NPD used to be just a psychiatric diagnosis. Now it’s an Internet meme. In their new video “Narcissism Hijacked,” Sam Vaknin and SLC even talked about how demonized narcissism has become on the Internet, mostly due to blogs and videos made my victims of narcissistic abuse (who are understandably angry at the narcissists who abused them and are often not in contact anymore). A new picture has been painted of narcissists–and it’s not a psychiatric one; it’s a spiritual one. Yes, I agree there is definitely a spiritual element in this disorder because conscience/”warm” empathy is limited or almost nonexistent for those high on the spectrum, but some victims have painted a picture of all narcissists being not even human–we’re demons, machines, destined for hell, predatory animals, what have you.
In my experience blogging about narcissism, I’ve had some run ins with people who think I’ve been “too soft” on narcs and that I “hug” them because I prefer to think of narcissism as a spectrum disorder caused by abuse as a child. I don’t “hate” on them enough for their liking. Some people don’t like the fact I have some empathy for what they’ve been through and how unhappy most of them are (I couldn’t understand why I felt this way until I realized I’m a covert narcissist myself). They think my doing this is dangerous to my soul and will turn me into one.
Well, I guess it’s too late because I am one. Not high spectrum mind you, and I don’t have ill will toward others and I do have a well developed conscience (probably too well developed because excessive guilt and shame is a huge problem for me); but I have enough of the symptoms of covert narcissism just the same to self-identify with that label. I’d probably fail most standard NPD tests though because I don’t fit the classic description in the DSM.
I think this attitude toward narcissism is dangerous, almost as dangerous as the narcissists they are demonizing and maybe more so. First of all, I think some victims dwell so much in hate and judgment that in the process they poison their own souls. In essence, they have allowed the abuse inflicted on them to become internalized and they become perpetual victims, never able to move on with their lives. They think that if they allow themselves to move on from the hatred and work on themselves becoming happier, that somehow the narcs “win.” They like to see themselves as “living proof” of the damage their narcs have done to them. They wear their victimhood like some kind of trophy and don’t see how narcissistic their own behavior is. I’ve tried to tell them this is self defeating and they are actually giving their narcs what they want– because their narc abusers don’t want them to get better or be happy, especially if they were scapegoated.
I was as abused as they were (two narcissist parents, one malignant; then married to a malignant narcissist for 20 years and another 7 living with him–how could I not become N myself?) but through journaling and blogging and prayer I was able to move away from my hatred (when I first started my blog I was a narc hater too) and it was only then that I was able to start looking inward at myself and what I could do to change. If I’d continued to dwell in hatred I would still be stuck in a place of rage and victimhood and not be aware of my own choices in what kind of life I have. (Not that my narcissists didn’t damage me, because they did, badly–but I don’t choose to be a perpetual victim either). If I’d never moved on from the hatred and come to a place of understanding, I would never have seen my own narcissism.
I also think the blanket judgments made about narcissists are unfair and untrue. N-haters don’t see narcissism as a spectrum disorder; they think of ALL narcs as “evil.” We are all bad, toxic people out to destroy the “normals.” Yes, I agree there are malignant narcissists/sociopaths at the top of the spectrum who may in fact be evil (and I’ve seen this for myself), but I think most of us have been unjustly demonized and dismissed as inhuman monsters, when the fact of the matter is, we are human beings who were hurt badly and we became this way because we were victimized.
There’s a lot of talk about empathy online, but very little, if any, empathy shown toward us. We are dismissed as hopeless and incurable, and evil to the core.
It’s a form of bigotry if you ask me. Demonizing a class of mentally ill people the way we have in the online narcissistic abuse community is no different really than prejudice against any minority group. It’s damaging because it makes it so hard to get treatment because even mental health professionals have been influenced by the attitude and refuse to treat us because they think we can’t or don’t want to get well.
This attitude also makes narcissists out of the people who judge us, but they cannot see how narcissistic their hatred is.
The bigotry has even been extended to all Cluster B disorders, with Borderlines being seem almost as “evil” as narcissists.