Step 1: Learning About NPD Abuse

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is classified in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental  Disorders (DSM) as an Axis II Cluster B Disorder.  As of this writing, the American Psychiatric Association (APA) is about to modify the DSM and the methods by which individuals are diagnosed with NPD.  Previously, the DSM simply defined NPD as: A pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts,” and further offered in its definition that in order for one to be diagnosed with NPD an individual must meet at minimum 5 of the following 9 criteria:

(1)  has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

(2)  is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

(3)  believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)

(4)  requires excessive admiration

(5)  has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations

(6)  is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends

(7)  lacks empathy:  is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others

(8)  is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her

(9)  shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

According to Wikipedia, symptoms of Narcissistic Personality Disorder include but are not limited to:

  • Reacts to criticism with anger, shame, or humiliation
  • May take advantage of others to reach his or her own goal
  • Tends to exaggerate their own importance, achievements, and talents
  • Imagines unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance
  • Requires constant attention and positive reinforcement from others
  • Easily becomes jealous
  • Lacks empathy and disregards the feelings of others
  • Obsessed with oneself
  • Mainly pursues selfish goals
  • Trouble keeping healthy relationships
  • Is easily hurt and rejected
  • Sets unreal goals
  • Wants “the best” of everything
  • Appears as tough-minded or unemotional [3]

Narcissists also tend to be physically attractive on first impression, giving them advantages when first meeting people. [4]  The symptoms of Narcissistic personality disorder can be similar to the traits of individuals with strong self-esteem and confidence, differentiation occurs when the underlying psychological structures of these traits are considered pathological. Narcissists have such an elevated sense of self-worth that they value themselves as inherently better than others. Yet, they have a fragile self-esteem and cannot handle criticism, and will often try to compensate for this inner fragility by belittling or disparaging others in an attempt to validate their own self-worth. It is this sadistic tendency that is characteristic of narcissism as opposed to other psychological conditions affecting level of self-worth.

On the European side, there is a manual known as the ICD 10 which is connected to the World Health Organization (WHO).  On the European side, the ICD 10 (2010) codes Narcissistic Personality Disorder under F60.8 “Other Specific Personality Disorders” and groups it with the other following ‘disorders’ based on their system:

  • eccentric
  • “haltlose” type
  • immature
  • narcissistic
  • passive-aggressive
  • psychoneurotic

For general informational purposes regarding the World Health Organization and the role they play in global health issues, including mental health click [HERE]

You can access the ICD-10 directly by clicking [HERE]

Additionally, Wiki provides a very general overview; as well as, a massive list of citations at the end of their entry which one may wish to investigate further.  The Wiki article on Narcissistic Personality Disorder can be accessed by clicking [HERE]

Now that you’ve had a general primer on Narcissistic Personality Disorder, “What now?” You might ask.  If you are searching for information and support, more than likely, you are emotionally in a very fragile state.  It is important to know the distinction between someone who is suffering from Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the wound to the victim that it creates, versus being victimized by a “Jerk.” While breaking up with a jerk is hurtful, most instances do not result in the victim struggling with symptoms that if are not Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, something very close to it.  It is important to understand the dynamics involved as when dealing with NPD Abuse, recovery takes time, this is not your typical break up and there will be many stages of grief and processing to go through if you are going to survive and return to whole.  While no one takes kindly to a break up and break ups are painful, a breakup with a Narcissist leaves a wound that is very devastating to the victim.

It’s important to understand the distinction between a relationship with someone who suffers from NPD vs. a jerk because you will need a very strong support system to get you through this. Due to the fact that for the most part, the general populations is unaware of this particular type of Personality Disorder or has misconceptions of what it entails, it will be difficult for friends, family and sometimes even therapists to fully understand exactly the source and the depth of the pain, emotional and mental distress you are experiencing.  In some cases, there was no physical harm or blatant forms of verbal abuse…this was a covert attack although there are cases where physical and overt verbal abuse were also involved.

Sometimes the covert actions are what ultimately led to the overt actions.  The first thing you must own if you believe you have been involved with a Narcissist is:  You are NOT crazy…although the experience will leave you feeling like you’re teetering on the edge.  Actually, you might be in a state of temporary insanity…that is the mark of the wound…the narcissist projected and engaged in various techniques to break you down.

Many of these techniques were subtle and stealth and therefore difficult to pin point.  By the time we are aware that such an attack has taken place, the damage has been done, and it tends to feel as if the ‘trauma’ hits us all at once like a ton of bricks.  Many victims report having felt this building up for some time but because the tactics of abuse were hard to pin point, we felt something was ‘wrong’ or ‘off’ but we dismissed it…slowly it was chipping away at our psyches and this ‘blow’ to the mind is the final result.  We feel extreme sadness, pain, fear, anger, rage and shock all at once, and because we cannot articulate what exactly has happened, we feel even more trapped within ourselves.  I liken it to almost feeling as if one is mute, having a desperate need to want to express one’s feelings but having no means to do so, surrounded by people who don’t know sign language and the victim is left without a voice or any other means for anyone to understand what the victim is trying to communicate. That is more or less how the experience feels initially.  We are isolated in our own lack of knowledge or means of articulation for what has just transpired.  Your feelings and your reactions are very normal given the ABnormal situation you’ve just survived.  The journey is not for the faint of heart; however, there is no other way to survive this but to walk through this storm…giving  up is not an option.  If you feel suicidal, get help immediately.  Call your emergency services unit – there is hope and there is healing and certainly, it is understandable given the stress you are under to feel this magnitude of distress but the narcissist or anyone else for that matter is not worth your taking your life over.  As a survivor, I can tell you – I promise you…there is a light at the end of this tunnel.  This distress and the magnitude of it will not last forever.  YOU WILL SURVIVE – even thrive, but first you have to wade through some of the dark stuff to get to the end.  It is hard work, but it is so worth it.  I promise…

Hold on tight as you are in for the ride of your life; however, you are not alone and there are resources and support out there to get you through…it is important to read and research so that you can understand what this is, so that you don’t own blame for what has happened.  This was not your fault and I repeat:  You ARE NOT crazy.

If you have a history of childhood abuse or other traumas it is possible that this wound is not Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (CPTSD) and this particular event may find you experiencing more intense reactions to the abuse because not only are the recent events qualified to cause PTSD, but in addition it re-introduces previous issues that are triggering for you.  Again, while this may be a very scary time for you – the thought of possibly having lost your mind can be a very scary thing…Reach out for professional help, educate yourself so that you can articulate, and read up on the various methods of healing trauma, abuse, as well as getting a grasp on NPD.  Doing so will help you take an active role in healing along with your therapist as rather than he/she sitting there making assumptions, you will be able to better advocate and collaborate in your healing plan rather than sitting there and possibly being misdiagnosed.  There are other conditions that may be pre-existing – some victims suffer from bi-polar disorder, depression, or other forms of mental illness and that is nothing to be ashamed of; however, when PTSD is inadequately treated, victims cannot heal and that causes additional problems that can have lifelong and possibly fatal consequences; therefore it is imperative that although struggling emotionally and psychologically at this time…you FIGHT to hold on, and you stop at nothing to educate yourself as right now at this very moment for some it may very well be on the cusp of:  “Your life is in your hands.”

BUT, never fear…you CAN and WILL recover…;)

~Betty

10 thoughts on “Step 1: Learning About NPD Abuse

    • Patrice, I am in the process of revamping some of my you tube videos. When I am done with the process I will repost. In a nutshell, it simply outlined the traits of NPD, Sorry for the delay in my response. I wish you well along your journey…Thank YOU for asking as perhaps it would be wise for me to edit the post…

    • So good to hear Leslie-Ann. I return blessings to you. Thank you so much for visiting again, your message gives hope to those new to this, and in the midst of recovery. Your update very much appreciated!

  1. Wow. Thanks for this. Super helpful and not to be repetitive but ” this could have been custom written about me”! Glad I’m on the upswing, seems like, thanks to articles like this and others on lights house blog! Thanks Betty

    • A pleasure Jesse, glad to provide a service. Wishing you well in your continued journey. Thank you for your kind words…may your path be illuminated with nothing but light and love…btw, I too am a fan of Light’s blog…

  2. Dear Betty
    Thank you for this information. I have managed to have 2 months of no contact with the monster that tried to destroy me. I know that sounds dramatic but it did everything that is described in the video. I had no idea what I was dealing with as I did not know that covert abuse even existed. I knew something wasn’t right but was always blamed. I took the blame and tried to be better but I saw this wasn’t working either. His mask of sanity and love bombing was so convincing in the beginning that as he mixed the stealth cruelty, pathological lies, triangulating other women, verbal abuse with the reemergence of the the “nice charmer” I couldn’t leave for any length of time before I would be sucked back into the abuse again.

    I have been in 12 step recovery for many years and realize that if something feels insane it probably is. He had all the insanity of a using addict but did not do drugs or alcohol from what I could tell. I began to realize that it was not my job to figure out his insanity but to escape it because this was not a healthy or fulfilling relationship for me.

    Upon leaving it, which was a year ago next month, I hit a dark night of the soul that I did not think I would survive. All the while I kept reading on narcs and cluster b’s because so often it did not feel real. I would go into denial and take his phone calls thinking I still needed that connection. Trying to break it would bring on such sadness and despair. But the more time went on and the more I read and tried to heal the angrier I got when I realized the extent of the abuse and the lies. When I realized that I had been gaslit from day one an gaslit about him being to busy to see me because of work. I got him to admit by accident when I was breaking up last year that he had been seeing other women and lied about it. Thats what has kept me from being physical with him. Although he still tried the gaslighting saying they were just friends etc.

    I became stronger within myself and was able to stick to my values and boundaries that this behavior was unacceptable and there are no excuses for lying. I told him I am not attracted to men who behave like this and that I made a mistake in getting involved with him before knowing him. I also said that he was a pathetic mommys boy. I had to get one last jab in from all the abuse I suffered. All ties are now cut and the mystique has died for me along with the fake persona he got me to fall in love with.

    My journey into a healthy sekf love and acceptance will continue as I develop my relationship with my higher power and grow via the 12 steps of recovery.

    I now know these monsters are out there and will never allow another one to invade my life.

    • Leslie-Ann,
      It’s been months since you left a response and I dont know how I managed to overlook your post. Thank you so much for sharing. I am familiar with the Dark Night of the Soul and it truly can be a very difficult process. I am very glad that you have what seems to be good support systems in place. I’m even happier you were able to see this situation for what it is. In all honesty while a very traumatic situation to contend with, the clarity it brought into my realm I don’t believe could have been obtained any other way. That’s my case, I know everyone will have a different point of view. Nonetheless Leslie-Ann, as you continue on your journey I wish you all the best and believe just by what you share, you’re doing fine given the circumstances, and even if not where you want to be yet…you WILL get there. Blessings to you on your recovery Leslie…may you be guarded and protected by warrior angels.

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