By: M. Scott Gordon
The term “narcissist” gets used colloquially to describe a person who seems more interested in himself or herself than in other people, or to describe a person who appears especially vain. Yet it is important to realize that narcissistic personality disorder is an actual mental disorder that can have a significant impact on the lives of those with this disorder. Indeed, as the Mayo Clinic explains, a “narcissistic personality disorder causes problems in many areas of life, such as relationships, work, school, or financial affairs,” and those with this disorder can become very unhappy or disappointed when they are not treated in a specific manner by others.
As an article in The New York Times discusses, getting divorced from someone with narcissistic personality disorder can be extremely difficult. To be sure, these are often high-conflict, contentious divorces. If you are in a marriage with someone who might be a narcissist, and if you have questions or concerns about moving forward with a divorce, an experienced Chicago area divorce attorney can assist you.
Being married to someone with narcissistic personality disorder can be extremely difficult, but it may be tough enough—in the short term—to go through a divorce from someone who has this type of mental disorder. How can you know if your spouse suffers from narcissistic personality disorder? This is a mental disorder that would be diagnosed by a professional, but there are certain signs and symptoms that tend to be common among people with the disorder. The Mayo Clinic cites some of the following signs and symptoms of a narcissistic personality disorder:
● Exaggerated sense of self-importance
● Requiring constant admiration
● Having a sense of entitlement
● Expecting special favors from others
● Taking advantage of others for your own betterment
● Inability or unwillingness to recognize the needs and feelings of others
● Being envious of others and believing others envy you
● Behaving in an arrogant manner
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is characterized by a pattern of grandiosity, a lack of empathy, and an intense need for admiration. To diagnose NPD, mental health professionals use specific criteria from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5). Here are the essential criteria for diagnosing NPD:
Diagnosis involves a thorough psychological evaluation, including questionnaires. It considers how symptoms impact daily life and rules out physical causes. Psychotherapy is the primary treatment, focusing on understanding the condition, managing emotions, and improving relationships. Medications (such as antidepressants and anti-anxiety drugs) may also be prescribed to manage symptoms. If you suspect NPD, consult a mental health professional for proper assessment and guidance. 🌟🧠
The article in The New York Times emphasizes this: “When people are in relationships with either a full-blown narcissistic personality or even people with a high number of narcissistic traits, it becomes a very traumatic experience for them and the children. When they file for divorce and decide to leave or even think about leaving, it becomes an even bigger nightmare.” Why is divorce so difficult and complicated if one of the partners is a narcissist?
In short, divorcing a narcissist is never a “normal” event. Instead, as the article underscores, “they seek revenge, and the court system is an incredibly great platform for a narcissist . . . where they can just continue the battle with the partner and continue to seek revenge.” Not everyone with this disorder has the same traits and to the same degree. Typically, the more traits associated with a narcissistic personality disorder, the more difficult relationships tend to be (and, therefore, the more difficult a divorce process).
The exact cause of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not fully understood, but it is believed to be a combination of genetic, environmental, and social factors. Some research suggests that people with NPD may have experienced childhood trauma or neglect, leading to a distorted sense of self and a need for validation and attention.
Yes, Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be treated, but it is important to note that it is a complex and challenging disorder to treat. Therapy, specifically psychotherapy, is the most common form of treatment for NPD. Therapy can help individuals with NPD develop more realistic and healthy self-perceptions, improve their relationships, and learn to manage their emotions and behaviors.
No, Narcissistic Personality Disorder is not the same as being self-centered or having a big ego. While people with NPD may exhibit these traits, they also have a distorted sense of self and a lack of empathy for others. Being self-centered or having a big ego does not necessarily mean someone has NPD.
Yes, people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder can have successful careers. In fact, some research suggests that traits associated with NPD, such as confidence and assertiveness, can be beneficial in certain professions. However, it is important to note that NPD can also lead to difficulties in the workplace, such as conflicts with colleagues and a lack of empathy for others.
There is no known cure for Narcissistic Personality Disorder, but with proper treatment and therapy, individuals with NPD can learn to manage their symptoms and lead fulfilling lives. It is important to note that treatment for NPD can be a long and challenging process, and it may require ongoing therapy and support.
It is possible for someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder to have healthy relationships, but it may require a lot of work and effort. Therapy can help individuals with NPD learn to manage their behaviors and develop healthier ways of relating to others. It is also important for the person with NPD to be open to feedback and willing to make changes in their behavior.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is more commonly diagnosed in men than in women. However, this may be due to societal expectations and stereotypes that discourage women from seeking help for mental health issues. It is important to note that NPD can affect people of any gender.
It is possible for someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder to be a good parent, but it may require a lot of work and effort. Therapy can help individuals with NPD learn to manage their behaviors and develop healthier ways of relating to their children. It is also important for the person with NPD to be open to feedback and willing to make changes in their parenting style.
There is no way to diagnose someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder without a proper evaluation, so it is impossible to say for sure if any famous people have NPD. However, some experts have speculated that certain public figures, such as politicians and celebrities, may exhibit traits of NPD. Indeed, there currently seems to be a large number of them in the world.
Given the difficulties of divorce when one partner exhibits narcissistic traits, it is important for family therapists to consider more deeply the links between narcissism, family relationships, and the dissolution of marriage. In the meantime, however, if you have concerns about filing for divorce because your partner suffers from narcissistic personality disorder, you should know that our Chicago divorce lawyer is here to help with your case. Contact Gordon & Perlut, LLC at 312-360-0250 to discuss your options.