Sunday, May 24, 2015

Do some leaders of spiritual movements get into Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)?

Last updated on 26-Apr-2017

In a facebook conversation I saw a video link to this documentary on Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).

Warning: The youtube video link given below has rather graphic content related to both violence and sex.

[23-Apr-2017 Update: The original video link mentioned later, seems to have been taken off youtube. Browsed for other youtube video copies of it. This seems to be a copy of that video which I found to be very informative: Shocking full documentary - narcissism / narcissistic personality disorder ( psychology ),, 47 min. 25 secs. end-23-Apr-2017-Update]

"Narcissists - Full |Documentary Full Lenght 2015",, 47 min. 25 secs.

It is a pretty stark documentary with a lot of disturbing case studies. However, it certainly is very informative and towards the end, does come up with quite an interesting surprise. So, if you can handle some level of disturbance, you may find the video worth viewing.

Even if one does not view the video I think it may be very useful for people to know something about NPD, especially if they are involved with a spiritual/religious group/movement (with some such groups/movements being labelled as cults).

I think this link from Psych Central,, gives a pretty good overview of it. 

A small extract from it:

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is characterized by a long-standing pattern of grandiosity (either in fantasy or actual behavior), an overwhelming need for admiration, and usually a complete lack of empathy toward others. People with this disorder often believe they are of primary importance in everybody’s life or to anyone they meet. While this pattern of behavior may be appropriate for a king in 16th Century England, it is generally considered inappropriate for most ordinary people today.

--- end extract ---

Symptoms of this disorder, as defined by the DSM-IV-TR, include:
  • Expects to be recognized as superior and special, without superior accomplishments
  • Expects constant attention, admiration and positive reinforcement from others
  • Envies others and believes others envy him/her
  • Is preoccupied with thoughts and fantasies of great success, enormous attractiveness, power, intelligence
  • Lacks the ability to empathize with the feelings or desires of others
  • Is arrogant in attitudes and behavior
  • Has expectations of special treatment that are unrealistic
Other symptoms in addition to the ones defined by DSM-IV-TR include: Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends, has trouble keeping healthy relationships with others, easily hurt or rejected, appears unemotional, and exaggerating special achievements and talents, setting unrealistic goals for himself/herself.

Narcissistic personality disorder is characterized by an over-inflated sense of self-importance, as well as dramatic, emotional behavior that is in the same category as antisocial and borderline personality disorders.


People rarely seek therapy for NPD. This is partly because NPD sufferers deny they have a problem. Most, if not all, cannot see the destructive damage they cause to themselves and to others and usually only seek treatment at the insistence of relatives and friends.

Psychotherapy is used to treat NPD.

--- end wiki extracts ---

Ravi: I think it is true that spiritual movements/groups/cults where dissent is suppressed (usually in the name of DISCIPLINE), do attract some people who are of the NPD type, and some such people get into positions of power in the movement/group/cult which allows their NPD to become full-fledged! Ideally, such people should be told by their near-and-dear ones to consult a mental health professional to check whether they really have NPD and if so, take psychotherapy for it. Not only will that help such leaders in the spiritual movement but it will also help their sub-ordinates, and be good for the spiritual movement as a whole.

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