Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) or Narcissism, as it is often called, is one of B personality disorders, or emotional / impulsive personality disorders.
Narcissism is one of the least studied personality disorders. Different types of narcissism are presented with a variety of features, making the diagnosis difficult. People with narcissism also do not see the need for counseling and find it useless or undervalued. If they start treatment, they may react angrily when faced with challenges, try to manipulate their therapist, or find it difficult to look at things from other angles. They often leave the treatment early, especially if they see no benefit.
Recent research aims to identify new treatment approaches that can help people living with personality disorders achieve lasting change Shape therapy, one such treatment, is considered useful for people who do not respond well to other types of treatment. It has been shown to be effective in treating borderline personality, another condition considered difficult to treat.
Research into drug treatment for narcissism is still in its infancy, but existing clinical data suggest that it is promising.
People living with narcissism have a deep need for admiration and recognition and they draw on self-esteem from the praise and positive attitude of others.
The roots of narcissism
Personality disorders are characterized by rigid, long-lasting patterns of behavior that affect life and relationships, cause discomfort and make their functioning difficult. People living with personality disorders may not always recognize that some of their behaviors cause problems or negatively affect others.
Like other personality disorders, narcissism is a serious mental health problem. Many find it more serious and harmful than most other personality disorders, since people with narcissism generally lack empathy and may not care about the consequences of their actions.
The causes of narcissism are not fully understood. Some potential growth factors may include:
- Having a parent who is extremely adorable or overly critical, or a parent who switches between these ways
- Having a parent with narcissism
- It inherits certain traits that increase the risk for personality disorders
- Experiencing trauma, abuse, neglect or indifferent parental responsibility
People living with narcissism have a deep need for admiration and recognition and they draw on self-esteem from the praise and positive attitude of others. Since connecting with people at a familiar level requires a level of vulnerability, people with narcissism can avoid important relationships in order to protect the illusion of greatness and maintain an unstable self-knowledge from being revealed.
Researchers have identified four main NPD subtypes. It is possible to have multiple subtype characteristics or to shift between subtypes at different points in life.
- Clear narcissism most commonly involves right-handed, attention-seeking behavior. A key feature is an excessive sense of autonomy. People with this subtype tend to be charming and arrogant and often exploit others. They can do quite well in the workplace, but struggle to get along with others or perform tasks that they consider to be derogatory or otherwise undervalued.
- Covering Narcissism they can include stress, significant emotional distress, and extreme sensitivity to criticism or perceptions of abuse. This subtype is often characterized by contraction, even social isolation. People with disguised narcissism tend to have an inner sense of superiority and to imagine their talents being recognized by speaking modestly about themselves, even putting themselves down.
- High functioning narcissism it features similar traits to the emerging narcissism, but people with this subtype can generally function well in society and do not appear to have a personality disorder. They are often able to adapt narcissistic traits, such as charm and competitiveness, to achieve success and may have relationships that are shallow but enduring. Criticism, perceived failure, or age-related challenges, such as poor health or perceived loss of attraction, can cause discomfort or judgment.
- Malicious narcissism, considered the most serious subtype, includes narcissistic traits as well as antisocial personality and paranoia. People with this subtype can easily find and manipulate others, behave aggressively, enjoy intimidating others, and avoid any work or work unless they somehow benefit. They often do not want to change, so treatment can be very difficult.
Narcissism often involves symptoms that are less well known than magnanimity and lack of empathy, such as:
Most people with narcissism struggle to maintain employment and personal relationships, changing partners easily when they do not receive the admiration they need. It is also common for people to imagine that they are recognized for their superiority and the humiliated people who "wronged" them.
When treatment can help address these problems, particularly vulnerability and self-esteem, narcissistic behaviors can be improved.
Schema Therapy: An effective treatment for narcissistic personality?
Even when people with narcissism seek treatment, either for narcissism-related discomfort or other mental health symptoms, treatment can be complicated. Believing that a therapist has offended them, does not recognize their specificity, or is not capable or reliable to treat them, leads many people with narcissism to stop treatment early in treatment. Research shows that treatment is slower for people with narcissism, leading to a slower improvement in symptoms.
Shape therapy, however, may have an increased chance of curing NPD. Shape therapists offer support and validation by helping people understand and deal with the emotional mindset that causes problems in their lives. For narcissism, this is often the persistent, private feeling of inferiority and the fear of failure.
Shape therapy combines elements of cognitive behavioral therapy, emotion-focused therapy, Gestalt therapy and psychodynamic therapy, among others. The idea behind this approach is that the patterns or patterns of thinking and behavior develop as a result of unfulfilled emotional needs and other early childhood experiences. These shapes are enhanced throughout their lives with challenges, abuse, trauma, and other negative or harmful experiences. Unless they are treated in a positive way, they contribute to the development of harmful or unhealthy treatment methods. These coping styles can affect behavior throughout life, often in ways that cause risks.
Shape therapists offer support and validation by helping people understand and deal with the emotional mindset that causes problems in their lives.
The goal of the approach is to help people identify the needs they did not meet in childhood and to learn how to meet them in healthy ways that do no harm to themselves or others. To help clients achieve this goal, form group therapists and copy responses to operating modes and use a range of strategies to address them, including roles, interpersonal techniques, and cognitive-behavioral approaches. Therapists can set boundaries, such as a parent, within the boundaries of the therapeutic relationship to help clients cope with the patterns.
The forms of form usually associated with narcissism are:
- Removable Protective / Self-pacifier: This way of avoiding behavior involves behaviors that are soothing, stimulating, or distracting – anything that helps turn off emotions. These behaviors may include substance abuse, risky sex, gambling, fantasies, or overwork. It is also common to shut down or reject people as well as feelings. Standard operation is not always affected, but it can seem almost mechanical and has no personal investment.
- Self-Aggrandizer: One way in the category of overcompensation, this involves many behaviors commonly associated with narcissism – supremacy, entitlement and manipulative tactics. Individuals in this way tend to be of little interest to anyone but themselves, to boast of real or inflated achievements and to seek open admiration to avoid revealing hidden vulnerabilities and insecurities.
By treating these ways and working with them with the help of the regimen therapist, people who are healed can begin accessing adult hygiene, which helps treat early childhood vulnerabilities and promotes healthier ways of dealing with them. After achieving this, people may be able to operate at a more formal level and be more able to take responsibility for their actions and see how they affect others.
Shape therapy has been successful in treating other personality disorders, including borderline personality. Clinical trials on its use with narcissism are still pending, but research and clinical observations suggest that regimen therapy could help people with narcissism to be more successful in treatment.
Why are narcissists seeking treatment?
People living with NPD often believe that they are superior and struggle to deal with the feelings and needs of others. This can make their actions particularly damaging. Narcissism also often involves deliberate manipulation or emotional abuse – behaviors that cause significant pain to people with narcissistic associations. In fact, many therapists specialize in helping fellow people with narcissism heal.
The typical traits associated with narcissism, as well as the tendency of many people with NPD to see nothing wrong with their behavior, have contributed to the belief that treatment cannot cure narcissism. But healing can help people with narcissism improve – if they want to change.
Andrea Schneider, LCSW, therapist in San Dimas, California, explains what can make a person with NPD seek counseling. "Typically," he says, "Someone … with a narcissistic personality can have some flexibility with some behavior change when dealing with important stressors (such as a relationship ending or other crisis)."
People with NPD may not seek treatment for the symptoms associated with narcissism. Instead, they may decide to seek help for other symptoms or problems. These could coexist with the conditions or long-term mental health effects associated with narcissism. In many cases, these challenges contribute to the desire for change.
People with narcissism can seek help for:
Narcissistic personality and related conditions can significantly affect quality of life and emotional well-being. Addiction and stress can cause health problems, for example, while failure to maintain a relationship can lead to complete isolation.
To date, few studies have examined treatment for narcissism because people with NPD often do not seek treatment. If they do, they can only do so because someone else has urged them to do so. Treatment can bring benefits, but the person with narcissism must recognize the problems with their behavior and strive for change.
Finding a Healer Shape
People who do not see the need to deal with their behavior are unlikely to be able to make lasting changes. However, research into regimen therapy suggests that the approach could benefit people living with narcissism when other types of treatment do not help. Experts agree that narcissism often poses therapeutic challenges for therapists and can make progress in treatment difficult.
Shape therapy involves validation and sympathy for a person's difficulties and difficulties. When people with narcissism approach treatment with a willingness to change or at least attempt to deal with harmful behaviors, working with regimen treatment can help them learn to cope with the healthiest fear fears.
It can be difficult to find a therapist, especially if you live in a smaller town. But many therapists can be trained to incorporate elements of regimen therapy into therapy. If you or a loved one has symptoms of a narcissistic personality disorder, consider approaching a therapist who offers regimen therapy or practice mode. Don't be discouraged by myths about narcissism – change is possible for anyone. Start your search for a trained, compassionate consultant today.
Author's note: If you are involved in a relationship where there is a malicious partner of any kind – physical, emotional or sexual is not usually recommended. We encourage you to review us crisis page and reach out for support.
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