This will be about the autistic spectrum and NPD but I gotta spit first, sorry. I am in my sixties and sick and freakin tired of being beaten by those who are less able, less intelligent, less sensitive and altogether less brilliant than me MY WHOLE LIFE. I thought I was going to be a - dunno really, superstar, concert pianist, composer, celebrated person talking to the media... I have experienced what I now know is autism burn-out a couple of years ago.
I am hurt right now because I have just been rejected (that word!!) by an educational establishment, a conservatory, to study for a master's degree in composition. It was something I sorely wanted to do to get my life back on track. Because the truth is that I have spent my whole life playing keyboards, writing music, and quite often, talking to the media, the national media. I got quite near to something but couldn't grasp it. And I think that is to do with autism. I can't play people in the way I can now see that others do. That's something to do with not knowing what I "want" or need as well as problematic socialising.
I didn't get any higher education because my father blocked my wishes to study art and my teachers had never recognised my intelligence, ASD not known about then. I left school and started writing music for a heavy rock fusion band, like any good autistic muso kid. Boom! Dark depressing music. The important factor here is my father. He was also a musician, a capable singer but he chose security in a regular job. His father was a musician and his father before. My father, grandfather and great grandfather once all sang in the same choir. I am sure my father was autistic and there is diagnosed autism now elsewhere in my family. But I think it may be a particular kind of autism which I haven't seen identified which is linked to Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Dad was, in my opinion, classic NPD. I think I am. A striking promo photograph of my grandfather is overly posed - he sought professional work. I think Dad didn't want me to study because he didn't like the idea of me succeeding. I think he was the only person who actually knew how well I understood music from a very early age, I know he did.
There are interesting posts on other forums about Asperger's and NPD, some about very successful people. I suppose that if I were to say there are certain traits in my family they would include high IQ, a successful narrow field of focus somehow coupled with a pressing need to perform. My Dad was a very busy amateur, and a very real Agamemnon. I love the stage but I think my strength is composing. I do have NPD type traits, disturbingly identical to my fathers but I know that I don't have to be seen to be appreciated. Asperger's is a self-centred condition and to some extent everyone will exhibit these traits, according to other blogs and I agree. But I think I am particularly difficult. I have a couple of friends but no peers. That's what I am looking for in trying to get into a conservatory. There is something in me that could turn into Marilyn Manson but I have the musical brains that means I can write for large ensembles. No one ever taught me a thing. It scores little it seems.
I was going to write some fantastic stormy music dealing with challenging themes - autism for one. I wonder what number of the graduate students that beat me will still be writing music in forty years? Grrrrrrrrrrr!
NB to NAS: NPD or Narcissism is not on the available tag list
I think most people squirm away from the term NPD, not realising that it is very similar to plain old autism, which, as you say, is very much all about the self.
I brought this up on here very recently but everyone who commented disagreed BECAUSE of that very reason, but it’s a misunderstanding.
They think that if you are self obsessed, you can’t possibly care about other people, which is so far from the truth, that if you know the truth, you know that’s it’s a totally ridiculous thing to say, but if you are so self obsessed, in the more commonly understood way of interpreting that, in that you care more about what others think about you than the truth, then this is what people would think because a popular meaning of self obsession in today’s culture/society, would suggest that if a person is self obsessed it means they don’t care about other people and that equals bad, in today’s society and a self obsessed person, unlike a non self obsessed person, would do just about anything rather than be seen as a bad or as a not so ‘nice’ person, which they think you can’t be it your self obsessed or selfish, not realising that humans are benefits driven creatures, meaning we are ALL selfish.
But I wasn’t taking about what popular culture/society thinks about the meaning of that word, I was simply pointing out that autism, literally means selfism and that’s why autistic people struggle with relationships and communication.
When I was working as a mental health practitioner, I actually diagnosed somebody with NPD, and he was one of the nicest people I have ever met and he really wanted help. It was heartbreaking because the psychiatrist I was working with, who was the head psychiatrist in that area, was not only impressed that I was able to diagnose it (I’ve had up close and personal experience, living with somebody with NPD, so I know a few things about it) but he was also excited because this was looking like a massive breakthrough.
However, because this guy has a criminal record with violence, I was not allowed to work with him by myself. The ‘rules’ said it was too dangerous, even though me and the psychiatrist said it wasn’t, and it wasn’t, but the rules state you have to have a forensic psychi worker involved as well, at all meetings, for safety purposes and because of the location we were in, it would literally takes months, if not years, before we could get the forensic team over as they worked out of the nearest city which was already understaffed, etc, so heartbreakingly, even with the head psychiatrists pushing it, we had to let this guy sit on a waiting list with no support until the forensic team could get involved.
I left before that happened so I don’t know what happened but we were really getting somewhere with this guy, which broke my heart, but he wasn’t the only one to break my heart when I worked in that team, which is what spurred me on to commit myself to my life long passion to get the relevant qualifications/insurance etc so I can work with these people in a different capacity, away from the limiting regulations.
Anyway, have you also considered you may also have ADHD? I have recently learned I have this also and I think it causes or has caused more problems for me than the autism. I haven’t dived in deep with understanding how it affects me yet and what I can do about it as I’m currently working on recognising my emotions (I’m working intensely on the autism stuff) so I can get a grip on those to minimise burn outs and suicidal intentions and ultimately, premature death through suicide.
I also tried Ritalin, twice (a friend gave me a couple to try) and the difference was like night and day! Honestly, they’re like a wonder drug (for me). I would never want to rely on them every day and I have no need to but they will certainly be a huge huge help when I want to get things done without all the avoidance and distractions, so I’m currently waiting for the ADHD psychiatrist to give me an appointment to see him as my doctor said she can’t prescribe Ritalin but she has assured me, that he will.
Don’t give up on your music, please, this is simply a temporary set back. I don’t know if you do have NPD, I suspect you don’t, I would sway more towards ASD with ADHD, high intelligence, highly creative and more self awareness than this world is currently ready for, or rather, more self awareness than the masses can cope with - the world is ready for your level of self awareness, but the masses are often like asses so they’ll never be able to cope with it, but it’s not about them, and the world definitely needs more self awareness, now, more than ever, so please don’t give in, think about how many lives your music will touch and how much good it will do. Don’t let the ******** grind you down.
I hear you, loud and clear and I urge you to not to give in and if ADHD rings any bells, check that out and yes, it can be very isolating when you have a higher intelligence than most people and coupled with a high level of self awareness and talent, as well as being raised with a father who didn’t want you to put do him, but when you hit they sweet spot in life, all that will disappear as you find your rightful place.
I hope getting this out of your head and on to paper helped you and I feel sure there’s a university, a better one than the one you previously tried, just waiting for you to show up. Wishing you all the best.
I think that autism and narcissism are quite different things. In my experience, narcissists are psychopathic. They don't really care who they hurt as long as they get their way. Their status is very important to them and they will manipulate situations in their own favour. I know many autistic people and am autistic myself. I could never behave like a narcissist and neither would these people. They are really the only people I trust. You said that you can't play people in they way you see others do, so it doesn't sound like you're narcissistic to me. There's a big difference to being self-centred or self-absorbed (autism comes from the Greek 'autos', meaning self) and being a narcissist concerned only with themselves and bent on damaging other people. I hope you can do something with your music. I myself suffered a major burnout a few years ago when my career ambitions fell apart around me, and I was incredulous as to how my performance talents could be overlooked in favour of less talented people. I don't think it's all about talent, though. Talent will out eventually is what they say, but it hasn't been my experience. Lots of people seem to succeed with very little talent at all. I keep plodding on though and don't let it deter me.
I'm not comfortable with the 'self centered' and 'self-absorbed' way autisitics are described.
I suspect the NT observers making these assumptions don't understand that it's often that we've tried interacting with the NTs, found it too difficult - so prefer to be alone without the chaos, lies and craziness of the NT world.
I think you're probably right. it's their definition based on their own set of understandings. I don't mean the words in quite the same way. I am what most people would call self-absorbed because I spend most of my time doing my own thing and not socialising. But that doesn't mean that I'm selfish or narcissistic. I like to be kind and generous to others.
It's great you have musical talent - there's a lot of technology around that can give you the freedom to create the music in your heart.
Are you into computers? You can get some amazing music production software so you can become your own full orchestra so you can produce a finished piece of music - you can even release on the interwebs yourself.
There's some cool vocal choir synthsisers and vocalist machines to multiply your own voice & create harmonies around yourself if you want large ensemble choirs to go with the music. I played with a Roland synth some years ago that could do Gregorian Chants - it was amazing.
I say go for it - get creating - there's nothing stopping you.
Yeah - NTs make all the definitions based on their own experiences - which do not apply to our world.
Thanks - good to hear from a professional. To be clear the question is not really about me - it's about the autism in my family and whether there is a particular kind of autism which has NPD characteristics which we could associate with autistic performers - Eminem for instance. I'd say it is certainly hereditary and a dominant gene passed through males - I am the only son. Females in the family are ASD diagnosed also but don't have to get on a stage to feel they've had a good day! One is a scientist. The hypothesis would be it's males get the NP bit. It's the case in my family anyway and I wonder if it's found elsewhere.
Your paragraph that begins "Don't give up" (thank you) is brilliant. It makes me see something about what I am saying and it's this: the need to perform is beyond the need simply to communicate. Art is more than the stuff its made of. The "narcissistic" element for me is to do with feeling that it is extremely important that I be heard. It is seeing connections between disparate things and needing to ask questions or draw things together in a way that isn't normal communication. It's more than a feeling, it's a pathology that has driven me forever. It's how my life began - no friends, no social life until some kids who were musos heard me at the piano and suddenly I had a gang. And then you don't.
In recent years I often joked that I wasn't really a musician I was just ill. Good joke!
Ain't it just so! Oh GOD there is some downright awful thoughtless mean-spirited music out there.. I'd better not continue!
Hi, yes, there is definitely a link between NPD and autism, or Asperger’s Syndrome and NPD at least, and I believe that in the future (I think they missed the inclusion in ICD11, but they are definitely talking of putting it in the next update), NPD will also come under the heading of autism, which is about time as people with NPD currently get a terrible time in society. It is usually males who are diagnosed more with NPD than females, but maybe that is more to do with how males are socialised , I don’t know. It was the same with autism and Asperger’s syndrome in the beginning, they were both felt to be more common in males, when they first began to identify it.
However, that pathological need to be seen, that you talk about, is actually a basic human need which can be elevated (not sure if that’s the right word) in people with ASD as we don’t tend to get that very important, in fact, crucial, daily feedback through interaction with others (who are similar to us) that people who aren’t on the spectrum get, without even realising it.
It’s a very important part of friendships (the feedback loop) and as people on the spectrum tend to have less friends and do less socialising, they are missing this very important ingredient. To get that feedback, we need to be socialising with other people who are similar to us and we don’t have to do a lot of it (socialising) to get the benefits. I go to a couple of weekly autism groups and I get the feedback from there. I used to get it from this site as well but I think some of the people who post regularly on this forum are maybe at the milder end of the spectrum as they don’t have that self obsession that is in the more classic autism and I am more towards that end of the spectrum and one of my autism groups is largely made up of people who are at the more (for want of a better word) severe end of the spectrum, and that’s where I’m generally most comfortable and get the most feedback. Many of my friends there are non verbal.
But also, you also have the artistic gene. You’re an artist and part of the artist’s make up, is to express and share their art and if you (not you necessarily) are not able to share it, for whatever reason, it would certainly make the need to be seen/heard feel pathological as it would loom larger than most other needs that we have simply because it isn’t getting met. If a need remains unfulfilled, it doesn’t just suddenly go away, and instead, it can actually feel like it’s getting bigger, when really, it’s just not getting met and if it were to get met, it wouldn’t seem such a big deal anymore.
And most, if not all artists, will say that they come alive when they’re on stage, performing, doing their thing, like it’s the only time they feel good. This isn’t anything to do with narcissism, it is to do with meeting that basic need to seen and heard and because an artist’s way of being seen and heard is often through the expression of their artistic gifts, I can see how you might think it’s a kind of narcissism, but it’s not.
And people with Asperger’s syndrome can often appear to be narcissistic to the untrained eye, and maybe they are, some times - most people are (autistic or not) narcissistic some times, but it doesn’t mean they have NPD.
NPD isn’t as severe as Asperger’s in most ways, they say it’s a milder form of Asperger’s and I think that’s why it never made it into the DM5, however, in another way, it is way more devastating for the individual who has NPD and currently, although this is changing, they are rarely getting any support and are seen by most people in society to be the devil incarnate, which often further isolates them and makes them even less likely to seek help.
I don’t know why NPD has been classified and seen as a milder form of Asperger’s because in my experience it is even more debilitating for the individual but that might just be because it is largely going undiagnosed and untreated so individuals are trying to live with it without support and I and many others on the spectrum can say how debilitating it can be to live with undiagnosed autism, and people with NPD have the added ingredient of being hated by most of society as well, as most of society seem to forget that it’s a neurological condition and not some dude who only seems to like to get their needs met by manipulating and treating others badly.
Both autistic people and people with NPD struggle with relationships and communication in general because of the way the brain is wired that makes them very self focussed. I understand there are people now on the mild end of the spectrum who aren’t so self focussed so maybe their difficulties in relationships (if they have them) are more to do with sensory processing disorders? I don’t know ♀️
Also, some people on the spectrum are more closely related to what is often called their ‘true self’ which means they can often been seen somewhat like somebody with NPD as they see, feel, hear and experience the world in a very different way to most people so they are often misunderstood and put into the NPD box, as people feel more comfortable if they can put people in boxes, it helps them understand their world, so it’s a useful tool but as we know, people outside the box can often get lost and not know where their place is and putting them in a wrong box can often hinder and not help them to find their place. A lot of people on this part of the spectrum go into working as vicars etc and can come across as quite narcissistic at times.
I don’t think you have NPD I think you’re an amazing artist who hasn’t yet found his platform but please please please don’t give in, that need in you won’t go away, it needs to be fulfilled and that’s not narcissistic, it’s a basic human need. Your female relation, for example, has found her platform by being a scientists. She would probably start displaying the same pathological tendencies if, for example, her work was being ignored.
You sound like you not only have the gift of artistry (if that’s even a word, lol), but you’re also intelligent, philosophical and thoughtful. It sounds like you’re very gifted, which can often make life seem extra difficult at times, but don’t give up on your musical ideas as they need to be expressed. We all have an inner need to express ourselves and our gifts, otherwise what would be the point in having them? We’re only here for each other, to make life better for each other, and music definitely does that for many of us, so let the music live unleash the music :)
One thing about people with NPD is that they have a devastating underlying inner belief that they are real terrible people. It’s extremely isolating and soul crushing to the point they often can’t even talk about it, even to somebody they know cares about them. I can’t imagine anything worse than that, so for me, I see it as a more severe form of Asperger’s Syndrome and although I’ve been on the end of narcissistic abuse, my heart goes out to them because to not like or love yourself must be bad enough but to hate yourself, is beyond what I can imagine and the thought of somebody hating themselves makes me want to love them even more, which is probably why I ended up in a relationship with one and working with them in my professional career, lol!
I really don't get this - All the Aspies I've ever known are driven by doing what is right and just. All the narcissists are driven by what is in it for them - stuff anyone else - it's about them - and how they can twist any situation to their advantage..
I can't see any link in it whatsoever.
I can see that an NT observer might confuse the two - but I suggest they are diametrically opposite.