviour.
Parents to treat all siblings equal.
Get treatment as soon as possible for children showing mental health problems.
Participate in family therapy to learn healthy ways to communicate or to cope with conflicts or emotional distress within the family unit.
Attend parenting classes and seek guidance from therapists or social workers if needed.
It can be difficult for someone with NPD to seek treatment since they generally do not recognise that they have a problem. The first step to recovery is for the NPD sufferer to become aware that their behaviour is affecting their life and the lives of others around them.
Talking to a therapist, is the most useful treatment approach, although more research is required to determine the most effective therapies. The aim is to develop a more realistic self-image and enable the person to relate to others more positively. The type of therapy used can include:
Psychodynamic therapy — long-term individual therapy that helps a person to understand their behaviours, moods, and disruptive thoughts. These insights can help them find better ways to relate to others.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) — helps people identify negative, unhelpful behaviour patterns and replace them with more productive and positive ones.
Family or marital therapy — NPD can affect families. Coming together for a session can help people in dealing with relationship concerns, with problem solving solutions and positive communication.
There is no specific medicine to treat NPD. However, people with NPD sometimes also develop depression and or anxiety, and in such cases medications may help.
If you believe that you have several narcissistic traits then seeking help to work on the underlying causes and forming new behaviours would definitely be of benefit.
If you find yourself in a relationship with a narcissist and this person does not admit to having a problem, or is not interested in working on themselves, then I suggest that you put a plan in place to protect your mental and physical health. But the most important thing to do is to get help.
If you feel unsafe or threatened in any way by a narcissist then I suggest you call the police and take measures to remain safe and well.
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