DSM-5 Disorder of the Day / Narcissistic Personality Disorder

The DSM-5 is the “Bible” of Human Behavioral Pathology; more organized than the original, but it paints an equally nasty portrait of Homo sapiens.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder* have significant problems with their sense of self-worth stemming from a powerful sense of entitlement. This leads them to believe they deserve special treatment, and to assume they have special powers, are uniquely talented, or that they are especially brilliant or attractive. Their sense of entitlement can lead them to act in ways that fundamentally disregard and disrespect the worth of those around them.

  • People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success and power, so much so that they might end up getting lost in their daydreams while they  fantasize about their superior intelligence or stunning beauty.
  • These people can get so caught up in their fantasies that they don’t put any effort into their daily life and don’t direct their energies toward accomplishing their goals.
  • They may believe that they are special and deserve special treatment, and may display an attitude that is arrogant and haughty.
    • This can create a lot of conflict with other people who feel exploited and who dislike being treated in a condescending fashion.
  • People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often feel devastated when they realize that they have normal, average human limitations; that they are not as special as they think, or that others don’t admire them as much as they would like.
    • These realizations are often accompanied by feelings of intense anger or shame that they sometimes take out on other people.
  • Their need to be powerful, and admired, coupled with a lack of empathy for others, makes for conflictual relationships that are often superficial and devoid of real intimacy and caring.

Status is very important to people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Associating with famous and special people provides them a sense of importance. These individuals can quickly shift from over-idealizing others to devaluing them.

However, the same is true of their self-judgments. They tend to vacillate between feeling like they have unlimited abilities, and then feeling deflated, worthless, and devastated when they encounter their normal, average human limitations. Despite their bravado, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder require a lot of admiration from other people in order to bolster their own fragile self-esteem. They can be quite manipulative in extracting the necessary attention from those people around them.

Note: People whose behavior falls within this description are the most admired individuals in the United States. They are the most popular role models presented in media, sports and entertainment, and are highly successful in business, politics, finance and criminal enterprises. It is also the most copied and imitated personality type among Americans and has spread in popularity via social media.

 

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