Thursday, 28 June 2012

From the Web. A professional view.

It may be written by a pro and  it seems to have loads of information and takes a very neutral stance.
Q. Do Narcissists only love themselves?
A. Narcissists cannot love in a healthy or traditional way. They profess love only in order to be loved back - this is narcissistic love. In a healthy relationship, loving someone is not dependent upon emotional reciprocity. If your child stops loving you - you do not stop loving him. You simply cannot not love him. For the Narcissist, when the admiration from the other person stops, their "love" for that person stops. Narcissists love the reflection of themselves. In other words, they cannot formulate self love solely on who they are (because inside they feel worth-less), so they project an image of themselves for others to see (i.e. someone very intelligent, rich, accomplished etc.). Then when people around them buy into that projected image, and begin to reflect it back to the narcissist (through admiration, awe, or clinging behavior), the narcissist is able to love that reflected image of himself (i.e. "everyone can see how wonderful I am so I must be wonderful").
Q. Can the Narcissist live a normal life?
A. What's normal? If you mean like most people, then the answer is no. Instead of realistic goals, the Narcissist has a grandiose fantasy. The fantasy cannot be effectively pursued because it is an elusive, ever receding target.
To the Narcissist, life is too difficult. The Narcissist does have achievements which might be judged as being very good, but he has to "minimise" them as having been "too easy" to achieve. The Narcissist cannot admit that he has worked hard to achieve something – this will shatter his fantasy of being grandiose or better than everyone else. He must outwardly belittle every achievement of his and make it sound uneventful, nothing special, quite routine. This enables him to support the dreamland quality of his fragmented personality. But it also prevents him from feeling accomplished by having reached a goal: he side steps the opportunity to get social support for his achievement which would help develop his sense of self-confidence,and strengthening his sense of self-worth. When he does achieve something – he degrades it to enhance his own sense of omnipotence (to keep from facing reality).
Q. What kind of parent does the Narcissist make?
A. Narcissism tends to breed Narcissism. The Narcissistic parent regards his or her child as a multifaceted source of Narcissistic supply. The child is considered and treated as an extension of the Narcissist's personality. It is through the child that the Narcissist seeks to settle "open accounts" with the world. The child is supposed to materialize the unfulfilled Narcissistic dreams and fantasies of the Narcissistic parent.
This "Life by Proxy" can develop in two possible ways: the Narcissist can either merge with his child or be ambivalent towards him. The ambivalence is the result of a conflict between the attainment of Narcissistic goals and pathological (destructive) envy. To ameliorate the unease bred by emotional ambivalence, the Narcissist resorts to a myriad of control mechanisms. The latter can be grouped into: guilt-driven ("I sacrificed my life for you…"), dependence-driven ("I need you, I cannot cope without you…"), goal-driven ("We have a common goal which we must achieve") and explicit ("If you do not adhere to my principles, beliefs, ideology, religion or any other set of values – sanctions will be imposed").
Q. What kind of person is attracted to a narcissistic partner?
A. The narcissist's partner must have a distorted grasp of himself and of reality. Otherwise, he (or she) is bound to abandon the narcissist early on. The tendency is for the narcissist to belittle and demean the partner – while aggrandizing and adoring himself. The partner is, thus, placing himself in the position of the eternal victim: undeserving, punishable, a scapegoat. Sometimes, it is very important to the partner to appear moral, sacrificial and victimized. At other times, he is not even aware of his predicament.
The Narcissist is perceived by the partner to be superior in many ways (intellectually, emotionally, morally, financially). The status of professional victim sits well with the partner's tendency to punish himself. The partner, by playing the role of dependent/victimb encourages certain traits and behaviors, which are at the very core of Narcissism. A Narcissist is never whole without an adoring, submissive, available, self-denigrating partner. His very sense of superiority, indeed his false self, depends on it. He needs a source of continual validation that he is superior.
It is through self-denial that the partner survives. He denies his wishes, hopes, dreams, aspirations, sexual needs, psychological needs, material needs, everything, which might engender the wrath of the Narcissist Godlike supreme figure. The Narcissist is rendered even more superior through and because of this self-denial.
Q. Can the Narcissist ever get better?

A. A Narcissistic Personality Disorder is an all-pervasive condition. It is an inseparable part of the personality, a recurrent set of behavior patterns. Recent research shows that there is a condition which might be called "Transient or Temporary or Short Term Narcissism" as opposed to Narcissistic Personality Disorder, (NPD)". The phenomenon of "Reactive Narcissistic Regression" is well known: people regress to a temporary narcissistic phase in reaction to a major life crisis which threatens their mental composure. There are Narcissistic traits in every personality and in this sense, all of us are Narcissists to this or to that extent. However the person with NPD lives his life entrenched with the extreme symptoms of the disorder. No one knows why, but as with age (in one's late forties) the Disorder seems to decrease in intensity and levels off to a lesser degree of intensity. This does not universally occur, though.
Q. Can the Narcissist feel empathy for others?

A. The Narcissist always feels bad. He experiences all manner of depressive episodes and lesser dysphoric moods. He goes through a full panoply of mood disorders and anxiety disorders. He experiences panic from time to time. It is not pleasant to be a Narcissist. But he has a diminished ability to empathize, so he rarely feels sorry for what he has done. He almost never puts himself in the shoes of his "victims". Sure, he feels distressed because he is intelligent enough to realize that something is wrong with him in a major way. He compares himself to others and the outcome is never favorable. His grandiosity is one of the defense mechanisms that he uses to cover up for this disagreeable state of things. However this is his darkest secret. He doesn't want others to see his inner feelings of inferiority. The Narcissist is immersed in self-loathing and self pity. He is under duress and distress most of his waking life. When others around him are in pain he will use even this to aggrandize himself: "poor things, if they had just listened to me," or "they are so inferior. It is no wonder that they are so depressed." With the narcissist everything is me me me. The narcissist will listen to a friend's troubles by topping their story with one of his own, rather than offer comfort. The only way a Narcissist can train himself to feel something close to empathy is to imagine that the story is about him. His responce might be "That happened to me once and it was awful."
Q. What causes Narcissism to develop?
A. Narcissism is thought to develop in young children who are not given the nurturing and admiration they need from their caregivers. While the young child's personality is developing they internalize their experience with emotional neglect as inadequacy in themselves. They get the message that they are undeserving of love and attention and learn to defend their ego by puffing themselves up with their peers. Children who continually lie about their life by creating fantastic stories representing their inflated sense of power or importance are exhibiting narcissistic traits. They feel so unimportant that they fear what others' would think of them if they found out how dull and painful their life really was. As they grow into adulthood, this tendency to lie about their life often develops into an intense need to identify themselves in some way with people they see as important or superior. For instance, after seeing an actor in an airport, they might begin to tell stories about their friendship with the actor in an attempt to place themselves on the actors perceived status level in the eyes of others. They might join organizations or elite clubs in an attempt to make connections with important people. However their circle of peers will be composed of people whom the narcissist looks down on, people who look up to him as they listen to his stories of grandiosity. All the while, the narcissist is desperately trying to create what was missing in childhood.



  2. Very interesting Dave. Thanks for the post. I do disagree with the author though about it decreasing with age. I've not found this to be true (and I've found this not to be the experience with many bloggers). Or maybe it pertains to male narcissists. I can see it decreasing then. But with females, it seems to me that they get worse because their children grow up, move out, get families of their own. Increasing independence on the part of their narcissistic supply sends them into a froth. Anyway, that's how it's been with NM and NMIL. Maybe it's just my experience.

  3. I agree Jessie, NM hate their kids becoming teenagers, and starting to think independently.
    I also find many things on the article at odds with quite a few things in the article. In particular people attracted to narcissists, seems to make them lacking in something too. What about if someone just doesn't have a clue that he or she's being worked over? Narcs can play the nice guy and keep it up for a lifetime.

    And lot's more

    1. I agree. My EFIL is not the pathetic creature this article describes. Some hapless dope who feels inferior. He, in actuality, is a friendly, successful, kind man who I think just doesn't see it. I don't think it would ever occur to him that she works him like a marionette. He just doesn't see that in people and tends to see the best in people. I DO think he likes to be taken care of, and she fits the bill, running around ACTING like the perfect wife doing everything. I think he is a bit lazy and liked that she was a take charge kind of woman. And I think she has him convinced that she is helpless and needs caring for, which boosts his self esteem. You should see the way he runs to her defense at any little slight towards her. He does all her dirty work (unwittingly) and often takes the backlash too, all the while not realizing that she set him up (as she often did my husband).

  4. EXACTLY. The Ns are consummate actors and actresses; IMO the ultimate "ConMen/Women." They surely can keep up a "Public Persona" for indefinite periods especially when they wish to impress or target their next "prey."
    My experience with my MNPsychobitch-she absolutely got worse with age. What little "filter" she may have used in her younger years was cast aside entirely. And they never, ever forget any "slight," real or more likely imagined. I terminated the relationship completely with mine in 1984 and she spent the next 18 yrs. engaging in just horrid stuff. One of her more benign "tactics" was to pelt me with snail-mail letters no matter how frequently I moved with all kinds of nasty stuff written all over the outside of the envelopes so the rural postal person could read ALL about ME! Generally, these letters hit the trash as soon as I came inside the house. I had been advised by a Risk Assessment Firm not to bother doing anything different than what I was currently doing with her letters unless the pattern changed: I was advised to forward them to the Firm or read them myself. I received a series of letters-sometimes as many as 3/day with one or two line "notes" inside starting in May, '98.
    In one of them she was continuing (over 15 pages worth) to denigrate Dad:
    -I had terminated the relationship with her completely NC 14 yrs. previously.
    -Dad had died in '88, 10 yrs. previously.
    -Dad had divorced her in '72, 26 yrs. previously.
    I can remember as a child feeling (and stating to my friends) as that article underscores-as if I were an appendage, like an arm or a leg.
    Is it me or do they have some weird concept of time?

    1. I think they have a weird concept of reality in general. Slights are stored on some mental roladex and anything can trigger the memory, bringing it up like it happened yesterday for them.
      My NM has let go of her filter too. But she has some weird sense of entitlement that "at her age" she's allowed to be a mean, prying, insensitive shrew. She can explain anything away with "well, when you are older like me, it's my turn to do things how I want". She also has some sick idea that she's somehow finally "sticking up for" herself. And by sticking up for herself, I mean tearing anyone near her who dares offend her in anyway apart at the seams.

  5. WOW! No, when you're OLDER you know better than to EVER pull this "Entitlement" crap. No one is going to want you around and you're gonna find yourself alone and friendless if not family-less. Yk, I'm now a bit older than my MNPsychobitch the last time I was in her physical presence and I am more horrified than ever by her behavior. Perhaps at some unconscious level I thought maybe I'd "understand" when I "Got Older"?
    I understand all right! What a nasty, evil woman she truly was. There's just NO acceptable "excuse" for this stuff. NONE. A dx. is NOT an "excuse." It speaks to a pattern of behavior and is used for billing purposes. This "sticking up" for herself sounds more like an emotional "stick-'em-up"!

  6. TW, i get the appendage bit, like you're just extension of her. Even in my 40s she once said 'because you're my son' implying she still had the ownership documents.

    Or, 'I don't like how you answer me back' she barked at about the same time. 'so, don't then, just respect it' brought the crocodile tears.

    She's a reptile.