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ATTENTION: due to the size intro article was moved to Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder


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[Jan 28, 2020] Pompeo's Petty Despotism

Pompeo proved to be impulsive bully. Like Bolton, he is yet another "wise" Trump choice that disqualifies Trump for running in 2020 elections.
Jan 28, 2020 | www.theamericanconservative.com
Nomuka 15 hours ago edited
Well, it looks like I'll need to start contributing to NPR again. They are a little too woke for my tastes, but Pompeo is a liar, and frankly beyond the pale. A perfect representative of the current administration by the way. Kudos to NPR for standing up to him.
TomG 10 hours ago
One correction--instead of "by acting as if he is a petty despot" it should read "evermore blatantly showing the world the petty despot he is."
bumbershoot 10 hours ago
The Secretary of State has all of the vanity and arrogance of a diva, but none of the talent.

Hmm, that seems to remind me of someone else in this administration...

FL_Cottonmouth 9 hours ago
Much like U.S. foreign policy, it seems that Mike Pompeo is going to ignore the facts and keep recklessly escalating the conflict. Surely he's aware that The Washington Post published the email correspondence between Ms. Kelley and press aide. This just makes him look like a coward.
ZizaNiam 9 hours ago
From the Trump voter perspective, this journalist should feel lucky that she wasn't sent to Guantanamo Bay. All Trump voters think this way, there is no exception.
Taras77 6 hours ago
Absolutely no longer any surprises about this pathetic individual!

[Sep 06, 2019] Narcissists the Compartmentalized Life by Zari Ballard

Sep 06, 2019 | www.thenarcissisticpersonality.com

Narcissists & the Compartmentalized Life (Part 1/2)

... .. ...

Invariably, online definitions describe compartmentalization as a defense mechanism that a person uses to keep certain beliefs and relationships separated from one another so that they don't conflict. For those who are particularly good at it, like narcissists and sociopaths, it means being able to get away with just about anything including keeping one lover from ever finding out about another or from lies ever becoming truly tangled.

Compartmentalization is what narcissists do before, during, and after a Discard. Compartmentalizing is how the narcissist keeps partners (or only certain partners) from ever meeting his friends and family members. Compartmentalization is the perfect explanation for how the narcissist can just leave you without giving a fuck why your history with a narcissist means absolutely nothing why he appears to simply vanish during a silent treatment and why he's so adept using the Cell Phone Game to keep you at arms length even when you think you are "together".

Imagine the narcissist's twisted head as being like a building that contains a whole bunch of empty rooms or compartments to which he is the only key holder. Over time, the narcissist fills these compartments, each with a single scenario from his life and each scenario having little or no knowledge about the existence of the other compartments. By carefully keeping tabs on the contents of each compartment and by controlling all levels of communications and interaction, the narcissist keeps the potential for conflict and confrontation to a bare minimum as he moves from one to the other. The biggest benefit, of course, to compartmentalization is that the narcissist can behave one way while visiting one compartment and behave completely differently when visiting another.

And since the narcissist is a pretender extraordinaire and master chameleon, the fact that he's has to basically lie through his teeth during each visit isn't even an issue. In fact, that's the easiest part of the strategy!

In another article series on this site called A Sociopath Exposes the Narcissist , I use actual pieces of blog posts written by a very popular online sociopath to prove my point about how a narcissist thinks . To prove my point about compartmentalizing, I'll use yet another blurb from that same blog:

For me, my Game Theory is not only one fashion of handling life, it's also the concept of compartmentalization. As many people have commented, trying to keep everything in order (in regards to the lies, half-truths, manipulations, "games," etc.) would be exceedingly difficult (for a sociopath/narcissist). And it would be, if the sociopath's mind operated as a normal person's. Everything in my mind is organized sort of like folders (compartments) and folder groups that you might find in, say, Windows Explorer; everything has its place. When a situation presents itself or I am with a certain friend or friend(s), I simply "open" up that folder and behave accordingly.

When one's mind is organized in such a way that no thought co-mingles with others, you don't have the problem of "remembering all of the lies," because you have everything you need neatly stored away, waiting to be accessed at the right time.

This same concept of compartmentalization applies in all walks of (my) life, whether it be love, friendships, work, etc. Another benefit to compartmentalizing is that it enables oneself to keep track of "friend circles", thus ensuring that none of these circles cross in any way; this can allow for you to more easily adapt to any number of given situations per friend circle. For example, for each different personality, I just find another lover (in addition to or instead of one you may already have). I find myself involved in many different circles, but almost as a ghost; I can walk in and out of these circles almost unnoticed and never be missed.

To imagine life as a narcissist, we must imagine ourselves moving in and out of these compartments whenever it served a beneficial purpose. A narcissist might have separate compartments for you, his other girlfriend(s), his work relationships, his family life, his guy friends, his time at the gym or in the band or at the bar or home alone at his apartment. Then, when it's convenient, he just moves in and out of the little rooms like a snake, carefully closing the door behind him when he arrives and also locking it tight when he leaves. He might be giving you the silent treatment while hanging out in the compartment next door and you won't even know it. Or he can be having a regular sex life with three different women who all think that they're his only girlfriend. When a person is a pathological liar and has no empathy, sympathy, guilt, or remorse, compartmentalization is the way to go!

The fact that a narcissist is capable of having a long-term relationship with one person while carrying on a similar affair with one (or more) other persons is a constant source of angst for all of us. And I believe it's not the cheating itself that is the biggest issue but rather the narcissist's lack of conscience/emotion that appears to go with it. How does he do it without feeling a single thing? When confronted with an affair, my ex was able to fake remorse for only a day or two before he threw up his hands in exasperation and screamed "Get over it! I just didn't think it was any big deal!" Excuse me? No big deal? This way of thinking, of course, isn't normal because even an asshole knows that cheating is hurtful. But the narcissist, in his non-emphatic way of thinking, doesn't see it that way. So, as hurtful as my ex's response was to me, he was actually telling me a snippet of truth but at the time, I sure didn't see it that way either and it caused me great distress.

In Part 2 of this article series I'll go into depth about the lack of emotion and empathy in the narcissistic personality and how it works in perfect sync with the art of compartmentalizing.

[Jun 20, 2019] Narcissists Are Drawn to Power -- Some Societies Have Ways to Make Sure Dangerous People Never Wield It by Steve Taylor

Notable quotes:
"... But the third are the narcissistic and psychopathic leaders, whose motivation for gaining power is purely self-serving. ..."
"... Narcissistic leaders may seem appealing because they are often charismatic (they cultivate charisma in order to attract attention and admiration.) As leaders they can be confident and decisive and their lack of empathy can promote a single-mindedness which can, in some cases, lead to achievement. Ultimately though, any positive aspects are far outweighed by the chaos and suffering they create. ..."
"... Every potential leader should be assessed for their levels of empathy, narcissism or psychopathy to determine their suitability for power. At the same time, empathetic people -- who generally lack the lust to gain power -- should be encouraged to take positions of authority. Even if they don't want to, they should feel a responsibility to do so -- if only to get in the way of tyrants. ..."
"... Instead, anyone with a strong desire for power and wealth is barred from consideration as a leader. According to anthropologist Christopher Boehm, present-day foraging groups "apply techniques of social control in suppressing both dominant leadership and undue competitiveness." ..."
"... If a dominant male tries to take control of the group, they practise what Boehm calls "egalitarian sanctioning." They team up against the domineering person, and ostracize or desert him. In this way, Boehm says, "the rank and file avoid being subordinated by vigilantly keeping alpha-type group members under their collective thumbs." ..."
Jun 20, 2019 | www.newsweek.com
Jimmy Kimmel Says Trump Shows Signs of Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Throughout history, people who have gained positions of power tend to be precisely the kind of people who should not be entrusted with it. A desire for power often correlates with negative personality traits: selfishness, greed and a lack of empathy. And the people who have the strongest desire for power tend to be the most ruthless and lacking in compassion.

Often those who attain power show traits of psychopathy and narcissism. In recent times, psychopathic leaders have been mostly found in less economically developed countries with poor infrastructures and insecure political and social institutions. People such as Saddam Hussein in Iraq, MuammarGaddafi in Libya and Charles Taylor in Liberia.

But modern psychopaths generally don't become leaders in affluent countries (where they are perhaps more likely to join multinational corporations.) In these countries, as can be seen in the U.S. and Russia, there has been a movement away from psychopathic to narcissistic leaders.

After all, what profession could be more suited to a narcissistic personality than politics , where the spotlight of attention is constant? Narcissists feel entitled to gain power because of their sense of superiority and self-importance.

Those with narcissistic personalities tend to crave attention and admiration and feel it is right that other people should be subservient to them. Their lack of empathy means they have no qualms about exploiting other people to attain or maintain their power.

Meanwhile, the kind of people who we might think are ideally suited to take on positions of power -- people who are empathetic, fair minded, responsible and wise -- are naturally disinclined to seek it. Empathetic people like to remain grounded and interact with others, rather than elevating themselves. They don't desire control or authority, but connection, leaving those leadership roles vacant for those with more narcissistic and psychopathic character traits.

Different types of leader

Yet it would be misleading to say it is only psychopaths and narcissists who gain power. Instead, I would suggest that there are generally three types of leaders.

The first are accidental leaders who gain power without a large degree of conscious intention on their part, but due to privilege or merit (or a combination). Second are the idealistic and altruistic leaders, probably the rarest type. They feel impelled to gain power to improve the lives of other people -- or to promote justice and equality, and try to become instruments of change.

But the third are the narcissistic and psychopathic leaders, whose motivation for gaining power is purely self-serving.

This doesn't just apply to politics, of course. It's an issue in every organisation with a hierarchical structure. In any institution or company, there is a good chance that those who gain power are highly ambitious and ruthless, and lacking in empathy.

Narcissistic leaders may seem appealing because they are often charismatic (they cultivate charisma in order to attract attention and admiration.) As leaders they can be confident and decisive and their lack of empathy can promote a single-mindedness which can, in some cases, lead to achievement. Ultimately though, any positive aspects are far outweighed by the chaos and suffering they create.

What is needed are checks to power -- not just to limit the exercise of power, but to limit its attainment. Put simply, the kind of people who desire power the most should not be allowed to attain positions of authority.

Every potential leader should be assessed for their levels of empathy, narcissism or psychopathy to determine their suitability for power. At the same time, empathetic people -- who generally lack the lust to gain power -- should be encouraged to take positions of authority. Even if they don't want to, they should feel a responsibility to do so -- if only to get in the way of tyrants.

Models of society

This might sound absurd and impractical, but as I suggest in my book, The Fall , it has been done before. There are many tribal hunter-gatherer societies where great care is taken to ensure that unsuitable individuals don't attain power.

Instead, anyone with a strong desire for power and wealth is barred from consideration as a leader. According to anthropologist Christopher Boehm, present-day foraging groups "apply techniques of social control in suppressing both dominant leadership and undue competitiveness."

If a dominant male tries to take control of the group, they practise what Boehm calls "egalitarian sanctioning." They team up against the domineering person, and ostracize or desert him. In this way, Boehm says, "the rank and file avoid being subordinated by vigilantly keeping alpha-type group members under their collective thumbs."

Just as importantly, in many simple hunter-gatherer groups power is assigned to people, rather than being sought by them. People don't put themselves forward to become leaders -- other members of the group recommend them, because they are considered to be experienced and wise, or because their abilities suit particular situations.

In some societies, the role of leader is not fixed, but rotates according to different circumstances. As another anthropologist, Margaret Power, noted : "The leadership role is spontaneously assigned by the group, conferred on some members in some particular situation One leader replaces another as needed."

In this way, simple hunter-gatherer groups preserve stability and equality, and minimise the risk of conflict and violence.

It's true that large modern societies are much more complex and more populous than hunter-gatherer groups. But it may be possible for us to adopt similar principles. At the very least, we should assess potential leaders for their levels of empathy, in order to stop ruthless and narcissistic people gaining power.

We could also try to identify narcissists and psychopaths who already hold positions of power and take measures to curtail their influence. Perhaps we could also ask communities to nominate wise and altruistic people who would take an advisory role in important political decisions.

No doubt all this would entail massive changes of personnel for most of the world's governments, institutions and companies. But it might ensure that power is in the hands of people who are worthy of it, and so make the world a much less dangerous place.

Steve Taylor is a Senior Lecturer in Psychology at Leeds Beckett University , U.K. This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article . Views expressed in this article are the author's own.

Share Opinion Politics Psychology Narcissism Donald Trump

[Jun 05, 2019] One tactic of a bully demonstrated by Trump is to sets conditions that the victim cannot or will not meet, and then seeks to penalize them for "failing"

Another problem with Trump negotiating tactics is that they require the counterparty to accept public humiliation.
Notable quotes:
"... Trump never offers positive incentives for cooperation, but relies instead on inflicting economic pain in an attempt to bully the other government into submission. Of course, bullying tactics tend to backfire, especially when the bully's demands seem impossible or unreasonable. ..."
"... His primary method and strategy is to be thuggish and bullish, then lie his way out of the consequences. The fact that he can continue to behave as he did is because he has yet to experience the consequences of his actions. ..."
Jun 05, 2019 | www.theamericanconservative.com

The latest threat to impose new tariffs on imports from Mexico shows that Trump is interested in using economic threats and punishment mainly to pick fights, and then once he has picked the fight he cites the conflict he started as proof of how "tough" he is. He sets conditions that other governments cannot or will not meet, and then seeks to penalize them for "failing" to agree to unrealistic terms.

The problem isn't just that Trump is liable to reverse course and sabotage his own agreements once they are made, but that other governments have absolutely no incentive to make an agreement with him in the first place.

Trump never offers positive incentives for cooperation, but relies instead on inflicting economic pain in an attempt to bully the other government into submission. Of course, bullying tactics tend to backfire, especially when the bully's demands seem impossible or unreasonable.

georgina davenport , says: June 4, 2019 at 10:49 pm

Yes, any clear minded American patriots should be talking about abuse of power by Trump, not just obstruction of justice.

His primary method and strategy is to be thuggish and bullish, then lie his way out of the consequences. The fact that he can continue to behave as he did is because he has yet to experience the consequences of his actions.

... ... ...

[May 13, 2019] one of the major reasons narcissistic sociopaths are dangerous is that they lack empathy for others

May 13, 2019 | www.theguardian.com

MindandHeart -> ADamnSmith2016 , 13 Sep 2016 06:57

ADamnSmith: Yes, I'm a psychologist. You've pretty much nailed it. I'd add that one of the major reasons narcissistic sociopaths are dangerous is that they lack empathy for others.

[May 09, 2019] Sen. Kamala Harris Reacts To Scolding By GOP Senators The 11th Hour MSNBC - YouTube

From the comments it is clear that Kamala diplomatic skills are much to be desired.
Her style is very simple: Bully and attempt to intimidate. It only works against betas. "Is it true you've stopped beating your wife? Yes or no. Please answer the question. Think carefully about your answer."
May 09, 2019 | www.youtube.com

During a Senate Intelligence hearing, things got heated between Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA) and Republican senators on the committee.
" Subscribe to MSNBC: http://on.msnbc.com/SubscribeTomsnbc

Liz Tunks 1 day ago

Kamala Harris Is a BULLY. She never lets The person she is questioning to Answer the Questions . I can't stand her.

Carrot Top 1 day ago Y

es or no sir??/?? ...she doesn't even wait for a response. Clearly she has major emotional issues.

brian kingman 2 hours ago

Kameltoe Harris is rude, and lacks the skills necessary to be a Senator

philip gensler 4 hours ago

she slept her way into government sleeping with Willie Brown ex San Francisco mayor Diane Byers 7 months ago Lol what a low class, bottom feeding , smirking ghetto rump!!!!

Ronnie Williams 4 hours ago

She has no civility or decorum. She tries to trip people up.

scott albert 1 year ago

She's lucky the Chairman didn't publicly reprimand her when she raised her eyebrows and then talked over the top of him when he told her to suspend. She's just a bully

Michael Kuhl 7 months ago

The Home-wrecker (Harris) should be in jail, not the Senate (look up Willie Brown, then do a little research on how Ms. Harris was GIVEN her Senate seat). You will be amazed.

Angela Hagerman 8 months ago

Looks like Kamala is taking lessons from Maxine Waters

Tommy Rocket 1 year ago

MSNBC.. what you are saying is completely untrue. Sessions was trying to answer her questions honestly and when Kamala Harris realized she was not going to get the answer her engineered question was designed to achieve, she immediately pressed on with her next question without giving Session the chance to finish. Typical smoke and mirrors witch hunt over something that just does not exist. I would love to Kamala Harris question Lorreta Lynch... it would last for 48 hours

Kathi Culbreth 7 months ago

Harris is the most ENTITLEMENT MINDED, disrespectful, without integrity hack at this hearing! Please vote her out

Joe Pyne 1 year ago

She seems to have a problem with CIVILITY.

ar1793 7 months ago

I live in California. Harris is an embarrassment to us all!!!!

Marcfj 3 months ago (edited)

The woman is neither as intelligent nor as talented as she would have us believe.

nemo227 7 months ago

This happened in 2017 but Kamala is a very slow learner. Today, 9/13/2018, and she is STILL the same Kamala "bully" Harris. Is she working for the citizens or simply trying to make political points?

Matthew Panko 1 year ago

I have listened to her a few times now and her pattern never changes. I personally think she is a very Rude person.

[Apr 15, 2019] Narcissism impairs the ability to see reality

Apr 15, 2019 | www.nydailynews.com

"Narcissism impairs the ability to see reality," said Dr. Julie Futrell, a clinical psychologist... "...Advisers point out that a policy choice didn't work? He won't care. The maintenance of self-identity is the organizing principle of life for those who fall toward the pathological end of the narcissistic spectrum."

... ... ...

The psychological warning signs? "Scapegoating ..., degrading, ridiculing, and demeaning rivals and critics, fostering a cult of the Strong Man who appeals to fear and anger, promises to solve our problems if we just trust in him, reinvents history and has little concern for truth (and) sees no need for rational persuasion."

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The American Psychiatric Association says that anyone exhibiting five of the following nine egotistical traits has Narcissistic Personality Disorder .
  1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements).
  2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
  3. Believe that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with other special or high-status people.
  4. Requires excessive admiration.
  5. Has a sense of entitlement.
  6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
  7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
  8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
  9. Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes.

[Mar 11, 2019] Walrus on narcissistic leaders.

Notable quotes:
"... What is killing the Army is exactly the same disease that is killing the American economy and has killed American politics, and it is spreading internationally. That disease is the promotion or election of officials, be they Generals, CEO's or Congressmen who have a variant of narcissistic personality disorder. ..."
"... Such folk self select for high office because they will do anything to get ahead without the slightest qualm, and that includes lying, cheating, character assassination, backstabbing and outrageous flattery of their seniors. They mimic whatever behaviors they need to exhibit to get ahead, but they don't "own' those behaviours. ..."
"... Isn't the medal quest a game tailor made for narcissists? ..."
Mar 11, 2019 | turcopolier.typepad.com

"The idea has been allowed to take hold in the army that general officers are a race apart, not subject to the norms of ordinary life and that nothing should limit their ambition, not even common sense. " It seems quite clear from this and other articles, that the ROE are about covering General officers backsides, and nothing else.

What is killing the Army is exactly the same disease that is killing the American economy and has killed American politics, and it is spreading internationally. That disease is the promotion or election of officials, be they Generals, CEO's or Congressmen who have a variant of narcissistic personality disorder.

People so affected may be intelligent and hard working, but they cannot empathise with anyone. Normal human emotions, shame, love, fear, embarrasssment, etc. are a mystery to them.

Such folk self select for high office because they will do anything to get ahead without the slightest qualm, and that includes lying, cheating, character assassination, backstabbing and outrageous flattery of their seniors. They mimic whatever behaviors they need to exhibit to get ahead, but they don't "own' those behaviours.

At the core of them, there is a gaping hole where empathy for their fellow humans should be. Furthermore, since only a narcissist can or will work for a more senior narcissist, once the infestation starts it multiplies and filters up and down through the organisation. Based on what I've read about the levels of frustration, lack of morale and junior officer turnover, I believe, it may be safe to say that Petreaus and McChrystal are afflicted this way and most probably many officers below them and elsewhere in the Defence Forces as well.

Since McChrystal no doubt thinks of his troops as no more than a pack of valuable hunting dogs, why would he possibly consider muzzling them with restrictive rules of engagement to be a problem? "I mean it's not as if we actually have to succeed in doing good in this god forsaken country, it's not as if the troops have to care about what is happening, I just need to construct the illusion of success in Afghanistan sufficient to get my next promotion. Why can't the troops see things that way as well?" If you wish to read about an extreme example of this type of behaviour look no further than the case of Capt. Holly Graf, whose narcissistic abilities allowed her to rise to command of a Navy cruiser. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Holly_Graf

To put it another way, the disease that permitted Goldman Sachs to sell bonds to investors while at the same time secretly betting that the value of said bonds would fall is one and the same as that affecting the Army. The absolute give away, which I have not yet heard of in the Army, is the mistreatment of subordinates. Of course the reason for the infestation of these folk in senior management is our well meaning efforts to end discrimination. Unfortunately discrimination on grounds of character is now forbidden, and solid evidence of good character provided by peers and subordinates is the only way to avoid promoting narcissists. To put it another way, there are people I was at school and university with who were rotten then and are rotten now, but today such evidence is inadmissible in promotion decisions. If you want a depiction of a Narcissist in high office, look no further than Australias current Prime Minister:

"The third example highlights Rudd's nascent contempt for most of the people who work for him and occurred days after his stunning election win. Staff who had gathered for a briefing on their responsibilities were told their Great Leader would address them. They were all on a high after the victory, but their excitement soon turned to dismay. They didn't get a version of the true believers speech; instead, Rudd had one clear message: if any of their bosses stuffed up, it would be on their heads. They were the ones who would pay the price. He told them they would be given their lines every day and their job was to ensure they and their bosses stuck to the script. They were not to put a foot out of line. Or else. No mistakes or deviations would be tolerated. Thank you and good night. Oh and the f-word, which Rudd loves dropping almost as much as the c-word, featured prominently in his little lecture. Old hands who had worked for previous Labor administrations didn't hang around for very long after that. One referred to him not by name but as "the megalomaniac from Queensland"."

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/opinion/rudd-revenge-on-alp-agenda/story-e6frg6zo-1225858519372

There is no cure for this disease until moral character is once again assessed before promotion decisions are made. Walrus

Posted at 01:07 AM | Permalink

Reblog


walrus , 9 years ago

Thank you all for your comments. I think I need to expand a few thing s alittle further.

Narcissism is not "Self Love", narcissism is a love of "reflected" love from others. Narcissus fell in love with his reflection in the pool. While Narcissism is an essential part of all our personalities in the NPD disorder the demand for constant narcissistic stimulation from other people consumes all other desires.

Now many people who suffer from this condition sublimate this need through hard work and apply great intelligence to it as well. However there is a huge cost because of the character defects Narcissism causes - chief of which is an inability to empathise with normal human beings.

There has been serious discussion in management theory that NPD sufferers can be valuable sometimes as managers can make ruthless but necessary business decisions. However that cynical observation has to be balanced against the damage and loss of staff and morale such a manager inevitably causes.

A classic example of Narcissistic behaviour was provided recently by the Chairman of an Airline, that for a whole year had ruthlessly worked to lower wages and employment conditions for its workers. At Christmas time she gave some Forty senior managers each a $600 bottle of wine (Penfold Grange Hermitage). Can anyone not imagine the multiple negative effects of such a gesture on the ordinary airline staff?

It is too big a task to catalogue the everyday examples of people with this condition. The movie stars and celebrities for example whose private lives, as seems normal with Narcissists, are a smoking wreck. Tiger Woods is a classic case.

However when we start talking about elected officials, or would be elected officials like Sarah Palin, we can see the serious implications. Australias Prime Minister Kevin Rudd for example has micromanaged a series of massive policy failures at home and now craves his narcissistic sublimation by impressing foreign dignitaries on every available occasion, earning him the nickname "Kevin 747" for his propensity to jet off overseas to speak at the U.N., confer with President Obama, etc. His bad, narcissistic, style of decision making has cost the nation a lot of money.

In the case of President Obama, what can we say about some one caught making an off the cuff remark about "The Special Olympics" or who was caught ogling a girl who was not much older than his own daughters? Do we see a pattern here?

I have a sneaking suspicion that some of the "Suicidal Statecraft" that destroy nations is a by product of narcissistic leadership - for example "The Habsburg Provocation" to "The honour Of France" that started the Franco - Prussian war.

At the General Officer Level, what can one say about Patton? A brilliant charismatic leader and strategist? What does the incident of the shell shocked soldier say? McArthur? Petreaus? The supposedly sleepless McChrystal? I don't know.

By way of contrats, and Col. Lang will take me to task on this, I was struck on reading Gen. Schwarzkopfs autobiography, by his apparent high degree of empathy with the average soldiers, even if he appeared far more uncompromising with the officer corps. I also was struck by his solution to logistical squabbling between Corps commanders in the lead up to Gulf war One - a field promotion of his logistics Chief from a Two Star to a Three Star General. Such a solution would be anathema to a narcissist.

Norm Mosher , 9 years ago
I am amazed at a discussion of narcissistic personality disorder that to this point, at least, has not mentioned today's poster child for this disorder -- Sarah Palin.
anna missed , 9 years ago
It would seem that narcissism is rooted in the notion of individualism, in that it expresses a love for the self over the group. Interestingly and ironically, wasn't it the Catholic Church that championed individualism in the post dark ages era, as a mechanism/method to disassemble the collectivist mentality of Germanic tribalism -- while at the same time replacing it with their own hierarchical social/religious authority structure.

I think what Walrus says is essentially true, but would be better said by including the social context by which narcissism or the cult-ification of individualism could be seen as generating its own kind of social order, or social hierarchy based upon meritocracy, or the illusion of merit when equated with raw power.

Or perhaps in better words, individualism or narcissism must be seen in the context of being its own hierarchical social structure, with its own construct of social (not individual) values that are internalized an acted upon by its participants.

And maybe, this why the "effects" of narcissism are so widespread and endemic in all of our institutions.

Sidney O. Smith III , 9 years ago
At least in the civilian world, there is an aspect to this personality trait that is not emphasized in Walrus' comment. A few -- not all -- of those with a narcissistic personality traits are brilliant. Megalomania is one of the pathways to creativity, albeit it usually ends w/ some kind of tragedy.

You can bring these people down, imo, and beat them at their own game but expect career sacrifice and do not expect fanfare. And I would never under estimate their extreme talent.

Can't say about the military world nor do I want to know. But it sure seems to be that General Bragg at Chattanooga fulfilled a lot of Dr. Dixon's categories in the article mentioned by S.Henning.

I don't understand all this hoopla about the greatness of Confederate Generals. Seems to be painting with too broad a stroke. Foote does a magnificent job debunking the myth as he continually details the shortcomings of various Confederate Generals. Where was Joe Johnston when Pembleton was suffering in the beleaguered city? Why isn't Ft. Bragg named Ft. Longstreet?

Maureen Lang , 9 years ago
Arun,

Re: SST wardrobe malfunction- seems it's just too much to ask that these seals, statuary, etc. be left as they are by prudish pols (John Ashcroft, anyone?)

Personally, my idea would be if a change simply must be wrought, let's go in the other direction & have Virtus' appearance match the one on the 1776 VA four dollar note:

View Hide
VietnamVet , 9 years ago
Rules of Engagement are simply the manifestation of tasking a bureaucracy, whose only purpose is to killing the enemy, to construct a puppet popular secular colonial government. It can't be done. "Winning Hearts and Minds", all over again.

There must be something that draws people to power who never learn from the past. On the 35th anniversary of the fall of Saigon, there have been news stories that comment on the Vietnamese culture and their resistance to foreign Invaders. Yet, not one has mentioned the real hard nosed fundamentalist culture that has defeated every invader and has never been conquered, the Afghans.

Arun , 9 years ago
Off-topic, but it would seem that Sic Semper Tyrannis has had a wardrobe malfunction - at least according to the Virginia Attorney-General
Patrick Lang , 9 years ago
RoyG

Yes. pl

Roy G , 9 years ago
Well put. I didn't know about Holly Graf, and found her story interesting.The Wikipedia article about her included this:

Captain Graf's awards include a Legion of Merit, Bronze Star, Defense Meritorious Service Medal and Meritorious Service Medal with one bronze service star.

I'm not military, but that's some fairly heavy heroic hardware, especially for a seaman, no? Isn't the medal quest a game tailor made for narcissists?

Stanley Henning , 9 years ago
The leadership conundrum is a crucial issue. It also brings to mind Norman Dixon's Psychology of Military Incompetence (1975), which I used to recommend to officers working under me in situations that reflected the problem. There is a good summary of this book at the following link:
http://www.mindef.gov.sg/imindef/publications/pointer/journals/2004/v30n2/book_review.html
JohnH , 9 years ago
Unfortunately I think that narcissism has always been the flip side of leadership. Most of us don't need the fawning adulation of our peers. And most of us have enough self-awareness to preclude us from exuding the self-confidence necessary for selection as a leader.

Narcissism and the accompanying tendency to put self-interest above public interest is why the founding fathers instituted a system of checks and balances. Unfortunately, leaders find ways to circumvent or disable checks on their authority over time.

rick , 9 years ago
HOW DO THESE MENTALLY ILL PEOPLE GET THEIR JOBS????

Oh. Wait. Never mind. The Americam People are the victims here...that's right.

I forgot that for a minute and in forgetting that it seemed for a second like the American People might get the behavior out of politicians that they consistently reward at the ballot box. How silly of me.

J , 9 years ago
Walrus,

We have had to witness this plethora of Narcissism being carried to the extreme ever since 911. Instead of holding accountable those responsible for failing to do their duties, the Narcissists in both our Congress and White House decided to create 'more' Narcissistic 'castles in the sand' with their DHS, TSA, NORTHCOM, etc.. I can understand to a point DOD deciding to create NORTHCOM, but I had always thought that was what NORAD was for. Alas, no NORAD accountability, heaven forbid. Let's create more $$$ sank-holes like TSA, and America's very own version of an internal NKVD force known as DHS (as what many of my fellow Americans refer to DHS as).

While the Narcissists in our White House and Congress eat their crumpets and drink their tea, everyday people who do show signs of human life inside them (i.e. emotions, moral instincts,etc.) continue to be downtrodden by these bands of Narcissists who have in effect altered the food chain. Accountability and responsibility are not in their Narcissist dictionaries.

Jane , 9 years ago
Our moral instincts are not logically consistent. A recent classic experiment shows that people would, without hesitation, hypothetically choose to flip a switch causing a speeding train to ploy into one person rather than into a group of people. But if the only way to stop the train was to shove the fat man next to them into its path they wouldn't do it even though doing so would produce one death rather than many.

It seems probable that in a combat situation a person of normal instincts would even more strongly favor the guy next to him and and tend to kill more freely to protect him even though in an insurgency situation the ultimate success would seem to rest on generating s little hatred among the populace as possible by killing as few bystanders as possible. Hence both the restrictive rules of engagement and the sickening taste they leave in the mouth of those required to act to risk a buddy for a bunch of strangers.

You can reach restrictive rules of engagement by either route: a deep empathic understanding of the human emotions of the insurgent population OR by an ant farm view which simply assigns no value to human life and emotions -- your own side or the others -- but simply sees ROE as the best means to success.

alnval , 9 years ago
Col. Lang:

An intriguing thesis and one with which I'm sure many would agree.

To keep it from turning into a never-ending and unresolvable debate, Walrus' argument would be strengthened significantly were he to describe the behavior and measurement techniques to be used to assess 'moral character' and the criterion to be used to determine the validity of the assessment results.

[Dec 10, 2018] An editorial on Trump's methods

Highly recommended!
Notable quotes:
"... I have seen this kind of methodology many times before in the world of sole owner entrepreneurial business. In that world egotism is king and the owner/wheeler dealer stands alone surrounded by underlings and consultants. For him they are nothing. They are expendable assets who exist only to serve his egocentric will and interests. They are there to be useful to him and can be disposed of whenever they are not. Trump operates exactly that way. Subordinates are disposable at will. Institutions mean nothing to such a man. He needs a secretary to run errands for him, not a chief-of-staff who will inevitably wish to be a "player." Anyone who takes the job is a fool. ..."
"... So, why has Trump done this? My present theory is that DJT is displeased with Dunford and wishes to hold over his head the threat of quick dismissal . This is a close analogy of the way people like Trump operate in business where it is routine to undermine subordinates for the purpose of creating insecurity leading to prostrate submission to the throne ..."
"... entrepreneurs are often know-it-all types who would have great difficulty surviving in a business that didn't consistently permit them to have their own way, all the while tolerating their difficult personalities. It seems many entrepreneurs rely on family members to varying degrees. ..."
"... I have no way of knowing if Trump's intuition is based in part on B movies, but it is surely based on his many-decades of experience in real estate development, primarily in cut-throat NYC, which likely accounts for his pugnacity and desire for loyalty. Long ago, someone sagely warned me that the first 3 letters of "contractor" spell CON. ..."
"... Considering the fact that this often goes under the title of intuition (with intuition also defined as educated guess), I am afraid there is very little "educated" in Trump's intuition, or "feel" for that matter. ..."
"... The other descriptive that I like is that these, usually men, wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night thinking of nothing except how to maintain their position. ..."
"... I have fought the notion that his constant creation of insecurity on my part was intentional. I've harbored these thoughts in my own personal wilderness for many years, but have never heard someone else discuss the same issues before. Sometimes a diagnosis has a clarifying value in its own right! ..."
Dec 10, 2018 | turcopolier.typepad.com

IMO Trump has no real use for a chief-of-staff in the White House.

I heard Anthony Scaramucci (the little guy who was in the WH for a couple of days) say on TeeVee yesterday that Donaldo has his own way of doing things that involves establishing a "hub and spokes" system and that he needs people he trusts and who accept his personal judgment, judgment based on his own "feel" for situations.

I have seen this kind of methodology many times before in the world of sole owner entrepreneurial business. In that world egotism is king and the owner/wheeler dealer stands alone surrounded by underlings and consultants. For him they are nothing. They are expendable assets who exist only to serve his egocentric will and interests. They are there to be useful to him and can be disposed of whenever they are not. Trump operates exactly that way. Subordinates are disposable at will. Institutions mean nothing to such a man. He needs a secretary to run errands for him, not a chief-of-staff who will inevitably wish to be a "player." Anyone who takes the job is a fool.

In this context the case of the Trump announcement, a year in advance of his term's end, of a replacement for the CJCS, General Joseph Dunford USMC is interesting. Trump has announced that General Mark Milley, the present US Army Chief-Of-Staff, will succeed. The question is - why announce now? And why announce this now with a "footnote" to the effect that the "transfer" date will be announced at some future unspecified date? Milley is a loquacious, big, and energetic man who is reportedly quite good at the backslapping, locker room chit-chat that Trump is comfortable with. He undoubtedly has made a good impression on Trump in personal contacts and impression is all important in dealing with Trump.

OTOH Milley is really not like Trump. He is an Ivy League product of Princeton and Columbia Universities, is widely read in history, is personally as brave as a lion on the battlefield and has a record of working well within the institutions of the armed forces for systematic re-structuring of the Army. I will guess that the president doesn't really know much about Milley. IMO he will inevitably and quickly be displeased with Milley when he is CJCS.

So, why has Trump done this? My present theory is that DJT is displeased with Dunford and wishes to hold over his head the threat of quick dismissal . This is a close analogy of the way people like Trump operate in business where it is routine to undermine subordinates for the purpose of creating insecurity leading to prostrate submission to the throne. pl

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-looking-at-several-candidates-for-chief-of-staff_us_5c0e5a81e4b0a606a9aae141


Walrus , 8 hours ago

Great analysis. I don't see Trump as malicious in his behaviour (nor perhaps do you), it's just the way he has successfully navigated the property development shark tank. He loves his country and I think he will be forgiven for a lot if he succeeds in perhaps not completely draining the swamp but desiccating and shrinking it a bit.

Trumps is not the only way to do business. There is an Australian property development billionaire (Frank Lowey) who seems to have succeeded in that field by crafting exceedingly subtle "win/win" solutions, not the "win/lose, sturm und drang" Trump productions.

Pat Lang Mod -> Walrus , 6 hours ago
I don't see him as malicious either. He has an occupation induced personality deformity. I agree that if he succeeds in some of these initiatives, a lot of this will be forgiven and forgotten. Yes you can do this on a win-win basis. In my experience the Guggenheims do that.
DianaLC , 11 hours ago
I had never heard of the "hub and spoke" method of business management. Very interesting. You wrote: "He needs a secretary to run errands for him, not a chief-of-staff who will inevitably wish to be a "player." I have worked in that "secretary" position for a very small consulting firm. I can still hear in my head my name being yelled and having to drop everything to run in and figure out what new and important task I had to accomplish.

I had been hired to proofread the consultant's documents because no one nowadays teaches "correct grammar." I did that, but much of my time was spent finding things and information and people that he needed.

BTW, whatever happened to Nixon's secretary?

akaPatience , 5 hours ago
I pretty much agree with this assessment of entrepreneurs. It's been my experience, not only as part of a mid-western mom and pop commercial real estate company, but also as a resident who literally lives on a Main Street lined with small businesses, that entrepreneurs are often know-it-all types who would have great difficulty surviving in a business that didn't consistently permit them to have their own way, all the while tolerating their difficult personalities. It seems many entrepreneurs rely on family members to varying degrees.

I have no way of knowing if Trump's intuition is based in part on B movies, but it is surely based on his many-decades of experience in real estate development, primarily in cut-throat NYC, which likely accounts for his pugnacity and desire for loyalty. Long ago, someone sagely warned me that the first 3 letters of "contractor" spell CON.

I'll never forget the very first time I visited New York as a young girl, and a SoHo shop keeper mocked me for speaking too slowly. It's a different world, lacking in gentility...

smoothieX12 , 6 hours ago
and who accept his personal judgment, judgment based on his own "feel" for situations

Considering the fact that this often goes under the title of intuition (with intuition also defined as educated guess), I am afraid there is very little "educated" in Trump's intuition, or "feel" for that matter.

Pat Lang Mod -> smoothieX12 , 6 hours ago
Yes. Intuition is high speed reasoning based on a massive store of data and experience. "Fingerspitzengefuhl?" The problem with Trump's "feel" is that it is based on B movies and similar quality sources. In the military context this describes someone in whom knowledge has become capability and who understand a battlefield by looking at it.
Bill Herschel , 6 hours ago
As long as you include all organizations under the umbrella term "business" this is exactly accurate. Spend some time in an academic department.

The other descriptive that I like is that these, usually men, wake up in the morning and go to sleep at night thinking of nothing except how to maintain their position. Trump must be a very worried man at this stage. Worried and explosively temperamental. Who can he please? He needs to toady to someone, and thus far the only people he's been able to toady to are VVP and Kim. So, more campaign rallies and appearances on Fox. Not enough to keep him going. Wartime President?

Pat Lang Mod -> Bill Herschel , 6 hours ago
I was the Professor of the Arabic Language and Middle East Studies at West Point. That is the oldest college of engineering in the US. It is not the same. There, my colleagues were trying to screw me. It was not the bosses, head of department, dean, etc. In the entrepreneurial sole owner setup the owner seeks to intimidate you to hold power over you.
MP98 , 7 hours ago
You're right about the technique for getting rid of subordinates. I worked for many, many years in a piranha tank and saw this behavior up close.

It was explained thusly: "He was sold to the board and has a friend on the board, so I'll make his life miserable until he gets the message." Outright firing (except for cause) can get messy

Pat Lang Mod -> MP98 , 6 hours ago
I understand but I am talking about companies where there is no board, i.e., private companies which choose not to have an executive board.
MP98 -> Pat Lang , 6 hours ago
Sole proprietorships usually have another dark side - family members. Your analysis of Trump's "style" seems spot on. Every day (sometimes every hour) is a new "adventure."
Walrus , 8 hours ago
BTW, according to his autobiography, Herman Neumann, (Herman the German) VP for aircraft engines at GE, had a sign on the office wall behind his desk: "Feel Insecure".
widowson , 11 hours ago
Col. Lang:

I appreciate all the insights this site provides, but none maybe greater, personally, than your comments above: I've spent the last 15 years working at single proprietor consultancies in a sales capacity, and my current boss treats me exactly as you pointed out above.

I have fought the notion that his constant creation of insecurity on my part was intentional. I've harbored these thoughts in my own personal wilderness for many years, but have never heard someone else discuss the same issues before. Sometimes a diagnosis has a clarifying value in its own right!

[Oct 22, 2018] First off, the coercion "come back or else " flat out. The ruthlessness vis- -vis the victim, the complete disregard for that individual's life. The crassness of the methods applied. The carelessness concerning the risks and the half-assed way in which this exercise, by and large, was carried out. Followed by, of course, a sudden switch from ever-so-charming to furious rage

Such people sadly self-destruct. It's terrible when person became his/her own worst enemy.
Oct 22, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Scotch Bingeington , Oct 22, 2018 5:00:53 PM | link

B, amazing work again, thrilling to read. Though this is a yet unfolding story, you manage to write about it in a profound way.

Regarding the manner in which MbS operates here and subsequently reacts towards other people's reactions is certainly telling, at least to me. First off, the coercion -- "come back or else " -- flat out. The ruthlessness vis-à-vis the victim, the complete disregard for that individual's life. The crassness of the methods applied. The carelessness concerning the risks and the half-assed way in which this exercise, by and large, was carried out. Once word got out, being utterly taken by surprise that this murder should draw so much attention and should shock and outrage people -- like, at all! Followed by, of course, a sudden switch from ever-so-charming to furious rage.

That's textbook psychopathic behavior. MbS is a psychopath. I don't mean that as an insult, but as the descriptive term and category that it is. It was already palpable in all the other incidents, which was duly pointed out here by people at the Moon. To me, it's also in his eyes.

But the thing is, as such, MbS is a befitting representation of his country. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the way that it works, how it's organized, its history, its outlook on the world -- it's the equivalent among states of a psychopath.

I certainly agree, the sooner MbS gets kicked off the stage, the better for them and for us. But he'll be replaced and SA will still be the equivalent among states of a psychopath -- and act accordingly. There's much more to be done than just put an end to MbS' games. In that vein, I'd be appalled if Russia were to seriously consider sucking up to SA should they break away from the US orbit.

[Oct 02, 2018] Narcissist, Psychopath, or Sociopath How to Spot the Differences - YouTube

Notable quotes:
"... get away from them fast as you can before they make you into another thing they own ..."
Oct 02, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Robert Bright , 11 hours ago

I didn't bother to continue to listen to her exegesis when she stated that the main problem of a narcissist is low self-esteem. This is not true. The fundamental element of all forms of narcissism is the over-arching need to divert all social attention to their own agendum.

Pip's Channel , 1 day ago (edited)

Very clear explanation of the differences and well spoken by Dr. Ramani. However, the knowledge explained in this interview was already defined in the DSM-1 from 1952 and is nothing new. Hell, even Freud was trying to figure out narcisists more than a hundred years ago.. The danger of explaining these types of personality disorders this popular way, i.e. the behavior of the so called psychopath from the interviewer's story, is that people popularize these labels and tend to use them whenever they see fit, like for instance 'This guy hurt my feelings, he is a total psycho'. Please remember that a person's personality is a spectrum. They're not to be labeled by one disorder. Dr. Ramani's mistake in this interview is to put a label on this psycho-boyfriend-from-college-person, based on a story, transfered from like 4 people or more, so it might be full of bias. Of course there must be something really wrong with the guy for acting that way he did if this is actually a true story. However, this is not a remotely valid diagnosis of the actual person because, from the information I got from this interview both of them have never even seen this guy. These kind 'ghetto-diagnoses' have a tendency to become gossip or even slander, like 'We, the people have labeled you a total psychopath because your behaviour fits Dr. Ramani's description of a psychopath in a certain way, move to the Antarctic' (not talking from personal experience here haha) ;-) My point is: In actual science, measuring is knowing. Jumping to a conclusion like that: Not very professional in my humble opinion. Tends to pseudo science if you ask me. But I guess the good doctor knows this, being a professor..

Mary M , 1 week ago

I was in a 17 year relationship, 15 yr marriage with a sociopathic man. He was successful, he could read people like a book and played games with ppl to get his way. {He was the exact opposite of an e Empath. Reading people's visual cues is not the same as being attuned to what others around you are feeling.}

He would come home and brag about his manipulations. He knew just how to make anyone love him including doctors for whatever meds he wanted, or psychologists to check a box.

His mother always told me, "that man is not the same person I raised." He had absolutely no guilt or regret, but he had a strong black and white clarity of right and wrong.

It's a learned morality without intuition. He knew what he was-- he told me his father and uncle were sociopaths and he knew he was missing something inside. We got together in high school, so I didn't see it until years after we were married, and he was in his early 20's...he morfed into a different person. I knew I could not have children with him.

He was charming but it was a facade. His anger, control, power issues were under the surface of it all. I loved him deeply and believed he loved me deeply as well. (You will never feel a stronger connection to someone with narcissistic tendencies-they can make the earth stand still for you. They will also shatter your world in an instant if you're no longer useful to them.) {**Sociopaths do in fact care... They become incredibly ANGRY & FRUSTRATED when they're found out, when someone gets in their way, or when their power/control is threatened. If you're the target of their anger, WATCH OUT!!! }

In the final year, he was living a double life, engaged to another woman, and continued normal every day life with me. When I went to see my mother before her surgery, he moved his girlfriend into my house, and served me divorce pprs. (It was no big deal to him. I was merely an inconvenience.)

I never saw him again, never got most of my things back, and my service dog became another game for him to hurt me with. She died of a stroke just after. I never saw her again either. This was the worst... He spent 25k of our savings in one month taking her to our favorite places.

You kiss your husband goodbye one day, and the next day, your entire world falls apart. He played victim on social media, in court and with our friends, with a smear campaign and cyber stalking me.

It was absolutely brutal to watch, but I said nothing (until court). Truth comes out eventually--and it did. I had a great lawyer. It was very clear my ex hadn't thought through the most basic consequences of a divorce much less his actions. Typical narcissistic behavior is doing what you want, when you want, not thinking through the potential outcomes (hurting ppl, jail, losing a job, causing illness, etc.)

Part of the manipulation is to play the part of victim in any circumstance things don't go their way. They'll play the hero every other time- mind you it is all an act. I'm disabled and chronically ill, and he used the most fragile moments of my illness to publicly shame me as someone "pathetic" that "no one would want to be married to".

It was not a bad marriage at all, it was like a mother-child relationship, which can make it confusing for ppl when they turn into these spiteful monsters out of nowhere. It took years for the shock to wear off, for the feelings of love and protection to melt away and for me to see what family and friends had already known. I refuse to see myself as a victim.

I'm not angry, bc this is meant to be part of my story--certainly not the end, as I'm starting over at 35, lol.

This is the short version of my story, and if you suspect you are in a relationship with a sociopathic person, please get out. "You can't fix people, you can only love them..."

And you will be the one who needs fixing when they are through with you. Give them to God, pray for them, but get away from them fast as you can before they make you into another thing they own . xo

Holly Kendrick , 2 days ago

Most leaders in history also display characteristics of psychopathy, not just Trump. The fact is that any normal functioning person would be completely overwhelmed with the responsibilities that come with running a country, including decisions that involve moral obligations and an emotional aspect way beyond the normal every day decisions that the average person has to make. It takes a narcissistic person to have that much confidence in themselves to believe they can run an entire country successfully - and to want that much power in the first place.

paula villegas , 3 days ago

I just dated a psychopath for 3 yrs on and off,hes in jail now but he has broken my house car windows beat me up because ive asked him to leave my house threatened me of were to leave him, I seen in hos eyes his motives were evil, totally different person around other people and very charming when my female friends were around, always came off like he had sexual desire for them by the way hed make eye contact,Id catch him doing certain actions then tell me I didnt see what I know I seen. He made me miserable and scared constantly,then when accused he'd go in a rage until I admitted I was wrong and apologized. He'd leave for a wk. Come back and accuse me constantly for cheating sometimes to the point of violence having no remorse for the pain he had caused I wouldn't dare question where he had been. Out of 3 yrs I dont believe hes ever answered any of my questions he'd always turned the tables and questions were being asked out of my guilt so to speak was a roller coaster ride.

Mark Gabl , 3 days ago

In the Story the man told of this Girl he knew and the Guy she dated... The Dr. got it right that this Guy is a Psychopath, but she is not seeing the whole picture, or doesn't realize one of the most important traits of a Psychopath... That is, that in ANY situation the psychopath will not allow someone else to "Best" them. After being dumped by this Girl, he became her "perfect boyfriend" and she took him back for another year. That entire year was a Deception Game for the psychopath, and after the year, probably on the exact date, he announced to the Girl, that he had "Played Her" for that entire year, just to "break her heart." This example will give one an idea of the dedication as well as the level of deceit this guy was willing to go through, just to Prove that He will not be "Bested"... by her or anyone else. This Girl is really lucky that this psychopath chose that route... as usually the psychopath would just Kill the Girl, in some meticulously planned out fashion, where not only does he get away with it, but he plants evidence on whoever the Girl is now dating, and takes care of Two Birds with one stone. Psychopath comes out on top. Psychopaths consider themselves Superior Beings... and something as simple as beating them in a game of Golf could end up costing you your life. Especially if there were others their who cheered on the winner, or made fun of the loser. He wouldn't just kill the guy right there in front of everyone like a schizophrenic person might. Instead he will take his time, plan his Revenge, and the right time and place to exact his revenge. It could be 15 years down the road, but the psychopath never let go of it, and he kills the guy... Probably either on the Golf Course, or in the Club Locker Room or in the showers, as he wants the victim to know why he is being killed, and that he can't "Best" the psychopath. Women get killed by their ex-husbands and ex-Boyfriends all the time, and the Cops always look at the New Husband or Boyfriend... They might interview the old Husband or Boyfriend, but find it hard to believe that someone would kill their ex-Wife or GF 12 years later. When they have had seemingly no contact for all that time. With a psychopath the length of time does not matter... what matters is that he got the "Best" of the situation.

5.56&9mm kindaguy , 7 hours ago

Damn! Listening to Dr. Ramani describing psychopaths and sociopaths was kind of chilling to be honest. Mostly because it made me start thinking about everyone I've ever met in my life and trying to figure out whether or not I know someone like this.

JuegosTheTitan , 4 days ago

What would be the diagnosis for a person with most sociopathic traits, except two things: they do think ahead, a lot, and do very heavy planning and considering potential consequences, and how to avoid the undesirable ones. And they feel fear. They do not take the risks where they dont stand a good chance of achieving their goals. Everything else is there, the lack of empathy, not feeling guilty or bad after hurting someone, superficial charm, lying, manipulating etc etc.

Mark Gabl , 3 days ago (edited)

The other thing this Dr. failed to mention, is that Psychopaths are so adept in the Disguise they have cultivated over their lifetime, that it is Very Common for a psychopath to fool even a trained psychologist or Dr.of psychiatry into believing they are the far less dangerous Sociopath. Quite often the Psychopath has a Higher IQ than the Doctor who is treating them, and they find it easy to fool and manipulate these people. There is a video here, made by a male Teen, that has just been diagnosed as a "Sociopath", but you can hear out of his own mouth that it is easy to see that he was mis-diagnosed. He tells everyone he was just diagnosed, and then goes on to describe how he has always known he was a "Sociopath"... and that "all of us know, and learn how to hide in plain sight." I hope his Doctor sees this video, and the re-diagnoses this kid, as just that statement alone gives himself away as a far more dangerous Psychopath. Most "Sociopaths" do not know they are sociopaths, and think they are just like everyone else. They mostly refuse to believe they are "different"... because they hang out with a bunch of other Sociopaths, all who think they are "normal"... They do not Cultivate a "Disguise", as they see no need, they are just like everyone else around them. The Sociopath is Made by his social background and the people he associates with. On the other hand, a Psychopath is Born... and realizes he is a psychopath, and starts cultivating his or her Disguise around age 5... By the time they are out of High School they have has a dozen or so years to perfect that disguise, and they are very good at "hiding in plain sight. Watch this video of this kid, and maybe you will see that he has been mis-diagnosed as is so often the case. Also... Just look at this kid, ad tell me he does not look like a psychopath. No Kidding, many psychopaths do have that "psychopath look"... just like it is so easy to spot someone with "Downs Syndrome". I almost wish it were possible to have the word "Psychopath" branded into his forehead, as a warning to other to Stay Far Away. Check it out... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pUuCMybwEuc

Todd Cook , 2 days ago

Missed the boat on polygraphs. Psychopaths can't routinely pass polygraphs. They don't have empathy but they do usually care about getting caught. Murder may not make them feel sorrow or guilt but they will often don't want to get caught. Also, the domestic abuse is not usually done by sociopaths or psychopaths. You need to work with law enforcement and talk to senior detectives who have dealt with these people. You said that you have done research but haven't dealt with many because they don't come in for therapy.

Daniela Attison , 1 day ago

Hey guys this is very wrong. I dont know where she learned this but its actually the other way around. Psychopaths are the ones who end up in a looney bin. They are the ones who kill people because "a voice of god told them to do it", they are usually very disorganized when it comes to their crimes. Imagine a schizophrenic. And infact some psycopaths may feel guilt after they commit a crime as they do not know how to properly express their emotion. And sociopaths are actually very social creatures. The reason why it is very hard to catch these guys is because they never leave clues, they are organizied and incredibly intelligent. Sociopaths feel absolutely zero guilt or remorse, and they tend not have no emotional (romantic) attachments but do connect easily with others due to their high confidence and ego. And yes they are the ones who can lie on a test, the can compose themselves very well even in a stressful situation. I just did some digging and it seems many actual psychologists have it the other way around which is shocking to me. Psycopaths don't always know that what they doing are wrong and do it anyways (some think they are doing good i.e. cleansing streets of "sinful hookers"), meanwhile sociopaths know exactly what they are doing and that it is wrong but do it anyways.

wolvenwood , 5 hours ago

I was a psychotherapist for 20 yrs and i found numerous mistakes with this woman. First, psychopaths are NOT always born that way. Other things can make them that way such as serious abuse in childhood or illness that leave lesions on the brain. Weve known this since at least WW2. Stalin had lesions on the brain, that's what made him a psychopath, before that he was normal. This is a HUGE error, anyone educated in psychopathic disorder would know this. Also, stealing, skipping school could point to other problems that are not being a psychopath but setting fires as a child is a definite sign that needs to be addresssed asap. This woman is ignorant of these conditions in many ways nor does she explain in depth. The genetic factor seems to be a very low factor as it is inherited by about only 1% or less of psychopaths. I can think of far better psychologists to interview - also in her credentials, she is a professor but doesn't say where??? No one does that.

Nerdy Snailie , 2 hours ago (edited)

She forgot to include that sociopaths can mimic emotions highly and even switch on terms of emotions because they are good learning and manipulating victims. On other hand psychopaths are incapable of such emotional intelligence. They are able to trick your mind, be charming but they cannot mimic or display empathy because they don't see the emotional need to it in the society. That's what makes catching a psychopath easier than a sociopath. The sociopaths are the ones abuse bully and torture then kill their wives. The ones who keep their victims and develop Stockholm syndrome with them. Psychopaths develop fear based connection and no human emotion-based interactions. The example given by the interviewer is sociopathic. This lady has to make it clear and she failed. That's why people are confused.

G de Almeida , 4 hours ago (edited)

I was in a relationship with a Narcissistic Sociopath for 5 and a half years and it was terrible. It took me a long time to realize what was happening because he would be so fantastic for months at a time- he literally presented himself as my soul mate and it felt like we has everything in common: he was so charming and flattering and would shower me with gifts. Then he would suddenly just beak off ALL communication with me for anywhere from 3 days to 6 weeks and I would not have any idea why. He loved it when I would beg him to tell me what he was angry about, what I had done, how I could fix it. I would end up apologizing for everything but not actually know what I supposedly did. When when he was done "punishing me" (his own term) he would pretend to forgive me for whatever indiscretion he was supposedly punishing me for. I never knew what I had done, he would just say "you should know". I started keeping a detailed journal to try to figure out what was happening- I recorded details of every date, what the mood was, what we said and did, how he was acting... I never could find a trigger for the events but it helped a lot when I approached a psychologist to try to help me figure out what was happening and how to navigate the relationship. I began to be afraid to talk when we were together because I was afraid I would do something to anger him. As he only liked to talk about superficial things, this was good for him. I stayed so long because when times were good they were extremely good, way better than any prior relationships. He seemed to have an uncanny sense of knowing when to play his mind games, he knew just when to start and stop. I loved him and came to realize something was wrong, but I initially thought he was Bipolar. I wanted to help him and believed that he was suffering during the times he went Silent. I thought I would be able to help him and didn't want to abandon him. I was mistaken- it was just part of his game. He was very controlling. I developed what is called a trauma bond which is very hard to break. Even he knew something was wrong and also thought he may be Bipolar. He admitted to me that he never felt fear or stress, love or empathy. He did feel rage and he was extremely jealous, insanely so. Even though he was in his early 40's, he was extremely emotionally immature. He often accused me of ridiculous affairs (with a drummer from the band "Trooper", my 72 year old yoga instructor... etc...). After 3 years of pretty much living together I found out he was married and has a son (he told me he was divorced and had no children). I found a picture his wife had posted on Google one day when I searched his name. He was estranged from his wife and had no feelings at all for his son who he never visited and to this day has no contact with despite living just 10 minutes away. His son still does not even know where he lives or that he is in the same neighbourhood. I highly suspect he was cheating on me during some of the longer Silent periods. This may have even been a reason he imposed them. He absolutely did not love me- he actually told me this many times and said that he hated the word "Love". Even though he didn't love me, I was his possession and he did not want anyone else playing with his toys. When times were good (and they were good long enough to make me forget the terrible times) it SEEMED like he loved me. I always believed he would change. In the end it was not even me who ended the relationship, even though two psychologists told me very adamantly that I needed to get out of the relationship because I was in great danger. He got bored and dumped me, and to this day I still look back at the "good times" and miss those parts very much. However, when I am feeling low I reread my journals and reality hits me because I have to recall the really, really awful parts. I am grateful I am alone. Looking back, even his gifts were non-personal: lots of electronics that I didn't want. Sometimes he would give me food items, but never anything intimate or personal like jewelry or clothing. His home had no personal effects- here was not one item that gave any idea what he liked to do or what his hobbies were. When we had sex there was zero intimacy. He would touch me but I was not allowed to touch him- he said it was pointless because he didn't feel anything when I tried. I often felt like I was just filling a physical need for him (and that is very likely what I did and why he stayed in the relationship). I discovered that he watched a LOT of porn and I suspect he got his education that way, because he treated me a lot like the women get treated in those videos: like an object to be used. No touching, no kissing, no tenderness. He liked to bite me and he knew I hated it but did it anyways. It was so twisted and convoluted I lost myself and at one point, during a very lengthy Silent period, came very close to ending my life. If I had, he would have not cared (or been flattered but not cared). He really, really enjoyed playing mind games with me, and would constantly build me up then tear me down. When he was being cruel, his eyes were completely dead. It was creepy, like looking into the eyes of a snake. I've heard other people who have dated sociopaths and psychopaths also describe this and I know exactly what they mean. Dr. Ramani said that psychopaths and sociopaths have trouble keeping jobs- this was not true with my partner. He was extremely intelligent and Title-oriented: he was and still is in a very high position of power. I often wonder what the people working below him think of him... but can't ask because in 5 1/2 years I never met a single co-worker, friend or family member. I seemed to be his only friend. He works in public office and is slated for another very large promotion that will give him even more power and control. He thinks he is smarter than everyone, including the current Director who he is slated to replace. I fear for anyone who crosses him. Now that I am free I have been trying to get my belongings back from his home, but of course he has to use it as another way of keeping control. He makes a date then cancels at the last minute. It never ends.

Bar Bee , 1 day ago

I was in a long term relationship who was clinically diagnosed as a Sociopath w Narcissistic tendencies. as he explains about the guy getting even, they want revenge & never forget when they feel people do them wrong. Great actors. In the beginning, they figure out what the woman thinks is the perfect man, rushes to commitment & marriage, then the REAL them comes out.

They don't care if you catch them lying, cheating or whatever. break up with one? Will NEVER leave you b alone. U better ha v s bigger threat than a restraining order.

Also, they need power -- the money that comes w the fancy title is a bi-product. They crave power. Very dangerous!

If u date a guy & within 2 weeks he is your soul mate & wants to marry- run. He will do whatever it takes to get you back (actin, crying, flowers, big diamond ring- RUN.

linda parker , 13 hours ago (edited)

Familiar with all three, due to my professional. Yes a person is in trouble if involved with either one of these persons. I dated one narcissi-psyschopath combined. For an 18 months. Totally train wreck , disgusting , no respect for others. Just ...... Till this day he tries to be a part of my life! Sad,Sad........only to take advantage of me again !!!!

Neo Morpheus , 4 days ago

You guys are incorrect about psychopathy. Actually to not follow immoral man made precepts doesn't make you a psychopath. Nobody should experience fear because they make a mistake ie running a red light. There are a lot of statutes and codes put into effect that are BS. The average man or woman breaks 6 statutory law today. Should we be walking around in fear. Should we be afraid of the officers who allegedly protect and serve. Should we follow false doctrine. If there is no victim there is no crime. Actually, a lot of People spend time in prison and have never harmed anyone. I'll give an example. We have the right to travel in a car without license and registration . The Supreme Court of US had said so, driving is a commercial activity. It is the act of for profit business on the road. We could get a certificate to prove competency, but they want the people to be licensed because it's a contract that cedes jurisdicton to the state and it's agencies. New Hampshire wrote up bill NH HB1778 to point out how the corporate state has engaged in silent deception and inducement by fraud. That people are exempt from licensing and registration. Also court cases are Thompson v Smith 154, SE 579 and Chicago Motor Coach v Chicago, 169 NE 22. And those cases are shepardized. If anything these cops arresting People for victimless crimes and attorneys and judges ruining families and putting people in prison for 15 years and more for putting a chemical in their body. (Prosecuting attorneys win 98% of the time and and that's with the defendant having an attorney.) shouldn't it be obvious that we have something going on that is unequitable and adverse to justice in the "Court System". If you can't chose what to put in your body then your nothing but a slave. And you can't say that people that put certain substances in their body will cause crime because it's untrue, and even if it was true, we can't put people in jail because they may cause a crime. In other words, One should be able to eat a food or use a chemical, just because some one else may not act honorably with such things doesn't take away my right to consume them. if they were to do the same. BTW US has largest prison pop. Higher than China even though they have a bigger population. 85% of the prisoners in the system have never harmed anyone. I also have some good stats on how poor the cops are doing from protecting against actual male in se (crimes with a victim). You are 15 times more likely to be murdered by Law Enforcement then the general population. And cops are no more likely to be harmed in their jobs then the average worker. They are a little less likely to get killer on the job then men and a little more likely them women. And by the way, they are literal creating bonds of these prisoners and in the court cases then what they are doing is putting the defendants into default for not settling the bonds. They are drafting these people for performance because they use the statutes as an evidence of a debt and then bond the cases with SF 24, 25, and 25a,then federally with the Miller act bonds GSA 274, 275, 276. What they do is pool these bonds like the reits and remics in real estate, and sell them as investment securities on the market. So these bonds make about 10k a month, meanwhile the prisons spend about $2.50 a day for necessities. This is slavery in a new form. The peculiar institution of slavery was never abolished, just the term. Read the 14th ammendmebt. A federal citizen is a subject, granted privileges by the state. And the 13th amendment says you can be a slave if your convicted of a crime. Well if you believe in the statutory laws, which really only apply to legal Fictions, then the average American commits 6 statutory violations a day. you are saying that you, and all other men are nothing but slaves because if one wants to, they could find a statute for you to break Without you knowing what you did much less harming anyone or their Property. And by the way, anybody can learn to be a good salesmen and how to read People. VThat's ridiculous to say that selling is psycothapy. I agree that some People have been induced into a form of secondary psychothopy, which is basically outwardly psychopathic, but it's actually learned behavior. We're talk to collect as many federal reserve notes as possible even if we may hurt others. We're taught that it's ok to murder many people in war if it's in the name of Democracy (Democracy is a false doctrine and de facto law. The founding fathers disliked it because the majority could steal from the minority. It's mob rule. In a republic which is the only guaranteed corn of law in the usA Your rights are protected regardless of a majority vote. The only way you can give up a natural right is through contract. And the corporate state has been getting the People to do that under on way adhesion contracts since 1933 and even a little before. To a minor degree it started in 1871. I just think your definition of psychopath is scary because you base the definition on assumptions that may or may not be true. The prison population is higher in US than any other county so I think you should take a look at what's going on and not make assumptions. This country is no longer free, but I guess if we keep telling ourselves that it is it must be true. And I guess if our "therapist" tell us we're psycopaths just because we're not going to let a fear based system bully us, and we are willing to go to jail to stand up for what's right, and stand up to these officers who are clue less about the actual law. Not statutes and codes which are government and corporate policies. I can site 3 people who either spent a good amount of time in jail or killed for what's doing what's right. Martin Luther King. Muhatma Ghandi, and Jesus Christ. All the police ads is modern day Roman centurions. And if you don't believe Christ existed, the allegory is good enough. This People honor the Law with there lips, but there heart is far from it, in vain they honor the Law, holding the doctrines of the Commandments of men. I digress There's nothing new under the sun Those who have eyes will see; those who have ears will hear

Katja Lucin , 3 days ago

I'm sorry but this is just too much. She makes it seem like there is a lot of sociopaths out there and as we can hear they become that after they are hanging out with wrong kids...what??? I would think that her PhD would make her double think after saying something like that. People become sociopaths after they'we been abused so hard and for so long that their consciousness can't take it any longer and their body's reaction is to stop feeling anything... I just feel angry because she makes it look like everyone who was hanging out with "wrong people " can be a sociopath...so far away from the truth...

James Estelle , 2 days ago

One serious note: Dr. Martha Stout said in her book "The Sociopath Next Door" that sociopaths are often made through abuse trauma. These are people who put their sensibilities into 'hibernation' due to the pain they felt. The bad behavior afterward is a result of a learned protection mechanism where they have no feelings. They put their entire psyche into a box of "win and lose" scenarios where they 'have to' overcome everyone else or they will be hurt again. NOTE also IN REFERENCE TO THE PART OF THE VIDEO WHERE SHE SAYS THESE PEOPLE DO NOT SEEK THERAPY - There is a recent phenomenon of these personalities getting into therapy to "improve their game." This is how they learn to fake normal reactions to sew a seed of doubt about their behaviors - "Maybe he is just hurting inside, let's give him one more chance." I was told this was a major theme in "The Sopranos" series.

Isabella Jones , 4 days ago

Actually very few psychopaths are killers. Many many are successful CEO's - they have no blood lust, and know how to play by the rules. There might be a psychopath bank manager living next door to you. He isn't going to kill you, but if you get inot a bad situation and need help - he just wont care.

Mary Cahill , 1 month ago

I was a mental health RN for 17 years, 7 years in Forensic psychiatry. Dr. Ramani is spot on, and explains things quite well.

Robert Graham , 3 days ago

Licensed doctor... Still believes in lie detectors. I've lied on those things multiple times and I feel bad for all the people who get convicted by them

[Sep 11, 2018] A Victim's Guide to Surviving a Narcissist-Sociopath by Sereena Nightshade

This is rather weak, but still useful (eBook)
Narcissists built a wall between himself and truth and decency. One way to understand them is to look at mafia bosses
Notable quotes:
"... While the common wisdom dictates that the sociopath/sociopath type predator goes after only those who are of little or no worth, the stupid, the uneducated and perhaps the hopelessly poor/ignorant the reality is oftentimes the polar opposite. The average in-home/family man/family woman sociopath predator goes after someone who is not a predator while that someone does have a lot to offer the sociopath/sociopath type. ..."
"... The predator wants a partner or spouse that offers a great deal of value to strip-mine away ..."
Sep 11, 2018 | www.barnesandnoble.com

"Pretty is as pretty does, and while it's true that money makes the world go round, nice is what makes it habitable." The Victim's Guide to Surviving the Narcissist/Sociopath is a quick guide book describing what a typical narcissist/sociopath is and what his/her typical victim is.

While the common wisdom dictates that the sociopath/sociopath type predator goes after only those who are of little or no worth, the stupid, the uneducated and perhaps the hopelessly poor/ignorant the reality is oftentimes the polar opposite. The average in-home/family man/family woman sociopath predator goes after someone who is not a predator while that someone does have a lot to offer the sociopath/sociopath type.

The predator wants a partner or spouse that offers a great deal of value to strip-mine away . An uneducated moron frequently does not appeal to a sociopath predator that is looking at more than an extremely short-term quick gain.

This book provides readers with a fast get-down-to-it look at what a narcissist/sociopath is, what one of these predators does and it gives readers some basic nutshell advice that is surprisingly hard to come by. A must read for victims and prospective victims alike whether not yet captured by a narcissist/sociopath or already captured and beginning to figure out, perhaps, that as a victim or prospective victim you may be in trouble.

This book tells all, for its brevity, starting with the warning signs to the final war plan with all most of the ugly details included. Photos herein are taken from more than one city location.

[Sep 11, 2018] 2018 US Open Highlights Serena Williams' dispute overshadows Naomi Osaka's final win ESPN

Video tutorial of narcissist rage.
Over the years, Serena has exhibited unpleasant and bizarre on-court behavior that may be attributed to "roid rage" - that caused her to forfeit a Wimbledon doubles match due to poor co-ordination, death threats that she aimed at a line judge during a 2009 US Open semifinal, breaking racquets, a tirade against an umpire during the 2011 US Open final etc. Some think that this might be the result of using performance enhancing drugs. See ROID RAGE -- #1 Question In Women's Tennis Has Serena Williams Been Doping With Steroids – The Millennium Report and Is Serena Williams on steroids - Quora and Serena Williams Denies Being Drunk or On Drugs During Wimbledon Meltdown The Fix
Notable quotes:
"... What an absolute bully. She consistently belittles and threatens the umpires, purposefully exasperates her opponents, shows no respect for the sporting venue/court or the equipment, hypes up the crowd to boost her self-image and personal views (fully aware that she is a crowd "favorite"), and has not an ounce of humility on the court or when being interviewed. I honestly believe she only put her arm around Ms. Osaka during the award ceremony so that she would appear more caring. There was nothing genuine about it. ..."
"... The Fact Serena Williams Didn't shake the umpires hand ..."
"... I love how she claims sexism, but she attacks him the entire time. Calling him a liar and saying he attacked her, using her power against him. ..."
Sep 11, 2018 | www.youtube.com

Reddama , 4 hours ago

What an absolute bully. She consistently belittles and threatens the umpires, purposefully exasperates her opponents, shows no respect for the sporting venue/court or the equipment, hypes up the crowd to boost her self-image and personal views (fully aware that she is a crowd "favorite"), and has not an ounce of humility on the court or when being interviewed. I honestly believe she only put her arm around Ms. Osaka during the award ceremony so that she would appear more caring. There was nothing genuine about it.

Nancy Loaiza , 4 hours ago

It's funny to see how she says she was not receiving coaching and demanding an apology here... and then 10 mins later her coach accepted he was coaching her. Naomi was just better in EVERY way during this match... This was so classless from SW

alex atack , 5 hours ago

I feel really bad for Osaka... Serena ruined her first title

yaggle fraggle , 6 hours ago

"I have never cheated. Apologize!" *coach later admits he was coaching* dindu nuffin

MrMSouts , 3 hours ago

The Fact Serena Williams Didn't shake the umpires hand shows. she is ungrateful and a bad sport.

sassiebrat , 2 days ago

I hope SW watches this and realizes what an entitled fool she looks like and sounds like! More than happy Osaka won!

Amayzinone , 3 hours ago

I love how she claims sexism, but she attacks him the entire time. Calling him a liar and saying he attacked her, using her power against him.

She did get coaching, because the coach admitted to it. And she clearly broke her racket. What a poor display. I'm more distraught that she claimed sexism in a female game? Plus this ump has docked Nadal for the same thing? I'd get her out of tennis, what a drama queen. She makes tennis look bad

Get a Job , 1 hour ago

Nasty, spiteful, and childish

Andrew Rivas , 3 hours ago

What an entitled loser. Glad she got shown who's boss.

hurricane watcher , 4 hours ago

Most disgusting display of unsportsmanlike conduct I've ever seen in any sport. Despicable. Hopefully this is the highlight this embarrassment of a role model will be remembered for for the rest of her life. Thank God Osaka won

SquareEarth1 , 4 hours ago (edited)

Serena tried everything in the 'poor me' book. She was being outplayed, plain and simple! Other players do this sort of crap to unsettle their opponent. It is just a shame she ruined the match for Osaka who was extremely professional throughout. Well done to her on her first major win. I don't have anything good to say about the crowd either....the booing was pathetic.

travis bickel , 5 hours ago

Always playing the race card

duckduckmoose , 1 day ago (edited)

How is it that she's blaming the him cause she's a woman? With that logic the person they're helping which is Serena's oppenent IS A WOMAN.

Brian Clark , 6 hours ago

she went full ratchet.

Alex A. Gholizadeh , 5 hours ago

It's sad seeing SJWs defend this spoiled brat

City Grunt , 2 days ago (edited)

EVERYONE IS CAUGHT UP IN THIS MEDIA STORM. Serena was dominated plain and simple. Osaka won this plain and simple. Game over.

[Sep 11, 2018] Narcissists Tend to Become Leaders

Narcissism, destroys the ability of a person to form healthy, long term relationship. While initially seen as chanrming, narsissists can't stop from using person to his/her advantage and hurt the relationship, often destroying it in a long run.
Notable quotes:
"... Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin ..."
"... Another dimension of narcissism -- the desire for attention -- was not as strongly linked with leadership roles in the groups. ..."
Oct 07, 2008 | www.livescience.com

Narcissists like to be in charge, so it stands to reason that a new study shows individuals who are overconfident about their abilities are most likely to step in as leaders, be they politicians or power brokers. However, their initiative doesn't mean they are the best leaders. The study also found narcissists don't outperform others in leadership roles.

Narcissists tend to be egotistical types who exaggerate their talents and abilities, and lack empathy for others. The researchers stress that narcissism is not the same as high self-esteem.

"A person with high self-esteem is confident and charming, but they also have a caring component and they want to develop intimacy with others," said lead researcher Amy Brunell, a psychologist at Ohio State University at Newark. "Narcissists have an inflated view of their talents and abilities and are all about themselves. They don't care as much about others."

She added, "It's not surprising that narcissists become leaders . They like power, they are egotistical, and they are usually charming and extraverted. But the problem is, they don't necessarily make better leaders."

Born leaders?

The results, which will be detailed in an upcoming issue of the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin , come from three studies, two with students and the other with business managers.

In one study, 432 undergraduate students completed surveys that measured various personality traits, including aspects of narcissism. Then, the students were put in groups of four and told to assume they were a committee of senior officers of the student union. Their task was to elect next year's director.

Results showed that students who scored higher on one dimension of narcissism -- the desire for power -- were more likely to say they wanted to lead the group. The narcissists were also more likely to say they did lead the group discussion and more likely to be viewed as leaders by the other group members.

Another dimension of narcissism -- the desire for attention -- was not as strongly linked with leadership roles in the groups.

... ... ...

"Many people have observed that it takes a narcissistic person to run for president of the United States," Brunell said. "I would be surprised if any of the candidates who have run weren't higher than average in narcissism."

Wall Street traders could also have a high dose of narcissism, she suggested. "There have been a lot of studies that have found narcissistic leaders tend to have volatile and risky decision-making performance and can be ineffective and potentially destructive leaders."

Brunell does hedge though, saying that not all troubles in Washington and Wall Street can be blamed on narcissists, and of course, you can't boil everything down to personalities.

[Sep 11, 2018] Have We Become a Nation of Narcissists by Ronald Pies, M.D

Notable quotes:
"... Rudeness and Civility ..."
"... The Culture of Narcissism ..."
"... The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement ..."
"... Journal of Personality ..."
"... Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living ..."
"... Ronald Pies MD is Professor of Psychiatry and Lecturer on Bioethics and Humanities at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse NY; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston; and Editor-in-Chief, Psychiatric Times. He is the author of Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living . This article was provided by PsychCentral.com . ..."
Sep 21, 2009 | www.livescience.com
What do rapper Kanye West, tennis star Serena Williams, and Congressman Joe Wilson have in common, besides lots of publicity over their recent public outbursts?

It doesn't take a psychiatrist to conclude that all three individuals placed their momentary emotional needs over the feelings and wishes of others -- and that they failed to play by the proverbial rules of the game. Though their intrusive behavior may be rationalized as "off the cuff" or "from the heart," the fact remains that each of these individuals performed a calculation over a period of seconds, minutes, or perhaps hours: they calculated that their anger or resentment was more important than the decorum others expected of them.

Sure, we all "lose it" from time to time, and impolite outbursts have probably been with us since our Neanderthal forebears first learned to growl. Furthermore, the impression that manners have gotten worse and worse over the years may not be supported by historical data. John F. Kasson, in his book, Rudeness and Civility , points out that people in medieval times behaved far more boorishly than our modern-day, "It's all about me!" crowd. Citing the work of sociologist Norbert Elias, Kasson writes that, compared to more recent times, " people in the late Middle Ages expressed their emotions -- joy, rage, piety, fear, even the pleasure of torturing and killing enemies -- with astonishing directness and intensity."

Maybe so -- but the recent tripleheader of West, Williams and Wilson made many of us wonder if we are turning into a nation of self-absorbed boors. (A Boston Globe editorial on 9/15/09 proclaimed, "Shouting is the New Opining.") This thesis is hardly new. Thirty years ago, Christopher Lasch put forward essentially the same argument, in his book The Culture of Narcissism . But Lasch's claims were mainly impressionistic. Now, however, a number of researchers and mental health professionals point to studies showing that, indeed, excessive self-absorption is on the increase.

For example, in their book, The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement , Jean M. Twenge, Ph.D and W. Keith Campbell, Ph.D. provide ample evidence for what they term "the relentless rise of narcissism in our culture." Twenge and Campbell identify several social trends that have contributed to this problem, including what they term "the movement toward self-esteem " that began in the late 1960s; and the movement away from "community-oriented thinking" that began in the 1970s. But the root causes go far deeper. For example, in a chapter entitled "Raising Royalty," Twenge and Campbell point to " the new parenting culture that has fueled the narcissism epidemic." In effect, the authors argue, there has been a shift away from limit-setting toward letting the child get whatever he or she wants.

Twenge and her colleagues have empirical data to back up their claims. For example, in a paper published in the August 2008 Journal of Personality , the authors report on 85 samples of American college students, studied between 1979 and 2006. The subjects were evaluated using an instrument called the Narcissistic Personality Inventory (NPI). Compared with their peers in the 1979-85 period, college students in 2006 showed a 30 percent increase in their NPI score. That's "the bad news.". If there is some good news, it might be this: Twenge and her colleagues Sara Konrath, Joshua D. Foster, W. Keith Campbell, and Brad J. Bushman point to a rise in several "positive traits" correlated with narcissism, such as self-esteem, extraversion, and assertiveness. Of course, a cynic might reply that these traits are "positive" only up to a point: When someone's idea of "assertiveness" involves jumping up on stage and grabbing the microphone from an award-winning singer, assertiveness has arguably crossed the line into loutishness.

Twenge and Campbell take pains to knock down the myth that all narcissists are basically insecure folks with very low self-esteem. Their research suggests otherwise -- most narcissists seem to have a heaping helping of self-esteem! But Twenge and Campbell focus mainly on individuals they call the "socially savvy narcissists who have the most influence on the culture." These high-fliers may be the sort one of my colleagues had in mind when he defined a narcissist as "somebody who, at the moment of peak sexual bliss, cries out his own name!"

These celebrity narcissists are not, for the most part, the kind of individuals I have treated in my own psychiatric practice. My patients tended to fall into the group Twenge and Campbell call "vulnerable narcissists." These unfortunate souls seem to cloak themselves in a mantle of gold, while feeling that, on the inside, they are nothing but rags. They suffer, to be sure -- but they also induce suffering in others, by acting out their insecurities in a thousand provocative ways. And, like some of their celebrity counterparts, these vulnerable narcissists are prone to outbursts of anger, verbal abuse, or just plain rudeness -- usually when they feel rejected, thwarted, or frustrated. They remind one of philosopher Eric Hoffer's observation that "rudeness is the weak man's imitation of strength."

If we are indeed producing increasingly self-obsessed individuals in our society, what can we do about it? There is clearly no simple prescription for what are evidently deep-seated cultural and familial ills. There is almost certainly no "Prozac for Narcissists" anywhere on the pharmacy shelves. As Twenge and Campbell argue, there is much in the way that we raise our children that may need to change. In my view, it is not simply a matter of refusing to spoil or over-indulge our children. Rather, we must also instill positive values that will help inoculate our children against narcissism.

In my book, Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living , I argue that the values of the ancient Stoics can help us achieve personal happiness. I believe that these same values can help our children grow into strong, responsible, and resilient citizens. And what are Stoic values? It's not just a matter of keeping a stiff upper lip, nor does Stoicism hold that you should tamp down all your feelings. Rather, Stoics believed that the good life is one characterized by virtuous beliefs and actions -- in brief, a life based on duty, discipline, and moderation. The Stoics also believed in the importance of taking life on its own terms–what they would have described as "living in harmony with nature."

Stoics did not whine when they were passed over for an award, nor did they throw a hissy fit when they didn't get their way. As the Stoic philosopher, Seneca (106-43 BCE) put it, "All ferocity is born of weakness." Perhaps most important, Stoics understood the tremendous value of gratitude -- not only for the gifts we have received, but also for the grief we have been spared. Maybe if more children were inculcated with these teachings, we would find our celebrities showing more gratitude and less "attitude."

Ronald Pies MD is Professor of Psychiatry and Lecturer on Bioethics and Humanities at SUNY Upstate Medical University, Syracuse NY; Clinical Professor of Psychiatry at Tufts University School of Medicine, Boston; and Editor-in-Chief, Psychiatric Times. He is the author of Everything Has Two Handles: The Stoic's Guide to the Art of Living . This article was provided by PsychCentral.com .

[Sep 11, 2018] It's not easy to call out a complete narcissist. They're highly manipulative in turning the tables and making themselves the victim leaving the righteous accuser or critic holding the bag

Sep 11, 2018 | www.moonofalabama.org

Circe , Sep 11, 2018 12:06:20 PM | link

@156

It's not easy to call out a complete narcissist. They're highly manipulative in turning the tables and making themselves the victim leaving the righteous accuser or critic holding the bag. It takes skill and gravitas not to fall into their trap but they should especially not be allowed to slither behind legitimate causes to excuse their nasty behaviour and then be glorified as a brave champion of the oppressed. Mostly it's how they twist the truth and get away with it that's scary. They'll inflate the minutest legitimacy to make their accuser appear like the ogre and so emerge vindicated by society. Imo that's a form of bullying. Again, it takes skill to expose them.

Circe , Sep 11, 2018 10:57:00 AM | link

@148

Times have changed not just in tennis. Increasingly devious bad behavior is excused and I would even say even glorified in sports and everywhere else. Look how long it took for Americans to admit Armstrong, cancer survivor cycling hero, was cheating. There too the ego-worship and American public's denial of the truth was nauseating. What about the American student who probably got away with murder in Italy and was so portrayed as the victim of European justice? Even when kissing her boyfriend while the coroner took the real victim out in a body bag they were making excuses with her psychological state. Awh,poor thing...it was her way of cleansing/releasing the stress of the whole tragedy! There's also the basketball players who got away with a spree of theft and vandalism in Asia and hardly suffered any accountability.

Devious bad behavior is tolerated everywhere now and narcissism viewed as strength when it's only making society more and more ignorant, insensitive and intolerable. Humility and honor have become weaknesses and the truth a necessary casualty.

I would say Americans are the worst offenders, but the trend they're setting is becoming rampant and it's degrading society everywhere. Kids are emulating it. That's why it needs to be called out for what it really is, depraved; wherever, whenever, so it doesn't become the acceptable normal and the excusable new hip normal for kids.

[Sep 11, 2018] The Entitled and Narcissistic Petulance of Serena Williams (THE SAAD TRUTH_720)

Now we have a video tutorial how a narcissist behave when he/she is losing, a lesson how to identify a narcissistic bully. Anyone who has not experienced first hand the wrath of a narcissistic bully should watch this as a training session. Such a behaviour is triggered when he/she cannot manipulate people like they think they should be able to. The scenario is simple: if somebody disagrees with them, or worse yet, attempts to call the out for a wrongdoing, they will immediately ratchet things up by: insisting that the other person is wrong and try to influence their decision making in their favour (admin that you are wrong~); (2) becoming outraged that the person dares to accuse them of the wrongdoing; (3) instantly "turn the tables": portray yourself as the victim; (4) use "crocodile tears" to garner sympathy; (5) demand an apology (king of gaslighting, inducing feeling of a guild without any reason); (6) try to intimidate and threaten the person into giving in
Sep 09, 2018 | www.youtube.com

I found out from the Twitter mob that it is forbidden to criticize Ms. Williams because bruh "sexism and racism." The Entitled and Narcissistic Petulance of Serena Williams (THE SAAD TRUTH_720)

The truth can hurt. The truth can set you free. But you can't hide from THE SAAD TRUTH. Why are men the majority of Ferrari owners? Why do women prefer tall men? What is evolutionary psychology? How does one apply biology in understanding consumer behaviour? What is the current state of intellectual diversity on university campuses? Are all religions equally violent/peaceful? What is at the root of political correctness and the thought police? These issues and countless others are addressed in my YouTube channel. My goal is to engage folks in a fun and informative manner. Please subscribe and spread the word. Cheers. Rating is available when the video has been rented. This feature is not available right now. Please try again later.

I found out from the Twitter mob that it is forbidden to criticize Ms. Williams because bruh "sexism and racism."
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Marky Whitemale , 2 days ago

"Narcissistic Petulance" and "Self-Entitled" is such a perfect way of describing Princess Serena.

Molly Whipple

Does anyone else see the sort of behavior that Serena exhibited in this instance as a very public example of the same sort of ingrained entitled narcissism that seems to be part and parcel of the psychology of the SJW mindset?

H.J. Indy Nuding

The generation now coming out of Western schools is unable to distinguish good from bad. Even those words are unacceptable. This results in impaired thinking ability. ~Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

Grard Mentor

Justin Hnin is a close cousin of mine, you wouldn't believe the stories I heard a bout the Williams sisters...these two are absolute scumbags who'll do anything to win.

Bode Etemadi

Agree with you 100%. This was not sexism nor racism. It was a matter of conduct and violation of rules. Serena acted poorly and stole the moment from Osaka. Shame on those who are celebrating her for her actions yesterday and shame on those who claim victimhood on her behalf. Lastly shame on Serena

Bronwyn Doyle

In her uncontrolled temper she broke her racket in three places, in the game and screamed herself into a state of hysterics. However, another athlete, Jose Bautista hit the ball out of the park and while running to first base he executed the Famous Bat Flip and he was criticized for over a year for that-he was in good spirits and it was a harmless bat flip but received no end of criticism. Williams should have been escorted from the court and penalized for her disgraceful behaviour and using the game for her Soapbox. She ruined the game for her opponent as well. Selfish, conceited woman.

Gad Saad , 2 days ago

I'm not sure why my latest SAAD TRUTH clip is solely audio. I taped it via my camera as an audiovisual video. In any case, I won't upload it again, as the message is perhaps better retained if you are not distracted by my outlandish good looks.

Feta Cheezz , 1 day ago

"Entitled" "Narcissistic Petulance".................sounds like the perfect candidate for the next Nike ad campaign.

Brian Donovan , 2 days ago

She actually accused the umpire of being SEXIST He's umpiring a match between two women so ???

Earl Greystoke , 2 days ago

Thank goodness Serena's opponent & tennis referee weren't "white", otherwise all hell would've broken loose! She played the woman card but couldn't really let loose with the poor oppressed black card.

Lttlemoi , 2 days ago (edited)

The whole ordeal was so sad for Osaka. As a child, Serena was one of her idols and she had always looked forward to playing against her. Today was the day that dream finally came true* after years of hard work and her (now former?) idol turned it into a total nightmare. Williams even refused to shake her hand after the match! She disrespected the umpire. She disrespected the audience. She disrespected the ideals of sportsmanship and above all, she greatly disrespected Osaka. *edit: Apparently this was the second game between the two, thanks Zeeker for pointing that out.

Michael Valenzuela , 2 days ago

I'm just happy she didn't lose to Maria Sharapova or some other lighter skinned tennis player. The MSM would be salivating at the mouth screaming,' WHITE PATRIARCHY!!!' And cue the new NIKE ads.

[Jul 06, 2018] Pathological lust for political power which afflicted so many is in itself a good indication of a borderline disorder.

Notable quotes:
"... Generally, the term "Russia scholar" when applied to most, in our particular case American, experts should be treated as a bad joke. This is not to mention that most of those "scholars" (with the exception of predominantly Jewish Soviet emigres, such as moron Max Boot) can not even speak, forget a complete command, Russian language. ..."
Jul 06, 2018 | www.unz.com

Andrei Martyanov , Website June 15, 2018 at 5:20 pm GMT

@EugeneGur

It's not over until it's over. This sentence of yours simply shows how misunderstood the Soviet period of the Russian history is in the West.

It is not "misunderstood"–it is a complete caricature which now blows into the faces of those who helped to create it. Western Russia "expertise" is pathetic and some exceptions merely confirm the rule. Generally, the term "Russia scholar" when applied to most, in our particular case American, experts should be treated as a bad joke. This is not to mention that most of those "scholars" (with the exception of predominantly Jewish Soviet emigres, such as moron Max Boot) can not even speak, forget a complete command, Russian language.

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 5:46 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

Quite a few grant-eating "liberals" inside Russia speak the language, but this does not make them any more competent. Basically, they illustrate the saying that "he, who pays the musicians, calls the tune". The same applies to "Russia scholars" residing in the US, regardless of their language proficiency.

Andrei Martyanov , Website June 15, 2018 at 5:46 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

However mad Bolton might be, most card-carrying Russophobs and neocons are not crazy: they are cynical people without scruples working for money.

Very true but they are multidimensional and only some of them are not crazy, Ralph Peters, Max Boot or many other rabid Russophobes are genuinely mad. Enough to take a look at their reactions and behavior, I omit here a complete military-political delirium they propagate, which in itself a fruit of a sick imagination.

So it is both for very many of them. After the death of Richard Pipes I received communications from person who studied under him, this person has Ph.D in history, he describes him going completely mad, from going hi pitch in his voice, almost screaming, to sweating profusely, once the word Russia and Russians were uttered.

The hatred of Russia was palpable. Guess what, Pipes was hailed as America's greatest "Russia scholar". It is never one thing. Moreover, pathological lust for political power which afflicted so many is in itself a good indication of a borderline disorder.

AnonFromTN , June 15, 2018 at 6:11 pm GMT
@Andrei Martyanov

If we consider lust for power as a sign of mental affliction, not a single person trying to become US president is completely normal. Might be true, considering the kind of trash we are repeatedly getting.

Andrei Martyanov , Website June 15, 2018 at 6:34 pm GMT
@AnonFromTN

If we consider lust for power as a sign of mental affliction, not a single person trying to become US president is completely normal. Might be true, considering the kind of trash we are repeatedly getting.

Combined West and its "electoral" and educational institutions completely stopped production of real statesmen already in 1970s. We saw last pool of real statesmen depart the scene with Bill Clinton's victory in 1992. Current Western so called "elites" do not even qualify for the term mediocrity. Many of then are simply degenerate such as European Greens or American, so called, Left, albeit the nominal Right also doesn't shine with any traces of intellect.

[Feb 03, 2018] Foremost for the NPD afflicted is the need to try to satisfy the never satisfied ego.

Feb 03, 2018 | commons.commondreams.org

sbrownn May '17

It is all about Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Once you become familiar with the disorder and all of its behavioral implications all the questions are answered.

Foremost for the NPD afflicted is the need to try to satisfy the never satisfied ego. Every action and behavior first must address the needy ego and only after taking that into consideration can any of the rest of the motives be evaluated...

[May 31, 2017] Gaslighting State Mind Control and Abusive Narcissism

May 31, 2017 | www.informationclearinghouse.info
The psychological term "Gaslighting" comes from a 1944 Hollywood classic movie called Gaslight. Gaslighting describes the abuse employed by a narcissist to instil in their victim's mind, an extreme anxiety and confusion to the extent where they no longer have faith in their own powers of logic, reason and judgement. These gaslighting techniques were adopted by central intelligence agencies in the US and Europe as part of their psychological warfare methods, used primarily during torture or interrogation.

Gaslighting as an abuser's modus operandi, involves, specifically, the withholding of factual information and its replacement with false or fictional information designed to confuse and disorientate. This subtle and Machiavellian process eventually undermines the mental stability of its victims reducing them to such a depth of insecurity and identity crisis that they become entirely dependent upon their abuser for their sense of reality and even identity.

Gaslighting involves a step by step psychological process to manipulate and destabilize its victim. It is built up over time and consists of repetitive information feeds that enter the victim's subconscious over a period of time, until it is fully registered on the subconscious "hard disk" and cannot be overridden by the conscious floppy disk. Put more simply, it is brainwashing.

" Overall, the main reason for gaslighting is to create a dynamic where the abuser has complete control over their victim so that they are so weak that they are very easy to manipulate." ~ Alex Myles

Three Stages of Gaslighting

Exceptionalism or Narcissism?

Gaslight

We are currently seeing the transformation of US exceptionalism into an abusive Narcissism .

[Sep 22, 2016] 6 Signs Your Spouse Has Checked Out Of Your Marriage Huffington Post

Notable quotes:
"... Will you get dinner and pick up the kids? Could you call the plumber about the kitchen sink?" ..."
"... everything - ..."
"... "I'll be in bed in a little bit" ..."
"... Do you want to be more mindful about eating healthy foods that'll keep your mind and body at their best? Sign up for our newsletter and join our Eat Well, Feel Great challenge to learn how to fuel your body in the healthiest way possible. We'll deliver tips, challenges and advice to your inbox every day. ..."
Mar 14, 2016 | www.huffingtonpost.com

When your spouse isn't interested in doing the "work" of marriage, it's easy to feel powerless. But all isn't lost, said Jeannie Ingram, a couples therapist based in Nashville, Tennessee.

"The relationship doesn't have to end," she told HuffPost. "The truth is, all relationships need tuning up from time to time."

Below, Ingram and other experts share the most common signs a spouse has checked out of a marriage - and what you can do to take matters into your own hands.

1. They spend a lot of time around you but not with you.

It doesn't count as quality time if one of you is distracted by your smartphone or checking work emails, said Aaron Anderson, a marriage and family therapist based in Denver, Colorado.

"If you and your spouse spend a lot of time in the same room but they never do things with you, they've likely disengaged from the relationship," he told us. "Nobody wants to spend the two hours after work browsing social media."

Try planning new, exciting things to do together so hopefully "your partner will want to shut down the computer and turn off their phone to be with you," Anderson said.

2. They never include you in their weekend or after-work plans.

Spending time apart (pursing your hobbies or seeing friends) is essential in a healthy marriage. It keeps the mystery alive. But spend too much time apart and you're well on your way to living separate lives, said Becky Whetstone, a marriage and family therapist who works in Little Rock, Arkansas.

"If your S.O feels disillusioned with the marriage, they might cope by distracting themselves with things they enjoy that that don't involve you," she said.

To figure out why they're disengaging, broach the conversation in a calm manner, at a time that works for the two of you, Whetstone said.

"Therapists call this 'coming toward your partner,'" she said. "Watch the tone of your voice and your body language and find the right time - not in the middle of something hectic. Ask, 'Hey, what's up? I've noticed you pulling away lately.'"

Most importantly, don't lash out if their answer upsets you. "Make it safe for them to reply or they're not likely to open up again after that," Whetstone said.

3. They never ask, "How was your day?"

If your conversations are limited to household logistics (" Will you get dinner and pick up the kids? Could you call the plumber about the kitchen sink?" ) and your S.O. seems disinterested in how you're doing, your marriage may be in trouble, Anderson said.

"When someone checks out of a relationship, they stop caring about their partner as much," he said. "They don't ask you how work is going, how your family is doing or even if you got that promotion you wanted."

To show that your marriage is still very much a priority - and that you, at least, care about them - make it a point to vocalize that.

"Just because they've checked out doesn't mean you have to," Anderson said, "And after they see how much you care, they might just start caring more, too."

4. They aren't interested in sex.

The thrill is gone - and your S.O. seems entirely OK with that. Why might that be the case? Oftentimes, partners avoid physical intimacy after they've been hurt emotionally, said Ingram.

"In the beginning, couples in love are so intoxicated with each other that they share everything - they allow themselves to be fully vulnerable," said Ingram.

But that same vulnerability also opens you up to hurt from your partner.

"If you're emotionally hurt, intimacy doesn't feel safe - it's just too vulnerable," Ingram said. "Couples need to become conscious of this and be willing to talk about why they avoid closeness, perhaps in the office of a qualified marriage therapist."

5. They're hyper-critical of your friends and family.

Your partner may not be as forgiving of your parents as you are, but they shouldn't take the liberty to rag on them any chance they get, Whetstone said.

"It shows disinterest but it's also unacceptable behavior," she said. "Set a boundary and say something like, 'Please, why so much venom? It hurts me when you throw so much negativity on to me and my friends and family. What's going on? Obviously you're unhappy about something. Please, let's talk about it.'"

6. They go to bed at different times.

"I'll be in bed in a little bit" is not as innocent a phrase as you might think, Ingram said.

"Commonly, couples fall prey to what I call 'functional exits," she said. "These are behaviors that are part of everyday life, but serve the dual purpose of avoiding intimacy. For example, work, hobbies, or when you regularly say or hear, 'You go on to bed; I'll be along later.'"

The good news? Mismatched bedtimes and similar problems are easily fixed if you and your partner are willing to make the effort.

"Exits like these are not necessarily a sign the relationship needs to end, but rather, an indication that it's time for some work," she reassured.

Do you want to be more mindful about eating healthy foods that'll keep your mind and body at their best? Sign up for our newsletter and join our Eat Well, Feel Great challenge to learn how to fuel your body in the healthiest way possible. We'll deliver tips, challenges and advice to your inbox every day.

[Sep 10, 2016] Surviving the Storm - Divorcing a Narcissist

May 02, 2016 | dalkeithpress.com

Dalkeith Press

You may have thought that living with your troubled spouse was hard. But now that you've reached the point of divorce, you probably already know that this can be ever harder. Narcissistic behavior can be labeled as borderline, sociopathic, narcissistic, or just intolerable, but it all derives from one fundamental driving force: narcissists can't tolerate criticism, especially public criticism. And divorcing them is about them most direct and public criticism you can make. You'll know you're there when your soon-to-be ex spouse begins a campaign of destruction against you. And if you don't know how to resond and deal with it, it can take a terrible toll.

Surviving the Storm offers practical strategies that can help you reach a settlement with your soon-to-be ex, in spite of his or her seeming determination to scorch the earth. The key is understanding that narcissists fear, above all, critical judgment by others. Your decision to divorce sets these fears in motion. To counter them, you need to know how to split the battlefield, offering on the one hand a safe alternative in which you get what you need, and on the other a continuing stream of criticism, judgment, and shame heaped on your soon-to-be ex. In essence, you trade the safety of silence for the things you need in the settlement.

Surviving the Storm also offers practical boundaries on what you can and can't expect to do. It explains the impact of divorcing a narcissist on your children, and offers strategies and tactics to help achieve a custody arrangement that is best for your kids. It explains what parental alienation is and where to get more help with it. It offers some reflection on the moral issues we face in divorce, including the Catholic Church's surprising position holding that marriage to a narcissist is a moral impossibility. Finally, it offers a perspective on healing and the need for new experiences to move on.

Richard has been helping people deal with the trauma and pain of abusive relationships for nearly ten years. His other books are Tears and Healing , Meaning from Madness , In Love and Loving It - Or Not! , Tears and Healing Reflections , and the Way of Respect If you've read them, you know his style, and this book is also short and to the point, giving you the information and insight you need without wading through hundreds of pages you don't need.

[Sep 10, 2016] Are BPD Drama Queens Manipulative, Sadistic, and Worse

Notable quotes:
"... Often described as "drama queens" or "abusive," they too frequently create chaos in situations where others would smoothly deal with the normal differences and disappointments that arise from time to time for all of us. ..."
"... These habits now would suggest to me comorbid diagnoses, that is, a combination of borderline personality emotional hyper-reactivity with narcissistic and/or psychopathic (conning) patterns. ..."
"... manipulation is defined as deception used for personal gain, without concern for victims." ..."
www.psychologytoday.com

Women, and men, with borderline personality disorder seem not to know how to stop arguing (link is external).

Often described as "drama queens" or "abusive," they too frequently create chaos in situations where others would smoothly deal with the normal differences and disappointments that arise from time to time for all of us.

... ... ...

There may well be some individuals with BPD who are genuinely manipulative or sadistic.

These habits now would suggest to me comorbid diagnoses, that is, a combination of borderline personality emotional hyper-reactivity with narcissistic and/or psychopathic (conning) patterns.

In the Journal of Personality Disorders a 2006 an excellent article by Nancy Nyquist Potter, PhD entitled "What is Manipulative Behavior Anyway?" (link is external) looked to define the term manipulative.

In the Hare Psychopathy Checklist (cited in Bowers, 2002) ... manipulation is defined as deception used for personal gain, without concern for victims."

[Sep 10, 2016] Meet the Malignant Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... A personality disorder characterized by grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy, lack of truthfulness, and the tendency to degrade others. ..."
"... Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable. ..."
"... This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual's deficient capacity for empathy. It's almost impossible for a person with such shallow feelings and such haughtiness to really care about others or to form a conscience with any of the qualities we typically associate with a humane attitude, which is why most researchers and thinkers on the topic of psychopathy think of psychopaths as individuals without a conscience altogether." ..."
Dec 09, 2015 | jessescrossroadscafe.blogspot.com
"A personality disorder characterized by grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy, lack of truthfulness, and the tendency to degrade others."

"Narcissism becomes particularly malignant (i.e. malevolent, dangerous, harmful, incurable) when it goes beyond mere vanity and excessive self-focus. Malignant narcissists not only see themselves as superior to others but believe in their superiority to the degree that they view others as relatively worthless, expendable, and justifiably exploitable.

This type of narcissism is a defining characteristic of psychopathy/sociopathy and is rooted in an individual's deficient capacity for empathy. It's almost impossible for a person with such shallow feelings and such haughtiness to really care about others or to form a conscience with any of the qualities we typically associate with a humane attitude, which is why most researchers and thinkers on the topic of psychopathy think of psychopaths as individuals without a conscience altogether."

"There is nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself."

https://www.youtube.com/embed/x54z2pRAvtg?rel=0"

[Aug 14, 2016] The cry of management bullying reduces wholesale ownership to bad personal behaviour, something to be corrected by the schoolteacher or the next authority up.

Notable quotes:
"... As extracurricular lesson. ..."
www.nakedcapitalism.com

clinical wasteman , August 13, 2016 at 11:31 am

BULLYING: (1.) Workplace. Cuts conflict over time and money down to schoolyard scale. If one schoolchild 'bullies' another the injury is real but the two are formal equals under the same coercive structure. Neither owns the other's means of survival.

Apply the metaphor to boss and worker, then, and the stakes of the conflict evaporate, or rather stay in the hands that always held them. The cry of 'management bullying' reduces wholesale ownership to bad personal behaviour, something to be corrected by the schoolteacher or the next authority up. A plea for Help that counts as the surrender (usually by proxy) of the managed.

(2.) As extracurricular lesson. Actual schoolyard violence is 'bullying' when the perpetrator fits the profile for Multi-Agency Intervention better than the target. In the opposite case, counsellors and Restorative Justice practitioners may declare the ordeal a lesson in Life Skills for the injured party. A salutary warning that s/he must either curb a too-sharp tongue or be unemployable as well as regularly beaten up in years to come.

From the many more than 25 "words and phrases" at: http://www.wealthofnegations.org/

[Aug 14, 2016] Roger Stone on The Milo Show 'I think Hillary Clinton Has Bipolar'

If we assume that Hillary is a Borderline Psychopaths, that explains bouts of borderline Rage
www.breitbart.com

On the subject of Trump, Stone said that "the Trump you see on TV is the only Trump there is, he doesn't have two personalities, he has one personality."

He contrasted this with Hillary Clinton, who he described as having "two personalities."

"Publicly, she pretends to be the warm, likeable grandmother. But privately she is a foul mouthed, short-tempered, nasty, vicious, extraordinarily abusive, maniac. I think she has bipolar, at least."

[Aug 01, 2016] Bullying Definition

Notable quotes:
"... Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems. ..."
"... Kids who bully use their power-such as physical strength, access to embarrassing information, or popularity-to control or harm others. Power imbalances can change over time and in different situations, even if they involve the same people. ..."
"... The set of behaviors definition given is not age dependent. The definition may have been provided to provide a basis for recognizing and determining a set of behaviors that may be defined as bullying, but says nothing about age levels. It's a description of a set of human behaviors being applied to a particular age group for the sake of defining a particular basis of illegal behavior. ..."
www.stopbullying.gov

Below is the definition of bullying from stopbullying.gov. (US Department of Health & Human Services)

Bullying is unwanted, aggressive behavior among school aged children that involves a real or perceived power imbalance. The behavior is repeated, or has the potential to be repeated, over time. Both kids who are bullied and who bully others may have serious, lasting problems.

In order to be considered bullying, the behavior must be aggressive and include:

Bullying includes actions such as making threats, spreading rumors, attacking someone physically or verbally, and excluding someone from a group on purpose.

Types of Bullying

There are three types of bullying:

Jack, August 1, 2016 11:23 am

Warren,
That is a nonsensical reply. The set of behaviors definition given is not age dependent. The definition may have been provided to provide a basis for recognizing and determining a set of behaviors that may be defined as bullying, but says nothing about age levels. It's a description of a set of human behaviors being applied to a particular age group for the sake of defining a particular basis of illegal behavior.

Ed, Maybe bullying should be described as a high priority issue in our schools, but assigning it to the number one spot may be a bit hyperbolic.

Edward Lambert, August 1, 2016 12:07 pm

Jack,
It is a very high priority. I went to a presentation by the local school superintendent. She said bullying was the #1 priority by law. She has to drop anything and everything that she is doing when a case of bullying presents itself by law. That is how serious the situation became.

[May 18, 2016] Less Than Artful Choices Narcissistic Personality Disorder According to Donald Trump by Maria Konnikova

Notable quotes:
"... So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following: ..."
Big Think

Donald Trump was born in 1946. 34 years later, in the third edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), the American Psychiatric Association's hefty volume of mental disorder classifications, the term "Narcissistic Personality Disorder" (NPD) first appeared as a diagnosable disease Trump would doubtless say it was created in his honor (characteristic #1 of NPD: An exaggerated sense of self-importance). After all, the newly-minted personality disorder made its debut only nine years after he took the helm of his father's company and renamed it from Elizabeth Trump & Son to The Trump Organization.

The most recent DSM, DSM-IV, is currently under extensive revision, with DSM-V scheduled for publication sometime in 2013, and both its listed diseases and their definitions are undergoing extensive scrutiny and contentious debate. On the chopping block are five of the ten or so so-called personality disorders, including NPD. Among the reasons for the cut are the frequent overlap between disorders, the general lack of stability of symptoms, and the range of those symptoms in reality, as compared to the either/or approach of the manual (either you have a disorder or you don't). So, before NPD becomes a thing of the past, at least in its current form, I thought we'd take a moment to reflect on some less than artful choices or the things that make Trump look like he just stepped out of the fourth edition, symptom by symptom.

A caveat: I am obviously exaggerating, both Trump and narcissism. But debate on personality disorders, classifications, diagnoses, and treatments is well worthwhile, and a colorful spokesperson never hurts.

So, without further ado, Trump's quotable illustration of the hallmarks of NPD, defined according to DSM-IV as, "A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy." The disorder is indicated by at least five of the following:

1. An exaggerated sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

A sense of one's own importance, a grandiose feeling that one is alone responsible for any achievement is a hallmark of the narcissist. Grandiosity is one of the central tenets of a narcissistic personality. Narcissists tend to take credit for everything, as if no one else contributed to the end product. Witness Trump's declaration that, "When people see the beautiful marble in Trump Tower, they usually have no idea what I went through personally to achieve the end result. No one cares about the blood, sweat, and tears that art or beauty require." What do you know: not only is Trump a developer and an artistic visionary, but he seems to be a stellar architect and construction worker as well.

And history will agree (naturally). "Anyone who thinks my story is anywhere near over is sadly mistaken," says Trump. Sadly, indeed.

2. Preoccupation with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty or ideal love How many presidential runs does it take for the process to be defined as a preoccupation rather than an occupation?

I'd leave it at that, except for the existence of this little gem: "My fingers are long and beautiful, as, it has been well documented, are various other parts of my body." Not only all-powerful, but all-beautiful, too. The man has it all.

3. Believes he is "special" and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions) To narcissists, the "little people" or anyone beneath them (which is mostly everyone) don't matter. Trump's lambasting of Rosie O'Donnell is a good case in point: "Rosie O'Donnell called me a snake oil salesman. And, you know, coming from Rosie, that's pretty low because when you look at her and when you see the mind, the mind is weak. I don't see it. I don't get it. I never understood how does she even get on television?"

Clearly, Rosie lacks the power to understand the dazzling intellect that is Donald Trump. Trump needs someone of equal status to appreciate his immensity. But it can't be Larry King, because as he told King, "Do you mind if I sit back a little? Because your breath is very bad. It really is. Has this been told to you before?"

4. Requires excessive admiration No matter the sincerity, as long as the praise comes frequently and at a high enough volume. Says Trump, "All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me consciously or unconsciously. That's to be expected." Clearly. Admired, wherever he may go, even when he's talking about himself in the third person, as in, "Love him or hate him, Trump is a man who is certain about what he wants and sets out to get it, no holds barred. Women find his power almost as much of a turn-on as his money."

As he puts it, "Nobody but a total masochist wants to be criticized."

5. Has a sense of entitlement The world owes the narcissist everything; he, in turn, owes it nothing. I think Trump's attitude can be summed up with this approach to marriage: "I wish I'd had a great marriage. See, my father was always very proud of me, but the one thing he got right was that he had a great marriage. He was married for 64 years. One of my ex-wives once said to me, 'You have to work at a marriage.' And I said, 'That's the most ridiculous thing.'"

6. Selfishly takes advantage of others to achieve his own ends I don't have a quote for this one, but perhaps we can talk to one of his ex-wives.

7. Lacks empathy Narcissists don't sympathize with the feelings of others. Who are these "others," anyway? No one matters except for me. I won't recreate the Rosie rampage in full, but sentiments like, "I'll sue her because it would be fun. I'd like to take some money out of her fat ass pockets," capture the spirit.

8. Is often envious of others or believes others to be envious of him Here, it seems like Trump is dominated by the second sentiment, the expectation that everyone is envious of his success. Everyone wants to be Trump. As he puts it, "The old rich may look down their noses at me, but I think they kiss my ass."

9. Shows arrogant, haughty, patronizing, or contemptuous behaviors or attitudes Again, other people don't matter. They can be treated like nothing, because who are we kidding nothing is the closest description of what they are.

Clients don't matter. As Trump puts it, "When I build something for somebody, I always add $50 million or $60 million onto the price. My guys come in, they say it's going to cost $75 million. I say it's going to cost $125 million, and I build it for $100 million. Basically, I did a lousy job. But they think I did a great job." Take them for the suckers they are; that's the ticket.

The media doesn't matter. According to Trump, "You know, it really doesn't matter what (the media) write as long as you've got a young and beautiful piece of ass." The piece of ass doesn't matter, either; any will do.

Other businesses don't matter. As Trump says, "If you want to buy something, it's obviously in your best interest to convince the seller that what he's got isn't worth very much."

But it's ok. Trump doesn't have to be nice. After all, it's not like he wants to run for office or anything: "I'm not running for office. I don't have to be politically correct. I don't have to be a nice person. Like I watch some of these weak-kneed politicians, it's disgusting. I don't have to be that way."

Too bad. We need a good candidate. Because according to Trump, "One of the key problems today is that politics is such a disgrace. Good people don't go into government."

[May 18, 2016] Barack Obama Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

Notable quotes:
"... Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth. ..."
"... Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap"). ..."
"... An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests". ..."
"... Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and "ideals" (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, reuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy. ..."
"... Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). ..."
"... Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct. ..."
"... When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on. ..."
"... The narcissist instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential his converser has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist's self-proclaimed omniscience. ..."
"... In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can publicly dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist without repercussions, providing the discourse is not "emotionally tinted". ..."
lettingfreedomring.com
Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist . Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

Perhaps it is time to require each candidate to high office in the USA to submit to a rigorous physical and mental checkup with the results made public.

I. Upbringing and Childhood

Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia : a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.

Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.

II. Behavior Patterns

The narcissist:

Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

From my book "Malignant Self Love Narcissism Revisited":

"To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity . Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).
Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

III. Body Language

Many complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic style, a personality structure ("character"), or a narcissistic "overlay" superimposed on another mental health problem.

Moreover, it is important to distinguish between traits and behavior patterns that are independent of the patient's cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe life crises or circumstances are also often characterized by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

When a person belongs to a society or culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (such as Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) how much of his behavior can be attributed to his milieu and which of his traits are really his?

The Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR with a set of strict criteria and differential diagnoses.

Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of the patient's life.

Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct.

When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals ("presenting symptoms") even in a first or casual encounter. Compare the following list to Barack Obama's body language during his public appearances.

These are:

IV. Narcissistic and psychopathic Leaders

The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people or humanity at large should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".

But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all.

The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

Minorities or "others" often arbitrarily selected constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm together with Stalin as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative.

Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite is highly unlikely to use violence at first.

The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc.

When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc.

The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist his flock, his nation, his employees they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

DISCLAIMER

I am not a mental health professional. Still, I have dedicated the last 12 years to the study of personality disorders in general and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in particular. I have authored nine (9) books about these topics, one of which is a Barnes and Noble best-seller ("Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"). My work is widely cited in scholarly tomes and publications and in the media. My books and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.

[May 18, 2016] 10 Signs That Youre in a Relationship with a Narcissist by Preston Ni M.S.B.A.

Notable quotes:
"... the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." ..."
"... In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged. ..."
"... It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it. ..."
"... Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. ..."
"... "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda ..."
"... Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. ..."
www.psychologytoday.com

Be on the lookout for these, before you get manipulated.

"That's enough of me talking about myself; let's hear you talk about me"

― Anonymous

"It's not easy being superior to everyone I know."

― Anonymous

Psychologist Stephen Johnson writes that the narcissist is someone who has "buried his true self-expression in response to early injuries and replaced it with a highly developed, compensatory false self." This alternate persona to the real self often comes across as grandiose, "above others," self-absorbed, and highly conceited. In our highly individualistic and externally driven society, mild to severe forms of narcissism are not only pervasive but often encouraged.

Narcissism is often interpreted in popular culture as a person who's in love with him or herself. It is more accurate to characterize the pathological narcissist as someone who's in love with an idealized self-image , which they project in order to avoid feeling (and being seen as) the real, disenfranchised, wounded self. Deep down, most pathological narcissists feel like the "ugly duckling," even if they painfully don't want to admit it.

How do you know when you're dealing with a narcissist? The following are some telltale signs, excerpted from my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ". While most of us are guilty of some of the following behaviors at one time or another, a pathological narcissist tends to dwell habitually in several of the following personas, while remaining largely unaware of (or unconcerned with) how his or her actions affect others.

1. Conversation Hoarder . The narcissist loves to talk about him or herself, and doesn't give you a chance to take part in a two-way conversation. You struggle to have your views and feelings heard. When you do get a word in, if it's not in agreement with the narcissist, your comments are likely to be corrected, dismissed, or ignored. As in: "My father's favorite responses to my views were: 'but,' 'actually,' and 'there's more to it than this' He always has to feel like he knows better." ― Anonymous

2. Conversation Interrupter. While many people have the poor communication habit of interrupting others, the narcissist interrupts and quickly switches the focus back to herself. He shows little genuine interest in you.

3. Rule Breaker. The narcissist enjoys getting away with violating rules and social norms, such as cutting in line, chronic under-tipping, stealing office supplies, breaking multiple appointments, or disobeying traffic laws. As in: "I take pride in persuading people to give me exceptions to their rules" ― Anonymous

4. Boundary Violator. Shows wanton disregard for other people's thoughts, feelings, possessions, and physical space. Oversteps and uses others without consideration or sensitivity. Borrows items or money without returning. Breaks promises and obligations repeatedly. Shows little remorse and blames the victim for one's own lack of respect. As in: "It's your fault that I forgot because you didn't remind me"― Anonymous

5. False Image Projection. Many narcissists like to do things to impress others by making themselves look good externally. This "trophy" complex can exhibit itself physically, romantically, sexually, socially, religiously, financially, materially, professionally, academically, or culturally. In these situations, the narcissist uses people, objects, status, and/or accomplishments to represent the self, substituting for the perceived, inadequate "real" self. These grandstanding "merit badges" are often exaggerated. The underlying message of this type of display is: "I'm better than you!" or "Look at how special I am-I'm worthy of everyone's love, admiration, and acceptance!" as in: "I dyed my hair blond and enlarged my breasts to get men's attention-and to make other women jealous " - Anonymous. Or "My accomplishments are everything" ― Anonymous executive Or "I never want to be looked upon as poor. My fianc and I each drive a Mercedes. The best man at our upcoming wedding also drives a Mercedes." ― Anonymous.

In a big way, these external symbols become pivotal parts of the narcissist's false identity, replacing the real and injured self.

6. Entitlement. Narcissists often expect preferential treatment from others. They expect others to cater (often instantly) to their needs, without being considerate in return. In their mindset, the world revolves around them.

7. Charmer. Narcissists can be very charismatic and persuasive. When they're interested in you (for their own gratification), they make you feel very special and wanted. However, once they lose interest in you (most likely after they've gotten what they want, or became bored), they may drop you without a second thought. A narcissist can be very engaging and sociable, as long as you're fulfilling what she desires, and giving her all of your attention.

8. Grandiose Personality. Thinking of oneself as a hero or heroine, a prince or princess, or one of a kind special person. Some narcissists have an exaggerated sense of self-importance, believing that others cannot live or survive without his or her magnificent contributions. As in: "I'm looking for a man who will treat my daughter and me like princesses" ― Anonymous singles ad. Or: "Once again I saved the day-without me, they're nothing" ― Anonymous

9. Negative Emotions. Many narcissists enjoy spreading and arousing negative emotions to gain attention, feel powerful, and keep you insecure and off-balance. They are easily upset at any real or perceived slights or inattentiveness. They may throw a tantrum if you disagree with their views, or fail to meet their expectations. They are extremely sensitive to criticism, and typically respond with heated argument (fight) or cold detachment (flight). On the other hand, narcissists are often quick to judge, criticize, ridicule, and blame you. Some narcissists are emotionally abusive. By making you feel inferior, they boost their fragile ego, and feel better about themselves. As in: "Some people try to be tall by cutting off the heads of others" - Paramhansa Yogananda

10. Manipulation: Using Others as an Extension of Self. Making decisions for others to suit one's own needs. The narcissist may use his or her romantic partner, child, friend, or colleague to meet unreasonable self-serving needs, fulfill unrealized dreams , or cover up self-perceived inadequacies and flaws. As in: "If my son doesn't grow up to be a professional baseball player, I'll disown him" ― Anonymous father. Or: "Aren't you beautiful? Aren't you beautiful? You're going to be just as pretty as mommy" ― Anonymous mother

Another way narcissists manipulate is through guilt, such as proclaiming, "I've given you so much, and you're so ungrateful," or, "I'm a victim-you must help me or you're not a good person." They hijack your emotions, and beguile you to make unreasonable sacrifices.

If you find yourself in a relationship with a difficult narcissist, there are many strategies and skills you can utilize to help restore health , balance, and respect. In my book (click on title): " How to Successfully Handle Narcissists (link is external) ," you'll learn how to maintain composure, ways to be proactive instead of reactive, seven powerful strategies to handle narcissists, eight ways to say "no" diplomatically but firmly, keys to negotiate successfully with narcissists, and seven types of power you can utilize to compel cooperation .

For more on dealing with difficult people, see my publications (click on titles):

Follow me on Twitter (link is external) , Facebook (link is external) , and LinkedIn (link is external) !

Preston Ni, M.S.B.A. is available as a presenter, workshop facilitator, and private coach. For more information, write to commsuccess@nipreston.com (link sends e-mail) , or visit www.nipreston.com (link is external) .



Old News ;-)

4 Warning Signs You're Dating a Narcissist World of Psychology

That is what a relationship with a narcissist is like. In the beginning there's flash and excitement. Their presence is magnetic and he or she seems larger than life. They are intelligent, charming, and popular, and when they're the center of attention, some of the spotlight shines on you, too, leaving you glowing with pride, importance, and accomplishment. Yet after a while, you discover that under the surface the relationship is hollow. Soon, the excitement and status wear thin.

This is because a true narcissist lacks inner qualities necessary for a healthy bond: empathic perspective-taking, a moral conscience, stable confidence, and the ability to be intimate and genuine with another human being. Being in a relationship with a narcissist (especially if you don't realize they are one) can leave you feeling worthless, emotionally exhausted, and unfulfilled.

So how can you know if you are in this kind of "hollow chocolate bunny" relationship before it crashes and burns in heartache? Do you have to wait until your relationship sours to find out? Not necessarily. Spotting the signs early means being able to avoid getting entangled in a narcissist's web, and could spare you from doing the challenging, messy work of digging yourself out later.

Here's a few signs to look for in your partner, which may signal that the person you are dating has narcissistic tendencies, and the negative effects those behaviors can have on you:

1. He poses as "The Most Interesting Man in the World."

A narcissist may initially intrigue you with his or her apparent confidence, swagger, or audacity, regaling you with stories about accomplishments, rubbing elbows with influential people, or their innumerable talents and gifts. He or she may seem fun and magnetic, always the center of attention and the life of the party, but this may actually be a facade - a ploy to satisfy the narcissist's pathological need for praise and reassurance. You may come to find out that the stories are exaggerated (or altogether false), their confidence is artificial and fragile, and his or her need for attention may trump good judgment or others' needs.

2. You feel talked down to.

Because narcissists deeply lack self-esteem, almost everything else in their lives is orchestrated to hide their weaknesses and give them a temporary sense of power and success. This can take the form of subtle insults that cause you to question your worth, such as a dismissive sneer when you make an observation, a condescending "that's nice" when you share an accomplishment you're proud of, or demeaning comments about your behavior or appearance.

When you look to a partner who is a narcissist, it can feel like you're looking into a funhouse mirror and getting back a distorted view of yourself. Your flaws seem to be highlighted and your strengths diminished - a careful ruse constructed to ensure the narcissist holds themselves in a more flattering light.

3. She acts like the victim.

Narcissism also is characterized by extreme self-centeredness. Anything that is outside the narcissist's experience or that contradicts his or her beliefs is wrong, foolish, or crazy. For this reason, a conflict with a narcissist is almost certain to end with all the blame being directed to you. This, combined with the funhouse mirror effect, can make even minor arguments emotionally exhausting.

Nothing you say can convince the narcissist that you're not making intentional and irrational attacks against him or her. In the narcissist's eyes, you're somehow responsible for their sadness, anger, or even immoral behavior.

4. Your relationship feels one-sided and shallow.

When it's time to move from casual to committed, this is where the "hollow chocolate bunny" effect of narcissism really shows through. A relationship with a narcissist is unlikely ever to reach greater depths of sharing, emotion, and intimacy.

A narcissist is likely to spend time with you when it suits his or her emotional, physical, or sexual needs, and dismiss or ignore your needs, desires, and preferences. Your time together is likely to be marked by a lack of genuine interest in anything other than him- or herself. For example, you could get late-night calls when he or she is distraught, excited, or wants something but similar calls from you may not even be answered. Attempts to share your deeper thoughts, beliefs, or feelings may be given lip service, ignored, or dismissed.

If these seem to describe your current relationship, don't panic. In fact, seize the opportunity to reflect and evaluate your twosome. These red flags may help shed light on the dysfunction you're bearing and guide you away from further pain. If you want to make things work, there are ways to cope with dating or living with a narcissist, including developing conflict-resolution skills and bolstering your own confidence and self-esteem to shield you against narcissistic attacks.

Ultimately, knowledge is power. Being aware of signs of narcissism (and some of the problems that can arise from dating a narcissist) allows you to be prepared and to make informed decisions about the relationship.

8 Undeniable Signs You've Fallen For A Narcissist

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A narcissist can seem to love you. A narcissist can make it look like love. A narcissist can say the words of love. A narcissist can think it's love. Unfortunately, when involved with a narcissist, you are enmeshed but not in love. You can be enmeshed and mistake that for love. But enmeshment and love are not the same thing.

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If you've tried a more loving approach to sharing what hurts in your relationship, and the narcissist in your life still won't soften, you truly have done everything you can.

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As a therapist, I've seen firsthand that changing relational patterns often transforms even the most inflexible "trait" into something softer, gentler -- not a fixed feature, but a protection that eventually yields to touch and intimacy in all the ways one would hope.

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5 Early Warning Signs You're With A Narcissist

Dr. Craig Malkin | Posted 07.30.2013 | Women

Read More: Attachment, Narcissism, Insecurity, Relationships, Emotional Intelligence, Tina Swithin, Narcissist, Video, Healthy Relationships, Unhealthy Relationships, Dating a Narcissist, Narcissists, Women News


The most glaring problems are easy to spot -- but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc.

[May 18, 2016] Obamas Malignant Narcissism

www.americanthinker.com
Here's a partial checklist . You decide.

1. "Common to malignant narcissism is narcissistic rage . Narcissistic rage is a reaction to narcissistic injury (when the narcissist feels degraded by another person, typically in the form of criticism )."
2. "When the narcissist's grandiose sense of self-worth is perceived as being attacked by another person, the narcissist's natural reaction is to rage and pull down the self-worth of others (to make the narcissist feel superior to others). It is an attempt by the narcissist to soothe their internal pain and hostility, while at the same time rebuilding their self worth."
3. "Narcissistic rage also occurs when the narcissist perceives that he/she is being prevented from accomplishing their grandiose fantasies."
4. "Because the narcissist derives pleasure from the fulfillment of their grandiose dreams (akin to an addiction), anyone standing between the narcissist and their (wish) fulfillment ... may be subject to narcissistic rage. Narcissistic rage will frequently include yelling and berating of the person that has slighted the narcissist, but if strong enough could provoke more hostile feelings."
5. "Individuals with malignant narcissism will display a two faced personality. Creation of a 'false self' is linked to the narcissist's fear of being inadequate or inferior to others and this mask becomes ingrained into their personality so as to project a sense of superiority to others at all times."
6. "The narcissist gains a sense of esteem from the feedback of other people as it is common for the malignant narcissist to suffer from extremely low levels of self-esteem."
7. "The ... false self of the malignant narcissist is created because the real self doesn't meet his or her own expectations. Instead, the narcissist tends to mimic emotional displays of other people and creates a grandiose self to harbor their internalized fantasies of greatness."
8. "The [false self] is used by the narcissist to present to the outside world what appears to be a normal, functioning human being and to help maintain his or her own fantasies of an idealized self. The narcissist constantly builds upon this false self, creating a fictional character that is used to show off to the world and to help them feed off the emotions of other people."
There's ongoing debate about "malignant narcissism" as a diagnosis, and some people prefer to use the standard DSM-IV version . It doesn't make much difference in this case.

... ... ...

It's possible that Obama may be a "fanatic type" of narcissist. That could mean a world of trouble for the Democrats, for the nation, and given his position in the world, for other countries as well.
Here is Theodore Millon's definition of the fanatic type:
fanatic type - including paranoid features. A severely narcissistically wounded individual, usually with major paranoid tendencies who holds onto an illusion of omnipotence. These people are fighting the reality of their insignificance and lost value and are trying to re-establish their self-esteem through grandiose fantasies and self-reinforcement. When unable to gain recognition of support from others, they take on the role of a heroic or worshipped person with a grandiose mission.

[May 18, 2016] Can Narcissists Change by Dr. Craig Malkin

Notable quotes:
"... Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
"... For more on emotional intelligence, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

The author is a Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the end of May 2013, I wrote an article titled "5 Early Warning Signs You're With a Narcissist." It sparked a number of rich conversations through comments, emails, Facebook and Twitter . Not surprisingly, the vast majority of reactions came from people who feared they were currently in a relationship with a narcissist. Nevertheless, some of them - often among the most heartfelt and desperate of messages - came from people who'd either been diagnosed with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), or felt convinced they met criteria for the diagnosis. From both sides, the same question surfaced again and again: Is there hope for those with NPD and the people who love them? Is there anything we can do if we see early warning signs or actual diagnostic criteria besides end the relationship? As simple as they might seem on the surface, questions like these resonate with some of the deepest concerns in psychology. Can we change our personalities? More to the point, can people who meet criteria for personality disorders open themselves up to new and better experiences in relationships and in the world? I'm going to go on record as saying, yes, I do believe it's possible for people to change, even if they've been diagnosed with something as deeply entrenched and formidable as a personality disorder.

Trait labels like narcissist, or the admittedly less stigmatizing ones like extrovert and introvert, merely provide a shorthand description. They're a stand-in for "this person scored high on a trait measure of narcissism or extroversion or introversion." They can never hope to capture the whole person. (Bear in mind that even Jung, who introduced the latter concepts, firmly believed we all possess both an introvert and an extrovert side , regardless of how much we tend to one side or the other.) Nevertheless, when they become diagnostic labels, like "narcissist" or "Narcissistic Personality Disorder," these stark descriptions imply something that goes far beyond a tendency or a style - they suggest permanence and a set of stable enduring features. I have more hope than this. I believe that rather than simply being "who we are," our personalities are also patterns of interaction. That is, personality, whether disordered or not , has as much to do with how (and with whom) we interact as it does with our genes and wired-in temperament.

So what pattern does the narcissist follow? Many have suggested that NPD emerges from an environment in which vulnerability comes to feel dangerous, representing, at worst, either a grave defect, or at best, a stubborn barrier to becoming a worthwhile human being - that's simplifying a great deal of research and theory, but it's a workable summary - hence the correlation between NPD and insecure attachment styles , in which fears of depending on anyone at all engender constant attempts to control the relationship or avoid intimacy altogether. If you devote yourself to directing interactions or holding people at arms length, it's a lot harder to become vulnerable (needless to say, the "safety" is largely an illusion). People with NPD have learned to ignore, suppress, deny, project and disavow their vulnerabilities (or at least try) in their attempts to shape and reshape "who they are" in their interactions. Change - allowing the vulnerability back in - means opening up to the very feelings they've learned to avoid at all costs. It's not that people with NPD can't change, it's that it often threatens their sense of personhood to try. And their failed relationships often confirm, in their minds, that narcissism is the safest way to live. Put another way, narcissists can't be narcissistic in a vacuum. They need the right audience in order to feel like a star, for example, so they often cultivate relationships with people who stick around for the show, instead of the person. Over time, as their perfect faade starts to slip, their constant fear that people will find them lacking becomes a horrifying reality. The very people who stuck around for the show lose interest when it ends - which merely convinces the narcissist they need to hide their flaws and put on a better show. Alternatively, even when they fall for someone who could be more than just an adoring fan - someone who offers the hope of a more authentic, enduring love - narcissists still live with the paralyzing fear they'll somehow be deemed unworthy. Their terror is frequently out of awareness, and nearly always managed with bravado and blame, but it's profound and palpable. Sadly, their anger at having their mistakes and missteps exposed ultimately alienates their loved ones, and the demise of yet another relationship prompts them to redouble their efforts to avoid vulnerability - in short, it pushes them towards more narcissism.

The sad irony of the narcissistic condition is that, in an effort to protect themselves, narcissists inevitably invite the very rejection and abandonment they fear in the first place. The key then, to interacting with someone you suspect is narcissistic, is to break the vicious circle - to gently thwart their frantic efforts to control, distance, defend or blame in the relationship by sending the message that you're more than willing to connect with them, but not on these terms - to invite them into a version of intimacy where they can be loved and admired, warts and all - if they only allow the experience to happen. As a therapist, I've seen firsthand that changing relational patterns often transforms even the most inflexible "trait" into something softer, gentler - not a fixed feature, but a protection that eventually yields to touch and intimacy in all the ways one would hope. Narcissism is a way of relating. Not everyone can shift into a more flexible form of intimacy, but some can, and in the next post, I plan to share steps you can take to help you decide whether or not the person you're with is capable of seeing themselves - and you - through a less-constricting lens than the narcissistic worldview. If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . For more on emotional intelligence, click here .

[May 18, 2016] 5 Early Warning Signs Youre With a Narcissist

Notable quotes:
"... Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade. ..."
"... If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . ..."
"... For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here . ..."
www.huffingtonpost.com

Dr. Craig Malkin , Author, Clinical Psychologist, Lecturer Harvard Medical School

At the beginning of April this year, I was tapped by the Huffington Post Live team for a discussion on narcissism . I happily agreed to appear, for a number of reasons, not the least of which is that narcissism happens to be one of my favorite subjects. Early in my training, I had the pleasure of working with one of the foremost authorities on narcissism in our field, and in part because of that experience, I went on to work with quite a few clients who'd been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder . That's where I learned that the formal diagnostic label hardly does justice to the richness and complexity of this condition. The most glaring problems are easy to spot - the apparent absence of even a shred of empathy, the grandiose plans and posturing, the rage at being called out on the slightest of imperfections or normal human missteps - but if you get too hung up on the obvious traits, you can easily miss the subtle (and often more common) features that allow a narcissist to sneak into your life and wreak havoc. Just ask Tina Swithin , who went on to write a book about surviving her experience with a man who clearly meets criteria for NPD (and very likely, a few other diagnoses). To her lovestruck eyes, her soon-to-be husband seemed more like a prince charming than the callous, deceitful spendthrift he later proved to be. Looking back, Tina explains, there were signs of trouble from the start, but they were far from obvious at the time. In real life, the most dangerous villains rarely advertise their malevolence. So what are we to do? How do we protect ourselves from narcissists if they're so adept at slipping into our lives unnoticed? I shared some of my answers to that question in our conversation, and I encourage you to watch it. But there were a few I didn't get to, and others I didn't have the chance to describe in depth, so I thought I'd take the opportunity to revisit the topic here. Tread carefully if you catch a glimpse of any of these subtler signs:

1) Projected Feelings of Insecurity: I don't mean that narcissists see insecurity everywhere. I'm talking about a different kind of projection altogether, akin to playing hot potato with a sense of smallness and deficiency. Narcissists say and do things, subtle or obvious, that make you feel less smart, less accomplished, less competent. It's as if they're saying, "I don't want to feel this insecure and small; here, you take the feelings." Picture the boss who questions your methods after their own decision derails an important project, the date who frequently claims not to understand what you've said, even when you've been perfectly clear, or the friend who always damns you with faint praise ("Pretty good job this time!"). Remember the saying: "Don't knock your neighbor's porch light out to make yours shine brighter." Well, the narcissist loves to knock out your lights to seem brighter by comparison.

2) Emotion-phobia: Feelings are a natural consequence of being human, and we tend to have lots of them in the course of normal interactions. But the very fact of having a feeling in the presence of another person suggests you can be touched emotionally by friends, family, partners, and even the occasional tragedy or failure. Narcissists abhor feeling influenced in any significant way. It challenges their sense of perfect autonomy; to admit to a feeling of any kind suggests they can be affected by someone or something outside of them. So they often change the subject when feelings come up, especially their own, and as quick as they might be to anger, it's often like pulling teeth to get them to admit that they've reached the boiling point - even when they're in the midst of the most terrifying tirade.

3) A Fragmented Family Story: Narcissism seems to be born of neglect and abuse, both of which are notorious for creating an insecure attachment style (for more on attachment, see here and here ). But the very fact that narcissists, for all their posturing, are deeply insecure, also gives us an easy way to spot them. Insecurely attached people can't talk coherently about their family and childhood; their early memories are confused, contradictory, and riddled with gaps. Narcissists often give themselves away precisely because their childhood story makes no sense, and the most common myth they carry around is the perfect family story. If your date sings their praises for their exalted family but the reasons for their panegyric seem vague or discursive, look out. The devil is in the details, as they say - and very likely, that's why you're not hearing them.

4) Idol Worship: Another common narcissistic tendency you might be less familiar with is the habit of putting people on pedestals. The logic goes a bit like this: "If I find someone perfect to be close to, maybe some of their perfection will rub off on me, and I'll become perfect by association." The fact that no one can be perfect is usually lost on the idol-worshipping narcissist - at least until they discover, as they inevitably do, that their idol has clay feet. And stand back once that happens. Few experiences can prepare you for the vitriol of a suddenly disappointed narcissist. Look out for any pressure to conform to an image of perfection, no matter how lovely or magical the compulsive flattery might feel.

5) A High Need for Control: For the same reason narcissists often loathe the subject of feelings, they can't stand to be at the mercy of other people's preferences; it reminds them that they aren't invulnerable or completely independent - that, in fact, they might have to ask for what they want - and even worse, people may not feel like meeting the request. Rather than express needs or preferences themselves, they often arrange events (and maneuver people) to orchestrate the outcomes they desire. In the extreme form, this can manifest as abusive, controlling behaviors. (Think of the man who berates his wife when dinner isn't ready as soon as he comes home. He lashes out precisely because at that very moment, he's forced to acknowledge that he depends on his wife, something he'd rather avoid.) But as with most of these red flags, the efforts at control are often far subtler than outright abuse. Be on the look out for anyone who leaves you feeling nervous about approaching certain topics or sharing your own preferences. Narcissists have a way of making choices feel off-limits without expressing any anger at all - a disapproving wince, a last-minute call to preempt the plans, chronic lateness whenever you're in charge of arranging a night together. It's more like a war of attrition on your will than an outright assault on your freedom. None of these signs, in isolation, proves that you're with a narcissist. But if you see a lot of them, it's best to sit up and take notice. They're all way of dodging vulnerability, and that's a narcissist's favorite tactic.

If you like my posts, let me know! Let's connect on facebook and twitter. I frequently respond to comments and questions there. And feel free to check out www.drcraigmalkin.com for more tips and advice, as well as information on my book in progress . For more by Dr. Craig Malkin, click here .

[May 18, 2016] Is Donald Trump Actually a Narcissist Therapists Weigh In! by Henry Alford

Notable quotes:
"... As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. ..."
"... To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing. ..."
"... Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real ..."
"... Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in. ..."
"... They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so. ..."
www.vanityfair.com

Vanity Fair

As his presidential campaign trundles forward, millions of sane Americans are wondering: What exactly is wrong with this strange individual? Now, we have an answer.

For mental-health professionals, Donald Trump is at once easily diagnosed but slightly confounding. "Remarkably narcissistic," said developmental psychologist Howard Gardner, a professor at Harvard Graduate School of Education. "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."

That mental-health professionals are even willing to talk about Trump in the first place may attest to their deep concern about a Trump presidency. As Dr. Robert Klitzman, a professor of psychiatry and the director of the master's of bioethics program at Columbia University, pointed out, the American Psychiatric Association declares it unethical for psychiatrists to comment on an individual's mental state without examining him personally and having the patient's consent to make such comments. This so-called Goldwater rule arose after the publication of a 1964 Fact magazine article in which psychiatrists were polled about Senator Barry Goldwater's fitness to be president. Senator Goldwater brought a $2 million suit against the magazine and its publisher; the Supreme Court awarded him $1 in compensatory damages and $75,000 in punitive damages.

But you don't need to have met Donald Trump to feel like you know him; even the smallest exposure can make you feel like you've just crossed a large body of water in a small boat with him. Indeed, though narcissistic personality disorder was removed from the most recent issue of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, for somewhat arcane reasons, the traits that have defined the disorder in the past-grandiosity; an expectation that others will recognize one's superiority; a lack of empathy-are writ large in Mr. Trump's behavior.

"He's very easy to diagnose," said psychotherapist Charlotte Prozan. "In the first debate, he talked over people and was domineering. He'll do anything to demean others, like tell Carly Fiorina he doesn't like her looks. 'You're fired!' would certainly come under lack of empathy. And he wants to deport immigrants, but [two of] his wives have been immigrants." Michaelis took a slightly different twist on Trump's desire to deport immigrants: "This man is known for his golf courses, but, with due respect, who does he think works on these golf courses?"

Mr. Trump's bullying nature-taunting Senator John McCain for being captured in Vietnam, or saying Jeb Bush has "low energy"-is in keeping with the narcissistic profile. "In the field we use clusters of personality disorders," Michaelis said. "Narcissism is in cluster B, which means it has similarities with histrionic personality disorder, borderline personality disorder, and antisocial personality disorder. There are similarities between them. Regardless of how you feel about John McCain, the man served-and suffered. Narcissism is an extreme defense against one's own feelings of worthlessness. To degrade people is really part of a cluster-B personality disorder: it's antisocial and shows a lack of remorse for other people. The way to make it O.K. to attack someone verbally, psychologically, or physically is to lower them. That's what he's doing."

What of Trump's tendency to position himself as a possible savior to the economy despite the fact that four of his companies have declared bankruptcy? "It's mind-boggling to me that that's not the story," said Michaelis. "This man has been given more than anyone could ever hope for," he added, referring to the fact that Trump is not wholly self-made, "yet he's failed miserably time and time again." Licensed clinical social worker Wendy Terrie Behary, the author of Disarming the Narcissist: Surviving and Thriving with the Self-Absorbed, said,

"Narcissists are not necessarily liars, but they are notoriously uncomfortable with the truth. The truth means the potential to feel ashamed. If all they have to show the world as a source of feeling acceptable is their success and performance, be it in business or sports or celebrity, then the risk of people seeing them fail or squander their success is so difficult to their self-esteem that they feel ashamed. We call it the narcissistic injury. They're uncomfortable with their own limitations. It's not that they're cut out to lie, it's just that they can't handle what's real."

Indeed, the need to protect or exalt the self is at odds with the job requirements of a president. Michaelis said, "He's applying for the greatest job in the land, the greatest task of which is to serve, but there's nothing about the man that is service-oriented. He's only serving himself." As Prozan sees it, "He keeps saying he could negotiate with Putin because he's good at deals. But diplomacy involves a back and forth between equals." Dr. Klitzman added, "I have never met Donald Trump and so cannot comment on his psychological state. However, I think that, in general, many candidates who run for president are driven in large part by ego. I hope that does not preclude their motivation to govern with the best interests of the public as a whole in mind. Yet for some candidates, that may, alas, be a threat."

Asked what, if Mr. Trump were their patient, they would "work on" with him, several of the therapists laughed. "I'd be shocked if he walked in my door," said Behary. "Most narcissists don't seek treatment unless there's someone threatening to take something away from them. There'd have to be some kind of meaningful consequence for him to come in." Simon concurred but added, "There is help available, but it doesn't look like the help people are used to. It's not insight-oriented psychotherapy, because narcissists already have insight. They're aware; the problem is, they don't care. They know how you'd like them to act; the problem is, they've got a different set of rules. The kind of approach that can have some impact is confrontational. It confronts distorted thinking and behavior patterns in the here-and-now moment when the narcissists are doing their thing in the session. It's confronted on the spot; you invite them to do something different, then you reinforce them for doing so."

But for at least one mental-health professional, the Trump enigma, or should we say non-enigma, is larger than the bluster of the man whose own Web site calls him "the very definition of the American success story, continually setting the standards of excellence"-to this mind-set, Trump may be a kind of bellwether. Mr. Gardner said, "For me, the compelling question is the psychological state of his supporters. They are unable or unwilling to make a connection between the challenges faced by any president and the knowledge and behavior of Donald Trump. In a democracy, that is disastrous."

[May 16, 2016] Stockholm Syndrome The Psychological Mystery of Loving an Abuser, Page 1

Notable quotes:
"... In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. ..."
"... Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority. ..."
"... In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign. ..."
"... During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. ..."
"... Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribsbut he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!" ..."
"... Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!" ..."
"... In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller. ..."
"... Controlling partners have increased the financial obligations/debt in the relationship to the point that neither partner can financially survive on their own. ..."
"... The legal ending of a relationship, especially a marital relationship, often creates significant problems. ..."
"... The Controller often uses extreme threats including threatening to take the children out of state, threatening to quit their job/business rather than pay alimony/support, threatening public exposure of the victim's personal issues, or assuring the victim they will never have a peaceful life due to nonstop harassment. ..."
counsellingresource.com
While the psychological condition in hostage situations became known as "Stockholm Syndrome" due to the publicity, the emotional "bonding" with captors was a familiar story in psychology. It had been recognized many years before and was found in studies of other hostage, prisoner, or abusive situations such as:

In the final analysis, emotionally bonding with an abuser is actually a strategy for survival for victims of abuse and intimidation. The "Stockholm Syndrome" reaction in hostage and/or abuse situations is so well recognized at this time that police hostage negotiators no longer view it as unusual. In fact, it is often encouraged in crime situations as it improves the chances for survival of the hostages. On the down side, it also assures that the hostages experiencing "Stockholm Syndrome" will not be very cooperative during rescue or criminal prosecution. Local law enforcement personnel have long recognized this syndrome with battered women who fail to press charges, bail their battering husband/boyfriend out of jail, and even physically attack police officers when they arrive to rescue them from a violent assault.

Stockholm Syndrome (SS) can also be found in family, romantic, and interpersonal relationships. The abuser may be a husband or wife, boyfriend or girlfriend, father or mother, or any other role in which the abuser is in a position of control or authority.

It's important to understand the components of Stockholm Syndrome as they relate to abusive and controlling relationships. Once the syndrome is understood, it's easier to understand why victims support, love, and even defend their abusers and controllers.

Every syndrome has symptoms or behaviors, and Stockholm Syndrome is no exception. While a clear-cut list has not been established due to varying opinions by researchers and experts, several of these features will be present:

Stockholm Syndrome doesn't occur in every hostage or abusive situation. In another bank robbery involving hostages, after terrorizing patrons and employees for many hours, a police sharpshooter shot and wounded the terrorizing bank robber. After he hit the floor, two women picked him up and physically held him up to the window for another shot. As you can see, the length of time one is exposed to abuse/control and other factors are certainly involved.

It has been found that four situations or conditions are present that serve as a foundation for the development of Stockholm Syndrome. These four situations can be found in hostage, severe abuse, and abusive relationships:

By considering each situation we can understand how Stockholm Syndrome develops in romantic relationships as well as criminal/hostage situations. Looking at each situation:

Perceived Threat to One's Physical/Psychological Survival

The perception of threat can be formed by direct, indirect, or witnessed methods. Criminal or antisocial partners can directly threaten your life or the life of friends and family. Their history of violence leads us to believe that the captor/controller will carry out the threat in a direct manner if we fail to comply with their demands. The abuser assures us that only our cooperation keeps our loved ones safe.

Indirectly, the abuser/controller offers subtle threats that you will never leave them or have another partner, reminding you that people in the past have paid dearly for not following their wishes. Hints are often offered such as "I know people who can make others disappear". Indirect threats also come from the stories told by the abuser or controller - how they obtained revenge on those who have crossed them in the past. These stories of revenge are told to remind the victim that revenge is possible if they leave.

Witnessing violence or aggression is also a perceived threat. Witnessing a violent temper directed at a television set, others on the highway, or a third party clearly sends us the message that we could be the next target for violence. Witnessing the thoughts and attitudes of the abuser/controller is threatening and intimidating, knowing that we will be the target of those thoughts in the future.

The "Small Kindness" Perception

In threatening and survival situations, we look for evidence of hope - a small sign that the situation may improve. When an abuser/controller shows the victim some small kindness, even though it is to the abuser's benefit as well, the victim interprets that small kindness as a positive trait of the captor. In criminal/war hostage situations, letting the victim live is often enough. Small behaviors, such as allowing a bathroom visit or providing food/water, are enough to strengthen the Stockholm Syndrome in criminal hostage events.

In relationships with abusers, a birthday card, a gift (usually provided after a period of abuse), or a special treat are interpreted as not only positive, but evidence that the abuser is not "all bad" and may at some time correct his/her behavior. Abusers and controllers are often given positive credit for not abusing their partner, when the partner would have normally been subjected to verbal or physical abuse in a certain situation. An aggressive and jealous partner may normally become intimidating or abusive in certain social situations, as when an opposite-sex coworker waves in a crowd. After seeing the wave, the victim expects to be verbally battered and when it doesn't happen, that "small kindness" is interpreted as a positive sign.

Similar to the small kindness perception is the perception of a "soft side". During the relationship, the abuser/controller may share information about their past - how they were mistreated, abused, neglected, or wronged. The victim begins to feel the abuser/controller may be capable of fixing their behavior or worse yet, that they (abuser) may also be a "victim". Sympathy may develop toward the abuser and we often hear the victim of Stockholm Syndrome defending their abuser with "I know he fractured my jaw and ribsbut he's troubled. He had a rough childhood!"

Losers and abusers may admit they need psychiatric help or acknowledge they are mentally disturbed; however, it's almost always after they have already abused or intimidated the victim. The admission is a way of denying responsibility for the abuse. In truth, personality disorders and criminals have learned over the years that personal responsibility for their violent/abusive behaviors can be minimized and even denied by blaming their bad upbringing, abuse as a child, and now even video games. One murderer blamed his crime on eating too much junk food - now known as the "Twinkie Defense". While it may be true that the abuser/controller had a difficult upbringing, showing sympathy for his/her history produces no change in their behavior and in fact, prolongs the length of time you will be abused. While "sad stories" are always included in their apologies - after the abusive/controlling event - their behavior never changes! Keep in mind: once you become hardened to the "sad stories", they will simply try another approach. I know of no victim of abuse or crime who has heard their abuser say "I'm beating (robbing, mugging, etc.) you because my Mom hated me!"

Isolation from Perspectives Other than those of the Captor

In abusive and controlling relationships, the victim has the sense they are always "walking on eggshells" - fearful of saying or doing anything that might prompt a violent/intimidating outburst. For their survival, they begin to see the world through the abuser's perspective. They begin to fix things that might prompt an outburst, act in ways they know makes the abuser happy, or avoid aspects of their own life that may prompt a problem. If we only have a dollar in our pocket, then most of our decisions become financial decisions. If our partner is an abuser or controller, then the majority of our decisions are based on our perception of the abuser's potential reaction. We become preoccupied with the needs, desires, and habits of the abuser/controller.

Taking the abuser's perspective as a survival technique can become so intense that the victim actually develops anger toward those trying to help them. The abuser is already angry and resentful toward anyone who would provide the victim support, typically using multiple methods and manipulations to isolate the victim from others. Any contact the victim has with supportive people in the community is met with accusations, threats, and/or violent outbursts. Victims then turn on their family - fearing family contact will cause additional violence and abuse in the home. At this point, victims curse their parents and friends, tell them not to call and to stop interfering, and break off communication with others. Agreeing with the abuser/controller, supportive others are now viewed as "causing trouble" and must be avoided. Many victims threaten their family and friends with restraining orders if they continue to "interfere" or try to help the victim in their situation. On the surface it would appear that they have sided with the abuser/controller. In truth, they are trying to minimize contact with situations that might make them a target of additional verbal abuse or intimidation. If a casual phone call from Mom prompts a two-hour temper outburst with threats and accusations - the victim quickly realizes it's safer if Mom stops calling. If simply telling Mom to stop calling doesn't work, for his or her own safety the victim may accuse Mom of attempting to ruin the relationship and demand that she stop calling.

In severe cases of Stockholm Syndrome in relationships, the victim may have difficulty leaving the abuser and may actually feel the abusive situation is their fault. In law enforcement situations, the victim may actually feel the arrest of their partner for physical abuse or battering is their fault. Some women will allow their children to be removed by child protective agencies rather than give up the relationship with their abuser. As they take the perspective of the abuser, the children are at fault - they complained about the situation, they brought the attention of authorities to the home, and they put the adult relationship at risk. Sadly, the children have now become a danger to the victim's safety. For those with Stockholm Syndrome, allowing the children to be removed from the home decreases their victim stress while providing an emotionally and physically safer environment for the children.

Perceived Inability to Escape

As a hostage in a bank robbery, threatened by criminals with guns, it's easy to understand the perceived inability to escape. In romantic relationships, the belief that one can't escape is also very common. Many abusive/controlling relationships feel like till-death-do-us-part relationships - locked together by mutual financial issues/assets, mutual intimate knowledge, or legal situations. Here are some common situations:

In unhealthy relationships and definitely in Stockholm Syndrome there is a daily preoccupation with "trouble". Trouble is any individual, group, situation, comment, casual glance, or cold meal that may produce a temper tantrum or verbal abuse from the controller or abuser. To survive, "trouble" is to be avoided at all costs. The victim must control situations that produce trouble. That may include avoiding family, friends, co-workers, and anyone who may create "trouble" in the abusive relationship. The victim does not hate family and friends; they are only avoiding "trouble"! The victim also cleans the house, calms the children, scans the mail, avoids certain topics, and anticipates every issue of the controller or abuse in an effort to avoid "trouble". In this situation, children who are noisy become "trouble". Loved ones and friends are sources of "trouble" for the victim who is attempting to avoid verbal or physical aggression.

Stockholm Syndrome in relationships is not uncommon. Law enforcement professionals are painfully aware of the situation - making a domestic dispute one of the high-risk calls during work hours. Called by neighbors during a spousal abuse incident, the abuser is passive upon arrival of the police, only to find the abused spouse upset and threatening the officers if their abusive partner is arrested for domestic violence. In truth, the victim knows the abuser/controller will retaliate against him/her if 1) they encourage an arrest, 2) they offer statements about the abuse/fight that are deemed disloyal by the abuser, 3) they don't bail them out of jail as quickly as possible, and 4) they don't personally apologize for the situation - as though it was their fault.

Stockholm Syndrome produces an unhealthy bond with the controller and abuser. It is the reason many victims continue to support an abuser after the relationship is over. It's also the reason they continue to see "the good side" of an abusive individual and appear sympathetic to someone who has mentally and sometimes physically abused them.

Is There Something Else Involved?

In a short response - Yes! Throughout history, people have found themselves supporting and participating in life situations that range from abusive to bizarre. In talking to these active and willing participants in bad and bizarre situations, it is clear they have developed feelings and attitudes that support their participation. One way these feelings and thoughts are developed is known as "cognitive dissonance". As you can tell, psychologists have large words and phrases for just about everything.

"Cognitive Dissonance" explains how and why people change their ideas and opinions to support situations that do not appear to be healthy, positive, or normal. In the theory, an individual seeks to reduce information or opinions that make him or her uncomfortable. When we have two sets of cognitions (knowledge, opinion, feelings, input from others, etc.) that are the opposite, the situation becomes emotionally uncomfortable. Even though we might find ourselves in a foolish or difficult situation - few want to admit that fact. Instead, we attempt to reduce the dissonance - the fact that our cognitions don't match, agree, or make sense when combined. "Cognitive Dissonance" can be reduced by adding new cognitions - adding new thoughts and attitudes. Some examples:

Leon Festinger first coined the term "Cognitive Dissonance". He had observed a cult (1956) in which members gave up their homes, incomes, and jobs to work for the cult. This cult believed in messages from outer space that predicted the day the world would end by a flood. As cult members and firm believers, they believed they would be saved by flying saucers at the appointed time. As they gathered and waited to be taken by flying saucers at the specified time, the end-of-the-world came and went. No flood and no flying saucer! Rather than believing they were foolish after all that personal and emotional investment - they decided their beliefs had actually saved the world from the flood and they became firmer in their beliefs after the failure of the prophecy. The moral: the more you invest (income, job, home, time, effort, etc.) the stronger your need to justify your position. If we invest $5.00 in a raffle ticket, we justify losing with "I'll get them next time". If you invest everything you have, it requires an almost unreasoning belief and unusual attitude to support and justify that investment.

Studies tell us we are more loyal and committed to something that is difficult, uncomfortable, and even humiliating. The initiation rituals of college fraternities, Marine boot camp, and graduate school all produce loyal and committed individuals. Almost any ordeal creates a bonding experience. Every couple, no matter how mismatched, falls in love in the movies after going through a terrorist takeover, being stalked by a killer, being stranded on an island, or being involved in an alien abduction. Investment and an ordeal are ingredients for a strong bonding - even if the bonding is unhealthy. No one bonds or falls in love by being a member of the Automobile Club or a music CD club. Struggling to survive on a deserted island - you bet!

Abusive relationships produce a great amount on unhealthy investment in both parties. In many cases we tend to remain and support the abusive relationship due to our investment in the relationship. Try telling a new Marine that since he or she has survived boot camp, they should now enroll in the National Guard! Several types of investments keep us in the bad relationship:

Emotional Investment
We've invested so many emotions, cried so much, and worried so much that we feel we must see the relationship through to the finish.
Social Investment
We've got our pride! To avoid social embarrassment and uncomfortable social situations, we remain in the relationship.
Family Investments
If children are present in the relationship, decisions regarding the relationship are clouded by the status and needs of the children.
Financial Investment
In many cases, the controlling and abusive partner has created a complex financial situation. Many victims remain in a bad relationship, waiting for a better financial situation to develop that would make their departure and detachment easier.
Lifestyle Investment
Many controlling/abusive partners use money or a lifestyle as an investment. Victims in this situation may not want to lose their current lifestyle.
Intimacy Investment
We often invest emotional and sexual intimacy. Some victims have experienced a destruction of their emotional and/or sexual self-esteem in the unhealthy relationship. The abusing partner may threaten to spread rumors or tell intimate details or secrets. A type of blackmail using intimacy is often found in these situations.

In many cases, it's not simply our feelings for an individual that keep us in an unhealthy relationship - it's often the amount of investment. Relationships are complex and we often only see the tip of the iceberg in public. For this reason, the most common phrase offered by the victim in defense of their unhealthy relationship is "You just don't understand!"

Combining Two Unhealthy Conditions

The combination of "Stockholm Syndrome" and "cognitive dissonance" produces a victim who firmly believes the relationship is not only acceptable, but also desperately needed for their survival. The victim feels they would mentally collapse if the relationship ended. In long-term relationships, the victims have invested everything and placed "all their eggs in one basket". The relationship now decides their level of self-esteem, self-worth, and emotional health.

For reasons described above, the victim feels family and friends are a threat to the relationship and eventually to their personal health and existence. The more family/friends protest the controlling and abusive nature of the relationship, the more the victim develops cognitive dissonance and becomes defensive. At this point, family and friends become victims of the abusive and controlling individual.

Importantly, both Stockholm Syndrome and cognitive dissonance develop on an involuntary basis. The victim does not purposely invent this attitude. Both develop as an attempt to exist and survive in a threatening and controlling environment and relationship. Despite what we might think, our loved one is not in the unhealthy relationship to irritate us, embarrass us, or drive us to drink. What might have begun as a normal relationship has turned into a controlling and abusive situation. They are trying to survive. Their personality is developing the feelings and thoughts needed to survive the situation and lower their emotional and physical risks. All of us have developed attitudes and feelings that help us accept and survive situations. We have these attitudes/feelings about our jobs, our community, and other aspects of our life. As we have found throughout history, the more dysfunctional the situation, the more dysfunctional our adaptation and thoughts to survive. The victim is engaged in an attempt to survive and make a relationship work. Once they decide it doesn't work and can't be fixed, they will need our support as we patiently await their decision to return to a healthy and positive lifestyle.

Family and Friends of the Victim

When a family is confronted with a loved one involved with a 'Loser' or controlling/abusive individual, the situation becomes emotionally painful and socially difficult for the family. (See " Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers ".) While each situation is different, some general guidelines to consider are:

Final Thoughts

You may be the victim of a controlling and abusive partner, seeking an understanding of your feelings and attitudes. You may have a son, daughter, or friend currently involved with a controlling and abusive partner, looking for ways to understand and help.

If a loved one is involved with a Loser, a controlling and abusing partner, the long-term outcome is difficult to determine due to the many factors involved. If their relationship is in the "dating" phase, they may end the relationship on their own. If the relationship has continued for over a year, they may require support and an exit plan before ending the relationship. Marriage and children further complicate their ability to leave the situation. When the victim decides to end the unhappy relationship, it's important that they view loved ones as supportive, loving, and understanding - not as a source of pressure, guilt, or aggression.

This article is an attempt to understand the complex feelings and attitudes that are as puzzling to the victim as they are to family and friends. Separately, I've outlined recommendations for detaching from a Loser or controlling/abusive individual, but clearly, there are more victims in this situation. (See " Are You Dating a Loser? Identifying Losers, Controllers and Abusers ".) It is hoped this article is helpful to family and friends who worry, cry, and have difficulty understanding the situation of their loved one. It has been said that knowledge is power. Hopefully this knowledge will prove helpful and powerful to victims and their loved ones.

Please consider this article as a general guideline. Some recommendations may be appropriate and helpful while some may not apply to a specific situation. In many cases, we may need additional professional help of a mental health or legal nature.

[May 16, 2016] https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/comments/29dhay/good_movies_about_narcissistic/

www.reddit.com

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    [] dopebojangles ADoNM with BPD 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Also Betty Draper in the show Mad Men.

    [] rammaam 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    And American Horror Story Coven. Jessica Lange plays a NM.

    [] [deleted] 4 points 5 points 6 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    American Beauty - Annette Bennings character is a classic N

    [] [deleted] 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Ordinary People is a great one that may still be on Netflix.

    [] Sub_Salac 3 points 4 points 5 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I suspect the mother in Excision (2012) is an N. One of my favorite movies.

    [] throwaway98721214 ACoN now NC with the entire FOO. 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (3 children)

    Films:

    Notes on a Scandal (Barbara) Oranges are not the only fruit (Mother) Drop Dead Fred (Mother) and as always, Tangled (Mother Gothel)

    (With the first two, the original books are quite harrowing (and accurate) in depicting the actions of an authority figure with NPD)

    TV shows: Nashville Season 2, eps 19 & 20 (Clare's mother)

    (I'm sure there's loads more than that, and they'll come to me!)

    [] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (2 children)

    Seconding Tangled.

    [] 1234567ate Nmom, Edad, SGsis 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (1 child)

    I can't even watch the part where she sings "mother knows best" it gives me the creeps..... Reminds me of my NMom....

    [] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Right? It's fucked up.

    [] ArabRedditor 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    BATES MOTEL.

    The mother is the N, the younger child is the golden child, and the older son is the Scapegoat.

    [] Dotdotbludot 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I love the original, Gaslight (1944). Ingrid Bergman is slowly driven mad by her handsome new husband. It perfectly demonstrates Gaslighting abuse. Oddly, my Nmom loved the film, too. It can be hard to watch for those of us who have a lot of practice with recognizing red flags. Bergman's character is so trusting and walks right into so many N-traps!

    [] PagingDrLector 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I always thought the mother in Igby Goes Down was an Nmom.

    [] modecat forging a new path 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    I think White Oleander is amazing. An amazing portrayal of narcissism. Just excellent. I can still feel the sting from that one. Just smolders.

    It's always so interesting when you watch a movie and start to figure out it's about narcissism.

    For me, as soon as I found RBN, all of a sudden every movie i watched was about a narcissist or his victim. It was so weird.

    [] jm_kaye 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (1 child)

    Frances (1982) about Frances Farmer. Although she clearly had serious mental problems, her mother was absolutely no help.

    [] modecat forging a new path 2 points 3 points 4 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Yup, i think Frances makes such a great depiction of it. This movie is so sad. Just awful.

    [] ArtichokeOwl 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    The Sopranos. Tony's mom is sooooo much like my Nmom!! Also the mother in Requiem for a Dream resonates with me a bit.

    [] KissMyAspergers NAunt, Parent(s) with FLEAS 1 point 2 points 3 points 1 year ago (0 children)

    Just about anything involving serial killers (e.g. Criminal Minds) is gonna feature narcissism at some point.

    [] DmKrispin ADoNM -1 points 0 points 1 point 1 year ago (0 children)

    Now Voyager (1942) starring Bette Davis and Paul Heinried.

  • [May 16, 2016] Barack Obama Narcissist or Merely Narcissistic?

    Notable quotes:
    "... Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth. ..."
    lettingfreedomring.com
    Dr. Sam Vaknin, Ph.D

    January 28, 2012

    Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist . Granted, only a qualified mental health diagnostician (which I am not) can determine whether someone suffers from Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) and this, following lengthy tests and personal interviews. But, in the absence of access to Barack Obama, one has to rely on his overt performance and on testimonies by his closest, nearest and dearest.

    Narcissistic leaders are nefarious and their effects pernicious. They are subtle, refined, socially-adept, manipulative, possessed of thespian skills, and convincing. Both types equally lack empathy and are ruthless and relentless or driven.

    Perhaps it is time to require each candidate to high office in the USA to submit to a rigorous physical and mental checkup with the results made public.

    I. Upbringing and Childhood

    Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations. Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then, his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia : a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995.

    Pathological narcissism is a reaction to prolonged abuse and trauma in early childhood or early adolescence. The source of the abuse or trauma is immaterial: the perpetrators could be dysfunctional or absent parents, teachers, other adults, or peers.

    II. Behavior Patterns

    The narcissist:

    * Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognised as superior without commensurate achievements);

    * Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion;

    * Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions);

    * Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation " or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious ( Narcissistic Supply );

    * Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favourable priority treatment;

    * Is "interpersonally exploitative", i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends;

    * Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others;

    * Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly;

    * Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, "above the law", and omnipresent ( magical thinking ). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy.

    Narcissism is a defense mechanism whose role is to deflect hurt and trauma from the victim's "True Self" into a " False Self " which is omnipotent, invulnerable, and omniscient. This False Self is then used by the narcissist to garner narcissistic supply from his human environment. Narcissistic supply is any form of attention, both positive and negative and it is instrumental in the regulation of the narcissist's labile sense of self-worth.

    Perhaps the most immediately evident trait of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is their vulnerability to criticism and disagreement. Subject to negative input, real or imagined, even to a mild rebuke, a constructive suggestion, or an offer to help, they feel injured, humiliated and empty and they react with disdain (devaluation), rage, and defiance.

    From my book "Malignant Self Love Narcissism Revisited":

    "To avoid such intolerable pain, some patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) socially withdraw and feign false modesty and humility to mask their underlying grandiosity . Dysthymic and depressive disorders are common reactions to isolation and feelings of shame and inadequacy."

    Due to their lack of empathy, disregard for others, exploitativeness, sense of entitlement, and constant need for attention (narcissistic supply), narcissists are rarely able to maintain functional and healthy interpersonal relationships.

    Many narcissists are over-achievers and ambitious. Some of them are even talented and skilled. But they are incapable of team work because they cannot tolerate setbacks. They are easily frustrated and demoralized and are unable to cope with disagreement and criticism. Though some narcissists have meteoric and inspiring careers, in the long-run, all of them find it difficult to maintain long-term professional achievements and the respect and appreciation of their peers. The narcissist's fantastic grandiosity, frequently coupled with a hypomanic mood, is typically incommensurate with his or her real accomplishments (the "grandiosity gap").

    An important distinction is between cerebral and somatic narcissists. The cerebrals derive their Narcissistic Supply from their intelligence or academic achievements and the somatics derive their Narcissistic Supply from their physique, exercise, physical or sexual prowess and romantic or physical "conquests".

    Another crucial division within the ranks of patients with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is between the classic variety (those who meet five of the nine diagnostic criteria included in the DSM), and the compensatory kind (their narcissism compensates for deep-set feelings of inferiority and lack of self-worth).
    Obama displays the following behaviors, which are among the hallmarks of pathological narcissism:

    * Subtly misrepresents facts and expediently and opportunistically shifts positions, views, opinions, and "ideals" (e.g., about campaign finance, re-districting). These flip-flops do not cause him overt distress and are ego-syntonic (he feels justified in acting this way). Alternatively, reuses to commit to a standpoint and, in the process, evidences a lack of empathy.

    Ignores data that conflict with his fantasy world, or with his inflated and grandiose self-image. This has to do with magical thinking. Obama already sees himself as president because he is firmly convinced that his dreams, thoughts, and wishes affect reality. Additionally, he denies the gap between his fantasies and his modest or limited real-life achievements (for instance, in 12 years of academic career, he hasn't published a single scholarly paper or book).

    Feels that he is above the law, incl. and especially his own laws.

    Talks about himself in the 3rd person singluar or uses the regal "we" and craves to be the exclusive center of attention, even adulation

    Have a messianic-cosmic vision of himself and his life and his "mission".

    Sets ever more complex rules in a convoluted world of grandiose fantasies with its own language (jargon)

    Displays false modesty and unctuous "folksiness" but unable to sustain these behaviors (the persona, or mask) for long. It slips and the true Obama is revealed: haughty, aloof, distant, and disdainful of simple folk and their lives.

    Sublimates aggression and holds grudges.

    Behaves as an eternal adolescent (e.g., his choice of language, youthful image he projects, demands indulgence and feels entitled to special treatment, even though his objective accomplishments do not justify it).

    III. Body Language

    Many complain of the incredible deceptive powers of the narcissist. They find themselves involved with narcissists (emotionally, in business, or otherwise) before they have a chance to discover their true character. Shocked by the later revelation, they mourn their inability to separate from the narcissist and their gullibility.

    Narcissists are an elusive breed, hard to spot, harder to pinpoint, impossible to capture. Even an experienced mental health diagnostician with unmitigated access to the record and to the person examined would find it fiendishly difficult to determine with any degree of certainty whether someone suffers from a full fledged Narcissistic Personality Disorder or merely possesses narcissistic traits, a narcissistic style, a personality structure ("character"), or a narcissistic "overlay" superimposed on another mental health problem.

    Moreover, it is important to distinguish between traits and behavior patterns that are independent of the patient's cultural-social context (i.e., which are inherent, or idiosyncratic) and reactive patterns, or conformity to cultural and social morals and norms. Reactions to severe life crises or circumstances are also often characterized by transient pathological narcissism, for instance (Ronningstam and Gunderson, 1996). But such reactions do not a narcissist make.

    When a person belongs to a society or culture that has often been described as narcissistic by scholars (such as Theodore Millon) and social thinkers (e.g., Christopher Lasch) how much of his behavior can be attributed to his milieu and which of his traits are really his?

    The Narcissistic Personality Disorder is rigorously defined in the DSM IV-TR with a set of strict criteria and differential diagnoses.

    Narcissism is regarded by many scholars to be an adaptative strategy ("healthy narcissism"). It is considered pathological in the clinical sense only when it becomes a rigid personality structure replete with a series of primitive defence mechanisms (such as splitting, projection, projective identification, or intellectualization) and when it leads to dysfunctions in one or more areas of the patient's life.

    Pathological narcissism is the art of deception. The narcissist projects a False Self and manages all his social interactions through this concocted fictional construct.

    When the narcissist reveals his true colors, it is usually far too late. His victims are unable to separate from him. They are frustrated by this acquired helplessness and angry at themselves for having they failed to see through the narcissist earlier on.

    But the narcissist does emit subtle, almost subliminal, signals ("presenting symptoms") even in a first or casual encounter. Compare the following list to Barack Obama's body language during his paublic appearances.

    These are:

    "Haughty" body language. The narcissist adopts a physical posture which implies and exudes an air of superiority, seniority, hidden powers, mysteriousness, amused indifference, etc. Though the narcissist usually maintains sustained and piercing eye contact, he often refrains from physical proximity (he is "territorial").

    The narcissist takes part in social interactions, even mere banter, condescendingly, from a position of supremacy and faux "magnanimity and largesse". But he rarely mingles socially and prefers to remain the "observer", or the "lone wolf".

    Entitlement markers. The narcissist immediately asks for "special treatment" of some kind. Not to wait his turn, to have a longer or a shorter therapeutic session, to talk directly to authority figures (and not to their assistants or secretaries), to be granted special payment terms, to enjoy custom tailored arrangements or to get served first.

    The narcissist is the one who vocally and demonstratively demands the undivided attention of the head waiter in a restaurant, or monopolizes the hostess, or latches on to celebrities in a party. The narcissist reacts with rage and indignantly when denied his wishes and if treated equally with others whom he deems inferior.

    Idealization or devaluation. The narcissist instantly idealizes or devalues his interlocutor. This depends on how the narcissist appraises the potential his converser has as a Narcissistic Supply Source. The narcissist flatters, adores, admires and applauds the "target" in an embarrassingly exaggerated and profuse manner or sulks, abuses, and humiliates her.

    Narcissists are polite only in the presence of a potential Supply Source. But they are unable to sustain even perfunctory civility and fast deteriorate to barbs and thinly-veiled hostility, to verbal or other violent displays of abuse, rage attacks, or cold detachment.

    The "membership" posture. The narcissist always tries to "belong". Yet, at the very same time, he maintains his stance as an outsider. The narcissist seeks to be admired for his ability to integrate and ingratiate himself without investing the efforts commensurate with such an undertaking.

    For instance: if the narcissist talks to a psychologist, the narcissist first states emphatically that he never studied psychology. He then proceeds to make seemingly effortless use of obscure professional terms, thus demonstrating that he mastered the discipline all the same, as an autodidact, which proves that he is exceptionally intelligent or introspective.

    In general, the narcissist always prefers show-off to substance. One of the most effective methods of exposing a narcissist is by trying to delve deeper. The narcissist is shallow, a pond pretending to be an ocean. He likes to think of himself as a Renaissance man, a Jack of all trades. The narcissist never admits to ignorance in any field yet, typically, he is ignorant of them all. It is surprisingly easy to penetrate the gloss and the veneer of the narcissist's self-proclaimed omniscience.

    Bragging and false autobiography. The narcissist brags incessantly. His speech is peppered with "I", "my", "myself", and "mine". He describes himself as intelligent, or rich, or modest, or intuitive, or creative but always excessively, implausibly, and extraordinarily so.

    The narcissist's biography sounds unusually rich and complex. His achievements incommensurate with his age, education, or renown. Yet, his actual condition is evidently and demonstrably incompatible with his claims. Very often, the narcissist lies or his fantasies are easily discernible. He always name-drops and appropriates other people's experiences and accomplishments.

    Emotion-free language. The narcissist likes to talk about himself and only about himself. He is not interested in others or what they have to say, unless they constitute potential Sources of Supply and in order to obtain said supply. He acts bored, disdainful, even angry, if he feels that they are intruding on his precious time and, thus, abusing him.

    In general, the narcissist is very impatient, easily bored, with strong attention deficits unless and until he is the topic of discussion. One can publicly dissect all aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist without repercussions, providing the discourse is not "emotionally tinted".

    If asked to relate directly to his emotions, the narcissist intellectualizes, rationalizes, speaks about himself in the third person and in a detached "scientific" tone or composes a narrative with a fictitious character in it, suspiciously autobiographical. Narcissists like to refer to themselves in mechanical terms, as efficient automata or machines.

    Seriousness and sense of intrusion and coercion. The narcissist is dead serious about himself. He may possess a subtle, wry, and riotous sense of humor, scathing and cynical, but rarely is he self-deprecating. The narcissist regards himself as being on a constant mission, whose importance is cosmic and whose consequences are global. If a scientist, he is always in the throes of revolutionizing science. If a journalist, he is in the middle of the greatest story ever. If a novelist, he is on his way to a Booker or Nobel prize.

    This self-misperception is not amenable to light-headedness or self-effacement. The narcissist is easily hurt and insulted (narcissistic injury). Even the most innocuous remarks or acts are interpreted by him as belittling, intruding, or coercive. His time is more valuable than others' therefore, it cannot be wasted on unimportant matters such as mere banter or going out for a walk.

    Any suggested help, advice, or concerned inquiry are immediately cast by the narcissist as intentional humiliation, implying that the narcissist is in need of help and counsel and, thus, imperfect and less than omnipotent. Any attempt to set an agenda is, to the narcissist, an intimidating act of enslavement. In this sense, the narcissist is both schizoid and paranoid and often entertains ideas of reference.

    These, the lack of empathy, the aloofness, the disdain, the sense of entitlement, the constricted sense of humor, the unequal treatment and the paranoia render the narcissist a social misfit. The narcissist is able to provoke in his milieu, in his casual acquaintances, even in his psychotherapist, the strongest, most avid and furious hatred and revulsion. To his shock, indignation and consternation, he invariably induces in others unbridled aggression.

    He is perceived to be asocial at best and, often, antisocial. This, perhaps, is the strongest presenting symptom. One feels ill at ease in the presence of a narcissist for no apparent reason. No matter how charming, intelligent, thought provoking, outgoing, easy going and social the narcissist is he fails to secure the sympathy of others, a sympathy he is never ready, willing, or able to reciprocate.

    IV. Narcissistic and psychopathic Leaders

    The narcissistic or psychopathic leader is the culmination and reification of his period, culture, and civilization. He is likely to rise to prominence in narcissistic societies.

    The malignant narcissist invents and then projects a false, fictitious, self for the world to fear, or to admire. He maintains a tenuous grasp on reality to start with and this is further exacerbated by the trappings of power. The narcissist's grandiose self-delusions and fantasies of omnipotence and omniscience are supported by real life authority and the narcissist's predilection to surround himself with obsequious sycophants.

    The narcissist's personality is so precariously balanced that he cannot tolerate even a hint of criticism and disagreement. Most narcissists are paranoid and suffer from ideas of reference (the delusion that they are being mocked or discussed when they are not). Thus, narcissists often regard themselves as "victims of persecution".

    The narcissistic leader fosters and encourages a personality cult with all the hallmarks of an institutional religion: priesthood, rites, rituals, temples, worship, catechism, mythology. The leader is this religion's ascetic saint. He monastically denies himself earthly pleasures (or so he claims) in order to be able to dedicate himself fully to his calling.

    The narcissistic leader is a monstrously inverted Jesus, sacrificing his life and denying himself so that his people or humanity at large should benefit. By surpassing and suppressing his humanity, the narcissistic leader became a distorted version of Nietzsche's "superman".

    But being a-human or super-human also means being a-sexual and a-moral.

    In this restricted sense, narcissistic leaders are post-modernist and moral relativists. They project to the masses an androgynous figure and enhance it by engendering the adoration of nudity and all things "natural" or by strongly repressing these feelings. But what they refer to as "nature" is not natural at all.

    The narcissistic leader invariably proffers an aesthetic of decadence and evil carefully orchestrated and artificial though it is not perceived this way by him or by his followers. Narcissistic leadership is about reproduced copies, not about originals. It is about the manipulation of symbols not about veritable atavism or true conservatism.

    In short: narcissistic leadership is about theatre, not about life. To enjoy the spectacle (and be subsumed by it), the leader demands the suspension of judgment, depersonalization, and de-realization. Catharsis is tantamount, in this narcissistic dramaturgy, to self-annulment.

    Narcissism is nihilistic not only operationally, or ideologically. Its very language and narratives are nihilistic. Narcissism is conspicuous nihilism and the cult's leader serves as a role model, annihilating the Man, only to re-appear as a pre-ordained and irresistible force of nature.

    Narcissistic leadership often poses as a rebellion against the "old ways" against the hegemonic culture, the upper classes, the established religions, the superpowers, the corrupt order. Narcissistic movements are puerile, a reaction to narcissistic injuries inflicted upon a narcissistic (and rather psychopathic) toddler nation-state, or group, or upon the leader.

    Minorities or "others" often arbitrarily selected constitute a perfect, easily identifiable, embodiment of all that is "wrong". They are accused of being old, they are eerily disembodied, they are cosmopolitan, they are part of the establishment, they are "decadent", they are hated on religious and socio-economic grounds, or because of their race, sexual orientation, origin They are different, they are narcissistic (feel and act as morally superior), they are everywhere, they are defenceless, they are credulous, they are adaptable (and thus can be co-opted to collaborate in their own destruction). They are the perfect hate figure. Narcissists thrive on hatred and pathological envy.

    This is precisely the source of the fascination with Hitler, diagnosed by Erich Fromm together with Stalin as a malignant narcissist. He was an inverted human. His unconscious was his conscious. He acted out our most repressed drives, fantasies, and wishes. He provides us with a glimpse of the horrors that lie beneath the veneer, the barbarians at our personal gates, and what it was like before we invented civilization. Hitler forced us all through a time warp and many did not emerge. He was not the devil. He was one of us. He was what Arendt aptly called the banality of evil. Just an ordinary, mentally disturbed, failure, a member of a mentally disturbed and failing nation, who lived through disturbed and failing times. He was the perfect mirror, a channel, a voice, and the very depth of our souls.

    The narcissistic leader prefers the sparkle and glamour of well-orchestrated illusions to the tedium and method of real accomplishments. His reign is all smoke and mirrors, devoid of substances, consisting of mere appearances and mass delusions. In the aftermath of his regime the narcissistic leader having died, been deposed, or voted out of office it all unravels. The tireless and constant prestidigitation ceases and the entire edifice crumbles. What looked like an economic miracle turns out to have been a fraud-laced bubble. Loosely-held empires disintegrate. Laboriously assembled business conglomerates go to pieces. "Earth shattering" and "revolutionary" scientific discoveries and theories are discredited. Social experiments end in mayhem.

    It is important to understand that the use of violence must be ego-syntonic. It must accord with the self-image of the narcissist. It must abet and sustain his grandiose fantasies and feed his sense of entitlement. It must conform with the narcissistic narrative.

    Thus, a narcissist who regards himself as the benefactor of the poor, a member of the common folk, the representative of the disenfranchised, the champion of the dispossessed against the corrupt elite is highly unlikely to use violence at first.

    The pacific mask crumbles when the narcissist has become convinced that the very people he purported to speak for, his constituency, his grassroots fans, the prime sources of his narcissistic supply have turned against him. At first, in a desperate effort to maintain the fiction underlying his chaotic personality, the narcissist strives to explain away the sudden reversal of sentiment. "The people are being duped by (the media, big industry, the military, the elite, etc.)", "they don't really know what they are doing", "following a rude awakening, they will revert to form", etc.

    When these flimsy attempts to patch a tattered personal mythology fail the narcissist is injured. Narcissistic injury inevitably leads to narcissistic rage and to a terrifying display of unbridled aggression. The pent-up frustration and hurt translate into devaluation. That which was previously idealized is now discarded with contempt and hatred.

    This primitive defense mechanism is called "splitting". To the narcissist, things and people are either entirely bad (evil) or entirely good. He projects onto others his own shortcomings and negative emotions, thus becoming a totally good object. A narcissistic leader is likely to justify the butchering of his own people by claiming that they intended to kill him, undo the revolution, devastate the economy, or the country, etc.

    The "small people", the "rank and file", the "loyal soldiers" of the narcissist his flock, his nation, his employees they pay the price. The disillusionment and disenchantment are agonizing. The process of reconstruction, of rising from the ashes, of overcoming the trauma of having been deceived, exploited and manipulated is drawn-out. It is difficult to trust again, to have faith, to love, to be led, to collaborate. Feelings of shame and guilt engulf the erstwhile followers of the narcissist. This is his sole legacy: a massive post-traumatic stress disorder.

    DISCLAIMER

    I am not a mental health professional. Still, I have dedicated the last 12 years to the study of personality disorders in general and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) in particular. I have authored nine (9) books about these topics, one of which is a Barnes and Noble best-seller ("Malignant Self-love: Narcissism Revisited"). My work is widely cited in scholarly tomes and publications and in the media. My books and the content of my Web site are based on correspondence since 1996 with hundreds of people suffering from the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (narcissists) and with thousands of their family members, friends, therapists, and colleagues.

    Sam Vaknin is the author of Malignant Self Love Narcissism Revisited and After the Rain How the West Lost the East as well as many other books and ebooks about topics in psychology, relationships, philosophy, economics, and international affairs. He served as a columnist for Central Europe Review, Global Politician, PopMatters, eBookWeb , and Bellaonline, and as a United Press International (UPI) Senior Business Correspondent. He was the editor of mental health and Central East Europe categories in The Open Directory and Suite101. Visit Sam's Web site at http://samvak.tripod.com You can download 30 of his free ebooks in http://www.narcissistic-abuse.com/freebooks.html .

    [May 16, 2016] Dr. Sam Vaknin - Barack Obama Is a Narcissist

    Notable quotes:
    "... His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words. ..."
    "... One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents. ..."
    "... Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention. ..."
    www.snopes.com

    snopes.com

    Dr. Vaknin states "I must confess I was impressed by Sen. Barack Obama from the first time I saw him. At first I was excited to see a black candidate. He looked youthful, spoke well, appeared to be confident - a wholesome presidential package. I was put off soon, not just because of his shallowness but also because there was an air of haughtiness in his demeanor that was unsettling. His posture and his body language were louder than his empty words.

    Obama's speeches are unlike any political speech we have heard in American history. Never a politician in this land had such quasi "religious" impact on so many people. The fact that Obama is a total incognito with zero accomplishment, makes this inexplicable infatuation alarming. Obama is not an ordinary man. He is not a genius. In fact he is quite ignorant on most important subjects. Barack Obama is a narcissist. Dr. Sam Vaknin, the author of the Malignant Self Love believes "Barack Obama appears to be a narcissist."

    Vaknin is a world authority on narcissism. He understands narcissism and describes the inner mind of a narcissist like no other person. When he talks about narcissism everyone listens.

    Vaknin says that Obama's language, posture and demeanor, and the testimonies of his closest, dearest and nearest suggest that the Senator is either a narcissist or he may have narcissistic personality disorder (NPD). Narcissists project a grandiose but false image of themselves.

    ....All these men had a tremendous influence over their fanciers. They created a personality cult around themselves and with their blazing speeches elevated their admirers, filled their hearts with enthusiasm and instilled in their minds a new zest for life. They gave them hope! They promised them the moon, but alas, invariably they brought them to their doom.

    When you are a victim of a cult of personality, you don't know it until it is too late. One determining factor in the development of NPD is childhood abuse. "Obama's early life was decidedly chaotic and replete with traumatic and mentally bruising dislocations," says Vaknin.

    "Mixed-race marriages were even less common then. His parents went through a divorce when he was an infant (two years old). Obama saw his father only once again, before he died in a car accident. Then his mother re-married and Obama had to relocate to Indonesia, a foreign land with a radically foreign culture, to be raised by a step-father. At the age of ten, he was whisked off to live with his maternal (white) grandparents. He saw his mother only intermittently in the following few years and then she vanished from his life in 1979. She died of cancer in 1995".

    One must never underestimate the manipulative genius of pathological narcissists. They project such an imposing personality that it overwhelms those around them. Charmed by the charisma of the narcissist, people become like clay in his hands. They cheerfully do his bidding and delight to be at his service. The narcissist shapes the world around himself and reduces others in his own inverted image. He creates a cult of personality. His admirers become his co-dependents.

    Narcissists have no interest in things that do not help them to reach their personal objective. They are focused on one thing alone and that is power. All other issues are meaningless to them and they do not want to waste their precious time on trivialities. Anything that does not help them is beneath them and do not deserve their attention.

    [May 15, 2016] The Truth About Donald Trump's Narcissism by Jeffrey Kluger

    Aug. 11, 2015 | /time.com
    Even as the comet that is The Donald continues to streak across the political sky-as babes peer in wonder out their windows, dogs bay in fear in the night and scholars debate the source of the great apparition-it's worth taking a moment to feel some compassion for the man who's causing all the mischief.

    The fact is, it can't be easy to wake up every day and discover that you're still Donald Trump. You were Trump yesterday, you're Trump today, and barring some extraordinary development, you'll be Trump tomorrow.

    There are, certainly, compensations to being Donald Trump. You're fabulously wealthy; you have a lifetime pass to help yourself to younger and younger wives, even as you get older and older-a two-way Benjamin Button dynamic that is equal parts enviable and grotesque. You own homes in Manhattan; Palm Beach; upstate New York; Charlottesville, Virginia; and Rancho Palos Verdes, California; and you're free to bunk down in a grand suite in practically any hotel, apartment building or resort that flies the Trump flag, anywhere on the planet-and there are a lot of them.

    But none of that changes the reality of waking up every morning, looking in the bathroom mirror, and seeing Donald Trump staring back at you. And no, it's not the hair; that, after all, is a choice-one that may be hard for most people to understand, but a choice all the same, and there's a certain who-asked-you confidence in continuing to make it. The problem with being Trump is the same thing that explains the enormous fame and success of Trump: a naked neediness, a certain shamelessness, an insatiable hunger to be the largest, loudest, most honkingly conspicuous presence in any room-the great, braying Trumpness of Trump-and that's probably far less of a revel than it seems.

    Contented people, well-grounded people, people at ease inside their skin, just don't behave the way Trump does. The shorthand-and increasingly lazy-description for Trump in recent weeks is that he is the id of the Republican party, and there's some truth in that. Trump indeed appears to be emotionally incontinent, a man wholly without-you should pardon the expression-any psychic sphincter. The boundary most people draw between thought and speech, between emotion and action, does not appear to exist for Trump. He says what he wants to say, insults whom he wants to insult, and never, ever considers apology or retreat.

    But that's not someone driven by the pleasures of the id-which, whatever else you can say about it, is a thing of happy appetites and uncaring impulses. It's far more someone driven by the rage and pain and emotional brittleness of narcissism, and everywhere in Trump's life are the signs of what a fraught state of mind that can be.

    There is Trump's compulsive use of superlatives-especially when he's talking about his own accomplishments. Maybe what he's building or selling really is the greatest, the grandest, the biggest, the best, but if that's so, let the product do the talking. If it can't, maybe it ain't so great.

    There's the compulsive promotion of the Trump name. Other giants of commerce and industry use their own names sparingly-even when they're businesspeople who have the opportunity to turn themselves from a person into a brand. There is no GatesWare software, no BezosBooks.com; it's not Zuckerbook you log onto a dozen times a day.

    But the Trump name is everywhere in the Trump world, and there's a reason for that. You can look at something you've built with quiet pride and know it's yours, or you can look at it worriedly, insecurely, fretting that someone, somewhere may not know that you created it-diminishing you in the process. And so you stamp what you build with two-story letters identifying who you are- like a child writing his name on a baseball glove-just to make sure there's no misunderstanding.

    On occasion, there is an almost-almost-endearing cluelessness to the primal way Trump signals his pride in himself. He poses for pictures with his suit jacket flaring open, his hands on his hips, index and ring fingers pointing inevitably groinward-a great-ape fitness and genital display if ever there was one. After he bought the moribund Gulf+Western Building in New York City's Columbus Circle, covered it in gold-colored glass, converted it into a luxury hotel and residence, and reinforced it with steel and concrete to make it less subject to swaying in the wind, Trump boasted to The New York Times that it was going to be "the stiffest building in the city." If he was aware of his own psychic subtext, he gave no indication.

    It's not just real estate Trump seeks to own or at least control. There was his attempt to trademark the words "You're fired," after they became a catchphrase on his reality show, The Apprentice. There was his offer to donate $5 million to a charity of President Obama's choosing if Obama would release his college transcripts to him, Donald Trump. In both cases, Trump wants something-possession, attention, the obeisance of no less than the President-and so he demands it. The behavior is less id than infant-the most narcissistic stage of the human life cycle.

    The petulance of Trump's public feuds-with Rosie ODonnell ("a total loser"), Seth Meyers ("He's a stutterer"), Robert De Niro ("We're not dealing with Albert Einstein") and Arianna Huffington, ("Unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left her for a man . . .")-is wholly of a piece with the fragility of the narcissistic ego. In Trump's imaginings, it is Fox News's Megyn Kelly who owes him an apology for asking pointed questions during the Republican debate, not Trump who owes Kelly an apology for his boorish behavior and school-yard Tweets ("Wow, @ megynkelly really bombed tonight. People are going wild on twitter! Funny to watch"). As for his sneering misogyny-his reference to blood coming out of Kelly's "wherever"? Nothing to see here. It's Jeb Bush who really should apologize to women for his comments about defunding Planned Parenthood.

    Trump was right on that score; Bush was indeed clueless to suggest that the annual cost of protecting women's health should not be as high as $500 million-or just over $3.14 per American woman per year. So Bush did what people with at least some humility do: He acknowledged his mistake and at least tried to qualify the statement. That option, however, is closed for the narcissist. The overweening ego that defines the condition is often just a bit of misdirection intended to conceal the exact opposite-a deep well of insecurity and even self-loathing. Any admission of wrong shatters that masquerade.

    To call Donald Trump a narcissist is, of course, to state the clinically obvious. There is the egotism of narcissism, the grandiosity of narcissism, the social obtuseness of narcissism. But if Trump is an easy target, he is also a pitiable one. Narcissism isn't easy, it isn't fun, it isn't something to be waved off as a personal shortcoming that hurts only the narcissists themselves, any more than you can look at the drunk or philanderer or compulsive gambler and not see grief and regret in his future.

    For now, yes, the Trump show is fun to watch. It will be less so if the carnival barker with his look-at-me antics continues to distract people from a serious discussion of important issues. It will be less still if Trump actually does wind up as the nominee of a major political party or mounts an independent campaign and succeeds in tipping the vote one way or the other.

    But that kind of triumph is not the fate that awaits most narcissists. Their act becomes old, their opponents become bold, and the audience-inevitably-moves onto something else. Trump the phenomenon will surely become Trump the afterthought. He is a man who desperately hungers for respect and attention and who, by dint of that very desperation, will likely wind up with neither. The pain will be his; the relief will be ours.

    Adapted from The Narcissist Next Door: Understanding the Monster in Your Family, in Your Office, in Your Bed-in Your World by Jeffrey Kluger by arrangement with Riverhead Books, a member of Penguin Group (USA) LLC, Copyright 2015 by Jeffrey Kluger.

    [May 15, 2016] 10 Great Self-Absorbed, Narcissistic Movie Assholes The Playlist

    blogs.indiewire.com

    There's more than a few examples of the archetype doing the rounds at the moment, from the three lovably awful kids in Amazon's brilliant "Transparent" to the title character of Alex Ross Perry's brilliant "Listen Up Philip," which opened in limited release last Friday and will continue to expand in the coming weeks. Said archetype is of course often complex, and "asshole" frequently doesn't cover it. These characters often are masking deep pain, insecurity, self-doubt and or misplaced arrogance. But we know these types and while often not likable, they're real and often quite hilariously awful.

    So, to mark the release of "Listen Up Philip," which features a deliciously prickly Jason Schwartzman in the lead as a egocentric young writer who damages all his relationships, romantic or otherwise, we thought we'd pick out ten of our favorite self-absorbed, unpleasant and yet curiously watchable characters to go alongside his great turn in the aforementioned film. It should be noted that most of our examples come from the last decade or two, but that's not entirely surprising, given that we're arguably living in the most self-obsessed, insular age in human history (this is of course the era of the selfie). Take a look at our picks below, and let us know your favorites in the comments section.

    Sweet and Lowdown

    Sean Penn as Emmett Ray in "Sweet & Lowdown" (2000)

    Woody Allen is an obvious touchstone for "Listen Up Philip" ("Husbands And Wives" is named specifically by Ross Perry, and Sydney Pollack's character in that arguably qualifies for this list too), and Allen's certainly representative of self-absorption. But none of his creations have been more self-absorbed, or more asshole-y, than Sean Penn's central figure in "Sweet & Lowdown." The role of Emmet Ray, a reasonably well-known, heavy-drinking, scumbag of a jazz guitarist whose life is continually overshadowed by that of his idol Django Reinhardt, was originally penned by Allen (under the original title of "The Jazz Baby," back in the early 1970s) to be played by the writer/director, but after nearly thirty years in a drawer, went to Penn (though Johnny Depp was also reportedly considered). And it's hard to imagine anyone doing a better job. Penn brings a mix of swagger and deeply insecure neuroticism that makes him very much a creation of Allen, but one that doesn't simply echo the filmmaker in the manner of so many of his leading-men surrogates. As with the lead of another later film about a guitarist, the Coens' "Inside Llewyn Davis," Ray is talented, but enough of a fuck-up (drunken, a sometime pimp, kind of a coward, tight with money, and with a self-inflated view of his own "genius") that he'll never make the kind of impact that he'd like to. And when potential redemption comes along in the shape of Samantha Morton's sweet, mute Hattie, he throws it away in order to marry socialite Uma Thurman. And when he's dumped by her, he's stunned when Hattie's moved on. He's almost irredeemably awful, and yet Penn's performance, one of his very best, manages to find pathos, as well as a pleasing level of comedy, in the character, the kind of thing the actor doesn't get to do enough.

    The Life Aquatic

    Bill Murray as Steve Zissou in "The Life Aquatic With Steve Zissou" (2004)
    Wes Anderson characters can generally be grouped under the banner of "self-regarding" to one degree or another, from Max in "Rushmore" to even the animated Mr. Fox. But his prize asshole might just be Steve Zissou, in Anderson's fourth film. An oceanographer and documentary maker modelled loosely after Jacques Cousteau, Zissou is a man whose limited fame and prestige has gone very much to his head, who drags his inexplicably loyal crew on an Ahab-ish revenge trip against the shark that ate his long-time partner (Seymour Cassel). He has a certain affection for the people he travels with (he does at least launch a rescue mission when even hated insurance company employee Bud Cort is captured by pirates), but is resolutely unlovable otherwise, particularly in his relations with basically everyone, from consistently hitting on pregnant reporter Jane (Cate Blanchett), treating Klaus (Willem Dafoe) like a bullied lapdog, or feuding childishly with his maybe-son Ned (Owen Wilson), who's eventually killed in a helicopter crash on the hunt for the shark. Anderson's characters, even cantankerous assholes like Royal Tenenbaum, usually find some form of redemption, but there's surprisingly little for Zissou: Ned, who turns out not to be his son anyway, dies, and Zissou is once again acclaimed at a film festival for his finished picture. It's a decidedly sour note, and perhaps one of the reasons that the lavish, lovingly made 'Aquatic' is possibly Anderson's least-loved picture.

    The Social Network

    Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg in "The Social Network" (2010) "You're going to go through life thinking that girls don't like because you're a nerd," says Rooney Mara's Erica to Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) at the beginning of David Fincher's Aaron Sorkin penned "The Social Network." "And I want you to know, from the bottom of my heart, that that won't be true. It'll be because you're an asshole." And it's perfect introduction to the condescending, snobbish, ambitious, narcisisstic founder of Facebook, the website that will eventually make him a billionaire.

    And as the film goes on, Zuckerberg never exactly improves: he creates an insulting blog about Erica, hacks into Harvard's network to steal photos of women to let people rate their attractiveness, possibly steals the idea for his site from a trio of other students, freezes out best friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), and ends up rich but estranged, endlessly refreshing his friend request to Erica. He's selfish, self-regarding, prickly and defensive, but in the hands of Eisenberg's meticulous, brilliant performance, you can also see why.

    He embodies the true revenge of the nerds, a twisted and bitter one, but he's only that way because that's what he thinks he has to be. As his attorney, Marylin (Rashida Jones) tells him at the film's conclusion, "you're not an asshole, Mark. You're just trying so hard to be."

    A Fish Called Wanda

    Kevin Kline as Otto in "A Fish Called Wanda" (1988)
    Self-absorption is often something that seems to come with intellect, as demonstrated by the characters on this list. Many of these figures genuinely are the smartest person in the room and treat anyone they deem not to be on their level with according levels of contempt. Otto, in "A Fish Called Wanda," is something slightly different, and all the funnier for it: he's a moron who only thinks he's the smartest person in the room. The result, unusually for a broad comedy like Charles Crichton's 1988 hit (penned by co-star John Cleese), won Kevin Kline a Best Supporting Actor Oscar. The character is the film's secret weapon, a borderline psychotic, Limey-hating dimwit with a severe inferiority complex, which manifests in his continual threats to those around not to call him stupid. But as his lover Wanda (Jamie Lee Curtis) tells him, "I've known sheep that could outwit you. I've worn dresses with higher IQs." Otto is a man who thinks "the Gettysburg Address was where Lincoln lived," that the central message of Buddhism is "every man for himself," and that the London Underground is a political movement. He's the ultimate Ugly American abroad ("you are the vulgarian, you fuck," he tells Cleese's Archie when he calls him on his swearing), a terrible driver with the most hilarious off-putting cum face in cinematic history, and a total tour de force from Kline that still remains the actor's finest hour. He's the truly hateable kind of asshole in the best possible way. It says it all that, after somehow surviving being run over by a steamroller, he becomes Minister of Justice in apartheid-era South Africa

    Young Adult

    Charlize Theron as Mavis Gary in "Young Adult" (2011)
    Arguably Jason Reitman's best film to date, a brilliant gender-swapped inversion of the arrested-development theme that's dominated the comedy movie in the last decade or so, "Young Adult" revolves around a titanic performance from Charlize Theron, playing one of the most unrepentantly unlikable, unchangeable characters in recent cinema. Theron, arguably in a career-best turn, plays Mavis, a divorced writer of the teen-aimed books whose series has just been cancelled. On a whim, she returns to her small Minnesota hometown in an attempt to win back her high-school sweetheart (Patrick Wilson), who's just a had baby with his wife (Elizabeth Reaser). Mavis is clearly having some kind of deluded break with reality, but part of the brilliance of Theron's performance is how unquestioning she is of herself: a Mean Girl grown up, chasing simpler times when she ruled the world, and prepared to do just about anything to get there. Theron never courts your sympathy, but there's still a deep sadness in Mavis' absolute lack of self-reflection, not least when she's comes close to a breakthrough, only to be talked out of it by one of her few remaining admirers (a brilliant Colette Wolfe). People talked about her bravery in changing her appearance for her Oscar-winning turn in "Monster," but there's just as little vanity in her performance here, and the film simply wouldn't work without her.

    Baumbach Squid

    The Assorted Jerks Of Noah Baumbach
    Another obvious touchstone for "Listen Up Philip," Noah Baumbach is arguably, and we mean this in the nicest way possible, the king of the self-absorbed asshole. In fact, we decided to amalgamate his collected jerks into one selection, because otherwise it could have taken up half of the entire list. The filmmaker's been interested in the archetype ever since his debut "Kicking And Screaming," about chronically procrastinating recent college grads, but (after co-writing the script for two of Wes Anderson's most self-absorbed characters with "The Life Aquatic" and "Fantastic Mr. Fox") reached something of a zenith with what we like to call 'The Asshole Trilogy' : "The Squid & The Whale," "Margot At The Wedding" and "Greenberg." 'Squid' is the best, as we gradually see the effects of self-absorbed, generally toxic novelist Bernard (Jeff Daniels) on his son (Jesse Eisenberg) during the parents' bitter divorce, ending movingly with Walt rejecting the Way Of The Jerk. 2007's 'Margot' was disliked by many at the time, but has only grown in stature, with Nicole Kidman's brittle, sharp turn proving to be a perfect fit for the filmmakers' world-view, appalling (but still human) as she takes her frustrations in life out on her son. 2010's "Greenberg" is the least of the three, despite a raw and uncompromising performance by Ben Stiller in the title role, a thwarted man-child who can't see much beyond his own needs and worldview. The three films aren't the easiest watch (no wonder that Baumbach's next film, the delightful "Frances Ha," felt like such a breath of fresh air), but together do a pretty great job at encapsulating the era of mammoth selfishness.

    Roger Dodger

    Campbell Scott as Roger Swanson in "Roger Dodger" (2002)
    Jesse Eisenberg makes another appearance on this list (his more malevolent side in the recent "The Double" could also have qualified), but for once, he's not the asshole. That would be Campbell Scott, who is remarkably brilliant in Dylan Kidd's minor classic "Roger Dodger." Scott plays the titular Roger Swanson, a New York ad-man who's asked by his 16-year-old nephew to help him learn how to seduce women so he can lose his virginity. Roger's a self-described player and essentially a misogynist, and attempts to induct his young relative in what he describes as essentially a war of the sexes. A smarmy early '00s precursor to today's pick-up artist scumbags, Roger doesn't have the charm that he thinks he does, particularly given that he's in an unacknowledged meltdown after being dumped by lover/boss Isabella Rosselini. Like many such people, he hates almost everyone around him, but no one brings out quite so much bile in him as himself, and it's this brilliant duality that makes the performance one of Scott's best. Kidd's film is a woozy, witty examination of sex and masculinity, and though it missteps a little towards the end in offering something of a redemption for the character, it still gave us one of the more iconic cinematic douchebags of the last couple of decades.

    Rachel Getting Married

    Anne Hathaway as Kym in "Rachel Getting Married" (2008)
    We think of being an asshole as a specifically male trait, but we've already seen with "Young Adult" and "Margot At The Wedding" that there's no gender divide. "Rachel Getting Married" is another great example, one that's arguably sadder and psychologically richer than either. Jonathan Demme's film stars a revelatory Anne Hathaway as Kym, who returns home from drug rehab to attend the wedding of her sister (Rosemarie DeWitt), only for the family's long-brushed-over painful past to emerge, as it tends to do in movies like this one. Kym initially seems like a comically awful person, a selfish, up-staging drug addict who hijacks the rehearsal dinner to make twelve-step apologies, and who seems to delight in deliberately upsetting almost anyone in her family and not accepting any blame for her actions. But over time, Kym richens, as we learn that she killed her younger brother in a car accident when she was high, and while that itself is clearly a terrible and selfish action, it's only continued to haunt her, and Hathaway is superb in painting a picture of a woman who longs to be forgiven by people who would like to, but might just find it impossible. Demme and the movie never let her off the hook, but that whatever small progress she might make happens at all feels all the more moving for being so hard-won.

    As Good As It Gets

    Jack Nicholson in "As Good As It Gets" (1997)
    Ol' Jack plays cantankerous assholes the way Tom Hanks plays nice guys or Tom Cruise plays people who jumps off tall buildings: brilliantly, vigorously and frequently. In James L. Brooks' award-winning rom-com, Nicholson builds on earlier performances like "Five Easy Pieces" "Carnal Knowledge" and "Heartburn" to create something like a crown prince of unlikable fellas, OCD-suffering, racist, homophobic, misogynist misanthrope novelist Melvin Udall, whose carefully controlled life is upended by the intervention of gay neighbor Simon (Greg Kinnear), and single-mother waitress Carol (Helen Hunt). Nicholson might be playing a slightly sitcom-ish, Archie Bunker-ish character, but the mix of his typical devilish charm, smartly and sparingly used, and a detailed psychological realism that makes Melvin into more than just an archetype, elevated the performance to Oscar-winning effect. Though of course it helps that Nicholson is clearly relishing the lovingly and intricately-written speeches that he gets to deploy ("never, never interrupt me, okay?," he tells Simon. "Not if there's a fire, not even if you hear the sound of a thud from my home and one week later there's a smell coming from there that can only be a decaying human body and you have to hold a hanky to your face because the stench is so thick that you think you're going to faint"). There's a certain degree of cheesiness to the way that Melvin softens up thanks to the love of a good woman, but Jack never makes you doubt it for a minute.

    Last Days of Disco

    The Many Assholes Of Whit Stillman
    Like Baumbach, Whit Stillman is a director who's made a career with characters who can't quite see past their own bubble of existence (and, usually, privilege), up to and including his current Amazon pilot "The Cosmopolitans." The pattern began with his debut "Metropolitan," in which Stillman favorite Chris Eigeman plays arguably the platonic ideal of the director's favorite archetype, a big-mouthed upper-class cynic who one can imagine going into Wall Street and essentially becoming Patrick Bateman in years to come ('"the surrealists were just bunch of social climbers," he condescendingly says at one point). Follow-up "Barcelona" sees Eigeman in a similarly smug role, the ugly American abroad, while "The Last Days Of Disco" sees Kate Beckinsale (who's fantastic here) as a particularly callow example of the type ("remember the Woodstock generation of the 1960s that were so full of themselves and conceited? None of them could dance," she tells someone at one point with the naivety of youth). If one was ungenerous, one could argue that the narrow worldview of his films makes Stillman and his archaic language rather self-absorbed himself, but that's a misreading: Stillman is ultimately a social satirist, a sort of cinematic heir to Jane Austen (whose influence is felt in his most recent picture, "Damsels In Distress," more than ever), savagely poking at the ridiculous attitudes and views of his characters without ever quite judging them.

    Honorable Mentions: There were various other possibilities that we dismissed as not quite being quite the right brand of asshole for this specific theme: think of Kirk Douglas in "Ace In The Hole," Tony Curtis and Burt Lancaster in "Sweet Smell Of Success" (too toxic), even William Atherton in "Die Hard" and "Ghostbusters" (which veers closer to a simple villain). Among the ones who came closest to qualifying were Ed Norton and Micheal Keaton in "Birdman" (we wrote about their self-absorbed asshole-ish tendencies here), Rachel McAdams in "Mean Girls," Matt Damon in "The Departed," Paul Reiser in "Aliens," Aaron Eckhart in "In The Company Of Men," and Tom Hulce in "Amadeus," along with both Jason Schwartzman's villain, and arguably Michael Cera's hero, in "Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World." Any others? Let us know below

    [May 15, 2016] Famous Narcissistic Movie Characters -

    May 14, 2013 | The Narcissistic Life

    If you want observe people with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) or strong narcissistic traits, look no further than your TV set. There are many memorable movie characters who display the basic characteristics of narcissism: the grandiose and overinflated sense of self, lack of empathy, exploitation of others with no remorse, and excessive self-focus. Listed below are some of the more well-known narcissists portrayed in the movies:

    Movie: The Devil Wears Prada
    Played By: Meryl Streep
    About: Now this is an NPD character that sticks with you.

    Movie: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
    Played By: Kenneth Branagh
    About: This is the definition of narcissism. Lockhart is hilarious. One of the comical moments from the series is when Lockhart is talking to Harry during his detention and says "Fame is a fickle friend, Harry. Celebrity is as celebrity does. Remember that." *turn and smile* He goes to such lengths as to fake his fame and risk the deaths of many students just to keep his ego fed.

    Movie: The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy
    Played By: Sam Rockwell
    About: Zaphod (and Sam Rockwell) is great and Rockwell plays him well- he's fun for the role he has.

    Movie: American Psycho
    Played By: Christian Bale
    About: Bale plays the role with what appears to be ease. He's a completely memorable character with some very iconic scenes.

    Movie: Dinner for Schmucks
    Played By: Jemaine Clements
    About: Whether or not you liked the movie, most have agreed that Jamaine Clements was the best part.

    Movie: The American Pie Trilogy
    Played By: Seann William Scott
    About: Stifler thinks he's hot stuff, almost obnoxiously so. But he's not without his insecurities underneath it all. He's probably not a true narcissist as the rest on this listit's much more of a front, at least partially. But there's no doubting he thinks highly of himself, and he's funny while he thinks so.

    Movie: Zoolander
    Played By: Ben Stiller
    About: "I'm pretty sure there's a lot more to life than being really, really, ridiculously good looking. And I plan on finding out what that is."

    Movie: Forgetting Sarah Marshall/Get Him to the Greek
    Played by: Russell Brand
    About: Russell Brand was hilarious in themclearly the best part of the movies.

    Movie: The Princess Bride
    Played By: Wallace Shawn
    About: Vizzini: "I can't compete with you physically, and you're no match for my brains." Westley: "You're that smart?" Vizzini: "Let me put it this way. Have you ever heard of Plato? Aristotle? Socrates?" Westley: "Yes." Vizzini: "Morons."

    Movie: Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy
    Played By: Will Ferrell
    About: The narcissism is right there in the title of the film! He's a fun character, wrapped up in his own little world.

    MOVIE: Gaslight
    Played by: Charles Boyer
    ABOUT: This classic movie is where the term gaslighting comes from, to indicate how an N (or other abuser) lies to you to make you doubt your experience of reality. Although the film is a bit dated now (it was made in the 1940s) it is still extremely gripping and terrifying. The narcissist in this film, Gregory Anton, is trying to deliberately send his new wife insane in order to inherit from her. An absolute must-watch for anybody interest in learning more about malignant NPD.

    MOVIE: Mommie Dearest
    Played By: Faye Dunaway
    ABOUT: A classic film. It's the real-life story of total narcissist Joan Crawford and her daughter Christina. This is a chillingly accurate portrayal of the hell of being raised by a narcissist.

    MOVIE: White Oleander
    Played by: Michelle Pfeiffer
    ABOUT: Michelle Pfeiffer plays the narcissistic mother in this amazing film, and by all accounts does a terrific job.

    MOVIE: Gone With the Wind
    Played by: Vivien Leigh
    ABOUT: Scarlett O'Hara is a total narcissist in this classic tale.

    Other Movies Portraying Narcissistic Characters

    American Beauty (narcissistic mother)
    East of Eden (narcissistic father)
    Ordinary People (narcissistic mother)
    Mermaids (Cher as Mrs. Flax)
    Whatever Happened to Baby Jane? (narcissistic sister)
    Sybil (narcissistic mother)
    The Little Foxes (narcissistic mother)
    Flowers in the Attic (narcissistic mother)
    Matilda (both parents are narcissists)
    Coraline (both "other" parents are narcissists)
    Precious (narcissistic mother)
    Girl Interrupted (Angelina Jolie)
    Life or Something Like It (Angelina Jolie)

    References:

    http://www.narcissism101.com/NarcissistsinMedia/narcissistsinmov.html
    http://dementeddoorknob.blogspot.com/2010/10/top-10-favorite-narcissistic-characters.html
    http://daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com/movies-featuring-npd.html
    http://www.outofthefog.net/Movies.html

    [Apr 12, 2016] When Evil Is a Pretty Face Narcissistic Females the Pathological Relationship Agenda by Zari Ballard

    Kindle edition
    Notable quotes:
    "... Society typically supports females, especially narcissistic women, as they are often the victims of stereotypical males (in real life and fictional portrayals). ..."
    "... In my case, I felt like a man who was for years playing on a stage and with a coreography designed by my ex wife. ..."
    "... As a victim, narcissism makes you crazy, the more you delve into it to understand it, the more you get tangled in the lies, distorted views of reality, crazy nonsense "dialogues", etc. ..."
    "... I've lived with a female narcissist for years and reading this made me fees as if the writer was right there with me for MY story! It's amazing how traumatic these people are. ..."
    "... I also really enjoyed another similar book " Surviving Sara " by Brian Morgan. Very similar story and I can't help but few the pain these men went through. ..."
    www.amazon.com
    Todd L. Andrews on March 14, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    This book is a desperately needed wake up call to NS men needing fluorescent illumination in the middle of "gaslight" and other

    I really identified with the "role reversal" and truth that there are men that suffer under a female N's tactics. The severity and persistence of the female N is exposed brilliantly in this book. Having Zari identify the male as a victim of the narcissist is crucial to helping men break free of the craziness, while also helping men identify why they feel so stuck loving the woman they have committed their souls to. Also crucial, is the chapter that breaks out the difficulty of "no contact" when children are involved.

    While many N relationships share much in common, the male NS suffers under societies prescribed male strengths, and serves to undermine the ability of men to overcome being trapped. Society typically supports females, especially narcissistic women, as they are often the victims of stereotypical males (in real life and fictional portrayals).

    Kudos to the Author for helping unlock the chains of this forbidden subject. There are, not undeservedly, many explicatives used in this book. I believe the strong words are approiate representations of the years of suffering and pain inflicted by the narcissist on their supply. The author's insights will likely help release many NS men from their prison within.

    Man_under_female_attack on April 15, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Men under pain by narc women deserved to get a book like this. I was married to a narc women for several years, and we share a daughter. I thank Zari Ballard for this excellent account of how narc females move around in society, mostly unknown to other people, friends and relatives who judge them just as "weird" or "arrogant".

    In my case, I felt like a man who was for years playing on a stage and with a coreography designed by my ex wife. Now, thanks to books like this one, I can stand aside and *understand* what went on, and what is currently going on. As a victim, narcissism makes you crazy, the more you delve into it to understand it, the more you get tangled in the lies, distorted views of reality, crazy nonsense "dialogues", etc.

    I spent years married with a woman with whom I had no real dialogue, without noticing it. If you are a man in distress, and you feel some woman makes you feel miserable, please read this book to go deep into the causes of your pain. Thanks Zari for your book, thanks from the many men that suffer the pain inflicted by narcissistic women.

    Jonathan Thompson on March 3, 2016 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Wow!! Amazing read.

    I've lived with a female narcissist for years and reading this made me fees as if the writer was right there with me for MY story! It's amazing how traumatic these people are.

    Well written. I also really enjoyed another similar book "Surviving Sara" by Brian Morgan. Very similar story and I can't help but few the pain these men went through.

    Jack on December 11, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Need to get off the crazy train? This is your first stop!

    Guys, if your life is one gigantic roller coaster ride of being seduced, destroyed emotionally, and then kicked to the curb when you say anything, then this is the place to start.

    If you're looking at this review, then you know something in your relationship is slowly poisoning you to death. It is NOT you! Wanna know why? Get the book!!!

    PowermanBillX on April 29, 2015 Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
    Absolute must read if you are in a relationship with a female N!

    This book will give you the tools to end the roller coaster from Hell ride once and for all. You have to summon the strength to end the dance with crazy because if you don't, your life will NEVER be good or close to normal!

    [Apr 05, 2016] Catherine Zeta-Jones speaks out about her battle with manic depression

    Notable quotes:
    "... The 43-year-old actress said she wanted other sufferers to know that help was available, and claimed that being diagnosed with bipolar disorder had made her appreciate life all the more. ..."
    "... "The smartest thing I did was to stop going online," ..."
    "... "I'm the sort of person who will just look for the negative. Michael really can't understand it, but that's the way I am. And, with my bipolar thing, that's poison. ..."
    Nov 14, 2012 | Telegraph

    Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones has spoken out about her battle with manic depression after being admitted to a US rehabilitation clinic last year, in an effort to lift the "stigma" of mental illness.

    Catherine Zeta-Jones has spoken about her battle with manic depression in an effort to lift the "stigma" of mental illness.

    The 43-year-old actress said she wanted other sufferers to know that help was available, and claimed that being diagnosed with bipolar disorder had made her appreciate life all the more.

    In April last year, Zeta-Jones was admitted to a US rehabilitation clinic where doctors concluded she was suffering from bipolar II disorder, a form of manic depression.

    Her husband, fellow actor Michael Douglas, was recovering from treatment for throat cancer at the time.

    "I'm not the kind of person who likes to shout out my personal issues from the rooftops but, with my bipolar becoming public, I hope fellow sufferers will know it is completely controllable," Zeta-Jones told US InStyle magazine.

    "I hope I can help remove any stigma attached to it, and that those who don't have it under control will seek help with all that is available to treat it."

    Describing the past 18 months as "an intense time in good ways and bad", the Welsh actress said: "You find out who you really are and who are you are married to. You find things inside yourself you never imagined were there.

    "I've gained an appreciation for little things, like tea outside on a terrace."

    Zeta-Jones admitted that, at the height of her illness, she Googled her name to find negative comments about herself.

    "The smartest thing I did was to stop going online," she said.

    "I'm the sort of person who will just look for the negative. Michael really can't understand it, but that's the way I am. And, with my bipolar thing, that's poison.

    "So I just stopped. Cold turkey. And it's so liberating."

    The couple have two children, Dylan and Carys, and Zeta-Jones claimed they have a down-to-earth lifestyle. "We're country people, really, I garden and knit. I golf. We ride horses," she said.

    "I love clothes and, yes, we go out, but it's not like I'm walking around all day in a negligee with fluffy mules."

    [Mar 28, 2016] FlonneCVXs review of NOT Just Friends Rebuilding Trust

    Amazon.com
    FlonneCVX
    Some Good Points, but Significantly Misguided , June 19, 2012

    This review is from: NOT "Just Friends": Rebuilding Trust and Recovering Your Sanity After Infidelity (Kindle Edition)

    Not "Just Friends" seemed like an interesting read to me, as I am fascinated by anything psychology-related, especially when it comes to relationships. As someone who has endured abuse in several intimate relationships (mostly verbal, but some physical), I am grateful that I have never been sexually cheated on, as far as I know, despite having had many wounds and raw spots in my psyche as a result of those relationships. I have always wondered why people cheat, and have never thought of the idea myself, despite the misery, low-self-esteem, and exhausting amounts of work I have experienced from previous abusive relationships. Before the actual review starts, I probably should note a disclaimer here: I am a young, never-married college student with no plans for children and am heading toward a successful career. For as long as my lifetime will allow, I would love to also have a monogamous partner for companionship, love, and sexual intimacy.

    First, I will start out with the positive points of the book. I should point out that the authors use a wonderful set of vocabulary words (e.g. "acumen") that one does not see often in many self-help books, further enriching the reading experience. The Kindle edition is especially nice, because it is easy to highlight and look up said words for future use.

    Second, the writers did offer some interesting insight as to why people cheat. Various statistics are presented that challenge the common myths surrounding infidelity. The most fascinating and validating concept to me is the following: the cheating partner is usually not straying because his or her needs are not met; the said partner is actually not *giving* enough to the relationship. This debunks the myth that the betrayed partner is usually at fault for the affair because the partner is not attending to the cheating partner's needs. Of course, the authors do acknowledge that entitlement and character (though they do not actually use that word) are the bottom line as to whether someone will cheat or not. Like myself, some people are naturally monogamous according to genetics (not mentioned in the book), and/or they have unconscious "blinders" that keep them away from temptation, because they are either incredibly happy with their partner, morally opposed to cheating, take precautions, set boundaries, etc. In other words, biological, psychological, social, and emotional factors all play into whether or not someone will cheat, especially inner attitudes about what is acceptable behavior for him or herself.

    Third, the book offered various stories and explanations of how many affairs start from an innocuous friendship based on lively conversation, advancing to sexual tension and eventually an intensely emotional and sexual affair that entrenches the original relationship into a mire. Although I wish the anecdotes had more conclusions ("they stayed together" or "they divorced"). After reading this book, I realized that I was emotionally cheated on in one of my past relationships. He had longtime sexual/romantic feelings for her that she did not reciprocate, but he complained to her about my sexuality without discussing it with me first. When she said inappropriate and disparaging remarks about me through her "unbiased female perspective," he believed her word over mine, despite the fact that I have never talked to her or met her. He made it evident through his words and actions that he respected and valued her more than me as a person, and never defended me to her. After ending the relationship, my research, therapist and friends assured me that he was controlling and verbally/physically abusive, and I was not at fault.

    Fourth, the book cites common-sense yet commonly ignored facts about what affairs really are. For instance, sexual activities outside of a relationship are always cheating. Even if it is just kissing. Sure, intercourse is way more devastating and less forgivable than a kiss, but it is absolutely imperative to acknowledge any extramarital sexual activity as cheating. Emotional cheating means one or more of the following: sharing more with the other person than with your spouse, betraying your spouse by sharing concerns with the affair partner rather than talking to the spouse yourself, badmouthing the spouse to the affair partner, and/or somehow placing yourself in a position that establishes more emotional intimacy with the affair partner than with your spouse.

    However, the negative aspects of this book cannot be ignored. I regret to say that I was surprised at how this book tended to actually sympathize more with the cheater than the betrayed partner. Dr. Glass said that she advises the majority of couples stricken by an affair to try to reconcile. Although she claims she understands how devastating and hurtful betrayal is in a relationship, it seems that she downplays it to acknowledge the [self-inflicted] "hurt" and "pain" the cheater experiences. I do wonder if Dr. Glass has experienced a betrayal herself. Perhaps she never has, and is incredibly naive and ignorant, or she has cheated herself and wishes to idealize the end-product of cheating as fixable and relationship-strengthening. She does not stress how entitled and abusive cheating is to a relationship. I am of the camp that believes cheating is never acceptable in a relationship; if one is unhappy, it is best to voice concerns and work on the relationship with love, respect, and honesty. If issues are not resolved in a timely manner according to one's liking, it is possible to leave and then find someone else in our relatively liberal American society. If my hypothetical boyfriend/husband had a sexual affair AND needed to actually grieve over the loss of his affair partner (through "me time") while remaining ambivalent about me, I would promptly show him the door instead of staying and working on the relationship like Dr. Glass suggests.

    In the heartbreaking case of Ralph and Rachel, I wished that Rachel had left Ralph, discounting the possibility that she would not get adequate child support. Ralph and Rachel seemed to be a happy couple who believed in monogamy. Ralph later had an affair with his younger coworker, Lara, after an intense friendship sparked into sexual tension and forbidden romance. Why did Ralph do this? Rachel was tired from taking care of three small children-- gasp! Ralph felt neglected and like they did not do enough for themselves. Rachel also had separate interests, such as the fact that she did not like the Sopranos like Lara did. The situation did not drive Ralph to cheat on Rachel. His attitudes of entitlement, compartmentalization, and disregard for both Rachel and Lara's feelings led him to make an entirely selfish decision that will forever scar the relationship between Ralph and Rachel. Had Ralph just been a better person and had manned up and had a respectful heart-to-heart with Rachel ("Darling, I want us to make more time for ourselves rather than discuss the kids all the time."), they could have worked out a compromise and made their relationship stronger by overcoming the difficulties of raising children together. Although Dr. Glass never outright says this, it seems like she places about half the blame on infidelity for the betrayed partner's "nagging" and whatnot, although she says there is no way to affair-proof a marriage. Rachel's so-called lack of attention did not cause or play in the part of any of Ralph's infidelity. Ralph cheated because he decided to cheat. Simple as that. If he did not feel entitled to do something unacceptable that he and Rachel had discussed before, he would not have cheated. If he did not silently believe that his "needs" came before that of Rachel and their children, and/or if he could truly love Rachel more than any other romantic option, he probably would have never cheated.

    Another couple's story angered me. After a long period of healing time, the betrayed wife surprised her unfaithful husband one night by wearing a wig to bed resembling the (very different) hair of his affair partner, leading to giggling and lovemaking. She will never live up to his fantasy woman affair partner, so she tries to be "the cool wife" by joking about the affair and posing as the other woman for his fantasies. Stories like these are patronizing and demeaning, reeking of the double-standard that benefits the cheating partner.

    Last, but absolutely the most disturbing part, is that this book often discounts personal autonomy, taking responsibility for one's actions, and personal power to do the right thing in the midst of trying times. Dr. Glass does mention briefly that individual issues can contribute to cheating. The truth is that a person's own unique set of beliefs, attitudes, morality, and reasoning is the be-all and end-all as to whether or not they will cheat. The same can be said for other destructive behavior, such as violence. Even if one feels the intense emotions of despair, destructive, unjust violence as a follow-up is never encouraged. The same can be said for relational aggression or betrayal of a friend's trust in a way that deeply wounds him or her. Then, why is it okay for someone to cheat then expect the partner to stay with him or her? Even worse, the book suggests that the betrayed partner to become a control freak; "mommying" the cheater and snooping during his or her "recovery" process post-cheating. The book recommends that the betrayed spouse require call check-ups, like "where are you? who are you with? what are you eating for dinner?" much akin to the worried parent with the newly driving teenager. The book advises that partners spend a lot of time together, doing lots of hobbies together and almost implying that a relationship is vulnerable to infidelity if, gasp, you have some different interests.

    I strongly suggest that anyone subjected to betrayal read the excellent books by Lundy Bancroft. For cheatees, "Should I Stay or Should I Go?" (especially helpful if you have also read "Why Does He DO That?") helps you realize your self-worth and discover underlying attitudes that allowed your partner to treat you terribly, without shaming you for leaving if that is what you decide to do. Although the books are more directed toward women, many of the concepts can be used by men dealing with abuse and infidelity from women, as the bottom line is entitlement, selfishness, and lack of empathy, not gender.

    A. James says: Thanks for everything you have written. I'm in the same category. After my last two break-ups, I've been seriously considering putting an end to dating and my dreams of life-long commitment and happiness. Men are VERY selfish, manipulative and simple-minded, (always playing "love games" like having machismo or not trying to appear so needy) and all it has left me is jaded with a major fear of betrayal and a hopeless incredulity of true/monogamous love.

    One similar book "The Tao of Dating" states that no matter what, cheating in any marriage or long-term relationship is inevitable; therefore, what's the damn point of it all? Is it worth the repetitive cycle of suffering, anxiety? We are just perpetuating and imposing unrealistic and self-destructive "old school" societal ideals on ourselves...who reaps great expectations, sows great disappointment.

    After much contemplation, I feel like I only wanted a man because it makes me look good to society (makes people envious too), plus it's the only way I'd be able to have a child without serious consequences. Not true. Consider 1) Screw what others thinks! 2) the easy access to adoption and fertility clinics 3) the advancement of strong-willed, independent women.

    Unfortunately, I'm still stuck on the thought that not having a partner would leave a gap in my life (the good and bad moments everyone wants to share with someone). As a result, this layers-thick wall I've been trying to build to protect my heart is already crumbling Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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    In reply to an earlier post on Oct 12, 2012 11:12:12 PM PDT
    Last edited by the author on Oct 12, 2012 11:28:49 PM PDT FlonneCVX says: Oh, A. James, I'm so sorry you've been through it too. A lot of men are that way. Thank you for posting, by the way. I appreciate the positive feedback.

    It almost seems that, in relationships, when you try to speak up about something bothering you (nicely) or start to get emotional, they accuse you of "starting fights/drama." However, if you try to keep your issues to yourself/think it's not that bad at the time, then confess that you realized you felt something wrong after the fact, you're told you're a liar.

    I am adamantly committed to no game-playing (except the fun, non-abusive, non-manipulative kind), yet most guys don't meet me on the same page despite swearing how honest they are. It's very difficult to assess one's character in the beginning of a relationship. Maybe we should all wait 3 months before getting serious?

    While I am certain the concept that "cheating is inevitable" is false for many couples (they may be unhappy in other ways though), my feelings, mind, and intelligence have been invalidated so much by men that I have started to lose hope as well. Relationships shouldn't consist of suffering, especially when most of the relationship is suffering.

    I believe that a happy, healthy single-parent home is likely to be much better for a child than a two-parent dysfunctional, emotionally abusive home. Especially if the single parent has enough financial resources and has a network of close friends and family members to be positive role models for the child. I feel that if you have the right resources, I support that choice.

    Quite honestly, I only "need" a man for intimacy. The problem is that I want a relationship alongside it, for exclusivity, romance, and friendship. The problem is that I fear getting married, because in my experience, getting serious with a man leads to him hurting you or acting like a child so that you have to constantly take care of his needs (food, etc.) so you get caregiver burnout. Pre-nups are always essential if you make a decent amount of money, despite the general "coldness" associated with them.

    I wish I knew the answer. I still want a relationship, but I am scared to death of "forever" with a man. I want an equal, not a child or someone who will hurt or neglect me emotionally or physically. I sometimes suffer nightmares about some of my exes.

    Best of luck to you. I hope you find someone wonderful, but either way, you can absolutely realize your dreams. :) Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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    Posted on Nov 2, 2012 3:31:39 AM PDT malika says: I thought this post was very well thought out and written and makes some extremely valid points. I have this book, through reading it I realised that my ex was not 'just friends' with the other woman. This 'friendship' arose after he had had a sexual encounter with a prostitute. He told me I should be able to forgive him because this encounter was sexual not emotional, so off I trotted to counselling, being the good wife, after all why would I want to throw away our marriage, everything we had together to end up being on my own miserable and lonely (his words).

    Then the 'friendship' started. All I ever heard was it was 'just my imagination' I was 'too jealous' then later 'it's emotional not sexual so it doesn't count'. Next he told me that he wouldn't give up his friendship with her, that it meant more to him than I did, than our marriage did. Through his bullying, emotional, verbal, and psychological abuse I had gotten to the point of contemplating suicide. Then I woke up and realised that my life was worth living. He has always denied having a sexual affair with her, even now when they're living together. When I filed for divorce his words to me were 'I thought we had an agreement, that we would be together, forever, no matter what'. My reply was 'that was your mistake, thinking 'no matter what'.

    The spouse/partner may very well endure verbal, emotional and psychological abuse in the form of bullying, taunts, threats and even physical violence, and all to ease the other persons conscience. But this is part of their game of manipulation, to get the cheated partner to believe that it's all in their mind, that they shouldn't be thinking like this, that other people wouldn't be so jealous, you're too sensitive, you're a drama queen, you should be on the Jerry Springer show.

    Fiona, I also like your reply to A James, in the time since my divorce I have met guys who have just wanted the sex but not the relationship. They don't even want to take you out on a date, or buy a bottle of wine, but they expect you to want to jump into bed with them. Sorry, but this woman is also committed to no game playing, which is why when I meet a guy I'm brutally honest about what I want, I won't tread on the toes of another person by entering into a relationship with someone who's already in one, also I don't want to be second to another person. I don't do the just sex thing, but now I've realised that I don't want someone moving into my house with me because I've met guys who saw me as somewhere to live for free and thought I should be ok with that. NOT!! To be perfectly honest I'm beginning to think it's time someone came up with Stepford men. (for anyone not knowing this reference look up the film Stepford Wives). Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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    In reply to an earlier post on Nov 11, 2012 12:02:08 PM PST FlonneCVX says: I'm so sorry you went through that painful ordeal, Malika. None of that nonsense was your fault. It sounds like you did everything you could to keep the marriage together. Like many of the men I have dated, he was toxic and no matter what you could have done, he would have found a way to continue to squash your heart, mind and soul to keep you under control and enforce his entitled double-standard lifestyle. I'm so glad you left him; you don't deserve that behavior from anyone, especially a man who claims to love you and reaps the benefits of a marriage to you.

    "Sorry, but this woman is also committed to no game playing, which is why when I meet a guy I'm brutally honest about what I want, I won't tread on the toes of another person by entering into a relationship with someone who's already in one, also I don't want to be second to another person. I don't do the just sex thing, but now I've realised that I don't want someone moving into my house with me because I've met guys who saw me as somewhere to live for free and thought I should be ok with that. NOT!!"

    Heh, I could have written the above paragraph myself. I am 100% with you. I am determined to wait a long time to evaluate a man's trustworthiness before he can jump into a cohabitation/marriage-situation with me. There are way too many users out there, and you need to be careful and listen to your gut. I learned the hard way; when a guy was using me and I kept getting emotional and upset about his mistreatment of me, I stuffed it down and listened to his various lame excuses and agreed with him that the blame was on me. Never again. I come first next time.

    Also, thank you for the kind comment on my review. I hope everything falls into place wonderfully for you. Stay strong; you have my support. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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    Posted on Jan 27, 2013 10:37:42 AM PST randomreviewer says: Definitely one of the best reviews I've ever read. Pinpoints exactly what, in my opinion, is wrong with this book. Definitely puts too much blame on the betrayed spouse - at some point, she uses the term "superdramatics" to describe the unbearable pain the betrayed spouse experiences post-discovery. Also second your rec'd on the Lundy Bancroft books. And would recommend "How to Help Your Spouse Heal From Your Affair" by Linda J. MacDonald - much more empathetic to the betrayed spouse. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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    In reply to an earlier post on Feb 12, 2013 8:18:52 PM PST FlonneCVX says: What a wonderful comment. Thank you so much, I feel honored. :) Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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    Posted on Apr 30, 2014 6:00:39 PM PDT
    Last edited by the author on Apr 30, 2014 6:12:39 PM PDT ProductReviews says: Thank you your you review. Helps me a lot. It's unreal to me how anyone can write how it's the faithful partner's fault that the other one cheated on them. No one person or couple is perfect, but even saying and acknowledging that much is far too much already of an excuse for such a thing for one to do to someone else they say they love and care for, not if you care more about yourself to stray from your partner bit by bit or all at once. The cheating partner has a choice to leave the relationship first before that happens and they should, but they are far too cowardly and selfish (it's when they have kids it's harder, but none the less). And this part you wrote below about the book saying this... Wow! Not a chance. What a horrible way to tell someone to be and how to act. None of what the other did was funny at all, it's downright deplorable! Wow....

    "Another couple's story angered me. After a long period of healing time, the betrayed wife surprised her unfaithful husband one night by wearing a wig to bed resembling the (very different) hair of his affair partner, leading to giggling and lovemaking. She will never live up to his fantasy woman affair partner, so she tries to be "the cool wife" by joking about the affair and posing as the other woman for his fantasies. Stories like these are patronizing and demeaning, reeking of the double-standard that benefits the cheating partner." Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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    Posted on Jul 3, 2014 7:40:02 AM PDT Kelasings says: You hit the nail on the head. Entitlement, selfishness and a lack of empathy are what drives cheating. I have always felt that there are only two kinds of people - those who would cheat and those who wouldn't. Period. There really is no middle ground. It is either something you would do or something you wouldn't do. Blaming others for your actions is really a cop-out. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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    Posted on Jul 11, 2014 12:44:08 PM PDT Peter Pan says: Most thoughtful, specific, intelligent, and useful perspective. Reply to this post Permalink | Report abuse | Ignore this customer Stop ignoring customer

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    In reply to an earlier post on Nov 7, 2014 2:25:10 PM PST Rachel N. says: A. James and FlonneCVX,

    I think that is terrible what you've been through. I haven't been cheated on, but I've been abused a lot in my past relationships. Sometimes I really want to give up too. Sometimes I feel like it must be a defect in me since it keeps happening and happening.

    I know I'm 2 years late to the conversation, but I just wanted to jump in because I wanted you to know that there is hope - there are healthy partners out there.

    I found a man 3 years ago, and he is finally not like the others. He finally doesn't abuse me, and he's the most loyal guy there is. Actually, he sounds a lot like you do, A. James, because HE has been cheated on again and again by women. He started to feel like you did, but genders reversed, that there were no good women out there. But you and I and FlonneCVX know that's not true, because we're not like that.

    So, I don't know what's happening. I don't know if emotionally healthy people are really that hard to find, or if we end up being drawn to certain types, or having them drawn to us. For me and my husband, I think that it's a bit of both... we're both super sweet people with huge hearts, so we see these people that seem like they need our big hearts and our love, and then they see us as something they can manipulate and use to their own selfish end.

    That aside, I found a man that breaks the pattern! I found a man that isn't going to cheat, and puts me as #1, always. He never abuses me, he never manipulates me.

    But, due to our pasts, we both have baggage. We both have suffered traumas and have tender spots and irrational reactions (like, based on his past, he's always afraid I'm going to cheat on him, because that's what everyone else always did to him). So, we went to therapy.
    In therapy, I was introduced to Adult Attachment Theory. The therapist had us read this book called "Hold Me Tight," which deals with why we NEED to have a secure bond with one special person and why we NEED to come first to them and why we NEED to be understood and respected.

    If you have still given up on relationships, but feel like there's something missing, I wonder if it might help you to check out that book, or to read other books on adult attachment. Because there is a primal need for us to get the things you haven't gotten, and it's not a weakness to want (or need) these things.

    I have hope for you, if you haven't already found someone that's emotionally healthy. I have hope you can find the right person out there. Like I did with my husband (my second husband btw, the first one was very emotionally abusive and manipulative).

    Sadly, I think so many people have been damaged in their pasts and deny it and that makes them unhealthy partners who do things like be abusive or cheat, plus our culture backs up their actions and their entitlement, and backs up that we should all hide from our own emotions so that we don't understand ourselves.
    But, I think there are still people out there who can see their own flaws and injuries and not turn them against others. People who want to be good people and want to put a partner as #1 in the world. I just think they're not as common as the ones walking around in denial.... BUT I think they're out there, looking for someone who's also emotionally healthy to love them back.

    [Mar 22, 2016] The Vampire's Bite Victims of Narcissists Speak Out by Leon F Seltzer Ph.D.

    Notable quotes:
    "... N would [even] lie when the truth would save his neck ..."
    "... "I lie. Compulsively and needlessly. All the time. About everything. And I often contradict myself. Why do I need to do this? To make myself interesting or attractive. In other words, to secure narcissistic supply (attention, admiration, adulation, gossip )." ..."
    "... Because they're not genuinely interested in others, they're poor listeners ..."
    "... They can be extremely mean-spirited (as in taking an almost perverse delight in raining on another's parade). ..."
    "... They're untrustworthy: As one discussant bluntly puts it: "Don't tell them anything you aren't prepared to get shoved up your butt later ..."
    "... Despite their self- confident , better-than-thou exterior, they often betray feelings of weakness, insecurity, inferiority, jealousy , and cowardice. One commenter even sums them up as "emotional cripples." ..."
    "... What I, and others on this board, have learned from dealing with N bullies in our personal lives applies to terrorists. There can be no appeasement, no attempting to reason with them, no attempt to "fix" them, to unseat their deep-seated hatred, shame and envy. Sounds terribly harsh to the uninitiated, but not recognizing that can only lead to our own destruction. ..."
    "... Looking back on ALL the Ns I've ever known and merged with, I see there WERE signs within minutes of meeting the N that they were grossly selfish, immoral, sex -addicted or [that] something was definitely 'off' [about them]. I didn't honour my intuition, gut feelings and instinct. The truth is that I had almost no experience setting healthy boundaries. ..."
    Apr 23, 2014 | Psychology Today
    Of all the oppressive, crazy-making features of the narcissist, the one perhaps most frequently cited is their exasperating dishonesty. And such untruthfulness has at times led their no-longer-so-gullible victims to describe them as con artists. Here's a highly selective sampling of such complaints:

    The controversial Dr. Sam Vaknin, creator of this forum on narcissism and himself a self-confessed NPD, has written profusely-at times, brilliantly-on the subject. In his article "Pseudologica Fantastica," he freely admits:

    ... ... ...

    Below, I'll summarize some other distressing characteristics of the narcissist regularly alluded to by their victims:

    The one consolation for victims of the narcissist's "dagger" (or "vampirish teeth") is the hard-won insights they eventually gain, which makes it possible for at least some of them to repudiate a relationship that's been so toxic to them. Again, in their own (sadder-but-wiser) words:

    [Mar 22, 2016] The Secret to Spotting Subtle Narcissists

    Notable quotes:
    "... The entitlement surge of subtle narcissism is a bit like the normally happy drunk suddenly becoming surly and going on a bender, cleaning out the liquor cabinets and storming off to buy more booze. ..."
    "... Your partner begins complaining about the messy house after your pregnancy, feeling he works hard enough that he deserves to come home to a clean house.... ..."
    Mar 16, 2016 | Psychology Today

    ...narcissism is marked by an entitlement surge-those moments when a normally understanding friend or partner or coworker angrily behaves as if the world owes them. It's usually triggered by a sudden fear that their special status has been threatened in some way. Until this point, their need for the world to revolve around them is mostly under wraps, because it hasn't been called into question. Kevin didn't ask for Sherry's support or even try to understand how hard her year after her mother's death had been. In his mind, he deserved her full understanding because he felt so close to his dream of a becoming a law partner.

    The entitlement surge of subtle narcissism is a bit like the normally happy drunk suddenly becoming surly and going on a bender, cleaning out the liquor cabinets and storming off to buy more booze. Your usually affable boss suddenly tears into you, worried that the latest project (his idea) is failing. Unbeknownst to you, he's secretly had plans to become the CEO ever since he arrived. Your partner begins complaining about the messy house after your pregnancy, feeling he works hard enough that he deserves to come home to a clean house....

    ... ... ...

    To read more about subtle (and dangerous) narcissism, including specific, research-backed strategies to protect yourself from it, order Rethinking Narcissism (link is external) today.

    [Mar 22, 2016] The 5 Most Dangerous Myths About Narcissism (Part 2)

    Notable quotes:
    "... The other narcissist is my mother. For years I lived in terror of her rages, and how the family pretty much revolves around her. I didn't understand how a parent could be so cruel, and assume everyone else was a bad person. ..."
    "... As far as healthy narcissism goes, it's something I'm working on. My mother has stripped all of our self-esteem, as she relishes putting loved one's fault under the microscope as often and loudly as possible. I grew up with massive amounts of fear and anxiety assuming everyone was very concerned about every minor mistake I made. I wish I had worked on this earlier. Mom taught me how to make a mountain out of a tiny molehill. ..."
    "... It's true, many children who've lived with extremely narcissistic parents--and I count myself among them--grow up to struggle with a more generous self-image. ..."
    Feb 17, 2016 | Psychology Today

    Narcissism has never been an official mental health disorder. Narcissist isn't a recognized diagnostic descriptor either; it's shorthand for someone who scores higher than the average on narcissism measures and may or may not be disordered

    ...It's a mistake to talk about "symptoms of narcissism." What people usually mean is symptoms of pathological narcissism or NPD.

    Anonymous on February 17, 2016 - 9:04am

    I have two narcissists in my family. One borders on sociopathy so I avoid her, she scares me. The other narcissist is my mother. For years I lived in terror of her rages, and how the family pretty much revolves around her. I didn't understand how a parent could be so cruel, and assume everyone else was a bad person.

    But now that can attach a label to the problem and get a better understanding of what is happening and why, I can create much better boundaries and sit back and watch the crazy unfold. My mother is pretty frustrated that her usual tricks aren't having the impact on me that they once did.

    As far as healthy narcissism goes, it's something I'm working on. My mother has stripped all of our self-esteem, as she relishes putting loved one's fault under the microscope as often and loudly as possible. I grew up with massive amounts of fear and anxiety assuming everyone was very concerned about every minor mistake I made. I wish I had worked on this earlier. Mom taught me how to make a mountain out of a tiny molehill.

    Craig Malkin PhD on February 19, 2016

    It sounds like you've been through hell

    And come back. It's true, many children who've lived with extremely narcissistic parents--and I count myself among them--grow up to struggle with a more generous self-image. It's like we swallow that parent whole, their voice plaguing us at every turn. It's hard work silencing that inner critic. But that's the task -- well worth undertaking-- of overcoming echoism and finding our voices. I wish you well in continuing to find yours.

    [Mar 22, 2016] 9 Enlightening Quotes on Narcissists by Leon F Seltzer Ph.D.

    Notable quotes:
    "... In fact, one of their central defenses (or stratagems) is to endlessly project onto others the very flaws (and fears!) they're unable, or unwilling, to allow into awareness. ..."
    "... "Narcissists are great con-artists. After all, they succeed in deluding themselves! As a result, very few professionals see through them." ~ ..."
    "... most therapists learn quickly enough the signs and signals that give away a narcissistic patient (e.g., regularly blaming others for their problems, taking very little responsibility for why their lives aren't working, telling them how to do therapy , ..."
    Apr 14, 2014 | Psychology Today

    Curiously, deep, deep down-and undoubtedly unconscious to them-they know they're not really what they project. In fact, one of their central defenses (or stratagems) is to endlessly project onto others the very flaws (and fears!) they're unable, or unwilling, to allow into awareness. As critical as they are about others' shortcomings, they're amazingly blind to their own. (And in this respect, the reader might take a look at my earlier piece, "The Narcissist's Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . ").

    ... ... ...

    "To love oneself is the beginning of a life-long romance." ~ Oscar Wilde

    Although as stated, this quote is undoubtedly ambiguous, the term "romance" leads me to believe that Wilde's notion of self-love leans toward the pathological-and maybe the auto-erotic as well. But healthy self-love really has very little to do with the romantic: it's grounded in positive self-regard and an acceptance of one's flaws and frailties. On the contrary, being "in love with" oneself (as implied by Wilde's quote) suggests a self-absorption that can only be detrimental to narcissists in their relationships with others. In fact, one of the most common descriptions of unhealthy narcissism emphasizes their inability to care about other people-apart, that is, from how these others might satisfy the demands of their (insatiable) egos.

    "Half the harm that is done in this world is due to people who want to feel important. They don't mean to do harm, but the harm [that they cause] does not interest them. Or they do not see it, or they justify it because they are absorbed in the endless struggle to think well of themselves." ~ T. S. Eliot

    This quote makes a vital distinction between narcissists' being malevolent (cf. the sociopath) and their simply lacking concern about how their behaviors might adversely affect others. It's yet another way of drawing attention to their supreme self-absorption, which makes it impossible for them to empathically identify with another's feelings, Most of the time they don't consciously intend to take advantage of others. Such exploitation is merely a side effect of their overriding need to feel more important and better than others-and so feel "good enough." Nonetheless, their insensitivity to the wants and needs of those around them can at times be nothing less than astonishing.

    ... ... ...

    "Narcissists are great con-artists. After all, they succeed in deluding themselves! As a result, very few professionals see through them." ~ anonymous.

    This statement seems somewhat exaggerated to me. For most therapists learn quickly enough the signs and signals that give away a narcissistic patient (e.g., regularly blaming others for their problems, taking very little responsibility for why their lives aren't working, telling them how to do therapy, etc.).

    Still, the quote is instructive in pointing out not only the enormous self-deception in the way narcissists see themselves, but also their singular expertise in deceiving others. Speaking with bogus authority, they typically have an excellent track record in getting others to see things as they do, even though the result to those so taken in can be disastrous (e.g., being persuaded to make a truly ill-considered investment).

    All of which is to say that-on many different levels-getting involved with a narcissist can be as dangerous as a snake bite. And the unexpected sting of it all can, alas, last a good deal longer.

    Note 1: In examining literally hundreds of quotes for this post, I came across many that centered not anywhere so much on the narcissist as on their hapless victims. Consequently, my next post will explore the damage that narcissists-especially those far out on the narcissistic continuum -do to those who unwittingly put their trust in them. It's called "The Vampire's Bite: Victims of Narcissists Speak Out."

    Note 2: If you'd like to explore other posts I've written on narcissism, here are the links:

    Note 3: If you'd like to check out other posts I've done for Psychology Today blogs generally-on a broad variety of topics-click here.

    [Mar 22, 2016] What is a Drama Queen

    In literature, the character Scarlett O'Hara from Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind would be considered a drama queen by today's standards. This type of person is notoriously self-centered and self-absorbed, often viewing friends and relatives as lesser beings assigned to take care of her personal needs. Her worst enemy is solitude, so she tends to be very outgoing and sociable, although many of her friendships tend to remain at surface level. Others who have experienced the drama queen's sudden outbursts in the past may have a feeling of walking on egg shells around her, not wanting to be the person who delivers upsetting news or offends her in any way.

    [Mar 22, 2016] How to Deal with a Drama Queen

    Scientific American

    SAM PAGED ME at 9 p.m., crying. It had started with his hair, which he was convinced was falling out. And although his work as a teacher's aide had "filled him with love and joy," he was sure his boss had given him a nasty look at the lunch break, and he felt utterly sick inside. Later Sam had phoned his partner, who had seemed distant. Afraid he was about to be dumped, Sam locked himself in the staff bathroom and cried for almost an hour, failing to finish his work and preventing others from using the facilities.

    Sam is a drama queen-a person who reacts to everyday events with excessive emoton and behaves in theatrical, attention-grabbing ways. This type is the friend who derails a casual lunch to tell you a two-hour story about the devastating fight she had with her partner or the co-worker who constantly obsesses about how he is about to lose his job and needs your support to make it through the day. The drama queen worships you one minute and despises you the next, based on overreactions to minor events.

    Living or working with drama queens can be draining and disturbing. Such a colleague can curtail your own productivity at the office or even shut down teams as everyone tries to contain the chaos. If you live with a drama queen, you may be bombarded daily with accusations and showy attempts to apologize, leaving you feeling angry, guilty and exhausted. Some drama queens are violent toward others, cut themselves or threaten suicide. The extreme behavior can lead to depression or anxiety in family members and colleagues.

    Scientists have begun to understand some of the causes of these destructive traits, which are difficult to change without professional help. At the extreme end of the spectrum, if this behavior pervades most areas of a person's life, he or she may be diagnosed with a personality disorder. Individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD), for example, are extremely volatile and impulsive and have wildly tumultuous relationships; those with histrionic personality disorder are highly emotional and attention seeking, with an excessive need for approval. Nevertheless, if you are in a relationship with, or otherwise connected to, a drama queen, a few simple tactics can help you avoid being sucked into his or her spinning world of emotion.

    Dream_writer in reply to nfiertel May 27, 2010

    How are chemical imbalances diagnosed--through the symptoms they produce. Just because looking at the symptoms and diagnosing based on the behavioral/mental patterns observed cannot be "quantified" or measured with a ruler doesn't mean that they are not a legitimate tool for understanding mental differences or mental illness. I cannot speak specifically to borderline disorder, but certainly depression is real, anxiety disorders are real, phobias are real. Medication is not the only way to treat these disorders--the right kind of talk therapy and learning the skills to reframe harmful thoughts can treat these. Medication may be necessary for the most severe cases, but it is not always necessary, and some would certainly prefer to avoid putting any more synthetic chemicals into their bodies than absolutely necessary.\

    I have suffered from mild depression and mild social anxiety. Cognitive behavioral therapy (a specific type of talk therapy) has helped me a great deal. While it was not enough on its own and I was put on medication in addition, I definitely feel that the inclusion of cognitive behavioral therapy has greatly reduced the dose of medication necessary. I would much rather learn to reframe my thoughts so that my brain naturally produces more serotonin than just take it in artificially for the rest of my life along with whatever filler the drug company sees fit to use in it.

    And as to your accusation that therapists treat people for 30 plus years, most cognitive behavioral therapists expect treatment to last less than five years. Treatment for longer than that is unlikely to be effective, I agree, but that duration of treatment is the exception rather than the norm, unless you're thinking solely of in-depth psychoanalysis, which at least the PhD psychologist to whom I spoke regarding my own issues thinks is a waste of time for serious treatment and better suited for the wealthy to use for in-depth self-discovery--and that is certainly entirely elective.


    belle December 31, 2009

    i really need advice, wonder if anyone can offer some, I have someone in my close circle, who, has become increasingly difficult, demanding and almost threatening and quite frankly i do not know what to do.

    this person has two sides, one kind, thoughful caring and within in a instant of disagreeing with this person, they become paranoid, aggressive, defensive, negative, throwing strops, ignoring me, being nice to my friends and family so i look the baddy, not only am i dealing with this behaviour, but the significant other also gets involved, also aggresssive, and willing to please this person, at any cost, i am so hurt by latest carry on, im worried for my sanity, days and special moments have been ruined due to this persons behaviour because they didnt have my full attention or agreement.

    i used to love this person as a dear friend, but there life circumstances have changed, where i have happily remained the same, i cant continue to walk on eggshells, im tired, but fear the consecquences, i honestly do! how sad for a grown,young person to fear the backlash of simply saying 'no, its not possible' or 'i cant' no matter what i do, if this person is not included or asked to be included then i literally suffer verbal abuse,and when i do ask, im told no, i wouldnt be interested , if it includes interacting with other people apart from me, the people i have chosen to spend my time with are belittled, and i end up agreeing for peace,

    i do feel this person has some issues, i seem to be the soft one who hasn't walked away out of loyalty, but i can no longer take it, im tired and have seen these people threaten and bully other people, everything is a huge negative drama, even though to the rest of the world its no big deal! if someone can offer any advice, id be very grateful, thankyou for your time, and for those who suggest i grow a backbone, its quite difficult when your feelings, beliefs and choices have been stamped into the ground, because this person wasnt included in them,drama ? ive so had enough!

    thmilin November 19, 2009

    I agree with ElizabethM. The article shines light on something valid and important that should be addressed in our society - an area in mental health that needs funding and scientific research, and which I actually think is escalating the more we zoom into lives of dependence on modern technology and blurring of social norms and appropriate behaviors in the face of media sensationalism and common violence.

    This type of behavior is escalating (though I'm not a scientist, I will say I encounter it more than I ever used to) and deserves true scientific, nonbiased research. However, this article doesn't reflect any of that and is written, like some have mocked, like something in Details or GQ or InStyle magazine.

    I 'm glad they highlighted it, I wished the presentation and shared facts were more comprehensive and less biased, and that there were more references to meaningful, supportive data and research/papers/publications.

    Personally, my mother was one of these people. She'd never been diagnosed, but I know she is certifiably crazy. I don't know what type of crazy she is, but I know her type of crazy has damaged me and my siblings. And in the case of my siblings, she damaged them irreparably, to the point of driving both of them to different forms of self-destruction and addiction.

    From my own case I'd presume the genetic aspect, and I'd also presume the traumatic childhood incident. But we need more data, less accusations of "quakery," and more respect for the complexity of a human being that doesn't sum us all up to "chemical imbalance." I don't believe a chemical imbalance can be purely resolved with drugs, nor entirely avoid other side effects, and that treatment can include multiple modalities and therapies that don't have to be surgical or pharmaceutical.

    ElizabethM in reply to Bops November 7, 2009

    I beg your pardon, Bops? "Should this person be free to kill other people because you have compassion for them?"

    Bops in reply to ElizabethM November 6, 2009

    ElizabethM,

    Weird people seem to enjoy doing weird things.

    He says, "I like to be a little bit bad"

    His flip side just happens to be "criminal behavior".

    Should this person be free to kill other people because you have compassion for them?

    Bops November 6, 2009

    Thank you, Good Article. My friend has the "Drama Queen Problem" too. I try not to answer the phone, if I know it's her. Listening causes more harm than good.

    oaustinsmall in reply to smober November 5, 2009

    Sam was actually a male patient. The story was abbreviated for space, but he presented at the clinic following an incident where he threatened suicide and then hid on a dark beach for over an hour as his friends and police searched for him, all as a "test" to see if they really wanted him. Sam is very useful as a case because he exemplifies the dynamics of panic, object loss, and anihilation fears that exist behind the drama behavior. However, Sam was quite extreme, and these dynamics frequently show up in much more subtle ways. I agree most vignettes use women to demonstrate borderline and histrionic personality disorders, but they very much exist in men as well.

    Ophelia, author

    gnathan November 4, 2009

    Those who scoff at BPD have obviously never been involved with anyone who is afflicted with it. However, those who have been assaulted or even threatened with death by such volatile people will know better. Yet to the rest of the world they often appear sweet as pie. Hence, one's complaints often go unheeded.If you are involved with such a person, get away from them as soon as possible. But, above all, stay away!! Ignore the temptation to "help." They can't be helped by you. They are dangerous to your mental health, if not to your physical well-being.

    doowrah November 4, 2009

    I call this the "fruitloop syndrome". I was involved with someone of the better part a two years. The theatrics were just too much for my sanity. Eventually I started listening to friends and went to see a councilor that was able to bring me to the realization to get away from it. [It] the BPD or classify it as you will, was something I didn't understand at all at the time until I educated myself because of the effect it was having on me. There was a strong compassion to this person but eventually I had to realize the importance of my own health.

    mapper November 3, 2009

    As someone who was married to a person with "Borderline Personality Disorder", I can see how they can be compared to the likes of a "Drama Queen". I never knew going into my relationship the toll it would take on me and my two daughters. We lasted less than a year and a half before splitting up this July. It was the hardest thing to do - walking away from her, but ultimately the right decision. Save yourself a lot of pain - study up on BPD! Read "Stop Walking on Eggshells", it might help save your sanity!

    Gramina November 3, 2009

    I have a close friend with severe PTSD, and I found this article both informative and helpful; there *is* science that can help us understand what's going on in these cases, and it's useful to know it. Thank you.

    [Mar 22, 2016] How To Handle a Drama Queen

    Psychology Today
    First of all, drama queen implies it's a girlie thing. It's not. Males and females alike are equally capable of requiring way more energy than a relationship with them is worth. Drama, being a close kin to high maintenance, may manifest itself in behaviors that look different across the continuum of masculinity to femininity, but make no mistake, drama kings are every bit as real as drama queens. So for the purposes of this piece, we'll be talking, "drama persons." From there the issue is, what do you do when one crosses your path? The easy answer is, nothing. But it is a conscious, deliberate and strategic nothing that nets the most impact.

    Drama is a symptom-a symptom of childhood. If you participate-on any level-you feed a monster who is trapped in a time warp, but escapes every so often. That monster is determined to suck you into his or her own personal, self-esteem issues (a.k.a. drama) that were never resolved. It is an ego-gone-wild, trying to right some wrong that you need to see contextually with its origins rooted in the past.

    Drama persons thrive on attention, but that's because they learned to feel invisible and unimportant. This is where the drama comes from. They are merely trying to convince themselves, by trying to convince you, that they matter. They are blind to the feelings of others and have failed to develop the coping skills necessary for an adult life. Call it arrested development, call it a failure to grow up and evolve, but underneath it all they have yet to outgrow (or dispel) whatever negative feelings they learned to believe about themselves. The sad part is that if their behavior weren't such a turnoff, there would be plenty of reason to have compassion for them, which ironically is what they really need to heal their wounds and move one.

    Whether it is from believing they were not loved, not good enough, not wanted or accepted, an internal narrative developed, almost always unconscious, that plays out when memories of those feelings are triggered and/or come to the surface. In that process they exhaust everyone in the present by replaying whatever story they are telling themselves from their pasts. And so they act out.

    Despite their efforts to involve you, there is nothing you can do to change them because changing them means trying to change personal histories, which is not possible. It's done. It's over. So, don't try. You'll exhaust yourself. Each drama person must decide for him or herself to embark on a road of self-awareness and growth. If he or she doesn't, the will to remain stuck is impenetrable. The only thing you can do is manage yourself, which is where doing nothing comes into play. Know how to draw a line. Know when to walk away. And don't be afraid to say that the drama scene doesn't work for you. That choice is yours to make. And when you do, they will disengage from the behavior-at least with you. They have to. You've left them with no alternative.

    Donna Flagg on April 15, 2014

    Good point

    I could see how that could be true too. I read this today, which I think applies. 9 Enlightening Quotes on Narcissists-and Why Psychology Today
    So it's that tricky relationship between self and others that can be confounding. Are you a drama queen, who needs attention? Or are you dramatic?

    A caveat: Deep down, I do think it's about what you think and believe about yourself, albeit underneath your concern about others. When you believe you are actually good enough, and even better than good, it renders what others think secondary.

    [Mar 19, 2016] Are You High Maintenance -

    www.nationalmarriage.com
    Are you high maintenance? Some people seem to always be on the edge of becoming upset. They require a lot of attention, approval, and maybe reassurance. Often such individuals take offense easily at being overlooked or somehow not recognized. These individuals enjoy being in control of a relationship. They can be easily overwhelmed with stress and responsibility and often feel as though they are the most put upon in a relationship. They may see themselves the victim of their mate's insensitivity and distraction.

    Maybe you are married to someone who is high maintenance. You constantly find yourself the object of criticism and it seems as though you can never do anything to the other's satisfaction. Spouses of high maintenance individuals often find themselves in no-win dilemmas. No matter what they do they will incur the disapproval, if not wrath, of their spouse. The high maintenance spouse often claims their expectations are normal and any reasonable caring loving spouse should anticipate what to them are the most basic of considerations. Spouses of high maintenance partners can feel as though they are walking on egg shells waiting for the next failure to occur and they once again are the source of hurt, injury and pain to their spouse.

    Sound familiar at all? Many relationships can be described as one member being more "high maintenance" than the other. In some relationships this is a long standing pattern and contributes to erosion of affection and commitment over time. In other relationships the "high maintenance" tag gets shared depending on changing circumstances and felt needs. One week it is the wife who is high maintenance, the next week it is the husband. It is conceivable that a relationship might occur in which both spouses are high maintenance and the relationship dynamics revolve around competition over whose 'felt need' is greatest at any given time.

    If you honestly recognize you can be "high maintenance" take heart, be encouraged there is good news. One, the simple fact you recognize you can be demanding and easily offended puts you in a position to change. Many high maintenance individuals are oblivious to the pain and suffering they inflict upon those around them. Self-objectivity, the ability to look at oneself honestly and objectively is a characteristic of maturity and essential to personal change. If you are unsure about whether you can be high maintenance, your spouse and loved ones can probably tell you. But, don't ask until you are really ready to hear their input. A part of being high maintenance is being defensive when others are critical. If you ask for this feedback, challenge yourself to hear the person out without rebuttal. Maybe take notes and set them aside for a few days, then go back and review the notes before responding to the feedback.

    Secondly, be encouraged because your sensitivity which leads you to be high maintenance is also a gift. High maintenance persons are often capable of deep emotional connection and appreciation. What may be judged as high maintenance may actually be an undeveloped sense of emotional sensitivity that can be harnessed and directed for deep emotional connection with others. High maintenance individuals are often capable of deep empathy and compassion. Their sensitivity affords them the recognition of how circumstances, events, and behavior can impact people emotionally. This is valuable insight and can be cultivated for great connection and support with others.

    The problem with being high maintenance lies with the expectations which we can attach to our felt wants and desires in relationship. If you are high maintenance, learning how to recognize how expectations develop in you and how to hold your wants and desires more lightly may help soften the disappointment when a spouse does not recognize how important something is to you. Most importantly, beware of looking to a spouse for the significance and security you should be finding in your relationship with God. High maintenance conflict may be due to demanding some attention, approval, and affirmation from a spouse which first should be found in our relationship with God and ourselves. If we are secure in how God sees us, how He loves and cares for us, then the care, attention and affirmation of a spouse is a gift. We may be disappointed if our spouse neglects us in some way but this is way less distressing than if we tell ourselves we must have our spouse notice and provide our need. Feeling entitled to something from our spouse is a sure sign we are becoming "high maintenance."

    Being open about desires and wants can go a long way toward helping our spouse understand what impacts us and contributes to our feeling loved and supported. Recognizing and being grateful when a spouse is attentive and affirming is especially rewarding and encourages a spouse to be attentive and affirming in the future. Spouses may not understand the power of reassurance, attention, and support. Often times they are making efforts to be accommodating but do not recognize the effort is not in a manner desired or hoped for. Communication about feelings, hopes, and wants beforehand can go a long way to avoiding conflict when you're prone to be "high maintenance."

    If you are married to a high maintenance person you too can be encouraged as well. The cycle of disappointment and conflict can be sometimes diminished through some basic relationship skills. Giving your spouse a full hearing when they are distressed will often go a long way to dissipating the emotional intensity they may be feeling. Remember, listening and validating their feelings do not require anything to be fixed or changed. It's just an opportunity to offer understanding and care in the way of attention and presence. The high maintenance spouse can often use judgmental and accusatory language. If one can listen past the personal criticism to the hurt, disappointment, anxiety and/or fear behind the attack it may be possible to have compassion for their emotional distress. This is challenging, but spouses who learn not to take personally the distress in their mate even when it is delivered as a personal attack learn how to diffuse a great deal of conflict.

    Letting the high maintenance spouse know when the attack is crossing over to becoming abusive and exiting a conversation will also be helpful. A person may lose awareness in the midst of their negative emotional spin and a caring, calm confrontation and firm "time out" temporary withdrawal will sometimes help that person become more aware of how their words and tone are not helpful. Above all, avoid responding in kind to a high maintenance person who is discharging their disappointment and hurt with a lot of intensity. By remaining calm and not escalating with the other person, a spouse can often ride out the initial emotional venting, to arrive at a place where genuine emotional connection can occur.

    The emotional distress surrounding disappointment and unmet expectations can be at the center of so much conflict in relationship. Sorting out one's own emotional expectations and how they are operating in a moment is key to managing the pull toward becoming "high maintenance." Being able to absorb some emotional intensity and remain patient and loving with a spouse who is distressed is a valuable discipline to working through disappointment in relationship. Hopefully these comments and observations will give you and your spouse some food for thought and maybe some occasion for conversation. Be careful not to judge each other too harshly about being "high maintenance." Remember, there is an upside to most personal qualities that initially may seem problematic or annoying, "high maintenance" is no exception.

    Please post a comment to enter a conversation about this column. I so much enjoy the responses folks are sending to this column. I will contribute to the conversation as well. Let me know if you have a concern or question which could be addressed in a future column. You can also email concerns and questions to me at aftercare@nationalmarriage.com. God Bless You, and know we at National Institute of Marriage are praying for you.

    Dr. Robert K. Burbee
    Licensed Psychologist, Intensive Therapist
    National Institute of Marriage

    [Mar 19, 2016] Victims of Psychopaths or Sociopaths Discussion The Sex Drive of a Sociopath

    DailyStrength

    Lynn1985

    yes, the girl I was "friends" with was obsessed with sex she slept with someone different every few days and it didn't seem to matter how old they were and by that i'm including under age boys.She made out aswell that she wasn't like that like sociopaths do, when i first met her with the mask on she acted all innocent and shy, she told me she had only ever slept with 4 people because she had this condition of a tight vagina she was sore having sex lol which of course was a load of rubbish to try and cover the truth that she was a whore

    She also seemed to get a kick out of sleeping with other girls' boyfriends, i have heard recently that she has had a baby(god help it) and its a possibility of 3 fathers and also when she was pregnant she was still having sex with everyone. She was also into phone sex, cam sex anything really and even though she was clearly not gay she even had sex with girls. So yes i have noticed sociopaths have really uncontrollable sex drives the amount this girl has had is unbelievable and it really doesn't matter who it is eg age, sex, race, nationality i dont think it even matters to her if you're related to her as there was rumors of her and her brother which is disturbing but not surprising with this girls erratic behaviour.

    jayp67

    I remember spending a very romantic evening walking around the city with my "S" last month and at one point we sat down and looked out onto the water. She said, "Let's talk like guys. What do you really want in bed?". I was a bit hesitant because we had not been dating long, but shared some of my feelings/fantasies.

    She told me that she had only one partner before me but, there's no way that was true. I felt like I was in a porno movie with her. It got to the point where I could not perform because she was so wild and overbearing. One day she told me her father was very sick and that the only way to save his life was for her to make money as an escort/prostitute. I told her I could not stay with her if she did and she cried relentlessly for me to not leave her.

    Long story short, she entered that world (my friends say she was probably in it before she met me) and even though I wrote a very sad and loving message to her I have never heard back from her. Although we are not friends on facebook, I can at least see her profile page and her current picture is very scary. She looks like a cold, hard professional escort - not the sweet, shy, and charming girl I (thought I) knew.

    Cruciabat,

    My ex once said to me in the middle of a romantic stroll around Roosevelt Island - "Let's talk about sex as if we're BOTH guys. What do you REALLY want that you would only say to your friends?".

    Needless to say, I was taken aback by the sudden change of direction in conversation but did have a talk with her about it.

    Without getting too graphic or tactless, I soon felt like I was in a hardcore porno movie with her extreme behaviour. I remember thinking that I wanted to make love with her, not just perform in some kind of sexual olympics!

    After a month, and out of the blue, one day she told me her father just suffered a massive heart attack and needed open heart surgery. She also said she was the only person who could help him pay for this! She told me she knew of a "club" in the Dominican Republic (where she was born) where she could make $1,000 a night! I was floored by all of this but told her that I could not be with someone who worked in that kind of a place (fearing the worst, I imagined it being more than just a strip joint), and that I wished her well. I told her to go and save her father's life but I was unable to be the guy waiting back here in the states for her return. Thank God I had the strength/nerve/self-preservation to say and do this.

    A few weeks later, after she disappeared and blocked my number from her phone, I, being somewhat ____ (go ahead, fill in the blank! I know, I know...), started doing a search for her on the internet. I pulled up her middle name plus a nickname combined and there she was - on backpage.com in the escort section working out of a hotel room in Stanford, Conn.

    In retrospect (and with the help of my therapist) it seems that I was just a "mark", and that the story of her father's heart attack was probably a play for money from me.

    Prior to all of this, she was my dream girl. What I have always wanted and wished for. I told friends I planned to marry her next summer on the beach if the relationship continued as well as it had been. She was attentive, loving, nurturing, and supportive.

    Now I know why.

    I've been in alot of pain over the past two months but I am just starting to understand it all. Just as a cat plays with an injured mouse before it eats it, "Christi" did the same to me.

    But I'm living my life and she is working out of a hotel room as a prostitute.

    So, although she hurt me and made me feel like a fool, my friends constantly remind me how lucky I am to have only had this person in my life for a short time! God only knows the damage she would've done had we stayed together longer.

    Best of luck to all of you on your road to healing.

    [Mar 19, 2016] The (Unlucky) 13 Traits of High Maintenance People by Cheryl Conner

    Feb 9, 2013 | forbes.com

    1 -They have urgent "needs." To a high maintenance personality, everything is urgent. Every piece of email needs to be copied to someone in authority and every action needs to be passed by the boss before they proceed...

    2 They have a sense of entitlement. Everyone deserves to be treated with equal respect. The high maintenance individual will expect more. When this happens, there's generally an unhealthy level of ego at play...

    3 They could be self-sufficient. But they're not. The task could be as simple as looking up an email address, retrieving a file, or looking up a bit of needed information over the web. But this person feels more engaged and important by making continual requests for service from others, including the boss....

    4 They cling to stories of personal wrongs from the past. The high maintenance individual has a difficult time moving past real or imagined wrongs of the past. The faults of others become a script that plays over and over as justification for extra support, lower work expectations, or greater entitlements now....

    5 They talk. A lot. The high maintenance person thrives on attention. They have a continual need for others to serve as their sounding boards. While discussion and brainstorming is necessary and healthy, high maintenance people feel the need to use their co-workers as ad hoc life advisors and coaches; however they have little desire or motivation to actually hear and take the advice they receive....

    6 They are seldom satisfied. High maintenance people will see the flaws in every situation. Even when they've been given extra care and attention, they will invariably find something wrong with the solution or service they've received, or will feel the need to ask for an additional "adjustment" in order to gratify their need to feel validated and served.

    ... ... ...

    8 They live in a state of perpetual drama. If you are around a high maintenance person for an extended period of time, you will observe frequent periods of meltdown during the course of the day. Every small inconvenience or mistake becomes a crisis. They will learn to work the internal HR system heavily at every turn...

    9 They handle money poorly. Regardless of the economy or circumstance, high maintenance people are perpetually in debt. No matter their income, their living expenditures and needs are invariably more. They expend an exceptional amount of stress and energy dealing with past due accounts and the perpetual juggling act to use this month's income to cover last month's bills...

    10 They place a high importance on material status. The entitlement aspect of high maintenance people leads them to be keenly focused on the belongings or the status of others as well. This trait can infect the highest people in the organization, such as the CEO who demands that every company event include the provision of free upgrades and presidential suites at no additional cost. Ironically, the focus on material possessions and status is actually the sign of insecurity and of a low self-esteem....

    ... ... ...

    12 They seem "unsettled." The high maintenance person is constantly ill at ease, buying, altering or discarding possessions and complaining about their work or living conditions. The details that are non-issues to others are insurmountable hurdles to them. Happiness perpetually evades them.

    ... ... ...

    Devin Thorpe 3 years ago

    Cheryl, this is such a good outline of high maintenance behavior that it could leave one with the impression that I'm only high maintenance if I exhibit all of these traits. In fact, I think, anyone that exhibits more than one or two is more work than worth at the office!

    Anonymous 3 years ago

    Chery, this is my husband, CEO who deals daily with high-profile CEOs. If he's feeling the pain, so am I. I get tapped on occasion when he has an especially "urgent need." I'm the 24 x7 helper. Entitlement, check. Thinks he's self sufficient, but he's not, never ever satisfied double check. Major spending on highly visible acquisitions, minor saving for old age. Every point you make is on spot. Thank you for your management tips I can use them.

    [Mar 19, 2016] 15 Signs You're a High Maintenance Woman

    A gold digger type. Broadly defined, high maintenance women are those who need many things (money, material goods, affection) to be happy. High maintenance women are like high maintenance sports cars and for every hour of showing off, there are another 10 spent on upkeep and repair behind the scenes. These women love dressing up whenever possible, and are obsessed with all aspects of their personal appearance and grooming in general. They tend to be perfectionists, overachievers, self-centered, and a bit vain. Not necessary borderliners,

    15 signs of a high maintenance woman

    What makes a woman high maintenance?

    Here are 15 signs that make a girl that woman. Do you think you're one?

    #1 All eyes on you. All eyes always turn towards you no matter where you are.

    You literally suck the air out of any room you walk into, but no one even notices your man unless you're clinging to his arm.

    [Read: How to look cute and melt a guy's heart in 25 ways]

    #2 Your man thinks your favorite restaurants are fine dining experiences. You like being pampered in the finest of places, and there's really nothing wrong about it. Well, unless your man can't afford it!

    #3 You need money to be happy. This may sound harsh, but is it so bad to want to be wealthy and have the money to indulge in the good things life has to offer? [Read: Money can buy you happiness in love]

    #4 You like splurging on bling often. You like buying new jewelry or extravagant things several times in a month. It makes you happy.

    #5 You think you're better than any other girl. And you do everything possible to hold that stand. You have very high self esteem and confidence, and don't like being put down by any other woman.

    #6 You look like you stepped out of a salon all the time. You're beautiful and extremely well dressed all the time. Any guy you walks past can't help but notice you in awe. [Read: 20 things that turn a guy on when he sees a girl]

    #7 You pay a lot of attention to expensive details. You just can't help it. You know that expensive things look better than average mass produced stuff. You like it when everything around you reflects your class and makes a style statement.

    #8 If you like something, you want that thing. You don't like being refused. You believe you deserve what you want and you won't rest until you get it.

    #9 Your man gets nervous when you tell him you need to shop. It's not like you throw money away. You only use it to look good and make things around you look good. But your man thinks you're just wasting money.

    #10 You can't step out of the house without your makeup. You hate revealing any flaws, be it on your complexion or in any other aspect of your life. You like looking like a glam goddess no matter where you are.

    #11 You think you're a perfectionist. But your man thinks you're a spoilt brat. You hate mediocrity in anything you do. You want to be the best and you want the best of everything.

    #12 You think you deserve a better man. You think you're way better than your guy. This thought may have passed your mind quite a few times even though you push that thought away.

    #13 You have more guys friends *admirers*. You think you're a fun girl. But most girls usually hate you or think you're a snob. Guys love your company, but girls usually excuse themselves from you in the middle of a conversation. Not that you care! [Read: Why guys friends are nothing but trouble]

    #14 You want everything to be perfect. And if it's not, you want your man to fix it for you. You don't depend on your man for everything, but you do expect him to treat you like his queen. [Read: Why men like damsels in distress]

    #15 You get embarrassed easily. You feel terribly embarrassed when your man doesn't behave or look presentable. You even try to ignore his presence or avoid him. After all, his bad manners are an insult to your gorgeous presence!

    High maintenance women and the men they date

    Many men fear the idea of dating a high maintenance woman. They desperately want to date her, but shrivel up at the mere thought of it. But then again, a high maintenance woman isn't for every man, is she?

    In general, a high maintenance woman may sound scary to most men. But it's never bad for a woman to know what she wants in life. In many ways, high maintenance is subjective. What may seem like high maintenance to one man may seem like nothing to another man who can cater to her needs. After all, if a man can afford your whims, he obviously won't call you a high maintenance woman even if you're a big spender with a rich taste in everything. [Read: How to make your boyfriend want you more than ever]

    Truely High Maintenance I Hate My Wife Story & Experience

    I can't stand it anymore. My wife has been unstable mentally for the entire time I've known her. She has been seeing a psychiatrist and a therapist for about 4 years now and has been on every type of anxiety and depression drug known to man but nothing helps. She has been miserable her whole life and is dragging me down with her. To tell you the truth, I would have probably broke up with her after about a year (we've been together for 8 years) if she wasn't constantly talking about killing herself. I don't want her to do that, but I don't really love her anymore, and I don't really like her anymore. She needs me to do everything for her. She has gotten fired from every job that she started because of absences. She also withdrew from college because she didn't go to class. Everyday, I get her food, I run her a bath, I get her medicine, I clean the house, I do the laundry, I run her errands, I get her movies, I do everything that needs to be done because she is too anxious or to lazy to do it. We are getting more and more in debt because she can't manage to do anything, and now is trying school again but failing because of lack of attendance.

    [Jul 14, 2015] Importance of physical exersize

    Out brains are deeply connected to our bodies. One way to improve your mental stability and the capacities to endure stress is to use vigorous exercise regiment. This is the point that implicitly was made by prominent neuroscientist Wendy Suzuki in her book Healthy Brain, Happy Life A Personal Program to Activate Your Brain and Do Everything Better. It looks like aerobic exercises are important for mental stability and the ability to cope with stress. Of cause, an important warning attributed to Talleyrand "Not too much zeal" is applicable here too. Some additional ideas might be extracted from the following reviews:
    "... "Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment.""

    A neuroscientist transforms the way we think about our brain, our health, and our personal happiness in this clear, informative, and inspiring guide-a blend of personal memoir, science narrative, and immediately useful takeaways that bring the human brain into focus as never before, revealing the powerful connection between exercise, learning, memory, and cognitive abilities.

    Nearing forty, Dr. Wendy Suzuki was at the pinnacle of her career. An award-winning university professor and world-renowned neuroscientist, she had tenure, her own successful research lab, prestigious awards, and international renown.

    That's when to celebrate her birthday, she booked an adventure trip that forced her to wake up to a startling reality: despite her professional success, she was overweight, lonely, and tired and knew that her life had to change. Wendy started simply-by going to an exercise class. Eventually, she noticed an improvement in her memory, her energy levels, and her ability to work quickly and move from task to task easily. Not only did Wendy begin to get fit, but she also became sharper, had more energy, and her memory improved. Being a neuroscientist, she wanted to know why.

    What she learned transformed her body and her life. Now, it can transform yours.

    Wendy discovered that there is a biological connection between exercise, mindfulness, and action. With exercise, your body feels more alive and your brain actually performs better. Yes-you can make yourself smarter. In this fascinating book, Suzuki makes neuroscience easy to understand, interweaving her personal story with groundbreaking research, and offering practical, short exercises-4 minute Brain Hacks-to engage your mind and improve your memory, your ability to learn new skills, and function more efficiently.

    Taking us on an amazing journey inside the brain as never before, Suzuki helps us unlock the keys to neuroplasticity that can change our brains, or bodies, and, ultimately, our lives.

    Bassocantor TOP 50 REVIEWER on May 19, 2015

    We Have An Enormous Capacity To Change Into The Very Best Version Of Ourselves

    HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun read, filled with all kinds of exciting ways to expand your brain power. My favorite parts of the book are these little sections that the author calls "Brain Hacks." These sections are lists of easy ways to really supercharge your brain and make use of the latent power in it.

    Here's the theme in a nutshell: "One thing I know for sure is that brain plasticity endows us with an enormous capacity to change into the very best version of ourselves that we can be." Dr. Suzuki explains that she uses 20 years of research in neuroscience to apply these same principles to her own personal life. She admits that she "Went from living as a virtual lab rat --an overweight middle aged woman would had achieved many things in science, but who could not seem to figure out how to also be a healthy, happy woman..."

    One of her main discoveries is the powerful mind-body link. The author emphasizes how powerful exercise is. "Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment." And so, Dr. Suzuki invests much time talking about the power of the brain-body connection. Towards that end, she combines physical workouts as a way to energize your brain: "The body has a powerful influence on her brain functions and conversely but the brain has a powerful influence over how are bodies feel and work and heal." Exercise causes definite changes in your body--it boosts the level of three key chemicals that affect mood.

    The key is to make your workouts intentional. Towards that end, the author suggests ways to do this--for example, proclaiming affirmations out loud. "Intentional exercise happens when you make exercise both aerobic and mental...You are fully engaged in the moment and trigger a heightened awareness of the brain body connection." In the Brain Hacks suction, the author lists different exercises that would best fit you.

    Another great section is the section on creativity. You can actually improve your creative thinking; it is "a particular version of regular thinking they can be practiced and improved like any other cognitive skill." Once again, the author lists great suggestions in the Brain Hacks section on ways to jumpstart your creativity. The key point is to learn something new and "Try to use as many senses as you can." For example, one fun suggestion is to "Sit outside and blindfold yourself for 4 minutes. Then, listen to the world sounds in a new way."

    All in all, HEALTHY BRAIN, HAPPY LIFE is a fun, inspiring read. The author is full of great, uplifting ideas. My favorite chapter is the one on creativity. The end of the book contains an extensive Reference section, in which the author documents the various points she makes.
    Highly recommend!

    Advance copy for impartial review

    love2dazzle on June 10, 2015

    Happy Life" by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on ...

    "Healthy Brian, Happy Life" by Wendy Suzuki is all about focusing on expanding your brain power. Our bodies and mind have a very powerful link. Dr. Suzuki has invested her life to focusing on the brain. She goes on to state that "Exercise is responsible for the majority of the positive brain changes seen with environmental enrichment." Dr. Suzuki is making the point that we need to exercise to work our brain to its fullest potential. She goes on to make the point that you want to make sure the exercise is intentional because that is what exercise you both mentally and aerobically.

    The second best way to expand your brain is by creativity. The point of creativity is to learn new things that will improve your brain and your senses. One is able to find different ways to help build and exercise their brain. The author calls some of the tips she gives "Brain Hacks" so I thought this was a great learning tool.

    I thought "Healthy Brain, Happy Life" was very insightful. I thought this book had a lot of good tips and was also able to explain the brain and how things worked really well. I did enjoy reading it and learning new things on how I am able to improve my brain function.

    Bruny Hudsonon June 13, 2015

    Interesting theory for improving one's life

    The book "Healthy Brain, Happy Life" by Wendy Suzuki is about a success story, about the author's life. It's entertaining and enriching but sometimes out of touch with reality. Considering that the author is a neuroscientist, her line of reasoning sounds dubious in parts of the book, especially her generalizing concepts of life. Just because an effort has worked for her, it does not mean it will work for someone else. Nevertheless, the book deserves a five-star rating because of the author's pleasant writing style and the well-explained examples of research in neuroscience.

    Transporter chair reviewer, on July 9, 2015

    Mainly autobiographical

    I saw her interviewed on CBS and found her a charming and energetic person. I am not sure what take aways I have from the book, though it interested me since I am also an Asian American woman who is an over achiever, and many of her experiences resonated. I enjoyed the read. I am not sure what type of person I would recommend it to . I am also a doctor. It was fun to review some of the neurobiology and learn some new things.

    [Jun 24, 2015] Psychology the man who studies everyday evil By David Robson

    "...the everyday sadists were more than happy to take the trouble. "There wasn't just willingness to do it but a motivation to enjoy, to put in some extra effort to have the opportunity to hurt other individuals." Importantly, there was no provocation or personal gain to be had from their cruelty the people were doing it for pure pleasure."
    January 30, 2015 | BBC

    Why are some people extraordinarily selfish, manipulative, and unkind? David Robson asks the scientist delving into the darkest sides of the human mind.

    If you had the opportunity to feed harmless bugs into a coffee grinder, would you enjoy the experience? Even if the bugs had names, and you could hear their shells painfully crunching? And would you take a perverse pleasure from blasting an innocent bystander with an excruciating noise?

    These are just some of the tests that Delroy Paulhus uses to understand the "dark personalities" around us. Essentially, he wants to answer a question we all may have asked: why do some people take pleasure in cruelty? Not just psychopaths and murderers but school bullies, internet trolls and even apparently upstanding members of society such as politicians and policemen.

    It is easy, he says, to make quick and simplistic assumptions about these people.

    "We have a tendency to use the halo or devil framing of individuals we meet we want to simplify our world into good or bad people,"

    says Paulhus, who is based at the University of British Columbia in Canada. But while Paulhus doesn't excuse cruelty, his approach has been more detached, like a zoologist studying poisonous insects allowing him to build a "taxonomy", as he calls it, of the different flavours of everyday evil.

    Self-regard

    Paulhus's interest began with narcissists the incredibly selfish and vain, who may lash out to protect their own sense of self-worth. Then, a little more than a decade ago, his grad student Kevin Williams suggested that they explore whether these self-absorbed tendencies are linked to two other unpleasant characteristics Machiavellianism (the cold, manipulative) and psychopathy (callous insensitivity and immunity to the feelings of others). Together, they found that the three traits were largely independent, though they sometimes coincide, forming a "Dark Triad" a triple whammy of nastiness.

    It is surprising how candid his participants can often be. His questionnaires typically ask the subjects to agree with statements such as "I like picking on weaker people" or "It's wise not to tell me your secrets". You would imagine those traits would be too shameful to admit but, at least in the laboratory, people open up, and their answers do seem to correlate with real-life bullying, both in adolescence and adulthood. They are also more likely to be unfaithful to their spouses (particularly those with Machiavellian and psychopathic tendencies) and to cheat on tests.

    Even so, since Paulhus tends to focus on everyday evil rather than criminal or psychiatric cases, the traits are by no means apparent on the first meeting.

    "They are managing in everyday society, so they have enough control not to get themselves into trouble. But it catches your attention here or there."

    People who score particularly high on narcissism, for instance, quickly display their tendency to "over-claim" one of the strategies that helps them boost their own egos. In some experiments, Paulhus presented them with a made up subject and they quickly confabulated to try to appear like they knew it all only to get angry when he challenged them about it. "It strikes you that yes, this fits into a package that allows them to live with a distorted positive view of themselves."

    Born nasty

    Once Paulhus had begun to open a window on these dark minds, others soon wanted to delve in to answer some basic questions about the human condition. Are people born nasty, for instance? Studies comparing identical and non-identical twins suggest a relatively large genetic component for both narcissism and psychopathy, though Machiavellianism seems to be more due to the environment you may learn to manipulate from others. Whatever we've inherited cannot take away our personal responsibility, though. "I don't think anyone is born with psychopathy genes and then nothing can be done about it," says Minna Lyons at the University of Liverpool.

    You only need to look at the anti-heroes of popular culture James Bond, Don Draper or Jordan Belfort in the Wolf of Wall Street to realise that dark personalities have sex appeal, a finding supported by more scientific studies. Further clues to the benefits might come from another basic human characteristic whether you are a morning or evening person. Lyons and her student, Amy Jones found that "night owls" people who stay up late but can't get up in the morning tend to score higher on a range of dark triad traits. They are often risk-takers one of the characteristics of psychopathy; they are more manipulative a Machiavellian trait and as narcissists, they tend to be exploitative of other people. That might make sense if you consider our evolution: perhaps dark personalities have more chance to steal, manipulate, and have illicit sexual liaisons late while everyone else is sleeping, so they evolved to be creatures of the night.

    Whatever the truth of that theory, Paulhus agrees there will always be niches for these people to exploit. "Human society is so complex that there are different ways of enhancing your reproductive success some involve being nice and some being nasty," he says.

    Dark corners

    Recently, he has started probing even further into the darkest shadows of the psyche. "We were pushing the envelope, asking more extreme questions," he says when he found that some people will also readily admit to inflicting pain on others for no other reason than their own pleasure. Crucially, these tendencies are not simply a reflection of the narcissism, psychopathy or Machiavellianism, but seem to form their own sub-type "everyday sadism". For this reason, Paulhus now calls it a "dark tetrad".

    The "bug crushing machine" offered the perfect way for Paulhus and colleagues to test whether that reflected real life behaviour. Unknown to the participants, the coffee grinder had been adapted to give insects an escape route but the machine still produced a devastating crushing sound to mimic their shells hitting the cogs. Some were so squeamish they refused to take part, while others took active enjoyment in the task. "They would be willing not just to do something nasty to bugs but to ask for more," he says, "while others thought it was so gross they didn't even want to be in the same room." Crucially, those individuals also scored very highly on his test for everyday sadism.

    Arguably, a rational human being shouldn't care too much about bugs' feelings. But the team then set up a computer game that would allow the participants to "punish" a competitor with a loud noise through their headphones. This wasn't compulsory; in fact, the volunteers had to perform a tedious verbal task to earn the right to punish their competitor but, to Paulhus's surprise, the everyday sadists were more than happy to take the trouble. "There wasn't just willingness to do it but a motivation to enjoy, to put in some extra effort to have the opportunity to hurt other individuals." Importantly, there was no provocation or personal gain to be had from their cruelty the people were doing it for pure pleasure.

    Troll tracking

    He thinks this is directly relevant to internet trolls. "They appear to be the internet version of everyday sadists because they spend time searching for people to hurt." Sure enough, an anonymous survey of trollish commentators found that they scored highly on dark tetrad traits, but particularly the everyday sadism component and enjoyment was their prime motivation. Indeed, the bug-crushing experiment suggested that everyday sadists may have more muted emotional responses to all kinds of pleasurable activities so perhaps their random acts of cruelty are attempts to break through the emotional numbness.

    More immediately, his discoveries have attracted the attention of police and military agencies, who want to collaborate with Paulhus to see if his insights might explain why some people abuse their positions. "The concern is that these people might deliberately select jobs where you are given the mandate to hurt individuals," he says. If so, further work might suggest ways to screen out the dark personalities at recruitment.

    He's also excited about new work on "moral Machiavellianism" and "communal narcissists" people who perhaps have dark traits but use them for good (as they see it). In some situations, ruthlessness may be necessary. "To be prime minister, you can't be namby pamby you need to cut corners and hurt people, and even be nasty to achieve your moral causes," he says. After all, the dark personalities often have the impulse and the confidence to get things done even Mother Theresa apparently had a steely side, he says. "You're not going to help society by sitting at home being nice."

    All of which underlines the false dichotomy of good and evil that Paulhus has been keen to probe. In a sense, that is a personal as much as a professional question. He admits to seeing a dark streak in his own behaviour: for example, he enjoys watching violent, painful sports like Mixed Martial Arts. "It didn't take long to see I would stand above average on these dark traits," he says. "But given my abiding curiosity as a scientist and my enjoyment of investigating such things I thought that perhaps I was in a good position to take a closer look at the dark side."

    [May 27, 2015] How to turn a liberal hipster into a capitalist tyrant in one evening

    May 27, 2015 | The Guardian

    Why do so many decent people, when asked to pretend they're CEOs, become tyrants from central casting? Part of the answer is: capitalism subjects us to economic rationality. It forces us to see ourselves as cashflow generators, profit centres or interest-bearing assets. But that idea is always in conflict with something else: the non-economic priorities of human beings, and the need to sustain the environment. Though World Factory, as a play, is designed to show us the parallels between 19th-century Manchester and 21st-century China, it subtly illustrates what has changed.

    ... ... ...

    A real Chinese sweatshop owner is playing a losing game against something much more sophisticated than the computer at the Young Vic: an intelligent machine made up of the smartphones of millions of migrant workers on their lunchbreak, plugging digitally into their village networks to find out wages and conditions elsewhere. That sweatshop owner is also playing against clients with an army of compliance officers, themselves routinely harassed by NGOs with secret cameras.

    The whole purpose of this system of regulation from above and below is to prevent individual capitalists making short-term decisions that destroy the human and natural resources it needs to function. Capitalism is not just the selfish decisions of millions of people. It is those decisions sifted first through the all-important filter of regulation. It is, as late 20th-century social theorists understood, a mode of regulation, not just of production.

    Yet it plays on us a cruel ideological trick. It looks like a spontaneous organism, to which government and regulation (and the desire of Chinese migrants to visit their families once a year) are mere irritants. In reality it needs the state to create and re-create it every day.

    Banks create money because the state awards them the right to. Why does the state ram-raid the homes of small-time drug dealers, yet call in the CEOs of the banks whose employees commit multimillion-pound frauds for a stern ticking off over a tray of Waitrose sandwiches? Answer: because a company has limited liability status, created by parliament in 1855 after a political struggle.

    Our fascination with market forces blinds us to the fact that capitalism as a state of being is a set of conditions created and maintained by states. Today it is beset by strategic problems: debt- ridden, with sub-par growth and low productivity, it cannot unleash the true potential of the info-tech revolution because it cannot imagine what to do with the millions who would lose their jobs.

    The computer that runs the data system in Svendsen's play could easily run a robotic clothes factory. That's the paradox. But to make a third industrial revolution happen needs something no individual factory boss can execute: the re-regulation of capitalism into something better. Maybe the next theatre game about work and exploitation should model the decisions of governments, lobbyists and judges, not the hapless managers.


    Earl Shelton -> phil100a 27 May 2015 14:14

    Avoid arguing with Libertarians -- unless you have lots of patience. Their philosophy boils down to: Greed is good; government is bad.

    And they will stick to those dubious premises -- despite the tons of contrary facts, evidence (and stories of human suffering those ideas cause) that you might present -- from Jesus Christ to John Maynard Keynes....

    NomChompsky -> imipak 27 May 2015 12:04

    You spilled some pseudo-intellectual gibberish on your post. You also ignored that the number of computers isn't a constant, in particular, and that zero-sum economic theories are, by nature, incredibly fucking stupid in general. You also seem to think that the Pareto principle is some sort of a law instead of a rule of thumb that has numerous exceptions.

    Just, eww.

    asquaretail 27 May 2015 09:25

    We won't discuss whether or not a UK resident can be a "Hipster." Sounds like cultural theft to me.. What I really want to point out is something more basic. Banks are not empowered by government, at least not initially. Initially, they were restricted by government which then reduced the restrictions to allow banks to function. This has profound analytic consequences for those brave and courageous enough to pursue the chain of thought.

    toffee1 27 May 2015 08:12

    This validates that Marx's was right. A capitalist (or a manager in a capitalist firm), acts as a capital personified. His/her soul is the soul of capital. But capital has one single life impulse, the tendency to create value and surplus-value, to make its constant factor, the means of production, absorb the greatest possible amount of surplus-labour. So, the problem is the system. The liberal view is wrong. What needs to be changed is the system.

    Thomas G. Wilson 26 May 2015 23:15

    So, the choice is sack one third of the workers or spread the pain by cutting the worker's pay by a third? The unstated third choice is do nothing and go bankrupt.

    "Decent liberal hipsters" don't usually confront these problems-they only complain about those who do. "Ruthless capitalists seated at the boardroom table" are just liberal hipsters that had to grow up.

    Hiring people and giving raises is fun and heartwarming-firing people and denying raised when finances are tough -- not so much. I've done both.

    Michael Pettengill 26 May 2015 20:36

    Employers in this "factory world" do not need to find or create consumers, so the employers are free to destroy consumers to save themselves from bankruptcy. But when the retailers who pay the employers cut the size of their orders, the employers have no choice but to fire workers and destroy consumers.

    That this is what is going on is hidden by the long chain the money flows through. The workers are paid by employers paid by retailers who sell to workers paid by other employers who sell to retailers who sell to workers which eventually needs to be the original group of workers in that original factory. Cutting their wages will cut their buying which will ripple back to reduced sales by the retailer paying the factory paying their wages by buying goods.

    Adam Smith argued this value chain would work without fail to employ all workers in producing just barely what the workers desired, but not more and just enough less to motivate workers to produce more to be paid more.

    Keynes argued, after it was conventional wisdom, that unemployment would cut demand causing more unemployment, so government needs to force spending to cause workers to be hired and paid.

    Keynes did not argue for paying people not to work. FDR in 1935 laid out the case for the moral imperative to pay people to work for the good of the nation.

    In any case, the wealth of nations depends on the collective action of all the people of the nation, and Keynes argued and FDR demonstrates that collective action through people acting through government works.

    The play merely teaches that you are a cog in a machine that is beyond your control.

    DoRonDoRonRon 26 May 2015 19:26

    "Our fascination with market forces blinds us to the fact that capitalism as a state of being is a set of conditions created and maintained by states. ... But to make a third industrial revolution happen needs something no individual factory boss can execute: the re-regulation of capitalism into something better."

    The author sees capitalism as flawed because it is "set of conditions created and maintained by states." But how is the "re-regulation" he thinks will make it better be carried out? It would, of course, be carried out by states.

    [May 15, 2015] Fed-Up Employee Just About 14 Years Away From Walking Out Door

    Pretty biting humor
    The Burning Platform

    WALTHAM, MA-Frustrated with a growing list of unacceptable workplace indignities, fed-up Catamount Systems employee Marc Holden is just about 14 years away from walking out the front door of his office and never returning, sources confirmed Thursday. "I swear to God, if things don't improve around here real fast, I am out of here in 14 years or so-I am not bluffing," Holden said, noting that if he has to endure just a decade and a half more of company-wide incompetence and pointless micromanagement, he is gone for good. "Seriously, I don't think I can take any more than 3,000 more days of this before I snap.

    Mark my words, if 2029 rolls around and it's still the same old shit around here, I'm cleaning out my desk, getting on that elevator, and never coming back." Holden added that if his boss belittled him in front of the entire staff just 200 more times, he would storm right into his office and tell him exactly where he can stick it.

    [Feb 28, 2015] How to Deal With a Psychopath

    [Feb 28, 2015] Psychopath BBC documentary Full Documentary

    national geographic,national geographic 2014,national geographic documentary,documentary,documentary 2014,documentaries,documentaries 2014,bbc documentary,di.

    [Feb 28, 2015] The Psychopath Next Door (2014) - ( Documentary )

    [Feb 28, 2015] The Mind of a Psychopath

    [Jul 06, 2014] How a phychopath boss can turn friends into enemies

    yalensis , July 5, 2014 at 4:12 am
    ...

    This guy got his rocks off by pitting his underlings against each other: Turning friends into enemies, etc. He did this through a combination of (temporary) favoritism, using office spies, power plays, and also employing an "office wife" to spread gossip about people behind their back.

    It was very effective: in the end, nobody trusted anyone, everybody hated everybody, the whole team became completely dysfunctional because people would rather root for others' failures than try to achieve something themselves; hence, nothing ever got done, and some very talented brains were completed wasted with this intrigue and B.S.

    ... ... ...

    [Jun 22, 2014] THE TYRANNY OF TOXIC MANAGERS: AN EMOTIONAL INTELLIGENCE APPROACH TO DEALING WITH DIFFICULT PERSONALITIES by Roy Lubit

    March 1, 2004 | iveybusinessjournal.com
    Toxic managers are a fact of life. Some managers are toxic most of the time; most managers are toxic some of the time. Knowing how to deal with people who are rigid, aggressive, self-centered or exhibit other types of dysfunctional behaviour can improve your own health and that of others in the workplace. This author describes the mechanisms for coping.

    Toxic managers dot the landscape in most organizations, making them seem, at times, like war zones. These managers can complicate your work, drain your energy, compromise your sanity, derail your projects and destroy your career. Your ability to deal with these corporate land mines will have a significant impact on your career. Those who are able to recognize toxic managers quickly and understand what makes them tick will be in the best position to protect themselves. Difficult managers are a fact of life and how they affect your life depends upon the skills you develop to deal with them.

    The issue is not simply a matter of individual survival. Toxic managers divert people's energy from the real work of the organization, destroy morale, impair retention, and interfere with cooperation and information sharing. Their behaviour, like a rock thrown into a pond, can cause ripples distorting the organization's culture and affecting people far beyond the point of impact.

    Senior management and HR can significantly improve an organization's culture and functioning by taking steps to find and contain those who are most destructive. Leadership can spare an organization serious damage by learning how to recognize problematic personality traits quickly, placing difficult managers in positions in which their behaviour will do the least harm, arranging for coaching for those who are able to grow, and knowing which managers are time bombs that need to be let go.

    This article will help you learn how to avoid becoming a scapegoat, to survive aggressive managers' assaults, and to give narcissistic and rigid managers the things they need to be satisfied with you. It will also help senior management and HR to recognize toxic managers before they do serious damage. The basic theme of the article is that to deal effectively with toxic behavior you need to understand what lies underneath it, design an intervention to target those underlying factors, and have sufficient control of your own feelings and behaviour so that you can do what is most effective, rather than let your own anger or anxiety get the best of you. In other words, you need to develop your emotional intelligence.

    [May 31, 2014] Psychopaths: how can you spot one?

    telegraph.co.uk
    We think of psychopaths as killers, alien, outside society. But, says the scientist who has spent his life studying them, you could have one for a colleague, a friend or a spouse

    There are a few things we take for granted in social interactions with people. We presume that we see the world in roughly the same way, that we all know certain basic facts, that words mean the same things to you as they do to me. And we assume that we have pretty similar ideas of right and wrong.

    But for a small but not that small subset of the population, things are very different. These people lack remorse and empathy and feel emotion only shallowly. In extreme cases, they might not care whether you live or die. These people are called psychopaths. Some of them are violent criminals, murderers. But by no means all.

    Professor Robert Hare is a criminal psychologist, and the creator of the PCL-R, a psychological assessment used to determine whether someone is a psychopath. For decades, he has studied people with psychopathy, and worked with them, in prisons and elsewhere. "It stuns me, as much as it did when I started 40 years ago, that it is possible to have people who are so emotionally disconnected that they can function as if other people are objects to be manipulated and destroyed without any concern," he says.

    Our understanding of the brain is still in its infancy, and it's not so many decades since psychological disorders were seen as character failings. Slowly we are learning to think of mental illnesses as illnesses, like kidney disease or liver failure, and personality disorders, such as autism, in a similar way. Psychopathy challenges this view. "A high-scoring psychopath views the world in a very different way," says Hare. "It's like colour-blind people trying to understand the colour red, but in this case 'red' is other people's emotions."

    At heart, Hare's test is simple: a list of 20 criteria, each given a score of 0 (if it doesn't apply to the person), 1 (if it partially applies) or 2 (if it fully applies). The list includes: glibness and superficial charm, grandiose sense of self-worth, cunning/manipulative, pathological lying, emotional shallowness, callousness and lack of empathy, a tendency to boredom, impulsivity, criminal versatility, behavioural problems in early life, juvenile delinquency, and promiscuous sexual behaviour. A pure, prototypical psychopath would score 40. A score of 30 or more qualifies for a diagnosis of psychopathy. Hare says: "A friend of mine, a psychiatrist, once said: 'Bob, when I meet someone who scores 35 or 36, I know these people really are different.' The ones we consider to be alien are the ones at the upper end."

    But is psychopathy a disorder or a different way of being? Anyone reading the list above will spot a few criteria familiar from people they know. On average, someone with no criminal convictions scores 5. "It's dimensional," says Hare. "There are people who are part-way up the scale, high enough to warrant an assessment for psychopathy, but not high enough up to cause problems. Often they're our friends, they're fun to be around. They might take advantage of us now and then, but usually it's subtle and they're able to talk their way around it." Like autism, a condition which we think of as a spectrum, "psychopathy", the diagnosis, bleeds into normalcy.

    We think of psychopaths as killers, criminals, outside society. People such as Joanna Dennehy, a 31-year-old British woman who killed three men in 2013 and who the year before had been diagnosed with a psychopathic personality disorder, or Ted Bundy, the American serial killer who is believed to have murdered at least 30 people and who said of himself: "I'm the most cold-blooded son of a bitch you'll ever meet. I just liked to kill." But many psychopathic traits aren't necessarily disadvantages and might, in certain circumstances, be an advantage.

    For their co-authored book, "Snakes in suits: When Psychopaths go to work", Hare and another researcher, Paul Babiak, looked at 203 corporate professionals and found about four per cent scored sufficiently highly on the PCL-R to be evaluated for psychopathy. Hare says that this wasn't a proper random sample (claims that "10 per cent of financial executives" are psychopaths are certainly false) but it's easy to see how a lack of moral scruples and indifference to other people's suffering could be beneficial if you want to get ahead in business.

    "There are two kinds of empathy," says James Fallon, a neuroscientist at the University of California and author of The Psychopath Inside: A Neuroscientist's Personal Journey into the Dark Side of the Brain. "Cognitive empathy is the ability to know what other people are feeling, and emotional empathy is the kind where you feel what they're feeling." Autistic people can be very empathetic they feel other people's pain but are less able to recognise the cues we read easily, the smiles and frowns that tell us what someone is thinking. Psychopaths are often the opposite: they know what you're feeling, but don't feel it themselves. "This all gives certain psychopaths a great advantage, because they can understand what you're thinking, it's just that they don't care, so they can use you against yourself." (Chillingly, psychopaths are particularly adept at detecting vulnerability. A 2008 study that asked participants to remember virtual characters found that those who scored highly for psychopathy had a near perfect recognition for sad, unsuccessful females, but impaired memory for other characters.)

    ...And in his youth, "if I was confronted by authority if I stole a car, made pipe bombs, started fires when we got caught by the police I showed no emotion, no anxiety". Yet he is highly successful, driven to win. He tells me things most people would be uncomfortable saying: that his wife says she's married to a "fun-loving, happy-go-lucky nice guy" on the one hand, and a "very dark character who she does not like" on the other. He's pleasant, and funny, if self-absorbed, but I can't help but think about the criteria in Hare's PCL-R: superficial charm, lack of emotional depth, grandiose sense of self-worth. "I look like hell now, Tom," he says he's 66 "but growing up I was good-looking, six foot, 180lb, athletic, smart, funny, popular." (Hare warns against non-professionals trying to diagnose people using his test, by the way.)

    "Psychopaths do think they're more rational than other people, that this isn't a deficit," says Hare. "I met one offender who was certainly a psychopath who said 'My problem is that according to psychiatrists I think more with my head than my heart. What am I supposed to do about that? Am I supposed to get all teary-eyed?' " Another, asked if he had any regrets about stabbing a robbery victim, replied: "Get real! He spends a few months in hospital and I rot here. If I wanted to kill him I would have slit his throat. That's the kind of guy I am; I gave him a break."

    And yet, as Hare points out, when you're talking about people who aren't criminals, who might be successful in life, it's difficult to categorise it as a disorder. "It'd be pretty hard for me to go into high-level political or economic or academic context and pick out all the most successful people and say, 'Look, I think you've got some brain deficit.' One of my inmates said that his problem was that he's a cat in a world of mice. If you compare the brainwave activity of a cat and a mouse, you'd find they were quite different."

    It would, says Hare, probably have been an evolutionarily successful strategy for many of our ancestors, and can be successful today; adept at manipulating people, a psychopath can enter a community, "like a church or a cultural organisation, saying, 'I believe the same things you do', but of course what we have is really a cat pretending to be a mouse, and suddenly all the money's gone". At this point he floats the name Bernie Madoff.

    [Nov 03, 2013] The Age of Narcissism

    Jesse's Caf Amricain

    "Narcissism falls along the axis of what psychologists call personality disorders, one of a group that includes antisocial, dependent, histrionic, avoidant and borderline personalities.

    But by most measures, narcissism is one of the worst, if only because the narcissists themselves are so clueless."

    -- Jeffrey Kluger

    "Hate is the complement of fear and narcissists like being feared. It imbues them with an intoxicating sensation of omnipotence...

    The sadistic narcissist perceives himself as godlike, ruthless and devoid of scruples, capricious and unfathomable, emotion-less and non-sexual, omniscient, omnipotent and omni-present, a plague, a devastation, an inescapable verdict."

    -- Sam Vaknin

    If you wish to see the narcissist in their natural habitat, the chat boards and comment sections of some blogs are where the marginally successful dwell, often dominating the conversation with their self-obsessed arrogance. Sometimes in periods of unusual circumstances they can even rise to positions of power. They are attracted to corporate structures, and financial and political positions.

    They have no humility, no doubts, and no empathy. Whatever life or luck or others may have helped them to achieve, they feel that they deserve it all, and more. They have worked for everything they have, whereas others who have suffered setbacks and misfortune simply have made bad choices or been lazy. And if others have been cheated and abused, then they deserve it for being stupid.

    They are often judgmental and racist, and brimming over with hateful scorn for others, unless they can be co-opted into their sphere of influence and behave according to the narcissist's world and rules.

    As Thomas Aquinas said, 'well-ordered self-love is right and natural.' It is when this natural behaviour becomes excessive and twisted that it becomes a pathology, a disorder of the personality.

    Often narcissists have exaggerated ideas about their own talents and worth and work. Sometimes they are compensating for the neglect and disregard, or even abuse, of one or both parents who failed to see and appreciate how special they are. At other times they are the product of an environment in which they have been raised to believe that they are special, and deserve special treatment and consideration. Since obviously not all children of privilege or abuse become narcissists, it might have its genesis in an untreated form of depression or genetic predisposition.

    "The classic narcissist is overly self-confident and sees themselves as superior than other people. Think of a child who has always been told by mom and dad that they would be great, and then that child takes and internally distorts that message into superiority.

    The compensatory narcissist covers up with their grandiose behavior, a deep-seated deficit in self-esteem. Think of a child who felt devalued but instead of giving up on life, resorts to fantasies of grandeur and greatness. This person will either live in that fantasy world or decide to create that fantasy world in real life."

    If this affliction is accompanied by other problems such as sadism or malignant mania, they may become a destructive element for all who encounter them. Their illness affects others more than themselves, so they may often not seek treatment, and excuse the damage they inflict with the 'weakness' of others.

    They seek to fill the great empty holes of self-loathing with the lives and possessions of others, all the while proudly wreathing their actions with self serving rationalization.

    They are more to be pitied than scorned, as they are living in a small part the hell which they are making for themselves. But we must guard ourselves against their powerful certainty in an age of uncertainty. Their certainty is a madness which serves none but itself.

    "Narcissism is a psychological condition defined as an obsession with the self. While not all forms of self-love or self-interest are destructive, extreme cases can be very damaging and may be diagnosed as narcissistic personality disorder (NPD).

    In these instances, the disorder is characterized by a lack of empathy for others, sadistic or destructive tendencies, and a compulsion to satisfy personal needs above all other goals.

    People suffering from NPD tend to have difficulty establishing or maintaining friendships, close family relationships, and even careers. About 1% of people have this condition, and up to 3/4 of those diagnosed with it are men.

    The signs of narcissism often revolve around a person's perception of himself in comparison to other people.

    Those with severe cases often believe they are naturally superior to others or that they possess extraordinary capabilities. They may have extreme difficulty acknowledging personal weaknesses, yet also have fragile self-esteem.

    Narcissistic people also frequently believe that they are not truly appreciated, and can be prone to outbursts of anger, jealousy, and self-loathing when they do not get what they feel they deserve."


    Hallmarks of Narcissism

    A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:

    Lacks empathy: is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
    Has a grandiose sense of self-importance (e.g., exaggerates achievements and talents, expects to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)
    Has a sense of entitlement, i.e., unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
    Is interpersonally exploitative, i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
    Is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
    Requires excessive admiration
    Shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
    Believes that he or she is "special" and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)
    Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love

    [Feb 05, 2013] Catalyst Corporate Psychopaths

    Selected comments only...
    ABC TV Science

    B - 16 Feb 2012 8:11:55pm

    They are out there. I manage a small team in the public service. A female corporate psychopath was seconded into my workgroup for a period of nine months. She heaped praise on me, offered me gifts (I rejected), and spoke of previous excellent work achievements. My subordinates lapped up the praise, accepted the gifts and listened to every word.

    I uncovered a minor fraud, when I challenged her all hell broke loose. There was much cunning, bizarre behavior was directed to me, she made sure there were no witnesses. Incidents included sloshing a bucket of vomit at me, death threats, suicide threats, and totally alienating me to the group I managed.

    I was stunned when she denied these actions. A harassment claim was lodged against me painting her as the victim. Outright lies, twisted truths, union involvement. My HR and leadership team went missing. She spread rumors I threatened to kill her via email. I was investigated, but I also finally had proof (no death threat).

    I demanded action should be taken, nothing was. I then threatened to quit, still no action. She has since been granted compo on stress leave (which is why I don't think work perused her). As it turns out, this is a pattern of behavior.

    I will resign within the next few weeks on principle, I am absolutely disgusted with my department (11 years of service). She had my team in her clutches, they did not have the courage to stand up and say this behavior is wrong - cowards. She backstabbed these people and I stood up for them.

    Despite this being extremely unpleasant, I come out much the wiser. They don't play by the same rules. For all those dealing with this, my advice is put yourself first. This may mean quitting.

    Mia - 09 Jul 2011 10:47:25am

    I think the nice part is to keep you thinking she is still not a threat. I worked with someone like this too. Maybe she feels guilty so she acts nice. I had one change her shirt in front of me once...when we were alone and talk about how she had a stain on it and that was the reason why. She still talked about work as she fixed her shirt and stuff. I laughed because a minute before she was acting all power trippy and then acted like a human being who has problems too. I learned not to trust them anyways. Keep your distance and never talk about your troubles or whatever. It will be used against you, unlike what she does with you. The difference is that you do not use it against her but you could,

    jmac - 14 Oct 2011 6:18:40pm

    my boss had lied again and again to discredit me with her boss....they appear to have a symbiotic relationship. As a new mature aged graduate the treatment I have been dealt has been disgusting. If it wasn't for the good supportive relationships I have made in the workplace, and support of wonderful friends I think I would have had a breakdown. I identified early that these people are lacking empathy. As a social worker I feel empathy is inherent in my make-up so to be controlled and manipulated has been a shock and very distressing. Their subversive techniques are soul destroying.

    Kate - 03 Jul 2010 2:49:17pm

    I have just returned from the first session with the psychologist and discovered it was not me as incompetent, and the rest. I work for a CP and am now on one hand feeling a bit better knowing it is not me but horrified that there is almost no hope for me to stay in the job I love. I am having a week off work to overcome the breakdown but cannot see what I will do next. My Doctor says to fight will just kill me an further cement her position. Devastated .

    Craig Barry - 20 Jul 2010 1:07:39am

    I Take it that CP is for child protection? I have worked for the last 24yrs in many positions working with young people, I tell you now, "get out" don't let them burn you out at such a young age!!! The Department will destroy you!!!

    Mia - 09 Jul 2011 10:54:18am

    I don't know if you should quit. Sometimes there are situations that you cannot leave or quit. Try the military for one.;). We get so used to Psychopaths in positions of authority that we are practically immune to yelling, humiliation, and being called incompetent or slow or whatever. We deal with jobs that no one explains how to do and all sorts of micromanagements and finally we learn to use our heads, filter out the stupidity and meanness and say "what are the results of this being done" That is all we want at the end of the day. Results.

    marc - 26 Jun 2010 2:19:56pm

    a few P's joining the conversation here no surprise-important info for them on how to do it better! Being the daughter of one and sadly not realizing until too late the mother of a few I have an inkling that I may have a co dependence issue. Hospitalization alerted me to the prevalence of the cost to society of those victims who avoid ending their lives-not many! Also interesting was the prevalence of certain professions being over represented on the wards suffering from'Burnout'a euphemism for consequences of a P. the prevalence of Asperger's Syndrome(on the Autistic Spectrum)in my family makes me wonder about the same disconnect to emotions that the P has. Another prog.ABC aired recently "I Psychopath" was absolutely brilliant more exposure is required

    Jen - 23 Jun 2010 7:49:23pm

    Definitely exclude - there is no positive outcome from employing staff at any level with these characteristics - in fact the opposite is sure to be the result - gradual destruction of individuals and any possibility of team work. The planned, cold and calculated destruction of individuals is the purpose of these people.

    Jazz - 15 Mar 2012 4:46:23pm

    No, their purpose is survival and personal gain. This means that unlike people with ordinary social/ emotional responses they will trample people without conscience to attain their goals. And if you're standing in the way of their objectives, they will set out to destroy you.

    In this competitive, capitalist society they thrive because they embody the attributes of success. This is an interesting psychological analysis of them: http://www.crisiscounseling.com/Articles/Psychopath.htm

    Just say grow - 22 Jun 2010 11:01:10pm

    The question is however is cp a fundamental part of leadership or would companies that recognize this personality type and seek to exlude it foster a healthier more productive culture of engagement?

    Jen - 24 Jun 2010 8:38:02pm

    Definitely exclude as they can only add individual and team misery, whilst going undetected for some years. The worst are the professionally trained in some way, such as psychologists, who can use thier profession to enhance their skill at destruction and to hide that from detection.

    C - 16 Jun 2010 9:42:15am

    Dear Dr John, I have been struggling now for 2 yrs with the workplace psychopath. I work in a clinic for youth and adolescents with mental health issues. I thought only caring and concerned people wanted to work for young people!!!!!! My mistake. My concern is for family and patients... but now has moved on to me!!! I am so drained by this experience. The only sustaining factor are the few staff who are aware of this person. Some management are also aware but it is hard to get hard data on them. They are very good at covering their tracks- but the poor kids and their families get their heads done in quite frequently. I am also due for a big payrise. It seems pretty empty though and comes at a big cost of surviving this psychopath. I feel myself losing any empathy I had and am now thoroughly suspicious, paranoid, and unfeeling. I feel like I have developed a 'lizard brain' as soldiers term it and I am turning into the bitter, narcissistic, manipulative creep I despise!!!!! Help!

    Mia - 09 Jul 2011 11:34:56am

    Here is what I would do. Stay there and get the big pay raise. Then as you establish yourself in the new position I would look for another job to match the NEW PAY level. New skills acquired make for a better resume and if your skills are in demand then you will find a great job with the new salary and since you worked at this job you need to become more "desensitized" anyway to the patients and families around you. Alot of these adolescents will drain you and then later not be so messed up...but you will still carry their troubles with you not even knowing that ALL TEENS are usually troubled with mental health issues. Later it somehow gets better but you only see their present states and not their futures.

    Whistling Woman - 11 Jun 2010 12:50:54pm

    I am a veteran, having worked for three women in the past twenty years or so. All had personality problems of some kind. The first had what I now think was narcissistic personality disorder; the second became disturbed and abusive in the final year before she left very suddenly; the third and most recent is retiring TODAY! She has been lazy, self-serving, self-absorbed, gutless, and undermining. She has launched an investigation into my "misconduct", leaving it up in the air, because she knew she was retiring (but has not even had the courtesy to tell me or the other managers who report to her!). It is probable that she has been driven to this by her own (male) manager, and is either too gutless or uncaring or unprofessional or all three, to refuse to participate in it. I am past caring. It seems they are everywhere - and it's power that enables their true colours to come out. One thing I disagree with Dr Clarke's diagnosis of CP's is the charm - none of them was/is particularly charming, or even interesting as people (which makes it all the more annoying that one has to spend so much time obsessing about them). I think the best thing is just to carry a mental impermeable membrane around oneself, and just write them off one's mental horizon - act as if they are NOT THERE, or when communicating with them is unavoidable, maintain an aura of freezing politeness.

    Mia - 09 Jul 2011 11:50:44am

    I worked with one too and I was in the military myself. I noticed that she pointedly did things to exclude me. Like first it started with meetings...saying "this is not concerning your work so you don't have to stop working" but I would overhear her and sometimes she mentioned me like.."what is she working on today?" which made me feel paranoid. Then it went to social exclusion like " we are having a ceremony for blah blah but you need to watch this office while we go". I suspected that she blamed me for mistakes and it went on like this. One day I was driving in my car and suddenly I thought of her and said to myself..."no don't pay her no mind" and wondered "does she think of me?" And thats when I realized not to let her "rent head space". Later I read that they often think about their subjects and I thought no to feeding into her weird head gaming ways.

    movingon - 08 Jun 2010 9:31:31pm

    I have worked for a female boss for over 2 years and have been subject to micromanagement, subtle and untraceable bullying for the entire time. Her method of insidious grinding victimisation has reduced my confidence and at times my ability. further advancement in the institution is impossible as she has friends and networks with stealth.

    I am constantly told of her supportive relationship with her boss which leaves me isolated and unable to go to work without feel sick. Is this a P? Either way I want to move on and have applied for several senior admin positions. Is it a war zone in every workplace?

    Chris F - 21 Aug 2010 8:14:32pm

    Yes, she is a P. Only after getting terminated from my previous job of nine years in May 2010 (now collecting unemployment), did I labeled the problem. It was systemic and so subtle that I didn't even realize that they were trying to abuse me until after I was fired. You described the exact same situation I was once in. The corporation has developed a psychopathic environment overall. Most of my coworkers feel micromanaged, a severe lack of respect from management, cannot talk to anyone in management about how they feel, they dread taking any time off for being sick as psychopathic bosses feel no empathy for the sick or weak, they absolutely dread waking up and going to work and often feel like not going in. Every mistake they make is treated as the same whether it's big or small.

    After reading about psychopaths in the workplace, I've come to the conclusion that we have at least 4 psychopaths in the office, two of which are female. It's not a war zone in every workplace, but now that you are aware of psychopaths in the workplace, just being able to identify them will allow you not suffer future abuse.

    Onthe egde - 28 Apr 2010 5:27:35pm

    Amazing stuff... explains a lot really. I thought these people were borderline personality disorder types but there was too many of them I thought, surely. Yes, CP seems the logical answer now I have watched the episode and read some of the posts. Try working in a uniformed service with these people. It is an absolute nightmare. They herd and gather like shopping trolleys and are just about as unmanageable always power broking and putting some skew on everything. They delight in destabilising the senior officers group and the organisation being dysfunctional because of it. What do you suppose the collective noun for a group of CP's would be? A 'Toxic' of CP's.

    ghostwriter - 03 Apr 2010 2:57:20am

    Seenit.. the moral of the story is if they r a true psychopath they will NOT LEARN because they DON'T CARE.... they aren't happy with themselves for the actions they commit they do it for the reaction to test peoples limits. human nature facinates them as they are not capable of feeling empathy or sympathy & many other "natural" emotions so they feed on u to get a reaction in order to witness these feelings even though the connection to the feelings themselves does not exist.. by giving them a reaction u r playing right into their hands.. they will WEED themselves out in time if u give them NO REACTION... they will get bored with u & move on to other people or places... but if u give them what they want BE PREPARED to be in it for the long hall...my experience is great in this matter.. FYI if not sure your dealing with a TRUE PSYCO ASK THEM... in my experience they will tell u point blank just to issue & study your reaction..most are VERY PROUD of what they are.. who knows u might even get a 1st real answer.

    Survivor - 09 Feb 2010 12:35:54am

    I survived an experience that had all the trademarks of the C.P.

    I'm happy to say I managed to get through without being personally defeated. Would I like to go through it again? No, once is enough - I have my scars but I've proven to myself my character was stronger and I see no further learning from going through it again. It was a first for me. I was generally trusting of people in the workplace, but I guess now I’m a tad more careful from coming out the other end of the C.P. experience.

    What I find interesting about the C.P. phenomenon are the quantity of weak minded individuals that often assist the C.P. in their endeavours, conquests and laugh at their sick and sad jokes. All in the hope to be permitted entry into the C.P.'s inner circle.

    This is why I said it was a test of character. I felt the whole experience put my character to the test and I survived. Unfortunately, a number of people of whom I knew from previous workplaces flaked under the pressure and assisted the C.P. Some might say they were just trying to survive as best they could. Maybe, but I couldn't live with myself to do it - just not how I was raised. In fact I feel those people are the saddest casualties, not those who are the completely broken by the C.P. or who end up leaving.

    I'm thinking of getting some t-shirts printed up with the slogan: "I survived a C.P."

    Otherwise what else could be done? A website to name and shame - effectively a black list? Unfortunately no, as it would probably constitute libel. N.B. "Probably" because if it can be proven true I suspect it isn’t libellous.

    Good luck people and remember to hold your own moral strength of character to help survive the ordeal.

    AV - 07 Feb 2010 2:59:53pm

    My female boss is a psychopath and hormonally unstable which is always even more of a treat 2 weeks of the month. I had been at the company for 10 years in a regional branch and was transferred to Head Office of which she was the new manager of a new department. The first DAY i could feel my confidence coming undone. Nothing I did was right. At first I took everything on board, working long hours but she kept changing the goal posts ensuring that people could hear her disapproval of my work.

    She would put a big display of tearing up work that I had spent hours on saying words like, 'huge disappointment' and my favourite 'some pple do not deserve a job'. By the 4th day I was spending my lunch breaks wiping tears in the toilets. It was like being constantly slapped in the face. I was shocked! - words, cruel, behind doors locked and humiliation in front of my co-workers. It was more distressing then giving birth!

    I found her to be unnaturally aggressive and overly charming at the same time with a blank coldness, completely unmoved. She'd humiliate me and then ask if I'd like some lunch and to come outside for a break where she would talk about her family and laugh and joke with other people in the building. I was like .. what the?? Skitzo much??

    Luckily she had not factored in my personal relationships at Head Office with HER superiors. (10 years of fun Christmas Parties and Corporate Box shenanigans share a bonding of its own) These things I used to my advantage. I had a not so secret meeting with her manager of whom she'd shared an adjoining window. He had heard the things being said behind closed doors and had not said anything because he wanted to see how she would play out (being an unknown factor). He apologised that he had not intervened earlier but he thought I was handling her well. Well, after a few minutes of explosive expletives I warned him to put a stop to her behaviour or I would go higher. He spoke to her. Monday morning she was nice as pie but I KNEW i was in for a fight. Whenever her insidious attempts at work and character assassination wore me down Id make a point of sitting in her managers office sharing chocolate and laughing and smiling at her through the adjoining window. I have become very good at detailed file notes of conversations and phone calls always cc-ing correspondance and emails openly providing evidence to the team and sometimes BCC'ing contacts in Head Office of my work leaving minimal room for error and if so, showing the criticisms to be hardly worthy of attention. It was exhausting but exhilarating at the same time. I wasnt going to let her beat me and I still havent. She backed off about 6 months later because she was exposed but I have continued to detail my work. She also realised early on she needed my support in getting the department off the ground due to my inside knowledge of the industry, our clients and my professio

    Dr John B Conlon - 04 Mar 2010 5:03:47am

    No, as far as I know (ok so I'm only a retired Anaesthetist). Insight is either extremely rare or unknown in Psychopaths. Funnily enough I had a Psychopath to interview in my Psychiatry finals in 1973 - got the diagnosis right too. Examiners v. impressed. I digress. It was called "Bullying" at work and my eldest sister had a terrible few years before she retired. When the bullies are confronted they deny everything and feel they have been doing their best for the organisation, leaving a trail of destruction. In My Opinion: think Margaret Thatcher, Rupert Murdoch, Kerry Packer.

    HappyNow - 02 Feb 2010 3:23:00am

    I want to thank the ABC for re-running this show tonight and wished I had seen it back in 2005 when I was victimised.

    I didn't understand the extent of my male 'friend's' perverseness to cruelty until it was too late when I suffered post traumatic stress, depression, anxiety and ruined mutual friendships/ reputation. He also left a trail of financial destruction for others who have engaged in business with him. The scary thing is that although he has recently declared bankruptcy, he is back in Corporate Finance soliciting for investors and an MD of his own company.

    If you have to endure a psychopath - remember two words: wasted energy. It's not worth the pyhrric victory - because they are not capable of remorse.

    In hindsight and from my lessons learned - to counteract any attacks, build a good sense of self worth, maintain your integrity and never give in to self doubt. Try not to beat yourself up after they've pummeled your self esteem. It would also be good to have an outlet where you can speak out in safety and who does not know the P.

    I could ramble on but I think it's been said by everyone else. The only question I have is - do we know of any psychopaths who have successfully reformed and regained a fully functioning conscience?

    Kev - 19 Dec 2009 7:59:51pm

    Hello fellow victims. Bernie (not my real name) - 24 Feb 2009 You make some excellent points. I would also add get a small tape recorder and a microphone - there are 'spy' shops online that sell these marvels. Transcribe the conversations and keep the recordings organized for the day that you need to play them. There are ones that will record up to 8 hours or more at a time so you needn't fuss with turning it on and off.

    If you must stay in your job - start preparing now for your wrongful dismissal suit. And start saving for a lawyer. If you can get a background check done on them and their resume. P's lie. They lie a lot and they lie badly. Mine had 2 degrees on his resume (turns out he had none) and he didn't even leave a gap large enough to have earned the degrees! That is a firing offense. If HR has had complaints or questions about the P before that may be just what they're looking for - proof. Hire a private investigator to do reference checks on past jobs of his, in addition to criminal and credit checks. If you can show that the company clearly had a monster in their midst they'll want to hush you up. Always be anonymous - never point a gun at your head by letting the P know you're after him. Never assume HR won't rat on you to him. A P will butter up HR and get them on their side' they know the value of a befuddled HR dept.

    Ex-wives and girlfriends are outstanding sources of info. You're not the first person they've screwed over. Credit checks are usually very revealing as well.

    They will stop at NOTHING to destroy you if they suspect you don't buy their act. Be very careful. Do not think for a second if you let them know subtly that you're onto them that they will back down. Quite the opposite will occur. Same thing if you're passive. Bernies ideas were very good.

    Try to never be alone with one. Avoid looking them in the eye; you'll think better and hear better if you don't - if you know a true P you'll understand what I mean.

    jennifer - 30 Sep 2009 9:25:14pm

    Is there any chance of Aunty getting John Clarke to expand on the processes used by organisational psychopaths. Most people are blinded by the superficial charm and don't see the victimisation occurring. Clearly this is the psychopaths game and adds to their feelings of superiority. The actual damaging process is much more insidious than the usually portrayed yelling bosses, and can come from any level of staff. From experience the most devastating part is that others believe the lies and manipulative behaviour and the victim is generally in a no win situation.

    Sick of Psychopaths - 10 Aug 2009 3:37:17pm

    After first watching this story some months ago I have been on a long learning journey . It still hasn't stopped me from being a victim but it has helped me realise that i'm not the one who is mad . What I have learnt is that to stand a chance with a psychopath you must record your conversations with them . It is the only way any one will believe you . There are plenty of discreet & preferably voice activated (so you don't have to fiddle with it ) recording devices out there . Even if you are not sure of the legalities do it any way as it can be presented anonymously . It is the only way to expose these people for the evil bastards they really are .

    Judy,Canada - 15 Jul 2009 7:11:06pm

    I have one other interesting comment to share. I was never bullied in school or throughout my twenties and thirties. It started once I was successful in my business, compounded with lots of attention and high priced cars. Girls in our schools are ganging up in groups of 4 or 5 and the victims are afraid to report it.

    I have preached about this example lately as I feel its the root cause of the hardened women I have been exposed to as a business owner. I feel the problem is in the adult women (something is lost in the mothering bond). I personally enjoyed being a manager throughout my career with a long track record of mentoring many into success, however I do not feel women are ready to rule quite yet until they keep their emotions in check. They truly play an ugly game when they go into high gear. W5 had an excellent show on a successful firm that was destroyed by a new female manger who utilized the divide and conquer principle and broke up a strong team as she ruined a once thriving firm. Once it is underway why is it so hard to bring back?

    It would be wonderful to educate employers and government specialists on the "divide and conquer" principle which basically is how the process works at destruction. There are many wonderful women however the increase in jealous, brutal women who thrive off of breaking another woman amazes me compounded with all the guilt that has been put on men, I personally do not feel many of these women are ready for their new found power. Is it the left overs of going too far with human rights in Canada?

    O C - 17 May 2010 6:18:16pm

    I think female bullies are on the rise. I was brutalied by a female director. I had been a founing member of a sucessful theatre company for 8 years, with terrific reviews and was well liked by almost all directors I worked with. Then I met M...... who was very charming at first. She was very complimentary of my work for 3.5 weeks and then suddenly she snapped. She would isolate me from the rest of the cast and ridicule me. Hwe comments were such a far cry from the compliments she had paid me for the majority of the rehearsal period. With a week to go until opening I thought I would keep it to my self for the sake of the show. My partner and friends knew I was having a hard time though as I would come home and break down. Then she did the unspeakable-she fired me with only a week to go until opening! The worst part was that she turned the entire company against me. When I sought support there was none to be found. She was this "brilliant and charming director who knew best" and I was the incompetant actor who had to be replaced. It was crazy I had been there for 8 years and in 4 weeks she had charmed the company into taking her side. I sought union and legal advice and there was little i could do in the end. I left a company which I had built from scratch and I was completely abandoned by my fellow actors. Looking back the signs were there.

    She had to always be the centre of attention, was constantly talking up her accomplishments (in reality they were few) and was canoodling up to a young actor. Psychologists suggested she was a psychopath, as the younger, more attractive and talented star I stood in her way of being queen bee. I will report bullying much sooner next time. She got away with it but in time kharma will get her, perhaps the scathing review of her direction of that production was that very kharma!!

    Foot soldier - 22 May 2009 1:22:46am

    Well done Aunty. Typical of your informative/educative and socially responsible programing.

    Agree with Dave (31st December), a follow-up is needed with more detailed facts about these psychopathic people and information about what is being done to 'deal' with these people and support good employees of these typically large corporate organisations. Interesting to note that most of the perpetrators mentioned below in other comments are female! Interesting given academic studies show that 0.5 of corporate psychopaths are female and 2% are men. The other interesting theme noted from the comments is most people who wrote comments experienced the corporate psychopath in an office environment. I am a nurse, and experienced the corporate psychopath both within health and in the university environment. I survived the battle to fight the war. I lost at first, but eventually won the bigger fight. The perpetrator was the same person in both cases. That person was eventually 'outed', and followed a gruelling process for that person who lost much credibility, income and employment position.

    Psychologically I was a wreck, and after 4 years, I am making MY WAY as a contract nurse, ensuring I do not belong to any one organisation or work for any one employer. Its an isolating experience but safer this way! I am regaining my confidence slowly and beginning to once again believe in myself - I have to for my children's sake. I look forward to the day when I can trust again, and move to work with others in a permanent position for an organisation.

    To those seeking help while currently going through it - YOU are the most important person here. YOUR sanity is at stake and subsequently your income, etc. I urge you, move on before you are so badly damaged you are paralysed. There is life outside your current employment, and many lovely people. There is another way. You have skills, knowledge and experience - think laterally - use them in other ways - and move on. You have the strength.

    Jane - 16 Apr 2009 1:10:57pm

    This is an excellent discussion. Twice in my career, I've worked with bosses who are psychopaths. The first time, I reported the abusive behavior to HR and, while that eventually led to the boss's leaving months later, he retaliated in the short term and made me so miserable that I left. Never again would I report someone. I'd just get out fast. The second time, I and several others were targeted and laid off as part of a restructuring. That's OK with me; I'm out of there. I loved the job and the colleagues but not the new boss, who's trying to make herself look good. I have since heard from other colleagues who are really suffering as they're now targets of this individual. It's sad.

    victim - 03 Apr 2009 11:15:19am

    Being a victim of abuse by my team laeder and now manager for ten years I thought I was alone. I went to her boss and then to HR to find that she had already waeved her web. As a result no job opportunies came my way and even when I applied I was 'unsuccessful'. Bad reviews, being told that I was disliked by all of my peers and fellow employees I did not crack.

    Instead one day she slipped and someone saw her, I was saved mentally just knowing that someone knew it was true.

    Another victim - 17 Mar 2009 1:13:53pm

    An ex-colleague of mine forwarded the link of this article to me - this person knew the hell I had gone through under my "Corporate Psychopath" and after reading this article, it is such a relief that my suspicious now have a foundation!

    It's not me or the 4 other people before who left this role. It's the fact that there is a corporate murderer at the top killing off her staff members...emotionally and mentally. It is just sad that a number of high performing organisations seem to thrive with such "leaders" and the attitude is, if you can't take it, then leave it. Perhaps it's time to shake it up a little more and find a nice little island to ship these psychos off to!

    After all, we are not fans of letting repeat offenders off likely in this country, perhaps we can apply the same rules here.

    And for those who have come out of this awful experience alive, I take my hat off to you.

    standyrgrd - 13 Oct 2011 9:17:12am

    They will never be shipped off because organisations love CP as they rule by fear and will do anything to get the job done. I have been working with a CP for 3 years now and reported her for slapping another staff member at work on two different occassions. The response i go from HR is that the slap may have been done jokingly and if so there will be no formal investigation. It's been one month now since i reported this physical abuse and the CP is still in the corporation, in the same job! She shows no remorse because when i report some of her bullying to her superiors she just ups the anti.

    Emancipated - 03 Dec 2010 11:10:57pm

    Wow-reading your comments makes me feel like fighting harder than ever!These bullies need to be made accountable for their atrocious actions. I've been working in my current environment for three years, and the psychopath that I have had to deal with has become more devious and manipulative as the years have progressed. With a 60% turnover in staff, one would think that that would be enough to trigger ‘alarm bells' about our manager and manage the behaviour of the one common denominator-the bully. Unfortunately, many qualified and valuable staff members have walked away from their jobs. They later described themselves to me as feeling “useless and incompetent”. My ‘Team Leader' has based her career on the the work of others, and she ensures that staff members maintain a sense of gratitude towards her-even though the work is not her own. I decided that I had mentally had enough of the stress involved in working with her, and I took the BIG STEP in submitting a formal grievance. I needed to get to a point within myself that I could handle the fall out associated with this step. I knew that other people had taken her on in the past, and that they had eventually lost their case. They walked away down trodden and shaken by the experience of working with her. HOWEVER, thankfully as a result of their complaints, their voices now count as I have placed a formal grievance against her. Most staff members only stayed for a short period of time within their roles, and therefore had little time to collate concrete evidence to support their complaints. I am a compliant, hard worker and I take pride in my work. I tried for a long time to keep my head down and stay ‘out of her radar' but eventually you do become a target. My best advice to you all would be to do what I did a year ago-STOP answering your phone at work/mobile when he/she calls, and AVOID all informal one-on-one meetings.Instead, build evidence with emails and create a solid case.Always have a representative with you when you have to meet with him/her, and when you place your grievance, make sure that you have organised a go-tween email receiver/sender, so that when the bullying behaviour is turned up, then you have another ‘listening ear'. The last most important thing that you should do is JOIN YOUR UNION.

    Also remember, that these bullies only make up a small proportion within a workplace: WE MAKE UP THE MAJORITY so let's stand up to psychopaths and GET RID OF THEM!!!! After I had placed my grievance with HR I was told that I was the first one to make an official complaint' against my boss. I was shocked when I heard this as she has been arguing with everyone' for years. Another staff member mustered up the confidence to place a second grievance against my boss after me. So the whole process has been going on for months, but it has been the best therapy that I could have ever received, and I feel a great sense of relief. I don't know if I have a job

    Moderator: Please keep posts to a reasonable length - under 200 words.

    scared - 16 May 2011 4:29:15am

    Can't believe I'm on this page finding so many people in the same situation as myself. Something needs to be done. I feel like I'm going crazy. Been on my job for 9 years the last 2 have been a living hell working with a psychopathic co-worker and a passive aggressive supervisor. I have a plan with legal help hopefully it will work. I'm using my sick time and hopefully can get my unemployment.

    Andrew - 23 Jan 2009 7:26:00pm

    I have a workplace psychopath at the engineering company where i work.

    She decided that i would be her victim on day one and constantly harasses me. She also makes complaints against me to the boss. The key problem is that he takes her word as gospel.

    She tried to get me sacked after 3 months, however i survived after proving myself. This has only intensified her determination. She made a complaint against me again today. we had an argument and after she won it, she then decided to get revenge on me (who takes revenge for winning an argument???) by complaining about me on an unrelated matter.

    Luckily my immediate supervisor, as well as the other job team leaders in the business back me and share my concern about this individual.

    But i don't know how long i can stand up to this bullying.

    Lisa - 14 Mar 2009 5:15:03pm

    I am working with one currently. She is constantly harases me and others. She is lying all the time. She is inconpetent with her work but she always tells her superiors that her mistakes made by me. I have worked so hard because she always gives me incorrect information or wrong information which has increaed my work load. Although someone can back me up as they have experienced same thing as I have been constantly experienced on a daily basis, I don't know how long it can last.

    Dude - 09 Jan 2009 10:57:17pm

    I had never experienced a "workplace psychopath" until 3 years ago. After researching the internet to obtain some understanding of these people I became amazed that so many of these low life mongrels exist. I am a long serving Police Officer who works in a small "specialist" area.

    Our OIC fits all the criteria of an "attention seeking" workplace psychopath. The working environment is absolute hell to say the least. This person exhibits swinging moods, bizarre behaviour, extreme self pity, manipulation and deceit. This persons constant whining is immense and very difficult to take everyday.

    I have experienced difficulty sleeping at night over a long period of time because of the behaviour. When this person goes on holidays the workplace becomes relaxed and everyone is so happy. Everyone in our office "suffered in silence" for a very long period of time until we all started realising that we all felt the same.

    Thankfully higher management have now become aware of the behaviour of this person, however I have now leart that it's not an easy issue to deal with. This person is shameless and is fighting "tooth and nail" to keep their position and is stooping to very extreme manipulation and deceit in doing so. I just hope this person moves soon.

    Alicia - 14 Nov 2008 12:58:27pm

    I am currently studying personality in psychology and am about to do a research proposal on workplace psychopaths. I am motivated to do this personally as I have been the victim of workplace psychopaths not once but twice, and have seen many others suffer the same fate as me long after I have left an organisation.

    This is a real problem, one that is an 'underbelly' of the workplace. Education campaigns or wider community knowledge about this fact of the workplace really needs to be addressed. As too many people that I have spoken to that are going through or have gone through it, feel that the problem is with themselves. It wrecks self esteem and impacts greatly on the quality of life, something really needs to be done about this problem.

    Emancipated - 03 Dec 2010 11:32:34pm

    HR exists to protect the interests of the corporation - this involves smoothing problems over as economically possible. It takes an enormous amount of courage to stand up to a psychopath, and it needs to be done in a carefully crafted and timely manner. Gather your evidence, join your union, and then strike when you are informed and equipped! Patience first...then fight when the the time is right.

    krentz - 12 Nov 2008 8:50:15am

    When you consider that these people literally don't care at the end of the day, consider their psychopathy as a distinct advantage over the general population, whom they view as either moronic, stupid, or wrong, and are incapable of empathising with others, at the end of the day there is nothing to sympathise with.

    These people are not having a hard time, they just leave us with all their crap. They are not "cruel" or "nasty", as these are emotive words, and they do not feel (much) emotion. They just do whatever they can to get whatever they want, and damn the rest. As luck would have it, emotions are easy to manipulate, and so that's what happens most of the time.

    Luckily I'm very aware of the nature of psychopathy and quite perceptive regarding people so I am unlikely to fall into the same trap many others have done. Unfortunately, this will seem like a declaration of war to most psychopaths, and they love challenge and competition. Protect your own best interests - that's the best advice I can give you. Remember that healing takes time and there is always light at the end of the tunnel, you might just have to travel a long time to find it.

    Kathy - 13 Dec 2008 7:27:18pm

    Unless you are a psychopath you cannot compete with them - you will be the one that ends up emotionally destroyed. Also you are lowering yourself to their standard. The only thing to do is avoid them as much as possible. It is better to find a better place to work. Walk away with your sanity, don't waste your precious time and energy playing their stupid mind games.

    Corporate Psychopaths - 08 Nov 2008 12:11:55am

    Once I realised my boss was a corporate psychopath, it was almost a relief and everything began to make sense. Unfortunately it was too late for me and many colleagues in terms of the mental abuse she caused.

    She appeared so charming to others, yet I can only describe her as being a truly wicked person. There is light at the end of the tunnel. I took her to court. I agree that they cannot be changed. they are fundamentally nasty people. The only solution is recognise the traits early and leave the company quick.

    almost victim - 16 Apr 2009 12:01:43pm

    My psychopath boss is new to the boss game and was easily spotted as she chose to target everyone subordinate at once. Unfortunately, her bosses love her (more psychopaths?) so she is not going anywhere anytime soon.

    We are protected by our union so she can't just fire anyone, either. Unions were formed for a reason, afterall. We are mostly women and we confide in each other. Thwarting her is a group effort and supporting each other makes the constant harassment more tolerable. We consulted higher ups in the union, from outside our organization, and we were advised to "keep the devil we know" as getting rid of her would be next to impossible and her replacement might be even smarter and nastier. My advice is talk, talk, talk to each and support each other and under no circustances let the psycopath get you alone! Find a buddy to go into the office with you as a witness. You have that right. And DON'T let them see you sweat...stay calm and be prepared.

    [Feb 04, 2013] Women in management

    ... from cattiness to going all out to destroy someone's career
    April 11, 2009 | thoughtsatdawn.wordpress.com

    When I first started out in my career, there were very few female managers and I used to think it would be nice if there were more women in management because women tend to be more understanding towards sensitive issues. I think I may have been wrong.

    I have now had the opportunity to work with managers of both genders and while the men have been good to work with, I wish I could say the same for the female managers. Two female managers have been excellent (as in firm, but fair), but many of the others have been the opposite. I have had witnessed many displays of inappropriate behavior from some female managers, from cattiness to going all out to destroy someone's career. Being a woman, I find this very disturbing. I don't fancy having my career destroyed by a woman just because she has the power to do so.

    [Sep 18, 2012] Venus: The Dark Side on Female Sociopaths by Glenn Sacks |

    Jan 15, 2008
    "So obsessed with what she wants, she will ignore or neglect her children while claiming the opposite. She plays the martyr and expects constant attention. Her demanding behavior almost guarantees it.

    "If she is divorced, she may have grown to hate her ex-husband more than she loves her children. She abuses the children by depriving them of access to their father, because she's punishing him for not delivering what she wanted in a husband. She refuses to consider that she played any role in the marriage break-up."

    There are male sociopaths and there are female sociopaths, but female sociopaths are rarely discussed. In Venus: The Dark Side, authors Roy Sheppard and Mary T Cleary discuss this important subject in depth. Sheppard and Cleary write:

    "She believes she is entitled to everything she desires. With an overdeveloped sense of self, working for what she wants is an inconvenience. Hard work is for everybody else. She wants the fast buck and the short-cut to success. Becoming a social parasite is quicker than toiling for anything. And when she pulls it off, she can then congratulate herself on cheating, conning or defrauding others who may be more intelligent or successful than she is.

    "Her every whim must be accommodated. Humility is alien to her. She is self-centered, opinionated and over-confident, and expects to be pampered and treated as superior.

    "She has possibly dabbled at shoplifting to feed her sense of entitlement for whatever she wants and for the 'buzz'. So obsessed with what she wants, she will ignore or neglect her children while claiming the opposite. She plays the martyr and expects constant attention. Her demanding behavior almost guarantees it. (more...)

    [Aug 24, 2012] Understanding Borderline Personality Disorder by Tara Parker-Pope

    ... throwing tantrums when some innocent word, gesture, facial expression or action by others sets off an emotional storm they cannot control. The attacks can be brutal, pushing away those they care most about
    I was fascinated by today's Personal Health column by Jane Brody, which focuses on borderline personality disorder. Having known someone who is a "borderline," I was intrigued by the following description from Jane's column.

    People with the disorder are said to have a thin emotional skin and often behave like 2-year-olds, throwing tantrums when some innocent word, gesture, facial expression or action by others sets off an emotional storm they cannot control. The attacks can be brutal, pushing away those they care most about. Then, when the storm subsides, they typically revert to being "sweet and wonderful," as one family member put it.

    The titles of books about borderline personality disorder tell you a lot about what it's like to live with someone who has it. "I Hate You, Don't Leave Me," by Dr. Jerold J. Kreisman and Hal Straus is among the most popular. Other titles include "Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care About Has Borderline Personality Disorder" by Paul T. Mason and Randi Kreger and "Understanding the Borderline Mother: Helping Her Children Transcend the Intense, Unpredictable, and Volatile Relationship" by Christine Ann Lawson.

    Read Jane's column, "An Emotional Hair Trigger, Often Misread," and then join the discussion below. Do you or someone you know have borderline personality disorder? Please share your story.

    And do you have a question about borderline personality disorder or its treatment? Marsha Linehan of the University of Washington, who developed a form of therapy to treat the disorder, is answering readers' questions on the Consults blog, "An Expert Look at Borderline Personality Disorder."

    [Aug 23, 2012] Walking on Eggshells: Dealing with the Borderline in Your Life

    ..."I don't have any in my personal life, but the above is a chillingly accurate description of a colleague in my department. Sure, you can divorce a spouse with this, but what do you do with a BPD with tenure?"
    June 18, 2006 | Dr. Helen

    Many times, patients or others ask me for a recommendation for a book or help for dealing with an angry, destructive person who is ruining their emotional health. My recomendation for a self-help book when coping with the aftermath of the borderline personality is Stop Walking on Eggshells: Taking Your Life Back When Someone You Care about Has Borderline Personality Disorder. But first of all, what is a borderline and how do know if that is what you are dealing with?

    Certainly, one cannot diagnose someone without evaluating them, but many times, the descriptions people give me of their significant other, parent, child, or friend leads me to wonder if the advice seeker is dealing with a borderline. The DSM-IV describes the symptoms of Borderline Personality Disorder as:

    1. Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment. (not including suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5)
    2. A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
    3. Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
    4. Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., spending, sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, binge eating; [not including] suicidal or self-mutilating behavior covered in Criterion 5).
    5. Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, or threats, or self-mutilating behavior
    6. Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability, or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days)
    7. Chronic feelings of emptiness.
    8. Inappropriate, intense anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
    9. Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation or severe dissociative symptoms.

    There are even books on how to divorce a Borderline or Narcissistic Personality that give strategies to reduce the damage done to a person during the process. In a book entitled, "Splitting," one section looks at how a borderline can convince your own lawyer that they are right and turn the lawyer against you --- I believe it and have seen it happen. I have worked in places where people believe that a borderline must be right because they are "intelligent." Intelligence and craziness are not separate traits--sometimes, someone who is intelligent can be even more emotionally damaging because they are smart enough to carry out manipulations that others can only dream about. So what do you do when encountering the borderline in your life?

    Here are some tips from "Stop Walking on Eggshells" (page 140) with some of my own advice thrown in--for brevity's sake, I will list just a few, but if you want more detail-- get the book or go to BPD Central.

    1) Stop "sponging" and start "mirroring" -- that is, some of those involved with borderlines tend to soak up the borderline's pain and rage and think this is helpful, but in reality, it is like filling up a black hole of emptiness and nothing is good enough. You can try to placate the borderline and work hard to give them love, care etc. but it is never enough. Instead--reflect the painful feelings of the borderline back where they belong--with the borderline.

    2) Stay focused and observe your limits. Show by your actions that you have the bottom line. Communicate the limits clearly and act on them consistently. Protect yourself and your children by removing them and yourself from the situation. For example, if a borderline flies into a rage and starts accusing you of things you did not do, tell him or her that you will be taking the kids out until they calm down and you can talk later.

    3) Ask the borderline for change. Figure out your personal limits (get help from a therapist if needed) and communicate these to the borderline in a clear manner. However, ask for changes in behavior, not necessarily for changes in feelings--that is, you can ask them to change the behavior of yelling at you, but don't tell them not to be angry.

    Finally, the best advice for those who are not yet involved legally with a borderline is a statement I heard from a colleague recently, "Borderlines make great girlfriends (or boyfriends) but you wouldn't want to marry one."

    That, I think, sums it up in a nutshell--no offense, but the damage I have seen on victims of those who have borderline personality is not something to be taken lightly. People say that those with BPD can change but often times, they wreck havoc on their spouses, children and/or parents and the abuse lasts a lifetime. Children of those with BPD have trouble in future relationships by seeking out the love of the BPD that they could never get or by avoiding people in the future for fear of more emotional blackmail. Spouses of the BPD seem devastated and often end up with lives of quiet desperation or in the throes of accusations in court and parents end up believing that they are inadequate and incompetent. None of it sounds promising.

    Have any readers been involved with a borderline personality disorder--either married to one, or have a parent, child or friend with this disorder-and if so, how did you cope?

    Update: Some readers have emailed or asked for more information on a promising treatment for BPD called Dialectical Behavioral Therapy (DBT). Take a look at Behavioraltech.com for answers about DBT.

    posted by Helen at 1:32 PM

    155 Comments:

    dadvocate said...
    I believe my ex-wife had/has at least strong borderline tendencies. The "splitting" was almost always present in some form or another whether in our relationship or between she and other members of her family.

    When we divorced and fought over custody she could be very convincing but would usually blow it by losing composure at some point and showing extreme hostility. As in your example, she is intelligent and people would initially buy into her stories, etc.

    Your tips on dealing with BPD are good but I found it impossible after 10 years of marriage. We've been divorced/separated 9 years now. The last couple of years she seems to be mellowing. She's now 45 years old. Does BPD diminish somewhat with age?

    2:51 PM, June 18, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    Dr. Helen---

    I don't have any in my personal life, but the above is a chillingly accurate description of a colleague in my department. Sure, you can divorce a spouse with this, but what do you do with a BPD with tenure?

    Steve the LLamabutcher

    3:32 PM, June 18, 2006
    LissaKay said...
    My Ex, I believe, is borderline. Definitely bipolar, possibly narcissistic personality too. My 18 year old son, who has bipolar, may also be borderline as well, but I also believe that all of the above, along with autism, schizophrenia, chronic depression, conduct disorder, ADHD, etc., are all part of a very long spectrum of brain disorders. The rate of co-morbidity and overlapping of signs and symptoms would certainly support that.

    Anyway, my Ex ... it's ALL about him. Everything. He is perfect, he can do no wrong. I, however, am a horrible, evil, selfish, bad mommy ... really! Just ask him!

    Actually, it is almost laughable the way he projects his flaws, faults and short-comings on to me. Everything he ever accused me of, he had done, or would do in the future. He used to know how to push all my buttons, to make me get hysterical and enraged so easily ... until I made a conscious decision to not allow that anymore. The next time he played the game, and I remained cool, calm and collected ... he LOST it! Seriously lost it, to the point where he was hospitalized with suicidal ideation.

    Watching the dynamic of his relationship with his wife, our children and me is like watching a train wreck ... horrifying, yet fascinating. He is a total slave to her approval, to the point where he has sacrificed the needs and best interest of the children. She was uncomfortable with me around, because he showed that he was not "over" me three years post-divorce. So he pretty much shut me out of the children's lives. Of course, because I was not allowed to see the children as much, that made me a bad mommy.

    Oh ... yes, he had custody. He convinced the lawyers and judge that I was incapable of providing for the children properly, as he had been doing solely on his income alone while I stayed at home. Go figure.

    If, on the 29th, it sounds like a nuclear bomb goes off in Oak Ridge, it hasn't. That will be the day my Ex, thinking he will stop paying support for our son, now that he is 18 and out of school, and I will start paying him for the 16 year old still in his custody, will be told that he has to continue paying for the 18 year old, due to his disability and also for the 16 year old, because she is coming to live with me (she's tired of living with a step-mother that calls her a whore). It should make for a pretty spectacular meltdown.

    How do I cope? With my Ex, I just shut off all emotion. I let go of all feeling for him. If I don't care about him, I don't care what he says about me, anymore than I would some stranger on the street.

    With my son, it is a little different. Lately, it has been "Let go and let God." I talk to people, my mother mostly. People who understand or at least try to. There are many days when I don't think I am coping well at all, and I may too need a bed at Peninsula very soon. But I keep it together somehow, perhaps by sheer force of will, knowing that if I fall apart, there isn't anyone that can pick up the pieces. My children still need me, and that is what keeps me going ... one day at a time, or sometimes, one hour or even one minute at a time. Whatever gets me through.

    3:51 PM, June 18, 2006
    Craig R. Harmon said...
    For a more hopeful example, my wife and I have been married for 11 years. She's been diagnosed with Borderline Personality and more recently with Bi-Polar Disorder. We have found that, with medicine (Geodon and Depakote) and ongoing psycological counseling, she has improved markedly.
    3:55 PM, June 18, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    This sounds a lot like PTSD. I think a big pointer in that direction is self medication, or what we prefer to call it in America - substance abuse.

    Is Addiction Real?

    BTW the new head of NIDA agrees with me - "addictiion" is 50% genetic and 50% environmental.

    Given the amount of substance "abuse" in America the untreated population is huge. And how do we deal with the under treated? Punish them for treating themselves. Cute.

    4:16 PM, June 18, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    I've been dealing with someone who I suspect may have borderline ... I used to get upset when this person, who is pretty intelligent, used to come up with elaborate schemes about how I or someone else had betrayed her, were plotting to harm her, and so on. At some point you have to stop letting the stuff get to you -- You can't become emotionally invested with the person any longer or their projection and anxieties will destroy you.
    4:18 PM, June 18, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    PTSD diminishes with age. See the Max Planck Institute study by B. Lutz.
    4:21 PM, June 18, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    Here is the B. Lutz link.
    4:25 PM, June 18, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    With the exception of "suicidal" and "self mutitlating" your description of Borderline Personality Disorder fits my ex wife very closely. I coped for 20 years by keeping my temper, steering angry conversations around to real world concerns, investing time and emotional energy into the children, going out with the boys one night per week, doing the cooking, and taking the kids skiing every winter weekend.
    Finally, when the children were off to college, I divorced her. That improved my life enormously. And the children stay with me rather than with her on school vacations.
    4:26 PM, June 18, 2006
    FastNed said...
    Nine months into a relationship, after placing her in rehab twice (with her consent) I was unable to take any more. Compulsive sex with my friends, theft, prostitution for drug money and on and on and on. I told her on Friday that I could not take any more and that she had to move out by Sunday.

    I returned from work on Saturday to discover she had killed herself in our bed. Initially, I ended up in handcuffs in the back seat of a police car but when other police arrived, they found a suicide note on the kitchen counter.

    I was more than astounded to have several of her family advise me that she had been diagnosed as Bi-Polar years earlier - no-one had ever thought it important to mention to me!

    I really don't know what I could have done different as the relationship was destroying me - it did not excite me to learn that many of my so-called friends had bedded her (undoubtedly at her instigation) but even so!
    That was January of 1997 and to this day I have been unable to make a long term committment to another woman.
    4:34 PM, June 18, 2006
    Charlie said...
    With 18 years of marriage behind me and divorce pending, I am only now getting to grips with her BPD (7 of 9)after two years of separation from my wife. The "Walking on Eggshells" book series were a great help four years ago when I first found them.

    Initially, I found her the complement to my introversion, and hoped to learn from her and so help end my social isolation. Instead I found a bottomless pit of need absorbing any and everything I had and being cursed for not having enough. Moreover, her "you don't care about me!" perceptions were here justification to hoard (shopping - clothing by the cubic yard, for example) and punish through tirades and deliberate credit card abuse.

    My seeking guidance over 10 years with and without her all had the common outcome - It was MY problem, so when was I going to fix me? Anytime a counselor suggested the least amount of change or responsibility on her part was immediately rejected.

    My attempts to stand up for myself were met by the imperious Witch or helpless Waif personalities (see the Eggshells book) and I was bullied or suckered into submission, again. This separation has let me decompress - no daily meddling to put up with - and try and rebuild my self-esteem.

    The "Eggshell" books were a good start, but I'm only now getting the social skills to apply them. But at least I can!

    4:45 PM, June 18, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    I don't believe these personality characterizations of the DSM-IV. Any of them. They sound too pat. Too canned and also all-embracing. They sound too much like astrological descriptions for me to accept them as useful. What five or more?

    Is this some sort of family-style Chinese menu?

    Of course I understand it doesn't matter what I believe -- I'm just offering that they are just not believeable.

    5:10 PM, June 18, 2006
    Woody said...
    I'm glad that I read this. I've had crazy people in my life and it took a few major problems to recognize that I invited them in to my life to hurt me when I was kind to them. I now run when I see any of the same characteristics in potential new friends. However, none of them match some of the crazies that I've read about here, so maybe I'm not so unlucky afterall.
    5:25 PM, June 18, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    Anon - BPD is real. Believe it. The best way to deal with it is at a distance. The best advice in Stop Walking on Eggshells is that the BPD has to make the decision to get better. You can't do it for them. bpdcentral is a great resource, too, particularly the messageboard.
    5:56 PM, June 18, 2006
    Lee J. Cockrell said...
    I have a slightly longer response at my blog. (New host, please let me know of any problems.)

    The two best stories I've read online about Borderlines are My Trip to Oz and Back (a lesbian recounts her years with a borderline partner), and Thomas Scoville's tale of being married to a borderline, Borderlands.

    If reading those two stories hit close to home for you, GET OUT OF YOUR RELATIONSHIP NOW. Because offering a borderline help or emotional support often makes them worse, it is a tricky disorder to treat, and probably not possible for someone with an emotional investment in the person.

    6:00 PM, June 18, 2006
    Lee J. Cockrell said...
    M Simon -- BPD and PTSD are so similar, they're almost considered redundant diagnoses these days:

    http://ajp.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/abstract/159/11/1940

    6:07 PM, June 18, 2006
    darwin said...
    I have a friend who has never been diagnosed but who meets 5-7 of the criteria for BPD either now or for years of his past. He's approaching 30 and stabilizing a bit but it's been a whole lot of difficulty over the last 15 years I've known him.

    The most important thing for me was to realize that there is no way for me to fix his life for him. In order to keep myself from absorbing his self-hatred and dissociation, I have had to learn to not care too much. If I am actually powerless to fix him, I have to allow him to fail or struggle in these ways or go crazy myself. I just remind him that I care for him, believe in him and am willing to help him as long as it's not at my expense.

    =darwin

    6:09 PM, June 18, 2006
    LissaKay said...
    @Anonymous 5:10

    Obviously, you have not had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time with anyone who has any of these personality/mood/brain disorders. See my first post, the third one of thread, where I describe all these "problems" as being part of a larger, single spectrum.

    So, yes, it is very much like a family-style Chinese dinner. My son has a large helping of bipolar, with a smaller amount of ADHD, and some side helpings of PTSD, depression, and maybe a bite or two of autism or aspergers. My Ex, on the other hand, has gone hog wild with the narcissistic personality over a pilaf of borderline, and on the side he has a few spoonfuls of bipolar, depression and conduct disorder.

    Maybe they are over-diagnosed, more often, I would say MIS-diagnosed. Maybe the increase in numbers of those thusly diagnoses could be due to better treatments and drugs. Instead of being left to waste away in asylums or having their lives shortened by suicide, the mentally disordered are now able to live lives very close to "normal" which would include having children ... and unfortunately, passing along the genes that likely are the cause of these disorders.

    Don't poo-poo what you do not understand, and what makes you uncomfortable. These disorders are very, very real ... and often very deadly. Making such allegations as you have does not do anything but cause pain for people like my son, and their caregivers, like me.

    6:10 PM, June 18, 2006
    Maetenloch said...
    My ex-wife had BPD. She was never officially diagnosed, but she had all the symptoms listed in the DSM except for self-mutilation. Of course I wasn't even aware of BPD until after her final freakout and the end of our marriage.

    What people often don't realize is that someone can be 'crazy' with a true personality disorder, yet be functional and appear successful in their day to day interactions. Apart from the BPD, my ex-wife had many good qualities - she was cute, smart, exciting, and charismatic. All great qualities in a girlfriend, but the BPD was a killer for any real relationship.

    To reiterate what Dr. Helen said, it's hard to realize how convincing and manuipulative a person with BPD can be. Intelligence + charm + intensity + a disturbed mind can be a diabolical combination.

    My ex was able to convince her previous therapist that she no longer had any issues, and got her to attend our wedding. She was truly able to convince people that black was just a special form of white. She was even able to convince me for a while that all of her problems including her previous divorce were actually my fault - and I have a pretty strong mental frame! Needless to say, the damage she caused took me a few years to get over.

    Even though I'm a nurturing and supportive person by nature, my experiences with my ex have made me a harsher person. I really tried to love her and be supportive, but when dealing with a BPD person no good deed ever goes unpunished. I now view any non-trivial mental illness (much less a diagnosable DSM disorder) as a dealbreaker for any relationship. I know this goes against the ethos of psychotherapy and the healing arts, but there are just too many quality potential spouses out there to waste your life with someone who's known to be 'defective'. Do these people deserve someone who will love and support them as they are? Sure. But let that someone be someone else.

    6:23 PM, June 18, 2006
    LissaKay said...
    CNS ... love the forum, Crazyboards. I must make time to do some reading there.

    That said, you raise some really good points about meds, self-medicating with pot, etc. I too cringe when Lithium is called "dangerous" ... that statement is borne of ignorance. My dad has been taking it since 1972 with no major problems, and is even mentioned in a med journal article on the safety in long-term use. He was one of the subjects in the UCSD study that was seminal in Lithium becoming the treatment of choice for manic depression, as it was called then. Safe? I have more faith in Lithium than I do Tylenol.

    My son, also on Lithium, or supposed to be, is self-medicating with pot. His rationale is that he needs it to stay calm and focused. "But what about the Lithium?" I ask, "You felt OK when you were taking it regularly." He replies, "Having to take it makes me feel like I can't be in control of myself." When I point out that he is just substituting the pot for the Lithium, he just gets that blank stare, shutting me out. In the mean time, he's getting (more) depressed because he can't get a job because every employer is drug screening applicants these days. But he refuses to quit the pot and get back on the Lithium. Welcome to my madness ...

    @Maetenloch ... if it is any comfort at all, if any is even needed, I know exactly what you mean. I'm at the point where, if contemplating a new relationship, I would demand a full criminal background check, credit report, psych evaluation, drug screen, HIV and STD tests, and a note from mommy before even agreeing to meet for coffee. Cause I'm worth it ...

    8:03 PM, June 18, 2006
    Assistant Village Idiot said...
    I see a good deal of overlap between the PTSD and BPD diagnoses as well. I do not see that huge an overlap with BPAD. Manicky people look a lot like personality disorders because the frontal lobe discontrol mirrors the overemotionality of the borderline.

    They do mellow with age. The episodes become less frequent and/or less intense. It may not be healing so much a dampening energy. (But what's the difference, then?)

    Don't worry about finding descriptions of yourself in various diagnoses. We all have some maladaptive responses - the difference is whether you can muster a variety of responses appropriate to differing situations, or whether you have to play the same cards repeatedly, regardless of circumstance.

    As to the multiple personalities, I have never seen one that was not induced by the desire of of the therapist or the patient. It only happens when you force it to happen.

    8:24 PM, June 18, 2006
    GM Roper said...
    Dr. Helen, this has got to be one of your very best posts. Shedding light on the BPD phenomina can only help. In my work as a therapist, I've dealt with a number of BPD's (not allways clients, sometimes staff) and the work is difficult, demanding, frustrating and highly rewarding.

    I'm in mind of two clients, both in long term therapy in which limits had to be set initially broad enough to keep them in therapy, but narrowing as time and control allowed. Both were highly abused as children (though not a prerequisite, it happens fairly often), both in long term relationships and both "given up on" by the psychiatric community. After three years in one case and 5 in the other, it was good to hear that both are doing well (and this is from their spouses, not the client necessarily).

    Keep shedding light on these disorders Dr. Helen, you have no idea how far your insights travel via the internet. Thanks.

    8:26 PM, June 18, 2006
    Helen said...
    Dadvocate,

    In my experience as a clinician etc., I do believe that BPD gets somewhat better with age --- it seems to peak in the 20's and 30's and then improve, but not always -- the personality disorders are an inherent part of the personality and difficult to change. However, a new type of therapy called dialectical therapy is promising-it was pioneered by Marsha Linehan and here is more information:

    http://www.palace.net/~llama/psych/dbt.html

    Hi GM:

    There are many psychological disorders that people do not understand--I always thought that much of this information was known to the average layperson, but apparently, I was wrong as many people become involved with others with mental illness and do not realize what they are getting into--often until it is too late--Thanks for doing the work needed to treat those who are BPD as it is indeed, very difficult and frustrating.

    8:41 PM, June 18, 2006
    MarkH said...
    Thanks for the interesting info (came here via your insta-partner). My sister check out many of the items in your list, with the notable exceptions of suicidal tendencies and self-harm (unless you count excessive partying and sunbaking).

    I've just recently had hopefully my last conversation with her. Since she was a teenager she has been combative, provocative and easily enraged. I've periodically been abused with such vitriol it usually takes months before the wounds heal. It's personal, nasty and, worst of all, quite convincing - she's a master of personal denigration. I'm not a type who usually backs down from a confrontation, but it's different with family; and I'm a bit old fashioned in that I don't believe in getting into fights with women (no not chivalry, it's just that they're too good at it). I've always been there for her and have proven this many times over many years.

    We get on fine for short periods of time, but then it's just one wayward statement I make that's taken the wrong way and she explodes. My parents tiptoe around her, but it doesn't help. She will fire a tirade of invective then hang up the phone or slam the door. As the big brother of the family it's always been my job to reconcile with her. It's never her fault so she has never said sorry. But sometimes I have dug in the heels, so there have been periods of up to five years when I haven't heard from her. She ignored the birth of my first son during one of these periods, and has mostly ignored my second son in subsequent periods, despite the fact that she is his godmother.

    This time I put some advertising business her way. I usually use professional agencies, but my parents said she is looking for work, and has a talent for this sort of thing. After only a couple of weeks of (intentionally) minimal contact after providing her with a brief, we have again crossed the threshold of tolerance. In all recent phone conversations she has accused me of having poor communication skills and finished by hanging up on me (yes, some irony there). I follow up with the usual strategy: emailing a grovelling apology for whatever I did to upset her (which I can rarely put my finger on), but it's only a short term fix. The more exposure to her, the quicker I seem to irritate her. The last call I made resulted in nearly ten solid minutes of loud, foul-mouthed abuse (the language gets worse with the years), then accusations via email, copied to others, that I had been unscrupulously exploiting her good nature etc. Then she walked off the job and sent some hefty bills for the unfinished work (which were paid immediately).

    She's now in her mid fourties, doing the same histrionics she did as a kid, but now more calculating and manipulative. It still hurts, especially since I know exactly what my motivations were in putting some business her way.

    The only lesson I can learn is that there's nothing you can do, so why cope with the abuse? Maybe if my parents had, over the years, put their collective foot down and drew the line at certain behaviour, she may have learnt to control herself better. But I'm not sure, as she usually gets what she wants with her performances. Always the centre of attention. Always being talked about. Always feared by family members who want get-togethers to run smoothly (they never do; there's always a drama at the end, with my sister at the centre of it). There's no way she'd even consider medication or behaviour control, and I think this is because she doesn't want to give up the power that her outbursts seem to give her.

    Maybe if she had more responsibility in life it would help. But everything is about her. She's single, no kids, and her long term lover is a very wealthy, much older, married businessman. She can be very charming and sophisticated, and fits right in with the Yachts, Lear jets, resorts and loads of expensive Champagne. But it looks hollow to me, and I feel that she's chosen a lifestyle that suits her personality. No responsibilities, no need to ever compromise or adapt.

    10:04 PM, June 18, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    CNS,

    Pot like any other medication causes different responses in different people. Some it helps, some it doesn't, and others get worse. If it helps it is one of the safest thereapeutically active substances known to man.

    PTSD and the Endocannabinoid System covers the CB1 receptor system in the brain. The amygdala is implicated. It is where long term pain memories are stored. The pain memories seem to be a feature of PTSD and Borderline Personality Disorder.

    10:26 PM, June 18, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    CNS,

    You can overdose on lithium and kill yourself. The lethal dose is 1.5X to 2X the effective dose. For pot the ratio is estimated to be greater than 40,000 to 1. No one actually knows what it is because of the very low toxcisity of pot.

    LissaKay,

    I'm so sorry to hear the government is persecuting your son for his choice of medicine. e-mail me (address at Power and Control - on the side bar) if you would care to discuss this off line.

    AVI,

    Read Marvin Minsky "Societies of the Mind". We all are multiple personalities. In some of us the personalities are integrated and function as a unit. In others the personalities are at cross purposes - that is when you get the MPD label.

    10:44 PM, June 18, 2006
    TheNewGuy said...
    Dr. Helen speaks the truth.

    I'm a physician myself, and after receiving some psychiatric training in medical school, I came to realize that I'd dated a number of these walking disasters during high school and college... thank Almighty God I avoided any serious relationship entanglements with any of them. Once you realize that you're dealing with one of these folks, and you understand what drives them, they're really quite fascinating to watch...

    But be careful! These patients have the potential to sow chaos and discord wherever they go. They can be charismatic, exciting, and seductive, while at the same time extremely manipulative, they're often very good liars, and they're infamous for pitting people against each other. A bad BPD can create all sorts of problems on an inpatient unit, often splitting and manipulating their fellow patients, to the point of starting fights among them.

    Watch out for these people... and don't marry one if you can avoid it. They are the ultimate Black-Hole-of-Emotional-Need, and that underlying fear of abandonment combined with their inner emptiness really drives them to some bizarre extremes.

    One of my colleagues had a bit of advice for a young man who came into the ER with his overdosed borderline fiance (she'd taken a bunch of pills after a fight). It was the first time the BPD had really reared its ugly head in the relationship (though the multiple old scars on her wrists from previous self-mutilation episodes hinted at a long-standing problem). The stunned, wide-eyed fiance stood and watched as a half-dozen nurses and techs had to restrain the fighting/biting/spitting/screaming young lady while they snaked an NG tube down her nose to administer the activated charcoal. After hearing that they weren't yet married, my colleage walked over and stood next to the boyfriend, leaned over to the young man and uttered a single word:

    "Run."

    11:00 PM, June 18, 2006

    Anonymous said...
    LissaKay.

    "Obviously, you have not had the pleasure of spending a great deal of time with anyone who has any of these personality/mood/brain disorders."

    Don't be so sure. In fact I know a great deal about the symptoms.

    And I think that the DSV 'stories' don't ring true to me. The DSM offers are so many traits...too many...for it to be useful....so many words and used with what appears to me to be a false claim at accuracy.

    I can't quite describe it but there is just something about the DSM which doesn't ring true.

    They all sound the same because each syndrome has so many descriptors and, in this case, you have to gave FIVE out of nine to be able to be BPD. The DSM demands that words act with a precision far beyond their capability.

    I can'timagine that this is an uncommon criticism of the DSM.

    @Anonymous 5:10

    11:07 PM, June 18, 2006
    ksb said...
    I've given up on any meaningful relationship with my mother. Her official diagnosis is bipolar, but the people who diagnosed it didn't have to live with her! Given that 30+ years of lithium have done little to stabilize her, and that she fits most of the criteria for BPD, I have my doubts that she's bipolar. She can act surprisingly normal (when it works to her advantage), and I've been taken in by it more than once. Then comes a stream of invective, followed by some sort of dramatic, attention-seeking gesture. (She once made a serious suicidal gesture in front of my then-13-year-old sister.) While she's mellowed a bit with age, the damage is done. I spent my childhood having to act like an adult, and I just don't have anything left for her. After years of guilt, I realize that it's OK to sever ties. If there were a way to officially "divorce" a parent, I'd do it.

    Another excellent source is www.bpdresources.com And if you want your jaw to drop at some dead-on characterization, read The Amateur Marriage by Anne Tyler.

    Thanks for the chance to vent.

    11:27 PM, June 18, 2006
    Evan M. Thomas said...
    My experience with BPD was all mixed up with religion. My BPD ex-wife would use religion as a manipulative tool to control me. If she was unhappy (a constant) then it was because I was not being the "godly man of the house."

    I also often felt physcially threatened by her. She would burst into sudden bursts of rage in public places or at my family's house. The more embarrassing the location, the more likely that it would occur. I would attempt to placate her, make her relax, apologize for any perceived slight. But nothing ever worked.

    After finding out that I had a rare genetic eye disease that would lead to blindness, she suddenly left me. Of course she stated that it was because I "didn't meet her emotional needs." But maybe that's the secret to splitting from someone from BPD, be more needy than they are.

    After she left, I realized within a week that I was already much happier, despite my diagnosis. My family was calling me to congratulate me. Thank god we did not have kids. I also think marrying someone with BPD usually comes from a place of insecurity. Now that I am older I would never allow anyone to treat me like that.

    11:32 PM, June 18, 2006
    LissaKay said...
    ... ... ..

    @anony 5:10 ... please forgive, I misunderstood the intent of your post. I agree that the DSM is poorly written and the criteria for diagnosis is too cut and dry, pronouncing the clearly ill as well, and those with minor personality quirks as psychotic in many cases.

    11:39 PM, June 18, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    "Children of those with BPD have trouble in future relationships by seeking out the love of the BPD that they could never get or by avoiding people in the future for fear of more emotional blackmail."

    So true. My father was BP, I believe, but in those days an Irish alcoholic with rage/abandonment problems did not have a clinical name. It's interesting that today, ten years after his death, he still looms as large to some of us. No one has truly hit a home run in love; most of us have married passive mates or not married at all (too risky). But as life goes on, it gets better. A lifetime of effort does pay off in increased confidence and reconciliation.

    12:43 AM, June 19, 2006
    Penny said...
    I think my mother is borderline. All of her way-too-many-for-a-crazy-person children have significant social disfunction and anxiety disorders.

    Imagine a large number of children growing up with a borderline mother and a depressed, self-loathing, over-religious father who couldn't stand up to the crazy mom.

    And we were very isolated. So isolated that never once during my childhood did a my parents have anyone over to the house. No friends, no one from the outside allowed in. I didn't even know there was such a thing as a restaurant until I was 15.

    All of us kids are scattered all over the country, and don't live near them, except for the craziest one of the kids. She and my mom feed each others' craziness.

    My mom is very old now, and calls me several times a week. She always has poison to spread about people she thinks have done her wrong, and hurt feelings that have to be carefully tended. And she criticizes every fricking thing my father does. She's a hateful crone.

    1:04 AM, June 19, 2006
    DRJ said...
    "Finally, the best advice for those who are not yet involved legally with a borderline is a statement I heard from a colleague recently, "Borderlines make great girlfriends (or boyfriends) but you wouldn't want to marry one."

    This reminds me of the Runaway Bride.

    1:07 AM, June 19, 2006
    Tink said...
    How serendipidous that this blog appeared today. I had just ordered "Stop Walking on Eggshells" from Amazon when I discovered this particular post. My 30 year old daughter is BPD, she has 2 daughters. She was misdiagnosed and treated for rapid cycling manic depression when she was 17. She stayed on meds and in treatment until she was 21. She overdosed and was hospitalized 3 times during that period. Even though she was under psychiatric care she seemed to get worse not better.

    When she was 21 she stopped therapy and meds and though her life was a chaotic mess she stayed out of the hospital. She has always been a trainwreck and most of her siblings try to keep her at arms length as her behavior is always so random. She has been in rehab for alchohol and cocaine abuse.

    She was sober during her last pregnancy but when the baby was 3 months old she began to drink again. She has moved back in with her alchoholic ex husband, since she lost her job, the first one she'd had since her first daughter was born. She was getting state assistance while she tried to attend school.

    She has ripped our family apart recently with her delusions and false accusations, insanity during the holidays. We are still trying to cope with all the ramifications of this last major episode.

    She is always in crisis mode. She has been hospitalized twice for assorted reasons over the last year. The last one was an overnight in the ER observation wing because she "accidentally" forgot and took two extra doses of her antidepressants. She hallucinated and had repeated panic episodes in the hospital. They pumped her full of antianxiety meds and sent her home with instruction to go to county outpatient mental health and be evaluated and get some proper meds and treatment.

    That lasted all of a week when she bailed because the psychiatrist wanted her to sign a release for all her past treatment records. She is going back to her primary care physician to try to get meds.

    The hospital has her tagged as having personality disorders and I have finally realized that all the awful behaviors she manifested couldn't be explained by Manic Depression.

    Being Mom, I can't run away, wish I could sometime. I fear for my little granddaughters, who live amid the wreckage.

    I am hoping for some perspective for both myself and my other adult children, survival techniques if you will. Some of my children don't really believe she has a mental illness. She can appear fairly normal. Hopefully I can educate them a bit. I discovered the BPD sites that you recommended last week on my own, and I have been reading everything I can get my hands on.

    I am saddened by the bleak future of continued chaos for her and her little children.

    BPD is a real illness of tragic proportions.

    1:18 AM, June 19, 2006
    JC said...
    My ex has never been formally diagnosed, but I believe she is a BPD with 8 of the 9 symptoms, as well as the "splitting" and other behaviors that aren't listed as official symptoms.

    I've seen everything described above, and yes she's very intelligent, and quite the con artist to boot. She went in for a job interview, was rejected, went back in and talked them into hiring her anyway. I still have a copy of the acceptance letter: "We don't really need you, but we're hiring you anyway." You could practically hear the hiring manager thinking to herself "I really have no idea why I'm doing this. . . . "

    We've been separated for almost 2 years now and "officially divorced" since last October. She's engaged again. I pity the man. I'd guess that they'll have 3-5 years together before she gets bored with him and dumps him for the next one. I only hope that he doesn't have children with her that tie him to her, unlike me. Once the children are old enough, I'm sure they'll choose to live with me over her, but until then. . . I wait.

    Hopefully she'll mellow with age, but she's only 30, so. . .who can say? The biggest thing I'm worried about right now is protecting my children from her influence as much as possible.

    2:47 AM, June 19, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    I have a parent with this. Now I live in Russia (not the best choice, by the way, if you come from a family of addicts). It never affected me very much, since my mother got custody, but I hated seeing what it was doing to the rest of the family. Maybe I should have stuck around to offer support to them. I've kept in touch, and it seems like things have been better recently. Maybe it does diminish with age.

    And now I've just realized who my boss reminds me of. For 3 years, I've been dealing with someone who calls at weird hours (usually drunk), said there was no way I would ever get a promotion (but now that I've got one, apparently it was her idea all along), says horrible things about people when they're just close enough to hear the conversation, hides important documents, and just makes stuff up. I don't know why I've never made that connection before, but it explains why I have an easier time with her than the rest of the staff.

    3:01 AM, June 19, 2006
    jw said...
    anonymous 5:04 said "Do you know there are companies whose whole management style/team is like this?"

    YES! Yes, I once worked for a company with a BPD management style. HORRID! Terrible ...

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

    I've heard psychs say there is no possible treatment for any of the personality disroders. I've heard other psychs say there is treatment and it works. I wonder which is telling the truth? I'm confused ...

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

    I've seen father's/men's advocates diagnosed with personalilty disorders so that the psych didn't have to deal with the man's very real complaints; (at least that is my opinion on the matter). I do think that politics plays a small, but real, part is diagnosing the personality disorders. If memory serves, these are called Martha Mitchell errors.

    4:17 AM, June 19, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    Christmas in "almost July" (albeit sad) . . .

    Doc--your broaching this subject led me to read everything referenced, and I sit here somewhat dumbfounded--

    I once had a chance--I had taken the boys and told my Bride that we would not return until she had engaged a counselor long term.

    Twenty years of accusations and acrimony were immediately absolved as she pleaded for us to return.

    Unfortunately, I did. Within two years, when she had again attained emotional ascendancy, she filed, walked, and . . .

    The lost "wealth" is nothing. But my oldest son went "her way" and contact has been nil. My youngest?

    At 26, he is just realizing, even though I have always "been there"--

    That I have always been there.

    Reading Scoville's narrative was like re-living the past. Now 8 years past the last chapter of my personal horror, and intentionally not seeking a partner (call it fear, refusal to repeat the mistake, idiocy, whatever) . . .

    Someone who understands the elements of a loving relationship latched on and will not let go.

    Normalcy can never be over-rated. I have it at long last.

    Thanks, Doc.

    5:02 AM, June 19, 2006
    the fat man cometh said...
    it seems like everyone speaking on this board knows a borderline, or so on.. if a majority of them are, and it seems to be common, then either everyone on the planet is ill with that problem or its normal.

    thats the problem, i am normal, no major problems, but at some times in my life i have done a lot of things on the post, does it mean i am a borderline, no.. all it means is normal everyday people can have moments like that, but they get over it. should everyone be medicated for moments like that, thats the problem, how do we know when its a tiny thing or a major problem.

    i used to work at a psychology department and designed some mental health leaflets and spoke to the staff there. the problem is everyone on this planet, if you look at them deeply enough fits all those 9 categories at one point in their lives, or more, but it doesnt mean they are suffering from it. some people use this as an excuse for bad behaviour, i take what psychologists say with a pinch of salt, especially the discovering of problems in everyone.

    5:16 AM, June 19, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    of course the answer is always expensive therapy, and expensive drugs,
    5:17 AM, June 19, 2006
    LissaKay said...

    ... ... ...
    @anonymous 5:17 ... the same can be said for most medical conditions. So, your point is ... ??

    7:06 AM, June 19, 2006
    Charlie said...
    the fat man cometh said...
    "the problem is everyone on this planet, if you look at them deeply enough fits all those 9 categories at one point in their lives, or more, but it doesnt mean they are suffering from it."

    The issue is consistancy. A lifetime of variation may cover all the points, but the problem is a problem because a significant group of those points are structural to the BPDs' basis for dealing with life.

    An extreme example - somebody sorrowful may think about suicide. A BPD may threaten suicide for trivial dissapointments as a routine response!

    A not so extreme example - Dissapointment (any cause) = $500 spending spree. Complaint? "Well if you loved me, you'd have a REAL job and there wouldn't be any money problems!"

    See the point? BPD is not just the list, it's the consistancy of the list as regular behavior.

    LisaKay - Yes, I relate strongly with your comments about shutting off emotion. I thought if I could just tough it out, to show her that I really loved her through thick and thin, she would eventually understand and find some calm. In truth, nothing can ever be enough to fill the bottomless pit of need - just placate it momentarily.

    I'm now working to accept that she's lost to me, and not to beat myself up for my failures to stop the damage to her, me, and the family. Separation has helped. There's more to be done, and I'm willing to do it now.

    Charlie from 4:45pm

    7:21 AM, June 19, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    LissaKay,

    Prohibition killed your brother. Pharmacists at Walgreens don't treat their customers that way.

    You are absolutely right about the effects of prohibition on self medication. Purity and dose are uncertain. I hardly see that as an advertisement for prohibition.

    We are never going to get a handle on our drug problems until we understand why people take drugs. I think I have pushed a little understanding in that direction. As I have said the head of the NIDA is in agreement with my analysis. So if I'm not helping neither is she. And she carries more weight.

    You might be interested in the work of Dr. Marks in England. He found that the pathologies you noted are greatly reduced when regular supplies of drugs of known purity are supplied to addicts. The USA was so alarmed at his results that they shut down the experiment.

    I see all these problems and pathologies as inter-related. It is not the "drug culture" that is hurting us, but lack of treatment for things like PTSD, Bi-Polar, and BPD.

    7:31 AM, June 19, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    LissaKay,

    There is a reason drug companies do not want you polluting yourself with those illegal drugs.

    The War On Unpatented Drugs.

    Once upon a time self-medication was a right. The medical cartel has ended that for the most part. Not only that but we have declared war on self-medicators.

    Addiction or Self Medication?

    "Unless we put medical freedom into the Constitution, the time will come when medicine will organize an undercover dictatorship. To restrict the art of healing to one class of men, and deny equal privilege to others, will be to constitute the Bastille of medical science. All such laws are un-American and despotic, and have no place in a Republic. The Constitution of this Republic should make special privilege for medical freedom as well as religious freedom." abridged quote --Benjamin Rush, M.D., a signer of the Declaration of Independence

    8:09 AM, June 19, 2006
    Video said...
    If you have a relationship with a BPD person, they will ruin your life. It's their job, and some will regard it as a 24/7/365 commitment. Throw in generalized anxiety disorder and OCD/perfectionism, and it's a real picnic.

    My friends in the medical community express despair when they hear someone is borderline, because typically nothing works. My ex-wife's therapist -- who is excellent and has a fine track record -- told me there was nothing they could do for her.

    My wife and I separated about seven months ago after nearly 13 years together. At the time, I had merely reached the decision that I could no longer live with that person -- without knowing I was dealing with a borderline. Given some space, I'm just astonished at how different and good life can be. I've discovered that she apparently inherited BPD from her mother (also learned a lot of the behaviors), which I never realized was possible.

    BPD people are black holes. They are parasites, and are capable of inflicting unspeakable psychological abuse. They will blame you for everything that they perceive is wrong with their lives (and there will always be plenty). If you ever experience any difficulty, prepare to be kicked while you are down.

    Do not let anyone with BPD into your orbit on any basis. If one is already in your life, eject them. Divorce the spouse, quit the job...whatever you have to do. It's not about trying to manage a person who's a little bit sick and just needs help. BPD is cancer of the soul, and it will take down anyone who gets near it.

    I feel incredibly lucky to have survived my experience. Better a thousand years alone than one hour with a borderline.

    8:14 AM, June 19, 2006
    BobH said...
    My research methods professor once commented that "Abnormal behavior is just normal behavior at the extremes of the probability distribution". (FWIW, she does research in gratification postponement (i.e., self-control) in young children.) I just wonder if the "abnormalities" in BPD, particularly the manipulative ones, aren't just extreme forms of attitudes and behaviors that "normal" people have and use.

    Also, my abnormal psychology textbook explicitly pointed out that there is often not a lot of agreement about which personality disorder a person is suffering. In other words, therapists given the same inputs often come up with different diagnoses.

    8:15 AM, June 19, 2006
  • M. Simon said...
    Bob,

    The problem with BPD is that you have personalities that do not communicate with each other. One "I" will make a promise and another "I" will repudiate it, claim it never happened, or is completely out of character - "how could you imagine I would ever agree with such a thing".

    In a sense you are correct. All the talents and manipulatiions are normal. However, they are exagerated, repetitive (no learning), and uncoordinated. The talents are also unblended. They activate according to internal rules.

    If you haven't lived with one you have no idea. Being one myself (with partial reformation) makes it all the more interesting.

    The cure happens from inside. You must force the personalities to work together and drop the ones that will not cooperate. Easier said than done. As in war, every thing that needs to be done is simple. It is never easy.

    9:22 AM, June 19, 2006
    TheNewGuy said...
    Some are not making the distinction betweeen borderline traits and Borderline Personality Disorder. The difference is fairly simple... when it interferes, on a consistent basis, with your personal goals, financial security, interpersonal relationship, general functioning, etc, you have frank disorder. There are plenty of people walking around with a trait or two from that list, but it doesn't really interfere with their day-to-day life.

    Also, personality disorders are very difficult to treat. Some of them do stabilize by middle age, but I've never seen anyone posit an effective way to counsel or medicate these folks. A psychiatrist colleague put it this way: he'd much rather be treating schizophrenics, where there are only a minority (perhaps 10-15% with the newer atypical antipsychotics) who will never respond to treatment, than any of the Cluster-B personality disorders. The schizophrenics you can help, but the personality disorders? Not so much.

    9:37 AM, June 19, 2006
    Oyster said...
    My story isn't unique enough to warrant typing it out--it echoes the stories above and at . But one thing not yet mentioned here is...well, I was lucky in that my BPD GF at the time had been diagnosed and treated for a variety of mental disorders (chiefly bi-polar and chronic depression) and never really felt they were accurate or effective. When she was forced to see a new psychiatrist, and was then diagnosed as having BPD she was somewhat elated because it seemed someone finally figured her out. So the first thing I did was get myself a copy of Stop Walking on Eggshells and I bought her a copy of Lost in the Mirror. She'd always said she felt she, uniquely, could not cope with the world in general and did crazy things (took lots of drugs, manipulated people, stayed in bed for weeks on end, did all sorts of reckless and risky things) to try and cope. But the diagnosis and the book effectively (finally) got it through to her that she wasn't unique or beyond anyone else's comprehension and there was something she (and her mental health professionals) could do to help her get better, or learn how to better live in the world, other than just sticking with her catalog of self-defeating and life-sabotaging behaviours. I got her a copy of Get Me Out of Here which didn't get quite the same reception, I think because it was a bit long and too much of a downer for too long for her to stick with to the end, though I found it an easy read.
    10:31 AM, June 19, 2006
    Oyster said...
    damnit, that looked perfectly ok in the preview....
    10:32 AM, June 19, 2006
    Gibbie the labrat said...
    Referring to an above poster, my two graduate advisors were narciscist/borderline. The first was way extreme, very violent mood swings, etc. The second was less so but was a black hole of need. Needless to say I am so glad I graduated. When you are in a situation like that you have few options. Suck it up for 4-8 years, or quit grad school and not get your (hard earned) degree. Since you have no (zero) power in those relationships it's very difficult. At least it ends at some point.
    10:40 AM, June 19, 2006
    Jason Rubenstein said...
    I lived with a woman who had BPD. She refused to acknowledge it, and therefore refused to get help. After three years of setting and maintaining boundaries, etc., I left. The three years together was hell, to me - a descent into someone's madness that eventually exhausted me. I have not spoken with her since.

    A month after we broke up, she moved in with a new boyfriend and was married a short time thereafter.

    I coped by getting help of my own, and learning how to manage my own reactions to her uncontrolled behavior.

    10:50 AM, June 19, 2006
    Tina said...
    I think BPD people tend to attract people with emotional or mental problems. I had a close friend who was BPD (which I knew at the time), and I was sure I could fix her and felt guilty whenever she did anything that proved that I hadn't been able to. Shortly after I found the strength to end that relationship, I became emotionally involved with an alcoholic. I was going to fix him too. This pattern went on and on until I hit bottom and decided that I waws the one who deserved all this care and concern I was giving to others. I don't know if there's a diagnosis for my own behavior, but I don't do it anymore, and haven't in several years. When I see that someone has a problem, my first instinct is still to jump in and fix it. The difference is that I don't listen to that instinct anymore. Any 'helping' I do will be only after I'm asked and after I've considered whether it's appropriate for me to say yes.
    1:07 PM, June 19, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    Of course trying to label someone as having "borderline personality disorder" is a sophisticated way to try to discredit someone that you have wronged, especially if you are a health care professional or have access to them.
    1:38 PM, June 19, 2006
    anonyme said...
    I was good friends with someone who'd been diagnosed with BPD but stopped taking the medication that had been prescribed for her. Things got so bad with 2am phone calls threatening suicide, manufactured dramas, and other ways of acting out that I eventually had to end the friendship. She became, in many ways, a soulsucker, and my whole life had to revolve around her or she'd go off the deep end. :? It was not the most pleasant time in my life, and I have to say that when another person I recently became friends with started exhibiting some of the same tendencies I ended the friendship. I couldn't do it again.
    1:48 PM, June 19, 2006
    Bruce Hayden said...
    I don't buy the suggestion that prohibition is the problem, not illegal drugs, per se. In particular, the person who is closest in my life to have PSD seems to have aggrevated his problems through long term almost daily pot usage to the point where I don't think he will ever be able to cope. I will admit that he might have ended up in a similar situation if he had self medicated with alcohol for that long.
    3:07 PM, June 19, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    Not to turn this away from BPD, but I've never found quite the resources to help with my own situation. My wife is, without question, a control freak and a bully. She also has hints of narcissistic disorder, but nowhere near the full compliment. But the net result is that I can do nothing right, she can do nothing wrong, and I'm always treading on eggshells, wondering what she's going to lash out at me about. She's a perfect angel to the friends, who seem to have no idea what a raving witch she is to me and the children. We've had one round with child protective services for tripping one of our children, and I've got the brush she broke over my daughter's head and shoulders. Finally, she's obsessed with my mother, swears I'm still married to her, and swears she'll never leave our children alone with her because she'll try to poison them against their mother. Truly bizarre stuff, when I think about it. I'm not trying for an online diagnosis, but this doesn't seem to fit any categories I know of, and this seems a generally sympathetic crowd. Any advice, I'm open to consider.
    3:17 PM, June 19, 2006
    Trey said...
    M Simon wrote: We need to change our outlook from changing such people to helping them. What we see as self destructive may actually be a coping mechanism for what may be a more severe problem without the coping mechanism.

    Helping someone with borderline personality disorder involves helping them change. What is important about the coping mechanism is how it is behaving NOW. For many if not most of the BPD people I have worked with, their behavior made sense at one time. But when they come to see me it is when their behavior is no longer appropriate or helpful. They either change, or get used to being lonely, or live through failed relationshp after failed relationships. Given the choices, I would go with change.

    Trey

    4:25 PM, June 19, 2006
    TheNewGuy said...
    To Anonymous @1:38

    Were you directing that comment at anyone in particular?

    Your comment is a beautiful projection: health care professionals are petty, revenge-motivated smear artists who use their medical education/expertise to discredit the victims of their pathology.

    That's perfect borderline thinking... if that was an attempt at satire, I salute you.

    Well played.

    4:37 PM, June 19, 2006
    Trey said...
    I read about borderline people mellowing with age. My opinion, wines mellow, borderlines get tired. It is an exhausting lifestyle, and it burns them out.

    Having said that, I have seen dozens of people with BPD get much better. Yes, it did take awhile, but they got much better.

    Trey

    4:39 PM, June 19, 2006
    Silvermine said...
    Oh yes. My grandmother. My SIL. A friend's (now) ex-wife. After my experiences with the grandmother and the SIL, I would constantly surprise my friend by being able to predict the behavior of his wife, who he thought was just totally unpredictable. But she followed the exact same patterns. It's absolutely amazing how similarly they all behaved, in what (to normal people) appears to be absolutely illogical ways.

    He's still dealing with the fallout on the divorce, after years. She will never let him have peace, no matter how much work and discomfort it is for her. (On the plus side, none of the lawyers seem to be convinced by her).

    5:47 PM, June 19, 2006
    Pogo said...
    Is it just my experience, or are there more borderlines now than in the past?
    6:19 PM, June 19, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    Is it at all possible that some of what we are seeing is the result of not teaching children how to be self-disciplined? I ask this because my daughter has major problems in the borderline personality area.
    If I look back at my father's family, I can see bits of this in some of my aunts, but never the lack of control that she has.
    Of course, she had a horrible life-altering experience when she was 19, so maybe that's another part of the equation.
    But I can look back and see that I never required the emotional discipline from her that I was "taught."
    Just wondering...
    7:18 PM, June 19, 2006
    Helen said...
    Pogo,

    BPD is five times more common among first-degree biological relativies of those with the disorder than in the general population. I wonder with the increased population if more borderlines have children who are then borderlines --it is about 2% of the population so with a bigger population--there are more. However, they are probably diagnosed more than in the past with more diagnosticians and understanding of the disorder. Perhaps many previous borderlines were in mental hospitals but with the emptying of the hospitals and better drugs, more are out and about.

    Anonymous 7:18:

    I think you have something there--sometimes people are too quick to pathologize people's behavior that is really the result of a lack of discipline or just plain getting away with bad behavior and no consequences. However, when this behavior follows a familiar pattern as outlined in the DSM-IV and consistently results in a breakdown of functioning, other areas such as BPD can be explored. That said, I do think people are more tolerant and open to being exploited in our society now. Frankly, you could not get away with this type of behavior for long in the olden days--someone would hurt you or something bad would happen. Nowadays, people are taught to be passive and go along with people's pathologies much more readily.

    7:31 PM, June 19, 2006
    Lee J. Cockrell said...
    The DSM-IV's description of BPD is far too vanilla and conservative to relate the magnitude of the disorder. Yes, a scholarly/professional journal should be dispassionate but the description simply does not do BPD justice. As can be seen from the posts here, borderlines are ruthless, conniving, mean, heartless, two-faced, manipulative, and worse. It's like a feminine version of sociopathy, and nearly as dangerous.

    I think the percentage of women with BPD is higher than 2%, (8-10%?) or maybe it's just that they stand out so much more.

    9:55 PM, June 19, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    To Anonymous @1:38

    Were you directing that comment at anyone in particular?

    Your comment is a beautiful projection: health care professionals are petty, revenge-motivated smear artists who use their medical education/expertise to discredit the victims of their pathology.

    That's perfect borderline thinking... if that was an attempt at satire, I salute you.

    Well played.

    No, I was quite serious. And no, I don't have borderline personality disorder. Mental health professionals are human, and therefore can be dishonest, criminal, arrogant, incompetent, lazy, inexperienced, etc. just like any other group of people. But in certain situations (some of which they can create) they wield a lot of power and therefore can do a lot of damage if they are criminal, incompetent, etc.

    12:22 AM, June 20, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    Trey,

    Agreed about change. However, it is very difficult. My own experience was that I had to decide that I was going to change even if it killed me. That kind of resolve is found more often in males than females. Even in males that kind of determination is not common.

    In order to control my anger I resolved to let nothing make me angry. I carried that out for 3 years. Every time I got angry I said 10 minutes of prayer. In that time I only had 3 or 4 serious breeches of my discipline.

    From what I read here and the current literature suggests that BPD is a variant of PTSD. Trauma is a strong component. It is the trigger. Genetics provides the pre-disposition. Genetics is why this is a hard one for most people to understand. Fear memories decay quickly. Genetics is also why it runs in families.

    In another year or so we will have a test for PTSD. All this will become a lot clearer.

    A Test For PTSD

    That said the kind of coping regimes I would find acceptable - medication, self or Dr. prescribed.

    Sex can work with an endorphin defficiency if you can work out parameters that are acceptable to those involved.

    Exercise can also help with endorphins provided the interest and discipline is there.

    The thing to minimise is self destruction. Hard to avoid if the BPD lives for victim status.

    "People of the Lie" by Peck discusses a BPD woman (my observation - not his term). No matter how much the Dr. helped her it was never enough. She was always inventing new defences.

    That is another very important tool. Stopping the lies. Statements, agreements, etc. written by the BPD person can be helpful.

    One thing that can help is time. Fear memories decay over time. For those with PTSD it just takes a lot longer. Sometimes a lifetime is not enough. Some times a few years will do the trick.

    There is so much we don't know. Fortunately answers are starting to come.

    2:34 AM, June 20, 2006
    CNS said...
    OK I want to put this straight: I am for legalization of pot. No worse than beer and cigarettes combined, IMO. I've never cared if people smoked it around me and have imbibed a few times myself.

    However...

    Self-medication, regardless of the means (pot, herbs, supplements etc....) is, quite frankly...stupid. Period. I used to self-medicate with alcohol (equivalent of a 12 pack a night or more) and benadryl (125-300 mg) every night just to sleep. Highly manic I was, and extremely dangerous. (Ever seen somebody punch out a window or tear a door apart?)

    The thing with lithium et al is that they are taken under the supervision of a psychiatrist. Not a general physician--the smart ones will refer, or even force, a mentally ill patient to see a psychiatrist. Lithium serum levels, for one, get measured regularly to check that they're OK. Regular "med checks" (I have one in a month) see how a patient is doing with meds (i.e., are they working?) and may lead to changes in dosage or types of meds.

    This doesn't happen with self-medication. Regardless of consistent quantity/quality, without the supervision of one who knows signs/symptoms (sure, we talk about computer games and stuff, but I know he's probing for signs of returning mania/depression), a sufferer will never be able to truly tell how they're coping. A first-party analysis with one that is in a state where they can't, for all intents and purposes, be neutral, is a flawed look at the "real" state they are in.

    Re: Linehan and DBT. On the bulletin board where I am a moderator, one of my fellow mods swears by this. She went through some very tough therapy with a tough-as-nails therapist. AND... she's better. never completely cured, at least not at this early stage, but...well she's 0 for 9 on the scale, and I believe it. She's a wnderful person on the boards, and with luck I may meet her IRL before too long.

    It's not about the meds or the therapy. It's about what WORKS. It may take trial and error, but I've heard countless times: the people that stick with it find what works (whether a personality disorder or a mood/etc. disorder), and are extremely grateful to have found a way out of this hell that is mental illness, which I know is kind of a catch-all phrase these days.

    Bottom line: in the vein of substance abuse recobery, you have to want to get well--and work at it--to be well.

    3:49 AM, June 20, 2006
    the fat man cometh said...
    it seems to me that everyone or the majority on this board has a borderline experience, but is this a personal diagnosis, or a professional. i am convinced that a lot of these problems are created by the organism of therapy, and they are an excuse for bad behaviour, when i was a kid my dad would never have let me be like that, he would have punished me if i did anything bad, and i turned out pretty ok, can people be taught not to suffer at times in their lives, stop the destructive behaviour by reward and punishment system. direct those energies into more valid ways of expression. Or is it inevitable unless you use drugs and lots of therapy to fix it.

    and how come there seems to be not many in the past, in the modern world there are more, but i have never heard of anyone 50 plus being diagnosed.. is it a modern reaction to the modern world.

    ptsd, or shell shock as it was called in the 2nd world war, people were taught to cope, a lot forgot it, or tried not to remember, one of my great uncles, was in japan and was in one of the prison camps, and he saw stuff that would make you throw up, yet he became a productive by learning to cope. are we in fact creating more and more problems by pandering to them. whether its pschosomatic, or as a reaction to today.

    3:56 AM, June 20, 2006
    TheNewGuy said...
    To Anonymous at 12:22

    That is why physicians are highly discouraged from treating those with which they have either a conflict of interest, or a lack of objectivity. It's sound advice, and the rule goes for all specialities. I make it a point not to treat my own family.

    As a dermatologist, you might get asked to look at uncle Ed's weird rash... but what do you do when it's clearly secondary syphilis? Do you violate confidentiality and tell aunt Ginny? How about the reporting requirement for the local health department?

    A physician or psychiatrist actually dating a patient or carrying on a sexual relationship with one is an individual who will quickly lose their license to practice. Even if the patient initiates it, and everything is quite innocent, that situation is considered an abuse of power, and an extremely egregious one for a psychiatric professional, since their understanding of the patient's psychological vulnerabilities and weaknesses far exceeds that of a layman.

    That understanding of what makes people tick can be a double-edged sword. One of my lifelong friends is an outstanding psychiatrist... incredibly sharp and incisive. He's not an unattractive man, yet he's never married. Fortunately or unfortunately, he's so used to employing his clinical skills that he does it almost automatically, and usually has a person's pathologies down cold after the first date. I feel badly for him at times... I think at some point you have to overlook minor flaws in a person's psyche and live with them, but he can't seem to turn off the clinical part of his brain.

    On the other hand, there's exactly ZERO chance he'd ever hook up with a borderline, so I suppose there's that...

    8:00 AM, June 20, 2006
    Helen said...
    Thenewguy,

    Your friend, the psychiatrist, is using his own defense mechanism (intellectualization) to ward off potential intimacy--perhaps he should look inward to figure out why. I always laugh when people find out I am a psychologist and might be "analyzing them." Yeah, that would be a busman's holiday.

    8:11 AM, June 20, 2006
    val said...
    I'm covinced my mother has NPD, she might also have BPD. For most of my life I was manipulated and treated as a disapointment because I lived my own life and had my own opinions. She ignored e when I was a teen but when I got married she suddenly wanted to be a mother.

    When I got married and moved away, she called me every day to try to get me to move back, I almost lost my husband because of her manipulation of me. I was such a fool, I thought she finally loves me! Luckly my hisband was a lot stronger than I was.

    After my father died, I believe she went totally off the deep end. During his illness she only focused on her suffering in taking care of him. And believe me my father suffered. She was more hateful to me, more vindictive than I had ever experienced and it effected me to the point that I lost all my confidence and became very depressed. I not only lost my father, but my mother and my brother. ( he became the "good" one) I was so insecure I couldn't cope with people socially. ( i had always been a very outgoing fun loving person) She had me convinced that my father also hated me. She turned my brother against me. My thoughts at that time were if my own parents don't love me there must be something very wrong with me.

    After my father died her abuse got manic. She and my brother were constantly on me about how bad I was for moving away. I finally cut her out of my life and slowely began to heal. I have finally gotten some of my confidence back and am rebuilding my life..

    she now wants back in. ( on her terms, of course)
    However, She refuses to admit anything she did, and by her behavior I can see if I put my guard down she will pounce on what self esteem I have and try to chip away at it until I am back under her thumb begging for her love.

    part of me wants a relationship with my mother because she is my mother, and even at 42 years old I want to be loved by this woman, But in my heart I know that she is incaple of loving me or anyone else. NPD & BPD damages the children of those with it. We're unable to trust people, unable to access a situation, because our parent changed reality to suit their needs. They lie, they turn people against eachother all in order to get their own way. they are toxic to anyones sanity.The are relentless in their quest to get their own way and make you submit to their needs. It breaks down your spirit and makes you judge your own sanity.
    After a while it's impossible to trust your own instincts.

    If people have children with someone who has these disorders please do not allow them custody and only supervised visitation.

    The only reaosn I think I survived this woman's upbringing with some sanilty and a sense of self is that she worked and my grandmother raised me.

    thank you grandma.

    8:25 AM, June 20, 2006
    craichead said...
    I've suspected for a long time that much of the men's movement is the product of individual men's dealings with fully borderline personalities or at least women with borderline tendencies.

    Of course, the other component is society's "propping up" of the borderline and saving her from consequences at his expense.

    I know that'w what got me involved!

    9:23 AM, June 20, 2006
    Helen said...
    Val,

    So glad you had someone like your grandmother to neutralize the damage done to you by your mother. Part of the problem with borderline mothers is that everyone expects mothers to be giving, loving etc. and when they are not, people (even the children of these mothers) will pretend that they are to spare themselves the reality that not even their mother loves them. However, the borderline (or in your case, the narcissistic) mother does not have the capacity much of the time to see beyond their own needs and feelings--they will damage anyone and everyone in their way. The best way to deal is to depersonalize the pain they inflict--that is, to realize that they are not picking you out of a line-up to hate etc. They hate, treat anyone who is close in a similar manner--it is a pathology of emotional functioning in general. I think this makes it easier to psychological contain the damage by telling yourself that your mother may be incapable of love, etc. but this does not make you unlovable. Maybe it makes you more lovable because you understand how damaging emotional blackmail can be and hopefully, will know not to use it with others you care about.

    9:46 AM, June 20, 2006
    TheNewGuy said...
    Helen,

    I'd considered that, and even challenged him on that very point. He waved it off, and insisted he's only looking for a "normal" woman.

    He's recently acquired a girlfriend, however, and this one has lasted longer than any of the others (many didn't make it past the first date... and on the plus side of the equation, he has avoided some real disasters that way).

    I'll be interested to see how this one turns out.

    10:21 AM, June 20, 2006
    Helen said...
    TheNewGuy,

    Yes, some people are just picky and end up finding the perfect mate--I hope this is the case with your friend!

    10:35 AM, June 20, 2006
    Charlie said...
    the fat man cometh said...
    it seems to me that everyone or the majority on this board has a borderline experience, but is this a personal diagnosis, or a professional. i am convinced that a lot of these problems are created by the organism of therapy, and they are an excuse for bad behaviour,...

    Certainly you are welcome to your opinion, but I am by experience entirely at odds with your "created by the organism of therapy" premise.

    Logic didn't work - Chapter and verse, documents in hand about personal actions and their consequences: Spending the mortgage money = foreclosure. Result? Denial, diversion, and counterattack.

    Emotion didn't work - Pliancy, supplication, tribute, entertainment, tears, drama: Irrelevant in an eyeblink. Result? Hostitlity, projection, and counterattack.

    They CANNOT be sated, much less filled. This exists prior to the "therapy," and they have no interest in "fixing" theselves - mostly. It seems the fear of self-discovery and admission of their emptyness is rightous cause to do any and everything up to, and sadly, including, death to prevent from being found out. Any and everything to blame someone else!

    The attempt at therapy simply exacerbates the problem because it reveals it. The "organism of therapy" did not cause it in any way.

    the fat man cometh said...
    ...people be taught not to suffer at times in their lives, stop the destructive behaviour by reward and punishment system.

    Oh, if only it had been that simple...

    There are people who will stand in line and pay good money to hear someone say "it's not your fault." BPDs don't have to bother with that. They already know it's not their fault, it can't be, and it NEVER WILL BE! Any attempt to address that is an instant and direct threat to their being and worldview. And who doesn't passionately defend their core belief?

    10:36 AM, June 20, 2006
    craichead said...
    My wife has some fairly serious borderline tendencies and we've been through four marriage counselors. They're of very little help when the woman in the relationship has problems.

    At one point she told our then 3yo daughter "Daddy hates you." A short time later she laid her down in the driveway behind my car to keep me from defusing a "situation" by leaving for an hour. A week later she nearly ran me over with her car.

    The counselor said "you seem to have a lot of issues around cars lately."

    She had a difficult time realizing how big the problem is until my wife attacked me right in front of her. She reccomended that we separate. When I asked what I should do about the idea of leaving our daughter in the custody of someone like her mom, the counselor was dumbfounded. She really had no more advice and withing two more sessions told me there was nothing more she could do.

    But borderlines seem to live in a different world.

    Last week my wife snooped around on my laptop while I was at work and read through my journal -- part of which keeps track of her outrageous behavior, mostly so I can have a handle on it and it doesn't just disappear into a fog.

    She was pretty angry, but seemed only to care about how it might affect her. Last night she asked me how our marriage could survive if I continued to write such nasty things about her.

    The funny thing is that if the behavior stopped, I wouldn't have anything to keep track of. That idea is lost on a borderline.

    11:18 AM, June 20, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    I know my dad has NPD if not BPD, and I increasingly think my mom has BPD. Fortunately, I'm 23 and generally out of the house, but my sister still suffers.

    My dad always had a nasty temper and a narcissitic personality, and my mom says she even saw signs of it when they were dating. As of ten years ago, he'd lost multiple jobs because of his temper, and it was always someone else's fault. After his father died, he lost most of the self-control he had and they got divorced shortly thereafter, with one incident of serious physical abuse before then. We found out afterwards that he had been meeting men off the internet for sex during the marriage. He's off in another state now, and we have no contact.

    My mom, meanwhile, has gotten so deep in her depression (result of financial problems, lack of friends, her problem parents) that she's completely focused on her own suffering. The BPD traits are there and ongoing--suicide threats (which we've never thought are serious), tremendous mood swings, random outbursts of temper, and an almost sick clinginess. I'm living at home this summer to save money (currently in professional school), and she tends to alternate between treating me like a husband (not in a perverted way, but in terms of responsibilities) and treating me like a 13 year old. She was very critical of the one serious romantic relationship I've ever had, and I don't know how much her opinion affected it and ultimately led to its demise.

    Dr. Helen, you posted earlier about how big a problem borderline mothers are--it's even worse with a borderline mother and no real father. My 15 year old sister's picked up some of the behaviors, and I often have to take on a sort of "father" role to show her how normal people behave in society. Thanks to good friends in college, I've come out OK when it comes to dealing with everyday life, but I don't know how capable I am of maintaining any sort of romantic relationship, as I've gotten so deeply cynical and distrustful of people.

    At least you can break up with a BPD girlfriend or spouse.

    11:37 AM, June 20, 2006
    Jim said...
    "She became, in many ways, a soulsucker, "

    These people are vampires, and they gave rise to the vampire archetype in folklore. "Unholy Hungers" is a good exploration. The folklore says that these souls are mortally dangerous, very hard to elude and nearly impossible to kill.

    They do attract vulnerable souls, so there is something to that observation above thatvictims of these people come pre-loaded witht heir own deficits. Vampires groom and feed their prey souls, and this is part of their irrestible attractiveness.

    12:50 PM, June 20, 2006
    aidy_uk said...
    Reading the first section on the following page :

    http://bpdcentral.com/resources/basics/indicators.shtml

    really has made me think that my soon-to-be ex wife has BPD. It was first suggest to be about 6 or 7 years ago that she had it (a "confidente" who lived in another country). Now after a 13 year relationship and 11 year marriage the time is up...

    I have to say, though, that reading the books and the web posts I feel almost a "faker" as her behaviour was not as outragious as many. It is a sorry story too, though, as after 11 years of verbal and psychological abuse and manipulation, I sought solace elsewhere. Self-esteem at an all-time low, and all that... The perfect situation for a BPD - she really could blame me for everything after that... and as I had "protected" her and not discussed her behaviour with anyone (except the overseas internet "confidente"), it was so easy to cast me as the villain of the marriage.

    Anyway, the question that occurs to me is it possible for BPD's to recover? It appears to me that some of her behaviours are still there. However, she has gained a great deal of independance, and, ironically, is the one who is keener on ending the marriage... I have had enough of the weekly mental torture and emotional roller-coaster that it is to be married to a BPD; but I don't really want to let go of her... Is this normal for a "non"?

    Anyway, we are getting on with it and I am starting to look forward to a new, less turbulent, kind of normality to the one that I have got accustomed to over the years...

    1:47 PM, June 20, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    Dr. Helen,

    Frankly I think it is extremely sad that a mental health professional would use a book like "stop walking on eggshells" or "splitting" when talking about people with BPD. If you read up on the literatuire, you will see that people with BPD are in extreme emotional pain. The disorder CAN be treated, but not through "boundaries" as Eggshells suggests and as you cite here. DBT is a therapy that can help people with BPD, but it uses validation, not boundaries.

    My wife has BPD and one of my daughters has emotional dysregulation. Pointing individuals to resources that don't work and when there is a therapy for it doesn't seem right to me. I noticed that you mentioned DBT in your repsonses to comments, but the article is a review of Eggshells, which BTW, doesn't stress the skills that need to be learned by nons. DBT family skills training, which is offered by two groups that I am aware of, is the way to deal with a BPD in your life, not boundaries as Eggshells suggests. If you search on the internet for DBT-FST you will find what real help is for "nons".

    2:36 PM, June 20, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    That is why physicians are highly discouraged from treating those with which they have either a conflict of interest, or a lack of objectivity. It's sound advice, and the rule goes for all specialities. I make it a point not to treat my own family.

    It goes beyond simple conflicts of interest. There are some that are criminal. There are some that are so arrogant they believe they should control everyone, even those that are normal. There are those that think male sexuality and male traits in general are wrong or bad. There are those that try to impose their religious, political, economic, etc. views on others. Etc, etc, etc... the list goes on and on. There are many problems with the field, which can often seem like it borders on a professional rent-seeking and junk science vehicle.

    And unfortunately there are trends in our society that are heading away from personal freedom, individual rights, choice, and free will and towards coercion, control, medical and legal fraud, and totalitarianism.

    2:51 PM, June 20, 2006
    the fat man cometh said...
    charlie, i said a lot, i am not denying there is an amount of true sufferers, but can you categorically deny the possibility that some of the unscrupulous people could be using these problems as excuses, or the psychologists as a an excuse to make more money via therpy over years and months..

    thats the whole point, where does self interest on behalf of the psychology system begin and where does it end.

    As i was saying is there a point in a persons life when this kind of behaviour can be diverted whether its at 6 or 8 or 18, or is it inevitable. or will they need therapy for decades to fix it. i remember being told when i was 2, i was just having my first tantrum, when my gran who had a pan of cold water on the cooker, threw it over me, and said she had enough of my brothers tantrums, she wasnt having one from me.. and guess what i never had one ever after. but is there a point when appropriate punishment/reward could cause the problem to cease to exist..

    3:53 PM, June 20, 2006
    Jim said...
    "Frankly I think it is extremely sad that a mental health professional would use a book like "stop walking on eggshells" or "splitting" when talking about people with BPD."

    Anonymous, I don't think it's sad at all in many cases. In many cases, such as during and engagement, it's very good advice indeed. It's one thing when you is dealing with a child's illness; then there is no questioning of just cutting the person out of your life. But when you're talking about a boyfriend/girlfriend or a fiance, it's perfectly good advice to tell the healthy person in the situation just to DTMFA. In fact it's good advice if it's a BPD spouse we are talking about, really - good for the healthy spouse and probably best for any children in the family.

    4:41 PM, June 20, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    I'm very interested in whether someone who has exhibited BPD behaviors since childhood does 'outgrow' it. One of my daughters was both more rebellious and more needy even as a young child. I had a lot of children and never felt I was able to give her the amount of attention she needed. After she started school I resented teachers' complaints about her classroom behavior, setting children against each other, etc. I never saw any such things at home! She was for a time in Special Education for this, and to this day is excessively proud of winning medals in Special Olympics against children with huge mental and physical disabilities! She has an IQ of 142 and always was perfectly healthy!

    Friends tried to tell me that she instigated problems within my family. I just never saw it until she reached adolescence. At that point she blatantly played it all out in front of me. She began displaying for me the physical and emotional bullying she'd inflicted on the other children for years. She tormented them by locking them in darkened rooms, stole from everyone in the house, tried to forge checks, got the mail when she came home from school, tore it all open, then tossed it all in the garbage. She had her teachers and friends (and mine) convinced she was neglected and hatefully abused. As a divorced mom, sole support of the family and struggling with a physical disability, I had little time or strength to deal with the chaos. She simply denied, denied, denied...and smiled. The worst by far was that she somehow convinced other of the children that I did not love them, wanted to get rid of them, etc. How could all this happen right under my nose? She lured other of the children into a truly awful 'church', and they all ended up going to live with these 'friends' who I later discovered (it was my great fear at the time) exploited and abused them. I had one much younger child during all this that once the older ones left, I forbid any contact without my presence, even telephone contact. Those several older children have led lives of unhappiness and unproductivity, still blaming me for every problem. The daughter who caused all these problems has told every imaginable and unimaginable lie about me. It's really impossible to defend myself, I'm not inclined to go around explaining to people that I never starved my kids, never beat them black and blue, never denied them medical care, wasn't a lesbian, never practiced satanic worship in our home, etc, etc. I could go on and on the hateful things she's done that brought her no payoff other than causing chaos and pain. When one of her sisters was married, she threw a screaming fit in the middle of the ceremony because I wasn't there (hadn't been invited). She spreads grief with a scatter-gun. I've wondered for years if she would have been okay if she'd been an only child. I knew early on she wanted to be the 'favorite', and later stated flatly she deserved to have been an only child. Only recently have I wondered if she suffers a mental disorder. Everything I read in this posting and the comments makes me think she does. I'm not stupid, am actually pretty intelligent and intuitive, and I've adored all my children since they were conceived. A few years ago, I finally dug out from an overwhelming sense of utter failure as a mother (and there was nothing in life more important to me than being a good mother). I suspect I will struggle with this the rest of my life. That youngest child I protected from contact with her, and two much older children who were out of the home before she 'blossomed' are wonderful, caring people, with extremely successful careers and loving families of their own. And I have a close relationship with each of them and they with each other. They still are mystified by the chaos in the middle, and I'm sure they wonder, as I still do, why I couldn't prevent it happening. Thanks for letting me vent. Very painful.

    6:59 PM, June 20, 2006
    Helen said...
    Anonymous 6:59:

    Just wanted to say how sorry I am for all that you have gone through. The pain that families suffer at the hand of those with this disorder and other mental illness is often overlooked or misunderstood by others. Thanks for sharing your story.

    7:39 PM, June 20, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    Except for one poster who reported a BPD significant other trying to make the poster feel evil, nobody else has used the E word.

    When I think of borderlines, I think of Darth Vader prancing around singing "These are a few of my favorite things."

    Borderlines, for the most part are only little e-evil, not big-E. They don't have the capacity to plan an invasion of Poland or to even run a clever insurance scam. They're just stronger, better, faster, smarter at getting sympathy and resources, and they refuse to grow up. They're Baby Einstein on PCP. A little alien looking for a chest to sink into.

    I spent 5 years in BPD Gulag. Here's where I ended up:

    First, all men should learn about BPD before they stop being virgins. 90% of people with BPD are women. Unless women are fundamentally evil, this means that there is something going on with women that encourages/enables/enhances/pick-your-own-en-words them to act like this. And it's getting worse.

    Second, helping BPDs is a sacrifice. By sacrifice, I mean like Jesus on the cross or like throwing a virgin into a volcano. Not a sacrifice like not buying a new big screen TV so you can send the kids to private school. Unless you want to be nailed to a cross or thrown in a volcano, do not try to help borderlines. Run.

    Third, I don't know why borderlines act the way they do. This I do know: leaving a borderline is like shooting a cougar in mid-air: you may feel bad about it, but you get to survive, and you're really pretty glad and proud you did it, even if you pretend to still feel bad about it when you tell the story. Borderlines aren't an endangered species, and it's legal to shoot them, and you should.

    11:32 PM, June 20, 2006
    Charlie said...
    the fat man cometh said...
    "...but can you categorically deny the possibility that some of the unscrupulous people could be using these problems as excuses,... "

    Well, of course not. Certainly there will always be frauds and hucksters trying to get their way. But the issue in general is a bit like the debate in "Planet of the Apes" where the researchers are watching Zera, Cornelius, and the other ape (sorry, don't remember name) eat and orange with knife and fork. Were the apes really using utensils, or just pretending to use them?

    I see your point more about pre-emptive action in youth to avoid behaviors as adults. Indeed, where were all the ADD/ADHD children in 1910 school rooms? But not seeing something in the past is cause to deny it's existance now. Nor also, is it cause to overstate the current existance by claiming is was mis-diagnosed in the past.

    The point of attempting to define BPD, NPD, and all the rest is an attempt to get a handle on something amorphous - personality - by way of behavior, in the hope you can do something about destructive behaviors. Can this be abused? Of course. Can this be used constructively? I hope.

    12:38 AM, June 21, 2006
    the fat man cometh said...
    yes i agree charlie, but if there is pre-emptive action in the past that stopped a minority from suffering from those problems, why not now, has things changed so radically in the past years i think so. i know its hard to show a negative, but the point is, it must be life that changed, that allows more diagnosis right or wrong diagnosis. what has changed

    all i was saying was there must be something cultural/social that is making these problems grow, and something has changed because there wasnt as many in the past. this is just my thoughts.

    4:50 AM, June 21, 2006
    the fat man cometh said...
    btw i dont deny there are people with these problems, but are there as many as we suspect, unless psycholgists test everyone, we wont know if people are just selfish or a sufferer. and even then there is a grey area.
    4:52 AM, June 21, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    the fat man cometh....

    The definitions for diagnosis have changed.

    I mean listen to some of the accounts above. Some of the posters above seem to blame the person they are posting about for so many things that they might qualify for a BDP diagnosis. Maybe they are correct, maybe they are BDPs. Without an in-depth investigation gathering ALL of the facts you won't know.

    And the talk about "testing everyone" is scary. Billions of dollars in pharmaceutical sales and government money - and of course countless human misery and waste - could depend on a couple people just tweaking a couple variables. Do you think bureaucrats and pharma executives could resist that temptation?

    6:43 AM, June 21, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    If we suppose BPD is a form of PTSD then estimates can be made.

    About 20% of the population is genetically susceptable to PTSD. About 1/2 of those have trauma severe enough to activate PTSD.

    So we can estimate that about 10% of the population will have problems of varying severity.

    Fortunately a blood test for PTSD is in the offing (about a year or three away). Once that is out there, better studies and estimates will be available.

    A Test For PTSD

    *

    6:45 PM, June 21, 2006
    M. Simon said...
    Anon 6:59PM,

    I think you point out why BPD may be so prevalent. It provides an intellegence advantage. BPD are very often described as witty.

    So if the PTSD is not activated you have an intellegence advantage. That may be enough to overcome the disadvantages in the genetics game.

    7:00 PM, June 21, 2006
    the fat man cometh said...
    anonymous 6.43, yes it is scary, but i can see how its starting already in small ways, if not big ones, add to that the BMI thats being pushed for in report cards in schools. very scary world and only going to get worse

    http://www.house.gov/paul/tst/tst2004/tst091304.htm

    A presidential initiative called The "New Freedom Commission on Mental Health" has issued a report recommending forced mental health screening for every child in America, including preschool children. The goal is to promote the patently false idea that we have a nation of children with undiagnosed mental disorders crying out for treatment,

    She also is concerned that mental health screening could be used to label children whose attitudes, religious beliefs, and political views conflict with the secular orthodoxy that dominates our schools.

    7:15 AM, June 24, 2006
    Trey said...
    The problem with school aged mental health screening is that it is all reported data. It is just the opinions of the parents and teachers. Sometimes their opinions are NOT helpful or accurate.

    Trey

    12:34 PM, June 24, 2006
    voiceboy said...
    I wish I would have seen this two months ago, I got married to a charming woman who turned into a nightmare ,the black hole of emotional needs, in like a week.I am in the process of divorcing ( no "oops" clause,darnit) and this article and postings assure me that I am making the right move.
    1:43 PM, June 24, 2006
    Anon824 said...
    I only read about 10 comments, but I picked this out:
    "i think a lot of these psychological problems are being over diagnosed, if in the past before psychology became popular, and they seemed to have survived it, then whats the problem with people now. the problem i see now is using psychological problems (i hesitate to use the word problem) to excuse bad behaviour"

    Couldnt agree more. How did we ever exist, as a society, until the shrinks arrived about 50 years ago and told us that we were all crazy? Just look at the huge percentage of elementary school kids on drugs. . . and probably will be for the rest of their lives. No one any more expects anyone to have to do anything other than just what they want to do. Hogwash.

    Yes, certainly, some people are mentally ill, just like they were a hundred or five hundred years ago.

    But, a lot of this madness if manufactured by an emotional care industry that seems to be best at justifying its existence, and worst at curing people.

    9:36 PM, June 25, 2006
    Ken said...
    "I see your point more about pre-emptive action in youth to avoid behaviors as adults. Indeed, where were all the ADD/ADHD children in 1910 school rooms?"

    They weren't in 1910 school rooms, having dropped out or never gone near them. Today, we make much more of an effort to get everyone educated, and we're seeing a lot of people in schools that don't really do well in that environment and wouldn't have been in that environment in earlier ages.

    "Yes, certainly, some people are mentally ill, just like they were a hundred or five hundred years ago.

    But, a lot of this madness if manufactured by an emotional care industry that seems to be best at justifying its existence, and worst at curing people."

    I'd say it's manufactured more by the fact that there's a lot more surviving mentally ill people around. In the past, more mentally ill people died, and many of them died before their condition was obvious to anyone else. Throw in the fact that their record-keeping was haphazard compared to ours, and it becomes nearly impossible to gauge the prevalence of these mental disorders.

    Of course they could be more common as well, owing to the fact that intelligence, mental stability, the ability to postpone gratification and plan intelligently are associated with successful use of birth control and having fewer children, combined with the fact that death during childhood, even among the offspring of the most hopelessly messed-up people, is nearly unheard of.

    11:16 AM, June 26, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    actually, I think psychiatrists came up with BPD because they didn't want to write "what an asshole" in the medical charts.
    9:33 PM, June 27, 2006
    The Mass Defective said...
    I know this post was written in June, but I just came across it. As someone with BPD I find it interesting to read the comments of those who haven't a clue what it's like to be borderline, to live it year after year. If dealing with it from the outside is so difficult and exhausting, imagine that multiplied a thousand times over and you get a small sense of the chaos that reigns within, what it's like to actually have BPD.

    Once the diagnosis enters the picture you are no longer seen as a human, you become your diagnosis, you are borderline. You're viewed by many as subhuman. You're no longer allowed to have a bad day, to get upset, to get angry, to have one too many drinks, etc. things that everyone does from time to time. It was ok if you did those things prior to being diagnosed. But then again, you were still considered human back then.

    I know dealing with someone that has BPD can be difficult. I don't dispute that at all. But we're not all monsters. I meet all 9 criteria for this disorder yet I had a stable, healthy marriage for 13 years. We had our ups and downs, our squabbles, but every relationship has those. We're now separated, but we're still very close friends. There are no ugly legal battles looming between us, no horrific custody fights.

    As for being a parent with BPD, I am not emotionally detached from my daughter nor have I ever been abusive to her. If there's one thing I've done right in my "borderline" life, it's raising a child that is one of the most well adjusted kids amongst her peers. I frequently have people tell me what an amazing job I've done raising her and that's not just some delusion I've made up to pacify myself. My daughter doesn't doubt for a second that I love her with all my heart, and I tell her AND show her daily that I do.

    We're often portrayed as master manipulators. But as any well trained mental health professional that's studied borderline behavior will tell you, it is a coping mechanism to deal with real or perceived adandonment. It is not a deliberate nor cognitive attack to hurt or use someone. Just as the automatic response when touching something hot is to pull your hand away, this is an automatic response for borderlines.

    We aren't hopelessly dysfunctional either, there is help out there for BPD. DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy) is helpful in teaching borderlines to control their impulsive behaviors. To manage their emotions and to improve their relatinships with others.

    Just my 2 cents. Ok, maybe that was more like 50 cents, but I just want to let people know being borderline doesn't have to be a curse that so many people make it out to be.

    Sid

    1:49 AM, July 07, 2006
    Helen said...
    Sid,

    Thanks for your input.

    1:14 PM, July 07, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    From: Old Too Soon

    I was pursued by an attractive body builder of a woman 10 months after my wife committed suicide. At our first lunch, she showed zero personality. At our second, when we discussed the death of my wife and of her borderline sister, we forged a bond.

    After four months of progressively suggestive e-mails, unsolicited photographs of herself and "chance" meetings at soccer tournaments and the like, I tossed away the gifted, Phi Beta Kappa girlfriend I'd been dating for the borderline. Ten months later she wanted to get engaged. A year later she canceled the wedding. I stayed three more years, suffered unimaginable verbal abuse, reacted in kind, lost my respect for her and myself. The hook: Her having taken her clothes off on her first visit to my house to display her "pecs." Ultimately my hours with her were reduced to Friday night sex bouts, tightly orchestrated by her and followed by little or no emotional intimacy.
    Roger Miller wrote a song: "Leavin's Not the Only Way to Go."

    My girlfriend took up with her girlfriends from the gym -- drinkers and smokers married to younger, ill-educated men whom they abused. I couldn't associate with them, personally or professionally. Ultimately an outburst just before we were to make love -- about my son's career plans prior to his final semester in college -- led to our breakup.

    Six weeks went by, and then came the hateful e-mails. A month went by with hateful phone calls. A letter arrived, warning me not to contact her in any way -- which I hadn't done. Then she called friends asking if she could come to my daughter's hs graduation. Then she called me asking if she could come to my son's college graduation.
    The night he graduated, she was sick. I sent her an e-mail saying (falsely) that I was sorry she couldn't make it and thanking her for helping get my family organized after my wife's death.
    She replied with an e-mail saying she couldn't believe I hadn't called her (my therapist said if I remained in relationship with her I would die) and adding, "You never tire of finding new ways to hurt me."
    We met by chance a few weeks ago. I'd seen her page on an Internet dating site. She lied about her education (she doesn't have a master's degree), posted a slutty picture of herself and listed her best feature as "butt."
    I told her the character clause in her teaching contract could cause a few problems if the superintendent saw that stuff. She changed the "butt" and masters degree but left up the photo. My therapist said I should have let her keep it up and suffer any consequences if they came.

    At this point, I still, amazingly, miss her at times, because I know she has s decent core, or seems to. But then I remember the eight-hour silent treatments, the exclusions from parties after which she would describe her conversations with other men, the dishonesty (she smoked the entire five years we were together and never told me). I spent $40,000 remodeling my house for her and her son who never moved in, added more than $200 to my monthly house payment and never received a dime, or an apology, for that outcome.

    She can go to hell, but I'll be satisfied if I never see her again. Unfortunately, this is a small place, and she still messes with my head. Yesterday she sent a letter to my daughter in response to an e-mail she'd sent in January. My BP ex said she'd been deleting e-mails from her classroom computer and realized she'd overlooked that one.
    My therapist said it sounded innocuous. A woman I know said, "Bull -- she was jerking you around."
    Women have consistently told me to run and they've consistently been right about the challenges I faced. Women know women. I finally ran, but the damage to my health, wealth and reputation will be lifelong.
    Evil is the word that works for me. But I still feel for her, so I'm sick too.

    Signed, Old Too Soon

    12:44 AM, July 08, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    While I feel fortunate only have to have my (possible, but probably) BPD contact as only a coworker and not a spouse or relative, I wish I had found this site sooner. I am currently changing jobs mainly in response to this person, and I can't help but feel like a failure for this. "Walking on eggshells" is such an appropriat title for a book on the matter, because I know I certainly feel a fear or dread in dealing with this person. I am unsure if in the end changing jobs will, in the end, be healthiest in my career, I think it will be best for my mental well being. I can't help but feel sad that I couldn't have handled this situation in a way that "out-manipulated" my manipulator, but I didn't see the problem until it was too late anyway. I wish I could say that I learned from this experience, but I could easily be just as blindsided again.

    Burned

    2:24 AM, July 08, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    Ouch ouch. Sounds like a lot of you here have been deeply hurt by BP. Please remember though that those of us who suffer from this are ALL individuals with our own choices and ways the disorder manifests. I have this diagnosis - but I do not show the symptoms of anger and rage. I do not yell, I try very hard not to manipulate. I have spent over 10 years in therapy and though am often lost inside myself try very hard not to make anyone else suffer because I do. Please remember that no matter what, people with BP are people in pain
    6:36 PM, July 31, 2006
    NOTcheery said...
    Unlike many of those who have written I feel like I am in a unique situation. I am the captain of a college cheerleading squad and have been dealing with an undiagnosed BPD coach for the past year. Because this is a such a close workng relationship, establishing distance is not an option. At one point I tried to restrict our interaction to a purely professional level but because of her Narc. personality tendencies, it almost affected my status as captain of the squad. I am also unable to appeal to a higher authority because SHE created the squad and it is not represented by the NCAA. She is causing the squad to self destruct and makes dealing with her almost impossible. If anyone has any advice on how to neutralize her negative presence on the squad please respond. THank you.
    3:24 AM, August 03, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    I lived with a borderline/bipolar dual diagnosis for 6 years. (She was diagnosed about 3 years ago...after she destroyed all the Christmas decorations and attacked me. She still doesn't know why.)

    I left her a year ago. She beat the crap out of me with a metal stepstool and then broke every window in our house, which is why I left.

    The reason she went off, is that I "embarrased her in front of her friends" because I asked her to come finish a job she said she'd do, so we could go to the movies.

    She claims she remembers nothing of the entire event. My neighbors called 911, after she not only beat the crap out of me and broke the windows, but threatened several of the nieghbors who'd come to my aid, and destroyed the phone on which I'd attempted to dial 911.

    She charmed the police out of arresting her, although they did take her down to the station, by appearing terribly sorry and contrite and promising she'd never behave that way again. Meanwhile she called me from the jail and made threats. Repeatedly.

    The point to all this? She had sat around and smoked pot all day with her buddies, and was probably on a medication break. (Her pill bottle never seemed to change in amount for 2 weeks prior.)

    She suffered a psychotic break from reality while smoking the pot.

    Look. I have many friends that smoke pot with no ill effects whatsoever. I used to support the legalization of pot.

    PLEASE STOP SUGGESTING people with BPD or bipolar disorder smoke pot to manage symptoms. You may be the cause of someone else's death.

    1:47 AM, September 22, 2006
    Anonymous said...
    I have been dealing with a BPD for several years. I made the mistake of getting married to her and the result was a long hard custody battle and me eventually getting sole custody but not until my children were abducted which resulted in my x-wifes incarceration. Even after the abduction I am still battling her in court to this very day. My children and I are now in therapy and recovering but the madness has not stopped.
    3:51 PM, November 25, 2006
    Mother/Wife TRYING said...
    I read so many comments about how much better my life is now that I am not with this person or that person who had/has BPD. I was diagnosed last year when I went to get help for MYSELF. Some of us are aware there isnt something "right" about us and want to be a better person for the ones we love. We are so scared of being abandoned and that is exactly what happens to us. Running isnt always and easy solution. I was in a 7 year relationship 3 of which we were married. I knew back then in my teens that I had emoional problems and tried to keep them under control. Our marriage was a wreck, but it didnt help that I was physically abused by this man and told that NOBODY would ever love me because I was crazy and that I deserved to be hit. Was told that I was ugly, fat and useless. To this day I cant get those thoughts out of my head. I am 25 and have been in the Army as a Military Police officer and perform my duties and job, exceeding the standards. But behind closed doors I am an emotional basket-case. I have a 13month old and while I was pregnant I knew I had to get help because I was still cutting myself. I knew I couldnt be a provider for my son in this condition. A guy met my parents, swept me off my feet and all the hoopla and the first time we were together I got pregnant... and he ditched me. He has nothing to do with his son and nor his other 3 children... This "man" I think has more problems than I do with being 22 and 3 ex-wives, all of which he cheated on with the next. He walked out on his 1day old daughter and wife of 3months to be with someone in another state he met off the computer... I know I am better off. Anyways, I knew I had to be the strong one. I know my actions of an unhealthy sex life, cutting, and other bad choices isnt excusable. I am now married to someone who knows my past and present condition. He knows it ALL and is still here for me. I push him to his limits and sometimes wander how long he will be able to put up with me. I love him dearly and honestly TRY to get and be better. Do some of yall fail to realize that some of us with this disorder dont ejoy it either!!!
    4:37 AM, December 29, 2006
    Helen said...
    To everyone:

    I have not checked these comments in some time but I see people are still writing in on this post on BPD. I just want to say that your comments have been read, for those dealing with someone with BPD, I very much feel your pain and hope that your situations improve. Take care of yourself and get professional treatment if you feel you need to talk with someone. For those who have written in who have BPD, there is treatment available--with Dialectical Behavioral therapy. There is a link at the end of this post that takes you to more information.

    6:52 PM, January 23, 2007
    Anonymous said...
    Go to bpdcentral.com and the seperation and divorce board and read up on guys like jackson,airbornedoc, cycleguy, daddy,and haggis and it will open your eyes to the madness of the BPD.
    12:54 PM, February 08, 2007
    Farside23 said...
    It has taken years of therapy for me to get to this point; I will be bold and state that most people that exhibit this behavior (much like myself) don't realize the benefit from medication, much less therapy, because it is a painful process. I avoided various clinical therapeutic professional's attempts for years to help me; once I realized that an integral part of my process was to experience 'pain', by truly understading my behavior and the impact my selfish, controlling, and childish behavior had on others, did I begin a process of both understanding and changing my behavior. Mind you, I still have a ways to go; however, at the very least, I don't want nor need someone in my life like I did in my past. Sadly, I'm 'stuck' in a state of mind that is awash in shame and embarassment for my previous behavior. I believe there is a saying that a true test of one's character is if a former girlfriend (or boyfriend for you women) still talks to you and can speak positively of you. Let me just state that 95% of the women I've been involved with, don't want have anything to do with me. I know, from attending AA meetings (my ex-wife was an alcoholic) that one of the 12 steps is to make ammends to those whom you (I) hurt. Not possible in my case; mainly because my behavior TOTALLY left a perception that I was nuts, and the fact (my opinion) that most people don't believe one can actually change. More to follow, and I appreciate your comments.
    8:25 PM, February 14, 2007
    Anonymous said...
    Hello everyone,
    This is an interesting, informative group.
    I have been married to an undiagnosed BPD woman for a long time (she meets all the diagnostic criteria). We started to have arguments when she moved from being a waif to being a witch after I over-committed to the relationship. To protect my sanity, I detached emotionally and shrugged the withholding, the psychological abuse and all that. She was mad and filed for divorce. I didn't expect this from someone who has abandonment issues even if she is professionally successful. She was mad, I guess and this is the only remaining way to punish me, all other methods failed.
    My question is how do BP behave in divorce and custody battles. The lies have already started. I have been the stay at home parent for quite a while--lucky for the kid. The kid is well adjusted and doing exceedingly well in all aspects of life because I have been an enlightened caregiver. Leaving a preteen with this woman will be a disaster. Even 50/50 custody will be bad for the kid. What can I do to make sure that I get primary custody? The BP is intent on using her professional status to impress the courts.
    I will come back later to narrate my experience and observations about living with a BP, but for now I would like to say to those trapped with their kids with a BP spouse, the best strategy is to have a separate, loving, nurturing, empowering relationship with the kids. It is also important to explain to the kids, at a suitable age, that the other parent is troubled, has his/her own issues and that his/her behavior is not the kids' fault because there is nothing wrong with the kids. Always make the kids feel loved and lovable without being too permissive out of guilt or pity.
    10:05 PM, February 28, 2007
    The light at the end of the tunnel... said...
    I have a mother with many of the traits of BPD. Ever since high school she has controlled my life and ever since I came to college, her fears of abandomment have compelled her to do some very innapropriate things. For example, she has represented herself as me over the phone to officals at my university and at my future Grad School, UNT which I am attending this Fall after I graduate. She even went so far as to hang up on the Chair of Graduate Studies. I have spoken to everyone she has talked with, explained the situation and they are sending her letters explaining that her actions are illegal and innapropriate, and even after talking about it with her she adamantly denies it. She has refused to come to my wedding because it is not being done her way and my dad is too afraid of her to attend separately. Talking to my brtoher, I now realze this is not the first time. Whenever he got married she didn't come either. Right now I am attending therapy with a counselor at my school and am happy to know that I am not alone and it is not my fault that she's like this. I love her, I will always love her. But I can't let my desire to make her happy destroy my life. Reading everyone's posts has given me some idea of what to do, and for now I will be doing things like changing my personal info so she can't have access to my dealings in the future. Like some of the BPDs mentioned here, they can only change when they want to change and I pray that time is not a long time off for my mother.
    2:01 PM, March 02, 2007
    Anonymous said...
    I have been dealing, or trying to deal, with a woman who obviously has BPD at work. I just realized today how furious I am with her and disgusted. It is so hard to deal with when you don't know how to name the craziness. Reading comments has helped a lot and helped me not to feel so frightened. I have just recently become one of the "bad guys" in her life-one of many. Nobody really "understands" her. Well, now I feel like I do understand her better and can keep some perspective in my dealings with her.
    1:59 PM, March 10, 2007
    Anonymous said...
    It is so cathartic to read the postings from other adult childern of BPD parent(s).

    My mother has every single one of the DSM criteria, yet is high functioning still. I believe she has managed this well so far primarily because of family enabling and money to sweep any public displays of her behavior under the rug.

    For some reason, she believes she is particularly "close" to me but is also unusually critical of me. My half-siblings are young but already wrangle with major behavioral health problems, including serious substance abuse problems and likely BPD in one of them.

    Through the years, my extended family kept me grounded, supported and loved at all times. They filled the gap and allowed me to see how to live outside of the BPD world. And they taught me the healing that comes through humor. I don't think even the best stand-up comic could have imagined some of the hillarious stories of life growing up with my mother or the unbelieveable sound bites that came out of my mother.

    For me, dealing with a BPD parent has been confusing, distracting, vascillating, angering, sadening, distrusting and exhausting.

    Through the help of a very wise therapist, I'm establishing boundaries--very firm ones with her, mind you. I'm improving and solidfying my sense of self. And learning to trust new relationships. Because of her extreme case, I'm finding this a long process of detachment from her. But a process that is worth every bit of time and effort. At this point we talk only about once a month for a short period of time, despite living near. Seems odd to have so little contact with a mother but I've never felt so content and settled.

    One of the greatest joys lately has been finding a loving relationship. Before I never thought I could trust someone to get that close to me and I never thought someone would really love me given my "challenging" mother. But, as it turns out, I can trust the right person and he does love and accept me...challenging mother and all.

    Amid all this joy is a little lurking dread that around the corner my mother is waiting to drop her next emotional bomb. We, my boyfriend and I, will be planning a wedding soon. I'd love to elope but that's just not a possibility for us. The thought of my mother even knowing about wedding makes my stomach churn, much less her attending it.

    To be honest, I'm really not sure how to handle this event in light of her illness. I'm most focused on my extended family, friends, and future-in-laws having a wonderful time celebrating with us. Any involvement with my mother around this event is meerely damage control...though in reality I know have zero ability to control her less desireable behavior. I guess let's just hope for the best!

    When I step back and take stock of it all, I'm just happy to be at this point in life and moving past my mother's historic presence in my life.

    7:55 PM, May 15, 2007
    Anonymous said...
    Borderline makes great girlfriend cuz they are crazy and sexually compulsive. I have dedicated my last 2-3 years of dating a couple of borderline at the same time, and considered myself lucky. (Btw: I am a "predator" type, and less of narcissistic, LOL ).

    Statistically speaking, having 2 BPDs serving my needs while I pretend throwing fake mass into the blackhole to keep to stove up for another week/month/year etc is actually hard to do.

    Say borderline is a spectrum, and say 5% "worst" of female have this. If I want above average, that leaves 2 out of 100.

    If I filter for someone who I likely meet in a party, job-related functions, etc, that weeds out 50% of the 2 (some BPDs are so kookoo they can't hold a job for shit): So 1 out of 100.

    During the period 2004-2006 when I did my borderline "dance" (to keep the boat floating one more day, basically), I learned tremendous insight towards their weaknesses and how to profit from them.

    The key is as I said,

    * some statistical underpinning (do not overshoot the pot, so to speak),
    * willingness to invest some time and money - (don't get sucked in though, they tend to be more $$$ than sane women),
    * DO NOT EVER, EVER, MARRY THEM OR SPEND EFFORT THINKING IF THEY WERE SANE U COULD HAVE A GREAT LIFE WITH THEM!!!
    * and a LOT OF SEX DRIVE will help.

    Go get 'em tiger.

    12:23 PM, May 27, 2007
    Anonymous said...
    I might also add my frustration ( I am the "predator" post earlier) about the difficulty of finding above average look BPDs to add to my portfolio.

    The problem is that unlike other wackos, crazies, bikers, or criminals, BPDs don't befriend other BPDs. Have ya'll noticed that?

    Finding one means that if your stiffness wins you get to cough up the dough, if you know what I mean. It's hard to replace 'em with equivalent quality cuz their circles usually contains none of their kinds. That leads you to roam other social circles to find these and I say that requires more investment.

    12:28 PM, May 27, 2007
    Anonymous said...
    I might also add my frustration ( I am the "predator" post earlier) about the difficulty of finding above average look BPDs to add to my portfolio.

    The problem is that unlike other wackos, crazies, bikers, or criminals, BPDs don't befriend other BPDs. Have ya'll noticed that?

    Finding one means that if your stiffness wins you get to cough up the dough, if you know what I mean. It's hard to replace 'em with equivalent quality cuz their circles usually contains none of their kinds. That leads you to roam other social circles to find these and I say that requires more investment.

    12:28 PM, May 27, 2007
    Richard Bostrom said...
    What u said reminded me of Fawzan, a really clever guy i knew back in the dorm. I was always curious why a really cool and smart dude like him seem to be ok being yelled at, thrown at, by his (american) girlfriend.

    He was just smiling and as if it were nothing he said "she is borderline". When I found out what that means, I asked him why he stayed with her. He said for what he needs it's got the right tradeoff. He stressed that it's great for short term relationship and you don't have to worry about feelings, dances, etc. He actually offered her to me to date!!!! But he was worried if I may fell for her and got to long term cuz he thinks I was not experienced enough. Reading your post above seems to convince me either you are Fawzan or someone who has uncovered such to exploit in this niche psych type.

    10:03 AM, June 06, 2007
    Anonymous said...
    You know what I think. I think you're all a bunch of selfish greedy heartless idiots. Yes, BPD can be a hassle to live with at times... but it's not like they can control it! Good freaking god. To all those who suggested dating people with BPD but not marrying them... the only people with the problems here is you. You're willing to use a person with personality disorders for your own personal gain? I've never been so disgusted in my whole life. I also think therapists should be trying to help people... not treat people with BPD like trash :).

    Go get a freaking life...

    9:27 PM, July 19, 2007
    Helen said...
    anonymous 9:27:

    What personal gain is being sought other than perhaps avoiding living a lifetime of pain by marrying someone with borderline personality disorder who leaves it untreated? Not sure what your point is, but if you are angry with people for not marrying someone who does not have their emotional life under control, than it is you who need to examine your own motives.

    11:39 AM, August 05, 2007
    em111 said...
    I am glad that I've found this site. All the comments are so helpful in understanding BPD. I am still healing after a relationship with a narcissistic man. I spent 2 years working for him and being 'part of the family' while his wife was dying of cancer. Shorlty after her death he became very dependent on me for emotional strength and support. Which I thought was understandable at the time. There had never been any question of any attraction there - he is 20 years older than me - but I wanted to help him and offer the support he needed. We became close and enjoyed spending time together - but he seemed so manic and seemed to become completely infatuated with me... wanting to spend all his time with me, telling people I'd achieved things that I hadn't, making me laugh like I never thought possible. I became swept away in the whole euphoria (which was terrible as his wife had only died a few months before .. and the guilt I felt was awful) But it was as though I had no choice - he completely charmed and 'took me over'. I fell completely in love with him.. which I know was wrong - but he had this way of making me feel so good and told me I was his 'soul mate' and I was stupid enough to believe him. After a few months he started to devalue me ... critising, one day being lovely, the next day cold as ice. This went on for weeks. He was insanely jealous of my other work commitments and if I ever went out. He constantly made himslef a 'victim' - not able to deal with his childrens grief and saying ' why are they doing this to me? '. I became very close to the children and gave as much support to them as he would let me. But everything was always on his terms. I kept wandering when the person I'd known was going to come back. He would cry for his wife one minute - then start throwing sexual inuendos at me the next. Luckily we never had a physical relationship - but he constantly talked about it and how good he was and what a good sex life he'd had with his wife. He finally sucked me dry after Christmas and I felt I'd lost myself completely ... I'd given so much to him and his family and I felt like I was a toy that could be picked up and dropped whenever he wanted to... with no regard to my feelings and no explanation. I finally left which devasted me. I had to leave his 8 year old daughter, who had become very attached to me, my job and the life that I'd led for two years. I couldn't believe all the time we'd spent together meant nothing. When I left all he said was "I'm in charge of the horses now - I'll contact you when I'm ready - see you mate" As I gave him a hug and cried a few tears (which I'd never done infront of him in two years) he said "Don't do this to me - my chest hurts" and that was it. It's been 6 months since I left and he has completely cut me off from the children and carried on with life as if I never existed - even though I explained I had to leave to give him time to grieve and because I had fallen in love with him. He just couldn't care a less. Infact it is almost as if he hates me with avengence. It has destroyed me and yet I still seem to care about him. I know I must have some personality disorder to still be feeling this but I can't seem to get it out of my head. Questions like "what did I do wrong" - "how could he have said those lovely things to me and not meant it" - "how could he treat me like this after 2 years of complete loyalty". I don't want anything from him except closure and some kind words of respect. After reading about Narcissism I completely understand now. He is very wealthy, powerful, comtrolling, he makes himself a victim (he has told people that I f***** off and left him), he charms everyone completely, he expects people to run around after him, he needs to possess people and has this way of making you feel like the most special person who existed.. and because of the kind of person I am I fell for it completely. I trusted him and threw my kindness back in my face. It feels good to get all this out - noone seems to understand how I feel. I am sorry for his children because they are getting it all now. But I don't hate him I just feel really sad about it all. Thank you for listening.
    9:10 AM, August 19, 2007
    Ivan Goddard said...
    I'm married to a person I believe is borderline (she refuses to to to anything beyond a marriage counselor, and makes clear she will walk out if I discuss anything that might be considered negative about her).

    Most of the time life is neither happy nor unhappy. About a quarter of it is pure hell. Horrible jealous rages whenever I go out of town on business (or in her views, expressed before the kids, to be with my "whores"). Half hour lectures on how I've screwed up everything, ending with claims that I'm always complaining and whining. Occasional complete insanity, physical assaults, broken objects, screaming and howling, followed by insistence that she had been perfectly calm until nasty I incited her (or by claims she did nothing wrong -- it was all me oppressing her).

    Constantly drained of money (she's had no work in months, and no salaried job in a decade), to support her and her grown kids by a prior marriage, plus our own kids.

    Right now we're in a month long "bad mood," punctuated by very nasty moments, and I'm coming close to throwing in the towel. Once before like this she dared me to file for divorce. I did, and she assaulted me, then settled down to figuring out how to sell the house and split the profit. I pointed out the house was my individual, pre-marriage property, and she was most disappointed.

    As far as being abandoned if anything goes wrong: I was recently diagnosed with a heart problem (which turned out to be minor, but initially seemed quite worrisome). I was struck by her reaction. "You're going to leave me, how will I possibly care for the house and family by myself?" That is, even the death of a "loved one" was seen only by reference to difficulties it would create for her.

    She flies into foul-mouthed screaming rages (and this is a woman with an MA) for little reason or sometimes none at all. In front of the children (and neighbors) has screamed pretty vile stuff at me. The ultimate came one night when she began assaulting me, I pushed her away, she screamed that was domestic violence and called 911. Got us both arrested, of course. But it illustrated her view: I exist to be assaulted. But if I push her away, that is a terrible criminal act.

    I'm sure they have a place in life. So do ticks and other parasites. Those of us on the receiving end just need some big flea collars.

    11:07 AM, August 20, 2007
    Ivan Goddard said...
    As far as complaints about DSM-IV, as I see it:

    With physical diseases, you have a fairly clear diagnosis. The patient either has typhoid germs in him or he doesn't.

    I see DSM-IV as an attempt to create a set of definitions for emotional ailments that would parallel those for physical ones. To ensure that everyone is talking the same language as it were. Necessarily there is some imprecision. Requiring that a person exhibit five symptoms will leave out some people who exhibit four but are as messed up as someone with five. But it's an attempt to make diagnosis and language a little more uniform. We have a universe of human beings here and are forced to describe them in human-made categories (Aristotle vs. Plato and all that) if we are to have any useful discourse.

    11:13 AM, August 20, 2007
    Wanda said...
    I have a BPD mother and living with her is like living in hell. She doesn't get along with anyone, however, its everyone else's fault. She's critical and maninulative and alot of the time just plain rude. Over the years I've been the one that has sought therapy (she never would because there's nothing wrong with her according to her). I'm happy to say that with therapy I'm much better able to deal with her - how? I just don't care anymore, I've removed any and all emotional investment. I can imagine that it would be hard to deal with a BPD spouse, but at least in that case you can break-up and not have to deal with them anymore. When you have a BPD mother its a little harder to do. I no longer buy into her manipulation and I will call her on her bad behaviour. I've now become the black-sheep amongst a lot of my family members because I just won't put up with her BS and emotional blackmail and hurt anymore. The last time she said she was going to kill herself - I said go ahead and handed her the bottle of pills - of course she didn't do it, once again it was manipulation. My only advice to anyone dealing with a BPD parent is to get yourself into therapy so you can lead a healthy happy life and forget about ever trying to have a loving, nurturing relationship with them. It sucks and it hurts but its life with a BPD
    3:56 PM, September 19, 2007
    Tina said...
    I am a mother of an almost 20 year old borderline. I have felt that she was borderline since she was 15 but her therapist kept telling me they don't diagnos BPD until they are adults. The amount of pain I have had to endure at the hands of this child is immeasurable. Finally she has pushed me over the edge to where I really want nothing more to do with her. I can't fix her. Her 3 siblings have suffered tremendously because of all the attention she has required as a result of the entire family "walking on eggshells". I am at a loss. Called her therapist last week to request a meeting with her and us, the parents to set up guidelines for any future relationship to continue with the family. She continues to push my buttons while I continue to try to put some distance between us for my own mental health.
    11:05 AM, December 04, 2007
    Deb said...
    I am in the middle of a scenario with someone that I believe has BPD and I am out of my depth in being able to cope with her behaviors. I was hired as a personal assistant by a woman that by her own admission suffers from bulimia and has now replaced it with compulsive shopping. At first I believed everything she told me then started to feel that some of her stories were too incredulous to be true. She was kicked in the heart by her horse, was pronounced dead, then miraculously survived the ordeal. She was struck by lightening and miraculously survived with enhanced intuitive abilities. She claims to channel other world entities, have telepathic communication with her cats (both dead and living!), has psychic powers and has assisted the Dept. of Defense with her psychic gifts. The only social connection she has with those outside her family are the people like myself that she pays. In my first couple months of employment with her I was showered with praise and expensive gifts. Then she became erratic, angry and was frantically changing her schedule around and blaming me for her confusion. I left her employment and if the story ended here I would not be writing this. A couple days after I no longer worked for her she became enraged when I did not immediately answer her emails and then accused me of embezzling a large sum of money. The story was a complete fabrication but none the less quite damaging in a small town. She contacted my previous employers and informed them I was a thief, emailed friends of mine telling them I was mentally instable, had a 'dangerous' addiction to caffeine and sugar (I have a cup of chai in the morning and a piece of chocolate once a week)and that I was sobbing uncontrollably at work. She even enlisted one of her massage therapists to come to my home and attempt to push my partner out of the way to enter the house and search for stolen money! What is to be done with someone like this? Is this BPD? Why is she so enraged? She was just a lonely rich woman that I worked for, not someone that I had a close connection with. Is there anything that I can do to minimize the damage she causing to my reputation? A few other things that struck me as odd about her is that she needed my assistance to put together outfits to wear even for mundane activities like staying at home or grocery shopping. Also I had to help her come up with a theme for each day of the week so she could have a purpose for the day. Most of her time was spent shopping, getting bodywork, and rearranging her possessions...So far I have ignored her calls and emails as they are disturbing. I wrote one of her ex-husbands who is financially supporting her asking him to exert his influence on her and get her to stop harassing me. If anyone has any advice on what I can do and what makes the woman bent on smearing me, please advise.
    2:06 PM, February 18, 2008
    Mister-M said...
    I recently started dropping by your blog and happened upon this post by accident.

    I "married one" and to call it a mistake would be the understatement of the millenium.

    Lots of good stuff in your post and the feedback is extraordinary. It's the basis for my own blog.

    The Psycho Ex-Wife

    5:09 PM, February 21, 2008
    B. Doe said...
    After the umpteenth blowup from a VERY difficult coworker, I just had to find out what I could do to make this woman easier to deal with. It just so happened that I'd heard a fairly concise explanation of borderline disorder on the radio this past week, which led me to this site. THanks for the quick tips on dealing with someone with BPD. I wish there was a way to force her to get treatment...
    2:20 PM, March 05, 2008
    bodhissatva6 said...
    One of my "best friends" has BP. We're now in 12th grade and met eachother in 6th. For all these years she has been in my life and it wasn't until a week ago that we did some research after one of her anger episodes and found out about BP. I never thought to blame a disorder because my friend always makes it seem like it is my fault. I would cringe every time she walked into the room and always hesitate to answer when she talked to me. Knowing about BP I feel like a huge weight is lifted off my shoulders because I know it isn't my fault. It is of course still difficult seeing my friend but I will eventually find a way to reason with her.
    7:22 PM, April 16, 2008
    Michele Rozga said...
    This post has been removed by the author.
    3:44 PM, September 10, 2008
    Rehab Counselor said...
    I have to admit - I was both appalled and angered to come across this blog site when I was seeking further information to aid me in the psychiatric rehabilitation work I do with clients with borderline personality disorder. To refer to someone as "the borderline" demonstrates a formidable lack of value and empathy. Knowledge only goes so far - the most vivid work is in the connection. It saddens me to see this discourse continue. Respect!
    12:55 PM, January 09, 2009
    Rock said...
    While not professionally diagnosed, my wife fits all described traits with chilling accuracy. Indeed, she was a "great girl friend," but hell to live with. She has a PhD in computer science and is exceptionally charming when properly motivated. On advice from this column I have quit sponging and try to mirror feelings back. She now accuses me of having no empathy, being emotionally sterile. I see small improvements. She no longer destroys my most prized personal items (my paintings, wedding rings, journal etc) or threatens to kill herself and our child. It is progress, but I am exhausted. i don't believe my health can take it much longer - physical and emotional. I am emotionally and religiously devoted to marriage, but I know worry about our child, age 3.5. I would leave the marriage for my daughter's sake, but I don't know if it is the best. My wife can be a very good mother at times, then flip on a dime and abuse her. I am sure I would be happier divorced, but what about the child? That is the paramount issue with me now. What should I do? How do I negotiate the treacherous shoals of divorce with a very talented BPD and minimize damage to the daughter I love?
    1:41 PM, January 25, 2009
    rose said...
    My sister has been diagnosed with BPD. Growing up I always expected her to act like a big sister (she is 10 years older). No one in my family told me my sister was not "normal" at 21 my sister had a child, due to her disease as well as using speed, my family often took care of the child. My sister had custody of her until she was 12, at which point she came to live with my mother.
    My niece is now 15 and I am 25.
    It still angers me that my sister has been such an awful person to all of us. Oftentimes while visiting our house she would go into a rage over small things. She would throw stuff and tell her children (4 children) that I was trying to take them away from her.Then 10 minutes later she would act as if nothing was wrong. She treated my niece terribly, constantly threatening to send her to a boot camp ( this is why we finally got custody of her) My niece, the oldest, acts out a lot, and it is understandable due to how she was raised. I want to go into the field of psychology but constantly find myself furious at everything my sister has done. I am working very hard to overcome my anger because I don't want to bring it with me when I start working with patients. I hope that one day I can love my sister for who she is, instead of what I want her to be
    9:34 PM, February 23, 2009
    P said...
    I have diligently been working through this blog and thank you all so much for the valuable comments. Most of you speak such truth. It's truly been so interesting to read what others are experiencing, and for the first time I feel less lonely in this continuous situation of unreasonable outbursts, blaming, radical mood shifts, misplaced aggression, loathing, hate, deliberate self manipulation, reckless behaviour, anger, emptiness and my favourite still; emotional manipulation.

    My wife was diagnosed as a BPD several years ago, yet it's taken some time to get to actually face the real nature of the problem. We have been together for about 16 years, and in all that time, there has simply been no change in her behaviour. Actually, when people talk about the disorder improving over time, i.e. the patient getting better, it's not the patient improving, it is we, those of us who have to live with the person suffering from BPD, who actually changes, or learns deal with it differently. I feel myself becoming distant. But the feelings of internal conflict and pain that is diligently pursued by the BPD always remain behind inside of me.

    When we met, she was 20 and at first it was very difficult to deal with. Yet, it was even harder to break up. The type of tremulous background that she suffered as a child, always governed a type of hold, especially to a knight trying to save his damsel in distress. Then, not having much experience in the relationship thing, I always was the party that was in the wrong, no difference in or insignificant of the offence. It was always my doing that made her mad, angry, depressed, etc. And some how, I always succumbed to believing her. It's this manipulation that empowered her over the years and bound me to her fringes of rationality.

    Yet, I been no fool decided after a few hell years to bail out of the relationship, and that, suddenly is when our relationship took on a whole new dimension. She was pregnant. Don't get me wrong, I absolutely love my daughter, who is now turning 11. The relationship is still hell, she moves from been intelligent, witty, kind and charming to one of absolute and (if you live with a partner who is BPD, you will understand the true meaning of this term) 'Hell'.

    For 8 years now she has been a stay at home mom, studied several degrees. She passed most of her courses in psychology (ironic) and social work Cum Laude, and if she wanted to continue her masters, the university have offered to grant her a full scholarship based purely on performance. She is currently in the process of developing a business, income pending, naturally. There is nothing wrong with her intelligence. Yet for all these years, in supporting her, I have been batted and bruised so much, that the wounds just won't heal any more.

    No, I am not perfect, far from it, but in all honesty, through all of my imperfections, I am a "make love, not war" kind of guy. I would love another child, but go through this hell again, hell no. Could I have a sound relationship with someone else? I really don't know if I want to ever be subjected to this again. Why do I support her? Because I really love my daughter! Besides, my daughter seems to be able to work around her mom's disorder.

    My wife suffers from all those points listed by Helen at the beginning of this Blog, except attempted suicide. She he has been instituted when she was in her teens under 'Depression'. She has undergone hours of psycho therapy and counselling. She is aware that she is BPD, but does not believe that she is BPD. Remember, everyone else is at fault, ill, screwed up, etc. Remember, true for most BPD's she can be so charming, sweet, kind, and suddenly in a blink of an eye, absolutely insane.

    I truly care for this woman, but cannot live with this turmoil for much longer. When I am home, I am the devil's worst nightmare. She has no problem telling me she hates me, hates my life, hates my career, and hates my existence. She hates my family, she hates the home I pay for, hates the food I provide. I don't make enough money; don't work hard enough, apathetic, bad friends, limited understanding, and unkind, ungenerous, narcissist. Once she just happened to say a few weeks after my father had died, "you are glad your father is dead, so now you can fuck your mother". (Maybe every man gets told this, how should I know). She can go for hours highlighting my weaknesses, making my insignificance a cause for global forum. The saddest part of all, when I am sick or down, she kicks me the hardest. If I have a cold, I have to hide it. When down, I have to be weary. She wants freedom, but tightens the leash. Then, like a switch has been hit, while still licking my wounds, drowning in self pity, she reminds me to pack my toothbrush for my next trip. When I am away, or when she needs me, I am a saint. Some say all relationships are like this, but if this was the case, why do we have a growing population?

    I don't believe there is a cure for this disorder. She has a way of making people believe in her, see things from her point of view. When she needs to, she will convince anybody of anything, if that is what she needs you to believe. Advice for someone dating a BPD, and for this I quote from an earlier article posted on this blog, "Run".

    A question, how do we heal ourselves? Living with someone like this for so long must be damaging.

    5:07 PM, March 15, 2009
    So, what IS in a heart? said...
    I'm just glad that I have dodged some serious bullets in my life. These people are one of them. I guess it helps not being the easiest targets, so to speak.
    3:13 PM, June 12, 2009
    Raymond said...
    I have spent the previous two years with my fiancee who shows every possible symptom given for BPD. It has been difficult, especially since she has ruined many aspects of my life and added some to it through manipulation of friends, family, and my own family. It has not helped that I suspect my mother also has BPD or BP and so interpersonal relationships with them has been chaotic.

    However, although I will often become extremely hurt or agitated, I have learned a simple trick to calm her rages. The only problem is that it will often take sheer will. Don't say anything. Nothing. When the shift occurs, just walk up to him or her, hug her, and hold her. There may be pushing and biting and punching and screaming, but eventually sanity returns in a much better fashion.

    Every advice I see says to run. People claim they love the person with BPD but must leave for their own sake. If you run out on that person, you don't love her. In fact, you're fulfilling her fears - reinforcing her worthlessness. BPD may be extremely difficult to live with, but if you care, learn when to engage the problem, and when to let it burn itself out. You'd be surprised what sort of reactions you'll get if you learn to maintain your own sanity while maintaining your affection.

    1:40 PM, November 06, 2009
    bholland said...
    Nice article. I'll add my two cents worth. I've been married to a borderline for 18 years. we have two wonderful kids (11 and 14) that I would NEVER leave. borderlines will often use such dedication as a weapon. If you come across this, let me give you this. BORDERLINES NEVER LEAVE!! You can't get rid of them if you wanted to. So when they threaten to leave or kick you out, say "go ahead". They never will.

    The one thing that is positive about being married to a borderline is going down the long painful road of finding out why I was attracted to this and how I got here. To live with a borderline, without living in anger, one must focus on one's self, improving one's self, but most importantly NOT being afraid to feel the pain. I have found by shutting down from feeling pain, or protecting mysel from pain creates unhealthy habits and reactions. There is nothing I can do to protect my wife, help my wife, or change my wife. She chooses her own path everyday. . . a destructive path, hand in hand with her mother, sisters, and brothers. Borderlines are totally accountable for their actions, but they are victims too. I can assure you everyone of these borderline women (can't speak about the men) had awful, awful fathers. . . and most of these women, had borderline moms. It's a generational condition that is a tough cycle to break.

    When I came to the point, I could set healthy boundaries for me and my two kids, and be attacked viciously and hold my ground without reacting in a negative way, I felt I had healed a great deal of myself.

    and if I can do it, anyone can.

    11:21 AM, November 20, 2009
    carolyn said...
    I divorced a man last year and just found out he was diagnosed BPD among many other things back in 2007. I made my decision to exit hell when one night in a psychotic rage he threatened to harm our 8 month old son. The judge happily gave me full custody with only supervised visitation by me! However, his psychosis has gotten so bad that 3 weeks ago he threatened both my life and our now 16 month old's life. Now one restraining order later and a prayer that the judge will make it permanent so me and my son will never have to be exposed to this monster again!
    4:22 PM, December 01, 2009
    James said...
    I've done a lot of reading about BPD, and I believe that I suffer from this condition. Indeed, I experience all the symptoms you list in your original article.

    What hurts most is that the vast majority of people can't accept that I have a mental illness, and instead see me simply as a 'nasty person'. I see and understand that I hurt people unintentionally with my outbursts, so why can so few people see and understand the deeply heartbreaking effect that it has on the BPD sufferer themselves?

    8:37 PM, March 28, 2010
    Huxin said...
    if you're with a BPD sufferer, do get out now and get some counseling. An ex-girlfriend has BPD, and she alternated between the extremes of attachment and care on one pole and sadistic sociopathy on the other. It was brutal, especially because I loved her deeply and made all efforts to empathize with her suffering (which naturally only gave her more fuel for torment in the moments when she perceived kindness as weakness.) Fortunately, she married a highly functioning autistic guy whom she described as living 'on only one level.' He is mostly oblivious about, confused or annoyed with her lies, infidelities, and cruelties.
    There is hope if you can get away from them. In time the pain subsides a good bit.
    One hope you do have to give up is the hope that anyone will understand what happened. BPD-ers are excellent liars and actors and no one will believe that their warm and bright public persona could be so far from their private personality. My ex teaches courses on ethics at a university and she projects the very kindly, composed persona of a comfortably tenured academic. ...So oddly inconsistent with the person I eventually came to know.
    Just remember it's not your fault that you got into the situation with the BPD-er. You got close to her/him when they were showing you their public persona, and by the time you discovered the other twisted elements of their at-times cold-hearted and mean-spirited personality, you were in too deep for an easy escape. BPD-ers prey upon the kind-hearted. They can break you for a spell, but if you survive the breaking, you can heal in time. And thrive. Good luck. Persevere. And if you can find it in your heart to do so, forgive them. No one chooses to be so messed up. No one. And they do suffer in the absolute solitude and emptiness they ultimately feel. No one wants to suffer like that. Forgiveness can liberate you emotionally, and mercy is generally yht eright thing to express. Just don't go so far as to let them back in you r life. Ever. Be well...Persevere in Kindness.
    10:15 PM, April 22, 2010
    Alex said...
    I have been with my wife on for 8 years now. At least two counselors stated that from what they had diagnosed she is the extreme case of a BPD. I have dealt with violence,suicide attempts(well mock suicide attempts)pet with other men, all of it. It's crazy cause I read in one of the comments about how they make good girl/boy friends but do not marry them. We have 4 children combined but none together. Due to all the insanity in my life I hardly see my daughter and my teenage son who is very close to me despises her. We have been separated 4 times including now.....Some are probably saying that is good now run, but I find it so hard to get away from her. Sometimes I feel that the only solution would be to leave the state but I know I cannot do that because of my children... I am so lost and confused. I know that its a doomed situation but with all the years of abuse I find myself questioning myself. I stay away adn dont communicate with her for a week or two and then she creates some sort of threat and I end up breaking down. I have never felt so helpless and weak. The crazy thing is that I do love this women but I know it is completely unhealthy. Makes me think I am the one with the problem.
    6:13 PM, September 22, 2010
    Marissa Coronado said...
    Dr. Helen -

    I am wondering if you have any advice for children of a BPD parent on how to build relationships without fear.

    My mother is a BPD - as such, my youth was filled with severe verbal and emotional abuse. I grew up thinking I was the problem and I have suffered with a severe lack of self esteem, continuous guilt, and over-sensitivity ever since. It has been difficult, but I am learning how to become healthy -- I live on the other side of the country from my mom -- and I am becoming myself. I'm beginning to see myself for myself instead of through the lenses of my mother's negative perception of me.

    However, the effects of her abuse still linger and I find myself struggling with one task: I have a difficult time with intimacy...I'm extremely shy and I avoid contact with others, for fear of them. Even when I know someone "likes" me, I live in constant fear of them coming to hate me and reject me (like my mother), and so I avoid forming an intimate relationship with them entirely. I think this behavior often leaves people that I value very confused because they feel shunned by me for no reason. Sometimes, I'm ashamed to admit, it is so bad that I cannot bring myself to even say "hi" to someone because I fear their potential rejection of me.

    Even though I am aware of this problem, I can't seem to break free of it -- it is like an addiction. I always anticipate relationships will go sour because I feel like a failure in many ways, and so I avoid forming them. I know these feelings are irrational: I'm a college graduate, a super nice girl everyone seems to like, I live on my own in manhattan as a very successful person, and I graduated top of my philosophy department. Yet, I still feel awful about myself.I hate living like this. I have "missed out" on so many valuable relationships.

    Do you have any advice? How can someone like me begin to allow themselves to feel validated and loved by people who like them, instead, of always fearing their disapproval and hatred?

    I desperately want to stop avoiding and fearing people.

    Thank you very much!

    Sincerely,

    Daughter of a BPD mother.

    12:15 PM, November 11, 2010
    robbiebow said...
    I myself exhibited most of the signs of BPD, and it took getting involved with someone else who also exhibited similar signs to confront it. Our combined low self-esteem and low expectations worked in our favour in that neither of us would have dated someone so messed up if we weren't so messed up ourselves.

    A diagnosis can help you see the behaviour and feelings of someone (including yourself) from a different perspective, and is the start of a different journey on a different path. Finding out what are aggravating factors, tackling mental, emotional, social, physical and financial stress factors in more constructive ways builds self-esteem through the sense of achievement and reduces the likelihood of doing harmful things as we become less pre-occupied with those underlying stress factors.

    I'm not out of the woods yet, but I can see the light at the end of the path, and I'm doing less harm as each day goes by. One major problem I have had to deal with is not knowing what the problems were, not honouring my feelings, not standing up for myself, and consequently doing things that made life harder not better. I do know, however, that everything I have done in my life has been in my best interest. Just as it has in yours. I'm just learning new, better ways to behave and see the world that are more successful at serving my best interests.

    It's terribly hard when you're in the midst of a difficult relationship to see the positive, but you can find it there once the dust settles. Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn.

    9:08 PM, November 29, 2010
    BPDfamily.com said...
    A lot has been transpired since 1996 when the book was conceived, many books have been published, and more is now known about the disorder and about ways to constructively interface with our loved ones. Randi Kreger documents many of these finding in her 2008 publication, The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder. Many therapists are not aware of Ms. Kreger's newer book. BPDFamily recommends the 2008 publication - it is a significant advancement over her first work.


    The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder: New Tools and Techniques to Stop Walking on Eggshells

    Like the first book, this text is geared to family members. In The Essential Family Guide to Borderline Personality Disorder, Ms Kreger focuses on 5 tools to make home life more manageable for family members and more constructive to the person affected with BPD. This book outlines how families can set boundaries and communicate more effectively. This book also answers common questions that family members often have in clear simple language such as the symptoms and treatment of BPD, why BPD is so often misdiagnosed; how symptoms can differ by age and gender; and how addiction and other disorders complicate BPD.

    Randi Kreger is a professional writer and blogger. She coauthored Stop Walking on Eggshells, on of the first self-help books in this field in 1998 with Paul T. Mason is a program manager of Child/Adolescent Services and a psychotherapist with Psychiatric Services for St. Luke's Hospital in Racine, Wisconsin.

    >2:44 PM, January 11, 2011

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