Cluster B disorders are not cool.

uncool

Although Cluster B disorders (the dramatic, emotional, erratic group of personality disorders), are largely demonized on the Internet by narcissistic abuse survivors, there’s another growing attitude online that’s pretty much the opposite–that having a Cluster B disorder somehow makes you an uber-cool badass.

This is a dangerous delusion.  Take it from me, having a Cluster B disorder like BPD (in my case) is NOT fun. Nor is it cool. In fact, it really really sucks. 😦 Both for yourself and everyone else.

This growing attitude of “Cluster B coolness” I’ve been seeing more of goes something like this:

NPD:

bad_sport
This is what your narcissist is really all about.

The Myth:  If you have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), you’re a self-confident, go-out-and-knock-em-all-dead, ambitious, and highly intelligent badass who Gets. Things. Done. Psychopaths are similarly glorified, but they’re basically the reason why everything’s wrong with the world and empathy is seen as a “weakness.” The narcissistic woman is regarded as a diabolical yet seductive Jezebel who turns strong men into whimpering slaves at the snap of her pretty fingers and who every other woman strives to be. The narcissistic man is regarded as a buff, handsome, masculine, virile, successful go-getter who all women melt for (and that’s how they regard themselves, of course).

The Reality:  In actuality, if you have NPD, you’re a negative, selfish, deluded, demanding, envious, entitled, whining crybaby with no real sense of self who everyone hates (and who hates everyone) but are afraid to say so because it might set off one of your infamous rages or you giving them the even more crazymaking “silent treatment.” People are always walking on eggshells around you because you’re really so unstable, hypersensitive to criticism,  and deluded by and drunk  with your own “greatness.”  You’re a sore loser too and can’t stand to see anyone else do well or get any attention.   No one really likes you and you’re probably right that people are talking about you behind your back, but frankly you deserve it. Also, many narcissists are just plain stupid and have no emotional intelligence.  As for their reputed skillfulness in bed,  many narcs (especially the cerebral types) hate sex and can’t or won’t perform.  Or, as with everything else, they only care about their own needs and to hell with yours.

BPD:

mommie_dearest2
Joan Crawford had a BPD diagnosis. Is this sexy, alluring, and “quirky” to you?

The Myth: If you have Borderline Personality Disorder, some people think this means you’re a sexy beast or babe who’s alluring, unpredictable, passionate, always charming and “quirky”, and never boring. Your chameleon-like abilities to match the attitudes of those around you is seen as evidence of potential Oscar-winning ability. It’s always pointed out how many actors and musicians suffer from BPD.

The Reality:  Let’s be honest.   If you have BPD you’re emotionally unstable, volatile, almost crazy (the original term “borderline” referred to the disorder being on the border between neurosis and psychosis), out of touch with reality, unable to take a firm stance on anything (or conversely, switching back and forth between two extremes, which just makes you look insane) due to your terror of being rejected or abandoned, prone to be an addict, (drugs, booze, gambling, shopping, cutting, eating and/or dieting, other people), clingy,  codependent, insecure, high-maintenance,  and fickle. The borderline doesn’t really have a false self per se like the narcissist, but they can’t access their true self either, so they wind up “taking on” the attitudes and emotions of those who happen to be around them like some kind of emotional bodysnatcher (in contrast with true empathy, their feelings overwhelm them and are out of control), and they just plain overreact to every damn thing so you feel like you’re always walking on eggshells.

HPD:

clown_makeup
You think you look seductive. Everyone else thinks you look like a clown.

The Myth: Although Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD) isn’t widely talked about, its reputation is similar to that of BPD (but is really the stereotypically feminine form of Overt NPD): usually female, a sexy, seductive siren, dramatic, highly social, loves parties and being the center of attention, and is never, ever boring. You’ll fall madly in love with this bewitching seductress due to their many charms and their great looks.

The Reality: The real truth about people with HPD is that they’re insincere, emotionally labile to the point of being embarrassing (but their over-the-top “emotional displays” are largely an act), shallow, materialistic, and emotionally retarded. They often overdress (or underdress!) or are overly made up for an occasion, are sexually promiscuous, and are inappropriate in social situations, but they don’t care if you’re cringing in embarrassment for them because even negative attention is still attention and that’s what they crave more than the air itself.

ASPD:

aspd
Nuff said.

The Myth:  So here we are at the juggernaut of the Cluster Bs, the baddest badass of them all, Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD). Often confused with Psychopathy (and often overlapping with it), the antisocial or psychopathic badass is a sexy and fearless rogue, unconcerned with how others feel about them, possessed of an arresting and penetrating gaze (actually a predatory, creepy stare) that makes you feel like they are really listening to you, determined to get what they want (whether it’s their latest kill or their latest corporate takeover) and never giving up or allowing themselves to be intimidated, by anything. They’re the Rebels Without a Cause, the self-confident Ferris Buellers, the Coolest of the Cool, the celebrated anti-heroes of novels and films socially sanctioned to serve as a receptacle for the Shadow Self that resides within us all. The ASPD badass gives us permission to mentally “act out” our darker impulses, without actually hurting anyone, and that’s why we all love serial killers so much, and why the Ted Bundys and Charlie Mansons of the world get more marriage proposals than any football or film star.

The Reality:  The antisocial badass is really just a heartless and criminally minded horse’s ass, who has no capacity for empathy, isn’t even socially constrained by their need to impress others to garner narcissistic supply (because they don’t require any), and is frequently in prison or has a rap sheet the size of War and Peace. This is a guy (or gal) who will make your life a living hell, beat you to a pulp any chance they get and leave you in a heartbeat and not even remember your name.

If they’re high functioning, they’re the people who are responsible for everything that’s wrong in the world today and the reason why you work 3 jobs and can’t afford a vacation or health insurance.

If they’re low-functioning, if they’re not straight up criminals, they’re flabby, pasty Basement Dwellers who dishonestly leech off the system or their family members so they never have to work and spend all their time trolling Internet forums to get a rise out of random strangers.   Just like my ex.

 

basement_dweller

Ah, what a studly, irresistably dangerous heartbreaker you are.

If you’re a psychopath or sociopath, you operate more like a machine than a human. Is that something we should be aspiring to?

So there you have it. Cluster B disorders are not cool. They are serious mental (and some believe, spiritual) illnesses, and they are pathetic.   And let’s not forget that people suffering from Cluster B disorders are not happy people.  In fact, most of them are pretty miserable.  They are to be pitied (and avoided) rather than emulated.

A rebuttal in defense of Cluster B. 

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Our twisted society.

impoverished

There’s already been enough written about the narcissistic society we live in that rewards greed and selfishness (even ruthlessness) and thinks of corporations as people. There’s something deeply wrong with any society where CEOs are making hundreds of times more than the workers at the bottom of the totem pole, who are trying to subsist on minimum wage and sometimes having to work 2 or 3 jobs just to make ends meet. There’s something evil about any society where the working poor still may not be able to afford a place to live, and cannot even go to the doctor when they get sick. And then on top of that, they are accused of being lazy, stupid, or shiftless. These victims of the system are blamed for all of society’s ills by–you guessed it–the Tea Partiers in their sterile, gated communities and the ultra wealthy who drive new Lamborghinis and own four vacation homes.

But the insane disparity between the ultra-rich and the poor is an issue that’s well-known and finally beginning to be talked about more in the media, and that’s a good thing. I don’t want to get on a political soapbox though. I actually want to talk about something else that’s related but rarely discussed: the way a few people are rewarded for being leeches on society and sucking the life out of hardworking, deserving people who are left with nothing. Ironically, it’s liberal politics, rather than conservative, that’s responsible for what I’m about to rant about. In my opinion, neither of the major political parties have anyone’s best interests at heart. They’re both funded by mega-corporations who only have their own interests in mind and care nothing about the people who live under their dominion.

I’m referring here to my ex. I know I’ve talked about this lifesucking parasite before, but someone brought it up and I’ve been triggered again, so I’m going to rant. I also realize I’ve had issues with those who hold onto a victim mentality, but sometimes things just get to be too much and there’s no escaping our victimization. Sometimes you just have to rant.

Our sick society is rewarding a man richly for having antisocial personality disorder. This conscienceless jerk used and abused me for 27 years — freeloading off my already strapped circumstances for 7 of those years and refusing to work or lift a finger during the time he stayed glued to my couch while I worked my ass off so that he could qualify for disability (SSI). He was always lazy as f*ck and even though was capable of a limited amount of labor, he always made the excuse that he couldn’t work and still qualify for disability (physically, he has diabetes and knee problems).

He expected me to give him a free place to stay, drive him to his doctors appointments, and never even bothered to clean the house or even clean up after himself. This leech stayed on my couch, leaving a dent in it from his constant hateful presence, left his dirty dishes and cigarette butts all over the coffee table, threw trash on the floor, brought in a dog that almost got me kicked out of my house, and expecting me to buy his cigarettes and lottery tickets. He complained about the inexpensive but healthy food I bought. He thought that because he was diabetic, he was entitled to steak every night. He blasted his horrible music when I was trying to sleep and raged at me whenever I asked him to turn it down. He spent all his time trolling political websites, cruelly bullying people he disagreed with. He insisted I hand him over a third of my tax returns, but now that he has money he won’t give me a dime (not that I would ask because technically I’m NC with him).

useless_bum

He was rejected 4 times for SSI, and a year after I got a restraining order on him (for threatening my daughter), he finally got his booty–-which included $31K in back disability pay for the years he freeloaded off me. (Yes, I know I was stupid to allow this but whenever I threatened to kick him out, he’d threaten to commit suicide and make it look like a murder, and I was so beaten down I felt like I didn’t have a choice).

That was bad enough, but a few months ago I learned that his SSI income was DOUBLED because his psychiatrist diagnosed him with ASPD because he’s unemployable and “possibly homicidal.” Thats right–he’s being PAID not to work because he’s an antisocial POS. With the $31K (which is already spent–God knows how he accomplished that in just two months) he bought himself a brand new truck, a huge flat screen TV and a collection of new swords, and no doubt enough weed to last him for months. To his credit, he did buy our son (who he bullied and scapegoated throughout his childhood) some expensive camera equipment, but I suspect there was self-interest involved in this–buying my son over to his side so he can gloat about how I’m too poor to ever buy him anything.

rich_and_poor

The original $700 a month he was to be getting per month in benefits was increased to $1200 after he was diagnosed with ASPD! He also gets almost $400 a month in food stamps and full medical coverage. He still sits around watching TV and trolling political websites all day and sleeping. Meanwhile I have to keep slaving away at a grueling job that’s slowly killing me and have NOTHING to show for it. I can’t afford cable and don’t even own a TV, have no health insurance, and can’t even get my ancient car fixed. Yes, of course I’m envious. 😡 I get so mad just thinking about it that it can and has ruined my day, so that’s all I’m going to say because it’s unhealthy for me to dwell on it.

I’m trying to let go of this bitterness because there’s nothing I can do about it. I might write an anonymous letter to the paper describing the injustice of this state of affairs, but then again, I might not because I know nothing will be done. I can’t dwell on these bitter feelings even if they’re justified. It’s a very sick society where dangerous and useless people like him get to live high off the hog and honest people who try to play by the rules have to slave away at 2 or 3 jobs just to have food on the table–AND we still have to pay taxes to keep human cancers like him enjoying their creature comforts.

I only have one thing left to say:

fucking_insane

How my NPD/ASPD control freak ex used a dog to gaslight me.

jack_russel_puppy

In 2011, when my parasitic MN/ASPD ex was still living on my couch, he decided he wanted a dog.

We already had a dog, Dexter, who was an awesome black lab mix (he lives with my daughter and her fiance now). The house I live in (and lived in then) is tiny. At the time, we had Dexter and 5 cats. Far too many animals for a two bedroom house, but these were pets I cared about, so I wasn’t too bothered by the overpopulation problem in the house.

But oh no, a dog and five cats wasn’t enough for the Parasite (which is his new name as far as I’m concerned so that’s who he’ll be from now on). No, he had to have his OWN dog, one that HE picked. I told him we had no room for another pet, and it was already too expensive feeding and taking care of the ones we had (remember, he contributed nothing financially since he refused to work so all their expenses fell on me) but he couldn’t see reason.
Instead, he whined petulantly, “But Dexter needs a playmate!”
Dexter did not need a playmate. Parasite needed some easy narcissistic supply.

A few weeks passed and Parasite gaslighted me by telling me and everyone else who would listen that “Lauren hates animals” because I put my foot down about getting a new puppy.

One day I came home from work and found Parasite slumped on the couch that had a huge valley in the center from his constant inert and hateful presence, and in his arms was a puppy. A Jack Russell puppy.

For anyone who isn’t familiar with Jack Russells, they’re a cute beagle-like breed of hunting dog but they have serious ADHD and need to be able to run as much as they want. They bark a lot and are just extremely hyper. They are difficult to train because they’re so stubborn. They may be fine for a family with kids who lives on a farm or has acres of land for the dog to run, but they are definitely NOT the kind of dog that would do well in a small apartment or house with only a smallish unfenced yard. They are not the kind of dog to have if you live in a suburban development where the neighbors are no more than 40 feet away.

I hate Jack Russells. (But I love dogs).

But it looked like we had one, at least for the moment.
I told him to take it back wherever he got it.
“Oh, but he’s so cuuuuuuuuuute! Look at him!” (said in low-register baby talk)
I roll my eyes. “Yes, he’s very cute, but we have too many pets already, and I can’t afford to feed him too.”
“Oh, he won’t be expensive to feed. Dexter needs a friend!” He shoves the the puppy up in my face. “LOOOOOOOK at him, he LOOOOOVES you. Isn’t he CUUUUUTE?”
I see red. He isn’t listening. Again. He never listens. He never cares about anyone but himself. I tell him this.

He projects and gaslights. “No, YOU’RE the one who only thinks about yourself. You don’t care about animals. You only think about YOU! You don’t care about MEEEE. I have diabetes and mental problems and a bad knee and I have to live here on your couch and don’t have my own home and it’s always too hot or cold in here and you buy crappy food and now you’re telling me I can’t have a dog who won’t be any bother to you at all.”
I stare daggers at him. I can feel the lava of BPD rage boiling in my gut. I try to stay calm. I count to ten.
“I want you to take him back.”
“No.”
Maybe pleasantry might help. “Please take the puppy back.”
“No, and if you dare try to take him to the shelter, I’ll kill myself and make it look like a murder.”

The BPD volcano erupts. “YOU’RE A F&%KING ASSHOLE! TAKE THAT GODDAM DOG BACK TOMORROW, YOU STUPID FREAK!”
“What will you do if I don’t?” He’s baiting me. He has me on the spot. There’s nothing I could do or would do, and he knows it. He’s in complete control.
“Uh…I don’t know….But I’LL FIND SOMETHING!”
“You’d probably have Barnaby (he already picked a name) put to sleep,” he says, fake pouting. “You hate animals, you have no compassion or you’d let me keep him.”
I give up and leave the room, but out of the corner of my eye see Parasite holding Barnaby up to his face and telling him in that infuriating fake-masculine baby talk what a “meanie” I am.

control_freak

So Barnaby stayed. For two years. I never hated a dog before, but I hated this one. He chewed everything, the furniture, the rugs, important papers, my favorite book. Once he ate an entire pack of cigarettes and vomited them up all over the chewed up and shredded rugs. He pissed and shat everywhere, up until he was a year old. Parasite kept making excuses for him such as “but he’s only a PUPPEEE!” or shifting the blame to me–“you’re so impatient!” Not only did I hate him because he was so out of control, I hated him because Parasite refused to train him and that dog represented to me everything bad about the Parasite himself. Every time I saw that dog, it reminded me of how controlled, intimidated and powerless I had become.

Barnaby barked and howled nonstop. Morning, noon and night. Once he got a taste of the great outdoors, he decided this was something he couldn’t live without, so running away for hours at a time was a weekly occurrence, and eventuall a daily occurrence.
But running away wasn’t all he did. Oh, no. If he’d run away and never returned there’d be no love lost.

But he’d run into neighbors’ backyards. He’d devour their gardens, then sit there and howl for hours. You’d go try to catch him, and the little demon would run. It was a game to him. He’d run, then sit down and look at you, waiting for you to make a move. You’d lunge after him, and he’d bound off again, then sit down and look at you, teasing you and daring you. He was too fast, I could never catch him. And Parasite wouldn’t try. It was up to me to get him to come back. And I never could.
I’d go to bed and hear him howling somewhere nearby and wonder what the hell I was going to do.

Soon the neighbors were mad at us for allowing our out of control dog to keep them up all night and ruin their yards. Animal Control was called twice. The second time, I answered the door when they came, and when they told me there’d be a fine if it happened again, I told them they were free to take him, I couldn’t handle him. But Parasite was home, and intercepted, promising he’d be good and it wouldn’t happen again. Animal Control left. Barnaby stayed.

The next night, Barnaby ran off and howled in another neighbor’s yard. Animal control came and took him away. Parasite was inconsolable at first, then his grief morphed into rage. He threatened me: “You go get that dog back tomorrow.”
“I don’t have the money.”
“You’re lying. Do it or I’ll kill myself. And make it look like you did it.”
I used my week’s entire paycheck to go retrieve Demon Dog from the shelter, leaving us without food that week (which Parasite of course complained about).

This time, Parasite actually had the presence of mind to build a makeshift fence from steel beams where Barnaby could be confined. So although he continued to chew everything in sight and bark too much (and still seemed to have problems containing his bowels) he seemed calmer in his grassy kingdom and the howling ceased.

But this didn’t last. Barnaby was smart. One night Barnaby dug his way out from under the pen and I heard the distant howling.
I couldn’t do this anymore. I remembered Parasite’s threat. But sometimes frustration or anger can override fear, and I reasoned that it was probably an empty threat anyway, since he rarely had followed through on any of his past threats.
I was going to place an ad on Craigslist.
But Parasite had an announcement of his own.
“I don’t want Barnaby anymore,” he said.
I just stared at him stupidly.

A week later Barnaby went to live with a family that answered our ad on Craigslist. The man who came to get him said he had five acres of land and 4 kids, and they’d always wanted a Jack Russell.

The useless parasite who lived on my couch got rewarded for having ASPD.

cash-cow
Credit: That Woman’s Weblog

I need to vent a little.

My MN/ASPD ex just received $31K in backpay disability for the seven years he spent living like a leech in my living room (after we divorced), making a mess everywhere, taking advantage of me, mentally and emotionally abusing me, refusing to work (so he could get disability–during the review process you cannot have a job), and not paying me so much as a dime the entire time he lived here. He played his horrible music loud when I was trying to sleep and got mad when I told him to turn it down. He complained constantly about everything. He brought in a Jack Russell puppy even though he knew I couldn’t have another dog and he knew I can’t stand Jack Russells (which is going to be my next post). Of course I was stupid to ever trust him and allow him to live with me at all, once we were divorced. But I was so codependent and scared of his empty threats.

I’m envious. And outraged. And I can’t seem to shake this toxic rage. I’m envious because he doesn’t have to slave away at a low-level service job and live paycheck to paycheck, but now rakes in about $500 more per month than I do for doing absolutely nothing. Plus that he has more money right now than I’ve ever had in my life even though I work like a dog for very little. The parasite is actually capable of working to some extent, but never wanted to work, so he successfully used a few medical and psychiatric problems to prove he can’t work. He’s great at playing the system, which is a good indication of someone with ASPD, which he has actually been diagnosed with.

useless_bum

And that brings me to my next issue with all this. The useless POS was officially diagnosed with ASPD. Apparently ASPD is recognized by the North Carolina disability board as a “disability,” for the obvious reason that someone who’s antisocial is unemployable. I understand that part, but why is he being REWARDED for being a lying POS who gets his sadistic thrills making people more vulnerable than himself miserable and crazy?

It’s outrageous is what it is. I recognized the anger I feel is righteous anger that most normal people would probably feel too in the same situation, but it’s mixed with this toxic envy of what he has and I don’t and this childish envy won’t go away and is eating away at my soul like an ulcer from hell.

So what am I going to do about it?
I’m going to do nothing. There’s nothing I can do. I might write a letter to the paper but not use our real names, just to call attention to the fact that this ridiculous state of affairs exists. Maybe some politician will read it and take it seriously. Most likely not. It might make me feel better to write a letter though.

But other than that, I have to accept this injustice. The jerk isn’t going to help me get my car fixed. I haven’t even asked because I know what he’d say and asking would be breaking my No Contact rule anyway. He’d say no. Even though it was on my back he was able to apply for disability at all. I supported him while he went through the whole process. He’d say no because he’s an asshole who likes to make people suffer. He has no empathy. He does.not.care. In fact, I bet he’s gloating right now over the fact that I’m still wallowing in poverty and working at a crappy job and driving a half-dead junker while he gets to enjoy all his new toys and sit around the house all day trolling political websites, getting high, and sleeping.

I told my ASPD ex he was a narcissist, and…

narc_nametag

I woke up this morning feeling good. I’ve been feeling somehow…changed since my epiphany a week ago. I have been a little more grandiose acting, which I think is partly due to the outer mask of inferiority and worthlessness falling off during my trip down the rabbit hole.

In church I prayed for humility and asked God to not let me become too full of myself and to keep things real. Because I know grandiosity will be my defeat in the long run and the things I have planned ahead could be ruined by that. I never saw my grandiosity before, but then again I kept it hidden, even from myself, under an emotionally self-flagellating, almost masochistic social mask.

I was excited about my daughter’s big news. She wanted my malignant narcissist ex (her father) there also, so I knew it had to be pretty big.

Her boyfriend (well, fiance!), Ryan, asked to speak to us alone, separately, and actually asked each of our permission to marry our daughter. How chivalrous and old school and gentlemanly that was, and of course I said yes. I think he’ll actually get down on his knees and propose formally once she picks out a ring (they’re at the mall tonight). Anyway, I like the guy. He’s humble and quiet and financially stable. My ex also gave his blessing.

I found myself mouthing corny old cliches like, “I’m not losing a daughter, I’m gaining a son” and “never go to bed mad at each other!” (I said the same thing to my ex when we married but of course we always went to bed mad). So I had to laugh at myself for that. Suddenly the bustling, fussy mother-of-the-bride mode took over and I started spouting all kinds of ideas for the wedding. It’s going to be small and informal, possibly outdoors, most likely in April, right after her 23rd birthday.

Knowing what their news was in advance (mothers always know), I had brought over the tea-length informal wedding dress I wore when I married her father in 1986 (actually I found it in the prom department and it was a lot cheaper than similar dresses found in the bridal department). I made her try it on; it fits her almost perfectly . It’s a little loose in the bust but she can wear padding or have it taken in, depending on whether she wants to go fuller on top or not). She’s an inch shorter than me too, so the dress is slightly longer on her but that’s okay and actually looks better a little longer.

The first picture shows what the dress looks like on her.
The second shows the same dress on me at my own wedding 29 years ago. She wasn’t interested in the ridiculous 1980s headpiece I;m wearing, but I can’t say I blame her for that. 😀
dress2 dress3_me

I was feeling expansive and loving everyone after the wine I had and the announcement, and I started thinking how nice it would be if there could healing in this family, if there wasn’t always so much drama and animosity. So in my tipsy state, I decided to approach my ex and tell him I thought we were both narcissists, and then apologize for my part in the mess our marriage became.

I told him I was a covert narcissist (and explained what that was because he didn’t know), he did two surprising things. First, he told me he didn’t think I was a narcissist (after gaslighting me for years telling me I WAS one!)
I told him why he was wrong, because covert narcissists don’t act like grandiose ones. I explained a little about the mechanics of the narcissistic mind, and about the false and the true self.
Then I told him (gently) that I thought he was a narcissist too, that in fact I knew he was, but I didn’t hate him for it.

He said that based on what I’d said (he trusts my opinions about psychology since I majored in it and always impressed him with that line of knowledge) he knows he may be a narcissist. But then he told me he had something even worse–Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)–an actual diagnosis, which he’d known about for months. It came around the time I wrote this rant about his being rewarded for being a potentially homicidal psychopath. Obviously, my BPD rage was coming out in that article but it makes me laugh now. I can’t believe how much I’ve changed since I wrote that. It’s kind of embarrassing to read it now, even though I had every right to be mad as a caged hyena.

He still was able to gaslight me a little though, and said I was “manic” and “bipolar” about my excitement about both the wedding and my plans for my two blogs down the line and a possible book (an idea’s finally forming in my mind about what the book will be about but I’m not saying anything yet). I realized (with more than a little embarrassment) I was being a little grandiose (since my epiphany, I’ve become VERY aware of my narcissistic behaviors when they come out and have to catch and stop myself sometimes), but here he was calling me “manic.”

But at least he isn’t denying he’s a narc. Although we will never again be friends and I still avoid him as much as I can (low contact), I can tell he’s mulling the idea that he’s a narcissist in his mind and somehow I think that could lead to a kind of understanding, which would be nice with our daughter’s wedding coming up sometime early next year.

Also please see my article, 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Tell a Narcissist They’re a Narcissist

Psychopathy and malignant narcissism: what is the difference?

hannibal_lecter

I have been reading a blog written by a self-confessed Psychopath (who scored 36.8 on Hare’s Psychopathy Checklist) who writes engaging and well-informed articles about his disorder. I’ve always wondered myself about what it is exactly that distinguishes Malignant Narcissism from Psychopathy, because a MN can be every bit as cruel and callous as a psychopath. The primary difference is the Psychopath is not an attention-seeker, but the malignant narcissist is still trapped by his or her need for approval, attention and adulation from others. That is also one of the things (along with impulsivity–which ASPD has in common with BPD–as well as the likelihood of law-breaking) that distinguishes Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) from NPD/malignant narcissism.

There are those who believe that ASPD is on the same spectrum as NPD (but is at the top of the scale, while NPD is in the middle), but I’m not sure if it should be because there are qualitative, not just quantitative, differences. My opinion is that malignant narcissism is high spectrum NPD with ASPD traits. But they still need narcissistic supply. Psychopaths do not.

This writer has an interesting observation–that perhaps the only type of person able to control and/or take down a narcissist is a psychopath. He has little respect for narcissists due to their need for others (even as supply) and emotional sensitivity to rejection and criticism.

psychopathy_diagram
The anatomy of a psychopath. Malignant narcissists share with psychopaths the Factor 1 traits, but not Factor 2.

I think this article will explain these differences better than I can.

Narcissism or Psychopathy–Differences?
http://www.psychopathicwritings.com/search/label/Narcissism%20and%20Psychopathy

A Reader asks:

I would be interested in reading anything you wrote on psychopaths need for attention/acceptance. Have you? Like, how would they react to rejection?

Basically the need for attention and acceptance, if it’s a prominent and dominating aspect of what drives a person, is a distinctive trait in Narcissism. As such it is not exclusively something psychopaths are known for.

It is often said that psychopaths have strong narcissistic tendencies, and the statement isn’t completely wrong. But I also often see statements saying Malignant Narcissism and Psychopathy are the same, and this is not the case. There are some very important fundamental differences between psychopaths and malignant narcissists.

Narcissists may be callous and abusive – malignant narcissists definitely are callous and abusive! – and they lack empathy. These are things they have in common with psychopaths. But narcissists have a very strong emotional need for attention or Attention Seeking, Acceptance and Admiration. Their self esteem depends on whether or not they receive these things, and this makes them very vulnerable to rejection and other forms of negative attention such as humiliation, being out shined by someone else, or of being deliberately or naturally ignored.

Psychopaths do not need attention and we certainly do not need acceptance, at least not just for the sake getting it. Their emotional well being does not depend on whether or not they get these things, but they do play a part for most psychopaths’ sense of satisfaction. In this we’re probably not that different from normal people: We like to get attention, to be admired and respected just like everybody else, but we do not feel bad if we don’t get these things.

For psychopaths getting attention and respect from others is most of all a technique to get what they want without having to resort to coercion – threats, blackmail, and physical violence, i.e. – with the same frequency as we otherwise would. Having attention and respect – and acceptance – from others is really only paramount for as far as it is necessary to avoid the risks associated with the more negative techniques. In short: Attention and acceptance to psychopaths are not goals or ends, they’re means to ends.

When we (psychopaths) do care about whether or not we get attention it is not because we have an emotional dependency on being recognized or confirmed by our surroundings. It doesn’t matter to us that people speak badly about us, or that they try to avoid us. Being feared makes an opening for controlling those who fear you, and control leads to possible power.

Making sure you get a lot of attention is also a kind of control, it is a potential opener for gaining power, and it is the central, and often the only, reason why we seek to get it.

This is a well known fact, and the entertainment industry – just to mention one – knows and uses it: Make yourself known, make sure people notice you and that they can’t overlook you, and you have the basis for influencing how people respond to you.

If people like you, there’s a greater chance that they’ll support you or help you in other ways, especially if it’s mutual. <– This is what I've chosen to do, but I certainly did not always use a friendly approach. I've been very abusive in the past, and it has worked very well for me too. – But I've changed in many ways, and I find the mutual idea much more interesting now – and that is good, because it keeps me out of prison, and it has created a good possibility for me to actually do something valuable that others can benefit from… But that was a side note.

Narcissists seek attention and acceptance for it's own sake, and are miserable if they don't get it.
Psychopaths seek attention and acceptance because it is part of a technique to get something else. Attention and/or acceptance for it's own sake doesn't matter to how a psychopath feels.

A Narcissist, opposite a psychopath, is very vulnerable to Social Rejection and rejection in general. If you deny them admiration and respect, and – more important still – if you humiliate them publicly, you can crush a narcissist completely (provided you do it right and with timing).

Narcissists get very hurt when they get rejected.
Psychopaths do not feel any emotional pain or discomfort when they get rejected.

No narcissistic person can go through public humiliation and not feel emotionally very disturbed by it. With this knowledge one can destroy a narcissist quite easily… This is the typical area of most psychopaths' expertise, and it is why we so easily can control most narcissistic people. For the same reason most psychopaths have a lot of contempt for narcissistic people. We see individuals who love to abuse and humiliate, but who are even more vulnerable to these things themselves, and it's hard to find it in your heart to respect such people…
– I suspect we may have this in common with most neurotypicals.

Book Review: “The Sociopath Next Door” by Martha Stout

sociopath_next_door

Dr. Martha Stout’s excellent “The Sociopath Next Door: The Ruthless versus The Rest of Us” is an easy to read, well researched and often entertaining study of the psychology of evil. In some ways similar to M. Scott Peck’s “People of the Lie,” but without the religious overtones, Stout chillingly describes the “ice people”–the sociopaths that walk among us.

As many as 4%–one in 25 Americans–is without a conscience or the capacity to feel empathy for others. Stout doesn’t make a distinction between sociopathy and psychopathy, and in this book she is referring to those people who meet the diagnostic criteria for Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD), not Narcissistic Personality Disorder. In fact, narcissism as a disorder is rarely mentioned, although she does acknowledge that all sociopaths are narcissistic.

Stout includes many case studies of how sociopathy can manifest in individuals. Contrary to popular notion, not all people with ASPD (sociopathy) are in prison or even criminals. Antisocial behavior is found as often in boardrooms as in prisons, and sometimes more so. For sociopaths who grew up in well heeled families and were able to get a good education, their antisocial traits are likely to manifest in “socially acceptable” ways. For example, a CEO who needlessly downsizes to increase his own bloated income, ruthlessly firing hundreds of employees without caring about the hardship those fired employees now face, is as conscienceless and unempathic as a cold blooded murderer.

A sociopath can be the gossipy woman next door who tells malicious lies about all the other neighbors, it can be the company president who embezzles and defrauds, or it can be the vicious serial killer who preys after college students.

Stout talks a lot about conscience, that quality that separates the antisocial from everyone else. It’s the lack of this trait that makes people evil. She offers a number of reasons why someone may lack a conscience–they may have suffered horrible abuse or neglect as young children (she discusses the sad plight of Romanian children who were adopted by American parents and many of these kids were found to have an underdeveloped conscience), they may not have been taught prosocial values, or they may be deficient in the parts of the brain where the conscience develops in normal children.

I definitely recommend “The Sociopath Next Door” to anyone who has been a victim of or had to deal with a sociopath, whether at home, work, school, or in a relationship. I’m going to extend the term “sociopath” here to include narcissists and psychopaths because they too lack empathy and a conscience. Really, this book should be read by everyone, because all of us have had to deal with ruthless “ice people” who just don’t care about anyone but themselves.

So what the hell IS malignant narcissism anyway?

The term “malignant narcissism” seems to be everywhere these days, especially on the Internet. But what exactly makes it different from “normal” narcissism?

Here’s a very good definition of how it differs from garden-variety NPD. I had no idea the term has existed this long!

malignant_narcissism_defined
Click to enlarge.

Cluster B personality disorders and the emotional thermostat.

If you think of the Cluster B (“dramatic”) disorders (characterized by either too much emotion or the masking of true emotions) as malfunctions or problems of the sufferer’s “emotional thermostat,” their differences make more sense. The emotional thermostat determines how a person handles their own emotions or reacts to those of others.

emotional_thermostat

Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD): inability to regulate emotions (a thermostat that works but is having problems–cutting on the heat or air when it isn’t needed or shutting it off when it is, but half the time works perfectly). This explains their ambivalence in relationships (“I hate you…don’t leave me,” “go away, come closer.”)

Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD): inability to control emotions (a thermostat that is always on High and blasting heat even when it’s already too hot). That’s why they overreact to everything.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD): inability to access true emotions (a thermostat that sets to “cold” and turns on the air conditioner when heat is needed, and “hot” and turns on the heat when the air conditioning needs to be on). This explains their lack of empathy and show of fake emotions that may not fit a given situation.

Antisocial Personality Disorder (AsPD–psychopathy, sociopathy): total inability to empathize or respect the rights of others (a broken thermostat that doesn’t work at all.) People with ASPD are unable to feel any emotions except rage.

Psychopathic malignant narcissists are real-life body snatchers.

spider_fly

In the late 1990s, poet, musician and activist Henry Rollins recorded his alternative rock hit “Liar,” which probably describes the evil of the psychopath/malignant narcissist more eloquently than any other song I’ve heard about narcissism. I posted about it here.

The lyrics describe what these human bags of dogsh*t do so well I’m going to pick the song apart by sections and talk about the way malignant narcissists and psychopaths attempt to destroy your soul and turn you into one of them.

You think you’re gonna to live your life alone
In darkness
And seclusion
Yeah I know
You’ve been out there
Tried to mix with those animals
And it just left you full of humiliated confusion
So you stagger back home
And wait for nothing
But the solitary refinement of your room spits you back out onto the street
And now you’re desperate
And in need of human contact

A potential victim is at their most vulnerable to narcissistic abuse when they have been abandoned, hurt or are down on their luck. A malignant narcissist, using “cold empathy,” knows exactly what you’re thinking, and knows how lonely you are and how much you’ve been hurt by past abuse. They smell vulnerability like a wolf smells blood and will make a beeline toward you.

And then
You meet me
And you whole world changes
Because everything I say is everything you’ve ever wanted to hear
So you drop all your defenses and you drop all your fears
And you trust me completely
I’m perfect
In every way
Cause I make you feel so strong and so powerful inside
You feel so lucky

When you meet the psychopathic narcissist, he or she will pretend to understand you and be sympathetic. If the narc is a good actor, you may be duped into thinking this is the most empathetic, understanding person you have ever met. You cannot resist their charms and attention and you trust them enough to tell them your darkest and most intimate secrets. Make no mistake–they will use this against you. This love bombing phase is really just the narc’s way of finding out where your buttons are and knowing where to hit you later on where it’s going to hurt the most.

henry_rollins1

But your ego obscures reality
And you never bother to wonder why
Things are going so well

Bingo. The malignant POS is lying to you and thinks you’re a blithering idiot for believing their lies. “Things going well” is just temporary. They are fattening you up for the kill like a Thanksgiving turkey. Gobble, gobble!

You wanna know why?
Cause I’m a liar
Yeah I’m a liar
I’ll tear your mind out
I’ll burn your soul
I’ll turn you into me
I’ll turn you into me
Cause I’m a liar, a liar
A liar, a liar

They tear your mind out by cruelly playing with your head using the whole bag of narcissist tricks: gaslighting, projecting, lying, projecting their faults onto you, triangulating, hoovering, blame-shifting, invading your mental, emotional and physical boundaries and generally making you doubt your own reality. Constant gaslighting in particular can drive a person to think they’re insane, and it’s possible that actual insanity could be the end result.

In your weakened emotional and mental state, you may suffer Stockholm Syndrome and begin to identify with your abuser. You may begin to do things that go against your morals and ethics in order to please them. They may force you to engage in illegal or immoral acts, and because you dare not disobey them and you doubt your own reality, you will go along with what they want.

Many victims of abuse have been arrested for heinous acts they were coerced into by their abuser. Going against one’s own morals eventually will turn a person evil. See my post Stephen’s Story (“The Choice”) for a description of how a victimized person can turn evil when attempting to pacify evil people. M. Scott Peck also described this phenomenon in his book, “People of the Lie.”

henry_rollins2

I’ll hide behind a smile
And understanding eyes
And I’ll tell you things that you already know
So you can say
I really identify with you, so much
And all the time that you’re needing me
Is just the time that I’m bleeding you

Malignant narcissists don’t really have any of their own thoughts or feelings. They learn to feign emotion. What you think of as empathy and understanding is really just the narcissist reflecting back to you what you want to hear. They are very good at knowing exactly what you are thinking and what you want. They can parrot things you have already told them in a different way so you think what they said is insightful and original. It isn’t. It’s just a paraphrasing of what you have already told them or what they have figured out about you.

Don’t you get it yet?

They hold you in contempt for your stupidity for believing them. Of course you are not stupid, and are understandably confused, but they are contemptuous of the trust you have handed over to them. They will work on destroying it and at the same time, destroy your trust in others, by using them as flying monkeys against you. Eventually you will trust no one and when this happens, you may do anything to earn back their “love,” even things you are morally against. There are so many victims of abuse who have done things for their psychopathic lovers like lie on tax returns, steal for them, buy drugs for them, and even kill for them. In most “killer couple” partnerships, one of the couple (usually the woman but not always) is a long-term victim of a psychopath and has become evil by association.

In 1978, there was science fiction/horror movie called “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” It became a huge hit. Malignant narcissists and psychopaths are real life body snatchers. Your continued association with one of these creatures is dangerous because they can infect you with their evil and your soul can be lost, just like the harpie-like body snatchers that retained only their human physique in the movie.

body_snatcher

I’ll come to you like an affliction
And I’ll leave you like an addiction
You’ll never forget me
You wanna know why?

A relationship with a psychopathic malignant narcissist is an affliction, even if at first it feels like the greatest thing ever. Even after they have nearly destroyed you with their abuse, you may still believe you need your narcissist and feel lost without them. That’s the way they want you–helpless and adrift. That’s because having you that way makes it easier for them to hoover you back in later on with love bombing and fake apologies, or if they are very sadistic and have no intention of returning, it makes them happy to see you alone and miserable without them.

Cause I’m a liar
Yeah I’m a liar
I’ll rip your mind out
I’ll burn your soul
I’ll turn you into me
I’ll turn you into me
Cause I’m a liar, a liar
Liar, liar, liar, liar

I don’t know why I feel the need to lie
And cause you so much pain
Maybe it’s something inside
Maybe it’s something I can’t explain
Cause all I do
Is mess you up and lie to you
I’m a liar
Oh, I am a liar

They may know there’s something very wrong with their minds and souls, but they don’t care. They know they’re messing with your mind but again, they don’t care.

If you’ll give me one more chance
I swear that I will never lie to you again
Because now I see the destructive power of a lie
They’re stronger than truth
I can’t believe I ever hurt you
I swear
I will never to you lie again, please
Just give me one more chance
I will never lie to you again
I swear
That I will never tell a lie
I will never tell a lie
No, no

henry_rollins4

The psychopathic malignant narc is using fake apologies, lies and love bombing in their attempt to hoover you, their mark, back in for more abuse.

Ha ha ha ha ha hah haa haa haa haaa
Sucker
Sucker!
Oh, sucker
I am a liar
Yeah, I am a liar
Yeah I like it
I feel good
Ohh I am a liar
Yeah
I lie
I lie
I lie
Oh, I lie
Oh I lie
I lie
Yeah
Ohhh I’m a liar
I lie
Yeah
I like it
I feel good
I’ll lie again
And again
I’ll lie again and again
And I’ll keep lying

henry_rollins3

They love doing what they do because it makes them feel powerful and in control. Their “fix” of abusing you makes them feel good. There is no intention on their part to change because it’s you who suffers, not them.

I promise.

Probably the only promise they’ll ever keep.