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Close Encounter With A Narcissist – Part 3 August 15, 2008

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
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Please read/reread “Close Encounter with a Narcissist – Parts 1 & 2” before reading Part 3.  These are usually featured in Top Posts in the column at the right.  If not, you can access them through Tags or Categories under Narcissistic Personality Disorder.  Scroll down through Part 3 to reach Parts 1 & 2. Note: In Part 3, I’ll refer to a person with Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) simply as a narcissist.  Again, I’ll refer to the narcissist as “he,” as the majority of narcissists are male.

Looking back on my own close encounter with a narcissist, I can see the Red Flags were there early on. In my gut, I knew there was something “off” about my friend Joe. But I had trouble putting my finger on just what IT was. The more time I spent with him, it became painfully obvious how illogical Joe’s reasoning was – it just didn’t jibe with “human” logic. He also seemed enamored with himself and professed to having many talents. I once teased Joe that he was “self-absorbed.”  But I wasn’t teasing – merely making an observation. For the first time, the word narcissist popped into my head.

Red Flag #1 – Grandiosity

Ah, yes.  Grandiosity and its sidekick Magical Thinking. While there is an overlap with other personality disorders when it comes to Lack of Empathy, it is Grandiosity that distinguishes Narcissistic Personality Disorder from all of the other personality disorders. Grandiosity is the jewel in the crown that makes the narcissist so very special.

According to the DSM-IV, “The essential feature of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a pervasive pattern of grandiosity, need for admiration, and lack of empathy that begins by early adulthood and is present in a variety of contexts.

“Individuals with NPD routinely overestimate their abilities and inflate their accomplishments, often appearing boastful and pretentious. They may blithely assume others attribute the same value to their efforts and may be surprised when the praise they expect and feel they deserve is not forthcoming.”

An admitted “seminar junkie,”  Joe shared with me a dizzying array of plans he had that would bring him money, recognition, or just a change in scenery. After hearing these change weekly, I began writing down all of the things Joe was going to do “some day.”  When you’re a teenager, or even in your twenties, this kind of daydreaming is normal. But not in your 40s.

Narcissists love to envision grand scenarios starring – themselves! What they lack is the follow-through to make them reality. Why do narcissists indulge in this kind of thinking?  Just thinking of all of the great things they’re “going to do” brings a smile to their face. Think of it as mental masturbation.

One day I told Joe I believed the best indicator of future behavior is past behavior. Not that people can’t change, but barring some life-changing epiphany, most people are creatures of habit. Joe vehemently disagreed. You see, the narcissist’s grandiosity goes hand-in-hand with Magical Thinking. Joe was big on the book The Secret, which holds that all you have to do is think positive thoughts and good things will happen. Now, I’m all for positive thinking and I like to think karma will come round, but Magical Thinking goes above and beyond. When you’re a narcissist, though, fairy tales can come true (besides, they’re already wearing that crown).

Here’s an example of grandiosity. Joe was considering taking a freelance job on the side. He’d never done this sort of work, but narcissists are convinced they can do anything. I warned Joe he could be getting in over his head, but he took the job anyway. Three weeks later, he came to me in a panic. Not only had he screwed up the job, he was being asked to refund the money he’d been paid, since someone else would now have to fix his mess. His client had mentioned the “L” word – lawyer. It was the first time I’d seen Joe visibly shaken.

Now, on some level, Joe knew he’d screwed up, but he refused to accept any responsibility. As I listened to him talk aloud about the botched job, I watched him mentally rewrite the scenario of what happened. It wasn’t his fault – it was that stupid woman who hired him. You see, narcissists are NEVER, EVER wrong. So, if a narcissist ever tells you he was wrong about something (a very human trait), brace yourself. Most likely he’s getting ready to do something really nasty – to you.

Red Flag #2 – Lack of Empathy

Empathy is what makes us human. We can put ourselves in someone else’s shoes and share their joy or feel their pain. But a narcissist has only one one pair of shoes – and they fit PERFECTLY. Human emotions confound narcissists and make them uncomfortable. They don’t know the right thing to say. They’ve watched humans, so they know what they’re supposed to say, but it doesn’t come naturally. This explains their often odd and insensitive comments (The Inappropriate Effect). Any talk of feelings is just so – icky!  Joe was quick to point out he hated “girlie girls” or anyone who was “touchy feely.” He dismissed anything tinged with emotion as “drama.” What was funny was although Joe said he hated drama, it was his own bad behavior that sparked all of the drama in his life.

Joe often said he was “too nice.” He could talk a good game, lamenting the injustices in the world, as if he genuinely cared. But it was just that – talk.

I once listened to Joe make a comment to a young woman. They’d worked together and supposedly were friends. The comment was about her body and had a sexual undertone. It left her visibly distressed. Now, any normal person, seeing her reaction would have immediately apologized for hurting her feelings. But what did “I’m too nice” Joe do? He sat across the table from her for the next hour and never opened his mouth. Later, I asked why he would say such an insensitive thing. He shrugged and admitted it was a cheap shot, but added, smiling, “It was so easy – that’s what made it so much fun.” It was creepy.

When I talked to the woman several days later, SHE apologized to me!  “I’m sorry I got so upset,” she said. “I know the way Joe is, so I shouldn’t have let it bother me so much.” Can you see how a narcissist gets away with such behavior? People make excuses for him!  “That’s just the way he is,” they say, while mentally adding another tally mark after the word @sshole.

Asking a narcissist to “have a heart” has just the opposite effect. Reasoning with them also falls on deaf ears. A narcissist doesn’t want to change because there’s nothing wrong with him. YOU are the one with the problem, remember?

Red Flag #3 –  Confusing Communication

Communication (or should I say lack of genuine communication) with a narcissist is a crazy-making experience. Humans communicate to share information, ideas, and feelings. Not so the narcissist who uses words to confuse and paralyze his victim. Narcissists don’t like to play their nasty games on a level playing field. Their cryptic comments are designed to keep their victim constantly confused and wondering, “What did THAT mean?” This tactic gives the narcissist the home team advantage.

Any attempt to discuss feelings with a narcissist is doomed to leave the victim not knowing left from right. Joe had a short list of pronouncements that could derail any conversation: “Can’t you take a joke?”  “But no one got hurt!”  “Why do you bother talking about that?  It’s in the past!” (yesterday constituted ‘the past’) “If you’d just behave!”  “I’m really busy, so is this life or death?” or his ultimate putdown, “You’re such a drama queen!”

If you know a narcissist, you already know the kind of comments I’m talking about. They’re the equivalent to a teenager’s dismissive, “Whatever!” or the “Talk to the Hand” gesture.

When cornered, a narcissist is like the cartoon character who, when in danger, magically produces a pencil, quickly draws a door, and makes a hasty exit. When I read Stalking the Soul by Marie-France Hirigoyen, a French psychiatrist whose specialty is victimology, it was her chapter on Communication and the narcissist that hit a nerve. The verbal roller coaster, with all its twists and turns, came to a screeching halt and I decided then it was time to get off the ride. It was no longer exciting – it was making me sick.

Cerebral and Somatic – Sex as in “Table for One, Please”

Narcissists get their admiration, or Narcissistic Supply (NS), in one of two forms. Cerebral narcissists gain NS through their intellect, that is, by being “an authority.” Somatic narcissists may be equally intelligent, but they satisfy their need for NS through sexual conquests.

Both kinds of narcissist prefer autoerotic sex – masturbation – to sex with a flesh-and-blood woman. That’s because a real woman expects you to talk to her, or even worse, cuddle, after the main event. Remember, the narcissist can’t establish a genuine emotional bond with another human, so he finds these feelings unnatural and awkward. Faking it is hard work, and he’d just as soon get up and watch TV or check his email. You served your purpose and now he’s done with you. It’s like he had to blow his nose – and the Kleenex? Well, that would be you. He’ll toss it/you aside until he needs to blow his nose again. Romantic, huh?

Cerebral narcissists can put on a show during the idealization phase, but quickly lose all interest in sex. They’re essentially asexual. They derive pleasure from frustrating their partner by withholding sex. This gives them a feeling of power. Besides, to them, not only is sex down and dirty – it’s just so common. They’re way too special to engage in such a common pursuit. So they can do without.

Despite Joe’s love of sexual innuendo, I realized when it came to women, he was like my dogs when it comes to cats. My dogs love the chase, but if the cat stops running, they just stand there, looking rather embarrassed about what to do next. After a short impasse, they wander off to look for another cat that will run from them. Remember, it’s the chase that the narcissist loves.

A somatic narcissist, on the other hand, is like the town dog always making his rounds. But it’s not just his infidelity, and the accompanying lies, that are so disturbing. It’s his irrational rationale. “You made me do it” so “It’s not my fault.” (I apologize to all dogs for comparing them to a narcissist. Dogs are infinitely more caring and human than any narcissist could ever hope to be.)

The Myth of Curing the Narcissist

Remember the blanket analogy from Part 1?  A person doesn’t HAVE a personality disorder, they ARE the personality disorder. Narcissism in interwoven into every fiber of that blanket. Unravel the blanket and you unravel their personality.

If you’re a woman, you’re most likely a nurturer and think that with enough patience and love, someone or something can be helped. It’s that “I’ll nurse this fallen baby bird back to health using a medicine dropper!” thing. Sound familiar?

Even after I figured out that Joe had NPD, I was convinced if I could just reconnect with that inner child that was hiding deep inside, he’d feel safe to come out and show me his real face. Olly, olly, oxen free! Some call this logic “Peeling an Onion.” The rescuer thinks, “If I can just peel away the layers of hurt, I can get to the core of the problem, and I can help him heal.” But what’s at the core of an onion?  Ah ha! That’s a trick question, because an onion has no core.  Not to mention that peeling an onion makes YOU cry, while the onion feels nothing.

Know this. That wounded child’s True Self might as well be preserved in amber. It’s fossilized and will never ever develop. Besides, a narcissist doesn’t want to be fixed because he’s convinced he’s fine just the way he is. It’s YOU who has the problem, remember?

So, least you forget, write this on a post-it note and put it up on the refrigerator:  NO NARCISSIST HAS EVER BEEN CURED!  (I’ve since written more about this.  See Can a Narcissist be Cured?)

Discarded and Scarred – Life After the Narcissist

I was only involved with Joe for four months and we were just “friends.” (Friends is in quotations because narcissists don’t have any real friends). Joe had proven himself to be a first class @sshole on so many occasions. He showed absolutely no interest in me as a person – only in what I could do for him. He’d solicited advice, ignored it, then punished me for offering it. So why couldn’t I just “move on?”  I knew WHAT he was. I knew there was NO CURE. But still…

First, it was hard to forget how much I enjoyed Joe’s company during the Idealization phase. He’d bound up to me like an eager puppy wagging its tail. It was hard to believe this was an act, or just the giddiness that went with honing in on a new source of NS. It seemed so real – to me.

But, the most painful part was the feeling of betrayal – of being duped. It’s hard to admit that you were just a “thing” with an expiration date, especially to a person you genuinely cared about. You want to think that when all is said and done, at the end of the day you were special. But you are special, and that’s why the narcissist targeted you.

I was angry with Joe, but I was angriest with myself. I’m a confident person with strong boundaries, so how could I have let this happen?  This was all a game for Joe. But then he had an advantage because he’d played this game many times before. He knew the rules. Hell, I didn’t even know it was a game!

A word of warning: A narcissist will never give his victim the validation they so desperately seek or closure. This final act of control and cruelty leaves his victim hanging and twisting in the wind. This brings a smile to the narcissist’s face.

I’ve since forgiven myself. As a caring person, I only did what came naturally. I saw someone who was lonely and seemed to be in pain, and I reached out to help them. But Joe didn’t want or need my help, because he’s perfect just the way he is. So, you see, I’m the one with the problem. But it’s a problem I can live with. It’s called being human. And that, my friends, is what I learned from MY close encounter with a narcissist.

Acknowledgements

It was Joe’s self-involvement that led me to Google “narcissism.” Who would have known there were so many others online looking for answers?

Sam Vaknin’s book Malignant Self Love – Narcissism Revisited was a revelation. How could anyone not know Sam?  A narcissist, he’s everywhere on the internet. I’m just glad a life crisis forced him to venture out into the light of day long enough to write this seminal book. Although I jokingly refer to Sam as the Head Vampire, he has shed such light into the darkness that is NPD. I’m only sorry I forwarded my highlighted version to Joe, who will never read it (I imagine he uses it to prop up one very short leg of a table.)

Marie-France Hirigoyen’s book, Stalking the Soul, was a godsend. I ordered a used copy from Amazon.

I first found on-line support through Careplace’s NPD community. Several of the online friends I met there are now my real-life friends, and I kiss the ground for my good fortune.

The members of MSN Groups Narcissistic Personality Disorder Forum constantly amaze me with their wisdom, insight, and yes, humor. It’s inspiring to see how people can gain strength from each other’s experiences, cry, learn, laugh, and move forward. Special thanks to Femfree, the forum manager, for posting the link to my blog.

Finally, thanks to all those near and dear to me. You know who your are. Your patience and support has made me realize how incredibly rich I am.

Looking to the Future

I always thought that as soon as I finished writing Close Encounter with a Narcissist I’d be DONE! But I’m a teacher, remember?  And there’s still so much work to be done to educate the public about this devastating disorder. So, I WILL be writing future posts on NPD. If you’d like to check in from time to time, please bookmark my site.  Peace.

Posts since written – You’ll find them in Categories or Tags under Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Can a Narcissist be Cured?
The Mirror Talks – Reflections on Narcissism #1, 2, and 3.

You’ll find these in Categories under Narcissistic Personality Disorder.


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Comments»

1. Catherine Sherman - August 15, 2008

Thank you so much for this series. The public definitely needs education. Even with a prominent politician recently announcing or confessing he’s a narcissist (after getting caught doing something stupid), there was little in the media about what narcissism actually means and why it’s dangerous. And most importantly to our own mental health, you’ve written why it’s important to avoid narcissists. They can’t be cured, and they will only cause misery. I look forward to more on NPD from you.

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2. davidrochester - August 16, 2008

Yes, thanks for sharing this — it’s definitely something that isn’t talked about enough.

I am the child of a textbook classic narcissist, and the only thing that saved me from developing a complementary dependent personality disorder was that I developed a multiple personality disorder instead, to cope with the unbelievable emotional abuse, lack of safety, lack of stability, and complete, utter, continual destruction of my sense of self. The only thing I’m grateful for is that for some reason, I saw through him and hated him from a very early age. But that, alas, was not enough to save me.

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3. davidrochester - August 16, 2008

Oh, and I meant to add … yes, you’re absolutely right that they can’t be cured. It’s bad enough when a well-meaning, caretaking woman ends up with one of these black holes of emotional vampirism, but for the love of God, for the love of all that’s good in the world, DO NOT CHOOSE ONE OF THESE PEOPLE TO HAVE A CHILD WITH. Fatherhood/motherhood doesn’t make them better people. It just destroys the child.

Davidrochester –
It pains me so much to hear the hurt in your voice from having been raised by a narcissistic parent. I have a relative who has eight children by her narcissistic ex-husband. She is religious and thought if she just provided the perfect family life, he’d finally love and connect with her and his family. Instead, she now is helping her children deal with their indifferent and distant (emotionally and physically) father. Children are so quick to blame themselves, though they are the innocents in this tragedy.

“Joe” once approached me and asked at what age a woman was most likely to get pregnant. The not-so-subtle message was he’d like to father a child, so he needed to know where to cast his net. This was the first time I blurted out, “You’d make a horrible father. You’re so self-absorbed! Jan

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4. ES - August 17, 2008

Jan-
Once again bravo girlfriend.
I still find it amazing that those of us that were so badly abused by Narcissists have been able to turn it around. That what was evil, that what was meant to destroy us, we’ve turned around for good.
I know we all share the wish that our words as a whole will help hundreds of others.

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5. Susan - August 17, 2008

Jan —

Had to leave another message for you — thank you SO much for your talent and ability to dissect your very personal painful journey. I have read every book, magazine article, and internet post on narcissism I have been able to find. Your three postings are the most enlightening writing that I have experienced. It’s as if you had been there with me during all my years of this hell. I have said many times that I wish I could show some physical scar to the world — perhaps then, others could somehow completely understand the emotional abuse I endured. You have been able to document this abuse — if not in physical scars — at least in meaningful thought-provoking words that paint a vivid picture of a narcissist’s aftermath. Again I thank you.

Susan –
It was exhausting writing about this whole experience so your comment means the world to me!
Jan

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6. Bev from England - August 18, 2008

Jan…hardly know what to say… i was agreeing the whole way through!

Im slowly getting through my N experience, as you know. I’m so glad i found you on the Careplace and MSN boards! I love your blog and these N topics have been especially helpful.

Its all so crazy making.

This whole series has been very difficult for you to write, i know… good to read youll be posting more still, as this topic is HUGE.

Well done!

HUGS

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7. John - September 5, 2008

My metaphor for this situation is the tar-baby from Briar Rabbit. For those that have dealt with these people, the simple act of discussing it pulls the energy out of you and leaves you feeling you need to wash. The more you fight them, the more stuck you get.
After years of counseling the neuro-psychologist finally sat me down and told my wife was narcissistic.
I consider myself fortunate. For years the advice I got was always, try harder to communicate, you’re a guy show more empathy, give more, etc etc. The more you try to do what most people perceive as the right thing, the more you open yourself to evil.
Here’s a quote that should be memorized by everyone encountering these people:
“Using Emotional Intelligence to deal with an individual that has an agenda puts you in harm’s way.”
I’m a father that works out of the home. After seeing what goes on in the neighborhoods I think there are as many women as men, with this condition. They simply operate differently.
For me one of the more difficult aspects of having lived through this experience is the inabilitity to communicate with or to people that have not experienced it.
When I hear someone is fun, charming, charismatic along with terms indicating self involvement, flags go up all over the place. Danger someone is going to be harmed. I’m learning to be very quiet and listen intently.
Wonderful article ———- Thank you
John

John-
Your metaphor is so true as their nastiness tends to rub off on you, yet it’s usually the victim who’s left wondering what THEY did wrong. And you’re so right. You can’t use “Emotional Intelligence” with someone who has none. I also think you’re correct when you say that women with NPD operate differently. It gives new meaning to the phrase, “It’s like trying to get blood from a sto
ne.”

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8. Ginger - September 8, 2008

Jan, It has taken me several days to read through all of this, but well worth it. Thank you so much for taking the time to write all this. I have known several people in my lifetime with NPD (haven’t we all?) Unfortunately for me, I was married to one for 24 years. I didn’t figure out that it was HIM and not ME until after the divorce.

I want to share with you a classic NPD utterance. I had just found out I had cancer. We were sitting in the car, still at the Dr.’s office. He turned to me and instead of comfort (which I never got, go figure) he said, with ‘tone’…. “Now don’t go blabbing this to everyone you know, like you always do, Ginger.”

Confused, thinking he was ashamed of me, I asked why.

“Because, GINGER!” he said, rolling eyes and sighing as if should be OBVIOUS, even to an idiot like me. “I want to get some life insurance on you, and if you go running off at the mouth about having cancer, I won’t be able to.”

I think that was the moment when I knew I had to divorce him.

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9. Dawn - September 14, 2008

I do hope you continue with your series.
There are so many others out there trying to understand what they have done to be treated so coldly, people trying to ‘help’ and save their beloved partners.
You will enable these people to realise they are not alone, and give them strength to escape the abuse.

Thankyou

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10. ES - September 27, 2008

Jan-
I was re-reading this post today and saw for the first time the line, “Thing with an expiration date.” That is so true. I wish I had known then that my “Best if used by date” was fast approaching. I could have made my escape from his refrigerator of devalue and discard.
Thanks again.

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11. Beth - September 28, 2008

Just realized that my ex is a narcissist. That explains the no affection and feeling of no love from him. I think his father is a narcissist with the perfect wife. She constantly builds him up even when it is a total lie. My ex left me for another woman. The irony is all of this is I believe she is a histrionic who left her narcissistic husband for mine. Good Luck and Good Riddance to bad rubbish!

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12. flyaway - November 30, 2008

My forty years of marriage has been a roller coaster ride. Punctuated by many occurrences of being pushed away and then pulled back in. Can you imagine what a fish would feel like if once you got it to the bank you played the line back out and then reeled it in again and again?

I’ve accepted the fact that my wife will never show true affection for me. All I can do at this point in my life is use the knowledge of what I’ve learned about NPD to better live with it. Funny thing is if I were reading my life as if it was someone else I’d tell them to get out at any age.

Flyaway-
I’ve learned so much more about women with NPD through the comments men have left. Thank you. Sometimes I think men are more likely to suffer alone unless they have a close friend or relative they feel comfortable talking to about “what’s wrong.” (And unfortunately, most people we do talk to don’t have a clue about this disorder).

Now you know it’s not YOU. But 40 years of push and pull would leave anyone exhausted and sad for “what might have been.” I think it’s easy to tell people to “get out at any age,” but easier said than done. I hope your newfound knowledge helps you better “live with it,” but also helps you realize that you’ll never feel true love or appreciation within your marriage. As humans, those are genuine feelings we NEED (and deserve) to feel at any age. Jan

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13. Jack - December 5, 2008

Just wondering if the grandiosity in N’s is always apparent. I live with someone who fits most of the descriptors, other than the grandiosity. Can the grandiosity be in their thoughts and not necessarily external?

Jack-
Thanks for getting back. When I was first mulling over whether Joe actually had NPD, I often consulted Sam Vaknin’s site (google “Sam Vaknin grandiosity” and you’ll be set with reading for the rest of the weekend!). I also highly recommend Halycon, which is on my blogroll. It has a list of traits that had me laughing out loud because Joe possessed so many of the
m.

But, keep in mind that although Ns are the same at the core, the disorder can look different from person to person. (Just like a designer dress!) I say this because when I originally read some of the diagnostic criteria, I thought, “Oh no, that doesn’t apply! Joe’s not a chronic liar.” Only later I realized he lied by omission, so yes it DID apply.

I originally envisioned a person with “grandiosity” as a pompous ass who walked into the room and proceeded to dominate the conversation. In short, a larger than life character. On the contrary, Joe was socially awkward – an observer on the outside looking in. But his grandiosity was one of the things that screamed NPD. His grandiosity was an ongoing inner dialogue. (Like an RSS feed). I think I just had the “privilege” of listening in to this inner dialogue because I was a willing listener. Most people found Joe somewhat of a bore and begged off.

“theotherbed2″ added a wonderful comment below that SO nails it. I kept a list of all the things Joe said he was going to do and when it hit 15, I had to sit back and laugh because there was absolutely no follow through. Big plans, but it was all talk.

Concerning your original comment on the other thread. Keep in mind that narcissists are frozen at the emotional maturity level of a small child so they are FOREVER immature. And, people don’t just go away and come back healed (cue snap of the finger audio). It’s an arduous process – one step at a time.

So please check out the above sites. No matter what conclusion you reach in regards to a diagnosis of NPD, ultimately you have to ask yourself, “How does this person make me feel about myself? Do they genuinely care about me?” If so, that caring will manifest itself in their actions – not just in words.

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14. theotherbed2 - December 6, 2008

My take on the grandiosity thing–after living with an N for 30+ years–is that yes, it is an internal truth for them, but they are aware of the loser within. In fact, much of the posturing seems to be a way to totally bury and deny that loser because it scares the s**t out of them.

I have about a million examples, but here’s a recent one. My Nh recently made a pocket call to me. I listened for about 20 minutes while he expounded on his many stellar accomplishments to a poor barista who’s only job was to fix him a latte! It was so extreme that I expected him at any moment to claim to be a decorated vet, an honored fireman, and maybe a research scientist working on a cure for cancer!

See, I had postulated that with OW, he was SuperFrank (not his real name), always on, always seductive, a veritable Knight in Shining Armor. I have seen him pour this on right in front of me, but doubted my senses. But I guess he needs to impress EVERYBODY–male, female, young, old, fat, skinny–anybody that moves.

As for the monster thing–I have never used that word. But he, when denying something, will say, “only a monster would do that”, and then it turns out to be true!

I was so glad to come here this morning and be reminded of all this. My problem was, I was reacting to each slap upside the head as if it were a singular event, i.e. why is there an OW’s bra in my drawer? I can’t present evidence to him, no matter how tangible, because he goes into a rage and says things that totally pull the rug out from under me. Stalking the Soul describes the paralyzation we experience when bombarded with rageful irrationality. I have come to see the whole panorama of what he is, and how I have become trapped in it.

Oooops. Gotta go.

theotherbed2 –
Thanks for making my day! Your description of “SuperFrank” trying so hard to impress the barista is classic. Several times when I was with Joe, I saw him “turn on the charm.” It was so obvious/obnoxious that it was painful for me to watch the women squirm. It was as though they’d gotten a whiff of his cologne, and recognized that he was wearing “Loser.” Stalking the Soul is such an affirming book, that I recommend it to anyone who’s dealt with a narcissist.

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15. sam - December 26, 2008

I have realized that my sister is NPD. It would be too draining to write all the NPD-like traits she has revealed…but maybe one day I will write it down. We are both still young — she is older than me, but we are both in our 20s. The only way I can feel okay when she visits for the holidays is too maintain as much distance, both emotionally and physically, between us as possible. But when that happens, she starts her syrupy sweet personality, saying things like “Do you like me?” and laughing loudly and fakely. Then, when I start feeling guilty for being so “distant” [which I did in the first place to ensure my mental health]. I will do things with her, like go see a movie, or talk — and then hours or a day later, the slightest provocation will send her on a rage, making me feel like I did something horribly wrong/am a horrible person. She can also be horribly cruel to my parents, but in bizarre ways — she’ll be super nice [and obviously fake] so they will buy her something expensive that she “needs”, and then be super mean to them afterwards. She has no friends here in our hometown [gee, I wonder why], while I have kept in touch with many of my old friends, so at least I have an escape. Ugh, I feel like crying, she’s so insane. I remember one day I went on a nature hike with her, and then she kept deliberately walking really slowly and behind me, and then became enraged saying that I was trying to walk faster than her and didn’t want to spend time with her [even though we had just gone on a two-hour long nature hike]. Then she ended up throwing her keys at me, at which point I told her she had to grow up, and she became even more enraged, chasing me into my bedroom and saying “You don’t know how to fight!” I don’t recall all the details, but it was such a confusing, bizarre, hurtful experience I could only sob. I know realize that I really just have to keep my distance from her at all times and politely decline any invitation she might offer [which is inevitably a way for her to get close and then start a bizarre fight]. i am also confused about her constant transition beween a sickly-sweet, “cute” personalty [which seems to unnerve people] and her hateful, rage-filled peresonality. Ugh, sorry for ranting but I feel you all are the only ones who might understand.

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16. sam - December 26, 2008

Just another thing — I just went down to dinner with my family, and my sister is currently in her stage of trying to “Be nice” in her own strange way. I had just taken a shower and as I was called to dinner, I had no choice but to throw on a very old, worn polo shirt. The first thing she says when she sees me is “Nice shirt!” in a very friendly, nice way…which from prior experience I know is Stage 1, where she is nice [Stage 2 is when she tries to become “close”, and Stage 3 is where she goes insane because of something you said or did]. I realized this is something she does — tries to get closer by flattery, but tries to flatter you in a way that is also kind of a put down — but she would NEVER understand that if tried to explain it to her. It’s like they don’t understand how “real” people operate…it’s so confusing, but I just have to realize it really has nothing to do with me, is no fault of mine. But still, when you’re dealing with someone with NPD, you always feel slightly crazy yourself…

Sam –
I was just sitting down to respond to your first comment when I saw your new comment. Holidays can be hard enough, but throw a personality disorder into the mix, and you’re bound to not only feel stressed, but ultimately disappointed. We all want to feel closer to each other this time of year, so no matter how much “distance” you try to create, it’s got to hurt to know that ultimately you’ll never be close to your sister. Especially if she’s your only sibling (and I don’t know if that’s the case).

I have no experience with NPD siblings, but when I was on MSN (which has since moved to a new site) there was a forum for family members of those with NPD. I’ve too little information to go on, but you might also want to check out the diagnostic criteria for Borderline and Histronic personality disorders. There’s a great deal of overlap between all of these Cluster B disorders – hence their nickname, the Drama Club.

I’m not in the advice business, but I do like to respond to comments as most people you know will listen but not really understand. First, don’t feel bad about ranting. It’s only natural to replay certain events over and over to others in hopes that then they will validate your experience and assure you that YOU aren’t the crazy one. Second, remember that anyone with NPD is always motivated by self-interest. It’s so painful to see how they can turn it on and off to shamelessly manipulate others. Any kind words are to disable your defenses so they can get up close where they can do the most damage. Finally, at all costs you need to maintain emotional distance to protect yourself from this train wreck of a person. Unfortunately, your sister sounds more like the train set my little brother had as a kid that just went in loops. The upside is you have friends and have at a relatively young age, come to know what you’re up against. And the other side doesn’t play fair. Jan

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17. sam - December 27, 2008

Jan, thank you so much for your compassionate and understanding words. Realizing that she is NPD [or Borderline/Histrionic] makes me feel somehow relieved and liberated…that I’m “okay.” Yes, it is extremely sad that we will never be close as I have no other siblings, but at the same time I feel like I will be saving decades of my life by being polite yet distant.

The line you wrote “the other side doesn’t play fair” is so accurate. This type of behavior is so strange that you really can’t understand it until you experience it, I guess.

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18. pj - January 11, 2009

Jan:

Thank you so much for your insightful and well-written words. You’ve done a great job describing these broken, pathetic and yet vicious people.

When I realized I was dealing with an N and stopped giving an emotional response to his cruel jabs, he discarded me for another woman and ground my face in it, acting as if I must be devastated by his preference for her. Truth is, I am tremendously relieved that his focus moved off of me and is directed elsewhere, but feel sorry for her. She is married and has several children, and I can about predict that he will ruin her life.

Like your friend Joe, the N I was involved with took great amusement in hurting people’s feelings. He also was a pathological liar, which took me some time to discover, tortured small animals, and seldom smiled or laughed even though he thought he had a great sense of humor. He also punished me severely if I dared to disagree with him, even on the smallest things.

There were times when I wondered if he had a heart, and now I know that he doesn’t. I would also add to those who think they may be involved with a narcissist to pay attention to your gut feelings. The cruel things the N said to me always caused a horrible sinking pain in my stomach–a sure sign of abuse. Also, don’t let yourself be sucked back in when he thinks he’s going to lose you and reverts to charming behavior. His charming self is a lie and won’t last.

Good luck to all and to those of you who married one of these ***holes and stayed with them for decades, you have my wholehearted sympathy.

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19. alwaysjan - January 31, 2009

I received the comment below from Liselotte in Amsterdam. When I was writing a response to it, I inadvertently deleted her entire comment. I emailed Liselotte and fortunately she’d saved her comment. She sent it again to me via email to post accompanied by the note below.

Liselotte’s comment is a narrative of her two-year-long relationship with a narcissist. With the benefit of hindsight, and after working with a therapist, she was able to analyze her relationship and see it for what it was, or more importantly, for what it wasn’t. Think of it as the “dissection of a deception.” I think anyone who’s had a close encounter with a narcissist could benefit from writing a personal narrative as Liselotte has done. Jan

Hi Jan,
Thank you for your e-mail. You’re the first person online to read and respond to my story and that feels good! I’ve thoroughly read your story and I can so relate to it. Although many of the experiences in our “close encounter with a narcissist” (love the title!) are different, the core aspects are the same; the covert ways of mind control, the manipulation, the ‘idealisation, devalue and discard’-circle, lack of empathy, whatever you do, it’s never good enough etc etc. That harrowing experience of being an extension, an object with an expiration date (well put!!) are devastating… I’m still trying to come to terms with it. Reading other people’s stories has helped me a lot. Thank you for that!

There’s so many other examples that I could give you on his paradoxical behavior, the mirroring, the projection, the shamelessness… it’s all just too odd when I think about it now… this is the real aftermath. I’m sorry I couldn’t capture or tell my experience in a less extensive way… that’s the thing with ‘close encounters with narcissists'; you really need the WHOLE story to be able to explain to others what it is that they actually do to you… And then still; people don’t understand or think you’re exaggerating or that you’re just bitter… It took me 10 months, with the help of a therapist, to truly understand what happened… Anyway, again thanks for making your story available online, keep up the good work!

This is what I posted on your website as an introduction to my story:

When our relationship ended I asked Alastair what on earth it had all meant to him, his reply was; “Lise, we haven’t been able to dominate each other, you don’t fit my blueprint, I saw you as a convenience, it’s time to move on”. I asked him if he understood the essence of a relationship because it seemed to me he was much more concerned with ‘form’. He said to me: “Everything in life is about form and appearance”. I realised I was engaged and almost married to someone who defines himself by appearance and perceived me as an object, dispensable and interchangeable.

Alastair mastered the art of shifting the blame on me and he deliberately pushed my buttons to twist the knife into my vulnerabilities. This was, of course, only after we had been together for a longer period of time. He made me feel guilty and I questioned myself many times on various things and events.

He gauged reality wrongly thinking I made him look like a fool, whereas HE was the one who was insulting my friends and humiliating me in public. His thinking was inconsistent and impaired to an extend that it DID make him look like a fool, but it was impossible to reason with him. His beliefs, attitudes and behaviours contradict each other which leads him to self-blindness.

In his opinion “I dragged him down”, whereas I was the one who ended up with heart arrhythmias, I had lost 6 kilos in weight, I had moved for him (just like his ex) and in the end found myself struggling hard to get my life back in Amsterdam.

He has explained our break-up as a “gap between cultures and upbringing” impossible to bridge, but I want the truth exposed. With his poisonous cocktail of undermining behaviour, conforming to social and cultural norms and latent sadism (pointed out to me by my therapist) he tried to ‘dominate’ me and ‘look good’ in front of family and peers.

I am unable to produce scars, or other “objective” proof of my ordeal and I’m probably unable to communicate effectively the hurtful experiences I’ve been through, but I’m going to anyway.

Below I will discuss – with vivid and recognisable examples – the true colours (cynicism, paranoia, aggression, manipulation, homophobia, insults, humiliation) and the recursive, recurrent and Sisyphean failures of “the nearly-man” (this is what his friends called him back in university, typical huh…)

His father

Alastair grew up in a very traditional family featuring ‘strict father morality’. His father still sets overall family policy. He taught Alastair and his brother right from wrong with strict rules for their behaviour and enforced them through punishment sometimes administered with a stick. His father is a hypochondriac who displays his knowledge about everything and anything in such a way that you feel ill at ease in his presence. He made sure to influence (in an all pervasive way) every major decision Alastair had to make; what to study, which houses to buy, his professional career etc. His father is a frustrated school principal who laughs at the ‘hormonal weakness’ of women and takes mean-spirited pleasure in degrading the feminine especially in front of women. From the stories Alastair told me about his family, I understand that his father absolutely hated his mother (A’s grandmother).

[The child becomes a reflection of the parent, a conduit through which the parent experiences and realises himself for better (hopes, aspirations, ambition, life goals) and for worse (weaknesses, “undesirable” emotions, “negative” traits). He internalises his father’s voices in the form of a sadistic, ideal, immature Superego and spends his life trying to be perfect, omnipotent, omniscient and to be judged “a success” by these parent-images and their later representations and substitutes (authority figures).]

Homosexuals, Social Standards, Army

Alastair still believes homosexuals have chosen to be homosexuals, he thinks ‘they read it in a magazine’ and if they really wanted to they could become heterosexual. The evidence of any biological determination (genes, prenatal environment) simply bounces off his hardened position. You might as well talk to a brick wall. When I asked him what he would do if we ever had a child who turned out to be homosexual, he said that I had probably encouraged it. When I got upset he laughed and said that he just liked to throw oil on my fire. Alastair does not approve of gay marriage nor should they be allowed to have/adopt children.

He was taken to court for beating up a guy who defended a homosexual (n.b. the displacement). This was highly inconvenient because he had applied to become an army officer in training at Sandhurst. His father at that point displayed his “Daddy knows best” attitude and took care of the situation; Alastair was not made to take responsibility for what he did. Instead his lesson was; ‘If you can pay for the best attorney, you can decide yourself which laws apply to you and which do not’. He won and a couple of months later he joined the army. Talk about ‘self-righteousness’…

[In order not to be immersed in his dad’s narcissistic net he buried himself in a group that operates like a narcissistic family and requires identity with members’ goals and ethos. It is a style of life that reinforces personal non-being.]

Domination

This however wasn’t the first time he beat someone up and it sure wouldn’t be the last. About a year ago he started a fight with one of his colleague-officers. I think because he depends so much on his in-group to support his beliefs, he places a high premium on group loyalty and cohesiveness. Alastair therefore thought it was necessary to teach this particular disloyal colleague a lesson because… he dared to flirt with a woman during their ‘guys-night-out’. Yes, for flirting with a woman he beat the guy up (again: n.b. the displacement).

[The question is whether his aggression mainly serves a desire to dominate, or if the domination serves a desire to hurt others.]

Impaired thinking, shifting the blame

Alastair tries to convince everybody that divorce doesn’t exist in Northern Ireland. In a sharp debate with friends of mine (who obviously couldn’t believe him) he got me involved and said “Lise, give us one example of someone you know in Northern Ireland who got divorced”. When I immediately replied with “The sister of your neighbour C., and the mother of your best mate P.” (he must be joking, right?), he dismissed me with a wave of the hand and continued the discussion. The next morning he blamed ME for making him look like a fool.

[People with narcissistic tendencies have errors in thinking which prevents them from seeing things how they are from both sides of the picture. Not wanting to feel bad inside, they build defences such as denial, repression and a strong need to be right.]

Atheism, brutal honesty and hypocrisy

Another example: I asked him why we had to make our vows in a church even though he defends evolution and the non-existence of God in a very harsh way. Alastair is an atheist (just like his father) and was capable of making one of his colleagues in a discussion on that matter actually BURST INTO TEARS (!!). He told me the reason for getting married in a church was “Because it’s what my mother would want me to do and because it’s traditional, why no one knows”. Then something incredibly ironic happened; when he told his mom we were going to get married in a church, it turned out she never had any expectation of this kind considering my ‘background’. He told her off; “Now don’t you start too!”.

[Brutal honesty, at all costs and in all circumstances – is a form of sadistic impulse. It is this kind of brutal honesty that leads us to assume that the main problem with the self-centred narcissist is his lack of regard for others.]

[Narcissists, in accordance with their Machiavellian mind frame, will often (want to) appear religious, especially if they are leaders.]

About marriage

Don’t get me wrong, I do appreciate traditions and I respect differences in cultures, backgrounds and upbringing. I myself am from a liberal and tolerant society and I’ve lived in Amsterdam for over 9 years now. Many of my friends have been together for a long time, they have children but are not married. I therefore think marriage is not indispensable. But marriage according to Alastair was absolutely necessary if we wanted to have children and be ‘formally’ acknowledged as a couple by his family and the army.

Manipulation

There was however another, with hindsight, quite manipulative reason he had given (earlier on) for marriage; it was to make sure he wouldn’t sleep around in 5 years (I had to look at it from a ‘bloke’s perspective’). We had a discussion about it (“lots of married people still cheat on each other!”) but I didn’t pay much attention to it until I remembered what he had said about the mother of a friend who, according to Alastair, stayed in an adulterous relationship only for ‘quality of life’ reasons (i.e. for the money). So I told him that I was never going stay in an unhappy marriage, that I would never stay for economical reasons and that I would pack my bags and leave on the first train or plane back to Amsterdam.

Alastair ordered brochures from Gretna Green (a famous Scottish wedding location) and he showed me pictures of the army houses for married couples and I warmed up to the idea of getting married. Furthermore I was going to move, leave Amsterdam to finally live with him, I looked into doing a master at the university close to the place we were going live and I really wanted to have a family, after all I had turned 30 (soon to be 31), time wasn’t always going to be on my side (my general practitioner had pointed this out to me as well). What a lucky girl I was to have met this wonderful guy.

[Narcissists dance the relationship dance with you which has all the appearance of being motivated with the same motives you have. They mouth words of love and fidelity which confirm to you that you both are on the same page. Meanwhile, they feel complete aversion to real intimacy. They are not truly connecting with you on an emotional level. You are not aware of this distance. Not yet. No, they are after something very different than what you’re after.]

True Colours

My expectations were slowly but surely shattered and his ‘true colours’ started to appear during the following year, which was truly a hell for me.

When I told him I had discussed our wedding plans with one of my best friends, he all of sudden thought it wasn’t a good idea to get married yet. It all went too fast and he had second doubts… Because I wasn’t the one warming him up to the idea of getting married (it was the other way around), I could understand his doubts and possible fear, so I blamed it on ‘cold feet’. I decided to wait for the possibility to discuss things until his walls were down. Unfortunately there was never any possibility to discuss anything.

[When connected to a narcissist you don’t know what to expect. He may tell you one thing and then do another. Something you discussed and agreed on two hours ago will be dismissed. It’s as if you never had the conversation. The idea he had yesterday has changed in preference of something else today. What he agreed to do for you he won’t even admit to discussing. He offers to be reliable one minute and totally lets you down the next.]

After two months I told him that I felt he was controlling the situation and deciding for us both what was happening when and how without offering alternatives whereas two months ago we were discussing marriage and having a family… and that I just couldn’t understand. His reply was that he wanted us both to decide but it had to based on ‘knowing each other as well as we can’ (n.b. we had been together for almost 2 years). He said he wasn’t sure if I wanted to have children with HIM or just because I had turned 30… He thought if we had children that I probably wanted to be close to my family and that it therefore wasn’t a good idea to have children in Holland because then it was legally easier for me to take them with me if I was ever going to leave him, and that he now was not sure that I was never going to leave him because of what I had said to him about not staying for economical reasons… And of course, I had always said I didn’t want to get married, so he wasn’t going to ask me if he was going to be rejected.
[This is how he reverses truths, how he spins reality, how his tactics make me feel guilty, using me as a bin to drop all HIS insecurities in. Paranoia is used by the narcissist to ward off or reverse intimacy. The paranoid narrative legitimizes intimacy repelling behaviours such as keeping one’s distance, aloofness, reclusion, aggression, lying, desultoriness, unpredictability, and idiosyncratic reactions. Narcissists can’t or won’t trust, so they will test your total devotion.]

At that time I didn’t realise this yet, I only knew I was very upset and told him we were obviously on totally different wave lengths (I was right). I didn’t get any reply (typical!) but two days later I received an enormous bunch of flowers for Valentine’s Day, and… guess what happened? I felt guilty for having been hard on him, and I started doubt myself; “Maybe I did make him think all that, I hadn’t been clear on what I felt for him, or maybe he’s just insecure, maybe my expectations were unrealistic etc etc”.

[Cycles of idealisation followed by devaluation characterise many personality disorders. They reflect the need to be protected against the whims, needs, and choices of others, shielded from the hurt that they can inflict on the narcissist.]

So time went on and for two months things were more or less ok, but we somehow weren’t able to discuss our ‘future agenda’ again. Then he told me that when he was to start his new post, he wanted to get settled in his new place in Holland on his own first and that if we were going to move in with each other we should better buy a house together. He knew that this was something I did not want to do; we were only staying for 2 years in Holland (his next post was going to be in the UK again) and it didn’t make sense to me to buy a house especially if we were provided one by the army (remember; HE showed me the brochures).

[If you actually want to do what a narcissist wants you to do, that would be too much like sharing, so he will not want it anymore. By withholding whatever they know you want, narcissists make themselves feel important.]

Then he asked me to explain why I wanted to do the master and if I thought it was going to be of ‘financial benefit’ to us? I was shocked that I had to explain this but still tried to ‘make sense’ out of it and I explained to him that an English master was surely going to benefit us if I was to move with him to the UK. I also explained that I was in a professional field in which I was never going to make a lot of money and that studying was purely out of an interest to learn things… he somehow managed to make me feel (again) guilty about it. He told me I needed to get balanced in what I wanted.

One evening however I couldn’t ignore my ‘gut-feeling’ anymore and I phoned him up very angry and upset asking him to be clear on where we stood. He didn’t say anything and hung up the phone to never answer again.

[The silent treatment (feigned apathy; cold-shoulder, silence, distance and ignoring you) is a punishment used by abusers to make you feel unimportant, not valued, not cared about and completely absent from the abuser’s thoughts. The silent treatment is CONTROL and a safe means for them to avoid any ‘uncomfortable’ topics, issues in the relationship, or issues within himself.]

In an extremely angry email I wrote him that I was fed up with him and the army, fed up with him hanging up the phone on me and I told him to go f**k himself. A week later he wrote me an e-mail saying “he had been on an emotional rollercoaster but that he was not angry and totally understood my ‘worries and concerns’ (n.b. how it now had officially become MY problem) about life with him and that he wasn’t sure enough about what life had to offer me outside Amsterdam to convince or persuade me that everything would be great”. To ‘reassure’ me he said he wasn’t looking for other women but he just needed to clear his head… (n.b. the manipulation again!!)

He ceased all communication and ignored me for another two weeks. I wrote him a card saying I was sorry for the things I said and wished him good luck for the Belfast marathon he was going to run the following weekend. He phoned me up just after he finished the marathon and I – relieved we were on speaking terms again – congratulated him on his accomplishment. He told me his parents (who live in Belfast) did not come to watch him and that he didn’t know anymore what he had to do to impress them (kinda weird: 33 year old army officer still wanting approval… but then again; his parents didn’t blink an eye, that’s strange too..).

[Mirroring is a theory developed by Heinz Kohut whereby children have their talk and accomplishments acknowledged, accepted and praised by others, e.g. parents. It is important for a child’s legitimate feelings of grandiosity to be mirrored by its parents. Children who do not get enough mirroring (admiration, attention etc.) are considered by many psychologists to be at risk of developing a narcissistic personality later in life.

If the child does not feel his parents love him for himself, apart from accomplishments, he will develop what object relations theorists call the “false self,” the self that is fabricated in order to get the approval of his parents, based on the ability to achieve good grades, a good job, a good mate, etc.]

A week later he asked me if I still wanted to come to England, he was doing a course there and we had already booked this flight a couple of months ago. I told him I did, thinking this was finally going to solve things. When I was there we discussed a couple of issues and he literally said I needed to know that if I wanted to be with an army officer, the relationship was only going to work if I was willing to sacrifice. This should have been (again) a major red flag for me… but no, I really thought that this was realistic and said that I knew how important his work was for him and that I would never expect him to leave the army for me (his ex made him choose between her and the army). That I was happy to take on army-life and that I understood what it implied (thinking this would then finally convince him that I was committed and serious).

A couple of weeks later he paid me a surprise visit during a weekend in Amsterdam and of course we had a wonderful time (it always was, the peaks were high) but something happened at the end of that lovely weekend. He flew back to Bristol and on his way back to Shrivenham in the car I phoned him. He said he had been talking to his brother about the issues his brother and his girlfriend had at the time. He finished the story by saying; “But hey… my brother’s just like me, in the end he always gets what he wants”…

[A true narcissist is almost totally wrapped up in themselves, and the entire world revolves around their needs and desires. The shameless sense of entitlement with which persons suffering from narcissism can impose themselves and their personal agenda on others, can be a very baffling experience to be exposed to.]

To cut a long story (I did have doubts about the relationship but he always lured me back in) short; he finished his course in England, I got my nursing degree (he didn’t attend my graduation), he moved back to Holland and he proposed to me a couple of months later on a ski-trip to Germany. I left Amsterdam, moved in with him and in the end it was me who organised the wedding; designed the different evening/day, Dutch/English invitations, made appointments for the church and other locations, looked up information on prenuptial agreements/pensions, made a list of hotels and B&B’s, put together a wedding list at a warehouse, and at the same time I had just started a new job, I attended a methodology and statistics class once a week (still attempting to do that master) and was trying very, very hard to make it all work.

My heart at this point had started to ‘arrhythmically’ signal me; “maybe I was overdoing things here”, but I didn’t listen. And yes; Alastair still wanted to buy a house because his best mate P. had wound him up about his new 5 bedroom house with a swimming pool in the garden. So I checked three different independent sources of info on tax, mortgages, locations etc. and I still didn’t think it was a good idea but Alastair just simply ignored me (again!) and I found myself looking at houses with him the following weeks. Having a child at this point was of course a ridiculous idea, even I had to admit that and I had put it out of my head. Guess what happened? He strangely all of a sudden talked to me more and more about having a family, after all we were soon to be married and he could now imagine himself as “the daddy” of the family.

Insulting friends

In the meantime, just before Alastair was sent to Afghanistan again, we were invited one weekend to the Belgian Ardennes by my best friends Linda and Ramon. This was supposed to be a nice relaxing break but it turned into a nightmare. There were 8 other people and the first evening everyone got very drunk and Ramon had hit a nerve with Alastair by saying that he had done a great job in getting me to marry him because I would be the last person anyone would ever expect to get married… This lead into a discussion; another friend explained to Alastair that even though he wanted to get married to his girlfriend, his girlfriend did not (because she had been married before) and he said that his relationship with her was far more important than ‘getting married’. Alastair got up, pointed at him and said: “This means that I WON and YOU LOST and that YOUR CHILD IS A BASTARD”.

[Narcissists are individuals who lack empathy for others, are self serving, and engage in competitive conflict with others. Competitive conflict is a form of conflict resolution in which individuals perceive other’s progress as interfering with their own.]

He later on said ‘sorry’ to me (he had no recollection of anything that happened that night) but when I suggested not to apologise to me but to P. he claimed: “Why would I, the Dutch always brag about freedom of speech, but when you tell someone the truth they are offended”.

[Narcissistically impelled people are incapable of genuine expressions of remorse, because inherent in an apology is the admission that one is not needless and faultless. Narcissists cannot see how their behaviour looks to others, and if confronted by their own behaviour in another, refuse to accept it.]

This should have done it for me, right? I mean my heart was signalling me, he was insulting my friends but when I talked to my (non-N) friends about it and asked for their opinion (again major red flags all over the place) they said to me; “Lise, we all know the context in which he said things, and we all know he’s just a very traditional guy” (and the wedding invitations had already been sent..).

I will discuss the events that finally led to our break-up in a minute, but first a couple of more personality traits:

Cynicism

During A’s first post in Holland (this is when we met) a sergeant major (B., nice guy!) helped him with everything; getting installed in his new place, at work, being invited out in the town etc. I thought they had developed a real friendship until Alastair said something very condescending about him.

B. was divorced, he had not been in a relationship for a long time but he recently met a woman through handball (he’s a coach). They had been together for 3 months when she found out she was pregnant. B. wanted to talk to Alastair about it, or at least share his story. His girlfriend wanted an abortion but B. wasn’t sure. Alastair listened, wished him good luck and when he left I said to Alastair that I could see that B. was in despair. He looked at me and cynically said: “Don’t be so naive, B. is only interested and keen because she’s pregnant and that makes him feel good about himself. As soon as she has the abortion, he will leave her.”… (Just for the record: B is still with his girlfriend).

[Narcissists are generally contemptuous of others. This seems to spring, at base, from their general lack of empathy, and it comes out as (at best) a dismissive attitude towards other people’s feelings, wishes, needs, concerns, standards, work, etc.]

Another cynical worldview: According to Alastair the looting of the blacks in New Orleans during the hurricane Katrina, just showed their ‘bad immoral mentality’ compared to the virtuous people from California who were willing to help each other in putting out the fires around their villas. Alastair had difficulty to understand my explanation that a ‘nothing to lose’ situation sometimes brings out the worst in people.

[People with narcissistic tendencies have errors in thinking which prevents them from seeing things how they are from both sides of the picture.]

Break-up

One evening I came back from work and I was tired, Alastair asked me to go out and have an aperitif with some colonel. I told him I was not in the mood, I could see this annoyed him, he didn’t ask me why but just asked me to make food for when he returned. While walking on egg-shells again, I told him I could make dinner for more colleagues if he wanted to invite them over.

He came back 4 hours later with two female officers and they were all drunk. One officer left quite early, the other one, K., stayed on for a bit. They were talking about a discussion she had that afternoon with a corporal. From the discussion Alastair concluded that they addressed each other familiarly (i.e. they called each other by their first names). He said that no corporal fucknuts was ever to call him by his first name. This hit a nerve with me and I told him that I thought it was rather disrespectful to call a corporal a fucknuts because in the end he’s the frontline soldier who actually gets killed in a war. He looked at me (his eyes became black, I’m not exaggerating) and said: “If you think doctors speak differently about nurses, you’re ignorant. In their eyes you’re a NURSE FUCKNUTS too”.

Voilà… that was the proverbial last straw that broke my back; if this was the man I was going to marry, I’d rather DIE. I slammed a kitchen cupboard door (3 glasses fell out) and asked K. to leave. I went nuts and screamed at him that this was the last time he was ever going to insult me or my friends again and that I was now leaving.

As I started to pack my bags he entered the bedroom and screamed with a weird hoarse voice; “Are you leaving ME? That’s NOT going to happen. Here, I will help you pack your bags” and he started to pack all my bags for me… When he finished he went out to get more drunk. When he came back completely wasted on alcohol he said that I dragged him down, that he was more intelligent than me and that he just wasn’t able to tell me in a ‘normal way’ that he saw no future for us.

[To be in control – this unconquerable drive – is the direct result of being deserted, neglected, avoided, or abused at an early stage in life. “Never again” – vows the narcissist – “If anyone will do the leaving, it will be me.” He is liberated and unshackled by his own self-initiated abandonment, he insists. He never really wanted this commitment and anyhow, the relationship was doomed from the beginning by the egregious excesses and exploits of his wife or partner.

If he does not get attached – he cannot be hurt. If not intimate – he cannot be emotionally blackmailed. If he does not persevere – he has nothing to lose. If he does not stay put – he cannot be expelled. If he rejects or abandons – he cannot be rejected or abandoned. The narcissist anticipates the inevitable schisms and emotional abysses in a life fraught with gross dishonesty.

The truth is that, governed by his internal demons, the narcissist has no real choice. The dismal future of his relationships is preordained. Realizing that he is doomed to go through the same traumas over and over again, the narcissist distances himself by using his aggression to alienate, to humiliate and in general, to be emotionally absent.]

A few days later we cancelled the wedding and of course he had to explain to his parents the cause of the break-up. Guess what he told them? That we had a row because I didn’t want to buy a house with him and that I slammed kitchen cupboard doors!!! His mother said that putting up with that sort of behaviour couldn’t be good and that is was alright for him to reconsider marriage…

[Narcissists ‘gaslight’ routinely. The narcissist will either insinuate or will tell you outright that you’re unstable, oversensitive and hysterical. Once he’s constructed these fantasies of your emotional pathologies, he’ll tell others about them, as always, presenting his smears as expressions of concern and declaring his own helpless victim hood.

He didn’t do anything. He has no idea why you’re so irrationally angry with him. While absolving himself of any responsibility for your obvious antipathy towards him, implying that there’s something fundamentally wrong with you that makes you angry with him, he’s undermined your credibility with his listeners.]

He paid for my lawyers costs (I had legal troubles to get my place back in Amsterdam), and in return he asked me to give him back the emerald stones (which he bought for the engagement ring) because they reminded him of the time he was in Afghanistan. No emotional attachment to nothing… it was just ANOTHER slap in my face… and so the list goes on…

Liselotte – First, you should kiss the ground that you didn’t say “I do.” Allistair’s father sounds like a narcissist himself. Nothing a child can ever do is “good enough” for a narcissistic parent.

A narcissist’s “thinking errors” and the “competitive conflict” are mind boggling. When taken as individual incidents, a narcissist’s strange comments or bad behavior can seem odd, but not pathological. (So many people who are not familiar with NPD are quick to dismiss them as @ssholes or as you say “think you’re bitter.”). But those of us who’ve gotten close to one of these emotional black holes, know the truth. Thank you so much for sharing your own “close encounter.” Jan

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Someone - February 4, 2010

I was knowingly cringing throughout the whole text

One thinks common sense will prevail, and then a new, out of leftfield trail, suddenly appearing

The mind is constantly boggled

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Sarah - December 29, 2013

Oh, your story sounds so much like mine, down to the parts of having heart arrythmias and becoming a nurse. Scary how these people are so similar and prey on us. Best of everything to you – thank heavens you were aware enough to not marry the douche. I wasn’t so lucky….

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20. seacaspian - February 8, 2009

Thank you Jan for the wonderful insight on NPD. I have suspected that I might have NPD because a lot of the traits detailed here I share, such as seeking people out purely for validation, grandiosity, and the destructive actions of devaluation and discarding. I can recollect various relationships I have had in my life where I did these things. However, I am confused about it. I know there is something amiss with my personality and I am aware of the false self. I can be quite a charmer when I feel like it and I am aware I have an agenda, but interestingly enough, that agenda is buried under layers of consciousness and not thought out in a systematic way. Yes, I have seen myself as a monster because I struggle with empathy and basic human emotions. There are times when I know I should feel a certain way for someone, but I simply cannot. I was not always this aware, but as I grew up and experienced consistent difficulties with my social life I wanted to know why. Perhaps being bi-polar II along with this PD helps me out in this endeavor because when the depression phase kicks in, I’ll go over all my perceived transgressions and proceed to rip myself a new one over it. Over time, I have learned to utilize my depressive phase not as a way to hate on myself, but as a way to take a hard and objective look at who I am and how I really operate and what other people perceive me as.

PD is extremely difficult to get over. I agree that the disorder is intricately interwoven with the fibers of my personality and only through diligent analysis of my actions and a constant endeavor to do better will I have a successful recovery. I pray that one day I can experience what it is like to be close to another human being without being scared or feeling awkward or drawing a blank. I know that day will eventually come, but I must work very hard for it, and it is easy to slip back into my old form, as it is very much a part of me.

Thank you all for your posts and insights – I am sorry that you were victimized by someone with narcissistic personality disorder, but not all beings who suffer from this socially debilitating affliction relish in it. I hope that each of you will recover successfully from your encounters with people that have NPD. I also hope that the perpetrators (NPDrs) will eventually gain enough courage to open their eyes so they can wage effective combat against their inner demons, rather than become seduced by the alluring call of “me first at all costs”.

seacaspian-Your awareness of your behavior is not unusual, but feeling bad about it and wanting to change are. I’m going to put up a new post soon and would like to use some of your comments and provide a link to another site where the author shares similar sentiments. I agree with Sam Vaknin’s statement that, “Self-reflection is the antonym of NPD.” Jan

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Someone - February 4, 2010

Why would you use Mr Vaknin’s words, seeing that he is a narcissist himself ? His site is “overswamp”, anyone wanting to understand NPD is drawn into an endless spidernet…

I urge people to seek other sites, simpler created blogs ect

Here’s one that explains NPD very clearly and simply (one or two things I disagree with…. that narcissists never have experienced neglect/abuse… or something along those lines… and some comment on gender, otherwise it’s 99% accurate imo)

http://www.chameleongroup.org.uk/npd/index.html

I checked this site out and am unclear who the author is. I also did not find it to be particularly well written. But I think it’s hard to improve on the Halycon site on my blogroll, which I hold up as the gold standard. I agree that Sam Vaknin’s writing can be overwhelming – at first. I don’t have a problem with “using his words” just because he’s got NPD. I think his tell all confessional, which has elevated him to his coveted role of an “expert,” has taught everyone a thing or two. Sometimes you have to go into the belly of the beast to see their twisted view of the world. I don’t think any psychiatrist/psychologist/therapist out there could have provided a more accurate picture of what it’s like to be NPD.
Jan

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Someone - February 4, 2010

The alcohol passages I find a bit dangerous, the rest is pretty clear and to the point

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kitten - April 10, 2011

I have been though a two year relationship with a man who has NPD, and I can say like many others that the only help and comfort I have gained is through self-education and these web-site posts. No one can understand what it is like unless they have been there. But as someone earlier had said, there isn’t closure. Seacaspian, I find it great that you are trying to find the kind of happiness we all try to help someone with NPD with. I think it would greatly help me to speak with someone who has this condition and cares, and tries to understand how to make a better life and not distroy people around him or her. My NPD would never admit to issues and lives girl after girl, resulting in no real happiness, his friends are just drinking buddies, and he has NO ONE who he can rely on or care for even if he wanted to. I think its sad. I have thought many times that just the acceptance of the condition and trying to move forward is something. I would think if you wanted to be cared for, that it would be better to be with a great person who was fun, who maybe you grew with you and helped you with this issue than alone, even if you didn’t feel the same way they did? I don’t know. I want to know from someone with NPD, if there is ever a point that you realize you may not feel the same, but appreciate that there may be someone who you could at least co-exist with in an relationship who would help make it work, and maybe take the good with the bad…I guess it would be up to the other person in the relationship. I just don’t think it is hopeless at all for anyone who is trying and wants to do better and overcome, but there are so few.

Kitten,
What you’re proposing makes perfect sense, BUT – you’re thinking logically and like a caring human. Deb recently commented on another post and put up a link to “Does a Narcissist Know They’re a Narcissist” which I found interesting. It confirmed that even when Ns know their behavior hurts others, they blame this on others’ inability to see how truly wonderful they are. I have yet to meet someone with NPD who wanted to change. “It’s just the way I am,” Joe would say. Any effort by another to “help” them only devalues that person in the N’s eyes. I say this from experience albeit a painful one. Jan

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21. seacaspian - February 9, 2009

Thank you for your comment, Jan. Alwaysjan, your detailed and descriptive account of your harrowing engagement with a narcissist was an awesome read so far, and sheds much insight.

The narcissist have three stages in a relationship: charming intrigue, devaluation and discarding. Currently, I am in phase 2 with a friend of mine, and am in the process of trying to abort phase 2. I find myself going back to phase 1, and even though the three phases of narcissism are ugly, phase 1, the charming phase at least can have beauty. I am finding myself forcing myself to listen, to try to show some level of interest, even identify something within what is being shared to talk about. I suppose recovery is akin to learning how to grow up and play well with the other kids (or adults, in this case). I guess at first a lot of the social behaviors we normally acquire were positively re-enforced, and though at first they had to be consciously and meticulously acted out when very young, the acceptable behaviors and mannerisms were repeated so often they became automatic. In the case of a narcissist, they positive enforcement was either warped, inconsistent or not even there. The NPD child may have been thrust out into the harshness of the world at too tender of an age, and as a result closed up and built a wall.

I guess while in the throws of phase one, I have to always scrutinize every single motive behind what I say and do. At the same time, it’s like trying to float in water… always kicking, lest suffer regression into phase 2 and the eventual and abrupt phase 3 that follows. I used to take pride at how efficiently I broke off with people when I got scared. I guess it’s a matter of convincing myself that I’m no longer a child and can protect myself, even when I’m vulnerable, learning to re-enforce this thought even when I feel I come under fire.

It is great to stumble upon sites rich in information like these, thank you Jan for your posts and everyone else for sharing your thoughts and experiences. I disagree with Jan on one point and that is the impression that I received that there is no hope for the narcissist, because the disorder is interwoven so intricately within the fabric of personality; that the narcissist is not able to change. I also disagree with the notion the narcissist has a heart but no soul to contain it. From my experience, I think narcissism is not a flaw in a person’s soul, nor does it make for a completely rotten person. I feel that narcissism is a flaw in the “computer code” that governs the automatic experience-response mechanisms that exist and operate in our personalities. Everyone wrote their own code when they grew up, but who’s to say that you cannot patch that code? It’s possible, it takes a lot of work and it’s exhausting at times, because the narcissist feels that he has to constantly humor everyone to be socially acceptable. However, brutally honest self-awareness is the first step.

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22. Emma - March 31, 2009

I am glad you mentioned that Narcissists are often drawn to vibrant, vital people. They themselves (Vaknin among them) like to think of their “prey” as inferior or weak and not “above” them. Let me tell you, I am prime Narcissistic Supply BECAUSE I possess many good qualities ;)

I realize I have attracted them partly because I have a vulnerability since childhood BUT also because I’m everything they are not!

Now I take it as a compliment when they approach me and THEN I RUN AS HELL! :-)

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jackie - April 10, 2012

WOW well said !!!!

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23. Close Encounter with a Narcissist - Part 2 « planetjan - April 11, 2009

[…] Click on this link to read Close Encounter with a Narcissist – Part 3. […]

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24. Kathy - May 5, 2009

Great articles Jan, keep writing. Particulary enjoyed your perspective on narcissist as co-worker versus spouse/loved one.

[…A word of warning: A narcissist will never give his victim the validation they so desperately seek, or closure. This final act of control and cruelty leaves his victim hanging and twisting in the wind. This brings a smile to the narcissist’s face.]

The above quote had me rolling on the ground — my (fortunately EX-) narcissistic boyfriend actually said he knew his behaviors left “others swinging, unknown and unknowable, in the wind’ and he probably took pride in this, he certainly loved his air of mystery and never did anything to change the confusion and uncertainty that surrounded him. They are certainly a different animal!

Thanks again for the articles.

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25. Mary - August 31, 2009

Every day when he gets up he feels the need to recite all that he is going to do for the day and if anything happens to change his plans, he explodes, even over the slightest thing. He acts like a real stud in bed, especially after we have had an arguement, thats his way of making up, no love or hugs I am currently going through a breakup with a classic narcissist. He two timed his wife with me and has cheated on me many times, always denying it when he gets caught. He is cold even to our ten year old son, nothing he does is good enough. Everytime he greets my son, if he is not responded to in a certain manner he flips out and sceams at him that he is rude and bad mannered, he is combative, won’t let anything go, won’t back down from an arguement, even if it’s just to keep the peace. He has to win at all costs calls me filthy names and makes sure he always has the last word in an arguement. He has been telling me the same story for twelve years that “someday, he will divorce his wife” but it would be too costly financially to do so, so he lives off me. I do his laundry, cook his meals and pay the bills. He literally looks at himself in the mirror and announces “I would f@#k me”
st a big performance. He expects a big fanfare when he goes into our local bar, high fiving everyone, telling his stories about his heroism, he was a cop, often dragging our son around and just throwing money at him to make him go away and buy himself something to amuse him while he got drunk.
Meanwhile he spends tons of money on his outfits. It’s pathetic but he even admitted that he dresses up to suit where ever it is he’s going, i.e. if its to home depot, it’s construction boots and a plaid shirt, meanwhile he’s useless around the house, and if he was ever there it was to pick up paint for me years ago. He believes that any one working there would take him more seriously.
I could go on a and on, I am going to need a lot of therapy to recover from this and keep this loser away from me.

Mary – So many women are convinced that when a Narcissist moves on to another woman, things might be different. They mentally beat themselves up wondering what the other person can offer that they can’t. Your experience provides proof that a narcissist poisons every relationship. Sounds like both you and your son could use therapy, but make sure the therapist has experience with personality disorders. Most people I know say it took about two years to come out of the haze and feel like it was behind them. I know that doesn’t help much if you’re on Day One and thinking, “Gee, only 729 days to go!” My sister-in-law is recovering from breast cancer and said to her mind, the real cancer in her life was her ex-husband who had NPD. Best of luck. At least you see him for who/what he is. Jan

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26. sandrar - September 10, 2009

Hi! I was surfing and found your blog post… nice! I love your blog. :) Cheers! Sandra. R.

Thanks. Today was the first day of school, and It was nice to come home to a smiley face. Jan

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27. Jane - December 29, 2009

Hi! Dear Jan, Its me, your relative who had eight children with an NPD. You are an amazing writer. I’ve read this several times before throughout the past few years and now after the past year and a half of harrowing, growth promoting, life changing experiences, I am brave enough to look at this in the face. For some reason, I couldn’t approach it before. This past year while facing cancer, surgery, chemotherapy, a flood, then a devastating house fire that displaced all nine of us, (yes, I’m still raising eight alone) I can look at this without wincing for once. Now, NPD is clearer to me than ever. A close friend of mine from Colorado who went through breast cancer when I was still with Mr. NPD, said to me when I told her my diagnosis, “Hey, you can do this…If you can live with K(NPD) for 14 years, you can get through breast cancer!”

It has been seven years since Mr. NPD walked out the door. He left on the pretense that he was “off to school to get further education in his field of expertise.” I knew the truth, it was there every day in my face. He despised all of us and the life that we “made him” live on a daily basis. We were his burden. We were his misery. There was a better life that he could have had if we hadn’t burdened him down with the mundane. Besides, we were all so incompetent. Unworthy of his conversation or thoughts. We had no purpose for him, we brought him no joy or happiness. We were not the family he had perfected in his plans. He expected “prime-rib” but always got “McDonalds” from us. When he left, I had at home, 8 children under the age of 11 years. The youngest were 1 year old twin girls. They were all his biological children. I had eight children with him and when he did leave, all ten of us rejoiced. We wept with joy and relief, we felt as though we had just been released from a concentration camp run by the spawn of Hitler himself.

I know for years, you were probably asking, “Why does she stay with that @sshole?” I have realized that until you live it, its hard to understand. I’m not even sure I do. I feel as though my personality is finally coming back to life. It took going to the edge of death (chemotherapy) to bring me back to life. I am finally rid of Him. (in my physical cells) Like some others who have responded to your blog, felt like I could help him. Same thing, If I could only get to that core person…your analogy of an onion is so perfect. Your series of NPD, is becoming most helpful to my teens who are wondering about their “father”. The first one has spent this year on and off trying to “work out” a relationship with him. Jan, your article is most insightful and will help a struggling 19 year old boy begin to understand the “end is at the beginning.” Love to you. J.

Jane – Yes, I did wonder why you stayed with him. I stopped being judgmental after I got up close to someone with NPD and realized how hard it is for people on the “outside” to see what’s really going on. I now understand the subtle erosion of your identify as you jump through hoops trying to please them. Jane, You are one of the most vital, caring people I know, and I am SO proud of you. Your children are all so amazing because of YOU. You have not only survived, but triumphed. Always, Jan

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28. Michelle - December 31, 2009

Jan… The story above could be my story. Although, I only spent five years with the man, it felt like an eternity. Everyday felt like the last. I didn’t know how I was going to wake up in the morning, because life was so miserable. I have spent the last 15 months trying to divorce him, but he won’t let go. He didn’t want to be married to me, but he doesn’t want anyone else to have me either. It is an endless and very expensive battle. To tie into your other blog regarding the New Year, I am trying to stay calm and carry on. I hope 2010 brings a resolution for me and my children. My family is ready to move-on with our lives and be rid of NPD!

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29. CZBZ - January 8, 2010

Hi all!

Jan left a message on my blog, inviting me to read the commentary to her article on ‘narcissism’. Thanks, Jan!

Many of us have struggled to understand how we could love someone who was incapable of bonding, empathy, reciprocal caring and commitment.

I think one of the hardest things we face is ourselves. Why we didn’t know our partner was not committed to us…why we stayed. What there is about us that made the narcissistic relationship even possible?

The self-blame is very hard to overcome, especially since NPD is not understood by the average person. Finding ‘validation’ for our experience is difficult and without it, we stay stuck in self-blame far too long.

The fact is: anyone can meet and fall in love with a narcissist. There isn’t anyone who doesn’t have a few issues or ‘red flags’, even ourselves. How can we know someone will not eventually correct their behavior and Grow Up with us? I don’t think we can know that…

People who stay with narcissists tend to be some of the kindest, most compassionate and understanding people you will ever meet. I suppose the Silver Lining in this experience has been meeting wonderful people who did their very best to support a struggling partner. In the end, our intentions are proof of our character.

Maybe we didn’t realize how extraordinary it was to be so supportive and generous…hopefully, the healing process will restore our integrity and sense of worth. We certainly take a beating once the narcissist chooses to act on his or her selfishness. When the narcissist leaves, he or she makes we’re suffering as much as possible for failing them.

One thing I hope people will remember is that we were making our decisions based on the assumption that all people wanted to be loved, to be kind, to be accepted. That all people have a conscience and make mistakes which they hope to correct, if only someone will forgive and support them.

Had we known about NPD, we would have had a different context from which to question our assumptions. For that reason, I hope information about NPD will spread like wildfire and help the people who are still caught in the narcissist’s illusions.

There are people on this planet who cannot ‘bond’ to others, who will always serve themselves first, who will manipulate and use others like serviceable objects.

First and foremost (because I know every person who has been in a N-relationship has suffered illegitimate guilt and blame): it is not your fault. There is nothing about YOU that is defective or unconsciously driven to choose an abuser. It could happen to anyone. And once you are IN the relationship, it is very, very difficult to get OUT.

Hugs,
CZ

CZ – I’m under the impression you have children (though they could have been blown away in that Idaho wind). I was especially interested in your thoughts as to how to explain to children why their father was the way he was. But thank you for replying to my sister-in-law’s comment. You have such a wealth of information and insight that is so valuable to so many. I often refer people to your site as you have the perspective that comes from having walked the walk. Each time I read something you’ve written, I learn something. Thanks! Jan

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30. Someone - February 4, 2010

“One thing I hope people will remember is that we were making our decisions based on the assumption that all people wanted to be loved, to be kind, to be accepted. That all people have a conscience and make mistakes which they hope to correct, if only someone will forgive and support them.

Had we known about NPD, we would have had a different context from which to question our assumptions. For that reason, I hope information about NPD will spread like wildfire and help the people who are still caught in the narcissist’s illusions.”

Someone – I totally agree with you. Who amongst us knew that such a condition existed? When I first read about it, I was aghast. If only I had known. More importantly, now I do. Spread the word. Jan

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31. KT - April 23, 2010

For me, it’s been trying to be in my grown up self and seeing the man I was/am with for all his limitations. It isn’t easy to do, to take that high road instead of drowning in a pool of “what did I (or didn’t I) do? How could I have changed it?” Much easier to go spiralling into my child self…beat myself up, remember “better times”, cling to promises from the past as if fixing it with my N partner could somehow fix “everything”. I am getting better, for that I am grateful. I do cry, but less, when he doesn’t call/text/see me. I am building a life and trying to not be so available. I do care about him…like seacaspian, he has expressed issues with empathy and intimacy. At times, it is hard not to think that whatever I say comes across as a request/desire for closeness…so he pulls away. This is frustrating since I don’t have a chance to explain that no, not everything is about intimacy. But that is who he is and that I expect won’t change.

KT -I can relate to your comment, "Whatever I say comes across as a request/desire for closeness – so he pulls away." This is SO not normal and leaves you wanting to say something, but then deciding not to cause you don't want to see the look on their face if you do say something. It's hard to deal with that look of disgust. It does not bode well for the future. Jan

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32. Wiser woman - May 2, 2010

Very interesting comments and stories… i have been involved with a N for 8 years, 4 married and 4 going through a divorce that he has only one objective in… to destroy me and my finances (already the bill is $350,000) and to make himself look as if he is the victim to his followers. My biggest regret is the issues our 4 year old child will have to deal with.
It certainly made me very reluctant to ever be in a relationship with anyone ever again. I am perfectly content rearing my child alone and not falling into that trap again.. i do not have trust for anyone who has been divorced (as he was) because u wonder why that person could not maintain a stable marriage.
Not sure if I could trust a widowed man as my ex (to my deepest belief) tried to have me either kill myself or die in child birth or have a “brake failure” after he obtained $1million in life insurance and his name put on all my assets and family assets and businesses.
So this takes alot of healing,forgiveness, time, and I would rather be alone than have any further experiences as I have had the past 8 years…
BTW, the IRS can actually be your friend in these cases cause the tax law doesn’t apply to N’s as well…

~alone, tired, but happy

Wiser – My first response was, “Holy Hellhole!” Glad you’re crawling out from under this horrible experience. You do need time to process what happened before you can ever trust someone again. Everyone I know who’s had a close encounter with a narcissist never looks at humans quite the same again. They have their guard up, just in case. I have a close friend who’s in the midst of a contentious divorce with a N. Her four-year-old son has to “exchange hands” at the sheriff’s station. Her soon-to-be ex plays games with her using their child as the intermediary. So, you’re right in being concerned with how this will affect your child. But having one loving, sane parent, who’s not within shouting distance of a N is a good start. Jan

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33. LettingGo - July 2, 2010

So Jan what exactly broke the N-chantment Spell for you? I know you listed all the red flags, so was it a Combination Effect or was their a Proverbial Last Straw Moment? When reading how Joe said he would slit your wrists for you that gave me chills. That would have evidence that he is a psycho and would have been a Truth Too Painful To Ignore.

I am so glad the N-chantment Spell has broken from the Counterfeit Friend and you now know you were dealing w/an evil NVamp.

I have started writing about Counterfeit People in the Land of Narcissism. I am not a professional writer, just a person who was born into the KON (Kingdom of Narcissism) and has recently escaped an entire NFOO.

http://dealingwithtoxicpeople.blogspot.com/2010/04/great-counterfeits-in-land-of.html

Letting Go – Thanks for your kind words. I’ll check out your blog pronto. Writing about these experiences provides a wonderful catharsis. The hardest part about explaining the hows and whys of what happened is that the details would give away “Joe’s” identity. I’ve tried to maintain my professionalism as an educator and a blogger, so this has been difficult.

One minute I was his “go to ” person. Then I’d be in the same room and look right through me. It was so odd. He’s in his 40s, but has never had a real “relationship.” He’d make the most bizarre sexual comments, which always left me dumbfounded. If I said anything, his reply was always the same. “That’s just the way I am. There’s nothing off limits with me.”

I think I realized he was just a cardboard cutout of a human being, who professed to having many talents, but was a legend in his own mind. He never asked about ME. No one likes a mirror that talks back. Jan

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34. Rebecca - July 30, 2010

Hi…. Stumbled across your site in my attempts to find new information on narcissism. The incessant search for answers has been my method of healing from 3 1/2 years in a relationship with a man I now know was suffering from NPD. Key word here…. suffering. As an empathetic, loving, joyful person myself, I thought I just might be able to influence him! I am in recovery from alcoholism with 23 years of sobriety and been blessed with a return to a sane, healthy life. He, as well, was a recovering alcoholic. Part of our belief in a 12 step program is that we can’t, but God can. So, I think I believed in his case, God could. His issues go so far beyond addiction. I now know that. I had never heard of the condition NPD before this relationship. He certainly was classic. Initially, I thought we had so much in common, both recovering alcoholics, uncannily similar childhoods. I now know common dysfunction does not necessarily portend a magic connection! You mentioned it all…And, in retrospect, it was all right there, from the beginning. It made me scratch my head initially and say, “Huh”.. But, it tends to get overlooked, because the abuse isn’t as blatant as someone hitting you, and they tend to be rather successful (mine was anyhow- think John Edwards as well). You begin to rationalize their behavior. He would often make comments I thought inappropriate to others. H felt entitled to not have to wait in line, never on time, with no apology. He was the consummate name dropper. Everyone was only as good as their title,the country club they belonged to, where their children went to school. He even referred to his past dates as candidates (ie: The PhD candidate, the MD candidate). Most of our outings were things he loved to do, ballgames, physical activities… They are horrible gift givers for the most part, which again I minimized in thinking I was being ungrateful when he would buy me something that would be a benefit to him or something he liked to do ( a camera he liked, I had one, or a bicycle comes to mind), or just plain tell you he couldn’t find anything he thought suited you. They can’t buy you gifts, because they don’t listen to your likes, dislikes, etc. They lie when it would be easier to tell the truth and are constantly checking out other women, when they are with you. More than likely sleeping with them as well. I found single earrings on his car floor, condoms suddenly appearing in the nightstand. They will text and talk on their phone, even when at special dinners. Those things you tend to excuse early on. Then it simply snow balls. The first hurtful comment he made to me was, while he was actually holding me in his arms! He said, “I ask myself, why am I in love with you? It’s not like you are the prettiest or the smartest.”Our relationship was on again, off again for all those years. Just when I would get strong, he would return, with statements about missing me terribly and desperate for my love. And, I would allow him to return. His reasons for leaving… You were miserable, and it was making me miserable, and I thought I could do better. They also tend to have a real obsession for pornography, phone sex, and strip clubs…. excessively so, and I think they actually prefer it to the sexual act with another. This disorder is so insidious, before you realize it, you are sicker than the narcissist. I have/had pretty good self-esteem initially, but found myself declining into his black hole of emptiness. When I finally had the courage to end it, he then pursued me relentlessly with letters of love, checks in the mail, anything to get some of his badly needed narcissistic supply. By the grace of God, I have been able to ignore all of his attempts at re-engaging me for almost a year now. I have had no contact, whatsoever. But, I would love to see a Part Four on the effects of the narcissists victims. I have had a number of relationships through the years, some ended well, others not so well, but none have I had a more difficult time regaining my energy, and self-esteem back. Even with all the details I listed about, I find myself asking the question, “What in the hell was that all about?” I keep wanting some kind of real closure and I cannot seem to find it. I want to make sense of it, and this is a sickness you can never make sense of. How is it possible for a human being to treat others in such an inhumane manner? I am told by a therapist friend, the symptoms of victims (like me) of NPD mirror one suffering from PTSD. That is exactly how I feel. It helped to read in your article, that closure with these characters is never possible. It also helps to think of him as a cardboard cutout of a human being, a flat, emotionless, caricature. You clearly have done the best job of explaining this of anything I have read on the internet. Even Sam Vankin, who I struggle with reading, because I feel he gets his personal narcissistic supply from his own writings! Thank you so much!

Rebecca – Thank YOU so much – So much of what you said resonated with me. I had to ask myself, did I really talk about THAT? I don’t think I did, but what you described sounds painfully similar. BTW, Joe once gave me a gift that I realized later was just regifted. They are utterly clueless.

First of all, congrats on your years of sobriety. I have a close friend who’s also just hit 23 and that’s a MAJOR accomplishment! But as she told someone new to the program, alcoholism is just a symptom. I’ve learned so much from her and can see how both of you being in recovery would give you a special connection – or at least the illusion of one.

Many of those with NPD are garden variety abusers, so you don’t have visible scars from their abusive comments to show as proof. Joe and I once went to local market. He jumped out of line in front of me – I thought it was because he wanted to pay for what I was getting. But he didn’t. I asked, “What was that about?” He said he just felt like doing it. Yet, I’d rationalize these weird behaviors or ignore them.

Congrats also on avoiding his attempts to reel you back in. They just want to see if you’re still game and then abuse you again. As humans, we want to believe that people can change, but I’m afraid the N’s “emotions” and motivations are different than yours or mine. It’s all a game and they make the rules.

I hadn’t really thought about a follow-up even though it’s been three years since the D@D. I held out hope for a while thinking we’d reconnect or at least be civil to each other (as opposed to acting like the other person didn’t exist). T’was not to be. But thanks for planting this idea in my head. Nowadays, I tend to write more free-standing pieces related to narcissism, as it’s a disorder that everyone needs to know more about. Thanks again. Always, Jan

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35. Extreme Makeover Hits Close to Home « planetjan - August 21, 2010

[…] case you’re here because of the NPD link, you can read Jane’s story on the Close Encounter with a Narcissist – Part 3 Comment […]

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36. thea - December 6, 2010

My N was a platonic, same sex “best friend.” Everything you say about yout Joe could be said about my J (my N’s name also starts with a -J). They sound like twins separated at birth. I’m especially interested in what is behind their inability to converse in a normal way w/o tossing in inappropriate or non-contextual left-field comments. Any idea about this? I used to wonder at times if we were even having the same conversation.

Thea,
Thanks for providing my first laugh of the day, as it made me recall some of the left-field comments Joe threw out there that made my eyes cross. I believe some were for shock value, but mostly it’s because you’re NOT having the same conversation. It starts out the same, but remember they’re only hearing what they want to hear. And the second the conversation is no longer of interest to them, they tune out. The “Inappropriate Effect” is a common trait of Ns. I believe there’s more about that on Halycon, which is on my blog roll. (I’m off to school, so I don’t have time to double-check to see if that’s where I read about it.) These comments derail a meaningful conversation. You’re thinking, “Where on earth did that incoming verbal SCUD come from?” It’s just so utterly random. I actually wrote down a list of the inappropriate comments Joe made. Looking back on them now, they’re both bizarre and comical. Jan

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37. Tracy - January 17, 2011

NPD- don’t try to project normal responses or reactions. A true NPD does NOT feel as a normal human feels- though “acts” that they do- & they project this via their uncanny ability to observe & act “as they should”. NPD- they do not “feel” anything as you do. Their entire existence is a 5-7 yr. old who expects everyone to bend to them- all anger & impatience.

It will never change…

Tracy

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38. Natasha - January 17, 2011

I met a narcissist and went on two dates with him. I had no idea while getting to know him by phone that there was anything wrong. He was just so incredibly charming. However, on the second date, his behavior struck me as bizarre and frightening. I literally felt like an object, and I escaped. Since then, he has been on the chase. He calls and leaves “caring” messages for me wanting to see me again. I feel so desperately that I should call him and befriend him, at least, as he is clearly lonely, but I know it is not the right thing to do. Thank you for these posts. They solidify my position that I should maintain the strong boundaries I’ve drawn to protect myself from further pain.

Natasha – Although you can’t be certain he has NPD, there are serious red flags that should send you scurrying – away. As I wrote, those with NPD most love the chase, so the fact that you were able to see through him so early on, must have been a blow to his False Self. They then either run for the hills or ratchet up the charm another notch to try and convince you that they ARE a caring person. It’s quite a performance. You’re smart to have avoided being sucked back in. Strong boundaries alert us to incursions by those who would do us harm. Best of luck. Jan

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39. Becky - January 17, 2011

I spent four years off and on with my narcissist. Never realized fully that was what he was. Just knew he had no empathy, said some rather bizzare things and felt off balance most of the time. This man is an incredibly successful individual, partner in a law firm and I justified so much. Bad childhood, separation from his wife with a pending divorce. He wavered between being super attentive and loving to indifferent and cold. Played his estranged wife and I back and forth. I couldn’t take it anymore. I left in September of 2009. He continues to write love letters on birthdays, holidays, etc. and has even sent cashier’s checks for money claiming he made investments in both of our names and he has cashed them in. Sadly, I see that as his attempt to establish contact again…I don’t. Do they ever tire of pursuing their supply? It has been a year and a half. I am still reeling from the inconsistencies and insidious abuse, but getting healthier every day. I know someday it will be rarely a passing thought but it still is fresh even after this amount of time. I am sure it doesn’t help that he continues to write, etc. And, he even went back to live with his wife he was divorcing when we split up! Great lesson for me, never, ever date someone who is not divorced for at least a year. Fortunately, he lives in a city far enough away I don’t have to risk running into him. I just wondered if they ever give up?

Becky,
Some with NPD, especially if you’ve called them on their bad behavior or told them you know what they are, retreat with their tail between their legs never to be heard from again. That would be Joe. That said, once I mentioned a woman I’d worked with at a previous job. It turned out Joe had gone to school with her. He’d pursued her, but she made it clear she had zero interest in him. Yet he immediately suggested that “we” call her. Luckily, her last name is extremely difficult to spell and she couldn’t be found. But I believe his interest was rekindled precisely because she had been immune to his “charms” the first time around.

I’ve written about my interest in serial killers before. (How’s THAT for a segue!) After Ted Bundy was rejected by a college coed, he went to great pains to reinvent himself and become a “success.” He then looked her up again and once she expressed interest in him, he promptly dumped her. It was all a game to see if he could lure her back in to get even. It should be noted that almost all of his victims physically resembled her. I mention this because all psychopaths have strong narcissistic traits along with a lack of empathy.

He’ll most likely continue to contact you until he’s 100% sure you won’t go for the bait. That will take time. “Feeling off balance” is a great way to sum up a relationship with a N. For the record, many Ns can be incredibly successful in one area of their life, but their emotional life is always pretense. It’s truly is a day at a time. Best of luck and please check back. Jan

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40. dogkisses - February 6, 2011

Hi Jan,

This is an excellent series and I’m going to read it again. I need a refresher course in NPD. It’s easy to forget what the real problem was and feel that we (the victims) are not worthy of love after having a rel. with a severe narcissist.

I can’t believe I haven’t already read the entire series. I want to read all the comments too.

I love the way you wrote your story. I wrote mine accidentally, haphazardly and now I feel as though I am somehow not finished –I’m not quite sure what unfinished business I have, but I think I’m going to write more and see if it helps.

I do have one question for you. It is a bit out of context, but I’ll come back after reading more thoroughly your series, most likely to thank you gloriously, because you are an excellent writer and have given a wonderful gift to everyone who needs to learn, and keep learning, about NPD.

My question is about one statement you made:
“When you’re a teenager, or even in your twenties, this kind of daydreaming is normal. But not in your forties.–

–“Narcissists love to envision grand scenarios starring – themselves! What they lack is the follow-through to make them reality.”

Jan, I think we all begin to wonder about ourselves after being intimate with a narcissist. I think we question if we are one, do you agree? In that context, when I saw this statement I thought oh no! Don’t let that be me!

I’m in my forties, and I do dream of things I can do, but it’s because fibromyalgia and CFS kicked my unowhat. I had to stop college and working.

So, I do still dream that one day things could change. I dream about being able to do something like have a monthly newspaper column about disability and poverty, or stigma, which are the things I know about. Sometimes I dream that I could work p/t at the grocery store. I don’t think these are such grand dreams. Then, CFS usually hits and I think to myself, what was I thinking?! That I could do this, that or the other, when every time I turn around there is either a crisis with my son, another family member or I get really sick.

I guess a “grand-scenario” or I hope, is different than a reasonable hope that my illnesses will not forever keep me down and on the edge of society.

What do you think Jan?

Thank you so much for writing this the way you did. It is excellent and I’m glad I have ink now, ’cause I’m going to print it and read it.

Michelle (dogkisses)

Michelle,
After my close encounter, I DID wonder as to fend off some of the verbal abuse, I became more like Joe. It’s like it rubbed off on me, but ultimately I could see what was going on.

I hate to break it to you but having a monthly newspaper column IS magical thinking. But that’s only because the majority of newspapers are now filing for bankruptcy! :) The fact that you blog about these issues is proof that your “dreams” are tethered to reality. When I talk about a “grand scenario,” it always stars the N and is a fantasy lacking any follow through. Now I like to fantasize that in an emergency, I would volunteer to take over the controls in the cockpit and land the jet on the runway. But I KNOW that’s a fantasy, because I can’t even reprogram the clock in my car for Daylight Savings Time! I’ve also dreamed of writing a children’s book. I still might. But if I do, it will be because it’s something I really want to do, not because doing so would put me in the spotlight.

As humans, we need “dreams” to envision a different future for ourselves and our society. There’s a reason Dr. King’s speech is called the “I Have a Dream” speech. Dreams CAN become reality. Your dreams are realistic, though subject to the whims of your illness. Your dreams are based on helping others and living a “normal” life (if there really is such a thing). It sounds corny, but I have dreams for each of my students. Sometimes that’s what gets me out of bed in the morning. (I also dream of how my paycheck might help pay off some bills.) We need dreams. But then we have to take action to make those dreams become reality. Sometimes dreams get deferred, but that doesn’t mean the dream has to die.

Fantasies, on the other hand, aren’t real. These are what the N indulges in. There is a poster in my classroom showing literary genres. To help children remember what a “Fantasy” is the words “phony” and “fake” are offered. Think how often those same words come to mind when you think of a N! Hope this was of some help. By all means, read the comments. I’ve gained so much insight from reading them. It’s always good to know you’re not alone. Jan

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41. dogkisses - February 7, 2011

Hi Jan,
Thank you for such a thoughtful reply! I feel better already :)–I’m serious actually. Some days are hard because of the memories, but as I write, I’m doing OK you know.

I agree about the newspaper business, of course, I was thinking more along the lines of a small stipend in a small hometown paper. I see what other people write in there and I think I could write that well if it was in an area that I know about. But you are right, that one is up there, high in the sky.

The N I knew was a savvy businessman with plenty of “successes,” under his belt, but he did brag a lot and I thought had an inflated and false sense about how “everyone thought he was so perfect.” They likely do since he has this entire personality created right, one that endears people and makes them sign contracts. I’m sure I’m not the only, “casualty of his pathology,” as he once told me I had been.

Off subject, I think you must be a great teacher. –“I have dreams for each of my students.”(Jan)

How awesome! Some teachers could care less. I wish I had known teachers when I was in school who had a dream for me. Keep your dreams and they aren’t corny. Teachers have the power to make a tremendous impact on a person’s life.

Thank you again for your writing and your fresh and open way of communicating. Thanks too for dropping by my little corner.

I hope you have a nice day!

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42. Rene - March 11, 2011

I love this article, and learned a great deal. All the puzzle pieces are fitting together now. It depicts the same events that I experienced with a narcissistic friend (co-worker) over the past few years. However, when I was going through it – I had no idea what was happening, didn’t have a label, etc. – because none of it makes sense from a logical human perspective. But it’s funny, because my narcissist friend’s experience as a child is right on the mark – with regard to his parents. I would say it’s almost a text book case.

Rene – I’m glad you found what I wrote helpful. My favorite part about blogging is receiving comments like yours. When I was going through this, I, too, had no idea what was happening. It was so odd and unlike anything I’d ever experienced. But somewhere along the line, I googled “narcissism.” Call it a gut feeling. Who knew? My friend was from a family that immigrated to the U.S. He spent his childhood in a boarding school with his brother while his three older sisters lived at home. I once told him I was surprised his mother hadn’t killed him. His reply was, “She didn’t have to – she sent me to boarding school instead.” He used this to curry sympathy and explain away his bad behavior to the unsuspecting. But after awhile, his boorish behavior could no longer be excused. He was a grown man who obviously relished saying things that made other people cringe. Ugh! Jan

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43. Jerry - July 28, 2011

Jan:

I, too, would like to add my thanks on your insightful articles. My case deals with a same-sex friend with whom I had a brief, close relationship. However, the signs were there from the beginning: the lack of empathy; the need for love and attention, etc. As a giving person I would do anything for this person and they gladly took all that I gave without reciprocation of any kind. A co-worker’s suggestion that my friend had NPD lead me to much research and, eventually your site. All I can say after reading the articles is that you must have been spying on me. :-) The narrative was eerily accurate.

The friend has moved some distance away and it would be all too easy to call it a day, especially that I now realize what I am dealing with. My issue is now that I feel a sense of obligation if you will. The person in question is headed down a path of their own making and a happy ending just doesn’t seem possible. I guess I fall into that ‘saint’ category. I don’t wish to abandon my friend but now realize that I can only do so much. Whatever the course, articles like yours will help me approach my relationship with this person from a standpoint of knowledge and strength (I hope).

Many thanks again and continued success with all that you are doing to help those who have encountered NPD in their lives.

Gatorguy

Jerry aka Gatorguy,
I’m afraid you’re going to be the one who has hit arm bitten off (or more likely your head) by your “friend.” I can’t tell you how many readers have told me that I must have been a fly on the wall because what I described so reminded them of their own experience. This is only because those with NPD are all reading from the same script. After I realized that “Joe” had NPD (but not before I fully comprehended it), I could predict with virtually 100 percent accuracy Joe’s reaction to whatever I would say or do.

I have a friend who became close friends with another woman she later realized had NPD. They were neighbors. They had children the same age. When this woman had breast cancer, my friend travelled to another state to visit her in the hospital, but she could never do right by this woman. My friend moved away (though in the same town) and put some distance between them. She did some serious thinking and realized this woman was never going to change. Each time she saw her, she came away feeling “less than.” You can’t save these people – but they can take you down with them. This woman still calls my friend from time to time. But my friend knows that she has no real interest in her. There is no saving these people from themselves.

Take note that no one can become a saint until they’re dead (though you might die trying)! Even Mother Teresa expressed doubts on her deathbed. Being a saint is one lonely thankless job. The only person you can change is yourself. No one can guarantee any of us a happy ending. Even if someone with NPD met the most wonderful person in the world, had the perfect job, and adoring children, they wouldn’t appreciate it and would slowly poison those who wanted to love them. That’s what they do best. Wishing you peace…and clarity. :) Jan

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44. mojozza - January 25, 2012

My daughter is in a 6yr marriage, which fits this description. She has asked me to help. Have traveled from SW to east coast to be with her. They have No children, but 4 dogs. I’m currently Unemployed, single, my children are all adults, so im here for her.
He is a prison guard. She has a great job, and after about 8 months of waiting has a transfer in place. She will be going back with me. Any tips or warnings regarding this situation would be greatly appreciated.

Mojozza,
You didn’t mention whether your daughter had initiated divorce proceedings. FYI – Comment #27 is from my dear sister-in-law and Comment #28 is from a friend, so I know personally how some Ns react when the Big D word comes up. It’s lucky for your daughter that there are no children involved, though as a devoted dog person, I know that even who gets the dogs can be like a custody battle.

Personally, my experience is that once you expose a N for who s/he is, they make a quick exit. It’s like you never existed. Out of sight, out of mind. There are, however, those who will not gracefully exit the stage. They’d rather maintain a negative connection than have no contact at all. They play mind games and delight in making your life miserable over every detail of visitation (one example) just to exert what limited control they have.

Although A Shrink for Men (on my blogroll) is geared toward men in similar situation, there are a lot of articles about high-conflict divorces and what to expect. Just substitute “he” for “she.” Your daughter will have the advantage of having a job (so she’s not financially dependent on the N) and in having distance between them. She’ll also have you in her corner – I imagine after six years, she just needs to be able to talk without having someone else pass judgement. Please keep me posted. Always, Jan

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45. Meg - February 23, 2012

I know these blog entries were written several years ago, but they have helped me in some way.

The last convo I had with this narcissistic guy was him saying, “Its my prerogative for you not to understand. Do you know what prerogative means?” I responded with “yes” Then his response was “You are smart and perceptive!” It wasn’t until I walked away that I realized what he had done. He literally just mirrored himself and truly showed his true identity….a narcissist. Another thing he did that continually hurt was him saying “I don’t remember”…even if it was a day later because he interpreted that little bit of time as a long time ago. It was quite hurtful for him to say that along with “you take things personal” and “I think its important to always say what you think” while I was in such emotional pain. There are men who are assholes but a narcissist far exceeds that of an asshole. He shows his pain via Facebook (so others can see of course) with things like “time to pack my bags”…although most people thought he was going on a trip…everything he says is very “cryptic”. After one of our “nothing” fights he wrote on his fb to a girl (on his own page) “Do you hate me too?” But to a lot of people he seems “genuine” because he will say things like “I try not to manipulate anyone” or something along those lines also “I guess I shouldn’t use the term friend so loosely”. One thing I noticed is that he rarely used “I” when he spoke, which I thought was odd. Right off the bat he wanted to know personal details about my sex life/past relationships. He liked the innocent girls of course and he liked to up the sex talk…oddly enough he was a man with a low low low sex drive. Another thing he did was constantly talk about “love”…in fact one of his past loves wrote “If you are lucky you will meet someone who will make you feel small and unimportant and you will realize love is not based on worship , but its based on simplicity and reciprocity. I am totally over it” Another thing he told me was that he was a “polarizing person” you either hated or loved him. He would make remarks like “I love people who are worth it” and “Ignoring a person shows them how important they are” And the lies…the ones that werent lies because he never truly lies…he just keeps things “vague” so you misunderstand.

I could go on and on…its amazing how this man could have so many loyal friends….he was emotionally and psychologically abusive.

Meg,
I’m off to meet parents before school starts, but I could go on and on about how the comments you cited sound SO much like Joe. I shall write more later. Jan

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46. Meg - February 26, 2012

I wanted to add a little more…

The hard part in dealing with him is trying to make the distinction between the intent or accidental. Communication is a 2-way street so I cant help to think that I wasn’t properly communicating (especially since of my “Aspie” qualities). In many cases and people I know those two types of people are often seen by the outside world as being the same even though if you really look at them closely they are in fact in most cases on the opposite end of the spectrum. The exception is that when someone like me is confronted I try to understand where they are coming from. This guy undermined me in very small ways …”who gets together on Sundays anyways?” which does not seem like much, but a quote i read from another website “If I could add up all your cuts they would lead to death.” Even some of the small things like when he sent me a website link…I asked where…he told me but he was quick to add “dipshit” to the end. When I think about it I do feel stupid because it should have been obvious…Another thing would be he would say things like “I didn’t say that” but never would expand on what he actually meant. The girlfriend he had after me ended it with him after 6 months…the guy accidentally dialed her phone (because it was in his pocket) but told her he did not remember placing a phone call…of course he told me the story (I ran into him accidentally). As you can see he does not “lie” but in a way he does. He also tells me that she got super angry so I can see why the outside world believes that he “just has bad luck” because I am thinking to myself “why would someone get mad over such a minor accident” but then I realized what had happened. I believe this is a form of “gaslighting.” Originally with his “memory issues” I kind of let it go because people cant help that they cannot remember something. I find the whole experience traumatic because I am the cold, indifferent, eccentric, “abuser” while he is the warm, charming, abused individual. I know for a fact I always tried to understand, but I cant say I was not abusive.

Meg,
It’s been a crazy weekend, so here I finally am to “write more.” What you’re describing IS gaslighting. Just like you say, individually, some comments/behaviors might seem petty. I thought maybe I was the one misinterpreting them. But I lived in NYC for years, so I’ve been there done that. Eventually, I wrote down all of the odd things Joe said. When I looked at them all on one page, everything came into focus. It wasn’t ME. It was HIM. What horrible things to say someone (with a smile on your face). “I bet you got knocked up. Yeah, you seem like the kind of woman who’d got knocked up.” And yes there was a lot of talk about sex, but Joe wasn’t interested in sex (at least, not in any normal way). He was interested in seeing what he could say to shock me.

And instead of telling him where to shove it, I explained that both of my sons were planned. Joe just smiled. He enjoyed putting me on the defensive. You can’t reason with a crazy person, yet I was trying. It was all a bit surreal. You sound like a very caring person. Know that it was NOT you. I suggest that you DO write down things he said to you in a dispassionate manner. I’d forgotten many of the downright creepy things Joe said to me, but recently I came across the list. That could be a post in itself as it’s SO revealing as to how these little barbs cut deep. And it’s hard for people to understand that you’ve been abused when the bruises you have are inside. Thanks so much for commenting. Jan

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47. jackie - April 10, 2012

I have been in an on again off again relationship with a NPD person for the last 2.5 years. I have endured an early childhood of physical and psychological abuse and was lucky enough to be placed in a childrens orphanage at the age of 6 which put an end to all the previous years of abuse.
None of what I had endured early on in my life or years of therapy to be able to mother 5 beautiful daughters had prepared me for the quiete abuse of a narcissist.
So utterly soul destroying but with a spiritual outlook and turning to meditation and handing over the reigns to the universe I have been able to fully understand it and let go of the destruction he was causing me.
At times I thought I was going crazy and always found myself dismissing my GUT instincts, word to the wise never ever dismiss what your gut is trying to tell you !
I also understand at a deeper level that I was an enabler and I own that about myself, it is that has set me free the most.
To anyone out there going thru this be strong and take baby steps set yourself small attainable goals which will prep you for the closure and chance for freedom
Thanks for a wonderful forum for us all to share – love light and strength x

Jackie,
When I first met with a therapist, he said that most people who’d put up with a narcissist for any length of time had one in their family of origin. They’d been so conditioned by abuse (or neglect) that they took it as the norm. This was a revelation since neither of my parents was a N. Looking back, however, I believe my first “true love” was.

I’ve been in the the process of writing a post about gut instincts. You are so right. Looking back, my gut feelings were incredibly accurate. But my intellect over-road these – the same instincts that were developed to protect our species very survival. Thanks for lighting a fire beneath me to finish the post. :)Jan

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48. Lilah - April 17, 2012

I’m glad I came here. It’s been a real eye opener for me, since a lot of this sounds like my ex-boyfriend. I don’t know if he’s a full-blown narcissist or if he just has some narcissistic traits, but I will say that he really burned me. It’s been nearly a year since he discarded me without so much as a goodbye. Most days, I think I’m over him, but I still think about WAY too often.

Lilah,
Ultimately, whether he has NPD or just has strong narcissistic traits, it’s a no win situation either way. Most people I know say it took them 2 years to move on and even then, it was a day at a time. It’s very hard to realize you’ve been “had,” but you’re not alone. It DOES get better. One day you’ll realize that you’ve gone the whole day and not thought of him once. :)
Jan

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49. HoBo - May 17, 2012

All I can say is, “amazing”!,after reading this article. I know truthfully that you have been in the scorpions den, because fact is larger than fiction. My gratitude goes out for your willingness to share your experience with others so they can see and heal.The deception though devastating, can be reversed through your testimony and others involvement on this site. I don’t know if there is enough hard drive space for my experiences,”May God Bless”.

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HoBo - May 21, 2012

Sorry Jan,couldn’t sleep. “Life with a true Narcissist”, scratch THAT, “Agony with an empty soul”. Note:This may only make sense to those that have been stung by the scorpion,so like the song goes,Lord please don’t let me be misunderstood.Make no mistake about it, the uneasy feelings that you are experiencing and or have experienced are real and not imagined.”To thy known self be true”, also applies to your inner voice telling you to pay attention,do to the events and unsettled spirit that has awakened inside. The ultimate con is just beginning to fester into a freight train headed for hell,(you have just been given,unknowingly, a free ticket to ride),”ALL ABOARD”! Your ever smiling ticket “master” will not let you off at your convenience.The only way for you to get a departure,is jump,at high speed.Remember,look before you leap,insure the area your traveling in has a more suitable and safer landing for exit (like say sand rather than gravel). Do not be a dog and return to it’s vomit (the scorpion strikes viciously when its victim is yielding). Like a bottomless pit, dark and hollow, where you clench your fists in utter frustration till your body is drench with agony. When you see the light,make that absence of light at the end of the tunnel,”Geronimo”!, Will….Be….Your Battle Cry. May God Bless.

P.S. I have no on staff editor. P.S.S.,Husband filmmaker + your insight = Life changing ,full length footage (can you say Life Fest Film Festival)?

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50. Suzi - June 15, 2012

Jan,

I came across your blog while doing some pretty extensive research into “what the F is wrong with me and/or him” after having an actual encounter with someone who I have now diagnosed as NPD. I am a lawyer…by nature I am a logical thinker. This man dismissed me after telling me he loved me and, no matter my apologies or attempts to shoulder blame (which I didn’t really think I owed or deserved), he shut me down. Just. Like. That. Bewildering. The logical thinker in me needed answers.

From what little information I got, this man grew up as an only child in a home with a “controlling” mother. His father was apparently abusive towards his mother, but left when he was two. I went to high school with him, and knew “of” him, but was not friends with him. I, and others, remember him from back then mostly because he dressed like Carlton from The Fresh Prince of Beverly Hills and carried a briefcase. He also gave a lot of black history speeches. That’s all I knew of him. Thought he was pretentious back then.

Forward 22 years. I come across this guy on Facebook. We flirt, a little bit, for a couple of years. Eventually we meet in person. The physical attraction, for me, was immediate. He seemed the same way. We began a physical relationship right away. The whole relationship was INTENSE right from the beginning. We live in different cities, about 45 minutes apart. After spending the first night with him, however, he could not get enough. He was going out of his way to come to see me. He texted me ALL THE TIME. He called. We spent every single weekend together. Of course, I liked it. He was VERY into sex. He would practically keep me in bed all weekend, and seem to get a little annoyed when I had other things to do. He always left me with bruises….alll over my arms, my breasts, my butt….I hated that. He said he couldn’t help it. He would tell me how much he loved my body…parts.

I had red flags from the beginning. My first sign, I think, was that he would on occasion almost parrot something that I knew that I had said before. Like….he was mimicking a feeling or emotion that I had had. Seriously, I would think to myself….”I just said that yesterday.” A few weeks after our whirlwind sexual/have to be with you all the time “thing,” he informed me that a big project had come in at work and that he would be pretty busy. Well, that’s when he started ignoring me. The texts stopped. The calls stopped. And when I would say something to him about it, he would get defensive. He still came over every weekend, and everything was “fine.” I was crazy. He loved me. He wanted to marry me. He wanted to “put his baby in me.” (I am almost 40. I have two kids. I’m done. But, he repeatedly told me how he “wanted to put his baby in me.”). He wanted me to rent out my house. Buy a house with him. Get MARRIED. I was with him for a couple of weeks?!?! He had never been with anyone like me before. Ever. Sexually or otherwise. There was no category for me.

As an aside, an acquaintance of mine from high school dated him. A mutual friend warned me when I told her that I was dating him to “be careful.” Without more. I said something to him about it (about a week into the relationship), and he quickly responded to me, called me, told me he wanted to explain…..he “treated her badly.” And he felt “bad” about it. No more than that.

Each week that I was with him, while he was in his city and I in mine, we would argue about something. First, he accused me of using an inappropriate epithet (he is black, I am white). Untrue. Although I did briefly question myself. The next week, he had an issue with my jealous ex, and another guy who he perceived “liked” me. No matter what I told him, or what explanations I gave, he refused to drop it. I felt like he was trying to find out what was wrong with me. The next week, he announced that he was going to have strippers come to clean his apartment. He didn’t understand why that irritated me.

When he would spend the weekend at my house, he would sleep. A lot. He said he needed his uninterrupted sleep. He would be irritable if he didn’t get it. He would keep me up half the night having sex, even though I protested….and be annoyed that I would have other things to do. He needed his sleep. Period. He claimed himself to by a typical Type A personality…he ALWAYS had “work to do,” but when he would get on his computer, I never saw any work happening.

About 8 weeks in, it all came to a head. I felt almost like there was something that snapped in his head. We had enjoyed a great weekend together (although I dragged him into socializing with high school friends at a bar after they sent a drink over to us, that irritated him). The following morning, he jumped out of bed, very uncharacteristically, and said he had “an idea in [his] head.” Weird. He left later that day, told me he loved me.

The following day, he sent me a text message while I was at work. This was also uncharacteristic as his love only came on the weekends at this point. He informed me that he was invited to a wedding, as a date, and he felt ambivalent about wanting to say no. I, of course, responed as expected…uhhh…you have a girlfriend, just say no. I questioned, however, why he had the conflicting feeelings about saying no. Several hours later, many messages later, after he twisted everything around…..from all he was doing was “sharing” that he was invited to a wedding, to all he was doing was asking my permission to go to a wedding on a platonic date with an ex-girlfriend (why shouldn’t he, I go to happy hour with male friends), to him telling me that he really wanted to go to the wedding…..I got “dismissed.” I could not argue with him. I could not win.

I sent him an email, seeking closure. I accepted responsibility for my part in any miscommunication. I asked how he could tell me he loved me, and then dismiss me so callously. He responded…..you, you, you, you, you…..no acknowledgment of any behavior on his part. No apology. Just blame. He was done with me. Discarded.

I haven’t heard from him since. I guess he’s moved on to his next victim. I have never been through ANYTHING like this with anyone. EVER. Mystifying. It was 9 weeks.

~S

Suzi,
So sorry you had to go through this. It all sounds extremely intense and confusing. I’m currently staying at my college roommate’s house in the Midwest. She also had a close encounter with a narcissist, so it’s a subject we’re both all too familiar with.

I haven’t read through everyone’s comments for awhile, but I learn so much from the people who stop to comment. I remember a woman who had a guy “sweep her off her feet” and propose, only to vanish the next day. N’s are emotional con men and have no compunction when it comes to folding up their tent and moving on in the middle of the night without so much as a backwards glance. It defies logic, so that’s the sticking point. If you’re a normal (okay, semi-normal) person, you replay everything that happened and try to make logical sense of it. But, it gets so confusing and illogical because what they say one day was never said the next day. “Is it me?” I believe they often believe their own BS and at least justify it out of their eternal fear of actually connecting with another human on an emotional level. Consider yourself lucky that he’s out of your life and you didn’t stick around for the sequel (which always ends badly).

You didn’t mention what he’d been doing all those years that you were out of contact. Some people look to be happily married, but have numerous women on the side. Others are forever on the prowl. One of the reddest flags that now appears on Match.com and other dating sights, is to beware of the man who “sweeps you off your feet.” And again, it’s all about the chase. Once they’ve “conquered” you that head off to plant their flag on distant mountains. I SO understand your confusions and disbelief about what happened. Been there and done that – still waiting for the t-shirt to prove it. :) Always, Jan

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51. Lesley - June 18, 2012

Suzi, I’m up early here in the UK and just had to say that I get all that you are saying,,,completely and utterly.
I am recovering after an eighteen month ordeal with an intense somatic narcissist and in the end he disappeared like snow on a sunny day too. I got no explanation apart from my own logic. I was onto him and it was becoming hard work for him to keep up the mask…
There was literally nothing he wouldn’t promise me,we went looking for houses at his urging,’nothing’ compared to me,we were going to look after each other in old age… he was about to propose….this until I confronted him about his internet harem and recurring ex girlfriends.A week later I was toast.
For what it’s worth, feel your disbelief,get angry. I just think it’s so important to stay in touch with your own feelings, like getting an intravenous drip back to ‘self’.
Jan’s site is a wee oasis that made sense for me when I was still reeling.Stay in touch and I’m so sorry that you had to go through what you describe.Thinking of you. L

Lesley,
Thanks so much for offering hope to someone else who is hurting. Always, Jan

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52. Suzi - June 18, 2012

I appreciate your input Lesley and Jan. Jan, he is 41….never been married. Not sure if he has ever been in a long-term relationship. He mentioned a lot of ex’s. Enough so that I commented once that everyone was his ex. Although it seems very few people familiar with him know this, he has a 2.5 year-old daughter with one of his ex’s. I know very little about that situation either, other than he tried to “control” the ex during her pregnancy. I guess she wasn’t interested in it. I would love to know….but I suppose that’s more info I will never get.

Suzi,
FYI, Joe was 40 and never married. I once asked him about long-term relationships he’d had. He looked absolutely at a loss. There were no old friends who knew him back when and when he switched jobs, his “friends” aka coworkers ceased to exist. He, too, talked about his mother in a dismissive way. He’s now 45 and still on the prowl for someone to be his shiny new toy for just as long as it takes for that new car smell to wear off. At one point, I thought having more information about his situation would provide me with greater insight. I now realize that’s not the case – it only gets in the way of moving forward with your life. Living well IS the best revenge (in case Karma is a long time coming.) :) Always, Jan

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53. Lesley - June 19, 2012

Hey Suzi,
Here are a couple of links to ‘Baggage Reclaim’ you may find helpful.

http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/future-faking-is-like-the-emperors-new-clothes/

http://www.baggagereclaim.co.uk/the-truth-about-intentions-do-you-really-need-to-work-out-whether-they-intended-to-hurt/

You may know the site,it touches on Narc behaviour a bit but mostly covers all the reasons we end up with unavailable people,how they roll and manipulate and what we can do about it.
For ourselves and our own recovery because…they may be irredeemable.
Jan is dead on track with the living well. Don’t chase ‘the closure’ explanation, we never get it. I personally think this is why they do it quickly, they know that their reasons are crap, that they are faltering to give explanation…so they abdicate the situation swiftly.
They hate to be uncomfortable or wrong…it’s not like a ‘normal’ who would feel pain or empathy. They are always looking to make a situation work for them.
Regarding control,yes, my eighteenth month Narc was also very controlling and possessive…at first endearing, then stifling. Complete different standard for his own behaviour…and he was blinkered about this.They really see the world in a different way to us. Light Shine,
Les

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54. Phil - July 14, 2012

Narcissists, only someone who’s being close to one understands the effect they have on you! But to fully comprehend and rationalise the experience, it takes a great deal of insight and healing!

I write this from the perspective of an emotionally mature adult with the ability to empathise. What takes you off balance about a narcissist, is their inability to empathise.

It is the Narcissist’s inability to empathise which often invokes the anger of people who can empathise.

But here’s some irony for you to think about. Assuming you can empathise with another human being that is? The narcissist demonstrates their inability to empathise, because they are selfish. You in turn become very angry as a result.

Do you know what anger is?. Anger itself is a temporary suspension of empathy in people who can empathise! ))))) It’s quite funny to think about really. The Narcissist is incapable of Empathy, the Narcissist invariably induces anger in a victim, who in turn loses their ability to empathise (it’s a temporary loss in you though, only until your anger subsides) .

Don’t forget the most important point though. A narcissist can NEVER empathise. (Sometimes you can mistakenly think a narcissist can empathise because they can often seem to sympathise for others) The difference is that they are often considering their own feelings and NOT those of other people. Imagine somebody gets hit by car, if a narcissist is sympatheic to the victim it’s because their narrative reads ‘Oh my God, that could easilly have been me getting hurt instead of that object who I don’t care about and can’t feel for’ …………….
A narcissist can feel and have a sense of their own hurt, but they can’t put themselfves ‘in the shoes’ of another to feel it as they would.
It’s NOT empathy for the victim, the only feeling a narcissist has is their own feelings for themselves. Understand the difference!
To a narcissist, other people are just the same as any other inanimate objects in the world (props) which don’t have ‘feelings’ to be considered by the narcissist.

The thing about narcissists is that people who can empathise, get very upset and angry, become emotionally hurt by them. They use people, they are selfish, they invoke fury and wrath in people. We’ve all felt these things having being ‘close’ to a narcissist. I think it’s a wonder that they have stayed alive as long as they have, most of them purely because it’s illegal to kill them.))))

But let me stop myself!!!! What do I sound like like now, I’m venting my anger?? I’m venting anger and I in turn have lost my ability to empathise. I’m as bad as any narcissist when I’m amgry. ;)

Here’s my epthany which I want to share with you, I hope it helps some of you rationalise your experiences and come to terms with your hurt.

Emotionally narcissists are NOT adults. THEY ARE CHILDREN. Physically and intellectually they are adults, emotionally they are children. Narcissists were often emotionally traumatised in childhood, becomming a narcissist was the best and sometimes only defence mechanism they could take, to avoid any future pain and trauma on a scale of the life defining trauma which then shaped (and stunted) their future development. But their emotional development STOPPED at this stage and they can’t continue to grow emotionally. Let me repeat that sentence. The emotional development of a narcissist STOPPED in childhood (often at the age of a trauma) and they CAN’T continue to mature emotionally.
I’m repeating myself for my own benefit and for yours too, because you might forget this point and think otherwise!!

Now here’s my empithany. It’s me going back to being the empathising person I know I am and like to be, as well as my forgiveness of the narcissist!! )) As soon as you start to hate, the narcissist has won. But that’s not the way to think about it either. The narcissist isn’t trying to ‘beat’ you. They don’t have a concept of other people as feeling human beings. On the stage drama that is a narcissists life, everything is a prop. Everything is in place to embellish the ego of a narcissist and win them the attention they so much crave. Using and throwing away a person is no more vindictive than doing the same thing to any other peice of stage equipment. You (or it) was only ever there to help the show along, for the narcissist gain attention (which is their drug). To borrow someone elses quote ‘all props are interchangeable’

Back to my epithany. I have a 9 yr old daughter (who will hopefully one day mature. But for argument’s sake let’s say that she will always be 9yrs old emotionally, The nature of our relationship will always be that of a mature parent and an emotionally immature / dependant child.

If I take her for an ice cream, she’ll probably say ‘thank you daddy’ as an afterthough. Because that’s what people do and that’s what you are supposed to say. Sometimes ‘daddy’ might even have to prod a ‘thankyou’ out of her for politeness sake. It’s not that she’s spoilt and ungrateful by nature, but she’s my daughter and therefore she know’s she’s probably entitled to my love and attention and generousity. Did you get that word “ENTITLED’?
Like any little girl, she’s also entitled to my attention, I should show an interest in her friends/ activities and any other pursuit she might follow when she’s not interested in,my attention.
If she has candy, she know’s it’s polite to offer to share. But she also knows I’m not probably going to take it from her. Likewise, she knows that she doesn’t have to spend her pocket money on her dad. If it’s father’s day or a birthday she might need reminding by her mum, because that’s what people do.
If I were to trouble her with my concerns about paying the mortgage and she doesn’t understand or seem interested. Is it because she thoughtless or selfish?
OF COURSE NOT BECAUSE SHE”S A 9 YR OLD GIRL THE SAME AS ANY OTHER 9 YR OLD GIRL.

Now imagine somebody with the emotional maturity of a 9 yr old girl as a 39 yr old woman in an adult relationship.
Here my friends, is a narcissist!!!!!

Phil,
You’re right on all counts. I teach 8-9 year olds and I can say with all honesty that they’re way more empathetic than any of the narcissists I’ve encountered. On Halcyon, there’s an article, “Now We Are Six,” which details the traits of a six-year-old. And of course, what’s cute or “normal” for a six-year-old is just odd and inappropriate in an adult. I think what perplexes most people is that disconnect between the adult body and the immature self-centered mindset of a narcissist. Thanks for articulating this so well. :) Jan

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Phil - July 14, 2012

Jan, thank you for your kind words.
So much information surrounding the topic of Narcissism is counter intuitive, it is increasingly difficult to correctly label a ‘true’ narcissist personality against the ‘background noise’ of society and culture as it is today. What I’m saying of course, is that Western society and culture has itself become more narcissistic than it was years ago. Therefore, because the ‘baseline’ has moved up (i,e, society/culture is by nature now more narcissistic than it used to be) …….. are you sure you’re looking at a ‘real’ narcissist or just somebody who has a few narcissistic traits which are nothing out of the ordinary in todays world?)) Of course to a degree, everybody has some narcissitic tendencies.

Hence, it took me a very long time to realise I’d been in a relationship with a narcissist, as opposed to somebody with a few narcissistic traits wrongly labeled as a narcissist.

There are plenty of signs and red flags, it’s how to interpret them properly against the backdrop of culture and society, without wrongly leaping to a conclusion of a narcissistic personality. Unfortunately, they blend in much better than they used to and avoid detection, it easier for them to confuse people than ever before.

These are the counter intuitive traits:

The narcissist doesn’t usually ‘suffer’, their victims do.
It’s not a mental illness (as in a transient state of ill health), it is who they are.
Who they are isn’t who they are, because their self is a false one.
It is folly to search for the ‘real ‘ self of a narcissist, is an emotionally crippled and wounded child, frozen and inaccessable to themselves or to others. The real self died in childhood, the narcissist continued life alienated from the dead child.
A narcissist will probably have no concept of anything being amiss about themselves, except that for no reason, people suddenly become dissolutioned and aliented from them, eventually abandoning them!! All inexplainable stuff!!!

A funny anecdote for you. My narcissitic ex studied for a degree in Pychology. Of course, the reason for this was to discover the ‘mental illness’ that exists in sometimes seemingly normal people, that causes them to become angry, dissolutioned, alienated and abandon thier relationships with her. Without further consideration, everyone else on the planet is mentally ill, she is perfectly ‘normal’ ))))))))
The other irony, is that people in relationships with narcissists may or probably have problems of their own. So it all adds to the drama and confusion!!))

Narcissists are always part of a group and they ‘need’ people. Therefore you could (wrongly) conclude that they are sociable and people orientated. My narcissist ex makes me look quite the recluse in comparrison. LOOK AGAIN!! A narcissist isn’t amoungst groups of people because they love people and company, they need (not love) people for narcissistic supply (i,e, attention)

A very telling way to discover a narcissist is in their sexual preferences. I personally know I can can form trusting emotional ties with another human being which are exclusive to my significant other. A narcissist will mock at the closeness and exclusivity of such a relationship, and possibly try to label it as ‘unhealthy’ and ‘needy’ in order to undermine it and devalue it. (As I said, everyone else has the mental illness, not the narcissist) :D
Ok, so now we’ve established my own mental illness. I have a natural tendancy to form exclusive, emotional bonds with a significant other, All this is ‘evidence’ of the ‘neediness’ of an emotional cripple and social misfit. (Me)
A narcissist will contemplate, if not gravitate towards ‘group sex’ and orgies. Of course, the emotionally crippled monogamous types ‘latch on’ to a single person in an unhealthy way (as goes the narrative of the narcissist).
And perhaps the willingness to indulge in group sex is evidence of a narcissist’s emotional maturity in being able to connect with so many other people? i.e an orgy??

The counter intuitive thing is that, the narcissist is unable to emotionally connect with anyone. If you can’t connect with one person in an emotional way ………….. what difference does it make whether or not sex involves one other person or 20?????)))))) The only person of significance to the narcissist is the narcissist him or herself!!!!!!

Phil,
The word “Narcissist” is suddenly everywhere, yet as you say, we all have some narcissistic traits, but that doesn’t mean we have NPD. And yes, our Western culture puts a premium on individuality and competition, so some narcissistic behaviors are tolerated or even celebrated! From my own experience, because a N saves their worst behavior for those “close” to them, many people on the outside, or whom only have a passing acquaintance with the N, have a hard time believing what you tell them about your own experience. You begin to feel like they’re listening to you and wondering if YOU might be the one with the problem. You’re obviously well versed in all of this craziness, so I’m wondering when the lightbulb clicked for you.
I have referred numerous men to Shrink4Men where they finally realized what they were dealing with (often the women were Borderline). It was such a relief to know there was a name for the behavior they’d endured – usually alone because they were too embarrassed to confide in a friend or family. Jan

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55. Phil - July 15, 2012

Hi Jan,

I love to play a game with people. (You might like to try this with your children) I ask them to define a ‘table’ for me. Perhaps aliens are visiting earth and they need a working definition of a table. And so everyone starts with the same description along the lines of “a peice of furniture with 4 legs and a flat surface upon which you can place items” …or something along those lines. Then of course I play the pedant and point out that some tables have 3 legs. They quickly modify their description to “a peice of furniture with 3 or 4 legs and a flat surface upon which you can place items” Then I point to a chair and ask them if a chair is a table? Afterall, a chair fits their description of a table! )) Sometimes I get really silly, pointing out that a horse has 4 legs, you can place a saddle and riider on a horse, is a horse a table therefore? As they start to change their description, I’ll point to a table that doesn’t have legs at all (one with a round base for example) which is a ‘table’ and is agreed to be one by all. And so it continues. However much you perfect the working definition and description of a table. There is always a table which doesn’t fit the description of a table which is one. Conversely, there is always some object which isn’t a table which fits the description of one!
Look up ‘table’ in the dictionary, you’ll find an approximation of man’s best effort to accuraretly define it))
But my point is this of course. Almost every human on the planet can point to a table and correctly identify it as a table, in full agreement with mankind. Not one of us can successfully define a ‘table’ without flaws in our description of one.

So on one level, I’ve always intuitively known about the Narcissistic personality without being able to correctly define it. The lightbulb moment was finding a definition i.e. ‘Narcissism’ which most accurately defines it, but not in a perfect way.

The other insight I have is noticing the ‘need’ in people (especially Narcissists) to label people and define the the ‘person’ as being a particular mental illness or personality disorder.
I personally like to think of everyone as human and whole in some unique or idiosyncratic way.
Therefore, in needing a ‘label’ for somebody are you revealing a desire to denigrate that person and reduce their very being to a psychological condition?
Remember what I said about my Narcissist ex studying Psychology. From the moral high ground of that nebulous concept of ‘normal’, she can point to individuals and label them as ‘schizoid, paranoid, addictive, obsessive ……… but not as human beings whole in some unique way.

So perhaps even in my finding of the description Narcissist, perhaps I was revealing my own desire to ‘hit back’ at the very obnoxious condition which is narcissism. But, I don’t want to descent to the level of narcissist. They thrive on eviscerating people. I want to see human beings (and myself) as whole, complete and unique.

Phil,
I would love to play this game with my students as I have a rather clever bunch and have to keep those little brains humming. I haven’t known a N (and I now know at least half a dozen) who was into labeling people. My husband always likes to say that people who become therapists usually have their own issues to work out and that’s why they’re attracted to the profession. But he also has some choice words about lawyers, accountants, and doctors as well! My sister-in-law has a Montessori school and last night she took me through all of the different areas with different skills for children to practice and master. There’s a lot of activities that involving sorting and classifying. I think it’s a very human trait to mentally sort, but it can go awry when we sort people based on factors such as their sex, race, sexual orientation, etc. for it can then become a convenient label. Your comments have set me to thinking (even while on vacation). I also don’t think that anger is always the lack/or suspension of empathy. There’re times when anger, e.g. a reaction to a racist or (fill in the blank) comment or action, actually shows our humanity. Just a thought. Jan

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56. Phil - July 15, 2012

Jan,

To elaborate on what I meant by anger being a suspension of empathy. Think of it as anger in the apex of rage directed back towards the person causing it,.Using your example. You normally have empathy for someone. That someone makes a rascist comment which makes you angry. You become angry at their comment and lose empathy for the person making it. Having lost empathy, you make angry insulting remarks back about them being bigotted and uneducated))
When you had empathy for the person, you wouldn’t have insulted them. The rascist comment was just the means by which you were made angry, anger itself triggers the suspension of empathy for the person causing it.

I think the label of mental-illnesses and personality traits are still stigmatised, even though people are encouraged to be more tolerant these days.
The narcissist personality is (in my opinion) probably the worst to be practising as a therapist, The false self in a narcissist is invoilable. It is others who have problems and not them. I think a therapist with personal issues (even major ones) who is fully ‘self aware’ will make a good counsellor. The very nature of narcissism will prevent a therapist from ever becoming fully self aware in a meaningful or candid way. A narcissist is probably a very dangerous therapist))
A narcissist can see everyone’s faults apart from their own. So a narcissist would probably gain a huge sense of their own grandiosity in first diagnosing and then counselling a person less perfect than they are. A wet dream for a narcissist I should say!!!)))

I agree with your husband. When I was at college there was a psychology course. The ‘joke’ amoungst lecturers was that most students only enroled in class to discover ‘what was wrong them’ ….and after one semester, half a class would invariably drop out feeling dissolutioned and dissapointed))

Phil

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57. Phil - July 16, 2012

Jan P.S, (Read above post also)

After our much earlier discussion about the emotional maturity of Narcissists, I read Halcyon’s, article, “Now We Are Six,” which details the traits of a six-year-old and compares them to Narcissists.
He says that to get a Six year old to admit to something, you ask them ‘how’ they did something, not ‘if’ they did something.
And apparently, the same ‘mind trick’ works on Narcissists also))

So I did some thinking and I’ve designed a ‘Jedi mind trick’ which I’m dying to test on a Narcissis abd see if it works?t!! :D
The theory and my thinking is this………..

If you ask a six year old ; ‘Have you been in the cookie jar?’
They will probably shake their head and reply ‘No daddy!’
Ask a six year old ‘How did you get in the cookie jar?’
They’ll point to the kitchen chair and give you a demonstration of how they managed to climb up and reach the cookie jar!! :D :D

How about something like this then.
Ask a Narcissist ‘Have you been stalking me?’ and they’ll deny it !!
Ask a Narcissist ‘How did you know I was in New York?’ and they might tell you which friend of a friend it was who told them , having happened to mention you in passing and ask for your wherabouts)))

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58. lesley - July 16, 2012

Hey Phil and Jan,
Loving this discussion and Phil so sorry you are dealing with these feelings.I’ve been there and to a certain extent am still working some of the more confusing aspects through too.
I totally concur with some of your opinions and with others…well, I see things differently.
In my experience Narcs don’t label.They simply don’t have the time or the interest in their ‘props’.They may affect an interest if it profits them or to compete with a therapist (in who knows the most!) but for me,they only care about underlying motives,personality structures, prognosis etc when it suits them.
In terms of anger being a suspension of empathy,yes… I get that at times but anger can also be productive and air clearing and…normal.
I think that a Narc’s lack of empathy is a defensive tool and almost always provoked by fear of mask slippage. For me it’s root is fear and not anger.They are manning the barricades.The rage is a by product and may manifest in many ways. Many narcs are passive aggressive whilst assuming caring attitudes. They can hit at you in oblique as well as direct ways.This can be put downs,ignoring,sly comments which wait for your reaction or trying to make you jealous..they may seem perfectly calm and in control whilst they strike? They’ve been at it for years…..
I agree entirely about the arrested development often at the source of trauma which propelled them into their personality disorder in the first place.
I also found myself smiling in agreement at your comments about how they will find the reasons why they become alienated from people inexplicable?? My ex would say ‘he always seemed to disappoint women,ran about all day after them and always disappointed…’the fact that he was serially unfaithful to every woman he had ever known seemed to whizz past his eyes!!!
I wanted to add that in reading through the forums… I find that those who need to ‘label’ the most are those people who still think they can cure a Narc or that they will know how to treat him/her if he does come back. They search for meaning,for alternative personality disorders in the hope that they are the one person in the universe who will triumph over Narcissism.This is for me an ‘Inverted Ego’ disorder in itself. Narcs are incurable as you both rightly say and anyone who indulges in magical thinking or what vankin labels
‘ malignant optimism’ actually needs to look inwards for a while.
Phil, I feel I need to say here that I have a Masters in Psychology and some further post grad stuff as well! I am a work in progress but getting there…(lol) Please don’t throw cold water on all us Psych majors(Jan,see how I use an American term here,you’ve got me!!!)
Anyways,signing off,thanks for making me think again…hope you having a wonderful time away Jan with lots of storytelling,song and chilled beers and thinking of you Phil,
Light Shine Folks,
Lesley

Lesley,
Thanks, as always, for some levity (and humor thrown in for free). I actually thought about being a Psych major (yes, you got it right!) as I find human behavior (okay, behaviour for you) so fascinating. And yes, I’ve never known a N who had the time or inclination to invest any time in classifying people unless it was “People I can use” vs. “People I already used.” Always, Jan

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59. MillyRad - July 16, 2012

Ms. Jan,I just wanted to say thanks for writing these articles on narcissism. I’m about 6 months out of a situation very much like yours: a friendship with a personality disordered man. He shows lots of the traits of cerebral narcissism. I was devalued and discarded when he started dating his current girlfriend, then he picked the “friendship” back up when he realized he could use spending time with me as a way to make his girlfriend feel insecure and/or jealous. Yucky stuff. And I still feel guilty for “abandoning” him.

I’ve found some support and validation through online forums dealing with the targets/victims of people with NPD and BPD. There are spots for parents, children, siblings, and significant-others to personality disordered folks, but no “friends” section. I sometimes wind up feeling dismissed because I was “only friends with” this guy.

Anyways, thanks again for writing this. I’m feeling super inarticulate today, so thanks for reminding me that what I went through was real, not (entirely) my fault, and is allowed to be significant to me. Oh, and did I say “thanks?” :)

MillyRad

MillyRad,
I so remember visiting forums and feeling that because I was “just friends’ with the N, that was somehow insignificant compared to what others went through. So, I know how you feel. Joe could be very flirtatious at times, which I found very confusing. Then another woman would walk into the room, and I ceased to exist. He was also cerebral. Don’t feel bad for “abandoning” him. You abandoned a sinking ship that would have taken you down with it. Besides, it’s no fun when someone calls you when it suits them, but the minute something “better” comes along, you’re sent to the back of the line. The hurt you experienced was REAL and there’s no way you could have known ahead of time how confusing and painful this “friendship” would leave you feeling. And your comment is super articulate! Jan

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60. Phil - July 16, 2012

Jan, Lesley (nice to meet you) and Milly also,

First off, a word to Milly. Just as we are all equal in the eyes of God, we are all equally worthless in the eyes of a Narcissist!))
Friends get overlooked because the assumption is that Narcissists don’t have ‘friends’, but then they don’t have significant others (in the true sense of the expression) either!
We are all part of a larger audience whatever your relationsip is to a Narcissist. And you may think that you deserved ‘special seats’ at the show? At the stage winning performance of prima donna Narcissist, there are no ‘good seats’ for ‘special’ members of the audience, just ‘an audience’ to supply attention to the Narcissist.
Everybody once connected to a Narcisst feels as though they ‘deserved’ to be more significant than they were or could somehow have been closer to them? Everyone is a prop, all props are interchangeable and equally dispensable. Some props may be more ‘useful’ than others, but only in their usefullness in gaining Narcissistic supply for the Narcissist.
Reading between your lines Milly, you sound as though you wanted to be a more ‘valuable’ prop to your Narcissist. The same as a ‘significant other’ wanted or deserved to be more significant. ;)
Let me (having been as humanly ‘close’ as it is possible to be to a Narcissist) describe what you missed out on………..
I the Narcissist will grant Milly the ‘special priviledge’ of being close to ‘ME’. Welcome on stage and into your new ‘role Milly. First off, here are MY rules. ‘This is MY show, I am the star of this show and that is MY audience!’ You Milly, are extremely fortunate to have been cast in a ‘supporting role’ at MY performance. Naturally you must be ‘giddy with joy’ at having being granted such a special status. I can only imagine what it must feel like, to stand on stage in a ‘bit part’ performance next to ME? I can almost feel how jubilant you are having being granted this priviledge?! ;) Now that you’re on stage, have a look at the stage lights. Do you notice how all the stage lights are tightly focused on ME? Because I know that EVERYONE must be like me (even though I’ve never thought enough about ‘other people’) I know you want to be on stage, you want the spotlights and you want the applause of that audience which is MINE!!!! Now (lucky Milly) as the stage lights focus on me, inevitably some of the light may bounce off me and dimly illuminate on you also. I can tell how overjoyed you are at this prospect, wouldn’t you like just a tiny little bit of that spotlight also?))) Remenber only one thing and don’t you ever forget this Milly, you have only been allowed on MY stage to help facilitate the adulation and attention of an audience towards ME!!! When I speak, whenever I do anything, MY audience will be in raptures with praise and applause. If you do or say anything, it is only for the effect of gaining MY applause and attention. If for one second you get undue or undeserving applause, cause me to make some or other effort in helping your part…………. you are history, You will never act again, I am influential and I have powerful friends, I am powerful, my audience loves ME and is there for my applause, if you cross me Milly………..you will never act again!!))))))

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61. Donna - July 17, 2012

To Phil, Jan and Milly, just from me. I was and have been through some very disordered people in my lifetime. The ExN friend is one of the worst because I recently learned he is a Pimp and now my son’s wife seems to fit the profile, maybe as the whore; I am not
going to get into all the drama at this time because it does me no good. They are part of my life history because these folks ofter me no good or positive feelings or emotions and are only about what makes them feel good on the outside; they have no true, real or deep feelings, conscious or empathy for anyone but themselves. These are my laymen’s words and I don’t have a degree in anything but life. So,all I can offer at this time is never give your power away and watch, look and listen to the people that you let into your Life….

Hugs, to All!!!

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Phil - July 17, 2012

To Donna (Lesley I haven’t overlooked your post, my eventual reply is going to be very long as I have so much to say on it)

Donna, that was beautifully expressed in very concise language. You certainly identify a true Narcissist is and the effect that they have on you and others. As you advise others, hopefully you’ve gained enough personal insight into these people (and yourself) to avoid similar hurt in the future.

I think most of are just thinking out loud, trying to make sense of the inexplainable and find explanations for those things we are still ‘head scratching’ over. I think some of us just take a lot longer than others to find closure. It’s like not wanting to put a book down until you’ve finnished it, understood its content and meaning. A to ‘understand the book (if it can be understood) you sort of keep re-reading it.

Phil

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Donna - July 17, 2012

I thank you Phil for your response to my comment. From my experience we all have experienced NPD folks, I can’t point a finger at anyone, any more too many….”I am not a perfect person”. I hope you can break it all down and find some peace for you and the rest of your life.

What’s more important for me /you is finding our peace and balanced. It has to begin with Me and not another person. I have cried, cared, loved them all; but did they love and care about me back. “NO” is the answer…..All I can do is send you some internet love and hope that you can find your peace and balance. These men/women are “Who they Are” and we can’t fix it or change it. For me, it doesn;t mean I stopped caring about them, however they can’t be in My Here/Now…….Hugs, love and peace!!!

Donna,
I just got home after a not-so-leisurely 14-hour-drive from Idaho. So sorry to hear what I know is just the tip of the gory iceberg, but as my friends in 12-Step programs say, you can only clean up your own side of the street. It’s always painful when those near and dear to you are playing with fire. The most important thing is to keep your own head above water. When my husband was a boy, he once saved a boy from drowning, but because the boy fought him, he almost drowned in the process. At least with your head above water, you can see what’s really going on and not be pulled under. Jan

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62. Phil - July 17, 2012

Lesley,

Thankyou for your input. I’m glad that you’ve highlighted some thougts I expressed in a way that could be misleading. My careless choice of the word ‘need’ may have implied that the Narcissist cares about, or has a concern for or genuine interest in others…..
I said that the Narcissist has a ‘need’ to label people in terms of mental illnesses and personality disorders. My wrong choice of the word ‘need’ could imply that the Narcissist has some interest in the thougts and feelings of other people as seperate entities in themselves.

It is nothing short of ‘sinful’ to make a remark on this subject, that might contain a modicum of ‘hope’ where none exists!
As you and Jan point out, the Narcissist is never genuinly concerned or interested in the feelings (or psychology) of others (unless it serves some useful purpose for the Narcissist). For a Narcissist, other people might as well not exist, other than for the purpose of Narcissistic supply. The only ‘NEED’ for a Narcissist is the ‘NEED’ for Narcissistic supply))

If I could go back and re-write my comments, I would say that the Narcsissist at times finds it ‘useful’ to label people, often as an afterthought and only for serving his own purposes!

People who have Empathy use their ability to understand others, in order to better make sense of the other person and the unique interaction of two seperate and different minds.

What I think the Narcissist does, is to take a logical assumption that ‘others’ think and feel exactly as they do, or if they don’t then they ought to. Thereafter the Narcissist (apart from ones with degrees in Psychology;) don’t give much insightful thought (or care about) the workings of the minds of others. In part the Narcissist’s wishful perception of ‘mental illness’ in others, explains why other people become unhinged, angry, dissolutioned and alienated, all for no apparent reason?

The fact that this endless repetition occurs time and time over for the Narcissist, could be a source of cognitive dissonance and indication that they are perhaps somebody less perfect than they imagined?

Thankfully, the ‘slings and arrows of unspeakable fate’ offer some explanation for the Narcissist. :) The Narcissist is an extremely unlucky soul, spending a lifetime of ill fate meeting so many less than perfect people ;) But rationale dictates here is further proof that nobody can be as perfect as the Narcissist, hence their inevatble failure. The dialogue goes ‘Why is it always me who attracts them?’ or something profound along those lines. :)

The other useful function of a Narcissist’s desire to label a mental illness in their victim, is part of the need to devalue and debase that person. The Narcissist’s dialogue will probably read ‘That Schizoid abandoned me’ )) Of course the victim who has abandoned the Narcissist, is now completely devoid of any human features whatsoever. (Not that the Narcissist cares much about humanity to begin with)

A label serves as a useful tool to debase and de-humanise a victim who is no longer a source of Narcissistic supply. At the same time it gives the Narcissist the added conviction of rightouesness in himself. Whenever I hear somebody say ‘you’re sick, get professional help’. I’m never sure if these are the reproachful words of a victim to the abuser, or a smug parting shot from an abuser to the victim?)

As is the theme of Jan’s website ‘Close encounters with a Narcissist’ it is very difficult to distinguish the percieved from the real until you are ‘up close’
The best analogy I can offer, is to go to a New Year’s party and point out the real alcoholic amoungst the other revellers??!! Current trends in society make detection of a ‘real’ Narcissist harder than ever. Sometimes I read a popular Newpaper or Magazine article and wonder if I got it all wrong? ))

The only real distinguishing feature of a true Narcissist is their complete inability to empathise, in my opinion.

In my opinion, the only key to this phenomenon is understanding empathy and it’s lack of.
My personal experience of a Narcissist is somebody of high Social and economic class, a high IQ (with an outstanding Education) and good intellectial/temporal abilities. At the same time, the EMOTIONAL and MORAL development is that of a six year old. I will contradict what I said about ‘spotting’ a Narcissist with some cursory observations of people not ‘close’
First off, peoples quick perceptions would be ‘How can somebody obviously so intelligent be so stupid?’ The narcissist has limited social skills and limited social intelligence. The ‘in the street’ observer uses the unfortunate description of ‘stupid’ pertaining to common sense and social intellence. What they are seeing of course, is emotional immaturity! Hence the obvious paradox to even a casual observer.

I don’t think you can explore the subject of a Narcissits lack of empathy in terms of thier emotional and maturity to much. Whenever I go off tangent, I remind myself that I’m dealing with a fully functioning adult with the emotional and moral maturity of a 6 year old. I think Lesley goes of track (as I often do myself) in talking about a ‘lack’ of emathy or a suspension of empathy.

This is my eureeka moment. A 6 year old never reaches the stage of development of having empathy ……. you can’t loose what you never had. It never existed and it never developed and it never will.
People who have empathy make EXACTLY the same mistake as the Narcissist. Because you have empathy, you assume that somebody has lost it or suppresses it ………….. Tht narcissist assumes that because they don’t have empathy, neither does anyone else!!! The above is the key to undertanding and cutting through all confusion.

I must cut short and add more later……..

Lesley, than you for your post

Phil.

Phil,
I’ve been “on the road” all day. I’ve been following the comments via my iPhone. I think the analogy of trying to point out the alcoholic at a New Year’s Eve party is spot on. Thanks! Jan

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63. Lesley - July 17, 2012

Thanks Phil,
I really liked the analogy of the New Year party,in a sense they are hiding in clear sight? Many societal values these days appear to laud Narcissism as a way to success, I agree.
You brought into sharp focus for me again the ‘revolving door’ aspect of the Narc’s relationships,particularly the somatic narc variety. I was repeatedly confused by my ex’s inability to see that he had essentially being having the same problems in relationships for a lifetime(He was a clever,successful man,who discarded when the mask slipped and when he was found out…).
One significant factor,fairly chilling in hindsight was how he denigrated his ex wife and girlfriends to me at the start of our relationship they were cold,selfish,unstable etc….They each had there own specific faults in his eyes. At the denigration moments and the discard of me…. I then had faults unique to me! The only consistent factor in the dynamic of his relationships was his need to maintain his facade as a hard done by ‘good guy’ who had tried so hard but been unlucky in love.. This defied all logic and would have withstood all therapy. In fact it’s my opinion that the more you try to show understanding to a Narc….the more they denigrate.
They fear you are onto them.
In terms of empathy, I think that the real danger zone for normals is the Narc’s ability to fully emulate empathy when the mask is on. They truly seem to understand but only because they have studied what you need?They are masters at Impression Management.
I caught my ex out several times,once when a family friend was seriously ill and his reactions were strange and self absorbed. He told me that it was a hassle to go to the hospital to visit but that he felt he ‘had to go’ because it would look bad if he didn’t. This was concerning an elderly woman who had been close to him for decades??
Another factor was when we went to a film or to a gallery or show he would watch my reaction as if to determine how to act? I felt that he could only show emotion if it was something he directly associated with affecting him. For example children killed in a foreign country would not move him…it had no bearing on him.
Thanks for the insights Phil- the last paragraph is particularly helpful.
Les

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Donna - July 18, 2012

To my new friends, I have learned alot from these disordered ppl. My mother, stepfather, middle brother, Exh, EXF and some other fake friends. They were “Life Lessons Learned” and I listened. These ppl shared with me some very wize wisdom that has truly helped during my lifetime stresses and struggles. They gave it to me without even knowing and I will be always greatful. Of course they are no longer in my life. They gave me a pretty significant gift that they can never take away. It’s “That NO is not a bad word”, and you can have a healthly future……

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Vivian - March 17, 2013

Lesley I found this July entry so interesting. I am reading the summer of 2012 with all of you and some of these entries are so closely related to my experience with the N ( suzi particularly) that we could be speaking of the same person!
I like your description of the gallery and the fact that ‘he’ watched you to know how to act himself!
Talk about lack of empathy: I was telling my NPD guy about helping a fam from Hurricane Katrina, and he was intently listening and after a long while looked me straight in the eye and said,” you know what? You are a d&^^ democrat, aren’t you?”
Unreal. and Hysterical at the same time!!!!LOL!! So Phil, I have to say that for months I thought mine wasn’t a narc bc he simply wasn’t intelligent enough. But if you look up somatic narcissist in the dictionary,,,there is his name:):)

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64. Phil - July 18, 2012

lesley, I want to discuss some more thoughts that are still coming to me from your first post. (I’ll write them later as it will take quite a while) Before I do though ………

Something is nagging at me when you are describing your ex. I’m beginning to wonder if he falls into the ‘psychopath’ end of the spectrum? The absence of Empathy qualifies somebody as a Narcissist, but the absence of an emotional response altogether is typical of a Pschopath……….

Let me explain my thoughts.

When I think about my ex, she could express sympathy (which I think was genuine) but not empathy. She had feelings of sympathy for others, but her emotional response was directed back at herself, to be interpretted from her own perspective, in relation to her own feelings……..

My breakthrough in understanding this came from a line of poetry by an old cynic called Philip Larkin (a favourite of mine)

I don’t want to talk about the poem, which is profound in many ways. I want to concentrate on a particular line in abstract.

Larkin wrote a poem called Ambulances. The context of the poem is about a person being stretchered into an Ambulance (impending death of the casualty is implied).
On the street as bystanders are some old women, they become distressed at the sight of this person being placed into the ambulance.

Larkin describes the reaction and emotional response of these women as ………..”Poor soul, They whisper at their own distress;”

Larkin is a real old cynic, but what he describes perfectly is how people can show sympathy and have an emotional responce, only in reference to thier own feelings. The sight of the casualty makes them think about their own mortality and eventual death. The sorrow they feel is for themselves!!

I think that the difference between sympathy and empathy, is showing feelings for others that don’t have any direct bearing on our own feelings, then attempting to feel something from the other’s perpective and not your own.

Let’s say that you want to sing in a choir and go for an audition. And for arguments sake, lets say that personaly I can’t stand choir music and don’t understand the pleasure anyone could get from singing.
Let’s also say that your audition is unsuccessful and you are devastated with dissapointment ……….
For me to empathise with you and feel your dissapointent, I have to imagine your ambition to sing and the joy you would have experienced in singing.
If I couldn’t empathise I’d think or say, ‘I sympathise if you are somehow upset, that’s the end of my thoughtsl’

A Narcissist has emotions (even sympathy) but can’t express true empathy in my opinin.

Lesley, the reason I think your ex is within the psychopath spectrum, is that psychopaths have no emotional responce themselves, and emotions in others are just guessed at.

Take a walk by the cliffs with me and I’ll be a psychopath!!! )))
As we are walking along, a stone falls from the cliff edge and crashes on the rocks below. We both notice it fall, we don’t comment on it and both carry on walking.
Walking futher along there is a birds nest on the cliff edge. A baby bird falls from the nest and lands on the rocks below, breaking its wings. We both notice this event.
I the psychopath have no emotional responce which is different between a falling baby bird or a falling pebble. I do notice the effect the latter has on you though. How strange I think? I must make a note this unusual effect (emotion) in other people, in resonce to certain occurances. I can feel absolutely nothing and see no difference between a stone and a bird. Taking note of emotion in others may be useful for my nefarious purposes though!)))))

.

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65. Phil - July 18, 2012

Lesley,

To summorise my ideas. I think a Narcissist is an adult with a 6 year old’s emmotional and moral maturity. A six year old is still largely pre-occupied with their own perspective and emotions. It’s as though what they are aware of in others, is only insight gained from what they know about themselves. They are still concerned with and pre-occupied by their own feelings and emotions, therefore insight into the emotions and feelings of others, is percieved purely in reference to what they know about themselves.

A six year old’s narrative might be ‘Jane fell over and cut her knee, I once fell over and cut my knee, it hurt and I cried.
Paul is crying because his mum is trying to make him eat carrots. I love carrots, Paul is being very stupid!’)))

The possibility that others may interpret and experience the world differently (and to give consideration to this) hasn’t been thought about or deemed worthy of much thought while you are pre-occupied with yourself. The later stage of ‘putting yourself in someone elses shoes’ is never reached or cared about, time given to this consideration is at a low priority. As most people mature and develop empathy for others ……. a Narcissist is still centred on themselves.

What I’m thinking about your ex Lesley, is if his pseudo empathy is the hallmark of a psychopath …….. i.e. are all emotions are to be guessed at???

Phil

Phil,
Just out of curiosity, I goggled “sympathy vs. empathy.” http://grammarist.com/usage/empathy-sympathy/
There numerous other sites that contrast these two emotional responses. I think it’s telling that if I want to buy a card for someone, there’s an entire section of Sympathy cards. I imagine it’s my empathy that would send me to the store to buy one in the first place. A N might buy a card (because that’s what people are supposed to do), but they’d be hard pressed to write a genuine message. It’s just too hard to fake some emotions.
Joe would talk about what a caring person he was, but it was just that – talk. I saw ZERO empathy in him, yet he was not a psychopath. BTW, I have several friends who teach first grade. I’ll have to print out “Now We Are Six” and get their feedback.
Jan

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66. Lesley - July 18, 2012

Hi Phil and I appreciate the insight. Yeah, last week during a reflective phase I thought ‘Boy,some of his behaviour was psychopathic’ so it did occur to me with a shudder….
Cheers for the Larkin reminder. What a poet and complex man. One of my faves,especially ‘An Arundel Tomb’. He moves from old cynic to profound love with such ease. My choice of the Laureates!
Please accept my wish that you continue to recover after your own awful experience and once again thanks for sharing your perspective.
Light Shine
Les

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67. Phil - July 18, 2012

Hi Jan and Lesley,

Lesley (I’m still meaning to cover some points from your first post) :)

Jan, I read the google definition and it seems a good one. The unfortunate thing is that the words Sympathy and Empathy get interchanged and mixed up too often. Not only in peoples word definitions but also in their thinking (me included). The definition on google seems to do an adequate job of delineating the two.
Just the same as Love, Like and Lust get mixed up quite a lot too ;), Confusing Sympathy and Empathy will muddy the waters when thinking about and trying to understand a Narcissist.

What I think isn’t made explicit in any definition, is that Empathy is a ‘top end’ emotion and is very exclusive.
I show sympathy 98% of the time and empathy 2% of the time. Sympathy is expressed for distant friends and aquaintances, even strangers. Empathy is expressed for my nearest and dearest and significant others.
I think that we have an unspoken expectation that our very closest and loved ones (who hopefully love us also) show us or are capable of showing empathy to us.

If we go back to Larkin, the women who showed sympathy for the stranger being stretchered into the ambulance were not callous. In context, you wouldn’t expect strangers to show empathy for strangers …. they did sympathise with the words ‘Poor Soul’ …..whilst having their minds fixed firmly on their own plights. Sympathy not empathy. And in context not an indictment of the women’s lack of emotion. It was an appropriate response to the situation.

I would never claim to be empathising when I’m sympathsing. That doesn’t make anyone bad, just realistic. If a distant friend told me they were empathising I’d think they either had their definition wrong or were exaggerating. :) But I know I’m capable of empathising and I reserve it for those closest who I care most about.
The Narcissist just doesn’t know how to empathise (and if he could I’m not sure if he would want to). It’s that giant leap of stepping into ‘another’s shoes’ and attempting to feel as if you are the other person, which they are incapable of.

Going back to my ex. If she was 6 years old and my daughter. I would think she was a wonderful little girl. For a sixyear old girl as my daughter (and dependant), I couldn’t hope for a more cute and charming 6 year old girl. The emotional and moral maturity of a 6 year old in an adult partner is highly taxing beleive me!

My ex definitely meets the criteria of Narcissist and just passes.
Lesley, I think your ex passed the Narcissism test with flying colours and is so high at the top of the class you need to think if he is in the psychopath club.

P.S. I liked your observation on Larkin. Few people appreciate the ‘profound love’ he shows in his poetry.

Phil

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68. Phil - July 18, 2012

Jan, I think you hit the nail on the head with the word ‘genuine’
Looking back my vocabulary at the time was peppered with the words ‘genuine’ and ‘sincere’, or the lack of from my ex should I say.

At the time I wasn’t describing my ex as a Narcissist, I knew very little about this personality. I seemed to have a working knowledge of it without a definition of it.
One thing I remember saying sarcastically was ‘Is it yourself or is it other people you are trying to convince’ ……….. and I was implying that in her case it was both!!))

Somehow I’d managed to describe a Narcissist with insight and without a reference to psychology. i,e, you are somebody so fake that your whole life is all about trying to fool yourself and at the same time trying to fool everyone around you also))))

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69. Lise - July 19, 2012

Yes, the fakeness / lack of essence and the complete identification with ‘form’, is what is most striking about narcissists.

When our relationship ended I asked my ex what on earth it had all meant to him, his reply was; “Lise, we haven’t been able to dominate each other, you don’t fit my blueprint, I saw you as a convenience, it’s time to move on”. I asked him if he understood the essence of a relationship because it seemed to me he was much more concerned with ‘form’. He said to me: “Everything in life is about form and appearance”. I realised I was engaged and almost married to someone who defines himself by appearance and perceived me as an object, dispensable and interchangeable.

Then I read what Eckhart Tolle says about this:

If evil has any reality – and it has a relative, not an absolute, reality – this is also its definition: complete identification with form – physical forms, thought forms, emotional forms. This results in a total unawareness of my connectedness with the whole, my intrinsic oneness with every ‘other’. When this delusion of utter separateness underlies and governs whatever I think, say, and do, what kind of world do I create? To find the answer to this, observe how humans relate to each other, read a history book, or watch the news on television tonight.

If the structures of the human mind remain unchanged, we will always
end up re-creating fundamentally the same world, the same evils, the
same dysfunction.

Patricia Evans (Controlling people) has this to say on this subject:

Unfortunately our Western culture has not only been outwardly focused to the exclusion of inner experience, but also has adopted a philosophy of duality. This philosophy assumes that the power and grace of the universe, of ‘All That Is’, is something so separate that when we say ‘God’, we already mean that which is separate from us, as if we were not held in divine intention – a part of all that is. This duality, like a mindset, can act as a lens excluding the experience of connectedness.

I think my ex mistakes himself for his own image. His whole life in order to be ‘right’ must fit within a particular scheme of things, fabricated into an identity that substitutes for the one his parents denied him… And it made him into a Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hide; I truly loved his warm, gentle side, that’s why I tried so hard. But the evil, arrogant, self-centered and self-entitled monster inside had to come out at some point and it wasn’t pretty…

Lise,
I find the quote from Eckhart Tolle extremely interesting. I recently watched the documentary, “I Am,” (which I highly recommend). His search for happiness (and ultimately the meaning of life) led him to find that our interconnectedness is literally what makes the world go round – as is with the natural world.
I think you’re onto something when you mention “form.” I’ve found that most Ns seem to have a mental blueprint in their heads about how things should be. It matches no blueprint that any of the rest of us have, but it seems to be their “How To” manual for relating with humans. They have a vague intellectual understanding of a relationship, but it’s all in their heads – along with lots of other odd bits and pieces. And their blueprint is not subject to revision. :) Jan

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Phil - July 19, 2012

Lise, If you haven’t read it already (and there is a Film adaptation of it, but I recommend the book) I think you would like ‘Picture of Dorian Gray’ by Oscar Wilde .

It made me really think about what beauty is. People are preoccupied with aesthetics and form ….. everythinng on the outside and physical appearance. Narcissists are all show and no substance!

A favourite quote of mine from the novel is “There were moments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through which he could realize his conception of the beautiful.’

My concept of beauty is not primarilly concerned with form or aesthetics. If the two occur together then great, a nice co-incidence. There’s nothing worse than somebody with a pretty face and an ugly heart!((

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70. Donna - July 19, 2012

Lise, you are not alone in your experience with your ex. It is really a wake up call for many of us and all the dysfunctional families so many children have grown up in and still will be growning up in, in the future. Their warm, caring, gentle side goes poof and Mr. J &H rears his ugly head and is a shock to our empathic systems. My son even said to me , “Mom you know that the Devil is real and still lives in our world”. All i could say is “Yes” because I saw him in my real life, and I don’t want to see that person again…….. Take care of yourself…

Donna,
I just spent time with my sister-in-law whose first husband grew up with an extremely controlling and narcissistic mother. She had eight children, six of them boys, and it seems that half the boys grew up to be….Ns, or at the very least emotionally abusive men. She knows because their wives have come to her to tell their own stories of emotional abuse. What’s amazing is that some children emerge from such a dysfunctional childhood and are able to give and receive love. And your son is oh so right. I’ve never understood when people talk about dying and going to Hell, as I’ve known many a person whose life was literally hell on earth. Halycon (on my blogroll) has a great story about meeting the devil. All you can do is try to surround yourself by people who are real and caring. That’s like holding a cross up to a vampire (no religious implication intended). Always, Jan

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71. Lise - July 19, 2012

Hi all, thank you for the comments and tips on further reading concerning the topic. I’d like to share another article on the difference between ego development, narcissism and spiritual enlightenment. It really helped me answer lots of questions that popped up one after another once I started to read into narcissism.

This is a summary: Ego development is a necessary aspect of the personal growth process, while narcissism is the thing we’re trying to outgrow. We are all to some degree narcissistic; we all have shadow aspects we’d rather not deal with. But we must be willing to face them if we are to transcend them. “Include and transcend” is the basic pattern for all growth, and explains why ego development is necessary on the path to spiritual enlightenment. Outgrowing our narcissism isn’t the only factor in personal development, but it is an essential one. Integral personal development—which ultimately results in enlightenment—requires both.

For full article see: http://www.bravenewkitty.com/2007/11/ego-narcissism-and-spiritual-development/

Enjoy!
Lise

Lise,
I just read the article. It’s brilliant in explaining the hows and whys of the importance of developing a healthy and fully-formed ego. Thanks so much for the link. :)

A note to all who’ve been commenting recently. Thanks so much for being such a thoughtful and caring bunch. Your comments and insights have helped me regenerate brain cells that were lost during the school year. It’s a welcome relief from the mental stimulation my third graders provide to me. Here’s an example:

Student: Hey, why did the dinosaur cross the road?
Me: I give up. Why?
Student: What road? Get it? hahahaha

Thanks again for all the food for thought. Always, Jan

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72. Phil - July 20, 2012

Lise,

Thanks for the link, it offers a good insight into how the healthy development of ego growth and functioning can progress in an ideal way.
It could be tempting to think that a Narcissist can become enlightened, discover themselves and progress? Unfortunately, I don’t think there is any hope for the Narcissist or those around them. I’m not a pessimist by nature. If you take the ‘script’ of a Narcissist developed personality, I don’t think it’s possible to go back and repair, overcome or re-work their development in a progressive way. They often became Narcissists as a defense mechanism, in respose to some huge emotional trauma. Narcissism was the only way out and the only way forward in their situation. It is who they are and who they become, false and problematic as it may be. The only alternative to Narcissism would be somebody with very little self worth, a completely inadequate human being always on the edge of suicide. A Narcissist never comtemplates suicide, because the emotional trauma victim who they were died in childhood!((

Thanks to everyone for the depth of thinking here. The exchange of thoughts between between people might just have been about ‘venting anger’ on a particular N who happened to unsettle their existence, this discussion is so much more.

The problem with Narcissists, is that they inevitably invoke anger and cause untold misery in those around them. This will always be true.
I don’t want to use up unnecessary sound bites talking about my own situation for the sake of it. I want to talk about and share with you my sympathy for a Narcissist (in spite of the personal harm and hurt caused ) to explain why she became one and will always be that way.

Here is the case study of my Narcissist ex: (names changed)

Alice enjoyed a perfectly normal and happy early childhood. She is the eldest child from (what was) a respectable and good family, of high social and economic class. She also has a younger brother called William, 2 years her junior. Alice, along with her Mum and Dad and younger brother, all lived together in a beautiful large house. It was (and still is) situated in the most idylic neighbourhood. It is an affluent English village, typical of what you may see on a postcard.
Alice’s earliest retrievable memories, are of being carried in a pappouse on her daddy’s back. She remembers the clean fresh air and breathtaking scenery of the beautiful English countryside, all experienced from the safety of ‘daddy’s’ strong and loving arms.

As Alice gradually grows, she learns how to walk and talk. Bounced up and down on Daddy’s knee, she basques in the unconditional love and attention of her idol. When nursery rhymes and bedtime stories are read by daddy, she is captivated and mesmorised. Alice is the ‘apple of Daddy’s eye’. She loves him dearly and he is also the ‘apple of her eye’ too at that time.

By her own estimation (and admission) she becomes and is, ‘Daddy’s’ girl. )))
Like any other little girl who gravitates towards her father, she can easilly throw her arms around him at will, without a thought or a care, safe in the knowledge of his similar affections for her also.

And just as Alice may enjoy the monopoly on Daddy’s love and attention. Mummy develops a close bond with her younger brother William, too.

For Alice, her early childhood is like a fairytale, hazy memories full of unconditional love and attention.

Now, stormclouds are about to descend on the happy existence that is and was Alice in her previously happy universe.

During the summers, she enjoys camping holidays with her family, taken alongside other similar, normal happy families, very much like her own.

Alice is now around 12 or 13 years old, she is an adolescent. This is unquestionably a very difficult age, even when experienced by somebody during the most stable of circumstances. But for a child who’s circumstances are about to be thrown into turmoil from the outside as well as from the inside. The resulting carnival of confusion and hurt is an even bigger melee, how to make sense of it, let alone come to terms with it, one can only guess at?

On one of these wonderfully charming family holidays, Alice’s dad becomes aquainted with another woman. She is the wife and mother of another family, very similar to Alice’s. Except this is the woman who Alice’s dad should have married, had he known of her existence before he married mummy years ago. This woman is without question Daddy’s ‘soul mate’, the women he was destined to be with.

Alice’s mum was something of a ‘beauty’ in her youth, she even modelled before she got married and had children. Dad’s new companion has unquestionable wit and charm though, she understands him on levels that mummy could never comprehend, let alone aspire to. That’s what soul mates are, afterall!

A divorce and re-marriage are now called for, daddy owes it to himself to live the full existence he (and everyone else) so deserves….. it would be a betrayal of his desires and needs (and that of his new found companion) to not do so.

Alice’s parent’s marriage starts to disintergrate. Daddy starts to find fault with everything. Everything around him is everything he never wanted, all this was forced on him. One night Alice’s parents argue fiercly. Alice’s dad screams at her mum in a rage. ”I NEVER wanted those children, they were your idea and you wanted them, not me’
Alice overhears this exchange between her parents, she starts to sob with uncontrolable grief all alone in her bed.

Daddy now starts being cold and distant to Alice, he criticises her and mocks her. He starts to compare her to her mother. He’s mean and horrible to Alice, when before he was once loving and kind. Alice feels as though all of this is somehow her fault? And if she was a pefectly good little girl, maybe Daddy would still like her and love her, want to be with her? She feels inadequate and guilty. It seems incomprehensibly unfair to Alice, what has she done wrong?
Her sense of self worth is at an all time low. She feels utterly worthless!(

In her desperation, Alice starts to write letters. She asks God why Daddy is being so unkind and what she has done wrong? She hides her anonymous letters in secret places around the house.

(As a sad aside, years later and long after her parents had divorced and moved on. Some children living in Alice’s old home discovered Alice’s hidden letters. They correctly identified the emotionally wounded and desperate little girl, who had written and hidden these letters to be Alice. Alice was thoroughly humbled and embarrassed to have her childhood writings returned to her as an adult(((

In the new order of family arrangements. It was still a possobility that Alice may have chosen to live with her dad and his new family, but on condition. She must prepare herself to be as part of the furniture, rarely seen and little heard of. This was the unspoken expectation, understood to be part of any possibility of a future life with her Dad.((
Of the two choices, she chose to live with her mum and brother, until she enventually enrolled full time into boarding school.

Whilst mummy had always loved and cared for Alice as any mother would for her daughter, Alice’s mummy idolised her brother William. After William became an adult with a succuessful career and life of his own. Alice would notice how her mum’s heart would leap with joy and beam with pride at the mere mention of William’s name. The return home of William if even just for a visit, was a festival of joy for mummy. But then Mummy had always loved William, he had never lost or become any less in her affections thoughout the years. Alice rationalised to me once, that it was a lucky thing William was her brother and not a sister. Imagine if it was her sister and therefore an equal rival, who was winning the affection of mummy over her? …. I surmised that It would be the last and undisputable proof of her very low sense of self worth and inadequacy((

Alice’s life is truly divided into two parts, there is before and after her childhood trauma.

All life after her trauma is the ‘actng out’ of her childhood conflicts. The script is always the same, the actors and scenery may change with every new performance, but the script remains largely intact. The script keeps its overall integrity, there may be a few very subtle varations of the same overall theme, that’s all.

A very early variation was to ‘find a substitute’ daddy, in somebody who she had always hoped and imagined her ideal partner would be like. Her first infatuation was for a college tutor, he was kind, caring considerate…….and also embarrassed to have atrracted the attentions of a minor for both personal and professional reasons.)))
Alice recalls this first fixation with a significant male (other than her father) with some degree of shame, clearly noting obvious her reasons for indulging this particular surrogate ‘father’ with her affections…. even a Narcissist has some degree of self awareness, from time to time.)))

However much as you change actors and scenarios though. The script must remains the same and the ending is always the same too. A partner is drawn close, a partner becomes close, a partner becomes emotionally involved, a partner is alienated and eventually abandons the Narcissist. It’s just like the first time around, maybe this time for a reason and one which the Narcissist was in control of, consciously or unconsciously?

Apart from the highly asymetrical nature of a relationship with a Narcissist and the emotional drain it places on a person. It was this acting of a ‘script’ to the effect of creating a landscape of external conflict similar to the internal one, which was my reason for leaving my Narcissist. Alice was able to manipulate friends and cause hostility, jealousy and conflict amoungst people where there otherwise existed harmony. Sometimes she would create situations designed to cause jealousy, her desire to control people and to gain (or loose) their attentions was her type of engineering of and manipulation of social interactions……… in control, but not in control.
All a paradox!

Phil

Hi Phil,
This is interesting as it seems that Alice not only “lost” her father (in both the physical and and emotional sense), but that from her father’s heated remarks, she took it that everything she thought/loved about her father was an act – a sham. It invalidated her own perception of her own seemingly happy childhood.

I have a friend who’s quite smitten with a woman who has “issues” about getting emotionally close to men. These are BIG issues, as he’s been seeing her for going on two years now. He’s afraid that even holding hand will send her running. She’s in therapy and talks about how her father left her mother when she was 17 for the woman across the street. This abandonment and the realization that her father was not the man she idealized deeply affected her though she’s got a good relationship with her father now (11 years later). However, she’s unable to let any man get emotionally close to her, so my friend has been reduced to being like a therapy dog to help her overcome her fear of men. I think there’s more to it then what she’s saying, but it’s hard to know when the only information you have is from the person who has issues. Everyone tells their story through their own filter of what happened.

I read this with great interest as it so reminded me of our close friend who was diagnosed as Borderline (BPD). She was an adored only child. She later learned that her father was a Nazi (she always liked to think he was “just” in the Hitler Youth), who then came to America because of his scientific credentials (one of America’s dirty little secrets). He committed suicide when she was 12 – she was in the next room. Her mother remarried a powerful man who was also an alcoholic. Our friend ceased to exist as her mother was so involved with her new husband and their social life. Then when she was 19, our friend’s boyfriend shot and killed himself – also while she was in the next room. So, she had some MAJOR abandonment issues that pertained to both men and women. We lived next door to this woman for three years and were close friends. If there wasn’t drama, she had a way of creating it. We excused a lot of her insecurities, bad behavior because we knew her back story.

And yes, she also had a habit or repeating the same old script with each new boyfriend. The minute they made the slightest criticism/suggestion, she took that as a full-on assault and would behave in such a crazy manner that they ran for the door. Then, of course, she had the proof that they intended to abandon her, just as her father, mother, and boyfriend had done. It became a self-fulfilling prophecy. I’m just wondering if your ex could possibly be Borderline as they have a strong Narcissistic streak as well. Just a thought. Jan

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73. Lesley - July 20, 2012

Hi Jan and all,
Loving this discussion,some thoughts from me…
I feel we all relive or manage early childhood trauma,and we continue to do this throughout our lives,which may lead to repetitive relationships and a perceived ‘second chance’ to put things right.
The up side being that we can also draw on the nurturing we received back then too when tough times come? As we develop into ‘real’ adulthood other coping strategies come into play we reflect on behaviour and mature emotionally.We learn from mistakes,adapt and grow.
For the narcissist,this seems to play out differently.Their inner resources were shot and died in childhood so they experience trauma,as a child alone and as if for the first time.
I say this as someone who is beginning to experience pity for Narc’s journey through life.
I also read with great interest and appreciation Lise’s comment on interconnectedness within the universe as being a path of spiritual survival for these times. Again I reflect with pity that a narcissist would be unable or unwilling to bear this because to be connected to another human being or to want to be signals horrible pain..
We all have a shadow self,a darker side and again, I concur with Lise the only way to confront this and make it ‘lighter’. Is through self awareness. Again something foreign to the Narc,who will never know himself.
As an example, in my thirties( I am mid forties now), I experienced a bereavement which forced me to draw on every resource I had and ultimately and positively led me to greater self awareness, a new spirituality and a new connection with others as well as daily practises of reflection,balancing time,physically exercising etc.
Other’s might call it an epiphany but I see it as an image, of walking from a darkened room into a sunlit one.
In general every relationship I had improved, including the one I had with myself.
Although I was still caught out by by the ex and duped by him, I do feel that if I hadn’t had the trauma ten years ago… I might still be with my Narc,still fathoming still walking on egg shells,still objectified etc.
As I sit here and write this I am in a place of sympathy for him,something that I never expected to happen or could have hoped for four months ago. I’m also filled with the sense that things unfold as they should,and this discussion on Jan’s wonderful site is part of that,
Light Shine,
Les

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Donna - July 20, 2012

I truly can relate to your post Lesley, I have had numerous traumas and losses during my life time, I am (63). However as I recovered from most they will always be apart of who I am and helped me shaping more positive attitudes rather than negative approaches to life issues. They all sent me on a journey to learn something from the trauma. Finding my balance in many areas of my life, health, finances, exercise and eating healthy….Yes, I also had my dark side show up when I have been threatened, which was very scary to say the least, that certainly isn’t a place I ever want to go again. I was also caught off guard when my exf’s mask started slipping and he duped me as well which made me very angry. I am over the anger and sadness that I experienced from this false friend.

I also feel some sympathy for him because he alienates so many people who no longer like him after seeing his true colors, this seemed to happen to individuals who were close to him. I read an article some where that they often grow old and will be alone. It’s sad on so many levels……….and what’s even sadder they can’t change.

So, I do try to find the light and the rainbows.

Donna,
Beautifully put. :) When we experience real pain, we also have the opportunity to experience real growth. The key word is “real.” Jan

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74. Phil - July 21, 2012

Hi All,

I’m truly loving this discussion, thanks to everyone for such profound insights. I’ve gained a tremendous lot over the last week!

Somewhere on Jan’s website there is a little anecdote about a man in Calcutta who lost his sense of smell. He didn’t have to endure the stench of sewers, but having switched off the faculty of smell, he coudn’t smell flowers either. (It was something along those lines, forgive my poor re-telling of it Jan.)
The above is one of the most pertinent things I’ve read on this subject though!))

Samvik describes Narcississts as life’s true Zombies, their emotional faculty was stunted in childhood, they are prevented from having meaningful emotional attachments to others. They are emotionally suspended at development age six according to some.

Whatever their emotional age, It is impossible for them to emotionally develop in meaningful ways alongside their adult self, their adult self is but a ‘false self’ in any case. They can never form meaningful emotional attachments again. (this, is assuming that they once began to, but were traumatised during that emotional development)

I think it’s natural fo feel anger and antipathy for Narcissists after exposure to their personalities. They are such destructive creatures by nature, the inevitable ‘acting out’ of a Narc is bound to create conflict and trouble for everyone, even if their personalities are not trouble enough.))

I think that I can still pity and feel sympathy for a Narc though. One time I was even wondering if I envied them? But only as I might envy the man with no sense of smell that is.

Nothing about a Narc is what it appears on the surface. Almost everything is counter intuitive about their personality and their situation.

Donna says “I read an article some where that they often grow old and will be alone.”
This is undoubtedly true Donna. I should say that my ex will be ‘smelling of cats’ in a few years time! :)
But I’m not being vindictive here, because the poor girl has always being alone in my opinion!(((

She has hundreds of friends (superficial friends who only tolerate her in small amounts, usually from a safe distance)
She’s always in a relationship, without ever being in a relationship.
And always part of a group, without ever integrating into that group. Being a Narcissist is quite a lonely existence, I would say.

Having learnt so much, there is still one thing puzzles. I think I start to understand it. Then I have doubts and I’m not quite sure what the real function is of it is at all??

I’m talking about repitition compulsion.
I’ve read some fairly adequate explanations about what it does ….. I know what happens and how it happens …….but still I’m still not convinced WHY it is a necessity though???

The story is on constant replay and the script is unchangeable. The ending is not a good one, it invariably causes pain. But are they ever trying to ‘get it right’ or change anything in replay……?? Are they acting out a ‘script’ without any attempt change what will happen? And if this is the case (which I suspect it is) why the ‘compulsion to do it all over’?

And if they are convincing themselves that next time around the same ending will be caused by them (i.e. when they were children they weren’t in control, but as adults they are) Then ‘if they are in control, why do they never use that control to alter their future History?

In trying to answer all of the above I thought of an embarrassing situation from my own life.
Years ago James Cameron released ‘Titanic’ the first time around. I think it was 1997. I watched it with my wife at the time at the cinema. I was captivated by it, she thought it was ok. We saw it maybe 3 times at the cinema, by this time she was getting bored though. Eventually it was released on VHS tape. I still enjoyed watching it even at home. I’m not usually a compulsive type by nature, but when I was absorbed in watching the film I wasn’t really concerned or ashamed of my obsession with watching it.

When I was watching ‘Titanic’ for the umpteenth time, my wife would touch me on the shoulder and say ‘Phil, the Titanic sinks….. do you think that if you keep watching it, it will somehow not sink? ;)

At other times she’d just shout accross the room a plain, ‘It sinks! (As if to imply that was doing a spoiler, and I was glued to it as though watching it for the first myself, not fully knwing what would happen in the end)

Obviously my wife of the time had a keen enough wit to point out these observation to me.)) Causing me to quickly make my up some half valid excuses about ‘appreciating the cinmeatography, or the historical accuracy etc.) ;)

But looking back, why would somebody watch or replay such a tragic story time and time over?
If there was an alternative ending …………. ;Titanic reaches New York on maiden voyage, all passengers arrive safe and well’

Would I have been happy at the alternate ending???? ))

Phil

Phil,
When I first wrote the Close Encounter with Narcissist series, I was still working with Joe. In the interest of professionalism, I omitted many details, to protect Joe’s identity. Joe moved to another location in 2008 which was a welcome relief. This November it will be four years since I last saw Joe. I ran into him at the movies while with my husband and a friend. Yes, life does go on. I’m telling you this because it was actually Joe who lived in Calcutta where he “lost” his sense of smell. So it’s ironic that these two people are one in the same!

As for your question. First, the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. And Ns do think that NEXT time things will be different – thus their pursuit of Ideal Love.
I think the answer is actually much simpler. Last year, I had a student whose “best friend” would turn on him and say the cruelest things. I told the boy that anyone who did that was not a true friend. Invariably, the boy would return to play with his “best friend.” It was only a matter of time until his friend had him in tears yet again. I finally told him the story of The Scorpion and the Frog, and it was like a light went off. After five years, this fable is the still best analogy for me of the Ns behavior. Jan

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75. Phil - July 21, 2012

Jan, lolololol

That’s a beautiful little story! Its a real shame that so many stories and fairytales have a moral. I think the basis of so much literature, is the assumption that life will be fair and everything work out in the end ‘if’ you do the right thing??

I’ve always tried to live by some basic moral guideposts, to treat people fairly and as you yould expect them to treat you. Do good things and hopefully good things will happen to you in return?

Unfortunately life isn’t always like this. It leaves us searching for answers all to often, sometimes from God.

When people ask me what type of parent I am? I tell them a similar story (tongue in cheek).
I say that in order to be a good parent, you have to prepare children for life. In doing this I’ll (for no reason and no purpose whatsoever) out of the blue I’ll punnish my children to catch them off guard. Inevitable they might as ‘What on earth was that for, why are we being punnished, it’s not fair!’
My reply to my children is. That children is your lesson in life. If I wanted you to think that life is fair and everything always happens for a reason, it would be the worst preparation I could give you. Sometimes life is very unfair, it wasn’t your fault and there was nothing you could do….. get use to it, accept it and try to do your best in spite of these unfair knocks! ))))

Phil,
I don’t think the Wikipedia version of The Scorpion and the Frog is nearly as dramatic as when I told the story. I love many fables because the lessons are actually cautionary tales.
As an agnostic (this is my new “non-identity) after watching Neal deGrasse Tyson’s Atheist vs. Agnostic video on YouTube, God is not on my “go to” list for answers. I have been known to ask the universe for some feedback. I believe that life is rarely back or white – mostly shades of gray (not to be confused with the bestseller).
I’ve found that as a parent and a teacher, I don’t have to set up a situation to be unfair to teach children that life is unfair. Opportunities present themselves daily! I’ve often had my class recite in unison, “Life is not fair!”
I received an email the other day from a student I had in third grade (don’t know what they call that in the UK). She’s now 13 and told me that she learned most of what she knows about life in my class! Yikes! I’ve got to be careful about what I tell kids. >wink<
I've been to East Anglia, but never to the West Midlands. Yes, I can see (within 40 miles or so) of where my visitors come from via my Clustr maps). I've written about my trips to England on my blog though I'd have a lot more readers if I included the word "narcissist" in all the titles of my blogs. Jan

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76. Phil - July 21, 2012

Jan,
For a moment I was worried that you had access to my dental records, that you should somehow know I was English? ;)
(Most British peeple wouldn’t understand that one, hence I’ve lived and worked for many years amoungst Americans even though I am English and currently in the UK)

I was brought up in a strict Christian environment, after which I defined myself as an Athiest after that experience! :D
These days I prefer Agnostic, Athiest is too closed minded for somebody with an open mind,

My reference to God was along the lines of thinking that, even if you don’t beleive beleive in God, he really ought to exist to provide answers and ‘set things straight’ ! All I can surmose is that if God does exist? He’s got a lot of work to do in the afterlife, rewarding and punnishing all those things that didn’t warrant divine intervention on at the time of their occurance.

What I sometimes ask myself, is that in the absence of God, then surely the logical step is to live with an absence of Morals? Be a Hedonist and do as you please if there is no reward or punnishment for it? Somehow I can’t bring myself to abuse people, the basic principles of trust, comapssion and kindness are too ingrained in me.

I think Christians have a lot to ‘live up to’ …. hence why it’s easy to point to hypocrasy. Somebody once said, ‘there was only one true Christian and he died on the cross’

I can’t criticise people for wanting to live good and devout lives though.
Maybe that’s why Narcissists bother me so much??

Phil

Phil,
I actually got up early this morning thinking I might “soften” my comment as it was written late. My views in regards to spirituality are more akin to what Lesley describes in the next comment. I tend to feel most connected to the universe when working in my garden or with children. :) In the US, the rise of Christian fundamentalism and a strictly literal interpretation of the Bible allows for no discussion whatsoever. I find it painful, for example, when the man who shot Treyvon Martin said he had no regrets and that how things unfolded was “God’s plan.” I’ve also been following the news of the shootings in Colorado and always wonder when those who survive credit God for watching over them. It makes me feel bad for those who died – they weren’t on God’s radar?
My husband grew up as a Mormon (all the more important now that we have a Mormon candidate for the president). My husband likes to point out that according to Mormonism, the righteous really don’t get their own “planet” – they get their own “kingdom,” (not to be confused with oh-so-mundane Heaven). So, we’ve got wackos coming out of the woodwork here – it’s not warm and fuzzy like in “The Vicar of Dibley!” (Love that show!)
That said, my husband and I recently went to a performance at a very lovely and loving church, so I could watch my student in a play. He played….Jesus! And did a fabulous job though I’m not sure Jesus ever gave a little wave to the audience as her went up to speak. :) I also don’t think that the flip side of religion is hedonism.
I can out you Brits in a second with your liberal use of the letter “u” as in behaviour. We fought an entire war of independence just to get that “u” out of color! That said, I’ve SO enjoyed my trips to England.
Finally, another expression I teach my students (who come from a variety of cultures) is, “Whatever floats your boat.” We all do what works for us. I’m now going back to bed – because it’s summer and I can. :) Jan

Phil & Les,
It’s almost lunchtime and I’ve already switched from being an atheist (too much work) to being an agnostic. I added an interesting video in Phil’s link above. I’m not at all an “in your face” person (okay, there HAVE been times), so I’m copping to the lesser offense.
Jan

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77. Lesley - July 21, 2012

Jan/Phil,
As someone who was brought up as an atheist and now is not… I’m smiling at our differences.
I’ve never been comfortable with organised religion though, nor do I ascribe a ‘character’ to what I percieve to be a creative force to the universe.To me, many people understand a God through tranferring human motivation to him/her.Yet a God would surely be ineffable,defy human understanding? To trust without full understanding is to me a definition of faith. In both God and in human nature. Something being with a Narcissist can hinder for a time
After I’ve known people a while they often ask me ‘What religion are you,are you a buddhist,a hindu…a cathar? A need to categorise or pigeon hole is endemic to all of us?
I always answer that I was a bit of searcher and am beginning to find what I personally need.
I found that in Plato and St Augustine,in the Koran,the New Testament,in the novels of Evelyn Waugh,even in gardening or meeting an old friend.My perception of God is not polarised,believe me he isn’t sitting on a cloud somewhere thinking up thunder bolts! Nor am I filling out a checklist to get to that cloud.
One of my favourite bits is from the Gnostic texts of the Nag Hammadi scrolls.It reads.
‘Abandon all search for God in temples,by fasting or needless ritual. Instead go by yourself into your room,and be by yourself. Examine your own sources of joy,anger,love and hate,hope and despair and you in time, will find God in yourself.’ Self Awareness leads to awareness of others.The connection is made within us.
Phil,you seem like a caring insightful man but I was slightly taken aback by your words on punishing your children for no reason.As a mum and a teacher I have always done the opposite…explained to my son why he was being punished and strived to link any punishment to real misdemenour. In this he realised actions had consequences?
I agree with Jan,they contend with enough chaos in their daily lives these days that a consistent parent that can be trusted is so important.
I think I get that your motives are based in love but isn’t there a risk that these loving motives lead to them mistrusting you. Just a thought? I may have picked you up wrongly.
Jan,thanks for the link to the festival,I’m winging one back to you!
ps. Any chance of an article about a 46 year old woman who is addicted to watching tennis during the school hols.When Federer moves about that court,how could there not be a God(LOL!!!)
Of course as a Scot, I always want Murray to win,
Les

Les,
As I wrote to Phil above, my views are more akin to yours. I’ve since changed my online identity to something less confrontational after watching Neil deGrasse Tyson’s Atheist vs. Agnostic video on Youtube. It’s “organized/organised religion that doesn’t set will with me. My garden is an incredible place of solace and contemplation for me. Actually, nature in general along with children and dogs. When we arrived in Idaho, we saw the most amazing sunset. We all (my husband, son, and I) took pictures until I asked, “Hey, who’s driving the car?” I posted the photo on Facebook with the caption. “We’re now in Idaho. This is where God lives!” (Of course, to my mind if this were true, there would be free Wifi everywhere!)
Yes, I too, as a mother and teacher bristled at Phil’s mention (though he did add “tongue and cheek” in parentheses) of intentionally doing something random to teach a child a lesson. A parent should be a child’s safe port in a storm, though that’s not always the case.
Les, If your worst guilty pleasure is watching tennis, you’re in good shape (or at least Federer is >wink<). My father-in-law, who just celebrated his 88th birthday, plays tennis twice a week though I doubt with such grace. I'm actually looking forward to watching the Olympics later this month. Please try and arrange for some sunny days, won't you? Jan

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78. Phil - July 21, 2012

Hi All,

I never thought we would be talking about Religeon! I’ll try to keep my comments relevant to Narcissism to continue my ideas if I can?
I never knew I’d be thought of as Tyrant either? ;) Thank you Jan for pointing out that I said ‘tongue in cheek’ before offering my outlandish views on ideal parenting, I agreed fully with the subsequent qualifying remarks that followed my statement.

To tie in religeon with Narcissism, I want to concentrate on the ‘moral’ component of how contact with a Narcissist may call into question a person’s basic moral beleifs?
Going back to Jan’s wonderful fable of the Frog and the Scorpion. I’m sure that Jan used it to instruct a little boy how ‘A leapoard never changes its spots’ component within the story.

What I find interesting about the story, is that the Frog experiences a breakdown on two levels. Not only does Reason break down, Morals break down also.
Reason dictated that the frog was unlikely to suffer harm in helping the Scoprion. But the frog obviously has a ‘value system’ and a moral component in his character, for him to wish to assist the Scorpion?

It’s a paradox that as an Agnostic, I find myself at times making a strong case for the benefits of God and religeon!))

If I could write God into the fable, then the frog would go to heaven (as reward for his good deed on earth, and the Scorpion promptly dispached to another place obviously)) But……..
I was never instructed that it’s wise to be uncharitable to ‘bad’ people, because your good deeds are likely to bring harm to you?
If anything, I was taught to set a ‘good example’ around such people, just as the Frog does))

So where I’m leading this argument, is that the contagion of a Narcissist will likely effect a breakdown in morals. Unless of course you turn towards the possibility of ‘divine intervention’ on heaven or earth. The morals of frogs would ‘disintegrate’ unless they are able to rationalise and make sense of such tragedies in terms of a divine plan?

I think this is the value of the story of Job in Christianity, it allows us to make sense of the most bizzare and senseless misfortunes that beset good men on earth?

Rather than wishing to use Religeon to brandish Narcissists as evil contagions forcing a breakdown of morals in others. (Which they may well be) I think it’s fairer to say that they haven’t developed a Moral component in their character on a higher level, their ‘nature is stronger than their reasoning also. (The Scopion does end up at the bottom of the river also, remember!) ;)
Go back to a 6 year old’s Emotional and Moral development and it all makes sense again. And for children of this age, you wouldn’t brandish them as bad or evil!

Phil

Phil/Lesley
I found a much better telling of The Scorpion and the Frog.I hadn’t realized that this story was actually told in the movie “The Crying Game.” I do remember reading “Why Bad Things Happen to Good People” years ago and there was a lot of talk about Job and all of his trials. From what I can remember, the moral of the book was basically “Sh&t happens.”
Lesley, I can’t resist telling you that I saw a cartoon in The New Yorker magazine. A piper (is that what you call someone who plays the bagpipes?) is standing before the Devil in Hell. The Devil says, “So you’ll be in charge of the music down here.” LOL Jan

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Vivian - March 17, 2013

Jan, Phil,Lesley: Just wanted to let you know I am so impressed with the respect that each of you have shown each other in this”forum.” I know Jan but it is! Phil , if you are still on here, I just had to say that both the narcissist and I are “Christians” . we believe in God and all that . But I did let my morals slip when I met the narcissist. I take full responsibility. Bewildered doesn’t begin to explain how I felt about my own behaviour. But in the midst of it all, I decided that my talks with God ( usually in the garden or alone) would include beggin for help to rid myself of this man. So when I was driving to see him, I would say,” Ok God, I am headed there now. I know it is stupid . I know it is a sin. Would you please help me with this? because I suck at it.” ANd sometimes I would connect and sometimes not. But always when I saw a cross I felt mercy not judgment. Just wanted to add all of that add from this side of the church house.:) love to all!

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lesley - March 17, 2013

Vivian,
These days Phil tends to post rarely but I am in regular contact with him off blog..he gave me this link to a great site…the lady no longer posts but she leaves it as a resource?
She comes from a very definite Christian perspective but has very little time for Narcs!!!
I don’t follow a set religion as such but her articles are extremely thought provoking and liberating. As follows;

http://narcissists-suck.blogspot.co.uk/

Hope you enjoy…L

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79. Lesley - July 21, 2012

Just come in from picking up my nephew at station and he’s now reading this over my shoulder Jan…see how your blog rocks!
Rest assured I’m going to find a Californian Joke…then right back at ya!
Phil, no I don’t think that contact with a Narcissist is necessarily a contagion nor for me,(I own my opinion a my own) a factor that led to ‘a likely breakdown in my morals’. If you read what Donna and I were saying it has actually increased our sense of self and our humanity.
I find that when anger turns to pity, as I’m experiencing these days,
I also feel able to move on. It does take time though as I’m sure you know.
My own faith in a God does not expect or demand a divine intervention in anyway nor do I turn to organised religion.
It is wholly the perogative of others if they choose this path and I would never presume(particularly on Jan’s site lol)to speak for them.
Many of us make sense of life’s tragedies by practising and growing in self awareness which may or may not reflect a divine plan?
My pity for the Narc is tied into their inability to develop this awareness…
So, Jan….payback as follows;
You know you are in California when….
You don’t exterminate your roaches you smoke’em!
You see 25 lawyers chasing an ambulance!
and my favourite…
Your mouses only have one ball!

Les

Les,
Nice try. hehe I don’t understand the last one though unless it’s a reference to the House of Mouse (Disneyland). When I googled “mouses with only one ball” the first site that came up was entitled “Female Promiscuity Controls the Size of YOUR Testicals.” Oh dear… I’m afraid I’m feeling rather blond ATM. BTW, I do love bagpipes. We know someone who plays them up in the park and he had to build a small soundproof room beneath his house so as not to drive the neighbors crazy. I’m afraid I’ll need this joke spelled out for me.

Phil/Lesley: Regarding contact with a Narcissist as a contagion. What I did find was that because Joe was so dismissive of many things that I said, I tended to start to self edit and dish out a little of his own bitter medicine. I think some people, especially those who are involved with someone for a long time, can themselves become removed from their real feelings – as the N keeps denying that these feelings are in fact real. I’m writing a new post that deals with “lack of empathy.” Thanks to all whose comments have made me reflect on this more.

Lesley, I just ran that joke by my husband who’s guessing it refers to a computer mouse and a tracking ball. I haven’t used a mouse for probably a decade, so this was lost on me. Am I getting close? Jan

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Donna - July 22, 2012

To Jan, Phil and Lesley, I have spent alot of time over the last numbers of days discussing alot of stuff about my exnf and others in my life and this morning I realized that I am giving these people much to much attention in my every day life. Yes, I have been touched, injuried and affected by these encounters, however for me the more I discuss and focus on them, gives them power…..I want my power back not as a hater, but as someone who has moved on and forward. Yes, I will always have some very intense emotional feelings about them because I am an emotional person. I want to get back to My “Live and Let Live” frame of mind. Indifference is what I seek, they will have to answer and face their final fate in The Universe one day!

After this past week’s horrific, senseless manslaughter of human life at a Movie Complex in my community, I feel blessed that I am still here and my remaining love ones are safe. I was raised in a Baptist Church with very liberal views and something I remember so well is “Love the Un Loveable” from a distance.

So my new friends here, I am choosing to take a leave of absence to take care of me for awhile. Myself, grandkids, pets and my gardens.

I believe I am a pretty intelligent yet simple Women and life can get much to complicated at times. Take Care, but please don’t forget little ole’ Me………

Donna,
I’ve been following the updates about the shootings in Aurora. I saw from your IP address that you’re not that far away. :( Seeing the smiling faces of those who were killed serves as a reminder that life is indeed fragile. I do believe the best tribute we can give those is to celebrate their lives then live our own lives in a way that gives back to our family and community. FYI: I used to keep a NPD website forum site on my bookmark bar, but then I was tempted to check it daily which kept NPD on the front burner. I finally had to move on though my interest in the subject now is to help others. So for me it’s come full circle.
You won’t be forgotten. Believe it or not, I do write some very upbeat posts about school. You can drop in and be a fly on the wall anytime. But until then, get out there and Live and Let Live! Always, Jan

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Lesley - July 23, 2012

Donna,
Life can get too complicated at times you are right. Give those grand-kids a kiss from me,pat the pets and pullout those weeds. It’s too rainy in Scotland for me to weed. My excuse…
So glad you and loved ones are safe. A mindless
tradgedy… thinking of you bearing with it there,
Les

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80. Phil - July 21, 2012

Hi Jan, I’m belatedly answering a previous post where you asked if my ex may be some other PD instead of NPD? I’m sorry it’s about out of place here in relation to the above. I also wanted to get around to addressing some points Lesley raised in a much previous post also. Please forgive the apparent randomness of this one, I started drafting it ages back.

I’ve looked at other personality disorders and considered them as possibilities. Certain symptons appear as same indicators accross vastly different personality disorders, it’s only when summing up the whole picture (and hopefully without trying to get your facts to fit the disorder) that you reach a fairly safe conclusion. Nothing is truly perfect though!

It’s true that some other disorders can be co-morbid with the main disorder. If I was to choose a co-morbid disorder for my ex, then it would be Histrionic.

However, the main NPD description is so striking for my ex, I can largely avoid having to throw in a co-morbid disorder in order to ‘flesh out’ the bigger picture in her case!

What may be of interest to females who are more familiar with ‘Male Narcissists’. Is that the female Narcissist is an almost perfect mirror image of the Male one! (No pun intended, but accept it if you like) ;)
I’ve talked a lot about empathy and its lack of, except militant thoughtlessness isn’t reason enough in itself, for me to leap headforemost into a conclusion of NPD….

And as is so true of so many things in life … it’s always the ‘little things’ :)

Ironically, it was the peripheral aspects of NPD that put me into the ‘ball park’ of Narcissm to begin with. The Narcissist is highly autoerotic. For example, having to pull a (naked) female partner away from an open bedroom window, and whilst I was hoping that any unsuspecting neighbours would be spared their blushes …… said female partner was actually ‘hoping’ or fantasising that this is or was the case!! Exhibitionism is often a common predilection of the Narcissist.
Narcissists have an amazing ability to disembowel a person on so many levels. With exceptional ease they have an ability to seperate heart, mind and soul from a body. It’s interesting, that they also have an ability to take it a stage further, seperating parts of a body from a body.
It’s hard to describe, but the enterprises and workings of a mind are often revealed in language.
If I said (for politeness sake) that I liked a partner’s legs. (Obviously you have to reverse things for the female, but you’ll get the idea using some imagination). Said partner will (hopefully) be flattered by the compliment. If I had a ‘fixation’ with said partners legs, her legs being salient features and objects of arousal ……. that’s probably quite acceptable for said partner also. Why should anyone have reason not be flattered by receiving praise or compliment, in regard some or other feature of self?
If my language described ‘legs’ in isolation from the rest of of the body, aside the fact I can seperate possession of heart, mind, soul, intellect, or personality from said body…….
‘Today I’ve being thinking about ‘those legs’, how I want ‘those legs’ to do whatever etc’. You’d probably start to question how my mind was functioning? And like I was, go from being flattered to becoming quite affronted and disconcerted by the ‘tone’ and use of my language )))

Also, A Narcissist can never laugh at themselves. Self depricating humour is off limits. And it’s understandable for them. The mental gymnastics involved in deceiving themselves and everyone around them, hardly leaves scope for being able to laugh at oneself.))

I have so many other reasons and evidence for reaching the conclusion of Narcissm and not some other disorder. Far too many to list here.

Phil

Phil,
Sorry I don’t have any jokes for you. >wink< Yes, it's the little things. I've read somewhere that some Ns can reduce their sexual partners to basically body parts. The N I wrote about had a strong voyeuristic streak and shared with a mixed group of coworkers his viewing photos taken by voyeurs on a website. Cue creepy music. I said to him, "Personally, I like sex with real people." (Just to clarify, I meant real people as opposed to people on the internet.) His response? "But these are real people. None of them are paid to pose."
It was illogical comments like this that made my head spin.
And you’re right. Ns are incapable of self deprecating humor, because you have to have a certain understanding of your own behavior (and faults), before you can stand back and poke fun yourself. Jan

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81. Phil - July 21, 2012

Jan,

I think the mouse joke refers to a computer mouse ;) The ones on a desktop before the optical ones.

Which brings me to another interesting aside. My ex didn’t understand humour at all. I’m not the worlds best teller of jokes, my timing is all out! But my ex would often ask me to ‘explain; jokes from other people. This is a woman with a master’s degree ……. and I often thought she might deliberately have been faking ‘pseudo stupidity’ and really be the one (secretly laughing) at the rest of us?

However, she would probably struggle with Jan’s 8 yr old Dinosaur joke and need (or ask) for an explanation of it. There’s a section on Jan’s site where somebody explains that Narcissists don’t understand ‘context and ‘affect’ which is why they struggle with humour,

I would explain jokes to her (reluctantly) and with embarrassment. Because explaining a joke is like disecting a frog. As soon as you put the scalple through it, it ceases to live. You can study its entrails but when you re-assemble it again, it doesn’t have the same life (or any life) as it had to begin with!

Phil

Phil,
Just wanted to let you know that it’s only because I’m summer vacation that I’m so virtually available. :) I love your analogy comparing explaining a joke to dissecting a frog! On Halycon, under Traits of Narcissists, she lists “lacks of a sense of humor.” That said, Joanna Ashmun (who has since died) does say this is the one trait that others disagreed with her on. I thought Joe had a sense of humor, but as I got to know him better, I realized he had a collection of quips he’d picked up from other people. If I gave him a clever card, he didn’t get it. I do enjoy word play, so I attributed this at the time to English being his second language. I’ve also read that Ns (and this is a rather general observation) would prefer to watch a movie rather than read a book – because a book requires context and nuance, something they just don’t get. I know that with Joe this was true. A book also often requires understanding inference, whereas a movie tends to not make you think so hard. Just a thought. I’m off to watch a movie, as I don’t want to think too hard! Jan

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Phil - July 22, 2012

Hi Jan,

I was thinking about your post and I’ve come up with some interesting insights. I Hope you enjoy! ))
My N was of a high socio/economic class. As such, she carefully ‘crafted’ an appropriate image of herself…always ‘appearing’ to shun certain types of media as being crass i,e, film and television, in preference for the more noble ‘written word’. Reading aside, I think a Narcissists library also exists to ‘display’ books as a visual testimony and statement of oneself…..
My N would even have us beleive, that in eschewing televivision and film in preference for books, she hardly knew anything at all about popular media………….

However, the occasional ‘slip’ might often reveal detaled knowlege, of a sub-plot from a current Television soap drama….. or at least awareness of characters within (if I’m exagerrating myself for effect here) ! ;)
One of my favourite forms of fun (delivered in good humour) was to highlight these ‘minor’ inconsistences,and ‘explode’ as myth that her tastes were refined and her consumption purely esoteric!! :D ;)

As you can probably guess, anything percieved to be a possible ‘slight’ on a Narcissist’s ego, is invariably met with an appropriate ‘sense of humour failure’!! ;)

Anyone who thinks life with a Narcissist must always be miserable, think again. Be prepared to laugh at your own jokes, rather than ‘share’ them though!)))

If I look at literature, I can see how an N will gravitate to certain material. Out of interest I will make a comparrison between Charles Dickens and Jane Austen (I like both) … a female N will prefer the latter. Here’s my reasoning as to why I think this is the case……….
Charles Dickens was a great Social commentator, a champion of the poor and the underclass . He wrote during times of social hardship and human suffering. He was also a great campaigner for reform, but unless the privations and degredation of the human form ‘float your boat’ in themselves….. I wouldn’t expect anyone to like Dickens. What I deliverately left out of my one sided appraisal of Dicken’s, is his unique satire. Dicken’s can make me laugh so much I start to cry!!! Now if I imagine reading Dicken’s without understanding or appreciating his satire and irony? It’s then becomes more about bleak houses and suffering from days gone by.

I like Austen because of her amazing ‘Wit’ She really knows how to sketch a charachter, and poke fun at it. I think her mischievous humour makes her books very readable even for a man. But If you don’t understand the ‘wit’ in Austen, there’s plenty going on in the plots to interest females who have tendency towards scheming. How to ‘land your quarry’ and win the attentions of Mr Darcy. It’s all about the sport and the fun of the chase for an N.
Jane Austen never wrote a sequal to Pride and Pedjudice called ‘Mr & Mrs Darcy and their life of happy wedded bliss by the fireside’ …. That would be no fun whatsoever.

I found that my N would gravitate towards novels that have plots full of machinations. Very much a reflection of her ‘acting out’ and using people as pawns in a large ‘chess game’ played with people…….

Interesting that the Olympics are starting soon and my N has no interest whatsoever in sport or competition of any form ……… or so it seems? :) :)

Phil,
I wouldn’t ascribe to much significance to a lack of interest in sports (yes we put an “s” on it. That could be me on any given day. :) ) I did find a link that I thought you might find interesting. I don’t know if you’ve watched Mad Men (Lesley has), but there’s an interesting analysis of why the N continues to look for Ideal Love. Check it out. http://therawness.com/mad-men-season-5-ep-13-the-phantom/ Jan

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Phil - July 22, 2012

Jan,

I’ve just read the article. It’s probably one of he best articles I’ve read on N. I must watch the series. )))

At first I was uncomfortably scratching my neck at the suggestion of a an N searching for ‘idealised love’ …… until what a N’s notion of ‘idealised love’ means to them!))

I think some less ambiguous terms are needed. It’s second nature for me to think of ideal love’ (my idea of it) being about mutual trust, respect, loyalty, acceptance, shared values and a common purpose …..

For a N it’s more about ‘fine tweaking’ the correct amount and type of NS.

This particular observation really hit a chord……

‘She accepted and mirrored his true self rather than his false self, and she accepted his true self in an adult’

And how anyone who accepts the N as they are must be a loser ………

It made me realise how genuine love and acceptance borne from a sense of loalty and love ….. can never be valued or mean anything to a N ……………this is exactly how I felt!!

Phil

Phil,
I’m so glad you found this link helpful. I’m always looking for pieces to the puzzle. I actually know pretty well what the finished puzzle looks like, but as I child I loved reading mysteries, so I tend to want to know the hows and whys. I just went back and read the entire blog post. I hadn’t realized that I was quoted in it! haha :) I was seeing that you can only get “Mad Men in the UK via Sky, which seems to have a lot of people grumbling. Jan

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Phil - July 22, 2012

Jan,

Just one extra point I want to make about the absence of ‘Sports’. I’m not saying that it is a ‘significant’ Narsissist trait to not partake in competitive sports. I was merely pointing out an irony. For somebody who wouldn’t engage in a game of poker, chess, bridge or a fencing match …… something contained in spirit of all the above activities, found an outlet in the gamesmanship of the N’s human relationships and interactions. Just my way of saying that an ‘apparent’ absence of something doesn’t deny its existence.

For ages I’ve been meaning to comment on an old post by Lesley. She talks about passive aggression. My experience of an N is female, of high socioeconomic class. Physical agression or even raised voices were not social or culturally accepted outlets for aggression/anger. My experience is what somebody (I can’t remember where) called the ‘death of a thousand cuts’ …… passive aggression in it’s purest and must subtle forms. I don’t normally condone physical violence, but a knee in the groin is a thousant times more humane than the above!! :D

Phil

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82. Phil - July 22, 2012

Lesley,

In reply to your post on my comments about Narcissists being contagions, my suggestion being that Narcissists are likely to cause a ‘breakdown of morals’?

I think it depends on the person involved with a Narcissist!

You are able to draw upon your reserves of ‘moral courage’ and inner strength. You are successfully turning a ‘potentially’ negative experience into something which has increased your sense of self and humanity.

You are turning anger into pity, moving forward without feelings of hatred which is good advice for anyone!

That you possess such a ‘robust’ character to ‘weather the storm’ from having had contact with a Narcissist, is fortunate.

I will qualify my remark and stand by them, from the position that if a person is less than ‘robust’ or weakeened in character. The contagion of a Narcissist may have a detrimental effect on that person.

My contact with a Narcissist occured at a time when I was already ‘dissolutioned’ with life, my faith in human nature already much weakened. Hence the effects of a Narcissist were more likely to be negative than positive.

Phil

Lesley/Phil,
I can’t think of any contact with a Narcissist that is positive. I do think that those of us with a robust (love that word!) sense of self esteem have the potential to recover more quickly. I do have a post planned as to how narcissists tend to target those who are most vulnerable. I know I was at a low point at the time, so I overlooked obvious red flags. Still, it was several years until I could get past what had transpired. It’s because I like to think of myself as a strong person, that I was left reeling from feeling as though all of my defenses had been breeched. And I’d allowed this to happen! I can definitely see how those less robust to begin with are even more traumatized by the callous cruelty. Jan

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83. Lesley - July 22, 2012

Jan/ Phil,
Just wanted to say that I am still recovering from my ex and indeed
dealing with new revelations about his lies even today.(Jan, I know you know my story…)
It’s true my sense of self esteem kicked in and saved me both in enabling me to confront his behaviour( I was then discarded a week later),and in the process of recovery.
I recall being unable to go to work because of the shock and then weeping continuously but my esteem did eventually take over.
I am not sure of the word ‘robust’, perhaps I have learned to be the reed rather than the oak tree when times are tough.The oak will break depending on the force of the storm,the reed has capacity to bend. My tool in this is to face reality at all times.
Practically, I also had proof of his somatic narc behaviour in terms of his infidelity. This came from others as well as written proof.
I called him on it,the mask came off,he discarded.
Many other people never get this full proof or closure.There has already been discussion on this site about Narc pairings/couples and I think that another factor in being unable to move on is the narc’s victim’s capacity to deny what is actually happening/has happened.This is wholly understandable. It is shocking…but it is so important to face the reality and feel the anger and extreme pain.
The boil must be lanced and the wound cauterised.
Am I over my ex Phil? No, not yet.Do I hope to be… yes.
My wound has been cauterised,but everyday I know it is still there.
I just wanted to add that both my sense of esteem and capacity to ‘weather the storm’ have been hard fought for and developed through no little adversity? I hoped it would alight on my shoulders like a little blue bird(LOL)…but darn, I had to go out for forty odd years and find it for myself!!
ps. Phil, I also laugh out loud at Austen,just about to remind myself of that and read the first chapter or so of ‘Persuasion’…the description of the elderly peacock of Anne Eliot’s father cracks me up every time. He definitely displayed a few Narc Traits…

Light Shine,
Les

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Phil - July 22, 2012

Hi Les,

I think to reman ‘long-term’ in a relationship with an N, a person is either self-abasing by nature, or ‘using’ the N in an equally heartless way.
I would argue that both of the above are ‘victim free crimes’ and the definition of ‘long term’ is about 8 months on average! ;) :D

Undoubtedly there are victims though, and a naturally trusting or empathic person may fall into the role of unwilling victim, for a while.

You mention a ‘victim’s capacity to deny what is actually happening/has happened.’
A Narc does such a good job of bending their own reality. With sufficient exposure an otherwise ‘clear thinking’ partner will lose some of their own grip on reality.

I think the best way to deal with some problems is to have to full and complete understanding of them. Then the power to overcome them will hopefully follow.

An N is an inordinate waste of time and energy, we all agree on that. Emotional or otherwise.
And whilst you are still ‘making sense’ afterwards, an N has already moved onto their next ‘f*** up’ with a breathtaking speed and ease!) Unfortunate but true……..

Although, you probably now undertand the workings of an N’s mind inside out? You can probably accurately predict what thoughts they haven’t even had yet,…. the who, what when, where, why and how of everything they are about to do in the future?! Everything in their nature is just so predictably ‘boring’ for me! :D

And here is where you will become empowered while they are still blinkered. There is nothing that they can possibly do, that will be original or a surprise to you. How much does an N know about you, or anyone apart from themselves? And they don’t even know themselves!!!! :D

One thing I have learned (paradoxically) is how to empathise with a person who can’t empathise …… which is something of a mental feat which can’t be done in reverse! :D
Always have ‘one up’ on them! ;)

Best of luck Les and sorry for implying that you had a naturally steely and robust nature!!))

Phil/Lesley,
For some reason, my “Edit” feature which I use to “comment” on comments was off. I don’t like using the Reply feature as then my face appears on every one. :D Too much of a good thing? LOL Anyways, I’ve decided that it IS better to be a reed than an oak, as it leaves you more flexible in life. (I think of the word “robust” as something full of life BTW.) I think you’ve both done an excellent job of articulating how ultimately your anger must turn to acceptance (just as in stages of grief). I believe that’s where the “Scorpion and the Frog” story comes in, Phil. It’s just their nature and that’s how they’ll always be. I do know some people who are not Ns who also invariably “shoot themselves in the foot” and repeatedly sabatoge relationships and careers. A therapist might be able to help them see why they do this, but this is too interwoven into the Ns personality to be sorted out. Jan

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84. Phil - July 25, 2012

Jan,

I think the Scorpion and frog analogy does a good job of explaining what happened, how and why it happened and the inevitable outcome.

If you think just a little bit harder about the story, the frog is compromising in his nature, isn’t he? In giving the Scorpion a chance and the benefit of the doubt, he is something of a reed!
And the Scorpion is uncompromising in his nature, so he is Robust in a way, isn’t he?

I agree that ‘Robust’ implies a steadfast unwillingness to compromise or change. I don’t like some of the connotations implied by it.

I think the moral of the story (if there is one) ……. is by all means be a reed and bend according to your nature (if that is your nature)……but if you meet another Scorpion, you have to be as robust and uncompromising as he is, go against your nature, refuse to help or get involved!! :D

Phil,
I’m having problems accessing my email ATM and am feeling very un-reed like. :X I think the Frog is like the rest of us – he’s basically a helpful fellow who weighs the pros and cons and proceeds convinced that the Scorpion wouldn’t actually sting him because he would die too. And as for the word “robust” (its origin IS tied in with oaks) – its synonyms are sturdy, strong, and (my favorite) lusty. In the computer industry, a “robust” program is one that will function well even under stress. Now I’m off to create a more robust password. Jan

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85. Phil - July 25, 2012

Jan,

Have you ever seen anything like an N sustaining a long term (same sex) close friendship with another N?

All the literature suggests an N isn’t capable of having real friends, which is understandable. And the dynamics of two N’s together in a friendship seems problematic…..

Has anyone seen an N have a real or close friendship with another N?
Discount the N & Co dependant relationships or superficial friendhips.
I mean an N being in an almost equal partnership of friendship with another N?

Phil

Phil,
I doubt two Ns could both fit their gigantic false egos into the same room. :) It’s interesting because the Ns I know either befriend those they view as beneath them (thus giving them a feeling of superiority) or those above them who they, for lack of a better term, suck up to and hope to please thus earning a pat on the head. Since Ns have no genuine friends, the term “befriend” rings hollow. They might coexist with another N, but the relationship would only continue because neither cares enough to make demands on the other. Sort of like roommates passing in the night.
One more thing, my dear friend Catherine Sherman (on my blogroll) knows a N whose been married to another person with strong N traits. She brought up the “binary star” analogy, which I found interesting. I’m excerpting a bit off Wikipedia. I’m sure Jimmy Wales won’t mind. :)

The term binary was first used in this context by Sir William Herschel in 1802,[1] when he wrote:[2]
“If, on the contrary, two stars should really be situated very near each other, and at the same time so far insulated as not to be materially affected by the attractions of neighbouring stars, they will then compose a separate system, and remain united by the bond of their own mutual gravitation towards each other. This should be called a real double star; and any two stars that are thus mutually connected, form the binary sidereal system which we are now to consider.”

The upshot is that binary stars are bound by a common mass/massive ego? LOL
Jan

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86. Phil - July 26, 2012

That’s a beautiful analogly Jan, I must read the blogroll also.

I wasn’t thinking of the relationship between two N’s in terms of cooperative celestial beings, I was more thinking of two vipers sharing the same pit, or a coven of two witches in a pact! ;) The former is an aspect of the friendship, as long as they mutually support the other’s brightness …… the balance between the two must be evenly matched in my opinion, and in combining brightness be of mutual benefit to both. Needless to say one must never detract from the other…

What I was considering, is that two N’s who are mutually cooperative and supportive, can uphold each other’s lies. Especially at the end of a Narcissitic cycle, before new Narcissistic sources are available.
An objective friend may not be a good shoulder for an N to cry on, if you think about it?
After the N has been abandoned, the last thing an N needs to hear is the possibility that said partner become dissolutioned and alienated as result of N’s actions …….
A good N friend of an N, can assure the N of their entitlement…. and how the N wasn’t to blame? Given that an N probably lose partners every 6 – 12 months and must seach for new Narcissistic supply. Two N friends could offer this mutual support for each other on a regular basis……….
What a beautiful friendship?

Phil

I rolled out of bed quite late this morning and saw that you and Lesley had been chatting up a storm. Don’t you have the Olympics to prepare for? LOL :) The N I know would have been content to “lick his wounds” with someone he hardly knew – someone who would listen to his BS and nod their head that he was indeed in the right. On Halcyon, Joanna says it’s possible to have a long-term relationship with a N as long as you rarely see them. As I mentioned, I viewed myself as Joe’s safe port in the storm. But anyone can play that role as long as they don’t ask too many questions and keep reflecting back to the N that false vision of themselves. This is what Secondary Supply is for – to see them through the lean times. Jan

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87. Phil - July 26, 2012

P.S>
One last peice of my puzzle, I’m trying to understand the relationship between a Narcissist and shame? I would describe my experience of N as being ‘shameless’ in normal descriptive terms. I’ve read about an N being able to by-pass shame. It seems to be component of the root causes of Narcissism.
You my have read this article which covers some aspects of shame.

http://philsphil.wordpress.com/2011/05/18/anatomy-of-narcissism-v1-0-iii-addiction-and-audience/

Phil,
When I read Philsphil(osophy), for a moment I thought it was your blog! But it was missing the requisite “u” in behavior. :O
My understand is that the one emotion that Ns do feel is shame, since they were made to never feel good enough or worthy of love/attention.The blog you just provided a link to posited that they’ve internalized the “shaming parent” but not the “soothing parent.” (I’m going by memory here, so I could have that worded incorrectly.) That ingrained shame is different from behaving in a shameless manner, in which one flouts basic rules of socially accepted behavior. I’ll have to read more. Jan

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88. Lesley - July 26, 2012

Thanks for that link Phil,covers a wealth of articles.
My tuppenny’s worth on friendship is yes my Narc had friends but not as I would have described friendship.They were in the main long term macho acquaintances. He had no female friendships and could not perceive that this was possible.
He was surprisingly loyal to these acquaintances,especially if they were’doing well’ materially in a business sense. He almost acquired or confirmed his own status by knowing them?
In addition this group frequently covered for one another to their girlfriends and wives…and had been doing so for years permitting infidelity and lies to take place.
They were amoral in this aspect. Indeed, I had never quite experienced a group of people who saw it as’the norm’ to behave like this.Cultured on outside…deceitful on the inside.
Out of this group there were two men whom my ex gravitated towards and who I suspect also had Narc traits.They had a common language regarding women and saw women in a comparmentalised way.Women who were not attractive to them were referred to as bags of bones,old corpses,having rictus grins,looking like they had been’dug up’.
Women who were attractive to them were referred to as cars ‘roaring fastpieces,taking her for a spin,she’s as reliable as a volkswagen,like being behind the wheel of a Maserati etc etc etc.
When I was introduced to this group of people…it became clear to me that I would not be forming any lasting friendships(lol!!!),for my ex however it was crucially important that I performed as expected when we socialised with them.This meant dressing up,invariably wearing high heels,bigging up my own career,home,area I came from..in short joining him in his facade.
You’ve guessed it. I tried ..then questioned why I should have to do this,then…in his eyes I failed. I personally went from finding the situation humourous to unbearable.
You mentioned shame as well Phil. I never experienced much shame from my ex. He always made sense of any situation as of him being’wronged’ or misunderstood so hence why should he be shamed.??
I agree entirely with the Narc looking for support from others who share same traits or uphold his mask. They maintain the facade of each other. I know that when I suffered my discard my ex described me to his friends as having ‘crashed the jaguar and it can’t be undone’
Objectification of a human being is also a way to avoid shame?
Interesting musings and will revisit the link you left,
Light Shine
Les

Les,
With your “Light Shine” I expect you to carry that torch up to start the Olympic games. I’ll look for you in the crowd. :) This does sound like an unsavory lot of men who did in fact objectify women and seem to have tried to impress one another, but not with their stellar character traits or humanitarian deeds. It’s been said that an alcoholic is someone who drinks more than you do. So I do think Ns often surround themselves with people who behave in a similar fashion or at least tolerate their bad behavior. The false self they concocted as children is designed to hide their deep-rooted shame. It does an excellent job – better than Kevlar. So that’s why you don’t see them showing genuine emotion when confronted with something they’ve said or done. Jan

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89. Phil - July 26, 2012

Lesley,

Thanks for the insight about ‘objectification’ ……. I haven’t explored this possibility and I haven’t read anything anywhere else. So I would say that it is original thought, I can see in some ways how this concept may play a part in the N’s bypass shame mode.

I’m struggling here. My N appears to have been utterly SHAMELESS in past conduct and feels no real embarrassment or remorse. Occasional references to circumstances and outside factors are cited as mitigating reasons some of the time…..but this ability to engage in actions/activities/relationships in a shame free way both at the time or afterwards is still puzzling for me?

I’m struggling because I don’t understand how N pulls it off in their mind? i’m trying my hardest to empathise with a being who has an entirely different psychological makeup to my own, granted.
But however hard I try, it still seems the most amazing feat of cognitive deceit, the bypass shame ability of the Narc!)))

As an example, my N was of a very high socioeconmic class. Highly educated (Masters degree) and intelligent (in tems of IQ, if not social intelligence) and cultured. When querying the subject of a previous romantic involvement with a male, who didn’t have the temporal abilities to pass 3 GCSE’s (Jan, that means somebody who didn’t pass their high school diploma) …….
I would expect to feel some shame in having once engaged in such a relationship? Is somebody so cheap and desperate that they are willing to throw their reputation in the gutter? ….. I would be embarrassed and ashamed to admit to such a disparity between partners. N explained her involvement in this relationship, in terms of the particular male partner being the only suitor at the time!!! :D

I could apply different interpretations. We could say it was negative Narcissistic supply? If people ask the question why is or was N involved with this particular male? In the words of Oscar Wilde ……. ‘There is only one thing worse than being talked about, not being talked about!’ ……. This quote sums a Narcissist up quite well for me!)) And there may be some element of explanation in these sentiments with regard to above…

But maybe Lesley has a point ………… if you objectify everything ……… all you are doing is moving around props ………. props are inanimate ………. why any shame about something so inanimate )))

Thanks Lesley )))

Phil
I agree with Lesley in that when a N “needs” NS, they’re not in the position to look for “quality.” Besides, if someone is less than, you can use that against them down the line. When people are objects, there is no shame in moving them around like pawns or tossing them out with the rubbish. As I mentioned earlier, the N’s False Self was constructed as a response to feelings of shame as a child. They’ve very insulated indeed against any emotion that might threaten this construct. Jan

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90. Phil - July 26, 2012

P.S> Another example of ‘shame bypass mode’ at work is the N’s affinity for exibitionism ……..
(I’ll assume that my readers don’t have a propensity for exhibitionism) And I personally think everyone is entitled to their own fettish and fantasy as long as it doesn’t impeach upon the rights of others.

But from my own standpoint and viewpoint, a sense of shame and embarrassment, generally keeps me from standing naked at an open bedroom window where unsuspecting neighbours might suffer the sight of my naked form.
Aesthetically pleasing or otherwise, it seems to be a predilection of the Narc to be ‘observed’ and have a tendancy towards exhibitionism?

I don’t have issues with my own body, but I don’t feel the need to display it openly for gratification. It’s not shame of myself that prevents me from indulging in exhibitionism ……… but somehow I think it would be ‘unfair’ for me to embarrass the little old lady who lives opposite!! And here is my sense of shame! ;)

So what is the Narc doing? I wonder if they have bypassed shame ……. or shame itself is a ‘kick’??

Phil

Exhibitionists derive a sexual thrill from such exposure (for lack of a better word!). It’s all about them. Instead of feeling as though they’re embarrassing themselves, they feel all those eyes on them are a form of NS and that provides a rush. They don’t factor in the yuck factor. Jan

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91. Lesley - July 26, 2012

I kind of think they see others as puppets and they are the master puppeteer and are able to set the stage or change the action at will.
You exist to please them and allow them to continue to put on the show. As long as you comply you are part of the company?
When you talk about a Narc who was well educated etc Phil gravitating towards someone who was not or not at the same perceived societal level…yes I think this is possible and even likely.
But…it depends what the Narc wanted them for?
If the Narc wanted them for sex or companionship or laughs or company….in the moment so to speak,it would not matter what their background was,just that they could fulfill a passing need? A somatic Narc is not fussy about who he sleeps with. They may even get off on a liaison that is deviant/out of the norm/clandestine.
However,if the Narc wants someone to be ‘main supply’ even for a while this is where the checklist comes in….as main supply to a Narc you have to affirm his status. You are the main mirror,the one he looks in most of all.
The others are just part reflections,angles if you will?
I was the main supply for just short of two years,defined as his partner because I ticked the boxes on his checklist. I was also show- ponied around as this, my qualifications quoted, jobs I had done mentioned… To his workmates,family etc I was the acceptable face?
Yet,he had his’angled’ mirrors too in the form of his passing infidelities,his online scouting for other angled mirrors.
All mirrors show him or parts of him.
They key for me to understanding a Narc is that it is perfectly acceptable for them to look in several mirrors at the same time- in fact, my ex only felt in control if he did so.
For most of us this is morally wrong. For a Narc motivated by sex and excess and status it is a way of life that works for them.
Yes…it is incomprehensible and shocking.

Les,
I’ve heard the puppeteer pulling the strings analogy before and it’s an apt one. They’re in charge and they’ll manipulate the show. Another woman (I heard this years ago on a forum) compared the N to a traveling theatrical troupe (of one). He’d arrive in town and set up his stage. Let the show begin! When the audience tired of his behavior, and someone dared to boo, he folded up his little stage and moved on. This was true of Joe and several other Ns I knew. Once people in their “territory” see through them, they must move on to secure fresh supply.
I love your use of the term “show-ponied about” though no doubt that was painful. When they can be seen with someone lovely on their arm, it reflects well on them. But the somatic Ns I’ve known are never satisfied with one person. They seem to be most comfortable juggling multiple people/potential sources of NS. When called on their infidelities,they “explain” but never “apologize.” It’s very twisted logic indeed. Jan

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Donna - July 26, 2012

Hello to all, I took a break for a few days and it did me some real good as far as getting some things taken care of and behind me on my to do list, and that feels good.

Personally Chris, I don’t think it matters or not or if he would even care if you called them a N, primarily because it is all about them and they probably wear the title proudly if you know what I mean. My experience is that they love to yank chains and pull the puppet strings, if you allow them to do so. As far as the wife is concerned you can tell her what you know but it doesn’t mean she will listen. Being supportive and helping her find help is basically all you can do to find safety for herself and a small child; from my point of view.

Lesley, my personal revelation today is that they are: “Still very immature young chidren/preteens stuck in adult bodies” who will do what ever they can to get their own way or else. As adults some of them can become dangerous and destructive.

Take Care to all my Friends!!!!!
Donna

Donna,
Great to hear from you as we all have our unique experiences and perspectives to offer. During the school year, what I wouldn’t give for a few days off to catch up on my “real” life. Yet with all the time in the world over the summer, I’m moving rather slow. I need to locate a sloth emoticon. :) Jan

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Phil - July 27, 2012

Les,

Thanks for the insight, I think you’ve helped clarify this for me. The N is quite heedless in who they are willing to use as NS at any particular time for whatever purpose.
Then their ‘bypass shame’ ability becomes very noticeable, Whilst I personally coudn’t be as ‘shameless’ as a Narc, fearing the potential embarrassment it would cause to my own sense of self worth or pride ……. the Narc is ever the pragmatist and will use whoever at any given time ‘needs must’ ))
And as you beautifully point out the distinctions between primary sources and ‘other mirrors’ ………there’s room for everyone to play some or other part as a prop.

Jan’s link earler in the blog, did a tremendous amount to explain the seemingly incomprehensibe nature of a Narcs choice of primary supply and what constitutes an idealised NS.

I immediately thought of the typical ‘pushy parent Narcissist’ thrusting her darling daughter child prodigy on stage. Delighting at the praise received from her daughters talents (undoubtedly inherited from an nurtured by mother, of course) ….. Until said child prodigy receives praise in her own right, and the significance of mummy is eclipsed. Then the Mother raging at darling daughter ‘You’re getting far too big for your boots miss, just remember who are only where you are because of me!’ :D :D
Classic how everyones self esteem and part is managed to give just the right amount of NS to the Narc …… :D

Phil

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92. Chris - July 26, 2012

Hello and thank you for this blog and the comments! I find myself nodding and also was amazed at Phil’s analogy regarding the nine year old who expects her daddy to buy her the ice cream! I have been researching many of the narc’s behaviors and attributes that we are dealing including “are narcs cheap?” as he has never paid for anything (socially) as far as we can tell..not once! His wife always pays (if we were not the ones paying). Now I’ve come to realize that his presence is his contribution and we should all feel damn glad to bask in it (Oh brother).

I would write the details of our “adventure” with this psycho, but I am somewhat paranoid and fear he may come across this and make our lives more uncomfortable – but I realize chances are small because I’m sure he doesn’t see himself as a narc. I wonder if his wife does, though. She definitely comes across as an narc extension and enables him.

I believe I read here that when a narc. is confronted w/being told he is a narc., the experience has been that more often than not, they go away.

I’ve been doing research trying to find out more about if you should tell a narc he is a narc, but seem to generally find comments like, it won’t do any good, or that things could actually become worse.

(I’ve been reading Vankin’s book as well as one called “Why is it Always about you?” plus doing a lot of online searches.)

For now we are ignoring him (from what I’ve read this is frequently recommended) but eventually we are going to have to confront legal issues with him.

So my questions are: If I have contact with this person again and if he is abusive, should I tell him I think he is a narcissist?

Jan, I think you said you confronted Joe, but did you actually use the word narcissist? And if so, what was his reaction?

Anyone else here who has told the N that they believe he/she is an N, how did you do it and how did they react at that moment and from then on? (He has already raged on one of us….I almost hope he rages on me but I would like to have input on my best response.)

Thanks for all your help!

Oh, also, if the opportunity arises..for instance if the wife is having a hard time with him and tells me about it (again), should I tell her what I suspect? That he is an N? And that she should do research on it?

They have a small child who I wonder is already screwed up by this nut.

Chris,
When you said “legal issues” the knot in my stomach tightened. Don’t know what that’s about, but I’d tread lightly for now.
1) Regarding Ns being cheap. On Halcyon (on my blogroll) she lists that as one of their personality traits. Yes, you should just be grateful that you were allowed to be in their presence. LOL
2) One day Joe was talking about having children. Actually he came in while I was talking with another woman and asked what the best age was for a woman to have a child. It was as though he needed to set his sites on the most “viable” candidates. (This said, five years later he has never married or been in a relationship.) When my friend left, I told Joe I didn’t think he was well suited to be a father because he was so “self centered.” His response was “But lots of artists are self centered!” End of conversation.

After the D&D and school was out, I wrote him a note telling him I thought he was a narcissist. I included Sam Vaknin’s book (with sections I highlighted that were oh-so Joe) and left these on his doorstep. I was still, unfortunately, in a “I can save this person” mode.
When I saw him three months later he said, “Leave it to you to think I have something that’s incurable!” He never asked why I’d come to this conclusion. But, he’d been dealt a mortal blow and distanced himself from virtually everyone who was my friend. I believe he was afraid that they “knew.” He switched schools the next year (his hours had been severely cut, so he had other reasons to make this move as well).

So, telling a N that they are a N will bounce off them like a bullet on Kevlar (my second reference Kevlar in one day!) YOU are the one with the problem.

In regards to his wife, that’s a double-edged sword. I suppose if she came crying to you, you could mention that you were talking to someone the other day whose husband had NPD, and a lot of the things they told you sounded rather similar. I have a friend who only realized her husband was NPD after her cousin described his horrible marriage with his wife and said their therapist had told him she was a narcissist. My friend was looking for answers, so she did the research. That said, sometimes the people who complain the most about a situation are the last to leave the sinking ship. Denial is a strong thing.

I don’t like to “give advice,” as I don’t have the credentials or know enough about what’s going on in your situation. My only intention is to give you some feedback based on my experience for what that’s worth.

Donna, in the comment that precedes yours, has also weighed in. Second and third opinions are always welcome. :) Jan

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93. Phil - July 26, 2012

Hi All,

I’m loving this discussion ))) To Chis in particular but to everyone. Let’s be honest, a Narc has at some point seriously p*ssed us all off in a big way!! Anger is natural and so is the need for retaliation in many of us. But always remember, everything in the Narcs mind is twisted and your retalliations (even revealing to a Narc he is a Narc) could be twisted back into negative supply.

So to keep on Jan’s theme, how does one craft an armour plated missile to penetrate the Narcs Kevlar?

Before I even read about any of this, I seemed to have somehow intuitively crafted a perfect Narcissistic injury/insult on my ex. (I’ll tell you about my parting shots later)
But, had I made any more additional remarks to the ‘select’ ones I had already made, I may potentially have undone the succesful narcissist wounding injury I had inflicted.

Always remember, a Narc needs to validate themselves. They need an audience and attention to know they are of consequence and exist.

First off, if anyone cares to write 28 chapters to a Narc on their personality flaws, that’s supply in itself. However damning or derogatory your content, you’ve validated the Narc’s existence and proved they are worthy of 28 chapters. A Narc will love this, it’s negative supply. To the N people are naturally envious and ‘out to do harm’ through malice, it’s the Narcs perception of things. Of course the Narc feels worthy of 28 chapters of attention, but will twist it and interpret how it best suits their needs. It’s ‘you’ who has the problem in the Narc’s mind afterall…….but thanks nonetheless for writing 28 chapters, it validates my exisstence and inflates my sense of worth, he thinks))

We all know that a Narc has an inflated fase self and tries his best to validate it using an audience. As a result, the Narc is woefully inept in terms of social intelligence, he hasn’t tkaen enough time or given enough insight into other peoples real perceptions………..

Where I’m going with this, is that as you know how ‘inflated and false’ the Narcs ego is ………. so do other people who interact with the Narc, you’re probably not the only one to notice.
As the Narc crafts this blinkered perception of himself, he hasn’t taken into account how many other people see through the vaneer or what they really think about him? ;)

My N was female, I wanted to avoid anything that would present her as some type of ‘femme fatale’. That’s far too glamourous and the N will love it as Negative supply.

I skillfully pointed out to my N (and this was true) that in the perceptions of others, she was ‘pathetic’, ‘pitiful’, ‘ridiculous, and so hideous that she was frequently mocked at behind her back ……’ generally thought of as emotionally crippled attention seeking child and of ‘NO CONSEQUENCE’

Ouch …………….!!!

I’m glad that I didn’t follow up with chapters concerneing the real harm she had caused ………. that would have validated her existence and sense of worth, even if negative…….

To slight an N, you need to be brief enough to show that you don’t care and that they don’t matter to anyone )))

Phil

As they say in the film business, “There’s no such thing as bad publicity.” With that in mind, supply is attention – whether it’s positive or negative is of little consequence to the N. In that vein love and anger are equal as they’re both strong emotions. Like I said, it’s indifference that takes its toll.
Also, Phil, I had a similar conversation with Joe. Many of his colleagues found him to be, for lack of a letter word – inept. Some even found him laughable and they too talked behind his back. In my effort to “help” Joe, I told him the negative effect he had on many people. Although he denied this was true, I knew I’d hit a nerve. He vanished without a trace. Jan

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94. Phil - July 27, 2012

It’s so true Jan,

I hadn’t realised how much of a nerve I pulled at the time. ;)

The N will vanish in a cloud of smoke and find new sources of NS to re-inflate and validate their false self.

Had I made indictments of the N that showed she was of consequence (albeit in negative ways). That would have been ‘There’s no such thing as bad publicity’,or ‘The onlly thing worse than being talked about is not being talked about’.
The N will turn any form of attention into a positive and think, “at least I know I exist and I matter” ))

I put her face to face with her real self. But worse still, I highlighted that her illusions didn’t convince others either! :D Then she was face to face with the emotionally crippled, shame and guilt ridden inadequate child. Whose mirrors erected to reflect on the ‘grandiosity of her false self ……….. had been shattered!!!

Jan, do you think I could be a psycopath?? ;) :D

Phil,
Well, if you are, you’ve got plenty of company. Moi included. When we’ve been injured so, sometimes you end up fighting fire with fire. When I told Joe some of the things I heard people say about him (all of them true), I’d hoped that he’d realize that I had his best interests at heart, I was his one true friend who accepted him for who he really was. I could help mend him. Boy, that was the final nail in the coffin!
Jan

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Phil - July 27, 2012

lolol
This was exactly my mistake Jan))
I saw the emotionally wounded, shame ridden, guilt ridden little girl sobbing with inadequacy and feelings of emptiness and worthlessness ……….
I was a true genuine friend. It’s as though I said, I can see who you are (your true self) and so what …… nobody is ‘perfect’ and I’ll accept you as you really are with all your faults!! :D
A Narc needs to embellesh their false self. By being genuine and accepting their true self, you are killing them with kindness. They need to be around false people who will reflect their false self))
As you say, if you accept a Narc in the true sprit of friendship or love, in their eyes you must be a ”’loser’ to have accepted the Narc s they really are, a person who they themselves loathe

Phil

Exactly! They don’t want you to see what’s beneath the mask. Once you do, you’re history. Jan

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95. Phil - July 27, 2012

Hi All,

A while ago I was contemplating the function of the ‘repetition compulsion’ in the Narc. We all see the same tired old ‘script’ of a Narc repeated time and time over…… yes, it’s highly predictable and nothing new.

But much earlier in the blog I was questioning the true purpose of ‘repetition compulsion’ and exploring whether or not the Narc is trying to correct and ‘get something right’, or whether the Narc has has some fatalistic urge to replay an old tragedy, a form of self fulfilling macabre gratification and self harm, if you like??

The best wisdom I came accross was that the N Idealises. That is the N has a notion of and projects the ideal (but not real) image of this ideal onto a partner. The primary source of NS is now the perfect shiny new mirror, reflecting back the necessary and required ‘ideal’ type of Narcissitic supply. (For a while)
Inevitably, this ‘idealisation’ and projection onto a primary source of Narcissitic supply is always doomed to fail. The real person never was as ‘ideal’ as the narc required (in whatever way) …. and the Narc becomes dissolutioned with the primary supply until abandonment is forced… (more often than not the Narc is abandoned) its all so inevitable and also reasonable explanation of what is happenening……….

I was doing some thinking and may have an alternate explanation (or another dimension) into the ‘repetition compulsion’ that could make some logical sense, rather than the senseless fatalism it appears to be.

I outlined the case study of ‘Emily’ some time ago. I don’t want to repeat it at length, but in a nutshell.
Emily was very close to daddy. Parents have acrimonious split, daddy has found a better partner and family. Emily is abandoned and rejected by daddy. Emily feels guilt, shame, inadequacy, blames self. This situation seems inconprehensibly unfair for Emily, she searches herself for reasons and feels worthless and not in control. Worse still, daddy mocks and undermines her sense of worth, invalidates his previous love for her… says he never wanted her (even though she was once daddy’s girl ) etc etc etc….Emily will always feel inadequate and perhaps blame herself for the situation, she now has a very low sense of self worth (and a mistrust of men)……Emily delevlops Narcissism.(understandably)

As an adult Emily repeats numerous failed short term relationships with the opposite sex, nothing new here!

At a certain age where her firends are now all becoming married and having families (as is a biological neccessity to do so in women, if they are to do so at all) ………..Emily also ‘toys’ with the idea and possibility of having a partner and family of her own. There is some element of ‘envy’ of her friends her, but by and large Emily’s existence has always centred on herself (as does every Narc’s) ……………..
So the notion of being responsible for dependants is something of a bind and scare for Emily, it would be a sacrifice and shock to the system….. but necessary if she is to be like her peers and understake motherhood as a future purpose in life.
Interestingly, the notions of motherhood are explored from the perspective of being a ‘soccer mom’ (for Jan) or a ‘Yummy mummy’ for Les. That is, how children can be extentions of and accessories of self, whilst remaining the centre of focus in ones own world? ;)
Yes it’s a bind having to take brats to soccer and ballet, but I will be as glamourous and admired in mid life as I was in my youth )))

Emily, in her more candid moments. Expressed her deep fear that a husband’partner would not abandon the family and be a good parent. The fear of a partner abandoning was her ‘worst fear’ in the undertking of finding one to start a family with.

As I read somewhere else. The same way in which the children are not put there as people in their own right but as extentions and accessories. The father is probably not thought of as father to the children (who may abandon) but as a surrogate father to Emily……..
And moreso than fearing for the childrens welfare ……. it is her own fear of abandonment by her surrogate father that causes her the most stress and fear ;)

What I started to think was this. When Emily’s dad abondened and rejected her, she was a little girl. She hadn’t committed any sins and for no reason she was punnished, betrayed and abandoned …………

How will she know that a man isn’t going to do this to her again?
What if she drives and TESTS a person to the limits? Do everything in your power to make him abandon you …… if he’s still there after the abuse, you’re pretty safe!!!
Maybe that’s part of it??
What do you think???

Phil,
From my experience, those who’ve been abandoned, whether it be physically or emotionally, as children, often grow up to be adults who do indeed fear abandonment in their relationships. Many test their partner to see if they are likely to run. This is understandable. Yes, someone with childhood abandonment issues could/would/SHOULD be gun-shy (that’s so US) about relationships, but could work through this fear with a reliable partner and a therapist.
Those with Borderline Personality Disorder fear abandonment most of all. They actually treat their friends/partners horribly to hasten the abandonment they “know in their bones” is inevitable. I knew it!
With Ns, their fear of abandonment drives them to abandon their partner first thus turning the tables. Anyone who continues to put up with their abuse and stay is actually deemed LESS WORTHY and becomes Secondary Supply. Jan

Phil

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96. Lesley - July 27, 2012

The fear of abandonment viewpoint holds water for me Phil when you describe the childhood situation that Emily went through but I think the problem with Narcs is that they never,ever feel safe. Therefore the testing a person to the limits will just go on and on and on. I noticed that my ex would act up and denigrate after we had been close or had a lovely day together…again testing. Then he would go back to being Prince Charming….again and again.Draining.
They hear you saying you love them,but they don’t believe it. If you think about it ,we need to feel we are worthy of love before we can accept it? Their bucket of self worth can never be filled because it empties out as soon as you try to fill it?
Yet on a positive side not all people who have some form of separation in childhood or early trauma turn out to be Narcs?
My ex’s father had some form of mental illness which could never be talked about. He was deeply ashamed of even the taint of mental illness.
The description of his D’s behaviour-(he lost the family business through gambling,excessive drinking, rage then depression)-this description may fit bi polar for his father,not sure?
His two siblings had both suffered from severe depression and my ex would describe his mother as a living saint….yet he both distrusted women profoundly and objectified them.
I used to think he must be angry at his Dad but his need to denigrate women,his need to dominate them and his rage seemed to suggest he was angry at his Mum?
To be honest, just thinking out loud here.. I still can’t fathom that out.
I was talking this over with a girlfriend a few days ago and we decided it may just be unfathomable. As she said to me
‘Would you recognise it in a partner again?
My reply,
‘Absolutely.’ Maybe that has to be enough…

Lesley,
Yes, some things are unfathomable. You can analyze something to death and ultimately still ever know exactly why. And you’re right in that Ns never feel entirely safe. I believe that “feeling safe” often takes us back to childhood when our parents were our protectors who seemed all powerful. Jan

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Phil - July 27, 2012

Hi Lesley,

I just want to add, that I agree wholeheartedly with your analysis on the possibility of an N wishing to test something for strength. The basis of my argument was that the N is trying to test a relationship for strength, perhaps? As Lesley points out, the N will continually and unremittingly ‘test’ a relationship until the point at which is breaks. Whether or not it ‘broke’ after a few minor knocks or continual and sustained abuse until it breaks. All relationships will be broken, it’s academic whether or not one partticular partner was more resilient and tolerant than the other…. they were all forced to abandon ship eventually)))

Thanks again for clearing the mist Lesley! )))

Phil

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Donna - July 27, 2012

Lesley, I can remember very well my ex N friend telling me about his parents, he seemed to have worship his mother and said she was very close to him when he was young. He also let me know that his mom smoked and did every thing he to get her to stop, but she didn’t listen to him and she died from a stroke 11days after his 14th birthday. He also stated that his mother suggested that his father may have been cheating on her with some woman down the street from their home. He didn’t get along well with his father at all and he described his only sister as a slut who just brought so much disgrace to the family. He indicated when his mother died his father cried for days and he didn’t feel that grown men should cry. He even told me that he started having sex at the age of 16 with an older woman who taught him everything he needed to know about the female body.

He graduated from high school and immediately joined the army to get away from his Dad. He joined under a buddy system with his best high school friend and went to Vietnam and went AWOL two weeks after landing in Vietnam. He was caught and returned to his unit. His friend is a long time friend of mine and he said that he has never been the same since coming back from Nam. When he returned home he want to college and received a degree in Human Behavioral Science.

He stared buying real estate property because he couldn’t get along with anyone on regular jobs. He has been in Property Management since he was 28 years old. He has never been married but has two children, an older daughter and a 18 year old son that he raised since he was seven. He had his son’s mother declared unfit in court and raised the boy with help from many female friends. He is a millionaire on paper and I know because he had me review his taxes when we first reconnected. He seems to buy and sell folks, he only buys the best of everything and is a perfectionist to the max.

He just doesn’t seem to keep any long term close relationships for very long. He alienates ppl but hates to be alone. He is very paranoid and owns lots of guns.

I am truly grateful that he devalued me because he seems very scary at times.

Donna,
It seems to be a reoccurring them that these people can’t maintain a real relationship, yet often feel the need to surround themselves with others. Guns and paranoia is always a scary combination, so you should count yourself lucky.:) Jan

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97. Phil - July 27, 2012

Hi Lesley,

In the words of Carl Jung “It is often tragic to see how blatantly a man bungles his own life and the lives of others yet remains totally incapable of seeing how much the whole tragedy originates in himself, and how he continually feeds it and keeps it going.”

And it’s very easy to analyse this at work in the Narcissist, even though they don’t see it in themselves. If anything their personality is constructed in such a defensive way to prevent them from seeing it))

Watching them ‘act out’ is very much like a Shakespearean tragedy, it is the flaws in a person’s character which lead to their eventual and inevitable downfall, not fate.

Yet every Narc will invariably point to those ‘slings and arrows of unspeakable fate’ being the definative aspect of their demise.

But having said all of the above. To keep myself objectively sane I have to apply the same tests to my own character, it’s not comfortable but completely necessary to factor in my own flaws……….

My questioning of myself, is how my character is flawed to be vulnerable to the Narc in the first place. It would be very cheap of me to point at their tragedy as emainating from within ….. and explain my own as being entirely down to fate! :D At least we can all hopefully examine ourselves in critical ways, the Narc can’t, which is their greater loss.

Phil

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98. Chris - July 27, 2012

Jan, thanks for letting me know that Donna had weighed in above my post, I would have missed it.

Thank you all for your comments and advice.

The N’s wife had a chance to get rid of him awhile back and fought to save the relationship. I feel that it may be unlikely she will just reach her wits end and let the guy go or leave him…..it seems it will take something more than the emotional and mental abuse…something more visible and tangible.

As we have relayed our story to people that don’t know the N, they can’t believe his behavior. The entitlement factor with this guy is so high, normal adults find our story bizarre…and it is of course!

As we have relayed our story to people that know the N, ones that know him peripherally indicate they think he is strange. Two different people that don’t know each other but know the N have referred to him as a “spook.” There is a couple that have long been friends of the N and his wife, and one said “N” seems like a great guy on the surface, and then one day you walk in to find him abusing a child – I won’t use his exact words :-X. (He said this not as something that really happened, but in that it’s clear that like Phil said, he understands the person the N represents himself to be to the world is not who the N truly is, and that the N is capable of unspeakable things).

These friends relayed stories to us that we hadn’t heard, of the N’s rages in front of others as well as directed at them. We had previously heard stories but didn’t believe they could be true, at least not the way they were told…not of this seemingly “sweet” person. Now we know they are true!

Though I wish someone would have warned us not to get close to him, we would not have believed them. Just as another friend of ours still thinks the N is a “gem” of a person, I have warned them but I also told them I wouldn’t have believed it until we experienced it first hand and I don’t expect they will until it happens to them. And I believe it will because they are close. It’s just a matter of time.

Thanks Phil for the suggestion that something short can be said but not elaborated on so as to result in supply, but to hopefully make him go away to get supply elsewhere. And God help those people :(

Chris,
So glad I’ve got a crack crew of commenters ATM who are able and willing to help you sort things out. You’re lucky (?) that others have witnessed his bizarre behavior, so you’re not the only one saying the Emperor has no clothes. As I’ve written, it’s not until you get “close” that they drop that carefully crafted mask and you get to see what’s beneath. Like Phil said, many Ns take pride in the very qualities that drive the rest of us away. Crazy, huh? Jan

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99. Phil - July 27, 2012

Hi Chris,
‘God help them’ indeed!! :D
People who know an N in an entirely superficial way, may well make reference to the N’s seemingly good character.
As is the theme of Jan’s site, it’s ‘up close’ when you really discover the truth.
A ‘scorched earth policy’ to completely starve the N of any form of Narcissitic supply will work. Be mindful that there isn’t even a ‘hint’ of attention in anything you do or say, that could be turned in supply by the N.

There is another tack, if you engaged in conflict with an N. But this isn’t preferable because conflict is drama and drama is supply to a Narcissist. This is just to ‘scare’ them ….. the previous solution is the only sure way to rid them fully.

Years ago I had a mug which had one of those silly quotes on it. it must be 20 years ago and it broke, but I remember the quote….

‘Just because you’re paranoid, doesn’t mean that people aren’t really trying to get you!’ ;)
This is true of the Narc on so many levels. Their personality is geared towards imagined paranoa. Being pranoid for a Narc is Narcissitic self supply. The narrative goes “I’m great, therefore people envy me, therefore people are out to get me, the fact that people want to harm me is proof of how worthy I am” etc etc………
But ……….. on the second level of paranoa, the Narc really has p*ssed people off in real life in a BIG WAY!!! Therefore, some of the Narcs paranoia is actually founded in reality !!!:D

As Sam Vakkin says, make subtle references to heighten an N paranoa if you want to scare the N. He will inflate them himself. Just like a like a frightened child in the dark, generating monsters in his head!!! ;)

Phil

I need that mug for my desk. Hey, I found it! http://www.zazzle.com/just_because_i_m_paranoid_mug-168280064297542686 :) Jan

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100. Phil - July 27, 2012

Hi All,

Earlier in my posts I came up with a theory (perhaps out of my desire to view the N in a more favourable light?)
That N is possibly ‘testing’ relationships for strength out of their insecurity and abandonment issues. In case any of you missed Lesley blowing my theory out of the water…….As lesley brilliantly points out, the N will continually ‘test’ every relationship until it breaks!!))

If the purpose of deliberately straining a relationship as a means to ‘test’ it for strength …….. surely there must be ‘criteria’ for a sufficiently robust and loyal partner? As Lesley points out, the N will continually weaken any relationship (however strong) until it does eventually break. Weak or strong, all relationships with an N must be undermined until the point they are broken and the inevitable abandonment fear fulfilled.

Phil

You guys all seem to be sorting things out quite well without my help. LOL N’s don’t want real relationships – they want supply and the newer the better. Jan

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Lesley - July 27, 2012

Hi Jan,
Well, you will go and create a brilliant insightful blog(lol).
Isn’t there a chinese proverb that says sg like ‘ You know you have been an excellent teacher when your students look at each other and say’ Look what we have accomplished ourselves!’
I’m off to watch the opening of the Olympics,

Have a lovely weekend one and all,
Les

Les,
Yes, that’s the job of a teacher. >blush< My friend Lesley in Suffolk has been sending me pictures of the celebrants in her village. Any excuse to break out the local Asphal's Cider. She's been texting me updates. Spoiler alert! The show hasn't begun here, yet I already know that Daniel Craig delivers the Queen via helicopter and that those those cheeky atheletes from the Czech Republic wore blue Wellies and carried umbrellas when it wasn't even raining…yet. Look forward to watching. :) Jan

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101. Phil - July 27, 2012

Hi Jan & Les,

I think Mr Bean was the star of the whole show ! ;)

It was bit on the long side for an opening ceremony (impressive as it was) and long after midnight before the flame was lit here in the UK. So I’m a bit dissapointing for any of our youngsters who missed the main event live.

One result though, the honour of lighting the flame was shared amoungst 7 unknown young athletes, so any potential Narcissistic supply was dissipated ;)

Phil,
You should preface all of this with SPOILER ALERT! My friend Lesley in Suffolk did lapse into boredom mid-show and said the drummers needed to “pick up the pace.” LOL The show doesn’t come on in California until 7:30 p.m. I could watch the highlights on the internet, but that seems like cheating. Thanks for the update. :) Jan

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102. Phil - July 27, 2012

My apologies Les, I assumed you would be watching events live at a reasonable hour in the States. The spoiler in the UK was having to stay up so late! )
Danny Boyle did a great job of directing))
Have a great evening
Phil

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Lesley - July 28, 2012

Phil, Jan is in the states and I am in UK? LOL I thought it was pretty good tho’

Phil,
I have another friend, Lesley, in Suffolk. So many groovy people named Lesley! My two trips to England (if you click England in my Tag Cloud, I’ve written about those) have been to East Anglia and then we do a day trip into London. Love it! I heard the show was three hours plus. I think maybe I’ll need to get some ironing done. :) Love Danny Boyle. Job well done! If you check your earlier comment, Phil, you’ll see that I’ve located the replacement mug. LOL Jan

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103. Phil - July 28, 2012

Jan, lolol

You should start a line of products for blog readers! )))
Something I used to say to my N was ‘It’s important to be able to laugh at yourself….. otherwise you might be missing out on some of the best jokes’ ;)

Phil

LOL That’s mug-worthy as well! And so true. Jan

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104. Phil - July 28, 2012

Hi All,

For a while I’ve examined the main tenets of Narcissism and tried to establish the roots. One very obvious one been an inability and unwillingness to empathise. I think this is (aside from it being perplexing for those in contact with a Narc) one of the most telling ways of establishing Narcissm, amoungst other indicators. Then of course, explaining the root of the inability to empathise takes us onto other themes.

I was reading ‘Anna Valerious’ blogspot (don’t worry Jan, I’m not defecting) ;) and she covers (in different words to what I would use to decribe something similar) a less talked about theme. She talks about the ‘fearfullness’ of the Narc charachter.

What I’m hoping is that by appealing to the Female bloggers experience of Male Narcissist, to clear some mist that obscures what I think are the same traits. These traits are often hidden behind the monicka(moniker?) of gender differences. And please forgive me for saying this ladies (it’s not mysogyny) The female N has some special tricks in her arsenal that the male one doesn’t, by virtue of her femininity and percieved membership of a ‘weaker sex’ ……… (or ‘weaker’ when it suits the female N to be weaker, that is. ;) …..

A female Narc will use victimhood more readily (I’m not saying that the Male one doesn’t, he very frequently does) ….. but the truth is, a female can ‘hide in victimhood much easier than a man and do a much more convincing job of it!! And my experience of a Narc’s use of victimhood, is that there’s no safer place to peddle evil and get away with it, than whilst hiding inside the camp of weakness and ‘victimhood’))

Let me come plain out with it. All the time I was with N, a word which was always on the tip of my tongue, but I was (for reasons I’ll explain) always reluctant to use ! On so many occasions I wanted to call her behavour ‘COWARDLY’!!

Most blog readers and writers here are female. I’m giving a different perpective from a Male’s experience of a female N.
What is VERY UNCANNY for me (and ladies you’ll just have to take my word on this) is how the female N is virtually identical to the male one.

What obscures things (or attempts to obscure) the similarities between Male and female Narcs, are the social mores and gender politics which often colour social interactions between men and women. BUT, if you try to factor all these things out, I think you start to see how IDENTICAL IN CHARACTER the females are to the males.

So I’m looking for a female experience on any percieved cowardice in Male Narcs. It’s easier for you to do this ladies because …….

The fact is, I’m rather old fashioned at times (I feel bound too much by archaic codes of male chivalry towards women)
Which is why I was never confortable calling my female Narc a COWARD and COWARDLY. I’m just not comfortable saying or thinking it. It can also easily be twisted into the mysogyny of a male bully at work by a clever female N ever vigilant for an opportunity to do so.

(Another interesting off topic for another time, they say the Male N is a Misogynist!!) But, I think the female is whatever the reverse terminology is. Also, the female N is convinced that every man is a misogonyst also (which is probably her projection of her own feelings towards men reversed). It’s also far more palatable a thought, that all men hate all women, rather than that all men will eventualy hate just her ;) I digressed too much, sorry,,,,,,

Anyway, a female can easily and unashamedly point out a Male coward in all his snivelling glory …. so please go ahead and tell me if this was your experience of the Male Narc?? I’m sort of hoping it was ??

Phil,
Hope you don’t mind, but I corrected some of your spelling and let some be. You remind me of one of my gifted students last year who was absolutely brilliant, but as I wrote on her report card, her creativity was most obvious in her spelling! :) You have such interesting ideas that I feel compelled to sometimes clarify…pitter patter…that’s the sound of me tiptoeing around so as not to offend.
I have no doubt that female Ns are ultimately the same and that certain social mores allow females to get away with behavior that would not be tolerated in men. That’s why I send male commenters to Shrink4Man, as Tara’s audience is primarily men who’ve been “sold a bill of goods” by females who can also be cunning manipulators.
I’m afraid that more men put up with bad behavior from females because they are afraid to tell others they’re not in control. I’ve referred two men who I know personally know to Shrink4men. Their wives were both shrews and the men felt utterly powerless. Our society encourages the idea that “real” men wouldn’t put up with such cr%p. Well, real men do.
I’d elaborate, but I’m in the midst of preparing for a dinner party for 10. My husband decided he needed to fashion a 10-foot table from the cedar that was felled in the windstorm last year. It’s sitting on sawhorses ATM. I’m thinking we need Danny Boyle here to organize the festivities. Jan

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Phil - July 28, 2012

Jan, (or shall I call you Miss?) ;) :D

You’re quite right to correct my spelling and grammar. I’m abosolutely (absolutely) awful in this respect!)
Hopefully my idea of the truth isn’t as ‘creative’ as my spelling, if it is I’ll start getting paranoid and think I could be a Narc?! ;)

You’ve mentioned the website for men before. To be honest I love the discussion on this blog, and I’m so satisfied that I have no specific desire for a ‘Male perspective’)
It’s interesting reading and contributing as a Malre(male?) though. I’m nodding my head in agreement at every post and thinking. ‘This isn’t about gender or sex at all’ So many things are genderised for the sake of it. I honestly think that a Narc is Narc male or female. It almost seems as senseless to bring race or class into the discussion, once you’ve grasped it’s all about characer and personalty. Take account of other factors by means (as I did in the above) …… but when you’ve nailed a Narc for what they are, the other factors are just diversions of little consequence to the main issue, Narcissm(Narcissism) itself!

Hi Phil,
I’m so relieved to know that you’re “self-aware” in the spelling department. :) You must know that I once received a vacuum cleaner (a hoover to you) as a wedding gift. I wrote lovely notes to thank all who’d contributed for the “vacume” cleaner. My mother was horrified. She couldn’t believe she’s paid for me to go to college! My third graders LOVE to hear that story. :) Yes, you’re right, it’s not whether they are a man or woman, the traits are the same dressed up in a different package. What is most interesting (from my perspective) is that Shrink4Men is written by a woman. It’s made me stop and examine some of my own preconceived notions about men/women and parenting. As the mother of two sons, I find myself increasingly interested in how men are viewed in our society. Jan
How long has it been since you were in this relationship, Phil? Have you dated since? Just curious. Jan

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Phil - July 29, 2012

Thanks Jan,

I like to think I’m self aware without flattering myself. Something a Narc is very good at…..
Which then brings me onto another point needing explanation? I consider myself very self aware, and even more aware of others ……….
BUT, if there is any truth in the above? Why was I so stupid to be involved with a Narc……….??? :D
Now I’m about to pull a very cheap shot by way of an explanation …….. and it feels especially ‘cheap’ because I’m identifying something in my own defense, which is the mainstay of a Narcissists defense mechanism. An explanation for all those ‘external, fate driven, outside forces’ which blighted the Narcs life and were nothing to do with the Narc himself! ;) :D

I don’t want to give details here in their exact form. But imagine yourself in a car crash with somebody. A physical and circumstantial tragedy, which brings all those involved ‘close’ on an emotional level. My better instincts and intuition would not normally have caused me to deliberately seek interaction with my N, paths were crossed through fate and tragedy. I’m cringing at myself whilst writing this, because I never want to be like a Narc. If anything I always look for tragedy and fault from within, but like I said, imagine being in a car crash with someone………. that was how I became close to N.
I said I have insight and intuition, I saw of lot of ‘red flags’ and signs early on. Thinking back I felt like the frog in your analogy, I knew how dangerous carrying this particular Scorpion would be, nonetheless I was willing to engage in liberal open mindedness and a bit of magical thinking of my own …. i.e. maybe the car crash was fate at work? Subsequently, I place very little if any stead in fate at all these days.
Anyway, my insight and intuition into people isn’t anything magical (some people explain it as such) but all I do is quickly get a ‘feel’ for characters and read ‘scripts’ . I read my N’s script and knew that it couldn’t be combined with my script (or anyones for that matter, such is a Narc’s character) ….. anyway, the relationship was artificially engineered because of a tragedy. Any relationship with an N is highly asymetrical on an interpersonal level, I knew that at the time……..
What you might be thinking, is why am I still reeling now?
One answer, an N has to ‘act out’ and re-create their internal conflict not just within an interpersonal relationship ……. but within group dynamics also. My life was undermined by the conflict caused by N, my carefully balanced harmony between colleagues and friends were indermined by N. She caused GREAT DAMAGE to my life in that way. I was never so naive as to imagine N as a viable life partner on a fulfilling relationship, it was a relationship of circumstance……… I didn’t write myself out of the script BEFORE the damage was done to the rest of my life.

I’m taking sort of a forced break and part voluntary break from it all just now. Because I went wrong and made an aggregious error, I’m making sure I don’t do the same again. )))

Phil

I had to scroll back through more recent comments to see if you’d responded. I find this all very interesting. I always think of situations as the one you describe as “trauma-bonding.” Sorry to hear that all of this spilled over into your workplace (at least, that’s how I’m interpreting it). I also worked with Joe. I was the interesting new person who joined the staff who didn’t already know that he was a very odd man. I overheard someone describe him once as “living in a world of his own making.” I found that telling, but only after I’d offered to give the Scorpion a ride.:) So for me, no one held him in particularly high esteem though he did “make nice” to some women on the staff so he always had someone to talk to. I felt relieved that my personal/professional reputation was unscathed. Although I do think that when I finally told all to those near and dear to me that there were some who wondered how on earth I got so “taken.” Yes that was the word used, “Jan, you were taken.” Ouch!
It’s definitely a good idea when one relationship ends to do some form of an autopsy, so you can understand what went wrong and emerge stronger and wiser. :) Always, Jan

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105. Chris - July 28, 2012

Phil, yes, I’ve said more than once that our N is a p*ssy. Sorry for the horrible term, but he is. I do truly believe if he raged on me I could tear him a new one quite easily. But I don’t want to present myself that way and I want to try to avoid feeding his supply at all. I know we will have to engage him when we address the legal issues and that will feed his supply. I look forward to the day I dont have to think about his ass ever again :)

Yes. That day you’ll be singing, “Oh Happy Day!” :) Jan

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106. Phil - July 28, 2012

Hi Chris,

My experience of an N’s cowardice. They create and skillfully engineer conflict in the most manipulative and cunning of ways. They are elusive when it comes to acknowledging or confronting the very conflict they create. Then all manner of cowardly manipulation, denial and gamesmanship comes into play.
‘They weren’t aware, they are victims themselves and you are unjustly blaming them , it was other forces outside their control etc. ‘
It’s as if they light the touchpaper and run, or stir an hornets nest and hide)

A dialogue of open, frank, and candid discussion is something they will avoid at all costs. But it’s a stupid supposition to imagine such a thing is ever possible with a N! It’s impossible to have a genuine and open talk with an N. You can’t ever really interact with somebody whose very being is a construct and a falsehood. Their words are the carefully constructed dialogue of their ego, verbal illusions and falsehoods.

The form of cowardice is the passive aggression. The death of a thousand cuts!

Just my thoughts.

Phil

Well said and 100% true. Jan

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107. Lesley - July 29, 2012

Hi All,
Lots of great points to reflect upon for me. I agree that in their modus operandi there are subtle differences but generally for me,Narcs of either sex are motivated by maintaining the mask,at all conceivable costs.
However,the gender stereotype debate is so so interesting to me as I believe my ex had a’Masculine Ideal’ running through his head most of the time. He worked out what I liked in a guy and then attempted to supercede this(albeit during the idealisation phase of our relationship). This meant he was brave and stoic whilst also sensitive and nurturing,creative and sporty whilst also into the arts.self aware whilst also self deprecating…..you get the gist he became a paragon of every virtue known to man or woman!
In reality he was a coward shown by his lies and by how he used others and often myself as shields for his real fears.
As an example,we were once at a wedding together. He had to leave at midnight as he had an early start the following day. He pre booked a taxi and emphasised the need for us to leave on time to me.
At midnight the taxi arrived and I went to the cloakroom,on returning with the coats I found my Narc apologising to his friends about’having to leave early but Lesley is being a bit of a party pooper tonight…she doesn’t like staying out too late…what can I do?’ I stood behind him,listening to him do this, side-lining of blame in amazement.
Later he resolutely refused to discuss why he had done so…he didn’t see the problem?? He did this many times.
One recourse I had to help was my own role models of how a man might behave ..my dad and ex husband and indeed son are generally honest,protective and decent individuals. I began to make comparisons as the relationship with my ex went on.
i found that my Narc was working to an idealised script of his own creation of what it meant to be a man? He modified this given the company he was in but in general it was based on a fantasy that the could not hope to maintain…this caused him to act out,anxiety,stress,rage and self medicating through sex and alcohol.
I suppose what I am saying is that for me, the Narc’s motivation is the same whatever gender but the ways in this plays out can be dependant on gender roles or how they perceive they fit into these roles…
One extra thought Phil. I wondered if you had ever checked the Histrionic Personality Descriptor out with regard to your ex?
They have strong Narc traits but also like to be treated like Princesses,play the victim and they are often highly seductive and exhibitionist…it did ring some bells for me when you described her behaviour. They are also more commonly women than men?

Les

The wedding story sounds like one of those moments when you can’t help but wonder, “Why is this necessary? Isn’t the truth sufficient enough?” I was once in a check-out line buying food with Joe. He was behind me and suddenly cut in front of me. I thought he was going to say he’d pay for both items. But he paid for his and walked off. After I paid for mine, I asked him why he’d cut in front of me. He replied, “I felt like it.” It’s those sort of actions/comments that leave a bad taste in your mouth. The logic is skewed, but when you’re always looking out for #1, anything goes. Jan

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Phil - July 29, 2012

Hi Les,

They say that 75% of Narcs are men, but a majority of women fall into the Histrionic PD.
This through me off scent in a big way. I looked at Histrionic I picked out many features of Histrionic and applied them to my N.

I was still more taken by the salient features NPD, but being swayed towards histrionic (as statistically NPD is usually a male affliction)

Eventually I realised that I didn’t even need to consider Histrionic PD…. not even as a co-morbid alonside NPD.
The features of Histrionic that I could fit to my N, (similar to your case) are better explained as gender specific ways of satisfying Narcissistic supply needs.

One feature of Histionic is ‘Tendency to believe that relationships are more intimate than they actually are’

Not the case with my N, if anything she had a fear of close relationships and abandonment (not that she was capable of a truly intimate relationship on an adult level in any case.

The Emotional involvement protection measures would always come into play at the first signs of developing intimacy and closeness. The is NPD, not Histrionic.

But if you take some features of Histrionic eg. seductive behavour , appearance ….. if exploring and establishing new Narcissistic space, in order to initially gain attention then then yes by all means. But everything is explained in terms of Narcissitic supply in relation to my N.

If anything, by applying the Histrionic as co-morbid, I’ve really thrown myself off the scent. I’m assuming that Histrionic is seductive in behavour and appearance most of the time. For my N, yes she could be seductive in behavour and appearance, but only for the purpose of gaining Narcissistic supply. Any method of gaining NS will be applied by a Narc, whatever is appropriate for the situation.

I’m 100% happy that NPD nails her character beautifully all by itself!)))

Phil

Narcissism is the common denominator for all of the Cluster B disorders, and though more males than females seem to be afflicted (I believe the figure is 50-75 percent) that still leaves a lot of female Ns out there. Beware! Jan
Jan

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Phil - July 30, 2012

Jan,

I think you failed to see the logic in Joe’s actions. it was a priviledge and an honour for you to be stood next to by Joe in the same queue. And you were taking far too many liberties, by expecting to be served before him! ;) Phil

I was in a state of shock actually at his audacity. But he did it like a child who’d pulled something over on his mummy. All quite strange in retrospect, but I had little knowledge of narcissism at the time. Jan

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MillyRad - July 30, 2012

I’ve been following the commentary. So many wonderfully insightful comments. Sorry I haven’t been more active- I’m a stay at home mom to two young kids, and almost all of my internetting is done by mobile phone.

I once gave a small gift to my ex friend to give to his girlfriend for me. The story should have been that he gave it to her and that she says something like, “It’s really cute, thanks!” The end. Unfortunately, things got WAY more complicated (the “getting-way-more-complicated” thing seemed to happen a lot with my ex friend). The short version of the story is: After saying he would gladly give the gift to her, he neglected to do it for a month and not until I’d after I’d asked the girlfriend if she’d received it. When I finally heard from the girlfriend, she said that she couldn’t accept the gift and that she’d return it to me when she could. ?!? I felt confused and hurt, so I asked my ex friend what happened? He said that he was sorry for “forgetting” to give it to her BUT he resented that I’d “put him in the middle.” ?!? At no point during the month the gift stayed at his house did he mention to either of us women that he kept forgetting. He never mentioned that it made him uncomfortable. If he did, I would’ve gladly just mailed it to his girlfriend. My ex friend, in his “apology” also told me that he thought my motives for giving the gift were questionable and that I was testing the friendship. ?!? He told me that I needed to deal with the fact that I can’t be friends with everyone, BUT his girlfriend really liked me. ?!? The conversation dramatically concluded with my ex friend saying that he’d give anything if his girlfriend and I could only just be friends, that he’d gladly “get out of the way” so that a friendship could develop between us (that he’d stop dating her?) he was just “so sorry for me” that I was missing out on getting to have a friendship with the girlfriend because she is just such a wonderful person. He left with an air of frustration with me.

Yeah, this story is embarrassingly long.

At first, I felt really guilty about all of the trouble i’d caused by wanting to give a gift. Then I started to feel a bit annoyed that my ex friend, who likes to think he’s an honest, stand-up guy, never said anything about his discomfort. That would be cowardice. I think the lighting-the-fuse analogy is most accurate with my narcissist. He lights the fuse, then hides, giggling, behind a bush, waiting for a roman candle of narcissistic supply to explode. I feel really embarrassed to have involved myself with such drama.

Milly,
When I was a stay at home mom with two kids in a crummy apartment in New York City, there were days when all I could do was get dressed! So, I’m impressed you’re able to write so much (and so well) via your phone. :) Your entire last paragraph could be cut and pasted to explain my own situation. Even your response to it. I feel like I should offer to help you pick up some toys off the floor!
On Halycon, she lists being a lousy gift giver as a N trait. I found they only “give” something to “get” something. They can be the Master of the Grand Gesture and appear with something over the top, so that the attention reflects back on them, or they can be incredibly thoughtless as giving doesn’t come naturally to them. Joe would give me the oddest cr*p he found laying around and present it like it was from Tiffany’s. He once asked me to him to help him pick out a new watch. While at the store, I mentioned it was my birthday. He pulled a gift card from his wallet and tossed it on the counter. “I think there’s some money left on this one.” That was it. And, yes there was money on it – $2. Thanks so much for sharing your experience. Also, there’s a reference to your comment on Comment #113 – I was afraid you might miss it. Jan

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Lesley - July 30, 2012

Boy Milly… I so get this.They hide whilst waiting for the big bang they’ve actually ignited to blow up. Why?????

So glad you commented on this Lesley. On one hand this is all very childlike. Setting things in motion and then standing back and watching everyone scramble. It also has that puppet master quality of being in control of the chaos? Jan

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Trapped - August 11, 2012

Jan, hey what a gift! You should treasure it!! My ex-N always said “I don’t celebrate things like birthdays and Valentine’s Day. I just do nice things all the time, any day.” Ha! Actually, he never did anything considered sweet or romantic. The only gift he gave me was a bracelet he bought while back in his country for a few weeks. Meantime, I was taking care of his cats, cleaning up his place (after raccoons broke in and got into everything), and doing his dirty laundry the whole time…oh yes, this was done at 5:30 AM before I went to work because I had to sneak in the place so as not to run into the “girlfriend” who may drop by to see how things were. STUPID me. Not any more!! A very funny side to this sad story was that I discovered while he was gone that he had not just one, but TWO other women besides myself and his “girlfriend”. I wrote him an e-mail telling him to call one of them to take care of the cats, I was done. I got back a blast of phone calls and e-mails, and skype attempts telling me how dare I do this and how cruel it was of me to just dump his cats like that and he had no one else to ask to do it and it was impossible for him to arrange from where he was (although I was aware that he was e-mailing and skyping the others). Long story short, I continued to care for the cats because I didn’t want another innocent thing to suffer at his hands.

It’s common for somatic Ns to have a virtual harem of women only a text away that they can fall back on. While he tried to guilt-trip you, you took the high road and took care of the innocent critters. He sounds like the alley cat of the litter. You owe yourself a pat on the back. Jan

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108. Phil - July 29, 2012

Hi Les,

If you know a person, you can pretty much write their script in advance! ;)
I’ll take my N to the same party as you went to. She’d survey the landscape of the party and assess how much potential Narcissistic supply was available (in terms of attention and adulation)
But a ‘partner’ is a ‘partner’ as a consistent source of NS, it’s just staple diet, the bread and butter of NS to offer sustenance. A Narc is never satified by one source of NS though, primary or otherwise. A narc always has to expand their geography and space because more is better, quantity of supply over quality.
So at the party having a primary source of NS present is going to be a bind, its limiting their desire to increase their range and find new sources and more of them……
So when it’s time to go home and leave the party, she’d probably pretend she was tired and needed to sleep…….. when really she knows that after midnight there’s an even bigger party (with more people and even more sources of NS) which she’s going to sneak off to by herself….. to try and gain as much new NS somewhere else!! :D
This is how a Narcs brain works! And afterwards she can still return to her primary mundane source of NS …. it’s staple diet and getting blander all the time though!

If I can give my best analogy of a Narc it is this. Think of an alcoholic who is wealthy and cultured. They are AN ALCOHOLIC and keep that idea in your head all the time. At home they have a wine celler. They have all manner of wines and spirits on the wine racks. Vintage ports, champagne, fine malt whiskeys.
You give tem a bottle of fine wine carefully selected. You’ve considered the wine region, the type of grapes, the year of vintage, the particular winemaking region…….. initially they look at the front of the label of the wine bottle……… but they quickly reverse the bottle to read the percentage of alcohol volume!!!! And this is the most imporant thing for a Narc. How much alcohol does it contain???

And as you visit their wine celler, you start to think it has some great vintage wines, But on the shelves are bottles of plonk that a person of taste would be embarrassed to keep there.
You suggest to the alcoholic that he throws out the bottles of ‘plonk’ because they look stupid on the same rack and the celler is full of wine in anycase…..

At this suggestion the alcoholic gets very angry and protective of his plonk………….. he reasons…. alcohol is alcohol and one day I might need that plonk if the other stuff runs dry………….. and besides which, he doesn’t care in anycase…….. wine is only drunk for the effect of the alcohol, not for an appreciation of wine in other ways!!

That is how I reason a Narcs mind works………. put as much alcohol in your celler as possible… wherever it comes from or whatever form it takes

Phil

I swore I’d responded to this one, but our party went late last night and I’m still on my first coffee. With a N, quantity always trumps quality. I saw Joe act giddy with excitement during the Idealization Phase. He was like a small boy who was getting his sweets. Even then, the moment another woman would appear, he’d immediately redirect all attention onto her. Did she have any sweets for him? (I’m indulging you Brits. >wink<)
Keeping with your analogy, Phil, Ns keep a cellar full of NS for times when fresh new Primary Supply is running low. The N wouldn't understand why you put all that care into picking out the perfect wine for them. The bottle would go on the shelf with all the others to be used before its expiration date. Jan

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109. Phil - July 30, 2012

Jan,

Our Brit candy is much sweeter than yours, that’s indulgence enough :) Unfortuantely Brit dentists are not trained well enough to counter its effects. ;)

Thanks for pointing out the extra meanings inside my particular wine analogy.
The person giving the wine, mistakenly thinks the alcoholic cares more about quality than alcohol content.

And your accretions (Jan here not knowing what this means) to my story work beautifully. The alcoholic is always engaged in finding new sources of alcohol to replenish his cellar, at a rate faster than the supply is depleted. The cellar is a store, so spending time there drinking the same supply low is not an ideal situation and a cause for anxiety.

And the obvious moral of my story, never waste a genuine emotion on a Narcissist.

Phil

Absolutely. Cheers! Jan

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phil835 - July 30, 2012

http://www.thefreedictionary.com/accretions

This is what accretion means Jan, I even managed to spell it correctly in my post )))

Thanks. I believe I went over to Google while I was reading and typed it in to see what it meant. If words are used more commonly in the UK, which this probably is, it doesn’t necessary show up straight off. I also had to look up another reference of yours to “torchpaper.” I did learn it was a military term for paper to light something. :) My vocabulary is growing daily, but I’m afraid I shall return to school and write the date as 22 August 2012. Jan

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Donna - July 31, 2012

Chris, I personally would be very cautious about ragging with a N, they can be very dangerous, vengeful and often will try to destroy your reputation because they have a great fear of being exposed and will do what ever it takes to make you look like the crazy person.

As far as the wife, she will only leave when she has had enough or she and her child are in danger, in my opinion that’s when your friendship with her will be most important.

Sometimes we just need to “mind our own business”. I have alot of notes myself about some of the weird stuff my exn friend said and I have kept them to remind myself just how crazy he is. Take care of you and yours!!!

I agree with Donna’s assessment of the situation. Jan

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phil835 - July 31, 2012

Hi Lesley, iI have a reasonably wide vocab and sometimes use some more obscure words if they fit what I’m trying to explain. I think ‘accretion’ did quite well in the context. My ability to spell words correctly is somewhat lacking though, I assumed I’d misspelt it as usual ! ;)
Language is very revealing of a person in many ways! I’ve realised that I used a military term without thinking the other time. ;)
I started to get interested in how a Narc structures their language, there isn’t much info on it though. I have read that they use third-person singular when refering to themselves., my N did a lot also! And in an earlier post I think I mentioned how my N’s language was revealing that she had objectified me.
What is most telling though, and I think Carnege said this. He said something along the lines of ‘I stopped listening to what people had to say years ago, I just watch what they do’ :D Phil

If we’re talking about Dale Carnegie, Phil, you better get that spelled correctly as it’s a Scottish! haha When I go to edit the comments (and add my two cents), I can also type words into Google for the correct spelling, which I’m often at a loss for. Jan
Yes anyone can talk a good game, but actions DO speak louder than words. It’s that simple. Jan

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110. Phil - July 30, 2012

p.s. The reason I placed vintage ports, single malt whiskeys, and select champagne in the cellar.
Is because for a time I thought the alcoholic may be fastidious soul who craves for a ‘variety’ of quality…….. an easy misunderstanding. Hence why I placed some ‘plonk’ on there and invited him to take it out. ;)
He’s a heedless alcoholic. That’s all !!! :D

It’s all the same in that if you drink enough swill, you’ll eventually get a buzz.Jan

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Phil - July 30, 2012

p,p,s.
I should have said: ‘He’s a heedless and INCURABLE alcoholic’
I think that’s all. :)
Phil

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111. Phil - July 30, 2012

p.p.p.s
I was wrong, He’s a heedless, shameless, selfish, greedy and incurable alcoholic and coward in denial of his (which becomes our) problem!!
Anyone who thinks I missed something out, please feel free to add more?
Phil :D

And his hangovers are brief. He quickly moves on to new NS. Jan

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112. Lesley - July 30, 2012

Learning a lot from these descriptions of cowardice. Another one comes to mind….
My Narc hid from and despised his background…to explain;
Sorry to explode a myth but most of Scotland’s population live in big cities. I would love to emerge from the mist like Cyd Charisse in Brigadoon but have always lived and worked with hundreds of thousands of others…my Narc was different. He was originally a small town boy,coastal village,East of Scotland.
I would say to him…how great was it to have come out from a house …to the beach or to play in that countryside 5 minutes from your home? Nope,he despised it.
He affected an urbane,sophisticated manner. He’d worked in London.Glasgow….his past was behind him. However in reality it wasn’t?
I mentioned his macho buddies before,they were also his fellow villagers…the people he grew up with. His points of reference were their’s too.
When he trawled the internet for temporary supply it was in these village,small town regions…he invariably didn’t follow through.
My ex had no recent friends. If I said to him I am off to have coffee with a woman I have being working with…he looked at me as if in disbelief. He was so untrusting of people that he didn’t make new friendships. Something Donna has said comes to mind here. My ex only had friendships that gave him something financially or confirming the mask. I have always kept in touch with two Octogenerians that I once worked for…when I said I’m off for lunch with these guys he said’
‘What can you possibly get from that friendship’
‘A laugh,a debate about politics,friendship,catching up…a hug or two…’ Completely lost on a Narc??
Yet,for his primary supply he sussed that he wanted a city person. His terribly long suffering ex wife,his girlfriends and me were all in the same mould. We were educated, invariably light haired and skinned(He had an aversion to women with dark hair)and generally nurturing. In short we were objects.
Much of his opinions were at root homophobic,racist and sexist yet he knew enough to hide it well. On many occasions,early on, he fooled me.These were his boyhood values,Ingrained and fixed.
As an aside, I think my ex’s reading matter gave him away. This was one of the first clues to me regarding who I was actually with…put it this way it didn’t appreciate diversity!
They really are so predictable folks… aren’t they? Why were we fooled?
ps. Jan, Love the bit in the queue,by their actions you know them right? I found myself on a scary mountain taxi ride with the ex in Spain,one seatbelt in the back,you’ve guessed it…he fastened it around himself and looked straight ahead!!!!

You’ve managed to make me laugh out loud twice now in the last 30 minutes. What a hilarious image, but isn’t it the sum of the details that reveals so much? I’ve read that Ns craft their False Self (or at least put on the finishing touches) as teenagers, so if your N hated country life, it would be only natural that he’d affect a more urbane persona. It’s not that different than Don Draper’s desire to reinvent himself to distance himself from his past/true identity.

Isn’t it telling that he couldn’t imagine why you’d want to spend time talking and having a good laugh with some former coworkers? In such a situation, Joe would have sat on the outside looked bored, then left early. But if an attractive woman joined the group, he’d have lit up like a Christmas tree. Once you know what you’re dealing with, they’re a predictable lot indeed. Jan

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phil835 - July 30, 2012

Hi Lesley,

I was laughing out loud at your description of your ex. it was very reminiscent of my N from south of the border.(UK)
I don’t want to put any emphasis on the effects of geography on the personality of a Narc. What is interesting though, is a Narc’s emotional response to their environment and background, wherever they may come from!))

My N comes from a small village in the heart of ‘Middle England’, it is insular and paraochial. Like Les, I also thought it was a great place to enjoy ones childhood, and by all accounts it was. Moving on, N (now located in the Capital) affects an air of haughty superiority, as if suggesting a ‘worldly wisdom’ of those vogue Cosmopolitan types, as if born that way ! ;)

What is interesting though, is the insecurity behind the ‘acting’ of a Narcissist. They play many parts and adopt many personas, which are not a true refelction of their ‘real self’. That’s what acting is, BUT, they HAVE TO BE BELIEVED’ by everyone and at all times and at all costs. There is no room for imperfection.

I’m starting to think of those ‘outakes’ from a film or a sitcom drama. The actors make a blunder of their lines and immediately everyone bursts into laughter, the director shouts ‘CUT’ and after everone eventually composes themselves it’s ‘take 4 and rolling’

Except a Narc doesn’t have any outakes, there is no laughter! If the acting goes wrong it’s not funny, for them a slip of the mask is the worst thought imaginable, it’s humiliation!
This is why they can’t laugh at themselves!!!

Narcissists may make great actors and take their parts very seriously, but they don’t convince me!

Phil

I love the comparison to the outtakes or bloopers. While the rest of us laugh hysterically, the N is mortified to have made a mistake. So is your kitty seeing a lion because it’s Narcissist, Phil? Or is this more along the lines of I’ve had enough and now you can hear me roar? Very clever graphic! Jan

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phil835 - July 31, 2012

Hi Jan,

Yes my avatar is reference to the grandiosity of a Narcissists false self, although I do like cats large or small! ;)
I think a Narcissist is so self loathing and ashamed of their ‘true’ self, any threat to the illusion is life threatening for them. I think to some extent we all have ‘professional public’ and ‘intimate private’ personas. Again, this is how only ‘up close’ can you realise something is ‘not right’ about a Narc. Somebody becomes aquainted with you on a professional level, but as friendship/intimacy develops you expect to see their true self. That is what frienship is, it’s based on trust and we allow those we like and trust availability to our intimate true self. This is when you discover a Narc. It’s not that you are not close enough or trust the issue, the true self of a Narc is so well hidden even the Narc avoids access/ is largelly unaware of it. The true self of a Narc is suppressed at all costs!! Phil

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113. Chris - July 30, 2012

Our N created the problem and then “ran and hid” like Phil said when we wanted to discuss it. From what a long term “friend” of his told us, he can’t handle confrontation and will have his wife or attorney handle it for him. We heard he also played the victim from more than one person that “his feelings were hurt!” Poor guy….does a stupid, entitled thing and when we just want to TALK about it he runs and hides and whines and then explodes on us when we finally do make contact (after he hid for a month).

He also cannot be alone and if his wife and child are absent, he will surely go hang out with others. They have company very frequently, no matter how exhausted the wife is.

And yes, I believe she is secondary supply to him. Now that I think more about things, it seems as though he barely spoke to her when we were present. Bizarre.

MillyRad,
I wonder if just looking at that gift box that your ex-friend held onto for a month gave him supply.

All wives are Secondary Supply. Once the N “has” you, you’re rewarded with an automatic demotion to SS. My sister-in-law found this out on Day 1 of her 14-year marriage. Her husband was a cerebral N, so he wasn’t out looking for other women. He seemed to enjoy just hiding from her in plain sight. Giving her the silent treatment. Playing mind games.
You asked earlier if I actually told Joe he was a Narcissist. I did, and any normal person would want to know how on earth you come to that conclusion. But Joe never asked. At one point he looked like a hurt little boy and said he found this “demeaning.” Demeaning could have described virtually everything he did…to me, but ultimately he made it about himself. Jan

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114. Chris - July 30, 2012

This guy gives his wife the silent treatment too.

I was just reading about Narcs and their children and came across this: “How the children of narcissists get conditioned to tolerate narcissists” http://narc-attack.blogspot.com/2006/11/how-children-of-narcissists-get.html

So sad! Knowing what we know of this guy is bad enough…what about what we don’t know that is going on in their house w/that poor child.

It crosses my mind if I should print off that article for the wife but I realize it could just backfire terribly. She knows she is dealing with someone who is not “normal,” but she is still there. Like I said I think it will have to be something more tangible (physical abuse to the child or adultery or something) before her eyes fully open.

Maybe I’ll print it off for the future.

As other commenters also suggested, trying to warn others, however well intentioned, can backfire. Yes, the wife is still there despite all that’s happened. Let’s say she comes to you begging for help. And you give her information on NPD. The odds are high that she’ll return to him. Wrapping your head around the whole NPD thing is one tall order especially if your self-esteem has been undermined or you’re dependent on your spouse for financial support. It was only after my sister-in-law finally divorced her husband that she read about narcissism on my blog and realized that her ex was classic. Her comment is #27 on this link.
The children of N parents are never good enough. But with one nurturing parent and therapy, they can eventually see their way out of the fog and reclaim their self-worth. They finally understand that it had nothing to do with THEM. Jan

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115. Chris - July 30, 2012

Thanks Jan. I do wonder if they’ll hear from others that I believe the guy is a narc. No one ever used that word when commenting on him to us…just that he was odd.

Some stuff I’m reading says it’s right to warn others (obviously the wife situation has more layers regarding the question to warn or not and like you say the odds would be high she’d return to him anyway). Some say it’s our duty to warn. But like I mentioned before, we wouldn’t have believed it until we witnessed it and put all the pieces together.

I occasionally find myself wondering if he will approach me and rage on me. As I’ve been reading so much on this topic, some say the best reaction to a rage is to simply walk away, while others suggest raging back on him. The ones that advocate mirroring his rage indicate he will immediately fall into “victim-mode” and slink away. My concern is that I would want him to stay in “victim-mode” and stay the hell away from us.

Have any of you raged back during a rage? What was the reaction both short and long term?

I’ll let others weigh in as Joe didn’t rage though I know there are Ns who do and it’s all very illogical and scary. Unless you’re naturally prone to raging :), I probably wouldn’t attempt to outrage and a rager. I’d be concerned that it might have a more traumatic effect on you then you might realize. And ultimately, you will NEVER get the last word with a N, so it’s all about roosters puffing out their chests. Many Ns do enjoy engaging in verbal jousting and you don’t want to fall on that sword. At the first sign of raging, I, personally, would remove myself from the situation for self-preservation’s sake. Jan

Also, I’d love to know what kind of things were said…I realize that may sound terrible but I think I’d enjoy them. Sorry!

I actually understand. In the aftermath, I actually wrote down EVERYTHING he said/did, so I have a record. Although it’s been five years, he still lives/works at the far reaches of my universe, so only recently have I been a little more forthcoming with the exact details. I’ll have to dig up the notes. Pretty weird stuff. Jan

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116. Lesley - July 31, 2012

Hi all,
Chris,just a bit on the confronting… When I confronted my ex, I had lots of proof. If I’d ever reacted before he would talk me down,get angry….this time he literally folded. He became very quiet almost frozen. Think of the kid with the hand in the cookie jar and you’ll get it.
The game was up and the discard came a week or so later.
I think your situation is different in that the person who actually has to confront this man is his wife,she needs to gain her own insight and strength to enable to do this. It’s tough but until that happens all you can do is be supportive. She’ll wake up one day.The capacity for denial is very strong in some folk though,they look for any excuse to stay because the Narc has worn them down. If you check the forums as I was doing a few months ago,it’s sad but so many people are trying to win their narc ex back. But ‘he may not be a narc…kind of thing…’ i think this is a form of ‘learned helplessness’,the future is scary so even narc is preferable?
Phil/ yes I really get that third person singular thing…my ex had a cast of thousands as aliases,would often refer to himself in the third person. In a way they are acknowledging the act…they are putting a name to their persona. Re Cats(lol),my mother has a mantra’ Never trust anyone who doesn’t like cats’….I wouldn’t go that far but my ex hated cats. They weren’t biddable enough I guess.

Haha! I have a similar mantra about dogs! I’m afraid I’m horribly allergic to cats, but most of my closest friends seem to have cats, so I coo over them (when they bother to make an appearance), but I can’t touch them. I did write an early blog Dog People vs. Cat People. The one time Joe came to my house, he acted disgusted by my dogs (to pets in general) and asked that I lock them up so they didn’t shed on him. I should have unleashed the hounds!
Joe also often referred to himself in the third person, but as “The Finisher” when we were working on a project together. (I once had a dentist who referred to himself in the 3rd person quit going to him because that creeped me out.)
Lesley, when I confronted Joe, his reaction was much the same. It was like watching a balloon slowly deflate. The remnants of the balloon then blew off in the wind. Jan

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phil835 - July 31, 2012

Hi All,

I don’t have any experience of raging with an N. The cowardice factor meant that ‘avoidance’ tactics were always employed by N. It was escape and evade! I’ll follow Chris’s tale with interest because something I’ve never witnessed is a rage. Passive aggression was the prefered weapon and outlet for anger if my N was on the offensive.
Les’s analogyand one I’ve used before, is the child and the cookie jar. I never caught my N with a hand in the Jar ‘literally’ like Les did. But she ‘knew the game was up’ metaphorically and I think paranoa did the rest, I think she imagined herself as been caught! :D And the emotional response? Exactly the same as Les and Jan’s Narcs. ‘I’ve been found out, I think I’ll leave’ …… and that was it!
I would like to think that guilt and shame played a part in the emotions on an N. But I don’t think they did. If the N was capable of guilt or shame, guilt or shame might keep their paws out of the cookie jar without and adult watching over them? Think of a 6 year old being caught and punished, yes they know they’ve done wrong. but they haven’t internalised any lesson ….. and how else does a Narc keep on doing the same elsewhere! Phil

I don’t think there’s any guilt – maybe a child’s version of shame though at having been found out. That’s when they run and hide. Jan

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phil835 - July 31, 2012

Yes I agree Jan, if there was shame it was a child’s version of shame and no guilt. Or why not do the usual Narc mind trick and blame external forces? “The cookies were to blame, they had too much chocolate in them’! ;)

Joe admitted that he’d been told before that he had “boundary issues” and I’m sure he’d been told he was self absorbed before I told him. After all, this was a guy who had a framed 8X10 of himself (when he had hair) hanging above the door to his apartment (thankfully on the inside!). I believe on some level Ns know that they are a fraud and that’s why they try so hard to keep their mask in place. Once “found out” they are mortally wounded and slink away rather than fight their “outing.” They lick their wounds and then the cycle begins anew. Phil, you’re on the way to becoming my #2 most prolific commenter! The prize is that I fly to a city near you that begins with a “W” so you can buy me a cider. LOL (That’s the city that shows as you IP address. I know Lesley’s was 30 miles away, but if I were you, I’d be on the lookout for for the MIA.) :) Please know that all my comments are said in the spirit of fun. Jan

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phil835 - August 1, 2012

Jan, I’ll be happy to buy you a cider in the city that begins with a ‘W’ )) If it has an airport, it is a provincial one which you could never fly to directly from the States ;) I’m in transit at the moment, I’m not permanently rooted in this backwater, I hasten to add! :D
Without saying too much about myself, I’ve lived in the USA and worked amoungst Americans overseas for a number of years. I’ve also lived for sometime in Lesleys neck of the woods. I’m English and Lesley is Scottish, all part of the UK, but there is a difference which I’m sure Lesley will be quick to point out!)) To confuse you (and Lesley) even more. I look English, I talk English and I grew up in England which was the culture of my environment. However I don’t have an English bone in my body, my parents and ancestors are of different cultures and I have other ‘cultural references’. I easily pass as being ‘fully’ English. The same could be said about Danny Boyle, he’s English and he grew up in England, but his parents are both Irish!!
As an Englsh person living Scotland, Lesley ;) I found it highly amusing to be the ‘representative’ English person, bearing the brunt of animosity and tension! ))
Also within Scotland, there is an East coast/West coast divide, that most English people are not aware of this until having lived there for some time. The East and West Coasts have an unhealthy contempt for each other, which was highlighted in one of Lesley’s posts. Even within the same city, such as Lesley’s there are huge religious sectarian divides which find their main outlet in football (soccer).
You have to have lived and not just travelled, to understand these nuances. Phil

Phil,
I WOULD make a long trip on a bumpy road for some scrumpy. :) I was just talking today about how Northern and Southern Californians view themselves so differently, but then California is so large. Tonight we had friends over and we got into the East Coast/West Coast divide here and that doesn’t even factor in The South.
We have a close friend whose father was Russian but grew up in Poland and came to live in the UK after his service during the war. So our friend, except for his Polish surname, would appear to be the quintessential Brit, but he’s so much more. I suppose this is one more way we label and sort each other for convenience’s sake.
I think Americans tend to me more comfortable with having more than one culture that informs who you are (at least in theory). Last year I had students who were from Mexico, Honduras, Korea, China, Egypt, Armenia, and Ethiopia. It’s always interesting as we forge a class (as in classroom) culture that transcends so many differences. :) Jan

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Trapped - August 11, 2012

My confronting experience with the narc ended in either of two ways: he became cold as ice and mumbled something about ‘when things or people around me become negative, I tend to move away,’ never addressing the original concern at all. Or, the second response was to, again, completely ignore the issue, and dance all around it in a million different ways as if he had never heard a thing. Back when I thought he was the cream of the earth, I would laugh and tell him he should have been a politician. Now I would smack him. Well, not literally, but…

Trapped,
HAHA! I’ve had both of these reactions. You’re hoping to clean the air yet find you’re talking to yourself. Your opinion equals negativity. It’s like they want to fast forward through any emotionally charged conversation to get back to their regularly scheduled program. Jan

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117. phil835 - July 31, 2012

Hi All,

I’m doing some thinking out loud, so please feel free to add your comments, insights and dissagreements wherever you see fit. I’m just exploring my own ideas, and I welcome any comments where my thinking may be going astray?

First of all, a thank you to all the females for exposing the extreme cowardice of Male Narcissists.
A while back I tentatively asked for a female experience of cowardice in their particular male Narc. The response has been full and overflowing with examples, more so than I could have imagined!))

The reason I was reluctant to highlight this particular trait in my female Narc, was because of obvious gender inequalities which often predispose women into positions of weakness and submission. My own archaic code of male chivalry, prevented me from highlighting or criticising this very apparent ‘cowardice’ I kept detecting in my female Narc.

I think it’s safe to say that Narcissists are a ‘breed’ all by themselves, be they male, female, Asian ot whatever else! Yes they are these things also, but when you ‘factor out’ culture, gender, race or any other defining features, you discover that their personality traits are essentially the same.

All of the comments on cowardice seem to have been in agreement with my own observation. They ‘light a fuse and run’ ALWAYS avoiding the subsequent conflict or consequences they have deliberately caused. They use every available childish reason in their ‘get out clauses’ and excuses they can think of.))

And it’s combining the above ideas which lit a light bulb in my head!!

I would never have criticised a female for weakness as a male, If I did, I might appear to be some strongarmed bully. Riding roughshod and trampling over a weaker person’s will, all done from a position of power and superior strength. In my opinion that would be pitiful))

But would anyone criticise a 6 yr old for weakness and cowardice?
I don’t think so!!!

And it brings me back to the analysis of a Narc as a 6 year old with the physical and intellectual maturity of an adult.

The Narc’s EMNOTIONAL and MORAL development is that of a 6 year old child, arrested in development!! 7 yrs old is the age of reasoning, they haven’t reached that stage and they never will!!

I’m going to digress slightly but it is for a reason. Years ago we had at one of my former workplaces, an ‘honesty shop’. You decided what you wanted to take from the shop, then you put your money in the box as payment. There was no shopkeeper or CCTV, just a basic shared universal human concept of honesty and trust. The idea of the ‘honesty shop’ was entirely based on the notion that, if you stole from the ‘honesty shop’, a reasonable and adult person would feel shame and guilt !!!! ))))

Now for any criminals, if you want to commit the ‘perfect crime’ it’s easy! Go to the honesty shop and take whtever you want and don’t pay for it!! You won’t get caught and nobody will punnish your crime, if you steal, it will be without consequence!! ))))

Knowing my own moral code and values, I could emerge from a nuclear holocost as the only person alive on earth. And upon crawling out of the bunker as the last human alive, if I was come accross the honesty shop …… (for what difference it makes) I would still feel compelled to place $1 in the honesty box for the snickers bar I’ve just taken!!! :D :D Do any of you think or feel like me?? ;) :D

What I’m saying about myself is that I’ve internalised values and morals. It is not neccessary for there to be consequences and punnishments for my actions. My conscience is the policeman inside my head, I feel guilt and shame for my misdeeds!!

Now this is how I think the Narcissits mind works, it is as 6 year old!!!. ‘If I do something naughty (as much as I want to do something naughty) I may be discovered and ‘found out’ by an adult, then punnished for it. This is why I don’t think or do something naughty, unless of course I can get away with it!’

Notice how the Narcissist (infante terrible) as he is, commits his misdeed then ‘runs’ to avoid punnishment and consequence?
This isn’t an adult, it is a child! And perhaps it isn’t cowardice as such? It is a baby who hasn’t chosen to reach the stage of reasoning (7Years old) !!!
I’ll do my mischief, then I’ll run and hide in case and before I get punnished for it by an adult!

I think this may explain the cowardice and shamelessness of the Narc we are all familiar with?

Phil

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phil835 - July 31, 2012

P.S. An early theme I was trying to explore was the Narc and thier friends. I’ve used the description ‘shamelessness’ about the Narc and when I think about N’s friends they fall into two categories. The insufferable and the unspeakable! And it is the latter who fall into the N’s close retinue and offer the N emotional and moral support. What I’ve noticed about the N’s nearest and dearest friends of choice, is that they are morally bankrupt!! And I can see why, in times of crises when the N needs support, a person with an intact moral compass may give negative feedback to the N.
When I think about the best friend of my N. Let me do something I don’t usually do here, it is to poll popular concensus of mutual aquaintances and former colleages. Whilst I have my own opinion of N’s best friend, but mine is just one opinion. Let me describe her in terms of the opinions of others. If we lived in the dark ages and she was tied to a stake to be burned, they would all come out to watch and cheer! Enough said! Phil

I’m not sure that LOL is the appropriate response, but it’s the first thing that comes to mind. My N and my sister-in-law’s ex had NO “close” friends. They had acquaintances who they’d call when they needed a quick fix of NS, but they were both cerebral, so that kept things out of the bedroom. Yes, I was one of those people with an intact moral compass who gave negative feedback, though it was to “help” my friend sort things out. Jan

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phil835 - July 31, 2012

P.P.S, I’m not sure of the dynamics of how a close friendship with an N works. It probably isn’t ‘genuine’ friendship as we understand the definition. But the close friends of an N are certainly ‘enablers’ however else the friendship may function. Phil

They are not genuine friends and most don’t care enough to ever speak up about anything amiss. Jan

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118. Lesley - August 1, 2012

You are wholly right Phil that there is a difference between Scotland and England,like you I have lived in both..think much of the ‘animosity and tension’ you describe is caused by either not appreciating that we are in fact completely different countries? With different education systems,legal systems,health authorities and cultures or histories?Re the East coast/west coast divide.I completely disagree.The sectarian divide is mostly in the West of Scotland and rooted in the immigration from Northern Ireland last century?
Us,East coasters do not really care about someone’s religion..and any contempt I have for the’Weegies'(Glasgow)is very healthy.Wonderful, diverse,stunning city that it is.
Sorry Phil, I think you made some sweeping statements there…!
To say that either Glasgow or Edinburgh main outlet’s to express their differences is football is like saying that a Parisien’s main outlet is’eating cheese!'(LOL)
Re friendship with Narcs.Here are two links I found recently… I actually used the facebook one to have a class debate with my students on the pro’s and con’s of social networking Jan?
My own networking reflects my view of friendship these days… I follow three or four blogs seriously and appreciate the depth of comment.
I am not a facebooker in general and found this article spot on!
Re enablers Phil/
Also something I find key to understanding Narcissism…they essentially need enablers to keep going?The second article touches on the fact that if you are a serial enabler(Thank God I’m not!),then you actually have inverted ego/Narcissism issues yourself?
You go around thinking you can change the Narc,your care and understanding will eventually cure them?You believe yourself to be the’exception to the rule’.These enablers have attachment issues themselves and may use the masochistic feelings generated to feel whole,to assuage or replay pain from early experiences. In short they are also wounded children….taking punishment again and again.
What a bloody pairing!!!
One of my own mantra’s these days(Not about cats Jan!)…is actually borrowed from my 2nd! favourite site ‘Baggage Reclaim’. As follows;
‘If you continue to pursue an emotionally unavailable person,time and time again….you MUST confront that you are wholly emotionally unavailable yourself’
The links are;

http://www.guardian.co.uk/technology/2012/mar/17/facebook-dark-side-study-aggressive-narcissism?

http://www.arachnoid.com/ChildrenOfNarcissus/narcissism.html

Les

Les,
I like cheese.
Can you tell I’ve been reading a book by a man with Asperger’s? :)
Yes, I’ve read many articles about what a fertile playing field Facebook is for Narcissists. So many “friends” so little time. One can carefully craft their online persona and cultivate a vast collection of “friends” for NS. (Of course that wouldn’t be me!)
I like cheese. >wink< Jan

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119. phil835 - August 1, 2012

Hi Lesley, I think I misunderstood (or made an assumption) that you were from Glasgow. Which is why when I was talking about the religeous sectarian divide within the same city expressed through football, I meant within Glasgow!
The East coast/West coast tensions I refer to, I only picked up through subtle references and comments made by one side about the other. Needless to say and similar to the North/South divide in England, that doesn’t imply the two are at war. they occasionally make derogatory comments about each other.though. And in both England and Scotland, one has to live there for some time before getting a ‘feel’ for the more subtle nuances of feelings. However, a person wouldn’t need to be in Glasgow very long, to detect the depth of animosity between Rangers and Celtic! ;)
I’m looking forwards to your links. Phil

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120. phil835 - August 1, 2012

I’m really at a loss to describe the dynamics of a close ‘almost real’ friendship between two Narcs! In the UK we have a TV sitcom called ‘Absolutely Fabulous’. It is two female friends both in mid life, both have narcissistic tendencies. This is as close to the situation I’ve seen in real life. As such, one female N friend isn’t a co-dependant or ‘enabler to the other female N friend. It’s as though though they bring their minds together, in a collective effort to think up new ways of gaining their individual and respective Narcissistic supplies, from enablers elsewhere!!)) It is a mutual admiration society between equals, almost!))

Example, N’s female friend who is also an N, found a boyfriend 15 years her junior. The relationship between N’s female friend and boyfriend (needlless to say he has issues with self confidence) is one of a Narcissist and co-dependant, she gains Narcissistic supply in having a young lover and thereby proving her youthful vitality and desirability.

The two female N friends heartilly approve of each other’s success in gaining their respective Narcisstic supply. And of course provide emotional/moral support at the inevitable end of thier frequently repeated N cycles. They seem almost equals to each other, I can’t see the typical exploitation/asymmetrical nature of this alliance between the two female N’s?

Their other relationships always involve people being enablers and acolytes though. I can’t find an instance of this in any litearture, everything concentrates on how the N uses friends as enablers/co-dependants for Narcissistic supply,
Has anyone else seen anything like this?
Phil

Oh the irony. My ENGLISH Lesley (not to be confused with SCOTTISH Lesley) told me last week about a hilarious AbsFab promo for the Olympics, so I was on Youtube looking for it. I didn’t find it, but I did watch several segments from the show. (It does show here.) Their common denominator seems to be shallowness and alcohol. In the one I watched, she lamented that it was their last bottle of champagne. As she started to close the door of the fridge, what looked to be a bowling pin setter dropped down and deposited a new row of champagne bottles! At that, I laughed myself silly.
I CAN imagine two Ns or N-like people coexisting/conspiring as long as neither had any real moral compass. As you say, they enable one another. I know someone who’s an alcoholic AND a drug addict, but rather successfully holds down a legitimate job by day. His roommate is a woman who also has addiction issues, but works more menial jobs. When she was fired from her job/s, he (who earns WAY more money) supports her. He’s gay. She’s not. Although he complains about her constantly, they’re virtually a couple. They might as well be the women from AbsFab. Jan

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121. phil835 - August 1, 2012

Jan lol, glad you liked it, that was the episode I watched by chance and I was laughing because they are ‘dead ringers’ for my N and her friend. It’s as though they don’t expoit each other, but they combine their minds together, in asking the same question which they are both self absorbed in. ‘How can I get attention!! :D
It might be on BBC America if you have that channel where you live?
Phil)))

We do have BBC America though many of the more well know British shows like that are in syndication on other networks as well. What are the odds that I would watch THAT episode? When the show first aired, I watched one episode and thought, “These women are so pathetic!” I’m more attuned to British humor now, so I think it would provide a good laugh, as both women are so trying so hard to hang on to their fading youth and trendiness that it’s comical and just a bit tragic at the same time. And they both are very narcissistic. Jan

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122. phil835 - August 1, 2012

Yes, hideous and pathetic is a very apt decription of those two, and the two real life ones known to me. Rapidly approaching mid life, they have a dread and a fear of their impending extinction now the cheaper ways of gaining NS through male attention has become increasingly hard, they are less able to use sexual attractiveness. Then they spend a fortune on cosmetics, grasping at the alixir of eternal youth and attractiveness. It’s a shame nobody pointed out years ago, that real beauty is on the inside)
Those two in the sitcom are ‘harmless’ enough. The human cost (as I discovered to my own demise) was not so much the deleterious effects of an asymmetrical relationship (which is damaging in itself). It was the ‘acting out’ of conflicts causing damage to other stable relationships and friendships. Anyone can rid themselves of a Narc once you’ve become sickened by the relationship on an interpersonal level. But count the real cost in terms of any damage done to other parts of your life? I feel sorry for children of Narcs, they have fewer choices!

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Lesley - August 4, 2012

I love AbFab and I think it works because the actresses who play them,Joanna Lumley and Jennifer Saunders are so different to their characters in real life… In fact Joanna Lumley is a bit of a ‘national treasure’…not sure whether that is a Brit term or not?
She was and is a seriously beautiful woman… I know my Dad has had a crush on her for years!
So the characters are a complete send up….and Jennifer S writes the scripts.
It’s hard to imagine people like this actually going through normal life so my sympathy is with you Phil if you experienced it.
I find getting older hard…I think most people do but I recognise it’s a lot to do with socialisation…people who are physically attractive are treated differently.They may not even realise this for a while.
Then it’s a form of power that can be difficult to give up…I think the Narc in particular must wrestle with this?
It is indeed like the portrait of Dorian Grey….despite what they do,the magic of creams and potions….time creeps on.
Your description of a narcissist woman trying to hold back time is like King Canute trying to hold back the waves. Impossible.
I think our faces show our depth of character…for good or bad.

Les,
Thanks for making me realize it’s AbFab and not AbsFab (which sounds like a companion for the Thigh Master). LOL
Imagine aging in Los Angeles? I’ve saved a cartoon for years that shows people arriving at the airport. An official says, “Welcome to Los Angeles. Do you have any physical imperfections to declare?” LOL Jan

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123. phil835 - August 4, 2012

Hi you two))

If Oscar Wilde had been around a century later Jan, I’m sure he would have used his famous quote. ‘I have nothing to declare but my genius’. (I wonder if he was something of a self aware cerebral Narcissist, a bit like Sam Vaknin?)
Picture of Dorian Gray is without doubt one of my favourite accounts of the perversions of a Narcisstic lifestyle.

There’s nothing wrong in being attractive and having physical beauty per se. The difference between Narcissists and others (as Les suggests), is that the Narcissist is more likely to abuse their attractiveness as a form of power. It hurts a Narcissist more to consider the loss of any superficial attractiveness (especially if they have over-relied on it in their youth). If you repeal their superficial physical beauty, what type of person are you (and them) now face to face with? :D

Whether or not you are physically attracive in youth, I think a person with a strong ego reflecting their true self (as opposed to a false self) will age much more gracefully. True beauty comes from within, it isn’t painted on and it doesn’t fade as readily as it does for the Narc

I don’t think the Narcissist does a very convincing act of being beautiful, at any age or in any physical condition. That’s just my opinion.

Narcissists really are all show and no substance, whatever they do. They seem to lack genuine interest in pursuits, other than for their ultimate purpose of gaining narcissistic supply.

I think this is why they struggle more with the thought of mid life. With fewer people willing to pay them attention and adulation for doing whatever it was they were doing. Be it riding an exercise bike at the gym to wearing the latest designer clothes. Are they capable of taking pleasure in anything without the resulting Narcissitic supply?. A scary thought for the Narcissist I’m sure! ))
Phil

The gap between the Ns “false self” (and its sidekick Magical Thinking) and REALITY becomes more noticeable in middle age. I believe it gets harder for the N to ignore/avoid the truth about their sad life. I find that most Ns are mundane people whose fantasy life may be rich, but their real emotional life is impoverished. They will ultimately die alone (even when surrounded by others) because that is how they’ve lived.
I do wonder whether they do anything just for the joy of doing it. That would require doing something with no mirrors though? Jan

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Source B - December 7, 2012

It might be a good moment to point out that Sam Vaknin isn’t a ‘self-aware narcissist’. He’s a psychopath. He’s not an expert in narcissism — he’s an expert in engaging fear.

I was pondering his description of ‘narcissistic supply’ the other day, and wondering what he would define ‘normal human interaction’ as — i.e., as a counterpoint. I talk to you, you talk to me; I enjoy it, you enjoy it — that’s normal.

Vaknin’s definition of ‘narcissistic supply’ encompasses all human interaction. He says that NS differs from normal chatting by quantity and quality … but although he says that narcissists need more of it, he never addresses the quality issue. It’s a lovely little trap the chap has set: gaslighting.

The difference isn’t in the interaction, really. It’s in the use that’s made of the interaction. Vaknin doesn’t seem to see this.

Ignore him.

(Don’t you tend to feel more miserable and angry after watching or reading him? –> Step away from the lunatic.)

Source B,
I actually found that after reading Vaknin, I first understood how dark and deep the void is inside the N. They are calculating predators masquerading beneath the guise of charm. Everything Vaknin done is for NS and he says as much. It’s interesting because I don’t feel miserable after watching or reading him. I feel like his depraved indifference is on display for all to see. If you still believe you can “change” a N, then you’re the one with the problem. Jan

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124. phil835 - August 4, 2012

I coudn’t agree more with your observations Jan. The N lives a spiritually impoverished and empty existence. Every safeguard is taken to avoid this reality, and it is through necessity that they surround themselves by others and drama. Essentially they are antisocial, they need people only as supply and as objects to be used. They have no genuine interest in anyone other than themselves!
The truth is exposed at the end of an N relationship and in mid life. The only solutions are another source of N supply at the end of a relationship, or to desperately think of alternative pursuits other than relationships in Mid life, which may gain supply?
To be alone with their true self and nobody to validate the grandiosity of their false self, is unimagineable for a Narc. If you are in love with a Narc and try to accept and love their ‘true self’, remember it is somebody who they themselves hate and despise so much that they repressed and distorted it at all costs. Much as you may want to, you can’t help them, or reform them by showing them genuine love and hoping for some reciprocation. Eventually they will poison your own soul and damage your own existence. Unless you are willing to accept a false partner in a false relationship without reward. Please move on for your own sanity. Phil

I couldn’t have said it better myself. :) Jan

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125. Donna - August 5, 2012

Thank you Jan and Phil, your last two postings just confirmed every thing I have been feeling lately about my exnf he will end up alone, however in his case he has enough money to buy people or bribe folks to show up and spend some time with him and these are folks that really care less about him except that he has money. Most of the other people that truly cared about him and had his best interest at heart have moved on because at some point he used and abused their honest, sincere, love, friendship and giving from a geniune place. Even though we often may feel like we lost, it is they that lose in the end. I just have to keep reminding myself that he is a very sick, disordered person. Take care all. Donna

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126. phil835 - August 5, 2012

Hi Donna,

There’s so much about being in a relationship with the N that seems incomprehensibly unfair. Your sincere and genune love was ‘lost’ on the N, so was mine as so many others I dare say?

They end up in relationships surrounded by people they deserve, false and insincere, they are destined to be alone if not in body then certainly in soul.
There’s a quote from the bible which everyone knows. I only recently read the second part of it, the first part is often quoted. I’m not a Christian or trying to slap a ‘bible injunction’ on the Narc;) But somehow this bible wisdom beautifully summed up the demise of a Narc.

‘Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.
For he that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the Spirit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting.’

In the same way the Narc also ‘mocks’ people, he operates on only the basest of human levels. Therefore he can only ever ‘reap’ back the same corruption he sows. And it is implied, that only those who have invested anything on a spiritual level, can be rewarded with genuine and lasting happiness. Just my interpretation.
Good luck to you Donna. Phil

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127. Lesley - August 7, 2012

Hi Phil/ Jan/ Donna,
Coming back to this thread because of the’true beauty lying within ‘ motif and because I am so enjoying spending a Summer in jeans,
t shirts and what I recycle from my son’s wardrobe.. my ex would be horrified. It’s made me go over why he was beginning to make me insecure about my appearance…
We had just come back from hols on quiet side of Majorca and I had put on a few pounds.I am of slim/medium build so it didn’t really show…but I told him. I said’ I must have put on about six pounds with all that paella!’ He didn’t register or appeared not to? However..cue supper and he reached out as I was clearing up and pinched my waist..’Yup definitely put a bit on…’ A joke I surmised?
A week later,he had repeated this action to me…on my legs,back,waist at least thirty times. Joke no more. He was doing it to make me feel bad…to bring me back under control if I was happy or looking good.
In itself this is a tiny slice of cruelty from my experience with a Narc but unfortunately it gets worse. From the age of nineteen to 24…I was ‘eating disordered’… I over exercised/dieted to stay extremely slim.
Thankfully having my son sorted it… I recovered.
However,my ex knew about this period in my life…when I told him I trusted him and he seemed caring and interested. Yet it was ultimately a tool to use against me. He took an insecurity of mine into his own arsenal for later Narcissistic Game Play?
This thread made me think of this again and his motives. He was very insecure with his own personal appearance. As a young man had been a rugby player who had let himself go…he put on weight easily because as a somatic narc he ate and drank too much..was he projecting his anger at his own appearance onto me? Was it a passive aggressive way to display rage…not sure but would welcome comment?
Jan,loved your comment about ‘Welcome to Los Angeles’…it’s like that movie ‘Death Becomes Her’ right? Funny but chilling at the same time…..

Light Shine,
Les

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Donna - August 8, 2012

To Les, P & J, I hope I don’t offended by not posting your names. I have been away because of family members in my town for a few weeks. My 90 yr old aunt, her daughter and her two grandchildren, ages 5&3, much to long of a story…..

I really can’t make any comments about hair color because I let go and I’m a Short Salt& Pepper girl. I colored my hair for many years and even did Purple once.

So here is my need of your replies. This coming Sunday, there is a huge Class reunion gathering in a neighborhood park and I plan to attend. There is a very good possiblity that my exnf will also attend. I have not seen or talked to him for many months.

I guess my question, is “How should I present myself if he sees me, I have not intensions to seek him out, I just want to have a great time…….

Donna,
I like purple BTW. :) You know you don’t HAVE to go, but if you choose to, I’d go with someone else (Everyone needs a wingman.), so you have an “out” and backup. A polite nod would suffice. It’s interesting that you’d write this today as I just received a notice that there’s to be a district-wide meeting on the first day of school. We’re expected to attend. Mercifully, I did not see the N last year. This November it will four years since I’ve run into him, so I’d like to avoid any encounter. So, I’m thinking about this myself. :) Jan

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Lesley - August 9, 2012

Donna, you will have a great time…just don the cloak of invisibility if he appears. As Jan says,be with someone,friend,family and enjoy the event….absolutely don’t seek him out,if he approaches you tell him where a stall is…end of
Pity of him and self preservation of you ,can sit well with each other…? Every time it gets easier….
I personally at moment would not go where my ex might be.. I gave up on concert the other night because of slim chance he might be there? However, have no plans to live my life this way. It’s about evaluation of the hit you take of you…?and then moving on… My ex’s movements will not control me….but I owe it to myself to be careful of me…. I wish you a happy time with friends and family at the event. xxx

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Donna - August 10, 2012

Thank you so much to jan/les, I am OK. I totally will not avoid this event because he might be there, that’s control for him from my point of view. I am and had a free will spirit for a very long time, and my Son will be my tagging along ……

I have emotions, empathy, compassion and developed my moral boundaries many years ago. That doesn’t mean I don’t like and care about him, it just means I didn’t have any influence in a change in his behavior. The choices and decisions he made are is his and they are based upon his history….. It’s just a matter of time as Phil said; when it all catches up. Phil, I don’t care for the word coward; for me it’s more “fear” of not being Loved with all my warts, moles, scares and weakness………So I will…………Devalue & Discard anyone that cared.
Just Me Donna

You have a great attitude Donna. The only person we can change is ourself, and once we realize this we quit wishing and hoping for the world to spin in the opposite direction. It just ain’t going to happen. With with your son as your wingman, you should have a great time! :) Jan

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phil835 - August 12, 2012

Hi Donna,

Sorry iI missed this one. I don’t have any advice as such but I want to add some thoughts.

When I expunged the Narcissist from my life because of the drama, conflict and destruction she had wrought. I decided to operate a scorched earth policy and end contact with my otherwise healthy (but not close) friends who were common aquaintances. A clean and sure break seemed like the best course of action, it ended a chapter and an era for me.

On reflection, I sometimes think what I did could be seen as the actions of a person either scared or ashamed. The truth is I’m neither. The sad thing is that I constantly get messages and e-mails from old friends and colleagues genuinley interested in my wherabouts and current activities. So in this sense I know I’m thought of in high regard amoungt my former social circle. Ending the chapter for me was my deliberate effort to prevent any future contact (or future possibility for her to act out and unsettle my life in the future. I made a realistic assessment that at the end of her next Narcissistic cycle, as she gets increasingly desperate she will likely seek out old sources of NS for a quick fix until the next one. I don’t want to be used in that way. To even acknowledge a Narc is to validate their existence, to show your anger at their misdeeds is to offer supply, you prove that they did make a difference to someones emotions. Indifference is what they loathe most and that you must show them. It is the best Narcissistic injury there is.

My thoughts on this are mixed, part of me says, I have nothing to be ashamed of, people who know me like and respect me a great deal. It’s not fair that my life was unsetlled and I have to take steps and make sacrafices with my friends to make sure the Narc has no possibility of making a comeback. That’s the price I had to pay for taking my own stance. And like Lesley foregoing a trip to the concert, you may lose out on certian things when you clearly don’t deserve to. Phil

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Donna - August 13, 2012

To all my friends here, I did go to the picnic in the park and had a wonderful time with all my old friends from my high school days. I didn’t see my old N friend however I did see his son and several old friends of his, so I assume he was there somewhere. So I am feeling like I have taken back my free will spirit not to allow this person to have any negative influence on my coming and going. All I feel is that he lost a very good person who cared about him. So no contact is just that no contact……..

That’s wonderful, Donna! I was wondering yesterday if this was THE weekend. But take those …… out of the equation. What’s called for is a PERIOD. He can’t lose something/someone he didn’t value. When people return to us, we want to this is because they missed us, but for Ns, it’s just to see if they can still get their foot in the door for more of the same. Jan

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128. phil835 - August 7, 2012

Hi Les,

I think your Narc was definitely at the malignant end of the scale. It sounds like a classic case of ‘managing your levels of self esteem’ to keep you under his supremacy and control. It’s a typical psychological tactic of the psychopathic types. To mount a successful psychological assault on anyone, then you have to know enough about their insecurities and the workings of their minds. Obviously, it’s only people who we ‘trust’ enough, or who appear to be caring and interested, who we make privvy to our human weaknesses. A psychopath will store up and make note of your insecurities, carefully crafting appropriate weapons to inflict emotional injury later on when necessary.

I don’t think my N was anywhere near as Malignant of yours Les. To be a good psychopath, you have to attempt some detailed understanding of the minds of others. My N was far too self absorbed to understand how other peoples emotions work. She lacked social intelligence and human awareness, although intellectually she was very clever.
A psychopath doesn’t have emotions, but he certainly takes to the time to grasp how they work inside other people.

For my N to fully understand my mind or others, it would have taken considerable effort and probably have been a huge distraction from her modus operandi of thinking about herself ;)

I’ll tell you an anecdote from my relationship which you may find amusing. My N had an ‘idealised’ image of her own figure, occasionally she would go on those intensive slimming camps when her figure slipped to far from her own ideal. I wasn’t concerned about her weight or figure in the same way she was. She had imperfections as does everyoone, but the thing was I accepted them as part of her as a ‘real’ person. She often said to me, I was the only man she had ever felt comfortable with, I was most flattered by this. I could prod a finger in her tummy for fun, but not as some form of insult, I was happy with how she was imperfections included.
But in a way, my acceptance of her true physical self was not what she wanted to be accepted, she didn’t accept herself. Whilst she loved the notion that she more confortable with me than anyone else. What she wanted was to craft her ideal self, and prefer a partner who would praise her ideal physical self and reject her imperfections as she did. As Jan said somewhere else, anyone who accepts or loves a Narc’s ‘true self’ must be a loser! :) Phil

Phil,
It’s kind of like in mythology where only gods can consort with gods. Once they consort with a mortal, things take a turn. By accepting a N’s less-then-godly traits, you’re seeing them in a human light which they abhor. You’re consigned to the netherworld! Jan

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129. phil835 - August 7, 2012

Hi Les, just some extra comments on your post.
In your descriptions of your ex, I noticed the distinct lack of an emotional response in acknowledgement to your statement.
“I said’ I must have put on about six pounds with all that paella!’ He didn’t register or appeared not to? ”

Clearly, he had coldly registered your emotional insecurity, later using this ‘information’ to mount his assault.

You asked. ‘Was he projecting his anger at his own appearance onto me? Was it a passive aggressive way to display rage…not sure but would welcome comment’

I wasn’t there, but it sounds to me like he needed to give your ‘self esteem’ a good battering for whatever reason. Phil

Les,
I don’t think it was necessarily projection, but more likely an attempt to plant the “seed” of self-doubt in you. In this respect, as Phil suggests, it does give him the upper hand (or poking finger LOL) to hit you where it hurts when it suits him. FYI I have naturally red hair, yet the N would repeatedly say, “You and your dyed red hair!” Even though I knew he was full of sh*t, I still found this unsettling, and I believe he enjoyed seeing me wince every time he said this. Jan

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130. phil835 - August 7, 2012

I had a male colleague with natural red hair. i used to say to him ‘It must be great being a ginger, that way you can actually look forwards to turning grey or bald’ ;) The southpark episode on ‘gingers’ is especially funny, even to gingers who can laugh at themselves). Obviously red hair on females is considered more attractive than it is on males by some. So I assume your N wanted to unsettle you. by suggesting you were a ‘fraud’ Jan?
I think a good way of discovering a Narc, is that they can’t laugh at themselves or take any criticism of their carefully constructed false self.
By the way, the male colleague I mentioned above had a great sense of humour. I wouldn’t make remarks to anyone that could cause real offence.
One of his favourite jokes was to pretend to be ‘body dysmorphic’. He was grossly ‘overweight’ but would refer to himself as having a ‘perfect physique’, the body of an adonis and an athletic build. :D
When we started laughing, he would fein a hurt and puzzled look on his face, as if to suggest he couldn’t understand what we found funny? i.e. As if he really did beleive himself to be slim! :D
A Narc could never indulge in such humour, they just don’t have it in them)))) Phil

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131. Lesley - August 7, 2012

Hi and thanks for comments…
Phil I remember you saying that my ex may have been psychopathic and I kind of balked at that… but yes, as time goes on and thing settle he was definitely up there…as I said to Jan recently…he was high in the medals table.
You know spiders,snakes,Ghosts and such bring them on… I am hard to scare…but these guys frighten me. I do experience the hair rise on the back of the neck when I think of what we have gone through.
My ex had done this before with his previous girfriends…one of them had been told she was less of a woman by him because she had never been a mum…she was infertile!!!
I have to repeat this to myself slowly…what man would say this to a woman. My empathy for her is through the roof…
I’m struggling a bit just now because I know he is possibly doing a character assassination on me at the moment and hey.. I’m human(thank God)… I don’t like to think that’s going on…
I’m not sure which category I’ll fit into(LOL)…angry,deluded,unstable,selfish….all of his previous girlfriends/wife were described as such.
Phil, I need to find the humour in it…the comment you make about them not being able to laugh at themselves is spot on…its a carmine red flag!
Jan..in my youth.. I was….’reddy fair’ as we say up north…! Ginger!!
It’s my guilty secret… I’m entitled to my Blonde(Pseudo and now actual) moments…
I think this is one of these transatlantic blips in humour..there is a famous Brit comedy sketch by a comedian called Katherine Tate which shows ginger people as being hounded and rounded up….
Its def a trippy kind of humour.
But… I think Joe..liked your ‘red’ hair…as in Phil’s comment…the kind of Susan Sarandon, Maureen O’Hara kind of way….but being a Narc he despised what he admired.
Anyways… I love reds… I was born one,but sadly went off primrose path..ha!

Les

Haha! I’ve got that Catherine Tate sketch on my blog. I’m off to Russet Lodge to see if I can find the link as I LOVE it! I did write another post called Seeing Red which you might appreciate. And Scotland has the most of us National Treasures >wink<. Recently I read that natural redheads could be a thing of the past by 2060! Jan

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Lesley - August 7, 2012

Jan, I was a strawberry blonde babe at birth..who went reddish..go figure I’m Scots/Irish.The sketch is hilarious…the one with the placards and police…right! Well,reds are natures tortiseshell cats… I miss my 23 year old baby cat…but they wont go. by 2060..they need to breed…

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132. phil835 - August 8, 2012

HI Les, Jan.. I;m not a southpark fan this was funny though.

http://www.watchsouthparkonline.net/season-9/episode-11-ginger-kids/

Phil

Haha! Unlike my brother, I have no freckles, so I now know that I’m officially a Daywalker! Jan

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Lesley - August 8, 2012

I’m sure I watched this one…thanks for the reminder!
Wasn’t there a meet a couple of years ago in Red Square…gingers of the world unite?

I plugged Redheads in Red Square into Google and immediately learned we Redheads even have a Manifesto! Also, Anderson Cooper’s Ridiculist did a great segment after it was reported that redheads were being turned away from sperm banks! I personally think that Simon Baker and Damian Lewis would make anyone want to “go red!” :) Jan

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133. phil835 - August 9, 2012

Hey you two,
This blog was supposed to be about Narcissism, and now you’ve both gone off to form the ‘ginger seperatist movement’ instead ;)

Well I hope there’s just as many Narcissists amoungst your ranks of gingers, that will spoil your party for sure ! ;) ;) ;)

Actually, Phil, although the majority of the posts ARE on Narcissism, if you go back in my archives to The Beginning, you’ll see that I didn’t set out to blog about narcissism. It has taken over my blog though, but I can’t help but throw in other topics for comic relief as Ns are so BORING. >wink< Jan

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134. phil835 - August 10, 2012

Hi All,

Jan is right, Narcs are boring and I want to forget about them! They will eventually seal their own fates. I’m taking all my thinking to its conclusion and then I want to stop talking about Narcs once and for all :) I think they get a well deserved fate, even if Narcissism may have its roots in their alleged childhood trauma?

A while back, I asked for everyones views on Narcissism and cowardice? If you remember, my Narc was female so I was uncomfortable using this indictment as a male against a female. If the Narc’s personality is essentially the same, then the female bloggers were more than able to highlight the Male Narc’s unbelievable and snivelling cowardice!

Some of the recent literature is suggesting that Narcissism is a ‘shame based’ personality disorder. We all know how ‘shameless’ the Narc is, and some people suggest that the Narc is in ‘shame bypass’ mode because shame is something that they will try to avoid. My understanding of this theory, is that in childhood they were perhaps ‘shamed’ (as all parents shame thier children for ‘transgressions’, but they were not sufficiently comforted afterwards to restore their mental balance. Therefore, a Narc bypasses their feelings of shame and avoids them. My review of the current accepted wisdom may be innacurate, but no matter, I want to take my thinking in a different direction.

I think Narcissism is cowardice based. The inplications of and the shame component of their personalities may be very important, like the lack of empathy and sense of entitlement is. But I think cowardice is at the root of everything and I’ll explain why.

I think that the best ‘description’ of a Narc is somebody with an adult body and an adult intellect, but with the emoational and moral maturity of a 6 year old child arrested in development. I think this as a very accurate description of a Narc whatever the causes of Narcissism were.

I avoided calling my female Narc a coward for obvious reasons. And for the very same reasons, I would avoid calling a child a coward. Except that’s what they are. Selfish, emotionally wounded and extremely cowardly children. Yes, they have had their childhood traumas. But lots of children are very brave whatever their childhood traumas are. We can all think of the heroism of children dying of cancer, then note the unbeleivable bravery of many children in these circumstances((

And what is Narcissosm exactly, other than a defense mechanism? Their false self is like a suit of armour, carefully constructed to hide and offer protection. Why else would anyone be cloaked in a full suit of armour, unless they were very afraid? While the rest of us expose our skin and are very open to wounding, are we not?
So why do we allow ourselves the opportunity to be hurt and to feel, when the Narcissist takes every measure to avoid it? Cowardice perhaps?

And back briefly to my own Narc. Yes she had an emotional childhood trauma when her parents seperated, her dad rejected her emotionally. But she had a VERY priviledged and advantaged home, a consistent and loving mother in an otherwise stable environment. Yet why did this emotionally wounded and traumatised child become a Narcissist? There was emotional hurt, but no physical or sexual abuse. And there was no privation or neglect whatsoever.

I persoanlly know another girl who suffered tremendous physical, emotional, mental and sexual abuse as a child. She also grew up in extreme poverty, and to finish off her luck in life, she was also bullied at school on account of her clothes being second hand rags full of holes. And what type of girl is she now? Probably the most generous, kind, thoughtful and caring human being I can think of. She’s not even bitter or resentful, or if she is, then she certainly doesn’t show it. She’s not a Narcissist either, she loves and gets hurt the same as the rest of us.
Perhaps she was brave enoough to take that step of developing emotional and moral maturity, even though anyone could easily forgive her for not doing so?

So in concluding my thoughts on Narcissists, they are mainly just cowards. All of us hurt, all of us have our crosses to bear. Their cross in life is made lighter while the rest of us have our crosses made heavier, Rid yourself of these selfish cowardly people once and for all. They are not worth your attentions! Phil

Phil,
I love words…and word origins. I mentioned to you that I’d have to put some thought into cowardice vs. shame. It seems that “coward” is most associated with the military and the word originally derives from “turning one’s tail” (and runnning?) or possibly a dog putting its tail between its legs when frightened. In keeping with its military association, a “coward” is one who fails to show “courage” when engaged in a confrontation or struggle. Cue dishonorable discharge or firing squad.

When I went to Wikipedia’s page on “shame” this bit came up which I found interesting.

“Psychoanalyst Helen B. Lewis argued that, “The experience of shame is directly about the self, which is the focus of evaluation. In guilt, the self is not the central object of negative evaluation, but rather the thing done is the focus.”[5] Similarly, Fossum and Mason say in their book Facing Shame that “While guilt is a painful feeling of regret and responsibility for one’s actions, shame is a painful feeling about oneself as a person.”[6] Following this line of reasoning, Psychiatrist Judith Lewis Herman concludes that “Shame is an acutely self-conscious state in which the self is ‘split,’ imagining the self in the eyes of the other; by contrast, in guilt the self is unified.”[7]”

I do believe that Narcissism is a shame-based behavior. Ultimately, the only power words have are the meanings we assign to them. I do teach a unit on Courage to my students and we talk about how “courage” is the quality of doing what’s right even when you might be scared. Jan

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135. phil835 - August 11, 2012

Hi Jan,

I agree with the shame verses guilt distinction and I did factor these ideas into my thinking.

I can still defend my analysis that a Narcissist is a selfish and weak coward. And that cowardice is behind their personality, not shame.

I’ll define ‘cowardice’ as the opposite of ‘courage’ in my use of the word.

A Narcissist will avoid shame and guilt, we all agree on that. But is it a shame based behavour?

I don’t think it is shame based, but shame is something they will avoid because they are cowardice based.

Let me go back to my favourite analogy of the Jar of cookies.

If Alice steals cookes from the jar, then ‘stealing cookies’ is the naughty behaviour and associated with guilt. The behaviour was ‘naughty’ and therefore we attach guilt to stealing. The guilt is attached to ‘external’ events though, stealing cookies = naughty.

Now if we shout at Alice and say’ Alice is a naughty girl because she stole the cookies’ The guilt is attached to the external behavour (stealing) and also internally to Alice. Alice is a naughty ‘girl’ because she steals. This is shame and shame is an internal feeling of guilt.

When Aice accepts her guilt, is sufficiently sorry and promises not to steal again. Then we can comfort Alice and assure her that she is no longer a naughty girl.and no longer in shame.
In fact, many ‘experts’ talk of how parents must differentiate the behaviour as naughty more so than the child. In my opinion you have to show the child that naughty external behaviour will bring internal shame, therefore don’t do it.

But what does the Narcissist do, the Narcissist avoids all guilt and all shame. We’ve all seen this at work. And how do they acheive this. We all know this answer also. There is no shame or no guilt, because what was naughty externally was a result of other outside forces and not the narcissist. The Narcissist is not to blame for anything and therefore no shame is attached to the Narcissist.

So back to Alice. Alice will tell you, it wasn’t her fault the cookies were stolen, they were too easy to reach. The cookies had too much chocolate in them. Somebody else took them. It wasn’t Alice’s fault the cookies were stolen, therefore there is no guilt and absolutely no question of attaching those painful feelings of shame on Alice.

Is Narcissism shame based? A Narcissist will avoid shame and probably doesn’t like shame. But they are cowards. They will not take personal responsibility or develop the moral courage to admit to their own guilt and therefore shame. Why attach shame to yourself if it can be avoided? Because they are cowards. Courageous children admit their faults, feel shame for their actions and then (hopefully modify) their behavour. The morals become internalised. If I steal I will feel shame.
The narcissist thinks differently, “if I steal I may get caught” that’s the main reason for not stealing for a Narcissist. So it’s only their cowardice that keeps them out of trouble also.
I defend my ideas, Narcissists are cowards.
Phil

Experts agree that the False Self is constructed to protect the N from further emotional injury. And this “mask” is constructed when the child is most likely VERY YOUNG, at an age when children ALWAYS blame others because they’re still developmentally learning to take responsibility for their behavior. Oh, young children will say they are sorry and won’t do something again. But more likely or not they’ll just take greater care so as not to get caught. I say this because I work with these children every day.
I’m not as concerned with what causes the Ns behavior because it can keep us from focusing on the more important issue of how they behave as adults and how this behavior can be so toxic to those who dare to get close to them. Jan

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136. phil835 - August 11, 2012

I think a lot of psycho babble attempts to explain the Narcissist and to excuse the Narcissist. Because a Narcissist avoids shame, they expamd this idea with the concept that ‘shame is especially painful’ for a Narc. Perhaps the poor little darling Narc wasn’t conforted enough in childhood, after having experiencing being shamed by an adult? Therefore they must be a shame based personality.

My thinking is that a Narcissist is avoiding shame because they are avoiding responsibility. They are too selfish to develop the moral courage required to accept responsibility for their actions. They can better serve their own interests, without the unnecesary baggage of guilt, conscience or morals that somehow limits other people.

We all witness a Narcissist at work, the appear to act without conscience or morals. They never accept responsibity for their own actions, it is always ‘external’ events to blame for any worng doing or wrongs.

To feel guilt, to feel shame. to have a conscience and to take responsibility all involves having courage and being truthful with oneself. I experience tremendous emotional pain at feeling these emotions, but I still allow myself to feel them.

So is a Narcissist somehow exempt from having the courage to accept blame? Or do they feel pain much worse than the rest of us so it’s perhaps better we excuse them for not doing so (As the psycho babble Narcissist apologists may suggest)?

I’m asserting that the Narcissist has chosen to be a selfish, cunning and cowardly individual who lacks the courage to accept responsibitly.

If I could throw away my conscience and morals, I could become a Narcissist. The Narcissist never had the moral courage to accept and internalise morals, conscience or responsibility for others.

Your closing statement should always be the last word on this topic. It’s not necessary to understand why they are as they are. Just recognise them for what they are and run a mile! Phil

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137. Lesley - August 11, 2012

Phil/Jan/Donna,
Just coming in here with my view. I don’t think the Narcissist processes feelings like we do,therefore any understanding of
the concept of Cowardice(or how Normals see cowardice) will be skewed.
I believe us Normals will see the Narc’s behaviour as overtly
cowardly..but that this overt cowardice has its root in early feelings of shame or as I purport fear.
They are six year olds acting as cowards to a situation that causes them fear? Additionally because they have been frozen in time(as surely as pre packed peas)they have no capacity to develop other strategies such as talking fear through,behaving bravely,reviewing brave actions..and going onto adopt these in the future.
Instead they have as their arsenal all sorts of awful strategies such as lie-telling,pretending to be someone else,running away,engaging a new gullible person….etc.
Indeed all the strategies we discuss on this forum.
I do think they are fearful constantly with mask slippage being the prime fear. It’s like that adage;
‘ A Coward will die many deaths but the brave man only one’…

The Narc is a continuously wary creature,suspicious of others and moving on from person to person…everything is potentially scary.
But chillingly other people(us) are used as shields,then discarded when we can’t or won’t provide enough protection?\\

Les,
That was the quote I was trying to remember! “A coward dies a thousand deaths, a hero only one” from William Shakespeare. I believe that for the coward these are essentially psychological deaths as in deaths of the spirit. Thanks for the great explanation above. You saved me from having to do a lot of typing. :) Jan

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138. phil835 - August 11, 2012

Jan I agree,

My choice of the word cowardice is as through the lens filter of an adult. A Narcissist probably doesn’t consider their behavour cowardly, as in what causes shame in an adult. The Narcissist hasn’t devolped emotional or moral maturity beyond age 6, so fearful is probably a better all round description of their feelings.

And somehow I don’t think the Shakespeare quote has the same meaning to a Narcissist as it does to an emotional and morally mature adult. There’s an adult sense of shame attached to an an adult concept of cowardice.

The Narcissist narrative would probably be ‘I got out of trouble a thousand times because I was clever. I used the easiest and safest way that works best. That brave person (whatever bravery or courage is for who knows?) got killed’ :D

And I fully agree with all these sentiments about the N using an ‘arsenal all sorts of awful strategies such as lie-telling,pretending to be someone else,running away,engaging a new gullible person….etc.

But, we can easilly forgive a fearful child for being frightened. A Narc isn’t just a fearful and scared child avoiding danger and trouble.
A Narc is actively creating conflict and a landscape of conflict.
Like we said much earlier, they stir the hornets nest and then run and hide behind mother’s coat tails to avoid consequences.
So the Narc isn’t just a weak and cowardly child (or shall we say fearful) ……. it is an enfant terrible! Let’s not forget this !! Phil

Phil,
Since I’m getting ready to go back to school, I’ve got my teacher hat on. (It’s a virtual hat BTW) I give you an A+ on your reasoning. Not to quibble, but I don’t think mother is wearing a coat. Here in the U.S. we “ride on someone’s coat tails (as to get a free ride) and hide behind our mother’s skirt. LOL Jan

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139. Chris - August 11, 2012

Hi all, I’m just catching up reading here. Phil, please don’t stop talking about Ns. I also want to thank Donna for her reply to my last post as well. I’m thankful I didn’t miss it as I usually just start to read at the end of the page.

Yesterday the N and I were at the same store. He left only moments before me. When I got to my car who was but 10 feet in front of it talking to someone but the N (his car was nowhere to be seen). Out of all the places he could have been, there he was by my car.

Do I think he purposely stood by my car? I can’t know that 100% but it sure seems like it. Maybe doing so gave him some kind of tingle up his leg :-/

In addition in a recent conversation I had with the person who not long ago described the N as a “gem” type of a person, they described the N as possibly ‘becoming senile and losing his mind.’ Very interesting.

Chris,
You said you and the N were at the same store. Did you actually see one another? Does he know what your car looks like? If so, I doubt that this was a coincidence. More like he just happened to be THERE to 1) make you remember how great he is 2) mark his territory, or 3) get a tingly feeling you described just because he knew that him being there set off a reaction (however minor) in you. Those are just my initial thoughts. Jan

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140. phil835 - August 11, 2012

Hi Chris, I’m looking to eventually bow out of the forum as part of moving on. This place is a tremendous for mutual support, to which I’m grateful to everyone contributing. Thank you for especially for your kind words. Even though I’m about to leave, reading your above post put a huge smile on my face and I can’t help but offer a few thoughts, and describe a situation from my own interactions with my N.

You’ll find that many coincidences are skillfully engineered by the Narcissist. What’s more, they consider themselves so especially cunning and clever that nobody will notice. And pleading innocence and coincidence is a form of gaslighting. You’ll start to give them the benefit of the doubt and think am I being cynical, perhaps it was coincidence and they are innocent. Maybe I’m bad for always thinking the worst?

I’ll tell you a little story about my own N. One time she was insistent that I go to a party with her, I wasn’t paticulary keen on the company there, but i went along just to be sociable and so she would have somebody to arrive with. At the party, a mutual aquaintance of ours was there. I’m not saying I would have avoided going there with my N, if i had known about our mutual friend’s presence at the party. However, my N was adamant about it being a coincidence that our mutual friend was at the same party. If you read between the lines of my story, you can guess that there was something of a web of intrigue. It was embarrassing for me because our mutual friend was a male freind of mine, but had being a failed romantic interest for my N.

I was thinking that he party was a place to act out for her, fostering jealousy and causing resentment was the way I would interpret itm had she engineered the situation.

She was adamant it was just a coincidence he was there, how embarrassing for everone.

Of course the Narcissist think we are all idiots and they are so clever nobody will guess what they are ‘playing’ at.

I found out later tht she had made multiple enquires with multiple people in advance of the party to find out the guest list, in particular enquiring about our mutual aquaintance.

But I always think it’s better to use Shakespears motif with some game playing fool who thinks themselves clever, let than think it and ‘Say less than you knoweth’.

I’d uncovered her premeditated little game of manipulation, but i pretended I was fooled by it!!

I think it’s safe to say the Narc being in front of your car wasn’t a coincidence. Phil

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141. Lesley - August 12, 2012

Hi all,
I’m commenting at end of blog rather than direct to Donna/Chris/Phil because my wee offering takes in both coincidence and the Narc’s continuous need for supply..even previous supply!!!
My ex’s marriage broke down when his kids were tiny.He billed this to me as’his working away being a strain’.It wasn’t until near the end of my own relationship with him…two years in, that the real story emerged.(My ex actually had a 4 year affair with a mistress he had known since a teenager…it decimated his marriage.)
Fast forward to him and I.
Imagine a Sunday morning,reading the papers in bed.We have known each other 8 months. My ex announces casually that he has met by chance his ex mistress in’a supermarket,lets call her ‘Maggie’..he describes how old and haggard she looks and how(LOL)she seems to be walking with a limp…she is now it seems on the scrapyard of life… I say how sorry I am for this poor lady.
5 mins later, my ex announces that Maggie is actually going out with A ‘local artisan’…in fact, the man who has a cottage a stones throw away from where my ex lives.He says how sorry he will feel to see her limping in the street… I agree.
I do not give the conversation another thought because I am in love with him?
Until….when the shit hits the proverbial fan and I confront and am discarded…it turns out that Maggie and my ex have actually had a liaison or two when he was with me and indeed Maggie and my Narc have been having liaisons for a couple of decades!
The cover story,the limp,the supermarket and the artisan are all fabrication…a well thought out ploy by a Narc to cover Narcissistic
supply tracks.The artisan a stone mason, is actually gay and has been in a relationship with his partner for 11years…he has never heard of ‘Maggie’ but…..just in case I had seen her in the street or wondered why she would be in our neck of the woods…my ex had the story thought out…in advance,without compunction.
You know, I am not naive…it’s just that as ‘a normal’…I can’t do deceit like this? There were actually around three’Maggies’ in two years…
whilst I’was the love of his life’Ahem!
Maggie is actually the continual ‘fall-back’ girl to my ex,an instant narc supply.He thinks of her as’take-away’ or fast food. He never goes out in public with her nor does he esteem her.She is however amazingly important to the Narc because she is always, always there..
In terms of the recent debate…re coincidence, nope, I think most Narc’s arrange coincidence to suit their needs. In terms of ‘seeing a Narc again….’Ok if you walk on..if you stop and speak then you are feeding supply. Most normal people need and wholly deserve to be more than this.

Les,
I’m not sure I’ll ever look at a limping woman again and not think of this story. Someone will wonder why I’m laughing myself silly. LOL
Sounds like the N had much experience with creating a backstory, so as to cover his tracks. What a duplicitous a$$. (I don’t get to use words like that with my students, so I’ve got to get some out while I still have time.) And you’re right, “Maggie” is the consummate Fallback Girl, living on whatever crumbs he throws her. I’m hoping to finish reading “Mr. Unavailable and The Fallback Girl” in the next day or so and write the review. It deals so much with why women (in particular) accept less while expecting more. Each time you DO accept the crumbs you’ve proven shown that you deserve no better and this is duly noted by the N (or in the case of the book) Mr. Unavailable. Jan

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142. phil835 - August 12, 2012

Hi Les and all.

I couldn’t agree more with your sentiments. I may have indulged in many forms of self abuse over the years. To be honest, I can think of no form of self abasement worse, than remaining in any type of relationship with a Narc.

All of us are human, nobody is that invoilable tower of strength and integrity we might otherwise think we should be. I’ve indulged in self pity in the past, I dare say we all have? However, I’ve never been so self obsessed that I was unable to notice or care about the feelings of others. And to look inwards trying to find some type of salvation, based on how much I can ‘use’ and exploit other people as objects, just isn’t part of my make up as a human being.

However much my self esteem or sense of self worth has being debased over the years, either as a result of my own actions, others, circumstance or whatever else. Nothing I can think of can ‘top’ a voluntary realtionship with a Narc as the ultimate form of self abuse.

A Narc will keep any form of supply active in the background, until the last modicum has been extracted from it. Unfortunately, some people seem as though they are born victims? I may have been a victim, but I realised Im not happy wallowing in eternal victimhood. Some may?
The Narc has probably ‘identified’ you during some stage of your life when you had hit a low, perhaps? It happens to us all.

I may have found myself in a gutter at times, partly out of my own fault, partly other people and partly through circumstance. (I’ll not flatter myself by suggesting it was mainly the latter of the 3 either! ;)

But only if I was content living in the lowest gutter of battered self worth that there is, what better way than to indulge this masochism than voluntary spending your life with a Narc? Phil

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143. phil835 - August 12, 2012

Hi Les and to Chis, Donna, Jan. just want to add some more on Les’s post and from a practical standpoint. We are talking about how the narc engineers circumstance as though it were all random chance.

Reading your post Les, I couldn’t help but smile at your Narc’s lies when you were in bed together. Yes, it’s easy to be wise in hindsight, and through the filter of being ‘in love’ at the time, your perceptions to the truth were bound to have been skewed at that time.

I was never in love with my Narc to the extent I was blinded to truth, so perhaps that’s why I was better equipped to see through her? And the damage she did wasn’t so much a broken heart as much as damage to other parts of my life.

But back to Les in bed with her lying Narc. You know, the truth has an amazing spontaneity about it. And when your perceptions are attuned and any ‘instincts’ you may have about people are fully working, you can ‘always trust your gut’ on these things if you have that gift?

I’m smiling, because however good a liar somebody is, lies are invariably premeditated. Lies nearly always come in a package, but they certainly require the conscious thought of the liar.

I always knew my N was lying (not only because her lips were moving, and maybe that was enough in itself) ;)
But whenever she was about to talk about going somewhere, doing something, meeting someone and there was something disingenuous about her intentions……..
Regardless of how well she presented her lies or however convincing or plasable they were made to sound ….. the ‘timing’ of conversation is cause for suspicion in itself. The truth is so spontaneous it doesn’t require thinking about! Just my own observations. Phil

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snlgant - August 16, 2012

I agree, when it seems over the top and my questions muck up my N’s story… I have said this before and even posted a pic of a duck ,(if it looks like a duck, walks like a duck, quacks like a duck ….. It IS a duck) . I literally laughed out loud when I read the exact quote in Jan’s initial story on, ‘Joe’. In my N.. …it IS a lie!

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144. phil835 - August 13, 2012

As an interesting aside, I thought I’d share this article with you all. It asks if Narcissists know they are Narcissists? Surprisingly the reseach suggests they have a degree of self awareness to know they are Narcissists. Earlier in the blog people were asking if it is worthwhile confronting a Narcissist with their Narcissism. This article suggests they already have an idea about themselves, but it is insufficient to warrant change. They like their arrogance and they perhaps prefer admiriation over being genuinely liked, the authors suggest.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-barry-kaufman/do-narcissists-know-they-_b_840894.html

And if I can remind you all of my brilliant Narcissistic injury I inflicted before I even knew what Narcissism was.

I told my Narc she was viewed by ‘others as ‘Pathetic, pitiful, and so hideously stupid that she was only talked about for the purpose of mockery and derision by others. Furthermore, nobody cared or was interested in her. To others she was an insignificant and inconsequential person, whose only worth in life was to make a massive fool of herself for the merriment of others!’

I somehow managed to shatter all her mirrors and completely undermine any possible attempt to turn negative into positive Narcissistic supply. Badass that I am! ;) Phil

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/scott-barry-kaufman/do-narcissists-know-they-_b_840894.html

I did read this in Huffpost last year and even bookmarked it, as I was waiting for it to “soon be published” in the Journal of Personal and Social Psychology. Thanks for reminding me as it’s all VERY interesting. I just went onto the journal, but there’s a fee to access the real deal. I’m not sure that’s necessary. Please note that that it’s “narcissists” that have a degree of self awareness, not those necessarily with NPD. From my experience, Ns don’t see narcissism as a bad thing. “This is just the way I am. Nothing is off limits for me,” said to excuse a myriad of inappropriate comments and behaviors. There is a lot self-justification and “spin” put on any incoming information they perceive as negative. When I told the N certain things about himself, I realized he’d been told this many times before. Yet it seemingly bounced off of him. He’d just go out and find someone “new” who had yet to see his true colors..until they got too close to the flame. Jan

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Lesley - August 13, 2012

Yes, I do think my ex had a degree of insight into himself. He was a clever man who kept on returning to the same relationship cul-de-sac…so to use his own words’He always disappointed women’…(LOL, I’ve told you why?)
When our relationship was over I saw a dating profile he had written(brought to my attention by a friend)…he said he’valued self awareness and excellence above all other qualities’!
His interpretation of self awareness was by and large ‘How not get caught out’ or to allow mask slippage.
That said, I saw him broken down a couple of times,stressed and afraid..but always in relation to himself.
It occurs to me that in the idealisation phase the Narc may actually over- estimate their capacity to love you or to have a fufilling relationship.They believe their own romantic hype?So they do feel disappointment acutely…and for a narc this means moving on,as Jan say’s quickly and efficiently.
I think it would be impossible for my ex,in mid- life with his established patterns of using people at work and home to dismantle his existence nor do I think he would want to..
Better to avoid further self- analysis and begin again with someone newer,more gullible…a new sticking plaster for any hurt.
Other people simply do not figure.
My ex misses me only in terms of what ‘he received from our relationship’…he does not feel remorse or empathy to my hurt,he cannot imagine how my life was affected.
So he is only self aware to the extent of how Narcissism affects
him!

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145. Lesley - August 13, 2012

Thanks for commenting…this is a memory I can already smile at(in terms of his predictability). You are so right when you say there is nothing accidental about Narcissistic lies…the lies often happen when your guard is down or you’ve had a nice day together etc
With regard to Maggie,she does deserve pity ,as I’m sure over the years she had been also told many tall stories and given promises. My ex could seemingly erase or change relationships at will…so I think Maggie had been told his marriage was over and perhaps did not even know of me?
Somatic Narcs actually do have ‘harems’…virtual or otherwise. I believe they need this to feel whole.They so fear abandonment that there needs to be another source of comfort.
I had the dubious honour of being the ‘acceptable’ face of the harem…described to others as his partner/fiancé.
There were other women who didn’t actually never see ‘the light of day’
Visit’s to his harem were determined by his need for control over me and other significant others in his life….if I challenged him or did not behave as he wished…cue visit..
I believe all somatic Narcs are wired this way.
In hindsight, and for other’s who fear that this may be happening to them…ask yourself does/did your Narc talk denigratingly or dispassionately about a work colleague,neighbour acquaintance…do they disparage them…but still mention them a lot?? It’s likely that
they are setting up new supply!
The motivation for this storecupboarding of supply is not actually sex,nor is it company. It is the maintenance of control.The Somatic Narcissist gets off on control in every aspect of his/her life.
I think Control equals Life-force for Somatics.

I’ve heard that it’s actually quite exhausting for the N to keep all these plates in the air spinning, to keep lies sorted out, and a virtual harem of women at arm’s length until they’re needed. Yet this is indeed how Ns they roll. The constant control of their supply is a full-time job, but it provides insurance that they’ll always have a warm bed to fall into. Jan

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Trapped - August 14, 2012

I recall the N I WAS associated with once saying that it wasn’t easy managing “two” women at once (although, in reality, it was much more than two). He said he was such a “busy” person that it was hard to give everyone the time they deserved. Yes, busy. He works no more than 20 hours a week. He also told me once, in a serious way, that he wished he could have his own “cult” or harem (I forgot the word he used) and that he would treat each woman very nicely, giving her all his attention when he was with her. Seriously. As I was listening to this, I imagined them all getting together, stringing him up by his “manhood” and beating the living daylights out of him.

I just found out from a friend that her son, who is in his mid-twenties and who takes lessons from this guy, said that the guy was sleeping with his friend’s mother as she was in the middle of a separation and suffering from alcoholism. Opportunist. He also said that the guy sleeps with everyone and that he would not let his own wife take lessons from him because he figured he would hit on her, rightly so.

Hearing that embarrassed the heck out of me. Luckily, no one ever saw me with that guy. I was one of the ones Lesley referred to above who “never saw the daylight”. It used to bug me then, but now I am thanking whatever powers that be are out there!

Yes, I believe I would be feeling the same sense of relief that I was one of the ones he kept in the cupboard and not out front on the lawn. It’s still degrading, but at least you haven’t been put on public display. I believe the “never saw the sunlight” reference will have to become part of the lexicon. Like squirrels, they have supply stashed EVERYWHERE. :) Jan

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Trapped - August 14, 2012

He has called my office and left a few messages. Just picked up another one in which he said “This will be my last call. It seems that you don’t want to talk to me, which is a shame. Now the ball is in your court.”

Who wants to weigh in on whether or not this is truly “it?” I am having doubts, but also hating myself for letting that stupid phone call knock me off my center for a bit. I just have to keep replaying in my mind all the very shi**y things this guy has done or said to me to reinforce that if it truly is the last call, I should be rejoicing. Unfortunately, I cannot change my office phone number and cannot screen calls (no caller ID). But I have been not answering my phone the past few days, which I can’t do for too much longer.

So, guys, what do you think? Is this really it? Or is he just playing another card, trying to get me to break down and call him?

It’s never truly “it” as long as you respond. It’s like someone saying they’re going to commit suicide if you don’t call them. If you call, they’ve succeeded. They know you can be played. He’s already got you rattled, so it’s working isn’t it? If you want to be free of him using you, do NOT reply not even to tell him that you’re not interested. Ns hate to be ignored and it’s the only comeuppance you’ll ever get. You continue to not take calls and let them go to voicemail because it’s what you need and HAVE to do. This is as close as you get to “winning.” Sad but true. Always, Jan

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146. phil835 - August 13, 2012

Yes I agree Lesley, everything about a Narc is counter intuitive to your own perception of the world and how you interpret life and relationships.

Anyone could be forgiven for thinking, that the Narc is some type of nymphomaniac who craves multiple partners, for the purposes of a rich and varied diet of sexual gratification.

In my experience, everything is almost a complete opposite to what it appears on the surface. They are always with people and appear as though they need people and like company, Not so!!!! They need to use people which is why they around people, but they have no love, compassion or liking for people. They are bigger misanthropists than any hermit, yet they are surrounded with people!))

And it’s the same with sex. They are very auto-erotic. They don’t ‘make love’ to another person in an interpersonal way, they use people as sex aids to gratify themselves. And what difference one partner or 20, to a Narcissist people are like sex toys. Use one at one time, use a a different onr some other time, interchange several toys during the same experience (group sex). It really makes no difference to a Narc, there is nothing personal, everything is as though it is inanimate apart from the Narc themselves. It’s as thought they fail to or refuse to recognise life and other people outside themselves. They have no respect for people as sentient beings. This is why they appear thoughtless, unable to empathise and entitiled to use and abuse as they see fit.

Turn a dark mirror on a Narcissist and give them their own medicine, then you will see some tears! They have the tenderest and most sensitive of emotions, but only for themselves!

They will operate in the most cunning and dispassionate of ways, but only to keep their supppies active and in their appropriate places. The Narc doesn’t like threats or any sense of not being in control of their hosts. Phil

“In control of their hosts” is a great analogy because of their parasite-like ability to coax their host to let down its defenses at the beginning. The N gains entry and then feeds off the host. Jan

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147. Chris - August 13, 2012

Jan, in answer to your questions, yes, I had seen the N as he entered the store and I do believe he saw me though we did not lock eyes, and also as we were leaving. Yes, he knows my car.

Phil, I have to say I enjoyed reading your beat down on your N. I know that would be a sad thing to say if your beat down was in regard to a ‘normal,’ but I think the distress/agony we’ve experienced from our Narcs make us enjoy the beat down of a Narc if even vicariously.

Les, thanks for posting at the end as I normally don’t scroll back up and a reply up there would be lost to me. I’m new to this type of blog set up!

Chris,
This summer for the first time EVER my blog seems to have turned into a forum!:) It’s not something I intended as I don’t have the time or inclination to manage a forum. Four years ago I was on forums at Careplace (?) and MSN. The format was when one person raised a question or needed to share, others would offer up their own experiences. It seems that you can post a direct response to someone’s comment attached to that comment or you just submit the comment and say who it’s for. I’ve received HUNDREDS of comments this summer, and I often have difficulty finding my way around my own blog. :) Always, Jan

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148. phil835 - August 13, 2012

Hi Les, I have some more thoughts on your post. I want to expand my ideas and tell you my own feelings about what I think is happeneing in the mind of a Narc. I think that a Narc is a very pragmatic and practical type of abuser. They have feelings for themselves, but for themselves only. People exist, but other people’s feelings are not even considered or even contemplated by a Narc. The feelings of others just don’t matter, only a Narc’s feelings are important. To treat all ‘other’ people as objects is how they as Narcissists view the world. But inevitably, the unfortunate consequences of other people showing emotions, demandng respect and requiring some validity of their own existence, is an unfortunate dilemna for the Narcissist. For the Narcissist, other peoples ‘rights’ to self and individual needs are a massive hindrence, they just get in the way of what a Narcissist wants!

I want to take you into the mind of a sadist. Just to demonstrate that I don’t think the Narc ‘gets off’ on anything to do with the emotions of other people, or even recognises them.

If you are a sadist, then imagine that you get pleasure from inflicting pain on another person. Perhaps you even empathise with your victim to ‘have a sense’ of the pain they feel, thereby extracting some type of pleasure from ‘knowing the pain of your victim?

Now you’re a sadist, I’d like you to go into your garden and inflict some pain on a Stone. Whip it, torture it, and abuse the stone in your garden and try to extract some pleasure from making a stone feel pain. Pointless isn’t it? The stone can’t feel pain, therefore you can extract no sadistic pleasure from tortururing a stone.

My feelings are this. To a Narcissist, people are props and inanimate. A stone is inanimate also, a person is about as significant as a stone to a narcissist. A narcissist doesn’t abuse people to gain pleasure from the pain they inflict, they just ‘use’ people in a very pragmatic and inpersonal way. The byproduct of a Narcissist’s abuse is the pain they unwittingnly inflict on others.

Now the Narcissist must have some sense that, it is a misfortune that the people who they use for utilitarian reasons may suffer hurt. These inanimate objects often develop a conscience and demand rights, recognition etc. The Narcissist is being pragmatic. He’s like a child with a box of toys. He plays with a toy and discards it. Then he picks up the next toy. There is no ‘favoutite toy or room for sentiment in the mind of the Narc. If a toy in the box starts to demand favour and attention, that isn’t the part of the deal. Toys are there for the gratification of the Narc, there is no two-way relationship in the purpose of the existence of toys. Come Christmas, there will hopefully be even more toys, to use and discard at will, however the Narc sees fit.

So in a way, as much as the Narc may appear to be extracting or ‘getting off’ on control of his toys, He isn’t really getting pleasure by putting toys he’s bored with back in the box to disparage or denigrate. The toy was supposed to be inanimate and it got ‘up itself’ so it was put back in its place.

A sadist feels pleasure from emotions of others outside themselves. The Narc only cares about emotions within themselves, the emotions of others are just an inconvenience for the Narc. Neither a source of pleasure or pain. Phil

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Lesley - August 13, 2012

Hi Phil, I guess I agree with part of what you say here..they generally only respond to emotions within themselves and much of
the M.O of a somatic is pragmatic…convenient supply.
But for me your answer is too black and white.
Narcissists sit within a cluster that includes Psychopathy and Borderline personality types(they often bleed into one another!) and subjectively I know that my ex did derive great pleasure from balancing the plates or lining up his toys..in fact the process of remaining in control of this process was everything to him.Verbally,through lies and physically through infidelity…he proved to himself his status in the world.
In fact ‘to lose control of this would have meant insanity'(to quote reluctantly from Vankin)
The process of denigration,particularly verbal denigration and name-calling is life blood to a Narc.It’s more than pleasure it is a tool of survival…
I also disagree that all props are the same to a narc…there are keepers and instant fixes. He will invest more in the keeper this may even show itself in extreme possessiveness or obsessive jealousy( my ex was very jealous yet unfaithful?).
He cared not a whit about his ‘instant fixes’ these were interchangeable.
Here’s a link to how a Narcissistic Individual may show himself verbally(sadly not sure the blog is still active?)…the examples are spot on and show the need to assert control over others/situations. These verbals are for me(possibly for you too Jan?)…a dead giveaway that a Narc’s around.

http://thinklikeablackbelt.com/blog/three-ways-a-narcissist-can-take-control/

Les,
This is the first time I’ve seen this site and sadly, it seems to have gone dark since April 2011. I wanted to add this post from the site
“Five Traits of a Narcissist Crazymaker.”
There is a lot of verbal gymnastics involved. The N in my life had a way of saying/doing the most cruel things and then saying. “Hey, but nobody got hurt.” To his eyes, there was no blood and HE wasn’t hurting. It’s also a way to dismiss any genuine emotional feelings you have because they don’t want to go THERE. Your ex N’s dating profile sounds exactly like something the N I knew would write about himself. LOL Jan

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149. phil835 - August 13, 2012

Hi Les,

That’s a brilliant article you linked. I want to talk more about it soon, I have so much to say on it and there is so much truth in it.

Back to my previous post and my own black and white thinking, I think my ideas and explanations come accross as beng overly siimplistic also. When I’m trying to unravel a complex blur of ideas. If some concepts are getting confused with each other, I do a splitting of ideas to unravel one from the other and delineate the two. As you correctly point out, reality is not as simple or black and white as what I make it sound. But I think it helps to start off by drawing distintions between seperate ideas/concepts, then blending them back together again. It’s just my way of explaining and making sense of things.

Back to what you said about all not all props being the same to a Narc. I agree fully with your ideas, my own explanations used in my previous post didn’t take account of this. I was more making the point that the Narc has no emotional attachment or love invested in any props. That doesn’t mean that all props are therefore the same (And reading my old post this may be implied)

A better example may be the difference between a $10 and a $20 bill.
I value a $20 bill more than a $10 bill. If they were Narcissistic supply instead of bank notes, then one has ‘more in it than the other’
BUT, the point I was trying to get accross, is that the $10 and $20 bills mean nothing to me in themselves, they are just printed paper notes in my wallet. I don’t feel emotional attachment to one particular $10 or $20 bill in particular, they obviously have different values though and one is ‘more precious’ than the other. If I lose a $10 note I may cry, if a lose a $20 I may cry twice as hard, that could be seen as emotional attachment to that particular peice of paper by a confused observer from outer space? However, as soon as I’m re-embursed with another two banknotes of equal or more value, I’m suddenly happy again, There’s no emotional attachment to people in a Narc as there is for the rest of us. People are just ‘supply’. The point I’m making is that the Narc doesn’t attach any emotional value or love to people, he places Narcissistic supply value to people. Some people offer more supply than others. Generally, the more supply you have the better, whether or not it is in 5, 10 or 20 notes of denonimation. That’s why I don’t through away $5 bills or loose change! ;)

Let me go back to the scenario I told Donna about with my Narc, and our mutual aquaintance at the party. I have a male friend who was a failed romantic interest for my Narc. He was interested in her romantically at one point, then he abandoned her and moved on to another partner. Once he was a source of Narcissistic supply for her, later he wasn’t giving her any attention at all.
Now when she engineered the meeting at the party, I at first imagined she was trying to make him jealous and cause emotional hurt for sadistic purposes. I mistakenly thought her motives were revenge.
Once I finally understood Narcissism I realised what she was doing and why. She had me for Narcissistic supply already, our mutual friend was an old source which had dried up. The engineered meeting wasn’t designed to cause emotional hurt in our mutual friend per se (although that was a byproduct of it). Her purpose was to re-animate an old source of NS. In getting a ‘rise’ out him, he validated her existence and it gave her extra Narcisstic supply to think yet another person notices and thinks about me!!
Yes she is being controlling and manipulative. It is sadistic, but it isn’t sadistic for the sake of being sadistic. The hurt she causes is a byproduct. Yes she deliberately causes emotional hurt to get a rise, but it’s attention that she needs most of all in any form whatsoever. Phil

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150. phil835 - August 13, 2012

And to Jan and Les on your two links. WOW, these two articles put together beautifully sum up much of the peronality, tactics and lfestyle of my Narc. And there’s a distinct lack of psychobabble in both articles, which is very refreshing. There’s so much to be said for plain English at times!
To sum up on the ideas of my last posts. I think a The Narc is a contolling, manipulator who actively denigrates and deliberately causes emotional harm for utilitarian reasons. Part of me initially thought that there was sadistic pleasure in these activities for their own sake? I actually think these tactics are used for the sake of ‘balancing plates’ and controlling the availability and sustainabillity, of continued and increased Narcissistic Supply. One of the reasons a narc is so paranoid, is that he realises how much evil he perpetrates in manipulating his supplies to their appropriate places, then adjusting them to their required supply levels. There is nothing static here, it’s an ever changing battlefied requiring direct and constant intervention, with frequent changes of tactics when necessary from our beloved Field Marshal Narcissist))

Your article on language shows up the Narc beautifully Les. There’s so much stealth involved in the tactics of a Narc, that to ‘react’ to their stealthy forms of manipulation and agression would make us seem like the crazy ones. My favourite mantra is that they inflict ‘the death of a thousand cuts’ on us.

Also in the language of a Narc, apart from it being constructed for the purposes of manipulation. There is a real sense of their gandiosity, and haughtiness. They reveal so much more about themselves, than they ever acheive as being the manipulators or educators they credit themselves as. Phil

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Lesley - August 14, 2012

Hi there,
Just checked that site again and the emotional predators stuff is good too.
I think Narc’s often use language of educating people or stooping to your level. My ex would often say he was just ‘trying to help out’ when he was actually being extremely malicious.
He saw himself as being the most intellectual within his crowd but would cover this by saying’he was self-deprecating’.
Sometimes he would show rage if someone caught him out or knew more than him. We were in the Met Museum last year and I got talking to an elderly man about an exhibit..
I repeated the conversation to my ex. His face darkened and he said’Why would I listen to anything you and that old coot have been saying…your minds are rubbish!’
It was as if a veil had been lifted and the ‘nasty’ portrait revealed.
Afterwards he couldn’t ‘recall’ having said this…he erased it from his mind and thought I should do the same.
I think Jan had a lot of this with Joe…verbal twists and turns that leave you reeling and saying’What the eff just happened there’

Light Shine,
Les

I actually wrote out an entire list of the bizarre things Joe said to me, so I’d have a record. When I go back and reread it now, I break out laughing. Jan

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Trapped - August 14, 2012

Love how they have this ability to not recall things. As you said, I think it is because they are so busy with their harem that they can’t recall what they said to whom. I was thinking about that this morning, how he would often repeat things to me that I’d heard before or ask “have you seen what I’ve done here?” about something in his place, when I was the one who helped him do it in the first place!!

Yes, they’re so busy managing their narcissistic harem that they can’t remember who they’ve told what to. Also, Ns (the one I knew was cerebral) don’t pay close attention to what you’re saying/doing (unless you’re feeding their false self). It’s not that they don’t remember something – they never heard it in the first place! I believe Joe also would say he didn’t remember something just to watch my reaction. Then if I attempted to tell him again, he would say it really didn’t matter. Jan

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MillyRad - August 14, 2012

Ugh! This just reminded me of something: I was at a small art opening with my ex friend. The artist was actually his own next door neighbor. We were together looking at a drawing of a mostly nude woman with tattoos collaged all over her body. He started talking about how ugly he thought it was and that tattoos, especially on women, we’re disgusting. It’s not an uncommon opinion for someone to have, EXCEPT that I, myself, have several tattoos myself and my husband owns and operates a successful tattoo shop. After he expressed his disgust, I felt about 2 inches tall. I was wishing I could just disappear into a crack in the floor. I was simultaneously wondering if I’d heard him correctly or misunderstood. Later on that night, after I finally let my ears believe what they’d heard, I was so angry. Why would my friend insult my family that way? How horribly mean. But I felt like I couldn’t say anything to him about it because I should have said something as soon as he made the comment, and that I’d just be starting an argument by bringing it up later. So frustrating! His current girlfriend has at least two tattoos, one of them on her wrist where the whole world can see it. *gasp!*

I don’t have any tattoos, but my older son not only has lots, but did that as a living for a time. Whatever your feeling about them, you’d have to be a blithering idiot to make such a comment/condemnation as let’s face it, many tattoos are hidden from public view. It’s a bit like bear baiting – poking you whilst knowing you’re too polite to take issue with their comment. What I found was that some of these brash comments are so surprising/shocking that you’re still trying to process them (“Did I hear that correctly?”) while the N has already moved on. It’s lobbing a verbal Molotov cocktail then running for cover. Jan

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phil835 - August 14, 2012

Hi Millyrad,

I’m not fan of tattoos on men or women, but that’s not issuse here. I got everything you said about the tone and delivery and how innapropriate the language was. As if deliberately intended to humiliate and offend!
So many times this happened to me, and exactly the same as with you. I was often so stunned with disbeleif that I failed to offer a reaction at the time. There are some things that I would hope common sense dictates are unspeakably innapropraite. And when you hear them, part of the shock is why would anyone think (or not think, perhaps) to say such things? I was always making excuses for her, thinking “oh well perhaps she just opened her mouth before she put her brain in gear. And no point causing a fight over it, I don’t want to make someone feel like their treading on eggshells around me.” etc etc.
And it was partly embarrassment I didn’t react when I ought to have. I thought to myself, I really ought not to be confronting this type of thing, so I’ll call it a one off and forget about it.
The problem is, all those little ‘one offs’ add up eventually … then they are just seemingly inconsequential wounds in ‘the death of a thousand cuts’ as I call it. Phil

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phil835 - August 14, 2012

Hi Millyrad,

Something else I’ve just remembered. And yes she was duplicitious in the extreme. Some of it deflied beleif.

Out of interest, when you said this it reminded me of something.

“But I felt like I couldn’t say anything to him about it because I should have said something as soon as he made the comment, and that I’d just be starting an argument by bringing it up later.”

One time, I attempted to have a clear the air talk with her. An open and frank discussion where everything causing hurt could be brought out into the open, discussed, forgiven and then forgotten about, or so I hoped.

When I attempted this, I belatedly brought up something similar to your tattoo issue, to highlight an example of an overall behavour that I wanted her to make some effort to remedy, or at least acknowledge. i.e. not to be so thoughtless and insensitive.
And her reply when I made reference to one of these incidents was this ‘because you never made reference to it at the time, it doesn’t count now and you have no right to make reference to it. Therefore, I will disregard that incident as a valid point for discussion’

There was absolutely no willingness to admit to a wrong in retrospect, even though I was partly to blame for not saying anything at the time. Her logic was, I don’t care if it was wrong because you never mentioned anything at the time, therefore it was acceptable behavour.
The childishness of it was unbeleivable. It was like, that’s one point to me, unlucky!

And as for duplicitious, it defied beleif! One time, she decided that I drink too much and she wanted me to give up. It was part of the many reforms she saw I was in need of!
And so I gave up drinking, which is quite easy for me. The same evening we were having a walk, she was desperate to get to the liquor store because she wanted and felt like a vodka. Of course if she drinks, that’s in moderation. If I drink, that’s excessive. And while I took the oath of temperance, she was every night knocking back bottles of cheap vodka by the half litre! You couldn’t write it!! ;) Phil

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151. phil835 - August 14, 2012

Hi Les,

You bring so many memories. They are exremely malicious and patronising in their language. My Narc was particulary prone to showing her contempt of and for people in her language.
However, one thing I noticed was that she didn’t have the courage of her own intellect, or any ability to develop her own ideas or thoughts independantly. If an ‘expert’ had said something, then it had credibility and validity, purely because they were the thoughts and ideas of high status people.

And your visit to the art gallery has made me think of some very funny thoughts. What I’ve notiveced, is that as much as the Narc is patronising, self righteous and full of contempt for people. They are actually the most intellectually weak and gullable people themselves. Their gullability often springs from a need for the flattery of their false self.

If I was at the same art gallery with my Narc, I could play a very cruel trick on her and it would work beautifully. If I was get some friend of mine (unknown the Narc) to approach us while looking at some painting, then introduce hinself as ‘ The Curator of the Art gallery’ with a Phd in the Art History’ ……. Let him talk utter shit about some painting for 10 minutes, making up the most outlandish and rootless observations. And skillfully depart after ‘edifying’ us with his knowledge and insight.

Now I could then say my Narc ‘Darling, Curator or not, I thought he was coming out with some ideas I found very hard to reconcile!’
I’m 100% certain she would give me a disgusted look, then point out that he was an art expert and knew what he was talking about, and my thougts had no validity because I wasn’t an ‘expert’ ;) Phil

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152. Chris - August 14, 2012

Jan, I’m active on a forum where the most recent post shows up at the end of the page, even if you have quoted someone who posted previously in the thread (both their quote and your comment show up at the end) so I’m just used to that format. It’s SMF or something. I’m grateful your blog is here no matter what the format! :)

Phil, regarding your narc’s “you didn’t say anything at the time so it can’t be wrong” is exactly along the lines of what our narc said! This stuff is unbelievable but I do realize truth is stranger than fiction because if someone wrote this stuff as fiction, people would think it’s so out there they would reject it as too absurd to give their attention to.

Jan, would you be willing to post some of the nutty things Joe said? I would like to post some of the things that our narc has said in the past while we were cordial, but they are so crazy (along the lines of magical thinking and lies) I’m afraid they are too identifying. So obviously I understand if you can’t post some of yours.

I realize that some people press the Reply at the end of your comment while others just add their comment as a separate comment that can then appear a ways down from the original post. This will be known as The Summer of Continuous Comments, so if you post, you might want to remember your comment number as there might be comments on that OR at the end. :) I don’t use Reply to post my own comments as my face would be appearing all over the place. I write mine through the Comment Edit ap.
Yes, some of the bizarre things he said might have revealed his identity. But I shall scrounge around in the midst all of of my school piles and see if I can locate some for the sake of demonstrating the “insanity.” :) Jan

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153. Lesley - August 14, 2012

Trapped, you have to get real with yourself here. This man is a Narc.You know he is a Narc.You have given us examples…
Only those who are Masochists,Learning Disabled,Narc’s themselves or suffering from a sister personality disorder stay in a situation like you have described. This man had a harem and had you cleaning for him and getting out of the way before the next woman came in….!!!He told you the details of his harem….You are not in the dark. You know what he is.
He doesn’t want you he just wants the buzz of knowing you’ll respond…
If it’s a problem at work,tell a colleague or your boss.People change extensions all the time…
I’m not sure about the question you are asking? When you are saying is this it? Do you mean is it the end? Hopefully, it is.That depends on you,not him.
A man like this will not continue to pursue you if you dry up his source…
Remember they thrive on drama…so step away from the drama.
I was going to say I wish you luck but that’s wrong… you just have to continue what you are doing and stick to this new path.

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phil835 - August 14, 2012

Hi Trapped, sorry I missed your earlier posts. I’ll add this at the end for convenience, others just read up the blog to see original posts by Trapped.
I’ll avoid being judgemental about your circumstances, Lesley is right in what she says.
I’ll hold off preaching to you, because I know that there are no liberties a Narc won’t take, there is no dignity they won’t strip a person of it you let them. The only limits on a Narc is what they can get away with. However big a doormat my Narc ever comes accross is the only limit to the amount of liberties she will take.

Get out fast and cut off all forms of supply. These people will suck the last ounce of life blood from you, then step over your corpse on route to their next victim.
They are dangerous on so many levels. They will poison your life in so many ways. Physically, mentally and emotionally on a personal level. on a social level they will poison your relationship with other people. They are a health hazard and must be treated as such.
I avoided the type of abuse you are going through on a personal level, I have limits and I put the brakes on that form of abuse.
Why am I still talking on the forum and here now? A Narc has to act out on a Social level. I got a ‘metaphorical; knife in the back thanks to her ‘playing’ and acting out on a social level, I was unable to prevent that one. We all talk from bitter experience. Do yourself a favour, out some distance between you and N, then work on earning your self respect back by setting some tougher ‘limits’ on what you will tolerate. Phil

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154. Donna - August 14, 2012

Hello Trapped, I have not followed your story very closely however it has been my experience, that when their mask slips off you will never see the wonderful man you first met. Mine was an emotional abuser and user. He was only my friend “Thank my lucky stars” but also caused me emotional pain and anger. He duped me and I was the caring, compassionate, availabe friend. So as many others have expressed here you are wasting your precious, time, energy and feelings on a man that will not care about you back whether you are a lover or a friend. He doesn’t know how to love or care about anyone but himself. He is getting his kicks out of keeping you on a short chain that he can yank at will.

I so remember telling a friend that I will never let another man in my life that doesn’t care about me, have mutual respect for me and I certainly don’t want to be girl #2 or have to share my man with other women.

I wish you a path to getting out and moving on, you are worth and deserve so much more from a man in your life. Donna

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Trapped - August 16, 2012

Thank you, Leslie, Phil, and Donna. Yes, I am fully aware of all the things you’ve told me. Despite what it sounds like here, I have not had any physical contact with the guy for six months now. We saw each other last weekend, after he had been stalking outside my place and I was on my way out. I had a very weak moment, but had other committments which kept me in line. I was angry at myself for almost getting sucked in. As I said, I’ve changed almost every point of contact this guy has to reach me, except my work phone. I work for a government agency and to change the number isn’t as easy as just flipping a switch, (if any of you have ever worked for the gov’t, you know) and I am a very private person-I do not want to bring this up with my co-workers.

Phil, there is plenty of distance now between me and this jerk. Donna, his mask slipped off a long time ago and my relationship with him has been purely one of love/hate/denial, now in the past 6 months, finally just centering on disgust. It has been a long process. The rest of my life is A-OK and when I went to the therapist the first time, she was blown away that someone like me (professional, mother, philanthropist, charity worker, straight A grad student, athlete, etc) would be at all ever sucked in by someone like him. My life has always been centered around givng.

It happens. I am a single female. I am middle aged. I am lonely at times, even though I barely have a minute to sit and breathe in my life. I have plenty of men who would love to date me, but I have no interest, especially now. So, in a nutshell, that is where I am. I will get over this. I am not sure how long it will take, but it seems I am going in the right direction. I have never gone this drastic (changing all my contact information) but I have to say it feels good and like a relief. When my cell phone rings, I don’t get that sucked in feeling anymore because I know it can’t be him. When I open up my e-mail, I know I don’t hve to worry about something hitting me in the gut. The only opening is that stupid phone at work. I’ll be out of the office and out of town again now for another week and a half, so hopefully, by the time I return he will have disappeared. And if he hasn’t, I am hoping a week and a half will give me enough strength to tell him to f* off if he happens to call that number (no caler ID, as I said).

Other than that, I am looking at a job in Guam, and possibly the Peace Corps. I think I have pretty good instincts by now to spot one of these men from a pod, so if I ever think I’d like another “relationship” again (which at this point, I totally do not), I hopefully will avoid round #2 with another one.

Thanks for all your support. I don’t mind getting hit over the head. The more it happens, the more awake I become. I literally was hit in the face a month ago when I returned from a trip to Pakistan and fell on it, breaking every bone around an eye. It is almost healed now, still a little black and blue, but a good reminder when I look in the mirror that I need to take care of ME, too.

Sometimes the more times we’re hit on the head, the more awake we become (while for others this simply beats them down). I’ve found that when you get to the point that you’re disgusted by their behavior, it’s easier to let go of the “good times” and move on.
And just think, when you look in the mirror, you can see your actual reflection, not a projection, but the real YOU. It all sounds good.:) Jan

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Donna - August 16, 2012

Trapped, I am so proud of you even though you didn’t need it from me. You are truly putting yourself in a my powerful place and that is a very good move. We all here are caring, loving, intelligent folks and we all got duped. Good for you for your efforts to move on… He/they can’t get in if our walls are strong. Take Care, Donna

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155. snlgant - August 16, 2012

Oh My God !
Your piece is the answer to a 13 year prayer. The name, ‘Joe’ could be replaced with,’Scott’ and now my insane marriage makes sense. I have prayed and agonized and even become physically sick with hormone issues …..cortisol, thyroid and yes even early menopause (ie: more hormone issues). No kidding, I prayed tonight that if God truly loved me, he would zap Scott or give me something. I don’t sleep well at night, so I got up and just started a general search on sexual issues with husbands. One site led to another and eventually I was astounded to read your blog which have biographyed the last 13 confused and wasted years of my turned upside down inside out and twisted every which way but loose life.
Dear God, thank you! For this blog! I almost forgot that I am a deserving human being.
Oh the questions I have and things I can share….. I am working on my bachelors degree in nursing, go figure… I am an LPN for 26 years with a license in respiratory therapy for 25 years. I never saw this train coming!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I am still alive, so there is hope…….

Yes, there is hope! My sister-in-law (Comment #27 on this thread) was married to a cerebral narcissist for 14 years. She was a divorced mom of one when they met. When I asked when this side of him emerged, she didn’t hesitate. “The day after we were married.” I worried from afar while she endured his “Death by a Thousand Cuts” through his hot and cold behavior. Verbal sniping alternated with The Silent Treatment. We only saw one another at family events over those years, so I was surprised when she read “Close Encounter with a Narcissist” and said felt like I must have been a fly on the wall of her marriage. The N’s MO is remarkable similar. They’re either the town dog who has a virtual harem of supply on speed dial, or they’re an expert who dismisses your thoughts then eventually your self esteem and spirit. For cerebrals, they delight they get off on withholding sex. My sister-in-law said to count the number of times they’d had sex, you only needed to count the children – eight!
There are highly educated people out there who meet up with a N and don’t know what hit them. Just read some of the comments from readers. There’s a world of hurt – people who realized they’d been used and abused for years (all the while wondering what on earth they’d done to deserve to be treated like this). The N never changes, but the good news is that you can! Now you know what you’re dealing with. Welcome. Jan

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snlgant - August 23, 2012

I absolutely love this blog and appreciate every detail shared by every blogger. Since the shock after reading this blog that I am NOT crazy, I have stepped back from the “love-get-slaughtered-truck” regarding my N and see things from a factual no nonsense place. Finally, the lies and verbally abrupt and absurd shock statements just don’t defeat me like before. The Bible says, “Get Wisdom”. I fit the ‘Madonna’ slot in my N’s life. I feel freed, then, I’m still married to the psycho and wondering what next? I gave up my position as DON of a private duty nursing agency at his request where I made more money than him. He owes me my degree ! If God will maintain my sanity, I plan on turning the table on him and using him instead.

Yes, there’s a lovely bunch of people who comment and share the pain of what they’ve been through and gain insight and strength from others. It goes to show that Ns often target caring people as they want to bask in the bright light they radiate. I can see how you’d want to get payback (literally), but you also need a plan as to how to exit the toxic relationship. Sometimes you don’t even realize how much you’ve been weighted down, until you’re out from under. Jan

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snlgant - August 24, 2012

Jan, I do have a question. I’ll make a couple of statements before, in hopes that I make sense. My mother-in-law said that she has the same type of ‘feelings’ as Scott Nd has to pray everyday before she gets up to control it…… Uh, not so much. She goes from church to church doing the same things. ID a need, go all out, assume control, tie up and find oppressors (?) offensive, the victim and off to another state and another more understanding church. Also, she says that her dad was a very mean man whom she doesn’t remember. ??? She is just as confusing and hard to follow. All natural born grand children, pretty much apathetic facial expressions. Like robots without brains. She raised her daughters daughter…. Totally will not make a decision with out Mother in laws ok. Scott has a son from a previous marriage. Thank God there are no more. The same with Type of paranoid pretend freak show display of emotion for the very apathetic child who is now 17, has only had two girlfriends and the first broke up after only 5 days because he got mad at her for something small :-/ whatever that meant bcz he didn’t want to talk about it…..go figure. I am not positive if ‘T’ has full blown issues except to say that he lies a mile a minute and Scott protects everything he says. Oh by the way, I remember when we dated only 2 months before she told Scott I was the one and we got married. His mom told him to get custody immediately …… They moved into my house, and it’s been he’ll ever since. How genetic can this be?

Whoa. I’ve been dealing with 3rd graders all day, so I’m trying to wrap my brain around what it is you’re trying to say/ask me? Are you wondering if this is a familial trait? It sounds a bit like generations of dysfunction. I deal with the children who are the products of these dysfunctional relationships daily. What exactly is it you want to know/or think you do? Jan

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snlgant - August 25, 2012

Our last counselor this past November 2011 said the Scott suffers from borderline personality disorder. This very detailed blog completely clears this dx up for me. I have a goal in mind to get out of this emotional prison. I have actually utilized a couple of mirror removing techniques. Man the stuff works. Leaves him speechless and my nerves intact. I have started to look at this in a more wheel and cog way. So I guess my next actual question is about where this stuff came from and is it the reason genetically that his mother, son and niece exhibit similar traits. I don’t have to live with his mom or niece, but they all act very similar together. The mother is the strangest of all ( besides Scott’s obvious N issues ) could the majority of the family have a genetic predisposition for it ? You see the two grand children were not raised in the same state and act identical. One is 22 the other my stepson, 17. Very very weird to observe. When I get out of this mess, it will probably take me a WHILE to recover . Everyday until then, I Pray not to lose the compassion I was born with. I just didn’t see any of this coming, and don’t ever want to have to deal with this again! I guess, trying to know who, what, when, where, I know why, how ? You know. Sorry I reeead my earlier post and realize I was thinking way faster than I was typing.

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156. Chris - August 16, 2012

I’m also not familiar w/trapped’s story but I am glad she found some extra strength here. And snlgant, not that I’ve been here long, but welcome! This is the only N blog or board I’ve joined and it’s very eye-opening and comforting.

Question for all: Does anyone have good info or experience :( with a person who has been diagnosed as bi-polar but not narcissism but as you put pieces together, you think they are bi-polar AND N?

This is a whole different guy than the one I’ve been talking about! UNREAL.

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MillyRad - August 17, 2012

It’s entirely possible that a person can have NPD and Bipolar. What does tend to happen, though, is for Cluster B folks (the classification that includes NPD, BPD, And antisocial behavior) to be mistakenly diagnosed as Bipolar. They may seek treatment for anxiety or depression and because they have a “cycling” of moods they they’re given a diagnosis of Bipolar. The “cycling” associated with Bipolar, however, occurs on a much longer time frame than the “drop of a hat” mood shifts that seem to happen with people with cluster B traits. I believe that this was the case with my ex friend: NPD/BPD misdiagnosed as bipolar.

I’ve heard that sometimes a doctor will purposely “misdiagnose” cluster B personality disorders because many insurance companies will not cover their treatments, but will cover treatment for bipolar. Also, quite often, personality disordered people find benefits in taking antidepressants/mood stabilizing drugs- they can take the edge off of things.

Yes, those who are bi-polar tend to enjoy the manic phased and only seek medical help when they are depressed. They’re only treating 50 percent of the problem. It’s entirely possible for someone to be both, but yikes that would be hard to sort out. We know someone who’s now in his 80s who’s bipolar and has been taking meds for years. My husband worked with him and could tell the days when he wasn’t taking his meds. Those with bipolar do tend to have their cycles, some longer than others and don’t typically turn on a dime the way those with Cluster B disorders do. Jan

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Donna - August 17, 2012

Chris, my heart goes out to You, and Trapped my exn friend admitted to me that he was diagnosed as Bi-polar early on, which sent me another signal not to get in a personal intimate relationship with him. All my sick self wanted to be was a caring supportive friend and he duped me as well. After reading so much it appears to me that my friend suffers from multiple personality issues. I certainly don’t know the medical/psych defintions. I don’t have the time to invest in any more research/ it’s time to send him on Godspeed…….

One word – comorbidity. Jan

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phil835 - August 17, 2012

All, It’s a real minefield trying to categorise peronality disorders, many symptoms in isolation are often the same indicators accross several categories. One PD comorbid with another might offer a better overall explanation in many instances.

I think a Narcissist will spiral into depression and seek therapy/ antidepressants only if the following conditions are met: There has been an unexpected and unlegislated for interuption in Narcissistic Supply, whereby adequate future replacements haven’t been properly sourced in time, or are unavailable/of an insufficient type.
This could be at the end of a relationship, but most Narcissists are excellent logistal planners, they have usually sourced their future supply before their inevitable abandonment.

So when things really go wrong for Narcissist, they’ll sob their hearts out in therapy complaining of depression and may use anti-depressents for a quick lift. Depression for a Narcissist means loss of or lack of Narcissistic supply. Anti – depressants have a very limited efficacy though. The good news is that the Narcissist is easy cured. Once theyeventually find a new source of Narcissistic supply their ‘depression’ is miraculously cured and they are all happy again.
That’s the reason why they keep multiple sources of supply and have emergency back up contingency plans. Phil

The Narcissist’s medicine cabinet is stocked with…people. Jan

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157. Lesley - August 17, 2012

Hi everyone,
Chris just wanted to say that I agree entirely with what Milly Rad has said to you. There can often be a misdiagnosis of Bi-polar because the Narc may seem almost manic when he’s idealising someone,on a high..and then as Phil suggest present with depression because he has lost his Narc supply and or he may be getting older…supply is harder to come by…This may happen every few months or even weeks hence it seems Bi Polar like in it’s highs and lows?
However, in my experience people who are actually Bi Polar,are not any more likely to be Narcissistic than the rest of us.
My brother in law has had bi- polar disorder for many years and is very well controlled through his meds,he’s a lovely kind guy,holds down a good job etc..He also has great insight into his condition.
Borderline Personality Disorder BPD however is a real possibility.
A borderline will actually often exhibit Narc Traits( actually part of the symptom criteria?)mood instability,attention seeking behaviour,self-centredness,angry out bursts,paranoia,hyper-sexuality,periods of depression,blaming others..
As I have said before and as Jan points out…these Cluster B disorder’s can really bleed into on another..
A distinguishing characteristic may be that a Bi Polar person may seek help because they know something isn’t right,likewise someone with deep depression or even Borderline may begin to understand how they are affecting other people and enter therapy to change.
A Narc traited individual will not.
If someone has NPD or even strong Narc Traits they will not think they need help. Everyone else is the problem,not them.
To be honest a true Narc,with his grandiosity and ‘I know best’ mentality would not stoop to admit he was disordered. They shun such labels.Mental Illness is for someone else…not them?

And when Narcissists ask for help, they then devalue the person who helped them. They don’t like being viewed as deficient in any area and of course they DO know best. I did see Joe in the Idealization phase when he was pursuing a woman who had flat out told him she wasn’t interested in him. It was like he was walking on clouds. But the woman kept canceling dates and when she finally did agree to meet him at a club, she stood him up. I didn’t see him for a couple of days and when I did, he was very subdued – his ego deflated due to “too much drama.” He even noted that she called to apologize when she knew he was at work so she could just leave a message. He went to great lengths to NEVER encounter her again. He’d met her at New Age seminar and when he wanted to go to the next one, he called ahead of time to make sure she was not going to be there. It was the closest I every saw him to being depressed, though I think he was just nursing a narcissistic injury. And then along came another… Jan

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158. phil835 - August 17, 2012

Hi Les,

I just want to agree with your post and amend my own comments in light of your excellent insights. I highlighted some possible circumstances under which a Narcissist may seek treatment and therapy for depression. The liklihood of circumstances arising whereby a Narcissist will seek therapy for depression, are so extenuating that it is a rarity rather than a first option. The prefered option of choice is a new source of Narcissistic supply, it is the only real solution for them. They are not suffering depression as an illness in need of a cure, they are just suffering ‘withrawal symptons’ from lack of NS. If in the extremely unlikely event therapy is sought for depression, the treatment sessions I know of from my Narc took this line of approach. My N was suffering depression at the end of a Narcissistic cycle, she went for treatment for depression and got antidepressants. In therapy she explained how her depression was entirely the result of other people, circumstances, other peoples actions and every external force out of her control. The therapist suggested ways she could ‘step around’ these obstacles and better continue life unhindered by these ‘outside forces’ that had caused her depression. At no stage did the therapist dare suggest that her problems may have originated from within, or that possibly she had had even contibuted to her current circumstances? Therefore, if things go wrong for Narcissist, they must never be held to account for their own actions. Her depression was clearly the result of and fault of other people,
Secondly, the Narcissist has a difficult time reconciling that they should need help and keep their inflated all powerful egos intact. An interesting offshoot of possible NS from going into therapy, was to namedrop a celebrity who is rumoured to visit the same therapist! ;)
And as my female Narc was inspired to do after her therapy, do a degree in Psychology and when you next meet a therapist, you can claim to know more than he or she does and be ‘on the same level’ rather than a patient under a therapist.
I hope the above is a useful case study into a Narcissist under therapy. Phil

Narcissists HATE having to ask for help as it undermines their feeling of being all powerful. Their problem would be an external one because it if originates with them, that might require future sessions as opposed to a quick fix. I don’t even think they need a degree in psychology to prove their intellectual superiority. Wikipedia would do just fine. :)
And if the doctor doesn’t tell them what they want to hear, they’re just a quack. The best RX for a narcissist is a new source of supply. Jan

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Lesley - August 17, 2012

Hi Phil,
Yes, I agree with all you say..they may go through the motions of seeking help but at heart they have to feel superior and intact.
Your description of depression at the end of supply, is really useful to me..my ex was exactly the same. Invariably his relationships ended in early Spring…he would then spend the Summer trying to hook supply. Practically,lighter nights,more time etc.They are predators after all?
If he failed the Winter would bring depression. This was passed off as Seasonal Affective Disorder(SAD),very common in Northern Hemisphere….but in reality he was happy as a lark the first Winter I spent with him because he had new supply??
He would,as your ex girlfriend also did,blame everyone for his troubles. He was the one trying hard,misunderstood,correct in all he did and us pesky mortals…just didn’t understand his ways!
My ex laughed at all doctors. They were quacks…he had a male doctor for many years who sung to his tune and they golfed together. Hence why he had enough Viagra stores to service the population of the UK!(LOL).
This Doctor retired and he had to go to a new one…God Forbid a woman took over as Head of Practice! She wanted to meet all patients who were on the books.. I remember him coming in after his appointment absolutely fuming and berating her skills and tough attitude. He also didn’t find her attractive(which for him was the final insult). She changed all his Meds,asked about his over indulgent habits…in short she got his measure.
It’s interesting but I think Narcs actually’self medicate’…they think thy know best. They can drink as much as they like,they know which foods are best and they won’t take medication if its a hassle….Even the Viagra wasn’t actually required. My ex had a normal libido and response… but he wanted a superhuman response! Whenever or with whoever and it was his entitlement to have this..Is it sad that they are like this? Not sure, once again I am reminded of that six year old having to get a sweetie before they take their medicine….

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159. phil835 - August 17, 2012

Hi Les,

I forgot to add at the end of my post. The end result of therapy and treatment for depression for my Narcissist. Was to establish that she was in indeed ‘normal’, therefore it was the pathology and mental illnesses of of those she found herself in relationships with, which had caused her problems. Having a degree in Pyschology, she is now better equipped to identify and point out all the mental illnesses in other people as a normal person herself. Not only is she now a great keeper of wisdom and a spokesperson for all normal people. She is also a self appointed spokeswoman for all females too.

Of course, that’s why she’s a spinster approaching 40, who can’t hold down a serious relationship much longer than 6 months, without alienating whoever it is she comes into contact with. But then, our Narcissists are blighted with bad luck and surrounded by mentally ill people, as they readilly point out! :D Phil

Narcissists are a therapist’s worst nightmare as they are not looking to change. Usually they are dragged into the therapist’s office by a SO, or go because they are feeling a bit down at the end when yet another person has left them. They are not introspective and delight in telling the therapist stories that cast themselves in a good light while it’s others who are baddies. Jan

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160. Lesley - August 19, 2012

Having read the last posts within this thread… I’m left wondering whether the Narc response is to ‘stand with a foot in two camps.’
There are some who will ignore ill health be it mental or physical because they know best and are unwilling to change(perhaps because they are addicted to the lifestyle/excess)
Then there are those who’enjoy ill health’ and the attention it brings.
They actively love the round of doctors or therapists…perhaps secretly still thinking they know best?They then return to their loved ones,significant others for sympathy and even more attention…
My ex was the former…it suited him that I never’got ill’ and I shudder to think what would have happened if I had claimed to have even a few heavy colds…
Before I knew the whole and real story of his infidelity to his ex wife. He had already primed me about tales of her getting sick too much and indeed thrown in one of his ex girlfriends preoccupation with her health. I see now that he was telling me’what he expected from me’
I think Narcs do this,they show you their checklist of preferences fairly early on and expect compliance?
Once I used a quote from ‘Priscilla Queen of the Desert’ to him.
I do love this,and it’s when Felicia Jollygoodfellow is berating someone for wallowing in suffering…she says;
‘Oh for,goodness sake,get down from off that crucifix,someone needs the wood’
My ex laughed long and hard at his,comparing it to his ex girlfriends and other friends. He of course….in his own opinion…tackled life face on!!!
These days as the months go by… I do wonder what he says about me. He can’t get me on’being sick’,promiscuity,nor instability,nor did I spend too much or fail to listen when required. I suspect it will be my preoccupation with Tennis(LOL)…!

Thanks for making me LOL with the quote. I like the way you can wildly veer from Philip Larkin to “Priscilla Queen of the Desert.” They make up whatever story suits them, so I doubt any of these stories are grounded in reality. My N hated any hint of sickness as it required you to act concerned or sympathetic. Being sick was a sign of weakness in his eyes. Jan

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Trapped - August 19, 2012

These posts remind me of the ex-N in my life. He always went on and on about how doctors were in cahoots with the pharmacists and they are all corrupt and only out there to just make money and cut on people. Mind you, I am a doctor. He had a growing mass on his back that I said should be removed, or at the very least, checked to see what it was. I was just like all the rest, he said, just want to cut on someone. I once mentioned to him that he should take precautions against HIV, this after he had told me with all seriousness that he has been with over 1,000 women in his life so far. He got very defensive and said HIV only happens to people who think it will happen to them and that by me just saying that to him I am sending bad vibes in his direction and this is what is wrong with people like me and yada yada yada. Holy cow. How in the he** did I EVER get myself hooked up with such a lunatic?? Holy mackerel! Calgon, get me as far away from this insanity as possible! I am across the US now in NY, and feel good about the distance!!

Sounds like he had his own degree in Magical Thinking! A change in latitude can have an effect on one’s attitude. Enjoy! Jan

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MillyRad - August 19, 2012

My ex friend changed his view on medicine, illness, and healthcare depending on who he was with or his mood. He always had complaints about health problems and required sympathy for them, but “couldn’t afford” to see a doctor about them. He had some conspiracy theories about the healthcare system and the pharmaceutical industry, yet poked brutal fun at alternative healthcare.

He fairly recently was diagnosed with a chronic illness. Nothing life threatening, but definitely something that can be occasionally very disruptive. As soon as he got the diagnosis, he seemed strangely more “alive.” He purchased every possible accoutrement for his illness and used them publicly every chance he got. I’m pretty sure he used his illness as an excuse to get out of doing things he didn’t want to do, but would do similar activities with his girlfriend. But since his illness was was episodic it was plausible that the day he was expected to do something could coincide with the onset of an episode…but not likely. Eventually, his friends stopped contacting him and inviting him. I guess this must have bothered him because he suddenly and inexplicably was well again. So confusing and frustrating!

Once his illness stopped working for him, he got over it. Interesting. Jan

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161. phil835 - August 19, 2012

Hi Lesley, Trapped.

I think Narcissists love promoting their own victimhood, when it gives them the perfect excuse in advance of their soon to follow appalling behavour to towards you that is!

Think of the times you’ve actually winessed your Narcissist as an innocent victim, suffering some abuse or exploitations in an unprovoked way???
Now think of all the times you’ve listened to your Narcissists accounts of their childhood, abusive partners etc? Strangely, aren’t they always the ‘innocent victims’ in their accounts of themselves? It’s true that they were never to blame, we know that. But Lesley sort of touches on an idea that I want to expand.

It’s my opinion that the Narc’s account of their other relationships, childhood past and and how they have ‘suffered’ as victims at the hands of others……..I think it’s part of their early grooming of you, for the future abuse they are about to dish out to you.
Victimhood is a useful place to be afterall, think of how much more tolerant we are of people who are ‘real victims’??
You see, the Narcissist needs you to be tolerant. Tolerance for the Narcissist (as victims) affords them a lot of slack in advance of the very real abuse they are about to unleash on you.

In a way, their stories of themselves as victims, is preparing you in advance for what they expect of you. They are to be forgiven and excused all their evils, because bad things happened to them ‘in the past’ ……… and how much of their past relationships can you actually prove? All you have is the Narcissists story afterall. What wonderful narrators they are! Phil

Phil,
It’s like I said. N’s victimhood, is their “Get out of jail free” card. You forgive so much of what they say/do since they’ve let you know straight away that they were “damaged.” You feel for them, so you hesitate to call them out on certain things, rationalizing that their behavior is almost “justified”- because they’ve led you to believe they were the victim. Jan

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phil835 - August 19, 2012

Hi Millyrad,

I really get your post! Mine was about victimhood, but illness and martyrdom is something they will pervert and extort to the maximum also.

I particulary liked these two statements from your post…..

“My ex friend changed his view on medicine, illness, and healthcare depending on who he was with or his mood.”
“I’m pretty sure he used his illness as an excuse to get out of doing things he didn’t want to do, but would do similar activities with his girlfriend”

If there is any confusion on what the Narcissist really thinks there shouldn’t be. You are only confused, because you listen to their comments and take them at face value and in good faith.

They are so duplicitious, it’s better to listen to them and make a note of what they say…. then watch what they actually do. Phil

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162. Lesley - August 19, 2012

Hey all,(and Phil…no Philip Larkin Lookalike!)

Just considering for a moment ‘their grooming of us’ this actually suggests that they have insight into their own faults or at least ‘the pattern’ of what causes relationships with them to break down.
I do think they have considerable insight into this.
My ex was at pains to tell me’ He could sometimes be provocative verbally but was never malicious’…he was the most malicious person I have ever met in my life. He ripped out the jugular.
He also described himself as ‘a gentleman’…jokingly. He had a thin veneer of being a gentleman,he would open doors,help you on with coats etc but his actual views on women were frankly diseased.
I think the veneer was there to cover up the actual awful thoughts he had about all women.
There was a great deal of ‘Projection’ going on with him…for example his ex mistress,who I’ve mentioned before on Jan’s blog was always referred to as ‘somewhat loose’.promiscuous’ and ‘a bit of a good time girl’….What then was he?
I pointed this out to him when I confronted him about his constant infidelity at the end of our relationship.I said the common denominator in all these(to use his words’ flings with tarty women’)was actually him.
He was the sleazy guy.
Maybe with Narcs we have to listen to what is being said and then watch as the opposite plays out.
I do feel that this forum is helping me spot them early.. not just romantically but in general.Most people don’t over justify themselves to you or tell you they are trustworthy,kind,have your best interests at heart first off..do they?
Narcs do…they are paving the way. I know that my ex did…he tried to fill in gaps from my previous relationships and be some knight in shining armour…hell,he was doing a research on me and my preferences so he could fool me better?
Normals are kind or reliable by action over a period of time. It’s for me a telling difference.A narc cannot keep up the mask over time.

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163. phil835 - August 19, 2012

Hi Lesley, (I’ll put my reading glassses on to write this one and try to look the part if you like?!) ;)

I think the Narcissist has developed some powers of introspection and a reasonable insight into themselves. But then, it’s the least I would expect from such self obsessed people?

I think that the ‘projection’ of a Narcissist onto others, shows up their limited awareness or thought about others. Whilst at the same time, it reveals what awareness they have developed of themselves.

I think that the cynicism and contempt for other people I noticed in my N, was a projection of what she knew about herself.

My old mantra is that ‘some people tend to judge others by their own standards’

It’s my opinion that the N is so self obsessed, that their limited understanding of the mindset of others, is only based on what they know about their own minds.

They are just not interested enough in other people to deliberate on how others may interpret the world differently, let alone feel. There’s a lack of interest in others, but more importantly a lack of inclination for them to understand others, unless it suits some purpose for them. This is how the ‘lack of empathy’ reveals itself to us I think?

The following ideas are just based on my own feelings from my own relationship with my N, they are highly personal and not backed up by anything I’ve read. The pupose of projection (if I was to do projection), I would find something I don’t like about myself and ‘project’ it onto another to rid myself of my own shame. For example, if I was ashamed of my alcohol addiction, I would point to somebody who drinks even more than I do, then severely criticise that person and demonise them. It takes the heat off of me, doesn’t it? I think this is how most people use ‘projection’.
I think the Narcissist is doing something different. I don’t think the Narcissist is ashamed of themselves and needs to ‘project’ to rid themselves of shame. I don’t think the Narcissist feels any shame about themsleves. And threfore they are not ‘projecting’ to make themselves feel better, they are projecting in a way that ‘assumes’ everyybody else is just like them?

And in Lesley’s post, it’s not some self loathing or shame that causes her N to project himself onto women and label them as whores. He’s a man whore himself, therefore all women must be whores? These are just my personal thoughts. Phil

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Trapped - August 19, 2012

Phil, what you wrote is a lot like Jung’s theory of Shadow and self. The Shadow is what we all have deep inside ourselves and it often surfaces when we project it onto someone else. Like you said, it often is something within ourselves that we feel shame about.

My interpretation of the Narc is that they project onto others what they wish they truly were. Please correct me if I am wrong. They also take the very best of what we are and try to mirror that. I am forgetting why they treat women as whores, but I think it is because the somatic ones truly do use them as live masturbators and nothing else. They may have one “madonna” that is the virgin they won’t have sex with, but they don’t really love that one, either. They can’t love anyone, especially themselves.

They may be attracted to us because we are full of life, real life, and we have the ability to love and live. We are, HUMAN! Speaking of that, my daughter is calling me to the back yard to watch a flower called an evening primrose open…I guess you can really see it open. So, my feeling is that we ought to be proud about who we are and try, as we are doing in these posts, to laugh off those poor, sick folks who reeked havoc in our lives.

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Trapped - August 19, 2012

One quick follow up: the flower really DOES open right before your eyes!! Just like those slow motion movies of flowers opening, but for real!! Try that some time: evening primrose, opening amidst fireflies and hopping toads! Very nice!

This sounds gorgeous! Isn’t it great to be human and experience these small miracles? Jan

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164. Donna - August 19, 2012

Hi Les, my original post just went poof. :-(. However, I can totally relate to your last entry. It’s almost a carbon copy of what happened and what was said to me by my exnf. He was the perfect “gentleman” on our one and only date, he questioned me about my life since we last saw each other some 25+yrs ago, I quess he was doing his research on me. LoL.

The only thing was when he started talking about himself, I listened very carefully and he sent so many (Red Flags flapping in the wind) that I knew to keep my distance. All the woman, breakups, etc. He was as sweet as pie with me, however he offered me a FWB relationship when he walked me to my door and I think he was a little perplexed when I didn’t invite him in. I gave a light kiss and sent him home.

The next day I turned down his offer of FWB nicely, my big mistake was remaining his friend. He worked his game very well for the next two years. His conversations about women became increasing nasty and degrading. And as we all know here the mask started slipping off slowly but surely……

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Lesley - August 19, 2012

lol Donna, I’m laughing at what came out of the bag as he walked you to your door… the degrading conversations yuck…but we have to admit that some women have them about men too.
For me,the way I live my life is to give people the benefit of the doubt…this is big thing for me spiritually. But…it leaves door slightly ajar for Narcs? I’m so glad you went to your community event and had a great time. Yes,they do their homework at the beginning!!! Love you got your strength back…

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165. Lesley - August 19, 2012

Yes Phil,
I get this..it’s a new take for me but I do understand. He isn’t capable of the self loathing bit so he judges others by his own standards…
This would work on lots of levels for me because one of the things I felt was different for me was that my ex didn’t just idealise me at beginning…he idealised me and denigrated me throughout. Bloody Exhausting.
I now believe that he was denigrating me when he was being unfaithful or thinking about it himself…so like you say he’s done wrong…so I must have done wrong!
It’s like Jan saying that Joe said’you must have been the type to get knocked up’…these are his thoughts so she has to be the same.
It’s not as complicated as projection…its just assuming we’re all the same. I did laugh at that Jan!
Yes, I was using a ‘normal’ view when I thought about projection.

Phil,I’ll let you get back to making changes to’Whitsun Weddings’ but don’t touch ‘An Arundel Tomb’ because it’s perfect!

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166. Donna - August 19, 2012

Les, Phil, Chris, they are totally walking and talking contradictions. My exnf talked about fat people, and he 50 lbs over weight, he talked about disabled people and mad jokes about them and he is totally disabled by the Military and can’t walk 1/2 a block, he talked about ppl that don’t pay their bills or taxes and he is very guilty of both.

We were talking, emailing, texting for over three years and just for my own sanity check I asked him why I never get anymore cute, funny and interesting emails from him anymore and he said I don’t know how to use his Mac laptop that he purchased in 2010. WTF lies for days.

Do they even know how to tell the truth or do they just mix it up to keep you in a confused state?

For Les, my encounters have led to adopt a “Trust is Earned” attitude with new ppl I meet because I have been burnt so many times and there 1/20 living in our world. Or “Three strikes you’re out”. One Lie ok, 2nd lie or miscommmunication and the 3rd it’s time to Let Go and Move On. It’s a little scary that one in 20 ppl we meet could be a Narc.

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167. phil835 - August 20, 2012

Hi Everyone! I’ve just smiled and nodded my way in agreement fthrough the last 6 posts! I found so much truth in every opinion and observation, which I could readilly apply to my own N. Yet, if I put them all together as one, they seem to be a paradox of conflicting truths?
I think where some of my confusion starts in trying to understand the N, is by taking a ‘snap shot’ of them in a particular time and circumstance. Instead of taking a still photograph of the N in any given time and circumstance, then trying to analyse that particular moment in isolation. It’s far better to take a ‘Movie Clip’ of them that spans their entire Narcissistic cycle and interactions with different people. Then my undertanding of what they are about really like starts to make sense again!

I’ll start off with Trapped’s observation. ‘they project onto others what they wish they truly were. Please correct me if I am wrong. They also take the very best of what we are and try to mirror that.”

This is true Trapped, but also seemingly in contrast with my other observation that they ‘judge others by their own standards’.

If I take your comment and say, this is the Narcissist at the beginning of their idealisation stage and with their primary source of Narcissistic Supply. Then I think this is a perfect description of the way in which an N ‘projects’ at that particular time and with that particular person in those circumstances. It’s a snap shot image though, its very true but looked at in isolation to the other scenes which are about to follow.

Now I’ll leap to what Donna says in the last post about her N criticising fat and disabled people whilst he himself possesses these traits. Yes we could say it is a projection of negative aspects of himself. But these people are neither Narcissistic supply or in an idealisation phase for him. It may be a reflection of his own self loathing, but the concept of self loathing and shame in a Narcissist is something I’m moving away from in my own thinking. I think that the Narc feels ‘self pity’ more than self loathing. And the ‘pity’ they feel is more ‘pity’ at not getting their own way, rather than hating their own inadequacies for any other reason!!
And consequently, I think we can read too much into their criticisms of whores, fat people, disabled people as projections. They may be denigrating these people to serve a purpose, but whatever that purpose is, the only thing I will guarantee is that it is a selfish one!

I think that when we concentrate of how a Narcissist experiences self loathing, shame and deep feelings of inadequacy, we feel sympathy and pity for them. That’s ok and it may be true, BUT. the Narcissist has enough self pity and feelings of sympathy for themselves. Yours will do if you insist on giving it also? But remember that the Narcissist has no feelings for your emotions! I really think their sorrow for themselves or inadequcies, is sorrow at not getting their own way, consideration for others isn’t a factor! Again in a word it’s selfishness!

And to Donna, I smiled all the way through your posts. The N isn’t a whole person capable of a real or genuine relationship. They will eviscerate other people and use them for their particular needs, in particular circumstances, at a particular time. Again it comes back to my ‘use a movie clip’ rather than a ‘still image’ to encapsulate their true nature.
At the point I was forced into abandonment of my N, she offered me a FWB relationship. She was rather taken aback and surprised that a man should turn down a no strings physical realtionship. Most men find this difficult and I concede to the gentler sex that we can be rather ‘weak’ and ‘heedless’ when offered sex. However, my N had already poisoned my life and other relationships as a result of her acting out and causing conflict. She really thought I might stll accept a physical relationship with her? Were I not truly sickened by her and in some way able to trust her then I may have ‘bitten’. I was unable to trust her on so many levels, my initial faith to trust had been broken, and no trust had ever been earnt or built by her. And whilst I always offered genuine friendship based on trust and respect, that wasn’t what she wanted from me at that time. And without the FWB on offer to her, she vanished in a puff of smoke. Alarmingly, she talked about a ‘future’ relationship in other circumstances. The audacity of her is that in advanced years she may think of then seeking comanionship and suddenly valuing me on an emotional and intellectual level. Everything is on the Narcs terms and what suits their needs in their particular circumstances. Don’t accept such selfish people who will never accept you whole or consider you as a human being in your own right! Phil
P.S. Lesley, I’ll get back to writing my poetry and leave ‘Arundel tomb’ frozen in time! ;)

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168. phil835 - August 20, 2012

To Trapped,

I can’t write a response about every comment in every post, it would take too long! At the same time, I haven’t overlooked anything! I think a Narcissist just filters what they want from other people in conversation, the things that are important to them that is?

And on your little anecdote about the evening primrose flower, I thought you might like this poem, it isn’t Philip Larkin but William Henry Davies. I hope you Enjoy!)) Phil

What is this life if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.
No time to stand beneath the boughs
And stare as long as sheep or cows.
No time to see, when woods we pass,
Where squirrels hide their nuts in grass.
No time to see, in broad daylight,
Streams full of stars, like skies at night.
No time to turn at Beauty’s glance,
And watch her feet, how they can dance.
No time to wait till her mouth can
Enrich that smile her eyes began.
A poor life this if, full of care,
We have no time to stand and stare.

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Trapped - August 20, 2012

Beautiful!

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169. Chris - August 22, 2012

Thanks everyone for your posts.

The (diagnosed) bi-polar individual that I wonder if he is also N, seems very vengeful and is definitely criminal. A wild thing about him is that he is vengeful with one communication and then indirectly suggests reconciliation within the next communication!

He can’t believe that “someone like him” has been rejected (almost his exact words in the quotes). He also, when referring to his prescribed meds for his bi-polar would state that he himself knew the proper dosage as opposed to his doctor and administers is as such.

As for playing the victim – our (regular) N’s wife told me that a counselor told him that he acts the way he does because of “how he was brought up” and “things from his childhood.” (Not sure if I mentioned that before.

I am very curious as to if the counselor ever used the word Narcissist with them.

This guy I assume will really play the victim when we finally address our issue. I prefer he play the pouty baby to the vengeful criminal though.

“Definitely criminal” doesn’t play well with me unless he has a rap sheet that would work against him in court. People like this have you jumping left and right just so you never know where they really stand. Jan

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170. Chris - August 22, 2012

Also, I want to get some Primrose! :)

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Trapped - August 23, 2012

I am going to get some, too! Especially after watching three more flowers open tonight! Magical!! I hope they’ll grow in California. Back home tomorrow. A little apprehensive. But it would seem by now Mr. N should have moved on and forgotten about me.

I’ll have to ask my favorite gardener at the local nursery. But the zones vary wildly in Southern California. Since I’m in the foothills, I live in the only region where we can grow lilacs. Jan

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MillyRad - August 23, 2012

I watched some evening primroses, too….on YouTube! Hey, they’re famous! ;) I’d love to find some to grow, too. They’d be great in a kids’ garden!

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171. phil835 - August 23, 2012

Hi Chris, I have no experience of an N who is comorbid with Bi-Polar, but the topic of vengeance is of particular interest to me in a Narc. I can relay my own experience of their ‘apparent’ vindictiveness, but I refer to a person who I believe is purely NPD.

A good example I have regarding my N. She was once slighted by a romantic interest who happened to be a mutual friend of mine. My friend was once romantically involved with her, but eventually lost interest and found himself another partner.
She took the opportunity to engineer some conflict, and attempted to cause jealousy and ill-will which I thought was motivated by ‘revenge’
At first I assumed that because she had been rejected and abandoned, she was motivated by revenge and wanted to ‘get back’ at our mutual friend.
I ruled out the possibility that she really wanted my male friend as a partner and was using me to get to him. If he had offered her a full relationship at the time he was romantically interested in her, she would have rejected him. The same for after he was involved in a relationship with another female and me involved with my N.

It puzzled me at the time, because for me her either still being romantically interested in our mutual friend, Or merely ‘taking revenge’ would seem like legitimate motives behind the deliberate conflict she was creating.

In the final analysis, I realised that her only bitterness and resentment was that somebody who was once offered her Narcissistic supply had withdrawn it and lost interest. The greatest insult to an N is not to be noticed, even negative supply is good for them and she would have traded romantic interest for his jealousy and hatred as a different form of Narcissistic supply.

Had I been her, then perhaps I would have enjoyed a little revenge and then forgotten about her former romantic interest.
In true Narcissist fashion, what she needed was attention of any form. And her only feelings of animosity related to the withdrawal of attention. Remember, all forms of attention are better than no attention to a Narc.

If a Narc is convinced that there is ‘no mileage’ in a person whatsoever, they will move on and won’t waste time nursing grudges.

What does hurt them and this is the words of my N here, is when somebody who they were formerly involved with has moved on, abandoned the N and cut all ties and has found happiness in pther relationships.

I find that they cloak themselves in victimhood, or sometimes play the rescuer and better perpetrate their evil from that vantage point. They are cowards when it comes to all out open conflict in my experience. To inflict the death of a thousand cuts rather than a single mortal wound is their style. It would fit with what you say about “vengeful with one communication and then indirectly suggests reconciliation within the next communication”

Drawing you in close and putting you at ease before inflicting the next cut. But notice how they have to ‘keep things going’?

I think when NS is well and truly exhausted and I mean completely exhausted. They are like a drunk who shakes an empty beer bottle before tossing it accross the room in despair and disgust. Their mind is now on where their next drink is coming from, so they won’t put much effort into punishing an empty beer bottle! Phil

Phi,
Well put. Being ignored is the worst narcissistic injury imaginable. It’s impossible for them to fathom that someone who once fancied them is no longer in their thrall. The best course of action is to usually act like that person never existed. They are literally dead to the N.

The N I knew loved verbal jousting which involved a lot of back and forth jabs/random statements and sarcasm disguised as “teasing.” Meanwhile, no genuine communication occurred. The N liked to keep things going this way. It keeps people on their toes as they never know what’s coming at them next. Jan

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172. phil835 - August 23, 2012

To Trapped, Perhaps we should call ourselves the ‘Evening primrose Society’ ? ;)

To sum up my thoughts on a Narcissist and their capacity for vengence. To me, ‘holding a grudge’ and ‘settling an old score’ is a real flaw in my own character! Knowing that I can harbour feelings of resentment towards those who I consider to have caused unreasonable and unfair harm, is an emotion I can relate to in myself and in others. I don’t recommend anyone to harbour feelings of resentment, but I easily identify this flaw in my own character and sympathise with it in others.

The irony was that this flaw in my own character, became part of my revelation into the mindset of a Narcissist.

I may have been motivated to do similar things to my N, if I had caved into my desire to take revenge and ‘settle old scores’!
What was my N doing though? She was shaking the empty bottle of Narcissistic Supply to see if there was still anything left in the bottom of it for her? And if NS is well and truly empty, then they lose interest and move on. They don’t hold grudges or take revenge if their isn’t a gain in Narcisstic supply to them!
Like I said, a person who completely ignores and doesn’t pay any attention or emotion whatsoever, will be quickly forgotten about by a Narc. Phil

I go off to school for one day and you’re already forming a club! LOL Jan

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Trapped - August 23, 2012

Phil, I like that idea (Evening primrose society). I am going to take some roots back with me to CA and try to plant them. Maybe they can be symbolic of a new start on life?

That is true what you’ve written about how the N views his/her supply. I remember my ex-N telling me he got over his women “in an hour”. But, he said, it takes longer now that he is “older”, more like a few days. Probably, now that I see who he is, because it takes him longer to get supply. He once remarked to me “why is it hard for me to get younger women?” Probably, Bud, because they are more savvy than us lonely older women. Most of the younger ones that he’d poach on would probably take one look at him and say “yeah, right” when he tried his fake charms on them. That’s why he is safe with the married, lonely, and divorced women in our area. Sad thing. He once told me he likes married women because they are otherwise committed. Jerk. Preys on their vulnerable hearts and weakened state of life. To me, this is no better than a sociopathic criminal. Both are stealing and they know damn well what they are doing.

Grow those primroses!!

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phil835 - August 24, 2012

Jan, you formed the ‘Ginger seperatist society’ with Les remember? ;) I’m happy to say the ‘Evening primrose society’ is open to all applicants and doesn’t seek to exclude on hair colour! :) :D

Lesley isn’t even a ginger! And I believe it was more of an “appreciation society.” You better sleep with one eye open, Phil, as you saw what happened to Eric Cartman! :) Jan

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173. phil835 - August 23, 2012

Hi Trapped, I totally agree with your sentiments. A Narcissist is a predator, therefore they carefully select and groom their victims accordingly.From my own personal circumstances and experience of my N, I had already hit a very low psychological and emotional state, proceeding the time I found myself involved with my N.
A Narcissist will readilly exploit the virtues which exist in others, which are alien to their own minds. If you are generous, thoughtful, trusting, loyal, sensitive to others? Then a Narcissist can only gain and exploit these virtues in others which are alien to them. My mistake was that I beleived (and I’m sure many have made this error) that the Narcissist can be encouraged to reciprocate some of these values? They are a complete waste of time and energy. More so, you will lose faith in humanity the further you persist in trying to reform a Narc!
I need to to take up horticulture and take some Evening Primrose cuttings also! :D

I have two quotes which I like to think on regarding my own soul’s poisoning from contact with a Narcissist.

The first is Nietzsche. “And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you.”
What Niettzsche meant by Abyss was evil. He was sort of saying that whilever you try to fight and counter evil, you become preoccupied with it and it eventually ‘stares’ back inside you!

Better to stare at an evening primrose than a Narc then? ;)

The other one I like (which is an indulgence of what Nietzcshe advises against) is from Oscar Wilde.
“There were moments when he looked on evil simply as a mode through which he could realise his conception of the beautiful”

I think a Narcissist has taught me a lot about what I now consider to be beautiful in this life. It isn’t in aesthetics or anything superficial. Real beauty is genuine and sincere love that comes from within people and truly touches our hearts. Phil

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Trapped - August 24, 2012

Love those quotes. They are very true. There was a point at which I did lose faith in humanity. I still am very gun-shy about men in general. I was way too naive and trusting. I looked upon others with a twisted feeling that they would do unto me as I did unto them, if that makes any sense.

I never dreamed that someone would go out of his way to exploit me and play with my feelings just for his own satisfaction and gain. I just couldn’t see that, it didn’t make sense to me. It was just beyond my comprehension.

I didn’t see that I was worth that sort of trouble for anyone. In retrospect, I see that he was getting some pretty good stuff, and that it was given with all of my honesty and with the truest love I had. This is more than any normal person could hope for or dream of. But this was something he just drank up, slurping it, belching when he was through, then shifted his gaze to the next one on his list. I was only a piece of flesh with no name, no innards, and nothing to him. No more than the skeleton an owl regurgitates and flies onward to catch it’s next prey. It still boggles my mind.

I’m pretty wounded from it all, as we all are. As many before this have said, the more we try to figure it out, the less we can. None of it makes an ounce of sense. But, then again, if it did make sense to us, we’d be more on the level of an N, so I guess it is a good thing we can’t.

As an end note, when I was visiting my parents in NY this past week, I found out that my young niece, who just graduated from an Ivy league college, got caught in a tangle with an N. This was her first boyfriend, she lost her virginity to this jerk. He is a politician who snared himself a pretty virgin. He used her for 8 months, then when she asked him for exclusivity, he said no. Turns out his ex-girlfriend also works on his campaign and he was texting my niece while he was still with her, and so on and so on. The ex-girlfriend and my niece are now using each other for support to get through this.

I told my niece to get off the campaign immediately and to cut all contact with this jerk. She feels a loyalty to this political cause so I don’t know what she’ll do. It is a crazy world. I only hope I can protect my own daughter, who leaves for college in a few weeks, from getting hurt like this.

On a happy note-I was able to bring a few plants back and now will plant them! One has a bud on it….let’s see what happens!!

I’m not sure that the more we try to figure it out the less we know. Once we suspend our human logic, things DO fall into place. This helps because we can quit expecting these emotional black holes to come round and act human! I find this to be very freeing. It’s all crazy, but to be able to recognize this puts you ahead of the game. (Though belatedly.)
As for you niece. How sad that the first love of her life would be a N. They can warp your perspective as to what a relationship should be. Until she understands what she was subjected to, she will not be able to move forward, as she will think it had something to do with her. So not. Jan

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Trapped - August 25, 2012

Yes, it is sad, especially since her mother had a very horrible experience with an N when she was the same age. It made her almost suicidal…she then went on to have a bunch of dysfunctional relationships, finally marrying a very verbally abusive guy whom she is finally trying to decide whether or not she wants to divorce, after over 20-some years of marriage.

This is a pattern, for sure. I was talking to one of my other sisters (we are a family of 8!) who was telling me of a childhood friend of hers who was sexually abused and beaten by her father from age 4. The dad would “punish her” by making her go to her room and take off her clothes. He then took off his belt and beat her, after which he would rape her while he put a pillow over her face.

This poor woman ended up marrying a man (second marriage) who, it turns out, began to abuse her daughter (his stepdaughter) at around the same age. It seems hopeless how these things just go on and on.

The worst part is that this woman had been in therapy forever and was a social worker, yet she did not see it coming.

Anyway, my point was that for some reason, it seems certain people are prone to these abusive relationships. Being back with my parents last week, I could not figure out where it all came from. They are both great people, especially my mother who is probably one of the most giving and loving people on this earth. My father is just a typical man from that era. There was no physical or sexual abuse at all.

And yet, here we are, a couple of women who, for some reason, ended up in these abusive situations. We are not whiners or horrible people, either. To the contrary, we were all raised to be very independent and self-sufficient, but with very strong morals and all that.

So, this was just a very long-winded way of saying that I am afraid for my niece and for my own daughter (who has never had a relationship yet since she went to a very intense high school for the arts which kept her busy from sunrise to sunset). My daughter seems much stronger and more savvy than me. But who knows what will happen when she actually meets someone who tries to charm her? She already is talking about how the guys who do crew are very good looking. I just gently try to tell her that good looks can only get a person so far…but she is starved for that, at her age, and having come from a school where most of the males were gay. What can a mother do?

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174. phil835 - August 24, 2012

Hi Trapped,

I think it’s a reasonable expectation “that they would do unto me as I did unto them”. Many people work on this assumption in their interactions with others, myself included. And some people make us wiser for having misplaced our faith in them!

The asymettrical nature of the relationship with an N soon starts to become apparent, they always fail to reciprocate. You have to extend your good will much further and make even more allowances, if you are to still ‘meet’ with them. But you are no longer meeting with them half way, and it starts to show. I have a theory that this is a type of operant conditioning (similar to gambling). You’ve invested emotional energy in a Narc, very much like a gambler feeding quarters into a slot machine. Convinced that it will come good and pay out eventually! :D

What I noticed about my N, was that her goodwill was entirely banked up in IOU’s and empty promises. And interestingly, these were empty remarks and hollow promises which SHE insisted on making!
I repeatedly told her NOT to make promises and either DO something or just shut up. I’m a firm believer that actions speak louder than words, and in the end, they did!

But life is a great leveller and people often get what they deserve eventually. What goes around comes around and all that! :)

And somehow I think the N realises their eventual fate, but calls it fear? And to let you into the nightmare world of my N, it was this. She had a great ‘fear’ of being abandoned by a partner which she always taled about. I’m not sure what the fear was? For somebody so seemingly hell bent on bringing this ‘nightmare’ into reality by her actions, it seemed more like a certainty than a ‘fear’ from where I was looking? :)
And her other ‘nightmare’ was that she would die alone without children, drooling at the mouth in an old folks home. Sounds more like a premonition than a nightmare if you ask me! Phil
P.S. Tell your neice to take care, and keep a wacthful eye on your daughter, Hope the primrose takes root :)

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175. Lesley - August 24, 2012

Hey All,
Just beaming in from Ginger Separatist society which as a blonde…I am of course an honorary member.
Agreeing with recent posts and can’t help but say I’ve noticed on net of late that more and more’ normals’ are using poetry/story telling to express the depth of feeling caused by an encounter with a narc.
I read a few over the last while and was struck by the similarities in our reactions and also that the sense of outrage or deep grieving seems to be an outlet for creativity.
So they do leave us something intact. Or even enhanced.
Many of the poems are a search to find meaning and are positive in the humanity they show.
When I read about the opening of the evening primrose…it strikes me that this epitomises all that it is to be really human..to find joy in the minutae of such simple things. A narc would also find joy in an evening primrose but only if someone was watching him and he could feign reaction!
I think the trick is to go on without becoming jaded or tainted by the experience with these people…
If you actually reflect on the discussion we are and have had on this site- it is proof of the depth of our sensitivity and that perhaps something has deepened in us despite the pain…
they simply cannot take that away.
You can possibly tell I’ve been tramping about hills in the north of Scotland for a day or two which was real food for the soul!!

Les

So they DO have soul food in Scotland! You are sounding very insightful which is good as I’ve been herding third graders and am just happy no one peed their pants the first week. :) I’ve loved some of the quotes and poems people have posted as they so capture the essence of what it is to be human. Yes, it is the DEPTH of our sensitivity that distinguishes us from those who’ve emotionally tossed us about. Jan

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176. phil835 - August 25, 2012

Hi Les,

If I am intact afer my encounter with the Narissist, I feel as though it’s despite her better efforts to eviscerate me!

I remember using the expression ‘keeping my integrity’ and I’m certain that my sentiments were misunderstood. The expression works on two levels, so she probably thought I was talking about morality. A Narcissist is immoral, so the suggestion that she was compromising morals would be a good assumption on her part. This wasn’t the emphasis of what I was saying though, what I meant by ‘integrity’ was keeping myself whole.))

In hindsight it was the perfect expression that worked on so many levels, much more than I considered at the time. How to keep your values intact, your morals intact, your reality intact. How to exist as a sentient being whose heart, mind and soul occupy the same body. It felt to me as thought the Narcissist was deliberately trying to undermine my ‘integrity’.
They are not whole people themselves, so maybe they can only wonder at and perhaps even ‘envy at how others function?
This blog has made me realise that people are capable of feelings and emotions, which my N was trying to convince me were unnatural. Amazing how they attempt to pathologize others, who can function on levels and experience emotions they are incapable of!

So I hope to share in your optimism that we are least intact if not enhanced Les, :)

The last time I was in the Hills around your neck of the woods, was almost 15 years ago (somewhere near Aviemore). Unfortunately I don’t remember much of the scenery, so the experience wasn’t as enriching for the soul as I had hoped. Adventurous ‘walking’ weekends with the military, invariably turn themselves into squad orienteering competitons! And the ‘poetry’ of the landscape was hardly something a bunch of squaddies were likely to pause and enthuse over! :D
Interesting how we can seemingly be doing the same thing, experiencing it in totally different ways? Same as the N does! Phil

This made me laugh Phil as I can imagine that as you were tramping about the hills with a bunch a “squaddies,” you’re weren’t stopping to smell the flowers. It’s also an excellent example of how two people (depending on what their intention is) can experience the same situation/event so differently.
One more thing. I think that often it is only after we’ve had our boundaries breached, that we fully recognize what it means to be “intact” as you say. I’ve talked to many a person who (after a period of time and reflection) felt that their close encounter with a narcissist actually strengthened their sense of who they really were. Jan

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177. Lesley - August 25, 2012

Hey Phil,
One of the things I did when back at home after hillwalking was sleep for 5 hours,so now in the early hours of the morning here…I cannot sleep.
I can empathise over your ex trying to make you feel unnatural because you expressed emotion. I still have e mails of his telling me to get over my’sensitivity’.Yet in the beginning….and I still have these letters too-he praises me for my sensitivity!
So I think we go from being someone they crave to be like…to someone they envy and despise because of that dearth in them.
Interesting the comment about experiencing a situation/landscape in a different way.Many many times I felt this with my ex…he would only like a place or town,pub,hotel etc if there was something’in it’ for him or if being somewhere could later be repeated to gain him status.
He once went to see Turner’s Water colours at a gallery because ‘it was something to say we had done’…never mind the beauty of the paintings.
I also know for sure that none of the things we done together have any resonance of me or togetherness with me in them for him..shortly after the discard he went online to hook up NS…fairly desperately.
As I’ve said before on blog he used places that we’d been to and books I’d given him,buildings we had visited as ‘lists’ on his online profile…so he used what he vampirically sucked from me(LOL)to give him a more attractive profile and attract NS.
It was one of the strangest and chilling experiences of my life… I still had messages of profound love sent by him a week or two before… on my phone and I was reading his’advert’ to get another woman swiftly!
I remember distinctly saying’ How Can another Human Being Do that?’
They are very expedient and ruthless and yes ammoral.
It’s also quite funny however to think that my ex is somewhere pretending to have an interest in Thomas Hardy’s novels or Greece…he has never actually been to Greece!
At the end of their lives perhaps they are just segments of other people?
Aviemore was a place I went to as a child…always in the Winter,for the skating rink!
Light Shine,
Les

Les, I noticed that the N “took in” a lot of my interests and even some of the expressions I use and made them his own. I’ve read that Ns come up with their script (for their False Self) by the time they’re teenagers/young adults, but continue to make revisions to improve the storyline. I only wish I could see the Ns profile on various dating sites. I have no doubt that some of his “interests” or qualities would have actually been mine! Yes, they do cobble together an “identity” from the bits and pieces they extract from their victims/supply. Jan

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178. Lesley - August 25, 2012

Hi Snigant,
Hope you get this because I can’t reply under your tag. If Scot is Bipolar then yes there is a chance this is hereditary,although by no means as high as most folk think.Percentages vary,some say 10 percent chance others as high as 30 percent.There is also a higher percentage for depression amongst the children of a bipolar parent.
Bipolar is caused by chemical imbalances within the chemistry of the brain…lithium,serotonin,dopamine.
However,I think it’s really important to say that bipolar individuals are no more likely to be narcissists than any of us. They may mood swing like Narcs,show idealized behaviour or rage or go into themselves,not talk or feel depressed but this is for chemical reasons not necessarily narcissism.
An untreated Bipolar person,someone who has not been diagnosed or receiving medication must be extremely difficult to live with. Maybe they would present as quite Narc like because they do have grandiose thinking and can be loud or overbearing.
I’ve said before that my brother in law is bipolar but a lovely and fairly stable person…no way a narc. His medication is very well controlled and he takes it religiously.
I cannot find any research to prove that Narcs are genetically…that is biologically formed through having similar brain structures/DNA/chemicals in brain….to a parent.
Narcs are nurtured that way in my opinion,very early on there is a trauma or event that turns them onto only trusting themselves.
However,a narc may have had exposure to an unstable parent early on… I know my ex did. I believe living in the environment he did affected him at an early age
.Again I believe this is about environment rather than genetics.
So you may have eg. an undiagnosed bipolar,schizoid,severely depressed,alcoholic,neglectful,inconsistent,drug addicted,schitzophrenic,individual(pick any or all or even add some more?)…and this individual is the Narc’s parent.
The manner in which the Narc is brought up is all. Something happened to make them feel unsafe and turned them into only trusting and loving themselves.

Les

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snlgant - August 25, 2012

Hi Les,
I appreciate your patience and understanding, Jan and Phil. It’s like FINALLY someone gets me and I’m not being overbearing as one counselor stated or not understanding enough as stated by another one. Trying harder makes the insanity worse and my con-artist N smells like a rose to others as he even bought one of the marriage counselors a very nice gift to add to a collection of exotic canes he has. Thank you for clarification as I’ve been trying to treat a symptom of a disease I didn’t know I have been dealing with. The descriptions you listed are spot on for his mom. The only person I ever met that was so overbearing and controlling out right who even locks up her food and cheap glass ware. She hides nothing and will get extremely loud throwing a fit and challenge anyone eye ball to eye ball an inch from their face anywhere. She does not hide her insanity . Everyone is so flustered, and intimidated that invariably she gets her way and will gather others to be angry at any opposer. Then in the next breath turn and be deviantly sweet. She fits the descriptions probably all of them. She will dote on Scott and say sweet things when he isn’t around and snap his head off in control In front of everyone when he is in her presence. I’ve noticed that when she tries to hug him, he pulls away and sets her to his right side… Very non affectionately and will even tell her to stop. She is very up or down password and locks on literally everything! Crazy!!! Scott on the other hand exhibits some of this but is extremely secretive and verbally and mentally abusive towards me since the initial trapping phase in the beginning. I might even think that I had a bit of prince charming syndrome because he was way too wonderful. We dated for a little over a month before he asked me to marry him by a beautiful lake in the moon light on one knee ( unbeknownst to me he had TOLD all of my children 16, 14, and 12 what he was going to do and even picked out my ring w/ out me. Oh, he got his glory before he ever asked me ) I literally said, “well lets do this before I change my mind”. I knew something wasn’t right, I even wrote out a list of pros and cons carefully. I did not live with him at any point before we were married. He lived in a neighboring state and would drive to see me. I met him through mutual acquaintances and oh the charm. I could just kick myself. Never mind, he has had a long time to emotionally do that for me. A month later we were married. On our honey moon in Cancun was my first encounter with the ‘Real’ Scott.
I will be brief. We were at a live entertainment show in a very romantically lit stage and auditorium type area about to watch dancers from Madrid preform. There was a truly lovely happy newly wed couple across from us at our table we had introduced ourselves to. The lights went down, the theatre lights came up and all was quiet. Scott leaned over and said at the edge of my left shoulder, ” you think you are something don’t you? The young woman heard him and had a slightly stunned look. Lord knows what my face was projecting because my mind could not believe what my ears had just heard. Then he said, ” I will leave you here, you think I won’t? Watch me. From between his teeth in a hushed way. That’s not all ! My brain is probably looking like it just got struck by lighting was shooting sparks everywhere in my head. Then, he gets up pushes through the auditorium door very hard disrupting this quiet atmosphere and exits. I never said so much as a word. The young couple literally looked worried. I smiled and looked towards the stage. About 10 minutes later Satan I mean Scott walks back in being very careful to be quiet, sits down beside me and smiles putting his arm around me hugging me to him as if nothing had transpired. Needless to say, the young couple never said another word to either of us. I didn’t see irrational behavior again until two days later . We boarded a bus to sight see and he sits in a single seat at the front of the little vehicle across from another woman like he was by himself. I sat in the back where there was an available seat with many of the locals . When we had gotten off he had struck up a conversation with her and she was with a man. It wasn’t the same type of occurance it was different. Over the years I have pretty much caught on to the sameness of his patterns….there are a bunch it seems like. Then after a while, I began to recognize the patterns. Between him and myself I credit God for my sanity. I think you are right, his mom is the genetic loon and so are the two grand children. My children call them strange. I also think you are right about Scott being hurt by his crazy mom and becoming the N he is today. I don’t feel sorry for him anymore, I feel putty and can’t wait for the opportunity to be free completely free of him. He uses money to try and buy people’s usership and calls them friends. More like a boy with a pork chop tied round his neck so he can lure in the next unsuspecting playful trusting toy to destroy. Yes, there is definitely a wake of people in his path of destruction. It’s just amazing that he has gotten away with this for so long. I guess baffle’em with bull s—. Is his montes then you won’t ever know for sure what really happened . He describes me as very independent with disgust and I guess that’s why he won’t leave my house, I refuse to go down . Torn up a good bit, but I refuse to lose anything else. I am a vey patient person . This is the closest I as a nurse have thought about harming someone. I’m trying to solely focus on my degree so I can support myself. One year and ten months left of nazi N hell.

Snigant,
I agree with Lesley’s assessment of the genetic/environmental aspects of these disorders. There is no scientific evidence that narcissism is an inherited trait. That said, my sister-in-law’s first husband showed strong n-traits. His mother was a controlling woman who did not recognize boundaries. Her own husband lived in fear of her. On a cruise after their marriage, my SIL’s new husband slept in a room with his mother, while she slept with his sister. Control issues?
This woman had sons and twenty years later, the wives of these sons have began to trickle back into my SIL’s life and tell her horror stories. Only one son seemed to have emerged from this family relatively unscathed. Anytime a child grows up with a dysfunctional primary parent, the odds increase that the child will themselves re-enact those patterns that they were trained to believe were “normal.”
I have to say I found your description of what he said to you on the cruise ship to be chilling, no make that downright creepy. These are mind games pure and simple designed to undermine your self esteem and sense of what is “normal” and right in the world.
FYI: I was once up on a ladder painting when I asked the N to hand me some more paint. As I reached down to take it, he grabbed hold of my hand and said (with a smile), “It would be so easy for me to pull you down from there.” I don’t believe he would have, but that was one of those chilling moments when you see behind the mask. Jan

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Lesley - August 25, 2012

Hi Snigant Phil and all,
Just had to say Snigant that although you are going through an awful time…your sense of humour still shines through.
I laughed at that comment about the pork chop tied round his neck!Also that he bought the counsellor’an exotic cane’…what the eff!(LOL) Thanks for the laugh…
Just keep on counting down the days and stay patient…you will support yourself and have peaceful times with your kids again.Another great thing is your insight into how abnormal this kind of behaviour is,when you start to make these good gut instinct comparisons… I think you are halfway there?
Phil,wise call on the ‘why’ and then the’how’s’…this makes sense to me in all sorts of historical situations with my ex.You’re right…the motive is all..themselves and NS,at whatever cost.

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Donna - August 25, 2012

Hi Snlgant, I have been following some of your recent postings and I can relate a number of your comments about my exnf KW/Jan’s Joe.

From the beginning of us reconnecting 4 years ago, he made it very clear to me anyway, that he buys people to be in his life, it could be family members, friends, women or who ever else would accept his money. I never took any money that he offered because from my past experiences when men offer money and you accept it they own you.

My N has a huge fear of dying alone, so he seems to keep some folks around with his “golden nuggets”. Or he goes and hangs out with some of his old crones. He also carries a concealed fire arm, now I know why he only wears his shirts outside his pants. (scary)

Another awareness of mine is that he raised his only son since he was 7 yrs old and I have a fear that his son is going to be a (Mini-He). He did share alot about his childhood and early youth, he was honest at times, so now I am not sure what to believe. He is just a fake!!!!!! He is 62. I wanted to also mention that he is recuiting a young mail-ordered bride to be at his side as he continues to age. Not sure he can meet all the requirements on his part. LOL!!!

I am surely wishing you a speedy exit from your current situation and recovery from the madness just know that you have honest support here with Jan’s group.

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179. phil835 - August 25, 2012

Hi Lesley,

I totally agree with your sentiments. It’s as though the Narcissist seperates themselves from an experience and objectifies everything around them as props. Therefore others are always denied the reality of any meaningful or shared experience (which you may have felt), because you were an inanimate prop. In my opinion, a Narcissist never truly shares a dream or an experience with a significant other, For them it’s all about ‘me’!
The paradox is that they still need others to validate their experience. They are as happy in a group of people as they are in the company of two, because ultimately they are always experiencing by themselves and never sharing anything.

You won’t identify a Narcissist by WHAT they are doing. Always look for the reasons why they are doing something, which is always expressed in HOW they are doing something. Now you start to see the mindset of an N at work and understand their motives.
(And it is invariably for the purpose of NS)

I find that taking the above paragraph and applying it to even the most mundane of activities, I find it permeates throughout everything they do! Be it furnishing their house, cooking, holding a dinner party. Watch HOW they do something reveal why they do something, and it works every time! :D Their constant need for NS is never satisfied!)) Phil

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180. Trapped - August 26, 2012

So true!! I remember how the ex-N would make sure I saw anything he had done in his house. He would show it to me and look at me to see my reaction. Same thing when he would put a movie or a documentary on TV, he would always look at me to see my reaction. I should have vomited. Once he called me over to his place at around 10:30 PM. I was worried that something horrible had happened to him. I arrived to find he had constructed this huge elaborate pot-growing operation, under the guise of “medical marijuana”. I was shocked and told him so. He was taken aback, expecting that I would be amazed at it. I lectured him on how stupid it was and that a teacher of young children would be run out of the community if he ever were caught with it and his career would be over in a flash. He was crushed. Next morning, it was gone, lock, stock, and barrel. I thought “wow, I have some influence over him”. In retrospect, it was the approval he sought, and nothing else.

The more I write about this guy on here, the more crazy the whole thing looks. What I should have done at that time was nod my head and say ‘wow, what a thing!” Then, go home, dial anonymously the cops and then sit back with a Cheshire cat grin on my face.

I’ve been through the same thing of having the N watch me for my reaction. I went watch shopping with him and mentioned I liked Swiss Army watches because of the leather straps and clean look of them. Well guess who came strolling in wearing one the next week? Yet a year later, post D&D, I saw a picture of him and he was no longer wearing THAT watch. It was then that I knew that I also had the ability to influence, or in some instances, hit a nerve.
I think he sounds like he’s been watching way too many episodes of “Weeds” or “Breaking Bad.” I follow both shows but wouldn’t be dumb enough to actually TRY that! Sounds like a classic LOOK AT WHAT I MADE MOMMY moment. Realize that small children take great pride in doing things that are batsh%t crazy, like finger painting with poo, but thinking it’s brilliant. This is the N’s adult variation. Jan

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181. Lesley - August 26, 2012

Hey All,
Despite my experience with Narcdom… I am still the Eternal Optomist.
So I worked out what I’ve gained,can’do’ again and have restored to myself since my relationship ended. It’s all positive!!!!!
As follows;

1. I can light candles without being told I am being too’touchy feely’
2.I can see my friends Neil and Nicky again(my ex was jealous of them)
3.I can wear my hair up.
4.I can do work at home(he hated the lack of attention or my professionalism or sg)
5.I can speak to my ex husband on the phone without world war3 happening in background.
6. I can listen to the Pogues./Stranglers/Willie Nelson uninterrupted.
7. I can spend however long I like with my son..I love my son!
8. I can wear exactly what I want,when I want.Wow!
9. I can make meals my way.Yes, I will have the sauce!
10. I can talk about my problems for once….Right on.
11. I can paint my toenails any bloody colour I like..
12. i can moan.
13. I never have to spend time with his macho sexist friends again.
14. I no longer have to listen to homophobic jokes. My beloved nephew Ben is gay and planning his wedding…go figure!
15. I can wear the perfume I like.(Not the ones he gave me)
16. I no longer have to tolerate his fantasies/roughness/lack of connection in the bedroom.What a sheer relief!!!
17.When I have the funds again I can go to Greece without him.
18. I never have to iron one of his one hundred similar shirts again!
19. i get my sense of humour back.
20. I never have to explain anything to him,be anywhere,conform to sg,confirm his status to the world,listen to him,defer to him,argue with him or indeed be his mirror!!!

I am Free!,
Light Shine,
Les,

PS.Jan, take on board,seriously how you have helped in this.
I am immensely grateful. To you and the great people here.

Les,
Thanks so much Les. I’m an Eternal Optimist myself.:) :) You can’t spend your days working with children and not have some of their infectious enthusiasm (as well as germs) rub off on you. Your comments and quick wit have definitely lit up already sunny California and other parts of the world. Looking at your list (love your choice of music) reminded me how easy it is to STOP doing some of the things that make you YOU. After you’ve been criticized by the N, you can begin to self-edit and end up being not true to yourself so as to “keep the peace.” The shift can be subtle, but it IS the erosion of your identity. Those who had healthy self-esteem to start can rebound more easily. But for others, this is very debilitating indeed.
So put your hair up and crank up the Willie Nelson! The future is now yours to claim.
Always, Jan

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phil835 - August 26, 2012

Hi Les,

I think it’s all posiive apart from the sauce! ;)
I have memories of cooking Pasta bolognaise for my ex years ago, She’d always dollop half a bottle of Heinz Tomato Ketchup on the side of her plate. I didn’t think my cooking was that bad, maybe I was wrong? :D

I LOVE pasta bolognese (and yes, I had to look up how to spell that via Google!) My husband is the cook in the house and I don’t complain when I’m being served. Period. If it helps, I had students fill out a list of their “Favorites” the first day of school. When one boy got to Favorite Food, he asked if ketchup counts as a food. Jan

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phil835 - August 26, 2012

I have a great trick to play on children who love Ketchup! Give them a dirty old penny and get them to rub it between their forefinger and thumb with tomato kechup. Then get them to rinse the penny under the tap (fawcett). Hey presto, now they have a very shiny new penny as if straight from the mint! :D I tell them tomato ketchup is equally as corrosive to their intestines. It’s just some mundane chemical reaction, but I don’t tell them that part ;) :D

You scoundrel! Ahhh the magic of vinegar, but I’m afraid my kids don’t give a thought to their intestines. They’d look at the word and just see that it has the word “test” in it. :) After all of these years of hearing/knowing the effect that Coke has on a metal spoon sitting in it overnight, I’m afraid I still drink one for breakfast (I have switched to the 4 oz. size though since I’m on a health kick!) Jan

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Donna - August 26, 2012

Phil,I will always enjoy tomato ketchup, it tastes great on so many foods, but not on homemade Pasta bolognaise. Good taste vs Bad/No taste. Send me some home made pasta any day>>>>>>>

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snlgant - August 28, 2012

Thank you guy’s for allowing me to question, vent and make statements <3

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182. phil835 - August 26, 2012

Hi Trapped,

I was reading your post about your N’s marijuana growing and at first I couldn’t compare a similar ‘like for like activity’. Then I suddenly had a huge grin on my face: D

I realized that in thinking about the activities of my N in a conceptual way, then using the same adjectives I applied to her specific behaviors at the time….
I discovered that if I take my own Narrative and apply these observations to your N, you could be forgiven for thinking we were talking about the same person and the same incident! :D

I try not to be too specific about events here in the blog in case any of it is read. I prefer to maintain anonymity here, but I do PM Jan dishing the dirt and naming names from time to time. I’d be happy to share the same with you all if this wasn’t public domain. But I’ve also discovered how great concepts work, as they can be applied to all Narcissists with breathtaking accuracy!

So if you’ll forgive my vagueness, the following observations are me thinking about certain incidents and activities relating to my N. Let’s see how they compare?

Specific incidents are at the forefront of my mind here; this is how I describe them and her.

In the incidents I’m referring to. She has behaved in ways which I would describe as ‘reckless’, ‘thoughtless’ or even just plain ‘stupid’? ‘Immature’ could also be used, except like your N, my N is also a ‘functioning’ Narc who occupies a position of responsibity, in an administrative role in a Government office. Hence the extra gravity and consequences of potentially disastrous and reckless activities, if they were exposed in a person occupying a position of responsibility?

At the time I abandoned my N, I was asked some questions by various people regarding my reasons. As I’ve mentioned before, I operated a ‘scorched earth policy’ and ended a few mutual acquaintances, just to make sure of my separation from her! My answers to people questioning were. ‘I considered my N to be a serious ‘liability’ and very likely damage to my reputation if my name was connected to hers by association. I considered it to now be in my interests to become wholly unconnected with her!’

In the midst of the resulting drama from one of these ‘errors of judgment’ incidents on her part. I offered her my best assistance and helped her ‘clear up the mess’!
An unscrupulous person could easily have ‘landed her in the shit’, rather than offer her help and protection as I did.
The resulting ‘paranoia’ on her part at the ‘clear up mess’ operation was apparent. I was a friend and friends help each other (usually) so that’s what I was doing. And anyone can make a mistake and need help.
In hindsight, I have to question the reasoning behind her apparent stupidity, how had she become embroiled in such situations to begin with? At the time I just helped her out of trouble though.

Then the final straw came, a mistake or two is one thing, but a developing behavior pattern is something else. I bailed her out of the shit a few times but her reckless, thoughtless and selfish behavior eventually came into caused some direct harm to me through her association.

A Narcissist makes trouble for themselves; let them face the consequences for it. If you think about it, you’ll find that they had perfect free will and choice at the time they made all their decisions! Phil

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183. Trapped - August 26, 2012

Phil, I know I am not too vague at all in my writings or descriptions and that maybe I really should be. If nothing else, to protect MYSELF! I probably write so blatantly because I am still in the seething stages and could care less if one of his women were suddenly (with good reason) looking at this web site. He deserves every bad word thrown his way.

It is highly unlikely, however, that this would ever happen as he seems to have a harem of pretty clueless women. He says women these days “like” loose relationships. I guess I am just an old bag because I don’t know too many women who fill his descriptions of what the “modern woman” is like, not even kids my niece’s age, at least the nice kids, that is.

Yes, I, too, thought I would help save the day for him many times. That’s what friends do, right? The only problem is that it is such a one way street, isn’t it? And, as you said, I finally got to the point where I saw that he really was a liability for me. His reputation as a sleaze seems to be far and wide in these parts and now that I see that, I am thoroughly embarrassed that I once sought soul rights to him…what a laughing stock I would have been!

You are right about their oblivious risk taking. This guy used to walk into yards of multi-million homes to steal fruit off the trees, homes of clients of his. He used to tell me that he hated rules and laws, that these were things for sheep. He cheated on his taxes so much that he couldn’t qualify for a home because they didn’t see how he could make his payments with the income he reported. Ha! I got a laugh out of that!

The thing that is worrisome to me is how to get over these flashbacks I have. It is almost like Post-traumatic stress disorder. I was walking with my kids an hour or so ago along the cliffs by the ocean on this gorgeous Sunday afternoon and suddenly got this horrible flashback of him which just quickly clouded my walk for a few moments. I think it happened because a woman came running past us just before that wearing a very skimpy bikini, something not at all the norm for the area I live in, even though we are near the coast.

I was thinking to myself that she must be a narcissist to go out like that (is that sexist of me?). But really, she probably didn’t care at all about anyone seeing her since the trail I was on is usually practically empty most of the time. Anyway, it triggered this cascade of negative feelings that I just want out of my life!

All I could do was look outwards to the ocean and try to feel better by remarking what a beautiful day it was and how blue the water was and etc. etc. until my son said ‘that’s about the fourth time you said it was a pretty day’ (nice teenager). Meanwhile, my daughter was making gagging motions after seeing the woman run by. Humor in everything, I suppose.

Phil has his own reasons for being purposely vague, as some people’s professions,location, etc. reveal more about who the N is.
I think a “seething” stage is only natural and when you’re so raw, what you tend to say is also raw and uncensored. You haven’t said more than you should. As a teacher I have eyes in the back of my head (or as one of my former students likes to say, “She has eyes 360!” yet in no way could/would I be able to know whom you are talking about. So there’s no worries there.
Hmmm…some of the things you’re describing sound almost sociopathic. Whereas psychopaths are more calculating or organized, sociopaths tend to be disorganized loose cannons who enjoy risk taking.
You’ve been through an extremely traumatic event that made you question your own judgment and sanity. That’s heavy stuff and will take some working through. A friend’s boyfriend did two tours of duty in Iraq and suffers from PTSD. He can say, “I served in Iraq and I know I killed people” and others don’t questions that this HAD to be traumatic. You won’t get the same level of understanding after a close encounter with a N unless you’re speaking with a knowledgable mental health professional or someone who has walked that scary walk themselves.
Some of the women I’ve seen at the beach. Oh my! I think your daughter had the right response! LOL Jan

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184. Trapped - August 27, 2012

Yes, I am working on the therapy angle, too, as much as I can afford it (health insurance doesn’t cover, $200/hour!!). It’s all pretty fresh, though, as you said, so I have to be patient I guess and give myself leeway. It helps to have my life so full of things that I don’t have much time to dwell on it. But on the other hand, I think a little dwelling is a good thing, if it is done in a constructive way, to help move out of this bitter stage and get to the point where I feel free again. As you said, as long as I hold these feelings, he has control over me. And we all know there is no person on earth who deserves that, especially him.

So, this blog helps me to keep in touch with who he is and why he needs to stay out of my life for good, and the therapy, when I can afford it, helps me figure out why that happened in the first place. And the best part is that I will get through this and move onto a happier place (I am already a thousand times better than I was at this time last year). Whereas the N, unfortunately, will stay as he is until he dies. If I were a Buddhist, I would have to wonder what his next life will be? I think a snake is too nice of a creature.

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phil835 - August 27, 2012

HI Trapped,

I think you have a very sound strategy for the future. You have to heal and disentangle yourself from them first, then work out what happened in the first place!? The final how and why questions are back onto ourselves once you are fully over this stage.
A Narcissist has skewed your reality and exploited your weaknesses to the full, that’s what they do.
I have flashbacks all the time. I still can’t beleive how anyone who I at one time trusted, trampled and trashed upon my existence in her cheap pursuit of NS? They remind me of desperate teenage dug addicts, willing to do anything to obtain their fix! While bewildered grown-ups just sigh in reproachful disbelief and question ‘Where or what did we do wrong?’

What is particulary insidious and alarming about my N, is her perverse new foray into the world of Psychology. After her self pitying therapy sessions for ‘depression’ (which was in reality withdrawal symptoms from lack of NS)
She now calls herself ‘normal’ and pathologizes all others! (Which is why I avoid the term “normal’, because I know how much she perverts it by applying it to herself!)
Most people are willing to admit to their flaws and their faults, I certainly was. Whilst my N was always beyond reproach, self or otherwise!
I pray to God they never let her loose around vulnerable people, she has no interest in helping anyone apart from herself. Yet the thrill of imagining herself as some mentor or healer, but more importantly having power and control over others is what ‘flips her Narcissistic switch’, no doubt?
Whatever a Narcissist is doing, they are never doing it well, and always doing it for the wrong reasons! Phil

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185. Lesley - August 27, 2012

Hey Trapped,
Just wanted to say that the ‘flashbacks’ are normal. I still have them too and they are mostly now…expressions of my ex’s face usually whilst denegrating me.These are lessening for me and much better than the month or two after it ended.
In response to your post about the risks they take with reputation… I believe this is finally what will bring my ex down. My ex also works for the Government or it sometimes seemed that the Govt worked for him(lol).
He often said to me’Well,I’d better get back to sailing the Ship of State’ He was near the top of the tree in a particular institution and the irony of that can still make me smile.
His behaviour was reckless,always self satisfying,frankly dangerous at times.Very duplicit and shocking.
In a very select restaurant once he began to have an attack of ‘psychotic jealousy’ about the fact that I smiled at a couple sitting at the next table.He began to lose control,turning his chair around to face them and was about to confront the man.We were seconds away from some act of violence or verbal abuse.I reminded him in a low voice of his job, of how the press would become involved, of how he would lose his job…slowly he returned to a semblance of normality.
This was only a semblance because back in the hotel room he was abusive to me for a couple of hours.He ripped the dress I was wearing and said he never wanted to see it again.(It was a normal black dress,knee length???)
One of the reasons it is so important for me to slouch around in jeans and t shirts is how he tried to control how I looked? One of the weirdest experiences I had was going into his house one day and seeing that he had made a gallery of ‘me’.These were all pictures he had taken of me,dressed up, with make up on etc.These pics led through the hall into the living area.I had been made into ‘an idealised object’.(Jan,I sent you the real me,no make up,messy hair!!).
After the discard I knew so much about his activities that I could have gone to the newspapers.I had proof of all sorts of wrongdoing but it’s simply the case that he will end up doing himself in. It may take a year or two but it will happen.Any sense of revenge I had is gone or much less important.
I remain confused at how he landed his job in the first place,as Jan has referred to…Narcs can ace interviews? He is excellent at using others as shields or extracting their skills so that is why I think he could go on for a year or so. Trapped, I suspect your ex will be the same. Exposure is waiting for them…
Light Shine,
Les

Yikes! On TV, when the police close in on the serial killer/stalker, they always find that collection of pictures of their victim. Yes, your pictures were “on display” which all seems a tad creepy, but when you realize the N likes to look out over his “accomplishments” (and for somatic Ns, collecting women fits the bill) it makes sense. You WERE an idealized object. His Picassos? LOL As usual, I’ve spent to long commenting and am now rushed to get to school. :) Jan

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phil835 - August 27, 2012

Hi Lesley,
I think you are unique in having been at some stage the Prinary and idealised source of supply for your Narc. I’m not sure if I will call it a priviledge though? ;)
I think it’s interesting, becuase even though you once occupied the role of Primary NS, you never really were what you were supposed to be. And more to the point, who is or who can be?

I noticed the reality gap in my N’s idealisation of what a Primary NS should be, in relation to who the real person actually is?

The owness is then on the said Primary NS source to ‘live up’ to the N’s ideal expectation. This can never happen. Even if faced with the most malleable person in the world doing their best to please the N. Even if that person came close to succeeding, Ironically they would probably then get bored, lose interest and have contempt for that person. It’s a no win situation for whoever they get!

I remember you saying in an earlier post how your N constantly Idealised and denigrated you. I think he was trying to control and shoehorn you into being something close to his idealised primary NS source?

I have to say that I think in a ‘Nomal’ (I hate that term but I’ll use it) that we all idealise to some extent when we are in love. For me at least, it means doing a bit of ‘selective ignoring’ of a persons flaws and concentrating on their better sidet! And I to say that the people I love most, I actually see their flaws and accept them.:D A Narc can never do this, or even love in the way others can. What they think is Love is for them NS.

I must admit your N’s ‘shrine’ in his home took me by surprise and sounds creepy! I was more expecting him to have pictures of himself plastered all over the place.

And as for an N coming unstuck. I think that about my N but at the same time I can’t beleive their luck as it appears from where I’m looking. The Risks she takes are unbeleivable and how she’s managed to stay alive and in one peice, let alone function in a position of responsibility really does amaze me! I know it’s not my job to knock her down, she will do that herself eventually. Nobody’s luck lasts for ever and eventually life catches up with them! Phil

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Lesley - August 27, 2012

Hey Phil,
I’m doing what us women do best Phil…multi-tasking,because I’m watching a Graham Greene film,checking the guardian live sports blog for the Murray match,he’s winning! and writing this.
Yes he did idealise me at the beginning and at times throughout…and he got more and more frustrated as the real human Lesley did not match up to the ideal.Sometimes you could see him casting around for faults…trying to find sg to pick an argument about.
I also think that when Narcs feel close to someone…they recognise their own vulnerability and then the fear takes over.
They react by pushing you away and this is the denigration phase. For me it happened over and over again.
With regard to the pictures(LOL),yes it was creepy and even creepier that he kept all of our pics together.I wanted them back…but no.
He may have another woman’s face in the frames now..in fact I would expect that.Women are simply objects to him.Maybe he’ll start a collection?
I agree that idealisation is fairly normal at the start of a relationship but eventually it’s the quirks in someone or even flaws that make someone individual to a partner. I never saw evidence that my ex saw the individual in me.He talked a great game tho’.
I’m a bit regretful that I didn’t get the shoehorning bit earlier Phil or even that I complied at all. We live and learn.
I am filled with ‘non narcissistic rage’ that Eurosport are
streaming minor matches tonight whilst the number three seed is being radioed/live blogged!! Aarrgh!(LOL)
Les

I believe multi-tasking is what women are wired to do as when you have a child you spend almost an entire decade running, fetching, and never being able to complete a sentence when speaking with other adults. >wink< I have 25 new students who each think that they are my #1 priority! Yes, I do think in those moments when it seems like you're "finally" seeing something real, the N feels vulnerable (Vulnerable=Scared) and retreats. Jan
Sorry, but I can't help you with you ongoing tennis addiction. :)

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186. MillyRad - August 27, 2012

Ugh! He strikes again!

I’m a (very) part-time musician, and the band I’m in played at an event yesterday. My ex friend has been somewhat involved in our performances. He does a pretty good job at a performance, but he’s definitely not a team player so we don’t insist that he come to every practice. Our guitar player had semi-emergency surgery on his shoulder three days ago. His doctor said it was fine for him to play, but the painkillers made him a bit less detail oriented than usual. The venue was scenic, but quite rustic- a picnic pavilion in a small state park. We had a few strikes against us, and we could’ve used a few more microphones and extension cables. And we forgot a few things, but we were all being flexible and working with what we had. Almost all of us, anyways. One of the things that we forgot was a music stand for my ex friend. When he showed up very late and found out that his music stand wasn’t there, he told our drummer that we must not really want him there and that he was leaving 4 or 5 times, and then went off in a huff.

Maybe I’m being paranoid, but, to me, it looked like he came up there to pull some passive aggressive nonsense and then leave. I don’t think he he planned on performing at all. He had told another bandmate that he wanted to do a runthrough of the of the show beforehand. A perfectly feasible idea…if he’d decided to show up for it! He didn’t come until, literally, 2 minutes before we were scheduled to play. He also claimed that he wasn’t told which picnic pavilion to go to. There is only one in the park with a parking lot and he’s been to that particular park more times than I have, and he used to live just down the road from it. He didn’t even show up in the proper attire. For whatever reason, I think he decided he didn’t want to perform that day and showed up just long enough to plop the blame down on other people.

I thank my lucky stars that all I saw before the show was him show up for a couple of minutes and then leave. I wondered why he didn’t get on stage, but I was too busy and nervous to worry about it much. I only found out about his tantrum after the show was over.

I’m feeling pretty angry. At first, I felt guilty that we’d been inconsiderate to my ex friend and I felt the urge to apologize for his behavior. But now I feel angry that I wasted time preparing myself for having to be around him and then HE just bails. I feel angry that the crap I put up with, he’s now dishing out onto my friends. They don’t deserve that. At the same time, I feel a bit validated, though. I think my bandmates finally saw that my ex friend is not just a diva performer, but also a volatile, destructive, and untrustworthy person. I’m starting to feel brave enough to maybe make the request that he not be invited back to perform with us.

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phil835 - August 27, 2012

Hi Millyrad,

I’m not sure how your show went as a group? I would love to have had tickets to your N’s tiara flinging performance though! :D
Prima Donnas usually expect everyones full and undivided attention, even a quick cameo followed by exit stage left and they still expect everyone to come running? ;)

I think you nailed his intentions and motives quite well. As I said in a previous post, watch HOW they do something reveal why they do something!

“I wondered why he didn’t get on stage?”
I think you’ll find they are on stage all the time Millyrad, it’s tiring work being a Narc! ;)

I remember my N in similar situations. I think you’ve really got his number and what his game is all about. I think you’re safe to say he NEVER intended to perform with your group.
What’s coming back to me about similar situations with my N, is how real dialogue between adults in a conciliatory way, was never something she intended as part of her strategy, if indeed she were capable of it! It’s all just one big drama and a game to the Narc. Phil

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MillyRad - August 28, 2012

There was a time when I was kind if my ex friend’s go to person at performances. If he needed something I’d find it for him. That’s not something I’ve done since our friendship ended, and wasn’t my job at this show. One of the things he said to our drummer before he left was, “It’s like you guys don’t even want me here.” The guilting stuff like that still has quite an effect on me. Confession: I went back to the park to look around and see if there was anything I could have substituted for a music stand. Part of my brain knows that he’d already decided he wasn’t going to perform and, that even if we found a gilded podium with his name engraved onto it, he would’ve just found another excuse and another way to pass blame. Another part if my brain is all too willing to accept blame and be guilted. Sounds like something I need to work on.

If I ever start a band of my own, I would seriously consider the name, “Tiara Flingers.”. :D

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MillyRad - August 28, 2012

Oh, and your advice, Phil, to go beyond watching what they do versus what they say, also watching how they do things, is great!

I remember a time when my ex friend was involved in a local theater group. They were rehearsing in the building where I have a studio. Only people who work there or rent there have keys to the doors and the doors are kept locked by maintenance during non-public hours. One of the young women with whom he was rehearsing, somehow got a cut on her hand. It wasn’t severe, but it was bleeding a bit. My ex friend bolted outside to get the first-aid kit he kept in his car, but since it was during non-public hours and he’s neither a renter nor employee, the door he went out locked behind him! Apparently he pounded on the door a bit, then was able to reach someone inside by cell phone and finally was let in. He was absolutely livid and was stomping around saying how he should have keys to the building, then got in his car and peeled out of the parking lot.

When I first heard about this, I thought that it must’ve been frustrating for him to be worried about his friend and that he wanted to have more of a part in the community. But now, looking back, it just seems like his chance to play hero to an attractive young woman got squashed and HE wound up needing help to even get back inside! Who knows if he even asked if his friend was okay.

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187. Lesley - August 27, 2012

Hi there,Millyrad,
What a gameplayer this guy seems to be…this is the same guy that criticised the tattoos when he knew you had them right?
He comes across as being very’entitled’ …perhaps he expected a fanfare at his arrival or sg.
I do think seriously that you should pursue your request that he not be asked to perform again. Who needs that hassle?
It’s quite telling that for an instant you felt that you should apologise to him…Narcs are excellent at perfecting the kind of passive aggressive response that turns them into the victim and ourselves the persecutors.
However,only if we let them. It’s just an opinion but I bet this guy would hate to be completely ignored.He seems to be begging for a reaction?
Les

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MillyRad - August 28, 2012

Yeah, same guy. He would’ve gotten a warm welcome (from the other band members, at least) if he’d just showed up on time! He’s usually pretty punctual. That’s another reason I really suspect he never planned to perform that day.

He’s pretty good at what he does, but not put-up-with-a-crazy
-diva good. Our drummer, who is still on good terms with him, wants to apologize so he’ll consider doing the next show with us. I hope she doesn’t. She did forget about his music stand, so I guess that’s appropriate to apologize for, but his over the top reaction was uncalled for. I hope she leaves it at that and doesn’t do any sucking up to him. My ex friend just eats up apologies, but never gives any real ones to other people.

I personally feel unsafe around my ex friend. I can be professional and deal with working with him occasionally, but at this point, I don’t trust that there’s more than a 30% chance that he won’t bail on us next time. So frustrating. :/

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188. Donna - August 27, 2012

Hey to all, I just needed to contribute this post for me and to anyone here it might help. Music helps me heal from my encounters. I love all types of music classical, jazz, ole school, salas, country and some smooth jazz, even some Hip Hop, etc.

So here is a list of a few that have helped me and make me want to dance!!!
1. Natasha’s “Pocket Full of Sunshine”
2. Gotye’s “Someone I use to Know.”
3. Nelly Fatadas’s “Say it Right”
4. Jill Knight’s “Loneliness”
I don’t listen to Adele’s anymore because that’s in my past. Most these are on YouTube.

Dancing is the one of the biggest voids in my life and I plan to fill it in at home and on a few up coming outings.Take care everyone, I needed and need some Me time. :=)))!!!

That’s so interesting as Gotye’s “Someone I used to Know” came up the other day on the blog as seemingly being about a N. I find no greater solace than music whether is just to chill out or cranking it up full volume on the way to school. Dance away! Jan

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189. phil835 - August 27, 2012

Hi Donna, nice playlist!) I think life is more bearable if you have a great soundtrack. Not sure how much mine would help anyone including myself, but here goes!

1. Billy Bragg – A New England
(There’s also a great cover for the girls by the late Kirsty MacColl. With one of the funniest lines ever in some song lyrics, “It’s wrong to wish on space hardware”)
2. Damien Rice – 9 Crimes
3. Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart – Piano Concerto No. 23 in A major, K. 488: 2nd movement.
4. nina simone – feeling good
5. The Supernaturals – Smile
6. Fleetwood Mac – Go Your Own Way

Phil

Would you believe that my husband knew Billy Bragg in NYC? They met at a party and he used to send my husband funny emails. It’s IS a small world. Nina Simone is always good. Jan

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phil835 - August 28, 2012

Hi Jan,
It is a small world. Billy Bragg’s song was made famous and is better known by Kirsty MacColl’s versiion. She died in a boating accident some years ago,. As a tribute and in honour of MacColl, Bragg now sings the extra verses from her version of New England. Nina is great also! Phil

Phil, Your saying that reminded me that when my English Lesley was here, she also told me about Kirsty MacColl’s death. When I said, “Who?” She was aghast and had me watch the Youtube video and read about the boating accident. She’s also introduced me to Jona Lewie’s “You’ll Always Find Me In the Kitchen at Parties” which is now on my iPod. Jan

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190. snlgant - August 28, 2012

I have a song :-)
‘ My give a Damn’s busted ‘
Jo Dee Messina

Thats where I am at right now.

I’ll check Youtube to see this one! Jan

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Lesley - August 29, 2012

Hi Snigant and all,
Just checked this out and ‘Lessons in Leaving’ and I can see why they hit the spot!
It got me to thinking about my ex’s tastes in music and how they differed from mine..he used music as solely mood altering/and for it’s technical aspects rather than because it had a special meaning for him or was attached to a memory of another person.
So I suppose he used music in the same way he used people.
I remember saying to him ‘Oh that song was playing when I was in my last year at school’ or ‘they played that at my son’s birthday party’ and he would look blank.
Music was enjoyed as something for him alone and not ever as a shared experience with other people.He didn’t seem to have access to such memories or they weren’t important?
He also used it to purpose however..and at the time I found this endearing…at the start of our relationship he had saved music on his PC that he ‘hoped’ I’d like. It was as if he had bothered to download some romantic songs especially for me? I found out that these were generic,multi purpose’seduction’ songs that he had been using for years!!
All he did was change the woman’s name on the file!

You gotta laugh….

Les

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phil835 - August 29, 2012

Hi Lesley,
I think you’ve echoed these sentiments in previous posts, I felt similar emotions with my N also. You struck a chord with me last time, but I didn’t comment. Everybody has so many worthwhile and pertinent things to say, it often becomes a lottery on what particular aspects of a post to pick out and respond to. As this topic is especially dear to your heart, I’ll add my own experience and see how it relates to others.

I noticed, or should I say felt. Whenever my N said ‘How do you think this looks?’ or “What do you think to this?’ she was asking questions which were seemingly about my opinions or advice. But even when she was asking me directly, I always felt her mind was on what other people at large will think and how they will react? I felt as though she was devaluing my individual opinion, while clearly she had her focus on how the masses would react!
The narcissist crafts their image for the widest of distribtion.
If I share an intimate experience, then it becomes personal in nature and unique. Even at the time of experiencing something personal and unique, it’s as though the Narcissist already has their mind on branding it to mass produce and sell elsewhere!
That special song, place, photos anything else you thought was unique?
Find them all in the public domain along with the Narc! Phil

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snlgant - August 29, 2012

Jan, Phil, Les, Donna, thanks to you all. My backbone has connected to my brain at last. The fog has cleared and I have renewed energy I thought was lost forever. I now know that this crap is more terminal than stage four cancer In the last phase. Alas, I know I can move on. I am so coming up off of the floor one once at the time and it feels GOOD. The better I am feeling the less emotion sucking emotional juice the N soon to be out of my life has. I can BREATH !!!! I appreciate y’all for letting me break my silence. I’m coming back and I don’t plan on waiting to be defeated again by anything else that doesn’t deserve the Me that I am. I’m not looking past anything but my escape plan. Thank y’all infinity. I do not wish to remain wallowing in sorrow- I’m striving for success with out him holding me down any longer

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191. Lesley - August 28, 2012

Love this,mine would be…
‘Alison’ by Elvis Costello
‘Let’s Dance’ Bowie
O Very Young’ Cat Stevens
‘The Way You Look Tonight’ sung by Tony Bennett
‘Are we Human’ The Killers
and my favourite song…
‘Loving her was easier than anything I’ll ever do again’.Nelson/Kristofferson version.(Brilliant!)
Off to listen to them again! Les

I’ve got all of Elvis Costello, David Bowie, and The Killers on my iPod! Did you know that before Willie Nelson was all old and crusty looking, he was a ginger! haha Jan

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Moon - August 28, 2012

Hi everyone,i must add that i love Lenny kravitz,stand by my woman. I dream of a man singing me that song and meaning it.that wouldnt be an N though would it?also Lenny kravitz looks very nice in tight leather trousers.by the way Jan my N is ginger with a ginger beard to go with it,many times looking crusty!my granny used to say that fathers with rust in their willies have ginger sons,thought this would give a giggle.love moon

Haha! I did the trick. Jan

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192. Lesley - August 29, 2012

Hi Phil,
Yes, Intellectually I know what you say is spot on..and a couple of weeks ago I did work out that this is what remains ‘sore’ for me.
I’ve accepted wholly that I was a checklist, I ticked a few boxes for him,at a particular time in his life and for a particular interlude.
In facing up to this…it’s like I have half- healed.
However,as a ‘normal'(and I don’t like that description either lol),emotionally I am still slightly raw. As you know, and many other people on this forum know…Narcs idealise exceptionally well,a perfect simulation of real deep feeling..and sometimes I remember this.The words he said etc.
If I have flashbacks about the denigration,then sometimes I do find myself reflecting on ‘the good times’ and possibly this is even more painful. It’s like reflecting on a mirage. Exactly that,in fact.You would walk up to it and expect to find water and it would vanish before your eyes!
I met my ex in April 2010 and was in a relationship with him a month or two after. It ended in March to all intents and purposes this year.
You are absolutely correct that much of what he constructed…was for the masses( his status,to look like he was in a relationship etc) or for h