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Narcissistic Personality Types

What is a narcissist?
Most often people think of narcissists as very confident individuals. This observation often changes with time, to viewing the individual as being arrogant; someone who brags about their accomplishments in an exaggerated fashion. People involved with the narcissistic person often realize that the bragging or attention-seeking belies an insecurity that can never be bolstered adequately, no matter how much ego support the narcissist receives from others. Being in the presence of an individual with a narcissistic personality for any length of time often induces feelings of insecurity, or the feeling that one is subtly being put-down, competed with, or somewhat devalued. This is due to the narcissist's inability or refusal to see others as having as much value as they do. If others had as much value as the narcissist, then that would make them equal. This is unacceptable to narcissists because they have a pathological need to be seen as special, out of the ordinary, deserving of adoration. Winning is a must. Losing is not simply a matter of 'win somelose some'; it is a personal affront. The elevated airs and high self-regard of the narcissist can border on the ridiculous at times. Most have seen the middle-aged male with the rotund waist line, chasing after attractive young ladies their daughter's age, not seeming to notice the discrepancy or that the lady finds him 'fatherly' and not the 'stud' he considers himself to be. His self view has not changed in that he sees himself as young and eligible, rather than middleaged. It is as if the narcissist is frozen in adolescence.

The Myth of Narcissus

The character Narcissus, in Greek mythology, was said to be so handsome that everyone who saw him loved and desired him. Narcissus was too proud to offer his love in return. Echo, a nymph who loved Narcissus, approached him and was haughtily rejected by him. Echo was so hurt by his rebuff that she shriveled up until all that was left of her was her voice, and she could only repeat back the last few words she heard. Not all the would-be lovers of Narcissus were so passive. Other versions of the myth tell of Ameinius, who took his complaint about his rejection by Narcissus, to the goddess of vengeance, Nemesis. He asked Nemesis to make Narcissus fall in love with himself, simultaneously incapable of accepting his own love. One day Narcissus bent down to drink from a clear, silvery pool. As he drank, he saw a

beautiful image in the pool. He had never before caught a glimpse of himself and he did not seem to realize it was only a reflection. Narcissus fell in love with his own reflection. He tried to kiss and embrace it, encouraged because he saw the other raising his lips to meet his own, but couldn't. Narcissus could do nothing except keep trying. In time he realized he was in love with his own reflection. Since he knew he could never hold himself, he despaired and realized he couldn't live any longer. He beat his breast and died. When his body was to be buried, the body was gone. In its place was a lovely yellow-centered white flower, the narcissus.

Narissistic Personality Traits/Disorder

The myth of Narcissus gave a name and example for the syndrome of self-absorption and investment in an image rather than expression of the true self. When narcissistic traits are more numerous and severe, they reflect an ego investment in an image and reflection of that image to the self and others, which excludes any evidence of the real self. The narcissist is seen as preferring his own reflected image, to who s/he really is. For example, indivuduals who view themselves as the 'strong silent type' often hide that they have been hurt or are emotionally fragile, and are defending against feelings of vulnerability with the tough facade. They prefer to see themselves as impervious to mundane human feelings and so they project the image they want others to see. This belies a belief that who they really are, is unacceptable. It also keeps them from working through the real issues that required the implementation of a facade in the first place. The False Self Often the true self is so hidden from the narcissist, that all s/he can do is desperately seek validation for the false self. This validation is never enough because the real person or issue is not being addressed. If one is reinforcing a role or image, the real self is not being nurtured. It grows more needy and undeveloped, while the image is inflated. This is often a difficult syndrome to understand. A concrete representation would be that one has a Vitamin C deficiency. However, that is unacceptable for some reason, so the person instead "pretends" that there is actually a Vitamin A deficiency and obtains more Vitamin A in the diet. The Vitamin C issue is never addressed and the person becomes more and more deficient. No matter how much Vitamin A the person acquires, no improvement is seen. Although this is a simplified example, the idea that real human needs, can never be met by presenting an image of who one pretends to be, and getting support for that image. How would feeding the image really allow the real self to grow? Deficit of Self Narcissism can be described as a deficit of self; as if something is missing from the inner world of the individual. This can be difficult to grasp when one is observing the individual to express a bragging confident style. However, when the frequent boasting or haughtiness is understood to be a bid for attention and validation from others, it becomes easier to see that there must be something missing in order to need continual

validation. One can understand this need in children, but it should be resolved by the time one is an adult. This continual need for validation or attention can take a convoluted form and appear as a hypercritical 'discriminating' character. Nothing ever meets the narcissist's high standards so everyone is criticized and belittled, sometimes in the guise of a joke. Relationships In relationships the narcissist appears unable or unwilling to validate or attend to others, and appears to not even notice that others have similar, (though less intense) needs for recognition, validation, nurturing. It has been described in the literature as the narcissistic individual feeling as if there is not enough admiration or attention to go around, so it must be grabbed up as often as can be done. Also seen is the increased need by the narcissist for attention and adulation as s/he ages. The partner of the narcissist often feels that the nurturing they supply is not mutual and the partner becomes 'used up' by the narcissist. Echo in the myth, is an extreme example of being used up by a relationship with a narcissist. Echo was so depleted that she could only echo a few words she heard from others. Narcissists also believe that others are like themselves in hiding the real self and projecting an image. The lack of empathy on the part of the narcissist does not allow them to understand others' emotional experiences, and they even consider evidence of emotions in others, to be weaknesses, attempts to manipulate, or fraud. These traits or weaknesses allow the narcissist to feel justified in exploiting the partner and others, as they deserve no better, being inferior. Interestingly, most narcissists, though appearing glib and superficially cool in most social settings, have emotional outburst that far exceed anyone they have accused of being too emotional. Since the narcissist "sees" nothing but his or her own image, they also do not see the true self of others, so no empathy can possibly exist in a constant state of denial of feeling. The narcissist does not really see the other person and is susceptible to other narcissists who present their false image. The narcissistic person is more likely to buy into another's image rather than a genuine person who projects no image. In a relationship with a narcissist, if the partner is non-narcissistic, they may not realize that there will be projections onto them by the narcissist. A pattern of behavior seen in narcissistic people is one of denying feelings or behaviors, and projecting those onto others. For example, if the narcissist (N for convenience) is jealous of the partner's accomplishments, the N may say that the partner is the one who is actually jealous. This comes naturally for the N since s/he is used to denying feelings. So when the feeling of jealousy surfaces, it is easy for the N to attribute that feeling to the partner. This invalidates the partner, who may not be jealous of the N at all. If the partner points this out to the N, the partner may be attacked and told their perceptions are incorrect or that in fact it is the partner who is attacking the N. The result for the partner is crazymaking, to say the least. According to Nancy McWilliams (McWIlliams, Nancy, Psychoanalytic Diagnosis, Gilford Press, 1994), a narcissistic individual uses another for a self-esteem maintaining

function rather than perceiving the other as separate person. It has a dehumanizing effect which accounts for some of the difficulties the narcissist has in relationships. One is not loved for who they are, they are used for what they provide to the narcissist. McWilliams further describes narcissists as having fragile self-esteem and "will go to great lengths to avoid acknowledging their role in anything negative that happens in their lives." Unlike people who feel guilt and remorse for their mistakes with atttempts to make ammends, narcissists run from their mistakes and avoid those who would find them out. Narcissistic individuals work to assert their independence and avoid expressing needs, as neediness would be associated with a flawed image. Interestingly, they are needier in the sense that they require more outside affirmation in order to feel internal validation. If a relationship is lost, a valuable source of validation is gone and the narcissist will feel desperate to replace that source. The narcissist will replace the partner very quickly, as they cannot be without ego support for long. Alexander Lowen (Lowen, Alexander, Narcissism Denial Of The True Self, Touchstone Book, Simon & Schuster, 1985) sees the basic disturbance of narcissism as the denial of feeling. He believes that narcissistic behavior is not motivated by feeling, but the denial of feeling. It is a defensive position. Although narcissists may be motivated out of feelings of hurt, their design of the image is an attempt to deny the hurt and represent themselves as the very opposite of what they actually are; cool, calm, strong, independent. In this way they are guaranteeing that their experience of themselves and their interactions with others are based on untruths, lack of genuineness, and falsehood. They are also guaranteeing that their true needs will not be met, since their inner needs are denied in order to present the cool facade. It is a self-perpetuating disorder. Lowen also believes that narcissists are angry due to the disowned, unacknowledged hurt. Depression is a common complaint of narcissists who seek therapy, as is a feeling of being empty. Lying Narcissists often lie, and believe their own lies. Since the narcissistic personality is not mature, lying is similar to that of a child. It often consists of pretense at being more important than they truely are or denial of wrong-doing, out of habit. If caught in a lie, the narcissist is likely to turn it around on the person s/he lied to; declaring that they are victims of abuse and wrongful accusation. They take great risks at concealing the truth and often their bold lies are so out of the norm that an average person is apt to believe their protestations of innocence.

About the Symptoms of a Narcissistic Personality


May 6, 2011 | By Stephanie Haun Stephanie Haun is a psychotherapist, musician and lawyer in Miami, Fla., who began writing in 1972. She covers a variety of topics including mental health, social issues, animals and music and has been published in numerous publications. Haun earned a Juris Doctor, a Doctor of Musical Arts in music and a Master of Science in Education in educational and psychological studies.

Read more: Narcissistic personality disorder has traits rather than symptoms. Because personality disorders are enduring patterns and concepts of the self--over all domains of functioning--they are identified by characteristics that are stable over time. Everyone has healthy narcissisism; otherwise it would be difficult to attain selfhood. What distinguishes a personality disorder is that it creates constant maladaptive behaviors, world views and thoughts.

All About Me
Of all the traits of narcissistic personality disorder, the one that stands out is the narcissist's sense that everyone and everything is an extension of herself. She cannot view others as separate persons or things completely separate from herself. She expects others to treat her as entitled and to admire and love her. When her sense of superiority is threatened or exposed, she will attack or react with defensiveness and rage.

Idealization and Devaluation of Others

According to "Psychoanalytic Diagnosis," narcissists tend to idealize or devalue others. They have a grandiose sense of themselves that creates a constant "ranking"process by which they seek solutions to issues based upon prestige more than other realistic concerns. A narcissist seeking a college for his son may make the choice based upon his perception of the prestige of the school rather than what would be the best place for his son, because his son is an extension of his own needs. In the process, he would devalue and attempt to sabotage anything good his son would say about a preferred school.

Narcissistic Envy
When a narcissist perceives herself as deficient compared to another in some way, she operates out of envy. She will likely attempt to destroy what the the other person has by criticizing, scorning or otherwise sabotaging the person. This trait is a reflection of the narcissist's need to cover up any of her own inadequacies.

Narcissists tend to expect they are equal to only the highest of ideals and may convince themselves they have attained ideals they have not. They cannot feel forgiveably human; they are perfectionists and instead internally defend against any evidence that they may be internally flawed. They use rationalizations or distort the reasons for their apparent flaws, often by making up a new--usually untrue-story they believe and then expect others to believe.

Lack of Capacity to Love

Simply put, narcissists crave and depend upon others' admiration and love but are not capable of responding to others with deep love. Likewise, they are incapable of empathy because they cannot fathom others except through their own thoughts and emotions.

Narcissistic Attitude
According to "Disorders of Personality," narcissistic personalities cause people to act arrogantly and disdainfully, viewing many social conventions and rules as not important for them. They tend to expect things from others without having to reciprocate, and they take others for granted.

Rationalization and Fantasy

Narcissists are deceitful to themselves. When they experience obstacles to their sense of superiority, they rationalize or create fantasies that explain their solutions to problems, and then believe what they create.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder The Disease Perspective The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition (American Psychiatric Association, 1994, pg. 661) describes Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements); is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love;

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 (or institutions); requires excessive admiration; has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations; is interpersonally exploitive, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends; lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her; shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

The Dimensional Perspective High Neuroticism Chronic negative affects, including anxiety, fearfulness, tension, irritability, anger, dejection, hopelessness, guilt, shame; difficulty in inhibiting impulses: for example, to eat, drink, or spend money; irrational beliefs: for example, unrealistic expectations, perfectionistic demands on self, unwarranted pessimism; unfounded somatic concerns; helplessness and dependence on others for emotional support and decision making. High Extraversion Excessive talking, leading to inappropriate self-disclosure and social friction; inability to spend time alone; attention seeking and overly dramatic expression of emotions; reckless excitement seeking; inappropriate attempts to dominate and control others. Low Openness Difficulty adapting to social or personal change; low tolerance or understanding of different points of view or lifestyles; emotional blandness and inability to understand and verbalize own feelings; alexythymia; constricted range of interests; insensitivity to art and beauty; excessive conformity to authority. Low Agreeableness Cynicism and paranoid thinking; inability to trust even friends or family; quarrelsomeness; too ready to pick fights; exploitive and manipulative; lying; rude and inconsiderate manner alienates friends, limits social support; lack of respect for social conventions can lead to troubles with the law; inflated and grandiose sense of self; arrogance. Low Conscientiousness Underachievement: not fulfilling intellectual or artistic potential; poor academic performance relative to ability; disregard of rules and responsibilities can lead to trouble with the law; unable to discipline self (e.g., stick to diet, exercise plan) even when required for medical reasons; personal and occupational aimlessness.

The Behavior Perspective Google Search: narcissistic behavior.therapy Google Search: comorbidity narcissistic personality The Life Story Perspective Childhood: Cognitive Effects Basic Belief: I am special. Strategy: Self-aggrandizement (Beck, Freeman & associates, pg. 26). In Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders, Aaron T. Beck, Arthur Freeman, and associates list typical beliefs associated with each specific personality disorder. Here are some of the typical beliefs that they have listed (pp. 361-362) for Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

Since I am so superior, I am entitled to special treatment and privileges. I don't have to be bound by the rules that apply to other people. If others don't respect my status, they should be punished. Other people should satisfy my needs. Other people should recognize how special I am. Since I am so talented, people should go out of their way to promote my career. No one's needs should interfere with my own.

Beck's Cognitive Therapy for Personality Disorders Google Search: narcissistic cognitive.therapy Google Search: narcissistic cognitive.behavioral.therapy Google Search: narcissistic psychoanalytic therapy Google Search: narcissistic psychodynamic therapy Google Search: narcissistic interpersonal therapy Google Search: narcissistic humanistic therapy Google Search: narcissistic existential therapy American Psychiatric Association (1994). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. 4th ed. Washington: Author.

American Psychiatric Association (2000). Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders: DSM-IV. 4th ed., text revision. Washington: Author. Beck, Aaron T. and Freeman, Arthur M. and Associates (1990). Cognitive Therapy of Personality Disorders. New York : Guilford Press. Gunderson, John G. and Philips, Katherine A. (1995). Personality Disorders. Comprehensive Textbook of Psychiatry/VI, Vol. 2. Eds. Harold I. Kaplan and Benjamin J. Sadock. Baltimore: Williams & Wilkins. McCrae, Robert R. (1994). "A Reformulation of Axis II: Personality and Personality-Related Problems." Costa, Paul T., Jr., Widiger, Thomas A., editors. Personality Disorders and the FiveFactor Model of Personality. Washington, D.C.: The American Psychological Association. (1989). Personality Disorders: Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders, Vol. 3. American Psychiatric Association. Task Force on Treatments of Psychiatric Disorders. Washington, DC : American Psychiatric Association. The Self-Confident personality type is a nonpathological representation of this category. Sigmund Freud and Wilhelm Reich In a 1931 paper, "Libidinal Types," Sigmund Freud described the narcissistic personality:
The characteristics of the third type, justly called the narcissistic, are in the main negatively described. There is no tension between ego and super-ego - indeed, starting from this type one would hardly have arrived at the notion of a super-ego; there is no preponderance of erotic needs; the main interest is focused on self-preservation; the type is independent and not easily overawed. The ego has a considerable amount of aggression available, one manifestation of this being a proneness to activity; where love is in question, loving is preferred to being loved. People of this type impress others as being 'personalities'; it is on them that their fellow-men are specially likely to lean; they readily assume the role of leader, give a fresh stimulus to cultural development or breakdown existing conditions.

Wilhelm Reich first described the "phallic-narcissistic character" in 1926, and later included the description in Character Analysis.
Even in outward appearance, the phallic-narcissistic character differs from the compulsive and the hysterical character. While the compulsive character is predominantly inhibited, self-controlled and depressive, and while the hysterical character is nervous, agile, apprehensive and labile, the typical phallic-narcissistic character is self-confident, often arrogant, elastic, vigorous and often impressive. The more neurotic the inner mechanism, the more obtrusive are those modes of behavior. As to bodily type, they belong most frequently to Kretschmer's athletic type. The facial expression usually shows hard, sharp masculine features, but often also feminine, girl-like features in spite of athletic habitus. Everyday behavior is never crawling as in passive-feminine characters but usually haughty, either cold and reserved or derisively aggressive, or "bristly," as one of these patients put it. In behavior toward the object, the love object included, the narcissistic element always dominates over the object-libidinal, and there is always an admixture of more or less disguised sadistic traits.

Such individuals usually anticipate any expected attack with an attack on their part. Their aggression is very often expressed not so much in what they say or do as in the manner in which they say or do things. Particularly to people who do not have their own aggression at their disposal they appear as aggressive and provocative. The outspoken types tend to achieve leading positions in life and resent subordination unless they can - as in the army or other hierarchic organizations - compensate for the necessity of subordination by exerting domination over others who find themselves on lower rungs of the ladder. If their vanity is hurt, they react either with cold reserve, deep depression or lively aggression. In contrast to other characters, their narcissism expresses itself not in an infantile manner but in exaggerated display of selfconfidence, dignity and superiority, in spite of the fact that the basis of their character is no less infantile than that of others. Freud, Sigmund (1931). Libidinal Types. Collected Papers, Vol. 5, 1959). New York: Basic Books. Reich, Wilhelm (1949). Character Analysis, 3rd ed. New York: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux. Narcissistic and Compensatory Narcissistic Personality Disorders differentiated In a chapter of Disorders of Narcissism : Diagnostic, Clinical, and Empirical Implications, "DSM Narcissistic Personality Disorder: historical reflections and future directions," Theodore Millon differentiates Narcissistic from Compensatory Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
Reich (1933/1949) captured the essential qualities of what here is termed the elitist narcissistic person when he described the "phallic-narcissist" character as a self-assured, arrogant, and energetic person "often impressive in his bearing.., and.., ill-suited to subordinate positions among the rank and file" (p. 217). As with the compensatory narcissistic person, the elitist narcissistic person is more taken with an inflated self-image than with his or her actual self. Both narcissistic types create a facade that bears minimal resemblance to the actual person. However, the compensatory narcissistic person knows at some level that he or she is in fact a fraud, whereas the elitist narcissistic person is deeply convinced of his or her superior self-image, albeit one that is grounded on few realistic achievements. To elitist narcissistic persons, it is the appearance of things that is perceived as objective reality; an inflated self-image is their intrinsic substance. Only when these illusory elements to self-worth are seriously undermined will the individual be able to recognize, perhaps even to acknowledge, his or her deeper shortcomings.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: links

Personality Disorders

Open Directory - Health: Mental Health: Disorders: Narcissistic Personality Disorder Narcissistic Personality Disorder - Internet Mental Health. Dual Diagnosis and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder Narcissistic Personality: Functional and Structural Domain Descriptions - Theodore Millon. Aggression and Transference in Severe Personality Disorders - Otto F. Kernberg, M.D./Psychiatric Times. Dr. Grohol's Mental Health Page - Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Nightingale Counseling Center - Were You Raised By A Narcissistic Father? Narcissism: A Nine Headed Hydra? Exploring Types of Narcissism Differential Diagnosis of Addictive Sexual Disorders Using the DSM-IV - Narcissistic Personality Disorder "may be considered the primary etiology of paraphilic sexual behavior." For Teachers: You Owe Me! Children of Entitlement Current Events: Kids & Narcissism vs Sociopathy Those who can, do. Those who can't, bully - "Related Personality Disorders - Narcissistic Personality Disorder." Google Search: narcissistic personality disorder Copyright 1998-2003 Dave Kelly