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Am i a narcissist?

B

BobbyDaBlahh

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Nov 19, 2021
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So originally I posted this over on the BPD side but I'm not to sure anymore as after reading a bit it sounds like BPD has a wide range of emotions like a roller coaster. Maybe I'm a Narcissist? Idk I'm just trying to figure things out.

Hello everyone. I'm a male in my 30s, was doing therapy for a bit but I had to drop it due to fears of losing my job. This kinda bummed me out becuase I feel like I was making pretty good strides with it. my job doesn't look kindly at any type of BD unless it's PTSD, I wasn't aware of this so once I found out I quickly steered it in that direction and became "cured". I know each person is different but it would be nice to find out where I "belong".

I have no empathy and I am unable to feel love. I'm charming and have many friends but it's all a facade. Not trying to be an edge lord but I've dealt with many life or death situations and seen people I've been close to die. During these situations I would feel fear for myself but was always able to take the right actions and react accordingly. After there was never any emotion, I remember pretending to cry so I could fit in with the group on multiple occasions. I do many nice things and act caring but it's all an act. I do it to project an image or gain somthing/an ally.

I don't want to harm people and I don't get enjoyment from others pain. I'm not a criminal but if I'm very certain I won't get caught have done not exactly legal things to achieve my goals. I have a loving family and wife but I feel completely alone. I look at my wife and kids and feel nothing. I think I'm a better father and husband then most because I know the actions I need to take and put on the smile. They love me so much but I can't understand why. I feel emotions like rage, anger, happiness, excitement, fear but it's all kind of on a surface level. Like this food is good, or sex feels nice it's never anything deep. Minus the depression, that has been pretty constant but most would never know as I have a smile on my face.

The lack of true connections on my end has been incredibly difficult and led to life long depression I keep hidden and a suicide attempt when I was younger. I deeply hated myself for being unable to connect and feel love as I didn't understand why.

Recently acceptance and medication has been a huge help. My whole life is still a facade and I hide behind a mask but at least I feel better about myself (meds are such a help) I know labels are bullshit but it would be nice to know where I belong. My therapist was bringing up things like ASPD, BPD, and Narriscissim before I found out that my job doesn't look kindly on these things and I quickly steered it to PTSD (I've been this way before my job and incidents) and quit therapy.

I brought this up on a different website dealing ASPD and everyone was edge lords/gatekeepers, or said I had to be a criminal. I know BPD has some of these symptoms plus the depression. It would just be nice to know I'm not alone. Plus I hope if I find someone like me I can get some advice about the future, I want to know if it's possible to ever change.

Thanks for taking the time to read this.
 
GretaVon

GretaVon

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This all seems consistent with narcissism. More detail would help, like how do you treat your wife and what was your childhood like?
 
B

BobbyDaBlahh

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I treat my wife well I think. Been married for 10 years and still get her flowers, presents, attention when I'm around. It's all mechanical though, its like I do things that I think a loving husband would do.

My childhood was ok, no one beat me. I was an only child in a very very very rural area. My mother was kind but she did/still uses me as her therapist. She has her own issues. My father was a reformed criminal who was really really bad when he was younger before he met my mom.

Somthing I didn't mention above was I have never felt any guilt. Shame sometimes about being caught but never guilt. I've done some things that society frowns upon but no guilt. It makes self-control difficult sometimes because if you don't feel guilt what's to stop you beyond will.
 
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BobbyDaBlahh

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Man the word narcissism just sounds so bad.
 
A

Aurelius

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Welcome to the forum BobbyDahBlah. I guess I should start by saying the forum does not provide diagnoses. This is just as well, because what you describe could come under a number of mental health conditions - which is why accurate differential diagnosis can be very helpful but, also, very difficult to obtain.

Even with an accurate diagnosis, each of us is on a unique and individual pathway through our lives - including our health/mental health. Where we can converge at times and support each other is in our common experiences - including our shared needs and what has/has not been effective in helping, etc.

What you describe sounds like a lack of emotional attachment or like severe emotional detachment. There can be many different causal factors ranging from:

  • developmental trauma (including in the womb, childhood traumatic experiences, lack of caregiver responsiveness, etc), through to
  • the impact of health conditions such as those associated with Autism Spectrum Disorders, or
  • those associated with psychological, psycho-social and/or emotional functioning (these may be considered in terms of 'personality disorders' if they cause a person to have an unhealthy pattern of functioning, thinking, and behaving and/or significant distress).
The answer to your questions about future change and making emotional connection will in many ways relate to:

  • the factors which caused/now cause your lack of emotionality,
  • how amenable these are to therapeutic intervention, and
  • whether effective therapeutic interventions can be identified that will meet your specific needs, circumstances and outcome aspirations.
Finally, you are not alone - but moving forward may involve accepting that your emotional senses and understanding will always contain degrees of detachment and difference that will at times frustrate the emotional connectivity you yearn for - but at other times will provide the support that others may treasure. Learning to value this is particularly painful and hard when you feel deprived of the opportunity to share first hand in the happiness and pleasure you bring - or when you are questioned as to why?
 
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Aurelius

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I have never felt guilt, but I did learn to feel responsibility. Responsibility is a much harder burden. Guilt can be forgiven. Responsibility for what I have done never goes away. I just try to not repeat the same errors, but I always feel accountable when I do. Not reading others does not help. Having to depend on literality and intellectually analysing everything frequently does not replace being able to make an instantaneous emotional connection. It is so tiring at times to have to cognitively process and translate everything in order to relate emotionally, that I just retreat. I have been honest with my family. My sons accept me as I am. My wife and daughter less so.

Apologies for misspelling your name BobbyDaBlahh. I hope it did not come across as less than welcoming.
 
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BobbyDaBlahh

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"I hope it did not come across as less than welcoming." Not at all. Thank you for the response. With the details you have given it sounds like you understand most aspects. You mentioned being honest with your family and that about half delt with it well. Do you regret doing this? How does your wife view you now?

When I was first starting to be honest earlier this year I told my Mother how felt my whole life it did not go well. There were tears, denial, and lots of repeating that I'm wrong. Eventually she mellowed out and now just feels sorry for me which is not what I want. I feel angry when people I know pitty me. When I was seeing my shrink she was encouraging me to be more honest with people but this terrorizes me. The one person who wasn't my shrink broke down and now pitties me. I don't what this would achieve by telling more IRL people.
 
B

BobbyDaBlahh

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"Learning to value this is particularly painful and hard when you feel deprived of the opportunity to share first hand in the happiness and pleasure you bring"
This sounds very difficult. Typically when I do kind things I'm always doing it to achieve some kind of goal. Being making Allies for future use, gaining somthing or just doing it to increase my public image. Ever since I started meds I started an experiment of kinds. I wanted to see what would happen if I did somthing kind without anything to gain. So one of my friends that I've never met IRL and isn't a part of any of my digital social circles off handily brought up how he lost his job and covid sucks. So I took him under my wing and over the last 2 months sent him over 1k to help with bills, helped him rewrite his resume, helped him look for a new job, and setting him up with an investment account. I then realised I was once again only using someone to see if "I" felt anything. I didn't. How do you value "this" I don't understand.
 
GretaVon

GretaVon

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I treat my wife well I think. Been married for 10 years and still get her flowers, presents, attention when I'm around. It's all mechanical though, its like I do things that I think a loving husband would do.

My childhood was ok, no one beat me. I was an only child in a very very very rural area. My mother was kind but she did/still uses me as her therapist. She has her own issues. My father was a reformed criminal who was really really bad when he was younger before he met my mom.

Somthing I didn't mention above was I have never felt any guilt. Shame sometimes about being caught but never guilt. I've done some things that society frowns upon but no guilt. It makes self-control difficult sometimes because if you don't feel guilt what's to stop you beyond will.
This does not sound like a narcissist. After 10 years you would be abusing your wife mentally if you were a narc. Also it sounds like your childhood was sort of stable.

Unless there's more to the story.
 
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Aurelius

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No I do not regret being honest with my family. We all know where we stand now. My wife now understands who I am a lot better now - this does not mean she can always accept who I am - and I have learnt to accept that (not without significant frustration at times).

A third of the family who know about my mental health issues (including my wife and daughter) seem to feel that their lives will bear the taint of 'stigma by proxy' - if I can call it that - if they accept this part of who I am. The rest of the family (those I grew up with my sons) just accept this is Aurelius. At worst they see me as always having been a 'bit different', a 'bit mad/insane -especially in my younger years), or 'just weird'. These are descriptions that are frequently used in the family about many of its members.

My wife and her family have always viewed my family as being a 'bit abnormal' and at best a 'bit different, but interesting'.

My mother never forgave me for being as I was and as I am - although she proudly took ownership any achievements I accomplished that received some external recognition. Outside of this, she treated me as if I was deranged and had been sent to do evil to her life - to the extent that she held me to blame for much that had happened long before I was conceived. My emotional detachment (from birth) just served to confirm this, as did my subsequent attempts to discuss any of these issues across the next forty odd years.
 
T E_90

T E_90

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Hi and welcome,

I don't have an answer to your question (about being a narcissists or not ),
but I fully understand everything you've said about emotions, lack of empathy, guilt, acting ...
I live with ASPD myself every day and I often feel the only one, and in these times it's hard,
to continue to be what others find 'acceptable', but then I carry on normally, since now this is me and I'm not interested nor able to change.
The only thing I'm trying to control is my impulsive anger and my unhealthy thoughts.
I don't know if there's a way to change, surely if empathy is lacking it cannot be created (and I have tried several times).
In my case it comes from childhood but I know that you can also be born like this.
It's nice to find someone else that understand, that not everyone with this have to be a criminal.
You're not alone.
 
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1redpath

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What does high instances of npd mean?
 
A

Aurelius

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How do you value "this" I don't understand.

This is what you did:

So one of my friends that I've never met IRL and isn't a part of any of my digital social circles off handily brought up how he lost his job and covid sucks. So I took him under my wing and over the last 2 months sent him over 1k to help with bills, helped him rewrite his resume, helped him look for a new job, and setting him up with an investment account.

This is then what you thought about what you had done - in other words, this is how you interpreted it:

I then realised I was once again only using someone to see if "I" felt anything. I didn't. How do you value "this" I don't understand.

There is part of me that could interpret what you did (if it was me doing it) in the same way as you have and certainly this was true for over half my life.



Can we change?

There is another part of me that would now interpret the same actions from what I have now learnt about myself:

I have always thought happiness to be important. If things I have done or do can help bring happiness or add to happiness in others' lives, then I feel that with their help I have achieved something meaningful.

I have learnt over the course of my life how crippling (and even deadly) anxiety can be. If people allow me to try to help lift part of the burden of anxiety in their lives, then I feel they have afforded me a very great unearned privilege - one that I always feel incredibly humbled by and wondrously thankful for - especially as if now they are people I have never met and will probably never knowingly meet.



How do we do this?

The person who most helped me did so by helping me to realise (amongst many other things) "Man is affected, not by events, but by the view he takes of them" (Epictetus). This led to me exploring my long held beliefs, including taking on board perspectives that I had expressed to others but had failed to recognise myself and asking myself very different questions about my motivations for doing things.

One of the things I learnt is that we can hold many conflicting truths at the same time without discord or distress - in the same way as we look at different images in a photograph at the same time. Depending on what we are seeking or a feature that stands out to us on the day, we might interpret what the picture 'tells us' quite differently from time to time.

We can review, re-edit and re-interpret our experiences similarly. The first step is examining what other perspectives might have become hidden over the years . The second step is exploring new viewpoints we can take on board to broaden our current perspectives. We can take these steps separately or at the same time. I do whichever based on when an opportunity presents itself and I have the time/motivation/energy to follow it up.

For me, coming onto the forum presents many opportunities for this. Something I am really grateful to other members of the forum for!!
 
B

BobbyDaBlahh

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First off everyone here has been pretty awesome. Thank you.
 
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