Saturday, February 28, 2009

More Red Flags: History of Past Upheavals & Hated for Mysterious Reasons

The next two red flags on Kathy Krajco's list of "Eight Red Flags of Narcissism" are brief in description. "History of Past Upheavals" says:

If you know a narcissist's history, you will usually see a track of mysterious upheavals in his life. He suddenly up and moves to a different school or job in a different town every few years. That is, every time the good angels in his Pathological Space start comparing notes, get his number, and become enraged. In one narcissist I know of, these upheavals began with one in the eighth grade. "What Makes Narcissists Tick" pg. 79

In other words, once the narcissist has crapped enough in one place and it begins to stink they have to move on. The pile of excrement near the narcissist has made it clear to others who is doing the crapping. All that dung is what we call 'exposure'. Thus requiring a new scene for the narcissist.

This history of past upheavals can be more subtle than the narcissist having to physically pull up stakes and move to a new place. My own mother demonstrates the subtler version of past upheavals. She has lived in the same city now since 1970. She has lived in the same house in that city for 33 years. Obviously, evidence of past upheavals would not be evident to most people who know her now. Only those who have known her the longest are able to see the history of upheaval in her social circles. As I look back over her life for the last four decades it is very evident that she indeed does defecate all over her Pathological Space requiring her to abandon particular social circles with predictable regularity. This has been repeated over, and over, and over again. Of course, she finds a way to make it look like she dumped them and not vice versa so it always appears on the surface that she was the one wronged in some way requiring her to get rid of those "bad" people. At least, she tells the story that way. This is what Kathy is talking about though. If you are acquainted with someone who keeps telling you about how they had to get rid of this person, that person and the other person where all the blame rests on the other party -- you are witnessing a "history of past upheavals" and it is a sign you are looking at a narcissist. Moving about geographically is only one outward sign of past upheavals. High turnover in social circles and relationships is the subtler sign. I call it subtler because it requires a knowledge of that person's social history for you to follow the trend.

Kathy stated that, "every time the good angels in his Pathological Space start comparing notes, get his number, and become enraged" that it forces the narcissist to fold up his tent and move away. It is possible that the narcissist you know has managed to arrange a Pathological Space where there are no "good angels" to hold him or her to account.

Sometimes the narcissist is able to form a family circle (or any social circle) in which there are no dissenters. Either the dissenters have fled or have been forcefully ousted by the majority rule of the narcissist and his underlings. For an extreme example of this we have Fred Phelps. He has formed a church which is entirely populated with his own family members. Only a couple of his children have escaped Fred's cultish family. But most are still firmly in his clutches, some of which are demonstrating they are lesser narcissists in his kingdom. Fred has managed to form a large enough circle of pathological people (shaped from infancy by his pathology) to ensure that there is never a "critical mass" of good angels that can gather enough power or influence to force him to move on. This scenario of the narcissist gaining a large enough mass of sychophants, enablers, beta narcissists in his Pathological Space means it can camoflage this red flag to onlookers and acquaintances. Beware. In this case look for a cult following. If you find a person with a cult-leader type of effect on the people in his social circle then you can be damned sure you're looking at a narcissist. In a cult-type setting it always looks like the "Cult Leader" is the immovable rock never having to vacate his setting but forcing out those who don't fit in. It is a fake-out form of stability. Remember that families can be cult-like in construct.

The next red flag is, "Hated for Mysterious Reason by People Close to Them":

In fact, another red flag is being hated -- I mean really hated -- for mysterious reasons. And by people that hating is uncharacteristic of. If, say, a person's adult son or daughter doesn't even visit him in the hospital or go to his funeral,* there is a heavy-duty reason for that. Fortunately, it's not our responsibility to judge. But we do need to appreciate the weight of such a startling fact. People do things for reasons. They are not always good reasons or just reasons, but people do things for reasons.

*Good examples: Abraham Lincoln did not go to his father's funeral, and Barbara Bush did not go to her mother's funeral. "What Makes Narcissist Tick", pg. 79

This red flag is well understood by those of us who have been through hell with a narcissist and found ourselves loathing them and forcing no contact for our protection. We would be very unlikely to judge someone else harshly if we found out they had inordinate hatred for a particular person even a parent or sibling. So this red flag is one most of us would readily understand. Unfortunately, most people out there in the world do not have any of this understanding. They are far too quick to judge what they don't know. They are quick to condemn our hatred of a malignant narcissist as being wrong. They are naive to a fault about people who are capable of earning such hatred -- so they condemn us. This red flag should be put on billboards and written with sky-writing: Respect the fact that people do things for reasons therefore don't be willing to judge what you know nothing of.

Remember, Kathy is talking about a mysterious, intense hatred for a particular person in someone whom you know doesn't go around routinely hating people. Narcissists, on the other hand, have a very long "enemies list" so it can't be said it is uncharacteristic of them to hate others. It is their default and normal setting. But when you meet someone who typically gets along well with most people then know for sure that if they hate someone there is a reason for it. It isn't for you to judge whether or not the reason is "good." Frankly, it isn't anyone's damn business.


Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

"If you are acquainted with someone who keeps telling you about how they had to get rid of this person, that person and the other person where all the blame rests on the other party -- you are witnessing a "history of past upheavals" and it is a sign you are looking at a narcissist."

This sort of stings, because a lone dissenter trying to escape from a toxic system can have the appearance of doing this : (. In our case, when we were trying to escape my NILs (large extended family full of Ns), my parents ended up weighing in on THEIR side because of them being mad we were moving so far away and they were afraid of being alone.

Now, after begging my folks for 20 years to consider joining some of the IL family functions and them refusing roundly, NOW they are at EVERY function, including birthday celebrations of people they barely know. (I know this because when we were still reading cards/emails, the NILs gleefully made sure we knew. Since then, the one sibling that is sort of talking to us has mentioned it now and then.)

So now we have the appearance of ditching both sides of the family for our own selfish interests, when nothing could be further from the truth : (. It really hurts to have my parents take sides with the Ns, when they know full well that we have suffered serious wrongs. So now we have to be NC with them too, and we lost both families at once.

So I completely agree with your conclusion that if people have strong loathing for close family, there is A REASON and we shouldn't judge. We should be able to tell by our own discretion whether the person is an N or a victim of an N.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I meant to sign that. The comment about parents taking sides with inlaws is by your loyal reader, Renewed.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna
Recently decided when the ex-N dies, I will not attend the funeral. But think my FOO would go if it were to happen soon. They choose NOT to "want to get involved" but are socially in aquaintance w/N-ex when necessary. There are many strains of narcissism in FOO. And mostly have gone NC with the bunch of them. Often rehearse what/if I would say anything to the bunch if in fact the whole scenario transpired. Any advice?

Anna Valerious said...

This sort of stings, because a lone dissenter trying to escape from a toxic system can have the appearance of doing this...

Yes, I do understand that it can look like we who are trying to escape a toxic N system are the ones who have the problem since we can be vastly outnumbered by the Ns and their supporters. Perhaps one way to differentiate between Ns and victims of Ns in this circumstance is that Ns are very out front with their unsolicited proclamations of hatred of others. We, the victims of Ns, aren't on a continuous campaign to gain attention from the wrongs we've received at the hands of the narcissists we hate. At least, I'm judging by myself and those I know personally who've been victims of Ns. We tend to be very private about this aspect of our lives. When it does come up that we've had to distance ourselves from our N family it takes people by complete surprise because they'd never guess it about us. It seems out of character.

Remember, with Ns their enemies list is made public knowledge at every juncture because they use it to garner attention -- their drug of choice. We, the non-narcissistic victims of Ns, don't use our enemies list in this way.

Anna Valerious said...

Often rehearse what/if I would say anything to the bunch if in fact the whole scenario transpired. Any advice?

Less is more. Nothing is best. Anything you say will smell of self-justification which will be interpreted by them to be a sign that you are on the defensive. Defensiveness is taken by Nish types to be a sign of weakness. If it was me I would not let it be a subject of discussion. Period.

Q: "Are you going to ex-N's funeral?"

A:"It is a private decision that I am not discussing with anyone including you."

If they push it, hang up. Walk away. Firmly enforce you boundary, in this case, the boundary is that your decision isn't up for a discussion.

This will transmit very clearly that you are not putting your decisions up for a vote, that you are SURE of your decision, that you don't need other's approval for what you decide to do or not do. In other words, it transmits strength which is powerful N repellent.

Aravis said...

Anon (Renewed) said "Now, after begging my folks for 20 years to consider joining some of the IL family functions and them refusing roundly, NOW they are at EVERY function, including birthday celebrations of people they barely know"

I am wondering if your FOO has narcissistic tendencies too. Narcissism is a spectrum disorder, (or a spectrum character flaw)as Anna describes well elsewhere. The fact that your FOO barely knew the MN-ILs for a couple of decades yet NOW they are hanging out with them even though they KNOW you are NC and geographically distant sounds sort of petty and vindictive.

Sadly, quite common - it is EXACTLY what the Ns and N-enablers in my FOO do. My sociopathic aunt who had met my MN-ex exactly once, and lived 2000 miles away, actually started a cozy email correspondence with Mn-ex a year after I divorced him, although my mom had told S-aunt (mom's sis) about his physical and verbal abuse and complete lack of interest in DD. I went NC with crazy aunt at that point, which is pretty easy when you are 3 times zones away. But it brought home to me something bizarre about her - I remember the whole time growing up, my uncle, (her BROTHER) his wife and 4 kids, lived about a mile from crazy aunt and her family. They were the only family members for about 1000 miles around. And yet from 1964 until 2005, when uncle died, they only saw each other for a brief lunch or whatnot every few years when my parents dragged us cross country to visit. Total of 8 cousins, same age, living in the same city and they barely know each other. My own MNparents and Ngrandparents *didn't think that was odd*.

I could go on and on.

Anna, brilliant post. As one earlier poster mentioned, those of us who move away to go NC may look like we have upheavals, but really, the geographical relocation is indistinguishable from "moving for one's career". That is a good generic thing to tell people in your new city, because even if you still hear from people "back home", you can make a group of MN-FOOs look like they are being petty or stupid just by sticking with "moved for career/job".

Anon: "So now we have the appearance of ditching both sides of the family for our own selfish interests"

Whoa, whoa, whoa.....wait a minute. No NORMAL person would ever think anyone owes it to his/her extended family members or parents to remain in a given city. Unless you abandoned your three pre-schoolers to go live in an asram in Asia or something. You didn't do that, did you? I know those of us raised with the cracked belief that we are to put our MNfamily first, no matter the cost to ourselves, may feel guilty for EVER thinking of (or for) ourselves. Normal families may be sad when their children or siblings move somewhere else, be it to attend school, or get a great job, or to whale-watch on week-ends, but normal healthy families have NO BELIEF that other independent adults are "required" to live next door for forever.
FTR - my Nparents did indeed believe I was to live next door to them forever. I was 26 before I figured out I was free to get up and leave.

If your ILs and FOO are going around telling the neighbors or whomever that you are selfish for choosing to live somewhere else, the neighbors are going to be thinking to themselves "yes, and this conversation is a good example of WHY THEY LEFT". Surely it has been your misfortune to overhear some idiot blowhard expounding such drivel, and do you think to yourself "what ungrateful adult children idiot blowhard has" or do you silently wish the escapees the best of luck?

As one fortunate escapee to another - it is abundantly clear why you left, and I think you all just need to ratchet up the NC some more until all that background BS from your home town stops. Or you no longer hear it. Either way works.

Anonymous said...

Anna said..."Frankly, it isn't anyone's damn business."

I remind myself of this every single day of my life. How I live my life, what I DO with my life is noone's "damn business". They have absolutely NO RIGHT to harshly judge my character, my decisions, my direction.

I do what I do for ME, which was an entirely foreign concept but one which I am thoroughly embracing.

I'm not hurting, abusing and using one damn person on this planet and I am striving to live a righteous life as written in the New Testament.

I also wanted to comment to Billie and No More Darkness from the past thread:

Oh, sweethearts, I am so familiar with the that all-consuming anxiety and depression you both have suffered for years. I was THERE in that same bleak, black existence for 20+ years, being my own worst enemy, terrified of anything, everything and everyone.

It sucks. Bad.

I hit rock bottom, so very tired of it all yet deep down in my core self, I wanted to LIVE.

This was the time, about 5 years ago when I looked up into the heavens, with tears streaming down my face and with my heart so heavy, weighing like a ton of bricks that I pleaded with Our Heavenly Father to please "give me succour" please "help me learn to live a life with joy, not despair. To live a tranquil and peaceful life lacking chaos and disruption."

I had no energy reserves to spare. I was lost, scared and hopeless.

As I completely surrendered my cares and worries to The Lord, 100 percent of me devoting myself to his wisdom, his mercy, his boutiful love.....the relief was almost instantaneous.

Wow, never felt this unburdened EVER!

Little by little, with his benevolent, understanding, infinitely compassionate hand I found ME. The irrational fears vanished. The despair lifted and freed my heart.

I was walking home from a part-time job I had in a tiny cafe. It was a glorious Autumn day, and I began to notice how bright the colors of nature and my surroundings were.

How crisp the air felt on my skin and in my lungs. The strangest sensation began to permeate my essential spirit. I was a little confused at first, because I'd never felt anything so pure, so glorious in my life!

Guess what it was? It was JOY and it was FABULOUS!!...haha.

I have emphatically realized the truth, that without my compliant total surrender to The Lord, I would have resignedly shuffled off this mortal coil with no regrets. Only relief that the consuming pain was over. Finally.

Well, my unhealthy sense of worthlessness is gone as is the despair. No more.

To some it may seem ironic that by surrendering to Our Heavenly Father I have gained tremendous freedom, a liberty so profound that at first I almost didn't believe I deserved it!

haha...not anymore! I DO deserve joy and peace and love just as all of you do.

Please spend time dispelling that unwholesome myth from your lives. It's simply not true in any shape, form or fashion.

Peace, Love and Joy forever to all....


Anonymous said...

My mother decided to move the whole family across a couple of continents when I was 4 leaving behind our whole extended family. My father was always the willing slave. Her excuse was that the opportunities were greater elsewhere, but I realise now it was because her family hated her and she needed to 'start again'.

Fact is, we lived in an enclave in the new country, nobody was good enough, her way was vastly superior, and our dinnertime conversation was about how terrible everything was. She had few friends, and even our neighbours were subject to her vindictiveness and self-righteous judgement of them all. Would she go home? Hell no, that would be much worse. Here, she could complain and 'suffer' to her hearts content, and nobody was there to contradict her.

When her sister died about 10 years ago, she rang and told me about it as though she was talking about a total stranger. I remember telling her it was OK to grieve,thinking she was perhaps in shock still, I realise now her sister meant nothing to her, and her death was about as interesting to her as an item on the nightly news.

People don't go to narcissist's funerals, narcissists don't go to their own family's funerals either.

Anonymous said...

My last narc/psychopath relationship always portrayed himself as a victim. Everyone was 'nasty' to him, 'a bully' or 'mean' to him. He was a 'martyr. ' His 'wife wasn't nice' to him, his 'family was mean.' blah blah blah

Once I wised up and found out the whole truth - he, of course, lied and SWORE he "never said those things." (His wife has money and he can't hold a job for more than 5-6 years so he needs her, right?) And now I have become the 'lying, scorned' friend. LOL. His smear campaign quieted down only after a cease & desist & restraining order.

His ex-fiance dumped him and he again SWORE he dumped her. Would love to spend 30 mins talking to her.... ROFL - I can just imagine.

They are so dang predictable!

My NMom was the same - it was amazing the depth of the lies. And I found out even more after she died. She could "never understand" why "everyone (including me!) hated her." Pathetic, really.

Anonymous said...

Anna, you're right that victims of Ns leaving behind whole family systems do not advertise it. I certainly don't.

Aravis, my FOO is very dysfunctional, and I would not have considered them narcissistic in the same way as my ILs, but they are very self-focused. I think they turned to the NILs because when we left, shortly afterwards my father's mother died, so they felt alone in the world. I think they were desperate not to be alone. My mother did get weirder and weirder as our move got closer, agitated and angry. She even said once just before the move, "I thought you would be around to help me in my old age!" I said, "Mom, you're only in your mid 50s? What are you talking about?!" I think they have turned to my ILs out of fear and wanting to connect with SOMEONE. And yes, they probably are going around telling everyone we were selfish in doing this move. It WAS for a great career thing. The distance and the NC were coincidences; the fact of the move and the general area was known for almost a year.

We have ratcheted up the NC. We no longer open mail, but my husband throws it away at the post office. He deletes their emails and voicemails unread/unheard. This was hard to do but we are getting used to it. I was quite angry for a long time that they were using my husband's work to try to get to him, but I'm feeling better now.


Anonymous said...

Thank you! Sharing your awareness, knowledge and understanding of Ns has helped me sooooo much with dealing with my N family. And thank you for sharing how when one doesn't visit a family N or go to their funeral, that it doesn't make them a "bad" person. There is a reason and that is usually to protect themselves from the Ns or their supporters claws.

Anonymous said...

Another spot-on post, Anna. My parents' lives were full of upheavals. I remember once we left the country, mid-semester. They claimed that people had been ripping them off and scamming them, but it was the other way around - and when their stink got so bad, they *had* to leave.

As for what Renewal said, and you said, it is true - I do not advertise how much I despise my parents. I just live my life, and do not mention them. My Narcissist mother on the other hand, will complain loudly to ANYONE who can hear, about how martyred she is, and how 'ungrateful' I am. She will weep to relatives over the phone - relatives she had no interest in before, but she KNOWS are in contact with me. When relatives pass on messages, I say firmly 'I am sure you have good intentions, but please do not pass on their news.' - and then change the subject totally. It is like her life's mission to stalk me, and stalk people in my circle. But you know what? People respect our dignified stance more, and they do catch on as to whom the wronged party is. I don't go around bad-mouthing my parents, although I could write volumes about the criminal things they've done. I have very good steady friends, a good career, and they just continuously alienate people. My pathetic siblings maintain contact with them because they also like to play the 'nice family' facade, being narcissists themselves. They are not capable of taking a dignified stance.


Someone who stood up for herself :)

Anonymous said...

ps. Anna, I'm a newbie here, can you please explain some of the acronyms? I know what NM and NC stand for...I can't figure out IL, NIL, FOO, and some others.

Anonymous said...

Only one friend even knows about our CO from the ILs, and why. The rest think we don't see them because we live far away (and we live far away because we moved to get away from them, then moved again without telling them). There's no need to tell anyone because we are at peace with the current situation.

Anonymous said...

I think FOO means "family of origin" and IL refers to In-Laws.

Anonymous said...

Anna, this is such a timely post and I appreciate it so much. I was informed just yesterday that my MN mother is in the hospital. She's old and could die soon. I knew it was coming. I have had peace (more or less) for about 1-1/2 years after initiating no contact and severing the nasty "relationship." And I have stopped feeling guilty. I was trained at birth to feel guilty. That's a huge step in my recovery. I must protect myself from a cruel, evil, unloving force. I truly believe that now.

It was hurtful to hear that she is in the hospital. I was hoping she would just go on and on and all would be quiet and I would not be faced with any decisions or any guilt. That word again! I'm a kind soul. I don't want her to suffer. I've tried to replace my hate for her with compassion. Much easier on me.

However, I know I mustn't weaken and go visit her. My health and well-being are at stake. I've worked too hard to be a bird on a wire by the Neville Brothers. Great song!

Your post on understanding that there has to be a huge reason why an adult daughter or son would avoid a parent when hospitalized (or funeral) meant a lot to me at this time. I suppose I'm afraid of being judged by my children who I'm not sure really get it. It just seems so terrible that a child would refuse to visit a parent. Hardly anyone would believe that a parent could cause such hatred in a child. As if bearing a child makes you automatically free from being a sociopath. You are wonderful simply because you have born a child.

I also do not intend to go to her funeral. I would only be hurt further by the "mob" family (from which I've been ostracized)who support and enable her. But I realize I'm lucky that this crappy family has ousted me. My salvation is peace.

We good, decent human beings with kind hearts have to protect ourselves at all costs. That is what it comes down to. Self- protection or self-preservation so that we can thrive. We have that right! It is our duty to protect ourselves. That's the way I see it and I have learned so much from your blog, Anna.

It's really tragic and makes the problem worse when we feel judged by others who have not walked in our shoes. We have to get over that and really not give a damn what people think! The worst part is having the finger pointed at you like you're the bad one. Something so unfair and cruel about that as if we victims haven't suffered enough. It's really shameful. WE HAVE TO LEARN NOT TO CARE ABOUT WHAT OTHER PEOPLE THINK.

Thanks again, Anna, for all your wisdom. As you once pointed out, proving our suffering can be like pinning jello to a wall!

Hang on, fellow acons. It does get easier. Just stick to your guns. You know how you've suffered. It's your duty to take good care of yourselves! Be well and thrive. And keep reading this blog. It's a lifesaver! We need therapy and lots of it.

Anonymous said...

So true, that an N red flag is that nice and respectful people hate them and avoid them. Some years back, I was confused when people I respected looked "funny" when I would mention a specific new friend of mine, until I too found out she was an N. Then I joined the ranks of those who had gotten manipulated by her.

Another N flag is the opposite: N's "mysteriously" showing resentment towards people that not only are really nice and respectful, but in fact even STILL go out of their way to do the N special favors. Why? Because NOTHING is ever enough, no amount of special treatment will earn their appreciation. No matter how much the nicest person does, the N will still resent them and still feel like the person has wronged them, for not magically meeting ALL their needs.

I know an N who is basically circling the drain in terms of his game, and last time I saw him he spoke resentfully of some of the LAST people left in the area who are still actually giving him the benefit of the doubt and treating him well!!

Anonymous said...

"People don't go to narcissist's funerals, narcissists don't go to their own family's funerals either."

I have to disagree, based only on one example, though.

My N sister went to our father's funeral. She had nothing good to say about him when he was alive, she went out of her way to bad-mouth him and treat him poorly, even though he supported her.

She went to the funeral so she could have social contact with other family members from far away who she rarely saw. When the minister asked for people to talk about my dad, lots of people did, but she managed to turn her turn into a story about herself. She then sat there with a stupid grin on her face like a clueless five year old.


Anonymous said...

Gee! This describes my boss to a "T"! :o) Are you one of my co-workers?

"Another N flag is the opposite: N's "mysteriously" showing resentment towards people that not only are really nice and respectful, but in fact even STILL go out of their way to do the N special favors. Why? Because NOTHING is ever enough, no amount of special treatment will earn their appreciation. No matter how much the nicest person does, the N will still resent them and still feel like the person has wronged them, for not magically meeting ALL their needs."

This really blew me away at first. My boss was asked by our local news paper if he would do an interview regarding the fact that people these days are starting to pay cash more often than using credit cards. (I am into the antique & collectibles business and work at this resale store). It turned out that not only did he have this article in the news paper, but it was front page of the SUNDAY PAPER, first article with a BIG picture of him. The article took up more than half the page!. I worked that Sunday. To my amazement I saw him with the paper with a long face. He kept complaining to people on the phone (friends, etc.) that he was disappointed with the article and picked it apart in ways that were "backward". He then stated to me that he was going to try to have them RE-Do the ad! It was Free Advertisement! Another one of his employees created an awesome website for his store so that he could begin to sell online. This person spend long nights on this site for weeks and it looks beautiful. The employee didn't charge him for it either, just offered to help him. Again, he complained and picked it apart at the seems (and he has no little knowledge of computers in general let alone the work it takes to build a website!). There are many more examples of this; people doing things for him, going the extra mile, etc., but instead of showing gratitude, he acts all entitled and complains and actually puts those people down to to others about how unpleased he is. Sometimes I feel like I am in the TWilight Zone when I am there. I think it would be bad enough for him to complain this way (and he really cuts people down by going straight for their jugler) even if he did pay them to do it. But to act this way every time someone does something nice.....Well I could go on and on! To make a long story short (I know; too late :o), I agree with Anonymous about the fact that the Hated for Mysterious Reasons reversed is also possibly a good bet that one is dealing with a narcissist!

Anonymous said...

That is true that an N will still talk bad about well-meaning people who do favors for the N. They will still be trash-talked. I know. I've been one of those well-meaning types who has been trash-talked and raked over the coals, guilted and mind-f*cked if you pardon the expression. No one is immune, and if you think that possibly in some way that you may be immune (and thus give the N the benefit of the doubt) wrong you will be. I know. I've seen this happen with the N and her children, and also with myself (granddaughter). I've seen good people's reputations crapped on, and for a long while I am ashamed to say that I swallowed a lot of the lies about good people -- in my own family. No one is immune from their scorn and hurt. The best thing to do is to just focus on your own life and live for your own family (the ones who are not Ns). And look to God for direction and strength. With babysteps, I've come a long way.

Bess said...

"If you are acquainted with someone who keeps telling you about how they had to get rid of this person, that person and the other person where all the blame rests on the other party -- you are witnessing a "history of past upheavals" and it is a sign you are looking at a narcissist."

Wow. This is my Ndad, over and over.

Anonymous said...

As I've gotten older, I've seen that being the target of an N is really somewhat impersonal. A person who bullies or harasses you is someone who has bullied or harassed others long before you came along, and who will continue to harass them long after you're gone.

My first clue to this came when I was fairly young. I was a college student living with several other girls from my church in an off-campus house. One of the "sisters" was an N who seemed to have a vague grudge against me from very beginning. In my naivete, I tried all the wrong things to make it stop: being conciliatory, trying harder to please her "for the sake of Christ," and "turning the other cheek" to her continual criticism. I couldn't even bring myself to tell anyone else what was happening because of the church's admonitions about submitting to authority and not gossiping. Newcomers were automatically assumed to be in the wrong whenever there was any conflict with established, loyal church members.

The way this ties into your observations is this: one day, at dinner with all the housemates, the N sister broke down in tears over a former roommate whom she had previously driven away from the church. Her tears weren't those of empathy toward wronged roommate, but rather tears of frustration for not being someone God could "use" in the lives of others. She was more upset by her own damaged view of herself than by the pain she had inflicted.

Eventually I moved out of the house and left that church. Within about a year of my leaving, the N sister became instrumental in the excommunication of yet another housemate, a young student and brand-new Christian, who was apparently selected to become the target after I moved on.

The excommunication was carried out with breathtaking cruelty: the target sister was summoned to a meeting with the elders, while (unknown to the target) the N sister stayed behind to pack up the target's belongings. After being excommunicated, the target was then driven to a hotel, given money for a couple of nights' worth of lodging, told that the church members could no longer associate with her, and left to fend for herself the best she could in a college town where she had no relatives to turn to and few friends outside the church that had abruptly abandoned her.

If I had stood up to the N, would this have happened? Well... yes, probably it would. See, I didn't break her, and I couldn't fix her. But for a long time, I blamed myself. It was my fault for not loving her with the unconditional love of Christ. After all, doesn't the Bible say, "When a man's ways are pleasing to the Lord, He makes even his enemies to be at peace with him" (Proverbs 16:7)? Wasn't this conflict proof that I was somehow not pleasing to the Lord?

Since then, I've learned that taking a stand and holding people accountable are also a form of love. Even cutting off contact can be a form of love, if staying in contact feeds the sin nature of the N.

This is a lesson for other N targets: never blame yourself for being the target of a serial bully. Do not internalize the shame. They're doing this to you because of who _they_ are, not because of who you are.

Anonymous said...

Hi Anna! Thanks again for your succinct advice! You have a great literary gift! :o)

Very much appreciated..

Anonymous said...

My N-friend worked in a small office with M. They'd have lunch together, meet for a movie, then M took a job in another city. My N bumped into her on the street, as she frequently came back to visit friends, but she never called him. "She's snooty since she took the job promotion."

N joined a summer softball league at the suggestion of a guy who worked out at the gym when he did. It was a tight group of guys, and a way to make some new friends. The following summer when he went to sign up again for the team, they told him there were no more openings. I went to a game with him one night, and I noticed a chilly reception from his former teammates. "That's why I didn't rejoin this summer, they're a bunch of gossips."

A friend of mine called one afternoon to invite me to an art gallery opening, I told her I'd love to but I already made plans to meet with N for a drink. I waited a minute, thinking she would say, "Why not bring him along?" She didn't. As a matter of fact, that's when it dawned on me that whenever my other friends were having get togethers, N was never included.

N met H & A and they became fast friends. For a year they went to parties, worked on each others houses, went out to dinner. Then suddenly H & A stopped speaking to N.

N was friendly with another coworker who was new to his company. They shared common interests. N invited S and his wife to dinner, they cancelled at the last minute because their daughter was sick. The second time, the had unexpected weekend guests. "The third time they gave me a lame excuse. If they don't want to come over, that's fine. I was getting a little tired of covering for him while he cheated on his wife anyway."

He always had a reason why various relationships didn't work out. His siblings were jealous because his mother doted on him when he visited because he was the only kid in the family who had the courage to move out of state. Now I see that the act wasn't courageous, they were on to him.

Anonymous said...

My ex-NF would launch nasty, backstabbing campaigns against certain co-workers to get them fired (while pretending to be their loyal friend.) He would claim they were lazy, incompetent, dishonest, etc. etc. The usual N projection BS.

Eventually, his victim would either get fired or quit. And NF would leave the company soon after under vague circumstances "I needed a change..."

Anonymous said...

@Mar 1, 2009 11:39:00 AM

My mother was diagnosed with breast cancer last year. My siblings put on inordinate pressure for me to visit her. They would also pass on stories of how she would wail to people that maybe she got cancer because the cancer was meant to bring me back to her. Yes, all of you with NMs will understand this bizarre self-pity, martyrdom and implying your guilt in something beyond anyone's control.

You know what though? She is an evil bitch. An evil bitch who got breast cancer. That didn't change that she was the person who abused me horribly for years; who would laugh triumphantly when my father would beat me, or when SHE would beat me for the pleasure of seeing the misery on my face. I did not wish her anything bad, though. I just did not want to see her, ever again, under any circumstances, and I certainly will not be attending her funeral. I have heard she recovered, but this isn't relevant information to me. I just don't care. I decided I wanted that monster out of my life three years ago, and it has been a profound struggle maintaining the no contact. I will *never* go back there. Don't beat yourself up - others have been doing that to you, and with relish.


Someone who stood up for herself :)

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

"left to fend for herself the best she could in a college town where she had no relatives to turn to and few friends outside the church that had abruptly abandoned her."

I hope she proved to be far more resourceful than the N and her "minions" thought. They actually did her a favor in a way. Few things piss an N off more than not getting the desired effect.

Unknown said...

I was physically abused by my family, then severely harassed by them after cutting contact as a young adult. I fled to another city where I had a job offer. It was not a good fit--both the city and job-- so I moved to a third city. To an outsider like Kathy Krajco, this will seem like I'm a flaky N. C'est la vie, self-righteous outsiders who were fully aware of my violent family also told me I had to take it because "family is everything".

The city in which we grow up was chosen by our parents. Doesn't adulthood confer the right to choose a new city if we wish? And if, for example, one's chosen city is struck by a hurricane that will leave the area semi-functional for a decade, should we stay there just to prove what, exactly? Is an elderly arthritis patient who moves to Arizona on her doctor's recommendation an N? Are immigrants who come to America to seek a better life a bunch of Ns?

Tune out the peanut gallery, folks. They don't have to live your life.

Anonymous said...

To "someone who stood up for herself said...."

Thanks so much for your post. That is really, really helpful to me to hear that now when I have heard that MN mother is in the hospital after no contact with her for about 1-1/2 years. I don't know how I will feel when she dies; it's a scary thought and I'm not sure why. Perhaps because of all that waste of time and emotion and suffering and struggling. What was it all for! The depression, the anxiety, the guilt, family problems and so, so much therapy. Such a lifelong struggle because of an MN mother.

Yes, I agree...we should never go back. We've worked so hard to be in the safe place we are now in. We're free and that's what we now deserve...freedom from a monster mother and her enablers. In my case it's my FOO.

I'm curious though...are any of you fellow acons afraid of your mn parent actually dying? I looked at the obits today (as I usually do)and wondered how I would feel if I saw her name there. It made me rather naseous! The thought of it. Or the thought of one of my children telling me that she has died. It's making me queasy as I write this. I know I won't be going to her funeral. Of course, she could go on for some time but I don't have that feeling. She's in her nineties!

I'd be interested to hear some thoughts on this subject.


Anonymous said...

To "So, what IS in a heart?": there's a silver lining to this story. Target sister's excommunication was the straw that broke the camel's back for several other people. (N sister wasn't the only abusive person there; the whole authority structure was rotten. She was just the one we had to live with and deal with on a daily basis.) Two or three of target's friends left the church within a few days of this event.

The whole story seems so bizarre. How could there be so many control freaks in a single church? Part of the answer is that it was one of those somewhat counter-culture campus churches that sprang up in the 70's. It consisted in large part of college drop-outs, and was led by untrained twenty-somethings who had abandoned their secular careers to take on church leadership roles. Through the Internet, I've followed the last couple of decades of the original founder's career. He's no longer with that church, by the way. And he shows all the signs of a true sociopath: serial ownership of various businesses, on two continents, which he leaves in financial and organizational turmoil; legal troubles; and at least one suicide in his wake.

How God can allow people like that to pass themselves off as Christians is an unfathomable mystery.

Anonymous said...

I'm curious though...are any of you fellow acons afraid of your mn parent actually dying?

I am, because other N/enmeshed family members will no doubt try to contact me.

I am NC with my entire FOO. It's recent, and I'm still trying to deal with the tremendous highs (I'm free!) and terrifying lows. (When it was clear I was breaking from my "cult" of origin, I was emotionally gang raped by many members my family, and then was told it never happened, and BTW everything bad that ever happened in my family, was all my fault.)

I have zero contact with any of them, and that will never change. They are all effectively dead to me now.

It would be so sweet not to think about them anymore. To have them and what they did be part of my past, not my present. That's my goal: to wake up one day, and think, "Wow, I haven't thought about them in a really long time!"


Anonymous said...

History of past upheavals, yeah, that should have been one of my warning signs early on. Sometime in the first 6 months of our relationship, we were snuggled up in bed after sexual intimacy. She began what started off with an open dialouge, attempting to be intimate, instead, she began to talk about men she had sexual relations with, that she was the one that had to break off these relationships, however, any one of these men would gladly come back to her if she desired. Literally, in the same breath, she stated that most men were not attracted to her independence. I was not comfortable with this conversation and I did not allow my emotions to affect the moment. I just felt she was a bit arrogant and left it at that. Her x-husband and her own the building that each of them still work in as attorney's. There is a tremendous amount of animosity between them. They have been fighting over this property for 8 years now. During the five years I have been with her, and only until recently, have I concluded, that she thrives on this drama between them. Otherwise, a normal person would have sold, parted ways, a long time ago. Her XH has reached the point that he is obsessed to make her pay for her past indiscretions during the course of their previous marriage. He claims her to be a liar and a master manipulator. I most certainly agree with his evaluation. He has been concerned that their young son will acquire her bad habits. Too late, he already has. I don't agree that he is right in his obsession and continue to pursue this as long as he has, however, this woman has led him along to keep it this way. I know, I remained for five years myself and have now finally come to my senses. It is simply amazing to me the power of an N!! Coupled with her skills as a litigator, there can be no worse combination! Recently, just prior to our break-up, her XH has decided to pay whatever price and he will move out. He too, finally came to his senses.

I'm going on 60 days since the breakup, with no contact. As for the subject of an abused person being on a "campaign to gain attention", I believe is highly dependent upon the individual that was abused and the support people that are in their lives. As an example, many of my friends know that I was in a bad relationship, getting mentally assaulted, yet, they would convey small messages to me that I should reconsider my position in this relationship. For five years they watched my self-esteem, dignity, and moral beliefs dwindle into oblivian. They were feeling my pain, yet, they did not want to be agressive towards changing my mind. They were my friends, and whatever I did, they supported my endeavor to make this relationship work. When it was finally over, then and only then did they say, "we wanted to consider your feelings, and not influence your relationship in a negative way, however, we watched you change, from a compassionate personality, to an emotional wreck. We are just glad you saw her for what she really is, a selfish, self-centered personality." Let me tell you, my friends didn't know the half of it! WIth that being said, I began to vent, telling them my experiences. I did this because I was victimized, and abused. At times, I felt that I might have worn my friends down with my pain. I am fortunate to have such a good support system, and recently realized, it's time to let go of this animosity and victimized mode or I'll end up like her XH and/or slowly lose my friends.

My friends have encouraged me to become more social, and it has been difficult. I find my ability to interact socially has been stiffled and that is not like me. Talking with men has been no problem, it's the opposite gender that makes me uncomfortable. My conversations are short, and I feel like I want to escape 5 minutes into an interaction with a woman. I feel anxious and nervous. I would have never believed the profound effect of an N could make me feel this way. I will eventually become more comfortable, I know this, however, I also know it will take time.

I do have a series of questions I would like to pose if anyone has experienced with an N:

Once an N has exhausted their victim,thereby, knowing the relationship is over, does the cycle just begin once again for them, i.e., they seek immediate need for another victim, or are they so arrogant and self-absorbed to the degree that they believe the previous victim will come back? Either way, what is a typical pattern that they would most likely take especially with a 5 year investment into such a relationship? I am remaining out of contact entirely,as a show of strength, that I am completely and unequivically done. I just want to know what to expect, if anything at all.

During the course of our 5 years, she used family and friends to soundboard, she called it relationship advice and I saw it as a ploy for such family and friends to advocate, and justify her perceptions, without objectivity. In other words, she would come back to me to confirm that these people saw it her way, therefore, I was always wrong and she was the victim. Can we assume that in our present status, she has now become the victim, that any interpersonal relationships we had together are now seeing her as the victim?

She was an extremely jealous person in the first three of five years we were together. No basis for it, and I was loyal to her throughout the relationship. She led me to believe since her XH cheated on her, monogomy in a relationship was important to her. It seems though, that many times I did not believe she was faithful to me ( lies, deception, etc.). Does the typical N convey their fidelity to another in order to gain trust, and still feel free to do what they want where it concerns sexual encounters? I know that this has happened, but, what is the typical/common MO of these N's?

Any response at all to these above questions are truly appreciated. I'm simply doing my homework, because the sociopathic, narcissistic personality has become an interesting subject, comparing my experiences with others, and to understand why I did what I did, as well, to know why my N acted as she did. Thanks guys.

Anonymous said...

For Anon who asks about an N after the relationship is over:

Here's my experience. My N-ex was totally clueless when I ended it (at least he acted that way). Then he went to great lengths to convince me it was all my fault the relationship was a disaster. We had some long talks and I always ended up feeling sucked dry and worthless. I knew something was wrong, but this was before I found Anna's site, but I still knew enough to get out.

After he finally figured out I wasn't coming back, he went totally cold, wanted nothing to do with me, even changed his number. He then got heavily involved in a church, getting his N supply there. When the pastor scolded him for some errant behavior, he promptly left under great indignation and hooked up with some poor nurse. It was like going from one addiction to another. Never heard a word from him again (I'm lucky). I know this from mutual acquaintances. I'm SO VERY VERY much happier without him, even though it's a struggle financially. It's SO worth it.

Anonymous said...

Hello Anna,
My hubby found this site a couple of months ago right when we were in the thick of it with his NF. THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! It was like a cup of cold water knowing we weren't alone in this crazy, messed up universe. We have been following faithfully and have read everything on your blog in an attempt to educate ourselves in how to deal with this so called 'Christian'(so called because we are at a loss to find even one of the fruits of the spirit! But he has plenty of rage, slander, bitterness, grudges and selfishness to beat all and he has only worsened with time.

My hubby's mom is now in the hospital and extremely ill. She was the enabler who indoctrinated her children in the Christian virtues of 'love...forgiveness...honoring your father and mother...taking up your cross' etc, etc. And Sunday after Sunday the whole family sat in church, a perfect picture of Christian piety.

In short, she sacrificed her children on the alter of her own hypocrisy and security. There was no help for the kids...They had to suck it up and keep it in. Once she saw me talking to the pastor and she told me, "You don't tell him anything that goes on in this family and YOU don't rock my boat." The mental and spiritual abuse was staggering including years of total silent treatments, (amid which enabler mom insisted we come home for every possible occasion ("please don't punish me just because he's being difficult, I don't think I could cope!" and "we just need to forgive him because he doesn't know what he says and does when he gets so mad...he's not feeling well you know' nausium. His rages, when he was speaking, were terrifing...including threats to kill etc. Anyhow Anna, you know the drill so I'll fast forward to the present.

My dear sister-in-law decided it was time to call in the church, (not that we haven't sought counsel from the church before, but because he CHURCH HOPS there really hasn't been anyone who can call him to accountibility. We have had a small window of opportunity to approach his life group leader, a man he 'currently' respects, in order to deal with some of the things he has done to various family members including my hubby's mom before she dies. The sibblings arranged the meeting in a effort to follow Matt. 18 with this man. In short, NF didn't show up, but had gone to his leader twice to 'get his side of the story in' before hand. They carried on without him and read their letters as though he was there. I saw him at the hospital as I was visiting my MIL and the look on his face was murderous. After I left my sister-in-law came in and she calmly told him that he had hung twice up on her and owed her an apology. (He had wanted the meeting postponed as he 'just couldn't cope with it right now'(Sob...sob)and when she refused to postpone it,he hung up on her and went behind her back and cancelled the meeting himself. When she found out, she reinstated the meeting and phoned him to let him know that it was still on...of course he was furious and hung up on her again.) He was not used to this show of strength from this kind and gracious daughter of his and his response was vicious. He spit on her twice, called her various names including a "dispicible piece of humanity" and raised his fist to hit her...all in the hospital room! When my SIL said, "Go ahead and hit me!" he pulled his fist away and said "You'll call the police!" (My SIL didn't answer, but said she thought, "You bet I will!") Anyhow, we are trying to go NC which is really, really hard considering he is 'camping out' at the hospital and seeks to engage us everytime we go. He even called my daughter who goes to university in another city to apologize for some minor incident. (He has NEVER apologized to anyone before so of course our spidy senses were tingling.) He has put her in such a conflictive state as he knows she is loyal to her aunt and she doesn't know how to respond to his apology to her!! He is a smart cookie and knows exactly what to do to tear relationships apart and manipulate in unbelievable ways. (I told her to just stay completely away even though her grandma will probably not make it.) Now he has told his life group leader that my SIL attacked him and that he was in process of making things right but now she has destroyed it all so that it can't be fixed. My other 2 inlaws live in the same town and they are really going through a terrible time. One is a nurse and has to deal with him daily; she is the eldest and still struggles with the spiritual abusive rhetoric of the past..."besides he is getting old..." and of course he plays the sympathy card. Outside the family, people rant and rave at what a devoted husband and wonderful man he is etc. The family doesn't know much about narcissism and of course he would never darken the door of a counsellor's office for a diagnosis as he claims, LITERALLY, that he has never done anything wrong and infact he is the best father in the entire county. He even offered his own sister $100,000 if she could find a father better than he!! My husband and his sister are totally through with him unless he truly bows the knee at the foot of the cross and produces 'fruit in keeping with repentance.' The other 2 sibbling are still trying to figure out what kind of relationship they can have with him. They no doubt are afraid of labeling him a N as it is such a hopeless title and they say, "we aren't shrinks." I say if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it's a duck! Anna, do you know of a list of extreme behavior clues, such a spitting, that can help the family see that indeed they are dealing with NPD? I think when one has been brainwashed and abused it is hard to know what normal/abnormal behavior is!

Thanks for all your help already in helping us to find our way through the fog!

Anonymous said...

hello kimberley- thankyou for your kind message xx

Writer in Washington said...

We tend to be very private about this aspect of our lives. When it does come up that we've had to distance ourselves from our N family it takes people by complete surprise because they'd never guess it about us. It seems out of character.

That is very true for non-Ns. We don't discuss our NC with the MN kids but we don't hide it either. Most people are shocked if we mention it (usually in a counseling situation) because it doesn't fit with the Pastors that they know. This is a good sign that you are NOT the one with the problems.

About funerals, my DH's ex is a very malignant N. She played up the grieving daughter after her mother died although she hated her all her life and never had anything good to say. When my mother got sick with cancer, my DH, DD and I took care of her until she died. Not because she deserved it but because I felt it was right scripturally. What I am trying to say is, I did what I believed to be scripturally correct but not because I had any guilt or regret in cutting her out of my life. Each person needs to make this decision on their own.

Writer in Washington said...

I don't know if I added this before, but your own conscience should be your guide. Not anyone else trying to guilt you into doing things.

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

With abusers, some are more shrewd than others and while a lot of the nonesense is more of the same thing.

I can tell you a couple of things though:

1. Don't count on them leaving you or kicking you out. While it can happen, it's not often enough. You have to leave them for the most part. Even if they leave/break up with you, there's no guarantee that they'll "go away", but they're less likely to cause trouble and it's easier to tell them to F off once you see them for what they are and they try to win you back.

2. Read and check out the manipulator files. The article about emotional abuse by Natalie describes what emotional abusers try to do. Some of them will BS others to look like victims and blame you. She also mentions in the end how she learned to be "no one's prey".

3. It takes time to heal, but one benefit of being in an abusive relationship is that you learn to recognize the signs and learn not to tolerate it. Some people do get into patterns to abusive relationships though.

4. Many of them are none too pleased if they find that you're happy and better off without them. They know this, but they hate that fact because it doesn't feed their egos. Why do you think the advice is "the best revenge is living well"? Abusers don't want you to live well, so they try to prevent that from happening.

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

"really hard considering he is 'camping out' at the hospital and seeks to engage us everytime we go."

1. His apology to your daughter is basically a lie as a means of trying to "convince" her that he's not so bad and "accepts responsibility". The actions obviously don't match the words. If he can't get to you, then he will try to get to your daughter. Keep in touch with her, let her know your honest opinion if she asks, but let her decide for herself.

2. You SIL/anyone else he's been "trying to engage with" can get a restraining order, especially if there were witnesses to his acts. His "camping out" and trying to "engage" maybe more than enough.

3. If you do get an RO, make sure it's worded carefully. A lawyer or DV advocate can help close any loopholes.

4. He will try to break the RO, so it needs to be enforced every time he breaks it. is a great help for stuff like this. He has a whole page about stalking solutions and how ROs aren't a guarantee, which is why you'd need to do more to protect yourself.

Anonymous said...

Wow, more red flags that I recognize!

My mother has forced me to be her "best friend" for my entire life, because "she has no friends". I have watched her hop from friend to friend, and then have some terrible story about how these people treated her so badly, or let her down, or weren't understanding to her needs. It was always about her. I remember a time when one of her friends gave her an "ultimatum" and that was the end of the friendship. Looking back, this person (who was married to a therapist and he probably titled my mom as the Narcissict that she is) probably drew some boundary line with my MNmom and this was a deal breaker. That person became a villian and always talked about as a bad person. My whole life she told me about how badly she has been treated by her "friends" and that true friends do this and that, and well, aren't I, her only daughter, her best friend? She had trained me by her friend's and family's their "bad behavior" how I should take care of her.

And people wonder why I am in therapy....

Also, we moved about every 6 months (within the same city) when I was a kid, and she went from job to job because people didn't "appreciate her talents". There was a time that we moved out of town for a couple of months, and one Friday I came home from school and she was packing the house. We were moving that day and it didn't matter that I had made friends there, she had her reasons why we were moving.

She trained us (me and my 2 older brothers) that families stay together, nothing is more important than family, and everyone should live within walking distance from each other. Luckily my dream to move away to go to school was real enough that I finally got away (and stayed away!) at the age of 24, but was expected to go back home to be at every holiday, birthday, hospital, funeral, without fail. So imagine the problems that arose when I got married and wanted to start my own traditions with my husband...then a year ago my parents decided to move to the area that I live, and slowly the whole family is following them. And my MNmom continues the "I have no friends, be my friend" madness. I have not gone NC yet, I am still struggling to cut her out of my life, but have stopped being her "friend" and have limited contact and the toxic interaction. Still just working on boundaires. I am now planning our escape to the other side of the continent or the world so I can have the distance that I need. Someday soon I will be free, and thanks again to Anna, who is teaching me how to make that happen!
- Breaking Free

Anonymous said...

@ Anonymous Mar 3, 2009 8:02:00 AM

I went through a roller-coaster of emotion when I heard about her diagnosis. The irony about being the child who decides to stand up is that we were the ones who were always more sensitive to their 'pain' and were exploited precisely for that reason. We are so well-trained by these psychopaths, that our first instinct is to always run to them and comfort them.

When did they ever show you mercy? When did they ever show you comfort? When did they see you at a moment of weakness, and relish the chance to brutalize you further, because that is what these sick monsters do.

I am not saying it's easy to switch off the wishful-thinking that haunts us ACONs; 'but maybe there is some good in there' 'maybe I should just do the 'noble' thing'. STOP RIGHT THERE. Do NOT TORTURE YOURSELF. She is sick and will die. We are all going to die. They do not have a monopoly on sickness and death. That alone does not earn them any privileges. Their evil is an insatiable pit, and don't fool yourself for one moment that their mortality elicits in them any kind of compassion for YOU - no, it only magnifies their OWN sense of self-pity. FUCK that, and FUCK THEM.

Once, I was in hospital battling a raging resitant infection. I couldn't see due to the infection around my eyes, and I could not walk or raise my head due to traction headaches from a spinal tap that did not heal. Know what my Nmother did? She made me feel guilty about being sick because it coincided with her wanting to go on a trip. The bitch went off for a week-long holiday, while my friends would come over to help me bathe and eat. My friends were in complete astonishment at her callousness and lack of empathy. She came back early from the trip - why? Because she had a disagreement with someone there, and stormed off in an indignant huff. NOT because she remembered her daughter was temporarily disabled and at the mercy of friends to feed and bathe her. ALL she spoke about when she came back was how she regretted going on that trip because so-and-so ruined it for her.

Narcissists are pure evil. Save your compassion and love for someone who deserves it. Be strong. You are doing the right thing. Do not waver. Do not let ANYONE try to blackmail you emotionally or play on your kindness. Your mother waived the right to your loyalty LONG AGO.

Good luck and stay strong!


Someone who stood up for herself

Anonymous said...

"Luckily my dream to move away to go to school was real enough that I finally got away (and stayed away!) at the age of 24, but was expected to go back home to be at every holiday, birthday, hospital, funeral, without fail."

Wow this is exactly what happened to my husband!! He worked for 'free' in the family business with tons of promises including "next year you can go to school" but next year never came and we had to literally run away when he was 24, with no money as his NF made sure he was utterly and completely under his control. Even his shares, equipment and assets were stolen from him 23 years ago and his NF has never so much as admitted any wrong doing. For the next 12 years his NF gave us the silent treatment and told everyone that he had "no idea" my husband wanted to go to school and that he had been "left in a lurch." It was a bold faced lie as he had kicked my husband out of the business in January and then 3 weeks later promised to give him money, a truck and would finally support his going to university. Ya right!!! He did not give him one day off up until we ran off the day before classes started. We even rented a basement suite sight unseen. Like you anonymous, we were 'required' to attend every family event where everyone ignored his not speaking to us. We were even expected to always say 'hello' to him even though he would turn on his heel and march out of the room and once he even spit on the ground. Talk about a white elephant in the middle of the room!! I find it amazing how similar the details are in many of these stories.

Anonymous said...

To "Someone who stood up for herself" - Pretty much everything ever posted here resonates with me, but your posts especially are sparking me to repeated bouts of "RIGHT ON!" Your wisdom and strength are exceptional, and your way of expressing vital and unequivocal truths that all ACON's really need to embrace is on a par with Anna's own gift. I hope you will post here often, and I wish you all the happiness that should always have been yours.

Anonymous said...


You are doing a great job on your website. I love your insight and your humor. I will send a donation to your cat soon! You (and the cat) deserve it. Please keep your site going and thank you for keeping the memory of Kathy Krajco alive. She (like you) is a true hero concerning education on NPD

Anonymous said...

Anonymous Mar 3, 2009 8:02:00 AM
…are any of you fellow acons afraid of your mn parent actually dying?

I am NC with NMom and slowly becoming NC with my FOO. This blog has helped me tremendously in spotting and acknowledging to myself the covert Ns, N-enablers, etc.

I have not given much thought to Mom’s death. Okay, okay, I’ll admit that I’ve fantasized about how I would feel to have two police officers show up at my door to deliver the news and my totally inappropriate response……whoo hoo. My fear is that she might kill some other helpless innocent along with herself.

I’ve already decided that I will not visit her in the hospital nor attend her funeral. My biggest remorse is for family mementos. My therapist has said never to breathe a word about them because they would be used against me. It’s sad to say, but I’ll mourn and miss photographs and trinkets more than NMom.


Anonymous said...

Someone who stood up for herself
Mar 3, 2009 5:00:00 PM

I absolutely loved your strong, passionate, and accurate post. Keep reminding us why we’re here. You go girl!


Anonymous said...

"To someone who stood up for herself said:"

You really call a spade a spade and I agree...Fuck her. I was the kind, sensitive one with lots of empathy and was taken advantage of for that reason alone. My brother was always on to her. He was very rough with her and called me a sick puppy. Of course, he's just like her, now. I have no relationship with him as well.

I can't beleive that your MN mother would leave you so sick in the hospital and go on a trip. She certainly showed her true colors...nothing tactful about her. Thank goodness you have such good friends who took care of you. My mother wasn't quite that "out in the open." Not so easy to prove or at least I couldn't quite put my finger on it.

I had a gallbladder operation years ago. MN visited me a few times in the hospital so I thought wow, she's must really care! Of course, she didn't offer to take care of my children or anything like that. When I returned home, she cooked some food for my family and joined us for supper. I had just come home from an operation and she sat at the table with my family and WAITED FOR ME TO SERVE HER! Being the meek, devoted, stupid daughter that I was, I didn't even say anything. It was my husband who said that this was wrong and I should be the one being served. I even planned to have a movie for her. You see, I felt I had to entertain her, too. It wasn't about her actually ever helping me. The sad part about this is that I didn't see how crazy this all was. I always thought of her, her comfort, her happiness. It was like I didn't exist or if I did, it was for her pleasure. I existed for her and for what I could do for her. Sad, tragic, but true.

I blame myself, too, for being so stupid and so afraid of her. Anything she did for me was such a HUGE DEAL. And all through our relationship I thought she loved me. I never dreamt, in my wildest dreams, that a mother doesn't love a child. I think that's why I took so much garbage. I never saw the bad intent..the evil in those years. I just felt sorry for her and felt that she was not capable of being more than she was. I never realized the pathology.

No, I certainly won't go back to her. She will die, of course, but I owe her nothing. You're so right; she doesn't deserve my loyalty. She literally made me sick and in need of years and years of therapy. I can't imagine what I would even say to her should I happen to be face to face with her. Being the idiot that I am, I might run to her, embrace her and tell her that I'm sorry for being such a bad daughter and abandoning her in her old age. I actually did that once. Yecch, I want to vomit. So much guilt. She's the one who should feel all that guilt. How twisted it is. Well, it won't happen. It wouldn't be a very good scene if it did. I've come a long way.

Thanks for being so are definitely a very good writer and very intelligent. And again, many, many thanks to Anna for her wonderful blog.

Anna, you are a lifesaver! Thanks a million for all that you do.

It's amazing how we can thrive after such horrendous parenting!

Anonymous said...

Jr, Trixie, and Anonymous;

I had the misfortune of being born to a very violent Narcissist father and an extremely malignant Narcissist mother. I got the full package, as far as abuse goes. I remember in my darkest times, not wanting love or support, or happiness, just MERCY. All ACONS know this kind of despair, and the desire only for MERCY from the unrelenting torment. It's incredible how high our tolerance becomes for being mistreated, and how low our expectations become for any kind of good treatment - 'good' in our world meaning the times of respite when we were not being treated like shit. Remember this when you waver.

After going No Contact, and interacting with people in the 'real world'; seeing how they interact with their families and each other, I went through many wrenching revelation after the other. It's a very important part of the healing process to see our experiences through objective eyes and the eyes of ACONS who have escaped.

I only found Anna's blog last week, and I have read some of her posts over and over. Even though I suffered horrible physical abuse, what leaves lasting and pervasive damage is the psychological torture that they inflict upon us. I'm not always feeling so strong. Some days I have panic attacks; some days I cannot be in crowded places as it is sure to bring on a crippling anxiety attack.

The longer I have been away from them, the farther apart these episodes are becoming. It will take time. What you must not do is feel guilty - you are in the world of the living, unlike those zombies. I remarked to a friend, one day when we were walking along the beach, enjoying the experience for what it was - not dreading what would happen when I got home, or anticipating punishments, or repercussions for alleged offenses - and I said - you know what? I'm so happy to be alive. I feel like I've woken from a long, long nightmare, and despite everything I am still going through, life is GOOD.

I cannot thank Anna enough for this blog. She has articulated so well the dark existence of the person at the mercy of the Narcissist. She has also shown how we can come out of it strong; if there is anything I can say about myself and for those of us who finally break contact - it's that we did something out of principle and conviction. These are concepts Narcissists can never understand.

Bless you all,

Someone who stood up for herself.

Anonymous said...

Someone who stood up for herself,

Wow, sweety, you articulated the emotional perspective of abused children so scarily accurately--mercy, only longing for mercy.

Whoa, that's some profound and so extremely sad knowledge you have expressed from your years of torment from your sick, evil "parents".

I wish I could give you a genuine hug of love and compassion. Would you settle for a cyber hug? **HUGGS**

As far as the panic attacks you still deal with, they will eventuallly subside as long as you stay NC and only allow tranquility into your life.

ONLY decent, good, kind, considerate, loving people are ALLOWED in my life at my invitation.

Oh, yes...I stay firm on that decision.

I would like to share with you and any other of Anna's devoted readers who are concerned with panic attacks. I spent 20+ years with generalized anxiety (been totally free for 5 years now, without meds) and my saving grace was reading a short, yet revealing and totally helpful, inspirational e-book called.."Panic Away"

Best 30 bucks I ever spent. The author describes the physiological manifestations that occur with panic attacks and explains that it's simply our bodies reacting to the flight or fight response.

That our heart's pounding and the tingly, numbing sensations in the hands are just our bodies preparing for action---running or fighting. Those of us who have suffered years of panic attacks can attest to our negative response to the adrenaline rush that flows through our bodies.

It feels frikkin weird and frightening to say the least.

Well, this generous fella helped me tremendously by point by point explaining the scary, weird sensations. He also shared his secret of defeating these panic attacks; confront those feelings by firmly proclaiming.."BRING IT ON, panic attack! I'm not afraid of you!"

Believe or not, it is most definitely mind over matter. You can so totally program yourself to conquer panic attacks and eventuallly the pervasive generalized anxiety.

My peaceful, stress free, tranquil, cheerful life that I'm living now is the proof in the pudding. I would not deceive any of you about my life transformation.

I embrace reality and truth head on just like the lovely Anna advises.

If any of you would like a copy of the e-book in PDF format, just ask and I'll forward it to Anna.

It helped me and if you're sick and tired of being sick and tired, I believe it could help you take the first baby steps to freedom from diabolical anxiety.

Peace, Love and Joy....

Anonymous said...

This post has been making me think about the patterns of relationships of the various N's I've had the misfortune of knowing:

When I think about it, many literally had NO FRIENDS from the past, despite often being currently quite popular when I knew them.

And no matter what kind of current friends they have, if they DID have a friend from the past, it was likely to be just one [or two] and always sort of an underdog type: the one person they could always use as a counterpoint to look superior. The one person who just so happens to not be able to get it together in the exact opposite way that the N CAN get it together: if the N has a successful career - they have the one friend from the past who has always had chronic job problems, or the 'happily' married N may have the chronically unhappy single friend from the past, etc. The N's I've known will stick with the person who can reliably be an object of false "concern" and comparisons, a source of drama or the butt of jokes, and they will drop all the rest in time [unless of course the others drop them first!]. And if the underdog friend gets it together and changes for the better, they will be dropped too. The N's are mysteriously never friends with the people from their past who are actually doing similar things or pursuing similar lifestyles and interests. Never the people it would make sense for them to be in touch with. And no matter how many peer type friendships they may seem to have, they will drop these all in time over some vague, invisible 'rule infraction' or perceived injury.

I was once having trouble with an N friend [having no idea what an N was], and felt overwhelmed. I confided in an older friend, who advised that I look at this person's HISTORY of friendships and relationships, and see if it gives me any insight. Well, I have to admit that I immediately scoffed at this advice, thinking that MY relationship with this N was "special" and it would be no use to compare "our" unique friendship to any past friendships. Despite this initial reaction of mine, soon after I had to admit that her words kept nagging at the corner of my mind. So I looked at what I knew of his history and saw that I fit right in to his whole MO of dealing with others. So much for unique. These people really do have the most glaringly consistent patterns, and the only reason that they are not clear as day is because the N's constantly lie and spin their image to seem the opposite, and we often have no reason to disbelieve them until the bullshit reaches critical mass.

Anonymous said...


Thanks for the hugs :) *hugs back at you!* I'm happy to have found this community - glad not to feel alone, but at the same time sad that others had to go through it as well to know what I'm describing intimately. I'm really glad you're free of anxiety; I am freeing myself slowly but surely. The way I see it, is that they instill so much fear in us that they *try* to ensure we will be their captives forever. It is like the mental form of foot-binding. They put up barriers so effectively that you feel you cannot escape them, even if they cannot reach you physically. I will look for this e-book you recommended. I also learned to do what you do, regarding what kind of people I now allow into my life.

Recently, I had some good news, a career success. I shared this news with a 'friend' who at first acted surprised (not in a good way) and then said dismissively; oh well be sure to remind me again about your upcoming event because I'm bound to forget. After hanging up, I thought...hmm, that's a person I need to strike off my social register. I've lived my whole life with green-eyed monsters, and I sure am not going to start inviting in new ones, after going through all this to rid myself of my parents!

May you continue with your peaceful and tranquil life, and continue to share your advice and wisdom with those who of us not quite there yet :)

Peace and love,

Someone who stood up for herself :)

Anonymous said...

Someone who stood up for herself,

Aww....I truly LOVE cyber hugs as well as the genuine REAL ones!...haha.

You, me, Anna, all of us SURVIVOR ACONS deserve big, hearty, loving hugs, don't you agree? :)

And I so agree with you regarding the evil fiends who were our egg/sperm donors. They really don't deserve the admirable, respectful terms of mother, father, parents. Uh...NOT!

I think I was one of the lucky ones. My Mom left my P sperm donor when I was 10 yrs old and since I NEVER liked the b**tard (despised him is the more accurate emotion) we were relatively free from his oppressive tyranny.

He tried to coo his way back in our lives, but my Mom was having none of that crap! She was done and the undefeated warrior in her "stood up for herself" and her babes, shunning and scaring his coward's butt into the hinterlands.

I think he knew I detested him from an early age, so he sort of left me the heck alone, if you can believe that.

Maybe it was disconcerting to him to see his 4 year old child glaring at him as he sat in front of the TV, always, everyday not giving a flying fig whether we were hungry or needed anything.

He KNEW I hated him as it's difficult for me to disguise my true feelings and my face, my obstinate posture revealed the truth.

I was protected at an early age by the Holy Spirit as I was chatting with The Lord in a family that never discussed religion, faith when I was a little girl.

PDIs (Psychopaths, Narcs, Sociopaths, some Borderlines) are nihilists, so.....

Anyway, I'm rambling (as usual) and I forgot to ask Anna's permission to forward the e-book for her readers.

May I forward the "Panic Away" ebook to you Anna?....:)

There's no reason for them to pay for it as I own it and am more than happy to share it.

Anonymous said...

What do you do when the narcissist functions by devoting their life to denying their narcissism? For example, my sister is a 100% narcissist, but she makes a point of showing that s he has NEVER left any aquaintances or friends, whereas I have left almost all (as my recovery progressed I had to let go of more and more people)...

Some narcissists are very covert and will do the exact opposite, thereby denying their true nature. For example, my sister will secretly divide and conquer, but on the surface she is the one who will keep the family/group together blablahblah.

Tricky situations... they are such masters of disguise and the really subtle ones can be worse than the "clear asshole ones"...I prefer a Paris Hilton anyday, to an Angelina Jolie ;)

My father suffered from Borderline Personality Disorder (light version) and it was not very hard to figure this kind of person out, but my gosh, the covert narcissists almost "got me", before I got a clue!! They were able to do so much more damage, with their under-cover muted craziness...

Anna Valerious said...

May I forward the "Panic Away" ebook to you Anna?

I have to say no, Kimberley. It is a commercial product. When it is purchased it is with the understanding that its one per customer. They could come after me if I offered their book free here. If people are interested then putting the title of the book in a Google search will give them what they need to know to buy a copy for themselves.

Anna Valerious said...


First of all, your sister may claim to have never left any acquaintances or friends, but I smell a lie there. NEVER? WHO has NEVER left a friend or acquaintance? The fact that she throws in acquaintances makes the lie rather obvious. Who could be accused of leaving an acquaintance, anyway? It is a stupid claim to make on many faces. It is just smacks of a big fat lie to me.

Secondly, a narcissist doesn't have to demonstrate all the flags of narcissism to be one. At least one of these flags, "Backwards Reactions to Things", is enough in itself to alert someone to a narcissist.

Most narcissists are sneaky and subversive. Divide and conquer under the guise of being a peacemaker is a ruse employed by many of them. I agree with you: the overt asshole-type narcissists are preferable because they make themselves easy to spot. I have said before that I believe the most dangerous narcissists are the ones who are extremely subtle in their abuse. They leave almost no proof of their actions that can be used against them...even by the victim. It can be a real nightmare for someone caught in the web of a very subtle narcissist. But the more you understand about the ways of narcissist the harder it is for even the sneaky ones to pull one over on ya.

Anonymous said...


Yeah...I didn't think of that. I don't want you to get in trouble, of course not!

No problem.....:)

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your answer Anna!

Of course it's a lie that she has NEVER left anyone, but they sure do like their nevers and always ;)
But I have to say that the projection stuck for quite a while and did me quite some damage, leaving me to think I was uncapable of sustaining relationships over time (nothing could be further from the truth)

I think what scares me in my family is that they have made it a lifestyle to appear as non-narcissistic as possible. This is their chosen disguise - and many times they have singled out the non-narcissists in the family to CARRY their narcissism. For example, my sister has made my wonderful nephew into some kind of 14-7 perfomer/center of attention, thereby projecting her own excessive need for attention. She has even created his own email address although he's only 3 - so she can send messages in his name!!! It's such a subtle weave of manipulations and projections.

They consistently tried to get me off-balance when I was about to succeed or be happy, so that I would look to be the unstable/screwed up one. Now that I've broken off with them I've realized how stable and strong I am - my problem was THEM! They were masters of triggering me without leaving a trace!! To the outside I would look like a "maniac" and they would look calm...

But look at me now, sitting in my little house with a cup of coffee and serenity around me. AHHHHH...
The BEST thing I ever did was leave them behind....

The Scrivener Collider said...

I think this article is a bit slanted towards the male narcissist.

For my mom, a boomer female N, hating people is unacceptable, as is losing friendships. Women are judged on the quantity and quality of their friendships. So instead, she has an extensive circle of "friends" she only sees once or twice a year. She's known these people since her boobs were perky, but you should see the generic gifts they exchange; they're all pathological and none of them knows anything deep about each other.

This reminds me of some 40s and 50s powerful starlets ("no wire hangers!!") -- women who were totally self absorbed, surrounded by adoring "friends," and totally alone.

Anonymous said...

I was wondering if anyone has left certain *careers* because they harbor many narcissists?

My mother and stepfather are both Ns. I began my recovery years ago, when I left for college. I still went to college in the same state, so it really wasn't until I decided to get a masters and move out of state that the real healing began.

I studied music, namely classical singing, in hopes of becoming a professional opera singer. On a local level, I did achieve that.

I'm almost 40 now, pregnant with my second child, and have none of the drive left that I had in my youth to become successful in that type of career.

My mom never encouraged me; my stepdad didn't even come to my undergraduate graduation where I sang the national anthem; he stopped coming to all my performances somwhere in undergrad.

My mom and grandmother came to my graduate recital. Talk about sabotage! The day before my recital, my mother called me an a****** and said snidely that she was glad I did my "growing up" (in this other city) because she thought I would be more mature by now. This name-calling and character assassination was all brought on because I mentioned that my friends and I would like to celebrate at a Thai restaurant after the recital. It was a very big deal to me at the time to tell her, "I'm *not* an a******!" - in a mall no less - and I was quite shaken and cried very hard, since I knew I had come a long way in feeling better about myself.

Anyway, I suffered from high anxiety all through my 20s, but did go through therapy and eventually some anti-anxiety meds. For the first time I realized that it was like to be like a normal person and have negativities roll off my back! A book that helped me tremedously was "Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway" by Susan Jeffers.

Neither of my "parents" have ever seen a professional performance of mine. They never came to any performance at my graduate school, even though I saw parents who travelled from states twice as far as my parents. I used to invite them, but then I stopped because I didn't want to be disappointed.

I've heard many of the same excuses through the years that many posters here have mentioned. My mother is extremely jealous and resentful that I moved away.

Eventually I stopped persuing my singing as much because I just did not enjoy being around mean, extremely insecure people. Looking back to my early 20s, I realized I was one of them too!

Sometimes I think about doing more professional singing, but then I think of all the "yucky" people in the business. I think of the lack of compassion/support for parents in this business.

Because I'm a mom now, I just can't bring myself to devote a lot of energy into *myself* in this regard - the solitary practicing making *my* voice "pefect", the talking up of *myself*, the building up of *my* image - all superficial, self-absorbing things that take time away from my child. I just feel this kind of business is all about *yourself* and how great *you* are. Can anyone relate?

Because of my experience, I have more objectivity than ever before, and would no longer do it to find my identity and admiration - or would I? The performing arts just seem like a slipery slope. Any comments?

It makes me wonder if I had a healthier family, would I have been more successful because dealing with the jerks in the business would have been easier - OR - maybe I wouldn't have been attracted to a peforming career at all.