Narcissistic Personality Disorder: causes and symptoms
Narcissistic people do not usually visit the psychology and mental health professionals, but it is quite common for some patients to report problems as a result of living with people with a narcissistic profile.
Likewise, there are people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder in many areas, and of course also in public life or in the media.
What is Narcissism?
We usually associate Narcissistic Personality Disorder with personalities from the world of entertainment: artists, actors, singers, intellectuals… They are those characters who, as they say colloquially, “fame has gone to their heads”.
Of course, narcissism is not directly linked to a person’s affluent socioeconomic position, but to the individual’s self-perception (that is, the perception of their worth, regardless of their social or economic position). The true essence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder lies there: the narcissistic person is convinced that he is superior to other people. The narcissist systematically compares himself to the people around him, seeing no one above him, but placing many (or even all) below him.
In more technical terms, narcissism is characterized by a general pattern of grandiosity, little empathy in personal relationships, and the need to be admired by others.
What is a narcissistic person like?
People who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder tend to show themselves as individuals with strong self-esteem. This high self-confidence does not make them better people, since, in the field of interpersonal relationships, they have significant deficiencies.
The narcissist needs to always consider himself on a higher level than other people, either because he does not support some trait of these relatives, or because he has cut himself off from his old contact with them. Because of this effective detachment from others, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder lack genuine interest in others, which we can summarize by their lack of empathy. They are not very concerned about what may happen to people around them, but instead focus all their attention on themselves.
They only approve of third parties when they revolve around their orbit when they positively reinforce them based on flattery and thus ratify their self-perception and their airs of greatness. Unfortunately, it is common for some relatives and friends of narcissistic people to fulfill this role of unconditional “admirers”, surprised by the halo of confidence that the narcissist gives off.
The personality of the narcissist and his day today
People who suffer from some degree of Narcissistic Personality Disorder export their self-sufficient way of being and airs of grandiosity beyond the family environment. They are usually individuals who develop in life and take advantage of their way of thinking about themselves.
Narcissistic people often do not feel at all comfortable when they have to travel on public transport or when they have to be admitted to a hospital, because they will tend to think that they deserve better treatment or will complain if they are not granted certain privileges. In case you have a good job, they tend to use their money to buy watches, shoes, clothes or sports cars of high standing, because they feel they are deserving of these distinctive: its status and image of success are very important for a narcissist.
The narcissist’s speech tends to be self-referential. The narcissistic person expects their words to receive superior attention; it is not uncommon for them to be petulantly talking about themselves, their life, their (indisputable) opinion on things, demanding full attention to everything they say.
Although we are used to seeing people with narcissistic profiles on television or in the movies and we can even consider them funny and eccentric, the truth is that routine personal treatment of a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be irritating. In addition to their egocentric behavior that we have already mentioned, they are also characterized by being very spiteful people, and they usually maintain attitudes of resentment and revenge towards others. They usually enjoy making other people feel bad, in this way they swell their ego and their feeling of superiority. They are competitive and if they believe that someone can overshadow them, they will try to undermine that person’s prestige and reputation.
We are going to know some aspects of great relevance in clinical action for cases of people with a tendency to narcissism.
Diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder
According to the classification developed and published in the DSM-V-TR, Narcissistic Personality Disorder has the following signs that can be useful to mental health professionals when establishing a diagnosis :
- They feel an excessive sense of grandiosity.
- They are constantly preoccupied with fantasies of power, success, beauty, or love.
- They are people who believe they are special and who try to have their status recognized.
- They demand excessive admiration from others.
- They express their feeling of “being in their right”. That is, they have irrational expectations about the treatment they deserve.
- They take advantage of other people for their own ends ( Machiavellianism ).
- Lack of empathy, that is, they are unable to identify with or recognize the feelings and emotions of other people.
- They are envious of others or believe that others are envious.
- They tend to be arrogant.
On the other hand, we must remember that people whose behaviors fall into the category of Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be very varied in their way of expressing this alteration. After all, each person is a world and we cannot capture all the nuances of someone’s personality based on diagnostic manuals.