Narcissism: Symptoms, Signs And Treatment

narcissistic woman

Narcissism is excessive interest in or admiration of oneself and one’s physical appearance. As a personality type, it depicts selfishness, involving a feeling of entitlement, a lack of empathy, and a want for admiration, as characterizing a character kind. Generally speaking, narcissism is closely related to:

  • Extensive self-focus
  • Exaggerated sense of self
  • Strong desire for praise and appreciation

Narcissism originates from early 19th century, via Latin from the Greek name Narkissos.

Narcissistic Behavior (NPD):

Narcissistic personality disorder is a kind of personality disorder. It is mainly characterized by an inflated sense of their personal significance, a deep want for excessive attention and admiration, stricken relationships, and a loss of empathy for others.

narcissistic man

9 significant signs of narcissism are:

  • Grandiosity (an exaggerated sense of self-importance)
  • Requirement of excessive admiration and sense of entitlement
  • Lack of sympathy
  • Identity interference
  • Disturbed relationships (difficulty in attachment and dependency)
  • Personally exploitative (takes advantage of others)
  • Feeling of boredom and emptiness
  • Fragility of life transformation
  • Preoccupation with fantasies e.g. power, success, love, and beauty

There can be different complex causes of NPD. NPD can be due to the following reasons:

  • Child parent relationships: Excessive criticism and pampering in the upbringing of children can contribute to narcissism in children.
  • Neglectful behavior of parents: If parents ignore the children, this can also cause narcissistic behavior in children.
  • Biologically vulnerable children are also exposed to narcissism.
  • Genetics: The characteristics of narcissism can also be inherited.
  • Neurobiology: Differences in the ways in which we think and behave in connection with the brain can also contribute to narcissism.


It is commonly believed that NPD affects females more than males. NPD often starts in early childhood or teenage. Some children might show the traits of narcissism but it can be common in their age and not necessarily develops into NPD as they grow up.

NPD can be accompanied by different complications, which can be:

  • Difficulties in maintaining relationships
  • Problematic behavior at work and school
  • Anxiety
  • Depression
  • Other physical health problems
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • Misuse of drugs
  • Alcohol consumption

Discussing the diagnosis of Narcissism, NPD is diagnosed using The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). If one characterizes 5 out of the 9 above-mentioned significant traits of narcissism, then one is most likely to be affected by NPD.

Five major types of narcissism are:

  1. Overt narcissism
  2. Covert narcissism
  3. Antagonistic narcissism
  4. Communal narcissism
  5. Malignant narcissism
  • Overt narcissism: People with overt narcissism are typically extroverts, ambitious, and attention seekers. They can also end up aggressive or violent if a person or situation challenges their repute. A person with covert narcissism may additionally come across as timid, withdrawn, or irreverent.
  • Covert narcissism: People with covert narcissism are those who are affected by NPD but lack the trait of grandiosity in them.
  • Antagonistic narcissism: People who possess the capability of striving for supremacy and admiration are known to inhibit antagonistic narcissism.
  • Communal narcissism: People who are totally opposite to antagonistic narcissism are known as communal narcissists. They become easily morally outraged and react strongly to the unfair things around them.
  • Malignant narcissism: It is an extreme type of narcissism. People with malignant narcissism are very aggressive and sometimes abuse and misuse others.
narcissistic woman

Most narcissists are not aware of their tendencies. There are some very helpful methods that can be adopted to overcome narcissism.

  • If a person characterizes more than five features of narcissism, then extreme therapy is required. If some features exist, then normal psychotherapy will work out.
  • If we open ourselves to feedback. it will bring positivity to us.
  • By introducing ourselves to the probability of there being more than two right answers.
  • By identifying and overcoming your past traumas and looking forward to life.
  • By getting more in touch with the present life.
  • By practicing compassion, hard work, and dedication in everyday life.

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Written by: Tahira Rubab Hafeez

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