November 23, 2010

A Generational Pathology: Narcissism Is Not Grandiosity

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something's not right


I like your writings about narcissism, but your description seems to differ from the one in the DSM and everywhere else I look.

Why does that matter if indeed it was true?

I just want to know where you came up with it.

You mean, "I just want to make sure you didn't make it up."  Because if I made it up, then it stands entirely on my back.  Like an American, the shortcut you use for difficult issues is to judge their proponent as a proxy.  If you don't like some ideas, look for hypocrisy, discredit the speaker.  Which will be easy to do with me, I assure you.  Heavy drinking, womanizing, misanthropic... maybe not even a psychiatrist.  There.  Do you win?

That's not what I meant.


It is what you meant, even if it isn't what you meant.  There's plenty of writing on narcissism, you can start with Kohut, even Jung and Freud.  But you're resistant: no, psychoanalysis is bunk.  And impossible to understand.  That stuff can't be right.

You want science, you want something with bullet points and a standard deviation.

Here are the DSM criteria for NPD, of which you must score at least five:

  • grandiose sense of self-importance
  • preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
  • belief that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
  • need for excessive admiration
  • sense of entitlement
  • takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • lack of empathy
  • envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Much easier.  Is that the narcissism you heard about?  Selfish and grandiose.   Looking at that definition, do you even come close to narcissism?

Of course not, because your mind is shielding you from the truth.  The belief that narcissism is synonymous with grandiosity is, itself, a narcissistic defense.  You are being lied to, by yourself.


What happened to the diagnosis?  Why did it favor grandiosity?


How do you quantify something that your mind is working to hide from you?  How do you treat it?  When psychiatry wanted to stop being a Jewish/Marxist/elitist worldview and become a real science, it needed to pretend it had medicines and statistics, and a whole new DSM (III).  
How do you measure the unmeasurable?  Divide the unmeasurable into pieces, and measure the pieces. Too many pieces, too fine?  Start with the obvious.

We found a foot, an eyeball, and a liver.  This must be a man.  Or a triceratops.  Or a...  And now we come to consider that a man is something possessing of three attributes: footness, eyeballness, and liverness, with exclusion criteria of dinosaurization.  Thanks, Aristotle, this helps a lot.

So, too, the scales for narcissism, e.g. the Narcissistic Personality Inventory.  While these scales are supposed to measure something that already exists, in postmodern fashion they  alter your concept of what exists.

You looked up narcissism, saw there were criteria, scales, and read them.  And, like decimate, it was reinforced by hearing it in a sentence.  Oh, it's an egotistical jerk who only cares about himself.  Got it.

I've used this example before: The Hamilton scale for depression contains no questions about sleeping excessively or eating too much:


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On a 17 question scale in which a reduction of 10 points is outstanding, a sedating side effect can be the difference between $4B/yr in sales or wasted millions in R&D.  Add two points for drugs that make you hungry:

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and that's the whole game. 

Psychiatricians will counter that the Hamilton isn't meant to be a screening tool, but in fact it's used as a screening tool all the time: in clinical trials.  You have to meet a certain threshold to be enrolled in a trial, so you can see that a person who is very depressed but hypersomnic and eating too much will be excluded. 

I just told you something that is obvious; so why isn't Abilify (not sedating) testing their drug on other kinds of depressed people?  Because they can't.  The FDA wants the HAM-D, or the MADRS (which is skewed the same.)  Abilify would have to convince the FDA that their drug worked AND change the entire infrastructure of psychiatric drug approval.  Furthermore, psychiatrists themselves would be suspicious, "why are you doing it differently?"

If it's not grandiosity, then what is narcissism?

Shame over guilt; rage over anger; masturbation over sex; envy over greed; your future over your past but her past over her future...

Imagine what you look like to another person.  Now recall what you looked like in the mirror this morning-- that's really what they see.  They are making instantaneous judgments about your personality based on that mirror image.  They are hearing your voice like it comes form a recording, not as you hear from your mouth.  You're the only person who experiences yourself as you do.


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The narcissist feels unhappy because he thinks his life isn't as it should be, or things are going wrong;  but all of those feelings find origin in frustration, a specific frustration: the inability to love the other person.

He's a man in a glass box, unable to connect.  He thinks the problem is people don't like him, or not enough, so he exerts massive energy into the creation and maintenance of an identity: if they think of me as X...

But that attempt is always futile, not because you can't trick the other person-- you can, for an entire lifetime, it's quite easy.  But even then, the man in the box is still unsatisfied, still frustrated, because no amount of identity maintenance will break that glass box.

If the other person is also in a glass box, then you have a serious problem.  If everyone is in their own glass box, well, then you have America.

I guess Facebook is a kind of glass box? 


Facebook is a neutral tool, it's what you do with it that matters.  You think the "I'm better than everybody!" status updates are evidence of narcissism, and maybe they are, but the deeper pathology exists in those who derive their identities from that online presence while simultaneously retreating from the real world.  Show me a man or woman who posts pictures of themselves in bathing suits and I shrug my shoulders.  Show me a person who spends more than an hour a day on Facebook and it isn't their job and I'll show you a future divorce even if they're not married yet.  Show me a middle aged person who spends >1 hr a day on facebook, and I'll show you someone who has been to a psychiatrist.  It's not an insult, it is a statement of fact.  Each person tries to find ways of affirming themselves; but when it is done through identity and not behavior, it always leads to misery. 

Sure, you can convince 5000 people you're anything.  Then what? 

It is self-reinforcing.  The type of person who withdraws into facebook is already stunted in their potential for happiness; and if you're spending all your energy on facebook then you're not spending it in ways that might actually work.  The problem isn't facebook, the problem is you.

But that's how I met my last girlfriend...

Your last girlfriend.  Narcissism has a fail-safe: since you know you tricked them to get them, you can't believe them when they say they love you.  The fact that she loves you means she's not smart enough to know  what love is.  That's why you default to measurable quantities of love: how fast did she get into bed with the past guys?

Just because she thinks you're awesome, doesn't mean you can really feel her.

I know I can love, because I love my son and daughter, totally and unconditionally.

And so now I know your kids are young.  No matter what you do to them: abuse them, yell at them, neglect them, abandon them, withdraw from them, they will love you unconditionally.  But after puberty, when they start to love other people in different ways than you, or more than you (do you remember when you were 17?), even the best parent's status drops.  How will your ego defend against that?  Sports car and drinking?  Cybersex?   "I've started smoking pot again, it really helps me unwind."

What can psychiatry do about this?

Do about what?  According to it there's nothing wrong with you, don't you see? You're not grandiose.  Maybe you get diagnosed with "depression" or a touchy-feely therapist tells you you have "self-esteem issues" but that's like being told you have a hairy back, you make some cosmetic adjustments or you just don't go to the pool, life goes on.  Psychiatry has nothing to say about why you get so enraged when you hear about welfare cheats, or how your wife's giggle at that one joke on TV hit you the wrong way, how everyone seems like shallow, phony jerks  and no one is worth getting to know-- how adamant you are that the government do X or Y, neither of which are feasible or even matter but to you it's the most obvious thing in the world to do and the fact that they're not doing it must mean they are either idiots or corrupt--  and while you're yelling at the TV or the monitor or in your own head your wife is mauling a vibrator or you don't have a wife at all.

But I never yell.

Your rage may not score on the decibels but it is triple digits on the wattage.  Psychiatry can't measure that.  And while this rage makes you miserable there's also a societal effect:  hating black people, hating white people, blaming Goldman Sachs, blaming your parents, declaring war.

And deserving things: shouldn't you be in a nice car? Nautica/Zegna/Underarmor/Polo shirts?  Restaurants?  The fact that you can't get them is someone else's fault; but if you get them, why aren't you happier?  Meanwhile there are bills to pay. 

And you can't make the connection between these things at all.  Even as I say it, you resist: it's not that simple, you don't know her, you don't know them......................................... it can't be all me.

It is you, it is all you, it is always you.  Isn't it odd how narcissism turns everything inward, except blame?

It's not odd, it is by psychic design, and psychiatry has failed you all in this. If individual narcissism is self-defensive, one might presume that societal narcissism will find it's own way to hide in plain sight.  Narcissism became synonymous with grandiosity because that facilitated its measurement.  But in so doing, the most significant social pathology in two generations was rendered undetectable.



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---
You might also enjoy:

The Other Ego Epidemic


If This Is One Of The Sexiest Things You've Ever Seen, You May Be A Narcissist











Comments

OK, so my mind is shielding... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 12:17 PM | Posted by Matthew Walker: | Reply

OK, so my mind is shielding me from the truth. And that's why I feel the way I do about white people, black people, narcissists, Goldman Sachs, people who read my blog, whatever.

I sure do enjoy reading you, but you're starting to sound like a man with a limited set of hammers (meds, narcissists, the psychiatric profession) who walks out the door every morning, or opens the refrigerator every morning, and says "holy crap lookit all them nails!"

It's difficult for people not to believe that The Past Was a Golden Age; IIRC Homer mentioned that they didn't make heroes any more like the guys who sacked Troy. But on the other hand, yeah, OK: Facebook. I mean, just that: FACEBOOK. Christ on a crutch! God help us all.

But seriously, we've been living in These Degenerate Modern Times since we evolved memory, and if it's wise for me to consider the possibility that It's All Me, how can you be quite certain that It Isn't At Least Partially You, Too?

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Thanks for the clarificatio... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 12:37 PM | Posted by T. AKA Ricky Raw: | Reply

Thanks for the clarification. I recently asked you about this topic on twitter. Great piece.

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I surrender. The DSM was my... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 12:55 PM | Posted by Aaron: | Reply

I surrender. The DSM was my last line of defense. So where do I go from here? I'm tired of the inner rage and the unhappiness. My wife and son need me to be a better husband and father. What can a non-grandiose narcissist do to recover? 

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...how can you be quite ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 1:23 PM | Posted by Butterfly McDoom: | Reply

...how can you be quite certain that It Isn't At Least Partially You, Too?

Why does that matter if indeed it was true?

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Alone, more certain than de... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 1:25 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Alone, more certain than death, taxes, and the extinction of the dodo bird is that most readers of your blog have been conditioned to stereotype all Americans as narcissists, myself included. I need not mention that believers of stereotypes are generally narcissists who cannot conceive there exist people who don't match their stereotype, or, when presented with people who contradict their stereotype, will stereotype these people as deviant (That American isn't a narcissist because he's the great-grandson of Mother Theresa, 8/9 Irish and probably a mind-reader as well) Yes, you want to tell us that American culture breeds narcissism, but narcissists aren't going to take your advice as the cue to becoming upstanding citizens, but use it as justification to lable all Americans as jerks. Meanwhile, away from the computer screen, life for non-narcissistic Americans goes on.

The tremendous, continuous influx of immigrants to America + conversations I've had with friends and strangers overseas are IMO sufficient evidence to conclude that many foreigners from collectivistic(i.e. non-narcissistic) cultures around the world desire what they perceive to be a better life in America. I am not saying that all of narcissistic America is happily living in glass boxes while deftly deflecting the onslaught of glass-cutters with kung-fu to maintain their identity and to impress their girlfriends. Nor am I saying that people growing up in non-narcissistic cultures are unhappy with their way of life. However, I do know that from my trips to various Asian countries (including Japan!) I enjoy American lifestyle and culture much more than the socially-opressive atmosphere in Japan. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that most Americans would agree with me -not that they don't want to live in Japan, where getting laid is the national pastime- but that they are happy with the life they have. And the fact that the immigrant stream only seems to be flowing one-way into the narcissistic West (America and Europe) might suggest that the narcissistic lifestyle appeals to just about every damn human on the planet? Nature aside, once you are nurtured into a narcissistic culture, you are happy with the life you lead. Why should anyone besides you have a burning desire to cure the most significant social pathology of two generations?

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Your writing often reads li... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 1:32 PM | Posted by RC: | Reply

Your writing often reads like poetry, confusing at first, but enlightening after several iterations.

Thank you.

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Is rage supposed to be the ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 1:38 PM | Posted by Ferguson: | Reply

Is rage supposed to be the ill effect of narcissism? The reason we should be concerned with dealing with it? And at that point would we be dealing with it not to reduce our antisocial tendencies, but to yet again concentrate only on things that affect us personally?

Otherwise, the attack on narcissism would see to be coming from a narcissistic place, which is something I usually detect in such attacks: "Stop thinking about yourself so you can start thinking about ME." Most of the time I'm going to be thinking about myself, because most of what I do I don't expect people to do it for me. But of course, there will be demands on me by my society, so how do I differentiate the legitimate demands made by family, friends, and neighbors and the demands that arise out of their own narcissism?

Seems tricky--something you just have to figure out on your own with the people around you and not worry how people who have never met you interpret your Facebook activities. Is that the right answer, or am I narcissist?

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Anonymous 1:25"Oth... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 1:43 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Nope: | Reply

Anonymous 1:25

"Other people like what's going on here so it can't be all bad."

It's an "is ignorance bliss" argument. NPD is terrible. It damages people, it damages families, and it leaves a mess for later people to clean up. It's not a narcissist's responsibility to care about the environment or economic stability because "everbody else gets to keep dumping wastes everywhere, so why should I clean up my act?"

But yeah, we can keep on keepin on because even a sinking ship still floats. For a while.

And you can also be empathetic if you really want. You might not be able to answer this, but: how terrifying do you think it might be to never be able to connect with anyone?

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More, please.... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 1:55 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

More, please.

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But how do you step out of ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 2:23 PM | Posted by rox: | Reply

But how do you step out of the glass box? You're stuck in it with the rest of us. This is entire blog is part of your glass box. You have to defeat narcissism to save yourself but all you're doing is telling it that it's a glass box. You have to smash it.

You don't know how to tell people to open their hearts, be vulnerable, see the suffering of others, connect and be there for people because you dont know how to. You don't how to stop narcism. You think that if you rage against, label, criticize, identify, analyze, contemplate, belittle, attack, the narcissist, somehow, someway you will defeat it. But you won't. Because the only way to break out of the box is to remember to love even those who are trapped in their own boxes.

It's not the other way around. The more you "other" the narcissist, the more you destroy the possibility of loving yourself.

Or her. Maybe just maybe, it's not the world that's stuck in glass boxes. Maybe it's you.

It's always been you. Maybe she truly loves you anyway. There is no such thing as love. Love is an evolutionary trait that developed for the sake of survival of the human species. A species with heavy tribal tendencies and social reliance that developed intricate communication tools and capacaty for stored memory and complex thought. It's the same love that cause mother dogs to risk their lives for their puppies.

Only it's more complex in humans. But it's complexity does not make the root instinct more altruistic.

It's base is in the survival instinct. However if you look at cells in the body, numerous cells kill themselves for the sake of the organism. Self sacrafice is not unique to humans.

Either cells with no capacity for complex thought or "altruism" as we know are in fact altruistic, or none of us are.

So how can you love others if love is a purely a mundane survival instinct? You need to love others in order to feel love.

The answer: Love, even though it will NEVER make you impressive or altruistic. Love, even though you will NEVER master the cycle of self absorption. Love even though logic tells you there is no point. Love yourself, even though you will always be despicable, as we all are.

That is selfless love. I think can it happens in many species. For no reason.

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What about yourself? Are yo... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 2:25 PM | Posted by Wouter: | Reply

What about yourself? Are you a narcisist? Were you one? Will you be one someday? Or are you one of the happy few?! :-)

You don't feed us (the readers) much on your identity.. There's the name of the website, there are some trends in your stories (you seem to be quite passionnate about narcisism), and the occasional personal note (like today's 'I'm a heavy drinker').

I don't want to know who you are (I've no intention to become friends on facebook :-)) but I do wonder how you look at yourself, and how you see yourself in all this.

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While reading this post, an... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 2:35 PM | Posted by Scott: | Reply

While reading this post, and others on this site about narcissism, I experience what feels like an explosion of awareness. And, as far as that goes, the author is very skilled at not letting the narcissistic ego immediately re-assert itself (by, for example, calling out shame). And I have read, and believe, the cure - which is to pretend that you actually care about others. And I believe that is the correct cure, because a major warning sign of narcissism, I think, is when you find yourself caring more about what she thinks of you than you care about her. The problem is how to carry this awareness forward into the day, day after day. The initial burst of awareness and hope and enthusiasm isn't enough to put the cure into action consistently. Rum, womanizing and misanthropy are certainly attractive coping mechanisms, but I'm not sure they will work for me. Has anyone had any success taking the author's insights and putting them into practice in a consistent way? I'm not religious, but the narcissistic ego seems to me like the devil, endlessly tricky, always with a fall-back plan or another way to subvert your best intentions, relentless.

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How do we mental health pra... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 2:40 PM | Posted by medsvstherapy: | Reply

How do we mental health practitioners diagnose narcissism?

By how we feel as the narcisssist has interactions with us. We (hopefully) are real people, who happen to naturally get connections with other humans as we learn their story. This just happens. Each person affects the other, with the professional working to keep it business-focused. But you still have that person on your mind later. Their story.

But if it is a narcissist, you feel really cool for a while because you were so important to be in a working interpersonal endeavor with someone so awesome, then something happens and the glow dims quickly. You feel a certain type of upset for having your selfless helpfulness used like toilet tissue, or spent like free money.

The DSM criteria are leadingly only used for studies and billing. We never thought to really review DSM criteria to diagnose anyone as narcissist, until we were conducting a therapy-related study (I think it was on defense mechanisms), and had to carry out SCIDs on all participants. What a hassle.

This helps in real life. I go to some party or get-together, and someone starts talking abt their area of expertise. Microbreweries or comic books or some such. The sooner you can detect this, the easier is is to get yourself out of the conversation. Or they will go on all night, happy to discover someone able to recognize their awesomeness. If you don't escape, they will unload their awesome knowledge on you for hours. At least position yourself by the bar if this happens to you.

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Aaron: Find a 12-step progr... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 2:45 PM | Posted, in reply to Aaron's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Aaron: Find a 12-step program and / or Jesus.

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@medsvstherapyWhat... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 2:47 PM | Posted by Ferguson: | Reply

@medsvstherapy

What's wrong with getting some awesome knowledge from someone who is really passionate, even if a bit caught up with him- or herself? What are you at the party for, free pretzels?

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meds - "But if it is a narc... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 3:00 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

meds - "But if it is a narcissist, you feel really cool for a while because you were so important to be in a working interpersonal endeavor with someone so awesome, then something happens and the glow dims quickly. You feel a certain type of upset for having your selfless helpfulness used like toilet tissue, or spent like free money."

That's a good description of how dealing with a narcissist can make one feel but when we enter into this kind of relationship with a narcissist (repeatedly) then it really is more about us than them. The problem here is the idealized image - not of the narcissist but of the person who sees themselves as "selfless and helpful" (calling all martyrs and professional victims...) or "unconditionally loving" (calling all saints with flimsy personal boundaries...) or whatever idealized image of oneself that the narcissist is (often unconsciously) exploiting. It really does take two to tango.

Eh, but really, if a psychiatrist doesn't recognize what's going on and has been sucked into a narcissists vortex(and is basking in it and contributing to the "aren't we awesome" vibe), then isn't the psychiatrist really the one who has been using/exploiting the patient who you they have been paid to help? On a professional level, you're not meant to be feeding off the patient or entering into and affirming their narcissism (whether it's taking their money while not actually dealing with why they're there or being sucked into their dynamic). And mental health professions are professions, psychiatrists aren't being selfless - helping people is how they make their living and one would hope they went into the profession because they find it interesting. A therapist who is invested in an image of themselves as selfless is not going to have very good boundaries or be very useful in helping one sort out one's own self!

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Shame over guilt; </... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 3:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Shame over guilt;

Nope. I have much guilt but nobody who knows me expects me to know what "shame" might look like.


rage over anger;

I'm not sure what the difference is, is it degree? What I've got is a long slow simmer.


masturbation over sex;

I'd rather have sex but I'm too old, fat, ugly, poor, awkward and nuts to be very effective in drawing hot babes anymore. At least not for free: I dream of winning the lottery and hiring an occasional escort. (Porn is getting so boring.)


envy over greed;

Nah. I do apathy over effort, coupled with wondering why people let their acquisitiveness get the better of them so bad they wind up with upside-down mortgages and unpayable credit card bills. If you don't want or expect very much you're a lot freer too. Me, I get along just fine on SSI actually, given that before this I was sleeping in the park and eating in church basements.


your future over your past but her past over her future...

Uh-uh. With me it's "fa la la la la la, live for TODAY!"
My past sucked and if her past didn't how the fuck did she wind up with me? As for the future, well, I'm depressed enough already: all I ever see coming is bad news and in that I'm right more often than not. "So why don't we get drunk and screw?" (Better yet, let her get drunk, I'll wash my Viagra down with a Red Bull.)

So I flunked that too? I'm not a narcissist then? That's almost as much of a let-down as hearing that I'm not really an alkie would be. Is there such a dx as "Factitious Disorder, Pseudo-Narcissist Type"?

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Shame over guilt; </... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 3:15 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Shame over guilt;

Nope. I have much guilt but nobody who knows me expects me to know what "shame" might look like.


rage over anger;

I'm not sure what the difference is, is it degree? What I've got is a long slow simmer.


masturbation over sex;

I'd rather have sex but I'm too old, fat, ugly, poor, awkward and nuts to be very effective in drawing hot babes anymore. At least not for free: I dream of winning the lottery and hiring an occasional escort. (Porn is getting so boring.)


envy over greed;

Nah. I do apathy over effort, coupled with wondering why people let their acquisitiveness get the better of them so bad they wind up with upside-down mortgages and unpayable credit card bills. If you don't want or expect very much you're a lot freer too. Me, I get along just fine on SSI actually, given that before this I was sleeping in the park and eating in church basements.


your future over your past but her past over her future...

Uh-uh. With me it's "fa la la la la la, live for TODAY!"
My past sucked and if her past didn't how the fuck did she wind up with me? As for the future, well, I'm depressed enough already: all I ever see coming is bad news and in that I'm right more often than not. "So why don't we get drunk and screw?" (Better yet, let her get drunk, I'll wash my Viagra down with a Red Bull.)

So I flunked that too? I'm not a narcissist then? That's almost as much of a let-down as hearing that I'm not really an alkie would be. Is there such a dx as "Factitious Disorder, Pseudo-Narcissist Type"?

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[Hey Alone, please d... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 3:17 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


[Hey Alone, please delete the unintended duplicate?]

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I love you, rox. Nice post.... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 3:21 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I love you, rox. Nice post.

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You too, meds.... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 3:22 PM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You too, meds.

Vote up Vote down Report this comment Score: 0 (2 votes cast)
Scott - "The initial burst ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 3:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Scott's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Scott - "The initial burst of awareness and hope and enthusiasm isn't enough to put the cure into action consistently."

That's true of changing any behavior - the hard work is always in the practicing and not the realization (the doing and not the thinking, it's only through actions that thoughts become anything in the world). It's about keeping the awareness alive and most of us need some sort of system or support or structure to do this and to help create change. Hell, even something as simple as a note on a bathroom mirror (if your ego doesn't balk at putting it out there too much) can help remind oneself of a particular goal. As can remembering why you're changing your habit or realizing whatever you're doing now is more painful than making the effort to change. Plus, if you change your behavior, you'll change how people relate to you and your experience - this can be destabilizing and frightening at first but it can also be very rewarding. And, hey, having a therapist as an outside person to keep oneself on track is not a bad idea either (at least partially because the people around you may not be that comfortable with change either and may be invested in you being narcissistic in some way).

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"Of that which we cannot sp... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 4:39 PM | Posted by Canonymoose: | Reply

"Of that which we cannot speak we must write a chapter in the DSM-IV"?

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"Like an American, the shor... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 4:40 PM | Posted by Quin: | Reply

"Like an American, the shortcut you use for difficult issues is to judge their proponent as a proxy. If you don't like some ideas, look for hypocrisy, discredit the speaker."

Living in CA and watching a hotly contested governor race (that ended in a very anti-climatic 12% margin victory) its rather amazing how true this is. Sure you could find out what the candidates stood for if you went and did some research, but between Facebook and Twitter who has time for that? But if you just watched TV to get your info you would think both candidates entire platforms were based off tattling on the other. But we live in a society where it doesn't matter what your projected image is, everyone assumes its a lie anyways. Americans DEMAND dirt and the talking heads are more then willing to give it to us.

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I assumed your use of Narci... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 4:42 PM | Posted by Walenty Lisek: | Reply

I assumed your use of Narcissism was to take the old myth and use it as a metaphor to tell us why we are fucked up.

Any chance you're going to start posting details about how to fix this mess?

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Forgot to add:"Sha... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 4:43 PM | Posted by Walenty Lisek: | Reply

Forgot to add:

"Shame over guilt; rage over anger; masturbation over sex; envy over greed;"

Watching sports over playing sports?

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MedsvsTherapy - "I go to so... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 4:44 PM | Posted, in reply to medsvstherapy's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

MedsvsTherapy - "I go to some party or get-together, and someone starts talking abt their area of expertise. Microbreweries or comic books or some such. The sooner you can detect this, the easier is is to get yourself out of the conversation. Or they will go on all night, happy to discover someone able to recognize their awesomeness."

Most people do get excited to talk about their interests with people who seem to also be interested in the same thing - who doesn't enjoy discussing shared interests? Just because someone is excited about something and into it and think IT'S awesome doesn't mean they think THEY'RE awesome. (Though if you're into it they may well think you're awesome, especially if you're a cute girl ;-) And someone who can only focus on one specialized thing is more likely to be leaning towards autism or OCD than a NPD.

All you have to do at a cocktail party if someone you've never met starts going on about something that doesn't interest you (which is hardly about their narcissism...it really isn't everyone else's job to entertain us!) is either change the subject or explain that it's not really your thing. If you can't find anything in common to discuss, both parties move on to find people who they're more likely to be able to share with. If you're feigning interest, it's really not the other person's fault if they think you're interested! Essentially, you're lying to them about who you are if you're pretending to be interested in something you're not (and at that point, it's worth questioning why you're being dishonest and what purpose it serves you to mislead someone).

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"I've started smoking pot a... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 5:19 PM | Posted by DCF: | Reply

"I've started smoking pot again, it really helps me unwind."

It's funny you lump this in with the other midlife crisis cliches (ie sportscar, cybersex) used to avoid reality when really, pot can be an answer to a lot of this by forcing you to face reality without blinders on.

Speaking from personal experience, pot makes it very difficult to fool yourself. Smoke a J and look in the mirror and all the bullshit you've been feeding yourself goes right out the window. You are getting older, you are getting fatter, you are not what your mind has told you you are. For a brief moment you see yourself like everyone else see's you.

It can make you very aware of the lies you've been telling yourself about... well anything. I forget who said it, but I read a quote that went something like "hallucinogens can be to the subconscious what telescopes are to space". I agree and think this can be applied to marijuana as well. It's fleeting and your mind will fight to cover it up when you come down, but at least for the moment you can truly get outside of your own head (the head that is self-protecting and tricking itself) and see yourself and your actions from an outside perspective.

I suppose, though, that in small doses it can be used simply to escape. Perhaps it's like facebook: all in how you use it.

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This is a great response - ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 6:52 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

This is a great response - honest advice, and given with little or no apparent egoistic motive. Thank you.

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I've seen it over and over ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 7:05 PM | Posted by KG: | Reply

I've seen it over and over in Alone's posts and here is the key:

"Each person tries to find ways of affirming themselves; but when it is done through identity and not behavior, it always leads to misery."

The cure to narcissism is to change your behavior. Stop thinking about how to appear as if. Become who you want to be. Don't re-identify by moving the goal posts after every encounter. Just get up and do it.

Lets break it down in to steps-

1. Choose whatever identity you want, I'm sure you have at least one in mind already
2. Identify the behaviors associated with that identity.
3. Do those things everyday

Want to be a loving mother/wife?
Don't go to Crate + Barrel for the things that signify domestic bliss.
Be kind, love, listen. Trust me, they'll know the difference.


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What if you want to be "bad... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 7:50 PM | Posted, in reply to KG's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

What if you want to be "badass guy that gets all the girl" (which I assume all male wants to be or, at least, books I didn't read but everybody talks about (sperm war, the game) has told me as much)? You're "cure" is made out of the same trap.

I don't think it's about projecting your behavior on your identity and vice versa. One key point of alone as I understand him is that "there is no you". That identity you made up in your head is fiction. Don't trust it for anything. What's the focal point of your cure if not the recognition of your choosen identity through other means?

I've started to believe at some point that, if narcissim is a problem of self-absorbtion, the cure is merely more consideration for other through action, the only thing they see, NOT BECAUSE IT FITS THE PERSON YOU WANT TO BE, but because it pleases THEM. There is no you. Stop giving a shit about that. More importantly, most people don't care about the "you" you want to project.

"Want to be a loving mother/wife?
Don't go to Crate + Barrel for the things that signify domestic bliss.
Be kind, love, listen. Trust me, they'll know the difference. "

Why are you kind? Why are you loving? Why do you listen? To affirmate your identity.

I bet they will know the difference.

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Rox hit it on the money. ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 7:56 PM | Posted by BHE: | Reply

Rox hit it on the money. There is use in reaching out to others with love and resisting labeling even if that label is the seemingly apt "narcissist". Aren't labels merely shortcuts that help us serve our worldview? Isn't this need to categorize & generalize people a way of disconnecting and elevating the self?

This may be a narcissistic culture, a narcissistic generation, but it is rare the person who completely fits into that box all of the time. All but the most hardened of us have our moments of empathy and love and humanity. These posts are useful to me because they define behaviors that I see in others and sometimes myself, but we should be careful not to use this understanding as a shortcut to understanding the complete individual.

I try to remember what my 87-year-old grandfather said to me. "I've been around a long time, and I can tell you that there are a whole lot of good people out there."

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Pot can certainly put you i... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 8:04 PM | Posted, in reply to DCF's comment, by BHE: | Reply

Pot can certainly put you in your head and there may be insights to be gained, but certainly any insights you receive on mind-altering substances should be taken with a grain of salt.

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Woah... Too many comments t... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 8:29 PM | Posted by popo: | Reply

Woah... Too many comments to make a post that will be read by anyone...

But who reads my posts anyway?

Why do I even use the same name every time I post here?

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I read your post.... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 9:07 PM | Posted, in reply to popo's comment, by Ferguson: | Reply

I read your post.

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Please stop posting here un... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 9:15 PM | Posted, in reply to popo's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Please stop posting here under any name. Thanks.

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From The Other Ego E... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 9:20 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by KG: | Reply


From The Other Ego Epidemic:

There's only one(cure) that's universally effective, I've said it before and no one liked it. This is step 1: fake it.

You'll say: but this isn't a treatment, this doesn't make a real change in me, this isn't going to make me less of a narcissist if I'm faking!.............

-------------------------------
The cure has to start by conceding that right now you are a narcissist with narcissistic desires and tendencies. What you want right now is to be X (Badass, loving family man). You can't just think you way out of the fucking glass case because NPD is self protecting and compromises your thinking. You don't treat NPD by opposing it, you play along. Here's the bait: You can have a stronger made up identity that more people will believe if there is some truth to it.

Ever been to AA? What's the first goddamn thing you do? Recalibrate your relationship with alcohol right?
Wrong, STOP DRINKING. Action is more important then thinking when undertaking personal change. Your behavior becomes you.

Try to love your family and they'll try to love you back. Then you can find a real reason to be good to them; for trying.

---------------------------------

And if you're totally hopeless and everyone is just a prop to you anyway then at least you gave em 2 weeks of sanity

.....................All of those answers are the narcissism talking. All of those answers miss the point: your treatment isn't for you, it's for everyone else.

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"Love is the difficult real... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 9:23 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"Love is the difficult realization that something other than oneself is real."
— Iris Murdoch

• Shit, Mother Theresa had a kid?!

• If pot breaks the 4th wall of the mind, would a narcisist smoke it?

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Why is it about you and not... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 9:24 PM | Posted, in reply to popo's comment, by TheUnderwearBandit: | Reply

Why is it about you and not the idea you were going to be post? Man up and post the thought. Stop fearing the shame of rejection.

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"You mean, "I just want to ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 11:21 PM | Posted by someone: | Reply

"You mean, "I just want to make sure you didn't make it up." Because if I made it up, then it stands entirely on my back. Like an American, the shortcut you use for difficult issues is to judge their proponent as a proxy. If you don't like some ideas, look for hypocrisy, discredit the speaker. "

Narcissism is an existing concept with a specific meaning. Its definition is not up to you. You have no say in the matter.

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I am whatever I say I am. ... (Below threshold)

November 23, 2010 11:59 PM | Posted by Eminem: | Reply

I am whatever I say I am. If I wasn't, why would I say I am?

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Congratulations, you just m... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 12:14 AM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Congratulations, you just missed the whole point of this post just like you missed the whole point of words.

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...Shame over guilt...</... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 12:19 AM | Posted by The Devastator: | Reply

...Shame over guilt...

I wonder if this could arise in a completely different context -- say in a non-narcissistic, non-destructive person who is also a huge loser. (I'm a piece of garbage, but at least I'm not actively hurting anyone).

Lots of shame but no guilt, right? And in this case, rightfully so. Unlike a narcissist, who may actually hurt a lot of people, and so should feel guilt, but doesn't.

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Alone's theory of rampant n... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 12:47 AM | Posted by TheUnderwearBandit: | Reply

Alone's theory of rampant narcissism seems to complete Julian James's theory of the Bicameralist mind. Under bicameralism there wasn't consciousness like ours. Instead people would "hear" the voices of their purported gods. As I understand it, their minds did not have a unified sense of 'I', instead their minds were composed of a collection of entities. (Active ego states?) Additionally they lacked introspection. But now we have entered a state of total introspection, where there is only our mind.

From a psychological collectivism to a psychological solipsism.

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^Pardon, Jaynes not James. ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 12:50 AM | Posted by TheUnderwearBandit: | Reply

^Pardon, Jaynes not James.

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I like the subtlety of your... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 1:13 AM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I like the subtlety of your trolling. You always seem to pick the most salient ways to miss the point or misconstrue an argument (loved your work re Rox on the last post). Even the name "someone" is genius, because (as opposed to the anonymous commenters) you declare the existence of a separate and distinct identity. In contrast to the nobodies, you are Somebody.

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I just ate a delicious sala... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:04 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I just ate a delicious salami sandwich with white bread with dijon mustard. They are really delicious but they make me kinda gassy, and if I don't eat them regularly It takes my stomach a while to get used to the stuff that's in them. They're probably not healthy, but I'm dead anyway so there seems no good reason not to enjoy myself. Then again you can enjoy any experience if you get over yourself. My burps taste funny now. What's your favorite kind of sandwich?

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Popo sucks... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 3:01 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Popo sucks

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I tried reading other blogs... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 3:22 AM | Posted by Libertarians vs. Unicorns: | Reply

I tried reading other blogs of a psychological nature today, a forensic psych blog, a PsyD in pasadena, and some really boring PhD in Sacramento . . .. I hope you forgive me for trying something else. lol.

The cure is noticing other people. Not just an intellectual action of duh other people exist, 'cause any asshole can do that, even those owned by the ninny that likes "This American Life" know other people exist.

But really be willing to see things from their perspective. (Can you do this without losing your identity or being afraid to lose it in the process, because if you can't you've got other issues)

And then imagine, whether they are right or wrong to feel Y, how it feels to feel Y. You don't get to decide what they are feeling. They do. It sounds like "I see/understand that when you experienced me doing that thing for you, you felt frustrated and hurt. And if I'm understanding what you said correctly it is because the message you got was that I thought you couldn't do it by yourself."

And then maybe, imagine a time when you felt hurt and frustrated, and get the impact you have on this person who is not there only as a supporting character, and reconsider if you are actually being kind or loving.

It isn't all about how you see yourself or want to, but the layers of dynamics that go on, within you, between you and others, the role of you in the system you are in, how circles of systems layer, and interact and overlap with the dynamics and systems others are in or share with you blah blah blah ad infinitum.

Because if you don't, there is no difference between you and those cats, that think people only exist to serve them. And we all know cats are delusional and narcissistic, minus the guilt and shame.

On that note, I've been requested back in meat space . . .

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I really hope the author re... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 4:15 AM | Posted by Rowan: | Reply

I really hope the author reads this comment. Your description of the narcissistic person is exactly like AA's description of an alcoholic. "Selfishness, we think, is the root of our problem ..." Selfishness, fear, ego, self-obsession. Yeah, the first thing they have you do in AA is stop drinking; the NEXT thing they have you do is get rid of your pride and self-sufficiency, shut up and listen, and in the end devote a good portion of your life to helping others with no thought of reward for yourself. They put a great deal of emphasis on that last part, noting also that you do get rewarded for your work with others -- just not how you wanted.

"So what do you want out of sobriety?"
"Well, uh -- I want the stuff I had before, but better! Let's say a Lear jet and a mansion."
"Well, if you do everything I say, you won't get any of that; what you'll get is a quiet mind and a loving heart."

The catch is you won't get people to go through all that unless they have to. It's like puking up everything you hate about yourself and having someone shove your face in it. You feel a lot better afterwards, though!

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Yeah, you pretty much descr... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 10:31 AM | Posted by Tomtom: | Reply

Yeah, you pretty much described me in that post. That feels pretty bad. Now what should I do? Please help.

Thank you.

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A narcissist is some... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 12:20 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


A narcissist is someone who loves himself more than me.

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No, anonymous, someone with... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 1:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by AnAnon: | Reply

No, anonymous, someone with a NPD doesn't love you at all - you're just a disposable supporting actor in the movie of their life. Loving oneself more than another person doesn't actually mean someone has a NPD, it's actually pretty normal. Not being able to love other people is the issue (and it's dubious as to whether someone with a NPD actually loves themselves since they tend to be in love with an idealized image of who they are rather than who they actually are as expressed by their behavior).

But, yeah, it's not uncommon for people to say that others are "egotistical" or a "narcissist" because they don't do or feel how we want them to feel (or submit to our will/desires)...but that's a misunderstanding of what narcissism is. There is such a thing as healthy narcissism. And being selfish isn't necessarily a NPD - it's the using other people as objects or supporting actors in the movie of one's life that are indicative that there may be a NPD at play. People with NPDs aren't generally that happy (in my experience at least), they simply don't know how to love or they think love is all about how they feel. They're ultimately victims of being poorly "loved" themselves.

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PSSST! My comment of... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 1:18 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


PSSST! My comment of "November 24, 2010 12:20 PM" was a JOKE.

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"I like the subtlety of you... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 1:25 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by someone: | Reply

"I like the subtlety of your trolling."

You are misusing this word. Are you perhaps trying to redefine it to better suit whatever agenda you have? You can't do that, because you have no say in the matter. Just like TLP can't redefine narcissism.

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trolling (verb):</... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 1:34 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

trolling (verb):

1. Present participle of "posting an opinion I/we disagree with."


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Er, wait, that wasn'... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 1:37 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Er, wait, that wasn't done right. Unlike a lot of former students I didn't work the Reference desk. Oh well, YKWIM.

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Sorry, should have acknowle... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 1:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Sorry, should have acknowledged the joke first (which I did find funny) anonymous! Thing is, it's funny because that's what people commonly say and believe...even though it's inaccurate.

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However, Alone isn't actual... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 1:53 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

However, Alone isn't actually redefining narcissism or NPD - he's pointing out that a particular test (which isn't meant to be used as a diagnostic test) is redefining NPD. As suggested, you may want to actually read some of the literature on NPD (or TLP) so you can understand what Alone is talking about.

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I wonder if this c... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:35 PM | Posted, in reply to The Devastator's comment, by Anonanon: | Reply

I wonder if this could arise in a completely different context -- say in a non-narcissistic, non-destructive person who is also a huge loser. (I'm a piece of garbage, but at least I'm not actively hurting anyone).

Devastator, that sounds like borderline personality disorder, which is sort of the inverse of narcissistic personality disorder. It's caused by being raised by narcissists.

Borderlines retreat from reality with a negative false self instead of a positive false self like narcissists do.

Alone wrote about it in this post:
https://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/10/the_diagnosis_of_borderline_pe.html

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Actually, this is a much be... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:38 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Actually, this is a much better TLP post on borderline personality disorder than the one I just linked to:
https://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/01/borderline.html

Alone, will you please do a post on BPD in men?

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Oh brother, unfortun... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 2:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonanon's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


Oh brother, unfortunately that seems to fit me. Time to read TLP's post -- thanks for the URL.

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Speaking of narcissism, how... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 3:03 PM | Posted by someone: | Reply

Speaking of narcissism, how about RealDoll enthusiasts? warning NWS

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Following links I fo... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 3:15 PM | Posted by 'David O'Bedlam': | Reply


Following links I found this:

https://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2007/01/borderline.html

"...Ironically, the borderline is a borderline only in relationship to other people. The borderline has a problem with identity only because other people in the world have stronger identities. Your Dad wants you to be one way, so you do it. Your boyfriend wants a different woman; so you do it. Your husband wants something else; so you do it. Who the hell are you, really? You have no idea, because you are always molding yourself based on the dominant personality in your life."

Funny, I've been called Borderline but that description there fits me only in reverse, like: 'my Dad wants me to be a Methodist minister, so I become a "metaphysical rebel" instead'; 'my SO wants me to be a certain way, so I say "but I told you before our first date I was Bisexual and that I didn't want kids!' Etc.

That is, it seems to me that I have an unusuually strong sense of self, which is quite often at variance with how "most people" think I should be. And it's not all that predictable: the redneck fundies around here don't like me because I'm a commie queer, but the commie queers on the Internet don't like me because I think "transsexualism" is a mental disorder caused by "internalized homophobia", and my family and one or two friends think I'm basically an okay guy except that I spend my life sipping bourbon-&-cola and arguing on the Internet... Etc.

One of my favorite lines from "Classic Rock" is "You can't please everyone so ya gotta please yourself." Except what I render that into is a parody version: "I can't please anyone so I oughtta kill myself."

Or, to quote something upthread, "(I'm a piece of garbage, but at least I'm not actively hurting anyone)." That part after the comma is what keeps me from actually putting an end to myself: nobody (except perhaps "The Taxpayers") is actually hurting from my existence, and nobody would actually benefit from my ending it (since I can't afford life insurance).

I'm really curious about what my diagnosis ought to be. It's been many things since I was a kid, for now they're calling me "Bipolar 1."

(Does TLP actually read these comments?)


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Aha! Reading that ol... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 3:18 PM | Posted by DoB: | Reply


Aha! Reading that old post further I found:

"Here's the ironic part: if a borderline was shipwrecked on a desert island with no one around, she'd develop a real identity, of her own, not a reaction to other people. Sorry, that's not the ironic part, this is: she'd become a narcissist."

Whaddaya think, yo? (Getting diagnosed can be fun.)

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Okay, so I'm a narcissist. ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 3:21 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Okay, so I'm a narcissist. I suspect that I fall into a significant category of people with whom your descriptions of narcissism resonate. Now what? Presumably I'll be happier as a non-narcissist*. So how do I become a non-narcissist?

*while proofreading this post, it occurred to me that other people would be better off if I was a non-narcissist. I guess that's ironic, or pathetic, or something.

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While I can't think ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 3:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by DOB: | Reply


While I can't think of anybody who'd be better off if I changed anything about my "personality." The dog just wants to be fed pork chop and get his belly rubbed, which I apparently do well enough as it is.

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I think that narcissism is ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 4:54 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think that narcissism is a somewhat new issue for society. Obviously, there have been narcissists throughout history but its mass appeal began during the enlightenment. With the emergence of the middle class came the emergence of mass narcissism.
Before this middle class came about there was extreme poverty and extreme wealth and, consequently, one looked like one or the other in society's eyes. With enlightenment attitudes towards liberty (I'm not knocking these attitudes, just stating fact) and growing industrialization, the new middle class was now able to put on a show through consumerism. You are who you look like and, if you look rich, you can get away with that kind of joke on society.
If anyone is interested in checking out great novel that describes this emergence of social mobility and projected identity, check out John Cleland's Memoirs of a Woman of Pleasure (it's pretty graphic and was banned in the US until 1963 but the book focuses on a prostitute who is capable of tricking her clients and moves up the social ladder despite having spent her life in a brothel).

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I agree, but I don't think ... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 9:20 PM | Posted, in reply to BHE's comment, by DCF: | Reply

I agree, but I don't think drugs should be singled out in that regards.

EVERY insight you have should be taken with a grain of salt, examined, tried on for size and experimented with to determine its validity whether it comes from a mind altering drug or the blog post of an anonymous psychiatrist.

I just know from my own experience that certain drugs (namely hallucinogenics) have given me tremendous insights that, even after rigorous real world testing, have stayed with me to this day. If there are other ways to gain these insights I am unaware of them but I'd love to know what's worked for other people (this comment thread seems to have some good examples!).

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Of course I blame Goldman S... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 9:54 PM | Posted by G. Abramowitz: | Reply

Of course I blame Goldman Sachs. You don't?

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All I can say is "I work wi... (Below threshold)

November 24, 2010 11:29 PM | Posted by Social work hell: | Reply

All I can say is "I work with cluster B personality disorders 5 days a week and They do NOT have the insight ability to change".
I use CBT only and try my best not to get sucked into any of their
drama. This is hard as I like to help people and I care for many of these cluster B's. But these disorders all clan together and anyone with insight runs away from these clans. Like-healthy is with healthy and dysfunctional is with...
I think tax payers should try not to feed the dragon so it wont get stronger. There sure is ALOT of medi-cal fraud. Lot's o money spent in mental health,;cal-works on cluster B's-millions.

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Hi TLP, here is an article ... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2010 11:10 AM | Posted by popo: | Reply

Hi TLP, here is an article about narcissism kind of in your style.

http://exiledonline.com/the-rally-to-restore-vanity-generation-x-celebrates-its-homeric-struggle-against-lameness/

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I think facebook is funny a... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2010 3:49 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I think facebook is funny and fun. I share links with my friends about art, music, movies, conspiracy theory--hell, I'm linking this article to my fb page right now. Even if it is a database for the CIA, it is still fun to take up huge chunks of that database with strange concepts like ‎"I'm afraid of losing my obscurity. Genuineness only thrives in the dark. Like celery." Maybe if you had fb friends that you knew and who were funny, you wouldn't be bitter. I like the rest of your points about

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(cont.) grandiose narcissis... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2010 3:57 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

(cont.) grandiose narcissism etc. psychiatry is lacking. definitely lacking. The new chain of for profit psych wards owned by PSI, now UHC, are worse than a medieval atrocity exhibition. They have military contracts and are experimenting with ultrasound mind control and spraying patients with pepper spray and use TAZERS. They wear t-shirts with the word "believe" on them and think anyone who masturbates at all is "hypersexual" wtf They were wrapping teen age boys' penises in rubber and showing them porn--then making them smell ammonia -- until laws were passes against them doing it. They shoot patients up with ativan at the drop of a hat and call it "a little nerve medicine." Owned by Richard Rainwater--friend to Bush. Not a good trend.

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I will never get why people... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2010 5:25 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I will never get why people kiss this guy's ass so feverishly.

He is a one trick pony and the trick is basically to say everyone is flawed and fucked up (except him presumably as he is Alone).

If anyone is putting up a psychic narcissistic defense here it is the author. You don't need to worry about isolation (FACT: it is your own fault), inferiority and rejection and frustrated desires / wants / needs if you harbor a belief that everyone you have ever observed is a transparent hollow narcissist thus not real at all.

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Not at all surprised you're... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2010 5:31 PM | Posted, in reply to someone's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Not at all surprised you're fascinated with real dolls.

Real Doll enthusiasts: men who want female bodies, who don't want females. I.E. you.

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Popo sucks.... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2010 7:27 PM | Posted, in reply to popo's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Popo sucks.

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Do I really have people fol... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2010 7:42 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by popo: | Reply

Do I really have people following me around?

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Maybe. You never know. Peep... (Below threshold)

November 26, 2010 10:39 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

Maybe. You never know. Peeping Toms. Rapists. Murderers. Perverts. Cops. Bored housewives. Nosy neighbors. X boyfriends. Crushes. People who like to make fun of you. A Bored computer programmer who is still addicted to Legend of Zelda and was in your yoga class in 1992. Childhood enemies. The ex you owe $80,000 in back child support to. The cross dresser who wants to have your baby. The sex slave gangster who wants to put you in porn. Never can tell.

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Finally, I've encountered s... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 12:10 AM | Posted, in reply to Social work hell's comment, by Tony: | Reply

Finally, I've encountered some one with a lick of sense. As a proud Cluster B (psychopathic/narcissistic/yaddayaddayadda), I have to say what an absolute waste of time and money drugs and psychotherapy are. If these therapists would have had any of the empathy they claimed they had, they would have left me alone. I shamelessly take great delight in watching the mental health beast being starved due to budget cuts. From my experience, these people simply don't deserve government-subsidized paychecks.

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I never liked Zelda.... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 12:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by popo: | Reply

I never liked Zelda.

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This post makes me feel lik... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 12:56 PM | Posted by Leela: | Reply

This post makes me feel like shit.

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Dear "November 26, 2... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 1:35 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Dear "November 26, 2010 5:25 PM":

Everybody should keep in mind that the owner of this blog is, or at least claims to be, a psychiatrist who is an alcoholic, bitter, self-hating attention whore who tries to use this site to solicit donations. There's nothing wrong with that per se, I'd have my own blog (with a Paypal button) if I had a little more motivation, but even he admits this ain't Holy Writ.

Some people are so pathetic that they need to be validated in any way they can find who claims to be an Authority Figure. And then there are the rest of us who get labeled as "narcissistic."

Given all that, I think he's funny and he takes the trouble of sharing stuff from "professional journals" I can't get access to.

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Speaking of narcissi... (Below threshold) This may be a treatment, if... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 4:10 PM | Posted by Ted: | Reply

This may be a treatment, if not a "cure.": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4Qm9cGRub0

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Dear November 27, 2010 1:35... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 4:56 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by You Are Powerful: | Reply

Dear November 27, 2010 1:35 PM,

"Given all that, I think he's funny and he takes the trouble of sharing stuff from "professional journals" I can't get access to."

YOU ARE LIVING IN THE INFORMATION AGE- you can get access to any journal that you want access to. You ain't need to pretend that you need a middleman for information. This isn't 1517. You are literate and you have access to the internet. All you need is some cash and you can look at anything you want to look at. Deepdyve.com is an example of the access at your fingertips.

Also very likely there exists a university level library within 100 miles of where you live. Go there.

This blog is valuable for the author's interpretation of said journal articles, not for the access to the journal articles.

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"Has anyone had any success... (Below threshold)

November 27, 2010 9:02 PM | Posted, in reply to Scott's comment, by poth: | Reply

"Has anyone had any success taking the author's insights and putting them into practice in a consistent way?"

One way to engage with vanity:

1) Think of your proudest accomplishments. Then evaluate the ways in which those accomplishment are ephemeral.

2) Think of a person with more talent and knowledge. Find out the source of those accomplishments.

3) Repeat steps 1 and 2 whenever you start realizing how awesome you are.

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How will your ego defend... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 4:16 AM | Posted by fraula: | Reply

How will your ego defend against that? Sports car and drinking? Cybersex? "I've started smoking pot again, it really helps me unwind."

Sir, the nail, you hit it on the head. Says this daughter of abusive parents who went from being teetotalling, fundamentalist Christians who wouldn't spend a non-essential penny on their children, to being pot-smoking, heavy-drinking, sex-talk-obsessed owners of bright red BMWs practically the moment their last child left the house for good.

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Julian Assange's website.</... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 5:48 AM | Posted by popo: | Reply

Julian Assange's website.

http://web.archive.org/web/20071020051936/http://iq.org/

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In fact, envious and defeat... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 1:23 PM | Posted by fortcww: | Reply

In fact, envious and defeated people want narcissim to have a grandiosity aspect so the losers feel better about themselves for not being grandiose. The "I could be important and consequential too if I weren't so damn moral unlike the truly grandiose who are narcissistic bad people" argument parallels your envy of America.

In both cases, I don't see any problem. You are inferior to many grandiose people, so if you had a connotation of grandiosity included in your definition that would make sense to me and be an example of an ego defense mechanism (to use some archaic lingo) in use. And your country isn't worth ridiculing as it's what it is. So your attitude toward the Great America (we can just measure that by charity given or medical advancements made for simplicity; or as a small start of a long list if you prefer) is perfectly acceptable to Americans who understand your inferiority complex and don't have an hostility toward it as much as a recognition we should be thankful we (as Americans) don't share your pathology.

It's really a win/win, and I should like to think (for the sake of irony) narcissim prevents you from deducing this on your own.

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"Also very likely there ... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 1:47 PM | Posted by 'David O'Bedlam': | Reply

"Also very likely there exists a university level library within 100 miles of where you live. Go there."

I haven't tried getting into the medical school library in this city in this state. I pretty much gave that up a few years ago in Berkeley, CA, when they stopped letting non-students into even UCB's "regular" undergraduate library unless you pay $100/year and made it hard for "Visitors" to get in even then.

Visitors, please begin your research at your local public or academic library. UC Berkeley Library material may be borrowed by placing a request for an item through your local public or academic library. If your library is unable to satisfy your research needs, including interlibrary services, you may speak with a reference librarian about access to UC Berkeley materials. Campus visitors are accorded free on site access to reference assistance, electronic research resources, reference collections, government reference materials, and the Library's reading rooms. Priority access to UC Berkeley Library services and resources is accorded to UC students, faculty and staff.

But since you suggested it I'll see if it'll work here.


"This blog is valuable for the author's interpretation of said journal articles, not for the access to the journal articles."

Point taken. I should rephrase that more specifically: I enjoy reading his explanations and interpretations of data on "psych meds" that I couldn't make heads of tales of if I had the documents in front of me. E.g., now that I know there is such a thing as a "P95 metabolite" I can look it up on Google.

The Fanapt slide deck post is a case in point. I'm curious about such things because shrinks have several times prescribed wonder drugs that just came out, with no real idea what they'll do to my body; they also don't seem to care that, say, drug A is more likely to cause diabetes and obesity than drug B, even though the drug company's hand-outs for drug A (and/or the rep handing) them out are prettier.

The PDR? As you undoubtedly know already, the PDR basically a collection of package inserts provided by the drug companies themselves, and the poor overworked shrinks are not going to help me sort out the risks and benefits of the drugs they like to prescribe during their 5 minute med checks (assuming they know this stuff themselves).

My dad was on Thorazine for 25 years, from before my 7th burthday till he died in 1994 at age 64, despite several yucky side effects. ("Why does your dad keep making winky faces at me? Is he trying to flirt?") This is because the other drugs they tried to switch him to were worse: e.g., Mellaril was great stuff, it made his arms fly up over his head without him being aware of it. ("Dad, put your arms down." "What? They are down." "Dad, LOOK at your arms.")

Somebody who doesn't know what a "P95 metabolite"
is is at the mercy of those who do. Who knows, maybe if "Alone" wasn't 'an alcoholic, bitter, self-hating attention whore' I might never know there was any such thing. (Any such thing as a "P95 metabolite" I mean; I've known for decades that shrinks are really no more likely to be "mentally healthy" -- or conscientious -- than their patients.)

Besides, the voices in my head tell me I need all the help I can get. See?

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Wow, kind of interesting to... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 2:22 PM | Posted, in reply to fortcww's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Wow, kind of interesting to watch you mount a narcissistic defense of AmericaTM and AmericansTM by trying to claim any criticism of AmericaTM (which really means The American Dream/MythTM) is a narcissistic defense. And to also claim to speak for all Americans.

The reality is that Americans are a diverse bunch, some may agree with you but many don't. They're individuals, it's interesting you consider yourself entitled to speak for all the millions of American individuals. The other reality is that America, as a nation and a place that people live, is quite different than the mythology that some Americans assume as a personal identity (nationalism is the ultimate false identity, an assumed identity that has nothing to do with who someone really is or what they have done).

Americans are just people, like people all over the rest of the world and of other nationalities. We're nonething special because we're born in a particular geographical location defined by imaginary lines, we're nothing terrible because we were born in a particular geographical location defined by imaginary lines, just people. Like all people.

And, while American culture may have become synonymous with corporate culture in both many Americans and non-Americans minds, and American citizens may be regarded by their government as consumers whose main reason to exist is to be feeding corporations (and mowing CEO's lawns), corporate culture is global and American culture is actually much more nuanced and diverse than that and composed of quite distinct subcultures. The myth of America is that it's a melting pot, the reality is that it's a mosaic like all other countries. You know, not so special really. Just like other countries which are just geographical areas defined by imaginary lines.

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To repeat: A narciss... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 2:39 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply


To repeat: A narcissist is anyone who loves him/herself more than s/he loves me.

I propose we retire the word, or at least replace it with "n*********".

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Why the big desire to stop ... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 3:03 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

Why the big desire to stop people using the word "narcissist? Do you also want people to stop using "narcissism" and "Narcissistic Personality Disorder? What about "healthy narcissism"? What do you think banning the use of a word would achieve? And why do you seemingly want to stop "narcissist" being used but you also seem to want to redefine it...what bothers you so much about the word and concept that you feel you need to stop it being used and/or redefine it and/or make it into a joke so that nobody takes narcissism seriously?

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racist... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 3:11 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

racist

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Around here "narciss... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 7:14 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply


Around here "narcissist" is a perjorative, not a description. And what makes you think anybody takes narcissism seriously?

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So you don't take narcissis... (Below threshold)

November 29, 2010 8:46 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

So you don't take narcissism seriously yet you think the word is so powerfully pejorative that you feel it needs to be banned and never spoken? (Or disguised like a swear word and only alluded to?) Kind of interesting that you'd be hanging around a blog that takes narcissism as one of it's main themes yet you seem to think that nobody is interested in it... Clearly you are, you're interested enough that you're here and seem to want people to stop using the word narcissism. That's hardly the actions of a disinterested person.

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I'm sorry; when did I agree... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2010 1:11 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by 'David O'Bedlam': | Reply

I'm sorry; when did I agree to take narcissism seriously? Is that one of those social Contract thingies, like the one where not leaving my "homeland" makes me complicit in the Pentagon's baby-killing?

You yourself said this blog "takes narcissism as one of it's main themes"; clearly I'm here for one or more of the others. (As far as I know; after all, I'm Mentally Ill for a living!)

As for why others are here, I of course have no idea. I can of course say "chacun à son goût" (or cut & paste it 'cuz I don't have a nifty keyboard): some say to-MAY-to, some say to-MAH-to, some take narcissism seriously. What about it?

So. Have you got any more of those sloppy & stupid generalizations to throw around? Maybe you'll pretend you can read my mind next, huh?


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I just read words, there's ... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2010 9:00 AM | Posted, in reply to 'David O'Bedlam''s comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

I just read words, there's no mind reading involved (though obviously the words I read come from your mind and reflect what goes on in it to some degree). There's no reason you have to take narcissism seriously (if you're anonymous you were inferring that nobody did) but apparently you do take it quite seriously since you're busy trying to make people stop using the word "narcissism" or discussing the subject because of your personal discomfort with the word and concept, even though it's the main theme of the blog.

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TLP's evaluation of the cur... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2010 2:27 PM | Posted by Edward: | Reply

TLP's evaluation of the current state of psychiatry agrees with a principle called "reflexivity", a term coined by George Soros which refers to the paradox of the Social Sciences, (his specialty was economics, but in his books he comments on its application to psychiatry as well).

Too often (as in almost always) people define Social Sciences in terms of Natural Sciences, however there is a key difference between the two, for observations of natural sciences do not alter the subject being tested or examined the way those in social sciences do.

(there are valid arguments that say everything we observe is affected by that observation, probably more true for biological sciences and less true for astronomy, physics etc. Scientific philosophy may disagree about the latter, however this isn't pertinent for this comparison)

A rock will still be a rock, a cell a cell, and a planet a planet with its properties intact before and after we examine it. Social Sciences on the other had are constantly shaped by our understanding of them. The econometrics behind the housing bubble provide a perfect example of this:

The creditworthiness of a borrow is dependent the value of their assets i.e. skills (income), investments, home value, etc. However all of these assets vary based on the state of credit markets. Since interest rates tell lenders the collateral ratio needed to justify loaning a certain amount of money, and thanks to the hyperliquid (computer driven) financial markets, we now live in world where credit is quantified by how creditworthy you are.

"But that's just the definition"... Well it is but that's not what I'm saying, that's how is QUANTIFIED today, try this on for size:

You could list your home as an asset when applying for a loan --> The amount you can borrow in the loan will then be determined by your house's value--> And your house's value is determined by how much lenders will lend against it.

"...But no, my houses value is intrinsic, or at least by the fundamentals of supply and demand."

Hahaha, right that Condo in Florida really increased in value 80% from 2000-2006. No, lenders lent, demand increased (artificially), home prices went up, Lenders made money, repeat steps 1-4. Until.. Uh Oh

Asian financial crisis of 1990's, Latin America Financial Crisis of the 1980s and 1970's, Great Depression, all collapses of this type. It works on the way down too, assets today are undervalued because investors are nervous that... other investors are nervous.

THAT is narcissism, a system where we are what we say we are. And in this case it was an easy trap to fall into because it worked for quite a few years, people got rich on it, how can you say no to that? Our understanding of the subject shapes the subject itself, even a realization of the nature of reflexivity furthers its effects, requiring a reevaluation, this cycle continues into eternity. The point is this, one cannot understand a system one is a part of without altering that system.

Look at modern art, sociology, anthropology, law, and even history. Bubbles of bullshit repeatedly form, fed primarily by themselves and those refuse/are unable to break free from the conventions of the present.

Its like standing between two mirrors, trying desperately to see the end of that recursive tunnel. What's down there?...

Nothing, its you, you are the image in its entirety. Leave the mirrors, go spend time in the real world with real people. But dont forget the millions of people that are still between the mirrors. Not because youre better than them, (that kind of thinking is just you staring in one mirror) but because they shape the world just as much as you do. George Soros became one of the richest people in the world because he saw a financial system where millions of people were chasing their shadows. He gives most of his money to people who (he feels) have broken free from that paradox.

People either love him or hate him for his political views, religious views, philosophies, etc. But at the end of the day his thoughts are this (paraphrasing) "My greatest fear is that success will cloud by ability see things from the perspective of another, which is the key to my philosophy. My greatest joy is found in discovering I have made a mistake. For although I know that I will never be perfect, that discovery takes me one step closer. My flaws make me human, they are vices only when I forget that."

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TLP's evaluation of the cur... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2010 2:28 PM | Posted by Edward: | Reply

TLP's evaluation of the current state of psychiatry agrees with a principle called "reflexivity", a term coined by George Soros which refers to the paradox of the Social Sciences, (his specialty was economics, but in his books he comments on its application to psychiatry as well).

Too often (as in almost always) people define Social Sciences in terms of Natural Sciences, however there is a key difference between the two, for observations of natural sciences do not alter the subject being tested or examined the way those in social sciences do.

(there are valid arguments that say everything we observe is affected by that observation, probably more true for biological sciences and less true for astronomy, physics etc. Scientific philosophy may disagree about the latter, however this isn't pertinent for this comparison)

A rock will still be a rock, a cell a cell, and a planet a planet with its properties intact before and after we examine it. Social Sciences on the other had are constantly shaped by our understanding of them. The econometrics behind the housing bubble provide a perfect example of this:

The creditworthiness of a borrow is dependent the value of their assets i.e. skills (income), investments, home value, etc. However all of these assets vary based on the state of credit markets. Since interest rates tell lenders the collateral ratio needed to justify loaning a certain amount of money, and thanks to the hyperliquid (computer driven) financial markets, we now live in world where credit is quantified by how creditworthy you are.

"But that's just the definition"... Well it is but that's not what I'm saying, that's how is QUANTIFIED today, try this on for size:

You could list your home as an asset when applying for a loan --> The amount you can borrow in the loan will then be determined by your house's value--> And your house's value is determined by how much lenders will lend against it.

"...But no, my houses value is intrinsic, or at least by the fundamentals of supply and demand."

Hahaha, right that Condo in Florida really increased in value 80% from 2000-2006. No, lenders lent, demand increased (artificially), home prices went up, Lenders made money, repeat steps 1-4. Until.. Uh Oh

Asian financial crisis of 1990's, Latin America Financial Crisis of the 1980s and 1970's, Great Depression, all collapses of this type. It works on the way down too, assets today are undervalued because investors are nervous that... other investors are nervous.

THAT is narcissism, a system where we are what we say we are. And in this case it was an easy trap to fall into because it worked for quite a few years, people got rich on it, how can you say no to that? Our understanding of the subject shapes the subject itself, even a realization of the nature of reflexivity furthers its effects, requiring a reevaluation, this cycle continues into eternity. The point is this, one cannot understand a system one is a part of without altering that system.

Look at modern art, sociology, anthropology, law, and even history. Bubbles of bullshit repeatedly form, fed primarily by themselves and those refuse/are unable to break free from the conventions of the present.

Its like standing between two mirrors, trying desperately to see the end of that recursive tunnel. What's down there?...

Nothing, its you, you are the image in its entirety. Leave the mirrors, go spend time in the real world with real people. But dont forget the millions of people that are still between the mirrors. Not because youre better than them, (that kind of thinking is just you staring in one mirror) but because they shape the world just as much as you do. George Soros became one of the richest people in the world because he saw a financial system where millions of people were chasing their shadows. He gives most of his money to people who (he feels) have broken free from that paradox.

People either love him or hate him for his political views, religious views, philosophies, etc. But at the end of the day his thoughts are this (paraphrasing) "My greatest fear is that success will cloud by ability see things from the perspective of another, which is the key to my philosophy. My greatest joy is found in discovering I have made a mistake. For although I know that I will never be perfect, that discovery takes me one step closer. My flaws make me human, they are vices only when I forget that."

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in a heraclitian move, as c... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2010 3:12 PM | Posted by Dr. J: | Reply

in a heraclitian move, as common as to be the norm.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/11/30/health/views/30mind.html?_r=2&scp=2&sq=NARCISSISM&st=cse

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Did you see this? Narcissis... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2010 7:46 PM | Posted by Michael R. Brown: | Reply

Did you see this? Narcissism no longer in the next DMS??

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/narcissism-no-longer-a-psychiatric-disorder/

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Did you see this? Narcissis... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2010 7:46 PM | Posted by Michael R. Brown: | Reply

Did you see this? Narcissism no longer in the next DSM??

http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/11/29/narcissism-no-longer-a-psychiatric-disorder/

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Edward, if you wouldn't min... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2010 10:29 PM | Posted, in reply to Edward's comment, by Gary: | Reply

Edward, if you wouldn't mind, I'd like to hear more of your perspective on things. Please send me an email at anasynthesis at gmail dot com

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The fact you realised other... (Below threshold)

November 30, 2010 11:32 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by ChewyBudgie: | Reply

The fact you realised other people would be better off if you were a non-narcissist is the first crack in your glass box of narcissism.

My glass box burst in a painful epiphany many years ago, but you have to stay vigilant and not rest on your laurels - the box can rebuild itself.

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The only solution that seem... (Below threshold)

December 1, 2010 11:45 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

The only solution that seems to make sense in solving the naracissum in America is essentially to go back to being being somewhat tribal creatures. A person raised in the context of "tribe" learns pretty quickly that other people matter as well. Everything someone does is in the context of the group. You can shame your father by being a twit, you can injure another person by ignorance, you can damage intertribal relations. Whatever, but the point being that you can't make a move without touching another human.

Philosophicly, American culture is individualist to the core. You do whatever you want, and no consequences will spread beyond you. I think that's a false assumption. You will always touch someone else. And if you think that others shouldn't matter when deciding what kind of action to take.

So from my personal point of view, guilt is inferior to shame in some ways. If I'm ashamed, I know I haven't just let myself down, but the rest of my tribe as well. I've brought shame down by association on parents, brothers, sisters, cousins and of course whoever else I've hurt. Guilt is entirely about the self. I feel bad about something I did because according to MY ethics, it's wrong to do. I, I, My, My -- nothing to do with the other people around you, nothing to do with whether the act caused real harm -- just a question of whether or not I, personally, feel bad about doing it. Two problems. Obviously the first is that the feelings have nothing to do with other people. I can feel guilty for shoplifting without ever having dealt with the fact that I've taken something that belongs to another. The other problem is that if I don't decide that an act is wrong (i.e internet piracy) then no matter who gets hurt by the act, I won't feel guilty. Shame is exactly about the Other Guy. You feel shame for letting someone down because it's causing harm to that person.

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"[Narcissism is] ... (Below threshold)

December 1, 2010 4:35 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by DOB: | Reply


"[Narcissism is] the main theme of the blog."

You're imagining things again. Unless you mean the narcissism of the blogger, I mean.

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Every time I read these pos... (Below threshold)

December 1, 2010 6:07 PM | Posted by Bruce N. Stein: | Reply

Every time I read these posts dedicated to the topic du jour, I am always sucker punched by a few comments, a few ideas, a few realizations. This one definitely, definitely included. For that I thank you.

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If you haven't already, boo... (Below threshold)

December 3, 2010 5:49 PM | Posted by Bruce N. Stein: | Reply

If you haven't already, bookmark this comic:

http://catandgirl.com/?p=2722

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The AA reference is really ... (Below threshold)

December 7, 2010 1:41 PM | Posted, in reply to Rowan's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

The AA reference is really powerful. Seems at the root of AA is somebody that will be brutally, brutally honest with you, which, when you really think about, almost never happens. Or at least seems to me almost never happens without some egoist motive involved. That's not a complaint, more of an observation. Strangely, reading the book Shit My Dad Says really got me thinking about this, because while the Dad character in that book is, yes, a great curmudgeonly wit, and sometimes over the top, what that book really surprised me with was how much it brought into contrast the relative absence of almost ANY kind of sincere communal candor in our culture. Not just in the obvious places you'd expect (advertising, etc), but sort of everywhere. Haven't thought this through much, so may be jumping the gun. Does this strike a chord with anybody else, at a level greater than the usual griping about political correctness and such?

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I am from Uruguay and I rea... (Below threshold)

December 7, 2010 2:55 PM | Posted by customs: | Reply

I am from Uruguay and I really have to disagree with all Americans who posted here, especially Edward, and most definitely the author of this blog. In my country, despite the fact that we identify with the people of Hungary and their struggle to be regarded as interesting people with a fascinating cultural history, we don't respect George Soros- we think he is a narcissist to the nth degree although his book "George Soros on Globalization" did very well here. Anyway, we don't know why his name even came up in this discussion.

The point I want to make is that in my country, we don't believe that NPD ever had any business being in the DSM in the first place. We think that there was a backroom deal made with the publishers of Christopher Lasch's 1979 one hit wonder book, "The Culture of Narcissim." Specifically we think that Lasch's editor at Norton was the wife of one of the psychiatrists on the DSM III committee and that this editor persuaded her husband to make a big deal about NPD and to ensure its inclusion in the DSM up until this point in history.

We, in my country of Uruguay, believe that this editor at Norton not only stayed in her bad marriage with her husband but also had an affair with two other psychiatrists on the DSM committee over the course of 27 years in order to ensure that NPD was kept in the DSM up until this point in history. The intention for this was so that her author, Christopher Lasch, could sell his book and become an internationally known academic millionaire. and of course, she would profit from this development.

Furthermore, we believe the author of this blog is Christopher Lasch's estranged second son, Sergey F. Lasch, an unsuccessful alcoholic psychiatrist living somewhere in the rural south of the United States, probably in the same town where Thomas Pynchon resides. We believe that Sergey, in addition to owing thousands of dollars to the IRS, is under pressure of his house being foreclosed on by Bank of America and that he is authoring this blog with a desperate hope that his writings (simplistic rehash of his father's theory about the culture of narcissism in america) might influence people to buy the 4th edition of his late father's aforementioned book.

Why? Because this would result in Sergey receiving a greater share of royalties from the sale of this book as, though Sergey was estranged from his father for undisclosed reasons, he was still included in his father's will and it was stipulated therein that Sergey receive the royalties of any sale of that singular book and not of any other of his father's books. (As an aside, we think that this bequeath to Sergey indicates the grand generosity of Christopher Lasch's character as he could very well have left instead to his estranged son nothing at all or worse, the royalties of any number of his obscure writings like 'The New Radicalism in America 1889-1963: The Intellectual As a Social Type', a popular book here in Uruguay.)

Anyway, we in Uruguay, think that readers should learn the Spanish language and be Catholic. and know that God will take care of you and so you don't have to act out in this way.

Good Day.

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This is fantastic. Don't ch... (Below threshold)

December 7, 2010 3:01 PM | Posted, in reply to customs's comment, by Bruce N. Stein: | Reply

This is fantastic. Don't change a thing.

Nothing brings more attention to something than ranting about it on the internet!

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<a href="http://www.youtube... (Below threshold)

December 7, 2010 4:20 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PkwI_50r_H8

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this dude lasch resembles t... (Below threshold)

December 7, 2010 4:27 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

this dude lasch resembles the ghetto dweller art critic guy in the video that alone recently posted. does anyone know if lasch married a black woman? if so, alone very well might have revealed himself to us...

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customs post is intriguing,... (Below threshold)

December 7, 2010 5:21 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by D.S. Pountain: | Reply

customs post is intriguing, but I'm not buying it. Firstly, the idea that the DSM committee could be so easily influenced or corrupted like that- I don't think so. Secondly, TLP is not ripping off Christopher Lasch; this blog covers a wide range of topics and TLP has a lot of original things to say about our culture.

Speaking of Lasch, I recently wrote about his writings on my blog:

http://dickpountain.blogspot.com/

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Also, I meant to address an... (Below threshold)

December 7, 2010 5:25 PM | Posted, in reply to D.S. Pountain's comment, by D.S. Pountain: | Reply

Also, I meant to address anonymous and everyone else who thinks TLP is the comedian in the video that he just posted- stop, really.

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You inspire me (you too ano... (Below threshold)

December 7, 2010 9:29 PM | Posted, in reply to customs's comment, by Anonymous: | Reply

You inspire me (you too anon who followed). I love to see inquisitiveness married to critical thinking abilities.

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What do you call a narcissi... (Below threshold)

December 12, 2010 7:53 PM | Posted by Jon: | Reply

What do you call a narcissist who gave up on the maintenance of their identity?

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my dad. HOOOOOOOOOO<... (Below threshold)

December 12, 2010 10:45 PM | Posted, in reply to Jon's comment, by Whatever: | Reply

my dad. HOOOOOOOOOO

actually, can't maintain your "identity" when everyone knows what you've been doing. though you can still act like the worlds against you! i didnt mean to post this but my therapist told me i should be responding to comment threads so, sorry!

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Something I found in the Wi... (Below threshold)

December 13, 2010 12:47 AM | Posted by O'Bedlam: | Reply

Something I found in the Wikipedia article on self-image:

"Individuals often form a negative self image as a result of physicalities affecting themselves, such as alcoholic parents or other unstable environments, and the use of drugs to unintentionally hurt themselves." (Emphasis added, of course.)

How can you Sarah know for sure what Fred does without intending to? Can she read his mind, or is she making assumptions about his internal state based on what she makes of his behavior? If Fred's really doing things he does not intend to do, how can Sarah know whether he's taking drugs to unintentionally hurt himself or to unintentionally change his style of dress?

It's bad enough that someone thinks they know what you intend by an action, but it's utterly nonsensical to think you know what someone to/with himself does without intending to -- especially when you opine that someone is doing something in order to bring negative consequences on himself without intending to. How can you do something in order to achieve an unintended goal?

That's like saying Fred lives in Los Angeles in order to give himself lung complaints from the polluted air despite thinking he's living there because it has a vibrant cultural life and because he makes money easily there. "Sorry Fred, none of that counts: what counts is that I think polluted air is so bad for you that you'd only breathe it to hurt yourself."

What galls me is that it's not only an nonsensical assumption concerning someone's "unconscious" inner state, it's also imposing a negative value judgment on him because of what you think he's doing without meaning to. E.g., "Obviously you don't do sinful gay sex because you enjoy it but because you want to deliver yourself unto the Lake of Fire without meaning to."

Another thing I want to know is whether this is reversible. Could Fred be eating oatmeal in order to unintentionally help himself, say by preventing colon cancer and lowering his cholesterol levels? Despite his belief that he likes oatmeal and that it's cheap and easy to make in the microwave? (Oh, wait, I forgot: he really uses a microwave not because it heats food but because it might lower his sperm count without his his conscious awareness; poor Fred, he'll never master Sarah's game of projection.

Oh, and by the way, I might call a narcissist who gave up on the maintenance of his identity a suicidal loser. But then I might be reading too much of the wrong thing into something I can really know very little about, and even putting a total stranger down by calling him a loser. What unintentional reasons I might have for doing that I really can't say.

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"TLP has a lot of origin... (Below threshold)

December 13, 2010 1:03 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

"TLP has a lot of original things to say about our culture."

Don't take Sudafed, your trouble breathing is not from inside your nose.

There is nothing totally original under the Sun. To say otherwise is an awfully unfair and obviously unsupportable assumption. I say this not because I can see into your head or anyone's, but because, given the 6+ billion people living today, let alone all the homos sapien who've ever lived before, the odds are that whatever you think is original was done to death a thousand years ago in an area you can't find on a map by people whose language hasn't survived.

The issue of "narcissism" aside, people sure are arrogant and grandiose around here, which whatever they intend makes me think they're stupid. (But whether they're trying to be stupid or just cursed with bad luck I really can't say: it's bad enough to cast uncalled-for aspersions on someone I don't know, I don't need to haul out total nonsense.)

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you are brilliant. i finall... (Below threshold)

December 19, 2010 7:04 PM | Posted by amber: | Reply

you are brilliant. i finally have clarity of the man that loved me, married me, and then left me for a prostitute. thank you.

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...And boys, be in nothing ... (Below threshold)

December 26, 2010 4:12 PM | Posted by mxl: | Reply

...And boys, be in nothing so moderate as in love of man, a clever servant, insufferable master.
There is the trap that catches noblest spirits, that caught -- they say -- God, when he walked on earth.

-- Robinson Jeffers

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Wrong.What you look ... (Below threshold)

February 13, 2011 1:12 PM | Posted by Michael: | Reply

Wrong.
What you look like in the mirror is NOT what you look like for other people for that which looks to be right in the mirror is nor right in the real world- it's left.
I believe other people are much better mirrors for the self.
Of course this could lead to an always turning right syndrome (I'm not an ambi-turner.) thus making you walking in circles this way, ie if people around me look good, i look good.-And Dorian Gray can have his photography!
With this I can be right or I can be wrong, but you cannot be wrong, you can be right or you can be left
Cheeers

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I think The Last Psychiatri... (Below threshold)

March 8, 2011 7:03 PM | Posted by Spider: | Reply

I think The Last Psychiatrist is describing himself. For crying out loud, he's writing this article as an internal dialog, and he knows the state of the narcissist pretty intensely. He's not (too) grandiose, so he knows he has to redefine (or define it in the Freudian tradition) to call himself a Narcissist.

Come on, you're lonely, you call yourself Alone, and you describe epic loneliness as the condition of narcissism.

There's not a damn difference between shame and guilt.

Rage is just anger out loud.

Masturbation is just sex when you're Alone.

Why do you blame everything but you? Well, you do blame you. But you're also distracted by everything else there is to legitimately blame.

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sand boots ON SALE NOW!... (Below threshold)

August 8, 2011 11:52 PM | Posted by http://sand-boots.weebly.com/: | Reply

sand boots ON SALE NOW!

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"It is what you meant, even... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2012 8:59 PM | Posted by [email protected]: | Reply

"It is what you meant, even if it isn't what you meant."-Alone

I get that this is Alone having a dialogue with an imaginary person, to make some points about narcissism. I just want to point out, if anyone, including a mental health professional, ever says the above sentence to you, it's abuse. I've tried to think of a single exception, and I can't.

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Oh, crappety-crap. I think ... (Below threshold)

February 20, 2012 9:31 PM | Posted, in reply to [email protected]'s comment, by [email protected]: | Reply

Oh, crappety-crap. I think I just understood it the way he *meant* it. I'm sorry; I have my head up in the kabbalah clouds today, reading some complicated shit, so I have no brain. Also, someone on this blog once went off on someone else by saying something like "I know damn good and well what you meant, and you do too, and you meant this: blah blah blah." I've never gotten over it and I kept thinking, isn't that abuse? It was a bad experience for me. I don't think I ever wrote anything back, though. I guess I should have.

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You did write something bac... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2012 12:45 PM | Posted, in reply to [email protected]'s comment, by Someone: | Reply

You did write something back:

https://thelastpsychiatrist.com/2012/02/another_honor_killing_that_isn.html#c022852

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oh, I'm sorry to say that w... (Below threshold)

February 21, 2012 6:09 PM | Posted, in reply to Someone's comment, by [email protected]: | Reply

oh, I'm sorry to say that was actually not written to the guy who tried to tell another human being that he knew what she was really thinking. but thanks for responding. :-)That was kind.

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This seemed like a good pos... (Below threshold)

August 15, 2012 1:52 PM | Posted, in reply to rox's comment, by V.: | Reply

This seemed like a good post at first glance, but the suggested method of dealing with narcissism in it appears to be... acceptance?

Loving somebody despite being despicable may sound nice, but the underlying consequences are not. Let's imagine somebody takes this advice and decides to stop worrying about narcissism and just accept it. What's going to happen next? Not only is it highly possible that they'll forget about it a few weeks later and lose all happiness gained from such acceptance, but they'll eventually end up being assholes to somebody at some point as a consequence of "Me, me, me" thinking.

And even if they didn't lose said happiness, does it seem moral at all to live happily by yourself while disregarding all of the jackassery you'd be throwing around to people around you?

The issue here seems to be that the method involving personal happiness while throwing all consequences towards "people who are not me" is preferred over the method of "making a mental effort to change". I don't think I should need to point out that this is selfish.

There's blame to be taken in narcissism, but instead of just accepting it and living with it, the ideal course of action would be to make an effort to fight it and change.


I might be too young to be suggesting alternate solutions, but self-conditioning, discussing the issue with a psychology student and awareness reminders (both reading further into the issue here in the blog or establishing some key phrases to find around the house/computer work), specially the latter one, have been working for me so far. There just needs to be a will to change that's strong enough to act instead of getting stuck in the glass cage of "I want to change", because that's usually followed by "Tell me how to change", which is inevitable doom because it shows that the person expects others to take action when it is something he must do himself.

Perhaps my goal in reading about narcissism, which is to be less of a selfish prick, is selfish in itself, but I want to think that by improving myself in this aspect (and I still have tons to work on) I'll also make things better for those around me I care for. Alone seems to have pessimistic and misanthropic troubles, sure, but that doesn't mean that learning about and dealing with narcissism will forcibly make one unhappy.

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"There just needs to be a w... (Below threshold)

August 16, 2012 2:21 AM | Posted, in reply to V.'s comment, by tim: | Reply

"There just needs to be a will to change that's strong enough to act instead of getting stuck in the glass cage of "I want to change", because that's usually followed by "Tell me how to change", which is inevitable doom because it shows that the person expects others to take action when it is something he must do himself."

Sorta right...sorta not...narcissists very often have trouble accepting help. This is why they (typically) don't do well in therapy -- they try to out-do the therapist...they see the therapy process as some sort of competition, rather than a coming together.

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Perhaps my goal in readi... (Below threshold)

August 16, 2012 9:51 AM | Posted by Narcissus Thespiae: | Reply

Perhaps my goal in reading about narcissism, which is to be less of a selfish prick, is selfish in itself, but I want to think that by improving myself in this aspect (and I still have tons to work on) I'll also make things better for those around me I care for.

The constant and never-ending inward self improvement is the problem. "Isn't it odd how narcissism turns everything inward, except blame? "

Advocating more of that will not help you or anyone else become a less "selfish prick". You will only change how you think/percieve yourself for yet the 10,000 time.

Alone seems to be advocating a Kierkegaard-ian approach. Let go of the aesthetic, embrace the ethical and strive for the religious. In a sense, put the narcissism to work for you instead of the mirror staring/pretend I'm getting better/oh look at me approach that this blog has defined par excellence.

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From KG: From KG:... (Below threshold)

September 1, 2012 1:58 PM | Posted by Former Spouse of a Narcissist: | Reply

From KG:
From KG:
The cure to narcissism is to change your behavior. Stop thinking about how to appear as if. Become who you want to be. Don't re-identify by moving the goal posts after every encounter. Just get up and do it.
Lets break it down in to steps-
1. Choose whatever identity you want, I'm sure you have at least one in mind already
2. Identify the behaviors associated with that identity.
3. Do those things everyday

-----------------------------------------------------------

I don't see this as a cure. In fact, I think this is a normal thing that a narcissist would do (mine did). After blowing up his life, one of the things I remember him saying is that he was "playing a role." This is probably one of the most significant clues he has given me that helped me figure out who he really is. He did choose the identity he wanted and did "those behaviors everyday." Thus, he was playing a role and never truly authentic. No real intimacy, no bonding.

I don't think he will ever think he is a narcissist. I am not an clinical expert, but I have had a ton of experience with my step-father and now my ex husband being a narcissist. Narcissism is not what most people think it is. The problem is that Narcissists get their identity from the reflection of other people, so they have no true identity. Without a true identity there is no real connection, so people are dispensable. Despite their seemingly grandiose view of themselves, they have no ego. There is no "core" self to fall back on when their world is rough, or their career takes a wrong turn (even if it is minor).

I just don't think that a true narcissist can be "cured". Their reality of the world was shaped at a young age and I don't think that changing someone's world view is possible. Short of going back in time and raising him to feel unconditional love, I don't believe it is possible.

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I don't see this a... (Below threshold)

September 3, 2012 7:07 PM | Posted, in reply to Former Spouse of a Narcissist's comment, by jonny: | Reply

I don't see this as a cure. In fact, I think this is a normal thing that a narcissist would do (mine did). After blowing up his life, one of the things I remember him saying is that he was "playing a role." This is probably one of the most significant clues he has given me that helped me figure out who he really is. He did choose the identity he wanted and did "those behaviors everyday." Thus, he was playing a role and never truly authentic. No real intimacy, no bonding.

I think this is spot on.

There is a role Society forces children to play where they're not allowed to be truly authentic. It's called being polite. If there is a more optimal way to teach children how to be creepy and manipulative and deceitful, I'd be stunned.

This is a very confused world. Children are drilled to be honest whilst simultaneously drilled to be dishonest (when the Truth is 'rude' - it could really hurt the emotionally insane "elders", in their imagination). The result is no one knows who we are. We're emotionally manipulated by those we Trust. Everyone lies to children non-stop. Parents transfer their emotional degradation onto their children; their fears, their awkward social skills, their shrewd tricks of deception (I don't know who they're fooling, I can spot cosmetics from a long way away & I don't feel that girls should be presenting themselves for the approval or disapproval of anyone except themselves - it's indecent and creepy to assert than children should).

In this world, the simplest concepts are confused by minds with IQs that are awe-inspiring; but when combined with the EQ of a toddler? We're racing towards extinction. When the non-renewable resources 'justify' using nuclear weapons again, it's going to be MAD.

We lost our sense of Self because it was taken away from us by those who imagine (in their emotional, patronising insanity) that the free will of a child is worthless. It's not really patronising, it's so much darker & more insulting. It's sociopathic to imagine your will should be superimposed onto your child when you're incapable of making the logical case for the child to take ownership of your preferences / beliefs / values. Children aren't given choices or options; everything is chosen for them by parents who Know Best. If they know so much, why aren't they capable of making a convincing case for action before ensuring the child decides what's best for them?

I think feigning ignorance on this issue is valid grounds for sterilisation.

Parents aren't teaching children to be independent. They're proactively ensuring dependency. I grew up in a Protection Racket (a notorious 'religious' sex cult), I know what 'protecting' children from Reality is all about. I know why children aren't taught about consequences, decision-making in uncertainty, risk v reward, etc.

Parents are Protection Racketeers; drilling their kids with fear in lieu of the education, knowledge and intelligence required to be cautiously confident. Children are drilled with emotional vitriol purely to make them exploitable and easily manipulated by sociopaths. This destroys their sense of Self.

We are creatures that mimic those we admire or imagine to be impressive. And there lying in wait for Self-less children is the creepiest Society imaginable, just itching to 'guide' and condition impressionable children under the guise of entertainment. Two (terrible) Hollywood movies dictated eight straight years of my life, which is a bit like saying they influenced my entire life in ways I cannot imagine (without a reference point). Children shouldn't be taking career / life advice from movies like Top Gun & The Rock when they're 16. If I had a healthy sense of Self, I wouldn't have been confused, lost and looking.

Everyone lies to children non-stop. Horrifying lies like Xmas & Santa & Disney poison; children don't need this toxic fairytale Fantasy. They need to be prepped for Reality. I used to believe this was inexplicable stupidity, but now I'm not so sure. I'm leaning towards inexplicably creepy, instead.

The lying to children is just...insane. They're lied to by everyone, every step of the way; creeps who Confidence Trick them, play games of reverse psychology with alcohol & sex - "You're too young [to have fun]. You have to wait until you're old enough."

And when the children faceplant into the emotional lies they're brainwashed with? They're traumatised for life. Once the ball starts rolling on shame...

It's all a Protection Racket. Parents raise children with discipline & emotive appeals rather than logic to inform & persuade. Society fills their impressionable minds with poison like nationalism & glamorised violence and, of course, that lie sociopaths tell themselves in order to make the argument of "ME ME ME" sound more convincing (I think it's called love). And everyone faceplants when we hit Reality.

Suddenly it's no longer "The One & Only, Happily Ever After"; what an imbecilic fairytale. Children eat it up and get destroyed in brutal ways, and those who filled their minds with fairytale poison are suddenly flippant & callous. Suddenly there's "plenty of fish in the sea". I'm not sure what was more traumatising, the fact that one (1) of ~7.3 billion humans had abruptly changed her mind about the whole "Happily Ever After" idiocy (and forgot to inform me for a month or two) or the terrifying realisation that I'd been betrayed by...everyone.

But that's love for you. It's really sweet. It plays out a lot like hate, in reality. Needy, Leeching, Dependant, Jealous, Possessive, Exclusive, Conflicted, Bitter, Deceitful, Controlling, Degrading...Afraid.

So much fear. Fear of public opinion has to be the creepiest insanity we impose upon children. Why should they care what we think or feel or say? They should care about impressing themselves. You'd wipe out bullying in a day.

Love is a Confidence Trick. What is this vile insanity everyone is hell-bent on poisoning the minds of children with? What is this conditioning that leaves children imagining life is over before it's been allowed to begin because - omg! - one (1) of billions of human options wants to play with someone else for a change? Shock! Horror.

Love seems too a little too exclusive and possessive to be sane.

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Narcissism is not ... (Below threshold)

September 3, 2012 7:27 PM | Posted by jonny: | Reply

Narcissism is not what most people think it is. The problem is that Narcissists get their identity from the reflection of other people, so they have no true identity. Without a true identity there is no real connection, so people are dispensable. Despite their seemingly grandiose view of themselves, they have no ego. There is no "core" self to fall back on when their world is rough, or their career takes a wrong turn (even if it is minor).

Yes!

There are those who will say "Oh that's BPD" but I think you're spot on. It's all about Self. Whether you turn out borderline or narcissistic, it seems like it's all a corruption of one's sense of Self. Religion is responsible for this; it's malicious but brilliant how they twisted our understanding of Selfishness into this idiotic, corrupted abortion of the real thing. If you have a healthy sense of Self, you will care about the best interests of everyone around you because it would be optimal.

You simply wouldn't be intelligently Selfish if you didn't act in your own best interests and ensure that those who can deliver happiness or misery are more likely to deliver the former instead of the latter. To be religiously selfish is to be Self-less; needy, ignorant, confused, miserable, reliant and afraid. Liable to be shattered not by a stick or a stone, but by a mean word.

That's exploitable. So, so exploitable. It cannot be coincidental. We're conditioned to be this way.

I had no core Self to fall back on; it's just like you wrote! When the tiniest thing went wrong, my constructed identity would be threatened and things could get pretty ugly. When something that should be inconsequential (and would have been, if I had a sense of Self) occurred - like one (1) of billions of humans deciding they no longer felt the same way - everything would be shattered. All the illusions come crashing down in what amounted to a total emotional meltdown. Cars were written off. Years were written off. A life very nearly written off...

I lost some close friends to this insanity called love. I've never seen anyone win with love. When it's over, one party is destroyed. And the other party generally cannot care less. There's no celebration, no victory; just defeat v apathy.

I've been on both sides of that sociopathic lie. I've never won. You either lose big or gain a stalker. I don't think it's acceptable to condition children to be this insane.

I just don't think that a true narcissist can be "cured". Their reality of the world was shaped at a young age and I don't think that changing someone's world view is possible. Short of going back in time and raising him to feel unconditional love, I don't believe it is possible.

I have no idea, really; but it sure seems to me that this "unconditional love" business is how narcissists are made.

This is my theory, I wonder if I could pay Alone to consider or dismiss it; but it seems to me that children are born sane into a world of predatory emotional manipulators (the name of the worst one I came across was "Mom") and to survive such a hostile environment, children are all but forced to become narcissists to protect themselves from us.

Children who do not learn to block out the manipulation get destroyed, or even slaughtered in war. They have to become narcissistic to survive this creepy world of imagined and asserted "feelings" & "emotions" that are used to hijack and manipulate empathy.

Narcissists scream "ME ME ME", as we all know. It's a terrible argument, I'm not sure it's ever convinced anybody. Society, in all it's confusion or creepy shrewd, attempts to force narcissistic children to be more considerate of the feelings of others (laws, etiquette, manners, rules of social conduct, etc). They're not fooled, but some understand it all to be a game. Some narcissists learn to consider the feelings of others and some don't.

My theory is that the ones that do learn to consider the feelings of others become sociopaths; because isn't that what Polite Society is really all about? Faking consideration in order to "win friends and manipulate people" (with lies)?

I'm yet to hear a logical argument that explains the phenomenon of selective empathy (with the exception of this argument); but I'm pretty sure I understand why mothers breed children of Their Own in a world where 21,000 children of Our Own die every single day.

Narcissists and sociopaths are handicapped; they cannot feel empathy, so they cannot value or love or care for what isn't Their Own...Property. Child. Romantic interest. Slave.

That's my theory, in any case. It's probably reductive, but can we be reduced any lower? We're humans who aren't humane. But we're sure good at pretending and playing little games of denial. But lying to your Self?

That's got to be the definition of insane. One lie to your Self, or one lie told to you by someone you Trust or Love (unconditionally), and how do you know whether anything you ever perceive from that point will be accurate? One lie and the dominoes start falling towards emotional insanity.

Narcissists can be cured, I believe. But then I wasn't a very 'good' sociopath; empathy at the suffering I'd create very nearly killed me. I didn't understand why I was miserable when on paper, I had everything I'd ever dreamed of. Truth and understanding did the trick. And realising that I was batshit emotionally insane.

That's insanely confused and insanely emotional; made to be that way by a world of endless deception (it's just non-stop) and all those 'white' lies (for my 'benefit', of course; to 'protect' my feelings).

Just another filthy Protection Racket, isn't it? I was only susceptible because I had no sense of Self.

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I have no idea, really; ... (Below threshold)

September 3, 2012 9:35 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I have no idea, really; but it sure seems to me that this "unconditional love" business is how narcissists are made.

I am going off of my experience and my two years of piecing together thoughts about why certain things happened in my relationship, so I am by no means claiming that I am correct. However, it is my thought that my father and my ex-husband were both given the message that their mother's love was conditional. First, both of them grew up in a household where there were obvious favorites. By obvious I mean my inlaws came out and said it bluntly. He was the favorite. My father's brother was the favorite. Both men are narcissists.

Here's the theory: If you are loved conditionally, you are given the message that your value is based on what you do, not who you are. You are never treated as though your core self is enough. I thought my ex was fortunate to avoid his parents horrible treatment that they showed his brother because he was the good looking, intelligent, athlete. But guess what? Neither of them escaped the abuse. They were both taught that they were loved conditionally. As far as my father goes, no one in our family really keeps in touch with him. Not out of anger, but because no authentic bonding ever really took place.

I hope that narcissism can be cured. My experience has been that both the men I know who are narcissists don't seem like they would ever have any sort of "revelation" that you seemed to have had about being narcissistic. Maybe they are extreme. Maybe there is a narcissistic spectrum and some people can be cured while others can't.

You sound like you are headed in a really good direction. Good luck.

P.S. I have ALWAYS hated the lie about Santa Claus, but could never find anyone to agree with me. I felt stupid telling my kids the lie and was guilted into it and told I didn't have the Christmas spirit.

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I have no idea, really; ... (Below threshold)

September 3, 2012 9:36 PM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

I have no idea, really; but it sure seems to me that this "unconditional love" business is how narcissists are made.

I am going off of my experience and my two years of piecing together thoughts about why certain things happened in my relationship, so I am by no means claiming that I am correct. However, it is my thought that my father and my ex-husband were both given the message that their mother's love was conditional. First, both of them grew up in a household where there were obvious favorites. By obvious I mean my inlaws came out and said it bluntly. He was the favorite. My father's brother was the favorite. Both men are narcissists.

Here's the theory: If you are loved conditionally, you are given the message that your value is based on what you do, not who you are. You are never treated as though your core self is enough. I thought my ex was fortunate to avoid his parents horrible treatment that they showed his brother because he was the good looking, intelligent, athlete. But guess what? Neither of them escaped the abuse. They were both taught that they were loved conditionally. As far as my father goes, no one in our family really keeps in touch with him. Not out of anger, but because no authentic bonding ever really took place.

I hope that narcissism can be cured. My experience has been that both the men I know who are narcissists don't seem like they would ever have any sort of "revelation" that you seemed to have had about being narcissistic. Maybe they are extreme. Maybe there is a narcissistic spectrum and some people can be cured while others can't.

You sound like you are headed in a really good direction. Good luck.

P.S. I have ALWAYS hated the lie about Santa Claus, but could never find anyone to agree with me. I felt stupid telling my kids the lie and was guilted into it and told I didn't have the Christmas spirit.

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well, you're sort of half-r... (Below threshold)

September 5, 2012 12:55 AM | Posted, in reply to Former Spouse of a Narcissist's comment, by tim: | Reply

well, you're sort of half-right, i think. but, first, i would say that the ego and the true self are not the same, as you seem to have implied. also, a narcissist's ego is indeed present, but it is very weak, and susceptible to influence from the darker parts of the psyche.

the narcissist's true self has receded, and is mostly unable to influence action.

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re the last few comments: I... (Below threshold)

September 5, 2012 3:06 AM | Posted by Anonymous: | Reply

re the last few comments: I don't think a "real self" actually exist, and if it does it must be purely a product of our instinct and animal nature. So I say down with "your real self", faking being a better person until you are sounds better.

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except that doesn't work...... (Below threshold)

September 5, 2012 2:38 PM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by tim: | Reply

except that doesn't work... 'fake it till you make it' is bullshit.

you're also disagreeing with pretty much every psychodynamic theorist ever (including Freud and Jung).

and, there's nothing wrong with instinct and animal nature as such. attemping to integrate this part of the mind rather than denying it or ignoring its presence is part of having a healthier mind...

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nb. Questions that warra... (Below threshold)

September 11, 2012 11:23 AM | Posted, in reply to Anonymous's comment, by jonny: | Reply

nb. Questions that warrant answers are bolded. There is no need to read the rambling, in fact, I'd personally advise against.

Here's the theory: If you are loved conditionally, you are given the message that your value is based on what you do, not who you are. You are never treated as though your core self is enough.

But that's just more of the Fantasy 'sweet' that is always going to be corruptive and confusing because it's at odds with Reality.

It's Disney but our Reality is not Disney. I've spent a lot of time thinking about this "unconditional love" v "love with implied expectations" business over the last couple days; and the thought struck me suddenly that I was considering the wrong question. I don't think we should be debating how children should be loved. We're looking at this all the wrong way.

I think the right question is:

* Why are children being loved at all?

Where did this parenting tradition come from?
What purpose does it serve?
What benefit is derived by the child?

Children are supposed to be made independent by their parents as a matter of urgency. That requires a great many things but independence doesn't require love. Love is how you create dependence. If you think about it, love is just a distraction, suspiciously exploitative, it dumbs humans down, makes them docile, retards their capacity for learning (and at such an impressionable age), drives them insane (the amount of cutters in the world is hilariously high but irrelevant because the numbers of emotional cutters would be well over 50%.

Love is how humans are stupid. Twisted love is how humans are made insane. It's remarkable actually; perhaps I'm missing something but can you provide a scenario where feeling loving or loved would stand the child in good stead (as opposed to the thoughtful, unemotional, unafraid, confident, objective, pragmatic, calm, logical, reasoned, rational, analytic, critical, cautious, empathetic Selfish alternative)?

Hah. Love is the exploitation that sets children up to be raped, taken advantage of, manipulated, Confidence Tricked, played and betrayed.

* Why would anyone be intrinsically valuable for no reason?

That makes absolutely no sense. Why should Humanity carry leeches? Humans are coded to want to contribute; in a sane world no one would permit themselves to be carried though life. Asserting that every single human life has value is a filthy lie that is a bit like the insanity that made it taboo to be blunt about aesthetics. Asserting that every life has intrinsic value by virtue of it's mere existence creates a world where 21,000 children die every day whilst terminally-ill dying patients kept alive for no purpose but to suffer. A Society where the right of an individual to depart in dignity with out pain has been abrogated would have to be very Polite. Asserting that it's wrong to be unemotional about aesthetics and body image creates a world where everyone is obsessed with "looking their best", cosmetics, plastic surgery, fashion, obsessing over grooming, trying to emulate non-existent airbrushed cartoons on fashion magazine covers and of course, the pressure on girls results in their killing themselves with anorexia, bulimia and cycles of binge-eating & guilt, remorse, dieting & exercise regimes inevitably triggering shame & self-loathing.

You cannot protect people from Reality and those who attempt to do are not doing it for any reason other than malicious exploitation. I used to think mothers were just too dull to understand their damaged feelings weren't shared by their children but mothers know that. They'll do their best to image their children to 'consider' of the feelings of the emotionally sane. Lies, for their benefit. Vomit.

Attempting to deceive someone into being at odds with their Reality is intentional creation of suffering. Confusion = Pain.

People don't want creeps to politely consider their feelings without solicitation, as if they were...I was going to say Toddlers, but I don't think there's ever an appropriate time to assume that your children could benefit from your emotional degradation.

* Why are children taught to consider the insane feelings of disturbed victims of trauma?

Nothing is more insulting or degrading than when someone assumes that you are insane and require their lying to you, for your benefit. I could spit at anyone who thinks deceit is nice and truth is rude. The only reason people can't handle truth is because they've been lied to from Day 0.

People secretly want Truth. They're just too insane to cope with the shattering of their demented constructs.

Imagining that children need love seems illogical and insane. Children need care and information, not love and manipulation. This is just like the Toddler logic screamed at children by emotionally needy creeps with terrifyingly brazen piety.

"Children should respect their el