Case Study Of Narcissism Research Paper

Length: 11 pages Sources: 8 Subject: Psychology Type: Research Paper Paper: #66346607 Related Topics: Borderline Personality Disorder, Infidelity, Antisocial Personality Disorder, Abnormal Psychology
Excerpt from Research Paper :

Narcissist Personality Disorder

Examining narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is commonly termed as 'a continuous pattern of magnificence (fantasies and illusions), desire for praises and lacking compassion'. It is notably described by five key elements as mentioned below:

Illusions of self-importance

An obsession with illusions of huge success, fame, love, beauty and wealth

Faith in being unique / special

Desiring constant praise

Having a sense of entitlement

Being manipulative

Lacking compassion

Jealous of others

Increasingly arrogant / ego-maniac / having attitude problem (Skodol, Bender & Morey, 2014).

Features and symptoms of NPD

NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) are typically indicative of susceptible self-esteem where attention seeking and desiring constant praises are a given, whilst having overt and covert illusions of grandeur. There are troubles in having an identity, intimacy, compassion, self-direction and lastly, certain maladaptive characteristics of antagonism (Skodol, Bender & Morey, 2014). These characteristics explain NPD's diagnosis:

A. With mediocre or increased impairment in a person's behavior is the cause of trouble in two or more than two areas:

1. Identity: Many references to other individuals for maintaining self-esteem and self-definition. Self-appraisal can be extravagant or deflated, or can alternate between both. The emotional behavior alternates due to self-esteem.

2. Self-direction: Setting of goals is based on other's validation; individual standards are sky high with a desire to view oneself as superior or too inferior depending on sense of entitlement; largely unaware of one's motivations.

3. Empathy: Lacking the capacity to feel, recognize and identify other's needs. The individual is wary of other's reactions, having tendency to get vulnerable about himself; can exaggerate or underrate his influence on others.

4. Intimacy: Interpersonal relationships are insincere and remain active for boosting self-morale; least interest in other's life and experiences; desiring individual gain.

B. These are pathological personality traits:

1. Grandiosity (an aspect of Antagonism): The individual is covertly or overtly self-centered, entitlement feelings are commonplace; having a better than average belief; condescending others.

2. Attention seeking (an aspect of Antagonism): The natural instinct of seeking attention and admiration of others around.

The fundamental traits of NPD are alternating and sensitive self-esteem, with constant attempts of maintaining approval and seeking attention whilst harboring covert / overt illusions of grandeur. The extent of impairment in a person in case of NPD should be in reasonable range. Either two of these four areas of interpersonal impairment and characteristic self are needed. People having NPD disorder are mostly self-centered having aims which exist to please others around them (Skodol, Bender & Morey, 2014).

Behavioral Manifestation of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissism has been the center of research by personality and social psychologists during the last decades. Still, more research is needed to observe narcissists in daily lives. There was a recent study conducted by Mehl, Vazire, Holtzman (2010) to observe, how narcissists behaved in real life. With the help of Electronically Activated Recorder (EAR), the behavior of candidates was observed and assessed. As per the results, the fundamental traits of narcissism which were collected via lab-based studies and questionnaire naturally existed in narcissist's daily life.

Narcissism was related to extraverted behavior (interacting with friends), usage of foul language (swearing and cursing) and making sexual allusions (nude). Apart from that, entitlement / exploitativeness is another maladaptive aspect of narcissism. It's related to disconnection from academics (being absent from classes). On the whole, the research concluded that narcissism has affirmative and harmful effects. In most cases, women show this characteristic more than men since their extraverted behavior enable them to have a good impression at first (making friends and socializing); in the long run, they tend to experience trouble maintaining their reputations.

Apart from that, narcissists are predominantly unaware of these traits, yet all indicators are pointing in one direction. As per another research, entitled / exploitative narcissists are absent in classes. As per this research, it's a mechanism due to which the individual disconnects from academics with the passage of time, due to feelings of increased self-importance which results in dismal academic performance. In addition to that, narcissist's imprudent academic behavior (cutting classes due to entitlement / exploitativeness) corresponded to an impulsive sexual behavior (constant talk about sex).

Narcissists as per research-based evidence are impulsive and are inclined towards short-term gains. The relation between sexual language and narcissism gives viable clues about the connection of narcissism and promiscuous sexual intentions. As per
Building on the foundation of narcissism as a
defense mechanism for preventing feelings of vulnerability; it's been generally observed that narcissistic people have trouble maintaining their self-esteem. Such people suffer from constant and frequent fluctuations of self-esteem. They have the tendency to misrepresent themselves and others along the way. Due to this reason, they frequently have delusions of grandeur, pits of depression, self-incrimination and lack of tolerance for uncertainty with varying degrees (Levy, 2012).

Furthermore, the narcissistic people have a tendency to give importance to comparatively smaller things / events and achievements. They are quite susceptible to criticism from others, sensitive to feedback and get heavily depressed in the event of a failure. When they get depressed, they contact other individuals whom they look up to and seek inspiration from. In extreme cases of failure, they might even commit suicide. In order to balance themselves, these narcissistic individuals keep altering others' sense of importance in order to retain their self-esteem. Self-esteem is a very sensitive subject for narcissistic individuals as they experience shifts in this domain a lot (Levy, 2012).

Narcissism has certain aspects which are covert and some others are overt. These demonstrate different clinical manifestations of this disorder. Narcissistic individuals have certain beliefs about themselves which alternate between covert and overt symptoms of clinical expression. Hence, in case of overtly narcissistic, individuals are known to show entitlement, exhibitionism and magnificence. In an event of failure / loss, these individuals can become extremely depressed, dejected and feel mediocre. In case of covertly narcissistic individual, he is quite shy, reserved and timid up close; upon closer inspection, he's a victim of grand illusions and an exhibitionistic at best (Levy, 2012).

Narcissism has many appearances which can be categorized on a severity scale from normal to pathological. It can be segmented into high, middle and low functioning pathological narcissists. In extreme cases, patients fulfill their self-esteem needs by attaining admiration from individuals around.

The patients behave normally during their lifespan but can breakdown mentally as their age progresses since their fantasies don't translate into reality. On the lowest level, the patients suffer from comorbid borderline personality traits. The patients are mentally unstable and diffused as they alternate between verge of suicide and grandiosity. In case of extremely lowest narcissistic levels, individuals suffer from malignant narcissism. Such patients show the conventional symptoms of NPD. Apart from that, they are antisocial, sometimes paranoid and are pleased in being aggressive and cruel to other people (Levy, 2012).

Consequential symptoms of Narcissism


Aggression is another byproduct of narcissism as per social behavior research. According to multiple researches on narcissism, aggression has been observed in a wide variety of responses when the said individual is criticized or when his self-esteem is threatened. The corresponding behavior can lead to disdain, contempt, anger, argumentative behavior and violent behavior. Most of the research had made use of laboratory aggression paradigms, where the candidates are given fake feedback from another candidate, then the candidate behaves aggressively (shouts or uses physical force) towards the other individual. As per most studies, narcissism is connected to aggressive behavior in both triggered and non-triggered situations. For example, narcissism is the basis of a shouting session to a person who threatens the self-esteem of the individual (Miller, Widiger & Campbell, 2010).

Self-enhancement and cognitive distortion

As per conceptualizations of narcissism in clinical and social-personality domains, the element of self-esteem maintenance / self-enhancement exists. It can be termed as self-biased, habitually taking credit for success for certain work, yet blaming external factors and people for failure. During lab studies, narcissism gives rise to self-bias. Narcissism is also the reason for self-bias in interpersonal relationships. Apart from that, narcissistic individuals will take credit of others important to them. Narcissism is the basis of better than average effect in which an individual feels that he's better than another person due to some characteristic (looks, appearance, and intelligence). Apart from that, narcissism bases its better than average effect on characteristics of decisiveness and intellect (Miller, Widiger & Campbell, 2010).

Social-personality literature presents empirical evidence that narcissism is associated with many cognitive distortions. Narcissist individuals are generally overconfident. They exaggerate their knowledge and neglect critical feedback provided to them. Due to this self-confidence, false beliefs are formed which are called over claiming. It means claiming to know something which is entirely wrong…

Sources Used in Documents:


Holtzman, N., Vazire, S., & Mehl, M. (2010). Sounds like a narcissist: Behavioral manifestations of narcissism in everyday life. Journal of Research in Personality, 44(4), 478-484. doi:10.1016/j.jrp.2010.06.001

Levy, K. (2012).Subtypes, Dimensions, Levels, and Mental States in Narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. J. Clin. Psychol., 68(8), 886-897. doi:10.1002/jclp.21893

Links, P.S., & Stockwell, M. (2002).The Role of Couple Therapy in the Treatment of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. American Journal of Psychotherapy, 56(4), 522.

Matusiewicz, A., Hopwood, C., Banducci, A., & Lejuez, C. (2010).The Effectiveness of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Personality Disorders. Psychiatric Clinics of North America, 33(3), 657-685. doi:10.1016/j.psc.2010.04.007

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