Narcissism is a term widely used in popular culture to describe people who are self-centered, entitled, and lack empathy. However, as a psychologist, I can tell you that there is much more to narcissism than what is commonly portrayed in the media. In this blog, I will discuss seven things you need to know about narcissists from a psychologist’s perspective.
1.Narcissism is a Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a recognized mental health condition that affects approximately 6.2% of the population. Grandiosity, a desire for praise, and a lack of empathy are all common traits of NPD patients. The symptoms of NPD typically emerge in early adulthood and can cause significant impairment in social and occupational functioning.
2. Narcissists Have Fragile Self-Esteem
Despite their outwardly confident and self-assured demeanor, narcissists have very fragile self-esteem. They require constant validation and admiration from others to maintain their sense of self-worth. Criticism or rejection can devastate them and trigger intense shame and inadequacy.
3.Narcissists Lack Empathy
One of the hallmark features of NPD is a lack of empathy for others. Narcissists cannot put themselves in other people’s shoes and understand their perspectives. They may appear charming and charismatic, but they are often manipulative and exploitative in their relationships with others.
4.Narcissists Can be Highly Intelligent and Successful
Contrary to popular belief, narcissists are not always unsuccessful or socially isolated. Many narcissists are highly intelligent, charismatic, and successful in their careers. However, their interpersonal relationships may suffer due to their self-centered and manipulative behaviour.
5.Narcissists Can be Difficult to Treat
Treating NPD can be challenging because people with this disorder often lack insight into their behaviour and may not see a problem with their actions. Additionally, they may resist therapy because they do not believe they need help. However, some forms of treatment, such as cognitive-behavioural and psychodynamic therapy, may help treat NPD.
6.Narcissism Can be a Defense Mechanism
Narcissism can be a defence mechanism people use to protect themselves from feelings of inadequacy and vulnerability. They can avoid facing their emotional pain by focusing on their own needs and desires. However, this defence mechanism can become problematic when it causes significant impairment in their relationships and daily functioning.
7.Narcissists Can Change, But It Takes Time and Effort
While it is challenging to treat NPD, it is not impossible. People with NPD can change, but it requires significant effort and time. Therapy can help develop insight and empathy and assist individuals with NPD in developing healthier coping mechanisms and interpersonal skills.
In conclusion, narcissism is a complex and often misunderstood mental health condition. While people with NPD may display self-centered and entitled behaviour, it is essential to understand that this behaviour is often a symptom of more profound emotional pain and insecurity. People with NPD can learn to control their symptoms and form healthier, more meaningful relationships with the correct care and support.