Friday, December 19, 2008

Absence of Introspection

Maybe you remember Diane Downs, the woman who shot her three children killing one and permanently maiming the other two. I lived in Oregon back when she cold-bloodedly shot her own children execution style and pretended a "bushy-haired stranger" did it. The year was 1983. She has been in prison, minus one successful 10-day prison escape in 1987, for nearly 25 years. She is eligible for parole hearings every two years now which is why she is suddenly in the spotlight again.

Downs has been labeled (quite properly) a narcissistic psychopath. The Oregonian article is interesting and provides a brief history of her crime as well as her current mental state. I will excerpt one paragraph for the purpose of this post:

A recent psychological evaluation of Downs reiterated her narcissistic personality disorder diagnosis: "By year 20 one hopes that the life prisoner has come to a place of deeper self-reflection and introspection regarding their life and incarceration. By this time there should be some struggle in contemplation with existential life issues. Regardless of guilt or innocence, one normally would be asking the how and why questions of life. The thing that is most troubling regarding Ms. Downs is that she appears to have done very little of this."
I have noticed that psychologists who work primarily with criminals have a much better grasp of NPD than psychologists whose practices don't include convicted criminals. It is impossible to understand NPD if you don't have a working knowledge of the criminal mind. The criminal mind and the person with NPD are, in the most fundamental ways, synonymous. Malignant narcissists are criminals through and through if we simply compare the way they think about themselves, their relation to others, and the world. Whether or not they end up in prison depends on the scope and audacity of their crimes. Most remain out of the hands of the law. This paragraph above shows the better-than-average knowledge the evaluators have of NPD by seeing Down's profound lack of introspection and reflection as being a confirmation of the original diagnosis of NPD. I say, well observed!

This is a stark reality with full-blown narcissists. They do not get wiser with age. More cunning and perfidious, yes, but not wiser in the full sense of the word:

Wisdom
  1. The ability to discern or judge what is true, right, or lasting; insight.
  2. Common sense; good judgment
Wisdom cannot be acquired without an ability to engage in deep introspection, i.e. insight.
The reason I'm highlighting the lack of introspection observed in narcissists is because it is essential you are fully aware of this universal quality of malignant narcissists. The temptation for you is to believe that that putting the narcissist in their room (i.e. no contact) for a period of time will result in a reformed narcissist. Or, as in Diane Down's case, in a prison cell for 20 plus years. Not going to happen. Time and introspection are wonderful teachers to those willing to employ them, but you must understand that in the narcissist's calculation there is no gain in it for them. The "what's in it for me" question they pose before every exertion of effort shuts down the process of introspection before it can ever really start because the answer that comes back to them is always "nothing!". The feedback they would receive from introspection will not flatter them, will not support their false reality, will not reinforce their grandiosity, will not gain them an unfair advantage over someone else, etc. So any introspection they may engage in will be abbreviated at best. Not that they have to think it through this methodically. They are instinctually revulsed by introspection as a cat is to being thrown into a tub of water. Just like that cat immediately reacts to its revulsion of the water so the narcissist is instinctively repelled by any exercise in introspection.

I have been in the past shocked at the "profound lack of introspection and reflection" in the narcissists of my acquaintance. Then, wiser, I came to expect this lack and have never been disappointed by them since.

If you are convinced you are dealing with a malignant narcissist then be convinced of this too: they will not get better with time. It is impossible for them to acknowledge the enormity of their crimes because they excuse, rationalize, blame-shift and project all their problems and bad behavior onto you and others. No amount to time being confined to isolation from you and your life will render them capable of suddenly understanding that which they utterly refuse to look at. If you are possessed of a savior complex my exhortations on this point may well be lost on you. Maybe, though, you've grown tired of your endlessly dashed hopes for the reformation of the narcissist. Having been worn down by endless disappointment perhaps you're now more willing to consider and believe my observations over the promises of the reprobate narcissist or the insistence of your more enlighted conscience that all others can be persuaded to a similar keen self-reflection as you yourself are capable of. Don't be that naive. Clearly, it is quite possible for a person to shut down their conscience by a persistent and consistent refusal to even consider the possibility of ones wrong doing. It is this absolute refusal to believe themselves to have done wrong that makes them refuse all opportunity for introspection.

Once you've decided to exile the malignant narcissist from your life do not fall prey to fanciful ideas of his reformation. Time will not render him the wiser for his 'confinement'. Like Diane Downs he or she will persist in their rationalizations and justifications to the bitter, ugly end. The malignant narcissist easily believes the whole world wrong and themselves alone right rather than risk a confrontation with the opposite reality. Hence, introspection = anathema.

93 comments:

Dee said...

Excellent post, Anna, once again. I remember Diane's story well, as it was immortalized in a movie in which Farrah Fawcett played her, although the name of it escapes me now. Because of it, I have to turn off the radio every time I hear the song, "Hungry Like the Wolf", because it reminds me of her. She is so utterly disgusting, like all MN's. It's too bad for her surviving children that she comes up for parole at all, let alone so often, as I'm sure it causes them unimaginable grief just having to relive the terror she inflicted on them, especially the oldest daughter, who was witness to the entire event. I pray for their well being, and hope that their lives have since been blessed with an abundance of love and understanding. If I remember correctly, it was the prosecutor in the case and his wife that took them in because they felt such compassion for them at the time. Good people, they are.
You pointed out some very important issues regarding MN's in this post, and it really speaks to the futility of their being willing to change.
Time and time again we see examples like Diane's (Casey Anthoney, Susan Smith) and the masses always say things like, "How could a mother/parent do something like this to their child?". I used to be part of this crowd, but no more. I totally get how this could happen. I wish that I didn't understand them, but I'm terribly glad that I now do. I just wish the whole world could wake up to the fact that sociopaths are everywhere, so that it wouldn't be so easy for them to come into positions of power, or the position of being a parent, where they do the most damage.

Anonymous said...

A.V. wrote:
> The malignant narcissist easily believes the whole world wrong and themselves alone right rather than risk a confrontation with the opposite reality. <

And to distinguish between an N's rightness and, say, the rightness of German quantum-physicists in the 1930s who were ostracized by their colleagues for their unaryan, degenerate thinking:

An N's rightness is almost always about something mean, petty, and childish. Whether it's a knee-jerk reaction to something you said or did, a justification for their crimes, or to give you a lesson (ie to drag them below their level): they are right and you aren't. QED.

Been there, got a wardrobe full of t-shirts.

adventuresinmercy said...

Hmmm...

I recently posted on something similar to this. And it is something I am experiencing in my own life, with someone very near to me.

It is...very difficult. Your post really nails something that I've not been able to understand. There is a very strange lack of introspection in this person I am dealing with, even in the face of outright abuse, and I have not been able to figure it out. Thank you for helping me grow in clarity.

Anonymous said...

Another spot-on post, Anna. I really began to notice this strange discrepency in my ex-NF's behavior a few years back. He never truly progresses, grows, or changes. He's exactly who he was when we were kids. How weird to go through life without ever really learning anything about yourself.

And it's that complete lack of self-awareness that causes him to still induldge in behaviors that are long past their expiration date. Have you ever watched a middle-aged man try to be adorable in order to get something he wants? As in very young girl adorable? It's stomach turning, especially if you know what he's really about.

Good grief these people are freaks!

Anonymous said...

I love reading your post! You are certainly an EXCELLENT writer and you "get it". Having dealt with a narcissistic male off and on for some time, I totally GET IT! Lol, using your blog name I sent a text to him w/ the words "Narcissistic people suck!" Though no doubt he didnt nor ever would understand what it meant, lol..no response of course :) Always a great thing to wash our hands of such individuals. Take care, look forward to your future writings.

Anonymous said...

"He's exactly who he was when we were kids."

You hit the nail on the head with my N sister. Seeing her or hearing her or dealing with her in any way was a blast from the past, her jokes even.

Sometimes I think about how she's tried to destroy the family and I feel just plain sad for us all—even her, though believe me, it's not sorry, it's sad, big difference. Feeling sorry for an N is an open door for them to abuse you, feeling sad is a recognition of the facts and wishing it had been different, but also accepting it for what it is.

NC almost a year now! Every day is better!

Anonymous said...

Anna, Glad to see you're posting again, means a lot to me, thank you!

Off-topic question: can you tell an N through their abilities/non-abilities at caretaking? Would this be a possible post you could write, or is it too simple, i.e., they just don't caretake.

I live in a small town in Vermont. My landlord is really liked and respected around town, I just moved into his rental and he lives nearby, just two houses down. He took care of his sick wife for quite some time (several years) with exemplary behavior. I want to like him and be friends (he's been diagnosed with a bad cancer), but I'm seeing some red flags (have an N sister, so experience with Ns). Do Ns take good care of their sick spouses?

Some of the red flags are my having just plain discomfort around him (I've learned to trust my instincts in this regard, I haven't yet been led astray), but I'm thinking if he's not an N, I'm willing to put this aside and be more helpful, but if he is, no way, other than to just be humane. BTW, he has lots of people who are willing to help, so my absence wouldn't be noticed, since I haven't yet gotten involved. On the phone, he's really nice and easy to talk to. In person, he becomes overbearing and expects one to sit and listen to his expositions, no matter what they are, and he barely knows me. When he's done, off with you, and he seems irritated when you interrupt to ask questions. He's also friends with a woman I know personally to be an N (worked with her at one time) and can't stand. He had a relative here for awhile and she snuck around when dealing with him, even when there was no need to, she acted half afraid of him, kind of like a kid with an overpowering N parent, she'd wait till he was gone to clean the house, etc. She also told me that he would never let her put anything into the frige, as he had to be totally orderly about it, yet his house was kind of a mess.

I hope this isn't too far afield.

Thanks for everything, your blog is a life saver. Merry Christmas to you and yours.

no more darkness said...

This is a great post- I have been recieving lots of mail from my NMIL recently and its all so dissapointing- (she wont be getting our new address when we move). She has always been one for sending cards and presents with hidden messages, very subtle of course. We recieved some nice presents for my daughters birthday(she had stuff from a charity shop previously) and i thought that was a fairly nice gesture- but the note attached to the presents had a guilt trip on it about how she wanted to give them to my daughter herself- I have'nt thanked her for the presents- saying thankyou to her makes me want to wretch.
We got two christmas cards yesterday- the envelope was addressed to my daughter and inside were two cards one for my daughter with sickly sweet "lots and lots of love hugs and kisses-(when my daughter was newborn she showed little emotion or affection to her, wanted me to leave her cry upstairs on her own etc) the other card was for my husband and me- It was a charity card, from a child abuse charity. Also FIL had signed the cards something he has never done before ( think this was a pity play because he'd been ill, an illness my husband had caused apparently because of the lack of contact, nothing to do with my MIL's constant bullying of him).
I just dont think N's are all that bright, why on earth would i want to see her now? Goodness knows what she'd be like in person! Of course as with all her mail and presents and everything she has said and done its so subtle no one would believe me- and after 10months of not seeing her she has not change one little bit!

Kathleen said...

No introspection, no apologies.
Works quite well for them.

- Kathleen

Anna Valerious said...

Anonymous @ 12:06 a.m.,

What makes you so sure your landlord was a great caretaker of his sick wife? Where have you gotten this information?

I'll write more when you respond to my question.

Anonymous said...

HA!! I think you know where I got it, of course it was from HIM!!

But he was very convincing, told me lots of details of what kind of care he gave her and it did ring somewhat true...he seemed genuinely pained, etc. etc. He did go visit her every day in the hospital, after it progressed to that point. This was a 75 mile drive, one way.

Another thing, he had a dog, seemed genuinely sorry it had died at an old age, the dog looks happy in the photos he has around, he also had a cat that got killed by another dog (not his) at a very old age, his comment was "that's the natural order of things, survival of the fittest" - this was another red flag to me. I love animals.

Once again, I let my trusting honest nature believe people, we all need a manual for how to spot Ns on first meeting, it would save a lot of heartache.

OK, please tell me what you think, Anna, and thanks a million in advance...

Anna Valerious said...

HA!! I think you know where I got it, of course it was from HIM!!

Yeah, that's what I thought. Unless you witnessed it for yourself then taking his word for it is what we call "gullible".
Narcissists as caretakers are very good at looking and sounding like the most attentive and caring persons on the planet. What happens when no one is looking is where the crimes occur. Remember that vulnerability is always an invitation to attack by a narcissist. Narcissists as caretakers are the stuff of nightmares. Nothing like being debilitated and in the care of one to be totally at the (non)mercy of a vile, heartless demon.

I think you should definitely go with your gut on this one. The red flags are genuinely bright red. The behavior of the relative who came to live with him for a time is a GIANT red flag. She behaved the way an abused person does. I would put money on the likelihood that behind closed doors this guy is a very abusive person. His wife likely was abused in her dying days too. So what that he traveled 75 miles one way to visit her? People who are genuinely giving and selfless would never have mentioned that to you. He was tooting his own horn. He recites the length of his drive as some kind of proof of his devotion and care yet it proves no such thing. Any heartless bastard could do the same. How do you know he even did it? And if he did it how can you know that he actually went to see her and not go to his favorite restaurant or bar? The self-reporting, even as aggrandizing as it is, falls far short of demonstrations of real love and care and devotion...at least, how I would measure it. I realize you didn't list all the other things he claimed he did for his wife only the long drive. But the fact that you brought this specific deed up is probably because he emphasized it greatly so it was at the forefront of your mind. I am very unimpressed with his long drive as proving anything.If that is the best he's got then his case is thin.

Just think about it though. If you were caretaking a loved one in their dying days would you then recount the details of all that you did for them to someone you barely know? Wouldn't you feel a little funny drawing all the attention of others to yourself like that rather than focusing on the loved one, the loved one's feelings, words, and experiences? I think "he doth protest too loudly". The extent of his laundry list of good deeds for his wife makes me terribly suspicious that he was, in actuality, a monster to her at the end.

Once again, I let my trusting honest nature believe people, we all need a manual for how to spot Ns on first meeting, it would save a lot of heartache.

You have little problem with spotting them. Your problem comes in where it does for most people: ignoring the signs and moving ahead on the presumption that all is well. Choosing to ignore the signs is the problem. Assuming the worst of yourself for not thinking the best of someone who sets off your alarms is the problem. You have likely spotted a disordered character. Don't try to talk yourself out of that. Stay uninvolved is what I would advise.

By the way, abusive narcissists (a repetitive term!) are capable of being doting owners of pets. Don't let that fool you. But, most often, the doting on the pets is intermittent with occasional abuse. They really tend to be poor pet owners. But they can be good enough pet owners to fool anyone who doesn't actually live with them.

What a person claims is true about themselves is not terribly useful information if not corroborated by other evidence. Anyone can claim anything about themself. The silent testimony of his relative says the truth about him. His claims about himself are not supported by a close witness as this relative was. Her behavior speaks reams. Listen to HER witness and give it much more weight than his naked words. How a person treats those who actually live under their roof with them is the truest measure of their character. It is easy to bullshit strangers. It is easy to be nice to the grocery clerk. It is easy to impress someone during a brief encounter. Are the people who actually live with him impressed with him? The behavior of his relative says otherwise. You're seeing the signs of a lying and abusive narcissist. Beware.

Anonymous said...

"You have little problem with spotting them. Your problem comes in where it does for most people: ignoring the signs and moving ahead on the presumption that all is well. Choosing to ignore the signs is the problem. Assuming the worst of yourself for not thinking the best of someone who sets off your alarms is the problem."

Thank you, Anna. I have been through hell with an N sister, who I'm now NC, and also an N MIL (now gone also) and an ex with strong N traits. You would think that by now I'd trust my instincts more. Actually, I must be getting more savvy because I have kept my distance from this guy, even though I have sympathy for his health problems.

When someone makes me feel anxious for no reason, well, that's now a conscious trigger for me that I'm in the presence of someone not right, someone with a problem. Used to be, I felt it but tried to still be nice, etc. Not any more, I run like hell. Experience does that to you, also understanding, a great bit of which has come from your writings.

When talking about his deceased wife, this guy ran up another red flag, he seemed mournful, but more of the fact that he was going to have to spend his old age alone (he's mid 60s).

I'm maybe more concerned about a good relationship with him than I might normally be because I have a number of pets and it's hard to find nice places to rent with pets, I recently sold my house after a divorce. But you know, I'd rather camp out in the woods in a little trailer with my furry friends than put up with N abuse from anyone.

You know, I seem to have had my share of contacts with Ns in the past few years, not just relatives, and I'm beginning to think their numbers are understated in our society. The best way to deal with them is to simply remove yourself from their influence and presence.

Thanks again, Anna, it's amazing how much a validation of one's intuitions can make you stronger. BTW, the relative (his SIL) ended up coming to my house a lot just to hide out, and I at first thought she was just very passive/aggressive when she'd talk about him and yet not do anything (she could've gone back to her home). I now realize that she needed a refuge, which i provided, and didn't want to cross him, it wouldn't be worth it for her, especially since she was soon to leave.

He is very well-liked and respected around town, which tended to throw me, but then my N sis, a music teacher, is the same in her town, and her students have taken me and others in my family to task, they don't understand why we want nothing to do with such a sweet kind person.

If they only knew...

Dee said...

Anonymous Dec 20, 2008 12:06:00 AM:
I wholeheartedly agree with Anna on the caretaking narcissist issue. My NDad took "care" of my dying mom, which I now believe is why she suffered so much and died so early. She had many health issues that were exacerbated by years of being married to this man. I learned many things after it was too late about his supposed care of her, it was instead abuse. At the time I had just had my first child and I'm sure that my mom didn't want to "burden" me with her predicament which is the kind of person she was. Besides that, my father did all he could to let everyone know just how much he was doing for her and sacrificing, UGH!!! Now the tables have turned and he is in failing health. He has alienated his children so much that we see him for the monster he is and we have no concern about his situation. He refuses everything in the way of good care, even though it is so obvious he desparately needs it (because he wants his kids to sacrifice their lives, families and financial resources, while he has the money and benefits to help himself).
Anyway, back to Anna's point about their proclamations about their self sacrifice in caring for others, it is bunk like everything else they spew. No one toots their own horn like a narcissist!

Anonymous said...

Refusal to engage in introspection I think really dovetails with the post a bit back that dealt with how N's shift themselves right of reality and go offroad into their own self-directed fantasyland whenever they are challenged with exposure to themselves.

For us, it is bad enough to have to face and process the reality of N's, the depth of betrayal, and realize we've been taken for a destructive, long and malicious ride. But for N's to face reality, they would have to face some seriously hideously ugly things about themselves. I think this is why they get worse, not better with time: their repressed evil behavior load just grows bigger and bigger like a ticking time bomb every year. N's may indeed spend their entire lives "successfully" running from it, but they cannot ever lose the truth they carry about themselves in their core.

N's I've known act truly mentally allergic to introspection about their own actions or motives and their effect on others. Seriously, when confronted, how often do N's refer to the past as "ANCIENT HISTORY"??? Of course, I mean, unless THEY are reminiscing about being victimized themselves, then there is no such thing as "too long ago"!!!


PS - Anna, right on with that pet comment! I have seen the worst NF be extremely kind to pets. He also loved very attentively cultivating plants, but unlike with the pets I could see that he was [seriously] very bizarrely over-pruning them. Who knows what mix of care/abuse is going on behind closed doors? With the plants, I could SEE all the missing branches, on the otherwise thriving but systematically stunted plants. {note: they were NOT bonsai trees! they were regular plants!}

Anonymous said...

"Remember that vulnerability is always an invitation to attack by a narcissist. Narcissists as caretakers are the stuff of nightmares. Nothing like being debilitated and in the care of one to be totally at the (non)mercy of a vile, heartless demon."

Anna, I'd like to add my story about being cared for by an N husband. I was very very sick, migraine headache, two fractured vertebrae from stupidly trying to carry 100 lbs up steep stairs, could barely move, and one of our dogs was extremely sick, throwing up every five minutes for hours. My N husband decided he needed to go 200 miles away to help his mom on the farm, they had a shipment being picked up (she had no end of friends that could have helped her, as well as a hired man).

I begged him to take the dog with him, get him to the vet, I couldn't even move. He started screaming at me, "Who do you think you are!!" over and over. I will never forget it, it was a true unmasking of what could also be a charming person.

He left. A few hours later, a neighbor came over, he'd called her to check on me. She was furious, he hadn't even left any food for me, the cupboards were bare. She got the dog to the vet, and he was fortunately OK. She was just so angry at my ex.

It was the end of our "relationship" and yet he was surprised I didn't want to continue with him, seemed surprised like he'd forgotten all about it.

It was also the end of my innocence about how truly low and vicious Ns can go.

So, you see, when I'm in the presence of these people, my intuition does kick in, there's a reason I feel anxious. It's trusting myself that's hard, but why, I don't know. I guess a part of me still has trouble believing people can truly be that evil, even though I grew up with it in my N sister. Your blog has given me the key to understanding it, God bless you and yours forever for all the good you've brought from your own N trials.

Anna Valerious said...

I seem to have had my share of contacts with Ns in the past few years, not just relatives, and I'm beginning to think their numbers are understated in our society.

I am glad you are sensing the understatement because I think the evidence is quite compelling that the incidence of malignant narcissists is MUCH higher than the so-called experts will admit. They simply go by how many show in in their practices and we KNOW the number of those are fractional. Ns end up in therapy under duress. I agree with Kathy Krajco's estimate that as many as 1 in 20 may be a narcissist. It better explains why it is you can barely go out your front door and not have to deal with one.

Back to your landlord. You don't have to get sucked into helping him out of pity for his health situation in order to have a 'good' relationship with him. You can remain polite but distant. When forced to be in his immediate presence you can be attentive to his self-serving prattle and pretend to give a shit. That is likely enough to keep him pleasant toward you. Just do not invest your time, effort or money into his life because once you do that is when he really will start treating you like crap on his shoe!

Anna Valerious said...

Anonymous @ 11:30 a.m.,

Well said. I agree with your every point.

Anna Valerious said...

Thank you to Dee and Anonymous @ 11:33 a.m. for your stories illustrating the type of care taking one can expect to get at the hands of the narcissists. They surely underline my statement that their care taking is the stuff of nightmares. Picturing anonymous lying in bed with fractured vertebrae, unable to care for yourself let alone a sick dog being abandoned by a narcissist is so utterly disgusting yet is entirely in line with how narcissists behave in these situations. He acted like you had attacked HIM for daring to expect his help. Thank God for your neighbor. Thank you again for this very sad yet excellent illustration of my point. It cannot be too strongly stated that one should avoid at all costs being in the care of a narcissist when you're sick or injured. They are a 'clear and present danger' in that situation. You will be lucky to not be harmed by their neglect or active antipathy.

dragonmctt said...

Dee - the movie was Small Sacrifices, and I as well can no longer listen to that song.

Kathleen said...

Huh. My ILs were great caretakers. They were extremely helpful.
While DH was dying, they took great care of themselves.
Helpful? They helped themselves to my children's beds, my pool (seriously, who the hell goes swimming in a pool while your brother lies dying in the house?), helped themselves to my time, and helped themselves to all the food in the house.

They are great caretakers and helpful. Sort of goes with that empathy blog. LOL

- Kathleen

Holland said...

Thanks for all the posts. They are a great help. 3,5 years ago I asked for NC and it took 2 years to cut the contact by informing all family members IL's and 'out-laws'(LOL)that NC means NC, since nicely asking did not help. In all the time that passed there was not ONE indication of any insight of my NM or her co-abusers. I now am sure that it will never come and won't even hope for it anymore. It's hurting to acknowledge that I have to give up hope, all family members.
Wish you all happy Holidays with your BELOVED ONES. Those are the ones that count.
Holland

narc free (kind of) said...

I am a single woman in my forties and was recently in a bad accident. To add insult to my injury I have been infected by three Ns.

I feel sick and anxious with disgust by the treatment I received by these people yet am not at all surprised having learned about Malignant Narcissism.

However, I am now taking all my anger and pain out on myself for having any contact what so ever with these evil freaks. I feel like a total hypocrite having named myself Narc Free. I am so distraught and have no one to turn to but the community of Survivors here on Anna's blog.

Because of a serious housing crisis about 2 years ago I was forced to live with my N father for 4 months while I searched for a place to live. It was hell having to be in his presence but it was then that the word Narcissist started tripping off my tongue and I found myself googling the word and thus began my much needed journey of understanding on the subject.

Eventually, I found an apartment and I took it only because I was desperate to get out from under N father's roof. The problem with the apartment was that I found the woman of the husband and wife team who ran the building vile. I had only read a bit about MNs at the point of the rental but this woman made me uncomfortable because she was contradictory, gossipy, snide, etc. etc. In fact, within the first week of living in my new place I had a nightmare about her.

Early on in my tenancy when I would do my laundry she would wonder in to talk to me. She totally creeped me out...Frankly, she had all the characteristics of my Malignant N Mother. She was really digging for information on me. I was repelled by the fact that upon renting the suite she gossiped about a load of tenants in the building and knew everyone's business. So when she started to pry in to my life I just said to her, "I kind of like to keep to myself". This stopped her from trying to dig-up info on me but she continued all her other crap which I just listened to but didn't respond.

Frankly, it got the point where I was afraid to do my laundry and only did it when the management office down the hall was closed so she wouldn't be around.

There are over a 100 tenant's in this building and video cameras everywhere and she knows every Tenant's every move!

Over the last year I have been studying Malignant Narcissism. I know this building manager is an MN. I also know she slithers her way around looking for victims and trying to learn everyone's business. She had the audacity to send out a form to each tenant to fill out about their medical history and what medication they are on. Her reason being, in case she ever needs to communicate with paramedics on a tenant's behalf. Of course, I never filled out the form and knew she only wanted the information for her little hobby and that she was brazenly violating every person who lives in the building right to privacy.

Anyway, I have had to deal with her over the last year because of a problem neighbour. I put up with the problem for 6 months because I wanted to avoid dealing with her but eventually got to the point where I couldn't take it anymore.

She is snide, which I ignore because she has taken the legal steps to deal with the matter although begrudingly...However, it wasn't until I had my accident that she attacked me.

My accident happened out of town. I fell down a flight of stairs, smashed-up and ripped-up my face and required plastic surgery to repair my eye area. When the accident happened I was all alone at the time and didn't know I would be taken back to the city. As a result, my house keys, among other things, were left behind in the hotel room.

When I was discharged from emergency later that evening I had to contact the evil building manager to let me in to my suite because I didn't have my keys. To make a long story short, she saw the state I was in within 24 hours of the accident. I looked like I had been in a car wreck or boxing match.

Narcissist #1 - Building Manager

The only friend I could rely on for help got me to my appointment with a specialist and then the next day moved to another continent. So, I was forced to contact N father for help. I had no contact with him in the last year because in the last year I have learned that he is a Malignant Narcissist albeit not a predatory one which is why I have remained in touch with him over the years and not with my MN Mother and Sister who are on a mission to destroy me. I guess I have found the passive, indifferent, neglect of N father tolerable compared to the predatory nature on N Mother and Sister.

Anyway, N father stepped-up to help. I expected nothing, no how are you, how do you feel, no nothing, and that's exactly what I got. He was nothing more than a cab driver. Although I was in the hospital for 3 days and 2 nights he didn't come to see me. When I was discharged and he was to pick me up I had to meet him in the waiting area of the hospital so he didn't have to park and come up.

The man has a dead soul and as usual was entirely focused on himself. After he picked me up from the hospital, he dropped me off at my apartment, used my bathroom, and hit the road. He lives about an hour and a half away. It's now been two weeks since the accident and I haven't heard from him.

I did something though that I normally wouldn't do. I'm usually a no hard copy person. But the day after he left, I sent him a "Thank You" card I had kicking around and thanked him for his "assistance" and asked him to respect my privacy and not to discuss my accident with my MN sister as I did not want to be subjected to further injury by callous criticism, smug analysis and warped judgement typical of N sister who would feed the info to N mother.

I experienced a fair amount of anxiety over the experience and it was mainly due to a really incompetent medical system but I know for a fact that my reactions be it nervous, anxious, angry would be looked at as the problem. Again, I knew my father would discuss this matter with my sister and focus on how I coped, not the trauma I was going through.

Back to Narc #1 - Building Manager.

Building Manager knew I had to have surgery and was in the hopital for 3 days because I had to organize parking for my N father who stayed in my apartment.

I week after my surgery, the problem with my neighbour re-surfaced and I went down to the Management Office to inform Building Management. That is precisely when this vile, toxic sack of shit Building Manager turned on me. She lashed out at me, of course knowing I was vulnerable, and turned me in to the problem. Knowing full well the other Tenant had been violating the terms of the rental agreement for the past year and that the offending tenant was in breach she interrogated me, suggested I move out and asked me what's it to me if this Tenant is in violation of the agreement?! My reason of course is the violation affect my living conditions. Anyway, I know I have the law and agreements and blah de blah on my side but after she attacked me I've felt even more sick to my stomach.

I don't feel safe, I haven't been sleeping and if housing was easy to find in this city I would have been out of this building long ago. I despise this woman and I've never backed down to a MN before and know my rights but what a blatant example of an N kicking someone when they are down.

I'm currently hiding in my apartment with a face that will be scarred and feeling so alone and that the world is against me. I need some help from people who "know".

That is Narcissist #1 and #2. It's my association with N #3 that I am really shaming myself for because I should have known better.

To end the story, N #3,the creep I went away for the weekend with, who I had flagged as bad news, who I cancelled twice on, who I had a bad dream about but decided to go away with anyway, delivered my belongings to me the day after the accident. He saw the state of my face, and I haven't heard from him since. Thank God it never went any further than a few outings with this brazen MN. He didn't even make a feeble attempt to feign concern.

The accident was two weeks ago. When N #3 delivered my belongings I actually knew I would never hear from him again. I guess that is the beauty and power of knowledge...One is never again disappointed or surprised by the N's behavior but the damage they inflict still stings like hell.

I'm alone, sad, angry, and scared. I have no support.

How do I deal with this building manager?! She is the only MN I am forced in to having contact with.

Dee said...

Dragonmctt,
Thanks, that was it. Fitting title, don't you agree?

Anonymous said...

Narc Free, hold on, be strong, you will regain your strength and can then move on. Until then, read whatever you can to boost your spirits and get your center back. It will take time, don't despair. Just examine all the things you've already made it through and realize how strong you are.

IMO, it's important to detach from the emotions your N landlady brings up in you, realize that it's true evil you're fighting but that darkness has to always make room for light, never the opposite.

Now is the time to pamper yourself in every way possible, show yourself the love your N family can't, that people like your LL won't/can't, and forget them, take away their power over you. Release it, reject their evil and don't let it touch you. Run them off, get them out of your head. Best of luck, you're in my prayers.

krl said...

Wow....this post and all comments bring a shitload of my own experiences to mind!

One thing I recall clearly....and have always wondered about....(and now I know..) has to do with my Theologically/Doctrinally Correct Nmom. Man...that lady could turn your head around with her 'knowledge' and 'information'...BUT..I remember one aspect of Bible stuff that she would 'slither' around....something that seemed to make her 'uncomfortable'? It had to do with 'self-examination' and 'confession'. As I was growing up and began to take hold of my Faith....and was searching for what I needed to grow in it...I would ask her many questions. As a child, of course, you ask what KIND of things are sin....(I was struggling with Sins of Omission...)...I wanted SPECIFIC answers....and I wanted her to share PERSONALLY....(not just 'information' or 'doctrine') She was so 'smart' and yet she NEVER EVER made it 'real' to me. It was not PERSONAL to her. No REAL Faith. Now I know...she never did 'confess' a goddam thing! How could she? She never looked inside herself! And God forbid....that little Sin of Omission! What a big fake she was and is!

That was just the tip of the iceberg on this subject. Thanks for the vent and rant.

Narc Free said...

Thank you Annonymous @ 4:52. I have read and re-read your post many times. Your words of encouragement have helped me.

You are so right in saying that I was thrown off balance. This incident with the Building Manager happened a couple of days ago and since then I felt punched and kicked off my centre. I know that was exactly her intentions. I did remain calm with her and stood my ground but in privacy experienced the effect of her evil.

Up until that incident I had been coping quite well and totally accepted that Narc #3 the creep was exactly like Narc #2 my Dad. But their indifference causes me less grief then a full-on predatory Narc attack.

Anyway, thank you again. Thank you for inspiring the fighter of evil in me. I'm trying to drown out my thoughts in movies and yesterday I bought myself a little glass Rooster because "The Rooster is an auspicious symbol of honesty, luck and protection, as well as physical and moral strength. Legend once had it that the sound of the rooster crowing could scare evil spirits away". I've been clutching that little thing all day.

Those of us who stand up to the evil Narcs are Rooster who crow.

I believe that's why the evil building manager attacked me in the first place.... Becasue I once called her on her contradictions and because I stand up to her.

Have to say though, I think the Narc population is more 1 in 5.

Anonymous said...

NarcFree, make a list of some of the more traumatic things you've made it through, not enough to retraumatize yourself, but enough so you'll realize this is yet another hard time that you'll get through. And you will, with flying colors.

I think emotional wounds are tougher than physical wounds, and you've had both in severe form, you've really been hard hit. Recognize the severity of it and then offer yourself some sympathy and comfort, just like you would a child who comes to you with these hurts.

For me, the hardest thing is losing my sense of who I am and my strength, and I recover it when I go back and revisit some of the tough things I've been through and the path I've been on. Like they say, you find out how strong you are when your back is against the wall and you have nowhere to go.

I like the rooster, symbolism can be a very powerful thing to grab on to and gives us strength by reminding us who we are and where we're going and that we're truly not alone in this fight, there are many like us out there, witness the others on this blog.

Don't give your manager any more power, defuse her evil by laughing at it, evil really hates that, it shrinks into the night, its power is in fear, and laughter defuses fear. God bless.

Laura said...

Narc-free, I too will be praying for you, and for your complete recovery. I am sorry for all that you have had to endure lately. Things will get better for you,I have faith.
I also affirm all that Anonymous wrote. "Self-care" is vital right now for your mind-body-spirit recovery. Don't allow these N's to 'rent' negative space in your head! They reap what they sow eventually.
Have you ever read the Psalms? #139is my fav whenever I need strenght from evil N's. Read them over during your recovery time and see what you think. Maybe get some therapeutic-grade lavender essential oil, put some on a hankie and inhale, or a few drops in a bath to "sooth" your soul.
Praying for you. Hugs,

Narc Free said...

Thank you for all the kind words and words of wisdom. Everyone's comments have given me the strength and hope I needed. You've all really helped me to keep the faith....or at least understand that I still have some left.

I wanted to add that a few days before my accident, I quit my job at what can only be described as a malignant organization. It was only a 6 month contract but I walked away from it after 4 months and screwed myself out of 2 months of income and future employment insurance. I'll live.

After being there for a couple of months I was disgusted by how I was being treated and how the organization operated. To make another long story not too long, I needed to expose their secrets, lies and evil and I did. I really had no choice.

Anyway, my little take down may have foiled their plan to secretly close an office that is needed by a large community of people. As well, it may have given power to a very kind man who had been abused by the organization for over 6 years and was adored by the community he had served.

I always have to expose evil (it appears I have to go on a weekend jaunt with it too - I'm trying to see the humour in the horror). Anyway, I can't NOT do something when I spot it. It's been that way since I recognized that same evil in my mother when I was a toddler. So I've been aware of the evil force out there and been trying to expose it all my life.

The recent job thing was just one of many, many, take downs.

To call myself Narc Free seems a bit silly. I don't think I'll ever be Narc Free because evil is out there. Did I ask for this? No. I'm tired. But it seems my life has been an exercise in exercising Narcs. I wish I didn't care. Maybe I enjoy the fight and its what I do...I don't know. But because I see what I see and because of the fight in me, I can't relate to many people (except here on this blog) and many people can't relate to me.

My life has been very unstable because of my inability to fit in or at least find a good fit for myself.

Anna's blog and community of survivors is the only semblance of "home" that I have.

Sometimes I think I know evil so well I will never attract much good. Have any of you ever felt that way??

I haven't deluded myself in to thinking I'm some kind of superheroe but have any of you ever felt like an exhausted Batman?? Boy I'm tired. Anna, do you feel a tremendous responsibility deep in your being? You are a missionary and a visionary in my eyes.

Thank you all again for taking my hand as I reached-out. It's hard for me to ask for help. And, like Tim, I have been searching my entiire life for Anna's blog and for the first time in life don't feel completely misunderstood and completely alone in my experience on this narc infested planet.

Peace and love to all of you.

Holland said...

Dear NarcFree @ Dec. 20, 11:25PM,
The things you write here are so recognizable. We fight our whole lives against the maligrant N's who are so evil and do as if we are the one's that are wrong, crazy, mental instable etc. Since our senses inform us with the constant need to prove that we aren't crazy, wrong or mentally ill we have the (constant) urge to prove the others are wrong. Due to that way of living, we also attract the N's.

The unknown N e.g., who can not wait for his turn in whatever situation, must be called to account for his behaviour. And in this way we attract other attacks on us. We have to learn that where to stop our need to get things right. As the case with your landlady IMO you definately would have a better situation if you would praise her for her great insight for being prepaired in case of accidents but that due to the privacy law you can not give it or you simply do not say anything about giving her that info.

Since you are stuck there at the moment, I think the best thing is to take care of yourself and that will not work by exposing someones flaws.
The only way we can make our situation better is by changing our own behaviour, as it is stated here so many times. I learned that it realy works.

NarcFree, please be gentle to yourself, you are hurt so much, please grant yourself the time, space and love to not react. The N's know how to get to us! For your own health do not react.
Wish you all the best, my thoughts are with you.
Holland

krl said...

One of the most difficult and stressful aspects of knowing the Truth (about Ns and Evil) is simply that it is OUT THERE at every turn.

Myself? I am not a Warrior. Learning to spot Evil from the get-go...and avoid its contamination by getting the hell AWAY from it asap has been the only thing that has allowed me a chance to begin to grow in areas that I couldn't before. I lost most of my life to Ns and the Evil aftermaths.....and I don't want them to have any more of MY LIFE. If the 'creature' has tentacles...ie: If I even SMELL a subversive 'deal going down'....you can color my ass GONE! I'll 'fight' with the Truth IN THE MOMENT....but I don't spend any extra energy 'fueling' an Ns need for a PowerPlay. Most Ns just LOVE the RousingRumble!...be they in CorporateForm or in families etc. They ARE 'everywhere'! and I don't want to rassle that pig anymore.

I'm not saying that one shouldn't be a Warrior....I just think one should count the cost. If Anna weren't a Warrior in this blog..(Thank you, Anna!) I would still be slopping the hogs...BUT, she has also made clear in many posts how she maintains her freedom from Ns and Evil by not expending more of her precious energy on them. It gets easier to spot 'bad situations' and 'bad people' and not invite them in (or enter their realm) and you end up not kicking and scratching to get them out of your life or clawing your way out of theirs.

Shit DOES happen....no doubt.....but don't find yourself trying to 'rest' under the shitter.

I AM sympathetic and empathetic to all of you....especially you, NarcFree since you wrote so much about your troubles. I'm not trying to sound like a BluntObject here....I HEAR YOU. I've been there....done that..and still working on it. Just passing on some of what I'm learning. AND, you just might be one of those Warriors! It IS a choice....but get fortified in between the battles....get 'well' and get rested up. That's why they have R and R. And there's only so many Tours of Duty you can take on. You are a human being...flesh and blood....and you are fighting an UnseenRealm....an EvilRealm that is spiritually deficit.....enough to take ANYONE down. You aren't alone. Arm yourself with Truth and Reality.

Kathleen said...

KRL,
Wow -- I never made that connection before in my DH's life, but it's true there as well.

When we met, I was (and am) a practicing Christian. Both DH and I were raised in the same faith. My parents are Christians, and his parents are religious. But I didn't know it then. His home was religious.

He was not a practicing Christian. I had been divorced and determined not to marry a non-Christian. We were speaking of Christ one evening, and I laid it all out.

He was amazed! According to him, NO ONE had ever made any aspect of faith personal. All he ever heard were verses thrown around.
I have to admit, I was nervous. If he rejected what I was saying I knew I was going to end the relationship.

Making it all perssonal -- so very important. DH became a practicing Christian early on in our relationship --- but always wondered why no one ever told him "this stuff" before. His family continued on being religious, but there is no fruit -- correction -- there is rotten fruit. They only adhere to "honor your mother and father." Period.

It's sad to think that Ns can really retard the faith of someone else.

But God will NOT be mocked. In his last days I know that my DH found a lot of peace and comfort in his relationship with God. Our faith got us through.

I hope you have found such peace too.

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

NarcFree:

When in doubt and feeling thrown off center by N's, my rule of thumb for personal realignment is simple: make it a priority to do whatever it is the N's ALWAYS try and discourage other people from doing. Because hey, if THEY hate it, it MUST be good and centering and strengthening for us!!


Yes to the self care and pampering mentioned, and Yes to believing in your inner resources and focusing on past successes.

Yes to hobbies. [N's hate people's hobbies, so must be good!]

Yes to connecting to supportive people - but don't neglect to branch out from online support too! People without connections in their local community are VERY appealing to N's. You say you find that you have a hard time relating to others, perhaps you might want to try a different approach or change your expectations in order to try to make more social connections. Even "lite" friends and acquaintances can make a big difference in daily life. Don't let the N's see you as an isolated target!

And don't let being on the warpath distract you from strengthening your base as your number 1 priority. It is great to help others and fight injustice, but always take care of yourself FIRST so your help/fight is coming from a sustainable base.

JGrace said...

Love the comment about whatever N´s don´t like must be good for us. LOLOL Funny. Wish I had read that when I was 10. I do remember loving to make my N father mad because whatever he wanted was always so selfish. It was even worth the punishment he doled out!

About the incidence of Narcissists.. well in Southern California.. my therapist and I have come to the conclusion that people with serious N traits are at least 50% of the population.

It seems in almost every family there is a narcissist and a victim of that N.

I am awaiting my fathers demise. I hope it will be on Christmas as it will be the best Christmas present ever!

The day he dies is going to be my second birthday. Every day I will be alive without him in this world will be the greatest gift possible.

Hows that for depicting the damage N´s do.

Grace

Anonymous said...

Pet abuse-- as in shaving your dog when winter temperatures are bitter. Took Nmother's dog to the groomer. Said leave a little long, it's winter. Nmother annoyed. Baffled by the very concept of considering the comfort of the animal over saving money and effort by not having to take her dog back to the groomer as soon.

krl said...

My Nmom spent more money on vet bills...I mean: her screwball cats, dogs, thoroughbred horses etc.....than she EVER did on MY medical needs. She is ever-so-attentive to animals....(her quote: "THEY are 'helpless', you know."...yeah, like what was I while I was growing up?)...and would say things like: "SHE (me) doesn't need orthodontia....her BITE is good." or when asked where she wanted the doctor to put my small pox immunization (those ugly biggo scars...any remember those?) "Oh, her upper arm....it isn't like she is going to be a beauty queen or anything...." Just shit like that....or GodForbid I get to go to a dermatologist when I was a teen!

And...I know that not everyone can afford orthodontia or dermatologists...but that wasn't the issue....Remember? In the first part of my comment....I said something about 'thoroughbred horses'?....Yeah.....so you KNOW it wasn't a money issue!

Sorry....this was a bit off-track from the subject....I just hadda throw it in.

Narc Free said...

When I was a teen I asked Nmom if she would buy some conditioner so that I could some how tame my crazy ass curly hair. She refused and constantly uttered how vain I was.

Anyway, family had the cash to pay for her 4 or 5 eye lifts / face lifts back then.

Narcs. HA! All projection and no introspection.

I wonder how many she's up to now?! Haven't seen her in almost 20years. Doesn't matter anyway...cause no amount of "work" could ever hide her ugliness.

Henrietta said...

Hey Dee, your story interests me because I am seeing a similar situation take hold. My father in law is N and he treats his sweet, selfless wife like CRAP. As a result, the poor woman is ill all the time. I see that his abuse is killing her right before our eyes. They have been married 40 years- could you imagine being in her shoes?!

My husband, his siblings and Mom are all very nice people who unfortunately bowed to him their whole lives. Now I think everyone realizes how wrong he is and they actually have tried to talk the Mom into a divorce (she is so weak from his abuse).

My problem is that I know they don't know his diagnosis =NPD, so they probably have some sort of empathy for him, at least the siblings do. I think if they understood the depths of the situation, they would work harder to save their Mom.

As a new IL, I feel as though it is not my place to rile up the whole family. Plus I don't want to butt heads with my father in law either. We are in a different country so we have even less ability to intervene and give the Mom support.

What is boils down to is that I love my Mother In Law so much. I can practically guarantee her untimely death (she is sick aaaaaaaaaaaaallll the time) if things continue this way.

Any suggestions on how to approach this problem?

no more darkness said...

just recieved yet more mail from n mil- this time a card with a fairy on it from another childrens charity containing a cheque for £100 (not intending to cash it!)the card goes on to explain how they have a present for our daughter and if we change our mind about visiting, they will all(mil and 5 enablers) be really pleased to see us. Yes i'm sure they would.
"what's for christmas dinner mil?"
anwser- "YOU!"

Im afraid they will all have to turn canabalistic this year- and they can listen to mil's sobs in between courses.

Anonymous said...

Narc Free, it sounds like you've had a really hard life. Your entire immediate family, your building manager, your neighbor, your date, AND the last company you worked for all turned out to be malignant. It sounds like after a short honeymoon period, almost everyone you know turns on you or starts avoiding you... That must be tough to live with. You're terribly strong to be able to deal with it.

Anonymous said...

krl, I'm right there with you! As a child I had to beg my N-Mom to take me to the doctor. When she would relent and make the appointment the hours or days until then were filled with taunts about being weak or getting shots or some other painful treatment. Specailists for me, out of the question. Specialists for her, insisted upon no matter what the ill.

This is the same person who adpots half-blind or other obviously ill dogs. She thinks this makes her a better person on yet another level than the rest of us. LOL. She then uses the animals to garner source (e.g., she laments about their illness, the vet bills she incurrs, how she can't travel without making special accomodations, etc.). By the way, her "special accomodations" was making me take care of them while she was out impressing her beau of the week (she is a 50 y.o. vain N and grooms and dresses herself like a 20 y.o.). In retrospect, caring for her pets was one of the few enjoyalbe interactions I've had with an N. Picking up the pieces and the people in pieces she leaves in her wake of destruction...not so much.

JR

Anonymous said...

Anna- how do you anticipate exactly what I need to read? I wrote a letter to my MN mom yesterday. Feeling sentimental because of Christmas, rememebr good times (because there were some), I felt like maybe one more letter would make the difference. I have been NC for one year. I wrote a letter that normal people would respond well to. I apoligized for my part in the mess ( which honestly is minimal, but i did make mistakes). I was feeling so happy that things were going to change, nad I would have the mother who I could make a cup of tea for, and my kids would have a grandmother to cheer them on instead of rolling her eyes at them. We were going to be one happy family!

After reading your post, I realized I have that Savior complex, and I snapped out of my hazy dream back to what is. I will not send the letter.
Thanks Anna--you've saved me from certain pain. Happy Holidays!

Anna Valerious said...

It certainly does appear this post was written especially for you. I'm quite relieved on your behalf that you were able to avoid certain disappointment of your misplaced hopes. Have a very happy holiday... made possible by realizing narcissists never change.

Anonymous said...

HI Anna,
your writings have been very helpful to me. I have learned a lot.
this is an interesting topic to me--the introspection and N's. My Nstepfather (who adopted and raised me) was a psychotherapist.... gee, great. It has been very confusing for me, and now that I am in N recovery, I am slowly sorting out the mess and abuse all N's leave, wherever they go.
My Nstepfather (my mother is an N also) used all his pyscho babble crap on me for years, throughout my childhood. He would "introspect" ad nauseaum, all about him, his wounds, his awful mother, my awful mother who mistreated him so--this was all done in the name of his so-called "self-introspection" and how he bonded with me. He would encourage me to talk about myself, my feelings, all of which, of course would become, through his N filter, all about him.
He came across as a very introspective, self-reflective person, and maybe, if I wasn't inoculated with all of his bullsh*t from such an early age, I would be able to see that this wasn't true introspection more easily???
As it is, it has been confusing for me: an N who "pretends" to introspect as an excuse to be even more self-absorbed? Is this evil? Is this a sociopath?
I now understand how atrocious, inappropriate and emotionally abusive his behavior was to me--the boundary intrusions, being relentlessly unseen and forced to be his audience, parent and colleague.
My Nmother was also of the pyschobabble persuasion--"oh honey, you are right, I didn't see you as a separate person..." She has/had no understanding of what she was saying, but knew it was the right thing to say to keep me enmeshed with her. I guess this is like the wife beater, who abuses his wife, and then says that he is sorry and will change, and never does.
Thanks for reading, any comments are appreciated... L.V.

Kelly said...

Anna, great post and well said. After over two years of no contact with my NPD mom she actually sent a demand letter to me just a few weeks ago. Demanding to come over, demanding an explanation, then if I wouldn't do either of those things she demanded a photo of my family.
Yeah right! I happily ripped the letter up and tossed it in the garbage. After over two years of no contact and nearly a year of therapy her sad self centered narcissistic ways are so obvious to me now.
Narcissist don't change.

Anna Valerious said...

Wow, L.V., what a distinct disadvantage you've had in trying to sort out real from unreal given your dad's use of psychobabble to give himself cover as well as justify the way he chose to interact with you and the world. You've had much to overcome.

His use of the word 'introspection' was a misuse of the word. Rehearsing old gripes was what he was doing. "...his wounds, his awful mother, my awful mother who mistreated him so..." The core of the meaning of the word 'introspection' is 'self-examination'. It is this that I'm talking about when I point out the lack of introspection with Ns. Oh, yeah, they are well able to "contemplate their own thoughts, feelings and sensations" as the dictionary describes it...but it never moves into self-examination which is the purpose and result of introspection. What you described him doing was pure SELF-PITY and SELF-JUSTIFICATION which are a far-cry from self-examination i.e. introspection.

As it is, it has been confusing for me: an N who "pretends" to introspect as an excuse to be even more self-absorbed? Is this evil? Is this a sociopath?

I haven't met a malignant narcissist yet who doesn't spend inordinate time rehearsing all the imagined (sometimes real) wrongs they felt have been done to them. And I haven't met one yet who ever gets around to rehearsing all the wrongs they've done to others. This state of mind is demonstrated in all malignant narcissists up to and including those to are on the sociopath/psychopath end of the spectrum. Is it evil? Oh, absolutely. Evil indulges in self-pity every day of its miserable existence. Evil deprives others of justice every chance it gets. Refusing to truly introspect means they deprive those around them of justice. The narcissist will never grant you that they've deprived you of your rights, your property, your life. True self-examination/introspection would force them to see and acknowledge what wrongs they've done. They. Won't. Go. There. You asked if the malignant narcissist can use so-called introspection as just another way to be even more self-absorbed. Yes. Absolutely. I have observed this very thing up close and personally in the person of my sister. She grabbed onto the handy tools of psychobabble and did exactly this. There was no end to her contemplation of the terrible wrongs (many of them imagined) she received from others. The pleasure she received in reciting the sad tales of her childhood (exaggerated in many cases) was sickening to behold because it had the quality of public masturbation. I hated being forced by her to listen to it.

My sister's own catalog of wrongs against others goes unacknowledged and unconfessed to this day. Again, narcissists do not introspect. They may spend time looking inward but it is only to nurse their sense of being done wrong in order to gain pity and establish justification for their own rotten behaviors.

Your father's definition of introspection was perverted. You can attest to the perversion by the results as seen in the perversion of his relationship with you. He turned you into something other than a daughter he was obligated to take care of. As you well described it: "being relentlessly unseen and forced to be his audience, parent and colleague." I have no doubt that you were early trained to accept his definitions of things. His definitions of words and relationships. He had a very handy cover provided by his profession. Psychology provides some of the best cover for narcissists. Even better than religion. Combine the two and you're lucky to get out with your sanity intact.

Anna Valerious said...

Bravo, Kelly! Music to my ears. I so love to hear it when people really get it where narcissists are concerned. One less narcissist bottom feeder getting a free meal. May they all starve to death.

Anonymous said...

"Evil deprives others of justice every chance it gets".

Beautifully put!

"Psychology provides some of the best cover for narcissists".

Especially the "Fraudians"!

Thank you Anna!!

Anonymous said...

HI Anna,
thanks for your validation of my experience. It means a lot to me. I also appreciate your further clarification about true introspection and how N's distort this to get more self-pity, attention, and achieving/maintaining greater heights of victimhood--one of their favorite hideouts.
Yes, having headshrinkers in my FOO N system has, been difficult. It has been a big disadvantage in exactly the way you stated--differentiating the real from the unreal. I am relearning to trust myself, what I feel, my thoughts, and valuing my own experience, no matter what anyone else says or how they "shrinkwrap" it.
I am NC with my Nmother and my Nstepfather is dead. I am in the process of unloading a lot of their N garbage (you know how bad that smells...) that I had carried around for decades for them and their toxic projections that I have been limiting myself with. It is a process, but I get beautiful glimpses of freedom along the way.

With respect and good wishes for you and everyone reading, L.V.

Anonymous said...

"...their toxic projections that I have been limiting myself with."

Bullseye, Anon 1:26. N parents can't stand the idea of their children outdoing them. Our challenge is to see their abusive N brainwashing for what it is, and become who we want to be anyway. Building a happy, healthy, successful life for yourself is truly the best revenge.

Anonymous said...

Pet abuse. N Father yells and hollars at the cat and throws water on it for no reason when he forgets anyone else is in the house. Yet when he goes away on "business" (whatever that is) he makes sure to have someone come and care for the cat and calls repeatedly pretending to care so much for it. People think it is funny and cute that he loves the animal so much.

This was basically the model for my upbringing. Mostly verbal abuse when no one was around especially in moments of vulnerability. Excessive doting whenever anyone was looking and claims to be constantly doing things for his son. After being abused and terrorized by his mercurial attitudes I got to hear from his sycophant friends what a great father I had and even how spoiled I was by someone so concerned with my well-being.

The N abandons being a valuable person and takes up instead the project of convincing people they are. I'm convinced it's fun for them to be SOBs and reap accolades for their benevolence. Getting away with a perfect crime makes them feel powerful and clever.

Anonymous said...

Hi L.V.,

I too was subjected to a psychology-themed N world in my FOO. There are certain terms I cannot hear to this day without flinching.

My NM had no problem believing everyone should join her in gazing at her own navel with a microscope, and dissecting and reviewing her every current problem and her entire history of slights and hurts. At the same time, she scrupulously avoided even the smallest shred of awareness about her own wrongdoing or how her actions, omissions or boundary violations could/did hurt others. Point it out, and an 'authoritative' rewrite/correction took place, or an on the spot diagnosis of "why" I could be motivated to "attack" her or whatever other babble seemed plausible under the circumstances. The classic was being accused of false memory syndrome [specifically about a situation that many others witnessed, and she knew this too!].

I totally relate to the feeling of relearning to trust your instincts. When I finally put the pieces together, I began to realize to my surprise that all through the past my gut feelings had actually been right time and again, while all along I was made to feel completely off base.

Dee said...

Henrietta,
I really feel for your MIL, poor thing. If you have a really good relationship with your husband, you should tell him that you strongly suspect his father of being an N and back it up with things that are written on the subject, such as some of the great books that Anna has recommended. Then try to gauge how strongly he agrees with you and what he is willing to do about it. You are right in that it is probably best for him to convince his siblings about the severity of the situation, but everyone should be letting your MIL know that she has their full support. Since you live far away, see if one of his siblings is willing to take the lead in helping her out with any practical matters, like living arrangements, finding the right lawyer, etc. and the other sibs could provide moral and perhaps some financial support to cover the helper sibling's expenses. I think that it would be a good idea no matter what if you MIL could go to therapy, someone that specializes in victimization and depression. The best thing that you can do personally is to lend an ear to her as often as you can. She could benefit greatly by your friendship alone. God bless you for you concern for her welfare.

Anonymous said...

Maybe a bit OT, but this is for anyone feeling even vaguely guilty about being NC with their N relative over the holidays, a reminder of their true nature.

Here's an example of how selfish and self-centered N's are. My N sister is a power monger and also very jealous of anyone/thing who takes from her being the center of attention. She uses her "wonderful sense of humor" to ensure she's the center of everything. She's a boor at any kind of social gathering, she'll soon be the center of whatever little enclave she can grab onto, telling her stupid jokes. She actually has a little book filled with jokes that she reviews before going out. She forgets we've all heard them a million times before and they're truly stupid. She loves going to dinner with anyone who will go so she can be the center, she totally ignores clues most people would cringe from to just shut up already. She ruins any gathering she's a part of. I once told her I wasn't into jokes and was promptly told in a most superior manner that I didn't have a sense of humor. I actually do, I have a book coming out that is very funny short stories, but not her type of humor, she probably wouldn't even get them if she ever read it.

Anyway, she's also into practical jokes, these prove her power and superiority, that she can get one over on someone. Here's an example. She had dinner with some people, while they were eating, she placed silverware in one's purse. When exiting the place, she pulled them out of the poor innocent's purse and smilingly told the cashier she was so sorry, but her friend was a kelptomaniac. The friend was horrified and refuses to go back into the restaurant. Just some good blood-sucking N fun.

NC for a year now, life is good.

May they all die and go to hell, where they can suck on each other.

Anonymous said...

Amen, sister. Please keep writing, Anna. Your fresh, incisive voice articulates every nuance that it took me 20+ years to learn.

Anonymous said...

Once more I beat my head against a wall. Four days ago I snapped at my mother in the car when particularly stressed about trying to find a parking space at a local big box store. My moment of stress brought out the evil (prevalent) side of my mother who had been sweet to me for two weeks and had been showing signs of the strain of it. Now she had me.

Cold stony silence. Evil looks. Instigations. Accusations. When I try to explain myself, she will not listen. She says I hate her. No, I hate one of her. I hate the one who refuses to hear me. I hate the one who persists in torturing me with her rants, silences, and banging. The more violent the sound, the better for her. I am no good in her eyes and there is no way she will ever listen to me. I have made the mistake of expressing myself.

I live under her roof. I tell myself I cannot afford (financially) to leave. Tonight I realized that I am like the "battered" wives who cannot find the strength or courage to leave.

I, too, like NarcFree, have had bad experiences at various jobs. At my age and in these times, I'm virtually unemployable. After my last job experience, I don't feel I could work in an office again. I really don't see what I have done wrong. I don't think I am a narcissist -- but look so many of my sentences have "I" in them. Tears are rolling down my face and I realize Mother still has the power over me. "Now Voyager" --but unlike Charlotte Vale, I don't have my own money, rich friends, or a kindly shrink to take care of me at a fancy camp.

I suggested to Mother tonight that after the New Year we visit the shrink she went to a few years ago for a couple of visits. (I've gone to them all my life -- on my own impetus.)She doesn't want to hear it. Why should she want to save our "relationship"? She might be forced to hear the truth.

Life doesn't look too Merry or Happy right now. But then, the holidays never have. She's always been able to inject some venom at this time of year. If only I could control my frustration.

So, what IS in a heart? said...

"The friend was horrified and refuses to go back into the restaurant."

I hope she refuses to remain friends with such a "practical joker".

"NC for a year now, life is good."

Of course. Just don't let them know that.

Henrietta said...

Thanks for the nice response Dee. As maybe you can related, my feelings about what I should do change everyday. I just told me husband how I am 100% sure the Dad is killing his Mom. Guess why I just had this conversation- Because My FIL is here visiting us for two more weeks, while just tonight he just emailed the head doctor at his Mother's nursing home telling him to remove a tube that will result in her death (the tube has caused her several infections). I cannot really speculate on all of the circumstances here since I am not there, although I wouldn't be surprised if he just wants to spend his inheritance (before the brother gets too involved). What freaking kills me is that he is thousands of miles away while making this decision. Meaning that his poor wife will have to be there, at her bedside, without any support and perhaps she will have to take care of all the funeral stuff. My poor MIL cannot handle this. Anyway, could my FIL be anymore insensitive. He should have waited until he is home to make such a decision.

Anyway, I think my biggest ally is my husband's youngest brother who really CANNNOT stand the father's treatment of the Mom. He actually got his Mom to a lawyer before. I am afraid to use email to discuss these things but if I have to go over there for a funeral I will definately talk to my BIL and push him to do more. He is the only one who I think will.

Thanks again Dee.

Anna, this blog is such a great service. THanks and happy holidays!

Kathleen said...

I know how rude my ILs have been to me for 15 years -- all so subtle it was hard to put your finger on.
I read these stories posted here and I'm stunned -- taunting your child about an upcoming doctor visit? Yelling at your sick dad for money? Sympathizing with other abusers??
I don't doubt these things happened -- but no matter how much I read or remember what my ILs did, it's still incomprehensible, especially the predatory part. They do actually attack when you're most vulnerable!! It defies any logic. I don't think I will ever really understand what makes them tick.

But I don't have to understand it!! Just need to stay away from it. Still purposely turning my focus away (hard to imagine how much pain they can inflict in such a short time). And in turning away and re-focusing, I've gotten so much done! House is decorated, cookies are made. More time for prayer. I'm still swamped at work.
Yet, refocusing is really allowing more to get done. Okay. Still dust bunnies under the bed.
And had a baby squirrel in the house last night (a neighbor came to help -- I don't do rodents!).
But things are getting better as I learn that I will never understand -- and just accept that.

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

About N caretakers. I was 17 years old and unfortunately still living at home with my N monster. I was sick in bed with horrible cramps that were about a 12 on the pain scale. N monster had a rule about being up and out of bed by 8 am every day of the week, no exceptions.

She kept yelling at me to get up and I pleaded with her that I was sick, and to please let me rest for just a couple hours. She wouldn't hear of it. She poured a bucket of ice water on me.

That same year I had to have all four of my wisdom teeth extracted. Of course she complained about the time, trouble and expense of it all, and made me feel like shit. Afterwards, the entire left side of my face swelled up. My eyes were black and blue, it looked like I had been beaten badly.

N monster forced me to go to work. There were no "sick days" in N monster's house.

When I showed up to work (and I had to work with the public), my boss took one look at my black and blue face and told me to go home. I called N monster, and she refused to let me come home. I then had to tell my boss I wasn't allowed home. You can imagine my humilation.

Anonymous said...

Anna, first of all I want thank you for your wonderful blog, it has helped me more than you can know, through a very hard time.

Wow! I can't believe the timing on this blog! When I read this blog two nights ago, I breathed a sigh of relief that my n-husband ( currently seperated )had as of yet not managed to be accused of a felony. Well, low and behold! Last night I got a call from a police station in Colorado ( where he was going to "straighten his life out" with a new job, place, etc.... ) and was told he was accused of 1st degree criminal trespassing, a felony.

And yes, I have never seen this man be introspective either. In all the twenty years of knowing him, I have never seen him grow any wiser. He repeatedly makes the same mistakes, and blames other people for reacting "badly" to him, it is somehow "our fault" that we don't like what he does, and just gets angry at everone else for not wanting to be treated the dirt he appearantly thinks we are. Grrr! He makes me so mad! He is the dumbest "genius" I have ever had the displeasure of knowing. Funny how these fools always think they are the smartest ones around!

no more darkness said...

Anonymous @2.26
You’r post is very familiar to me. Pet abuse. When I was little my own mother/father would never take my sick animals to the vet and sometimes I had no food to give them, - I am still traumatised. My mother stopped looking after my beloved cat properly after it was clear I had moved on and wouldn’t be living at home anymore, when I went to pick her up to take her to live with me she was a shell of her former self and didn’t recognise me for a good while. I hear she has two cats now one with one eye- sheesh- her last kitten died mysteriously....
I have been called spoilt so many times- gee I was never grateful enough for never being allowed a voice or independence.

The N abandons being a valuable person and takes up instead the project of convincing people they are. I'm convinced it's fun for them to be SOBs and reap accolades for their benevolence. Getting away with a perfect crime makes them feel powerful and clever.

Totally! My mum admitted to me once that she enjoyed the power she had over my brother and me! Thanks mum.

My mum is a great horror move fan- I watched many as a young child- im still scarred from this- is this a common theme? I sometimes imagine my mum (or even other n's i've encountered) sitting watching a movie like saw and imagining im one of the victims- do you suppose they do this- my god i feel sick.

Anonymous said...

"You can imagine my humilation."

At people realizing what's happening to you? It might seem humiliating at first, but others knowing/believing/willing to help you can be a great thing.

Let me guess, you have nothing to do with her and she's the first to wring her hands and cry "why"?

Anonymous said...

Kathleen -

It is interesting to get your point of view here as someone not actually raised in an N environment, but who encountered them full on later. Being raised in captivity makes it hard to get an idea of how bad it look from the outside, and I appreciate your comments and perspective.

Anonymous said...

My N mother resented having to take care of me, so she didn't. From the time I was a little girl, I was packing my own lunches, washing my own clothes, arranging rides to wherever I needed to go, etc.

School clothes shopping was always a nightmare. She was pissed that she had to buy me anything, so she'd pick a fight with me as an excuse to leave the store. My family was upper middle class, but you'd never know it to look at me. She used to tell me I dressed like an orphan. Of course she didn't see the irony of that. She would spend big bucks on herself. She'd come home with bags of clothes and call me into her bedroom to show off what she bought. Walking home from school in the pouring rain to find her sitting on the couch watching her "stories." Doting over other people's kids. Teasing me like a schoolyard bully. Encouraging my brother and sister to do the same. It was as if she declared war on my spirit the day I was born. Every day, hour, minute, second was a battle for my sense of self with that ridiculous woman.

I've been NC for nearly 20 years. I still receive the occasional card/guilt trip. Even after all these years, she's still trying to win the war. She doesn't understand that I won it 20 years ago when I put my well being above her sick need to use and abuse.

For me, NC is not about punishment or revenge. It's about taking care of myself as an adult the way my N mother should have taken care of me as a child, but didn't.

Anonymous said...

Just thinking...if Ns aren't introspective, they must make lousy writers, cause a good writer, like Anna, has to consider the greater picture, as well as their inner one.

Anonymous said...

no more darkness said, "My mum is a great horror move fan- I watched many as a young child- im still scarred from this- is this a common theme?"

You mean like taking a six-year old to see the movie Jaws before a day at the beach? Every picture is of me up to my ankles in the surf and crying. Oh, and lets not forget calling over the guy who was parading his surf shark catch along the beach. I was, "being such a baby." -JR

Jenny said...

I have to chime in the horror flick theme that started a few posts back.

I saw many, many horror and frightening movies as a child with my mom and sometimes my brother and sisters. At the youngest I was probably five. The Omen, Earthquake, all the airplane crash movies, XYZ's Baby (I can't recall the name), etc. I vividly remember being terrified during Earthquake and wanting to leave the movie. So I got up and told my mom that I was going to go sit out by the concession and wait for the movie to end. So I sat out by the window and waited. The nice concession girl started talking to me. She probably thought who would let a small child sit out here like this! I was probably seven years old.

Now as a mom myself, I'd never in a million years let my kids watch those kinds of movies. And also I'd never let my kid out of my sight in a public place.

Whenever I think of my Earthquake movie story, I feel sorry for the little girl that used to be me.

I don't think my mom was trying to hurt my heart or mind, but I do think she wanted to see the movie and no kids that she "had to take care of" would stop her from enjoying herself.

Merry Christmas Anna and everyone else, too!

Anonymous said...

I went NC with my NM for a year, then assumed the time apart had given her time to grow and change. You know what they say about ASSuming. Big mistake.

I think it comes down to this: someone who doesn't think twice about mistreating you when you're a child isn't going to suddenly respect you because you're now an adult. If anything, you're viewed as that child who can't fight back combined with a tough exterior adult shell who can and should take even more toxicity.

There's an expression: "There ain't no fool like an old fool." I think that applies in spades to the NPD.

Merry Christmas, Anna.

Kimberley said...

The horror flick experiences...oh my gosh!

I still to this day, a gazillion years later, complain to my Mom why in the hell she and my Psychopathic father took me, my 2 sisters to see Night of the Living Dead at the drive-in.

I was 3 or 4 years old and I remember vividly my first look at that freaky zombie lumbering through the woods, stalking that young couple and then me cowering in the floorboard of the backseat in absolute terror. They also took us to see Jaws as kids, and I couldn't even sit on the toilet in fear of a shark coming up and biting me on my ass!

It might seem humorous to some, but I was shell shocked for years after seeing that movie. Forget about swimming in the pool. I had nothing to do with pools until my mid teens.

I hated him for inflicting such emotional and psychological pain on me and my sisters. I still do, even though he died last year from lung cancer, in prison where's he been for 15+ years.

She has apologized profusely for not only allowing him the power to choose our "entertainment", but marrying him in the first place.

I told her "Look, you were abused by him and tried to leave him many times and finally succeeded when I was 10. You were a victim just as we were. Heck, I didn't even KNOW what a psychopath was until 4 years ago, reading Hare's "Without conscience enlightened me tremendously and we shared experiences together in an effort to form a credible definition of what he is/was.

Let it go, Mom. The spiritual journey I've been joyfully taking has been worth it to me and continues to be so."

So true, so beautiful, so fulfilling, so tranquil to read Scripture and to fundamentally GET the message being given. To understand that faith in the Lord is a "hope that does not disappoint"

God bless all of you gorgeous people who read and write powerful, heartwrenching commentary on the Lovely Anna's blog.

I see you and I believe in each of you as being warriors and not allowing evil to warp, pervert, destory the goodness in you. Hell, the universe needs you to continue living, loving, and fighting this eternal battle of good vs evil.

We will prevail. Always.

Peace, Love, and Joy to all.

Have a Merry Christmas with the Holy Spirit residing in your heart and flowing outwards to touch others.

Katherine Gunn said...

Hmm... horror movies. My NM disdains them. Being the religious pillar that she is, horror movies are, well to quote her, "just stupid." But she is a great fan of the real thing. She loves reading about serial killers - true stories - has read psych books on psychopathic behavior , etc. And a few years ago, got her hands on a forensic pathologist's desk reference and devoured it and implied that I was weak minded/had a weak constitution because I did not want to be read to from this tome. She loves to watch the surgery channel, especially if I had just fixed something to eat...

Hmm... horror...

Kathleen said...

Anonymous,
Thank you for appreciating my perspective -- because I wasn't raised in an N house I sometimes feel that maybe I don't belong here. All of you have been thru so much more than I. My ILs were abusive, one at a time, for 15 years. I think what sent me reeling is having them all at one time being abusive while my DH was dying. That's his parents, his 2 sisters, and his 2 brothers. Their abuse, coupled with my grief and THEN my mom getting sick and dying was almost unbearable. Thank you again for making me feel welcome here.

And your perceptions are NOT wrong. The stories told here make me want to smack some people. There's a part of me which would relish revenge, if not for offenses against me, then against others.

The horror movie stories reminded me of something too. I'm not sure if my first husband is an N (and since we're N/C, I don't care). But he is an alcoholic. I never heard of Ns when I was married to him, and the marriage produced DD1. I left him when she was 1 1/2 years old. I went to Al-Anon and other counselling, and chalked everything up to his drinking problems. Perhaps he is not an N or perhaps there is a dual diagnoses, but alcoholics are very selfish.

When she was 9 she was afraid to go to sleep one night. After questioning her, seems my X had rented Texas Chainsaw Massacre during his visitation (idiot). After she fell asleep, I called him.
ME: Why did she let her watch that?
HIM: Not my fault. My girlfriend rented it for her sons.
ME: So what? It's your house. You have 2 TVs. You should have rented Charlie Brown and the Great Pumpkin for her and let your gf watch the other with her sons.
HIM: You're wrong.
ME: How so?
HIM: I have 3 TVs.

That's the logic I lived with -- for a very short time. I was out of there.

BUT --- if you EVER have doubts about God's love or timing, please don't. My DH and I prayed for 8 LONG YEARS that my X would allow DH to adopt her. No judge takes away parental rights because of a movie (and all the other subtle things he did).

But God is not slow nor is He deaf. He manipulated circumstancss and when finally my X went too far with the law, and I threatened to expose him, he allowed DH to adopt my DD.

When it's dark and seems no one cares, God is there. When I have my doubts I always look back and see how HE freed my daughter from her bio dad (who may be an N).
Eight years of praying, but she's free and healthy and in college. And she considers my wonderful (but deceased) husband "dad."

You're never alone and you are loved.

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

My NM once took us to "Les Miserables". I wondered why she picked it, since it was something she had seen already. When it was about to begin, she looked at us with a suddenly ravenous expression, and gleefully handed out packages of tissues saying "you'll need them!" with a creepy grin. The whole tissue aspect was obviously pre-planned, since she had a load of those little individual packets to pass out. I realized that she picked this play on purpose in order to get double the entertainment value: seeing a good play, and expecting to watch her children cry too.

If we cried in real life she ignored or mocked us, so apparently the rules are different at a play...!

Once on a visit she had the same look of creepy excitement, so I immediately felt wary. She pulled out an envelope and handed it to me. It contained an article about someone dying of AIDS. I had no idea who the person in the article was, and so I looked at her with a puzzled expression. She suddenly looked deflated: "Wasn't he your friend from high school?"

The person she wrongly thought the article was about was alive and well. And, in high school? He was one of my BEST friends!

Anonymous said...

After going nc for several years,I just got a card from my sil.One of the things that it said was that they miss me and love me.What a freakin joke.Then she put her # for me to call.Like I`m going to call her.She sides with my nm and both of them think that they are better than everyone else. They both have hurt me and talked behind my back(also my dc).What I still get pissed off about is when I get these types of cards from them is, that there is no remorse for all of the hurt that they`ve caused.No admition for anything that they`ve done.They are complete jerks.My sil acts like she hasn`t done anything wrong.I can make a long list right now for sil. My dh doesn`t understand why the just "don`t get it." I`m really frustrated right now.

Kimberley said...

I would like to add a sidenote to my post that I wrote regarding my P father who died in prison last year.

Maybe it will help to clarify to some of you dearhearts who believe that personality disordered people can change. No, they don't as Anna has frequently stated from her lifelong experience with her NM and NS:

After my P father died, my sister called and told me he wrote a letter to us, to anyone who would care to listen. I didn't care but I was curious to hear what ridiculous lies he would spout to exonerate himself.

Oh boy, were they absurd to the max! I don't remember the exact words she read to me, but I so remember the context. It was all.." poor, poor me...I didn't do nothin...I was framed, ya see...I never hurt anyone and I love, LOVE my dear, dear daughters soooo much and I bequeath all my worldly possessions to them".

How pathetic. He didn't HAVE any possessions. Nor did he have the capacity for remorse, regret, personal liability, love, compassion, etc. etc.....

My sister didn't express that she was moved by his eye rolling lies, but I could intuit that she was. I said.."It's all lies and bullshit! He was just as evil when he died as he had been all his wasted, useless life. Don't believe for one second that he "miraculously changed" and was all of the sudden a sweet, good guy. He was not and he got just what he deserved."

So, in conclusion, our mentally damaged family, friends, lovers do NOT ever reform. Ever. No contact is the only way to fly and be free from their bullying, their tyranny.

Thanks for letting me vent. Feels real good and I hope it offers freedom for you all also.

Peace, Love, and Joy to all...

Anonymous said...

I feel compelled to write on the subject of caretaking. It brought back a memory of my ex-Nhusband. I was rarely sick, but when I was it seemed to be overlooked. One time I injured my back, and was on the couch on a heating pad. He called my on my cell phone to ask if I could come to the garage to listen to his newly installed car stereo. That evening I woke up and needed to use the bathroom. With the pain in my back, I would become dizzy and nauseous trying to get out of bed. I kept laying back down to get my bearings. He told me to wake him up if I needed him. He never mentioned any of it in the morning. He could never bear to see me sick. I thought that to be so odd, but now understand. I never felt he was there for me when I needed him most. Very self absorbed, selfish, and self centered. Your blog is excellent, and whenever I am feeling any pity for him, I come here to get a reality check.

Kathleen said...

Three weeks before Christmas 2007 I sent an email to my FIL and MIL, cutting them off. I was succint. Told them do not call, do not write, do not email - "you are cut off." That was it.
It was a rough Christmas -- it was the first one without DH and my mom wasn't feeling well. And I was in emotional turmoil, missing DH and having so much anger.

Several weeks later my DD2, age 13, got an email from SIL complaining how I had cut off her parents 3 weeks before THEIR first Christmas without my DH. My daughter, thankfully, was NOT moved at all.

A year has gone by. Mom has passed away. I miss her and I will always miss DH.

But what a difference a year makes! Today I only had 2 thougts of ILs -- one was fleeting, only lasting a few moments. And then now, which led me here -- just to say how thoughts of them are not consuming anymore.

N/C is the best way to go!!

Hope you all had a very peaceful day in an N-Free Zone.

May the new year be the best you've ever had.

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

I am so sad, and yet reading this was timely. I was married to a N for 34 years, and am just recently, finally, divorced. I saw him yesterday, and he was nice to me and the family. I wanted so badly to be able to manage and continue to live with him, but it just got to be too much. We are generally NC, (i only see him at holidays and I absolutely refuse to talk to him on the phone), but everytime I do I wish for that which I will never have... A dad and husband that can love more than himself...He would probably get back together with me now if I wanted, but as you say Anna, there would be no difference. I could tell you all we went through, but it would read like all the other people who blog here. It is good for me to read what you have to say, because at times I still get suckered into blaming myself...or into thinking "maybe he's changed". Thanks again Anna, for all you do. I appreciate it so much!!

Anonymous said...

A question, please.
As you were growing up with an N did you find yourself being one of the N's minions, enablers? If so, as an enabler do you get introspective at some point??
Do the enablers/minions/helpers/co-abusers ever become introspective??
If so, did you find yourself in a position where you apologized to anyone??
Is there hope for the enablers?

- Kathleen

Katrina said...

Seasons Greetings All,

& Especially Anna & Her Family,

I don't know what I'd do without you all. Suffer more, that's for certain.

The month of Dec, actually starting the week before Thanksgiving, has been so totally insane in the N-arena, that I haven't even been able to write. But I've been avidly reading the blog & comments, & you've all been a beacon of light through it.

These last 2 comments have prompted me to write.

Anon Dec 26, 9:35::::

I can so relate to that sadness.
I'm sure we all can on some level.
It is raw. It shakes us down to the core of our soul. It encompasses all WE believed about love & family. The belief that family is family no matter what. That we all have quirks,but we love each other anyway. But we have to remember that it's OUR belief--NOT THEIRS!!!

Anna has so clearly described the DISORDERED personality of the Malignant Narcissists. They will NEVER share our beliefs about family. They will only MIRROR them for their own needs, & they do a good job of convincing us & others that its real. That's why it takes us SO long, & in many cases--NEVER-
to see the truth about them. And THEN to BELIEVE the truth about them. And THEN to CONTINUE believing. Because at times like Holidays--it's OUR tendencey to WANT to use rose-colored glasses. To WANT to believe that the smiles & kindness are REAL. The way WE would've been throughout life-to THEM. If they hadn't turned out to be wolves in sheeps clothing, among us sheep.

Sadness is just an emotion. We get through it. Its normal. In normal people.As long as we don't tip our hand to THEM. Remember--they are stalking & poisonous snakes--always trying to collect info & intelligence on us & our "weaknesses"--to tuck away in their arsenal & use for their own
sick entertainment. To kick us when we're down. To take us by surprise. To cause us harm & laugh inside, while finding a way to do it that makes THEM look benevolent,
& makes US look guilty, crazy, or weak.

YOU know all this. You went NC.
You can be sad. It's OK. We all have those times. At what should've been. What could've been.
If only.... But that's an "if only" that can never be. That never was. That's painful. But relief from it is sweeter than anything we could've IMAGINED!

My Nfamily had laid dormant for a few months, they are all over the country. But the snake slithered into town the week before Thanksgiving, & the REALITY I now look at this "family" through-grew me to another whole level than last time I wrote about these 13 siblings, back in June. The 30 days that ensued in Nov & Dec were God's crash course for several of us, in furthering the NC completely. No looking back. I looked at one & said "Goodbye". And I meant forever. Those are the last words I ever intend to say to that person. He's more of a snake than I ever thought.

The best part was, I saw one group in Church on Christmas, & I was just SOOO focused on the meaning of being there, & every moment of the celebration, with MY beautiful family--that I only by chance looked in that direction TWICE, by accident, as a part of the Nativity re-enactment was in that direction--& saw myself being stared at! With jealousy, hatred, covetousness, The OPPOSITE of the spirit I was encompassing. I didn't even meet eyes-I just looked over at what I'd been TRYING to look at. And prayed about how far I've come since that Mass LAST year, when they actually had SUCCEEDED in tainting one of my children against us, & smugly sat with that couple & their new baby, my grandchild, leaving me at Mass with a broken heart. That child of mine is now also NC with them, thank the Lord, & sat next to me this year. Praise God!

And I didn't feel smug. I felt at peace. With not having any of them in my life anymore. They can talk about us, & get their N supply from it all they want. I'm not around to care anymore. What a meager existence that must be!

Our Christmas was simple & laid back. Food & games & ALL my children & their mates. And NO contact with N's!!!! The ones in town were together, & WE WEREN'T WITH THEM!!! YAY, GOD!!!!!

We're obviously doing something right, as our teens & 20 somethings went to their "inlaw"
houses, & then came back to hang out at ours!!

And it was the first year I didn't send out an email to the whole family on Christmas morning. I DID pray for them all in Mass though. But that's from behind the scenes.
Not for a relationship with them--just for them to open their hearts to the Lord.

----------------Which brings me to my 2 cents on Kathleen's question:

Yes, growing up with my Nmom, I was definitely one of her minions, in the sense that I believed everything she said!

She had me convinced that she had a "gift" at "judging character".
Yes, those are the words she used.
So I listened to her brainwash me on everyone in our church, our clubs, the whole other side of our family(my father's side) & all my friends & their parents, etc.
I was always a sweet child, so I didn't actually ABUSE anyone. But I thought ill of people, without even KNOWING them. As I took my "wise" NM's knowledge as truth.
I never co-abused my siblings, but many others among us 13 did. I was her target, as the oldest girl of 13. Her Cinderella. I didn't dare speak out. Just did everything she expected of me. She told me years later her own mother called her on it-said she should let me play more. I'm sure THAT brought her wrath down on me at the time, & I didn't even know why. One other child was a target, my next brother. She picked on him relentlessly. I always felt sorry for him & tried to be nice to him. But all the other boys were brutal to him. Now he's one of the ones that has turned on me. That hurt the most. But I get that he finally is in the "IN crowd"-for the first time. I have a bit more "HOPE" for hm maybe getting it someday. But until then,NC-as I go strictly on BEHAVIORS now.

So yes, Kathleen, because I was a victim that didn't THINK for herself, I allowed myself to be used as an ENABLER. UNTIL I was @ 15 yrs old, when I crawled out of my shell, & tried to reason with her about her reasoning! HAHA! THAT was an excersize in futility. I was always arguing with her about her judgements about peoples characters, telling her SHE DIDN'T EVEN KNOW THEM. That they were great people. That lasted 3 yrs. & I got the hell out of that house!
Started loving EVERYONE I met, giving them the benefit of the doubt, unless they showed themself to be an A-hole. Complete OPPOSITE of NM's approach to life. I'm STILL that way. And so are my children. While their aunts & uncles (my NSibs) are off in a corner whispering & gossipping about people.

So, yes, sometimes enablers do see the light. BUT:
NOT IF THEY ARE N'S THEMSELVES!!!!!
My NM produced a LOT of N's.
I an NC with those SIBS.
I realize several others are not N's, but Enablers. I am also NC with them. They ALLOW the N's evil. In fact, they REFUSE TO BELIEVE the N's are evil. I have had that talk with some of them. I have then written them off too. They cause me as much damage, in some circumstances MORE, as they are the PAWNS used to hurt me by the N's.

Apology? Hmmm. Not really, but I spose its possible. One of my enabler brothers has made a few weak attempts at COMPLIMENTING me, but he's so fresh at the state of the family, that he's not ready for much more. I know his eyes are starting to open, tho, because he's
just......sad.

Sorry this is so long. And by the way, WHERE"S TIM??!!!

Tim, if you're out there--let us know you're OK!!

Love to all,
Katrina

Anonymous said...

"The temptation for you is to believe that that putting the narcissist in their room (i.e. no contact) for a period of time will result in a reformed narcissist."

Not only do they not reform at all, they develop a real head of anger against any former sources of supply who prove they can and will distance themselves from the N. No matter how eager the N may seem to reconnect, and how much "nicer" they may even seem to suddenly be capable of acting, underneath they will be angrier and more punishing then ever.

Anna Valerious said...

No matter how eager the N may seem to reconnect, and how much "nicer" they may even seem to suddenly be capable of acting, underneath they will be angrier and more punishing then ever.

This is well observed and well said. I am absolutely convinced of the truth of this reality about narcissists. If you readmit them to your life there will be a big price to pay. They will lay in wait for the perfect moment to stab you in the back. Guaranteed or your money back.

Arielle said...

I like your blog and this post. I just found it via my friend's blog.

I was raised by an undiagnosed NPD mother and grandmother (when I wasn't living with one, I was living with the other). They both passed on several years ago, and I am now 52 years old. Through personal experience, I can tell you that they never changed at all despite my hopes, fantasies, pleas, and discussions with them and various health professionals. Even my refusal to spend time with my mother and grandmother during the last decade of their lives did not trigger any sort of introspection in them whatsoever.

Today I have to take the same medication that is given to war veterans because otherwise my nightmares about what they did to me will not stop. Unable to sleep well, I had nightmares every night where I relived the abuse. I am told there is probably no way I will ever get over those memories.

Thanks for the great post and for writing your blog!

Anna Valerious said...

Glad you found the blog, Arielle. I am saddened to hear that you are tormented nightly by the Ns. That is a high price to pay for someone else's crimes. Nearly every time I wake up during a dream I can recall that my parents and/or my sister were in it. Thankfully, they now only play bit parts in my dreams and have stopped being main characters and, consequently, stop being nightmares. Thankfully, no meds. Just time and much reflection which has put the Ns in my life in their place. I hope time will be your friend as you try to no contact in your dreams as well as in real life. All the best.

Anonymous said...

When I was about 12 yrs. old, I got angry with my mother about something, walked away, said the word “damn” and headed to the bathroom. Mother flew upstairs after me, into the bathroom and starts smacking me around and screaming at me about saying “damn.” She kept hitting me all over my body and it seemed to go on for a long time. Up until that incident, I would put my hands out to shield her blows, cry and say “I’m sorry mommy.” But at that moment, I completely shut down and did nothing. I let my arms hang at my sides and didn’t attempt to hold her off. I didn’t try to run away. I didn’t cry, didn’t apologize. I remember thinking something like, I will never, ever let this woman see that she can get to me, I will never apologize to her, I will never let her see me cry. I just stood there and took it. (There must be a word in psychology for what happened to me, I don’t know what.)

The atmosphere in our home was like a war zone. Mother yelled and hit, dad blew up at every little thing and was verbally abusive. My mother lied constantly, twisting reality and expecting me to agree with her. (I also think she was an alcoholic, but she and the golden children in denial about it.) I would lock myself in my room to get away from her, she would unlock the door and come in anyway. (She found a way to jimmy the lock from the outside using a metal skewer. She used it so often that she'd keep it in a drawer in her bedroom.) I would lock my door and pretend to be asleep to get away from her, she’d unlock the door, put her mouth on my ear and shriek at me. I refused to budge, hoping she’d stop soon and leave me alone. She used to grab and drag me by my upper arm so hard that she left hand marks in my arm.

I had a nervous breakdown the year after the bathroom incident. I developed a serious panic disorder (which turned into a lifetime struggle). I had trouble leaving the house and trying to sit in a classroom was a nightmare. NMother took me for an evaluation with a psychologist (I think my school told her to) and as usual, spoke FOR me and answered questions FOR me, like I wasn’t in the room. She told the therapist, “we thought she might be on drugs.” News to me. (I never smoked, drank or took drugs. I don’t even like taking aspirin.) I spent my high school years in therapy and heavily medicated.

So… not a whole lot of self-awareness going on with mother. I was the problem child. She didn’t take any responsibility for her part in the problems or put any effort into making things better. Not then, not now. When I became an adult, I felt angry with the therapist for not questioning my mother more about our home life and her own behavior and making her responsible. But I’m sure if the therapist tried to do that, she would’ve been given the “everything is great” story.

nyc-live said...

Kathleen,

My MN father is also an alcoholic. I think the numbing of alcohol assists them in avoiding the introspection they so dread.

krl,
same here, plenty of money for a race horse, purebred dogs, flying veterinarians in from Los Angeles for sick cats, buying motorcyles and cars for co-workers and neighbors. But forget orthodontia for me, forget about any college tuition for me, forget about a car for me.

I don't think everyone is OBLIGATED to fo these things for their kids but...if you have already bought a dozen or so vehicles for strangers and you have 4 for 2 adults, and your daughter would like a clunker so she could get to a job to help pay for living expenses while she;s at the college you can't pay for because you charge monthly bar tabs of 3K b/c you like to tip the servers well and treat your buddies, then, yeah, at least you owe your kid a clunker.

Of course, people don't realize I paid for every penny of my college and expenses myself, with merit scholarships and work (I did not qualify for fin. aid due to parental income, not even work-study or fed.-subsidized loans), and they think I'm horrobly ungratefull b/c my parents told everyone they paid.

Anonymous said...

Kathleen said, "As you were growing up with an N did you find yourself being one of the N's minions, enablers? If so, as an enabler do you get introspective at some point??
Do the enablers/minions/helpers/co-abusers ever become introspective??
If so, did you find yourself in a position where you apologized to anyone?"

As the child of an N, how can we NOT be minions? We each learned how to speak/act/function in a way that would bring us the least wrath of the Ns. I believes this is the "grooming" we go through until we are old enough to enable, but before we can escape their clutches. I think it is fair to say that every one of us here had to go through some degree of introspection to arrive at Anna's blog and to read and learn and offer comfort one another. As for myself, I am several months NC with N-Mom, but still reaching out (and, yes, apologizing for my actions) to family members and others who were cast out of the N-world. Some were receptive and I could see them take the leap of faith that I was being genuine and the situation was not a N-setup. Some are still on the fence and justifiably so. The other Ns I've discovered are kept at arm's length or farther.

I'm still pondering introspection though. Does it begin at that moment when we say to ourselves, "I'll be anything, but like that!"? Or perhaps when we acknowledge to ourselves that our Ns are seriously warped? I've had an entirely different level of introspection post NC. I also have additional introspection as I reconnect with my N-victim family and their recollections. I suspect there will be another introspection upon the death of my N-Mom. I honestly don't know if the rest of my lifetime is enough time to reconcile it all.

-JR

krl said...

Anonymous (JR) Dec. 29:

I want you to know that if I could have found the words to write your comment and questions...I would have written it myself. I am just about in the same 'stage' as you seem to be. My heart goes out to you for being where you are....and my prayers are for the CONTINUED healing that this painful process provides.

I do not think there ARE 'enough years to reconcile' these issues. Even that is part of the warp and weft of the snare that Evil weaves. (I know you don't mean to 'reconcile' with the N...) It was never meant 'to make sense'...I will never be able to understand or see all the damage done to me....in my psyche, my body, my soul. But I KNOW I was violated through and through. I believe that even the recognition of the Evil done to me...the ensuing pain and rage...the tears...the confusion....the desperation to expose...to learn...to seek a course of action FOR MY OWN LIFE at this late date...is what it is all about. I'm not sure there is any way around it...only THROUGH it. Any given day...during this past NC year....I am tossed back and forth in my emotions. Some days I ACCEPT that 'that's just the way it is'.....and other days I am rather snarly and fuming. (I'll bet you know all these 'days' yourself...)

DO NOT QUIT. This IS a RighteousPath. I don't care if I am being LEAD along the way....I don't care if I am being DRAGGED along the way....I don't care if I have 'choice' in the matter...or 'no choice'....all I know is that however it unfolds...is way better than being a minion of an Nmother....(or spouse, or boss, or friend, or boyfriend...yeah....done ALL that too)

Knowing what you know now....means you will NEVER be the same. I know I'm not...and I don't WANT to be...no matter how scary that is. Hang in there.

Anonymous said...

JR and krl,

My heart goes out to you both. But more than sympathy for you, I have great respect for you. As the mother of a daughter I raised with her Nfather I divorced 2 years ago, a daughter who is now, as you put it, acting as his "minion," you both give me hope. Hope that one day she will see what is happening to her and be able to become the person that I have to believe she has the capacity to become. But it will take introspection, and she's so very scared to look into herself. She's so convinced that like her Nfather, she is RIGHT and everyone else is WRONG unless they believe exactly as she and her father do. Thanks for the hope. I know it will take years, maybe decades. I only wish I could help her. I've tried everything I know to do. I think all I can do is wait.
marie

Anonymous said...

krl,

Thank you for your response. Yes, I have my days: "Easy Days" (acceptance); "Why am I still dwelling on this days" (it is so easy to continue to kick ourselves); and the holidays brought out "Paranoid Days" (having to cruise the store parking lot for N-Mom's car before going in and my heart skipping a beat each time headlights appeared in the driveway). In your response you said you were violated through and through. Wow, violated, what an eye opener! This is truly the description I've been lacking. I'm still discovering my emotional wounds and I'm amazed at how well and for how long we can hide them from ourselves. Yes, I agree that this path is a righteous path! We have been cut free from the cords of the wicked (Psalms)! This blog is my anchor, my sanity-check, if you will (I know you all understand what I mean).

Marie,

Our thoughts and prayers go out to you and your daughter. As Anna has said your daughter's insight won't come from some earth-shattering event, it will come from the "sameness." It's the umpteenth time when it finally clicks in the victim's head that you've already been there, done that, things aren't going to change, and results in deciding to climb out of the hole without your N. The Ns can smell change in their source and they don't give it up easily. In retrospect she'll look back and wonder why she walked away instead of running like her life depended on it. I went straight to my Aunt. She had N-scars, but never judged me and mine, and made it clear that no matter what she was always available to me. While you wait, take care of yourself!

JR

Anonymous said...

I have been NC with my N-friend for 6 years now. I am certain that he has found a new source of N supply, is spewing his lies and venom, and manipulating whomever he can. It's just that he is no longer able to do it to me, so he's moved on.

He has burned through friends like they were a bowl of peanuts. He has never expressed any kind of remorse or regret for the way he's treated any of these people. It was all their fault, and none of his, he is always the innocent- it was they who did ______ to him. He comes off as a great guy, and has lying down to an art form.

I now know that a reconciliation is impossible, because he is not worthy of my trust (or anyone's for that matter). Introspection? Ha! He's so busy putting others down to pump himself up, a mental self exam wouldn't occur to him.

Anonymous said...

This is an amazingly insightful post, and a wonderful blog. I have read, and own, a library of books on narcissism, but this site explains so many of the lunatic features of life inside the bubble of Nparents. My father is the poster child of malignant narcissism and my mother was his assistant abuser. Three of my four grandparents were narcissists, and all my parents' siblings, except one uncle. My father's youngest brother sexually molested my sister and cousin and I, and my father made excuses for him (yet criticized him endlessly for many other perceived slights - mostly for not giving proper homage to their Nparents). My one "normal" uncle left home at age 20 and while he didn't exactly go NC, he has managed to stay far far away from the toxic stew of his family of origin for the past quarter century. I accidentally did the same thing due to my career, and it has taken me years to emerge from the fog. My family gave me endless grief for years for not returning to the fold for my career, like living somewhere else is an unpardonable sin against nature. Now that my mom has died, my father relies on my sister to provide him with endless narcissistic supply. My sister lives next door to Ndad and STILL attends family social events with the pedophile uncle because "we have no proof he has ever done it again" - What, you think he would send out engraved invitations ? And sis thinks she's a saint for being the "peacemaker". My husband and I limit the contact of our children (easy, since we live 1500 miles away) with my sociopathic criminal family. The Mob Comparison is very apt, although even they frowned on pedohilia and outright child abuse of toddlers - at least in the popular media. What is EVEN BETTER is that, growing up, my Nparents kept us away from many of my dad's family because they were "too crazy" - which is doubtless true from the little we saw of any of them.
Anyway, Thanks so much to you, Anna, and all the posters. This is the most succinct, sane, and practical information I have seen on the effects of Narcissists. I hope future generations will be better off because people such as us can get to a site like this and be able to say "everything I was told was a lie - my family are a bunch of garden-variety narcissists, not special folks deserving a pass for their horrible behavior" Thanks again to you all. You have helped me more than years of therapy to know I am not alone.