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Replies to Family Member Letter about Rages

Narcissistic Personality Disorder Family Member

"I would love to continue to love my raging maniac without wanting to kill myself. I would love to find a manner for us both to recover. How I would hate to leave him with the idea that he caused my severe depression, physical ailments deriving from stress and my ultimate death at my own hand. And even if I could not control my pain and relief from the angst will he feel anything other than how my pain caused him pain? Is there any hope?"

Hi, I feel your emotional pain because I have been there and am just getting out. First thing I recommend is for you to go to Sam Vaknin's site and read on Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Your guy sounds more like NPD (Narcissistic Personality Disorder) than BPD (Borderline Personality Disorder). 

Has he had a formal diagnosis? Narcissists are emotional sadists who love to destroy their mate's self-esteem and sense of worth because it is the only way they can feel important and in control. Mine had me about ready to do a voluntary commit because he made me feel so worthless and unable to do anything right. 

My understanding of a difference between BPD and NPD is that NPD is closer to> Anti-social Personality Disorder in the lack of empathy for others' rights, feelings, opinions, thoughts and well-being. BPD's have empathy but often tread on others in them... you are their ego-food and when your questions threaten their grandiose self-images, you cause a Narcissistic Injury, which makes them see their real "worthless" self for a second, thus they lash out viciously.

Is there hope? No, sorry to say. There is nothing you can do because they don't think the problem is theirs, it's everybody else's fault when they are upset. They must want to change and work at accepting their own powerlessness, which will teach them how to adapt emotionally, but a true N can never really know how other's feel because the "hardware" was not installed.

You can have hope though. You MUST walk out when he rages, unless there is a chance of physical abuse. NPD or BPD, he will rage at your saying you will leave. Do not say forever, but calmly say you can no longer tolerate being in his presence when he is raging, especially if he is raging in a manner than devalues you. Then go and give him a time you will return, like " I'll return in an hour when you calm down." Return, and the second he rages, go again. You MUST be CONSISTENT!. If you are in bed for the night, go to the LR. If he pursues to LR, get dressed and leave. It will be tedious and tiresome for you, but this is a method of behaviorally extinguishing his rages. It will only work if he really wants your presence... and if he is BPD, he will respond, if he is NPD, probably not. If he tells you not to come back, then consider that your release papers from prison.


NPD and BPD are sometimes co-morbid, and nothing can change in him unless he works at it, and wants you in his life. He is a burden as it is now. Also, ask your therapist to help you see why you need his abuse. That sounds harsh, but I was replaying my failed relationship as a 3-5 yo child w/ my mother, through him, and trying to "be good enuf" for him/my mother not to abandon me. "IF only" i could "prove" to him I was worthy enuf, then my rift with my mother would be "fixed."

This recapitulation of maladaptive relationships will continue until you feel "good enough" for yourself. As punishment, he told me this past July, we could have no further contact until a certain issue was resolved. I ranted and begged, and promised to do whatever he asked but that as right now it just could not be completed. You see, he knew that, and was taking power in making me feel helpless. I was so dependent upon him, I wanted to die.

Anyway, I had all the signs of severe Acute Distress Disorder, PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder), Adjustment Disorder, Melancholic Depression, Anxiety, Dependent Personality Disorder, BPD, bi-polar, schizo-typal personality disorder, self-defeating behaviors (was a disorder in DSM III), on top of long time ADD (Attention Deficit Disorder)! Another words I was a DSM feast! BUT! ALL personality disorders are long term and pervasive... and geez, away from his nasty, toxic influence for a few months, and I feel almost normal again. Still depressed he couldn't heal and love me as I needed, but I felt like a drug addict must feel when they are finally straight. I had been "drugged" and was addicted to his rare approval like a junkie. I'm "coming clean" now, and would not qualify for any of the diagnoses I had, and now must deal with getting them off my record. Diagnoses are like warts... they want to linger because the shrink profession doesn't want to be proven wrong.

And as far as letting him know he has made you a wreck, and your reluctance to make him feel that way... well, he should feel guilty, but he won't. Go ahead and tell him it's all his fault as you walk out the door. But inside yourself, you MUST see the part you played in your own downfall. That's hard to look at, but you let him devalue you, because somewhere deep inside you, you felt he was right. This is the deep stuff you and your therapist need to get at. We are most able to heal when we think we have nothing else to lose. Also, go get all of Beverly Engel's books on emotional abuse, especially the words of encouragement, and read a few pages every night before turning the lights out. And do NOT worry about him being in pain for causing you pain... you are responsible for your feelings, and he for his own. Do not take responsibility for his feelings... make him own them.

Look at it this way, at least you are trying to get better, so for you Hope is available. Work on YOU now, and forget helping him. Set terms you will accept and those your reject, and FOLLOW them. Take a class in Tai Chi or Belly Dancing. both move spiritual energy and help unblock "flow." Put little affirmations around the house, like "today i will be happy" or "I deserve people who enjoy my company" --- there's lots of books in the Self-Help section that are good reads.

Take care of yourself, and work to "be well"

Permission by Anonymous

MH Today Attention Deficit Bipolar Borderline Personality Depression
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