Selfishness, pedantic behavior, lack of empathy, need for attention, troubled relationships

For many it may seem ironic, but narcissistic people are very prone to depression. Poor management of your emotions, the edge of constant frustration, and sometimes even the weight of poor parenting traces this kind of reality.

Selfishness, bombastic attitude, lack of empathy, need for attention, conflictive relationships ... When we draw the profile of a narcissist it rarely occurs to us that, among this psychological relief, anxiety, helplessness and even ideation have a gap suicide. However , narcissistic depression is a fact and a reality that occurs more often than we think.

There are those who point out that in recent years this type of personality has emerged more and more. The causes? Educational factors, culture, an increasingly selfish and individualistic society... Now, the fact of this increase is not entirely clear. What is evident is that we still do not know everything about this personality profile. For starters, not all are the same Narcissistic personality disorder, for example, falls on a spectrum.

That is, there will be people who show only certain traits, certain exaggerated behaviors and some other arrogant behavior. On the other hand, there are those who are situated at that most extreme pole in which the most harmful envy, manipulation, violent communication and the obsessive desire to be above others appear.

In this more or less pathological behavioral variability, there are common roots: relational problems, poor management of emotions, the feeling of not feeling understood and suicidal thoughts . The mind of a narcissist is more complex than we might think. Thus, and although on average they generate rejection and discomfort, it is necessary to understand a little better the undergrounds of their mental universe.

Narcissistic depression: symptoms, causes, treatment

Narcissism taken in isolation and separate from psychological disorder as such has a positive basis. We all "need", in a way, that positive self-image that allows us to value ourselves, appreciate ourselves and have a good sense of self - efficacy . Those traits that we tend to attribute to the common narcissist actually contain some dimensions that, used appropriately, benefit us.

Now, on the opposite side we have that extreme narcissism that completely distorts acceptable traits . Men and women defined by this condition desperately long for others to offer them what they lack. It is an almost stark need that guides them to monopolize relationships, to wish to achieve success by climbing over others at all costs, even committing unethical acts.

Behind these eagerness to possess, to be the center of attention and engulf others to accumulate power or admiration, there are endless deficiencies and psychopathological abysses. Furthermore, within clinical practice it is known that people with a narcissistic personality disorder show serious mental health problems and, especially, depression (Clarkin, Yeomans & Kernberg, 1999; Stone, 1990).

Symptoms of narcissistic depression

Narcissistic depression can show wide variability. Sometimes we can have individuals with violent and defensive behaviors that make anger a screen to hide internal suffering. Other people, on the other hand, show a more passive, elusive and introspective behavior.

Let's see, however, what are the clues to this type of depression:

  • Deterioration in social relationships and a constant feeling of not feeling understood.
  • Feelings of loneliness and isolation.
  • Constant mood swings: instantly they are dominant and self-confident and after days they close themselves in their minds, they are listless and unwilling to leave home.
  • They show a feeling of frustration , of never being able to achieve what they want.
  • They suffer from anguish and sadness that is camouflaged by constant anger and irritability.
  • Lack of confidence in the future, hopelessness and constant negativity.
  • Suicidal thoughts are common in narcissistic depression .

What are the causes?

Doctors David Kealy Olivier Laverdière, from the University of British Columbia in Canada, conducted a study on narcissistic depression. If we ask ourselves the reason why a person with this psychological and behavioral reality derives in this condition, the origin would be in the following triggers:

  • Narcissism has two related but distinct dimensions: grandiosity and vulnerability.
  • Grandiosity is defined by an inflated ego, by the need to exploit others ... For its part, vulnerability often comes from the educational factor, poor parenting , emotional deficiencies generally suffered in childhood. Thus, something they always expect from others is their recognition, validation and understanding.
  • However, what they get from their environment is hostility given their behavior. Most of them distance themselves from them and that frustrates them, makes them desperate ... They accumulate so many contradictory emotions that they do not know how to handle them and, little by little, they build the foundations of depression and anxiety disorders.

On the other hand, all these experiences end up tracing in them the feeling of uselessness. They feel ashamed of themselves, they hate each other... But, at the same time, they try to hide their defects until they become more distant and depressed.

How is a narcissist with depression treated?

It is not easy for someone with a narcissistic personality disorder to go to therapy. Likewise, whoever takes the step is not committed to the process either. However, they can sometimes be seen in extreme situations, such as a first suicide attempt. In these cases, it is important to work on the following aspects:

  • Make them see the distortions that they apply in their processing of emotions. Strategies need to be provided for them to understand and manage these painful feelings.
  • They must work on self-acceptance and concepts such as gratitude, forgiveness and self-compassion.
  • Above all, it is important to address the underlying trauma that often occurs in these psychiatric conditions . In many cases, the origin is in a complicated childhood. Also in every broken relationship.
  • They will be guided to learn to interrupt repetitive negative thoughts and establish a positive reevaluation.
  • Resilience, post-traumatic growth, empathy, problem solving or social skills are aspects that must also be taken into account.

To conclude, narcissistic depression is a very common and often neglected event. These situations need to be detected and dealt with before borderline situations occur. Change, as challenging as it may seem, is possible in these cases.

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