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Narcissistic Personalities: Identifying them, understanding them, relating to them

Narcissistic Personalities: Identifying them, understanding them, relating to them



Learn to identify, understand and deal with narcissistic personalities. Presented by Dr. Claudia Diez, PhD, ABPP, Jewish Community Center, New York, October 2010. ...

Learn to identify, understand and deal with narcissistic personalities. Presented by Dr. Claudia Diez, PhD, ABPP, Jewish Community Center, New York, October 2010.

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    Narcissistic Personalities: Identifying them, understanding them, relating to them Narcissistic Personalities: Identifying them, understanding them, relating to them Presentation Transcript

    • Narcissistic Personalities
      Identifying, understanding and relating to them
      Claudia Diez, PhD, ABPP
      Board Certified Specialist in Clinical PsychologySupervising PsychologistSt. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center
      Assistant Clinical Professor, Columbia University
    • What is “Narcissism”?
      From Greek myth of Narcissus, a metaphor of self-absorption and inability to love
      A normal aspect of Personality
      self-care and self-esteem; assertiveness
      need to secure status for self-preservation (Hogan, 1982)
      Needed for self-sustainment
      Normal Narcissist: Competitive, Self-Assured, Bold
      Exists in a continuum: Normal Pathological
      Involves adaptive and maladaptive traits
    • Socio-Cultural Perspectives
      Lasch: The Culture of Narcissism (1979)
      Cultural criticism of contemporary American society as promoter of pathological narcissism
      Erosion in allegiance to community; condoned individuality
      Raskin: Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI, 1988)
      Identified seven aspects of narcissism
      Authority, Self-Sufficiency, Superiority
      Exhibitionism, Exploitiveness
      Vanity, Entitlement
      How Narcissistic am I?
      Quiz - NPI-40
    • Socio-cultural Perspectives
      “Generation Me”
      “Today’s young Americans are more confident, assertive,
      entitled.. . than ever before” (Twenge, 2006)
      Narcissism Epidemic?
      NPI-40 used to research trends in narcissism in America
      Findings: “rampant rise of narcissism” in our society
      Indictment of the “Self-esteem” movement of the 70’s propelled by California’s legislature "Self Esteem Task Force“
      Met severe criticism, yet findings stand strong
      Other cultural expressions: Honor Codes/killings?
    • Organizational Psychology
      Narcissistic Leaders
      High Entitlement, Excessive Confidence, Fantasized Talent
      Focused on “getting ahead”, risks excessively, berates employees, pursues personal agendas
      “Emergent Leaders” (seek Self-Promotion)
      Not necessarily “Effective Leaders”
      Narcissism at the root of Managerial Derailment
      What about the followers?
      (Hogan, Robert, 2008)
    • Narcissism in organizations
      Gordon Gecko, “Wall Street”
      ‘If you want a friend, get a dog”
      Gordon Gecko to Bud Fox in “Wall Street”
    • Shut up, Listen and Learn!
      “Swimmingwith sharks”, Ch. “Sweet & low”
    • Pencils are more important
      “Swimmingwith sharks”, Ch. “you are nothing”
    • Narcissism as a Clinical Disorder
      Term coined in psychology in 1898 by H. Ellis
      Largely adopted by Freud and psychoanalysis
      Appears in the DSM-III(1) in 1980
      “Personality Disorder” is:
      An inflexible, maladaptive, persisting pattern of behaviors
      Causing significant functional impairment (in the world)
      Causing significant distress (subjectively)
      (1) DSM: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, now in its 4th Edition, TR (2000)
    • Narcissistic Personality Disorder
      DSM-IV TR Diagnostic Criteria
      Pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, lack of empathy; beginning in adulthood, indicated by five (+) of the following:
      grandiose sense of self-importance
      fantasies of unlimited success, power, beauty, etc.
      believes he/she is "special"
      requires excessive admiration
      has a sense of entitlement
      is interpersonally exploitative
      lacks empathy
      is often envious, or believes that others are envious of him
      shows arrogant behaviors or attitudes
    • Hack it, or Pack it!
      The Great Santini, “failed score”
    • Narcissism as a Clinical Disorder
      Not all narcissists are created equal
      Shedler’s Typology (1)
      High Functioning/Exhibitionistic
      Other distinctive features
      Emptiness, sense of “being false, fraudulent”
      (1) Shedler et al, 2008. Refining the Construct of Narcissistic Personality Disorder: Diagnostic Criteria and Subtypes; (Am J Psychiatry 2008; 165:1473–1481)
    • Faces of Pathological Narcissism
      Abusive Partners Rapists
      Celebrities Cult Leaders
      Con Artists Stalkers
      White Collar Criminals Gang Members
      Moderate Narcissism
      Overbearing/obnoxious /cruel parents, demanding or callous partners, inconsiderate coworkers, etc….
    • Empathy, Shame, Envy
      inner capacity of sharing and comprehending the psychological state of another person
      painful social emotion caused by the experience of feeling inferior or losing value in the estimation of others
      painful social emotion caused by the thought of another person having something that one does not have oneself
    • Origins of Narcissism
      No known link to genetics
      Biological (neurophysiological paths) imprints in early childhood (1)
      Origins ascribed to early attachment and parenting, resulting in specific pattern of affect regulation
      (1) Schore, Allan (2009). Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self: The Neurobiology of Emotional Development
    • Normal Human Development
      Parental Attunement
      Under normal circumstances, caregiver help child to handle intense or stressful affect
      Development of empathy
      Tolerance of shame
      “Monkey see, monkey do” (mirror neurons; mimicry)
    • Origins of Pathological Narcissism
      Unattuned Parents cannot model affect regulation
      Resulting in diminished capacity for empathy
      Child is in some way “Special” to the parent
      “Narcissistic children often occupy a pivotal point in the family structure, such as being ….the one that is supposed to fulfill family aspirations….”
      Child raised in overtly well-organized home, but with parent(s) present a degree of callousness and subtle aggression
      Child may have an inherent quality that arouses admiration or envy such as beauty, special talent, etc. ( I.e: Pageant Queen/Mother)
      Kernberg, 1984. Severe personality disorders. New Haven: Yale University Press
    • Paths to Pathological Narcissism
    • Narcissistic Cognitions
      Emotional Deprivation
      Subjugation /Control
      Approval Seeking
      Insufficient Self-Control
      Unrelenting Standards
      Underlying Assumptions (Schemas)
      Young,  (1998). Schema-focused therapy for narcissistic patients.  In E. Ronningstam (Ed.), Disorders of narcissism: Diagnostic, clinical and empirical implications
    • Extreme (Malignant) Narcissism
      Charles Manson
    • Pathological Narcissism: Origins
      Manson's mother was a promiscuous heavy drinker whospent years in prison for robbery. Manson was placed at reform schools and relatives while she was away.
      Manson did not know his biological father; his step-father was an alcoholic, abusive offender
      His mother’s physical embrace of him when she returned from prison was, he reported, his sole happy childhood memory
    • Children at Risk
      Children of Narcissistic Parents
      Abused Children
      Overindulged, Overpraised, Wealthy Children
      Adopted Children (chosen, yet abandoned)
      Kernberg, P. (1998). In E. F. Ronningstam (Ed.), Disorders of narcissism.  Diagnostic, clinical, and empirical implications. Developmental aspects of normal and pathological narcissism
    • Course and Prognosis
      Room for improvement in certain cases
      As a result of significant losses/personal costs, or
      As a result of corrective emotional experiences (i.e., relationship, achievement)
      In severe cases, symptoms may worsen over time, (i.e., mid life crisis, aging parents)
      Narcissists do not typically seek help
      (as they do not find fault in themselves)
      Difficult to treat; may seek help because “mandated” by others
    • Is there a Narcissist in my life?
      Does the person act as if life revolves around him/her?
      Do I have to compliment him/her to get his attention or approval?
      Does he constantly steer the conversation back to himself?
      Does she downplay my feelings or interests?
      If I disagree, does he become cold, withholding or angry?
      Do I feel belittled, manipulated, or feel I can’t please him/her?
      If you answered “yes” to three or more questions, it is likely that this person’s narcissism is affecting your life
      Adapted from Judith Orloff’s “Emotional Freedom” (Three Rivers Press, 2011)
    • How to Relate to a Narcissist
      Do not retaliate
      Do not shame, belittle, “pay back”
      Do not expect fairness or reciprocity
      Do not isolate from friends, other family
      Do not surrender to the narcissist’s attempts to control/disparage
    • How to Relate to a Narcissist
      Know yourself
      • Identify your motives to stay in the relationship: desire to please? gain his/her regard? feel protected? bask in their power? Etc.
      • Identify your “hot buttons” and your problematic responses
      Know your own worth, independently of his/her valuation
      Cultivate reciprocal, satisfying relationships
      Be empathic, respectful, fair
      Be mindful of his/her sensitivity to shame/humilliation
      Practice self-control and patience
      Use non-confrontational limit-setting
    • How to Relate to a Narcissist
      Set boundaries
      Re-engineer the terms of the interactions
      What you can do, what you won’t
      Reinforce positive behavior (i.e., kindness, attentiveness)
      Avoid criticism; Try to understand his/her mind frame
      Agree with acceptable part of his/her statements, and add: “I wonder if…”, “how about…” “this could be of benefit for you”
      Discourage negative behaviors (belittling, dominance)
    • How to Relate to a Narcissist
      Consider the costs (risk/benefit analysis) of staying in the relationship
      Assess damages/severity of behaviors
      If risk/damage is high, consider an exit plan
      Avoid/Minimize contact
      Seek external help
      Build a support network
      Be mindful of characteristic feelings of shame/guilt
    • Recommended Readings
      Ronningstan, E. Hotchkiss, S Behary, W. Twenge, J.
    • More suggested readings
      Neurobiology of Empathy ; Attachment Theory
      Mirror neurons and the brain in the vat. ByV.S. Ramachandran, 1/10/2006
      The mind’s mirror.(on mirror neurons and its relation to empathy) By L. Winerman, Monitor Staff, 10/2005, Vol 36, No. 9. American Psychological Association
      Effects of a Secure Attachment Relationship on Right Brain Development, Affect Regulation and Infant Mental Health. A. N. Schore, in Infant Mental Health Journal 22, 1-2 (2001): 7-66
      Narcissism in organizations and leadership
      Leadership. By Hogan and Fico, 2009. Chapter to appear in W. K. Campbell & J. Miller (Eds.) The handbook of narcissism and narcissistic personality disorder. New York: Wiley, in press.
      Cultural Aspects
      What the Experts Are Saying Now . By K. Hymowitz, 8/25/2009,. A Review of the “self-esteem movement” as per new book, “Nurture Shock” by Po Bronson & Ashley Merryman
      Best Weapons against Honor Killers: Shame.By Kwame A. Appiah. 9/25/2010. On the customs of honor codes (dueling, honor killings) and public dishonor. Listen to him also in “Talk of the Nation”, NPR
      Claudia Diez, PhD, ABPP
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