This is part 10 of my second series about the similarities and differences between those with borderline and narcissistic personality disorders. For the second series, here is part 1. Here is part 2. Here is part 3. Here is part 4, part 5 , 6, 7, 8, and 9. T o see a list of the 10 parts of the first series, click here and view the top of the post.
Today we're going to look at two NPD traits: arrogance and the need to be special and associate with special people.
Arrogance is another defense mechanism that keeps the narcissist a legend in his own mind, free from the stain of the imperfection of other human beings. Remember, narcissists (and borderlines) split, seeing themselves and others in black and white. Someone has to be on top, and someone has to be on the bottom. Being judgmental and power hungry staves off the stink of imperfection.
Sam Vaknin, author of Malignant Self Love: Narcissism Revisited, says, "Everything—from my body language to my choice of vocabulary—is intended to disabuse my surroundings of the notion that I am their equal. My posture, my speech, my opinions, and my mode of communication all convey my innate and indisputable advantage. I do not talk--I lecture. I do not agree or comply—I deign. I do not collaborate—I guide. I do not give advice—I preach. My arrogance and haughtiness are merely encoded messages bearing the information that I am one of a kind. They don't make them like me anymore."
The Need to Be Special
Another NPD traits is, "Believes that he or she is special, unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions)."
If you've been following this series this far, this trait should be no surprise. It's great to be better than everyone else and sometimes hang around with people who think you're the best. But as they say, it does get lonely at the top (well, at least it does for those narcissists who allow themselves to feel anything resembling pain).
A vulnerable narcissist says,
I feel like I am different than the rest of the world. I have torn the veil from my eyes and see things clearly while everyone else fumbles in the dark with distorted perceptions. When I find people like me (always powerful people or attractive women) I want to keep them close. In the case of women, I take two or three and pour my dark secrets into them to see how they respond; to see if they are like me and could possibly understand. They cannot.
People who are not special—the waitresses, secretaries, and janitors of the world—may be rudely treated by narcissists (and NPs may demand special favors to boot). They have no patience with those who are there to serve them, while making extra efforts to reach out to those who are as special (but not more special) than they are.
Some examples from family members:
- She only wanted to associate with people she deemed "spiritual"and more "conscious" than most people. Her friends had "higher" up jobs that she could benefit from, like attending cool parties, gatherings, workshops, poetry readings, etc.
- He thinks because of his wealth he is above others. He wouldn't go to my son's school fundraiser because the people there are "common." He needed to know, "Will anyone there be in tuxedos?"
- His kids go to schools where you have to be rich to afford the tuition. Even though we really can't afford it, they go because he likes to associate with the fathers: the famous football players and rich businessmen. He talks about who he knows all the time and makes them seems like best buddies even though he barely knows them.
Photo credit: http://www.mylot.com/w/photokeywords/2/arrogant.aspx