Sunday, July 27, 2008

Personality Disorders-II

Here comes yet another one in the DRAMATIC cluster of personality disorders. This one is called NARCISSISTIC Personality Disorder. As you can guess from the name, a person suffering from this disorder has a deep sense of love for oneself. This love is so powerful that it becomes a source of distress for the others, and hence pathological.

I know of one acquaintance who has this disorder. He is male and therefore, I will use the pronoun "him" in this post. However, both men and women both can suffer from this one.


Do you know of someone who has
an exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)?

We all are proud of our achievements and talk about them to some extent but someone with NPD will continue to do so for days, months, and years together, even when there is an absence of accomplishments, pretending that he is a hero and no one else exists.

Do you know of someone who is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love?

Someone with NPD will live in their own world where they live a glorified life and when confronted with reality, will react with anger and justifications. It wont be surprising to realize that a lot of their narrated stories are fake.

Do you know of someone who believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)?

He with NPD will believe those beneath him to be average (since he is so superior). And those average are close to being worthless. To interact with those average people will be below his dignity.

Do you know of someone who requires excessive admiration?

He with NPD will want praise and compliments all the time. If people are jealous of him, that will give him pleasure. And if people disagree with him, then they are inferior and "stupid". They want to be told that whatever they do is the best. They do not care if its sincere or not, the amount matters.

Do you know of someone who has a sense of entitlement?

Those with NPD will believe that the world has to revolve around them and stop at their convenience. People should comply to their wishes whatever it may be and when these expectations are not met, they react with rage.

Do you know of someone who selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends?

Those with NPD will not care if they are hurting someone or using them to fulfill whatever they themselves want to achieve. Therefore, they are not able to have any deep relationships.

Do you know of someone who lacks empathy?

Those with NPD will not be able to step into someone else's shoes to understand the problem that they are going through. They will only be preoccupied with their own issues and have no concern for others' distress.

Do you know of someone who is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him?

If someone with NPD discovers someone else who he perceives to be better liked, appreciated, or talented, he will be very envious of the person. He also believes that those "inferior" to him are jealous of him and therefore do not talk to him.

Do you know of someone who shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes?

Basically, someone with NPD will be extremely proud, arrogant, boastful, and treat others like dirt.

So there!! You are now educated on this disorder. Remember not to confuse high self-esteem with NPD. Someone with high self-esteem will not necessarily think that he is superior to others. But someone with NPD will. Moreover,underneath all this grandiosity that the NPD person displays, ies a very fragile self-esteem. They have trouble handling criticism and may secretly be ashamed when that happens. Therefore, in order to make themselves feel better, they try to belittle others!

As with all other personality disorders, the person suffering from it, may be in DENIAL and react with anger when suggested that they might have it. But if you feel like someone has this disorder and you want to help them, see if you can get them to see a professional! Good luck!


Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Personality Disorders-I

Since most of you voted to know more about personality disorders that are in the "DRAMATIC" cluster, I am going to start off with one of those.

Let's see if you can think of anyone in your life as I rattle of what a HISTRIONIC PERSONALITY DISORDERED person is like. Since most people diagnosed with this disorder are female, I will use the pronoun "her" in this post


Do you know of anyone who is preoccupied with her looks?

Yes, I know that most of us are concerned. But she will be PREOCCUPIED. Not only that, she will dress provocatively, expose herself, give you seductive looks, and be flirtatious. Yes, sex will often be on her mind.

Do you know of anyone who is uncomfortable unless she is in the center of attention?

Yes, she will act very dramatically as though performing before an audience with exaggerated emotions and expressions, yet appears to lack sincerity. In parties, she will tend to be loud and excited, and will love having her own pictures taken.

Do you know of someone who does not have many friends? Or is constantly getting into fights with the ones she has?

Yes, since she is very needy, and not everyone can constantly give her that assurance, she may skip from one friend to another. She may not be able to form deep relationships and people may gradually notice that she is shallow and immature. She may appear to be self-centered. They often times believe that others have bad intentions towards them.

Do you know of someone who is easily frustrated and impulsive?

She may be easily bored with the same routine, constantly seek excitement, and may begin projects but not be able to finish them. She may make rash decisions and speak or act without thinking.

Do you know of someone who is extremely moody? And needy?

Yes, she will shift emotions rapidly. She may be happy and cheerful one moment, and the moment she is criticized or disapproved of, she will become extremely agitated. She may be very sensitive to everyone's approval and will need constant reassurance that she is liked!! Worst of all, if she does not get the desired attention, she may threaten suicide!

If you know of someone like this, you may also realize that she (or he) may be highly successful socially as well as professionally. They do not lack social skills and tend to glorify their disappointments and failures to seek attention. However, this disorder does interfere with their happiness, often leading to depression. They also have difficulty with successful romantic relationships and friendships, and blame others for their failures!!

Personality disorders begin in early adulthood and gradually become worse with age. It is hard to treat these individuals but not impossible!! If you know of anyone with the above symptoms and feel like you can influence them to go seek help, please do so!!

Feel free to ask me more questions if you want to.


Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Friendship Woes

Have you heard pretty women saying that they are not sure if men want to be their friends because they truly care for them or whether its because they look good and want to hit on them?Have you heard rich men saying that they are not sure if a woman wants to be friends with them because they truly care for them or whether it because they are rich and see them as gold-mines?

Recently, I have begun to experience similar not because of beauty or money...but because of my profession!

The many woes as a psychologist friend are that:

I will get calls in the middle of the night demanding an interpretation of a weird dream that someone just had but when I have a nightmare and need someone to talk to, people are asleep and unavailable.

I will get pinged in the middle of dinner that my friend needs ideas on how to resolve a fight that she has been having with her husband for a week but when I am lonely on a weekend and need a few minutes of chit-chat, she will be busy utilizing those ideas that I gave her and be unavailable.

I will get text messages from my friend on how to tackle her roommates when they give her a hard time but when I call her to complain about mine, she will be unable to share any words of wisdom because she now lives with her boyfriend and does not want anything to do with roommate talk.

I will get random emails from long-lost friends about resolving a family conflict amongst family members that I have not only not met but never heard about in my entire life but will not get invited for these long-lost friends' weddings.

I truly believe that either we psychologists are born with, or along the way create, a separate area in our brain that is triggered when anyone asks for help. No matter how much I do not like someone or have something else to take care of, I just cannot happen to say no. I wonder if people take undue advantage of that or whether they use their "contacts" to the maximum or whether they have "expectations" that a psychologist friend is there always to help them. I wonder if these "friends" of mine are my friends because I am a psychologist or because I am ME.

In any case, I have realized that there is no point keeping expectations from anyone, no matter what their gender, status, or profession. You can read more about it here.

Sometimes, I wish that I could pretend to be someone else or have an alternate profession just like Saif Ali Khan does in Salaam Namaste. Maybe next time, when a new friend asks me what I do, I will tell him or her that I am a bagger/cashier at the grocery store.