Tuesday, February 26, 2008

The Credibility of the APA

One reason why comments have been moderated so quickly lately is that I have been online a lot, reading up on the literature to improve the part of Website on the research about NPD with more quotes and sources. You can already see some of these additional quotes and sources online in the Chapter on "What Is NPD?" under "Classification & Diagnosis," Characteristics of NPD," "prevalence of NPD," and "Are NPD and Psychopathy the Same?"

The great thing about the hypertext of the Internet is, of course, that by searching & surfing you find more and more of what you're looking for. I hit the jackpot.

Update: The rest of this post has been transfered to the Main Website The Credibility of What You Hear about NPD. (I eliminate here on the blog to avoid duplicate content appearing in the search engines.)

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At 5:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you. I posted about the oxymoron in the term "malignant narcissist", and asked for clarification. That is, if there are "malignant narcissists", where are the "benevolent narcissists"?

My point was that a "malignant narcissist" is a psychopath. Why gild the lily? "Malignant narcissist" is such a polite term, politically correct perhaps, but dishonest, like so many labels in the world of psychology.

At 6:38 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

So, you mean that the term "malignant narcissists" is redundant, as in "malignant malignant person." Right?

Not exacly. As it says in this post, malignant narcissism is LOW self-esteem in diguise. Malignant narcissists have to drag you down into that gutter with them to feel higher than you.

But some people really do have inflated self esteem. Often this is because fame or fortune has gone to their heads. This is sometimes called "acquired situational narcissism." It's benign.

You know, like the difference between a malignant tumor and a benign one. Neither is good, but one is generally harmless.

They can be very inconsiderate, conceited, arrogant and dislikeable in many ways. But that doesn't really hurt you, does it?

But this isn't a personality disorder. These people really do think they're better than you, so they have no reason to ENVY you, to tear you down like a malignant narcissist does. These people don't go around slandering and calumniating and abusing others to kill any pain of shame inside. They aren't cruel. In short, they aren't perverts, predators who feel nothing even for their own children.

What's more, some big fall can bring them crashing back down to earth. So this benign narcissism isn't a personality disorder that starts in children and persists throughout life. See What is NPD?" on the main site.

Here we are talking about malignant narcissists (NPD) and often just skip the word "malignant." But I use it when I want to be sure nobody misunderstand just which kind of narcissist I am talking about.

At 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Do you have a link or two to the brave souls from within APA who are trying to turn things around? I'd like to read their work too.


At 10:05 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Most of the links in the post above go to such sources and you'll find quite a few in the online chapter "What is NPD?" I am in the process of collecting and organizing a list of them. It's important for people to have a resource like this, so they can make an informed assessment of the credibility of DSM and APA. Many people trust too much. Hence myths persist, such as that female narcissists are rare, that NPD affects but 1% of the population, that malignant narcissists don't mean to hurt others and are just hypersensitive, that they feel remorse, and that it's mean and nasty to think them malicious and diabolical, that the poor things can't help attacking you, and blah blah blah. Further, though inheritance may well tell a part of the story, that hasn't been proved and it's decitful for authorities to mislead us on that. As for "chemical imbalance" being an established cause, that is even more deceitful. These people are heavilly invested in their teachings, and they have both financial and political motives. So, you can't take what they say as gospel.

At 12:27 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think the term "malignant narcissist" should be replaced with the term "psychopath", that's all. Let's call a spade a spade.

At 1:18 PM, Blogger Writer in Washington said...

I don't think that there is a genetic component to NPD, but I've often wondered if there may be. I've mentioned before that my husband's ex (a VERY malignant NPD) has made two of his children into MNs. I should say, they have chosen to be like her. I think that is because MNs always seem to win in the sense that they usually get what they want. Highly functioning MNs find ways to obtain the $ and other things they want by using other people to get them but also because they are intelligent, too. Maybe its a combination of Nature/Nurture??? I agree with Kathy, they CAN help themselves (i.e. they really do know better) but choose not to. I'm not even convinced that its an illness. I think its a choice.

At 1:21 PM, Blogger Writer in Washington said...

PS: I think that other people learn some of the maladaptive behaviors in order to survive when they are living with them. Once they get away from them, if they are confronted on those behaviors, they will usually take steps to correct them. I've seen that with my husband--he had learned some of the evil behaviors of his ex, but when I pointed them out to him in the early years of our marriage he worked to correct them. A true MN will not do that.

At 1:47 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

"I think that other people learn some of the maladaptive behaviors in order to survive when they are living with them. Once they get away from them, if they are confronted on those behaviors, they will usually take steps to correct them."

Agreed. More on that in the case of the Children of Narcissists. The test is to ask them to stop it and they do! Narcissists will do the opposite = do it all the more and worse.

People who learn these maladaptive behaviors from living with a N, do them for a different reason than a narcissist does. That's why they make the effort to change when they see that they don't need to do it anymore.

At 2:48 PM, Blogger Writer in Washington said...

Kathy: I have a question about the manipulation of others to do their dirty work. Have you found that they often get people to do criminal things (such as theft) to keep them fixed? My Twisted Stepson (TSS) stole things from our home, that is why I am asking.

At 3:01 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I have seen an N boss dupe people into illegal things, by agent provacateuring, without the dupes realizing that slander that affects the status of employment is against the law and easily prosecutable. When the N later warns them how they've implicated themselves, wham, his pocket slams shut on them and they will even refuse to report crimes because their own misdeed would be uncovered in the investigation. But I haven't ever seen what you mention.

At 5:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My Twisted Stepson (TSS) stole things from our home, that is why I am asking.

Sorry, but he is just an N. Most of them steal. My ex stole from me, I know now! Thought I had left things somewhere and I just couldn't find them. N's steal, period.

"I don't think that there is a genetic component to NPD, but I've often wondered if there may be."

Sorry, I don't agree. You can see in familie's with NPD, that it goes from one to another generation. My psychologist told me that it is genetic. Furthermore when an N. marries a healthy women, oder vice versa, the healthy person is so busy with the N. that he/she is emotionally not available for her child'ren. In this envirronment new N.'s are created to full.

In my case the N. I was married to, fortunately was more away than at home, so my influence was bigger and intenser on my children. Lucky me, I am the healthy one, although my mam was an N. as well. But it takes many yeares before you discover one of you're parents to be an N.

That's why it is so very important what Kathy does and others, but I like you're posts the best! There can't be enough publication on this subject.

Jt. B

At 6:33 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

"You can see in familie's with NPD, that it goes from one to another generation."

Apparantly I didn't write clearly enough.

Inheritance is NOT the only possible cause of that. So, you cannot deduce that NPD is genetically caused.

You refer to another possible cause yourself - the abuse of the N parent could explain this.

In fact, if NPD were genetically caused that would be easy to prove. We would find that the offsping of narcissists always turn out narcissist in exactly the ratio to normal offspring.

No one has produced one bit of evidence to that effect.

In fact, psychopaths are all malignant narcissists and many come from good homes. That we do know from study after study on the prison population throughout North America. We can presume that a good home is one in which neither parent is a narcissist.

Not good news for the "genetic cause" hypothesis.

Many psychologists say what yours did, and this post shows how credible they are. They simply cannot be sure of that.

Considering what we know of genes, it is likely that some alleles of some genes may influence the liklihood a person deveping NPD. And there is some evidence in support of that, though as usual, the data isn't statistically valid because the sample isn't legitimate - typical for the the pseudoscience of psychology. They test 10 people in a North Dakota clinic and try to call that evidence. No control group, no reduction to one variable - no nuttin' required for valid science.

So even though I myself will bet that genes have SOME influence, I assure you that there is nothing even close to "proof" of that. Yet.

At 3:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


I think, and I'am no expert in this, that it is in the gene's, but it depends on envirronment or circumstances whether it goes to max. Or may-be even when everything is ok, but it is there from the start, you won't be able to change it. This kid will become an adult N. no matter what.

On the other hand, my mam is N. and although she "raised" me mostly alone (my dad came home in the weekends) I allways, as from very young, felt that something was wrong with her. So, her influence did not affect me in who I became. It did cause though, that I married an N. as it felt very familiair, which of course is not very difficult to understand now. But during my marriage I had many times the feeling that something is nog quit right about this man but could never point my finger to it.

My youngest daughter now is a teen, but I feel that she has strong tendencies to become an adult N. it is like it is exploding. Suddenly last year she went to live with her N. dad and ever since it goes downhill with her. Wrong envirronment, wrong influence, but as a mam I can't do anything.

If you than look at the family of N. you see the following. His brother is N.,(1 daughter is N.), his sister is awakening and more or less ok, (1 son turned out to be N.) his dad is an N., the grandma was an N., and a brother of this grandma was a psychopath. (my ex come close to the last one). So what we are dealing with here than? It is a family one has to stay far away from, the only share one gets is a lot of trubble and it will never end.


At 3:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s.: my point is that you can see that not all childeren from an N. become N. The percentage varies. what causes this, I have no idea.

Oh and about my psychologist, I can tell her a lot more about NPD than she ever studied, but at least she is not questioning my experience and has insight. She knows very well how to deal with them and she just coaches me and gives me the skills to become stronger myself for N. attacs. Mostly from my ex, via the childeren. The youngest is hard! Because as a parent one is allways emotionally involved...


At 9:55 AM, Blogger Kathy said...


What you say now is much more likely. In fact, we can say that it is probably true that genetic factors may make one person more likely to develop NPD than another. But that's no genetic "cause."

We all have feelings and temptations, but they are no excuse for our behavior, let alone a cause.

Nonethless, you still make the error of neglecting the OTHER likely cause in this family you describe - an abusive parent runs down through that family. That alone could cause this. You don't need genes for an explanation. So you can't conclude that genes ARE the explanation.

You can't conclude anything when more than one factor (i.e. scientific "variable") exists that may be the cause.

Also I don't see how NPD genes in you could express themselevs as you not being an N but marrying one. It should rather attract you to people you feel you could easily dominate.

If there are N genes in you, they simply did NOT work. You turned out normal. Through your own free will. Give yourself some credit.

In other words, you are evidence against the theory that genes cause NPD. And so are most children of Ns.

Nonetheless, what you now say seems much more likely, because it squares with what we know about genes and how they work in combination.

There are alleles of genes (at least in combinations) that affect how much transmitter substance certain brain cells release. One unlucky person could have a bad mix of several that make him more upset when someone pays little attention to him. Bingo - a factor that makes him LIKELY to brood more as a child when Mother is too busy.

That doesn't make him an N, but it makes him more likely to choose the path in life that leads to NPD. See what I mean?

It's easy to imagine other genetic senarios, such as one that makes one child empathize more readily than another.

These genetic scenarios could be very complicated, and therefore it isn't hard to see why research hasn't established any yet.

But note that you can't say a gene makes anyone beat another person. They may affect "affect" but they can't control behavior.

Behavior just doesn't work that way. Beating you girlfriend is voluntary behavior. And an N beats his girlfriend only when the coast is clear. That is pure sneakiness, which can't be blamed on any gene. (Maybe the temptation has something to do with some genes he carries, but not the ACT.) In fact, the ability to behave when there are witnesses proves that no gene is controlling him like a robot, proves that he IS acting out of free will.

If it were a simple "This allele A of gene B causes NPD - or any combination of alleles on several genes - that would easily have been proved by now. The proponents of this "theory" have been at it for 50 years though. So where's their proof? All they have to do is find Ns and then test their children. The ratios of normal/NPD children will always come out the same (e.g., 3/4 or 1/16) if NPD is genetically caused.

If they haven't done that yet, my lie detector says that it is because they HAVE done that and found proof that NPD is not genetically caused.

They'd never do that you say? Wrong. In fact, cancer researchers have held back proof that their hypotheses are wrong in order to get more government funding for continuing on that wild goose chase. Pretty sick, eh? There's MONEY to be made pursuing your false "theories." So, when they're stumped, some researchers just lie to keep the money coming in for research in what they KNOW is a dead-end direction.

(Which is why too much money for cancer research slows progress toward a cure, because DEEP POCKETS attract too many greedy researchers who will do anything for a fast buck. They compete for, and win, research dollars away from the people who honestly want to find a cure.)

At 10:31 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thanks Kathy, for your comment.

The way you put it, makes it suddenly very clear for me.

Genetic factors .. and the fact that the abusive parent(s) run through the family... hm, this sounds very plausibel.

Yes. I agree with you, it is a choice they make, most definately, because it works for them, for what they want from life (short term thinking) it has to go the easy way for them. From my youngest this is what I feel the strongest, she made somewhere / somehow a choice to do it the way her dad does. Sometimes I notice that she is ashamed of herself in front of me, she knows I don't approve what and how she is doing things. But it has to come from within herself, I can't do anything, it works against me.

Researchers?...I know it works that way, it's a shame but true. The same story for hospitals (over here at least!)

Jt B


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