Monday, January 05, 2009

The Reddest Red Flag of Narcissism

As many of you likely know, Kathy Krajco compiled an excellent list of the "red flags of narcissism" in her book, "What Makes Narcissists Tick". I find myself wanting to reprint her list with the descriptions because they are so valuable for people trying to assess the level of malignancy of the person they're having to deal with. Perhaps I'll do that over time. What I'll do today, though, is highlight what Kathy called the "reddest flag".

Before I get to that. I've been on a true crime jag over the last six weeks (one book tends to lead to another). I started in on reading after the last national election. Not being at all confident in all the hope changiness being promised I'm checking out. I find true crime a much more cheerful topic right now than politics. I've now read several volumes of true crime since the week before Thanksgiving. The latest I read was a story about a man who exhibited every single trait of malignant narcissism while living with a decent woman who just couldn't discern the danger she was in until it was too late. It was hard to see a woman so bereft of knowledge of the workings of a pathological personality that she couldn't believe this man capable of murder until he finally resolved to kill her after their many years together. She needed this list of red flags. Desperately. He demonstrated every single one of them. Over and over again.

Another aside: I want to state something clearly for the record. I got an email from a moron who had just found my blog last week and decided to tell me all he saw was that I was male-bashing while using pseudo-psychological terms (??!) to pathologize people who may just be assholes and not actually evil. It was his understanding that people are "okay" unless and until they break the law (!!!!). I didn't bother to respond to this person because his every assertion demonstrated such idiocy that there was no place for our minds to meet. The silliness of accusing me of male-bashing is utterly unworthy of a personal response. Hello? I write from the perspective of a person who was used and abused by two FEMALE narcissists! My blog makes it clear I don't believe that males have a corner on abusive and narcissistic behavior. For the record: when I refer to a book that happens to tell the story of a male narcissist who becomes a murderer that is not a sign that I think all narcissists are male. Gender terms are used interchangeably here on this blog. I believe that narcissists are likely split about evenly according to sex. I believe that females are much harder to catch at it because they are subtler, sneakier and less likely to be overtly physical with abuse which means they come to the attention of authorities less often. In other words, they get away with their NPD more often. I have a special hatred for females in narcisssit form because of their subtlety and because of what they can do to their children while hiding under the cloak of motherhood. Kapeesh? You only have to do a minimum of perusal on this blog to ascertain my perspective on the subject and comprehension skills of at least high school level.

Eight red flags of narcissism as listed originally by (deceased) Kathy Krajco:

  • puts on a conspicuous display of goodness and kindness
  • damages the images of most others
  • has a history of past upheavals
  • is hated for mysterious reasons by people close to them
  • exhibits unnatural and perplexing behavior -- backwards reactions to things
  • is a control freak, trampling privacy/boundaries
  • is extremely self-absorbed
  • has a hostile reaction to attention and credit given others

I am very grateful for Kathy's wise discernment on the dangerousness of a person who demonstrates the reddest red flag: "exhibits unnatural and perplexing behavior -- backwards reactions to things". It isn't just 'odd' or 'off-putting' to see someone exhibiting this red flag. It is a DANGER SIGNAL. It must be taken seriously. To explain it away, to pretend you didn't see what you saw is to keep yourself in a place of DANGER. Have I used the word "danger" enough yet? Okay, here is Kathy's elaboration on this red flag:

The reddest red flag is perverted behavior. Leave out the sexual connotation: I use that word perverted because it means "thoroughly twisted" or "turned backwards." Any act can be perverted. Perverted behavior is the extreme opposite of what is called for. This is behavior that goes against nature, behavior that makes you want to pinch yourself. In other words, it's a surprise, a shock, the last thing you expected.

Like maybe everyone in a classroom was sitting up straight with all eyes riveted upon Teacher and you could have heard a pin drop. Ka-BOOM! He flies into a snarling rage at some kid he won't identify as though that kid just flipped him the bird or something.

Or maybe you've been dating him for six months, and he has been saying from day one that he wanted you to marry him. You finally tell him you love him. Ka-BOOM! He gets mad and tells you that you don't love him. And demands that you wear your hair a different way. If you really love him, you will, you know.

Perplexing.

In my experience, afterwards you are unable to say what the blow-up was even about. That isn't normal. When you have an argument with a normal person, afterwards you can say what it was about.

Though such off-the-wall flights into rage are the most memorable instances of perverted behavior, they aren't the only kind. In fact, other kinds are more telling.

For example, take a situation that has a nearly irresistible pull on the heartstrings. Imagine that some person in the room is suffering great grief and sorrow and breaks down into tears. Seeing that affects normal people like gravity, attracting them to that person to comfort her or him. But what does a narcissist do? The exact opposite. Remember, she must deny attention to that person. So, you'd think anti-gravity was impelling her out the door on the far end of that room as she hurries out jabbering cheerily about everything BUT what is going on.

That's what I mean by "perverted" reactions to things -- weird, backwards reactions to things. Behaviors that make you feel like you just stepped into The Twilight Zone and need to pinch yourself.

It's always a sign that a person is dangerous in some way. Perverted behavior is characteristic of psychopaths and malignant narcissists. Normal people rarely exhibit perverted behavior unless under extreme pressure to do so, and even normal people are dangerous at such times. For, that's when "normal" people all look the other way to allow things like the Holocaust while pretending that they don't know what's going on.

Inappropriate laughter is an example of perverted behavior. I'm not talking about the inappropriate laughter that sometimes comes from a nervous or self-conscious person, or from people under a great weight of fear, pressure or sorrow. That's a release, and we understand it. I'm talking about inappropriate laughter that makes you wonder where it came from.

For instance, when the Challenger (space shuttle) exploded on take-off, we saw it live on television. As with the 9/11 Attack, the networks replayed the spectacular footage every two minutes while shocked America got the news and gathered around television sets. One narcissist I know of was so in need of getting his stunned co-workers' attention off the TV and onto himself that he put on a comedy act, parodying what the victims were saying to each other as the rocket plummeted into the sea. Though his fellow workers were scared to death of becoming the object of one of his persecutions, they were shocked at this chilling display of inhumanity and could manage only nervous laughter at the creep's attention-getting jokes.

That happens only when the victims aren't regarded as human beings. Either because they have been demonized by dehumanizing cariacatures in propaganda or because the laugher is a psychopath or narcissist.

Other examples of perverted behavior are:

  • reacting with contempt to what should evoke sympathy
  • reacting with aversion to what should attract
  • reacting with anger to what should please (such as finding some mysterious offense in an attempt to suck up)
  • getting angrier in reaction to what should appease (Narcissistic Rage)

In short, whenever you see a backwards reaction to something, believe your eyes and ears. Accept this behavior's perplexity and know what you know -- that there is something seriously wrong with that person. And don't forget about it tomorrow when he's Dr. Jekyll again.

Are you in a relationship with someone who has made you want to pinch yourself to see if you're dreaming? Have you often found yourself confused, afraid, and distressed at this person's inexplicable backwards reactions to things? Please, please see this for the red flag this is and get the hell away from them. Carefully. Don't threaten to leave. Just leave. Plan your escape and run away! Change your name if necessary. Seek a shelter if you know this person is unlikely to let you just leave.

This red flag makes me think back on the times in my young life when my own mother displayed backwards reactions toward me. It sent me into tailspins. I was terribly afraid of her. Rightfully so. She mocked me then and for years afterward (right up until and even continuing after I cut her out of my life) because of my fear of her. Like I was just a cowardly idiot for being afraid of her. I see all too clearly now I had every reason in the world to fear her. When I was 17 and pregnant and decided that running away to elope was my best plan of action I was largely motivated by my horrid fear of her. I actually considered her capable of murder. Between her sometimes backwards reactions toward me as well as her disproportionate anger over trivial things I still believe she was capable of murder. I was smart enough at 17 to not completely dismiss my fears and took steps to protect both myself and my baby. I hope you can have the sense of a 17 year old and do the same.

My story of my elopement is here in case you aren't aware of the history cited in the paragraph above.

103 comments:

Sister Renee said...

Wow, this is a great insight! My N birth-father Ol' Slewfoot ALWAYS reacted inappropriately to whatever you did or said. The exact opposite of what you'd expect. He always took offense when none was intended, accused people of saying or doing things to "spite him" when no one did any such thing, ignored the pain of others', was inappropriately cheerful at funerals when others were grieving, including his own wife's, etc. Everything could be going fine, and someone would try to do something nice for him or say something nice to him, and he would fly into a rage. The result was confusion and the targets left trying to appease him and "apologize" for "upsetting" him, while assuring him they didn't mean it that way and not even knowing exactly what they did to set him off. All resulting in attention and a**-kissing for him. I never thought of these perverted reactions as something he did to keep us off-balance, scared, and nervous, but that's exactly the result he got. Everyone walking on eggshells around him, not just children, but adults, too. Thanks for posting this Anna, it does make perfect sense.


*****Another aside: I want to state something clearly for the record. I got an email from a moron who had just found my blog last week and decided to tell me all he saw was that I was male-bashing while using pseudo-psychological terms (??!) to pathologize people who may just be assholes and not actually evil.*****

Don't you just love it when you hear from the N/abusers themselves? I hear from them on a regular basis. Accusing ME of not knowing what I'm talking about, being completely off-base, being a bad Christian, and ruining their relationships (I guess I opened up their victims' eyes a little. Guilty as charged LOL!) And of course, the N/abuser nitwits who criticize and complain are always so innocent and misunderstood- little do they know that by now we can spot them a mile away. You must have rattled this guy's cage somehow for him to take it so personally. Maybe his girlfriend dumped him thanks to your encouragement. Ha! Good! Dear Anna, keep up the good work and keep fighting the good fight. You know you're doing something right when you make the devil mad!

Blessings and love, Sister Renee

Ciara said...

As always, excellent post Anna! My mother fits the reddest of flags like a glove! I'm still a newbie, learning all I can, but NC for 3 months now...

Anonymous said...

My father died December 18th. The memorial service was postponed until Jan. 3 so as many family members as possible could be here. It has been fascinating to watch my mother trying to figure out how to appear to be grieving when she is, in fact, practically doing handsprings.

One evening a woman from her church came to bring a meal. My mother ftooprf, clutched her middle, backed away, scowled -- and was ever so sweetly appreciative. I stood gape-jawed. I'm guessing Nmom was trying to look bereaved.

She refers to herself as a rich widow. Has no comprehension that her children might have feelings about their father's death.
My dad's ashes are in the cardboard box from the funeral home --- in the bottom drawer of his dresser. The only drawer or closet in the house that is not filled with her clothes, at this point --- she took over the whole 3,000 square foot house in the two years he was bedridden. She mused that she might just bury the ashes in the backyard rather than scatter them where Dad wanted his ashes scattered. Wow

She refused to participate in planning the memorial service. Naive outsiders could easily interpret this as intense, disabling grief. HA!

What a spectacle it has been.

Dandelion

Anonymous said...

Anna, your words of warning should be taken very seriously by everyone here. I cannot emphasize enough how true they are and how truly dangerous these people can be. DO NOT rationalize their actions on ANY level, Anna is correct, your very LIFE may be at stake. Be wary, be very wary.

And believe me, just because you've lived with someone for a long time and they haven't done anything to physically harm you yet DOES NOT mean they won't. These people have no scruples, they will do whatever they want.

Anonymous said...

To Anna and Sister Renee,
Methinks those idiots that contact you, doth protest too much.

It seems Narcissists either whine to you directly for exposing them, or act on their evil impulses by slithering on to Blogs with malicious intent.

Ha! Won't work. Both behaviors/actions prove how guilty as hell they are of being Malignant Narcissists. Did I mention how stupid and predictable they are?

Thank you both for this priceless education. I will never, EVER underestimate what evil little stunts the Narcissist will try and pull. Knowledge certainly is power and when one understands the debauched mind and unlimited perversions of a Narcissist, they CANNOT touch you.

For entertainment (not for everyone) expose yourself to them when it seems you're at your most vulnerable, watch them come out of the woodwork....and then BAM! Catch-em while you can!

MNs are just like cockroaches. They come out to feed in the dark and scatter and hide when the lights go on... We hire exterminators to get rid of vermon, why not get yourself a good "Narcissist Catcher" ;)

Keep your own personal light shining strong, send them in to hiding and starve them all to death.

Thanks again for some of the most valuable life lessons I have ever received!

Anna Valerious said...

And believe me, just because you've lived with someone for a long time and they haven't done anything to physically harm you yet DOES NOT mean they won't.

I am glad you're emphasizing this point. This is a trap people fall into: the false sense of security that comes from thinking, "I've been with this person for 15 years now and my life was never endangered. I know he'll never try to kill me." Wrong. Oh, so wrong. All they need is a good enough reason along with an arrogance of belief that they can get away with it. The long-deferred moment will be all the more vicious for it's long postponement. Don't be more afraid of change than the devil you're with.

TIM said...

HI EVERYONE, ITS NOW BEEN 2 MONTHS OF NC FROM NPARENTS. MOST DAYS HAVE BEEN VERY PEACEFUL AND ITS GETTING EASIER NOT TO THINK ABOUT THEIR FEELINGS OVER ME GOING NC. I FEEL VERY STRONG AND CONFIDENT THAT I HAVE TAKEN THE STEP TO PROTECT MY DAUGHTER, MY WIFE AND I. THE RED FLAGS ARE RIGHT ON, ITS JUST INTERESTING HOW NPEOPLE CAN MAKE US NOT BELIEVE THESE RED FLAGS WHEN THEY HAPPEN.

Anonymous said...

Anna, thanks for pointing out the extreme danger of the Narcissist's arrogance. This sordid notion that they are a law unto themselves causes them to have no limits.

Those that derive pleasure from other people's pain are capable of getting a high out of any sadistic act... from causing confusion and shock (with backwards reactions) to literally stabbing someone in the back.

When food turns, we say it's a little off and it's gone bad... Same with the Narcissist, they may seem just a little off but they can be bad to the bone.

Blue Spruce said...

N boss, that's what i'm dealing with here. Thank you all for opening my eyes. A result of my new education re: red flags, typical behaviors, etc.. I now have a strategy.Just the knowledge behind my eyes that I SEE HIM seems to be throwing him off his game. I try to catch my self providing supply and upon discovery immediately stop feeding his game. I'm taking a random hit so I quickly get out of line and am watching him directly go to his next feed. Micro managing, monkeying with stategy, confusing operations staff, a swift and public put down follows every grateful compliment from other staff. So here's the strategy...
1. No personal chats, info, leads into my life... lock all my personal windows and doors.
2. Learning his patterns, do my admin work only while he is sucking supply every afternoon on the phone for hours.
3. Focus my resources and staff on in field results rather than long distracting one way disscussions that delay progress. Get in the field with the most men first, he goes looking to suck attention from any one else he thinks needs his advise.
4.This is the best one... When one on one is unavoidable, I am perfectly polite and accomodating. The entire time he is talking I am visualizing he is talking into a mirror. He senses that he is not connecting with his supply, but can't tweak his feed to his satisfaction.I offer only when pushed, very vague mechanics about strategy, resources, etc...remembering each time I outlined an advantage for our staff he would make changes resulting in poor results, harder work,confusion,bruised moral.
He has so far quickly switched his attention to other staff/ constituents and away from this paultry diet I have put him on.
5. There is a D.O.L. issue that I am keeping an email journal on in anticipation of building an action with in a year. The typical N behavior of ignoring rules, deciding that your rights don't exist, and certainly don't matter is so easy to track and document.
6. I love this position, and would do it for free. I will not empower this N to diminish my joy in this work. Joy is an important stategy here. He just can't touch it, it's beyond his reach.
7. Recognizing his cowardice and catching him in lies has toned my professional muscle for the long run. Do not get me wrong, I do not under-estimate him. A snake is a snake. I am awakening to the alternative of watching him run in circles for his feed, while I achieve my objectives.

This site has been a life line for me, I thank you all for the perspective. These strategies have been employed for about a month now, and will let you know what worked, and what didn't work.

Thank you,

Blue Spruce

Anonymous said...

Thanks for pointing out that a real "pinch yourself" moment IS an N sign too, even if the content of the incident may not obviously be N behavior. As an acon, I learned such an unhealthy tolerance for "oddness" and a real automatic habit of brushing these incidents aside, that I really need to retrain myself to always take this stuff seriously. I think two things can be happening at these "pinch yourself" moments: the behavior defies obvious social/cultural norms, and/or the behavior defies what they themselves have led us to expect from them. When the image that THEY have pushed on us doesn't match their own actions, and leaves us stupefied. Healthy people don't have an image that contradicts their true motives.

And the "hated for mysterious reasons" {!} so true!!

Flags from my personal experiences list:

- excessive or insistent: gifts / favors / treating

- people closest to them seem damaged or troubled, while they seem to be thriving, confident and together

PS - Good to hear you are doing well Tim!

Anna Valerious said...

C.M.

No, it wasn't the guy you named. He had a completely different name. I know what forum he was directed to my site from. I won't be namin' names.

Barbara said...

So true all of it.

But one thing I would like to add for fellow victims...

Just because they don't have ALL of the Red Flags Kathy spoke of - DOESN'T MEAN THEY ARE FLAMING NS! Heck one or two is bad enough that you should RUN SCREAMIN'

My big red flag? INTERPERSONALLY EXPLOITIVE. And the more exploitive they are, the more they crawl along that Cluster B spectrum towards full blown PSYCHOPATHY!

Happy New Year, (((Anna)))

Anna Valerious said...

You're right, Barbara. Not all the red flags are necessary for it to be a narcissist. For instance, the red flag under discussion. I hope people wouldn't need more than this one to be looking for the exit doors. Something about being the reddest red that should tip you off that you're dealing with a dangerous person. Don't stick around to count all the other red flags.

Happy New Year to you too, Barbara, and to each and all my readers! Here's to a shiny new year without Ns.

Anonymous said...

I had to comment on this one and share this with everyone. I am a person who in this difficult economy is laid off and actively seeking employment. Yesterday I had an interview and the leading guy in the interview was a total narcissist.

The interview was going well until he asked me what I knew about HIS company. I knew the basics and told them what I KNEW, but I didn't really know the details of HIS company. His coworker asked if I even looked at the site, (I had because the invite to the interview was just an email from his assistant and there was no information on the company name and location. I had to get it from the girl's email address and look at their website for the address to even get to the interview.) I had not remembered at the time that I did look at the website and said "I don't think I did, I don't realy remember right now." I didn't remember becuase I felt interrogated and was nervous at their fast questions and the leaders attitude. So with that, the leader of the interview, the owner of the company, (I only knew this because he mentioned this at least 5 times) began to lecture me on researching and knowing what HIS company is about before coming to the interview and to take this as a learning curve. He asked me if I had tons of interviews. I said no, but I am actively searching for work. He then said, "Oh so you're just blindly applying for jobs??" I said, "Well, not really but I do send out 5 resumes a day on average. I am unemployed and I have to search for work and really want a job."

With that, he got up, said the interview was over and for me to leave, and walked out of his office. Never saying a word, just walked out. Never shook my hand and thanked me for coming in, just left and looked at me (as my narcissist ex husband used to when I didn't bow to his commands) and told me to "take care." I was literally in shock. In my head I was thinking, "Holy shi*t! What just happened?!"

It was this weird reaction that clued me in that this was a narcissist and I thanked God that I am not working for this tool. It was as if he took it personally that I wasn't pining to work for HIS company. Of course I would love to work for a start up and grow with the company, but the reality of this economy is that you have to apply to a LOT of companies not just one. HIS company isn't the only one out there. But to him, I guess he thinks he is the best.

Anonymous said...

When my N-friend was looking for a job, he was going to go to the local copy shop to have a few copies of his resume printed. Instead I suggested he come to my house and print them out, and I would make breakfast for us.

The following day, he was a no show, I called his house and left a message. That afternoon he returned my call which went something like this:

Me: What happened to you?
N: I went to have my resume printed.

Me: I thought you were coming here to do that.
N: Well, I was going to, but you said you couldn't be bothered.

I was dumbstruck, his tone was really nasty. I was trying to help him out, and I certainly NEVER said "I couldn't be bothered." I couldn't figure out why he would say that, was he a victim of early Alzheimer's? Had the stress of looking for a job made him lose his mind?

Once I realized he was an N, it all fell into place. He created his own scenario where I was a monster, and he was the victim. It was a typical of what he did over and over to me and to others.

The other thing he liked to do was make plans and not show up or call. Blowing off plans he had made with me gave him a great sense of pleasure, because he knew he had ruined my evening. Making me feel unimportant was his goal, because if I felt bad, he felt good.

My husband and I hosted a bunch of friends one Thanksgiving. Guests were to arrive at noon, dinner was at one. At one, N hadn't shown up, and we were putting dinner on the table. My friend A said, "Aren't we going to wait for N?" And my other friend M (who was well aware of his antics) said, "I'm not eating a dried out turkey." So we sat down to dinner. At three, N makes his grand appearance. By then we had cleaned up and were getting ready to go out for a walk before diving into dessert. My husband told him that the food was in the fridge and he was welcome to make himself a plate. N stayed for about 20 minutes and left. His attempt at sabotaging dinner failed, and it was the last time we invited him to a holiday dinner.

I am so grateful that he is out of our lives, and that we are rid of the drama, game playing, lying, and the bad behavior.

Anonymous said...

For anon who mentioned the interview that went poorly, I, too had a similar experience. I had applied for a position with a very reputable museum and really wanted the job. I had to interview with a lot of people, including the director, who I really liked. Then came an interview with the head of another department. I instantly felt what I now know is my Narcissist Radar, though I didn't at the time - anxiety and discomfort. It came to me within seconds of this woman's presence, even before she opened her mouth, her body language said it all. The interview went poorly, I was personally attacked, and I felt very very uncomfortable. Later, that discomfort turned into my own hostility towards her, I refuse to be intimidated by an N, but this came after the interview when I realized what had happened.

I didn't get the job, and I believe it was because of her, everyone else really liked me and I was very qualified. I would've been very disappointed, except I'd decided to turn it down anyway, knowing I couldn't work with this jerk.

My revenge? Knowing I don't have to work for this a-hole (the best revenge is to live well). Oh yes, and knowing that the state is cutting the budget of the museum and her position may be cut, hope she's soon on the streets, which she so richly deserves.

Sister Renee said...

This thread reminds me of a funny (?) story told to me by a friend who has an Nfather. He also displayed many perverted reactions, including displaced anger and blame, flying into rages at his wife or children in front of other people (Actually MY Nfather did the same). So everybody learned to pussy-foot around him and also to keep secrets from him (This was done in MY Nfamily too- amazing the similarities!) So one Thanksgiving my friend, her siblings, all their spouses and kids, and assorted aunts/uncles/cousins are all gathered at her parents' big house for Thanksgiving dinner. They're sitting around the dining room table having their first course, and her Nfather, being at the head of the table, happens to have his back to the open kitchen door. Meanwhile everyone else around this huge table, something like 30 people, has a clear view of the cat on the kitchen counter, eating the turkey before it's even been carved. They all glance back and forth at each other with panic/ warning looks. But no one dares to say anything! And not one person just gets up, goes in the kitchen, and shoos the cat off the counter, because then Nfather would notice and go ballistic. They'd all rather eat cat-contaminated turkey than take a chance on setting off Nfather. The cat didn't eat much and somehow they camouflaged it before Nfather carved it, so he wouldn't know. Too bad there wasn't a way to serve Nfather the part the cat touched. The only one who was able to relax and be herself, and who actually benefited from spending Thanksgiving with Nfather, was the cat.

Laura said...

I have been NC with my MIL for 15 months now and it feels great.

Those traits fit her perfectly. And especially the red flag, particularly noticeable when someone's died.

At *her* XMIL's funeral, she acted like the star of the show. Kept commenting about how good her xhusband looked in a suit. Made sniping comments about various relatives, ie "I think so and so got a facelift". After all those comments about everyone else, one relative did show up wearing knee high boots, a leather miniskirt and a t-shirt with skulls all over it. I told MIL I thought *that* relative looked very inappropriate and MIL said she didn't think there was anything wrong with it. I could go on forever.

Maybe the thing that sticks out in my head most for some reason was this one incident. DH had an obnoxious friend, whom he no longer associates with. One time, while MIL was there, the 'friend' started an imitation of a mentally handicapped person. DH gave a nervous laugh but I found it offensive. MIL saw DH laugh and then started laughing hysterically. She carried on about it for a good while. After that she would do her own version of the impression, but even more obnoxiously than the 'friend' did and she would get in your face when she did it. I'm not a physical person, but I would feel the urge to slap her, it was that unbearable! But she just thought it was the funniest thing ever. Other than that one thing, she was never one to 'joke' or have a sense of humor at all.

Anonymous said...

Anon's 6:41 AM and 9:22 AM,

It looks like you were each dealing with a stress interview, where the interviewer essentially acts like an N in full-blown pouting mode, to test your reactions. Interestingly, in a stress interview, the interviewer does seem to give off some of the red flags of an N, including the reddest flag, but that is not necessarily because the interviewer is an N, but that the interviewer is filling a role to see how you handle stressful situations. Here's an article on Monster about what goes on in these kinds of interviews, why they're conducted, and how to handle them:

http://interview.monster.ca/8242_en-CA_p1.asp

The interviewer does basically act like an N.

Holy Water Salt said...

Backward reactions-wow- that's what hit me the most. Rage out of no where- I felt as if I'd been dropped on Mars.

Here's an incident that stands out in my mind: I recvd. a text message telling me I was no longer going to be spoken to b/c I made in excusable remarks.

huh?

We went from a casual meeting earlier on in the day -to that. I was devestated and mortified. I am embarrassed of kow-towing I did to get back in their "good graces."

But when someone acts so bizarrely, and you can't figure out why, you blame yourself ( I do or I did) because I am not on Mars, so nothing else makes sense other than I am to blame.

no more darkness said...

so glad to have found this blog!
I am sitting here needing cocktail sticks to keep my eyes open- I need to keep reading to get my head straight. My husband and me didnt see his family for christmas- of course his n mum is furious. She sent a sarcastic email saying he needed to pick up some stuff at her house because its in the way (its her ruse to get to see her granddaughter, as apparently only her car is big enough to bring the stuff down to us) well my husband rang to say he was coming to pick it up- after her much protesting to him that his car was not big enough she said he could give it a try. He went that same day loaded everything into the car with much satisfaction and then was home a few hours later. Well I feel like I have been in a train wreck- he told me when he got there she gave him a good squeeze then proceeded to be a bit frosty- she cooked him a meal that he absolutely hates after he said he didnt want anything ( during cooking she shouted a swear word and shouted at the dog to get out of her way) and during that meal asked a series of probing questions- some were about my own family situation to which he said that it is my business- well that was met with a mighty huff.Father proceeded to talk about his illness(hyperventilation)saying it was down to worry about family and his worry over the state of the country ( omg,nothing to do with his wife who contantly bullies him) Hub got on with the task of packing. During packing both parents came to discuss why the rift had taken place- they didnt really understand- hub has sent a letter previous outlinging some of the things he was unhappy about. this was met with a sarcastic letter from mum - she rewrote the history of some of the things and just ignored most of it. Father sent a letter saying to forget the past. While my husband was talking to them they said he was TOO sensitive (RED FLAG RED FLAG!) When hub talked about his mums gossiping and slandering of in- laws she said that she hadnt said anything about me nearly as bad as my own mother had said to her ( i suppose she's taking the heat off herself). she asked if she would ever see her granddaughter again (that all she wants).
after hub had finished and was ready to go he went to say good bye to his mum and she was hugging him tightly trying her best to hold her sobs in and saying sorry over and over, 'I wish you had told me off sooner' of course my husband being a kind man this got to him a little- he was close to tears when he told me. I have been so angry- what is she sorry for?! she has made sure all other family members have heard HER side of the story.(which doesnt much resemble the truth)
My husband and I are adrift we have nothing anchoring us anywhere-should we go and live as far away as possible from these people or is it not good to just run far away just because of them- if they dont have our address they still have my husbands business phone. Would the guilt if something happend to one of them eat him/me up? I dont know what to do- sometimes the guilt eats me up that my parents havent met their granddaughter- should they meet her just once? can anyone else who has moved very far away because of an n give me some advice- id be so grateful.

Anonymous said...

This is a more thorough list of red flags. Number 50 would be the "Reddest Flag of all".

It's not enough to know the red flags, you have to know how to ward them off.

And Anna, leaving home at 17 took guts, lots of guts, and you did stand up to her, so she can mock all she wants, isn't SHE the simpering coward?

Anonymous said...

People are okay until they break the law? Or rather, until they get caught breaking the law? That explains why two recently-murdered gang members in my city had family members who said: "He wasn't convicted of anything," and "He didn't have a criminal record," respectively. Technicalities.

Anonymous said...

Re: "to pathologize people who may just be assholes and not actually evil".

EVIL, ENVY, and DEMONIC are appropriate words used many times on this blog-site to describe the malignigant narcissist. SELF- ABSORBED and HATERS OF TRUTH are also common designations assigned to those with NPD. It has not escaped my notice that there have been a few newcomers or passerbys who are reluctant to accept the harsh realty of these identifying terms as they apply to the MN. For those of us who cannot stomach a steady diet of the MN's relishing to sow seeds of deception, destruction and hellishness, it is difficult to to accept that others can be throughly vile and completely devoid of being humane. When keenly observed, any theatrics or exibitions to the contrary are for appearace sake and serve only to acheive the MN's ultimate end. If the MN is to play nicely--they want something from you.
I believe that malignant narcissism is a spiritual choice with a pathological twist.
For those would hesitate to discern evil, one does not need a M.D. behind one's name to do this, I would kindly refer you to JAMES 3:14-17. It reads as follows: "But if you have bitter ENVY and SELF-SEEKING in your hearts, do not boast and LIE AGAINST THE TRUTH. This wisdom does not descend from above, but is earthly, sensual and DEMONIC. For where ENVY and SELF-SEEKING exist, confusion and every EVIL thing are there."
MN's are the enemy to those who tend toward benevolence.

God Bless You All,
Thanks Anna

Anna Valerious said...

"He wasn't convicted of anything," and "He didn't have a criminal record," respectively. Technicalities.

It is the criminal mindset that believes someone is "okay" until they GET CAUGHT breaking the law. I'm glad you saw through that bit of shinola. When I read that statement my first thought was, "Sure am damn glad this creep isn't in my life."

Anonymous said...

"It looks like you were each dealing with a stress interview, where the interviewer essentially acts like an N in full-blown pouting mode, to test your reactions."

Interesting, but not the case. There was no attempt at making my interview stressful, in fact, this person thought they were being an excellent interviewer, you could tell by their smugness. What made me uncomfortable was my own internal N Detector, along with their general lack of tact and smug superiority. I've been in interviews where you were tested for your ability to think fast, there's no comparison. And you know what? I would refuse to work for anyone who employed a "Stress" interview, they can pack it. I mean, unless I was interviewing to be a police officer or some such occupation. No one has the right to subject me to discomfort and to demean me in any circumstance. I vote with my feet.

enilina said...

The inappropriate laughter... that was one of many things that bothered me about my parents before I learned about NPD. While my dad was considerably more N than my mom, one thing she excel over him was laughing at others' misfortune. Mom would constantly talk how "good hearted" she is and how others are always trying to take advantage of her "good heart", etc, etc, etc, but she cannot contain herself when she soaks in the misery of others; that glee in her eyes and pure joyful smile that plays on her lips. Now I realize why campy movie villians are always B-Wha-Ha-Ha!laughing.

Another enjoyment she gets is making herself the victim. Supposedly she was nearly kidnapped by con artists and when she tells the story there is light heartedness in her voice. She's always in the center of other people's conspiracy because she is that important enough in other people's lives to be the focus of their dastardly plans. Now I know a Columbian scientist who really was almost kidnapped by rebels. When she tells her story there is no joy in her voice, just flatness as she holds back the fear 15 years after the fact. Hearing her story and my mom's story in the same night was very enlightening.

no more darkness said...

I woke up this morning with a clearer head- all the advice I need is already on the blog- most people i know dont like to talk about 'things' my husbands parents told him he was 'reading to much into things' n's sure as hell do not want you to have all this knowledge.
Anna I need to read and re-read all of your story- and maybe I can find the courage you did to let go of all these emotional vampires.
I can vouch for red flag number 50- ive seen the cold dead cruel stare of my mother and mil- and an angry stare from sil (who is turning into mil) it is eerie.

Anonymous said...

I've been to this blog a few times, posted comments sometimes. I usually use 'anonymous' because I have a blog that is not at all about this sort of thing--and don't really want my readers to be able to trace me here--Just don't want to share this pain in my life. My mom I know is a narcissist I spent a holiday with her recently and found some of the nasty things she has done to my siblings out-- like for instance-- two of my brothers have paid for her garage door now. You'd think she had quite a large garage. there's plenty more.. of course. Anyhow-- no matter. I would say no matter cuz I have gotten so used to mom and live far enough away that I can keep myself from harms way most of the time now.

What is paining me more --far more--is my 20 y/o daughter. I'd have to be deaf, dumb, stupid, blind and mentally impaired to NOT see gramma's traits in this child. My husband wants to kick her out, he has been wanting to do that for a while. We did do it once, and eventually allowed her to come back to 'straighten out her life' She has not done a thing towards that goal. I have not agreed to kick her out again becuase I don't know where she would go--would she be safe?
None of our 3 sons would EVER have gotten away with the way this girl has treated us. She has an advantage because we do fear what could happen to her in the world-as a beautiful young girl.
I guess I should know she will land on her feet somehow--because she is beautiful--and seems to have that Scarlet O'hare thing going for her--I feel for her boyfriends--there have not been many-but she has been so cruel to them. Its like watching a cat play with mice.

She currently does not work, lives off us, treats us like crap basically, is very nice and congenial --when she's about to drop some bomb or needs something. Like last night when she called me at work to ask me what I wanted done with some items that she was taking care of for me--chores.. (shock! usually she ignores any chores I ask her to do) I should have known this meant that she had an ulterior motive. Yes-- she informed she was going 'out'.
In other words, a young man she met recently through her brother, was driving over an hour to come pick her up just to 'hang out'. She has a boyfreind in California --across country. That she has strung along now for months and months. She hates california but she is planning to go visit him in tomorrow on his dime--he bought the tickets!

I know she is almost certain to break up with while out there or before she goes or right after. Why? She wants someone situated closer to home.

For some reason she isn't ready to let go of home.Maybe we are just a meal ticket?

I am just feeling numb as a person can be who has had their heart punched and stabbed with a jagged knife so often by this sort of person that it almost can't be felt anymore.

I love her in some ways--but I hate her behavior and wish she were self-supporting--elsewhere. Maybe I don't love her--maybe I just love the memory of the little girl I thought she was and the dream of the woman I had hoped she we would be. It was apparently an illusion.

How? that's the question. How do I get this adult woman out of my house safely? My husband suggested that maybe she will move in with this new guy. God help him.

She has no friends or anyone near us that she can move in with and she has no money. She does not hold down jobs, although she insists whenver she has one that she is the best worker they every had-- then she quits or gets fired--once for stealing!
She didn't finish highschool, She blames all of that on us of course. She has lied to us and stolen from us.

This cut is deeper than the first--Mom is child's play compared to my daughter. Its one thing to move away from your mother, its a whole nother thing to break ties with your own child. Or even try to just get them out of your house.

Have you ANY advice? M.

Anonymous said...

"Have you ANY advice?"

Yes. Kick her out. She has no problem taking advantage of you in any way she can, so why bother caring about her? Easy to say, hard to do(being a parent and all that), but you mean nothing to her, except as a meal ticket and so long as you keep her around it will only continue, and then get worse.

If she's really anything like Scarlett O'Hara, then she wouldn't have any problems. Only thing is that Mrs. O'Hara was far more resourceful than your daughter seems to me, so she would have been much harder to deal with.

She's leaving tomorrow? Perfect opportunity. Pack up all her stuff and either leave out front or put it in storage (Pay for only a month's worth. Beyond that? Her problem.) Change the locks to the house, beef up security and stonewall her(no contact, except to tell her where her stuff is).

She won't go out quietly, for sure, but advice from police, sites like nononsenseselfdefense.com, and domestic violence hotlines should help too.

No doubt she'll consider you cruel, callous, etc, but hey, so's she and sadly(or not), it's the only language people like her understand. You have to protect yourself. It's just too bad that it happens to be your own daughter that's your enemy.

All of this will be hard in the short term, but things will get better in the long term when you're no longer enabling her and she's no longer around to wreak havoc on you/yours.

Anonymous said...

For the commenter who has the difficult daughter:

I know what you must be going through. My daughter has demeaned me so many times, then when she leaves me crying, she accuses me of doing that to manipulate her. It's a very difficult row to how, has left me nearly suicidal more than once, I love her dearly and she can be such a cool person. I'm a single parent and she's now grown and supporting herself, lives in the same town, but has her own place.

Recently, she attacked me verbally and crossed the line. I don't think she's an N, but she definitely has some self-absorbed issues. I felt something break inside, and I responded that I'd had enough of her abuse and if she wanted a relationship with me, she had to treat me better. I was totally ready to walk, to never see her again. It hurt, but not as much as her abuse.

There's a point where you have to protect yourself, as Anna says, it's the most basic human right. Just because someone shares your genes doesn't give them the right to hurt you any more than a stranger, in fact, they should treat you with special regard, you gave them the gift of life.

My daughter knew that I was serious, that I would cross that line and never see her again if need be. Since then, she's been very nice to me and working hard on re-establishing a good relationship. The jury's still out in my mind, but the change is really encouraging.

If someone knows you're never going to make them pay any consequences for their actions, it's free rein for them, they can walk all over you. At a certain point you have to say, I did my job of raising this child, it's no longer my deal, and you have to give them an ultimatum. You have to mean it from deep within or they'll know. And sometimes you have to act on it. End of story.

Anonymous said...

I think my husband might be at the point of being able to do that--but I know I am not. I do not believe my daughter would have anyplace to go. we live in a city of half a million people and lots of crime and she is not really familiar with it--we haven't lived in this part of the country very long. She truly has no friends here--except the person she left here with yesterday--and he lives about 2 hours away. I've never met him--he is a friend of my sons.

Anyhow-- I just think-- we probably need to set a date for her to move out--but I guess it would have to give her time to find a job and get some money--although --i don't know-- that might not work either. Maybe I should be willing to just kick her out on the street-- I just don't think I can.

m

LadyCoyote said...

Wonderful post, as always. I have a grandmother that FULLY exhibits 7of the 8 redflag traits. It is still hard for me to believe that I believed a bunch of lies for many, many years.

As many have stated before, the lying does not stop. It goes on to this day, and it has left a wake of damaged reputations and damaged relationships. It has left heartache, and for me personally, has been very hard for my mind to "digest" the events that have taken place over the past 3 years.
But hey, I'm glad I've had the revelation in 2008 and it's time to move forth.

However, there are some good members of the family that do not see through the veil of the N. Of course, that is sad and frustrating. Because these folks think badly/differently of well-meaning and good people that the N had poisoned their minds against.

In my case it was N's repeating of various stories and scenarios that I fully accepted as truth (BEFORE I found out that she was an N.) I was suckered, for sure.

This N grandmother has constantly trashed-talked about her oldest grown daughter, who is a decent and loving person. I grew up thinking the worst about my Aunt who is a decent human being. How sad. How awful that I "drank the KoolAid".

This N grandmother has trash-talked her other daughter, who is my Mom. I still find it mind-boggling that I listened to a lot of garbage talk that really never seemed to add up. But I lived out of state, and didn't know that N was a sick-minded Narcissist.

Of course, N also tried to cause trouble and anomosity between her own daughters. Telling one that the other "hated her guts" and the like. Nice.

This N grandmother constantly portrayed herself as a savior to my brother and I, how they "raised us" and even N grandmother told the neighbor that "custody was signed over to them" when we were kids. Complete lie. We did spend a lot of time with our grandparents but to take credit of "raising us" and having "custody" is ridiculous.

I also recently found out that N grandparents "put me through college". Wow. What a slap that was, since I worked my own butt off to get a degree. Ate the ramen noodles for years, lived with no heat at times, and basically busted my ass.. I wonder how many other people have heard this lie?

I hope I can use this forum to vent a bit because I feel that folks here can identify...It feels good to get it out. Here I go.

This N had a husband with a bonafide neurological disease, and she never, ever, sought the care of a specialist for him. She did not even want her dying husband to know the truth about his illness.

I know because I was THERE, for nearly 8 months on a daily basis while he was home on hospice care. He had questions about his illness, she diverted. She distracted. She lied. She told him things that were not true.
She BLAMED everyone else for his situation. How could I have not seen that something was very wrong with her mind?

I should have gotten the clue 3 years ago when I took a week of my time to accompany N and her husband who had an illness to the Mayo Clinic. Talk about "control freak". N filled out the paperwork and LIED on the paperwork about his symptoms.

I should have gotten the clue when we sat with the neurologist and N lied to the Doctor about her husband's symptoms...

I should have gotten the clue when he came home on hospice and she lied, lied, lied. Worried him about the hospice care and even told him that they paid for the caregivers (when it was FREE). She purposely would DO all of the work that the caregivers were supposed to do, so they could "oooooh and ahhhh" about what an incredible super-hero wife she was. When the caregivers came it was all about HER. She would tell everyone that her husband wanted her to "get the show on the road" and that is why she did all of the work before me or the caregivers arrived each day. I regularly showed up at 9 a.m. and this was "too late" for her to wait?

Meanwhile, being totally naive about things, I would drive 77 miles each DAY to be there to show up and have not a lot to do. But I wanted to spend time with my dying grandpa, so I don't regret that. Then I would hear how she could "never go out" of the house. I was there 4-5 hours daily and she refused to leave the house. BECAUSE she did not want me to disclose anything to her husband that may trap her in her lies to him about his illness. Control freak? Hell, yes.

She also told family members how we wanted to "put him in a nursing home", when that was a total lie.

She had a baby monitor in the room which allowed her to hear all conversations in the bedroom where her husband was bedridden.
When her husband started going blind (due to the disease), he had questions and anxiety. I cannot tell you how awful it was to see my grandpa with anxiety about things and his wife chiming in, "If I could only get you to an eye-doctor, honey, but I can't."
SADLY, she never disclosed info. to him that the neurologist gave us in a consult appointment. That blindness would accompany this disorder. (This consult appt. was months before, by the way). Dumbfounded, I asked, "N, did you disclose the info. that the doctor gave us in the consultation? Because he NEEDS to know." To which she raged, "Not yet. I WILL TELL HIM everything that he needs to KNOW." (Yeah. Right. He needed to know things about 3 years ago...how evil. I still get very sad when I think about the anxiety my grandpa had.) Anyway, after I ask her about telling my grandpa about the info. he has a right to know, she got very angry.
The next day I arrived to find all of the items I gave her, gifts, books, etc. piled up by the front door. Nice.

There were many, many, many clues that I should have put together. I found myself explaining it away, attributing it to stress, etc. Man, was I an IDIOT.

My Mom (the "bad daughter") was coming at night to help her N mom and Dad. She would hear lies as well. Even telling my Mom that my grandpa stood up that afternoon and took a few steps. This was BS because I was there in the morning and he was not able to even sit up in the bed without major assistance from 2 strong adults.

When my Mom could no longer take the lies, the pain, of coming nightly to help, my Ngrandmother turned my Mom's name to mud. Forget the fact that my Mom who is in her 60's has arthritis pain and was physically hurting from helping out. Her own doctor told her not to lift anything heavy. I was in my 30's and also felt sore, so I know how physically difficult it was for my Mom. But, once my Mom explained herself to N, at that moment, N spoke very badly about my Mom. My mom would come to visit her dying dad and he would say to her, "You should be ashamed of yourself". Who the heck knows what lies Ngrandmother was feeding him, to poison his mind against his daugher? In his dying days, of all days, he was being LIED to. All the time.

Grandpa died in June, and my Mom was there the evening that he passed away. N grandmother told everyone that "J wasn't there". My husband was there and watched as my Mom tried to reach out to hug Ngrandmother and N turned her body around 360 degrees. Cold. As ice.

Ngrandmother never once seemed to think about the feelings of her daughter, and that perhaps the passing of her father meant something to other people. The self centeredness of this woman is mind-boggling.

Ngrandmother now goes to mass daily, (except when it rains) because there is (I think) ample supply of sympathetic people who will listen to how her family abandoned her and was so awful to her thru her husband's illness.

She spends her days going to the bank where she knows the tellers and the stores where other people can feel sorry for her. Her neighbors drop by to check on her, but I do believe they've caught on to her BS. ( The neighbor told me shortly after the funeral, "We saw your car there everyday, and we knew that you were helpful and caring." Which was contrary to what they were told. THANK goodness I spoke to them at length after the funeral. My Mom got a very icy reception from the neighbors at the funeral and I was glad to set the record straight about that after a discussion with the neighbor. I now suspect he knows that N is simply a lady with a messed up mind.

For me, it's all about living in the truth. My prayer is that others in my family can see the truth and not be fooled. It is sad that perhaps their view of truly decent people has been way-skewed.

As for the strangers and fellow churchgoers and storeclerks, and strangers that probably think my family is a bunch of a-holes because they are told lies by an 87 year old lady. And why would an 87 year old lady who is the sweetest thing in the world, lie?
Well, I have one thing to say to them: Good luck with that.

Thank you for allowing me to get this off my chest, and for reading.
It's the cheapest therapy out there! :)

Kristina said...

Hello, and thanks for so much valuable info - I have been raised in a N family myself (which I have very little contact with :).

I have a question for you - often we read and hear that Narcissists feel extreme Shame and to compensate this they display all kinds of dysfunctional behavior. After many, many years of being close to them and observing them, I must say I cannot feel threir shame or guilt! I can feel a total ABSENCE of it, which usually makes the non-narcissistic individuals in their environment drown in shame and guilt, to compensate (which is not the same as accepting a projection in my opinion)... Usually I can feel when someone has a feeling and then projects it away - but I CANNOT feel that they do this. I just feel their ABSOLUTE LACK of conscience, remorse, guilt or sense of shame...

I feel that some of the descriptions of N's even in clinical literature are made by very active codependents who try to "soften" the pathology...

What is your opinion on this?

Many wellwishes from,
Kristina

Anonymous said...

I'm curious, that cold dead stare that was mentioned in item #50, what exactly does that stare look like and when they do that are they looking at you or away from you?

Anonymous said...

After reading today's blog, so much is bouncing in my head.

1) Years ago a therapist told me that my father was a rage-addict. After reading the list, it looks as if this is an N trait.

2)My mother seems to be a full-blown N. I spent my entire chidhood and teens wondering what it was about me that made me so unlovable, unwantable, worthless. Today I know it was NOT me.

3) For the poster whose daughter appears to be an N, I feel for you. I had to kick my own daughter out several years ago. Fortunately, she is not an N. She was just indulging in unacceptable behavior. Later she grew up and has become a good person.
In enabling your daughter to continue using and abusing you, you are perpetuating the problem. Let her grow up.

My son was in the NAVY. When he finished his term of duty, he asked to stay with us until he found a job.

The first week, he wanted to just relax as he had been in the military for the past 6 years with 4 tours in the Persian Gulf. So his father and I thought a break was appropriate.

The second week, he did not seem to be looking for a job. I asked him about it. (we had connections who wanted his resume but he refused to give it to them) He informed me that he could get a job in a "finger snap"

The third week, hubby and I informed him that he had 30 days to get a job, save enough to get his own place and move out.
He was outraged!!!
He told us "But I don't have a job"
Our response "Not our problem."

Then it was "I don't have any money"
Our response "Not our problem"

Last it was "I don't have anywhere to go"
Our response "Not our problem"

This may sound harsh to you. In my home, any healthy and able adult who refuses to be self-supporting MUST live somewhere else.
I do not work so another adult can play.

Anonymous said...

To the latest anonymous that commented about my situation with my daughter--
I guess I know I shouldn't let her treat me bad. I do know that.

My biggest fear is kicking her out and her being without any means in what is pretty much a strange city. I used to not want her moving in with boys--but I've come to the point--where I just don't seem to care about that as much. i guess cuz I know she will do as she pleases anyhow and there isn't much I can do about it.

I'm tired I guess, tired of this kid having lied to me and manipulated her way now for pretty solid 6 years or so.

I was in her room and just looked at her journal--it had about 2 pages written in it where she is obsessing about having an eating disorder. I just really feel --she hasn't got a disorder--she is a hypochondriac. She brings up all these crazy symptoms and allergies and accuses me of not getting her medical attention--but if I pay for her to see a dr she never follows any plan of treatment. I've bought her 3 pairs of glasses and she never wears them--and contacs too. I don't really know what she tells doctors or what they diagnose. I do know that her eyesight is not all that bad--she used it as an excuse to not go to the GED Lab and study--after she got the glasses, she rarely went anyhow.

She keeps her medical info secretive. She told me after she turned 18 that the Dr suspected she had endometriosis--and yet she never went back for a follow-up or a laparoscopy to confirm.
The RX's she has are for birth control--which I don't think she takes correctly and for a muscle relaxant and mouth guard which she doesn't use for her jaw. She didn't use her allergy rx either. She just seems to want to get attention by having illnesses and then doesn't follow through with drs. We end up footing the bill.

its all nuts!

My mother-- who is a definite N --is also a big time RX abuser who sees Drs constantly--several of them and has some real medical problems--but I think doesn't do what she should either. She has a huge collection of drugs in her house--I have no idea how many of them she takes.

I'm exasperated by this stuff. My husband seems no longer to even love our daughter --who when she was younger was the absolute apple of his eye--not anymore. Now he just says 'she's dead' and whatever took her over has killed her. As if she is not the same person she was as a child but some sort of changeling.

Me--I'm just in pain. I want her to move out--but I want her to have a place to go first.

Part of me thinks she is setting up a place to go--by getting to know this new boy that came to get her yesterday. Maybe he is her safety net if we kick her out?

She never brings boyfreinds home--that's another thing. I suspect it is because if she lets her worlds collide her lies might be exposed.

sigh.. well I also think I'm crazy for even thinking these things about my child--but I may be right.

For years I suspected that my mom might well have killed my dad-- and you know--I still think she is capable of doing that--don't know if she did though.

I guess its just really hard to live with feelings/suspicians/intuitions like this about people that you are supposed to have loving relationships with. When you don't trust them at all--not even a little bit--every time they are nice you are suspicious.

I am thinking we need to set a deadline for her to get a job, save money and move out--or go without anything--just go.

I think she ought to be able to find a job somewhere and save enough to get a place in 2 months if she tried. If she would get a GED I might let her have 4 months--but to be honest I just wish she'd leave now.m

LadyCoyote said...

I totally think that your response, "not our problem" was completely acceptable. You are right about an adult not wanting to support himself. I think that "entitlement" mentality that a lot of kids today have is grossly affecting our society and creating a whole culture of entitlement.

Also, to the poster who mentioned a lack of remorse -- I agree. I have not seen it either. In fact, N grandmother has told me that she is now attending mass daily but sees no need to attend confession.
My thought when I heard this was,
good luck with that.

Anonymous said...

To the anonymous whose son was in the navy and gave her story about his not looking for a job--yes--I think that is how I want to handle this-- 30 days may be enough--or 60 I suppose. I think that sounds like more than enough. Its not right for her to do this. Maybe, maybe maybe she is not a full blown N--maybe she is just immature. Only time will tell I guess. For now though she is not trustworthy and is lazy and selfish and I guess I've had enough.

As for my Mom-- at her age there is not much chance she wil grow up. I have seen that 'cold dead stare' though these days Mom is more afraid of me than she used to be as I don't play the game anymore. I'm sure I don't catch every lie, but I think I'm much safer than I used to be.

Anonymous said...

To the poster with the daughter she wishes were gone:

You have a right to peace. Could you possibly get your daughter an apartment and pay the deposit/first month's rent and also help her a bit with groceries (not money, but actual food) and give her an ultimatum of one month to find a job, then you're out on the street, don't call me????

In other words, get her out into a safe situation and let her then be responsible for herself, no safety net at home, she's on her own.

I was on my own at 18, I had no money, put myself through college, it was actually really good for me, taught me what I can do. You aren't necessarily helping her out by letting her stay home and do nothing and abuse you. Perhaps you have some guilt there that you might want to address that's preventing you from acting. I'm not saying it's legitimate guilt, but maybe it is, only you can decide and address it.

no more darkness said...

In response to the 'cold dead stare'
I have been stared at like this first by my mother while we were on holiday- she looked directly at me and held my gaze for a few seconds-it was a look of pure evil, I suppose like the saying 'if looks could kill' I hyperventilated (and now I remember back then, wanted to end my life) when I got home from that holiday it was pure hell.

second stare was from mil- it was the last time i saw her 10 months ago. It was much the same as my mothers look ( I was standing up for myself and not letting her intimidate me) I kind of laughed inside because all I had said was that I had not used this second hand present my daughter had recieved from her. Shortly after I returned home I was so crippled with back pain I could not move for two days and needed 3 different types of strong pain killers.

theres no mistaking the 'stare' it's how I know that my mil and mum would not care a jot if I were dead. Seeing all the rage/hatred someone has for you is so scary- imagine being in a horror film and the baddie tortures and kills you he has absolutely no concern or pity for you- I suppose that is what his cold dead stare would be like as he did this.
sorry this is such a macabre post.

Anonymous said...

Anna,

Wow, the guy that sent you that angry e-mail was pretty shallow; I do not think that having violated the law in one's life necessarily gives yea or nay to a bad character. In saner times, this would be the case, but in the past few decades with the multiplication of laws, many of which have little worth, it has become much easier if you do anything to get snagged in the law and win a felony record.

Anonymous said...

About the 'cold dead stare'.

What has been directed at me is I guess more like an evil stare with a nasty grin that is just creepy while the N is saying something that is meant to humiliate and shame. They just love to see fear on people's faces. Jeez, not much difference between them and psychos. Unfortunately, this is getting too creepy and scary.

I was watching the movie Titanic the other night (love that movie, the girl escapes and followers her heart) and both the mother and fiance are huge N's. I had a jaw dropping moment when they are all at the fancy dinner table and the mother asks a couple of questions to the other "hero" in the story - the young honest guy, Jack Dawson.

The mother has a perfect smile on her face while asking a rude and intentionally hurtful question intended to humiliate and shame him and I am SOOO familiar with that from my MN SIL.

But it's her facial expressions on the second question that she asks him that is so hellish...and I experienced that twice at Thanksgiving.

When the mother asks the second question meant to shame him while she still tries to look as if she is not doing anything wrong, she keeps her eyes fixated on him WITHOUT blinking in anticipation of sucking up all the emotion that he will be producing... all the while lifting her glass to her lips with that awful stare and not taking her eyes off of him! It is ghoulish and sick. And is a very specific look and completely not normal!!

My bulimic MNSIL did that to me while eating some pie at Thxsgvn and it was just hideous! Like she wanted me to watch her take every bite. Once Anna called something an N did that was akin to public mast. .. and that's what it was almost like.

Sorry to gross everyone out... it's grossing me out too, but these monsters should be exposed for what they are. I told my husband about it a week later and he was stunned. She likes to do that alot while eating. ugh

I read somewhere that when you see that kind of expression on their face, they are anticipating/planning their next move against you and you need to get the hell out of there! Yup, that was the case for me because 30 min. later she attacked my innocent little 2 yr old granddaughter and I was so sickened and freaked out by the evil blood sucking look on her face covered with an evil smile, I was backing away and needed to put as much distance between me and her as possible.

When I didn't agree, it didn't matter, she changed her position and tried to get me to label her in another way! To a child! I was so sickened and frightened by the whole thing... I think I am dealing with a whole new level of monster. I've been NC for 6 wks (w/out declaring it to her)....deleting phone messages, and H and I have agreeded to be just "too darn busy" to get together.

It's getting scary... I want my old life back, when I only saw her once a year and didn't have her on my mind constantly, trying to prepare myself for what to say, etc.

- getting better
But this subject is scary

Anonymous said...

I think I need to clarify what I said about my G-daughter in my previous post.

My MNSIL verbally attacked my little g-daughter by trying to stick a label on her. Not sure if I made that clear. She knows nothing about children or what it takes to raise them in a healthy way (she has none) and shouldn't be around any! I can't stand her.

It wasn't a physical attack... my g-daughter wasn't there thank God... but a sly verbal one concealed by a smile.
I don't ever want to think about that b*itch again. And I won't let her ever do that again... I'll stop that behavior come hell or high water.

Kathleen said...

Anonymous,
Making a verbal assault on a 2-year-old. That's vile. Pray she never has children.
It's been a year since going N/C with a smear campaign following, but I think over time I've become more able to see the forest for the trees. Things I thought were "odd" at one time now are becoming clearer.
Projection --- that's become much more clear now! I've been called selfish and materialistic by the very N that all the other Ns accuse her of!! lol
But the children! When DD was born I would say to my NMIL "Oh, I'm tired. DD was up 3x last night."
She'd always respond with something akin to "Oh, just like her father. Stubborn." Or "bad temper." It annoyed me that she would say that about my daughter -- who was only 4 weeks old!! And was behaving the way 4 week old babies behave!
Now, as I compare the stories she has told me about my DH, I notice they all revolve around how stubborn and bad-tempered he was.
Having lived with him for 14 years, he was anything BUT. I believe my DH was nothing more than a big inconvience for her.
So keep that baby away from your NSIL. She is treating that child the way she would treat her own.
Pretty scary.
- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

Thanks Kathleen. I will keep those little ones away from that vile projection machine.

This site is so on the money.

had it with N sister said...

I think the biggest service this site does is to reassure those of us who have been the victims of narcissists is that we are NOT crazy or "too sensitive." I wish I had a dollar for every time my N sister has made the most outrageous, critical dig (typically in a group) about me and then "innocently" said something along the lines of, "Oh, did that offend you? You're just too sensitive."

Anonymous with the N daughter commented that her husband said the daughter is dead, and that "whatever took her over has killed her" hit the nail on the head. The person we loved and thought we knew does not exist anymore, and perhaps never existed.

As much as I still long for a relationship with my sister, I've come to realize that the few times when she has been kind to me were the act, and the rest of the times she's made me miserable were the real deal. She can cry on cue like an academy award-winning actress. In fact the whole family talks about NS and her crocodile tears. If only she had as much empathy and compassion for her victims as she does for herself.

She's left a trail of victims behind her over the years, and I'm talking from first grade on. I just don't want to continue being a part of that number.

toni said...

Here is an example of a twisted, sick reaction to a serious event. A woman I know had a radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer. Her NM visited her in the hospital and first thing she said was "well now you're a barrren woman" in a little sing-song tone. Then everyone defends the N saying she just doesn't know how to handle these things well, and it must be so hard on her having a daughter with a serious illness.

I don't see this behavior as being defensible. There was no awkwardness, or regret over her words, as a matter of fact she said it a few more times after the daughter recovered. Perverted indeed.

GraFXGrl said...

"Then everyone defends the N saying she just doesn't know how to handle these things well, and it must be so hard on her having a daughter with a serious illness."

And this is so sad but tipical- what about the person who is ACTUALLY SUFFERING from the illness!? eNablers are worse than Ns sometimes I think. Perverted sympathy as well on thier part.

Anonymous said...

When I was a young girl, I was told I would never be able to get pregnant. When my SIL became pregnant, my NM went into a flurry of activity to plan the baby shower. I told NM that I wasn't sure I would be up to going, to which she replied "well you'll just have to get used to it."

I'll say it again: you can't have a happy, healthy life as long as an N is in it.

Writer in Washington said...

Hi, Anna:

I haven't commented in a long while but when reading what was said about the N-daughter--I had to say something.

As I've mentioned several times, I have a step-son and step-daughter that are MNs (learned from their very MN mother). My husband and I have fluctuated back and forth over contact with both of them for several years. On the one hand, they have so villified us with everyone that we USED to know that I've nothing but rage when I think of it.

On the other hand, they are his kids and he feels obligated to send them Christmas cards. The SS attempted suicide several times, but we were only told of it the last time he tried. So I think in some deep part of him his guilt is destroying him and that, unless he comes clean and admits to all the lies he's told, he will eventually destroy himself. My husband phoned him and he wept bitter tears and said he wanted to get together with us and so on. Then went right back to the same-ole same-ole routine. He even boasts to my non-MN stepson that he can manipulate other people so well, "just like Mom does", like it is something to be proud of.

The SD is totally unrepentant and has been well rewarded for all she has done with a lot of $ from the maternal family. She's an excellent actress and can play the misunderstood innocent, Cinderella to the hilt.

I guess what I'm saying is this, if you do kick out the MN daughter expect her to turn into an even more vicious monster. She will try everything she can to make you and your husband out to be the MNs.

On a slightly humorous note: MN ex-wife's mother (another MN) died in September. MN-EX would have virtually nothing to do with her when she was alive, but ohhh my the grieving little daughter she has become!!!! Its positively sickening how she plays that role. Hypocrisy thy name is Malignant Narcissist.

Writer in Washington said...

PS: Anna, I agree with you about women as narcissists. I think there are more of them than there are of men, and they get away with it much better. Women tend to be much more manipulative and subtle, and they can play the innocent little girl extremely well. Men don't have that advantage.

Anonymous said...

This whole topic of the reddest of red flags: the "pinch yourself because it seems so unreal behavior", makes me fume the more I think about it. In particular, the way that Nfamilies really gang up on anyone who attempts to even just name the off behavior for what it is, and then singles them out for even more abuse as punishment for not stomaching joining the pretense. It is countless how often I witnessed really objectively screwy behavior with the Nfam, and NO ONE AROUND ME WOULD BAT AN EYE. I'd look at everyone else, and get these zombified blank looks, as if everything was absolutely normal, while I'd sit there feeling like my brain was going to explode from the insanity and lack of anyone "seeing" what I did.

I've worked for an all out N, and as bad as that was [it was bad] me and the other employees would at least all exchange raised eyebrows or silent eye rolls and smirks, then openly trash her the moment we had privacy [and until we could all quit which we did]. At least you never doubt your sanity there, and everyone is in utter agreement that you are dealing with a draining exploitive self-indulgent jerk.

The problem in the Nfam, is that often you are dealing with an entire group who is hellbent on drinking the same koolaid. The one time we had an "outsider" interacting in our family for a time [a hospice worker] was like a miracle: she immediately pegged ME as the sane one and confirmed all the same craziness that I did. She looked alarmed at the things that alarmed me, looked horrified at things that horrified me, looked uncomprehending at things that baffled me. I had never ever experienced anything like that, ever, and it really meant the world to me at the time, and I mean that very literally. That was back before I had any idea what N was.

Anonymous said...

Speaking of N sisters and doing the opposite of what a sane kind person would do:

I'm a hard-core animal lover and always have been. When I was a kid, I did something in all innocence (bathed them) that resulted in the death of a litter of kittens. I was about 7 years old and didn't know any better. It broke my heart, I'll never forget it.

My older N sister made sure to tell that story every chance she got, I've had that story told on me for about 50 years now, and she gets extreme glee from telling it. She reveled in it, I would protest, but that made her tell it all the more. Now, knowing what she is (evil), I would just bust her in the mouth, even though I've never harmed anyone. I would love to see the look on her face, even though I know such an action would be counterproductive.

Of course, she can tell it all she wants now, I won't be there to hear it, no contact for a year now. Man, is it nice!

Kathleen said...

Anonymous,
Wow! That's how DH's family is. It has always reminded me of The Emperor's New Clothes. He can walk around naked and no one will dare say it! But a child can see it -- and name it.

For 10 years no one heard from my DH's brother. He never answered his phone, never RSVP'ed to wedding invites, etc., never acknowleged receiving emails. NOTHING. He only lives about 45 minutes from another brother, who never went and broke his door down to see if he was okay. I would at times question my ILs about him. Weren't they worried? They response was always "Oh, that's the way he is. If something happened to him, his employer would let us know." INSANE??

So I placed one final call to him while DH was in his final days, told him it's now or never if he wants to see his brother alive. He did not return my call, but did call his other brother, said he wanted to come but was afraid I'd be angry because he didn't call. So the other brother says "Don't worry about her. Just come. She won't mind."

So here he comes -- after 10 years. Barely says a word to me or the girls, except "Pass another slice of pizza."
CRIED HIS EYES OUT. After the funeral, he left and I've never heard from him again.

But while he was here he complained that he wasn't in touch BECAUSE in the past 10 YEARS sometimes he doesn't get his mail, sometimes his phone doesn't work, sometimes he doesn't get his emails......yada, yada, yada. And all the Ns looked at him and ACCEPTED THAT WITHOUT QUESTION!! It was astounding! Poor Him! He doesn't get his mail and his phone calls or his emails!!

But my 12-year-old took me aside and whispered "Mom, can that be true? Can that really happend? Can you REALLY not get your mail for 10 years and everything else too? Doesn't sound right to me, Mom."

And my MIL informed me that something "good" came out of my DH's death -- now that son is keeping in touch more!
How comforting to know.

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

"In particular, the way that Nfamilies really gang up on anyone who attempts to even just name the off behavior for what it is, and then singles them out for even more abuse as punishment for not stomaching joining the pretense."

I can't believe how much I have experienced this! And "hell-bent" on drinking the same kool-aide.... soooooo true! It's like an unspoken agreement between them ... I won't call you out on your behavior and so you won't call me out on mine. Maybe they learned the painful lesson not to point out that the emperor-has-no-clothes-on a long time ago so as not to be a target. But it's like they are brain dead about it!

It's mind-blogging to me how all the traits are the same. I mean every year the the same story gets trotted out at NSIL holiday gatherings telling about an innocent conversation that occurred, and laughing about it to solidify how much better this "family" is than someone else. I dropped my fork on my plate last year when this story started (I knew it was coming) and I was rudely staring at the NSIL who was telling it. What can you do? The non-N's at the table must have been wondering what the hell was going on! The N's count on you to not to break the social rules while they trample all over them.
NSIL didn't tell that story this year, at least not in front of me... probably couldn't help herself and told it before I got there, like she did the year before. I wish I would of said something directly to her about it. Wonder if it would have made any difference.

The list is endless what they do.

Anonymous said...

I have one, a story I mean. It was a definate pinch yourself moment. One year for Christmas my step father, who at the time I considered thoughtful and kind decided to buy my NM, what I thought was a very nice Christmas present. This was several years ago and they had been married several years at that point. He was so excited about this gift and really wanted to surprise her. He even came over to my house and asked if I would help him by wrapping it and keeping it at my house until Christmas Day so that she would be completely surprised. He was very specific on how he wanted it wrapped. He had bought a ring, it was a pear shaped opal surrounded by diamonds with matching earrings. They were very nice. He had also bought a very nice leather purse and he asked me to hide the ring and earrings in the purse and wrap it all together. I'm very good at following directions, so of course I had this wrapped and the gift was taken over on Christmas Day, by me of course. The entire gift opening that year was arranged so that this gift was the final and most important present. Upon opening the present my mother gave me a look (that look where you know what I'm thinking, even if noone else does)She didn't say much at all. However, the first moment we were alone she told me that she could not believe he bought THAT!He was trying to make up to her for being the sorry low down person that he is(not her exact words, but for sure the message, by this point I think I sorta started tuning out when she would rant about some imagined slight)Anyway, promptly after Christmas she took it all back and returned it, went down to JC Penney's and bought a watch "that she could use" I do remember those words. I think that was the beginning of the end for me. My dad whom she divorced when we were young,also sucked up with gifts. Its to bad I actually remember standing in the jewerly store while she picked out her latest and biggest gem. In the end he of course had done it all because he had wronged her and was buying her off. When she pulled the Christmas exchange that year, I couldn't help going back in time to all the awful things she had said about my own dad. I was very taken aback by this. It was one of the strangest things I ever watched play out, although since then there have been many more. I thought I would share this little story. When I saw point three on the red flag list, this immediately came to mind. For me, I notice the oddest of all reactions to gifts. Wierd. She'll talk about things she'd like to have, some sweet person will attempt to please, and then she either complains about it, gives it away, exchanges it, etc. etc. etc. all becuase it was given with some motive that she has imagined in her mind. She also, doesn't except gifts from "disloyal" children. You know children that have the audacity to think for themselves and see the "real" reality. If she does except it to your face, she ditches it the moment you leave. I read these posts, and feel so relieved. It's so comforting to know you haven't been crazy all of your life. Thank you all.

Anonymous said...

Just a thought about the idiotic idea that "if you don't break the law" you are on some level an OK person:

It just so happens that the things that all N's do on a regular basis, their entire MO, whenever that occurs in addition to a "real" [ie, illegal] crime the judge throws the book at them like a cannonball. Such as: proof of premeditation and scheming/planning, lack of remorse/conscience, hiding or destroying evidence of own actions, misleading, luring or tricking a victim with a hidden purpose, etc. No, none of these things are crimes on their own without an actual criminal event attached, but they can make the difference between a very light sentence and life behind bars for the exact same crime. These "legal" behaviors are recognized by the law as being very significant indicators of a person's depravity and danger to society.

The N routinely hides behind the fact that they can float most of their actions under the radar, and stay far from experts who will see right through them. But, in another arena, all their 'tricks' are well known to criminal experts and seen for exactly what they are.

Starting Over said...

Anna,

I so appreciate your advice. I was 2 months N/C when the narcissist came knocking on my door bearing gifts. I let him in which was so stupid. I was just getting my life back together. He of course had not changed any of the bad behaviors we had broken up over. When I told him goodbye today for the last time he asked me could I take care of him after he had surgery! There was a point this time where he made the statement that I better not ever cross him and I jokingly said. "I have God's shield around me & you cannot penetrate that". He just laughed. One time he had his hand on my neck & I was thinking how he could hurt me so easily. I don't even know where to begin to put my life back together. I even threatened to put a restraining order on him but he said it would affect his custody of his girls? He just doesn't want anything on his record. Any prayers and advice are appreciated.

Writer in Washington said...

Actually, the more treacherous Ns use other people to get what they want done in the criminal dept. For example, they will get someone to shoplift what they can't "afford" to buy, use someone's credit card, steal items from someone's home (that happened to us) or in the worst cases, get people to commit murder. Al Capone for example. Only those MNs who's grandiosity has led them to the highest heights of deity will commit crimes themselves. And they will brag about them afterward.

Anna Valerious said...

I even threatened to put a restraining order on him but he said it would affect his custody of his girls? He just doesn't want anything on his record.

Here's some advice I hope you'll take: Do not threaten anything with a narcissist. It is a good way to get hurt or killed to telegraph directly to them what your plans are!!!!! If you think you need a restraining order, don't consult with the perp about it!! Just DO it. Of course he's going to try to talk you out of it.

You really need to consider him potentially dangerous. Letting him in your home after two months no contact was very ill-advised. You're lucky. You shouldn't have even opened to door to him. Leaving a narcissist can be dangerous, tricky business. You have to start thinking your way through things and not just going with the moment. If you're even thinking about needing a restraining order then you've admitted to yourself at least a little bit that he could be potentially dangerous. Please, follow that instinct. Make sure 'no contact' is NO contact. Make sure you're not being stalked. Don't be weak and allow him access to you just because he seems to come in peace. He is playing games, manipulating, lying. You are risking much by engaging him at all. Yes, he could easily hurt you. Knowing that, don't set yourself up! Be safe!

Starting Over said...

Thank you Anna. I will take all of your advice to heart. I am really considering moving. He lives only 5 minutes from me. There were times when I thought he was stalking me because he would show up where I was at the most peculiar times. I found out he was dating someone during the 2 months we were apart so I guess that kept him at bay. He of course said it was only a friendship. Everything he says is contradictory. What hurts the most is that I am a Christian and he hides behind that mask so well. That is why I originally started dating him. I will try and think on the awful things he has done to me and know in my heart God has someone better for me. I know that I haven't suffered through this for nothing and I have asked God to use my experience to help other people. I thank Him that He is using you to help all of us that are suffering to make it through. Thank you again Anna!

Anonymous said...

Anna,
I recently started reading your blog, and I appreciate you for giving a lot more details about an NPD person's mind, than I could get anywhere else.
I have a question - What is malignant narcissim ? My mother in law is narcissitic, and I'm trying to find out more about this.

Anna Valerious said...

What is malignant narcissim ?

It is another name for someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The word "malignant" indicates the predatory nature of someone who is full-blown NPD. It is a central feature of their character disorder. It is this stalking of their prey that earns them the synonym of 'evil' which is the word 'malignant'. By 'stalking' I'm referring to how the MN is able to hone in on someone who is vulnerable and then use that person's areas of vulnerability so the MN can get what they want from you.

A good overview of NPD can be found here:

http://www.halcyon.com/jmashmun/npd/traits.html

You'll have to copy and paste that into your browser.

Malignant narcissism is a synonym for NPD.

Anonymous said...

Starting Over:

I don't know if this varies from state to state, but here where I am you cannot get a restraining order without the person actually being arrested for something first. A friend tried here after her ex broke down her door with an axe to get his stuff, but since they couldn't prove it was him, no restraining order. Speaking of, there is a very great book called "The Gift of Fear" [Gavin de Becker] that goes into great detail about this exact topic, about assessing the danger of persistent ex's and of the issue of restraining orders [in some cases they can actually increase the tension/likelihood of contact/conflict, which is something important to know and to consider]. There is a lot of info about this book online, if you are interested in getting an idea of what it is about.

Starting Over said...

Thank you Anonymous. After Anna's comment about never telling the narcissist what you are going to do, I have been thinking about the ramifications if I did put a restraining order on him. I think he would come to my door with rage, probably talk to his ex-wife who would then attack me for ruining his life (go figure) so maybe I am better to just get the heck out of this town and cut my losses. I stopped going to my church here because I had to see him at every service. He has now shown up at my church that is 45 minutes from here. He has a mutual friend that goes there. I don't want to let him completely ruin my life, but his last words were, "You belong to me, and God will show you we are supposed to be together". I also think he would start a smear campaign on me. I was so naive that I shared very intimate details about my life and I am sure he would try to use those against me. Wow, never in a million years would I believe this guy was anything but wonderful. Boy, was I fooled! Thank you for the advice!

Sister Renee said...

*****I have a question for you - often we read and hear that Narcissists feel extreme Shame and to compensate this they display all kinds of dysfunctional behavior. After many, many years of being close to them and observing them, I must say I cannot feel threir shame or guilt! I can feel a total ABSENCE of it, which usually makes the non-narcissistic individuals in their environment drown in shame and guilt, to compensate (which is not the same as accepting a projection in my opinion)... Usually I can feel when someone has a feeling and then projects it away - but I CANNOT feel that they do this. I just feel their ABSOLUTE LACK of conscience, remorse, guilt or sense of shame...*****

I agree with you completely. Many times, I have seen Ns get caught red-handed lying, abusing, whatever, and being found out and exposed. Whether in private, or in front of other people, they just change the subject, or deny, or rage, or blame someone else, and move on without batting an eye. They're not even embarrassed. I've never seen one exhibit the slightest bit of shame or guilt. Or conscience, either. That's what makes them so dangerous.

Sister Renee said...

****I'm curious, that cold dead stare that was mentioned in item #50, what exactly does that stare look like and when they do that are they looking at you or away from you?****

They usually look at you with a blank expression, like you're an inanimate object, which is what they're trying to make you feel like. They don't consider you a human with your own identity and your own RIGHTS. Sometimes they're sizing you up, like a predator sizes up its prey. Think lizard staring coldly at bug before it eats it.

And then there's the malevolent glare of pure hatred when you go up against them. Meant to intimidate and convey how much they despise you. A whole other story.....

Kathleen said...

Starting Over,
Please reconsider the restraining order. The first one is always temporary anyway until there's a hearing where he will appear. If he doesn't show, it's permanent.
He is manipulating you, trying to make you feel guilty. He will have no record with a restraining order -- he will have a record if he violates it. That would be HIS doing.
Get the order, change your locks. Have a close friend write down your address and the number of your local police. Should he violate the order, he may not allow you to call 911, but you may get a call off to your friend who can deal with it from his/her end.
No contact means no contact. nada. No guilt.
I was separated from my ex for 3 years, lived states away when he found out I was dating. He flew back and came into the house without me knowing. All of a sudden he was a Christian too! Lucky us!! We can get back together! I refused and he actually held me hostage for a day, reading to me about Hosea and Gomer, his prostitute wife. It was horrible. I got out and that evening he called and told me he was going to kill himself. No way was I going to see him! I called the cops --- remember, any threat of suicide is automatically an involuntary commitment (And I believe that's true in every state).
he dragged me off to see a "Christia" counselor who told me that, because my EXN had apologized, I had to be "submissive" and forgive! I'll never forget my reaction - I had come a LONG WAY.
I stood up and looked at the counselor and said "You're more F**ked up than he is!" and walked out.
But it was the LEGAL DOCUMENT I had that finally scared him because he knew I would call the cops in a heartbeat if I should see him.
My DH adopted the daughter born of that horrible marriage.

Today she's 20. Found a package in the mail the other day. Guess who? Haven't heard from him in 7 years. Sent my daughter "birthday" presents --- bonds bought by others when she was born and taken by him.

It does get better. My daughter took the bonds and has no intention of calling him or speaking to him.

Get some power behind you. Watch your back. And please reconsider the restraining order. Yes, it can fail, but you must be prepared to follow thru and have him arrested should HE CHOOSE to violate it.

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

"You belong to me, and God will show you we are supposed to be together".

Reading this gave me the chills. This sounds to me like a statement from a very dangerous man. If I were you I would move heaven and earth to get out of town as fast as possible. Maybe even just take a suitcase and have my stuff packed and sent to me. Leave no forwarding address and not give my new address out to anyone.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous is right about the restraining order. You could possibly file a criminal trespassing warrant. Here locally, if you have reason (which you do) you can go to the police/sheriff dept. explain the situation. They must be served, however, the police dept does that. If the vehicle, person, or anything is on your property you can call 911, the warrant is in their records, they are immediately arrested. If they don't come around nothing happens. Our local department also does drive bys, door/window checks, and even knocks on the door to check on your safety. I know this because I had to do it once. They checked on me for about a month after filing. Once the person knew how very serious I was, I didn't have a problem. You might check into it. However, It was explained to me then that retraining orders and such are pieces of paper and nothing more. Which translates to me, protect yourself. I don't know that this is very helpful, but perhaps a option. Also, as far as smearing you to all. People that know you, know better, right. Good Luck to you

Sister Renee said...

****Here is an example of a twisted, sick reaction to a serious event. A woman I know had a radical hysterectomy for cervical cancer. Her NM visited her in the hospital and first thing she said was "well now you're a barrren woman" in a little sing-song tone. Then everyone defends the N saying she just doesn't know how to handle these things well****

I cannot imagine what it must be like to suffer through the fear and treatments of cancer with THIS kind of family "support". This is disgusting but once again my memory has been jogged. My N grandmother told anyone who got cancer that "God was punishing them" (For not treating her right, of course). She was so cruel and sadistic, she would say it with actual glee. Her brother got cancer and she brought him to tears at the family table one time in front of everybody telling him God was punishing him and he deserved it. Her sister got breast cancer and needed a double mastectomy and NGran told her the same thing. I got ovarian cancer when I was 6 years old. She told my mother God was punishing HER for not being a good daughter by giving her child cancer. Everybody who ever got cancer deserved it, as far as she was concerned.

And then SHE got cancer.

She lived with it for 11 years and died at 83, after spending most of that time doing fine and going on her old-lady trips and clubs like nothing ever happened. One time she was ranting about my sweet, long-suffering grandfather and how he deserved to die of a heart attack (which he had done 10 years previously) and, sorry folks, I finally lost it. It went like this-

"Oh, so God punished Gramps cause he deserved to die? Hey, remember when Uncle John and Aunt Florrie got cancer, and you said God was punishing them, too? And when I got it, you told my mother that God was punishing her? So now that YOU have cancer, I guess God's punishing YOU too, huh?"

Needless to say, the subject never came up again. Horrible woman.

Anonymous said...

If you're considering a restraining order, my advice is to NOT do it, just MOVE. As soon as possible!!! NOW!!!

Many women have been murdered by the man they had a restraining order against, it's really not a guarantee of any kind of safety.

If you've only been apart from him for 2 months, you're still very much at risk of his mind control, they're really good at it. You're not out of it yet and won't be until you leave with NO WAY he can ever find you.

I left my N husband and told our mutual friends where I was going - it was 200 miles in the opposite direction of where I really went. Trust no one. Your life may be at stake. In any case, you'll be MUCH MUCH happier with no chance of ever seeing or hearing from him again.

Anonymous said...

To Starting Over

Sounds like he has already warned you about what his potential is, when he said that "you better not cross him". RED FLAG
That is what someone says (in any situation) that if you don't comply, or you make them mad, they'll make it very unpleasant for you. And the bit about God wanting you two to be together .... now he's using God to try and make you do what he wants. That is another RED FLAG. And "you belong to me" OMG. No matter what the tone was in his voice. Don't waste any time... escape.

Starting Over said...

Kathleen & Anonymous,

Thank you so much for the wonderful advice. I will definitely take it all into consideration. Kathleen, it helps so much to know that it will get better.

What I am experiencing now is trying to see him in the true light and not the image I fell in love with. There is such a contradiction between the two that I don't know what is real what is perceived. Is there any truth to a narcissist at all? It really sucks that you give so freely of yourself to someone only to be betrayed. He was such a counterfiet of the man he claimed to be and when the red flags went up, I internalized it thinking there was something wrong with me. It's so hard to explain to someone about a narcissist.

Thanks to all for your encouragement. I feel stronger with every moment I am away from him. Many blessings to all!

Anonymous said...

Starting Over,

Ns are SO good at mirroring. You think you've met your soul mate because they reflect back to you who and what YOU are and your values and likes, they are very very clever at doing this. If you like animals, they LOVE animals and will tell you stories about things they've done for animals, they are very good at this, but it's just a net to catch you in. They have no real substance, they're simply mirrors.

When you fall in love with one it's very painful to recover from because it's such a deep form of betrayal. Just remember, you kind of fell in love with yourself, that may sound weird, but it's true, and you'll always have yourself (and no, I don't mean in an N way), but you'll always be who you are. Be true to yourself, kick them to the curb, where they belong.

Anonymous said...

About restraining orders: ever since I read that the introduction of a restraining order can sometimes backfire by leading to a new escalation of conflict or introduction of violence, I feel compelled to mention it when the topic comes up and suggest that people do research about possible unintended or unexpected effects before pursuing one and to work to make an informed case-by-case decision about what is right for a particular situation. If your gut feeling tells you the person would be enraged and take further action instead of being subdued, I agree that it is something to listen to and strongly consider as you weigh your options and seek counsel.

As others have mentioned in cases of unwanted contact, keep records.

Restraining orders have a sobering effect on some people. I personally knew someone who had one served on him, and while it didn't change him at all in a core way, it did effect his specific behavior in the exact terms of how he could not contact his ex. He obeyed it to the letter. But while restraining orders stop some, for some they are a tipping point to violence and revenge and increased rage. The "Gift of Fear" book I mentioned before, written by a violence expert who grew up with a violent N mother, covers this aspect of the topic in depth. Please listen to your gut and do as much research as you can in order to make a decision.

Some people are not effected by consequences or ultimatums that would stop others. I was once in a car with a road raging N, who told me he would rather be killed then back down to another driver, "if that's what it takes" [um, whatever that means]. I also knew an N acquaintance who wouldn't back down to a cop during a small altercation, and willfully escalated the situation to the point of having to go to court. When she talked about the incident, her eyes shone with excitement over the conflict, and she clearly was not regretful about her actions despite the consequences. People are very different in terms of how they respond to ultimatums or the threat of legal intervention.

Kathleen said...

Starting Over,
When I was 28 I had just come back from the mission field (Haiti and Canada), and I CRASHED SPIRITUALLY. I wasn't married, had no children, was sort of lost.
And I ran and married a non-believer, who I later found out was an alcoholic. I never thought of him in terms of being an N because I never heard of it. maybe his is, maybe not. Alcoholics share a lot of the same traits.

It was an aberation. I come from a functional, loving family and just wanted so badly to get married, I blew it. And then, being a Christian, thought I had to just suck it up and love him and stay. Thank God for God -- He didn't think I had to stay!

I did get a restraining order and it is a piece of paper -- you MUST be proactive. My address and the phone of the local police were given to several friends. When the order wasn't served fast enough, in my opinion, I bypassed Domestic Violence Intake and called the prosecutor's office (some states, it's called District Attorney). When I had no option but to drop off my daughter for visitation, I called the police first to meet me there, sit outside. When X approached me in the courthouse, and there were no sheriff's officers around, I wrote a letter to the assignment judge.
I made my voice heard.

When he called and said he took an overdose of pills, I called the police (he wanted me to come and stick my finger down this throat perhaps??). Off to the psych ward.

I blocked his phone number.
Arranged for visitation, thru the courts, with someone else driving my daughter (X lost his license to booze).

And I NEVER NEVER NEVER debated any of his nonsense. I wanted child support, he'd start off with what a C*nt I was (he thought that was my first name), how I'm money hungry, etc. I stuck TO THE TOPIC "Send the child support." We had to have some verbal contact because of DD.

I NEVER gave up on my DD. My DH and I fought for her FOR YEARS. And God came through. Right after my DH was baptized, everything fell into place. We married when DH was 4 and he adopted her when she was 12. Adios, Psycho!

God does hear you and does love you and does want you safe. Do not play with Satan. He's bigger and smarter and more cunning. Don't get into a conversation with him (Eve's mistake). Jesus never debated Satan. It would have had NO EFFECT.

God sent me a wonderful DH -- yes, the son of Ns, but they live hundreds of miles away and my dealings were few and far between.

You can do this. Don't waver. Get protection any way and any where you can. Don't be ashamed and DO NOT believe you are over-reacting. YOU ARE NOT. Arm yourself with knowledge and legal documents and friends. If he approahes, GET LOUD. Tell him to GO AWAY. So what if some think you're nuts? Many people were taken in by my X's "conversion."

They're fools. But I'm alive and had a fairy tale second marriage.

- Kathleen

Kathleen said...

I'm sorry -- I forgot this.

Please don't be misled by anything outside of his character. N behavior can be ANY social class.

My X wears a suit and tie and has a master's degree -- in psychology! And he worked at the V.A. counseling alcoholic Viet Nam vets! he also holds several licenses in stock brokering/trade/mortgage brokering.
Character Character Character

(fairy tale DH was a boiler man with dirt under his fingernails and I never did get him to hold a fork properly!! LOL)

- Kathleen

Starting Over said...

Kathleen & Anonymous,

This advice can't come from a therapist or a clergyman, it only comes from going through the trials and tribulations. I guess I got a revelation today that once I walk "through" this and am on the other side, I too will be able to help the victims of the N's. I have read and re-read everything written so that I can stay built up. I so appreciate all the members of this blog for being so giving and forthright with the information I needed. Should I be surprised that there are so many wonderful people here? They say birds of a feather flock together and with Anna at the realm, I should expect nothing less. God bless each of you in your walk to victory.

Anonymous said...

I think you're right, Anna, that criminal forensic science has pegged the malignant N, in a way that other branches of psychology seem to have totally missed. I am reading a fascinating book, "Written in Blood: A History of Forensic Detection," by Colin Wilson & Damon Wilson. Narcissism and NPD don't even appear in the index, but nevertheless the attributes are there, such as in the discussion of "Right Man Syndrome" in the chapter on serial killers, "The Soul of a Killer."

I have been musing and thinking a lot about malignant Ns. Sometimes it's hard to do anything about an N in your life, such as if you're the youthful child of an N parent, or if your boss is an N. It's very hard to go No Contact in those situations. I have a rebellious nature, and have throughout my life tended to go up against - to actively resist - Ns, such as my N parents, and in a job a few years ago, my N boss. I was the loser in those situations. MNs are about dominance - resistance only fuels their vengeance. It would have been better for me to simply lie low. It was with interest that I read of one serial killer in the Wilson book, "Resistance aroused all his violence. (Gerald Stano, we may recall, had the same characteristic: he killed only those girls who fought back.) In appearance, he was mild and self-effacing.... [but] when anyone opposed him, he was like a striking snake."

On an another note -

I recently let myself be seduced (emotionally) by an N. A vampiric, seductive, sexy, romantic charmer. I was vulnerable. I totally knew better. Part of me, who has been following your blog and doing a lot of other reading, knew perfectly well that I should run the other way, with skid marks.

But I played along, and I have to say that for a time I loved it. I found creative parts of myself that I had long buried. I enjoyed the heightened emotions and frissons of excitement and tension. The relationship (longdistance, epistolary) has ended - he turned off the charm. (I'm guessing some fresh prey had come along on his end - who knows?) On New Years (no less) I faced up to the fact that he was stringing me along, and I resolved to go No Contact.

It's been 10 days now - going fine.
But what was it in me that made me total mush in the face of this man? It takes two to tango. I think I have to face that there is a masochistic streak in me - he's all about seduction, dominance and control. I allowed myself to be seduced even though I knew from jumpstreet that he was incapable of giving me genuine love & affection, that he is not capable of a mature, reciprocal love relationship.

I think of the parasite whose life cycle depends on the victim/prey relationship between mice & cats. The parasite causes mice to suddenly find cats irresisitible (!), and they abandon their normal guard. The cat kills the mouse and ingests the parasite, which initiates the next phase of the parasite's life cycle.

Anyway, I feel like the mouse, and somehow a "parasite" part of my mind got the better of me. To keep myself strong as I continue my No Contact policy, I have been humorously admonishing myself - "Girl, don't let yourself be seduced by that cat - remember, you're a Mouse!"

Great blog, always food for thought here.

Anonymous said...

http://www.trutv.com/library/crime/notorious_murders/mass/patrick_mackay/14.html

Hi All,

I found this picture of a psychopath in a rage. Chilling isn't it?

If you read the whole thing, one of the man's victims was a priest who felt that the right kind of friendship could help this man come around and he paid for it with his life.

Also,
it just serves to reiterate the point: THEY. NEVER. CHANGE.

Anonymous said...

Anna wrote: "The word 'malignant' indicates the predatory nature of someone who is full-blown NPD. It is a central feature of their character disorder. It is a stalking of their prey that earns them the synonym of 'evil' which is the word 'malignant'.

Kathy Krajco wrote: "For people as self-absorbed and seemingly uninterested in you as malignant narcissists are, they are very snoopy. They go through your drawers and papers. They are looking for dirt, and they are trying to find out if you're on to them. Hence, like all abusers, they often spy on and stalk their victims."

We're on to you...

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:12 said - "We're on to you..."

Anna - I love and deeply appreciate this blog for many big reasons, but there is also the undeniable side benefit of realizing [with intense satisfaction] how HORRIFIED the N's would be if they knew we were comparing notes and outing their MO's, sharing strategies and otherwise trashing them, their smug confidence, and their idea that they are somehow "unique" - and the most idiotic, "superior".

It has the feel of an underground resistance movement, that the occupying forces have no idea exists... but wonder why their tricks don't seem to be working like they used to, or how their victims got the wherewithal to escape!

Anonymous said...

Just wanted to say I've enjoyed reading the blog. There is some good material here.

I am about 8 or 9 years into NC with an N momster. I also have a brother who shows a lot of N traits - I did something to piss him off and so I have been banished from his kingdom.

I am at total peace with my decision to go NC. I do not miss the momster at all. I feel no bond with her- which I believe is because she was not someone who could form an appropriate emotional bond with a child. I spent many years thinking she had borderline personality disorder, but eventually I've found that N captures her essence much more accurately than BPD.

My N-trait brother and the N momster are quite similar in their temperament, whereas the other brother and I are like our dad. I actually think that there is a genetic predisposition toward becoming and N or sociopath, and then life events will further deepen or lighten the traits.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Jan 10 8:00PM said...

"I actually think that there is a genetic predisposition toward becoming and N or sociopath, and then life events will further deepen or lighten the traits."

You know, I have been wondering the same thing. I have done quite a bit of reading on NPD lately, having finally figured out a few months ago what is wrong with my N mom. Having been raised by this defective being, I am still exorcising my own N traits I have learned over the years of being her daughter. If I can recognize and modify my behavior, are others who are more "N" just not capable of change due to nature? I know Anna states we shouldn't obsess about the "why", but I'm wondering why I didn't become more like her. Do I have some innate BS meter?

no more darkness said...

I just posted this post on the wrong page, sorry- !

omg- I dont think I can trust my husband. He recieved an email from his father on the 8th and didn't tell me- and he recieved one yesterday- I knew he was out of sorts yesterday he completely forgot how to get to were we were going in the car. I asked him again and again if he had had an email (he always goes funny when he has) he told me he had not. I checked his email this morning (its okay im not a snoop we each have each others passwords and are open with our accounts)he only addmited he had emails when I said there were two opened email in his account. He doesnt think the emails are relevant and thats why he didnt tell me.
I feel a bit sick- the emails are from his dad- the first one is an email full of inspirational quotes (he's venturing into business on his own) the second is encouragement also with ideas for what he could do and ideas how to pick up a bargain suit (sounds like his mum) the letters are addressed from 'dad'.
I dont know what to do- he thinks the emails are fine- but we both know his dad only does what he's told. I'm so confused- I am his families scape goat- and he's getting emails from his enabler dad and not telling me. I dont think he's going to be able to cut from his family-(he says he wants to , but doesnt want to move far away, we currently live 40mins from his sister) he enabled his mum to bully me for years, until I had our daughter and really put my foot down. Trouble is he doesn't care for his mum either it's his dad he's more attached to- his mum knows this. ARGHGHGHGH.

p.s that photo of the psycho made me jump out of my skin.

p.p.s this blog is a life saver, I feel like im being devoured by n's.

krl said...

Hi, all....

I find I'm having a 'squirmy' reaction to reading this particular post, Anna. (It's come up before for me...but this one caused me to nail it down...sorta.)

Many times while reading descriptions of Nbehavior....the 'odd', 'innapropriate reactions and responses'...I recognize MYSELF! For a long time, I wondered if I was narcissistic too....(and I know that many readers have expressed the same fear here and there.) What is is..is..(nice sentence structure, eh?) that as long as I viewed MY reactions and responses to Nbehavior as WRONG...then I recognize myself as 'bad'. Strange how an N can make YOU feel like you have reacted or responded to THEM 'innapropriately' and 'bizzarly'....sometimes 'off the handle'....'explosively' etc. and all the while, them looking at you like 'WHAT? All I said was blahblahblah....' and me profusely apologizing and wondering whatthehell my problem was!

So....shoot me. If my biggest 'problem' is overreacting to creepy, evil behavior in an 'innapropriate' and 'bizarre' manner.....then it is ONLY because I am not convinced yet that THEY are the creeps....not me. As this year has gone by....as I have aligned myself with Truth...little by little..and seperated my self from Ns....Know what? My 'behaviour' seems to have 'settled down. I can trust myself to 'behave' in a 'normal' manner with 'normal' people. It actually comes pretty naturally to me. Well I'll be damned! Fancy that.

Recently, I chose to break NC with Nmom...due to a true emergency...and I feel like I did the RIGHT thing under the circumstances. Yes...I noticed all the same bullshit....but I RECOGNIZED it for what it was....I didn't 'overreact' because SHE is the creep....and was able to maintain a 'business-at-hand' demeanor and a pleasant, glazed and disinterested look on my face. Actually? It felt GOOD to know that I didn't get sucked in again....that MY knowing the difference between Right and Wrong, Good and Bad,...and the Truth....keeps my 'behavior' on an even keel.

And...yes....I am back to NC...no ifs, ands, or buts about it. Thanks to all of you for your support and comments....and thank you, Anna for speaking the Truth and giving us all the information, experience, and wisdom to prepare ourselves. I feel more 'normal' than in all the years prior....and that is no small thing in the world I have lived.

Anonymous said...

Finding this site has been incredibly enlightening. Maybe this question has been answered already but here it is:
Is there a way to clearly define the boundaries of what I will and will not do to 'take care' of Nmom? She lives a three hour drive away from me, yet expects me to drop my life (family, full time job, etc.)to 'fix' her issues. She has lived in her community for 50+ years, but has nobody to help her out with home maintenance, doctor visits, etc.-- because she has driven away all friends and family. I don't feel like I should have to take the time and money to fix her screen door, just because she has 'no one else'.
So how does one get over the guilt of not 'taking care' of mom??

krl said...

"So how does one get over the guilt of not 'taking care' of mom??"

I know this will sound like a simplistic response to your question....but it can be rather 'simple'. Once you understand that a narcissist WILL and CAN get what they want from ANY well-meaning 'sucker'.....then, you can step out of it. They are actually VERY resourceful.....VERY 'smart'....VERY manipulative. (YOU just happen to be the EASIEST way she can get the ATTENTION she needs/craves etc.) Believe me when I say that when you say "NO" for the first time...(and weather the ensuing 'fallout')....you will be amazed how she either doesn't really NEED that screen door fixed....and it remains in a state of disrepair.....(who gives a shit, ya know?) or she will pay for it to be fixed.....or she will find some other willing 'volunteer'. BUT...ya GOTTA START with a "NO".

It is ATTENTION she wants....NOT the damn screen door! What you feel is not TrueGuilt....it is a kneejerk reaction to a false guilt she has imposed on you since you were a little person...eager to please, be obedient, and wanting to be loved. Ask yourself if you think she has EVER loved anyone but herself. Bet you have a tough time coming up with that one. If you are a man....(I'm assuming that you are...since this is about 'fixing a screen door scenario'....then fix your own....(which you probably haven't had time to attend to) and I'll bet you start feeling less 'guilty' with each thing you do for yourself and your family? and friends. Those who truly LOVE and NEED you.

Hope this is helpful. Hang in there. Start with ONE "NO". There isn't another way around it.

no more darkness said...

sorry for the infinite posts- this is the last one!

had a heart to heart with hub- and we drew up a list of reasons to stay in contact with family and reasons not to. Well the decision was instant- cut contact. We are gonna be free for a while year or so and see if we can make something of ourselves, if all goes well we may never have them back. We are watching van helsing tonite with pizza.
I wish everyone here peace and joy. xx

Anonymous said...

"Is there a way to clearly define the boundaries of what I will and will not do to 'take care' of Nmom?"


Make the boundaries yourself and stick to them come hell or high water. N's boundaries are extremely simple: they are your limits.

N's will always test to find out just how far they can go, and actually will adjust accordingly despite seeming inflexible. Saying "no" is really hard the first few times, but it gets way easier. The guilt fades too, especially when you see them "miraculously" able to find local solutions or do without, seemingly without a problem. But when you say "no", stick to it - a good rule is to never let them change a "no" to a "yes", even if it is a really little thing. When they do sense a real wall, they may scream and pout and complain to everyone around, but seem to actually not want to court real life failure by continuing to make the request.

Also, I tried to make all my excuses non-negotiable: like work or health related [true or not], so I didn't get drawn into a crazy debate.

Kathleen said...

I hope this helps --- when I was married to the alcoholic I thought he was helpless. Gee, if I didn't do this or that, whatever would happen to him? (Yes, I see how big my ego was there!!)

My counselor told me "Every day you MUST do something, anything, that's just for YOU and do ONE LESS thing for him. You'll find out he's not as helpless as you think."

- Kathleen

Kristina said...

About ressiting/putting up a fight againts the Narcissists - I think this is a myth that they themselves want to perpetuate - that they are Invincible and Larger Than Life. They can be dangerous and one should consider things very carefully, but from my own experience I can say that I have Crushed narcissists :-D once I got the hang of how they work. Personality disordered people are gullible, self-centered and miss details + they think they cannot loose, so they get over-cocky. They also often have sordid pasts and its always easy to dig up other victims that are willing to back you up etc...

So in summary: it is good to be careful and it is necessary to calculate the risk (walking away MAY be the answer)- but the myth of the Invincible Narcissist is an overinflated, false Image they try to make us beleive.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna:

My father was extremely self-absorbed and physically violent. Too many stories to tell.

He was also a chain smoker, probably doing three or more packs a day. As a child, I had severe asthma. At age seven, I had a six-week asthma attack. It was terrible being so young and struggling to breathe. To this day I still have respiratory issues, but not as bad.

My father refused to smoke outside or open the windows in the car while smoking. He made himself the "victim" in my "fetish" against smoking. Amazing that he was polluting my air but could somehow turn that around so that he was the victim. He smoked everywhere, even in places that were officially non-smoking.

Anyway, so I guess my question is, is the insistence to smoke around those who request otherwise one sign of NPD?

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna, My daughters father has npd and although Im not suprised that the descriptions you give throughout your blog fit him, My astonishment is in the detailed accuracy of your description. The traits are him 100%. Until recently I felt like maybe Im crazy for feeling something is amiss with him as a human being. He claims I misunderstand everything but if that were the case wouldnt I misunderstand everone in my life? I have never in my life been told that I misinterpret actions or statements. Thank you for you blog. Its a comfort.

C.M. said...

I've found women to be far more controlling then men, especially towards other women. When they can't directly control you, they'll find other ways. I think the reason healthy men tend to be less controlling (my experience is rather limited with men however) has to do with their love of freedom in cheating on their wives). Women value loyalty it seems more then men in personal relationships.

Anonymous said...

C.M. said @ Jan 25, 2009 9:57:00 AM

> I've found women to be far more controlling then men <

Nowadays I consider the need for controlling others a weakness to be resolved and I try to encourage this.
Warped by N parents, I tried for years to control friends and acquaintances with my wit, jokes and stories, just because I was deeply afraid they would ruin the good atmosphere by arguing, mood swings, etc, like happened back home.
When I realized this, I stopped being a clown the very next day (to get fully rid of always trying to being the life of the party took quite a bit longer though).

> I think the reason healthy men tend to be less controlling [...] has to do with their love of freedom in cheating on their wives <

No silly bint, it is because there's a whole world, nay a universe, out there filled with wonder, adventure and discoveries.

All the best.

student1922 said...

What is it called when you confront somebody on divulging your confidences to another, and when they realize they have been caught, they then shame you for having caught them in the middle of something, and that you have "upset" them. They even did this after I said that I understood, that they had had a moment of lack of judgment. My stance was one of curiosity and not judgmental or angry or insulting. It was one who exposed the N for how he then turned around and divulged what this person would have not wanted me to know.
I want to make this person understand that the person about whom I cried to them is a narcissist and this very narcissist, who got them to divulge my confidences, has now made the pseudo friend out to be a not trustworthy person to me. And I had thought this person was a friend.
This psuedo friend pulled this on me, this mock anger of "this is really upsetting to me/now you have upset me" but I also want to have a chance to talk to him without him than pulling more shaming stuff like that on me.
What is that little trick he pulled called? By the way, he happens to be a psychology professor. So, he will know what I am talking about, haha.

scorpiobooks said...

THANK YOU for this wonderful blog. I really appreciate reading other people's experiences and realizing I was not alone.

I'm a 33 year old woman who fell in love with a 22 year old, full blown, Malignant Narcissist.

Kevin was charming, intelligent, attractive. He had some things going for him: worked out regularly, witty, fun to be with.

Told stories. Constantly barrages. It was like he spoke only to hear the sound of his own voice. He'd tell long-winded and boring stories about the most minute details of his day, but when it was your 'turn' he'd glaze over almost immediately. He'd start looking out the window if we were driving, listening to his Ipod, etc. When I reacted by being hurt and annoyed, he's say "Sorry, I have ADD. but I'm listening.' Meanwhile, I felt that he was tuning it all out--all of my heartbreak, pain, stresses, or worries that I chose to share with him.

He played the Comparison Game. This is a game where YOU are ALWAYS the loser when compared to someone--anyone. Usually an attractive ex-lover or female acquaintance. He told me that Rosario Dawson, the actress (gag) was beautiful (unspoken: that I was not). He would praise the beauty of average looking girls and then tell me (not one to brag, but strangers do accuse me of being beautiful on occasion) that I wasn't much in comparison (to that effect. He never would actually say FLAT OUT 'youre fat and ugly' but the implication was there.) For someone with self-esteem issues such as myself, it was deeply painful.

He would praise the beauty of a friend's wife, such as pointing out a model in an advertisement at the local mall, saying 'that looks like Nina.' In other words, he was mooning over other women while he was CLAIMING to love me and want to marry me!

All of his ex-girlfriends were alternately cheap sluts or goddesses to whom I could never compare.

He had NO traces of them...literally NO cards, letters, photos, gifts, even the one he lived with for over a year.

Who knows if she even existed in the first place? He was such a pathological liar, I never knew what was true and what wasn't.

He would claim to love me, but I felt him sucking the life out of me. He used me financially, and physically, and then when I wouldnt give him more supply, he left, after 14 months together on a daily basis (he was unemployed and not even in college half the time...just parasitical lifestyle which is typical of attractive somatic male narcissists.)

Now he's been gone for one month. I feel both relief and sadness. Loneliness is powerful, especially at night, when he and I would usually cuddle and watch tv together.

However, I'm moving on. Success IS the best revenge, and the only true revenge. I try to warn his female friends/admirers about him, but he would just tell them 'she's a crazy stalker, mad that I moved out.' NOTHING about our long and dramatic history together.

He's surely moved on to his next victim er I mean girlfriend by now.

God help her!

Canadian Dude said...

Good red flags, especially the one about preverse behavior that is the opposite of what you would expect.

I went searching for answers when i finally needed to know how to deal with my mother. I found an article called "characteristics of narcissistic mothers" and it was like reading the story of my family. Suicide attempts by my siblings, kids who have withdrawn from the family, scapegoats, golden children, weird taking of sides with people she doesnt know against her children, public image, sabotage, all of it.

The conversations i had with her were after reporting that her brother had sexually abused my friend and perhaps me. He also abused my cousin, and later i found out, his little brother.

The first clue was that before i could even get in to give my video statement, she told the perp and had rushed in to give her own. The perp and her appeared at the police before any of the victmims could even come forward! He was known to posess firearms and i am relatively easy to find so i was terrified, i hired a bodyguard and was in the process of securing my house. I spoke to her and advised what a stupid thing that was to do and told her i was in the process of readying my home to protect my family. She started repeatedly telling me to grow a pair of balls and tell my childhood friend that i had come forward. I left that call thinking to my self, i had the balls to come forward and im in the middle of protecting my family... What was up with that.

Next call was what pushedbme over the edge. She called and insinuated that my girlfriend was a liar, saying that she told her that i was the victim and not my friend, which never happened. I reiterated the same story i always have and then when i saidl im angood person and a loyal friend she started ranting that i keep saying that and to cut the bravado, and then started telling me that this was all about me, like i was only doing this to raise my public profile or to make myself look good. Then she accused me of being dishonest (i had told her qbout what happened to my friend when i was 12 and she denies i mentioned it 26 years ago) and demanded to know why i hadnt come to her with this when i was 20. Well when i was 20 i had been kicked out of the house 3 times and i was totally fed up with her.

I was left with that feeling dewcribed in the article. Ie. How on earth did that argument even come about? Given the context you would think a real mother would have done anything but attack me, especially after puttingbme and my family through 3 days of our own version of the witness protection program so recklessly.

She also stared outright lying, claiming to have forgotten key details that you just dont forget, like how my dad kicked this guy off the property after he crawled into my bed drunk one night. She claimed to only remember that he woke me up.

Im now total nc for life. Screw this. Im 36 and i dont need this anymore, makes me sick.

Amy said...

This reminds me of when I sent my N mother a postcard where I had written her a short evidence of a big lie she had repeated to me over and over while I was still living with her.
Next thing you know, I heard that 48 hours later she had visited my ex neighbours (I had moved a few months before) and my working place. She lives 800 km from me. At my working place she did not get access, so she pestered my ex neighbours, making them a terrible scene crying that she absolutely *must* get in contact with me again in order to "help me" because I, her poor misguided baby am so mentally sick and I need her in order to tell me how the world really is like. And wouldn't you believe me - my ex neighbours bought it all. She must have put them under so much emotional pressure that they were nervous wrecks for days.

This is the woman who once wrote to me the famous sentence by Saint-Exupéry, "One only sees well with the heart, the worst enemy of human beings is the surface." I was thus supposed to forget all the facts about the evil things she had done to me - long before this incursion after my postcard - and to "see with my heart that she is wonderful and loves me and only wants to help me." So this is what I am according to her - I simply won't see the truth because I am a superficial fool. Worse, bought with money and gifts by her ex husband (my father, whom she abominates because he would not allow her to control him), and being so superficial and selfish his money of course means sooo much more to me than her wonderful "motherly love".
She wanted to speak both to my landlord and the human resources manager of the company I was working with on this day. Had she convinced them about my "insanity", which as one can see she might easily have done, she would have destroyed my life - but she would have played the role of the wonderful mommy who forgives her mean, ungrateful, foolish child "all that she has done to her" and "lives only for helping her poor baby".

Eeeew. Only thinking about it again makes me feel sick.
Thank you very much for your blog! I haven't read it all yet, but I wish there were more persons with clear insight like you, instead of all the "do-gooders" who tell us we must always love and forgive, in particular our parents.

Writer in Washington said...

Amy, your comment sounds so much like my husband's ex-wife it was scary. Believe me, they are completely without conscience and able to play the "wounded mother" to the hilt. If only we could get the kids to cut her off for good. They cut her off for a while--sometimes a few years, but inevitably she worms her way back into their lives. Its sad, she's a monster who will ultimately destroy their lives if they don't go NC with her, but they have to see it for themselves. Stay strong and stay FAR away from her.