People with narcissistic personality disorder have superiority feeling and they do not bother about others in the society. Basically it is a mental disorder in which the person would have high inflated sense of self-importance. In reality, they have a low self esteem and feel desperate even to the slightest criticism. It is one of the major personality disorders which cause them to behave in socially distressing ways affecting their relationships in school or workplace. Society views their behavior as inappropriate separating them from others. This sort of behavior may be correct for a king or monarchy but not in present condition.
Some of the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder are:-
- Having wrong belief that they are superior to others
- Imagining about success and possessing supreme power all the time
- Exaggerating the talents/achievements
- Believing they are very special humans
- Not concerned about the feelings of others/society (not empathetic)
- Would express disregard for people whom they feel inferior
- Being jealous and taking due advantage of others
- Will not maintain healthy relationships
- Will set unrealistic goals that cannot be achieved
- Preoccupied with unlimited power and fantasy ideas
- Longing to be admired by all
Though some people with narcissistic personality may look like having good confidence level, in reality it is not healthy confidence. They always think high of themselves perceiving others as belittle or inferior. And they may get angry if they are not given importance. There is always fragile self esteem beneath this behavior.
A trained psychologist can identify narcissistic personality disorder by talking with the concerned person. They will not use any laboratory tests for confirming the diagnoses instead they will ask a few questions. Based on the way the affected person answers they can conclude the type of personality.
Normally a narcissistic person will not accept that something is wrong with him. Until the disorder disturbs his relationship seriously or unless he is compelled by others he will not visit any psychologist. A person should have at least some of the criteria of DSM manual published by the American Psychiatric Association.
What exactly causes narcissistic personality disorder is not known. Many theories are speculated to cause this disorder. It can be due to genetic factors, environmental factors or biological factors or psychological factors. A child may develop this personality disorder if any of his parents or close relatives has this type of personality.
A child can develop this problem by the way in which he is treated or perceived by others in his childhood. He may be neglected or abused in his childhood and developed mistrust on others. One cannot say exactly a single factor is responsible for causing this disorder. It can occur due to multiple factors.
Extreme control imposed by parents during childhood can change one’s personality into narcissistic later. Lack of affection, parental disregard for the child’s fears, emotional abuse, overindulgence and unpredictable behavior from the parents can make a child to develop narcissistic personality disorder when he grows into adult.
Some children will learn from their parents that one should not empathize with other’s feelings. This will induce them to hide their actual feelings which would be expressed in the form of grandiose and egoistic behavior. If not treated in time, a person with narcissistic personality disorder may get into alcohol or substance abuse, will have relationship problems and in rare cases will go into depression.
Psychotherapy is the effective way of treating narcissistic personality disorder. Medications are given only if the person has anxiety/depression problems. Cognitive therapy gives the best solution for identifying negative beliefs and to replace unwanted behavior from them. Family therapy or group therapy is helpful in resolving the conflicts and to develop intimate communication among the family members.
But any type of therapy will not give immediate results. It might take months together for the person to come out of his “shell” and to change his behavior. Reshaping the personality will take long time since one needs to change his pattern of thinking to modify the behavior into socially acceptable tone.
Initially the concerned person may feel that taking treatment is unnecessary and even waste of time. He may also feel that the therapist is not worth enough to talk openly. But the concerned person should be encouraged by the loved ones to focus on the treatment with open mindedness. He should learn about it and stick on to the treatment plan. It is necessary to identify the symptoms and risk factors. Practicing yoga and meditation can be helpful. Remember that it will take some time to change your behavior and hence be patient and listen to the therapist.