Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

by | Updated Jan 17, 2023

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

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Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a mental condition that presents traits such as an inflated sense of self-importance and a need for constant admiration and validation. People with NPD often have a grandiose view of themselves, believing they are superior to others and entitled to special treatment. They may also have a lack of empathy for others and an inflated sense of entitlement. NPD is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s personal and professional life.

Symptoms

  • Believe they are superior and special
  • Need constant admiration and validation
  • Lack empathy for others
  • Have a sense of entitlement
  • Are arrogant and haughty
  • Are preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, beauty, and ideal love
  • Have a sense of invulnerability

Behavioral Traits

  • Seek attention and praise
  •  Have difficulty maintaining healthy relationships
  • Manipulate and exploit others
  • Have a tendency to become angry or hostile when their ego is threatened
  • Have a tendency to blame others for their problems

Causes

The exact cause of NPD is not known, but researchers believe it may be a combination of genetic, environmental, and psychological factors.

Genetic Factors

Studies have shown that NPD may run in families, suggesting a genetic component to the disorder. There is research that indicates parents with cluster-b personality disorders are more likely to have children with similar disorders.

Environmental Factors

Certain environmental factors, such as childhood abuse or neglect, may increase the risk of developing NPD. Additionally, factors like overly praising a child or not letting the child differentiate or separate emotionally from the paren could be a potential cause of narcissistic personality disorder.

Psychological Factors

A person’s early life experiences, such as a lack of proper nurturing and validation, may contribute to the development of NPD.

Hypothetical Examples

Here are some examples of how narcissistic personality disorder may present in real world scenarios. These are useful examples, although not exclusive to having the disorder, to understand the views and expressions of NPD.

Presentation 1

John is a successful businessman who has always been the center of attention. He believes he is better than others and is constantly seeking validation and admiration from those around him. He has a hard time maintaining healthy relationships and often manipulates and exploits those closest to him.

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Presentation 2

Samantha is a successful lawyer who always puts herself first. She has a hard time understanding the needs and feelings of others and often belittles those around her. She has a hard time accepting criticism and often blames others for her mistakes.

“I am the best, and no one can tell me otherwise.” – John

Effects on the self

NPD can have a significant impact on a person’s self-esteem and self-worth. People with NPD may have a hard time accepting criticism and may have a fragile sense of self. They may also have a hard time forming healthy relationships and may struggle with feelings of loneliness and isolation.

Impact on Self-Esteem and Self-Worth

People with NPD often have a grandiose view of themselves, believing they are superior to others and entitled to special treatment. However, this inflated sense of self-importance can be fragile, and a person with NPD may have a hard time accepting criticism or feedback. They may also struggle with feelings of inadequacy and insecurity, despite their outward appearance of confidence.

Impact on Mental Health

NPD can also have a significant impact on a person’s mental health. People with NPD may struggle with depression, anxiety, and other mental health issues. They may also have a tendency to blame others for their problems, which can lead to feelings of hopelessness and helplessness.
It’s important to note that the effects of NPD on self can be both internal and external. They can manifest in a range of behaviors, thoughts and emotions, such as low self-esteem, self-doubt, feelings of worthlessness, depression, and even suicidal thoughts

Effects on friends, partners, and family

People with NPD may have a hard time maintaining healthy relationships, as their need for validation and admiration can be overwhelming for others. They may also manipulate and exploit those closest to them, causing damage to these relationships. Additionally, the lack of empathy and understanding for others can lead to feelings of hurt and resentment in friends, partners, and family members.

Impact on Friendships

People with NPD may have a hard time maintaining friendships, as their constant need for validation and admiration can be draining for others. They may also manipulate and exploit friends for their own gain, causing damage to these relationships.

Impact on Romantic Relationships

In romantic relationships, people with NPD may have a hard time understanding their partner’s needs and feelings. They may also be possessive and controlling, leading to feelings of suffocation and resentment in their partner. Their lack of empathy and tendency to blame others for their problems can also cause significant conflicts in the relationship.

Impact on Family Relationships

In family relationships, people with NPD may have a hard time understanding and relating to the needs and feelings of their loved ones. They may also be critical and dismissive of their family members, leading to feelings of hurt and resentment. Their lack of empathy and tendency to blame others for their problems can also cause significant conflicts within the family.
It’s also important to note that family members and loved ones may also be deeply affected by the person’s condition, leading to feelings of guilt, frustration and helplessness. They may also feel the need to walk on eggshells around the person with NPD, to avoid conflicts and maintain a sense of stability in the relationship.

Employment & Work

People with NPD may have a hard time in the workplace, as their inflated sense of self-importance and need for validation can lead to conflicts with colleagues and superiors. They may also struggle with taking responsibility for their actions and may blame others for their mistakes. This can lead to difficulty in maintaining a stable job and career advancement.

Treatment

There are various methods for treating narcissistic personality disorder primarily using various forms of talk therapy and medications. Although there is no specific cure for narcissistic personality disorder, those that suffer from the disorder can use therapy and medications to ameliorate symptoms.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) is a common form of treatment for NPD that helps the person to recognize and change negative thought patterns and behaviors. CBT focuses on helping the person understand how their thoughts, feelings, and behaviors are interconnected. This understanding can help the person to identify and change negative patterns of thinking and behavior.

Psychoanalytic Therapy

Psychoanalytic therapy, such as psychoanalytic psychotherapy, may be helpful in understanding the underlying causes of NPD and addressing early life experiences that may have contributed to the development of the disorder. This form of therapy can help the person to explore their past experiences, emotions, and thoughts, and can help them to understand how these experiences have shaped their personality.

Medication

While medication may not be the primary treatment for NPD, it may be helpful in managing symptoms, such as anxiety or depression. Antidepressant medication and mood stabilizers may be prescribed to help manage these symptoms. However, it is important to note that medication alone is not a sufficient treatment for NPD, and it is typically combined with talk therapy for best results.
It is also important to note that Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a complex condition, and the treatment plan should be tailored to the individual’s specific needs and symptoms. A mental health professional can help to determine the best course of treatment for a person with NPD. Additionally, support from friends, family, and loved ones can also play an important role in the recovery process.

Summary

Narcissistic personality disorder is a serious condition that can have a significant impact on a person’s personal and professional life. While treatment is available, it is important to seek help from a mental health professional as soon as possible in order to address the underlying causes and symptoms of NPD. With the right treatment, people with NPD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their relationships and overall quality of life.

What Is Narcissism? (2022, September 4). WebMD. Retrieved January 17, 2023, from https://www.webmd.com/mental-health/narcissistic-personality-disorder

SALMAN AKHTAR, M. D., & Thomson Jr, J. A. (1982). Overview: Narcissistic personality disorder. Am J Psychiatry, 139(1).

Narcissistic personality disorder: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. (n.d.). Narcissistic Personality Disorder: MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia. Retrieved January 17, 2023, from https://medlineplus.gov/ency/article/000934.htm

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