Leading Authority in Treatment of Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

8 Myths About Narcissistic Personality Disorder

8 Myths About Narcissistic Personality Disorder Debunked

Dr. Hawkins debunks 8 myths about narcissistic personality disorder and shares his insights on this controversial and complex topic. Get the inside scoop from a clinician who has treated people, primarily men, with narcissistic traits for over a decade.

8 Myths About Narcissistic Personality Disorder Debunked

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is a topic that has gained significant attention in recent years, thanks in no small part to the internet and its vast array of information and opinions. If you were to believe everything you read online, you might be inclined to run for the hills if you ever encounter someone with NPD. However, it’s essential to differentiate between myths and facts when it comes to NPD and emotional abuse. Dr. David Hawkins, Director of the Marriage Recovery Center, provides a fresh perspective on these issues and debunks eight common myths surrounding NPD and emotional abuse. Let’s explore these myths and gain a more comprehensive understanding of the subject.

Myth 1: Some Narcissistic Traits Equal Narcissistic Personality Disorder

One prevalent misconception is that exhibiting some narcissistic traits immediately equates to having Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Dr. Hawkins emphasizes that narcissism exists on a spectrum. Just because someone displays certain narcissistic behaviors doesn’t necessarily mean they have a full-blown personality disorder. Understanding the extent of narcissism and the potential for change is crucial. Professional assessments and questionnaires can help determine where an individual falls on this spectrum, making it easier to decide on the appropriate course of action.

Myth 2: NPDs Are Everywhere

With the proliferation of online forums and media coverage, it might seem as if Narcissistic Personality Disorder is omnipresent. However, legitimate research suggests that NPD is, in fact, a rare disorder. Individuals who meet all the criteria for NPD are a minority, dispelling the notion that they are everywhere. It’s essential not to overgeneralize and stigmatize individuals who might exhibit some narcissistic traits but do not meet the criteria for NPD.

Myth 3: NPDs Are Untreatable

A widely held belief is that NPD is untreatable, and the only solution is to run from such individuals. Dr. Hawkins, based on his experience, challenges this notion. While NPD is a complex issue, it doesn’t necessarily equate to being untreatable. The effectiveness of treatment depends on several factors, including the individual’s willingness to participate in programs designed to address their narcissistic tendencies.

Identifying the Potential for Treatment

To assess whether someone with narcissistic traits can change and seek treatment, consider the following questions:

  1. Acknowledgment: Has the person acknowledged their narcissism and emotional abuse?
  2. Responsibility: Have they taken any level of responsibility for their actions?
  3. Participation: Are they willing to engage in programs designed to address these issues, such as group therapy?
  4. Remorse: Do they display genuine remorse and an ability to apologize sincerely?
  5. Behavior Change: Are they focused on changing their behavior without expecting their partner to change in return?
  6. Expectations: Have they stopped expecting their partner to respond in a specific way or to forgive them?
  7. Dedication to Healing: Are they dedicated to deep healing with professional guidance?
  8. Ongoing Counseling: Are they committed to regular counseling and participation in an accountability group?

These questions help gauge the potential for treatment and whether someone is genuinely committed to change.


Narcissistic Personality Disorder and emotional abuse are complex issues that require a nuanced understanding. Dispelling the myths surrounding these topics is essential for offering help to those in need and avoiding unnecessary stigmatization. While it’s crucial to recognize the severity of narcissistic behaviors and emotional abuse, it’s equally important to acknowledge the potential for change.

NPD exists on a spectrum, and not every individual with narcissistic traits has a full-fledged personality disorder. It’s crucial to approach each case with a balanced perspective, considering the possibility of intervention and healing.

Moreover, NPD is not as widespread as it might appear in online discussions. Genuine research shows that those meeting all the criteria for NPD are relatively rare. Finally, NPD is not necessarily untreatable, and treatment outcomes depend on various factors, including the individual’s willingness to participate in structured programs and undergo professional therapy.

In conclusion, the road to recovery is not a one-size-fits-all journey, but there is hope for those willing to seek help, commit to change, and engage in a comprehensive healing process. Dispelling these myths is the first step toward a more informed and empathetic approach to dealing with Narcissistic Personality Disorder and emotional abuse.

To learn how we can help, reach out to us at (206) 219-0145 or info@marriagerecoverycenter.com to speak with a Client Care Specialist

Also read: The Process of Healing From Narcissism and Emotional Abuse

About Dr. Hawkins:

The internet is inundated with hyperbole and misinformation about narcissism, leaving many people confused and hopeless. Get the facts on narcissism and emotional abuse from someone who has been researching, writing about and treating narcissism and emotional abuse for over a decade.

Dr. Hawkins is a best-selling author and clinical psychologist with over three decades of experience helping people break unhealthy patterns and build healthier relationships.

He is the founder and director of the Marriage Recovery Center and the Emotional Abuse Institute which offers education, training and counseling for people who want to break free of, and heal from, emotional abuse. Whether the perpetrator of the abuse is your spouse, partner, parent, boss, friend or family member, we offer practical advice for anyone trapped in a toxic, destructive relationship.

In addition to narcissism & emotional abuse, you’ll learn about the lesser known forms of abuse, including covert abuse, reactive abuse, spiritual abuse, secondary abuse, relationship trauma and much more.


Sign up our newsletter to get updated information, promo or insight for free.

Latest Post


Need Help?
Get The Support You Need From One Of Our Therapists