Persons with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) are vain and think highly of their self-image. There’s this strong sense of self-importance that they need to be the center of attention, and their ego is fed with constant admiration.
A narcissistic personality disorder is a type of personality disorder and is considered a mental condition. Success, power, brilliance, beauty, self-image is what they superficially care about. Other people perceive them as conceited and snobbish; thus, others do not enjoy being around them.
Do you interact with an individual with NPD? Perhaps your boss, a colleague, or even a family member? You can meet people from different walks of life with this personality disorder. Here’s what you should know about NPD to give you a better understanding of why they act this way, how to spot one, and how to deal with them.
Types of Narcissistic Personality Disorders
DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) is a manual used to assess and diagnose mental disorders. According to DSM-5, there are two types of people with Narcissistic personality disorder distinguished by their traits:
- Grandiose Overt Narcissism: Characteristics include grandiose personality traits (in behavior or fantasy), arrogance, fantasies about success, and boldness. Individuals with grandiose personalities even see themselves as always better than others. There’s an exaggerated sense of importance, knowledge, and power. People with Grandiose overt type of NPD are likely to lack empathy to others, manipulate people for their benefit, and aggressively behave when not praised.
- Vulnerable Covert Narcissism: People with this type of NPD usually have oversensitive and defensive behavior. They are vulnerable to emotional and mental hurt, especially when not praised by others.
Personality Traits Of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
Are self-love and narcissism the same? Not exactly. Narcissism is excessive regard for oneself, physical appearance, inflated self-confidence, and self-centeredness. While self-love is taking care of one’s well-being and happiness. Persons who practice self-love likely have high self-esteem, while narcissists have low self-esteem but use their narcissistic traits to mask it (not all but others do it). How do you spot a person with NPD? Here are the traits or symptoms you should look out for in an individual with NPD.
Grandiose: People with Narcissistic personality disorder have a grandiose sense of self-importance. Grandiose means having a sense of entitlement that they think they deserve special treatment and are superior to everyone. Like in the workplace, they volunteer to deliver a task that is way beyond their capabilities but is unable to deliver. This is just to receive praises and devalue what others in the office can contribute.
Exploitative behavior and superficial relationships: Individuals with NPD engage themselves in exploitative behaviors and superficial relationships. For example, they get into a superficial relationship with a person who they view as beneficial for their status. Like a trophy wife, they find a partner, not because of the person’s attitude, but to boost their status. Usually, the relationship is one-sided; the narcissist gains control.
Excessive need for praise and admiration: You can spot narcissists if they like being the center of attention. They often take over the conversation and need to be constantly praised and admired. They have the belief that others are envious of them and are superior to others. An occasional compliment is not enough for narcissists because praises feed their ego; they find it a sign of betrayal when not praised all the time.
Unable to take criticism well: Most narcissists are likely to have low self-esteem. That’s why they are unable to take constructive criticisms from others very well. People with NPD do not like to be corrected or confronted with their mistakes because they are overly sensitive. They dish out even the slightest criticism through anger and sometimes aggressiveness.
Lack of empathy for others: Because narcissist only thinks highly of themselves, they lack empathy for others. This can come in forms like lacking the ability to look after their loved one’s emotional needs. They tend to be selfish, have troubled relationships, and not care how other people might feel about what they say or do.
Feels sad when not praised: It takes a toll on the mental health of a narcissist not to be praised constantly. People with NPD feel sad, restless, empty, experience symptoms of depression or boredom when not praised. As a result, they need constant praising by surrounding themselves with people who think highly of them.
Poorly copes to life changes: Narcissists avoid conflicts and being hurt; that’s why they poorly cope with life’s changes. If things at work don’t go their way, they easily give up. If they experience difficulties at home or school may seem unbearable for them and choose to walk away rather than face the problems. Young adults who have this personality disorder may even have “failure to launch” come adulthood (e.g., unable to live on their own or form meaningful relationships).
What Causes Narcissistic Personality Disorders?
Now that you know the traits of a person with Narcissistic personality disorder, do you have someone in mind with these behaviors? You may be wondering, what caused them to have these behaviors? According to the American Psychiatric Association, there is no definite cause of Narcissistic personality disorder. However, life experiences, upbringing at home, and inherited genetics influence the formation of the disorder. Factors or presumptive causes include:
- Neglect during childhood
- Childhood experience such as physical, emotional, mental, or sexual abuse
- Excessive pampering or spoiling of parents
- High expectations from parents and peers
- Cultural or family influence
How to Deal With a Person With NPD
If dealing with a narcissistic person starts to bother you, learn how to deal with it. Sadly, you can’t control someone with NPD on how they behave or speak because you may clash and get into a fight. If you have no choice but to deal with them at work, even at home, choose to deal with it healthily.
- Acceptance: The first step to deal with a narcissist is acceptance. It may be hard at first, but you have to be the bigger person and accept the issue. Do not try to confront them at first because there’s no use, and you will be met with resistance. You need to know what you feel or do is unimportant to them because they lack empathy. There’s not much you can do at this point if you try to change a narcissist. All you have to do is accept it.
- Focus on Yourself: Because of the sense of entitlement, narcissists may say or do things that can hurt you. As you try to accept their personality, don’t be affected by how they act towards you and just focus on yourself. Don’t let these negative comments infiltrate your sense of self. Remind yourself about your goals and strengths. If you find it too toxic to be around narcissists, turn a blind eye and take a break. Do not try to fix them because you will be exhausted, instead focus on yourself, know your self-worth, and take care of your mental health condition.
- Pick Your Battles: When dealing with narcissists, pick your battles. Narcissists enjoy seeing other people squirm, so don’t make it visible to them because they feel they’re winning. Don’t get visibly annoyed because it gives them the satisfaction they’re looking for. Pick your battles, especially at work; try to be professional.
- Speak Up: If you have no choice but to deal with them, try to speak up at times calmly and gently. You can tell them calmly that what they do or say is not acceptable because it’s starting to affect other people’s feelings in the wrong way. Sit down with them and be specific on pinpointing their unacceptable behavior. However, prepare yourself to be met with resistance, or they simply won’t care. At this time, mental health professionals can intervene.
- Set Boundaries: Persons with NPD may not understand the concept of personal space. There may be instances that they don’t respect your personal space. In this case, set a clear line of the boundary. For example, you can talk to them not to touch your personal things or not go inside your office. Tell them that there can be consequences the next time they do so, make sure it doesn’t sound like a threat. However, be firm and stand your ground so they will believe you.
- Learn When to Move On: When a narcissist starts to emotionally or verbally abuse you, learn when to move on. NPD doesn’t have treatment, and if the person doesn’t want to change, there’s not much you can do. If name-calling, insults, humiliation, threatening, or jealousy already is overtaking your relationship, know when to move on. These feelings are unhealthy for you.
Watch for other warning signs that it’s time to move on:
- They start to blame others or their mistakes
- Your feelings are disregarded
- Underplay your needs or opinions
- You feel isolated and manipulated
- Lashes out their shortcomings to you
- Your mental health is affected
Learn to move on and cut off toxic people with Narcissistic personality disorder in your life. If it’s a family member you have to deal with, try to be involved in family therapy with a mental health professional or a psychotherapist.
If you get yourself involved with a person with Narcissistic personality disorder, may it be in the workplace or your loved ones, you may struggle to deal with it emotionally and mentally. As NPD may lead to harmful behaviors, hurtful words can be said, and unequal treatment in the relationship may happen.
Narcissistic personality disorder cannot be cured, there is no certain treatment to make this all go away. However, Talk Therapy with a counselor or psychotherapist can help them realize their actions, manage their symptoms, and help change them. Family therapy can be a beneficial form of treatment for families who have a family member who has NPD. The bottom line is to take care of your mental health; if you surround yourself with an individual who has NPD, talk to a mental health professional at Kentucky Counseling Center.