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Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Who, what, when, where and why?

Have you loved a person who is never wrong, never sorry and believes it is always someone else’s fault? Have you ever experienced an individual who’s non-accountable for their behaviour and doesn’t learn despite the mayhem and pain they produce? Have you witnessed an individual who has no tolerance for the slightest criticism, even when given constructive advice? Read further because this person may well be suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

What IS Narcissism?

There are two types of narcissism: HEALTHY narcissism and UNHEALTHY narcissism.

Healthy narcissism is a state of ensuring one's needs are met without affecting one's environment and other people in adverse ways. It's a constructive assertion of self, and mature utilisation of decision making processes.

Unhealthy narcissism is a state of trying to get one's needs met in ways that are detrimental to one's environment and other individuals. It's a destructive assertion of self and immature utilisation of decision making processes.

Extreme narcissism is known as NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder).

How Common is Narcissism?

Narcissism is disturbingly common. Some authors estimate that narcissism at the level of NPD could be as high as 16% of the population. The number of problems I encounter in my practice in regard to narcissism are numerous, and the symptoms that are described are totally consisted with high-level narcissism. Every one of us knows a narcissist, or someone that has suffered abuse at the hands of a narcissist.

What Are the Symptoms of Narcissism?

The symptoms are numerous. The most common being:

  • A grandiose belief in being "unique" and "special".

  • An inflated and often pathological state of self (a "false self"), which is manufactured in order to receive approval and attention (narcissistic supply).

  • A fine hair-line trigger in relation to any perceived criticism, which then brings on a "narcissistic injury" (insulting of the ego; the false self).

  • An inability to be held accountable or take responsibility for actions.

  • Envy, jealousy and rage towards other people who are happy.

  • Pathological jealousy that cannot be reassured.

  • Blaming others (especially intimate partners) for feelings of inner pain, torment, shame and anger.

The list goes on.

Can Both Men and Women be Narcissistic?

Yes, both sexes produce NPD's. Generally speaking, narcissistic males create more widespread damage due to the tendency of women to cling to narcissistic relationships whilst trying to fix them. The average male is far better equipped to leave a narcissistic female once her "glamour" wears off and the narcissistic personality and insecure and immature behaviour emerges. Narcissistic men are also more likely to act out in violence, pathological jealousy and rage, which can be extremely dangerous for women.

Is Narcissism Curable?

"I wish I could say 'yes'. I believe that individuals with narcissistic tendencies can in fact apply humility, do self-development work and take responsibilities for their insecurities, defence mechanisms and heal. However, I've never personally came across a true NPD character that could remain in humility and truth for long enough to do the necessary work to stop projecting their darkness and pain onto life and others. The pathological aspect of NPD, creates a profound lack of accountability, empathy and conscience, as well as a fabricated false self that truly doesn't think and operate in ways that are logical, real or humane. The true narcissist has created such a fantasy image of themselves as a means of defence, that they can't seem to assimilate truth or healthy behaviours. Accountability and truth feels to the narcissist like the ultimate vulnerability which will leave him or her susceptible to emotional and identity annihilation. In my experience, the true narcissist will avoid becoming "real" at all costs, regardless of the losses he or she may incur." - Melanie Tonia Evans.

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