Narcissism, Bipolar, Or Both?

Q: I have been divorced for some time now. I have set my boundaries and have gone no contact the best that I can. It is limited contact because I have joint custody. I have been looking for closure. To figure out what happened to me. Everything I read screams that I was married to a narcissist. But I happen to know he has had manic episodes and bipolar runs in his family. So do I continue to treat him like a narcissist? No contact is working and seeing him in that light gives me closure and understanding. From what I have read manic episodes can look like narcissism. But, for example he wasn’t ignoring me because he was depressed, he was punishing me for being happy.

Narcissism is a better fit from love bombing to gas lighting to devalue to discard. These behaviors don’t fit bipolar. I need closure. Could he be both? And do I keep defending myself with no contact?

A: You report that No Contact is working well- so by all means continue doing so! Can he be both? Yes, it is rare but possible– but does it matter whether you call him bipolar or NPD? Treatment varies and for that reason it would be important to have a differential diagnosis. As an ex, you obviously are not seeking treatment options. Even experienced professionals sometimes have difficulty distinguishing between NPD and the manic phase of bi-polar. The key difference is whether he displays the narcissistic type behaviors all the time (NPD) or some of the time (only during manic phase of bipolar). Your ex was harmful and had narcissistic behaviors; he poisoned the marriage… if labeling him in your mind brings you closure and clarity that is all that matters.

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3 Responses to “Narcissism, Bipolar, Or Both?”

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  1. kat says:

    I was married to a man like this,and he had multiple diagnosis,and I tried to fix him,then I tried to leave him,then he tried to murder me!Stay no contact,take your life back! I feel your pain,keep on keeping on!

  2. JPJ says:

    Run the opposite direction and never look back.

  3. Maria says:

    I share your pain, confusion and post trauma in dealing w a husband w these traits. Mostly I beat myself up for absorbing it all and vrluevibg it was me most of the tine, that I just needed to try harder. I was even foolish enough to think renewing our vows would help! Not! We r currently inthe throes of divorce and there’s not a day that goes by tgst I’m not in fear of his backlash for…anything and everything. His biggest fear is that others inthe outside world will view him as less tgan a hard-working stable provider, an unselfish strong man, husband, father, leader. Nothing could be further than the truth, as I was the primary caretaker of our special needs children, my daughter, whom he villifies, the secondary caretaker. So nany years i vocered for him, cleaned up after his messes. I think that infuriates me the most, decades of nonproductivity bcz I was doing damage control and just trying to keep the family ship afloat…lost myself inthe process then villifies for trying to have a creative outlet or go to social events, called names and made to feel guilty and horrible, obviously bcz I was no longer at his beck n call. It’s very complicated with property and children and even more complicated when the narcissist runs a campaign if hate, confusion and personal degradation on you (me), all the while saying we can work this out. Or I want my family back. Nothing makes sense anymore. Im tryibg like you to reach out to any person or group to bring sense and stability to the situation. Ugh, hopefully we can move to stage 4 soon.

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