Home > Borderline Personality Disorder, bullying, Narcissistic Personality Disorder, Psychology, relationships, Social Commentary > Why Narcissism and Other High Conflict Personalities Are On the Rise

Why Narcissism and Other High Conflict Personalities Are On the Rise


There are several books, numerous articles and blog posts about our current culture of narcissism (Lasch, 1991; Twenge and Campbell, 2010; Pinsky, 2009). Much of the recent material focuses on celebrities and the more obvious types of ego mania and entitlement, bad parenting, the boom in social media and the cheap self-esteem that’s been fostered in the last four decades. The fact that narcissism is on the rise is frightening enough, but it’s not just narcissism. All high conflict personalities are on the rise and that includes the other Cluster B disorders: Borderline Personality Disorder, Histrionic Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder.

Not all people with the above personality disorders are prone to high conflict, but many of them are (Eddy, 2008, p. 29). As a society, we need to be concerned that this percentage of the population is increasing. Individuals who fit this pattern adversely impact the workplace, government, the court system, school systems, healthcare and just about every facet of life. The cost to society is high because their behavior doesn’t occur in a vacuum. It affects millions of people every day. They consume more than their fair share of resources, rarely respect the rights of others and continue to transmit patterns of abuse to each successive generation of their offspring.

“High Conflict People have high-conflict personalities. Conflict is part of who they are. It’s a lifelong pattern of thinking and feeling  and acting. Time after time, they argue against feedback, regardless of how helpful or truthful it may be. And time after time, they try to persuade others to agree with their rigid points of view and to help them attack their Targets of Blame. The issues come and go, but their personality traits keep them in conflict. Their problems remain unresolved and the stress on those around them often increases” (Eddy, 2008, p. 16). High conflict people tend to follow a specific pattern (Eddy, 2008, p. 16):

  1. Rigid and uncompromising, repeating failed strategies
  2. Unable to accept or heal from a loss
  3. Negative emotions dominate their thinking
  4. Unable to reflect on their own behavior
  5. Difficulty empathizing with others
  6. Preoccupied with blaming others
  7. Avoid any responsibility for the problem or the solution

If you’re reading this, perhaps you’ve been or currently are the Target of Blame of a high-conflict spouse, girlfriend, boyfriend, ex, colleague, boss or stranger(s). Perhaps you’ve been on the receiving end of mobbing (bullying by a group instigated by one or two ringleaders) and/or a smear campaign or distortion campaign of a high-conflict person who has decided you’re to blame for her or his unhappiness. It’s a horrible position to be in, particularly because high-conflict individuals don’t seem to ever stop their blaming and malicious behaviors.

Do All High-Conflict People Have Personality Disorders?

No, some just have personality disorder traits and not a full-blown disorder(s). People with personality disorder traits are often stuck in their destructive behavior patterns, but they’re more likely to change than someone who qualifies for one or some combination of personality disorders. “However, when people who just have traits are in high-conflict situations (court litigation, dysfunctional workplaces, intense neighbor or family disputes) they appear to have personality disorders” (Eddy, 2008, p. 30).

More often than not, personality-disordered, high-conflict people fall into the, you guessed it, Cluster B continuum. Bleiberg (2001) refers to Cluster Bs as the “severe” personality disorders because they chronically engage in extreme conflict, drama and cause the most problems in society. For a brief description of the four Cluster B disorders, check out Diversified Mediation.

Why High-Conflict People Are On the Rise

In 2004, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) found that 14.8% of the US population meets the criteria to be diagnosed with at least one personality disorder from a sample of more than 43,000 interviewees. This study did not include Borderline, Narcissist or Schizotypal personality disorders. Therefore, the percentage is very likely much higher. NIH conducted the study because:

  • The lack of information on personality disorders is a major gap in US health policies.
  • Personality disorders seem to be significantly linked to work problems, marital/family/relationship problems and criminal activities.

The results showed a slightly larger number of personality disordered individuals in the younger age groups. The percentages diminish successively with each older generation. “Since personality disorders generally don’t change with age, this study reinforces the other indicators that personality disorders and traits are increasing in our society with each new generation” (Eddy, 2008, p. 32).

Eddy (2008, pp. 32-34) cites 6 reasons personality disorders are on the rise in modern urban cultures, some of which other authors have also noted:

  1. Instability in early childhood
  2. Diminishing social glue
  3. Loss of personal behavior role models
  4. A society of individuals
  5. Teaching self-centeredness
  6. Openness to social complaint (i.e., our frivolous law suit society)

Instability and the inability to adapt. Our core personality (temperament, introversion/extroversion, thinking/feeling, etc.) develops by the time we’re 5- to 6-years old. Healthy personalities change, evolve and adapt over the course of a lifespan, but for the most part, core characteristics are enduring. People with high-conflict personalities are usually unable to adapt and don’t evolve in a healthy way over time. Their personalities are extreme and extremely rigid. “The more stable and secure the first five or 6 years, the more secure and adaptable the person is as an adult” (Eddy, 2008, p. 32). Experiencing a high degree of instability in the first 6 years increases the likelihood of a child developing a personality disorder.

Diminishing social glue. Over the last 30 years, the US divorce rate has exploded. More children are raised in single parent families who have witnessed and experienced chaos, abuse/neglect and other disruptions and disconnections. Make fun of the “it takes a village” catch phrase all you like, but we are a hyper digitally connected and increasingly physically disconnected society. We used to know our neighbors, spend holidays with extended family and live in the same cities with our parents, aunts, uncles and cousins. We trusted teachers and other adult authority figures to discipline and model good behavior for our children. Over the last few decades, this has changed. We interact with digital devices that don’t respond with a smile, touch or disapproval for inappropriate behaviors.

Loss of personal behavioral role models. So who do we model our behaviors on? Reality stars? “A powerful part of personality development is family and community story telling about good and bad behavior” (Eddy, 2008, p.33). With our disconnected families and lack of community, people seem to be emulating the extreme high-conflict behaviors reported by the media in an escalating attempt to cover the most dramatic and extreme people and behaviors. Reality stars are rewarded with their excruciatingly long 15 + minutes of fame. These people get attention for behaving like egocentric, malicious, vindictive noise makers. When did making noise translate into making news? Recently, Laurence Fishburne’s daughter, Montana Fishburne, decided it would be a good career move to make a porno film. Sex tapes used to be the death knell of a career.

A society of individuals. We’ve become more and more socially isolated due technological advances that allow us to work and live apart from others. While telecommuting is great, interacting with an electronic device day in and day out means “we don’t depend on others as much, so we don’t have to compromise with them or even care about them. This reinforces self-centeredness and a drive for more control over our personal space and more desire for relationships with material goods” (Eddy, 2008, p. 33). People with high-conflict personalities are driven by fear: fear of being abandoned, fear of ridicule, fear of appearing inferior, fear of exposure and fear of losing control. Being socially isolated increases both the degree of fear and sense of disconnectedness that doesn’t allow them to see their impact on others. Additionally, living in a state of fear significantly contributes to the fight or flight (emphasis on the fight) mentality that high-conflict people seem to have.

Teaching self-centeredness or three generations of self-esteemers. The self-esteem movement was spawned by the mental health field in the 1970s. Forty years later, “this self-esteem focus has inadvertently given people high expectations of receiving benefits for themselves, without learning as many skills to achieve or give back to others. The effect is to teach narcissism as a cultural trait” (Eddy, 2008, p. 33). In a CNN opinion piece, Ruben Navarrette, Jr writes:

Americans have reared at least one generation of kids, or maybe two, to think of themselves as the last bottle of soda pop in the desert. We said we were building children’s self-esteem so they could be successful, but it never occurred to us that giving kids what psychologists call ‘cheap self-esteem’ could do more harm than good by making our kids think they’re 10-feet tall and bulletproof when they’re neither. Besides, what many of these parents were really doing was feeding their own egos; by telling your kids they’re special, it confirms that you’re special for having such special kids. Isn’t that special?

Ask any university professor about the degree of entitlement in recent generations of students who believe they should get A’s just for showing up. Oftentimes, when these young adults get the lower grades they deserve (e.g., poor attendance, incomplete work, poor test cores or not following assignment directions), the students complain to the professor and then escalate to the dean and right on up to the university president or, worse yet, get their outraged and enabling parents to do it for them. Additionally, recent research shows that social platforms like Facebook, Twitter and MySpace can be used to gauge narcissism and other problematic behaviors. I would love to see a study done on how social media is used to conduct distortion smear campaigns.

Openness to social complaints. Our legal system, work environments, community groups, social services and media provide a nutrient rich breeding ground for high-conflict people. High-conflict people have hijacked the concept of ‘justice for all’ and perverted it into a weapon to punish and destroy their Targets of Blame. “Our procedures of fairness and openness unintentionally encourage complaints and prolonged disputes. We thoroughly and objectively examine limited ‘facts’ without recognizing the significance of personality problems and how they can distort the ‘facts.’ This encourages those with personality disorders to seek validation for personal problems and upsets that they can’t handle inside themselves through the courts and other agencies” (Eddy, 2008, p34). Unfortunately, persuasive blamers are often believed at first or indefinitely, until or unless you can catch them in contradictions or their behaviors become so egregious that they can no longer be ignored.

This is all very discouraging, which is why this information needs to become more accessible to the mainstream. Judges, attorneys, court evaluators, police and healthcare professionals—including mental health professionals—need to understand these issues and talk about them openly. As a society, we need to set limits and create consequences for high-conflict people rather than rewarding and enabling them to continue to drain resources and recklessly harm whomever they decide to target for their unhappiness.

by Dr Tara J. Palmatier, PsyD

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Resources:

  • Bleiberg. (2001). Treating personality disorders in children and adolescents. New York: Guilford Press.
  • Eddy, W. (2008). It’s all your fault! 12 tips for managing people who blame others for everything. HCI Press.
  • Lasch, C. (1991). The culture of narcissism: American life in an age of diminishing expectations. W.W. Norton and Compay.
  • Pinsky, D. (2009). The Mirror Effect: How Celebrity Narcissism is Seducing America. Harper.
  • Twenge, J. and Campbell, K.W. (2010). The Narcissism Epidemic: Living in the Age of Entitlement. Free Press.
  • Angiemedia: BPD distortion campaigns.
  • Angiemedia: What is the cost of BPD to society?
  • CNN: Joe, Kanye, Serena—Aren’t they special?
  • Diversified Mediation: High Conflict Personalities: How to keep them from destroying your life.
  1. Alreadylost
    January 14, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    My counselor tried to get my wife to come in for evaluation using the pretext that it was to help me. Guess how far that conversation went. No way. No how. Is she going in to talk to any counselor. After all there’s nothing wrong with her. I’m the one with the problem. That’s why she claims to have put a tracking device in both vehicles and claims to be able to monitor all my Internet access.

  2. NoSeRider
    October 4, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I thought narcissism was at it’s worse during the 1960′s to 1980′s when bigotry, drug abuse, crime and violence was at its all time high. Today’s culture seems passive in comparison……it seems our consumer society has made up more passive and less compassionate?

    I have difficulty believing that narcissism is escalating when violent crime statistics indicate a decline. However, we are an ‘older’ society that produces less children. The baby boomers grew up during the time of the 1960′s to 1980′s.

    • NoSeRider
      October 4, 2010 at 1:40 pm

      If you feel my conclusions are off, just watch Steven Pinker.

  3. TheGirlInside
    September 26, 2010 at 5:04 am

    I think it’s important, having grown up in any kind of family where there was dysfunction (that’s got to be close to 100% if not 100%)…to explore all the ‘whys’ and “how come” and “Why am I this way?” questions.

    But there comes a time (or did for me) when the whys don’t matter as much as just plain old healing and doing what it takes, whether that be no contact with parents / former friends / spouses / lovers or learning to deal with them with a little ‘tough love’ – to heal and love yourself fully, so that we can better give of that love to others.

    I healed the most recently when I realized my undiagnosed-by-anyone-but-me NPD mother had her reasons…they were sick reasons…but the didn’t have one thing to do with me or who I was…that did help quite a bit.
    But I don’t let that turn into an excuse to put up with her behavior and continued mistreatment.

    • September 26, 2010 at 2:02 pm

      I completely agree.

      I think part of “healing” is to accept the fact that there will never come a time when you’ll ever feel good about situation from which you need to heal. It’s just a matter of removing whatever control the experience had over you and your life and moving on to live the life you want for yourself on your own terms.

      • D
        September 26, 2010 at 4:40 pm

        My first bout of couples therapy w/ my BPD ex started six, almost seven years ago. I didn’t understand anything about PDs or mental illness at the time other than to have the personal certainty that there was something deeply wrong afoot and that I was not competent to deal with it on my own. I also figured out that the only way to get my wife into therapy that wasn’t just pill-popping was to agree to go to couple’s counseling because from the earliest days (should have been a giant red flag, I was stupid) she insisted, “there may be something wrong with me but there’s something wrong with you too and I won’t deal with my issues unless you deal with yours.” Couples therapy split the balance and cut through that.

        So, while in therapy, I tried to stay focused on current behavior – mine and hers. I didn’t object to technique, I figured that wasn’t my role, so if she wanted to explore her childhood to figure out “why” she was this way, I didn’t object to it and supported it, especially if it seemed to have results.

        But where it came to my behavior, my attitude and statements to the therapist were always, “okay, I can see that, I’ll change that behavior”, or if it was something terribly habitual or wrapped up in the dynamics of my relationship with her, I would say, “okay, how can I work on changing that.”

        I agreed that there may be childhood reasons for any behavioral or mental issue I had, but I also insisted they were largely irrelevant – to me, if I addressed the behavior, that’s all that mattered.

        Of course, predictably, while the therapist came to see me as the much more mature of the two and the one who was really willing to undergo tough personal change, my ex just saw this as validation that I wasn’t really “dealing with my issues”. The more it looked like I was working and she wasn’t, the more the counselor put up a mirror to her and kept the focus on “you are doing this, and THAT is the result, and you are saying so with your very own words”, the more my ex became combative with her, blaming her and claiming that the counselor didn’t understand her and wasn’t experienced with people like her.

        • Nina
          September 26, 2010 at 5:30 pm

          I’m a little unclear if my reply is only to your post, D, of it is part of a thread I responded to. For whatever it’s worth, my interest in thinking about the sources of some of these issues is, as I said, with an eye to how to possibly break that cycle. To the end, I have a friend who seems to be caught in just what you are talking about, D, couples counseling that focuses on him as the one with the problems. He’s been going to couples counseling for something like 18 years, with nothing changing substantially. What I think I hear is that there were issues from his own childhood that made him vulnerable to someone who is, at the least, narcissistic. And unfortunately therapy, which it seems like would be there to help him, doesn’t really help him, instead keeps him doing just what you’re describing, that is that he keeps thinking he must have done something wrong, that if he just works harder, etc. then things will be okay. I hear a whole inter-related series of things in him, that there is a thread throughout his ancestral family of possibly histrionic and are narcissistic behavior. I wish he could see how that has affected what he’s willing to tolerate. So I suppose the things I’ve written are a way to think through issues I don’t really have any control over, in his case. As for my own family, I do indeed see the way familial issues, my mother’s narcissism in particular, have affected my siblings and me. I think I’ve worked through a lot of stuff, but a lot of issues also resurfaced in the last years of my mother’s life when failing health seemed to rob her of whatever capacity she’d worked hard to develop (through many years of individual therapy) and overcome her own worst impulses. In the couple of days before she died, and knowing she’d been more than a little unkind and hard on me the last 3 years of her life, she said, by way of some sort of apology for her own bad behavior that she wondered if it was even possible at all to change one’s fundamental personality. I think she tried, but when old and ill, it was no longer possible or maybe she was no longer willing to keep trying to keep her own worst impulses in check. Sure, at some point it’s necessary to understand that and move on with one’s life and realize that one won’t be able to get full closure or an apology from someone who is narcissistic/abusive. Some of my own remarks are, as stated, an effort to make some sense, too, of the knot that is my friend’s life.

          • D
            September 27, 2010 at 7:38 pm

            I wish I had a good word for your friend Nina. Counseling clearly can be a dead end. One tiny knot of silver lining is that if the counselor sees you as working and the other as being immature, that’s a professional 3rd party to vouch for you at a later time … but it’s a high cost to pay for something that doesn’t necessarily matter for much.

            A small thing any reader of this site can do for themselves is pre-screen counselors. A simple question, often the only one you need to ask, is “what experience do you have with personality disorders?” I’m not sure the answer has to be “lots”, a healthy respect may be all that’s required, i.e.: an experienced counselor with a PhD who says, “those are hard to treat”, may be a great choice. Down from there, there are all kinds of “wrong” answers, i.e.: “I don’t work very much with those” or “I focus on a ‘process’ method and we don’t really deal in diagnostic categories”.
            If you are in a relationship with someone with a PD or with PD traits, getting a counselor who doesn’t understand these is basically getting anti-inflammatory medication for your cancer: complete waste of time and resources, and possibly fatal.

        • September 26, 2010 at 8:10 pm

          “the more my ex became combative with her, blaming her and claiming that the counselor didn’t understand her and wasn’t experienced with people like her.”

          I’m surprised she didn’t accuse you of having an affair with the counselor.

          It must be so frustrating for PD people dealing with issue filled people like ourselves who just don’t get how screwed up we are and how lucky we are to be with them and have the wisdom of their insight into our and everyone else’s, but their own, character.

          It’s not surprising they’re so miserable and unhappy most of the time having to cope with we lesser beings.

  4. Nina
    September 24, 2010 at 12:31 pm

    A few months ago I came across a book called The Narcissistic Family, written by two therapists, Stephanie Donaldson-Pressman and Robert Pressman. Here’s a snippet from the description of the book “Narcissistic families have a parental system that is, for whatever reason (job stress, alcoholism, drug abuse, mental illness, physical disability, lack of parenting skills, self-centered immaturity), primarily involved in getting its own needs met.” I ended up buying the book and found that much of it resonated with me. I’d been interested in it because as an adult, when hearing for the first time about the issues adult children of alcoholics struggle with, many of them sounded familiar, though I did not grow up with an alcoholic parent. Instead, I grew up with a parent, my mother, who struggled with phobias, narcissism, and probably histrionics. That one line summary from the book gave a hint to what might have been going on in my own family and why it was that I had some of the same issues an adult child of an alcoholic has without that being the issue in my own family. Reading the book was and continues to be, very helpful. It’s also had me thinking about the sources of my mother’s narcissism in particular, her own family construct when she was a child growing up in the Depression, of her mother taking care of her and her sibling, struggling to make ends meet, and of my mother’s father abandoning their family at a young age. And thinking about those things led me to thinking about conversations I have with peers, whose parents grew up during the Depression. Quite a few people, it seems, in my non-scientific sampling, had parents who were abandoned as children by a parent or who struggled terribly, and the curious result, to me, was often women with a lot of narcissism who then raised children in my generation (baby boomer) who had much more, materially, than their generation did. But I think all of us who had a parent that may have been damaged by the Depression received parenting that may, itself, have been damaged, may have meant that a parent’s issues became more important, a greater focus, of the family as we grew up. What I’m saying is that I see the issue of narcissism as being one that may be multi-generational and may have been affected by external forces. That’s not an excuse, at all, for narcissistic behavior. That’s not an excuse for the psychological harm done to others–spouses, children–as a result. I think though that it takes time, awareness, understanding, to think about the sources of the problem and work toward solving them.

    • September 24, 2010 at 6:45 pm

      I understand what you’re saying.

      My own parents grew up during the depression and I can state quite categorically that my father was what some would describe as “damaged”.

      That being said, what human has ever come through life unscathed?

      Throughout history many. if not most, humans have lived in less than ideal circumstances, e.g., poverty, war, famine, etc. that could certainly be seen as
      potentially damaging to body, mind or soul.

      However, most seem to have carried on without passing along any significant “damage” to their own children … or the children have recognized the damage in the parents and tried not to pass it on to their own, e.g., the child of alcoholics who chooses not to repeat the mistakes of their parents.

      If this weren’t the case and we all ended up as PDs due to the “damage” caused to us by our life experience, it’s likely we wouldn’t be living in anything close to what we call “civilized” society today.

      The difficulty I have in thinking about “damaged” people such as my father is that I’m not sure he would have been a better person if he’d grown up in better economic times or if any of the circumstances of his childhood had been in any way different.

      But, who knows?

      • Nina
        September 24, 2010 at 9:32 pm

        It is hard to know if someone would have been better without tough economic times. It isn’t meant to be an excuse, more like my own effort to understand what happened. I’d mentioned it because I think the general thought is that those who lived through the Depression are the Great Generation, who could withstand all kinds of hardships and were therefore made of better more resilient stuff than the next couple of generations. What I was thinking is that they may have been more damaged than people think they were and that damage may have had an effect on the baby boom generation that may in turn have led the baby boom generation to attempt to correct those past problems. Though I think the matter of over-emphasizing rewards to children was over-done (I’m speaking as a parent of now grown children, where I did observe that children were rewarded for every single small thing they did), I question that that alone would necessarily account for an increased wave of narcissism. Maybe narcissism arises from family structures that contain a sick system between the parents.

        Yes, agreed, who doesn’t come through childhood entirely unscathed. And yet, some things seem more likely to give children some kind of difficulty than others as an adult. I think my mother was narcissistic. I think that grew out of not having a father, out of childhood poverty, out of the insecurity of her own childhood. And the legacy of that that she left with us, her children, produced a different set of problems for us; that is, that we’ve all of us suffered from a sense of being invisible, of being hyper-responsible, and a few other things. It’s harder to feel visible when you’ve got a parent who is so pre-occupied with her own issues that she can’t really see her children, or doesn’t really see her children as being whole people, separate from herself. She often lamented the lack of a father in her life, since he abandoned them when she was young. I used to point out to her that had he stayed, he might not have been a good father at all, that just having a parent there doesn’t mean that he would have been a good parent.

        I thought the book I mentioned was very helpful to read about as a way of understanding what went on in my own family. As I said, it wasn’t meant to be an excuse for bad behavior, only a way to understand why it might have happened. Understanding that might be an important key to preventing it, to breaking the chain, so that the abuse doesn’t keep getting passed along from one generation to another.

      • September 26, 2010 at 12:49 pm

        Hi N

      • September 26, 2010 at 1:20 pm

        Hi Nina.

        Well, my first attempt at a response didn’t go so well.

        Sorry if I came across too strong or came across like I thought your comment re: external factors influencing PD “development” came across as excusing PD behaviour, as this wasn’t my intent.

        I’m interested in reading the book you suggested and also believe that it is important for those who’ve grown up with a PD parent to gain an understanding of the impact the family dynamics may have had on them.

        Particularly for those of us with a PD parent who later found themselves in our own PD relationship.

        I feel I pretty much came to terms with who my father was and my feelings about him a few years before he died.

        Oddly enough, a few days ago my daughter, who was born several years after my father died, asked me what he was like.

        After struggling for a few seconds as to how I should respond, I told her “he was a bit of an idiot”.

        I don’t believe in speaking ill of the living or dead but any other response would have been an outright lie and the response I gave was no where near what I could have said, or what my only sibling would have said.

        When she asked why, I explained the “nothing is ever good enough” attitude he had towards everyone but himself and how that made me feel growing up.

        She understood where I was coming from and though I could have said much more, I didn’t want to or see in purpose in doing so and she seemed satisfied with the explanation I’d given, so we just left things at that.

  5. jp
    September 24, 2010 at 12:06 pm

    An opposing view from Slate.com…

    The Banality of Narcissism

    http://www.slate.com/id/2267991/

    • September 24, 2010 at 5:50 pm

      Thanks for the link, jp.

      I can see in some respects where the author is coming from however, I agree with other commenters on the article re: viewing much of what he says as a straw man argument.

      As evidenced by his dismissal of the statement from the wife of a NPD that “at least I know now I’m not to blame”, the author has scant or no knowledge of what PDs are all about.

      Like I think many, I always associated the term “narcissist” with vain individuals who may overly enjoy their own reflection and are self-centered, etc.

      Obviously this just skims the surface in terms of NPDs.

      While I can see where “narcissist” was a convenient label to attach to a particular flavour of PD for the purposes of, as Dr. T. previously mentioned, a sort of shorthand for the purposes of mental health professionals, I think the term is misleading in respect of PDs and should be dropped by the psychoanalytic community.

      The reality is that what we might see as narcissist personalities in the media, e.g., Paris Hilton, could just as easily, and likely accurately, be described as spoiled, silly, self-centered, attention seeking brats.

      Obviously NPDs are something way beyond this.

      When you get right down to it, PDs seem to be, as evidenced from our almost identical experiences with them, more a personality type rather than individuals with anything I would from my laymen’s perspective describe as a mental health issue or disease.

      Their minds just work differently than most. If they worked differently in a beneficial way, they wouldn’t be identified as being “mentally ill” however because they work differently in a negative way, the assumption is that this must not be from their own choice and that they would choose to be “good” if not for that infernal “mental disease” that prevents them from doing so.

      Speaking of “infernal”, and calling a spade a spade, I have no doubt that PDs were well represented in the group of those described as “possessed”, “witches”, “evil”, etc. a few hundred years back.

      I have come to think that society and non-PD type people would be better served if PDs, sociopaths, etc. were removed from the psychoanalytic realm and into the, for lack of a better word and as Dr. T. put it, into the “character realm” and understood as being personality types who are best recognized and avoided or dealt with firmly when they used disruptive or dishonest, etc. tactics to achieve their ends rather than than being seen as individuals with a “mental disease” beyond their control who required understanding and forbearance.

      Just my layman’s opinion.

      • TheGirlInside
        September 26, 2010 at 3:36 am

        OG: I think you hit the nail on the head, once again!!

        It’s not a mental disorder so much as a choice to ‘do whatever it takes to get mine’ or as I often say, an attempt to Use People to Get Things to fill the Void inside (which can only be filled from within–self-love, healing from one’s past,etc.–not from external, tangible ‘stuff’–like people / codependency / acquiring wealth, buying useless but ‘pretty’ crap, etc

        Keep writing – I always look forward to what you have to say.
        TGI

      • September 26, 2010 at 1:42 pm

        Thanks TGI.

        I enjoy reading your comments and views as well.

        Everything I write is just based on my own observations and experiences and thinking about what I seen and experienced.

        I’m sure there is a mountain of psychoanalytic papers written by far better educated people than me that disagrees entirely with the opinion as to PD being more a personality type … or chosen way of thinking and viewing the world … than a mental health “disease”.

        So, just my opinion.

  6. Chris
    September 23, 2010 at 10:23 pm

    Commenting on your comments on Attorney Eddy’s observation:

    “Openness to social complaints. Our legal system, work environments, community groups, social services and media provide a nutrient rich breeding ground for high-conflict people. High-conflict people have hijacked the concept of ‘justice for all’ and perverted it into a weapon to punish and destroy their Targets of Blame. “Our procedures of fairness and openness unintentionally encourage complaints and prolonged disputes. We thoroughly and objectively examine limited ‘facts’ without recognizing the significance of personality problems and how they can distort the ‘facts.’ This encourages those with personality disorders to seek validation for personal problems and upsets that they can’t handle inside themselves through the courts and other agencies” (Eddy, 2008, p34). Unfortunately, persuasive blamers are often believed at first or indefinitely, until or unless you can catch them in contradictions or their behaviors become so egregious that they can no longer be ignored.”

    This is an excellent article Tara. There are some inherent conflicts in the legal justice system starting with the law firms who frankly love high conflict cases where there are deep pockets. High conflict cases involve at least one high conflict personality—and I think often ONLY ONE. Many lawyers will identify a high-conflict personality client the way a lion on the Serengeti appraises a baby wildebeest—and rather than taking a socially responsible course of de-escalating their client, they will maneuver them onto the spit and turn up or down the fire—anticipating a long and hardy meal of… well, billable hours. This is infuriating specifically (Yes, I lived through it—barely) but, it is more harmful to society as a whole. It is bad people, enabling crazy people to hurt good people—-and somehow that equals “good business”.

    Judges don’t seem to be mitigating the problem either. These crazy plaintiff’s should be on the receiving end of punitive justice rather than being enabled by rewards of judgment and sanctions from the court system. I would love to hear ideas on how these types of clients, including their attorneys and aloof judges can be swayed towards actually working towards the common good, rather than eroding it.

    • ExpatDad
      September 24, 2010 at 11:43 am

      There’s actually an Article in the Bar Associations’ code of conduct in my jurisdiction that states that an attorney should not cause unnecessary damage/hardship to the opposing party, which is clearly to be interpreted in the sense of not deliberately escalating a case unnecessarily, for example by exaggerating the possible benefits of doing so or to be had from additional litigation when that advice clearly goes against the established jurisprudence that the attorney him or herself is known to be aware of. In my jurisdiction, although hearings of disciplinary actions of the Bar Association are not public, a selection of the judgments are published online in anonymised form. There’ve only been one or two on this topic and although it was clear enough to me that the attorney in question was acting irresponsibly and only in the interests of lining his or her pockets, the attorneys were fully acquitted on the basis that although the advice to escalate was clearly a massive “long shot” in retrospect, it was still valid advice because “a chance” existed of it being successful – the freedom of the judge to award alimony considerably outside of the guidelines if a justification was found valid was cited….
      The system stinks because you have lawyers judging fellow lawyers and when it comes to their dubious money-making practices they are not going to tell one another off, period. It’s a kangaroo court system. It needs to be public, with a jury, or at least needs to be more akin to medical tribunals. In those, doctors etc. who are clearly negligent and/or act in terms of what’s best for their pocket rather than the best interests of the patient can be reprimanded in a good number of cases, at least in my jurisdiction. The hearings are public too. In the worst cases further expensive medical treatment can be necessary to rectify what went wrong, or even the unfortunate victim’s earning capacity is reduced and hence damages are warranted (not to digress however on whether the amounts awarded are always reasonable). But lawyers on the other hand get off scot free, even when their actions have similarly had the ultimate effect of unnecessarily depriving one or both of the parties to the case of a huge financial sum.
      Citizens of civil society of many jurisdictions have unwittingly surrendered a huge amount of control over their lives to an unaccountable mob of lawyers (as well as bankers). Something needs to be done.

      • Chris
        September 24, 2010 at 10:32 pm

        Thanks for your reply. Who files a complaint to the Bar? An attorney? I think you hit it square on the head with the kangaroo court analogy. A system which acts more like a peer review panel for an bad article rather than a real substantive process for controlling corruption seems to make an inherent mockery–and an indicting commentary on the process as a whole.

        What is the solution? It seems justice herself needs a guardian ad litem…

        I have thought of going back to school and getting a law degree–but alas, I am 46 and wonder if I can afford such idealism.

        • ExpatDad
          September 27, 2010 at 9:28 am

          In my jurisdiction anyone can file a complaint to the Bar, but the chances of it being taken seriously are, you guessed it, pretty low unless you pay yet another attorney. At least that’s different from, e.g. proceedings in Family Court, where it’s forbidden to represent yourself (hence guaranteed $$$$ for the attorneys). To be precise, you are allowed to show up to a hearing without an attorney but you cannot submit any written arguments yourself, however well you know the field.

          The solution? Root and branch reform of the legal system, with something akin to a Hippocratic Oath for lawyers, to make it more in line with the (European model) health system. But that will only happen if the ruling classes want it to, and at present there are two many lawyers present in most governments of Western ‘democracies’. I have been told that Germany recent enacted legislation that puts a cap on what attorneys can charge for the majority of divorce cases, for instance – sounds like a move in the right direction, but I have not found concrete documentation of this yet. Scandinavia is also a good model to follow.

          • D
            September 27, 2010 at 8:33 pm

            You know, medically speaking, there is no such thing as a “persuasive blamer”. No etiology, no diagnostic technique, no prognosis or standard of care, no research, nothing.

            So, the idea of an attorney looking at someone and making mental reference to a glossary definition they heard once at a seminar from the HCI and slapping on the label, “blamer”, gives me the heaves.

            The attorney is there is protect the interests of the client. We should encourage them to do what they are competent at, i.e.: evaluate evidence and file and defend motions in court. It isn’t clear to me how providing them with a whole new language of profiling and stereotyping can serve to improving anything for anyone.

  7. Aapeli
    September 23, 2010 at 8:46 pm

    Would a total economical collapse of our societies result in people behaving better to each other or worse?

    I was going to say it would be healthy to have a collapse, but then thought, “wait a second, is it really so?” I don’t know.

  8. Sad State
    September 23, 2010 at 7:25 pm

    My theory is that we can blame most of these problems on the “age of abundance” in which we as modern Americans currently live. When living in a time or place where not working means not eating, then most people spend all their time working. This leaves little time left over for sticking their noses into other people’s business.

    A village on the brink of starvation will have little sympathy for a citizen who does little work yet complains they aren’t getting their “fair share”. Those with any manner of high conflict personalities would promplty be run out of town to either starve or change their attitude.

    Currently, there are no dire consequences for the actions of a high conflict Cluster B – in fact, they are often rewarded through getting their way to avoid the very conflict they are creating. An activity that is rewarded will be escalated, an activity that is punished will be changed.

    As bad as the current economy is, we are still a long way from wondering where our next meal is coming from. Sadly, I’m afraid this behavior will continue to expand until society crumbles back into some condition where “survival of the fittest” will starve out this entitlement mentality.

    • Gooberzzz
      September 23, 2010 at 10:06 pm

      Just to add, the “fittest” could also suggest being able to manipulate the system and bully others to secure their own level of survival hence why we are seeing a rise in this epidemic. There are a lot of people wondering where their next meal is coming from. Also, their next rent or mortgage payment, job, insurance, proper medical treatment and the like. And the one’s that seem to, more often than not, be impervious to these types of human calamities do just fine walking on the backs and/or shrugging off those who are truly struggling. NPDs can be very powerful influencers, and the fact that this type of person can bully and dominate over another, or a group of people, seems to be highly valued in our culture. The fat get fatter, because there is a enough supply out there for them to feed on.

    • ExpatDad
      September 24, 2010 at 11:24 am

      Absolutely. With particular reference to divorce/alimony issues it’s because there is a legal system/jurisprudence in family court in most countries/jurisdictions that rewards NPD/HCP abuse of the system whilst abjectly failing to properly (or indeed at all) examine the ability/capacity to work/generate income of the NPD/HCP demander of support. It’s noticeable that in jurisdictions where there is relatively little to be fought for, i.e. no lifetime or significantly longterm free mealticket, such as Texas, Scotland, Scandinavian countries etc., you don’t see NPD/HCP types nevertheless attempting to abuse the system for the sheer hell of it, whereas in NY, Massachusetts, England and a number of other European countries you do.

  9. September 23, 2010 at 3:16 pm

    There are a few other aspects of the past forty years that I believe might to one extent or another figure into this.

    In my recollection, the 60s/70s saw a change in attitude towards customs that had previously been considered “good manners” and etiquette on the basis of these being archaic relics of an earlier time … “uptight” and “not cool” … or in some cases paternalistic, e.g., opening a door for a female.

    In some instances this was justified.

    However in others, I believe there was a lack of understanding as to the part these social customs played in the “social glue” that holds civil society together.

    During the same time period, I recall quite a bit of “pop psychology” focussed on the “I” … which I guess fits under the “cheap self-esteem” category … and various pop anthropolgy type books that presented the notion that “selfishness” was more or less the natural order of things and presented altruisn, etc. in less than a favourable light. The cult of the “individual” and “individual rights” rose, with the individual’s responsibility within society being pretty much swept under the carpet.

    There was also the rise in “Chicago School” economic theory that presented the “free market” as the be all and end all solution for all of society’s woes and the “greed is good” philosophy that subsequently permeated through society, with Enron, etc. being the result.

    And we had “globalization” and the accelerated rise in power of the corporation and corporate values, both of which could, as discussed in the book “The Corporation”, be viewed as “sociopathic” in nature.

    The thing I’ve noticed is that most things on the list come back to money.

    There was money to be made in peddling pop psychology books that caused more harm than good, money to be made by promoting vacuous “celebrities”, money to be made from HCP types abusing the legal system, money to be made from convincing us we weren’t good enough in some way and could change this with teeth whiteners, cosmetics, clothes, cars and other material possessions.

    All about the money and admittedly rather discouraging because I don’t see much hope for a turn-around in the near future … primarily because our North American, among other, economies are based largely on our continuin to consume junk we really don’t need and have to be convinced, at times through the pueposeful cultivation of narcissism, we need and any retreat from this would likely cause our economies to collapse.

    My cheerful thought for the day.

    • TheGirlInside
      September 24, 2010 at 12:24 am

      Hence the quote: “the LOVE of money is the root of all evil.” (not money itself, as many people misquote)

      We are to Love People and Use Things, not the other way around. I think most people on this site understand that…PDs do not.

      my 2 cents,

  10. CM6096
    September 22, 2010 at 11:15 pm

    Consider this, take for instance blaming or not taking responsibility… In a world where the crazy high conflict people almost are equal in numbers (if not outnumbering) the sane people… Isn’t the conflict their fault? I mean, the sane people are forced into these catagories of blaming and deflecting responsibility because its true. I’ve had so many high conflict people in my life that I’ve isolated myself intentional to avoid conflict. Because change inevitably means a big conflict is coming, I avoid change. To keep my sanity sometimes I can feel myself ‘digging in’ when it comes to my beliefs and personal methods because I’m feeling so attacked sometimes. I mean, that list of characteristics, except things like not feeling empathy, describes me… and I hate conflict, I’m the way I am cause I hate conflict. Weird, maybe I’m the only one that feels like that, I don’t know… I guess you can say ‘they’ have made me feel like I’m the crazy one.

  11. Aapeli
    September 22, 2010 at 1:53 am

    ““The more stable and secure the first five or 6 years, the more secure and adaptable the person is as an adult” (Eddy, 2008, p. 32). Experiencing a high degree of instability in the first 6 years increases the likelihood of a child developing a personality disorder.”

    I think my NPD “girlfriend” may have been a victim of this. Her father, as I believe, also has the NPD and he is certainly someone who seems chaotic when you are with him. I think my “girlfriend” may have greatly suffered from the instability of her father when she was a child.

    In contrast, my own father has always been a very stable man. I felt early on in my life that in my father I can trust. He is a man of a few words but he had this demeanour and behaviour which just made me feel that I can trust him, no words were needed for that. He has never let me down on that. He is the one the whole family relies on to keep things in control, to know what to do. He is usually the one who takes initiative and is doing things before others realise something needs to be done. He has his flaws, like stubbornness (this can be a positive too), and being a quiet man (I guess he assumes that others understand him even without words so we need to “wake him up” from time to time to the fact that we are in fact not knowing what he is up to, and then when he tries to tell us what he’s thinking he doesn’t say much, it feels like trying to decipher an encrypted message sometimes) but I always felt I could trust him, and he has never let me down. He is a stable person mentally and also his physical demeanour reflects that – he is in much better shape than many of his age and he can beat many young men (including myself) easily when it comes to physical fitness and stamina. So yes he is a person feel I can greatly trust in both mental and physical ability and stability.

    I feel this is in great contrast to the father of my “girlfriend”. I would not trust such a father. I have heard many stories from my “girlfriend” and her mother of how he has acted in a way which provokes distrust towards him. He would often act in a very selfish way. And he would often act in an “out of control” way in the sense that he would be loud and try to dominate other people by bullying them. He is like a kid who just can’t shut up no matter what. He is like a kid who often laughs at others in a mean way. Honestly, I would not have wanted to live my childhood with such a father. I can see where the instability of my “girlfriend” may have come from – she may have simply copied it from her father.

    The father of my “girlfriend” is an intelligent man, but I believe he has the NPD too. In fact I think his mother had it too. R.I.P., she died earlier this year. Guess what strike me as odd at her funeral? The son and the granddaughter looked like they were not actually grieving the loss of their mother and grandmother. I even felt slightly insulted by the behaviour of my “girlfriend” as I felt the funeral was some sort of a “stage” for her. She looked like “sad” for one day, the day when she heard the grandmother had died, but then the next day she looked *happy*! I could not understand that. She could not understand that either because I hinted to her that I don’t like how she behaves in regards to the death of her grandmother and she was just about to become enraged about it but I stopped discussing it so it was left a bit unclear to her what I had meant with the hint I dropped to her. She really looked like happy about the whole funeral thing. I think that the “grieving” on the first day was actually sort of a play. She put some candles on the kitchen table and had a toy there the grandmother had given to her and then when I arrived there she did not look very sad and she did not cry but she emphasised that she is grieving. I think someone who is genuinely grieving doesn’t need to put up such a show. I know I cried more at the funeral than she did. It just felt very strange to me that I was the one who cried the most at the funeral and I wasn’t related to the dead person.

    OK this post is rambling away from its original purpose so I’ll stop here.

  12. Aapeli
    September 22, 2010 at 1:25 am

    “Ask any university professor about the degree of entitlement in recent generations of students who believe they should get A’s just for showing up.”

    I have some experiences of this sort of a thing. We were given an assignment and a deadline. I was the only one in the class of about a dozen people who took the deadline seriously and turned the assignment in before the deadline. Others complained (at the day of the deadline) that the deadline was too tight and that they would need more time. That was all bullshit because the assignment was relatively easy and we had had plenty of time to do it. But the teacher gave them more time. And my assignment was graded equal to the assignments of those who did not respect the first deadline.

    Of course I thought it was not fair. I did not complain but I quietly noticed the weakness of the teacher that he could not tell the others that they had failed to meet a deadline and therefore their grade would have to be lowered for that. Lowering the grade should be the normal course of action but no, those lazy people got away with it unscratched.

    This example case certainly isn’t a big deal to me. It is however one example of how people felt entitled to break the rules and then they got away with it because the authority was too weak to enforce the rules upon them.

    • Aapeli
      September 22, 2010 at 1:28 am

      The result of this was that I respected the teacher in question less. That is the risk the teachers take when they do that sort of things – they can lose respect.

      They can lose respect from both the people who got away with breaking the rules and from those who played by the rules. Both groups will think that the teacher was weak because he easily gave in to the demand of changing the rules.

  13. JB
    September 21, 2010 at 2:40 pm

    I think that the advertising industry reinforces this kind of behavior as well. They use many tactics to influence buying behavior. What I notice often is mirroring cluster B personality traits, or pandering to them, or a combination.
    Why? Because many of these type individuals have impulse control problems…$$

  14. September 21, 2010 at 1:46 pm

    D :
    It appears doomed down the path of “zero tolerance for bullies” which actually totally failed to protect children from bullies at school, but just gave teachers and legal administrators cover so they could punish the kids who defended themselves against bullies. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, your kid hasn’t been bullied yet. Believe me, the bully won’t get the discipline.

    This is a mouthful. This is also part of the breeding ground for Narcissism. They get away with it and see bullying as not only a powerful and effective way to get what they want from a more gentle personality, but also condoned by those in authority. The complainer is then told to learn to deal with difficult people and likely suspended for defending himself, while the bully gets off scott-free. Yeah – been there, done that.

    As far as Dr. T’s article, the more I read your blog, the more familiar so many recent situations seem. Smear campaigns, mobbing, bad parenting, blaming, inflexibility, false self-esteem — and the list goes on. It’s almost text book sometimes.

    • Aapeli
      September 22, 2010 at 2:32 am

      Yes…

      I feel that I was bullied out of an on-line discussion forum. There was at first no problem at all for me to post there. Then someone started attacking me personally. I did not understand why. It continued for a few months and intensified. I tried to talk directly to the person in question to try and find out why he is doing it. He refused to talk to me. Then one time he attacked me personally in public I responded angrily in public and guess what happened – my account got suspended.

      I was mystified at what had happened because I was the one who had received several personal attacks in the past few months and so I could not understand why it was me whose account was suspended.

      Any ways, I got my posting rights back and continued to post my opinions at the same forums, NOT attacking anyone personally like was the case before. But I was not safe because the bully was still there and he probably felt more powerful because had done it once so maybe he could do it again.

      Then, a thread in which I absolutely did not attack anyone but used polite language. I specifically wanted to make sure that I am polite because I knew others may disagree on what I say and I knew there are people there who will easily get angry in such discussions so I tried to avoid making them angry. I noticed that some people came to the thread to try and derail it and to try and upset me. But I remained calm and polite and kept posting in a friendly manner.

      Then just one post by the same bully told me I have been completely wrong and that I have attacked other people. The next post after that was a post by the moderator of the forum locking the thread and saying things which apparently meant that my account had been suspended. So the bully was successful for another time to get me off that forum. I absolutely did not attack anyone in the thread and used calm and polite language to discuss something that was on-topic for that forum. And then someone who disagrees with me posted one single post into that thread and I guess reported me to a moderator who in turn banned me!

      I guess what goes on at that forum. This is what goes on: the moderator is being used by bullies as a tool to drive people out of the forum. The moderator does not actually read the discussions and follow-up on things, but he acts on posts when others have reported them using the “Report post” functionality of the forum. This system can greatly be abused. In this system the one who complains the most, wins.

      I really did not want to report the other people to the moderator because I thought that was the nice thing to do. I tried to be polite and friendly and not report them. For that I was rewarded with a ban because someone got the idea that they will report me. When the moderator doesn’t actually look what has happened this will actually work. I think the company in question should fire the moderator in question and hire someone who actually reads the discussions he or she is supposed to moderate. I could report posts too but since I am a nice person I try hard to avoid doing so so in this game I will lose every time.

      I have taken a look at the forum since then and the bully has bullied other people since I am not there any more. I have seen him even refer to some “true members” group. So he has some group of people there who are “true members” and then everyone else is not a true member. I think he is exactly the kind of people who should be banned from discussion forums, but no, the moderators incompetently fail to recognise the problem with the abusive behaviour of some people there.

      It’s a bit sad that a commercial company gets dragged down in such a way by bullies and their supporters (conscious or not it doesn’t matter) but then again maybe I shouldn’t feel sorry for that organisation. It is their place and if they want to send me a message that they support such bullying then that’s fine, I will let them do it. I will just not give them any money.

      • Aapeli
        September 22, 2010 at 2:41 am

        “I could report posts too but since I am a nice person I try hard to avoid doing so so in this game I will lose every time.”

        …if the authorities are not up to their jobs! My behaviour model at a discussion forum assumes that the authority (“the moderator”) is up to the job and actually knows who is bullying and who is not bullying. I may have to change this behaviour model but I really would not like to do so.

        And I don’t understand why would you drive disagreeing people out of a forum? That makes no sense to me at all. I think people who do that have a very primitive behaviour model at work when they do it. They are trying to protect a territory by driving disagreeing people away. The problem is that the territory was not theirs to begin with.

        • Aapeli
          September 22, 2010 at 2:47 am

          I don’t know if I will ever go back to that forum to post as I feel I can’t trust the moderator to do a good job.

          Oh, and reading this website here has helped me a lot in understanding why some people behave like that.

          It’s a bit sad though to understand how primitive behavioural models people have in use.

          Now when I go read the forum in question it is obvious to me who the bullies there are. There is a group of a few people there who regularly try to shut other people up or drive them away from the forum. And the moderators let them do that. In my case they did it because my opinions did not match theirs and they felt I was too big a threat – I think my arguments made too much sense for them to let me post there – I think that I was sort-of exposing their flawed logic and double standards (hypocrisy) and then they needed to shut me up so that they would not have to see posts at the forum which are inconvenient for them because they expose their hypocritical logic.

      • September 22, 2010 at 10:36 pm

        mate, you’re not wrong. I’ve put up with endless bullying on a forum, but most of us have been there for 10 plus years. It’s interesting that the ones who did most of the bullying and name calling (I’m just dogmatic and pragmatic and stick to my guns and use their own words and they hate it) have gone to another forum, where they continue to bag me and others – but they haven’t come back. Water finds its own level and birds of a feather. So we figure those of us left on the original forum are OK as we have our spats but we have them with courtesy (to a degree) and rules as none of us wish to do to the remainder what happened before. The moderator is by and large useless but a few threats of litigation for allowing the forum to be used for libellous messages sorted that out. Hope that makes you feel a bit less of an isolated case!!! Even happens in good ol’ Godzone (NZ).

  15. NoSeRider
    September 21, 2010 at 8:18 am

    I can’t believe there isn’t some sort of cluster B personality going on here.

    • Karen
      September 22, 2010 at 2:35 am

      I worked with a student who had him as a professor and these were my exact thoughts – except that this student thought he was brilliant and considered him her mentor. There’s a lot of dysfunction in academia. Big time.

      • NoSeRider
        September 22, 2010 at 9:35 am

        BILL MOORE taught design. A very tough son of a bitch. His criticisms
        were scathing and ruthless, some students left the class in tears. There
        was an apocryphal story in the halls that one time he had disliked someone’s work so much he burned it off the wall……..he had the ability to FEEL whatever you came up with, …he was passionate about his subject and communicated that love and passion for order and 2-D design to his students.

        http://waltergabrielson.com/Persistance%20Pages/Chapter4.html

        The video instructor was mentored by the above instructor. Apparently this behavior taught as being normal and acceptable….just as this parent is taught from parent to child. This behavior can be perpetuated just as easily from teacher to student.

        • NoSeRider
          January 11, 2011 at 3:25 pm

          Also, the teachings of Roland Y*****, who made the entire class, including myself, eat grass on our first day of art school. He was communicating to us how we are subservient to authority and took us outside of the classroom to this bed of grass. As we were talking, he told us “rip some grass off the ground.” We did. He then told us to “eat it.” No one budged. He then screamed “EAT IT” and all of us shoved the grass blades into our mouths. Roland taught us the necessity of concept……

          http://howdesign.com/article/youngcreatives/

          Well, the whole point of this website is to examine human nature. That’s what I’m doing.

          • NoSeRider
            January 11, 2011 at 5:34 pm

            If you think this is meaningful benevolent behavior, you must have been raised by a pack of wolves.

  16. kevin
    September 21, 2010 at 7:46 am

    I have often wondered if many of the feminist and sexual harresment activist/educators that regularly turn up in the media and other public spaces have many of the personality disorders you have described. And that they take these personality traits and inject conflict into other peoples lives and social groups purely to satisfy their own internal needs for conflict. Often now when ever I see a woman in the media, courts or universities trying to claim victim status because of some perceived social slight, I wonder if she has personality disorder and is trying to draw others in and expand the conflict.

    • Closure_at_last
      September 21, 2010 at 5:00 pm

      True, very true Kevin. It often happens. I was recently flabbergasted on reading this article in the Guardian. Out of abject fear of what happened in that protected post of Dr. T i.e cyber-bullies hijacking it; and also so the writer won’t see any links leading to her site, I will not place a link to that article. I will only ask you to google the phrase ‘sluts and sweethearts’ which is the title of the article. I write on this board under another name but in this case even I don’t want to attract the attention of those ones.

      If what is written in that article is followed, women can call men any abusive name they want but men, even those who have been abused and truly fleeced off, cannot even let out a gasp. It is mind blowing what’s happening in the name of these ‘activists’ who themseleves often I wonder want to get their name in the spotlight.

      I always feel like yelling out – ‘go to those countries where women are facing REAL misogyny (Iran, Afghanistan etc.) to help them. You know well they’ll kill you there, so instead you bash the men in liberal western countries who are already overburdened.’ I honestly think women who constantly clamour ‘they have it SO tough’ should join the armed forces, mining, offshore drilling and every other profession that keeps the world’s infrastructure moving instead of lamenting what monsters men are. Why don’t they do that? Wouldn’t that be shooting for real equality instead of doing these liberal arts degrees in medieval english and feminist studies and then hollering so they can keep their grant money coming – grant money paid by the tax dollars of those ‘horrid, sexist, misogynist men’?

      Truth is bad and evil apples exist in BOTH genders. And the good ones end up paying the price for the sins of the bad ones in both genders. Yet many ‘activists’ like those mentioned in the article use some group-right affilliation to cry ‘victim’ to assure their own importance. But aha! when individualistic women who ARE naturally self-assured or talented AND objective do emerge with scientific brains these same women go to lengths to bully and bash her down in case they challenge their faux-feminist ‘leadership.’ And they certainly don’t give a rat’s ass to the sexism those women in science and engineering fields do face thanks to the sterotyping created by the angsty, crazy, entitled ones. No – these ‘activists’ only want to holler the ‘pain’ and ‘suffering’ of their own birds-of-a-feather kind. Therein lies their sinister hypocristy but woe betide should anyone point this out!

      “Often now when ever I see a woman in the media, courts or universities trying to claim victim status because of some perceived social slight, I wonder if she has personality disorder and is trying to draw others in and expand the conflict.’ Very very true Kevin. Alas, very true.

  17. Justin_Case
    September 21, 2010 at 3:55 am

    Great read Dr. T! I was at a party this past weekend and a collective group of people, some I barely knew, got onto the topic that the world seemed more selfish. We all agreed that it had but some of the group started defending it. “What’s wrong with that?” Is it a good thing or a bad thing? So I asked- What on earth could be good about the world getting more and more selfish? Nothing but blank stares to answer my question; I didn’t get an answer. Hmmm…….

    • Gooberzzz
      September 22, 2010 at 8:42 pm

      For being one of the shortest comments, I think you said the most. I have been in similar social situations with pretty much the same response. You are dealing with the “collective conscious” Concepts such as seeing the good in people, before you throw them under a bus, being compassionate, being helpful, being empathetic, or just saying one single nice thing to, or about another person alludes many.

      There is A LOT of selfishness out there, and it’s usually from the people who have the most to give. People with money, education, skills and/or just time, withhold from others, especially now in an upside down economy. It’s called DFC, Don’t Fucking Care attitude that many, not all, but many have adopted into their psyches.

      Is it NPD, or other PDs? I would suspect so to some degree, but I also suspect the epidemic will continue to grow, and as the media, politicians, educators, lawyers, business types, celebrities and other narcissistic driven professions perpetuate the behavior, it may become the norm. It will be a bumpy ride, because these types seem to have an over-inflated sense of value, and a following that will continue to feed and prop them up.

      My two cents. “Mean people suck.”

  18. finallywokeup
    September 21, 2010 at 2:08 am

    I agree with D re: the system protects the PD/bully better than the abused/bullied. It’s perverse. My ex-NPD is sh*t for a mother to my child (shared custody) during her time, to the point that my child now desperately wants to live with me. But I have been told flat out that unless I fail to pay child support, the system is not set up to notice anything.

    Likewise, when my child was being bullied at school, and he defended himself, he got in trouble for “solving a problem with hitting”, even though the cowardly and useless teachers were nowhere to be found while he was being attacked. I told them that my child had my permission to punch the lights out of anyone they let bully him on their watch, consequences be damned.

  19. D
    September 21, 2010 at 1:50 am

    Most of this I’m with you, but where we get to the part on the legal system, my gut goes “hic sunt dracones”. What I’ve seen of how the legal system applies HCP and a pathetically limited understanding of cluster-B amounts to a concept massacre that leaves us worse off in the end than where we started.

    My wife was absolute hell in the home, to me and our children. But I knew no one would believe she was as bad as I knew her to be. The truth is, it was even hard for me – I had to document it, re-read it a month later, plus have friends who’d been listening to my ongoing stories reconfirm to me and remind me of how recent and how bad the insanity was. No one would WANT to believe a tale that bad.

    So, knowing what and incredible Hollywood show she can put on and how desperate people would be to believe it, I went on a program of documentation. I taped conversations and phone calls, kept meticulous records, filmed key items of evidence …

    Now, here’s the problem: at one stage, after a series of complete bafflements at the hands of attorneys, I happened across an HCP glossary online which I could swear was on the website of the High Conflict Institute, but I can’t find it there anymore. I read this glossary and it made my gut turn upside down.

    The problem is that the glossary is a far closer approximation to how attorneys think than the DSM. A doctor or psychologist goes about a multi-faceted, multi-dimensional diagnostic regimen to conclude person A has a personality disorder, person B doesn’t and person C is being victimized incessantly by someone with a personality disorder.

    Attorneys don’t do anything like that at all. Actually, as an anecdotal observation – I think they are remarkably lazy.

    Given definitions, like “persuasive blamer”, they are prepared to use that as a stereotype within five minutes of meeting a client, and they are unable to unearth themselves from the pit of their own bias no matter the countervailing evidence.

    So – I say this now as someone who desperately needs the protection of the legal system. I have to leave the country soon and I urgently need legal steps taken to get action to assure my children, my family and my children’s caretakers are protected while I’m gone and I’m trying hard not to freak out but what it amounts to is that the legal system is simply not helping me at all. It is prepared to take my money, all of it and more, but it doesn’t really give a damn about evidence, evidence-based medicine, evidence-based diagnosis (it doesn’t even understand that) and it is prepared to doubt and label me primarily on account of the volume of my cries for help and the evidence I’m prepared with to prove that I really need the help.

    So – yes this system needs help, complete reform really, but the direction in the paragraph about the legal system here doesn’t look hopeful at all. It appears doomed down the path of “zero tolerance for bullies” which actually totally failed to protect children from bullies at school, but just gave teachers and legal administrators cover so they could punish the kids who defended themselves against bullies. If you don’t know what I’m talking about, your kid hasn’t been bullied yet. Believe me, the bully won’t get the discipline.

    • ExpatDad
      September 21, 2010 at 8:03 am

      The legal system, i.e. principally the attorneys aided and abetted by their pals the judges etc., positively enjoys, encourages and frankly salivates at the prospect of an NPD/HCP wanting to (repeatedly) unrealistically litigate in family court. They are the biggest villains of all, callous calculating parasites. And they operate by feeding the narcissistic entitlement, often in a fairly obvious conspiracy with a “rock-tickling” therapist of the sort that Dr. T. has written about elsewhere.
      If only Michael Moore would make a follow-up movie to the Capitalism story about the legal system, especially family court since that’s the part that directly impacts most ordinary citizens’ lives. I suspect his lawyers wouldn’t let him though… Having said that, what difference would greater awareness make? There’s now a fairly high level of awareness of the obscene practices of the banking/finance industry’s wanton excesses/carelessness at the expense of ordinary citizens, but look what the folks we’ve elected to govern us have done – bailed them out, with our money that they didn’t have and now the after-effect is that civil servants’ jobs are going and those that remain will suffer pay cuts. Meanwhile in the City of London the bankers etc. are already back to receiving record bonuses.
      I sometimes wonder if divorce attorneys name wings of their vacation homes or their boats after some of their more profitable (NPD/HCP) clients and their hapless exes.
      When’s the revolution coming?

      • D
        September 21, 2010 at 8:05 pm

        I think these domains (law and medicine and psychology and education) come into contact and it doesn’t all really work out in the integration, despite the best initial intentions. There are always multiple dimensions to translate and they don’t translate well because no one has mastered that art, and often enough it isn’t really necessary anyway to integrate them to get to where we need to go.

        The fact is, HCP PD and the actual attempt in practice to do so by a non professional such as a lawyer amounts to a form of profiling with no statistical or empirical basis.

        On the other hand, your shrinks may be able to diagnose given the right context and information set, but they are woefully unable to evaluate evidence and actually, to the degree that they buy into non-empirical methods such as psychological forensics, they may serve to cloud real evidence to such a level of perversion that no one can make heads or tails of it anymore. That the use of such techniques is not explicitly banned by people practicing psychology as agents of a court says much.

        I think psychiatry and psychology are doing an great service to peel away the veil and reveal authoritatively to the world that it is equally as true that women torment men as it has always been that men torment women and to the degree that those professionals follow through and drive our condemnation of all such torment to be real and equal in all cases, they provide a further service.

        But in law, I don’t know how much it helps. As far as law is concerned: (1) people, men or women, should not do bad and abusive things to one another, regardless of the reason (2) when they are shown to have done abusive things, they should be held accountable.

        That’s the law’s job. It is not to label or profile or diagnose or provide therapy. Again, “hic sunt dracones”.

        • D
          September 21, 2010 at 8:06 pm

          And above, I tried to put a mathematical “does not equal” sign between HCP and PD, but it didn’t get through, so the right reading is:

          The fact is, HCP does-not-equal PD and the actual attempt in practice to do so by a non professional such as a lawyer amounts to a form of profiling with no statistical or empirical basis.

          • holy order of garlic
            September 22, 2010 at 4:03 pm

            Lawyers should be profiled before being permitted to practice. Doing so may dissuade other predators (clients) from externalizing their internal conflicts through the legal system. My experience with lawyers has led me to consider them liars, obfuscators, and completely lacking in moral character, because they can talk themselves into believing just about anything. NPD fits nicely here.

            • holy order of garlic
              September 22, 2010 at 4:09 pm

              Planet of the Vampires! This film has a unique take on PD’s and some instigating causes…

  20. Verbal
    September 20, 2010 at 9:03 pm

    I think you mean, “…in the last four decades” in the first paragraph.

    People who grew up suckling at the teat of “self-esteem for everyone” are in for a rude shock when they reach adulthood. Just being “unique” does not render you “special”. You have to actually accomplish something, not simply show up.

    • Mike
      October 2, 2010 at 1:14 pm

      What about people who want to control the conversation?

      Like, he starts talking, bla bla bla bla bla blab la, then if another person starts talking or says something contrary to what the other talker was saying, this talker gets angry and asks the other person not to participate in the “conversation”.

      Its fuking annoying, especially when I didn´t ask for any opinion, and this person gives it. It´s unbelievable how emphatic blinded they are. I normally don´t show a lot of interest, and try to get out of his presence asap. Another annoying habit is when I´m having lunch or dinner, and this person starts talking to me, bla bla bla bla bla bla, “oh, this story about that movie, bla., bla, bla.

      I feel like “CAN´t you see that I´m EATING?” sh!t.

  1. December 17, 2010 at 6:28 pm
  2. December 2, 2010 at 10:49 am
  3. September 26, 2010 at 7:18 am
  4. September 25, 2010 at 5:39 am

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