Thursday, May 7, 2009

DSM IV Axis II - The Church's Dirty Little Secret Part VIII - Narcissistic Personality Disorder


This is one of the most difficult issues to talk about because, frankly, we are all narcissistic at times. It is a matter of degree.

It is estimated that about 1% of people could be diagnosed with this disorder. In this posting, I want to simply list the official diagnostic criteria. I will come back and talk about some of the causes, and how this may play out in our church setting.

Diagnostic Criteria:


A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

(3) believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

(4) requires excessive admiration

(5) has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

(6) is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

(7) lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

(8) is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

3 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sure this isn't a Goals sheet for all those "Self-Esteem (TM)" classes in the schools today?

adventuresinmercy said...

It has been my experience that those in the pastorate can have whatever bit of narcissism they had, "fed," as it were, by the adulation/adoration/authority of the position.

MJ said...

adventuresinmercy, I was just working on my next posting and what you said was included in the first line. So I agree. These people are few, but often work their way into leadership roles.