A narcissistic personality disorder is one of many personality disorders. Personality disorders are types of mental disorders that can completely affect how a person behaves, functions, and thinks. This can be problematic when building relationships and connections with others. Narcissistic personality disorder is no different. 

Those dealing with narcissistic personality disorder tend to display abusive traits with those around them. It is typically characterized by a self-centered world view. Typically, a person dealing with this disorder will have a very inflated idea of self-importance. This can cause a number of issues for the person and those around them. 

If someone you know is dealing with a narcissistic personality disorder, it’s important to be aware of the signs and possible traits. This is especially true if you are in a close relationship with some with a narcissistic personality disorder. There are several problems and abusive traits that can arise in a relationship with someone struggling with a narcissistic personality disorder. It’s important to look for help if you think this may be the case for you or a loved one. 

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a mental disorder where a person has a deep and extreme need for attention and praise. More-so, people struggling with this disorder have a very excessive view of their self-image. In many cases, the person will have little to no empathy for other people. As with every other type of personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder causes several social and mental problems as time goes on. 

Those with a narcissistic personality disorder are usually very vulnerable under their mask of confidence. People struggling with this disorder cannot take even the slightest criticism. This ends up developing into several problems in relationships, at work, school, and financially as well. Due to these problems, people struggling with narcissistic personality disorder are usually unhappy and find little enjoyment in relationships with others. 

The Signs and Symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

There are many red flags that may indicate a narcissistic personality disorder. It is essential to know the possible signs so you can try to get help for a loved one or spouse. While some signs may be more subtle than others, a person’s state of mind can come out in many ways. Some of the possible signs and red-flags of a narcissistic personality disorder include the following:Narcissistic

  • Extreme sense of self-importance and confidence
  • Sense of entitlement and need for extreme and frequent admiration
  • Frequently occupied with thoughts of power, beauty, success, and the perfect mate
  • Expects favors and complete compliance with expectations
  • Envious towards others or belief that people envy them
  • The belief that they are superior to others (without any evidence of such)
  • Exaggerated praise of personal achievements and talents
  • Consistently looking down on others or belittling them during conversations 
  • Obsession with having the best of everything (clothes, car, office, etc.)
  • Manipulation and taking advantage of others to get what they desire
  • Typically comes off as arrogant, conceited, and boastful

It is not a surprise to see people with this disorder take advantage of others. This is due to the lack of empathy for those around. This exaggerated view of themselves can cause several problems and behaviors. A person dealing with a narcissistic personality disorder will act in a certain way, especially when getting any kind of ‘criticism’. Common behaviors a person may exhibit include:

  • Severe interpersonal problems (easily feeling slighted)
  • Impatience and anger when they don’t get special treatment
  • Problem controlling and regulating behavior/emotions
  • Depression and moody because of not hitting ‘perfection’
  • Acts of rage, contempt while belittling someone to make themselves feel superior
  • Inhibit suppressed feelings of shame, humiliation, insecurity, and vulnerability
  • Extreme difficulty dealing with change and stress

What is Narcissistic Abuse?

Unfortunately, due to a person’s over-the-top self-image, it is not uncommon to hear about abuse during relationships. This exaggerated and ultimately false image, makes the person act in a certain way. Abusive tendencies (with others and in relationships) are a coping mechanism for those with NPD. This can come in many forms and can be a very stressful and abusive relationship.

Abuse can occur in other disorders and mental illnesses like an antisocial personality disorder or even addiction. It is important to be aware of the signs of abuse. For victims of potential abuse, it can be difficult to identify and act on these key factors of abuse:

  • Be able to clearly identify it
  • Create/Build a support system
  • Learn how to defend yourself in a severe situation

Common Forms of Abusive Traits due to NPD

There are several different types of abuse – this can be anything from physical to psychological or even emotional. People dealing with NPD may exhibit types of abuse to cope with their own mental state (or to make themselves feel better). Let’s take a look at some of the common forms of abuse when it comes to Narcissistic personality disorder: 

Verbal Abuse

This may be one of the most frequent abusive traits of those with NPD. During a relationship, they may treat their partner or others in an abusive way. This is used to prop a person’s self-image in the relationship or keep control. Verbal abuse can include the following: Bullying, belittling, criticizing, raging, sarcasm, demanding, threatening, shaming, and blaming (among others). Over time these can take a toll on a person’s mind to the point where you don’t want to interact with them. 

Manipulation

Manipulation is a common trait with those struggling with narcissism. Oftentimes, those with NPD might take advantage of others to get what they want. While these acts might seem good-natured, there is most likely a hostile intent underneath. Acting in this manner helps reinforce the person’s idea of self-importance while granting what they desire. This can be extremely problematic in a relationship. 

Economic/Financial Abuse

People dealing with NPD might use certain financial means to abuse their partner. This can vary in severity and can include: economic domination and holding on to a person’s assets or money. They may use up their partner’s money through extortion, manipulation, gambling, or other means. This can cause mental and emotional stress on the person’s partner and can make them feel hopeless. 

Emotional Blackmailing

A person dealing with NPD might keep control over their partner with emotional blackmail. This includes threats, intimidation, punishment, and other forms of warnings. This is a common form of manipulation that can make a person feel guilty, obligated, and fearful in a relationship. This is an aggressive way of keeping control and superiority down the line. Common Abusive Personality Traits

Other Forms of Possible Abusive Tendencies 

There are many different types of abusive traits when it comes to those with narcissistic personality disorders. This comes down to a case by case basis and can vary in severity. It’s vital to spot the signs and possible traits of NPD in a relationship. Some other forms of abuse include the following:

  • Competition – Constantly one-upping others so they are at the top  
  • Lying – Constant deception to achieve their desires and maintain their image
  • Gaslighting – Convincing others to distrust their perceptions (of reality) and making them believe they are mentally incapable
  • Purposeful Sabotage – Interfering with relationships or others because of revenge or personal gain
  • Invading privacy –  People with NPD may completely ignore and invade other people’s privacy. This can evolve into worse circumstances like stalking, following, blackmailing, and looking through personal belongings.
  • Isolation – They may isolate their partner from outside sources (family, friends, or overall access to the outside world).
  • Slander/Gossip – They may spread malicious gossip and lies about other individuals.
  • Violence – This can may occur in more intense cases and can include anything from blocking one’s movement to pulling a person’s hair or destroying other people’s things/property.

Treating Narcissistic Personality Disorder

As with all personality disorders and mental health illnesses, there are several treatment options that help a person get back on track. A narcissistic personality disorder is no different and typically uses psychotherapy as treatment. Different styles of therapy like cognitive behavioral therapy (CBT) can help a person change their views on the world around them. If your partner or someone you know is dealing with NPD, hope is not lost. 

During comprehensive treatment (like at Unity Rehab), a person can come to terms with these thoughts and feelings. Psychotherapy can help to: 

  • Teach the person how to relate to others better so they can build more rewarding and meaningful relationships.
  • Pinpoint the cause of their emotions and what makes them distrust, compete with, and despise others (or themselves).

Let Us Help You Today

At Unity rehab, we understand how stressful personality disorders and addiction can be. We want to help you and your loved ones achieve a better place. It is never too late to get help. Contact us today to learn more about treatment options for mental health and addiction. We look forward to assisting you!

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