5 Things You May Not Know About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

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There are lots of myths and misinformation about narcissistic personality disorder.

Some of these widespread myths directly or indirectly prevent support for narcissism.

Fortunately, you can set the record straight with five things you may not know about narcissistic personality disorder.

One of the things you may not know about narcissistic personality disorder is that it is a mental health condition.

Narcissism is a common word used to describe self-conceited people.

However, more than that use of the word, narcissistic personality disorder is a personality disorder where people have an extremely high sense of self.

Another fact you may not know about narcissistic personality disorder is it exists on a spectrum.

Many people can have narcissistic traits and tendencies at different times.

Those very high on the spectrum will probably have narcissism, significantly impacting their lives.

There are a couple of subtypes of narcissistic personality disorder, such as covert narcissism, overt narcissism, and others.

An overt narcissist is more straightforward to notice due to their attention-seeking nature; however, a covert narcissist is likely to feint dislike of the spotlight.

On a closer look, both covert and overt narcissism share core traits of narcissism, such as the lack of empathy and an inflated sense of self.

Find out five things you may not know about narcissistic personality disorder below.

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder Exists

Due to the amount of misinformation about narcissism generally, it is unsurprising that many people are unaware that narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition.

A narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition and personality disorder where people have an unreasonably inflated sense of their importance.

This mental health condition has symptoms and traits that can only be formally diagnosed by a mental health professional.

The most common symptoms of NPD include a high sense of self-importance, preoccupation with fantasies of success, belief in a special status, a high sense of entitlement, and a lack of empathy.

Other people not diagnosed with NPD can display some of these traits. The more traits that are relatable, the more likely NPD is.

However, there are also narcissistic behaviors that even a person that is not diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder can exhibit.

For example, a person can be self-conceited without being diagnosed as narcissistic.

The everyday use of the word narcissist is usually without the diagnosis of a mental health professional.

One of the things you may not know about narcissistic personality disorder is the very nature of narcissistic personality disorder. 

Narcissism Exists on a Spectrum

Narcissistic personality disorder is also commonly known as NPD.

One thing you may not know about narcissistic personality disorder is that narcissism manifests on a spectrum.

This means many people could be narcissists without crossing the threshold of narcissistic personality disorder.

The severity for each person is usually different.

Like other traits people have, narcissistic tendencies and traits can be exhibited in different ways among different people.

For example, the average person will likely have some degree of narcissistic behavior.

This could be an obsession with oneself.

Other factors, such as the particular moment, can also influence the extent of a person's narcissism.

For some, stress and emotionally trying moments can trigger the disorder.

In most cases, most narcissistic traits do not amount to narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissistic personality disorder becomes a disorder when their narcissistic traits and behaviors interfere with their daily life.

Thus, narcissism exists on a spectrum, with different people displaying different traits.

Some people's narcissistic tendencies can reduce and increase based on their life occurrences. 

Narcissism Has Various Subtypes

Narcissistic behavior can be manifested in different ways.

You might have encountered different narcissists that act in different ways while sharing the core traits of narcissism.

The subtype of narcissism is an unpopular fact you may not know about narcissistic personality disorder.

The most cliche example of narcissism is overt narcissism.

These people have a high sense of self-importance and deserve special treatment.

To make themselves feel special, overt narcissists might make others feel small.

Beginning with the covert narcissist, that appears to be the opposite of the typical narcissist.

A covert narcissist tends to act shy and avoid the spotlight directly.

However, these people still believe themselves to be very important and the center of attention.

There are other subtypes of narcissistic personality disorder that are less common than covert and overt narcissism personality disorder, like communal narcissism, antagonistic narcissism, and malignant narcissism.

It is essential to understand the type of narcissists you are dealing with when interacting with a narcissist.

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NPD Can Be Treated

An important fact You may not know about narcissistic personality disorder is that NPD is treatable.

It is easy to assume that a narcissist will always remain a narcissist.

However, the fact is possible to manage narcissism and treat NPD,

Since scientists are still unsure about the part of the brain that controls narcissism, there are no approved drugs for treating NPD.

Individuals with narcissistic personality disorder might, however, take medications for symptoms of additional mental health issues like anxiety and depression.

Dealing with these co-occurring mental health issues can decrease NPD.

The primary treatment of narcissistic personality disorder is in the form of psychotherapy.

One of the problems associated with NPD is you would barely ever expect a person with NPD to seek therapy.

Some of the most common NPD traits focus on feeling superior to others, and that can be a barrier to acknowledging the need for change.

Individuals with NPD typically only resort to therapy after suffering from setbacks such as losing jobs, estranged relationships with family and friends, and difficulty with romantic relationships.

However, therapy for NPD can effectively address the coping mechanisms that manifest in narcissism.

The focus of therapy is to create a more healthy way of interacting with others rather than curing NPD.

NPD Is a Defense Mechanism

Experts believe that narcissistic personality disorder might be driven by low self-esteem.

One of the most common traits of NPD is an inflated sense of self and overconfidence that does not match reality.

Rather than genuinely believing their grandiosity, they only cope with their insecurity with overconfidence.

Some studies show that narcissists struggle with low self-esteem.

A defense mechanism to protect low self-esteem is a dominant cause of excessive confidence or sense of self.

Some people with NPD already suffer from abuse, trauma, and neglect.

This low self-esteem is why some narcissists have difficulty dealing with any criticism.

Anything that challenges their sense of self threatens their inflated beliefs.

Unfortunately, acting with an inflated sense of self might make it difficult for narcissists to make friends.

In the long run, dealing with their insecurities by projecting a high sense of self can trigger other people.

This can, in turn, cause narcissists to resort some more to even more false overconfidence.

One of the most shocking truths you may not know about narcissistic personality disorder ironically comes from low self-esteem.


Narcissistic personality disorder and narcissistic tendencies are not very popular with the general public.

This is hardly surprising; however, support for narcissism can help manage these traits.

An easy way to support NPD is to learn about narcissism beginning with five things you may not know about narcissistic personality disorder such as nNPD actually exists, NPD exists on a spectrum, NPD has various subtypes, NPD can be treated and NPD is a defense mechanism.


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May 25th, 2024

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