NPD Disaster – and Recovery

How many of you know what NPD is?

NPD is a personality disorder and is found in the DSM IV.   It is Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  It is also very dangerous to be involved with someone who fits the criteria for NPD.

The problem with this is that those with NPD are hard to identify at first.  They don’t hide it, because they don’t know they have the disorder.  So why is it that we become involved with someone like this?

I’ll tell you, and then I’ll link you to some material on the disorder so you can learn more.  It’s essential that you learn more if you feel you are involved with anyone who exhibits these tendencies: (please note that these are tendencies and the article from which they were excerpted caveats that there is no empirical data to back these items up.  that said, I have experienced ALL of these and I’ll bet many of you have too.  And the people with whom I’ve experienced them meet the critera for NPD in the DSM IV)

1.  The relationship begins like a dream.  You feel as though you’ve found your dream person, you are intoxicated and when you are together you feel that she or he is as intoxicating as a feel-good drug.  This goes on for a short time.

2.  One day your intoxication is shattered when you suddenly come under inexplicable rage or attack for something that you have no knowledge of doing, for something that makes no sense to you at all.

3.  You find you are being accused of things like anger, jealousy, denigration of character, insults, and a host of other things that you KNOW – you absolutely KNOW you have not displayed, at least not to any degree that would warrant an attack.

4.  Your dream person talks your ear off, and doesn’t allow you to get a word in edgewise, and when you finally do, you are told that what you’ve said is wrong.  They won’t come right out and say it’s “wrong” but they will covertly attack your comment until you doubt yourself.

5.  Your dream person is very quiet and/or watchful.  She or he simply seems to listen and you’re so glad you’ve found a listener, so you talk.  and talk.  And talk some more.  And then your dream person, who you think has been letting you share emotions and feelings, starts to invalidate everything you’ve said.  They do it so skillfully that you may even believe that you are stupid and silly for having had such feelings and emotions.  After all, if this person, who you have such strong feelings for, and who has probably at this point, found some way to communicate, without actually saying it that she or he has strong feelings for you, thinks your feelings are stupid, then they must be, right?

6.  Your dream person seems to store up everything you say and then spit it back out at you, spun to his or her benefit, thus proving, again, how stupid you are, how invalid you are as a human being and how superior they are to you.

7.  You begin to censor yourself when you are with this person because you never know when the next attack will come.  You don’t articulate your feelings to them because you’ve by now been conditioned to believe any feelings YOU have are not valid.

8.  You start to believe that you truly are the awful person this individual says you are.  You become submissive to their emotional abuse, thus feeding their need for dominance.  You really just want things to go back to where they were in the beginning.

9.  You start to realize something is wrong here and you begin to fight back.  This person says you did something.  You ask for proof.  They can’t prove it so they accuse you of having memory issues and if you can’t remember, then that’s disturbing to them and they certainly aren’t going to tell you when you did what they accused you of doing.

10.  One day you’re browsing the web, at the doctor’s office, are in the library, or are somewhere that you chance upon something called NPD.  You start to read.  You recognize your loved one in the description.  You immediately shove that recognition into denial because you are a strong, smart, capable individual and you would NEVER be fooled by someone like that.

(excerpted from: http://www.psychforums.com/narcissistic-personality/topic39399.html )

Want some advice from someone who has just exited a budding relationship that was falling into this pattern?

RUN LIKE HELL AND DON’T LOOK BACK.

Excise this person from your life as though they were cancer.  They ARE cancer.  They will rob you of your self-esteem, and they will do it insidiously and deliberately.

Get rid of anything you own that this person may have given you.  These things are just reminders of the place where you were, or were headed.

And when you begin to feel strong again, this person will come back into your life, because you are attractive to them again.  Fresh meat.  Time to beat you down again.  Read the link I posted above and read about Stage 5 of recovery.  This is a good stage, but a dangerous stage, particularly if we felt love for the person who tried to destroy us.

DO NOT ALLOW ANY CONTACT AT ALL WITH THIS PERSON ONCE YOU HAVE LEFT THEM.

If you maintain contact with them, they will watch and wait as you grow stronger.  Know that they will attempt to maintain contact with you, particularly if they are someone who is unable to get what they want from another member of their preferred sex.  They will apologize.  They will send emails admitting fault.  They will wait for you, like a spider, and just when you show signs of forgiving them, and thinking that maybe you were wrong about them, they will pounce and eat you like freshly-melted brie on an apple.

What do these people look like?  They look like you and I look.  You cannot judge this book by it’s cover.  You have to become informed, you must read and educate yourself to recognize the signs.

Here is an excerpt from a dating profile that shows narcissistic tendencies. It’s on a public, free dating site and I do not belong to the site anymore.  It is available for anyone to read.  I will not link to it, but I will post an excerpt and then deconstruct it for you:

Most tell me I am warm, giving, knowing, and patient. Others tell me I have a good sense of humor and am fun to be around. Many things interest me and I am entertained easily. I love kayaking, skiing, hiking, skating and most of the usual sports but I tend to gravitate toward the arts. I am emotionally healthy as I am filled with positive feelings and energy most of the time. I enjoy talking and listening and sharing emotions. I’ve been told I’m old fashioned and I’ve been told I’m eclectic, urban and modern. I think I’m a bit of mix since I strive for balance in most areas. I am honest and loyal and sometimes too trusting. An Optimist-idealist grounded in the practical. I’ve been known to act like a child and think like an old man, then think like a child and act like an old man. You? You’re easy to talk to and like to talk and laugh. You’re generally happy with yourself In body and spirit. You enjoy the outdoors and appreciate the fruits of the country but also like urban activities and the suburban typical. Your open-minded, funny, and can enjoy laughing at yourself. You are understanding and respectful and appreciate those qualities in me.

Keep in mind as you read this deconstruction that this is my N’s profile.  This is how he describes himself and who he wants. 

Deconstruction:

This individual sounds great, right?  Wow. Who wouldn’t want this person?   The individual has been told he is warm, giving, knowing, patient, humorous and is fun to be around.  He  is easily entertained (keep this in mind).  He  loves sports but gravitates to the arts.  Hmm.  I don’t know many people who love one thing but gravitate more toward something else.  Now- here’s the key element.  This is essential:

“I am emotionally healthy as I am filled with positive feelings and energy most of the time.”  This is not the definition of an emotionally healthy person, this individual states, unequivocally that HE  IS EMOTIONALLY HEALTHY.  An emotionally healthy person is defined thusly:

Emotional health is defined by the degree to which you feel emotionally secure and relaxed in everyday life. 

The more emotional health you possess, the more self esteem you have. This means you do not often react with knee jerk responses, anxiety or panic to the events that occur in your life.

Instead, you are usually calm and patient with yourself and others.

Emotionally healthy people are emotionally safe. This means they do not judge you or criticize you. This is because they have learned not to judge and criticize themselves.

Emotionally healthy people feel safe and secure in their own skin and with their own emotions and feelings.  They feel their feelings and emotions instead of avoiding them or trying to control them.

Being filled with positive feelings and energy most of the time simply does not define emotional health.  It only means that someone believes themselves to be filled with positive feelings and energy and that, my friends, is a subjective concept. 

This individual states that he  is honest, yet doesn’t understand that being filled with positive feelings and energy “most of the time” is not the definition of emotional health.  So now I’m questioning the honesty part.  I’m wondering whether this person has ever been honest with himself.

This person states that he strives for balance in MOST areas.  I don’t know about you, but I strive for balance in ALL areas.  I’m not always successful, but there is no area of my life where I don’t want to feel balanced.

This individual baldly states that he is an “optimist-idealist grounded in the practical.”  What, exactly does that mean?  That’s a contradictory statement on many levels.  It’s also there to make the person sound charming, sweet and oh-so-wonderful.  Awww, look – an optimist-idealist.  And practical, too.  Excuse me?   Okay, I have optimistic moments and pessimistic moments.  I have ideals.  It’s the “idealist” part of the statement that rings false when paired with “grounded in the practical.”  Ideals are rarely grounded or practical.  They CAN be, but not usually.

This person wants someone who is open-minded, happy with themselves in  mind and spirit, is easy to talk to, can laugh at themselves and can respect the same things in the author of this profile.  Respect them?  Why not “enjoy?”   The term “respect” used here is a red flag to me.  I would enjoy sharing that kind of interaction with another, I would enjoy finding another with those qualities, but to state that my partner must “respect” those qualities in me communicates control issues to me.  Those aren’t respect qualities. I don’t respect someone because they are any of those things.  I believe respect is engendered by the quality of said “open mind” and whether this individual speaks to me WITH respect, interacts with me instead of attempting to dominate me.  What, I’m supposed to say:  “I respect you because you can laugh at yourself, even though you’re an ax-murderer?”  Give me a break.

(I don’t know that this person is an ax-murderer.  That was injected for purposes of levity only.)

Here’s another giveaway from this profile.  When asked what people notice first about this individual, the answer was:  “That I care.”

Huh?  Care about what?  Who?  How?  This is a pretentious answer and is designed to elicit the “awwww” factor.  The “awww, how nice.”  Sometimes we just don’t read between the lines.

This person also indicated that he has children but no where – NO WHERE in the profile are those children mentioned on any level.  When asked about the 6 things this individual could not do without, the children were no where to be found.  Instead, a list of incredibly superficial things like “Aire [sic], Australian Chewing Sticks, Questions and EWI (electronic wind instrument) were listed.

I’ve read a lot of dating profiles and without fail, if someone indicates they have children, there is mention of those children on some level within the profile.  This individual doesn’t seem to want to acknowledge his  children other than the mandatory “yeah, I’ve got kids” because without that in there, any date is sure gonna be surprised.

This individual also says that ” Life is care and devotion to myself and those around me.”  Look who comes first.  I’m not saying one shouldn’t take care of oneself and that one shouldn’t take time for oneself.  What I’m saying is “LOOK WHO IS PLACED FIRST.”  Even ahead of the children that were sorta-kinda mentioned in the sidebar, and apparently play no part in this person’s life.

My guess about this profile?  Something is being hidden.  Something terrible, cunning and insidious. Something so horrible that we see it only in our nightmares.  And yet, this profile, on the surface, seems so benign and wonderful. And I was right, only 3 months too late.  I dated this person.  He was my N. 

Learn the signs.  Learn how to read what you’re reading.  Ask yourself what something REALLY means and if you’re on a dating site, and don’t know what someone is truly saying, do not be afraid to ask.  The worst they can do is not answer and then you’ll know you’ve got a dud. That’s what the delete button is for.

I can say, without a doubt, that this person is an N.  I know from terrible, horrific, emotionally damaging personal experience.

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3 thoughts on “NPD Disaster – and Recovery

  1. Pingback: Invalidation, Control, and Bullying: Who Wins? | Social Behavioral Patterns–How to Understand Culture and Behaviors

  2. Pingback: Your Questions About Emotionally Healthy

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