Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Narcissism is clinically defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV) as a “pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy.” Although just about any person can possess certain narcissistic tendencies, the disorder can’t technically be diagnosed until five out of nine criteria are met:

* A grandiose sense of self-importance unsupported by reality;
* A belief that s/he is special and unique and can only be understood by other ‘special’ people;
* A preoccupation with fantasies of extraordinary success, wealth, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love;
* An intense, excessive need for admiration;
* A sense of entitlement;
* A frequent tendency to exploit interpersonal relationships without guilt or remorse, including advantageous behavior to satisfy his/her own end goals;
* A lack of empathy;
* An envy of others, or the perception that s/he is the object of others’ envy;
* Regular displays of arrogant behavior or attitude.