narcissistic personality disorder (NPD)
We all display some degree of narcissism from time to time. For some people, however, it is a permanent fixture. Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) gives those with the condition an inflated sense of importance, as well as a preoccupation with power and personal adequacy. This can make it difficult for them to function in relationships and other areas such as work and education.
Narcissistic personality disorder occurs when people have a distorted self-image. They often believe they are superior to others. More prevalent in men than women, NPD makes those with the condition feel like their opinions, feelings and interests are more important than others. They may also find it difficult to empathise with others. There is a tendency to exaggerate talents and accomplishments - sometimes to the point of lying. They may also be preoccupied with the idea of success and power. Other traits include patronising behaviour, an inherent need for admiration and anger when others contradict them.
Underneath this hard and insensitive exterior, however, is thought to be a very fragile core. People with NPD are assumed to put on a mask of confidence to hide their low self-esteem and insecurities. They often find criticism and rejection very difficult to take.