personality disorders

“Flawed individuals will victimize you”: A top FBI profiler’s lessons on extreme narcissists like Trump

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There are 130 warning signs of the narcissistic personality. Trump checks off at least 90

"Flawed individuals will victimize you": A top FBI profiler's lessons on extreme narcissists like TrumpDonald Trump (Credit: AP/Paul Sancya)

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

AlterNetI recently spoke with former FBI agent Joe Navarro about Donald Trump. Navarro was one of the FBI’s top profilers, a founding member of their elite Behavioral Analysis Unit and author of several books on human behavior, including “Dangerous Personalities: An FBI Profiler Shows You How to Identify and Protect Yourself from Harmful People.”

To be clear, at no time did Navarro diagnose Trump as having a narcissistic or predator personality. He says we should leave formal diagnoses to professionals  —  but that each of us still needs to be able to identify and protect ourselves from harmful people in our lives. And so he created behavior checklists and published them in his book to let you do just that.

Navarro’s book warns that if a “person has a preponderance of the major features of a narcissistic personality,” then he “is an emotional, psychological, financial or physical danger to you or others.” As the book “The Narcissism Epidemic” explained, “A recent psychiatric study found that the biggest consequences of narcissism — especially when other psychiatric symptoms were held constant — was suffering by people close to them.”

It’s even more important for journalists to decide if Trump behaves like a narcissist — as James Fallows explains in his must-read post at the Atlantic. Fallows cites a reader’s note to him “on how journalism should prepare for Trump, especially in thinking about his nonstop string of lies.”

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“Nobody seems to realize that normal rules do not apply when you are interviewing a narcissist,” this behavior expert explains to Fallows. “You can’t go about this in the way you were trained, because he is an expert at manipulating the very rules you learned.” He criticizes The New York Times for believing what Trump said when they interviewed him (which is the same point I’ve made). Finally, he warns:

“… anyone who’s dealt with a narcissist knows you never, ever believe what they say — because they will say whatever the person they are talking to wants to hear. DT is a master at phrasing things vaguely enough that multiple listeners will be able to hear exactly what they want. It isn’t word salad; it’s overt deception, which is much more pernicious.”

I’ve been professionally interested in behavior assessment because to achieve and sustain serious climate action, empathy may be the most important quality in a president or political leader.

After all, climate change requires us to take very significant if not drastic measures today in order to avoid catastrophe for billions of others in the future who contributed little or nothing to the problem. Without empathic leaders, the necessary climate action becomes all but impossible.

That is a why the Pope ends his landmark 2015 climate encyclical calling on God to “Enlighten those who possess power and money that they may avoid the sin of indifference, that they may love the common good, advance the weak and care for this world in which we live. The poor and the earth are crying out.”

What I learned from Joe Navarro’s work

To leap to the conclusion, people on the far end of the narcissist spectrum lack empathy. And, Navarro told me, “these personality traits are fixed and rigid.” That person doesn’t change. They don’t pivot. Not what you would want in the leader of the world’s most powerful nation.

So, if you come to the conclusion that Trump (or anyone in your life) is on the extreme end of the narcissist spectrum  —  using the tools Navarro provides   — then that person is, as his book explains, “an emotional, psychological, financial, physical danger to you or others.”

Navarro urged me to get his book and go through the checklists and make my own decision. In my scoring, Trump is off the charts. Your scoring may be different.

Interestingly, it was one of the checklists Navarro posted online that motivated me to contact him in the first place. I had been engaged with the question of whether Trump was delusional or a con man (or neither) since late May, when he told Californians suffering their worst drought in a thousand years, “There is no drought.”

As any potential levity about Trump’s participation in the GOP nomination fight was stamped out by the serious and growing concern that he might actually become president  —  or merely trample our democracy in the process of losing  —  I kept reading up on the subject. I came across the work of Navarro, who spent a quarter century as an FBI agent and supervisor focusing on counterintelligence and behavioral assessment. Now Navarro writes, consults and speaks on human behavior.

In particular, because few people are professional psychological diagnosticians or FBI profilers — but we all run across people who might be a danger to us or others  —  Navarro wanted to empower laypeople to be able to decide for themselves if someone they knew had a dangerous personality.

The cult of Donald Trump?

I came across a 2012 article from Psychology Today Navarro wrote listing “the typical traits of the pathological cult leader … you should watch for and which shout caution, get away, run or avoid if possible.” Here are just the first nine of the 50 traits he lists:

  1. Has a grandiose idea of who he is and what he can achieve.
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power or brilliance.
  3. Demands blind unquestioned obedience.
  4. Requires excessive admiration from followers and outsiders.
  5. Has a sense of entitlement  —  expecting to be treated special at all times.
  6. Is exploitative of others by asking for their money or that of relatives, putting others at financial risk.
  7. Is arrogant and haughty in his behavior or attitude.
  8. Has an exaggerated sense of power (entitlement) that allows him to bend rules and break laws.
  9. Takes sexual advantage of members of his sect or cult.

Navarro writes, “If these traits sound familiar to leaders, groups, sects or organizations known to you then expect those who associate with them to live in despair and to suffer even if they don’t know it, yet.”

And yet they do sound familiar, don’t they?

Navarro had “studied at length the life, teachings and behaviors of” people like Jim Jones (Jonestown, Guyana), David Koresh (Branch Davidians), Charles Manson and other infamous cult leaders, and concluded: “what stands out about these individuals is that they were or are all pathologically narcissistic.”

Indeed, when I contacted Navarro, he explained that someone could meet most of these criteria and be pathologically narcissistic, but still not necessarily be a cult leader because cult leaders have other traits. For instance, they generally try to isolate people from their families.

In August, GQ interviewed cult expert Rick Alan Ross, director of the Cult Education Institute and a Republican, about Trump. Ross had been watching Trump’s rise with concern and was especially struck by his words at the GOP convention, “I alone can fix it.” Ross said, “That kind of pronouncement is typical of many cult leaders, who say that ‘my way is the only way, I am the only one.’”

Trump shares many key traits with cult leaders including extreme narcissism, Ross said. But “we’re not talking about a compound with a thousand people,” referring to the Reverend Jim Jones. Jones gave cyanide-laced Kool-Aid to more than 900 of his followers in Jonestown — some 300 of them children. “We’re talking about a nation with over 300 million people. So the consequences of Trumpism could affect us in a way Jim Jones never did.”

As I’ve written, if Trump simply follows through on his repeated campaign pledges to kill the Paris climate agreement and all domestic climate action, then he will ruin a livable climate for billions and billions of people for hundreds of years.

That doesn’t make Trump a cult leader, of course, but it does make him very dangerous.

Navarro told me that in the past year, many people have contacted him to comment on Trump’s personality after they came across the behavior checklists he published on narcissistic personality. Understandably, he declined to make a judgment about Trump. He would like to “personally observe” Trump before making any such pronouncement.

Does Donald Trump behave like a narcissist?

As you may have read, the question of whether a psychologist should publicly diagnose someone they haven’t personally observed has a long history. A bunch of psychiatrists responding to a survey offered harsh diagnoses of Barry Goldwater, which ultimately led the American Psychiatric Association to issue a rule that “it is unethical for a psychiatrist to offer a professional opinion unless he or she has conducted an examination and has been granted proper authorization for such a statement.”

Yet some psychiatrists became so concerned about a Trump presidency last November that they broke the rule and were quoted in a Vanity Fair piece, “Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist? Therapists Weigh In!”:

“Textbook narcissistic personality disorder,” echoed clinical psychologist Ben Michaelis. “He’s so classic that I’m archiving video clips of him to use in workshops because there’s no better example of his characteristics,” said clinical psychologist George Simon, who conducts lectures and seminars on manipulative behavior. “Otherwise, I would have had to hire actors and write vignettes. He’s like a dream come true.”

Are such diagnoses untenable and/or meaningless? Not necessarily, says psychiatrist Dr. Sally Satel, a resident scholar at the conservative American Enterprise Institute, in an article in Slate in October, “It’s OK to Speculate About Trump’s Mental Health.”

She argues we used to diagnose people by spending a lot of time talking to them. Now the “gold standard” is the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual, Fifth Edition (DSM-V), which bases diagnoses on observations. For instance, these are the nine diagnostic criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in DSM-V (“Five are needed to be eligible for the diagnosis”):

  • A grandiose logic of self-importance
  • A fixation with fantasies of infinite success, control, brilliance, beauty or idyllic love
  • A credence that he or she is extraordinary and exceptional and can only be understood by, or should connect with, other extraordinary or important people or institutions
  • A desire for unwarranted admiration
  • A sense of entitlement
  • Interpersonally oppressive behavior
  • No form of empathy
  • Resentment of others or a conviction that others are resentful of him or her
  • A display of egotistical and conceited behaviors or attitudes

One of Satel’s main points is that even an official NPD diagnosis by a professional should not necessarily be disqualifying for a presidential candidate.

Interestingly, conservative columnist Charles Krauthammer wrote in August that Trump’s behavior “is beyond narcissism.” In mid-October, he listed “a dazzling array” of “reasons for disqualification: habitual mendacity, pathological narcissism, profound ignorance and an astonishing dearth of basic human empathy.” And so despite how much he despises Hillary Clinton, he could not bring himself to vote for Trump.

Coincidentally, Krauthammer, a trained psychiatrist, “contributed to the creation of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, currently referred to as the DSM-5.”

Ultimately, Fallows himself writes, you don’t need a “medical diagnosis” to realize “there are commonsense meanings for terms to describe behavior,” and “in commonsense terms, anyone can see that Trump’s behavior is narcissistic, regardless of underlying cause.”

The “Warning Signs of the Narcissistic Personality” checklist

The bottom line is that the degree of narcissistic tendencies  —  and the related lack of empathy  —  matters when assessing potential leaders.

Two key reasons Navarro developed his extensive checklists for dangerous personalities are 1) DSM-V has too few criteria to discriminate between degrees of narcissism and 2) he wants to empower individuals to be able to identify these dangerous personalities, because we will never get official diagnoses for the overwhelming majority of people in our lives.

Navarro actually has behavior checklists for four key personality types in his book: the Narcissist, the Paranoid, the Unstable Personality and the Predator. You can see a short version of the “most central” criteria for each type in this 2014 Psychology Today interview.

Navarro, however, directed me to his book for the full checklists. Given my interest in Trump, he pointed me toward the checklists for both the predator and the narcissist. I focused on the latter.

There are 130 “warning signs of the narcissistic personality.” The behavior checklist “will help you determine if someone has the features of the narcissistic personality and where that person falls on a continuum or spectrum (from arrogant and obnoxious to indifferent and callous to abusive and dangerous).”

If you find someone has between 15 and 25 of these features, they’ll “occasionally take an emotional toll on others and may be difficult to live or work with.” Someone who scores between 26 and 65 “has all the features of and behaves as a narcissistic personality. This person needs help and will cause turmoil in the life of anyone close to him or her.” Lastly, Navarro warns:

“If the score is above 65, this person has a preponderance of the major features of a narcissistic personality and is an emotional, psychological, financial or physical danger to you or others.”

Personally, no matter how many times I go through this checklist and give him the benefit of the doubt, I get a score for Trump of over 90. I suspect a great many people would score over him well over 100.

Of course, I’m not asserting that my assessment of his behavior means anything whatsoever. It doesn’t. Nor am I suggesting anything about his followers.

What I am trying to do is to persuade you to download Navarro’s book and do the assessment yourself. That way you can assess for yourself whether or not his behavior is so pathologically narcissistic, so devoid of empathy , that the only viable response to his election is to actively oppose him and his divisive and destructive agenda. As a side benefit, you’ll end up with an important book you can use to identify and protect yourself from the various harmful people you will come across in your life.

If you’re a journalist, you’ll be able to assess whether you need to alter your strategy for interviewing and reporting on him. Again, the key lesson for dealing with a narcissist is “never, ever believe what they say.”

It has been crystal clear for a while that the election of Trump would be catastrophic for humanity, that it would jeopardize the health and well-being of billions and billions of people in the coming decades and centuries. Now that he has been elected, it appears he may move even faster than we thought to destroy the Paris climate agreement, the world’s last, best hope to preserve a livable climate.

If you have any remaining belief that somehow Trump is not a threat to our very way of life  —  if you have the tiniest belief that his pattern of behaviors suggests he could grow into the presidency, as some others have in our history — you should do the checklist. As Navarro told me, “the purpose is to warn people that these traits are fixed and rigid” and that those who possess them in the extreme are a danger to everyone they have power or influence over.

Twin Study Finds Heavy Hand of Genetics in Personality Disorder

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By Rick Nauert PhD

Twin Study Finds Heavy Hand of Genetics in Personality DisordersA Norwegian study of twins expands the role of genetics in the development of a personality disorder, yet cautions that expression of a disorder depends on a combination of genetic and environmental factors.

In the study, experts posited that avoidant and dependent personality disorders are characterized by anxious or fearful traits.

People with avoidant personality disorder are often anxious in the company of others and prefer to be alone. On the other hand, people with dependent personality disorder feel more secure in the company of others and tend to need other people for decision-making and excessive support.

Prior studies have suggested that genetic factors explain about one-third of the individual differences in these personality disorder traits, while the remaining variation is best explained by environmental influences.

However, the study format used by earlier researchers was a single-occasion interview. In the new study, researchers used two different measures of assessment at two different time-points in order to better measure personality disorders traits.

In 1998, researchers coordinated testing of 8,045 young adult twins using a questionnaire that included questions about personality disorder traits. Some years later, 2794 of these twins took part in a structured diagnostic interview.

Both identical (monozygotic) and fraternal (dizygotic) twins participated. Identical twins share 100 percent of their genetic material, while fraternal twins share on average 50 percent — meaning they are genetically similar to other siblings.

Researchers then compared how similar the two types of twin pairs were on a particular trait. As such, the variation between individuals was calculated and assigned to either a genetic or environmental source.

The researchers found that two-thirds of the variation in avoidant and dependent personality disorder traits could be explained by genes and that the most important environmental influences were those unique to each twin. The environmental influences can be any factor(s) that contribute to the twins in a pair being different, e.g. the influence of different friends, teachers, activities or various life events.

Researchers state that it is important to emphasize that the term heritability does not refer to individuals per se.

Heritability is a statistic that relates to the population as a whole, and is expressed as a proportion of how much the total variation in a trait, such as personality disorders, is influenced by genes.

By using two different assessment techniques at different times, researchers were better able to estimate the role of heritability than in studies that measure personality disorder once and with one instrument only.

The dual method applied in the current study allowed researchers to capture the core of these personality disorder traits and not random effects, or effects specific to a certain time point or method of assessment, said Ph.D. student and first author of the study Line C. Gjerde.

The key finding that genes are so influential in the development of personality disorders emphasizes the importance of obtaining a thorough family history from patients with symptoms of such disorders.

However, this does not mean that personality disorders are not treatable. Gjerde emphasizes that the strong genetic influence found in the study does not imply any form of determinism or prediction of disease development. That is, if a person has a family history of personality disorders, this does not necessarily mean that he or she will develop a personality disorder.

Whether or not a genetic vulnerability leads to the expression of a certain trait or disorder depends on a complex interplay of both genetic and environmental factors.

Source: Norwegian Institute of Public Health

It Takes Just One Question to Identify Narcissism

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This is a reblog from psychcentral

Ohio State researchers believe they have developed and validated a new method to identify which people are narcissistic.

And, the beauty is that the tool is only a single question.

In a series of 11 experiments involving more than 2,200 people of all ages, the researchers found they could reliably identify narcissistic people by asking them this exact question (including the note):

To what extent do you agree with this statement: “I am a narcissist.” (Note: The word “narcissist” means egotistical, self-focused, and vain.)

Participants rated themselves on a scale of one (not very true of me) to seven (very true of me).

If you are curious about the test or want to know how narcissistic are you? The test is found at http://tinyurl.com/ovsf54v.

Results showed that people’s answer to this question lined up very closely with several other validated measures of narcissism, including the widely used Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI).

The difference is that this new survey — which the researchers call the Single Item Narcissism Scale (SINS) — has one question, while the NPI has 40 questions to answer.

“People who are willing to admit they are more narcissistic than others probably actually are more narcissistic,” said Brad Bushman, co-author of the study and a professor of communication and psychology at Ohio State University.

“People who are narcissists are almost proud of the fact. You can ask them directly because they don’t see narcissism as a negative quality — they believe they are superior to other people and are fine with saying that publicly.”

Bushman conducted the study with Sara Konrath of the Indiana University Lilly Family School of Philanthropy (formerly of the University of Michigan) and Brian Meier of Gettysburg College.

The study has been published in the journal PLOS ONE.

“Understanding narcissism has many implications for society that extend beyond the impact on the individual narcissist’s life,” Konrath said.

“For example, narcissistic people have low empathy, and empathy is one key motivator of philanthropic behavior such as donating money or time to organizations.”

“Overall, narcissism is problematic for both individuals and society. Those who think they are already great don’t try to improve themselves,” Bushman said.

“And narcissism is bad for society because people who are only thinking of themselves and their own interests are less helpful to others.”

Bushman emphasized that the one question tool (SINS) shouldn’t be seen a replacement for the longer narcissism questionnaires (NPI, etc) as other instruments can provide more information to researchers, such as which form of narcissism someone has.

“But our single-item scale can be useful for long surveys in which researchers are concerned about people getting fatigued or distracted while answering questions and possibly even dropping out before they are done,” Bushman said.

He noted that if it takes a person 20 seconds to answer the single question in the SINS measure, it would take him or her 13.3 minutes to answer the 40-question NPI.

“That is a big difference if you’re doing a study in which participants have to complete several different survey instruments and answer a long list of other questions,” he said.

The 11 different experiments took a number of different approaches to determine the validity of SINS. Some used undergraduate college students, while others involved online panels of American adults.

One experiment found that SINS was positively related to each of the seven subscales of the NPI which measure various components of narcissism (vanity, exhibitionism, exploitativeness, authority, superiority, self-sufficiency, and entitlement).

Another study found that that participants tended to have similar scores on SINS when tested 11 days apart.

One experiment replicated past work that showed people scoring high in narcissism were more likely to engage in risky sexual behaviors and had difficulty maintaining long-term committed romantic relationships.

“People who scored higher on narcissism on the SINS had both positive and negative outcomes,” Bushman said. They reported more positive feelings, more extraversion, and marginally less depression.

But they also reported less agreeableness, and more anger, shame, guilt, and fear. In addition, people scoring high on SINS showed negative interpersonal outcomes, such as having poor relationships with others and less prosocial behavior when their ego was threatened.

“The advantage of SINS compared to other measures,” Bushman said, “is that it allows researchers to identify narcissists very easily.”

“We don’t think SINS is a replacement for other narcissism inventories in all situations, but it has a time and place,” he said.

Source: Ohio State University


APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2015). It Takes Just One Question to Identify Narcissism. Psych Central. Retrieved on May 1, 2016, from http://psychcentral.com/news/2014/08/06/it-takes-just-one-question-to-identify-narcissism/73260.html

Out of the narcissistic fog

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I have been in a fog. Swimming through it, trying to see clear. It has felt like being in my nightmares, where I drive without seeing anything. Trying to not crash.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a serious condition which affects an estimated 1% of the population. Narcissism is characterized by an extreme self-interest and promotion with an accompanying lack of concern for the needs of others.

Narcissism is named after the mythological Greek character Narcissus, an extremely handsome young man who rejected the love of Echo and, as punishment, was condemned to fall in love with his own reflection in a pool of water. Unable to obtain he object of his desire, he died there in sorrow.

Narcissists often use Fear, Obligation, and Guilt (FOG) in Relationships
FOG is a type of emotional blackmail, which ruins relationships.

FOG works in the dark. It resides in the land of emotion, not logic. At the heart of it is this flawed reasoning: “It is permissible for me to push your buttons to get my needs met, but ifyou try the same thing, I’ll make sure you will regret your selfishness.”

That’s right: the emotional blackmailer’s reasoning is illogical; he lives by a double standard. That’s why emotional blackmail is never discussed outright: the minute you try to shine a light on it, by discussing it or asking pointed questions, it will scurry away like a cockroach. If you try to pin a blackmailer down—“Are you saying you will pout if I refuse to go to the party with you?”—he will project the FOG back onto you, deny its existence; or try to distract you by changing the subject, being dramatic, or getting angry. The supposed anger may have nothing to do with the particular topic—a combination of anger with a request to change the subject is designed to throw you off-balance.

Here are some other examples.

  • Grant is fully aware that his wife is having an affair with a man named Trent. He knows because she talks about him and compares them sexually. But he’s afraid if he demands that she stop seeing Trent, she’ll just leave him. That’s fear.
  • As an adult, Susan tries to avoid her mother’s rages, complaints about others, and contagious sour moods. But Susan feels compelled to call her mother Judith back when she leaves a message on the answering machine. If she doesn’t, eventually Judith will reach her and demand to know, “Where were you?” Judith has been living alone since Susan’s dad finally left, and Susan likes to think of herself as a “good person.” For her, this means that she has a tendency to put the needs of others above her own— something Judith is counting on. This is obligation.
  • Jack and Ramona have a teenage daughter they think is borderline. She’s totally out of control; normal discipline doesn’t work. They don’t know where she goes at night, and they’re afraid she’ll get pregnant—or worse, contract AIDS. But they just can’t put their own daughter in a residential treatment center. She would hate it. Down deep, Jack and Ramona are worried that something they did caused their daughter’s disorder. They feel guilty.

We have all been in the space between light and dark. Trying to see what`s there, trying to get out of the fog. Sometimes the only thing we can do, is to look at our feet and remember that we are still here, no matter if we can`t see anything around us.

Out of the FOG Support Forum – Support for family members and loved-ones here at Out of the FOG.

Emotional blackmail by Susan Forward: How to get out of the FOG

Walking into the light and out of the fog


Daily prompt



Empaths and narcissists

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As a HSP myself, my high sensitivity wasn’t always easy and it still isn’t. As a child and even into my 50s, it seemed like a horrible curse. But since I went No Contact with my narc ex, I’m realizing that high sensitivity is one of the greatest blessings God can bestow on a person.

Narcissists and HSPs seem to form a trauma bond with each other. We are either bullied by them or pursued by them as friends, lovers, bosses and spouses (who ultimately do much worse than just bully us). HSPs can be destroyed by their narcissistic abusers–OR they can learn to use their high sensitivity which is more powerful than ANY of the narcissists’ tricks. Narcs are afraid of what we HSPs have and envy us for it. We are stronger than they are, and we can overpower them and break free from their attempts to keep us under their thrall.

In retrospect, I realized (with somewhat of a shock) my narcissists proved to be among my greatest teachers. Without them, I would not have been able to develop my gifts for “seeing through the bullshit” we HSPs possess. To my delight, I’m finding my sensitivity saved my life and my soul, and is now slowly changing my life and bringing me closer to God.

I’m of the somewhat unpopular opinion (but am certainly far from alone!) that most narcissists began life as HSPs and even possible empaths. They continue to be highly sensitive to criticism and are easily hurt. But tragically, they retained any empathy only as “cold empathy”–the detached, cognitive “empathy” used by malignant narcissists to manipulate and destroy their prey. They have shut out their ability to feel behind an elaborate self-imposed prison of their own making, much like The Wizard of Oz pretended to be a tyrant–but hiding behind the curtain was a weak and insecure “humbug.”

Narcissists see in HSPs what they deep down know they might have become had they not adopted their narcissistic structure as a way to cope–and perhaps that was the only way they knew how to cope with a world that was so unkind to them. We were lucky that we didn’t have to resort to such a soul-murdering (both to themselves and others) defense mechanism that all but cancels out any ability they would have had to feel deeply and to love deeply.

If the narcissist’s mask ever was to come down, the earth itself could probably not contain the upwelling of pain and terror the narcissist would experience as their True Self breaks free of its prison of narcissism. This is the concept that intensive therapies such as Reparenting use when they attempt to cure NPD. Shattering the mask (False Self), no matter how much it hurts, is imperative for such therapies to work.

I hope you take something away from these articles that can help you (or the HSP in your life), especially in regards to their interactions and trauma bonds with narcissists.

Lauren Bennett “Lucky Otter”

Malignant Narcissists: HSPs Gone Bad?

“The Survival of the Fittest” (poetry by Audrey Michelle, Spoken word artist)

My Son’s Father Turned from a Loving Dad into a Monster

Empathic Joy

“The Sensitive Gene: Why Some People Are Born to Feel Emotions Harder” (article from Alexia LaFata of Elite Daily)

Who’s Too Sensitive?

The Feels

Can Narcissists Feel Empathy for Fictional Characters?

Can Narcissists Feel Empathy for a Pet?

More on Empathy: This Baby Knows Best

The Real Reason Highly Sensitive People Get Bullied

The Post That Scared Me So Much I Almost Deleted It

Nobody Knew Who I Was

Are You an Empath/HSP Who Was Almost Destroyed by a Narcissist? (video)

Test Driving Narcissism: How I Almost Became A Narcissist

Relearning How to Cry

I’m Not Ready to Be Clear About This Yet… 

Am I That Annoying or Am I Just Paranoid?

People With Autism Do Not Lack Empathy!

It’s All About Image: The Skewed Values of Narcissistic Families

Do Narcissists Have a Spiritual Purpose We Can’t Understand?

Yikes! Does This Mean I’m a Narcissist?

A Match Made In Hell: Narcissists and HSPs

Survivor Hypervigilance and the Danger of False Labeling

The Man You Love to Hate…or Hate to Love (Sam Vaknin may be a raging, narcissistic bully, but he also may have been an empath as a young child)

Malignant Narcissism and the Supernatural: A Connection? (while not about HSPs per se, the relationship between them and MN’s is explored in this article)

Tears of Beauty (photographic celebration)

“The Hug Seen Round the World: The Antidote to Evil” (reblogged from Dog Dharma’s blog)

“How Highly Sensitive People Interact with the World Differently” (article from Huffington Post)

“The Power of Vulnerability” (video–Dr. Brene Brown)

Healing Narcissism: Stephen’s Story (includes a detailed discussion and fictional account of a therapy called Reparenting, the most empathic form of therapy and possibly the most effective treatment used to heal (not just treat) garden variety (non-malignant) NPD.

Embracing Vulnerability (This post is currently set to private. I’m not courageous enough yet to make it public).

Borderline Personality Disorder: Heroic Martyr or Emotional Vampire?

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In keeping with my frequent diaries on mental illness, rage, and obsessive hatred, I thought it was time to talk about the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD).  The BPD combines many of the traits discussed in previous diaries, and condenses them into a toxic brew.   This is an especially good topic for the holidays, when many of us will be dealing with family members that we have been able to avoid for most of the year.

BPD is one of the most common mental illnesses affecting 3% to 5% of the population.  Borderline symptoms frequently occur with other problems like Bipolar disorder or substance abuse, creating a personality that is extremely toxic to the people around. They are obsessed with control, and when BPD is combined with other mental health problems, they are the Energizer Bunny of emotional and physical bullying.  BPDs have an extremely high rate of suicide, and BPD may be a leading cause of suicide.

The BPD used to be described as “borderline psychotic” because they are subject to psychotic fits of rage.  Actually the BPD combines the characteristics of many mental illnesses, especially the other  Cluster B (Dramatic, Emotional, or Erratic Disorders) Personality Disorders.Although the BPD can be very resistant to entering treatment, the cliche and cartoon-like structure of their personalities is leading to more effective cognitive therapies. But they will probably only reach therapy after “hitting bottom”  through addiction, repeated suicide threats, or self mutilation (“cutting.”)  Cutting used to be considered a  sure sign of BPD, but this was probably an  oversimplification.

They may also hit bottom and require hospitalization for depression as a result of relationships with addicts, who the BPD may find irresistibly attractive.  If they are driven to despair by their relationship with addicts, they may find help through Al-Anon.  You can find more information about this in my previous diary  What is a Codependent Dry Drunk?

BPD see themselves as always being the victim of other people.  They constantly accuse the people closest to them of acting maliciously against them.  These accusations change constantly, and the BPD doesn’t really to”believe” the accusations they make or even try to keep track of them like a good liar.  Although their accusations are often incoherent and contradictory, they make up for that with the tremendous number of lies they tell and the theatrical emotionality of their stories.

Their accusations that others are sabotaging them are often merely projection (pot kettle black) of their own efforts to sabotage and betray coworkers, spouses, and children. Ultimately, the only person really sabotaging the BPD is probably themselves through antisocial actions and substance abuse, although they are also emotional “shit magnets” for abusive personalities.  They may reject any romantic relationship that is not abusive, but they will still describe their partner as abusive to gain sympathy and lure new partners.  They will go to absurd lengths to provoke a fight so they can claim to be the victim.

Besides being the eternal victim, many BPDs will  strive to be seen as heroes, defenders of the truth and the weak. This involves declaring that “bad” people deserve to be punished and then singling them out for months or years of accusations and abuse.  Because rage and abusiveness proves they are good.

As some of the comments note, there is a an overlap between narcissism and BPD. The key difference seems to be that the BPD is codependent and the narcissist is counterdependent. In other words, the BPD clings desperately to just about anyone, while the narcissist usually terminates romantic relationships.  The BPD is more likely to experience periods of clinical depression and guilt. Although the BPD seems more unstable, hostile, and impulsive than the narcissist, the presence of guilt in the BPD may indicate a greater potential for recovery.  The narcissist is more charming, but is also more ruthless and experiences less guilt. Although the BPD has obvious problems, they may have fewer antisocial (sociopathic) traits than a narcissist.  Also a borderline is far more likely to threaten suicide than a narcissist.

It’s probably easiest to start be describing how a BPD acts:

Can’t be alone,  can’t stand to be with others, a common neurotic trait.

Makes everyone walk on eggshells – this is a a common way of describing other personality disorders as well.

Extreme pride and grandiosity
 – even thought the BPD suffers from a crippling lack of self esteem, they may give the appearance of being armor plated.  Whatever criticism reaches them is filtered through layer after layer of denial and distortion.  They may be quite proud of their character flaws.

Shame and secrecy – There is a general sense that anything the BPD does in private must never be spoken of.  In selecting the person for group bullying (in the home or workplace) they will single out the truth teller of the group.

 – trying to convince others that they are mentally ill, such as trying to convince them that real abuse did not occur. In Wikipdeia and a personality disorder blog.

Projective Identification
 – playing the victim by constantly trying to provoke others into being angry.  This not only fills the emotional needs of the BPD, it can nearly make it impossible for observers to determine which person is ill and abusive. See this diary.

Respect me! – pretend my fake emotions are real. This is common in many mental health problems.

Conflict in all their relationships.  Years of grudges and score keeping

Nothing is their fault, especially their own emotions.  Other people are to blame for the BPD’s feelings, as if everyone else has the power to broadcast directly into the BPD brain.  Blame others people for making them feel bad, then blame them others for not making the BPD feel better.

Demands that people join in their mental games. Creates a bubble of chaos whereever they go.

Don’t tell me what to do! Pointless defiance seems to often take the form of denying medical care to their children or parents. Not taking their kid to the doctor is “standing up for themselves” and being told that their kid needs to go to the doctor makes them some sort of martyr

Constant ad hominem attacks – other people have horrible flaws. Often the  BPD can’t quite identify their problem, but the BPD is sure those flaws are in other people and they must be punished.

They will pick apart  everything another person says, and turn that into an accusation.  Living with the BPD is like living through the Inquisition.  Their style can be described as  “analyze and accuse, analyze and accuse.”

They will always claim to know what other people thinking so that they always have an excuse for their rage.

Punishing “thought crimes”
 – since they know what people are thinking, they are in a perfect position to actively punish people for thinking bad thoughts and to recruit other to help punish the thought criminal.

“You think…!” ….For me the BPD lecture that starts out “You think…” is the end of the line because that is the beginning of the onslaught of mindreading and ad hominems. . When I was dating, I would tell people up front that if I ever heard the words “You think…” that I would never speak to them again.  Actually, I would give one “get out of jail free” card, but it was still a solid rule for relationships.

They really do seem to believe they just know what people are thinking, and they try to micromanage other people’s thoughts. This delusional thinking is common in the downward spiral of a power struggle.

“What do you really mean?”  This also overlaps with bipolar.  The subject changes because they are substituting words, apparently because they are swapping words and meaning in their head.  I recently had to restart a conversation about five times to keep it on topic, and I had to point exactly which words were being substituted.  For bipolar people there can be a look of intense concentration as they listen and analyze what you say as if they were trying to listen in a very noisy room. There is an entire inner dialogue going on behind their eyes.

They also assume that other people should know what the BPD wants, and they are enraged when other people fails to deliver what they need.  This is extremely passive aggressive.

They lack personal boundaries, demand to know what other people are thinking or feeling, and are always digging digging digging for evidence to use against others.

In addition to mind reading, they also have the ability to “hear” whatever they need to hear in order to justify their own actions.  This results in constant “he said/she said” arguments where the BPD is recalling some entirely different conversation.

And you can’t win – it’s Damned-if-you-do-and-damned-if-you-don’t, or heads-they-win-and-tails-you-lose, today you were too much of this and too little that but tomorrow it will be exactly reversed.

The BPD has a circle of neurotic friendships to provide the attention, validation, and sympathy that they need to survive.

Accusations – effortless lying, crying, incoherent but convincing, probably believe their own lies more than most people believe anything.

Although they may suffer constant guilt, they constantly try to use guilt against others, and pile guilt on their children. You will never hear them say they are sorry about anything.

Obsessed with the “Truth” and accusing other people of lying (more projection, right?).  Did you say you were going to take your umbrella when you went out but changed your mind because the sun came out?  Then you lied.

Being right in negative and pointless ways, pedantic arguments.

Although seemingly armor plated with narcissistic certainly, they will also plunge into periods of depression and self loathing at regular intervals.

I believe that some BPD are capable of being charming in a superficial way, like a narcissist.   The stereotype of the Jekyll-and-Hyde lover who romantically woos their mate during a whirlwind romance, then becomes abusive as soon as they are married is probably more narcissistic.  This is an area I’ll be reading more about, and tprobably an area of some controversy.

Urge to betray and sabotage their own relationships and destroy other peoples relationships.

The BPD will often be in a series of abusive relationships.  But being a “shit magnet” for abusive partners lets them deny their own deeply masochistic and sadistic tendencies that are directed at every living person within range.

Constantly accuses others of thinking bad thoughts.  Think you are safe by just sitting quietly in the corner – well the BPD will pronounce judgment on your thoughts, including the things you never did and never even said.  A good response is “If you can read my thoughts, then can do this from another zip code. Here’s your car keys, now get the fuck out.”

Another theme of BPD discussions online  is the BPD need to humiliate others. Public sexual humiliation may be comically overdone,  like cuddling with your best friend at a party.  Remember, they want to get a reaction so they can play the victim, so it’s probably better to just tape the episode and put it on YouTube.  But beware, they may have already taken a selfie of them tongue-kissing your boss under the mistletoe and put it on Facebook.  Because that’s just how they roll.

Use of projection is obvious – the BPD constantly accuses others of being angry, negative, and abusive. And their accusations against others is a projection of their own guilt.

BPDs  tell people details about their life very soon after meeting them, especially stories of  how abused they were.  Why tell people this right away?  Other people are tricked into believing that they are saving the BPD. It’s important to remember that these stories frequently aren’t even true. Often the person the BPD claims is abusing them is actually supporting them financially and emotionally, and the BPD is enlisting henchmen in their efforts to betray their real supporter.   The classic scenario is the wife that pus the BPD husband through law or medical school, and then he abandons her after graduation, but a couple years later he has become a drug addict.

Sex and romance are important to the BPD. Rushing into sex in a relationship is typical of the BPD.  First, it’s part of the overly-intense hot phase of the hot/cold BPD relationship.  But it’s also a way of filling the vacuum in the relationship, concealing the lack of actual emotional connection with the other person.  Through sex and  male schlock romanticism, the BPD imitates their idea of what a human being would be.  Like “Dexter,” a BPD is a “human imitator”  to compensate for the  odd gaps in their personality, which is like a pie that has a had a couple big slices removed.  The behavior, even their chronic rage, has a flat repetitive and robot like quality.  This might be an aspect of “splitting” that their personality consists of limited actions and reactions that are repeated as simple scripts that usually run in the same order and can’t be modified.Perhaps one of the reasons they skip from relationship to relationship is that is too easy for other people to figure out their limited and predictable behaviors, even the sadistic ones.

The BPD is an adult child trying to raise a real child with a the lack of a real bond between them.  The BPD may feed the child when it’s sleepy, try to play when it needs a clean diaper, put it to bed when it’s hungry.  It’s so easy to make a child miserable when empathy is missing, and it’s even better when it creates the chance to say “DON’T TELL ME WHAT TO DO” or wail “YOU THINK I’M A BAD PARENT.”  Of course it’s even better if the child has a health problem, so this can be used to generate sympathy.  A BPD parent may drag a healthy child from specialist to specialist for years insisting that the child has some serious problem that is only visible to the BPD parent.  They are also often trying to force the child to drop out of high school or college so they never leave home. Narcissists have a similar lack of connection to their children, but the narcissist has more of an investment in being seen as a super parent with super children.  The narcissist may force the child to excel to glorify the parent, while the BPD is probably more likely to undercut the child and keep them dependent on the parents.

For people who know them, the BPD stories of heroism and victimhood can’t conceal that BPD’s are often extremely controlling, abusive, sadistic, manipulative, amoral, and dishonest.  They are obsessed with controlling others, physically, mentally, and emotionally. Most of their relationships will end with a power struggle in which the BPD seems to be demanding unconditional surrender, except they are probably already in the process of abandoning the relationship or being abandoned.

When the BPDs romantic relationship inevitably turns into a power struggle, BPD symptoms become a terrifying uncontrolled spiral into madness with a high probability of violence.  Seemingly minor unresolved disagreements his will often tip the BPD over the edge from functioning at a fairly normal level to becoming an emotional mess with psychotic episodes that lead to violence, arrest, suicidal gestures, and treatment in a mental hospital.  Other big risk factors include the death of a parent (where there was typically a long running power struggle) and the growth of child (with the typical power struggles).

Their most stable relationships are friendships with other people who also have problems with anger and low self esteem, except these neurotic “frenemies” encourage the BPDs worst traits and actively discourage the BPD from seeking treatment.

The DPB May Be Codependent, Addicted, And Have Multiple Mental Illnesses

The BPD is very good at deceiving bystanders, because they appear to have a narcissist’s grandiosity and a sociopaths lack of conscience. In reality the BPD has very low self esteem, tremendous fear of abandonment, extreme sensitivity, and depression, and this drives their obsession with control.  Many of you will have realized that this low self esteem and frantic need to control others is what laymen call “codependency.”  In the BPD, this codependency is often a shopping cart of multiple mental illnesses in the same person.

BPD is generally diagnosed more frequently in women, but many male BPDs may avoid diagnosis by going to prison, committing suicide, or being murdered. BPD is often made more complicated and intense by being present with other conditions, such as depression, bipolar disorder, and substance abuse.  Borderline traits can be present in people that are functioning normally, but they are definitely a risk factor for addiction. The untreated addict on his way to “hitting bottom” is essentially a BPD.

In these cases of multiple mental illnesses,  the BPD may make the hair on the back of your neck stand up. In Junkie, William Burroughs describes a couple characters that seem to be BPDs with speed or heroin habits

Whitey combined the sensitivity of a neurotic with a pyschopath’s readiness for violence.  he was convinced nobody like him, a fact that seemed to cause him a great deal of worry

I noticed another man who was standing there looking at me. waves of hostility as suspicion flowed out from his large brown eyes like some sort of television broadcast.  The effect was almost like a physical impact.

Indeed, a couple times I have been in the next room when a BPD entered the building.  Even when there was not a sound,  it seemed as if a wave of pure malevolence came right through the walls like some sort of microwave energy weapon. Defenses

The BPD’s use of projection as a defense is constant and out of control.  Everyone else is “crazy” and “yelling at them” and “criticizing them” and being “negative.” These are of course their own traits, and they insist that it is everyone around them.  If a BPD is in the home or office, the whole group is likely to be involved in daily debates about who is “nicer.”

In a relationship with a BPD, the two of you may agree that one of you has a mental problem, but you’ll never agree on which one it is.  The BPD is president of the “everyone is crazy but me” club.  Not only do they project all their flaws onto the other person, they will also manipulate the person into the role of the bad guy around the clock (projective identification), and they will “gaslight” there partners (try to convince them they are crazy).

When the BPD says “I’m sensitive” it doesn’t mean they cry at pretty sunsets and sappy movies.  It means they have a hair trigger and propensity towards violence.  The BPD excuses their anger by claiming that they “care too much.” If you sigh the wrong way, it’s “abusive,”  if you taped a “Kathy” cartoon to the refrigerator, that was “abusive” also.  And that’s why they BPD hit you!  It’s your fault, not theirs, because you are the abusive one with your damn “Kathy” cartoon.  Hitting you was justified.

The BPD must frame their criticisms as ad hominem attacks on the other person’s character.  Since the BPD has deep flaws of character and personality they will project those problems onto other people. Politics is also great for BPDs because other people are going to be labeled “Marxists” or “racists” or “baby killers” or “sexists.”  It really doesn’t matter where you are on the political spectrum, the BPD has a grab bags of personalized political attacks.  The BPD claims that their victim is mean to some group of people, and since the BPD doesn’t have any evidence, these attacks are justified by the victims fantasy sins against imaginary people.  

Splitting as a Defense

Splitting is another defense of the BPD. Although  the definition of splitting has evolved over time, it is described as fragmented object relations (intimate relations) and a fragmented ego (the view of the self).

Splitting in object relations  means seeing others as “all good” or “all bad.”  Often relationships start with excessive intimacy with the “all good,” then transition into violent hatred where their lover is now “all bad” and the BPD is back in the role of the victim. The “split” is that the BPD believes two entirely contradictory things and acts as if both things are true.   Of course, this could reflect real events and not BPD splitting, but if it happens repeatedly, the BPD “victim” probably really is as crazy as their supposedly abusive partner, and the “victim” may actually be a serial abuser and stalker.borderline-personality-disorder-to-write-love-on-her-arms-33180128-397-188

The fragmented ego has inconsistent beliefs about oneself. Is the BPD a victim or are they the  enraged avenging vigilante angel of justice?  Is it possible to be both?  Is it possible to be both victim and avenger over and over through the years  while being enraged at both family and strangers? It’s probably a mentally ill idea, but the BPD depends on having  multiple contradictory ideas which are both utterly false.  The BPD  bounces back and forth between these two false self images, which also facilitates projective identification, a defense that is both deeply primitive and astonishingly devious. Those ideas are at least possible in the real world (even though they are false in the case of the BPD), and bystanders are often convinced that the BPD is both victim and avenger.   But at the bottom is a “psychotic nucleus” of things that the BPD doesn’t dare say out loud and can’t stand to have challenged.  This might be something like “Other people are responsible for my emotions, and if I am unhappy it is only because someone has deliberately hurt me every day of my life.”   Challenging this belief is “abusive,” reduces the BPD to incoherent rage, and may result in a physical attack.  Physically running away is also a defense, and challenging the splitting will often cause the BPD to jump into their car (often drunk)  and flee into the night.

Other psychotic traits on which the BPD can be challenged are their rage and sadism as well their belief in punishing people for their bad thoughts. If the BPD pronounces judgment on your thoughts, including the things you never did and never even said, a good response is “If you can read my thoughts, then you can do this from another zip code. Here’s your car keys, now get the fuck out.”

To the observer, splitting looks like an impenetrable wall of contradictory and irrational gibberish.  The BPD can make their incoherent beliefs work to their advantage by turning these beliefs into breathless, tearful accusations.  Because they have contradictory beliefs, the BPD can inflict an endless stream of abuse on anyone around them with this damned-if-you-do-damned-if-you-don’t, heads-I-win-tails-you-lose strategy.

BPDs Love Authority And Structures They Can Exploit

BPDs are often able to convince other people that the BPD is the real victim, and the BPD will work to divide any group of people and recruit allies.  Their goal is usually to create a “black sheep” for the rest of the group to abuse. Despite this, they are capable of being seductive and ingratiating, and they can successfully work their way into positions of authority where they can use the institutional power in sadistic and destructive ways.  Being ‘right” is important to the BPD personally and professionally, but they are often “right” in ways that are pointless and destructive.

The BPD is often the low level henchman of a narcissistic administrator. The narcissist and the BPD share common personality traits, so even though they have little empathy for others, they understand their common backgrounds.  The BPD can idealize the narcissist, while the narcissist can put down (devalue) the BPD.

911 calls are a favorite of the BPD, and they will always be first to make an official complaint.  If you rent from them or share a house, they will claim there were huge damages.  They will remodel their house and send you the bill.  They will also bill for work that was never done, and simply try to extort money. The BPD will literally stalk someone, then the BPD will claim they are actually the victim. They are often in civil lawsuits, family courts, and probate fights. Probably a significant chunk of the US economy is consumed by the junk legal actions of BPDs.After all, don’t most civil actions feature someone frantically lying their ass off?

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Celebrities With borderline personality disorder

This is actually very tough, because to spot the BPD we have to find people that have sabotaged themselves, often with drugs and alcohol.  And then it’s a question of whether or not they were actually mistakenly self medicating some other problem like bipolar disorder.  But Amy Winehouse, Lindsay Lohan, and Courtney Love call come to mind.  Actually, the best examples may be the rogues gallery of former child stars that completely ruined their lives.  Many of them had no chance to go through normal stages of development as teenagers, so they are stuck as self-destructive adolescents.  indeed, being borderline has been described as “being 14, forever.”

Is Karl Rove a BPD or maybe a mixture of narcissist and BPD?  He certainly has the backround:  A flaming gay father that abandoned his family, mother that committed suicide (which he disputes), growing up as a non-Mormon minority in Utah.  He has made a career of ginning accusations against people.   But he seems to lack a reputation for public rage, abd his flair for associating himself with important people seems to indicate narcissism rather than NPD.

How about George Zimmerman, a cop wannabee with anger management problems who always calls 911? 

Authority figures are surrogate parent figures who serve as stand-ins for the BPDs negligent or abusive birth parents.  Coworkers are the siblings who compete for the parents illusive affections and competitors for the family’s meager resources.  The fact that none of this may be true has no effect on the BPD, who remains locked in a state of child like rage with extremely limited reasoning ability. They will always by crying foul and demanding that authorities intervene on their behalf.

The BPD love rules and loves to accuse others of breaking the rules.  They also like to make up rules that don’t exist, and even if those rules change hour by hour, breaking the rules will bring years of punishment.

The Successful BPD

Professionally, a BPD can do well.  Indeed, how many times have we seen successful, highly motivated people turn out to be shockingly cruel to their families.  This also includes many prominent social activists of both the left and right who are unbelievable shits to their own families. Mitch Snyder helped the DC homeless but abandoned his family and killed himself.  Politically, it doesn’t matter if the BPD is on the left or right.  Politics is merely a way for them to vent their petty authoritarian urges.

In the workplace, the BPD can do well as a manager in any environment where there are rules that encourage the BPD to play “gotcha” as the micromanager.  That’s especially true today, when employee turnover is often considered a good thing.  Likewise the stalk, harass, gather evidence, and accuse style is ideal for the HR department in a company that wants to downsize through “attrition.”

However, the BPD is often a failure as a leader because they are too busy creating office politics and playing gotcha to focus on actually getting stuff done.  But  the BPD might be the classic failure who “falls upward” from failure because they will always “kiss up (to the boss), kick down (at the underlings).”  Above all the BPD shifts the blame to others while claiming to be the savior, and the BPD recruits henchmen that will be alibis for the BPDs tales of self sacrifice and heroism.

Borderline Personality Disorder And Related Personality Disorders  (from the DSM)

BPD usually has components of related personality disorders:

Borderline Personality Disorder -Experience a pervasive pattern of unstable interpersonal relationships and have difficulties with moods and self-image. Impulsiveness is also extremely common. Often have intense episodes of anxiety, depression and irritability lasting from a few hours to several days. May direct anger outward in the form of physical aggression, but may also engage in self-destructive behaviors such as drug abuse, eating disorders or suicidal gestures. These behaviors are often intended to manipulate others. Usually have poor self-identity that leads to overly intense relationships with others. These interactions are generally filled with conflict, and the individual with borderline personality will vacillate between idealizing other people and undervaluing them. Tend to become angry and frustrated when other people fail to meet unrealistic expectations.

Histrionic Personality Disorder-Generally need others to witness their emotional displays in order to gain validation or attention.  Often display exaggerated symptoms of weakness or illness and may use threats of suicide to manipulate others. Also, many suffering from histrionic personality disorder use sexually provocative behaviors to control others or gain attention.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder – An exaggerated sense of one’s own abilities and achievements.  A constant need for attention, affirmation and praise. A belief that he or she is unique or “special” and should only associate with other people of the same status. Persistent fantasies about attaining success and power. Exploiting other people for personal gain. A sense of entitlement and expectation of special treatment. A preoccupation with power or success. Feeling envious of others, or believing that others are envious of him or her.

Antisocial Personality Disorder – Often act out impulsively and fail to consider the consequences of their actions.Display aggressiveness and irritability that often lead to physical assaults. Have difficulty feeling empathy for others.  Display a lack of remorse for damaging behavior.

The various antisocial personality disorders can’t stand to have someone actually understand them. Nobody can be permitted to identify their antisocial actions and the complete separation of the glowing self image versus their  destructive and sadistic actions. Of course, the BPD would want that discussion to be a confrontation where they can play the victim.  But even if this is done with empathy, the antisocial personality type is likely to respond to empathy as if it were attempted rape.  Having empathy for a BPD is probably the best way to eject them from your life.

Are BPDs A Type Of Psychopath?

There’s considerable controversy and infighting about how to compare BPDs to psychopaths.  BPDs tend to lack the psychopath’s carefree confidence,  lack of guilt, and social isolation.  The BPD is guilty (which the project onto others), dependent, and clings desperately to others.  It has been suggested that the true psychopath is born that way, while the BPD is the result of abusive parenting. But it’s also been suggested that the BPD lacks the narcissism of the psychopath.

Psychopathic Personality Inventory: Factors and Subscales
[1] PPI–1: Fearless dominance
Social influence
Stress immunity
Also assertiveness, narcissism, and thrill-seeking.

PPI–2: Impulsive Antisociality
Machiavellian egocentricity
Rebellious nonconformity
Blame externalization
Also aggressiveness, substance use, antisocial behavior, negative affect, and suicidal ideation.

BPDs Respond To Articles About BPDs

It’s interesting to read articles about BPD where there are comments from BPDs.  Since they are obsessed with what other people think about them, I guess it is no wonder that they would show up in the comments.  Typically, their comments go like this:

YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT – Ok, there’s the BD “appeal to authority” even if someone understands BPDs because they have been shackled to an abusive BPD for decades. Also it’s pretty common for mentally ill people to see themselves as unique and special.

I KNOW MORE THAN YOU – and there we see the BPD narcissism

YOU MUST BE THE CRAZY ONE – Another BPD favorite

BUT I’M SPECIAL AND SUPERIOR – Actually we don’t see as much of that as we would with bipolar people.

I’M THE REAL VICTIM HERE – And isn’t that the essence of the BPD, that in the midst of all the mayhem and pain, and despite the shattered lives they’ve left in their wake, they are the real victim?  Remember, Daddy only drinks because you cry.

YOU JUST HAVE BIAS – you know, sometimes the amount of bias against a specific mental illness corresponds to the body count it leaves.

—————————– Walking Dead Update ————————

I think Daryl’s older brother Merle Dixon is the BPD of the series. Horribly abused as a child, he ends up in prison. When he is with the group, he is constantly divisive, undermining and pitting people against each other.  He does this even though it might threaten his own survival and that of his brother.  When Merle says “I don’t know why I do the things I do. Never did. I’m a damn mystery to me.” he shows a primitive level of disorganization in his personality.  But he does a feel a bond to his brother, and he avoiding murdering people before the end of the world.

Eventually, he ends up serving the  Governor, who is a two faced narcissistic sociopath.  The Governor wants to be a benevolent leader of Woodberry while secretly indulging in various forms of sadism, including torture and rape (in the graphic novel).

Personalities like this constantly feel the urge to betray their comrades. Merle eventually betrays the Governor by killing members of Woodberry, and the Governor later betrays his group in the same way.  Merle has ambushed and killed a number of innocent people for the Governor, and it seems that he has a sense of guilt and wounded pride over this.  He sacrifices himself in a heroic, defiant death, which is the fantasy of so many mentally ill shooters planning to die “in a blaze of glory.”

The Governor is Machiavellian  when he takes over his new group by ingratiating himself with with the leader then assassinating him.  He is also able to manipulate weaker personalities, He kills a group member who shows a sense of morals because the Governor knows that this person would question his authority.  Then he has a heart to heart with his victim’s brother, and the governor talks about how their fathers used to beat them half to death.  The governor is able to show fake empathy for the BPD henchman.

After he kills the leader and dumps his body in the lake, the brother asks if the group will believe their story about how the leader was killed by zombies.  The Governor says:

People believe what they want to believe. They love a hero.

Again, that is a narcissist’s view of life, but the narcissist is able to bond to the BPDs because of their common emotions and background. .He decides that he’ll kill anyone, and he he justifies that by saying he is doing it to protect his adopted family, whose daughter reminds him of his dead little girl.   They are willing to eliminate anyone because they are freeing up resources for their own family.  A rational creative person would think about growing the pie instead, but the narcissist or BPD probably knows deep in their hearts that they can’t increase productivity.

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P for psychopath

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I have always loved words and language. Today, I participated in a “word-game” on Facebook. You get a letter, and must answer questions with that letter. Mine was P. The annoying thing is that my brain won`t stop, It still works with Producing P-words, in Norwegian, German and English. Instead of letting those P`s scream for attention, I thought I`d give them a task.
Dear Psychopath

Your playboy personality drew me in. Your pothole brain predated on mine. Palavering on my pain, pleased you. You planned your performance with no pity. I was your prey, and you the player. You paralyzed me. Your penchant for being a person everyone praised, was always present. Picking me apart, was what you did as a part-time job. Poking holes, prodding my weak points while plotting your plan. Protesting when I tried to pin down what was wrong. You never learned from the past, and proclaimed this with pride. Perfect people let the past go. Pulling away and letting go, was how you preached. You provided nothing, just your own perfection. Pleasing you was all I should do, participating in your priceless pandemoniums. I was your private party-planner. The picture you could mold and proudly present. I played along, until I almost passed out. But I promise you: I will never perform on your playing field anymore or provide my love. Predator, become my past.

Your Princess. images-16


Posted on

Reblogged from ‘dating a sociopath’

her blog
A baby can be transfixed by watching a washing machine go round and round. The clothes spinning in the machine can be fascinating to watch.

An adult wouldn’t choose to watch a washing machine cycle over and over again. It isn’t soothing and calming, in fact the noise from the spin, can be quite irritating.

This is how it feels to date a sociopath. The same repeated pattern over and over again. What is very bizarre is that if you speak to other victims, they have all experienced the same patterns of behaviour. Identical, as if they were dating the same person.

Each time the sociopath makes empty, false promises to be a ‘good’ ‘productive’ person and to do all that they promised to do in the first place, you are hopeful that things will change and you will have a ‘normal’ relationship. This is especially true if you still love the sociopath, or if you have invested so much in terms of time, energy, emotions, love. To finally hear that they are going to be the person that they pretended to be, or that they will fulfil empty promises, makes you want to stay there, after all you don’t want to be wrong, you don’t want to have invested all of that time and energy for nothing.

The truth is, that the sociopath WILL keep (no matter what they say) repeating the same behaviour over and over. Even if they have all the best intentions in the world not to do so. You would therefore only be setting yourself up for more of the same behaviour


Poor impulse control
Failure to learn from past mistakes
Lack of long term plans and realistic long term goals
Low tolerance of boredom
Seeing life as a game, and others in life as players in the game
Dupers delight and the joy of conning
Finding it easier to lie, than to be honest, the ability to live behind the mask
Due to the above personality traits, the sociopath will continue to repeat the same behaviour. Even when they do not mean to. When they say that they ‘promise’ to change. Even swearing on their dying grandmothers life, or their childrens, or anyone else who they think will pull on your heartstrings, they are simply saying words.

To the sociopath, when they say the words they can convince themselves that their word is true. Sometimes they mean it (at the time), at other times, it is merely an opportunity to dupe and con some more, or to use this as an extended period of time to use you for source of supply.

Things might change, for a short period of time, but the boredom factor kicks in, and then all promises are out of the window, and things return as normal. You wonder how did you get dragged back into this yet again?

The washing machine analogy is a good one. Being in a relationship with a sociopath, you can actually feel as if you have been through the cycle of the washing machine, left with your head spinning. If you allow it, the sociopath, they will lure you back in to do the cycle all over again. Do you want this?

This is the cycle of abuse. If you are feeling confused, or like your head has been stuck in the fast spin of a washing machine, this is why. You are being programmed by the sociopath, manipulated and controlled. Even after the relationship has ended the sociopath will still play games, manipulate and control you. Either using others to do this, or by deliberate silence, or letting you know what a great time they are having now you are not in their life (after all it was all your fault). That they are happy and you are miserable (this isn’t true either).

This is just a ruse. It wasn’t your fault. There was nothing that you could have done to change things. You cannot control, or change a master manipulator. Nobody can. We are all responsible for ourselves. We can only change ourselves, nobody else.

It might hurt to remove yourself from the game. Yes, the silence can be painful. You deserve so much better. In reality, you will WIN…. you win because

You can take responsibility and charge for you and your life
Nobody else is turning your world upside down
Financially all of your money is your own. Even if you have been wiped out, you can now start to rebuild
You are FREE – to do what you want, see who you want, go where you want
It is impossible to start to rebuild your life, and to stop being in this crazy pattern of cycle, rinse, spin and then repeat…. unless you remove yourself. Stop being a player in the game.

When you stop playing the game, the sociopath can at first up the drama to engage you to play. If you refuse to engage, if you establish no contact, the sociopath will eventually get bored and move onto a new player in their crazy game of life.

You cannot really lose anything in this life. The only thing that you can really lose is YOU. Other things that you lose (such as death) is not your fault and out of your hands (and I believe that life is eternal). Finances can be rebuilt, you can find new friends, get a new job, anything can be rebuilt. But you can lose yourself, and this is the biggest loss of all.

Find yourself, love yourself, focus on you. This is all that you have control over. You.

How many of you went through this repeated cycle of behaviour, over and over? How many times, before you said ENOUGH??




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