Those with teen narcissistic personality disorder are consumed with focusing on themselves and supporting their own well-being, which makes it difficult for them to recognize or consider the thoughts, needs, or desires of others. Because of this, their actions are based quite simply upon their own wants and needs, while believing that their wants and needs are superior to those of others. This sense of superiority and self-obsession causes extreme difficulty in relationships, and social interaction in general.
What Does Narcissistic Personality Disorder Look Like?
- A sense of grandeur and the feeling that their needs far outweigh those of others.
- Incapable of empathy, they may struggle to understand others and have anything other than a one-sided conversation.
- Their narcissism may lead to loneliness, and is often fueled by deep insecurities and fears, rather than any extreme confidence.
Types of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Unprincipled Narcissist – Characterized by traits of being unsocial, and often acting unscrupulously (lying, cheating, stealing) without fear of consequences and without remorse
Amorous Narcissist – Characterized by a lack of respect regarding personal boundaries, unwanted sexual advances, and inappropriate behavior
Compensatory Narcissist – Characterized by passive-aggressive tendencies and underlying feelings of inadequacy while dealing with others
Elitist Narcissist – Characterized by teens having extremely high opinion of themselves, seeking success to gain superiority over others, and exaggerated bragging
Fanatic Narcissist – Characterized by teens suffering a traumatic event earlier in life, leading to them fantasizing about lofty plots and goals of revenge or justice
Causes of Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Narcissistic personality disorder is caused by a variety of factors, mostly either environmental or due to genetics. A few causes include:
Family history of narcissism – cases of personality disorders in the family tend to point towards a higher risk of developing a personality disorder.
Inattentive parents – ineffective or poor parenting, such as excessive criticism or constant adoration, can lead to faulty thinking and harmful preconceptions, building up insecurities and leading to narcissistic behavior.
Physical illness affecting the brain – personality changes and erratic moods can be caused by illness that affects the brain, from an infection to a tumor, or hormone imbalances.
Emotional abuse – bullying both at home or at school can lead to the development of narcissistic tendencies to cope with insecurities and emotional wounds.
How Can I Help with Teen Narcissistic Personality Disorder
Differentiate between narcissism and other “dark” personalities – narcissistic personalities are often misinterpreted as anti-social or psychopathic personalities. While there is overlap at the surface, there are distinct differences in terms of cause and reason and it’s important to know what your teen struggles with. This is why a professional diagnosis matters.
Speak to your teen frankly about their thoughts and feelings – it’s easy to feed into a teen’s narcissistic tendencies with sycophantic praise or harsh and excessive criticism, so the best way to approach a narcissistic teen is non-judgmentally. If your teen’s behavior is highly problematic and possibly destructive, it’s important to speak to them about getting professional mental health help.
Suggest how their behavior makes life harder, and how narcissistic personality disorder treatment can help – getting professional treatment is the best course of action for a teen with a narcissistic personality. While they may be self-centered, this will not do them favors in their interaction with others, leading to problems in developing relationships, a reputation, and becoming an accomplished or happy member of society. In other words: it’s in their best interest to care about more than themselves and understanding that will open them up to the option of therapy.
What Types of Teen Narcissistic Personality Disorder Treatment Are Available?
Teen narcissistic personality disorder is caused first and foremost by deep insecurities leading to a need to service the ego to protect the mind from pain. Many other symptoms may hide beneath the surface, such as suicidal thoughts and feelings of intense fear or paranoia. Treatment for narcissistic personality disorder differs from teen to teen, but in most cases, a combination of medication and psychotherapy is used.
Antidepressants and anti-anxiety medication can help a teen cope with their worst symptoms while tackling their narcissism in therapy. These drugs can save their lives if their codependent conditions or symptoms include a risk of suicide. Despite lay knowledge, narcissism does not save a teen from thoughts of self-harm or suicide, and there is no evidence to suggest they will not go through with threats of suicide. Helping a teen with NPD find a better, happier place mentally while going through therapy is the first and foremost goal.
Psychotherapy or talk therapy is the primary form of treatment for cases of NPD. A narcissistic personality disorder can develop for many reasons, and identifying and addressing these reasons is the first step towards improving a teen’s mental health and giving them a chance at normal interaction with other people.
Teen Narcissistic Personality Disorder Treatment at Paradigm Treatment
Teen narcissistic personality disorder treatment begins with therapists helping a teen address any underlying insecurity, shame, or depression. The core of any narcissistic disorder is a lack of true confidence, and deep-seated fear. These behaviors serve to compensate for this pain, meaning that it must be addressed adequately to move on and away from such behavior.
Then, therapists help teens address the behavior that stems from these thoughts and habits and begin to implement new behavior, meant to help teens better interact with others and develop healthy, appropriate relationships without the need to act narcissistically.
Therapists at Paradigm also help teens develop a sense of awareness and empathy for others, as they learn to extend their thoughts toward others’ desires, needs, and ambitions, rather than simply their own.
At times, medication may be used during teen narcissistic personality disorder treatment to help provide relief from symptoms of anxiety or depression, especially in instances where the disorders are co-occurring. In these cases, medication is not provided as a cure for the personality disorder, but rather to help keep feelings of low self-worth, guilt, and/or shame at bay, while undergoing treatment.
Our 16 year old son was transformed at Paradigm Treatment. Everything was perfect – from the house to the staff to the food. Providing care and therapy for teens is a massive responsibility and we were not about to take a chance with our son without completely vetting the business. Paradigm stood up to our scrutiny and ticked every box for us. The treatment our son received was exemplary and the results have been life changing for him and for our family as a whole. Thank you Paradigm – Thank you Cole and Jeff. Thank you GOD for this place! – Mark L.
Frequently Asked Questions About Teen Narcissistic Personality Disorder
How does talk therapy, which requires teens to talk about themselves, help teense who are already obsessed with themselves?
One of the somewhat surprising, ironic truths about teens with narcissistic personality disorder is the lofty perception they have of themselves often stems from underlying insecurities and lack of self-confidence. Therefore, talking with a therapist about their beliefs and thought patterns helps to illuminate the falsity of their thinking, which is the first step toward change.
Can narcissists really care about others?
Yes, a narcissist can learn to care for others. But where the jury is still out – and where researchers consider it a case-by-case basis – is whether narcissists can learn to develop emotional empathy, on top of cognitive empathy. Cognitive empathy is the realization and understanding that other people have feelings, which are of equal importance to your own.
Emotional empathy is feeling for others without making a conscious decision to do so. Some may develop narcissistic tendencies in response to emotional trauma, but they can learn to leave these tendencies behind and develop a normal personality. Others are born narcissists because of an inability to feel empathy – perhaps due to psychopathy – and they cannot be taught to subconsciously feel for others. They can only do so on a cognitive level.