The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a complex disorder characterized by grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy and disregard for others’ feelings. A person with NPD may display these traits:
• Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance or beauty. • Grandiose sense of self-importance. • Requires excessive admiration. May believe they are superior to others and deserve special treatment because of it.
• Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited sexual pleasure or power over others. • Has a sense of entitlement and expects to take care of needs without asking permission from others. • Shows arrogant behavior, including contemptuous attitudes toward others. • Frequently uses threats, intimidation or violence to get their way. • Believes they are entitled to have unreasonable expectations of others and act like domineering or controlling personalities.
A person suffering from narcissistic personality disorder is likely to behave in several ways:
1. You might feel like you’re living under a rock if you haven’t heard about the “Narcissistic Personality” yet. It seems like this mental disorder has become the leading topic of every magazine and newspaper these days. The reality is, however, that NPD is a very real disorder that you might have to face in one way or another in your lifetime.
Here we will take a look at what it means to have NPD.
2. What is
Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
The Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental condition in which the affected person has an inflated sense of self-importance, an intense need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a weak individual with low self-esteem, incapable of handling any criticism and with little personal identity. Narcissists are often manipulative and can be quite good at hiding their personality faults. They can be great actors and can often fool a lot of people for a very long time. For most narcissists, the pursuit of power and authority is a goal as it bolsters their self-esteem and makes them feel important.
3. How do you know if someone has
Narcissistic traits can be found in all of us to some degree. But a person with NPD has these traits to a much higher degree. The disorder affects men and women alike but it is more commonly found in men. A narcissist will typically show a combination of the following traits:
• Vanity: They are excessively preoccupied with their appearance, tends to dress with an excess of clothing or jewelry. They spend longer than necessary in front of a mirror. • Arrogance: They have unreasonable expectations of superiority and tends to be easily jealous of others. They believe themselves to be superior to others in almost all respects.
They tend to look down on others and have little regard for the feelings of others. • Sense of Entitlement: They believe that they deserve to be treated better than everyone else. They will do just about anything to get special treatment without considering the consequences or expense to others. They are used to having their demands met immediately and will often throw a tantrum whenever they don’t get what they want.
4. The Cause
The cause of NPD isn’t fully understood by science but it is believed to be the result of a number of factors. Genetics, environment and personality are thought to play a role in the development of this condition. Children growing up in a family with one or more narcissistic parents are likely to develop narcissistic traits themselves. Other factors such as childhood abuse can also play a major role in the development of this condition.
5. The Symptoms
NPD typically shows in a person’s teens and it can be spotted by certain behavior traits. Some of the more common symptoms are:
• Preference for fantasizing over reality: Narcissists often retreat into a fantasy world because they find reality unsatisfactory. They idealize themselves and focus on their own image rather than reality. • Lack of empathy: They lack the ability to feel the emotions of others. They find it difficult to connect and relate to others.
They cannot comprehend that other people might have a different viewpoint or a different opinion.
6. The Different Types
NPD is typically split into three subcategories:
• Pathological narcissism: This is the most serious form of NPD and it is associated with a lot of aggression and anger. These types of narcissists can be violent and often become criminals or engage in criminal activity.
• Grandiose narcissism: This type has a lot of the features of the “pathological” narcissist but doesn’t suffer from delusion and is able to function in society to a certain degree. They still require excessive attention and tend to hold positions of power and prestige.
• Fragile narcissism: This type of narcissist actually has low self esteem. They appear to be totally dependent on the approval of others. They are overly submissive and will rarely argue or disagree with others.
7. What are the causes?
There appears to be a genetic link when it comes to NPD but environmental factors play an important role as well. Parents who have a great sense of superiority and feel that they are entitled to special privileges are likely to raise children with NPD traits. Children who grow up with abusive parents are also more likely to suffer from NPD as well.
There is no known cure for NPD but therapy and medication can help with the symptoms. Cognitive-behavioral therapy has proven effective in helping people to modify their behavior so that they can face reality and function in society. Medication is used to treat the specific symptoms such as depression and anxiety.
9. The Different Types of Narcissists
Narcissism comes in different forms and your relationship with every narcissist you ever meet is going to be different because of it. In fact, one narcissist can exhibit multiple forms of narcissism which is why it’s important to learn these different types.
This is the popular perception of a narcissist. They’re everywhere and they’ll charm the pants off of you before destroying your self-esteem and moving on to the next person. They’re likable, funny and extremely confident. The moment you question their antics or don’t give them the adoration they feel they deserve, they turn on you.
The Charmer can come off as the victim in the relationship while making you out to be the abuser. Even if you’ve proven your point and have gotten out of the relationship with the Charmer, they’ll continue to stalk and harass you with threats of exposing your “secrets” to friends, family and colleagues.
The Vulnerable Charmer
This particular type of narcissist will appear extremely Vunerable and Weak (which they aren’t) in order to gain sympathy. They’ll play on your innate desire to be kind and help those in need, taking advantage of your decency to manipulate you. The Vulnerable Charmer will typically go out of their way to appear hurt, or play the victim when they’ve done something wrong. They’re often incredulous that you’d suggest there is something wrong with them and are indignant when you suggest they seek therapy or counselling of any kind.
They’re extremely manipulative and typically very good at playing the victim.
The Victim believes everyone is out to get them and often complains about how bad their life is, often with an air of entitlement. The Victim focuses on all of their past hardships while having little to no regard for the present. In the present, they’ll often make mountains out of molehills and see offenses where there are none. The Victim will never admit that they do anything wrong and will often blame others for their own shortcomings.
As with the Charmer, the Cheater is typically viewed as a “love them and leave them” type. The Cheater has no intention of building a long-term relationship with anyone and will quickly move on to someone new after a few brief sexual encounters. The Cheater is naturally drawn to the Charmer because of their similar personalities and lack of morals.
The Loyalist is a somewhat rare type of narcissist. They’re typically insecure and have very low self-esteem. They seek out relationships that they can dominate and control completely. The Loyalist doesn’t enjoy conflict of any kind and will often go to great lengths to please their partners in an effort to avoid it.
The Loyalist is also typically a people-pleaser, they’ll often go above and beyond to ensure others are happy. They’re prone to having long-lasting relationships because the partner of a Loyalist will feel like they’ve found a gem due to the excessive amount of attention and support a Loyalist gives.
The Secret Charmer
The Secret Charmer is very similar to the open Charmer, but they hide their true colors much better from potential partners. The Secret Charmer will almost always have a harem of people they’re seeing on the side yet appear to be dedicated partners to someone. They’re extremely dangerous because they’re skilled at hiding their true nature from others.
The Intimidator typically has an explosive temper and loves conflict. The Intimidator thrives off of intimidating others into submissive roles in the relationship. The Intimidator will typically be verbally (or sometimes physically) abusive. They’re often prone to jealousy and often accuse their partners of cheating when they have no evidence to back up their claims.
This narcissist typically has an addiction of some kind. It may be drugs, alcohol or something else. Whatever it is, it dominates their life. They’re typically irresponsible and don’t care about the problems they cause for their partners.
They become so obsessed with their addiction, that everything else takes a back seat.
This type of narcissist suffers from low self-esteem. They’re typically shy and find it hard to make friends or take charge of situations. Their self-doubt manifests itself in the form of jealousy and this pushes away potential partners. They’re typically ignored or considered a doormat by others.
This type of narcissist is also insecure, but unlike the Insecure type, they use their insecurity to manipulate others. The Liar will typically never admit fault when they’re caught lying and will backtrack until they’ve lied so much that they convince even themselves that they didn’t originally lie.
Wolves in Sheep’s Clothing
Narcissists aren’t always the obnoxious, braggarts that we typically see in the Charmer type. They can be a combination of any of the above types or even a combination of multiple types like the Jekyll and Hyde Personality. If you think you may be involved with a narcissist, look for these warning signs:
Your partner makes cruel jokes about you to your face or behind your back.
Your partner is excessively critical towards you.
Your partner blames you for their own problems.
Your partner is two-faced. They act like a caring individual in front of others and a completely different person when they’re with you. They might even try to convince you that their fake personality is the real one. “I’m really a nice person, it’s just that the rest of the world doesn’t see it yet.”
Your partner ignores your feelings and consideration of what you want. They have the attitude that they know what’s best for you, not you.
Your partner has a habit of lying or keeping secrets. They might try to convince you that the lie is for your own good.
Your partner is excessively jealous and accuses you of cheating when you haven’t touched another person. It doesn’t matter if you’re male or female, all narcissists hate being cheated on.
Your partner is excessively critical towards you, but excessively nice towards people who you know don’t even like them. It’s almost as if they’re a completely different person. This is called splitting, and it’s a way of psychologically convincing yourself that your bad behavior towards certain people is justified.
Your partner is obsessed with you. This isn’t the same as being in love. Your partner is obsessed with you if they need you in their life in order to feel “complete”. If your partner gets angry at you for breaking up with them, this is a sure sign.
Your partner gives you a mixture of compliments and insults. Usually the compliments are specific to your insecurities, which makes the insults hurt even more.
Your partner doesn’t listen to reason when you try to explain why their behavior is wrong. They’ll typically turn everything you say against you and bring up past mistakes which you’ve already apologized for.
Your partner tries to mold you into who they want you to be. This can include controlling your appearance, who you see or talk to, and what opinions you have. Typically this type of narcissist will try to get you away from your friends and family so they can have your complete attention.
Your partner humiliates you in front of other people. This serves two purposes. It makes you look bad so that others won’t like you, and it also makes the narcissist look like the “hero” for standing up for you.
Your partner tries to convince you that without them, your life would be a wreck. This type of manipulation is typically only seen in abusive marriages where one spouse tries to convince the other that they need them in order to survive.
Your partner gets insanely jealous over you looking at another person. This type of narcissist is typically Overt, and they’ll do anything to stop you from looking at someone else “causing them to feel jealous”. (Though this can also be a sign of possible psychosis)
Your partner gets angry when you don’t obey their every command. They might try to convince you that you’re “under them” and that you have to do what they say. If you don’t obey, the consequences might be violent.
Your partner is extremely self-centered and only does things if they benefit themself. They won’t do something because it’s illegal or it hurts you as long as it doesn’t hurt them. They’re typically only motivated by “self-preservation”.
As you can see from the above, there are many similarities between abusers and narcissists. Most of the time they’re one in the same. If you’re dealing with abuse right now, I urge you to please get away from the source of the abuse. This type of relationship will never be “okay” no matter how much the abuser promises to change.
A lot of victims say that, but the reality is that narcissists and abusers can’t change. It’s not because they don’t want to; it’s because they can’t. It’s part of their disorder. Remember that no matter what the outcome is, you will be okay.
If you’re in a relationship with someone who has narcissistic traits and you’re not being abused, you might find some of the following links helpful:
If you feel as if you are in immediate danger, call 911.
The National Domestic Violence Hotline: 1-800-799-7395
The Anxiety and Depression Association of America1-630-482-9029
National Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
Last updated June 20th, 2015
Edited June 25th, 2015
Added more information about being over critical.
Edited description to better show changes in behavior and to mention that unlike those with Borderline personality disorder, they generally don’t attempt suicide and some might not even self-harm.
Edited description and added Wiki link for clarification.
Edited description and added more information.
Edited description to better show that they are not always charismatic.
Edited the list of things a narcissist might do to you and how they act towards others.
Edited some wording.
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Herbert Hoover and the Historians—Recent Developments: A Review Essay by EW Hawley – The Annals of Iowa, 2019 – ir.uiowa.edu
Machiavellianism, intrinsic versus extrinsic goals, and social interest: A self-determination theory analysis by JW McHoskey – Motivation and Emotion, 1999 – Springer
See How They Run by H Hampton – Film Comment, 2008 – search.proquest.com
Watching the Watchdogs: FBI Spying on Journalists in the 1940s by E Alwood – Journalism & Mass Communication Quarterly, 2007 – journals.sagepub.com
I’m the guy they called Deep Throat by JD O’Connor – Vanity Fair, 2005 – erwan.lageat.free.fr