Female narcissists lie about everything

Psychiatry, Psychosomatics & Psychotherapy

20.06.2016

Narcissistic personality disorder: lack of self-esteem, lack of empathy, and sensitive fear of criticism

Narcissists are considered to be self-centered people who have self-centered and needy characteristics. The inner self-centeredness serves the purpose of maintaining an inner balance as well as self-worth and well-being. A narcissistic personality style is by no means necessarily pathological as long as it is a balanced, healthy component of a harmonious personality.

Narcissists are considered to be self-centered people who have self-centered and needy characteristics. The inner self-centeredness serves the purpose of maintaining an inner balance as well as self-worth and well-being. A narcissistic personality style is by no means necessarily pathological as long as it is a balanced, healthy component of a harmonious personality.

Narcissistic personality disorder, on the other hand, is a profound personality disorder that consists of a lack of self-esteem, a pronounced sensitivity to criticism and a low level of empathy for other people. It can dominate the life of those affected, cause stress and very negative emotions, and psychological complications can develop. “The pathological manifestation of a narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by a fragile feeling of self-worth that those affected try to compensate for by a self-image of their own greatness, superiority and contempt for other people. Many are occupied with strong fantasies that revolve around power, boundless success, glamor, beauty or even ideal love. They tend to construct and present themselves as great to the outside world, but often overestimate their own abilities in doing so. Some believe that they are special and unique in many ways and that they can only be understood by other «special» people or selected circles, ”reports Prof. Dr. med. Peter Falkai from the German Society for Psychiatry and Psychotherapy, Psychosomatics and Neurology (DGPPN) based in Berlin. “For those affected, however, this increased self-concept creates a permanent threat from others who question this self-portrayal. Sooner or later, the environment demands a realistic view of reality. This pushes narcissists into need of explanation and almost inevitably leads to further justifications, constructions or lies. In the endeavor to maintain their own credibility, those affected often get into a kind of vicious circle that exerts permanent pressure and can also lead to escalation. "

The main characteristics of the disorder are interpersonal

Narcissists rely on outside approval to stabilize their own self. At the same time, deficits in empathy for other people make it difficult for them to maintain stable relationships with equal rights. Their pronounced self-reference mainly serves to conceal social unease and interpersonal insecurity. “In close relationships, those affected can appear charming and beguiling in order to receive positive feedback. However, some people act manipulatively with other people in order to achieve their goals. Relationships are often only maintained by both sides as long as there is admiration for the narcissist. The environment can usually not offer such behavior for long. Narcissists, in turn, sometimes drop other people in a moment when they are no longer helping to strengthen the narcissist's self-esteem or accomplish his or her goals. Empathic deficits contribute to the fact that a reckless and hurtful interaction with people is maintained ”, adds Prof. Falkai. Sooner or later, people with narcissistic personality disorder often feel very alone and develop a great deal of distress under their problematic personality traits. They experience criticism of their achievements, rejection or even insults as extremely painful and profound up to an existential threat. Some of them experience severe depressive crises up to the development of suicidal thoughts. Narcissistic personality disorder is associated with a high suicide rate of 14 percent.

No insight into the disease - the problems lie with others

It is in the nature of the disorder that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder rarely seek help. Many of those affected are vehemently closed to criticism of their personality traits. If they seek help, it often happens against the background that other people have problems with them that need to be fixed - but not that they see a problem in themselves. It is often only secondary illnesses such as depression or addictions that lead to professional help. “When it comes to therapeutic measures, the focus is on the fact that the disorder primarily consists of an interpersonal interaction problem that consists of a lack of empathy, shyness and fear of negative evaluation. The ability to empathize can then be developed, for example, through role play. Empathy, in turn, is the prerequisite for being able to deal better with feedback and criticism from others, ”explains the DGPPN expert. Patients are also supported in making changes in their everyday relationships, which ultimately means that they themselves have to change their everyday behavior.

Personality disorders can be viewed as an extreme expression of a personality style with inflexible, rigid and inexpedient personality traits, which impair the quality of life of the person concerned, lead to (subjective) suffering or to frequent conflicts with the environment. A disorder is when these problematic personality traits are stable and persistent. A study carried out in Germany found that 9.4 percent of the population are affected by personality disorders. Narcissistic personality disorders affect up to 0.4 percent of the population.

Source:
Mathias Berger, Mental Illnesses - Clinic and Therapy, Urban & Fischer Munich, (4th edition 2012)

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