What Is NPD?

I’m going to start today’s blog with some foundational articles that highlight how you might recognize a person with NPD.

This page starts off with some basic info and goes into good detail about how people with NPD act and react.  And this site (I can’t find the author) goes into even greater detail about the characteristics of people with NPD.  I didn’t fully read the second article, to be honest, because by the time I found it, I was depressed enough.

When I first read this survey, written by Dr. Karyl McBride, I felt the first stirrings that my mother might have NPD.  With a little over 30 questions I found it a very comprehensive guide into narcissists, without sounding angry or finger-pointing.

Now, it’s key to remember that not all characteristics will show up in every narcissist.  I’m guessing that has something to do with the article I shared last month about the two different kinds of narcissists.  But, as with all humans, it’s also possible that each individual is just a mish-mash of traits, and that there’s no rhyme or reason.

In my particular case, the questions in the survey that hit home (to varying degrees) were numbers 1, 2, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 16, 23, 27, & 30.  Since these are the ones that resonated the strongest with me, those will be the topics for my blogs.  There are some that seem to work in tandem in my case, so I’ll discuss those in the same blog.

So, on to points 1 & 2 . . .

  1. When you discuss your life issues with your mother, does she divert the discussion to talk about herself?
  2. When you discuss your feelings with your mother, does she try to top the feeling with her own?

The first instance I remember of this happening was when she and I discussed my father molesting me.  Being such a large part of my childhood, the topic came up often during my teen years.  And nearly every time, without fail, my mother would say “Your father (or “that man,” depending on how angry she was at him at the time) could not have hurt me more than by doing that to you.”

Now, I completely understand that both she and my brother were affected by the situation, too (how could they not be?), but for her to say what she did accomplished a couple of things:

First, it allowed her to turn the attention away from me and my reactions to the experience and put the focus on her and how she’d been wronged.  When done repeatedly, this effectively taught me that my pain wasn’t the important part of this situation . . . HER pain was.  She made sure I had therapy, which was good, but I eventually stopped talking about this topic with her at all.

Secondly, this statement implied that my father intentionally set out to hurt my mother.  That, somewhere in his head he thought “I’m really mad at her, so how can I get back at her?  I know!  I’ll hurt one of our kids . . . now, what would be the worst thing I could do?  I’ve got it!  I’ll sexually molest my own daughter!  Yeah, that’ll show [my ex-wife]!”  I’m not making excuses for my father’s actions, but I honestly don’t believe he put that much thought into the situation.

There have been several other cases over the years where I would start discussing some emotional breakthrough I was having (small or large), and somehow my mother was going through the exact same breakthrough!  So, we stopped talking about my revelation and how I was growing, and began, instead, to discuss her emotional growth.

#9 also applies somewhat here:

When something happens in your life (accident, illness, divorce) does your mother react with how it will affect her rather than how you feel?

When I discovered that I had a prolactinoma (a non-cancerous tumor attached to my pituitary gland) back in 1989, I called to tell her about it shortly after the doctor’s visit.  I was still in shock after hearing the doctor say “You’re not pregnant.  You have a tumor in your brain (it’s not cancer), and you need to see an endocrinologist,” and gave her the same spiel the doctor had given me.  Well, she freaked out (as did another friend of mine), had tons of questions (most of which I didn’t have answers for yet), and decided to travel to where I was living at the time so she could attend the doctor’s appointment with me.

Now, one could argue that she did those things out of concern for me and my well-being (I am her child, after all), but again, this kind of reaction essentially made it so that I had to put my own feelings aside and talk her down off the ledge; basically “it’s all about her.”

Looking back, these were some of my most vivid memories of growing up with her, and the places where I felt the most anger.  I understand that she had her own feelings for each of these occasions in my life, but it got exhausting to constantly hear her blow things out of proportion, or to have my thoughts cut short so she could be the main focus of the discussion.

Tune in next month for another installment of this touchy subject.


2 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Trackback: A Different Reality | Droppings From the Mind of Alyx
  2. Trackback: Wrapping It Up | Droppings From the Mind of Alyx

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