Friday, 20 April 2012

NPD: an explanation

The "Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders," 4th edition, 1994 (DSM-IV) of the American Psychiatric Association defines Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD) as: "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy".
If you recognise any of the symptoms below in your partner, the universal advice is to "Get out as fast as you can". A person with NPD cannot be cured, and your efforts to try and help them will be ignored, or ridiculed and abused.
This blog is intended to help victims of narcissistic abuse, as the abused are often told not to share their experiences. Professional advice is that one should open up and release any feelings of insecurity and hurt, and get really angry, but not to fixate on those feelings. Only then can you start again. The person quoted below had been visiting a psychiatrist for over a decade, and was clinically defined as having a personality disorder.

Monday, 26 March 2012

What makes them “tick”?

An NPD’s inner character is permanently locked in a deep, black hole, which has been described as a “prolonged nightmare”.[Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self-Love - Narcissism Revisited] To escape, they create a totally false persona which is majestic, all-knowing, and ultra-powerful. They wholly convince themselves that this persona is their real, true self, whilst desperately hiding the darkness of their hidden personality.

To keep up the pretence, they need constant "Narcissistic Supply" to support and strengthen this fake image, which involves the praise and unreserved respect of those around them. This desperate need for Narcissistic Supply has been compared to a serious addiction; akin to a heroin addiction. Any lack of supply seriously undermines their fake persona, and maintaining it demands all of their energy; leaving nothing left for a partner. So why would they even want a partner?

The ‘perfect’ partner for an NPD is someone who is confident, emotional, and happy with what life gave them. If you are in this situation, please research what a "co-dependent" is, as an NPD looks for them, and the co-dependent does likewise. They engage in a "Dance of Death".

An NPD's jealousy and anger against this is vicious and sadistic, and they will not rest until they have broken down any confidence or happiness the victim feels: "What they seek is the pleasure of your destruction".[Vaknin] Using “Projection”, they throw all of their jealousy, arrogance, fear, hatred, disgust, and anger onto the partner: “My life isn’t perfect because of you. It's all your fault. You're a bad person”. This eases the tormenting guilt of their hidden personality for being so worthless, and inflates the arrogant, superior attitude of their fake persona.

Valuation/devaluation/withdrawal and abuse:

In the beginning of a relationship, an NPD will be extremely loving, caring and giving. They will flatter their victim, and make them feel very special, so they can trap them into feeling dependent, and safe. This does not last long, as they will quickly become "threatening, demeaning, contemptuous, berating, reprimanding and sadistic, or cold, unloving, detached, and clinical".[Vaknin]

They start by increasingly deriding any subject or interest the victim feels good about. If the victim likes intimacy and sex, they will deny them both, leaving the victim feeling dependent on their abuser's whims to occasionally allow it. If they can not answer an obvious question about their abusive behaviour, they will use the "Silent Treatment", meaning (quite simply), that they will obstinately refuse to say anything, leaving their victim feeling helpless, and alone.

They will never show these traits to other people, as they desperately need Narcissistic Supply. They search for this supply in any situation, and are bitterly frustrated when it is not forthcoming. An NPD is always in a state of fluctuation between depression and the constant search for Narcissistic Supply.

Ken Heilbrunn MD, about Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited: [Abbreivated]

NPD: "First I build you up, because that's what you need. Your skies are blue. Then I start tearing you down. You let me do it because that's what you are used to.
You are incompetent, disrespectful, untrustworthy, immoral, ignorant, inept, egotistical, constrained, and disgusting. You are a social embarrassment, an unappreciative partner, an inadequate parent, a disappointment, a sexual flop, and a financial liability. I tell you this to your face. It is my right. I will behave anyway I want to, with total disregard for conventions or the feelings of others. It is my right, because it is.
I lie to your face, and there is absolutely nothing you can do about it. In fact, my lies are not lies at all. They are the truth; my truth. And you believe them, because they do not sound or feel like lies. To do otherwise would make you question your own sanity, which you have a tendency to do anyway, because from the very beginning of our relationship you placed your trust and hopes in me, derived your energy from me; gave me power over you."

Conversations with an NPD

Personality Test:
Q: You're in a desert, and you can see a cube [how big/what colour/what material], a ladder [how many rungs/free-standing/leaning against something], a horse [what is it doing/where is it], a storm [coming close/going away]. 
[Explanation: The cube is ego, the ladder is friends, the horse is a partner, and the storm is problems in life].
A: "A huge granite stone; right in front of my face. The ladder with 5 rungs is on the horse, and the horse is running away. A tornado is coming closer".
Being obsessed with themselves and their "world”:
Q: Are you the most intelligent person in your country?
A: “In my world, yes. I'm the most intelligent person in my world – and that’s fu**ing arrogant”.
Q: How arrogant are you?
A: “I’m 70% arrogant, but I'm also 70% insecure. I don’t know how it can work, to make them both live in the same personality”.

Q: Who are you?
A: "I am who I am. You have to accept me as I am. Whatever I do, you have to accept that I am as I am". 

Is often jealous, easily bored, and fears intimacy:
Q: Why do you sound so irritated?
A: "Because I'm at work [on a night shift], and you can go out whenever you want. I don't like it".
Q: Why do you go out drinking so often?
A: "If it's 9:00 at night, I feel the ceilings coming down on top of me, and I have to get out".
Q: Why did you tell him to sit away from you in such a nasty way?
A: "I don't like it when people come too close to me. I need to have my space around me".
[Provoked arguments to make a partner leave if they felt overwhelmed by their closeness. If the partner went to bed, the insults would continue in the bedroom. If this had no effect, they would sleep on the couch].
Displays an arrogance that other people are not as good as them:
Q: Do you think you're an intelligent person?
A: “I think I’m a  fu**ing intelligent person, but I’m also very arrogant. So, I don’t allow people to tell me… how life is, or whatever. Because I think… I know it anyway. I know it’s  fu**ing arrogant, but I have seen a lot”.
Q: How intelligent are you?
A: "I’m a lot more intelligent than everybody else is around me. I don’t know anybody who is as intelligent as I am, or as quick as I am, and I don’t like it. I enjoy it in a way. I can go blah, blah, blah, but I’m not sure if I really like it, because I can’t use it. Nobody else is like this”.
A: Do you find it easy to learn new things?
A: “I can learn, if it’s interesting enough, to get my brain to work. If you tell me something I know anyway, I will block it. My arrogance would say, ‘Fu**ing  hell, I know this anyway’”.
Q: How do you react with people?
A: "I like to observe people, to see if they're on my level".

Q: Do you understand where they [other people] are?
A: “I try to get my [intelligence] level down, and understand”.
Q: Is everybody else stupid?
A: “No, just somewhere else. Maybe they’re not. Maybe they’re not stupid”.
Q: Do they understand where you are?
A: “No”.

Q: Are you saying I don't understand your problem?
A: "You can't understand it, because I can't understand it, and I've been doing it [my job] for so many years".
Lacks empathy for others, and is unemotional:
A former partner once cried in private, and the NPD told everybody in the locale they often frequented about his emotional outburst, sarcastically complaining that he "cried like a little child!"
Professional advice is to never cry or show any weakness at all in front of an NPD, as it will only be seen as deserving punishment. When played a video of a man crying a lot about the loss of his mother, there was no visible reaction at all: "So? What am I supposed to feel?"
Q: Why do you have that stuffed toy by your bed?
A: "He helps me to cry".
Q: Do you have a problem with crying?
A: "I don't want to talk about it".
Q: Do you ever cry?
A: "I cry sometimes if I'm watching a film, because I know the film will end".
Q: Why are you afraid of crying?
A: "Because if I started, maybe it would never stop".
Q: If a child was crying, what would you do?
A: "I'd say, 'Shut up! Why are you crying? Let's go for a beer!'"
Q: Are you serious?
A: "Yes".
[Was seen crying once, but was later laughing and joking. When asked about the change, replied: "I'm a great actress"]
Q: Do you think about other people?
A: "I don't care about other people at all. It's their life, not mine". "I once lived with a man for a short time, and he was always fussing around, like asking me what I wanted for breakfast every morning".
Q: Wasn't that good?
A: "I hated it".
Was given a favourite perfume as a birthday present. [The perfume is called 'Poison']. Later that same day:
Q: I can't smell anything. Are you wearing the perfume?
A: "No. I only wear it on special occasions". [See 'cheating' section below]
Q: Trick Question: Tell me about the 'emotional' reason why you did that.
A: "Not the intelligent reason?"
Reacts to criticism with anger, sarcasm, or shame and depression:
For them the slightest hint that they are not perfect is enough to anger them. They never ask for your help, as it would be too painful to actually admit they need help. They may ask for your advice, but anything useful you say will be stolen and presented as their own idea.

"If I get the feeling that someone thinks I'm stupid, I explode inside".

Q: Maybe you're not doing it right. Have you thought about another way, maybe?
A: "I feel like I'm being attacked now. Why are you attacking me? I don’t like it".
Q: But I'm only trying to help you. Don't you see that?
A: "No".

Q: Do you think you drink too much?
A: "If you have to organise my weak points, that's OK, if you have nothing better to do".
Q: Do you realise that you have a problem?
A: "None of us is a healthy person. You also have problems".
Q: But you do have a problem, no?
A: "There is no problem with me".

Q: Why do you complain about work so often?
A: "Because I don't know if I can do it everyday".
Q: But you've been doing it for years, haven't you?
A: "But I still don't know if I can do it".
Q: Do you make mistakes?
A: “Yes, I'm a human being. Because I'm insecure”.
Q: Are you standing on the side of a mountain looking at the sun, or are you in a dark hole?
A: "A dark hole. Sometimes I can be on the side of a mountain, but it's difficult".
Requires constant attention and positive praise from others without returning it:
"Why don't you kiss me every time I get in the car? Everybody else does it".
"You don't show me enough affection".
"You should care about me more".

Uses "I - me - my - mine":
Q: Why do you say "I worked that one out...", and "My theory is...", when that was something your partner explained to you, or you talked about together? Why can't you say "We", or "Our?"
A: "Because that's how I am. It's not important".

Q: Now that you know what an NPD is, how do you feel about other NPDs?
A: "NPDs don't like other NPDs, because they steal my show".

Has problems understanding the concept of love, and confuses it with sex:
Q: How do you feel about partners?
A: "They're people that I want to grab hold of that are higher than me, but they slip through my fingers". 

Q: When you meet a partner for the first time, do you fall in love?
A: "No. It's just a 'win' situation for me".

Q: Do you know the difference between sex and love?
A: "No... Why are you asking me this? Sex is sex. I just do it".

Q: Why can't you say "I love you" occasionally?
A: "Why do you keep talking about this 'love' thing? Nobody ever talked about it before".
"This love thing is new to me".

Is deliberately cruel, and often insults a partner:
NPDs use words like "Always", and "Never", when insulting a partner, or any negative statement to make their victims feel as if they are the one with problems.
"You always attack me".
"You never show me any kindness, ever".
"You don't help me at all, not even in smallish pieces".
"Do you know anything at all about music?"
"I know you bought me an expensive ring, but you didn't give it to me in the right way".
"You just don't understand me, and you never will".
"I talked with my psychiatrist about the partner that would be perfect for me".
Q: Why do you attack another person like this?
A: "I only say it because you force me to say it".
Q: Why do you use words like "Always" and "Never"?
A: "Because they're the killer words that can stop a conversation".

NPD: "Why are you interrupting me when I'm talking?"
A: I'm not, we're having a conversation, aren't we?
NPD: "Explain what a conversation means".
A: It's an inter-active dialogue between two or more people...
NPD: "I don't mind how you call it, it's still interruption".

Derides their partner to friends and colleagues with a smear campaign, to elicit sympathy:
The smear campaign starts right from the beginning of a relationship, and is constant throughout. [This builds a wall of guilt around the partner, whose claims of innocence are never believed by the 'gang' an NPD gathers around them for Narcissistic Supply]. 
Told a sibling that a partner was "Macho"; to female friends, "He doesn't respect me"; to parents, "He treats me badly", and a male friend, "I have to organise everything for him; he's useless". Asking friends: "Can you look at his Facebook page and see if he is saying anything bad about me?"
Q: Stop saying bad things about me to other people. Why do you do it?
A: "I don't do that anymore". [Proven to be a lie]
Q: Why are you telling lies about me?
A: "You are a good person. I would never say bad things about you". [Another lie]
Former Partners:
1: "He cheated on me with another man, and then a woman. I came home earlier than usual one night to find the woman wearing my bathrobe".
2: "He took too many drugs, and drank too much".
3: "I saw him walking down the street holding a man's hand after we split up". "He cried about his grandmother dying, but he lied. It was just a trick to get me to have sex with him".
4: "He was either manic or depressed". "He was on medication, and couldn't get an erection".
5: "He hardly ever took a shower; he'd just come home from work and watch TV". "He watched porno films all the time, and had a stack of magazines". "The sex was shit, and he was boring"." "He stole money from my account and used it to gamble". "When I forced him to leave, he took all the furniture". [After cheating and getting pregnant, and then stopping the payments for the flat's gas and electricity].
6: "He cheated on me with a really old woman who was drunk all the time. He cheated on me the second time with a really fat woman who never washed and stank".

Believes cheating in a relationship is acceptable for them:
"OK, I cheated on you, but are you going to talk about this forever?" [Two days after admitting the fact].
"I only do that [cheat on you] when I'm feeling insecure".
"When I was in Spain I was talking to this guy. I didn't understand a word he was saying, but I could have 'had' [slept with] him".
Often sat in sports bars full of men. Sent text messages or phoned, saying, "I'm sat here by myself. There's a lot of testosterone [men] in here".
"My sex life should be more varied".
"I once had so many men, I thought of becoming a prostitute".
Q: Did you ever cheat on 'X'? [A former partner]
A: "I was waiting for him once in a bar, and I was kissing another man until just before he arrived".
Q: Were there more times?
A: "I can't remember...".
Q: Did you cheat on me?
A: "No, I would never cheat on you... maybe you should see a psychiatrist, because you're paranoid". [After six months of repeating this, the lie was admitted, although no apology was ever given].
Q: Don't you think that was an evil thing to do? Making a person think they need help?
A: ".......................................". [No answer].

Q: I told you about the two relationships I had where partners cheated, and how hurt I was, so why did you do that to me?
A: ".......................................................".

Is often involved in short-term relationships:
Never had a relationship longer than two years. When asked about the one relationship that lasted for a considerable time [eight years]: "I only had that relationship because I wanted to be 'normal'. I didn't love him at all, and the sex was shit".

Q: Why did they [NPD and 'X'] break up after 18 months?
A: "He [X] told me that she always wanted more and more. It was never enough. She endlessly complained and hassled him all the time".

Q: Why did they [NPD and 'Y'] break up after such a short time?
A: "She was always telling him which drugs to take for his medical problems, and everytime he got an SMS [Text Message] he would say, 'Oh no, another nasty one', before he'd even read it. She complained about him all the time".

Are practiced liars, and hate to admit the truth, or apologise:
Vaknin: "They are great actors, and they succeed in deceiving the entire world, all people, all of the time". Note: They often change the tense when lying: "Did you?" is answered with, "I would never". They often maintain a constant and penetrating eye contact when lying.

Q: Will you go out drinking tonight?
A: Maybe for just one or two.
Q: Really?
A: Why won't you believe me?
[Note: 6:30 until after midnight]
Q: Why waste time lying about your drinking when you could just tell the truth?
A: Why are you trying to control me? I always get the feeling you are trying to control me!
Q: Do you tell your psychiatrist about your drinking binges?
A: "No. Why should I?"
Q: You should tell a psychiatrist everything, no?
A: "I only tell her what I want her to know".

Q: Why do you lie so much?
A: "I deny things sometimes, because it's too dangerous".
[Both partners once took a detailed test to determine signs of a personality disorder. The partner scored "Low" on all counts, but the NPD scored "High" for Narcissistic Personality Disorder].
Q: What do you think about the results of the test?
A: "I don't believe it. Let's do it again, but I'll answer yours and you answer mine".
Was once asked if they would pass a lie detector test:
"That's not how I see a relationship - I wouldn't do that. That's not how I see love. It's wrong".

Wants the best of everything, and doesn't like to be kept waiting:
Q: Why did you choose your psychiatrist?
A: "I chose her because she's the best".
Q: Why do you buy such expensive and unusual furniture?
A: "Because it represents me. Nobody else has things like this".
Q: Why are you looking frustrated?
A: "My drink is empty, and he [the waiter] is ignoring me".
Q: He has a lot of people to serve, doesn't he?
A: "I come here a lot, and he should serve me first. It's my right".
Q: Would you like to drive somewhere nice today?
A: "Yes, I think that would be good for me... pick me up at 3:00. Make sure you're on time".
Q: Why can't you just tell me five minutes before you want to leave?
A: "Why should I have to tell you when I'm ready to leave? You should know".

A birthday while in a foreign country:
"My birthday is the best anyone could have. Nobody in [home country] has ever had one as good as this". 
Exaggerates their own importance, achievements, and talents:
"I could have anyone I wanted".
Q: Really? Anyone?
A: "Yes".
Q: Do you always have one hour with your psychiatrist?
A: "Sometimes it's longer, or I make it shorter. It's my decision how long it will be".
Q: Were you scared before you started therapy?
A: "Yes, but I read lots of books about it beforehand".
NPD: "A whole bunch of guys now go to the pub I go to, because of me".
Q: Do you have that much power?
NPD: "I don't like it, but sorry, I have it".
Q: How many guys exactly?
NPD: [Pause] "Well... two".
Q: Do you think you’re great?
A: “Yes I am, because I’m quick – because I can do things other people can’t do. Because I think… I just get [understand] a conversation a lot more quickly.”
Q: Do you think you’re better than everybody else?
A: No… Just in one way; I’m quicker than anybody else. There might be a lot of quicker people, out there. I don’t know… like the inventor of the i-pad [Steve Jobs].”
Q: Are you as intelligent as the inventor of the i-pad?
A: “I don’t know – I never had to prove it.”

Takes advantage of others to reach those goals:
Q: What happened with 'X' six years ago?
A: "He left me, so I went out with 'Z', to make him jealous".
Q: And?
A: "I got him [X] back. It worked".
Q: What about 'Z'?
A: "He said he loved me, and even introduced me to his mother".
Q: Didn't you think about his feelings?
A: "No. Why should I?"

Q: Your sister is very dominant, isn't she?
A: "I control my sister. She protects me, but I control her".

See themselves as a child, but are jealous of children:
Vaknin: "If I remain a child, I can indulge in these behaviours, perpetuate my misconduct, and not be punished for it".
Q: Who are you?
A: "I am an innocent little child, and nothing bad should ever happen to me".
Q: Why do you act that way?
A: "It's just the little kid in me". "I can do anything I want because I can be a little kid". "Life is easier". "I don't [like to be] an adult. It would destroy everything". 
Q: Are you jealous of kids?
A: "I'm jealous of their innocence". "Adults say you shouldn't sit on the floor, but with kids you can". "With kids you can go around the rules".
Once listened to a child shouting and screaming for something sweet for one whole hour, but purposely ignored it.
Q: Why did you do that?
A: "It taught her a lesson, and it worked".

Healing and Help:

After getting away from an NPD, the abused will grieve for the image the NPD showed them in the beginning of the 'relationship', even though this image was totally false, and not the real person. The abused will have to come to terms with the harrowing reality that the NPD did not care about them at all, in any way whatsoever. Their victims are just toys, that they use and abuse at will.
If you can, contact ex-partners of an NPD, and compare notes. You will be surprised that it wasn't just you they did this to; they did it to every partner they have had, and will ever have.

Help and information can be found in the following links: