Personality disorders are mental health disorders caused by unhealthy patterns of thinking and behaving. People with personality disorders struggle to interact with the world and understand relationships and social situations. Personality disorders are classified into clusters based on common characteristics.
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) falls into cluster B, characterized by intensely emotional reactions to things and overly dramatic, unpredictable, attention-seeking behavior. Cluster B personality disorders are highly treatable, but most people do not seek treatment because they do not recognize their behavior as problematic. At Harmony Hills, we understand the challenges that NPD can create and offer comprehensive treatment to help you learn to manage symptoms to lead a healthier life. Contact us at 855.494.0357 to learn more.
Identifying the Signs of Narcissism
Narcissism is extreme self-involvement to the extent that a person ignores the needs of those around them. Narcissism is a trait that occurs on a spectrum. Not everyone who demonstrates signs of narcissism has a narcissistic personality disorder.
People who exhibit narcissism are often charismatic and charming and do not demonstrate negative behavior immediately, especially in relationships. They strive to be surrounded by others who feed their ego and build superficial relationships to fortify their grandiose self-image.
Signs of narcissism include:
- Grandiosity, or an exaggerated sense of self-importance
- Excessive need for attention and validation
- Preoccupation with fantasies of brilliance, success, power, and beauty
- Expectation to be perceived as superior with little to back it up
- Exaggeration of talents and accomplishments
- Believing they are superior and can only associate with others who are equally special
- Inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs or feelings of others
- Monopolizing conversations and belittling others they see as inferior
- Expecting special treatment or favors along with unquestioning compliance to these expectations
- Envy of others and the belief that others are envious of them
Narcissists are incredibly manipulative and take advantage of others to get what they want, with no remorse for their actions. They behave arrogantly and come across as vain, shallow, boastful, and pretentious. Narcissists insist on having the best of everything, believing that is what they deserve.
How Narcissists Respond to Criticism
Narcissists see everything in terms of good and bad and split all interactions and circumstances as such. They take credit for everything good and blame anything else on those around them. Further, they deny their negativity while accusing others of disapproving of them. Narcissists cannot handle anything they perceive as criticism. Typical responses to perceived criticism can include:
- Difficulty regulating emotions
- Rage or contempt
- The belittlement of others to make themselves appear superior
- Becoming moody or depressed for falling short of perfection
- An inability to communicate or work as part of a team
- Angry or violent outbursts
Narcissists harbor intense secret feelings of shame, insecurity, humiliation, and vulnerability. Their behavior is motivated by a deeply repressed fear of rejection and ridicule. Their fear of abandonment makes it impossible to trust others or develop real intimacy.
What Are Narcissistic Behaviors Rooted In?
There are two types of narcissism that narcissistic behaviors can be ruled by. While the two do share common traits and behaviors, they are considered to be rooted in very different types of childhood experiences.
- Vulnerable narcissism is usually the result of irresponsible parenting or childhood abuse or neglect. Vulnerable narcissists are more sensitive, and their narcissistic behavior helps protect them from feelings of inadequacy. They are more likely to feel anxious or offended when they feel people are not treating them as if they are special.
- Grandiose narcissism is typically the result of parental overindulgence and excessive or undue praise during childhood. Having been treated as superior in childhood, they expect to continue to be treated so as adults. They are more likely to brag and be elitist, aggressive, overly confident, and insensitive.
Parental modeling plays a significant role in narcissistic behaviors because much of our behavior is learned. That said, narcissism and NPD are treatable and respond well to behavioral therapy approaches to reduce maladaptive behaviors.
Learn More About Narcissistic Behaviors at Harmony Hills
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) frequently co-occurs with other personality disorders, anxiety, depression, and substance use disorders. Because they cannot recognize their behaviors as problematic, NPD treatment is usually identified as a co-occurring disorder when someone seeks treatment for a different mental health or substance use disorder.
Harmony Hills provides comprehensive, integrated treatment to help you overcome the obstacles created by narcissistic behaviors. Contact us at 855.494.0357 to learn more.