This #MentalHealthAwarenessMonth , please remember to stop stigmatizing diagnoses. Yes, including that one. That one, too. The personality disorders that it's become cool to hate on? Also off limits.

narcissistic personality disorder stigma, abuse 

This is getting appalling with narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) in particular. It seems to be popular to conflate "narcissist" with "abuser," which, just, no. And I say this as someone whose abuser has strong narcissistic tendencies. His narcissism did not make him an abuser, his decision to use others as therapy objects instead of seeking real help did.

NPD, like any other mental condition or for that matter any other characteristic (sexuality, culture, age, gender...), deeply shapes and influences the context of abuse. I can understand that victims of narcissistic abuse might need different resources and spaces from those who suffered other forms of abuse. I am not here to invalidate anyone's experience.

What I object to is the diagnosis being conflated with abuse. Narcissistic abuse is only one form of abuse, and a lot of people seem to think it's the only form, essentially giving non-narcissistic abusers a pass or expanding the definition of NPD beyond all recognition. Your parents make you do too much housework? Must be narcissists! No that is not what it means in any shape or form. Meanwhile people with NPD are labeled as inherently abusive, which is simply not how anything works and makes it harder for them to seek help.

a note & apology on "narcissistic abuse" 

Thanks to @raspberry 's feedback, I've realized that the term "narcissistic abuse" is itself deeply stigmatizing and is likely rife with inaccuracy, and I apologize for thoughtlessly using it. While abuse by NPD individuals may have unique characteristics that give rise to different experiences and require different kinds of help and resources, it furthers the conflation and stigmatization I spoke about to label a whole form of abuse after a diagnosis. People do in fact talk actively about specific forms of abuse in neurodivergent/mental illness communities such as multi/plural, but that can and does happen without labeling already marginalized groups.

Rather than redraft the toot which would orphan our discussions I would like to issue this retraction and apology instead to leave a record of how I myself learned.I encourage you to read Connor's thoughts on this thread, many of which I have boosted, since they put it much better.

specific harms of NPD stigma, abuse discussion 

This conflation of diagnosis with abuse can lead to some unbelievable situations, like when someone tried to start a discussion about non-abusive narcissistic traits like their dad's constant bragging and tall tales, and someone came in insisting those behaviors were in fact abusive. Like, really? The main basis for redefining op's experience for them seemed to be that these behaviors were narcissistic. How does this help op or any abuse survivor? I can say with 1000% certainty that these narcissistic behaviors were not what hurt me; they can be annoying and embarrassing, but they were not in of themselves abusive outside a context of coercion and misuse of power.

The conflation of NPD with abuse also means the victimization of people with NPD, actual or potential, is seldom talked about. Just read through the traits of NPD and you can see how vulnerable someone like this can be to, for instance, financial abuse by appealing to their need to be important, or exploitation by convincing them they are a special and heroic rescuer. But if daring to state from personal experience that some people with NPD are not abusive gets pushback like the above, good luck talking about people with NPD being victimized or needing help!


specific harms of NPD stigma, abuse discussion 

@ljwrites This is a really good thread. Thank you!

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specific harms of NPD stigma, abuse discussion 

@aderieg Thanks, I'm happy it's helpful! 👍 This thread brought to you courtesy of too much time spent on Reddit... the horror...

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