Friday, January 24, 2014

Lexicon of Madness -- Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: A chronic, pervasive personality pathology marked by grandiose self-concept, excessive need for admiration, and empathy deficits. The narcissist feels himself to be superior to other people, deserving of special treatment, and entitled to use other people as objects to further his own ends. The nicest thing one could say about a narcissist is that he has supreme self-confidence, even if his belief in his abilities and status is not necessarily commensurate to reality. Narcissists can be surprisingly thin-skinned. The success of other people, praise directed at others, or even the mildest criticism can all be deeply wounding to them. They manage negative feelings by becoming irritable or even enraged. Belittling others, especially in a condescending manner, is a hallmark of narcissists. Because they can never fully realize their fantasies of unlimited wealth and power, stratospheric social status, and universal admiration, feelings of self-loathing are never far from the surface. Much has been said about a "narcissism epidemic" unfolding over the past few decades. However, one must be very careful to differentiate narcissism from unwarranted "high self-esteem." The egocentricity of the narcissist renders him unable to adopt the perspective of others, to feel empathy for their suffering, or to put any other person's interests ahead of his own.

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