Sunday, January 8, 2017

NPD: A Guide To Learning To Deal With Narcissistic Personality Disorder

I appreciate my husband for first bringing my attention to this article. It is my belief that this is a critically important piece to read and know and share. Truly critical.
I understand this illness in my bones because I grew up with it and have been over 30 years on a path of healing and transforming from the impact of my mother's Narcissistic Personality Disorder. My mother actually had the whole "cluster B" personality disorders - Narcissistic, Histrionic, and Borderline - with Narcissism being predominant. I was also told that it was completely untreatable. A difference for my mother was that she is also diagnosed with Schizoaffective Disorder, which has been effectively treated with the antipsychotic drug Risperdal for over three years now. Treatment combined with Alzheimer's and being immersed in the love of family has transformed my mother from someone who was highly dangerous, violent, and toxic to the true human being she has always been underneath the severity of her wounds and mental illness. The past 3-4 years have provided us with the opportunity to connect in loving ways that I had thought to be impossible. Truly a profound miracle!
This miracle is not going to happen with Donald Trump, who is completely consumed by his Narcissistic Personality Disorder. As therapists told me decades ago about my mother, Trump is also a "10" on the scale of those with NPD. He is highly toxic, dangerous, unpredictable, self-absorbed, entitled, and violent. It cannot be overstated how important it is to learn about NPD.
A positive in all this darkness is also that the narcissism in our culture is also being illuminated by coming to the surface in ways that make it exposed to a greater degree than what may have been apparent in the past. The sense of entitlement, the severe empathic impairment, the chronic scapegoating and lashing out toward those who are seen as Other, the inability to see and experience others for who they are, etc., etc. is providing us all with the opportunity to look more deeply into where we all fall on the continuum of narcissistic injury and illness on the one end and deep love, connection, compassion, and caring on other. 
Each and every one of us can be asking ourselves questions which have the potential to grow our hearts bigger. Who is included in our circle of caring? Who is excluded? How can we transform ourselves and heal the ways that we are empathically impaired such that our circle of caring expands to ultimately include all of life? Can we make that commitment to ourselves and one another? 
I believe that this is what these times ask of us. May we all open our hearts bigger and bigger and bigger. Bless us all! Molly


1) It’s not curable and it’s barely treatable.

He is who he is. There is no getting better, or learning, or adapting. He’s not going to “rise to the occasion” for more than maybe a couple hours. So just put that out of your mind.

2) He will say whatever feels most comfortable or good to him at any given time.

He will lie a lot, and say totally different things to different people. Stop being surprised by this. While it’s important to pretend “good faith” and remind him of promises, as Bernie Sanders and others are doing, that’s for his supporters, so *they* can see the inconsistency as it comes. He won’t care. So if you’re trying to reconcile or analyze his words, don’t. It’s 100% not worth your time. Only pay attention to and address his actions.

3) You can influence him by making him feel good

There are already people like Bannon who appear ready to use him for their own ends. The GOP is excited to try. Watch them, not him. President Obama, in his wisdom, may be treating him well in hopes of influencing him and averting the worst. If he gets enough accolades for better behavior, he might continue to try it. But don’t count on it.

4) Entitlement is a key aspect of the disorder.

As we are already seeing, he will likely not observe traditional boundaries of the office. He has already stated that rules don’t apply to him. This particular attribute has huge implications for the presidency and it will be important for everyone who can to hold him to the same standards as previous presidents.

5) We should expect that he only cares about himself and those he views as extensions of himself, like his children.

People with NPD often can’t understand others as fully human or distinct. He desires accumulation of wealth and power because it fills a hole. He will have no qualms *at all* about stealing everything he can and he’ll be happy to help others do so, if they make him feel good. He won’t view it as stealing but rather as something he’s entitled to do. This is likely the only thing he will intentionally accomplish.

6) It’s very, very confusing for non-disordered people to experience a disordered person with NPD.

While often intelligent, charismatic and charming, they do not reliably observe social conventions or demonstrate basic human empathy. It’s very common for non-disordered people to lower their own expectations and try to normalize the behavior. DO NOT DO THIS AND DO NOT ALLOW OTHERS, ESPECIALLY THE MEDIA, TO DO THIS. If you start to feel foggy or unclear about this, step away until you recalibrate.

7) People with NPD often recruit helpers, referred to in the literature as “enablers”

Called "enablers" when they allow or cover for bad behavior. “Flying monkeys” when they perpetrate bad behavior on behalf of the narcissist. Although it’s easiest to prey on malicious people, good and vulnerable people can be unwittingly recruited. It will be important to support good people around him if and when they attempt to stay clear or break away.

8) People with NPD often foster competition for sport in people they control.

Expect lots of chaos, firings and recriminations. He will probably behave worst toward those closest to him, but that doesn’t mean (obviously) that his actions won’t have consequences for the rest of us. He will punish enemies. He may start out, as he has with the NYT, with a confusing combination of punishing/rewarding, which is a classic abuse tactic for control. If you see your media cooperating or facilitating this behavior for rewards, call them on it.

9) Gaslighting  is real and torturous.

Gaslighting : where someone tries to convince you that the reality you’ve experienced isn’t true . He will gaslight, his followers will gaslight. Many of our politicians and media figures already gaslight, so it will be hard to distinguish his amplified version from what has already been normalized. Learn the signs and find ways to stay focused on what you know to be true. Note: it is typically not helpful to argue with people who are attempting to gaslight. You will only confuse yourself. Just walk away.

10) Whenever possible, do not focus on the narcissist or give him attention.

Unfortunately we can’t and shouldn’t ignore the president, but don’t circulate his tweets or laugh at him — you are enabling him and getting his word out. Pay attention to your own emotions: do you sort of enjoy his clowning? do you enjoy the outrage? is this kind of fun and dramatic, in a sick way? You are adding to his energy. Focus on what you can change and how you can resist, where you are. "We are all called to be leaders now, in the absence of leadership."
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