Author Topic: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description  (Read 11912 times)

Sheela

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2006, 09:54:11 PM »
Dearest Moonie-Sweet,

Thank goodness for your messages . . .they brighten my day . . .I am happily over-working plus I GOT PROMOTED!

I have an idea here, a friend who spent long months in therapy as an aging N, told me that he thinks that in cases like his own,
the aging process helped him  . .. he describes it as "aging out" of narcissicism. The body and psyche gets to tired to keep all that disturbance going.
It isn't true in all cases but perhaps in a mild case, life experience mitigates and as he has told me, provides a painful but instructive lesson.
My "recovered" N friend still has some symptoms, he freely admits, but he is proud that he has learned to empathize and relate to many people emotionally
in a way that he was unable to in the past.

My point is and here is the mystery I contemplate . .. Love is a spiritual attribute, a condition of the soul, something i believe we all contain . . .
If this is true, then all human beings are at least capable of some form of love.

Remember Orson Welles and the movie, "Citizen Kane" . . . ?
The bloated overweening character (modeled on multi-millionaire Randolph Hearst) gasps with his dying breath . . .
the word . . ."Rosebud."  The characters in the film who survive Kane are baffled because they don't know who
 or what "Rosebud" is . . .only the person watching the movie truly knows that Rosebud, the last thing on earth truly loved by Kane is  . . .well,

A SLED . . .with the word "Rosebud" painted as a brand name on it.

Sometimes people with emotional trauma never grow (emotionally) past the age of their wound.
"Citizen Kane" tell us on his deathbed precisely when he was wounded . . . by whispering the name of the last pitiful object
he was able to freely love  . . .

My point is, a disabling wound like that happens in early childhood, before conscience and awareness are fully developed. . .
hence the lack of awareness, the lack of empathy, the emotional shallowness . . .

Only self-preservation survives, at all costs . . .
What a terrible wound! What a tragic loss!

Yet I think, there is hope  . .  .we don't expect sick people to perform like athletes,
should we expect the emotionally crippled amongst us to embody
what they are incapable of perceiving? Naturally, ther is no excuse for unlawful behavior.

A hard question . . .something i could not have asked myself 10 or 15 years ago . . .

I would love to hear some other thoughts on this . . .especially yours,
Moonlight

Love and Regards,
Sheela

reallyME

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #16 on: May 05, 2006, 11:57:20 PM »
Wow

This gave me some hope that one day Jodi might actually "age out" of Nism too.  Thanks.

Laura

lightofheart

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #17 on: May 07, 2006, 12:40:07 PM »
Like many here, I grew up with an N-parent who, so far as I know, managed never to grow up. Bummer for him!
As to defining narcissism in a more personal vs. clinical way, every narcissist I've ever been close to exhibited these traits in abundance:

-Lack of reciprocity; in an intimate setting, Ns usually spoke about themselves exhaustively with little or no interest in me beyond as an audience/giver of support. Very skilled at diverting conversation back to themselves even if I mention any problem in my own life.

-Lack of accountability; all his/her problems came from outside the self--other people or 'the universe' were to blame for everything, which conveniently protected the N from looking at their own choices/behavior or taking responsibility for their own happiness.

-Broken glasses/mirror; N's self-perceptions and perceptions of others were so distorted (or downright delusional) their descriptions of people/events/self bore no resemblance to anyone else's reality. Every N I've known was an unreliable narrator of their own life.

-Inability to process or consider even constructive suggestions/criticism; any suggestion that N's behavior/attitude was at fault or had adverse consequences were met with some combination of defensiveness, anger, dishonesty, excuses, manipulation and self-pity.

Oh, the things we learn the hard way...

lightofheart

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #18 on: May 09, 2006, 11:07:59 AM »
Moonlight,
I think my post was one person's subjective description of NPD in action, according to the thread topic. I tried to use what I've learned along the way that might help me or anyone else recognize narcissism in the moment. If your question means that you saw 'blaming the N' there, that's your truth and it's as good as anyone's, and I guess we see blame differently.

My phrasing may be light, but I sincerely believe it is a 'bummer for him' that my father never grew up. I feel for him and all the people and experiences he's lost due to his narcissism. I'll always be grateful that his suffering taught me more than I could say about the futility of judging or blaming someone for who they are. Because I'm no closer to perfect than him or anyone other N. Short of insanity, though, I think even Ns are responsible for the choices they make as adults, and abuse is a choice. Speaking for myself, forgiving my father was second nature, as automatic as loving him--the challenge was finally seeing him as accountable for his choices.

I agree, Moonlight, that love is the best defense, so long as it's self-love. It always broke my heart that no one could give it to my father.
  :)

Hopalong

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #19 on: May 09, 2006, 11:41:12 PM »
Moon,
I so hate to think of you being hurt and shamed as a little girl.
I know sometimes angry words can cut children more deeply than a blow.

I am deeply touched by the adult you chose to become, the heart you chose to keep open.

Your voice teaches me a lot...thank you, Moon.

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

Hopalong

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #20 on: May 10, 2006, 07:51:19 AM »
the Lord did have mercy.
He created Moon.

Thank you soo much for that story. I adore your mother...quicksilver person, goldenheart, smart....
like mother like daughter in all the good ways. How you must miss her. How your kids must adore you.

Poor cop. Too many bad guys, empathy all gone.

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

lightofheart

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #21 on: May 10, 2006, 09:35:15 AM »
Moonlight,
This is the post I responded to:

I'd like it if someone here could put the characteristics of N'ism into their own words.  Anyone?

~ReallyME

I read this and tried to respond in kind in my original post.

You wrote:
I think by now we can recognize an N when we see one.


I am glad if you can recognize an N when you see one. Right now, my experience is different, so I would not be part of your we. I try to speak for myself on issues this personal/emotional. I think 'we' is only inclusive  if it applies to everyone  in the conversation.

I think there are many Ns who move through the world unrecognized as Ns, even by their inner circle. Despite whatever I've learned about narcissism, I still struggle with seeing NPD for what it is in the moment, most recently, even after months of consistent N'ism in a close friendship. The fallout from this is an ongoing source of pain and I often question my approach to the situation.

I guess that's why I chose the ''basic description' thread for my 1st post; I hoped it would be a safe place for even a beginner.

Peace.





pennyplant

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #22 on: May 10, 2006, 11:24:57 AM »
Dear lightofheart,

One problem I see with a basic description of N is that there can be degrees of N-ism.  There are also other emotional conditions that seem to share some of the same characteristics.  And there is the individual's personal history which may account for a variety of behaviours being exhibited that can be hard to fit into the various symptom categories.  So, I guess I don't really work from a set diagnosis for the N-type people in my life.

Something I like about this board is that it is about Voicelessness.  I think that Voicelessness can have other causes than pure Narcissism.  I may not have a lot of full-blown Ns in my life, but I sure have problems with Voicelessness.

I also know that I want to regain my Voice and that there are certain people that I will not allow into my life because they will squash me.  I will not wait for the diagnosis!  There are lists of symptoms on the internet and in many of the books and readings people have posted here.  For me, those are guidelines in understanding the people who have squashed me.  Getting them out of my heart is the process I'm in now, and I just listen to all the voices here and take what may work for me.  For future encounters my "plan" is to take things much more slowly than I used to.  I pay attention to what it is that I do to participate in my own voicelessness.  Allowing my boundaries to be violated, not understanding my own boundaries, etc.

I'm not sure where you are with your process.  Have you read the symptom lists on-line already?  Eventually you will find that it is pretty repetitive.  Just keep reading them I guess until the information is internalized.  Lots of people here have much knowledge from their reading and can answer questions you might have from your own reading.  I haven't read much other than the online stuff.  I like reading the experiences here.  Everybody gets the information in their own way.

Pennyplant
"We all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun."
John Lennon

lightofheart

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #23 on: May 10, 2006, 02:41:16 PM »
Dear Moonlight,
Please don't beat up on yourself; I'm far from perfect myself. I try to hope people are doing the best they can.  :D

My father was of the beating/bragging school, too. Also, guns and death threats and calling in people you see on The Sopranos. Nobody in my immedatie family had words for who he was (or anything emotional) during the worst of it: we just tried to survive him.

The first time I read definitons of narcissism and sadism in a psychology text (same chapter) I slammed the book shut on my hands. It felt wrong to see my father dissected there for anyone to see. But it taught me a lot about the power of naming the beast.

The good news is, he accidentally helped me become a pretty non-judgmental, understanding person. The less good news is, I've learned the hard way that I can be a magnet for closet N's (people with healthy facades who eventually behave very differently in private) as I tend to take them at face value, think the best, and can give them the benefit of the doubt far too long. So, once I get in someone's corner, I  can be slow to hold them accountable for narcissistic behavior. I'm still in quandry over one N. I'm forced to deal with, which has been a helpful excercise in boundaries-setting, but stressful.

P.S. Thank you for extending a hand, Pennyplant. Before your post, I felt a little unwelcome here

pennyplant

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #24 on: May 10, 2006, 02:51:26 PM »
You're welcome, lightofheart. 

Sometimes, with me anyway, it takes awhile to get to know a person or a place.  I'm glad you stuck it out.

Pennyplant
"We all shine on, like the moon, and the stars, and the sun."
John Lennon

Hopalong

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #25 on: May 16, 2006, 06:14:11 PM »
Yikes, LoH! I'm so sorry I didn't extend myself to say so! I was being lazy.

I am DELIGHTED you are here, and warm welcome.

I have been really happy every single time I read one of your smart, wonderfully articulated posts.

Please stay,

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

blue

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #26 on: May 17, 2006, 12:50:43 AM »
I just wanted to add that I have felt great sorrow at my family and their pain and all the pain they have caused me and others
(I have an N mother,father,brother,grandmother and b/f )
I to feel sadness and yes pity
I wonder sometimes why i have had all this in my life
i truly believe it has taught me compassion **yes at a distance*
To me they really are children
When i think of the damage my mother has done *she is the worst off all of them**
it is shocking But at the same time she seems to be a little child. watching Mr Rodgers and living in her dream world
Talking to her is futile and i gave up many many years ago
Its sad and sometimes i cry not for me but for them
blue


bluerose

Hopalong

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #27 on: May 17, 2006, 12:58:33 AM »
I'm sorry, Blue, your life got stuck on one letter of the alphabet...

I was surprised to read "bf"...are you staying with an Nbf by choice?

Tell us more if you feel like talking about it...

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

reallyME

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #28 on: May 17, 2006, 08:26:52 AM »
blue,

I was reading over the posts today and something you said caught my eye "watching Mr Rogers"...Jodi was very into Spongebob and even preached a message online on the Wizard of Oz, wherein she characterized all her "friends" as the characters who "tried to stop Dorothy (Jodi herself) from pursuing her destiny.  She painted herself as the hero, who had a weak nature and was easily swayed by others, yet had a goal to achieve.  It was weird.  We all could tell it was problems she had with all of us, that she was teaching about, but not using our exact names.  When we questioned her motive, she responded with "no nooooooooo I'd NEVER do that!  i'm DOROTHY, I'M DOROTHY...don't you understand??? I'm Dorothy!"  Then, when she decided that my friend Dove was not fitting her image of the perfect "ministry" she told her, "Well, I have the scarecrow and the tinman, but I'm NOT coming back for the cowardly lion, so you better make real sure this is your final decision not to join me and the others."

Thanks for listening and for sharing,

RM
Laura

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Re: Narcissistic Personality Disorder: basic description
« Reply #29 on: May 18, 2006, 09:34:05 AM »
Hi again Hopalong,

Thanks for your warm words & welcome; I do feel very welcome here, kind folks like you go a long way towards that. I appreciate it.

Looking back over this thread, I finally processed something about Ns (by N, I mean folks who may or may not have NPD but who, imho, consistently meet most of the critieria) and the way they communicate that I hope to recognize as a possible N. red flag in the future. Big thanks and pats on the back to everyone who's posted/shared here; your insights really pushed me along! I'm embarrassed at how simple this one is...but, then again, if I thought I should only voice smart things I'd sure be quiet a lot.

So, red flag for me=Inability to participate in two-way communication for any sustained length of time, aka one-way or 'blind' communicators. An open communicator listens carefully, asks follow-up questions, processes incoming info., reflects back, listens actively, etc. I think some Ns, and lots of Ns who have to public-speak/run meetings at work, can pass themselves off as two-way, open communicators, but, especially interpersonally, tend to wait for their turn to speak rather than take much in from the other person. Disclosers vs. receivers.

Does this make any sense/sound familiar?
Very curious about other opinions.

 :D
Thanks!
Best,
LoH