What is narcissistic personality disorder? We’ll explore the condition, its symptoms, and where to seek help. Here’s everything you should know.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder — Everything You Should Know
All of us have heard about narcissistic people and even met some. We notice that they’re self-absorbed and can’t stop talking about themselves.
However, in psychology, true narcissistic behavior is a more complicated term. It’s referred to as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).
What is narcissistic personality disorder? It’s a serious mental condition. People with this disorder have a deep-rooted need for excessive admiration and attention and an inflated sense of self-worth. It’s not uncommon to find that they have strained relationships and lack empathy towards others.
However, even though narcissists seem to have increased confidence, vulnerability and low self-esteem lie underneath it. A person with narcissistic personality disorder struggles in many areas of life. They have troubles in the workplace, family and relationship issues.
People with NPD are often unhappy and disappointed when others don’t treat them as expected. They often find their relationships unfulfilling, and others feel drained when they’re around them.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms
Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder tend to show certain signs and symptoms of this mental condition. However, the severity of symptoms varies from one person to another.
Some common signs and symptoms to know include:
An Inflated Sense of Self-Importance
Narcissists tend to have an unrealistic sense of superiority. They believe they are better than everyone else and should be treated as such. In most cases, they exaggerate or lie outrightly about their achievements.
Living in Fantasies
Because their real life isn’t satisfactory, narcissists tend to live in the fantasy world. They imagine they have unlimited success, love, and brilliance, among other things.
These fantasies are important to them because they protect them from feelings of inadequacy and shame.
Belief That They’re Special
People with narcissistic personality disorder also hold the belief that they’re more valuable than others. What’s more, they think they can only mesh well will people of their caliber — high-status and equally special.
Too Much Entitlement
Because they believe they’re special, narcissists expect exceptional treatment from others. People with NPD believe they should get what and when they want, no questions asked.
They will often get angry when things don’t go their way.
Interpersonally Exploitative Behavior
Narcissistic people have a hard time identifying other’s feelings. They often dismiss them and won’t think much of it.
In other words, they lack empathy. For this reason, they don’t think much about taking advantage of people to achieve their goals.
They may try to negate your feelings and make you think you’re crazy for thinking as you do. Confronting issues with them is unbearable for many and leaves you feeling worse than before.
Jealously and the Belief That Others are Jealous of Them
People with narcissistic personality disorder also tend to be envious of others, especially if they haven’t the life they want. They also believe others are envious of their make-belief life.
Ongoing Issues with Substance Abuse, Relationships, & More
Narcissists also struggle with addiction and strained relationships. The addictions are often a way of masking their negative feelings and emotional pain.
More Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
People with narcissistic personality disorder also have a challenging time dealing with and handling anything that comes across as criticism.
As a result, they:
- Are angry and get very impatient when they don’t get their way
- Have major interpersonal challenges and knock heads with others
- Are easily angered and feel the need to put others down to feel good about themselves
- Have a hard time keeping their emotions in check
- Experience challenges dealing with stressful situations and handling changes
- Fall into depression upon the realization that they are not perfect
- Secretly feel humiliation, shame, and unworthy, especially when they compare themselves to others
Remember: You shouldn’t use this information to self-diagnose or impose a diagnosis on another. Only a licensed mental health professional can give a formal diagnosis. Therefore, if you suspect that you or your loved one has NPD, seek professional help immediately.
What Causes Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
Psychologists have been racking their brains for years, trying to understand the causes of narcissistic personality disorder. You see, NPD is a complex personality disorder that may arise from a combination of factors.
However, scientists have linked narcissistic personality disorder to several factors.
- Genetics: Inherited character trait
- Early environment: A parent-child relationship full of excessive admiration or criticism
- Neurobiology: A connection between one’s brain and their behavior and thinking
- Sexual, physical, or emotional abuse
- Social & cultural influences
Getting Professional Help with Narcissistic Personality Disorder
If you believe that you or a loved one may have some symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder, it’s best to seek professional help. A therapist is better equipped to give the right diagnosis and will direct you on treatment strategies.
Besides, you’ll have a safe space to discuss all your emotional struggles and how to cope.
Talk therapy can also show you how to:
- Improve your collaboration with co-workers and peers
- Maintain your personal relationships
- Recognize your strengths and potential to tolerate criticisms or failures
- Understand and manage your feelings
- Cope with any self-esteem issues
- Set realistic goals for yourself
It’s crucial to take the time to find a therapist you trust — it ought to be some who makes you feel accepted and understood.
The good news is that online therapy is a perfect option. With this mode of therapy, you get the help you need from anywhere in the world. Besides, you don’t have to move your schedule around because you can plan your sessions considering your time.
For example, you can find the right support and try therapy at the secure online platform Calmerry.
However, whether you decide to go for online therapy or traditional face-to-face sessions, you need to invest time.
If your loved one is sailing in this boat, your support will prove invaluable. Offer them to start therapy and work with them to make lifestyle changes. It will not be easy but definitely worth it.
Certain traits like taking too many selfies and always talking about oneself can make you be marked as a narcissist. However, narcissistic personality disorder goes far beyond being a bit too much in love with yourself.
Feelings of insecurity and low self-esteem accompany this mental disorder. And people with NPD struggle in many aspects of life.
Therefore, take the time and professional help to be diagnosed with NPD. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is more complex than has been described in this article.
If you or your loved one have NPD, get further information and advice on what to do about the disorder from highly competent mental health professionals at Calmerry.
Stop struggling — start living a happy life!
Author – Kate Skurat
Licensed Mental Health Counselor
Washington, United States
Kate has a B.S. in Psychology and M.A. in Clinical Psychology from Pepperdine University and has worked in healthcare since 2017. She primarily treated depression, anxiety, eating disorders, trauma, and grief, as well as identity, relationship and adjustment issues. Her clinical experience has focused on individual and group counseling, emergency counseling and outreach. https://www.linkedin.com/in/kate-skurat-5348381b9/