Some define narcissism as a mild form of narcissistic personality disorder. Some say narcissism occurs as a spectrum with narcissistic personality disorder at the most severe end.
And others talk about pathological narcissism with psychopaths being the worst, malignant narcissists next and narcissistic personality disorder the mildest.
If you have suffered at the hands of a narcissist, you will know that the categorization is the least of your problems!
The following have been used to define someone with a narcissistic disorder:
self-centered, egotistical, arrogant, superior, demanding, grandiose, manipulative, liar, selfish, power-hungry, greedy, emotional vampires, sneaky, deceitful, wants to be center of attention, huge sense of entitlement, fascinated with themselves, vain, smug, excessive self-love, risk-takers, need to be admired, zero tolerance of criticism, cocky, impulsive, obsessed with self, ambitious, aggressive, temperamental, dominating, full of rage, conceited, childish, wants instant gratification, ruthless, cruel, sadistic and a complete lack of empathy.
The 2 things to keep in mind are the obsession with themselves and the lack of empathy. This is a deadly combination.
These creatures do not feel guilt, remorse, upset, pity or embarrassment. And they put themselves first, always.
Even if they seem to be doing something for you, it is usually to manipulate you into believing the persona they are presenting to you. However, once they have you suckered in, the 'nice guy' disappears and they stop doing things for you. It all changes.
It becomes all about them. Their needs, their desires, their wishes, their ego.
The lack of empathy means that they can treat people any way they want and never feel bad about it. Stealing from people, sexually abusing others, destroying reputations, having people fired, telling outright lies, verbally abusing those next to them, mentally torturing people, all of it is no problem to them. They don't feel bad about it.
In fact, when you define narcissism, it is accepted that there is a sadistic element present. So for many narcissists, being cruel and hurtful gives their ego a boost. To them it means they are in control of others, they are dominant and therefore superior. And this is what they want. This is what they think they are entitled to.
They will do whatever they have to to control their victims decision making so that they receive the praise and recognition they think they should have. And because they have no conscience, they have no limits to the atrocities they will inflict on those they control.
In the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, 4th edition, of the American Psychiatric Association, they define narcissism as a personality disorder where there is
A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
1. has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
2. is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
3. believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
4. requires excessive admiration
5. has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
6. is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
7. lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
8. is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
9. shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
There is also what's called healthy narcissism, but it's typically not what people are talking about when they define narcissism.
And if you have been a victim of a narcissist, to undo the negative effects, you need to learn more about narcissistic behavior and mind control, because invariably narcissists use these techniques to manipulate their victims into staying with them. (This is why people stay in abusive relationships!)
Practical Tips for Dealing with Psychopaths and Narcissists ebook
In this book there is practical advice to apply straight away to protect yourself from the abuse, help to understand what is happening, and information about how to get out of the situation.
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