The narcissist-elect begins to implode.

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Trump is already losing his shit over perceived insults against him on social media.  I knew this would happen if Trump got elected.  The poster boy for NPD is finding out that sometimes it’s prudent to be careful what you ask for because you might get it.

The U.S. presidency is not like running a business.  It’s not like being a reality TV star either.    It’s an incredibly difficult job with enormous responsibilities that requires someone who is knowledgeable in world and domestic affairs and can hold their own in the political sphere and among world leaders.    It requires someone with the ability to be diplomatic even among enemies and critics.  It’s a job that requires nerves of steel and you can’t afford to let personal slights get to you.   In other words, you can’t be oversensitive.

Trump is incredibly oversensitive and too emotionally unstable for a job like the President of the United States.    His NPD keeps tripping him up and he is showing just how oafish he is as he blunders and flails about trying to make sense of something he just can’t handle.

Every president we’ve had in recent years ages quickly while in office.  Four or eight years isn’t that long a time; but Obama, G.W. Bush, and Bill Clinton–all two-term presidents–all looked much older than eight years older by the end of their terms.   The job ages you because it takes so much out of you.

Now we have someone who not only has NPD, but is pathetically unqualified.  Since his election, there’ve been articles describing the way Obama has had to “hold Trump’s hand” and train him for his new job.   I don’t doubt it, and I’m sure Trump hates  every minute of it.

Not surprisingly, Trump has been overreacting to slights and criticisms against him on social media, especially Twitter.   Here’s a screenshot of his latest drama with the New York Times, who  apparently offended him.    Notice the way he keeps taking potshots at the Times, making sure everyone knows they are “failing.”   This is called gaslighting.

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Here’s the article about it on Salon.

http://www.salon.com/2016/11/22/donald-trump-backs-out-of-meeting-with-new-york-times-because-they-wanted-to-be-on-the-record-announces-it-on-twitter/

He had a similar meltdown a few days earlier, when his VP Mike Pence was raked over the coals by the cast of Hamilton. Once again, notice the way Trump not only demands an apology,  but throws in a barb about the way he “hears Hamilton is overrated.”   So much drama already, and he’s been president-elect for what, two weeks?

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Watching Trump try to take on the presidency is like watching a petulant child try to do a grown-up’s job and then lose their shit because they can’t get it right and someone points out their mistakes.  You almost have to feel bad for him.   But he wanted this!

Ladies and gentleman, there’s a new reality show:  “Trump Takes On the Presidency.” Watch him implode as he realizes he bit off way more than he could chew, because he just had to have that title and the “glory” that comes with it.    He’s like a little kid dressed up in a plastic king’s crown and sceptor, ordering his “subjects” to do his bidding before he’s called downstairs by mom to empty the trash.  He’s not too much better than a figurehead.

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It isn’t all about me.

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What I’m learning is that everything isn’t always about me.

I used to always assume people were obsessing in a negative way about me and would interpret, say, a neutral expression or a lukewarm greeting as “that person must be upset with me/hate me/is mad at me/disapproves of me” etc. Sometimes I have to make a conscious effort not to let my mind go in this direction if someone acts in a way other than thrilled to see me. Sometimes they’re just having a bad day, are angry at someone else, or angry in general, or are generally just an asshole to everyone. Sometimes it’s nothing at all other than my choosing to perceive a neutral expression or body language as something negative. It takes a lot of practice to get out of that habit of paranoia and hypervigilance and I always have to remind myself to stop taking every little thing personally and think outside myself instead. I think this is a prerequisite to being able to empathize–being mindful that someone else might have a problem that has nothing to do with me.

6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About (Psychology Today)

Interesting article about the lesser-known indicators of narcissism from Psychology Today. Contrary to popular opinion, narcissists do not love themselves, only their image.
I agree with Dr. Seltzer that these six traits should be added to the official diagnostic criteria for NPD.

6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About: How can you recognize the fragility behind the narcissist’s grandiosity?
Post published by Leon F Seltzer Ph.D.

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The recently published 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists precisely the same nine criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as did the previous version, published 19 years earlier. So these longstanding diagnostic yardsticks are by now quite familiar—not only to professionals but to interested laypeople as well. Because only the extreme, or “classic,” narcissist fits all of these criteria, DSM specifies that an individual need meet only five of them (barely more than half) to warrant this unflattering label.

As a starting point, I’ll reiterate these selected criteria—before, that is, adding six important ones of my own, which either complement or extend these “official” yardsticks. My particular measures for identifying pathological narcissists are based not only on my exposure to the voluminous writings on this character disorder, but also on 30+ years of clinical experience. This experience includes doing personal, couples, and family counseling with such troublesome individuals. But it also involves working independently with those involved with narcissists—whether their distressed children, spouses, parents, friends, or business associates—who repeatedly express enormous frustration in trying to cope with them.

To begin, however, here are DSM’s requirements (link is external) (slightly condensed, and with minor bracketed amendments) for “earning” the unenviable diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration [regularly fishes for compliments, and is highly susceptible to flattery].
5. Has a sense of entitlement.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling [or, I would add, unable] to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty [rude and abusive] behaviors or attitudes.

So what’s left out here? Actually, as regards identifying descriptors, quite a bit. And I’ve no doubt that other therapists could add further to the six additional characteristics I’ll provide here—features that, although regrettably minimized or omitted from DSM, I‘ve routinely seen displayed by the many dysfunctional narcissists I’ve worked with. So, to enumerate them, such individuals:

1. Are highly reactive to criticism.

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Or anything they assume or interpret as negatively evaluating their personality or performance. This is why if they’re asked a question that might oblige them to admit some vulnerability, deficiency, or culpability, they’re apt to falsify the evidence (i.e., lie—yet without really acknowledging such prevarication to themselves), hastily change the subject, or respond as though they’d been asked something entirely different. Earlier for Psychology Today I wrote a post highlighting this supercharged sensitivity called “The Narcissist’s Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . ”. And this aspect of their disturbance underscores that their ego—oversized, or rather artificially “inflated”—can hardly be viewed as strong or resilient. On the contrary, it’s very easily punctured. (And note here another related piece of mine, “Our Egos: Do They Need Strengthening—or Shrinking?”). What these characteristics suggest is that, at bottom and despite all their egotistic grandiosity, they…

2. Have low self-esteem.

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This facet of their psyche is complicated, because superficially their self-regard would appear to be higher and more assured than just about anyone else’s. Additionally, given their customary “drivenness,” it’s not uncommon for them to rise to positions of power and influence, as well as amass a fortune (and see here my post “Narcissism: Why It’s So Rampant in Politics”). But if we examine what’s beneath the surface of such elevated social, political, or economic stature—or their accomplishments generally—what typically can be inferred is a degree of insecurity vastly beyond anything they might be willing to avow.

That is, in various ways they’re constantly driven to prove themselves, both to others and to their not-so-confident “inner child” self. This is the self-doubting, recessive part of their being that, though well hidden from sight, is nonetheless afflicted with feelings and fears of inferiority. Inasmuch as their elaborate defense system effectively wards off their having to face what their bravado masks, they’re highly skilled at exhibiting, or “posturing,” exceptionally high self-esteem. But their deeper insecurities are yet discernible in their so often fishing for compliments and their penchant for bragging and boasting about their (frequently exaggerated) achievements. That is, they’re experts at complimenting themselves! And when—despite all their self-aggrandizement— others are critical of them, they…

3. Can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive.

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Needing so much to protect their overblown but fragile ego, their ever-vigilant defense system can be extraordinarily easy to set off. I’ve already mentioned how reactive they typically are to criticism, but in fact anything said or done that they perceive as questioning their competence can activate their robust self-protective mechanisms. Which is why so many non-narcissists I’ve worked with have shared how difficult it is to get through to them in situations of conflict. For in challenging circumstances it’s almost as though their very survival depends on being right or justified, whereas flat out (or humbly) admitting a mistake—or, for that matter, uttering the words “I’m sorry” for some transgression—seem difficult to impossible for them.

Further, their “my way or the highway” attitude in decision-making—their stubborn.competitive insistence that their point of view prevail—betrays (even as it endeavors to conceal) their underlying doubts about not being good, strong, or smart enough. And the more their pretentious, privileged, exaggeratedly puffed-up self-image feels endangered by another’s position, the more likely they are to…

4. React to contrary viewpoints with anger or rage.

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In fact, this characteristic is so common in narcissists that it’s always surprised me that DSM doesn’t specifically refer to it among its nine criteria. Repeatedly, writers have noted that angry outbursts are almost intrinsic to both narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. And although (unlike the borderline) it’s not particular fears of abandonment that bring out their so-called “narcissistic rage,” both personality disorders generally react with heated emotion when others bring their deepest insecurities too close to the surface.

The reason that feelings of anger and rage are so typically expressed by them is that in the moment they externalize the far more painful anxiety- or shame-related emotions hiding just beneath them. When they’re on the verge of feeling—or re-feeling—some hurt or humiliation from their past, their consequent rage conveniently “transfers” these unwanted feelings to another (and see here my PT post “Anger—How We Transfer Feelings of Guilt, Hurt, and Fear”).

The accompanying message that gets communicated through such antagonistic emotions is “I’m not bad (wrong, stupid, mean, etc.), you are!” Or, it could even be: “I’m not narcissistic, or borderline! You are!” (Or, in slightly milder version, “If I’m narcissistic, or borderline, then so are you!”) And if the mentally healthier individual has no clue as to what provoked their outburst in the first place, such a sudden explosion is likely to make them feel not only baffled but hurt, and maybe even frightened. But what cannot be overemphasized here is that narcissists…

5. Project onto others qualities, traits, and behaviors they can’t—or won’t—accept in themselves.

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Because they’re compelled from deep within to conceal deficits or weaknesses in their self-image, they habitually redirect any unfavorable appraisal of themselves outwards, unconsciously trusting that doing so will forever keep at bay their deepest suspicions about themselves. Getting anywhere close to being obliged to confront the darkness at their innermost core can be very scary, for in reality their emotional resources are woefully underdeveloped.

Broadly recognized as narcissists by their fundamental lack of self-insight, very few of them (depending, of course, on how far out they are on the narcissistic continuum) can achieve such interior knowledge. For in a variety of ways their rigid, unyielding defenses can be seen as more or less defining their whole personality. And that’s why one of the most reliable ways for them to feel good about themselves—and “safe” in the world they’re essentially so alienated from—is to invalidate, devalue, or denigrate others. So they’ll focus on others’ flaws (whether or not they really exist) rather than acknowledge, and come to terms with, their own. And in many curious ways this habit causes them to…

6. Have poor interpersonal boundaries.

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Space invasion!

It’s been said about narcissists that they can’t tell where they end and the other person begins. Unconsciously viewing others as “extensions” of themselves, they regard them as existing primarily to serve their own needs—just as they routinely put their needs before everyone else’s (frequently, even their own children). Since others are regarded (if they’re regarded at all!) as what in the literature is often called “narcissistic supplies”—that is, existing chiefly to cater to their personal desires—they generally don’t think about others independently of how they might “use” them to their own advantage. Whatever narcissists seek to give themselves, they generally expect to get from others, too (which is yet another dimension of their famous—or infamous—sense of entitlement).

Even beyond this, their porous boundaries and unevenly developed interpersonal skills may prompt them to inappropriately dominate conversations and share with others intimate details about their life (though some narcissists, it should be noted, can display an extraordinary, however Machiavellian, social savvy). Such private information would probably focus on disclosing facts others would be apt to withhold. But having (at least consciously) much less of a sense of shame, they’re likely to share things they’ve said or done that most of us would be too embarrassed or humiliated to admit. Still, with an at times gross insensitivity to how others might react to their words, they’re likely to blurt out things, or even boast about them, that others can’t help but view as tasteless, demeaning, insulting, or otherwise offensive.

They might, for instance, share—and with considerable pride!—how they “chewed” someone out, and expect the other person to be impressed by their courage or cleverness, when in fact the listener may be appalled by their lack of kindness, tact, or restraint. Additionally, they may ask others questions that are far too personal or intimate—again unwittingly irritating or upsetting them. And such a situation can be particularly difficult for the other person if the narcissist is in a position of authority over them so that not responding could, practically, put them in some jeopardy.

To conclude, I can only hope that these additional characterizations of the pathological narcissist (vs. those with less pronounced narcissistic qualities) may be helpful in enabling you to identify them before their “malignancy” does a number on you. And if you’ve already been duped by their machinations or manipulations, perhaps this piece will be a “heads up” for you to prevent them from wreaking any further havoc in your life.

NOTE 1: I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the narcissism addressed here centers on its most maladaptive, or “toxic,” forms. Unlike DSM (the standard diagnostic reference tool for mental health professionals), the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (link is external)(PDM, 2006)—respected, but much less well known than this official volume—explicitly notes that the disorder exists “along a continuum of severity, from the border with neurotic personality disorders to the more severely disturbed levels.” And additionally, that “toward the neurotic end [these] narcissistic individuals may be socially appropriate, personally successful, charming and, although somewhat deficient in the capacity for intimacy, reasonably well adapted to their family circumstances, work, and interests.”

Who’s “too sensitive”?

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“You’re too sensitive!”

This seems to be a phrase many ACONs have heard their entire lives. And yes, many of us are more sensitive than the average person, which is why we were targeted, scapegoated, and bullied in the first place.

Narcissists know being sensitive means we can see the truth about things, that we can see through bullshit and lies. They don’t like that because it exposes them for what they really are, so they turn a quality that gives us intuition and insight into something that makes us seem weak and defenseless.

If our parents were narcissists, we were trained to be ashamed of this quality and turn it against ourselves, rather than learn to refine it and develop it into the powerful gift it really is. Society doesn’t help much with that either. Sensitivity is generally thought of as a weakness rather than a strength. It’s not something you would want to admit on a job interview when the interviewer asks you what your “worst quality” is. I actually did that once, and was shown the door. They want to hear “I’m too impatient” or “I’m too greedy,” or “I obsess too much about power and control,” not “I’m too sensitive.”

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I think narcissists also like to pull out the “you’re too sensitive” card because they’re projecting what they see as a fault in themselves onto us. They’re good at that. Narcissists are incredibly hyper-sensitive–but only about themselves; no one else ever benefits from their hypersensitivity.

It’s my opinion that narcissists, before they adopted narcissism as a defense mechanism, started out life as extremely sensitive children and in some cases even had the potential to be empaths. Abuse and neglect turned them into narcissists. Narcissism is an elaborate defense mechanism that obscures, buries and eventually can nearly destroy the sensitive true self. It almost would take an act of God for a narcissist to ever shed their swagger and their “I’m a big mean unfeeling badass” mask and let their sensitive true self come to light. Most of them couldn’t do it even if they wanted to.

But narcissists can’t hide from themselves–not completely. Most of them have exquisitely tender feelings and are easily hurt. It’s very easy to insult a narcissist. They have no sense of humor about themselves and are unable to take a joke at their own expense. They are big crybabies who will whine, sulk and complain loudly should you hurt their feelings (and it’s almost impossible not to). Most will show their hurt as rage–because raging makes them seem big and tough, something they really aren’t but wish they were. Or they will retaliate by ignoring you, abandoning you, cutting you off, or giving you the silent treatment–because those things make it look as if they don’t care. You’d be wrong though. They care alright, and when you have caused them narcissistic injury they are off licking their wounds in silence where you can’t see. Or loudly complaining to others about how
mean and narcissistic YOU are.

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They call us too sensitive because they’re unable to own their own hypersensitivity. They turn it into a bad thing because they know they have lost that part of their sensitivity that would have made them able to feel for others and empathize. They’re crippled people. They can’t ever feel sorry for someone else–but as far as self-pity goes, no one can beat them at that.