Tag Archives: personality disorders

“Out Of The Fog” – Another Toxic Recovery Forum

After losing interest in the subject for a long time, I finally had a close look at another internet community based on personality disorders, a disciple of which I’ve seen trying to poison strangers online (for a couple of years and ongoing), perhaps out of reflex, with the idea that they are being emotionally abused by their partners or family members. When the response given to anyone succinctly posting a relationship dilemma is by default along those lines, something is awry.

Not having spent more than a few hours looking it up and reading through it, I do know what comes out of there, when one is immersed in this line of thought.

The difference between offering an opinion and proselytising is in nuance, in the ability to evaluate every situation on its own merits. When someone reacts like a person with a hammer, to whom everything looks like a nail, things are clear.

The forum is differently structured than PF and covers more than romantic relationships or marriages, which PF focused on. It doesn’t overtly demonise people with personality disorders, but claims to offer coping strategies instead (a misleading appearance, as detailed below). At a peek there is no mention of evil, demonic beings set on destroying their targets etc. However, a review of the book with the same name mentions black and white thinking, splitting humans into two categories: “the PDs” (personality disordered) and the “nons” (non-disordered) . And the acronym PD appears often on the site. Hence they don’t even have to pretend they are knowledgeable enough to identify a specific disorder.

To their credit, they declined to create a subsection for teens, seeing the problems that might pose (while PF targeted them directly in a marketing effort).

However, at a closer look, one can see a person is likely to be labelled disordered, or at least be suspected as such, for just any reason. And any reason is no stretch.

There is a subsection about friends, neighbours, acquaintances and coworkers, where I reckon most of the baffling stuff is, from what I’ve seen so far. At least in a close relationship one has a reason to over-analyse.

As an example, a member ended up thinking her roommate might be disordered because the latter asked her to hold her stuff at a bar, “as if she were a coat rack”. Because apparently, disordered people are known to be selfish and since this one momentary gesture of debatable rudeness bothered her, the roommate is likely to have a real issue, regardless of the lack of other indications. A thread was opened about this gesture and no moderator stepped in to even issue an opinion regarding how accurate this might be. Which is proof that anything goes. Perhaps this is a random exaggeration; however; there don’t seem to be any guidelines helping people differentiate between what is likely real and what is likely imaginary.

All this has nothing to do with a presumed expertise in personality disorders, but with people airing their day-to-day grievances and sometimes ending up sticking labels on others.

The specific language is present as well (abbreviations understood only by those who activate in these circles, such as NC, LC, VLC, PD, JADE etc). More interestingly, I found the abbreviation FOO (family of origin) in a few places, previously encountered in Stefan Molyneux’s cult lingo, as in “family of origin”. He is the “patent holder” of the term de-FOO, as in disassociating with one’s family of origin (and often friends who don’t share Molyneux’s political ideology, when it comes to his followers).

Very interestingly, there is this remark on a page listing “what not to do” when confronted with disordered behaviours:

Amateur Diagnosis – An Amateur Diagnosis is when a non-qualified individual confronts someone whom they suspect suffers from a personality-disorder and shares this belief with them, usually in the hope that this revelation will help to improve the relationship or the situation.

Excuse my French, but doesn’t that cover doing so behind the person’s back, based on unprofessional information, and sharing that with strangers? I’ve come across diagnosing people by proxy (the boyfriend’s ex-wife, because he claimed so, lacking any diagnosis per se, or the member actually knowing the person referred to as disordered).

What is ethical about the fact that there is no difference of approach between members who do have a diagnosis for someone and those who simply suspect someone of having a disorder, as if it were all the same?

More food for thought about this site not being what it appears to at first. The comments on the first site mention a few of these forums (recognisable with a bit of prior knowledge).

The Aftermath of the Psycho/ Narc Hunt Obsession

As predicted, amateur online content claiming to offer insight into psychopaths and narcissists has been multiplying for a few years.

Obviously, there are content creators out there who have done intense research on the matter and have analysed it from any angle, including the problem of false identification (off-the-cuff diagnosis based on superficiality). However, they share the platform with a sea of dross.

A few years ago, such content was relatively rare. Now a large array of blogs and YouTube channels predicate inside knowledge into the “minds of the disordered”. On a mere glance, the vast majority seem founded by individuals with  no qualification in this field or in depth study of the issue. I dare assume that many were started as a result of a sour break-up or childhood-related resentment.

Though the term “psychopath” is sometimes used, “narcissist” is far more prevalent. Perhaps because it has been a lay term before becoming clinical and appears more relatable.

A few quotes picked up just through a quick search on YouTube:

  • How to spot a narcissist in five minutes/ on the first date. Pardon my doubts yet I think that unless someone is extremely disturbed it’s very difficult to tell, and most people do manage to make a good impression on a first date, if for no other reason than their conscious effort to do so. Such guidelines would be better worded as “how to ruin a first date by constantly checking for signs of narcissism”.
  • Is the narcissist watching you right now (the narcissist may be stalking you in any number of ways). So you’ve successfully distanced yourself from this person and all you need now is a dose of paranoia regarding what they might be doing. Very healthy indeed (excellent for triggering people who have been stalked in the past, by the way).
  • 121 things narcissists say while gaslighting (collected from a support group of people believing to have been targeted; most are extremely common in arguments; one of these things is “whatever”). This is on a large channel, by the way. Predictably, the first comment is “OMG I’ve been told 90% of these”. Absolutely unrelated, unscientific crap.
  • How to torture a narcissist. Better yet, why try?
  • 6 strong signs you have narcissistic abuse syndrome. This is directed at women and invites them to imagine that if they have certain emotional problems that is a strong indicator of their partner being a narcissist (no mention of the possibility of preexisting problems at all, or them being caused by other factors). The first two are “feeling alone” and “not feeling good enough”, which are par for the course with abandonment and anxiety issues and not necessarily caused by others in real time.

Moreover, this “support” has seeped into neutral environments. After watching someone seek out confused people to “help” on a forum, where they would pop up to  ask for relationship advice (being told each time they were being abused, regardless of the details), I did a quick Google search with specific keywords, to try to see how prevalent this is.

Doubtlessly, some who soak up this material, with a clear self-gratifying intention, try to sway unsuspecting strangers into thinking they are in a hopeless situation or even in danger. They actively search the internet for psychological fodder in other people’s temporary problems. And unlike content creators, who often have a financial interest, they gain nothing but the satisfaction of having potentially “saved” others from “Cluster B types”, regardless of how little they know about them.

Hence, some disciples of sites such as Psychopath Free, Out of the Fog & Co now try to influence people outside of those environments, who are merely looking to vent online or obtain objective advice (which is an illusion as most respondents simply project their own life experience). Disorders were not even an issue in discussions I’ve witnessed until said faithful disciples brought them up.

If sifting through broadly-themed forums was too time-consuming and lacked efficiency, I did have a look on other platforms. On Quora, for instance, there are many threads enquiring about the new general obsession with narcissism.

It’s definitely a mass phenomenon, not reserved for platforms one only ends up on when specifically seeking answers. Many reputable publications have covered the lists of behaviours and red flags, though to their credit, they tend to seek out professionals when putting out articles.

 

 

 

 

“Amazing information! I’m clearly dealing with a psycho…”

How many times have you read that, or even written it, while participating in discussions on a popular abuse recovery forum? The most compelling evidence in one’s eyes (that the person they suspect to be disordered actually is that way) is the plethora of similar experiences posted by others.

As a first disclaimer, I am referring to those who are in doubt, usually when no deliberate, serious acts of cruelty have taken place. Many stumble upon unprofessional information which is very articulate and convincing, yet deep down, intuition tells them they are wrong or that they need to reevaluate matters. 

Also, I’m not trying to minimise anyone’s feelings or experience; however, I have serious doubts every case on these large recovery forums involves a genuine psychopath or narcissist. In a vulnerable state, with clever persuasion, mistakes are easily made.

As a second disclaimer, this is only my opinion.

The following issues to consider can be liberating for someone still pondering whether that label is accurate.

1.The fact that members were mistreated in similar ways is not proof they were all mistreated by psychopaths. This is especially valid when it comes to what is deemed emotional abuse.

Not all people who engage in aggressive or abusive behavior are disordered; there are dozens of variables in analysing why a person might have behaved in a certain way. Even though you find yourself repeatedly thinking “mine did that all the time”, keep in mind similarities can occur with normal people as well. Lying, making unflattering comments, using sarcasm, making excuses, being selfish, being arrogant are things most of us are guilty of at some point in life.

2. The way one feels about another person is not necessarily provoked by the latter.

I believe few people have strong telepathic abilities; most need straightforward communication to understand how one is feeling; even then they can remain disconnected, especially if they are emotionally unavailable for some reason. Reciprocity is an illusion in many cases, unless there is proper communication. The lack of it (two people relating to each other through endless assumptions and signal interpretation) weakens bonds; it pulls people apart. Those who are shy, oversensitive, have anxiety issues etc. find it hard to express their feelings; they can experience great frustration with others. Also, one can feel anxious around a person without that person causing their anxiety or even being aware of it.

3. Aggressive or abusive behaviour often has more to do with the person engaging in it than the person they target. As opposed to the message people get on PF for instance, that a psycho is bent on destroying them. 

I dare assume at some point in life we’ve all been shouted at by angry people just because we were there. Also, some feel too safe at times and take others for granted, as a teenager does when acting up, knowing they won’t lose their family over it. I am in no way justifying abuse – I am merely saying not every case is the same and not every person is the same; hence there are many possible explanations for aggressiveness (blatant or passive) . “This individual is bent on destroying you” is the exception, not the rule.

4. Psychopaths lack empathy and remorse. Calling them offensive or big-headed is the understatement of the century.

For a sample of excellent candidates for that “title”, read the comments under any Daily Mail article dealing with poverty or immigration. You’ll find chilling fantasies of opening fire on refugee boats or rounding up the poor to sterilise them. You’ll find acrimonious anti-immigration rhetoric under pictures of dead children, which fail to move any of these types. People often wonder how in the world mass killings such as the Holocaust, the extermination of a large part of Cambodia’s population or the massacre in Rwanda happened. Some people simply don’t see others as human. That murderous instinct hasn’t gone away and never will, I suppose, though we lie to ourselves we have evolved as a species.

There are also public figures with a considerable platform, such as university professors, who advocate monstrosities; what jumps to mind is referred to as  “after birth abortion”, or the possibility for parents to change their mind about wanting an already born child. Peter Singer argues that in case of disability, they should have up to thirty days to decide if they want to keep it, as people refer to children nowadays. If not, the it would be mercifully put to sleep, I suppose. Then there is Eric Pianka, who has another type of utopia in mind – the ideal world population, he says, would be a tenth of the actual one; it is therefore necessary to get rid of the other 90%. Not to mention an individual I won’t even name, who proposed during a widely followed TV debate that abortion should be mandatory for thirty years. And he wasn’t just saying that for shock value.

Then you have the SJW bloodhounds who ruin – not an overstatement – people for disagreeing with them on issues of faith or family values. Under the guise of promoting marriage equality, they target, trick and break those who won’t give up their traditionalist views, making examples out of them to frighten others. They put hard-working families out of business; they gladly take old people’s savings as compensation for having been offended. The greater the misery and suffering they cause, including to children or helpless elderly people, the greater their satisfaction.

You contemplate such individuals and suddenly, the guy who keeps forgetting your birthdays, changes his plans too much, avoids house chores or annoys you with his quirks seems less of a psychopath by the second.

 5. And then there is the world. An unstable, often depressing world where the future is shaky if not bleak; where values regarding human interaction have long been turned upside-down, to let confusion reign free. Here is a short list of contradictions between what we grow up to expect from people and the factors moulding us all nowadays:

We expect sensitivity in a desensitised world, where human suffering has become entertainment;

We expect not to be sexually objectified in a world where porn and objectification can be seen around every corner, hence kids grow up thinking it’s a normal part of life;

We expect stability, perseverance, work ethics in an economically unstable climate, where one’s efforts can be fruitless, causing a lack of motivation;

We expect commitment, faithfulness, when all around us marriages are breaking, people publicly debate the validity of monogamy and the family as a unit seems to be falling apart;

We want constant respect in an angry world, where people lose their temper with innocent strangers, where they lash out at each other for the smallest trifles; men and women want respect from each other while under peer pressure they ridicule the opposite sex for a few cheap laughs;

We expect others to know us and know what we are feeling when so many of us barely know ourselves; life is often so depressing  we turn to therapy and medication to be able to function;

We expect maturity when all around us adults behave like children or teenagers in older bodies, in a hedonistic culture of endless fun and games;

We expect love in romantic relationships, when fewer people have a clear idea of what that is anymore and where it’s supposed to lead, courtesy of our blessed culture of infinite possibilities, leaving many so confused they no longer know what they want.

These are only a few of the reasons why people should think twice about equating selfishness, occasional nastiness and frustrating behavioural patterns with psychopathy. People are complicated.