I believe that everyone has a little bit of Narcissism, especially during the teenage years. How does a person know when their narcissism goes beyond what’s considered “normal” and into something problematic?
When Does it Become Problematic?
Narcissism becomes problematic when it becomes a personality disorder. Personality disorders are a class of mental disorders that are characterized by long lasting rigid patterns of thoughts and behaviors.1 The behavior deviates from social expectations and impedes on the person’s social interaction and daily living.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a long pattern of grandiosity, an overwhelming need to be admired, and a lack of empathy towards others. People with the disorder believe they are the number one thing in everyone’s life.2 The disorder is only diagnosed if: (1) It beings in early adulthood, (2) behaviors occur at home, at work, and in the community, and (3) behaviors lead to significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, and other important areas of functioning. 2
Famous People with NPD
Look at history’s famous people who likely had NPD- Adolf Hitler, Benito Mussolini, and Joseph Stalin. These men were charismatic, but they lacked empathy for the people they ruled over. They killed people who went against them. Stalin had his people kill Leon Trotsky.
People with NPD are often ambitious and confident, but they are intolerant of defeat and criticism. They often counter attack or have social withdrawal. Think of celebrities who have twitter fights over people who disagree with them.*Cough* *Cough* “Umbrella” singer. Sure they act confident when the attention is on them, but if someone criticizes, they have a meltdown. It’s inappropriate because at the end of the day, there is always going to be a naysayer.
Treatment for NPD
The effectiveness of treatment for NPD is unknown because they are no randomized trials. People with NPD seldom go for treatment. There is hope. Some patients, whom have had long term therapy, do gain insight on how they developed the disorder in the first place. Admitting they have problem is the first step to recovery.