There is plenty of talk about the cruel nature of a narcissist. My David (Narcissist #2) tried to get me deported when he was done with me, and then arrested, and then to commit suicide, and then he threatened to kill me himself, and then arrested again, and then he asked his army buddies to beat me up! Lucky for me, neither the police nor his buddies would comply with his violent requests. Narcissists are total bastards when they are in the Devalue & Discard Phases, which leaves the victims wondering if the narcissist has any understanding of how evil his (or her) treatment of others is.
The question is: Does a narcissist comprehend that he is different from other people and that this difference is a lack and not a blessing?
In other words, does a narcissist understand that he is damaged and sick? Does he know how messed up he is? (or she)
There are two main camps about this issue, but I am adding a third.
Camp Aleph: quote from “the sociopath next door” by Dr. Martha Stout. On page 127, she writes:
As a counterpoint to sociopathy, the condition of narcissism is particularly interesting and instructive. Narcissism is, in a metaphorical sense, one half of what sociopathy is. Even clinical narcissists are able to feel most emotions as strongly as anyone else does, from guilt and sadness to desperate love and passion. The half that is missing is the crucial ability to understand what other people are feeling. Narcissism is a failure not of conscience but of empathy, which is the capacity to perceive emotions in others and so react to them appropriately. The poor narcissist cannot see past his own nose, emotionally speaking, and as with the Pillsbury Doughboy, any input from the outside will spring back as if nothing has happened. Unlike sociopaths, narcissists are often in psychological pain, and may sometimes seek psychotherapy. When a narcissist looks for help, one of the underlying issues is usually that, unbeknownst to him, he is alienating his relationships on account of his lack of empathy with others, and is feeling confused, abandoned, and lonely. He misses the people he loves, and is ill-equipped to get them back. Sociopaths, in contrast, do not care about other people, and so do not miss them when they are alienated or gone, except as one might regret the absence of a useful appliance that one had somehow lost.”
Camp Bet: The narcissist is oblivious to his sickness and he enjoys the freedom to abuse others that comes from a lack of empathy (i.e. their suffering at his hands does not affect him).
Camp Bet: I refer you to the DSM-5: Antisocial Personality Disorder. © 2012 American Psychiatric Association. All Rights Reserved.
• Lack of concern for feelings, needs, or suffering of others.
• Lack of remorse after hurting or mistreating another.
• Incapacity for mutually intimate relationships, as exploitation is a primary means of relating to others.
• Use of dominance or intimidation to control others.
• Callousness: Lack of concern for feelings or problems of others; lack of guilt or remorse about the negative or harmful effects of one’s actions on others; aggression; sadism.
Damn! The DSM-5 even uses the word “sadism” to describe a narcissist.
sadism noun ˈsā-ˌdi-zəm
: enjoyment that someone gets from being violent or cruel or from causing pain; especially : sexual enjoyment from hurting or punishing someone
If you were to poll 100 victims who managed to survive a relationship with a narcissist, I wager 98% of them would state that, in their opinion:
Camp Gimmel: Something in the middle. Some narcissists understand they are sick and some do not understand at all.
Narcissist #1, Driftwood, would sooner die than admit that he was sick and lonely. He refused to take his medication and he refused psychotherapy.
Narcissist #2, David, lives most every minute of his life in psychological pain, and he does feel alienated, abandoned, and confused.
Narcissist #3, my female roommate, she felt alienated and alone, but blamed the rest of the world for not recognizing her specialness.
My David used to refer to himself as: “The World’s Most Unattainable Man”. I told him time and time again that I did not understand what he meant by that and I asked him to explain. But he never would. That particular narcissist knew that there was some sort of wall between him and normal human beings. David understood that he did not feel emotional attachments like normal people do, and certainly not like I do, someone who feels supra-normal emotional attachments (i.e. psychic connections).
David did clearly feel emotional suffering because his disease (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) kept him from forming emotional bonds with other human beings. David understood that he was damaged and he felt lonely and afraid. Therefore, I am placing myself in Camp Gimmel. Some narcissists are aware that they do not form emotional bonds like normal people do and it causes them emotional pain, while other narcissists are totally oblivious, complete bastards who enjoy inflicting pain on others.
Maybe some narcissists suffer and some narcissists don’t suffer?
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