NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Q & A – Is there a test for NPD?

A formal test for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is usually administered by a mental health professional, such as a psychologist or psychiatrist. However, there are several self-assessment tools available online that can provide a preliminary indication of whether someone may have narcissistic traits or tendencies.

It is important to note that these self-assessment tools should not be used as a diagnosis, and individuals who are concerned about their mental health should seek professional help from a qualified mental health provider.

Here are some self-assessment tools that can provide a preliminary indication of narcissistic traits:

  1. Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI): The NPI is a widely used self-assessment tool that measures narcissism on a scale of 0 to 40. The NPI consists of 40 forced-choice questions that assess attitudes and behaviors related to grandiosity, entitlement, and exhibitionism.
  2. Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5): The DSM-5 is a widely used diagnostic manual for mental health disorders. It provides diagnostic criteria for NPD, including a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy, among other symptoms.
  3. Personality Assessment Inventory (PAI): The PAI is a self-report measure that assesses a range of personality traits, including narcissism. It includes a validity scale that can help identify individuals who may be exaggerating or minimizing their responses.

Again, it is important to remember that these self-assessment tools should not be used as a diagnosis, and individuals who are concerned about their mental health should seek professional help from a qualified mental health provider.

©Linda Turner

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Cerebral narcissist traits

Cerebral narcissism is a subtype of narcissistic personality disorder that is characterized by a preoccupation with one’s intellect, achievements, and status. Some of the traits that are commonly associated with cerebral narcissists include:

  1. Intellectual superiority: Cerebral narcissists often believe that they are smarter than other people and may look down on those who they perceive as less intelligent.
  2. Lack of empathy: They may have difficulty understanding or caring about the feelings of others, as they tend to prioritize their own interests above all else.
  3. Arrogance: They may have a sense of entitlement and believe that they are entitled to special treatment or recognition because of their intelligence or accomplishments.
  4. Preoccupation with success: They may be obsessed with achieving success in their careers or other areas of their lives, and may be unwilling to compromise or collaborate with others to achieve their goals.
  5. Need for admiration: They may seek out praise and validation from others, and may become upset or angry if they feel that they are not receiving enough attention or recognition.
  6. Grandiosity: They may have an inflated sense of their own importance and may exaggerate their accomplishments or abilities.
  7. Lack of self-awareness: They may be unable or unwilling to recognize their own flaws or mistakes, and may blame others for their failures.

It’s important to note that not all people with narcissistic personality disorder will exhibit all of these traits, and some people may exhibit different combinations of traits.

©Linda Turner 2023

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Articles by Sam Vaknin

About Sam Vaknin, Author of Narcissism Book

I am not a mental health professional, though I was certified in Counseling Techniques. I work as a financial consultant to leading businesses and to governments in several countries.”

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)

The Curse of Echo

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Object Constancy

This is where universal unconditional love comes from. For most of us, we recognize that we can still have a positive relationship with someone even if they make mistakes or occasionally hurt us – because chances are, they really didn’t mean to cause harm.

Narcissists don’t possess the capacity for object constancy. Therefore, when it comes to the broadly known ‘devalue and discard’ phases, they feel such dislike for you, they have no problem treating you with cold indifference and loathing.

The narcissist understands that you, on the other hand, have object constancy and they’re keen on exploiting this trait.

 The narcissist knows you’ll stick around through all the abuse because you’ve experienced their good side and how well they can treat you – when they believe you deserve it, of course.

But this “good side” is all a façade and part of the cycle to keep you hooked and begging for that next fix. In fact, when the narcissist is being kind, it’s an integrated part of the abuse.

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) PERSONALITY DISORDERS

How Narcissists Hide Their True Agenda 

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) PERSONALITY DISORDERS

Manipulation Tactics Narcissistic Parents Use To Control Their Adult Children

Adult children of narcissists go through a lifetime’s worth of abuse. Narcissistic parents lack empathy, exploit their children for their own agendas, and are unlikely to seek treatment or change their destructive behaviors long-term (Kacel, Ennis, & Pereira, 2017). Their children often endure severe psychological maltreatment, as their parents employ behaviors like bullying, terrorizing, coercive control, insults, demands, and threats to keep them compliant (Spinazzola et al., 2014). This form of trauma places children of narcissists at risk for suicidality, low self-esteem, depression, self-harm, substance abuse, attachment disorders, and complex PTSD, leading to symptoms similar to children who were physically or sexually abused (Gibson, 2016; Schwartz, 2016; Spinazzola et al., 2014, Walker, 2013).

If children of narcissists choose to remain in contact with their abusive parents, they will continue to encounter manipulation even as adults. The same tactics which were employed to control them as children can still be powerful even when they are adults – perhaps even moresobecause these methods cause them to regress back into childhood states of fear, shame, and terror.

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Low Grade Narcs

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)

When the Narcissist Has to Face Reality

Aging itself can bring about a withering, if not bursting, of the narcissistic bubble. You’re no longer a fresh young thing and are starting to develop wrinkles, bags, sags, or a gray or bald head. Your clothes don’t fit the same way they did before, and you find you can no longer squeeze into your favorite skinny jeans, no matter what you do. Then there’s the inevitable “ma’am” or “sir” that the barista uses in referring to you (yes you, not the person behind you).

The factors that cause the narcissistic bubble to retreat and burst were addressed in an astute article by Eda Goldstein in 1995. Goldstein described what happens somewhere in the middle years when narcissists come to grips with their own failings, exposing their weaknesses to themselves. They can become both enraged and ashamed.

As she noted, there are dangers associated with the sudden coming to grips with reality that can put the individual’s life into a wild tailspin:

“Believing that they should be able to control life and be strong and self-sufficient, individuals with severe narcissistic vulnerability do not allow for human limitations or the effects of life’s vicissitudes… indignation, bitterness, envy, disbelief, and humiliation are commonly expressed and may, in some extreme instances, result in vengeful acts of violence” (pp. 410-411)

The thicker the bubble, in other words, the more damage it leaves when it bursts.

Malignant Narcissism Narcissism Narcopath

How to Know if You’re the Parent of Adult Narcissistic Children

Children learn how the world works through the almighty lenses of their caretakers, and research rooted in attachment theories shows that. When a caretaker attunes appropriately to the child’s feelings and needs, the child subsequently experiences safety and security.

However, in narcissistic families, children experience repeated incidents of their parent misattuning, misaligning, or downright ignoring their feelings. The parent does not validate the child’s emotions; the parent validates whatever is in the parent’s best interest.

The narcissistic parent may punish children for crying, shame them for experiencing fear, and even quell them when expressing ‘too much’ happiness. In other words? Children learn that their feelings are erratic and unsafe. They learn that they are a source of problems.

For this reason, many children grow up believing that feelings must be suppressed. To achieve this suppression, we see many children of narcissists struggle with substance use, eating disorders, self-harm, and other impulsive or compulsive lifestyles.

After all, if they’ve experienced compounded years of condemnation for having feelings, why should they feel safe within their own emotional selves?  In many cases, this can cause a child to form the narcissism defense mechanism.  (In other cases, children will form the codependent defense mechanism).

There are a few signs of narcissistic behavior that parents should watch out for:

  • Inflated ego: The narcissist has a huge ego.  Narcissistic adult children demand that you do what they want, try to control you, and push every boundary. Every time you give them what they want, they demand something else.  They say your job is to make them happy.
  • Need for validation: A narcissist needs constant admiration. Often, they need praise for simple tasks, like making an appearance at your birthday party. You may find yourself giving your narcissistic adult child an inordinate amount of praise over something that’s a normal and expected part of family life.
  • A sense of entitlement: The narcissist feels entitled to things they should have to work for. For example, they may demand ridiculous things like financial support well into adulthood. Or, tasks they should be doing themselves, but you find yourself performing…such as doing their laundry and folding their clothes, filling out their job applications, calling into work sick for them, or fixing their breakfast or lunch to take to work.
  • Exploitation: A narcissist acts without conscience, thinking only of themselves. They lie, trick and steal to get what they want. This exploitation can be glaringly obvious or very subtle, so be on the lookout if you feel used. This may manifest as their throwing temper tantrums, blackmailing you by withholding their love or your grandchildren, trying to entice you with sweetness and affection when they want something, and blaming their behavior on you.
  • Distorted thinking: A narcissist occupies a fantastical world where he or she is the greatest and most important person in the universe. In order to maintain the fantasy, narcissists lie. They often deny things that are obvious. They may make up fantastical tales to support the fantasy.
  • Unpleasant personality: Contempt and belittlement are the narcissists’ tools of choice. When they feel threatened by success, they get mean. Watch out for those who are constantly putting down other peoples’ accomplishments. You may find your narcissistic adult child talking badly about their friends behind their backs, but pretending to care for them when these same friends come around.