The Difference Between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Traits

Narcissism is a hot topic in the news and in psychology circles these days. But what exactly is narcissism? Is it the same as being selfish? What about narcissistic personality disorder? And how do you know if you or someone you know has narcissistic personality traits? In this blog post, we will explore the definition of narcissism, outline the differences between people with narcissistic personality disorder and those with narcissistic personality traits, and provide an outlook on narcissism in today’s society.

What is narcissism?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissism is a personality disorder that is characterized by an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for admiration. To diagnose mental illnesses such as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), psychiatrists and mental health experts frequently turn to the new version of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5), which was produced by the American Psychiatric Association.

People with NPD often exhibit excessive pride in their appearance, achievements, and abilities and may have a sense of entitlement. They take advantage of others to get what they want and can be very manipulative. In addition they typically require excessive amounts of admiration and attention from others and often feel entitled to special treatment. In fact they can be very hostile and aggressive when they don’t get the attention they believe they deserve or when they feel criticized.

Narcissistic Personality Traits

On the other hand, people with narcissistic personality traits (as opposed to the full blown disorder) are not diagnosed with a mental illness but rather fall on the spectrum of narcissism.

People with narcissistic personality traits often have many of the same characteristics as those with narcissistic personality disorder, but to a lesser degree. For example, people with narcissistic personality traits may be less likely to exhibit aggressive or hostile behaviours and are more likely to feel bad about themselves when they don’t receive the attention they desire.

Outlook on narcissism in society

Narcissism is becoming increasingly common in our society. A large part of this can be attributed to the increasing focus on self-promotion and image over substance. With social media providing a platform for people to share their lives online, it has become easier than ever for people to build up an inflated sense of self-importance. And with celebrities and other public figures often being praised for their accomplishments, it can be easy to see why some people might develop narcissistic personality traits.

While narcissism is not a new phenomenon, the increasing prevalence of narcissism in our society is cause for concern. Narcissists often lack empathy and can be very manipulative and hostile. They can also be very destructive to relationships. As a result, narcissists can be quite harmful both to themselves and to those around them. It is important to be aware of the signs of narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic personality traits so that you can protect yourself from these individuals and seek help if necessary.

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4 thoughts on “The Difference Between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic Personality Traits”

  1. “people with narcissistic personality traits may be less likely to exhibit aggressive or hostile behaviors and are more likely to feel bad about themselves when they don’t receive the attention they desire.” This defines me! How do I change?

    • Hi there 🙂 Well, it is positive that you have the insight to identify behaviours that you want to improve. That is the first part of the battle, in my experience. However do not worry too much – we ALL have some narcissistic traits. Wanting to be noticed and appreciated is not a bad thing in itself – it only becomes problematic if you will stop at nothing to get what you want, trampling over other people in the process.
      My advice is this – when the negative voice in your head tells you that you are not worthy, or not good enough, and that people do not appreciate you, answer back. You need to remind yourself that you do matter, that you are worthy, and that although at that point in time people are not “noticing” that does not mean that they have never noticed, or that they will not notice in the future. Learn to give yourself the validation you need – do not depend on others for validation.
      Hang in there!


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