Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissism is a term that comes out “Ego Psychology” used to describe an individual who is very self-centered and “in love with his or her own image." This term comes from the myth of Narcissus who had the inability to feel or express love. Significant in this myth is that Ego was the consort of Narcissus. Because he did not say “I love you.” She, although loving him very much could say the words to him. He believed he was unloved.
Of significance in this myth is that narcissism is based in a relationship process. Unlike many psychiatric disorders, it does not develop independent of relationships. Because it develops in relationship disorders, it manifests in relationships and can only be changed through a relationship process.
We all have narcissism to one degree or another. The problem evolves when it is the dominant aspect of our relationships.
The narcissist operates from an image they hold of themselves in their head. They do not operate from the reality of feelings in their body. This does not mean they do not feel. It means their feelings are generated by what they believe about themselves and others in there head. They do not “test” these beliefs through “real” interactions with people. They live in their heads, not their bodies.
Because they froze the ability of the body to feel at a young age they never have the opportunity to correct the picture they hold of themselves in their head. We all hold pictures of ourselves in our head. We are willing or desire to change these pictures of ourselves on the basis of feedback from others and accurate assessment of who we are.
When the narcissist is confronted with a reality of who they are, and that differs from their mental picture, they discount the information. If the information persists or gets stronger they will rage at the information or the informer.
Because they are frozen inside, they have to cling to the image they hold. If you try to go in deeper, you will discover that there is no depth to the person. The narcissist knows that and will prevent you from going beneath the surface at all costs. Any penetration of the surface reveals the emptiness they experience from within.
Depending on the degree of narcissism, the person possesses increasing degrees of grandiosity, self centeredness, disdain for others who don’t match up to their standards as well as feelings of omnipotence. In the extreme they see themselves as gods or goddesses who are above humanity. The degree to which one is narcissistic is the degree to which one does not accept their humanity.