man dissociating works on understanding narcissistic personality disorder

Understanding the Narcissist – Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Like other personality disorders, narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is associated with specific narcissistic traits. You may perceive someone with narcissism as arrogant, rude, and self-absorbed. They often behave in ways that have a negative impact on others. But there’s more to this disorder than meets the eye, and a narcissistic person doesn’t choose their disorder. Understanding narcissistic personality disorder can help you better understand their behavior and how to respond in a way that is both supportive and healthy for everyone involved.

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment can help. Reach out to Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609 today to learn more.

What Is a Personality Disorder?

Personality disorders are a type of mental health condition that affects how people think, feel, and behave. A person with a personality disorder has a worldview that deviates from the norm, often with rigid thought patterns and behavior. It is hard for a person with a personality disorder to see how those patterns affect their life and the lives of those around them. There are three different categories of personality disorders, with 10 disorders altogether. These include:

  • Odd or eccentric disorders, such as schizoid personality disorder
  • Dramatic or emotional disorders, such as narcissistic personality disorder
  • Anxious or fearful disorders, such as avoidant personality disorder

Understanding a narcissist in your life starts with understanding the traits associated with a narcissistic personality disorder.

Understanding Narcissism and NPD

Many people have mild elements of narcissism in their personalities. It’s only human to feel proud when you do something important or to feel good about yourself when you look good. And sometimes, those feelings of pride might make us a little more self-involved than usual. Having those feelings from time to time doesn’t make you a narcissist, however. For true narcissists, the narcissist traits dominate their personality and their life. The disorder affects every aspect of life, including careers, friendships, and intimate relationships.

Like all personality disorders, NPD is a complex condition. People with NPD have an exaggerated sense of their own importance. They lack empathy for and interest in other people but also have a strong need to be admired by others. So, although they might not be interested in others, they seek people out to get the adulation they believe they deserve.  At the core of NPD is a fragile, inflexible, and unrealistic sense of self. To maintain their fragile self-image, people with NPD need to believe that they are exceptional. This is the root cause of many of the patterns of behavior that they develop. For instance, this is why people with NPD react strongly to even the most superficial criticism. It’s also why their behavior is so single-mindedly oriented toward gaining praise and recognition. Without it, their identity is highly vulnerable.

Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The defining symptoms of personality disorders are patterns of thought, belief, and behavior. In people with NPD, these patterns are self-aggrandizing. These include:

  • Self-involvement to the point of obsession
  • An exaggerated sense of importance
  • May lie about or exaggerate talents and accomplishments
  • Lack of empathy for and interest in other people
  • A need for constant attention and praise
  • Strong overreaction to criticism
  • May manipulate or take advantage of others to further their own goals
  • Avoid taking personal responsibility for their behavior or problems

If you recognize these traits in someone, it’s important to reach out for professional help.

Can NPD Be Cured?

Personality disorders aren’t curable. However, with good treatment and hard work, the symptoms of the disease can be managed and minimized. Yet, there’s always the possibility of a relapse into old ways of thinking and behaving.  Therapy is the mainstay of treatment for NPD. In therapy, people with NPD learn how to:

  • Understand the emotional roots of their behavior and why they have developed narcissistic behavior patterns.
  • Better relate to other people.
  • Let go of the need to achieve impossible goals, and instead recognize real skills and accomplishments.
  • Understand what drives their self-esteem.
  • Give themselves internal validation instead of seeking it from others.

Sometimes group, couple, or family therapy can be helpful too. These are useful because they help people with NPD understand how their behavior hurts others. Unfortunately, there is a major barrier to treatment. People with NPD don’t usually see anything wrong with their behavior. This means they don’t understand—and may not care—that their behavior is harmful. They’re likely to be resistant to treatment and never believe they need it. Since they don’t have the motivation to change, therapy may not be successful. There are no medications for the treatment of NPD. However, people with co-occurring problems such as depression or anxiety can benefit from medications to treat symptoms of those disorders.

Find Help for Narcissistic Personality Disorder

NPD is a hard disorder to treat, but that doesn’t mean there is no hope. With the right help and support, people with NPD can learn how to manage their symptoms in a more productive way. Understanding narcissistic personality disorder is key to understanding those in your life who have it and how to help them.

If you or someone you know has NPD, reach out to Promises Behavioral Health at 844.875.5609 today or reach out online to learn more.

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