Personality disorders are a group of mental conditions that involve long-term unhealthy patterns of thoughts and behaviors. Narcissistic personality disorder NPD is a type of mental health condition that causes people to have thought patterns of grandiosity and an inflated sense of their importance.
While they attempt to appear sure and confident, they seek attention to assure themselves of their self-worth. As a result, people with this personality disorder have a deep desire for admiration and recognition. As a result, they will typically seek too much attention.
People with NPD lack empathy and may not have the ability to understand or care about other people’s feelings. Learn more about the 12 traits of a narcissist.
Diagnosing a person with narcissistic personality disorder can be challenging as other mental disorders often accompany the condition. Most people with the illness will never be diagnosed because narcissists hate when their faults or shortcomings are pointed out. Consequently, they will do anything to save their false self-image from the slightest criticism and never realize how harmful their condition is to themselves and their loved ones.
A narcissist will rarely perceive their inflated sense of importance. However, there are generally 12 traits of a narcissist that are clinically significant. These personality traits may indicate that someone has NPD.
These are the traits commonly associated with a narcissist:
1. A grandiose sense of self-importance – A grandiose sense of self-importance is different than normal healthy levels of self-love or recognition. Narcissists have an unjustified and unrealistic sense of superiority over others and believe they deserve special consideration and treatment. Fantasies of love, beauty, genius, unlimited success, and power often accompany their inflated sense of self.
2. Excessive need for admiration – A narcissist needs to be in the spotlight. They may seem extremely confident, but deep inside, they lack self-esteem and constantly search for validation. They strive to be the center of attention, and if they don’t get the admiration they desire, they will use indirect ways at every chance to elicit compliments about how great they are. They often monopolize conversations and may become enraged if they think they are being ignored.
3. Superficial and exploitative relationships – A narcissist bases their relationships on surface attributes. They value people and relationships only when they benefit themselves. They will take advantage of any willingness or vulnerability of others to achieve their goals selfishly. They can always find a way to justify their selfish actions. Narcissists see people as tools and lack awareness that other people exist with feelings, needs, and desires. When they demand something, it’s in their self-interest, and they feel no guilt for expecting others to sacrifice for them.
4. Need for control – People with narcissistic personality disorder tend to be perfectionists. Since they believe they are superior to everyone else, they need to try and control everything. When things go awry or don’t get their way, a narcissist becomes highly agitated and angry.
5. Lack of empathy – Empathy is a person’s ability to recognize and understand another person’s feelings. It involves seeing someone else’s point of view and is crucial for developing healthy relationships and diffusing conflicts. Narcissists lack empathy in general. They are also severely limited or incapable of identifying, understanding, or caring about the feelings and needs of others.
6. Believe they are special or unique – Narcissistic people believe they are special and unique, and their self-stability depends on maintaining the view of being exceptional. Their sense of self is very superficial and fragile, so they tend to distance themselves or deny any reality that challenges their concept of being special and unique.
7. Difficulty with attachment and dependency – A narcissist avoids intimacy and the deep interpersonal connections needed to develop healthy relationships. Instead, their interpersonal interactions are superficial and exist only to enhance a positive self-image and benefit the narcissist.
8. Chronic feelings of emptiness and boredom – People with a narcissistic personality disorder often feel bored, restless, or depressed when not receiving the attention and praise they desire.
9. Sense of entitlement – Narcissists believe they deserve the best of everything simply because they are who they are. The rules don’t apply to them. As a result, they may become overwhelmed when faced with the compromises typically required by school, jobs, and relationships. A narcissist usually doesn’t have to verbalize their sense of entitlement as their behavior and actions communicate this belief.
10. Lack of responsibility – Most people can see when they have made a mistake. When there is a problem, or something has gone wrong, most people acknowledge their role. People who are not narcissists can accept responsibility for the role they play. A narcissist needs to be right at all costs. They will deflect responsibility by blaming others for the problem or playing the victim.
11. Lack of boundaries – Most people understand and respect other people’s physical and emotional space. We know when something we’re doing affects someone else. And we respect people’s boundaries the same way we expect them to respect ours. However, a narcissist doesn’t understand boundaries and has no limits in how they take over your space. They can leave you overwhelmed yet feel shocked and insulted when you tell them no.
12. Fear of rejection – While people with narcissistic personality disorder strive to appear confident, they usually have a deep fear of rejection. Deep inside, they fear being wrong or viewed by others as flawed or inadequate.
A narcissist typically feels superior to others and is easily upset by the slightest criticism. People with this mental condition believe they deserve special treatment and may become unhappy and disappointed when they don’t receive the special treatment or admiration they think they deserve.
A narcissistic personality disorder can interfere with many areas of a person’s life, including financial matters, relationships, work, or school. In addition, it can be difficult for people with a narcissistic personality disorder to build friendships. As a result, other people may not enjoy being around them, and often they have troubled and unfulfilling relationships.
Narcissistic personality disorder is estimated to affect between 1% and 15% of the U.S. population. The condition affects more men than women and can majorly impact the life of the narcissist and their loved ones. Mental health professionals can help people who are struggling with NPD.
While diagnosing and treating a personality disorder can be challenging, at First Light Recovery, we can help. Treatment for NPD is available, and many people are able to find relief from their patterns of behavior.
Contact us today to learn more about narcissistic personality disorder and the treatment options available.