The word narcissist is often loosely used to describe someone who’s on an ego trip or a little too into themselves. While both of those are narcissistic traits, narcissism itself goes much deeper than that. Everyone has displayed some form of narcissism at some point in their life. These same traits allow us to take pride in our accomplishments and feel valid when we are recognized. Narcissistic traits are a normal and healthy part of brain development. They are most prominent during teen and young adult years, and present as a higher degree of selfishness and lower degree of empathy or generosity.
When the narcissistic traits continue into adulthood and evolve to include a high level of arrogance, self-entitlement, and difficulty taking criticism, it becomes known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder or NPD. Those suffering from NPD will push the envelope, manipulating and gaslighting others in order to fulfill their need to feel superior and in control.
Who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder? According to a 2018 study, 1 out of every 200 adults have some level of narcissistic behavior on a constant basis, with men being more likely to develop NPD.
Many psychology professionals now classify narcissism as a spectrum disorder, because the traits of narcissism can range from subtle to abusive. NPD is not easy to recognize in even some of the worst cases, because a narcissist is an expert in manipulation and gaslighting. Non-narcissists will question themselves and try to make excuses for their loved one’s behaviors. Identifying narcissistic behavior in a partner or potential partner is difficult because you want to believe they are genuine and have your best interests at heart. To help you identify narcissism, here are some common characteristics:
Whether it’s a parent, sibling, or romantic partner - if you’ve found yourself sharing daily life with someone who has NDP, you need some reasonable steps for making things more tolerable. Here are some tips on living productively and peacefully with a narcissist:
Even with your best efforts to cope, some cases may be so severe that your mental and physical health depends on leaving the situation. After enduring months or years of narcissistic abuse, you might find it difficult to recognize when it is time to leave. If you are experiencing any of the following, strongly consider putting an end to the relationship.
If your narcissist loved one is willing, therapy is a great place for them to start learning how to change their way of thinking and diffuse poor behaviors. The most important aspects of changing narcissistic behavior are support and therapy. Medens Health has several mental health providers who are qualified to help both NPD sufferers and their loved ones who are victims of narcissistic abuse. If you are in California, Nevada, or Arizona and you or someone you know is a victim of narcissistic abuse, call or text us at (833) 624-5400. You can also reach out online.
The information provided in this blog is for educational and informational purposes only and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Reliance on any information provided in this blog is solely at your own risk. Always seek the advice of your physician or a qualified mental health provider with any questions you may have regarding your medical or mental health. If you don’t currently have a therapist, we can connect you with one who is qualified to give you safe, professional, and ethical advice regarding your mental health.
If you or someone you are responsible for is experiencing a medical emergency, is considering harming themselves or others, or is otherwise in imminent danger, you should call 9-1-1 and/or take them to the nearest emergency room.