What’s my problem?


After over a month of being convinced I’m a covert narcissist, now I’m starting to wonder if my assessment of myself could be incorrect. Most people are having trouble believing me (even good friends) and there are so many disorders that appear similar to it.

I no longer think my symptoms are due to Aspergers the way I used to, but BPD + Avoidant PD in the same person can look exactly like covert NPD. So can complex PTSD in some cases.

I’ve been told again and again that real narcissists are unlikely to ever admit they are narcissists, and if they do, they won’t be beating themselves up that much over it. I don’t know if that’s always true (I’ve met a few low spectrum covert narcissists on Psychforums who actually have a diagnosis and feel terrible about things they’ve done and want to change, but maybe the diagnosis they got is wrong and they just have more than the normal amount of N traits).

Victims of narcissistic abuse are often quick to diagnose narcissism in themselves and others. We’re hypervigilant and tend to see narcissism everywhere, and we don’t even exempt ourselves. The real narcissists are probably more likely to keep insisting that they are not. Abuse victims think too damn much. It’s all very confusing.

Bad advice!

I guess there was a reason why I never added “Covert NPD” to “My Disorders” on my other blog. Without an official diagnosis for that, I really can’t say that’s what my problem is. It could be, but if so I think it’s at a low level. I know I have a number of narcissistic traits, but most abuse victims do. That doesn’t necessarily mean I have NPD, covert or otherwise. I could just have a really bad case of “fleas,” or just BPD + AvPD, or even complex PTSD.

I’m still glad I started this blog, because it’s also intended for people with BPD, which I have an actual diagnosis for. I still think my “trip down the rabbit hole” early in August was real but that doesn’t necessarily mean I have NPD. It was still a trip to the walled off parts of my mind, and most abuse victims are at least partly walled off from themselves. We may be partially narcissistic but not enough to qualify for the label.

I care about people with low-mid spectrum NPD and BPD who want to heal or improve, so that’s another reason I’m going to keep DTRH going. It’s getting a good reception. Another one of my missions is to help reduce the negative stigma against people with these disorders. I don’t ever expect DTRH to gain the amount of activity Lucky Otter’s Haven has received, but if only one or two people can be helped by my posts, and I can help myself by continuing to do exactly what I’ve been doing, then I think it’s worth it to keep it going.

Really, at the end of the day, all these labels are just labels and don’t really mean anything at all.


14 thoughts on “What’s my problem?

  1. Narcissists are exploitative and intentionally plot and scheme to manipulate people. They think of people as tools. objects and consider them disposable. You mentioned having friends. If you consider them friends and they are not interchangeable with any other person and if they are disposable when you are done draining them of their life blood, then you might have some narcissistic traits or narcissistic characteristics but not full blown malignant narcissistic personality disorder. Narcissists do not really consider anyone a friend or think of people as meaningful or as other people with individual feelings and thoughts.
    Borderline personality has some characteristics similar to narcissistic personality disorder. Both borderline and narcissistic personality disorder come from being emotionally and mentally abused as a child. It can be early as infancy and early childhood and may not be remembered.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you. I think you made some good points. Yes, BPD does share a lot of characteristics with NPD and are similar in some ways. But BPDs have more empathy even though they get so caught up in their own drama they forget to think about others sometimes. I think I could use more empathy, but I’m not without it, and really, we could all use more of it.

      Both BPD and NPD are caused by abuse, but NPDs are much harder to cure and are less likely to be disturbed by their disorder.

      I don’t think of my friends as interchangeable or people just to use for supply. Of course I have been manipulative (BPDs are) but I feel terrible about that and am working on mindfulness so I don’t do the things I used to do.
      Thanks for your comments. 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You are welcome. I really do not think you are a narcissist. Even the fact that it bothers you to think that you might be a narcissist tells me that you have a heart. The suffering of fear of abandonment and depression are things I can relate to. And our society is set up to drive people towards narcissistic behaviors in order not to be eaten up. It is sad.

        Many people are developing narcissistic traits because they do not know how else to cope with survival.
        I feel like you are really a good person who has been broken and damaged by neglect and abuse.

        I am glad you have friends that care about what happens to you and that you are able to recognize that. I do not think narcissists ever recognize that some people really care about them and try to help them. They have no faith at all in humanity and even though it is hard to hold onto faith in humanity these days, I think you and I are still trying to believe that there are still some good people left.

        C-PTSD from emotional mental and other abuse during childhood is a terrible thing. There was bad programming of our brains that is hard to overcome. You were programmed for self denial and feeling worthy of love than other people. We were taught that we can only be loved through our actions and not just because of who we are. Children and teenagers are supposed to be guided to be able to generate self love and feelings of self worth.

        I am sorry for your pain. We need to re-wire our brains to be able to feel worthy and lovable. This is why other people function so much better and easier than we do. They were not brainwashed to feel like an alien.

        Much love,

        Liked by 2 people

  2. Lauren, you are full of surprises! And I’m not one of those who questioned your narcissism. Borderlines share so many symptoms with other PDs in Cluster B, you can really see yourself as that. You have the diagnosis, after all.


  3. I think your last point says it all really: “Really, at the end of the day, all these labels are just labels and don’t really mean anything at all.” I’ve been very confused about whether or not I have it too, and I find this post really helpful in terms of relating. I feel like I’m now treating everything as pathological: If I am emotional about something, it’s BPD traits; If I’m not, it’s the apathy of covert narcissism. Is my reluctance to deal with some friends’ problems a healthy act against codependency, and against an avoidant desire to please others over my own needs, or is it a narcissistic focus on myself? Do I go out and socialise when I don’t want to to combat the covert narcissism, or am I being disrespectful to my natural introversion? Is my lack of desire to do some things pathological (narcissistic), or is it just a natural part of my identity? I think that sometimes it might be better to take the emphasis of the diagnosis, and reduce the self-analysis.


    1. I think it’s hypervigilance. Abuse victims are all hypervigiliant, even about themselves, and those of us who are introverted and introspective tend to like to overanalyze everything anyway.
      I think all the obsessing over labels helps us understand ourselves better, but sometimes we can take ot too far and start imagining demons in ourselves where there’s shadows that can sometimes appear to take the shape of a demon.
      That’s not to say you or I may not be narcissistic or even have covert narcissism, but the labels tend to put us and everyone else in a neat little box. We are individuals and we are all different, and any and all combinations of PD traits are possible.
      Maybe instead of labels, we need to just focus on working on symptoms we don’t like in ourselves.

      The labels do bring a kind of closure though, and as a highly analytical person I am drawn to labels and categories. :/ It makes people and the world seem more understandable, but it all might really be an illusion.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. I relate a lot to this post. I know its an old one. My official diagnosis is BPD. I have been through DBT. I know I have N traits but mine are definitely due to feeling inferior. I don’t relate to the Ns who believe “I am awesome”. I resent and hate myself for not being worth as much as I wish I was. I was verbally and emotionally abused by a parent and suffered a lot of bullying in my early school years. I feel guilt sometimes for saying what I went through was abuse because I know I was a difficult kid and this parent wasn’t a bad person. Just impatient and suffering mood swings himself. But at same time I relate to so much of what other survivors of abuse feel. And my sister was abused too and she is a kind person with no PDs. So it wasn’t all my fault. What hurts me is that although I don’t have superiority issues I do have a lot of jealousy. So I guess there is some self love and entitlement there after all! My abusive parent was very good at loving other kids outside our family and showering them with attention whilst telling me to “shut up and go away or i`ll thump you” and generally putting me down and mocking me if I was hurt or sick “you’re faking, you’re an attention seeking drama queen”. So now I feel its my turm to get some love and sympathy and validation. And when I see others getting it it makes me so angry and I feel like hurting myself

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The pdoc who originally diagnosed me chose to go back to school so I had to change to a new one. I asked him one day if he agrees that I am bipolar. His response was, “The meds are working, so does it matter?” I didn’t say anything back, but yes…it mattered to me.


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