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Me, Myself & I

What is Narcissism?



The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) published by the American Psychiatric Association (APA) [1] defines NPD as a condition characterised by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behaviour), a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and manifests in a variety of contexts and is usually indicated by the presence of at least five of the following characteristics:


  • A grandiose sense of self-importance

  • A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

  • A belief that he or she is special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions

  • A need for excessive admiration

  • A sense of entitlement

  • Interpersonally exploitive behaviour

  • A lack of empathy

  • Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of him or her

  • A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviours or attitudes


In a proposed alternative model cited in DSM-5, NPD is characterised by moderate or greater impairment in personality functioning, manifested by characteristic difficulties in 2 or more of the following 4 areas :


  • Identity

  • Self-direction

  • Empathy

  • Intimacy

In addition, NPD is characterised by the presence of both grandiosity and attention seeking.



The difference between Narcissism and Self Confidence


Personally, I believe that the false notion that having a little bit of narcissism is actually healthy is one of the most detrimental urban myths to have developed around the term "narcissism." There is nothing healthy about narcissism, which is why nothing could be further from the truth. This misconception may have developed due to frequent confusion between healthy self-esteem and narcissism. Individuals with healthy self-esteem generally do not believe they are better than others, even though they may view themselves as skilled and competent. In contrast, narcissists often suffer from low self-esteem and obtain practically all of their sense of worth from external validation. Because they are masterful experts in manipulation, narcissists often mimic this desirable attribute on a superficial level in order to gain a social advantage.


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