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There's no man like me

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C. A. V. Nogueira, M.D. |
Narcissistic personality disorderWe all may encounter difficult people while working and to be honest sometimes we are difficult ourselves. But when a grandiose sense of self-importance is present all day every day, then we are talking about narcissistic personality disorder.


Narcissistic personality disorder is a mental disorder, it is rare but it causes huge problem for the patient and his environment. It is present in people with an inflated sense of their own importance and a deep need for admiration. They believe that they are superior to other people and don't care for other people's feelings. However, behind this mask of high confidence lies a low self-esteem, vulnerable to even the slightest criticism.

It's not known what causes narcissistic personality disorder and similar to other mental disorders, the cause is complex. Some people develop that disorder because of dysfunctional childhood, excessive pampering, extremely high expectations, or neglecting. There are also evidences that points to genetics or psychobiology, which means that the connection between the brain and behaviour is in some way dysfunctional. Narcissistic personality disorder is not very common, affecting less than one percent of people in the United States, and it affects more men than women.

That disorder often begins in early adulthood. Although it may seems that adolescents have traits of narcissism, this is very often may simply the typical behaviour of the age and doesn't mean they will develop narcissistic personality disorder. Although the cause of narcissistic personality disorder isn't known, there are some known risk factors. Those may be: an oversensitive temperament as a young child, overvaluation by parents, being praised for exceptional looks or talents by adults, unreliable care giving from parents, and learning manipulative behaviours from parents.

Although people with narcissistic personality disorder may seem like having confidence or strong self-esteem, this is far from the truth. People who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don't value themselves more than they value others. Persons with narcissistic personality disorder think very highly of themselves and they put themselves on a pedestal.

But underneath all grandiosity, very often there is a very fragile self-esteem. Such persons have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. They may have a sense of shame and humiliation, and in order to make themselves feel better they react with rage just to humiliate the other side and make themselves better.

When someone has narcissistic personality disorder, he often monopolizes conversations and looks down on people thinking that they are inferior. Such person easily becomes very impatient or angry and tries to find "the best" people, the ones he thinks are as good as him. But, he never finds them. By definition, narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school or your financial affairs. Such people are generally unhappy and confused by a mix of seemingly contradictory emotions.

The only solution is to ask for a medical help. A long psychological therapy may help very much, allowing absolutely normal life or control of disorder to the level when it is not visible at all.

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