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Ask Dr. Z Your Own Question

Dr. Z
Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4493
Experience:  Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
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you spoke with my husband yesterday and I would like to set

Customer Question

you spoke with my husband yesterday and I would like to set up a time to speak with you over the phone
Submitted: 1 year ago.
Category: Mental Health
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.

DoctorZ :

Hello, unfortunately I am not allowed to speak to a customer over the phone. It is a condition outlined to the experts by this website.

DoctorZ :

I would be happy to help you online if that is possible for you

Customer:

that's a bit odd to me, but that's fine. I need to outline what I've been going through so you can see a different perspective in order to help him.

DoctorZ :

I am sorry for the inconvenience, but I will do my best to help online. Lets hear your perspective

Customer:

well he says you told him he was not narcissistic based on him asking you for help. I don't care what he is labeled, I just need him to get help for myself and our son. our relationship started amazing. he was caring and wonderful for about 4 months. things went really quick and just as quickly turned awful almost overnight when the commitment level increased....

Customer:

he would do a constant come closer push me away dance. he would yell at me for not seeing things or doing things the way he wanted, then apologize the next day after I threatened to leave. this has gone on for our whole relationship. he can be very empathic to his friends and his parents and sister but when it comes to me its absolute harshness and coldness when I need something....

Customer:

he tells me all the time he has no feelings and doesn't know how to be compassionate, which he demonstrates over and over...

DoctorZ :

Yes I remember your husband and I believe I thought his issues were caused by his low self-esteem that causes him to overcompensate and appear narcissistic. I did recommend seeing a cognitive behavioral therapist to help him with his behavior. I even gave him a technique called a thought record to help him.

DoctorZ :

I am sorry that you are going through this and that he is making you feel this way

Customer:

that's fine, and I agree with the low self esteem, but why would low self esteem cause these other narcissistic traits?

Customer:

for example, the constant going back on his promises to the point that I have to make him write things down so I don't get told he never promised me anything and i'm crazy

DoctorZ :

Well its because he is over compensating for how he feels internally. The narcissism is a facade of sorts because he is trying to hide himself from others.

DoctorZ :

The "dance" that you mentioned is classic self-esteem because he is afraid of being vulnerable and getting hurt, so he pushes you away. But when you get pushed away too far he fear abandonment, so he apologizes

Customer:

which is exactly what narcissism is

Customer:

and actually is exactly what emotional abuse is

Customer:

when he goes to counseling and they start to call him out and realize not everything is my fault he leaves. explain to me what the difference is between narcissism and what you are describing because I've read book after book after book and can say that it is identical to what im going through.....identical

DoctorZ :

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is typically an ingrained behavior and he would not have self-esteem issues if had NPD or the desire to prove himself as he told me earlier, in addition he would treat others the same way he treats you but because you are close to him and he is more vulnerable with you, he treats you differently

DoctorZ :

Individuals with NPD also do not seek therapy because they do not feel anything is wrong with them. But they like talk therapy a lot because then they get to talk about themselves.

Customer:

so the therapy book is wrong? the narcissistic family by Stephanie and Robert pressman states that the person has low self esteem because they were raised in an environment that did not foster it. it was all about what was best for the parental unit. it also in detail describes doing things and buying things to outwardly show how successful you are when internally you have absolutely no self esteem. additionally he has said numerous times he has no problems, i'm the crazy one...which is what most narcissists say according to every therapy book I've read. they take no responsibility for their actions.

DoctorZ :

I have read that book before, but the mistake with the book is that it doesn't go into clear enough detail that narcissism is only a symptom of something greater, as you and I have both mentioned his low self-esteem. When you say someone is a narcissistic, you label that individual with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which is not what he has. Instead he has a symptom of narcissism. If that makes sense?

DoctorZ :

I believe treatment for is low self-esteem will help lessen the symptom of narcissism as it will lessen other symptoms he is experiencing as well

DoctorZ :

These are the symptoms associated with NPD for your reference.

Customer:

that's fine. is low self esteem why he treats others great and me with utter disregard when he doesn't get his way? I find it a great excuse. maybe he mentioned this or not but his brother is doing the exact same thing and they are also in the midst of a divorce.

DoctorZ :

A pervasive pattern of grandiosity (in fantasy or behavior), need for admiration, and lack of empathy, beginning by early adulthood and present in a variety of contexts, as indicated by five (or more) of the following:


(1) has a grandiose sense of self-importance
(2) is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love
(3) believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people
(4) requires excessive admiration
(5) has a sense of entitlement
(6) is interpersonally exploitative (i.e., takes advantage of others to achieve his or her own ends)
(7) lacks empathy (is unwilling to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others)
(8) is often envious of others or believes others are envious of him or her
(9) shows arrogant, haughty behaviors or attitudes

Customer:

i can answer yes to every single one of those from my perspective, and give specific examples

Customer:

i really don't care about a label. i just have been here before and he's manipulated counseling so many times its mind boggling.

DoctorZ :

I think because you are closer to him and that he feels more vulnerable with you, which is expected in a relationship, he treats you worse to protect himself from opening up and exposing his low self-esteem more, consider it like a defensive mechanism

Customer:

i consider it emotional abuse

DoctorZ :

Have you tried Cognitive Behavioral Therapy (CBT)?

DoctorZ :

It is emotional abuse, I agree with that

DoctorZ :

The reason I ask about CBT therapy is because it is harder for the patient to manipulate

Customer:

yes. i'm not going to try anything on him because i physically and emotionally can't handle his reactions. I've been through CBT myself when treating an eating disorder. i'm very aware of it. i just need to feel like he's serious and not just making one more attempt to say hes going to change when he has absolutely no desire to because he doesn't feel theres a problem. i'm to the point where my doctor has said i have warning signs of a stroke from all the stress....he knows that and does absolutely nothing to prevent it

DoctorZ :

Talk therapy is much easier for someone with a symptom of narcissism to manipulate the therapist and session

DoctorZ :

Oh my I am so sorry this has had such an effect on you

Customer:

it's a daily thing. he has told me he wakes up and decides what mood he will be in, and that is what i get from him.

Customer:

he makes promises to get me through the day, then takes them back and yells at me when i'm upset about it and says "things change you have to roll with it"

DoctorZ :

I understand your frustration and I really do hope he is sincere about getting the help he needs for his benefit and for you and your family

Customer:

he needs to understand that it is emotional abuse

DoctorZ :

I agree, it is considered emotional abuse. And seeking therapeutic help will help blunt this emotional abuse and his symptoms to be a better husband and father.

DoctorZ :

In addition, your husband may benefit from an antidepressant to help his low self-esteem and improve his moods and outbursts.

Customer:

This is XXXXX XXXXXs Husband. Are you able to take the information that my wife told you and maybe dissect my problems a little?

Customer:

in another chat.

Customer:

this is XXXXX XXXXXs hubby, can we take this info and talk a little further in another chat?

Dr. Z, Psychologist
Category: Mental Health
Satisfied Customers: 4493
Experience: Psy.D. in Clinical Forensic Psychology with a background in treating severe mental illnesses.
Dr. Z and other Mental Health Specialists are ready to help you
Expert:  Dr. Z replied 1 year ago.
Sorry for some reason I missed the last part of your chat, I guess technical difficulties. Yes we take this information and talk about it another chat, that is no problem at all. I happy to help.

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