Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Red Flag: Hostile Reaction to Attention Given Others

The last on Kathy Krajco's list of eight red flags of narcissism is:

Hostile Reaction to Attention or Credit Given Others

And then, of course, we get to the heart of malignant narcissism, Narcissistic Envy.

You will notice that, invariably, when anyone is given recognition before the group, a narcissist immediately starts showing dislike for, or animosity toward, that person. Immediately he sets out on a campaign of character assassination.

Envy is bitter, an extremely unpleasant emotion. It's normal only when some other party really has robbed us of our due.

A narcissist's unnatural envy is so universal and so strong that he cannot even stand being in a place where someone else gets attention. If he cannot keep that from happening, he will find some way to absent himself from the situation -- if only by turning away from others and staring at a corner of the ceiling. What Makes Narcissists Tick, pg. 84

***********************

I elaborated on the centrality of envy in the narcissist's personality structure in this post. I have observed before that the two driving forces in the narcissist's life are envy and fear. I believe their pathological envy is the fountain from which all their fears arise.

Their pathological envy is also the explanation for why they turn predatory. They don't want what they deserve. They want to steal from you what you deserve. They are professional moochers in the physical and moral realm. Thieves of accomplishment in every sphere. Their envy is what justifies to them all their thieving and murderous ways -- their very real cannabalism. Their sense of entitlement springs from their malignant envy. They believe that their lusts are to be fulfilled by absolute right -- not at their expense, but at yours. Hence, they are invariably parasitical in their existence.

When seeking to understand what moves the narcissist you must remember that primarily it is their envy. Pathological and unrelenting covetousness of what doesn't belong to them defines their existence. This one fact will help you untangle the web to see past the lies, bluster, obfuscation, projection, blame-shifting, and Do-gooder schtick into their true motives. They are constantly on the move to obtain by force or by lies that which is not theirs to take. It may be as subtle and spiritual as your personal integrity or virtue. Anything about you that takes the spotlight off of them or shows them up for being the shallow creatures they are will incite in them the desire to steal from you. Even your happiness is an object of their envy. You will only be allowed happiness if they can make you believe that they gave it to you. Every flavor and variety of attention is their object of insane desire. Any attention you receive is perceived as a diminution of what they believe is theirs. All of it. They are giant, black holes into which is consumed every ray of light. Take all and give nothing back is their motto.

I'll close with this quote from Atlas Shrugged. Supposedly it is bad form to quote from Atlas Shrugged on blogs because Ayn Rand can't say anything that doesn't require reams of pages for context, but I think this quote does stand on its own because of what we understand here about the nature of evil:

The last of my words will be addressed to those heroes who might still be hidden in the world, those who are held prisoner, not by their evasions, but by their virtues and their desperate courage. My brothers in spirit, check on your virtues and on the nature of the enemies you're serving. Your destroyers hold you by means of your endurance, your generosity, your innocence, your love --the endurance that carries their burdens-- the generosity that responds to their cries of despair--the innocence that is unable to conceive of their evil and gives them the benefit of every doubt, refusing to condemn them without understanding and incapable of understanding such motives as theirs...life is the object of their hatred. Leave them to the death they worship...don't exhaust the greatness of your soul on achieving the triumph of the evil of theirs...

...to win requires your total dedication and a total break with the world of your past, with the doctrine that man is a sacrificial animal who exists for the pleasure of others. Fight for the value of your person...

99 comments:

Julie said...

Make no mistake that this is a fight. A tangible fight of the will where you struggle to break the simple habits of not picking up the phone, answering the mail, saying her name. A physical fight where you struggle somatically with panic attacks because you are leaving the only (sick) world you have known. You may fight through all the stages of grief and separation; yet this person is still alive. But most of all, it is a fight in our soul. Most of us have been born from this creature that wants to eat her own young. Oh, how our soul fights to leave this womb and to embody that which God intends us to be.

It is the road less travelled by, but we must choose it. We must fight to break away so that we may live.

Anonymous said...

The poor, little, envious narc, it must suck to be them!

"Their pathological envy is also the explanation for why they turn predatory" (CYBER-STALKING)

"They don't want what they deserve" (EXPOSURE - even if its annonymous)

"They want to steal from you what you deserve" (ie. a VOICE, VALIDATION)

Their pathological envy makes them want to take away anything you have, including the fight in you.

I for one won't be silenced by some pathetic, desperate,impotent little narc terrified of exposure. The fight in me just can't be snuffed-out. That's what happens when you've been fighting for your life since day one. Ironically, I have the narcs to thank for making me so damn resilient.

Thanks for your courageous words and wisdom Anna!

Anonymous said...

Envy, bullying, stealing the spotlight: those things take so much time, energy, planning and even vigilance. What a waste of effort they could have used to _earn_ the coveted prize for themselves, instead of stealing it from someone else. I look back at the lives of some Ns I've known and my first thought is: if they'd had more advantages in life, would they have been better people? But on second thought, it's probably the other way around: if they'd been better people, they would have pursued the opportunities available to them instead of trying to destroy the happiness of others.

Anonymous said...

Anna, the quote from ATLAS SHRUGGED is great! I especially, liked the part "to win requires your total dedication and a total break with the world of your past"

I interpret that as NO CONTACT/NO NOTHING.

Dedicate your life to yourself!

It reminds me of another great quote I once read..."Don't surrender another single second to the narcissist and squeeze every little last bit of joy out of life!" Thanks for that one Anna.

Words to live by!

Anna Valerious said...

I interpret that as NO CONTACT/NO NOTHING.

Good! This is how it is supposed to be interpreted. It is what Ms. Rand meant and it is the drumbeat of this blog.

no more darkness said...

That was beautifully written julie.
I sometimes feel like i am going to be pulled under the current, the fight is so hard.
Perhaps without n;s in our life we would never get to test our strengh- they dont have any strength of character, they can wallow in their bog along with all the enablers.
It hurts like hell having your goodness and virtues turned against you, I sometimes think of it as a compliment if an n takes a disliking to you- helps me get through.

allison said...

I think the most difficult fight is maybe NOT becoming my NM.

What you say is true: about envy being the primary motivator for a N. Everything my mother does is motivated by envy...down to letting me down each time before both my children were born.

I've suspected for a while that she envies that I have a family. It's something that's so simple...something that's a natural part of many people's lives. Each time there has been a major event in my life, when I got married, when I got pregnant with my first child, when I got pregnant with my second child, she has found an excuse to release an episode of N rage. It'll be over something trivial.

See, when I was growing up, she's always told me that I would never have a family...that she just had a "feeling" about it.

When I got married, she threw a fit because I had no plans to have a big wedding to honor her in front of everyone. My husband didn't know her very well then and encouraged me to just send an invite anyway after she threw a N rage thing at me and we were NC for months.

When I got pregnant with my first child, my NM threw another N rage at me early in the pregnancy. Another period of NC. My brother encouraged us to talk again, dd should know her grandmother, etc. I fell for it and started talking to her again. She tried to take over our lives in that period of 6 months where NC was suspended.

When I got pregnant again with my second, she told me all kinds of things about what will happen to my body after 2 children -- essentially, trying again to ruin my experience of being pregnant (I loved being pregnant and bonding with my baby). Again, using her malicious words to try to steal a good experience for me because it wasn't about her...told me my husband wouldn't love me anymore, threw fits of absolute rage, yelling at me in front of my 1 y.o daughter. In that time, she told everyone she was "helping" me. She did no such thing. She would come to my home to make me feel bad about my pregnancy, and the unknown which was yet to come.

In that time, she had agreed to watch my older daughter for the one day I'd be in the hospital for the delivery so my husband could be there to see his child come into the world. And, at the end, the thing that made me say "screw it" to having anything to do with her: she threw a rage at me two weeks before I was due and told me that if she couldn't have access to my banking and financial information, that she wouldn't look after my daughter.

That was when I told her to get out. The very last thing that she tried to steal was my husband's time to see his child come into the world, because it would be a moment of happiness for us.

I'm NC with my NM now. Nothing will ever change this N. I will have to be miserable and live my every moment for her glory for her to be happy, otherwise, she'd do everything in her power to destroy anything and everything to tear apart all that makes me happy.

Evil motivation.

LadyCoyote said...

You have touched on the central theme that has brought MN to my attention. For nearly 8 months, I drove 70+ miles per day and assisted my N grandmother w/ the care of her dying spouse who was on hospice. It was an extremely difficult environment to be in - I had to follow the N's rules in order to be there for my grandpa. The rules, as you all know, are all about the N. Forget the fact that her husband was dying. She lied to HIM the whole time. She was in CONTROL of EVERYTHING. Why would it be any different for the end of his life? They were married 68 years. But I had wanted to be there for my grandfather, so I continued to go over, help, be treated like sh*t at times, and watch all the lying take place. Lies to the nurses, lies to the dying man. Lies, lies, lies. And I was specifically told to STAY QUIET about the untrue info. I had to do that to continue to see my dying grandpa. All the while that I helped, cooked, assisted, and gave of myself -- I was being trash-talked to other people (the neighbors, other relatives who live far away, etc.) Other family (my brother) who was NOT there in the daily environment of high dysfunction (in my opinion) believed a lot of the lies. Lies like we wanted him in a nursing home (not true), and so much more. Flash forward to the funeral and the very cold vibe the neighbors gave off. Flash forward to present time. My mom went NC because of all of the lies. There were too many and the line was crossed many times over. Because my Mom has NC, she basically does not attend the family functions where the N will be present. Imagine this! The N is actually DELIGHTED that my Mom (her own daughter) is not at the functions to see her own grandchildren. The N is gleeful about that. And that makes me sick.
Now the N is spreading lies about my family. It doesn't end. I asked my aunt (the other daughter, and child of the N), WHY is this happening. And she said it was because I did so much during my grandpa's illness that she is jealous and hateful of any amount of attention. I didn't want attention or credit. As I've said many times -- I just wanted the lying to STOP. Yeah, this N is in her late 80's, and looking back there is a PATTERN of behavior that basically has been crappy toward other family. Implying that my Aunt stole things (not true), implying that my Aunt did not get her spouse (my Uncle) care when he was dying of Leukemia. Talk about calling the kettle BLACK! My grandmother N did not seek professional help for her spouse (my grandpa) who had an illness. Finally, my grandpa told me last November that she was "sick" and he told me "not physically sick". He meant to warn me -- he warned me on his deathbed. He knew I would show up everyday, give him bedbaths, massages, assist w/ every human function possible, help him get to a special wheelchair with the help of another CNA, and do all of these things for him. Because I loved him. But, all the while, I was being TRASHED. And he absolutely knew it. I'll never forget when he told me that she was "sick". He knew. And that is nice to know. But, sad that he had to live like that, and to spend his dying months with a self-absorbed, lying N. So sad.

DisturbedAngel said...

VERY well said Julie! I could have written that myself. I have been no contact now for almost 3 weeks and have struggled with everything you wrote about - not answering the phone, not responding to her emails, the panic attacks and anxiety, etc.

I especially like this part: "We must fight to break away so that we may LIVE." (Emphasis mine.) Amen to that! Continuing contact with these N's is to simply exist. If we ever truly want to LIVE, we MUST break free.

Anonymous said...

This hostile reaction is what makes Narcs perfect anti-parents, or parents of the bizarro world where all values are inverted. Normal parents want their children to succeed, N parents would prefer that their children fail and to exist as foils for their "glory." And they will work to this effect. Of course, if their children do succeed in anything the N uses it to aggrandize themself as parent.

The N can recycle anything and turn anything to a positive -- for them, not for you. If you succeed it's because of them, if you fail, they recycle that to degrade you and use you as a foil to inflate their own self worth. Negatives always become positive.

This is why no one suffers as much from the N as the child. The others who are exploited momentarily had normal or somewhat normal upbringings that help them to weather the shocks. This is what makes their take on the N so sickeningly inadequate and off the mark. They are scandalized but they don't know the half of it. The child does.

DisturbedAngel said...

You think that's bad LadyCoyote (and it IS, btw), let me share why I went no contact.

My N mother came over to my home to visit approximately three weeks ago. While she was here, she told me about some very disturbing behaviors being exhibited by my step-nephew. (BIL's son from a previous relationship) Without going into much detail, let's just say that the behaviors that were told to me were indicative of this child having been sexually molested.

I immediately contacted my N half sister (who I am also now NC with) for confirmation of what I'd heard and was told by her it was all "100% true".

I was understandably concerned for the child and strongly urged my N half sister to contact the local authorities to have the boy checked out. My N half sister was her usual flippant, rude self and said the boy had "antisocial personality disorder" (the kid is 14) and blew me off.

The next day, I get a nasty phone call from my N mother during which she repeatedly told me to "back off" and leave it alone, even going so far as to THREATEN me if I didn't back off and leave it alone! (I didn't back down for the record.)

When that didn't work, I found out a day or two later from my grandmother and aunt that my NM had called them and set out on a smear campaign to try to make ME out to be the bad guy in all this! Among several other very nasty comments, I was labeled "over-reacting", all for doing the right thing and standing up for an innocent child.

Needless to say, that was the last straw for me and I am now NC with both my NM and N half sister. My NM has attempted to try and sweet talk her way back into my life but I have no intentions of contacting her any time soon, and probably not ever again.

To me, this is a perfect example of an N not being able to stand someone else being in the spotlight. In my case, it was because I was the only one who cared enough to do the right thing and my NM couldn't STAND it.

Anonymous said...

I've been NC for 60+ days and one thing I did as a recommendation by a psych friend, was once you committed to NC, send an email basically stating your stance, that you are savvy to their ploys, that you accept them for WHAT they are, knowing they will never change, thereby, knowing also their pathetic existence and lifestyle is sufficient retribution for you. I did this and no contact has she made. Thank god!!! If you do this, then do it intelligently, not hatefully.

My N, 60 days ago wrote to me, "you have a skewed perception of me, and just want to say, if you need anything, feel free to call me. I also feel when you're on you death bed, and your life flashes before your eyes, in the end, you will know you were wrong about me. I am a passionate, fun-loving, loyal, honorable, family-oriented, generally happy, and faithful woman, who will always get your back." (spoken like the true N she is!)

What an opportunity that was for me!! I did an intelligently formed letter/email, as my friend suggested, and no contact from her whatsoever. Now it's up to me to take back my life.

Ruby said...

My N-Mom, a year or two after I went NC, sent an Envy Email (all in CAPS, as usual). She had been lurking on my blog and took everything written in it as being directed at her, of course. I had written what a wonderful stay I'd had with my Dad and his wife, and of course she was furious at that and that I had never written about how WONDERFUL it was to visit her (which (a) it wasn't (b) I started the blog after the last time I had stayed with her and (c) I'm not talking about you, Mother! Or thinking about you, actually. Also). It was as much her decision to divorce as it was his, but oh man did their split (now more than eighteen years ago) provide opportunities for her N-Envy, and apparently continues to do so. Especially as he fairly quickly reconnected with, and married, the woman who'd been his first girlfriend in his teens, and has lived pretty happily ever after.

Anonymous said...

It is a fight, but at 48 I'm determined to win, I've gone NC for three months but of course with a few episodes here and there the latest one, droping off gifts at a friends house which were to be given to our daughters, also a scrap book, which I had never seen before with notes about each picture of how this is the dress that I made for you, This was your birthday I made 50 sandwiches, This was your doll I stood in line for hours to get it, oh and in these set of pictures i'm not in it because I was the photographer. My NM Would not even know how to spell "scrapbook" it such a joke but now I have one, and there is a poem "I want to tell you what it means to me to be your Mother" I thought I was going to be sick. In her handwriting she wrote a note below the typed poem which says "I've had this poem for many years I always ment to give it to you but I never did". Now, the book was supposed to stay at my friends house after the girls saw it. My husband was upset goes over there to get it because he wants to send it all back. An hour later she leaves two hysterical messages on my oldest daughter's phone she is twenty. About how "you might not know but your Father went over and demanded the album and thats not right,thats not right Please,Please,Please I need it back ,I need those pictures,One day you will know the truth". Crying and absolutely hysterical. these are not the only messages she has left for her. My husband has wanted to change their numbers and I've been holding off. The therapist says the grandchildren's relationship is different and separate than mine and they should decide wether to visit or not,and that those visits should be brief and not often and has clearly explained to her what she should expect and that her grandmother will never change, she is twenty and although young I would like for her to make the decision, she has had a relationship with my NM, but of course my husband and I worry about her being sucked in and now become my replacement. Tomorrow we are changing their phone numbers. If anyone can help me with these issues I would so appreciated.

Anonymous said...

"A narcissist's unnatural envy is so universal and so strong that he cannot even stand being in a place where someone else gets attention. If he cannot keep that from happening, he will find some way to absent himself from the situation -- if only by turning away from others and staring at a corner of the ceiling. What Makes Narcissists Tick, pg. 84"

I recently saw this first-hand when we allowed my N-mother to visit briefly.
We turned on the Wii for our grandson to play while the adults chatted. Before the game loaded, N-mom had stomped off to the guest bedroom.
I did not realize where she was and went to see if she was OK. SHe was sitting on the bed crying because she did not want the game on. She expected our 7-year-old grandson to just sit quietly while the adults chatted.
And she was FURIOUS (hence the tears) that we dared give our grandson something to do that he would enjoy.

BTW, at N-mother's unstated (but oh-so-obvious) request, we have been NC for 4 weeks as of tomorrow.

And, wow, do I feel better!

Katrina said...

LadyCoyote,

You have described my situation to a T. As has Anna's elaboration on Kathy's Red Flag. Kathy's red flag here totally nails down the final deterioration of my MN FOO, as regards to any chance of us ever being an intact group again. And we are still in the midst of it. Until the eventual death of our parents, somewhere in the future,as I am their caregiver.

When I read Kathy's piece, I nearly jumped out of my chair. It is exactly all about my evil sister jezebel. She has then poisoned the rest of our huge mob of siblings, & brought out the nest of vipers, directed at me & one other sib. My parents' other trusted servant. So many comments on this blog, the fight you all refer to not buckling under-I know it all so well. The situation for me is, it no longer comes through my NM. She is now helpless, & I no longer feel any of that power she used to hold over my head. It's dissipated along with her faculties, & in my care of her these past years. It has been passed down to my sister, who has honed it to a much more evil skill than even my NM used on us. And she has made it her mission in life to deface me before my contemporaries of our generation. She is a pathetic fool, but collects enablers everywhere she goes, to do her dirty work. She is the most cowardly person I've ever met. She can't do her own dirty work. She's just an evil director, that gets everyone else riled up & hides behind the curtain to watch the show. With GLEE in her beady little eyes. Allison,I totally relate to your N wanting to deprive you of your family. Jezebel has tried to steal away my son & his babies. She can't even be in the same room with me enjoying them. (When we've been forced a few times over the last few yrs. to be in the same room).

You are so correct in stating that it never ends. Even doing the only sane thing, NC, has of course incited more insanity, as now they feel we have an OBLIGATION to answer to them. Their mo is to breeze into our hometown for a few days, & bombard our poor parents with insanity, all centered around the lies & coersion of making them believe the lies & character assassination, & then breeze out again. Nothing will stop it short of my death, or our parents death & estate finally being settled,so
we never have to have any connection to each other again. Of course, the culture of hatred they have created against me, has united them as the "loving family" I always thought we were, back in my own denial. I now realize its nothing but mob family mentality. Which Anna has an amazing past blog on. The whole structure, birthright, alphadog, stepping out of your role,etc etc.

Even then, the lies & assassination will never end. They just can't make my legend real, no matter how hard they try. Cuz I know its not the truth.
Stay strong! We're not the crazy ones! Peace to all...

Katrina

Zydia said...

. . . even if the N her/himself is the SOURCE of the attention.

One time . . ONE TIME . . . my Nmom actually gave me a compliment that sounded sincere. This was when I was already pulling away from her. In a surprisingly warm, caring, understanding voice, she said,

"You know, you work really hard."

My guard fell and I said, "Thanks."

Suddenly, a flip was switched, and she became another person - like a snake - and hissed in the meanest, coldest voice ever, "I WORK REALLY HARD TOO" and stomped away in a fury.

All. An. Act.

She tried something similar sometime later by saying in that same caring, understanding voice, "Your time will come." This time I was smart and said nothing. Still don't know what she really meant by that, but knowing what I know now, probably nothing good.

Anonymous said...

This is the very first thing that I noticed about the N in my life.

The N was so covetous that she had her son manipulated into spending every ounce of free time on her, she had a never ending "sonny do list" that was very expensive and time consuming for her son to fulfill.

He worked himself to the bone trying to please her and all she would do was add more to the list. She expected her son to spend so much of his own resources serving her that he would have nothing left for a life of his own. Her son would not be loved by her unless he gave her things and did things for her. He was never allowed to be a guest at her place, he had to be her slave.

She manipulated her sons by lying about her husband and cared very little about how her lies effected their relationship with their father or how what she was claiming would effect them in their lives. It deeply effected them, but all she cared about was getting her material items and the ability to exploit her sons.

She even had him paying her bills for her. When her son started to set boundaries with her, she upped the anti and claimed she was now afraid of physical violence. But there was no physical violence. The only abuser in the family was her.

She sees nothing wrong with this and hates me for taking this away from her by marrying her son.

She feels so entitled and sees absolutely nothing wrong with what she was asking of him, I am the one that is wrong for marrying and expecting his resources for our family rather then them being spent all on her.

When my kids came, she tried to covet my daughter, completely take over as if she was hers and not mine. She would even try and get my daughter to call her mom.

I am so glad for your site- so much of what I go through with this horrendous woman makes sense thanks to you.

Anonymous said...

"I believe their pathological envy is the fountain from which all their fears arise."

I love this blog because it is a reminder to me to keep an eye out for the little things my NM does and helps me sort it all out in my own head. Just a couple days ago I was at a small dinner thrown for my dad's birthday and while my NM could not bother herself to be there (cause it wasn't HER birthday celebration). She did manage to call DURING dinner (perfectly orchestrated interruption) and request that the phone be passed around to each person (afraid that we might forget her great importance) but the most telling thing is that NM never asked for the phone to be handed to my dad, her husband with the birthday. She was angry with him for stealing HER spotlight. When I was getting off the phone with her she wanted me to tell everyone she loved them very much (she rarely, if ever, says I love you so I knew right there this was a trick). Needless to say, I didn't pass on her message of "love".

Thanks for the strength your blog offers to us "wounded" souls.

DisturbedAngel said...

"When my kids came, she tried to covet my daughter, completely take over as if she was hers and not mine. She would even try and get my daughter to call her mom."

LOL Anon! And I thought I had problems with my NM trying to get my son to refer to her as "Princess Grandma"! ;o)

Anonymous said...

"Anything about you that takes the spotlight off of them or shows them up for being the shallow creatures they are will incite in them the desire to steal from you. Even your happiness is an object of their envy."

My ex-friend's narcissism really came into focus when I had my first child. He didn't come to see us in the hospital because "he got caught in the rain coming home from work and caught a cold." First of all, he didn't sound sick on the phone, and second, if getting caught in the rain causes a cold, wouldn't we catch colds every time we stepped in the shower? He didn't show up for the christening or the 1st birthday party. In the past, he was adamant about never wanting kids (of course not, he's way too selfish and self centered). Suddenly, all he could talk about was wanting to adopt a baby girl from China. He actually said to me: "How hard could it be? You do it." He never did go through with it, too much paperwork he said.

I noticed he often used lines like, "I needed help with my taxes and I was going to call you, but you're always so busy with the baby." Or "I was sick and needed some things from the store, I was going to call you but you're always so busy with the baby." He wanted me to feel guilty and neglectful. The other line was "...you can do that when you don't have kids." That line was preceded by "At lunch today, I decided to go to an afternoon matinee..." or "I called Mike and we met for dinner at the spur of the moment..." He enjoyed calling my attention to all of the things I can no longer do because I now had an infant to care for.

One day he came to my house for a visit. I opened the door and told him to be quiet because I just put the baby down for a nap in the portable crib in the living room, and that we could have coffee and uninterrupted conversation in the kitchen. So he slammed the door shut, woke up the baby, and then complained that he just wanted to visit, and "I was always so busy with the baby."

I was sleep deprived and he'd call at 2 or 3 AM wanting to chat. The following day he'd called and say he was coming over, not show up, and then call and apologize for not coming because he had to take a nap. He was always napping,"because you can do that when you don't have kids".

I had married a great guy and we had a baby, I was over the moon. And he couldn't stand it. "Even your happiness is an object of their envy" - great line, Anna, truer words were never spoken!

-Carrie

Anonymous said...

"Even your happiness is an object of their envy"

Absolutely.

Several years ago, I rented the "driver's apartment" above the garage of a very large old home in a great neighborhood. When ex-NF and his long-suffering partner/hostage came to see the place, N kept telling his partner/hostage that "We should buy this house! We should buy it and fix it up! My mom would love this apartment! Shouldn't we buy it? Wouldn't that be great..."

Yeah, great. The human deer tick wanted his partner/hostage to buy him the house so he could kick me out.

Selfish Ingrate

Anonymous said...

"A narcissist's unnatural envy is so universal and so strong that he cannot even stand being in a place where someone else gets attention. If he cannot keep that from happening, he will find some way to absent himself from the situation"

I once had an N 'friend' in my car with me, and I was chatting about some positive work situation that had occurred that day. It was a perfectly normal and neutral topic [to anyone normal], but he got more and more obviously fidgety. He kept trying to put a negative slant to the event I was describing, and I just cheerily corrected him, thinking he just was for some odd reason strangely misunderstanding the situation, and if I explained it better, he'd "get it". He then literally asked me to pull over, and no kidding: bolted from the car like a caged animal escaping. He gave a totally implausible excuse for "deciding to walk instead", and I just stared in astonishment. When we met, I was starting a new career at the bottom. At the point of that car ride, things had just started to really work out for me in my work. This event was the beginning of the 'big reveal': that he was indeed an N. He had been fairly low keyed up until then.

Aravis said...

The helpful therapist I had back in the day described this red flag perfectly from the standpoint of MNparents. Their attitude is "do well, but don't do better than me".

That statement and Anna's post explained so much to me about my Nmom's increasing distance and clearly envious behavior. She never treated sis this way; but then sis moved right next door to Nparents after college and got a job, but was not in the Nparents financial bracket - although that was mostly due to Nmom's enabler father providing her with economic outpatient care her entire life. Nmom always referred to his financial contributions as "loans" which she conveniently never paid back. Once I finished school, got a job, and moved away - boy, then did the games begin. The little barbs, the competition, the one-upmanship. I could NOT believe this was coming from my own mother. Aren't you supposed to want your kids to do better than you did? Then she would let me know that sis and her family were getting all kinds of goodies, like paid trips to Disneyland, Nmom raising sis's kids while sis went to work, new computers, and Nmom would say to me in this gloating voice "Well, if YOU STILL LIVED HERE, you'd get that too" - never mind that I could not have worked in my field of study, and live in their podunk nowhere town. Which I told her, repeatedly, because I was completely clueless about narcissists. She would also say really obnoxious things such as "no one else is good enough to raise MY GRANDCHILDREN" meaning sis's kids, because I had DD by then. I am saying to myself, "sis's kids - but my DD could be raised by wolves, and that would be okay with Nmom".

So I decided the only way that her clear favoritism and crazy competition with me would not terminally piss me off forever was if I went out and got a really great job and made enough money that I could buy and sell them all twenty times over. Not that this was terribly difficult, my parents weren't the Rockefellers or anything like that. So I moved again to a really great place for my career, which happily was another 1000 miles further away than before, where I met DH (now divorced from MN-EX, DD's sperm donor). Nmom also objected to me divorcing MN-ex even though she KNEW he was a malevolent force of evil - he was not quite as bad of a MN as my own MNdad (her husband), and she now really felt envious because I had ditched MN-ex just fine, due to having a job and could support DD and myself, while she was stuck with violent MNdad because she had never worked and needed him as a meal ticket.

Then I met DH, who was a normal person and also wicked handsome, nice, kind, etc. and after she met him for the first time, she called me a couple of days later and told me "I really liked Dboyfriend, in fact more than I have liked any of your other friends, but he is too old for you - he would make a good husband for ME"

WTF ??????????? MNdad was very much alive and healthy and she is scoping out this guy who is 15 years her junior ?? I should have asked her what her husband thought of that.

Took me years to figure out that one. What kind of a freak wants her daughter to not date a nice man because she thinks SHE would want him someday? sick sick sick.

After that, she only kept up with my career enough to get some bragging rights with her friends. She even used to go to her garden club and tell everyone HER daughter lived in (USDA agricultural ) ZONE 7. Where we can grow MAGNOLIA TREES.

SO the really great bit, is my poor sis's kids were raised in the MN dysfunctional family compound and up until the day Nmom died, she could NOT figure out why my kids were so polite, smart, did well in school, played well with others - while sis's kids had a lot of adjustment problems in school, anxiety, depression and other issues. Gee, maybe because YOU RAISED THEM and they saw MNdad (grandpa) getting accommodated and treated like he was god, and you all let them be around the criminal element on MNdad's side of the family? And sis and her subordinate DH had to bow down before you and act like black was white and white was black because you said so, and basically you owned them? Hmmm?

Nah, must be something else.

Now DH and I sit back and say "WOW it is lucky that despite our cluelessness about MNs, we raised our kids wayyyy far away from the crazy mean FOO and that is why they seem to have turned out really well".

Not because DH and I are God's Gift to Parenting, but because we took they out of the dysfunction. It is really that easy.

Anonymous said...

"Even your happiness is an object of their envy"

I have so many examples of this, but the green eyed monster (my MN mom) came out in full force when I got engaged. She and my dad chose to get married at the Justice of the Peace on their lunch hour when she was 20 years old, so when I was going to have a traditional wedding, she immediately tried to highjack it and make it her own. She never had a nice wedding, you know! Poor thing!

She started calling it "our" wedding, as in mine and hers, and she still calls it that even today. She made it hers by taking the "Mother of the Bride" title as seriously as if the "mother of the" just fell off and it was her day. And since I have been the dutiful and obedient daughter, it was very difficult for me to fight her. I have a hundred examples of her envy and jealousy during this time, but one of the biggest one was about the dress.

I found "the" dress when I was shopping by myself one day (she wasn't there to point me in the right direction or to force her opinion or disapproval down my throat). When I decided this was it, I called her to the store and informed her I had found "it". Once she was there, I went to go put it on, and told her that this was the one. It was everything that I wanted and had spent weeks looking for, so I thought she would be thrilled for me. So imagine my surprise when I came out of the dressing room and she had a look on her face as though I was wearing a trash bag. She looked disgusted. She practically started crying, but not the tears of joy you expect from your mother at that moment, but she acted like she was going to throw up. All of the people who initially were oohing and and awing at me were now consoling my mother. I finally had the courage to say to her that this is the dress and could she just pretend for me that she liked it. She just walked away (this was so long before I knew what narcissism was that I couldn't figure out what I had done to hurt her at that moment). But the agreement was she was going to buy my dress, and so she bought it anyways. It was a beautiful ivory lace dress, very vintage, very me.

She switched tones later when she started shopping for HER dress. She informed me that she found the perfect dress for her to wear, and AMAZINGLY it was ivory, lace, and looked just like MINE! What a coincidence! That was a battle I was going to fight, and I informed her that there was only going to be ONE woman in a wedding gown that day and it would be ME! So instead she picked a similar dress but in another color (wine color). But she made it known to everyone that I refused to allow her to wear what she wanted to wear...how dare I!

On my wedding day, we had arrangements to take family photos an hour before the ceremony. And surprise, surprise, she was an hour late! So we never took pictures. And of course for months before the wedding she worked at ripping our family apart (she told me I had to dis-invite my brother to the wedding because she was having a problem with him, but I didn't do it). So when the big day came, nobody was talking to each other, nobody would stand together for pictures even though on three occasions the DJ announced "will the family of the bride please gather for pictures" and nobody came. It was so embarrassing. My dad was only the only one that would pose for a picture with me. Instead, my mom was sulking in the corner, because it wasn't HER day.

But of course, she had to make a scene, she needed the attention, so she got plastered drunk (which she only does when she has an audience), and ripped her dress on the dance floor, then went table to table telling everyone that didn't see that she ripped her dress.

Once the pictures came from the photographer, she was SO upset that there were no pictures of us together, and it was like, well, GEE, I WONDER WHY? She still, 3 years later, complains that we have no "real" pictures of us together. Only later, the only picture I have with her surfaced. It is when I was sitting eating dinner at the head table with my new husband, she squeezed between us and forced herself onto me and had somebody take a picture of us. I look like I am being tortured and she looks like she is high on drugs (yes, it is called narcissistic supply). She proudly displays that picture, of course, proof that she can force herself on me.

Oh yeah, and while I was on my honeymoon, she miraculously put our whole family back together again. Everyone was talking again and loved each other again, but they couldn't do it before the wedding?

I took me a long time to figure out what she was doing to me all of those months and especially on that day. She withheld her holy presence from me that day to punish me for having a day that was about me and my new husband, but on that day it didn't feel like punishment, it felt like freedom, and it felt good. She tried to take away my happiness that day, but she couldn't because marrying my amazing husband, he has been the one to encourage me to break away from her and to have a life of my own.

- Breaking Free

Anonymous said...

When each of my three children were newborns, my NF and enabling mom would come to visit. NF would inspect the baby upon arrival (much as one looks over a cut of meat), then within five or ten minutes he would start becoming agitated. It was a physical reaction, kind of rocking back and forth like a three-year old who really has to "go". He would check his watch, pace around the room, and try to force himself to make small talk (sometimes, even about the baby).

He would finally reach a point, as everyone continued to coo over the baby, where he just couldn't take it any more. He realized that he had no chance of monopolizing the conversation, and that the baby was getting everyone's undivided attention. He had to get out of the room. Conveniently, either they'd have brought their Schnauzer and therein was his excuse - "gotta walk the dog" or he'd get an itch to go "birding" - a new obsession for him at the time. He'd leave the house to go look at birds in the trees at the local park and miss the opportunity to hold and cuddle his own grandchild. He would be gone for four hours out of a five-hour visit, having just enough time to mix a cocktail upon arrival, and one just before departure. He always was anxious to leave, he made sure everyone knew that he "had places to go and people to see" that were infinitely more important than visiting the grandbaby.

I honestly chalked it up to ADD/ADHD. I had no idea what NPD was at the time. Just one of many red flags. I see them all clearly now, thanks to Anna's enlightening blog and everyone else's contributions.

What could be sadder than to turn away from your own precious newborn grandchild? I guess in his mind it was, "How dare that baby be so cute and irresistable!"

- Jennifer

GraFXGrl said...

I didn't know where to post this but its very interesting. It's a video by a phycologist on the importance of play. Something I think most of us missed out on (my experiance anyways- had a "hoovering" N - and all play was interupted to amuse the queen)

Anyways, thought you guys might want to see it :

http://www.ted.com/talks/view/id/483

Meg said...

"You have touched on the central theme that has brought MN to my attention." Lady Coyote

I have to say this was also my experience. My mother refused to come to my wedding and made sure nobody else in my family did either. I was marrying in a city which was a three hour plane flight away, and at the time I thought it was asking my family alot to get them to come and was so happy and in love that I was ready to forgive anyone anything, but I realise now that it was a completely dysfunctional response both from them and me.

It stuck with me for nearly 15 years before I started to question the reason why nobody turned up. The biggest red flag was my mother's behaviour. She insisted that she and my father couldn't afford to come to my wedding. She kept this up for the weeks leading up to the wedding, despite the fact that on one occasion I was pleading and begging and crying for her to come. (What a coup for an MN - to have someone begging).

It didn't strike me as toxic behaviour at the time, I just figured that my parents had always been frugal (read negligent). Now I look at their lifestyle and can hardly believe the lies they told to us about being 'poor'. They bought their first house from the sale of my grandmother's house, paid for it outright and have never had to have a mortgage in their lives. We had multiple cars, boats, trailer homes, and enough money to buy whatever my parents wanted, but we never had any money for anything us kids wanted.

The only thing I figured at the time was that since I was the youngest of three daughters, I understood that my wedding wasn't that important. Plus, I was asking her to fly to a different city and I knew she would find that to be very difficult because of her delicate health(she is as healthy as a pig and always has been but is a fantastic hypochondriac and hysteric).

It didn't even twig to me that something was out of place when she sent me a cheque for $1000 as a wedding present a week after my wedding.

A plane ticket would have cost a fifth of that.

It also didn't occur to me that it was completely unfair that my parents spent hundreds of dollars every year visiting my two other sisters in cities out of state, each trip requiring a three hour plane flight and all the inconvenience of staying in somebody else's house etc.

It just never occurred to me as being strange or toxic or dysfunctional until I decided one day to actually ask my mother why she lied to me about not having any money to come to my wedding. She sent me $1000 a week after the wedding, they had the money. She travelled interstate every year to see my sisters why couldn't she come to see my wedding. She had attended my sister's weddings, what had I done that was so terrible?

Her response - she was so overwhelmed with being called a liar 'by her own child' that she refused to 'address the issue of your wedding'. That was it. No further discussion. WOW.

And I'm the one talking to the therapist... who tells me 'You know this is not normal don't you'. Yeah, thanks, I do now.

I also realise that her real reason for not attending the wedding was because it wasn't about her.

"A narcissist's unnatural envy is so universal and so strong that he cannot even stand being in a place where someone else gets attention. If he cannot keep that from happening, he will find some way to absent himself from the situation."

Too right.

Anonymous said...

"I look like I am being tortured and she looks like she is high on drugs"

Breaking Free,

I HAVE PICTURES LIKE THAT WITH MY NM!!!!

What a hysterically perfect description. You made my day. The picture that comes to mind is when my NM hijacked my graduation, by bringing and wearing HER OWN CAP AND GOWN for the picture taking session. And yes, I look miserable and uncomfortable and hunched over, and she looks completely coked up.

Anonymous said...

This is such an accurate overview of my N Mom. If you were granted some small happiness in comparison with all the horrific sh*t you had to put up with, she would find a way to ruin it for you because she was so sickeningly jealous. I grew up near the beach but we moved away in elementary school. I really did miss the beach terribly and was so excited when my best friend's parents invited me to join them in a holiday beach weekend. Thing is, one of the days we would be gone was my birthday. Knowing full well how badly I wanted to go, my N mom tapped right into my tenderest weak spot — guilt. "But we've never spent your birthday apart." "I don't know how I'll get through being away from you on your birthday." Because how could you even dare to have a happy birthday without your mother there gloating in her accomplishment – having produced her very own "doll" to relentlessly show off and torment, depending on her mood. No birthday I ever celebrated with her had been happy. No chance of that. She always found some way to sabotage it. She was famous for fainting spells/"seizures" she'd have just prior to a birthday party and it would have to be canceled last minute. There's no way in hell any responsible doctor would have allowed someone having so many seizures to drive. And N mom visited doctors on a weekly basis with all her tragic ailments. She also kept a copy of a medical diagnosis manual handy, and gee whiz, somehow all of her symptoms managed to match up to some debilitating disease. Any occasion for celebration when she wasn't the reason was destined to be ruined by her, always under innocent pretenses. Even Christmas. Even that was a deeply dreaded day in our household. I still have great difficulties getting through the holiday season. It's like I have holiday-induced PTSD-like episodes. That particular beach weekend birthday, she gave me the choice to make — I could stay and have my birthday with her (ooooh goody — already knew it would be ruined) or to go to the beach with my friend and celebrate the day apart. A heart wrenchingly difficult choice to make because I was a sucker for the guilt trips as she knew, I picked the beach weekend. I so badly wanted to go. Though she had said she would be fine with any decision I made, the guilt trips began immediately after I told her my decision. And not even the beach weekend provided me any protection from her wrath — she called daily to tell me how lonely she was without me and how awful it felt to her to have her own flesh and blood abandon her like that. Because of course my birthday was not in fact about me at all. It was apparently her day. Who knew. My actual birthday involved many misery-inducing phone calls. And of course, I was such a sucker for it all, and so truly believed my actions were what caused her such (overly dramatic) despair that I couldn't have a good time even off the phone with her. Oh no, one had to suffer the consequences of defying her wishes or basically just suffer her consequences for daring to breathe the same air she did. Now as an adult, I have always had a hard time with people wanting to recognize me in any way, my birthday or otherwise. I think part of me just doesn't feel I deserve it and another part of me figures, who bother when celebrating me has proven to always ends badly. Damn "black and white" thinking.

Anonymous said...

Breaking Free and Anonymous

I, too, have pictures like that. The one that gives me the most "creeps" is a picture when I was about 2. My mother was sitting in a chair in sort of a pose. Looks like she just got her hair done. I was off to the side in the bottom left hand corner with the most disturbed, sad look on my face. My 2 boys were with me when I was looking at these old pictures the other night. When this one came to view, my 4 year old asked, "Mom, who is that Poison Ivy lady and that sad little girl?" My 8 year old became interested and wanted to know, too (My boys are in to Batman these days, thus they know one of his villians - Poison Ivy). I was stunned! For 2 reasons. First, because they had no idea it was me and their grandmother in the picture and just "called it like they saw it". It allowed me to really look at that and some other pictures more objectively and see in an instant my mothers malig. Narcissism. Secondly, They called her "Poison Ivy!" Yes!! :o) Perfect name. Batman's villian, Poison Ivy was a beautiful girl who was full of toxins. She emits a dust that makes people "fall in love with her" and do what she wants. But, the poison in her lips will kill you and she kisses all those who she has no use for. I gotta say, "Out of the mouths of babes, the truth speaks." My boys had no idea how much truth they were actually conveying!

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

"Damn "black and white" thinking."

You pretty much have to create your own happiness no matter how much your N tries to sabotage it. The harder they try to ruin it, the more you cling to it. Frustrates the hell out of them.

Now that you see the guilt tripping for what it is, have you decided to "get off", so to speak?

The world isn't your mother.Just because she wants to miserable doesn't mean that everyone else does.

Oh, and no contact. Let her rot. If all she has is guilt, then she wouldn't likely have the guts to do anything else.

Anonymous said...

My MN sister cried when I announced my engagement. I suppose she was mourning the fact that she could no longer pull her N antics and deny any wrongdoing, I now had a witness.

Five months into our engagement, my husband and I were buying a house. I ran into my sister about a week before closing, and excitedly told her that we were buying a house. Her response was, "Oh yeah?" Then she changed the subject.

She didn't attend my bridal shower because she had to work. On a Sunday. Hell, she blew off my baby shower as well.

She turned down numerous invitations to come and see the house and meet my fiance, despite the fact that she lived a half mile away. We saw her in church one Sunday morning, and instead of meeting my then fiance, she got up out of the pew and left through a side door.

She never RSVP'd to our wedding invitation. I had to call her at work to see if she was coming to the wedding. She had to make things as hard as possible for me. How dare I be happy. She met my husband for the first time in the reception line at the church after the wedding ceremony. She recently moved an hour away, if she only knew how happy that made me!

Only Child

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Apr 1, 2009 9:28:00 PM said, "Even Christmas. Even that was a deeply dreaded day in our household. I still have great difficulties getting through the holiday season. It's like I have holiday-induced PTSD-like episodes."

Flashback to NMom's pissy expression while opening Christmas presents. It was the year I had the audacity to do something with fiancee for Christmas Eve and not follow NMom's script.

Oh, and lets not forget the gifts...it was all about quantity. NMom must have more gifts than anyone else.

God forbid you might find a perfect gift for someone else and it slips out in your excitement. I'm certain you're all familiar with "The Glare."

I would get socks for Christmas. It was NMom's joy to wrap them in ways that I might think for a moment that they were a real gift.

I hate Christmas! This is the only place where I feel free to make the declaration out loud and not be looked at like I'm the devil himself. I can't wait until I'm in a position to skip it altogether or to leave the country on a vacation!

JR

Anonymous said...

There are three sites on Narcissism this week on the "LII New This Week" site, under 'Health'
I can't seem to copy and paste them here. Scroll down until you get to Health.
http://lii.org/pub/news/191
Wishing everyone God's Grace, Peace, and Clarity.
Laura S.C.

allison said...

GraFXGrl said:
"Something I think most of us missed out on (my experiance anyways- had a "hoovering" N - and all play was interupted to amuse the queen)"

OMG! I hadn't even made that connection about my own life before but you're absolutely right! My NM did the same thing...whenever I would try to play with other kids (or to socialize with other kids of my own age), she'd find some way to stop it me from playing...I could see her disapproving hatred, she'd give me this evil look from across the room or from wherever she was standing. If I played with her friends' kids, she'd release her N rage at me after we left their house saying that I wasn't acting "ladylike" (this was when I was about 7). The "ladylike" excuse would come out everytime I would play and she'd immediately put a stop to it.

I think my NM was jealous of my having any kind of happiness through play, even as a child. She REALLY hated it when I had any kind of play and I was always on the receiving end of her N rage when I had any kind of fun playing with other kids. It had to always be about something that she wanted me to do.

Anonymous said...

I like your blogs. I like being able to keep my mind fresh on the subject. Kind of like Math if you don't use it everyday then it gets forgotten. When you have a narc that you can't get rid of it keeps you fresh on the subject. Thanks for that!

Anonymous said...

NM displayed one single 4x6 picture of the entire family @ Dad's wake. I thought this was very odd, given the fact that Dad was an MVP Triple A fast pitch softball player, a father of 6, and a handsome,honest,humble, and well-liked man in his hometown. I always knew her to add "just the right touch" for "other occasions", but I guess not for this one.HMMMM. Also, nurse sis had a big problem w/ NM. Sis took care of Dad till the end, while NM vacationed down south, and finally left her job (which she didn't need to keep) just 2 weeks before his death. He was DX w/ cancer 2 yrs previous. HMMMMM That sucks. There were SO many wonderful photographs of Dad, that I would have loved to share w/ the hundreds of people who came to offer their condolences.. My sis did manage to place a softball in his casket w/ "I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever". Thanx sis!!Miss him, and basically NC w/NM. Oh just thought of this, NM hands me an envelope w/ cash and a note that states, "buy a nice dress for the funeral, Dad would be pleased." WTF!! ya mean, she would be pleased.. ya know, we all had to "look good"... blah blah blah

Aravis said...

Meg said "And I'm the one talking to the therapist... who tells me 'You know this is not normal don't you'. "

That is exactly what my therapist used to say to me over....and over....and over.....

I struggle constantly with how to act - because living with MNs makes you behave in the most bizarre ways, like with the pathological envy - you do not dare let the Nparents know something good has happened to you, or you like something, because if you do, they will kill themselves taking it away from you or denigrating it, since you are not allowed to be happy or get recognition EVER since that takes attention away from them.

I also constantly struggle with letting anyone normal know I am sad or angry, or any other of the "one-down" emotions, because I am afraid if people know "x" makes me mad, they will do it all the more, and publicly, just to make me jump, and them mock me in front of others for "overreacting". I have had the hardest time allowing myself believe and internalize that most other humans are NOT out to get me. My DH once was asking about my hypervigilance and constant arousal, and all I could say was "yes I am paranoid - that is why I am STILL ALIVE"

It is really hard to grit my teeth and try not to be avoidant and hypervigilant. I have this incredible startle reflex due to having been grabbed and smacked upside the head since infancy (and of course the FOO harangued me unmercifully for that - I used to get hit by the MNparents, for screaming when I was startled, as a preschooler). I've lived so much of my life out of fear. Have any of you managed to get over that sort of thing, and if yes, any advice?

I can grit my teeth and go out into the greater wide world and ACT like a perfectly normal extroverted person, but it is VERY HARD. People who know me at work and the like would probably give me the "well-adjusted co-worker of the year" award - because my crazy MN-FOO insisted that despite the wildly abusive upbringing, us kids were EXPECTED to be NORMAL so I can act like it, but I'd like to actually FEEL the way I behave. Any clues would be gratefully accepted.

Anonymous said...

I just want to say thank you to each and everyone here for being brave enough to share your experiences. It always amazes me to read peoples comments and know that I am NOT ALONE in this, for so much of what you all say is EXACTLY what I feel. This space is a form of therapy for me and always goes hand in hand with what my therapist says.

JR, what you said about Christmas is dead on! We can say that here and understand the pain and heartache that goes along with those memories.

I hate all holidays because being the only daughter, my MNmom trained me from a very early age of my obligation to cook, clean, serve, and perform on every holiday. They might as well have named me Cinderella. My two older brothers on the other hand would be off with their friends all day, playing and getting stoned, and then would show up HOURS late to dinner. And god forbid we eat without them, because then my oldest MaligNarc brother would create World War 3 at the dinner table. Fun stuff. If we (the whole family) weren't catering to MN mom's every emotional whim, we were walking on eggshell's around MN brother.

My freedom finally came after the first Thanksgiving after I was married. This Thanksgiving also landed on MNmom's birthday (double gag), so it was her SPECIAL day. My husband and I shopped, cleaned, and cooked at HER house for HER guests, 3 people were supposed to help us, they all showed up late, so we did everything, and since it was mom's birthday, her Royal Highness could not lift a finger.

Fast forward past the lazy family who treated my husband and I like hired help (Cinderella again), the waiting for MNbro, the cold food, the drama at dinner, Her Royal Highnesses speech and gift giving ceremony. The moment after I lifted the last bite of pumpkin pie to my mouth, I was in the car, balling my eyes, and vowing to my husband that I will NEVER attend a family holiday again. Two days later when MNmom called to spew her poison at me, I informed her that I will NEVER be her Cinderella again, that as a grown married woman I will not be at any more holidays and will be making my own traditions with my husband (luckily he is Jewish so Christmas and Easter are not his shtick).

Since then, my husband and I go on a real VACATION at Christmas, and spend Thanksgiving with friends. And still, I am a complete wreck from November until the end of December, getting incesant phone calls filled with guilt and shame that I would dare boycott their holidays. How dare I have a life of my own and make plans!

It is amazing that someone could make us feel that we do not have the right or authority to choose how and where we will spend our holidays. But that same action of denying myself for the sake of her happiness is just a symptom of her masterful brainwashing, and I do it day in and day out in every aspect of my life. I finally learned how to stand up to her with the holidays, now I just have to apply it to all the other interactions, and my LIFE.

Little by Little,
Breaking Free

enilina said...

Aravis, I liked what your therapist said in the previous post “MNs expect endless credit for what they say because in their minds, the fact that they SAID they were going to do something kind or selfless or whatever for you now, creates an obligation for YOU to do something for them.”

Dad would go on and on about how I should be grateful and thank him everyday because he worked so hard to support us kids and if he lost his tenured job with the university he would drive a taxi to support us etc etc etc. It never occurred to me say “well, that’s what you’re supposed to do”, especially when I had pointed out to him that we were good kids since we never drank, didn’t do drugs, aren’t pregnant, never gave him trouble and got good grades, which he responded with, “that’s what you kids are supposed to do, why should you be rewarded for doing that you’re supposed to do.”

When I applied for legal guardianship of my autistic sister, Dad fought to be named “co-guardian” and told me it would be a perfect partnership because he “has the experience and wisdom” and I “have the youth and energy”, translation: he gets to spout off bunch of ideas and I’m supposed to run around and make it happen – like his idea of getting a horse farm for my autistic sister “because she likes horses”. Yeah, I totally ditched the good-daughter-act five seconds later and we had many fights over the phone while I was at work (very unprofessional of me). Dad kept yelling “just do what I say!” and I yelled back “just tell me what a Medicaid Waiver is!”, which of course he never did because he never bothered learning that it’s the program that funds all of my sister’s care. Kind of majorly important!

Anonymous Mar 31, 2009 7:26:00 PM said “This hostile reaction is what makes Narcs perfect anti-parents, or parents of the bizarro world where all values are inverted. Normal parents want their children to succeed, N parents would prefer that their children fail.”

That was probably my first clue that my dad (and later my mom, as we know about moms being good at covert narcissism) was not normal. He used to constantly CONSTANTLY tell me when I was a kid that my oldest sister will be hated and despised by people and she won’t be able to function in society. I knew it was all crap and that he was actually talking about himself. My sister wasn’t a supply to him, but rather she was Mom’s supply and hence Mom’s golden child. Fast forward 12 years and sis is married with a family of her own and no longer Mom’s supply. Mom immediately turned on her and during the six years Mom had lived with me she would constantly CONSTANTLY tell me (her former designated failure child) that sis will be hated and despised by people and that her family and friends will abandon her because of how she treated “her poor desperate mother”. Both Mom and Dad have the same look of pure joy in their faces as they blab to me these sickening fantasies (“truths” as they call it); it was surreal to hear Dad’s words coming out of Mom’s mouth 15 years later. Both had tried very hard to make me hate my sister and sever all ties with her, which is beyond ridiculous since she has been the closest thing to a real mother my entire life.

Last week my beloved elderly cat was dying while Mom was visiting (sucky timing and obviously not completely NC). Not willing to deal with Mom competing with my dying cat for attention, I pleaded with sis to take Mom for a few days. Once my cat had peacefully passed away I let Mom back into my home. As soon as sis dropped Mom off she immediately got on the phone to gleefully gossip about how stupid sis and her husband is and laughing about it. N-parents really are the anti-parents who get extremely disappointed when their children do not fail.

krl said...

How could I have missed it? I've read Atlas Shrugged a few times over the years....and the quote(s) totally escaped me. Gawd. Guess my head was still up me arse at the time. Wondering how many other times I was 'offered' help....and just couldn't recognize the Truth.

The quote totally moved me....caused me to weep....those deep burning tears that surely He counts and holds precious. Thank you, Anna.

Anonymous said...

Christmas for me and my siblings was not full of happy memories. Both of our MN parents would volley with their "stick it to ya" antics every year. Dad would always sleep in Christmas morning until 8AM or so, with us eager kids having to wait in the living room until he was damn good and ready to join us to open presents. Mom would always insist on making us wait for him. What torture when you are a young kid!

Also, mom always got the most presents, and she gloated in that. Isn't Christmas really for kids? We would have to take turns opening presents and when it was her turn to open her next one she would slooowly tear open that paper...

And on gift giving: Mom would insist we hand her written wish lists every year. Did we ever get anything we really wanted on them? Maybe. If we begged for it sufficiently enough. That smug look on her face knowing we wanted some toy so badly, and her hemming and hawing about getting it for us. After all the presents were opened and we found we didn't get what we really wanted (this stunt includes birthdays), her response was, "Well, I found something I thought you'd like better! Don't you like it? How about a thank you!"

I'm in my 40's and I'm still haunted by such crushing memories.

Meg said...

Aravis,

Don't know if this will help, but I battled panic attacks from age 19to 40 and could have received an Oscar for pretending I was normal in the midst of profound fear. Found an internet site from someone who also suffered and they gave some mindblowing advice. Make it worse. Yep. They said try as hard as you can to make the fear as bad as you can. The key being that you were no longer running away from the feeling, but turning and facing it. I tried it once, instant success. It made a huge difference to dealing with panic.

I have also found this technique helps with other feelings which make you think you are weird, the anger, the anguish, the anxiety....just taking a moment to allow yourself to feel whatever it is. Not suggesting that you allow yourself to wallow, just a few minutes at a time helps enormously. You give yourself permission to feel whatever it is, and your body thanks you for it by starting to feel normal. Not all at once, but just a bit at a time.

The other thing is that if you give yourself permission to feel the feeling, you also then give yourself the ability to GET OVER the feeling, which means you gain confidence knowing you can feel bad, and then recover and go back to being normal. Someone once told me, all feelings fade, good ones as well as bad ones, and once you realise it won't be with you forever, you give yourself the right to be whatever it is, for however long you need to feel it.

Hope that makes sense

allison said...

To Anonymous whose therapist said that they (as parents) should let their children (i.e. the N's grandchildren) decide for themselves whether or not they will have a relationship with the N: Respectfully, I disagree if the advice is for someone with younger children. Many of us are living proof of the damage that the N can do to our souls and the lifelong effects that it has. I have the same thing as what Aravis described: a fear of any attention on me, the introvertedness, the paranoia, plus, I lack confidence in everything that I do, and I have this permanent feeling that I'm ugly. It's something that affects a person for the rest of their lives, when your self-esteem is destroyed and crushed completely at an early age, it follows you around for a long time. I know what caused it in me, but I don't know how to fix it.

Just before I went NC with my NM, I caught her saying to my 1 y.o. dd that she's pretty when she doesn't smile (because my 1 y.o. has a slight underbite -- it really doesn't look bad -- but my NM kept harping on it, saying it's the one thing that "completely destroys" my dd's good looks). I know it's nonsense and I told my NM to stop saying that, especially around my dd and my NM said, "Well, it's the TRUTH." Here we go again...that version of her highness's omniscient "truth"... I thought long and hard about it and I thought about how it would make my dd self-conscious about who she is. It's this evil monster again, trying to take away someone else's ability to express happiness through a smile. What an awful thing that would be if she made my daughter feel bad about smiling.

No, for the sake of my kids' happiness and sanity, I'm going to make the call that it's better that they never get to know this N, who will only make them feel bad about themselves at any expression of happiness. The more I think about it, the more I saw during those months when NC with my NM was suspended because I had the romantic delusion that my child should know her grandmother, all that's shattered by my NM's own actions.

I had only let her back into my life after dd was born because I listened to her enablers guilt trip me by saying that my dd should know who her grandmother is and why can't I just let bygones be bygones and think of my daughter and not be so selfish.

No, I think exposing my young children to my NM would be like exposing them to toxic waste for their souls.

I agree with the therapist's advice if the kids are older and have already built up a healthy self image and esteem but, before that age, I won't let this sick N who's jealous of anyone's and everyone's happiness, help to shape what my children are on the inside.

Zydia said...

Not allowing friends - whoa I recognize that.

When I tried to make friends with another little girl (from our religious group no less!) I got comments like, "She doesn't want to hang around with YOU."

I remember this girl really, really wanted a new bicycle and I had a little money saved up (something like $5 - surprisingly, I got an allowance) and I gave it to her and told her it was for her to get a new bicycle. I could just picture her riding down the street with a big smile and pigtails flipping in the wind. (I still hold that image to this day.) She gave the money to her mother, her mother gave it back to my mother, and boy did I get it. "STOP TRYING TO BUY FRIENDS!!!!" she spat at me and shoved the money back in my hands. I was totally bewildered and told her that wasn't my intention. "OH, IT ISN'T, IS IT??!!" dripping with sarcasm.

Oh, so then I was a sycophant AND a liar. It did wonders for my self-image.

*sigh*

Also, my Nmom tried to force me to be friends with a mean little girl that nobody liked. I suppose she felt like she was being "generous" by "offering" her daughter as a playmate.

Anonymous said...

I had an over-the-top MNM, and as an adult, I ended up with all sorts of N-friends. In retrospect the N 'friends' were high maintenance all along, but I was so used to such extreme high maintenance that I didn't notice it as anything particularly unusual or negative, even though I also had normal friends too to compare. Their N stunts were covert, and very 'plausible' to me at the time, and I took them all at face value. Fast forward to me having a very public work success, and subsequent big schedule and life change, and suddenly each and every N in my life suddenly morphed seemingly overnight from "N-lite" to bizarre MN behavior. I imagine if I hadn't been raised in NFOO captivity I would have probably not needed a big event like this to see what they were, but now I surely saw. Needless to say, the difference between them and my normal friends was now VERY apparent, even though I still didn't understand what was going on.

After the big change, I experienced things from the N's that from what I had experienced up till then, seemed totally out of character: "fights" materializing out of thin air from a person I never had a conflict with before, a normally passive friend was suddenly being demanding and aggressive, I was subjected to sudden extreme neediness [including the classic N line: "only YOU can help me", oh, only me? gee, what a coincidence!] and so on, including sudden mean-spirited teasing from a person who NEVER did it before. Oh, and one guy was suddenly "concerned for my mental health". Gee thanks. Now that my life is going good? Before this, their N behavior easily went under the radar, this new stuff was marked by obvious irrationality and unbelievable implausibility, and bluntly: just sheer clumsiness of presentation. The desperation was apparent. Luckily I had the normal friends to compare with so I had a "control group" who acted basically EXACTLY like they did all along, before my success, so I was able to conclude that it "wasn't me" .

This was, needless to say, an extremely difficult period of my life. I was basically on a very new and big learning curve with my work, and I at the same time experiencing a sudden wave of "mysterious" and irrational draining and distracting behavior from a large amount of people in my life, and I had NO idea why. Even though I didn't know 'what' an N was, I couldn't help but notice the overall pattern and timing, and eventually knew I had to let them all go. The weird thing was, they were so obviously uncomfortable WITH ME, but still really wanted to STAY in my life too, only on seemingly permanent "attack/sabotage mode". I shook them off one by one, and they all made subsequent feeble attempts to "get back in" but eventually just quit. It took a long time, like eradicating termites while continually finding new nests.

Another case of N's making us choose between living our lives, and being connected to them. Something has got to give. The two are apparently mutually exclusive for the N's. It IS a fight!

James said...

First allow me to thank you for bringing the many “Red Flags” to our attention. One thing about those that suffer from personality disorders if that one will see some of them in the beginning of an relationship with a PD. I for one wished I knew about them sooner then I did.

As for this “red flag” again, if one if looking for it and knows the pattern that can happen with anyone that suffer from NPD. Their need for supply is so great that if anyone or thing threaten it albeit it real or imaginary the MN will view it as a personal attack and defend this supply by any means. Because most have a void of empathy or moral belief system anything is possible so that one should never underestimate what a NPD is capable of doing to secure it’s Narcissistic supply.

C.M. said...

I just founded a great NPR radio broadcast story and link. It's well worth listening to and isn't that time consuming. If you see below the story, there's another radio program on narcissism.

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=7618722

K said...

To Anonymous about the N's changing from Lite to "heavy ammunition" if you have a big success. YES! That happened to me too. I launched a web site that was successful and suddenly I was in this alternate reality, where they escalated their behavior 100%.

But actually it was the best thing that happened to me - the beginning of the end. They all reacted in pretty much the same manner and that clued me in something was VERY wrong and that a pattern was there. I remember sending out the mail to all of them where I introduced the site. You could almost HEAR the deafening silence in return :-D

Anonymous said...

Yes, in my FOO praise was parsimonious and delivered with caveats. Most of my life I have operated the same way, sorry to say. One of my Change Projects is to encourage and praise others with reckless abandon. I love it!

An accompanying characteristic is Know-It-Allness. In my family, at least. I suppose that is a normal human tendency. . .but in my family it seems exaggerated. Any idea, any comment, any proposal MUST be one-upped, rejected or ignored. It may reappear later as though it had originated with the person who has appropriated it.

It's pathology that makes it impossible to co-operate as a family group. I would say I never experienced working out a situation collaboratively all the time I was growing up -- to present day. Problems and circumstances ultimately resolved on their own, for good or ill -- or didn't. I think this partly explains my crippling tendency to remove myself from problem situations. In my mind, my only recourse is flight. It's been a real problem for me, one I've only identified in the last five years and I AM working hard on it. (But not with ye old FOO :) )

No doubt there are many non-N dominated families where this happens, but in mine, it was very much the product of Destructive Narcissistic Pattern parenting.

Dandeliion

Anonymous said...

Compliments: The NM once was near me when I was receiving some compliments. Without knowing why, I started to brace myself, knowing this was going to be trouble. Sure enough, like clockwork, she exploded into some improvised drama, making sure she not only stopped the conversation about me dead, but had the attention of the room on herself.

It was one of those "ah ha" moments where I had no idea what an N was, was still in the thrall of the NM, but wondered to myself: "HOW did I know that was going to happen?" and the inevitable "WHY??" It was one of those times with an N that you feel like you are practically having an out-of-body experience.

I don't know if the following fits this red flag [or is it's own], but I was thinking about how hostile N's also get when WE are the ones that pay attention to ourselves too. I had an N-ex who would get visibly panicky when I started taking better care of myself. Or writing in a journal. Or when I was taking a class. [he tried to claim I was depriving him of OUR car. Um, for one hour a week? The car we BOTH equally paid for?] They hate it not only when the outside world gives us attention, but they hate it when WE give ourselves normal attention, or engage in basic and typical self care or personal interests. They throw fits, sulk, undermine, and basically do anything to wrest the attention back to THEMSELVES.

Anna Valerious said...

One thing about those that suffer from personality disorders

Correction.

Ns don't suffer from personality disorders. Those around them suffer.

PDs aren't something you catch like a cold. Therefore, they don't "suffer" like they're a hapless victim of some rogue bug. The condition is volitional. I don't care what the "conventional" wisdom says to the contrary.

DisturbedAngel said...

"I don't know if the following fits this red flag [or is it's own], but I was thinking about how hostile N's also get when WE are the ones that pay attention to ourselves too. I had an N-ex who would get visibly panicky when I started taking better care of myself. Or writing in a journal. Or when I was taking a class. [he tried to claim I was depriving him of OUR car. Um, for one hour a week? The car we BOTH equally paid for?] They hate it not only when the outside world gives us attention, but they hate it when WE give ourselves normal attention, or engage in basic and typical self care or personal interests. They throw fits, sulk, undermine, and basically do anything to wrest the attention back to THEMSELVES. "

Have also experienced this. When NM found out I'd gone into therapy, she quickly began to berate me and insult the entire therapeutic process. She asked me, "What are you going to do? Stay in therapy until you're 60??" I told her YES, I WOULD if it meant that I could live even ONE day feeling happy and content. This, of course, earned me a dirty look and further nasty comments mumbled under her breath. I've gotten similar comments and reactions any other time I've attempted to heal or better myself.

Tim from Dallas said...

Anna:

I just watched the movie "There Will Be Blood" (2007 - Daniel Day Lewis). I do not know if you have had the opportunity to see this movie. The main character (Daniel Day Lewis) is a text book malignant narcissist. Whoever wrote this script either had first hand experience with one with NPD or understood this evil pathology. I wager that the movie covers all of Krajko's Red Flags. I just wanted to share this with you in case you have not yet seen the movie.

Sunset said...

Very interesting...I found a little twist on that with my Mom though. Everything I did well was LOUDLY trumpeted so mom could take credit for it. She always made sure that I *knew* that HER wonderful parenting was the reason for MY successes. I generally preferred to be somewhat quiet about them, partly because of my own nature and partly because I was always getting teased for being "too smart." But no, mom had to make sure everyone knew how great a mother SHE was and how wonderful a daughter SHE had raised.

It's hard to describe the effect. A normal mother would be proud of her child's accomplishments. But somehow it was different with her. Somewhere in my mid-teens I began referring to myself as her "trophy dog." That was the way she related to me...

Anonymous said...

"I was thinking about how hostile N's also get when WE are the ones that pay attention to ourselves too."

This is so typical of the green eyed monster coming out with all of the jealousy and competitiveness that destroys self esteem and self worth. If I so much as treat myself to lunch, a manicure or pedicure, or buy a new pair of jeans, I am met with my MNmom's "How NICE for you that you can do that for yourself" but the tone is full of evil and jealousy, as if I have committed a cardinal sin against her by doing something for myself. It is usually followed with a statement about her martyrdom "I have never had the luxury to spend my money on that" or "nobdy treats me to that".

If I take a hard earned vacation or a weekend getaway, she lays on the guilt. Even sleeping in on the weekend will result in a snide comment to convince me that I am unworthy of such a luxury, because certainly she doesn't get to sleep in. These are basic human rights (what to do with my money, time, life), and it has taken me years to get to the place where I take care of myself and not feel bad about it. Getting over a lifetime of having your self worth, rights and individual identity oppressed by your mother (or anyone) is not an easy task, as we ALL know.

Their jealousy is so complicated. If I am succeeding, I am met with indifference and then told how she and everyone else in the family is struggling or suffering. If I am sick, then she or someone else is sicker than me. I have been on disability for a few months now, and she still has to one-up-me in my pain and suffering. So I have learned I can't tell her ANYTHING, which is fine because she doesn't actually care or listen to me anyhow.

This one-up-manship can be seen in a humorous light on Saturday Night Live with Kristen Wiig playing the ever annoying Penelope ( a video can be found at: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/saturday-night-live-saturday-night-live-penelope-therapy/1498825601). I think we can all recognize this ridiculous behavior.

- Breaking Free

SecretWife56 said...

Anna, I didn't quite see how this particular RED FLAG related to my situation with my N future ex-husband. But your quote from Ayn Rand explained it all!

To everyone here, question/comment something to make us all smile and shake our heads!

It is damn odd and really weird to have a relationship with someone who has NPD! Isn't it?

Sunset said...

Anna:

I have a question for you. I am in the process of going NC with my mother. The trouble, right now, is all the well-meaning bystanders. The people that have NO CONCEPT of a N-mom. I know their opinions shouldn't matter, but I *do* need their support. And I don't really know how to respond...it seems clear to me that they just don't understand narcissism and want to give her the benefit of the doubt. Is there any way to deal with these people?
Sunset

Aravis said...

Sunset said "Somewhere in my mid-teens I began referring to myself as her "trophy dog." That was the way she related to me..."

My Nparents exactly - mostly Nmom, because MNdad was too self-absorbed to even notice anything great us kids did. I used to refer to myself as a "highly trained Stakes Mare" (thoroughbred racehorse). The one large difference would be that a successful racehorse would have gotten far better care that sis and I did.

I make sure that at least a couple times a week I tell me kids that I love them because they ARE, and that they could be serial killers and I would still love them (although I do not advocate that as a career path).

It is very disturbing to know that your parents won't give you any positive kudos for being on their Trophy Shelf, and in fact will throw a tantrum if you even hope for any praise for something you have done well, YET - you are EXPECTED to be out there like a performing poodle so they can take credit for being Parents Of The Year and brag about how they raised you right.

MNdad had sent out some sort of group email a few year ago to all his "friends" and family members in which he mentioned something about my sis and then something about one of my kids and taking credit for it all of course, - and then he says "I wish I know what I had done right"

I was tempted to hit "REPLY TO ALL" and say

"Impregnated our mother?"

But I knew he would not get it for the major diss it was and I would just look snarky to the outside world.

krl said...

Re: Sunset-April 5

"...in the process of going NC with my mother...."

Yo. I'm not sure what you mean by 'in the process'. NC means you ARE NOT IN CONTACT...(to me). I found that I 'simply' had to QUIT...just like an addiction. There was no 'process' in the QUITTING. Granted, there is an emotional, physical, mental etc. 'process' of realigning yourself with Reality and Truth. Perhaps we are never DONE with that. (I'd still like a drink, a smoke, and to chat up my dear ol' mum from time to time....but I DO NOT!)

Ahh.....'support'. Yes...well, um....True NC means that YOU have QUIT....no matter WHO or WHAT 'supports' that effort. We DO need a place to go...to vent....to learn to express....to RECOGNIZE what happened to us....and this blog might be 'as good as it gets' for a while. Our lives were structured by our relationships with Ns....the 'friends', the activities, what was said (or not)....what we wore...who we married...what our role was. To go NC turns your whole world and social structure upside down quite often. It IS tough....but it isn't like we don't know 'tough' already, eh? Being NC requires the same dedication, consecration, discipline, and DILIGENCE that overcoming ANY addiction does.....daily. I don't see any way around it. We don't necessarily get 'pats on the head' for QUITTING doing and being involved in shit we never should have been in the first place. (I'll back up here....and allow for the abuse that started as a wee one...when there was NO CHOICE....but don't miss my point...)

What you are doing takes an enormous effort....and it takes the wind out of your sails for a while, no doubt. I, personally, couldn't have 'escaped' without the Grace an Mercy of God. I believe He heard my SoulCries and opened my eyes and ears to Truth and Reality. I support you fully....all of you....no matter how you go about it...to come to a place and a time to stop the insanity....once and for all.

I apologize if I sound 'clipped' and 'blunt'....I don't have time or energy to say things softly and gently. I'm a crabby ol' lady sometimes.

Carry on in the Light you have.

Anonymous said...

I was maid of honor at a friend's wedding. My ex-NF (the human deer tick) was also there.

Everyone was being very sweet and gracious, giving me lots of compliments. Of course, this drove the tick completely crazy. At one point, he finally said "jeez, you just keep saying 'thank you' like you agree with them or something." Pathetic.

Selfish Ingrate

DisturbedAngel said...

Sunset wrote:

"I have a question for you. I am in the process of going NC with my mother. The trouble, right now, is all the well-meaning bystanders. The people that have NO CONCEPT of a N-mom. I know their opinions shouldn't matter, but I *do* need their support. And I don't really know how to respond...it seems clear to me that they just don't understand narcissism and want to give her the benefit of the doubt. Is there any way to deal with these people?"

I've found the best way to respond is by saying simply, "I appreciate your concern but this is between my mother and me and I don't care to discuss it." If they press it, tell them directly, "I really don't care to discuss the matter. If you are unable to respect my wishes, then I'm afraid you'll have to leave/I'll have to hang up/I'll have to go/etc."

Most people seem to get the hint and drop it in order to maintain the relationship. Those who don't or won't aren't really worth having around anyway since, clearly, they have their own agendas and aren't interested in your well-being.

Hope this helps!

Anonymous said...

"I have a question for you. I am in the process of going NC with my mother. The trouble, right now, is all the well-meaning bystanders. The people that have NO CONCEPT of a N-mom. I know their opinions shouldn't matter, but I *do* need their support. And I don't really know how to respond...it seems clear to me that they just don't understand narcissism and want to give her the benefit of the doubt. Is there any way to deal with these people?"

It's tough! By bystanders, I don't know if you mean everyone around you or specifically people involved with your NFOO, but I will share some thoughts in case they apply: In my case, I stopped trying too hard to convince others too near the situation about what had really gone on, and why I was absenting myself. The N's are master manipulators, and I found even people in close proximity tended to have NO idea what was going on between the N and me, and so found it unbelievable. And many bystanders are not unbiased: without realizing it, and without choosing sides or anything - they may have been exposed to years of well-placed and well-timed misinformation about the "goodness" of the N [by the N], so your experiences with the N may sound "impossible". Or they may simply think things like that "don't happen" or are just too uncomfortable considering it. And other victims of the same N may be firmly in denial.

For myself I realized it felt way too much like being re-victimized to have people [especially people who knew the N] look at me like I was saying things that made absolutely no sense. Or, I'd have some people actually really listen and seem to 'get it', only to turn around and say that I should "still go home to Thanksgiving though"! {ARGH!!}

For understanding and support, I eventually focused my energies instead on connecting with people outside the N's sphere of influence. This was much better. I keep explanations as brief as possible, [usually in answer to why I am not going "home" on holidays] but I've been surprised at how many people "on the outside" have been accepting and supporting, despite the taboo aspect. Not everyone, but they are out there. Just stay away from people who challenge your version, you don't need to defend yourself, you need most to nurture yourself now.

Good luck!

Sunset said...

Yo. I'm not sure what you mean by 'in the process'. NC means you ARE NOT IN CONTACT...(to me). I found that I 'simply' had to QUIT...just like an addiction.

To clarify on that...I have been limiting contact with her as much as possible. However there a lot of complications; I hadn't fully moved out before deciding to go NC (I'm 20, no job, no car) so I find that I must be in contact with them for various reasons, primarily due to the fact that her house is still listed as my primary residence, something I'm having difficulty with because I technically don't HAVE a permanent residence right now. There's a few other legal/financial entanglements that have to be worked out as well. That is what I meant by "in process."

In reply to other comments:
The people I'm working with now haven't known my mother...the trouble is that they can't seem to understand...I was perhaps a bit of the "golden child" (bleh)...the one she lived out her life and her dreams through. She is indeed suffering from the loss of me...after all it was my job to make sure that all her emotional needs were met! I never really minded her angry half as much as I hated her affectionate moods; she always had to have "one more hug." Just...bleh...I don't know how to explain. There's a sort of sick truth to her saying she "misses me terribly" - she's out her supply.

This is also why I am so concerned about support...like I said I'm only 20. There's just so many things I don't know how to handle. I need to find an apartment, buy a car, etc....I've never done these things and I don't know what to look for! There's just so many things...I'm still young, still a child in some ways...I suppose that's okay? I'm trying to be the adult here, there's just so much I'm not ready for.

Solana said...

To Aravis,

"Have any of you managed to get over that sort of thing, and if yes, any advice?"

Many people have recovered, healed and gone on to live happy, fulfilling lives. It is possible to achieve peace of mind and emotional health.

You are well on the way - the fact that you are aware that your reactions are not normal means that you will be able to leave them behind.

Just keep on doing what you are doing. Be proud of your strength and courage. Not everyone can do what you are doing, or should I say they choose not to.

The rewards are huge, it is definitely worth persisting, even though at times you will be tired and feel like giving up. You will one day see that these people are living life at a very low level, devoid of joy. You will meet people who, like you, are aiming for something better.

Anonymous said...

Aravis,
Keep moving forward, it takes time to get the toxins out of your system, but once that's done your life will be so much better for it.

I had an N friend, we had been friends for years. When anything positive or good in my life occurred, he would make up a false scenario, lie, or physically destroy something to hurt me. It was bizarre to me, that someone who claimed to be my friend couldn't be happy for me. None of my other friends behaved like that. He did something really despicable and it was the straw that broke the camel's back. I made a list of all the rotten things he had done, and the length of the list was surprisingly long. It was a no-brainer, why continue a relationship with this person? I cut him off, I didn't return his calls, answer his letters, threw the flowers he sent in the trash.

I deserve better, and so do you.

-Carrie

GraFXGrl said...

Sunset,

I know how hard it is going NC as an adult living on their on and it has to be even more so for you but you can do it. It does get easier. I just want to say that I am so happy for you though, I wish I went NC @ 20, I lost alot of time by being in the crucible for so long. I'm so glad you are doing this now. I don't know you but I'm so proud of you! That's all I have to say, I'm starting to get sappy!

Anonymous said...

Sunset:

Good luck with getting a car and apt, and you should really give yourself credit for figuring out what's what WHILE you live with an N! It is hard to see the forest for the trees while immersed in their world, so you are doing good in that respect, especially for someone so young.

About explaining N's:

People don't 'get' narcissism because most think it simply means selfish or grandiose. Most people won't understand it to be dangerously destructive to targeted persons. So they equate it with annoyance, not danger to one's being. If you tell most people you have a N in your life, they won't see it as a good enough reason to avoid a family member, and may challenge or attack you and your decisions. You DON'T need that right now!! And most people also don't get "emotional abuse" either. To most people, abuse is the extreme stuff that makes it to the newspapers, and they think emotional abuse is getting yelled at or called names. "Sticks and stones" you know.... so it is not taken seriously. Your description of "one more hug" is emotional abuse, but the average person will not see it that way.

I personally don't bother explaining N or emotional abuse [I used to try!], I just keep things simple when I need to explain things. If I am asked why I don't attend a holiday at "home", I say because I always have a really bad time. I make it about me and the result I experience, vs an explanation of personality disorders and other people. People seem to take simple explanations at face value, and most easily accept it and don't ask for details. Surprisingly, I do get quite a bit of understanding looks when I keep it that simple though, I think many people can REALLY relate. But If I explain narcissism? Or use the word abuse? People cannot relate, unless they've been there AND also faced it for what it really is.

GraFXGrl said...

I thought you guys could appreciate this story. This weekend through a strange serious of events a good friend of mine who did not know about my NC ended up talking to NM. Of course a sob story was given, here is what was told to my friend: dad has cancer, making out his will, haven't heard from me in a year, and am no longer speaking to my brother.

The truth: they are re-doing their will do to moving/selling house, dad has "skin cancers" non-cancerious skin spots removed (runs in the family and not dangerious - one has yet to be cancer), I am still in contact with my brother though we are not extremly close (never were), and I have been NC for less than 6 months.

How's that for streching the truth? Bet they will hear - "you just misunderstood me" -crazy.

Also, after my friend told me what NM said - she said something that floored me - "you wouldn't not talk to your family if you didn't have a good reason"
I have yet to hear this come out of anyone else's mouth. Someone finaly gave my charactor some credit. This person has known me for almost 15 years. But my FOO remains clueless.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Apr 5, 2009 4:44:00 PM Said...

"Just stay away from people who challenge your version, you don't need to defend yourself, you need most to nurture yourself now."

Yes, yes, and yes.

I've been NC with my NFOO for several years. Aside from my nearest and dearest, no one knows I'm NC from my "family." I learned not to expect the world at large to understand, much less support my position. So I stopped asking them to. You don't need anyone's permission or blessing to protect yourself. Despite whatever N brainwashing you were subjected to, you have every right not to allow yourself to be used and abused.

You count. You matter. You decide. Lather, rinse, repeat.

Selfish Ingrate

krl said...

Oh, Sunset....(I'm the 'crabby ol' lady'.)

I so apologize for being harsh. Here's me....dumdum...can't imagine ANYONE trying to face this stuff so early simply because it took ME 55 yrs to wake up....!!!! I DO look back to when I was your age....trying to 'get away'...no knowing how to do it on my own...compromising myself to death to stay off the street in the process. You are so right in sensing that if you 'cut her off'...you will PAY....and you won't get one bit of financial or informational 'help'....no 'leg ups'....I, too, know that it is nigh unto impossible to be 20 and 'just do it yourself'. I didn't....and it took me forever to cut ALL 'strings'. So: MEA CULPA for my 'edgy comments'.

Obviously you are smart...sincere...and have enough sense of 'survival' to know that you don't quite have what you need to enter the BigWideWorld yet. It seems like a 'holding pattern' might be in place for a bit. I don't have much in the way of direction to offer....meanwhile, strengthen yourself with the information and support of this blog. Build yourself in Wisdom and knowledge....pray, if you pray....Look for Guidance...anyone or anything that would enable you to take some little steps...day by day toward your independence. I will be specifically thinking of you, Sunset...in my thoughts and prayers.

Again...This ol' lady is humbled...corrected...and more willing to listen now and not spout off. You take care of yourself as best you can. Find support where you can. Take heart....you will NOT be consumed by your situation.

allison said...

To Sunset:
It's possible that some of the things you have to do sound scary because your NM has made them daunting and scary to you in order to make you "need" her. I find that N's often use this tactic to control people -- it's a type of manipulation.

When N's *act* loving and doting (they often do this with the golden child), they will do everything and never let the GC see what needs to be done so that the GC will always need them to do everything. They want to keep the Golden Child dependent on them for the basic things in life so that they can secure their N supply. For example, my brother is 32, an attorney, is my NM's golden child, and I've heard her tell him before that grocery shopping is really hard and that he won't know how to do it. After hearing this all the time, my brother believes that grocery shopping is difficult and he often tells me that he just gives my NM money to buy groceries for him because he doesn't know what to buy. See the kind of manipulation from the N? They break your confidence about things and then offer to do it for you so that you "need" them.

The N will always describe it in a way that it sounds SO hard and it's really not.

For example, looking for an apartment: first, shortlist places to the ones you can afford, then visit them and if you feel comfortable with the surroundings and the landlord, then it's the right place. But the N will play everything up and make it sound really hard and scary when it's really not.

About people not supporting you in NC: There's a lot of social preconception out there about what a parent is -- because most people don't have N parents. It's like describing the color red to someone who was born blind and has never seen color. The media also further reinforces the idea that all parents are loving, nurturing, and supportive -- and nothing can be further from the truth when the parent is a N. Even when they *act* like they're being caring, in the case of my brother, my NM does things to totally cripple him because she tells him he "won't be able to" do it.

She tried pulling that with me, as well. Told me when I was pregnant that I would "NEVER be able to" raise two children without her help and then proceeded to increase her abusiveness just after saying this -- it was kind of like, "Now I made you think you can't do it, you're going to need me regardless of whether or not I treat you like crap so you're going to have to put up with it because you HAVE to..."

It's all a smoke and mirrors show the N puts on. Don't ever listen to a N telling you that you "can't" do something. Chances are if you just call a few places about anything (like renting an apartment or buying a car), the people who work there will tell you what you need to know.

toni said...

My N sister gets upset thinking people don't deserve happiness and rewards in life. Only she and others who look, think and live as she does deserve good things. She believes women who are overweight don't deserve love because they don't put in the work like she does exercising and that it is fine to divorce a spouse over illness or infertility.

She talked nonstop for months about a woman she met who did not meet her standards but had a handsome, wealthy husband who obviously treasured his wife. NS barely knew the woman but could not let it go - this woman did not deserve this man, because she was imperfect physically and too outgoing.

NS determines the standards for everyone else's relationships, and if they numbers don't match, she will seek to find something wrong with both people, or diminish their relationship in some way. She has said that she knows real love, in such a way that would imply that I and others do not. (How could we? Unlike her, we are too flawed to be worthy of love.) I've heard this from other Ns as well. Psycho NS views the "unequal" relationships as the lesser taking advantage of the greater. This extends even to friendships, jobs, etc., which all must meet the rigid measurements of what the N deems is fair and worthy for each individual.

Anonymous said...

GraFXGrl said...

"dad has "skin cancers" non-cancerious skin spots removed (runs in the family and not dangerous"

Ha! I've gotten this one too! Being told someone "has" cancer, when they are merely having something completely BENIGN removed or checked out. Yes, I have heard stuff like this referred to as undergoing "cancer treatment", when there never was cancer in the first place.

Anonymous said...

Sunset,

My heart goes out to you, and I commend you for your bravery and wisdom at this age. You deserve so much more than what you are enduring right now. Stay strong and know that soon your time will come.

You have a head start on the rest of us and to you I say bravo. I just want to encourage you to really search out places of refuge: local universities or community colleges usually have inexpensive therapy or counseling if you are a student there, and sometimes they are available if you are not a student. Your local YMCA, health center, church, or women's shelter will probably have a bulletin board with various support groups. Search and you will find people who will understand your pain and will encourage you, as opposed to those people who think you are lying and making up things about your Nmom.

And you are at that age that your whole adult life is ahead of you, this really is the beginning. There are options, it is a matter of finding them. Whether it be moving away to go to school (which was my getaway plan, $30K in student loans later and I don't regret it because it gave me the freedom that I needed), or trying to get a job at a company that is open to job transfers. Even places like Costco or FedEx who often hires people with little to no experience, but want someone who is hard working and dedicated, they are notorious for being a well paid job with benefits and are happy to promote from within and transfer employees all over the country (I have a friend who dropped out of high school to have a baby, and after years of being abused by her loser ex, finally got away and got a seasonal job at Costco, moved up the ranks, and 10 years later she is a manager there, raised her daughter alone, and owns a home. There are success stories.). You too will be one of them.

Keep your chin up. And remember, you don't owe anyone an explination. This is your life, not theirs.

- Breaking Free

Zydia said...

"I was thinking about how hostile N's also get when WE are the ones that pay attention to ourselves too."

"This is so typical of the green eyed monster coming out with all of the jealousy and competitiveness that destroys self esteem and self worth. If I so much as treat myself to lunch, a manicure or pedicure, or buy a new pair of jeans, I am met with my MNmom's "How NICE for you that you can do that for yourself" but the tone is full of evil and jealousy, as if I have committed a cardinal sin against her by doing something for myself."


DING! Another hit. My Nmom's phrase: "I guess you DESERVE it, HUH?"

When I bought a new car five years ago, before I even took delivery of it (it was at another dealer and I couldn't get it until after the weekend), she was asking if she could drive it to the mountains. When I told her no, she immediately went out that weekend and purchased a new car for HERSELF - a stick shift that I couldn't drive. Funny thing is, she ended up not being comfortable enough to drive it either, but she HAD to get it before I got mine. Suddenly she altrustically gave it to my Golden N-Sis under the pretense of "helping" her and so she "wouldn't feel left out." (N-sis is chronicallly underemployed.) NMom still declares how much she LOVES that car, even though she now never drives it. She never did drive it to the mountains either.

Anonymous said...

The same N's who have hostile reactions and pull stunts when positive attention is freely [ie - out of their control] given to others, will act differently if that same 'positive' attention can be twisted to cause 'N directed' public embarrassment to the person. I had an N 'friend' who would do things like stop the conversation at dinner parties to make everyone pay attention to her, then she would dramatically recite news of some 'great' thing that I had recently done, on the pretext of "informing" everyone, and basically put all the guests on the spot to congratulate me. She pretended not to notice that this made me squirm in discomfort, or get that her behavior was forced and weird.

My NM used to do the exact same thing. One on one she'd show no support, no interest, no curiosity in something I did, but then a sudden enthusiasm whenever she felt she could use something to put me on the spot publicly as long as it was in an awkward unnatural way. It would kill three birds with one stone: to bring attention to herself - while embarrassing me - AND make her look "supportive" of me and so help her hide the fact that she was actively plotting how to sabotage me every other second.

Another stunt was to direct public attention to me in other ways. In front of dinner guests, I'd be pressured to "tell that story again, the way you did before". All eyes would be on me, and she'd go on and on building it up as if I was some kind of professional storyteller or entertainer: "Go ahead! It was SO FUNNY! Everyone will LOVE IT!"

Or, another variation of her dinner party "attention" abuse:

MN: "tell them YOUR NEWS"

Me: "what news?"

MN: "YOU KNOW!!!! THE YOU KNOW WHAT!!! THE BIG NEWS!!!"

Me: "oh...you mean such and such? Oh, well, blah blah blah blah"

The reason I'd have no idea what she was referring to would be when the so-called "big news" first happened, she didn't show the least bit of interest. The reaction I would get initially from her would be as if I was reading the phone book out loud, so when she'd put me on the spot later I'd sincerely have no idea what she was talking about.

Aravis said...

Thanks everyone who replied to my question of how to get beyond pretending to be normal and feeling it. your words brought tears to my eyes and I am very happy to hear of others who have been able to not feel as if they are putting on some dog-and -pony show as they go through life. I hope to be one of you someday in the next decade.

Sunset, I admire you very much. You have a wisdom far beyond your years. When I was 20 I too said "gee my FOO is major league messed up" but then would convince myself that I was overreacting, or it was not really so bad, or whatnot. You have a huge advantage in one way - you will have far less to recover from over the long haul, since you have probably noticed that most of us here are middle aged or beyond and also have accidentally married sociopaths and then had to escape to save our children from either MN-exes and /or MN-grandparents. You can get help now and not continue to be abused by ending up with MN-friends and such.

I will tell you one thing I tell my kids (14 and 9) - being an adult is WAYYY easier than being young. I remember being in 10th grade and getting the 50-something high school football coach and P.E. teacher for a homeroom teacher, and it was obvious that this man's glory days had been his own varsity high school years - he told us all that "high school is the best years of our lives and we should enjoy it now because it only got worse" - there in that room, we had 30 sophomores looking around for an oven to stick their heads into since if it wasn't getting any better than THAT we may as well check out now.

Poppy cock. My MN-FOO had me so convinced that the world of adults ON YOUR OWN was sooo hard - I actually took my mom with me to buy my first car and I WAS 25 YEARS OLD and 2 months from finishing my doctorate. yeah. I was THAT DELUSIONAL.

Then I got my own car insurance and rented my own place, and you know what - It is SO EASY. I mean, think about it - how hard can this be? Illiterate people with 4th grade educations and English-as-a-second-language who arrive on the shores of North America without a dime to their names do the adult thing every day. Some with kids and other dependants.

It is JUST NOT THAT HARD. Yet your FOO will convince you it is, because that keeps you one-down and dependent and drinking the magic kool-aid. Don't let anyone tell you differently. Did you graduate from high school? That is way harder than being an adult in the realm of renting an apartment, paying taxes, registering a car, getting utilities. You can even do most of this stuff online. Heck, the SATs were harder than getting an apartment.

If you want to go to college - one good way to slowly emerge into the adult world is to apply to an in-state college, and go live on campus. That way your housing and meals are provided and you usually do not need a car. If your college is in a large enough city,(even a town of 15,000 is easily big enough) you can get a part time job within walking distance. You can usually get enough financial aid to pay for this - and if you call the admissions and financial aid office they will hold your hand and walk you through it.
The important bit for breaking free of your FOO is to get an education and a job so you can be financially free forever. ALSO - colleges have student health centers and also health insurance and free mental health counseling centers so you can become enveloped in a new, healthy "family".

If that won't work for you, I believe an earlier poster mentioned working for a company with health benefits and such. Lots of them also offer college tuition. I have many employees who had their college tuition paid entirely by my employer.

You GO GIRL! We are all pulling for you here. I know that one of the most freeing things I figured out when I was about 35 was that *everything my MN-FOO told me was WRONG*. Be very suspicious when getting advice from people who you know are mentally disordered, and who want something from you. Your FOO, if they are like all other MN-FOO. are very much invested in the status quo and will fight to the death to maintain it.

I finally paid off all my student loans when I was 40 and they were well worth the cost of getting away from those who did not wish me well.

Also wanted to say that I made many excuses for the fruits and nuts in my MN-FOO, and after I became a parent myself, I realized that it was all BS. My MN-parents had not been nearly as poorly treated as my sis and I were, by their own parents, yet sis and I managed not to beat up our kids, or allow them to be sexually molested or any of that crap. Raising kids, ALSO is just not that hard. I mean, chimpanzees do it successfully. There is NO EXCUSE for what you are/did endure from your parents. It is absolutely our job to protect, nurture, and care for children and protect them from pyscho family members. Raising kids, is time-consuming, expensive, and many times, insanely boring or aggravating. BUT what it is not, is hard. It is no harder to deal with kids with compassion, dignity, and respect than it is to deal with coworkers and neighbors with courtesy. The reason people are abusive to their children is that they think they can. 100 years ago, it used to be okay to beat up your domestic employees (or any employees) soldiers, wives, and the like. Now, if you do that, you get arrested. If you are verbally abusive, or assault someone in the workplace you get fired and/or arrested. But kids -oh its' okay to abuse them. NOT NOT NOT - Sunset, I wish I could take you out of there, or at least tell you, as someone who is old enough to be your mom, that THERE IS NO EXCUSE. You deserve better. If you can get out, do it. If you cannot right now, start making plans. Start getting together money, contact colleges, look at jobs, and get a car if you can -also look at the classified ads - people are often looking for roommates to share an apartment or a house. You can do this. We are all rooting for you. Please stay in touch. I care.

Anonymous said...

I'm a bit surprised to see a Christian quoting Ayn Rand, who was against all faith and morality emanating from religion. Rand's utopia is populated by narcissists who view selfishness as the end of all human endevour and characters who exist as foils to prove the worthiness of the "winners" -- thus to confirm them in their indifference and egotism "philosophically."

As such it is the fictional-literary version of the (equally fictional) universe the N inhabits, where there are special people whose attention he or she attempts to gain through his or her charms and worthless commoners deserving of scorn.

This is in part the motor behind the N's aggression and character assasinations. He or she needs people below them, they must exist as foils. The "special people" must also exist for whose praise the N exists as the motor for the elevation of his or her ego.

And the children of narcissists end up with anxiety disorders, because it's all or nothing. You're special or you're trash. Every human interaction raises in you the fear that you're the latter.

Anna Valerious said...

I'm surprised it took this long for someone to comment on this. I'm a Christian who doesn't have to only read books which agree with my world view.

You're right. Rand rejected Christianity--but the Christianity she rejected is the same form of it I reject. She just didn't believe that there was a Christianity that was not the perverted form she was rejecting.

The rest of your comment makes no sense. Rand did not purport to represent what you are saying. She had a very deep understanding of what real evil is. So much so, I strongly suspect she was raised by a narcissist and was absolutely rejecting the world view of the narcissist. It is the narcissist who says that people who are productive are selfish if they don't want to have all they've worked for taken away by the leaches of the world. She was simply embracing the accusation (you're selfish for wanting to keep what you've earned by your own sweat and blood) and saying, "yeah, that's right. I'm selfish. Because I want to keep what I've earned, I'm selfish. So be it."

She got stuff right. She got some stuff wrong. But overall there is value enough in the book to merit a read. If you're this judgmental over someone reading a book that isn't on your approved reading list then I'm glad we'll only meet in this context. I'm not a "Randian" simply because I have read her book. I'm a big girl with my own mind who is able to read a book and see the error. I don't have to condemn the whole simply because I don't agree with all her ideas. It's a novel. Fiction. Chillax.

K said...

Sunset, what really helped me during my detaching was having a real good therapist, who helped me transition and provide me with a better parental model. And a good therapist can also help with the practical stuff by offering sensible advise.

It made me feel less alone and I knew there was one grown-up person I could tell everything about the Ns and who believed me.

Hugs, K

PS: Trust your gut though - if the therapist does not make you feel ok, quit. There are nutcases in all professions....

Anonymous said...

"This is in part the motor behind the N's aggression and character assasinations. He or she needs people below them, they must exist as foils. The "special people" must also exist for whose praise the N exists as the motor for the elevation of his or her ego.

And the children of narcissists end up with anxiety disorders, because it's all or nothing. You're special or you're trash. Every human interaction raises in you the fear that you're the latter."


I like this observation very, very much. It is so true in my experience.

I would probably not choose Ayn Rand as a mentor, but the quotation from her is stirring. Christ did actually teach self-sacrifice. This does make it puzzling and difficult for us Christians struggling with disordered personalities (wherever we may find them). My own view is that we are not called to self-sacrifice as our life's PURPOSE. Personal,close communion with the Lord is the best way to understand what He is requiring of us in any given situation.

Dandelion

Anonymous said...

Gee I had to learn how to be “selfish” after being taught and conditioned by those MN’s deciding for me that me needing whatever was selfish.
Turns out that it was not me acting selfish - it was me needing self preservation.
Even that the evil MN’s in my life tried to twist.

SJ

Kathleen said...

I haven't commented at all lately because, quite frankly, I'm out of my league here. I lost my wonderful husband and his family is a bunch of selfish Ns -- and it's easier for me to be NC than all of you. I am so very sorry for all the pain all of you had to endure, especially when you were trusting innocent children.

I do, however, want to comment on Ayn Rand and whether it's appropriate for a Christian to quote her.

Some people claim she herself was a narcissist.

But, Anon, I don't always agree with some of Anna's opinions. That's just the way it is. But I wasn't raised by an NMom. I don't have an NSister. My NC is much easier to accomplish than anyone else's here -- hence, I wouldn't know what I was talking about if I commented on things on which I disagree.

I take from this site what I need to apply to my life, and I leave the rest for others to apply to their lives if they need to. Other people need to hear different things than I need. But I wouldn't judge a Christian because a Christian reads Rand or dances or smokes or has a beer or sometimes just loses it and swears up a blue streak.

If you're a Christian than Anna is your sister, as am I. They'll know us by our love.

- Kathleen

Anonymous said...

Anna, I was reading along all the comments with interest. When I came to your response to anonymous regarding Ayn Rand, I felt vicariously beat up. Talk about "hostile reactions," Anna - I think your response was much more defensive than anon's comments warranted (unless you edited them). Anon was expressing his or her view in a civil way, even if the two of you don't agree on interpreting Rand.

You cracked anon on the shins with your hockey stick much harder than was strictly necessary.

My God. Who's the controlling N?

You lose A TON of credibility in my view when you cannot broach the slightest variance of views. Again, anon expressed him/herself entirely civilly.

Regretting that I allowed you to adversely affect my blood pressure this morning. Grrrr.

Anna Valerious said...

And you lose all credibility by immediately calling me an narcissist when you disagree with something I said and how I said it.

DisturbedAngel said...

Anonymous wrote:

"You cracked anon on the shins with your hockey stick much harder than was strictly necessary.

My God. Who's the controlling N?

You lose A TON of credibility in my view when you cannot broach the slightest variance of views. Again, anon expressed him/herself entirely civilly."

All anyone need do is go back and read through past comments to see clearly that Anna is QUITE capable of both accepting different viewpoints as well as having a mature disagreement.

In my honest opinion, your labeling her as a narcissist simply because you felt she was too harsh in a response makes a mockery of those of us who've had to live with and/or deal with the malignant N's in our lives.

Anna Valerious said...

If my comment was "shin-cracking" and "controlling" then the upshot is that no one can ever disagree with anyone without it being evil, mean, or whatever.

I was reasonable and substantive in my response. I didn't crack anyone's shins simply by pointing out that the commenter was being judgmental. It was the truth.

The accusation of being controlling is so ludicrous and childish. I cannot control anyone by writing on my blog. To assert that I can is beyond rational and well into hyperbole.

And to try to describe my behavior as being a "hostile reaction" and thereby trying to paint me as a narcissist is to paint all "hostile reactions" as proof of narcissism. The title of the blog post is "Hostile reaction to attention given others"...not "hostile reaction" period sans specific context. This abbreviation of the definition was done deliberately to try to misrepresent my reaction and stick an unfair label on me. And I'm hostile? Hardly. The accusation rests on the one who made it. I was direct.

I actually have read the book. The criticizer obviously hasn't...else how could they condemn me for reading it? So, that means they were taking someone else's word for what the book contained. I rationally and calmly pointed out the truth of the book's message. If that is "shin-cracking" then so be it. I don't subscribe to the "cult of nice" where everyone's stupid, half-assed and ill-informed opinion holds equal weight with an informed one.

Disturbed Angel: thank you for your well stated comment. You have stated my own view on this type of thing. It does trivialize what real victims of narcissists have gone through to throw around the label of "narcissist" whenever someone holds a strong opinion in opposition to their own. Holding a strong opinion is not, by any definition, a proof of narcissism. Ayn Rand herself has been mischaracterized as a narcissist by some because she held to very strong political opinions that they don't agree with. I will state this flatly...she could have never written the book she did and been a malignant narcissist. This is the well-informed opinion of someone who doesn't ever go off half-cocked and throws a label of "narcissist" onto whomever I disagree with. People who do that show a complete lack of knowledge of what narcissism really is. Which is why I stand by my statement that the commenter who leveled the "N" charge at me has lost every ounce of credibility with anyone who knows what malignant narcissism really is.

DisturbedAngel said...

Anna wrote:

"Disturbed Angel: thank you for your well stated comment. You have stated my own view on this type of thing. It does trivialize what real victims of narcissists have gone through to throw around the label of "narcissist" whenever someone holds a strong opinion in opposition to their own. Holding a strong opinion is not, by any definition, a proof of narcissism. Ayn Rand herself has been mischaracterized as a narcissist by some because she held to very strong political opinions that they don't agree with. I will state this flatly...she could have never written the book she did and been a malignant narcissist. This is the well-informed opinion of someone who doesn't ever go off half-cocked and throws a label of "narcissist" onto whomever I disagree with. People who do that show a complete lack of knowledge of what narcissism really is. Which is why I stand by my statement that the commenter who leveled the "N" charge at me has lost every ounce of credibility with anyone who knows what malignant narcissism really is."

You're most welcome Anna. Having read through all the archives not all that long ago myself, I've seen for myself that you are most capable of having a civil disagreement even when dealing with some very UN-civil individuals (and, for the record, I was speaking of past confrontations).

As for N's having strong opinions, in the case of my NM she seems to be quite the opposite. She may come off as strong at the time but her opinions change as frequently as the weather. One day she'll be for something and a few days later, she's for something else which is often the exact opposite of her previous stance. Don't know if that's characteristic of N's in general but it's definitely the case with my NM! ;o)

DA

Aravis said...

Kathleen said: "If you're a Christian than Anna is your sister, as am I. They'll know us by our love".

I'm not a Christian, but can I be your sister, too?

The Bible has lots of great quotes and wisdom. Shakespere's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" is totally pagan and I've quoted from that, and it doesn't make me a follower or Greek or Roman polytheism.

Here is a great one (Bible): The Earth trembles beneath the feet of the slave who is elevated to king.

That's what it feels like to finally be able to be true to oneself. Finally you are not in bondage to the MNs and you can speak freely and stop spouting and appeasing the dysfunctional FOO's mythology; stop propping up the Ns, and stand tall and proud and say "The Emperor Has No Clothes".

habace said...

There is no doubt whatsoever that Ayn Rand was raised by a narcissist (or two) but there is also no doubt that she was one of the most malignant narcissists ever to walk the earth. Your admiration of her is ironic and shows unfortunately that you were well trained by your mother. You need to work a bit on that moral compass. I speak as another daughter of another narcissist. Seriously, take a good long hard look at her and work out what attracts you to her writing. And get rid of it. See online Slate magazine, How Ayn Rand Became an American Icon: The perverse allure of a damaged woman. By Johann Hari
Monday, Nov. 2, 2009,

Anna Valerious said...

I don't admire Rand. I found her book interesting. She gets some things right. Who she was as a person, I don't know. I recently read something about her personal life that certainly did make it appear she was a malignant narcissist. But can people separate things out at all? I was talking about her book, not her as a person. I didn't know her as a person..I was only judging what she wrote in ONE of her books. And it wasn't a resounding endorsement of her every thought and statement, for Pete's sake. I think Objectivism is highly flawed and would never subscribe to it. My moral compass is fine, thank you.

Lol said...

This is such a superb web site and blog Anna and it explains so much. I am 50 and have found out in the past 2 years that my mother is a MN. She has caused so much damage especially to my brother and me. She is now 70.

I have known that her behaviour has not been right for about 20 years but not know about the label of MN. I am about the only one who has stood up to her and as such she has lead a smear campaign against me for the past 20 years. Before that i just suffered as a child of a destructive MN.

My brother is single, no friends and leads a very lonely life. His only friend is my mother. He didn't realise until recently the real truth about my mother and how cunningly manipulative she is.

All her 4 sbilings have a fear of her as she can be very evil behind someones back, but never to their face.

She hates other women and was very unpleasant about my children as babies until they grew older and then she realised they were handsome children. God knows what bitchiness would have happened if they hadn't been. She is totally obsesssed by appearance and is a massive snob. I have gone no contact. However we don't stop the children from emailing but they don't do it that often.

This week she talked about my cousin in an email to my son. The cousin is having a baby and my mother said how she adores little babies and can't wait.
I nearly exploded in rage as this is such bullshit and she will peddle this to family and friends.

She has been so appalling to my children when they were babies, saying very mean things behind our backs. She was mean about my brother, always saying he was an ugly baby.

I have refrained from sending an angry email as this will be turned against me. What can I do. I am very angry. Its the continual drip, drip of lies, deceipt manipulation, envy, snobbery, and downright evil that gets to me.

I don't want to stop my children from emailing and I hesitate to play into her hands with an angry email back. Its almost as if she knows she is lying and enjoys the blatant lie.

I have just read about the intelligently formed email in the posts. maybe that is the way to go.

Gotcha said...

I've left my N-spouse and have miraculously found a wonderful, uncomplicated man who hates Ns as much as I do. My new man and I are buying a house together. I was telling my N-mother about it, and all she could say was 1) a big house like that will cost a lot to furnish; 2) a big house like that will cost a lot to heat and cool; 3) it's going to be dirty all the time because you won't have the energy to clean such a big house; 4) you won't be able to do anything all weekend but keep that yard up...

There ya go.

Robert said...

I was married to a narcissistic woman for 14 years. I have 3 children. I have recently been divorced from her and it wasn't until after the separation and seeing her for who she really is, understanding personality disorders and specifically NPD that I realized just how manipulative she was for all those years. It was kind of a hard awakening - as I consider myself a bright and astute individual who has a good job. I was taken for $200,000 I didn't have as she manipulated assets. She has residential custody of the kids which is the worse thing about this. I wish I could go NO CONTACT, but I play on just being there for my children and picking up the pieces she leaves of them. Which I know she will. She is the most worthless of human beings.

While earning a six figure income last year, she collected child support and rental income from an apartment in the house my parents bought for us (which she cleverly manipulated to be her own). On top of all of this, with positive cash flow in to her bank account of $10,000 a month - she also collected 6 months of food stamps from the government. Which explained how she was having dinner parties with filet mignon while I ate pancakes for dinner and live with my parents at 35 years old. She had two men she met online move in with her in 2009. One of them she met on www.sugardaddyforme.com.... no joke.

I hope someday the world sees her for who she really is.

Anna Valerious said...

Wow, Robert. I'm very sorry to hear how a narcissist has managed to screw you over with the help of divorce lawyers, judges and god knows who else in the system. Thank you for being there for your kids. As much as you've lost they stand to lose even more if someone isn't there to help them out of the insanity. Hang in there. Wishing you the best.

janda said...

My Father was a narcissist and my grown daughter is also a narcissist. She learned well from her Grandfather how well being narcissistic works to get your way while intimidating and having power over others, especially me. She is now in her early 40's and has ber first child, a two yr old boy, that is the sweetest and most adorable child. She uses him as a threat to get me to do what she wants or give her what she wants. It is heartbreaking to know that to stay clear from her I must walk away from my only Grandchild that I adore. I also fear for him what his life will be like, and there is nothing I can do about it. She has made my life living hell, just as my father did most of my life. I always read that narcissism is caused by a mother that is cold or withholding of love, but that is not the case in this situation. I believe it is hereditary, or at the very least, learned by example! I am trying to not feel the pain of her anger and withholding of my Grandson from me, as I hate for her to have the power to control my happiness. I have always bent over backwards and walked on egg shells to try to have a good relationship with her and it is hopeless. I am just a fool that she thinks she can manipulate, use, and abuse at will. She knows that she and her son are my only family, and that has given her great power over me forever. I am just so tired, I have decided that I have a new montra concerning her disorder. I am giving up on her, totally. The montra I tell myself is; "Sometimes you give up on someone not because you don't care, but because you realize that they don't." I can not bear to think of what will happen to my grandchild, but she won't let me see him right now and probably ever, so I am going to have to learn to live with it.

Boo said...

Wedding story, tick.
Christmas presents, story -tick
I.relate to all of these. Actually, not only with NM, but also my own father at my wedding didn't say a word about me. NOT ONE. He stood there & talked about his friends who were there, etc.
Even when i was dressed before we git in the wedding car to go to the church, i asked him if i looked ok. He said, yeah you look move, & went back to reading the paper (revelation)
My MIL& SIL (GF of BIL to be) acted all entitled. MIL said to DH (to be) if SIL isn't on the top table, don't expect his bro (best man) to be.
DH stood firm tho. (night before wedding)
Having trust issues with everyone as i seem to attract N's in my life.
Even my NM said to me about my wedding dress "you can do better" when i showed her a pic (she had internet chat to do rather than go with me on the day)
In hindsight i had N's all around me... No wonder i class my wedding as a disaster, surrounded by so many sabouteurs!
What i wanted to say was, my kids ask me what i think they should do when they grow up...
Be happy. Choose something you love to do & pursue it.