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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