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Claudio's avatar

Is it safe to tell even close friend that you are a narcissist?

Asked by Claudio (39points) July 12th, 2009

Several years ago I was diagnosed as having narcissistic personality disorder. I know how people feel about narcissists (and justifiably so). All my friends have put me at arms length and for good reason. I have a new friend who I’m very close to. She’s been very kind and sweet to me. From time to time she’s told me I wear her out and that frightens me. I haven’t been awful to her partly because she exudes authority and I respond to that, but recently I’ve been getting nasty. I’ve been taking it out on other people so I don’t subject her to it. When I sense that I’m not the most important person I have to seclude myself so I don’t get mean. I’m always thinking about the people around me (including her) and who matters and who doesn’t and who I need to be nice to and who better remember their place around me. I know most people think that being NPD means all kinds of awful things, but I’m writing because I just want ONE friend who doesn’t hate me. I see a therapist but they’re frankly out of their league with me so I’m working on my own. You can tell me I’m a bad person, but I know that already. What I need to know is if there’s a way to use these awful traits for good, and if I should tell her. I really don’t want to give her up.

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13 Answers

DrasticDreamer's avatar

How long have you been seeing the therapist? Have you ever asked yourself if it’s your narcissistic side coming out when you say they’re out of their league with you? That’s not an insult, it’s a genuine question and it’s one worth asking yourself. Don’t give up therapy, because it might be one of the only things that can truly help you.

As for your friend… I think you should tell them if and only if you’re truly willing to work on your problems. I mean, what’s the point of saying “I might be a jerk sometimes because I’ve been diagnosed with a narcissistic personality” and using it as an excuse for your negative behavior? On the other hand, if you are planning to work on your problems and not using it as an excuse, then yes, tell them. It will only help them hold onto the friendship if you have a bad day, because at least they might understand where you’re coming from.

All in all, put excuses aside, work on yourself and be honest with your friend. Honesty is, after all, a huge part of a genuine friendship. Someone will be more inclined to help you if you let them—- and that includes your therapist. Think about it and good luck.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

I’ve never known anyone with NPD…well I’m sure I have but they didn’t identify themselves as that…thank you for sharing your experiences…I wish I can be more of help, but I think that no matter the issue, you should tell close friends the truth…also, how in control are you of your actions?

tyrantxseries's avatar

I believe honesty is the best policy until it comes to mental illnesses,
when you tell someone you have a mental illness with a negative stigma attached to it peoples view of you change drastically(first hand experience) even if they don’t show it… you have probably found this out
Working hard to (somewhat) control it is the best option,
you can tell her if you want…I wouldn’t
:these answers might be helpful

Claudio's avatar


I haven’t seen my regular therapist since Jan. I’m at school and I’ve been seeing a local one and she hasn’t got a clue. That’s not the NPD talking.

Simone – Am I aware of my actions? They all come from how I feel. I tried to keep to myself when I got here (school) but my friend thought she was doing a good deed by being my friend and dragging me out of my shell. It wasn’t long before I was demanding praise and attention. She sleeps around and I’m jealous of all her conquests and she’s getting icy about it. I loathe these guys in her life and take every opportunity to make cutting remarks to and about them. I also think they deserve it. She thinks I’m too mean to certain people so when I know she’s looking I’ll be nice to these people I can’t stand and then get back in her good graces. I know I’m doing it, it’s just the only way to stop is to live the life of a hermit. It sounds awful, but I’m being honest so I can get decent feedback.

marinelife's avatar

It is important for you to remember that people who are not narcissists do not think the same way you do.

What they dislike is the behavior not the person.

If you tell someone who does not have a clear understanding of your condition (which most people do not and would not even if they read up on it), anything you express is likely to be attributed to the disease.

I know it is a real struggle. I admire you for persisting. Change is hard, but possible—at least to an extent that should make you able to sustain some relationships.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Claudio no no, I want to hear about it exactly the way it is…thank you for explaining…is it possible not do these things or is this something you can take meds for?

Claudio's avatar

Thanks Marina. What scares me the most is that I don’t know how I can tell this awesome friend (who has her own stuff going on) that I lack empathy. I don’t know what she’s feeling or what anyone else is feeling either. I just go by if her voice sounds friendly or pissed. I really don’t feel comfortable sharing something like that without knowing how they’ll react.

Simone – I take meds for depression and they work fine. Haven’t had a problem in a decade. NPD isn’t so easy. I can’t think beyond my own interests. On certain occasions, like the one I’m in, friend is in need of help and so I provide help. I bend over backwards, but I only do it for the adoration. It’s been that way all my life. My most recent marriage fell apart and that’s what made me really think about what I was doing.

But I was thinking, maybe an NPD personality might be useful for certain things. Maybe there could be somethibg good about it. I don’t believe I’ll get better.

cwilbur's avatar

I suspect your friend is going to figure out that there is something odd about your behavior even if you don’t come out and tell her that you have been diagnosed with NPD. And if your behavior is offputting to her, telling her that you have NPD won’t make it any less offputting.

Also, as @DrasticDreamer says, NPD is an explanation for your behavior, but not an excuse for it. If you’re planning to work on your condition—which almost certainly means finding a new therapist that you can work with, and putting in serious effort—then telling her might be helpful, especially if you think she could be an ally or a support, and if you do work on your condition and achieve some success, she could be a lifelong friend.

Simone_De_Beauvoir's avatar

@Claudio Hmmm…well I don’t think it’s such a huge problem doing helpful or good things just for the adoration…point is you do helpful and good things, the end is the same…better that always than bad things…

marinelife's avatar

@Claudio Can you imagine empathy if you put yourself in the other person’s position or one with comparable consequences to you?

For example, a friend tells you that it hurts them when you are mean or raise your voice to them.

Can you remember back to how you felt when someone yelled at you or treated you meanly? Then realize that is what your action did to them?

dannyc's avatar

She probably always knows, so go ahead.

Claudio's avatar

I told and she’s known people who have NPD and she sees I’m trying. She knows that since she exudes authority I’ll listen to her. I’ve discovered she understands me better than anyone else. Feeling much better I kept my friend. Thanks everyone.

marinelife's avatar

@Claudio Good luck. I am glad you now have at least one person who knows of your struggle.

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