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What is the definition of a narcissist?

The US Sun
The US Sun
 2021-07-22

NARCISSISTS are perceived to be vain and obsessed with what they see in the mirror, but underneath the mask they can be vulnerable and fragile.

Here's everything you need to know about narcissistic personality disorder - including symptoms and treatment.

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Narcissistic personality disorder can cause a string of problems for sufferers Credit: Getty - Contributor

What is narcissistic personality disorder?

The condition is one of seven types of personality disorders and is named after Narcissus from Greek mythology, who fell in love with his own reflection.

It results in the sufferer being obsessed with the fantasy of unlimited success, power, brilliance and ideal love and beauty and have an inflated sense of their importance coupled with a deep need for excessive attention.

But behind the confidence, sufferers can be extremely vulnerable to slightest criticism and have low self-esteem, the Mayo Clinic reports.

The disorder can also cause problems in many areas of life - including work, relationships and financial affairs.

People with narcissistic personality disorder may be generally unhappy and disappointed when they're not given the admiration they think they deserve and may find relationships unfulfilling.

What are the traits of narcissistic personality disorder?

According to the Mayo Clinic, sufferers can:

  • Have an exaggerated sense of self-importance
  • Have a sense of entitlement and require constant, excessive admiration
  • Expect to be recognised as superior even without achievements that warrant it
  • Exaggerate achievements and talents
  • Be preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, beauty or the perfect mate
  • Believe they are superior and can only associate with equally special people
  • Monopolise conversations and belittle or look down on people they perceive as inferior
  • Take advantage of others to get what they want
  • Have an inability or unwillingness to recognise the needs and feelings of others
  • Be envious of others and believe others envy them
  • Behave in an arrogant or haughty manner, coming across as conceited, boastful and pretentious

Is there a narcissism test?

Psychologists check for it with a test known as the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-4 - Personality Disorders (SCID-4).

This involves speaking with a patient and asking them about their life but it can be difficult as some sufferers might not seek out treatment as they believe their own fantasies.

But doctors recommend getting help as the disorder can cause a number of complications. These include:

  • Relationship difficulties
  • Problems at work or school
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Physical health problems
  • Drug or alcohol misuse
  • Suicidal thoughts or behaviour

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