Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is estimated to be present in 1% of the population. There is conflicting evidence pointing to this number actually being as high as 1 in 25 people demonstrating the characteristics of NPD. This discrepancy of figures has to do with the fact that people who have this disorder deny their own problematic behavior and tend to refuse therapy. Those who are in the environment of people with narcissism, most often the family, suffer the destructive consequences. The characteristics of people with pathological narcissism are; rigidity, feelings of omnipotence, entitlement, lovelessness, aggression, dominance, manipulation, selfishness, negativity, lying, oversensitivity and hiding the true self behind a mask of a charming persona.
The first impression of these emotional abusers is often remarkably good. The true self is suffering an inner emptiness, which is why the narcissist depends on the constant energy or approval of others. Others are used to continuously uphold the imagined positive self-image of the narcissist. Others needing validation in the relationship, is not of interest to a person with NPD. Narcissistic people are very well able to focus positive attention intensely on others for a limited time, especially if they feel it is necessary to stay admired.
Over time, sometimes after years their calculating behavior begins to emerge, and it becomes increasingly more apparent, that repeatedly, only their agenda is of importance. It may be understandable that this one-sided relationship becomes unbearable for family members, who end up always walking on eggshells. In the work environment, co-workers run a high risk of suffering from burn-out; a state of emotional, mental and physical exhaustion.