SymptomsBy Mayo Clinic Staff
Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms may include:
- Believing that you're better than others
- Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
- Exaggerating your achievements or talents
- Expecting constant praise and admiration
- Believing that you're special and acting accordingly
- Failing to recognize other people's emotions and feelings
- Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
- Taking advantage of others
- Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
- Being jealous of others
- Believing that others are jealous of you
- Trouble keeping healthy relationships
- Setting unrealistic goals
- Being easily hurt and rejected
- Having a fragile self-esteem
- Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional
When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may have a sense of entitlement. And when you don't receive the special treatment to which you feel entitled, you may become very impatient or angry. You may insist on having "the best" of everything — the best car, athletic club, medical care or social circles, for instance.
But underneath all this behavior often lies a fragile self-esteem. You have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have a sense of secret shame and humiliation. And in order to make yourself feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and efforts to belittle the other person to make yourself appear better.
This diagnosis is somewhat controversial. It's not sure what causes it, could be a combination of brain wiring and learned patterns or just a result of a person's experiences in life.
As I've talked about in the past, I have a big issue with jealousy. It boils down to: if people think well of THAT person, they must think less of ME. Of course, my life is about me. I think we're all in that position. But, where do I go from here? How do I change this behavior?
There are things I'm good at. I'm good at my job. I can be a good housekeeper when I decide to be. I'm good at having ideas about stuff to go do that might be fun. I'm good at cooking.
I do best when I have a checklist of things I can accomplish, something I can look at and say "There. All completed. I did it! Whoo hoo!"
Growing up, when I entered writing contests in school, if I didn't get first place I considered it worthless. Graduating from culinary school, I wasn't the ambassador for our class, that honor went to my good friend Karla. I understand that she had more time to dedicate to spending extra time at school helping with events and the garden while I had a family I needed to give my family attention.
However, when graduation rolled around and she was wearing the cords that indicated she was graduating with honors, I actually had the thought "So, what the hell was the point of this?" I had EXCELLED. I mean EXCELLED, in my class. When the year started there were 20 in my class. 7 of us completed the program. There were financial issues with some of my classmates, one's mom got very sick and he had to go home to help care for her. And I was at the top.
When I got back in touch to research the possibility of going back to do the pastry program, the recruiter said I was a stellar student and that's true.
The fact that I had completed my dream should have been enough. Why wasn't it? I came out of it with a wealth of information that allowed me to walk into my first kitchen job and know exactly what to do.
Growing up, I got a great deal of praise for my grades. I'm smart, there was no reason why I shouldn't have done well in school. But, BAD behavior got me a hell of a lot more attention. I didn't consciously do it, but I know I got something out of it or I wouldn't have kept doing it. Through a lot of soul searching I've unraveled that I'd run around asking for attention then do something big and dramatic to answer the existential question of existence. Drama = existence.
My mom didn't have a great mom. Her ability to parent was limited. She didn't have a good mother role model, but she had excellent grandmother role models. And she's a very good grandmother. My mom did what she knew how to do. We were all just dealing with what we had to work with.
My maternal grandmother was very generous with gifts. I learned a lot of years after she died that she and my grandfather were the ones who paid our bills and paid my dad's tuition so he could get his master's degree from Claremont Graduate School. This allowed him to make more money and have more opportunities in his career. My mom and dad had a black friend who was accepted to Blunt Law School, the one at Berekely, but finances were limited. My grandparents put him through law school, in the sixties.
What my mom knew how to show that she cared was to give me things. It's what she knew how to do. Did this instill a sense of entitlement in me? Yes. But she was doing her best.
Yes, I'm insecure. Where that comes from I'm not sure. Maybe it's just me.
Now I'm sitting looking at a whole knot of stuff I didn't even know was there. When I put effort into something am I doing it because I want to or so I can use that to show how much better I am at things?
Do I do stuff for other people because I take true joy in that or because I want people to do those things for me or so I can present the image of a woman who gives wonderful things to people?
This has made me question the way I live my entire life.
I'm scared to death and I have no idea where to go from here.