Narcissistic Personality Disorder And PAS

I Lost My Daughters To A Psychopathic Narcissist

To some extent most of us are familiar with the ancient Greek Narcissistic myth of of a young man who falls in love with his own reflection. He is so attracted to his reflection that he cannot draw himself away from the pool of water where he sees himself.  Since he cannot pull himself away he eventually dies.

The myth may be quaint but in our society individuals with narcissism disorders suffer serious personality dysfunction that can be extremely harmful to the people with whom they have relationships.  And, while it has been largely seen as  relatively innocuous and not terribly common therapists are beginning to believe it is reaching epidemic proportions.  People with this disorder can function reasonably well in most normal social situations so their mental disease can easily go undetected.

The term ‘Narcissistic Personality Disorder’ was first coined by Heinz Kohut in 1971 and describes people who have a grandiose sense of self-importance, a thirst for admiration and a lack of empathy.

People with Narcissistic Personality Disorder often make themselves appear “larger than life” and exaggerate their accomplishments. However, they also have a very fragile self-esteem and believe that they are flawed in some way, which they feel makes them unacceptable to others. It has been stated that “Psychologists commonly believe that narcissism results from an impairment in the quality of the person’s relationship with their primary caregivers, usually their parents, in that the parents were unable to form a healthy, empathic attachment to them. This results in the child conceiving of themselves as unimportant and unconnected to others. The child typically comes to believe that he or she has some defect of personality which makes them unvalued and unwanted” .

While I was first fighting to save my youngest daughter, Madeline, I wish I was familiar with the work of Dr. Kohut.  At my insistence Madeline , my ex-husband, and I met with at least three psychologists.  Although they recognized Madeline's need for therapy not one even hinted that they suspected any issues with David.  Yet, as I have continued to do research in my quest to rescue my daughter I have learned that David exhibits all the key symptoms of narcissistic personality disorder.  And, the connection between parental alienation and narcissism is well established in the professional journals. 

How I wish that just one "professional" had been sufficiently astute to recognize an anomaly in David and his relationship with Madeline.  Things might have had very different results. David might have received counseling or perhaps he would be sitting in jail as a result of being convicted of child abuse.  Perhaps the blame lies with the authors of DSM-V.  But, Narcissists can be very good at hiding their disorder until a situation threatens their overwhelming need to fulfill their aberrant needs. All I know for sure is that I lost my daughter and I believe there are three psychologists guilty of malpractice.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder

With narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) there is a rigid pattern of behavior that relentlessly drives a lifelong quest for self-gratification which includes an overwhelming sense of grandiosity, an insatiable need  to feel self-important, a chronic lack of empathy,  and a childish need for attention. The "life of the party" may well be a pathological narcissist  displaying their driving quest for attention.

Individuals with Narcissistic Personality Disorder are arrogant , devoid of empathy for other people, and require admiration in all their relationships.  Narcissists are often cocky, self-centered, manipulative, vain, and demanding power mongers.  People with this disorder often believe they are and should be of primary importance in everybody’s life or  to anyone they meet.They often dwell on unattainable ambitions and may be convinced that they deserve praise, fame, or reverence for goals they never achieved. To do this they tend to display traits of pathological lying, a tool used to manipulate associates.  Antisocial, Borderline, and Histrionic Personality Disorders are related and often coexist to some extent with narcissism.  Although they often display apparent traits of high self-esteem they rarely are humble as are people with genuine high self-esteem.

People afflicted with Narcissistic Personality Disorder typically can function reasonably well.  But, when their controlling, self-centered environment changes and they lose control of their manufactured world their behavior can turn malignant.   Divorce is a perfect example.

Those with this personality disorder are exploitative, and likely to cause significant distress to others.”

Typically, this takes the form of emotional abuse. The narcissist’s insatiable quest for attention  leads him or her to seek out a steady source of admiration. Where that is in short supply, the narcissist prefers to inspire fear or hatred than suffer the nightmare of being ignored. And, unable to empathize, they are indifferent to the consequences of hurting people.

Narcissism And Parental Alienation

Parental Alienation is symptomatic of a highly conflicted divorce when a narcissistic parent's world turns upside down and the narcissist tries to regain equilibrium by turning children against the targeted spouse.  Thus, the alienator  who lacks empathy uses narcissistic characteristics to regain power and control by manipulating people to satisfy their needs.   The abuser uses tactics flowing from their narcissistic personality to separate the child from the targeted parent thus inflicting severe suffering on the alienated parent. It is child abuse as well as abuse of the alienated parent. Those of us who have been targeted by an alienating spouse or ex-spouse will recognize the symptoms of a narcissistic personality. It is just unfortunate that we did not recognize the traits and act accordingly before the onset of abuse.

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The overwhelming hallmark of narcissistic personality disorder is the lack of empathy in the narcissist's relationships.  The narcissist actively seeks adulation, compliments, admiration, subservience, attention, and being feared in order to sustain their fragile and dysfunctional ego.

Narcissists tend to display dysfunctional characteristics common with other disorders. I have included a list of these characteristics below. But, most professional research on narcissism  concludes that the following 11 traits are commonly observed in narcissists They typically will display several of the characteristics:

  • The narcissist tends to exaggerate a sense of self-importance:  they grossly exaggerate their careers, talents, awards, achievements, and talents. They expect  to be treated as superior performers without having actually achieve very much.  My ex-husband has convinced my oldest daughter that he was a PGA golfer, a world-class bicycle racer, and a successful entrepreneur. He is a talented person but has not achieved these lofty goals.
  • A primal fear of abandonment.  They need an audience to play out their fantasies.
  •  Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal sex. 
  • Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions.)
  • Requires excessive admiration.  This is a significant element in PAS.
  • Has a very strong sense of entitlement, Unreasonable expectations of especially favorable treatment or automatic compliance with his or her expectations
  • Is exploitative of others, Takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends
  • Lacks empathy, Is unwilling or unable to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others
  • Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her
  • Regularly shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes
  • Self-Aggrandizement. This is at the heart of narcissism. It reflects the pattern of making the narcissist the center of all attention.
  • Gaslighting - This is the practice of brainwashing or convincing a mentally healthy individual that they are going insane or that their perspective on reality is grossly misunderstood. The term “Gaslighting” is based on the 1944 MGM movie “Gaslight. Read More by clicking on the link.

The following traits commonly exist in people across several disorders related to narcissism.

  • Abusive Cycle - This describes the ongoing iterations between destructive and constructive behavior which is typical of a dysfunctional family dominated by a narcissist.
  • Alienation - The narcissist interferes and attempts to end an person's relationship with others.  Common in PAS.
  • "Always" and "Never" Statements -The narcissist  tends to use  absolutes in statements that are rarely true or accurate.
  • Anger - Narcissists have a tendency to display exaggerated  anger over real or imagined wrongs which can easily elevate to physical abuse.
  • Baiting - A provocative act used intentionally to solicit an angry, aggressive or emotional response from another individual.
  • Blaming - Narcissists are not so good at  resolving problems but are quick and very good at blaming others.
  • Bullying-  Usually associated with childhood, Bullying is a significant element of alienation by a narcissist.  It uses both fear and the need for approval of the bullied child.
  • Cheating -Narcissists typically have insatiable requirements resulting in severe promiscuity.
  • Denial - Believing that a traumatic event or circumstance does not exist or never happened.
  • Dissociation- The narcissist can remove themselves from or rearrange reality.
  • Emotional Blackmail - A series of threats, bullying, and potential punishments used as a  technique to control another person's behavior. Their is an implied threat of physical or emotional injury unless the other person complies.
  • External Thinking -Interprets event results to luck, chance, fate, or powerful others.
  • Sense of Entitlement - An unearned and inappropriate expectation of favorable treatment from others. Their own emotional needs are paramount.
  • False Accusations. Lies, distortion, and exaggeration are often used that can cause  emotional suffering to the victim or damage their character and reputation.
  • Favoritism Favoritism is a technique used to consolidate control and power by giving preferential treatment to one child.  The non-favored child will become compliant and subservient in an attempt to achieve equal status.
  •  Frivolous Litigation. Some narcissists use the legal system to execute their abuse and harassment with someone through spurious legal action. The motivations may include withholding of child support, or causing  emotional and financial pain for the attacked family member or partner.
  • Grooming - Grooming is the predatory act of isolating a child into a position so that s/he  feels more isolated, dependent,  trusting, and more vulnerable to abusive behavior.
  • Intimidation - Any form of veiled, hidden, indirect or non-verbal threat.
  • The use of unmerited legal proceedings to hurt, harass or gain an economic advantage over an individual or organization.
  • Invalidation - Strips the victim of confidence and self-esteem by creating an environment which encourages an individual to believe that their value set, thoughts, and presence are inferior or worthless.
  • Lack of Conscience -Narcissists almost always demonstrate a total lack of empathy and show no moral compass in their dealings with others.
  • Pathological Lying - A common trait with narcissists is pathological lying where they   habitually lie to serve their own needs with little or no regard to the needs and concerns of others. 
  • Raging, Violence and Impulsive Aggression - Explosive verbal, physical or emotional behavior that is disproportionate to the initiating event.
  • Sabotage - The intentional disruption of events in order to serve a personal interest or provoke a conflict.
  • Feeling envious of others or believing that others are envious o them

I have included a resource page with several excellent analyses of Narcissistic Personality Disorder and how it relates to Parental Alienation Syndrome. Click on the link to view them.

Table of Contents

Alienator Personality Types And Parental Alienation
Alienator Personality Types Perpetrate Parental Alienation
Personality Disorders And Parental Alienation
Personality Disorders Play A Significant Role In Parent Alienation
Convergent Emotional Disorders
The convergence Of Emotional Disorders Can Be The Key To Parental Alienation
Family Dynamics' Significance In Alienation
Family Dynamics And Individual Personalities Are Significant Factors In Parental Alienation
Child Advocacy Is Failing Families Battling Against Parental Alienation
Child Advocacy is Is Failing Families Battling Against Parental Alienation
Therapeutic Intervention In Parental Alienation
Early Therapeutic Intervention May Prevent Parent Alienation
Parental Alienation Destroyed My Family
A Carefully Executed Plan Of Parental Alienation Destroyed My Family
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