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A short story on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, its causes and effects
Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic Personality Disorder. A huge curve ball.
Anyone who has, or knows anyone with this issue is definitely challenged to cope with it.
To illustrate the characteristics of a person with this disorder, I take you through a little short story of Adam, a fictitious little boy who grows up with the adversity of this disorder. Read it to see if you can spot the characteristics of someone who suffers from it.
“Goal!” young Adam grinned as he, in a rush of excitement, put a little power in his kick to send a his precious football into the standing net.
“Well done! I knew my clever boy could do it. He’s the only one with the talent to be able to send that other team packing!” Adam’s mother, Mrs. Honecraft, could not help but give her beloved son a hug.
At that moment, the referee of the game came up to them with a look of sheepish apology on his face. “Sorry, Adam, is it? You kicked the ball offside. There was only the goalkeeper between you and opposing goal line.”
“But.....how could that be? It’s the other team’s slowness and stupidity if they could not defend their goal post! What kind of rules are these?”
“Yes, you are supposed to be the referee, so how could be so blind? My son is the most talented player on the team and the most upright. He wouldn’t do anything so unfair. He’s smart, he gets the grades....” she continued her loving description of Adam, leaving the unsuspecting referee non-plussed.
After they went home and had dinner, Mrs. Honecraft went to the balcony of their apartment and looked at a pot with soil and just two seeds in it. Naming it Adam, she watered it lovingly and added a little fertilizer.
What are the characteristics of a person with narcissistic personality disorder?
Indeed, a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) can be difficult to distinguish from those who are bold, confident and decisive. So what might make you suspect that a person has the disorder? You might want to consider these traits:
- For a person with NPD, the need for attention and power is chronic.
- They tend to react to criticism with rage, shame or humiliation
- They have exaggerated feelings of self importance and are self-obsessed
- They enjoy exaggerating their achievements and talents
- They require constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
- They lack empathy and disregard the feelings of others.
- They pursue mainly selfish goals.
- They have trouble keeping healthy relationships
- The pursue selfish goals and have selfish motives
- They are easily hurt and rejected.
- They have unrealistic expectations of favorable treatment.
- They want the best of everything and may appear overly dominant.
- They seek positions of power.
- They display arrogance.
- They are vain, physically, materially and emotionally.
They have a small self-esteem and low confidence that they find difficult to show.
It must be noted that diagnosing a disorder should be left to trained professionals as every person who experiences it does so differently.
Over the next week, Adam Honecraft had two assignments due. Being the overachiever that he was, he had finished them early and turned them in 2 days ahead of their due date.
Two days after he had handed them in, his English teacher returned the assignment with a “B” grade and the feedback “detailed, but could be more expressive.”
Adam brought his paper to his teacher, Miss Writ. “Could I know what you mean by this, Miss?”
“Oh. It means that you turned in a piece of work that had all the information in place and well written. But you could have used more stirring expressions.”
“What do you mean by that? Why’s that so important? Don’t you know that I spent nearly the whole night on this assignment? And what do I get for it, just a B?” With that, he stormed out of the classroom door and slammed it behind him.
His mother phoned Miss Writ with a shelling of her own. “How dare you say those things to my son.......a smart boy like him spending time on your assignment was just a waste of time. I”m taking this to the Principal.” And she did, resulting in the grade being revised to become an A.
Adam soon grew into teen hood. All this time, he had kept up his grades, and managed to secure a position in an elite school. This, of course, won him more praise from his ever-willing mother.
Being a teenager meant, of course, teenage angst and crushes. There was a girl in one of his classes whom he liked immensely, and invited her to attend the annual school carnival.
He was floored when she bought tickets to it off another boy instead of himself.
Adam needed a vent.
“Now how could she not get the tickets from me? She could have gotten them from me, not some low-class riff raff.” He looked at the boy in question in contempt.
His mother tried to console him. “Not to worry, the girl is probably not quite right herself. She’s the loser if she doesn’t choose you. being so handsome and smart.” She gave him a hug and went to the balcony to water little Adam.
Which had, by this time, grown into a little seedling, with little shoots and leaves nicely forming.
What causes Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
The cause of NPD is yet unknown or affirmed. But researchers into the disorder have highlighted the following as possible causes for the disorder.
- An oversensitive temperament
- Excessive admiration never balanced with realistic feedback
- Excessive praise or criticism from others.
- Overindulgence by people around those with the disorder.
- Unpredictable or unreliable caregiving
- Seen as a tool by caregivers to regulate their own self esteem.
Adam came home from school one day to a freshly baked chocolate cake waiting on the table and his mother wielding a baking knife, about to divide it.
She sliced it neatly into two equal halves for Adam and his older brother Andrew.
“Hey” Adam’s scream resonated around the kitchen. “I always get better grades than Andrew and I go to a better school. Shouldn’t I get more cake?”
“Yes dear, you should. Sorry for the mistake there,” the ever-smiling Mrs. Honecraft gave him an extra two slices off Andrew’s share.
After that, she continued to the balcony to water her precious seedling, which had grown a little taller.
Adam soon graduated from his high school top of his cohort, and the proud Mrs.Honecraft attended the graduation where he was the valedictorian. He went on to University, graduating with honors.
It was Christmas, and his mother had, as usual, arranged for all their relatives over for dinner.
Adam, of course, was the centre of attention at the gathering, a position he relished being in. He spent hours talking about his courses and awards he had won front of all his relatives, who, of course, heaped him with praises.
In fact, the whole party was all about HIM.
His mother took some time off during the party to water her favorite young plant. Young Adam’s leaves had started to flourish; its little verdant fronds awaiting new promise.
After the party was over, Adam, in his room, took a look at himself in the mirror. Not liking what he saw, he threw a book against it, shattering it to smithereens.
His mother, of course, swept up the little pieces the next day.
What are the effects of Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
As seen from the story of Adam, the effects of the disorder can quite damaging if not kept in check.
- Family relationships can become toxic or abusive.
- Collegial relationships may also be affected when someone suffers from this disorder.
- Work or school performance can be affected by the disorder.
- People with the disorder may find external coping strategies if not checked eg. alcohol, drugs.
Again, these may not apply to every sufferer, who brings different experiences to the table.
He secured a job as an accountant at a reputable auditor’s office. Very quickly, he worked his way up to become a team leader.
Very often, he would, in his position of authority, assign tasks that he was asked to do to unsuspecting subordinates, never letting them know that these were not in their scope of work.
He would, at meetings, claim credit for any accolades given. Attribution of his team was rare; in fact, he constantly ran them down.
He always went home to his loving mother, yelling at her every now and again because of the stress, which she assumed came from work. She continued to tend to the her plant, now fully grown. The pot which housed it was becoming way too small. Not noticing, she continued watering and fertilizing it as its roots began reaching out of the pot.
An idea suddenly dawned on him while he lazed at his table at work. He was lacking fresh clients
He came up with an item bank and got his willing team members to add to the client pool.
Everyone lauded him for his intelligence and of course, generosity.
While he poached the clients, of course.
A subordinate, by accident, came across an invoice that was made out through Adam to his client.
Confronting Adam about it, he was summarily told : “Why should I be questioned? I have the right to authorize transactions on your behalf.”
This time, though, Adam’s subordinate would not take his explanation lying down. Adam was called to the head office, which accused him of poaching clients.
His mother, meanwhile, had a crisis of her own at home. Young Adam had over run the entire balcony and had grown to overshadow the other plants. Its own pot was cracking, its enlarged roots either squashed within or growing dangerously on the floor.
Treatment for Narcissistic Personality Disorder
As yet, there is no known cure for narcissistic personality disorder, though people who suffer from the disorder should seek counseling or therapy to help them see people and relationships in a more positive way.
Adam was removed from his position in a retrenchment exercise shortly after. Adapting to change was a task for the young man, accustomed to having things doled out to him on a platter. A nervous breakdown soon crept up on him, hospitalizing and declaring him unfit for work, at least for a time.
His mother, meanwhile, was left to clear the balcony of the overgrown, green Adam.
Copyright Michelle Liew Tsui-Lin All RIghts Reserved