A Good Old Fashioned Rant About Professional Ignorance

Recently I came across an article that was the subject of much debate on an Aspergers forum I frequent on Facebook. The article was discussing whether Narcissistic Personality Disorder should be considered as an autistic spectrum disorder. The full article can be found here:

https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/resolution-not-conflict/201406/do-you-think-narcissism-autistic-spectrum-disorder

This article is, in my opinion, so wrong on so many levels about Aspergers and the autistic spectrum as a whole. Firstly, on a factual level, Aspergers was always regarded as part of the autistic spectrum from when it was first included in the DSM and ICD-it’s the reclassification from Aspergers to Autistic Spectrum Disorder Level 1 that is a new change.

Secondly, it should be pretty well known by now from the amount of autistic bloggers and advocates who have written about how they experience empathy that we don’t lack empathy in the way that it is often assumed we do-we struggle to show and communicate our emotions but we do have them and a lot of us are highly compassionate people who care a lot for others and like to help others, usually above ourselves-that’s not what narcissism is about .

Thirdly, the writer completely ignores the fact that a lot of people with Aspergers have the opposite problem to narcissists in that they often feel inferior to others rather than superior to them.

Fourthly, it is acknowledged in the article that people with narcissistic traits or a diagnosis of NPD have very good social skills and can put on an act to impress. If they were genuinely on the spectrum, they wouldn’t come across as having such brilliant social skills. I have learned social skills over many years but they still don’t come naturally to me. People with NPD tend to be very skilled manipulators-most of the people on the spectrum that I know couldn’t manipulate someone if their life depended on it.

Fifthly, the criteria mentioned in the article are very negatively phrased. The people on the spectrum I know, no matter where they fall on the spectrum, have the ability to see people as people and form relationships with people even if this is not in the way most people think.

Overall I don’t agree with the article at all. There might be a few people who present with both NPD and Aspergers but that doesn’t mean it’s on the spectrum and I think to say it is does a great disservice to both people on the spectrum and people with NPD. There have been lots of debates in the past about whether Aspergers is a personality disorder and similar with other conditions on the spectrum. I don’t believe it is personally. I am aware that this post may show me as prejudiced against people with NPD-I don’t believe I am but I think it is insulting to lump the two conditions together when they are so different and one has the potential to harm people far more than the other. What does everyone else think of this article? I would be interested to see if anyone else sees it as having multiple flaws like I do.

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2 Responses to A Good Old Fashioned Rant About Professional Ignorance

  1. Patricia says:

    Oh for the love of pete. What the everloving F? Where do these people come from? Of course NPT could be a co-occurring condition because, you know, people have it and autistic people are – people. Ugh, bad science/research pisses me off.

  2. cherylchristine11 says:

    Hi, My son has asperger’s and I’m going through the process of getting a diagnosis. I have to agree with you – that narcissism and Asperger’s are not alike and there is no link. Maybe it’s possible to be an narcissistic Aspie but I would have to say that the two generally don’t go together.

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