Posted in faith, healing, help, narcissism, stress, treatment

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder? How to spot a Narcissist

  • Are you in a tumultuous relationship/ marriage that is like riding a roller coaster daily?
  • Does your partner fail to even consider your wants/needs?
  • Is your partner overly concerned about their appearance, prestige or power?
  • Are they constantly critical of you but SUPER sensitive to ANYTHING that is critical of them?
  • Is it impossible to get them to admit that they have done anything wrong, ever?  Is an apology from them an impossible fantasy?
  • Does your partner have a pattern of broken relationships and friendships?
  • Do they have anger and rage problems when challenged about anything?
  • Is EVERYTHING about them?
  • Are they impossible to please consistently?
  • Do they negate all that you do for them, regardless of how much time or energy you donate to their cause?

If any or all of this sounds familiar, you may be dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Wikipedia has this to say about the disorder……..

Narcissistic personality disorder


Narcissistic personality disorder
 (NPD) is a personality disorder[1] in which the individual is described as being excessively preoccupied with issues of personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity.[2] Narcissistic personality disorder is closely linked to egocentrism.
Symptoms of this disorder include, but are not limited to:
  • Reacts to criticism with angershame, or humiliation
  • May take advantage of others to reach his or her own goal
  • Tends to exaggerate their own importance, achievements, and talents
  • Imagines unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance
  • Requires constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
  • Easily becomes jealous
  • Lacks empathy and disregards the feelings of others
  • Obsessed with oneself
  • Mainly pursues selfish goals
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Is easily hurt and rejected
  • Sets unrealistic goals
  • Wants “the best” of everything
  • Appears as tough-minded or unemotional [3]

The symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence, differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth. [4]

Causes

The cause of this disorder is unknown, according to Groopman and Cooper. However, they list the following factors identified by various researchers as possibilities:[5]

  • An oversensitive temperament at birth is the main symptomatic chronic form
  • Being praised for perceived exceptional looks or abilities by adults
  • Excessive admiration that is never balanced with realistic feedback
  • Excessive praise for good behaviors or excessive criticism for bad behaviors in childhood
  • Overindulgence and overvaluation by parents
  • Severe emotional abuse in childhood
  • Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving from parents
  • Valued by parents as a means to regulate their own self-esteem

Some narcissistic traits are common and a normal developmental phase. When these traits are compounded by a failure of the interpersonal environment and continue into adulthood, they may intensify to the point where NPD is diagnosed.[6] Some psychotherapists believe that the etiology of the disorder is, in Freudian terms, the result of fixation to early childhood development.[7]

A 1994 study by Gabbard and Twemlow[8] reports that histories of incest, especially mother-son incest, are associated with NPD in some male patients.

Theories

Pathological narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity. In its more extreme forms, it is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is considered to result from a person’s belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others.[9] This belief is held below the person’s conscious awareness; such a person would, if questioned, typically deny thinking such a thing. In order to protect themselves against the intolerably painful rejection and isolation that (they imagine) would follow if others recognised their (perceived) defective nature, such people make strong attempts to control others’ views of them and behavior towards them.

Pathological narcissism can develop from an impairment in the quality of the person’s relationship with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, in that the parents were unable to form a healthy and empathic attachment to them.[citation needed] This results in the child’s perception of himself/herself as unimportant and unconnected to others. The child typically comes to believe they have some personality defect that makes them not valued and unwanted.[10]

To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others’ needs and of the effects of their behavior on others, and insistent that others see them as they wish to be seen.[11]

People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined.[12] To avoid such situations, some narcissistic people withdraw socially and may feign modesty or humility. In cases where the narcissistic personality-disordered individual feels a lack of admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation, he/she may also manifest a desire to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).

Although individuals with NPD are often ambitious and capable, the inability to tolerate setbacks, disagreements or criticism, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements.[13] With narcissistic personality disorder, the individual’s self-perceived fantastic grandiosity, often coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically not commensurate with his or her real accomplishments.

Splitting

Main article: Splitting (psychology)

People who are diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder use splitting as a central defense mechanism. According to psychoanalyst Kernberg, “the normal tension between actual self on the one hand, and ideal self and ideal object on the other, is eliminated by the building up of an inflated self concept within which the actual self and the ideal self and ideal object are confused. At the same time, the remnants of the unacceptable images are repressed and projected onto external objects, which are devalued.”[14] The merging of the “inflated self concept” and the “actual self” is seen in the inherent grandiosity of narcissistic personality disorder. Also inherent in this process are the defense mechanisms of devaluationidealizationand denial.[15] Other people are either manipulated as an extension of one’s own self, who serve the sole role of giving “admiration and approval”[16] or they are seen as worthless (because they are unable to collude with the narcissist’s grandiosity).[17]

If you are in this type of relationship…………put as much distance as possible between you and them.  If it is your Mom or Dad, put some boundaries in place and stick to them.  If the person can not respect your boundaries, find an exit door.  The narcissist is almost always a lost cause.  It is a nearly impossible to cure, and always must begin with the narcissist admitting that they have a problem.  That by the way would violate everything that they want to believe about themselves……….thus why it is a difficult personality disorder to cure.

If you think, like I did…….that the individual just needed LOVE and ACCEPTANCE and they would be better.  You are sadly mistaken to think as a non professional, you can help this person.  This person has to first admit that THEY HAVE A PROBLEM, which is highly unlikely.  From their broken perspective, all the broken relationships that litter their landscape was 100% the fault of the other person.  They will even weave a web of lies to convince themselves and others of that fact.  They need professional help.  Even if they go to a counselor, it will be difficult for them to be honest.  You need a very skilled professional to help guide this person to reality and to let go of the fantasy world that they have created to hide their true damage.

The real question for you is not whether your partner can be “fixed”.  It is WHY did you pick a person like this for a partner to begin with?  What do you believe about yourself?  Now THAT is something you can work on and figure out.  Once you do…..you are on your way to better things, relationships and outcomes.  So here is a list of questions for you to consider?

  • Do you believe in yourself?
  • Do you feel you are worthy of good things?  relationships?
  • Do you surround yourself with people who respect you and your needs?
  • Do you surround yourself with people who support what you want/need?
  • Do you love yourself?
  • Like yourself?
  •  Involve yourself in things that are good for you and others?

These are serious things to look at and think about if you have a narcissist in your life.

I will conclude this discussion with a legend that I feel as though I lived………..  there is so much of this legend that I can relate to.

LEGEND

In Greek mythology Echo was a wood nymph who loved a youth by the name of Narcissus. He was a beautiful creature loved by many but Narcissus loved no one. He enjoyed attention, praise and envy. In Narcissus’ eyes nobody matched him and as such he considered none were worthy of him.

Echo’s passion for Narcissus was great and deep.

Echo often waited in the woods to see Narcissus hoping for a chance to be noticed. One day as she lingered in the bushes he heard her footsteps and called out “Who’s here?” Echo replied “Here!” Narcissus called again “Come”, Echo replied “Come!”. Narcissus called once more “Why do you shun me?… Let us join one another.” Echo was overjoyed that Narcissus had asked her to join him. She longed to tell him who she was and of all the love she had for him in her heart but she could not speak. She ran towards him and threw herself upon him.

Narcissus became angry “Hands off! I would rather die than you should have me!” and threw Echo to the ground. Echo left the woods a ruin, her heart-broken. Ashamed she ran away to live in the mountains yearning for a love that would never be returned. The grief killed her. Her body became one with the mountain stone. All that remained was her voice which replied in kind when others spoke.

Narcissus continued to attract many nymphs all of whom he briefly entertained before scorning and refusing them. The gods grew tired of his behaviour and cursed Narcissus. They wanted him to know what it felt like to love and never be loved. They made it so there was only one whom he would love, someone who was not real and could never love him back.

One day whilst out enjoying the sunshine Narcissus came upon a pool of water. As he gazed into it he caught a glimpse of what he thought was a beautiful water spirit. He did not recognise his own reflection and was immediately enamoured. Narcissus bent down his head to kiss the vision. As he did so the reflection mimicked his actions. Taking this as a sign of reciprocation Narcissus reached into the pool to draw the water spirit to him. The water displaced and the vision was gone. He panicked, where had his love gone? When the water became calm the water spirit returned. “Why, beautiful being, do you shun me? Surely my face is not one to repel you. The nymphs love me, and you yourself look not indifferent upon me. When I stretch forth my arms you do the same; and you smile upon me and answer my beckoning with the like.” Again he reached out and again his love disappeared. Frightened to touch the water Narcissus lay still by the pool gazing in to the eyes of his vision.

He cried in frustration. As he did so Echo also cried. He did not move, he did not eat or drink, he only suffered. As he pined he became gaunt loosing his beauty. The nymphs that loved him pleaded with him to come away from the pool. As they did so Echo also pleaded with him. He was transfixed; he wanted to stay there forever. Narcissus like Echo died with grief. His body disappeared and where his body once lay a flower grew in its place. The nymphs mourned his death and as they mourned Echo also mourned.

This echo (Dawn) has found her own voice and healthy love and belief in herself.  How about you?  Begin today to reinforce the wonderful creation that YOU ARE!!  Get a glimpse of how GOD sees you……..and you will never see yourself the same again!!  Let him be your reflecting pool, it will change your life!!

Psalm 139:14

New International Version (©1984)
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well.