What You Should Know Before Calling an Abusive Person 'Narcissistic'

Chey Burkhalter
beautiful woman. fashion illustration. watercolor painting
beautiful woman. fashion illustration. watercolor painting

Diagnosing other people. You’ve seen it a hundred times scrolling through social media. “10 Signs You’re Dating a Narcissist” is a pretty common one. This may seem harmless and a perfect way for people to validate their abuse at the hands of another, but it is not. In reality, it’s harmful. People who do this are demonizing a disorder. Instead of placing blame on the person who hurt them, they’re placing blame on a personality disorder which is something a person cannot control.

Narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) is diagnosed infrequently — especially if you compare it to diagnosing something like depression, which has millions of cases a year. The fact of the matter is, NPD is rare, and when someone haphazardly throws that label onto their abuser they’re stigmatizing people, and making it harder for people who have the disorder to be treated fairly.

I have a friend who has this disorder. We will refer to them as “Stacey” to keep their identity safe. Stacey realizes they are different. Stacey constantly does the things Stacey believes a “normal” person would do. Stacey does their best to be kind and caring even though their brain makes it harder for them to do so. Stacey is a good person, and these articles are harmful to them because it makes Stacey seem like a terrible person with no likable qualities. What if we did that for depression? How does it feel when people spread awful things about individuals with borderline personality disorder (BPD)? It hurts them. It hurts their relationships with other people because as soon as they say they have BPD, people assume things. People are treated differently. Even if they haven’t done anything wrong, and this isn’t right.

Related:13 'Habits' of People Who Grew Up With 'Narcissistic' Mothers

Diagnosing someone based off of an article isn’t fair. Just because they have a few qualities of a disorder doesn’t mean they have said disorder. It isn’t fair to do this to people because even if your diagnosis is correct, do you think someone would want to admit that, especially if we’re demonizing it and making people with NPD feel less than human? So, before you share that article and say, “My mother, father, ex best friend, ex boyfriend, ex girlfriend, etc. is a narcissist” think about what you’re doing. You’re trying to rationalize what happened to you which is completely understandable, but you may be hurting someone who hasn’t done anything. You may be hurting someone who is trying their best.

Read more stories like this on The Mighty:

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