Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Narcissist and Self-Loathing

In the comments section of the post on self-esteem vs. self-respect I made this statement,

I have been witness to both. I have seen what were obviously real periods of self-loathing by Ns. I have also seen the theatrical versions. The "feel" of the fake version is quite different to the observant witness.
I was asked to explain the difference between the faked self-loathing and the real demonstrations. I will try.

First, it is important to not mistake a malignant narcissist's self-loathing as being connected with remorse. Do they have regrets? Oh, yes. But not for your sake. Only for their own sake. They only regret not getting what they think they deserve.

Sam Vaknin, the most verbose of narcissists, contends that narcissists are, "immersed in self-loathing and self-pity. He is under duress and distress most of his waking life." Ref. Cry me a frakking river. Life is tough when you're always on the run from reality. If you read Vaknin's answer to the question "Is the Narcissist Ever Sorry?" (link above) you get treated to an eyeful of self-pity and a wide dodge of the general question itself. Whatever.

Here's the deal. A malignant narcissist's life sucks. I'll grant Vaknin's point on that. But his self-loathing, however briefly experienced, is earned. It is the narcissist's just desserts for being so despicable in his treatment of others and even how he treats himself. I wish a narcissist was constantly tortured by self-loathing, but the truth is, they aren't. The narcissist's self-loathing is very intimately connected with self-pity. They only really hate themselves when they aren't getting what they want! The narcissist's sense of self-loathing is very quickly turned into being the fault of someone else or the fault of circumstance. In practical reality this means they don't truly feel self-loathing. It is a fleeting thing instantly transferred into his wallow of self-pity. Boo hoo. Never waste your pity on a narcissist...they have plenty of that for themselves.

Here is what the evidence tells me: narcissists never feel self-loathing to any real depth or degree. I believe it is more of a dispassionate observation they make about themselves devoid of the crushing emotion we associate with the term.

I saw a very good demonstration of this in a movie recently. It was a period piece titled, "Daniel Deronda". A movie I liked, by the way. There are two characters in the film who are narcissists. Well, one is most definitely a narcissist...the other is well on her way to being totally corrupted. The female, younger and very narcissistic character, Gwendolyn Harleth, more than once dispassionately admits to her heartlessness, her corrupt character, her utter selfishness, her abuse and use of others. It was intriguing to see her admit to these flaws of character without a tinge of discernable shame or remorse. Or any real emotion. It was just a fact she was stating with no more emotion than we would quote statistics. This I found a very accurate representation of the utterly self-involved. I have seen this type of admission in narcissists which has always lacked emotional depth. It is just an undeniable fact that the narcissist may sometimes be willing to admit. They are not feeling the pain of having inflicted pain on you even if you get such an admission from them.

If they do feel the pain of self-loathing it is inextricably linked to their own self-interests and their ever-present self-pity. It is about how they are down on their luck. It is about how they can't support their sense of grandiosity at the moment and therefore are feeling persecuted by the universe. It is about how unfair everyone and every thing is and how the narcissist doesn't have what they deserve. Of course, in their minds they deserve what they want, not what they get.

Okay. So, down to the difference between a real demonstration of self-loathing and a faked one. In my opinion you can detect the difference between the two in the level of emotion involved in the expression. Is there a lack of emotion in the admission? Or are you being treated to a full display of tears, weeping and gnashing of teeth?

The more emotion displayed the bigger fake you're witnessing

The more dispassionate the expression, the closer you are to seeing a narcissist acknowledging a truth about themselves.

But, again, this self-loathing is greatly tempered for the narcissist. He or she has powerful defenses against truly feeling the depth this emotion would call forth in someone who isn't a malignant narcissist. The narcissist's ever-present self-pity and sense of absolute entitlement blunt their ability to really feel the self-loathing they should be experiencing. They relate to it as we relate to a scientific fact. It is an intellectual assent to the truth but it never gets down to the seat of their emotions. It can't. They have rendered themselves unable to truly feel anything. Like Vaknin says somewhere else, narcissists confuse their wants with emotions. That simple statement hints at the enormous mis-wiring the brain of the narcissist has been subject to. Let's be clear...this re-wiring was a job the narcissist did on their own brain. Temper your pity with that fact.

The upshot of this is that the narcissist never truly experiences self-loathing in the way we would. It is a very different experience for the malignant narcissist than for you or me. When a decent person with an uncorrupted conscience feels self-loathing it is intensely excruciating because the decent person won't allow themself to shift the blame to someone or something else. They have to feel the full force of the emotion. Hence, we are actually capable of feeling the full spectrum of painful emotions normally associated with the term 'self-loathing'. Which is one reason I spit on Vaknin's appeal to the 'pain' the narcissist is always in. I only wish he was in more pain.

The narcissist, of course, is sure that no one has ever felt pain they way they feel it. They have no idea that only a decent, good-hearted and empathetic person with a fully functioning conscience is capable of feeling the depths of human emotions be they happy or negative emotions. He gives himself far too much credit for being able to feel anything. And there is no nobilty in feeling self-pity. Anyone can feel sorry for themselves. Only decent people can rise above self-pity without trampling someone else to get there. The narcissist assuages his self-pity by finding another source, i.e. victim, to give him what he wants.

I'll quote a larger portion of Vaknin from the same reference above,

But he has a diminished capacity to empathise, so he rarely feels sorry for what he does. He almost never puts himself in the shoes of his "victims". Sure, he feels distressed because he is intelligent enough to realise that something is wrong with him in a major way. He compares himself to others and the outcome is never favourable. His grandiosity is one of the defence mechanisms that he uses to cover up for this disagreeable state of things. But its efficacy is partial and intermittent. The rest of the time, the narcissist is immersed in self-loathing and self-pity. He is under duress and distress most of his waking life. In a vague way, he is also sorry for those upon whom he inflicts the consequences of his personality disorder. He knows that they are not happy and he understands that it has something to do with him. Mostly, he uses even this to aggrandise himself: poor things, they can never fully understand him, they are so inferior. It is no wonder that they are so depressed. (from Narcissism FAQ #14: Is the Narcissist Ever Sorry)

The stench from this load of self-serving crap is damn near overwhelming. Please read his words carefully. Even though he uses the term "self-loathing" there is not one description of true self-loathing in his self-serving answer. It is all self-pity. The most he hates himself for is that he's in pain from his lack of getting what he wants. Your pain? It is a vague concept to him. It is nearly not an entity of any form to his mind. It is incidental at best.

My conclusion of this topic is that the narcissist is completely incapable of true self-loathing. The only pain he'll let himself feel is the pain of being denied what the selfish little three year old wants. Take away his toy and watch the tears and tantrums and self-pity begin.

He saves all his loathing for the poor victims of his predations and abuses. He can loathe you utterly...meaning having complete disdain and disregard for you as a person. As for himself, he only loathes momentarily...right before he shifts into a full blown pity party. Big, fat babies.

Obligatory icon credit


Anonymous said...

So True. My Nf is like this. My Nm has always thought highly of herself. I don`t remember ever seeing her in a self-loathing state. I finally had realized one day that everything that they did, that it was always about them. It`s not because they loved me or anyone else.

Anonymous said...

I don't believe I've ever observed genuine self-loathing in an N. Astounding self-pity certainly, but nothing in the vicinity of real disgust with themselves. They simply aren't capable of it.

And even though they feel their version of emotional pain when they don't get what they want, it does present an opportunity to star as the innocent victim in their latest melodrama. It's morbidly fascinating to watch them play that role, especially when you know the real story. The over-the-top theatrics, lies, complete denial of reality... it would be funny, except that it isn't.

Great post, Anna. Keep shining that light!

Anonymous said...

My N friend would shop for himself at expensive department stores, he thought nothing of buying a $200 shirt for himself. At Christmas he would venture into Old Navy to buy me a sweater. Would he ever purchase something for himself at Old Navy? Of course not, but it was good enough for me.

He attended a coworker's 50th birthday party. The man was a cigar aficionado, and my N bought him cheap drugstore cigars as a gift. The next day, my N told me that the birthday boy took him aside and thanked him profusely for the cigars, that they were the best he's ever had.

The sense of grandiosity was remarkable. And his deluded cheap cigar story- most people in his income bracket would have been embarassed to give a colleague a box of White Owls. But he wasn't, he even went as far as to pat himself on the back for a job well done. There is no such thing as remorse, regret, or compassion for others. We're just bit players, and he's the star of the movie. The narcissist's top priority is himself, everyone else is an afterthought.

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

"my N told me that the birthday boy took him aside and thanked him profusely for the cigars, that they were the best he's ever had."

Five bucks says that the Bday boy was lying to him. If you know what to do, Ns are easy to manipulate.

As for self-loathing, it's more based on internally KNOWING that they're not their false image, which is another way of saying that it's simply because they didn't get what they want. Yup. Self-pity, and that's actually something a lot of the OTHER PDs tend to have.

It's getting to the point to where I don't care if it's self-love, self-loathing, self-respect/lack thereof/, whatever. It doesn't stop them from doing whatever it is they do.

Anonymous said...

Interesting comment- so, what is in a heart. At the time, I interpreted it as the N being smug that he bought cheap cigars for this guy, who (in his twisted mind) was too stupid to realize they were an inferior product. He got away (again) with treating an unsuspecting person like crap. He once gave a pound box of Godiva chocolates to his boss' secretary for Christmas, knowing full well she had joined Weight Watchers. He could have given her flowers, but sabotaging her diet was much more fun.

Anonymous said...

My take on the Cigar "confession" is that he was lying when he told you the story.
The story makes the Cigar afficianado look like a Cigar dummy because he could be so fooled. The N is counting on the Cigar guy being a normal person who wouldn't mention how cheap the gift is, the perfect victim. So, the N wins again by giving a malicious gift and apparently smearing this guys rep as a cigar expert.

They lie so much that this was my first thought when you told the story. I'm probably wrong cause I'm wrong all the time, but did it never cross your mind he could be lying?

Anonymous said...

Actually, he did lie quite a bit so it's entirely possible, I originally wondered if cigar guy even bothered complimenting him, or if he just made it up. I thought that your point about smearing this guys rep as a cigar expert was genius. But like you said, either way- the N "wins". It just blows my mind that someone would approach gift giving with such a twisted agenda, while making the appearance of looking like a good guy.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for this post, Anna. I hope this doesn't veer off course too much. I'm only bringing up'feelings' and 'emotions' in general because it takes both of those to suffer. 'Self-loathing' is suffering. They DO NOT 'suffer' like we do. They don't feel or see ANYTHNG like we do.
Actually, I DO remember over the years wondering why Nmom seemed almost 'vacant' when she spoke of feelings....yours, mine, theirs...whatever. It was like she had tossed an object out there on the coffee table that we talked ABOUT. I wondered a bit about 'what was missing'. Hence, I learned NOT to express any emotion with any depth....a couple of times I did...(Once when my first husband was killed in a car accident....I was 19...and had only been married 5 months.....and broke down and just sobbed....and she firmly told me "Don't be dramatic, now!".) So, ANY 'display' (she called it) of emotion was 'dramatic'....and not acceptable. Except for HER issues....those were 'legitimate'. What an empty shell she is. Yes...and yet if you were around her she doesn't SEEM unemotional...she's always intense about politics and religion and 'the abuse, you know....your father, you know'...Any of these subjects she is busy setting you up to have a good come uppance if you speak your mind. I always thought she was kind of emotionless because of her family...her history...but, I've seen my aunts and uncles....and though you can 'see' some of the damage done, all but one of Nmoms siblings aren't like that.

I've watched Nmom's eyes 'vacate' when she talks ABOUT 'not being a good mother'. (She 'didn't know how and no one 'helped' her'. BS. I showed her how and I 'helped' her!) There is no emotion when she talks about these things. It is more like now that it is obvious to everyone that she has to say something so no one attacks her. But there is no remorse behind any her words. She heats up pretty good when it shifts to who is to blame for all her failures however.

Vacant. Best word I can come up with for how she seems when she is talking about anything that would have most of us in tears, or wrench our hearts, or our guts, etc. Try watching an emotional movie with an N. I don't mean something 'soppy'...and perhaps stupid...I mean, something with some real wrench in it...and watch them watch it. Hmmmm.

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

Cigar stuff: Well, it's all possible, but Cigar man might be used to dealing with Ns, so knows how to deal with Ns accordingly. I read on Johanna's site that if an N gives a gift, you're supposed to say how much you love it. Something like that.

As for the N, it wouldn't surprise me if he were lying.

Anonymous said...

I also don't believe the SV story of N's almost always being "under duress and distress". Maybe when the N's game is tanking badly, but usually what I see is that the N is the one that is thriving and the targets are the ones stressed out and suffering collateral damage like depression, confusion, anxiety and so on. Which perversely only gives more ammunition to the N, who can point to that and "prove" that they deserve the lesser status/treatment that they've been giving them. Um, even though that's what causes it.

Good food for thought in this post. I have seen a few glimpses of what I took to be N self-loathing, but they never lasted long and as you say were always spurred on by supply issues, not any real remorse or meaningful awareness or desire to change. So that makes it far more like self pity or just simple confusion at entitlement not happening. In each of the instances I observed, the gears shifted pretty quickly - in one case to blame and anger towards an innocent person, the other into grandiose fantasy solutions.

And the fake self-loathing I've seen was all soon proven to be an obvious set-up: like an out of the blue apology that is followed by a worse accusation or bizarre request or whatever. The old "come closer so I can slap you" kind of apology, just to get your guard down.

Anonymous said...

So true. My favorite article on this is HERE

My last (EX) N-friend, when I found out all the criminal crap he was up to claimed I was "hurting his wife, kids & family" by going to the police and other authorities. Boo hoo hoo....

My ex-N husband spent $1000s of dollars on himself, his sports equipment but if I needed $5 for milk? You'd have thought I wanted a kidney.

Vaknin really makes me ill. He mentally twists victims and his crap is all over the net so any poor victim looking for answers can't help but be suckered in (hopefully temporarily)

Unknown said...

I just stumbled across your site and want to thank you... seriously thank you. I've been manipulated and made to feel crazy and that somehow everything was my fault. My dear friend gave me a slap in the face and I started searching. I found many sites but this one has kept me reading and reading in agreement. I had always suspected that my significant other was bipolar... or some sort of personality issue. I didn't really know that there was a specific definition. His "down" times or self loathing are only when he has either not gotten his way or if he thinks that someone sees him or his actions other than admirable. All of his actions are totally self serving. I could go on and on, but won't. I just want to thank you for sharing.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous was saying how her nm had no emotion, just vacant. I can totaly relate. My nm has no sense of humor(neverlaughs), void of emotions,vacant. I got hurt one time by my nb and was crying right in front of her and she had no emotion towards me. She just made an excuse for my nb, as usual. To them, it is a weekness to have emotions. My nd and nm have no empathy towards me at all. Only malice and illwill. It`s hard for most people to believe me when I tell them(I don`t say anything much to people anymore). I was trying to tell one person that they don`t care about me or my family(this is after my eyes became wide open after a hellish 3 year ordeal with them). People on the outside just don`t get because they think that your parents could never treat you that bad. They need to get over their self-rightous know it all attiudes.

Anonymous said...


I'm sure you heard about the little girl, Caylee Anthony, who is missing in Florida. Her mother, Casey, screams malignent N [sociopath] - just like Scott Peterson did - same MO.

They mentioned on the news that her own mother called her a psychopath/sociopath. They also mentioned on the news that Casey and her mother have a twistetd relationship - a lot going on there. Any thoughts on this case in juxaposition to N?

There should be two books to buy when you are pregnant - "What to expect when you are expecting" and "How NOT to raise a N-child"

Thank you for your blog, Anna!

Dee said...

" There should be two books to buy when you are pregnant - "What to expect when you are expecting" and "How NOT to raise a N-child" "

Actually, there is one, it's called, " Just Like His Father? A Guide To Overcoming Your Child's genetic Connection To Antisocial Behavior, Addiction & ADHD" by Dr. Leedom. I plan on getting it asap as I am seeing some disturbing narcissistic traits in my teenage son (also ADD) that I want to deal with before it's too late. while I am not narcissistic, my father is a full blown sociopath and I believe there is a genetic predisposition to sociopathy. I only wish I had known all of this much sooner, for my son's sake.

Anonymous said...

"Try watching an emotional movie with an N."

krl, you raise an interesting point, My ex, who my counselor is pretty sure is an N, would never watch an emotional movie. Refused. If an emotional scene was on tv he would make sure it was turned off or the channel was changed. I always suspected that he just couldn't understand what was going on in the scene. He couldn't tolerate real people expressing emotion either, of course.

Anonymous said...

Cigar story: Ns are completely incapable of grasping sarcasm. I imagine the recipient saying this to the N in front of a group of fellow cigar aficionados, who surely would be choking with suppressed laughter. The joke being on the N, of course.

Anonymous said...

I admit for the N in my family I've never actually seen any sign of sincere self loathing. Not in nearly two decades of being forced to live with her growing up, even sharing the same room.

The closest I've ever seen to a spark of real human emotion was when she tried to *physically* beat the crap out of me by attacking from behind while I was off guard sitting down. I wasn't nearly such the easy target she took me for. If I had to guess she ever had an honest emotion in her life, it was fear then and there -- because she wasn't in control of the situation like she had planned.

Of course, it was quickly replaced with rage and the new revision of reality -- that I was trying to choke her. She even used her nails to make marks on her neck to go show the parents to "prove" it. (And I kept my nails so short that she'd have bruises long before cuts from nails... but common sense and reality weren't her strong suits.)

Anyway, a bit tangental to your post, but thought I'd throw my two cents out there. Thanks for letting me rant!

Anonymous said...

"If I had to guess she ever had an honest emotion in her life, it was fear then and there -- because she wasn't in control of the situation like she had planned."

Most Ns are cowards. Vakin is actually right about that. There's exceptions, but the norm is that they're cowards. Attacking from behind? Sure fire sign of a coward.

"but common sense and reality weren't her strong suits"

Figures. You speak of her in the past tense though, so she's out of your life, right? I hope so. Heh.

Anonymous said...

I like you Anna. You're one tough, smart woman. I admire your strength, courage, stalwartness in the face of years of adversity and conflict inflicted on you by your family.

I've had a similar childhood as I was born from the loins of a psychopathic father. I never liked him as he oozed evil from his pores. I also never feared him but was completely indifferent to him. I flat out refused to acknowledge him as a parent as my beloved mother was the one who nurtured us, cared for us, fed us, comforted us when we were sad or hurt.

He died last year from lung cancer. He died in prison where he has spent the last 20 years, surrounded by men just like him: EVIL.

Well, what's done is done and can't be undone. I have spent most of my lifetime pondering, ruminating, diligently trying to understand what he was. Not until I read Robert Hare's "Without Conscience...." was I able to put a defining term to his disorder.

The clouds parted, the sun emerged and I could finally expend a huge breath of relief. The mystery was solved and me, my sisters, and my mother were absolutely NOT responsible for his wrongness. And it was time to put his corpse to rest (sorry for being morbid, but that's how it felt).

When I started reading your blog, I instantly became energized, vindicated, believed and understood. I have spent years, I mean YEARS striving to reconcile my gentle, caring, compassionate, generous nature with the fighter in me. You have shown me that it is not only possible, but essential to be a warrior, a warrior for Christ, our merciful beloved Savior, a warrior for the truest of justice against any and all evil that insidiously and overtly pervades our beautiful planet.

I was reminded the other day on a ministry health website that we are to be IN this world, not OF this world, which I can now comprehend eloquently.

We are fighting a spiritual war here in the material realm, but this war will continue even when we die and return to our Father in Heaven.

I think we're just testing out our wings with the battle we, the faithful and good, have chosen to fight in the Lord's name here on Earth.

Like you, I strive to recognize, defy and denounce evil every minute I'm allowed to material life.

You're a wonderful, beautiful (inside and out...I saw your pic) HUMAN woman and I am honored to be able to read your lovely, educational, fierce blog always.

You ROCK, Anna!! :)


Anonymous said...

What do you think of Asperger's syndrome?

Anonymous said...

Vaknin's stuff needs to be taken with a grain of salt, since he claims to himself be a narcissist. So what you get in his texts are some interesting introspective insights coupled with the N's typical bunk. But it's plausible as an explanation that the exagerated self-worth of a narcissist is just the other side of the hidden face of the coin, which is self-loathing. I don't claim to understand the psychodynamics and I don't really care what the genesis of narcissism is. I do not pity Narcissists as a rule, but always have compassion for their victims, who are utterly ravaged. I prefer to focus on them and not on throwing a pity party for their tormentors.

Anonymous said...

Vaknin's OWN WORDS reveal the TRUE reason he has those sites on MSN and HealthyPlace where he "helps" victims:

"'There is nothing to be learned from the answers to these questions because each individual has her own threshold. No, I simply enjoy the momentary ability to inflict traumatic pain (emotional pain - I am not the physical type and will never harm a woman physically). It is as close as I can get to omnipotence. It is the perfect gender revenge.'.......

'As a Jew I would have done the same to Nazis. As a victim of a woman, I celebrate with unrestrained glee my ability to degrade women, to humiliate them, to frustrate them, to make them beg for life itself, for they see their (often imagined) relationship with me as life itself. This is why I abstain from sex. This is why I dazzle them with my intellect and charm and wit and knowledge, with unprecedented intrusive interest in their petty, boring, housewivish lives - and then I let go abruptly. At this stage, they are so brittle, so vulnerable that they crash to a million shreds with the crystalline sound of agony.'"

Enough to send you running screaming huh?

Anonymous said...

Have a look at this budding narcissist:

Even with the long hair, skirt, child's face, and child's voice (which hasn't deepened yet), something about the way this child talks and moves still tells you right out he's a boy. It goes to show that the moonbats only see the skin-deep and nothing deeper.

Anonymous said...

Sam Vaknin's full of $#!7:

For example, his _doctorate_ is from Pacific Western University, an unaccredited diploma mill, and doesn't even have anything to do with psychology.

Dee said...

"What do you think of Asperger's syndrome?"

I know that you are probably asking this because of the apparent self centerdness of those with autism, but there is a huge difference between that and the same from a sociopath. Autism is in the spectrum of pervasive personality disorders in which the afflicted individual cannot develop the social skills we all take for granted due to the way in which their brains are hardwired. It becomes apparent that something is wrong by the age of two and affects their ability to communicate. They cannot understand the nuances of language or body language (facial expressions, for example), in any meaningful way, like the sociopath, but the sociopath will pick up on these things eventually by studying people and then use it like a tool to get what he or she wants.
Autistic persons may seem aloof and uncaring, but this is not the case. They just have huge obstacles in front of them when it comes to being able to socialize in ways we consider "normal" due to the deficits in the way they process the information their senses receive. These deficits are at the root of the problem for them, and there is no malice in their intentions, unlike the sociopath. One difference that is quite compelling is their utter inability to lie, as opposed to sociopaths, who seem to lie compulsively, and with malicious intentions.
I would strongly suggest reading anything about autism by the author Temple Grandin. She herself is a high functioning autistic with a PhD in animal husbandry. She's an amazing woman who has overcome the disability that is autism to enlighten the rest of us on what is really going on inside their heads, and how they really feel, and believe me, they do feel.

Anonymous said...

Another brilliant post Anna! Your mind is razor sharp and it is a beautiful thing to see you cut through the crap of the N.

As for Vaknin, I've attempted to read his writings but frankly his words make my skin crawl. His site is as disordered as his character. Besides, as far as I'm concerned evil is insanity and I don't give credence to the words of sick minds.

Now, back to the words of a healthy, brilliant mind deeply rooted in reality. Anna, you wrote, "If they do feel self-loathing it is inextricably linked to their own self-interests and their ever present self-pity".

I have a MN Mother, Father and Sister and I can tell you that the prevailing feeling I had about these three weirdos (until I started to heal) was pity. In fact, I was raised to feel sorry for them and to try and make them feel better. To steal some words from a line you once wrote Anna, it makes me cringe to think what a kind sap I was to these vile freaks.

My Dad was this pathetic drunk sitting in a chair feeling sorry for himself and self-medicating til he passed-out. My Mother was always seething with anger, jaw clenched and lying on the couch staring at the ceiling, while my sister was either having a tantrum or locked in her room. It sicken me to think that my constant focus growing-up in that home was their emotional state and what I could do to make them feel better. Oh My God!!! When I think about the way I had to feed their egos and baby them I want to hurl!!

My sister had a minor handicap and this was used to make me feel bad. The MN Mother actually took me out of activities that I succeeded at and got attention for (of course, outside the home) because, "It makes your sister feel bad". No lie.

When I was out of that home, MN Mother once called me up bawling because someone my sister knew had told her that they thought I was really pretty. This comment sent MN sis in to hysterics and MN Mother was so upset because she felt so bad for MN daughter. She actually implied that it was my fault that my sister felt so bad. Of course she did.

MN Mother went on to say, "I don't want what happened to me and my sister to happen to you and your sister. Because when I'm gone, she'll have no one".

When my MN mother made this comment, MN sister was about 24 (and still living with my mother)and I was 22. So, MN Mother had decided that my sister, at the ripe old age of 24, would end up alone. And yes, 21 years later, MN sister is alone, never had a job and is entirely dependent on MN Mother. They both got what they deserved!

Anyway, it was so deeply ingrained in me to feel pity for them that despite not having much contact with them from 18 on, when I actually had moments of happiness, I clearly remember having those feelings of happiness promptly squashed by feeling of guilt - for being happy - and feelings of sorrow for them!! Believe me, those days are gone!

Over the years, I could never tell MN Mother and Sister about any of my fortune because they would get so pissed off. I went traveling with a boyfriend once and he said you should send post cards to your mother and sister and I said, "No, they'll get mad". He couldn't understand that at all and goaded me in to sending one to my sister. The next time I talked to her (which was infrequent and I lived at the other end of the country) she never mentioned the postcard. So I said, "Did you get the postcard I sent?" In a huffy, irritated voice she snapped, "Yes!" and quickly changed the subject.

Believe me, now I want nothing more than to torture her by playing on her jealousy and envy.

Anyway, I wrote a lot here. But I found out after 17 years of no contact that MN sister is still playing the pity card. This time I wasn't buying what she was selling. Her crap didn't garner my pity it incited my anger which was punctuated by sheer indifference. In fact, I think it's sweet justice that they are all still pitiful, pathetic, failures.

It's been diffcult to undo the brain washing of not allowing myself to succeed and be happy. It was such an automatic reaction to feel guilt and pity for THEM when my life was going well. I now realize, they never EVER felt one iota of care or concern for me over the years.

I'm back in my home city and I'm reclaiming my space! I know MN mother and sister felt more comfortable with me thousands of miles away and feel threatened knowing that I'm local and visible. And, I'm loving that!

Now I'm out for revenge and by that I mean LIVING WELL and this time around, rubbing their noses in it!

Ps. Never ever trust anyone who wants you to feel sorry for them. Healthy people do not want anyone's pity.

Anonymous said...

To anonymous 11:48
Three cheers your way!!

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your post. My son has Asperger's, he is sweet and kind, and isn't capable of deliberately hurting someone's feelings. He has a sense of humor, possesses above average intelligence, and tries his best to please his dad and I. He has worked very hard to overcome the obstacles in his path. It breaks my heart when people compare people with Asperger's to Narcissists, there is no comparison because narcissists are purely evil by choice.

Anonymous said...

What would you say to someone who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, but is worried that he or she might be a narcissist, but is not sure?

Anonymous said...

Dee said...

"What would you say to someone who was diagnosed with Asperger's syndrome, but is worried that he or she might be a narcissist, but is not sure?"

I would say that they need to educate themselves more about autism because then they would know that it would be virtually impossible for that child to become a narcissist.
Like I've said before, people with autism may exhibit what appears to be self-focus to everyone else, that is where the comparisons stop. Those with Aspergers, (which is on one end of the autism spectrum)like full blown autism, are not and cannot act with malicious intent. Sure, they express anger and other emotions, but there is no ill will behind it, unlike the narcissist. Do you see the difference here? It is huge!
I would strongly suggest educating oneself about autism if one has a child diagnosed with Aspergers or autism anyway, because it will bring special challenges to that parent's responsibility to that child, as well as their relationship in general. It is not fair to the child to be neglectful in this regard, because they are already at a disadvantage socially and can greatly benefit from a parent who is well informed about their condition.
I am not an expert on autism, but I have read extensively on the subject since I have had friends with children who have Asperger's, on one end of the spectrum, to Rett's Disease, the most severe form of autism. My heart goes out to any parents with autistic children, because the challenges are great, but the rewards are also.

Anonymous said...

RE: (Anonymous Sept. 28)

Thank you for posting this! I haven't seen nor do I know much about the Harry Potter craze....BUT....I do know that Nmom HATES the movie(s) and has gone out of her way to 'chide' my nephew about it. I don't even remember what her beef was about them....I musta zoned out her drone at the time.

If you haven't read the above site.....please do. Well worth it.


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

Autism is a physical brain thing, a neurological disorder. NPD is a behavioral thing.

"but is worried that he or she might be a narcissist, but is not sure?"

NPD? No. People with NPD lack self-awareness, and don't even think if they have a PD or not.

Anonymous said...

For years I have heard the "Narcissist" label attached to people who spend inordinate time on their physical appearances, with routine cosmetic surgery, hours in the gym daily, and so on. When I was growing up, I was taught that excessive vanity was a bad thing. My N family members didn't put much time into their looks in comparison to general society. In thinking about the other Ns I have known, most of them not put much effort or time into their looks either.

So, back to the self-loathing topic at hand, do you think it's possible that Ns adore themselves so much that they feel they don't need to put much effort into their looks? As a society we've associated a woman who "let herself go" as one who is self-loathing, but perhaps it's the other way around?

Anonymous said...

SV's example makes me think of something like this:

Imagine an embezzler. An embezzler [unlike say, a bank robber] can only steal because they have earned a position of trust by duping all those around them over time. SV's creepy example of the suffering N is like someone whose been robbing people for years, and then turning around and complaining about the 'stress' involved in doing so. And expecting pity from not just outsiders, but the victims themselves!

Like: "you can't imagine the stress I felt when I was taking your money, and lying to your face"

N's CHOOSE this stress over the stress of facing themselves and sorting out their own lives. Speaking of Harry Potter [thanks for the link - great article], one of my favorite lines: "often we have to choose between what is right, and what is easy"

Anna Valerious said...

do you think it's possible that Ns adore themselves so much that they feel they don't need to put much effort into their looks? As a society we've associated a woman who "let herself go" as one who is self-loathing, but perhaps it's the other way around?

There is no "one size fits all" on this point. A narcissist can manifest a great care in their appearance or none at all. It all depends on how they go about getting their supply sources. If a narcissist doesn't value their looks as a means to the ends of getting supply then they won't need to put any effort into their looks. Perhaps they think their intellect is superior (cerebral narcissist). If so, they won't spend much time thinking about expending effort on how they look. Not all narcissists are looks-obsessed. Not all looks-obsessed people are narcissists. Excessive vanity is never a great character trait, but not all vain people are narcissists. Neither are all slovenly people narcissists.

Personal appearance in not where you'll find the formula for spotting a narcissist.

Anna Valerious said...

I will chime in on the Asperger's (autism) discussion with my two cents. And that is all it is because I know very little about autism.

What I have read seems to make it crystal clear: autism is an organic brain problem. A person is born with this condition through no fault of their own. The autistic person is not malevolent. Their brains are just wired very differently in some aspects that makes interaction with others a huge challenge.

I was introduced to Temple Grandin by Oliver Sachs books. God bless 'im. I love that guy. I've read Ms. Grandin's first book. She is able to explain to the rest of us how the brain of the autistic sees the world and it is illuminating as well as fascinating. Ms. Grandin has become an expert in her field of study and work because she found a way make her unique way of seeing the world useful to others. I admire her greatly.

I have read nothing that would draw any lines of similarity between autism and NPD. Nothing. They are separated by a mighty and deep chasm. You can't responsibly compare the two in any way.

Anna Valerious said...

Now I'm out for revenge and by that I mean LIVING WELL and this time around, rubbing their noses in it!

Living happily and well is the best revenge. And by "rubbing their noses in it" I presume you mean that you are living unashamedly happy around the Ns. I know that Ns hate happy people when they aren't the ones who made you happy. They want to tear that happiness away from you and hand you a turd and then demand you be happy about that. So, living openly happy around Ns is a sure-fire formula for "rubbing their noses in it". Hoooooo-rahhhh! Keep living well and happy!

Anonymous said...

Anna said, "They want to tear that happiness away from you and hand you a turd and then demand you be happy about that. "

My sister and I never got along growing up. I always thought it was me, I was a bad sister, I was a bad person. So when I was an adult and this situation happened, I just shrugged my shoulders and carried on. Not until I realized what SHE was, did it make sense.

Apparently my happiness as an adult secretly enraged her. I asked her to babysit my child in my home for a few hours. When I returned she was sitting at the bottom of the stairs in tears. She told me that a woman had called and said she was my husbands girlfriend and asked if he was there. He wasn't, so the lady hung up. At the time I just thought someone was playing a prank. Now in fact I know this was THE TURD that Anna is talking about. Apparently walking around my blissful home made her devise this plan. She knew this plan would have bothered her, so she thought it would bother me too. Projection.

Something very similiar happened only one other time. Years later a lady called and asked for my husband, I went to get him and when he got to the phone she had hung up. Scratch our heads. Later that day I saw the sister's name in the paper for a banking crime. HMMMM feeling bad about yourself sissy. Thanks for the turd, next time I'll take mayo on top.

Anonymous said...

Healthy people do not want anyone's pity.

Doesn't that say it all!

Anonymous said...

"I presume you mean that you are living unashamedly happy around the Ns"

Thanks you for this Anna. And again you nail it!

Growing up in that home I was shamed for being happy! If I so much as exhibited any joy, excitement, enthusiasm or passion for my life, all the N's eyes would roll, or I would catch an evil glare, or hear sarcastic mutterings under their breath, or they would simply mock me. My happiness was shut down fast

Wow, that point about shame is a real revelation!! thank you, thank you.

I have no contact with N mother and sister and some contact with N father who passes information to N sister when she comes digging. Then N sister fills-in N mother. Anyway, my plan is only to leak the good stuff, the really good stuff to N Dad. He will only hear how happy I am. My enthusiasm, joy and happiness is all they get.

That's the plan.

Anonymous said...

I think reading SV's stuff makes people think that N's are either highly intelligent or very attractive and that they have fantastic social skills (on the surface.)

My N-mother was not attractive and I am sure she was no more than average as far as IQ is concerned. Her method of attracting attention though was being "an authority". She was an authority on dieting but she never lost weight. She was an authority on everything medical--Mom the doctor. She was an authority on everything but she really didn't know much. No one dared to challenge her knowledge though. Very few people in her family ever challenged her. Friends of family member did though and she hated every one of them.

I never saw her in a state of self loathing. She would throw pity parties at times but she never showed self loathing.

One day a few months before she died out of the blue she said to me, "I don't hate anyone." It was said with a very superior air and it was aimed at me because I think she suspected that I might hate her. I thought at the time, "You don't love anyone either." I didn't say it because she was 97 years old and had cancer.

It was just a few days later that she went into her final and last rage at me. It was horrible and went on for about 20 minutes. I kept my cool though and didn't respond with anger. This made her even madder. One thing that made it easier to take was that I knew she only had a few weeks of life left.

I was living well and I had some happy things in my life. N's can't stand that.

Anonymous said...

I wrote about my pitiful N mother, sister and father and how I was guilted, shamed and generally abused if I displayed any happiness.

I realize I have taken-up alot of space here but I feel the need to get this final bit of my story out. Besides, there's nothing more healing than to reveal the secrets and lies of my N family to understanding eyes. Thank you!

So, I was brain washed to feel sorry for pathetic and miserable N Mother, sister and Father. I was required to make them feel better about themselves. I fed their egos, was kind and considerate and worked hard to be the face of normalacy for that warped family. I did what ever I thought would make those parasites happy. Little did I know, that all along, the key to their happiness was my misfortune.

Case in point;I always felt extremely sorry for depressed loner, alcoholic N father who drank himself in to unconsciousness every night. It caused me so much grief to see him so unhappy. He was passed out in a chair every night and since I could walk I was checking to make sure he was breathing. I gave him every ounce of my sympathy and it killed me to see him so sad. He was emotionally dead.

Now, when I was about 16 I went out with friends and got terribly drunk. It was one of those horrifying experiences that you never forget and hopefully never repeat. This was mine. I was so drunk I couldn't stand up and needed to be held up. However, drunken friends let me go and I crashed face first in to a pile of rocks. I smashed-up my face, got a big, black swollem eye, the whites of my eyes turned red. By the end of the night my clothes were dirty and tattered from falling down repeatedly. I also had bruises and scrapes up and down my body. When I got home that night, N mom shrieked thinking I had been in a car accident because I looked so bad.

The next morning N mother told N father that I came home drunk. Meanwhile, I woke-up feel great because I was still drunk. Then I looked in the mirror and was horrified to discover the state I was in. I had no recollection of the evening.

As I was exiting my bedroom that morning - shaking and scared by what happened to me - N Dad was going down the stairs. He stopped and turned to look at me and the biggest, shit eating grin I had ever seen crossed his face. He was absolutely beaming. Never seen him happier. With a smug smirk he said, "looks like someone had too much to drink last night" and with that, he happily trotted down the stairs.

His precious 16 year old daughter looked like she had the shit kicked out of her and this was the only thing that brought a smile to his face.

The same delighted, smug smirk crossed N sister's face when anything bad ever happened to me.

As for N mom, she just abused and attacked me for being high functioning. "Just who the hell do you think you are?!" "You think you can do what ever the hell you want!!"

Now I guess if I was as pathtic as them I would be treated better. But you know, if any of those N's had something terrible happen to them, it didn't make the other N happy. So why was it that the normal person suffering caused them such happiness?

I now know I'm entitled to my happiness and I'm not stopping myself from getting the good stuff. And yes, it's sweet justice to know that the N's are still miserable and the key to their continual misery is my joy!!

Talk about a win win situation!!

Anonymous said...

I really am glad when anyone is doing well....and has found happiness...etc. I am glad for THEM. Not always....but most of the time...'doing well' and 'happiness' are fruits and byproducts of living 'right'.....doing the right thing....being a decent, loving, caring person.

However, I, personally, don't get a thrill out of rubbing anyone's nose in anything....or even being aware that I am pissing anyone off because things might be going well for me. I simply do not want ANY of my life lined up alongside the N.....not for comparison, not for 'judgement', not for ANY 'sticky' reason. There is simply too much at stake for me to base ANYTHING in my life up against their response, reaction, etc. My NO CONTACT means just that. None. Zilch. Dead to me. They neither need to know my successes...nor my failures. I won't even give them that much. I don't want to walk a 'spiritual' nor emotional tight-rope anymore wondering if my heart is 'clean'. I don't wish them well....or ill...I wish them NOTHING.

Anonymous said...

What I discovered about my N-friend was that all was well in N-Land as long as he had the better house, job, and relationship. When the playing field began to level out, and he decided that my house was in a better neighborhood or that I got a promotion at work-the trouble began. He lied to me, and lied about me, all while pretending to be my really good friend. I ran into an old friend who said she was sorry to hear about my separation, and if I needed a place to stay to call her. The 'story' was fabricated by my N, and he swore her to secrecy (good thing for me she didn't keep the secret). My point is he could never feel happy if I was, and crazy making at my expense did. It was a way of trying to control me.

I'm sorry I ignored it as long as I did. We were friends for a long time, and it was difficult for me to believe that he could betray me like that with absolutely no guilt or remorse. I remember calling him on the carpet for what he had done, and all he had to say was, "I don't know what I did, but I'm sorry."

I went no contact, and like krl, no calls, emails, nothing. The horrible things he said and did behind my back, makes my skin crawl. They were completely undeserved, I was stunned at how damn cruel he was, like the bad dream you can't wake up from. I want nothing to do with him, I don't want to see him, and I don't want him to know anything about the life I have now. I feel indifferent toward him. If he were lying on his death bed and wanted to see me, and I had the choice of going to see him or watching reruns of McHale's Navy, I'd put on my fuzzy slippers and pop some popcorn. I don't want him to be jealous of me, I certainly don't want revenge, I just want him out of my life for good, and I'm pleased to report that I got what I wanted!

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

About the "Who do you think you are"? Crap, The Breakfast Club answer is the best one: "You see us how you want to see us". So, the students never really wrote the essays on who they thought they were because they knew that it didn't really matter to Vernon.

Anonymous said...

Like anon 2:44, I had a friendship with an N that was really decent seeming/smooth sailing/no tension, and what I didn't know is that it was only going good because the N was getting "passive NS": supply from simply comparing the two of us and deciding in her head that she came out ahead. I never realized that she felt so superior [I thought of us as peers], and that feeling superior wasn't just nice for her, it was a deal-breaker too.

Fast forward to me getting a big work success [very public], and our 'friendship' suddenly was horrible. She began to take me down a peg at every opportunity, and also started to lecture me about how great everything she did was. I confronted her after a while, and with great emotion she told me how she was being eating alive by jealousy ever since my success. This just didn't sit right with me. I thought: "jealousy" means you WANT something that someone else HAS, and she has never done anything ever to try to have what I had gotten. I realized it wasn't jealousy at all - she didn't want what I had at all - she wanted ME not to have it.

Anonymous said...

If revenge means knowing that my happiness is making one N squirm - Then I'm all for it! Period!

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

"I just want him out of my life for good, and I'm pleased to report that I got what I wanted!"

Bad friends tend to be the easiest garbage to take out. I wish that were true with families and obsessed Exes. Heh.

Anonymous said...

"Rubbing their noses in it" to me means allowing myself my god-given right to be "unashamedly" happy around ANYONE and not to downplay or supress my happiness in order to protect another person's so-called "feelings".

If allowing myself to freely experience what nature has intended - happiness - is "rubbing their noses in it" why wouldn't I want to?

If you lead a positive and fulfilling life, and even if you have absolutely no contact with an N, then you have, by virtue of your positive existence already avenged the Narc and rubbed their noses in it. At least, that's the way I look it.

Anna, when I saw your photo I thought to myself, this woman absolutely radiates! I was thrilled to see that your N mother and sister had failed miserably at their attempts to destroy you. You glow!

Surviving evil and thriving is my kind of revenge!

Anonymous said...

Anon 3:57, I too was taken down a peg or three by my N. After my daughter was born, and I was a sleep deprived zombie, my N would call and tell me about the three hour nap he had taken and how great it felt. A co-worker of his gave birth about the same time as I. He paid her a visit with a gift for the baby, along with dinner for the new parents from his favorite take-out place, because they were exhausted and he wanted to treat them. He enjoyed rubbing my face in it, he wasn't just doing something nice for them, he was doing something not so nice to me. If we made plans to get together, he was often a no show and would call me hours after the fact saying that he had gone to the movies, because you can be spontaneous like that when you don't have children. And here I thought my daughter was the baby....

Anonymous said...

My N family had boundaries of success and you would be punished for crossing that line. You could do anything below that mark and it was ok. Like another poster, they thought my being drunk was funny. However, if I took a class or tried to improve my self in some way there would be problems. "Who do you think you are?" or my favorite "You're trying to be something you're not". Then mother would lump me in with them and proceed to tell me who I was and what I should be doing.

When N sister married an abuser N parents encouraged it - because they thought she deserved punishment for leaving home. I heard them chuckling about "she'll be back". Then they lavished all form of reward on her when she came cowering home and she lapped it up. This continues to this day 20+ yrs later.

If anything worked out for me there was stress in the house. Success or happiness was tantamount to rebellion, as if it was a direct intentional blow to them. These days it is N-sis who is nervous, always trying to get info to make sure I'm not too darn happy or that I'm not getting something that she thinks she deserves. She was in shock when she found out I went to a play and she didn't know about it beforehand. She said "What?? How?!" I said how I greatly enjoyed it. Theater is not approved entertainment for my Ns. As punishment I wasn't allowed to talk about the play or ever bring it up again. But there will be many more plays to be enjoyed.

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

"But there will be many more plays to be enjoyed."

Yup. They see you how they want to see you. That's how you fight the "who do you think you are"? "Why do you care? You see me how you want to see me." Might as well do as you please since they'll damn you anyway.

Anonymous said...

"If I had to guess she ever had an honest emotion in her life, it was fear then and there -- because she wasn't in control of the situation like she had planned."

Most Ns are cowards. Vakin is actually right about that. There's exceptions, but the norm is that they're cowards. Attacking from behind? Sure fire sign of a coward.

"but common sense and reality weren't her strong suits"

Figures. You speak of her in the past tense though, so she's out of your life, right? I hope so. Heh.

Sep 27, 2008 3:48:00 PM

Yeah, I'm no contact with her as far as I can get -- only see her at family get-togethers where the parents want her there. She knows better than to speak to me because I flat out ignore her.

Yet she'll still try for things like the "happy sisters" photo when I got my bachelors degree. Yeah right, like I'm going to fake that crap for you -- she was probably only doing it because of the extended family there and the other families waiting to take pictures at that campus landmark. I could tell she wanted to throw a tantrum right then, but decided it was better to play it off as me being the bad, hurtful sister. "I don't know why you would say/do such a thing!"

Fortunately for me my family is finally beginning to admit she has a problem. The most validating thing anyone said to me was one of my brothers. He had lived with her for one semester (his last) because he wanted out of the dorms. By the end of the semester she had tried to beat him up as well, which didn't fly. He told me that he used to never understand why we didn't get along -- but now he does. I felt like I finally had someone who understood what I had gone through growing up.

Of course, letting go of my N-sister doesn't mean she's let me go. She looks for opportunities to hurt me (like trying to make it my fault that someone broke into my car while walking the dog).

Lucky for me, I have a loving and supportive boyfriend. I know he'd give her a piece of his mind if she verbally attacked me while he was around. He drove her nuts at the family christmas get-together just because he was so sweet to me.

I agree that living well/happily unashamedly is the sweetest of revenges -- because it's not about making the N angry/upset, it's about knowing you escaped them and proved them wrong (we're worth far more than they try to convince us we are worth).

Anyway, long post again, but thanks for listening. Gotta go before my battery dies and I lose the post :)

Anonymous said...

Anon 2:44 and Anon 3:57, when did you meet my ex NF? I could have written your posts myself. Like you, everything was ok with N as long as he felt he had the upper hand. But as you well know, whenever anything remotely positive happened in my life, things turned ugly.

Some of the things he said or did behind my back over the years still trickle back to me from time to time. Even after everything I went through and everything I've learned, the pathological jealousy and pettiness can still surprise me. It's like being kicked in the stomach when you realize the truth about an N. Living well really is the best revenge.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:11, Maybe we're writing about the same person! I read these posts and I can usually come up with a memory of something so close to what you all have written, it's eerie.

I think Anon 3:57 hit the nail on the head with, " I realized it wasn't jealousy at all - she didn't want what I had at all - she wanted ME not to have it." That line really said it all.

Anonymous said...

More thoughts on the experience of an N "friend" sudden reveal:

Unlike my N family, where it was more like being born into craziness and slowly realizing that much of the outside world didn't operate this way - with the N "friend" I literally had several years of good times, including what seemed like genuine emotional support. Once I experienced the personal success that was to ultimately derail the relationship, not only did the N "friend" begin to engage in constant one-upmanship over the smallest things [say, a grocery item or the color of a piece of clothing], there was also undermining "advice" and topsy turvy feedback: when it came to me suddenly bad was good and good was bad. This was unbearable enough, but the real lynchpin was that she suddenly purposely withheld all the elements of our relationship that we BOTH had enjoyed. I naturally felt the relationship was forced into an endgame, but the kicker was that she really fully expected our relationship to continue that way.

While we had had undeniable good times in the past, I was forced to conclude that for her they were "icing" - the "cake" was the NS she got by [unknowingly to me] feeling herself to be my superior. For me, the "cake" was the good times, and taking it away meant ruining the relationship for me, but not for her. As long as she could put me down, and withhold what we both enjoyed - the relationship was STILL satisfying to her. Creepy.

Anonymous said...

"As long as she could put me down, and withhold what we both enjoyed - the relationship was STILL satisfying to her. Creepy."

So, how did you end the "friendship"?

Anonymous said...

Reading about the others nf got me thinking about one that I use to have.I only knew this person for 2 months and this person started to tell me what was wrong with me and saying how I need to change.I stood up for myself and told this person that they were being controling.Of course they acted like it was my problem and they were crying at the same time(woe is me attitude).This person enjoyed telling you what was wrong with you but couldn`t handle it when you told them what they were doing wrong.So they make an excuse for themselves.Most of the excuses was that it was just me with the issue,not them.I felt like I had to supress my real self(like to laugh) because that person was so miserable that they wanted me to be miserable too.There was no equality in the relationship.They thought they were better than me and they thought that they were right about everything.This person even got mad at me a couple of times because I wasn`t doing what they thought I should be doing.I never really knew the deep things in this persons life.They tryed to hide them.They knew more about me than I did about this person.I also think that there was jelousy because of a couple of comments that were said. This person had a hard time being happy for me. They said that they loved me( all the time) but that so-called love masks itself for what ever there hidden agenda was. I had a relationship with this person for a few years until I finally got sick of it and let it go.
Has anyone else had a relationship like this with a friend?

Anonymous said...

"As long as she could put me down, and withhold what we both enjoyed - the relationship was STILL satisfying to her. Creepy."

So, how did you end the "friendship"?

Well - good question! How did things finally end? After I confronted her about her behavior and our deteriorating relationship, she claimed to behave badly from "jealousy", and seemed remorseful during the actual conversation. When I had time to think about it on my own I realized I didn't really buy it, and felt like it was also a way to shift part of the blame to me [for making her jealous] and justify her anger as being caused by a normal emotion. At that point I stepped back and waited to see what SHE would do to address the situation. Next time I saw her was in a large group. She choose to pretend the talk never occurred, and basically shifted into this mode where she called us "best friends" and put on a big act of being positive towards me, but was just as creepy and withholding as before - only with loud proclamations of friendship in front of others. That was her approach to "fixing' things after the confrontation: going the "public relations" route. Why fix something when you can just redefine it? I saw her alone: same thing. So I simply stopped responded to invitations out of just sheer inability to stomach it. I didn't have a plan, I just couldn't deal with the stupefying level of BS I was suddenly being expected to go along with. Without trying to ask why or confront me about my non responding- she dropped the whole relationship very quickly after maybe two episodes of me declining to participate in various things. I guess she didn't have a plan B, and had no interest in trying anything else once her snow job approach seemed to bomb.

I was glad she 'dropped me' so easily, since I just wanted out by then, but to this day still totally shocked at how quickly she gave up when things didn't go her way.

Anonymous said...

For me, the friendship with my N ended when my child was diagnosed with a serious health problem, I called N in tears and he cut me off and began telling me about his day. It was the ultimate punch in the stomach, he had no empathy. None. This was before I knew what NPD was.

I began to put two and two together, if things were good for me, he would create a scene or make up a lie to spoil things. He would tell me how much he appreciated a holiday invitation for dinner, then not show. I later discovered that he had told mutual acquaintances horrible things about me, lied up a storm to make himself look good and destroyed other people's reputations for sport. All the while, he was looking me straight in the eye and telling me what a good friend I was, and how fortunate he was to have me in his life. He played games where he would be intentionally cruel, and then put on an innocent act claiming that he had no idea he was being hurtful.

I cut off all contact, I screened his calls, deleted his emails, tore up the letters and cards that came for months afterwards. I began to receive literature from battered women's shelters at work. Lots of it. N resented my relationship with my husband and wasn't subtle about it. A clever way of making me look bad yet again. Still, I maintained no contact, and eventually he gave up.

Anonymous said...

I would like to ask everyone who has gone NC a question. Did most of you go NC with both parents? I went NC with my NM and my dad just seemed to go with it. I called him a few times trying to explain the situation but he just wanted me to take the blame for everything. Has anyone else experianced this?

Anna Valerious said...

*raises arm* Yeah, Me...your lowly blogger here has experienced what you've described. I cut off my mother and ended up losing my dad because he wasn't interested in having a relationship with me if his wife was unhappy with me. It was a two-fer...or nuthin. I chose nuthin. Archives tell the story.

Anonymous said...

Ditto...what Anna said...for me too!


Anonymous said...

Anna, I desperately need some word of encouragement from you or this great online group of people who have suffered at the whims of cruel, deceitful narcissists. Although now-XNH is out of house, and with new family he hid (fresh young wife, young step-kids), my teenage daughter has turned on me. I don't think I can survive more years of icy, chilly hostility, disdain, disrespect and contempt. (first him,although he told me I was imagining it, too sensitive, don't know how to accept apologies, blah blah it is her). I have tried everything, including following good advice from what I consider to be a very experienced, wise counselor. She understands narcissism and thinks XNH is major narcissist and evil.

My daughter completely rejects all I have to offer - my kindness, warmth, friendly outgoing nature, desire to set appropriate boundaries for her, desire to do family/school/activity things with her, my love, you name it. What am I trying to do? Be a family, despite all the crises and disasters (beyond even the divorce - there were other major emergencies). She has turned on me because I won't be a paper thin, invisible parent who just drives the car and pays money and stays out of her business. She thinks I am a freak, so embarassing that I will ruin her life by interacting at all with her friends. She keeps secrets very well, and shares nothing. She seems to have decided I am the enemy, and there is no softness or doubt there -- guess I have been found unacceptable. I know some of it is deep anxiety on her part (she shows it) but she blames me for everything. Maybe he injected some poison there. I expect and desire some level of real interaction, but she is enraged that I would want that. Beyond the usual teenage issues, or a reaction to the divorce,I think. I didn't really know her, or she has changed. She is finding herself, like any teen, but it is a harsh, hard person in there, at least right now.

How can I survive? It has been too many years of constant stress and pain and grief and anger with her father, as he abused and manipulated and undermined me. How can I just keep taking it, just to meet my responsibilities? I keep showing up for my life, and for others, but no one shows up for me. I just wanted to sow beauty and abundance, after having to live in a very dark cave with monsters and fear. I am sorry to wail, but I feel so much despair. I have felt those moments of rage at what was done to me, but they convert back on myself. Maybe because the crimes are so deep and so permanent. He has paid no price for his shocking lies and arrogant hatefulness, or the terrible things he did to me. I try not to blame myself, but it is hard. For awhile I thought I was crazy; now I know, yes, sometimes they are out to hurt you and things are that bad and people are really bad behind the mask. People said it would be better now that he is gone (but he really isn't because of coparenting), that I can have a great new life, that my daughter and I will be closer --> all wrong. I have done everything possible to help myself, but it doesn't get better and I can't see how it ever will. I can't believe the irony. I can't become someone else or stop caring. I am losing my daughter because she rejects the mother-daughter bond --> this is the ultimate tragedy here. Nothing else matters to me, but I can't seem to save it. Thanks for listening. 'jewell'

Anonymous said...


I can't offer you any solution, but I can offer you the consolation that you are not alone. I too have a daughter who learned all too well at her father's knee that all that is ill with her world is my fault, and that it's her job to let you know it and make you suffer for it. My guess is that she's in great turmoil now because she no longer has her father to herself, but must share him with the new family, and that all her anger at him is being directed at you, in addition to carrying out the job he trained her to do - make you suffer. Just a guess. That's the story with my poor daughter, who I now realize was his victim as much as I was, only of a different kind. Only unfortunately she remains so, and probably will for decades, if not her whole life. He made her his surrogate spouse and dumped all sorts of emotional garbage on her. She was 18 at the time of the divorce, and now that I refuse to allow her to behave disrespectfully to me, will not have anything to do with me, other than to cash the checks I send for her college living expenses. I'm counting the months until that ends. It is a very sad situation, and my heart goes out to you that she's living in your home and treating you badly. You must, for your sanity, put up boundaries for decent treatment and if she won't abide by them, let him have her, I say. I say this with the experience of two hellish years of trying to appease my version of what you are dealing with. Sounds easy but it's not, I know. But you can't allow her to mistreat you. Bad for you, bad for her. Hugs to you, and good luck. You sound strong.

Anonymous said...

thank you anon 8:22. there is a special kind of shame and guilt in talking this way about your child, especially one who I nursed through life threatening illnesses. Thank you for not judging me - I have felt so alone. It seems unbearable many days. Her disrespect alone is corrosive. Overnight, she has become like someone who is done "being nice to me" and now views me as the problem. She can't wait to leave. Yes, I think he trained her well - very insightful of you. there are lots of subtle or not subtle ways to teach a child to disregard their mother. On long trips, he refused to talk to me - only to her for hours. Sounds silly, but the intent was not healthy. What a ridiculous fabric my life has become! I wanted something so different than a harvest of hate and selfishness. 'jewell'

Anonymous said...

Me said, I`ve gone nc with both parents(and siblings). They all blame me for everything too.

Dee said...

My heart goes out to you, you certainly don't deserve what your getting from your daughter. Keep telling yourself this and like anonymous said, you must set boundaries and hold firm. That's all you can do at this point, with the hope that she may someday come to realise that you are a good person and did the best you could. I agree that it sounds like she is just taking everything out on you, because she knows she can't direct it at the one person who has it coming, her father. If it were me, I would probably tell her, "If you think I'm so bad, then why don't you go live with him?", and be prepared to let her go. Of course you have to do what feels right for you, but know that you have friends here that understand and would not judge you in any way, 'cause we've all been through a similar hell. Believe your instincts when she rages at you, you know in your heart you are a decent person and she is the one who is not thinking rationally. You have to be especially strong during these times, even if it means ignoring her attempts to suck you in, remember, she learned from an expert in dishing out abuse and the best thing you can do for her, as well as yourself, is to set the example of someone who refuses to be victimized.

Anonymous said...

Anna -

Do you think jewell and I (I posted the response about my daughter and her Nfather) could possibly be witnessing the heartbreaking "birth" of little narcissists? I've been reading what I can, and haven't seen anything that matches exactly - some authorities say overindulgence can be a cause, and that's certainly possible, as she was her father's "chosen child." My daughter certainly wasn't born evil, and I believe I nurtured her well as a baby. She was a very sweet and empathetic young child. But there doesn't seem to be a bit of that empathy left. Her sister (three years younger) is normal - nothing like her. I know I must sound cold and detached talking about her, but as you know, it's a matter of emotional survival.

Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone. Your kind words and support mean everything today. I felt strange crying out for help into the internet, but you heard me. I know this group understands what is almost impossible to explain to those who have never lived it. I feel lighter for sharing the load and grateful for finding compassion, where it can be easy to judge and criticize. I feel like I've had enough criticism to last 100 lifetimes.

Thank you again, and please pray for me and my daughter, esp. that she choose the right path. I feel that decision is just before her, and it will be devastating if she takes the wrong path. How can we bear it, knowing what we do of narcissists, if somehow we have set them on the wrong path? It is the most important decision she will ever make and there is that tempting "easy" alternative before her (his path where you do what you want and never look back). 'jewell'

Anonymous said...

I really have to react to the people who told about their daughters being icy etc after the father left.

Besides the fact that teens are trying to figure out who they are and what to believe and not, these are teens that have been in a nasty situation.

Be honest with yourselves. What kind of behaviour did you have when the father was still there? Were you honest and trustworthy? Or did you break promises and step over boundaries to accomodate the father?

If you were walked all over by the father what do you expect your almost adult child to think of you?

And last but not least, you do understand that finally now that the father is out of the picture, you have to totally start at the beginning in cultivating a new and healthy relationship with your child. You can not expect everythin to be all peaches and roses now that the father has left!

So before even thinking of your kid being a N start evaluate how her life must have been! What she had to witness! These first 18 years are so important and what were the lessons that you presented your child? You can not say: o well but I was a victim of a N. Imo the real victim is always the child that was born into a situation he/she never had a chance to choose.

Anonymous said...

Hello Jewell, I have an XNW with (3) children now in thier 20's. Your comments mirror my heart in wanting the best for my family but ending up with my wife running off with my pastor! I've now been abandoned by my middle son with no explaination. My oldest son likes the help I give him but beyond that there is little connection. My youngest daughter, still in college seems good to me but still quite dependent financially so I'm not certain of her heart.
I've always felt the NX poisoned them towards me and it's still working it's way out. I guess the only approach is prayer and patience. A full frontal assault doesn't work in these situations. Twenty-somethings still only believe what they see...not enough laps around the track yet to understand.
I've been led to pray that the NX cannot get her NS from my kids. I believe she will have to move on if she can't continue to feed on them. You might try that. That may be the devilish bond that needs broken.

Anonymous said...

Dear Notherapy,

Thanks for reading my posts and for your forthright and honest response. I know better than anyone that my daughter has been severely damaged by her N father. So have I. When I became aware enough of what he was (I didn’t know what a narcissist was, despite having been raised by an N father) and got up enough courage to leave, much damage had already been done. He had made my poor child his surrogate spouse, committed emotional incest with her which he continues to this day, even though he has remarried a woman who moved into the family residence three months after I left in fear for my physical safety, and not wanting my two daughters to witness it. My behavior? I am ashamed to say that my behavior was that of a victim of constant emotional abuse for 18 of 19 years of “marriage” to an evil, heartless man who got most of his narcissistic supply by being “the wonderful father” to the outside world. Yes, I tried to help him be a good father, the good father I never had, for my children. I wanted them to have a wonderful father. He undermined my parenting at every turn, but despite that, yes, I tried to the best of my ability to be a good parent and raise strong, independent children who understood and practiced the golden rule. Yes, I WAS, and still am, honest and trustworthy, and tried my best to help my children’s father become a better person. Yes, I kept him from being a far worse father than he would have been without me there to protect my children. My accommodation of their father consisted of doing all I could to protect them from his temper, which I believed for many years to be due to anxiety issues, which he got medications for from his orthopedic MD - he refused to go to counseling.
I expect my children to respect me for my decision not to be a victim any more. One of my children, who he chose not to treat the way he treated my oldest, does. Yes, I have tried to start at the beginning to create a relationship with my poor daughter. But you see, the heartbreaking thing, the thing that makes me search the internet daily in addition to seeking counseling and working on myself to make myself the best person I can be, to heal the damage, ---- the heartbreaking thing is that my daughter is incapable of having a healthy relationship with anyone. And yes, I know every waking minute of every day that I share responsibility for that. I know she is the victim, she had no choice in who her father or mother was, and I know I played a part in the tragedy. But I also know I did and am doing the best I can every day. I hope you can say that in your life too. I truly do. And I am sorry for the emotional pain you have experienced that brought you to this website. I hope that you are finding some comfort.

My daughter's father did not leave. I left when I finally woke up to what

Anonymous said...

To the Harry Potter readers, I'm curious how you would find Severus Snape in terms of narcissism?

Anonymous said...

Response to Anon Oct. 3, 3:54pm

Well, you certainly delivered a barrage of vicious, below-the-belt body blows! What appalling arrogance to assume you know so much about either me, or my daughter. Frankly, you filled in a lot of blanks with your own imaginary behaviors and prejudices.

For what it is worth, I will respond to some of these “errors” for the sake of my self respect and in honor of my daughter:

“I really have to react to the people who told about their daughters being icy etc after the father left.” --> This is incorrect. I was talking about a completely different problem, that relates to far more complex set of issues than simply his departure. Ironically, it is XNH that says his departure is not important, not me. However, I am trying to reach and help my child as she deals with multiple issues.

“Besides the fact that teens are trying to figure out who they are and what to believe and not, these are teens that have been in a nasty situation.” --> Do you really think any mother doesn’t know what teens are going through? Or the consequences of living with a narcissistic parent? We are not idiots.

“Be honest with yourselves. What kind of behaviour did you have when the father was still there? Were you honest and trustworthy? Or did you break promises and step over boundaries to accomodate the father? “ --> What the heck are you talking about? You don’t know my character at all, so why are you attacking it? I am not defensive here, just disgusted that a stranger feels comfortable assuming I have no integrity, that I was a doormat for a NH, that I compromised my responsibilities. Not the case, even at enormous cost to myself.

“If you were walked all over by the father what do you expect your almost adult child to think of you?” --> Again, what are you talking about? You suggest that my daughter has no respect for me, and that I deserve that. Wrong on both counts.

“And last but not least, you do understand that finally now that the father is out of the picture, you have to totally start at the beginning in cultivating a new and healthy relationship with your child. You can not expect everythin to be all peaches and roses now that the father has left!” --> Again, who said I was looking for peaches and cream? What a leap. I was looking for encouragement while dealing with challenging issues. I was looking for support as I support my daughter’s personal and spiritual development from young teen to healthy adult, despite adversity, despite bad behavior modelled by N parent. Your comment strongly implies I am some whining loser who doesn’t like hard work. You are flat wrong.

“So before even thinking of your kid being a N start evaluate how her life must have been! What she had to witness! These first 18 years are so important and what were the lessons that you presented your child? You can not say: o well but I was a victim of a N. Imo the real victim is always the child that was born into a situation he/she never had a chance to choose.” -> What the #@% are you talking about? First, I never suggested my child was an N in my original post. Second, I think that worry comes up for many who have dealt with a N spouse, but my goal is to help my child make the right choices because she has that integrity inside herself.

What gave you the right to assume that I sit around and whine "oh well, I am a victim of an N" and blame things on that? Never happened! I have been run over many times by him, but gotten up every time. You smoothly insert that harmful comment about the importance of the early years. What parent with an N spouse doesn’t feel that pain? Why are you blaming me for his behaviors? I take responsibility for my own, but what I have learned the hard way is that I am not to blame for his abuse of me or what he is. I won't let you undermine my progress there. What is your point? I don’t know why you attacked me (and the other Anon, but I am sure they can stand up for themselves), Was it because I said found a supportive, insightful therapist (“notherapy”).

Well, bottom line --> this was a despicable post on your part, but I am not going to let you throw mud on me, or my struggling child. You have no idea what we have gone through together, who I am, my character and values, what I have done to deal with NH, nor what I have done to help her. Nice job of kicking someone who is down though. Go to *%^$.


Anna Valerious said...


I was extremely hesitant to allow "notherapy"'s comment to go through. I let it sit for hours in moderation. My impression from the commenter is that they are very young..perhaps themselves a teen or barely out of their teens. I decided to let the comment through so perhaps the readers here could deal with the boat load of assumptions and projection going on in this person's mind. Thank you for your honest response/reaction. I think you and Marie have taken the opportunity of this comment to clarify even further what you've gone through and are going through.

I'm sorry for the body blow. I hope you can be assured that the majority of readers here as well as myself are much more in touch with the complexities of your situation and the sorrow of your heart for the burdens your child(ren) still carry as a result of having a N parent. Hang in there! You're a strong woman who just very ably defended yourself. Thank you for acquitting yourself so well in addressing each assumption of the commenter. Like you, I hate it when people fill in the blanks with their own negative assumptions rather than recognizing they don't have all the facts.

Anna Valerious said...

To the Harry Potter readers, I'm curious how you would find Severus Snape in terms of narcissism?

Having read the whole series my opinion is that Snape is a very complex character who is obviously somewhat screwed up...but he is most definitely not a narcissist.

Anonymous said...

Isn't it true that narcissism cannot be reliably diagnosed until adulthood?

Anna Valerious said...

Isn't it true that narcissism cannot be reliably diagnosed until adulthood?

Yes, that's true. Consider, though, that the adult who is diagnosed as having NPD demonstrated the same behaviors as a child/teen/young adult. The signs are always there. It is just a matter of wait and see: will this individual adopt a mature adult mind or retain their childish, selfish mind(psychological neoteny)? Narcissists are always a case of arrested development which is why a firm diagnosis can't be made until adulthood. Only then can it be clearly determined that this person decided not to grow up.

Anonymous said...

Dear Anna,

This post has been amazing, once again.All the comments it brought out & the discussion it brought about were so very thought-provoking, that I just could never even narrow down how to participate. So it made more sense to me to just listen & learn.

However,today's pain,as illustrated by Jewell's courageous "reaching out",
prompts me to respond.

First of all, Notherapy, I hope that you will stick around & find some peace from the collective years of experience & recovery so freely given on this blog. We are all here to encourage each other. Not to cause each other more pain. That's called a "driveby". Some of your points are certainly part of the overall healing process in a family, & certainly issues we,many of us as parents, understand about the layers of wisdom we must use in helping our children. I hope that you can take this awareness of what sparks a strong reaction in you, to peel back another layer of your own pain. That's how our healing occurs. Its lifelong.

Jewell, I SOOO related to everything you said. Sadly, I have a Nson, with whom I remain in contact. I now realize, through gut-wrenching experience, that he can turn on a dime. And when he does, there are terrible repurcussions, as he NOW has THE trump card--a baby. We have made this conscious decision to remain in his life, primarily, hoping he MAY still DECIDE to grow up at some point (he is young). But
also because we realize the importance of our stable force in the child's life. The thought of the child not having our presence in its life is horrifying. We can hopefully infuse some good into itslittle childhood, that would otherwise be sadly lacking, being raised solely by this father & his dear wife, who only tries to keep peace in her home, as we understand all too well.

Jewell, standing up for ourselves always brings on the full force of our N's evil actions. When they no longer have control over us, or find they can't dance our puppet strings & get their desired reactions, they must come at us in other cowardly ways. In my case, I have been unbelievably blessed with a kind & supportive husband, like Anna. Its my family of origin that has caused me unspeakable pain. 13 siblings. And it only startswith ONE. The one that has re-written history & trashed my family to my whole community, & outwards to the whole country--as the others are scattered all over.

Whenwechanged the dance"---like ONE alchoholic in a family QUITTING
drinking--the others don't know what to do. So they pounce, shun,trashtalk,turn people against us,etc. All designed to make us FEEL CRAZY, break us down, murder our spirits, & COME OUT ON TOP!!!
Like its a contest or something. When we refuse to play-it just ramps them up worse.

YOU, my dear, are REFUSING TO PLAY!!!!


Your daughter is illustrating N characteristics, as WELL as typical teen behaviour. You are doing SO much to stay strong in the face of this. Reaching out to others who've lived through it. Taking care of yourself in positive ways. That's all you can do, ONE DAY AT A TIME. Remember that it can be SO confusing for us. We've been deliberately & strategically emotionally abused by a trusted loved one, for a long time. Guidance by a trusted friend, therapist, pastor, etc. can be invaluable. There are many support groups for parenting. My husband & I found a very caring one through our local police dept, believe it or not,which helped us immeasurably through our son's teen yrs, when he was displaying incorrigibility in our home.

But mostly, now that you are this path of recovery, trust your gut.
Don't allow your child to abuse you. I found that when I stopped allowing my son to see my response to him pushing my buttons,he lost his NS. Yes, I spent many moments crying silently in the bathroom, crushed by the mean things he said to me, but I came out & looked him in the eye & gave it back to him as though he were a normal child I was raising. Told him he WOULD show me respect-I didn't care HOW he FELT. He lostpriveleges left & right, which only caused him to "HATE" us more. But, Jewell, we made it through those years. HOW?

Read Anonymous 7:42 again.

Some people ,sometimes our own CHILDREN learn to cultivate N characteristics, & decide they actually WORK for them. So they don't have any motivaton to change. they just HONE those skills. I hope & pray that that is NOT what's going on with YOUR child, but listen to ANNA when she says it is only TIME that can determine that. In the meantime, we have to find the strength inside to FIGHT against that evil.Just keep treating her the way you would have when she was 2.
Re-read the poem "Mean Mommy". That hung on our refrigerator for years. If she doesnt show respect, know inside that she DOES have respect for you. Cuz you have the guts to stand up to her Bullshit!
And she SAW you stand up to her fathers! Most people in the outside world would say, What are you complaining about? He talked to your daughter in the car for hours?! I wish my children had a relationship like that with their father! But WE know what that was.
It was passive agressive emotional & mental abuse. Don't believe that self-talk that they made you listen to-that its "stupid".

Patience & prayer. Give this burden to God. He has promissed to lift it off your shoulders, if you ask Him. I will pray for you!

Anonymous said...

Anna, Thank you for allowing me space to respond to 'notherapy', and for your understanding. I appreciate your perspective. It helps.

For Marie - we seem to share very similar experiences. My 'marriage' was 18-19 yrs too, to "perfect father", "perfect neighbor" etc. He was very different behind closed doors. Constantly undermining, manipulating, etc. No one could believe it when he left.

Your post also feels disturbingly familiar to me, as I didn't know how to explain that relationship between N father and my daughter. Nauseatingly, "emotional incest" and "surrogate spouse" make sense. He fixated on her, would have denied me oxygen if he could. He certainly denied attention, compassion, and everything else (in addition to chronic deceit).

My respect is going your way for your courage in leaving. I too did the best I could, to provide stability and normalcy despite the machinations of NH, and I continue to do so. I didn't know what NPD was until I tried to make sense of his cruelty at the end (devalue and discard) when he found better 'host.' I also commend you on the compassion in your response to notherapy. You are someone I hope will find the answers and hope you are looking for - I am seeking the same. May we both find the healing we want so deeply for our children. 'jewell'

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

"It is just a matter of wait and see"

Yup. Some grow of it, others don't. Sort of like the socially awkward kid in high school is someone almost unrecognizable in college. Something like that. I hear a lot about that on the Something Awful boards.

What about other personality disorders? Do you consider them just different forms of narcissism or just unrelated disorders?

Anonymous said...

me wrote:

"I would like to ask everyone who has gone NC a question. Did most of you go NC with both parents? I went NC with my NM and my dad just seemed to go with it."

Estranging yourself from one family member while staying in touch with the rest of the family is very difficult and rarely comes off without a hitch. The remaining family members don't like your straying from the fold, and/or having to make separate arrangements to see you on holidays, so they pressure pressure you to reconcile with that person. Expect to be called "anti-family", "cruel" and worse. I eventually realized that those family members who knew enough about the toxic situation I endured, if they had a lick of sanity, would eventually realize I made the right choice. Those family members who didn't know about what was occurring needed to butt out. The ones who knew about what occurred and didn't support my boundaries were part of the problem and weren't worth my time. If they could keep their mouths shut about a child (me) being abused, they could sure keep their mouths shut about an adult utilizing her right to choose her company wisely.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your kind comments. And thank you for your response to notherapy. I think Anna is probably correct, that notherapy is a young person. It certainly seems she/he is trying to make sense of growing up with an N parent. The raw feeling of being wronged radiates from the page, and moved me to tears. I felt much better about that post after reading your response, which was spot-on and something notherapy needed to hear.
I wish you and your daughter well on your healing path, and I am very glad that you have someone to talk to who can see what’s going on and gives you sound advice. I found, with my younger daughter, that it was very helpful to be familiar with the parental alienation techniques used by personality disordered parents. I was able to let her know that I knew what her father was doing, without denigrating her father to her. (Not a simple task!) It seemed that was the turning point with her. It took quite a while, but she is well-adjusted now and seems immune to her Nfather’s attempts to vilify me. Those events may even have slowed down, since she now spends equal time with me. I don’t know, because I don’t talk about him with her unless she brings it up. But it was a close call with her, especially with the older daughter assisting Nfather in his alienation efforts. I had to give up trying to co-parent, as Nfather would only “co-parent” when he wanted to enlist my aid in his controlling behavior toward my younger daughter, and I will have no part of that ever again. So we “parallel parent” and have very little contact, which results in much less conflict, therefore fewer opportunities for him to badmouth me.
I hope that your daughter can get to the same place as my younger one. I understand what you said earlier – she has to choose a path. It’s the fight of their lives, and they flail against the one who can help them. Like saving a drowning victim. And if you tell them they are drowning, they flail all the more. Be strong and steady for her and she will feel your love.

Anonymous said...

Thank you everyone. Katrina pegged XNH behavior perfectly (passive agressive, mental & emotional abuse, covert manipulation, lies, gaslighting and other terrible abuse, etc.). Katrina described my situation precisely - the vicious attacks when I would not agree to live in his shadowbox. Yes, he wanted to break my mind and murder my spirit. Only those who have been there know what that is like. Those closest to us have the power to harm us profoundly. I felt fear and disgust when I realized how very like an ugly spider he is, poisoning me from behind. I have to put those thoughts away, because they start to terrify me.

Thank you to all who are offering encouragement and support. That advice was with me yesterday, as I stood firm with my daughter. She made it perfectly clear she hates me. I feel I have lost her. I still have to do the right things, but it feels like I am doing them at the end of a marathon, with no end in sight.

Marie is so insightful with her idea of parallel parenting, instead of co-parenting. I have been trying to co-parent with someone who doesn't care, except for frustrating me with bull---t. It is entirely possible he continues to plant seeds of disrespect in her mind. I appreciated the wisdom in the comments of anon 7:42 and 'dee' as well.

I have been persevering, but I don't really know how to survive the possibiliity of a final outcome where she rejects me forever, or worse, never connects with decency and truth. I see some of you have had to survive that, and I grieve for you. I hope you are right when she say that she may feel my love as she lashes out at me. It makes sense that we have no choice but to stand up for ourselves and not be victims, not allow further abuse. How deeply ironic, that the goal is for simple survival and no abuse, as opposed to happy family, etc. What a tragic gap. I have nothing else to give, and try to look to prayer for help. Why is it so hard? I don't really know how to carry the load, after so many losses and failures. Many suggested giving the burden to God. I am trying very hard to do that.

Anonymous said...

This I am reading through the comments...I am tearful. I can't tell you how deeply I 'hear' how much love and care most all of us feel for our children. The helplessness we often feel while raising our children...who, too, have been affected by the influences of Ns...and the victimization by Ns. We know enough now to realize it is 'choice(s)' that create an N...and ongoing pattern of choices...and it is frightening indeed. The idea of losing our children to Evil is beyond comprehension. There is no other place we can be but before the God who made us...kept us...turned us...and keeps us. Pray for your children's protection...pray that He turns their hearts....pray that whatever He gave you to give them will play a part in their memories and their consciences.

I had a 5 year period of time with my daughter too. From 18-23, I was pretty worried about her. She lived far away and I had no money so there wasn't that issue. But, I was shit under her feet a lot of her teens. (She was mad when I married a man who was a 'not good man'....but she was not mad about that. She was mad that...get this..."Mom, you are a very pretty could get anyone you wanted...who could pay for everything and I could have a car and all the things my friend have...and you do THIS?") Ok....she wasn't mad because I married a shithead. She was mad that I didn't marry a RICH shithead! Just a little picture of my wonderful life with my daughter.

I don't want to go into all that happened after the horrible years...too long and winding...but..NOW....I couldn't have ever asked for a better daughter....a mature, loving person...who married a good and decent man...(second marriage. Her first husband died of cancer right before their baby was born.) A wonderful mother.

Miracles DO happen. There IS hope. Don't quit praying for wisdom and discernment as you walk through tumultuous time in the 'aftermath'. No matter how it seems...just don't quit. For the love of God and your children...don't quit.

Anonymous said...

Teen-agers are a strange breed, aren't they? I know because, well..I was one...haha.

To all of you not only healing from the devestating effects of loving and caring for a personality disordered individual, but also dealing with young teens immersed in their OWN pain & suffering, my heart truly goes out to you.

But I do believe, as KRL has demonstrated with her post, that they can "grow out of it" if and when they move on out of those seemingly tulmultuous years.

It doesn't minimize the pain and disruption you face every single day, but I think it offers hope. Hope that you can eventually make peace with each other and embrace a much more fulfilling relationship with each other.

Miracles do happen and I've been the recepient of more than I could possibly deserve, but...there it is.

Keep the faith. Stay strong in it and maintain your own self respect, dignity and compassion regardless of the obstacles thrown before your path. You are lovable and you are extremely important to the balance of good & evil in the universe.

Peace, love and joy for you all..:)

Anonymous said...

Anna, Thank you for giving me so much blog space to express my pain and hear the kind words and support out there. Sometimes the world closes in pretty hard, and you don't feel like you can keep going. My particular pain relates right now to how my daughter responds to me, her own conscience, and the years of training in dismissing me she learned from him.

Regret can poison you; fear can paralyze you. I saw so much but couldn't stop it or change it (his atmosphere) no matter how hard I tried. He was relentless and ruthless, deceptive, manipulative beyond anything I could have imagined. He was not who I thought he was. I didn't really see or understand what was happening until the end -- like seeing a couple of dots on the page but not the full face.

I really am grateful for those who said I have some value to the universe in and of myself, despite everything. That feeling (believing that I am worth something, that I really am a good person despite what he said) is missing inside me and feeds the despair. I will carry your comfort with me. I know everyone is facing their own suffering out there - mine just rose over my head this week. thank you. 'jewell'

Anna Valerious said...

What about other personality disorders? Do you consider them just different forms of narcissism or just unrelated disorders?

I think the lines drawn around personality disorders are fuzzy and unscientific. Lines which are arbitrarily drawn by non-scientific methods. There is much evidence to support the belief that many personality disorders are various manifestations of predatory and malignant narcissistic behavior.

Malignant narcissism is highly adaptive in its behavior. This is a fact that most of the professionals don't get. MN must adapt in order to thrive in any particular environment, and it must adapt to the individual's particular abilities (i.e. intellect, physical appearance, education level, etc.). The psych community tends to see discrete classifications based on groups of behaviors. Those of us who've seen malignant narcissists in various situations see something different than the so-called professionals. We see adaptability to varying conditions and supply sources, protective coloration, and different (or changing) victim preference.

There is no simple answer to your question...but the above is my simple answer.

Rachel said...

I'm trying to write a research paper on emotional torture and came across this blog, which I find to be very helpful.. I do have a couple of questions I hope you can/will answer.
Some of the commenters state that Ns have no emotions, seem vacant, yet are prone to outbursts of anger when they don't get their way. Is this true emotion or a ruse to get what they want? Do they feel real anger when someone they know is doing better than them?
Also, Ns enjoy torturing people emotionally and while it's not necessarily ethical, what would happen if you were to actually take away all that is good to an N? To torture them by having Nothing go their way?
One more thing, is there any "cure" or therapy for an N? Or are they so far gone that they have no hope? (not like they care) Do you think they can actually help it and if they can't, would they then be truly evil?
I thank you very much for your time! Keep up the good blogging. It's very informative and from reading the comments, very needed.

Thank you again,

Anna Valerious said...

Some of the commenters state that Ns have no emotions, seem vacant, yet are prone to outbursts of anger when they don't get their way. Is this true emotion or a ruse to get what they want?

For an excellent tutorial on malignant narcissists and their anger/rages go Kathy Krajco's blog post titled "Narcissism and a Terrible Temper":

Pathological narcissists have emotions. Hell, even animals demonstrate they have emotions. There is nothing particularly "human" about having emotions. The internal life of a narcissist is bleak and dreary because they are disconnected from their emotions. This likely is what we interpret as their being vacant, blank. The outbursts of anger are most decidedly their way of getting what they want. It is the use of the temper tantrum to steer the behaviors of those around them. Plain and simple. True emotion? Hardly.

Do they feel real anger when someone they know is doing better than them?

For my analysis of what the narcissist is motivated by/feeling when someone is doing better than them (or is getting something they want) go to my blog post on "The Fear that Moves Them":

Also, Ns enjoy torturing people emotionally and while it's not necessarily ethical...

No necessarily ethical?? Since when is someone enjoying torturing people any kind of ethical? Can we just state it simply and forthrightly that enjoying the torment of others is always unethical and most definitely immoral? Thank you.

...what would happen if you were to actually take away all that is good to an N? To torture them by having Nothing go their way?

Now you're equating depriving a narcissist of their victim as being equivalent to the torture they dish out to their victim. I find this line of reasoning to be extremely flawed on it's premise and therefore cannot deal with it as you present it. Narcissists, like us, can choose to play by the rules and not use people for their own personal aggrandizement. The truly good things in life are just as available to them as to us. They could choose to pursue a moral and right course and thereby reap the benefits of good character and hard work. No one is advocating taking away these true sources of good things from the narcissist. But there is no loss of virtue in depriving narcissists of prey. If they are made unhappy because suddenly all their illicit sources of what they consider "good" things are dried up then that is their tough luck. There is nothing immoral in depriving them of victims. Period. They are not entitled to what they want just because they want it.

One more thing, is there any "cure" or therapy for an N?

No one has found a cure for pathological (i.e. malignant) narcissism. There can be some success with behavior modification therapy in helping them alter some of their more objectionable behaviors enough to facilitate them having better interpersonal interactions. But that kind of therapy doesn't change what they are. It just helps them cope better by being less repugnant to those around them. Ns are not likely put into behavior modification therapy until they've landed in the justice system somewhere...i.e. after criminal behavior. Looking at the recidivism rates of most criminals I'd say the success rates of any kind of intervention are very modest at best.

Do you think they can actually help it and if they can't, would they then be truly evil?

Yes, I think they can help it. Anyone with intimate interaction with a malignant narcissist knows for a fact that the narcissist can control their behavior. Therefore, they are evil. Where is the evidence that they can control how they behave? The malignant narcissist is highly adept at only striking out at a victim when it is safe for the narcissist to do so. They abuse in the 'dark'. They hide what they are. They behave when behaving is necessary. They attack when the coast is clear. The logic is simple enough to follow. If a person can not help how they behave then they would act out their most ugly selves in every context regardless of who was looking on. Then we would likely label them 'insane'. Only the truly insane do their crimes in front of anyone. The calculating and self-control involved in only striking when it is safe to do so is proof enough of the malignant intent and purposeful predation that narcissists engage in. They have chosen to be what they are. Evil.

Anna Valerious said...


Kathy K also wrote an essay titled, "Are Narcissists Unhappy?" and makes a strong case that they essentially are happy 99.9% of the time.

Anonymous said...

I think 'abuse in the dark' is brilliant. In my experience, the sneakiness, the multiple layers of lies, the lack of loyalty, and the betrayal were jaw dropping.

My NF decided to end a year long relationship, but they had planned a vacation. He didn't want to lose money on the reservations they had made, and he felt he really needed a vacation, so off he went. He broke off the relationship in the cab on the way home from the airport. Brutal stuff.

Anonymous said...

"The more emotion displayed the bigger fake you're witnessing.

The more dispassionate the expression, the closer you are to seeing a narcissist acknowledging a truth about themselves.

But, again, this self-loathing is greatly tempered for the narcissist. He or she has powerful defenses against truly feeling the depth this emotion would call forth in someone who isn't a malignant narcissist."

Here's a link to one psychiatrist's theory about whether narcissists actually "feel" anything at all:


Anonymous said...

Hey anonymous, Oct 1, 2008 3:35:00 PM, your nfriend sounds exactly like the nf that I had. The first time we went out, it was to the beach she suddenly let me have it. Started criticizing the way I walked, the way I interacted with other people, insulted my family. Then at the end of the day she apologized profusely and said that she had not right to treat me like that. Of course, of course I went back for more. (I'm still angry with myself for that 2.5 years later) I should have walked. Be proud that you called your nf on it right away. She too was very secretive about her life. She was unforgiving about other people's faults and failings but really didn't have anything to show for her life.
She was always 'helping' people by telling them the 'truth' you know criticism disguised as advice. Sometimes very hurtful things. And she'd say she was just being honest. Its crap. My mother would say the same things:
I'm just being honest
I'm being cruel to be kind
I'm just trying to help you
I'm saying this because no one else will
The wounds of a friend are faithful

Anon Oct 1, 2008 5:48:00 AM your friend sounds a lot like my mother when I was growing up. Sis was the GC and if she hurt my sister boy would she ever grovel, "i'm sorry, baby, I'm sorry, I'm sorry". But if say she accused me of doing something wrong and punished me for it and found out she was mistaken she wouldn't aplogize, in fact sometimes I'd see a little smirk on her face. My sister's whims were indulged at all times. Its the little things, seemingly insignificant, invisible to outsiders that wear you down a little at a time. Like I had to eat whatever was served whether I liked it or not. If my sister didn't like something say liver and my mother made liver for dinner she'd be sure to make some chicken or an alternative for my sister, just enough for my sister though. Its those things that tell you how low or high you are on the family totem pole. You know how badly your being treated by how well they are treating everyone else.

Lara said...

I'm parroting something read elsewhere... but that's surely why narcissists are incurable: having cultivated such a loathful personna who would choose culpability and the resultant, seemingly unending miasma of pain that follows?

Anonymous said...

If it helps anyone. I GOT ONE! I bagged one (N) and dumped him. Thank you for your comments and thanks for this blog.

SoftailDog said...

The only real emotion I ever saw from my ex-N was rage... She had that one down pat.....

Anonymous said...

Hi, just a request that the second comment be posted. In my haste I made some errors in my first appraisal . After calming down a little and thinking more about what others had written , I feel my second comment expresses a more concise and reasonable reaction. Thank you your consideration.