With an array of Psychometric Tests being used to assess personality types with high degrees of success, are there any that are useful in confirming Narcissistic Personality Disorder?
The challenge of diagnosing has been raging and dividing for years, and for good reason….
It is famously difficult to “diagnose” NPD – the official line is that it needs to be done by a qualified Psychiatrist, who assesses the patient according to either the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM-5) (in the case of American healthcare insurance system), or the International Classification of Diseases (ICD 11).
Submitting to Diagnosis
The second challenge is that Narcopaths are famously bad at submitting themselves to such as assessment – and with good reason. Their whole lives have been devoted to the pursuit of being someone else, their false selves, and convincing others that this is who they are. So why on earth would they ever be happy to take part in a process that would remove their camouflage and reveal themselves as the toxic monster of their real, authentic selves. Of course they won’t.
Two Personalities, One Personality Test
The third challenge is that narcopaths have two personalities, Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde. So when submitting themselves to any assessment, in which personality to they assume – which one is responding to the questions? How does one interpret the results?
Two Ends of a Spectrum
And fourthly, narcissism exists on a spectrum. We are all narcissistic to a certain degree. Many tests grade their results on a spectrum, with the lay person believing that NPD is just an extreme form of Narcissism. This is way too simplified – because NPD is split. A narcopaths apparent degree of narcissism is extremely high, but this applies to their false self. Their real amount of narcissism, ie that of their real and authentic selves, is painfully low – virtually zero in fact. So unless a test grades the two, the degree of narcissism felt by the real or authentic self AND that felt by the false self, it is difficult to see how the test can be useful.
Online Psychometric Tests to Evaluate Narcissism
With the fourth point above noted, check out the following tests designed to assess narcissism:
Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI) – [Raskin & Terry], interactive test by OpenPschometrics
Narcissistic Personality Quiz | PsychCentral
The Narcissism Test | Dr Craig Malkin
Narcissistic Personality Disorder Test | Barends Psychological Practice
It is very doubtful that the Myers-Briggs test, often heralded as the most popular and accurate psychometric test for personality profiling, would work to identify NPD, or whether it would even help the Narcopath understand their own personality and career decisions better.
The most immediate issue is this – which of their two personalities would they adopt in answering the questions?
Sources of Energy (Extrovert vs bntrovert)
For example, on the spectrum Extrovert vs Introvert, the false self of the overt narc is very extrovert – they crave attention and will do anything to find the spotlight and hog attention. Their real self is very different, however – deeply self-loathing, they have no self-confidence and will hide away from the world as evidenced by collapsed narcissists.
Way of Gathering Information (Sensing vs INtuition)
Given the Narc’s lack of emotional range, one assumes that they would answer as their real self and end up strong S’s. Anything Intuitive, pushing them into the N zone, would be guesswork.
Decision-making (Thinking vs Feeling)
Again, one would imagine that they were strong T’s – because their authentic Feelings simply do not exist. T’s make decisions impersonally, using logic, and also like finding the flaws in arguments. Narcs through and through, whether their real or false selves. By contrast F’s value harmony, like to please others, find the best in everything and are empathic. The polar opposite of Narcs, real or false.
How they relate to the outside world (Judgment vs Perception)
One would assume that their false selves would tend towards P’s – preferring to keep options only, resenting respecting any rules or deadlines, are labile so as to make stuff as they go along to suit themselves – but they do not enjoy surprises and need to be in control. But the notion that they can perceive and are not judgmental is an oxymoron.
It is far from clear that the Myers-Briggs test has much value in assessing someone with NPD. My guess is that their feelings and senses are so inconsistent that a Narcopaths scoring would be very inconsistent from one day to another, and that because they would feel so conflicted (are they answering as their real selves, or as their Narc alter-ego) that the results would be relatively worthless. I am certainly not aware of the Myers-Briggs test as being a good indicator of NPD, nor Narcopaths having a well-recognised personality type.
“Diagnosing” Someone Else
Although you are not technically permitted to diagnose someone else unless you are a suitably qualified mental health professional, if you have a likely narcopath in your life, it is important that you validate this one way or another. The best way to do this is compare your experience of this person with the common traits and behaviours of people with NPD. Remember that your experience of a probable narc is not going to match everyone else’s experience, because the two different personalities of the narc will treat one category of acquaintance very differently from another. It may well be that 99% of bystanders see only the charming “false self”, whilst as a victim of their narcissistic abuse, you are treated by the “authentic self”. Understand cognitive dissonance and gaslighting to make sense of this mismatch.
Use the Red Flags of Narcissism to self-validate your suspicions.