August 07, 2014

One in Five Neighbors has a Personality Disorder??!!


Sunday Gardening by John Falter

Admit it. You have a neighbor like this, too. One house is manicured to perfection; the other a dreary mess. One walkway is scattered with hedge clippings; the other missing bricks. Zinnias bloom like colored popcorn balls on one side of the property; weeds choke hollyhocks on the other. The only thing a sane woman like myself can do in a circumstance like this, is lay a newspaper on her face and take a nap. 

Neighbors. One in five has a personality disorder and not one of them thinks they're as screwed up as their neighbors believe they are.  

If you're part of a Homeowner's Association, you know what I'm talking about. At least one person in the group measures everyone's grass within a 1/4" allowance, sticking rulers in front yards to terrorize the miscreant. Rebels have newspapers strewn across their driveways, rainstorms dissolving paper into pulp while Madame Ruler frantically pastes warning notices about declining property values. The same dynamics in every other group are rooted in the homeowner's meeting. You've got yer leader, legal enforcers, true believers, bystanders and when-will-this-flipping-meeting-end criminals. (You know you're in trouble when the Homeowner's President suggests building a gallows on the empty lot and everyone looks at you).

Neighbors. One in five has a personality disorder and not one of them thinks they're as screwed up as their neighbors believe they are.  

Did you know 6.2% of the general population has a Narcissistic Personality Disorder, most of them men? That means one out of sixteen lawnmowers has a turbo-charged engine with helicopter blades, the best lawnmower a credit card can buy. If you want to avoid living next to one-upping-narcissists, consider an "established" community. Only 3% of people over 65 have a narcissistic personality (Stinson). Plus, senior citizens pay cash for a Sears push mower which means you won't be tempted to "key" it when they're on vacation. Your better instincts will instead be inspired to make a pitcher of icy lemonade and invite Mr. 65+ to take a break from his labors. The entire neighborhood will rise a notch in happiness levels because you made lemonade and because they know he has the crummiest lawn mower on the block. After accepting your generous libation, your grateful neighbor will cut your grass beyond his property line just 'cuz he's feeling generous and that makes you feel valued enough to give him a bunch of rutabagas from your garden. Pretty soon you have a mutual admiration society because neither of you has a personality disorder. People without personality disorders are able to give and take with ease. They are able to trust, to cooperate, to admire without envy, to care, to be concerned, to be affectionate. What they say is how they behave; who they say they are is what they do. There won't be a gap between image and actions. You will never be confused by their behavior because if you are, you won't be afraid to ask questions.
Personality is comprised of traits and habits. Traits are inherited (60% of who you are is inherited at birth). Habits are learned (40%), which means they can be unlearned. The more inherited the personality disorder, the less treatable it will be. (Shannon)
Birdhouses by John Philip Falter

Where's the Harmony?

Personality disorders mess up a neighborhood and the sooner you know what you're dealing with, the better off everyone will be---including the person with the personality disorder. Key to distinguishing someone with a personality disorder is disharmony. Drama. The inability to resolve relational conflicts which always come up no matter where you live or how.

True story. Once upon a time there was a crotchety old woman who lived in a rural neighborhood. Everyone said she was eccentric. Some said she was a recluse which doesn't necessarily equate to a personality disorder. What pegged her behavior as extreme enough to question a personality disorder was her contempt for the law. She would sit by her living room window all afternoon so she could shoot any cat daring walk across the top of her stone wall! Now it's not like she lived in the wilds of Africa where cats are natural predators. These cats were her neighbors pets. To be sure, neighbors were pretty upset and 'Shot Gun Annie' became the center of attention, the topic of every conversation. Most of the neighbors assumed (falsely) that even a woman shooting cats could be cajoled into giving up her bullets if only they presented the right argument. If only they used the right tone. If only they appealed to her better nature or her conscience. They could have saved a lot of time and frustration by relying on The Law to hold her in check, being fully aware that tone and logic hold no sway over people with personality disorders. They wouldn't have wasted time reasoning with her Inner Angel, thus saving a feline or two by calling police.

Had people understood the proliferation and duration of personality disorders, they would have accepted that number one:  Shot Gun Annie's reality was not the same as their reality. Number two: if all the people she had known in her lifetime hadn't livened her conscience, they wouldn't either. They'd give up their halos and admit personality disorders were more powerful than casseroles and kindness. And number three: they would have known it wasn't their fault or their cat's fault because victims are never to blame. These good neighbors had pondered over what they could have done, or must have done, to cause her to shoot their cats. Ummm...she hated cats? Her last name was Oakley? That her neighbors loved their pets mattered not in her reality. She didn't care. Her needs superseded everyone else's needs and after decades of reinforced patterns of thinking and behaving, she never questioned her perceptions. She could justify anything. Even killing pets for sport.
4% of the general population across cultures has an AntiSocial Personality Disorder (sociopathy/psychopathy) causing 80% of the crimes perpetrated in any culture. For every four men with AsPD, one woman has AsPD.  (Shannon)
Neighbors. One in five has a personality disorder and not one of them thinks they're as screwed up as their neighbors believe they are.

What's the point of talking about personality disorders and neighborhoods? 

Young Astronaut by John Philip Falter
Lay folk are criticized for using psychological terms, but think about it. OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) is referred to all the time all the time all the time in conversations. We joke about it, applying the diagnosis to ourselves, assuming anyone with a perfectly clipped topiary has a form of it. We talk about the hyper-active kid with ADD who leaps off garages in her underwear. We discuss the anal-retentive fella at the end of the block. Psyche terms are interjected into casual conversation and we don't regulate who can use them and who can't. "Hey! What gives you the right to say Mr. Shorts-in-a-bunch is anal retentive? Where'd you get your psyche degree, huh?"

I guess we could call Mr. Shorts-in-a-bunch a "tight ass", the non-Freud version of anal retentive and no one would question our authority.

Applying information about personality disorders to the people who are driving us crazy, is a good thing. Using terms that capture the truth of a thing is healthy. Language is how people integrate knowledge in order to make sense of their lives. When people are unable to resolve conflicts no matter what they do, try or say, understanding personality disorders will preserve their sanity. Besides, isn't it kinder to say Fred is kinda histrionic, rather than calling him a weirdo? The thing is, people are going to label behaviors they don't understand, regardless.

You might argue there's a stigma associated with personality disorders and yes, that concerns me too. I'm also concerned about the stigma of labels offering no insight, no compassion, no solutions. Call someone a "weirdo" and people stop thinking. Stop trying to understand. Their judgement is set in concrete; understanding is bypassed. Psyche information changes stereotypes and pejoratives, shedding light on difficult personalities and the relational problems associated with difficult personalities. We'll know our limits; we'll know theirs. We won't expect what they can't give. We can adjust our behavior to facilitate a reasonable relationship. Probably not the kind of relationship we'd like to have with a neighbor, but at least we aren't escalating the problems. I don't know what to do with a weirdo. I have reasonable skills for coping with a neighbor's narcissistic personality. 

Blessed be our non-territorial psychologists who are dedicated to educating the public. Here's to the inroads psychologists have made in defining and describing personality disorders in a manner that makes sense to everyday people. In a manner that improves the harmony in everyday neighborhoods. When people shame me for using psyche terms, I give them the little speech you just read in the last paragraph and ask them to please stop being Cluster B with me. ;-P

My rule of thumb: extreme reactions and hostile behaviors beyond expectations and allowances considered normal in a specific culture, point to  a personality disorder. Blaming, entitlement, social disruption and antagonism are signs to watch for along with malicious gossiping.

Grass clippings dumped in my trash aren't a serious issue the first time it happens. Giving people the benefit of our doubt is not a pathological trait but that doesn't mean letting things slide. For all we know, their thirteen year old did it. Or their gardener. We can learn to confront problems like this without being confrontational. If my boundaries still aren't respected after a friendly conversation, I rely on the Homeowner's Association to enforce the rules and regulations governing our neighborhood. What I do not do anymore is cajole, plead, please, ignore, give gifts to, educate, explain, argue with, cook for, beg, or otherwise pretend "the problem" isn't happening. My life is much better and I believe everyone else's can be, too.


As proposed by Dr. Joseph Shannon in the video linked below: 

Six Signs Your Neighbor Has a Personality Disorder

1-Rigid. They may realize they don't adapt but can't translate their insight into meaningful change.

2-Repetition. They have a tendency to make the same mistakes repeatedly such as: successive relationships; repeatedly abusing credit; the inability to learn from their mistakes.

3-Unstable. They may experience periods of stability but suffer emotional instability.

4-Clueless. They don't understand they are sick. They don't understand how their 'sickness' affects other people. Some people with personality disorders are aware of the impact they have on others but they don't care.

5-High Conflict. When confronted with a problem, people with personality disorders create drama, not problem-solving. They cast themselves in one of three roles: victim, rescuer, villain-maverick-rebel.

6-Lacks self-awareness. Everyone in the family is on psychotropic medication except for the personality disordered person. In effect, people are held hostage.




"Dr. Joseph W. Shannon has over 30 years of successful clinical experience as a psychologist, consultant and trainer. An expert in understanding and treating a broad range of mental disorders, Dr. Shannon has appeared on several television programs including the CBS "Morning Show" and "PBS: Viewpoint." Link

Have an Extreme Neighbor story to tell? Please do! 

Hugs,
CZ


Resources

DSM-IV personality disorders in the National Comorbidity Survey Replication "The estimated point prevalence of any PD in these studies was in the range 9.0-15.7%."


Wikipedia Page on Personality Disorders a great overview and history of personality disorders 

Huff, Charlotte. Where Personality Goes Awry. 2004. American Psychological Association.

Note: Measurements vary on the prevalence of Personality Disorders in the US population. The exact statistic is unknown, though statistics as high as 20% have been reported by practicing clinicians. A quick search brings up contradictory numbers due to the complexity of diagnosis and the fact that personality disorders are often considered to be untreatable. (not true anymore) Instead of diagnosing someone with a personality disorder, clinicians treat accompanying mental problems; i.e.: substance abuse, anxiety and mood disorders; impulse control; ptsd.  





28 comments:

  1. I fear I may fall under the personality disorder. I'm not sure how much is in the 60% and how much is 40%. This also explains perfectly why I've never been interested in a place with a HOA. Love this!

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    1. Hi Judy,

      It's common to fear having a personality disorder, especially if we were raised in a dysfunctional home and don't even know what's normal. Abnormal seems "right", dysfunction seems "normal". But just for the sake of it, let's say we DO have a personality disorder...then what? That's a reasonable question to ask because a distinction between people-with-difficult-personalities and people-with-personality-disorders is the degree to which they take responsibility for themselves. Like taking medications, going to therapy, using spiritual practices, etc. etc. self-help. Most of the people with personality disorders that I know, will not seek psychotherapy or anything even 'hinting' at having psychological problems.

      I was intrigued by Dr. Shannon's 60% statistic, too. For the past thirty years or so, we've focused on environmental factors (bad Moms, horrid Dads, poverty, abusive adults, etc.) rather than considering inherited traits. You know how some families seem to have similar personalities popping up in the next generation? In my family, people are always saying, "Your sister is just like Aunt so-and-so; you are just like Grandma so-and-so" and they're right! Maybe it's a particular combination of family genetics that bear resemblance to an ancestor's personality? The APA has an article on their site that explains this better than I can.

      "Researchers are beginning to identify some possible genetic factors behind personality disorders. One team, for instance, has identified a malfunctioning gene that may be a factor in obsessive-compulsive disorder. Other researchers are exploring genetic links to aggression, anxiety and fear — traits that can play a role in personality disorders...For some disorders, such as antisocial PD, the evidence suggests that genetic factors play a significant role..."

      http://www.apa.org/monitor/mar04/awry.aspx

      Maybe I'll add that link to my post so its "clickable"... Thanks for reading and I hope you got a laugh or two out of my article. It was fun to write while thinking about my bizarre experiences with HOAs! (Homeowner's Associations).

      Hugs,
      CZ

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    2. I added the article to my resource section. It's titled, "Where Personality Goes Awry" by Charlotte Huff.

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  2. Hi CZ,
    Great post! I thought the video was really informative with regard to my own personality and understanding it further.

    I have never owned a home but I could totally relate because what has been the topic of conversation with my husband's brother and his wife in their new neighborhood - they moved there in Nov 2011 and we visited them in December after they had just moved. Their house actually was in a really good state and as was their landscape. Since this time they (brother and his wife) constantly are doing something to it, constantly talking about how the guidelines need to be met with the HOA, etc. And I hadn't realized that they use the HOA as way to blame/rationalize the one-upmanship with their house, although the house was already immaculate when they had moved in. On their last upgrade this spring (which was, imo, a bit intrusive to their neighbors), I literally said to myself, "I would hate to be their neighbors". This post was so timely. I hadn't connected their obsessiveness with an already really nice house and the neighborhood with their personality disorderedness.
    xxTR

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    1. Hi TR!

      I've lived in a couple of neighborhoods with HOAs. One HOA was fantastic. The people were laid-back and easy-going. As the older homes were purchased by a wealthier, younger generation, let's just say the IMAGE was primary to them. The IMAGE of our five-acre properties on the street, was more important than appreciation for Bob who loved corralling his cows on the side of his yard. Alpacas & llamas would have been okay, but not cows. ;-P

      The neighborhood spirit was lost in an overzealous need to enforce conformity, to make people live by the "letter of the law" and present a PERFECT looking neighborhood. I even said at a meeting that the last place I wanted to live was in a Disneyland theme park. I guess the good thing about my divorce is that I had to move, which is much better than being burned at the stake.

      After knowing more about "personality disorders", I don't take the inevitable arguments personally. If my neighbor makes sure he cuts his grass to the precise edge of his property, I figure it's his OCD, not me. If he shovels his snow right to the invisible line on the sidewalk where his property ends, and leaves my side heaped with snow, I don't take it personally. This has allowed me to enjoy living next to my neighbors without getting upset or making assumptions about intent. I still wish he'd shovel my half of the sidewalk...ha!

      Hugs
      CZ

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  3. Hi CZ, boy does this post resonate with me. I lived in a very stable older neighborhood with single family homes, many had been lived in by the same folk for half a century or more. No HOA in my neighborhood. But recently someone bought a property, demolished it and built a huge McMansion, destroying the visual integrity of the street. Now he's trying to buy other properties on the same street, where he'll do more demolition and rebuilding, making life a nightmare for all adjacent property owners. I don't think I'd like living somewhere that had a HOA. Part of the pleasure (and burden) of being a property owner is not having to answer to others' expectations beyond those required by civil society and good social behavior. I like operating that way, but recognize that many don't, and can't. I HATE it when my neighbor shovels exactly to the limit of his sidewalk, which he does every single time. He knows I have a bad back and still, not once in 20 years has he offered to shovel for me. Every time they go out of town, I collect their mail and newspapers. SIGH.

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    1. It's the extreme individualism that leads to McMansions ruining entire neighborhoods. Rarely do people complain now that we've been seduced by individiual choice. If someone "chooses" to built a monster and someone "chooses" to sell their home to build that monster, then what can anyone do but HONOR their "choosy choices." I love the term "choosy choices" since first hearing someone say that (I didn't coin the phrase). America loves our "choosy choices" that eliminate social responsibility, consideration for others, denial of privilege, and responsibility to organize a neighborhood petition against McMansions in established neighborhoods. It's comforting to know that you are willing to stand up to your rights and other people's rights, too.

      As far as HOAs go...some are great; others not so much. It depends on the leadership and maybe also, the willingness to speak our minds when we disagree. When people have invested a lot of money in a home, it's nice to know we have some control over what our neighbor might "choose" to do with His or Her property, without any consideration for the impact it would have on "the group."

      As an example---one home we lived in was built o a hillside with about twenty other homes. The side of the hill was owned by a very rich businessman who decided to turn his property into a "green recycling center." Imagine the stink rising from the compost, it was horrible. Thankfully, we were able to organize quickly as a group and stomp on his "individual choice and right" because of the impact compost piles had on our health and our property values. I have gained deep respect for people's ability to work as a collective to offer some kind of balance, some kind of sanity to our very individualistic society. HOAs only work if people like myself (sane, reasonable, etc.) participate. As much as I like poking fun at HOAs, they aren't "all bad."

      p.s. Your recent experience with your older neighbor speaks to your empathy and concern. Its shocking how many people have never even met their neighbors much less know a neighbor's "patterns" well enough to recognize when she might be in trouble. Such as the older woman you found helpless in her home. I must confess to being one of the neighbors who keeps to herself for the most part, and your recent experience was a wake-up call for me. How often do I go out of my way to "get to know" my neighbors? Would I even notice my neighbor's trash can was not by the street and go to her home to check? I hereby nominate you for a Mr. Roger's Neighborhood award. <3 We should hand out those things and maybe we could combat the creeping narcissism disconnecting us from one another.

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    3. too many typos, had to delete previous one. Thanks CZ, I accept your Mr. Roger's Neighbor award for that one. I can see in your case where a HOA would've been a huge help. And as you know, could've used one on my street for precisely that reason. End of an era…..

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    4. I also LOVE the artwork for this post. You find such perfect art for your ideas!

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  4. Thanks for sharing this CZ. The interview with Dr. Shannon was very enlightening. He explained the differences in such a clear manner, and I loved how he brought film references to match every particular disorder. I had wondered about "The Aviator"...
    I love the artwork you chose, the "Sunday Gardener" is brilliant. It reminded me of a Brit Sitcom called "Keeping up appearances", in which you see both types of front gardens ;)
    Love,
    Kara

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    1. Hi Kara!

      I like to see how psychologists present the Bad News of Narcissism to the general public. I never tire of interviews like this. Those of us who were weirdly interested in such things, probably didn't learn anything we didn't already kinda know; but still, it's interesting to get a psychologist's point of view based on his/her experiences. And it's a good reminder that no matter which group we're in, or where we live, we will have problems we can't resolve with people who have personality disorders.

      What the 1-in-5 statistic says is that "No Contact" is a pipe dream. There's no place to run, no place to hide and if we are running-and-hiding, well---at some point we'll have to stop and then what?

      I never watched that series so I went to YouTube and found several episodes online. Haha!! She put a stamp on her letter using a ruler!! Maybe "Keeping up Appearances" should be added to my nightly entertainment menu!

      Love
      CZ

      p.s. John Falter's artwork (1910-1982) reminds me of Norman Rockwell who said John Falter was "America's foremost illustrator." This is five-minute video with Falter since the documentary is not available online:

      http://nebraskastudies.org/0800/stories/0801_0123_02.html





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    2. Thanks for the link CZ, I hadn't heard of John Falter before and it was really interesting. I think you would love "Keeping Up Appearances", it's very funny, and such a good portrait of a Narcissistic Wannabe. xx

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  5. LOVE the art work!

    Sigh....I think we live in very different universes. I live in Atlanta. This neighborhood was very old with stable people who grew old. About 30 years ago, slumlords, black and white bought up many of the houses....usually involved in Mortgage Fraud. They were sold or usually rented to people from the projects..mostly blacks who had never lived I a house, much less a neighborhood. Crack epidemic ensued in the 90's. and the neighborhood continued the decline.

    Abandoned houses, burnt down houses, vandalized houses....you name it. Personality disorders? We didn't have time to consider this, because we were picking up the garbage thrown by cars passing through the 'nhood. A little gentrification has appeared in the last 10 years and frankly...it has helped the landscape in general. However, perhaps you are right about inherited traits. People who put lawn art like fountains, sculpture, etc. find them either stolen or broken just because they could. Our constant struggle is NOT to get people to cut their grass...it's to stop dealing drugs on street corners, for the prostitutes to scram....for the petty destruction of property to stop. I think the Nazi mentality of the HOA might be a relief around here.

    However, we have had a 20 year fight with neighbors on both sides. One is a grandmother whose grandsons are drug dealers. A couple of my cats were killed by these bastards. But we quickly learned that you can't change the inherited traits of these people...and even investigating them is cause for fear. The only relief is this: one shot the mother of his 3 children in the face and he's in prison (10 years???) and the other has moved so far up in the hierarchy of Atlanta Drug Dealers that he doesn't do this on his grandmother's porch anymore.

    However, again...after 5 years. the house prices (and taxes) are going up again, and this should help. Again.... we seem to face different issues. But perhaps not. Narcissism is also a total disregard for the society in general, and laws,(they don't apply to the Narcissist) and the safety and peace of your neighbors. We have waged war with the police, the city officials, the corrupt politicians for many years over the behavior of people here.....and frankly? It's exhausting. Sure there are psychopaths amongst our neighbors...and I site the drug dealers who won't stop regardless how many times they are arrested. Personality disorders? Although I agree with you in principle....it sounds too nice a title for these folk...who use guns to win an argument over lawnmowers.

    Jane



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    1. I hear your frustration. Nevertheless, beware of thinking that the explosion of antisocial or narcissistic behavior is epitomized by one ethnic group. Where I live, I ride public transit a lot. Most of the trouble I have had is with white passengers, including one guy who took a German Shepherd on a transit train. When his fellow passengers complained that the dog was intimidating them, he got really irate and claimed that the dog was a "service animal." (It wasn't, as near as I could tell.) Then there were the two young men who got on a transit train and began to make a big deal out of playing with switchblade knives. A lady asked them to put the knives away and they got belligerent. I had to call the train operator. We had a tense few minutes...

      And I can't tell you how many times I have encountered drunks, people who are talking (or even arguing) with themselves, people who seem to have forgotten to take their meds...

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    2. Hi Jane,

      Anti-social is a personality disorder. Sociopathy is a personality disorder. You may be dealing with something more criminal than the narcissistic personality. Still, punks are in every neighborhood but budding white collar sociopaths aren't breaking their neighbor's statues and measuring lawns. I'd rather put up with Weed-Wardens than the kinds of problems you're having to deal with, though. I remember you writing about calling the police to stop kids from racing up and down the street. It would be devastating watching a neighborhood decline but perhaps things will improve as new people move in. I hope so.

      Two years ago a woman was shot and killed by a random man entering her open garage (the children were next door playing with the neighbors at the time, thank goodness). She lived only five houses away from mine and the police (yes, we had a Homeowner's meeting) said it was random. That the murderer had knocked on several people's front doors committing petty theft as he passed through the neighborhood before discovering she'd left her garage door open. He was sentences to life in prison without chance of parole. If you can imagine it, the murderer told her family at the trial that they aren't the only ones suffering. His family was suffering because of his sentencing, too. He insisted up until his sentencing that he was "innocent" despite having the murder weapon in his possession and her blood on his shirt. That's when you know you're dealing with a "pd"---most likely AsPD. What was his defense? He'd been raised by a single mother. It wasn't fair that he should get such a harsh sentence considering his harsh life.

      I agree that narcissists see themselves as being "above the law", that rules and regulations are for "sheeples" and "peons" and "ordinary people". But narcissists are generally so concerned about their image that they don't venture into crime. They probably have better impulse control than antisocial personalities although they can venture into criminal activities because of drug addictions. Narcissists seem the most dangerous to your reputation or your life if they've been insulted or demeaned (lose public face). That's something we should all be wary of---another good reason to understand the narcissistic personality and avoid causing a "narcissistic injury" if at all possible.

      Have you dealt with any retaliation from your neighbors after calling the police and trying to stop the drug dealing??

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  6. Hell yes. CZ, I have been dealing with people in my community who do these crimes for 45 years. I worked in a particular capacity with the GBI for a number of years concerning my neighborhood. Others did, too. As for retaliation, yes...and it was first when I made a complaint about a neighbors dog coming up to my property and killing a beautiful cat of mine. The cop (female) led the women from that house (they were prostitutes and drug dealers) and from my door I heard her say that 'they could have everything I had if they played their cards right. She and they were black, I was white. Happens. She was a crooked cop. I don't make excuses for people's behavior, regardless of color or race. This was one of the first incidents. However, Atlanta has gone through years of police corruption. My black neighbors and my white neighbors have suffered some of the same behaviors of the police, and you can imagine the lack of trust that people here have. And everyone is impacted by the criminals that break into homes, worksheds, garages. The home invasions are horrendous. I have known people who have deserted their homes because of this. And you are probably right about them in general being anti-social. '

    My neighbor who is a higher level of drug dealer has had over 30 arrests. He started dealing at 14 and there is nothing here in Atlanta about 3 arrests and out. One man had over 70 arrests, thankfully he was not in my neighborhood. However, I have been surprised a number of times by criminals over my fence going through my shed.

    I think I would rather deal with pathological narcissists instead of these anti-social criminals. I don't know what the solution is anymore....and after 45 years I am plumb out of answers. The prisons, jails here are so crowded that the judges are letting these criminals, of which 98% are young, black men out with only a few weeks served on their various crimes.

    We don't get so twisted around anymore about lawnmowers, garden supplies, cars, etc. being stolen or breaking into. Frankly, it's the price you pay for decades until the neighborhood gets 'better'. And that doesn't mean that it gets whiter....it means that the houses are sold to decent people, regardless of race. Homeowners have a stake in maintaining their property and also knowing their neighbors.

    But the home invasions are what are most scary. People are killed so easily, women and children are terrorized, and it seems that in Georgia this is happening each week. Home invasions are done I believe by sociopaths. It seems, after tracking these people for years, this is the only conclusion we can make here. These home invasions are violent, and a couple of months ago a crew of homeinvaders ran three women into the bathroom of their house and killed, shot dead a beautiful baby in one of the women's arms. These are not just robberies, or muggings on the street. And....people are so scared of this they are arming themselves. There isn't a neighbor on my street who doesn't have a gun, and that is also the Jehovah Witness down the street. Go figure.

    The street people are the ones who forget to take their meds....these anti social criminals are taking a different sort of medication.

    the drug operations have been constant for the last 40 years on this side of Atlanta. It's tolerated by the police and city officials, because they would rather have it in a smaller location, than spread around the tourist areas, and more toney neighborhoods. But that ain't working at all, because the criminals know the best pickings are in the 'better' neighborhoods.

    I worked with an APD officer, Mrs. Mayberry, for 8 years until she retired. I saw more than I ever wanted to see of the underbelly of Atlanta. Now? As long as my property and the lives of my neighbors are not abused by these anti-social elements (I call them straight criminals) I can't do much more.

    And the toll it takes on a person's creativity is horrendous.

    Jane

    Jane

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    1. That is terrible, Jane. I had no idea the kind of fear you were living with. It makes your creative, soulful poetry even more significant---the freedom of your paintings speaking to the entrapment of a hostile environment. And still, despite the risk of vandalism and theft, you continue to care for your property--nurturing daffodils former housewives discarded from their gardens. You are transforming the hideous into the beautiful, the fearful into love. I am sorry to read about the deterioration of your neighborhood. What a loss this is for everyone.

      Love
      CZ

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  7. Yeh, I'm pretty sure a woman on our street has a personality disorder. She spread rumors that the road trustee of 30 years was stealing money from the road fund. There was no evidence of theft. The old trustee quit after hearing the rumors. She was mad as hades. No one wanted to volunteer to be the road trustee because they didn't want to be falsely accused of stealing either. So guess who volunteered to be the new trustee, that right, Mrs. Personality Disorder! A year later Mrs. Personality Disorder slanders the old road trustee in the road association newsletter, after Mr. Personality Disorder was caught illegally digging without permission trying to remove the old street sign that didn't even belong to our association. Apparently Mrs. Personality Disorder didn't appreciate being caught by the land owner, the former trustee of 30 years! Mrs. Personality Disorder was forced to issue a public written apology after old trustee demanded a retraction. Had not the old trustee not demanded a retracted, you can bet an apology would never have happened. Both times Mr. and Mrs. Personality Disorder ran the neighborhood gossipping about the former trustee. Mrs. Personality Disorder's newest target is me. I shot a video FROM MY OWN BACK YARD of my dogs barking at her kid walking her dog up the street. That night I received a flurry of emails from mother Personality Disorder demanding to know why I photographed her daughter! FROM MY OWN BACK YARD! She claimed it was against state law to photograph a minor without the permission of the parents and she was going to call the police.
    I told her that she was wrong about the law, that it is perfectly legal to photograph anyone regardless of age with in public, such as a street. I told her to go ahead and make a fool of herself and call the police. Once again, both Mr. and Mrs. Personality Disorder went out gossiping about the incident. So now we have 3 separate occasions where by this couple has stirred things up, slandering their victims. Apparently Mr. Personality Disorder is the Mrs. spineless enabler, going along with what ever drama she cranks out. In the mean time, I have cut off all contact with the pyscho, blocker her emails, avoid being outside when I know she's coming down the street to take her kids to the bus stop, so that she can't accuse me of doing of God's knows what. I do have security cameras. I keep a video camera handy to document anything she may do. She lives several houses up the road from me, for which I am thankful. She is a malicious gossip. Some neighbors know what she's about. It's the ones that don't that she gossips with. I consider my cameras my best witnesses. So far, the couple has not resorted to violence or property destruction or calling the police and making false reports, but I wouldn't be surprised if it escalates to that. That's why its important to have no contact and document everything with a camera for your own self preservation. I consider this couple as bullies. Passive aggressive bullies, because it's difficult to combat their malicious gossip. They claim to be Christians and play the Christian card when caught playing these games and lying in order to get people to back down. Some people are gullible enough to buy it, but after seeing what they did to the old trustee, I'm aware of their tactics and those they hang around. Invest in a good security system and hand held video camera!

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    1. Well, thank you so much for the Extreme Neighbor Story! Nothing perks me up quite like reading about pathological personalities in neighborhoods. Seriously...it's a joy seeing how people apply Pathological Information to everyday people!

      I'll bet you never considered baking her a cake to get on her good side, did you? I'll bet you knew that anyone with a malicious tongue is not a safe person to be around. And you knew that the best way to protect yourself from her malice was limited contact, documentation, witnesses and security cameras.

      One thing narcissists rarely fail to do is discredit other people to make themselves look better so it was thrilling to read about Mrs. Personality Disorder's public retraction...ha!

      I really hate it when people hide behind their Christianity while doing terrible anti-Christian things. THAT, if you ask me, is the essence of narcissism: Pretending to be something you are not. Thanks for the story, anonymous!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  8. Nope, CZ....I disagree. Anti social behavior can manifest (and does in my experience) in criminal behavior, many times. And I believe you scratch the surface of an anti-social and you will find a narcissist. I see this with my own mother...another story...but quite a history for this woman.

    It's thinking that societies laws don't apply to you (for lots of reasons...class, race, age, etc) that you are 'special' for some untold (or hung on to ) reason.

    Narcissism is entitlement and what I have seen of most criminal behavior over the past 45 years is
    various levels of entitlement. Criminality starts with anti social behavior and forgive me if I can't see where narcissism doesn't apply.

    However, what I HAVE learned is the great lost of creative abilities and production of those of us who have burned out policing these issues...either from our committees, civil organizations or like me, actively involved in police work for a number of years. So what have we learned?

    these issues will eat you alive. They will kill your creative genius. So....we also learn that police, politicians, etc....can be good and corrupt, too. It's all how much life we sum up we have left.

    I don't stick my nose out anymore. Society is huge, the problems are huge and frankly, I don't have enough time left in life to continue to battle corruption, crime, etc. I have books to write and daffodils to plant....it's a cycle thing...and those younger than I will take up these issues. God Bless them.

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    1. Hi LadyNyo! Sorry about taking several days to get to you comment. My time is more limited than before but I am always grateful when a friend takes time to leave a comment! Thank you!

      I'm not sure we're in disagreement but my writing may not have been clear. It's my understanding that anti-social personality disorder involves criminal behavior and yes indeed, they are very narcissistic. The narcissistic personality seems to me, to drive the Cluster B however their disorders distinguish themselves from one another. For instance, we are now talking about the NPD/BPD connection---suggesting people with borderline personality are also narcissistic. Well, someone with AsPD is also narcissistic and perhaps their criminal behavior is why they are classified as AsPD, not NPD. Or more likely, they're a combo-pack of NPD and AsPD with an assortment of other disorders to complete the package.

      I have believed for a long time that narcissism was the root of pathological disorders and if we could counter the "entitlement and exploitation" that is rife in western societies, the crime rate would drop. Instead, we seem to be more entitled and more exploitative of one another (re: Manifest Your Destiny by Ripping Off Everyone You Can). I tend to be less enamored with capitalism than most and see it as a means to alienate human beings from their true nature which I believe is kind, connected and nurturing. There are social determinants leading to increased crime but what could be more instructive than Reality Television?

      I am working in my garden in-between other demands and it has rejuvenated my soul like nothing other. Digging and planting and clipping and pruning remind me what life's all about and it ain't money, it ain't possessions, and it ain't "a man." ha!

      Love you
      CZ

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  9. After 20yrs of confrontation, 17 with worsening handicap, finaly afer security film veiw by police, yea police,I HAVE PTSD, TBI MUCH
    MORE
    CHRONIC PAIN,Medication allows me to function as to to look at me,talk to me ,no problems.
    But after 17 yrs , had to have phych meds revamped. Film/ video of neighbors rant tripped my emotions, but just remained silent. Call police, showed evidence, was advise to charge with hate crime.
    I just block them out, yipper as if not there. Rest of neighbors have had falling outs also. Just don't acknowledge and strive to be happy. Be yourself! Still have 6 other freinly households around me that admire my tolerance and prayer ,eager to help all persons. Stay strong my freinds
    Git er done

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    1. Sounds rough, unknown. Most important thing of all? Don't allow nasty people to change your personality. Be Yourself---good advice!

      Good luck!
      CZ

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  10. We've lived in our home for 5 harmonious years until our lovely neighbor next door moved out, and in moved what I can now see is a High Conflict (possibly covert narcissist) neighbor. She love bombed the neighborhood and quickly declared an enemy (the neighbor on her other side). Every conversation I've had with her was about her, or how somebody somewhere was doing her wrong.

    In short time she became best friends with the neighbors on the other side of me who are well known to share her insatiable love of creating and spreading gossip. Due to a falling out about a fence that we put around our own back yard, we too are now the main target on their hit list.

    Since then there have been stories and false accusations going around about my husband and I, and most recently she's now making false accusations about my daughters. Despite my attempt at peacefully resolving our disagreement back when it happened, she will have none of it. Keeping her dramas alive, and making sure all others hate us as she does is what gives this woman life.

    At first I was so distraught over what was happening. How after 5 years of living here peacefully were we now that "bad" family. (Her ability to recruit clueless followers is astonishing). But it helps so much to be able to pinpoint her behavior as the personality disorder it is, rather than questioning why my attempts to resolve this minor conflict had failed.

    So now we live in an atmosphere of discord, and many neighbors who once gave a friendly wave now avoid us entirely. And she's happy as a clam. I dread leaving my house as they're almost always outside, always ready to deliver their passive aggressive ill will and overt rejection of us. All due to her exaggerations, lies and gossip. It's so sad. We've always had friendly relationships with our neighbors everywhere else we've lived.

    So glad to have found your website, and this post in particular. It helps to take away the self doubt a bit and put the blame squarely where it truly belongs. These past few years have been quite an education!

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    1. Hi anonymous! Thanks for reading and replying! And I'm so sorry that you're experiencing such discord in a neighborhood you've lived in for five harmonious years. That's an important piece of your story (see comment below) that distinguishes the difference between "then" and "now."

      It's not uncommon (in fact, very normal) for people to engage in triangulation when they're feeling anxious---like moving into a new neighborhood and not knowing anyone. People will choose a scapegoat (they don't realize what they're doing) and express their concerns about the scapegoat to other people. They don't need to be blatantly critical at all---people are getting to know each other and will automatically defend the new person in friendship. So there are three positions on the Drama Triangle and it's crucial for people to understand this if they believe they're dealing with "a narcissist."

      The anxiety between people dissolves if they can forge a bond by criticizing someone else, especially if they say they feel unsafe or unwelcome. That is the "victim" position. The new friend wants to be supportive and so s/he supports the victim by "rescuing" him or her from the supposed "perpetrator." A bond is formed and it's much quicker and easier to do than spending years getting to know one another.

      The best thing to do is continue being yourself and living your lives as you always have. It may take years before everything comes to a head but it will. Narcissistic people almost always take things too far and that's when other people see through their manipulation.

      Another point came to mind: narcissists are generally WELL-LIKED at first. They can be charming and if they aren't particularly social, they'll use the victim position in the triangle to form bonds with other people. And as you probably realize, narcissistic people are much better at these games than we are; which is why I always tell people to ignore the temptation to defend yourself and stay OUT of the drama triangle. Your family may have been invited to take a persecutor position but you can say "no thanks" by staying out. Just let the whole thing run its course.

      This is not easy, though. Our natural instinct is to defend ourselves which only makes us look guilty. You may need a dose of Xanax to talk to your gossipy neighbors but my guess is that in due time, they'll regret their decision to align themselves with your critic.

      Hugs and "chin up!"
      CZ

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  11. There are two sides to every story - falling out over a fence could be a much greater drama that was written here. Sorry, I have my own PTSD from people who sound a lot like the above poster. Who kept making changes to "their property" so it would adversely affect our property. Shining light into our windows - pointing cameras at our property day and night - standing on the front walk every time we walk outside and blankly staring at us while we look in the yard. They are totally sociopaths. They have tried to make our lives a living hell every since we bought the house. All the immediate neighbors hate them now because they have seen (and heard) what they've been doing to us, and have found there way to tell me how awful they have been....yet they accuse us of spreading lies. It's hard to ignore because they keep on doing it - over and over. I am counting the days until they die of lung cancers (they are obnoxious smokers) or we move to a better less toxic environment when our kids are out of college.

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    1. Hi anonymous,

      It's not unusual for people to be triggered by a comment on a narcissism website. The terrible experiences we've gone through have a lasting impact on our emotional and psychological health---it's just not something we forget! However, being 'triggered' by a comment can be an opportunity to revisit our personal experience.

      I'd like to point out that the prior comment was from a woman who had established harmonious relationships with her neighbors prior to a new person moving next door.

      It sounds like your experience was the stuff reality television shows are made of: an aggressive neighbor stalking the people next door. What you're dealing with requires intervention/protection by the law. Have you called the police?

      Hugs,
      CZ

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