Managing my anger - worried I might have NPD or fleas

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Oscen

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Managing my anger - worried I might have NPD or fleas
« on: February 14, 2019, 03:52:49 PM »
I want to discuss how I react aggressively in confrontations. I'm concerned that I may have some pretty strong narcissistic tendencies, or possibly “fleas”. Though I’ve definitely made some improvement, I am generally too sensitive to criticism, perceived or real. In arguments with my partner, I often lash out verbally if I feel he’s being critical of me; sometimes even if I just don’t feel validated.

The thing that bothers me is that it's not so different from my mother, who I would consider emotionally abusive, and probably narcissistic/borderline. She lashes out for similar reasons - criticism, and lack of validation. I could be worse than I am - I'm able to avoid blurting out just anything that comes to mind and there are certain boundaries I don't cross - but I still say some things that are harsher than I would like. My partner has said that although our relationship is mostly very good, sometimes in arguments it seems like I hate him.

I have tried to keep this anger at the world hidden inside myself for so long, whilst simultaneously fuelling it with self-victimising thoughts and spirals of rumination. Recently, I’ve become more self-aware of my body, emotions, and mental patterns. During a recent argument, my partner said something that I felt massively triggered by and I felt my whole body go numb and cold, and then a moment later I lashed out at him verbally. I'd never noticed my body do that before. I still felt guilty a few days later, though I'm trying to focus on the positive fact that I noticed this trigger occurring in my body, even though I wasn't able to change my behaviour this time. Fact-finding mission, I guess.

Though I know trauma probably explains my behaviour and can be improved, I’m still worried I’ll turn out like my mother and continue that cycle of intergenerational abuse. So I'm trying to stay generally optimistic and find the balance between recognising my bad behaviour for what it is and not blaming others or making excuses, but also not getting overwhelmed and feeling pessimistic and self-blaming.
« Last Edit: February 14, 2019, 03:57:11 PM by Oscen »

Re: Managing my anger - worried I might have NPD or fleas
« Reply #1 on: March 07, 2019, 08:28:40 PM »
Hi Oscen, I see you posted this weeks ago, Im fairly new to this site and just saw it.
I am NC with my own NPD mother for a bit over a year.  This post really resonated with me because I was terribly worried for YEARS that I was a narcissist too.
I have been with my husband a long time,  and I was horribly reactive, lashing out, aggressive if I ever even THOUGHT he was making the slightest dig at me.  I worried for so many years that I was turning into my mother...
Now, thru MUCH therapy off and on over the last 20 years, Im softening.  I see that my husband loves me and is gentle.  Sometimes he says things that are insensitive, but now I can recognize that it was not intentional, we can all say things that are off the cuff or accidentally too rough.  Im not as reactive with him.  For me, I believe the aggressive side came from me believing I was bad, I was the problem, and just not wanting yet another person in my life blaming me for everything or saying I was bad.  Now that I have come to terms with my mother being the problem in those situations, I feel more at ease with being human if I do need to hear constructive criticism.
Again, I am no expert and have a long way to go, but I want to pass on hope as I have gone thru this same cycle and multiple therapists have stood firm that I am not a narcissist.
I hope this helps, sorry for the rambling.

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Kizzie

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Re: Managing my anger - worried I might have NPD or fleas
« Reply #2 on: March 08, 2019, 12:08:08 AM »
Hey Oscen, sorry your post was missed until now - it happens from time to time but doesn't mean your issue isn't important. 

My M has NPD and when members talk about being concerned they might be N or develop it I point out that never in a million years would my M show up here because she doesn't think there is anything wrong with her, everyone else is the problem.  She also doesn't spend much time reflecting on issues like you are and if/when she lashes out she does not apologize.

In short, if you're here it's very unlikely you have NPD or are headed that way. The fact that you clearly felt yourself go cold and numb then lash out suggests to me you really are starting to be aware of the things that trigger you.  When you know what's happening you can name it, claim it and explain it to yourself and your spouse.  The more my H and I find out about CPTSD in general and my reactions specifically, the better we communicate. 
« Last Edit: March 08, 2019, 12:12:50 AM by Kizzie »

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Oscen

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Re: Managing my anger - worried I might have NPD or fleas
« Reply #3 on: March 13, 2019, 04:54:12 PM »
Thank you very much for the replies, findingpeace2018 and Kizzie. I was ever so slightly worried that the lack of replies meant I'm really a narcissist and people didn't want to tell me the awful truth...!

findingpeace2018 - I really appreciate you sharing your story. It seems similar to my situation; I think I'm tired of feeling that I'm "bad" too. It's really hard to shift my mentality after growing up in an environment where I was constantly blamed and shamed but never able to express criticism back. I didn't learn how to fight fair or deal with conflict in a healthy way. I feel a lot better knowing I'm not alone, so thank you for opening up about that.

Kizzie - thanks for your reply. I've heard the argument that the fact that you are reflecting and seeking answers means that you're probably not a narcissist. I know it's probably true, but I wanted to check based on my actions, not probability alone. My mother also wouldn't self-reflect and does not do apologies, full stop.

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Blueberry

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Re: Managing my anger - worried I might have NPD or fleas
« Reply #4 on: March 13, 2019, 06:37:37 PM »
Thank you very much for the replies, findingpeace2018 and Kizzie. I was ever so slightly worried that the lack of replies meant I'm really a narcissist and people didn't want to tell me the awful truth...!

Oh no! :'( What a terrible worry to have. I'm sorry we all missed your post. Or sometimes people read but are too exhausted with their own issues to be able to formulate a reply. That's one of my problems sometimes.

I am or have been similar to you and findingpeace - I would fight back verbally because of being shamed and blamed throughout childhood and later. I didn't learn how to deal with criticism in a constructive way either and had no idea when to fight for something and when to leave a situation.

 :thumbup: on noticing what was going on in your body. Very mindful of you :cheer: imo that's a good step along the way to reducing the occasions on which you lash out. It could be your lashing out is a form of EF too.

The way I understand fleas is that that is what we're dealing with here. We grew up in these types of families. I learned aggression because that was what I was shown but it's not who I really am. I didn't even want to be aggressive as a child. I tended to cry actually instead. Fleas are things we can get rid of again, even if that sometimes involves a lot of time and hard emotional work.