Having compassion for anyone who is narcissistic, whether they have Narcissistic Personality Disorder and/or Borderline Personality Disorder does not negate the reality of the fact that relating to these personality disordered people. It means you are having to deal with a Difficult and/or toxic person in what might well be an abusive relationship. Narcissist’s are in pain. Their humanity must be recognized.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) has become synonymous with pejorative vilifying stereotypes that paint everyone diagnosed with it as monstrous. No one is the sum total of any diagnosis.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder has become synonymous with pejorative vilifying stereotypes that paint everyone diagnosed with it along with others with varying degrees of narcissism as monstrous people without worth. Rarely, in life, is the sum total of any human being with a personality disorder or not that simple or that black and white.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is isolating, disenfranchising, painful, and formidable for those diagnosed with it and often those who know them. Distinctions need to be made between those who have NPD because not each and every person with NPD is the same. Even with similar core issues the way in which one’s individual narcissism manifests itself in his or her relationships varies.
There is an irrefutable truth that many who have NPD are abusive. However, not all with NPD are abusive. Among those with NPD who are abusive the form and severity that their abuse takes will vary from individual to individual.
Chief among the traits that define Narcissistic Personality Disorder are what is described as a lack of empathy and a lack of compassion – not to be confused with the lack of conscience seen in the most severe form of narcissism within NPD – The Malignant Narcissism Syndrome (Kernberg 1992 – according to “The Handbook of Personality Disorders – Theory and Practice,” edited by Jeffery J. Magnavita – Pg 100) and that is most notably a feature in those diagnosed as having a psychopathic personality known as Antisocial Personality Disorder (APD). NPD and APD are not one in the same.
According to Wikipedia:
“Otto Kernberg described malignant narcissism as a syndrome characterized by a narcissistic personality disorder (NPD), antisocial features, paranoid traits, and ego-syntonic aggression. Some also may find an absence of conscience, a psychological need for power, and a sense of importance (grandiosity). … Malignant narcissism is considered part of the spectrum of pathological narcissism, which ranges from the Cleckley’s antisocial character (today’s psychopath) at the high end of severity, to malignant narcissism, to NPD at the low end.”
Most with NPD struggle to understand the experience of others because they are too involved in their own inner experience. An inner experience that is then projected out onto others in ways that leave others being treated as mere extensions of the narcissist who needs to have reflected back his or her own image of self. When this image of self is reflected back in ways that enhance how the narcissist feels about him/herself, all is well. This, for the narcissist is the experience of the gratification of narcissistic supply.
The person with NPD cannot really see others separately from the way he/she experiences the world from his or her point of view only. Most everything is experienced as being about them, some extension of them, or as thwarting their wants and/or needs.
What is the difference between Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Borderline Personality Disorder? What does the false self mean? To read more in answer to these two questions please check out my Ebook, The Shadows and Echoes of Self– The False Self Born Out of the Core Wound of Abandonment in Borderline Personality Disorder.
Those with NPD are blinded to the external unfolding experience of others in relation to them. They are lacking in self-awareness, often, of how others experience them. Narcissists live their lives from the inside and do not have a very flexible or evident insight into what the difference is between their image of themselves versus who they really are (as seen and defined by others) and who they hold themselves out to be.