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.