Narcissistic disorder


As the name suggests, people with narcissistic personality disorder are quite self-absorbed. They display a pattern of grandiosity in fantasy or behavior. Acquaintances often describe them as arrogant and boastful. Less than 1% of the population suffer from this disorder.

Feelings of grandiosity

Not only do people with this disorder feel superior to others, but they also believe they are exceptionally unique and special. They believe they are entitled to special treatment simply because they are who they are. They may envy others while believing that others are envying them. They may exaggerate their accomplishments and talents.

Need for admiration

People with this disorder seek constant admiration, adulation, and bolstering from others. They may be ambitious, not for success, but for fame and admiration.

Lack of empathy

They have good social skills when it comes to initial contact with others. They may be quite charming in an attempt to gain the other person's awe. However, they are so focused on themselves that they are not capable of empathizing with others.

Preoccupation with fantasy

People with narcissistic personality disorder often fantasize about wealth and fame.

Overly high expectations

If they do not achieve the goals they have set for themselves, they feel a strong sense of failure which brings feelings of shame and worthlessness. They often react to criticism with rage.


In other disorders, brief therapy can result in permanent personality change. Brief therapy has not been shown to do the same for narcissistic personality disorder. Insight-oriented psychotherapy is typically the first treatments sought; both of these therapies take several years. Insight-oriented psychotherapy, also called psychodynamic therapy, tries to provide the individual with greater insight into problems in the hope that this will change behavior. Insight-oriented psychotherapy analyzes aspects of the individual's personality and tries to relate them to childhood conflicts. As with other personality disorders, the client-therapist relationship is crucial. Therapists try to empathize with clients about their sensitivities and disappointments which encourages the client to develop the same skills.