Wow! Lot’s of Action!!

There has been a lot of action about some of the topics I’ve posted about. I was going to address some of what Cheri had to say early on in a post I started but didn’t finish. I understand the need to believe there is something greater at work when dealing with someone with a mental illness. But it’s my opinion that people who run the spectrum of personality disorders from NPD, to Borderline to Anti-Social Personality Disorder are devoid of empathy. I don’t believe they “volunteer” to be the bad guys. I believe they lack empathy for a variety of reasons, some environmental due to early childhood development, some have physiological problems and others from a spiritual immaturity.

Dealing with someone who has NPD, Borderline personality disorder or Anti-Social Personality disorder can be more than trying it can literally be dangerous. They are often violent and it’s my opinion that after trying everything one can to help them (if they are a relative or close friend) but they refuse to admit their actions, apologize or show the slightest bit of empathy towards you their target, then it’s your lesson to create a boundary. Sometimes that boundary is cutting them out of your life entirely. 

If the person without empathy goes through their life taking advantage, using and exploiting others without any consequences, then how are they supposed to grow? They are like children and have to understand there are consequences to their actions. Their spiritual development is in peril and the targets life is at stake if the target does not remove themselves from the situation. 

I think Cheri’s perspective very much illustrates my point having to do with New Age ideas which as someone pointed out are actually not so new. However they are new because the New Age has taken ancient esoteric ideas and modified them to fit an illusion. Now instead of years of studying ancient texts and philosophy one reads a book and becomes an expert. But the truth is our universe is very complex and can not be boiled down into little crumpet sized bites of information, ever. And more important is that “New Age,” ideology emphasizes the positive and ignores the negative. But we can not actually get to the positive side and operate in the light without examining the darkness by facing our fears and demons with realistic understanding of who we are as a person and then learning to accept and love ourself both shadow and light. Always knowing and keeping in check our dark sides, because we all have them, and anyone who claims they don’t is probably suffering from a personality disorder, unable to take responsibility for their actions, and having to make it appear to themselves that they are 100% pure goodness because they have deep seated feelings of inadequacy that they are not dealing with.

No one is perfect. Even Jesus Christ lost his s*it at the temple on the money changers. I’m sure it was not one of his proudest moments. We all do things that hurt others either unconsciously or not. It is only those who refuse to accept this, that are the truly troubled people in our society. Statistics show that 4 percent of Americans are Sociopathic (anti-social personality disorder). New research indicates that about 6 percent of Americans (mostly men – something like 60 percent) have Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which was once thought to be much more rare. Here’s a link to recent findings: http://pn.psychiatryonline.org/cgi/content/full/43/15/38

And the percentage of Americans with Borderline Personality Disorder (more women than men in this case) and with about 2 percent of the population. Here’s a link to an article on BPD: http://az.nami.org/Template.cfm?Section=By_Illness&Template=/TaggedPage/TaggedPageDisplay.cfm&TPLID=54&ContentID=44780

Borderline Personality Disorder is more complicated as they almost always have co-occurring disorders, making it difficult to figure out exactly what’s going on. One thing that all three of these personality disorders have in common is a lack of empathy or really an inabilty to be empathic toward others. They relate to others as extensions of themselves, and get upset when the other person reminds them (by not exactly mirroring their feelings in that moment) they are their own separate human being. 

So we are talking about approximately 12 percent of the population have serious empathy disorders meaning they are not capable of feeling for others, therefore they have no guilt about doing wrong or very little guilt that they wash away with rationalization. 

Let’s be real here. When someone has no empathy it is very easy for them to do terrible things to others, murder, rape, child abuse, severe child neglect, all the worst things we see in human behavior are driven from this state, either in a temporary break from reality when someone is in a rage such as in the case of crime of passion. However most crimes are not committed by ordinary people who temporarily become so enraged they loose control. The vast amount of people who murder, destroy, steal, hurt and do what most religions call “evil” are done by those with an empathy deficit. Often these people make up excuses for their behavior, see themselves as victims or as above others and therefore justified in their actions. 

I have had the unfortunate experience of having a parent with one of these disorders, my other parent died when I was ten. And because I grew up with a parent with a severe empathy disorder I overcompensated and like poop I draw a lot of the empathy-less flies to me, because of my early childhood training dealing with someone like that. Los Angeles is also a NPD nest as everyone who believes themselves to be “special” gravitates toward tinsel town. So I have seen more than my fair share of people who lack empathy and seen the devastation they reek on others. Believe me there is nothing special about them other than the delusional world they make up for themselves to live in.

So to Cheri I’d like to say I hope you never have to experience anyone who has one of these terrible disorders because I’m quite sure if you did your feelings would change 180 degrees. After all it’s only the empathy-less person’s feelings that matter. Cheri, I’m hoping for your sake and those around you, that you are just being overly generous and kind hearted and not defending this group because you have an affinity for them, either because you are involved with someone with one of these devastating disorders, or are among the unfortunate who suffer from one of them. If you are involved with someone like this and are in the early stages of that relationship be very careful as these people can become extremely violent once they feel they have you. And if you are involved with someone with one of these disorders due to kinship, friendship or marriage, make sure to push them to get help – they can make progress. The earlier they get help the better their chances of recovery. Often however they don’t want help because their disorder doesn’t hurt them, it hurts others which of course isn’t much of a motivator because they don’t have compassion for others. Often it takes isolation from “loved ones” for those who are empathy challenged before they can realize they need help.

It literally does no good for others to prop up those with personality disorders or to become the long suffering victim of such people, as this only keeps them in perpetual spiritual and emotional stasis. 

Best wishes and many blessings to all the kind people out there,

Denise

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Wow! Lot’s of Action!!

11 thoughts on “Wow! Lot’s of Action!!

  1. pilgebump says:

    I would like to add my opinion. I believe that it is a bit misguided to make a blanket statement like folks with diagnosis “x” lack empathy. It would perhaps be more charitable and well, empathic, to say that all of us have blind spots. Areas where extremes of experience or proclivities of physiology (or combinations thereof) render us blind to another’s reality. I think you have illustrated that in your treatise.

  2. Jennifer says:

    Who is Cheri? I think that I missed something…

    But is seems to me that either the proportion of people with disorders rendering them with a lack of empathy must be much larger than estimated…

    …or maybe those happen to be many of the people in powerful governmental positions for the past 30 years…

    In any case, we have an entire society that is based on principles that lack empathy. If that were not true, we would have had healthcare for all of the people in our country years ago!

    So, would you consider that a borderline personality disorder society? 🙂

    Jennifer

  3. Cheri says:

    Cheri, here. I guess I’ve missed something, as well. (sigh) Way back when the original post began regarding this subject, it was referring to how every family seems to have someone with a mental condition that wreaks havoc on the family unit. I didn’t read the post as thoroughly as I should have obviously; I just skimmed over them before piping in with my own thoughts. Someone had written that these individuals are ‘pathetic’ and ‘diseased,’ and I added that they can’t all be categorized as that. I said when families are faced with these trying situations, it gives us an opportunity (in the midst of the chaos and fear) to muster up all of the compassion and understanding we can, just as we would with a family member suffering a physical condition, like cancer. I spoke from my own experience with a family member.

    The problem is that I didn’t realize we were only talking about severe narcissistic behavior in adults: where they are violent and know better, but they still act out, unremorseful. I thought we were talking about all families with all types of mental issues. Next thing I know, I’m dubbed ‘she who doesn’t know what she’s talking about,’ or the example of what not to say on this board. I’m told that I can’t know what I’m talking about, which is the farthest thing from the truth. (And, Denise, I’ll email you privately to explain that.) I’m made to feel like an inexperienced New Ager, when the truth is that I’m not a New Ager at all–experienced or not!

    What I said, and what I will continue to say, is that when we say people with mental problems like BPD are ‘diseased’ and ‘pathetic’ in a general sense, we set the mental health field back a century. The AAMR would have a field day with this one! Our words have to be chosen carefully, because they can be very damaging to many who don’t deserve it. At the time when I responded to that post, all I saw was ‘diseased’ and ‘pathetic’ without much explanation at all. I didn’t know Grace’s situation (and I’m very, very sorry for how awful it must have been). Had I known the entire string was ONLY supposed to be about severe narcissistic personalities and not mental illness in general like I thought it was, I would have stayed out of it and saved myself all the grief I’m taking for saying we have to be careful with words.

    There are too many variables in a discussion about mental health as it relates to abuse to expect us all to come to a unanimous agreement. There are varying degrees and types of mental illness, varying degrees to the abuse we’ve experienced at the hands of the mentally ill, varying personalities that have shaped each of our individual thoughts, and countless other variables. So I think we need to agree to occasionally disagree, at least on this one. None of us really, truly knows the full life story that led the others among us to say what we say.

    I failed in making my point that there’s a reason for everything, that we can learn lessons from caring for individuals who are mentally ill or physically impaired, and that we can’t characterize as broad a subject as mental illness with terms that set us back. My two posts were not referring to psychopaths or severe NPD as in adults who know better. They were in reference to a young child with a far less, though still painfully stressful, condition.

    My oldest daughter has worked at Cerebral Palsy and United Helpers for almost four years (she has a bachelor’s in community health), and she cares for extremely low-functioning patients of various mental illnesses to relatively high-functioning adults. She has come home with her face scratched and bruised from the former. When my jaw dropped as she walked in the door, she said, “Mom, this is a job hazard we’re all aware of when we take the job.” And she’s done it for years! She stepped in between her coworker (a new girl on the job) and a large adult male with a two-year-old mental capacity who was lunging at her coworker. Understanding and compassion. The individuals she cares for don’t choose to be that way (violent). Their minds stopped developing at two years of age.

    So all I said–and all that I keep being dragged unmercifully back into this conversation for–is that not every situation requires the same disdain or the same adjectives. We should just stop accusing each other of not knowing what we’re talking about.

  4. Carol says:

    Dear Cheri,

    I’m sorry you are upset by all the comments we have made. You are a kind, loving, compassionate person and have a right to voice your opinions based on your experiences like everyone else. So please, don’t be upset. I’m sure it is no one’s intention here to hurt you in any way.

    I do agree with some of the issues you raised. It is very easy to put people in a box and make sweeping generalisations and judgements. It takes much experience, reasearch and education to get a grip on mental illnesses and personality disorders. Even then, many more unanswered questions arise. As I have said before, no one is totally right or wrong and every situation differs from the next.

    I have met and known a number of people with mental illness and autism whether it be bipolar, schizophrenia, or aspergers who are VERY NICE people and VERY HARMLESS. They all have acknowledged their condition, sought help to manage their condition and live full, happy, healthy, integrated lives.

    On the other hand unfortunately, I have met and known people with NPD and also people with the above mental illnesses who also seem to have NPD. Wow . . . these ones are a real nightmare. One thing this group SEEM to have in common is an out of control, grandiose ego. I do wonder, and I am just surmising here, whether this is from lifetimes of not managing one’s ego ???? Who knows????

    One person I knew (the neighbour from hell) was using recreational drugs and alcohol to manage her conditions which only made things worse. It was like she was possessed by a demon and seemed to enjoy the attention that came her way from all the dramas she created. Blah! She turned the street upside down that’s for sure. Anyway, the real estate agent did not renew her rental lease. Sadly, she has two young children. She is one I would consider very dangerous and to be avoided at all costs. The only crime I committed in this scenario was being a good neighbour, and an understanding, compassionate friend. I’ve learned my lesson but, as I’ve said, every situation and person differs and I certainly would not turn my back on someone just because they have a mental illness or other condition. As I’ve said, some are harmless, some are dangerous and some sit somewhere inbetween.

    By the way, my brother has cerebral palsy. He is a very beautiful, happy soul and a very popular person.

    So Cheri, please don’t be upset. I appreciate your loving contribution to this blog.

    Take care.

    Love
    Carol

  5. Lisa says:

    I personally believe that those who were born to families in which one of the caretakers had narcissistic personality disorder have the same issues inside themselves, and will fight to the death if anyone says that to them. I am one of those people, and I was in mid-life before I realized that. I mean, how could I give what I did not get? Mirroring, nurturing, etc. We tend to identify ourselves as victims (and we certainly were as children) , and while we do a lot of work as owning our inner child within later in life, we fail to own the inner narcissist within. And believe me it’s there.

    In Enneagram theory, narcissists fall under the image umbrella, most specifically the 4 point. They suffer from existential alienation, perpetual shame and envy, a sense of entitlement and a tendency to creat melodrama. They also suffer from a constant sense of being invisable.

    It’s a very interesting cosmology.

    Also, I am a Drikung Kagyu Tibetan Buddhist, and karma is a very complex, intricate subject according to my teachers, really not worth pondering over. We have no idea what karma the child of that mother you mentioned, Denise, is working thru, nor the mother. All I can do as a practising buddha is send compassion and love to both.

    The Dalia Lama cried when Mao Tse-Tsung died. When asked if they were tears of joy, he said that they were tears of compassion, because he knew that Mao Tse-Tsung would be re-born in hell for the suffering he had caused millions. The Dalai Lama prays for his soul every day.

    Now THAT’s a mensch.

  6. Chris says:

    Just a thought about “New Age” philosophy and karma.

    A destructive mental condition whether brought on by a psychological trauma, genetics, or a physical injury, is always unfortunate. If it goes untreated by choice or is simply untreatable, the healthy person shouldn’t invest time in trying to change that which is unalterable. You might as well go to the beach everyday and try to stop the surf with your hands. Every night you will go home defeated, sad, and angry. Karma, if that is what you are concerned with is not always trying to teach you to be accommodating. Wisdom is not always nice. In fact it is most often cruel and unsympathetic New Age philosophy has created an apologetic society and we have grown weak because of it. If you are too feeble to preserve your own life and the life of your loved ones by allowing a destructive force to control your universe, then you’re not going to understand that you cannot hold back the tide with your hands, and you will remain defeated, sad and angry. In karmic terms, you will not grow.

    Just a thought.

  7. hopeandaplan says:

    I dont think these two points of view are irreconciliable, if I understand them correctly. As a person who is dealing with a motherinlaw, as well as others, who was diagnosed by my husband’s shrink with npd, yesterday — how timely is this topic! I think people who have a conscience, and are trying to do the spiritually right thing find it difficult to assess how to handle their own rage and frustration with these people. Not to mention the grief that you have as you try to healthfully reparent yourself. You have spent decades tolerating behaviors that you didnt know were unhealthy, and making excuses. This lead to a lifelong parade of these types, who you felt sorry for while they betrayed, and used you. But its interesting to see what seem like spiritual judgements thrown about at people who are struggling for their own survival. People with a conscience are trying to do the right thing. But their playbook is stacked against them. They have to assert and fight for their own boundaries first. The compassion can come afterwards. It’s like when you are on a plane and the cabin is decompressing. You have to put the air mask on yourself first and then place it on a child. NPD’s are emotionally immature, they are petty, envious, and will let you ruin yourself if you give them the power. For their family members and significant others doing the right thing can feel like the unkind thing, and the judgements here only make it harder for the person in that position. Doing the unkind thing in the short term is about showing and having compassion for myself. And after noone looking out for you its empowering and the healthy thing to do for everyone involved including the npd, who will keep pushing your boundaries because they can. It’s been a very interesting conversation. I am grateful to everyone for this discussion. Peace out!

  8. Juno says:

    “You have to put the air mask on yourself first and then place it on a child. NPD’s are emotionally immature, they are petty, envious, and will let you ruin yourself if you give them the power. For their family members and significant others doing the right thing can feel like the unkind thing, and the judgements here only make it harder for the person in that position. ”

    Well put, hopeandaplan. Both my ex and my dad are NPD and alcoholics, and I reached the end of my tether with my ex a few months ago after almost a year of him drinking his wages and going to the pub for up to 6 hours a day, 5 days a week, leaving me to look after our 2-year old. No, I was not starving. No, I had a roof over my head, but his verbal abuse, neglect, total lack of empathy, and increasingly erratic behaviour towards our son made me decide I was better off as a single mom. I grew up with an NPD dad and I unconsciously chose a man much like him because it was what I knew based on my patterning. I want my son to make better choices than I did and have a chance at healthier models, and no, I am not blaming it all on my ex because i enabled a lot of his behavior, I realie now. I don’t know about the rest of you with the NPD’s in your lives, but I just could not take living with him any longer — what’s the old saying? You get ouut of a realtionship when the pain from satying in it is worse than the pain of leaving…

    On a side note about choices, NPR’s “AirTalk” today had a doctor on who was discussing alcoholism in relation to poor choices. His book is Addiction: A Disorder of Choice and it sounds very good.

  9. Carol says:

    Dear Hopeandplan,

    Well said! I agree with what you say.

    What is interesting about people with NPD, is how they target and play people who do have a conscience and who are are kind, loving, spiritually minded, compassionate, forgiving, and tolerant. They are total parasites. But this is what they need to survive – unsuspecting victims to feed off. So healthy, strong boundaries and discernment (which equals judgement at times) are vital as we navagate our way through this life. NPDs can drive sane people to drink and the brink. Don’t let them I say.

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