Why Narcissism Is a Profoundly Misunderstood Psychological Disorder

This article discusses the link between NPD and psychopathy, which I always find interesting, because both NPD and ASPD are so prevalent in my family.

But what I really related to was the discussion of fear in NPDers. One of my core issues is constant, never-ending anxiety — essentially fear or worry about future events.

I can spend hours at a time ruminating about an anxiety-inducing issue, trying to plan for every possible outcome. I never want to be caught off guard for fear I will look stupid or face humiliation.

Looking at NPD as a form of fear avoidance makes a lot of sense and really rings home with me personally.

Rooted in ‘Profound Fear’

On their own, psychoanalytic explanations are inadequate and unconvincing. This is where neuroscience can help. Last year, Elsa Ronningstam and Arielle Baskin-Sommers showed that NPD can be linked to fear and decision making processes. Indeed, feelings of fear have been frequently cited as a significant part of NPD pathology, and possibly even a motivating factor in narcissistic personalities.

Ronningstam and Baskin-Sommers say that the fear of dark and negative self-experiences, or even intolerable aspects of one’s identity, “can drive protective self-aggrandizement as well as destructive suicidal behavior enforced by overwhelming feelings of despair.” What’s more, certain events can trigger fears associated with earlier “narcissistic trauma.”

It’s possible, therefore, that NPD is a form of fear avoidance, especially of failure. It’s a “self-regulatory strategy” driven by specific motivations, including achievements, competitiveness, improvement of performance, and perfectionism.

Neurologically speaking, scientists have pinpointed the amygdala — the part of the brain that regulates processes like the detection of emotionally arousing and pertinent stimuli. Other regions, like the nucleus accumbens, hippocampus, and some prefrontal regions, form a neural network involved in the perception of threat, fear learning, and fear expression. Together, these areas act to produce an integrated fear response .

In addition, and relatedly, the hormone cortisol has been implicated in narcissism — at least in males. Cortisol is released in response to stress, which can be triggered by a fear response.

Read the rest of the artice here: http://health.yourdailyideas.com/why-narcissism-is-a-profoundly-misunderstood-psychological-disorder/

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