Have I come full circle?


I think I’m falling down the rabbit hole all over again.

I began this blog a bit over a year ago believing I had NPD (low level, non-malignant, covert type).   Some of you might remember I experienced a very weird, disorienting and extremely upsetting “trip down the rabbit hole” (hence the name of this blog) on my “discovery” after reading an article about covert narcissism.  It was like a hellish “a-ha” moment.  I was utterly gobsmacked.  But it explained everything.

I did NOT want to have NPD–it was already bad enough I had a BPD diagnosis!  After a few days of panicky uncontrollable crying and some dissociating,  I decided I was going to fight this beast.  I didn’t think I could afford therapy, so I set about on a somewhat nutty self-healing regimen.  Some of the things I tried actually worked.

I started to experience a lot of emotional pain but then I got stuck and could advance no further.  My mind was probably protecting itself from even darker truths that I wasn’t ready to face.     I realized I couldn’t do this on my own and finally decided to enter therapy.

Almost no one who read my other blog and then came here could believe I might have NPD, but I kept insisting I did, because what else would explain the bizarre house of mirrors experience I had of suddenly becoming aware of my own narcissism?  It was like looking at myself for the first time and seeing myself the way others had always seen me, and it wasn’t a pretty reflection.

My therapist laughed when I told him I thought I had NPD.  He doesn’t even think I have BPD (or at least, not anymore).    I was never given a battery of tests or pre-therapy interviews or any kind of formal evaluation.  He also doesn’t believe in labels, because he thinks they are very stigmatizing, which they are.   When I insisted on a diagnosis, he said it was probably PTSD.   He said he thought I was too cooperative and too pleasant to work with to be someone with NPD or even BPD, but I think that could be due to my having internalized mindfulness to  a degree that I’m no longer abusive to or dismissive of my therapists. I’m also extremely motivated to heal from whatever it is I actually have.

He hasn’t experienced the way I acted with previous therapists.   I told him all about it, and for all I know one or more of them may have actually diagnosed me with NPD.   I know I gave them all a very hard time (though one or two of them really were bad therapists).   I really don’t know what they diagnosed me with, because at the time I saw those therapists, I never cared enough to ask.   But whether anyone diagnosed me or not, I’m still not ruling out that I may in fact have NPD, albeit not a malignant form of it.

I received a comment today, under another post.  The comment said, “You do know that you are a narcissist, right?”    Now, it’s possible this might have been a troll remark from someone who was angered by the article it appeared under (I admit it was a controversial viewpoint) and I shouldn’t take it seriously.  But that comment triggered something else in me–the idea that my therapist might actually be wrong, and that my self-diagnosis from a year ago and that made me start this blog may actually be the correct one. 

When I read over my posts, there are so many things about them that scream covert NPD to me.   Not so much my attitude on this blog or even in general (I try to be respectful to everyone and I do have empathy, or at least I’ve freed some up lately), but the mechanics of what is actually happening to me in therapy and the things I’ve been feeling.  The black emptiness inside and the difficulty I have in accessing my softer emotions.  The anger and hurt and occasional feelings of dissociation that are beginning to be revealed to me under the extremely guarded and avoidant demeanor I had a year ago.  And the shame, always the shame.  My desperate efforts to hide my shame and the exhaustion and stress it causes me.

I think I could be both an empath and a narcissist.   I know that sounds like an oxymoron, but it really isn’t.    The old DSM listed 9 criteria, of which you only had to meet five.  “Lack of empathy” wasn’t a required symptom.   It could have been be any combination of the 5.   I know the DSM has changed and I think as a way to understand personality disorders (or any other mental disorders), it leaves a lot to be desired, but I still think this is significant.    Especially if I’m low on the spectrum, I could still have empathy and some access to emotions.

The comment hurt my feelings–a lot.  But I also realized it might have upset me because it’s returning me to the truth that I conveniently shoved away, using my therapist’s reassurance that I did not have NPD as an excuse to believe I didn’t, because it’s something I don’t want to face.

I’m not saying I have NPD.   But I’m not saying I don’t, either.   It would explain so much about why I feel so much empathy for ego-dystonic covert narcissists who want to be rid of this awful disorder.  (I have very little to no empathy for higher spectrum narcs who have no self-awareness or are unwilling to change, who are malignant or sociopathic, or who believe their disorder makes their lives somehow “better”).    It would also explain why I would want to help them heal.  It might be because they mirror me; I see myself reflected in them.  My dream of working with people with this disorder in some manner could be a reflection of my desire to heal myself.    I guess I’ll never know for certain.  I wish I there was a way.

I’m still going to stay with the therapist I have regardless, because whatever he’s doing with me is working.

ETA: A friend on social media (Twitter) said my false self is as thin as a sheet of aluminum foil. Foil is easily torn and destroyed. I like that analogy.


11 thoughts on “Have I come full circle?

  1. Hiya LuckyOtter, please be gentle with yourself, whether you’re NPD or BPD, you’ve probably endured some trauma in your life and you’re doing the best you can to cope with the after effects .

    From what I’ve read, you’re doing something positive for yourself by engaging the services of a mental health professional which will hopefully give you options on how to deal with your struggles.

    I do think we’re all far more complicated than people see, even when we’re opening up to trained professionals, it doesn’t mean they really know us or get the full picture. Maybe you’re like me and can see lots of yourself in many disorders?

    Hope you’re ok sweetheart xx

    Liked by 4 people

    1. I am, and I think my week away with my son on the beach will help a lot. Thank you for being understanding. It scared me to post this. I agree abuse victims we’re all complicated and there’s a lot of combinations and shades of grey.

      Liked by 2 people

      1. You have a great time away and don’t go fretting about the diagnosis label too much, though I know it’s easier to say than do. I’m in the same boat, a mind of chaos at times, with moments of clarity, but unsure about everything I or the professionals think.

        Have you ever looked at the group Out Of The Storm, they’re a group for people with PTSD and CPTSD? They have another place called Out Of The Fog, I nosy on both from time to time.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. That’s a good site,Out of the Fog. I spent a lot of time there just before I started blogging. I also spend a lot of time on Psychforums in the NPD forum where I have learned so much. Pete Walker’s book about C-PTSD (I think we all have that) also was amazingly helpful to me, so much that I am letting my therapist borrow it. He’s actually reading it too!

          Liked by 3 people

      2. I haven’t actually bought any books about anything yet. I’ve struggled to have clarity of mind at times, so find it hard to read something in that line of writing. It took me ages to read and absorb some of the information on the 2 groups but my head goes funny when I have to look at what’s happened to me. I’m not sure if that makes sense?

        Sorry, my sentence structure is all over the place at the minute, I’ve had an emotional day.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. I know what you mean and there is just too much information to absorb and it can get very confusing.
          You make sense to me and your sentence stucture sounds fine. I’m sorry you’re having an emotional day (unless it’s good emotion).

          Liked by 1 person

  2. You seem concerned that if you admit to NPD (even in closet form) that you have to give up any genuine empathy and benevolence towards other people, like it’s a trade-off, that somehow anything nice you do on here is suddenly disingenuous. Remember that what’s listed in the DSM is only a description of the defences of a grandiose narcissist, it gives nothing of what lies behind-it’s why NPD doesn’t even exist as a distinct disorder in the ICD criteria outside North America. It recognises that grandiosity and a lack of empathy is a presentation, not a disorder itself.

    Liked by 2 people

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