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An Overview of the Narcissist

posted 24 Feb 2013, 05:57 by Mpelembe   [ updated 24 Feb 2013, 05:58 ]
Therapy, in most cases, cannot cure the Narcissistic Personality Disorder
(NPD), only mitigate and ameliorate the condition by modifying some of the
narcissist's behaviours.

Only narcissists, who go through a severe life crisis, tend to consider the

possibility of therapy at all. When they attend the therapeutic sessions,
they, usually, bring all their rigid defence mechanisms to the fore. The
therapy quickly becomes a tedious - and useless - affair for both therapist
and patient.

Most cerebral narcissists are very intelligent. They base their grandiose
fantasies on this natural advantage - namely, on their  intellect. When
faced with a reasoned analysis, which shows that they suffer from NPD, most
of them accept the new information. But they also have to face it and strive
to change themselves - and this is the difficult part: all narcissists are
deniers of reality.

Moreover, cognitively assimilating the information that one is a narcissist,
that one suffers from a personality disorder amounts to a mere process of
labelling. Cognitive insight (knowing something) is not like emotional
insight (feeling something). It has no psychodynamic effects. It does not
affect the narcissist's behaviour patterns and interactions with his human
environment. These behaviour patterns and interactions are the products of
well-entrenched and rigid defense mechanisms.

Narcissists are pathological liars. This means that they are either unaware
of their lies - or feel completely justified and at ease when lying to
others. Often, they believe their own confabulations and attribute to them
"retroactive veracity". The very essence of the narcissist is a huge,
contrived, lie: his FALSE Self, his grandiose FANTASIES, and his IDEALISED

Personality disorders are adaptative. This means that they help to resolve
mental conflicts and the anxiety, which, normally, accompanies them.
Narcissists, therefore, have little incentive to get rid of their disorder.
It shields them from the inevitable hurt of coping with the outside world.

Narcissists sometimes contemplate suicide (suicidal ideation) when they go
through a crisis, but they are not very likely to follow through.

Narcissists are, in a way, sadists. They are likely to use verbal and
psychological abuse and violence against their closest, nearest and

The NPD is a newcomer to the zoo of mental disorders. It was not fully
defined until the late 1980's. The discussion, analysis and study of
narcissism are as old as psychology - but there is a great difference
between being a "mere" narcissist and having a NPD. So, no one has a clue as
to how widespread this particular personality disorder is - or, even, how
widespread personality disorders are (estimates range between 3 and 15% of
the population, but I think that 5-7% would be a fair ballpark figure).

AUTHOR BIO (must be included with the article)

Sam Vaknin ( ) is the author of Malignant Self
Love - Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain - How the West Lost the East.
He served as a columnist for Global Politician, Central Europe Review,
PopMatters, Bellaonline, and eBookWeb, a United Press International (UPI)
Senior Business Correspondent, and the editor of mental health and Central
East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101.

Visit Sam's Web site at