A narcissistic personality disorder is a mental condition in which individuals exaggerate their own importance, consume excessive amounts of attention, have troubled relationships, and display a lack of empathy towards those around them.
A narcissistic personality disorder is one type of personality disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, have a deep need for attention and admiration, and have troubled relationships, and lack empathy for others.
Here are nine telltale traits of narcissism:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
2. Is enamoured with daydreams of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love.
3. Believes he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by other special people. (Note: This is similar to what’s known as narcissistic personality style.)
4. Needs constant admiration. Constantly tells others how great they are and tries to get others to admire them or their achievements excessively in order to compensate for low self-esteem (frequently resulting from abusive treatment during childhood).
5. Has a sense of entitlement. Expects unreasonable or special and favorable priority treatment.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative. Takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends; often without apparent regard for the well-being of those whom they exploit (able to rationalize this abuse).
7. Lacks empathy. Can not perceive the feelings or needs of other people.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of them (irrational jealousy).
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviours or attitudes.
Narcissists have fragile self-esteem that can be easily threatened by criticism or defeat.
As a result, they are very defensive and often lash out at others in an attempt to cover up their own perceived inadequacies. They tend to be very competitive and spend much of their lives seeking approval and affirmation from others in order to feel good about themselves.
Their self-esteem is so weak that they are dependent on the admiration of others for their sense of well being.
Narcissism is closely related to low self-esteem but whereas low self-esteem refers to feeling bad about yourself, narcissism refers to feel entitled about yourself (without having earned this feeling).
If you find yourself suffering from narcissistic abuse or feeling like you’ve been in a relationship with a narcissist, the best thing you can do is to look for help. Contact a counsellor trained in narcissistic abuse and/or borderline personality disorder.
Please note that Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a severe mental illness that can be extremely life-threatening if it goes undiagnosed and untreated. If you suspect that someone in your life suffers from NPD, try to find out:
What is the person’s diagnosis?
Has he or she ever been hospitalized?
Did the person ever spend time in prison? Are there any criminal records? (This would be significant if someone spent time behind bars. Not everyone who commits a crime is mentally ill.)
Has the person ever been treated by a psychiatrist?
What is the pattern of behaviour? (This is something that can’t be learned in a book or on the Internet. One must observe the person’s behaviour in real life.)
If you suspect that you or someone close to you suffers from NPD, please do not attempt to take the person’s diagnosis and your own feelings of abuse at face value. The best thing you can do for your own emotional and mental health right now is to get professional help as soon as possible.
Psychotherapy with an experienced and licensed therapist trained in narcissistic personality disorder will help you understand what has happened to you and begin making cognitive changes.
The sooner you get help, the faster your self-esteem and self-confidence will start to recover.
There is no magic formula for recovery. It takes time, patience, love and commitment on your part. But when you do take those first baby steps toward recovery, it is like travelling to the highest mountain peak in the world in free fall without a parachute.
The relief of seeing the ground approach after a long period of doubt and despair will be one of the greatest gifts you’ve ever given yourself.
About The Author:
Based on her own clinical experience as well as from her observations with clients over many years, Dr Jennifer Schneider has decided to write a book about the invisible wounds of emotional abuse and how they can have such a devastating effect on us.
In her book, The Wounded Heart: Healing the Hidden Wounds of Emotional Abuse and Codependency, Dr Schneider describes in detail how our emotionally abusive relationships with narcissists leave us feeling broken, damaged and discouraged.
She gives practical advice for moving forward in recovery from these destructive relationships.
With her vast clinical experience as well as her own personal journey through narcissistic abuse and recovery, Dr Schneider creates a unique perspective on healing from emotional wounds that you won’t find anywhere else.
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