Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD):

Narcissistic Personality Disorder
JuanitaHFNE

Juanita Agboola is the editor in chief of HFNE and an expert in mental health online. She has been writing about online behaviour, mental health and psychology issues since 2012. All Guides are reviewed by our editorial team which constitutes various clinical psychologists, PhD and PsyD colleagues.


In this article, we will be reviewing narcissistic personality disorder, which is extremely common nowadays. There are various ideas and symptoms which are also mentioned here. 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

An Overview of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

People tend to get a sense of perfectionism in this mental disorder. Taking a keen look at narcissistic personality disorders, it is one of the most common mental disorders where people feel like they are the center of everything. Here, they expect that they have to be validated and have to gain attention all the time. 

These people also destroy every one of their relationships with their friends around them. These kinds of people are always looking for care, as well as admiration. As a result, they have a lack of empathy for everyone except themselves. Moreover, their self-esteem and ego happen to be very fragile.

This disorder leads to several problems in a person’s life. They face grave difficulties in their relationships, school, work as well as financial affairs. They are generally disappointed with every aspect of their life around them and feel like they often lack in several areas of their life. They do not feel happy about all these aspects. There are several symptoms as well as causes that are connected to this.

Is It a Mental Illness?

There are different ways in which mental illness can be linked with narcissistic personality disorder where people face problems in their life. People suffering from narcissistic personality can be termed as mentally ill on an overall prospect because of their tendency to be disappointed and unhappy with their life. 

These people do not feel any appreciation in their life and are termed to be problematic in their relationships. There is always a certain level of insecurity which these people have in their lives, and this continues to grow over time. These people are given particular importance in terms of different areas of their lives. 

This is where; people feel like this problem is continuously growing onto them. People who are suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, would give specific importance given to every criticism, and tend to take them very seriously. 

People who have narcissistic personality disorder are not able to enjoy themselves as there can take any slightest critics to themselves. It is one of the major personality disorders which can be acquired by anyone around. It can form random depression about life, and it can lead to the severe effects laid by this disorder in a more transparent mode.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Common Attributes of NPD Sufferers

There are several signs and symptoms of this disease, which can be importantly formed by people as they can vary from person to person. Their pattern is often manifested as bullying behavior toward others. 

People with narcissistic personality disorder can develop various severe characteristics or traits, and they can be heavily dosed with the problems.  

  • These people have an exaggerated sense of being critical. It can also result in abuse for others. These people are always prone to talking about the qualities which they do not possess and remain envious of others. 
  • These people have a sense of entitlement for themselves and always need excessive admiration for themselves. The are also very rude to the people around them. They want to be recognized as superior beings without even acquiring any of the achievements in their life. 
  • They are always sensed in terms of managing the right kind of prospects in their everyday problems. These kinds of people are always in the expectation of different validations from people.
  • They prefer people related to them inferior to them and play the standardization card in front of them. This also leads to having a complete sense of inability to understand other people’s feelings.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Criticism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder

There is a lot of criticism which is added to the disorder. As people tend to reflect several positive qualities along with the negativity, which is suppressed with these diseases. This ensures that there are ideas and phases in which this disorder is reflected. 

People who are suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, usually, do not handle criticism in a productive manner, and they have a feeling that they are always right in different phases of their lives. Let’s take a look at some of the crucial ideas which are seen in terms of handling criticism by this kind of people:

  • First of all, they tend to be impatient and angry when people point out their mistakes or misgivings to them. 
  • They also tend to have significant interpersonal problems where there is also an easy tactic through which they tend to get frightened. 
Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Complications Related to ‘Help Seeking’ Behavior

For narcissistic people, it is nearly impossible to acknowledge that they have a problem. That is why they tend to follow behind in terms of seeing a doctor and seeking medical help to solve their issues.

However, in this situation, friends and relatives should be there to help them out so that they can look at all the options which they can acquire to make them positive. 

Availability of a friend would always help; friends may offer support in terms of talking them out of the problems so that they can get over their issues in the most appropriate way. If this doesn’t work, they have to be reminded that people around are affected by their negativity, and they need to seek dedicated professional help from a certified counselor or clinician. Progress can only be made through developing insight about their problems and acknowledging that they need help.

Several psychology professionals can help them manage the symptoms and avoid adverse consequences that manifest due to narcissistic personality disorder in affected individuals. However, this would only be possible through dedicated guidance and developing an understanding of their situation or the severity of their ailment. In this context, family and friends play a very significant role. 

Sometimes friends and family are experiencing abuse at the hands of people who have a narcissistic personality disorder. This context generates various other issues in an individual’s life and may result in a vicious cycle of chronic pathology with complex presentation. People suffering from NPD face grave challenges in maintaining meaningful connections. They are commonly disillusioned with every single part of their life around them. 

When it comes to narcissistic personality disorder, companions and family members play a vital role in the journey towards health and well-being of the sufferer. The close and near ones ought to be there to assist NPD sufferers with emotional support and encouragement to seek help. 

Potential Causes of NPD

Narcissistic personality disorder does not develop overnight, like any other psychological ailment this disorder has a causal context and various environmental and behavioral factors that are responsible for this pathology. However, this is a complex disorder with various problems and core issues that need to be addressed when managing or understanding this disorder. Furthermore, there is no single or explicit cause of this disorder. 

  • The disorder has various environmental causes or contributing factors and an unhealthy parent-child relationship happens to be one of the most significant factors in leading to these problems for the long term:
    • Insensitive Parenting Style: Where parents are not really concerned with the immediate needs and requirements of the child. This may lead to the development of narcissistic psychopathology. 
  • Over Pampering Behavior of Parents: This is a common issue where parents tend to over-compliment or over-focus on the specific behavioral tendencies of the child due to their inner insecurities. 
  • It can also emerge due to traumatic experiences of violence or abuse in the past. In such conditions, the relationship with other people is destroyed to a great extent. 
  • Moreover, there are genetic problems that can be involved in narcissistic personality disorder as people may acquire this disorder in terms of being transmitted to them by their parents and their parents before them.
  • Another possibility is that there can be a neurobiological problem in the person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder, which may be the primary cause of the people who are involved in it. This is where; there is a decent idea managed for the proper administration. 

Narcissistic personality disorder is most commonly reported in males, as compared to females. This usually tends to begin from early adulthood or teens. Some of the children can show many traits of narcissistic personality disorder from a very young age. There is a risk that these people can also develop exaggerated levels of anger, which can be extremely dangerous or threatening to the people around them. 

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Possible Complications in NPD

The disorder may involve various complications that may need focused therapeutic interventions and dedicated professional care. Some of these complications include:

  • Problems in maintaining meaningful relationships for long.
  • Problems in their workplace or place of study, especially when it comes to networking, group work or socialization opportunities. 
  • Experiencing persistent and constant depression or feelings of anxiety. 
  • People suffering from narcissistic personality disorder tend to indulge in drug or alcohol abuse often, that complicates the psychopathological profile and requires carefully designed management and treatment plan. 
  • They have a heightened and over-exaggerated sense of self-righteousness, that is a disturbing trait for themselves and others around them. 

How to Handle NPD Better?

There are several ways to successfully handle the potential damaging effects caused by narcissistic personality disorder. So, let’s take a look at the silver lining, which can be used by people in terms of finding the right kind of solutions in such a complex world for the betterment in the overall presentation of narcissistic personality disorder.

People who feel even a single symptom of narcissistic personality disorder should immediately consult medical help. Other than that, these people should also immediately have family therapy sessions so that they can get over mental distress and handle their conflicts properly. It is also important that family and friends actively coax the individual suffering from NPD to seek professional help. 

Frequently Asked Questions

Q1. Is narcissistic personality disorder genetic?

Yes, there is a likelihood of a genetic predisposition. However, the exact causal factors of narcissism are not clearly understood but it is always an interaction of heredity and environment (including, cases of abuse or neglect). 

Q2. Do Narcissists know that they are narcissists?

Not necessarily. Insight in mental illnesses may vary from person to person, depending on the severity and complexity of presenting pathology. Narcissists are most often very charming personalities and spend a great amount of time in maintaining the attractive persona. 

Q3. Do narcissists have low self esteem?

Yes. People suffering from narcissistic personality disorder suffer from issues related to low self-esteem and may seem to be self-obsessed. Interestingly, research (published in the Journal of Research in Personality) reveals that the self-obsession and over-indulgence in self-love is only a way to hide their shattered self-esteem. 

Q4. Are Narcissists paranoid?

Yes, they may experience paranoid ideation if suffering from Malignant Narcissism. Malignant narcissism is described as a syndrome that is characterized by features of narcissistic personality disorder, paranoia, antisocial traits and aggression (egosyntonic). Some of the other symptoms in this pathological presentation include, need for power, lack of conscience or empathy and a heightened sense of grandiosity (importance). 

Q5. What is narcissistic parent syndrome?

A parent who is suffering from narcissistic personality disorder or narcissism related psychopathology may be considered under the category of narcissistic parent syndrome. Usually, the narcissistic parents are overly possessive and extremely close to their kids and feel insecure by the child’s increasing sense of independence. 

Q6. Do narcissists get jealous?

As a matter of fact, narcissists would strategically try to induce feelings of ‘jealousy’ in people around them (specifically their partner/mate/spouse) in order to accomplish some of their own goals (that may include gaining control or giving a boost to their self-esteem). 

Some Self-Help Resources

  1. The book, titled, “Narcissistic Personality Disorder Toolbox” has about 55 treatment techniques for helping people suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. 
  2. Antisocial, Borderline, Narcissistic and Histrionic Workbook: Treatment Strategies for Cluster B Personality Disorders” is another great book related to narcissistic personality disorder. 
  3. Another interesting book is “Why Is It Always About You? : The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissism” that offers insight into the psychopathology of narcissistic personality. 
  4. The book, titled, “The Everything Guide to Narcissistic Personality Disorder” shares some tips to deal with narcissistic personality disorder. 
  5. Healing from Narcissism: A Journey Through the Stages of Recovering Your Personality from Narcissistic Disorder, is another great resource for learning self-help technique. 

Conclusion

Narcissistic personality disorder is one of the most well-known and widespread mental issues where individuals feel like they are above everyone else and are overly critical. Here, they expect that they must be approved and need to receive regular and consistent validation from people around them. 

People who are suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder damage almost all of their relationships because of their exaggerated sense of self-importance, perfectionist ideology, and over-critical nature. Moreover, they also lack the ability to empathize or sympathize with people around them. Their confidence and sense of self are extremely delicate and it is very easy to jolt this aspect of their mental-state with a simple harmless comment. 

For narcissistic individuals, it is difficult to recognize that they have an issue in managing the problem they are in, which is the reason, they will, in general, pursue behind as far as observing a specialist and looking for medicinal assistance to fathom their issues. In a nutshell, this is a common disorder and must be attended to carefully and immediately with certified and trained professionals 

References

  1. Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Causes, Symptoms and Prevention
  2. An Overview of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
  3. How to spot covert narcissist
  4. Narcissistic Personality Disorder, What it is?
  5. Narcissistic Sociopath: (A Comprehensive Guide)
  6. General Guide on Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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