Friday, April 06, 2007

Is there such a thing as non-compensatory NPD?

People are getting diagnosed as having NPD just because they have authority and won't cave in to angry demands or because they are haughty and inconsiderate and think they're God's gift to the world.

On the Main Website and in the eBook I carefully explain the difference between narcissism and malignant narcissism. The former is just a trait that exists to some extent in all and is healthy so long as people don't go delusional and get drunk on it.

The personality disordered are much different. They twist everything. They abuse any vulnerable prey because treating others like dirt makes them feel better about themselves. "Compensation," anyone? It's like they have to eat people (in the moral sense of the word). They have an alien mentality because they are predators. They fire people and calumniate them to boost themselves. They see someone down and have to kick them, for the same reason a drunk goes for the bottle in his desk drawer the moment his office is empty. These are twisted people with a need to hurt others, to feel their power over others that way. "Malignance," anyone? They get a you-know-what out of sticking to people. They do it to repress awareness of how inferior they feel inside. "Exploiting others," anyone? a vampire maybe? Others must bleed for their sake.

Doesn't that say it in a nutshell? And it's all just a superiority act to kill a deep seated feeling of inferiority, duh.

How come I don't see the word "predaceous" on this list of names this theorist calls these people? The essence of these actions must have gone right over his head.

Malignant narcissists must make themselves pitiless to live by bleeding others to cause them suffering this way and they do. They are as pitiless as a psychopath, and the distinctions between psychopathy and NPD are disappearing in the literature. They are experts at mental cruelty because they do it all the time from childhood on. The harm NPD's do others to "feed" their egos means nothing to them - no more than squishing a bug means to you. They are so abnormal they prey thus even on their own children!

That's NPD. Which is why it's called "malignant." A far cry from a mere fat head, such as you might find in a royal, a movie star, or a sports star (though some may indeed have NPD).

It's there in the diagnostic criteria, bigger than life. No empathy. Exploiting others. Envy.

If a person doesn't abuse and destroy others on their way through life, they don't have NPD. If they have humanity (not just faking it) toward their fellow human beings, they don't have NPD. If they don't go around tearing others down off pedestals, they don't have NPD. NPD does have the mentality of the rapist, who usually does have NPD.

People with a TRULY high opinion of themselves may be stuffy, supercilious and just generally obnoxious but they aren't THAT bad. Indeed, BECAUSE they truly do have a high opinion of themselves, they don't NEED to cut others down to feel good about themselves. Hence they aren't predatory or perverse at all. Just a pain in the neck.

Their narcissism is benign, and I explained that here. Someone with NPD is A Wolf in Sheep's Clothing, not just someone with a fat head.

So, what's this? If this is "compensatory" NPD, what does he think NPD is?

Kelly thinks people with NPD really do have a high opinion of themselves deep down inside? OMG.

This theory makes NPD no more than thinking you're God's gift to the world. What? Does Kelly think any real malignant narcissist is going to admit the feelings of inferiority he tries to keep repressed deep down inside? He wouldn't be a malignant narcissist if he would admit that!

More errors resulting from believing the self reports of these pathological liars.

All with NPD fit that description...and more.

This is a serious misconception because it is responsible for the la-dee-da attitude in mental-health-care and the rest of society toward NPD. They have it confused with inflated self esteem. No big deal. Irritating, maybe offensive at times, but no big deal.

Wrong. NPD IS a big deal. A very big deal.

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At 7:58 PM, Blogger JL said...

I fully agree that NPD IS ultimately NPD. Lack of empathy is the common denominator (amongst other things).

I'm simply hoping YOU can clearly deliniate being able to RECOGNIZE a "compensatory" (maybe not a well-chosen label) vs. a "classic" as MOST people think of narcs as being ONLY the classic variety.

That's what took me so long to understand what type I was dealing with (it took an extra week or so to stumble upon the ptypes webpage to finally understand everything).


At 11:39 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Aha, now I think I see what you're saying. Yes, I think you're right. In fact, I saw a video online (cannot find it now) that is used in training psychiatry students. An actor was portraying a patient with NPD. I guess the act was what you would call the "classic" type. That is the usual description, and I was astonished that this is the type of person mental-healthcare workers are trained to label as NPD.

What I saw in that act was nothing but a snobby debutante. Only one remark she made set off my NPD alert.

Not one of the NPD's I ever knew came off that way. They all took great pains to seem to modest. I can see why you were confused at first, because this "classic" portrait just doesn't fit.

The PTypes page I think explains NPD well. NPD, not a special kind of NPD - NPD.

Okay, I suppose "classic" charicature of a narcissist fits an NPD who is so high and mighty they can get away with acting like that. But few can. Like maybe Saddam Hussein could when no one dared look cross-eyed at him. A rich debutante can act that way among her girlfriends. If you're a Hollywood idol or a teen idol, maybe you can. But that is the exception rather than the rule I think. No N is going to behave like that in an environment where it will earn him or her only enemies.

At 1:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kathy, i'm a little confused. where did the term compensatory come from? and am i getting the idea you don't care for it? i started reading some of the stuff on your "this list" link and while i haven't spent much time there yet (it looks like a lot to look up) i found it pretty interesting so far. can you give a condensed version of this concept? my N is a jerk but a lot of this 'new' info seems like it might pertain. thanks (always -for everything!!!) jt ps-i'm glad i made you laugh-fox hole humor made me laugh

At 10:04 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

We tend to take it for granted that those who expound on NPD are on the same page with us in our experience of it. But I keep seeing evidence that many are not.

This theory of the "compensatory" narcissist is an example of that I think. Kelly essentially says, "Hey, folks, there is a different kind of narcissist out there, the kind who doesn't have inflated self esteem = the kind who has low self esteem and is acting superior to 'compensate' for it."

Say what? All NPDs are like that.

Inflated self esteem is NOT NPD. It's just having a fat head. But kelly seems to think that the DSM descirbes people with INFLATED self esteem. Wrong.

This shows why so many, even in the mental healthcare profession are so la-dee-da about NPD - they don't get it. They think it's just having an anoyingly fat head. They think the NPD of the DSM is someone with (truly) inflated self esteem.

This means they do not see that it is compensatory for low self esteem (whether repressed to the unconscious or not) and that it is therefore malignant because it has to go around vaunting itself on others to prop up the ego.

They don't see that about NPD. Hence they miss the predatory nature of NPD and the malignance in it. Hence, they don't take the victims' complaints seriously.

Another bad side effect is labelling people who are just snobs as personality disordered. Even someone in authority, like an elected official, gets diagnosed as NPD just because he won't cave in to angry demands about what he should do.

This is slanderous and grossly unfair to label such people as having a personality disorder. Even those who are a pain in the neck because they are inconsiderate and haughty. It is wrong to class them with the character-and-personality disordered predators who have NPD. We may not like them, but they certainly aren't that bad.

At 11:24 PM, Blogger JL said...

Kathy, in your experience with NPD'ers, what % of them VOLUNTARILY bring up "painful" events (assuming they are truthful recollections) from their past (not necessarily the childhood window when it all goes wrong)? My narc. has almost always brought up painful events from her past even somewhat out of context of the current topic. I get the feeling (please don't berate me for maybe being clueless) that it's a way of reaching out for help.

To fully tip my hand in this whole thing, I had a bona-fide, once-in-a-lifetime connection with a narc. that has so affected me, I refuse to give up hope that anything can be salvaged from this. IOW, I can, in retrospect, label all "actions" that were NPD-based, and all actions that are TRULY the "personality" of this NPD. SO, I know for a fact that what the connection was based on is NOT tainted by NPD in any way.

I'm left with an empirical, reproducable (too long of a story to explain how unbelievable this whole 10-year scenario played out) connection that is so clearly off-the-charts, for the first time in my life, I refuse to accept reality.

I KNOW it's a one in a million shot of any flavor of friendship happening in the future. To even muddy the waters, I ONLY want this woman as a platonic friend (even though she is the most physically attractive women I've ever known or seen).

Sorry for the amateur psych dump, but you are the one person I've found on the internet who might be able to assist me in understanding how to resolve this problem of not being able to move on.


At 7:58 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

More than half. This includes one I never got to know personally very well. Out of the blue one day, he popped off about something his father did that he hated, something he doesn't do of course (that part was a lie - he only does it in a different way to be different on a technicality so he can think he isn't like his hated father) something degrading to him and the rest of the family. I was stunned that he revealed this pain from childhood to me.

But the others were all people I got to know very well in the type of relationships where information like that might normally be revealed.

Not that any of these people ever went into factual detail though. As i explain in the site and book, my experience is that these remarks are vague and mysterious and beat around the bush. They leave out crucial details to falsely portray what they're talking about.

In the book I mention one who seemed to be confessing that she became impatient with her dying mother. "Impatient"? When I discovered the truth, I nearly went through the roof. "Impatient" wasn't the word for such shocking emotional abuse of a mother on her deathbed!

I mention that this one thus, at times like this, seemed to confess things like this to me - as though playing for me to absolve her and tell her that it was okay that she did this or that. Kinda like cheating in the confessional to get the absolution by saying you stole a stick of gum so the priest says, "Forget it already kid, that wasn't a mortal sin, say two Hail Marys and fugedaboutit" when what you really did was ROB A BANK.

At other times she has seemed to be confessing fears about herself, fears about possession by the devil, fears about her mental health. Sometimes speaking in general terms about "people" who do this or that when you know that she is talking about herself.

I could tell that she wanted me to assuage these fears.

But in all these cases the N was just working on me for a reaction they wanted.

Ns don't always want the same reaction from everyone. That is, they don't always want admiration. Sometimes they want sympathy. Sometimes they want fear. Whatever. They change their face to draw whatever reflection they want today from a particular mirror.

In most cases it seemed to me that at these "help seeking" moments the N was battling repressed guilt/shame and memories of things they did and just used me as a mirror to tell them they shouldn't feel guilty about it.

So yes, I think that sometimes they do reach out for help. If you honestly get the impression that an N is reaching out for help, I'd say your instincts might be right.

But the "help" they want isn't the kind you want to give.

The "help" they want is help maintaining their delusions.

They just want you to validate those delusions.

They don't want your help toward facing facts and turning their life around.

Remember that you are just a mirror.

Morever, those are rare occasions. I think the key to understanding this lies in understanding ourselves. We can do the same thing. We can repress memory of things we've done. We can repress guilt and shame and other feelings. We can repress awareness of anything. 99% of the time then we are in "successfully repressed mode".

But things happen in daily life that connect with something repressed to the subconscious level recalling it to consciousness on us. At that moment we suddenly become aware of it and may try to instantly repress that awareness again.

We all can do this. Ns just do it extravagantly and obdurately. There is no lie too big to tell themselves. They can swallow anything whole.

So, if the question is whether an N has inflated self esteem or deflated self esteem, I think the answer is always deflated self esteem. The problem is that 99% of the time they have that knowledge successfully repressed and are living under the delusion that they think highly of themselves.

Repressed knowledge isn't gone though. It is controlling behavior subconsciously.

Now, as for moving on, you will when you are ready to. When you are convinced that it's hopeless.

It's the GOODNESS in you that clings to cruel hope. Don't be mad at yourself for it or fight it.

Those of us past that point want to scream, "Forget it! Get away now!" You can't blame us for that either, because we have been there and know: we have had the necessary epiphany.

And we, have to remember what it is like on the other side of that epiphany. We all were there once, hoping against hope.

We each are where we're at today. Some are just now coming to grips to NPD, and some have been down this road already and are farther down it.

I hate to say it's hopeless. I can't say there is no one-in-a-million chance. But to be perfectly honest with you, I really, really doubt it.

But what I think doesn't matter. It's what you think. I don't want to shatter your hopes, but I don't want to give you false hope either. The professionals can hardly deal with these twisted people. THEY constantly blow it. So, you haven't much of a chance either.

At 9:44 PM, Blogger JL said...

Kathy, can you explain how a narc. will interact (lnog-term) with a family member vs. how they interact with NON-family members? IOW, the narc. I had exposure to seems to be quite close with her sister.

Additionally, I have contacted her sister with my findings (diagnosis if you will) about this narc. I didn't talk to her but talked to her sister's husband. He seemed to be quite aware that something is up with the narc in question.

I followed up this phone call with an email to her sister that was somewhat lengthy and explained my position, the history of our interaction and my desire to help her should she take steps to get the narc help. Yet, no reply whatsoever to my email. I'm quite stumped in that I was willing to go to great lengths to assist in at least making a serious attempt to get this person the help they need.

What has been your experience with respect to how a family member will react when someone outside the family has pinpointed the problem? In my case, it's been complete silence. Again, I'm very, very sure they must know what's up based on the phone call. I think maybe the family members feel it best to just leave things as they are as they probably have tried to get them help in the past and realize it just won't ever happen.


At 2:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

when we know we see something that is hard to believe it must be normal to get other people to validate it for us- 'do you see what i see?!!look at that -wow that's unbelievable'- right? even though we know what we see. it's denial. other people will either agree- 'yea that's incredible(which means NOT believable) and we will all walk away feeling better cuz 'yep we all saw it- we weren't crazy- now we can all walk away knowing we don't have to believe it. we're all in agreement.' BUT- if other people DON'T see what we see- if they say 'naw- that's no big deal' or 'no- i think you're overreacting' or 'i don't think that's what happened or how you should interpret that' OR
"you're crazy!...then we are left able to dismiss it as a figment of our imagination'-we dismiss it too and if we do try to hang on to it- we start to look and sound like we are after all crazy. that's what it is like when you try to get others to see the Narcissist in your life. you know now that they are a vampire. you try to warn other people in the vicinity because they are dangerously close too. but they don't want to be bothered with such an odd thing. so you sit back scared they're going to be the next victim. who knows who the N is going to pick to suck dry. heck- we didn't even realize it for HOOOOW long?!!!i feel like i'm in the middle of a really bad movie. does anyone else? jt


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