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Narcissism is Not Just Self-Love, There's So Much More You Need to Know


Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is one of many personality disorders that makes it difficult to establish closer relationships. A person with a narcissistic personality focuses excessively on their self, forgetting about the needs of other people. How is Narcissistic Personality Disorder Recognized? Can a person with a narcissistic personality build a successful relationship?

It’s a fact that narcissim is a disorders, however, most narcissists never seek therapy. The term ‘narcissism’ is sometimes confused with people who, for various reasons, exhibit behaviors typical of a narcissistic personality, but at the same time are not self-centered enough to completely forget about the needs of the others.

What is Narcissism?

Self-love is inscribed in the nature of every human being, but the sensitivity towards oneself can sometimes take a pathological form. But in this case we are talking about classic narcissistic personality. Only about 1% of the general population meets the criteria of such a personality in the world, But a much larger part of the human population shows a tendency to self-love and excessive self-focus on a daily basis.

It is worth knowing that the International Classification of Diseases ICD-10 does not include it in the disease entity. This disorder is classified under the American Psychiatric Association's DSM-IV classification criteria.

Interestingly, every young child has typical narcissistic personality traits. Failure to meet the needs of a small child may result in the so-called secondary narcissism based on disorders in the development of an individual. In order to better understand the behavior of a person with a narcissistic personality, it is necessary to understand the mechanisms of the development of personality disorders.

It is worth knowing that personality disorders and related behaviors do not depend on the person who has them. Personality is a set of persistent traits that develop during childhood, adolescence, and early adulthood, including thoughts, feelings, and behaviors that allow for adaptation to the environment. Relations with the environment, especially the child's parents and other close family members, play a huge role in shaping the narcissistic personality. They mainly concern behaviors leading to a decrease in self-esteem, which may result in the development of narcissistic personality disorders.

On the other hand, the excessive overestimation of the child and the requirement to be perfect is also considered a factor that may cause the development of narcissistic personality disorders.

There are many theories regarding cognitive and interpersonal concept and the mechanisms which lead to the development of this personality disorder. The term narcissism was introduced by Freud, who first used it in 1910, but the characteristics and behaviors of a narcissistic personality are apparent in many different specific personality disorders.

Definition of Narcissism

What is narcissism? The simplest definition is self-love or self-love. People with a narcissistic personality are in love with their own self and are convinced of their uniqueness, behaving in an unpleasant, arrogant way towards others.

A person with a narcissistic personality only sees their self. They do not know what empathy is and is indifferent to the needs of others, seeing only their own needs and pursuing their own goals.

Although narcissism is sometimes associated with men, this type of personality disorder can also affect women. Each of us wants to be appreciated and is sometimes oversensitive, but a narcissistic person is so focused on their own needs and ideas that they do not notice their surroundings, feeling an irresistible need to be the center of attention.

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Moreover, narcissists are able to direct their feelings, thoughts and interests only towards themselves, which makes them have serious problems with establishing close relationships not only with a partner but also colleagues and family members.

A narcissist cannot function without people, because they need them in order to be convinced of their uniqueness and to collect praise. Narcissus does not give anything of himself to those around him, treating relationships with people as a way to improve well-being and increase self-esteem. When meeting a narcissistic person, we may initially have the impression that we are dealing with a self-confident man who knows exactly what he wants, but these are only presumptions.

A narcissist, through their behavior, masks low self-esteem. Excessive self-confidence is only a mask under which a weak personality is hidden. Self-focus, lack of empathy, arrogant behavior towards others, and a sense of superiority allow people with narcissistic personality disorder to better cope with the reality around them, which is far from the narcissistic person's vision.

For a person with NPD, they assume themselves as epitome of ideal love, so creating a successful relationship with another person is very difficult for a them. Although narcissists enter into various relationships, these are one-sided relationships from which only narcissists draw, among others by exaggerating their achievements and confirming their uniqueness.

Narcissistic Personality Traits

Typical traits of a narcissistic personality include:

  • a sense of superiority
  • arrogance
  • exaggerating achievements
  • exaggerated self-esteem
  • overconfidence
  • lack of empathy
  • not perceiving the needs of other people
  • belief that others are not worthy of the company
  • meeting one's own needs at the expense of others
  • belief in being better

A narcissist believes they deserves special treatment and all the admiration of others. They expect constant praise. They are over-sensitive to hate and criticism and blames other people for all their failures.

They do not see their guilt, although it may be indisputable, they cannot forgive, and also have a tendency to go to extremes — can take revenge for trivial reasons. Narcissistic personality disorder is also characterized by a tendency to manipulate that other people do not recognize at first glance, becoming a tool in the hands of the narcissist.

NPD Treatment

Narcissism changes the perception of reality. The narcissistic personality is associated with problems in almost every area of ​​life, although the person with personality disorders does not recognize it. Narcissism is not a disease, but it does require the support of a specialist. Narcissistic personality makes life difficult, so it is worth opting for therapy.

In the case of narcissistic people, psychological therapy is primarily used, but it does bring results overnight and also if the narcissist does not cooperate. It is difficult to convince a narcissistic person and explain them how important it is for them to participate in a therapy. It is most often successful in the case of coexistence of other personality disorders such as, anxiety disorders, which begin to make life difficult for a narcissist. One of the solutions that are used in the case of personality disorders is psychodynamic therapy — focusing on the psychological roots of emotional sufferings.

However, it should be remembered that psychological therapy is a long and arduous process that will not bring results if the narcissist feels that they have gained another person in whom they can be the center of attention, increasing their self-esteem. Therefore, narcissistic personality disorder requires the support of an expert who specializes in this type of disorder.

© 2022 Hamza Hussaini

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