Narcissism, Where Will You Go?

The next volume of the DSM will remove several personality disorders, not the least of which is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).  NPD is characterized by the following behaviors:

  • Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
  • Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  • Requires excessive admiration
  • Has a very strong sense of entitlement, e.g., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  • Is exploitative of others, e.g., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Lacks empathy, e.g., is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Five of the criteria must be met in order to receive a diagnosis.

Sound familiar?  Probably.  We’ve all met people who are just a little “off.”  Maybe they are haughty without provocation.  Maybe they find your feelings “baffling.”  Maybe they inflate their successes until they are no longer recognizable.

These people exist.  And they wreak havoc in their own lives and in the lives of many whom they touch.  So, what’s going to happen when the DSM doesn’t recognize them anymore?  What diagnosis will they receive?  Or will they just go back to being… jerks?