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  1. #1
    darkened dreams labyrinthine's Avatar
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    Default Aspergers vs. Narcissism

    It seems like a number of posters have had experience dealing with both issues, so I thought it would be interesting to have a thread that compared the similarities and the contrasts. One poster mentioned knowing someone with both conditions and that is what got me thinking, since I have dealt with both in life. I think there can be a lack of empathy in both ways of cognitive processing, but one is the result of hyper-focus and the other is an attachment disorder in which the concept of Self and Other has been distorted. Anyway, we'll see if an interesting discussion results...
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    I know someone who probably is a rather mild case of NPD (I really don't think he's severe because he seems to WANT to connect) as a result of an emotionally and psychologically abusive mother who probably is Borderline.

    He asked me once if I thought he had Asperger's. Food for thought.

    However, bipolar also runs in his family so what if it is mild Asperger's? "I really feel nothing. I stop emoting. Then I regret it." It has all the features of narcissism (or histrionic) with the over-emphasis on appearance of self and appearance of partners and delusions of sophistication, success, and wealth. A little too strongly desiring external perfection to validate self.

    I've read academic articles that state a lot of people with Asperger's/autism spectrum actually have bipolar spectrum running in their family.

    Aspies seem like they're oblivious, and narcissists seem like they don't care. That's what I think the difference is.

    And would it be impossible for someone to have traits of both? I don't think so, especially if the Asperger's were mild enough.

    My niece has Asperger's syndrome, diagnosed and in therapy, but she's too young for me to give much anecdotal evidence about her, other than her developmental behavior.

    P.S. I love the person I'm talking about, I'm not talking shit, and I have cyclothymia myself, I'm on the bipolar spectrum, so I'm not mocking him...I am just absolutely baffled by him (ofc never seen a therapist, usually totally baffling people won't) and he is one of the first people who made me realize that Aspies and narcissists may have something in common, but he's not the only one.

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    Senior Member tinker683's Avatar
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    <--- Aspie

    I'm interested to see how this thread develops too
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    Senior Member cafe's Avatar
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    I have two high functioning autistic sons, both teenagers. One has some traits I would consider narcissistic the other seems not to. It might not be narcissism in the one son, but he seems to think like the kind of super villain who wants to remake the world for its own good because humanity is too stupid and mean to be trusted with its own welfare. He has empathy, he just isn't very interested in the opinions of those he deems foolish humans. If you're not in the foolish category, he can be interested in your opinion if its about one of his interests and in those cases, he can be extremely gullible.

    FWIW, my super villain boy was affectionate as a little guy. He used to run and jump into my arms after school long after he was really too big for me to be picking up. The fact that he's my baby boy and was a mama's boy probably has plenty to do with his issues. He used to almost have a tractor beam for attracting women and girls to baby him and for a long time it even included his sisters. Now that he's all gawky he gets a lot less than that.
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    Senior Member swordpath's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by cafe View Post
    I have two high functioning autistic sons, both teenagers. One has some traits I would consider narcissistic the other seems not to. It might not be narcissism in the one son, but he seems to think like the kind of super villain who wants to remake the world for its own good because humanity is too stupid and mean to be trusted with its own welfare. He has empathy, he just isn't very interested in the opinions of those he deems foolish humans. If you're not in the foolish category, he can be interested in your opinion if its about one of his interests and in those cases, he can be extremely gullible.

    FWIW, my super villain boy was affectionate as a little guy. He used to run and jump into my arms after school long after he was really too big for me to be picking up. The fact that he's my baby boy and was a mama's boy probably has plenty to do with his issues. He used to almost have a tractor beam for attracting women and girls to baby him and for a long time it even included his sisters. Now that he's all gawky he gets a lot less than that.
    This sounds like me.

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    @cafe

    The reason why I say the Asperger's would probably have to be mild in someone who is also an actual narcissist, is because narcissists are highly manipulative and good at getting what they want. They tend to be good looking people, or at least believe they are because they put so much effort into grooming themselves. Of course not all narcissism is based around physical beauty, you can have a more power-money-status obsessed narcissist who simply believes he (rarely she in these cases, but look at Ayn Rand, not exactly a supermodel to put it mildly, and I think NPD is the only other possibility for her if she wasn't outright sociopathic) deserves good looking partners, or is "beautiful by proxy" believing himself (or herself) to rather falsely be one of the beautiful people (CEO of Abercrombie and Fitch is a good example of this).

    I think mild narcissists can be very lovey-dovey, even obsessive, if they feel a need to manipulate you or are so attached to you for their narcissistic supply of attention. They share traits of all the cluster Bs this way, of having poor relationship boundaries, and will create a kind of closeness or intimacy that may confuse a person that they otherwise push away with emotional cruelty or selfishness, or scare a person away who wants more space.

    I have a hard time thinking that someone who was a severe Aspie could muster enough social intelligence to be that manipulative.

    Not saying your son is manipulative, in fact I don't see any evidence of it in what you're saying.

    Oh yeah, another important thing that narcissists and Aspie has in common is dealing very poorly with rejection or cruelty dealt toward themselves despite their obliviousness to the feelings of others or actual lack of empathy.

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    Theta Male Julius_Van_Der_Beak's Avatar
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    Well, some people seem to think being an introverted NT is the same thing as having Aspergers.
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    Quote Originally Posted by msg_v2 View Post
    Well, some people seem to think being an introverted NT is the same thing as having Aspergers.
    Noooo...actually it's just that emotions and making decisions mostly based on ethics and relationships aren't the same thing, and Aspies can become very out of control of their emotions (not unlike a person with bipolar disorder and I tend to wonder if this is why they both run in the same families, something to do with heightened sensitivity and poor conscious control of impulses) ...all NTs aren't Aspies, but yes they can be. ISxJs are apparently likely to be Aspies.

    I mean think about Si. What Si really is.

    WHAT IT REALLY IS.

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    Senior Member prplchknz's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marmotini View Post
    Noooo...actually it's just that emotions and making decisions mostly based on ethics and relationships aren't the same thing, and Aspies can become very out of control of their emotions (not unlike a person with bipolar disorder and I tend to wonder if this is why they both run in the same families, something to do with heightened sensitivity and poor conscious control of impulses) ...all NTs aren't Aspies, but yes they can be. ISxJs are apparently likely to be Aspies.

    I mean think about Si. What Si really is.

    WHAT IT REALLY IS.
    maybe that's why i feel aspieish at times, because I either have schizoaffective or bipolar 1, depends on the doctor and how well i'm functioning when I see them what they say.
    In no likes experiment.

    that is all

    i dunno what else to say so

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    Quote Originally Posted by prplchknz View Post
    maybe that's why i feel aspieish at times, because I either have schizoaffective or bipolar 1, depends on the doctor and how well i'm functioning when I see them what they say.
    Yeah my mother has noticed links between my childhood behavior and my niece. I would just freak out easily, my mom said I was a nervous sensitive child, and I would scream my head off if something displeased me, I remember my sisters trashing my room one time when I was about 4 and going on a rampage.

    My niece though just...much more apparent...just...banging her head ...screaming constantly for no reason...she's better now, but when she was a toddler she pretty much exhausted my family.

    My mom also thinks I'm "too smart" to be on the bipolar spectrum (I'm cyclothymic, highly functioning, I don't hallucinate or have major delusions in the way my mother likes to believe what mental illness is, but cyclothymic basically means mood swingy in the extreme without actual fits of full-blown mania).

    I've tried to explain to her that "the fine line between genius and insanity" and "artistic temperament" in ye olden days was usually describing people who had bipolar disorder, before people called it that. It has nothing to do with smart.

    But yes, people more naturally expect aspies to be smart or good at math or something, and people with bipolar disorder to be more artistic or openly eccentric, and perhaps even have imaginary friends.

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