My verbal processing problems and not getting jokes. .

jokes

Today a co-worker told me why people tend to not respect me and why they talk down to me.  I already knew the reasons why, but hearing it from another person, even when it’s not said in a mean or patronizing way, still stung a lot.  She said when people talk to me, I seem to not understand what they are saying,  and I don’t process verbal directions as well as most people.  Unfortunately, what she said is absolutely true.  Even though I know I’m well above average intelligence, I’ve always been sensitive about this and afraid people will think I’m stupid because of this problem I have processing verbal communication.

This is typical of someone with Aspergers or autism, and I also suffer from the social awkwardness of an Aspie.  Both result from failing to process verbal communication in a normal (some would say “neurotypical”) way.   Although I was never diagnosed with Aspergers, for many years I was sure I had it, because I certainly act and think in Aspie-like ways.   I’ve had this problem since childhood.   There’s never been any proof I don’t have Aspergers though, so who knows–I could be on the autism spectrum.  But I actually think my problem is due to complex PTSD mixed with Avoidant Personality Disorder.    I’m usually slightly dissociated or “off in space” somewhere when people are telling me things.  I also am highly uncomfortable in groups of other people (or people I don’t know well) and the ensuing self-consciousness makes me clam up and do and say awkward things.  I can’t really focus on what others are saying because I’m so obsessed with not looking stupid or weird.    I get so nervous that I might not understand what the other person is telling me, that my brain stops working and makes the problem even worse.    The fact I also have very poor hearing (I only have 20% hearing in my left ear) exacerbates this problem.

I have a similar problem when people are telling me jokes.    I’m so afraid I “won’t get it” that instead of listening to the joke, I’m worrying that I might not get it and the person telling the joke will think I’m stupid.  So what happens?   Ding ding ding!  I don’t get the joke!    That’s why I prefer jokes that don’t require any “getting.”  Goofy or silly humor, or “random” humor is much more my speed.

My malignant narcissist ex used to exploit my discomfort with joke-telling for his own sadistic entertainment.  He did this by deliberately telling long, involved jokes when others were present, and then pointedly look at me, asking, “Did you GET it?”   If I didn’t (which was often the case when I was put in this nerve-wracking situation), I could do one of two things:  (a) I could lie and say I did get it, but this didn’t work because he’d then ask me to explain the joke; or (b) admit I didn’t get it.   Either way, he was turning my insecurities against me in order to make me appear stupid in front of others.  He’d rub salt in the wound by telling me I had no sense of humor because I was unable to get his jokes, even though this actually isn’t true at all and I think I have a very well developed sense of humor (just not a traditional one) and many people find me funny. What that sociopath did was an especially subversive and vicious form of gaslighting that exploited my differently-wired brain and my self-consciousness.   I still find situations where people are telling jokes very triggering.

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Ditziness and complex PTSD, BPD.

ditzy_comic

“She has no common sense.”
“She’s just a dumb blonde.”
“She’s kind of ditzy.”
“She never seems to know what’s going on.”

These are phrases I’ve heard said about me my entire life, and not just by my abusers. To most people, I do come across as a little ditzy or scatterbrained. It doesn’t help that I happen to be blonde, because blonde haired people have to work twice as hard as everyone else to be taken seriously, since the (false) stereotype that all blondes are intellectual lightweights doesn’t seem to be going away.

I prefer to think of myself as an Annie Hall type. You may remember the 1977 movie starring Diane Keaton as Woody Allen’s (brunette!) scatterbrained but quirky love interest. I think I talk and act a lot like Annie Hall. At least I like to think I do, because Annie had a lot of charm and was loveable too. She was also a lot smarter than she appeared.

annie-hall

It gets tiresome being thought of by others as less intelligent than I actually am (my IQ is actually very high) and I get self-conscious about appearing “dumb.” My self-consciousness only seems to make the problem worse though, because it causes me to make silly mistakes and do or say socially awkward, dumb things out of nervousness.

For over a decade I thought I had Aspergers, because not only am I socially awkward, I often seem to be “out in space” and not really aware of what’s going on around me. It’s hard to hide this from others, and sometimes people talk down to me in a patronizing or condescending way, believing I can’t understand simple directions or information.  I resent it when people do that.

dumb_blonde

I’m not an Aspie, and I definitely don’t lack intelligence.  But dissociation is a symptom of both complex PTSD and BPD, and this is what I think is happening when I seem to be off in some other universe. When you dissociate, you’re not really in your own skin, and are not present in the moment. You’re outside yourself, stuck in the future or the past, and not paying much attention to the material reality of the moment. As a child, my report cards alsways had comments like, “Lauren does not pay attention,” or “Lauren spends too much time daydreaming in class.” I wonder now if I was dissociated whenever I was daydreaming.

Dissociative episodes can be very scary, but if you spend most of your time only slightly dissociated, you might not even notice that anything is wrong. You’ll just come across as being a bit “spacey.”

Further reading:
Derealization and Depersonalization in BPD and NPD

Is social awkwardness suddenly cool?

socially_awkward

It seems to me that Millennials like to tell everyone how socially awkward they are, even when it doesn’t really apply. I don’t think it’s false modesty and I don’t think a majority of this younger generation has Aspergers, Avoidant or Schizoid Personality Disorder, or Social Phobia.

No, I think they think being socially awkward is cool. Maybe it’s just that people who frequent Internet forums or write blogs are more introverted, but I think there’s more to it than that.

Take my daughter. She’s the opposite of me in many ways. She’s never been shy. She always made friends easily. She was always invited to all the parties and the popular and cool kids always liked her. She always knew what the latest catchphrases meant and seems to know about fashion trends before they’re really mainstream.

It’s true that over the past year or two she’s become a little quieter and is less likely to go out with her friends or out to parties, but I think that’s because she’s a little older now and is engaged to a guy who’s more introverted than she is and likes to hang around at home.

The other day she wrote a new description of herself on her Facebook profile, which announced to the world that she was socially awkward. But she isn’t. Does she just see herself as socially awkward when she really isn’t? Or is social awkwardness the new cool?

I wonder about that because for the past few years, being an “Aspie” seems to be a kind of badge of honor for Millennials. I think they think being an Aspie makes them seem smarter. It’s true that many people with Aspergers are very intelligent, but not really more so than the general population, and there are dumb ones too, just as there are dumb neurotypicals. But Aspies, no matter what their intelligence level, are known for their social awkwardness. So if being an Aspie is cool, maybe that extends to social awkwardness being cool too.  I think movies like The Social Network, which glorify geekiness, might play into this trend too.

I sure wish social awkwardness was cool when I was my daughter’s age, because I really am socially awkward and have always been that way. Maybe I would have been regarded as cool and that would have been good for my low self esteem.

I think the meme I posted above might prove that my suspicions are correct!

What does covert narcissism feel like?

itsmytime

This was a comment in another post but I wanted it to be a blog post because I think it’s a good nutshell explanation of what covert NPD actually FEELS like, filtered through self-awareness:

I feel like…”everyone’s better than me and has more and I deserve to die because I’m a worthless POS”…but underneath THAT is this “how DARE they have more, I’m more SPECIAL and that’s why I don’t feel like bothering with you and people are stupid for rewarding you for not being all that,” (but this defensiveness stems from my fear of them getting too close and seeing nothing but a black void under that).

And under all THAT–inside the VOID I can’t let anyone see–is the true self I’m seeing more and more of, as she shows herself more. She’s creative and sensitive and cares about people–a LOT. That void isn’t empty at all, but I have to go in there and face the darkness…

Does that make sense?
We have TWO masks, not just one.

So it can’t be Aspergers. Aspies don’t have all that RAGE..and self hatred…and fake hidden grandiosity and bitterness…

I still have a long way to go but I’m feeling pretty good about it all. I hope that’s not being grandiose. I’m actually happier than I’ve ever been right now because I lost something really toxic during that bizarre journey of a week ago…I still get emotional (in a good way) thinking about it…

Comparing covert narcissism and BPD

covert_narcissism2

I read an excellent article (thank to Natasha!) last night about covert narcissism, which is not currently recognized by the DSM, although it’s been considered as a provisional diagnosis.

Covert (vulnerable) narcissists are essentially low-functioning narcissists who present a shy, avoidant, humble, or caring image but they also constantly struggle with feelings of inferiority, emptiness, and self hatred. Like overt narcissists, they are hypersensitive to criticism but don’t hide it as well. They can become quite parasitic, relying on the support of others, either financially, emotionally or otherwise–but never giving back, even if they try to make a show of how “giving” they are. From what I’ve read in this article, it seems that the symptoms of covert narcissism, a subtype of NPD, are remarkably similar to those of BPD, with a few glaring differences:

— The covert narcissist suffers from more pathological envy than a person with BPD. The envy stems from a hidden sense of entitlement or superiority to others that belies their false humility and actual low self esteem. BPD is not characterized by a sense of entitlement. In a way they are wearing a double mask or have two false selves: the grandiose false self (that cloaks the emptiness they really feel) which is cloaked by false humility and shame. A covert narcissist may constantly be apologizing, but they don’t really mean it.

— A covert narcissist is more likely than a borderline to seek out friends who they perceive as “beneath” them so they can feel superior in comparison. This also stands out from an overt narcissist, who will seek out anyone who can provide them with supply (and likes to be associated with those they look up to). Covert narcissists avoid people they perceive as superior or having more than they do, which is most people.

— The covert narcissist has Avoidant (or introverted) features not associated with the DSM-recognized symptoms of BPD (although it’s possible for a borderline to be introverted and socially phobic, or for Avoidant PD and BPD to be comorbid with each other, as they are for me). Covert narcissists are more socially awkward than borderlines and can seem very similar on the surface to someone with Aspergers or Social Phobia. But behind the avoidant or socially awkward traits is a fear of being discovered and a hidden feeling of superiority to other people, unlike someone with Aspergers who simply finds relating to people exhausting or uncomfortable or a person with Social Phobia, who finds relating to others terrifying.

— They have no empathy. Any “empathy” they show is false, intended to get supply by bolstering their image as a “nice” person. Borderlines usually have at least a rudimentary ability to experience empathy.

— Like a classic narcissist, a covert narcissist lives in fear of their own emptiness being exposed, while someone with BPD lives in fear of being abandoned.

— Borderlines are more likely to be suicidal or self-harm than a covert narcissist, who may do self destructive things or threaten suicide for attention (supply) but will rarely make a serious attempt.

— Borderlines are more impulsive.

http://www.researchgate.net/publication/275665641_Narcissistic_Personality_Disorder_Diagnostic_and_Clinical_Challenges

This is also a very good article comparing covert NPD with overt (classic, grandiose) NPD: http://narcissisticbehavior.net/revealing-the-two-faces-of-narcissism-overt-and-covert-narcissism/

Some people believe covert narcissists are actually more malignant than classic narcissists, because their agenda is so hidden (covert) and they can seem like such nice, humble people. Although they are harder to detect, I think they really want people to see them as “nice” even though their motives are entirely selfish. I think the reason some narcissists become covert is because early in childhood they learned that acting grandiose or entitled was too dangerous (they were likely to be punished for it) so they cloaked their grandiosity behind false humility and shame. This is why they often feel victimized by everyone but at the same time feel entitled to be treated as if they are special and separate themselves from others, who they see as morally inferior (but actually feel inferior to–yes, it’s very confusing!) At the same time, a covert narcissist is more likely to seek therapy than a classic narcissist because their lives are so unsatisfying and limited–and for the same reason also more likely to be cured if they commit themselves to getting better. In this way they don’t differ too much from people with BPD.

A person with NPD can also switch back and forth between the covert and overt subtypes. When things are going well and supply is abundant, a covert narcissist may become grandiose and aggressive, and a normally grandiose narcissist can become much more covert when their supply is running low or has been removed.

Raw nerve.

everything_is_fine

Over the past few days I have been extremely anxious, even panicky. I can’t focus enough to write anything or do much of anything else either. I really have no idea why or what might have triggered it.

Last night instead of writing anything, I poked around on nostalgia sites, reminiscing about the things of my childhood, particularly the snack food. My childhood was terrible, but I have fond memories of the various sugary and salty foods I ate (why in %$#& did Buitoni ever stop making those awful but delicious toaster pizzas? Where’s a chalky, non-chewy Giant Sweet-Tart when you need one?) and the toys I played with (those over 45 or 50 or so will remember that Fuzzy Wuzzy soap that grew “hair” just like a Chia pet and had a small but high quality prize inside). These memories bring me a measure of comfort. Things seemed so much simpler before everything started going to hell about 30 years ago and hearts began to harden and greed became good because a movie character named Gordon Gecko said so. Life has just become way too complicated and stressful for someone like me (although I couldn’t live without the Internet, which for someone like me is the best thing that could ever have happened).

Sometimes I feel like I just can’t cope anymore. I’m so tired. I’m getting old. I have too many unresolved psychological issues. I worry about the future constantly. I have a pervasive feeling of nameless dread, as if something terrible is about to happen.

I don’t know where these feelings come from or what might have triggered them, but I feel like a raw nerve and even at work have been jumpy, quick to take offense to everything, and paranoid. I have too many disorders to function well at a job for any length of time, especially when it comes to dealing with others. Sometimes I just wish I could go off by myself and live as a hermit, never having to deal with anyone, but for that you need money and I have no money. I’m caught in a no-win situation.

The job might be part of the problem. I’m burned out; I hate my job. There. I said it. I hate the politics at work, and the favoritism. I’m not a favorite. I have never been a favorite at any job. I can’t play the game; I have never been able to play the game. I wish I didn’t have to work, or could just write and make a living that way. But I can’t, not yet anyway. I don’t want to look for a new job because I know it will be as crappy as the one I have, that I’ll still be forced to deal with people I dislike and who dislike me just as much. I’ll still feel like the odd one out, the employee who is most expendable and always overlooked. I’m so ill suited for the service industry but I can’t get my foot in the door for anything else. I burned all my bridges a long time ago, and now I’m well past 50 and it’s too late to start over in an employment situation or going back to school. My only hope left is to become a professional writer.

The DBT and self-soothing tools I normally use to focus and center are not working. My thoughts are racing and my hands are shaking. My sleep has been fitful. Maybe it’s the heat but I think it’s more than that. I feel like my head will explode. I don’t know what’s really going on with me right now. I need to find a good therapist. I need to be in a relationship but am too scared. I need to write more.

One thing that might be contributing to my high anxiety is caffeine. I’m addicted to coffee. I’m craving some right now, but I don’t think I should make any. I might have to cut down on my favorite beverage–a prospect which itself causes me anxiety.

I spend most of my free time holed up inside the house on this laptop, which is fine when I’m actually being productive, but last night all I did was poke around on random nostalgia sites and Facebook and wrote absolutely nothing. And then felt guilty about it.

I know what I need to do is go out, do something outside the house, get off the computer, but I don’t have the motivation.

Finally I got the idea to just write about my panic-stricken state. After all, this blog was intended to be my therapy, so what have I got to lose?

Crybaby.

kid_crying

WARNING: THIS ARTICLE MAY BE TRIGGERING.
I spent the first 13 years of my life almost constantly crying. I was a perpetually squalling cranky baby, a screaming tantrum-throwing toddler, a tearful preschooler, and a school child prone to attacks of uncontrolled crying in public places and embarrassing situations. During my teen years, my crying was downgraded to near-constant sulking and negativity. Tears came mostly when I was angry or frustrated by the time puberty hit. Rage frequently accompanied the tears, or maybe it worked the other way around.

I had the curse of the blonde and fair skinned, so my emotions showed on my face in neon reds and pinks against the white background of my skin. I blushed easily and that was embarrassing enough. I could feel the blood rising up my neck like a sudden wave of heat and my ears would start to burn. My bullies picked on my tendency to blush and would deliberately embarrass or humiliate me to see my ghostly pale face turn as red as a fire engine. If it went on long enough, my lips would start to quiver and there would be tears, and that’s what they were really waiting for–to see me cry.

The crying was awful. I wasn’t a pretty crier; in fact I was ugly when I cried. My skin would turn into a mottled red and pink that looked like a bad case of rosacea, my nose ran like a faucet and turned so red it was nearly purple, and my eyelids turned bright red too and swelled up as if they were bee-stung. It would take hours for these facial giveaways of my pathetic vulnerability to finally disappear.

I had a great deal of difficulty controlling all the intense and confusing emotions that seemed to crash over me like tidal waves when I least expected it. These feelings were just too big for me to handle, and I was so easily overwhelmed by them and had trouble soothing myself (this is an early indicator of BPD and other disorders like PTSD). Whenever I cried I thought I would never stop. No one could calm me down. My emotions were a force of nature too powerful to be tamed. When I wasn’t crying, I felt a constant dull ache in my chest (heart area) and congestion in my throat. Even that early, I knew crying would relieve the tightness and pain, but the crying was like vomiting and sometimes as painful because the intense waves of emotion plowed through me like an out of control bulldozer.

Raised by a narcissistic mother and enabling (possibly low spectrum or covert narcissist) dad, I became the the family scapegoat (made even more crazymaking by the fact that as an “only” in their marriage, I also sometimes served as Golden Child). I was either held on a pedestal that far exceeded my actual abilities/beauty/intelligence/whatever, but most of the time I WAS NEVER GOOD ENOUGH FOR THEM. I questioned myself and everything I did; it seemed I could do nothing right. I wasn’t allowed to do things for myself or speak my mind. I felt awkward and defective in my family and everywhere else too.

Not long after I started elementary school the bullying started. I was the class crybaby and kids always target the kid who cries the most or seems the most vulnerable. I had no defenses at all; I had never been taught any and lacked the confidence to stand up for myself. Things got especially bad in 3rd – 5th grades. During 4th grade, I was followed home every day by a group of kids who laughed and jeered at the way I walked and imitated my walk, as my tears welled and threatened to overflow (no wonder I hate mimes). The bullies would call out to me and sometimes even throw things to get my attention, but I wouldn’t turn around. I just kept on walking. I knew I couldn’t let them see the tears streaming down my face because that would make everything so much worse.

My third grade teacher, Mrs. Morse, was a psychopath with arms like Jello who always wore sleeveless dresses, so whenever she wrote on the board, all that quivering, pale freckled flab hanging from her bare arm made me want to throw up, but I still couldn’t take my eyes off it. It was mesmerizing in a horrible way, like a car accident.

Mrs. Morse knew how sensitive and scared of everything I was. She knew I was bullied by most of the other kids. But she had no empathy for my plight. She was a sadistic bitch straight from the pit of hell. She deliberately called on me whenever I was daydreaming, which was often (no kids got diagnosed with Aspergers back in those days and the idea of “attachment disorders” that lead to later personality disorders was an afterthought in those days), then she would make me stand in the front of the room and answer a question or solve a math problem while she glowered at me like wolf about to pounce and kill their prey. She never did this to the other kids, who were allowed to answer questions from their seat. She deliberately tried to humiliate me, because she knew she would get a reaction.

meanteacher

One time I couldn’t solve the math problem on the board (which was my worst subject), and she berated and belittled me in front of the class.
“You never pay attention. You’re always daydreaming. Do you have a mental problem?”
The class laughed.
My tongue was in knots and I felt the blood drain from my face. I felt tears burning the backs of my eyelids like acid.
I swallowed hard and tried with all my might not to let a tear loose but they started to flow anyway. I hung my head in shame and rubbed away the tears with my grubby fists as I turned away toward the wall. My narrow back and bony shoulders heaved with silent sobs.
That was exactly the moment this sadistic malignant narcissist who passed for a teacher was waiting for.
“Look everyone! Lauren is crying! Look at the tears! Cry, cry, cry, baby.”
The class burst into screams and hoots of laughter.
“Cry, baby, cry!”
I stood there in front of the class, staring at the floor, snot mingling with my tears, and longed to melt into those scuffed green-gray linoleum tiles, and never return.
In today’s anti-bullying environment, this “teacher” would have been fired for that shit. She might have even lost her teaching license. That kind of thing isn’t put up with anymore.

white_rabbit

Later that year, there was a similar blackboard incident. This time, I was stood in front of the room and told I looked like an albino rabbit when I cried. (I actually did, due to my fairness and my slight overbite.) I was mortified as this unbelievable cruel bitch encouraged the entire class to laugh at my pain and humiliation. I ran out of the room and fled to the library sobbing. The librarian was a sweet and very young woman (probably just out of college) who actually liked me and knew about my love for books. That library was my refuse and the librarian was my friend who understood me. This time, she saw me rushing in like that and held her arms out to me as I crashed into her and sobbed into her warm fragrant neck. We stayed like that for a long time, until Mrs. Morse (accompanied by one of her 9 year old flunkies) came marching in looking for me. Mrs. Morse grabbed me roughly by the arm and marched me back to the pits of hell she called a classroom. Sadly, I looked back at my librarian angel and saw the wetness on her face and her sad little wave.
She knew, and I knew she knew. I’ve never forgotten her. Sometimes in my fantasies I still see her waving at me with that sad tearful smile, and that image gives me comfort and strength.

I think my years of uncontrollable emotional displays came to an end when I was 15. They had already been abating somewhat, replaced with rage and anger, but I had trouble controlling my anger and constant dark moods, even though I wasn’t crying as much. I started to drink and do self-destructive things. I started “talking tough” but inside I still felt anything but.

The year before, when I was 14, my parents divorced and I was taken to live with my mother in the city. She loved it; I hated it back then. We fought all the time, mostly because of her self involvement. My grades slipped and I never did my homework. I was depressed all the time and cared about nothing. When I cried (which was still often) I usually did it alone. The other kids at school didn’t like me. I was never invited to parties, always last picked for softball. I felt intimidated and shy all the time, but I still tried hard to make friends–a little too hard. I fit into no clique (I have never fit into any clique) but there was a group of girls low in the high school pecking order consisting of the geeks and quiet, studious girls. They seemed welcoming enough at first. I saw their small (or more likely, polite) displays of acceptance and wanted so badly to believe they actually LIKED me that I guess I started following them around like a needy puppy.

charlie_brown_linus

I noticed after awhile they avoided me too, and my “birthday corsage” box was proof of my unpopularity, because it was not signed by all the girls and when it was signed, it was just a name. No long flowery messages, no in-jokes, no high-school risque comments, no “you are such a great friend” or “Love ya, Lauren. XXXXOOOOOO” Just…signatures and an occasional terse “Happy Birthday.”

My fears were confirmed later that day. After weeks of avoiding me, the group of nerdy girls approached me and told me they wanted to take me out to a restaurant for my birthday after school. Wanting so much for them to like me I remember grinning like a fool and nodding like the needy puppy I was. Inside I was a little suspicious, but dammit, I wanted to believe them! Maybe their ignoring me had just been my overactive, “oversensitive” imagination after all, and they really did care. Why else would they want to spend time with me on my birthday?

At the restaurant I was picking up a certain tension. The girls kept looking at each other worriedly and wouldn’t look me in the eye. As I ate, I watched their anxious faces. Something was up, and it wasn’t good. I felt like I was going to throw up. I spoke to no one.

Finally, Harriet, the leader of that clique told me she needed to talk to me–privately. I felt like I was on my way to the principal’s office for some transgression. My heart pounded in my throat and I felt tears burn the backs of my eyelids, but I didn’t cry. I bit my lip until it bled and tried to just breathe through my terror.

Outside, she smiled at me sympathetically. Then went on to tell me the real reason they had planned to take me to lunch was because they didn’t want me to hang around with them anymore and didn’t have the opportunity to tell me at school. She actually got tears in her eyes when she said this, and then told me she hoped my feelings hadn’t been hurt. Um…hello? But all I could do was stand there staring at her as if I was cognitively challenged. For the first time ever, I felt emotionally numb. I didn’t realize at the time that would soon become my new way of coping with my pain.

nobody_loves_you

I was traumatized by that rejection. I spent the next two days in bed. I felt sick and couldn’t go to school. I told no one what happened because the shame was too great. I didn’t cry; I couldn’t anymore. I just wanted to sleep forever and maybe die.

After that I couldn’t cry anymore. At least not in most situations that call for it. I had and still have trouble accessing my emotions. It was too scary to let them out, because when I did, bad things happened. It scares me to realize I might have easily become a narcissist, splitting off from all soft emotions, even empathy and guilt. Many narcissists started life this way too, without natural defenses.

I know now whenever I feel that painful tightness in my chest and throat, that means I need to cry. I’m not afraid of it anymore. I want to retrieve my long-ago ability to feel intensely connected to my emotions, because used properly, being an HSP is a gift and a blessing. The big difference will be that I’ll be able to let emotions pass through me freely and be able to express them without shame and without allowing them to overwhelm me or control me.

The chilling mental landscape of a high spectrum narcissist or psychopath

bionic_man

I read this chilling post from a man who says he is a narcissist. Based on his description of what it’s like to be him, I would say “narcissist” is probably an understatement. My guess is he’s a very malignant (high spectrum) narcissist and a probable psychopath. Most people with NPD do have emotions, but can’t access them easily or only feel emotions when they pertain to themselves. When someone claims to have no emotions at all, that indicates psychopathy to me. This man could also be “suffering” from Schizoid Personality Disorder, another disorder where the “sufferer” feels nothing–or he may have a combination of psychopathy and SPD. It’s scary and sad to read something like this. It’s as if some people have lost every shred of humanity and seem to have no soul. They are reptilian. At least this writer is self aware though, so I guess that’s something. (Post has been edited for brevity).

Certain passages in this post would make me suspect Aspergers (social awkardness, etc.) but Aspies do have emotions and empathy, even if they don’t always express them well or at all, so I’m suspecting this man has Schizoid PD mixed with psychopathy/malignant narcissism.

Also striking are the dissociative episodes and feelings of unreality this man claims to experience. I have seen these sort of near-psychotic behaviors (talking to himself in public, strange expressions on his face, etc.) in most of the malignant narcissists and psychopaths I have known. These people are so deluded they really aren’t in touch with reality at all. They live in a barren, hellish dreamworld of their own making.

psychopath_emotions

[…]I just discovered that I’ve had pathological NPD for most my life. Reading this […]has been both very frightening and a major relief. […] It’s a relief to know that many of the strange decisions I’ve made were not entirely my fault. [This material] has completely changed how I view my past. It’s like I was in a dark room and then someone finally turned the light on.

For several years, I would occasionally wake up in the early morning with a feeling that something was very wrong. I couldn’t explain the feeling but it was similar to guilt. But I couldn’t pinpoint what I had done to feel so guilty about. This has been clarified […] along with everything else about my strange life. Everyone posting on this site describes the Narcissisist as a monster, which I agree with, but it’s also a horrible disorder to have.

[…]There’s so much I want to say, but it would turn into a novel about as long as the book itself. I’m a male in my 30’s and fit every characteristic of someone with pathological NPD.

I have no emotions. When my Father left our family to fend for ourselves, I felt nothing. When my Grandmother died, I felt nothing. When I witnessed my roommate seriously injure his neck, I felt nothing at all. These events were only slightly negative, as if someone had dropped and broken a dish.

I have technical degrees from elite universities which makes it easy for me to secure employment, but when I’m at work, I hardly do anything at all because I can’t concentrate for more than a couple minutes at a time. I’m constantly day dreaming and people notice that I have strange expressions on my face when I’m supposed to be working or paying attention to a lecture. I constantly talk to myself, but I’m not sure if that’s a characteristic of NPD.

I have no social skills and am socially inept. As far as personality goes, I wouldn’t even say its a poor one, more accurate would be to say it’s nonexistent. I don’t greet anyone unless they greet me first. If someone asks “How are you?”, my reply is “Fine” and that’s about as far as the conversation goes. I can feel myself creating hatred where I work by ignoring social norms, but I don’t care how much people hate me. I feel like I’m a plague that creates pain and destruction where ever I go, and I like it. I have no friends except the ones from childhood, but I don’t feel I need them anyway. I’m more comfortable just sitting at home and playing on the Internet.

As far as looks go, I’m a 10, which makes me a somatic narcissist. I often get compared to male celebrities and women often audibly gasp when I enter a room for the first time. I’m in my 30’s but everyone assumes I’m in my 20’s. Despite this, I haven’t had a relationship with a woman my entire life (being a devout catholic when I was younger also had an influence on this). Through techniques I’ve learned from the pickup manuals available on the Internet, and by dressing fashionably, I’m able to create a huge amount of initial attraction from women. This has kept me in school much longer than necessary since there’s a huge amount of narcissistic supply in a school environment, especially in classes with many women. Despite this huge initial attraction, I always reject the (very attractive) women when they come after me, which only increases their attraction to me. I justify rejecting them by telling myself “when they see what my personality is like, they would just reject me anyway”, which is probably true considering my social ineptness. However, sometimes I will talk to a girl a few times and she still hasn’t rejected me despite my personality. At this point, I would reject her, and have no idea why I rejected her. I now know it’s due to EPIM (emotional involvement prevention disorder). It’s ironic, I’m the guy every woman in the school wants to be with, but I don’t even have a girlfriend.

I feel completely omnipotent. I will make long eye contact with girls right in front of their boyfriends, even if their boyfriends look like bodybuilders. I can hold my own in a fight with most anyone, but even if a guy is twice my size, I have no fear. I will try to seduce women who I know are engaged just to make them feel pain. I have no empathy so I don’t care about their pain and actually enjoy it. When women look at me in class and try to get me to look back, I will ignore them just to humiliate them in front of the class. Or if an attractive woman is trying to make eye contact with me, I’ll pretend I’m interested in a less attractive girl. Needless to say, I hate women. However, I also badly want to have a girlfriend. I feel this is one of the many conflicting states of the narcissist […].

Not having emotions is a powerful tool in attracting women because women are attracted to guys who don’t want them. Women want what they can’t have. It’s easy for me to play hard to get and I can easily outlast a woman who’s playing hard to get, which most men can’t do. I know I’ll never actually be able to have a relationship with these women, so it doesn’t bother me if a semester ends without having pursued a relationship. So I have many “victims” from my school years, but the biggest victim is myself since I’ve spent years upon years alone.

[…] I see women as predators who are only interested in draining a man of his money while offering as little as she can get away with in return. After the man has been consumed, he is decapitated (divorced) while she runs off with another man. I’m not sure if this view is due to NPD or what I’ve seen my friends (colleagues) go through. There is a book called “The Predatory Female” that probably helped cement this view. I’ve also noticed that in times when I’ve had no money, I didn’t exist to women.

I now realize I quit my previous well-paying job due to a lack of narcissistic supply. A somatic narcissist needs attention from women, and they were pretty much non-existent where I worked. The most abundant place for narcissistic supply is a university, and after receiving a degree, the cerebral narcissist can receive more NS because of it.

When I saw the movie Batman “The Dark Knight”, I was intrigued by the character of the Joker. He had no fear, didn’t care about anything (even money), and caused havoc ever where he went. His actions made no sense and he was unpredictable, but he wasn’t stupid. He was omnipotent because he didn’t care if he was caught, or if he was killed, and was capable of doing anything. He had no empathy caused havoc for the fun of it.

My mentality is very simple and childlike and I don’t like speaking with other adults. If someone spoke with me for 10 minutes, they would think I’m a normal person, but it’s just a matter of time before I say something factual but very insensitive, which causes the person to hate me. The only emotions I feel are jealousy and rage. When I see a guy with an attractive women, I want to attack him and have daydreams of attacking him while the woman watches in horror.

[…] the chance for healing from NPD is bleak. Even if I were to get into a relationship with a woman, I would probably just cause her a lot of pain before dumping her when she’s no longer a source of NS.

Two new header tabs!

whats_new

Because I write so much about my Aspergers, I realized it would be easier for my readers to find related articles if I made a kind of “Table of Contents” listing the relevant posts. I decided to do the same for my Avoidant Personality Disorder, even though I haven’t written too much about it (my Aspergers and Avoidant traits tend to blend together so there’s a lot of overlap).

Living with Avoidant Personality Disorder

Living with Aspergers

Later, I may add an additional tab about BPD, but because my articles about BPD tend to blend in with the NPD and general Cluster B disorders articles (of which there are far too many to list in a header tab), it would be a lot more difficult to separate them. It would also be harder to pick out the ones applying only to my own experience in having BPD, from those talking about BPD in general. Anyway, my header graphic pretty much announces that this blog is primarily about narcissism and BPD (which I’ve been writing a lot more about recently).

What’s up with this crazy idea that narcissism and Aspergers are the same thing?

aspie_narcissist

As a person with Aspergers who has been a victim of narcissists all my life, the difference seems pretty clear to me, but to some people, including mental health professionals, high-functioning autism (Aspergers) and narcissism are seen as the same disorder!

A thread on Wrong Planet, a forum for people with autism and Aspergers (a high functioning form of autism) discusses the confusion, with people on both sides of the Aspergers=Narcissism fence. Cited there is an article from Psychology Today, which quotes Sam Vaknin who believes narcissism is an autism spectrum disorder! The British psychiatrist Dr. Khalid A. Mansour concurs.

Clearly, some people don’t understand much about high functioning autism/Aspergers. Yes, I believe it’s possible for a person to be both a narcissist AND on the autism spectrum (an example might be Mark Zuckerberg, creator of Facebook, especially as he was portrayed in the movie “The Social Network“), but they are two vastly different disorders.

Appearances are only skin deep.

aspergers_narcissism

I understand where the confusion comes from. On the surface, the two disorders can appear similar. People on the autism spectrum may seem as if they lack empathy because they do not express their emotions well, which of course includes showing empathy. They also sometimes blurt out inappropriate or hurtful things, not because they mean to, but because they honestly don’t know any better: they have great difficulty reading social cues. They can appear selfish and sometimes get angry or upset when their routines are interrupted or they are forced to pull themselves away from their solitary pursuits to engage with others. They can also violate the boundaries of others. All of these surface behaviors may look a lot like narcissism.

But appearances are only skin deep, and this is where any similarity ends. Lack of empathy seems to be the most commonly mentioned “characteristic” of both Aspies and narcissists. But in actuality, as far as empathy is concerned, a person with autism/Aspergers is the polar opposite of a narcissist. A narcissist cannot feel empathy, but can act as if they do. They are good actors and can fake emotion they do not feel. They can lie well; Aspies cannot lie or lie very badly. People with Aspergers and high functioning autism are great at picking up the emotions of others around them and are even sometimes overwhelmed by other people’s emotions (which sometimes makes them withdraw and that can make them seem like they lack empathy). They can be bad at expressing empathy because of their inability to read social cues or know what to say and do. Therefore, Aspies can feel empathy but often act as if they do not.

autism

Narcissists can say hurtful or damaging things because (a) they don’t care how you feel; or (b) because they want to hurt you. People with autism/Aspergers say hurtful things too sometimes, but it’s never intentional and they do care how you feel. If they are told they said something hurtful, most autists/Aspies are consumed with guilt and will sincerely apologize. They blurt things out because they sometimes do not know it’s not appropriate to do so.

Aspies and autists hate to have their comforting routines interrupted because repetition is something that grounds and relaxes them. A low functioning person with autism will sometimes perform repetitive movements or repeat a phrase over and over. This is how they cope with too much stimuli coming in. If they are interrupted, a low-functioning autist may fly into a rage or have a temper tantrum. Disengaging and switching gears is impossible for them.

At the higher end of the spectrum, an Aspie or high functioning autist may not repeat the same word or action over and over, but they have their hobbies and obsessions which they pursue with a single-minded intensity. They tend to hyper-focus on whatever interests them. If they are interrupted from whatever their mind is focused on, they may snap at you or become very annoyed. They can switch gears if they must but they hate doing it.

A narcissist may also snap or become annoyed, but not because they have difficulty switching gears but because they are just plain selfish and don’t want to do something that might please someone else besides themselves. Think of the narcissistic husband playing a video game. His wife comes into the room and asks for some help opening a stuck window. The husband flies into a rage and tells her he’s busy and to do it herself. It’s not because he’s that engrossed in the game or even cares about it that much, it’s because he doesn’t want to put himself out for his wife. For an Aspie or autist, the game engages all of their senses and their mind is extremely focused. They simply can’t pull away from it.

aspie_misdiagnosis

A person with autism or Aspergers can and do violate the boundaries of others. Again, this is because they can’t read social cues well enough to know when they are violating someone else’s boundaries. A narcissist knows full well when they are violating boundaries, but they simply do not care.

A forum member on Wrong Planet sums up the confusion this way:

To me it’s as absurd as comparing the small narcissistic child recklessly driving a car, to a person trying to cross the street in a wheelchair, and saying they have a lot in common because they both have a set of wheels.

I think mental health professionals and others who believe narcissism and Aspergers are on the same spectrum need to dig a lot deeper before they make such sweeping generalizations. They are not the same disorder at all and are certainly not on the same spectrum. Aspergers/high functioning autism is a neurodevelopmental deficit and really a type of learning disability; narcissism is a moral deficit.

For further reading, please see my article, People with Autism Do Not Lack Empathy!
Also see The Spectrums of Autism and Narcissism.