|Narcissistic personality disorder|
|Classification and external resources|
|Cluster A (odd)|
|Cluster B (dramatic)|
|Cluster C (anxious)|
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, the diagnostic classification system used in the United States, as "a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and a lack of empathy."
For history of the term "narcissism" see history of narcissism.
It is a requirement of ICD-10 that a diagnosis of any specific personality disorder also satisfies a set of general personality disorder criteria.
The following conditions commonly coexist (comorbid) with narcissistic personality disorder:
Lifetime prevalence is estimated at 1% in the general population and 2% to 16% in clinical populations.
Some narcissistic traits are common and a normal developmental phase. When these traits are compounded by a failure of the interpersonal environment and continue into adulthood they may intensify to the point where NPD is diagnosed. Some psychotherapists believe that the etiology of the disorder is, in Freudian terms the result of fixation, to early childhood development. If a child does not receive sufficient recognition for their talents during about ages 3–7 they will never mature and continue to be in the narcissistic early development stage. It has been suggested that NPD may be exacerbated by the onset of aging and the physical, mental, and occupational restrictions it imposes as can most personality traits.
Most psychiatrists and psychologists regard NPD as a relatively stable condition when experienced as a primary disorder. James F. Masterson outlines a prominent approach to healing NPD, while discussing a continuum of severity and the kinds of therapy most effective in different cases. Typically, as narcissism is an ingrained personality trait, rather than a chemical imbalance, medication and therapy are not very effective in treating the disorder. Schema Therapy, a form of therapy developed by Jeffrey E. Young that integrates several therapeutic approaches (psychodynamic, cognitive, behavioral etc.), also offers an approach for the treatment of NPD. It is unusual for people to seek therapy for NPD. Subconscious fears of exposure or inadequacy often cause defensive disdain of therapeutic processes. Pharmacotherapy is rarely effective.
Pathological narcissism occurs in a spectrum of severity. In its more extreme forms, it is narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). NPD is considered to result from a person's belief that they are flawed in a way that makes them fundamentally unacceptable to others. This belief is held below the person's conscious awareness; such a person would typically deny thinking such a thing, if questioned. In order to protect themselves against the intolerably painful rejection and isolation that (they imagine) would follow if others recognized their supposedly defective nature, such people make strong attempts to control others’ view of them and behavior towards them.
Pathological narcissism can develop from an impairment in the quality of the person's relationship with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, in that the parents were unable to form a healthy, empathic attachment to them. This results in the child conceiving of themselves as unimportant and unconnected to others. The child typically comes to believe they have some personality defect that makes them unvalued and unwanted.
Narcissistic personality disorder is isolating, disenfranchising, painful, and formidable for those living with it and often those who are in a relationship with them. Distinctions need to be made among those who have NPD because not each and every person with NPD is the same. Even with similar core issues, the way in which one's individual narcissism manifests itself in his or her relationships varies.
To the extent that people are pathologically narcissistic, they can be controlling, blaming, self-absorbed, intolerant of others’ views, unaware of others' needs and of the effects of their behavior on others, and insistent that others see them as they wish to be seen.
People who are overly narcissistic commonly feel rejected, humiliated and threatened when criticised. To protect themselves from these dangers, they often react with disdain, rage, and/or defiance to any slight criticism, real or imagined. To avoid such situations, some narcissistic people withdraw socially and may feign modesty or humility. In the case of feeling the lack of admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation the person can also manifest wishes to be feared and to be notorious (narcissistic supply).
Though individuals with NPD are often ambitious and capable, the inability to tolerate setbacks, disagreements or criticism, along with lack of empathy, make it difficult for such individuals to work cooperatively with others or to maintain long-term professional achievements. With narcissistic personality disorder, the person's perceived fantastic grandiosity, often coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically not commensurate with his or her real accomplishments.
The exploitative, sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, disregard for others, and constant need for attention inherent in NPD adversely affect interpersonal relationships.
Glen Gabbard suggested NPD could be broken down into two subtypes. He saw the "oblivious" subtype as being grandiose, arrogant and thick-skinned and the "hypervigilant" subtype as easily hurt, oversensitive and ashamed.
He suggested that the oblivious subtype presents a large, powerful, grandiose self to be admired, envied and appreciated. This self is the antithesis of the weakened and internalized self that hides in a generic state of shame. This is how the internalized self fends off devaluation, while the hypervigilant subtype neutralizes devaluation by seeing others as unjust abusers. This hypervigilant type does not fend off devaluation; he is obsessed with it.
Jeffrey Young, who coined the term "Schema Therapy", a technique originally developed by Aaron T. Beck (1979), also links shame to NPD. He sees the so-called Defectiveness Schema as a core schema of NPD, next to the Emotional Deprivation and Entitlement Schemas. All Schemas may incorporate maladaptive coping styles, for example, the defectiveness schema may include:
Note that an individual with this schema might not employ all three maladaptive coping responses.