Tuesday, September 02, 2008

We Shoot Mad Dogs

The debate will likely continue ad infinitum: are narcissists the result of their own free will choices over time resulting in their becoming dangerous and evil, or are they victims of genetics and/or bad circumstances? The debate will likely never conclude because there will always be a large number of people who refuse to acknowledge the reality of volitional human evil.

The position I've taken on this blog is that malignant narcissists provide ample proof that they've chosen to be what they are. Did they set out to become the menace that they are to all their relationships and society in general? No, of course not. Evil people don't see themselves as evil. They've turned the world upside down so they are righteous and all those who oppose their will are the evil ones.

The debate on whether or not malignant narcissists create themselves or are victims of circumstance and genetics doesn't have to be settled in order to deal with the problem of what they are today in the here and now. We can completely lay aside origins when deciding the best course for ourselves and loved ones going forward.

Consider the rabid dog.

Let's say you are suddenly confronted by a rabid dog. You are staring into the eyes of a beast who has malignant intent toward you. You know beyond all doubt that this dog will bite you given half a chance...and you know that bite will likely kill you.

At that moment does it really matter HOW or WHEN the dog became rabid?

Would understanding all the circumstances and reasons for how the dog became rabid help you in that moment of confrontation?

Obviously not. What the dog is at this moment is all you must enter into your calculations on how to proceed.

Even though the dog became rabid because he himself was the victim of a poisonous bite doesn't matter one tiny bit to your situation of being directly imperiled by the rabidness of that dog. It is completely irrelevant as to the WHYS and HOWS ... what is relevant and useful is how to protect yourself from the rabid beast right now.

I hope my point is clear. No matter how you believe the narcissist in your life became malignant doesn't change how you must deal with that person. After you are safe from the narcissist's predations you'll have more of the luxury to examine the whys and hows of what kind of person they are. Hopefully you won't even then spend too much time on that line of inquiry. Acceptance of the reality of who they are today is much more useful than expending your precious energies on how they got to today in the shape they are in. Because any so-called understanding won't change what they are now.

I know there are individuals who justify their endless theorizing on the etiology of NPD on the basis that this will help us to someday cure NPD. I think this is hopeless naivete. Genetics, circumstances, social forces always provide only partial, at best, explanations. There have always been too many people with fewer advantages, harsher circumstances, more horrible family lives who manage to overcome these things to become decent people in order to explain away the ones who don't. Another aspect of naivete that these saviors of narcissists demonstrate is their reliance on psychology for answers. This should make us laugh ourselves hysterical. Psychology is itself nearly hopelessly clueless on the nuts and bolts of NPD.

I realize that the analogy of the rabid dog is imperfect. Malignant narcissists are not insane, mad, out of their minds. The correlation is the desperate malignant intent toward you and all others; the clear and present danger they are right now. The other correlation is how you ultimately must deal with either the rabid dog or the malignant narcissist. You don't bargain with either. You don't protect yourself by finding the 'reason' for their malignancy. You protect yourself and your loved ones first and foremost by whatever means necessary. You don't overcome them with bargains, with hope, with platitudes, with naivete. You must gain distance as quickly as possible.

We put the mad dog down because we realize there is no cure for the danger they now present to all who cross their path. While we obviously can't solve the narcissist problem that way we certainly can face facts and exile them from our lives. There is no such thing as safe contact with a rabid animal. Similarly, there is no safe level of contact with the predators hiding in human flesh.


Anonymous said...

The analogy I've always used is about a dangerous driver. If you're driving on the highway and see a car coming from the opposite direction, swerving all over the place and hitting everything in sight, you GET OUT OF THE WAY IMMEDIATELY! At that second you don't ponder whether the other driver is drunk or upset from a recent divorce, or whatever. You don't try to "learn to communicate" with the other driver. You try to do whatever it takes at that moment to keep the other driver from killing you.

The thing is, self-help authors and publishers, religious clergy, and therapists don't make money with your "rabid dog" or my "dangerous driver" analogies. They make their money by convincing consumers to waste years trying to communicate with or "understand" toxic family members. Simply cutting off a toxic family member means you will probably stop spending money buying self-help books trying to mend the relationship and/or paying a therapist weekly to talk about what new family drama transpired in the past week.

I mean, no publisher is going to print a book about dealing with an NPD that has only the word "LEAVE!" printed inside, right? Of course these occupations want to see you continue to be mired in all the dysfunction!

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post, Anna. I know I can always find solace in your articles. I'm so glad that you're back! Hope you had a great summer and are well and rested. How fast it went...seems to have flown by.

Today is my MN mother's birthday. I have been "no contact" going on eleven months and know it must continue that way. I sometimes see her sitting on my kitchen chair or at my dining room table and feel a deep sadness for how things were and are. But at least I have the answer. I finally know what I am dealing with (dealt with) and why I was so miserable. (Only took 59 years!)

My kind and loving son asked me if I were going to send her a birthday card just to send her some good wishes. I quickly got around that by saying that I didn't want to open anything up. That was the end of talking about her. I didn't want to get into it.

It's been so peaceful without her. No anxiety, no depression, no guilt...really, such freedom to be healthy and enjoy the gift of life.

And all the time the power was within me. The power to be free of such a mean, heartless, using, betraying, horrendously selfish and manipulative, unappreciative, envious, destructive, unloving "mother." (I could go on.)Yet, I try to feel compassion for her.

It's so true; it doesn't matter how she became this way. What matters is her horrific effect on me. It is truly a matter of self defense and self preservation.

Thanks, again, Anna, for all that you do and for your articles that are so, so helpful for all those who are suffering, continue to suffer and who may be now healing. You are such a source of strength, knowledge and hope.

God bless you, Anna.

And oh, by the way, Happy Birthday Mother! This could be your last one! There, I said it without opening any doors!

Anonymous said...

The other problem with trying to understand an N is that you may feel that by sharing this understanding, you can help them.

I can't tell you how many times I've wanted to send an article or blog post to my N mom. Just so she can see that her actions do hurt people.

But I'm certainly not going to break NC to do so. And I honestly fear that she would just use the info to get better at what she does.

Anonymous said...

Great post, Anna!!!!

(Rabid dog, scorpion, killer bee, fire ant, pirahna, narcissistic father.....all interchangeable)

Anonymous said...

Your post is so true,Anna. The problem I have is dealing with others who look at you as the problem because you were the one to walk away from the malignant narcissists.

Christians think that it is your job to be a light to them and that you need to learn how to deal with them instead of walking away.

I once had a pastor say to me that I should "take it" because Jesus "took it." I can`t believe some of the stupid things I have heard.

I really believe the reason why Christians say these stupid things is because they have no clue about what the scripture really says.Also, they have never gone through what we have gone through.Last, they are narcissists themselves.

Anonymous said...

Yes, I also thought that I could help her, get through to her. That if I sent her something or told her something or perhaps if she were watching the same television program, she would see herself. Then she would change ...she would be aware of her awful behaviour and change for the better. Life would be good. Mother would love me.

NO...this is not possible. It was never possible and will never be possible. Sure, she'll appear to want to change, maybe to listen and actually seem to care. But she is enjoying it all and getting better at hurting you. Just a complete waste of time and hope. She is biding her time. Might as well bang your head against the wall. She'll reel you in like one reels in a fish on a hook! She'll just trap you all over again with her fake caring and then go for the kill. History will keep repeating itself...it will never change. She just gets worse with age.

Yes, therapists will have you coming back and making you feel that you're the nut! Terrible. Unless you have a really good one who understands and knows about NPD, you may not be helped. You may actually become worse. And they don't tell you to LEAVE. So true. They think about the money they are making with your anguish. WONDERFUL POINT!

Also being female, we are so conditioned to be NICE. Don't give up...do the right thing. What garbage.

If only I realized this years ago. But at least I am free now. I still have some good years left!

I urge you all who are suffering with this toxicity....LEAVE, LEAVE, LEAVE. You have no other choice if you want to have a normal life. You are not the bad person. The malignant narcissist is the one to blame, not you. You are entitled to your life! You need courage and self esteem.

We have to face the facts. We have to be able to "take" it. Mother doesn't love us. Never did. Never will!

But we are still good people, worthy of love. She couldn't take that away from us. She tried, but failed. She is the failure. Pity her.

Anonymous said...

When faced with a dangerous situation, the only sensible thing to do i sto remove yourself from that situation. This is essential - and so clear to me now that I'm out of my dreadful marriage.

What's scary is how blind I was to this while I was still with my MN wife.

I was so effectively brain washed and found it normal and unaviodable that everything was evolving around her. At the same time I wasn't able to get that her thinking is very disordered. For years I kept expecting respect, normal reasoning and moral standards from her. It's stupid and, since I don't consider myself to be stupid, somewhat disappointing.

I think a quite cynical view on these people is appropriate. We should just appreciate that they are very bad for us, and not spend to much energy on any details about them or on trying to figure out why they are like this.

Now, I keep contact to a minimum. When I have to deal with her, I'm cautious and very aware of what she is. If you do have to deal with a mad dog then you do it while carefully protecting yourself.


Anonymous said...

Along these lines, why is it that family and outsiders are more likely to confront those who avoid the "rabid dog" rather the "rabid dog" itself?

I had a distant maternal aunt who lives in another country. I have seen her only a handful of times in my entire life. She was definitely aware of the serious dysfunction in my immediately family that included serious violence. Her daughter--my cousin--once shared with me what she knew about my immediate family's problems and cited her mother--my aunt-- as her source. As an adult, I tried to have a closer relationship with this aunt in various ways but she made it clear she wasn't interested.

This aunt chose to stay out of my immediate family's drama, and I can't necessarily blame her for that. She never came over to try to help us out or sent me an encouraging word. Yet when I went No Contact with my family, I began receiving e-mails from this aunt about how "cruel" and "anti-family" I was to do so. I eventually replied with a specific list of ways this aunt ignored the situation and rebuffed my attempts to know her, and told her if she continued to contact me I would contact her internet provider, and beyond if needed.

Unfortunately, my aunt is not the only one who has done this. Other people who oh-so-politely ignored my being abused as a child have decided this estrangement merits their commentary.

I'm wondering if this situation is a common one, specifically third-parties who want to "stay out of it" or declare "that's between the two of you" when you're being attacked by the "rabid dog", but suddenly feel free to comment (or provide surveillance for the N) when you've left the "rabid dog". Suddenly it becomes their "business". I've found that sharing with such parties what you've gone through is not the best approach because a) you may end up in an indirect back-and-forth with the N, b) they now know more of personal your business and may gossip, c) they label you damaged goods-- but still think you need to be in touch with the person(s) who allegedly made you damaged goods!

Is there a clinical name for this type of situation, what causes it, and what are the best ways to address it?

Thanks as always, Anna.

Anonymous said...

I love this site, I love your insight, and I find it so helpful. However, I always ask myself the same question: "What if it isn't a mother, but a child?"

I can't remember if I have posted here before, I know I've thought of it. The MN in my life is my 10 year old stepchild. When I realized what s/he was and started looking into what I could do, I was so disheartened - going no-contact with a child, who your spouse is the full-time, custodial parent of, was impossible. Refusing to engage was impossible. Enlisting the aid of the mother, also an MN from what I can tell, was unrealistic. I was at my wit's end, and I was considering leaving my marriage. Not to mention what this child's behavior was doing to the other 2 children in the house (also my spouse's children).

My problem was solved; because, you see, once I learned what this child was about and stopped feeding it, s/he realized s/he wouldn't get what s/he needed from us and concocted a scheme to go live with the mother in a state 1,500 miles away. They both thought they were putting one over on us, when in fact it has been the best solution for my entire household. My youngest stepchild, when s/he found out, stated "This is the happiest day of my life!" My days became instantly easy. No more fights over every little thing. No more arguments. No more cajoling, wheedling, attempting to please a child who can never be satisfied. No more thoughts of leaving.

Now all I have to deal with is the guilt, and the judgment of those around me. The judgment I dismiss; they know nothing of what the last three years of my life has been. NOTHING. The guilt is the residuals of the thought/hope/wish that I could do something to change the child, to help the child. I can't. S/he is what s/he is, and although much of it is probably not the child's fault, there is a certain amount of knowing how s/he is acting and choosing same. I know that. But I'm a good person, and abandoning the child to the MN mother to be raised in that way with no hope, just seems wrong. I tell myself that I am putting the health and well-being of the other children, as well as myself and my spouse, first; I tell myself that it is a sacrifice that has to be made in order to not screw up the other two kids or my marriage. But the little piece of guilt is still there, and because I'm a decent person, it always will be.

All that was just to say how much I relate to your site, but that it's a view from a slightly different angle which makes a HUGE difference. Until more is known about these disorders, this is my best source for solace and information. Thank you.

BloggerT7165 said...

I disagree with anon's statememt (the first anon) about therapists. I find that most clients who have gone through this and go in for help are so hurt, so damaged by the experience that they believe that if they just try harder, try better, etc, that they can make things better. They blame themselves rather than placing the blame where it truly belongs. They don't want to just leave because they believe they can't or shouldn't. I can not begin to tell you how sad and frustrating it is to watch it happen. How sad it is to watch more pain and suffering stretch out. As any person who works in the DV field for any length of time and you will hear this from them.

For example people who have a N mother often struggle for years with the cutting off communication. Why? Societal pressure about "she is your mother" and all that goes along with that. I have told clients quite plainly that sometimes the best course of action is to cease all contact or if they can't bring themselves to do that minimal contact at best. Many just can not bring themselves to do this for various reasons.

I have never suggested a person keep staying in a suggestion like. But I know that unless you find a therapist who has specialized training/experience in working with these people you may very well have a bad experience. It would be like going to a physical therapist to treat your liver cancer.

Painting entire groups with the same brush is wrong and something that the "rabid dogs" themselves like to do.

BloggerT7165 said...

That should have said "I have never suggested a person keep staying in a situation like that."

I agree with what Anna has posted except for one small thing. I think there is benefit in trying to understand these people (for clinicians) so as to better understand what the client has been through, to better understand how the N can con a therapist, etc.

As for how they got to be that way, I doubt there will ever be a solid answer because there is more than likely many different variables. A big one is that they want to be the way they are, don't think there is anything wrong with how they are (everyone else is messed up not them) and could care less what others may say about it.

Naive No Longer said...

I agree that one cannot paint psychology or therapists with broad brush strokes. To be sure, probably most therapists do not understand NPD and therefore do more harm than good, indeed re-victimizing their clients.
However, when you find a really good therapist who can cut through it all and who knows and understands and can see through the bullshit of the N, even when it is sitting in front of them spinning a realistic-looking web of non-fiction (ie: my husband- now ex), then you have found gold. He saw right through it all, even before I did. In fact, he confronted it, which sent my then-husband, who had up until that point been on his best behavior, into a rage as he stormed out and never went back.

He saw right through it when nobody else did. He saw it for what it was, even though no one else did. He helped save my life, by helping me to see the truth about both my mother and my ex. To him and to Anna and this blog, I am eternally grateful.

Indeed, there are some good therapists amongst the myriad of those who plainly should be shot for being in a helping profession when they have no business being there.

Barbara said...

You don't protect yourself by finding the 'reason' for their malignancy. You protect yourself and your loved ones first and foremost by whatever means necessary. You don't overcome them with bargains, with hope, with platitudes, with naivete. You must gain distance as quickly as possible.

Masterful and on point as always, Anna!

Barbara said...


You and every woman who has EVER been in a relationship with an N... must read WOMEN WHO LOVE PSYCHOPATHS by Sandra Brown, MA

Don't be put off by the title and if you can't afford it - go and ask your library to order it for you!!

I have read it 3 times now and in terms of understanding these pathologicals (narcissists, sociopaths... etc) I am just astounded at how ON target it is and what lured me into these relationships (aside from having an N mom)

I don't recommend things lightly. That book is a MUST read. You would get much out of it.

Anonymous said...

"Walk softly and carry a big stick." Still excellent advice for life.

Anonymous said...

With my former N friend, I don't care if he is a narcissist because of his upbringing, or if it was something in the drinking water. I also don't care that he recently had surgery, that he is unemployed, or that yet another friend is placing him on a long leash.
He has brought it all on himself, he has ruined people's reputations, told horrible lies about his family, gained other's trust only to use it for his own gain, all while smelling like a rose and putting on an Oscar worthy performance as a good guy. Comparing this coward to a rabid dog, is really a disservice to rabid dogs everywhere.

Victims of genetics and/or bad circumstances? Please. They know exactly what they are doing, they are calculating and evil, and don't think twice about betraying their friends, co-workers or family.

Anonymous said...

Have any of you read Martin Chuzzlewit by Charles Dickens? It has a character by the name of Mr. Pecksniff who is the example of virtue to the world but in reality is a compound of vices mainly selfishness. He plays elaborate tricks on people to get what he wants. Definite Narcissist.

Good story to read and at the end Pecksniff is shown for what he is in front of the whole Chuzzlewit family. Great ending. :)

Great article I keep on checking this site for more.

After Beckett said...

I too am curious about what Anonymous wrote on Sept. 3 about the (aunt) family members or outsiders who confront the person who leaves rather than the abuser/narcissist.

For me, this backlash was more painful than cutting off contact with the primary people because I wasn't expecting it and came as a complete shock. It is one thing to deal with people who have treated you poorly your whole life, but then to hear from people who have always been on the periphery. It is so strange. What in the world can their investment be?

I have had family members malign me because of things my MN mother told them. Things she said or expressed were probably intended only to gain their attention in the moment, but her lies were so fantastic that they felt "they just had to confront me themselves". These people want me to continue to take responsibility for my mother's "feelings". I have literally not talked to the woman since I left home in 1997. Since then I have gotten married and lived in three different states. She has never attempted to contact me. That is wonderful, but she talks to people as if I am inflicting fresh wounds all the time. I believe she does this for the attention.

As for the "others" reaction and outrage, I personally think that whether they admit to knowledge of the narcissist's true character, or not, they want you where they had you. Playing the role you were assigned. It says a lot to be absent, a ghost. It draws attention to their own relationships. If she left her mother, then my daughter might leave me. What kind of example am I setting for the next generation? The poor lady who is so sad. It is the absent daughter's fault.

I remember an aunt of mine who left the family. It was after her divorce and she was raising a teenager who became a drug addict. Everyone gossiped about her. They all thought she was an awful person for not being there for her mother. But I remember her ex-husband beating their son for no reason all the time. I was very young and always hanging around the corner when these beatings took place. I think the entire family stinks with abuse. They would rather scapegoat those that leave, or those that develop problems. It bolsters all of them up. Look how good they are. We know the truth though don't we?

Anonymous said...

The last time I spoke with my former N friend, he was "in a bad place." And I didn't care. Because he deserved to be.
A lifetime of lying, manipulating, betraying, trashing reputations, etc. had finally started to catch up to him, and I was glad. I haven't had anything to do with him since, and it is such a huge relief! I wasted a lot of years waiting for him to grow up. I chalked his behavior up to a difficult childhood, as if the how's and why's actually made any difference. You really can't have a happy, healthy life as long as an N is in it.

C.M. said...

Hi Anna, thanks for your site. I'm happy you are promoting the idea of cutting off someone of this nature even if they're parents. Both my parents (divorced) were really bad narcissists (one in show business for 20 years on television, the other deluded). In 1986 I totally cut off contact. I made some effort of mending due to grandparents still living in 1998. I got an earful that totally confirmed how sick my parents both were. My father said he was a happy man almost in the same breath he reported to me my younger sister had AIDS and was gang raped 5 times. Her children were taken by the state. He didn't even know where she was and reported to me she was smoking pot on her property once that was more important to him then her mental health and welfare.

Mother called me on the day my sister died and I gave the call to a coworker telling her to say she had the wrong number. Mother continued to reach me calling me at home late one night that I threw the phone across the room at the sound of her hello. A year later she congratulated me via email on a website I designed. I had an attorney send a no contact letter the creep charged me $250 for that I wrote and he signed. Though the letter told her not to contact him or me, she called his law office saying she would "absolutely" not contact me again.

It tends to make me feel like I'm being too hard on my parents but they were so sick and I know they wanted to drag me back into their black hole disease I just couldn't go back. People have encouraged me to get in contact with them to heal, but I cann't love either one of them. They were extremely hurtful to me and wanted me to fail along with my sister. My mother said some extremely harmful things to me and physically/emotionally abused me which is typical of these kind of people.

I appreciate your recommendation of no contact with my parents. It's hard for people to understand why but I just felt it was best for me. I won't even be going to either funerals and won't claim any of their estate I will waive although I'm sure neither will put me in their Will.

If my parents had been wealthy I can say I probably would have tolerated their destructive narcissism for the purpose of inheritance as I'm sure most do.

yes, i'm angry.. said...

"If my parents had been wealthy I can say I probably would have tolerated their destructive narcissism for the purpose of inheritance as I'm sure most do."

nope, sorry. you can count me out. absolutely NO amount of money would be enough for me to endure the pure evilness of these people. i'd rather be living in a cardboard box, free of all n's, than living in hell, waiting for them to die and expect to inherit money i probably wouldn't even get. believe me, it pleases them to hurt you even in death.

their absence from this world is.. priceless.

Anonymous said...

My N-Father left each of his children one dollar ($1) in his will. It was a substantial estate, too. I agree with the previous poster that an N is thrilled to hurt you, even in death.

Anonymous said...

Since the subject of inheritance came up, my friend's Mommy Monster died last week (in her sleep, wouldn't you know). She made good on her threat to disinherit my friend in favor of this friends ex-husband. I still can't quite believe it.

toni said...

Often the first thing people will say about Ns and other abusers is that they must have been abused. This is supposed to explain their behavior and somehow make the victims feel better. It always amazes me when it works. The tormenter knows how it feels, so he does it to you. That is supposed to have a soothing effect?

I've actually been told that I'm the strange one for not perpetuating the cycle. I should empathize with those who do because they are simply conditioned into their behaviors. Those of us who are "strong" enough to overcome should be understanding of the weaker among us. Such incredible cr*p.

The assumption appears to be that we must not be damaged. BS, we are the most damaged! We get all the vitriol for standing strong, when it is the most difficult thing. We are the victims, not the perpetuators of the evil. It would be nice to be shown some degree of compassion for living through this but there is only criticism for those who fought to survive and made it through. Some would have us feel guilty for taking control of our lives.

I like to imagine a world in which everyone understands this rabid dog analogy and cuts Ns off. No source- they would starve to death.

Dee said...

I just wanted to thank you for your blog! I'm forty five years old and about two months ago discovered that my father is a malignant narcissist. I was reading his psychiatric diagnosis from a hospitalization he had about forty years ago which said he was a paranoid schizophrenic with severe egomaniacal tendencies. Back then, there was no classification for NPD, but I'm sure that if he were reassessed today, that would be the label he would get. It was after reading this and doing some research on egomania that I stumbled apon NPD and it was as if the diagnostic criteria was written specifically for him! The one thing that really was seared into my brain was the lack of empathy. After looking back on my family life and our relationships with him, I couldn't find any instances of true empathy coming from him at all. It was such an epiphany to realize someone I loved so much didn't love or care for me or my family back. Then, everything else made sense. I had to rethink my entire life, everything that I was taught, and I realize why I am the way I am (low self esteem, trying too hard to please everyone at my own expense, etc.)
Anyway, my brother and I, his only remaining children, have decided to go no contact. Our mother died sixteen years ago and this leaves him with absolutely nobody. He has no friends, even. His toxic presence has made it this way and I do not pity him. I told him, "It's lonely at the top!" This was after I told him that he means nothing to me anymore, I am "on to him" and that he no longer has any power over me.
While I grieve the loss of the dad I thought I had, I am also so relieved to know that it was a one sided relationship that could never amount to anything more. I finally get it.
It's great to share experiences like this with others who understand, to me it's the best therapy.
Please know that your wisdom is appreciated so much by people like me! By the way, Sherbie is awesome!!

kyleth said...

Anna, this was an amazing post. Sticking around trying to understand crazy only makes us crazy.

I missed your blog this summer and I'm glad you're back.

Kelly said...

So true Anna. I, though, know why my mother became NPD, her own NPD grandmother.
I guess I get hung up on trying to figure out how I managed to escape that fate, when my mother didn't
Sad thing, and even sadder now over two years into no contact. As a teen I had a conversation with my mom about her abusive mom, my grandmother. I remember telling her to distance herself from her. Get her out of her life for the sake of all of us. My mom said, "Kelly I can't live without my mommie. You're the strong one, I'm not."
That CHOICE was a turning point, my mother's own NPD behaviors became increasingly worse after that conversation.
So I'm on the it's their choice side of things.
I wonder too if my NPD mother's own comment answers my own question.

Anonymous said...

I can trace the NPD back 3 generations in both my N-mother's and N-stepfather's family. My (now deceased) N-stepfather got a girl pregnant in high school in 1932, at the height of the depression and married her. His N-mother annulled the marriage and paid off the girl to leave the state w/ her baby. It happened again a few yrs later and his mother did the same thing to the 2nd girl because she deemed neither girls "good enough" for her son. As my step-sister told me, "And you can bet he never gave those girls another consideration his entire life. Stepfather's grandnephew was caught laundering money at the Indianapolis bank where he was vice-president in 1991 and lost his job. Step-sister has been married 3 times - once to a narcissist and twice to sociopaths - due to her being conditioned over a lifetime that NPD people have "normal/acceptable behavior." She still hasn't figured why her life has taken the paths it has. Step-father's great-grand nephew killed himself in '06, due to his father's narcissistic behavior towards his kids.

As for my family, I found out only 2 yrs ago that my maternal great-grandfather beat his two wives mercilessly, and possibly sexually abused my grandmother, who was a narcissist. His daughter - my great aunt is still living at 94 and it I've finally realized both she and her four children are narcissists.

I've misplaced her name, but I found on-line some information about a therapist in France who believes you can trace maladaptive behaviors back 3 or more generations, and that has certainly been my experience. Given my experience with my N-sister - I believe her narcissism has been MADE, or "nurtured" by my N-mother given she does have empathy, but it has been undermined by our N-mother. However I believe my N-mother's NPD is a result of genetics given my grandfather was a wonderfult man to whom she was close - but his influence couldn't trump her genetics.
Indeed, my family's history would provide a goldmine of information to somebody looking for a topic on which to base a PhD.
Thanks always, Anna, for your great website.
Regards, DagnyAtl

krl said...

To Anonymous of 09/16

I've wondered about this 'generational' thing myself. I, too, can trace back pretty damn far. It brings to mind some scripture in Exodus....having to do with the Second of the Ten Commandments:

2. Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth:

Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me; and showing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.

It is interesting, this reference to the 'third and fourth generation'.....and more to the point: "....of those that hate me..." EXACTLY. The hatred of Good and Truth and Obedience....in reality: Hatred of God.

Thanks for sharing what you did. More food for thought.