An interesting and slightly scary walk along the narcissistic continuum, from “healthy” (adaptive) narcissism up to sociopathic or malignant narcissism…
For those of you who follow this blog, this question probably seems like a no-brainer, but this is one of the most informative and readable articles I’ve ever read on the subject, and I even learned a few new things I didn’t know, so I wanted to share it.
What Exactly Is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
By Christine Louis deCanonville, author of The Three Faces of Evil: Unmasking the Full Spectrum of Narcissistic Abuse
Explaining the Many Facets of Narcissism!
Narcissistic Personality Disorder, what exactly is it? Trying to explain exactly what narcissistic personality is takes some doing, the reason being that there are so many facets of behaviour involved. However, Narcissism, roughly translated means “love of oneself”. The term itself refers to a set of character traits that involve self-admiration, self-centeredness, and self-regard; to the point where the narcissistic person becomes very grandiose, arrogant, aggressive, lacking in empathy for others, superior to everybody else, and sporting a sense of entitlement that leaves them in constant need for attention and admiration in all their relationships. The term was coined by Sigmund Freud who picked the myth of Narcissus as a symbol of a self-absorbed person whose libido is invested in the ego itself, rather than in other people. There are several versions of the myth, but roughly translated Narcissus, in Greek mythology, was a beautiful Greek boy who found himself to be so attractive, that he falls in love with his own reflection. The term narcissistic personality disorder, also taken from the myth, describes a self-loving character with grandiose feelings of uniqueness.
The Spectrum of Narcissism is on a Continuum.
Narcissism is a spectrum of behaviour that is prevalent in the human condition universally. What this means is that we are all narcissistic to a degree, and the narcissistic traits can range on a continuum from 1 – 10, from what we call Healthy Narcissism (being a 1), all the way to a pathological form, called Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD (being a 10), with varying degrees in between. When narcissism reaches a stage called “Malignant Narcissism” the person consistently manifests at least 5 of the 9 criteria necessary to put it into the category of being a mental disorder.
To the casual observer, telling the difference between a normal range narcissistic personality and a narcissistically disordered personality may not be very evident to begin with, because the difference is the difference between the individuals “intentions”. The healthy narcissistic personality operates from a place of good will towards another person, while the unhealthy malignant disordered personality operates from a place of ill will towards another person, which naturally enough puts a chasm between them.
Healthy Narcissism Style vs. Unhealthy Narcissism:
Every human being craves approval. This need for approval is driven by the ego in order to make us feel loved, important, powerful and in control, and perhaps even more importantly, to steer us away from any criticism, which can lead to feelings of inferiority. Adler (psychologist) believed that it was the pain of inferiority that motivated all human action to strive for a sense of superiority and perfection. This is natural, and is healthy narcissism in action, a normal defense that is essential for psychological health. It is this action that protects us from painful disappointments, failures, and keeps us away from feelings of helplessness. This boosting of our morale (Healthy Narcissism) is what motivates us to do better with our lives.
Read the rest of Christine’s article here.
You can take the test here.
All three parts took me about 20 minutes.
Here are my results:
You completed three questionnaires that are designed to measure narcissistic tendencies: the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI), the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire (NARQ), and the Narcissistic Personality Inventory(NPI). By completing all three of these measures, it should be possible for you to get a better understanding of how narissistic you are and, importantly, whether different measures agree in their assessment of your personality. We summarize your results below.
The Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI)
The NPI measures several distinct facets of Narcissism. Your overall score was 7 on a scale ranging from 0 to 40. The NPI assesses various facets of narcissism. We summarize three of the major facets below, along with your scores for each of them.
Your score on leadership is 1
You scored at the 6 th percentile on this subscale of the NPI. This means that 6 % of the people who have filled out this questionnaire to date have scores lower than yours. Leadership refers to a person’s leadership skills and power. People who score higher on authority like to be in charge. On the extreme ends of this trait, they like to gain power for power’s sake alone.
Your score on vanity is 3.
You scored at the 52 th percentile on the vanity subscale of the NPI. This means that 52 % of the people who have filled out this questionnaire to date have scores lower than yours. This trait refers to a person’s vanity–excessive pride in or admiration of one’s own appearance or achievements.
Your score on exhibitionism/entitlement is 0
You scored at the 11 th percentile on this subscale of the NPI. This means that 11 % of the people who have filled out this questionnaire to date have scores lower than yours. Exhibitionism refers to a person’s need to be the center of attention, and willingness to ensure they are the center of attention. At the extreme high end of this trait a person may try to become the center of attention at the expense of other’s needs. Entitlement refers to the extent to which people feel that the world owes them favorable treatment or the extent to which people feel that they have a right to something (e.g., praise, recognition, attention).
Pathological Narcissism Inventory (PNI)
One of the narcissism questionnaires you took was the Pathological Narcissism Inventory (NPI). The PNI comes from the clinical tradition of conceptualizing narcissism. It assess two pathological components of narcissism: grandiosity and vulnerability.
Your score on grandiosity is 29.
You scored at the 35.4 th percentile on this subscale of the PNI. This means that 35.4 % of the people who have filled out this questionnaire to date have scores lower than yours.
Grandiosity comprises three traits: exploitativeness, grandiose fantasy, and self-sacrificing self-enhancement. Exploitativeness refers to a person’s tendency to manipulate others. On the extreme high end of this trait people find it easy to talk their way out of things and have no scruples about influencing others into doing what they want them to do.
Grandiose fantasy refers to a person’s need to fantasize about being admired and accomplishing special things. On the extreme high end of this trait people constantly fantasize about being admired, respected, and famous. They also fantasize about having an impact on the world around them and performing heroic deeds. Self-sacrificing self-enhancement refers to a person’s tendency to help others in order to enhance their self-image. On the extreme high end of this trait people help others and make personal sacrifices for the benefit of others under the pretense of sincere altruism while their real goal is to maintain and enhance their inflated self-image. Helping others makes them feel important and better than the person receiving help.
Your score on vulnerability is 54.
You scored at the 93.2 th percentile on this subscale of the PNI. This means that 93.2 % of the people who have filled out this questionnaire to date have scores lower than yours.
Vulnerability comprises four traits: entitlement rage, contingent self-esteem, hiding the self, and devaluing. Entitlement rage refers to a person’s tendency to feel angry when they do not get what they think they deserve. On the extreme high end of this trait people feel very annoyed when they do not get the attention, admiration, and respect that they expect from others. They also get angry when they are criticized or do not get what they want from others. Contingent self-esteem refers to fluctuations in a person’s self-esteem that depend on the attention and recognition the person receives from others. On the extreme high end of this trait people only feel good about themselves when they receive attention, admiration, and acknowledgment from others. When they feel unnoticed or disliked, they feel worthless and bad about themselves.
Hiding the self refers to a person’s need to hide their faults and needs from others. On the extreme high end of this trait people feel anxious and ashamed when others notice their needs. They try to do everything on their own because they see it as a weakness to ask for help and rely on others. Devaluing refers to a person’s tendency to avoid people out of fear of being disappointed. On the extreme high end of this trait people feel ashamed for needing recognition from others. They avoid people when they are afraid that their expectations will not be met and they will not receive acknowledgment.
Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire (NARQ)
One of the narcissism questionnaires you took was the Narcissistic Admiration and Rivalry Questionnaire (NARQ). The NARQ assesses narcissism as a normal personality trait. The two main components assessed by the NARQ are admiration and rivalry.
Your score on Admiration is 15 out of 45.
Admiration refers to a person’s need to be admired by others and to be the center of attention. Admiration also refers to whether a person views himself or herself as great, special, and better than others. People on the extreme high end of this trait tend to seek high levels of praise, attention, and admiration from others. They show self-assured and charming behaviors and feel that they have a right to favorable treatment. People high on admiration engage in fantasies of being very popular, beautiful, and powerful.
Your score on Rivalry is 21 out of 45.
Rivalry refers to a person’s need to defend his or her overly positive self-views against real or imagined threats such as criticism, failure, or a lack of attention. On the extreme high end of this trait people show a general disregard for the needs and feelings of others. Their derogatory attitudes towards other people are reflected by hostile and aggressive behaviors. They show annoyed and spiteful reactions when other people are successful and the center of attention.
Thank God, I’m not as narcissistic as I feared.
Excessive vulnerability appears to be my problem area, which does not surprise me.