Narc Abuse and the Evils of NPD & AsPD [Dec. 20th 2022]

Content warning: Anti-PD stigma (specifically anti-ASPD/NPD), abuse | Word Count: 867

People are very, very emotionally attached to the concept of narcissistic abuse. People can be obsessive about identifying narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, bipolars, and borderlines--the evil disorders, obviously. There's quite the movement to normalize this standpoint, to advocate it, and specifically sell it to extremely vulnerable people, mainly child abuse survivors.

I'm not really here to debunk the concept of narcissistic/sociopathic/psychopathic abuse. First, because I don't want to, but second, because I don't think point-by-point dissection of that concept is the best way to combat it.

Ultimately, the "narc abuse survivor" culture isn't actually focused on the facts of these disorders at all. Rather, it's fixated on the labels, and I think the reasons that there's such a fixation on the disorders are more productive to focus on. I could explain the NPD criteria to you all the live long day, but that wouldn't really convince you that you don't "need" the label of narc abuse. It certainly wouldn't explain why it resonates with you.

Well, the reason this sells is because, especially early on in recovery, we need validation that we are not like our abusers. We need to feel like, deep down, we're good people. We need to feel like they couldn't ever, truly, make us what they wanted. That they couldn't--and didn't--make us like them. This is normal, and healthy. But it's also an extremely vulnerable place.

It's hard to know what makes you different; you're still trying to find your sense of self. You're trying to understand why it happened, what's happening, why you're different. And when someone comes to you, describes your entire story, and then tells you that they know why it happened and why you're not like them, you'll believe them--you need to believe them.

So the abuser becomes a narcissist, a sociopath. And you're not. Maybe you're even an empath, and that's why you're trapped in the cycle, why it hurts so much.

And--most importantly--most of the information under this belief system is true. It's true that you can't fix them. It's true that you aren't them. It's true that they hurt you. It's true that there's nothing you could have done.

It's just not true that they're like this because they're evil, or mentally ill. They don't have a disorder that makes them like this. And you can't even know if they have the disorder, because the way abusers treat their victims isn't based on the core of their beings.

That's hard to accept for two reasons:

First, it makes abuse purely choice. It means they could have decided to stop. That, most likely, they feel (or felt) remorse, just not towards you. Or, at least, they didn't show you remorse. That's what abuse is, though. It's a decision.

Abusers get things out of abusing people, and it's not because they view everyone as a target, or can't love any other way. It's because they know how to force what they want out of their specific victims. It's because they want control, and have a being they can exercise control over. And everyone wants that. It's just that people choose how to express that.

Second, and scarier, is that it means you are not fundamentally different from them. That you're both people. That you could abuse people, and maybe have. That all that sets you apart is your determination to not be an abuser. And that feels bad. It feels very bad.

But if you don't want to be an abuser--if you don't want to be like them--you have to understand that. You need to work.

If "narc abuse" was just something of a comfort object for transitioning out of an abused mindset, if the concept had no consequences, I'd let you have it.

But it's not. It's an ideology. And spreading and enforcing that ideology is, extremely often, abusive. You're not used to having control over people, of being in a position to abuse. To you, going after the sociopaths feels like self-defense.

You are not the victim of sociopathy, narcissism, or any disorder, though. Claiming that is scapegoating a group of people who are mentally ill, and also, almost always child abuse survivors. And those are people you have some level of power and privilege over. They're people who can't choose to not have a mental illness.

So, I'd let you keep your comfort if it didn't do that. But you know how you feel now, where you're at? There are hundreds of narcissists, sociopaths, psychopaths, bipolars, borderlines, schizophrenics, and more in the exact same place. The vast majority of them acquired their disorders through prolonged childhood abuse.

And, on top of all that, they're seeing you--seeing every abuse survivor space--tell them that they are, at their core, forever, exactly like their abusers. That they can't change. That they can't chose not to abuse. That they're worthless, evil, unlovable, unworthy--that they're everything your abusers called you.

If you want to break the cycle--if you truly do not want to be an abuser yourself--then do it. Practice it. Show the empathy and compassion that you claim sets you apart.

You deserve to heal into a good person. And you deserve better outlets than being a bully.