This paper will aim to define narcissistic personality disorder as a whole. The document will cover the topics of symptoms, prevalence, and contributing factor. In addition to covering the general description of the disorder the paper will present a case study to provide a clearer image of the parameters of NPD.
2 scientific studies will be presented in order to offer empirical data regarding NPD and to add knowledge recently acquired through experimentation.Narcissistic Personality Disorder Research Pa In Greek mythology Narcissus was a handsome young hunter who was so captivated by his own reflection in a pool of water that he wasted away and died locking eyes with his own image. This story though dated way before the times of modern psychology metaphorically defines the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.NPD is a personality disorder characterized by a deep obsession with adequacy and egocentricity. (Milton p.
393) The disorder was first coined by Heinz Kohut in his book The Analysis of the Self: A Systematic Analysis of the Treatment of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. (James) People with NPD often have trouble maintaining healthy relationships, cannot accept criticism constructively, and have a strong sense of entitlement.According to the DSM, the disorder manifests itself in a variety of symptoms which if not treated can have cataclysmic effects on quality of life, these include: propensity to take advantage of others to goals, exaggeration of own importance, achievements, and talents, fantasies of unrealistic success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance, constant attention-seeking behavior, extremely prone to jealousy, a lack of empathy and disregard for feelings of others, and the pursuit of selfish goals.People with NPD often also have trouble maintaining healthy relationships, cannot accept criticism constructively, and have a strong sense of entitlement which can be very detrimental to establishing relationships. These symptoms are coupled with a psychological defense mechanism known as splitting. (Kernberg, 1970) Splitting is a cognitive distortion in which the mind constantly seeks to divide everything into absolutes of negative and positive.People with NPD use this mechanism in order to protect their fragile egos by exalting themselves and devaluating others and their emotions. This is another reason why people with NPD have a hard time being maintain relationships; this sense of “all or nothing” can be highly unpredictable leading to mood swings and erratic emotional communication.
Though the symptoms are well established, the actual cause of NPD is still unknown however, research done by Groopman and Cooper (2007) narrows down the environmental possibilities of causation.These range from a highly caustic home life and overindulgence as a child to emotional abuse and excessive praise for good looks. These factors, coupled with an approximate 50% genetic predisposition (Bushman, Campell, Paulhus, Robins 2010) are the closest thing to a contributing factor for NPD. NPD is relatively uncommon; prevalence is divided between the general population and psychiatric outpatients. Approximately 2% to 15% of the clinical population is afflicted with NPD with less than 1% of the general population being afflicted.Within both these percentages 50 to 75% afflicted are men. (DSM) According to recent studies by Twenge and Campbell(Living in the Age of Entitlement, 2009) the percentage has doubled in the past 10 years and now 1 in 16 of the population has experienced NPD. Due to all the cognitive complications that come with NPD treatment can be very challenging.
People with NPD are not aware that they are suffering since the symptoms of disorder entail a large ego. (Golomb, Trapped in the Mirror, p. 23) Different styles of therapy have been shown to have positive results.
Schema Therapy, developed by Jeffrey Young is a group of therapeutic techniques that aim to get rid of self-defeating perception. These include limited reparenting(which centers in spotlighting and helping cope with issues during early development that may have led to mental problems), imagery, flashcards(in order for treatment to be maintained outside of the office), chair work, and a diary. These separate forms of psychotherapy are used together to promote empathy, introspection, and healthy coping methods in patients with NPD. Young p.
177) Case Study: H A prime poster boy for narcissistic personality disorder subject H was a middle aged Iranian man in the midst of drug rehabilitation. It is common for people with NPD to become dependent on substances due to their necessity to cope with inadequacy. (Donaldson-Pressman, The Narcissistic Family 1994) Like many people with NPD he was very handsome and held a demanding presence. (DSM) H’s symptoms were first noticed by his therapist during a group talk session.
H was noted to recount stories of vicious spousal abuse (throwing his ex-wife out of a moving car in rage) and robberies he committed against family members at gunpoint, with a sense of pride and content. H’s therapist decided to see how he interacted with his parents in order to develop a better diagnosis. His therapist Stras describes the session: “For two hours tonight, he sits in between his parents with his arms spread out and draped behind their backs. He holds the tops of each of their heads and they nod and blankly drone on about what a wonder and a gift to the world he is.He flirts with me, flashes his smile at my co-therapist and nonchalantly says he hates his sister. The incongruence of affect is alarming. I internally witness myself going in and out of fear, being seduced by his charm, hopeless, and finally, disgusted by his game. It is knowing he is vulnerable, a little boy holding the balloon string which grounds me and pulls me back to commitment to his treatment.
His parents leave and I make a comment that his body language was interesting to me. “You looked a bit like a puppet-master with two marionettes that you can make say anything you want. It’s as if I’ve let the air out of the balloon.
H’s cocky smile fades as if it was on a dimmer switch and he deflates into a fetal position on the couch, looking at the carpet, completely despondent. ” Narcissism personified, H displays all the telltale characteristics from manipulation of others to extreme hostility towards criticism. Following this session H. fell into what is known as a blame storm (Kreger, 2011) in which he flew into a narcissistic rage threatening to leave and relapse. Upon delving further into his home life Stras discovered that his home life was very unstable.
His father being an orthodox Iranian man was very patriarchal and placed his son on a pedestal while neglecting his daughters, this however was combined with savage disciplinary unpredictable beatings. His father also taught him that women should be subjugated and beaten in order to be dominant. Stras decided that for treatment to work best she would need to focus on quelling his narcissistic rages and coping with his feelings of deflation. H has begun attending services at a Zen Temple and the deep states of peace accompanied with meditation have allowed him to build “empathic attunement and introspection.
Scientific Studies In 1994 Gabbard and Twemlow conducted a study in an attempt to find out if there was a correlation between mother son- incest. The experiment was conducted on a patient who was having trouble with narcissism and sexual repression. The patient known as Mr. N was exposed Freud’s work on the Oedipus complex (theory by Freud that all men as children have a subconscious innate desire to sleep with his mother and a strong antagonistic feeling towards his father). As time went on the Mr. egan to display signs of a traumatic childhood through strange dreams and altered states of consciousness. He would often lie on a couch and whisper to himself inaudibly. Upon further investigation Mr.
N reveled that at the tender age of 6 his mother began to engage in incestuous acts with him. In addition, she would play a twisted game of victim and oppressor with him through: “. Beginning when he was six and continuing into his early teens, the patient’s mother would invite him to lie with her on her antique fainting couch while his father was away on business.She would then rub his back, legs, genitals, and anus and invite him to stimulate her in return. They would communicate to each other in a giddy, breathless way that the patient had been reproducing in the analysis. While his mother would penetrate his anus with her fingers, the patient would pant and rub her leg. This exciting stimulation, however, often led to a traumatic interruption.
Mr. N. ’s mother would either withdraw and leave him overstimulated, or plan their trysts in such a way that his father would return in the middle of them and pull the patient off.On several occasions, Mr. N. ’s father poked the patient in the groin as he was removing him.
His mother would then make the patient look like the aggressor, and would appear relieved a t being “rescued. ” This profoundly confusing and horrific pattern of relatedness led to a sense of grandiosity and specialness that was maintained precariously. Mr. N. lived with a sense of dread that at any moment the overstimulation mother would undergo a dramatic switch in which she would abandon him or betray him.On the one hand, the experience of his angry father pulling him off his mother led to intense castration anxiety. On the other hand, his mother’s withdrawal and betrayal contributed to a view of his mother as a persecuting and castrating phallic mother. ” The findings showed that there was indeed a correlation between mother-son incest and NPD.
The combination of extreme valuation and oedipal guilt creates a persona in which Mr. N found himself to be dominant in the face of others but still submissive to the influence of his mother. What became increasingly apparent as the analysis unfolded is that Mr. N. despite having moved away from home and established himself in an independent living arrangement, still felt under the relentless control of his mother.
He was the king of the family, or perhaps the crown prince, according to the family mythology, but only if he lived out the script written for him by his mother. ” In another study conducted by the University of Virginia a group of maximum security female inmates in order to explore the correlation between violence and mental.The experiment was conducted as follows: The current study seeks to expand our understanding of the increasingly well documented relationship between mental disorder and violence, specifically by examining the relationship between Axis II disorders and community and institutional violence among a cohort of 261 incarcerated women. Drawing from an initial screening of 802 female inmates in maximum security, we sampled to identify 200 nonpsychotic women who met criteria for one of the four Cluster B personality disorders, and 50 nonpsychotic women who did not meet criteria for these disorders.
Each inmate was interviewed with the Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV Axis II Personality Disorders (SCID-II). Information regarding instant offense and institutional behavior was obtained from prison files and a self-report inventory. ” The findings displayed that there was a strong correlation between Cluster B disorders (DSM) and violent crime and institutional violence. Narcissistic personality disorder was noted to be particularly common in people who were initially incarcerated for acts of violence.ReferencesAmerican Psychiatric Association. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition, Revised. Armenian Medical Network.
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