Why we must start trying to help “Cluster B” people instead of stigmatizing them.

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Today I received an email from someone who invited me to participate in a new Facebook group.  This is a private group that is brainstorming ways to help people with Cluster B disorders, including the “dreaded” NPD.  Although I’m not very active on Facebook and normally avoid the victim-support groups, I’m making an exception for this one because it addresses something I feel strongly about but doesn’t seem to be a popular opinion.

Instead of writing a new article about why we must stop dismissing or demonizing people with Cluster B disorders as “incurable demonic perpetrators,” I’m just going to copy and paste her email to me (leaving out identifying information) and my reply.

I’m so glad I’m not the only person in the world who feels called on a mission to help people suffering from Cluster B disorders, who are victims also.  If Cluster B people (who are willing) can be helped, there would be far fewer victims.

*****

Dear Lauren,

I am a survivor of both a psychopath (married 8 years and with 2 boys) and a narcissist (2 years). One of my sons has narc tendencies as well and I have suffered abuse from him too through the years but I am happy to report he is doing better but still has many issues. He’s 21 now. These experiences and the love I have for my son and all human beings in general drives my passion. I honestly think it’s messed up the way victims dehumanize these personality disorders. Even most professionals toss them aside. I’ve seen it done many times. But I also understand how difficult of a problem it is. We leave these abusive relationships to heal ourselves (as we should) but we leave behind these people to continue the cycles of destruction with others, our children, and themselves. This creates more dysfunction in the world. I know I don’t have to tell you that this is a pandemic, as is C/PTSD. They are now finding that ADHD may actually be C/PTSD or that they can also concur together and childhood trauma is a common factor in those diagnosed with ADHD.

I hate all the labels because I don’t believe they are accurate. There is so much we still don’t understand. This is why I created a group on FB. I am not a professional but intend to go back to school. I believe I am a lot like you actually. Just a woman with experiences and a need to understand and help. I’m just not choosing to focus on the “victims” as much as the “perp-victims”. They are the source. They are the ones that must be helped so the damage doesn’t continue to create more damaged people. Regardless, I have this mission because it’s what my heart and mind directs me to do. I believe this is my life’s purpose. Reading your blogs I feel that we see things similarly.

This group I made is called _____. With every cell in my being I believe that if we stop ignoring and pushing aside these emotionally wounded PDs despite the difficulty they represent for us and just come together to find a real cure, a real solution and then we could help prevent further abuse. I believe in a holistic approach of body and mind…and also believe we need to take a multi-faceted approach. Prevention, Awareness, Research, and Implementation of the best tools available to us. I believe the answers are out there but we must actively search for them. I do not wish to heal them myself. But I believe I have a lot of passion and insight and can see the big picture. I want to organize this mission and hopefully bring together all the right minded people to collaborate on this mission. The reason I am writing you is because I want you to get involved. This group is a think-tank if you will of like-minded people to brainstorm solutions and to hopefully implement them. One person can’t tackle this alone. Please consider joining this effort. I realize you have your blog and I understand if you are not interested but I hope you could take some time to even share articles or research into the group. Even better share your knowledge and ideas. I intend to start a nonprofit for this cause. This cause could use all the support it can get. Please give this consideration and I hope to hear from you soon. Thank you for your time and feel free to hit me up with any questions or concerns.

My reply:

I’m so glad I’m not the only one thinking along these lines.  The way I see it, ignoring the “perpetrators” and only helping the victims is akin to not doing anything to stop poverty but only giving welfare to the poor, instead of stopping the problem that led to their needing welfare in the first place.  Besides, I’m sick and tired of the pervasive vilification of cluster B  people, most of whom were also abuse victims. People conveniently forget that, and while perhaps malignant narcissists and sociopaths can’t get better, lower level self aware narcissists and of course borderlines certainly can, if they want such help, and many do.

With fewer narcissists in the world, there would be fewer victims, but there are so few, really hardly any, support sites for people suffering from NPD in particular, outside of forums like the NPD forum at Psychforums, which I read regularly and sometimes participate in.      I have read so many accounts of people diagnosed with Cluster B disorders who tried to find help online but kept running into “victim sites” which did nothing except tell them they were hopeless and evil.    Things are improving for people with BPD due to online activism by BPD bloggers working together to reduce the stigma against them, but not so much for people with non-malignant NPD. Even many therapists refuse to take them on as clients, feeling that they’re too hopeless or will be too much trouble. A few years ago, I met with a therapist I felt I connected well with, but during the intake session, she told me she’d need to obtain my psychiatric records before we could begin treatment. About a week later, she called me and coldly stated, “I can’t take you on as a client. I don’t work with borderlines.” I felt like a door had been slammed in my face. It was very upsetting and traumatizing.

For several months, I’ve been in private correspondence with a nice young woman who happens to have an NPD diagnosis.   Judging by her manner, which is humble, emotional, and honest,  at first thought her diagnosis was a mistake and told her to get a second opinion.  But there is no mistake (she says she manipulates men and her family to get attention, which she says she was denied as a child).  She really wants help and hates being a narcissist and says my posts have helped her.   She’s very empathetic (emotional empathy, not just cognitive) too, which seems to fly in the face of having NPD, but actually “lack of empathy” is not a required symptom, just a common one.   I don’t believe what she talks to me about is her false self, but is her true one.  There’s no way I can ever think of this woman as “evil” no matter what she may have done to others, but the stigma is very bad, painting anyone with such a diagnosis (and sometimes even people with BPD) as a monster and incurable.   I don’t believe this person is incurable.  I think all that’s needed is a willingness to change and self awareness, and she has both.  I find her–and others like her–to be very inspiring.  It gives me hope that this isn’t a death sentence. On the NPD forum I frequent, I see others like her, both diagnosed and self-diagnosed (I’m well aware not all the self-diagnosed people actually have NPD).

My views about this have caused me some problems with the “narc haters” and some other narc-abuse bloggers online, but I don’t write to please the haters.  I write what I feel and believe.   And I think this group of cluster Bs is very much misunderstood, even though I can certainly understanding why anger may be useful, at least when going No Contact (which I do believe in and am No Contact myself with my ex and my N mother).  But I’ve realized over time that hanging onto anger like a trophy turns people bitter and keeps them wallowing in a victim mentality.  They become stuck in that mentality and can’t move forward or heal themselves from the trauma.   After awhile they become very narcissistic themselves.      About a year and a half ago, I was mobbed and attacked by a group of narc-hating bloggers. They trolled my blog, sent me abusive “anonymous”  messages, told lies about me, and wrote negative articles about me filled with half-truths and vicious rumors.   They attempted to destroy my blog and for awhile I was re-traumatized because of them and almost took down my blog (I only had one at the time — Rabbit Hole did not yet exist).   I was told I was a sociopath and a malignant narcissist.  They said I had an evil “agenda” and that I was being paid or otherwise compensated by outside organizations or people to promote my “evil” agenda.    Their thinking was very black and white, very us-versus-them.  All this because my viewpoint differed from theirs.  I was no longer satisfied to bash on “the narcs” and wallow in victimization.   They could not accept this.    These people used every trick in the narcissist’s playbook, and they were completely blind to their own narcissism, because to acknowledge it would be to admit they had become exactly what they hate and demonize.

I admit I am not very active on Facebook, but I would love to join your group!    I’m glad I’m not the only survivor who thinks along these lines (in fact, I have a BPD diagnosis and N traits myself but am in recovery for that). I think part of the reason I feel so strongly about this is because after all is said and done, I do still love my N mother, and pray every day that she can “wake up” and realize what has become of her and that she has missed out on ever being able to love or accept love. I heard stories of how abused she was as a child and her childhood photos show a little girl who looks so hurt and sad it just makes me want to cry. Unfortunately, in her case, I doubt this will happen due to her advanced age and the fact she is so malignant. My father, who was a covert narcissist and a borderline, died this past June, but I always loved my dad and wished we could have had some sort of closure before he died. I always knew he had love for me, but was so codependent to my MN mother that he could never express his love in healthy ways. Like you, I feel that I’ve been “called” to help address the narc-abuse problem by focusing on the source of the problem, rather than on just the victims (though as a victim myself, I believe in helping them too and offer support to them as well).

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9 thoughts on “Why we must start trying to help “Cluster B” people instead of stigmatizing them.

  1. “They are the ones that must be helped so the damage doesn’t continue to create more damaged people.”
    This! I said this on one of Dana’s Live Streams (Thrive after Abuse.) I said, “Heal the abusers and there won’t be any more adult children.”

    Love this article and love how you go off the beaten path on this topic.

    I remember calling a therapist I was interested in seeing and left a message on her voice mail. In that message I stated I had been dx’d with BPD.

    She called me back just to tell me she couldn’t help me. I knew it was because of the BPD dx even though she didn’t say that.

    It felt like a slap in the face and it would’ve been better if she hadn’t called me back at all. Unlike your experience we hadn’t met, there was no ball in play. So I don’t see why call someone so vulnerable just to reject them.

    Maybe they don’t think we have feelings. That’s not me making an excuse for this, but more like saying, who’s really the problem here?

    Anyway, I’m hoping you write about your experience in this group.

    Liked by 3 people

  2. I agree so much. Forensic psychology requires a lot of empathy as well. Many demonised people have suffered severe child abuse and identified with the abusers out of survival and then power

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I saw some of the posts by and about the “other” blog, but it looks like I missed a good chunk of what happened. Really sounds like they turned paranoid. Maybe that explains Certain Blogger sending her lawyers to threaten to sue me just for quoting (and properly attributing) her: that massive paranoia that everybody out there is actually a narcissist! 😛

    Liked by 1 person

    1. There are posts about the “other” blog? Where? (email me if you want). “CB” is certainly a malignant narcissist from everything I can tell. People who litigate that easily against imagined slights or infractions are almost certainly narcs. Normal people don’t act like that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. The posts about it–I’m referring to your own posts. As for the flurry among that little group, it’s been quite some time now, so I forget if they actually blogged about it or just discussed it in their comment sections.

        Liked by 1 person

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