Healing from Narcissistic Personality Disorder, in my opinion is ultimately a spiritual act. You can not heal yourself, you need a community of friends, fellow travelers and an organized framework, 12 Step programs provide this. A support group, following a basic 12 Step format as opposed to a treatment center, provides the time a person needs, in some cases years, to really discover themselves, to really get inside themselves. Treatment Centers because of their expense structures are not equipped to do this and even Intensive Outpatient Programs, can't for the same reason. What these programs can do is lay the ground work for the individual, educating them that they are suffering from a disease. Most people come to treatment centers and IOP's for problems they have developed with their medicine of choice usually Alcohol or Drugs, Food, Gambling and Sex to a lesser degree. They are concerned that their medicine is not only not working, but has become THE problem, which of course is true on one level but misses the point on the other. Most people are surprised when they learn that their medicine is only a symptom, to deep psychological issues. Treatment Centers and IOP programs fill a necessary step, in the recovery process, by educating the individual that they are suffering from a progressive illness, and that in order to get to the root cause of the problem, a person needs to stop self medicating themselves.
What holds people back from seeking recovery? The simple fact is that they are suffering from NPD! It's my opinion that ALL addictions are rooted in NARCISSISTIC PERSONALITY DISORDER. This is a mental condition in which people have a inflated sense of their own importance. A deep need for excessive attention and admiration. An inability to form healthy relationships coupled with a lack of empathy for others. Hidden behind a mask of confidence lies a fragile self-esteem, that's vulnerable to the slightest criticism. Symptoms include but are not limited to, exaggerated self importance and sense of entitlement. A need to be recognized and a preoccupation with success power and beauty. A superiority complex and a propensity to take advantage of others, to get what they want. They don't recognize the needs of others and are often seen as arrogant and haughty.They are very impatient and anger easily. They suffer from significant interpersonal problems and struggle handling stress and change. They are often depressed and moody. They hold in feelings of shame and humiliation.
A person suffering from NPD often can't see any of these symptoms and with advanced cases simply chooses to ignore them. The causes of NPD are family environment, genetic predisposition and neurobiology problems due to trauma. These symptoms work together or separately to form a belief system that runs against nature and causes a craving for anything that will alleviate the mental anguish. The most common dis-empowering beliefs are, I must be perfect in all I do. I must be liked and admired by everyone. I need others to tell me I am OK to be OK. People don't change. People need to make me happy. People are inherently lazy and bad. Problems are a sign of weakness. Fear of the future and an inability to live in the present. Life is a struggle and the universe is a scary place. Complaining works to solve problems. Deny your true feelings, wear a mask. Manipulating people works. Distrust intuition and an inability to make or trust decisions. Don't trust anybody they will let you down. Blame others for your mistakes. It's better to be right then happy. God is judgemental and life is hard full of self-sacrifice.Put your own needs first and win at any cost. Fear of intimacy and the belief that external things will satisfy internal longings. An inability to deal with and a resentment to authority. Never surrender and debate everything. It's our addiction that makes us miserable.
A person with NPD, has created so many dis-empowering beliefs, about how the world operates, that it's hard to pin down, which one in particular, is really holding them back. They are master manipulators and have real problems with the truth. Initially professionals are looking to get this individual past Denial and into Willingness, to at least consider that something is wrong. It starts there. Acceptance that they have a problem is the first step of the 12- Steps. To quote Martin Luther King Jr. "You don't have to see the whole staircase, just take the first step"
I started by saying that healing from NPD was ultimately a spiritual act and the 12-STEPS have a spiritual approach to recovery, the key is finding a "sponsor" who has recovered, and not to think that just going to meetings for the rest of your life is going to do the trick. Meetings evolved because of the program, they were never intended to be the program. Once an individual realizes, they were pulling all the strings, and can forgive themselves, then they can really get into their character defects. It's walking the defects back, that you find the beliefs. Why changing a belief is so hard is a topic for another blog. It has to do with the divine mind we were given, which I call The Habitual Mind.