People Tend To See This Disorder In Every Bastard: How I Live With Narcissism

A life 2023

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People Tend To See This Disorder In Every Bastard: How I Live With Narcissism
People Tend To See This Disorder In Every Bastard: How I Live With Narcissism
Video: People Tend To See This Disorder In Every Bastard: How I Live With Narcissism
Video: Narcissism? Borderline Personality Disorder? This May Imitate Both... 2023, February
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People with narcissistic personality disorder beware, books are written about them, they are discussed in special publics. Everyone knows that such people are prone to manipulation and rarely show empathy. But few people know what these people themselves think about themselves and how they live. Tanya is thirty-seven years old, a year ago she found out that she had a narcissistic personality disorder, and decided to try to change her life. She writes about her successes in the telegram channel "Atypical Narcissism". We asked her about her experience of psychotherapy and what it is like to be a narcissist.

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Yulia Dudkina

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Before, I could not even think that I was one of those who are called daffodils. On the contrary, I, like everyone else, was wary of such people, condemned them. She tried to stay away from those she suspected of narcissism. I remember learning the story of my friend - she lived for a long time with a partner who was diagnosed with narcissistic disorder.

From the outside, it seemed that everything was fine in their pair. But then it turned out that most of the relationship was hidden from everyone. In fact, the partner tried to control my girlfriend all the time, to limit her communication with other people, to force her to live by his rules. Things got worse when they moved abroad together. She turned out to be completely dependent on him - both financially and socially.

He began to establish bans, make scandals, began to resort to physical violence, moral bullying - in general, in this story there was everything bad that can happen in a relationship between a man and a woman. When they broke up, I reassured my friend, said that her ex was a monster, condemned his behavior. I was sure that any narcissist is a monster. And I also knew for sure that I was not at all like the man who tortured my girlfriend.

About a year ago, I discovered that I myself have narcissistic personality disorder. My psychotherapist told me about it. In fact, narcissists rarely find themselves in therapy. As a rule, we believe that we are wiser than others, that our opinion is the only correct one. If someone needs to work with a specialist, so definitely not for us. If the narcissist has problems or a conflict situation, those around him are to blame. I could live my whole life with these beliefs and never know that my picture of the world is distorted. Everything changed almost by accident.

As far back as I can remember, all my relationships with the opposite sex were pretty unhealthy. They could develop in only two scenarios. First, I find the vulnerabilities of a man, put pressure on them, start to manipulate, and then I get bored and I strike a decisive blow at the most painful point. The same situation has been repeated many times in my life. The man said: "I will not give you to anyone." I began to cheat on him, and then turned everything over as if my partner was to blame himself - after all, it was he who "gave me". We parted, and in such a way that in every such situation I looked like a victim.

I began to remember my past actions

and rethink them. From some

I was horrified

The second scenario - I meet a person who manipulates even more subtly than me, in whom there is even less empathy and whom I cannot push through, no matter how hard I try. And this person begins to torment me. This is how I started dating a diagnosed sociopath one day and my life turned into a nightmare.

I never knew how to recognize my own emotions - I did not distinguish sadness from anxiety, resentment from fear. Until I was twenty-five, I didn't even know how to cry. Once a close friend of mine came to visit me on March 8 and died under the wheels of a car. I didn't cry even then. I didn't seem to know the pain, or at least I felt it muffled. So in those relationships, I did not realize that the person was hurting me.But, although I cannot notice my own emotions and analyze them, my body can do it. I started to get sick, I developed physiological symptoms of panic attacks. I began to twitch, I lost my appetite. I went around all the doctors, and they did not find anything special. Then I was advised to see a psychotherapist.

The first specialist was a woman who had some problems with her husband. Although psychotherapists usually do not tell patients about themselves, I quickly managed to ask her about everything that interested me and find the pain point. She was afraid that her partner would leave her and she would be left alone. I began to put pressure on this little by little, to lead her to the idea that her fears would come true. I've done this all my life - just to look at the person's reaction. As if she was experimenting on people.

After a couple of months, I realized that we would not continue to work with this specialist: how can she help me if I manipulate her? I went to a new psychotherapist, and everything turned out differently with him. During the first session, he asked: “Do you wear glasses so as not to communicate with people? Do you think that they are not worthy of you? " I rushed to object, they say, I'm not at all like that. But in my heart I realized that he was right.

I tried to probe it further. For example, I tried to lead to a conversation about colleagues. I realized a long time ago: people who doubt their professionalism, at any mention, begin to criticize their colleagues. But my new therapist did not react to the provocation. Even when I told him: “In general, I think all psychologists are dumb,” he reacted calmly.

From the very first meetings, he carefully led me to realize my peculiarity. For example, he listed the typical symptoms of narcissistic disorder: a sense of their own exclusiveness, dependence on the admiration of others, the habit of manipulating. He asked me to think about which of my acquaintances possessed these features. He also offered to take psychological tests, read articles. And one day I began to guess: this is about me. He confirmed that it was.

Of course, at first I denied everything. I thought: "Now it's just fashionable to suspect that everyone has narcissism." Then she was angry at the world around her: "There is something wrong with you, that's why I became like that." Then she fell into apathy. After going through all the stages of acceptance, I began to remember my past actions and rethink them. I was horrified by some.

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For example, I remembered how, in my student years, I met a guy who had a rather domineering father. It was very important for me to make my father leave his life, stop playing an important role. At first I insisted that this guy and I begin to live separately. Then she made it so that he left the family business. I can’t say that my partner’s dad did not please me in some way or prevented me from living. It was just important for me to control the young man completely, to make sure that he had no one and nothing left but me.

Control is generally very important for people like me. Everything in the world should happen our way. What we cannot control scares us - as much as anything can scare us at all. For example, I am very uncomfortable flying in an airplane, because my life there does not depend on me and I cannot control anything.

The longer I went to therapy, the more I understood about my past and relationships with people. I realized that I was always manipulating friends and acquaintances and did not even think about it. For me, this was the only, most natural way of communication. For example, when I had a relationship with some young man, I deliberately disappeared from all radars for a while. If a person found me on his own, tried to find out the reasons, asked me to return - it means that I could manipulate this person, he was mine. That kind of reaction was fine with me. If a person himself stopped looking for a meeting with me, I understood: he is not so vulnerable, it will not work to twist a rope out of him.

If I was friends with a person, I should have been the only light in the window for him. I was terribly jealous of every friend or girlfriend, I wanted this person not to communicate with anyone but me. If my friend didn’t want to behave my way, I arranged the punishment with silence: I was offended and disappeared. I did everything so that the person himself felt guilty, realized how much he offended me and made me suffer, began to repent, follow me and ask for forgiveness. After such punishments, many began to behave differently - the way I wanted. With those who did not push, our friendship did not develop.

I have never been told that I manipulate people and behave dishonestly. There was simply no one to do it - there were only those people around me who admired me, saw an ideal in me.

One of the main problems with narcissists is that they don't take their "bad" side. A man can cheat on his wife, but still consider himself "good." He will sincerely believe: he is not at all a deceiver, he has not at all abused the trust of another person. They just pushed him to it, it so happened, his wife forced him. In everything that happens to him, anyone can be to blame - just not himself. This is why most narcissists never reach a therapist, and if they do, they don’t stay in therapy for long.

I was lucky: I had the strength and courage to engage in self-reflection. I realized that my behavior does not correspond to my own beliefs. That it is dishonest to manipulate, to turn people around, and I would like to change. Unfortunately, there is no cure for narcissistic personality disorder. When meeting a new person, my first impulse is still to find his sore point. I still don't quite understand what empathy is, and I can't feel the pain of others. But some changes are still taking place.

We - narcissists - are very good at capturing other people's complexes. For example, a girl from childhood was told that she was fat. She heard this from her parents and closest people. Let's say she grew up and met me one day. I begin to probe her and make a joke about her figure. If a girl has armor, if she has worked through this problem and built internal boundaries, she will most likely smile and move away from me. But a vulnerable person after my offensive comment, on the contrary, will reach out to me. He will see something dear in this - he will feel his pet peeve. He will laugh at my offensive jokes and will reach out to me. If a person has at least one unresolved problem, sooner or later I will discover it. The more such vulnerabilities a person has, the more he risks becoming a victim.

Since the beginning of therapy, I've started paying more attention to how I test others. For example, recently a colleague awkwardly threw a piece of paper into the trash can, and I remarked: "Yes, you won't be hired in the NBA." He did not react: he smiled out of politeness and went about his business. But I analyzed my behavior, admitted to myself that my joke was not just a joke, I went and apologized to this person.

I don’t know exactly what caused my narcissistic disorder. Maybe this is due to the fact that in my childhood we often moved and I could not find friends. Then my psyche invented an adaptive mechanism that helped me to exist apart from others. But maybe something happened in an even earlier childhood, and I don't remember it. Or just this feature fell to me in the genetic lottery. I will probably never find a reason. Although I'm not even sure what to look for. The main thing is that now I try to behave differently.

I still don't quite understand what empathy is, and I can't feel the pain of others.

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When I decided to start changing my life, it turned out to be very difficult to stop manipulating people. I just didn't know how to explain to a person what I needed without manipulation. I had real tantrums, I felt helpless.Sometimes it seemed to me that I was becoming a soft, real slobber. I even wanted to leave therapy. But still she stayed.

I know that the urge to feel the waters is a symptom, part of my diagnosis. Most likely, he will always be with me. But I can learn to control my behavior, start behaving more ethically. It seems to me that I am already starting to succeed. Although I didn't learn empathy, I learned how to determine when a person needs support, what to ask him about, and what to say to make him feel better. What other people do on a whim, as something that goes without saying, I do according to the scheme, is rational. And yet I see that others have become more comfortable with me. I even made an amazing discovery: before, people did not sit next to me in transport, did not recognize the way from me. As if the instinct of self-preservation pushed them away from me. Maybe they noticed something in my facial expressions. In the last month, people, on the contrary, reached out to me. Recently, in a crowd, a woman chose me to ask directions.

I'm also learning to recognize my own emotions. I have always known that I have some difficulties with this. But she never explained it with narcissism. I preferred to think that I had a "masculine" logic, and to be proud of it. Misogyny further fueled my sense of my own exclusivity: "All women are like women, and I am a queen." In addition, I also work in IT - this area is ideal for people like me. You feel advanced, as if you understand more than others.

So far, I have only succeeded in one thing - I have learned to define anxiety. I have a cardboard circle with a spectrum of emotions - they are used to develop emotional intelligence in children. Every time I think that I am feeling something, I look at this circle for a long time and think: “Am I experiencing a pleasant or unpleasant feeling? Is it related to an event from the past or from the future? " So, very slowly, I find the right emotion. This is painstaking work. But now I know: anxiety is that strange feeling that I get when I drive a car towards the city where my ex-boyfriend lives.

People who

I can manage, I'm not interested. People who can control me are dangerous

Soon after I started going to therapy, I started a Telegram channel. At first, I conducted it rather for myself, in order to consolidate successes and better remember what we are talking about with a specialist. But then I got readers and feedback. It became a kind of outlet. Narcissists today are a bit of a horror story. Everyone knows that it is better to stay away from these people, that they can spoil the psyche of others. Announcing to acquaintances that you are a narcissist is like confessing homosexuality if you have a conservative patriarchal family. You will cause shock, rejection, fear. I would like to have some kind of channel where you can talk about your peculiarity, maybe even find other reflective narcissists who go through something similar.

People often tend to see the narcissist in every bastard. If a man hits his wife, then he certainly has a narcissistic disorder. This is pointless and unfair. A person may well be just a bastard, but not a narcissist. He can also be a narcissist, but not a bastard. Although there are probably few really nice people among us.

Many have narcissistic traits. Someone likes to manipulate others, someone is looking for someone else's admiration or deceiving in order to attract attention. But not every narcissist is a person with a disorder. It is possible to talk about narcissistic personality disorder only if these traits prevail in life, determine it and narcissistic behavior is difficult to control.

Someone writes and asks me to determine if they have a narcissistic disorder. But you can't make a diagnosis by an avatar - I can advise what to look for.To find out something specific, you need to go to a specialist. In addition, I noticed that many people write to me that they suspect narcissists in their partners, friends, parents. But few people ask the question: do I have these symptoms? Am I manipulating people? Do I consider myself special?

Even though I run the channel, I do not tell many of my acquaintances and friends about my peculiarity. I know that my mother will not take me seriously and will say that this is some kind of "exaggeration" or the psychotherapist "convinced" me. Some of my acquaintances will most likely turn their backs on me after such a confession. And yet there are a few people to whom I opened myself. I have a friend who supports me in everything, helps me to recognize emotions. She calls me "her flower."

I still have difficulties finding a partner. The people I can manage are not interesting to me. People who can control me are dangerous. The therapist and I decided that for a while, I'd better give up the relationship altogether. But sometime in the future I would like to know what it is like when you and your partner are equal, do not try to change each other and accept each other for who you are.

I also don't understand very well what love is. Yes, I have positive feelings towards people. But it is more like the emotions of a child who has received a new toy. He likes her, he is glad that she belongs to him, and he will be very nervous if someone tries to take her away. But he would not refuse another toy, better and newer, especially since this one can get bored. And yet, in my life there are people who are dear to me, and I would like to save them. I find it difficult to describe my emotions in relation to them. It would be more correct to say this: with them my life is much better than without them.

Illustrations: Anya Oreshina

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