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Narcissism, according to Psychology Today, “is characterized by a grandiose sense of self-importance, a lack of empathy for others, a need for excessive admiration, and the belief that one is unique and deserving of special treatment.”

An estimated 5% of the U.S population may have a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), which means over 16 million people might experience the condition. It should come as no surprise that there is a strong possibility that every person will likely cross paths with someone who is severely narcissistic. It is important to bear in mind that narcissistic personality disorder is a mental health condition that is listed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, Fifth Edition (DSM-5) as a chronic mental health disorder. Most often beneath the grandiose façade, individuals diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder are hiding and avoiding deep feelings of insecurity. NPD will affect all areas of a person’s life. 

Involving family members in the healing and recovery process can help NPD sufferers understand the ramifications of their self-centered behavior and its effects on the overall family dynamic. It is helpful to keep the following suggestions in mind when undergoing family therapy with a narcissist:

  • Allow the family therapist to facilitate the session: narcissists are highly skilled at controlling conversations and will often dominate discussions by walking out, interrupting, or yelling.
  • Avoid anosognosia: family therapy is intended to heal the entire family system, and although a family member’s NPD may have precipitated the need for family therapy it is unhelpful to the therapeutic process to perseverate and blame all of the family issues on the narcissist.
  • Boundaries are essential: set and maintain clear boundaries by stating what you will and will not accept. 
  • Be intentional and impeccable with your word when engaging with a narcissist. Remain focused on the issue at hand and do not allow for deflection or projection. 

In family therapy, issues are treated by addressing and shifting the way the entire family system functions. During family therapy, each member can share their perspective regarding how a problem is affecting the family. Family therapy can help family members understand and cope with narcissism as well as reduce distress and conflict by improving the systems of interactions between family members.

Further Information and Support

Navigating the challenges that arise from living with mental illness, struggling with substance abuse, and/ or addiction can not only be all-consuming but are often impossible to effectively handle without proper support. If you are concerned for yourself or a loved one regarding mental illness, substance abuse, and/ or addiction we recommend reaching out for help as soon as possible. Bear in mind that you do not have to be on this journey alone. At {Upwell Advisors}, we offer unique, customized concierge therapeutic services to provide our clients with unparalleled support throughout every step of the recovery process. 

Feel free to reach to contact us anytime via email at sean@upwelladvisors.com. We look forward to supporting you on your journey.

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