Inherited narcissist traits or characteristics passed down genetically
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is a Cluster B personality disorder than features an inflated sense of self, an excessive need for attention and adulation, and a lack of empathy toward others. Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder tend to have troubled relationships, are difficult to work with, and are unhappy when they are not admired for their perceived superior gifts.
About Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a mental health disorder that causes deep pain and distress to the “host, or the victim upon which the narcissist feeds. The narcissist feeds their own ego and sense of importance through the submissive host, who usually has low self-esteem.
Those with narcissistic personality disorder often possess sociopathic traits, such as a total detachment from any feelings of guilt or remorse when perpetrating sustained hurtful acts upon their victim. These individuals make no connection between their actions and the harm they cause others. They are devoid of conscience.
The person with narcissistic personality disorder keeps the victim, or host, off balance. They do this by such tactics as gaslighting, leading the victim to begin questioning their own sanity. The narcissist will also twist any disagreement around so it will always appear to be the victim who is at fault. Keeping the victim off balance helps the narcissist retain total control in the relationship.
Narcissistic personality disorder can cause difficulties in various areas of life. These individuals tend to have unstable relationships, and struggle to get along with coworkers or fellow students. Narcissistic personality disorder affects more males than females, and there are sometimes coexisting substance abuse or co-occurring mood disorders.
Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
The cause of narcissistic personality disorder is still unknown. As with other personality disorders, the cause of the disorder is likely due to a combination of factors, including:
Certain brain structures may be different in these individuals, such as reduced cortical thickness and volume
Neglectful parenting, parent withholding affection, parents giving excessive admiration or excessive criticism, parents inflicting psychological abuse during childhood
Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
- Mood swings
- Bad tempters, unpredictable angry outbursts
- Fits of rage
- Overly sensitive to criticism
- Concerned only with self
- A grandiose opinion of self, oversized ego
- Arrogant, looks down on others as if superior to them
- Does not accept blame for actions, does not apologize
- Lacks empathy
- Intolerant of others’ weaknesses, exploits them to his or her advantage
- Manipulates others to achieve their objectives
- Often isolates the victim from family and friends
- Ignores the needs of others
- Belittles other
- Stingy with feelings, emotionally unavailable
- They often feel insecure and are self-loathing
Diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Because the features of narcissistic personality disorder tend to overlap with other personality disorders, diagnosing the disorder is challenging. Most people with narcissistic personality disorder do not believe there is anything wrong with them, and that the problem lies with their victims. However, they may seek treatment for symptoms of depression or anxiety, which provides an opportunity for a psychotherapist to uncover the core issue, which is the narcissistic personality disorder.
Diagnosing the disorder will rely on an intake interview, a thorough psychological evaluation, and the diagnostic criteria outlined in the DSM-5.
Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
NPD is a serious disorder that is resistant to treatment efforts. There is no medication to manage the traits of the disorder, however, medication may be provided for co-occurring depression or anxiety.
Psychotherapy, if sustained for an extended period, may yield some positive effects if the individual is truly committed to making needed changes. Therapy can be provided through individual sessions or family sessions. These therapies include:
- Cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT)
- Psychodynamic therapy
- Family therapy
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