To some extent most of us are familiar with the ancient Greek Narcissistic myth of of a young man who falls in love with his own reflection. He is so attracted to his reflection that he cannot draw himself away from the pool of water where he sees himself. Since he cannot pull himself away he eventually dies.
The myth may be quaint but in our society individuals with narcissism disorders suffer serious personality dysfunction that can be extremely harmful to the people with whom they have relationships. And, while it has been largely seen as relatively innocuous and not terribly common therapists are beginning to believe it is reaching epidemic proportions. People with this disorder can function reasonably well in most normal social situations so their mental disease can easily go undetected.
People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often make themselves appear “larger than life” and exaggerate their accomplishments. However, they also have a very fragile self-esteem and believe that they are flawed in some way, which they feel makes them unacceptable to others. It has been stated that “Psychologists commonly believe that narcissism results from an impairment in the quality of the person’s relationship with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, in that the parents were unable to form a healthy, empathic attachment to them. This results in the child conceiving of themselves as unimportant and unconnected to others. The child typically comes to believe that he or she has some defect of personality which makes them unvalued and unwanted” .
While I was first fighting to save my youngest daughter, Madeline, I wish I was familiar with the work of Dr. Kohut. At my insistence Madeline , my ex-husband, and I met with at least three psychologists. Although they recognized Madeline's need for therapy not one even hinted that they suspected any issues with David. Yet, as I have continued to do research in my quest to rescue my daughter I have learned that David exhibits all the key symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder. And, the connection between parental alienation and narcissism is well established in the professional journals.
How I wish that just one "professional" had been sufficiently astute to recognize an anomaly in David and his relationship with Madeline. Things might have had very different results. David might have received counseling or perhaps he would be sitting in jail as a result of being convicted of child abuse. Perhaps the blame lies with the authors of DSM-V. But, Narcissists can be very good at hiding their disorder until a situation threatens their overwhelming need to fulfill their aberrant needs. All I know for sure is that I lost my daughter and I believe there are three psychologists guilty of malpractice.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
personality disorder (NPD) there is a rigid pattern of behavior that relentlessly drives a lifelong quest for self-gratification which includes an overwhelming sense of grandiosity, an insatiable need to feel self-important, a chronic lack of empathy, and a childish need for attention. The "life of the party" may well be a pathological narcissist displaying their driving quest for attention.
Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are arrogant , devoid of empathy for other people, and require admiration in all their relationships. Narcissists are often cocky, self-centered, manipulative, vain, and demanding power mongers. People with this disorder often believe they are and should be of primary importance in everybody’s life or to anyone they meet.They often dwell on unattainable ambitions and may be convinced that they deserve praise, fame, or reverence for goals they never achieved. To do this they tend to display traits of pathological lying, a tool used to manipulate associates. Antisocial, Borderline, and Histrionic Personality Disorders are related and often coexist to some extent with narcissism. Although they often display apparent traits of high self-esteem they rarely are humble as are people with genuine high self-esteem.
People afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder typically can function reasonably well. But, when their controlling, self-centered environment changes and they lose control of their manufactured world their behavior can turn malignant. Divorce is a perfect example.
Those with this personality disorder are exploitative, and likely to cause significant distress to others.”
Typically, this takes the form of emotional abuse. The narcissist’s insatiable quest for attention leads him or her to seek out a steady source of admiration. Where that is in short supply, the narcissist prefers to inspire fear or hatred than suffer the nightmare of being ignored. And, unable to empathize, they are indifferent to the consequences of hurting people.
Narcissism And Parental Alienation
Parental Alienation is symptomatic of a highly conflicted divorce when a narcissistic parent's world turns upside down and the narcissist tries to regain equilibrium by turning children against the targeted spouse. Thus, the alienator who lacks empathy uses narcissistic characteristics to regain power and control by manipulating people to satisfy their needs. The abuser uses tactics flowing from their narcissistic personality to separate the child from the targeted parent thus inflicting severe suffering on the alienated parent. It is child abuse as well as abuse of the alienated parent. Those of us who have been targeted by an alienating spouse or ex-spouse will recognize the symptoms of a narcissistic personality. It is just unfortunate that we did not recognize the traits and act accordingly before the onset of abuse.
The overwhelming hallmark of narcissistic
personality disorder is the lack of empathy in the narcissist's relationships. The narcissist actively seeks adulation, compliments, admiration, subservience,
attention, and being feared in order to sustain their fragile and
Narcissists tend to display dysfunctional characteristics common with other disorders. I have included a list of these characteristics below. But, most professional research on narcissism concludes that the following 11 traits are commonly observed in narcissists They typically will display several of the characteristics:
The following traits commonly exist in people across several disorders related to narcissism.
I have included a resource page with several excellent analyses of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how it relates to Parental Alienation Syndrome. Click on the link to view them.
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