Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Personality Disorders You Can Inflict On Your Characters – Narcissistic Personality Disorder

This is the third blog in a series about Personality Disorders and how they can help you create villains in your stories. The first blog was about Paranoid Personality Disorder.  and the second was about OCD Personality Disorder. This one is about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

Every story needs characters. Your characters don’t need to be human. They can be animals, or inanimate objects. Which of course, to tell the story, must be animate. Wall-E is an excellent example. So is Toy Story. Personality is vital whether your character human or not. Your characters can have normal, yet flawed, personalities – whatever normal means. Or they can have abnormal personality disorders.

If you choose to add personality disorders to the mix, how many of your characters should have them? Does it depend on the scope of the story?

The Star Wars universe is huge, and it has more than its fair share of personality disorders. But you can also have a small story. By that I mean a small cast, not small themes.

The Disney movie, Tangled has three main characters – Rapunzel, her mother Gothel, and Flynn Rider. While all three of them have issues, Gothel wins the award for Worst Mother Of The Year Award. Well, (spoiler alert) she would if she was Rapunzel’s mother.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Anyone with a narcissistic personality disorder is fundamentally afraid. They have secret feelings of insecurity, shame, humiliation and fear of being exposed as a failure and falling short of perfection. These traits can often be seen in politicians – especially those with dictator tendencies, some entertainment celebrities, and influencers. To cover these fears, the narcissist will pretend to themselves, and to others, that the opposite is true. This makes them deeply arrogant because of which…

1. They have an overly inflated idea of their own importance.

They believe they deserve constant, excessive admiration and adulation. They become impatient and angry when they don’t receive the admiration they crave. Because of this, they believe that privileges and special treatment are their right. They expect special favours, and that other people will do what they want without question.

To achieve that, they make unrealistic demands. A narcissist will take advantage of others to get what they want, irrespective of how it affects anyone else.

The Tangled version:
Gothel steals the baby Rapunzel with no consideration of how it would affect the baby, Rapunzel’s parents, and the kingdom. Watch more here 

2. They are pathological liars with no remorse.

They believe that small accomplishments have more value than they do. Their conceit, and desperation to be admired will cause them to lie about accomplishments or claim the achievements of others as their own. They brag a lot, often about things that aren’t that important or are even untrue.

To force this view on others, they won’t tolerate criticism or disobedience. What they want is more important than anything else to a narcissist. Their rage at anything they view as criticism or disobedience is often uncontrollable. Many spousal abusers are gaslighting narcissists.

The Tangled Version: Gothel gaslights Rapunzel all the time. She continually tells Rapunzel that the world outside the tower is dangerous, and she will never cope, and that only Gothel knows what is best for her. Watch more here

3. Narcissists crave the envy of others and have unrealistic fantasies.

Because narcissists envy others, they become preoccupied with fantasies about success, power, brilliance, the perfect mate or, as in Gothel’s case, beauty.

To turn these fantasies into some semblance of reality, they must believe that others aren’t as important as they are, if at all. It’s a belief they must continually reinforce so they become intensely critical of other people.

Narcissists believe that people only have value because of the service others provide to them. They will react with rage or contempt and try to belittle other people either directly, or by gaslighting their victims, to make themselves appear superior.

The Tangled version: When Rapunzel finally tells Gothel that she wants nothing more than to go outside, Gothel explodes with rage, and lets Rapenzel know she is never leaving the tower. Almost immediately, Gothel switches from abuser to victim. She blames Rapunzel’s for the fact that she has had to become ‘the bad guy’. Watch more here

The Last Word

A Narcissistic Personality Disorder is great for characters who are in some sort of power – politicians, magazine editors, parents, parents-in-law, spouses, or even children. If you are going to write a character with a personality disorder, it’s always best to do deep research. Your narcissistic character may be delusional, but your book will be startlingly real.

If you are writing a book, all characters need to be flawed in some way to be interesting. If you want to learn more about character and character development, sign up for a course with Writers Write It’s the perfect place to learn.

Elaine Dodge

by Elaine Dodge. Elaine is the author of The Harcourts of Canada series and The Device HunterElaine trained as a graphic designer, then worked in design, advertising, and broadcast television. She now creates content, mostly in written form, for clients across the globe, but would much rather be drafting her books and short stories.

More Posts From Elaine

  1. Personality Disorders You Can Inflict On Your Characters – OCD Personality Disorder
  2. Who Is Mary Sue & Why Don’t Readers Like Her?
  3. Personality Disorders You Can Inflict On Your Characters – Paranoid Personality Disorder
  4. The Best Group Of Fictional Characters In The ‘Verse
  5. Happy Ever After Is A Choice Not A Given
  6. The Last Month Left To Write
  7. How To Use Creatures To Create Characters
  8. Viewpoint In Romance
  9. The 5 Best Book To Mini-Series Adaptations
  10. The 5 Best Book To Film Adaptations

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Posted on: 16th May 2024
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