The word narcissist has been thrown around on social media platforms, blogs, videos, and in courtrooms to the point that courts don’t even want to hear the word.
If the word was used properly, the courts might actually start understanding. Countless victims of Pathological Love Relationships are narcissistically abused by a personality-disordered individual every day. Unbeknownst to the victims, they aren’t with someone who is just a narcissist. Narcissistic Personality disorder is a Cluster B personality disorder. “Cluster” is the operative word, meaning more than one. Typically the victim is with someone who has more than one personality disorder and possibly mental health disorders on top of it.
Beyond the Narcissist: Understanding Cluster B Personality Disorders
Cluster B personality disorders encompass a group of mental health conditions characterized by dramatic, emotional, and erratic behavior. Sound familiar? While narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is often the most discussed and recognized among them, it’s essential to understand that Cluster B includes three other disorders. This blog aims to shed light on Cluster B personality disorders, emphasizing that they are not just synonymous with NPD but have their distinct traits and manifestations.
Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD)
Narcissistic Personality Disorder is undoubtedly one of the most recognizable Cluster B disorders. People with NPD exhibit grandiosity, a constant need for admiration, and a lack of empathy. They often believe they are exceptional and entitled to special treatment. While NPD can be destructive to relationships and self-esteem, it’s crucial to remember that not all Cluster B personalities fall under this category.
Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD)
Borderline Personality Disorder is characterized by intense mood swings, unstable self-image, and tumultuous relationships. Individuals with BPD may engage in impulsive behaviors, experience chronic feelings of emptiness, and have a fear of abandonment. Unlike NPD, which focuses on self-importance, BPD revolves around emotional instability and an extreme fear of being alone. If you think you are with just a narcissist, ask yourself if any of these behaviors apply also. If so, you’re likely not with just a narcissist
Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)
Antisocial Personality Disorder (Sociopath) is marked by a pattern of disregard for the rights of others, deceitfulness, impulsivity, irritability, manipulate others without guilt and have a lack of remorse. People with ASPD might engage in criminal activities, but not all do. Unlike NPD, which revolves around self-absorption, ASPD is characterized by a lack of concern for the well-being of others. Have you experienced this too? If so, being with just a narcissist is unlikely.
Psychopathy (Psychopath) is considered a specific subtype or extreme form of antisocial personality traits. People with psychopathy tend to exhibit a more severe and pronounced pattern of behavior that includes a lack of empathy, shallow emotions, manipulativeness, and a disregard for the rights of others. They may engage in criminal activities and have a history of persistent antisocial behavior.
Here are some of the key traits and behaviors associated with ASPD and Psychopathy, which are often observed in individuals with psychopathic tendencies:
- Disregard for Others: Individuals display a consistent pattern of disregard for the rights, feelings, and well-being of others. They may exploit and manipulate others for personal gain.
- Deceitfulness: They often engage in deceitful and manipulative behaviors, such as lying, conning, and using aliases to achieve their goals.
- Impulsivity: Impulsivity is a hallmark trait. They may engage in reckless behaviors without considering the consequences, leading to legal, financial, or personal problems.
- Irritability and Aggressiveness: These individuals may have a short temper and frequently engage in physical fights or other aggressive behaviors.
- Lack of Remorse: A key feature is the absence of remorse or guilt for their actions. They typically rationalize their harmful behavior or blame-shift their victim
- Criminal Behavior: Some have a history of criminal activity, including theft, assault, and property damage.
- Irresponsibility: They often have a consistent pattern of irresponsibility in areas such as work, financial obligations, and relationships.
- Violation of Social Norms: Their behavior consistently violates social norms and may lead to arrests or legal problems.
Additionally, while many traits associated with psychopathy are captured within the diagnosis of ASPD, psychopathy is often seen as a more severe and specific manifestation of these traits. Look at the traits of both the Sociopath and Psychopath, have you experienced them repeatedly? If so, it’s more than just a narcissist!
Histrionic Personality Disorder (HPD)
Histrionic Personality Disorder manifests as excessive attention-seeking behavior, shallow emotions, and a need for constant reassurance and approval. Individuals with HPD may be provocative, dramatic, and uncomfortable when not in the spotlight. While they may seem narcissistic in their desire for attention, their motives and behaviors differ significantly from NPD.
Why It’s Not Just Narcissism
Cluster B personality disorders manifest differently in individuals. While NPD is characterized by grandiosity and a lack of empathy, other Cluster B disorders exhibit distinct features, such as emotional instability in BPD, disregard for others in ASPD, and attention-seeking in HPD.
Cluster B personality disorders can overlap with each other. It’s important to understand that personality disorders are complex and multifaceted, and individuals may not neatly fit into the single category of narcissism. Here’s how these overlaps can occur:
- It is relatively common for individuals with one Cluster B personality disorder to exhibit traits or symptoms of another Cluster B disorder. For example, someone with Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) may have behaviors of NPD.
- Cluster B personality disorders share some common traits, such as impulsivity, emotional dysregulation, and difficulties in interpersonal relationships.
If you suspect you have been a victim of more than just a narcissist, seek help from a therapist who has specialized training in Narcissistic Abuse AND Pathological Love Relationships. Not all therapists are trained to treat Pathological Love Relationship trauma. You’ll also want to make sure your therapist has the training to treat your trauma with trauma stabilization treatments like EMDR, DBT, ACT, and Somatic. It’s important to invest in proper therapy since this type of trauma can’t heal on its own. This type of trauma requires specific treatment and lots of grace for the trauma symptoms that result from being with a personality-disordered individual.