5 Myths About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

What is Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

People with NPD tend to have an inflated sense of self-importance. They believe they are superior and, as such, they expect to receive special treatment. Often, as a result of their obsession with popularity, success, and fame, narcissists manipulate people in order to get what they want. It follows then that people often view narcissists as horrible, selfish, and cruel people. In fact, the Internet is filled with negative articles that describe people with NPD as villains. The articles are often exaggerated and completely unrealistic. Elinor Greenberg Ph.D. comments on this as she writes that there are various myths that “have been accepted by naïve and uninformed people as the absolute truth because they saw them repeated over and over again on the internet.” So, what are these myths?

There are 5 common myths about narcissism.

1. All narcissists are extremely self-confident

This statement is completely false. People with NPD only appear to be confident. In reality, they are often filled with self-doubt and self-hatred. Greenberg further explains this as she writes that “what appears to be narcissistic grandiosity and self-confidence is a thin, defensive facade that is an attempt to impress other people.”

2. All narcissists want to hurt the people around them

While it is true that people with NPD do often hurt the ones who love them, they do not do so intentionally. In fact, they are completely oblivious to the harm that they cause.

3. All narcissists are cheaters

Narcissists who cheat do not do so because of their personality disorder. They do so because of their morals values, and standards. There are narcissists who would never cheat on their partners or betray their loved ones. It all depends on what type of person someone is.

4. All narcissists are evil 

Although people with NPD can indeed say and do hurtful things, they are not “evil”. They try their best to build strong and meaningful relationships; however, they lack the skills and tools needed to do so. Therefore, they often unintentionally hurt the people they love.

5. All narcissists are charming

While some narcissists are charming when you first meet, others can be dull and irritating. It is important to note that even those who are initially charming are only so for a short period of time. First, they will tell you fascinating (and often made up) stories to impress you. Then, Greenberg notes, their charm will disappear as you realize that they repeat the same stories over and over again.

Although it is easy to believe what you see and read online, it is vital to fact-check things before you believe them. 

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