Grandiosity is a key feature of the typical clinical presentation of Narcissistic Personality Disorder, what Ronningstam1 labels the “Arrogant Narcissist” and Wink2 and Cooper3 refer to as the “Overt Narcissist.”
Grandiosity may manifest itself in the person's
In this typical presentation form of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) the person commonly is unable “to maintain satisfactory, mutual, and enduringly committed”4 relationships with others. To the pathological narcissist, others represent the means by which they can bolster their sense of self-importance or achieve their own goals or desires.
- Preoccupation with fantasies that involve personal attractiveness, power, wealth, or success
- Feelings of superiority and uniqueness
- Boastful, pretentious, self-centered, and self-referential behavior
- Boastful exhibitionism
The person with NPD expects and needs admiration and seeks out situations in which that need can be met. In fact, the person with NPD expects to be treated with respect, deference, and admiration. When such admiration is not forthcoming, the pathological narcissist may respond with surprise, hurt, or even rage.
For the person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, others exist to meet his or her needs; rarely do these individuals stop to consider that others have reciprocal needs. Thus other people are subtly, passively, or overtly exploited and manipulated.
As a result of the need to be “best” or “first,” the person with NPD behaves in, “a condescending and [devaluing] manner toward others . . . often combined with arrogance and haughtiness” and some “may appear snobbish, supercilious, or patronizing.”5
Ironically, although pathological narcissists harbor feelings of envy toward others—often feeling jealous of others’ talents, accomplishments, and possessions—the arrogant narcissist professes a belief that it is actually others who envy them, and they “react with suspiciousness and intense feelings of rage when perceiving others’ envy.”6 The arrogant narcissist, “struggle[s] with sustained or recurrent feelings of worthlessness, emptiness, meaninglessness, hollowness, and futility.”7
When a person with the arrogant variety of Narcissistic Personality Disorder loses, is criticized, or is contradicted, he or she experiences strong negative reactions, which they may then display to others. However, the person with NPD generally strives to appear cool and calm, as if the experience meant little to them. Overt responses an arrogant narcissist might display range from “dismissal and minimizing of the criticism, to verbal counterattacks, or revengeful plans or actions. In more severe cases, episodes of depression, psychosomatic reactions or syndromes, periodic substance abuse, or suicidal ideations or actions may occur.”8
For a chart comparing the features of Arrogant/ Overt Narcissism with Shy/Covert Narcissism, click here
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4Ronningstam, 1999, p. 675
5Ronningstam, 1999, p. 675
6Ronningstam, 1999, p. 675
7Ronningstam, 1999, p. 676
8Ronningstam, 1999, p. 676