Vol 12 No 1 (2020)

Narcissistic Personality Disorder: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

Barbara Oldale
Athabasca University
Published October 11, 2019


This essay retrieves information primarily from psychology and sociology to describe key elements of narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), its causes and effects upon the individual, his/her relationships, within the workplace, within positions of leadership, and collectively, within society. It discusses the difference between the two types of NPD and how they may interact within a single individual, but also how they interact more widely within interpersonal relationships and among leaders and followers. A description of the disorder falls under the scope of the DSM (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders) 5 and social theories that pertain to the relationship between leaders and followers within a collective. Potential remedies to NPD are included in the appendix tables, but the essay suggests that caregiver styles are key factors in the prevention of NPD. The discussion alludes to the porous nature of the individual and his/her culture and suggests the importance of cure, or at least a rechanneling of the disorder to promote positive outcomes for the individual and to prevent social chaos. President Trump is cited as a case-in-point leader with NPD characteristics.