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AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby unreal » Wed Feb 16, 2011 5:29 pm

Some avies seem to have a high level of empathy, others low. In general though, we are imagining others are criticizing us to a much greater extend than they really are (or imagine they are when they are not at all).


I can totally relate to that. For me, and other narcissists as well, it seems like the world is constantly conspiring against us. We constantly see intrigues against us everywhere.

Also, according Kantor who wrote the only books on AvPD, we are not well aware of how our own actions turn others away, and we are hypercritical of others, so that we place to much weight on a person's negative characteristics when coming to an "overall" assessment.


That sounds like narcissism, too. Either we idolize people, or we devalue them - somewhat like BPD'ers, only not that extreme - and what you're describing sounds like devaluation, and that kind of fits in with my previous assumption that AvPD is somehow like a selection of a few parts of narcissism.

So avies are probably a bit below average on the empathy scale overall but I won't say we completely lack it either.


Hmm. Among us cluster B types, there is an empathy scale that goes BPD - HPD - NPD - AsPD, with borderliners having full empathy and antisocials having none at all. Narcissists can experience empathy in rare exceptional cases (for me, I sometimes have empathy with children. For others, it may be animals.), and AsPD would probably go in between HPD and NPD, I guess.

What, in your opinion, are good resources to learn more about NPD? Are there any books which are considered "the bible" of NPD theory?


I don't know. The internet is full of good resources, but I haven't found a site or book that I would recommend as authoritative. From my experience, you get the best results if you start a discussion in the NPD forum.

But please be aware of this: When you search for info on narcissism on the internet, you're bound to end up at Sam Vaknin's pages sooner or later. Do not believe anything of what he writes. The man is a diagnosed psychopath/antisocial who has built an internet cult around his "theories" about narcissism, claiming to be a narcissist and possessing the ultimate truth about the matter. His theories are not only wrong, but extremely dangerous. In the NPD forum, we have a few threads about him.
What we are concerned with is narcissism in a pathological sense, with self-love that serves as a cloak for self-hatred. The polarities of self-hatred and self-love are linked together in the defensive system, but the nuclear problem is the self-hatred.
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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby AlAtBar » Wed Feb 16, 2011 6:02 pm

unreal wrote:Hmm. Among us cluster B types, there is an empathy scale that goes BPD - HPD - NPD - AsPD, with borderliners having full empathy and antisocials having none at all. Narcissists can experience empathy in rare exceptional cases (for me, I sometimes have empathy with children. For others, it may be animals.), and AsPD would probably go in between HPD and NPD, I guess.



Yep, I've known boatloads of histrionics IRL, and boatloads of avoidants (mostly OTI), and that sounds like an accurate observation to me. I do think, however, that the there is a fair range of empathy levels for both avies and histrionics. (In particular, the most empathetic avies seem to have higher empathy than less empathetic histrionics.)
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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby pancakes » Wed Feb 16, 2011 9:22 pm

Great posts everyone. My guess is that AVPDers have more empathy than vulnerable narcissists??

The difference between the two types may come down to "entitled expectations and exploitative motivations" in the vulnerable narcissist compared with AvPD's, when it comes to interpersonal relationships. An AvPDer would like to to be accepted, loved (and in some cases seen as ?special, ? unique as quoted from the DSM 5 website), but doesn't expect that the other person will fully accept them. Whereas a vulnerable NPDer has a sense of entitlement that they should be loved and appreciated and admired for who they are (i.e narcissistic supply), and expect their needs to be met. Am I on the right track here?

Here is some more literature to consider:

"Vulnerable narcissism could be misdiagnosed with at least two other distinct DSM personality disorders: Avoidant PersonalityDisorder (AVPD) and Borderline PersonalityDisorder (BPD). In the diagnosis of AVPD, there are several criteria that may overlap with vulnerable narcissism. First, avoidant individuals are observed as appearing shy and being fearful of developing close relationships with others. Second, individuals with AVPD may meet criteria for experiencing fears of feeling humiliated, rejected, or embarrassed within individual relationships. Finally, Millon (1996) proposes that the use of fantasy in individuals with AVPD is a major element in the presentation and perpetuation of this disorder. This is striking in the fact that the use of fantasy has long been denoted as primary to the realm of narcissistic pathology.The vulnerable narcissist will likely exhibit significant interpersonal anxiety, avoidance of relationships, and use of fantasy, but this is guided by a core of entitled expectations. That is, vulnerable narcissists may avoid relationships in order to protect themselves from the disappointment and shame over unmet expectations of others, in contrast to fears of social rejection or making a negative social impact typical of AVPD.

Another false positive diagnosis that may occur as a result of misinterpreting vulnerable narcissismis in the diagnosis of BPD. Masterson (1993) forwarded this issue in an elaborate discussion about the potential for misdiagnosis of the closet narcissistic personalitywith BPD. Misdiagnosis can occur because of a clinician's attention to the overt presentation of the emotional lability in the individual to the exclusion of an understanding of the cognitive and socio-emotional experience that guides the lability. As with social avoidance, the emotional lability of the vulnerable narcissist is influenced by his or her covert entitlement and difficulties managing disappointment and self-esteem threat. In contrast, the emotionally lability of the individual with BPD is a byproduct of unrealistic anaclitic needs (e.g., the need for a strong caretaker to manage his or her fears of being independent)...............

Both the AVPD and the vulnerable narcissistic character will likely report difficulties with feeling self-conscious in interpersonal situations, along with the tendency to avoid situations in which they expect to be ridiculed. The difference between AVPD and vulnerable narcissistic characters lies in their expectations for themselves and others. Individuals with AVPD have needs to be liked and accepted by others, but fear they will fail to be acceptable to others. In contrast, vulnerable narcissistic characters need others to respond favorably to them and to admire them regardless of their behaviors, beliefs, skills, or social status, but fear that others will fail to provide them with narcissistic supplies. For vulnerable narcissistic characters, it is not mere concern about being liked or not. Rather, the vulnerable narcissist's fear is that he or she will not be admired. Furthermore, vulnerable narcissistic individuals experience significant injury and anger in response to perceived slights. Their avoidance of relationships is based upon their fear of not being able to tolerate the disappointment of their unrealistic expectations.

The assessment of entitled expectations and exploitative motivations are important variables that would guide how an individual approaches and experiences relationships, including a therapeutic relationship. Not acknowledging narcissistic entitlement when it is present could lead to important misinterpretations of clients' experiences that either reinforce their sense of entitlement or lead to unrecognized self-esteem threat in the therapeutic relationship (Gabbard, 1998)."

From "Interpersonal analysis of grandiose and vulnerable narcissism" Dickinson, Kelly A; Pincus, Aaron L
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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby IvoryBill » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:03 am

pancakes wrote:Great posts everyone. My guess is that AVPDers have more empathy than vulnerable narcissists??

The difference between the two types may come down to "entitled expectations and exploitative motivations" in the vulnerable narcissist compared with AvPD's, when it comes to interpersonal relationships. An AvPDer would like to to be accepted, loved (and in some cases seen as ?special, ? unique as quoted from the DSM 5 website), but doesn't expect that the other person will fully accept them. Whereas a vulnerable NPDer has a sense of entitlement that they should be loved and appreciated and admired for who they are (i.e narcissistic supply), and expect their needs to be met. Am I on the right track here?


Absolutely I think you are, pancakes. This is what I was going to say to the original poster: While AvPDs "may have a desire to be recognized by others as special and unique," narcissists already believe they are special and unique and don't need so much affirmation from others. Outside validation helps, of course, but isn't necessary.

Besides, what person--in Western culture especially--doesn't have a desire to be seen as special on some level? Be honest with ourselves: Who among us truly wants to just fade into the scenery, our individual identity absorbed into the prevailing wind? The whole concept of a personal god is built on this foundation of "you being special just the way you are." There is nothing clinically disordered about that (unless you want to go into the whole "religion is disordered" thing, which I'm not in the mood for tonight. :roll: )

Somewhere in storage, I have a scholarly article on AVPD and narcissistic injuries. I may have to scrounge that up sometime soon and post it.
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But in my dreams, I slew the dragon.
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Walking in my old footsteps once again."

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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby IvoryBill » Thu Feb 17, 2011 4:34 am

Joancy wrote:I absolutely hate to have to admit this to myself, but yeah, I guess I do like to think I'm atleast somewhat special. :oops:
I knew I am a bit of a megalomaniac, so I guess that is pretty much the same as a narcissist.
Well, I guess I can add that to my little list of self-understanding.


Don't think that, Joancy. It's not worth it. I remember when I first started therapy, my very first meltdown occurred when I realized the main reason I stepped in to therapy to begin with was for validation that I was special and worthy of being in the world. Later that week the word "megalomaniac" flashed into my head, which touched off a full-on, prolonged, semi-psychotic panic attack. All the world took on a sinister aura, I didn't sleep, I was being Stared at constantly by the Staring Ones, etc...In other words, I was honkin' mess. The identity crisis tilted my whole universe.

By the following week when I went back for my 2nd or 3rd therapy session, I staggered in, exhausted, and came clean to my therapist about my true megalomaniacal nature, and how dangerous I was. He just looked at me in that blank way I've come to recognize when he flagrantly disagrees and is trying to figure out how to phrase it gently for me. Which he did, as clear as he could.

I guess the point is that a true megalomaniac is not someone who "likes to think of themselves as somewhat special. :oops:" :wink: They are going to show SOME sign to the outside world, some very dominating trait, that makes their extreme self-love evident. It's an extreme epithet to call yourself, Joancy, and not deserved.
"When I awoke today, suddenly nothing happened,
But in my dreams, I slew the dragon.
And down this beaten path, up this cobbled lane,
Walking in my old footsteps once again."

--Colin Hay
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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby green_tea » Thu Feb 17, 2011 3:22 pm

Labels labels labels...

There was a guy at a job I had who had to have a full blown diagnosable narcissistic PD. I'd bet a lot of good money on it in order to make some really easy money. If you have to deal with one in real life, you see how obvious they are. Oddly, they seem to be able to fool those they want to impress with how valuable and talented they are in the organization (a.k.a. management). They apparently can put on the charm but it takes a completely gullible person to be fooled by them.

It is sad to think of someone feeling like a narcissist just for a desire to be recognized as special and worthy. That is, after all, how good parents make a baby and child feel. Then, somehow, they help the child develop a balanced healthy sense of self. That whole process will remain a mystery to me.
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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby Joancy » Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:20 pm

Thanks for the kinds words, IvoryBill.
I really don't know what to say, I'm at a loss for words because of it.

I really can't see myself in any kind of positive way, or even a non-negative way, so I'm sorry if my response seems forced :(
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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby Sith Lord » Sat Apr 13, 2013 9:36 pm

Excellent thread

Had no clue about the DSMV but like pancakes wrote (and I'm a fierce believer in intentions rather than the popular belief actions or words) - it's all about your intention. Do you posses self acceptance already and seek confirmations, or do you desire acquiring it and hoping to in the worst case 'strengthen' it - in which case you could call it simply - mate's looking for support and compare what he needs if he lived a life of self loathing - a simple 'good guy' compliment ain't enough. He needs the whole package.

Just. That. Simple (it really isn't)

unreal, that would make you an aware N ? Interesting, not many. The only PD that has such rarity of awareness.
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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby skyflyz » Sun Apr 14, 2013 3:21 am

I don't have much to add to the people who have such great insights on this topic, except to say that I think pancakes just completely NAILED the differences between NPD and AVPD. Having lived with an N, I know that one of the major differences between us was how the N basically seemed to always do or say things in order to exploit or control, rather than just give an honest opinion or talk about what was on his mind. He always had an agenda, except maybe for the times he was raging.

I don't think most avies have this exploitative nature. However, I often wonder about one thing -- it does seem rather self-important to believe that others are constantly watching and judging. Why would we think we would be that important to somebody else? It doesn't make sense.
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Re: AvPD and Narcissism and DSM 5

Postby Mr._Avoider » Sun Apr 14, 2013 2:24 pm

Normal narcissism and NPD are two different things.

To put it in perspective: Narcissistic Personality Inventory
http://personality-testing.info/tests/NPI.php
Those who get high scores in NPD are supposed to have very high points in that test. Just observe others and you'll see lot of narcissism in perfectly normal individuals.

BTW. As avoidant (without NPD) don't listen Sam Vaknin. He probably believes that even his own poop has symbolises narcissism in some way.
F07.9 Unspecified personality and behavioral disorder due to known physiological condition
Featuring: AvPD and SPD symptoms (under schizotypy umbrella).
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