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DrFee
DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience:  I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
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Do bipolar 11 and narcissistic personality track with one another?

Customer Question

Do bipolar 11 and narcissistic personality track with one another? Or, is NPD merely part of the grandiosity in bipolar cycling?
Submitted: 2 years ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  DrFee replied 2 years ago.

DrFee :

Hello! Please remember that my response is for information only, we are not establishing a therapeutic relationship.

DrFee :

It sounds like you've had a lot of pain and frustration in this relationship.

DrFee :

NPD and Bipolar can certainly co-exist --however not all people with Biplar can be described as people who "suck the oxygen out of the room," that sounds more characteristic of a PD

DrFee :

The fact that she's sought therapy is encouraging.

DrFee :

It looks like you've been typing for a long time --I'm wondering if we are experiencing a technical problem.

Customer:

My description may have been a bit extreme. My point is that everything revolves around her with very little regard for others. She sought therapy as she found that her husband had cheated on her and transmitted to her an STD. Very regrettable situation. But she had invited it two years ago by being receptive to the attentions of one of his friends. The cheating happened during a brief separation that then was followed by pregnancy. It's more information than I really want to share, but it provides necessary background. In the meantime, she has lashed out at me about every 6 weeks. As a senior, I'm trying to find my footing so that I don't become a victim of elder abuse.

DrFee :

OK --that is helpful information. If you decide that you feel uncomfortable having share this information, you can always request a "lock" on the transcript after we finish, where it will not remain visible to anyone who visits the site.

DrFee :

So, it sounds like you'd like some help from me with how to set boundaries with her?

Customer:

Yes. I am in counseling and am beginning to find some inner peace. I desperately want her love but have almost concluded that it will not happen. So I'm just trying to figure out how to maintain my balance.

DrFee :

Yes, it sounds like it's a "one way" relationship, where you are not going to receive much from her, but find that you are more of the giving one. This is sad, because I think we all hope that when our children become adults that there will become more of a reciprocal relationship.

DrFee :

How do handle it when she lashes out at you?

Customer:

I used to be a lap dog and try to appease. Now I just quietly stand my ground and reach out to her with a text after a few days.

DrFee :

That's a good start. How would you feel about ending the conversation when she starts to lash out at you?

DrFee :

And saying to her, "I will talk to you again when you are calm."

Customer:

That happens. I don't need the last word because it just escalates. I try to uphold the Four Agreements. And I also feel that dignity quietly commands respect.

DrFee :

So what part do you think that you are not good at right now or need improving?

Customer:

I wish I didn't "feel" the pain when she makes a hit. She knows that my weak spot is self-acceptance, which I work on daily. It's almost like she delights in testing that.

DrFee :

That's going to be a tough one because that would be painful no matter how 'self accepting" you become. I guess one thing you could try right away is working on not showing it to her....

DrFee :

The other thing I was thinking about it recognizing that she is the "sick" one or the one with issues....that what she says actually has nothing to do with who you are.

DrFee :

Or --what your value is ---

DrFee :

That the comments actually come from her own place of pain.

DrFee :

However, keep in mind, that no matter how "healthy" you become, it's always going to sting.

Customer:

My therapist has been very pleased with how far I've come this past year. He started treating us with family counseling when my daughter was 15, so he has a full understanding of the situation. And, to your point, that's what I've been able to achieve--not showing the "hit" when it comes in. And I just today acknowledged to him that she truly is sick, which is painful. But, it comes to survival for me. Sometimes a relationship--even one as close as mother-daughter--can be toxic. It's my choice how much I will let her affect me and the quality of my life. Yet...that is a mother's defense when she's hurt. She's still my flesh and blood and nothing will ever change that.

DrFee :

That's very well put ---and I'm glad that you have a therapist who understands (and has seen her) what it's like for you. It sounds like the admission today was a huge step forward for you.

DrFee :

I think with that admission comes some grieving...grieving the fact that she's not the daughter she could have been without this disorder.

DrFee :

Grieving that you can't have the type of relationship that you'd love to have.

DrFee :

And the fact that it is mother-daughter makes it so much harder -- a friend you can more easily "drop" or "move on" emotionally speaking (and physically as well).

Customer:

Definitely. It's hard. At this point in my life, however, I don't have the time or energy to ride her merry-go-round any longer. What hurts even more is that her dad is 80 and she never, ever seeks him out or asks about him. Sometimes I think I'm more hurt by that.

DrFee :

That is very sad. This is not an easy journal, but frankly distance does help --by that I mean limited contact.

DrFee :

Which I assume is challenging because you probably like to see your grandchildren.

DrFee :

journey not journal!!!!

Customer:

I know. And that means we won't have the opportunity to develop a relationship with our grandson.

DrFee :

He is a baby, right?

Customer:

Yes, 18 months old. I worry about what will happen as he continues to separate from her and he no longer is an attention-getting device. Heaven help him!

DrFee :

Yes, that can be terrible for a child. Will she let you babysit?

Customer:

Not anymore. And I don't know why. She suddenly stopped that in late February. Nothing was amiss when it happened...it just did. I've seen him four times since then.

Customer:

We live 15 minutes apart.

DrFee :

That is really sad -- I guess you could continue to volunteer and frame it as "I know having a toddler is exhausting, I'd be happy to give you a break."

DrFee :

So that it sounds like you are doing her a favor...

DrFee :

which you are....

Customer:

That wouldn't fly with her. Unless something is on her terms, it doesn't happen. The other major concern is that if bipolar is biological, how did the grandson come wired. Only time will tell.

DrFee :

Yes, you won't know for a long time.

DrFee :

As time goes on, though, she may want you to take him so she can have a break!

DrFee :

It all sounds very painful --I am sorry that you have to deal with this.

Customer:

I do worry, probably too much, about outcomes. Three weeks ago, she announced she was going to do an Iron Man triathlon. A few days later she posted a very provocative photo on Facebook. She looked like a pole dancer. I had to wonder then how it would be for him growing up, if his "mom" does stuff like that. Of course, I said nothing as it would have caused a huge blowout.

DrFee :

That's a very helpless place to be.

DrFee :

However, if you ever suspect any abuse on her part towards him, you can always report it to child protective services --anonymously.

DrFee :

Is the father involved?

Customer:

Yes, I know. It's the mental and emotional abuse that can be so hard to detect. Yes and no and to what extent, I don't know. He appears to be a good dad, but he has a boatload of issues himself. His sister died of cancer when she was 16 and his parents are very, very involved in his life.

Customer:

I've wondered if my daughter's exaggerated self-centeredness is to compete for his attention.

DrFee :

That might be the best hope for your grandson --that his father gets himself together enough to provide some protection for him.

DrFee :

I agree about the emotional abuse --but at least it's reportable now --that wasn't even the case before!!!

DrFee :

You might be right with your hypothesis about her behavior ---

Customer:

Who knows. I've seen them compete in conversations; it becomes a 4-way when his folks are present. My husband and I agreed after the last exposure that we'd not be the audience in the future.--have other plans, a headache, whatever. It's really mind numbing.

DrFee :

Yes, that's a good plan --to have other plans!

DrFee :

You sound like you know what to do --it's just that the emotions are going to lag behind. And, I guess don't expect to ever feel "over it" or "recovered" like you might with another type of relationship.

DrFee :

Have you ever heard of the book "Walking on Eggshells...." ?

DrFee :

It's a book for loved ones of people with Borderline PD, but a LOT of the concepts could be helpful for you...especially the workbook version.

DrFee :

It's Stop walking on eggshells....

DrFee :

I'm going to need to go in about 2-3 minutes ---

Customer:

We've been doing that -- we're traveling a lot, making plans with other family, friends and neighbors, and staying busy. I think I wrote today to get a second opinion and you've echoed my doc. Yes, I think I have the narrative, not the workbook. Will check it out. I journal and go back to my notes from time to time. Thank you for your help. You've validated a lot.

DrFee :

You are welcome. I'm glad that I could help. You really are on the right path --but you may need to be reminded of that from time to time.

DrFee :

Please take good care.

Customer:

Will do. :)

DrFee, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 437
Experience: I help people overcome anxiety and enjoy life again.
DrFee and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you

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