A new way of looking at narcissism: understanding vs. hatred.

building_bridges

Although I have a blog about narcissistic abuse (that also covers many other topics), Down The Rabbit Hole is not about that, even though many victims of narcissists do read my posts here and have found them helpful.  Of course that’s a good thing.     It always makes me happy when anyone tells me either of my blogs have helped them.

About a year after going No Contact with both my malignant narcissist mother (I became the family scapegoat after failing to live up to their ridiculous an unrealistic expectations) and sociopathic MN ex–and after doing a lot of soul searching–I realized I may have NPD myself (though not high spectrum, if it’s true) and that was the initial reason why I started this blog.

Like many other bloggers who write about narcissistic abuse, I hated “narcs” for awhile after going NC with mine. I was angry and I needed that anger to do what I needed to do and escape.  But over time the hateful, us-vs.-them mentality of some of those blogs began to bother me.   Not only because I felt personally insulted (believing at the time I had the disorder myself), but because I saw what can happen to people when they are unable to let go of their hatred and black and white thinking.    I saw malignant narcissism in some of these bloggers, who actually used every tool in the narcissist’s book of tricks to attack, bully, gaslight, and triangulate against me when I dared to suggest that maybe not all narcissists were demons or are hopeless and that some in fact might want to change.  That’s when I began to realize that rage, while healthy when you’re trying to escape because it overrides fear and gives you courage to do what you need to do, turns toxic when held onto like a trophy. With nowhere left to go, unmitigated, endless rage blackens the soul and turns these abuse victims into what they hate. It also turns them paranoid and they begin to see narcissism in every day human behavior.  Anger, like fear, is a survival emotion and isn’t intended to be permanent. But these bloggers can never see their own narcissism because to do so would require them to look in the mirror and see that they’ve become what they hate.  I know this is a controversial viewpoint, but it’s one of the things I’ve learned in this journey.

So I soured on the hatred and began to try to understand narcissists instead.  I started posting on an NPD forum and although I didn’t (and still don’t) have an NPD diagnosis, I posted as a self-identified covert narcissist.   I learned a lot there, both from Ns and from “nons” (non-narcissist victims) trying to understand people with this disorder.   I realized how little support there is anywhere on the web for people who have NPD and want to change or heal from it–and these people do exist.  There are more of them than you’d think.  I read about their pain and realized that they too are victims of abuse who developed their disorder as a defense mechanism to avoid ever being hurt again.

Ironically, thinking of Ns this way instead of hopeless, incurable monsters, helped me because when I finally let go of my rage, I could really begin to heal.  Narcissism isn’t a black and white issue; there are many shades of grey, and as someone with BPD, AvPD, C-PTSD–and possible low spectrum covert narcissism, I’m in that grey area.

Of course the anger is necessary when you’re trying to escape. But I don’t think it’s meant to be permanent because all that rage just eats at your soul and turns you narcissistic. I’ve seen it happen to other bloggers.

Some people don’t understand this way of thinking.  I admit it’s controversial. Many abuse victims think you must be either “us” or “them” but that’s really a form of black and white thinking (“splitting”) because NPDs (I am really trying to avoid the term “narc” anymore) are also victims of abuse.   I think of my mother, a pathetic shell of what she could have been.  I remember seeing a photo of her when she was two years old (I wrote a post about this), and how terribly sad she looked.  No child should look that sad.  I know she was terribly abused, and this included sexual abuse by her father.  She is a very malignant narcissist and I no longer have any contact with her, but I do still love her and I pray for her healing even though in her case, it’s extremely unlikely, given her advanced age and level of malignancy.

I read stories on the NPD board by narcissists talking about their own abuse and their self-hatred and guilt over having developed NPD.   It almost never was a choice, as some narc-abuse bloggers believe it was.  Unfortunately, most people with NPD are not self aware and will never become self aware or try to get help, and yes, they can be extremely dangerous.  Without self awareness, no, there is no hope for change.   That’s a given.    But for those who do want to change, they find almost no support or compassion anywhere, not even in the mental health community, who dismiss them as incurable or too difficult to bother working with.  This needs to change.

So now I try to understand, rather than hate.  I welcome NPDs on this blog as well as victims of abuse.    Understanding doesn’t mean not going No Contact or trying to make things “work” with a narcissist.  That just isn’t realistic. It doesn’t work.  You cannot “fix” a narcissist.   I believe in NC (I am NC with both my ex and my mother) but for those who are self aware and don’t want their disorder, they deserve to have a voice and I try to give them that voice because they too are victims.  I also think they have a lot to teach us.   All I ask is they remain respectful and civil (just as I’d expect that from anyone) and not play N games on this blog and so far, none have given me any problems.

I post on an NPD forum (I no longer self identify as one, but admit I’m on the fence as to whether I have the disorder or not–or maybe just some N traits).  I’ve actually met some lovely people who have a NPD diagnosis!😮 I know, that shocked me too. But these forum members are hurting and deeply damaged people and they DO suffer.   As long as there is willingness to change and self awareness, I think they can teach us things about themselves and from what I’ve seen, they are quite willing to.  And the “nons” are teaching the NPDs there about themselves.  Both sides are listening.   As for myself, I still don’t know if I’m N or not (and will probably never know) but if I am, I don’t want to be that way anymore. Healing is mostly what this blog is all about. Some people like this new attitude I have, while others are suspicious of it.   I can understand their suspicion.  It’s not a conventional or popular way of looking at the problem of narcissism.

This blog isn’t for everyone, but writing it is helping me and my primary aim (besides healing myself of whatever it is I have) is to try to bridge the gap between victims of narcissistic abuse and the narcissists themselves in a safe and healing space where both can feel encouraged and supported.

Let’s build bridges, not walls.

Advertisements

16 thoughts on “A new way of looking at narcissism: understanding vs. hatred.

  1. Amen and amen! “bridges not walls.” as someone who with diagnosis of BPD and someone who probably has traits of NPD and HPD that have been as yet undiagnosed formally, AND a survivor of emotional and verbal abuse with some violence from a parent, i have found BOTH your blogs helpful. this is my first experience with someone who writes ACON blogs who doesn’t subscribe to the Them vs Us notion, which is so unhelpful and stigmatizing…..also i love the way you describe NPD and its causes properly, with emphasis on Complex PTSD as a factor. so many people believe NPD is people who take too many selfies! i read a Cosmo magazine article yesterday entitled The Rise of the Female Narcissist. what a disappointment! rather than a decent article on NPD, it was focused on one case study, a girl named Charlotte Michaels who is obsessed with taking selfies. that was all the article was about. it did mention this girl had low self worth and had a fear of not being seen as special. also that she cuts herself and seLf harmss in other ways. (sounds more like HPD or even like some BPDs i have known. myself included)). the article emphasises how spoilt Ms Michaels was as a child and says her parents taking her out of school because of severe bullying is an example of spoiling her (????) it completely misses the point that chronic bullying can causes Complex PTSD and this may well be where Charlotte’s “NPD” started..

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Mainstream media thinks “narcissism” means taking selfies, and has labeled an entire generation (Millennials) as being narcissists just because they take a lot of selfies and act “entitled” (mostly because the job market is so terrible and pays so litttle they are forced to still live at home and are demanding more fair treatment). Real narcissism has nothing to do with taking selfies. Selfies are just a trend at at most may indicate vanity, which is not the same as narcissism at all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. yes!!! i hate that whole millennial bashing thing! very few people who live at home are spoilt! i even lived in my abuser’s home in my mid to late twenties because my health issues meant i had no decent work long term and i had to wait to get a social housing home via the council. i was very scared to leave home in case i was yelled at for doing so….had no sense of myself

        Liked by 1 person

  2. ‘I think of my mother, a pathetic shell of what she could have been’, this also fits many people who cling to blame all their lives, who defend their blame vehemently to avoid taking responsibility for what’s happening now; until they (we) do that, the pain and anger will never soften-we will become pathetic shells of what we could have been.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this post, thank you.
    As a NPD myself, diagnosed recently, I just couldn’t identify with the stuff I found online about narcissist. That I should be a person without any empathy for others, maybe even evil, is very far from how I see myself. Luckily I also found my way to the NPD forum where I saw a much more nuanced view of the disorder and where I realized that I identify more with the covert fragile type of NPD. I also found this blog:-)
    But you’re right that the descriptions of NPD get very black and white and there isn’t much room for factual and objective views. This is also the reason I cannot tell my family about the diagnosis, because they would definitely google the disorder and they would just find that I’m a monster.
    So posts like this – nuanced and not stigmatizing – are very important.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m glad you liked this post. 🙂 I’ve talked to you enough to know you’re absolutely not evil! The idea of it makes me laugh. That you in particular would be thrown in with demons and inhuman creatures is patently ridiculous to me. I doubt you’re high spectrum anyway and I still cant believe you even have NPD. From what I can tell, you have a ton of empathy so your friends are right about that. But since you’re so willing to get help and so motivated and insightful, I don’t think you will have this disorder for very long. Stay positive! Think of it as an adventure. That’s what I try to do and it really is an adventure (even though I’m not a diagnosed NPD).
      You’re not obligated to tell your family about your diagnosis. Do you really think they’d reject you and believe everything they read if they did Google NPD?
      Might it be possible they’d just go WTF? No way.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. You’re right: I should think of it as an adventure. I admire your positivity, I’ll try to imitate some of that.
      Yeah, they would probably not hold it against me, but I’m not sure. I’ll just keep it to myself for a while.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Though I have only just found you, I feel this is one of the most exceptional posts on the subject… My goal was to assure that it didn’t get passed onto my children… Often times my adult son has said.. Mom, you seemed sad and often times you were so quiet… little did he know it was at those times i was fighting with all my might not to find fault.. to be ugly or degrading… I tend to be the opposite now.. lots of work… but I give out praise as often as possible…..
    Anger has it’s rightful place… but not for abuse… Kudos to you and all you have accomplished and continue to share!! Kind Regards – K

    Liked by 1 person

  5. The struggle is really, having your life invaded by others selfishness it becomes almost tortorous and we feel trapped within its cruel bonds. I keep a blog on the side of my primary blog, it began primarily as therapy to cope with my stepson’s birth mom, but as I wrote I began to feel some release from the shackles, and now it’s turned into just a personal journal of parenting and faith. Writing is great therapy! Wishing you the best!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. I admire your strength and the ability to feel compassion towards those who have hurt you the most. It is my goal to increase compassion towards people in general and I realize that I must start from my parents and myself, but I find that excruciatingly hard to do. I am 24 y/o and have just recently began to have insight into what “the problem” may be. All my life I have felt like a victim and I was one of those people who perceive their “introverted” and “recluse” traits to be a sign of greater value of myself compared to “shallow and stupid” extroverted and social people while at the same time envying them tremendously. I can’t say that this insight has transformed me and I no longer have those traits, because I still do, I only became aware of them and of the role my parents had in their forming, This made me feel so much anger towards my parents and myself and I’m so afraid of the effects that anger may have on my recovery. For that reason, I really like reading something like this and seeing that people are able to shift their focus from those horrible, destructive feelings to compassion and healing. I can’t imagine how hard it must have been for you to do this, but I guess it takes time and patience and dedication to the process of recovery. This has helped me a lot in the sense of giving me hope that I may, too, one day be able to feel compassion and find peace. Thank you very much for that.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Joanna, you wrote,
      “All my life I have felt like a victim and I was one of those people who perceive their “introverted” and “recluse” traits to be a sign of greater value of myself compared to “shallow and stupid” extroverted and social people while at the same time envying them tremendously.”
      My God, that is the story of my life. It’s only VERY recently the envy has been diminishing. I still am very shy and introverted though, even if online I am not.
      I stayed angry at my parents for YEARS for molding me into a scapegoat who would forever be victimized and forever be “less than” everyone else — but that anger and hatred did not help me ONE BIT. All it did was make me wallow in self pity and that made me even MORE bitter. These are traits covert narcissists have, which is why I think I might have been one.
      But once I could look at my parents as victims of their own pasts, I could have more compassion for them and that made me feel so much less like a victim, and I was finally able to start moving away from all that bitterness, anger, envy and self pity.

      Don’t get me wrong. I still struggle with those things. But it’s no longer the story of my life.

      Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s