Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Before talking about Narcissistic Personality Disorder in detail, I need to explain what a
Personality Disorder is.
There are many technical explanations which you will be able to find, but at its simplest, somebody
with a Personality Disorder is someone whose brain is somehow wired differently from the rest of us, and so
they act in ways which are abnormal and dysfunctional by the standards of most humans.
The American Psychiatric Association describes a personality disorder like this:
The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and
interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits.
The DSM V (i.e.the fifth edition of the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic
and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a
And the way Narcissistic Personality Disorder causes people to act abnormally and dysfunctionally is explored in
the rest of this website, but suffice it to say for now that it makes them believe they're better than everyone
else (perfect, in fact) and to treat others as commodities rather than people, who only exist to meet their
needs and to serve them.
It's not vanity, as many people think, although vanity can certainly be a component. But vanity is a
symptom - one among many - rather than the essence of narcissistic personality disorder.
Narcissists are NOT insane. They are sane, and fully aware of what they do, and also are probably aware that
society does not approve of these actions. But they don't care. They think the rules do not apply to them.
NPD was only recognised since 1980. And it seems to be very little known - most people have never heard of
it. This means that victims of Narcissists, both Daughters of Narcissistic Mothers and other victims such as
spouses of Narcissists, can be living a nightmare without ever realising what's going on. And also even when they
do realise what's going on, none of their circle can understand and they get told, "But she's your
mother!" This can leave us DONMs feeling so isolated.
You can read about the Definition of Narcissistic Personality
Disorder here, and the traits of Narcissists here. Here's their
characteristics - how the traits make them act. And
there's amazing information about how narcissists behave in Drew Keys' book Narcissists Exposed, which
is available as part of the Narcissistic Parents Survival Kit - highly recommended.
There is also a spectrum to Narcissistic Personality
Disorder, and you might be able to identify where on it your mother is situated. I also invite you to read my
page on what causes NPD - short answer is
that it's possibly genetic, and then what the consensus is about treating
Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
You will also need to know about Narcissistic Supply and
Narcissistic Rage - if you're the Daughter of a Narcissistic Mother, you've no
doubt experienced the second when you didn't do enough of the first.
And very importantly, you'll need to know how to recognise a narcissist, and once you've done
that, how to deal with that same narcissist.
Incidence of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Nobody knows exactly what the incidence is. Narcissists rarely
present for therapy. And of course, it's a spectrum disorder which makes
it more difficult to know. But the estimates are between 0.6% and 1.0%.
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