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NO EMPATHY, NO REALITY: Specific Personality Disorders

Personality disorders are a type of mental disorder characterized by a rigid and unhealthy pattern of thinking, feeling, and behaving that deviates significantly from the expectations of the individual's culture and leads to functional impairment or distress.

There are several different types of personality disorders, each with their own specific set of symptoms and criteria for diagnosis. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) lists ten specific personality disorders, which are grouped into three clusters:

- Cluster A: Paranoid, Schizoid, and Schizotypal Personality Disorders (discussed in a previous blog)

- Cluster B: Antisocial, Borderline, Histrionic, and Narcissistic Personality Disorders

- Cluster C: Avoidant, Dependent, and Obsessive-Compulsive Personality Disorders (discussed in a previous blog)

We’ve not dealt with some of these disorders in Cluster B. These are a group of disorders characterized by deeply ingrained patterns of behavior. These symptoms deviate from the norm and cause significant social or occupational impairment. It would be advantageous to research each of these on their own: borderline personality disorder, narcissistic personality disorder, antisocial personality disorder, avoidant personality disorder, dependent personality disorder, histrionic personality disorder, and paranoid personality disorder.

Personality disorders can have a significant impact on an individual's ability to form and maintain healthy relationships, and can also affect their ability to function effectively in work or social situations. Treatment for personality disorders typically involves a combination of therapy, medication, and support from family and friends, and can be highly effective in helping individuals manage their symptoms and improve their quality of life.

Specifically, we want to focus on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). This is a type of personality disorder characterized by a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, a need for admiration, and a lack of empathy for others. Individuals with NPD often have an inflated sense of self-importance and may believe they are superior to others. They may also have a sense of entitlement, expecting special treatment and attention from others.

People with NPD may be preoccupied with fantasies of success, power, and attractiveness, and may exaggerate their achievements and talents. They may also be envious of others and believe that others are envious of them. Despite their apparent confidence and self-assuredness, individuals with NPD may be fragile and easily hurt by criticism or rejection.

NPD can have a significant impact on an individual's relationships, as they may struggle to connect with others on an emotional level and may have difficulty understanding or empathizing with the feelings of others. They may also be prone to exploiting others for their own gain, and may have a sense of entitlement that leads them to disregard the needs and feelings of others.

Treatment for NPD typically involves a combination of therapy and medication, and may focus on helping individuals develop more realistic and adaptive ways of thinking about themselves and others. While NPD can be a challenging disorder to treat, with the right support and interventions, individuals with NPD can learn to manage their symptoms and improve their relationships and quality of life.

If you, or someone you know, struggles with a personality disorder… please seek a mental health professional. If you are in a crisis and need help immediately, text “HOME” to 741741 to be connected with a trained volunteer at Crisis Text Line. Crisis Text Line provides free, 24/7 support. There is hope. Take your mental health seriously.

You are loved.

Dr. Ray Reynolds

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