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.