I know the labels don’t really matter, but I’ve been wanting to know for months. I also wanted to know if I’m really a covert narcissist. I got my diagnosis on Friday.
Before I talk about that, I just want to say that I know I picked he right therapist and it’s because of the way he showed me his empathy and got me to trust him.
We originally had our appointment for Thursday but he forgot. It turned out it was a mixup in his calendar due to the confusion over Thanksgiving week. The first thing he did when I showed up and he realized his mistake was to apologize. He said he would make it up to me. I felt a niggling of rejection (how did he forget??? How could he possibly make it up? I had important thing to tell him!)
I worried that maybe he didn’t really like me and was trying to get rid of me.
He must have known this because I think he saw the look on my face (that I was trying to hide with laughter and “no problem” reassurances) but he knew that was an act, I think.
“Why don’t you swing by tomorrow?” he said. This guy saw how I felt, and empathically addressed the situation and in so doing, removed my worries that he might be trying to get rid of me. I told him that I was glad he remedied things so quickly because, I admitted, if he hadn’t done that I would have continued to feel rejected.
His quick remedy showed he had a lot of empathy and was concerned how I felt. That made me trust him. I also realized he was modeling empathy for me, something I never got from my parents and very few other people growing up.
He knows I have a BPD, PTSD and AvPD diagnosis, but from the very first session I told him I think I’m also a covert narcissist. I explained what that was in case he didn’t know (since it’s not recognized officially). This session, which was my third, I finally worked up the courage to ask what he’d diagnosed me with.
“Well, I don’t really believe in the medical model,” he said. “Also, the Axes have been removed from the DSM-V.” This was news to me.
He was staring at me. “What?” I said.
“Do you want me to give you a diagnosis?”
I stared back and looked away, licking my lips nervously and giggled a little.
“What’s going on?”
“Why is it important to you to have a diagnosis?”
“It isn’t, really…” But it was, and I didn’t know why or how to explain it. “I’m just curious, I guess.”
“I won’t give you a diagnosis but you do appear to have symptoms of PTSD and some borderline traits….”
His sentence hung in the air.
“and…?” I asked, waiting.
“Well, you wanted to know, so I’ll tell you. I don’t think you have NPD, but you do have narcissistic traits and are probably on the spectrum.” That’s about where I thought I was. I was relieved I didn’t have NPD.
But it was like I went down the rabbit hole all over again, feeling dissociated and lightheaded but only for a minute. This time I had my emotional water wings on and floated back into reality. I was so overcome with relief that my eyes watered.
I think it was the relief of having some kind of closure. I’ve been so confused for so long. Well, I guess I’m sort of in limbo between narcdom and non-narcdom, which doesn’t clear things up a whole lot more than they were before, but somehow now the confusion makes more sense.