Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board
Welcome, Guest. Please login or register.
August 01, 2014, 11:54:29 AM

Login with username, password and session length
Search:     Advanced search
With over 100,000 posts and 2 million pageviews, the Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board has become a valuable resource for people learning about and dealing with narcissistic spouses/partners, boyfriends/girlfriends, parents, siblings, adult children, bosses, and co-workers--as well as other sources of "voicelessness."
134843 Posts in 8233 Topics by 1744 Members
Latest Member: moonlight60
* Home Help Search Login Register
For books on NARCISSISM and its damaging effects on relationships and families see: The Voicelessness Reading List . All purchases help support the Voicelessness Board.
+  Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board
|-+  Voicelessness and Emotional Survival
| |-+  Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board (Moderator: Dr. Richard Grossman)
| | |-+  alcoholism vs narcissism
« previous next »
Pages: [1] 2 3 Print
Author Topic: alcoholism vs narcissism  (Read 5659 times)
gratitude28
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2609


« on: September 25, 2006, 09:07:35 PM »

Hey Kelly.
This one's for you. I have seen this dicussion brought up in various places at various times, so I thought we could break it down... especially as a lot of us have experince with both.

As an alcoholic, I was obviously self-centered and goal-oriented... the goal being how to get drunk without people bugging me. At the same time, I couldn't understand why people didn't like me and want to be my friend... you can't see what is and what isn't when your only focus in life is where and when you will drink. I didn't do things for attention... I just planned my entire life around the bottle, which meant I was neglectful to my family (I did what I needed to do and didn't put an ounce more energy into them and had no joy).

Ns crave attention the way we crave the bottle. Does their mind work like ours???? I have no idea. My mind had both concious and unconscious pulls. Sometimes I actively planned, and sometimes it was spur-of-the-moment. I always knew I was going to go overboard, though, and I always had a second voice in my head... a voice of reason. I don't think an N has a voice of reason...

I am throwing this out for you all to pick up on... Any ideas?????

Love, Beth
Logged

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable." Douglas Adams
chris2
Guest
« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2006, 07:16:02 PM »

Hi;

I hope it's ok for my to stick my 2 cents in, even tho I'm not Kelly, because this is a topic I've thought about a lot. About five years ago one of my best friends died of causes related to her alcoholism. She was a drunk the whole time I knew her with the exception of one year when she was sober - not in recovery, still in denial, but sober. Contrasting her behavior during that year when she was sober with her drinking behavior was enlightening. She behaved in destructive and dishonest ways when she was drinking, but those behaviors and traits mostly vanished when she wasn't drinking. Interestingly, they were behaviors that I also saw in my non-alcoholic, very narcissistic Nmother. Long before I had ever heard of NPD, I noticed that my mother had a number of what seemed like alcoholic traits. Now I recognize that my friend actually had narcissistic traits. For whatever reason, it seems that alcoholism brings out the narcissist in people.

Here are some of the ways my alcoholic friend was like my Nmom:

1) She was EXTREMELY manipulative. She engaged in emotional blackmail, and she would try to force favors and gifts on me in order to obligate me. That is SO like my Nmom.

2) She craved attention. She wanted me THERE.

3) She demeaned. For example, her house was a pigsty when she was drinking (this was alcohol-related, but not narcissistic). If I voiced any objection to it, she would make a snide comment about how sterile and bare my home was, so naturally I had a skewed perception of what constituted neatness. Those mean hit-and-run jabs are very narcissistic. Someone on here once remarked that narcissists had a special meanness. So do drunks.

4) She denied. Ohhhh boy did she deny. So did my Nmom. Both did things they knew were shameful and both worked very hard to make those things OK in their own minds.

5) She had co-morbid compulsive behaviors. My Nmom buys things for herself compulsively. My friend was a clutter junkie. When she was sober she cleaned stuff up and threw out worthless broken crap. When she drank, that worthless broken crap was a treasure she might fix one day, and then it would be valuable.

6) She was a liar. Unlike my Nmom who deliberately, knowingly lied, my friend lied out of convictions instilled by her denial. Other alcoholics I've known have also been great liars, and like narcissists, they exploit every facet of lying - lying in advance of something going wrong, leaving out crucial information, "spinning", outright lying.

7) She blamed. My friend was having lots of problems because of her drinking, and NONE of it was HER fault. She blamed everyone else for everything. That is very typical of narcissists, who are great blamers.

/8) She was a tornado. She left a trail of emotionally thrashed people desperately trying to fix the problems she caused and then ignored.

9) She was creepy. Like many children of narcissistic mothers, I find my mother really repellant, especially when she's digging for emotional pain in other people. She gets an extremely focused and avid look, and she's really happy. My friend was having a serious love affair with her booze that also struck me as being intensely creepy in a parallel way. She loved it. She savored it. She relished every sweet drop of it. Obviously this isn't as bad as what my Nmom did, because her inappropriate adoration wasn't dependent on my suffering, but when my friend was drinking in front of me, I had same sense of being in the presence of a monster that fed and loved and destroyed all at once. I was an unwilling voyeur of a terribly unnatural coupling.

10) She was arrogant. It took me a really long time to figure out why on earth my friend was alcoholic. I kept trying to place it in the context of self-medication. What suffering could have caused her to turn to booze? In reality she had led a charmed life until she started drinking. She had a wonderful and supportive family who stood by her to the end. She had many talents she had been able to use in a dream career. She had excellent health and good looks. What on earth could have led her to drink? I finally realized her fatal flaw: she was arrogant. She had started drinking because she was slightly shy (she was by no means pathologically shy) and alcohol helped her have a good time at parties. She saw no reason not to recapture that good feeling any time she wanted. Most people are aware of alcohol's potential for abuse and cut themselves off after a couple of drinks, but in her opinion, they were weak. She was from a good family, an elite family. She would brag to me that her family had owned land and held slaves before the Civil War! They were Quality. They were not the kind of people who suffered from alcoholism. She wasn't some trash wino. Oh no. Not HER.

This arrogance was just dumbfounding to me (not least because ownership of slaves is not something to flaunt). How could anyone think they were immune to the destructiveness of alcohol? But she did. And by the time it was obvious to her that her confidence was misplaced, she was so addicted she couldn't quit.

My Nmom ended up being an abusive parent because of the same kind of arrogance. HER mother was abusive, but SHE was going to SHOW HER! It would be DIFFERENT  for her! She rushed into marriage, she had a baby right away and, not surprisingly, she was just as abusive as her own mother, because that abusive way of relating was all she knew.  Nowhere in her thinking was there a little warning voice that said "But what if you AREN'T different? What if you abuse too? Maybe you should slow down, think this through, get some therapy to deal with your anger at your mother?" Oh no. Not HER.

Unlike my mother, my friend was still a lovely woman in many ways, especially when she wasn't drinking, but even when she was. When she was not drinking, she didn't have a lot of narcissistic characteristics aside from her arrogance. I've known other drunks who always very unpleasant people. I wonder, when they dry out, are they still narcissistic? I've heard people talk about "dry drunks." Is a dry drunk a narcissist who doesn't drink?

Chris2
Logged
gratitude28
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2609


« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2006, 08:16:39 PM »

Chris,
Although I mentioned Kelly, because she had questions on this subject, I by no means meant to exclude anyone.
What a wonderful breakdown of alcoholism. You should write a book on it - really. I can identify personally with all of that, having fallen into all of it. And I can match all of those quirks to my neighbor who is now an active drunk in denial (but her lies are usually dumb, because she can't remember what she said).
Yes, I believe that a dry drunk is a person who is sober but angry and still arogant. It isn't until we get to the underlying cause and find spirituality and giving that we get beyond ourselves. And it's a forever process.
I can believe that your drunk husband loved you S&S. I loved my husband, but wanted to prove that he didn't love me, so I could fulfill my worst-case-scenario. We don't have a lot of self-esteem.
I think you are so right that an N can never love...
Love, Beth
Logged

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable." Douglas Adams
Hopalong
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 9610


« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2006, 09:53:55 PM »

(Me too, S&S.) Comparing H1 (alcoholic who although he had a mean streak did have some sense of conscience, and respect for me) to H2 (lying manipulative charming N who wooed me like crazy).

Hi Chris:
My understanding is that a "dry drunk" is an alcoholic who is not drinking (could be years) but has not dealt with the underlying emotional issues related to their disease.

Hops
Logged

"That'll do, pig, that'll do."
Stormchild
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1207

It's about becoming real.


WWW
« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2006, 10:26:42 PM »

Hi Chris:
My understanding is that a "dry drunk" is an alcoholic who is not drinking (could be years) but has not dealt with the underlying emotional issues related to their disease.

Hops

Yep. No longer drinkin' but still stinkin' thinkin'.
Logged

The only way out is through, and the only way to win is not to play.

"... truth is all I can stand to live with." -- Moonlight52

http://galewarnings.blogspot.com

http://strangemercy.blogspot.com

http://potemkinsoffice.blogspot.com
Overcomer
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2675


« Reply #5 on: September 27, 2006, 09:02:46 AM »

Hi Guys:  Been too busy to post the last couple of days..........I can read it on my phone but find I am a danger to other drivers when I am trying to read these posts and drive! Shocked

I was a part of two different threads that were going down this road - Thanks Beth for starting this thread on THIS topic.

I, too, have a very best friend in the midst of terrible alcoholism.  We met in second grade and she was the most pretty, best athlete, most popular, her dad was on the City Council, cheerleading captain, smart, you name it, she was IT.........

We partied in high school A LOT!!  All of us.  We grew up in the late 70s and smoked pot and did acid and ate mushrooms and drank!!  It was "Party On Garth!!!"  But when I got married and had my first child, I just knew I had to straighten up.  I had a child to think of and needed to be responsible.  My friend, on the other hand, kept partying.  At our 10 year class reunion she offered me some cocaine.  That was almost 20 years ago and this gal is STILL doing coke!!  She is a raging alcoholic and drug addict.  Her moods are over the top.  Her attitudes are Narcissistic.  When she has a boyfriend she expects cards and calls and dinners (with lots of wine, martinis, etc.)  When the guy doesn't call she gets drunk and calls him and spews on him then hangs up on him.  Then when he backs off she gets all devastated and threatens to commit suicide, etc.  The same pattern happens over and over and over again.  She, too has a love affair with alcohol.  I told her a sober mind is a rational mind.............that she needs to go to rehab.  She says that drugs and alcohol are all she has....................................she's totally self absorbed.  But she loves.  Nmom only loves herself.  She kind of loves my kids............................but not me.  Nothing I do is alright!!

So what do I have to say about that??  Just that both alcoholics AND Narcissists drain you with all their stuff!!
Logged

Kelly

"The Best Way Out is Through........and try laughing at yourself"
gratitude28
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2609


« Reply #6 on: September 27, 2006, 11:05:58 PM »

Yes, Kelly, all of what you said is true (and if you are driving now, put down the phone and read this later  Laughing)
With alcoholism, the point is to be left alone with the alcohol and yet somehow still control other people... but not to be mean to them on purpose...
I think here we talk about MALIGNANT narcissism... where you are a Narcissist who is out to hurt someone to your own advantage.
Drinking, I hurt people... but it was in the path of the hurricane as it were.
My mother ENJOYS making people feel lesser... I can see how she enjoys bossing around salesclerks, or managing to tick me off. She starts in on my dad when she gets bored. Anything to get attention, even if it is negative attention.
What do you think, is that a difference. It is a really fine line here.
R/Beth
Logged

"There is a theory which states that if ever anyone discovers exactly what the Universe is for and why it is here, it will instantly disappear and be replaced by something even more bizarre and inexplicable." Douglas Adams
Stormchild
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 1207

It's about becoming real.


WWW
« Reply #7 on: September 27, 2006, 11:23:18 PM »

Jeeze, kelly, this sounds like borderline personality disorder, with all the drama and sucide threats. I'm amazed she's still alive...

I'm not so sure you mother loves your kids. They're small, young, easy to deceive and manipulate, easy to control. Poor little guys.
Logged

The only way out is through, and the only way to win is not to play.

"... truth is all I can stand to live with." -- Moonlight52

http://galewarnings.blogspot.com

http://strangemercy.blogspot.com

http://potemkinsoffice.blogspot.com
Brigid
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 795


« Reply #8 on: September 28, 2006, 08:56:45 AM »

Hi all,
My n father was an alcoholic and my nexfil is still an alcoholic (on and off the wagon for 50 years) at 87 years old.  Of the 6 children produced by those 2 men, only 1 became an alcoholic and he gave it up in his 20's and is now almost 59 years old.   My brother has never had a drink.  I was bound and determined to never marry an alcoholic because of how it affected my life.  But what I did do unwittingly, was marry a sex addict--probably 2 of them--so being raised by an n does take away your ability to discern healthy partners in many cases, or even attract you to them.

So, I don't think the only addiction that n's demonstrate is alcohol.  I think they have a propensity to have addictive personalities and that can present itself as addictions to drugs (legal and otherwise), sex, gambling, shopping, even coffee or exercise, or a combination.  Certainly not all people with addictions are n, and I don't know which comes first--the chicken or the egg--but it may again have much to do with the personality, sensitivities, birth order, etc., of the individual involved. 

B.
« Last Edit: September 28, 2006, 09:02:15 AM by Brigid » Logged
Overcomer
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2675


« Reply #9 on: September 28, 2006, 08:57:15 AM »

Chris:  You did hit that one right on the head!!  You either have a lot in your head or have these things written down somewhere!!  And Storm??  My friend might be borderline from years of drug and alcohol abuse.  I believe her brain chemistry is so messed up that she wouldn't know rational if it hit her in the face.  Wish we could force her into detox but her father enables her.  She spends - he gives her money.  She doesn't go to work - he gives her money.  We tried to do an intervention early this month when she threatened suicide.  Her dad told her if she didn't go into rehab within two weeks he would sell the house (it's his, she just lives there....)  Well she never went into rehab and he never put the house on the market!!

Also, the reason I went to alanon is because I wanted to figure out why I always choose men with addictions.  The last two are alcoholics and my first husband was a sex addict!!!  For some reason I go for men who are "broken."  So part of me thinks that people who were raised by Ns choose some dysfunctional spouse - or they become extremely dysfunctional themselves.  Almost like Adult Children of Alcoholics - thriving on chaos - needing rejection or drama to feel normal???
Logged

Kelly

"The Best Way Out is Through........and try laughing at yourself"
Overcomer
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2675


« Reply #10 on: September 28, 2006, 09:06:07 AM »

Brigid:  I know that my nmom was the first born at the tail end of the depression.  Never quite pretty enough.  Never quite good enough.  So she ran off and got married to a bad boy and had my brother at 18.  Divorced.  Then she became a Christian.  This drove her life for awhile.........................then she met an older man on a train that asked her if she went to college - she said no and he said she was still young so why not?  So when I was 3 she went to college.  That is when her SELF became more important than me or my brother.  She was addicted to feeling smart and was on a road to better herself.  She got into a company at ground floor and experienced huge success.  She started making massive money.  In her 30s she had me and my brother but she was gone all the time for her career.  She didn't care anything about us - it was all her.......................all that to say that the train started in 1963 and it has been an unstoppable locomotive since....................now she is pushing 70 and I think she is realizing she is not at the top of her game anymore.  Face lift.  Tummy tuck.  Beautiful home.  Self promotion.  Giving huge gifts to places but wanting for sure to be listed as a top benefactor.........etc. etc.  We must present ourselves at the perfect, rich, Christian family.  Well, that all backfired on her because her neglect and self centeredness angered my brother and I and we both went off the deep end.  YOU CAN'T HAVE IT ALL, NMOM!!  YOU CAN'T HAVE IT ALL!!  You have to have balance in your life in all areas or the imbalance will come back to bite you!!!!!

So the addiction that drives Nmom?  Success.  Work.  Beauty.  To be the best.  To be the most successful.  To be well thought of.  And she's pretty good at it but the house of cards is crumbling...........
Logged

Kelly

"The Best Way Out is Through........and try laughing at yourself"
SilverLining
Sr. Member
****
Posts: 379


« Reply #11 on: September 29, 2006, 12:23:34 PM »

My N/asperger father  has fancied himself an alcoholic.  I think it was an attempt to put a label on himself to explain his problems, and possibly a way to make himself feel special.  It didn't lead  to any specific treatment or disciplines. 

He has sometimes abused alcohol, although I don't believe it ever reached the level of qualifying as full blown addiction.  It was more of an periodic indulgence, alcohol abuse rather than full blown alcoholism.  Under the influence of alcohol, he did get nastier and less "introverted" in his narcissism (I now realize).

According to addiction expert, Doug Thorburn, narcissism is one of the possible symptoms of alcohol abuse.   Alcoholics don't necessarily start out as N's, but as the illness progresses they quite often display narcissism and other mental disturbances such as depression.    So it seems there are several possible scenarios.  A "normal" person could become narcissistic due to alcoholism.  A "born N" could become worse.   For some, the mental problems disappear when the alcohol use is stopped. 

Thorburn's books are well worth reading BTW.   His website is www.justsaynotoaddicts.com     
Logged
Overcomer
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 2675


« Reply #12 on: September 29, 2006, 12:47:24 PM »

Welcome TJR100:  Isn't Aspergers a type of autism?  It would be a weird life to be raised by an Aspergers/Narcissist Drunk!!  Sometimes I think my husband is just a raging drunk and isn't in full blown alcoholism either.  I think he is obsessive/compulsive enough that he kind of gets in a rut.  Same thing week in and week out - habit - routine.  When I called him on it he has been great every since!!  Wonder how long that will last??
Logged

Kelly

"The Best Way Out is Through........and try laughing at yourself"
chris2
Guest
« Reply #13 on: September 29, 2006, 12:54:55 PM »

Quote from: tjr100

According to addiction expert, Doug Thorburn, narcissism is one of the possible symptoms of alcohol abuse.   Alcoholics don't necessarily start out as N's, but as the illness progresses they quite often display narcissism and other mental disturbances such as depression.    So it seems there are several possible scenarios.  A "normal" person could become narcissistic due to alcoholism.  A "born N" could become worse.   For some, the mental problems disappear when the alcohol use is stopped. 

Thorburn's books are well worth reading BTW.   His website is www.justsaynotoaddicts.com     


That explains everything I saw. I've observed the scenarios you describe. 1. Narcissism without alcoholism: My Nmom is very narcissistic, but by no means alcoholic. 2. Alcoholism without pre-existing narcissism: My friend was not narcissistic. When she was sober she was delightful. When she drank she was narcissistic, although she had many other characteristics of alcoholism than the narcissistic ones I've mentioned. 3. Narcissism with alcoholism: I know that alcoholism is a common co-morbid disease with narcissism, so perhaps "dry drunks" are those who WERE alcoholics and are STILL narcissists.

I should also add to my list that both narcissists and alcoholics are very secretive.

Chris2
Logged
Gaining Strength
Hero Member
*****
Posts: 3484


« Reply #14 on: September 29, 2006, 01:28:45 PM »

both narcissists and alcoholics are very secretive.

Wow - secretive  boy that's my father to a tee.  That really hurts to read - not sure why.

What about "double binds".  One of the hallmarks and most poisonous aspect of my childhood were the doublebinds my father put us in.  - GS
Logged
Voicelessness and Emotional Survival Message Board
   

For books on NARCISSISM and its damaging effects on relationships and families see: The Voicelessness Reading List .
All purchases (including those through the Amazon link above) help support the Voicelessness Board.
 Logged
Pages: [1] 2 3 Print 
« previous next »
Jump to:  

Powered by MySQL Powered by PHP Powered by SMF 1.1.19 | SMF © 2013, Simple Machines Valid XHTML 1.0! Valid CSS!