Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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Narcissistic personality disorder is named after the Greek myth of Narcissus, a young man fatally in love with his reflection. This is also known as the “God complex.” The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fourth Edition or DSM-IV classifies this as a Cluster B personality disorder.

Cluster B Personality Disorders

There are three types of personality disorders, according to the DSM-IV: A, B and C. They are called “clusters” because the symptoms tend to come together. Other Cluster B personality disorders include borderline personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder.

All of these disorders have two characteristics in common. The first is that the symptoms are so dramatic that they are impossible to miss. The second is that the person acts in a very erratic manner.

Love of Self

According to Greek myth, Narcissus was an incredibly handsome young man who ignored the advances of all women and nymphs. He fell in love with his reflection and was so entranced with it that he did nothing else except stare. Eventually, he died of starvation and exposure.

Someone with narcissistic personality disorder places themselves before everything to ludicrous and even dangerous extremes. They brag continually, they boast about how much better they are than others and they are over-confident in their abilities. They may even believe that they are immortal or have been placed on Earth in order to fulfill a Divine mission – or, at least, that’s what they tell others.

People with narcissistic personality disorder will often feel as if they do not need any sort of medical help. On the contrary, they believe they are perfectly fine and that it’s everybody else who needs help. However, this braggadocio tends to be on the surface. Deep down they really feel insecure.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms

A person with narcissistic personality disorder brags about their achievements, even if in reality those achievements are not all that remarkable. However brash and arrogant they appear, they can be easily offended. These ‘offenses’ may not actually exist except in the mind of the NPD person, but they can spark tirades and even violent outbursts.

People with narcissistic personality disorder feel that they are entitled to special treatment and admiration because they are ‘better’ than other people. They may break laws because they feel that laws for “normal people” do not apply to them. Being treated like just another person can be highly insulting to them.

They will argue a lot because they do not understand why anyone would disagree with them because they ‘know’ they are so much better than anyone else. If they are smarter than everybody then it is obvious to them that their ideas are better than all others. Anyone who disagrees must be doing so out of jealousy or stupidity.


Morey, Bodie and Kim T. Mueser, Ph.D. The Family Intervention Guide to Mental Illness. New Harbinger Publications; 2007.

Cleveland Clinic. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”

Psychology Today. “Narcissistic Personality Disorder.”