She ripped me a new one! With a click of the button, a reader who’s been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder let me have it! Up one side and down the other.
This is, perhaps, the first time we’ve had insight directly into the narcissistic mind from a narcissist who’s been professionally diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
Before going any further, I want to say, “Kudos to you for being diagnosed! Most narcissists don’t go anywhere near mental health professionals and so remain undiagnosed. I love that you sought mental healthcare. *fist bump*”
Not Inherently Abusive
“Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a personality disorder
and is NOT inherently abusive…”
In theory, I agree. In a paperbag or a hermitage, absolutely. But it’s hard for me to envision someone with NPD not abusing, even inadvertently, those nearest and dearest to them.
It can be as simple as insisting on winning a game or throwing a hissy when they don’t. Lecturing a child excessively “with their best interests at heart.” Always having the last word. The over-arching need to be right, to be in control, to be the best. Maybe “on paper” it doesn’t sound all that bad, but it is when you experience it, day after day, year after year. It hurts, it wounds, it scars. It warps normalcy and changes how you think about others…and yourself!
Not Necessarily Narcissistic
“A lack of empathy is not inherently narcissistic either; multiple mental illnesses and developmental disorders have low-empathy as a symptom, and that doesn’t mean we’re bad people!”
Yes, lack of empathy isn’t exclusive to narcissism. But this blog is all about narcissism and it’s many bedfellows.
However, I absolutely agree that low-empathy does not equal “bad people.” I mean, empathy is just an emotion. Whether or not the person is capable of feeling empathy is a moot point. In the absence of organic empathy, one can always compensate by using their imagination to put themselves in the other person’s shoes.
And even if that eludes them, at least they can act kind, act caring, act compassionate. Remember what Shakespeare said: “All the world’s a stage and all the men and women merely players.”
Correcting a Misunderstanding
“As a person with low empathy I saw this article and was excited to learn more about a symptom I have, but I honestly found myself very hurt by the implication that I, and my many low-empathy friends, are bad, abusive people, especially since all of us have been or are currently being badly abused ourselves.”
First of all, thank you for saying straight up that narcissists have been abused. My readers and I are almost obsessed with understanding how the narcissistic mind works. We dredge up as many stories of our extended families and past generations as possible, to try to pinpoint what “got the narcissistic ball rolling.” And here we have confirmation that it is triggered by abuse. I’m sorry you were abused. Dreadfully sorry!
The original article never implied nor meant that low empathy, alone, was automatically abusive. Rather, my article was meant to call out subtle abuses stemming from lack of empathy that aren’t obvious. And, given the response, thousands found it very affirming and educational.
Also, I wish people would stop armchair diagnosing their abusers with personality disorders (mostly cluster b’s), it’s…demonising an already singled-out group of mentally ill people.
Honey, armchair diagnosis is all we’ve got. I’d love for my family to march their happy asses into a psychologists office for a diagnosis, as I have, but that’s just not on the cards. You’re the exception to the rule! You sought a diagnosis and mental healthcare! I wish everyone with NPD would follow your example.
But in the absence of that possibility, we’re forced to play armchair psychologists. We always knew “something” was wrong with our families, but we couldn’t figure out what. Then…we ran across the term “narcissism.” Suddenly, everything made sense and our healing began.
When I was first diagnosed with my cluster b personality disorder, I was happy to have a name for my experiences, until I looked online and found countless articles and forums full of people saying that people with my disorder are inherently evil and not to be trusted. I was pushed into a deep depressive state, because it was like the whole internet was in agreement with my greatest fears of being abusive and cruel. So imagine this: what if a person newly diagnosed with NPD came across this article – on a highly reputable site – effectively telling them that they are in fact as evil and bad as their abuser had been to them? And since this article offers no signs of redemption for low-empathy people, isn’t it easy to believe that this person would think there was no hope for them?
Just the fact that you’re afraid of being abusive and cruel is fantastic! If you do indeed have NPD, then you must have empathy if being like your abusers horrifies you.
I’m sorry you were hurt by all the articles about narcissism, including mine, but there are just gobs and gobs of people out there who, like me, have been hurt by NPD. I write mostly for them. That’s why the word “Normalcy” is in the title of this blog. We try to understand narcissism and then learn what normalcy is sans narcissism. I would love to write articles for narcissists, but it’s very difficult to pick their brain. To understand them.
So here’s an idea: I challenge you to start a blog for narcissists. You’re a good writer. You’ve got the inside scoop. Fill that void. Help other narcissists heal! Redeem your pain by helping others. Squeeze those NPD lemons ’til lemonade flows out.
Personally, I hold out great hope that narcissism can be healed and the hearts of narcissists mended. Statistics are not on my side, but “hope springs Eternal in the human breast.” I’ll never, ever give up on a narcissist. I believe you can be healed. And no one would be happier for you than me!
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