?Written by Dr. Sam Vaknin
Part 1: About
Part 2: Symptoms of Narcissism
A pattern of traits
and behaviors which signify infatuation and obsession with one's
self to the exclusion of all others and the egotistic and ruthless
pursuit of one's gratification, dominance and ambition.
Most narcissists (75%)
NPD is one of a
"family" of personality disorders (formerly known as
Borderline PD, Antisocial PD and Histrionic PD.
NPD is often diagnosed
with other mental health disorders ("co-morbidity") - or
with substance abuse, or impulsive and reckless behaviors
NPD is new (1980)
mental health category in the Diagnostic and Statistics Manual
There is only scant
research regarding narcissism. But what there is has not
demonstrated any ethnic, social, cultural, economic, genetic, or
professional predilection to NPD.
It is estimated that
0.7-1% of the general population suffer from NPD.
narcissism was first described in detail by Freud. Other major
contributors are: Klein, Horney, Kohut, Kernberg, Millon,
Roningstam, Gunderson, Hare.
The onset of
narcissism is in infancy, childhood and early adolescence. It is
commonly attributed to childhood abuse and trauma inflicted by
parents, authority figures, or even peers.
There is a whole range
of narcissistic reactions - from the mild, reactive and transient
to the permanent personality disorder.
Narcissists are either
"Cerebral" (derive their narcissistic supply from their
intelligence or academic achievements) - or "Somatic"
(derive their narcissistic supply from their physique, exercise,
physical or sexual prowess and "conquests").
Narcissists are either
"Classic" - see definition below - or they are
"Compensatory", or "Inverted" - see
definitions here: "The Inverted
NPD is treated in talk
therapy (psychodynamic or cognitive-behavioral). The prognosis for
an adult narcissist is poor, though his adaptation to life and to
others can improve with treatment. Medication is applied to
side-effects and behaviors (such as mood or affect disorders and
obsession-compulsion) - usually with some success.
The text in italics is
NOT based on the Diagnostics and Statistics Manual, Fourth
Edition-Text Revision (2000).
The text in
italics IS based on "Malignant
Self Love - Narcissism Revisited", fourth, revised, printing
pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), need for
admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually
beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts.
Five (or more) of the following criteria must be met:
with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power
or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance
(the cerebral narcissist), bodily
beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist),
or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or
that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be
understood by, should only be treated by, or
associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people
admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation - or,
failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious
behaviours or attitudes coupled with rage when
frustrated, contradicted, or confronted
Some of the
language in the criteria above is based on or summarized from:
Association. (2000). Diagnostic and statistical manual of
mental disorders, fourth edition, Text Revision (DSM IV-TR).
Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association.
The text in
italics is based on:
Sam Vaknin. (2003). Malignant
Self Love - Narcissism Revisited, fourth, revised, printing.
Prague and Skopje: Narcissus Publication.
For the exact
language of the DSM IV criteria - please refer to the manual
ORDER: Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited
This material is
copyrighted. Free, unrestricted use is allowed on a non commercial
basis. The author's name and a link to this Website must be
incorporated in any reproduction of the material for any use and by
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