“It’s All About ME!” or “Me, Myself and I”
“A Narcissist enjoys being looked at and not looking back.”
The Narcissist Test-
Step 1: Take a moment to think about yourself.
Step 2: If you made it to Step 2, you are not a Narcissist!
In Greek Mythology, Narcissus was a handsome young hunter, who was fascinated by his own reflection in a pool of water. He falls in love with his reflection and becomes obsessed with it. He remains paralyzed in that sight and eventually dies yearning for his own beauty. On that very spot, appeared thenarcissus flower, with its bright petals and bent neck.
Concept of ‘Narcissism’ was popularized by the psychoanalyst Sigmund Freud through his work on the ‘ego’ and its relationship to the outside world. According to DSM 5, to qualify as a narcissist, an individual must have “apervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts.” In simple terms, narcissism is the lack of ability to empathise with others and an inflated sense of self-importance.
Narcissism starts in childhood- the ‘narcissistic wound’, as psychologists call it, comes from praising children only for their achievements and outward appearance and not acknowledging their inner worth or value. Though there are no exact causes for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), psychologists assign several factors to its development, such as genetic traits and early life experiences like childhood neglect or abuse, excessive pampering and negative parenting.
Psychologist Alice Miller, in her book- ‘The Drama of the Gifted Child’ states that children who tend to become narcissists, consistently seek appreciation from others because of their empty sense of self. As they develop, they project an inflated sense of self and grandiosity, but lying underneath is
their fragile self-esteem. These young adults cannot tolerate criticism or defeat.
However, NPD can only be diagnosed during early adulthood as developing children possess many narcissistic traits which are considered normal. NPD is found more commonly in men (50-70% of NPD cases are males). NPD tends to co-exist with depression or anxiety disorder, having one of those conditions is often the only reason a narcissist tries therapy. NPD is also associated with Anorexia Nervosa, Substance-Use and other DSM V ‘Cluster B’ Personality Disorders (Antisocial, Borderline and Histrionic personality disorders). Researchers found high 12-month prevalence rates of Substance Abuse (40.6%), Depressed Mood (28.6%) and Anxiety (40%) disorders among participants with a diagnosis of NPD.
Treatment for NPD mainly consists of talk therapy and if symptoms of NPD occur along with depression or another mental health condition, then suitable medications may be used to treat the other disorder. However, there are no medications to treat NPD. The solution lies in long term therapy; but getting a narcissist for therapy is a very challenging task, as many of them view therapy as acceptance of something wrong with them. However, once they are getting help, they respond well to psychotherapy.