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Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

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Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby Sorrow&Despair90 » Sun Jan 31, 2010 2:38 pm

I'm a 19 year old male, and I have been dealing with emotional problems since I can remember. As a kid, I was pretty much a problem child, and my parents took my to a whole lot of therapists to determine what I had. But likely because I was the 'tell them what they want to hear' type, nothing was properly evaluated.

This year, I have spend a lot of time reading into and determining what I might be dealing with, as I undoubedtly am dealing with something. I've never been proffesionally consulted or diagnosed, which I don't see happening anytime soon. All of these foundings are based on what is the information available on the internet, and various forums. So maybe I don't have any of these conditions, and am I interpeting it the wrong way.

- Low self esteem/massive ego - narcissism? This has been a constant factor since I can remember, in a lesser or worse degree
The core of all my problems. However, I am certainly not delusional. It's in being painfully aware that I'm not as impressive as I want to be, that I try as much as I can to accomplish it. Intelligence wise, I am very glad I have a great intellect. I've always been considered highly intelligent, ever since I was a kid. I'm now in college, rolling through it with minimum effort. My intellect is one of the very few things about myself that I'm legitemedly content, and maybe even proud off.

The physical part however - dramatic. I'm very frustrated with my facial features. The point where I realized 'I'm not handsome' left a huge dent in my esteem. To compensate with this, I work out excessively hard. Combined with being 6'5 feet/195 cm, I have a very impressive physique. When it comes to strenght/size, my craving for being physically superior is quite well satisfied. But in the social sense of not being half as attractive as I want to be, my looks are the main source of my other problems.

So, atleast in my perception, relatively superior to almost everyone arround me, be it physically or mentally. I freely acknowledge a lot of my flaws, but I can't help but feeling better and more competent than others. With all of this, go constant fantasizing and craving for unlimited power, genius, attractiveness and wealth. Not because I thing I have all of these features, but because I can't stand not having them.

Because of this, npd seems to hit the nail right on the head.

- Bipolar? This has been apparent since late 2008

I constantly vary between the 2 extremes of depression and apparently hypomania. Depression can be triggered by anything. Within a matter of hours or days, I'm back at feeling horrible. During the depressive episodes, I almost lose all hope. Life doesn't seem worth living at all, and I don't see the future holding anything good. I constantly dwell upon my memories of highschool, my childhood, and how great it was. And it's not delusional tunnel visioned, my life back then really was 100x better than it is now. I even feel like that when I'm not depressed. However in a depressive episode, I constantly look through pictures of the past or see and listening movies or songs that remind me of that time or that I saw during that time. Suicidal thoughts are very common during this, but I never intend on doing it. Sometimes the only thing that keeps me from it however, is my parents/family. I could never place the burden of the loss of their child on them, and living in guilt and sorrow for the rest of their lives.

The hypomaniac episodes, or atleast I call them that, are very frustrating. Suddenly I see the future as bright as ever, and I have a strong desire to work hard for it. I feel restless, have racing thoughts, and I can improvise in conversations with even to me, unexpected wit. I have all sorts of new ideas, plans and my head overflows with profound thoughts. When I lay awake at night in my bed, I have such deep analysations about religion, philosophy, origin of the universe, my own life, and everything seems to make sense, and it just hits me so deep. Sometimes the world arround me, whetter I watch movies, listen to music, play videogames, spend time with family, gives me such big boosts of euforia, that it overwhelms me and I can't seem to progress to happiness. It's hard to describe it rationally, but the most striking resemblence would probably be: having wandered in a desert for 2 weeks without food and water, and then finally returning to an all you can eat restaurant, but not being able to taste the food or drinks. Your thirst and hunger are satisfied, but you can't enjoy it. It's tasteless, sensationless. That is the essence of these episodes. I don't continously feel like this all the time during them, though. It's usually in a lesser degree, and just peaks on some days, especially towards night.

There are also mediocre episodes where it's a bit of a neutral mix between the previous 2. Neutral is all I can say about it. I don't feel good, I don't feel that bad. If you had to place depression in minus figures, and the hypomaniac ones in postive figures, this one would be steadily arround 0.

Borderline This has been apparent since late 2006/2007

Most of the problems associated with borderline, are also listed above in both of the previous paragraphs, and they seem to be interpetable in all conditions. So applying them to the symptom criteria:
- Frantic efforts to avoid real or imagined abandonment.
Back in highschool I disregarded all my friends because I didn't want to be dependant on them. Up untill this day I have no form of social life, and refrain from engaging in friendships or any type of relationship to avoid attachement.

- A pattern of unstable and intense interpersonal relationships characterized by alternating between extremes of idealization and devaluation.
I don't thinkt he first part applies, as I also have never had a girlfriend. The second part however, hits the nail right on the head. Before I read into this, I always figured I was so objective towards people that I saw both their good and bad side. But now I realize I'm constantly analyzing whetter someone is friend or foe. When I'm not sure, I tend to ignore them untill they approach me so I can deteremine whetter I like or dislike them.

- Identity disturbance: markedly and persistently unstable self-image or sense of self.
I think this is very apparent from the first paragraph. I frequently put myself down infront of others, and openly make fun of myself. Because there are times I just loathe myself and it feels like I'm picking on someone else. Other times, I feel like I'm better than most others, and people accuse me of being arrogant. Another thing is that I always look at others to determine my own identity. Movies, videogames or people I know. I take inspiration from their looks, behaviour, way of speaking, mannerisms and (try) to apply them to myself. My obsession with working out actually started when I became a fan of proffesional wrestling.

- Impulsivity in at least two areas that are potentially self-damaging (e.g., promiscuous sex, eating disorders, binge eating, substance abuse, reckless driving). Note: Do not include suicidal or self-injuring behavior covered in Criterion 5
I used to be very impulsive, but I have gotten a hold on that. Nothing self damaging though. Just short term impulses that I act on without thinking about it. Minor stuff like engaging in new activies or buying stuff and regretting it moments later.

- Recurrent suicidal behavior, gestures, threats or self-injuring behavior such as cutting, interfering with the healing of scars (excoriation) or picking at oneself.
Despite suicidal thoughts and threats, I've never engaged in self harming. At times when I'm really frustrated and angry, I will hit myself in the head or punch the wall as hard as I can, but never something that actually harms me.

- Affective instability due to a marked reactivity of mood (e.g., intense episodic dysphoria, irritability or anxiety usually lasting a few hours and only rarely more than a few days).
This would be what I may confuse with the afformentioned episodes between feeling up and down.

- Chronic feelings of emptiness
This would be the feeling I described in the hypomania part.

- Inappropriate anger or difficulty controlling anger (e.g., frequent displays of temper, constant anger, recurrent physical fights).
Very reconizable, as I am incredibly volatile. Thankfully, due to having done 10 years of martial arts, I have good self control when it comes to physical violence. That's why despite blowing up in anger quickly, I haven't gotten into any physical fights...yet.

- Transient, stress-related paranoid ideation, delusions or severe dissociative symptoms
While I might be slightly paranoid sometimes, it's nothing out of the ordinary. The rest doesn't apply to me at all.



Sorry for this huge post, but it's so complex, that I wanted to make sure I didn't miss anything. I'm really curious of your interpetations on this. As I have never had a second oppinion besides my own analysis. Your thoughts on this are very welcome. Thanks in advance.
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Re: Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby Chucky » Sun Jan 31, 2010 9:45 pm

Your post isn't that 'huge', my friend. Out of the three that you've mentioned - bipolar, narcissism, and borderline - qwhich one do you feel most comfortable 'labelling' yourself with?; and which do you feel describes you the best? If you go to each of those forums here, which one contains other members with whom you can relate to the most? To be honest, I can see some elements of these three things in me too, but it's Asperger's Syndrome that describes me the best, and so I go along with that.

It's unfortunate that you haven't had much luck yet by going to professionals. This usually just means that they don't understand what is really wrong with you. Have you explained to them all of what is inside your head, honestly?

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Re: Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby Sorrow&Despair90 » Sun Jan 31, 2010 10:05 pm

Well, I have only been to therapists as a kid, when my parents took me. Before being concious of what was wrong. If I went now, I'm quite positive that they would be quite able to diagnose me, since I'm well aware of my psyche, and can describe my feelings good without succumbing to the power of suggestion when they ask ''do you feel ......" etc.

I would only go to a psychologist if I found a way to do it behind my parents back though. As the last thing I want is them getting involved with my psyche.

As to which I'm most comfortable with labeling myself, it really depends. I don't have anyone I'm willing to share my problems/feelings with that actually have an understanding or are able to relate to this. So I'm never in situations that I have to label myself, it's more for myself in my mind, so that it's easier to cope with and rationalize the emotional rollercoaster.

EDIT: I read through the experiences of people on the specified parts of the forum, and I have to conclude bipolar or borderline seem pretty off. These two have only been present since my life changed for the worse after graduating highschool. My social life vaporized as everyone went their own way, my dreams for the future went from highly achievable to impossible, and I stayed home doing nothing for a whole year. That makes it very doubtfull to blame my recent (only about a year) mood swings and depression on a long persisting personality disorder like Bipolar or Borderline. I'm not unhappy because I'm depressed, but I'm depressed because I'm unhappy.

Where as the narcissistic elements have been a constant factor throughout everything. In a way, I'm quite relieved for this. I'm certainly not downplaying it, as it is hell for the relationships with the people arround me, but for myself, borderline and bipolar seem a lot harder to control/deal with, without help.

Oh god, upon reading this outtake from a book on narcissism, I always thought self loathing/self-deprecation was not at all a characterisic. But this is me in a nut shell =|
"There are those narcissists who idealize the successful and the rich and the lucky. They attribute to them super-human, almost divine, qualities...

In an effort to justify the agonizing disparities between themselves and others, they humble themselves as they elevate the others.

They reduce and diminish their own gifts, they disparage their own achievements, they degrade their own possessions and look with disdain and contempt upon their nearest and dearest, who are unable to discern their fundamental shortcomings. They feel worthy only of abasement and punishment. Besieged by guilt and remorse, voided of self-esteem, perpetually self-hating and self-deprecating - this is by far the more dangerous species of narcissist.

For he who derives contentment from his own humiliation cannot but derive happiness from the downfall of others. Indeed, most of them end up driving the objects of their own devotion and adulation to destruction and decrepitude..."
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Re: Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby Chucky » Mon Feb 01, 2010 7:42 pm

Why the blank expression symbol in your final sentence? There is nothing wrong with being narcissistic, and you can channel it to great effect if you wish to. You can take the 'dark' route, but there's an alternative route to take too. I have found people with it to be intelligent and rather manipulative. However, these two can be combined to great effect. They know how to work with people to get the best out of them. They can be great motivators.

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Re: Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby a_little_broken » Tue Feb 02, 2010 4:42 am

...For he who derives contentment from his own humiliation cannot but derive happiness from the downfall of others. Indeed, most of them end up driving the objects of their own devotion and adulation to destruction and decrepitude...


What a delectable turn of phrase, what is the name of the book?
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Re: Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby Sorrow&Despair90 » Tue Feb 02, 2010 12:30 pm

Chucky wrote:Why the blank expression symbol in your final sentence? There is nothing wrong with being narcissistic, and you can channel it to great effect if you wish to. You can take the 'dark' route, but there's an alternative route to take too. I have found people with it to be intelligent and rather manipulative. However, these two can be combined to great effect. They know how to work with people to get the best out of them. They can be great motivators.

Kevin


That is true. The biggest problem it brings me is the constan struggle between my superego and low self esteem. So far it has been hell for my social life. But I also realize that acknowledging it will just further allow me to neutralize the weaknesses it brings.


And Catherine, the book is named "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited". I haven't read it myself, though, just came across an article from it.
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Re: Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby Chucky » Tue Feb 02, 2010 8:47 pm

To be honest with you, Sorrow&Despair90, I now what you're going through because I have those same thoughts. If I was to ask you what you think of me, I'd expect you to lie and say that you think i'm nice. In reality, I imagine that you don't really care one bit about me. That's the nature of NPD i feel. I'm not trying to come across as being against you here. i'm just trying to root out if you have indeed got the NPD persona. It seems like you have, but it's no as if you're the worst type.

I either said it here or elsewhere but NPD traits can be used to great effect in a positive way (As i look now, i realise I said it in my previous post!).

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Re: Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby Cruisy » Wed Feb 03, 2010 7:58 am

Hi Sorrow and Despair :)

You sound like me before I started therapy and also in my first few years of it :wink: I read everything I could find on mental disorders (unfortunately not much as mother didn’t allow me to read any at local library – very overbearing mother – and school library didn’t have much at all apart from very well-known and common disorders), none of which seemed to fit much at all, only very partially.

I also was a ‘tell people what they want to hear’ sort and didn’t realise there was another way to be until my second therapist. I suffered from very low self-esteem which also came with occasional feeling of being better than everyone else (I tend to think that’s just the brain knowing you’re just as good as everyone else and trying to re-address the balance by taking you to the opposite extreme every now and then – a friend of mine also gets that phenomenon). My parents and family always treated me like what I did wasn’t good enough or like I wasn’t trying even though I was, and like there was something inherently missing in me that made me unloveable and unwantable (not that that’s a real word :wink: ) – my mum actually said no one would ever love me many times - and kind of seemed to want to control every single aspect of my life, treating me as if I was not capable of running my own life. That in itself doesn’t lead to a good self-esteem.

If the reason you don’t want your parents to know you’re interested in seeking psychotherapy is that you believe they will try to control you in it or choose a therapist they are happy with (rather than you) or want to have family therapy with you so they know exactly what you say in therapy, or something like that, I think it’s wise not to tell them (mine were like that, only allowed me to have therapy “if you only talk about yourself: none of this is our fault, you are the one with something wrong with you, not us; don’t talk about us in therapy unless you’re saying something nice about us, and don’t give them any information about us”), and if you can and feel you’d like to, I’d seek therapy in whatever way you can because you may have deeper stuff that hasn’t been able to surface yet (I did) because of your situation and lack of safe people to talk to who won’t talk to your parents about what you tell them or about you in general.

My first therapist unfortunately had no idea how to be a good therapist to me, talking to my parents about me behind my back and in front of me, sharing stuff I’d asked her not to tell, etc. My second therapist told me she wouldn’t tell anyone anything that went on in the room between us unless it involved talk about harming myself or others, and if that happened, she’d tell me she was going to tell the hospital or police and why before she contacted them. Then she proceeded to wait for me to talk, rather than asking me questions (after the initial family tree questions they all have to ask, I think), which meant I didn’t have much cue as to what she might ‘want me to say’, which meant I generally got a bit of the truth out when I talked (which was seldom as it shocked me to not have cues as to what to say), unlike to the previous therapist who asked a lot of questions that I answered in a form I thought she would like, as I thought that was how communication worked at that stage. If you could find a therapist who worked like my second therapist, especially if you’re still prone to telling people what you think they want you to say, that’ll probably work better for you than the more talkative ones if you’re anything like I was.

If you have some childhood issues which are unworked through (again not good English but it works for me :wink: ), it would be normal for you to have narcissistic tendencies, as all children are narcissistic, and unresolved childhood issues often result in an adult/teen who is more narcissistic than the average adult – when it’s worked through, that changes, becomes less so or not so anymore, in my experience.

I’m sorry if I’ve yapped on too much. I actually don’t have any of those diagnoses you mentioned, but a trauma related one instead (though borderline is generally found in people who’ve experienced sexual abuse etc in the past, in my experience, and I’ve known a few people with bi-polar who had it triggered by traumatic events – I don’t know anything about the other disorder you mentioned, only read a small paragraph). I hope maybe something I’ve said is helpful to you, and I hope you manage to work through your difficulties. Just remember that trying to work on your issues and find out what’s causing them is more important than a diagnosis (though having my diagnosis helped me not feel like I was deranged anymore, which was wonderful!). :) Best wishes on your journey - there's a lot you can do on your own to prepare yourself for good therapy, lot of self-improvement (i.e. work on self-esteem, treating yourself well, not letting people walk all over you, working on your fears, etc) work that will greatly help you when you reach therapy (that's what I did, anyway).

By the way, I thought it was interesting that your parents took you to therapy when you were young instead of thinking they may need to change their way of relating to you or change something else about your life to help you feel better in it or in yourself.

me and us (two of us) :)
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Re: Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby Sorrow&Despair90 » Wed Feb 03, 2010 6:26 pm

Kevin, I agree. A lot of traits I would consider good could be attributed to it aswell. It's a matter of relativating and controlling it I suppose, and like you said: channeling it to beneficial qualities for my self.


Cruisy, what you mentioned about the therapists is one of many reasons I wouldn't be interested in therapy to "fix" it. There's nothing a therapist can say that will change or trigger anything. Instead of leveling with me as an unique individual, they would set up my profiling arround any disorder they'd label me as, and apply all my behaviour and thoughts to the symptons and traits belonging to the disorder in question withouy taking into account the different dimensions of my personality and mind as an individual. On top of that, I pretty much only want to know if my (unordinary) traits, mindset and behaviour fit any psychological profile. Giving it a face will pave the way to better self understanding, and that's what I'm aiming for. Good self awareness.

For me to not want my parents to be involved in it, doesn't really have anything to do with them in specific. It's just that I'm used to never sharing or discussing personal stuff with them. As long as I can remember, I've kept most of my emotions and problems to myself, and never discussed with them what bothered me.

As far as a childhood trauma's go, if you can call it that, I'm well aware of what those might be. As a kid I was a legitemate problem child (age 5-12). Lacked any empathy, self centered and plain obnoxious. Ever since I was 5, I systemetically bullied and fought with other kids if it didn't go my way. I was always rude against teachers, and I ignored the rules. Same thing at home. The universe evolved arround me. This continued all the way through primary school, causing me to be well hated by both teachers and other kids. That's very likely where my "me against the world" mentality got shaped, since at one point I would be blamed for everything, including the things I didn't do. At the same time, I was horrible at home aswell. That's why my parents took me to numberous therapists to "fix" me. That had no effect since the therapists couldn't come up with anything that worked, and my mom didn't want me on any meds (though I have no idea if any of them said I should or just in general). Instead, whenever I was "out of control" again, they threatened to have me put in an insituition for troubled kids. With that, they also told me how they wouldn't have gotten kids if they knew I would be like this, and that I was loveable untill my younger brother was born, and that everything went downhill after that. This always made a huge impact on me, since as a kid, your entire world consists of your home, parents and school. This must have damaged me greatly, as it made me feel like the black sheep. The bad guy.

The narcissistic past behind my current ego, is in complete contrast with the afformentioned. Outside of my behavioural problems, I simply was better than every other kid. Since it became a conciously noticable factor, I've been more intelligent, bigger, stronger and creative than every other kid arround me. Being praised all the time for doing so good in school, being good at sport, being the biggest/strongest kid of the class, being creative etc. Then in sharp contrast to that, I was continiously labeled a no good, bullying problem child. A few xamples that stand out would be, when I was arround 9, one of the older teachers would give chess and draughts lessons to the smarter kids. At one point I had him beat with draughts, but instead of being fair, he called it a draw to not lose his face. Another thing was this talent show the school had every year. They always had arround 5 kids in the jury. Then when we would pick numbers to determine the kids from our class, I wasn't allowed in because they figured I would be unfair towards the kids I didn't like anyway. There have been countless of these occurances, and thinking about it still pisses me off. This too, must have been very toxic.
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Re: Narcissism, bipolar or borderline..?

Postby Chucky » Wed Feb 03, 2010 9:19 pm

Sorrow&Despair90 wrote:Kevin, I agree. A lot of traits I would consider good could be attributed to it aswell. It's a matter of relativating and controlling it I suppose, and like you said: channeling it to beneficial qualities for my self.

Well, as long as you realise that, I will have to leave you to it. I mean, I won't be responding here anymore as I feel my main task is done. If you look around, you'll see that I reply to lots of threads. So anyway - yeh - use your 'powers' to manipulate people so that you can help them, like I try to do.

We're as arrogant as hell, right?; but we don't have to be that way in a bad way.

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