March 23, 2010

Help! I'm a narcissist!

The Pond by Vasiliy Polenov


Anonymous wrote:

“Thank you for this blog, and thank you for this post. I came across this site because I am a narcissist who has woken up, and I am trying to understand myself better so I can change…I feel like I am growing up and finally taking responsibility, finally becoming an adult. I still don't know how or why I realized all the inappropriate ways I had been acting in the past---how I treated lovers and friends, how I played a million different people to get others to like me, how pompous I was. It was like recovering from amnesia and reliving decades of horrible memories, except I was conscious through all of them. I carry tremendous guilt and shame, and I am trying to make amends to people when and where it is appropriate, without the desire to be forgiven.”  ~ Corrective Life Events: Can the narcissist change? 

Dear Anonymous,

See that pond, anonymous? It is far less inviting than the pond in a JW Waterhouse painting, isn't it? If you want to work on your narcissism, you’ll have to jump in an obsidian pool without shoes or even a face mask. You’ll have to walk to the edge of a splintery plank, plug your nose and dive head first in the water without anybody pushing you from behind or diving with you. You’ll have to make that decision, trusting you won’t drown. That even if you can't touch the bottom, you can tread water while learning to swim. You cannot lounge by the shore reflecting on your life, your accomplishments, your failures, expecting the ground to burst forth with narcissus flowers. You must do that which you fear the most and that means 'trusting the process.' It won't be easy. It may be the biggest challenge you'll face in your life. You know why?

Because narcissists don’t get therapy for their own benefit. They go to benefit others.

The predicament is that you must care about your impact on other people. Communal values are requisite. If ‘communal values’ rank way below self-concerns and your empathy deficits are as severe as the federal budget’s, why would you want to change? It would be more comfortable maintaining ego defenses than feeling as terrified and incompetent and anxious as everyone feels when confronting themselves. You have to care about your impact on other people.

Listen, everyone has narcissistic traits. We haven't always called them that, more like warts or rough edges. You can’t help but pick up narcissistic traits in a society rife with self-promotion. Everyone has N-traits and those traits have teeth, mercilessly biting us in the ass until they get our attention. So you have six months. The next six months is an opportunity via crisis. Your defenses are down and your willingness to seek help is up; your desire to change old patterns of behavior has finally arrived. Six months, for about six months people do whatever it takes to restore peace and order in their lives. Then the gig is up, separating narcissists-in-the-making from narcissists-fully-cooked.

I have listed thirteen things you can do, it's not a perfect list but it's a start. Narcissistic friends and relatives (even myself) work through ego defenses. Sometimes it takes a crisis to shatter grandiose perceptions and sometimes life just chips away at our rough edges over time.

A study by Drs. Ronningstam and Gunderson suggests people overcome narcissism through corrective life experiences and corrective relationships. The narcissists who don’t are the ones who end up hurting so many people they can never let their true self come out from hiding. If you don’t break through narcissism when you’re young, defenses rigidify, becoming impenetrable when you’re older. It’s imperative to seize your opportunity when you're only 25 years old, commit to change, and follow through with action, especially when you don’t want to. It will not be easy. The truth is that life isn’t easy on anyone whether we have a narcissistic personality or not.

13 Suggestions

Number one: Get treatment with a mental health professional who is knowledgeable and experienced treating narcissistic clients. This is your first long-term commitment.

Number two: Ask your family to educate themselves. This protects everyone from ignorance. The average person does not know how to cope with narcissistic relationships. They may assume they know how, but they do NOT. Learning about narcissistic relationships is the antidote to arrogance.

Number three: Do humbling tasks like washing floors, scrubbing dishes, cleaning toilets; any of the drudgeries ordinary people do. Clean up after yourself without considering the work to be menial. Life may be a banquet but it’s also a lot of grunt work. Grunt work is reality. It’s also the antidote to superiority.

Number four: Give back to society. Service work proves you aren’t nearly so bad off as self-pity suggests. Work in soup kitchens, volunteer for charity work and do it anonymously. Hell, pick up trash and do it without joining a group. Anonymity prevents self-deceptive narcissism from seeking recognition in the guise of altruism. Service is the antidote to entitlement.

Number five: Love is an elixir for insanity, at least in the short run. So, no lovers for a couple of years. Remember, you don’t abstain for yourself. You abstain out of caring for others. While Ronningstam’s research suggests a ‘corrective’ relationship ameliorates narcissism, don't assume ‘relationship’ means one-on-one. Broaden the definition. Create relationships that are healing, but platonic. Start with a plant. Human beings have amazing relationships with plants. Ask any gardener.

Number six: Get working again. Take stock of your skills and attributes, you have them. Promote a realistic assessment of your skills without inflating them to lies. Know Your Limits; know your attributes, too.

Number seven: Be scrupulously honest with yourself. If you clean up after your character everyday, you won’t ‘fear’ your true identity being revealed. No manipulation, no conniving and no lying. Each night before you sleep, review your day and make amends if necessary. Even to yourself. Honesty is the antidote to self-and-other deception.

Number eight: Drinking, drugging, gambling, any activity ‘escaping reality’ reinforces ego. The price of escape is high, very high----unless you take the easy road and opt out entirely. Some old narcissists choose to do that. I hope you don’t.

Number nine: Understand how narcissism affects other people. When you read my blog, you’ll realize how hard it is for empathic people to deal with grief and loss because they don’t have an easy way out. So when you feel as though nobody cares and they never loved you unconditionally anyway, remember a few of my messages, will you? Narcissists break people’s hearts and if that last comment makes you feel powerful and tough, consider increasing therapy to three times a week.

Number ten: Go to 12-step meetings for addictive behavior. One cautionary word: groups trigger narcissism. Narcissists start sizing folks up and dividing them into competition or admiring followers. But go anyway. Long timers spot arrogance a mile away and they won’t hesitate confronting grandiosity. Risk sharing your feelings with men, not women. Now that takes courage!

12-step establishes a code of behavior to compensate for a lack (or silenced) conscience. Even a religious organization based on an ethical code can restrict narcissism, though many churches have taken the route of entertainment---not self-discipline. If you go to church to ‘feel good’, it's another way to serve yourself and escape reality.

Number eleven: Take a walk. Everyday. Look at the trees. Notice the soil. Pay attention to sounds. Feel the wind on your skin. See yourself as a part of life. Notice other people are focused on where they’re going; witness the humbling truth that you are not the center of their universe. When you return home, repeat to yourself,“I am an ordinary person who struggles with problems just like everyone else in the world. There is no shame in vulnerability, no shame in making mistakes.”

And if the sun isn’t shining the day you’re scheduled to take a walk, it ain’t personal.

Number twelve: Don’t expect a miracle. Set goals that are attainable. Keep your goals small enough to be realistic. Remind yourself that narcissism is not built in a day and deconstruction won’t happen in a fortnight. Anticipate ‘therapeutic treatment’ to be a long term commitment, and self-help to take a lifetime.

My thirteenth and most important suggestion is this: None of the work you will do is for you. It’s for others. Do it for others.

Hugs,


Resources

Narcissistic Personality: A Stable Disorder or a State of Mind? by Elsa Ronningstam and John Gunderson, 1996






62 comments:

  1. CZ, you never cease to amaze and astound me. This list is amazing -- and it is also very empowering. And if Anonymous can do it -- what a gift you will have given him.

    This list is about acts of selfless service to humanity -- it's something Ns seldom do.

    It's a narrow corridor an N must walk. Walk it they must. They can never deviate. Never step outside the narrow walls of their acceptable behaviours -- for one moment of 'bad behaviour' and the N is once again on the prowl, seeking approval, seeking supply, seeking whatever he can get to protect his ego from being revealed as CZ so beautifully says it -- “I am an ordinary person who struggles with problems just like everyone else in the world. There is no shame in vulnerability, no shame in making mistakes.”

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    Replies
    1. I agree with M.L.G., what a gift. I also want to thank you. I am attempting to be a better person myself... I find that there is little or no help with individuals who may have NPD. I have been researching this topic because I want to make sure I correct my behaviors which point towards NPD (although I don't exhibit ALL of the behaviors, but enough for it to scare me). The person I love very much is tormented with my "moods" and my detachment... I hadn't been able to pinpoint exactly what the hell is going on with me. I scheduled an appt. with a counselor today. Thanks for your work on your blog and GOD bless!

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    2. Hello Anonymous,

      You are learning about narcissism at a good time. For many years, people believed it to be untreatable and indeed, narcissism IS a formidable foe. Let's not kid ourselves about that.

      If you are taking responsibility for your impact on a person that you love, then there's a lot of hope. It's very touching to me today, to read your comment and I wish you well...and your partner, too.

      I guess you know that many narcissists don't care about other people and believe we are as interchangeable as chess pieces on a board. You've probably read lots of heartbreaking stories while surfing the web. People need a safe place to work through their grief and anger.

      If you find some good resources that are helping you with your narcissism, please come back and comment. I'd love to hear from you!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  2. Gee, thanks, Louise. I hope anonymous returns to my blog and reads my response. There is a lot people can do to work through 'narcissistic traits'...we ought never give up on anyone who is TRYING.

    I like what you wrote about Ns walking a narrow corridor because they can never deviate from the path. This is a beautiful description of what I've witnessed with narcissistic people who make mistakes that ruin their reputation or 'image'.

    Instead of accepting mistakes as something everyone does, narcissists HIDE. They RUN. And in doing so, un-do years of hard work attempting to be the person they pretend to be.

    So the corridor is narrow and the path is steep and there's no straying off in the moors when you have a narcissistic personality. Narcissists may never again be able to face themselves (Or others) for having behaved impulsively, selfishly and definitely self-destructively.

    For people who are not narcissistic, running isn't an option. We are uncomfortable taking responsibility for our mistakes but we don't HIDE from the truth. This makes it almost incomprehensible when an older narcissist, someone we have known for years and witnessed their struggle to be themselves, is unable to face the harm they have caused other people (and themselves).

    So the rules are strict and the restrictions are many. 12-step has been a valuable means for teaching 'rules of conduct' that teach people what they must do to avoid causing harm to others or themselves.

    As an alanon member, I have deep appreciation for what 12-step is trying to do to help people (even people with addictions and narcissistic traits) manage their lives and protect other people.

    Thanks for commenting, Louise.


    Hugs,
    CZ

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  3. This is beautiful. I would love to share this with my father. He suffers from NPD, but only recently my family and I have discovered it. He's in his early 50's. I don't know if he can or wants to change, but this inspires hope that it IS possible.

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  4. Is there any scientific data to support that a narcissist actually can get better? I only ask because those of us who have loved and had our lives turned upside down by a narcissist may see this (read me...) and think there is hope. I am a long-time member of a 12 step program, which changed my life. My narcissist was as well. I convinced myself that he simply had not done a thorough job of working the steps (he was 15 years into recovery-I am 23 years) and continued to believe a Higher Power can change anyone. As a member of Alanon, you know the power available to those who are thorough when they work the steps. In this case, changes weren't forthcoming and I had to end the relationship. Actually, I had no idea what a narcissist was until I ended up in therapy after the serious depression which ensued when I ended the relationship. It has been the most difficult, gut-wrenching, confusing experience of my life. Additionally, impeding the healing process, he continues to write long letters of love and accolades about my positive impact on his life. Reading your list he actually DOES some of those things: 12 step meetings, volunteer work, confides in other men. I, unfortunately, think his volunteer efforts were done as a part of his image. He is a professional man and his "resume" is important. So, he carefully chooses his volunteer activities to look good on his firm's bio. Unfortunately, the incessant dishonesty, other women, lack of empathy, weird sense of humor, name-dropping, grandiosity, never changed. Naturally, I would love to think this man could "get better" and experience the happy, joyous and free that comes with knowing you are not in charge, are loved and free from addictions of all kinds, as I have. I found myself clinging to your article and finding it hopeful. I think that may be harmful to me.... I recognize you aren't a professional therapist, but can a narcissists recover? Are there any examples to support this?

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  5. Thank you so much for this list ! (I'm not the same anonymous, by the way.) Anyway, yesterday I was sitting in psych class taking notes as usual - we were talking about disorders - when my teacher clicked to the next slide on his slideshow. We were learning about diagnosing mental health disorders & he gave an example of a list of symptoms of NPD.

    For about the past 2-3 years of my life I've recognised certain qualities about myself that I don't like at all, qualities that weren't the usual kind my friends or classmates would criticize about themselves. While they worried about their shyness, or awkwardness, or being too loud, or being "dumb" - which they weren't! - I saw in myself a tendency to manipulate, think too highly of myself & generally be a self-absorbed asshole.

    The thing was, however, that I was generally quiet & squashed the chances of most of this from being revealed with my silence. But that didn't mean the voice in my head wasn't betraying (to me) my true nature & poisoning the way I regarded others. I say I prevented others from seeing this, however inevitably some of my narcissism would leak through the cracks of my carefully built walls. In conversations, I'd hear arrogance in my voice; when others told me about their problems, I'd think how petty they were - how I was above battling the same struggles in my life & that somehow, my own problems couldn't be understood by my friends because I was deeper & had a greater understanding of life.
    HAH. You will not believe how much I am cringing at myself now, telling you about all these "realisations" & “beliefs” I used be to proud of, & how I'd tell myself they reflected how profound & perceptive I was. Oh god. Someone make me STFU.

    As much as this all horrifies me now, & how painfully cringeworthy it is to both put this into words & then read over it, I'm going to keep going because this process is, although painful, extremely cleansing. It's like I've just leaped off the plank and I'm thankful - even though I dread the cold, murky unknown of the pond, even though I feel that horrid uncertainty because I'm mid-air, not only knowing I'm about to be submerged in something far from comfortable and familiar but also knowing that I'm powerless to defy gravity and return to the safety of dry land.

    I'm grateful for having seen that list in class, feeling like I was reading about myself & having the uncomfortable realisation that I'm a narcissist – one of many kinds of people upon whom I had always looked unfavourably. I thought, goodness, I used to laugh at narcissists & now I am one ! :/

    I'm fairly sure I don't have full blown NPD – just carefully concealed narcissism. I initially was tempted to dismiss this as crappy, googled self-diagnosis, but the accuracy was just too much to ignore. I'm counting myself lucky that I'm only sixteen & have the chance to remedy this before it ruins my life. I don't want to be this way & like others, I just want to be a good, honest, wholesome person. I don't want the people I love to get hurt the way you have been. So this list is a wonderful starting point & I thank you for it (:

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  6. Though my tendency is to incite mercy and put myself in first place, I am battling against it right now. Every word here is purely honest.
    My sources have dried and truth hit me, showing how miserable I've become.
    What made me feel that things are not completely lost is my recent feeling to avoid being a father so the cycle would be broken.
    I am searching for help from a mental professional asap.
    please, do not stop writing
    maybe we can not heal at all but we can stop the harm and break the cycle

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  7. Hi Anonymous,

    I just discovered that I'm a Narcissist, the first day my emotions went from being completely elated and happy, then completely confused, then accepting.

    What I would say would probably not hold much value because I automatically want to start giving you advice, I'm in the infancy stages myself. but I would say that we all come out for a reason, so just trust yourself, your true self.

    I found solace in my narcissism, I'm from a narcissistic family, I'm the first one to come out, so I'm helping heal my family as a way to moderate my views, Telling Narcissistic people in denial that they are Narcissistic is not a good idea.

    I have also had a Dog for 4 years, only now do i realize how much he has helped me gain some empathy back, but I treated him like an object for 3 and half years.

    I also found out I'm Narcissistic because I decided to confront my parents about my neglect and emotional abuse, so I worked it backwards, I confronted my abusers and that led me to finding out that I'm indeed narcissistic.

    You can do it, be realistic.

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  8. This thing runs free in my family and I can see the cycle repeating againg with niece.
    I don't know what to do, I don't know help her, what I know is that there is something very wrong with me.
    Sudenly I realized I was reading 'Prince' and thinking I was born different, that I was born to conquer (of course politics was the natural way to do so).
    Right now, I am confused, feeling childish and lone... my head is such a mess.
    The same time I feel I am not victim of my past because, I feel that I used my past to auto-justify my atitude towards people.

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  9. same 'cycle' narc here.
    English is not my native language so sorry
    man, I am gonna to use a metaphor to tell what I am facing right now.
    It is like waking up suddenly in the middle of a cold night, from a dreamless sleep.
    you are lost and alone in a dark room
    you don't know what lurking there, in fact you can't be sure about what is happening
    you feel lost, your thought is confused and entwined, you are afraid.
    than you ask yourself why did you wake up?
    you have two options:
    1. Ignore what happened and come back to your warm and inviting bed, you just tell yourself that everything is fine (nothing import happened).
    2. Get out your bed, facing the cold and dark room and all the things are there, find the window and open it to know what is happening.
    I may tell you what I saw: a small adult (with rickets) with childish traits (imagine Gollum).
    your vision is blurred.
    your feelings are overwhelming you.
    your anomalous intuition (good with you live in a cave) is of no value in light
    It is hard to accept it.
    It is you.

    things from my past are surfacing.
    there was this time that my mother locked me in the bathroom in a summer day but it feels the coldest.
    I promissed I would never gonna hurt her again.

    there was was that time I did something wrong and my father approach me with a regret face and a sweet in his hands, he gave it to me and said "look how good is your father, stop disappoint and distrusting him... one day, when he dies, you will miss him, be a good boy"
    I promissed I would never gonna hurt him again.

    the hurted little boy was made.
    good grades, well behaved in front of adults.
    reacted with anger when confronted...

    don't feel mercy.
    cause I don't feel it.

    that was my justification for being a n

    I was not victim of my past.
    I am victim of myself.
    and more important than this it there are my victims.

    I would give a new tip (at least it worked for me):
    14. Get out of the nest! that will weakens your sleep.

    (feel free to adapt this comment so it may become more readable and understandable).

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  10. Hello,

    I posted last week as anonymous, It's day 9 and the torrent of thoughts has stopped.
    I wrote some to share.

    Dealing with the highs and lows.

    The Ocean.

    I love to sit down and watch the ocean.

    I prefer the ocean at high tide.

    The ocean is Grand, Full, and Angry.

    The waves are smashing against the rocks.

    Water fills in through the cracks in the rocks.

    Water recedes through the same cracks.

    The shores are the limits of the ocean.

    High tide and low tide are the limits of our brain.

    Your Hide tide is another’s low tide.

    Nature runs its course.

    Be mindful of the tsunami.

    I would like to ask permission to post a link to my blog, i want to remain anonymous throughout the whole thing.
    http://themahdiblog.wordpress.com/
    My handler and signature in the blog is an Arabic word, it means someone who was in darkness and is not working his way through.

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  11. Although i was diagnosed as Narcissistic several years ago in counseling, It was not until recently i discovered what the true meaning of that was and find myself not only needing help but wanting help. I have because of my self destructive behavior lost the one person in my life who i truly do care about and wish i had never hurt. Every site i have gone to tells them to run don't walk away from me and that scares me cause now i am feeling like there is no hope for my psychosis. I understand fully how i came to be the way i am and what issues in my life created this set of behaviors and want to get better. Is there any hope for me,can i combat this behavior and manage to save this relationship that means so much to me. Please help

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  12. Hi Cindy,

    Many people are narcissistic, so what matters is the degree of narcissism affecting your life. The most important thing you can do for yourself is to seek therapeutic treatment and stick with it! When the going gets tough---keep working with your therapist to confront the relationship problems you are having because of your narcissistic traits.

    You did not mention that you were diagnosed with a personality disorder which is much more difficult to treat. However, there is always hope, even for those with 'personality disorders'. Treatment depends on your ability to commit to longterm therapy.

    So find a therapist you can trust, that is key. You may find the work of Gerald Jampolsky to be helpful: http://www.jerryjampolsky.com/lectures.html Other narcissists have told me that Jampolsky was instrumental in their treatment.

    Depending on how much your relationship has deteriorated at this point, you may need to take a sabbatical on romantic relationship while you commit to therapy. If your partner is not willing or able to support your healing process, then you may need to let them go. I know that’s almost unbearable to hear when you love someone…but love doesn’t always mean staying together. It also means letting go.

    Many partners would walk through fire for the narcissist in their lives. Ask your partner if he or she is willing to go to therapy. There is a lot a partner can do to protect him or herself from inappropriate enmeshment but they need to educate themselves about unhealthy narcissism in order to protect themselves (and you) from naïve ignorance.

    I wish every person who had been diagnosed with narcissism were willing to get help. We have many more resources for treatment than we had in the past. It is not hopeless IF the person seeking answers is the narcissist him or herself.


    Hugs,
    CZ

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    Replies
    1. I find it amusing how gently you talk to a female and how stern you are with a male. It's like you don't believe that a woman can be evil. That's what our society does. Always makes excuses for a woman. Women can never be culpable for their actions in this day and age. Trust me, they can because they are. How evil is it for a narcissistic woman to control and humiliate and emotionally torture a defensless little boy. Trust me I've seen evil, and although it's more acceptable for a woman to be this way and often covered up or deflected, women can be the most evil beings on this earth. I've witnessed it first hand.

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    2. "I find it amusing how gently you talk to a female and how stern you are with a male."

      I'm glad you find it amusing because most people just get mad at me. ;-P

      About your second point that women can be narcissistic too, and do I know this. Whoah, do I ever! But most people write about the male narcissist (NPD) because women are more often categorized as BPD.

      I'm not sure about your final point that 'women can be the most evil beings on this earth." I'm really not sure evil is gender-specific.

      Why do you think it is that fewer men write about narcissistic women? A woman diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder also has narcissistic traits so men could frequent narcissism forums/blogs and fit right in.
      I'd love to hear your thoughts on that if you're still around.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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    3. while I wouldn't go nearly as far as the bloke above, I must admit that upon searching out info on various supposed things the gf seems to think 'could be wrong with me' I'm starting to reach several realizations. about myself and others. perhaps reflected somewhat in the article on N spectrum.
      it is nearly astounding, the hypocrisy of who spending hours deciding 'whats wrong' with partner (who is quite willing to do anything to work on self and relation?), while significant issues on the accuser/victim/ or blogger's end are not acknowledged, or are paid lip service. narc parents, sexual abuse and betrayal bonds...the modeling that must occur, unwilled, of a narc mother can lead a 'recovered' person to respond to what they perceive as persecution in a way that cuts a loved one in half with their words....perhaps, as so many blogs SAY, I should take care of myself. work on self, understand people are complicated and I am very imperfect, yet that also am one of the healthier blokes significant has had relation with. and willing to DO to improve, not talk. I also find the repetition and anger that SOME blogs on this and related topics demonstrate to be astounding. 'Narcs are stalkers......let me spend 25 hours a week on blogging about his foulness" (this is not a stab at sites which provide useful info for men and women, rather some sites which start to seem more like evidence of unhealthy behavior on the bloggers )

      apols for errors above, ipad crashed

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    4. Hello Anonymous!

      If you scroll through my archives, you'll undoubtedly find some very pissy posts which is only normal considering the circumstances. Because I love supporting people while they restore their self-worth, I expect and even encourage 'full expression' of one's feelings. Any self-respecting person will be angry about being mistreated. But the anger, the blame, the accusations and the over-the-top hyperbole has a shelf life. In other words, if anger sits in your heart too long, it spoils your entire life.

      Take a look at someone's blog and check the dates to see how long they've been writing. It's not uncommon for people to be MAD AS HELL at first, so give people the benefit of your doubt that eventually they'll transition to being more realistic and responsible and 'at peace'. Recovery is all about reclaiming our self-worth and taking responsibility for OUR part in the relationship.

      Now, back to your girlfriend and being told you're a narcissist. I am cringing at the moment. One thing I never wanted to happen was for people to use information about NPD as a weapon. IN heart-to-heart conversations about 'narcissistic traits', both people examine the information and apply it to themselves and to the relationship for better understanding. NOT as a means to berate, belittle, demean or hurt the other person! But I'm sure this is happening...I read it all the time! It makes a person like myself wanna hang up her keyboard.

      The next time your girlfriend accuses you of being a narcissist, ask her what her motivation might be. Is she hoping to beat you down to submission, inferiority? Is she willing to learn about her 'part' in the relationship? Is she willing to examine herself? Of the people I know who were in narcissistic relationships, we sought therapy, we read books, we did everything we could to 'fix' ourselves before looking at our partner's flaws.

      People have a very shallow understanding of pathological narcissism and I fear people with narcissistic traits are being maligned as pathological.

      You have inspired me to write an article today, about using psych information as a weapon.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  13. Thank you so much for this eye opening post. It gives me hope for the long road ahead. I think I've been a narcissist all my life. Always in fear of being judged and tell little lies about stupid shit. Like, really stupid shit. Tonight was the first time I realized how stupid my actions and thoughts have been and trying to be liked by everyone and shunning people who knew the real me. Can narcissism result in other personality problems also? After reading so much about it tonight, I'm starting to think my boyfriend might be a narcissist too. This is going to be a very long road..

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  14. Dear Anon (12-21-12),

    The Healing Journey is worth whatever time it takes to work through the many levels of narcissism (defenses). Don't be afraid of it---just dive in. Take it slow. Trust yourself to know innately how to swim.

    Our society is becoming increasingly narcissistic, so rest assured that many other people are facing similar challenges as yourself. We joke about 'misery loving company' but really and truly, it is comforting to know that we are not alone in our struggles.

    One thing I can suggest from experience however, is that you allow your boyfriend to process his life as he chooses. Don't try to get him to see the 'light'. We all see the light when we are ready and there may be several windows-of-opportunity throughout our lifetime. It never ever works to push someone into admitting to and challenging their narcissism.

    If you are feeling an urge to heal, then do it for yourself. Sometimes, our healthy change inspires others to do likewise for themselves.

    I wish you well, anon!

    Hugs,
    CZ

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  15. I have narcissistic tendencies. Feels like medium variety from what I've read. Everything on the 12 step program seems to make sense to me except for the no relationship thing. I do not feel as I would be ok on my own right now - have had some serious depressive moments over the past few years. While I do have the usual many friends (for an Aquarian/Narcissist), I do not feel as though they are generally people I can or want to confide in. My wife and I have been separated for 14 months (together 18 years+) and I met someone else. While I feel bad about it, my wife has always refused to go to therapy with me and I apparently I am not strong enough to get there on my own. I've tried to explain to her that I would need her support and she won't hear of it. Just putting it out there. Not even sure I have a question.

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  16. I'm glad to hear from you, whether you have a question or not.

    In general, Internet blogs focus on pathological narcissism (NPD). However, most of us can relate to the misery of our own 'narcissistic traits', even when we do not meet the criteria for a personality disorder. Rigid narcissistic traits interfere with our desire to create healthy and intimate relationships.

    And sometimes, sad as it may be, marriages ARE miserable. Marriage can be a hindrance to self-development. It all depends on your partner's willingness to not only support your efforts to ‘grow’, but to face her own fears and inadequacies.

    When one person is committed to personal growth and the other refuses to enter therapy, the chances of the marriage surviving are slim-to-none. That has been my experience. Or, the marriage survives but the people suffer endlessly for the sake of that marriage. They are a couple in name only.

    I hope your new relationship works out for you, anonymous. Relying on someone we can trust while working through ‘narcissistic traits’ is very grounding. In my case, my husband was incredibly supportive during my therapy although he didn’t feel a need to get therapy for himself. That can be a ‘telling’ sign of a narcissistic disorder, highly resistant to change, when one person refuses therapy---even when their marriage is on the verge of collapse.

    Go to therapy for yourself and allow your life to unfold. Of great comfort to me during my divorce was this thought, “The Universe is unfolding exactly as it should.”

    Hugs,
    CZ

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  17. I read this a while back and had a couple of correspondance emails CZ, but reading it again - my life needs to change.

    TG

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    Replies
    1. Hi TG,

      My life needs to change, too. ;)

      Feel free to post if you'd like to say more.


      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
  18. Hello all,

    As much as I'd love to believe that a narcissist can change- I completely disagree that this is a possibility.

    I'm talking about a true sufferer of NPD- not someone who merely suffers from having some of the traits of narcissism (there's a huge difference).

    In other words, no true N would ever be posting that they "became aware" through any sort of introspection, that they were NPD. Never. Ever.

    They may, however, use this as a ruse to illicit attention & sympathy...now, that would figure in perfectly to their twisted equations.

    Imho- as a survivor of a true NPD partner. I wish you all peace.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Unknown,

      I completely understand your opinion about narcissists and 'cure'. So far, the prevailing wisdom is that pathological narcissists cannot be cured, only treated. And even when treated, 'changed behavior' is unreliable. Can they sustain this change, that is the real question.

      My sense is that narcissists believe they can sustain changed behavior. It's not just a ruse. They have good intentions to address their issues (especially if the relationships they have are important to them). Unfortunately, good intentions don't always last. Not for any of us.

      My stance on this blog however, is that we cannot know who can and cannot be treated. I can't diagnose anyone and the majority of people reading my blog, are diagnosing themselves. To suggest they are beyond cure seems reprehensible so unless someone is properly diagnosed, with a long history of relationship problems and the inability to commit to treatment or other people, we should talk narcissist's ability to change. Even a little bit.

      Many people disagree with me. I disagreed with my original opinion, too. I have witnessed enough changes in narcissists though, to make their lives better and improve other people's lives, too.

      It's definitely better for all of us if narcissists are encouraged to seek treatment instead of offering them an 'out'. Why should they have it any easier than the rest of us? What are they? Special??!!! ha!


      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
  19. Greetings from a world traveler. I have been diagnosed as a NPD by proxy from my dear brides therapist. She was seeking help for her issues and her therapist gave her tests to administer without me knowing .... thus diagnosing me as NPD. Having read the characteristics of a NPD I acknowledge four of the nine. Empathy is a foreign word to me, thrive on praise (affirmation is my #1 Love Language), exploitation of others, have been an over achiever and expect others to live up to their potential, I can easily dismiss people and never look back. I do carry a big sword and have no problem swinging it about to get what I want for myself and my clients. I also acknowledge rage when I don't get my way.

    The more and more I read ... I am the highest degree of NPD. However, I am seeking help online. Online because I rarely stay in one spot due to the nature of my business. I travel, living in hotels all over the world, so online is my best choice. I read that good help for an NPD is hard to find and I am reaching out for suggestions.

    So if there is anyone who can point this traveler in a positive direction ... I am open to all credible opinions and recommendations. Ive repeatedly asked my dear brides therapist for help over the past weeks but to no avail.

    Humbly,
    Kilo Hotel

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    Replies

    1. Hi Kilo Hotel,

      I somehow missed the email notification that you had responded to this 2010 blog entry. Sorry about that!

      The only person who can reliably diagnose anyone as having a NPD, is a trained psychologist. And they can only do that after extensive intake on your relational problems, psychological difficulties, and a series of tests. So whether you are Pathologically Narcissistic or not is subject to a professional diagnosis.

      You may however, have narcissistic traits---a narcissistic STYLE. Narcissistic traits, even one, can hinder the development of healthy and trusting relationships. But usually people aren't interested in changing their narcissistic behaviors until they're suffering relational problems or the result of relational problems like depression and alienation for example. Having a setback of some kind or failure might encourage narcissists to seek treatment but as long as things are going well, why change?

      One of the most destructive elements of the narcissistic style is the ability to exploit people. Its easy to justify exploitation in a consumer-focused society---after all (or so it appears) don't all of us do that? You'll have to watch your justifications of behavior that are anti-social or hurtful. It's so easy to deceive ourselves with rationalizations.

      As far as what you can do since you travel so much (which may preclude working with a private therapist several times a week) is look into 12-step support. That's available everywhere---even online. You could focus on your workaholism as your addiction. ;-P As you may have read already, it's very very common for narcissists to be addicted to work as a source of attention, financial reward, and escape. But it's kinda hard to say workaholism is a 'problem' when our society idealizes money as the measure of one's worth.

      These are a few books you might want to read, although once again---I have to say that until you are faced with failure of some kind, you may not be ready to give up your narcissism. Narcissism is an addiction in and of itself.

      Attitudinal Healing with Jerry Jampolsky
      http://www.jerryjampolsky.com/Attitudinal.Healing.html

      Schema Therapy
      http://www.apa.org/pubs/videos/4310804.aspx

      "Disarming the Narcissist" by Wendy T. Behary

      "Humanizing the Narcissistic Style" by Stephen M. Johnson

      "Characterological Transformation" by Stephen M. Johnson

      "The Point of Existence" by A. H. Almaas (one of my favorite approaches, depending on the degree of narcissism someone is dealing with)

      Hope this at least gets you started on your journey, Kilo. Good luck!

      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
  20. 20 years ago I did the most horrible thing to another human being - my wife. I have tried to forget a d outrun it but it is added to my nasty heap of shameful deeds that I know separates me (forever?) from the rest of the human race. Why do we do these things and why can't we stop ourselves early on? Is it the inability to be wrong - the shame that is perceived as greater than the lesser transient shame of being wrong?

    My new bride criticized me one evening - briefly, in passing - meant to be constructive and helpful. She was not a cruel person - she in fact criticized herself or explored possible flaws in her thinking openly on occasion. Fine for her, but my new role as husband (of a beautiful and accomplished wife) inflated my ego and filled me with power and her suggestion enraged me. Immediately I secretly declared war on her and hated her.

    I hatched a stupid plot and in my grandiosity didn't think it out all the way or consider the consequences of a failure. I manipulated, lied and deceived - bullied her and tried to have her committed to a mental hospital. I ran to my family and what few (superficial) "friends" I had telling them she was severely mentally ill, needed psychiatric hospitalization but refused. All behind her back. I feared her critical observation of me might slip out so I tried to smear her, ruin her credibility and enjoyed humiliating her in the process. This was a control maneuver too. A demon overcame me and I spoke so cruelly and arrogantly to her. I put her through 6 months of torture and suffering because I'm a pussy who can't take criticism.

    But it blew wide open and all the nasty truth of my lies and deeds were exposed.

    When she tried to reason with me by going to marriage counseling, I tried unsuccessfully to manipulate, then self-righteously and arrogantly left the office saying I wanted a divorce. I ran from myself. I did not renew our apt. lease, forcing her to move out. This was just my way of avoiding facing what I did - just like fighting her original criticism. Paradoxically, my grand scheme of claiming she was crazy and having her hospitalized (now exposed) made me look far worse than her original criticism did - I did it to myself - made myself look like a monster and could never talk about it to anyone ever, because it was so cruel and evil - I would be hounded from the company of humanity.

    I kept stalling about the divorce and she finally filed and divorced me. More shame and that fear of rejection and ultimate abandonment. All the strategies I used on her I ended up suffering - I lost what I so needed and depended on. My hatred of her temporarily blinded me and. To quote her, I "won the battle but lost the war."

    I am forever sorry and can never forget her. We were only married for 9 months because of my ego and childish reaction and narcissistic behavior. Don't be like me. Get help and get serious. Anyone out there who can identify with this and support me would be appreciated.


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    1. Thank you so much for writing this post, Anonymous. You have validated the experiences of so many 'maligned' partners of narcissists who never suspected how deeply they were resented by the narcissist.

      Have you sought professional treatment for narcissistic personalities? I'd love to know whether or not therapy is useful when someone is willing (and able) to be responsible for their hurtful behaviors.

      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
    2. I would like to correspond with the person above or others who can admit they have NPD. I know I have it and would like to compare notes. There has to be a reason for this other than just being selfish. I say that because I don't want to hurt my wife and yet I do. I can't deny it. The story above sounds like he actually plotted the whole scenario out but without thinking it all the way thru. I can't say I have done that. Mine is mostly that I don't think about what my actions will do to her before I do them and then of course I try to justify what I have done later. It's too late then, the damage has been done.
      Is there any groups out there for people with NPD to help each other or at least share thoughts.

      Delete
    3. Hi Anonymous,

      I am currently setting up a blog for this specific reason, to offer support to victims and narcissists, and for them to gain a better understanding of each other and themselves. I have been abused by a narcissist but strongly believe they can change.

      The blog is in it's early stages but please take a look:

      http://silverboundary.wordpress.com

      I am not very articulate either and would appreciate feedback and comments to make the blog more polished, and the posts more meaningful.

      Kind Regards

      Ariel
      Silver Boundary

      Delete
  21. I projected the voices of rejection, and fear of abandonment on to others. Other people were constantly judging me, cast me aside as not good enough to be myself so I projected a false self-intelligent, charming, charismatic, modest (false), all knowledgeable. All the meantime inside was rotten disgust and contempt for society as a whole, particularly the poor and vulnerable, matched only for a hatred of myself and constant aiming for various objective goals (money in my youth, later, 'perfection' through gaining a degree and bodybuilding). I thought this was the way I was with people because I was a nice humble guy who never wants to rock the boat or make people think 'bad', thus leading to confrontation and abandonment.
    These are just some of the aspects. It's been dreadful to go through all this but I feel like a new man, like the weight of the world has been on my shoulders all my life and the passive aggressive attempts at getting back at my 'detractors' ie. myself, there's no need anymore. For the first time in my life, I understand why I don't get close to people, and why I have never had a relationship of any meaning...I weren't equipped emotionally, could not see myself as someone to love/be loved, could not empathise. It's almost as if I was watching a film where I was at the centre with everything set out before me whereas nowadays I take a stroll through town and see the couples together, holding hands, enjoying each others company, that it has taken emotional investment in people as creatures worthy of love regardless of the self they portray (they don't, they have the esteem to be their true selves always, as opposed to the Oscar worthy manipulation act that is/was my existence). As I take note and feel something for the first time in my life...I. AM. PETRIFIED. Because these people, these curious aliens that I was so above and different and unique from owing to my perverted sense of my magnificent personal biography, they are the ones that have been normal and special all along for recognising and dealing with their humanity and it is I that is the alien, the iron wall supported by rotten wooden foundations.

    I have found a label for all of my anxieties, compulsions, rituals, insecurities and pursuits. At first I was shaken by the contempt held for narcissists, then I realised I wasn't the overt type. In fact, most people adore me and it is supply for me to hear from one friend when another has been talking about me favourably, which I then of course downplay. It is both horrible and a joy to realise that I am just another individual deserving of everything that 'normal' (previously, inferiors) people enjoy in life. Learning to be my self and cater to those needs rather than reflecting the image bounced back to me by others is hard and most websites seem wholly dedicated to hatred of narcissists particularly in the wake of a break up- thankfully I haven't had this experience beforehand as I have no idea how I would have behaved, certainly jealous and controlling. Sam Vaknin, and of course this site has also been of help in helping, so thankyou very much. I am a victim more than anything, of the smothering, well intentioned but misplaced dotage I received as a youth, of the abuse of my peers I received growing up, and of course of my own superego.
    I only hope others can come to the same peace of mind I have found in a relatively short space of time. Good luck, I feel your pain, I empathise with it.

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    Replies
    1. Thank you for writing, Chris. I wish you the very best of luck in working through your narcissistic defenses. Slow and practiced actions are the ONLY way to have a truly intimate and loving relationship with.....yourself.

      You thought I was gonna say 'others', didn't you? ;-P First, you need to become familiar with who you are and then you'll automatically appreciate other people, finding joy, fulfillment, and meaning in your relationships with them.

      I hope you enjoy reading this poem which encourages all of us, narcissists or not, to accept and embrace our vulnerability, our weaknesses, our humanity.


      "Allow"
      by Danna Faulds

      There is no controlling life.
      Try corralling a lightning bolt,
      containing a tornado.
      Dam a stream
      and it will create
      a new channel.

      Resist, and the tide will sweep you off your feet.

      Allow, and grace will carry you to higher ground.

      The only safety lies in letting it all in...

      The wild and the weak; fear, fantasies, failures and success.

      When loss rips off the doors
      of the heart,
      and sadness
      veils your vision
      with despair,
      practice becomes
      simply bearing the truth.

      In the choice to let go of
      your known way of being,
      the whole world
      is revealed
      to your new eyes.

      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
  22. CZ, I guess I am not going to write anything that has not already been written. I feel as does my wife that I am NPD. She is still here but for how long I don't know. I do things that hurt her and I can't answer why. I don't plan them out,I just do and I refuse to believe that whatever is going on inside of me can't be stopped.
    It's almost like a underlying script on a computer is running that
    dictates my actions and the reason I say that because I do things that seem to be for no apparent reason but they are setting the stage for some upcoming act I will perform. It's like without understanding why I do or say something, I am setting the stage for something I'm about to do,that will hurt her. Then I don't understand why I did it. Yes, I did it and I am responsible for it but I don't consciously think about it ahead of time.
    Some times I do things that hurt her and I know I did it but I myself can't explain why I did it.
    I have read so many articles on this and the behavior that goes with it.There has t be a underlying cause for it. I don't want to be this way and it is getting worse.
    Is it possible that we sometimes do things and are not even aware of it or do we just lie to ourselves. I ask because I have been accused of things I truly don't remember doing and that's minutes later. Did I block it out or is it a memory issue.
    I have always had a memory problems and I think they are connected to the NPD.
    Please point me to someone or something to help. I have been to many counselors with my wife and I either manipulate them or they are just in for the money and don't really have the knowledge to help.
    As time goes by I see more of what I do but once again,I don't understand why.
    Thanks for however you may be able to help.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Anonymous,

      I can hear the pain in your words and the desperation. I wish there were answers for what you're experiencing and I would happily type them in a post and make everyone's lives better.

      Because you are aware that your behavior is hurting your wife and your thought processes are working against you (so to speak), is SHE getting therapy? It's recommended that people who live with narcissists, get therapy to inform themselves about NPD, AND to protect their self-esteem.

      She may want to read this book by Wendy T. Behary, "Disarming the Narcissist."

      It sounds like you need to find a therapist who is qualified to treat personality disorders. Not every therapist can do that, so spend some time checking around and asking for a specific type of treatment for NPD.

      I'm assuming this is self-diagnosis? You haven't been given an official diagnosis, have you?

      Delete
    2. CZBZ, thanks for the response. No, I haven't had a Dr tell me I have it but I have read so much on it that I have no doubts. My wife is the one that started the research on it.My brother is doing the same thing to his Girlfriend of 20 years and maybe worse than what I have done but when I hear my wife talking to his girlfriend,I don't hear his name,I hear mine because I know I have done many of these same things. My wife has gotten strong because of my actions,although she did go thru a time of depression.I know I still upset her,but she is determined not to let me hurt her any more. I think it was because of what my brother is doing that I finally accepted I am NPD. My wife and I have been to many councilors but you know what we NPD'S do in those situations. We lie and manipulate.
      I am determined to over come this. I can finally say,"I am a NPD" "It's not her,it's me that has the problem"
      I appreciate your recommendation for my wife and I let her read everything like this post I am leaving. Believe me,she understands better than most about her self esteem. I am fortunate to have such a strong woman who says"hell no,your not going to treat me this way". But I read of so many other woman that just don't understand and how it destroys their life.
      I have to fix me first but I want to reach out to others that can admit they are NPD because it has to stop. I almost cry when I hear my wife speaking to my brothers girlfriend because I see what it is doing to her and then I think,I did the same thing to my wife. I don't want praise or anything like that,I want to stop this madness.
      My wife and I went to a Therapist that was the daughter of a friend and she refused to help us. What I didn't know, was she had gone thru the same thing in her life with an NPD and now I understand why she said no. I see it happening in my wife as she is trying to help my brothers girlfriend. It brings back all the pain and hurt I caused her.

      Delete
    3. I am currently composing a list of resources for people with narcissistic personalities. I cannot diagnose anyone and even self-diagnosis is 'sketchy'. However, if the shoe fits, you're probably a foot.

      ha...my humor is an "acquired taste", anon.

      Narcissistic personalities can be mildly annoying or all the way to the extreme of sadism. In between is a vast spectrum of behavior. Narcissists who are conscious and without remorse or guilt, are the most dangerous of all. But those folks wouldn't be writing to me, asking for help---now would they?

      BELIEVE you can change---because you can.

      My resource page is taking longer than expected 'cuz I keep getting sidetracked but it will hopefully offer a few suggestions people haven't found elsewhere.

      If I put my mind to it today, and no one interrupts me, I should be able to post the article by Tuesday, October 30th. I'd rather not post it on Halloween. ;-P

      I believe 'normal to unhealthy' narcissistic behaviors are learned which means they can be unlearned.

      Pathological narcissism is another kettle of fish and absolutely requires professional therapy over the course of several years. That means once a week for seven years in many cases.

      I used to correspond with a man who was diagnosed and treated for NPD. He passed away while his forum was still active. I will be adding some of his recommendations to my Resource Page. But other than Tony Brown, I don't know of any groups that were as personally supportive as his group was. He had been in private therapy for years before organizing a group online.

      Have you read Dr. Steven Stosny's work? His website is located here: http://compassionpower.com/ He focuses on anger and emotional abuse. For people who want to keep their relationship together, Stosny is a great resource even though he isn't addressing NPD specifically.

      As far as partners of narcissists go---being too gentle and non-confrontational doesn't seem to work. For some, direct confrontation doesn't work. Each couple is unique, making it difficult to generalize advice. But if you're both "seeking" and you're both committed to changing dysfunctional patterns and behaviors, there's hope for healthy change and a mutually beneficial relationship. That's my belief anyway!

      Hugs,
      CZ

      Delete
    4. Thanks CZ, I will be looking for your resource page. I'm sure it will be helpful for people like me that want to change.

      Delete
    5. I'm not gonna make my deadline. Sorry! I'll finish one section tonight and post it tomorrow. This was a challenge...I hope it'll be useful.

      I'm adding a new section on my sidebar, too.

      Delete
  23. Getting closer! I should have two articles ready to post this week-end. Pack a lunch. It's a long read. ha!

    Hugs,
    CZ

    ReplyDelete
  24. Hi CZBZ and all,

    Thank you very much for your blog, your articles and all the materials on this site.
    I'm covert narcissist (on surface I'm shy and very soft for others).
    And I'afraid that I'm a malignant narcissist - I can't change. Now I'm 26 years old and I've already tried to make the changes in my personality and in my behaviour.
    But in my case I've made all these attempts for me and not for the others. And in this article you suggest the changing for others. I have no the constant love and attachment or trust for others. I can spend the beautiful moments with other people, I can feel happy with them, but all these feelings are related to my narcissism and need to feel my uniqueness and speciality.

    I have not enough inner energy to keep my motivation for changings. In other words you can call that I don't want to change.

    It is true.

    But at the same time I want to change. I want to change not for others, but becouse:
    1) I suffer a lot.
    2) I don't want to live the empty life.
    3) I don't want to make suffer the others (not becouse I love them, but becouse I don't want to).
    4) I want to feel myself real, I want to live and not to simulate that I'm living.
    5) I have grown in the family of narcissist, I don't want to repeat the cycle again with my potential future family if I have it. I have already done some things which have caused suffering the other people. I've done them not becouse I wanted it, but becouse I couldn't manage me at that moment, I thought that this is only way that I can do to save myself from terrible emotions. But finally I have just moved these emotions to future.

    Yes, I know, my formulation are narcissistics, but they are true. If I say that I want to change myself for others it will be the lie. And this post maybe my first attempt to tell true about myself.

    I can't destroy myself, I thought about that several times, but I have too much fear to do that. On the other hand sometimes I don't understand what is the reason to continue to live if I can't change and I continue to suffer OR make suffer the others. I can walk around in this circle of questions during weeks consecutive without issue.


    My question is : where can I take the forces and energy and motivation for long term changment? At the moment I can't make nothing with my mind for long term. I tried to work with therapist, but I very quickly start to feel superior to therapist or simply my motivation finishes quickly or I come to therapist only when I feel very bad. Now I started the consultation of a new psychiatrist, but I'm afraid that I will repeat my tricks with him. If I'm really malignant narcissit who has no ability for real changement, what is the best thing that I can do with me?
    Now I have the period of crisis, a period of large shame that I lived on my work and in my relations to others. My previous ideal world is broken Now I try to reanalyze all my life. But probably very in few month I will return back to construction the new ideal world. Maybe I'm doing it at this moment already... I want to try to do all that I can to prevent that if I can...

    Sorry for my English

    ReplyDelete
  25. Hello,( I am another anonymous)
    narcissism is something new for me,I only knew in a workshop and through a test I was diagnosed as having it. When I look back my life was good and then turned bad and for those who live with narcissism and have relationship you are lucky. I failed in maintaining relationships and even though wishing to have one dare not to try now. I knew people are pessimistic about an N can recover, I do not have much knowledge on the subject but I think we should try, for the benefit of others, yes. What I am trying to do now is to mend the relations with my sister and brother, call them once a week ( I live 200 miles away)and I can accept it if I have to be lonely to pay my bad deeds in the past, but I am really trying now to see other people as honest as I know how.

    You know, sometimes it is hard to understand how could others feel hurt from what I did, some deed I perceived as normal, but a psychologist is helping me to understand this. Yes, change myself is very very very hard. Every day I wake up promising to be a better person but even a very small thing can deprive me away from that.

    I do not beg for sympathy, but I beg for a little trust, we are trying. I hope I can change. I am not happy at all, If it is my mistake for having this personality, then I am willing to take the blame, the sentence, to cure myself.

    Thanks for this wonderful post CZ , and sorry for the broken English, I am from Asia.

    ReplyDelete
  26. I read this post with some degree of dismay.

    I'm not a narcissist, though I suppose there have been several in my life. I'm also about to clean my house. The idea that this is drudgery hadn't occurred to me. What does occur to me, when I clean, are these things:

    1. Jesus, I have a lot of stuff; is it really necessary?
    2. How can we wear so much clothing? (I should take better care of it)
    3. How amazing that I have a house, a whole house, that is mine
    4. Am I out of sponges already?
    5. How pretty the apple trees are
    6. How good hot water feels on my hands
    7. What time is it?

    How can it be offensive to have so much? Madness.

    Also, please, for God's sake, don't go do service work so that you can feel better than someone else. Really, that's all the suffering need, is someone standing there and thinking "at least I'm better than you." Don't *use* people. And don't use service work as a hair shirt! That's not what it's for -- it's not about *you*. If you actually want to help people, rather than watch yourself helping people, go do behind the scenes work, away from the people actually getting help. Don't feed your addiction.

    I'm glad you're trying to come out of this, but you're still seeing things through this filter of grandiosity. Please work with therapists and others who can help you correct. Maybe when you do that, you'll run up against the things that make you angry or feel hurt, and this will help you gain insight, empathy, a clearer view of who you are and your context.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. This is a good piece of satire. Everybody who posts comments on blogs is a narcissist.

      Delete
  27. There's a lot of food for thought here, thanks for posting it. I'm a recovering addict, possibly somewhere on the Aspergers spectrum, and definitely suffering from NPD. I'm really grateful to have my craving for pot and alcohol lifted, when I'm awake and around other people I feel pretty good, but my own privately defined fantasy world still wreaks havoc on my dreams and my ability to bond with others.

    ReplyDelete
  28. Thank you for the energy you have put into this. I recognise so much in my own failed/failing struggles with narcissism. I had my first moment of insight as a teenager reading about narcissism during my first episode of depression.

    That was thirty years ago, since when I have only ever been in one really serious relationship, at university, and that ended after about six months of her indulging my despair and playing up to my wish/ideal/vanity of being an all-round academic genius. I have slipped out of subsequent glimmers of relationships when the guilty depression about what I'm really like surfaces.

    Instead I have hung on the coat-tails of others' - a series of dear couples, many of whom I have ultimately alienated in my periods of ugly aggressive mania. And who have all tried to forgive me, though they have families and children and so have little room for me and my infantile carryon.

    Most recently the most boundlessly generous friend I ever had died in an accidental overdose. Just after seeing me, being quietly kind as I attempted to be a good host through all-too familiar fog of depression and shame. It's a huge loss to me, but it has ripped his partner in two, and she is still concerned for me - I want to help but what can I do for her?

    There are friends and family around who love me still. I need them. Though I hide from them so often, mired in depression and shame, the image I hold of them in my heart as 'still fond' of me is precious. How can I avoid damaging them and keep their friendship?

    I am hiding from everything



    ReplyDelete
  29. Is there anything I can do for my son who I'm sure has npd & is 16? He is living under social welfare care having been taken from us because of oppositional, criminal and abusive behaviour. He was put in care to protact his very young siblings. That was 2 years ago. His engagement in crime and drugs has increased exponentially. I acknowledge that his early childhood with a violent abusive npd father would be the reason for my sons difficult situation. I love him so much and would do anything to free him from his self destructive personality. He has all the signs-blames everyone but himself, lies about everything, has no empathy, thinks the rules don't apply to him....

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  30. I don't know how I became a narcissist. I'm a covert-introverted narcissist. I think it was because I was jealous when my parents had another baby, I had a brother. I think thats the root of my problems and how I developed narcissism. I was 3. I stopped talking, did silent treatment.

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    1. Pathological Narcissist

      Good day all. This is actually the first time I am attempting to share any of my own personal story, but I wanted to contribute my own quota. As someone who fulfills all the criteria and exhibits all the characteristics of a Pathological Narcissist, I am only now beginning to truly see how all the thoughts and behaviors I thought made me unique and special, are in fact just a result of my psychosis..

      I am presently engage in a struggle to save my marriage, by not engaging in all the negative behaviors that have brought me to the brink of disaster. All the while recognizing the sobering fact, that I still have the same traits and motivations that lead me to feel separated from everyone and every thing, thereby allowing me to lie and cheat my way through every single relationship I have ever had.

      Luckily for me, I have been given an opportunity to redeem myself, which I fully intend to take. Event though I still have the desire to indulge my urges and impulses, I must not, and cannot. Behavior Modification is what my Wife calls it, and she is of course completely right, as I still think the same, but want to act differently.

      Thinks that's all I have for now, but I will probably be back with more, as my own narcissistic drama continues to unfold....


      ....take care out there!!

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  31. Hello, I just stumbled across this site today. After years of having no friends or close family except for my mother. I realized that I too may be a narcissist. I hate the thought of admitting such a thing to myself and hate the person who told me I was so. However, my life hasn't been going right since I was 10. I started having trouble with my peers at that age. I always thought that people didn't like me because growing up I was fat and very tall ( By the time I reached the 6th grade I was 5'11 and over 200 pounds). However, a great deal of the teasing I received came from the fact that people hated my attitude. Once a person said that people mostly pick out your physical flaws when they don't like you. Anyway, I have no trouble making "friends". However, I have a hell of a time keeping them. Sometimes I just tire of them after a while. Or, I get angry and frustrated with them. Once I acted a damn fool with these people because, at the time I wanted to show them my bad side. So I could see if they would really like me for me. The true me. That was a bad I idea. The only reason I latched on to one of them was because I had no other friends at the time. Anyway, I went to a psychologist for over a year as teen. After hearing my mother tell me I need to talk to a therapist and seeing a paxil commercial that could cure emotional anxiety disorder, I decided to place myself in psychiatric care. I was never diagnosed with narcissism. I told the doctors that I think I have social anxiety and I wanted some paxil. So they gave it to me. After a while my psychologist said that he didn't think anything was physically wrong with me. I just had to change my way of thinking. He use to say that I had low self esteem. So I don't know what to do. I just stopped going after a while. Although, my therapist even told me he thought I should stop coming so much. So I've gone to a doctor and was never diagnosed. It is funny how they never picked up on my condition. They never asked me about my friends and why I had trouble forming relationships. In school I never dated, never had a good friend, barely went to parties ( never invited), did not attend prom. I never learned how to drive. I made very bad grades. I just did nothing. What do you thinK???? P.S I don't feel like proof reading. So forgive me if you see a lot of typos.

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    1. Hi anonymous,

      You sound sincere in your desire to change behaviors that might be blocking healthy relationships and isolating yourself from other people. And it sounds like you've gone to therapy for treatment which, (for whatever reason why) didn't result in the changes you'd hoped for. But changing the way we think can take years of "failed" and "successful" attempts so don't give up right away. If you have a pathological disorder, it may take several years before achieving successful change. We can all "white knuckle" change through sheer will and self-discipline but changing our automatic thoughts is what we want to happen. Scheme therapy might be a good treatment for you, Anonymous. Find a therapist who deals with narcissistic disorders and educate yourself on available treatments. Read my other post titled "Resources for people with a narcissistic personality" and see if any of the treatment methods appeal to you.

      Not having friends, not dating, not being socially connected can take a toll on our mental and emotional health. We behave differently when we feel rejected and can't "fit in" to society. Why you are having trouble might require an objective view because we often criticize ourselves unfairly. It's hard to see our positive traits when we're crushed by social rejection so don't give up on yourself. Keep learning about healthy narcissism and find a therapist you can relate to. Then give your treatment some time because if you have a narcissistic disorder, you can't cure it in ten sessions. Be aware that something as complex as pathological narcissism requires time and dedication and lots of compassion for yourself.

      I can't know if you are narcissistic or not but it sounds like you're aware that something about your personality style is causing relational problems. It sounds to me like you're trying to find out "who" you are---struggling with this personality style or that. This seems fairly normal depending on your age.

      If you go to therapy, send me an update now and then. I'd love to hear how things are going.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  32. You do realize that the reason someone is narcissistic is because their whole childhood revolved around "doing it for others"..ie maybe their narcissistic parent....telling a narcissist that their therapy is for others...completely outrageous. The narcissist needs to do it for themself. Doing it for themself is not an egotistical part of the narcissist..but rather a healing for them. They acknowledged they have a big problem, and now they want to fix it so they can stop destroying themselves. It doesn't only affect people around them.Especially if the narcissist is highly functioning in society. You would never know it. But at home they are destroying themselves for not being the grand star of the universe.

    Sincerely,
    A narcissist

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    1. Hello dear narcissist,

      Of course you make a valid point. My approach is definitely subjective, this post having been written from my heart. I watched someone with a narcissistic personality improve his life by taking responsibility for the hurt he had caused other people. He wasn't upset; they were. He was able to move forward and forget the past; they could not. As far as being high-functioning in society, he was; they were still suffering the aftermath of his verbal and physical abuse.

      I witnessed a narcissist's "good enough" transformation because he finally noticed (and cared) that other people were suffering. Perhaps he was not a pathological narcissist---perhaps he would have been without this moment of clarity about himself: that he was fine and other people weren't. That he wasn't haunted by broken relationships; other people were. That he didn't care if people liked him; other people did.

      Focusing on other people and caring enough to walk into a therapist's office seemed to be "key" to improving his narcissistic personality and opening his heart to others. First of all, he had to CARE that other people were hurt and by caring about their welfare more than his own at that point, he was able to help himself.

      It is funny how life is: the more we "do for others", the more we "do for ourselves." Without treatment of course, this idea can smack of manipulation; i.e.: giving to get. With treatment however (which I also stressed in my essay), a skilled professional can help narcissists work through the inevitable stumbling blocks keeping them trapped in a self-absorbed mentality.

      I expect people to disagree with me because narcissism is complex and not-well-understood. I appreciate it when people explain their disagreement because that is how we learn. That is how we come to understand one another. So thank you for commenting and expressing your understanding of a disorder that causes pain in everyone's lives---including narcissists.

      If you read through my other postings,you'll see that I have an expansive understanding of this disorder---ranging from the False Self described in co-narcissism/co-dependent literature, to the Malignant Narcissism Syndrome. I have (and continue) to work through the False Self of the abused child. Focusing on other people (such as my children) and caring about my impact on them more than their impact on me, allowed me to resolve my unhealthy narcissism.

      Balancing communal values with agentic values is also part of the work narcissistic people need to do. That is another reason why I suggested "doing it for others."

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  33. Dear CZ,
    After reading an article on covert narcissism (http://blogs.scientificamerican.com/beautiful-minds/2013/08/26/23-signs-youre-secretly-a-narcissist-masquerading-as-a-sensitive-introvert/) I felt that I strongly identified as one and really wanted to make a change . I went to my psychiatrist who treats me for borderline ADD and showed her the article but she felt like I was not selfish enough to be a narcissist . However , I do feel that I display many behaviours similar to one - for example, I've always felt that I was superior to my peers from a very young age despite doing poorly in school . My teachers and parents have also noted that I have particularly low self esteem and a bad attitude . I still retain these behaviours and want to correct them with my psychiatrist. Should I explain to her again that I am a narcissist and need help, or should I go seek it elsewhere ? Thank you very much for your help.

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    1. Dear anon,

      Should you ask another psychologist to validate your self-diagnosis or accept your psychiatrist's opinion that you are not selfish enough to be a narcissist? Trust your psychiatrist's opinion that you are not dealing with "pathological narcissism". S/he may not be concerned about unhealthy narcissism because s/he knows that treating whatever issues you might have (such as borderline ADD) will loosen the hold of the Inner Narcissist.

      Insecurity and years of invalidation by family&friends might render you more sensitive to insults or criticism. Growing up in an "invalidating environment" creates a defensive self, the one that hides feelings and thoughts that are problematic in a judgmental environment. People with ADD are called hurtful things such as lazy or stupid or crazy (there's an ADD book by that title!). Of course they become self-protective! The false self allows you to survive an invalidating environment tearing down your self-esteem.

      You may discover that your inner narcissist is a temporary resident as you work through relationship problems (cognitive errors, shame, etc.) and then the real you moves in. I do not believe you need labels IF you willingly and earnestly work on yourself, your issues, your responsibility for causing harm to other people and yourself.

      On a personal note: when I went to therapy many years ago, there is no doubt in my mind that I was dealing with unhealthy narcissism though never diagnosed as such. As I released the shame creating a false self, external criticism and judgment became more tolerable. (never completely tolerable unless we are saints, which I'm definitely not!).

      So my advice is to trust your therapist as a reliable guide. Having borderline ADD could increase defenses protecting your ego, your self-esteem (your comment about being "superior to your peers"). That you have a bad attitude could easily be attributed to the False Self defending you from further pain and/or humiliation. This makes sense to me but perhaps I'm reading too much into your story since my nephew has severe ADD (and aspergers). People have been cruel and dismissive which wounded his self-esteem. How can you feel good about yourself when people assign pejorative labels?

      Learn about narcissism (non-pathological narcissism) and "catch yourself in the act" when you are behaving in ways that inhibit healthy relationships. Your self-esteem will improve as you gain relationship skills, successfully integrating yourself in society (occupation, family, friends, etc.). You will feel better and better about yourself and the need for an Inner Narcissist will dissipate naturally.

      A pathological narcissist (covert or overt) would not ask me for advice. They'd insist on talking with Otto Kernberg or maybe Sam Vaknin. ha! (i love making myself laugh while typing to people). That you are concerned about being narcissistic is another sign that you are NOT a pathological narcissist. If you were, you'd be justifying your behavior by blaming other people; excusing yourself as having ADD.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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    2. P.S. Thank you so much for the link to that article. I will read it carefully and post an article linking this self-test! I think a lot of folks are excusing their nasty behavior as being extra-sensitive. The pathological narcissist will continue to blame other people and justify some rather startling behavior that is out-of-context to the situation at hand. In other words, they will "read" insult into someone's comment and hire a hit man to "take 'em out."

      It's one thing to be insulted because we are anxious, or in the middle of a crisis; but how far will we take it? I have experienced astonishing hostility by people who declared themselves "extra-sensitive". Which always shocks me because sensitive people (like myself) are sensitive to the pain someone else is feeling and they'll walk three blocks out of their way to hurt anyone's feelings.

      Sensitive people will take the blame rather than hand it to others. The most caustic people I've met online have been super-sensitive women. Or so they claim. It's another lie they tell themselves rather than admitting fault or taking responsibility for their unreasonable anger and hostility.

      You've given me much to think about---thank you!!

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  34. I was just a few days away from committing suicide before I got desperate today and found this blog through google. In 3 years I have transformed myself from a 17 year-old wiz kid with more athletic and mental talent than most people would ever dream of into a heartless, vicious 20 year-old man who was falling headfirst into sociopathy. I have endured severe psychological and physical trauma in the past 3 years and I became a narcissist to cope with my traumatic experiences. I have hope now because of this website and I don't want to kill myself anymore. My hopeless narcissism has driven every friend I have ever had far away from me and aside from my family I am completely alone. Whoever writes this blog probably saved my life I was seriously considering taking my dad's .22 caliber rifle, putting it in my mouth and pulling the trigger. I thought I was doomed to never empathize with another human being ever again but I don't think that's true anymore. Whoever writes this blog must be an angel sent from God to save me from suicide I am so lucky to find this blog may God have mercy on me I need help.

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    1. Hi Mark Karl,

      You are still young. You can change your life by making different choices that will lead to a healthier relationship with yourself. You've made a series of choices that got you where you are today and now you can make a different series of choices.

      You mentioned "severe psychological and physical trauma" so I hope you are being compassionate with yourself and getting help from a qualified therapist who deals with trauma. Sometimes it takes a crisis like suicide to realize behaviors have led up to this moment in time and behaviors can lead towards a different result.

      Find someone you feel comfortable talking with; someone you can trust and that might require talking with a therapist. Or attending a support group. There are so many good people in this world who are willing to listen and support you. All it takes is trusting the right people to be there when you're ready.

      I want you to know that there is help for people with narcissistic personalities. I also want you to hear that "narcissism" is a serious problem requiring professional therapy. You cannot fix this yourself and please don't think you can. Treat yourself with compassion and ask for help. Your willingness to do that will be key to recovery.

      I don't know about being an angel although I'd like to think so. ;-P I truly loved my partNer of many years and have deep compassion for the suffering he endured because of his traumatic childhood. Please take care of you. You can change your life for the better.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  35. I am 19 and my heart feels like a stone. It turned into a stone the moment the only person I truly care about told me what my True Self was and which I still do not want to see. I don't deserve sympathy, that would be narcissistic me leaching off the energies of normal empathic people. The very moment I found out, my heart turned away...it's like I condemned myself to the hell my life has become. It scares me because the tears come with so much difficulty now, when I used to cry all the time before. I hope somebody will say a prayer for me, that I open myself to unconditional love so I can heal and change and not hurt people anymore and be the miserable dirty self-gratifying wreck of a person that I am. I want to feel again, but it seems I do not want it enough...giving up is not an option...what you said though is right, I have to jump into the dirty water. No one is going to do it for me or with me. I've been sitting for three months waiting for God to make the flowers to spring up around me without touching the dirty water of my real self. I get used to being like this.

    It sounds horrible, it is horrible, but there is still hope. I can still cry. Please say a prayer for me. Through fear of Hell or for the sake of the love which I conceal, idk. I have been abused all my life but I am not honest with myself about everything I suffered. You have to have mercy on yourself before God has mercy on you.

    Please say a prayer for me, I am trapping myself mentally by telling myself I can live without love, trying to take the easy way out. It's not true. Nobody can. Please pray I reject my delusions.

    Please pray, I don't think anything else can save me. I am 19 and my heart feels like a stone. I am 19 and it feels like my life is already over. But I am responsible for so many people. Please help. Please help. Please help. Please pray. If God loves you maybe He will accept it.

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    1. To be 19 and realize that your life is a mess and you don't like it that way, is a blessing in and of itself. Knowing you are responsible for your own self, your own life--is a blessing. That you are willing to look at your problems and take responsibility for them is a small miracle. I think you have a great deal to be hopeful about and perhaps in a way, God is already blessing you by opening your eyes.

      It may not seem that way when the 'fruits of our labor" are hard to look at. Have compassion for yourself and the miseries you have endured but offer no excuses for harming others. Remember that everyone has their cross to bear, their insults and injuries to overcome.

      Have faith in your ability to change the course of your life and then take action. I have no doubts that you are in the prayerful hearts of many......

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  36. Try to balance yourself play a game upon your own personality discover what you like and what you dislike.
    Accept that your pride, vengeance and your occasional sloth are slowing you down.
    Develop your hobbies, interests, political views, etc....Play the game, and in the end, you will get back on the track as a successful psychopath.Stop treating people as chess figures that never ends up being good for anyone including yourself brother.
    Have the hunger "ambition" for success in general, but deny your pride "ego" to get in your way, and whatever you do don't contradict yourself!.Stop pleasing or exploiting everyone, and try to balance yourself somehow, you're a just like me your gift will not perish.
    Well, brother you need to develop yourself as a tricksters, and as a human, they aren't lesser life forms, and you aren't the most intelligent life form on this planet.
    Once you choose to embrace all of this your very gift will be beneficial to you!.
    I know that you struggle with your conscience kill it, and learn emotions how to distinct them how to control them, but on top of all that learn how to truly have them.You can do it, but mostly because anything can be learned, and if you can or have a friend who is normal non judgmental person.Ask several normal people or observe a healthy interaction between people that's how I learned.My point is don't fake anything learn the term "normal" mimic it until it becomes reality!.
    Balance yourself become the one not many this words may be disturbing to normal people tough to us this is a common tip.Reading psychology books also enhances your perspective of human behavior what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.

    PS:Get rid of all addictions, and try meditating, learning new things that's a good way to start.
    On top of all that I am encouraging you all to become more intelligent, and less manipulative tough lets face it....Normal people aren't like us, they aren't" self aware", and we are, so to say that coercion isn't useful is a lie.Use this gift with eloquence, and without any further abuse, but whatever you do don't get cocky, it will ruin everything and you risk exposure, so tread lightly!.

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