Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Causes and Symptoms

the narcissistic people they don’t usually see psychology and mental health professionals frequently, but it is quite common for some patients to report problems due to living with people with a narcissistic profile.

There are also people with narcissistic personality disorder in many areas, and of course also in public life or in the media.

What is narcissism?

We generally associate Narcissistic Personality Disorder with personalities from the entertainment world: artists, actors, singers, intellectuals … It is these characters who, as we colloquially say, “their fame rose into nothingness”.

Of course, narcissism is not directly related to socio-economic position well-being of a person, but with the self-perception of the individual (That is to say the perception of its value, whatever its social or economic position). The real essence of narcissistic personality disorder lies here: the narcissistic person is absolutely convinced that oneself is superior To other people. The narcissist is systematically compared to the people around him, and he sees no one above him, but he places many (if not all) below.

In more technical terms, narcissism is characterized by being a general pattern of grandiosity, little empathy in personal relationships, and need to be admired by others.

What does a narcissistic person look like?

People who suffer from Narcissistic Personality Disorder often come across as people with low self-esteem. This great self-confidence does not make them better people, as in the area of ​​interpersonal relationships they have significant gaps.

The narcissist must always see himself on a higher plane than others, either because he cannot stand any characteristic of these close circles, or because he has severed his former contact with them. Because of this emotional detachment from othersPeople with Narcissistic Personality Disorder don’t have a real interest in other people, which we can summarize as their lack of empathy. They aren’t very concerned about what might happen to the people around them, but they focus all of their attention on themselves.

They only approve of third parties when they revolve around their orbit, when they positively reinforce them with flattery and thus ratify their self-perception and airs of grandeur. Unfortunately, it is common for some relatives and friends of narcissistic people to take on this role of staunch “admirers”. surprised by the halo of trust that gives off the narcissist.

The personality of the narcissist and his daily life

People who suffer from some degree of Narcissistic Personality Disorder export their self-reliance and airs of grandeur beyond the family environment. These are usually individuals who move through life and benefit from the way they think about themselves.

It is common for narcissistic people to feel uncomfortable when they have to travel by public transport or when they need to be hospitalized, as they will tend to think they deserve better treatment or they will complain if they do not have certain privileges. If they have a good job, they usually use their money to buy high-end watches, shoes, clothes or sports cars, because they consider that they deserve these badges: their status and the image of the success are very important to a narcissist.

The narcissist’s speech tends to be self-referential. The narcissist expects his words to receive higher attention; it is not uncommon for them to be irritable when talking about themselves, their life, their (indisputable) opinion on things, demanding full attention to everything they say.

We are still used to seeing people with a narcissistic profile on TV or in the movies and we can even think of them as funny and eccentric, the truth is that routine personal treatment with someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be irritating. . In addition to their egocentric behavior which we have already discussed, they are also characterized by being very resentful people and tend to maintain attitudes of resentment and revenge towards others. They often like to hurt others, thereby increasing their egos and feelings of superiority. They are competitive and if they believe that someone can outshine them, they will try to undermine that person’s prestige and reputation.


We are going to know some aspects of great relevance in clinical action for cases of people with a tendency to narcissism.

Diagnostic criteria for narcissistic personality disorder

According to the classification developed and published in the DSM-V-TR, Narcissistic Personality Disorder exhibits the following signs that may be helpful to mental health professionals when establishing a diagnostic:

  • They feel an excessive sense of grandeur.
  • They are constantly preoccupied with fantasies of power, success, beauty or love.
  • These are people who think they are special and who try to have their status recognized.
  • They demand excessive admiration from others.
  • They express their feeling of “being within their rights”. In other words, they have irrational expectations about the treatment they deserve.
  • They take advantage of other people for their own ends (Machiavellianism).
  • Lack of empathy, that is, they are unable to identify or recognize the feelings and emotions of others.
  • They feel jealous of others or believe that others feel jealous.
  • They tend to be arrogant.

On the other hand, it should be remembered that the behaviors of people falling under the category of narcissistic personality disorder can be quite varied in the way they express this disorder. After all, every person is a world, and we cannot grasp every nuance of a person’s personality from diagnostic textbooks.

Bibliographical references:

  • AMERICAN PSYCHIATRIC ASSOCIATION (APA). DSM-IV-TR Diagnostic and Statistical Manual. Barcelona: Masson. 2002.
  • Alarcón, RD; Sarabia, S. (2012). “Debates on the enigma of narcissism: trait, domination, dimension, type or disorder?”. The Journal of Nervous and Mental Illness. 200 (1): 16-25.
  • NHL.NIH.GOV (MedlinePlus). “Narcissistic Personality Disorder”. Saved from this link.
  • Schulze, L .; Dziobek, I .; Vater, A .; Heekeren, RH; Bajbouj, M .; Renneberg, B .; Heuser, jo .; Roepke, S. (2013). “Gray matter abnormalities in patients with narcissistic personality disorder.” Journal of Psychiatric Research. 47 (10): 1363-69.

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