Karma comes a-calling for my malignant narcissist ex.

oscarthegrouch

Sometimes you can actually see what happens to a narcissistic abuser when they alienate everyone and have nothing left.

My MN ex has effectively alienated not only his ex wife (me), but also both his children. He has no other living family (and his deceased mother was also a malignant narcissist).    He runs off potential friends the first time they disagree with him and becomes abusive toward them and starts badmouthing them to anyone who will listen, so he has no friends either.

Most of you no I am No Contact with my ex.    He finally stopped trying to hoover me and these days does nothing but badmouth me to our children because I am no longer of any use to him.    My children are sick of it, and they’re sick of him.   My son can see right through his lies and bullshit, and has been able to do so for years.   Without his narcissist father in his life, he is doing very well and is reasonably happy.  He has supportive friends who serve as a kind of surrogate family to him.    He has only a few scars (Obsessive-Compulsive personality disorder, including a rather pathological fear of germs) from having been his father’s scapegoat growing up, but is working on that in therapy, as well as his lingering issues with self esteem and depression.

My daughter, who got “rewarded” when she was younger for being the golden child and her father’s flying monkey recruit, is over it–and she’s over her father.  Since he had no one left in the family to bully, lie to, steal from, triangulate against, gaslight, and abuse, she became his newest victim and scapegoat!   If you’re the golden child of a narcissist, never get too comfortable.   They will turn on you in a heartbeat if no other supply is forthcoming or their original scapegoats defect.  You, too, are merely an object for them to feed off of so their false self doesn’t fall to pieces.

There have been two incidents lately that made her finally wake up to the truth about him.  About a month ago, he stole her entire savings–almost $300, that she’d been so proud of and diligently adding to for over three months.   He not only lied to her about the theft, he tried to blame ME and suggest I might have taken it.   Even her tears didn’t move him–his own DAUGHTER’s tears, and he continued to deny that he had taken it and told her she was overreacting.

A week ago he broke into her car at work (somehow he got a spare key) and stole more money and some of her prescription medicine she takes for anxiety.    She was always too trusting of him–and she’s too trusting in general.  She tends to be codependent, the way I used to be.    But now she knows her father isn’t a loving person who will support her; he is treacherous and has zero conscience or empathy.  Like everyone else, she’s just an object to him.   This was a hard and painful truth for her to realize, and she hasn’t spoken to him since this incident.   Although she’s not officially No Contact, she is taking No Contact actions by not having anything to do with him.  She does love her father, but she is starting to realize he never loved her, or anyone, because he’s not capable of it.  She knows it’s nothing she did; it’s because he is very sick.

Now he has no one left and still lives with my daughter’s ex boyfriend because he can use him too and he’s too lazy to look for a place of his own.   The ex boyfriend (who is still friends with my daughter) is tiring of his mind-games and his constant demands too and never talks to him anymore, even though they are living in the same house.  He thinks the way he treats his own children is appalling.  He continues to allow him to live there, because he helps with the bills in exchange for the room, but he doesn’t like him and barely talks to him at all.

The strain is showing.  My MN ex is beginning to lose his mind (whatever was left of it).    My daughter’s ex tells us he is acting more and more erratic and bizarre, talking about things that make no sense that sometimes sounds like the word salad some schizophrenics are known for.  He threatens suicide all the time and spends his days and nights abusing random people on Facebook and trolling political websites, abusing and bullying the people he finds there.   He’s unemployable.  Even if he could find work, no one would hire him.  He not only acts insane, he looks it too.   He never bathes and dresses strangely or barely at all.  And so he just sits in his room all day, never coming out except to eat or use the bathroom.

My ex is an example of a malignant narcissist who has no supply left to inflate his false self–no family, no friends, no job, no recognition of any kind, ill heath, and he’s losing his looks with age and both mental and physical illness–and now he’s completely losing his mind.   He’s unrecognizable from the charming, handsome, ambitious, and charismatic person I met in 1985.   He doesn’t even try to hide his malignancy behind a “nice” mask anymore.   He’s openly mean, nasty and negative.  He appears to have completely lost any soul he might once have had and now he’s batshit crazy to boot.   Soon he will probably need to be housed in a mental institution, if he doesn’t take his own life first.

He’s a perfect example of a narcissist way too far up the NPD/ASPD spectrum to ever admit he needs help or realize that he has sabotaged himself by running off everyone, including his own family, with his repellent personality and refusal to accept any responsibility or blame for the pain he has caused them. He still constantly projects his own malignant narcissism onto the people he was supposed to love but never could.    I don’t see this man ever becoming so beaten down he would go into therapy to try to understand what his own role in this might have been.   He denies he is a narcissist and always will.   He has zero self awareness and always will.   If he ever “hits bottom” (which he’s really close to now), all I see him doing is committing suicide.   He’d be too proud to humble himself and willingly renounce his ways.  He’d rather die than do that.

I don’t exactly enjoy seeing his deterioration, but a part of me can’t help but think it’s all due to his choices and refusal to take any kind of responsibility and that he’s just finally getting what he deserves.

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No conscience, no empathy.

no soul

Once again, my MN/ASPD sociopath ex has proven what a conscienceless shell of a person he has become.  Maybe he’s always been this way but it seems to become worse the older he gets.    Maybe he just masked his true nature better in the past, and pretended to be a decent person, or maybe he’s really gotten a lot worse.  He used to have some emotions; now he appears to have none at all.   He doesn’t even bother pretending to be a decent person anymore.  He’s a man who is so cut off from all feeling and whose heart has turned so black that he can’t even squeeze out any empathy or drum up any human decency to his own children. To him, they are just objects to use for his convenience and maybe, for a few lulz at their expense.

Unlike some lower spectrum narcissists, this man is so malignant he’s beyond redemption.  He has zero self awareness and never will have it.   He’s way far too gone.   If the Dark Triad had a poster boy, he would be it.   A long time ago, he sold his soul and it’s never coming back.    One of his favorite forms of abuse is financial abuse.  He used to abuse me financially all the time, mostly by freeloading and refusing to work, although he used to steal from me too.

As most of you know, my daughter has been staying with me while she tries to save enough money to move into a place of her own.  She’s been working hard–faithfully going to her job every day where she works long, grueling hours,  and she’s saving money diligently, adding something to her apartment fund every time she gets paid.    Since she doesn’t make a lot, I don’t charge her rent so she is able to save more easily.    Her saving money and not spending it all is an improvement for her.  It’s a good sign that she’s becoming more mature and less impulsive–and she told me the other day how proud she is of herself for being able to resist impulse buys and save money instead.

But she made a mistake.  She didn’t put the money in a bank account.   She keeps it in a box next to where she sleeps.  She trusts me and knows neither I nor my housemate would ever dream of stealing money or anything else from her.

My daughter is a very codependent sort of person, and still thinks of her dad as her sun, moon and stars.  She loves him dearly, although he doesn’t deserve her love.  She knows how sociopathic and narcissistic he is, but loves him because he’s her father and the concept of family actually means something to her.

Today, while I was at work, she let him come over to the house for ten minutes, because they had been somewhere this morning and she wanted to change her clothes.  She was going to make him some coffee before he left.

I don’t allow this man into my house and she knows how I feel about him.   But at least she was honest.  She texted me and said he was only staying for ten minutes and then leaving.   I told her I wasn’t pleased, but that fine, make sure he leaves in ten minutes and watch him.  Don’t take your eyes off him for a second. He’s a thief and a snoop.

Right then she got a phone call from someone she’s dating and went into the bathroom to take the call, not thinking her father would have time to do anything.  When she returned, he told her had to leave.   She said fine, but before he left, she told me she had the urge to  go look in the box where she’d been keeping her apartment savings fund.   Unfortunately the box had been right next to her father the whole time.  She opened the box, and it was empty. All the money was gone.

She burst into tears of hurt and betrayal.  She told him she’d been saving money in that box so she could get a place of her own.  She didn’t want to accuse him of anything, but she knew he’d taken it.   She told him how hard she’d worked for that money, and how hard it was to save.  It wasn’t that much (only about $225) but it had taken about three months to save, being that she can only save about $20 a week.   Her tears didn’t move him.  She told me later she saw a flicker of something that might have been remorse or guilt, but that look quickly disappeared and was taken over by his usual expressionless, cold, flat stare.

“I didn’t take your money,” he said.  “You must have misplaced it,” he continued, gaslighting her.  “Or maybe your mother took it.”  Of course, there he went blaming me, even though I wasn’t even there.    She kept crying, but he showed no empathy, didn’t offer any words of comfort or a hug or anything.  He just started talking about the election instead, and then said he had to leave.    This is a man who doesn’t need financial help.  He gets over $2,000 a month in SSDI and gets food stamps and Medicare.   He has very few expenses and sits at home all day long trolling political websites and painting miniature lead soldiers.    He took her money because he could.  Because he’s a conscienceless POS.

I told her she needed to go No Contact with him. She knows it’s worked for me.  But she’s too softhearted and can’t do it.  “He’s still my dad,” she said.  She loves him even after this. I know she won’t let him in the house again.  She learned her lesson.  She knows how dangerous he is.   Maybe one day she will cut ties from him completely.   I can only pray for this.  She’s going to keep saving her money, starting from scratch, and put it in a bank this time.

Book review: Confessions of a Sociopath (M. E. Thomas)

sociopath_confessions

A couple of weeks ago I went to a yard sale and a book caught my eye, because of its subject matter–a copy of M. E. Thomas’ autobiography, Confessions of a Sociopath: a Life Spent Hiding in Plain Sight.

Ever-fascinated with all things Cluster B, including first-person accounts by narcissists, psychopaths and other antisocial types, I got busy reading that same evening. It took me two weeks to finish the book, when normally I’d devour a book of this length and subject matter in just a few days.

I’m sorry to say, this book was a disappointment. It was a long, painful, boring read. First of all, Ms. Thomas isn’t a very good writer. Full of run-on sentences and endless, dull descriptions of how great she thinks she is because she lacks empathy and a conscience (she seems to think of these as traits only weak or stupid people have, reminding me of Ayn Rand without an iota of the latter’s intelligence), Thomas comes off more as an obnoxious, self-centered, common narcissist than a true sociopath.

Thomas (who owns the website Sociopath World) is not a criminal. She may well be sociopathic in that she seems to take pleasure in cheating, manipulating, hurting, and discarding others, once gleefully watched a possum drown, and admits she enjoys ruining the reputations of people she has worked with. She clearly has no empathy and seems to have no emotions. She crows on endlessly about how her lack of a conscience or any empathy has freed her from having to worry about what others think and therefore indicates what she thinks of as her superior intellect. But like the narcissist she really is, she overvalues her achievements and intelligence. She works as an attorney but doesn’t seem to be able to stay employed for long, and really doesn’t have any other impressive achievements under her belt. Her “theories” about sociopathy are nothing more than rehashes of what other people have already described in psychology texts, and less readable than theirs. Overall, Thomas comes off as self-congratulating, obnoxious, unlikeable, and very shallow. She also comes off as rather dumb.

M. E. Thomas is clearly a malignant narcissist, but by calling herself a “sociopath” you feel like you’ve been the victim of a bait-and-switch (which is in itself sociopathic, I suppose). The cover of the book is a picture of a sinister female mask on a white background, and you open the book expecting something more than you actually get, at least some sort of depth or insight into her own behavior. But Thomas has no real insight and the book reads more like a resume of her fake “achievements” than a dark psychological memoir. She talks about her family, who she describes as neglectful, but she doesn’t seem to think they were particularly abusive. She takes arrogant pride in her “sociopathy,” repeating the word again and again throughout the text, as if to drive home the fact that she really is one, when it seems that she “protesteth too much” and underneath all that bluster, suspects she may not be. That kind of insecurity over the possibility of not really being what one says they are is a lot more typical of NPD than psychopathy or sociopathy, who don’t care what others think of them. Thomas also talks about wanting to have a family and her religion (Mormonism) a lot. Maybe her religion keeps her from acting out against others in more heinous ways and gives her a sort of “cold” conscience that keeps her out of prison, but I sure hope God doesn’t let her have children. She doesn’t seem capable of maintaining a relationship, so that doesn’t exactly work in her favor.

Although narcissists are thought of as having no emotions, it isn’t really true that they don’t, and there are narcissists and sociopaths who have been able to write about themselves in an emotionally engaging, albeit dark and depressing, way. There is rage and hurt and despair seething behind the surface of their words. But Thomas writes in a cold, emotionless way, probably because she’s such a bad writer. As a result, you feel about as excited reading her “memoir” as you’d feel reading the most boring high school textbook–and learn a whole lot less.

The only reason I didn’t feel completely ripped off was because the yard sale copy of this book set me back only $1; if I’d purchased it at full price, I’d be pretty annoyed right now. It was all I could do to even finish this book. It was that boring. Don’t waste your time. If you want to read a good book about sociopathy, read Marsha Stout’s The Sociopath Next Door instead. If you really need to read something that comes “out of the horse’s mouth,” you’d do better with Sam Vaknin.

The narcissistic spectrum according to Lucky Otter

Man looking at reflection in mirror

A friend and I were talking about where exactly different levels of narcissism would fall on the N-spectrum. Of course narcissism (or any psychological topic) isn’t an exact science so giving the different levels numerical values seems a little silly, but in my mind this is how I view the different levels on the spectrum, starting with a Baseline of O (on most narcissism spectrums, “healthy” narcissism is at baseline) and the transition to NPD at around 5, which is smack dab in the middle. Narcissism becomes pathological (causing the person or others problems) at around 4.
Please note these are just my own subjective ideas.  I’m a geek who likes to classify things.

The Narcissistic Spectrum according to Lucky Otter

9-10:
Sociopathy:
A person at this level is almost indistinguishable from someone with ASPD (antisocial personality disorder), but an NPD sociopath is more concerned about image or obtaining supply than a pure ASPDer. Most cult leaders fall here. (Psychopathy appears similar to sociopathy in behaviors, but describes a condition that a person is born with instead of one that was acquired; many psychopaths were never abused and were always like that, but sociopaths were made).

8-9:
Malignant Narcissism:
A person at this level has severe NPD with antisocial traits. A person at this level will show more emotion (usually rage) than a narcissistic sociopath. Usually fits all the DSM criteria or most of them.

7-8:
Severe NPD:
Not malignant because there is no sadism present, but person is still highly dangerous and manipulative. Fits most or all of the 9 criteria and symptoms are severe.

narcissist-bird

6-7:
Moderate NPD:
A person at this level may be barely tolerable, if contact with them is casual or seldom. Fits more than 5 of the 9 criteria.

5-6:
Mild NPD:
A person at this level fits 5 of the 9 DSM criteria for NPD but symptoms are not too severe and they may have moments of acting like a decent human being. NPDers at this level may occasionally respond well to therapy or seek it out.

—Pathological—

4-5:
Narcissistic Personality (Destructive Narcissistic Pattern disorder or DNP):
  A person here fits fewer than 5 of the 9 NPD criteria in the DSM but has at least three.  Symptoms may not be that severe and the person at this level is more in touch with their true self and may seek therapy.  They usually have the capacity to feel empathy but it’s limited.

3-4:
Non-Pathological Narcissistic Personality:
Your garden variety self-centered jerk but may genuinely care about those they love.  Not particularly dangerous. Has moments of insight into themselves or empathy for others, especially their loved ones.

0-3:
“Healthy” narcissism.
Most normal people can be found here.

O (Baseline) and lower:
People down in the negative digits might as well be wearing a “KICK ME” sign. They are almost always victims of narcissists and sometimes even normal people give them a hard time or take advantage of them.

npd_spectrum
The simplified spectrum. Psychopathy does not belong here at all.

Covert (“fragile”) narcissists may be found anywhere on the spectrum, but because their narcissism is more hidden and arrogance and grandiosity may be absent, a covert narcissist at any level is harder to identify. They may appear to have BPD, Avoidant PD, or Aspergers Syndrome instead (these are the three disorders most often confused with Covert Narcissism).

High-functioning (successful) narcissists are more likely to be found high on the spectrum, and sociopaths are often extremely high-functioning. There are many sociopaths (and psychopaths, who were generally born with a different brain structure and may not have been abused) in politics, religion, and heading huge corporations. Sociopathic traits and most NPD traits are generally sought after in the higher echelons of business, politics and entertainment. A person with just the “right” combination of antisocial behavior and arrogance, entitlement, grandiosity, and fake confidence can be a devastating adversary or competitor, and they will have no scruples about crushing you into the ground to achieve their goals.

Most high-functioning narcissists tend to be the Grandiose (classic, or overt) type that best fits the DSM criteria.

Covert and overt narcissists all have the same disorder, but for most, one form or the other is dominant. That said, they can and do switch back and forth in the same person. I think temperament is partly to do with whether someone is overt or covert (the more timid or fearful types leaning toward covert narcissism), but I also think circumstances (such as a sudden loss or gain of supply) can cause a switch from overt to covert or vice versa.

Low-functioning narcissists are much more likely to be covert.  They tend to receive less supply than overt narcissists, so their false self is weaker (the “deflated” false self, according to Masterson). Because of their discontent with their lives and general lack of success, covert narcissists are more likely than overt ones to seek help. If a covert narcissist suddenly begins to receive a lot of supply, they can become much more overt-acting (grandiose, entitled and arrogant). If an overt/grandiose narcissist suffers a huge loss of supply, they can sink into depression and become covert (at which point they are more likely to seek help).

Psychopathy may not be what you think.

gearhead

I’ve been doing some reading about psychopathy and have found out some surprising things. I always was a little confused as to how psychopathy differed from sociopathy and have used those terms interchangeably on this blog due to my confusion. I’ve also used the term interchangeably with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD) and sometimes even malignant narcisissm. It turns out it’s probably something completely different from the other three disorders and may not even be a disorder at all!

Before you start laughing, hear me out.

It all started with this colorful, humorous description someone wrote on a forum I’ve been active on, describing how a Psychopath differs from a Narcissist:

When I picture a Psychopath, I think of someone who at bedtime bounces around from one thing to the next, essentially a high-energy, happy person. When I picture a Narc at bedtime, I imagine someone wearing long pajamas and a nightcap (yes, a nightcap), walking around a 19th Century house, holding a candle, checking for ghosts.

At first I thought this was a weird (but funny) analogy. But it really isn’t. According to psychologist Theodore Millon, Primary Psychopathy is something you are born with and is not due to abuse, unlike NPD or ASPD. Studies have shown that the limbic system (emotional center) of primary psychopaths is simply less active than in normal people. So they don’t experience empathy or have a conscience regardless of how they were raised, but they also don’t have very deep emotions in general.

Millon

Because they lack deep emotions, primary psychopaths tend to be fearless risk takers. They also aren’t moody because they don’t experience anxiety or depression the way others do–if they experience those states at all. But psychopathy has become associated with sociopathy and/or ASPD or malignant narcissism because a born psychopath may be more prone to developing personality disorders than the normal population, if they are abused. Because they don’t have the capacity to develop a conscience or empathy, if they do develop a personality disorder, it’s likely to be Antisocial Personality Disorder, where the right of others are callously violated. That’s why so many psychopaths are also antisocial and dangerous.

But there is nothing wrong with the cognitive functioning of a psychopath. They are able to learn the difference between right and wrong, and if they do not develop a personality disorder, theoretically they can choose to do what’s right. Only the limbic system is impaired, so any decisions a true psychopath makes are cognitively based. Emotion simply doesn’t play into it at all. They do “whatever works.” They lack a conscience because conscience is emotion- or shame-based, and a psychopath isn’t capable of much emotion in general.

So a primary psychopath can theoretically be a good person who is just extremely unemotional and only uses logic and reason to make decisions. Unlike narcissists, who actually have deep emotions but have turned all their emotions inward toward themselves and require “supply” to bolster their fragile egos, a non-disordered psychopath has no need for supply. They simply don’t care what anyone thinks. What you think is simply not something that even occurs to them. In contrast, a narcissist cares very much what you think and falls apart like wet toilet paper if supply in the form of approval or adoration is not forthcoming.

Primary psychopathy seems analogous to the Myers-Briggs ESTJ (Extroverted/Sensing/Thinking/Judging) personality type. In other words, a psychopath is an outgoing, sensation seeking, hedonistic thinker who happily jumps around from activity to activity like someone jacked up on Red Bull, yet they don’t have ADHD either because the J(udging) aspect means their high level of activity always has a goal or purpose. Such a person would be easily bored (which could also lead to antisocial behavior), never worry about things or experience (or even understand) guilt, and unafraid to try and experience new things. Their lack of emotionality would suit them well for the business world. In fact, people who have become very successful in business tend to score high in psychopathic traits.

two-brains

While many high level executives do abuse the rights of others and callously close entire departments and treat their employees like so many pieces in a chess game (whatever works, right?), because psychopaths can tell the difference between right and wrong, some will try to do the right thing just the same. The difference is, they are using cognition rather than emotion to back any prosocial decisions.

Looked at this way, primary psychopathy may not be a disorder at all but a personality variation. Of course, the term “psychopathy” has negative connotations because most of us associate it with antisocial criminals, shady con artists, and serial killers. And in fact many of them are, but not all.

Sociopathy differs from primary psychopathy because (according to Millon, above), it’s antisocial behavior that may develop in a person with ASPD or NPD and is always due to abuse somewhere in the person’s past. A primary psychopath can become a sociopath if they become disordered, and that’s where you would find the serial killers and criminals (and these people usually have ASPD). But a sociopath isn’t always (or even usually) a psychopath. Sociopaths who aren’t psychopathic are usually very malignant narcissists (high spectrum NPD + ASPD) or sometimes even Borderlines, and they differ from psychopaths because there is no logic or rational thinking behind their antisocial or destructive behaviors, only unhealthy, toxic emotion. They seem to have no empathy because all their empathy–and most of their other emotions except anger–are turned inward toward themselves. The false self is what they present to others instead of their real emotions. Narcissists have plenty of empathy but it’s all for themselves–that’s why they are prone to wallowing in self pity. A psychopath would never wallow in self pity. They simply don’t care what you think.

Eskimo Sociopaths

inuit_man
Lone Inuit man.

Here is a very interesting article that discusses how Eskimo (Inuit) hunters historically handled sociopaths and narcissists in their midst.

Eskimos probably had the right idea. In our modern culture today, we look up to narcissists and even sociopaths as role models.

In order to survive in their harsh, cold climate and procure enough food, Eskimo hunters had to work together as a group. Individualism, a we know it today, wasn’t even on the radar and wouldn’t have benefited the group. Cooperation–not individualism–was necessary for survival.

Not anymore. Today, individualism (and thus narcissism) has become adaptive because those people who only have their own self-interest as a priority tend to be the most successful. There’s something very wrong and evil about a society that glorifies individualism over cooperation.

confessionsofacrazybitch101

A stranger who I had a conversation with, had a beautiful mind and heart and we talked for an hour about everything. He told me a story about sociopath/narcissists from Eskimo ages….

Eskimos worked together. That’s how they survived was through hunting and team work. But, when they unmasked a sociopath in their pack, this threw off their hunting. This sociopathic Eskimo couldn’t work alongside the others, so they figured out a way to cure NPD/sociopathic Eskimos.

They would invite the sociopath along with them, in a group of three, to hunt. They gave the sociopath their own weapon and everything just as he was apart of their group. They would then venture far far out, to a place only two of them knew around and how to get back to their grounds from. They then told the suspected sociopath to sit on a bolder and wait for the prey…

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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.

Narcissists with Aspergers?

lonely_guy

There’s been much written about the relationship between Aspergers syndrome and narcissism, mostly about the way they are often confused with each other (or misdiagnosed as the other disorder) due to the belief that people with Aspergers lack empathy (which is not true). I wrote about this false belief in my article, “People with Autism Do Not Lack Empathy!”

People with Aspergers may SEEM unempathic, because they are not always very good at expressing emotions or knowing how to react when other people share their emotions with them. But an Aspie’s lack of appropriate social reaction to the emotions of others doesn’t mean they can’t FEEL the emotions around them. In fact, some may feel other’s emotions MORE keenly than neurotypicals, and they can be easily overwhelmed, which may cause them to withdraw from the situation and partly account for why they may seem less engaged emotionally or uncaring about the feelings of others.

aspie_misdiagnosis

Narcissism as an Autism Spectrum Disorder?

question2

Psychology Today had an interesting article comparing narcissism to high functioning autism (Aspergers) and at least one psychologist thinks they may be the same disorder!:

Khalid A. Mansour (the British Arab psychiatrist), has proposed in an article in the Pan Arab Journal of Psychiatry (link is external) that narcissistic personality may merit classification as an autistic spectrum disorder.

Dr. Mansour writes, “There is now significant level of agreement that emotional processing problems like: lack of empathy, poor self-awareness, self-centredness, poor reciprocation of emotion, poor ability to maintain emotional relationships, anxiety and anger outbursts are more or less central features of autism (10, 50,51).”

Interesting. When I first read the above paragraph, I though Dr. Mansour was writing about severe narcissism. His description fits both narcissism and autistic spectrum disorders. Hmmm.

Dr. Mansour similarly quotes from the ICM-10 listing these features of autism:

–Self-centeredness; inappropriate to developmental level and cultural expectations
–Poor self-awareness, poor ability to develop remorse or learn from mistakes
–Poor empathy or appreciation of others feelings
–Poor ability to reciprocate emotions.
–Hostile dependency on safe relations.
–Failure to develop emotional relationships appropriate to developmental level and social norms
–Treating people as objects or preferring objects over them
Again, this list certainly sounds a lot like narcissism.

Dr. Monsour concludes: “… it is noticeable that people with NPD, do not show a major degree of functioning problems in stress free environment or when they are supported (except that they are perceived as “not pleasant characters” to deal with). However under stress and without support they can become quite dysfunctional in a way not far from what we usually see in Asperger’s syndrome. “

I don’t buy it. This is the opinion of one psychiatrist. While it’s true that on the surface these two disorders may appear similar, the mechanism behind the behaviors are vastly different–in fact, almost the opposite. For the narcissist, their lack of empathy and failure to engage the emotions of others is due to their inability to feel the emotions of those around them, but they can FAKE empathy fairly well, even if they choose not to. If they are trying to obtain supply, they can be pretty good at it. Their social skills are not the problem–their inability to feel other’s emotions are. They are like actors in a play. In contrast, a person with Aspergers or high functioning autism DOES feel the emotions of others around them strongly, but lacks the social skills necessary to be able to convey this to others effectively. Unlike the narcissist, people with Aspergers are very bad actors.

But the question was, can Aspergers and narcissism occur together?

aspie_narcissist

But we’re talking here about comorbidity. The question I’ve raised is whether Aspergers and Narcissism can be comorbid with each other–that is, can someone have BOTH disorders?

The answer appears to be yes. I found this on Yahoo Answers, from a man who claims to be both a high functioning autistic AND a sociopath:

[…] people with Asperger’s can be sociopaths and or narcissists as well. “CO-MORBID” is the medical term used to describe a disability or group of disabilities that exist another disability in a single individual at the same time. It is possible to be autistic and have cerebral palsy or have aspergers and diabetes. Likewise it is also possible to have both Aspergers and mental disorders including sociopath and narcissism. Asperger’s does not exist in a bubble that protects it from co-morbid disabilities and mental defects.

I have High Functioning Autism and I also have antisocial tendencies I must always keep properly managed. I see my psychiatrist regularly. I take my medications as needed and I have trained myself to always be mindful of my darker instincts to insure they do not express themselves in disastrous ways. I have high functioniong autism but; thanks to early intervention by family, doctors and others I was made keenly aware of my antisocial ways and taught how to manage them in ways that kept everyone safe. It is the single most difficult thing I do in life to keep my antisocial ways well managed but; having seen the monster I become when enraged is motivation enough to keep me always vigilant.

There’s no reason why the disorders couldn’t exist together. Personally, I’ve never known anyone with both disorders, but that doesn’t mean they don’t exist. Using a fictional example, I’m going to speculate here what the behavior of a narcissist with Aspergers might be like.

The Case of Mark F.

Depressed Forty Year Old Man Drinking Alone

Mark F. always had trouble making friends. In grammar school he was bullied due to his inability to fit in with others or show empathy. He was socially awkward and never seemed to know the right thing to do or say. Mark not only was unable to show appropriate reactions in social situations, but rather than suffer in silence and wonder why others didn’t understand or like him (as most Aspies do), he didn’t care about the feelings of those around him. He was easily hurt by the bullying, but reacted in rage due to these narcissistic injuries to himself. He’d lash out at those who injured him and didn’t care if he hurt someone else.

As Mark grew older, he had difficulty keeping a job, not only because of his inappropriate, almost schizoid affect that was very offputting to those around him, but also because he deliberately caused pain to others with his frequent insensitive insults. Due to his Aspergers, Mark lacked the social skills to be able to effectively use the more subtle narcissistic “tools” such as gaslighting or triangulation against others, but he was very good at blame-shifting and projecting his character defects onto those around him. Lacking the social skills to know what behaviors were appropriate, he’d “go off” on those in authority, and was frequently fired from his jobs for insubordination, gossiping openly about his coworkers, missing work due to debilitating hangovers (more about this in the next paragraph), and starting fights.

Mark never married. Though good looking, due to his poor social skills and openly hostile attitude (he was unable to mask his anger, resentment and envy of others), his dates never developed into relationships. No woman would stay with him longer than a few weeks. He had no friends and resorted to frequent drinking to cope with his loneliness.

As you might imagine, Mark was miserable. He constantly felt victimized. He was frequently depressed and wondered why he couldn’t get others to cooperate with his need to use them for supply. In his frustration and envy of all those around him for their “better social skills,” Mark tried to self-medicate by drinking heavily and his frequent drunkenness only served to exacerbate his rages and cause his work attendance to be poor.

Having both disorders would be a recipe for extreme misery. Mark’s behavior is just one way narcissism comorbid with Aspergers could manifest itself. An effective narcissist must possess good social skills to be able to charm others into trusting them and to use their “bag of tricks” in an effective way, and therefore an Aspie with narcissism wouldn’t be particularly dangerous, just very unlikeable. Therefore, I don’t think it would be probable that an Aspie could be a “malignant narcissist” but they certainly could be suffering from NPD. A person with both disorders would have zero charm and therefore not have many opportunities to use others the way a narcissist with good social skills could. My feeling is substance abuse would be a huge problem for such a person, in their attempt to make life more bearable. For those not resorting to substance abuse or alcoholism, severe depression or even suicidal ideation could result.

Robert Durst disgusting excuse

I agree with Gale how outrageous this is. This man is a psychopathic murderer who is using ASPERGERS as an excuse to get away with his heinous acts. Not only is he a raging liar, by using Aspergers as his excuse, he is giving that disorder a bad reputation (it’s already bad enough that Aspies have are erroneously accused of having no empathy just because we don’t always express it as well as a neurotypical). Of course there will be those who will believe him. This murderer is no Aspie–he is a raging, dangerous, evil PSYCHOPATH.

galesmind

robert-durst-allegedly-exposes

Last night I was appalled to see that this murderer’s lawyer is going to use the same excuse that got this murder off last time. ASPERGERS! This is really outrageous.

http://www.cbsnews.com/news/48-hours-presents-robert-durst-the-bizarre-saga/

http://wrongplanet.net/robert-durst-and-murder-in-galveston-texas/

Robert Durst is about to get away with more murders. Using the badly understood condition known as Aspergers. This is a terrible precedent to set. How is the fact that he has Aspergers affect the fact that he murdered a man, cut him in pieces and tossed him in the water. Then he went on the lam. Now with this new arrest his lawyer is claiming the producers of the program where he admits while talking to himself and miked that he “killed them all”.  He has withdrawn cash in small bills, put them in several envelopes ready to mail. He had his passport and other documents and was reported to be planning to flee to Cuba.

These…

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Video: A Brief History of Psychopaths and Antisocials

Sam Vaknin posted a new video yesterday, “The Morally Insane Psychopath: A Brief History of Psychopaths and Antisocials.” I decided to repost it on this blog because it’s such a fascinating subject that isn’t widely known or easy to find information about in one place. I never really looked into the history of the field of psychopathy and narcissism before, and whether or not you agree with Sam and his views about narcissism (or are on the fence like I am), Mr. Vaknin does have encyclopedic knowledge about this field of psychology.

So much has changed!

Sam looks like he’s lost weight.