“I weep for Narcissus, but I never noticed that Narcissus was beautiful. I weep because, each time he knelt beside my banks, I could see, in the depths of his eyes, my own beauty reflected.” - Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist
I relate, not with all fondness, to the above quotes’ sentiment.
I have played the riverbank, staring endlessly at Narcissus peering at his reflection in my blue pools. Day after day he sat admiring himself in my reflection. And after he was gone, I too wept. It was only then I realized it was never him I missed.
It was what he allowed me to feel to have to experience. It was the life his presence permitted me to lead. It was how, through his association, I was able to view myself clearly; for the first time what I desired from my life.
Through his reflection I could see the vision of my own capabilities. I could appreciate the beauty of the kind of person I am. I was able to truly appreciate that I am, in my soul, a good human being.
Yesterday, I discussed the attributes and personality traits of a sociopath and/or those afflicted with anti-social personality disorder. I discussed the potential negative implications of associating with persons who exhibit the personality of a sociopath.
Good news! There are other, equally destructive personality disorders that one must “be on the look-out” and stringently avoid contact with people suffering from this ailment.
Like most personality disorders, there are many factors that may contribute to the development of symptoms. Because the symptoms are long-lasting, the idea that symptoms begin to emerge in childhood or at least adolescence is well accepted. The negative consequences of such symptoms, however, may not show themselves until adulthood.
The symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder revolve around a pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and sense of entitlement. Often individuals feel overly important and will exaggerate achievements and will accept, and often demand, praise and admiration despite worthy achievements. They may be overwhelmed with fantasies involving unlimited success, power, love, or beauty and feel that they can only be understood by others who are, like them, superior in some aspect of life.
There is a sense of entitlement, of being more deserving than others based solely on their superiority. These symptoms, however, are a result of an underlying sense of inferiority and are often seen as overcompensation. Because of this, they are often envious and even angry of others who have more, receive more respect or attention, or otherwise steal away the spotlight.
Treatment for this disorder is very rarely sought. There is a limited amount of insight into the symptoms, and the negative consequences are often blamed on society. In this sense, treatment options are limited. Some research has found long-term insight oriented therapy to be effective, but getting the individual to commit to this treatment is a major obstacle. D.B.T. and the concepts and tools offered by this burgeoning treatment may be a useful tool if treatment is sought - usually when the disorder has serious negative effects on a person’s life.
Prognosis is limited and based mainly on the individual’s ability to recognize their underlying inferiority and decreased sense of self-worth. With insight and long-term therapy, the symptoms can be reduced in both number and intensity.
(NOTE: the upcoming release of DSM-V no longer categorizes Narcissistic Personality disorder as a mental disorder, explaining it is too broad a concept that requires a more in-depth definition. This is a point of contention within the psychiatric and psychological communities.)
Association with persons that are afflicted by Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be as painful as those with sociopathy. What out for the signs of both these self-involved states of being.
“There is no doubt that genius lasts longer than beauty”
- Oscar Wilde, “The Picture of Dorian Gray”
Please understand that simple narcissism does not imply one suffers from this personality disorder. We ALL have a narcissistic side. Further, we are usually attracted to those who exhibit the traits these self-centric individuals present.
Distinguishing normal, hot and sexy, narcissism differs from the DSM-IV described disease can be tricky. My advice? Follow your gut. Your instinct. It is almost always on point.
~ the audacious amateur blogger
**Visit the “FEATURED” page for a compilation of all personality disorder related posts!