Seeming normal

Many difficult and troublesome people have disordered personalities. Personality disorders are largely hidden because very few people are ever diagnosed with one, even if they satisfy all the necessary criteria. Few people, especially narcissistic individuals, will submit themselves to the lengthy psychological tests and interviews necessary for an accurate diagnosis. And a major symptom of many people with personality disorders is a refusal to accept that anything is wrong with them. Only those who commit criminal acts or whose behaviour is ultimately self-destructive, either physically, through addictions, thrill seeking or risk-taking, or psychologically, when they alienate those they depend upon, will ever seek or be forced to seek therapy.

The most difficult people are usually highly narcissistic but narcissists are rarely aware of their narcissism. Their symptoms rarely bother them. They usually suffer less from the consequences of their behaviour than those around them, and they rarely believe the way they think, feel, or act is abnormal. Typically, narcissism causes more harm to the people effected by the narcissist’s thoughtless, careless, or callous behaviour than to narcissists themselves who frequently swan through life untroubled and unscathed. In fact, the way narcissists behave usually gets them what they want so they have no reason to think it is wrong, to feel dissatisfied, faulty, or to want to change. They are usually pleased with themselves and not only see no reason to change, but strenuously resist changing. They feel completely normal. Their sense of self-importance is so strong that it never occurs to them it could be anything other than natural and right or that other people don’t feel the same way.

Highly narcissistic individuals often appear well adjusted and can be attractive and likeable with few obvious signs of deficiency or disorder, at least at first. People who know them socially or superficially often think they are fun, int