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Straight talk about NPD...questions.


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Okay I have never heard of NPD until I came here, and it seems to come up a lot. I am trying to understand this without diagnosing everyone I know (including myself) as having this. Here are the symptoms from the Mayo Clinic website:

 

 

  • Believing that you're better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing that you're special and acting accordingly
  • Failing to recognize other people's emotions and feelings
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing that others are jealous of you
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Being easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

 

Seriously?? Everyone I know (including myself) does some or all of these things. Having a fragile self-esteem? Don't most women? Most women I know are painfully insecure. Taking advantage of others? Ummm, tons of people do that. I agree that some of these are concerning but the majority of these symptoms just seem typical of any selfish individual, and can't most of us tend to be selfish if we're really honest with ourselves? :confused: I know a LOT of people (primarily women) who think they are better than others and I have known or heard of a LOT of men who take advantage of others, I'm thinking mostly in a business or sexual setting here. Most women I know struggle with jealousy. "Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior"...politics, anyone? Don't we all do this to some extent?

 

Here's another thing:

 

In contrast, people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don't value themselves more than they value others.

 

Really?? People don't value themselves more than they value others? There's a reason there was only one Mother Teresa...the rest of us just don't make the cut. :tongue_smilie:

 

I do believe my parents have most of these "symptoms" but if I'm honest with myself, I have many symptoms of being selfish as well (maybe since I am willing to admit it and own up to my faults, that prevents me from having this? Whew!) I don't know what to think about it. I'm not meaning to act as if this is not a real disorder, but it just seems the symptoms are very vague and far reaching. Or am I wrong?

Edited by blessedwinter
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:lol:

 

That list of symptoms reminds me of reading about the pain of childbirth in a book, which is to say that the words did an extremely poor job of conveying the depth and strength of the true sensations experienced in real life. Look over the list again, but this time take each criteria to the most paranoid, ridiculous, egregious, offensive extreme in your imagination. Only then will you have half the idea of someone with NPD.

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:lol:

 

That list of symptoms reminds me of reading about the pain of childbirth in a book, which is to say that the words did an extremely poor job of conveying the depth and strength of the true sensations experienced in real life. Look over the list again, but this time take each criteria to the most paranoid, ridiculous, egregious, offensive extreme in your imagination. Only then will you have half the idea of someone with NPD.

 

Oh good, I'm glad the list seemed...benign? to someone else, too. :tongue_smilie:

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Oh good, I'm glad the list seemed...benign? to someone else, too. :tongue_smilie:

 

You know, as an old Social Worker, I'm pretty familiar with the DSM. When I was still in school, I always thought how easy it would be to go around diagnosing perfectly normal people left and right...before I started seeing people professionally who truly met the diagnostic criteria. Then the distinction got significantly less fuzzy. :tongue_smilie:

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From the proposed DSM-5:

 

The essential features of a personality disorder are impairments in personality (self and interpersonal) functioning and the presence of pathological personality traits.To diagnose narcissistic personality disorder, the following criteria must be met:

 

A. Significant impairments in personality functioning manifest by:

1. Impairments in self functioning (a or b):

a. Identity: Excessive reference to others for self-definition and self-esteem regulation; exaggerated self-appraisal may be inflated or deflated, or vacillate between extremes; emotional regulation mirrors fluctuations in self-esteem.

b. Self-direction: Goal-setting is based on gaining approval from others; personal standards are unreasonably high in order to see oneself as exceptional, or too low based on a sense of entitlement; often unaware of own motivations.

AND

2. Impairments in interpersonal functioning (a or b):

a. Empathy: Impaired ability to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others; excessively attuned to reactions of others, but only if perceived as relevant to self; over- or underestimate of own effect on others.

b. Intimacy: Relationships largely superficial and exist to serve self-esteem regulation; mutuality constrained by little genuine interest in others’ experiences and predominance of a need for personal gain.

B. Pathological personality traits in the following domain:

1. Antagonism, characterized by:

a. Grandiosity: Feelings of entitlement, either overt or covert; self-centeredness; firmly holding to the belief that one is better than others; condescending toward others.

b. Attention seeking: Excessive attempts to attract and be the focus of the attention of others; admiration seeking.

C. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are relatively stable across time and consistent across situations.

D. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are not better understood as normative for the individual’s developmental stage or socio-cultural environment.

E. The impairments in personality functioning and the individual’s personality trait expression are not solely due to the direct physiological effects of a substance (e.g., a drug of abuse, medication) or a general medical condition (e.g., severe head trauma).

 

 

I agree that most people do some of those things some of the time. But people with NPD take them to the extreme, all the time, in all (okay, maybe not all, but many) situations. It's a pattern of excess, and they can't really help it and don't have insight into it.

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My brain hurts after reading the DSM criteria. Maybe I should come back to this in the morning when I am fresher, lol.

 

The first criteria under (A) seemed more common to me. We all start out forming our identity from what we gather from other people around us. As far as (b) under (A) I think many people do this. I know a lot of perfectionists (mostly women) who are on an agenda to prove their worth. I admit I am overly concerned with what other people think of me, and I am trying to be more confident and get out of trying to prove my worth to people but the (A) heading seemed pretty common.

 

Under #2, I don't know many people who have no empathy. I would think that is more sociopathic. But I do know a lot of people who are very selfish in their relationships (2b, under "intimacy"), and again, isn't that just common selfishness?

 

The descriptions under "pathological personality traits" at the very bottom was more clear.

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I am familiar with the diagnosis personally and professionally. I do *not* see most people in the general population exhibiting the behaviors, thinking patterns, and characteristics.

 

When it is present, it is dramatic and crazy making to those around the NPDed person.

 

It is rarely diagnosed directly because the NPD rarely puts themselves in a position of vulnerability to accept a diagnosis.

 

"They" are considering removing it from the next DSM.

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My brain hurts after reading the DSM criteria. Maybe I should come back to this in the morning when I am fresher, lol.

 

The first criteria under (A) seemed more common to me. We all start out forming our identity from what we gather from other people around us. As far as (b) under (A) I think many people do this. I know a lot of perfectionists (mostly women) who are on an agenda to prove their worth. I admit I am overly concerned with what other people think of me, and I am trying to be more confident and get out of trying to prove my worth to people but the (A) heading seemed pretty common.

Yes, hence the bit about it being socially/developmentally appropriate. It is entirely appropriate for children and adolescents to "try on" different personas as they build/solidify their own personality and character. It is quite another thing entirely for an adult to present themselves as a completely different person - with completely different rules, interests, beliefs, etc - every time they meet someone new. The N does that to bask in the attention of the new person.

 

You're overlapping social hyperbole ("he set the impossible goal of __ and made it") with the actual workings of the narcissist. Yes, many of us, particularly women, try to be "super", and many people are constantly compelled to "prove their worth"; the narcissist isn't doing either. The N is achieving a station worthy of his/her greatness. Or, conversely, not to be bothered with typical tasks because of it.

Under #2, I don't know many people who have no empathy. I would think that is more sociopathic. But I do know a lot of people who are very selfish in their relationships (2b, under "intimacy"), and again, isn't that just common selfishness?

Again, we aren't talking about serial killer lack of empathy. We're talking about failing to recognize that others have goals, desires, wants, needs that have not been assigned to them by the N. If N wants, everyone else does, too. If they don't, N is genuinely shocked and may lash out because this person is not giving N what he/she wants. Think of a 4 year old. 4 year olds are (developmentally appropriate) narcissistic. Everyone exists to do what they want, when they want. They manipulate and throw fits. They hurt others to get what they want and feel justified. Now add in a far more complex level of thinking. That is a narcissist.

The descriptions under "pathological personality traits" at the very bottom was more clear.

Remember that most people exhibit traits here and there, situationally. That's a normal range of behavior. It's when these destructive traits become a way of being that they are pathological. Frequent hand washing while handling raw food or during cold and flu season is normal. Washing hundreds of times a day, despite the skin being raw, is pathological.

Is this something that needs an "official" diagnosis from a medical professional or can it be given by anyone? I have used this so much in everyday conversation with other people about some people in their lives and that bothers me somewhat.

Yes, it is. The delightful irony, though, is that narcissists don't seek professional help. They are above scrutiny. Everyone else has the problem.

Edited by MyCrazyHouse
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I am familiar with the diagnosis personally and professionally. I do *not* see most people in the general population exhibiting the behaviors, thinking patterns, and characteristics.

 

When it is present, it is dramatic and crazy making to those around the NPDed person.

 

It is rarely diagnosed directly because the NPD rarely puts themselves in a position of vulnerability to accept a diagnosis.

 

"They" are considering removing it from the next DSM.

Oh, lovely. So now the delightful narcissists will feel even more justified. <eyeroll>

 

I really do think returning to the "character disorder" label would be preferable. In my dealings with my crazy mother, it is really the dearth of character that stand out.

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From the proposed DSM-5:

 

 

 

I agree that most people do some of those things some of the time. But people with NPD take them to the extreme, all the time, in all (okay, maybe not all, but many) situations. It's a pattern of excess, and they can't really help it and don't have insight into it.

 

:iagree: It's more that EVERYTHING is somehow about them. If it's not about them, they make it about them. They are expert manipulators and guilt-trippers so that they can make everything about them. If someone won't "play along" and make everything about the NPD as well, then that person is obviously a bad person and has some secret plot against the NPD person (all in the NPD's mind, of course.)

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Having a fragile self-esteem? Don't most women? Most women I know are painfully insecure.

 

I'm an INTJ. A fragile self-esteem and feelings of insecurity are most definitely NOT problems for me. :D

 

I think mental disorders are just like physical ailments -- Any of us could look at a list of symptoms for a particular physical ailment and think "Goodness, I have almost all of those, so I must have that problem." But it's the degree to which one has a symptom or symptoms that matters.

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Well, I can tell you how it plays out w/the NPD in my life.

 

First, I should also mention that my mother has 5/7 criteria in the DSM IV to be a sociopath/AsPD (3 are needed to be dx'd), so where one starts and the other ends is something I haven't figured out.

 

1) E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. is about them. I'm intelligent b/c she's intelligent. My successes are all b/c of her, my failures are all b/c I wouldn't listen to her. There is ZERO in my life that isn't a reflection of her in some way, shape or form.

2) If she can't figure out a way to take credit for something positive, it doesn't exist.

3) She truly believes she is favoured by God. She claims that God gives her msgs to pass along to her pastor (cause, yanno, God isn't capable of talking directly to the pastor, she's needed as a go btwn). Also claims Christ has appeared to her.

4) Believes all men want her. Incl Wolf.

5) Is never wrong. Has flat out said so.

6) When questioned on her negative acts/behaviour, she claims a) never happened b) I'm remembering wrong c) I'm too sensitive d) she doesn't remember e) if it did happen, then she's sorry I was hurt.

7) Brags about using and manipulating ppl, laughs about what she does.

8) Truly clueless that ppl exist other than to serve her. That other ppl have emotions just doesn't either occur or matter to her.

 

There's more, loads more, but I've only had 1 coffee, and am trying to stick to NPD, and not stray into the AsPD, and talk about law breaking, etc.

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My understanding of NPD is that includes causing emotional pain to others, and getting some sort of kick out of that. It's not a case of healthy self-interest. It's self-interest to the point of abusing others.

 

An N would start to tease a child, the child would start to become upset and the N would keep on teasing and teasing them until they were hysterical. A normal person would tease a child, thinking it was all in good fun, the child would start to get hysterical and the normal person would realize, "Whoops, I went too far, I better stop." And everyone makes mistakes at some point, but this would be a pattern of regular behavior. That's the difference as I understand it.

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My understanding of NPD is that includes causing emotional pain to others, and getting some sort of kick out of that. It's not a case of healthy self-interest. It's self-interest to the point of abusing others.

 

An N would start to tease a child, the child would start to become upset and the N would keep on teasing and teasing them until they were hysterical. A normal person would tease a child, thinking it was all in good fun, the child would start to get hysterical and the normal person would realize, "Whoops, I went too far, I better stop." And everyone makes mistakes at some point, but this would be a pattern of regular behavior. That's the difference as I understand it.

Yup. My mother (and MIL) will sit there smirking as someone is upset. They thrive on negativity...will have this breathless, eager, avid, expression/tone when either sharing tragic news, or pumping for negative information.

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8) Truly clueless that ppl exist other than to serve her. That other ppl have emotions just doesn't either occur or matter to her.

 

 

I agree with everything Imp said. My mom is NPD and exhibits most of those behaviors, but this one is the one that bothers me the most. I've shared it before, but when I told my mom I was getting married, she said, "I didn't have children so that they would grow up and have their own lives. I had children so I would have people to love me."

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I agree with everything Imp said. My mom is NPD and exhibits most of those behaviors, but this one is the one that bothers me the most. I've shared it before, but when I told my mom I was getting married, she said, "I didn't have children so that they would grow up and have their own lives. I had children so I would have people to love me."

:grouphug:

Wolf had kinda the opposite. He was told continously through his childhood that he owed her for adopting him, and that he was to pay her back by taking care of her when she was elderly.

 

Mere moments after exchanging vows (I'm talking, had just exited the sanctuary after our vows) MIL grabbed me and burbled, "I'm so glad Wolf married you, now I won't EVER have to be in a nursing home!"

 

Even his getting married was only about her.

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Yes, we can probably all find characteristics about ourselves in the DSM. To actually meet the thresholds and criteria for a diagnosis, the DSM lays out the descriptions very specifically.

One can have what therapists call 'non-specific symptoms'...but not meet the requirements for a full-blown diagnosis. This would be having less than the necessary requirements or having them in only certain parts of one's life. I think you need 5 out of the 9 NPD characteristics listed to qualify. There are also time-related qualifications.

An NPD diagnosis should not be given out willy-nilly...as it could be devastating on a person's career and personal life , if it was known. A liscensed professional would be very cautious to diagnose someone, knowing the implications.....at least, that is what our dd, the counselor, has told us. We had a family member who had NPD...and , indeed, it's NO FUN! While this woman was never diagnosed- as Joanne said before, NPD folks would RARELY seek mental health help-and has just recently passed away, out daughter diagnosed her while having to memorize portions of the DSM. The effects of this woman's behavior negatively changed the extended family and caused great relational problems. It's so very sad.

This might be helpful: http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/dsm-iv.html

Edited by JVA
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:iagree: It's more that EVERYTHING is somehow about them. If it's not about them, they make it about them. They are expert manipulators and guilt-trippers so that they can make everything about them. If someone won't "play along" and make everything about the NPD as well, then that person is obviously a bad person and has some secret plot against the NPD person (all in the NPD's mind, of course.)

 

This. One hundred times over.

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Under #2, I don't know many people who have no empathy. I would think that is more sociopathic. But I do know a lot of people who are very selfish in their relationships (2b, under "intimacy"), and again, isn't that just common selfishness?

 

I believe my MIL has NPD. She can be somewhat empathetic to her favorite people, but it's very shallow. To give you some examples of her lack of empathy:

When my FIL was dying from an aortic aneurysm operation that didn't work, he called his son, my husband, who was then 21. My MIL told my FIL that she wanted to talk to my husband first, and she proceeded to tell my husband not to give his father any sympathy because he was just seeking attention. (!!!) My husband was very close to his dad and ignored her, which was good, because the next day his dad died. All his life dh had to deal with this which he did by becoming passive-avoidant.

When a good friend of hers called to tell her about a breast cancer diagnosis, my MIL laughed and told her we all have to die at some time. (I was at my MIL's home and heard the conversation.) She offered no sympathy or well wishes.

When my SIL was dying from cancer, my MIL boasted how she would pray a rosary for anyone but not for her. My SIL was quite nice to my MIL, always remembering her on her bday and holidays, often sending nice presents, etc.

MIL enjoys hearing how my niece (her granddaughter) is having a difficult time after her mother (the lady above) died from cancer. MIL calls her a *itch, slut, spoiled brat. (!!!) My niece was her mother's primary caregiver from about 16 to 22 and, IMO, is a very nice, but understandably sad, girl.

My MIL's sister from Germany came to visit and had to see a psychologist after visiting her. My MIL thought that was funny.

I could go on and on about how she lacks empathy. People with NPD often appear quite charming and delightful initially, but scratch the surface and you'll see the ugly underbelly. They have great difficulty being genuinely intimate with others and are very difficult to deal with because they do not see themselves as they are.

****************

Maybe others who know more can chime on, but my understanding of narcissism is that it's a sort of band-aid to shame?

Also, is it caused primarily by an attachment loss at a very young age?

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I've been thinking of posting questions about NPD lately too. When I posted this summer about my MIL not bothering to come to Dc's once a year dog show at the county fair 15 mins from her house, followed by her complete manipulation of extended family dynamics (which involved lying to other family members to get them on her side and purposely leaving us out of a family event) I got the suggestion that she has or is NPD.

 

I'm not sure what to think b/c she does act mostly loving toward the Dc when we visit. They do complaint hat she doesn't really listen or participate in the conversation if they try to tell her what they are learning, or what is going on in their lives. She will play games with them or take a walk, but actually listening to them doesn't happen much.

 

I always thought she just has zero self esteem and interprets anything that doesn't go the way she wants as proof that she has no value. Consequently she then behaves in ways that seek to defend her or heighten her self esteem in unhealthy ways (getting people on her side, talking badly about others, not going to their events, etc). This summer she didn't like that Dh pointed out that she should be going to the show, didn't like the implication that she was making a poor choice. It hurt her feelings that he would say/think that about her (to her btw). So, she defended herself.

 

I'm not sure she 'likes' the drama so much as she does not know any other method of coping. She does seem to characterize herself as some sort of martyr if given the opportunity or circumstance. FIL goes along and participates in quite a bit of the same thinking and reactions. Currently they are not taking to MIL's sister and her Dh, who live around the block. I think it stems from the fact that they visited MILs other sister who MIL & FIL have not spoken to in years (and she lives next door). In a way I don't blame them for not speaking to the next door sister since she was pretty nasty about the will when MIL's mother died, and insisted that MIL & FIL had some money they found in the house and were keeping it for themselves. :001_huh:

 

Anyway, I have a hard time thinking MIL has NPD b/c I see a person with NPD as consciously choosing to elevate themselves over others. MIL sits at home and cleans or watches TV, unless she is taking a trip to a casino (I won't even go into how messed up she is with that--it is her only 'hobby' or interest outside the house or family get togethers). She doesn't actively attempt to make everything about her every day.

 

Anyway I just picture a person who has it all together and arranges all of their behavior to reflect NPD. It seems to me MIL only does this when presented with the opportunity. I've really seen her reactions as just being a big baby.

 

I've always thought that it is sad that she has never progressed to have her own interests and life beyond the raising of little kids. And I know her idea of 'family' is messed up. She once told Dh that she would be happy if only her kids and grandkids came to family functions without bringing their spouses, leaving all the in-laws out. Both of my SILs go along with this. I haven't seen either of their husbands in years. We don't, and never will, comply b/c she just isn't going to get her way. Dh has made it clear to her that we are his family and we attend almost all events together. He had to really stand his ground with her to establish the idea in her head. One BIL got so tired of MILs drama and his wife feeding into it, that when he lost his job he found a job 10 hrs and hundreds of miles away and moved. MIL & FIL blamed him for taking their Dd away from them. They said he could have made more of an effort to find a job nearby. Maybe they are right idk, but I don't blame him.

 

Yeah, I may have talked myself into believing the NPD idea for MIL just by posting all of this. :tongue_smilie:

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Oh, I should also mention how expert they are at manipulation and triangulation. Presenting one way to the general public, and their true colours show in private.

 

I've been told how lucky I am to have such a WONDERFUL mother. My mom puts on a great act...but interestingly enough, has no long term friendships. Sooner or later, she lets down the side.

 

MIL is excellent at the waif/martyr role. She was/is famous for her hysterics and tantrum throwing. Her family is all aware of it, but ppl outside it think she's just this sweet lil old lady whose evil son doesn't bother w/her (found out she'd been spreading THAT lie during her disappearing act)

 

There's truly no boundaries they won't cross when it comes to them getting their supply of attention. Even pulling a disappearing act, having a missing persons report out is just more fodder for attention, and MIL sat back and LAUGHED about how upset everyone was.

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If you truly knew someone with NPD, it wouldn't seem so vague or fuzzy. People who truly have it show many traits of the disorder, and show them more flamboyantly than one who has the tendency to be selfish does. I guess that's one of the distinctions -- everyone has the capacity to act in a selfish manner, but acting selfishly in some instances is different than being a selfish person. KWIM?

 

For example, it's perfectly healthy and normal to recognize that you're a good-looking person and even to be proud of the fact. A person with NPD might be average-looking, but THINK they are drop-dead gorgeous. My dad was like this. My grandmother used to joke that he never saw a mirror he didn't like. Not only would he stop and preen in front of any reflective surface he walked by, but he talked about how gorgeous he was all the time, how people "wanted" him, and he often sought approval and confirmation that he was as good-looking as he thought. My dad had gorgeous eyes and a killer smile, but the rest of him was average at best. He was short and had a receding hairline. His view of himself was definitely inflated far beyond what it should have been, and so much of his self-worth was wrapped up in his looks. This also went for his abilities. He thought he was the toughest man who ever lived and could kick anyone's @$$.

 

People with NPD twist things. You couldn't win an argument with my dad. You could go into a discussion knowing you were 100% right, but he'd twist you all in circles until you cried and ended up apologizing. Sometimes he was like Jekyll and Hyde. He complained once when I was about 8 or 9, that my cousin loved her dad so much and was always climbing in his lap, calling him daddy, and giving him affection. Why didn't I do that? At the time I didn't understand that that wasn't the type of relationship he had fostered with me over the years, and my uncle had fostered that with his DD (who, btw, still climbs into his lap and loves him to pieces at 35 -- they're very close). The next day, I tried to be all happy to see him, and called him "daddy" (I had never, ever called him anything but dad) and tried to sit on his lap. He immediately said, "What do you want? You're kissing up to me, so you must want something. You never act like this." I was so crushed! When I wasn't the perfect daughter, I wasn't as good as someone else's daughter. When I tried to be the perfect daughter and give him what he wanted, I was kissing up. You can't win with someone who has NPD. The person always changes the rules. People in relationships with them are often left full of self-doubt and guilt. It's not fun, and it's definitely different than someone having a bad day and acting like a jerk towards you.

 

Really, everyone has some NPD personality traits to some small or medium degree. To have many of them to a larger degree adds up to NPD. It isn't pretty. It's a real disorder and it's very hurtful to the people around them. My dad ended up committing suicide due to depression and NPD. In case anyone is wondering why someone with NPD would kill themselves since they have such an over-inflated view of their own self-worth, they do it when that self-worth crumbles. When everything is going wrong and they risk losing that perfect image they've worked so hard to build, that's when it can happen. Without their image, they lose everything -- their sense of self, their value, and the thing that is most important to them.

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Oh, I should also mention how expert they are at manipulation and triangulation. Presenting one way to the general public, and their true colours show in private.

 

I've been told how lucky I am to have such a WONDERFUL mother. My mom puts on a great act...but interestingly enough, has no long term friendships. Sooner or later, she lets down the side.

 

MIL is excellent at the waif/martyr role. She was/is famous for her hysterics and tantrum throwing. Her family is all aware of it, but ppl outside it think she's just this sweet lil old lady whose evil son doesn't bother w/her (found out she'd been spreading THAT lie during her disappearing act)

 

There's truly no boundaries they won't cross when it comes to them getting their supply of attention. Even pulling a disappearing act, having a missing persons report out is just more fodder for attention, and MIL sat back and LAUGHED about how upset everyone was.

 

 

What Imp describes feels sociopathic. My experience with NPD leads me to believe that it is indeed indicitive of a sociopathic mind. While most NPD's would not actually kill another human being in order to get attention, my SIL who has it, is more than willing to hurt herself genuinely (though just enough to get attention but not enough to cause permanent injury) or even fake a suicide attempt (yes, FAKE - as per three psychiatrists that have interviewed her) during a family member's funeral in order to get the family attention back on her. So, while they are not labeled sociopaths, I do see sociopathic tendancies in our NPD's personality, and frankly, I think Imp's mother may fall into that category if not her MIL as well.

 

It's truly astounding! I don't know if they are literally delusional and hallucinatory - we can have a conversation with SIL and there can be multiple witnesses to the conversation - and then two weeks later she makes the wildest claims about things that were said and not said and it's all just INSANE lies. Pathological lies appear to be a part of NPD.

 

While it may be a pathological/psychological problem, the reality is that sociopaths, as I understand them, do understand right from wrong but have do not care...they just thrive on the attention of hurting others. This total lack of conscience makes it untreatable as a disorder and at least one psychologist has told us that though SIL is NPD she is actually quite capable of choosing to control her actions and does not. Therefore, she is not insane and it can't be medicated. She apparently could choose to behave in a more appropriate manner - I doubt she's capable of truly healthy relationships - and she could choose to NOT be the human wrecking ball that she is, but she has no intention of changing and from what we understand, most NPD's don't either. Occasionally, once in a while, if their families allow them to hit rock bottom and they have ZERO resources left, become homeless, are totally 100% alone, they will opt to start treating people a little better so they can have a life. But, these are rare instances and only in families in which the damage is so severe that EVERYONE cuts off the NPD person and lets the chips fall where they may. Usually, the NPD'ers manage to lie enough to acquaintances to keep scraping by, garnering attention for themselves because they are the "poor, sad victims of an ungrateful family!"

 

It's incidious. The NPD in our family lives one block away from here. I see her, at most, once per month for approximately 5 minutes. She is not allowed any access to my children. My long suffering brother will not leave her and that is his choice to make. As a result, he only gets to see his nephews when she is gone. It's all very, carefully orchestrated to keep her out of their lives because when she gets mad, look out, she gets ugly and leaves a very wide path of emotional destruction behind her. I do allow my niece to come here for a couple of hours per week - she's a sweet kid and did not inherit her mother's sociopathy. Once niece was past the babyhood, toddler, cute pre-schooler stage and having her no longer got my SIL a lot of attention, SIL began neglecting her. She's not physically abusive, she just has no use for her own child and my brother single parents his daughter while living under the same roof as the child's mother. :glare:

 

Dh's brother married an NPD. She's even worse which is just shocking! We see that family once per year for a maximum four hrs. which involves meeting at a restaurant for 2 hrs. of it and then wandering around a touristy area for 2 hrs. before saying goodbye. This about all she can manage pleasantly and only if we keep the visit restricted to public places. Her grown daughters, college students, are trying to figure out how to cut her out of their lives. There are still two children at home. Of the four, one (the third girl) has the NPD trait, possibly not as extreme, but she is definitely going to be a horribly, negative force to be reckoned with in the future.

 

I hope Joanne will have a chance to weigh in on this. I'd like to hear her comments. I know that the few psychologists/counselors we have in this area do not accept sociopathic patients because they believe they truly cannot be helped. One is also known for not taking NPD clients either. So, it would be interesting to know if I'm right about NPD being on the sociopathic spectrum. My comments are really just based on personal experience and observation, but NOT from any education or training in the field.

 

Faith

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Geesh.... I'm having flashbacks. I gotta stay off these kinds of threads.

 

Look, even though my mother is gone (7 years ago), I'm still dealing emotionally with it. To this day I still start breathing funny when I hear a belt squeal from a little pickup truck thinking she might be coming for a visit. For years I was sure that I had shell shock (or whatever term they use for that now) - I certainly met with the criteria.

 

I agree with every poster here who said, yes we can all exhibit signs of/or see signs of NPD but it is the level and the degree to which it is seen that makes the difference.

 

Oh, and imo, there is a co-mingling of npd and sociopathic behavior.

 

I gotta get off this thread....:auto:

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Thank you all! This has really helped me to understand. And that One Mom's Battle blog looks really interesting, I am going to spend some time browsing that.

 

Any of us could look at a list of symptoms for a particular physical ailment and think "Goodness, I have almost all of those, so I must have that problem." But it's the degree to which one has a symptom or symptoms that matters.

 

This makes sense.

 

:iagree: It's more that EVERYTHING is somehow about them. If it's not about them, they make it about them. They are expert manipulators and guilt-trippers so that they can make everything about them. If someone won't "play along" and make everything about the NPD as well, then that person is obviously a bad person and has some secret plot against the NPD person (all in the NPD's mind, of course.)

 

Wow, this is familiar to me.

 

Well, I can tell you how it plays out w/the NPD in my life.

 

First, I should also mention that my mother has 5/7 criteria in the DSM IV to be a sociopath/AsPD (3 are needed to be dx'd), so where one starts and the other ends is something I haven't figured out.

 

1) E.V.E.R.Y.T.H.I.N.G. is about them. I'm intelligent b/c she's intelligent. My successes are all b/c of her, my failures are all b/c I wouldn't listen to her. There is ZERO in my life that isn't a reflection of her in some way, shape or form.

2) If she can't figure out a way to take credit for something positive, it doesn't exist.

3) She truly believes she is favoured by God. She claims that God gives her msgs to pass along to her pastor (cause, yanno, God isn't capable of talking directly to the pastor, she's needed as a go btwn). Also claims Christ has appeared to her.

4) Believes all men want her. Incl Wolf.

5) Is never wrong. Has flat out said so.

6) When questioned on her negative acts/behaviour, she claims a) never happened b) I'm remembering wrong c) I'm too sensitive d) she doesn't remember e) if it did happen, then she's sorry I was hurt.

7) Brags about using and manipulating ppl, laughs about what she does.

8) Truly clueless that ppl exist other than to serve her. That other ppl have emotions just doesn't either occur or matter to her.

 

There's more, loads more, but I've only had 1 coffee, and am trying to stick to NPD, and not stray into the AsPD, and talk about law breaking, etc.

 

yikes. :001_huh:

 

My understanding of NPD is that includes causing emotional pain to others, and getting some sort of kick out of that. It's not a case of healthy self-interest. It's self-interest to the point of abusing others.

 

An N would start to tease a child, the child would start to become upset and the N would keep on teasing and teasing them until they were hysterical. A normal person would tease a child, thinking it was all in good fun, the child would start to get hysterical and the normal person would realize, "Whoops, I went too far, I better stop." And everyone makes mistakes at some point, but this would be a pattern of regular behavior. That's the difference as I understand it.

 

This helps me understand.

 

I believe my MIL has NPD. She can be somewhat empathetic to her favorite people, but it's very shallow. To give you some examples of her lack of empathy:

 

When my FIL was dying from an aortic aneurysm operation that didn't work, he called his son, my husband, who was then 21. My MIL told my FIL that she wanted to talk to my husband first, and she proceeded to tell my husband not to give his father any sympathy because he was just seeking attention. (!!!) My husband was very close to his dad and ignored her, which was good, because the next day his dad died. All his life dh had to deal with this which he did by becoming passive-avoidant.

 

When a good friend of hers called to tell her about a breast cancer diagnosis, my MIL laughed and told her we all have to die at some time. (I was at my MIL's home and heard the conversation.) She offered no sympathy or well wishes.

 

When my SIL was dying from cancer, my MIL boasted how she would pray a rosary for anyone but not for her. My SIL was quite nice to my MIL, always remembering her on her bday and holidays, often sending nice presents, etc.

 

MIL enjoys hearing how my niece (her granddaughter) is having a difficult time after her mother (the lady above) died from cancer. MIL calls her a *itch, slut, spoiled brat. (!!!) My niece was her mother's primary caregiver from about 16 to 22 and, IMO, is a very nice, but understandably sad, girl.

 

My MIL's sister from Germany came to visit and had to see a psychologist after visiting her. My MIL thought that was funny.

 

I could go on and on about how she lacks empathy. People with NPD often appear quite charming and delightful initially, but scratch the surface and you'll see the ugly underbelly. They have great difficulty being genuinely intimate with others and are very difficult to deal with because they do not see themselves as they are.

 

 

Horrible!!

 

 

Yeah, I may have talked myself into believing the NPD idea for MIL just by posting all of this. :tongue_smilie:

 

:lol:

 

If you truly knew someone with NPD, it wouldn't seem so vague or fuzzy. People who truly have it show many traits of the disorder, and show them more flamboyantly than one who has the tendency to be selfish does. I guess that's one of the distinctions -- everyone has the capacity to act in a selfish manner, but acting selfishly in some instances is different than being a selfish person. KWIM?

 

For example, it's perfectly healthy and normal to recognize that you're a good-looking person and even to be proud of the fact. A person with NPD might be average-looking, but THINK they are drop-dead gorgeous. My dad was like this. My grandmother used to joke that he never saw a mirror he didn't like. Not only would he stop and preen in front of any reflective surface he walked by, but he talked about how gorgeous he was all the time, how people "wanted" him, and he often sought approval and confirmation that he was as good-looking as he thought. My dad had gorgeous eyes and a killer smile, but the rest of him was average at best. He was short and had a receding hairline. His view of himself was definitely inflated far beyond what it should have been, and so much of his self-worth was wrapped up in his looks. This also went for his abilities. He thought he was the toughest man who ever lived and could kick anyone's @$$.

 

People with NPD twist things. You couldn't win an argument with my dad. You could go into a discussion knowing you were 100% right, but he'd twist you all in circles until you cried and ended up apologizing. Sometimes he was like Jekyll and Hyde. He complained once when I was about 8 or 9, that my cousin loved her dad so much and was always climbing in his lap, calling him daddy, and giving him affection. Why didn't I do that? At the time I didn't understand that that wasn't the type of relationship he had fostered with me over the years, and my uncle had fostered that with his DD (who, btw, still climbs into his lap and loves him to pieces at 35 -- they're very close). The next day, I tried to be all happy to see him, and called him "daddy" (I had never, ever called him anything but dad) and tried to sit on his lap. He immediately said, "What do you want? You're kissing up to me, so you must want something. You never act like this." I was so crushed! When I wasn't the perfect daughter, I wasn't as good as someone else's daughter. When I tried to be the perfect daughter and give him what he wanted, I was kissing up. You can't win with someone who has NPD. The person always changes the rules. People in relationships with them are often left full of self-doubt and guilt. It's not fun, and it's definitely different than someone having a bad day and acting like a jerk towards you.

 

Really, everyone has some NPD personality traits to some small or medium degree. To have many of them to a larger degree adds up to NPD. It isn't pretty. It's a real disorder and it's very hurtful to the people around them. My dad ended up committing suicide due to depression and NPD. In case anyone is wondering why someone with NPD would kill themselves since they have such an over-inflated view of their own self-worth, they do it when that self-worth crumbles. When everything is going wrong and they risk losing that perfect image they've worked so hard to build, that's when it can happen. Without their image, they lose everything -- their sense of self, their value, and the thing that is most important to them.

 

How sad about your Dad! But I had to laugh at the attractiveness part. My Dad is the same way, except he was very good looking (and I guess he's still considered that way among the older crowd :tongue_smilie:) He's never met a mirror he doesn't like. :lol: I always found it funny but it does greatly affect his life, he spent their retirement and sold his mom's beach home and spent the money on clothes.

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Okay I have never heard of NPD until I came here, and it seems to come up a lot. I am trying to understand this without diagnosing everyone I know (including myself) as having this. Here are the symptoms from the Mayo Clinic website:

 

  • Believing that you're better than others
  • Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
  • Exaggerating your achievements or talents
  • Expecting constant praise and admiration
  • Believing that you're special and acting accordingly
  • Failing to recognize other people's emotions and feelings
  • Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
  • Taking advantage of others
  • Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
  • Being jealous of others
  • Believing that others are jealous of you
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Setting unrealistic goals
  • Being easily hurt and rejected
  • Having a fragile self-esteem
  • Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional

Seriously?? Everyone I know (including myself) does some or all of these things. Having a fragile self-esteem? Don't most women? Most women I know are painfully insecure. Taking advantage of others? Ummm, tons of people do that. I agree that some of these are concerning but the majority of these symptoms just seem typical of any selfish individual, and can't most of us tend to be selfish if we're really honest with ourselves? :confused: I know a LOT of people (primarily women) who think they are better than others and I have known or heard of a LOT of men who take advantage of others, I'm thinking mostly in a business or sexual setting here. Most women I know struggle with jealousy. "Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior"...politics, anyone? Don't we all do this to some extent?

 

Here's another thing:

 

In contrast, people who have healthy confidence and self-esteem don't value themselves more than they value others.

 

Really?? People don't value themselves more than they value others? There's a reason there was only one Mother Teresa...the rest of us just don't make the cut. :tongue_smilie:

 

I do believe my parents have most of these "symptoms" but if I'm honest with myself, I have many symptoms of being selfish as well (maybe since I am willing to admit it and own up to my faults, that prevents me from having this? Whew!) I don't know what to think about it. I'm not meaning to act as if this is not a real disorder, but it just seems the symptoms are very vague and far reaching. Or am I wrong?

 

I think that if you are capable of reading that list and seeing some of it in yourself, you don't have NPD. Someone with NPD would never honestly admit to fitting any of the criteria.

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ime they don't put the baby's needs before their own. When our children we babies, we were subjected to stories about the npd's own children that involved the messes toddlers make when left with a loaded diaper too long...mostly because they are expected to stay in the crib for hours in the a.m. while the parent is busy on other things. And how smart their children were...the toddlers would sneak out of the bedroom to fetch bottles for the younger ones, the ones that couldn't climb out of the crib would rock it over to the light switch...the children spent hours in the crib well past the infant stage. The infants were of course fed on a schedule. The understanding of the various crys was never there, as far as I could tell when the gc were infants and left in the care of the npd. They were happy to show them off when they were under three months and sleeping well.

 

This is what I was wondering. I know my parents were more hands off with me as a baby than I would be comfortable with and I never understood that. Leaving me (as a newborn) on a completely different floor of the house, refusing to EVER let me be in the same room with them (although I did sleep in their closet later on for years because I was terrified to continue being all the way across the house and their closet floor was the closest they would let me be), they left me with practical strangers, that kind of thing. Of course I was fed on a schedule too. My sister who also has NPD tendencies fed her kids on such a tight schedule that even when they looked like emaciated concentration camp children she refused to take them off the schedule.

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I had two people in my life that I believe were NPD - but from different ends.

 

The first, related by marriage, was pretty classic and easy to spot. Everything is about her. You cannot have a conversation with her without her interrupting you mid-sentence so she can swing the subject back to herself and her experiences. Decades ago I gave up and just let her take the conversation where she will. Everything has to be her way, she is rude in getting her way and she is always right, is always the authority. She can seem very caring and emphatic for a bit- like asking for prayers for a family that is suffering, but she then swings it back to herself- how much she is hurting for this hurting family- how she can't sleep, etc. She can twist the reality of her life to make her the hero/martyr..but when you get all the facts and piece things together or just witness daily life- you see how incredibly selfish she is, that she doesn't actually do anything...that her spouse and kids serve her and do everything but she always talks like it is all her.

*I first started researching NPD because of this person.

 

My Mother was the other narcissist in my life, she recently died. I began to see her as NPD after reading up on it, and realized she is the other type- the "closet/ignoring Narcissist". She does not seem to grab or seek attention, she is not grandiose, but is quiet and often overlooked. But---when she isn't getting the attention that is due to her, she sulks. It's cat-butt face. She only did things she wanted to do, would promise to show up for important things but then decide she doesn't feel like it. Gifts are usually punishment for your lack...a clearance Christmas plant in January or something broken. Or, if it is a kind of nice gift, she has to get the same thing for herself, or she will buy a nice gift and not be able to give it away and keep it for herself. She triangulates- makes it sound like she is best friends with another sibling to make you jealous and does the same with the other sibling.

 

I always felt like it was my job to make sure she was having a good time or not feeling overlooked. Because of this, my wedding and birth of children were stressful because she was not the center of attention and was not happy. At my wedding, she disappeared. She gaslights- remembers/tells back history in a different way to make her the victim or hero. Once we kids got to a certain, more self-sufficient age, she began to ignore us and left us to fend for ourselves...she became more selfish and we had to do our own laundry, grooming, make our own meals. She never touched my step-brother, no hugs, no mom-stuff...but she gaslighted about how much she cared about him and cried that she should have fought for him in the divorce. She is incredibly persuasive even though we totally knew the truth of what his life was like with her, how lonely he must have been.

 

My sister broke her leg and called from the ER- (she had 3 small children at home and would need help) my mom's first comments on the phone were "oh my gosh! I can't handle the stress of this! Here, talk to your step-dad!" She lived around the block from my sister but wouldn't come over to help. She got mad that my dad and stepmom came to stay and help for several weeks. But, instead of helping, she insisted on paying for half the fees for a nurse to come help so she could get some credit for helping but not have to come over and help.

 

My sister's f-i-l was dying- as in the ambulance was taking him to the hospital and turned around because he wouldn't make it- they took him back home so m-i-l could be with him as he died. My sister was the only family nearby at that moment, she asked my mom to babysit so she could be with the m-i-l for a few hours till family could get there, so she wouldn't be alone. Sister came back at the appointed time so mom could make her hair appointment but mom proceeded to have a huge screaming melt-down and canceled her hair appointment even though she arrived on time. It was all terribly unappropriate an horrible timing, but my mom had to be more important.

 

The OP asked about the sense of self and a lack of self-esteem.. I read, and slowly came to believe- at least for my mom, that a profound lack of self-esteem was the root of her NPD, despite her outward actions seeming the opposite. I think my mom's dad was also NPD and she grew up thinking she had no worth. I think her outrageous behavior was the equivalent of her putting her fingers in her ears and shouting "but I am important! I do matter! la-lala, I can't hear you!" to drown out the voice in her head that said she wasn't. Unfortunately it was extremely off-putting and her behavior hurt and pushed people away. I am so sad that I didn't see her lack until she was dying, though she was so damaged I don't think all of my positive affirmation would have helped.

 

The last few years, it helped very much to understand NPD, to be able to anticipate that she would display some NPD trait at our get-togethers...so instead of being incredibly hurt and confused, I expected it and was just able to watch it unfold- deciding how I would react or if I would react instead of feeling rejected/confused/hurt.

 

good luck, OP.

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Geesh.... I'm having flashbacks. I gotta stay off these kinds of threads.

 

Look, even though my mother is gone (7 years ago), I'm still dealing emotionally with it. To this day I still start breathing funny when I hear a belt squeal from a little pickup truck thinking she might be coming for a visit. For years I was sure that I had shell shock (or whatever term they use for that now) - I certainly met with the criteria.

 

I agree with every poster here who said, yes we can all exhibit signs of/or see signs of NPD but it is the level and the degree to which it is seen that makes the difference.

 

Oh, and imo, there is a co-mingling of npd and sociopathic behavior.

 

I gotta get off this thread....:auto:

 

I'm right there with you. I can feel my bp rising as I read this.

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I'm sorry this is stressing some of you out. I find this fascinating because it is finally helping me piece together my crazy childhood and questions I have had for years (wait, is that narcissistic of me? I'm paranoid now :lol: )

 

I had two people in my life that I believe were NPD - but from different ends.

 

The first, related by marriage, was pretty classic and easy to spot. Everything is about her. You cannot have a conversation with her without her interrupting you mid-sentence so she can swing the subject back to herself and her experiences. Decades ago I gave up and just let her take the conversation where she will. Everything has to be her way, she is rude in getting her way and she is always right, is always the authority. She can seem very caring and emphatic for a bit- like asking for prayers for a family that is suffering, but she then swings it back to herself- how much she is hurting for this hurting family- how she can't sleep, etc. She can twist the reality of her life to make her the hero/martyr..but when you get all the facts and piece things together or just witness daily life- you see how incredibly selfish she is, that she doesn't actually do anything...that her spouse and kids serve her and do everything but she always talks like it is all her.

*I first started researching NPD because of this person.

 

My Mother was the other narcissist in my life, she recently died. I began to see her as NPD after reading up on it, and realized she is the other type- the "closet/ignoring Narcissist". She does not seem to grab or seek attention, she is not grandiose, but is quiet and often overlooked. But---when she isn't getting the attention that is due to her, she sulks. It's cat-butt face. She only did things she wanted to do, would promise to show up for important things but then decide she doesn't feel like it. Gifts are usually punishment for your lack...a clearance Christmas plant in January or something broken. Or, if it is a kind of nice gift, she has to get the same thing for herself, or she will buy a nice gift and not be able to give it away and keep it for herself. She triangulates- makes it sound like she is best friends with another sibling to make you jealous and does the same with the other sibling.

 

I always felt like it was my job to make sure she was having a good time or not feeling overlooked. Because of this, my wedding and birth of children were stressful because she was not the center of attention and was not happy. At my wedding, she disappeared. She gaslights- remembers/tells back history in a different way to make her the victim or hero. Once we kids got to a certain, more self-sufficient age, she began to ignore us and left us to fend for ourselves...she became more selfish and we had to do our own laundry, grooming, make our own meals. She never touched my step-brother, no hugs, no mom-stuff...but she gaslighted about how much she cared about him and cried that she should have fought for him in the divorce. She is incredibly persuasive even though we totally knew the truth of what his life was like with her, how lonely he must have been.

 

My sister broke her leg and called from the ER- (she had 3 small children at home and would need help) my mom's first comments on the phone were "oh my gosh! I can't handle the stress of this! Here, talk to your step-dad!" She lived around the block from my sister but wouldn't come over to help. She got mad that my dad and stepmom came to stay and help for several weeks. But, instead of helping, she insisted on paying for half the fees for a nurse to come help so she could get some credit for helping but not have to come over and help.

 

My sister's f-i-l was dying- as in the ambulance was taking him to the hospital and turned around because he wouldn't make it- they took him back home so m-i-l could be with him as he died. My sister was the only family nearby at that moment, she asked my mom to babysit so she could be with the m-i-l for a few hours till family could get there, so she wouldn't be alone. Sister came back at the appointed time so mom could make her hair appointment but mom proceeded to have a huge screaming melt-down and canceled her hair appointment even though she arrived on time. It was all terribly unappropriate an horrible timing, but my mom had to be more important.

 

The OP asked about the sense of self and a lack of self-esteem.. I read, and slowly came to believe- at least for my mom, that a profound lack of self-esteem was the root of her NPD, despite her outward actions seeming the opposite. I think my mom's dad was also NPD and she grew up thinking she had no worth. I think her outrageous behavior was the equivalent of her putting her fingers in her ears and shouting "but I am important! I do matter! la-lala, I can't hear you!" to drown out the voice in her head that said she wasn't. Unfortunately it was extremely off-putting and her behavior hurt and pushed people away. I am so sad that I didn't see her lack until she was dying, though she was so damaged I don't think all of my positive affirmation would have helped.

 

The last few years, it helped very much to understand NPD, to be able to anticipate that she would display some NPD trait at our get-togethers...so instead of being incredibly hurt and confused, I expected it and was just able to watch it unfold- deciding how I would react or if I would react instead of feeling rejected/confused/hurt.

 

good luck, OP.

 

Wow, I can see a lot of similarities between your mom and mine, although my mom is more public about her attention seeking. I agree that my mom's issues come from a deep wounding and that has helped me be more compassionate. My dad on the other hand is far to the end of the spectrum. I think he has a pathological problem.

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What are narcissists like with babies? Do they have trouble caring for them since it requires them to put another's needs before their own?

Depends on the narcissist.

 

Some adore babies, right up until about age 3, when the kids start having their own personalities and opinions.

 

Others can't stand them, b/c they take attention away from the N.

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This is what I was wondering. I know my parents were more hands off with me as a baby than I would be comfortable with and I never understood that. Leaving me (as a newborn) on a completely different floor of the house, refusing to EVER let me be in the same room with them (although I did sleep in their closet later on for years because I was terrified to continue being all the way across the house and their closet floor was the closest they would let me be), they left me with practical strangers, that kind of thing. Of course I was fed on a schedule too. My sister who also has NPD tendencies fed her kids on such a tight schedule that even when they looked like emaciated concentration camp children she refused to take them off the schedule.

 

 

Oh, absolutely this. My SIL made a big deal about bf niece. BIG deal, huge deal...as though she was the only woman in the history of the world to put her child's interests ahead of her own - seriously, just another attention grabber "Look at me! Look at me! I'm bf'ing my child. What a good mother I am!!!!" all the while on a four hr. schedule and no matter how much niece cried in hunger, was never fed any closer than that...not.even.as.a.newborn.! When she wasn't gaining weight, my brother would routinely sneak a couple of ounces of formula to her and feed her with a teaspoon (he was afraid to have a bottle in the house that SIL might discover) during the many times niece was left unattended on the floor or in her crib. I have often wondered how he managed to continue to hold down a job. But, my brother's teen son from a previous relationship lived in the house and we've since found out that he fed and diapered niece before he left for school each day, walked home at lunch (he was a high schooler so he was allowed to go off campus at lunchtime), fed and diapered her again (kept the bottle in his backpack since SIL didn't care enough about him to ever look at his stuff), and then again after school.

 

The care of the infant looks good when there are people around to praise the little mommy or daddy for being such good parents. When it feels good to take care of the child, they do. When it doesn't feel good, well then that's another story all together. In my niece's case, she survived to this point because of her dad. Since he won't leave SIL and he is a decent parent, CPS won't touch it with a ten-foot pole.

 

Suprisingly, my NPD SIL's daughter from her previous marriage, a grown woman, is a remarkably wonderful parent. I am sooooooo thankful for her little daughter's sake that mommy didn't inherit grandmom's NPD!

 

Faith

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Oh, absolutely this. My SIL made a big deal about bf niece. BIG deal, huge deal...as though she was the only woman in the history of the world to put her child's interests ahead of her own - seriously, just another attention grabber "Look at me! Look at me! I'm bf'ing my child. What a good mother I am!!!!" all the while on a four hr. schedule and no matter how much niece cried in hunger, was never fed any closer than that...not.even.as.a.newborn.! When she wasn't gaining weight, my brother would routinely sneak a couple of ounces of formula to her and feed her with a teaspoon (he was afraid to have a bottle in the house that SIL might discover) during the many times niece was left unattended on the floor or in her crib. I have often wondered how he managed to continue to hold down a job. But, my brother's teen son from a previous relationship lived in the house and we've since found out that he fed and diapered niece before he left for school each day, walked home at lunch (he was a high schooler so he was allowed to go off campus at lunchtime), fed and diapered her again (kept the bottle in his backpack since SIL didn't care enough about him to ever look at his stuff), and then again after school.

 

 

Terrible!!! God bless that sweet father and teen boy! :(

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I had the impression that it was nurture, not nature that created the NPD. The ones I know IRL were all neglected or abused as infants to about age 7 (where the school authorities would beleive the child over the parent and investigate), or they had the mother die before they were 12.

It's been stated that there is a genetic component.

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My MIL was not a good mother to either of her two sons. She had her first son when she was in her early 20s and was a single mother. This was in the 1940s in Germany. That son almost died when she allowed him to play in an area of her family's cellar and eat coal dust. He had to take opium to stop the diarrhea. Her mother eventually took care of him while my MIL ran about having a good time (she was very wild for that time and incredibly beautiful). So anyway, that son grew up believing his mother was his sister. It wasn't until he turned 15 that she told him, and I think that has adversely affected him his entire life.

 

My husband was born 15 years after his older brother. By that time MIL was married and on her way to America from Italy. (My husband's father is Italian.) She took care of dh as an infant to an extent but his older brother took on a lot of the duties and her mother sent one of MIL's sisters to help care for him, too. So apparently, her mother was concerned that MIL couldn't care for her children.

 

I've noticed many of the other traits others have mentioned, too. The triangulation, inappropriately believing others desire them (MIL's almost 90 and still believes all her young doctors want to sleep with her -- urg), the manipulation. Underneath it all I think is a profound sense of shame, unworthiness.

 

So, I dunno. My MIL exasperates me at times but I also feel a little bit sorry for her. From a looong distance.

Edited by MBM
typo
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Anyone can state anything. What gene?

:lol: No clue. But just as BPD has a genetic component, I've read that NPD does as well, that you can trace it over several generations.

 

*shrug*

 

I don't know how valid the statement is, just that I've read it in more than one place, from authors that have PhDs, trained psychiatrists, etc, so not from a National Enquirer source or layman's blog.

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I love reading all the personal and psychological insights that everyone has shared.

 

My BFF's husband has NPD and life is an absolute nightmare for her sometimes. The world MUST revolve around her DH as he can't possibly be wrong. Ever. Even with it in no way, shape, or form, impacts or affects him.

 

Just yesterday our friend went into a tizzy because my DH asked him if he had some components he needed in order to (hopefully!) fix my cell phone but hadn't bothered to seek out the friend's input or assistance first. Nevermind that what my DH was doing was his chosen degree and career field.

 

If anyone has a spouse with NPD, I'd love to hear some ideas on how BFF can learn to cope better in her dealings with him as divorce isn't an option for her. I just reassure her that I'll testify on her behalf that it was a crime of passion b/c he drove her temporarily insane. :D

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Anyway, I have a hard time thinking MIL has NPD b/c I see a person with NPD as consciously choosing to elevate themselves over others. MIL sits at home and cleans or watches TV, unless she is taking a trip to a casino (I won't even go into how messed up she is with that--it is her only 'hobby' or interest outside the house or family get togethers). She doesn't actively attempt to make everything about her every day.

 

Anyway I just picture a person who has it all together and arranges all of their behavior to reflect NPD. It seems to me MIL only does this when presented with the opportunity. I've really seen her reactions as just being a big baby.

 

Let me just say that my mother wasn't officially diagnosed with NPD. I was discussing my mother with my therapist at one time and she said that it sounded like my mother had NPD. I knew nothing about it, so I went home and read up on it a little. I went back to my therapist and said that while my aunt (my mother's sister) showed CLEAR signs of NPD, I wasn't so sure about my mother. My aunt outwardly demonstrated that she thought she knew more about everything than anyone else. No one could be better or more knowledgeable about anything than she could. She made herself look good by putting other people down. My mother is not like that. She has obvious low self esteem. She always complains that she can't get along with other people and no one likes her.

 

My therapist explained that NPD manifests itself in different ways. The way in which my mother elevates herself above everyone else is by making her needs and her problems seem more important than anyone else's need or problems. Every single situation has to have some kind of relation to my mother. When my kids join an activity, it's not because they want to do something fun, she thinks it's because I want another excuse to not have time for the kids to spend with her.

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