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TherapistMarryAnn, Therapist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 5807
Experience:  Over 20 years experience specializing in anxiety, depression, drug and alcohol, and relationship issues.
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I think my housemate has narcissistic personality disorder

Customer Question

I think my housemate has narcissistic personality disorder and I don't know how to handle him. He craves adulation, is shamelessly vain and cheats on his doting girlfriend without a hint of remorse. He is moody, stubborn and generally disconnected. My feelings of resentment have grown out of control and I can't stop working myself up over his actions. I don't know whether I'm exaggerating things in my mind or if he is as selfish as I believe he is. Either way, it's causing me a lot of stress and unhappiness.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.
Hello, I'd like to help you with your question.

It does sound like your roommate might have a personality disorder. When someone acts as he does towards others and is not able to understand they are hurting others, it is possible they have a personality disorder.

Personality disorders are typically ingrained behaviors that someone develops, usually in response to being raised in a dysfunctional home. The person could not get their needs met (for unconditional love and attention) so they developed other ways to get what they needed which usually involved dysfunctional behaviors. When they grew up, they continued these behaviors even when they were no longer needed.

Knowing what your roommate might have and how to react to his behavior can help. While he needs an evaluation to be sure of what he does have, the behavior you describe sounds like narcissistic or borderline type. Here is a link that can help you figure out what he might have:

Many people can have some traits of one personality disorder or they can have some traits of a couple of personality disorders. By finding a personality disorder that seems to fit, you can at least know what you might be dealing with.

When dealing with someone with a personality disorder, it is helpful to keep in mind that they are not reacting to who you are as a person or even what you are doing. They are going by cues they learned long ago on how to relate to their world. And their responses can seem overwhelming and out of touch with the actual situation. They can also be very hurtful and hard to cope with.

Getting help for your roommate would be ideal, but he may not see his behavior as an issue or be willing to try to talk with someone. If he won't get help or change in any way (common with someone with a personality disorder), you may have to change how you interact with him. One thing that helps is to see what he does as about his own issues and not you. Also, think of one phrase you can say to him that neutralizes anything he might say. such as "I'm sorry you feel that way" if he happens to drag you into any of this behavior. That usually shuts down the person and you can make a quick exit out of the situation. You can also explain that what he is doing is bothering you. Tell him that you either do not want to hear about it, or ideally he would stop doing it. He probably will not listen or he might even act like he has no idea what you are talking about, but it will feel better for you to try.

You also may want to consider getting out of the roommate situation. If he is doing these things and it's bothering you, it is worth your own peace of mind to find another living arrangement.

I hope this has helped you,
Customer: replied 4 years ago.

Hi Kate,

Thanks for your time, I'm very sorry, but I thought I had cancelled this with customer services as I can't afford it :( I don't want to give a bad rating. How do I proceed with a refund?

Expert:  TherapistMarryAnn replied 4 years ago.
I will forward your question to customer service


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