Narcissist Definition | Narcissistic Personality | Narcissistic personality disorder

Narcissist meaning:-The Greek god Narcissus was known for his beauty. He was so enamored of his own appearance that he spent much of his life gazing at his visage during a pool of water. He was contemptuous of these who loved him, causing some to finish their own lives in an effort to prove their devotion. His story may be a cautionary tale about the catastrophic effects of excessive self-love. People with narcissism or personality disorder display traits almost like those of Narcissus.

Narcissist Definition

Narcissism definition is excessive self-involvement that causes an individual to ignore the requirements of others. Almost everyone occasionally engages in narcissistic behavior. People with personality disorder (NPD) have personalities characterized by intense self-involvement and chronic disregard for others.

Narcissist Definition | Narcissistic Personality | Narcissistic personality disorder
Narcissist Definition

People with NPD rarely seek therapy. this is often because people with NPD may neither notice nor care about the consequences of their narcissism on others. the proper therapist, however, can help people with NPD understand the harmful effects of narcissism, including to themselves. Therapy can help an individual with NPD understand and prioritize the requirements of others, repair broken relationships, and cultivate empathy.


Prevalence estimates of narcissism vary and should not be reliable. this is often because few people with NPD seek treatment. Even once they do, they'll not readily admit to narcissistic symptoms or personality traits. For this reason, NPD remains poorly understood and isn't well-studied.

A 2008 study puts the lifetime prevalence rate of NPD at 6.2%. A 2010 analysis of seven previous studies found a mean prevalence of 1.06%, and a prevalence range of 0%-6.2%.

Narcissism is more common in men than in women. Research published in 2008 suggests a lifetime rate of NPD among men of seven .7% compared to 4.8% among women.

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A 2015 meta-analysis found that men score above women on measures of narcissism like leadership/authority and exploitative/entitlement. However, the authors of that study found no differences between men and ladies on measures of vulnerable narcissism. This less-studied sort of narcissism is characterized by hypersensitivity to rejection.


People with narcissism, sometimes mentioned pointedly as “narcissists,” are excessively fixated on their own needs, while simultaneously hooked in to gaining approval from others. Their relationships with others are superficial, designed as a source of admiration instead of a channel for mutual intimacy. they'll engage in narcissistic abuse, either using someone as a tool to feed their ego or neglecting the requirements of somebody who depends on them.

The DSM-5 radically overhauled the previous DSM-IV diagnostic criteria for NPD. Under the new guidelines, to qualify for a mental disorder diagnosis, an individual must have:

  • Significant impairments in their sense of self and interpersonal life.
  • A personality dominated by one or more harmful traits.
  • Impairments in personality that are stable over time and which appear across many contexts.
  • Impairments that aren't better described by the person’s environment, developmental stage, or drug abuse .

The characteristics of NPD include:

Obsessive interest within the perception of others; an individual may believe admiration and high think of their sole source of self-esteem.

A grossly inflated sense of self. Some people may vacillate between very high or very low self-esteem, or experience low self-esteem once they don’t get sufficient admiration.

  • Excessive self-involvement that undermines the power to empathize with the emotions of others.
  • Disregard for the requirements of others.
  • A sense of entitlement.
  • Attention-seeking behavior designed to realize admiration.

These broad categories of behavior may cause a narcissistic person to display many of the subsequent narcissism symptoms:

  1. Preoccupation with fantasies of utmost success, power, or fame.
  2. Constant need for admiration and affirmation.
  3. A strong sense of entitlement.
  4. Envy of others, particularly their achievements, or belief that others should envy them.
  5. Inflated sense of self-esteem; megalomaniacal tendencies.
  6. Belief that they're special or unique.
  7. Setting unrealistic goals.
  8. Exploitation of others.
  9. Difficulty maintaining healthy relationships.
  10. Lack of empathy or ability to require responsibility for behaviors.
  11. Cannot tolerate criticism.

A 2015 American Journal of Psychiatry review criticizes the DSM-5 for a limited definition that fails to completely capture the various array of traits people with NPD display. Drawing upon previous research, that study points to four distinct sub-types of NPD:

High-functioning: This characterizes people that are ready to garner enough admiration to satisfy their narcissistic needs. they're often highly successful and admired.

Middle-functioning: This sub-type includes people with a grandiose sense of importance who may struggle interpersonally, especially if their jobs don't satisfy their need for admiration.

Members of those two categories rarely seek treatment, unless the loss of employment , loved one, or financial well-being threatens their sense of self.

Two other sub-types struggle more with daily functioning and are more likely to hunt treatment:

Malignant narcissists: additionally to traditional NPD traits, people with “malignant” traits also display antisocial traits. they'll be paranoid, aggressive, or sadistic. they will be difficult to treat because they'll intimidate clinicians.

People with co-morbid borderline traits: many of us with borderline personality struggle to possess a coherent sense of self. When borderline personality co-occurs with NPD, an individual may alternate between grandiosity and suicidal gestures.


In the popular imagination, a narcissist may be a self-centered egotist who constantly seeks admiration. Narcissistic traits, however, exist on a continuum. they vary from subtle to dramatic and may vary with context. Some samples of the continuum of narcissistic traits include:

Entitlement: an individual with a way of entitlement may trample the rights of others to urge what they believe is rightfully theirs. this will manifest in subtle ways, like routinely cheating on tests, or in additional dramatic ways, like stealing.

Attention-seeking: an individual with NPD craves attention and admiration. To get it, they could become a perfectionist and shine at their job. they could occupy an edge of power that gives much attention. Or they'll adopt attention-seeking behaviors, like becoming angry or withdrawn once they don’t get what they need .

Self-involvement: Self-involvement doesn't necessarily mean selfishness. an individual with NPD may appear quite giving and caring when it serves their needs or gets them the admiration they crave. Self-involvement also can manifest as intense preoccupation with one’s own needs at the expense of people . for instance , a narcissistic mother might spend all her time seeking attention from people she respects while neglecting her child. People with NPD often struggle to empathize with or manage the requirements of their children and family.

Approval-seeking: an individual with NPD may continuously attempt to curry favour from an individual they perceive to be powerful or important, like a boss or politician. they'll do that while neglecting the requirements and rights of individuals they see as smaller , like their children or coworkers.

NPD can change a person’s perceptions of what’s normal and affect their ability to guage the emotions , motives, and behavior of themselves et al. . this will have catastrophic effects on relationships, especially with children and romantic partners.


Narcissists aren't sociopaths. Sociopathy isn't a diagnosis. However, the traits of antisocial mental disorder (APD) closely mirror many of the traits people accompany sociopaths. Symptoms of APD include lack of empathy, callousness, disregard for the rights of others, impulsive behavior, deception, and failure to evolve to moral norms. People with APD may hurt people or animals, steal, or lie.

NPD is distinct from APD, although APD sometimes co-occurs with NPD. So-called “malignant” narcissists may have co-occurring APD. they'll behave aggressively or maybe sadistically, enjoying a way of control derived from the pain of others.

The behavior of individuals with NPD, especially those that have more extensive symptoms, may appear sociopathic. for instance , a parent might neglect their child, opting instead to pursue fame and fortune. An employee might lie around their work or co-opt the work of others, even when this costs coworkers their jobs or self-esteem. the excellence here is that narcissistic behavior is motivated by excessive self-involvement that blunts empathy. Sociopathic behavior occurs when an individual completely lacks empathy, or once they enjoy the suffering of others.


Personality disorders are difficult to treat. People with personality disorder are unlikely to hunt treatment and are often highly defensive about their narcissism. Even once they do seek treatment, they'll struggle to acknowledge their narcissistic traits, use therapy as how to realize admiration, or blame others for his or her difficulties. Some people with NPD are manipulative and charming. they'll even manipulate their therapists. So it’s important that a therapist treating NPD be highly skilled at treating personality disorders.

When an individual with NPD enters treatment against their will, treatment is unlikely to figure . However, if a therapist can help the person see how NPD undermines the client’s quality of life, relationships, or opportunities for fulfillment , this might motivate them to vary .

Research on treatment options for NPD is mixed. There are not any empirically supported clinical guidelines for treatment, and no drug has been FDA-approved specifically for narcissism. there's no “gold standard” therapy. Treatment instead focuses on specific symptoms, and should evolve as a person’s symptoms and treatment goals change.

People with personality disorder can and do change, but only they're willing to place in significant effort. More extreme narcissism, especially narcissism that co-occurs with antisocial personality, is more immune to treatment.


Therapy is that the best treatment for narcissism. Effective therapy focuses on two components of NPD: (1) the emotions and beliefs that drive NPD, like entitlement; and (2) the behaviors related to narcissism. Effective therapy involves helping an individual with NPD understand how their emotions drive their behavior. A therapist can then work with a client to line goals for behavior changes.Some treatment approaches which will help include:

Psychodynamic approaches. Psychodynamic psychotherapy that uses the connection between the therapist and therefore the client as how to rework the client’s other relationships could also be helpful. This approach to therapy also can support a client to raised understand the basis causes of their emotions and behaviors.

Therapy for other personality disorders. Some clinicians find that treatments designed for other personality disorders, like dialectical behavior modification (DBT) for borderline personality, can address many symptoms of NPD.

Approaches that focus on psychological skills. A 2015 review suggests that mentalization therapy, schema therapy, and transference-focused therapy could also be helpful. These approaches each work to assist an individual understand their emotions and psychological states, in order that they will answer others in less harmful ways.


It’s easy to seek out narcissism quizzes online, but these tests aren't supported by clinical research. Some online tests may incorrectly diagnose people as having conditions they don’t have. Others may miss true narcissism. Many behaviors that appear narcissistic could also be motivated by something else. Narcissism and depression, for instance , can look similar when depression causes an individual to be preoccupied with their own problems.

Rather than seeking a diagnosis from a test, or diagnosing another person supported a couple of internet articles, it’s best to ascertain a clinician who focuses on personality disorders. Seeking help from a licensed clinician also makes it easier to urge effective treatment.

Therapy can help with narcissism. the proper therapist can support an individual with NPD to know the consequences of their condition and steadily move toward healthier behaviors. Effective therapy for NPD is freed from judgment and stigma, and honors the client’s goals.


Caligor, E., Levy, K. N., & Yeomans, F. E. (2015). personality disorder: Diagnostic and clinical challenges. American Journal of Psychiatry, 172(5), 415-422. Retrieved from

Caligor, E., & Petrini, M. J. (2018, May 17). Treatment of personality disorder. Retrieved from

Dhawan, N., Kunik, M. E., Oldham, J., & Coverdale, J. (2010). Prevalence and treatment of personality disorder within the community: a scientific review. Comprehensive Psychiatry, 51(4), 333-339. Retrieved from

DSM-IV and DSM-5 criteria for the personality disorders [PDF]. (n.d.). American Psychiatric Association.

Stinson, F. S., Dawson, D. A., Golstein, R. B., Chou, P., Huang, B., Smith, S. M., . . . Grant, B. F. (2008). Prevalence, correlates, disability, and comorbidity of DSM-IV personality disorder: Results from the Wave 2 National Epidemiologic Survey on Alcohol and Related Conditions. The Journal of Clinical Psychiatry, 69(7), 1033-1045. doi:10.4088/jcp.v69n0701

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