My Interview with Narcissist_Survivor
It’s currently 7:04 on a Thursday morning, but I’ve already been up for an hour and a half. The weather is calm, albeit cloudy, coffee already in hand, and my cat is (not surprisingly) lazily sleeping on the ottoman close to the fireplace. My brain has been reeling from my interview with Narcissist Survivor most of the morning.
Like many who have influential pages exposing Narcissistic Abuse, Narcissist Survivor, who now boasts over 100,000 followers on Instagram prefers to maintain a degree of anonymity. So, for the sake of this interview I will refer to her as NS.
After introductions are made, NS and I get down to business. She immediately delves into the topic of parental alienation. This had struck a nerve with her, as I had recently made a post regarding alienation and invited my followers to sign a petition created by The Alliance to End Parental Alienation to the American Psychological Association in an attempt to end the pathology of Parental Alienation. NS however, sees parental alienation through a different lens, one I had thought of but hoped was not common. She says “For the most part, its flipped completely the opposite way, where abusers are now claiming they are the alienated parent” She continues, “This is why it’s so important to know the in’s and out’s and to keep up on these current developments because people are working toward figuring this stuff out.” And this is also why we need to be very educated about petitions pushing change.
I then ask her how she believes the courts can discern who the toxic parent is vs. the targeted, alienated parent. She answers “Well, this is what they don’t do, and that’s the problem you see, and that’s the problem with domestic violence in general, and honestly it’s a societal problem at this point in time. Look at the “Me Too” movement, look at all of those moving parts and pieces and they are part of the problem. Women are not believed; women are not even believed when they’re raped. What happens when you’re that woman, and you go to court, you don’t have the words to describe what’s been happening to you behind closed doors. Let’s face it, when you show up to court you’re not walking in with broken arms and this type of thing, you do not know what gas-lighting means, or projection or blame shifting or any of these terms that describe a narcissist in particular and abuse in general. You do sound crazy; you’re distraught, this person has been mentally manipulating you and really making you crazy. And you show up in court and how do you look? You look like a nutcase, and that’s the idea! And the narcissist rolls up, well dressed, well groomed, smelling good, looking good, cologne on, calm as anything. Who are you gonna look at objectively and say, ‘that person looks sane to me’?” I share a bit of my personal story and confide that I have now been on both sides of this; I’ve been the abused woman, and I have witnessed a woman who lies about being abused. NS is adamant to stress that a woman lying about abuse is uncommon, “It’s the exception and not the rule” she says. “This is how the whole system works, they’ll tell you ‘Well, that one woman lied that one time about getting raped by a famous guy‘ and that means all women are lying about it”.
I have a personal theory that men are diagnosed more often with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, because by nature, men are more overt, and women are more covert. She answers, “It’s not that female narcissists and sociopaths don’t exist,” she says, “but they are rarer according to statistics. The other important thing to note is that abusive and narcissistic men do more harm. These men kill. Abusive men kill their female partners. Narcissistic men rape their partners and their children, including their own. This is why it is so much more damaging”. She then uses President Trumps rants on Twitter to illustrate the double standard prevalent in our society, that if a woman were exhibiting the same behaviors she would be called “hysterical“, or “crazy” and would be called out “just like that”. Then she gets back to the question of diagnosis “Those who have Narcissistic Personality Disorder… it’s very rare that they get diagnosed, so society will also gaslight victims in that way saying ‘well, you’re not a Dr. you can’t diagnose someone’.” NS is passionate, she continues, “You sure as hell can! If you’ve been living with a Narcissist for 20 years, you HELL YES can diagnose him better than some stranger he’s gonna sit in front of for an hour and pull the wool over their eyes”. She goes on, “Doctors, Psychologists, they don’t even study Narcissism for more than a few months in order to become licensed, practicing, Psychologists”. The fact is that most people with pathological personality disorders go undiagnosed for a lifetime, and I agree with her, it is utter foolishness to sit around and wait for someone to be diagnosed before learning the signs and protecting yourself.
Speaking of protecting yourself, I ask NS “What is the best way, or what is the biggest red flag, that someone is a Narcissist? What are the top two or three things?” The first one she lists is excessive charm. “Excessive charm corresponds with love bombing. If you’re getting into a whirlwind relationship where this guy has asked you to run away and marry him in the first week, that’s probably a narcissist”. Her next red flags? Dead eyes and the predatory stare. She says ” At first you don’t recognize the predatory stare, you mistake it for intensity or passion or something like that, but if you look a little closer, they all have that glassy, you know, they stare at you just a little too long, and you feel this, sort of uncomfortable way”. She continues, “They are working hard to reel you in fast because it’s hard for them to be nice for long periods of time“.
“I do a lot of work around trauma”, NS begins, “Everyone says narcissists and empaths have a connection, but it’s more like people with borderline personality disorder and narcissists go together, and that goes more toward being an empath because you’re always in fight or flight mode. If you’ve had trauma in childhood, you either turn everything on or you turn everything off to keep yourself safe. You develop C-PTSD and it looks a lot like Narcissistic, or Borderline Personality Disorder. War, domestic violence, and child abuse all cause C-PTSD, and people will say ‘oh, well it’s not that bad’, but it IS that bad. Any horrifying thing that happens to a child, even if they may not remember it, imprints on their brain and they end up with these so-called mental disorders afterwards, which are really misdiagnosed child abuse”. She continues, “And again it goes back to the psychiatric profession; if you’re sitting in front of somebody for an hour and you’re presenting with symptoms of BPD, and they’re just checking off their checklist, they’re not asking you about your childhood, and your trauma’s and what happened to you. It’s not even a full diagnosis, it’s just the symptoms that you’re presenting them. Like you’re at the Dr. and you’re presenting with the symptoms of diabetes, but the guy doesn’t ask you are you eating McDonald’s 24/7 for the last 10 years? That matters! But that’s not the way the system works, you’re gonna present them with the symptoms that you have right now, and that’s gonna be your diagnosis. And that’s why a lot of people don’t get better, is because they are trying to fix the wrong thing.” NS has a point, our medical system is great for putting a band aid on an issue in the form of a pill, but never treating the cause of the issue. And she’s contending that the same thing is happening in the mental health arena.
My next question deals on the matter of nature or nurture and I ask NS if she believes Narcissists are born or made? She says she believes they both play a role and goes back to narcissistic and borderline personality disorders developing as a result of childhood trauma. “So no, [trauma], that’s not learned”. She goes on, “Behavior is learned, but these mental disorders come from somewhere else. And that’s why domestic violence is so rough on children because they just grow up and repeat what they see. And all kids do that because they don’t have another reference for what is normal. We [adults] might know because we’ve lived and know a few things because we’re older, but kids don’t know any different, and that’s how those things are learned. But no, you can’t call it [true narcissism] learned, abuse can be learned, and you can learn narcissistic traits and not be a narcissist, which is also a fine line, but if you’re not a natural narcissist you can unlearn those behaviors over time, once you become aware of them”. So I ask her “Do you believe someone with malignant narcissism has the capacity to change as well?” She says “It’s not what I believe, it’s a fixed disorder, a fixed mental disorder, and they lack something in their brain. And that’s it. That’s them, it’s what they are. They don’t change, and they don’t want to change”. This is a huge concept, and one I hope NS and I can further dissect together in the future.
NS next discusses the difficulty of finding a professional you can talk to about narcissistic abuse. She proceeds to talk about the importance of understanding true narcissism and all the conflicting information about it. I concur, there is a lot of misleading and dare I say “bad” information out there. Apparently one account reached out to her with a new term called “blackening” which is a word a therapist conjured out of thin air and was intended to mean “gaslighting” or some other ascribed to term. But information like this is confusing people, and counterproductive to the cause. We barely have people understanding the term gaslight and what it implies and now someone comes along and terms the same concept at “blackening”. This is bad counseling and bad information for everyone, and she drives back the point that most counselors are unequipped to deal with narcissists and narcissistic abuse. She says the only ones who fully understand it seem to be the ones who have lived it. She explains, “You’re not gonna live in the Ozarks and find somebody you can go talk to about narcissistic personality disorder, it just doesn’t happen. But slowly, with what you and I are doing we can change that”. And to this I say “Amen, NS. Amen”.
@Narcissist_survivor is a public figure spreading the truth about Narcissistic Abuse, Domestic Violence, and Narcissism Awareness. You can connect with her on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter.