Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Is NPD Genetically Caused?

Here is why I'm skeptical, though I think genetics has some influence on things like suseptibility to narcissistic injury and may play a role in the story.

First, studies of identical twins, raised both apart and together, have indicated hereditary influence on personality traits. Traits. Not whole personalities. It's unscientific to confuse the two. Confusing things with what they ain't is a propaganda trick, not Scientific Method.

I really hate abuse of statistics. Like when people say, "Research shows that 65% of personality is inherited."

No. The percentages researchers came up with were a creature of their instruments (evaluations and questionnaires), not a measure of how alike the twins actually were. For example, if most of your questions are aimed at eliciting evidence of narcissism, you are going to find a high percentage of correlation due to just that one trait. But what percentage of the package of that person's total personality is that? Perhaps minuscule.

No ones claims to have an instrument that measures the whole spectrum of human personality, so that it can be used in such a study to determine "how alike" the personalities of identical twins really are.

What's more, the trait of narcissism exists to some extent in everyone and is a far different thing than NPD.

Now here is the website of the main proponent of the hypothesis that narcissism is genetically caused.

I shall explain what I find lacking here - EVIDENCE. VALID SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE. By the way, I'm no geneticist, but I have a Bachelor of Science degree in biology with graduate credit in advanced genetics. So, I'm not exactly clueless here.

This "theory" is vague. What exactly does it assert? What it SUGGESTS and HINTS AT is obvious, but what does it actually assert? That is impossible to nail down. There is a mile of wiggle room in it. This vagueness is unscientific.

Check it out. It never comes right out and plainly says what it implies - that NPD and malignant narcissism are genetically caused. In fact, it defines malignant narcissism as coming to the attention of a mental healthcare professional.

A very, very strange way to define a disease = as getting the attention of a physician. (I love unintended humor.)

Right at the top, this site claims the "theory" (actually no more than a hypothesis) is "Based on Mendelian genetics."

Okay, where? Show me the Mendelian genetics.

I know that humans aren't as easy to deal with as garden peas, but if you're going to claim that your hypothesis is based on Mendelian genetics, I want to see the numbers.

Where are the studies? Studies of people reliably diagnosed and their families.

What does Dr. Benis get? Fifty-percent of every statistically valid sampling of the children of N's having NPD? I'll take 1 in 4 for a recessive trait. Show me them numbers, please. Why aren't there any numbers?

Hey, it could be a blended trait among multiple genes and alleles, resulting in more complex mathematical probabilities. It's been too long since my graduate course in advanced genetics to remember all the common patterns, but I will take any definite ratio you prove exists as evidence for the claim. I don't care. Just show me that the ratio of offspring who have the disorder is always the SAME in every statistically valid sampling.

Show me.

That's what Brother Mendel did: he kept noticing that exactly 3/4 of the offspring of certain garden-pea-plant crosses always came out a certain way for some traits and that exactly 1/4 of the offspring for other crosses always came out the same way for other traits. He correctly reasoned that these traits must therefore be inherited. Otherwise the ratios wouldn't be constant from garden to garden, generation to generation.

Since we knew nothing about chromosomes at the time, three cheers for him. That was an awesome bit of science.

So, where are Dr. Benis' numbers? Gregor Mendel produced them for us. Everyone else who has established a genetic cause for something has produced the proof in those telling numbers that always come out in the ratio that echos the laws of probability. So, where are Benis' numbers?

What does that site gives us instead? The section on Royal Genealogy. This is no substitute for scientifically valid data on real people - this "personality typing" (a euphemism for "diagnosing") of the CARICATURES of long dead people.

Now, I'm guessing that you don't need graduate credit in genetics to know what's wrong with that. Especially what's wrong with using the royal family of Europe.

For one thing, these people were horribly inbred and, as a result, carry a large "genetic load" of genetic abnormalities (usually as recessive alleles that don't express themselvs except in children when both parents are carriers). They lead to such things as insanity and hemophilia. (Which is why Europe's royals don't intermarry anymore.) If you want to study something caused by the lack of one known enzyme, like hemophilia, they make a great test group. But not for something as cloudy as this. It would be impossible to sort out what genetic abnormality was causing what.

And looking for narcissism among royals? One might as well look for the color blue in the sky.

A royal may be as humble as Prince Hamlet, but his scripted performance is total narcissism. I mean, that's why he's called "my lord" and "your highness" and "your grace" and "your majesty" you know. He's supposed to act the part. You would have to know him personally as an intimate friend or family member to know the real him. Royals are trained from birth to ritually narcissistic behavior. They're SUPPOSED to be stuffy. Supposed to be imperious. Indeed, they WERE imperiors/emperors of their empires.

And of course royals will tend to actually be narcissistic as well. Just because of who they are and the way they are raised and treated.

But narcissism isn't NPD. Where is the distinction between situational acquired narcissm and malignant narcissism? Benis makes none.

A narcissistic personality isn't a narcissistically disordered one. What's more, a royal's narcissism will usually be elevated self esteem (situational acquired narcissism), not NPD, which is low self esteem in denial and acting haughty to dissimulate. They are very, very different things. One is malignant, the other is not.

And who diagnosed -'er, I mean "typed" all these generations of royals? From what examination? Of what evidence? Benis is diagnosing people way back to the 13th century. He knows that much about those hundreds of once famous people? Give me a break.

His hypothesis is just a proposed model, period. Pure thought on the matter. Not a shred of evidence is cited in support of it.

His model may be right about some things, or even many things, but there is no way to know that. And no sound reason to believe it. In fact, there is reason for scepticism, because Benis just glosses over the caveats and objections to his hypothesis, as if doing that deals with the questions they raise. What's more, he first published this model in 1990. So, if he's so sure of this, why are there still no legitimate studies to supply any evidence to back it up?

I am a firm believer in leaning toward the most likely explanation for things, not the most unlikely one. Unfortunately, studies show that most people prefer the most unlikely one.

And political correctness has no time for any explanation that puts any responsibility for himself on the narcissist. Who has a higher opinion of him then? The bleeding hearts who regard him as a machine? Or me? I regard him as a person with the power to choose for himself whether he will abuse someone or not, whether he will face facts or not. The bleeding hearts are always misplacing their sympathy. It all goes to the narcissist. They don't "understand" the victim's anger: instead they preach at the victim to "understand" the narcissist's rage. I bet such folks really like this genetic hypothesis. It must be popular in that crowd.

Genotype may well contribute to a susceptibility or predisposition to NPD. Childhood narcissistic abuse may be an important factor. And it goes against reason to disregard the obvious - CHOICE - as a cause of the way a person with NPD habitually thinks and conducts himself.

We need evidence to know whether, and to what extent if any, genetics is a factor. We need evidence to know whether, and to what extent if any, childhood abuse is a factor. But we need nothing but common sense to know that choice is operating in people who behave quite normally in the presence of witnesses and only act crazy behind closed doors in the dark.

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At 1:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Long time reader and first time contributor. My bona fides. My father is a narcissist. My ex-wife is a narcissist. One of my business partners is a narcissist. I am one of those folks who felt the brunt of this disorder for years. It wasn't until about two years ago that I realized there was a name for it, and there was a great relief to know that it actually had a name.

I do not see how one can argue for some genetic explanation for this disorder. How do you genetically explain a person who tells you one thing one day, and the next day absolutely reverses her position? Then when you call her on it, she tells you that you are crazy? How do you genetically explain a person who is obsessed with image? How do you explain someone who puts a power move on you, and then when you call her on it blames you?

Like Hamlet, I didn't ask to be born into a crazy nonfeeling family, but I have had to make the best of it. And I have discovered the truth of what Churchill said of the Germans: they are either at your neck or at your feet. That is how you must treat narcissists. You either ignore them totally or you either slam them. In short, they must fear you because they understand that you won't play around with them. If you do this, they will eventually leave you alone.

It has been my experience that with NPD every decision they make is always done with the angle of what they think will put them in the best light or give them a power trip. I simpy cannot buy that this is some kind of genetically caused disorder.

I talked with a woman yesterday who is going through a divorce and her husband has NPD. She was married to him for 28 years. He was a serial adulterer and she kept taking him back. In the process, the woman has lost her health and she has nothing.

I also talked with a therapist of some 35 years who confirmed the studies about the healing rate for narcissists: it is very low. He said that he has had little success treating narcissists. Why should they change? It is always the fault of the other person. That is the reason that marriage counseling is probably never going to work with an NPD spouse. It takes 100% commitment and a willingness to examine one's actions to make a marriage work. These people are not self aware. And why should they be? Again, it is always the other person's fault.

How can genetics explain any of this? My exwife has two brothers. Neither of them are Narcissists. They are okay people, but my exwife is an unfeeling, manipulative, highly intellectual (in the narrow sense of the word) CPA.

By the way, there are three children in my birth family. We three children finally figured out my father. He is now in his 80's and really made life a living hell for us and our mother. One of this methods was to always be on the "outs" with one of the children. This was only a tactic to "divide and conquer" the children. He know that if the children ever got together and figured him out, the game was up. A few years ago- after all of us had been in therapy- we figured it out. And the game is up for him. There isn't much uglier than an aging narcissist. His little games don't work with us anymore and his descent toward the abyss has increased. He can't divide and conquer us anymore.

Anyway, I ain't buying the genetic explanation for this disorder. There are too many nuances of behavior that involve conscious choices that genetics can in no way explain. Thank you for reading and thank you Kathy for your blog. I read it every couple of days. After a lifetime of narcissists, it helps keep me grounded.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Exactly. You described Ns to a T. I never heard that about Churchill before, but he had Hitler pegged right from the start.

When people who are supposed to be authorities and experts say stuff like this - like that NPD is genetic or that the poor sensitive N is just defending his or her delicate feelings, it makes you wonder if they have any idea what they are dealing with in NPD!

Genetics and tender feelings don't make someone diabolical and so in-your-face with their abuse that they'll scream the sky is purple one minute and that it's green the next, like a raging 3-year-old (who makes things whatever she wants) just to mock you with their gaslighting.

Ns do that because it works, period.

What do some of these experts think NPD is? Just having a big ego and tender, volatile feelings? They have a lot to learn about it if they do.

At 5:45 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

By blaming parents or genetics aren't we continuing to play into these peoples hands by blaming everyone and everything but them? It really does no one any good either way, including the narcissist.

As far as psychiatry goes, so little is known about the brain that most treatment is nothing more that educated guess work and experimentation. It is soft science at best.

Having lived with it all around me all of my life, I think I am as qualified to take a guess at it as anyone else. I think it reasonable to say it is partly genetic, partly chemical, partly nurture, and largely choice.

The thing with always putting the emphasis on childhood abuse is that you can't believe anything a narcissist says and it is wholely in their character to blame their parents whether they are guilty or not. They always blame everyone around them and refuse to take responsibility for themselves or for anything. Ironically, the only thing that will cure them is choosing to take responsibility. Even if they were abused, this is the key to their recovery.


At 5:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't buy the genetic theory either: I am strongly convinced by what I have read and my own experience that the causes lie in environmental factors - i.e. mistreatment or neglect in childhood.

Though parents often claim they treat all of their children the same, they most certainly don't. As someone pointed out in the comments recently, narcissistic families just love a scapegoat. We actually had two in mine - I was one of them. The scapegoat is often the one who won't play the game and gets out.

I agree that narcissists choose to be the way they are. But I also think that behind every psychopath and narcissist lies a history of neglect or abuse. A lot of neglected or abused children certainly do not go on to abuse, but a lot of them do - perhaps many more than the statistics show.

I would wager that you won't find a personality-disordered adult without a disturbed childhood background.

At 7:06 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

The problem with that belief isn't that it might not be true: it's that the evidence we do have contradicts it. Disregarding scientific evidence is as incorrect as speculating without any. The research on psychopaths (who are all narcissists) is abundant. It says that many come from good homes.

Now, as I said in an earlier post, I am not convinced that these studies probed deeply enough to uncover abuse in those families, so I share your doubt on that. But I don't think it's correct to blow off so many studies as wrong on the basis of one person's personal experience in their tiny piece of the world.

So, I see your point and even entertain similar thoughts, but I appreciate the value of scientific evidence. So long as it is valid and done by trustworthy people like Hare, it should be respected as carrying weight.

Another problem is that this belief condemns parents as guilty by virtue of simply having a child who becomes narcissistic. NPD is only the latest in a long line of things that have been blamed on the parents. It seems like every time it is proved that parents aren't to blame for something (like autism or zchitzophrenia) people just come up with a new thing to blame them for.

Narcissists ALWAYS blame themselves on their parents. That's de rigeur. So their word on the matter has 0 credibility.

For example, see the way Lee Harvey Oswald blames himself on his mother to therapists at the Main Site in "Meet the Narcissist: A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing > Lee Harvey Oswald". You can read there his stupid, slick-talking sob story to excuse what a creep he was - according to him it was all Mom's fault (sniff, sniff). In that joke he trumps up to CHILD ABUSE her not always buying him a him TV dinner on the way home from work (so that he was sometimes degraded by having to do the woman's work of fixing himself a meal). With nothing but drammatic tone and whining and glibness he sold the stupid therapists on that ridiculous idea. All narcissits are experts at making mountains out of molehills. So their whining carries no weight whatsoever.

Therefore you may be right, but there is all that scientific evidence to the contrary out there that just won't go away.

At 8:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think that the narcissism results from arrested development which in turn seems to be tied in with extreme extroversion. I know very little about psychology but the extroversion appears to cause the young person to expend all their efforts on the outward facing interactions rather than develope any inner sense of who they are. The pressure seems so great that they have no energy left over to develope that inner dialogue and understanding. When they are older they just give up trying and start to cover-up for this lack. That is a choice. But I cannot see that there is any choice involved in what happens to them when they are trying to attain adulthood.

At 10:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Kathy,

Narcissists don't always blame their parents. I'm pretty sure my father had NPD but a) he had nothing but praise for his dead parents and b) he didn't think there was anything wrong with him, anyway.

In other areas, though, he would have beaten world records in whinging, while always accusing other people of doing same.

In my experience, if things go wrong with a child, 'good enough' parents (in Bowlby's sense) ask themselves where they themselves went wrong. Narcissistic parents, on the other hand, blame the child.

Many of us - especially the offspring of narcissists - have, or have had, narcissistic behaviours that affect our own children negatively.

By the way, does Hare define what he means by a 'wonderful family?'

At 3:46 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy, I made the first comment and I want to follow up. I can only speak from experience which is about 50 years of dealing with a narcissistic parent and a narcissistic (now ex) wife. Incidentally, I have had a lot of therapy with a very good therapist. I think it is a choice, or series of choices, when people end up with NPD. However, I don't think those choices are made in a vacuum.

For instance, there is the issue of birth order. And maybe there is the issue of gender and birth order. And there are unconcious issues that maybe the parents haven't worked out between them. It all gets complicated.

I think, generally speaking, children develop NPD when they are abused OR when they are put up on a pedastol and treated as a blue ribbon child. In other words, it can develop -if that is the right word- when children are either devalued or are overvalued.

Make no mistake, I believe that children can end up with NPD when the parents don't either devalue or overvalue. But sometimes we must speak in generalities to get a handle on things. That's the reason more study is needed about this disorder.

Again, I can only speak out of my experience, but I have come to learn that my father had an older brother to die. He was, in effect, the "replacement" child. My grandparents had two girls and they really wanted a boy. This was back in the 20's. From my talking with relatives, I have learned that my father was basically devalued and overvalued at the same time. To his mother, my father could do nothing wrong. To his father, my father could do nothing right. I am sure that he grew up in very screwy circumstances. That is my best guess as to how he turned out the way he did.

But I'm no therapist. I am just a person desperately trying to understand how he turned out the way he did. The fact is, his sisters didn't turn out that way. He did. My grandparents perhaps set the stage, but he still walked on it. Another person might not have made that choice. He did. And while I might want to feel sorry for him, he will not allow that because he is still so manipulative.

As far as my ex, her mother enabled her behavior her whole life. She could NEVER do anything wrong. If she had a falling out with friends, according to her mother, it was ALWAYS the fault of the friends, not the fault of her daughter. The mother also felt that way about her sons, but they didn't turn our the way my ex did.

I can't explain it all, but in my experience, overvaluing and devaluing seem to be common denominators in the lives of my father and my ex. However, they still made a series of choices to end up as narcissists. Why they did? I can't answer. They just did. Maybe theologians and philosophers and therapists and scientiest can eventually give us that answer.

At 9:27 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

"Narcissists don't always blame their parents."

I have to disagree. They do. The key word here is "blame," not necessarily just trash for the heck of it.

So, what you're talking about is a little out of context.

As I have said myself here, on the Main Site and the book several times, when a narcissist's narcissistic parent is no longer a threat to their ego, their opinion of that parent goes upside-down overnight. Now they suddenly have revised history and revere that abusive parent they hated yesterday. Usually this happens upon the death of the parent. No risk in loving the dead, is there?

This can also happen if the parent becomes dependent, so that the child knows he now holds all the cards. I posted on this just recently.

But that is just how the N talks about the N parent. If you put that N before a judge or psychitrist, look out. I guarantee you that he will blame that parent like crazuy for what he his, whether he now speaks to everyone else about that parent as a saint at this stage or not.

At 7:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i've decided i can't really believe anything my N says about anything- i mean i have been thinking and wondering IF i could, but now that i have DECIDED i CAN'T and keep reminding myself i won't- i feel a little different. i can't call it 'peace' yet, but it is an 'improvement'.
i used to contemplate marriage counseling and have requested it in the past(from him) but have become aware that currently i have suggested it to gain distance from him knowing that it wouldn't really help even if it did happen.sad huh? but- truth can be.
i was thinking about his siblings yesterday. all of them have struggles that i'm sure are because of their home life but each kid displays differently. i can't share necessarily the details but none of them are functioning at a normal healthy level. each one struggles to find their way of surviving. now in my home with him i see our kids mimicking some of his behaviors but i don't know what verdict to give yet. maybe if i can redirect their and my own behavior(i made mistakes in the past as far as 'permitting' too much from him) and perform a sort of family detox program :)...maybe i can help untwist and modify my kids for their relationships and maybe i can't. people didn't know then what we think we know now about child psychology-they knew when they were being mean- but maybe they really didn't know to care about the long term effects. oh that sounded srewy after i actually said that. people have always known how it felt. some people care and some don't.blah.
sometimes i get a mental image of an N with a football tucked under their arm proudly running through a crowd of people or sometimes on a football field with one arm out in front dodging through and weaving in and out and everyone just looking at them puzzled or worried because nobodies playing and this person looks so intense but so out of place. the poor N just doesn't care because they are playing and thinks you're stupid cuz they're gonna win and then you'll be a sorry loser.ha!
i really like the comment about the "grandparents perhaps set the stage, but he still walked on it." it gave me an instance of peace and some more food for thought. i got an image of being a kid and being made to perform when i wasn't ready and how awful that was because i didn't 'have a voice' in the matter. we all know how that feels. if these people as kids were either 'forced' in some way to survive or chose to gain attention in this particular way- they were learning how to become actors and actresses.maybe some enjoyed it (like histrionics) and maybe some really didn't but never got permission to knock it off.i'm tired just thinking about it.i talk like i'm 'getting' all this, but i still struggle between being mad as hell at him- not caring anymore- and trying to find compassion or coping somewhere. sorry to keep rambling.jt

At 8:10 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I found out about NPD 3 years ago after trying to figure out why my ex had behaved the way she did.
I knew something about NPD for I am working as a psychiatric nurse for almost 20 years now.
But I had no experiance with them while I only met one in a psychiatric hospital all those years. I know now why.They stay out and if they were in I didn't recognise it. The only way they show up is when they are in deep depression or in a kind of psychotic state. But even then, they are very rare in hospital. Their victims are not I know now.
By learning about NPD many problems that I could not define before fell into place.
My mother acted like someone with NPD. I started to understand why my father killed himself and what was wrong all those years in our family.
I also started to think about genetics cause there is something special in our family. It's no proof offcourse but anyway then, its a strange coïncidence.
My parents had 7 children. All raised the same more or less in the same difficult circumstances.
My parents looked very differant and behaved very differant.
So my mother had all the traits of NPD and my father was an easy going, nice man who didn't care about image, status and all that kind of things. Like my mother did a lot offcourse.
The strange thing now is, that 2 of my sisters and one brother have very strong the looks of my mother and they behave more or less the same. All with narcisstic traits and the brother can be discriped as a pure NPD.
Me and my other 2 sister have very strong the looks of my father and behave more or less like him. One brother is in between. He went psychotic paranoïd with very strong narcisstic traits (NPD like)last year.
The 2 groups never could get along with eachother that well and this became worse when we got older.
After my mother died the differences surfaced quite extreme.
After I had learned about NPD I stopped with giving the attention the way I always gave it to the 3 'motherlike'. I never argued, just stopped the kind of attention I gave before. For almost 2 years now I never heard anything anymore from them. Just what you could aspect from people wih NPD or strong narcisstis traits.
So, in our family the looks of the narcisstic part are very the same and their behaviour is very the same. As are the looks and behaviour of the non-narcisstic part. Coïncidence?
I guess more and better research has to be done.
Every bit of more understanding can help us protect others and sociaty of these people.
For they cause a lot of greeve and they choose to do so and I'm even quit sure they enjoy it too. They feel 'great' about it. It's evil.

p.s. I'm dutch, so sorry for the englisch.. Gerard

At 5:28 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

But there HAS been a lot of research on brain chemistry and emotional regulation. From what I gather, this is how a genetic predisposition to NPD would work.

Some children are born with a more reactive limbic system/amygdala, which is the seat of the more primitive urges and emotions. This part of their brain gets more reved up in response to stimulation, and has a harder time calming down. So, they can't soothe themselves as well as other kids.

This also makes it harder for them to reflect on their actions when they're older. If we normal people feel a little stressed when thinking of our mistakes, imagine your biology ramping that stress up even more. The tendency to avoid these stressful thoughts would be higher, with the obvious consequences of failing to learn from mistakes, lack of self-awareness, and lack of consideration for others. This is not to say they don't have a choice, just that there is likely a biological basis for it being more difficult for them to look at themselves in a way that they can learn and grow.

These kids are at a real disadvantage due to their brain chemistry, and if they don't somehow learn alternative coping skills, their brains will repeat the same pattern until it becomes engrained --> personality disorder.

They often also get a double whammy. Not only is their body chemistry fighting their ability to think and cope and grow up, their behavior makes them difficult to be around. So they naturally attract others' wrath, which makes things worse and becomes part of a vicious cycle.

This was the case with my daughter. I could tell she had problems with emotional regulation, and she did all she could to avoid reflecting on her behavior, because it was painful for her to think about. And she got hit with the double whammy of being rejected by N-dad at the first sign of trouble. Which is not surprising, in retrospect. Dealing with a difficult child is hard enough for a normal person--what could you expect from a parent who is lacking the very same coping skills that the child needs to learn?


At 6:01 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Are you sure they've proved that children are actually born that way? I know many jump to that conclusion by logical error from studies of older people's brains. As I've said before, the more probable explanation for the difference is that it is a result of the way they think, not the cause. So I'd like to know if there is evidence that children are actually born different.

Your example is a good one of a possible genetic predisposition. But we have to keep in mind that narcissism is a lot more than being emotional. In fact, narcissists aren't really emotional. That's another error many people make. They think narcissists are just very very touchy people with a short fuse. Wrong completely. As someone quoted Winston Churchill yesterday: "They're either at your feet or throat." They attack you because you're easy prey, not because you did anything to them. They don't abuse in self defense: they abuse as predators to destroy.

Nonetheless, it can happen just the way you explained, that some sort of genetic abnormality like this could heavilly influence the choices a child makes on the way down that path.

We aren't competent to judge justly how much of the blame resides in the narcissist himself. But I do know one thing: that is no reason to say it's 0. It's substantial.

People who've never been tempted have nothing to feel self-righteous about, because they don't know what they would have chosen were they in the same circumstances. But the brothers and sisters of a narcissists HAVE been so tempted, perhaps even more tempted than the N was, so they deserve tremendous credit for overcoming the temptation to become the kind of person who must get it for not being the kind of person who dishes it out. They have held themselves to higher standards than they held their parent or sibling. They paid a price for their integrity in all the abuse they took rather than stoop to the same lowdown dirty tactics.

At 8:33 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i had a good conversation with a new friend today. by anyone and everyone's definition her parents were abusive. her husband (isn't an N but) is struggling w drug and alcohol abuse but w or wo it has been abusive w her. his childhood was full of abuse. but she said 'you know- I could use it as an excuse too but i don't'.she was right. kathy you are right. whatever led up to it- it's a choice they are giving into and i don't want make excuses for him anymore.jt


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