Narcissistic Personality Analysis

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is “a pervasive disorder characterized by symptoms that include grandiosity, an exaggerated sense of self-importance and a lack of empathy for others” according to the revised fifth edition of the Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders. While grandiosity is the distinctive diagnostic symptom of NPD, the more prevalent symptom that will prompt a narcissist into the presence of a counselor’s office is the evident severely disturbed interpersonal relationships that exist in the life of a narcissist. Work colleagues, family and friends are negatively impacted by the characteristics and behavior of the narcissist.
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The Myth of Narcissus, in it’s various forms, presents subjective insight and vivid illustrations of narcissism. Narcissistic personality disorder, a term taken from the myth, characterizes a self-loving youth, with a grandiose disposition, who found himself so attractive that he fell in love with his own reflection. The interpersonal relationships of Narcissus display a tragedy of missed connection, while the pursuance of an intimate relationship with Narcissus leaves others as mere shadows of themselves. Narcissus proves to be incapable of a reciprocal relationship. He can only love what he sees to be an extension of himself. He gazes into a pool and falls desperately in love with who he sees, and continues to spend all of his time, day after day yearning for the connection of who he sees in the reflection of the pool. Pursuing unity with the image in the pool, Narcissus drowns, not realizing that the image in the pool was a reflection of himself. The myth illustrates that Narcissus was unaware of the fervency of his love for himself, and how is inability to connect to others affected his life as well as the lives of those that loved him.
The topic of narcissism began to attract interest in the 1900’s. Otto Rank, an Australian psychoanalyst published one of the earliest articles of narcissism in which he associated it to self-admiration and vanity. Sigmund Freud published a paper
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Many clinicians view narcissist’s as unwilling, rather than unable. Narcissism is classified as a personality disorder, but is can easily be misinterpreted as a flaw of character.
My difficulty in counseling a narcissist is not my opposition to the constant need for praise and admiration, or the disorderly thinking that convinces them that everyone else is wrong. I can potentially tolerate their arrogant, haughty, and patronizing attitude, their exaggeration of their achievement, as well as their expectation to be recognized as superior.
My dilemma is in the acknowledgement that they could be potentially distorting what takes place within the counseling sessions and exploiting the basis of the client counselor relationship

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