Bipolar disorder


Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder


We hear people use the word narcissist when they are referring to someone who they think is vain, selfish or full of their own self-importance.  The term is often misused and should not be confused with someone who has narcissistic personality disorder which is a serious mental health condition.  It can negatively impact their work, family life, and relationships, as it affects how they view themselves and relate to others.  This can leave them feeling unhappy as they find it difficult to make or maintain friendships and relationships, as they fail to live up to their impossible ideals of perfection and success.


The exact cause of narcissistic personality disorder remains unknown. But contributory factors can include:

  •     Childhood trauma, abuse, neglect or rejection
  •     Cultural background, cultures that encourage a sense of community have a lower risk of development than cultures that encourage individualism and independence
  •     Genetics a family history or learnt childhood behaviours
  •     Parenting style, having parents that were either over indulgent, giving constant praise, or that failed to provide sufficient boundaries and security


Symptoms usually start in the late teens or early adulthood and it is more common for men than women to develop the condition, it’s believed to affect around five percent of the population.  Severity of symptoms can vary but will generally revolve around thoughts, feelings and actions.

Grandiose sense of self-importance

Grandiosity is often thought of as the defining characteristic of a narcissist.  More than just vanity or arrogance it’s an unrealistic sense of superiority.  They believe they are superior to everyone else and only want to associate with people they believe share their high status.  Often they will exaggerate or lie about their talents, achievements or contributions.

Sense of entitlement

Their feelings of superiority lead them to believe that they should receive everything they want and have preferential treatment.  They expect the people around them to comply to everything they want and if they don’t meet their needs, then they are worthless.  Not getting want they want can result in them being outraged or aggressive.

Living in a fantasy world

Narcissists live in a fantasy world where they are important, successful, powerful and attractive, as reality doesn’t support their view of themselves.  It’s also how they protect themselves from their inner feeling of emptiness, shame, insecurity and fear of failure.  They will deny reality and protect their fantasy world becoming defensive and enraged if it’s threatened.

Require constant praise and admiration

This is required to feed their ego and feelings of superiority. They will achieve this by surrounding themselves with people who will provide it.  If a person stops providing praise or adoration, they will consider this to be a betrayal.

Exploits others

Narcissists are renown for their lack of empathy and believe people exist only to serve their needs.  They think nothing of using or exploiting others and don’t care how their behaviours affect other people.

Demean, intimidate, belittle or bully

If a narcissist meets someone who has something they lack they will feel threatened, especially if they are also popular or confident.  People who either won’t comply with them or challenge their behaviour are also deemed a threat.  They react to this by being contemptuous or patronising and can resort to insulting or bullying behaviours.


People with narcissistic personality disorder can also be more likely to develop:

  •     Anxiety
  •     Addictions
  •     Depression
  •     Suicidal tendencies

It can also overlap with other mental health conditions which can include:

  •     Antisocial personality disorder
  •     Bipolar disorder
  •     Body dysmorphic disorder
  •     Borderline personality disorder

Management and Treatment

Whilst there are medications that can help with narcissistic personality disorder such as antidepressants, mood stabilisers or antipsychotics, which treat associated conditions, the main treatment is long-term therapy.

The most common include:

  •     CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy)
  •     DBT (dialectical behavioural therapy)
  •     Family and couples counselling
  •     Psychodynamic psychotherapy

Therapy can be challenging for people with narcissistic personality disorder as they don’t believe there is anything wrong with their behaviours, so are often unwilling to acknowledge they have the condition.  Written by Jan, Jeana and Wendy at Barnsley Hypnosis and Counselling (UK).  For more free information click above link.

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