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.