Sunday, May 25, 2008

Kathy Krajco: "NPD? A Male Disease? An Adult Disease?"

Blog post originally published on Tuesday, December 06, 2005 at "What Makes Narcissists Tick". I will include the comments for this post as there is good content there as well.


Another thing that warps our picture of NPD is double standards that are the fruit of stereotypes and sloppy thinking:

  • Women are nicer than men and therefore less likely to be narcissists.
  • What's okay for men to do is wrong for women to do.
  • All old people are nice and deserve a pass to treat young people without repsect.
  • Physically hitting someone is worse than verbally abusing them or destroying their life through slander and calumny.
  • Children are all innocent and, by nature, good.

So, another thing that invalidates current statistics is mental-health-care workers applying double standards of both age and sex.

An example of such a double-standard is this: if we see an action photo of an angry male coach with his mouth wide open and his face contorted, we think nothing of it. He doesn't strik us as ugly. Yet, if we see a photo of a female coach with but an intense look on her face, we find the image off-putting. She strikes us as ugly.

These internal reactions are so conditioned by society, that even if you are aware of the double-standard, you can hardly help but be affected by it. Therefore, we think nothing of this behavior in our male hero, but she strikes us as a bitch.

Again for example, personality traits regarded as distinguishing a man as worthy of admiration as a good, tough businessman are regarded as distinguishing a woman as a bitch. That's just a fact, and mental heath-care workers are taking few (if any) precautions to avoid applying such sexual double-standards in diagnosis.

Which cuts the legs out from under the widespread belief that NPD is far more prevalent in men than women. In my own slice of the world, the ratio is 50-50. And in my own understanding of the disease I see no reason why men should be any more prone to it than women.

But I can think of many reasons why male narcissists are exposed as narcissists more frequently than female narcissists are. Put another way, I see many reasons why female narcissists get away with it more often. Could it be then that women are under-represented in the statistics?

It sure could be! In fact, because of this we must presume that women are greatly under-represented in the statistics. And you can't just chalk this up to the fact that men are more likely to use their fists than their mouths. For, the only narcissist I have observed physical violence in is an extremely violent woman — who had everyone but those who had seen her with her mask off thinking she was a regular Mother Theresa.

And anyone who thinks male narcissists are worse because they're more prone to physical violence is dead wrong. If anything, that makes them less dangerous than female narcissists. The law deals with physical attacks. It does almost nothing to protect us from non-physical attack. Indeed, the non-physical violence the woman I referred to above did was by far more damaging and sadistic than any beating she gave someone.

Author: Kathy Krajco


At 2:26 AM, Blogger Nevermore said...

From my own experience I would say that men are less likely to admit to feeling the abuse of a woman than women are of men. That may be why the stats are so far off. It is a hard thing to admit that I was brow beaten by a woman and took it without standing up for myself. According to our society men are supposed to be strong and self sufficient, not backing down to a woman, but once the Narc has their claws into you, and you feel as though you love them, there is little you can do except take it. It took me 4 years but I finally made the break and I have offended many friends in the process because they never recognized what was going on and have a hard time believing the severity of it. It seems to me that emotional abuse is worse than physical, only for the fact that one is unable to point to the bruises and make people believe. When common friends are involved the abuse continues because of their disbelief and their acceptance of the Narc’s story. The difficulty is not only in the proving, but in the admitting to others.

At 4:41 PM, Blogger Kathy K said...

Yes, what you say is very true. In fact, it's somehwat true when a narcissist abuses a sibling of the same sex. Men are really at a disadvantage in this game, but people don't realize that.

At 4:51 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Well I for one have seen more female narcissists in my lifetime than males. As a matter of fact, I have been slandered and suffered so much abuse from my sister who is a narcissist, it is unreal.
I say she is a narcissist but she certainly fits the profile of BPD and HPD. Who knows, wonder if it's possible she's all 3...Is it possible does anyone know if more than one or two personality disorders can be found in a person?

At 8:39 AM, Blogger Kathy K said...

I know that the diagnosis one gets offen differs from psychiatrist to psychiatrist. That doesn't give you much faith in the diagnosis, does it? It's not like these are all different diseases. It might help to think of them as different directions pathology can take, depending on the circumstances. Some even seem to be variants or stages in progression to another (as narcissism and psychosis). Plus, the diagnostic criteria aren't really a definition: they are just red flags likely to stand out in a clinical setting, so they are used to aid diagnosis. But the whole picture is somewhat nebulous.

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

From what I gathered there is a larger proportion of men who are narcissistic and a larger proportion of women who are histrionic ( If I remember well 70 percent ). They abuse both genders but for different gratifications and a larger proportion of them are bisexual.Indeed they can seduce anyone.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

That's conventional wisdom. But studies show an outrageous amount of error (over 50%) in diagnosing these disorders. They also show a tendency to misdiagnose women as histrionic who would be diagnosed as narcissistic if they were but male. So, those statistics are totally unreliable. I think I still have an article on the Main Site about that that provides the sources. As for bizexuality, that I don't know. This is the first time I heard that.

At 12:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, Kathy, in the world of stererotypes, mothers in particular aren't supposed to be mean. Especially to their own kids. Now, since the mother-child relationship offers an N woman more power over another human being than any other, I'd guess a fair number of female Ns are 'hidden' by the Good Mommy archetype.

The idea that the old are automatically worthy of respect and deference from the young is another one that needs scotching. I've come across a fair number of people who are emotionally and sometimes physically abused by elderly N parents, and I suspect it's actually fairly common, but everyone believes that the abuse only ever happens the other way.


Anonymous said...

This is why I read her blog. She was always challenging the myths, and blowing them apart.

Once again, through extensive reading of her blog, it becomes clear that the reference to the sibling is Kathy's own experience.

I wonder if the blog has already been compromised. I recall commenting on that other sister post involving the sibling, the neigbor and the snowplow. The comment is gone. Did it disappear before Kathy's passing, or after? I don't know. A glitch or intention?

Kathy's voice was the voice of experience, which is why it rang true for so many of us. She had walked in our footsteps, or vice versa.

Anonymous said...

Anna, here's another sister story, and the blog is full of them. Whoa, scary.

P.S. Tiny URL can shrink links for you.

P.P.S. Has anyone contacted Blogger to let them know of Kathy's passing? If someone is using the blog now, guess who that might be? Has anyone been able to learn wbat really happened? Should someone be telling the police to read Kathy's blog in detail if anything suspicious has been turned up?

Anonymous said...

Migod, I am becoming a bit obsessed with this.

If you read the blog entries for December 2007, the connections to the sister become more apparent. Were things heating up between Kathy and her sister? Notice the reference to the woman who lived at home until she was in her 40s, sponging off her father.

I find this one particularly relevant, and wonder if one of her sister's students might recognize the pattern:

I do wonder about that neighbor, too, with his big truck that ran over trees, and matching attitude. I assume he was the one with the snowplow . Kathy was surrounded by plentiful blog material.

Barbara said...

Probably best NOT to contact Blogger about her passing - then the blog might disappear before Anna and I can cull the goodies.

Anna Valerious said...

I am using the $ recently made from the Amazon purchases you all have made through my site the last month or so to buy an official death certificate. I have to go into town to get a photocopy of my driver's license, then fax it, before the request and payment will be processed. That will happen tomorrow. I'll let you know what develops. Death certs are a matter of public record. I don't think my request can be squelched.

Anonymous said...

When I first started reading up on narcissism and any and all related disorders, I was concerned that I wasn't in a position to 'diagnose' what might be wrong. NOW....I'm not too concerned whether I am right on about it. I will NEVER be able to get a professional diagnosis....but, I sure as hell can recognize the damage done by the Monster(s) matter the gender....and no matter the diagnosis. 'BadBehaviour is BadBehaviour'. I'm not as concerned about WHICH disorder as I am about not having it affect me or mine anymore. I don't have to be 'fair' and have it clinically diagnosed to pass judgement against them. (This was said to me by a sibling. What a crock! What? So the pain of what I've suffered might not be REAL unless a man/woman in a white jacket says it it REAL? Gimme a f***ing break!)

Anyway......Thanks for all of you....I am on pins and needles about the outcome of KKs blog. My prayers are with you Anna...and anyone else involved in the 'project'.


Anonymous said...

I've avoided commenting on Kathy's untimely death in earlier posts simply because I don't think I could hold myself back from voicing my "suspicions". I didn't want to come off as some paranoid alarmist and more importantly; I didn't want to show any disrespect to our great heroine. However, in light of recent comments it is clear that there is a collective "Hmmm" among us. I concur that some of the content on Kathy's blog is much too ominous to be ignored.

Anna made a beautiful comment that "her brilliant voice was silenced much too soon" and that was my gut reaction upon hearing of the sad news, that Kathy had been "silenced". A lifetime of combat with Narcs has taught me that nothing is ever as it seems.

Like you guys, I have so many questions that I hope can be answered. I am behind all of you who are taking the bold steps to look in to her death as well as rescue her legacy. Please call upon me if it develops in to a situation where more of us can be of service.

You people are truly amazing!

Anna Valerious said...

'BadBehaviour is BadBehaviour'. I'm not as concerned about WHICH disorder as I am about not having it affect me or mine anymore. I don't have to be 'fair' and have it clinically diagnosed to pass judgement against them...So the pain of what I've suffered might not be REAL unless a man/woman in a white jacket says it it REAL?

You highlight the absurdity of waiting for a "professional" diagnosis before acknowledging that what you've gone through is real. Some things are knowable without the imprimatur of some anointed one to tell us what we already know. I am sick to death of the "professionals". They are dunces when it comes to the victims of NPD. Not all, but most. If I was waiting for a professional diagnosis before judging the behaviors of my family Ns then this blog wouldn't exist. Keep up the great attitude, krl. You're right on target.

Anonymous said...

It's good to think about the demographics of NPD. Since the narcissist does not really suffer from his or her disorder but rather their victims, awareness of this social menace has to be raised and a legal framework for dealing with it created. We're ages away from that it seems, but thanks to the web, NPD abuse victims can at least communicate.

The clandestine abusers need to be labeled with a scarlet "N" on their foreheads. I don't know what kind of punishment is appropriate but the last thing they deserve is "treatment" and to again be the center of someone's attention.

Anonymous said...

I know this is off the subject, but have never seen anything written about the children's demeanor who have a mnp. My Brother-in-law is a malignant narcissist and his wife a co-dependent. The children (who are very nice kids) whenever you see them always at first seem like whipped dogs to me. Other people have also made this comment about them, so I know it not just me. I wonder if the affect of living with a person who has zero interest in them has done this to them. He is someone who just gives me the creeps to be alone with. Something very sinister about him and I finally understand why after 20 years of watching this lazy,lying creep. Thanks to the internet I now know how to deal with him-totally out of my life. Unfortunately his kids do not have that choice, yet.

Anonymous said...

I can't believe she is gone. Just leaves a sad and eery feeling in my gut. She was the blog I ran into first, before I stumbled onto this one, and I remember that feeling of finding 'gold', and finding someone who understood. She will be so missed. Just so hard to believe...

Anonymous said...

To Anonymous May 27@6:21

"Since the narcissist does not really suffer from his or her disorder but rather their victims, awareness of this social menace has to be raised and a legal framework for dealing with it created."

Kathy Krajco wrote something on this a while back that sticks in my mind. Apparently, in the United States, NPD is legally categorized as a CHARACTER DISORDER rather than a PERSONALITY DISORDER. (I know Anna wrote on this also....can't find either reference currently. Drat.) Because NPD is considered premeditated and volitional behaviour by the legal system, I think their crimes won't hold water in court. NPD cannot be used as an excuse like insanity or as a mental illness. I'm not certain that the mental health circles and the legal system are on the same page.

BUT....I guess it would all be 'rose-y' if it were as easy to walk into court with the perp professionally labeled NPD and go from there. Getting that proof makes me tired just to think of it. If psychiatrists don't like Ns.....I'll bet not many lawyers like them either....especially since the time and money spent trying to 'nail jello to a wall' is a daunting task. Better pack a lunch for THAT undertaking!

Anonymous said...

::Since the narcissist does not really suffer from his or her disorder::

This is something I've often wondered about, because of something I've seen in my Nmom . . . obviously everyone in her sphere has suffered terribly. But because Nmom uses rage as her favorite control technique, she exhibits signs of intense stress, most especially the constant appearance of canker sores in her mouth. Not the regular kind . . . really horrible clusters that sometimes make it difficult for her to eat or talk. She has gone to a variety of doctors for the problem, but not once does it ever seem to have occurred to her (or them) that they are induced by her volcanic rages and the resulting stress toxins (whatever you call them) in her system. So what I'm wondering (sorry this is sort of off-topic) is if someone like my Nmom doesn't bring on some of her own punishment in a physical sense, because of the self-induced stress.

I can only hope so.


Anna Valerious said...

So what I'm wondering (sorry this is sort of off-topic) is if someone like my Nmom doesn't bring on some of her own punishment in a physical sense, because of the self-induced stress.

I can only hope so.


I am completely convinced there are terrible physical consequences for many Ns. Yes, there is no doubt they are under much stress. Stress that is induced when someone is trying to control all the people around them as well as reality itself. Ns often completely ignore what is happening to them physically, too. This means they can have serious health issues and not realize it until it actually affects their ability to function.

So, yes, the Ns very often bring physical consequences on themselves due to the high levels of stress they are constantly under. Self-induced stress. So, you can be happy to know that there is a price they are paying in this world for what they do to others. A price felt in their own bodies. And often in their minds as they proceed onto dementia. Unfortunately, when a N suffers, everyone around them suffers. Stay clear from the fall-out!

Anonymous said...

Anna, what did you mean about N's paying a price in their mind as they proceed onto dementia? I've often wondered if there is a connection, as I now care for my mother with dementia. Is there evidence of such? have you heard of a connection? It doesn't really make a difference in my situation right now, but could it be? If so, then I have a lot of siblings possibly headed for dementia!

Anonymous said...

"they proceed onto dementia"...what a statement! My very narcissistic ex-huband of three years was only 32 years old, but he couldn't seem to remember anything or think straight. He was manipulating and emotionally abusive and he twisted reality at the drop of a hat, even at times when it didn't benefit him at all. At the time, I didn't know what projection was - but he was the master. He kept me feeling confused and guilty for three solid years.

I didn't think about this until later, but as he became more manipulating toward me and my kids, his ability to think logically and rationally got worse and he was ALWAYS stressed, although he barely did anything. Instead of realizing his manipulation and abuse was narcissism, I took him to the doctor so they could "fix his mind". I laugh when I think of how stupid that was. Our family doctor wanted to send him to a dementia clinic, but the insurance company blocked it because men who are 34 years old don't get dementia. He had a normal MRI, blood work, ect. and finally a must have "slight brain damage which is getting worse with age" because they couldn't find anything else wrong. I now believe that this so called "brain damage" was self-inflicted because not only did he manipulate the reality of others - he manipulated his own reality.

I later found out about a secret double live he was living and if he really had dementia he could not have pulled it off. He was just an evil narcissist and as Anna said, it affected his mind. His health was also terrible, and now he apparently has insomnia, diabetes and high blood pressure. I haven't talked to him in over a year, but still have a life insurance policy on him that I am keping up. He is so focused on controlling everyone around him, he has no control over himself or his health. I call his life insurance policy my "lottery ticket". Some people might think that sounds cold, and I have no wish for him to die but if his life continues on the same path - I would like to gain some benefit from all the abuse and lies I put up with!

Anonymous said...

In reference to some of the comments about the classification of NPD and it's possible ramifications in a courtroom:

I just read a book [UNDER THE BANNER OF HEAVEN by Jon Krakauer] which is a true crime story [among other things]. Interesting to me was the fact that the NPD was used in court to prove the defendant's GUILT, not at all as an insanity pass. After being proven to be an N, the man ended up on death row, not in an institution. NPD was in fact used as proof that he had a choice and could rationally plan and reason out what he was doing, as well as that he fully knew the difference between right and wrong - unlike someone with a true delusional disorder. It was also used to imply correctly that he was a coward and would choose to harm others rather then deal with the realities of his own life.

Also - in terms of N's being unhappy/unhealthy/demented:

It has also been my observation that while N's cause great unhappiness and untold destruction - they are not happy either, despite their moments of intense satisfaction or the spin of themselves as confident or content. It is a lose-lose all around. This doesn't mean I feel an ounce of pity for them - I do not - it is more enraging actually for the utter waste of it all. They are seemingly in a constant stressful negative drive state to prop up what is unsustainable/unstable by definition: an illusion that reality constantly threatens.

While they show signs of stress it is usually the people close to them that show the worst and most obvious symptoms of stress though: breakdown, depression, anxiety, health problems etc. I notice that this is often perversely capitalized on by the N to further devalue the people in their lives and justify dominance, like many other types of oppression that use the symptoms of continual oppression to excuse it.

I've noticed the memory problems too [not the fake ones either] as well as another odd feature: N's, because of their magical thinking and views of themselves as superior, can sometimes be oddly vulnerable to really stupid things. Despite genuine intelligence, they can seem less able to correctly assess reality and can seem to get taken in by the types of schemes that the typical person would easily identify steer clear of.

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to comment on the anxiety issue.

That was certainly a problem in our family. The N is my child's grandmother, and my mother-in-law. What finally woke my husband out of his lifetime of N-induced altered reality trance? A counsellor told him, "Look at what you are doing to your child."

The constant stress of dealing with an N who was determined to control and break up our family unit showed up in the grandchild. How could it not? Exposing the child to danger from grandmother, watching and hearing his mother threatened by grandmother, and so on, not to mention the arguments about whatever grandmother was trying to force my husband to do at any given moment.

Maybe it was the realization that he was harming our child by carrying out his mother's agenda: personal accountability. Or, maybe he woke up when the counsellor told him that his mother was harming me and our child as a way to harm my husband. Yes, she said, "You are her target."

His mother would not stop at destroying me and his son, as if that was ever okay. My husband was next on her list, and the ultimate target. He finally cut her off.

Our child is happy and thriving now, an almost instant transformation. We had to disappear and cover our tracks for this to happen. Good riddance to her.

Anonymous said...

My observation regarding stress levels is that while the N does lead an apparently stressful life, it mysteriously does not register on them physically. They are often quite attractive and can look 15 years younger then they are. I attributed this to the fact that they have no moral compunction about anything they do and so don't suffer the wear and tear of ethically-minded beings.

When they get hotheaded and yell and holler it just makes them feel better afterward. They quickly forget what it was all about and think that the victim should too, who's left reeling for hours.

As far as life's other stresses, they don't feel like they have to pay bills on time or rent like other mere mortals and when the exasperated landlord finally starts eviction procedings, the N just sweet talks another landlord and the cycle recommences. This would seem like a tremendously stressful life for most mortals but the N doesn't seem too worried about it.

As far as money, there's a sucker born every minute, and even many who are not will invest in the N's self-aggrandizing schemes. This also operates on a revolving door model. They can keep this routine up for decades even without losing too much of their vigor.

Anonymous said...

"My observation regarding stress levels is that while the N does lead an apparently stressful life, it mysteriously does not register on them physically. They are often quite attractive and can look 15 years younger then they are."

Well....yeaahhhhh! They don't do the WORK! Who was it that sat on the couch and gave me orders when I was little? Who was it that scrubbed the floors? Who was it that walked uphill both ways? Geez! Yeah....she SHOULD look 15 years younger.....she hasn't done SHIT! She's spent all her time 'dressing properly'....and getting her teeth fixed and made all her doctor's appointments and 'keeping up appearances'. What is frightening to me is her blood pressure!!!!! It is so is positively REPTILIAN!!!! Hahaha.

PS: I'll bet there isn't an N alive with a 'bad back'! (Gotta carry the load to get a 'bad back'!)


Anonymous said...

I found several sights for parents with narcissistic children. Also the thing I hate most in this world is gender stereotypes. Men have there stereotypes and so do women. There is too much bogus research saying that men and women are fundamentally different then there is the research that says we are pretty much the same. I prefer the latter.

Also it is disheartening the situation men are placed if they are abused. The stereotypes make it very difficult to tell other people.

Since I am female I hate what people expect of me. They are flabbergasted if I catch something they throw to me. When my dad talks about squash they assume that my little brother is the only one that plays with him. I am not invited to go repelling etc because they think I don't like it and invite my brother. It drives me crazy! I get this card with a fairy and he gets one with a moose with beautiful hills in the background! Aaargh! I got a makeup kit while he got the art tools I always wanted. Sorry for going off topic. Just frustrated about it lol. Funny I was looking up gender stereotypes etc. When you made this post Ana Valerious.

Krl my mother has extreme low blood pressure too! The temperature can be in the 80s and she can still be cold. Also she can't do vigorous excercise for some reason. She lays on the couch and puts her legs above her head to get the blood flowing in.

It takes seconds with my head under my legs for me to get a headache and I am generally too warm lol.


Anonymous said...


I had no idea you knew my mother

Anonymous said...

Thanks for the support and validation, all! I swear to Gawd I thought I was the only one. Can't tell you how good it feels to FINALLY be alone...and not feel lonely!

Anonymous said...

krl, you said it very well

My mom looks 15 younger than her actual age and as you succinctly point out, they don't do work along with dumping all their unfiltered negative emotion onto others so they don't have the stress of the moment.

My n-mom has been living with me for 6 years where she never paid rent, never cleaned the house (I do most of her laundry) and never dealt with care of my handicap sister. When I finally wised up to her narcassism I made the slow progress of getting her to live on her own, which mainly involved me running away with my cat to another city and leaving her behind.

Anonymous said...

I've had several narcissists in my life, starting with my mother. They've all been female. That's not to say I haven't experienced any problems with males, like my father. He was an abusive person, I just don't think he was a narcissist.

Tundra Woman said...

Without a doubt, I've encountered far more female than male Cluster Bs/MN's: My MN"Mother" and NSis are not by any means the only ones I've had the displeasure of meeting. In the course of my work I spent a day a week at the county jail and an evening a week at a local prison. In the US, men to go jail/prison, women go to "counseling." The tactics of women often fly below the radar but are no less nefarious and dangerous: The "Devil/some Bad Man (ALWAYS) MADE them do it!" snort. Uh HUH.
As a follow-up to the comment I made on your post of 5-12-08 re: my MN "Mother's" in-person ambush at my home 6 yrs. since our last in-person contact and over 3 yrs. post complete NC. IMO this is an instructive example of how they "suffer" from their "affliction" prior to their predation on their own adult off-spring or gawd help us, their male partners who the females often beat the crap out of before calling the cops and screaming, "He's attacking MEEEE!!!" He's beat half to death by some 100 lb. female, but she got to the phone first, so guess who's goin' to jail?! Anyway, after my MN "Mother's" Academy Award winning "operatic" screaming, screeching, coin-scratching performance at my residence secondary to my refusal to allow her access to me or my home, I told her I was calling the police and her immediate cessation of her performance and exiting stage right via her vehicle, the police arrived. They left after they took a statement from me and were unable to locate her. I felt my neighbors deserved an explanation for the epic murder/death scene starring MN "Mommy-Dearest" she pulled around my residence and property on that warm, windows-up spring morning and the presence of the police at my residence.
My neighbors were lovely and pleased I was fine and "that crazy lady" was gone. My neighbors four doors up the street told me they had seen her sitting in her vehicle parked across from their home CALMLY READING A BOOK between 5 and 10 min. prior to her ambush and screaming/screeching. They remarked how odd it was this woman was just parked there, calmly reading as this is not something that would go unnoticed in a rural area.
Predators who are the most successful always present as no threat to their prey as they inch closer and closer. Female predators with the label "Mother" are afforded differential treatment across the board by virtue of being post-partum. No matter how old their children become-even as senior citizens-the "Mother" will *always* be "Mother" and "Older" granting them free passes we wouldn't dream of giving the AC. It's a disgusting reality female CBs/MN child and adult abusers are afforded the unquestioned benefit of the doubt-ALWAYS.
It's about time we DID start believing the "kids."
That reptilian stare, that stone cold affect-ugh, predators through and through. They absolutely do NOT get better with age-just more cunning and now, with the additional "cover" of age.