Is NPD a Mental Illness?
Guess what? I don't believe what I said in that last post. I think NPD is a mental illness. (In this case at least, I see no real difference between it and what religion would call spiritual illness.)
But, unfortunately, see what the DSM's own definition of mental illness and personality disorder forces logic to conclude: that NPD is not mental illness. The DSM's own rules specifically disallow diagnosing it as a personality disorder, because neither impairment nor distress afflicts the narcissist.
The problem is with that stupid definition of mental illness. Stupid, but lucrative definition of mental illness.
In essence, it makes any state of mind that causes you a problem or makes you feel bad a mental illness. Wonderful for mental health practitioners and the drug companies. The number of mental illnesses in the DSM has exploded, and drugs for these faux "disorders" are selling like hotcakes.
Now if you are sad or angry, it isn't because of whatever makes you sad or angry, it is because you have a mental illness. Here's you're prescription, see you next month.
And magical thinking is magical thinking, whether you are a primitive people speculating that an eclipse of the sun is due to an act of Apollo or are a psychiatrist today speculating that a mental illness is due to a malfunction of the brain. Except that the psychiatrist has no excuse, because he or she has no excuse for not knowing the difference between the brain and the MIND.
The brain is just the hardware. The mind is the software our experiences and thought patterns program it with. They keep attributing to the hardware things way beyond its power to do.
They seem willfully resistant to realizing that much human behavior is sequential, that bad behavior leads one into a vicious cycle of ever worsening behavior, because of the mental games people play to unburden their conscience.
Religion is right about this. Life is a journey. We choose a path, a way of life. One thing leads to another on it. This forms the mind.
When we find ourselves on the wrong path, we mustn't cheat. We must face facts, bear the guilt, turn our life around, head back to that fork in the road, and get on the right path instead.
But many people don't do that. And so they continue on, doing a bad thing again, and worse, today just to prove it wasn't wrong and stupid when they did it yesterday. And continue on, cleansing themselves by projecting their guilt and shame off onto their betters.
And does this REALLY unburden their repressed conscience? No! It incurs more guilt and shame. Which must be mentally juggled in the same way to make it seem to go away.
It's a runaway-train ride in which, sooner or later, they do something so bad that they have, in effect, passed the point of no return, simply because no one could conscience such a deed.
Now, I see nothing in this that any faithful secular humanist can't accept.
So, where does this noise that "there are no bad people, just bad deeds" come from? How absurd. If you lie, you are a liar. If you kill, you are a killer. If you cheat, you are a cheater. And if you do evil, you are evil.
Normal people strike out at those who do them harm, either in the past, the present, or as a threat in the future. They don't hurt the other because doing so gives them any pleasure. Their aim is self-defense or retribution (which is for justice, a defense of self-worth). Normal people demonstrate their aim by NOT being wanton in the damage they do their enemy. When they see they have achieved their purpose, they stop.
But psychopaths and other narcissists are predators who aren't fighting others: they are EATING others. They target easy prey, not anyone they have any reason to attack. They do it because hurting others makes them feel good = they like hurting others. And they are wanton about it. When they have you down, they start kicking. They start pouring it on where normal people would start letting up. They aren't satisfied till there's nothing left of the other party at all.
That is unnatural. Perverted = a perversion of human nature. I have no problem with asserting that such people are mentally/spiritually ill. But neither mere WORD makes them insane or irresponsible for their conduct.
Indeed, listen to our figures of speech about this: Sick in the head. Sick-o. Sick-minded. Twisted. Warped. Perverted. Mean-spirited. Psycho. (In fact, the word "psycho-path" literally means "sick in the head/mind/psyche".)
This is the only class of figures of speech that carries such negative connotations. There's no sympathy in those figures of speech and no failure to take that person seriously.
Figures of speech are the collective expression of all native speakers of a language over time. They don't lie about how we instinctively perceive things. We perceive this "ill-ness" as a kind of repulsive rottenness inside.
The question is what to do about it. I think the answer is simple: educate people to stop judging by falsifiable appearances and to both recognize and heed the warning signs to stay away from people like this. No matter how sweet and holy they act. That alone would prevent the vast majority of the damage they now do. It would also wise-up the bystanders, so that they wouldn't fall for and cover for these predators, enabling them to get away with so much. That's all: just warn people that modern society ain't a beach, that there are BAD people out there, that there are predators around, well camouflaged ones, that we have to be wary like the antelope on the African plains. When something in the air doesn't smell right, perk up and take it seriously.
And someday if there ever really does come an effective way to treat this illness, great. But till then, millions shouldn't have to suffer because the mental health establishment keeps denying the very existence of the malignance stalking us. As in this nonsense that narcissists don't act out of malice, the poor things are acting out of "fear" because they feel "threatened." Oooh, jeez, let's all go hug one then.
Give me a break. I've learned my lesson: I'd sooner go hug a tiger. And refusing to doesn't mean I hate tigers. It just means that I'm not crazy.
narcissistic personality disorder narcissism