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A short story on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, its causes and effects

How do you react when Michelle is a professional freelance writer who loves music, poetry, pets, and the arts. She is a techno-geek as well.

The seeds of narcissism, when planted and not checked....

The seeds of narcissism, when planted and not checked....


Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A huge curve ball.

Anyone who has, or knows anyone with this issue is definitely challenged to cope with it.

To illustrate the characteristics of a person with this disorder, I take you through a little short story of Adam, a fictitious little boy who grows up with the adversity of this disorder. Read it to see if you can spot the characteristics of someone who suffers from it.


“Goal!” young Adam grinned as he, in a rush of excitement, put a little power in his kick to send a his precious football into the standing net.

“Well done! I knew my clever boy could do it. He’s the only one with the talent to be able to send that other team packing!” Adam’s mother, Mrs. Honecraft, could not help but give her beloved son a hug.

At that moment, the referee of the game came up to them with a look of sheepish apology on his face. “Sorry, Adam, is it? You kicked the ball offside. There was only the goalkeeper between you and opposing goal line.”

“ could that be? It’s the other team’s slowness and stupidity if they could not defend their goal post! What kind of rules are these?”

“Yes, you are supposed to be the referee, so how could be so blind? My son is the most talented player on the team and the most upright. He wouldn’t do anything so unfair. He’s smart, he gets the grades....” she continued her loving description of Adam, leaving the unsuspecting referee non-plussed.

After they went home and had dinner, Mrs. Honecraft went to the balcony of their apartment and looked at a pot with soil and just two seeds in it. Naming it Adam, she watered it lovingly and added a little fertilizer.


What are the characteristics of a person with narcissistic personality disorder?

Indeed, a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can be difficult to distinguish from those who are bold, confident and decisive. So what might make you suspect that a person has the disorder? You might want to consider these traits:

  • For a person with NPD, the need for attention and power is chronic.
  • They tend to react to criticism with rage, shame or humiliation
  • They have exaggerated feelings of self importance and are self-obsessed
  • They enjoy exaggerating their achievements and talents
  • They require constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
  • They lack empathy and disregard the feelings of others.
  • They pursue mainly selfish goals.
  • They have trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • The pursue selfish goals and have selfish motives
  • They are easily hurt and rejected.
  • They have unrealistic expectations of favorable treatment.
  • They want the best of everything and may appear overly dominant.
  • They seek positions of power.
  • They display arrogance.
  • They are vain, physically, materially and emotionally.


They have a small self-esteem and low confidence that they find difficult to show.

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It must be noted that diagnosing a disorder should be left to trained professionals as every person who experiences it does so differently.

Over the next week, Adam Honecraft had two assignments due. Being the overachiever that he was, he had finished them early and turned them in 2 days ahead of their due date.

Two days after he had handed them in, his English teacher returned the assignment with a “B” grade and the feedback “detailed, but could be more expressive.”

Adam brought his paper to his teacher, Miss Writ. “Could I know what you mean by this, Miss?”

“Oh. It means that you turned in a piece of work that had all the information in place and well written. But you could have used more stirring expressions.”

“What do you mean by that? Why’s that so important? Don’t you know that I spent nearly the whole night on this assignment? And what do I get for it, just a B?” With that, he stormed out of the classroom door and slammed it behind him.

His mother phoned Miss Writ with a shelling of her own. “How dare you say those things to my son.......a smart boy like him spending time on your assignment was just a waste of time. I”m taking this to the Principal.” And she did, resulting in the grade being revised to become an A.


Adam soon grew into teen hood. All this time, he had kept up his grades, and managed to secure a position in an elite school. This, of course, won him more praise from his ever-willing mother.

Being a teenager meant, of course, teenage angst and crushes. There was a girl in one of his classes whom he liked immensely, and invited her to attend the annual school carnival.
He was floored when she bought tickets to it off another boy instead of himself.

Adam needed a vent.

“Now how could she not get the tickets from me? She could have gotten them from me, not some low-class riff raff.” He looked at the boy in question in contempt.

His mother tried to console him. “Not to worry, the girl is probably not quite right herself. She’s the loser if she doesn’t choose you. being so handsome and smart.” She gave him a hug and went to the balcony to water little Adam.

Which had, by this time, grown into a little seedling, with little shoots and leaves nicely forming.


What causes Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

The cause of NPD is yet unknown or affirmed. But researchers into the disorder have highlighted the following as possible causes for the disorder.

  • An oversensitive temperament
  • Excessive admiration never balanced with realistic feedback
  • Excessive praise or criticism from others.
  • Overindulgence by people around those with the disorder.
  • Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving
  • Seen as a tool by caregivers to regulate their own self esteem.

Adam came home from school one day to a freshly baked chocolate cake waiting on the table and his mother wielding a baking knife, about to divide it.

She sliced it neatly into two equal halves for Adam and his older brother Andrew.

“Hey” Adam’s scream resonated around the kitchen. “I always get better grades than Andrew and I go to a better school. Shouldn’t I get more cake?”

“Yes dear, you should. Sorry for the mistake there,” the ever-smiling Mrs. Honecraft gave him an extra two slices off Andrew’s share.

After that, she continued to the balcony to water her precious seedling, which had grown a little taller.

into overgrowing adult plants....

into overgrowing adult plants....

Adam soon graduated from his high school top of his cohort, and the proud Mrs.Honecraft attended the graduation where he was the valedictorian. He went on to University, graduating with honors.

It was Christmas, and his mother had, as usual, arranged for all their relatives over for dinner.

Adam, of course, was the centre of attention at the gathering, a position he relished being in. He spent hours talking about his courses and awards he had won front of all his relatives, who, of course, heaped him with praises.

In fact, the whole party was all about HIM.

His mother took some time off during the party to water her favorite young plant. Young Adam’s leaves had started to flourish; its little verdant fronds awaiting new promise.

After the party was over, Adam, in his room, took a look at himself in the mirror. Not liking what he saw, he threw a book against it, shattering it to smithereens.

His mother, of course, swept up the little pieces the next day.


What are the effects of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

As seen from the story of Adam, the effects of the disorder can quite damaging if not kept in check.

  • Family relationships can become toxic or abusive.
  • Collegial relationships may also be affected when someone suffers from this disorder.
  • Work or school performance can be affected by the disorder.
  • People with the disorder may find external coping strategies if not checked eg. alcohol, drugs.

Again, these may not apply to every sufferer, who brings different experiences to the table.

He secured a job as an accountant at a reputable auditor’s office. Very quickly, he worked his way up to become a team leader.

Very often, he would, in his position of authority, assign tasks that he was asked to do to unsuspecting subordinates, never letting them know that these were not in their scope of work.

He would, at meetings, claim credit for any accolades given. Attribution of his team was rare; in fact, he constantly ran them down.

He always went home to his loving mother, yelling at her every now and again because of the stress, which she assumed came from work. She continued to tend to the her plant, now fully grown. The pot which housed it was becoming way too small. Not noticing, she continued watering and fertilizing it as its roots began reaching out of the pot.

and finally into an overwhelming jungle.

and finally into an overwhelming jungle.

An idea suddenly dawned on him while he lazed at his table at work. He was lacking fresh clients

He came up with an item bank and got his willing team members to add to the client pool.

Everyone lauded him for his intelligence and of course, generosity.

While he poached the clients, of course.

A subordinate, by accident, came across an invoice that was made out through Adam to his client.

Confronting Adam about it, he was summarily told : “Why should I be questioned? I have the right to authorize transactions on your behalf.”

This time, though, Adam’s subordinate would not take his explanation lying down. Adam was called to the head office, which accused him of poaching clients.

His mother, meanwhile, had a crisis of her own at home. Young Adam had over run the entire balcony and had grown to overshadow the other plants. Its own pot was cracking, its enlarged roots either squashed within or growing dangerously on the floor.


Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

As yet, there is no known cure for narcissistic personality disorder, though people who suffer from the disorder should seek counseling or therapy to help them see people and relationships in a more positive way.

Adam was removed from his position in a retrenchment exercise shortly after. Adapting to change was a task for the young man, accustomed to having things doled out to him on a platter. A nervous breakdown soon crept up on him, hospitalizing and declaring him unfit for work, at least for a time.

His mother, meanwhile, was left to clear the balcony of the overgrown, green Adam.

Copyright Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin All RIghts Reserved



Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on April 19, 2013:

Wow. Sorry to hear, Christin. It's really hard to deal with such folks, especially when we have no choice. Thanks for sharing.

Christin Sander from Midwest on April 18, 2013:

A great hub, I have known a couple of people like this - one unfortunately in my immediate family. I understand how difficult it can be to deal with them and I love the tree analogy throughout the story. Great hub.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 21, 2013:

Thanks, Deborrah. Unfortunately, we encounter more and more people with this disorder as society moves at a faster pace and with internet and social media, people become more insular. Thanks for sharing!

Elder DeBorrah K Ogans on March 21, 2013:

Midget, Wonderful hub! You have presented very good examples within this most interesting and educational presentation, Voted UP! Peace & Blessings

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 21, 2013:

Unfortunately, Dianna, they're around...hope this is good to know! Thanks for sharing!

Dianna Mendez on March 19, 2013:

Your post is very educational and interesting. I have not really come in contact with this type of person, guess I should be thankful. Thanks for sharing.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 19, 2013:

Thanks, Caroline.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 19, 2013:

Hi Schoolgirlforreal, thank you. It is easy to confuse a confident person with leadership qualities with someone who has the disorder. With the second, it's chronic and obsessive...someone with just confidence and leadership does not have that. Those of your relatives who do will be rather full of themselves! Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 19, 2013:

Thanks, CrisSP. This is actually the most maddening and difficult to spot of any disorders...the most common and the hardest to admit to. Thanks for sharing, CrisSP.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 19, 2013:

Thanks, Janet/

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 19, 2013:

Yes, Mary...the more we feed the plant of narcissism, the more it grows. Thanks for sharing.

Caroline Marie on March 19, 2013:

Wow this hub was amazing. It explained the disorder perfectly. Thank you for sharing. :)

Rosemary Amrhein on March 19, 2013:

Interesting hub. I don't know anyone like this off the bat...well then again, I may have a few relatives that way!

CrisSp from Sky Is The Limit Adventure on March 19, 2013:

Brilliant hub Michelle! I love your images that parallel to the narcissist personality. People with these traits scare me away and I'm quite swift in detecting it.

Very useful and informative hub in your most creative way.

Up and sharing.

Janet Giessl from Georgia country on March 19, 2013:

Very informative and useful hub. Writing a story to describe this disorder is such a wonderful idea.

Mary Craig from New York on March 19, 2013:

I think Mary has understood your point perfectly. The more you spoil your children the more Narcissistic they become. Coddling and over-praising lead children to form one-sided personalities. I love the way you covered this subject with the story of Adam!

Voted up, useful, and interesting.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Thanks, Travmaj!

travmaj from australia on March 18, 2013:

Well done and well researched - interesting take through the short story form. A little frightening too when you think of the consequences -

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Yes, narcissists are precisely that, Mary. Spoiled. My point being that feeding them on it constantly makes it worse. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Thanks, Ruchira. Laying out facts alone can tell one so an example of it through a story can be much clearer. Thanks for sharing!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

And we know some of them too. Thanks for sharing, Cyndi!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Thanks, Eddy.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

If parents keep feeding their kids on how good they are and must be protected, it definitely will not help. Good thing that the principal stood firm! Thanks for coming by!

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Yes, they need help. Thanks for coming by, Stephanie.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Not only the person, Ish, but others around him. Thanks for coming by.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Thanks, Janine, and we will definitely know a few. Thanks for commenting.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Yes, unfortunately they are, because they are becoming increasingly more digital and into their own worlds. Thanks for coming by and commenting, Thundermama.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Thanks for coming by, rastai.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

Yes, is indeed about blaming others, not being able to see one's own faults and not being able to put oneself in another's shoes. We may know a couple of them too. Thanks for commenting!

Mary Hyatt from Florida on March 18, 2013:

This was great, but I think Adam was just a spoiled little brat, call his condition what you may. Of course his mother didn't make his horrid personality any better, only worse.

Voted UP, etc. Good job.

Ruchira from United States on March 18, 2013:


Your stories are always captivating and with a good moral. You are so creative and talented, my friend.

Beautiful way to give information. Applaud you for this hub.

Sharing it across

Cynthia Calhoun from Western NC on March 18, 2013:

As always, your stories are riveting and wonderfully illustrate your point here about NPD. It seems like there are a lot of people out there who have this...or something.

Eiddwen from Wales on March 18, 2013:

A brilliant read Michelle and thank you for sharing.


kidscrafts from Ottawa, Canada on March 18, 2013:

Nicely written Michelle! As a former teacher, I met one of those at one point in my career and the mother was furious at me.... but I was lucky because the principal didn't bent! She sent her child to another school because of it. Parents who raise their kids like that are not helping their kids at all and on the long run will suffer themselves the consequences. It's really sad for the child and for the's a waste of human potential.

stephanieb27 from United States on March 18, 2013:

Great story and perfect example of a narcissist! :)

Ishwaryaa Dhandapani from Chennai, India on March 18, 2013:

An amazing story! Through this well-etched story, you explained the dark side of narcissistic personality very well. I agree that this personality disorder affects the person very much and requires good help. Way to go!

Thanks for SHARING. Useful, Awesome & Interesting. Voted up & shared

Janine Huldie from New York, New York on March 18, 2013:

Michelle, your story was very well written and very much described a narcissistic person to a tee. And thank you for sharing and have of course voted up and shared, too!!

Catherine Taylor from Canada on March 18, 2013:

What a creative way to shed light on this perplexing disorder. As a parent I really took this to heart, in our praise crazed society I seem to see more and more children who are showing signs of this disorder. Well done.

Marvin Parke from Jamaica on March 18, 2013:

An excellent rendition. A very elegant method of edutainment.

Bill Holland from Olympia, WA on March 18, 2013:

Well-described, Michelle! I have eliminated these people from my life, and I am much better for it.

Louise Lately from London, UK on March 18, 2013:

What a brilliant hub! I know of someone exactly like you have described here -

“ could that be? It’s the other team’s slowness and stupidity if they could not defend their goal post! What kind of rules are these?”

“Yes, you are supposed to be the referee, so how could be so blind? My son is the most talented player on the team and the most upright. He wouldn’t do anything so unfair. He’s smart, he gets the grades....” she continued her loving description of Adam, leaving the unsuspecting referee non-plussed."

It's all about blaming others and being indifferent to any externally perceived flaws of one's own. Even when the person is blatantly wrong - they stick to their argument - but at the end of the day it's that person who loses out.

Michelle Liew (author) from Singapore on March 18, 2013:

A short story on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, its causes and effects.

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