15 Oct Are You Living With a Narcissist?
We all get frustrated by the self-centred behaviour of our significant others at times, and it would be unnerving to many of us if our needs were always our partners first concern.
Likewise, we all expect our other halves to make an effort to impress others when on an evening out or attending an important meeting.
But if this need for attention and admiration dominates their life, if they seem to lack any awareness of or consideration of your feelings and if they display an attitude of superiority or entitlement, there is a small chance they are suffering with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
Named after the mythical Greek hunter who fell in love with his own reflection, NPD is one of the four classified ‘Cluster B’ or ‘dramatic, emotional or erratic disorders.’
NPD and the DSM-5
According to DSM-5, the patient with NPD:
Needs others for regulating their sense of self and self-esteem, with an exaggerated self-appraisal that can be inflated, deflated, or switch between the two.
Sets goals based on gaining approval from others. They will either work obsessively to demonstrate their superiority or refuse to make any effort because of a feeling of entitlement.
Uses relationships to boost self-esteem with little genuine interest in others’ experiences.
Is antagonistic to others due to their grandiosity (feeling that they are better than others).
Excessively attempts to attract and be the focus of attention.
In common with all the other personality disorders, the patient with NPD will demonstrate the above characteristics everywhere and at all times and their symptoms will not be due to their age (children under about the age of eight are expected to be narcissistic), culture, substance use or a medical condition.
NPD is one of the most challenging disorders to work with, and it is arguably incurable, but that should not deter a self-aware sufferer or their family members from seeking help. Much can be done to coach individuals with NPD into forming better relationships with others, and a solution-focused approach from an experienced therapist can go a long way into improving the unhealthy family dynamic.
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