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Old 12-30-2008, 08:16 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Is there a relationship between alcoholism and narcissism?

I am working through my issues with my counselor and on several occassions she has brought up the idea of my XAH possibly having Narcissitic Personality Disorder (NPD) besides being an alcoholic. So, being curious I started to research this issue from my point of view. I realized a few months ago I had been emotionally abused for years, so I was wondering how the spouses respond to someone with NPD. Low and behold I fit the mold of someone that has allowed abuse by someone with NPD. It's eerie and reassuring at the same time to realize I'm not as screwed up as I was led to believe by XAH. It is also daunting to see how much work I need to do on myself.

I have noticed the similarities in behavior between active alcoholism and someone with NPD. For instance the manipulation, arrogance, lying, lack of remorse etc. Do you think there is a correlation between the two issues?
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:22 AM   #2 (permalink)
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It has been said many times that prolonged exposure to alcohol has a damaging effect on the brain tissue. who knows what this damage can lead to?

It is also a Chicken and the egg senario, i.e. what came first, the mental illness or the drink problem?

Either way, the answers will not help you recover, although they may help you come to a reconciliation with what has happened.

Keep working with your counsellor. The bottom line as I see it, is not why the things that happened, happened; but more that they did and now the healing must begin. Always from within and from the self.

Love to you
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:25 AM   #3 (permalink)
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Hmmmmm......arrogance, lying, lack of remorse, lack of empathy, too, I might add. Yeah, sounds like the A in my life. It's incredible how manipulated we can be by someone we care for who, based on behaviour, cares not one wit about us! Oy!
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:29 AM   #4 (permalink)
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Active Alcoholism "manifests" as nearly the exact same "symptoms" as NPD or Borderline personality disorder I believe it was. Alcohol becomes "the solution" for alcoholics until it becomes "the problem" but the truth is, alcohol was never the problem to begin with, alcoholic thinking is "the problem", alcoholics go to AA to "quit drinking" then find out drinking isn't their problem, their thinking is.

Alcoholics are an extreme example of self centered although they usually don't think so, they literally can't see it.

I have done "tons" of "research" on this as well, it's a "main" "core" theme of AA about the self centered behavior, and I have posted links on here recently showing how similar they can appear.

Toss in that link that Denny posted awhile back about the "denial" that active alcoholics have to have around their drinking, the "web of deceit" and the "psychological warfare" that practicing alcoholics have to practice on themselves and those around them and a clearer picture begins to emerge.

That's why "Sober" alcoholics continue to go to meetings, work with others, have a sponsor, continue working the steps etc for years and years because the main "problem" alcoholics center in the mind, the problem isn't their drinking, that's just a symptom.

That's why "quitting drinking" is not "recovery", and doesn't have anything to do with "recovery", quitting drinking is quitting drinking but not addressing what made them drink in the first place. Then you end up with a person who is "restless, irritable, and discontent" until they drink again, they are referred to as "dry drunks" and I have known a few that I wish would just shut up and "have a few".

anyhow, if you have more questions, feel free to ask.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:30 AM   #5 (permalink)
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yes. alcoholics present narcissistic traits, but not all are narcisissists.

narcissisism is deep, and often uncurable. i have seen people in AA recover from their alcoholism and their narcissistic traits fell away. but i have never seen a narcisissist who drinks and doesn't get help get better, only worse.

it takes years... of comitted sobriety and stepwork (in my humble opinion) to clear away the hotmess of dual issues like this.

for the reasons ago outlined above...thanks Andrew!
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:52 AM   #6 (permalink)
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I found it helpful to research this to understand "what I was up against" and being with an active alcoholic shook my entire foundation of what "reality" was, practicing alcoholics HAVE to manipulate you, have to undermine you, they can't help it, and I walked around thinking I was crazy, i mean literally crazy, because my "reality" didn't "match" what was happening on a daily basis.

Alcoholics are masters of the "double bind" such as saying "I love you" then cheating on you and abusing you, until you believe that is love, being hurt and betrayed.

OK, the moment I realized that this was indeed happening to me, and that I wasn't crazy, I dove into my recovery as if my life depended on it.

Freedom/Devon was amazingly helpful getting me refocused a few times, she saved my butt, and she was right.

So, we have this "problem", we know what "this is", and what this "looks like" now "what do we do"?

Don't get me wrong, I needed the validation, I needed the support, but my life didn't get better until I took "control" of MY recovery.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:52 AM   #7 (permalink)
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I'm not sure. I do believe my husband does have alcoholism and narcissism and after a post I did yesterday; he's very mentally and emotionally abusive. He's even getting slightly physically abusive.

Is all this due to the alcoholism or did he have personality issue outside of that? I'm not sure. Whatever it is I can tell you he feels he's entitled to everything he does.

But he's just one example.
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Old 12-30-2008, 08:56 AM   #8 (permalink)
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he's very mentally and emotionally abusive. He's even getting slightly physically abusive.
Slightly????? And that's better than just being physically abusive?????? So, when the "slightly" isn't in front of it, it won't be acceptable any more????? It's very dangerous to minimize this.......

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Old 12-30-2008, 09:11 AM   #9 (permalink)
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I came to the conclusion that the reasons behind xAH's alcoholism are irrelevant for me. He will or will not deal with his issues. I will work on my own issues and growth regardless of just why xAH is an alcoholic. Trying to figure out the whys of his problems do not help me figure out the whys of my problems in the slightest. In fact, trying to find reasons for his behaviors may actually harm my personal recovery efforts since for me it could too easily slide into my codie tendencies and let me find excuses for his behaviors when what I need to focus on is my own side of the street. I let him deal with his side on his own as he sees fit.
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:31 AM   #10 (permalink)
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LaTeeDa; Sorry, I just meant that I wasn't being full out hit. Pinching and things like that I only learned where abusive yesterday. (maybe I'm a bit thick) I just knew I didn't like it. I didn't want to minimize it. In fact, I've been going crazy all day looking for places to live. I need to get the heck out of here!!!
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:37 AM   #11 (permalink)
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No apology necessary. You are right, you do need to get the heck out of there. It makes me sad when abuse is minimized. You don't have to be "full out hit" to be abused. I'm really glad you know that now. My thoughts are with you....

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Old 12-30-2008, 09:46 AM   #12 (permalink)
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So, why DO alcoholics "double bind" - tell you they love you and then cheat on you (by the way - that's exactly what my XAB did a few months ago). I'm still trying to sort it out, and I've wondered if he's got a personality disorder. I haven't heard anything from him since early November - not even a Christmas greeting. In the past, I've always been the one to maintain contact, but not this time. I wonder what he's thinking about the fact that I've failed to reach out to him this time....
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:50 AM   #13 (permalink)
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So, why DO alcoholics "double bind" - tell you they love you and then cheat on you
The very first and most important lesson I learned when I first came to SR was "Actions not Words." As a codependent, I used to believe the words and deny the actions, or justify, or minimize, or excuse, or whatever. It was a huge AHA moment for me when I learned to believe the actions and ignore the words.

I once even told my AH that I could not hear his words because his actions were drowning them out, lol.

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Old 12-30-2008, 09:52 AM   #14 (permalink)
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I guess therein lies the answer. He didn't love me. He actions proved it. Period. So why do they bother to tell you that they do?
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:55 AM   #15 (permalink)
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Because it is effective in getting what they want?
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Old 12-30-2008, 09:58 AM   #16 (permalink)
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but what could they possibly get from saying "I love you" when they so obviously don't. I still can't wrap my head around it...
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:01 AM   #17 (permalink)
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If the words work to cause you to react in the way he wants, then it is effective, right?
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:02 AM   #18 (permalink)
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but what could they possibly get from saying "I love you" when they so obviously don't. I still can't wrap my head around it...

I stopped trying to wrap my head around it. I found that trying to understand the irrational in a rational manner only led to craziness in me.
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Old 12-30-2008, 10:03 AM   #19 (permalink)
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but what could they possibly get from saying "I love you" when they so obviously don't. I still can't wrap my head around it...
because they "do" love you

that's what love "means" to them, it's what they learned

Just by the way, like LTD said earlier, it's just not that important, the important thing is I say to myself, "Ok, this person is toxic"

The what's, why's blah blah blah's are absolutely unimportant, what's important for me is "what do I do to take care of myself"

My best friend told me that trying to understand "her"....well what he said was "Andrew, trying to make sense of it all....hmmmm.......well....Shakespeare said it best in King Lear, On that path lies madness"

trying to understand a crazy person will make you insane...literally. Trying to make sense of "what they do" or trying to get them to "see me" or "see my point of view" made me insane.

that's my experience.
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Old 12-30-2008, 11:21 AM   #20 (permalink)
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Ago, I just have to tell you that your postings are priceless to me, they have greatly helped in my growth and understanding of my exah, but also make me see how important it is to focus on myself and what I need to do...THANK YOU!
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