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Old 12-31-2018, 04:12 PM
 
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empath and narcissist are not synonyms.
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:28 PM
 
Location: State of Transition
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Originally Posted by sean1the1 View Post
It's not all about abuse if one's parent out them on a pedestal eventually they start to feel like they deserve to be on a pedestal, and when people don't treat them as such there will be hell to pay. i.e. school shooters these are highly narcissistic individuals who feel like people don't see them for their true worth so they lash out.
This, too. There are a variety of causes, experts say. One is being overly-praised, to the point where the child comes to believe the praise is deserved, and that s/he is brighter, more capable, more wonderful than others, whatever.

That can backfire in adulthood, though, if the person really isn't particularly bright. Sooner or later, they'll get a reality check from their work environment, or college.
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:29 PM
 
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Originally Posted by tamajane View Post
I think they think of themselves more as people of high standards, particular, special, maybe even spoiled, but not as awful and cruel. If they hurt or offend us they think it is because we don't understand someone like them, or that we are jealous of them.

It isn't treatable so I don't know what you can do with that, whether is a mental illness or not. There is nothing anyone can do to convince them they have a problem so it's a lost cause.
They are not all the same. There are many many subtypes. And, they can change over time. My brother is very different now than he was due to many factors. He used to try to understand why he bothers people but he said he gives up, which makes sense to me.

He has gotten a lot more cruel. And it seems quite intentional. Family has different theories on that. We each see different sides of him. My theory is that being mean cowed my mother and he thinks that it will cow others. Even if it isn't conscious, it's a habit now.

Because if it's conscious, it makes no sense. Not for people who don't owe him anything. How can he think that will draw them in?

He and I both have not been around my adopted sister or her kids in a really long time. Dad brought over the eldest to help him move heavy things. My brother wanted to make him talk about his POS father that never wanted him.

I mean, what? so my nephew says Sir, I would rather not talk about that. And my brother says no, lets talk about it. And I wasn't there so I don't know the word for word, but it ended with my father (uncharacteristically) telling my brother to **** right now.

I go over and over that and can't figure it out. Sis says it's just garden variety making someone else feel bad to make him feel good. OK, check, N's do that. But he wants this nephew in his life. He needs people to come move heavy things. So, I don't totally get it no matter how hard I try.

I guess he can't put the two together. He is living in the moment. That is just beyond bizarre to me. But he does it to everyone. Asked our adopted sister so how did it feel when her mother abandoned her at our house?

Well, gee, how do you THINK it effing felt? God. And he REALLY wants her around really badly. So, it just doesn't make any sense.
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:33 PM
 
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Here is my experience of having been married to a narcissist and how my ex's environment shaped his narcissism and low capacity for empathy. I could write volumes about my ex's narcissism and the craziness that ensued, and this is only the tip of the iceberg!

My ex and his mother are both highly narcissistic. My ex is low on empathy because he did not receive the basic foundational lessons and imprinting of this from his mother growing up. In the early years, attentive mothers and fathers do a lot of responding to their child's wants and needs, and this forms important foundations for being able to be empathetic later on in life with others. As an infant and child, he was in many ways an invisible non-person to his mother more like an object she possessed. He was trained early on to respond to her needs as his needs were invisible and unimportant. His mother did not really ever see him and therefore she did not know him and this impeded his own ability to form a true identity and know himself later on. My ex's sister once told me that she only understood what having a mother was like once she married her husband and got to know his mother. She said she was floored at how his mom would ask her questions about herself which never ever happened with her own mother. It was only all about mom always. His other sister often cries when she talks about her mom and the mom has caused endless conflicts with her husband and his family. Endless. Another sister married a complete narcissist and she COMPLETELY plays out the enabler, codependent role with this delusional, grandiose man. The brother is the Golden Child who is very passive and lazy in his family expecting his wife and her mother to do most of the work. I remember this brother was always excused from doing anything growing up and he was the mother's favorite because he was very good looking and athletic. He would always roll down in time for the holiday meal and then disappear and leave the work to everyone else.

His father is narcissistic but to a lesser degree, and more-so a codependent enabler. He was a model for products like Colgate and Coke and escorted stars at Radio City Music Hall in his teens. She also was VERY beautiful and ended up developing an ENORMOUS identity surrounding her appearance. I once read her old high school yearbook from the sixties and EVERY SINGLE COMMENT remarked on how absolutely gorgeous she was. In due time, she deeply and intensely feared losing this beauty which was largely her identity and sense of power, worth, and control in life, and this resulted in many obsessive compulsive behaviors. Her beauty became like a prison as she could never leave the house unless she spent hours primping, and anxious in public as her self worth rested SO MUCH on appearance. On arrival at the destination, she would spend thirty or more minutes in the car mirror, and then beeline it straight to the bathroom at the place to primp for another 15 or so minutes.

She had other highly narcissistic traits like talking incessantly AT people versus with them, and constantly overstepping boundaries with others. She was ALWAYS VERY LATE TO EVERYTHING. She had NO REGARD for others' schedules or time, and I think being late strengthened her sense that people and events revolved around her. She was a housewife, and doled too much of the housework and childcare off on her kids and spouse who worked two jobs to support the family. She felt above menial work conditioning the family to wait on her. On holidays, she would not lift a finger to decorate, buy gifts, cook, and the kids and her spouse would scramble around trying to get it all done. She would be in her room watching tv, reading, or sleeping with zero sense of responsibility as the mother in the family. She was the pampered princess child of the family where the spouse and children were trained to take care of her. Enabling dad's parents were alcoholics and so he had the ingrained pattern of appeasing her at all costs to keep the peace.

Due to these traits, she OFTEN had conflicts with others like extended family and in-laws. She OFTEN offended and annoyed others and then would completely deny any wrongdoing every single time, and project blame onto others. She was a master of turning the tables and making herself out to be the poor victim, and she played her husband like a fiddle to rush to her side and defend her. He had some warped sense that he was doing the right thing by protecting and defending his wife who was always the one causing the trouble. My ex saw his dad humiliated MANY times because of this dynamic of scrambling to defend and justify her outrageous behaviors to others.

My ex's mom's narcissism had a detrimental effect on him in several ways. First, he simply did not receive adequate maternal attention, nurturing, and care when he was a child which disrupted his normal psychological development. As an infant and child, he was invisible to her. Later in life, he was absolutely driven to seek out this attention, visibility, and love from others in unhealthy and destructive ways. One way was by creating all of these half baked businesses and websites which basically were props for him to get narcissistic supply which later led to his total financial devastation. He delusionally thought these were viable businesses and they were not, and on and on he would move to the next delusional idea. I think he imprinted the notion that surface appearances and not substance was what mattered most and this enabled him to easily throw up these flimsy websites with no actual substance or depth to them. After all, he saw spiritual teacher mom constantly spouting off scriptures and spiritual advice, and yet she lived very little of it herself. The surface only mattered, substance did not.

Second, my ex believed that he deserved and was entitled to be around other very special important people. His parents believed that they were very special gifted spiritual teachers, and they would guest speak at churches fulfilling their need to be the center of attention and feel superior to the ones they were speaking to. As narcissists, they too felt entitled to associate with other special people, and would unsuccessfully try to make contact with famous or well known spiritual teachers to see if they could get a spot on their tv or radio program. In the '80's, they unsuccessfully tried to link up with Jim and Tammy Baker as well as other famous televangelists. My ex- deeply imprinted this belief that he also was very gifted, unique, and special deserving to be around special people. Just one example, and there are MANY MORE like this one, was that he paid $2000 to attend a fundraiser dinner with Barack Obama. One of his delusional websites with a delusional magazine spun out an article depicting him interviewing Obama with a photo of them together. The photo was of when he very quickly shook hands with Obama as Obama made his way around the room for the meet and greet with the many other people at this fundraiser.

Third, my ex's lack of attention from his mother and resentment of how she treated his father created a love-hate dynamic in his relationships with women. He wanted attention, companionship, and nurturing but simultaneously loathed and resented women because of his mother. His pattern was to draw someone in with tremendous charisma, attention, and charm, but then slowly dole out emotional abuse in the form of criticism and devaluing venting his deep seated anger onto them. His pattern was to never let the woman get what she really wanted. In our marriage, he would spend LOADS of money on himself and yet often get angrily triggered if I spent on what I wanted. This came from seeing his mother getting everything she wanted-LOTS of clothes, books, cosmetics, jewelry, travel, perfume, expensive vitamins, expensive beauty products- and the five kids got THE VERY BARE MINIMUM. They did not get birthday or Christmas gifts and mostly wore hand me down, shabby clothing. They had threadbare sheets and comforters in their sparse bedrooms, and very few toys growing up. I met my ex in college, and my mom immediately went out and bought him a new wardrobe noticing his worn clothes. At Christmas and birthdays, she would shower him with the most gifts each year knowing he didn't get much growing up.

Fourth, my ex deeply imprinted from his mother that youth, appearance, and beauty are all-important in women. He imprinted her fearful attitude about aging and loss of youthful beauty, and so he has never been able to have meaningful, authentic, healthy relationships with women. He can only be in a relationship with a much younger woman, and his current girlfriend is 15 years younger. In my late twenties, he began to make cruel comments to me about aging, and said that he could see us divorcing in our forties in order for him to start a second family with a much younger woman. He used to fixate and comment on women's aging hands and make derogatory comments about people over 40. He absolutely imprinted this attitude from seeing mom obsessing over every wrinkle and blemish for hours in front of the mirror.

How did I end up with this guy? We met in our early twenties and he was very charismatic, good looking, and charming and on his very best behavior. He ended up working for my dad after a short time after graduating from college, and then within a few years, he bought out my dad's business as my dad wanted to retire. After that, the mask completely slipped once he no longer needed me or my family as he had total control of the business. I was entirely too naive and inexperienced with people and life to pick up on the red flags that were there from the beginning. One big red flag was his lack of empathy that in retrospect was apparent but I would rationalize or excuse it away. If I was sick or upset, he couldn't be bothered with it. He would skip out and leave for the day with no concern. I was a codependent and insecure type who was drawn to this very outgoing and confident charismatic person that seemed to have what I lacked, and I did not know how to stand up to him. I was like a frog boiled in water with the dysfunctional and unhealthy soon becoming my new normal. Gaslighting, crazy making, rewriting history, denying, blaming, and projecting... all those classic toxic patterns were part and parcel to this marriage made in hell. It took me many years to identify these patterns and then heal from the trauma of being at the receiving end of them.

These dysfunctional patterns from his upbringing with narcissistic parents came raging up to the surface and he really went off the rails with trying to start all of these hare brained businesses for narcissistic supply one after the other. I can tell MANY stories similar to the Barack Obama one. There are ones involving Angelina Jolie, a famous author, and the Clintons. He heavily relied on these fake business props as he was out dating again trying to impress women. His parents were very controlling throughout his childhood, and so that element came raging up to the surface as well. He didn't go through the normal adolescent stage of being allowed personal autonomy and independence in his teens, and so that was disrupted and stunted in his psyche as well. Aspects of his repressed adolescence played out in his late twenties and thirties which was a big hot mess as well.

So that's my own experience with a narcissist. I learned some tough valuable lessons going through all of that. I can spot toxic patterns in people pretty easily and am now good at quickly drawing boundaries or cutting off contact as needed. I am more guarded with people which is a good thing in this world. There was a spiritual teacher that I was initially very drawn to but I noticed some red flags and sure enough over time he turned out to be a raging narcissist. Lots of people got sucked right in and really burned and blindsided by this guy. Thanks ex husband for my time in your crash NPD 101 course otherwise I could be in up to my eyeballs in a cult right now lol!

I do have some compassion for my ex because I understand these things that shaped him into who he is. I could have gone after him for a lot of unpaid child support but I chose not to. I'll always see him in a way as the little kid out there trying to get some attention and love and figure out who he is, and things worked out okay for me after the divorce so I've let a lot go. If I delved into my ex-mother in law's past, I would probably better understand what molded her into who she is and have more compassion for her as well. I am trying to let go of some anger I still have towards her and am not quite there yet but will keep trying.

Well, thank goodness it's New Year's Eve! After writing all of this and reliving only some of the MANY CRAZY memories, I am now going to have a few glasses of self medicating champagne!

On a more festive and upbeat note, cheers to everyone and Happy New Year's Eve!

Last edited by Chloe333; 12-31-2018 at 05:40 PM..
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Old 12-31-2018, 04:45 PM
 
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My gma was a narcissist. My Aunt says it's because she was an orphan. She was still fighting for the right to exist. I agree with that. And I believe that often, that is how my brother sees it too. He constantly feels put upon,neglected, and so forth. Because he needs SO MUCH more attention than most people, he is constantly in a state of feeling bereft of it. There are many ways to look at it.
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Old 12-31-2018, 05:43 PM
 
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DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition) lists ten different personality disorders -- narcissistic personality is one of these. No one can be "cured" of a personality disorder. Mental illnesses are clinical diagnoses -- that is, a cluster of symptoms is identified that leads to a the particular diagnosis. Of course, some symptoms in isolation can be found in two different mental illnesses. That is why you look for a group of (related) symptoms, not just one symptom.

Personality disorders cannot be cured. In fact, most psychiatric illnesses cannot be cured. A mood disorder (depression, bipolar), anxiety disorder (general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder), ADHD, and schizophrenic can be life-long illnesses. On the other hand, some anxiety and depression is common in the population and may be confined to a single episode. One should seek professional help if their symptoms case "clinically significant impairment." If you have mild symptoms that are resolving and not disrupting your life, more power to you. Either get over it through self-improvement and do some counselling.

For most mental illnesses, there are specific medications that can help: anti-depressants, anxiolytics, stimulants (for ADHD), and anti-psychotics. There are no specific drugs designed to treat personality disorders.

What should someone with a personality disorder do? Counselling, in particular, CBT (= cognitive behavioral therapy), which has been widely studied and shown to be effective in some cases. I would add to this that they should basically do what every member of the human race should do: seek to improve their actions, reactions, and thoughts, as the prosocial beings that we are. I met a psychiatry professor at a conference once who took a particular interest in treating those with borderline personality disorder. Please don't give up on these individuals; let us try to help them.

Having said that, there are certain jobs and positions that most would not want someone with a personality disorder to have.
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Old 12-31-2018, 05:47 PM
 
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Originally Posted by townshend View Post
DSM-5 (Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, 5th edition) lists ten different personality disorders -- narcissistic personality is one of these. No one can be "cured" of a personality disorder. Mental illnesses are clinical diagnoses -- that is, a cluster of symptoms is identified that leads to a the particular diagnosis. Of course, some symptoms in isolation can be found in two different mental illnesses. That is why you look for a group of (related) symptoms, not just one symptom.

Personality disorders cannot be cured. In fact, most psychiatric illnesses cannot be cured. A mood disorder (depression, bipolar), anxiety disorder (general anxiety disorder, social anxiety disorder), ADHD, and schizophrenic can be life-long illnesses. On the other hand, some anxiety and depression is common in the population and may wax and wane. One should seek professional help if their symptoms case "clinically significant impairment." If you have mild symptoms that are resolving and not disrupting your life, more power to you. Either get over it through self-improvement and do some counselling.

For most mental illnesses, there are specific medications that can help: anti-depressants, anxiolytics, stimulants (for ADHD), and anti-psychotics. There are no specific drugs designed to treat personality disorders.

What should someone with a personality disorder do? Counselling, in particular, CBT (= cognitive behavioral therapy), which has been widely studied and shown to be effective in some cases. I would add to this that they should basically do what every member of the human race should do: seek to improve their actions, reactions, and thoughts, as the prosocial beings that we are. I met a psychiatry professor at a conference once who described took a particular interest in treating those with borderline personality disorder. Please don't give up on these individuals; let us try to help them.
In addition to some of the things you have mentioned, I would add that the plant medicine Ayahuasca can help when taken with highly experienced and trustworthy administers of the substance.
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Old 12-31-2018, 05:57 PM
 
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Meds can help. My brother is really pleasant on mood stabilizers. They were prescribed for pain, but they helped. People with BPD take them too.
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Old 12-31-2018, 06:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by jencam View Post
empath and narcissist are not synonyms.
No not at all. They are more like antonyms.
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Old 01-01-2019, 06:07 AM
 
Location: Canada
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I believe we are all born with personalities, and I believe narcissism is a personality disorder. In other words, most narcissist are BORN as a narcissist, and aren't created by environment.

My thoughts/arguments on this are: if environment causes narcissism, then every sibling in a family with poor upbringing would be a narcissist. Yes, it could happen, but I think it would be an abnormality.
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