People with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) have an inflated sense of self-importance, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. They often display arrogant and entitled behaviours and are highly sensitive to criticism. The symptoms of NPD can have a negative impact on both the person with the disorder and those around them.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) Symptoms
While the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) can vary from person to person, there are some key signs and symptoms that are commonly seen in people with this condition. These include:
An inflated sense of self-importance and grandiose beliefs about oneself
A narcissist usually has an overwhelming preoccupation with success, power, and achievement. A narcissist believes that he (or she) is the most intelligent, most interesting, most attractive person in the room. They will brag about their accomplishments or belittle those who have not achieved as much.
An excessive need for admiration and positive reinforcement from others.
A narcissist will often fish for compliments and take credit for things that he or she has not actually done. They will stop at nothing to get their fix of adulation and praise.
This is related to the fact that notwithstanding their sense of grandiosity, they have a shallow sense of self-worth and a fragile ego, and they need constant validation from others. They will go to great lengths to get attention and praise, and will often seek out relationships with people who they perceive as being high-status or powerful.
A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment.
A narcissist believes that he deserves the best of everything, and will often take advantage of others to get what they want. Everything is fair game in their eternal fight to obtain everything they believe is their due, and they will lie, steal and cheat in order to get it.
A lack of empathy and an inability to understand the feelings or needs of others. A narcissist will often dismiss the feelings or experiences of others, and may have a hard time understanding why someone is upset or hurt. This can make relationships with narcissists difficult, as they are often unable to see things from another person’s perspective – and even when they do, they do not care.
A propensity for taking advantage of others – both emotionally and financially.
Narcissists often use other people to get what they want, whether it be attention, money, sex, or power. They may also use people to further their own career or social goals.
A manipulative and exploitative nature.
Narcissists are often master manipulators and will use any means necessary to get what they want. This can include lying, playing on people’s emotions, or using them for their own gain.
A lack of remorse or guilt.
A narcissist will not hesitate to hurt others – emotionally or physically – in order to get what they want and will often do so without any feelings of guilt or remorse.
Risk factors – how does one develop narcissistic personality disorder?
There is no one single cause of narcissistic personality disorder, but there are some risk factors that have been identified.
A history of abuse or neglect during childhood. Children who are raised in an environment where they are constantly put down, criticised or made to feel worthless are more likely to develop narcissistic personality disorder.
Unrealistic expectations from parents. Parents who put their children on a pedestal and expect them to be perfect can also contribute to the development of narcissistic personality disorder.
Children who are not given enough attention or love, or who are constantly seeking approval, may also be more likely to develop narcissistic personality disorder, because they will develop a need for constant attention and validation.
A family member who has narcissistic personality disorder. There is a higher incidence of narcissistic personality disorder in families where there is already someone with the disorder, indicating that there is a genetic element to this mental illness.
Treatment for NPD symptoms – what can be done?
If you or someone you know is struggling with narcissistic personality disorder, it is important to seek professional help. This mental illness can be very difficult to deal with on your own, and treatment can make a big difference. If you are unsure where to start, you can talk to your GP or contact a mental health helpline.
While there is no cure for narcissistic personality disorder, there are some treatments that can help. These include:
Psychotherapy. This is the most common form of treatment for narcissistic personality disorder, and involves talking to a therapist about your thoughts, feelings and behaviours.
Cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT). This type of therapy can help you to change the negative thought patterns that are associated with narcissistic personality disorder, and teach you how to deal with difficult situations in a more positive way.
Group therapy. This can be a helpful way to share your experiences with others who have similar issues, and to learn how to deal with narcissism in a healthy way.
Medication. There is no specific medication that can treat narcissistic personality disorder, but there are some medications that can help with the symptoms of depression, anxiety or other mental health disorders that may be associated with it.
Final Thoughts on the Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
Narcissistic personality disorder can wreak absolute havoc in the lives of those who suffer from it, as well as the lives of those around them. If you think you or someone you know may be struggling with any of the above NPD symptoms, it is important to seek professional help. With treatment, it is possible to manage the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder and improve your quality of life, as well as that of the people who love you.