My narcissist hipster upstairs neighbor.

first_world_problems

I live in a duplex with a shared parking area.  I’ve had new upstairs neighbors for a few months.  They are youngish hipsters (probably in their mid 20s)  who seemed okay at first.  When they moved in I wanted to make them feel welcome, so I gave them a bottle of locally made wine (knowing that as hipsters they would probably like such a gift) which was pretty expensive too, and offered the use of my front porch anytime.

It seems like my efforts at goodwill didn’t mean much.  They fight every night (it’s always him I hear) and are completely uncooperative in every way you can imagine.   Or at least the guy is.

I never see the fiancee, who is supposedly an artist of some kind, but the guy has proved to be a passive-aggressive d**k.  His behavior seems to indicate severe, possibly malignant, covert narcissism.   I wonder if his fiancee is so silent and invisible because she suffers from PTSD.

First was the problem I had with their cat.    They have two Himalayans, and for about a month, one of them was always sitting in front of my door and would try to get inside whenever I went to open it.   My roommate told me this cat would be sitting out there all day on one of the porch chairs.  It seemed like they expected us to take her in, and maybe they thought I was a “crazy cat lady” because there are already 3 cats in this small apartment.   My daughter’s cat, BabyCat, has anxiety and territorial issues, and was beginning to act very sketchy and neurotic, compulsively grooming and meowing anxiously whenever the neighbor’s cat was outside my front door, which was most of the time.

I called my neighbor about the problem and he said snottily, “well, we can’t keep her upstairs, because she doesn’t get along with our other cat, and she doesn’t like being inside anyway.”

Well, then, idiot, why don’t you re-home her?   I didn’t tell him this.   He did nothing. The cat was still outside.  She was dirty and unkempt and it looked like she was never fed.  I called him again a few days later and left a message.  I got no response.   Being an animal lover, I hated the fact I had to start chasing her away, but what else could I do?   Even if I could have taken in another cat, which I absolutely can’t,  he probably would have been angry about it.

One day he saw me chasing the cat away from my front door and gave me a look that could kill, so I knew he was mad (he probably thinks I’m “cruel to animals” even though I’m anything but.  But after that, I didn’t see the cat again.

mangy_cat

Not their cat, just one I found on Google but the expression on this cat is epic. 

Now I’m dealing with the parking issue.  They have two cars, and between myself, my daughter, and my roommate, we have 3.   So there a total of five cars parked in a space that can really only hold three.   The neighbors are environmentalists and don’t want to “ruin the grass”,  even though they have never once mowed it (mowing the shared large front yard and the back yard falls on me, or whoever I can get to do it–and their side of the house is covered with 3 foot tall weeds). So what they do is they park both their cars on the gravel, and don’t bother to angle their cars so that I can get out easily in the morning (I have to back up over the gravel driveway to get out).  This guy is completely uncooperative, as you can see from these two phone conversations.   His tone seems snotty and entitled to me and he’s a liar too.

First text conversation:

textconv1_1

He was lying.  I could hear him and a bunch of their friends upstairs.  They never did move the car, and the next morning I almost hit it trying to back out.

In the second text conversation, the last message got sort of messed up, but I was trying to explain that I couldn’t use the other entrance because that goes into the parking area of the apartment complex next door, and they don’t want us to drive through there so it’s usually blocked off.  I would be forced to drive through the yard to get around that. So backing out is really the only way.

Second text conversation (this was today):

textconv2_1

textconv2_2

textconv2_3

I finally got him to agree to angle his car differently so I can get out, but not until I threatened to call the landlord about the problem (that part can’t be seen in the text conversation, because I told him this over the phone) and that if he didn’t start to angle his car, I would probably hit it trying to get out.

I hate the way this narcissistic brat is forcing me to resort to threats and aggression.  That’s not me at all, but it’s the only thing that seems to work with him, and the fiancee might as well be a ghost because I never even see her at all.  I wonder if they’ll make it to actual marriage.

Advertisements

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.