How Prevalent is Narcissism?

Understanding how common narcissism truly is.

Source: Davide Ragusa on Unsplash

With narcissists becoming more popular, it’s essential to understand what narcissism is. Narcissism is a set pattern of behavior laced with grandiosity, arrogance, low self-esteem, and an overinflated ego.

Narcissistic personality disorder is the only disorder that can honestly label someone as a narcissist. Otherwise, people can most certainly have narcissistic traits. This is where people can usually get their wires crossed: are they are narcissists, or do they have narcissistic traits.

Everyone has narcissistic traits; it’s not inappropriate to care about yourself. From your looks to your self-esteem, it’s all completely normal. Now narcissism is a long pattern of narcissistic behaviors that impact someone and others around them.

So the issue that it comes down to is: do we look at the rate of people with NPD, or do we look at those with elevated narcissistic traits? For the purpose of this article, we are going to explore the prevalence of narcissistic personality disorder.

Is NPD common?

There are roughly 0.5% of the population in the United States that have a narcissistic personality disorder. But it is important to note that only people clinically diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are included in this statistic. This is a relatively low number, but there are always conditions behind these statistics that we have to keep in mind.

Not every narcissist out there is clinically diagnosed (and maybe they should be), so that’s a thought to consider when looking at this statistic. Someone can display the symptoms for years, cause havoc — but never be seen or treated.

Not every narcissist wants treatment or even to see a doctor. Even if that narcissist sees a doctor, they may not be diagnosed because they withhold information.

Overall, there are many different reasons why someone wouldn’t want to seek treatment. In the end, a narcissist doesn’t see anything wrong with them or their behavior. Their self-esteem may not be able to handle that kind of blow also.

So know that not every person you meet who is rude or off-putting is a narcissist. A narcissist is someone with a long pattern of behavior that makes them a narcissist.

I have met a few narcissists in my life, but (unfortunately) for me, they were all family members. Other than that, I really haven’t met too many narcissists in the outside world.

I didn’t have enough time to honestly know them — or they simply had narcissistic traits.

What is NPD?

Narcissism can come from childhood abuse and many different factors. Through narcissistic personality disorder, it is essential to understand its root. Why does it happen? Understanding the disorder behind a narcissist can help spread more accurate information about narcissists.

It has been shown that childhood abuse is connected to depression, aggression, anger, hostile behavior, anxiety, and personality disorders in adulthood.

Through abuse, that child develops to survive in their environment. With a combination of genetics, parenting, and overall treatment within their life, the stage can be set for someone to develop a narcissistic personality disorder.

Not every unkind person is a narcissist

Understanding a narcissist is all fine and good. Still, the narcissistic traits are what people are genuinely interested in (they just don’t know it yet).

The human personality can be divided into so many subparts. There are many different facets and aspects to understanding someone’s personality.

I have met some genuinely mean people in my life, outside of my family, but deep down, those people were not narcissists. People under intense stress can act out of character, causing them to look like a narcissist.

So it is essential to know that someone can be selfish, rude, gaslighting, and simply not narcissistic. But they can sure act like a narcissist sometimes! Or so it feels.

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Narcissists come in all shapes and sizes and from different walks of life. No two narcissists will act the same. But we still have to be careful when using the term narcissist — it needs to be saved for the people who are genuinely narcissists. If you’d like to read more on my journey with my narcissist, I encourage you to check out my narcissistic abuse story.

Overall, narcissism is not prevalent is terms of size and how many people are diagnosed. But that does not lessen the significant impact that person may have on other people’s lives.

So you may never encounter a true narcissist in your life, but knowing the signs and symptoms can help you stay safe and alert.

As originally posted on Medium

Surviving a Toxic Family

There’s so much more to life than a toxic family.

Source: Thoa Ngo on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Although I have personal and professional experience in the mental health field, I am not a licensed mental health professional. The information contained in this article is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this article are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disorder.

Surviving a toxic family is only half the battle. Once someone has been realized from their family’s hold on them, their whole life is turned upside down.

Toxic families require a lot of time, with arguments, dismissals, and feuds; it feels never-ending. In a toxic family, you have to be involved; in fact, you are involved one way or another. The specific roles of toxic families and households explain how the family functions.

Sometimes the only way to escape a toxic family is to move out at 18 or cut them off from your life right now. Regardless of what you choose to do with your toxic family, in the meantime, you need to survive.

I have not and will not ever talk to my family again when writing this article. I only have a few people in my family worth keeping in my life. I cut the rest off.

Nobody is worth my happiness and safety.

Effects of a toxic family

The effects of a toxic family can be devastating.

I incurred damaging effects on my social life as I was growing up. When I was in my teen years, I took on adult responsibilities because the adults in my life had caused such turmoil. The adults in the family were wrapped up in their own world that they couldn’t see beyond themselves.

So when I became an adult, I had no friends–not one. I have never felt so alone before. But like most 18 years, I dove in headfirst to try and make up for whatever I missed. And I found some great people and not-so-nice people along the way.

I learned what I wanted in life because of how my toxic family treated me.

I wanted to avoid the experience that I had with my toxic family. If I pretended that it didn’t happen — if the lies my narcissist told me were uncovered, maybe things would have been different.

How a toxic family impacts development

As mentioned before, I had stunted socialization. I was so isolated from my friends because of my family I knew that wasn’t the norm.

A toxic family is broken down into many parts. Each family member serves a purpose — whether they know it or not. It can be hard to understand that, but it is the truth.

But now, I have a new sense of hope. I survived difficult times in my childhood–I’m stronger than I will ever know.

It’s hard to say that there are specific rules and tools that you can use to help you survive a toxic family. Every situation and family are unique and different. With each family posing their own issues and risks. Sometimes leaving isn’t an option.

So I want to give general advice as a survivor of toxic families.

Look out for yourself

You are the most important person in your world. It may not feel like you have anyone supporting you — but you can fill that void. It’s a challenge but start by meeting your needs. Making yourself happy and knowing how to get yourself to an actual calm state.

Everyone deserves to feel happy and relaxed. A toxic family can create a considerable roadblock.

Get time away from them

Try to get yourself out for a walk or some private time in your room. Again, everyone’s circumstances are different, so this may not be feasible. But you should try to limit contact when you can.

Know that this is not forever

The present moment that you are in will not last forever. I wished someone had told me this. I wanted to know that my life would not be stuck in this family. I truly believed that I would never be free.

Learn lessons from your family’s behavior

If leaving isn’t an option, and they have to be in your life, just observe. Learn the patterns of your family members and understand how this situation should be different. What are those lessons from the family time that you have learned?

I saw the narcissist shining clear in my family by observing my family. And how the family surrounded them to help them get away with rude behavior.

I am not my toxic family; I am the seed that sprouts from the rubble.

No matter what, I am strong and capable. My toxic family may have given me a rough start, but I can choose where my life goes from here.

As originally posted on Medium and NewsBreak

What Really Makes Someone a Good Person?

Some food for thought and my unnecessary 2 cents.

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Through understanding my own toxic family, I have wondered what makes someone a good person.

Suppose a narcissist can lie and feign innocence (that’s totally believable to the outside world) while doing good things. How can we honestly tell if someone is a good person based solely on their actions?

Behaviors are a complex set of actions, either good, bad, or somewhere in the middle. If someone does nice things, does that make them a good person?

Intention matters

Behind every behavior is an intention — what that person hopes to achieve or accomplish. The intention is what I have been heavily looking towards in all relationships in my life.

I want to know that the person is genuine in their actions. The narcissist in my life has left me with this hypervigilant state — to always try and spot trouble early.

I don’t care if you’re nice or mean to me; I care about what your intentions are. I want to know that you have a good, verifiable reason for your actions towards me.

But is intention important to everyone?

To me, the intention is everything. It is what I want to shine through in all of my actions. Aside from intentions, seeing someone’s long-term behavior is the blueprint for how everything else will be.

I am hypervigilant. I want to make sure that I never go through the bad things that I have gone through in the past. But I can’t always stop that.

So tell me, Do intentions matter for you?

As originally posted on Medium

Understanding the Link Between ADHD and Anxiety

People with ADHD 50% more likely to have an anxiety disorder.

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Attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder or ADHD, is a common mental health disorder, along with anxiety. ADHD and anxiety are two different types of mental health disorders that can both influence one another.

Many people with ADHD are known as the person who is always running late or are a perpetual mess. Behind that late, messy friend lies someone who could very well be experiencing anxiety.

People living with ADHD are nearly 50% more likely to have an anxiety disorder than people without ADHD. With an alarming statistic like that, it’s essential to know how ADHD and anxiety can intermingle and affect one another.

Anxiety and ADHD

Someone with ADHD may experience anxiety because of their poor attention skills or hyperactive behavior–I know this was partially true. I already had anxiety as a child growing up. The lack of attentive skills and time management really affected me.

I felt like a failure compared to my friends. I couldn’t manage my time as well as other people, which meant I had to limit my opportunities. I knew that i wasn’t able to take on extra responsibility, and if I did I would have to work hard to stay on track.

Research has actually shown that ADHD can actually worsen anxiety symptoms with restlessness and issues with concentration. With the symptoms of ADHD being hyperactive behavior and inattentiveness, there can be moments of the world you miss simply because you couldn’t pay attention.

Anxiety pulls your attention to focus on your anxiety symptoms, which can distract you from your daily tasks. Coupled with inattentive behavior, it can snowball into a mess. Before you know it your day is over and you haven’t been able to accomplish what you set out to do.

For example, I struggled to focus and concentrate in school while in lectures. It was difficult, and it caused me to have added anxiety. I felt that my inattention was due to a lack of motivation or willpower. I felt like the weakest, most unmotivated, lazy person in my entire life.

For me, the ever-nagging thought that I would forget something or neglect something by accident. Maybe I would be the office chatterbox. I was terrified of how I indeed was because of my ADHD. I wanted to branch out from that, but it was hard.

Can ADHD impact anxiety?

Research suggests that someone with ADHD experiencing anxiety may have heightened ADHD symptoms. Anxiety and ADHD seem to crash against one another, aggravating symptoms and causing more distress.

With the symptoms of ADHD, they are bound to interact and cause or aggravate someone’s anxiety. The inability to focus AND properly plan leaves a massive gap in my day.

I have little understanding of time awareness–I am entirely time blind, thanks to my ADHD. Couple that with the stress that anxiety brings, there heightened struggle everyday.

With the increase in stress, anxiety can increase too. If someone lives with a lot of anxiety and has ADHD, the symptoms can keep worsening, creating a chain reaction of issues.

The duration, severity, and comorbidity of the disorders combined can feel overpowering.

Long term effects

The long-term effects of ADHD and anxiety can be the vicious cycle that keeps those suffering looped in. In the long term, people have to learn to survive; they learn to adapt to these symptoms. Adapting is a difficult thing to reach, especially when it feels hopeless.

Constantly seeking relief from anxiety and ADHD symptoms may lead some people to lean towards harmful behaviors such as drug use.

Overall, ADHD and anxiety have lowered my self-esteem and confidence in my abilities simply because I couldn’t work as my classmates did. Sitting still and doing the same thing every day feels like torture.

Through time I learned to treat myself as the girl who wasn’t too bright because she couldn’t keep track of her keys and wallet. I turned my ADHD into a joke so I could pass. I was worried that I would be the target enemy if people saw just how forgetful and inattentive I could be. Of course, I didn’t really feel like in my friendship groups, but more at work.

I had to turn my struggle into a joke because I didn’t want people to see how much of a mess I was. Having to live with this mantra in your head can really eat away at you.

As originally posted on Medium and NewsBreak

My Narcissist Taught Me How to Be a Good Person

It’s simple — I just need to be the opposite of them.

Source: Jeremy Bishop on Unsplash

I stand on the other side, still alive through the trying times that my narcissist has put me through. The lies that I had been fed for years were finally coming to an end.

I have faced the most challenging days of my life and held firm throughout the dusty storms through this time. Now, I am left with the constant reminder that I am scarred and haunted by my narcissist.

I think back frequently to the times that my narcissist truly impacted me. How their words made me change who I was because I was afraid. That was the key, though, wasn’t it? To keep me afraid? Being afraid causes me to be more submissive to their lies and deceit.

Through all the manipulation tactics and smear campaigns, I learned to be a good person. I was so horrified at how I was treated that it felt nearly impossible to fully break free from.

I learned what not to be because I needed to be better. I grew to hate the narcissist so much that I despised all they were. I wanted a life that was the opposite of theirs; I needed change.

But from the destruction grew beautiful flowers that I will carry with me forever.

Life lessons

My narcissist would always tell me to “do the right thing” because I dared to resist their demand. Through my defiance, I grew a name for myself as a trouble maker.

I was the evil person in the family, and I didn’t know what to do. I saw the only option was to be a nice, more obedient person. I was a greedymoney-hungry liar who was ruining the family. But I later came to find out that I had been lied to (obviously) — that’s a story for another time, though.

So I set out on a mission at this time to be a better person — through the guidance of my narcissist, of course. I learned to stay quiet, and I learned to observe. I challenged my gut instinct and suppressed the questions that I had.

Through this time, I wanted to show my narcissist more respect. I frequently went out of my way to help the narcissist. After all, I believed this was the way to be a better person: do what the narcissist said.

But my narcissist saw power and control as a way to gain respect. The respect they wanted was done by manipulating and controlling various family members — I wasn’t the only one.

How not to behave

As I process my narcissist’s impact on me, I realize that they have given me the best lesson of all.

I have learned how to be a good person. The narcissist is a shining example of how you should not behave towards family and friends.

I learned to be opentransparent, and clear about my intentions and actions. I wanted to show that I had nothing to hide. Which is entirely true, I don’t. I treat people with kindness, as that is how I want to be treated in return. I do not do good things to brag about them later.

Being open and transparent shows that I have nothing to hide. I have learned through my narcissist that secrets that you keep will always come back to haunt you. You cannot hide what you don’t want others to know.

Whatever you do in the dark comes to light one way or another.

I don’t need to hide the truth because I would never tell a lie to save my own skin or gain money somehow. Hiding the truth because they need to protect their reputation; it’s a vital part of who they are.

I can get through anything

Through the times I have spent enduring the narcissistic abuse, I have learned something valuable through processing all of this.

I have learned that I am a strong individual; I am a good person with good intentions. I want to be happy, and I want to spread love, not fear.

I know that through trying times, I am strong. I am sturdy, and I am capable. At the end of the day, I know that I am loved and cared for — and that I have put love out into the world.

I can rest peacefully knowing I have set out with life to have good intentions.

I now live with a solid moral ethic.

I did not run my life on lies that I created to inflate my ego.

I want to tell the truth, even if it is hard. I cannot keep living a lie to make others happy.

I have learned how to be me.

Through all of the struggles in my life, I am glad that I have been given these valuable lessons. I will never act in the way that the narcissist acted. I sympathize with them, though. They have no idea how much hurt they have caused — and the potential for our relationship to be healthy and like a family.

And I’ve also learned that I don’t need to hold people in fear to be treated with respect. I earn respect through my actions and behavior every single day.
You will see my intentions through my actions — and they are nothing but pure.

As originally posted on Medium and NewsBreak

Does a Narcissist Believe Their Own Lies?

Yes, they do — here’s why.

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Within the diagnosis of narcissistic personality disordergrandiosity and an extremely high self-image must be maintained. But how can someone create and keep up with such a facade? Well, it’s simple: they lie.

Lie’s are an easy way to get the instant gratification a narcissist needs to get them through this one moment. Lies are how a narcissist can keep power and control over you; they are the foundation for a narcissist’s world.

How can someone tout themselves as being flawless? How can someone do absolutely no wrong? We are all human, and we have all made mistakes in our life. Someone who tries to hide their flaws is shielding themselves from the truth.

So, when you are faced with a narcissist who is obviously lying to you, just know that they believe their lies (unfortunately).

They need to lie to get their way

It doesn’t matter what lie they are trying to push. The lie they have constructed is meant to satisfy you for the moment — whether the lie includes aggressive tactics or not.

Lies fuel the image that a narcissist is creating. Lies are how a narcissist can manipulate the situation.

I found that my narcissist lied to different people — with a different lie — to say what that person needed to hear. Lies are a way that a narcissist can manipulate you — along with gaslighting and blame.

But how does the narcissist not get caught by people questioning their various lies? Well, if someone says anything confidently, you are inclined to believe that. The narcissist in my life always said everything with such conviction that you had no choice but to believe them.

Of course, when I began to question them, their cockiness would turn to aggression.

A narcissist’s lies are their truth

The lies are anything that the narcissist needs you to believe; lies are the pillars for their life.

We all have expectations in our lives; we want certain things. Sometimes, we aren’t able to get what we want. When a narcissist is faced with this, they will do anything to get what they want.

I can only speak of the narcissist I had in my life, but they were keen on making their life seem luxurious. They made such extravagant purchases and would routinely make a fuss to show us the rich problems they had.

Their truth has to be big, extravagant, and over the top. From fancy campers to luxury cars to consistent home redecoration, it only screamed: look at me and see how amazing and powerful my life is!

But it was all a facade — simply leased items, mountains of debt, or even fraud.

Nothing will stand in their way

The lies are a slight bump for the narcissist to get what they want.

Lies are short and quick — achieving the desired results in the short term. But, in the long run, the lies can snowball into a monstrosity. The number of times that I have caught my narcissist in a lie is too many to count.

A lie is a simple way for them to achieve what they need at the moment — the future isn’t anything they’re concerned with.

If appeasing you, or someone else, will make their problems go away, they will do that. With the persistent need to be the best, a narcissist must fulfill a neverending hunger.

At the end of the day, a narcissist is someone with deep-rooted insecurities, who will do anything to get by in life.

The lies a narcissist tells are meant to free them of any responsibility or blame — and ultimately shift that onto someone else. Or lies can be a way for the narcissist to seem even more powerful.

As originally posted on Medium and NewsBreak

What Living With a Mental Illness Really Looks Like

From daily symptoms that don’t seem to dissipate, to the effect on our self-esteem — mental health disorders can take a toll.

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For some people, mental illness or mental health, in general, is a somewhat taboo topic. How mental health was spoken about throughout our childhood is crucial in our attitude and beliefs around mental health presently.

Sometimes the culture you grow up in does not tolerate mental health talk. Either emotion wasn’t allowed to be expressed or heavily frowned upon.

Mental health can sometimes be viewed negatively — as if this is a topic we shouldn’t talk about. But why is that? Why shouldn’t we talk about mental health?

I specifically grew up with a family that didn’t discuss our mental health. If you have any mental health issues, you are‘ lazy.’ Frequently, the word ‘crazy’ would be thrown around to tell everyone that mental health was a joke.

I want to take this time to really explore what mental illness can look like on a day-to-day basis. We can’t change how we were brought up or the lessons we’ve learned throughout our life — but we can always educate ourselves.

Daily symptoms

Symptoms of mental illness aren’t experienced in a regular schedule — it’s sporadic and maybe even constant at times. It is so difficult to really pin down what anyone might feel.

Think of a mental health disorder as a chronic pain disorder. Symptoms flare up on their own, and they have little rhyme or reason at times.

Reading through the lists of disorders, like ADHD, and depression can be beneficial in understanding the specific struggles associated with each disorder.

I live with anxiety daily. It is tough to try and avoid my anxiety. Some days it is just there, and there isn’t anything I can do about it. It can be challenging to get up and move with constant anxiety, leaving you stagnant and miserable. And on my good days, I try to do as much as I can — I worry when my next good day maybe.

Overall, daily symptoms will look different for every person based on their own disorder, unique life circumstances, and even their personality.

Possibility of no recovery

It’s important to understand that treatment does not always lead to recovery. Recovery is when someone is fully recovered from their disorder. Treatment will help you relieve your symptoms, but recovery does not always happen.

Recovery can take years of treatment that some people don’t have the strength, money, or hope to complete.

Sometimes, there is no chance of full recovery with mental illness, specifically bipolar, personality disorders, or schizophrenia. Sometimes anxiety and depression can be in remission–even OCD too, but that can be hard to achieve.

It’s important to understand that recovery or improvement of symptoms cannot come from seeing a doctor alone. Change has to occur in nearly every part of your life. That change can be challenging for some. Letting go of maladaptive coping mechanisms and building healthy habits can be life-changing for some.

But this does not mean that your life is hopeless. People who live with mental health issues can still live full, happy lives — we just have to cope in unique ways and take more time for our mental health.

Low self-esteem

Anxiety and maybe even paranoia daily can wear away at your self-esteem through all the ups and downs. My self-esteem was struggling because I felt like I was failing. I had so much anxiety and despair in my heart that I felt lost in the path I was taking.

I was worried that people could see how anxious I was. That I was one second away from crying and losing my mind. So I preferred to stay away from other people. If I don’t have people around me, I can’t get hurt.

With this poor self-image and low self-esteem, it is difficult to socialize. I felt a massive struggle trying to relate to my peers — especially as a teenager.

Living every day with a mental illness can be a challenge. In times of struggle, it’s hard to stay with our heads above water. But know a mental health diagnosis, is not a death sentence — nor a mark on who you are as a person.

As originally posted on Medium and NewsBreak

3 Signs of a Toxic Relationship

Knowing the signs of a toxic relationship can help you stay aware.

Source: Andrew Neel on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Although I have personal and professional experience in the mental health field, I am not a licensed mental health professional. The information contained in this article is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this article are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disorder.

When any relationship begins, it rarely intends to turn toxic — not consciously, of course. But certain behaviors in the relationship can give you an idea of how this relationship may be in the long run.

Warning signs can be hard to spot — that’s why we must know them. Being educated on toxic relationships can help you spot, identify, and potentially avoid a toxic relationship.

Toxic relationships begin in similar ways, with a pattern of behavior being exhibited by the other person — or both parties. There are 3 critical features of toxic relationships that are relatively consistent amongst various toxic relationships. Now please be aware that these are only 3 warning signs. There may be more — each relationship is different and unique.

1. Love bombing

The efforts to win you over by showing excessive affection and attention are called love bombing. This can often seem like such an out-of-this-world experience, or you’re left stunned — and flattered — by the attention.

The constant admiration, whirl-wind type of romance that sweeps you off your feet can feel intoxicating. Maybe this person, who you may have just met, is telling you that you’re the one or you are both meant to be together. At a glance, this may seem so sweet and loving. It’s like a dream come true!

But if anything seems like it’s too good to be true, then it is.

But then that love bombing is used as a way to gain your trust. Love bombing can come in the form of gifts or money in a way to win you over.

Love bombing is a strategic plan to win over the person’s heart–then that love turns to control.

2. Isolation

Spending time with your new partner is such a wonderful thing; you can’t get enough of each other. But there is a point where you are both spending so much time together that you become isolated from friends and family.

Isolation is another key sign that this may be a toxic relationship. When you are isolated from your friends and family, you cannot see them or spend time with them. This is restrictive and controlling behavior that keeps you isolated.

Not being able to move freely and talk to who you would like leads you to be cut off from the world around you. You still need to have a life outside of your relationship.

If your partner threatens you or guilts you into not seeing family and friends, you should know that is not okay. If friends feel like a threat to your partner, that is a red flag that should be addressed.

3. Codependency

From the isolation and love-bombing, you become landed in codependency. Codependency is when one partner leans on another partner excessively.

This means someone will become reliant on the other person. Codependency can be in the form of socialization, financial, or anything that causes you to overly rely on your partner.

One partner is unable to be autonomous without the other partner.

Someone doesn’t just wake up one-day co-dependent. The other person had caused their partner to become reliant on them. Through excessive conflict, isolation, and love-bombing, someone can be forced to become co-dependent.

Take Maid on Netflix, for example. Alex, the main character, is in a relationship that keeps her isolated from her friends and family. Due to Alex being isolated from the outside world, she becomes co-dependent on Sean, her partner.

A healthy relationship will typically have two fully independent people— where neither one is controlled by the other.

If you feel like you may be in an abusive situation, please know there are resources available — it’s okay to get help. If you are unsure and want to talk to someone, I encourage you to visit: https://www.thehotline.org/

As originally posted on Medium and NewsBreak

Understanding the Disorder Behind a Narcissist

Breaking down narcissistic personality disorder.

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Narcissists are a topic that has been flooding media for the past few years. There is a lot of misinformation about what a narcissist truly is. To begin, we have to understand narcissistic personality disorder to truly grasp what a narcissist is.

Narcissistic personality disorder is listed in the DSM-5 as a clinical diagnosis. NPD is a real disorder, and narcissists are real, BUT you can’t just call anybody that seems selfish a narcissist.

There must be specific criteria met that far surpasses selfishness or arrogance. Some people can be selfish and/or arrogant and not be a narcissist.

Symptoms of NPD

Narcissism itself is a personality disorder. This person who had NPD is diagnosed by a licensed mental health professional. No article or quiz will tell you if someone is a narcissist (or if you are one yourself!)

Like any other disorder, a narcissistic personality disorder will have a strict set of symptoms that must be met to qualify for the diagnosis. Below is the list of NPD symptoms that a doctor will use to diagnose:

  • A grandiose sense of self-importance
  • A preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • A belief that they are special and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people or institutions
  • A need for excessive admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally exploitive behavior
  • A lack of empathy
  • Envy of others or a belief that others are envious of them
  • A demonstration of arrogant and haughty behaviors or attitudes

Some of these symptoms can be challenging to see at first — you have to spend time with the narcissist to notice these patterns of behavior. After reviewing the symptoms, we can clearly point to self-satisfaction and superiority. There’s also a lack of empathy, along with overt, negative behaviors.

It’s unfortunate, really, because the narcissist could receive help. But as we all know, treatment doesn’t resolve issues; it’s only a bandaid. You have to work to make the treatment work.

What causes NPD?

Through this entire process, a narcissist may seem content and truly powerful when they may feel empty, worthless, and are battling insecurities on the inside.

A narcissist is insecure and weak — so they need to compensate by being controlling and attention-seeking.

Narcissistic personality disorder can be caused for various reasons. Still, there is typically an environmental, genetic, and neurobiological cause behind the disorder developing. Now, this isn’t too uncommon–other mental health disorders are caused by environmental, genetic, and neurological disorders.

But there are specific adverse life events that someone can experience that would lead them to develop NPD. The Cleveland Clinic has listed a few reasons to why NPD forms:

  • Childhood trauma (such as physical, sexual, and verbal abuse).
  • Early relationships with parents, friends, and relatives.
  • Genetics (family history).
  • Hypersensitivity to textures, noise, or light in childhood.
  • Personality and temperament.

Throughout the narcissist’s childhood, they must have faced some damaging abuse or neglect. The narcissist in my life was abused as a child — it was something that had been disclosed to me through other family members.

How to treat NPD?

Someone with NPD will be unwilling and heavily resistant to changing their behavior. Those with narcissistic personality disorder are forever in love with the hyped-up, grandiose image that they paint themselves as.

With any type of mental illness, there will be a treatment option. A combination of various therapies and medication can help mitigate the adverse effects of the disorder.

NPD can first be treated/assessed by seeing a licensed mental health professional. From there, a psychiatrist (or other qualified professional) can recommend treatment options.

Understanding where NPD comes from can help you better understand a narcissist. Understanding narcissism doesn’t excuse the behavior. The effects of a narcissist’s behavior are real and damaging — a diagnosis doesn’t erase that.

As originally posted on Medium and NewsBreak

Breaking Down Toxic Families: Household Types and Roles

Breaking apart the specific household types and roles of toxic families.

Source: Jordan Whitt on Unsplash

Disclaimer: Although I have personal and professional experience in the mental health field, I am not a licensed mental health professional. The information contained in this article is meant for educational and entertainment purposes only. The contents of this article are not meant to diagnose, treat or cure any disorder.

I grew up in a toxic family. My days were filled with conflict, emotional turmoil, and anger. Overall, the toxic family I grew up in ruined my childhood.

I have not allowed the pain I suffered to turn me sour — I will not carry on these toxic behaviors. I had to learn to survive and adapt; I will never be like my family was.

I am a product of a toxic family, but I am not my toxic family.

Through my budding adulthood, I spent a lot of time away from my family. I wanted to explore what else was out there — without their influence. Through my time, I learned that my family wasn’t typical.

I devoted much of my studies to child development, which led me to study family relations. My courses based on families highlighted the dysfunctions present in my own; I was so embarrassed.

I learned that there were names for these toxic families through my courses. There has been established research conducted on toxic families. Toxic families are different, but specific characteristics can be identified. These characteristics are used to identify the types of toxic families.

Toxic Family Types

The parents are the leaders of the family. The reinforcement of the behaviors in the family lies in the parents’ control.

The parent’s actions or inaction within the family can set the stage for a toxic family to form. There have been five types of toxic families that have been recognized as presented by the clinmedjournals.org:

Chronic conflict family

There is always conflict, no matter what. My family specifically fell into this category. We were always labeled as the family with conflict. But it was true–there was always an argument brewing.

Pathological households

There are multiple mental health disorders and/or substance use from the parents in this household, specifically personality disorders or schizophrenia/bipolar.*

* Please note that not all households with parents who are bipolar or who have a personality disorder are inherently toxic. Many factors, such as support, treatment, treatment adherence, and many other factors, need to be considered.

The chaotic household

The kids are not looked after well, and there is little parent involvement or control. Essentially the children are free to do as they please without structure, guidance, or oversight. So this leaves the family in a chaotic state.

The dominant-submissive household

There is an imbalance of power within the family where there is a ‘dictator parent’. Everyone within this family is unhappy. Typically there is a large amount of conflict and negative emotions.

Emotionally distant families

This family does not prioritize love and affection for their children. So the children do not grow up knowing what love and affection should be. In fact, it teaches the children that their feelings and emotions should be repressed.

Throughout each family — no matter the type — there will be specific roles that each person plays.

Toxic family roles

Toxic families grow and morph into toxic relationships that we carry without throughout the rest of our lives. So let’s understand that all toxic families are different, but the roles will typically be the same.

The roles help people understand what their part is within that toxic family. Now, if you see yourself in one of the roles this does not mean anything on you; we all are trying to survive.

There are scientifically-backed roles and family types of toxic families within this article. I will be adding my input along the way. There are specific roles within toxic families that have been identified:

Hero or responsible child

Self-sufficient, responsible, perfectionist, and an overachiever. They seem to put together and seem to be the shining star. Still, they are carrying the burden of toxic behaviors from their parents.

Scapegoat or trouble maker

The scapegoat is the one who takes all of the blame in the family. The scapegoat child is the one who is deemed the source of the problems within the family. Underneath all of it, they are emotionally sensitive and are emotionally and psychologically hurt by their toxic parent’s behavior.

Lost child or dreamer

This child is withdrawn and stays with their nose in a book. They like to stay away from the family and spend lots of time in solitude. I resonated with this the most because I was the dreamer in my family. The environment I grew up in was so toxic that I needed to get away to feel safe.

Mascot or class clown

The mascot is the entertainer in the family that can lighten that mood at the drop of a hat. I learned to be the mascot to bring up everyone’s spirits. I learned how to be that tension breaker.

Enabler or caretaker

Typically the enabler is a spouse, but a child can assume this role. The enabler or caretaker will be passive and submissive in order to avoid conflict. Their behavior will allow for other toxic behavior to occur within the family.

The research conducted around toxic families is very informative. It reassures those living in a toxic family that they are not alone. Toxic families can take on so many different types and roles that the combinations are endless. If you recognized any of these types within your family — know there is help and hope.

As originally posted on Medium and NewsBreak