Rethinking a Self-Diagnosis of Narcissism

I just read a post on Lucky Otter’s Haven, that got past me last year…well August 2015. You can find it HERE.

As I read, some thing occurred to me. And I think it’s something I’ve been having trouble with for the last week or so.

A while back…on December 20 to be exact, I put up this post basically confessing to being a covert narcissist and borderline.

Now, I’ve been diagnosed by one therapist as a borderline. I self-diagnosed the narcissism. I can’t bring myself to refer to myself as someone having NPD.

Since I’ve written that post…and I felt pretty strongly about what I wrote because of my behaviors…I now think that I was wrong.

Let me make clear that I am interested in the truth and have no problem with admitting to these things if they are true. Not that I like it or want to be that way…and that is kind of the direction I’m headed here and leads to the point I’m trying to make.

So before I go on with my point as to why I think I’m mistaken about my self-diagnosis of narcissism (as far as it is a disorder for me) and in addition why I think the BPD diagnosis is wrong as well, please read the paragraph below in blue and in quotes.

It’s from Lucky Otter’s post that I linked above. But please go read the whole post/article to put it more into context.

“So what is evil? Evil to me means a person who wants to bring harm to others and has no remorse over what they do and doesn’t care about the suffering they cause–and even enjoys it. It’s a person who goes out of their way to hurt others. It’s a person who tries to destroy the reality or the soul of another human being. It’s a person who never feels guilt or shame over their actions and has no empathy for the pain they cause. All evil people (as far as I know) are of the Cluster B persuasion and most are narcissists (or ASPDs), but not every narcissist or borderline is evil.”

In the article, Otter made the point that narcissism (and BPD) run on a spectrum so there are degrees of each personality disorder.

For the most part I’ve agreed with this and in a way I still do agree that there are degrees of narcissism in people. In fact, there is narcissism in everyone. We need it to survive. We need to care about ourselves so we can stay alive, so we are driven to eat. So we are driven to care about ourselves enough to keep a roof over our heads, have friends to keep us company and to even care about anyone else.

People with BPD are also known to be narcissistic and also fall on a continuum. So although it’s not the same disorder, you’ll find that there are many things in common, which is probably why aware borderlines may feel they have NPD as well.

I was beginning to sway to think that maybe some people with NPD are truly aware of their behavior and they want to get better.

But I don’t know. I think it’s more likely that the people who think they have NPD, who even have behaviors that point to such a disorder, actually have complex PTSD.

There are those with complex PTSD have been misdiagnosed with a cluster b and that’s where I have a problem.

It seems that if evil is defined by having no remorse for the pain one causes, then could it really be that someone displays a behavior that is normally identified with someone with a cluster b, but the person is remorseful, how is that person a cluster b?

Seems to me the person is likely not. And certainly not evil.

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35 thoughts on “Rethinking a Self-Diagnosis of Narcissism

  1. Holy cow this is complicated.
    I’ve never known a narcissist to admit to behaviors that are hurtful. You are very aware, self aware, and admit to your actions and have remorse for them. I just…I’ve seen many a narcissist and you seem so far from it. So i’d have to agree with you saying now you think you are not. I never would have thought you were.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You are so right about it being complicated. It’s funny I brought this post back up to the front but I wrote it quite a while ago.

      I think I can lean to less empathy when I’m in the heat of something stressful or if I’m feeling like my safety is threatened.

      I started with a DBT therapist about a month ago and beginning the group a week from today. I am hoping that getting into a group will help me become even more mindful so I can stop before I start to either verbally lash out or before getting all worked up…like for example when someone does something annoying or irritating or even dangerous in a car that could have an impact on me.

      I know some of this is physiological too…my adrenals having been on overdrive for so long. It’s difficult to get them back into balance though, given that life itself is just stressful.

      That being said, I do believe that I will be able to do a lot with my mind…hence the DBT. I just need more help I guess.

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      • I really hope you like group. I wish i could find something like that around here. I think I could really benefit from it.
        Have you had a saliva cortisol test done? I didn’t realize until my daughter did that this kind of stress can trash adrenals. The saliva cortisol test shows what you produce throughout the day. And if your adrenals are shot is is hard to feel calm. Really really hard.
        See I am a lot like you. Just immediate reaction. I wish I weren’t like that. I wish I didn’t have a knee jerk reaction to EVERYTHING>

        Liked by 1 person

        • Yeah that knee jerk had caused me a lot of shame and sadness. It’s hard to change the thought process which causes the reaction because our brains are still in that state of trauma. I’ve also read that it changes the size of certain parts of the brain too. So that would make a huge difference.

          My therapist pointed something out to me when I talked to her last week. She said, “Generally a thought happens just before you react that you are likely not aware of. And that thought is, “It shouldn’t be that way.” “And that’s where the difficult task of radical acceptance comes in to play.”

          There is so much more to it, but that insight to that thought, “It’s shouldn’t be this way” helped me a lot. Although you wouldn’t know it by my behavior this weekend.

          I have to remind myself that it will take time.

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          • Oh I like that a lot. That will help me. Thanks for sharing that.
            I have also been told that when you have fight or flight so activated for so long the brain can become imbalanced and you have to work hard to reaactivate that part of your brain that is calm. She tries to have me really embrace the calm moments when i have them or try to create them.
            Yeah, everything takes so much time in recovery that is the damn truth.
            Knee jerk has cause me to have to apologize a lot to my daughter that’s for sure

            Liked by 1 person

            • I am reading a book called SD Protocol: Achieve Greater Health and Well Being: Sympathetic Dominance.

              I found it while searching for answers for uterine fibroids/estrogen dominance and found this book which makes the connection of adrenal issues being connected to so many health issues. Probably the reason for so many chronic illnesses among the ACONS and other abusers.

              The fight/flight releases cortisol which then shuts down other things in the body, which in turn effects cholesterol which effects the way the other hormones behave. Yeah, it’s a whole big thing.

              He recommends progesterone cream which I wouldn’t do unless I knew that wouldn’t make things worse. But there is some really good info in the book and I’m making some really good connection to my own health.

              That reminded me I didn’t answer you about the cortisol test. I have not done one of those. But years ago I did do a hormone test, which included that. I’d have to pull it out to check it out. But I don’t have much money and so I’m just going by the probably assumption of having fucked up adrenals and taking care of it. DBT and learning how to respond in more effective ways will be a part of that. But I’m taking some supplements and will be looking into more. Again, it’s taking some research and time.

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              • Which supplements do you think are helping? I’ve tried recently kava kava, camomile, calms forte, gaba, and NOTHING calms me!
                I have been contemplating getting my hormones tested and there is this compounding company who makes hormones that are a cream. I’ve been interested in that .my testosterone was too low as well as something else last time but everything else was ok. This never ending list of tests and search for answers is very OLD!

                Liked by 1 person

                • First and foremost I changed my diet. I was killing myself trying to figure out if I should be worried about food combining or should I be vegan, should I do a juice/smoothie fast.

                  Ugh, it was maddening. It paralyzed me and I would just go back to set point which was a lot of junk like pizza and other take out. I also drank a lot of smoothies, mixing fat and fruit. That is a big no no for me. It would bloat me. Then this past weekend I had a smoothie with just fruit and greens and then got cramps and had that melt down.

                  I think a partial reason for the melt down is that my blood sugar crashed from all the fruit as well as no fat.
                  So now I’m eating things like farm raised chicken, eggs, butter, quinoa, rice wraps, lettuce. I’ve decided to cut the fruit too.

                  So that’s my foundation and that has helped tremendously.

                  I get heart palpitations and so I tried some magnesium but it makes me groggy in the morning when taken as directed. So I’m taking off from that for a bit. I had some Rosemary tincture and that stuff actually quieted the PVCs I’ve been having so I really like that stuff. It’s a tincture and it has a strong taste but I don’t care.

                  I also take some thing called Adrenal Day by Dr. Berg. Eric Berg…he has a YT channel and a website. The formula has a bunch of adaptogens in it as well as other vitamin, including C. I’m also taking a D and a K.

                  I’ve also been drinking Tulsi tea, which seems to help a lot too.

                  Also, relaxing music! I’m subbed to a channel: Jason Stephenson. Great relaxing stuff. Meditation helps too, but I have been neglectful on that front.

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                  • Isn’t it amazing how much food affects us. My daughter cannot tolerate fat but if I don’t have the fat in the smoothie or protein then my stomach is upset and i get this “spacey/high” feeling from too much fruit. If i drink one now i use fruit spinach and protein with coconut milk then I’m ok. My stomach doesnt always like smoothies though. Yet handles a salad just fine.
                    My daughter is currently vegan but after her gallbladder it is not by choice. It is all her stomach can process.
                    I’ve heard of the adrenal day. Never herd of tulsi tea i will look that up.
                    We eat organic farm raised too. I love the wrap and quinoa idea, i will try that tomorrow. We have all of that,m yhusband eats it. Usually i just eat what I make my daughter and he makes his own food.
                    Thanks for sharing. I’m going to monitor how i feel after i have those smoothies now.

                    Liked by 1 person

                    • Your comment shows how different each person’s needs all are.

                      I know I will miss them. By the time I made myself dinner, I could feel the blood sugar dive, in my head and my hands were shaking.

                      I was actually testing to see if I’d be ok drinking a smoothie without fat since the mix wasn’t good for my digestion. So when the BS dive hit, it dawned on me that fruit is probably worse for me than a candy bar.

                      I am definitely sad about it in a lot of ways. I love fruit and of course it’s getting to be peak season for a lot of good local stuff. But then it will make things much simpler for me now too.

                      I still have to observe right now. But it’s a lot easier to figure out what I might be reacting to when eating a few things than a whole plethora. lol

                      The weird thing about that smoothie is that I felt fine and even satiated for like 3 hours and then BAM ! It hit me all at once, the shakes and irritability. It was awful.

                      Some people can eat everything. I think I messed myself up playing around too much, eating too much junk and also going long periods not eating because I didn’t want to prep anything. And that is also a stress to the body. So I’m being careful of that now. I don’t get all shaky hungry though when I eat animal protein and some fat.

                      Sorry your daughter had to have her gall bladder removed. That had to suck. The author of that book I mentioned talks about how the gall bladder is connected to all that stress and adrenal stuff too. It’s so much to know and figure out. We really should have anatomy and physiology taught to us in school so we get to know our bodies and how they work.

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                  • Are those digestive enzymes like papaya and bromalein? I do b complex too and vit d because i am always low. Having a hard time finding a probiotic that doesnt upset my stomach. Do you take probiotics and if so which one?

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                    • No I have those too though. I take them as needed. Like when I cramped up after that smoothie on Saturday.

                      The ingredients in the bitters tincture are:
                      Organic Dandelion Root Extract,Org, Dandelion Leaf Extract, Org, Burdock Root Extract, Org. Orange Peel Extract, Org. Fennel Seed Extract, Org. Yellow Dock Root Extract, Org, Angelica Root Extract, Org. Gentian Root Extract, Org. Ginger Root Extract.

                      The brand is Urban Moonshine Herbal Apothecary. I got them from Vitacost.

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                    • Thank you so much! This is excellent because burdock root is good for the liver and so is dandelion and I am looking for a liver detox for my daughter. So happy you sent this!
                      I get most everything from vitacost.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • I missed the probiotic question. No. I don’t take them. They’re too expensive and I don’t trust them to actually be alive.

                      When I get probiotics it’s from food. I was making kefir for a while but I couldn’t keep up. There’s only so much room in our fridge. lol

                      But I like kimchi a lot and other cultured veggies too. I will need to test those a bit more too. I have some kimchi too.

                      I have used that for adding to mayo to make a salad dressing. I also make my own mayo too because of all the additives and soybean oil in the store bought stuff.

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                    • I totally forgot about kefir i was drinking that and then forgot. I’m so glad you mentioned it. That is so cool you make your own stuff! I was just looking today bc my daughter cna’t have anything soybean and everything has soybean oil. We were trying to figure out what upset her stomach because i made everything andfor some freaking reason there was soybean oil in the rice i bought. I was furious. So now i will be checking even the things one would never think there would be any soy in.

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                    • I didn’t mention milk in my list of foods either. I seem to be ok on that as well. But I will only drink two kinds. There’s a dairy farm in Ohio that actually ships this really good quality milk all the way over here to the WF nearby. It’s pasteurized but not homogenized. The other is raw milk. It’s local and brought from about an hour away to a little health food store not too far from me. I know that’s no probiotic rich but talking about kefir reminded me that milk is on my menu. Even though it’s so demonized right now. I know a lot of people can’t digest it.

                      Soybean oil in rice? Geez. Food manufacturers gotta use that crap in everything. Do you get your rice in bulk?

                      That’s how I buy it and quinoa too. I hope it’s not getting slipped in there. Ugh. I may have to ask about that at the store.

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                    • We bought the rice in the organic section. We switched now to a completely different kind and it is just plain ole brown rice.
                      I was eating…I know processed but fake bacon from morning star because I loved to make egg sandwiches with the fake bacon since I don’t eat pork and I was eating the morning star corndogs too. When I started looking at everything for my daughter I realized both of those had reddye 40 in it. I was shocked. Plus ofcourse tons of soy. I can eat soy but she can’t. She cannot drink any milk products or animal products at all or oil. But I can. I love organic cheese and I eat a lot of it. We used to get raw milk but it isn’t offered in this area anymore. My daughter thinks milk is pretty gross but i never have.
                      I’m betting the food in bulk has no soybean oil in it. This was in a plastic container and just labeled as brown rice. I never would have thought that was in it until it made her sick

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Oh my gosh! I used to eat so much of Morning Star products. I used to be primarily vegetarian in my twenties and MS was the holy grail to me. I loved their imitation ‘beef’ crumble that came in big pack (not a bag) like the way you see ground chuck packaged in the supermarket. I used to make tacos with that stuff. I ate their burgers and yes the bacon was so so yummy.

                      I don’t know if I can eat soy or not. I just stay away from it now because of all the bad press. Watch it be something that would actually help me. Lol. I sure ate a lot of it in my 20s in the form of all those frozen vegan products. But then my body could take a lot more back then. I’m surprised to hear that their products have that red dye in them. Yikes! I wasn’t much of a label reader when I ate their stuff. lol.

                      I used to really hate milk but being introduced to real milk as opposed to the 1 and 2 % that I was forced to drink as a kid, has made a big difference.

                      Did raw milk stop being legal in Florida? I know it’s got all kinds of stipulations surrounding it in the states it is legal in. Some states don’t let stores sell it and you have to get it directly from the farmer. It’s ridiculous.

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                    • Oh maybe that is what happened! My husband used to bring it home and then one day he said it wasnt available anymore. I didn’t know if it was illegal. Ok so pot is now legal but raw milk is not WTF!!!!!
                      I loved the ground up crumble to make tacos. Love it!!!! I still eat MS garden burgers but i tossed everything that had red dye for me.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • It’s been 2 years now since her gallbladder and really that just messed up everything. So we have her down to sweet potatoes, brown rice, green beans, peas, carrots, corn, all fruits, potatoes, gluten free bread/bagels, and that is basically all she is eating that she can tolerate. She takes vitamins but she is getting almost no protein and no oils, both her body needs but her stomach cannot at all break down. Which is why we hired the nutritionist. So she’s been eating this for 6 months and soon we will add a few things back in and just see how she does.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yeah, that’s so young to lose her gall bladder too. My brother had his removed years ago as well. He was in his late twenties though I think. He doesn’t seem to worry about what he eats though. It’s weird, I forgot all about that until we started writing about it here.

                      Has the nutritionist suggested supplements like ox bile to help her digest fats?

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                    • Yep. She tried the ox bile and it helped her a LOT but then she researched where it came from and that was the end of that. And it STUNK to high heavens. I thought I’d puke everytime she opened the bottle. It was so freaking gross. But it did help her so much. So now she is taking HCL to try to break down the food and plant enzyme to break down the food too. We aren’t sure why she had the reaction she did to the gallbladder removal. It’s like she never recovered. But her liver is affected so maybe that’s why

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Sorry, I wasn’t trying to minimize or compare. For all I know my brother has issues and just doesn’t talk about them or care. He doesn’t really take care of himself. At least that was the story last time I saw him.

                      He has a quiet channel on YT and I check on him now and then.

                      Anyway, I would think a removal of an organ even if the docs deem it ‘unnecessary’ to live, is quite a shock to the system.

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                    • Oh i don’t think you were minimizing at all. No one and i mean no one that i know who has had theirs removed is affected. My POS stepdad has his removed and was eating hamburgers and french fries the next week. It doesnt make sense to anyone why this happened to her.
                      So your brother and you don’t really talk?

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • No. I don’t talk to my brother. He was part of all that bullying and abuse when taking care of my father.

                      To his credit though he pretty much stopped his life, except to work, to take care of my father.

                      I wish he was open to talking about all the shit that needs resolution but he’s not. He doesn’t validate me at all and thinks I’m ‘too sensitive.’ He is also the double standard king.

                      He emailed me last summer I think it was.
                      He titled the email ‘A Story” and inside the email proceeded to tell me how the relationship between the woman he’d lived with for years fell apart and how he had a new relationship. It was full of double standard. You wouldn’t know it though unless you knew the back story…his and mine. And nowhere in the email did he ask me how I was. It was like old times. He and I would get on the phone and talk for hours…well, he’d talk. I’d listen. Never asking me what I was up to or how I was doing.

                      He did mention that he was no longer talking to my sister though. She apparently didn’t like how he was living his life and let him know it somehow.

                      This was a slight double standard since she had insulted me one night when we were all together at my father’s apartment and after my sister left, I brought it up to my brother thinking he’d understand. Nope. He said, “It was just a joke. You need to let stuff like that go. Worrying about stuff like that is what causes cancer.”

                      Jerk.

                      I was just thinking about that today. I was wondering if he is talking to my sister now or if he stuck to that decision.

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                    • Did you write a post about this? I swear I think I remember reading about it. Could be that it is 3 am but I think I did. About his a story email. Who titles an email A Story anyway!?
                      I hate it when anyone tells me to let it go!
                      Only I know when i m ready to let something go. Jerk is right.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • “Who titles an email A Story anyway?”
                      First thing in the morning…this made me laugh. It’s a good question. I’m not sure if I wrote a post. I’ll have to look. If not I’ll do that…eventually.

                      It’s so hard to keep up in writing with all the stories that need posts. lol. Life has gone fast but so much to tell.

                      Like

                    • I’m glad that made you laugh.
                      I know. I have so much to tell and don’t always know how or when or if. Some things come to me and I just have to write about them to let them go and some things are so complicated I don’t even bother.

                      Liked by 1 person

                    • Yeah, I know what you mean. I wrote one this morning. For some reason it came to me. I have no idea what triggered it.

                      As I was writing it though it felt like it was coming out choppy but then when I read through it, it was pretty clear, especially once I edited it a little.

                      Liked by 1 person

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