The Blurry Line Between Pathological And Healthy Narcissism!
While common people tend to be able to spot a common and identifiable disorder like major depression which may prevent individuals from going to work and going out, they rarely put a name on certain types of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, often dismissing it as just a big ego problem.
In fact, Narcissists can be huge performers in their professional field because their inflated sense of self-importance drives them on to show the world just how important they really are.
As a society commonly associates personality disorders and psychiatric conditions with the inability to perform and function normally, these high performers may remain undiagnosed for years and sometimes even for their whole lives.
The fact that the scientific community has devoted comparatively little attention to Narcissistic Personality Disorder as opposed to other personality disorders, further boasts its under-diagnosis.
The bulk of the literature dedicated to Narcissistic Personality Disorders over the last decade has largely focussed on the need to establish new and improved diagnosis models.
According to this diagnostic manual, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is present when at least five of the following criteria are met:
• Has a grandiose sense of self-importance, exaggerates achievements and talents and expects to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements.
• Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love.
• Believes that he is special and unique and can only be understood by or should associate with other special or high-status people.
• Requires excessive admiration.
• Has a sense of entitlement and unreasonable expectations of especially favourable treatment or automatic compliance with his expectations.
• Is interpersonally exploitative and takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends.
• Lacks empathy and is unwilling to recognise or identify the feelings and needs of others.
• Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him.
• Shows arrogant and haughty behaviours or attitudes.
Now with just a quick glance at this list, I’m sure each one of you can think of at least a handful of people they know who seem to meet many of these criteria.
Not all of them must, of course, necessarily be suffering from Pathological Narcissistic Personality Disorder, though some of them might be and they might remain undiagnosed due to the fact that the line between Pathological and Healthy Narcissism is an extremely blurry one.
The Pathological Narcissist with his lack of empathy and sense of self-importance will be the last to acknowledge that he has a problem.