Careful Not to Fall in Love with Your Reflection

I listened and here it is! Someone suggested that I do a post on narcissistic personality disorder.

A little of history, because the person who suggested this is a history major! In Greek mythology, Narcissus was a hunter who was known for his beauty.  He was proud, in that he disdained those who loved him. He was lead to a pool, where he saw his own reflection in the water and fell in love with it, not realizing it was merely an image. Unable to leave the beauty of his reflection, Narcissus lost his will to live. He stared at his reflection until he died. Narcissus is the origin of the term narcissism, a fixation with oneself and one’s physical appearance.

A friend of mine did a research study where she was trying to figure out which major in college had the most narcissistic students the results were really interesting. I will reveal them closer to the end of blog post to show an example!

Now, facts! According to the DSM5 criteria for narcissistic personality disorder

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Believes he or she is so special and unique he or she can only associate with other highly special and unique people
  • Requires massive amounts of admiration
  • Has donald-trump-151229111157-donald-trump-good-looking-super-169a sense of high entitlement and has unreasonable expectations for favorable treatment
  • Takes advantage of others to achieve his her or own ends
  • Lacks empathy is unwilling to recognize the feelings and needs of others
  • Is often envious of others and/or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • Shows arrogant, haughty behavior and/or attitudes

People with narcissistic personality disorder take offense to even the slightest of jokes or attacks and they are unwilling to forgive.

Why is this bad? Having high self-worth and self-esteem is something people need, mainly now with levels dropping. It’s okay to know you are important-because you are- don’t ever let anyone tell you, you are not important. It’s okay to feel special and unique because you are not one of us is the same- and to think that we are is a mistake. It’s okay to have high self-worth and self-esteem. The problem with narcissistic personality disorder is that people who have this disorder do not experience the pain and suffering they put the people they love in; they don’t because they can’t see it. They are so self-engrossed that they do not see the pain and suffering of others.

It gets worse, since people with narcissistic personality disorder hate and cannot take rejection or not getting their way they tend to attack and respond with violence. In a study done my Bushman et al., 2013 they looked at men and compared their levels of narcissistic personality disorder. Those with higher levels stated that if they were rejected they tended to have sexually coercive thoughts and behaviors, and additionally they depicted rape more favorable, more enjoyable, and more sexually arousing then men with lower levels of narcissistic traits.

So my friend’s study revealed that business majors tended to have higher levels of narcissistic personality disorder. Lucky for us this disorder appears in less than one percent of the population. So even if you are a business major, the likelihood of you having narcissistic personality disorder is very slim. However, the question remains, what causes this disorder?

Many say genetics, cause it’s always genetics! However, recent studies have shown that one major cause could be associated with child abuse, neglect, or poor parenting. The parents were either too praising or to critical.

Narcissistic personality disorder treatment is centered around talk therapy, also called psychotherapy.

This can help by teaching the person to relate better with others so the relationships are more intimate, enjoyable and rewarding. They need to understand the causes of emotions and what drives him/her to compete, to distrust others, and perhaps to despise yourself and others.

Since personality traits can be difficult to change, because they are literally part of you as a person, therapy may take several years. Areas of change are directed at helping you accept responsibility and learning to:

Accept and maintain real personal relationships and collaboration with co-workers

Recognize and accept your actual competence and potential so you can tolerate criticisms or failures

Increase your ability to understand and regulate your feelings

Understand and tolerate the impact of issues related to your self-esteem

Release your desire for unattainable goals and ideal conditions and gain an acceptance of what’s attainable and what you can accomplish.

Some things to remember:

People with Narcissistic personality disorder can lead a very lonely and isolated life. They don’t want people to judge them, they want perfection, and they fear failure. It’s a lonely and harsh life to live, so if you or someone you know has signs of Narcissistic personality disorder please seek help. It is can be as hard and harmful for both the person with the disorder and his/her loved once.

“I don’t care what you think unless it is about me.”
― Kurt Cobain


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