Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Oct 6, 2014 by

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The word narcissistic comes from the Greek myth about a young man named Narcissus, who was the son of the river god Cephissus and the nymph Liriope and who was distinguished for his beauty.  Narcissus disdained those who loved him, most notoriously a wood nymph named Echo who pursued him until he cruelly rejected her and she pined away and died, with only her voice remaining.  Narcissus continued to attract the attention of other nymphs whom he entertained briefly before scorning them.  The gods grew tired of his behavior and, in order to show him what if felt like to love and never be loved, they caused him to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water.  He did not recognize his own reflection and fell in love, pining away, as Echo had, until he died of grief.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder in which people develop an inflated sense of self-importance and a strong need for admiration.  Those with this disorder believe that they are superior to others and have little capacity for empathy.  Although people with this disorder appear very confident, this is often a mask for low self-esteem, which makes them vulnerable to slightest criticism.  Other symptoms may include:

  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating achievements and talents
  • Believing they are special and acting accordingly
  • Expecting others to go along with their ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those whom they feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing others are jealous of them
  • Have trouble sustaining a healthy relationship
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Appearing tough-minded and unemotional

Dealing with a narcissistic person is difficult because of their lack of empathy and also because they do not accept responsibility for their own behavior, but see someone or something outside force to be at fault.  What appears to he self-confidence and healthy self-esteem is actually the narcissist putting him or her self on a pedestal.  Humility is totally lacking, unless faked in order to manipulate another person. People with narcissistic personality disorder come off to others as being conceited, boastful and pretentious.  They often monopolize conversations.  They believe they deserve the best of everything.  If they do not get what they want, they become angry and frustrated and put others down to make theirselves feel better, perhaps to avoid feelings of worthlessness and shame.

The following is a list of suggestions for dealing with a Narcissistic person:

  • Stay in close contact with your mentally healthy friends and family members; seek their support.
  • Realize the problem is the narcissist’s, not yours.
  • Realize the narcissistic is using tools of guilt, manipulation, entitlement and exploitation to get what they want.
  • Acknowledge that the narcissist lacks empathy or concern for others.  Do not look for compassion, understanding, support or anything else from them.
  • Do not expect clear, rational communication with the narcissist.
  • Separate yourself from the problems generated by the narcissist.
  • Encourage your own self-esteem and avoid criticizing or blaming yourself for problems/situations.
  • Avoid ruminating and dwelling on things.
  • Engage in activities (small or large) that interest you and distract your thinking.
  • Educate yourself about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
  • Talk to other people who are dealing with a narcissist.  Consider joining a support group.
  • Admit that Narcissism is a serious mental illness, a personality disorder.


It is rare for a person with narcissistic personality disorder to seek individual counseling because they often view other people or environmental factors as being the cause of problems and not themselves.  However, narcissistic personality disorder can cause a host of problems such as relationship difficulties, work or school difficulties and financial difficulties.  It can also cause a person to be unhappy and confused by a mix of seemingly contradictory emotions.



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1 Comment

  1. G.L.

    This is helpful to read – I have discovered that I am divorcing a narcissist, specifically the covert/vulnerable subtype. What lead me to this discovery was, more than anything else, her fundamental and absolute inability to admit fault and take responsibility or be accountable for her mistakes, failures, and abuses. Following closely behind that, her insistence in any conflict that she is the primary, if not only, victim, again based on the belief that she cannot hurt others, and is only being hurt by others. She is not so much grandiose as much as always in control of the relationship dynamics, making all decisions and refusing to concede to the other unless it serves the purpose of playing the victim role. The ideal solution, as sad as it is, would be to go complete no-contact; unfortunately for me, I now share a child with her and will have to opt for the gray rock method. Worse, these methods are the antithesis of my nature – I wear my heart on my sleeve, always emoting and oversharing and overengaging, often to a fault. But I’m learning to change, and have to for survival, and the best interests of our child.

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