It helps tremendously if you can VISUALIZE brain-related conditions for which other people tend to assign blame and make remarks such as that one should be able to grow out of it, admit it and seek help for it, and what have you.
It appears that people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) simply lack part of the brain in which empathy is created (though it is not the only part of the brain that is related to empathy, apparently). If you can’t feel empathy for others, you cannot feel empathy for yourself either.
That explains the usual Catch-22 aspects of the condition.
This could also mean that/why people with NPD rely on notably empaths to “create” empathy for them. Symbiosis.
(People with NPD, by the way, lack emotional empathy, not cognitive empathy, apparently, according to a 2010 paper from the same research group.)
So, yes, the brains of people with NPD are wired differently. They did not ask for this, so stop blaming them. Look for what is good in them, and embrace that instead.
They’re like, hey, albinos. Or hey, people who go grey prematurely. Not their fault.
They’re like giraffes that people insist are, say, antelopes.
Or, like I wrote before, table lamps of which we demand that they change themselves into coffee makers.
Let go of it… All the frustration etc. It’s futile.
They are right. They are special. It’s part of the neurodiversity we have on the planet. (The brain is a miraculous thing!)
Now I am done waffling about narcissists in a rather chaotic manner.
For those who don’t understand why I have been doing that and don’t understand the way I do this, I am dealing with three narcissists – and a ton of flying monkeys, all by myself, without support from anyone else, and it started out anonymously and is still done mostly anonymously but I know what and who is behind it now. Man, can they drive you crazy and wreak a tremendous amount of havoc! It’s had pretty devastating effects on my life, but I now simply see it as great learning. As soon as I try to explain what is going on to anyone else, I sound like I am crazy and paranoid, which I learned years ago, because if you’ve never been a target of narcissists before, you won’t recognize it, at all. Either that, or people become concerned for their own safety and back off. I understand that, both of it though I have considerably more sympathy for the latter.
So I have to handle this to the best of my abilities and not give a hoot about what anyone else thinks about how I handle it, and in order to be able to handle it, figuring out what NPD is was probably pretty damn essential in my situation. I initially thought I was dealing with someone with dissociative identity disorder and hundreds of alters as a result of child abuse – but that somehow didn’t seem to fit. I also initially thought I was dealing with only one physical person. There wasn’t much I could do about it, other than try to keep myself whole, which I have managed, even though my life seems to be in ruins. The people I am angry with – “greatly disappointed” with – are the people who should have been there for me, such as my GP back in 2011, when I was trying to find out what – and who – the heck I was dealing with and how to deal with it best. In hindsight, my GP displayed the kind of negative attitude toward me that you expect from someone with narcissistic personality disorder. Disdain. Contempt. Cold, dismissive, judgemental and so forth and so on.
I had no idea what I was dealing with – other than it was something highly problematic – and I don’t think I even knew about the existence of something called malignant narcissistic personality disorder back then. I came up with many different theories about what was going on and had to discard them all, because nothing added up and it did not fit within my frame of reference. (I didn’t know anyone in Britain, and the only thing I knew was that it was not the person it appeared to be, because it was not logistically possible for that person to be on my tail 24/7.) The people who were supposed to be supportive, who are supposedly mentally healthy and well balanced and all that, those were the people who made all of this much harder for me than it should have been.
People who have these conditions cannot help having them. It is futile to be angry with them, in spite of everything that happened and everything that I lost. It doesn’t matter within the grand scheme of things, only from a materialistic/capitalist viewpoint.
I think I know pretty well by now how they tick and I see the positive things in them too. They may deserve a lot more respect than, say, that GP, because they have to make it in our world in spite of their condition. It’s a Catch-22, though.
This was also in a way what disappointed me most after I moved to Portsmouth. By the end of 2010, I had learned that literally just about anyone here could be asked or paid to be either mean or nice to me, a total stranger, and that willingness to do that created a chill in my heart. That…
In hindsight, thinking about that suddenly kinda makes you see how narcissists must see the rest of us, doesn’t it. Maybe many of us actually are rather despicable human beings, in our own ways. Because we are so ready to be exploited by narcissists to help them hurt and discredit their targets, as well as isolate them from their friends, acquaintances and so on.
Maybe narcissists exist to force us to take a very good look at ourselves. They as well as their targets are blamed and vilified by those who watch from the sidelines. An example is the following. I noticed “parasitic lifestyle” written as “one of the hallmarks of NPD” in a video about Sam Vaknin when he says that he openly talks about narcissism to help victims of narcissists. But that would mean that, say, any medical professional also leads a “parasitic lifestyle” or any marketing professional or politician. A parasitic lifestyle is where you only take from others. His videos are free and nobody is forced to watch them, and nobody is forced to buy his books or shell out 300 bucks for one of his sessions.
His relationship with his wife may be parasitic, but HE acknowledges that openly while SHE does not. To the outside world, she does not appear to see the disorder at all, but seems to be looking through it. Her facial expressions, sighs and so on give away that she knows very well what she is dealing with. Many people “accuse” her of being “codependent”, but she probably feels that the relationship gives her life purpose. Most people have cats or dogs as pets. Some keep pythons, poisonous snakes and scorpions. Some people are afraid of horses, or of dogs. Others love them. He’s probably no longer vandalizing homes and bombarding people with Nazi crosses – things he did as a teenager – or committing securities fraud – which he did in his early twenties – or other things that he might be doing if he had not been in this relationship. She says she loves him. He says he is not capable of love, but she appears to have a “warm blanket” effect on him. (Narcissists, more than anything, want to be accepted AS THEY ARE.)
Another hallmark of NPD is shame. Narcissists are their own worse critics. They are terribly embarrassed about who they think they are and they often seem to fight like crazy to escape from their brain condition. But that is hardly ever talked about.
The problem with narcissists – people with NPD – is that it is very hard for the rest of us to still see the person without the manifestations of the disorder. Their “soul”, or maybe as zen puts it “their original face from before their parents were born”.
A more serious problem may be the narcissistic nature of British culture. Black humour, Schadenfreude, British humour, sick humour, whatever you want to call it, it is narcissistic. It is making someone else hurt and then laughing about it, enjoying it, enjoying someone else’s hurt. British culture glorifies this. Might it encourage narcissists to be their worst selves instead of their best selves? In Britain, they’re probably often actually MILDER in nature than the culture and people around them. Read that last sentence again. And again.
Then take it with you and start looking around you.
See, for example, how many people who are supposedly mentally well and not narcissist go around killing and hurting animals, for example, and I don’t only mean within the context of industrial chicken, cattle and hog farming.
A narcissist may hurt or kill an animal deliberately, to make his or her target feel hurt and upset, but lots and lots of people out there simply do this, period, usually without you seeing it or you wanting to see it. Why is one worse than the other?
And this was only one very simple example.
The difference between people like Sam Vaknin and the many narcissistic Brits without NPD? Vaknin has a medical excuse. Narcissistic Brits merely genuinely believe that being callous and cruel is cool and heroic, hence are proud of it. They despise everyone else and get off on other people’s misery, cause it if they need it to feel better about themselves. And they think that everyone who does not like their behaviour is a naive fool.
But that way, they often turn themselves into obedient unquestioning robots easily deployed by people with NPD. Puppets who jump through hoops, willing to carry out the craziest and also the nastiest things (such as kill animals), because the narcissist asks them or pays them to do it.
The many many minions, they all had a choice and as his proxies, they chose to hurt me or mess with me, and in most cases, I was a complete stranger to them.
There were also people I used to know a long time ago, who he contacted with some kind of bullshit story (whatever the stories were), and they fell for it. I mean… really? Some stranger from another country calls you with a bullshit story about someone you used to know decades ago and you believe it, and never think of verifying it?
These minions are such slaves that they will do the craziest things. They have no idea how pathetic they become because they too apparently believe everything they are told by narcissists. There was, for example, a former neighbour who was asked to do something really bonkers with the doors in his flat – and he did it. At the time, I had no idea what it was about. I merely thought the guy was a complete looney toon from the middle ages because he also yelled crazy stuff like “I can love you toohoo!”
For the record, I don’t know Sam Vaknin, and I don’t want to know him. But his videos show very well what “malignant narcissistic personality disorder” looks like in real life. You’ll only start getting a picture of it if you have watched lots and lots of videos by him and with him (and maybe only if you are familiar with the condition?). Richard, in the video below, is a champion at making him feel good and as happy as possible, but there are other videos in which Vaknin quarrels with people who don’t know how to handle someone with the condition. Yelling at narcissists, disagreeing with them, pointing out their lies, pushing topics that they don’t want to talk about, being angry with them etc etc is like throwing plates at them, and they respond accordingly. Even if they were the ones who started throwing the plates, don’t respond by throwing plates back at them. Walk away. Or say “yes” and nothing else.
Narcissists think what they are programmed to think. Their reality is not yours, their logic different. If you live with a narcissist whose name is Pete and you say “I don’t like peanuts”, he may well hear “I don’t like Pete”. You sneeze and he may well hear “I love you.” That kind of stuff goes on a lot and there is not much you can do about it.
Also, if you watch Vaknin’s own videos, you have to weed out very carefully what to accept of what he says. A lot of it is the disorder talking – and a lot of it isn’t. He tries very hard; he seems to be able to monitor himself and this is likely also why he often reads texts.
The scientist in me finds it an intriguing condition, but it initially really scared me because there is so much stuff on the internet – also from clinical psychologists – that talks about people with NPD as “wanting to destroy you” and all that without specifying anything.