It seems there is some expectation that I have an opinion and need to weigh in on the latest news about NPD and four other personality disorders being removed from the upcoming DSM V since a few people have emailed me about this development. I haven't felt compelled to say anything because I've already stated what my position on psychiatry's labels is. In case you haven't read every word of this blog I'll consent to stating my reaction to the above news. It is more of a non-reaction, really.
Okay, to be systematic about this, the New York Times published an article on November 29, 2010 about the deletion of Narcissistic Personality Disorder from the upcoming DSM. You can find the article here. It is titled, "Narcissism No Longer a Psychiatric Disorder."
Let me state categorically that this deletion in no way affects any of the content of this blog. This blog is established on the authority of eyewitnesses as well as the authority of an objective morality not on the authority of the grand poobahs of psychiatry. I have been unimpressed with the so-called science behind the labeling game of this profession and have stated so on this blog. You know as well as I do that a pen stroke in some stuffy conference room doesn't dismiss the reality of those who are malignantly narcissistic. These pointy-headed academics cannot eradicate the colossal damage narcissists inflict in every realm of human interaction with their decision to shift or erase labels.
Here are a couple quotes from my own blog that should clarify for you how little this news affects my view of anything on this subject. In my article titled, "Narcissist or psychopath....both are human predators" I stated:
Speaking of categorization...I think we would all do well to remember the rather arbitrary lines that have been drawn up for us by the psych community. They are allowed the freedom to re-draw the lines as they deem necessary which only tends to prove the non-scientific nature of the categorization.
Rather a succinct statement for such a windy blogger. But there it is. The labels are not scientific. With this in mind, they can f*&% around with the labels all they want. It won't change a damned thing as far as we are concerned. It will change the way these people are given "treatment", but considering how few actually ever end up in a clinical setting I'm not sure it is going to affect much there either. All this newest deletion of NPD and four other labels does is prove my statement above...once again. Labels aren't science. They are names. What the academic egg heads decide to name a thing isn't going to change my view on those people out there who wreak their damage on everyone in their sphere of influence. Period.
In my blog post titled, "Irresponsible Journalism or Psychologists...or Both" I was talking about the psychoanalyzing of Blagojevich (then mayor of Chicago) going on in the media at the time. The quotes are longer to provide some of the context:
First of all, the so-called professionals love to tell us laypeople that we are not qualified to determine whether or not someone we know has NPD by comparing that individual's behaviors with an checklist. What the article from the Sun-Times illustrates to me is how the 'professionals' are the ones who are unqualified. I think it is highly unprofessional for a psychologist to make pronunciations on someone's mental state to the media when that psychologist has never even met the person in question. They should at least try to uphold some of the standards they hold the rest of us to. They tell us we can't diagnose persons whom we've grown up with or married or worked with for years yet, sight unseen, they can make absolute statements about a person's mental health just from reports they've read in the media and a few pictures of a person? Bah.
This is just one very good illustration of why you should ignore anyone, especially the 'professionals', who tells you that you can't tell whether or not someone in your life has NPD. They don't know Jack themselves. No one knows what NPD is more than someone who has suffered from its predations for years. Eggheads in ivory towers only know NPD from textbooks.
Obviously, I've already expressed how little reverence I have for the labeling game of the professionals. This being the case I'm not affected when they again play with their labels. Whatever. While they're masturbating themselves with their power to pronounce someone mentally ill or "normal" I'm content to know what I know. That is because I know what I know from extensive personal experience. I know what I've seen, heard and lived through, so the labels that are in the DSM, or that aren't in the DSM, don't affect my knowledge or shift my past experience in the least.
I used the label of NPD on this blog because of the ease of communication. It was a convenient label for a couple of reasons. First, because it was an objective listing of behaviors to compare someone's actions to in order to know that we're talking about the same animal. Second, the description of the behaviors and attitudes that this label represented has become rather well known to the general public which means that people who are searching for answers on this subject will usually use the label of NPD. So it made sense for me to use the psychological term for ease of communication and in order to reach as many people out there looking for answers as I could. I didn't use the label of NPD on this blog because I recognize the authority of psychiatry to draw the lines or make the labels correctly in every instance. They had it right with the over-arching description of Narcissistic Personality Disorder so I consented on that basis alone to use their label. They had the label right because it was restricted to describing what is observable about this personality type. Observation is the basis of real science. Therefore I wasn't opposed to using a label that was based on the scientific exercise of what can be observed. Because the label of NPD was a comprehensive, over-arching view of this personality type it has become a good tool for the clinicians out there who have to deal with these people in therapy. This reality tends to prove that the label was an effective description of the scope of behaviors seen in narcissists. Again, another vote in favor of the label NPD.
Even though I am dismissive of the "science" of labels I do recognize the great power this profession wields because of their generally accepted power to label. This profession's ability to apply labels to their fellow human beings has a potentially profound effect on lives. It is a power that is too often misused and can devastate lives. When I apply a label to a person I don't have that kind of power. That is because my labels don't have the authority to put someone into an institution without their consent therefore depriving them of their freedom. My labels can't force a person into therapy. My labels can't deny a person a job or put them in prison. My labels can't make money for innumerable doctors or sell pharmaceuticals. My labels are therefore quantifiably different than those that psychiatry makes. The power to name things is a significant thing when you are called a scientist and have the power brokers of society acceding to your right to make those labels.
All this being said, I suspect that this newest development will not be permanent. The article in the New York Times hints at the internal war that has commenced between the clinicians who actually deal with these people and the academics who largely don't. I'll be mildly interested to see who wins the war. I'm hoping that reality wins. Narcissists are not normal because they exist in large numbers. Narcissists are destructive and often dangerous to others. And by dangerous I don't just mean in the mortal sense. They are dangerous to the emotional and mental well-being of others. They destroy lives without necessarily taking lives. This is not normal. Not ever. The DSM manual may be the bible of the psychiatric world, but it isn't ours. Know what you know and let those in their cloistered halls of academe play their little naming games amongst themselves.