The Narcissist as One of Us

Hello, Friends; Aunt Alex is back from the front lines, with stories to tell and observations to share. And the first one is about a well-meaning but not-too-bright-in-the-bulb guy named Jeff.

Jeff isn’t a narcissist. Jeff’s a therapist, and he sees lots of different clients, including people involved in nasty relationships. Here’s what Jeff said, with a straight face: “You can’t be making narcissists out to be pathological. Narcissism is just another trait, on a continuum. Some have less, some have more, but it’s not really a personality disorder.”

It took Aunt Alex quite a bit of time to knock this dolt out and stuff his lifeless body down a storm sewer, but now that it’s done, let me set the record straight:

Continuum, my ass.

In normal, healthy people, some have more or less confidence, arrogance, self-love, self-loathing, lots of things. Some people are more empathic or less empathic. Some are big jerks or barely have a jerky day in their lives. But narcissists are not, I repeat, are not on a continuum of normal traits.

The key here is the empathy. Narcissists don’t have less empathy than the average person, or way less empathy than average. THEY HAVE NO ABILITY TO EMPATHIZE AT ALL. That empathizing part of their brain isn’t shrunken; it’s absent. They can’t even fake it very well, for very long. This isn’t on a continuum of normal, because there’s NOTHING normal about having a barren absence of empathy. It’s like having a continuum of colors, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, and violet, and on that continuum the narcissist is North. It doesn’t even make any sense to put him anywhere on a continuum where he has no relationship to the thing being measured and compared.

Jeff was exhibiting an irritating tendency one sometimes sees in the helping professions, and that’s to cut the narcissist a break. To “find health” or “seek out strengths”. To give hope where there is none, and where hope only makes the hurt drag out longer and the devaluation go on and on. This isn’t cool. There are mental health professionals, helpers, coaches who are worth their weight in gold, who know that some people are abusive and broken beyond repair, and know that it’s OK for everyone else to stay away from them. And there are others who really need to shove their concepts about narcissists down in the storm sewer along with Jeff.


Filed under Uncategorized

4 Responses to The Narcissist as One of Us

  1. Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaw you rock!!! I got mad at my therapist because she would allow my N to manipulate and use her against me. All of these feel-good self-proclaimed professionals are starting to p*ss me off.

  2. Viv

    Yer, that’s also been my experience of therapists they would rather work on manipulating the one’s who can be changed i.e. the victims (because they have empathy) and leave the narcissists well alone because they know they haven’t got a cat in hell’s chance of changing a narcissist. Unfortunately this only adds to the pain and anguish of the victims who are abused once by the narcissist and again by the therapist who devalues and dismisses their normal human reactions to living in the toxic ambience of a narcissist. Trust your own gut instincts and don’t put all your faith in therapists who are very reluctant to look into the abyss of the narcissists mindset no matter how much money you are willing to pay them. It’s much safer to their own mental health just to tell you that you are overreacting, exaggerating, imagining etc etc than to face the full horror of the chess moves of the narcissist. x

  3. Lucy

    I tactfully pointed my man in the direction of a mental health nurse and (to my surprise, and contrary to another common wisdom on narcissism) he went.
    He attended sessions with her, and later a psychologist, psychiatrist, and a mental wellbeing group for years – and really enjoyed the attention!
    Early on, he invited me to a session with the mental health nurse – and I found it really weird and unsettling. I was struck by how “fond” was her manner toward him, and I recall thinking: “It’s as though she’s infatuated with him.”

    A year later, after I walked out – she moved in!
    He used to devalue her by saying, “I don’t think she has the answers to anything, anyway.”
    Perhaps he was right!

    Two things I’d say about that, though. I was grateful to have the mental health services involved. Rightly or wrongly, I felt somewhat protected by their presence (he could be scary. He was paranoid, so you can’t tell me it’s not pathological). And my getaway went smoothly.

    Also, over the years, he blossomed under her influence. He “sought out his strengths”, did some study, has published some stuff.

    So, each to their own. She cut him a break and she definitely brought out the best in him – but I’ll bet she paid a heavy price, one I wouldn’t be willing to pay again.

  4. Christina

    I’m so glad you brought this issue up. The “Jeffs” of the counseling arena have some narcissism going on themselves…or their heads are so completely up their butts that they are in total darkness. Traditional therapy does not allow for things such as morals, conscience, evil. What narcissists do is evil, so many in the helping professions refuse to see narcissism. Also, in their own narcissistic way, some therapists refuse to believe there is anyone they can’t “help”, or anyone who can manipulate them-some of them are actually “silent partners” who enjoy siding with the N and watching the victims suffer! Always remember that a therapist works for you, not the other way around. If they aren’t helping you, fire them.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *