Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process.
Some people diagnosed with a narcissistic personality disorder are characterized by exaggerated feelings of self-importance. They have a sense of entitlement and demonstrate grandiosity in their beliefs and behavior. They have a strong need for admiration, but lack feelings of empathy.
Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR, include:
- Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
- Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others
- Envies others and believes others envy him/her
- Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
- Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
- Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
- Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic
Other symptoms in addition to the ones defined by DSM-IV-TR include:
- Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends,
- Has trouble keeping healthy relationships with others,
- Easily hurt or rejected,
- Appears unemotional, and exaggerating special achievements and talents,
- Setting unrealistic goals for himself/herself.
Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior that is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders, as well as an over-inflated sense of self-importance.
In addition to these symptoms, the person may display
- Show superiority,
- And seek power.
The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence; differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others, when in reality they have a fragile self-esteem, cannot handle criticism, and often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. Comments and criticisms about others are vicious from sufferers of NPD, in an attempt to boost their own poor self-esteem.
Another narcissist symptom is a lack of empathy. They are unable to relate, understand, and rationalize the feelings of others. Instead of behaving in a way that shows how they are feeling in the moment, they behave in the way that they feel they are expected to behave or what gives them the most attention.
In children, inflated self-views and grandiose feelings, which are characteristics of narcissism, are part of the normal self-development. Children typically cannot understand the difference between their actual and their ideal self, which causes an unrealistic perception of the self. After about age 8, views of the self, both positive and negative, begin to develop based on comparisons of peers, and become more realistic. Two factors that cause self-view to remain unrealistic are dysfunctional interactions with parents that can be either excessive attention or a lack thereof. For example but not limited to, the excessive attention and lack of attention go hand in hand when a child’s parents are divorced. Usually, one is overindulgent (typically the one seeing the child less) and the other shows less affection. The child either compensates for lack of attention or acts in terms of unrealistic self-perception.
An extensive US survey found a high association with other disabilities, especially amongst men: mental disability, substance use, mood, anxiety disorders and other personality disorders, bipolar I disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder, and schizotypal and borderline personality disorders were among the associated disabilities
Culled from widipedia.org