Despite feeling very much healed from the NPD abuse situation, from time to time I view other forums to keep abreast and in touch with the issues that are affecting victims in order to remind myself of the kinds of thoughts, feelings, questions, and changes they’re going through. For me, it does feel like it’s an old chapter in an old dusty book. I thank God I was able to heal, and I have every confidence that most victims with the right education and support can also heal and overcome.
Many argue the semantics of the Axis II Cluster B disorders and in maintaining focus on this niche group “Narcissists” I have held it is important to also have a general idea of what the other personality disorders entail because the symptoms oftentimes do overlap which is what I surmise was behind the APA’s feeling that reclassification was needed, although I don’t believe their changes are of benefit to anyone. It used to be 5 of 9 traits and you could call it a label. Today they have a whole other method which I believe will help the FEW who do somehow end up on a shrink’s couch EVADE diagnosis even more. That’s my UNprofessional opinion; however, despite not having the credentials, you only need common sense to figure this out if you read more about what they’re doing. That of course is perhaps better left for another blog post.
Many forums rather than focusing on a particular specific disorder rather enjoy grouping the major PD’s all under one umbrella. I see the logic and rationale behind this as disorder is disorder, abuse is abuse and when you are looking at shared key traits such as: Unable to attach, cannot love, lacks remorse and empathy, superficial charm, abusive etc…the words don’t really make much of a difference it’s all the same; however, where distinctions ARE important are in the early stages for someone trying to escape or freshly out of the relationship because yes…when you’re dealing with someone on the spectrum, death is a possibility if you don’t really understand how to protect yourself. That is not meant as a scare tactic. Not everyone on the spectrum is a cold-blooded killer…but the fact that they lack empathy or a conscience in some of the cases of personality disorders does present a risk.
The distinctions become important when it is necessary to understand the MOTIVATION behind the individual’s actions. Are they reacting due to fear thus causing their narcissistic traits to surface? For example: In the case of a borderline, NPD can be a co-morbid condition or it can present as a TRAIT to a varying degree (sometimes to a very high degree so much so it is as if you are dealing with a full-blown narcissist). Why is this important to question? Because when you know what is motivating them you can to a certain extent figure out what will work to keep them at bay and keep YOU safe. I think it would be fair to say at the root of all of their behavior regardless where they fall on the spectrum is this need for control. What becomes a skill in dealing with them is understanding how to get them off your trail. I’ve seen many enter a forum and speak of how the Narcissist just can’t seem to let them go…how he keeps coming back but I opine that is not a true narcissist.
With a pure-blooded narcissist once they leave, they’re not coming back anytime soon. When a narcissist leaves, he’s already secured his supply. You’ve done your job and they’re done with you. Since they’re so full of themselves and their image, when a narcissist leaves you – you simply aren’t good enough for them anymore…you were out of their mind when you were with them, it was a one on one relationship. YOU with yourself!
When I read these entries I can only shake my head, because then the whole audience chimes in and they all begin to talk about how the Narcissist just can’t seem to let them go – and that so is NOT narcissism…see, a narcissist is too involved with HIM/HERSELF to even think about you…your purpose is to be an object no more no less…now give it some cooling off time…yes they may cycle back if the pickings are slim or if you’re just such easy prey they can come back for a piece of you. When I say a piece of you, I mean a booty call. In a normal healthy relationship when it’s over its over so we can’t really blame the narc once he’s gone if he’s able to creep in once we are made aware of the dynamics. Once aware, if we slip, that’s on us and we have to be accountable for that. I’ll say it one more time…it AIN’T love. I do acknowledge there are plenty of variables and nothing is black or white but for the most part let me dispel that ego driven myth some enjoy flattering themselves with…he’s not thinking about you and if he’s gone you can pretty much bank on the fact he’s gone for good until his new supply loses it’s appeal. That will take at minimum a few months but they might try to test you, only because they’re driven by their ego and need to have conquests. If you give it to them, they will take it. But don’t be fooled. Narcissists can be just as ruthless as a sociopath or you might be dealing with one that has a very strong level of sociopathic traits…
I caution everyone to take a full inventory and try to be as realistic as possible before jumping to conclusions and labeling. There is a distinction between an asshole and a personality disordered individual. When hurt and harmed it is easy to jump to these conclusions and so much is happening mentally. Oftentimes when engaging in a forum one can get caught up in the whole ‘drama’ cycle. That is not to say the issues are ‘dramatic’ they are very real, genuine and true – but it is also important to keep in mind the power of suggestion is also very alluring to someone who feels they’ve been harmed. Not everyone who is an abuser is necessarily suffering from a personality disorder. For example, someone suffering from PTSD could react violently and PTSD is not on the Axis II Cluster B spectrum, but rather categorized as an anxiety disorder. The bottom line, abuse is not to be tolerated and labels in that respect do not matter much. Abuse is abuse and one must remove themselves from any relationship that isn’t healthy. By the same token, be wary of anyone who is willing to immediately conclude within five minutes of telling your story that someone is on the spectrum and fits the description of what their particular tribe believes. This is for your own good…as it is important to be honest with yourself so that you can get to the root of the problem and find resolution that not only resolves your pain but gets you to a place where if there were patterns that led up to your being vulnerable you can address them and hopefully never fall prey to this type of individual again. While there is no guarantee it won’t ever happen again, and they even take the mental health professional’s down, if you have a solid understanding the odds are lower you would be vulnerable in the future only because unlike the professionals, most of us who have been intimately involved have such a wider scope of experience and understanding. Many of us once healed walk around and gloat we can spot them in a minute flat just by what they say. It’s almost like gaining a superpower. You too will someday be able to brag: “I see dead people!”
Sometimes in order to get a fuller understanding, I travel to darker places, to places where they congregate. I don’t participate out of respect for their right to discuss what they want to discuss on their terms and in their space. There are some NONs in there also who are seeking advice; however, I’ve always held if you know there is a lion in the den then you leave it be in peace, you don’t disturb it otherwise you can’t cry because you got mauled. Sounds fair…perhaps I am deluding myself. I oftentimes laugh when someone gets fired up and decides to tell them off only because that is simply sheer entertainment for them, and it takes the kind of work we as survivors do in order to really grasp that. You’d have better results banging your head into the wall then to believe you will reach them. I’m at a place where I hate that the disorders exist but hold no hate for those with the disorder whether they can appreciate it or not, and if one were reading this I am well versed enough to know this too would find them tickled.
Earlier this evening, I was playing spectator on Sociopath World. If you are new in the process, don’t go in there trust me…you’re not ready. It will be a major trigger. What I have done instead and I trust that the Sociopaths won’t hold it against me is share an excerpt from one victims story that resonated so fully with me and what the experience was like even though I hold that I was with a narcissist rather than a sociopath. It is an example of how we can say that there are distinctions but there aren’t. The effects to the TARGETS are all the same…but the motivations for the personality disorders vary. The member on that forum shared the following:
“I never realized how dangerous this man was, living in his suburban house with his suburban life, until he killed someone and the forensic expert on the prison psych ward labeled him as such: ‘a true sociopath’. Even then, I was so brainwashed I refused to believe it. It has taken me 12 years to finally see the truth of what sort of monster I was involved with. The word ‘manipulation’ does not do the work of the sociopath justice. This man completely broke me down emotionally. He never laid a hand on me but he didn’t have to. I remember curling up on the bathroom floor in the early hours of the morning in a fetal position, crying non stop, feeling utterly helpless and lost and wondering what had happened to the ‘me’ I used to be. This is what the true sociopath will do to a person – make that person feel so desperate that they too feel that they are totally losing their mind. The true sociopath will take away every vestige of their target’s individuality, leaving behind just a pathetic and helpless disciple. The true sociopath will trick you and con you without you EVER knowing until it’s too late. Once the reality comes to light, you will be in more trouble than you ever thought possible. You are just another victim and it will take you YEARS to undo the psychological damage. You may think you are in a ‘normal’ relationship. You may think you’re in love and that the true sociopath is in love with you but the reality is that you are being used and mentally abused while the sociopath gets his narcissistic needs met. The sociopath doesn’t give a damn about you. All the gifts and flowers? They mean nothing and are just a means for the sociopath to keep you hanging on. As for breaking up with the true sociopath, be VERY VERY careful. It’s no joke. These people are scorpions and they will turn on you in a heartbeat and reduce your already trampled self-esteem and sense of self-worth into the mud, even lower than you thought possible. By the time they are done with you, you will feel worthless, unlovable, useless. You will blame yourself for everything that went wrong with the ‘relationship’ but the truth is that you were taken advantage of and abused by a highly skilled shark that you never saw coming. They will leave you devastated and isolated. I could go on and on about this but I’ll just sign off ‘Older and wiser but damaged beyond repair’.”
For many of us…what adds to the cognitive dissonance is: He never laid a hand on me…that is the shit kicker right there. How can someone who never beat you, or overtly verbally abused you leave you nothing but a shell of yourself? Moreover, who outside of the hell would ever truly grasp the level of devastation that is left in the wake of their destruction, especially when they are so good at playing the role of ‘nice guy?’
If you’ve never taken my word in terms of understanding these dynamics or if my writing at first glance has seemed a bit over the top, you have it from another victim in black and white. This is not a game, and targets or anyone who suspects they may be dealing with someone on the Axis II Cluster B spectrum needs to gain an understanding and an education of the dynamics as well as the distinctions and take this very seriously. I’ve seen many on forums who appear to think somehow they are going to outsmart these types, or get their come uppance. They confuse a personality disorder with an asshole. Grave mistake. READ, and conduct RESEARCH from reputable sources. Find a professional mental health professional that is skilled in Trauma, DV and/or possibly addictions if applicable and get out. It might be the difference between life and death.
In return for the favor of being able to peep their den, I also noted that the leader of the board has published a book. The link for purchasing the book can be found [HERE]
Note: The use of the term Sociopath/Sociopathic was used for the purposes of consistency as this entry referenced Sociopath World; however, there remains great debate as to whether or not sociopath and psychopath are synonyms. The following article does a good job explaining what perhaps is the most up to date theory on the semantics: Sociopathy vs. Psychopathy