I want to talk about narcissism. In and of itself, the intention behind this term is societally utilized to describe someone who is full of themselves. I had no idea that there was an actual narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) until a couple of years ago. A word that was once used as more of a joking way to point out a temporary lack of perspective has now come to light as being a real affliction which many people have been tormented by.
But who is tormented in the actual Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders version of narcissism? Is the narcissist a victim of their disorder, or do they just play a victim on TV? Narcissists are well known for their deflection and their inability to look in the mirror. I’ve also heard them referred to as “emotional vampires,” which makes the not seeing themselves in the mirror thing even more apropos. The very nature of narcissistic personality disorder is to pathologically lie, believe their own lies, and blame those closest to them for all of their problems. They are always emotionally abusive, sometimes physically abusive, and devoid of contrition no matter how much they hurt someone they once called their “soul mate.” They are in love with the part of falling in love that makes them feel like they are on a pedestal. And when reality strikes after a few years, and the pedestal degrades and disintegrates to floor level (or lower) after being sucked to dust by the greedy termites of deceit, debauchery, skullduggery, and depravity, the narcissist is now looking at someone eye-to-eye who is finally onto their shenanigans. So they go ballistic.
Does this nightmare of a person, this sociopathic human being (who so many psychological professionals say will never, ever change or improve) deserve any compassion for being inherently compassionless? Are personality disorders brought on against someone’s control? You have to guess that they must be. Who would choose that? Yet, for the narcissist, the manifestation of their mental illness involves doing nasty things and never taking any responsibility for hurting those around them. How can those of us on the receiving end of the wraith of someone with NPD wrap our minds around this?
No Character in this Character
Why does it seem so much easier to feel for someone who is bipolar – a much more well- known personality disorder? Is it because they, by and large, feel remorse for their monster-like moments when they have deeply hurt friends, family, and significant others? Is it because treatment is possible and there’s a light at the end of the tunnel; hope? Meanwhile, if you google “relationship with a narcissist” most articles will advise you to run as far and fast as you can, if possible. There is no light.
A very prominent psychologist in Texas who I truly respect once told me that there’s no cure and no medication and really no treatment at all for NPD. As he shook his head with a sympathetic look on his face he said, “I’m afraid sometimes it just boils down to bad character.” But character isn’t a mental illness. Character, to me, represents a choice we make in how we behave and live our lives. Do narcissists have a choice?
Sympathy for the Devil?
These thoughts are a part of a daily quandary for me because I am a compassionate, tenacious person who has always had trouble writing people off. No matter how mean an ex has been, I always wanted to try and at least be friends. If someone clearly doesn’t like me (especially if I have no idea why) they take up far more thoughts in my mind than they probably should. I want resolve with everyone. I want to be good with each other, and good to each other.
Important is the warning to avoid conversations with the demon. We may ask what is relevant but anything beyond that is dangerous. He is a liar. The demon is a liar. He will lie to confuse us. But he will also mix lies with the truth to attack us. The attack is psychological, Damien, and powerful. So don’t listen to him. Remember that – do not listen.
I find myself at a two-pronged fork in the road. There are clearly marked paths in front of me. I can live by the idea that narcissistic personality disorder is an illness like any other with symptoms out of the afflicted person’s control, and so they can’t be held accountable for the evil that they do. I can see little Linda Blair’s “Reagan” inside a possessed body and know that it wasn’t her fault that she was possessed and that there was hope for her.
Or I can accept the fact that I am no Father Karris, and I’m not willing to jump out the window and give my own life for this. This exorcism, if any such thing is possible, is someone else’s problem now.