Why narcissists are more hated than psychopaths.

Please leave comments here, since comments under the original post are closed.

Lucky Otters Haven

narcissism_vs_psyhopathy

All four Cluster B disorders are vilified, especially on the Internet, but for a long time I wondered why NPD seemed to be even more demonized than ASPD (antisocial personality disorder) and psychopathy and seemed to be regarded as the most “evil” disorder to have.   After all, most narcissists are not going around breaking the law, murdering people (not physically, anyway), and most at least pretend to be nice to you, at least if your relationship is only casual.  They make a good impression and most have families and respectable jobs.  They go to church, teach second grade, and volunteer at the food pantry. If you’re just acquaintances or casual friends with a narcissist, they can even be a lot of fun.    They also provide a lot of our entertainment, as narcissism (including NPD) is over-represented  among celebrities, and what would we do without our movie, sports, and pop…

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The narcissist’s dark and twisted brand of empathy.

Originally posted on August 20, 2016

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Do narcissists have empathy?  Yes, and some of them have a lot of it, but it’s probably not the kind of empathy you want anything to do with.

Some lower spectrum narcissists do have some capacity for normal emotional (not just cognitive) empathy, but it tends to be selective–that is, they can turn it off when it’s too dangerous or it makes them feel too vulnerable. That’s why, for example, a low-to-mid spectrum narcissist can feel empathy for fictional characters in a movie or novel and even shed tears for them, or can feel empathy for a stray or sick animal, but when you tell them you just lost your job, or that what they just said hurt your feelings, they turn into a block of ice. Their reaction to your pain is about as heartwarming as the Siberian wilderness in January. If they’re love-bombing or trying to hoover you, they may FAKE emotional empathy, but they don’t really feel anything.  They show you what appears to be tender compassion in order to manipulate.

It’s not news that most narcissists are ultra-sensitive, but their sensitivity is retained only for themselves, and that’s why they are so easily offended. But that sensitivity seems to have a switch that turns to “off” when it comes to other people and they can appear appallingly insensitive. Many narcissists were so sensitive as children they were actually potentially empaths. Their empathy didn’t really go away, but remained in a twisted and barbed form. Their developing disorder transformed their natural emotional empathy into something dark and malevolent. Some experts call he kind of empathy narcissists have cognitive empathy–which means the narcissist KNOWS how you feel, but can’t share your feelings or care how you feel. If they are malignant or sociopathic, they may even want to hurt you. Because most of their emotions went into hiding as a form of self protection, the emotional, caring aspect of any empathy they might have once had disappeared too, and what remains is only the cognitive portion. Narcissists have an uncanny and unsettling way of knowing EXACTLY how you feel–and if they are malignant, they use their twisted brand of empathy against you. For a malignant narcissist, empathy–a quality we normally associate with loving concern–becomes a weapon used to control, attack, and belittle you.

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Cognitive empathy.

On HG Tudor’s website, Knowing The Narcissist, he wrote a post about the way some narcissists mock their victims using mimicry of their emotional reactions as a form of abuse. I am going to quote a portion of that post, because of how well it illustrates the way a malignant narcissist uses cognitive empathy as a weapon to cause pain. It’s quite amazing how well they know EXACTLY how their abuse is making you feel, but instead of feeling remorse and apologizing the way a normal person would, they instead use that knowing empathy as fodder for their mockery cannon. My ex did this to me constantly, and Tudor’s description of the victim’s feelings of overwhelming helplessness and frustration at the receiving end of this type of abuse is absolutely spot on.
WARNING: THIS MAY BE TRIGGERING.

When you stood there crying with frustration and I drank deep of the delicious fuel you provided me, I would raise my hands to my eyes and draw pretend tears on my cheeks and make a sobbing noise to humiliate you further. Here I was letting you know that I copied everything that went before yet now I copy again but not with the perfection I once exhibited. I allow the sting of sarcasm and the malicious mockery to infiltrate my copying of your behaviour so that your hurt and bewilderment was increased. You would shout at me and I would shout back using the exact words before standing and laughing at you as you burned with frustration, unable to find any response. You might stamp your feet in exasperation and I would do the same but with a leer of disdain writ large across my face.

There were times when you would scream. A terrified scream as my vicious manipulations would take their toll and as you tried to curl into a ball and hope you might just disappear and escape this nightmare, I would lean in close to you and mimic your scream into your ear, creating this fabricated falsetto of distress in order to further your own. Every reaction to my devaluation of you had the potential to be met by a mimicked reply from me in order to further your misery and demonstrate I did not treat your responses with any sincerity or concern.

Another way a narcissist can use cognitive empathy is to scope out your vulnerabilities–knowing exactly which buttons to press to upset you. In the comments, Katie provided a great example of this. Her mother, who scapegoated her and knew she was sensitive about her poverty, used this against her, saying things like, “Oh, Katie dear, it must be SOOOOO hard to be living the way you do and never have enough money for the basic things.” And then followed that up by crowing about how successful her siblings were and the vacations and new cars they were buying. My mother used to use my sensitivity itself, knowing I was sensitive about my sensitivity, saying things like, “It must be so awful being so sensitive.” What’s happening here is a kind of fake, sarcastic “empathy” is thinly veiling a cruel jab at one of your buttons, which their cognitive empathy is used to discern. And then, should you complain, they will act all hurt and innocent and tell you they were only trying to be nice or were showing concern for your well being. This is a vicious kind of gaslighting.

Please keep in mind that cognitive empathy in itself is not a bad thing.  It could be a tool used in mindfulness training to help a person learn to “walk in someone else’s shoes” before acting out against them.  Cognitive empathy can be learned, but emotional empathy cannot be taught–it’s either there or it isn’t.  Most empaths have both cognitive and emotional empathy.  Cognitive empathy lets them know how someone else feels, but the emotional aspect allows them to care.

The Century of the Self (video)

“The Century of the Self” is a good documentary explaining the history of how Freud’s ideas about psychology and human desire led to corporate manipulation that brainwashed Americans to crave things they did not need.  This in turn led to a culture of selfishness and instant gratification.     Paraphrasing writer Blythe Gryphon, targeted marketing based on psychological desires and needs

result[ed] in feeding the rapacious capitalism that dehumanized us, exalted hatred, and put a malignant narcissist in power.

In other words, we got the government we deserved.

The one personality trait that explains why some people love Donald Trump.

I know I said I’d try to avoid any more Trump posts, but I found this really interesting so I’m going to share it here.

Someone asked this question on Quora:

“Why do some people hate Donald Trump and others like him?”

The question was asked on September 24, 2016, before he got elected.

In response, someone posted a study, that came to the following conclusion: the surprising truth is that it isn’t race, income, social class, or even political party that determines whether someone likes Donald Trump or hates him. The answer is level of authoritarian traits. People who score high in authoritarian traits (as opposed to egalitarianism) tend to support Trump. People who score high in egalitarianism tend to dislike Donald Trump.

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Why Do Some People Hate Donald Trump and Others Like Him?

https://www.quora.com/Why-do-some-people-hate-Donald-Trump-and-others-like-him

Answered by Yegor Tkachenko, MS in Operations Research, Stanford University

Let’s focus not on why Trump is a monster, or on why Trump is a saint, but on why there is such a split in American society in attitudes when it comes to Trump.

To assure everyone that the split exists, the most recent Rasmussen reports survey indicates that there is a 38%-38% match-up between Trump and Hillary if the national election happened now [Trump 38%, Clinton 38%].

As evidenced by many answers to this question, there is a large group of people who believe Trump is a liar, bigot, racist, con-artist, and also not good on foreign policy (on foreign policy, Trump has often avoided details and has offered some radical and not broadly accepted ideas – such as giving nuclear weapons to Japan and South Korea).

This group of the US population would agree that he is completely unpresidential, very offensive, and some might even think he would bring about the end of the world if elected [Introducing the Trump Apocalypse Watch] or could be a new Hitler.

In the eyes of this group, the fact that 38% of voters in the US support Trump might be quite unexplainable, or the explanation is that those voters are uneducated, gullible, racist, bigoted, hate women, hate minorities, or are simply nuts. In contrast, those who oppose Trump, are the sane ones and have seen through his lies.

Trump supporters would largely ignore the accusations of racism. Where the jaws of the Trump opponents drop when they hear Mexicans called criminals, Trump supporters are quick to point out that Trump’s anger overall is directed not at all of Mexicans (as it may often seem from his words), but only at those who are in the US illegally. In such a case, why would someone not condemn the violators of the law?

Trump supporters, while not necessarily believing that the wall between the US and Mexico will be built, find it to be a beautiful symbol and a smart negotiation tactics to force Mexico officials to help crush the drug traffic into the US, whereas Trump opponents ignore the potential benefits of this idea in negotiations and instead focus on how hard it would be to do economically.

When Trump suggests that he could develop good relations with Russia and Putin in particular, Trump opponents are not really impressed (they might view Putin as mainly a journalist murderer [The complicated reality behind Trump’s claim that there’s no proof Putin had journalists killed]).

However, Trump supporters might see in this a chance to finally normalize the relations between 2 leading world powers, which could have immense impact on the world stability (it is true that a lot of progress could be made on many of the world problems if the US and Russia stopped blocking each other’s proposals in the UN security council using their veto rights [Russian vetoes are putting UN security council’s legitimacy at risk, says US, ‘US has been veto champion in UN for decades’ – Chomsky to RT ]).

The list goes on.

The truth is, Trump supporters do not care about offensive language and about the face-value of Trump ideas, and are always able to give a positive twist to what Trump says, focusing not on the details in his words, but on their perceived purpose.

Trump supporters are also enamored by his ability to say what he thinks, even if it offends someone, and by his ability to preserve and accumulate wealth despite multiple setbacks. Trump supporters are attracted to his leadership skills (Trump has employed thousands of people), and the fact that he has so much money (be it 2 bln or 10 bln) that it would be harder for lobbyists to influence him as a President.

Finally, where Trump opponents view Trump presidency as a disaster and the end to the US as we know it, Trump supporters hope for the creative destruction in the government, where Trump won’t have enough power to do real damage to the country because of the limits on executive power, but will be able to stir everything up enough to bring about some change.

As can be seen from the above, neither group is irrational.

One group values civility, respect, politeness above all – and for them Trump is unacceptable.

This group also tends to take Trump’s words literally at their face value and detests the idea that Trump might be saying something that he does not actually think in order to achieve his goals. For this group such behavior is lying.

The group of Trump supporters views economy to be the most important thing for the US and is of the opinion that too much politeness in political discourse leads to groupthink and lack of progress.

Instead, they want more straight talk even if it offends someone – for even if someone is hurt by the words, they can get over it, but at least politicians can start discussing the issues they were afraid to touch before because of the political correctness police.

This group tends to be ok with not taking Trump’s words literally – they understand that a person can say something he does not really think in order to achieve his goal – and in their opinion it is a smart PR strategy. (For example, a claim that President Obama was not born in the US – how much free media has this claim earned Trump? And do you thing Trump really believed it?)

The existence of these 2 camps that view and value things differently explains why there are so many Trump haters and so many Trump fans at the same time.

Neither group is dumb (although there are some not very intelligent individuals in both groups), and each group is quite diverse in terms of age, race, gender, education, and income levels.

Addressing and challenging the views of either of these camps is something campaigns on both sides will have to do to defeat Trump or bring Trump to victory.

Rich people see the world differently.

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I’ve long noticed that middle, working class and lower middle class families seem to care more about each other and show more empathy and generosity to each other than upper middle class and wealthy families, who often seem cold and unsupportive, even to their own. Many upper middle class families, including my own, seem to take the “sink or swim” attitude even to their own children. They refuse to offer either emotional or financial support when you fall on hard times. Their attitude is, each man or woman is an island and no one is responsible for you but yourself. They don’t seem to believe in lending a helping hand when one of their members falls down or is having difficulty. In fact, too many seem likely to kick that person when they’re down and blame the victim for their troubles. “Well, if she had only done this or that,” or “she never listened and this is what she gets,” or “well, she always made such poor choices.” If you’re not doing well, they seem embarrassed or ashamed of you and may even exclude or shun you.

In middle to lower-class families, there just seems to be more empathy and understanding and emotional support shown to other family members who are having difficulties. They seem more likely to listen without judging or shaming, and will even try to help financially when they can, even though they might not be able to afford to.

Of course, this isn’t an ironclad rule. There are many well to do families who are very emotionally supportive and empathic to one another, and may also give generously to charity. There are also many dysfunctional lower class families who treat other family members horribly. But the class differences in empathy is a pattern I’ve noticed, especially as someone who came from one of these cold as ice upper middle class families. I think narcissism runs rampant in the upper middle class even more than the truly wealthy, who are more secure in their status. In my own family (we were far from rich, but I suppose we were solidly upper middle class), I might as well have been an orphan, for all the “love and support” I got from them over the years. Now I’m a source of shame for most of them. Oh well, too bad. I feel like I’m a better person than they are because I don’t judge people based on their physical appearance, financial status, or job title.  I look at what’s inside, or at least I try to.

I thought it was just me, but apparently there is empirical evidence that supports the idea that rich people are less empathic and care more about themselves while the less wealthy feel more like “we’re all in this together.”   This article from NYMag.com  explains the research behind this finding.

Rich People Literally See The World Differently

By Drake Baer, for NYmag.com

http://nymag.com/scienceofus/2017/02/how-rich-people-see-the-world-differently.html

The way you view the world depends on the culture you come from — in a granular, second-by-second sense. If you present a Westerner and an East Asian with the same visual scene, for instance, the former is more likely to focus on individual objects, and the latter will likely take in more of the scene as a whole. East Asians are more holistic in their thinking, the research indicates; Westerners are more analytic.

The same thing is happening with people who are from the same country, but belong to different social classes. With America’s top one percent of earners earning 81 times the average of the bottom 50 percent, the research shows how the wealthy and the working classes really do live in different cultures, and thus see the world in different ways.

One of the most powerful examples come from Michael Varnum, a neuroscientist at Arizona State University. In a 2015 paper on empathy, he and his colleagues recruited 58 participants for a brain-imaging study: First, the participants filled out a self-report on their social class (level of parents’ education, family income, and the like) before sitting down for an EEG session. In the brain-imaging task, participants were shown neutral and pained faces while they were told to look for something else (the faces were a “distractor,” in the psych argot, so hopefully the participants wouldn’t know they were being tested for empathy).

*****

Read the rest of this article here.

 

Why people get upset when you challenge their beliefs.

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Why Scientology auditing is not at all like traditional psychotherapy (Part 1)

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This is an actual question an auditor asks you during the introductory (“communications”) course that is really an early indoctrination procedure.

This is my second post about Scientology.  It will be in two parts.

My first post about Scientology was about my own experience (thankfully, short lived) in the cult, but this one will focus less on my own personal experience and more on how Scientology (and the related Dianetics) “auditing” works and why it isn’t at all like (and is far inferior to) traditional psychotherapy (that is, when you have a good, empathetic therapist).

But before I get into the differences, I feel it’s necessary to give you some background about Dianetics and Scientology auditing and the religion that arose from it.

Mainstream mental health: an imperfect science.

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Psychotherapy isn’t perfect, and of course, there are many bad therapists.   Even when you have a therapist who you are comfortable with and who knows what they’re doing, it can take years to be “cured.”    It isn’t an exact science, or really, much of a science at all (it’s more of an art form) so there aren’t any easy answers or sure-fire “formulas.”   Human beings are complicated, and a modality that may work well on one person may actually do nothing for another, or even make them worse.   And of course, there are many terrible therapists, who are either completely incompetent, are only in it for the money,  lack enough empathy to be effective, are unconsciously attempting to work out their own issues (which is what attracted them to the profession in the first place), and even (if they are sociopathic or narcissistic, and many are) exploit or emotionally abuse their clients.

People can also become “addicted” to their therapists. They can become overly dependent on them and never leave therapy because they feel like they can’t cope on their own.   And it’s true, some therapists do become unhealthily attached to their clients, and discourage them from ever leaving.   A good therapist who doesn’t have unresolved attachment issues will discourage a client from becoming overly dependent on them (while still projecting warmth and empathy), with the end goal being for the client to be able to leave and  function better and feel happier, using new sets of emotional tools to do so.

But psychotherapists (both psychiatrists, who are medical doctors who can prescribe drugs, and psychologists and  clinical social workers, who cannot) are bound by the law. In a best case scenario, they must abide by the law and a certain code of ethics, or be barred from practicing their professions or even face civil or criminal charges.

All these disadvantages aside, traditional psychotherapy is a positive and life-changing experience for most people who undergo it and stick with it, and it has existed for over a century.  There are many different modalities suited for different psychological disorders or problems.   There are both short term and long-term methods.   Some, like CBT or DBT, aren’t cures but are really training methods that teach a person mindfulness skills so they can function better and are less symptomatic.  Others, like Freudian or Jungian psychoanalysis, schema therapy, attachment therapy, psychodrama, EFT, hypnotherapy, and other “talk therapy” methods are long-term modalities that actually attempt to get to the root of the client’s problems or release trauma.  Many therapists mix several different modalities, and some include mindfulness tools like meditation, visualization, and relaxation techniques into their sessions.  Talk therapy can take many months or even years to have results.   In a best case scenario, the client will be cured of whatever is ailing them.  Even if they aren’t cured, a lot of the charge that was feeding their disorder is removed. Some disorders, especially those that have a physical component or are due to faulty neurological “wiring” respond better to drugs than to talk therapy, and continued management by a psychiatrist may be necessary, even though improvement in symptoms is almost immediate.

Scientology’s beginnings. 

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The book that started it all.

Scientology has always been very hostile to both psychiatry and psychology.  L. Ron Hubbard, a second rate science fiction author, had always been fascinated with the human mind and how it worked.  He published his bestselling  book about his discoveries, “Dianetics: The Modern Science of Mental Health” in 1950.  Dianetics is a bastardization of traditional psychoanalysis, but really isn’t much like it at all.   Hubbard was a sociopathic narcissist who had no degree in psychology and in fact lied about many of his accomplishments.

Dianetics uses elements of Freudian psychoanalysis, but is based on the belief that almost all people have “engrams” (unless they are “natural clears,” which are very rare).  Engrams are cellular imprints of moments of trauma that always contain some sort of physical pain and the “unconsciousness” that accompanies a painful or traumatic event.    The part of the mind that contains the “engrams” is called the reactive mind, and the goal of Dianetics “auditing” is to remove all the engrams through “reliving” the memories associated with them, so the person eventually attains a state called “Clear,” which means they have no reactive mind anymore and can act in rational and healthy ways not based on unconscious painful memories or trauma.

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A Scientology anti-psychiatry demonstration.

In the early years of Dianetics, Hubbard attempted to get it recognized as a valid form of psychotherapy, but his book and methods were rejected by the mental health community. Hubbard, being a malignant narcissist who was devastated by this massive narcissistic injury, turned against the entire mental health field.  He vilified it and preached  to his followers that psychiatry and psychology were the worst evils to befall mankind and that Dianetics was the only valid way to become a happy and functioning person.

 

A new religion is born.

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Hubbard began to market his book through the same pulp science fiction magazines  that published his stories, and his Dianetics book proved popular.  Many people claimed to be helped through Dianetics auditing, but this wasn’t enough for Hubbard.    He was quoted as saying, “the quickest way to become rich is to start your own religion,” and so he did.   Not only could he become the messiah of his own church based on his “miracle cure,” he also no longer had to pay taxes.    He trained many new auditors and started the Church of Scientology in December, 1953.    He added the levels of O.T. (Operating Thetan) states that go beyond the state of Clear.  An OT supposedly had complete control over matter, energy, space, and time, and at the highest level, could perform Herculean actions without even needing a body to do it.

To his religion Hubbard added a “space opera” cosmology, which sounds suspiciously like a plot in one of his stories.   The level of OT III is the level at which the “top secret” cosmology is finally revealed (of course, now due to the Internet, anyone can find out about it for free).   Supposedly, an evil galactic ruler called Xenu, who lived 75 million years ago, thought his planets were overpopulated and had most of the population frozen and dumped into volcanoes in Hawaii (which didn’t exist 75 million years ago), and programmed their spirits (thetans) with the “R6” implant, which is the reason why traditional religion and mental illness (and all other evils of mankind) came into being.    These disembodied spirits were then released and attached themselves to living people as “body thetans” (BT’s).  BT’s are analogous to possession by minor demons.   A person at the OT levels spends much time “auditing out” the BT’s to achieve more perfect spiritual enlightenment.  Scientology’s insane doctrine was illustrated in a famous episode of South Park in 2005.      It’s so unbelievable that the show had to show disclaimers at the bottom of the screen that said, “This is what Scientologists actually believe.”

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From “Trapped in the Closet,” South Park episode.

Hubbard believed if this “top secret” material were revealed to someone at a lower level of “processing,” that they would die of pneumonia or go insane.  His real fear was probably that people might laugh his church out of existence.  Of course, most Scientologists (at least before the Internet) don’t even know about this secret doctrine because so few of them have achieved the state of OT III.   Many (who haven’t been completely brainwashed into believing anything they are told) leave when they find out.   Others are offended that figures like Jesus or the Buddha are considered “implants” who never even existed, especially since when they first joined Scientology, they were promised that their own religion was not incompatible with Scientology.  At OT III, they find out they must renounce their former religious beliefs, if they still had any.  It’s the ultimate bait and switch, something Scientology is well known for.

“You don’t get rich writing science fiction.  If you want to get rich, you start a religion.” — L. Ron Hubbard

Scientology also co-opted the Christian cross (although the eight pointed version Scientology uses is actually based on the Rosicrucian cross) and sometimes requires its clergy (professional auditors and high ranking church officials) to wear clerical collars in public to seem more authentic.

During the late 1950s through the 1970s, when people were becoming interested in alternative therapies and “new age” religions, the Church of Scientology exploded in popularity, until the late 1970s when the IRS and the FBI descended on Hubbard and his church due to tax fraud and other shady and unethical activities conducted at Scientology’s headquarters and at its paramilitary offshoot, The Sea Org.  While Scientology remains popular, especially among celebrities and the very wealthy, the costs of Scientology training and Dianetics auditing are far too expensive for the average person to afford, so the only people who can move up the “Bridge” and attain the rarified Clear or O.T. (Operating Thetan) states, are the very wealthy or those unfortunates who “work off” the expense as residents of the Sea Org (and rarely achieve those states anyway).

Dianetics and Scientology auditing vs. traditional psychotherapy. 

Moving away from the religious aspects of Scientology and back to its original purpose as a form of “therapy” (and most people who undertake Dianetics or Scientology auditing are only using it as a form of therapy anyway, having no idea of what they’re really getting into), please read Part 2:

https://luckyottershaven.com/2017/01/15/why-scientology-auditing-is-not-at-all-like-traditional-psychotherapy-part-2/

The Still Face Experiment (with an observation about Caylee Anthony).

I was reminded of the Still Face video again today and think it’s so important because it shows how vital attachment is to develop a healthy sense of self. Watch how quickly this child in the experiment notices the mother’s lack of mirroring and how hard she tries to make an emotional connection.

***THESE VIDEOS MAY BE TRIGGERING***

Caylee Anthony and Casey Anthony

I was watching some Caylee Anthony videos that were filmed by her mother Casey before she murdered her daughter.   The lack of interaction with Caylee in these videos is very creepy and disturbing.  Casey apparently didn’t physically abuse her daughter (at least not anything that could be readily seen), but was starving her emotionally.  She would sit and film her daughter but not interact with her at all.  You can see Caylee reacting in ways very similar to the baby in the Still Face video experiment,except that Caylee almost never cried, which make you wonder if she had already partly given up.

In this video, you can see how frustrated and confused Caylee is.

 

Lucky Otters Haven

Here is a dramatic video that shows how powerful the lack of mirroring is on an infant. It’s amazing how quickly the baby in this video notices the mother’s lack of affect and responds negatively to it. This is at the root of attachment disorders in children and most personality disorders, especially Cluster B. Without appropriate mirroring a child can’t develop empathy because it has never been modeled for them.

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The elimination of NPD from the DSM would be a disaster

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Apparently, the removal of Narcissistic Personality Disorder (DSM-V code 301.81; ICD-10 code F60.81) from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders is still being considered.   Sam Vaknin talks about it in this video.

I think its removal would be disastrous. It already scares me that narcissism seems to be increasingly regarded as an advantage in today’s winner-take-all society and that we even have a potential US President who is a poster boy for malignant NPD. Trump has even been given the NPD label by many mental health professionals. Yet he still remains popular and is a serious contender for our next President.

But narcissism (not the healthy, but the pathological type) is definitely not a positive thing. Narcissists are actually miserable people even if they become successful (and many of them do not). These are people without a real sense of self, who have constructed a false one to compensate and must feed off others like vampires to keep their false self intact. They do others a lot of damage, even if they think they don’t have a problem. Under the facade, these are people who have a vast well of emptiness inside and if the false self is removed through loss of narcissistic supply, will become deeply depressed, possibly psychotic, and even suicidal. NPD is a serious mental illness, but I think people tend to forget that, because on the surface, people with this disorder can seem so functional. SEEM is the operating word here.

Many self-help books, especially those that tell you how to be successful, encourage you to develop narcissistic traits. I think these books are dangerous, not only because they encourage people to become narcissists, but also because they have caused a shift in thinking about NPD to the point that many no longer consider it a mental illness and in fact think of it as something to strive for. We need to stop pretending narcissism isn’t a problem. More attention needs to be paid not only to the damage narcissists cause others, but also to the internal world of the NPD, which is a painful and bleak one. NPD is a serious mental illness, not a “personality type.” Its removal from the DSM would cause untold damage to the world.

We also need more mental health specialists who are actually trained to treat people with NPD. I think part of the reason why it’s under consideration for removal is because most therapists don’t want to treat people with NPD. If you have the diagnosis, you are shown the door. They don’t want to deal with you and assume you are incurable. Hence, there are more narcissists walking around doing damage to themselves and others than ever before. I don’t think the non-malignant type of narcissist is as incurable as people think; it’s just because it isn’t an easy disorder to treat and therapists don’t want to be bothered working with people who have it. Old-school psychiatrists and psychologists such as Kohut, Kernberg, Masterson, and Lowen treated people with NPD successfully in their practices, but we seem to have forgotten that and just assume it’s incurable and worse, that it’s not even a mental illness but a personality type. This needs to change!

#22 – Proof That Borderlines Are Motivated for Psychotherapy and Can Fully Recover

BPDTransformation used to be one of my commenters but has not posted anything in his blog in over a year, or made any more comments here.   Edward (his real name) wrote fascinating, intelligent, and extremely well researched articles about BPD, which he was diagnosed with. At some point he came to believe BPD was a bogus diagnosis, a catchall for an array of symptoms that weren’t easily classified or understood. (Some people believe BPD and C-PTSD are the same disorder, which does make sense to me).

Edward, who became BPD-free, writes here about how motivated many borderlines are to recover, and how effective psychotherapy can be in healing this disorder. This flies in the face of the common belief that because BPD is in the Cluster B group of personality disorders, that it’s just something you have to resign to yourself to having forever.

The article, like all of Edward’s articles, is a bit on the scholarly side, but is still a very good read and helps reduce the stigma against people with BPD.

BPD Transformation

This post will answer critics who say: “Borderlines are not motivated to attend therapy. Borderline patients don’t stay in treatment. At best, therapy can manage but not cure BPD.”

These statements are absolutely false. Yet these myths continue to appear online, often being communicated to people recently diagnosed. As the studies below demonstrate, most people diagnosed with BPD do want help, most will stay in good treatment, and most do recover to different degrees.

Earlier posts have elaborated my dim view of the (non) validity of the BPD diagnosis. Since it cites studies using the BPD construct, this post might be viewed as hypocritical. That may be a valid criticism! Nevertheless, these studies provide evidence that people with “borderline symptoms”, however defined, can be motivated and recover both with and without therapy

Study 1:  88 Borderline Patients Treated Twice a Week for Three Years

Highlights: Led by Josephine Giesen at…

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