Author Topic: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description  (Read 11911 times)

Hopalong

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Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« on: April 06, 2006, 10:28:10 AM »
The Diagnositic and Statistics Manual, Rev IV, lists the following as descriptive of Narcissitic Personality Disorder:

--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;

--believes 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;

--is interpersonally 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.
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

reallyME

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #1 on: April 06, 2006, 12:42:30 PM »
I'd like it if someone here could put the characteristics of N'ism into their own words.  Anyone?

~ReallyME

Hopalong

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #2 on: April 06, 2006, 01:08:52 PM »
Hey Really,
For me the whole board, those layers and layers of anecdote and incident...add up to that.
That's a big assignment!

I can think of an N saying:

You may love me but I am not grateful
You may be in pain but I am not moved
You may be telling me your heart but I do not hear you
You may be weeping but I only know tears are salty
You may be needing response but hush, keep clapping
You may be weary but I am wearier
You may have a talent but I am a genius
You may be smart but I am brilliant
You may know some things but I know more
You may be good but I am godly
You may get noticed but not if I get there first

etc etc

Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

reallyME

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #3 on: April 06, 2006, 06:25:08 PM »
Hops,

I read those descriptions to a friend of mine who used to be Borderline PD and she too, was victimized by Jodi.

We both enjoyed your descriptions and are wondering if you can come up with more?  I say RIGHT ON!

gratitude28

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #4 on: April 06, 2006, 11:11:29 PM »
Hi all, I am new to this board, have a few onths under my belt realizing my mother is an N. There was a really great article I found called "Now we are 6," and a layperson's description of all the narcissism in understandable terms.
Here is some of it. The woman woho wrote it, Ms. Ahman, seems to really understand what an N is like. My mother is not always bad or mean. But she is mean a lot and was to me growing up. She doesn't particularly like me... she likes my sister. She is inconsistent and bossy. She spouts off facts that she has heard without knowing what they mean. She always tears down people around her and treats people (especially store clerks and such) rudely... as they are there to serve. At any rate, here is part of the article. I hope she won't mind as it is posted on the internet.



If you had a narcissist for a parent, you lived in a world governed by whim enforced without mercy.

Narcissists have normal, even superior, intellectual development while remaining emotionally and morally immature. Dealing with them can give you the sense of trying to have a reasonable discussion with a very clever six-year-old -- this is an age when normal children are grandiose and exhibitionistic, when they are very resistant to taking the blame for their own misbehavior, when they understand what the rules are (e.g., that lying, cheating, and stealing are prohibited) but are still trying to wriggle out of accepting those rules for themselves. This is the year, by the way, when children were traditionally thought to reach the age of reason and when first communions (and first confessions) were made.

Having a narcissist for a mother is a lot like living under the supervision of a six-year-old. Narcissists are always pretending, and with a narcissistic mother it's a lot like, "Let's play house. I'll pretend to be the mother and you pretend to be the baby," though, as the baby, you'll be expected to act like a doll (keep smiling, no matter what) and you'll be treated like a doll -- as an inanimate object, as a toy to be manipulated, dressed and undressed, walked around and have words put in your mouth; something that can be broken but not hurt, something that will be dropped and forgotten when when something more interesting comes along. With narcissists, there's also usually a fair element of "playing doctor," as well -- of childish sexual curiosity that may find expression in "seductive" behavior towards the child, such as inappropriate touching of the genitals, or it can also come out as "hypochondriacal" worries about the child's health and/or being most interested and attentive when the child is ill (thus teaching the child that the way to get Mother's kind attention is to get sick). Having a sick child can also be a way for the narcissistic mother to get the sympathetic attention of authority figures, such as doctors and teachers.



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Selected Characteristics of Normal Six-Year-Olds

[Based on Your Six-Year-Old, by Louise Bates Ames and Frances L. Ilg.]

The items below are not intended to be a comprehensive description of six-year-olds, but only the selected bits that seem to be related to adult narcissists' traits discussed elsewhere [and, yes, I really did compile the traits list weeks before finding this little book]. Besides being difficult and bewildering, six-year-olds are also wonderfully warm and enthusiastic, fine companions, active, curious, intellectually ambitious, philosophically speculative, very interested in the world and how it works, fond of novelty and amusement -- games, music, stories, outings, adventures.
     My interest here is in pointing out that many of the narcissistic characteristics that are abnormal in adults are completely normal at six years of age and that the survival of these childish characteristics into adulthood is, essentially, immaturity rather than bad intentions. But bear in mind that, while everyone who grows up passes through this stage of development, most of us spend only a few months this way before moving on to more integrated behavior. Narcissists, on the other hand, apparently spend the rest of their lives in this state of highly volatile ambivalence and uncertainty. I don't mean to play down, in any way, the very bad effects adult narcissists have on their own children, but, for those who've survived being raised by narcissists, it may give a different way of looking at family history. [See "It's A Good Life" for one person's idea of what it would be like if a six-year-old ran the world -- and, I'll add, what life may seem like to a six-year-old with a narcissist for a parent.] It has also bothered me that the little clinical literature I've found is quite hostile to narcissists; I certainly know that they can be utterly impossible, but the truth remains that the narcissists I've known were genuinely lovable about half the time -- the problem being that they want to be treated as "special" in ways that they just ain't special and will hate you for loving them for what they regard as the wrong reasons (though most of the rest of us are far less demanding and are simply pleased when attractive, decent people love us for any reason, special or not).

 "Six can, oh so often, be expansive and out-of-bounds, contrary, violent, hard...to live with."(p. 4)

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 "Your typical Six-year-old is a paradoxical little person, and bipolarity is the name of the game. Whatever he does, he does the opposite just as readily. In fact, sometimes the choice of some certain object or course of action immediately triggers an overpowering need for its opposite." (p. 1, the first paragraph of the book) [Emphasis in original]
 "Six's reversals are truly something to be reckoned with." (p. 2)
 "I love you" rapidly changes to "I hate you." (p. 2, 6)
 stubborn and can't make up mind (p. 2)

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 "The child is now the center of his own universe." (p. 2, 15) [Emphasis in original]
 delighted by any silly thing that calls attention to himself; may do silly, show-offy things to call attention to himself when he feels neglected or shut out (pp. 71-72)

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 arrogant (p. 7)
 self-important ("extremely aware of the importance of being Six") (p. 22)
 demands rather than asks (twice on p. 6, 16)
 thinks own way is always right (p. 7)
 once started, will stick to a course of bad behavior or bad judgment regardless of the inevitability of being punished for it (p. 7)
 asks to be flattered and praised as "good," even ("rather sadly and touchingly") following his worst behavior (p. 6)

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 can't accept criticism (p. 7)
 feelings are hurt over very small criticisms, comments, failures (p. 6)
 "He is so extremely anxious to do well, to be the best, to be loved and praised, that any failure is very hard for him." (p. 6)

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 wants to win every time (p. 4, 21, 45)
 poor sport, can't stand to lose (p. 7, 16)
 argumentative and quarrelsome (p. 21)
 defiant, pert, fresh, snippy (p. 6, 17)
 competitive, combative (p. 20)
 belligerent, verbally and physically aggressive (p. 21)
 threatens, calls names, gets physically violent (p. 21)
 violent temper tantrums may require physical restraint because of striking out (p. 29)
 jealous, envious (p. 7, 21)

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 to make sure of winning, will cheat or make up own rules (pp. 21-22, 45)
 complains that others are cheating and not following the rules (p. 45)
 some are very cruel to younger children (p. 22)
 does not always tell the truth (p. 16)
 will not admit to wrongdoing (p. 41) [Note: A technique is given for getting the facts out of kids that also works with narcissists: instead of asking if they did it, ask how they did it.]
 goodness means the things explicitly required or allowed by parents or other authority figures; badness means the things explicitly disapproved of or forbidden (p. 66)

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 little forgiveness (p. 22)
 very critical of others' conduct (p. 22)
 expects friendships to be resumed immediately following tremendous complaint and conflict (p. 22)

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 wants to boss (p. 21)
 "Many children think their father knows everything -- even what goes on at home while he is at work."(p. 16)
 thinks his teacher knows the best and only right way of doing things; may not know which rules to follow when school rules differ from home rules (p. 18)

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 "highly undifferentiated -- everything is everywhere" (p. 7)
 can't always tell the difference between "yours" and "mine," and so often steals (pp. 39-41)

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 "random and unconstructive expenditure of energy" (p. 31)
 more interested in merely handling or using tools than in what is accomplished with them (pp. 53-54)
 less interested in actual final products than in whatever he may be doing at the moment(p. 56)

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 "Sixes love to dress up and pretend they are somebody else...." (p. 49)
 

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable." Douglas Adams

CeeCee

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #5 on: April 11, 2006, 09:49:36 AM »
Love your description, Hops.  NPD101!  :)  Reading about the six year old is great, I told my big sis not so long ago that Mother is rather like an 8 year old, maybe younger!  It does so help to put things in perspective.  Certainly the damages and pains remain, but the insight gained is inspiring, and forward we go with the secure knowledge that we can let them go as clear remnants of self preservation efforts polished by the years as the audience of Ns, and full out NPDers.
I am happy to have found this place.  Thanks to all!


gratitude28

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #6 on: April 13, 2006, 11:42:56 PM »
When I found that article describing a 6-year-old, I knew without a doubt that if my mother is not an N, I don't know who is! And the honest truth is, she is not always mean. But she is almost always infantile in her behavior. She puts her head in the sand about any and all news and current events (too horrible); she has to have everything her way when on vacation... one time she ran from place to place like a madwoman because she couldn't decide what she wanted to do first... it was like a kid at an amusement park; she reads the same books, many of them childrens' books over and over, but claims to have read serious works (she never has, when you ask her details, she has no idea); she fancies that people know who she is or remember me from when I lived with her 20 years ago and speaks as if they look up to us; she buys new things incessantly... because she gets bored with the old ones and because she considers herself rich (far from it); I could go on. Do you all have examples like these????
Love, Beth
"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable." Douglas Adams

reallyME

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #7 on: April 14, 2006, 08:05:03 AM »
Hello

I need to make a comment here on something Hops posted from the info about 6 year olds/Narcissism:

Quote
expects friendships to be resumed immediately following tremendous complaint and conflict (p. 22)

Jodi who is as narcissist as one can get, did nto expect friendships to be resumed after conflict.  What she did, was tell me (after I blew the whistle on how people were treated by her in her home, after spending weeks at her house and seeing her "queen" behavior), "It will never be like it was with us again." 

It was the eeriest feeling I've ever felt, other than when she totally dissociated from me in person.  To have someone who you had been planning dreams and missions and ministry with, suddenly tell you "you don't understand.  Things will never be the way they were between us again..." and to realize SHE MEANS THIS!  Now THAT was freaky and disillusioning.  It was as though Jodi went from being my best friend, showering me with gifts, promises and grandeur that we'd be together forever as bestest buddies, to all of the sudden, becoming gradually non-existent to her.  She literally began acting as though we never shared any happy times together, like there were no warm feelings between us...as though she had totally disowned me completely as friend and human being.

With Jodi, I usually had to be the one to contact her first.  If she ever did contact me and I acted surprised, she say something like "consider this your lucky day!"  She never contacted me for the sake of just wanting to be my friend, unless she felt guilty about something she did to me in the past, and needed to profusely apologize to "clear the slate" so she could then believe I was content and she could move on to the next person.

Life with Jodi was WIERD!  It was no surprise when she began preaching messages on the Wizard of Oz, claiming that she wasn't pinpointing all of her friends, as the ones in the story.  When I confronted her for her use of this story, in order to paint all her "enemies" (us) as the ones who led "Dorothy" in the wrong direction...her response was that SHE was Dorothy, the one with the uncertainty, and that she NEVER WANTED TO HURT ANYONE.  From there she played the martyr role with me, saying "I can't believe you would even THINK that I'd DO something like that!"  Then, when she couldn't MOVE me on her behalf, she got nasty and said, "God gave me a message and I'm going to GIVE it!  If people think it's about them and that I'm lashing out at them, well that's THEIR PROBLEM and not MY CONCERN!"  It was a typical pattern with Jodi...fake apology, martyr, punisher.  She still does it to this day!!![/size]
~ReallyME

Hopalong

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #8 on: April 15, 2006, 10:07:53 AM »
Hey Really,
Yep, when Ns are done with someone (who's no longer supplying them properly) it's JUST like that:
Quote
began acting as though we never shared any happy times together, like there were no warm feelings between us...as though she had totally disowned me completely as friend and human being

Despite dramatic shows of feeling at times, I was always amazed at how easy they un-attach. How it could shift from me being real and mattering, to not.

Lucky you're out of her orbit, Really. Or do you think you're still pulled in? Do you have to keep interacting with her? If so, I bet that's really difficult.

Hops
"That'll do, pig, that'll do."

Sheela

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #9 on: April 24, 2006, 10:36:21 PM »
This is a very good thread, a little painful and sad for me . . .it was one thing trying to rebuild a life after being married to an abusive N,.

Clearly, my son is also a N, and though abused by his father, they are two sad little chips off the narissistic block . . .

I want to add something here to think about . . .

i nursed that young man as a baby and saw the soft wonder in his eyes;  i know how much and by whom he was so psychologically wounded . . .

I would like to add that the inner life of a classic N is a torment that they can never admit  . . the sense of self is so fragile, so easily threatened, they are exquisitely sensitive in all the wrong ways . . .an N is doomed to repeat the same behavior over and over without ever seeing into the reasons behind it . . .they must pretend constantly that they don't know that something is wrong . . .they miss so much simple humble kindness . . .

and while needing help can never ask for it, they respond to kindnes by offering a fresh wound  . . .

sheela

Remember Narcissus in the greek myth  . .. he was turned into a flower (a daffodil is a narcissus) beecuae the gods took pity on him . . .

I nursed that child of mine . . .I know I can't indulge him but i am allowed pity . . .

gratitude28

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #10 on: April 24, 2006, 11:52:12 PM »
Sheela,
I am so sorry for you. It must be so hard to see your baby that way. To you he must still be your baby, and you keep getting sucked in by that.
I too feel pity for my mother. She is so obviously pathetically trying to be something, and she doesn't know what or who that is or how to do it. She spends so much time on the trivial and has no real richness in her life. She often seems so scared and childlike. But, like you said, when I try to be kind, that is when she will do something nasty. So I can pity her, but I need to do so at a distance.
Sheela, I truly am sorry for you. A mother's bond with her child seems unbreakable. You must be so hurt.
Love, Beth
"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable." Douglas Adams

Sheela

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #11 on: April 29, 2006, 12:28:29 PM »
Dear beth,

Loving from a distance is still a powerful thing . . .

We are forced to learn from the N's in our life the difference is between love and indulgence.

There is also difference between being hurt and being detached, I am not saying that I am not in pain, at times
but there is always some kind of pain in life and there is always hope, too. I no longer think my pain is somehow more searing
or more deeply felt than anyone elses and i do not fear the pain i feel

we shouldn't forget that narcissism is the result of a terrible emotional wound, we shouldn't forget that
the purpose of this experience is to teach us something important

i would rather be "sucked in" by love a thousand times than reject, out of hand, my own flesh . . .distance, detachment
and careful consideration is as you pointed out a good strategy

Regards
Sheela


Sheela

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #12 on: May 01, 2006, 10:39:18 PM »
Dear Moon,

Thank you, I am do glad you are still here!  you are not by any means silly or foolish but loving. gentle and wise
I am so glad and honored to be your friend . . .

Our N's they have deep feelings but there is a kind of emotional dullness, a kind of low IQ-ness of emotional smarts . . .
I believe that drabness leads them to their hurtful ways  . . .if i was ever wise, it comes from the difficulty of dealing with the N scenario

Bless you my dear, there is such kindness in your words, so gald youare back . .. i will lookat the other thread and then
to sleeeppzzzzz . . ..

Your Friend

Sheela

gratitude28

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #13 on: May 01, 2006, 11:43:26 PM »
Moon,
You are such a good person. I am trying to get where you are... to feel bad for my mother and be more understanding. Some days I can :) I pray for her. And it is terrible to imagine a person can go through life not feeling love. Thank you for being an inspiration.
Beth
"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable." Douglas Adams

MarisaML

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #14 on: May 02, 2006, 05:25:49 PM »
This is a wonderful thread, gratitude!  I like to see how N's are defined and others' views together.  I do feel so strongly that my MIL and SIL are both N's.  My other SIL has N traits but I don't believe she has the disorder.  And the men in the family had always hid their heads in the sand and chose to ignore these mean bossy women. Except for now my husband and brother-in-law are coming around.  I printed off some things about N's off the internet and gave to my SIL Teresa (husband's brother's wife) and she read them and agreed that it sounded like the in-laws.  She then passed on the papers to her husband and didn't tell him the source of them.  She didn't say anything about his mother but told him she thought it was like his sister.  He read the red flags of narcissism and said that it did sound just like his sister and it sounded like his mother too.  A few days later she told me that he had been reading a lot about narcissism.  This made me feel better that more people are aware of what is going on with the in-laws.  My husband has read the symptoms of narcissism also and agreed it sounded a lot like them too.  I'm not sure where this is going but I do hope that 'awareness' of the Narcissism will help.  And the more people who understand the disorder the better.  Knowledge is power after all. :)