An Informal Reader’s Survey of the Narcissist Diagnosis

10/20/2013 § 7 Comments

Here’s something to think about.

In Wikipedia, it says that Narcissists seldom allow themselves to be diagnosed, and seldom accept the diagnosis or identification of ‘Narcissist’ from others.   So how do we, who write and blog about surviving Narcissism, conclude that we or someone else is a Narcissist?  

1. Was the loved one in your life given a professional diagnosis or was it an educated guess?  

2. How reliable do you think professional diagnoses are, anyway?  

3. How reliable is a non-professional diagnosis?  

4. Should Narcissism be applied to a different set of rules than other mental health disorders because it is so squishy?

5. And how about uou, anyway? Are you, A. a Narcissist yourself; B. a spouse of a Nafcissist; C. a child of a Narcissist; D. a relative of a Narcissist; E. a colleague of a Narcissist; or F. Other. How do you know?

I just finished reading an article in Stephen Bach’s blog ”The Narcissist’s Son” in which he wrote about a family counseling session that was heavily manipulated by his Narcissistic mother.  Narcissists love to project their negative features onto others, so I suspect that where there is a legitimate Narcissist, you will find no diagnosis, but surrounding him or her will be numerous family members with false diagnosis. I myself was falsely diagnosed with Schizophrenia, Borderline Personality Disorder, and ADHD.

6. If you are a child or related kin to a Narcissist, were you incorrectly diagnosed with an MH Disorder in lieu of the Narcissist?

It would be interesting to read what our respondents have to say ln these questions. It will help me better understand who we are.

For the record, I diagnosed my mother myself. There isn’t a hope or a prayer of anyone in our family concurring. As the Narcissist’s Scapegoat, who would listen to a son ‘with ADHD’ claim the mother is a Narci?
Thanks for your time, and I look forsard to your response. I will rrpost this whrn I can figure how to use the Survey Widget.
Vic Banner,


§ 7 Responses to An Informal Reader’s Survey of the Narcissist Diagnosis

  • RecoveringDaughter says:

    Hi Vic, found your blog today as I was Googling about narcissism again.

    I am the daughter of a mother with NPD. I went to therapy two years ago b/c I had been through a few years of rough stuff and I wasn’t bouncing back. In one of my first few sessions w/my T, telling her things about myself, she said sort of off-handedly, “Your mother is a narcissist.” I was stunned. I asked, “Are you sure?” She said, “She’s textbook.” Thus, my journey began. Or, my journey started to make a whole lot of sense.

    From all of my reading, my mother *is* textbook. She meets the nine criteria of NPD. She was physically, emotionally & psychologically abusive. From my reading, I think she has OCPD also.

    To answer a few of the questions in your post…

    When I found out about NPD, I lived in fear that I was a narcissist myself. And while I do have narcissistic traits, I don’t think I have NPD. Once I totally accepted that I probably do have traits seeing that I was raised by a mother w/NPD, I calmed down about it and was able to address my shortcomings, my selfish behavior, etc. The acceptance of that gave me a lot of relief.

    My mother would *never* see a therapist to help herself, only to pin labels and blame on others. Or to try to fix others who make her so unhappy. Therapy is for weaklings, in her opinion. So she has never been officially diagnosed with anything. And she’s not savvy enough to diagnose others with actual disorders, but her projections of “crazy” and “lazy” and “spiteful” and “selfish” etc., — and they were never-ending projections onto others — had my sister and I convinced that we were the *bad* ones. The defective ones. To be officially diagnosed in her eyes, would be to admit to utter failure as a human being. So she never would have had us diagnosed. She just screamed and yelled in secret at us behind closed doors as we were growing up. Insidious. It’s why I tend to think of the behavior as “evil.” It’s so dark and damaging.

    Question 5 is interesting b/c I’ve learned that when you’ve been raised by someone w/NPD, it sets you up to have relationships with people who are a lot like the NPD person. Friends, colleagues, etc., that you tend to get close to. It’s the pattern you’re so used to, that you just automatically accept certain behavior b/c it’s been all you’ve know. So I’ve had a few “good” friends that I now consider higher on the N spectrum. I suspect that my mother in law has issues. NPD? Not sure, but she is a very aggressive personality in a mean spirited way, so my husband and I have much more in common than we even knew all these years.

    Sorry for the long winded comment! This is such a web-like subject. I appreciate all you’ve written. And I wish you peace.

    p.s. I started reading your posts with great interest b/c I have a son, my only child. He’s 21 now. I did not have a good role model. I pray every day that I am the mother he needs me to be. Thank you for writing your stories.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Hi, Recovering Daughter, I just want to thank you for your helpful stories. This WordPress/Android app is terrible and we must wait for my IC problems to be solved before I can write you a real reply. I don’t think big Narcis just replicate little Narcis; it don’t work that way. You and I have Narci traits because we were raised not to able to protect our personal boundaries. Our mothers could invade us, and we just as easily trespassed others’ boundaries. But not as true Narcis. Like the co-worker who said to me ”something about you just gets under my skin,” I didn’t get under her skin by using fantasy structures to compensate for a lack of empathy; I just got under her skin because that’s how I was taught to relate to other people without developing self-defense structures. It’s a world of difference! We’re only superficial Narcissists! more later, Vic Banner

  • Stephen Bach says:

    Hi Vic!

    You bring up many interesting points.

    I hear you on the diagnosis aspect, but does it really matter? I am in no way qualified to diagnose someone, but I am certainly capable of identifying a pattern of behavior that is detrimental to my own personal well being, and honestly, in my humble opinion, that’s all that really matters. A diagnosis is just a tool to validate that it was them and not us, but we already know that.

    The diagnosis of issues with everyone around the narcissist is truly a special point. I was diagnosed as a child as being “passive aggressive”. Truthfully, I probably was passive aggressive, because I had NO OTHER MEANS to express myself.

    My cheating ex girlfriend would tell me that I was “terribly narcissistic”, which meant that sometimes I dared to stand up for myself. Her comment about my narcissism was truly strange, because she would also tell me that psychology was all psychobabble. I guess that was only until it was of value to her position. When I ended our relationship after I learned of her cheating, she told me that I was horribly narcissistic and that she was codependent and that her codependency was “easy to fix”. I almost laughed at that one. Codependency is not easy to fix in my opinion. It’s what keeps getting us stuck in relationships with people that treat us poorly. Nevermind that she wasn’t codependent.

    This entire point about inaccurate diagnosis also plays into the one up / one down world of narcissists. “If it’s not you then it’s me, and it can’t be me so it must be you. You must be the one with the issue, not me.” For the narcissist, thankfully everyone on the planet exhibits some sort of maladaptive behavior, so the narcissist can latch onto those items of maladaptive behavior that I exhibit and diagnose me.

    Your comment that codependents are also in ways narcissistic is spot on in my opinion. When we think that we are able to “take the abuse” or “show them how great we really are”, is that not narcissistic?

    Thanks for your referral BTW 🙂

    Stephen Bach

  • For me, the label of “narcissist” was not as important as recognizing the manipulative and hurtful behavior and coming to terms with the fact that there are some people out there who are just plain evil. By “evil,” I mean that they are out to win at any cost. Winning means everyone else loses. If they cannot control you, they try to crush you. On the other hand, the more I read about narcissism, especially stories from survivors, I was shocked at the similarity of behaviors, manipulation…etc.

    • Vic Banner says:

      Dear Hopeful;
      The second to last time I saw my mother was in California at my brother’s home in 2000. I introduced her to my friend Cielle. Later, Cielle warned me that my mother was incredibly ‘competitive’. I was surprised. I’d never noticed that before. Competitive about what? About Everything. It was hard to wrap my head around the concept then and it still is. But now I know. It’s true. You’re right. It’s just very ‘counter-instinctual’ for me.

      So I understand you and I respect your position but I still don’t think my mother is Evil. I had different reasons for cutting off contact with her. At the end of the day, what’s important is that we cut off contact, not why.
      Victor B Wary

  • It’s not often I take some new information away from reading an informational article. I’m sure that’s because most writers tend to write the same thing over and over. You have presented new, fresh ideas.

  • Hi, 1-2 here
    I wrote a post on what it was like growing up under the ‘tutelage’ of my father. I tried to pin down his mental illness (he was never professionally diagnosed) but I just couldn’t. He seemed to have parts of every “Personality Disorder” there was. Here is the post…

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