Narcissistic Personal Disorder (NPD) is a personality disorder defined in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-IV). This is the book that mental health professionals use to diagnose different forms of mental illness as well as personality disorders.
Narcissists come in all shapes, sizes, ages, genders and professions. They are fathers, mothers, sisters, brothers, daughters, sons, boyfriends, girlfriends, members of your church and people you work with. Over the years, I have had the misfortune to encounter many of these parasites in both my personal and professional life. The only thing worse than the chaos, drama and pain they create is their total indifference and lack of remorse about it.
Even though a Narcissist is a Narcissist, many professional feel that they are not all created equal. Some focus on three main classifications within this personality disorder, although the differences are mainly shades of the same color–and frankly, it doesn’t matter which type of Narcissist is in your life, they all do tremendous amounts of damage. Once you see the red flags of a Narcissism, I strongly encourage you to cut off all contact or go “gray rock”.
In your search for understanding what the hell just happened to you, you might have come across several terms that have to do with Narcissism:
Malignant Narcissists is a term used to describe a Narcissist that is anywhere on the spectrum of Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Some professionals like to view Narcissism as a spectrum with “generic” Narcissistic Personality Disorder at the more mild end, Malignant Narcissism in the middle and Sociopath/Psychopaths as the most extreme. While there is perhaps some validity in the spectrum theory of Narcissism, I’ve yet to find a Narcissist who doesn’t have character traits of a socio/psychopath. All Narcissists are highly unpredictable, and due to their complete lack of remorse and empathy, can easily jump from “mildly destructive” behaviors to full-out highly dangerous, even lethal, behavior at the bat of an eye. So please don’t feel relief if you only have a “mild” Narcissist in your life. They are all very dangerous, and the emotional, financial, and physical damage they can cause is like something out of a Lifetime TV Movie.
While all Narcissists tend to use sex as a weapon (rushing intimacy and bringing their victim closer), Cerebral Narcissists tend to cut off or dramatically dwindle down their sexual behavior once their victim (aka Narcissistic Supply) has been achieved. It is not uncommon for a Cerebral Narcissist to gain a lot of weight and quit caring about their appearance in order to avoid having sex (becoming hyposexual). Their main forms of preferred sexual release are impersonal: either through masturbation or prostitutes. Instead, Cerebral Narcissists are more focused on their intelligence, and people’s perception of their intelligence.
Somatic Narcissists are more focused on their body. You would find this type of Narcissist at the plastic surgeon’s office, the gym, as well as wearing the latest fashions. They are very appearance based, and are often covered in status symbols and expensive clothing. Somatic Narcissists enjoy sex and are hypersexual and are often the ones that are discovered on different dating websites, Craigslist and the local singles bar looking for sex. Because sex has very little to do with attraction, and more to do with conquest, they don’t have a specific preference in a sexual partner: all ages, genders, nationalities, and sizes are targets.
Escaping the clutches of a Narcissist isn’t easy. They will tell you everything you want (and need) to hear in order to keep you as their supply. They will appeal to both your pity and your hope that they will change given enough therapy, rehab, chances, or time at church. If this approach doesn’t work, they will turn their issues back on you. They will manipulate you into feeling crazy, questioning if perhaps you are the one with the problem–that maybe you do have issues with trust, or with men, or with committment or attachment. Or they may even flat-out deny that there is any issue to begin with–even though you have proof of their bad behavior!
Please hear me when I say that they will not change. They only get worse with time, as they are constantly refining their game.
My goal is to educate, empower, and inspire other abuse victims in understanding more about what happened to them (and how to prevent it from happening again), as well as how to go on and rebuild an amazing life.
Even though I have had a lot of "in the trenches" experience with highly manipulative people of all kinds, I consider myself to be a student of Narcissism, mindset, motivation, healing, and life in general, and am by no means an expert on any of these topics.
It's for these reasons, that when you are reading my information that I encourage you to hold to what helps, and let the rest go.
Latest posts by Dana (see all)
- Episode 69: What are healthy boundaries? - September 25, 2017
- Episode 68:My boyfriend doesn’t care about my feelings. Is he a narcissist? - September 22, 2017
- Episode 67:Do you have any tips for how to get my narcissist friend out of my life? - September 20, 2017