Tuesday, December 9, 2008


Jules is 20 years old and has been struggling with NPD since the onset of adolescence. Being raised in an isolated private school allowed him to flourish academically but his social interaction was severely limited. His peers noted that he had "no real friends to speak of" during this time and only socialized with his classmates when it directly benefited his obsessively-constructed self-image. Jules' high school career consisted mainly of ensuring that he was always on top academically and that people recognized his intellectual worth above all others. He went into an aggressive fervor upon not being accepted at Harvard, the only school he was at all interested in going to. Insistent on "being with his people", he expressed outrage to the University and sent them hundreds of letters expressing his disdain for their decision and doubt at the quality of the Admission's office. The majority of his time was spent locked in his room writing letters rather than pursuing more reasonable goals.

Poring over several dictionaries, he looked up impressive words or created his own in order to intimidate the University. It took some effort, but his parents finally managed to get him out of his room to apply late to a few other schools so that he might have somewhere to go when September rolled around. Jules' parents hoped that their son might get over his unreasonable, festering hatred for Harvard if he put his mind to something else. He did, but after enrolling in one of the second choices his parents suggested to him, he wallowed in his own despair. Instead of doing his classwork, Jules threatened his room mate so that he would get him some food from the cafeteria while he worked on his "masterpiece". Jules had set himself to writing the "Great American Novel" when he received no reply from Harvard. The novel was a mostly-direct documentation of his own life up to that point, with the details spruced up quite a bit. Soon enough Jules rose out of his depression and found himself in a manic fit. For 'inspiration', he decided to take some of his room mate's psychedelic drugs. His room mate was quite upset to find his stash missing and when he decided to find someone new to live with, Jules displayed no worries about losing the only person close to him; he stated simply that "He was a stupid stoner anyway."

According to the people who met Jules or had to deal with him on an everyday basis, he seemed like a good person but quickly disallowed himself from contact by being his usual haughty self or deliberately trying to bring down anyone he had reason to envy. Even people who approached him amicably were shooed away by the walls of his self-made world; a wold in which everyone is either for him or against him and his grandiose pursuits. Jules would often go off on tangents in class or amongst peers about his experiences with "The System" that prevented him from fulfilling his talents. At all times, he protected his fragile self with the loftiness of his goals and a perceived immunity from his isolation. Each and every thing he said came out as a plea for admiration, and people pitied him, but no one wanted to risk getting near to him or else he might harm them.

Jules' parents were not aware that their holding him up to standards from a young age that may have been unreasonable could harm their son's development as an individual. From an early age, Jules felt threatened by failure or an inability to "be the best". As an only child, a lot of effort was put into Jules, primarily as an academe. His isolated childhood in a wealthy, intellectual family led him to develop well in school but his growth as a self-sufficient unit was stunted. Jules' relationship with his parents, especially with his father, was strained by his father's use of corporal punishment. This was worsened when he was sent to boarding school at a young age and suffered from the estrangement from his parents. Inhibited by his family troubles, Jules tried to fit everyone he met into a threatening mold he held in his mind.

"...object relations are partial and they typically alternate between "all good" and "all bad" perception of one's self and of the external world." (dynamic)

"When children inhibit their capacity to mentalize, they "lose" the ability to relate to others in a mutual, interactive manner. Instead, their behavior becomes coercive,, and aims at evoking stereotypical responses from others that fit children's expectations." (brown)

"As already mentioned, the real self of the narcissistic personality "hides" in the inner world. The term "real self" refers to the rudimentary self-structure that remained after the failure of the consolidation of the mature self and after the formation of the grandiose self." (dynamic)

" These children are seriously compromised in accomplishing the developmental task of acquiring a relatively stable self-esteem (Bleiberg, 1984) and, though they may appear haughty and self-assured, are prone to feeling like worthless failures. Children who experience such narcissistic dysregulation often exhibit extremely rigid coping mechanisms that involve reliance on an omnipotent sense of self, refusal to acknowledge personal failures, projection of disowned self-experiences onto others, and demands for affirmation of their power (Bleiberg, 1994, p. 38)." (self and other)

We believe that frequent meetings with a therapist and proper diagnosis would be the healthiest choice for Jules. Seeking help online seems to be a very popular choice amongst people diagnosed or self-diagnosed with NPD, but unfortunately there are many wolves out there willing to manipulate people under the guise of healing. Sam Vaknin has developed a cult following with his book and Internet healing 'movement'. He may be stricken by NPD, but he has not sought professional help and instead plays games with people through his cultish establishment online.

Therapy would help Jules nurture a healthy sense of self and abandon the preconceived notions he has of others. Group sessions may be helpful sometime in the future, but Jules' condition prevents him from accepting help from anyone. Deconstructing the overbearing Narcissistic personality that grips Jules will take some time, but fortunately his parents can afford extended therapy. With outside help, Jules may be able to develop a stable, mature personality that would eliminate his need for a narcissistic, artificial self.

avoid drug abuse

In the long run, Jules might be able to free himself from the shackles of the NPD-dominated "section" of his personality; "As many authors have shown (e.g., Kernberg,[3] Masterson,[4] Svrakic,[5] Siomopoulos[6]) the narcissistic disorder is characterized by the "two-leveled" personality organization. On the first (superficial and manifest) level, the grandiose self, a pathological and uniquely narcissistic intrapsychic structure, dominates. On the second (deeper and split-off) level, the real self of the narcissistic personality exists." (dynamic)

possible bipolar/borderline diagnosis

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