Narcissistic personality disorder is found more commonly in men. The cause is unknown but likely involves a combination of genetic and environmental factors. The behavior typically begins by early adulthood, and occurs across a variety of social situations.
The disorder needs to be diagnosed by a professional. Treatment involves talk therapy. Therapy is often difficult as people with the disorder frequently do not consider themselves to have a problem in the first place.
There has been research conducted on some symptoms of a Narcissistic personality disorder as first outlined by Heinz Kohut (1968). Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders-Fourth Edition-Text Revision (DSM-IV-TR) include:
- Reacting to criticism with anger, a shame, or humiliation.
- Taking advantage of others to reach own goals.
- Exaggerating own importance, achievements, and talents
- Imagining unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance.
- Requiring constant attention and positive reinforcement from others.
- Becoming jealous easily.
- Lacking empathy and disregarding the feelings of others.
- Being obsessed with self.
- Pursuing mainly selfish goals.
- Trouble keeping healthy relationships
- Becoming easily hurt and rejected.
- Setting goals that are unrealistic.
- Wanting “the best” of everything.
- Appearing unemotional.
In addition to these symptoms, mental health experts confirm that narcissists may also display dominance, arrogance, show superiority, and seek power. In a nut shell, the symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence.
Further more, narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. However, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth.
Don’t these symptoms of a narcissist highlighted above best suit the strange behaviour and conduct of our first President Dr. Banda that Malawians observed since he took over the leadership of the Nyasaland African Congress (NAC) in August of 1958?