Apology for comparing narcissists to schizophrenics.

Over a week ago I wrote a post that was very controversial and angered some ACONs. While I’m not taking the article down or apologizing for its overall message (which I still think was misconstrued and misunderstood by some), I did make a bad call comparing narcissists to schizophrenics. It was in bad taste and not a very good analogy anyway. These disorders really can’t be compared since narcissism is a mental and moral disorder that was chosen by the individual (even if at a very young age) and schizophrenia is not. My sincere apologies for that tasteless and irresponsible analogy.

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17 thoughts on “Apology for comparing narcissists to schizophrenics.

  1. From the studies I’ve read, there is correlation between some neurological characteristics and sociopathic, narc tendencies. When I think of the difference between the brain disordered that becomes say, a seal team 6, or an under water wielder, I wonder if nature vs nurture is the difference between them and the disordered who choose to vent their needs in more destructive ways. Course over and over you hear , “correlation isn’t causation” , so. Maybe not.

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    • I haven’t done much research into this, this may be true , I was referring to the hatred many have toward those with NPD — and I said people wouldn’t automatically hate schizophrenics like they would narcs. But being narcissism is at least in part a choice, there is a difference. Schizophrenics didn’t “choose” their disorder.

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  2. I’m disagreeing with you based on research and personal experience . As a transgender , as a Christian , as a victim of horrific psychopathic abuse, I believe my father may have developed into a whole host of human beings if his parents (nuture) handnt have coupled his genes with red neck worship of all things male, all things white, all things baptist, all things heterosexual. Every human born with brain weaknesses geared toward psychopathy can, in the most ideal envinornent, use their coldness towards those occupations an empath might find impossible. Brain surgery, bee keeping, vehicle repo, cab driving in a coastal town, those fringe careers best served by people cold to the touch.

    The beauty is , we can disagree without attack or alarm. You may be right, I may be right, maybe we’re both partially right. Debate is healthy.

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    • Alex, what are we disagreeing on exactly? Was your dad a schizophrenic or a psychopath? They aren’t the same thing. A schizophrenic is psychotic, but not a psychopath. Or am I misunderstanding something here? Sorry for my obtuseness, but I’m a bit confused.

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  3. Schizophrenia, lipidemia, arthritis, why should they be completely separate from narc tendencies ? Psychopaths have measurable neurological differences. That doesn’t change our response to them. But to say the root cause is choice and only choice is dodging reality and science IMhp. Everyone with a chronic disability wants to blame genetics and only genetics . But when it comes to the disorders of others, they all of the sudden convert to nuture and choice only . A dishonest and selfish opinion in my view.

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    • It’s not just choice. There may be a genetic component to narcissism, but most mental health experts agree it’s mainly due to abuse, and a child turns to narcissism as a way to cope (though there may be a biological predisposition that hasn’t been proven). It’s hardly fair really to call it a choice, as it’s usually made at such an early age, so I do see what you are saying. Many people though, objected to my comparing the two because narcissists are so vilified and schizophrenics are seen as victims of faulty brain chemistry so the apology, I have to admit, was partly to try to keep the peace and avoid further conflict. It was still tasteless and irresponsible of me to use it as an analogy. Hope that makes sense.

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      • I hope I don’t comment too much, you’ll delete it if I do. This happens in a way like, a young child (infant) is faced situations that is just too much. Traumas, lack of safety, lack of security about getting their needs met. Different children have different reactions, but they most likely dissociate from their emotions. In order to get their physical needs met (because physical needs are primary, emotional needs are “less important”). So, the child basically shuts down itself (hmm, as I write this, I feel like there is hope for me, maybe I’m fooling myself), and starts to ACT in ways which will have their needs met. That is where the disruption happens. Emotions (real self) shut down, and an acting (so called False Self) begins to emerge. Since the parents, who mistreated the child, probably not going to change, this goes on. The child shuts down emotions, and uses ACTS (manipulation), in order to get their needs met. Now, if a person has shut down his own emotions, he’ll wont be able to feel yours either. After that, it’s a self-perpetuating cycle. The more emotions shut down, more things you do that would create guilt, pain and shame. But life doesn’t stop, more and bigger challenges come (kindergarten, school, family problems, etc…), while you haven’t even resolved the previous ones. What the child will use? The one method that worked before, the false self. This is how I became a fd up nobody. Best thing I can do, is to not have a child. I wouldn’t want my seed, a living soul to go through this. God bless you.

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  4. You understand that a disorder is a disorder, is a disorder. You expressed that, then got attacked. Now you are sorry. It’s a great gesture, but still you refuse to put all the blame for narc abuse solely on choice or the state of being evil.

    It’s rare to find narc bloggers. It’s even more rare to find narc bloggers with such a scientifically accurate view.

    Don’t back away from saying you’re sorry, but don’t back away from you’re original idea either. Both are valid. Night Otter!

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    • I appreciate that Alex. Thank you. If I’d known that article was going to cause this much discord and rage, I probably would never have posted it, even though I always try to never censor myself or my opinions. I have to admit it, the attacks on me have been painful and have made me doubt myself again. 😦 Some of the things that have been said about me on other blogs are so unfair–and so untrue. Some of the things I have read are so deluded they’re actually laughable but I can’t laugh at them right now.
      I really need to stop reading those comments and ignore them, but it’s very hard not to.

      But it’s a very interesting dynamic I’m seeing at work though. It makes you think a lot about human nature.

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  5. Well… I was diagnosed with schizophrenia when I was 14. Two years later, after I made the voices go away via self-hypnosis, my new psychiatrist decided that I was traumatized, not schizophrenic. The year was 1969 and PTSD did not become an official diagnostic label until 1980, so that psychiatrist was way ahead of his time.

    Over the years I have had numerous doctors and therapists tell me that I must have been misdiagnosed at age 14, because there is nothing the least bit schizophrenic about me, and schizophrenia is “incurable.” I would like to believe this, because who wants to think they were ever psychotic? However…. I was there, living inside my head, and I know the truth. I was definitely, absolutely, positively schizophrenic for two of my teenage years. And then I got over it!

    I said that to make this point: I was not the least bit offended by what you said about schizophrenia in your controversial post. I thought what you said made good sense.

    Psychiatric labels are useful only to a point, in my opinion. Ultimately, each individual is unique and mental disorders overlap. The “science” in psychiatry really isn’t all that scientific.

    Studies have found that 48% of those who have a schizophrenic identical twin will eventually also develop schizophrenia. This indicates that there may be genetic component to schizophrenia… however, genes cannot be the entire story, otherwise the rate of identical twins both becoming schizophrenic would be 100%. I believe the answer will ultimately be found in epigenetics, which has more to do with our environment than our blueprint.

    Do narcissists choose to be that way? There is evidence on both sides of this debate, just as there is in the nature vs nurture debate in schizophrenia. Most people would probably say that no one ever “chooses” to be schizophrenic. But in writing my memoir, I have come to the realization that I did, in a way, choose to be schizophrenic as a means of escaping an unbearably traumatic home environment.

    The bottom line is that even the most renowned experts in the field of psychiatry disagree widely on the causes, treatments, prognosis, and even on the precise definitions of the various mental ailments. Lucky Otter — anyone who is nitpicking you to pieces for not being an infallible, know-it-all expert on this topic — I think they must have way too much free time on their hands. 🙂

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    • This is all true. Psychiatry has never been and never wil be an exact science. It’s more like an art form really. Or a social science. A lot of it is guesswork and even today there’s still a lot of misdiagnosis going on. It was probably worse in 1969 though.
      BPD Transformation who posts here sometimes thinks we should just ditch all the labels and treat only the symptoms instead. I don’t completely agree with that, but he is onto something.

      It’s funny but I have a friend who was also mistakenly diagnosed with schizophrenia when she was 14. That was in 1976, still a long time ago. Turned out she was never schizophrenic but had PTSD like you. It was so sad because at the time schizophrenia was usually treated with high dose Thorazine, and if a non schizophrenic takes Thorazine, they turn into a zombie, which was what happened to her until she was finally taken off of it. I remember taking one of her thorazines once just to see what it was like (you know, teenagers and drugs) and it was horrible. I could hardly move my legs and couldn’t control my mouth muscles and I felt really weird and disoriented. Worst “high” I ever had. Well, the second worst. The worst was the time I took LSD and went to hell. I wrote about that, it was terrifying.

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      • That’s what the Thorazine did to me. When I started hiding my meds under my tongue and spitting them in the toilet, then I really started getting better. I was a non-compliant bad girl, don’t you know.

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          • Haldol is one of several now in use (no, auto incorrect, I do not mean Howard). I have a friend who is my age and she has “compliantly” taken her psychotropic meds since she was diagnosed with schizophrenia at age 19…. with the result that she is in very bad shape today. My friend has an identical twin sister who is a Harvard trained psychiatrist. They wrote a book together, Divided Minds. It’s very sad, such a wasted life. Several studies have found that most people with schizophrenia eventually spontaneously recover — in third world countries where western “antipsychotic” drugs like Thorazine and Haldol are NOT available.

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