All of us have bumped upon someone who has an extreme sense of self-importance which makes one feel inferior around them. This kind of personality trait is generally known to be Narcissistic. The dictionary meaning of this word is “having an excessive or erotic interest in oneself and one’s physical appearance.”

Generally, when people are having a bad day, they might show some characteristics to that of a narcissist. This attitude can be considered pretty normal for most people. Although when these habits appear in a coherent pattern, it has a possibility of turning into a disorder which is called Narcissistic Personality Disorder. It is mostly referred to as NPD.

What are the personality traits of a Narcissist?

A narcissistic person shows the personality traits akin to self-admiration to a level where it feels particularly beyond reason and convention to the opposite person. It is a type of mental disorder compared to other personality disorders in the DSM- IV and DSM-5 that is commonly found to be greater in men than women. Some of these traits can be:

  • a delusion of power and a sense of authority
  • demeaning others to feel self-importance
  • a feeling of being highly successful
  • troubled relationships
  • profit oneself by using others
  • act aggressively if being criticized in the smallest way possible
  • regard the self as the best at everything
  • aspire to have the best things; for example, the best house in the city
  • always have a sense of rivalry with others.
  • embellish and overstate self accomplishments

What factors contribute to NPD

There have been several types of researches accomplished to understand the direct cause of the development of Narcissistic Personality Disorder but none of them tells us the exact dimensions to the question of how this disorder is developed. At the same, there have been multiple factors which contribute together in its advancement.

It can be caused due to three factors in general,

  • Parenting Style: It is very important to know how and in what circumstances the child has been brought up. It’s critical for the child to be raised in an environment with a good parenting style. Severe parenting techniques like overlooking, disregarding, or heeding and caring excessively for the child can add to its development.
  • Genetic Factors: Although many narcissistic traits can be acquired over the years, children may show the first signs of NPD at 8 years old. This tells us that a certain genetic factor plays a huge role in boosting up a narcissistic trait in the early years of child development.
  • Environmental Factors: Components such as being exposed to a narcissistic person at an early age can aid its increase. The child progresses to acquire those traits and imitate them when viewing them as a role model. This further contributes as a factor towards narcissism.

Are Narcissists aware of their actions?

Unlike most major mental illnesses, people suffering from NPD broadly are self-aware of their habits and traits. What most people aren’t mindful of is that it’s an illness and not just a trait that can be adaptable for their partners. Most frequently, partners of that of a narcissist tend to suffer a lot in a relationship both mentally and emotionally. Narcissists are likely to devalue their partner’s feelings when they are in a relationship.

What it feels like to be with a Narcissist?

Whether it be a friend, partner, parent, or child, being with a narcissist can be mentally draining. They might take away all the feelings of self-worth out of you. You might feel lonely and devoid of self-worth once you’re with a narcissist. It is highly important to know that the other person is a narcissist when dealing with them. This gives you a sense of adaptability knowing the consequences. For instance, a narcissistic boyfriend will always make you feel you’re incompetent even if you do everything as asked. It is significant to comply with a narcissist every time to be happy together.

Other mental illnesses linked with NPD

Depression and Anxiety can be a connecting factor for a Narcissistic person. It can also be linked to the person dealing with a Narcissist. It is usual for a narcissist to develop depression if all the things they aspired or asked for did not meet as per their expectations. They are also likable to get upset when they are criticized by the other party. This makes them feel emotionally drained and often lands up in a state of depression. For the person dealing with a narcissist, it is common to have feelings of loneliness and worthlessness which can further progress towards depression and anxiety if not taken care of.

How to Prevent NPD

I think prevention of the development of this disorder at an early age can be helpful if it’s acquired as the direct cause of the disorder is unknown. By making use of good parenting strategies we can do our part in minimizing NPD.

  • Making the children aware of their actions and teaching them the difference between right and wrong
  • Rewarding them when they are doing right
  • Keeping a close eye at their actions and behaviors through early childhood towards the adolescent stage of development
  • Make sure that the child is being nurtured efficiently
  • Not being over or under protective of your child

Treatments of NPD

For the most part, the treatment of NPD is done through monitoring and therapy sessions. It is essential to seek professional help if you feel like you are going through this disorder. Therapy sessions include talk therapy which helps to deal with problematic situations, logical thinking, and building and maintaining positive relationships with others as well as self. For most narcissists, this therapy acts as the number one therapy in helping overcome this disorder along with continuous monitoring. Although if it’s interconnected with other illnesses like depression, a medical professional can provide medications along with therapies.