My husband and I went through a very difficult time over the past 2 years, but especially the past year. I diagnosed him myself with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). I am a nurse, but not a mental health professional. It just seemed to fit. I couldn't figure out any other explanation. However, some things really didn't fit. I just thought maybe his case was mild. My dad, however, has NPD, but his is severe, bordering psychosis. Children of parents with NPD are usually drawn to others with NPD. I thought that I had found myself in that situation. It turns out I was wrong. I was wondering if anyone else has thought NPD before his/her spouse was diagnosed with adult ADD.
NPD Traits: arrogant behavior, lack of empathy for others, need for admiration from all, cocky, self-centered, demanding, think they deserve special treatment, defensive, impulsive, manipulative
ADD Traits: zones out when others are speaking, distracted, struggles to complete tasks, tendency to overlook details, poor listening skills,chronic lateness, forgetful, impulsive, poor self-control, blurt out rude or inappropriate thoughts, irritability, defensive
As the wife of an ADD husband, I assumed his zoning out, being distracted, not helping with chores, inability to problem solve, etc were due to him being self-centered and thinking he deserve special treatment. Things got so bad that he started having an affair and avoiding me. I kept trying to have a discussion with him about what was wrong in our marriage and how we could fix it. He was immediately overwhelmed by the conversation and would start making comments that he knew would make me mad. It felt like he was manipulating me. I felt he had no empathy for me. I cried so often. He would stare at me and say, "Why are you doing this to yourself?" refusing to take any responsibility for what he was doing.
Since he started Adderall, he is a totally different kind of person. He has the ability to be very sweet and loving. He is still forgetful and struggles with attentiveness, but we are doing better than we ever have. I just worry because I know that he can build up a tolerance. I am paranoid that everything will fall apart again.
been there also
Submitted by dedelight4 on
Before I knew about ADHD, I thought my husband had NPD, because his actions fit almost ALL of the NPD traits. I was just trying to find out why our marriage was so unbalanced and why I couldn't "get through to him" or why he didn't see or understand why SO MANY things in his/our lives were not working.
My husband also had an affair, which almost totally destroyed me. On top of the ADHD, he was doing all the things people do when they are in an affair...........such as being defensive, lying, cheating, spending hours online with the OW, or calling the OW, etc. and finding everything wrong with me that he possibly could. The betrayal was more than I could take, especially since I had already spent YEARS dealing with his undiagnosed ADHD, which made me a frazzled mess. Then after "destroying me", it felt like he wanted to trade me in and get a new woman. The "destroying things" and getting new ones is a trait that has cost us tons of money and LOTS of stress, but I know it's typical ADHD. It's just REALLY HARD to have to LIVE with. I too, am paranoid that he will do it again (the affair), because of the fact that my husband WILL NOT TALK ABOUT ANYTHING TO DO WITH ADHD or the affair, or our relationship, PERIOD.....so there's no way for US to heal or move on.
It was really great to read that your husband is doing so much better on the Adderall. I think my husband needs to change meds.....he's on Concerta, but he's possibly built up a tolerance because he's now acting like he's taking nothing at all. I will look into this, and hope I don't get too much resistance from him. I wish you both the very best.
Submitted by Ajay on
Before I discovered that ADD explained my wife's behaviour so well, I did suspect narcissism for a while. Her behaviour just seemed so arrogant and selfish. It didn't help that the behaviour of her mother, who is diagnosed with bipolar disorder, overlaps markedly into NPD territory.
I'm glad for the progress you and your husband are making. :)
Submitted by Janice1512 on
Summerrhiannon, what an interesting comparison! Thanks for bringing it up. I, too, had struggled with this very issue. I was married to a NPD husband for 17 years and then divorced. He was "undiagnosed" although our marriage counselor suggested that he look into NPD the few times I was able to get him to attend. She was fairly certain that by my description of the relationship and her limited time with him that he was NPD. Furthermore, some of our employees who were in therapy had another therapist who came to a similar conclusion. My late FIL was very similar and I suspect had it as well. Curiously, during the last few years of my relationship with my now ex-domestic partner, I had started to wonder if he had the same thing and that I'd fallen into that pile of manure again, so to speak. The one thing that I couldn't reconcile however, was that NPD husband truly lacked ALL empathy towards people and animals while partner didn't seem to lack empathy towards animals and I felt his empathy towards people was on again off again. A rather simplistic example: NPD husband didn't really care about the pets - his not feeding the pets, letting the dogs out, etc. was because he really didn't care if they lived or died. If I pointed out his failure to help care for the pets he would verbally attack me and say that the pets should fend for themselves since they do so in the wild or I needed to take care of them. When our dogs got older and their health was failing it was I who took them to be euthanized by myself. This man did not accompany me when I was diagnosed with a serious illness and had to undergo surgery. ADHD partner however would not help take care of the pets regularly usually because he would forget, become distracted, etc. If I pointed this out he would become defensive, but he did express concern for the pets; feeling bad that the dog went without dinner or water, or whatever. This was most confusing to me and it wasn't just my Asperger's. Even our new marriage counselor couldn't figure out what was up with my partner.
After our breakup, I figured out that ex-partner had ADHD as I went in search of an understanding of the reasons for the breakup. I spent some time on this forum and elsewhere and finally confronted him. I found out that he'd been diagnosed ADHD 7 years prior, right before we'd gotten together. He told me that he'd thought it was a made up disorder so he'd declined to treat it. After talking to him at some length I think the two - NPD and ADHD/ADD - can seem very similar, but that in the case of NPD there is no empathy, thus no guilt, no shame nor remorse for their behavior whereas I think the ADHD person is overwhelmed and paralyzed by the guilt, shame and remorse as they do have empathy. This understanding doesn't make his behavior acceptable, but it has given me some compassion for him. This notion of being overwhelmed and paralyzed by confusion, guilt, shame, remorse, etc. resonated with me as people with Asperger's are sometimes viewed as being narcissistic and controlling. While I have met some Asperger's people whose empathy I have questioned, many actually have an extraordinary amount of empathy to the point that we are overtaken by it such that we cannot function. We shut down and unfortunately NT's see this as our lacking empathy. I struggle with this frequently.
Thanks for bringing this subject up as I think there is the potential to misdiagnosis ADHD as NPD. I guess it's important to really ask oneself if the person in question has an inability to have empathy for others or if his/her behavior is best explained as they appear to have no empathy as his/her actions frequently do not take other people's feelings into account and there is a lack of concern about consequences.
I'm at that stage with my add
Submitted by copingSAH on
I'm at that stage with my add dh that I'm worried about whether the Adderall dosage is still effective for him. He's decided to dose himself 3 to 4 times a day with 5-10 mg immediate release pills every 3 to 4 hours, rather than one extended release dose. I don't know how his doctor agreed that he should take this path.
But I'm seeing more swings he's having at the end of the day, as the last of the med are wearing off. More outbursts, disordered thinking, rages in the car against others, taking things personally, completely not getting what other people are saying unless they are repeating verbatim back to him.... it's almost as if he was pre-medication all over again some days. I think since the diagnosis, I'm handling everything a whole lot better because I'm clearer about the ADD scenario.
The ADD need for others to repeat verbatim scenario sure sounds NPD but I think it's just the ADD brain going haywired when they EXPECT their words to be confirmed by repetition, but something else is said. I lived with a severely impaired NPD parent, and while my parent EXPECTED me to repeat what he said in agreement -- the thing with the NPD person is the very vicious way they force one to mirror them. The ADD person is not vicious, they seem simply unaware of the faulty logic. But this in turn makes them angry and frustrated. The NPD on the other hand is straight out abusive in a <decapitating>/ <castrating> way. One does not exist for the NPD, only to serve as the NPD's reflection. Hence the term Narcissus/Narcissism The spouse of the NPD exists only to fuel the NPD rage and/or jealousies.
ADD needs confirmation (I'm RIGHT, which means I'm OK if you agree/repeat what I say)
NPD needs affirmation (I EXIST, only by seeing myself in your reflection back at me)
is all I can differentiate in my mind.
Some Insight on NPD and ADHD
Submitted by kellyj on
I grew up with a NPD father and yes...I've had a number of NPD relationships in my life as you mentioned. Before I was diagnosed with ADHD...my biggest fear was than I was becoming like my father. I asked my therapist repeatedly if I was a Narcissist based on the feedback I would get from others. I finally forced him to answer me directly and his response was to me..." I design my therapy to my clients on an individual basis.....custom tailored to you. Narcissism is not part of the therapy that I'm doing with you."
At least that much was a relief! That still leaves the question....if not NPD then what is it? I'm learning to answer this question more and more as time goes on and I can see more clearly where the distinctions are made and why my therapist said this to me.
I will only speculate at this time from my own experience.......that after living a life time of people telling you what's wrong with you and you not always being able to see......after a while out of self preservation and trying to maintain what ever self esteem that you can find in the face of this........it becomes a natural way of being to be defensive as a default when you start hearing criticism. Even when you know that other people are right. Denial and defensiveness become a default mechanism to protect your self esteem even when it isn't necessary.
From experience........Narcissists operate differently in some subtle and not so subtle ways compared to this kind of defensiveness. Projection is pretty much the status quo. Vindictiveness when criticized is also a good indicator. Forget about winning arguments with one....even if you win, they will make you pay for it one way or another so really, you lose either way. They also tend to be very skilled at manipulation and usually will always set up any given situation where they will win or come out on top even though they will tell you how fair they are and agree with ethics and standards that support their own image of themselves. ( in reality they appear many times as extremely hypocritical). They tend to expect others to be mind readers and will be quick to tell you when you are failing to do so on there behalf.
I could go on and on but.......people with ADHD including myself......tend to more oblivious than manipulative.....defensive but not completely irrational and one sided........withdraw and avoid confrontation compared to aggressively staking out their claim and grabbing for what they feel they are entitled too and not shy about telling others to get out of there way by using hostility and anger to do it.
I know there are the behaviors where we appear as if we don't care or have empathy but I would disagree with this and still maintain we can have a great capacity for it. People with NPD........not so much.