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Discussion Starter #1
Hi All,

I have posted my troubles several times on this site.

http://talkaboutmarriage.com/ladies-lounge/55056-understanding-my-wife-any-advice.html

In a nutshell I (and my counselor and some of our family) has thought my wife may have NPD. Her actions are spot in for one with this disorder and has been so since we married (thought it was stresses in her life causing some of the behavior).

NPD traits that are spot on for my wife:
--Reacting to criticism with anger (always)
--Taking advantage of others to reach their own goals (yep)
--Exaggerating their own importance, achievements, and talents (just ask the kids on this one)
--Imagining unrealistic fantasies of success, beauty, power, intelligence, or romance (always talking this way)
--Requiring constant attention and positive reinforcement from others (possible reason why she flirts all the time)
--Becoming jealous easily (I laugh at this one....she is super jealous as she has been known to throw an insult at a woman who looked at me in a store 2 seconds longer than she should have)
--Lacking empathy and disregarding the feelings of others (this is sadly true for she rarely has any regards for my or the kids feelings...she says they are immature, irrelevant, whatever)
--Being obsessed with oneself (always talks about her looks, trying to look better via whatever means, plastic surgery she has pushed many times)
--Trouble keeping healthy relationships (pushed away virtually all family members, friends, teachers, coaches (except for EA), etc.)
--Becoming easily hurt and rejected
--Wanting "the best" of everything
--Appearing unemotional

Of course I am going to counseling but she refuses as she says I am the one who needs it the most (as well as the kids and she even has said it about some family members).

Anyone out there who has had to deal with a person with this type of disorder?

Right now our marriage is like a rollercoaster.....for a few days we are making progress.....then something will throw us into a loop or a nose dive.......only to plane out again for a few days. Unfortunately, we (the kids and I) cannot keep this ride up indefinitely as something needs to change (trying to avoid divorce).

I have tired to talk to my wife about it (without naming the disorder) but she believes it is everyone around her who has caused her to act the way she does.

Any thoughts?
 

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Apparently I have borderline personality disorder, which is often co-exisiting with NPD. These things are very hard to diagnose, though!

The symptoms sound accurate though; they also mirror mine, minus the exagerating and the doing anything to look good.

I get easily upset (angered);
I tend to blame others;
I get all 'woe is me' when things arenn't going right...
Relationships a disaster all my life;

I always thought that NPD sufferers lacked empathy and emotion?
 

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I think she is close and she sounds like she may have some of those traits, the issue I have with this forrum is that so many people claim that their ex spoused or loved one has NPD, NPD is very very rare so keep that in mind and there are diffrent levels of NPD the misconception of NPD is being self absorbed that is correct to a point. I also read that usually nPD is about an image it is what someone wants to potry and if that image is messed with there are some claws that will def come out.

MAYO CLINIC- "When you have narcissistic personality disorder, you may come across as conceited, boastful or pretentious. You often monopolize conversations. You may belittle or look down on people you perceive as inferior. You may have a sense of entitlement. And when you don't receive the special treatment to which you feel entitled, you may become very impatient or angry. You may insist on having "the best" of everything — the best car, athletic club, medical care or social circles, for instance.

But underneath all this behavior often lies a fragile self-esteem. You have trouble handling anything that may be perceived as criticism. You may have a sense of secret shame and humiliation. And in order to make yourself feel better, you may react with rage or contempt and efforts to belittle the other person to make yourself appear better.
 

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My ex was diagnosed a couple years ago. I couldn't figure out what was wrong - I thought he was Bi-Polar. When he made all sorts of crazy allegations against me and painted me as a Satan of a mother and sued for full custody (I had full custody after last round in court) I asked my attorney to petition the courts for a psych eval. Ex agreed to get one (assuming that he was the perfect father) if I got one, too. The judge ordered both of us to have full psychological evaluations for parental fitness by a psychologist selected by the courts.

It took about 8 months and many appointments of both of us and at least four with our daughter - we each had to take her with us and she spoke to the psychologist alone several times, too.

He was diagnosed with NPD that was so extreme her recommendation to the courts said that "even with intensive treatment spanning many years it is unlikely he will make any real improvement". Her report was over 40 pages long and outlined what she learned about each of us. It was VERY enlightening and made sense of the confusion I'd experienced (as well as understanding his constant criticism and put-downs and my walking on egg-shells all of the time) - it was really the closure I needed. I was glad I pressed for it - I needed to understand.

I don't say that to discourage you but if it's REAL NPD it's VERY difficult to treat because they will never see themselves as needing any treatment because they are SO CONVINCED that the problem lies with someone else.
 

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Gunthar, I think you'll find my article on the topic very helpful. Even as a counselor, I had not had a single patient that met the full criteria for NPD. However, I ended up in a relationship with someone who did. He "persuaded" me to go to counseling so he could "fix" me because I wasn't doing things the way he thought they should be done, and I had a pretty firm grasp on the situation. When the counselor attempted to hold him accountable for anything at all, he stormed out of the office. After the second time he did in four sessions, he refused to return.

Anyway, I did a lot of digging and research during that time, and have since written an article that talks in great depth about NPD, provides some pretty simple ways for confirming its presence, and gives some tips for coping with it. There's also a full documentary on the page that I believe you'll find extremely helpful. The final section of it is quite a surprise, too.

It's here if you're interested: Narcissism: Recognizing, Coping With, and Treating It
 

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Gunthar,

Performing a lay diagnosis and labeling you wife is probably counter productive. I think you can safely say your wife has some narcissistic personality traits (rather than disorder). A recent survey showed over 50% of teens polled showed narcissistic personality traits so your wife has a lot of company.

My suggestion is to look over the Townsend and Cloud book "Boundaries in Marriage". Start to set healthy boundaries with appropriate (not cataclysmic) consequences. Be prepared for some fireworks
 

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Gunthar, I think you'll find my article on the topic very helpful. Even as a counselor, I had not had a single patient that met the full criteria for NPD. However, I ended up in a relationship with someone who did. He "persuaded" me to go to counseling so he could "fix" me because I wasn't doing things the way he thought they should be done, and I had a pretty firm grasp on the situation. When the counselor attempted to hold him accountable for anything at all, he stormed out of the office. After the second time he did in four sessions, he refused to return.

Anyway, I did a lot of digging and research during that time, and have since written an article that talks in great depth about NPD, provides some pretty simple ways for confirming its presence, and gives some tips for coping with it. There's also a full documentary on the page that I believe you'll find extremely helpful. The final section of it is quite a surprise, too.

It's here if you're interested: Narcissism: Recognizing, Coping With, and Treating It

VERY accurate - this even explains how (as a friend put it) "someone as smart as [you] can fall for his BS"... because he DID put me on a pedestal so I did not realize how critical he would be by the end.

At first, their targets are put on a pedestal and treated as if they're one of the few people worthy of his or her attention, but as soon as the narcissist perceives any flaw or weakness in their target, that person is criticized, demeaned, humiliated, or physically abused. People with NPD will lie, manipulate, cheat, assassinate a target's reputation, career, or life, and feel no compassion whatsoever.
All of the above including tried to ruin my reputation/career/life and even SAID he would.

RUN.
 

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Gunthar,

Performing a lay diagnosis and labeling you wife is probably counter productive. I think you can safely say your wife has some narcissistic personality traits (rather than disorder). A recent survey showed over 50% of teens polled showed narcissistic personality traits so your wife has a lot of company.

My suggestion is to look over the Townsend and Cloud book "Boundaries in Marriage". Start to set healthy boundaries with appropriate (not cataclysmic) consequences. Be prepared for some fireworks
I would normally agree with you on lay diagnoses being counter-productive, but in the case of NPD it's the only diagnosis he'll be likely to get if she does have the disorder. Since his counselor also believes she has NPD, I think it could be harmful to minimize it and say she "just" has narcissistic traits, because someone with NPD is never going to change and could be dangerous to the OP and/or his children.
 

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Kathy,

I think we will have to agree to disagree on this. Once we label one partner and make them "the problem" the relationship dynamic changes and it becomes difficult for both partners to accept their shared responsibilities. We don't know if the counselor is qualified or even interviewed the woman. I'm not sure how the op or his family could tell whether someone was modeling a narcissistic parent, grew up with an alcoholic parent, was just extremely selfish or extremely immature or both or if they have a full fledged personality disorder. There's just no sense of reference here. If the situation is dangerous, the op can take his wife to an emergency psychiatric intake and get an immediate diagnosis from the psychiatrist on duty.
 

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I strongly consider that my H might be.
 

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Discussion Starter #12 (Edited)
Kathy,

I think we will have to agree to disagree on this. Once we label one partner and make them "the problem" the relationship dynamic changes and it becomes difficult for both partners to accept their shared responsibilities. .
IMHO the real problem is that while I have stepped up and acknowledged I have contributed to the marriage problems....and am actively doing things about it, she refuses to take any REAL responsibility (few times she says she is not perfect...but it does not too much father) as in her eyes the problem lies with me, the kids, the family, the teachers, etc. For this reason I was looking to figure out why she keeps believing she has done only good in the marriage/family while everyone around her has tried to undermine her efforts.

So the way I view it right now is that no matter what positive changes people make around her, if she does have problems that she refuses to acknowledge.........then what does that mean to me? the kids? The future?

BTW, when I mentioned NPD....this is just a guess to explain her actions. The counselor only knows my side of the story as she refuses to go (she has no problems to share). Her family who have suggested this know her side much better and still think this is a possibility......no professional diagnosis yet (unless I drag her to the doctors).
 

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So the way I view it right now is that no matter what positive changes people make around her, if she does have problems that she refuses to acknowledge.........then what does that mean to me? the kids? The future?
It means that you may have more work ahead of you than you expected. It means you kids may have the advantage of a more involved dad who has to pick up mom's slack while she obsesses over herself. If the kids are out of diapers her role can be substantially diminished. She is always a qualified babysitter. She comes along for the ride while you and your kids develop healthy growing relationships. You might be surprised how she picks up from behind when she sees what you are doing. Then again, maybe not.
 

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Ah, the spoiled brat syndrome. Look closely, and you'll find where it came from somewhere in her family (mom or dad). They either modeled the behavior for her, or spoiled her rotten.

Also, I'm curious if you see any of these traits coming out in your children? I believe my husband has this disorder, and I see it manifesting in my daughter.
 

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So the way I view it right now is that no matter what positive changes people make around her, if she does have problems that she refuses to acknowledge.........then what does that mean to me? the kids? The future?

BTW, when I mentioned NPD....this is just a guess to explain her actions. The counselor only knows my side of the story as she refuses to go (she has no problems to share). Her family who have suggested this know her side much better and still think this is a possibility......no professional diagnosis yet (unless I drag her to the doctors).
Have you tried inviting her along so she can "help" your counselor understand what you're "not able" to explain?

TenYearHubby makes some good points in his disagreement with the statement I made, though I believe it probably won't make much difference if she's blatantly unwilling to acknowledge her role. If you *can* get her to the counselor's office with you, you'd at least be able to get a more substantial confirmation of your guesswork.

If you get that substantiation (or if you don't and things continue on this path), then you're right to ask what it can do to your children and yourself in the years to come. The answer is that such behavior is emotionally abusive and it is likely to groom your children to accept abuse from their partners or to become abusive themselves when they grow older if that's one of the primary methods they've seen for coping with the world's demands.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
Have you tried inviting her along so she can "help" your counselor understand what you're "not able" to explain?
.
Nice idea, tried that saying she could just listen in. She keeps saying that I need to work out all the s$%t going on in my mind and that I am not going to bait her into coming to counseling. She even jokes around saying...."come on, you should realize I am perfect".

The more I am working on myself and the kids, the more I realize this type of attitude is not what I want long term in a wife and mother.

Not to say I will shoot for a divorce soon (although I am mentally ready for it now). I am just wondering how to get through to her that she needs help?
 

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Nice idea, tried that saying she could just listen in. She keeps saying that I need to work out all the s$%t going on in my mind and that I am not going to bait her into coming to counseling. She even jokes around saying...."come on, you should realize I am perfect".

The more I am working on myself and the kids, the more I realize this type of attitude is not what I want long term in a wife and mother.

Not to say I will shoot for a divorce soon (although I am mentally ready for it now). I am just wondering how to get through to her that she needs help?
It sounds as if she's been "baited" before. Has she been to a counselor in the past? Do you know what her experience in this area was?

I don't think you'll find many ways to convince her to get help. I've written on this topic, too (How Can You Help Someone Who Does Not Want Help (But Needs It)?) and it gives some ideas, as well as some warnings.

Thanks, Uptown! :p
 

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NPD is very very rare so keep that in mind and there are diffrent levels of NPD.
I agree, Kris. A diagnosis of NPD is rare for several reasons. One is that therapists commonly withhold such a diagnosis -- even when it is warranted -- because they know insurance companies refuse to cover NPD treatments and that the NPDer almost certainly will quit therapy on hearing such a diagnosis.

Moreover, an NPD diagnosis is intended to appease insurance companies, not to help you. Even when your spouse's NPD traits fall well below the diagnostic threshold, they can be strong enough to make you miserable and completely undermine your marriage. Hence, being told by a psychiatrist that your spouse "does not have NPD" does NOT mean you are safe. It does NOT mean he doesn't have strong NPD traits.

This is so because, like all the other PDs, NPD is a "spectrum disorder." This means that, like selfishness and resentment, NPD traits are merely behavioral symptoms that everybody has to some degree. As you say, Kris, NPD traits are something people have "at different levels." It therefore was ridiculous, in 1980, for the psychiatric community to adopt a dichotomous approach -- wherein in client is deemed "to have" or "not have" NPD.

This "yes or no" approach makes perfect sense in every field of the medical sciences, where clients are found to either have a disease or not. Chickenpox, for example, is something you either "have" or "don't have." This is why, in the medical sciences, "disorder" means "disease." In psychiatry, however, it does not mean that. There is NO KNOWN DISEASE that causes any of the ten personality disorders (PDs). Hence, in psychiatry, "disorder" simply means "group of dysfunctional symptoms typically occurring together" (aka a "syndrome").

Of course, the psychiatric community knew in 1980 that this dichotomous approach to diagnosis makes no sense at all for behavioral symptoms that vary in intensity from person to person. They knew it is senseless to say a person meeting only 95% of the diagnostic criteria "has no disorder" and a person meeting 100% "has the disorder."

Doing so is as silly as diagnosing everyone under 6'4" as "short" and everyone under 250 pounds as "skinny." The psychiatric community adopted this silly approach only because the insurance companies -- who were long accustomed to "yes or no" diagnosis from the medical community -- insisted on a single, bright line being drawn between those clients they would cover and those they would not cover.

Over the past three decades, however, the psychiatric community (APA) quickly realized the insurance companies had betrayed them because, despite this act of appeasement, these companies still refused to cover NPD treatments. In addition, the APA members realized that, if they are ever to be taken seriously by the rest of the scientific community, they would have to abandon this absurd approach to identifying mental illness.

This is why, in the new diagnostic manual (DSM-5) that will be released in May 2013, this dichotomous approach is being fully abandoned for all PDs. It is being replaced -- indeed, has already been replaced in the draft manual -- by a graduated approach which measures five levels of severity.

I mention all this to explain why, for a person deciding whether to remain married, obtaining a diagnosis of "no NPD" is unlikely to be helpful. It may be as useless as telling a blind man "There is no TRUCK coming" when he is deciding whether to step into a crosswalk.
 

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Thanks for the links and.....ouch! Looks like no matter if she has a true disorder or not it will be a tough road for us in the future.

She definitely has something going on in her head because as I mentioned in another thread we have been on a rollercoaster ride relationship since the summer....doing well then one thing will throw us into a loop or nosedive......only to be ok a few days later.

Now I know she has been to counselors in the past (her family told me). Let's just say I know a few things about her past she refuses to tell me......that's ok with me as it was well before our relationship.....but this and a few other things I know she is keeping from me does make me wonder about my wife and whether she continues to have a hidden agenda waiting to spring it on me at the right time.

Basically, I do not want to be her meal ticket until she finds a new man to "save her". If true then I will feel very sorry for this man (and the 2 that came before me).
 
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