Aside

Toxic Tuesday: To Live but Not Exist

To Live but Not Exist

TOXIC TUESDAY warning

In previous posts I have mentioned narcissism and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Today I will add Narcissistic Sociopath.

“Narcissism is a term commonly used to describe those who seem more concerned with themselves than with others. It is important to distinguish between those who have narcissistic personality traits and those suffering from narcissistic personality disorder. Those with narcissistic personalities are often seen as arrogant, confident, and self-centered, but they do not have the exaggerated or grandiose view of their own abilities that characterizes narcissistic personality disorder.

Narcissistic personality disorder is a pervasive disorder characterized by self-centeredness, lack of empathy, and an exaggerated sense of self-importance. As with other personality disorders, this disorder is an enduring and persistent pattern of behavior that negatively impacts many different life areas including social, family, and work relationships.

Narcissistic personality disorder is thought to be less common than other personality disorders such as borderline personality disorderantisocial personality disorder, and histrionic personality disorder. Narcissistic personality disorder is estimated to affect 1-percent of the adult population in the United States and is more common among men than women.”  Narcissistic Personality Disorder Symptoms and Treatments, Kendra Cherry

Narcissism, not the personality disorder, is rampant in today’s culture. I’m not surprised because God warned us of this in II Timothy 3:1-8: “But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy,  without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good,  treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God—  having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with such people.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over gullible women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires,  always learning but never able to come to a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these teachers oppose the truth. They are men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected.” (NIV)

I feel like I have to purposely guard myself against displaying such traits on a daily basis. Sin and self-centeredness are my default. I also catch myself trying to NOT be like certain people. Talk about being a Pharisee! I have to constantly remind myself to stop the comparing and just be like Jesus. He is the only perfect example and the only One who can help me.

Today’s topic:  Narcissistic Sociopath.

Do you know what it feels like to live but not exist?

Go with me here. Think of the latest Christmas fad in which many American families participate; Elf on the Shelf. I see friends pin Elf on the Shelf ideas on Pinterest and post pictures on Facebook of the latest places the elf appeared in their home.

For those of you without young children who have not heard of this latest rage; parents buy an Elf on the Shelf  just about anywhere; then every night strategically place the elf in a new location of their home. “There are two simple rules that every child knows when it comes to having an elf. First, an elf cannot be touched; Christmas magic is very fragile and if an elf is touched it may lose that magic and be unable to fly back to the North Pole. Second, an elf cannot speak or move while anyone in the house is awake!” elfontheshelf.com

Our family never did the Santa or Elf thing. Just a personal preference which our children have thanked us for. In our home, Mom (that would be me) is the elf who does all the shopping and gift wrapping and Dad is Santa who stuffs the stockings on Christmas Eve after all kids are snug in their beds. Our children leave cookies and milk for Santa Daddy and, in return for the homemade goodies; he always leaves a trail of crumbs and a witty note.

My friend, DeAnne who writes two blogs: The World Can Wait http://deanneleblanc.com/ and About Lyme http://aboutlyme.org/recently posted a picture on Facebook of their elf sitting on the edge of the toilet seat with a green peppermint and a red and white striped miniature candy cane conveniently ‘deposited’ in the bottom of the toilet bowl.

Parents decide when and where to place the elf for the next day in hope of thrilling their children with a surprising, shocking or often humorous location.

The elf does not really exist. It is just an object. A possession.

If you live with a Narcissistic Sociopath you most likely feel like an elf; with the exception you do exist. You are a living breathing human being made in the likeness of God; to love and be loved. But you feel like an object and you are not supposed to need time, attention, affection, space or money. It is expected you will only do the things you have been authorized to do and go places which have been preapproved.

According to Dr. Martha Stout’s book The Sociopath Next Door, sociopaths make up 4% of western society (Stout, 2010). Although not all narcissists are sociopaths, all sociopaths are narcissists (Stout 2010).

If you happen to live with one I am certain you did not willingly pursue such a relationship. No. These people use lies, manipulations and charm to hook their victim; in fact, they probably loved (or seemed to love) everything about you.  By the time you realize the truth and understand they are not capable of loving you and maybe cannot stand you, it is usually too late.

Society tends to think of sociopaths as serial killers and murderers only; but this is not true. They may be someone we would never suspect is evil or messed up emotionally and/or sexually. They blend in with us and they are terrific actors, manipulators and con-artists.

I have walked my readers through narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder (also known as Sociopath) one step at a time because if you recognize someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder you are one stop closer to identifying a sociopath.

Another reason you tend to not recognize N.P.D. or a Sociopath is because you are not a deceiver so you don’t know what one looks like. You are not a manipulator so you have no idea you are being played. You have the capability of loving and bonding so when someone acts like they do too; you have no clue that they are performing. Here is the most disturbing part to me: Deceit is such a way of life for them that they are convinced of their own lies. Even when caught in sin or crime and confronted they think: “But wait, that’s not really who I am. I did not do that.”  Evil.

I am not a psychologist or psychiatrist on any level but I understand how these personality traits can infiltrate heart, mind, strength and spirit to the point you may believe you are the messed up, evil and in need of help person in the relationship.

If you recognize yourself in such a relationship; seek professional godly counsel.  If you recognize a loved one as possibly having a personality disorder; seek professional godly counsel for them and attend with them. It will not be easy as the recovery rate for these people is debatable; between 1%-5%, and I think that is being generously optimistic. The most frustrating part is that the spouse or significant other may be the only person who sees and experiences the symptoms, crazy making and ruthlessness of these people. The reason: because they are capable of being grand actors, dynamic speakers and fake sympathizers. That being said, statistics say many of these people either tend to mellow out between age 40-50 or have perfected their game. It is a toss up.

This is about to go deeper so grab a cup of something hot to drink and don’t forget a little bit of chocolate.

Below you may read through the criteria for Narcissistic Personality Disorder taken from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM), DSM-IV-TR. If you are certain you are dealing with N.P.D. then read the list of 20 sociopathic traits from the book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D. I highly recommend you read this book if you believe you are in a relationship with a sociopath.

If you already know you are in such a relationship and you are in danger please leave immediately and seek help. In the right margin of my blog you will find links to articles on abusive relationships, resources for counseling services and referrals, and a link for those who are victims of domestic abuse.

The DSM-IV-TR defines Narcissistic Personality Disorder as “an all-pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration or adulation and lack of empathy, usually beginning by early adulthood and present in various contexts,” such as family life and work.

1. Feels grandiose and self-important (e.g., exaggerates accomplishments, talents, skills, contacts, and personality traits to the point of lying, demands to be recognized as superior without commensurate achievements)

2. Is obsessed with fantasies of unlimited success, fame, fearsome power or omnipotence, unequalled brilliance (the cerebral narcissist), bodily beauty or sexual performance (the somatic narcissist), or ideal, everlasting, all-conquering love or passion

3. Firmly convinced that he or she is unique and, being special, can only be understood by, should only be treated by, or associate with, other special or unique, or high-status people (or institutions)

4. Requires excessive admiration, adulation, attention and affirmation – or, failing that, wishes to be feared and to be notorious (Narcissistic Supply)

5. Feels entitled. Demands automatic and full compliance with his or her unreasonable expectations for special and favorable priority treatment

6. Is “interpersonally exploitative”, i.e., uses others to achieve his or her own ends

7. Devoid of empathy. Is unable or unwilling to identify with, acknowledge, or accept the feelings, needs, preferences, priorities, and choices of others

8. Constantly envious of others and seeks to hurt or destroy the objects of his or her frustration. Suffers from persecutory (paranoid) delusions as he or she believes that they feel the same about him or her and are likely to act similarly

9. Behaves arrogantly and haughtily. Feels superior, omnipotent, omniscient, invincible, immune, “above the law”, and omnipresent (magical thinking). Rages when frustrated, contradicted, or confronted by people he or she considers inferior to him or her and unworthy (http://samvak.tripod.com). Sam Vaknin has a valuable book, Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited. This is a necessary read if you interact with N.P.D.

Have you or your loved one/friend qualified for 5 of the 9 criteria for N.P.D.? If so, go through the following list  for qualifications of a sociopath. (You’ll discover many overlapping traits from each list.) The list below of 20 sociopathic traits is from the book Without Conscience: The Disturbing World of the Psychopaths Among Us by Dr. Robert D. Hare, Ph.D

1. Glib and superficial charm. The tendency to be smooth, engaging, charming, slick, and verbally facile. Sociopathic charm is not in the least shy, self-conscious, or afraid to say anything. A sociopath never gets tongue-tied. They have freed themselves from the social conventions about taking turns in talking, for example.

2. Grandiose self-worth. A grossly inflated view of one’s abilities and self-worth, self-assured, opinionated, cocky, a braggart. Sociopaths are arrogant people who believe they are superior human beings.

3. Need for stimulation or proneness to boredom. An excessive need for novel, thrilling, and exciting stimulation; taking chances and doing things that are risky. Sociopaths often have low self-discipline in carrying tasks through to completion because they get bored easily. They fail to work at the same job for any length of time, for example, or to finish tasks that they consider dull or routine.

4. Pathological lying. Can be moderate or high; in moderate form, they will be shrewd, crafty, cunning, sly, and clever; in extreme form, they will be deceptive, deceitful, underhanded, unscrupulous, manipulative, and dishonest.

5. Conning and manipulative. The use of deceit and deception to cheat, con, or defraud others for personal gain; distinguished from Item #4 in the degree to which exploitation and callous ruthlessness is present, as reflected in a lack of concern for the feelings and suffering of one’s victims.

6. Lack of remorse or guilt. A lack of feelings or concern for the losses, pain, and suffering of victims; a tendency to be unconcerned, dispassionate, coldhearted, and unempathic. This item is usually demonstrated by a disdain for one’s victims.

7. Shallow affect. Emotional poverty or a limited range or depth of feelings; interpersonal coldness in spite of signs of open gregariousness.

8. Callousness and lack of empathy. A lack of feelings toward people in general; cold, contemptuous, inconsiderate, and tactless.

9. Parasitic lifestyle. An intentional, manipulative, selfish, and exploitative financial dependence on others as reflected in a lack of motivation, low self-discipline, and inability to begin or complete responsibilities.

10. Poor behavioral controls. Expressions of irritability, annoyance, impatience, threats, aggression, and verbal abuse; inadequate control of anger and temper; acting hastily.

11. Promiscuous sexual behavior. A variety of brief, superficial relations, numerous affairs, and an indiscriminate selection of sexual partners; the maintenance of several relationships at the same time; a history of attempts to sexually coerce others into sexual activity or taking great pride at discussing sexual exploits or conquests.

12. Early behavior problems. A variety of behaviors prior to age 13, including lying, theft, cheating, vandalism, bullying, sexual activity, fire-setting, glue-sniffing, alcohol use, and running away from home.

13. Lack of realistic, long-term goals. An inability or persistent failure to develop and execute long-term plans and goals; a nomadic existence, aimless, lacking direction in life.

14. Impulsivity. The occurrence of behaviors that are unpremeditated and lack reflection or planning; inability to resist temptation, frustrations, and urges; a lack of deliberation without considering the consequences; foolhardy, rash, unpredictable, erratic, and reckless.

15. Irresponsibility. Repeated failure to fulfill or honor obligations and commitments; such as not paying bills, defaulting on loans, performing sloppy work, being absent or late to work, failing to honor contractual agreements.

16. Failure to accept responsibility for own actions. A failure to accept responsibility for one’s actions reflected in low conscientiousness, an absence of dutifulness, antagonistic manipulation, denial of responsibility, and an effort to manipulate others through this denial.

17. Many short-term marital relationships. A lack of commitment to a long-term relationship reflected in inconsistent, undependable, and unreliable commitments in life, including marital.

18. Juvenile delinquency. Behavior problems between the ages of 13-18; mostly behaviors that are crimes or clearly involve aspects of antagonism, exploitation, aggression, manipulation, or a callous, ruthless tough-mindedness.

19. Revocation of condition release. A revocation of probation or other conditional release due to technical violations, such as carelessness, low deliberation, or failing to appear.

20. Criminal versatility. A diversity of types of criminal offenses, regardless if the person has been arrested or convicted for them; taking great pride at getting away with crimes. (Hare 2011).

Don’t bury me I’m not yet dead
Don’t bury me I’m not yet dead
Don’t bury me I’m not yet dead
not a walking zombie with no head
not a stepford wife made to obey
don’t want to go through life that way

I’m alive I’m alive
that’s what I say
I’m alive I’m alive
gonna live that way
I’m alive I’m alive
that’s what I say
I’m alive and I’m gonna live today

Do robots dream of electric sheep
I need to live my dreams
not just in my sleep
I’ve been hold up here
but its time to leave
I need to make my move
while I’ve air to breathe
don’t give me drugs no novicane
I must be alive cause I still feel pain

we where born with wings
we where made to fly
we where ment to live
while where still alive

I’m alive I’m alive
that’s what I say
I’m alive I’m alive
gonna live that way
I’m alive I’m alive
that’s what I say
I’m alive and I’m gonna live today

4 thoughts on “Toxic Tuesday: To Live but Not Exist

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