Misdiagnosing Narcissism - Asperger's Disorder

Written by Sam Vaknin


(The use of gender pronouns in this article reflectsrepparttar clinical facts: most narcissists and most Asperger's patients are male.)

Asperger's Disorder is often misdiagnosed as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), though evident as early as age 3 (while pathological narcissism cannot be safely diagnosed prior to early adolescence).

In both cases,repparttar 126344 patient is self-centered and engrossed in a narrow range of interests and activities. Social and occupational interactions are severely hampered and conversational skills (the give and take of verbal intercourse) are primitive. The Asperger's patient body language - eye to eye gaze, body posture, facial expressions - is constricted and artificial, akin torepparttar 126345 narcissist's. Nonverbal cues are virtually absent and their interpretation in others lacking.

Yet,repparttar 126346 gulf between Asperger's and pathological narcissism is vast.

The narcissist switches between social agility and social impairment voluntarily. His social dysfunctioning isrepparttar 126347 outcome of conscious haughtiness andrepparttar 126348 reluctance to invest scarce mental energy in cultivating relationships with inferior and unworthy others. When confronted with potential Sources of Narcissistic Supply, however,repparttar 126349 narcissist easily regains his social skills, his charm, and his gregariousness.

Many narcissists reachrepparttar 126350 highest rungs of their community, church, firm, or voluntary organization. Most ofrepparttar 126351 time, they function flawlessly - thoughrepparttar 126352 inevitable blowups andrepparttar 126353 grating extortion of Narcissistic Supply usually put an end torepparttar 126354 narcissist's career and social liaisons.

The Asperger's patient often wants to be accepted socially, to have friends, to marry, to be sexually active, and to sire offspring. He just doesn't have a clue how to go about it. His affect is limited. His initiative - for instance, to share his experiences with nearest and dearest or to engage in foreplay - is thwarted. His ability to divulge his emotions stilted. He is incapable or reciprocating and is largely unaware ofrepparttar 126355 wishes, needs, and feelings of his interlocutors or counterparties.

Inevitably, Asperger's patients are perceived by others to be cold, eccentric, insensitive, indifferent, repulsive, exploitative or emotionally-absent. To avoidrepparttar 126356 pain of rejection, they confine themselves to solitary activities - but, unlikerepparttar 126357 schizoid, not by choice. They limit their world to a single topic, hobby, or person and dive in withrepparttar 126358 greatest, all-consuming intensity, excluding all other matters and everyone else. It is a form of hurt-control and pain regulation.

The Manifold of Sense - Part II

Written by Sam Vaknin


To say that emotions are cognitions is to say nothing. We understand cognition even less than we understand emotions (withrepparttar exception ofrepparttar 126343 mechanics of cognition). To say that emotions are caused by cognitions or cause cognitions (emotivism) or are part of a motivational process does not answerrepparttar 126344 question: "What are emotions?". Emotions do cause us to apprehend and perceive things in a certain way and even to act accordingly. But WHAT are emotions? Granted, there are strong, perhaps necessary, connections between emotions and knowledge and, in this respect, emotions are ways of perceivingrepparttar 126345 world and interacting with it. Perhaps emotions are even rational strategies of adaptation and survival and not stochastic, isolated inter-psychic events. Perhaps Plato was wrong in saying that emotions conflict with reason and thus obscurerepparttar 126346 right way of apprehending reality. Perhaps he is right: fears do become phobias, emotions do depend on one's experience and character. As we have it in psychoanalysis, emotions may be reactions torepparttar 126347 unconscious rather than torepparttar 126348 world. Yet, again, Sartre may be right in saying that emotions are a "modus vivendi",repparttar 126349 way we "live"repparttar 126350 world, our perceptions coupled with our bodily reactions. He wrote: "(we liverepparttar 126351 world) as thoughrepparttar 126352 relations between things were governed not by deterministic processes but by magic". Even a rationally grounded emotion (fear which generates flight from a source of danger) is really a magical transformation (the ersatz elimination of that source). Emotions sometimes mislead. People may perceiverepparttar 126353 same, analyzerepparttar 126354 same, evaluaterepparttar 126355 situationrepparttar 126356 same, respond alongrepparttar 126357 same vein and yet have different emotional reactions. It does not seem necessary (even if it were sufficient) to postulaterepparttar 126358 existence of "preferred" cognitions those that enjoy an "overcoat" of emotions. Either all cognitions generate emotions, or none does. But, again, WHAT are emotions?

We all possess some kind of sense awareness, a perception of objects and states of things by sensual means. Even a dumb, deaf and blind person still possesses proprioception (perceivingrepparttar 126359 position and motion of one's limbs). Sense awareness does not include introspection becauserepparttar 126360 subject of introspection is supposed to be mental, unreal, states. Still, if mental states are a misnomer and really we are dealing with internal, physiological, states, then introspection should form an important part of sense awareness. Specialized organs mediaterepparttar 126361 impact of external objects upon our senses and distinctive types of experience arise as a result of this mediation.

Perception is thought to be comprised ofrepparttar 126362 sensory phase its subjective aspect and ofrepparttar 126363 conceptual phase. Clearly sensations come before thoughts or beliefs are formed. Suffice it to observe children and animals to be convinced that a sentient being does not necessarily have to have beliefs. One can employrepparttar 126364 sense modalities or even have sensory-like phenomena (hunger, thirst, pain, sexual arousal) and, in parallel, engage in introspection because all these have an introspective dimension. It is inevitable: sensations are about how objects feel like, sound, smell and seen to us. The sensations "belong", in one sense, torepparttar 126365 objects with which they are identified. But in a deeper, more fundamental sense, they have intrinsic, introspective qualities. This is how we are able to tell them apart. The difference between sensations and propositional attitudes is thus made very clear. Thoughts, beliefs, judgements and knowledge differ only with respect to their content (the proposition believed/judged/known, etc.) and not in their intrinsic quality or feel. Sensations are exactlyrepparttar 126366 opposite: differently felt sensations may relate torepparttar 126367 same content. Thoughts can also be classified in terms of intentionality (they are "about" something) sensations only in terms of their intrinsic character. They are, therefore, distinct from discursive events (such as reasoning, knowing, thinking, or remembering) and do not depend uponrepparttar 126368 subject's intellectual endowments (like his power to conceptualize). In this sense, they are mentally "primitive" and probably take place at a level ofrepparttar 126369 psyche where reason and thought have no recourse.

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