definition of NPD / definition of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

an original definition by J. E. Brown

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)

If you’re going to do much dating, you need to know about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and Antisocial Personality Disorder (AsPD, also known as psychopathy). In a nutshell, people with these disorders have a reduced ability to empathize with others, and may enjoy being cruel to the people around them, even to their so-called “loved ones”.

This is a dictionary of relationship terms, so I will focus on the parts of these disorders that affect interpersonal relations.

I’m never sure what the difference between NPD and AsPD is, but they share a few features. If you’re dating, then perhaps the most important facts you should know about these disorders are:

  • NPD sufferers are also called N’s for short. {Source: “Definition of NPD” by J. E. Brown.}
  • N’s and psychopaths appear to have the ability to turn their empathy on and off like a light switch. Brain scans can see this happening (says this BBC article). The N will destroy your soul with his unpredictable switches and swaps between Jekyll and Hyde, “I love you, I love you not.” Every time he’s nice to you, you’ll say “Aha, that’s the real him.”
  • Disordered people will attack you without warning, sometimes just for fun. You may find yourself asking “What did I do to upset you?” when you should be dumping them instead.
  • N’s defend each other. This will shock you the first time you encounter it. You won’t want to believe your eyes and ears; the people you tell about it won’t believe it either, because NPD behavior seems too extreme to be real.
  • Naïve young people often defend N’s, using such kindergarten reasoning as “There’s no such thing as evil” and “Everyone is created equal.” When you complain about the abusive people in your life, you’ll often get the most baffling responses, especially from people who haven’t studied psychology. Expect to hear a lot of bible verses thrown at you, especially verses about the importance of forgiving others. N’s love getting forgiven. {You’re reading “Definition of NPD” by J. E. Brown.}
  • N’s are cruel to others but protect themselves at all costs. NPD sufferers want to be thought well of, and will go to strange and curious lengths to improve their public images. Wikipedia’s page on NPD seems to get hacked by NPD sufferers from time to time, and sometimes contains pro-NPD propaganda. If you need to read the full, official definition of NPD in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), be sure to get it directly from the source, which is the APA ( Do not trust crowd-sourced sources for this. Your bricks-and-mortar library may have a copy of the book.
  • Online support groups exist for NPD sufferers. The group members spend a lot of time spouting the belief that NPD is OK and N’s just need sympathy and understanding — while saying the most horrible things about their chosen victims. {Read this comp1ete article at .}
  • One difference between an N and a victim: N’s are fixated on getting forgiven. The problem, in the N’s eyes, is that everyone else is so focused on assigning blame. In the victim’s eyes, the N needs to start behaving correctly and stop hurting others. The N does not see this as the source of the problem, doesn’t see it as a problem at all. So in sum, the N suffers from an inverted view of ethics in which the self is the good and the other is the evil, no matter how badly the self behaves, and the content of one’s character isn’t the measure of one’s ethics. To the narcissist, the victim is the cause of the problem, the annoyance to be blotted out, the thing needing forgiveness, the party which should beg for mercy.
  • Lay people sometimes think NPD is the same as narcissism. NPD does NOT mean looking at yourself in the mirror! But no amount of repeating that fact seems to convince the uneducated. So let me put it this way: One difference between narcissism and NPD is that NPD includes abusiveness. NARCISSISM, SEPARATE FROM ABUSIVENESS, IS HARMLESS.
  • Everyone, even professionals, seems confused about the exact definitions of NPD and psychopathy. My advice: If you find you are dating an abusive person, don’t bother trying to make him or her match some textbook definition; don’t lose any time worrying about whether he or she fits all of the criteria. Just say “He or she seems to have an empathy disorder of some kind” and “Dealing with it is not my job.”
  • You do not need anyone else’s permission to break up with an abuser. And so, there is really no need to convince others that the abuse happened or fits a pattern. This means that getting the definition of NPD exactly right isn’t highly important for daters. {You’re reading “Definition of NPD” by J. E. Brown.}

1st edition 18 Feb 2015

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