What do you do if you think that you may be a Narcissist, Overt or Covert or Otherwise?

“Hi, I took a study and found out I am a covert narcissist. Do you think there is anything I can do about this to change or is it hopeless? You can be honest.”

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This question was asked of me by Anonymous (on tumblr). It’s not the first time someone has asked me something along these lines. In fact the main reason I started blogging about narcissism is due to a question like this.

A friend told me that their therapist had suggested that they may have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), and this friend wanted my opinion on whether I thought they could be a narcissist. They asked me for my opinion because I had spoken about my parents being narcissists. They also asked me to be honest…

Being honest with this friend proved to be a turning point in my life.

However being honest with them came later. On this particular occasion I opted for a more diplomatic tactic.

I told them that the fact that they entertained the notion that they could be a narcissist was proof that they probably were not a narcissist as those with NPD tend to be the last person on Earth who think they could be a narcissist – everyone else is a narcissist except them. I was sharing a common belief (myth) about it. A common belief about it which I agreed with to a certain extent because I grew up with narcissists and that’s how they view the world – everyone else is the problem, which is the cause of all their problems, they are never the problem and can’t even entertain the idea that they may be causing problems for others because of the problem they have (mostly with themselves which they project onto others) which causes others to create problems and be the problem for them.

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NPD - treatment ?.

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Perhaps the more honest assessment of what I did would be to say that I reacted to this friend’s question and the subtext of it – which was that they wanted me to reassure them that they were not a narcissist and did not have NPD and their therapist was wrong (and the therapist should be dumped because they were a ‘toxic’ person – a solution and conclusion many of those with NPD reach when they enter therapy – no wonder therapists who have had dealings with narcissists are so pessimistic about the treatment of NPD) – in the way that I had been trained to do by my Covert Narcissist mother.

To be even more honest – I may have been trained to react in a certain way to please a narcissist, but I chose to follow through on my training. I could excuse my behaviour by saying that I was not consciously aware of how well I had been trained (being a victim of a narcissist… is a narcissistic experience of sorts which can become… a personal experience of what it is like to have NPD, wherein the victim of a narcissist may become the victimiser, the narcissist, because of all being a victim of a narcissist entails – I both love and hate paradoxes), which is partly true, but… it is also partly untrue.

By the time I was interacting with this friend I was consciously aware of the degree to which I was a narcissist-enabler due to the 24/7 nurture my nature received from narcissists (who were that way because of the nurture their nature received) which shaped the course my nature took in developing itself.

Shortly before this interaction I had had a conversation with myself where I wondered if I actually had the ability to turn people into narcissists. That’s a rather grandiose and narcissistic thought, however it isn’t without foundation. It’s not as irrational as it seems. An event occurred which prompted this observation whereby someone who had seemed to not be a narcissist turned into an egomaniac thanks to me… over-stroking their ego (road to hell – good intentions) until they believed how great I was telling them that they were. The results of my ego-stroking them shocked me out of a pattern of behaviour and made me take a long hard look at myself and how I behaved with other people – was I the cause of what I experienced, was I the creator of my own version of hell – however it took a while for the situation and its consequences (which rippled on and on) to sink into to my rather thick head and figure things out in a more logical manner. I knew some of the thought was delusional, but not all of it… which was which?

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situational awareness

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I am digressing, perhaps to avoid answering the question. But I’m not avoiding it, rather I am answering it through a digression. Giving you some details which may seem extraneous but aren’t – these details are giving you some insight into the person to whom you’ve addressed the question, and may make you assess whether I am the right person of whom to ask such a question, as well as where I may be coming from when I answer you.

Now I will answer it directly.

First – Link me to this ‘study’ if it is available online. The study – who created it and what is the ‘true’ purpose of it? What questions did you answer or what were the tests which you took which resulted in your finding out that you were a Covert Narcissist?

Secondly – Such a test, why did it leave you with the question – Do you think there is anything I can do about this to change or is it hopeless? – without answering it for you? This sounds like an irresponsible study – so I would question its results. A responsible study would have given you options based on your results. It would have given you a safe place to go to find further information based on your results. A place which would allow you to understand what to do next, what options were available to you should you find, as you say you did, that you are a narcissist.

A place like this – Overcoming Narcissism, One Day at a a Time

Thirdly – What do you think? How do you feel about it? Much of what goes on behind the ‘facade’ of a narcissist is similar to what all humans experience. Just because you’re a narcissist (or may be a narcissist) does not mean that you don’t get the same rights which apply to all humans (and non-narcissists). The ability to change and a sense of hopelessness about being able to change… we all have access to those things. We also all have narcissistic traits and behaviours. Narcissism is a phase of development of all humans. It has a healthy side to it as well as an unhealthy side, as all traits, behaviours and phases of development have. Nothing is black or white… there are many shades in between.

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judgment.

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So be careful that you aren’t diagnosing yourself with a problem which is actually not a problem (or not your problem but someone else’s). Being human and being alive is complicated, don’t expect it to be simple. And if you think you’re the only complex being on Earth… think again. We’re all a mess… some people hide it better than others and then make others feel bad about it.

Fourthly – Want me to be honest? Can you trust me to be honest? And what is honesty? Didn’t Billy Joel say it was such a lonely word?

There’s something I have an issue with which I’ve addressed before in my posts but which I then avoid because I know it might ‘trigger’ reactions which I really don’t want to deal with. I can be very cowardly, and can make my cowardice seem brave simply by being dishonest in a seemingly honest way.’To be honest (tbh)’ is the precursor to many a less than honest statement, just as ‘trust me’ is a red flag when someone says it… although not always. When such things are said… it is often worthwhile to pause and reflect. Think and think again. For yourself. And in other ways.
In some ways… we’re all narcissists… NPD is an extreme of that, a position on a spectrum (one which changes depending on the ’NPD’ diagnoser – expert, professional or otherwise).

Empathy – this is the clincher apparently which draws a line between narcissists and non-narcissists. However trying to define what empathy is… depends very much on who is defining it, usually based on themselves – which kind of negates empathy as it is the ability to see things from the perspective of another (while suspending your own perspective and judgment based on your perspective – which is a nigh on impossible thing to do).

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True Empathy.

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A tidbit for you – my first experience of empathy was taught to me by a narcissist – a covert narcissist, at that. I was a child being a child (children are natural narcissists, it is normal… it only becomes ‘abnormal’ when the child becomes an adult yet is still being a child inside of an adult – but even then, the ability to ‘grow-up’ is still available), wrapped up in myself and my experience of life and others, and I was told, and scolded for it, that I was being selfish. I was then lectured at length. I was indeed being selfish… and was made to see the error of my ways. I was ‘hating’ on someone because they appeared to me to be ‘hating’ on me. The narcissist gave me insight into the perspective of the other person – they had very narcissistic reasons for doing this, which would benefit them, because what they were pointing out was all about them in the end, however… – which I took on board and which led to this person whom I ‘hated’ and saw as a ‘hater’ becoming my best friend.

Once empathy was activated, I realised that the ‘hate’ between us was both of us being defensive, walls up with swords drawn, because we both wanted the other one to ‘like’ us but we thought we ‘disliked’ each other and acted (reacted) accordingly. That was a very valuable lesson… which I have consistently kept learning (because that’s life, being human… and we forget things but can always be reminded of them. relearn a lesson learned, make the same mistakes and level-up from that to make those mistakes again, but differently, and learn a different version of the same lesson – it’s copacetic).

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essons to learn....etc.

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In conclusion – Your situation is not hopeless… and you can change. It’s up to you.

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy is recommended.

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CBT - cognitive behavioral therapyvia Self Help – Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.

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Being consciously aware of yourself, your traits, behaviour, nature and the effect of nurture on your nature, and many other tangents and digressions from that, is key. Once you’re consciously aware of yourself… why you behave the way that you do, etc… you also become consciously aware of others, and why they behave the way that they do, etc. This is useful because… amongst other things… it may alert you to the motives hidden behind a study which helps you to find out that you’re a covert narcissist but then leaves you hopeless once you’ve found that out – perhaps that study was created by a narcissist or a Covert Narcissist (did you consider that?). And perhaps you should get a second, third, fourth and fifth opinion… but not from me. I was raised by narcissists which means – based on popular opinion and personal queries which often result in uncomfortable answers, that I could be a narcissist myself.

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Being raised by narcissists is similar to being raised by wolves – What, were you raised by wolves?

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Dear Anonymous… I hope this has helped in answering your question… my question to you is: How honest are you being with me? And how honest are you being with yourself? And… what is your measure of things such as honesty, that of yourself and of others, like me, and… of studies such as the one which revealed to you that you may be a Covert Narcissist?

Pause… reflect….broken_mirror_by_evapechmarie-d4w4xi2broken mirror by EvaPechmarie

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Communication… is as complex as we are.

People have always strangely (according to me) felt that I might be able to understand them, be empathic and perhaps even sympathetic of them… I’m not as certain as they seem to be of my ability to do that, that which they require of me… and I’m even less certain of their ability to understand me, to empathise and perhaps even be sympathetic of me -I don’t ask for it which may be why they ask it of me… spaces are quickly filled, but what fills them… I’m uncertain… of many things..

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