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The Dark Triad vs. The Dark Tetrad Personality February 12, 2014

Posted by alwaysjan in Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
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I first wrote about the Dark Triad of personality traits in 2009 in Why Bad Guys Really Do Get the Most GirlsUnfortunately, the post, which was linked to New Scientist, has since been blocked so that only those with a subscription can view the article in its entirety. Sad face.

Today, I read an article on CNN about how Online Trolls are Internet Sadists.  These are the people who write anonymous provocative comments online crafted to antagonize and upset, and they rate highly in Dark Tetrad personality characteristics.  My first reaction was that someone needed to use Spellcheck.  I’m familiar with The Dark Triad: Narcissism, Machivellianism, and psychopathy. These three traits together form an unchecked malignancy of the human core.  But wait, there’s more! The missing, until now, red-headed stepchild is Sadism. And The Dark Triad + Sadism equals The Dark Tetrad. Shudder.

I urge you to read Everyday Sadism – Throwing Light on the Dark Triad, published by the Association for Psychological Science.  

I’ve written mostly about Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), which I’ve often referred to as Baby Bear with Anti-Social Behavior being Mama Bear and Big Bad Daddy being Psychopathy. Both Sociopaths and Psychopaths show high levels of narcissism.

The Narcissist who darkened my door made several comments/gestures that in the light of day seem down right sadistic. I think we often think of narcissists as blundering bufoons who go through life like bulls in the china shop unaware of the effect they have on others? It’s like they don’t know any better? Or do they? Food for thought.

Image: This one goes WAY back to Mark, a blogger who went on to write for the blog, The Critical Thinker.  He’s been off my radar for too long.

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1. Fellow Survivor - February 12, 2014

Oh they know better, that’s for sure.

I once said to my x N “if you know what you are doing is wrong and do it anyway that makes you evil. If you don’t know what you are doing is wrong and do it anyway that makes you clueless.” She is not clueless.

FS,
I believe you. Jan

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susan - February 12, 2014

no shes not clueless she KNOWS alright like they ALL DO

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2. susan - February 12, 2014

i actually wondered this about this statement recently of them having low self esteem Yes they may have but they do KNOW what they are doing for god sakes. i have just finished with my SECOND narc i am a magnet for them im afraid with my giving nature. his last statement was “he needs to be fixed” hmmmm the hurt hes down to me by cheating for nearly a year he can rot in hell…..why should “i” fix HIM ….they know what they are doing all right they are just pure…cocky..arrogant attention seeking twats.

Susan,
Yes, they do have low self-esteem despite all their bravado. It’s because they have no real sense of a genuine “self.” And there’s no fixing them though people have spent decades trying. I think denying that they know what they’re doing/saying lets them off the hook too easily and fails to recognize their often sinister side. Jan

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SUSAN - February 23, 2014

Very true, the hurt he has left behind will be with me for a long long time. I will now “hopefully” dismiss an N if I start to get involved in another and see those great HUGE warning signs, I feel I should change but then why should I change my giving nature no one can change. Its only now I realise he cannot change having met up with him recently just to see what he was like and was he remorseful etc… hmmmm no he was not he told me how he had actually cheated on the one he had just cheated on me with !!!! so there I HAD my answer he has NOT and will never CHANGE they cant, so I had to walk away yes I wont say its dammed hard but when I was with him he was so cold then once I wasn’t there anyone me wanted me back hence the “chase” is loved by all the N’s yes I am wiser Dammed hurt though but wiser. Thank you Jan as ever a big thank you

Susan,
You don’t need to change your giving nature, but you do need to be wary of those who are only too happy to take, take, take. I believe that almost every commenter on my blog deluded themselves into thinking that they were the exception – the Narcissist would change for them because they loved/understood the N like no other. It’s hard to realize that you are only one in a long line of others who were used and discarded. “Damned hurt” is a good starting point to move forward with your life. :) Jan

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susan - March 5, 2014

omg sooo very true i DID Think that too. I thought i made him happy and his sons. His sobs didnt live with him so i had them over at mine all the time to make HIM HAPPY…. n how did he repay me…….. by sleeping with another woman for a WHOLE year…may he rot in hell…….

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3. czbz - February 22, 2014

Thanks for the link, Jan! By coincidence, I’ve been writing about online narcissists and how we might spot them in cyber-communities. This article ties in neatly and I’ll be using it as a resource for future articles! Thank you!!

You provide such great resources, CZ. Always happy to help. Jan

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SUSAN - February 23, 2014

I HOPE to god then there isn’t a THIRD .. im on IT now I am NOT being taken in for a third time, bitter and twisted am I / I sincerely hope not hurt yes bitter hmm im on my GUARD NOW …..

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4. Lynette d'Arty-Cross - March 5, 2014

I think that they have a dim awareness that they are not like most others, but their judgement about themselves is so impaired that they just can’t access the help they need. My ex-narcissist knew that there was something wrong with him, but he thought that if he could only find the “magic bullet,” he would be happy and everything would be great.

They are so focused on themselves that they have little, if any, knowledge of the effect they have on others. They may technically “know better” but they don’t understand the point as to why they should. My ex often broke the law but really believed that the law(s) he was breaking were silly. He couldn’t stretch himself to see that his behaviour might be harming or distressing others.

Good questions. :)

Lynette,
Everything you described (minus the breaking of the law(s), could have been written about the N who darkened my door. On some level, he was aware he was different, but he turned this into a source for celebration? It also gave him an excuse when he behaved badly. I am who I am. blah blah blah
Jan

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5. Source B - March 5, 2014

Very interesting perspective here — and, refreshingly, it explains a lot. “Why is X doing this? There must be a good reason …” is at the cornerstone of what’s so weird and upsetting about them.

“It’s just them. They like it. They do it to make themselves feel better. Their action serves no other purpose beyond giving them a high.”

It’s shocking to think how little this is about *you*:-

“I feel bad, so I’ll find someone to hurt.”

Source B,
I can’t help but liken it to children who feel bad about themselves, so they pick on others. Oh, wait a minute, I’m describing a bully? I spend way too much time with people shorter than myself. :) Jan

“I feel pretty much okay, but it’ll be nicer if I can find someone to hurt.”

“I’m on top of the world! And, if I hurt you right now, things will be EVEN BETTER!”

Eeeps!

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SUSAN - March 5, 2014

My N would Have what he called “hic ups” every few months and say “im not feeling it for you” and we would break up I would contact him we would tex one another etc etc and you got the picture we would make up again its only NOW that I am OUT of the situation I can see it for what it WAS, it was just to keep me on my toes and so I would go RUNNING back to him, what a dam FOOL I was god I was taken in !!!!! I noticed all the time it was always about him him him, and he would never move forward either his wife cheated on him 10 years ago and he would never tell me he loved me I DONT DO LOVE…WHERE HAS LOVE EVER GOT ME he would say, he made me feel so unwanted and never complimented me at all ever, I did love him but it was wearing very very thin, so much so that when I found out he had been cheating on me for a whole year ( although he had said that he thought he was having man problems hmm yes probably was as he was KEEPING two of us happy the b*****d) I was determined that there would be no more hic ups I was sick of them I had had enough of his way, then like I say I found out he had been cheating, when I TOLD him he could have her then, he replied I DONT WANT her she isn’t good enough !!!!! says it all doesn’t it…. :-(

Susan,
No one is good enough. That’s the problem. Then they make you jump through hoops for their own entertainment and just to make sure you will. It’s so confounding and so exhausting and for what purpose? Their entertainment? I’ve noticed that many also have a Sad Story (my wife cheated on me) that helps you rationalize some of their bad behavior. My N’s Sad Story was he’d been sent to boarding school in a foreign country for 10 years. He used this, I believe, to explain away much of the way he mis/behaved. They use it like a Get Out of Jail Free card. Sorry, Susan, you had to go through the wringer. Jan

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Source B - March 5, 2014

It’s amazing that some people can’t just settle down and be happy, Susan. I’m sorry for what you’ve been through.

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susan - March 5, 2014

Thank you once again Jan ….im bitter and i am aware..i will NOT dismiss those great big ALARM bells next time..this time i tread carefully almost tip toe like :-) …..I have now wasted 12 years 9 on first N and 3 yrs on last N.. 12 years i can never get back..its made me ill put on weight n they have tried !!!! to change my bubbly personality they WILL NOT WIN !! :-)

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6. pds - June 11, 2014

My person only said that she “processed things differently”….. or rather that “WE processed things differently” as an explanation (excuse) for not knowing if she saw us together long term.

This was following a 6 month honeymoon period of fake empathy, fake love (infatuation with something new), spending sprees, gifts, fancy dinners, redecorating her bedroom to make it our own sanctuary, as well as vanquish ghosts and memories of former partners for MY sake , not hers, as she collects momentos (hearts and souls) from all previous partners…..and displays them as her well deserved treasures to attract new supply.

I think she is BPD/NPD/OCPD (clean and organized as a neurotic raccoon),, although I’m not a psychiatrist….. but that is what my gut tells me, as in the beginning she seemed to have the hope and vulnerability of a child but in the end suddenly switched to a very cruel and cold hearted woman….someone unrecognizable to me , a person with a distorted face full of hatred, contempt and rage aimed directly at me. She referenced her Mother in the final rant and how I reminded her of something about her and some old Aunt that apparantly she remembered as having ruined every holiday.
IT WAS BIZARRE AND DISTURBING !

Lots and lots of tranferences and cognitive distortions, but she was correct on one point, we DO process things differently.

I can’t fathom what it must be like to live in her mind and not be able to give and receive love and not be capable of sustaining a mature committed love from lack of love, validation, and nurturing in childhood.

I believe we all sustained impactful wounds from caretakers who were limited but thank goodness my Father and paternal grandmother were loving, kind, and nurturing.
Momma bear was a baby bear and limited but tried within her limitations.

Peace to all ….life is short… try to live in the moment, forgive the past, lean into the future…..

PDS,
“It was bizarre and disturbing,” says it all. You will never know exactly “what” she had (though she sounds strangely similar to our family friend who was Borderline), but you do know how it made you feel and that you’d had enough. Good for you. One of the most disturbing things I ever witnessed was having our “friend” flip on both myself and my husband (for different reasons). It was ugly. I’ve been watching “Penny Dreadful” (boy, that’ll give you some crazy dreams), and the character of Dorian Gray in the series had me reading about the original story by Oscar Wilde. It’s seeing their true face that’s so scary. Yes, peace to all and keep moving forward. Always, Jan

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7. pds - June 11, 2014

She actually broke up with me and I was hurt, confused and disoriented, as I still did not know what I was dealing with and wanted a committed relationship with the person I thought she was … the one I trusted with my heart and the person who I thought I knew.

I grieved the sense of home and family we had created and I missed her dog, as we had developed a bond that actually was real.

Before I ever knew the truth of her disorder or anything about the term “no contact” ,
I just knew that following those final, horrible words that any further access to me would be harmful and besides you can’t un-know what you now know… you can’t put the cat back into the bag. The damage was already done and I just needed to surround myself with people who really know me and love me just as I am( flaws and all) and know that I actually do have something to offer to others, including her, otherwise I wouldn’t have been targeted in the first place.

During the split/ black that is ….
She told me I had nothing to offer, needed a psychiatrist and NEVER followed through on anything….. oh !… and maybe NOW she could watch a T.V. show ( there was a television in every room including the bathroom)
She also said she didn’t like being under someone’s thumb ( with seething hatred in her voice)
Intellectually I understand as much as I can , but I’ m not sure if you can be as trusting and open going forward. Someday maybe I will just get a dog !

Hi PDS,
I’m usually better about replying the same day, but I’ve been recovering from surgery. Yes, it’s so painful to think you know someone only to have them turn on you. You’re right in that once some things are said, there is just no “unsaying” them. You’ve been given a glimpse into the abyss and it’s ugly. Everyone who’s commented always says that they’ll never be so trusting again, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, if it means you’re more mindful of someone’s words and behavior. You WILL go forward and you will trust again – but the first person you need to be able to trust is yourself. (As a dog lover, I can tell you that my two dogs have helped “nurse” me back to help – if that means trying to get the crumbs from my biscuits and snoring along side me.) Always, Jan

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8. bettereveryday - August 1, 2014

It is amazing what a profound effect having an experience with an N has on you. Like a lot of people I was totally unprepared. Like a lot of you I am an intelligent, strong, independent, attractive, energetic, person. I am also the daughter of an N mother. I survived that, was emancipated at 16 and did very well away from her. I was “adopted” by friends and their families and I learned what functioning familial relationships were like. How “normal” people lived. I thought I was bullet proof. I’ve done my share of seeing friends through difficult times and they eventually healed and moved on from whatever they were experiencing but they were always grateful for my friendship – and it was friendship – effort on both sides. I never felt that being there for them was a mistake. I never felt used. When I met my N, it seemed like a similar situation. Unlike experiences others have had with Ns, mine wasn’t “perfect” in the beginning. Early on he told me that he was going through a hard time. I’ll bullet point it: ex-military, ptsd, anxiety, panic attacks, paranoia, substance abuse (binge drinking), divorce, estranged from family (black sheep). Why would I bother with someone with all this going on? He was getting treatment (therapy and medication) and from where he told me he once was (homeless, suicidal) he seemed to be putting his life in order. Having been on my own since 16 and all that came with that, I admire people that try to better their situation. I can support those efforts.

I realize now that by telling all that early on, I was set up to be his caretaker not partner, and to not expect anything from him, and to not have any needs of my own met or even mentioned. It was all about him. Of course I didn’t realize this. I thought we were sharing. I thought we were there for each other. I thought we bonded over our experiences – especially with the family issues. I was love bombed in the beginning. He said I was exactly what he needed. That he felt calm around me. He’d call several times a day. Wanted to know when I was leaving work, wanted me with him as soon as possible. Of course he had no understanding of my work or that it took me an hour to get home everyday. We spent day after day together and that’s not my style. When I would break away or say I was going to workout or meet a friend he would always call saying he he had a nightmare or a panic attack and could I come over. Of course I did. At the same time, he would also tell me about other people he was seeing before me and how they weren’t right for him. I realize now that I was witness to someone else’s D&D phase. He actually D&D’d someone else to idealize me. Of course it worked. Who doesn’t want to think they are better than the last. You are what they need and they will flourish with your love and support – if only.

After only a few months I already didn’t recognize myself. I wasn’t doing the things I normally do, I wasn’t seeing my friends, and I was walking on eggshells around him for fear of triggering his anxiety or making him upset enough to call another girl, drink heavily, or act in other self-destructive ways. Then it began, he wasn’t all smiles when he saw me. I didn’t instantly make his anxiety go away just by being there. Instead I was triggering him. He started disappearing, usually on the weekends or make plans with me and then cancel at the last minute or change the plans mid-stream. Sometimes I’d be at his house thinking we were staying in so I’d be dressed very casual and then he would shower and get dressed to go out. Sometimes with me, sometimes without. Sometimes he would be out and say that he might need me to pick him up and then I wouldn’t hear from him and he wouldn’t answer the phone. Now I was feeling used and I spoke up and that was that – DISCARD!

Amazingly, I was still attributing this behavior to ptsd. I researched it, went on forums (sound familiar?). I met people there who experienced similar things with their ptsd sufferer. After a while he contacted me and I thought see, he does care he’s just damaged. Again I would be there for him and he would tell me about his therapy and how he was doing better. But he wasn’t the same toward me it was like he was always looking over my shoulder for someone else, someone shiny and new. He was secretive with his phone calls and friends. He actually got upset when his friends invited me out with them when he wasn’t around. He was sure we talked about him unfavorably and gave me a lecture about how he values loyalty and if we were going to be together he needs to know that I’m loyal to him and that whatever he tells me or whatever we do is nobody’s business. Wait? Isn’t it my life too? I can talk about things that happen in my life – including you. Nevermind that when he was drinking he would tell anyone who would listen his whole life story until their eyes were as big as saucers and they walked away dizzy saying – whoa!

We continued to have contact here and there, on his terms of course. Under the guise of “friendship.” He would often tell people I was his best friend. I did not share that feeling, but I thought without the deep emotional feelings I could handle being “friends.” I’m an idiot. All I did was give him license to continue to do as he pleased and ask me to clean up the mess. Luckily I found my way to sites like these and a huge light went on. I broke away. I saw a therapist just to confirm my findings and it felt good to have someone tell me I wasn’t crazy and I did not deserve this and gave me tools so that I would not repeat this with anyone else. “Be genuine in your relationships.” If you like something say so, if you don’t like something say so. I consider myself to be easy going – go with the flow – the cool girl. But as it turns out that’s what got me in trouble. In the past, if someone I started dating said they weren’t looking for anything serious or they have a lot going on, etc. I would say that I wasn’t “looking” either. But now I know that people that say that do not want to be held accountable for their actions and that is not ok. Now I would say, well I’m looking for someone who is genuinely interested in my life, someone that respects and would rather cut their arm off than treat me unkind.

Go forth and heal!!

Better,
Wow! If it’s any comfort, I have a friend who’s been in a relationship with a veteran with PTSD and although I know this disorder is real and afflicts so many, it can also serve as a convenient excuse to manipulate others such as yourself. The post I just put up on “Can A Narcissist Love” has a link that deals with enmeshment, which I think applies to you. (I was just happy I finally learned to spell this word correctly – as I read about it, I realized the N in my life also looked at me as merely an extension of himself and not as a separate human being).
You’ve come so far considering that you had a Narcissist as a parent. That so often sets the stage. Sometimes the abuse/neglect/indifference is more obvious. Other times it is more subtle. But ultimately you are a survivor, so you are to be commended for seeing the light and moving forward with your life. Thank you so much for sharing your story as it will help others. All of the best to you. Always, Jan

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9. strongereveryday - August 2, 2014

Thanks Jan, I’ll check that out. I am sympathetic to those suffering with ptsd but you are correct, I believe my N used it to keep the focus on him and to avoid having to apologize for any of his behavior. When I still thought he was someone who needed a break, I also lent him money. I believed it was an exceptional situation but it was like feeding a stray cat – he kept coming back. I would say no but he would beg, plead, tell me he’d be out on the street, etc. He also said he would be able to pay me back all at once when he received money from the gov’t he was expecting. Of course I found out later that was all a lie and that he also had a gambling problem. He confessed all this to me 2 weeks after the pay back day came and went. I insisted that he pay me back and surprisingly he is making monthly payments. Amazingly, it hasn’t stopped him from asking for additional funds along the way. I’ve refused, of course, but I have to say no 5 times. I try to explain to him how out of bounds it is for someone to do what he’s doing. How could he possibly consider asking me for favors. Him asking me for favors is pretty much the extent of our contact. I keep saying no.

It’s been hard to just dismiss him. I know he’s not a happy person. A few times he talked about hurting himself. He lives near me. A couple of months ago he called and asked if I could come over. I could tell he was upset. I went. He just sat there playing music and talking about hurting himself. I told him if he was serious I would call 911.

He been seeing someone for a while now. Seems to be going well. I admit I’m a bit obsessed with wondering when the dominos will fall for her. I know he hasn’t changed. I see it every time he calls me needing something or other. On another site there was a list of 75 traits/behaviors associated with NPD. I went through it. His score was 54. I just can’t imagine that he’s been able to keep all of this under wraps. I know he likes her but when I ask about her what’s she’s like, what she does, etc.,expecting him to sing her praises, but instead he minimizes it and says they have sex. I say it’s got to be more than that and just shrugs. He’s taking college classes, she didn’t go to college. He thinks she is intellectually inferior to him and that he will probably meet someone more equal to his intelligence at school. He said he told her that if she doesn’t want to do more with her life they won’t be together no matter how much he likes her. I told him that if you really care about someone it shouldn’t matter what they do for a living as long as they are happy. I think he thought I would agree with him because I have a degree and a good career. I’m all for people accomplishing things but you shouldn’t push your ideals on someone else. He was more concerned with how it reflected on him. Wow.

Sorry, I’m rambling. It’s good to get it out. No one understands how this takes over your mind. Unlike many others dealing with Ns, limited contact has given me the opportunity to take my power back and to find my voice again. I don’t treat him like he’s made of glass anymore. I’m still here, I’m still me. Thank you.

Stronger,
My husband just informed me I can download a free app, so I can read the Kindle ebook on my computer, which is good as I have to squeeze this in before school starts in 12 days. As my late father used to say, “In life, there are givers and there are takers.” I think you can sort out who’s who in your arrangement. His finally making a payment towards what he owes you made me think of the Stockholm Syndrome where a “small kindness” gives you hope and allows you to forgive/justify the multitude of abuses you’ve suffered.

Also, if I’ve learned ONE thing in the eight years since the Narcissist darkened my door, it’s that they are incapable of real love and NEVER change. A huge number of commenters hang onto the idea that someone (other than themselves) was able to win the Narcissist’s heart. It simply doesn’t happen, no matter how well things “appear” to be going. So waiting for the other shoe to drop is a waste of energy. As it mentioned in the article “Can A Narcissist Love Me?” just asking a Narcissist what it is they “love” about you can leave them virtually speechless. He’s already told you that his current squeeze is basically his sex outlet. I’d totally distance myself from this man as he’s a Taker and you cannot make him into a happy person. Sad but true. Jan

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10. strongereveryday - August 3, 2014

Jan,
I’ve read a lot of the posts and comments at the different links on your site and I have to say that you have a great way of being caring while not pulling punches. I love that you tell people the cold truth about NPD. You can tell for some it is a hard concept to grasp, that someone could be so inhumane. We are human because we can reason but there is no reasoning with an N.

Being a teacher you will appreciate that I am a quick study. Once I realized I was dealing with an N and that the ptsd was not the issue, I read everything I could get my hands on. I’m still reading because I never want to forget. Knowledge is POWER. He used my good nature against me. I realized he was making me feel the way my Mom did growing up and I’d worked too hard to over come that and I wasn’t going back. Along with my mind and sense of self, he willingly took from me something no one else had, my security (money). That scared the crap out of me and I ran to a therapist for help and guidance. I am not in the least bit grateful that my N is paying on the debt he owes me but I am surprised he hasn’t used it to punish me for no longer being at his beck and call and not holding my tongue. I’ve already resolved that if he did ever stop paying (the payments are deposited automatically – I don’t have to ask him for it every month, I don’t have to talk to him or see him – these were my terms), I will not say a thing. I will not chase after him and tell him that he is without integrity. He will hear nothing from me.

Lastly, I just want to put down some of the things that I noticed repeating in many of the posts so that if someone reads this they will know they are not crazy.

– It sounds like we all knew/dealt with the same person
– Ns NEVER change – they are not just having a bad day – this is their life – you are their life source
-Breaking from an N is unlike ending any other relationship (give yourself a break – you feel horrible because you HAVE FEELINGS)
-Indifference is a deadly weapon – The N sucks out your soul and then spits it out complaining that it tastes bitter
-No one deserves what the N dishes out
-There is no winning the Ns game
-The best and only revenge is living a good life – your life – N FREE

Jan – there are angels wings waiting for you. Thank you for your humor, understanding and wisdom and proving there is life after N.

Stronger,
As a teacher, I can also tell that you’re a good writer! :) Having him repay what he borrowed automatically was the smart way to go, and I like your attitude that if he doesn’t pay, so be it. I have a friend who was involved with a man (not a N to my knowledge, just a bottom feeder), who she loaned $7000 to for his DUI. He’d send her $100 for a couple of months and then nothing. It was as though this debt tethered her to him….for years! At some point, you just have to realize that your sanity is worth more than the money, which she eventually did.

Also, congratulations to you for surviving a N mother and then recognizing when this man made you bad, that feeling of deja vu that led you to do the research. BTW I’m currently half way through my ebook version of “Sweet Relief From the Everyday Narcissist.” “Another book on narcissism?” my husband sighed. Knowledge IS power and the points you bulleted are all of the main points someone must know and embrace before they can extricate themselves from such a tangled web.

Finally, your words are so kind. I get a lot of satisfaction by listening and trying to prod (sometimes poke) people into seeing that the N is basically a unicorn – an imaginary creature. I can only write about this honestly because I, too, felt “taken.” It took me awhile to establish No Contact as it was so tempting to look at photos on Facebook. And of course, he was always smiling! When you’re oblivious to the affect you have on others, you can do that. You sound like you are in a really good place so your moniker fits. Always, Jan

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11. strongereveryday - August 3, 2014

Just another note – btw – I rebuilt my security – I knew I could. But I once told him that helping him would put a strain on me financially. I wanted to see what he would do. Shocker! – he took it anyway, claiming that HE was my security. How would that work? Please let this be a lesson to all out there. You may think well, it’s just money, or it’s just this once or he just needs someone to show him that people are good. He knows people are good – his life depends on it. Do not give this person your life.

Wise words. Jan

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12. strongereveryday - August 3, 2014

Thanks Jan. My degree is in English Lit. Though I don’t write nearly as much as I used to. In my career I read a lot. Legal documents. People I have told about growing up with my N mother have often thought I should write a book. The therapist I saw said it was one of the worst stories she’d ever heard but that ironically cutting me loose was the best thing she ever did as mother. Away from her she couldn’t inject me with her poison. I had no contact with her for 23 years, 16-39. When I did see her it was at my grandmother’s (her mother) funeral. She exhibited classic N behavior. It was like watching the animals at the zoo – I felt removed, standing there going, wow, look at that! I didn’t turn into that nervous, confused child. I was different! I’m 46 now and since our encounter she has made attempts here and there to stay in touch – she’s on the redemption tour. But since she’s an N, there’s nothing behind it. It’s not real and oh boy are there ulterior motives.

Anyway, I am in a good place – working on it everyday. Therapist said what I’ve heard a lot – I’m strong. Gave me a clean bill of health after 8 sessions but the door is always open if I want to “check in” or just talk she said she knows sometimes when people are strong they get leaned on a lot and don’t have outlets for their own struggles. That’s why I appreciate people like yourself. Maybe I will write that book…
Peace.

Stronger,
Your therapist has an excellent point regarding strong people getting leaned on a lot, so it’s great to have someone you are welcome to revisit if the need arises. If a book seems too daunting (I’m going through this myself now as I have the beginnings of a YA fiction book), perhaps you could start with a short story. But of course if you do that, you would have to revisit some dark places that you’ve since shone the light on. Just putting it out there, as I’ve found writing about narcissism to be incredibly cathartic. Peace. Jan

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13. strongereveryday - August 10, 2014

Hi Jan,
I was just informed that the N I wrote about is engaged to the girl he is with now. I saw him a month ago and he said he’d been seeing someone for awhile but that they had only been “together” bf/gf for a couple months. Maybe he was just saying that for whatever reason but I came away from that meeting with a few thoughts. He never said her name, he called her “my girl” or said anything particularly nice about her even though I’m sure she is a very nice person. A few days later he called me late, asked me to come over – he was depressed and talking about killing himself. A couple weeks later he contacted me asking to borrow money. I refused. He continued to contact me for the next few days asking for money in different amounts and I refused all. I am just stunned. My feelings are mixed. On one hand, I admit that I my thoughts would be consumed wondering where he was and who he was with. Now I know and I know I must free my mind of him once and for all. I think I became addicted to the fact that I knew after periods of NC he would return for something or another. I actually wanted that so I could reject him. On the other hand, from what I saw of him during the year and a half of knowing him, I can’t believe she sees someone she wants to spend the rest of her life with. Color me confused. I wish her happiness – really, because the alternative I wouldn’t wish on anyone.

I know I have been better since he stopped being a focus of my days. I even made a list of all of the things I have been able to do in the past 6 months and it felt good to know I had picked myself up and took back my life. So why do my thoughts always return to him – they’re not even good thoughts or memories. Why can’t I just forget him? I know it’s partly because he broke down walls that I usually have up in intimate relationships. I’d never really bought in to the idea of finding “the one.” But for a short, very short period of time I let my guard down with him. Maybe that’s it. Whatever it is, it’s time for it to end – I need my mind back.

Stronger,
It is very hard to move on when you are still hoping that after periods of No Contact, he’ll come back into your life, so you’ll have the opportunity to reject him. You will never get even. You will not recover what you “lost” by doing this. You will just continue to be drawn back into the drama and his illogical thinking.
Read the link to “Can a Narcissist Love Me?” that’s in my latest post. If you’ve already read it, read it again. Not only will the N not love you, he is incapable of loving anyone! N’s move quickly to secure new supply and his sudden “engagement” is a classic Red Flag. My SIL married one and said the D&D began the day after they were married. A Narcissist will tell someone whatever he thinks they want to hear or whatever buys him time with no intention of following through on what he’s said.
You can’t move on with your life if you’re allowing him to revisit the “scene of the crime.” The only way to win this game is to stop playing it. (It took me a full two years for the fog to lift.) My late father told me once when I was crying over a boy as a teenager that when you love someone, it should make you feel good. And I’ll add that it should make you feel good about yourself. A, Jan

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14. Adrienne - September 20, 2014

I am EXTREMELY EMPATHETIC. Just as a Narc can find that one lonely, needy girl in the room- I can feel the emotions of the most troubled soul. And even more self-destructively I can repair them and tel them that everything is going to be okay. Well, 14 very long, tortured, tearful years of off and on- in and out of incarceration, rehabs and of course over 50 relationships with OTHER women including ones that I knew about, participated in and all because THIS would be what IT was. Everytime he broke my heart I would change again. I would morph into something even more “custom-made”. But, no matter how I changed my appearance, my job, my morals, values and also my mothering to his 3 children….SOMETHING was always wrong with me. Oh, there is no more a tortured soul than one constantly at fault. I went to University and worked full time with 3 children to get a degree because he wanted an overly educated woman- then right before I was to graduate he had a swift notion that we move across the country and live a whole differant life. He wanted a seductive stripper girlfriend and thats what I became….morphing, changing, trying to become. The physical abuse was dehumanization at its most evil form- broken face, damaged internal organs, and rape in every sense of the word. My children were small little “hims” so thank God they were spared, then. But, even my pets were beaten and even killed (He brought me a kitten that I nursed back to health- only for him to football kick it in a rage and kill it instantly) But, I knew he was in there SOMEWHERE because I had SEEN him. Little did I know it was a systematic manipulation. He knew my evil stepmother had made me the scapegoat and BAD CHILD of my family- I was used to being responsible for others’ shortcomings. But, I was never as good of an actor as he. He finally admitted that it was a DRINKING problem. When he left us again and went to rehab “for his family” (really in hopes that the judge would be lenient for his 4th DUI) I was convinced he would change. He would tell grandiose tales of all of the WORK he was doing on himself. I also did a lot of work. I put myself and my kids in counseling and we all gained the peace back that had been missing for so long. But, it turns out that while I was working on ME, he was “werkin” on his VERY OWN COUNSELOR in the OFFICE of the facility he was in. Sociopaths are always pushing the limits. He ended it and came home and it was absolute heaven for the longest time it had ever been= 7 months. I was doing everything right and so was he. Our kids finally got to see both of their parents happy. But, daily life wasn’t exciting enough. Cleaning, homework, and bedtime stories weren’t exciting enough, and once again he was bored. He would criticize everything I did. EVERYTHING. And since I did nothing wrong= The complaint was, and still is that I “was always doing laundry and I neglected him emotionally with no ‘pillow-talk” I caught him cheating. He was not prepared for the new me. I had discovered myself and my voice….AND I PULLED HIS CARD! He then decided to pull a knife. I then called the police- something that was always OFF LIMITS. So, now I get the silent treatment while he idealizes her and slams me for calling the cops. That’s okay though. I’m alright with that. I went online and tried desperately to find out what it is that made me do ALL THAT LAUNDRY! HA! It is amazing how we can punish ourselves, isn’t it? I then came across a video by OLLIE MATTHEWS on the YOUTUBE channel titled “Narcissism; the scariest movie you will ever see”. THAT WAS IT, MY LIFE. IN THAT VIDEO. AND GODDAMN IT WASN’T ME! AND EVEN BETTER- I AM NOT THE ONLY ONE!!!! I am 33 and the last 14 years with him have been diabolically evil. But, I was finally at peace. I knew the reasons. I know his parents, and I know WHY and it has absolutely nothing to do with me! feel sad and sorry for him because I know what he grew up with, terribly explosively humiliating narc mother and absent narc father. I haven’t always been the most religious person, but I cant help but think that this day in age that there has to be SOME option for these lost souls. After all WE will ALL be okay. WE WILL feel love again and also feel it RETURNED to us. I cannot help but believe this is not just a personality disorder but also a SPIRITUAL MALADY. It is such an incredibly evil force that there must be a force of LIGHT introduced. I am not going to try it on mine. But, maybe there is hope that this madness could end for everyone. I have a very long road ahead- I will have to completely rebuild who I am. But, I welcome it. Its on my terms now. I rejoice and savor every single wave of pain that wells up behind my eyes and FEEL THAT SHIT to the FULLEST. I HAVE TO AND ITS MINE. I claim it. No one can take it away, and I know that even though its the most excruciating pain I have EVER felt- I know when its coming and I have the control. I will NOT hurt someday. I cannot say so much for him. I have a long road. The kids are older and have opinions that he doesn’t like. I don’t know how this co-parenting with him will go but anything is better than WHERE I WAS.

Adrienne,
When I first approved your comment, it provided a picture of you and a link to Facebook. I took the liberty of deleting your last name and the link to protect your privacy.
I have to say that yours is one of the more brutal accounts I’ve heard. Those with NPD are driven by fantasies and love novelty, so the down and dirty of daily life and parenting is just SO beneath them. I’m afraid that “extreme empathy” can leave one open to all sorts of manipulation, all in the hopes of “helping” someone. That in itself can be disordered when you “need” to be in the helper role because that’s how you receive your validation. It sets one up to be a martyr.
How absolutely painful it must have been to try and reinvent yourself over and over again. Especially since you began doing this at a young age. It sounds though that you’ve seen the light and are working to rediscover your true self. You’ve spent so much time trying to please someone. You need to focus on YOU.
I’m afraid that co-parenting with any person whose personality is disordered is a can of worms. They can still manipulate from afar. I have a friend who is constantly trying to undo the damage her daughters’ father does when he has the girls at his house. Children always want to believe the best, even when the reality of the situation should sent them running for cover. It’s a tough road you have ahead, but as long as you’re walking in the right direction, which is away from this man.
Finally, I’ve never given much thought to any hopes that these people will be “redeemed,” for lack of a better word. I save my hope for their victims who must deal with the damage left behind.
My initial thoughts after only one cup of coffee. :)
Always, Jan

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15. When You Have Something to Say, the Trolls Come Out to Play | The Psych Scrivener - October 23, 2014

[…] Two studies were done, which examined personality traits and commenting styles of 1,215 people and found that the Internet trolls had these four personality traits: narcissism, psychopathy, sadism, and Machiavellianism. These four traits are known as “The Dark Tetrad”. […]

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