What is narcissistic personality disorder? Originally, narcissism was used for those people who are "in love with themselves", who have a tremendous fascination for themselves, for either their physical or mental attributes. They may be selfish, haughty, self-centered, have high self esteem, want to be the center of attention, feel superior to others and so on.
The name was derived from Greek mythology. Narcissus was a youth who was cruel and disdainful and as divine punishment he fell in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. He spent the whole time admiring himself but he was deeply dissatisfied as his love was not returned and he eventually faded away and was turned into a flower, a narcissus.
Some believe that children go through a narcissistic phase in the early development of their personality.
Nowadays, however, when people ask what is the meaning of narcissism it is much more likely they are asking what is narcissistic personality disorder. It seems that there are more narcissists and psychopaths than ever before! Excessive selfishness has existed as long as man has roamed the earth but only in the last couple of hundred years has it been recognized in psychological circles.
It is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders under Personality Disorders. This category is reserved for those disorders which are life long problems and the symptoms or characteristics typically start in childhood. People with personality disorders usually fail to adapt well to society and cause various levels of disruption to those around them.
The answer to 'What is narcissistic personality disorder?' usually also involves much debate about whether this antisocial disorder is caused by genetic factors or environmental factors, and it may indeed be a combination of the two.
People with a narcissistic disorder rarely seek treatment. After all, if you thought you were superior to others and received admiration from those around you, would you think there was anything wrong? Treatment is often ineffective and may even make the situation worse. For example, a narcissist who ends up in group therapy simply learns more about human psychology and can use this to improve their manipulation skills!
Those with narcissist personality disorder are more than just selfish or self centered. First of all, they lack empathy. This means they cannot put themselves in the shoes of others. They don't understand the emotions of others which means they don't care about others. This allows them to take advantage of others in ways that normal people would never consider.
One of the narcissism traits is that they feel superior to others with an enormous sense of entitlement. With the lack of empathy, this means they will take from others whatever they like... money, time, emotions, sex, energy, attention. They will take everything from you. Without remorse. Without guilt. Without concerning themselves about you whatsoever!
They want to be the center of attention in every situation. They want admiration. What is narcissistic personality disorder without large doses of boasting, bragging, exaggerating and making themselves out to be the best at everything?!
Another of the symptoms of narcissism shows up if they don't have something that you have (for example, a skill), or even if they can't have you. In this case they will often make it so that you can't use that skill either, or they will set out to destroy you so that you can't function. Ask any man who has divorced a female narcissist!
In general they will lie, cheat, exaggerate, deceive and con people to have regular narcissistic supply: praise, adoration, gifts, compliments, reassurance, money, the pleasure of being able to dominate, control or even destroy others etc. With parental narcissism, the children are often used as their source of supply. Read more here about dealing with a toxic family.
By using mind control techniques to disguise what their real motives are.
They have been described as predatory reptiles, because they hunt and destroy their victims with as much emotion as a snake might have.
They have been called chameleons because they change their outward appearance to fool their victims. They will typically befriend their victims first, because people like and trust their friends.
Then the narcissistic behavior is used to manipulate and dominate others in order to be the one with the power and all the possessions. They basically change people at the level of personality or identity in order to control them. Read more about how this pseudopersonality is created and the effects of having such a pseudopersonality.
The term malignant narcissism has been coined for the most vicious and destructive creatures in this category. Some people use the term for those with narcissistic personality disorder. Others use the term for those who have psychopathic traits as well, a hybrid if you like, where there are characteristics of antisocial personality disorder and the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.
It's not useful to get lost in the terminology. If you are the victim of mind control, it is often more an academic distinction if your torturer, a controlling mother or a controlling boyfriend, for example, is a narcissist, or a psychopath, or a sociopath. It is much more important that you learn about mind control and abusive relationships so that you can undo the negative effects.
Acquired situational narcissism is a form of narcissism that occurs when there is sudden wealth, fame and celebrity status. The individual has so much attention placed on them that they come to believe that they are actually superior to others. It is said that they spend so much time having people look at them that they stop looking at other people.
The somatic narcissist, as the name suggests, places emphasis on the soma, or body. They focus their attention on their physical attributes, wanting admiration for how good looking they are, how good they are at sex, for their physical abilities and so on. Nevertheless, it's important to remember that they still play mind games and are usually using mind control to get what they want!
The covert narcissist is one that is still grandiose and arrogant but is not so vocal or outwardly boastful about their superiority.
Healthy narcissism is a term sometimes used for the normal development of mature, healthy self-esteem that allows individuals to navigate the ups and downs of ordinary life and relationships.
Sub-clinical narcissism is the presence of narcissistic traits in otherwise normal people. They are said to be happier with a greater sense of well being than others. And obviously they are less prone to anxiety and depression. They also tolerate stress well. The Narcissistic Personality Inventory is used to measure this type.
It has been suggested that all psychopaths are narcissists but not all narcissists are psychopaths. You only have to consider the state of the world today, especially the financial system, to realize that there is considerable narcissism in the workplace. Large corporations are ideal hunting grounds for these predators as well.
And the number of politicians who are regularly being unmasked as power hungry thieves and/or sexual deviants, suggests that our society has been subverted for the benefit of the psychopaths and narcissists who have taken power for themselves.
This is simply one area that has been affected by the culture of narcissism.
Many people who are living with a narcissistic wife or narcissistic husband are unaware of the nature of the creatures they are with. However, they will be suffering the effects of the abuse: dependency on the narcissist, inability to make their own decisions, loss of self-esteem, isolation from friends and family and inability to leave the relationship. They often need outside help to realize what is going on and to understand the nature of narcissistic abuse. And even if they do leave the relationship or get a divorce, without professional help, the effects can last for years, especially for children of a narcissistic mother or narcissistic parents.
It's quite common for some people to have had several relationships with narcissists and they feel that in some way they attract narcissists into their lives.
In dealing with a narcissist the victim needs to learn about the narcissist, their motivations and desires. And they need to learn about mind control, how it works, what techniques were used against them and what effect the techniques had on them. Only then can they hope to stop the mind control and take their lives back...
The best situation is to be able to spot narcissistic people and see the warning signs of abusive relationships so you can avoid them altogether! If you have been caught already, there are important considerations in narcissistic abuse recovery.
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