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I am no expert on this topic, I know what I read, see on YouTube and what I lived. I see the tests and I have moments of wondering if I'm a narcissist. I guess we all have some what could be called "narcicistic" moments and my own negative thinking will take me down that path in wonderland called, "You've got a lot of nerve, take a look at yourself."
Through what I've read and seen, I understand while we all have what could be called narcissistic tendencies, that doesn't make everyone a narcissist.
I think what really bothers me is some of the information I've come across talks about it as a disorder in a way that relieves persons who meet the criteria for actually being diagnosed with NPD of the harm they cause.
I saw one example of where a young man violently killed his parents before taking his girlfriend on a holiday. I will skip the details but instead of murder, he was charged with manslaughter using NPD as a defense. Now it was also said he will "probably" never get out of prison but I still find this very disturbing.

I can't help but wonder if calling something like narcissism a disorder is not giving abusers an out.

So a sadistic, manipulative, controlling destroyer of children's self-worth is a sufferer of a disorder?

What I've seen missing from the "traits" defining them is their enjoyment of abusing, their addiction to the manipulation of their power to do harm. They do enough "poor me" "I am the victim here" without giving them the out of having a disorder. I realize most of them are more likely to label someone else with NPD rather then themselves.
It's the real victims who have suffered at the hands of these abusers that concern me.
Yes, narcissism runs strong in my family and while I learned the behaviors and that helps me understand some things about myself. It doesn't make me any less responsible for fixing what I can within and around me. It doesn't make those who abused me any less responsible. No matter what I've been through, no matter how warped my learned reality was, I am still responsible for the damage to my children. Not in a martyr type way where I take the all responsibility for their actions. I mean that I need to validate their experience. Try and educate them how it might have affected them. Not by pointing things out as faults but showing them in living my life as one who grows, changes and tries to be a better person. By being there when they have questions and having real discussions. This can't be forced no more than I can or should force or try to manipulate anyone on this board to see things my way. That would not be helping them or myself.

The last thing a real narcissist needs is an excuse. Not because they will use it but their victims are more likely to feel more comfortable with thinking "It's really not their fault" and never validate the suffering and harm they themselves have been put through.
If an animal has rabies and goes around biting, passing on the disease, there is only one solution. Now, I am not saying we should exterminate everyone with narcissism. It is an extreme example. My point is, it doesn't change the damage they do and they should be held accountable for their actions. Those who suffered from their poison have suffered no less.
It might be a disease, a disease of the mind and spirit but a disorder? I just don't know.
On the first part, my T says that a person can be extremely self involved and still not be a narcissist. It's taken me a long time to come to much of an understanding of the disorder, but I really can see it as a disorder. I'll go as far as to say I wouldn't trade disorders with them, because it really IS that bad and they really ARE trapped. They just aren't capable of seeing it. They don't have a choice, no matter how powerful or special they think they are.

A person with NPD has a totally different way of seeing the world than the rest of us. My brother, for example, really DOES believes the smartest person in any room and that anyone with any sense will follow his lead. He really IS furious with people who fail to see things his way and follow his lead. He is totally incapable of seeing things any other way. That's why it's a "disorder".

To make matters worse, someone with NPD isn't likely to seek or respond to treatment. They are so stuck in their delusion that they really don't see a problem. With them anyway. And that's not likely to change. Ever. No matter what. They can no more change the way they see the world than someone with PTSD can just "snap out of it". For real.
it doesn't change the damage they do and they should be held accountable for their actions. Those who suffered from their poison have suffered no less.
True. As should someone with schizophrenia, or bipolar disorder, or PTSD for that matter.
I have huge trouble with narcs
and it is a fear that my T might say "you're not actually PTSD, I think you might be exhibiting narcissistic personality..."
T has said that she does work with clients who have NPD.

I totally agree that narcs should be held fully responsible for the effects of their distorted thinking and acting out, as should everyone else, however grandiose and special they attempt to think that they are.

I've picked up some stuff about narcs https://www.myptsd.com/c/threads/narcissistic-personality-some-academic-clinical-info.56465/

I've been meaning to write up about one I encountered a few days back, that actually stopped his car to try to feed when I was walking in to work. For once I actually got an idea of the chaotic mess inside the critter and his constant attempts to keep his grandiose self inflated at the expense of projecting any inferiority and scorn onto other people.

That narc had faded military tattoos on its arms that were seriously disfigured by big long later scars (presumably from knife fighting or brawling with broken bottles - lovely character - not!)
In under five minutes of chatting at the side of the road, it had told me that it used to be a military physical training instructor "but that was before you were born" was added to try to rub in it's desperately sought feeling of superiority
and it is a fear that my T might say "you're not actually PTSD, I think you might be exhibiting narcissistic personality..."

And so what, if you happen to?
(And if that happens to be a qualified judgment. Even then, it'd be one person, against many others.)

Will it change who you are as a person?
Will it change where you're going with your life?
Will it change how you treat others?

I'd ask about consequences, where fears of labels are concerned.
They matter more than the fear. Fear just eats up on a person's resources.
(((( Alice)))) When you are abused and hurt, you learn to survive and that means focusing in on yourself to protect yourself because no one else is. I went through hell and not a single person helped me in any capacity. You know how it is. You are silenced and cut off and you are isolated and it is just YOU and YOUR ABUSER. That is not a lot. Sometimes people can focus on God and I did try but was not able.

Then when you do get around people, it is "Are they safe for me?" "Do they know XYZ?" "Someone just touched my shoulder and I felt funny......." "Someone just looked me in the eye and I felt a connection......."

Yeah, it is about you for years and years. I often wondered this, too. Why am I so cautious and involved in me? Oh, maybe because people now scare the crap out of me now, maybe?

Then, after a while, you see someone who is hurting and you get that knife in the stomach and want to help them........NOTICE THAT! Then you see an animal trapped in a web and you spend like 40 minutes getting them out!!! Notice THOSE TIMES. Then, You practically stop traffic because a cat is wondering onto the road and you panic, remember how it felt to be trapped!! If you add up all those moments, you will see it is not about you per se, it is about being afraid and hard to trust and survival skills. Many people coming out of concentration camps felt the same, they had to survive and that was the bottom line and sometimes that meant thinking of self first.

Do not associate the self-survival, self-awareness and self-preservation with narcissism. A Narcissism doesn't give a shit about your feelings or the dog or the cat . He will save the cat if people are looking. Then chuck it away when no one is. You HAD to think about yourself more than you wanted to because of what they did to you. I did, too . And it bothers me, but we have a choice because it is not who we are! It IS who they are.
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First, glad you are asking the question. Since I don't have the RIGHT answer, ill just share with you my thoughts.

I, too, have concerns about people claiming certain mental illnesses and getting lesser sentences. I am concerned about the legitimacy and validity of various disorders, that are claimed to be disorders, and i have concerns about the accuracy of assessment in diagnosis someone with a disorder. Having seen some fairly quick diagnoses handed out with very little information and knowing that the diagnostic manual is not an infallible guide. It really begs the question, how accurate are these assessments, and how real are these disorders. That's one of my concerns.

But granted, assuming the diagnosis is accurate and the person really does have said condition, i think it ought to be considered in a court of law. The person who has committed a crime, however grotesque his action might be, also has rights, and all things should be considered in a court of law. I'm not sure i agree with diminished responsability in this case. i can see the line of reasoning they took. The problem for me is that if these people can be that problematic what are we doing to prevent things like this happening in the first place. Secondly, as the author on a post mentioned, what's going to stop other criminals from coming up with similar defenses, which may be true or which may be fabricated. Thirdly, if you had a serious condition of the mind that made you act in certain ways, that were more or less out of your control, how would you want to be treated if you ended up going over the deep end. And finally, while i do have utmost respect for the victims in these case, those on who the crime was perpetrated, and the pain and suffering that sometimes lasts and scars lifelong, I can't help but be aware that those who commit these crimes clearly are not well. They obviously deviate from the normal population and commit these acts. I am concerned also about the origins of their pathology, that they would have become like this, some having had years of sexual, physical and emotional abuse. Now while, that should never legitimize any wrongful act, i think it would be dehumanizing not to recognize the humanity in these people as well. I know i take an unpopular stance with this, as typically in these cases, everyone sides with the victim and loathes the perpetrator and wants to see him pay and be behind bars for as long as humanely possible for the pain he committed to other. And while i do feel strongly about that, i have to advocate on both sides, as both people have rights. I dont think longer sentences are always the answer, and certainly doesnt equate to necessarily getting treatment for the problem. Anyways, just a few thoughts.
Just thinking about this, one of our diarists has previously described attending an intensive residential trauma course/treatment

and estimated that the participants were split roughly 50:50, between those working like hell to gain everything that they could
and those who were resisting and disrupting as much as they could
I agree with the diarist's assessment that those people were, at least for the time being, too invested in their problems to be ready to engage in addressing them.

I don't want to make excuses for narcs, and don't deny that some do get a thrill from their bullying of other people.
but, I think that perhaps what we see a lot of them are externalizing - they would end up facing as pain if they ever began to gain a more normal concept of self, other and the boundaries between them.
Thank you everyone who responded!
My iPad is a pain about quoting sometimes it will other times not so much.

First I am not totally comfortable with the term "disorder" becoming a label for those whose brains work differently than what is considered the "societal norm" BUT it is better than previous assumptions of being possessed and the treatment being burned at a stake after who knows how much torture or being labeled crazy and locked in an asylum. So there has been progress :-)

I also understand many narcissists were themselves terribly abused and I am not trying to imply their abuse was any less damaging. Perhaps it was even more damaging. The thing about abuse and trauma is not so much "the details of what has happened, though part of the healing journey for most of us is sifting through it and validating the experience. (A slippery slope that can become a bog one is trapped in). For me, today, it is about understanding how my experiences developed unhealthy thinking patterns, inappropriate interpretations and feelings in current situations. It is developing awareness, recognition of a need to change and a strong desire to learn how and mindfully work to do so.

Someone with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, PTSD and other mental/emotional responses that affect their quality of life seek treatment (l know not all) and through the right balance of medication (for some) and relearning (absolutely necessary) can change and manage their disorder.

A narcissist could very well have PTSD, bipolar and other disorders.

The difference I see is they do not have any desire to change.

Their manipulation is not unconscious it is quite deliberate. The pain they cause others means nothing to them. The feelings of others means nothing to them. Yet, they are quite adept at feigning sympathy, oozing compassion and taking someone under their protection when it serves a purpose for them.

They conciously and deliberately, with planned future intent, groom someone into a false sense of "they are the only ones who will truly understand and care about you" before the abuse becomes becomes apparent.
They are the brain washers, the cult leaders and the sexual deviants. They prefer younger children and damaged adults.

They will accuse and judge others while they look so hurt and devistated.
They are masters of conjuring sympathy because when things go wrong they are always the victim.

There is a charming, intelligent, charisma about them when they so choose.

They distort, destroy, manipulate and gaslight with concious intent. Life is a mission of control for them and anyone who sees past their facade and doesn't fall under their spell or stops following their lead will feel the dragon fire of their wrath. If that person stays around long enough.

It is not just their egomania, their feelings of superiority, grandiosity and need to control everyone & everything around them. It is their need to destroy and blame others for their destruction that is so dangerous.

That is not a disorder IMHO, it is a negative disease of the soul that compels destruction. A sickness of mind and spirit.

I would like to think a day will come and I will only feel pity for those narcicistic people who have been in my life. That will be a sign I am healthy enough and strong enough in my own mind and spirit and have enough self esteem to not fear the damage and danger they now represent to me. In the meantime, I avoid them and I believe it is healthy to do so.
I realize most of them are more likely to label someone else with NPD rather then themselves.

I think this is a large part of it. You want to change because traits and behaviors because you want to do and be better than you are and because you desire connectedness. What motivation does someone who is already the absolute best and also in a different class (in their mind) than people around them that are also (in their mind) less than them have to change? They think of themselves as wolves, so why would they want to be like the lambs they play with as toys?

Which leads to the other part of it ...

As others have stated: they do not care about the feelings of and consequences to other people. Zero empathy. Zero sympathy. Zero "humanness," really.

Good people want justice on the basis that EVERYONE's rights matter. Justice for the victim is the act of reaffirming the victim's rights through punishing the perpetrator accordingly. These good people believe something that is both correct and makes them the least equipped to hand out justice to people like Ns, precisely because they ARE good.

Ns look like humans, "should be" human, but there's nothing human about them emotionally. It must be an out-of-order conflictive process, says the actual humans with empathy and sympathy. And then they ask, is it possible for someone like that to really even know right from wrong if there's an absence of morals and no emotion or desire for connection that teaches them right from wrong (and no indication they care about right from wrong) through feelings like guilt, responsibility and remorse (when they are appropriate emotions to our actions and not internalized from abuse) and a desire to belong rather than use and control?

If it's a cognitive disorder, then it's not his/her "fault" that they're an N. They can't know any better. It's not "fair" to punish someone if they aren't "competent" to know right from wrong.

And because the lambs attempt fairness, they apply their lamb-like goodness and find they can't "blame" the wolf for wanting to eat them, because that wouldn't be "fair." So instead, they just turn the the wolf in the flock so as to not violate his rights, and he eats them all while they're still feeling proud of their kindness, fairness and justice.

Of course, that doesn't mean I know of a better way to manage justice for Ns without running the risk of violating rights of not-Ns or creating a system where it's not a "witch hunt" and innocent people up are locked up precisely because Ns would turn it around and cry "victim."

There's other issues too -- the costs of the benefits of justice for ALL, as though we're all lambs and none of us wolves.

Ns have a loophole precisely because the system is set up to protect people based on beliefs about what rights EVERY person has -- a belief that the N doesn't actually share.

It's mind-boggling...
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