Skip to main content

View Diary: Why the "your daughter/wife" meme is necessary (114 comments)

Comment Preferences

  •  I'd like to correct you a bit, and clarify a bit (7+ / 0-)

    First of all, I'd like to say that your use of the term "mentally ill" when referring even to full-fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder is highly debatable. I knew perfectly well that the link I offered described NPD, not the wide spectrum of narcissism, which why I worded the sentence the way I did. I just thought that the list of criteria in that link was instructive. A person with full-blown NPD is not at all considered "mentally ill" in the legal sense, and I can state with considerable experience that most psychiatrists would not define NPD as a "mental illness" as well. As a general rule the personality disorders (besides Borderline Personality Disorder, which is largely being redefined now as Complex Post-Traumatic Disorder, an Axis I disorder) are regarded more as complicating factors in treating an Axis I illness such as Major Depression, rather than an illnesses themselves.

    Next, I have to take issue with you that people with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are as a rule unsuccessful. The statement you quoted is generally true of personality disorders, but is not a specific diagnostic criteria for personality disorders. The plain fact is that many people with full-blown NPD are VERY successful in work, for example. The arrogant surgeon that treats his coworkers like shit, the awful boss that regularly humiliates an employee in front of her peers, lawyers, salespersons, construction--full-blown narcissists are found in all walks of life. Many of them, however, have very troubled personal lives, lousy and abusive marriages, miserable kids. Many of them are alcoholics. But they are not "mentally ill", very few of them are ever hospitalized, and many of them are the last to seek voluntary psychiatric treatment because they will be the last person to admit to having a problem. On the contrary, they are more likely to insist that their thoroughly depressed partner is "the who has the problem."

    Finally, I must insist that "that selfish side of the normal spectrum" you allude to is indeed part of the same continuum as clinical narcissism, where pathology of the psyche meets pathology of the spirit. It all comes down to how one was nurtured, how one was wounded, what one was taught. I don't see the clearly delineating line that you do between NPD and the rest of humanity, or between psychological growth and spiritual growth. People that have Narcissistic Personality Disorder can in fact grow and overcome it--and the best cure is what can best be described as "a long dark night of the soul" in which they come to perceive exactly what they have done, and exercise the will to overcome it and finally embrace others after years of self-imposed loneliness. Anyone else on that narcissistic spectrum has a similar capacity to do so--as long as they have the occasion to feel their own pain, recognize their own contribution to it, and have the will to change. Most don't, however--either because they've been enabled by others, or because they're unwilling to let go of a lonely but self-centered worldview that they've relied upon all their life to prop up their fragile self-esteem.

    •  And regarding strategy... (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      SoCalSal, dotdash2u

      "Fighting back hard and putting them in their place" is not going to be a successful strategy. Gandhi had a better idea.

    •  Disagree (0+ / 0-)

      someone who is very successful does not have a real personality disorder. An NPD individual is in fact mentally ill. They don't happen to be treatable by our current system, because psychiatrists haven't spent nearly as much time on it as other disorders.

      See the Mayo Clinic website that you linked to yourself - or are you one of these psychologists who thinks he knows better than the research?

      In any case, you also sound like someone who believes there is no genetic basis to this sort of thing, and that puts you on one side of a debate that you very well know is not settled about a variety of psychiatric issues.

      People like this - who have the real thing, which you appear to be unfamiliar with - can't really recover or "overcome it". There is little evidence for this.

      An arrogant surgeon who treats his coworkers like shit is not the same as the individuals I have dealt with, or the many more I've read about in my research about this condition.  It's apples and oranges.

      Yes, some human beings have an overly pronounced naturally selfish side. If you're psychiatrist and you haven't guessed that, god help you. but then again, your "science" is anything but at this point.

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site