Can a person be both autistic and a narcissist?

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dianthus
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02 Apr 2015, 3:42 pm

I know this has been discussed here before. But I'm seriously rethinking this and I'd like to hear some fresh perspectives.

Can autism and narcissism be co-morbid? What would that look like? How would a person act if they have both?



andrethemoogle
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02 Apr 2015, 3:44 pm

Yes, a person can. I've seen a few people that would fit that description.



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02 Apr 2015, 3:54 pm

dianthus wrote:
I know this has been discussed here before. But I'm seriously rethinking this and I'd like to hear some fresh perspectives.

Can autism and narcissism be co-morbid? What would that look like? How would a person act if they have both?


LOL, I know someone who fits that description. Genuinely nice person, but cannot - and I mean cannot - talk about anything but himself and how good he is at everything. Sometimes its rather condescending, because they always think they're telling you something you don't know and they are the very epitome of the Aspie who lectures about their special interests and doesn't have a clue when to shut up. Heart of gold, head of stone - not stupid, just socially blind to anything that doesn't start with "I" and end with "me".


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02 Apr 2015, 4:52 pm

Yes, it's just like having autism and OCD, or autism and social anxiety disorder: it's likely to come with the territory. Lack of empathy is an obvious contributor, but lack of flexible thinking, a higher demand for control (mainly with environment), and repetitive patterns (manifested in special interests). NTs are more random in their thoughts, flexible, and have a natural sense for social reciprocity; they enjoy the novelty of other people's experiences. Staying in one's "own world" is more rigid, more predictable, and requires less adapting (which I think we struggle with in a narrow scope).

I think good compromise for aspies is a limited relationships where friends or partners share special interests, with similar personalities and backgrounds...beyond that, there has to be an effort from both sides to maintain a balanced relationship...or else it will inevitably end or even worse, linger where one or both parties drown in the misery of resentment. It will take effort. From a friendship standpoint, I find How to Win friends and influence people highly beneficial.



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02 Apr 2015, 6:14 pm

BiffWellington wrote:
Yes, it's just like having autism and OCD, or autism and social anxiety disorder: it's likely to come with the territory. Lack of empathy is an obvious contributor, but lack of flexible thinking, a higher demand for control (mainly with environment), and repetitive patterns (manifested in special interests). NTs are more random in their thoughts, flexible, and have a natural sense for social reciprocity; they enjoy the novelty of other people's experiences. Staying in one's "own world" is more rigid, more predictable, and requires less adapting (which I think we struggle with in a narrow scope).


Rigidity, need for control and repetitiveness have nothing to do with narcissism, and the 'lack of empathy' associated with narcissism is affective empathy, while autism only affects cognitive empathy.



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02 Apr 2015, 7:38 pm

dianthus wrote:
I know this has been discussed here before. But I'm seriously rethinking this and I'd like to hear some fresh perspectives.

Can autism and narcissism be co-morbid? What would that look like? How would a person act if they have both?


LOL, I know someone who fits that description. Genuinely nice person, but cannot - and I mean cannot - talk about anything but himself and how good he is at everything. Sometimes its rather condescending, because they always think they're telling you something you don't know and they are the very epitome of the Aspie who lectures about their special interests and doesn't have a clue when to shut up. Heart of gold, head of stone - not stupid, just socially blind to anything that doesn't start with "I" and end with "me".



I think that has more to do with ego-centrism rather that true narcissism, which can really be toxic when exaggerated.


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03 Apr 2015, 12:37 am

It may be possible, but in my case it's certainly not. I'm way to good of a guy and frankly too humble to be a narcissist. :lol:


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03 Apr 2015, 2:52 am

dianthus wrote:
I know this has been discussed here before. But I'm seriously rethinking this and I'd like to hear some fresh perspectives.

Can autism and narcissism be co-morbid? What would that look like? How would a person act if they have both?


I knew a person online and she would act all nice and sweet and then the next thing I would know she would be attacking members and insulting them and playing the victim. She also hated to be ignored so she would post more insults and it would be obvious they were directed at someone. She could have been a narcissistic. Someone else labeled her as that and she claimed to be autistic. She would also bring up her past in every discussion or argument as if it were relevant and she acted like her being a victim of child abuse was a badge of honor like it was something she achieved. most former child abuse victims don't talk about their past the way she does. I also thought she was a pathological liar so it makes me question if she really was abused or not because she always said things that were lies. But I haven't seen her on the forums in four years now. She was the most annoying person ever because it seemed like no one could ignore her and ignoring her would make her act worse. It was like she loved the attention and loved being the victim so that was why the forum admin labeled her as a narcissistic. It was funny how members on I2 found that if they just post in her threads talking about other things and posting photos, that made her fark off, it was like they had found the cure to dealing with her. I am sure some members here know who I am talking about. Who knows if she really had autism or not or if she was just a troll or she was just someone with a lot of mental issues. But I am glad she isn't around. She was very good with her behavior because she seemed to know how to push peoples buttons.

I have seen quite a few others who seemed to have some qualities of a narcissistic and I know that symptoms overlap so an aspie can come off as one due to their personality such as needing to be right but I have seen some NTs be the same way too and they are known as trolls by people. Always looking for an argument and arguing just to argue and not back down.

Someone I have known in one of my autism groups, I thought she acted like it too and it wouldn't surprise me if she had it or some qualities. But I knew several others from the group who also thought so too when I brought it up when they started talking about her when she wasn't around and bringing up an incident that happened between me and her and I mentioned she could be a narcissistic when they listed things about her and it sounded like that label. Or it could be the autism that makes her think she is always right and can never do wrong but that is also a narcissistic quality too.


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03 Apr 2015, 4:30 am

Very insightful post there League Girl.

My take is that the DSM classification system is a blunt and rude instrument.
People are tuned more like an 20 channel equalizer on a stereo, or like a recording studio, so the final sound individual to us all is a product of many frequency sliders all adjusted differently.
The DSM for me is more like those preset options like 'rock' 'concert' 'hall' 'acoustic' and such.

If you've met one aspie, you've met one aspie, not all the 'rock' or 'hall' tuned ones.... but the subtypes have some value in that they create groupings making understanding easier, though somewhat blunt, but generally correct.

Even then, with this simplified view, many people still get it all wrong, me included.
But maybe this simplified view makes misunderstanding and accurate diagnoses more difficult, than other systems of describing ones tuning, such as, astrology :idea:

I've known a few Leos that fit the NPD description just dandy



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03 Apr 2015, 6:33 am

To answer this, we first need to know the difference between the two. I'm in agreement with the poster who said that autism presents a self-absorption that is more intellectual; i.e. an autistic person might accidentally tread on the feelings of another person because they primarily live inside their own head and it just doesn't occur to them to consider anyone or anything outside of it. However, once brought to their attention, they will usually try to make amends.

Narcissism, however, is not something one is born with. It's an attitude some people adopt in an effort to gain power socially. People who are narcissistic are often very socially adept and also quite manipulative. They know how to make people feel and act a certain way, they often twist the truth to paint themselves in a certain light and in the worst circumstances, they can even engage in a kind of character assassination on those they perceive to be a threat to them, by making them seem unstable, crazy or irrational, all the while charming their audience off their feet.

(I lived with a toxic narcissist for years...really horrible situation). :skull:


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03 Apr 2015, 7:05 am

Alita wrote:
Narcissism, however, is not something one is born with.


That may be incorrect. They normally dont change to become better people...



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03 Apr 2015, 7:20 am

Alita wrote:
I'm in agreement with the poster who said that autism presents a self-absorption that is more intellectual; i.e. an autistic person might accidentally tread on the feelings of another person because they primarily live inside their own head and it just doesn't occur to them to consider anyone or anything outside of it. However, once brought to their attention, they will usually try to make amends.

I don't think it's even true self-absorption: self absorption is thinking about yourself, yourself as the focus, but an autistic person might be thinking entirely about external things and still seem self absorbed to outside observers because they are not constantly checking the reactions of other people for validation, etc. Not meaning to sound self-absorbed here, but for me, it's mostly that it doesn't occur to me that other people see things differently. I just assume that my perspective is a sort of baseline "normal" one, so everyone else will be looking at things the same way. Or maybe I am just saying the same thing but don't want to think of it as being self absorbed... :oops:

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Narcissism, however, is not something one is born with. It's an attitude some people adopt in an effort to gain power socially. People who are narcissistic are often very socially adept and also quite manipulative.

It seems to me that I have read some accounts of narcissistic psychopaths that suggest they were born like that.
I'm not altogether clear on the distinctions between NPD and ASPD--I think Ted Bundy is now thought of as fitting in ASPD, but he certainly had many features of narcissism.



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03 Apr 2015, 8:11 am

League_Girl wrote:
I knew a person online and she would act all nice and sweet and then the next thing I would know she would be attacking members and insulting them and playing the victim. She also hated to be ignored so she would post more insults and it would be obvious they were directed at someone. She could have been a narcissistic. Someone else labeled her as that and she claimed to be autistic. She would also bring up her past in every discussion or argument as if it were relevant and she acted like her being a victim of child abuse was a badge of honor like it was something she achieved.


She could have BPD -- that seems to come up from time to time for women on the spectrum. I know I have these urges myself: to play the victim, to get all spun up when someone says something innocent that I misinterpret, etc. I have an intense fear of being attacked and socially rejected, so when I think that that's happening my vision goes all black and I lose my rationality. It's far worse when I'm already anxious.

Realizing this situation and dealing with it rationally -- before I lose it -- can help resolve the trend. Because of my aspie nature, the usual BPD treatments really don't work for me, but I've found that observing myself and my emotional impulses, taking notes on them to find patterns, and self-coaching so I can talk myself down and deal with issues before they blow up has really turned me around. I looked like a psycho b***h sometimes, but I had no idea I was overreacting. I honestly thought I was defending myself from serious situations. BPD is about overreacting because you feel extremely vulnerable -- kind of the opposite of narcissism (though I'm not an expert on narcissism so I could be wrong there).

Uh, anyway, this was a thread about narcissism. Sorry to hijack it! Another reason autistic folks may look like narcissists is that a lot of the time we seem to agree that we don't want to generalize experiences, so we talk in the first person a lot. My experience is just my experience, but I do believe this BPD nonsense may be something other folks on the spectrum may have had, too.

Also I tend to be up my own butt a lot -- metaphorically. I have my special interests, I'm in my head working things out, I'm coaching myself through social situations...you know the drill. So that can make me pretty self-absorbed. But I have a ton of empathy...a lot of what I have to coach myself on is looking like I don't care because when I do care I tend to smother people. So annoying to have all of my instincts take me in the opposite direction from everyone else around me, but there it is.


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03 Apr 2015, 10:03 am

No clearly being autistic makes one immune to narcissism.


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dianthus
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03 Apr 2015, 11:14 am

Alita wrote:
Narcissism, however, is not something one is born with. It's an attitude some people adopt in an effort to gain power socially. People who are narcissistic are often very socially adept and also quite manipulative. They know how to make people feel and act a certain way, they often twist the truth to paint themselves in a certain light and in the worst circumstances, they can even engage in a kind of character assassination on those they perceive to be a threat to them, by making them seem unstable, crazy or irrational, all the while charming their audience off their feet.

(I lived with a toxic narcissist for years...really horrible situation). :skull:


I'm sorry you had to live with that. I have a suspicion that I know what it feels like.

The women in my family - my mother's mother's side of the family - are very domineering. They are all about gaining power and control, and instilling learned helplessness in others. But they go about it in different ways, and some are more overt about it than others. My mother does it very passively (ie, passive-aggressively).

I think autism runs on my mother's father's side of the family. And I think my mother is autistic. I wrote here awhile back that she is the opposite of a narcissist. I said that because she generally comes across as very modest and self-effacing, and not out for herself at all. Someone who does it all for other people and gets little in return. Basically a professional martyr.

However from what I keep reading about passive-aggressives, they are usually narcissists. But they can come across like the opposite because they play the game a little differently.

The descriptions I've read of a passive-aggressive narcissist fit her very well. This is kind of blowing my mind because I really did think of her as the total opposite of a narcissist. But, the narcissist component explains what is really driving the passive-aggressive behavior. She's resentful because she thinks she doesn't have what she deserves in life.

She's very manipulative and very good at making me angry. I really wondered if I was overreacting or being unfair to her. But a week ago (I wrote about this in another thread) it all became very clear. She thought she was going to make me angry in front of her sister to show how "crazy" I am, but her plan backfired when she lost control of herself and physically attacked me.

It all makes a lot of sense now. Especially why I have been drawn to other people who exhibit the same behaviors. I mean sometimes I feel like I'm a magnet for psychos. But ESPECIALLY the type of people who manipulate me into getting upset so it looks like I'm the one with the problem. My mother has been playing that game with me my entire life. She would do something to upset me, then play the victim over it.

The only thing that doesn't fit, is she's not socially adept like you would expect a true narcissist to be. She doesn't have a wide range of influence, because she doesn't have a lot of social connections. And some of her attempts at manipulating people just aren't very effective. But I'm catching on that this might be part of what is fueling her narcissistic rage. She wants to have more influence over people.

I'm guessing that an autistic narcissist could actually be more dangerous than an allistic one, because of the frustration they feel at not being very socially adept.



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03 Apr 2015, 11:17 am

SilverProteus wrote:
LOL, I know someone who fits that description. Genuinely nice person, but cannot - and I mean cannot - talk about anything but himself and how good he is at everything. Sometimes its rather condescending, because they always think they're telling you something you don't know and they are the very epitome of the Aspie who lectures about their special interests and doesn't have a clue when to shut up. Heart of gold, head of stone - not stupid, just socially blind to anything that doesn't start with "I" and end with "me".



I think that has more to do with ego-centrism rather that true narcissism, which can really be toxic when exaggerated.


Agree. Maybe I didn't make it clear, I am not talking about narcissism in the colloquial sense of the word. I am referring to full-blown clinical narcissism.