A question that probably has no answer.

Belle-in-Beauty-and-the-Beast-disney-princess-25447780-1280-720
Beast transforming; Belle watches in astonishment/credit Disney Pictures 1991

I’m following a blog where the writer, who is a diagnosed NPD in therapy (I am not going to link the blog here), has been showing signs recently of his hard shell beginning to crack and unfamiliar emotions starting to break through his formerly impenetrable emotional wall.

It’s been happening over time, and in fits and starts. His last post expresses quite a lot of vulnerability and sadness for his lost self and the hurt he felt as a child. It made me feel like weeping, but in the good kind of way. If this blogger is being candid and honest, then his unfolding is a beautiful, painful, magnificent thing to behold.

But earlier posts by this writer have described the way he feeds off the emotional reactions of other people (the way all narcissists do). Whether the reactions are positive or negative don’t really matter; it’s the fact they are emotional reactions to him that feed him. The blogger also happens to be an extremely skilled writer. I could easily believe he may be merely manipulating his readers (many who are empaths) into falling for the epic drama of the Big Bad Narc transforming into a man with the ability to love and feel like a normal person. It’s the stuff of Hollywood. It would make a great 10-Kleenex movie.  He no doubt knows the effect such a thing would have; he could use his skill with the English language to write breathtaking, transformative passages and become the star of his own tear-jerker movie.

I must have watched the ending of Disney’s Beauty and the Beast at least 20 times, and it still has the ability to make me sob like a little child.   It’s basically the story of a narcissist being healed by the love of another person, all dressed up in period costume and fairy dust and magic, and rendered suitable for children.   I can’t get enough of that damn sappy ending.  But I think that, for me, it’s symbolic of something much deeper going on.

Maybe I’m being (in Sam Vaknin’s words) a malignant optimist, or maybe I’m just a gullible fool, but I really, really want to believe the blogger isn’t manipulating his readers for narcissistic supply. I want to believe what he says he’s feeling is actually real. Nothing would move my soul more than witnessing a narcissist actually healing from his disorder. I’m a starry-eyed romantic INFJ and love this kind of stuff. I need to see that movie and believe it’s true. Maybe my obsession with narcissists being able to open their hearts again has to do with having narcissistic parents and having wanted so much to see it happen for them, but alas, my dreams were dashed.

Is there a way to know if this writer is telling the truth or just putting on an elaborate show for his readers in order to garner supply for himself? I suppose this is a rhetorical question since obviously no one can answer that. Only the narcissist himself can answer that, but there’s no way to know if his answer would be the truth or not.

****

Further Reading:

Beauty and the Beast: A Metaphor for NPD

50 things to ponder.

socks

I think about these things all the time. Some of them drive me crazy!
Warning: some of these things have moral or religious implications.

1. Will we ever discover another habitable, earthlike planet? If one exists, will we build colonies there?

2. Are there colors we have never seen?

3. What happened to the ships and planes that have disappeared in the Bermuda triangle?

4. What really happens after you die?

5. Why have people always fought over religion? Why is it so all-important what others believe?

6. It’s said everyone has a double who looks exactly like them somewhere in the world. Where is mine?

7. When does a person’s soul actually enter their body?

8. Are souls “recycled” (reincarnation) or is each new person assigned a brand new soul?

9. What exactly is a soul? Is it a material thing or purely spiritual?

10. What does the fourth dimension actually look like (I don’t think time is it). Is it possible to “see” it or our brains to process what you’d see?

11. Are there any places in the universe where time can go backwards, stand still, or where it’s flexible, the way 3D space is in this reality?

12. Are ghosts really beings from a higher dimension?

13. Is an intelligent and friendly race of aliens going to save humanity from self-destruction?

14. When you die, do you go back to the same place you were before you were born? Will everything seem familiar, like going home?

15. Are heaven and hell actual places, or are they states of mind?

16. Do psychedelic drugs like DMT actually show you other realities, or is the experience purely due to changes in the way the brain processes information?

17. Are there as many grains of sand on the earth as there are stars in the universe?

18. What causes a molecule to become “life” as opposed to a nonliving thing?

19. Do beings on other planets have DNA? Do they have cells?

20. If the dinosaurs had lived, would they have evolved intelligence?

21. Why do you never see baby squirrels?

22. Do lower animals (fish, reptiles, insects, etc.) experience any kind of sexual pleasure when mating?

23. Do single celled, asexual animals experience pleasure when they reproduce?

24. What do animals like dogs and cats actually think about? They look like they’re always thinking about something!

25. Why do most people prefer eating unhealthy food over healthy food, when it’s worse for your survival?

26. If eating insects was socially acceptable in modern cultures, would we be able to end starvation?

27. Was 9/11 an inside job?

28. Is the Illuminati really running everything? (I’m leaning toward yes)

29. Do socks that disappear in the wash actually go into an alternate universe where random socks just appear?

30. Does the taste of something taste different to different people? Is my experience of “cheese” or “chocolate” the same as yours?

31. The same thing about color. Does “red” to me look the same as “red” to you?

32. Are there any worlds in which music is a language?

33. Do plants get cancer? (I got the answer to this and posted about it here) But it’s still a good question.

34. Does cancer always hurt? Is it possible to get cancer and not really suffer?

35. Is the treatment for cancer worse than the disease itself?

36. Why do some people seem to have “charmed lives”? Why do others seem to be cursed from the day they are born?

37. If “survival of the fittest” is real, will modern western culture eventually breed out those who have empathy and the capacity to be altruistic until we become a race of unfeeling psychopaths and that becomes the new normal? This really scares me…

38. Are some “disorders” like Aspergers really just variations of cognition and not really a disorder at all? (The Aspie rights movement does believe this)

39. If some people are born gay and can’t change their sexual orientation, how can being gay be sinful?

40. If humans have been cloned, do they have souls too?

41. Do animals have an afterlife? If heaven exists, why wouldn’t our pets be there too?

42. Why is coffee not considered a “drug”?

43. Are men really from Mars and women from Venus?

44. Is it possible for non-human animals to cry? Evidently elephants can shed emotional tears and there have been reports of certain dogs crying.

45. Does the sun have any kind of consciousness? Sometimes it seems like it does.

46. Why do so many religions stifle thinking about these kinds of things, especially since God gave us a brain to think with?

47. Does a shadow have any kind of substance, or is it the absence of substance (light)?

48. Is it possible for anything to travel faster than the speed of light?

49. Will we ever be able to time travel?

50. What kind of other universes are there? Do they have different physics than this one?

I can think of so many more. I might do another post like this sometime.

Free associating about narcissism.

narcstare

In reading and writing so much about narcissism, sometimes it seems like more questions are raised than are answered. Here are some of the random questions and thoughts I’ve had that I can’t really explain. Some of these random thoughts may seem crazy, but they are still questions and I’m still looking for answers.

Why is it that so many of us narcissistic abuse survivors don’t realize what happened to us or even have a name for it until so late in life? Most of the people I’ve met who have realized they were raised by narcissistic parents, married to narcissistic spouses or have gone No Contact are in their 40s, 50s and older. It seems so unfair to discover this at such a late age and realize how many years have been wasted or lost.

Related to this, I wonder why there seem to be so few male victims? Is it because men are more likely to have NPD and thus be the perpetrators, or is it because in our culture, men are more reluctant to express their feelings and write about them on public blogs or message boards?

Why is it the more I read about narcissism the more narcissistic traits I see in myself and the more I want to be rid of them? Sometimes it’s like looking into a mirror. Overall though, I’ve learned even more about myself than I have about the narcissists in my life, and I think that’s a good thing, even if I’m too hard on myself and am seeing narcissism that isn’t really there.

Why is it that one of the warmest, emotionally open, and seemingly most compassionate people I’ve met in the narcissistic abuse community is a woman who believes herself to be a psychopathic (malignant) narcissist? Is her warmth and openness faked and I’m a fool for falling for it, or is her “narcissism” a delusion? I’ve looked for red flags and I simply haven’t seen any, but it’s easy to misrepresent yourself online. I have pretty good sixth sense and I don’t get any “evil” vibes or feelings of discomfort from socializing with this person, and I normally do when dealing with even the “nicest” narcs IRL.

What exactly is borderline personality disorder? Is it a form of complex PTSD not recognized by the psychiatric and medical community, is it a dissociative disorder, or is it a form of narcissism where the person never constructed a viable False Self? Should it even be in the Cluster B category of disorders or is it something else altogether?

narcissist_continuum

For that matter, is NPD a form of complex PTSD so deeply ingrained in the personality so early in life it’s almost impossible to eradicate? After all, almost all narcissists were abused and that’s why they became narcissists. Should “personality disorder” labels just be scrapped completely the way BPD Transformation suggests?

Is malignant narcissism what happens when an HSP (highly sensitive person) “goes bad”? I wrote about that in this article, but I still wonder.

Can a psychopath (or a narcissist) ever do good things intentionally (and not just for supply)? I wrote about this too, and understandably, the ire of a few ACONs was raised from that particular article. I agree it seems like a stupid question because a psychopath or narcissist has no empathy. But they still have “cold empathy” which means they can know exactly how you feel but only in a cold, intellectual way. Are there any narcs or psychopaths who simply choose not to do wrong? I haven’t ever met any, but I still think it’s something worth asking. On the other hand, wouldn’t “not doing wrong” negate their “psychopathy,” even if they lack that quality called empathy? Maybe some of them just want to be seen as good, and it’s really just a way to get supply.
Here’s a fascinating interview with Dr. James Fallon, a diagnosed psychopath who chooses prosocial behaviors over antisocial ones (although his attitude in the interview does seems quite narcissistic). I think he comes off much like a cult leader so I’m very skeptical.

I’ve seen the “black eyes” many people talk about in malignant narcissists, especially when they rage. It’s very scary to see and it’s very real. Does this indicate a spiritual deficit in which part or all of their soul is corrupted (or even missing) or is there some medical reason for this? I do remember reading something describing this phenomenon in medical terms; unfortunately I’ve lost the link to that article. Personally I think there is a spiritual element involved and a malignant narcissist has chosen evil over good, even if there is a medical or scientific reason for the strangeness of their eyes. Most abuse survivors have seen this and find it as terrifying as I do.

Why would anyone in their right mind choose to be a narcissist, even if done unconsciously as a young child? Why would anyone want to shut themselves off from the ability to feel love, empathy and joy, even if the payoff means they can protect themselves from being hurt anymore? It makes no sense because most narcissists are still incredibly sensitive (about themselves) and are constantly fending off or reacting to insults. It seems like a horrible way to live.

Are all narcissists “evil”? Or is that a blanket judgment? I’m kind of torn on this. I think the higher you go on the spectrum (and I do believe narcissism is a spectrum disorder), the more evil the narcissist will be. I’ve met some low spectrum narcs who are merely full of themselves and difficult to deal with, but I wouldn’t call them evil. Maybe those people don’t really qualify as narcissists though. I think the point at which a person becomes “evil” coincides with their willingness to change. The higher you go on the spectrum, the less likely it is the narcissist will ever become self aware or willing enough to get better. There are some high spectrum narcissists who are aware of their disorder, but don’t think of it as a disorder and are unwilling to change, so self-awareness by itself is meaningless. Willingness must also be present.

Do narcissists ever have moments of being non-narcissistic or even feeling empathy? I’ve known many narcissists who care nothing about the feelings of those around them, but cry like babies when they watch a sad or touching movie, listen to music, or when their pet dies or becomes ill. Have they simply shoved all their original empathy into one or two “safe” outlets, such as the ability to feel the emotions of a fictional character who doesn’t actually exist?

Why are some of the most religious people I know also the most narcissistic? Is their faith real?

How can you really tell if a victim of abuse may actually be the real narcissist and the “narcissist” the real victim? I know this can and does happen.

These are just a few of the things I wonder about. I’m sure I’ll think of others.

X-rated spam?

spam

Is it just me, or are other bloggers getting more profane spam than usual containing explicitly sexual messages? It’s not really a problem, since I can just delete them, but I haven’t seen this sort of spam until the past week or two, and am wondering if others have noticed it too.

I don’t want to set my spam blocker to automatically delete my spam, since sometimes it accidentally sends a bonafide comment to spam. So I go through all my spam messages before deleting them.

Is it okay to say no?

other_peoples_kids

I have a dilemma.

I am still living with my annoying narcissistic roommate. Actually, over time I came to the conclusion she is really just annoying, not all that narcissistic. Things have improved. She has gotten much better at respecting my boundaries and pays her rent on time and doesn’t invite crackheads over to the house, so there’s no reason to make her leave (although I would much prefer to not have to have any roommate at all).

But a problem arose last night. She has two granddaughters, ages 4 and 6, she hasn’t seen in two years. I know she misses them terribly. She talks to them on Skype all the time and cries every time she does, so I know seeing them is very important to her.

When I came home yesterday, she said she had something to tell me. She told me in a month she has invited them here for two days.

First of all, I was a little irked that she didn’t discuss this with me first, and just assumed it would be okay to have them come stay here. I regard this as a huge boundary invasion but at the same time I understand she feels it’s the only way she can see them. She cannot afford to travel to Florida where they currently live.
But there are a few problems.

1. I don’t like other people’s kids. Okay, there, I said. it. Of course I adored my own when they were little (and would adore my own grandchildren, when and if I ever have any). But other people’s kids, not so much.

2. The house is tiny. I live in the bottom level of a duplex, and there are only two bedrooms, one bathroom, an outdated kitchen, a small living room and a covered porch. Four people sharing one bathroom, including two little girls? I’m not looking forward to that prospect. At all.

3. There is absolutely nothing for them to do. I don’t even have TV (cable is too expensive) and there is nothing in this house that would interest children except for the 3 cats and maybe playing on the trampoline in the yard my upstairs neighbor uses for his kids when they visit.

4. My roommate stupidly sold her car for $150 several months back and has no means of transportation, so she cannot take the kids anywhere fun. There are no activities in the immediate area and no easy access to a bus line. I am not willing or able to chauffer them all around town either.

So, we are dealing with a situation where two young children would be stuck in a tiny house for two days with nothing to do and someone (me) who doesn’t want them here.

I appealed to my daughter (who is living in a larger 3 bedroom, 2 bathroom ranch house with her boyfriend who owns the house) and is closer to town and a bus line. They also have our dog, Dexter, who loves children. They also have a big screen television and the rooms are big enough for the kids to run around in. She knows my roommate so I thought this might be an option. She said no. I don’t blame her.

I suggested to my roommate she stay at the local Motel 6 with the girls. I have stayed there and it’s cheap, clean, and has a swimming pool. it’s also close to restaurants and movies. My roommate said no.

I can’t think of any other options. I hate to tell her she can’t have them here because I know how much it means for her to see them, but I really am dreading the idea of them staying here and being bored out of their minds.

Am I being heartless and selfish if I tell her they can’t come? Is it outrageous of her to expect me to accommodate them here? I have run out of options. What should I do?

I want to reduce the hours I spend at my job.

money-happiness-scale

In order to pay my bills and keep a roof over my head, I currently work for a housecleaning company. I actually don’t mind the work but the job can be VERY physically stressful (though it does keep me in shape and saves me the expense of a gym membership). I also don’t like the way things in the home office are run (I will not go into details here) or the blatant favoritism I have to deal with constantly (which seems to exist in most service jobs).

The office politics really stresses me out and as with most of the other service jobs I’ve held, I’ve reached a point of burnout where I really dread even going to work anymore. I do not really want to look for yet another crappy service job, and writing jobs in this area are practically nonexistent, unless you have a journalism degree which is required to write for one of the local newspapers. Obviously, I’d rather write for a living. I actually used to, when I lived in the northeast about 20 years ago.

If I could, I would write all day, every day. I want more time than the weekends and evenings to do this (because I’m simply too exhausted sometimes to write as much as I’d like). Sometimes I wind up staying up until 2 or 3 in the morning to catch up on reading and posting, but of course then I’m in no condition to be at my job at 8 in the morning. At my age, trying to get by on 3-4 hours of sleep is very unhealthy and then I go to work feeling like absolute crap.

So until something better comes along, I’m considering going from fulltime to part time–working only 4 days a week instead of 5. The job doesn’t offer health insurance anyway, so I really wouldn’t be losing anything except a day’s pay.

My conundrum is that even working 5 days a week, I barely earn enough to pay my bills. I don’t even have cable TV anymore because I can’t afford it (not that I need it). I never go on vacations, not even weekend getaways. I can’t even afford the movies. I drive a 13 year old car with expired tags because I can’t afford to have the repairs done that would get it to pass inspection. My disposable income is almost nonexistent–it actually qualifies me as “poverty level” according to the national tables. So obviously I really can’t afford to lose a day of work.

On the other hand, why should my life consist of spending most of it doing something I don’t really want to be doing? Our narcissistic Powers That Be would like to keep most of us working like dogs, earning slave wages, and possibly dying an early death due to work-related stress with no health insurance or safety nets at all should we become ill, but dammit, I am sick to death of being one of the sheep that feeds their coffers but gets nothing in return but a bare-survival income that does nothing for me but keeps me from being on the streets.

I need an extra day to relax and write as much as I want, and even start writing a book. It’s hard to squeeze everything I’d like to do into weekends and evenings. But the money situation is worrisome too. So I’d like to get your opinions on what YOU would do if you were in my shoes.

Is “survival money” more important than doing something you love, even if that thing you love pays nothing? Or is it better to take the risk to chase happiness and have faith that somehow, even with less time spent working at a humdrum job, the money you need will still be there?

Please do not suggest I approach my family for help. That is not an option for me.

Question about DSM billing codes

I know these codes are only used for billing purposes, but I always wondered why they are numbered/ordered the way they are. Can anyone shed some light on why the decimal digits skip so many places and why the PD’s are ordered this way? For example why aren’t the groups (Cluster A, B and C) grouped together–Avoidant PD (Cluster C) is between Narcissistic (Cluster B) and Borderline (Cluster B). That doesn’t make any sense to me. The same thing with Dependent (Cluster C) being between Antisocial and Histrionic (both Cluster B). Are these numbers just assigned randomly or is there a reason? Maybe a psychiatrist or medical billing expert here can answer this.
I know it doesn’t matter but I’ve always been curious about this.

301.20 Schizoid
Personality Disorder

301.22 Schizotypal
Personality Disorder

301.4 Obsessive-Compulsive
Personality Disorder

301.50 Histrionic
Personality Disorder

301.6 Dependent
Personality Disorder

301.7 Antisocial
Personality Disorder

301.81 Narcissistic
Personality Disorder

301.82 Avoidant
Personality Disorder

301.83 Borderline
Personality Disorder

301.9 Personality
Disorder NOS

Can a psychopath be “good”?

angel

I know, it’s a weird question and probably some of you are thinking I’ve really lost my mind this time.

But think about it. Psychopaths don’t have a conscience or empathy. Unlike malignant narcissists, they are not trying to get “supply” from others (which causes narcs to treat people like dirt). Psychopaths are free agents. So I was thinking about the possibility that some psychopaths may not choose evil because being evil simply doesn’t interest them. Maybe they just enjoy engaging in positive or beneficial activities instead, not to help others (because they have no empathy) but just because they enjoy those things over doing evil things.

I would like to hear your thoughts about this.

Why all the obsessing over bacon?

I’ve noticed bacon has suddenly become very trendy. It’s like the new cupcake. Bacon bits, bacon and eggs, bacon ice cream, bacon scented candles, and now this: bacon hot chocolate?

Someone gave this to me today. Seriously, who would drink this? I guess someone would drink it, but it won’t be me. It’s funny though.

bacon_hot_chocolate

Why is everyone so obsessed with bacon? And why is it being mixed with things like chocolate? Now sea salt, I can understand. It sounds weird, but dark chocolate with sea salt is great. But bacon and chocolate is like putting sugar on your steak. I’ll pass.

Would a narcissist who lost their memory “forget” how to be a narc?

Memory-Loss

I saw this posted on Psychforums in the NPD forum:

I’ve long thought what might happen if an N suffered complete lose of memory. Would he remember he was narcissistic? There is a novel in which this happened. Ursula Brangwen in D H Lawrence’s “The Rainbow” falls gravely ill and recovers as a near as damn it normal person.

I know it’s a weird question but it’s interesting. I’ve read that sometimes people who suffer head trauma (without severe brain damage or damage to only a small part of the brain) that produces complete amnesia occasionally display dramatic personality changes when they awaken–even to the point of seeming to have a completely different type of personality than they did originally. It’s as if they are forced to use a different part of the brain and form a new personality — and new brain connections — from scratch.

In most cases, language and other basic life skills are left intact, but I have read of rare cases where even though the brain is left largely undamaged, the person must literally “grow up” and relearn basic skills. This learning usually happens at a much faster rate than it would for an actual child growing up, because the individual already has the brain of an adult.

Think of the System Restore function on your computer. Your computer gets a virus or has some other serious issue. You set the computer back to an earlier date before the problem started. Yes, you lose important files and other saved information (which can be replaced later) but the problem is gone. It’s the same concept — a traumatic brain injury that results in amnesia could work like “system restore” for a narcissistic brain. You could also erase the hard drive and re-install it. (That would be analogous to a more severe injury where the narcissist would have to start out again as a virtual infant–and receive the sort of nurturing they never got when they were a real infant.)

In either case, is it possible that a narc who suffered complete amnesia and could remember nothing of their past, might “wake up” with the capacity to learn empathy and become a non-narcissist?

If so, it gives new meaning to the idea that the best cure for a narcissist is a kick in the head.