“He who falls in love with himself will have no rivals.” ~ Benjamin Franklin
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is defined by WebMD as:
“…a mental disorder in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for admiration and a lack of empathy for others.”
Narcissism is a mysterious condition.
First, mental health experts don’t know what causes NPD. Narcissism is similar to psychopathy and sociopathy in this way. While family history and advanced brain imaging technologies (e.g., PET) may clue us in, psychotherapists are the only individuals who can diagnose the disorder.
Second, many people – including some mental health experts – are of mixed opinion whether or not people diagnosed (or possibly, misdiagnosed) with NPD are deserving of sympathy. You’ll see why in the next section.
The Madoff Case
Consider Bernie Madoff as an example. Madoff pleaded guilty to 11 federal crimes for running a massive Ponzi scheme estimated at $65 billion.
He was given a 150-year sentence.
Obviously, narcissistic and sociopathic traits – which Madoff almost certainly possessed – aren’t acceptable excuses in a court of law.
While overseeing the largest financial fraud in U.S. history, Madoff sat on the boards of organizations influencing policies for detecting securities fraud.
On the other hand, Madoff was a noted philanthropist, donating millions to various charitable organizations.
“He was thought of as a great philanthropist, a pillar of the community, the chairman of Nasdaq – all of that stuff,” said a friend of his.
Does it matter why?
As Bernie Madoff’s “case file” confirms, narcissists and sociopaths don’t have a rhyme or reason behind why they do such immoral things; or why they act contradictory much of the time.
Does it really matter why?
Not to the victims of Madoff; many of whom lost their life savings. Not to the millions of countless nameless faces whose lives have been upended by a liar and manipulator.
One thing that most people will agree on is that self-protection is paramount. Narcissists and sociopaths can – and will – inflict harm, and most won’t show any remorse.
What goes on inside the brain of a narcissist?
Let’s take a look at 15 projections from the mind of a narcissist
1. “How can I get attention?”
Psychologists have coined two terms that explain a narcissist’s constant need for attention: “emotional supply” and “narcissistic supply.”
Narcissists are always on the lookout for where they can temporarily fill their unquenchable ego.
2. “I don’t care.”
Indeed. In fact, narcissists don’t care about anything except themselves. Most of us cannot fathom the intentional manipulation and hurting of others.
Most of us.
3. “I’m right.”
Let’s say you’re a prosecutor. You’ve built an “open and shut” case against someone, and the evidence leaves no doubt that the defendant is guilty. Now imagine the judge takes one look at your evidence and throws it out.
The narcissist is the judge.
4. “I have no self-esteem.”
Most experts believe that narcissists have developed a coping mechanism – a rewiring of the brain – that permits them to exhibit confidence despite a deep-rooted feeling of failure.
In reality, the emperor has no clothes.
5. “I’m entitled.”
When it comes to wanting something, a narcissist will act like a 3-year old would if you took his choo-choo. They have no concept of merit; which helps explain why they’re always looking for the easy way out.
6. “How dare you?”
Underneath their seemingly cool appearance, narcissists have a very delicate personality. Their deeply-held feelings of inadequacy and insecurity will surface when criticized.
7. “What an idiot.”
One of a narcissist’s most prominent delusions is the strange belief that they’re smarter than everyone else. It doesn’t hurt when you deny or flat-out disbelieve any evidence to the contrary.
8. “I need something.”
If there’s one thing to pity about a narcissist’s state of mind, it’s this: nothing makes them happy. Money, power, fame, and possessions do nothing. Where ordinary people look to their loved ones for real happiness, narcissists are unable to do so.
9. “You’ve made an enemy.”
The narcissistic are chiefly passive-aggressive people. Unless they’re outraged, or you happen to be close to them, they won’t make their anger known. Instead, they’ll appease their quelling anger by promising payback.
10. “Onto the next one…”
Question: how can someone honestly commit to another when they only care about themselves? Answer: they can’t. Dating a narcissist always seems to follow a predictable path: they meet someone who caters to their constant emotional needs; initial feelings of excitement subside, and they leave.
11. “Everyone is looking at me!”
Narcissists love being the center of attention. In fact, being at the COA may be one of the only things they love. Until that attention fades, of course.
After “their” spotlight is redirected elsewhere, the narcissist immediately begins thinking about what to do next to get it back.
12. “What are they complaining about?”
Joe Navarro, a clinical psychologist, and author of Dangerous Personalities, says:
“I have talked to scores of individuals who have been victimized by the narcissistic personality…I heard the same (thing): Narcissists see themselves as being so special that no one else matters. Over time, the behavior (will) cast a wide debris of suffering.”
13. “I’m not apologizing.”
Good luck trying to get an apology from a narcissist. The only way that’s going to happen is if they see some pot of gold at the end of their tilted rainbow.
14. “I’ll forgive nothing.”
Narcissists do not forget or forgive even the smallest of “infractions.” Don’t fret, dear reader, the odds are that you did nothing wrong in the first place. Just be wary of their calculated behavior, especially when feeling “wronged.”
15. “I think I found someone I like!”
Impossible, right? Well, not if it’s a fellow narcissist. As it turns out, narcissists aren’t altogether rare – accounting for about 6 percent of the U.S. population.