From time to time in this blog we focus on a particular strand of mental illness or mental health care and this month focus on narcissism. Narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder in which a person is excessively preoccupied with personal adequacy, power, prestige and vanity, mentally unable to see the destructive damage they are causing to themselves and to others in the process.

The term Narcissism originated from the Greek mythology, where the young Narcissus fell in love with his own image reflected in a pool of water. Narcissism itself can be defined as the pursuit of gratification from vanity, or egotistic admiration of one’s own attributes, that derive from arrogant pride.

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by dramatic, emotional behavior, which is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders. Narcissism is also considered a social or cultural problem in terms of a person’s relationships with self and others.

Someone with Narcissistic personality disorder may show some of the following symptoms:

  • Believing that you’re better than others,
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness,
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents,
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration,
  • Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly,
  • Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings,
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans,
  • Taking advantage of others,
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior,
  • Being jealous of others,
  • Believing that others are jealous of you,
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships,
  • Setting unrealistic goals,
  • Being easily hurt and rejected,
  • Having a fragile self-esteem,
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional.

Although some features of narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence or strong self-esteem, it’s not the same. Narcissistic personality disorder crosses the border of healthy confidence and self-esteem into thinking so highly of yourself that you put yourself on a pedestal. In contrast, people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don’t value themselves more than they value others.

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolise conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may have a sense of entitlement. And when you don’t receive the special treatment to which you feel entitled, you may become very impatient or angry. You may insist on having “the best” of everything — the best car, athletic club, medical care or social circles, for instance.

But underneath all this behavior often lies a fragile self-esteem. You have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have a sense of secret shame and humiliation. And in order to make yourself feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and efforts to belittle the other person to make yourself appear better.

When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may not want to think that anything could be wrong — doing so wouldn’t fit with your self-image of power and perfection. But by definition, a narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of your life, such as relationships, work, school or your financial affairs. You may be generally unhappy and confused by a mix of seemingly contradictory emotions. Others may not enjoy being around you, and you may find your relationships unfulfilling.

At Freedom Care we offer high quality care for individuals with complex health needs, including narcissistic personality disorder. If you would like to discuss our specialist care services in more detail contact us today!


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