I've dealt with a few people having a narcissistic personality trait / disorder.

For me it's interesting to see the defense pattern they adopt through rationalization to defend their self-image and to avoid changing their beliefs (confirmation bias). The pattern seems to be almost identical in the various subjects.

My question is: could be functional to these subjects to read a book which tries to change their beliefs? At least could it be used to speed-up the therapy?

It could be described as follow:

  • The subject feels ashamed, weak or "bad" on some area. He develops the belief to be superior to others on another area (strong, very rational).
  • The subject feel a strong need to defend this superiority. Any attempt to change his belief is perceived as an aggression.
  • The strategy of defense include: use of cognitive distortion to confirm his belief, discrediting of the other idea, personal offence or provocation, getting annoyed and emotional, focusing on everything but his error / responsibility / distorted belief
  • The subject usually raise the level of the argument in an emotional way. He appears completely stubborn or use verbal strategy to obstacle the interlocutor. He appeals to any formal argumentative error.
  • The subject claim to be unique and use typical "excuses" connected to relativism like: "why should I change?". But actually he use relativism only when it comes to be useful to justify his own belief. Otherwise his beliefs appears very absolute and dichotomic.

Is it correct to suppose that million of narcissists share the same "defensive" pattern? Has it been already studied?

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    $\begingroup$ Pretty unclear. Lots going on; probably best to edit the content here, and result in changing the Question to an actual question. That you could not formulate a succinct question is indicative of the issues. You have a fine direction you're heading, though. $\endgroup$ – New Alexandria Jul 15 '14 at 13:43
  • $\begingroup$ But, as an example, what appears to be your 'main' question: "Could [it] be functional to these subjects to read a book which tries to change their beliefs? At least could it be used to speed-up the therapy?"... is a non-question. The answer is naively "yes" and thus the question must focus on something more nuanced than this. $\endgroup$ – New Alexandria Jul 15 '14 at 13:45
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    $\begingroup$ It doesn't seem obvious that reading a book will have a positive therapeutic impact. It's an empirical question, and there might be research on such interventions. $\endgroup$ – Josh de Leeuw Jul 15 '14 at 16:23
  • $\begingroup$ @NewAlexandria: the problem is that psychoterapy tries to avoid being direct. I tried to show to a narcyssist an article about dycothomic and he appealed to formal error in the writing of the article instead of realizing his problem. Another narcyssist appeals to relativism. It's not so easy to help them. My first questions here were about this: cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5825/…; cogsci.stackexchange.com/questions/5851/… $\endgroup$ – Revious Jul 15 '14 at 20:41