Dr. Louise Stanger,
So, what is a narcissistic personality disorder? It’s often defined as a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others. But behind this mask of ultra-confidence lies a fragile self-esteem that’s vulnerable to the slightest criticism.
A narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and disappointed when you’re not given the special favors or admiration you believe you deserve. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.
Oftentimes, it feels like one is walking on eggshells as one does with borderline personality disorder. You feel disregarded and unheard as the narcissist only has eyes for themselves. According to the Diagnostic Statistical Manuel, here are a few characteristics of narcissistic personalities. As you read these, see if they strike a resonant chord with you or sound like anyone you have encountered.
- Have an exaggerated sense of self importance-“Its all about me”
- Grandiose- having an exaggerated sense of self –importance. “I am the best”
- Expecting special favors and unquestioning compliance with your expectations. “YOU DO THIS NOW!
- Taking advantage of others to get what you want- DO WHAT I SAY OR ELSE
- Having an inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others-LACK OF EMPATHY
- Being envious of others and believing others envy you
- Behaving in an arrogant or haughty manner “Like I am GOD”
- Expecting to be recognized as superior even without achievements that warrant it. “ I deserve this even though I do not work.”
- Exaggerating your achievements and talents- “ I am just a super power”
- Being preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate.
Test for Narcissistic Personality Disorder
There are two main tests you can take to see if you have a personality disorder.
- The first has been the gold standard in the industry and was developed in 1998 by Raskin, R.; Terry, H. (1988). “A principal-components analysis of the Narcissistic Personality Inventory and further evidence of its construct validity”. Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol 54(5), 890-902.
Take the test now: http://personality-testing.info/tests/NPI/
- The second test is developed by Dr., Craig Maikin, Harvard Professor and author of Rethinking Narissim personality inventory. What Dr Milkin, from Harvard Medical School found, after testing adults from all over the world and using various other measures of health and pathology, were three distinct pattern of behavior, all related to narcissism (or the lack of it):
- Echoism, in which people never or rarely feel special, focus on others too much, at the expense of their own needs, and might even feel depressed or anxious.
- Healthy Narcissism, in which people are empathic, ambitious, confident, and capable of giving and receiving help.
- Extreme Narcissism, in which people are manipulative, argumentative, approval- seeking, and suffer from fluctuating self-esteem.
He also agued that people live in a continuum and he developed what is called Narcissism Spectrum Scale.
Take Dr. Craig Mailins Narcissim test and find out where you fall. You will receive research backed tips and feedback afterword’s.
Married To or Living With a Narcissist
Think you’re living with a narcissistic?
Narcissistic relationships tend to be very challenging. Narcissistic partners usually have difficulty really loving someone else, because they don’t truly love themselves. They are so focused on themselves that they cannot really “see” their partner as a separate person. They tend to only see the partner in terms of how they fill their needs (or fail to fill their needs). Their mates and children are only valued in terms of their ability to meet these needs.
Narcissistic partners often lack the ability to have empathy with their partners’ feelings. This lack of empathy leads to a lot of hard feelings. Yet many people are drawn to narcissistic relationships.
Narcissistic partners can be very captivating, especially at the beginning. They tend to have a “big” personality. They are the life of the party. They can make you feel that you too must be great for them to choose you. However, in time, they can be too controlling in relationships. They may feel jealous or easily hurt. When narcissistic injuries occur, they often lash out and can be cutting. Their reactions are dramatic and attention-seeking.. Narcissists are prone to falling madly in love with someone instantly and are very quick to commit. However, this initial love and commitment is not easily sustained.
Cultural Influences on Narcissism
San Diego State Professor, Jean M Twenge argues that we are creating a culture which promotes Narcissism and that are creating a society which undulates before our eyes creating little children that walk around in princess t shirts and celebrities that project an all about Kardiasim me and social media which promotes self aggrandizement.
When you are in a narcissistic relationship, you may feel very lonely. You might feel like you are just an accessory and your needs and wants are unimportant. Narcissistic partners act as if they are always right, that they know better and that their partner is wrong or incompetent. This often leaves the other person in the relationship either angry and trying to defend themselves or identifying with this negative self-image and feeling badly about themselves.
Are you in a Narcissistic Relationship? If you find yourself in a narcissistic relationship, you can first recognize what you have chosen and reflect on the unconscious motives that might have led you to choose such a partner.
- Did you have a self-centered parent?
- Are you more comfortable with your partner being in control, so you can then take be more passive?
- Do you get a sense of worth from being attached to someone who is in the spotlight?
- Does the negative image of yourself they foster with their criticisms and superior attitudes resonate with your own critical thoughts about yourself? Thought__Many people who fall in love with narcissists have issues around co-dependency. They will put up with a certain amount of abuse because they don’t feel confident enough in themselves to set boundaries or be on their own.
- Understanding your role in the narcissistic relationship is important. You can then start to challenge yourself to change your half of the dynamic. This will, in turn, challenge your partner to change their style of relating. You can recognize the fragility of your partner’s self-esteem and have compassion for the fact that his or her inflated sense of self, superiority and grandiosity is a cover up for the flip side of self-hate and feelings of inadequacy. You can also develop your own self-confidence and self-worth by learning to practice self-compassion. Don’t be a victim. In all encounters, act equal, and treat your partner as an equal.
For additional resources on the topic, be sure to check out these books:
Rokelle Lerner- The Object of My Affection Is In My Reflection, 2009 Health Communications Inc (available on Amazon)
Wendy Terry Behary LCSW, Disarming The Narcissist (second Edition ) New Harbinger Publications , Inc 2013
Sandy Hotchkiss LCSW Why Is It Always About You ? The Seven Deadly Sins of Narcissisn 2002
Elizabeth R Berown, Living Successfully With Screwed Up People ,2010 Revel a divison of the Baker Group . Michigan
Jean Twenge and Keith W Campell – The Narcissim Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement 2009 Free Press a Division of Simon and Schuster
Paul Mason and Randi Kruger-Stop Walking On Eggshells , 2010 New Harbinger Press
Dr. Craig Malkin, Rethinking Narcissism , 2015 Harper Wave
Kim Saeed How To do No Contact Like A Boss!2015 Smashwords
Drew Keys Narcissists Exposed –75 Things Narcissists Don’t Want You To Know 2012 Lighthouse
Elizabeth Brown, Living Successfully with Screwed –Up People,1999 Revell Publishing
Kerry Patterson, Crucial Conversation Tools for Talking When Stakes are High ,2012 MCGRAW HILL