Somewhere, somehow, we have done a great disservice to the generation now in their early to mid-twenties. The result is that there seems to be a high incidence of narcissism to the point where it becomes a personality disorder. I can’t say I have a soluition, but here’s how to recognize it:
A good place to begin a discussion of the different theories about narcissism is with the observation that NPD exists as a diagnostic category only in DSM-IV-TR , which is an American diagnostic manual. The International Statistical Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems, Tenth Revision ( ICD-10 , the European equivalent of DSM ) lists only eight personality disorders. What DSM-IV-TR defines as narcissistic personality disorder, ICD-10 lumps together with “eccentric, impulsive-type, immature, passive-aggressive, and psychoneurotic personality disorders.”
DSM-IV-TR specifies nine diagnostic criteria for NPD. For the clinician to make the diagnosis, an individual must fit five or more of the following descriptions:
- He or she has a grandiose sense of self-importance (exaggerates accomplishments and demands to be considered superior without real evidence of achievement).
- He or she lives in a dream world of exceptional success, power, beauty, genius, or “perfect” love.
- He or she thinks of him- or herself as “special” or privileged, and that he or she can only be understood by other special or high-status people.
- He or she demands excessive amounts of praise or admiration from others.
- He or she feels entitled to automatic deference, compliance , or favorable treatment from others.
- He or she is exploitative towards others and takes advantage of them.
- He or she lacks empathy and does not recognize or identify with others’ feelings.
- He or she is frequently envious of others or thinks that they are envious of him or her.
- He or she “has an attitude” or frequently acts in haughty or arrogant ways.
Scary stuff, especially for our future as a culture.