Understanding Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Personality disorders are a subset of mental health disorders that revolve around unexpected or illogical thought and behavioral patterns. They can alter the way that one handles personal and social situations. Personality disorders fundamentally change the way that an individual addresses and perceives the world around them, develops relationships, and/or copes with daily stresses. 


One of the most difficult kinds of these disorders is narcissistic personality disorder, or NPD. It has an incredibly detrimental effect on one’s relationships and mental health state. Identifying traits of narcissistic personality disorder and taking the first deliberate steps toward addressing the condition is crucial to begin the journey of repairing relationships and creating a healthier, more secure worldview


What Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?


Narcissistic personality disorder presents itself as an extremely self-centered perception of the world, often manifesting with an exaggerated feeling of self-worth, ability, or inflated self-importance. While feeling confident in oneself can be a positive trait, those who have narcissistic personality disorder may not be able to regulate this confidence. Instead, they may see themselves as “above” others or view others as lesser people of inconsequential importance. 


Those suffering from NPD can also have conflicting ideologies when it comes to their relationships. While they may believe that they are “worth more” than those around them, they may also need the constant reaffirmation and attention of other people to maintain their delusion, leading to unhealthy views of relationships and a self-centered and emotionally charged perspective. 


Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder


Narcissistic personality disorder can manifest in a number of different ways. While those suffering from NPD may exhibit similar behavioral patterns, the way that each of these individuals view their relationships and environment can differ. As a result, it is essential to address each case with the unique nuance and personal approach necessary for its circumstance. Some of the traits that may be expressed are: 


  • Increased sense of self-worth
  • Belittling others
  • A constant need for external validation
  • Controlling behavior
  • Difficulty expressing empathy
  • An expectation of being heard or validated
  • Low self-esteem
  • Increasingly demanding requests
  • Exaggeration of accomplishments or abilities
  • Low tolerance for criticism
  • Unwillingness to listen to others’ opinions


Each of these behavioral patterns can affect many different aspects of one’s life, including professional development, employment status, and the health of relationships. Identifying these traits can indicate the need for professional assistance in addressing NPD before it can have a permanent negative effect on one’s personal and professional life. 


Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Relationships


Those suffering from NPD often are faced with many conflicting interests. While they may exhibit a feeling of superiority, they also may crave reaffirmation from those around them, even while belittling them. This can make the development of relationships complicated and often creates unhealthy or even abusive relationship dynamics. 


Narcissistic personality disorder can cause an individual to become controlling or overly demanding and may respond negatively to any perceived criticisms. This kind of self-centered worldview can also manifest as perceiving spending time with other friends or family as a threat, which can lead to drastic emotional responses. 


This perception often results in controlling and abusive behaviors and an unwillingness to compromise or listen to one’s partner. It can be coupled with a perceived grave feeling of betrayal. Those suffering from NPD can create traumatic experiences in their relationships, and such irrational and emotional responses can impede new or developing connections. 


NPD can create many traumatic circumstances in one’s relationships while also working to continue building feelings of anxiety and anger within those who suffer from the disorder. This cycle of inflated self-worth, betrayal, and emotional outbursts can continue to deteriorate one’s mental health and worldview, introducing extreme levels of frustration, anger, and anxiety.


Taking the First Step


Navigating a conversation with those who suffer from NPD is a delicate and challenging affair. Family therapy, group therapy, and discussion guided by professionals are necessary to address the perception of superiority or manage feelings of criticisms and emotional responses. Those who suffer from NPD may also need guidance or education around different ways to affirm themselves while addressing criticisms or acknowledging shortcomings. Having trained professionals to help navigate this space is crucial to prevent outbursts, anger, or blame from dominating a conversation, and instead, finding an understanding on a productive step towards a healthier personal and social dynamic. 


Navigating this disorder can cause many difficulties for those experiencing it directly, as well as those around the person suffering. Do not wait to seek out help to build a happier, healthier future.


Narcissistic personality disorder can manifest in a number of ways, both in the traumatic impact it can have on others as well as the personal and professional challenges it can cause for an individual. If you or a loved one are concerned about narcissistic personality disorder, Avalon Malibu is prepared to help you today. We offer an extensive array of therapeutic approaches that can help you better explore your unique situation. Using individual, couples, and family therapy, we can help you confront the difficult and emotional relationship dynamics and how narcissistic personality disorder has affected your life. Your time with us can be further personalized to your interests, with art therapy, music, seasonal ropes courses, and much more. For more information on how we can individualize your time with us, or speak to a caring, trained staff member about how narcissistic personality disorder has affected your life and loved ones, call to speak to us today (844) 857-5992.

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