FUNFACT: the word narcissist comes from a Greek myth of Narcissus, who fell in love with the reflection of himself in a pool, was unable to leave it, and died as a result.
Persons with this disorder think they are better than everyone and should get their way in all circumstances, even if they have to walk over others to accomplish their goals.
SYMPTOMS: they seek admiration from others, rely on their inflated self-evaluation, and see dependency on others as weak and threatening. Grandiosity is a distinguishing feature associated with narcissists, as they are pre-occupied with thoughts of self-importance and fantasies of power and success and view themselves as superior to other people. They are shallow in their emotional expressions and relationship with others, and in interpersonal relationships, they make entitled demands on others to follow their wishes. They ignore or devalue the needs and wants of others, exploit others to gain power, and are arrogant and condescending.
CAUSES: according to the psychodynamic theory, people with this disorder do not develop a realistically positive view of themselves or adaptive strategies for handling stress and distress as children, so they rely on the praises of others for their self-esteem. Cognitive theorists believe that, people develop unrealistically positive assumptions about their self-worth as a result of indulgence and over evaluation by significant others during childhood, others also develop the believe that they are unique or exceptional as a defense against rejection or unmet needs by important people in their lives.
Consider the following;
Joe was a surgeon in his early 40’s who sought treatment for Mania. He would tell his therapist how he was an “ace” student with no concrete evidence. He fantasized about being the best surgeon in Ghana, marrying the most beautiful and most intelligent woman and having smart and beautiful kids who went to the best schools. Anything below that wasn’t even an option. He married his first wife when they were in the university because she won a beauty pageant ( which made her the most beautiful and popular girl in school); he did this because this was in line with his illusion of a perfect life. His wife worked 2 jobs to support him through medical school, but right after he was done, he divorced her on the excuse that, although she was beautiful, she wasn’t good enough for him, or accomplished enough to be his wife. He never remarried but had a string of casual sex. According to him, nobody deserved him and nobody was good enough for him to date. He believed that he had to spend all his money on himself, and that he had to wear the most expensive clothes and buy the most expensive things. He lived for the praises that came with it. He would let his family members beg before he helped them because the begging fed his ego and made him feel superior and very important. He felt because he was different his colleagues didn’t have any right to criticize him but he on the other hand had every right to criticize them. He had no empathy whatsoever and saw no problem in taking advantage of other people if they were “stupid” enough to let him.
MentalMondays by Akwama