Thursday, April 19, 2007

Narcissists and Their Fear of Abandonment

A lifelong pattern I have observed in my supremely narcissistic mother is her constant fear of abandonment. It colors all her interactions with any person she has turned into a source of narcissistic supply. It describes her entire relationship to her husband, my father. From many conversations with her over the years of my growing up and adulthood (I should call them monologues, not conversations) I have insight that her fear of abandonment goes way back into her early childhood. It has been the focus of her fears as far back as her memories begin.

Along with this fear of abandonment is her behavior which seems hell-bent on fulfilling her prophecy of abandonment. Her behavior seems designed to bring on the very thing she fears most. I have watched her force people to abandon her again and again. She finally, after 40+ years, convinced me to abandon her too.

I cite my mother's behavior because she is nothing unique as it concerns narcissism. She is quintessential. As such, in describing her I am describing general malignant narcissism. Therefore, it is useful information for you. That being said, I will continue. You may be tempted to believe the narcissist really wants to be abandoned because of how relentless their attempts are to push people to the edge of what they can or will take. You would be wrong. It is the most visceral fear of the narcissist to be abandoned. Not because they value human companionship or warmth. Oh, no. It has nothing to do with that. It has to do with the life-blood of the vampire...narcissistic supply. They fear, more than anything else, losing all sources of supply. This is what abandonment represents to them.

So they have this obsessive need to reassure themselves that a "source" is safe and secure by pushing, testing, challenging your dedication and devotion to their cause. It is very nearly suicidal behavior. The thing they need for survival they constantly push away. It is like the very act of pushing away is to test the magnetic field which keeps you attached to them. They seem to get a high just by seeing how determined you are to push back in order to stay close to them. If the magnetic field appears to be weakening because you don't spring back very readily, they are filled with portents of doom. It is likely to bring on even worse behaviors from them.

One of my mother's ways of psychologically coping with the inevitable abandonment of others is by putting on a "show" of how she is the one doing the abandoning. If she can't credibly pull this off, then she will make a "show" of how unsurprised she is by it. My mother makes a nearly constant theme of how she hates surprises. She claims that God Almighty sees her plight so He reveals things to her ahead of time. I would not be able to count how many times I've heard her say this. So my mother lays claim to nearly infallible "premonitions" which she interprets to be messages from the Almighty Himself. With this superstitious and mystical construct she can lay claim to never being surprised by anything. This is an example of how a narcissist provides herself with protective insulation for the inevitable desertion of others. The finer points of how narcissists may play this game will differ from person to person. But the overall defense is that of how unsurprised they are by what happens to them. It is an illusion of control they want to project as well as what they need to believe in order to keep functioning.

In my next post I will describe the one event in my mother's life where she was so completely surprised that it knocked her off her pins for a couple of years or more. The surprise was so utter and complete she was unable to mount a credible defense against it. Therefore, it ushered in an emotional break-down that took her years to climb out of. The source of that surprise was my 17 year old self.

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