Narcissistic Personality Disorder

GinaMarie Guarino, LMHC

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder causes a person to have an extreme feeling of self-importance. It is often referred to as narcissism. A person with narcissism has a grandiose sense of self. They will feel that their own importance outweighs that of others.

Narcissism causes a person to have a high sense of self-confidence. Their self-confidence is so high that it affects their personal relationships.

An affected person lacks empathy for other people. They seek out admiration from others. They fail to see how their behavior affects themselves and the people around them.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

A person with narcissistic personality disorder has a pompous attitude. They come off as condescending to others.

Narcissists are often difficult to work with. Their attitude tends to get in the way of building healthy interpersonal skills.

A narcissist will struggle to make meaningful connections with others. Their lack of empathy for others prevents them from developing meaningful relationships. Their need for attention prevents them from behaving appropriately in social situations.

An affected person will have problems with maintaining at least one of the following:

  • Relationships
  • Career
  • School
  • Finances

Narcissistic personality disorder also causes behavioral issues. These behavioral issues will stem from their grandiose sense of self. Such behavioral issues and symptoms include:

  • Condescending behavior toward others
  • Sense of entitlement
  • Constant need for attention and admiration from others
  • Lack of self-awareness
  • Exaggerated sense of achievement
  • Expectation to be rewarded without having achieved anything of worth
  • Sense of superiority over others
  • Feeling others are below them or not as important as them
  • Belittling or minimizing accomplishments of others
  • Monopolizing conversations
  • Having unrealistic expectations for others to cater to their needs and expectations
  • Difficulty recognizing or accepting criticism
  • Outbursts of anger or frustration when not receiving special treatment

Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissists are surprisingly insecure. They tend to suffer from low self-esteem and insecurities. This tends to fuel their symptomatic behaviors.

Despite their inflated ego, narcissists tend to struggle to cope with negative self-talk. This causes them to be reactive.

Narcissism is often modeled from parents. People with narcissism often have parents with the same disorder.

They may also have parents who suffer from other personality disorders. A common disorder that a parents may have is borderline personality disorder.

Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Fragile Self-esteem is the driving force behind narcissism. Narcisssists have surprisingly fragile senses of self-esteem. This low self-esteem is what triggers the thoughts of grandeur and need to be admired.

Narcissism is deeply in engrained in affected people. For this reason, treatment tends to take time. It can be a difficult disorder to treat. Treatment is time consuming. Affected people tend to lack self-awareness to see a problem and motivation to change.

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is the preferred form of therapy for the disorder. CBT aims to help people understand how their thoughts and behaviors are hurting them. It helps to open an affected person’s eyes to their own behavior and warped sense of self-importance.

The goal of CBT is to change thought patterns to be less ego-centric. In this process the affected person develops a healthier self-image. This helps to boost self-esteem. With higher self-esteem, they need less admiration from others to feel validated.

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