The Narcissism Definition, as defined by the American Psychiatric
Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is as
There are nine possible traits, and a person with genuine Narcissistic Personality Disorder will
experience at least five of these to be diagnosed with NPD.
A person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder:
- has a grandiose sense of self-importance,
- is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love,
- believes that he or she is "special" and unique,
- requires excessive admiration,
- has a sense of entitlement,
- is interpersonally exploitative,
- lacks empathy,
- is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her,
- shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.
Now this information on narcissism definition is interesting enough, I think, but it doesn't
give flesh to the whole horror of Narcissism.
Also while it might be easy for trained psychiatrists to use these traits as a narcissim defintion,
it's hard for laypeople like us to correlate them to our own mothers to see if she is probably narcissistic.
For example, what does being grandiose mean in real life? For some narcissists it means walking around like
you're queen of the universe, expecting the world to arrange itself around you, having a superior smile and a
But for others, grandiosity might just manifest itself in your Narcissistic Mother expecting you to hang onto
her every word. (I think that's what the case is with my own mother.)
Another disadvantage to this Narcissism Definition list is that we cannot see inside others'
heads, and so can't know if our has a grandiose sense of self-importance, if she has fantasies of success
etc, or if she believes she's special. It's her actions which will show that she has these thoughts and
The other traits are actions, true, but it might help to have specific examples.
To see how these categories play out in real life, I invite you to read my page on Narcissism Traits. Also, my book You're Not Crazy - It's Your Mother and Drew
Keys' book Narcissists Exposed show, from different perspectives, what narcissism is like in real life. You can get
these books together, along with lots of other information in the Narcissistic Parent Survival Kit.
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