People to Stay Away From
I take neither side in the debate about whether NPD (and psychopathy) is a mental illness or a character disorder. I don't think any reasonable person can deny that they are character disorders. On the other hand, I also think that the way narcissists think and perceive things is strange enough and knee-jerk reflexive enough to make it reasonable to classify NPD as a personality disorder and therefore a serious mental illness.
But we are presented with a false choice by many who claim that NPD is a mental illness: They claim that since NPD is a mental illness narcissists are not responsible for their conduct.
That is very sloppy thinking. It is largely due to the DSM deciding to stop describing mental illnesses and to start using short, vague, diagnostic check lists of CONDUCT to diagnose.
Conduct is but the fruit of mental illness, outward manifestations of an illness inside. You don't diagnose CONDUCT as an illness. What takes place in the mind of the actor is the illness.
But the sloppy thinking, for example, has lead to a billion parrotings on the Web of the statement that "psychopaths are people who commit a violent crime." That's absurd, even if the victim is a stranger and the killer is a serial killer (in which case you can safely bet that the perp is a psychopath). Saying that "psychopaths are people who commit violent crimes" is saying that "psychopathy is committing a violent crime."
Hence we get the nonsense of a man like Lee Harvey Oswald being a mere malignant narcissist until the day he murdered President Kennedy. In other words, being a psychopath was murdering President Kennedy. Even a Ph.D. behind that opinion doesn't make it credible.
Psychopaths and narcissists are probably mentally ill, yes, but that doesn't mean they should be classed as no different than other types of mentally ill people. They are very different.
In prisons they are often abused and murdered simply because the other prisoners can't bear being classed with them. Why? Well, put yourself in their shoes. You robbed a store because you're broke. You hit somebody in a fight because he insulted your mother. You stole a car and took a joy rise to show off to your friends. You killed someone who had done to your father what Hamlet's uncle did. Okay. But look at those motives. Understandable, natural human motives. Now compare such a motive with the motive of someone who rapes, molests a child, commits serial torture and murder. See the difference.
So, I don't blame the other prisoners for their loathing at being classed with predators. They don't do their crimes just to hurt and degrade other people, they do them for reasons. They aren't inherently dangerous just to be around, because they don't do evil just to do it.
Other mentally ill people must feel the same way at being classed with these truly dangerous types.
Other mentally ill people don't have a disordered character. They don't cunningly pass for normal. They aren't sneaky about what they do - putting on an angel face in the light of day and being a werewolf after dark. They are capable of love and genuine kindness (not just a conning phony display of love and kindness). They don't get off on hurting people and therefore have an addiction to hurting people, so that they hurt people just to hurt them. They haven't set themselves apart from the human race, like some alien predator who coldly views ALL human beings as prey.
Therefore, narcissists and psychopaths shouldn't just be lumped together with the rest of the mentally ill. Indeed, narcissists and psychopaths can think quite straight whenever they want to. Their twisted thinking might be 100% willful or a habit ingrained from decades of willfy twisted thinking as a Peter Pan.
Thank goodness that the great majority will never have their trigger tripped to commit a violent crime. But they go through life ruining careers, marriages, good names, and companies. They aren't just street con artists. Far more are "just" love thieves and gold diggers who con their prey out of life savings and leave them as emotional wrecks. When they steal, it's usually "just" from a family member, as in stealing an inheritence. They aren't just pedophile priests and ministers and parents who commit incest. Far more eat children in other ways, through emotional and verbal child abuse in their own homes and classrooms.
But all that ain't nothing. It is at bottom all the same - plundering people, destroying people.
Imagine a narcissist's life as a road coming from way back in childhood. Now look behind him or her at the heaps of human wreckage all the way along it. All the playmates and people trampled. All the littler kids beat up. All the animals abused. All the marriages and friendships busted. All the false accusations that got innocent people punished. All the careers ruined. All the spirits crushed. All the credit stolen. All the abuse. That ain't nothing.
Narcissists are people to stay far away from. All PREDATORS are. No one has to risk proximity to a predator: that's the Law of Nature known as the right to self preservation. No professionally pious prig can morally obligate you to offer yourself up to abuse by remaining anywhere within a predator's reach.
If the professionally pious prigs are so sure they're morally correct, let them befriend the narcissist and fill that vacancy. Then let's hear what they have to say.
narcissistic personality disorder narcissism