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Self-absorbed and Destructive

Have you ever felt like you were dating a completely different person than the one you fell for? Well, that's a common experience when dealing with a narcissist. While some overt signs may be early red flags, many narcissists are experts at hiding behind a mask of charm and charisma. It's often not until you're deeply entrenched in the relationship that you realize what you're dealing with, especially if the narcissist is covert or even malignant.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a serious condition that affects individuals who have an excessive sense of self-love and admiration. When these traits become persistent and intense, it can lead to destructive behavior, and individuals with NPD can become abusive, using manipulative tactics to control and harm others.

The consequences of narcissistic abuse can persist long after the abuse has stopped. Survivors may endure symptoms such as anxiety, depression, low self-esteem, and difficulties with trust. Narcissistic abuse can also have ramifications beyond personal relationships, impacting a survivor's professional life, social interactions, and overall mental and emotional well-being.

Understanding the Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is a spectrum disorder that varies from covert to malignant. The severity and specific characteristics exhibited determine where a person falls on the spectrum. A formal psychiatric diagnosis of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is only given when a person exhibits a pattern of significant and pervasive narcissistic traits, such as grandiosity, an obsession with fantasies of power and success, a sense of entitlement, lack of empathy, and an excessive need for admiration. These traits must be serious enough to cause significant impairment in function and relationships. (more on clinical diagnoses)

Subtypes of Narcissism

Narcissistic Personality Disorder has four main subtypes named after the dominant behaviors or traits they exhibit. Understanding these subtypes of NPD can help identify behavior patterns that may be abusive or harmful to others.

The Grandiose (overt) Narcissist is characterized by individuals who exhibit an inflated sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, and a need for admiration. They often believe they are entitled to special treatment and may exploit or manipulate others to meet their needs.

The Vulnerable (covert) Narcissist, on the other hand, is characterized by individuals who appear more sensitive and fragile. They may be preoccupied with feelings of inadequacy and rejection and often seek validation and reassurance from others. They may be easily hurt by criticism or rejection and lash out in response.

The Communal (altruistic) Narcissist is characterized by individuals more focused on appearing helpful and supportive to others. They may use their generosity and kindness to gain admiration and recognition, but their behavior is often motivated by a need for validation rather than a genuine concern for others.

The Malignant (malevolent) Narcissist is considered the most severe form of the disorder. These individuals exhibit extreme narcissistic traits and are often aggressive, manipulative, and lacking in empathy.  They may engage in harmful or destructive behavior toward others and may have a sense of entitlement to do so.

Gender Differences

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is estimated to affect around 1% of the general population and is more commonly diagnosed in males. While the disorder is believed to have genetic and environmental origins, childhood experiences and cultural influences also play a significant role. Regardless of gender, individuals who exhibit narcissistic traits can cause significant harm to others and must be dealt with accordingly.

The concept of a narcissistic leader. Businessman with a star Instead of a head_edited.jpg

1.    ARROGANT BEHAVIOR: They often behave in a grandiose or arrogant manner.
2.    BLAMESHIFT: They blame others or external factors for mistakes or shortcomings.
3.    DIFFICULTY WITH EMPATHY: They lack empathy and struggle to understand others' perspectives.
4.    ENTITLEMENT: They believe themselves to be superior to others and deserving of special treatment.
5.    EXPLOITATION: They take advantage of others for personal gain, often through deceit.
6.    GRANDIOSITY: They exhibit an exaggerated sense of self-importance and entitlement.
7.    HOSTILITY: They may become abusive or hostile when they feel their self-esteem is threatened.

8.    INFLATED SELF-IMAGE: They may lack authenticity or a sense of self beyond their inflated self-image.
9.    JEALOUSY: They feel resentful or jealous of others' perceived success.
10.    LACK OF EMPATHY: They have difficulty recognizing or caring about others' feelings and needs.
11.    LACK OF SELF-AWARENESS: They struggle to see their own flaws and shortcomings.
12.    LACK OF SELF-REFLECTION: They may struggle to reflect on their behavior and its impact on others.
13.    MANIPULATION: They may exploit or manipulate others to maintain their sense of superiority.
14.    NEED FOR ADMIRATION: They constantly seek admiration, attention, and validation from others.

15.    PRIORITIZATION OF SELF: They prioritize themselves at the expense of others.
16.    RESENTMENT: They feel resentful or envious of others' successes or accomplishments.
17.    SEEKING SPECIAL TREATMENT: They believe they are entitled to special treatment and privileges.
18.    STRUGGLES WITH CRITICISM: They are easily hurt by criticism or rejection despite outward confidence.
19.    UNHEALTHY COPING MECHANISMS: They may struggle with addiction or other maladaptive coping mechanisms to deal with their insecurities and emotional pain.
20.    UNHEALTHY RELATIONSHIPS: They may struggle with maintaining healthy relationships due to their self-centeredness and lack of empathy.


Narcissistic Traits

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