Narcissism: Definition from a Mental Health Counselor
History of Narcissism
According to Britannica (2023), narcissism was first identified as a mental disorder in 1898 by a British physician by the name of Havelock Ellis. Based on his findings, narcissism is a pathological self-absorption characterized by an exaggerated and grandiose self-image. The term has been derived from the Greek mythological figure Narcissus, who fell in love with his own reflection.
Definition of Narcissism in Mental Health
Based on the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, fifth edition (DSM-VI, 2013), narcissistic personality disorder is defined in terms of personality traits of grandiosity and attention-seeking in an individual, which significantly impairs one’s personality functioning.
Narcissistic personality type is a less extreme form of narcissism but possesses most or all of the characteristics of narcissistic personality disorder but are considered to be within the normal range of personality.
Key Traits of a Narcissist
- Lack of empathy and can only comprehend their own feelings
- Tend to have only superficial relationships or relationships that are only beneficial for self
- Lack of remorse or guilt for mistakes or hurting others
- Only think of themselves without consideration of others
- Extreme sense of grandiosity and importance
- Feeling entitled to their actions despite the effects on others
- Inability to apologize or own up to actions even when presented with evidence
- Playing the victim and wanting sympathy from others
- Overtly reactive with outbursts of anger and emotion
- Values are based on what is most rewarding or beneficial for themselves
- Very selfish and only concerned with their own wants and needs
- Use manipulation, gas-lighting, stonewalling, passive-aggressive, withholding
Being with a Narcissist
Are you constantly talked over, blamed for everything, frequently belittled and criticized? Think about how the relationship began. Was your partner the most captivating, loving, attentive person ever? After being with this person for a while, have you asked yourself what changed in your relationship or where the person you fell in love with has gone? Chances are you are in a relationship with an individual who has narcissistic tendencies. All human beings have some range of these tendencies, but the problem arises when the relationship becomes toxic and unhealthy. THIS IS NOT YOUR FAULT. I am also not going to assert that your partner is a narcissist. I don’t know you, your partner, or your story.
When should you seek out help with a mental health professional?
If you’ve read these words and found yourself saying, “This. Is. My. Life.” then give me a call at 817-778-0522 or use this link to schedule a session with me today. I’m ready to help you navigate this part of life by sharing tools to use outside of session.