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Social Sci LibreTexts

8.19: Narcissistic Personality Disorder

  • Page ID
    23212
  • Name: Jenna Maroney

    Source: 30 Rock (Television series, mid 2000s)

    Background Information

    Jenna Marony is a forty-three year old woman, who was born Ystrepa Grokovitz on February 24, 1969. She grew up in Bakersfield, CA. Her father, was a burger server in suburban Santa Barbara. He dumped Jenna’s mother, a dental hygienist, for another woman. Jenna still says she will “always be his little girl.” After being spurned, Jenna’s mother made her sit on every mall Santa’s lap in Bakersfield in an attempt to find him. Jenna has a sister who urinated in one of Jenna’s eyes when she was little, which causes it to not open all the way. Another sister is deceased. She did not get along with her half-sister, Courtney, who is now deceased. Upon hearing of her sister’s demise, Jenna showed no obvious signs of sorrow or grief. Jenna also has a niece, who draws pictures of her Auntie Jenna. Jenna finds the pictures to be offensive, when in fact they are just childlike renderings of Jenna.

    During Jenna’s teen years, her mother moved what family she had left from California to Florida. Jenna attended high school on a boat, which has subsequently sunk. At the age of 16, Jenna was engaged to a congressman. She has also reportedly dated O.J. Simpson, a music producer, a sniper, a mob boss, and hinted at having been in a three-way relationship with Rosanne and Tom Arnold. Jenna’s started singing at a young age, as a distraction for her mom, who was busy shoplifting. Jenna went on to study voice at Northwestern University and also at the Royal Tampa Academy of Dramatic Tricks, where she majored in playing prom queens and murdered runaways. She has been in various films and commercial, and is currently employed as an actress on a television series.

    There is no history of substance use, however, there is a history of binge eating, but the episode was brief, and Jenna’s eating habits have since returned to normal. Jenna is in good health, with no reported concerns.

    Jenna seems to have coped with her life difficulties by becoming the “center of attention,” and the center of her own universe. Abandoned by her father and used by her mother as a decoy, Jenna possibly feels unloved and rejected. Jenna’s inability to empathize with others and sustain lasting relationships with are major weaknesses. She is constantly battling with someone, whether it be a co-worker, a friend or a family member. Currently, Jenna is involved with a transvestite who dresses as Jenna. In fact, Jenna met her lover while participating in a Jenna Maroney Look-Alike Contest, in which Jenna herself only placed fourth. Her new lover won the contest, and they have been intimate since that time.

    Description of the Problem

    Jenna does not feel she has any problems, other than not receiving the attention and recognition she feels she deserves. Her achievements are not commensurate with her desire to be “worshipped,” and adored. Jenna feels she is entitled to special treatment and when this fails to occur within her career or social life, she becomes explosive and stubborn. She has an excessive need for admiration, as evidenced by her choice of careers. She seems to have no empathy regarding others, and on the rare occasions empathy is displayed by Jenna, it is not genuine empathy, but a means to an end. In other words, she fakes empathy to manipulate others, or for personal gain. Jenna repeatedly poisoned a co-worker in the hopes of dating one of the “hot” EMT workers who came to the rescue. Jenna is severely jealous of her co-star in her current television series, and is constantly looking for ways to undermine him. She dreams of unparalleled success and believes she is the most beautiful, talented woman to grace this planet. While Jenna does not see this as a problem, the rest of society fails to agree with her assessment of herself, and this causes much frustration for Jenna. Jenna reacts very unfavorably to even the slightest criticism, as she believes herself to be perfect and unique. If she is criticized, she feels that the person doing the critique, “just doesn’t understand her,” because they are not as special and wonderful as she.

    Diagnosis

    Jenna best fits the diagnostic category of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (301.81)

    • A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:
      • has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
      • is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love (perfect marriage to the perfect spouse)
      • believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
      • requires excessive admiration
      • has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations (“You owe me because I’m that good”)
      • is inter-personally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
      • lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
      • is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
      • shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
    • Other Symptoms:
      • history of intense but short-term relationships with others; inability to make or sustain genuinely intimate relationships
      • a tendency to be attracted to leadership or high-profile positions or occupations
      • a pattern of alternating between unrealistic idealization of others and equally unrealistic devaluation of them
      • assessment of others in terms of usefulness
      • a need to be the center of attention or admiration in a working group or social situation
      • hypersensitivity to criticism, however mild, or rejection from others
      • an unstable view of the self that fluctuates between extremes of self-praise and self-contempt
      • preoccupation with outward appearance, “image,” or public opinion rather than inner reality
      • painful emotions based on shame (dislike of who one is) rather than guilt (regret for what one has done)

    Jenna qualifies for almost every single diagnostic criteria, as outlined in the Description of the Problem and her Background information. There is some overlap with Histrionic Personality Disorder, as Jenna does frequently use her sexuality to gain her desires, however, she fits more of the Narcissistic criteria than the HPD criterion.

    Accuracy of Portrayal

    The portrayal of narcissism in this character is fairly accurate, although there is some overlap with Histrionic Personality Disorder. One of the deciding factors whether this was NPD or HPD was the fact that Jenna falls in love with a man who dresses as her. Narcissus was also in love with himself and was forever doomed to gaze upon his reflection in a pool of water, until he died. It is said as his boat crossed over into the afterlife, he leaned over to catch on last glimpse of himself in the water. This is the epitome of Jenna. While more males than females are diagnosed with NPD, (7% for males and 4 % for females), Jenna is a prime example of a female narcissist.

    Treatment

    Narcissists rarely seek treatment, as their perception is that they are “better” than everyone else. If a narcissist does enter treatment, psychotherapy is the recommended course of treatment, and perhaps some group therapy. If group therapy is utilized, clear boundaries should be set as to respecting other people in the group. Prognosis poor.

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