OOPS! BUMP! A TEACHABLE MOMENT GETS LOST IN THE ABYSS…

I don’t expect a newbie to relate to this post on any level.  NOT.AT.ALL.  HOWEVER, there are many who are seasoned stuck in the loop and by this point it’s time for a dose of reality.  We can waste our lives lamenting about the harm that was done, we can point fingers, we can cry to the heavens and anyone anywhere who will listen…we can become jaded, bitter and decide that all hope for humanity is gone.  We can flutter about chattering here and there, go in circles and continue to repeat the same stories over and over to anyone who will listen until we get tired of hearing our own voice then we will have successfully depleted ourselves and have no one to blame. All of these are choices POST learning about NPD.

Support forums are nice, but after a while they lose their luster.  Anyone who has recovered successfully will share the same sentiment.  They lose their luster because after you walk a while along the path of recovery it’s all OLD news, there is nothing new to add or to learn about NPD – the rest has to do with US.

Earlier this morning I happened upon an article in the Washington Times Communities Section entitled: “Narcissistic Personality Disorder is Not Harmless Behavior.”  The author pretty much explained the dynamics of NPD and a discussion ensued.  I commend her effort in using her voice helping bring to light the damage the disorder does to the victims; however, early on in my recovery, I recall and I’ve seen others on rare occasions share the same view…they’re sick, and they are powerless over their condition.  This is not being said in the spirit of evoking sympathy…but I think one of the key things that is ironic is that for as much EMPATHY some enjoy touting, that ’empathy’ is not there when it comes to trying to understand the disorder as it exists clinically.  If one were to silence the posse shouting in the background: “Burn Him/Her at the Stake!” I think that one might actually be able to provide closure for themselves much sooner.  This is one of the downsides to online support…human nature being what it is, many tend to follow the majority and this becomes very easy when so severely devastated. Do not doubt for a moment I don’t know this walk – I was rendered mute for a month…I never got an apology and I spent a lot of time in the rabbit hole.

The problem is, most of what we are ‘repeating’ and ‘sharing’ are the musings of non professionals and that is because the mental health professionals in all their ‘grandiose’ ideas of labeling themselves ‘experts’ have decided that all except for for maybe borderlines on the spectrum are incurable.  Suffering from a physical condition myself that a majority of medical professionals dismiss but afflicts 17 million globally, I have plenty of reasons to suspect that there are many in positions of the medical arts – especially mental health professionals that have a few ‘ego’ challenges to work out for themselves.  In no way am I suggesting that one’s empathy extend to the point of staying.  One peer supporter early on set me straight when I was about to go into my mercy spiel and said:  “It’s like a raccoon trapped in a cage…you can feel sorry for it because it is a creature of God’s but you don’t put your hand near the cage.” That has been the most profound analogy I’ve ever heard and its served me well in times of cognitive dissonance.  Unfortunately, what I witnessed on this discussion thread which followed a very good article was the complete disregard and in one case absolute denial for what a self proclaimed narcissist shared in the thread…his words in the aforementioned article are as follows:

“I suffer from this condition.  Just admitting that I am a victim of this disorder makes me an object of revulsion and trepidation.  I cannot help who I have been or who I am, I can only struggle against it when I recognize what I am doing and try to stop the damage I am doing.  I can’t tell you how many hours a day I think constantly and remorsefully about the things I have done, particularly in the heat of the moment.

This condition… it is easy to become a victim of someone who has it and it is nearly impossible to think of someone having it as being a victim.  And yet we exist and we suffer too, though most will never say it so directly.  They will lash out, behave horribly irrationally, even be terribly frightening.  Expressing this verbally is rarely done because it is an absolute fear, a fear that if we admit any pain or weakness will be met with a figurative sword thrust.  Many of us… we wish we could say “I’m sorry”, that we could be more expressive of what we really feel, to be more kind and warm, to be normal.  Then there are some who are so gone, like many of the personal accounts I have read before posting, that they give up on all civility, all reason to make their misery known or to drive overbearing revenge for a perceived wrongdoing towards them.  It pains me to hear what some of you have gone through because of a person like me, on the inside.  I suspect there are many like me who would eagerly be cured of the way we are wired in the head.  It really isn’t fun or pleasant when things don’t go our way and reacting far more badly than a normal person ever should.  Some say “Oh, he’s just badly adjusted” to “He’s a complete freak.”  And it hurts, it hurts because we can’t just come out and say “What you have done has hurt me and I don’t know how to handle this pain I feel from it.”

I, and people like me, need help.  We might not easily admit it, if ever, but we need help.  I want to help any researcher there is that is working on a way to treat this condition.  I don’t want to be this way, I hate it.  I don’t know why anyone would EVER want to live like this with themselves.  I’m sure I’m not the only one.”

a few comments down the thread another poster commented:

“I guess you can’t be a full blown NPD person because they can’t see what you describe. Maybe you just have a few traits that you can work on, which is fine because we all have our faults. Good luck in conquering your demons. You obviously do care about others so it’s not NPD;-)”

I am not sure how well educated the second respondent is on NPD; however, anyone who has a good understanding of the illness knows that while Narcissists are capable of heinous acts, they only know two emotions: Fear and Anger which the latter turns into RAGE when the mask is uncovered.  It is a pathological level of FEAR which drives the Narcissist to do what he does and no amount of love or reassurance can break through that armor.  It’s a lost case in that respect; however, it does not mean they are not suffering.  In the pain they inflict upon us via abuse, for a moment we are not quite ourselves…we struggle with our own deep pain and anger and yes, even rage once we have the great ‘AHA’ moment.  It is my feeling an effective and knowledgable support forum leader understands the various stages and also that at a certain point for those further along if a ‘target’ hasn’t gotten it yet, it’s time to re-direct and deal with the realities of this illness.

I do not doubt the individual who shared they suffer with the condition.  It’s been my suspicion that along with the fear and anger and once inflicted with what they perceive to be an ‘injury’…RAGE…they also feel trapped. Narcissists know that every relationship they have will fail, they know who they are and what they do, but in many respects they are powerless also.  To add insult to injury, the mental health industry could care less about doing anything to help them.  They’ve decided since Abilify doesn’t help the condition they’re beyond being treated (although given the circumstances I get how that statement is also an oxymoron).  I am fully aware that mental health experts are very clear when they say they too end up depleted; however, I am not certain if it is ethical to partition off a subset of mental health patients and rubber stamp them unworthy of study and research.  Granted, I don’t believe this is a job for your average Social Worker; however, the same way we have a few notable professionals such as Hare and Cleckley who have done work on Psychopaths…amongst others…like Sam Vaknin, himself afflicted who has shared his insights and has issued grave warnings to victims, it’s the same way I believe there should be specialists who focus on the various personality disorders in general given how more and more prevalent they are becoming in society.  Disorder and dysfunction breeds more disorder and dysfunction and yes, those on the spectrum also mate and bring children into the world – it really isn’t something you can ignore.

Where does that leave us though?  The Victims?…Until the mental health industry elects to get serious about their field in general and takes a stand against BIG PHARMA as the answer to all, at best if years later you are still stuck on the loop, as so many I have witnessed, perhaps understanding that like cancer we’re dealing with a condition where the wiring is bad, it might be helpful to tap into that ’empathy’ from a distance and know when to fold.  It is tragic all around…but we can’t stop living nor can we cling to a past which was filled with nothing but dead ends.  By the same token, I wonder how far we’ll go talking in circles amongst ourselves given that so often the ‘teachable moments’ go overlooked.

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10 thoughts on “OOPS! BUMP! A TEACHABLE MOMENT GETS LOST IN THE ABYSS…

  1. Pingback: PTSD A ‘NEW’ PHENOMENON | Narc Raiders

  2. Paula,
    I don’t necessarily see anything wrong with a profit and that is the misconception that many have, that somehow the work isn’t authentic if someone wishes to charge…there are two issues here – One is getting the word out, the other providing support.

    Traveling in isolated circles is NOT what is going to do that; therefore, what you do (posting articles and such to publications that would give you a platform to share) and how you do it is just AS important, useful, legitimate and needed. Not sure how you would wish to word it; however, it is difficult to juggle multiple balls unless there is a TEAM and so that was not to put you down. To the contrary, a lot of sweat, toil, energy and effort goes into writing a book and I don’t see why someone should not be compensated.

    The illusion is that Mother Theresa lived on air, but to the contrary she was very well taken care of, her poverty was very much ‘hype.’ I’m not really sure where you are going with this but just wanted to make that very clear that I am grateful for the work you do to raise awareness in a wider platform than what we generally see among the close knit circles. From the beginning it seems as if you were responding defensively and I don’t know if I am misreading or if you felt you were judged…I have had different experiences online and so I will of course have my perspective and there is nothing someone else could say that would change that. I do know and have witnessed some of the slamming, and that is NOT my intention. I’m simply stating that when one is in the arena where they are wearing multiple hats, it becomes challenging to maintain that balance because its purely business sense and a matter of healthy SELF ESTEEM to put one’s heart into something and share their story and take that ‘journey’ down memory lane and revisit the past in order to ‘create’ something that one may also feel is helpful to others. That also has a VALUE, I don’t believe we should ever underestimate OUR value and our contributions. Therapists get paid and from some of the advice I’ve been given it’s more like robbery than compensation but I digress – like you said at the top of your first response, something to the effect of when you wrote the article you had to write with an audience in mind in order NOT to alienate certain people, THAT is completely understandable from a ‘Communication’s’ perspective and is the professional thing to do when your goal is to bring an issue to the mainstream, you can’t be as blunt, you will more or less have to use what they once termed in communications the Hypodermic Needle Theory and warm them up slowly…(allegedly it’s a defunct communications model, but I agree wholeheartedly it is still very much used and perhaps labeled defunct lest we be onto the manipulation of the media).

    On the other side of this same coin, I was sharing or trying to express that for me, since I do not have those prospects before me, I am free to speak in a manner that is a little more in the raw because I’m not trying to raise awareness in the ‘mainstream’ and having to follow their rules and limitations in order to be heard, but rather in the trenches…where I can spit it out and hash it out without worrying whether or not my messages will be received by the general masses who evidently would initially be resistant to what I’m trying to express given the gross volume of the LACK of awareness in this specific area of DV.

  3. This is a great article. I have for a long time realized that my ex-narcissist is also suffering; I wrote a post about how he had moments of self-awareness and insight into his condition. I also agree very much with your supporter who said that just because you recognize the suffering of another living creature doesn’t mean that you should stick your hand in the cage. Because of our experiences we former narcissistic targets really can’t, but your point about how the professionals are cutting off an entire subset of mental health difficulties is well taken. NPD needs serious and long-term study because of the debilitating damage it does and the toll it is taking, and I agree, we are starting to see more and more of it.

    • Thank you Lynette…the aftereffects for victims are so severe, I really do believe more studies should be done…heck if they can study psychopaths and sociopaths, I don’t see why the other disorders can’t be studied. EVEN if it is found that they cannot by any reasonable human intervention be cured (which we all sort of accept but it would be nice to have studies to confirm it beyond reasonable doubt) then at minimum, perhaps they will by default discover better methods to help the ‘victims’…how can you claim to be skilled at helping victims when one claims to be a professional in mental health and yet your industry totally rejects the ones who cause harm? Of course they would have difficulty understanding and hence by default lack skill in really helping a victim beyond the realm of say a pill and the ‘label’ of codependency…why? Because it’s easy?…oh, I have to get off this now, I could write a book…they miss the TRAUMA almost every time…many are walking around with a bipolar diagnosis, and they’ll keep wondering WHY it’s ‘so out of control and hard to manage’…:(

  4. Ohhhhh, i so wish to respond to this! UGH! I wrote a post last night about newbies. I haven’t posted it yet. It needs some tweeking, but it’s not going to go over well, I don’t think. You’re such a great writer my darling! I always respect it! I have to leave for a bit, but really want to take the time to ponder before I can say more. **Hugs**

  5. Betty LaLuna,

    I’d like to thank you for sharing my article.  I was very careful in composing that story in hopes of not alienating people or being too transparent about my own experience/victimization. 

    The particular post you quote is not an uncommon response I receive frequently from NPD “sufferers” on my blog page “Identifying a Narcissistic Sociopath.” The majority of these “sufferers” tend to be young men under the age of 25 or so. I have also received some private e-mails from these “sufferers.”

    My general response to them is to seek professional help and to learn as much as they can about the condition. I spell out their need to self-reflect and journal some of their behaviors and most importantly, the reactions to those behaviors by the people they have harmed.

    Can they be cured? I don’t know. But rest assured, many victims I have met through my blog, FB pages, and private groups have ALL shown empathy for their abusers. ALL of them. None of us want to give up on another human being. We want desperately to see others succeed and live a good life. Unfortunately, worrying too much about the abuser’s pain detracts from our need to rebuild what our abuser took from us: self-respect, self-confidence, self-awareness, and self-love.

    I am very empathetic toward my ex’s condition. However, providing a bunch of guidance for an NPD “sufferer” on my blog and other writings counters my goal of bringing awareness to the masses about the inevitable harm of NPDs. It also can be detrimental for the victims/survivors who struggle always with blaming themselves for the abuse. If we worry too much about curing the abuser, we stop healing ourselves.

    I think the reaction to commenters by ignoring the NPD commenter suggests they are focused on themselves. Why should any of us respond to an NPD who repeats the same pity party we heard when we were trying to get the courage to leave? Ignoring this commenter speaks volumes. Responding to him or any NPD jeopardizes how far we have journeyed out of the rabbit hole. 

    If the NPD knows himself so well, he should also know its time to seek help. To me, NPD comments like this beg for our pity and everyone to say, “Oh, it’ll be okay. You’re good underneath. We know that.” 

    Isn’t that the kind of thinking that got us trapped in the first place with these fools?

    As far as clinical professionals giving up, I don’t see it as giving up. Professionals can only help people who want help. Help changing themselves. From my experience, NPDs often seek help in hopes of learning more control techniques so they don’t have to change. 

    I appreciate your post. But I think as victims and survivors struggling with triggers and other PTSD issues, keeping our distance verbally and emotional away from dealing with an NPD’s pain is vital.

    As survivors of NPD abuse, it’s up to us to set boundaries and hopefully make the future NPDs we encounter aware of what they can’t get away with when it comes to dealing with us. A kind of prevention of harm approach. If the NPD “sufferer” can’t be cured, at least give him fewer of us to harm and manipulate. Limit their supply. Maybe with limited supply, they’ll be forced to fix themselves. 

    ~Paula
    P.S. There is no “live” moderator for the discussion strings on TWTC pages or any major online newspaper. Comments are filtered for language and spam links. As the author of the piece, I try to stay out of the comments and allow readers to interact. It’s very different from how I approach my blog, which is more personable. 🙂

    • Paula,
      I thank you for visiting and taking a moment to respond. Having worked at recovering and immersing myself in a myriad of resources, and digging very deep to try to find some explanation, dabbling in many spiritual and philosophical endeavors as well in a desperate search for some type of answer, as it stands today my position is as humans, NO we do not know the absolute truth; however, I am a seeker of truth and light and know that until the day I die I will most likely be in a state of seeking.

      I don’t say this in a tin foil hat kind of way, I say this as one who once thought of being a Journalist and so learned the value of researching and dissecting things…something that sadly we no longer see in the mainstream media which is why articles like yours are so important.

      While I fully understand the ‘process’ of recovery, and in fact was perhaps one of the FEW people literally rendered MUTE, I certainly do not have to be ‘sold’ on the damage that narcissists or better yet ANYONE on the spectrum can do; however, my specific focus has been Narcissism, not Sociopaths, Psychopaths, Histrionics or any other flavor on the spectrum. I do have a bit of an understanding of borderlines only because NPD and Borderlines are so much more similar to one another whereas when we’re speaking of Sociopaths and Psychopaths they have TRAITS of narcissism but it is somewhat redundant to refer to someone as a narcissistic sociopath only because it’s a given if we’re speaking of a sociopath, they are as par for the course understood to be narcissistic…there is no need to ‘combine and merge’ the two they are two distinct and separate entities even though they all overlap when you look at the bigger picture and I don’t think there is anyone who would suggest a “Save the Axis II Cluster B” telethon anytime soon.

      Nonetheless, the more that mental health professionals outright refuse to study them, the higher the incidence that we the victims will continue to be inadequately treated, mislabeled and misdiagnosed. When you factor in the lack of understanding by many of PTSD, which was a very prevalent illness following the War, you’d think by now they’d be able to identify it and treat it. The industry is being managed, manipulated and controlled by Big Pharma. In the interim, people like you and I – its a roll of the dice. One might find someone skilled, one may not…and in the wrong hands where does that leave a victim?

      Whether one can find competent help or not isn’t exactly the issue but it does have a lot of influence on the sheer number of victims online who are seeking support; however in that vulnerable state, they’re off rambling not fully aware just whom they may be sharing with…that compounds the problem because it really sucks when you’re re-victimized by a wolf in sheep’s clothing this time a nameless, faceless individual who started out seemingly knowing and understanding you so well, UNTIL they took your innermost secrets and your pain and used it against you…and YES this kind of activity goes on online and many are in denial, or perhaps ‘abusers’ by proxy…not sure but then again, not my job to classify them simply raising awareness.

      With this in mind, I suspect that may be the SAME reason why in many instances, I still see people some who were ‘targeted’ long before me still stuck on the loop and I wonder ‘WHY?’ is it because they did not get the right kind of support early on? Is it because there is something significantly disordered in them? or, Are they ‘plants’ hyping a page? Could be a combination of all three; nonetheless, within that group, I believe there is also a percentage of people that genuinely for whatever reason cannot get past what has happened, and they’re struggling because they haven’t been exposed to another way of ‘dissecting’ the problem. While from a Public Relations perspective I get how it would be beneficial to say that EVERY victim has had ’empathy’ NONE of them want to ‘give up’ on another human being…but being completely honest and sharing my truth, I’d have to call B.S. Either you have not been exposed to as much as I have online or you’re working a public relations campaign (which is needed in order to raise awareness – this is not a slam) and feel the need to defend your position. I assure you we ARE on the same team Paula…the thing is, that when all methods have been tried, sometimes it makes sense to throw one’s hands up and surrender to the fact that they are ‘incurable’ while the ANGER we feel which is natural and normal, and I believe at one time my words about the individual in my life were something to the tune of: “I could run him over then shift gears and reverse over him again” and there were other moments of ‘great empathy’ in my walk, what I am simply saying is that if it’s been YEARS…rather than bullshitting oneself labeling oneself “HIGH EMPATHY” or whatever, when the truth is if you are not on the spectrum, then yes you can be empathetic just as equally as you can be narcissistic because NORMAL people have traits too – stop for a moment and recognize that the bottom line is they too are just as powerless, they are sick, there is nothing to help them, but the digging one’s heels and staying stuck on anger is USELESS, only because it’s the SAME as getting upset at a cancer patient for dying…there is no cure for cancer, there is no cure for people on the spectrum, and the mental health industry has decided they do not wish to bother.

      The truth is all the crap that’s spun in the mental health industry is also for the most part B.S. based on theory of a few dudes who did a few lines of coke before they elected to pen their musings…this is what we’re letting mold our brains when we listen to the experts. But it’s about as good as anything else out there I suppose. When we walk this walk and we say we wish to get rid of illusions, we can’t necessarily pick and choose – that would be hypocritical. So yes, my position stands…if we’re going to say we are ‘HIGHLY EMPATHETIC’ then in my opinion, someone who’s been around the block would do well to look at the bigger picture, as the pointing of fingers only serves to take focus away from SELF – and aren’t we supposed to be looking at self in the journey?

      I have a different goal in mind with what I do, I try to set newbies on a direct path understanding what they are dealing with so that they can heal and won’t be found on forums two, three years later unless they are in the area of providing peer support. Since I am not looking to profit, I can afford to share in an intimate one on one setting – this is my choice because I saw how many sharks were wading in the Axis II Cluster B Support Forum pool. So, do not take my article as an attack you don’t have to sell me anything your message for the ‘Masses’ most definitely should paint ‘victims’ in a positive light; however, for the purposes of ‘credibility’ I must also be honest and even admit for a time in my own ‘process’ that YES…victims can and do often become abusers, and quite often because of the shock and the trauma this type of experience entails in and of itself can cause a victim to act out in a manner that is abusive. I have dissected this issue from so many angles, I am aware of the various camps, yes even the camp that says the whole ‘victim hood’ movement is overrated, manipulated and exploited…then there is the camp that it’s okay to be a victim and to say anything to the contrary is re-victimizing a victim…it can all spin one’s head round and round…then there is the codependency thing…makes me want to vomit…I’m simply saying the goal should be RELEASE…not easy to do in the beginning but if you’ve got nothing left…focus on…they’re INcurable…we can all feel a tinge of compassion for someone who can’t be repaired…detach, let go, move on…

      It was my feeling the BEST part of the thread was where the ‘self proclaimed’ Narc chimed in…neither you nor I can speak for those who interacted on the thread…simply observing…I am doubtful anyone stopped to think that perhaps there was a flip side, and just like my mentor shared the raccoon analogy with me perhaps that is the key to the MIDDLE ground…the place where closure can occur…

      • All I have to respond is this: Everyone reaches acceptance, healing and recovery at different rates. As far as my PR or profit, if I can make enough money each month to pay for my yoga classes, I’m happy. No one on this “team”
        Is out for ourselves. I’m sorry you suspect otherwise.

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