Living With Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Narcissistic personality disorder is a condition marked by an inflated ego and constant need for attention. Living with narcissistic personality disorder is difficult, particularly once you’ve realized that your behavior and feelings of self-worth are abnormal and may be harmful to yourself and others.

How to Recognize Narcissistic Personality Disorder

If you or someone you know exhibits a range of the following symptoms, they may be living with narcissistic personality disorder:

  • Belief in their own superiority
  • Belief that they are special; expectation of special treatment
  • Disdain for those perceived as inferior
  • Expectation of constant attention and praise
  • Failure to recognize others’ feelings and emotions
  • Fantasies about power, fame and/or success
  • Feelings of hurt or rejection that come easily
  • Fragile self-esteem
  • Jealousy
  • Lack of empathy or emotional response
  • Tendency to exaggerate their own achievements
  • Tendency to take advantage of other people
  • Trouble maintaining healthy relationships
  • Unrealistic goal-setting

In people with narcissistic personality disorder, these symptoms are chronic, meaning that they exist continually and across various situations.

Narcissistic Personality and Relationships

Dealing with a narcissistic personality disorder partner is a unique challenge. Your significant other most likely has a constant need for attention and is seldom sympathetic to your needs. It’s difficult–if not impossible–to change a narcissist’s ways. People with narcissistic personality disorder tend to take even the slightest criticism as an insult. Placating them may reinforce their belief that they deserve extra attention and special treatment.

If you have a narcissistic personality disorder partner, it’s important to handle arguments with grace and control. Try to avoid getting angry, if possible. Often, a narcissist will turn a disagreement around on the other person and insist that the problem is the other person’s fault.

In a narcissistic personality relationship, it’s important to set boundaries and have plenty of outside support. Consider attending family therapy in order to learn how to work through the disorder together. However, if your relationship becomes emotionally or physically abusive, take steps to protect yourself.

Dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

If you or a loved one is living with narcissistic personality disorder, several treatment options are available to you. The most important step is to seek treatment from a professional mental health professional. Narcissistic personality disorder is typically treated with therapy, although medications may be prescribed for concurrent problems such as substance abuse or depression.

If you have narcissistic personality disorder and begin treatment, stick with it. Sometimes, it helps to involve family or close friends in therapy. In the meantime, learning as much as you can about narcissistic personality can help you to recognize and address the symptoms.

Dealing with narcissistic personality disorder, and recovery, takes time. Be patient and continue to work through issues with your therapist. Keep the end goal in sight–recovery from narcissistic personality disorder usually leads to healthier, more stable relationships and a happier life.


Encyclopedia of Mental Disorders. (2010). Narcissistic personality disorder. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from

Mayo Clinic Staff. (2009). Narcissistic personality disorder. Retrieved September 9, 2010, from

Schumacher, T.J. (2002). Are you involved with a narcissistic person? Retrieved September 9, 2010, from