Abnormal Psychology: Mental Health and Mental Illness

Disorders of Personality

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

In effect, narcissism refers to a very fragile and unstable sense of self. In order to compensate for their fragile self-esteem, narcissistic people become preoccupied with their self-image and are intensely sensitive to perceived shame or humiliation. Typical narcissists have a grandiose sense of self, with an inflated sense of self-importance and an elevated need for attention, status, and recognition. In order to meet criteria for the DSM-IV diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, an individual must meet five of the following nine criteria: has a grandiose sense of self-importance; has a preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success; carries a belief that he or she is special and only can be understood by other special, high status individuals or groups; need for excessive admiration; displays a sense of entitlement—the assumption that others should accommodate to the person’s needs and desires; is interpersonally exploitative; lacks empathy; is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her; and exhibits arrogant, haughty attitudes or behaviors.


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