There is only one diagnosis for Narcissism and that is Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In short it is defined by the DSM as “a pattern of grandiosity, need for admirations, and lack of empathy.”
In order to be diagnosed with NPD these patterns must be pervasive (meaning they are happening all throughout our lives – not episodic).
They must have 5 of the following 9 criteria:
1. Has a grandiose sense of self importance
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by or should associate with other special or high-status people
4. Requires excessive admiration
5. Has sense of entitlement
6. Is interpersonally exploitative (will take advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends)
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings or needs of others
8. Is often envious of others or believes that they are envious of him or her
9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
People believe that although there is only one diagnosis for narcissists, there are 3 distinct types.
The exhibitionist: This is the most classic type of narcissist. They do not feel insecure about themselves, instead they feel amazing. Thinking that they are better, more attractive, and smarter than those around them. They can be extremely rude and off putting to those around them. They call this type the “exhibitionist” because they are always trying to get people to notice them and pay attention to what they are doing. As upsetting as this type can be, they are consistent in their behavior, so it does become predictable.
The Covert Narcissist: These types of people tend to be more insecure, and are more likely to gaslight those they are in relationship with. It’s very likely that someone with these traits grew up in an abusive home or possibly had a narcissistic parent or sibling. Because they feel so insecure, they will look for better or more important people to connect themselves with. They also tend to not follow through with what they said they would do and then try to act like they are the victim. This type of narcissist tends to be more passive aggressive, and can be kind and caring in public but abusive and mean in private. This can make it really difficult on those they are in relationships with.
The Toxic Narcissist: This type is the worst. They not only want people to think they are the best, but they want everyone else to know they are inferior. They thrive on putting others down, and have no empathy for the destruction they leave in their wake. Some research even shows that these types of people enjoy hurting others (can overlap with antisocial personality disorder). They thrive on creating chaos and drama and although they will state that they “hate drama” they somehow always manage to be in the center of it.
Like most mental illnesses and especially personality disorders, they come from somewhere. Meaning that something happened to us when we were developing that caused us to act the way we act now. That’s why therapy and working on ourselves can help us overcome… and yes I do believe that many with NPD don’t like how they act or who they are, and will reach out for help.
Videos I mentioned:
what is gaslighting? https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3O3ZQPezglQ
Borderline VS. Bipolar https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rfQTf8NA73s
Antisocial Personality Disorder https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VSdyktUjZSI
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