What The Narcissistic Personality Disorder Is
Echo and Narcissus by Ovid a myth in his epic Metamorphoses Echo was a beautiful nymph who loved the wildlife. Something about Echo was she talked way too much; she would not shut up and would always have the last word. One day a nymph Juno was looking for her husband who was flirting with other nymphs behind her back which Echo knew. She was able to stall Juno so the nymphs could escape because she didn’t want them to get shunned. The bad thing is Juno ended up finding out that Echo was basically protecting his cheating husband and nymphs. Juno casted a sentence to Echo saying that she would only be able to say the last word she hears; she will never be able to speak first.
Later that day, Echo saw a beautiful man, Narcissus. She instantly fell in love with him and wished that she could talk to him, but she couldn't until he talked first. Until one day he got separated from a group he was in and shouted if anyone was there and Echo was able to only reply with ‘here’. Narcissus was confused and looked around because he didn’t see anybody there. Once again he said “Let us join one another where Echo came out of where and jumped into his arms until Narcissus told her he would rather die than to her have him. He eventually ended up leaving her, as for Echo she went into the woods to hide in a cave filled with grief. Soon her form faded from all the grief she was endeavoring till her bones changed into rocks and all there was left was her voice. Narcissus shunned all the other nymphs.
One day a maiden said a prayer that he might feel what it was to love and meet no return of affection. The day of, Narcissus was looking for water to drink from being tired of hunting. He came across a clear fountain to take a drink and saw his own reflection. He kept looking at the image amazed by how beautiful the person was in the reflection. He instantly fell in love with himself. He couldn’t tear himself away where he lost the thought of food, rest, and his beauty. He eventually died and the water nymphs mourned him, so they prepared to have a funeral for him. They were going to burn his body, but his body was nowhere to be found but where his body was, there was a purple flower surrounded by white leaves that preserves the memory of Narcissus.
The word narcissism has been around since ancient Greece. The only difference is narcissistic personality disorder was discovered in the last 50 years. Many psychoanalysts looked at narcissism but never concluded it could turn out to be a disorder. In 1968, a psychoanalyst Heinz Kohut had a theory of self-psychology. According to a psychosocial rehabilitation specialist, “it suggested that narcissism was a normal and essential aspect of development and that difficulties with early 'self-object' relationships could lead to challenges in maintaining an adequate sense of self-esteem later in life, contributing to narcissistic disorders”. It wasn’t until 1980 where NPD was officially on the radar of mental conditions. It was put in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manuel of Mental Disorder since it was finally acknowledged.
Narcissistic personality disorder is one of many personality disorders to be known to mankind. It is described as a, “mental condition in which people have an inflated sense of their own importance, a deep need for excessive attention and admiration, troubled relationships, and a lack of empathy for others”. Many people think of narcissistic people to always be full of themselves where nothing can get through them but that is all false. When that person is alone behind the mask, they are a very delicate and vulnerable person. Not treating this disorder can lead to serious complications. It could lead to relationship difficulties, depression, drug use, and suicidal acts. Everybody has some narcissism associated with them, but some symptoms are being inconsiderate about other people’s feelings, monopolizing conversations, and believing they are superior in any situation presented. It has been said that NPD is linked to environmental factors, genetics, and neurobiology.
The environment someone grows up in plays a major role in developing narcissistic personality disorder. According to the University of Minnesota, “The environment can influence people’s behavior, motivation to act, and influence their mood”. The way that environment can be influential is by family members or friends. A doctor emphasized some phases, “learning manipulating behavior from parents or peers, being excessively praised for good behavior and excessively criticized for bad behavior, being excessively admired with no realistic feedback to balance you with reality and suffering from severe childhood abuse”. Being excessively praised for good behavior and criticized for the bad behavior is the biggest one to take full effect. Many parents either praise or criticize their child too much no matter how little or big the thing they did. Children start to get this idea that they are the best, that nobody can tell them what is right and wrong because their parents always told them they did an amazing job for whatever cause. As for the criticizing, the child will develop the feeling that they’re nothing where they’ll get this idea that they need to prove themselves. They’ll think that they need to do things better than everybody else around them.
It has been said that narcissistic personality disorder can be genetic. There was a study done in China with 304 pairs of twins. They had to complete the Narcissistic Grandiosity Scale which is a measure to recognize narcissism from high self-esteem. Three psychologists found, “grandiosity (23%) to be moderately heritable”. The dimension of intrapersonal grandiosity was found to be very independent from its genetic origin. Not to mention, everybody knows that genetics are heritable. “Each person has 22 pairs of chromosomes... there are actually two copies of each gene, one paternal in origin and the other maternal. We also get one sex chromosome from each parent, for a total of 46 chromosomes”. That states that no matter what we get an equal number of genes from our parents that develops someone's looks, but their personality.
The brain has been known to cause disorders. There are structural abnormalities of the brain that has a section for empathy. An Assistant Managing Editor at Live Science said, “Researchers used magnetic resonance imaging to scan the brains of 34 people, including 17 individuals who suffer from narcissistic personality disorder, and found that pathological narcissists have less gray matter in a part of the cerebral cortex called the left anterior insula”. That left anterior insula of the brain is bound with the formation of compassion and empathy. The brain is a big development of the personality. It controls movement, deals with feelings, and does the thinking. Narcissistic personality disorder can develop due to the brain lacking empathy due to being able to understand and comprehend peoples’ feelings. Especially when the person only cares about themselves.