Are You a Narcissist?

The Cristiano Ronaldo statue in Madrid.

(NY Times) A Fate That Narcissists Will Hate: Being Ignored

Narcissists, much to the surprise of many experts, are in the process of becoming an endangered species. Not that they face imminent extinction — it’s a fate much worse than that. They will still be around, but they will be ignored.

The fifth edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (due out in 2013, and known as DSM-5) has eliminated five of the 10 personality disorders that are listed in the current edition. Narcissistic personality disorder is the most well-known of the five, and its absence has caused the most stir in professional circles.

Most nonprofessionals have a pretty good sense of what narcissism means, but the formal definition is more precise than the dictionary meaning of the term. Our everyday picture of a narcissist is that of someone who is very self-involved — the conversation is always about them. While this characterization does apply to people with narcissistic personality disorder, it is too broad. There are many people who are completely self-absorbed who would not qualify for a diagnosis of N.P.D.

The central requirement for N.P.D. is a special kind of self-absorption: a grandiose sense of self, a serious miscalculation of one’s abilities and potential that is often accompanied by fantasies of greatness. It is the difference between two high school baseball players of moderate ability: one is absolutely convinced he’ll be a major-league player, the other is hoping for a college scholarship.

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