Narcissistic Personality Disorder: 9 Traits, Symptoms & Causes

    Did you ever meet a person who has no other topic to talk about besides themselves? Have you ever been in a relationship where you are at fault all the time or feel that you overreact or be too sensitive? Is your partner or friend, or colleague is always belittling and criticizing others? Then chances are, you have met an individual with a narcissistic personality. But remember, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is wholly different than being self-absorbed, self-confident, or having a superiority complex.

    NPD is a defined psychological disorder that usually emerges as a mental health condition affecting personality in early adulthood. The root cause lies in the early developmental years. The condition is more common in men who have a history of some childhood trauma. Read on to know how to distinguish a narcissistic person from a self-absorbed one.  

    The Definition Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

    Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder lead a difficult life and make other people’s life grim as well. It is not that their life is full of hardships, but they perceive every situation as subpar for their satisfaction level.

    They generally have an unhappy and disappointing outlook on life. That is why their relationships are unfulfilling for them, and their jobs are not good enough. People do not like to be around them because of their constant negative takes on almost everything. Why? It could be because they:       

    • have an inflated false ego and sense of their own importance
    • exhibit a constant requirement for excessive attention and admiration
    • lack empathy for others so experience relationship difficulties

    Underneath this false façade they have a fragile self-esteem that makes them vulnerable to the slightest criticism and disapproval.

    Diagnostic Criteria Of NPD

    The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders describes the following psychological symptoms for narcissistic personality disorder:·       

    • a grand sense of pride and self-importance
    • imagining getting hold of unlimited success, power, good looks, or ideal love to the level of obsession
    • a false belief of being special and unique
    • a sense of entitlement
    • a need for excessive admiration and acknowledgment
    • an exploitative attitude towards interpersonal relationships
    • lack of empathy for others
    • being envious of others and believing others are jealous of them
    • arrogant, proud and snooty behaviors towards others

    Experts require the presence of five out of these nine symptoms to diagnose someone as suffering from a narcissistic personality disorder. The condition is described as one of the Cluster B Personality Disorders in which the patient finds it difficult to control his emotions, thereby making them unpredictable. Their actions are perceived as selfish and manipulative by others.

    Symptoms Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder 

    About 7.7% of men and 4.7% of women suffer from NPD. Individuals suffering from this condition live in an unrealistic and idealized world. Since they have a sense of superiority for themselves, the situation and the people around them never meet their benchmark. These include:

    • a desire to be admired and attended to all the time
    • disappointed and angry when not given the expected response
    • a sense of superiority with overestimating their accomplishments
    • undermining and devaluing the achievements of others
    • boasting understanding and closeness with people of higher status
    • believing that only unique and distinguished people like them understand them
    • having expectations to be treated grandly because of a sense of entitlement
    • taking advantage of others to achieve their goals and manipulative of situations
    • unable to understand others’ feelings and needs
    • becoming charming and polite and quick to be haughty and arrogant
    • taking an offensive stance when questioned, criticized, or challenged
    • expecting special favors and unquestioning support and compliance

    Some subtle features of NPD could also include:

    • a feeling of shame and humiliation when upset
    • unwilling for a change or trying new things
    • difficulty in maintaining relationships
    • socially withdrawn
    • an irregular pattern of achievements and failures
    • depression
    • eating disorders

    Causative Factors Behind NPD

    The real causes for NPD remain unclear. Since the symptoms may overlap other psychiatric and behavioral ailments, a complex interplay of factors is proposed for NPD development. Researchers point out genetic and environmental factors as the culprit.

    The individual goes through some tough times, especially the childhood and teen years, to develop narcissistic traits. Some of the factors that may contribute to the development of this condition include:

    • overpraising a child
    • over-pampering with too much attention
    • a lot of high expectations for a child
    • irregular care or neglect of the child
    • trauma of some kind
    • abuse of any kind
    • rejection and dismissal while growing up
    • stress and anxiety

    Complications Associated With Narcissism

    Individuals with NPD do not identify their condition as a mental health condition. Because they have an excuse for their every tantrum and they are often involved with a blame game. These patients are often identified during other psychological or behavioral treatments. These cases may come tagged with complications like:

    • substance abuse
    • anxiety disorder
    • panic attacks
    • depression
    • eating disorders like anorexia
    • suicidal inclinations
    • relationship difficulties
    • differences at workplace

    Treatment Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

    The treatment of the subject’s condition usually includes psychotherapy. Medications are not required unless there is a coexisting mental health ailment. Support of one’s family or a loved one contributes to managing the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.

    - Advertisement -spot_img
    - Advertisement -spot_img

    Recommended Articles