Posted by Stychia, Assistant Manager 01/19/04
I find this to be a brilliant assessment of the disordered personality's dilemma in facing change/therapy; I think the author is spot on in seeing thru the stone walls and falsity to the quivering, raw human being behind the mask. I would like to add that this assessment does not include the severely psychopathic type, whose conscience is inverted and who takes sadistic delight in the "con", and in mischief and mayhem, without remorse. ~Invicta
Hello, and welcome. That's a toughie - can they change/get better? From my own experience - yes, and no.
First, they think everything is peachy just the way it is - they are perfect and other people just don't get it. Other people are responsible for whatever problems they have. They just can't see it any other away unless some big, humiliating, devastating narcissistic injury shows the blatant gap between how they perceive themselves and how they really are. (Losing a job, filing bankruptcy, doing jail time, divorce, something big and traumatic where they just no longer deny that maybe they really aren't all that and a bag of chips.) That's the window of opportunity, where if growth is going to happen, that's when.
However - if they go into therapy, they usually go because they equate getting better with feeling good (ie., powerful or perfect.) When actually the point of therapy is to learn to be okay with not feeling good. So typically, they want to return to the good ol' days when they dished it out and you took it . . . that felt good to them, therefore, "healthy."
Imagine how it would feel if you discovered that everything you thought you knew about yourself was deadass wrong . . . that's why PD's are so intractable (hard to treat). As I mentioned in an old post of mine, they don't just wake up one day and start acting normal. It's a very long road, and it's a lot easier just to stay sick.
Beware of those who have been "professional help seekers", been in therapy, 12-step groups, etc., but never seem to change - they are in my opinion, the sickest. They are lying to themselves and everyone else. And when they shed the False Self, and you see the True Self, that true self is so crippled and dilapidated, you understand the maladaptive process of narcissism -
Truly, the True Self is the psychological equivalent of an orphan from a Dickens novel, smeared with soot, barefoot and hungry and at the mercy of everyone.
They have to start over from scratch and that's a hard thing to do. I respect those who have the courage to attempt it.
That's my take, anyway.
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