March 16, 2008

Destructive Narcissistic Pattern (DNP)

Destructive Narcissistic Pattern 
by Dr. Nina Brown
"This book presents a theory for a sub-clinical category termed, the destructive narcissistic pattern. The focus is on adults exhibiting less severe manifestations of behaviors and attitudes usually associated with pathological narcissism.

"...Numerous strategies are provided that are designed to protect and/or allow one to cope with a relative, co-worker or significant other who has a destructive narcissistic pattern. Also presented are the characteristics of healthy adult narcissism as derived from the psychological literature. These characteristics are: creativity, empathy and a sense of humor. Considerable attention is given in the book to providing exercises and activities to guide the reader in developing their personal underdeveloped narcissism."
"...Parental destructive narcissism can have significant and deep-seated effects on their children and these effects can persist into adulthood. What is most troubling for many of these adult children of self-absorbed parents is that they feel something is wrong but cannot identify what it is...."
ABSTRACT: "This article introduces the term “co-narcissism” to refer to the way that people accommodate to narcissistic parents. I use the term narcissism here to refer to people with very low self-esteem who attempt to control others’ views of them for defensive purposes. They are interpersonally rigid, easily offended, self-absorbed, blaming, and find it difficult to empathize with others. Conarcissistic people, as a result of their attempts to get along with their narcissistic parents, work hard to please others, defer to other’s opinions, worry about how others think and feel about them, are often depressed or anxious, find it hard to know their own views and experience, and take the blame for interpersonal problems. They fear being considered selfish if they act assertively. A high proportion of psychotherapy patients are co-narcissistic. The article discusses the co-narcissistic syndrome and its treatment, and gives case examples of patients who suffer from this problem."

"...The issue underlying the practices described here—namely, those that confuse self-esteem with narcissism and those that misuse enchantment—is authenticity versus phoniness. Engaging children in investigations and close observation of their real worlds in ways that respect their lively intellects, and that provide opportunity for effort and real problem solving is more likely to foster healthy self-esteem than are amusement, flattery, and praise for cheap success at frivolous tasks." ~Uses and Misuses of Enchantment

Energy Vampires
 by Dr. Judith Orloff
"Some people bring unexpected lightness and comfort to your life. They crackle with energy, practically electrify you with their presence. And then there are those who leave you feeling stressed out. Or guilty. Or exhausted down to your very last molecule. I call them energy vampires, and obnoxious or meek, they come in all forms."

Other articles and interviews are located here: Dr. Judith

The Bad Apples
 by Steven Kahn
"When you come across someone and nothing works with him, cut your losses. Don’t waste any more effort trying. This is a big world full of wonderful people and a few bad apples."
"...In this study, we were interested in exploring the association between a different type of aggression more commonly exhibited by girls, relational aggression, and two indices of peer relations-popularity (i.e., peer acceptance and rejection) and friendships. We were also interested in exploring whether the presence of a different type of social behavior, prosocial behavior, would change the relationship between aggression and popularity. .."

Other links to websites and articles about Relational Aggression: Youth & Family Resource Center

Books by Dr. Jay Carter


  1. Happy Holidays! My name is Lisa Hope and I am the assistant editor of I am contacting you today in hopes of developing a strategic partnership with your website; we have seen your site and think your content is great. is an online gateway for people to find information regarding disorder diagnosis, symptoms, and treatment -- and is continually adding content. If you're interested in a partnership, please contact me at

  2. This Website has been my latest "addiction." I am a female, married to the offspring of two Narcissistic parents; his sister is on the malignant end of the continuum. This Website has been a total education and major validation for me! It is so comforting to know that so many--who would consider themselves intelligent-- have been fooled by a Narcissist who has knocked their knees out.

  3. I just discovered your fabulous website...thank you! My mother is a narcissist, my ex-husband is one. I've been to hell and back....I finally put my finger on 'it'. I still attract them, but am happily staying one foot ahead. Please keep writing!

  4. Hi!

    Thank goodness for the Internet! Don't you wonder how many people's lives would have been better had they known about narcissism "as a disorder"? Not as a sign of healthy self-regard and confidence...

    I am so glad to be able to "pay it forward" and do my part educating people about unhealthy, even destructive narcissistic traits. Thank you so much for reading my blog. Keep learning and pass the message forward: Narcissism is NOT cool. It's not benign. It hurts everyone---even the narcissist.

    Narcissistic traits that are rigid and difficult to change, destroy relationships, even if the 'narcissist' does not have a personality disorder.

    Dr. Nina Brown stresses this point in her numerous books on "Destructive Narcissistic Patterns." unfortunately, people focus on whether or not the 'narcissist' has NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder). They assume that since the narcissist doesn't meet five of the nine criteria for a personality disorder, that their behavior will change. They may even rationalize or minimize the pain they're suffering by remaining in relationship with the narcissist.

    We have to be honest about the negative impact narcissism has on other people, whether or not the narcissist qualifies for a personality disorder.

    The key thing for people to remember is this:

    If you are the one researching and learning, you are the one who's changing. The narcissist must admit he or she has a problem and then start a long trek towards mental health (and public safety). Nothing you can say, do, learn, preach or teach will help the narcissist until he or she can admit they need help.

    We cannot influence people who will not allow us to influence them. This is so very difficult to accept, yet we must.

    Learn about narcissism for yourself and change your reactions to narcissists. That is the best thing we can do to stop the proliferation (and emulation) of narcissistic traits/behaviors.


  5. You say : «We cannot influence people who will not allow us to influence them. This is so very difficult to accept, yet we must.»
    So true, and once we truly understand this, our relationships become more healthy, regardless of the other's personality traits, such as narcissism, or passive-aggressiveness!

    I love your blog, another place to read, learn and continue evolving.
    Thank you!

  6. Bonjour Marie!

    "Our relationships become healthier, regardless of the other person's personality traits." Yes, so true!

    It's a funny thing though---have you noticed that the majority of people start learning about narcissism in order to help the narcissist; and end up helping themselves instead?

    This is of course, my lament. In my idealized version of relationships, partners would leap-frog. They'd work together, each one lagging behind at times and at other times, moving forward. It's not so strange that people would assume sharing information about narcissism would 'help' their partner. In the case of narcissists though, our earnest 'help' only makes matters worse.

    Despite the criticism directed towards laypeople who educate themselves about narcissism, we are usually scanning the internet and reading books because we're looking for solutions. I wanted to understand narcissists' behaviors. My mistake was wanting to help someone who didn't want to be helped. It took quite a while before I could accept that.

    I think most people are curious as to why their relationship is so complicated. They aren't looking for excuses...they are looking for solutions.

    Glad to have you here, Marie!


  7. I have to admit that the solution to my "N" lie with me.
    My solution was to give love, nurturing, financial support, empathy,unfortunately I was emphatizing with and illusion.

    I never could get a handle on the two edge sword of rage, extreme sensitivity and then kindness which I mistook for love.

    I found this site not to help him but to gain some sort of understanding as to what I had just experienced. My brain has never been prone to short curcuits, yet if I had to give a description of what I experienced that would be one of the descriptions.

    Yes, even Satan was a good angel once...

    The amazing thing is that is that the "N" saved me from what surely was going to be an early grave....This site reassures me that I WILL live... only better and armed with the knowledge that N's are everywhere. Just thankful I'm not one.

    Marie, you have saved me from the brink of insanity and self loathing. God Bless

    1. Hi DeBorah,

      Most people offer MORE empathy and support in the belief their efforts will comfort the narcissist. We also believe (most people that is) in Mutual Reciprocity and we may never have realized this before our "giving" was not returned.

      Still, as ridiculous it seems in hindsight, we increased on 'giving' in the belief we had not done it right...that our giving had been imperfect so if we tweak it a little here and there, the narcissist will reciprocate AS Expected.

      That's the crux pretty much of pathology because the narcissist does not respond the way 'normal' people respond. All our lives we have learned how to create relationships with people and then suddenly we meet someone who doesn't react the way we've come to expect. This is why, I think, people continue to 'give'. We don't realize we are dealing with someone who has pathological narcissism. Why' don't they respond the way normal people do? Because they can't.

      Some people say they 'won't'. Whether they can but choose not to is the subject of debate. The real problem here is that they value themselves and what they want more than they do other people. A narcissist can switch people when and if he/she isn't getting what they want. And it does not bother their conscience when mistreating someone who 'tried' to love them as best they could. That's the shocker, isn't it? How can they walk away without sincere remorse and guilt?

      This is what I hope my blog teaches people. That narcissists are huge risks to take if you want a trustworthy relationship. You can invest your entire life in supporting someone with a narcissistic personality and they can, on-a-dime, suddenly leave you behind without any warning.

      Narcissists may be exciting and charming, they may be energetic and fun to be with. But loving a narcissist and building a future with them, is a high risk gamble! Most of us did NOT know this.

      The word about pathological personalities is getting out though.


  8. CZBZ...I have read many, many books in my search for answers about my own mother and siblings, but I have to say...your writing and this website is the BEST, most complete and insightful one on the internet. And you aren't selling your own book!

    It pains me greatly when some of these 'experts' on narcissism don't even give a nod to the hurt and torment of Mother's Day. This holiday is one that makes us shiver and stumble, even when we know the game.

    You write with compassion and wisdom and I don't know that you know what good you do in the ether out there.

    Frankly...I think you have saved lives. I know you have seriously impacted mine for the good.

    One day, and it will be soon...I am going to just sit and read everything I can on this site. I've been to so many sites, and yours is superb. It comes from your deep understanding of the conflict that narcissism brings to the family, to individuals, to the world.

    I pray that someday you will write your own book, because I think it will be a best seller. The wisdom you exhibit is of a fruit that satisfies in so many aspects. You are so needed, CZ.

    You go, girl!

    Lady Nyo

    1. Thank you, Lady Nyo. Your validation means a lot to me, knowing something I've written has helped you---especially on Mother's Day.

      About that book....ha! Seems most people are writing about their narcissistic marriages, N-boyfriends, N-girlfriends, their narcissistic divorce and narcissistic child custody cases decided by a narcissistic judge. It's been an interesting experience watching 'narcissism' evolve from a clinical disorder to something as common as self-centeredness. I hope we haven't watered down the term so much that it loses its meaning.

      I give thought now and then to writing a book but my story is an ordinary everyday story and women have suffered far more than myself. What's the most inspiring about my story is the WoN Forum. The many people who contributed countless numbers of hours corresponding with other people straggling into our website. We started in 2005 and at least one 'manager' has been on board every single day since. And that is seven years without a 'break' which is phenomenal when you think about it because we have never accepted donations, or sold products to reimburse our time.

      Women's willingness to organize purely as an altruistic endeavor without financial incentive, is becoming less and less common in our society. A serious loss, I think. That is a story I'm considering writing about because in our current society, it's rare.



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