The Absent Father and The Devouring Mother

The title of this post comes from the first two chapters of the book – Going Mad to Stay Sane: The Psychology of Self-Destructive Behaviour by Andy White , and the author has a blog – Andy White – Narcissism and The Fruits of Suffering.

It is one of my favourite books as it explained my parents to me so well and so clearly that there were moments when I wondered if the author knew them as I did. He also helped to explain myself, my behaviour, self hate, self-destructiveness, and otherwise, to me and show me the roots of it and how to deprogram myself.

 

The author uses mythology – The story of Midas – to give insight into the psychology behind self-destructiveness. This mythological perspective is invaluable for those who are children of Narcissists, because Narcissists are living a mythical life. They are living a lie, but that lie is very grandiose, larger than life, of mythic, epic and legendary proportions.

The use of mythology was the difference which made reading this book clarify my confusion.

I have read a lot about Narcissists and Narcissistic Personality Disorder. The best information I have had has come from children of Narcissists who have written about their experiences. The information which comes from psychologists I have usually found to be too clinical and logical, reflecting the professionalism of the author and their need to appear professional, detached from and above it all, sane and healthy, and show that they understand the subject and the patients affected by it. But this is not helpful to those affected by those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder because there is nothing sane or logical or clinical or healthy about it. Not when you live with it as a victim of Narcissists. It’s a confusing mess which seems impossible to clarify and tidy – a Gordian Knot.

As much as other authors have captured the basics of Narcissists, Narcissistic Personality Disorder and Narcissistic parents, they rarely understand what it is like to be completely screwed up by it and fight to stay afloat in a quagmire which is both outside and inside of you. They never explained Narcissistic Personality Disorder as a living and breathing experience. And they certainly never captured what it feels like to grow up in such an environment where you are a tiny thing being lorded over by giants who think they are gods who own you, and who create a surreal version of reality populated by mythical quests and mythological creatures that you have to carry out and conquer for the Narcissists. And they never charted the course of the child’s psychological development as it tries to cope with the illogical reality, the paradoxes and irreconcilable conflicts, imposed on it from the moment it is born, and how to survive that child must split itself and deny itself, and learn to loathe itself, and sacrifice itself on the altar of its parents fantastical illusions and imagined greatness.

“The awful contradiction in expectations that Gordius (ed: Midas’ Absent Father) and Cybele (ed: Midas’ Devouring Mother) have of their son, coupled with the utterly polarised views that each parent holds of Midas, threaten to tear him in two. He cannot succeed in the eyes of one parent without damning himself in the eyes of the other.

Gordius relates to Midas as a failure. Cybele relates to him as a personal saviour. Gordius uses his authority to dismiss, Cybele uses hers to possess. Gordius withholds his blessing because Midas has fallen short precisely in those realms that Cybele demands that he must fail, in his autonomy and individuality. Gordius is cold and disinterested, utterly dismissive of Midas’ fate except that he should divest Gordius of his depression and low self-esteem. Cybele is the opposite, hysterical and invasive, holding the threat of her wrath over Midas should he have any aspiration towards his own independence, crushing his free spirit with her neediness and anxiety.

If Midas embodies the hero demanded of him by Gordius with its connotations of personal mastery, ingenuity and leadership, those qualities personified by the transcending spirit of Alexander (ed: who slices the Gordian Knot with his sword and inherits the kingdom), he must betray Cybele whose covert injunction it is that he live life in her service. If he renounces his independence and personal potency in order to kindle his Mother’s affections then he fails in Gordius’ eyes and earns only his father’s contempt. Midas is caught in a trap. His true self is not only under attack but also caught in a crossfire. His only hope is to internalise this crossfire and to make of his soul a battlefield where the remnants of his own authority are firmly trampled into the irreconcilable mud of a profoundly self-destructive neurosis.” – ©Andy White – Going Mad to Stay Sane – Chapter 3 Self-Hatred: A Legacy.

When the father is absent, physically, mentally, emotionally, etc, from the child’s life it leaves a void. This void isn’t empty, it is filled with longing, yearning need. The child seeks to make a connection with the father in some way, any way possible. Whatever the child has to do to win the father’s love has to be done even if it means sacrificing everything that belongs to the child as an individual being and becoming someone else to please the father.

The space left by an absent father gives the mother more space in the family to take over and devour the child in whatever way she pleases and chooses, usually driven by the mother’s needs for which she seeks fulfillment by and through the child. The child has to allow the mother to devour it because it is the only form of love and connection it can have with the mother. And it is the only way to survive with a mother like that. She devours the child whether it is willing or not, being willing makes it a little bit less traumatic, but not by much.

When confronted about his absence by the child, the absent father often plays the victim and blames the mother – the mother may be at fault, probably is, as she often shares with her child her grief and anger at the father, making the child responsible for it and for her emotions and needs – the child of a devouring mother and absent father may be turned into a surrogate spouse by the mother. However when the father blames the mother for his absence, he also blames the child. He is basically telling the child that it must challenge and fight its mother to win the father’s love and attention because the father is too weak to fight the mother to be with his child.

What is the child to do?

When the mother is confronted… not something the child does very often due to the way she reacts, but should the child be bold enough to do so, the mother blames the father, thus blaming the child. The mother quite likes these sorts of confrontations because it gives her another opportunity to devour her child and to justify the devouring. She had to fill the space vacated by the father, play the roles of mother and father, the child needs to be eternally grateful for the invasive devouring love of the mother. The child owes the mother its life. And then she points out that the father obviously does not love the child or he would be there for the child regardless of how he feels about the mother and how she feels about him. She has tried to protect the child from the awful truth that the father does not love it, but since the child has confronted her, all must now be revealed.

What is a child to do?

The extract from Going Mad to Stay Sane above completely describes my relationship with my parents and how it affected me. I’ve spoken about it at length in many of my posts so I won’t elaborate on it here. Even when I cut off all contact with my parents, the dynamic continued inside of me threatening my new life, and inspiring self-sabotage of myself and of any relationships I had with others. It’s been a long, hard and exhausting battle to free myself from my legacy of self-hatred, to stop my urge to self-destruct, and to deprogram myself from the cult of my family, my absent father and my devouring mother. It’s become less of a battle now and more of a jousting contest. It’s been worth it.

If you have been affected by parents like mine and similar issues as those which I have and have had… don’t give up on yourself, you have great strength and a very resilient spirit. You have a rich reserve within you of personal power, and once you tap into it, your life will become yours, gradually at first, baby step by baby step, and slowly it will pick up momentum. The hardest step is the first one, that’s when you cross the threshold from victim into victor. The victory will take time and the campaign will be a long one.

Have patience with yourself. Be determined. You may falter at times. Be gentle and compassionate with yourself. You will make it. Trust yourself.

The process to heal yourself and your life is painful, difficult and challenging, but one of the gifts in the curse which your experiences have given you is the knowledge that you are a survivor, you can face anything if you want to, and now you are ready to thrive.

Take care of yourself.

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43 thoughts on “The Absent Father and The Devouring Mother

  1. This is the best article I have read in a long time.

    Earlier in August, I saw a beautiful girl, at the apex of my neurosis, and felt acute love in my chest. I am 26, a Capricorn guy, and can you imagine, feeling that brief moment of piece and love after years and years of intense neurotic suffering? Oh boy, I went apeshit after that, I gave her everything, and I mean everything, hoping that I would deserve her love. I am fucked up, but I do have depth, and I gave her every last inch of me, I mean the real me, the me that suffered. I cried out to her being, spent sleepless nights just to calculate my moves so I won’t hurt her. At times I felt my spirit leaving me, and going to her, I am not kidding. It was actually the very lowest of lows and I just felt like risking everything for that chance, of her falling in love with me. It was a leap of faith or more of a desperate attempt to reach love, cause I couldn’t take it anymore. I guess, what I saw in her, was a way out. Other woman have their games, for which I couldn’t care less anymore, so no go. But this one, I saw healing, a light at the end of the tunnel.

    It didn’t help, it actually brought me to a loss of soul, as Carl Jung terms it. But whatever, sin or not, I tried. I abandoned myself for myself, what a fucking folly. I gave that which she could have loved, and left her nothing to return to. hahaha, Jesus H. Christ!!!

    There is where my parent went really crazy tho. They smashed walls with their fists, wen’t incredibly anxious and hated the very core of me. My Scorpio father, when realizing I was chasing that girl, attacked me so cunningly, with every weapon possible. I shit you not, I felt fiery hatred coming towards me. And my Taurus mother, well, she raged madly inside, but this time didn’t show it, she acted all nice and I felt incredible fear, cause it seemed as if she is trying to convert me into being her husband. I was like, Incest? Really, incest? Are you that nuts? Neverhelles, I guess they could feel that I would rather die than end up like them, and so I did. Now their conflict is merging inside of me into a false union, and I am just waiting to colapse to be honest.

    Whatever, I felt like sharing it. I live in a damn lunatic asylum, and I will probably murder myself eventually. 😛

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    1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

      Dear fellow Capricorn, it sounds to me as though you may be experiencing the effects of a Pluto transit to your Sun like I am. Highlights of a Pluto in Capricorn transit to your Sun may include the constructs of the ego being totally destroyed so they can be put back together differently after sifting through the wreckage to see if anything is worth salvaging, a trip to the Underworld to hang out with Hades, eat some pomegranate seeds, play with Cerberus and watch its multiple heads fight over one stick, the wrong and right use of power on display like paintings in a gallery only these paintings are living within the frames and act out scenes (similar to the ones your parents acted out for you), watching other people have meltdowns because they can’t control you, watching yourself have a meltdown because you can’t control yourself, rebelling against everyone and everything (brought to you partially by Pluto and partially by transiting Uranus in Aries which has joined forces with Pluto by square, oh and Jupiter has recently joined in the mix so chaos will be amplified), and swinging wildly from a chandelier (which you’d never noticed was there before) wondering if this is how Foucault’s pendulum feels as the world goes crazy all around it.

      The human side of planet Earth is indeed a lunatic asylum. Sometimes death seems like the only escape route… however according to the Bardo death is just crossing over the threshold into another world of chaos and if we haven’t dealt with the demons in human form which we meet while alive we get to face them in their non-human form when we die, and then we may have to do the whole alive on planet Earth thing again. Also murdering yourself may be making things too easy for others and why would you do that when you could stick around and mess with them 😉

      “Madness need not be all breakdown. It may also be break-through. It is potential liberation and renewal as well as enslavement and existential death.” ― R.D. Laing

      Reading the book (Going Mad to Stay Sane) from which I extracted The Devouring Mother and Absent Father really put things into perspective for me, gave voice to thoughts I’d had which I had denied because they just seemed insane. Sometimes insane thoughts are far saner than sane ones. If you enjoyed Andy White’s work and view on parents, you might also enjoy his new book which happens to center around the Oedipus myth – he tackles it from an new angle and goes into it in a way which delves into the experience of the psyche and the purpose of the adventures of our life. You’ll find it and many other intriguing writings of his on his blog – http://andywhiteblog.com/

      Sounds like your love for this beautiful angel expressed the very deep beautiful angel inside of you – what you saw in her is what is in you but sometimes we can’t see ourselves perhaps because we’re so focused on our dark demons and so someone else has to step in to be a mirror for us. If the light is too bright we may end up smashing it one way or another because it shows us too much about ourselves. Someone who thinks they’re fucked up really doesn’t know how to deal with the non-fucked up part of themselves. Especially if you’re stuck surrounded by people like your parents who sound like control freaks who are terrified of life, of what is natural, fun, spontaneous, primal, and in an effort to control their giant anxieties and fears they try to control themselves, their environment and everyone in their immediate vicinity – that kind of control freakery is like a bomb ticking, tick, tock, tick, tock, waiting to explode. You’ve probably lived your entire life hearing the sound of that ticking bomb and that in and of itself would cause neurosis.

      I wonder how much of your neurosis is actually yours and how much of it actually belongs to your parents. There’s a very interesting book called – Sanity, Madness and the Family by R.D. Laing and A. Esterson. It’s the results of a study they did into schizophrenia many decades ago. They observed that children often end up acting out what’s repressed in the family, they’re a conduit for the ‘madness’ of their parents, they get chosen to be the ‘mad’ one so that everyone else in the family can be the ‘sane’ ones.

      “They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game” ― R.D. Laing

      You come across as incredibly intelligent, intensely aware, with a deep wellspring of free and natural feeling within you, frankly you sound pulsatingly alive and that is a difficult condition to maintain when you’re surrounded by people who fear your aliveness, who prefer to play the living dead because they think it’s safer. Value your aliveness, it is an awesome ability to have even if it can make life harder… sometimes the ‘easy’ way is not as easy as people make it look.

      Keep being you in all your glory, live long and prosper 🙂

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  2. Hi, please let me know if you’re still thinking about starting a petition, for I will sign it. This is too important a subject (and book) to let it slide. Especially since the book is so hard to come by. I think it will serve as an excellent resource for so many people in pain, fighting the confusion that this phenomenon brings.

    And if you know when the new print will be published, please let me know! Thank you so much for this excerpt and post!

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      I contacted the author of the book, and it so happened that he is about to publish a new book as well as reprint the previous book.

      The book is due to be reprinted sometime this year. I’ll update this post with links to it when it is.

      The author’s blog is here – http://andywhiteblog.com/

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  3. Hi anupturnedsoul, thankyou so much for your blog. Your comments and observations are so intelligent and sensitive. i loved the line,’ This void isn’t empty, it is filled with longing, yearning need. ‘ You will be pleased to know that I sign a contract for my new book,’ Path to Wholeness’ next week alongside a deal to reprint ‘Going Mad…’ both of which should be out by the Autumn. i will keep you posted. Keep up your good work. Your site is valuable and needed. Andy White

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    1. Thank you very much, much appreciated 🙂

      I’ll keep an eye out too as I would love to read your new book.

      I’ll update my old posts (wherein I recommend Going Mad to Stay Sane) and do a new post promoting your new book and the reprint of ‘Going Mad…’ when everything is out and available.

      Thank you and best wishes!

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  4. This is extremely powerful….. I cant say it is what happened in my history.. but to feel the full extent of the complexity and confusion of the legacy this bequeaths to a child cannot be expressed in words. I think you are pretty amazing to have untangled this, as you have….

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    1. If we can unravel the dynamic we experienced as children and the legacy it left us with, then we may not heal wounds, but we may understand the reasons we have them.

      This book helped me to do that. It also helped me to understand, after purging my own rage, the legacy of the children my parents were and how it affected them and caused them to be the way they were. Not to forgive and forget, but more important, for me personally, than that… to understand. I don’t want to forgive or forget, I’ve done that and it hurts more, but I do want to understand. It ties in with the generations passing wounds down until someone heals them which you pointed out.

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      1. Its been some days but I think it is so very true.. the understanding of what happens can set us free after we process the feelings. as you say the wound remains and it informs our life for the rest of our life….and gives us gifts and rich deep insight we would not have. Chiron never healed his wound but through it he helped others. I see you as doing this. It is a fate as I see it and in accepting the fate while not liking it we make some kind of peace with it, to my way of thinking.

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        1. Chiron did sort himself out in the end 😀

          But for me I see what I’m doing as sharing my wound and my efforts to understanding and heal it, including my messes and mistakes, and if that helps someone else heal their own wound then that is part of their healing journey, and their self-healing. I have gained a lot from others doing something similar and relationships of any kind flow both ways, and I get as much as I give… so doing what I do is healing for me, people sharing their stories and wounds helps me to heal myself and it’s a beneficial cycle of life… that’s the Chiron wound in the 7th. It’s interactive sharing and flow of healing and keeping it flowing one way keeps it flowing the other and so on.

          So, truly thank you for sharing, your insights have helped me a lot 🙂

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        1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

          That’s an excellent question, and one which we all ask in our own way, and which we need to figure out for ourselves as even when our story is similar to that of others it is still our own. The answers which work for others don’t necessarily work for us or suit us.

          What is healing for one person may not be healing for another. The solution which works for one person may not work for another.

          We usually only find our answers through living and experiencing our own life.

          It’s true that reading the work of people like Alice Miller (The Drama of the Gifted Child, and other works – http://www.alice-miller.com/en/) can show us that even when we try not to we unconsciously pass on our issues to our children. Perhaps that’s the way it is supposed to be. Maybe the next generation can shed new light on an old problem, as our generation has with the problems passed onto us by our parents. It’s not all bad, is it? We don’t only pass on our wounds, issues and problems, do we?

          There are more good parents in this world doing their best while also being human and prone to all things which come with it than there are bad parents. You just have to look at all the awesome kids in this world to see that even when we unconsciously pass on our own shit, they know how to deal with it, learn from it, and grow and become their own kind of person.

          Sure, there are also some bad kids, but there’s always time and room for them to figure out their own legacy and perhaps turn it around. Sometimes the healing comes from the the darkest side of human nature being confronted and accepted.

          What do you think healing is?

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  5. Thanks for the articles, they helped a lot. I really appreciate the help, it could be a different disorder, but narcissism seems pretty close, as well as melancholic depression, dunno, he doesn’t suddenly get in immediate mood swings, so I don’t think it’s bipolar. Yes, my dad does treat my mum like she’s the bully, maybe he doesn’t know he’s narcissistic, I’m pretty sure he knows he’s in a bad mental state though, and I agree with your statements, it’s better understanding when you live through it, then to just read something someone wrote with their own knowledge but have never experienced life with a narcissist, you gain better understanding of characteristics, and qualities when they’re showing their true colours inside the house, but my life wasn’t exactly very traumatic I find, and I mean it. I think you have a great point. Confronting is a narcissist’s weakness, I think anyway, narcissists hate when they are criticized and are told all their faults, beat them at their own game, I believe. This helps lots, thanks. 🙂

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    1. I don’t get how you could end up with a narcissist marrying a narcissist, unless they were trying to manipulate each other into marriage, and both trying to create this world which they knew was a fantasy, but trying to charm the other and obtain the same goal. Or because they had the same characteristics and could understand each other. My mother tells me to avoid his emotional advice but follow his academic advice, and I agree.

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      1. Actually two Narcissists together is as common as a Narcissist and a non-Narcissist. They are the perfect match. A power couple. Their love will be described in mythic terms, their relationship may have supernatural or fairytale elements to it, and they will seem larger than life in some way. Basically it’s their ideal relationship as they are both on the same page about pretending, and how superior they are to everyone else.

        Their children will probably display self-destructive tendencies, perhaps under a perfect child of a perfect couple veneer. Self harm is common among children of two Narcissists.

        When two Narcissists meet, whether as business colleagues, friends, or lovers it is a meeting of minds – their conversations are often hard to understand, full of NPD illogic, and the praise fest is unctuous. If they are rivals, they will enjoy the rivalry in an erotic way. Mind games is their real sex, as physical sex is just a tool in their manipulations and search for Narcissistic supply.

        Other people usually find the relationship of two Narcissists fascinating and may base their own quest for a soul mate on it… which for a non-Narcissist may lead them into a relationship with a Narcissist. If you’re looking for the ideal man or woman, then a Narcissist will attract you as that’s who they pretend to be very convincingly.

        The celebrity world is full of Narcissists in relationships with other Narcissists. And celebrity culture promotes NPD and makes it very desirable.

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    2. Depression is common in Narcissists. They often talk of the demons they have living inside of them. This makes them very attractive to those who have an urge to save and fix other people, to those who want to be heroes in some way, saviours, and experience a mythic quest in love – to save someone by loving them so strongly they are rescued by it.

      Narcissists play the victim, the permanent damsel (male or female) in distress looking for a hero to rescue them. The reason they are so convincing is because they tap into the bottomless pit of need inside of them – that is where their depression comes from.

      Do you know your father’s history? What his childhood was like, what his parents were like? What is his favourite film, book, myth?

      Narcissists have similar stories and a similar language. They always tell people that they are Narcissists, but people don’t hear it because it can be subtle, often it is blatant and is still missed.

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      1. I tend to disagree; I think you’ve got the wrong definition of Narcissist. Donald Trump is a perfect example. Narcissists are never depressed – they think too much of themselves, incapable of self-loathing. Self-love is their only guide. They have no demons and they lack the capacity for self insight. they don’t try to “fix” other people out of any sense of empathy… they merely think they are always right and they think if they can get you to see that they are right – they can save you from yourself. Narcissists NEVER play the victim, or look for a rescuer and they would never admit to narcissism. Instead, they will “devour” you if you disagree with them or call them out (look what Trump does to people who make fun of him, or call him a narcissist). They feel/believe an all encompassing sense of entitlement, superiority and they lack the ability to feel compassion or empathy. They have no conscience.

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        1. I don’t know Donald Trump personally so I have no idea what he is like. I am only aware of his public persona. I don’t think one can decide who a person is or what disorders they may or may not have from their public image. If you do a search of his name + disorder he seems to be favourite example people use for just about every disorder in the DSM. Many consider him to be an example of a sociopath with narcissistic tendencies (ASPD).

          Perhaps your definition fits a sociopath with narcissistic tendencies more than a narcissist.

          I am not the only person who perceives narcissists as playing the victim. Playing the victim enables them to get narcissistic supply. You will find this concept and view on many blogs and in articles about NPD.

          For me it is not about whether my definition is right or wrong, I am not a professional or expert, this is a personal blog. It is about figuring things out, finding a solution within the problem, for myself and sharing my process as others share theirs with me through their own personal blogs on a similar matter, and through comments on my blog. I discuss my experiences and interact with others who have had similar experiences and we share our views and our thoughts and feelings. Often finding insight which allows us to help ourselves.

          You are right that in the comment I made to which you replied I did not clarify what I said. It was a part of a conversation which I was having with another commenter which spread itself across several posts. I was not aiming to be right, I was having an interactive discussion with someone who is exploring their own story as I am exploring mine. Which is ultimately not about diagnosing others, but about understanding ourselves.

          I can sense that you have a personal story too connected to a narcissist or a sociopath with narcissistic tendencies. There is palpable anger in your words, and I have to say that when I first read your comment it felt like an attack, in some ways your words felt exactly like what they were talking about, and I had a bit of a flashback to how I have felt when interacting with narcissists, especially as your comment is on a post wherein I spoke a bit about my own story and my struggle to make sense of my experiences as a child. I snapped out of it, and realised you were not lashing out at me, but rather that you have a story to tell which is personal and painful. Perhaps you’d like to share it, perhaps you already have on your own blog in the way I share my own story on my blog?

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          1. playing victim is a primary strategy for NPD and sociopathy. There is no way to know how a celebrity truly behaves. Many, if not most mentally ill people have a private life that deviates strongly from the public persona. In the case of NPD, the persona is very developed and very fake.
            I truly appreciate everything presented on this site 🙂 I’m inching along in what I hope to be recovery and a new life.

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            1. Thank you 🙂

              Our experiences, especially those which cause us pain, help us to know what is right for us and what is not, they help us to know ourselves better. We live life forwards, we learn and what we learn evolves us, and as we become stronger through keeping moving forward, so our steps become more confident, and this makes us more able to stand up for ourselves and take the steps necessary to do what is right for us.

              In some ways our relationships with those with NPD teach us to be more authentic, not to alter ourselves to please others, but to live our life being true to ourselves. At least that’s something I have learned repeatedly from it. When I am more authentic, those with NPD find me less attractive and worth bothering.

              Those with NPD have a different way of expressing themselves from those who don’t have NPD. When they tell a tale of woe, it’s never their fault, someone else is always to blame and they never reflect on how they may have participated in the situation. Their stories often sound similar to ours, but we tend to blame ourselves, and seek to make amends, figure things out, not repeat mistakes, etc. They never do, they do the same thing over and over again, but it’s never their fault, and someone else is always expected to sort it out for them.

              The thing about their fake persona is they often believe it is real, which is why they can be so convincing with it. They also have a knack of tapping into our fantasies about relationships, and they tell us, show us, the face which we want to see so they can get from us what they want. But they can’t sustain the charade in a more intimate relationship, which is when the mask slips. When the mask slips, they blame the person who sees the face behind the mask for causing the mask to slip. It’s a diversion tactic.

              Best wishes to you in your recovery and new life, I’m sure it will be what you hope and so much more.

              Thank you for sharing!

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          2. to “anpturnedsoul”… I’m so sorry that my posting upset you and that you felt attacked. That was not my intent at all; in fact, it appears I may have butted in on a conversation you were having with someone else and I apologize for that. My tone was meant to be matter-of-fact and not at all argumentative. I meant to offer up another view of “narcissism,” only as it has been described to me by professionals. Here is a good check list (of symptoms) from the Mayo Clinic staff that clarifies it for me better: (In the meantime, “my bad,” and my apologies for buttin’ in. 🙂
            “Narcissistic personality disorder symptoms may include:
            •Believing that you’re better than others
            •Fantasizing about power, success and attractiveness
            •Exaggerating your achievements or talents
            •Expecting constant praise and admiration
            •Believing that you’re special and acting accordingly
            •Failing to recognize other people’s emotions and feelings
            •Expecting others to go along with your ideas and plans
            •Taking advantage of others
            •Expressing disdain for those you feel are inferior
            •Being jealous of others
            •Believing that others are jealous of you
            •Trouble keeping healthy relationships
            •Setting unrealistic goals
            •Being easily hurt and rejected
            •Having a fragile self-esteem
            •Appearing as tough-minded or unemotional”

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            1. Hi Cathy,
              just wanted to say that what you have listed above is the average definition we can all find everywhere, on the internet and in psychiatric manuals, etc. but the analysis of of how this personality disorder works is very hard to pin down. For me and many other people Ursula found a way to give sense to all this and to make it accessible to our experience and I feel personally very lucky to have come across her personal free thinking cyber space where I have been able to understand what i have lived in my life.

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      2. If someone tells me I’m a predator and you’re my victim. Should I run? (Is this what you meant by Narcissist telling me he’s a narc? by the way, I don’t think this guy was fully self aware anyways….)

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        1. I don’t know if running is a good idea if they think they’re a predator and you’re their prey as they might want you to run so they can chase you. However if someone says something like that to you, it is usually better to avoid them, walk away. Whether they are narcissist or not. Because they are showing you in their words their attitude towards you and how they see themselves. They see themselves as being superior to you, as the dominant one in the relationship, and they see you as subservient. If you accept to have a relationship with them, then they will assume that you agree to their status over you, and your status under them, and that you will play the role which they have given you as their victim. They will think you like being treated the way they will treat you, they will be contemptuous of you for it, and they will probably end up blaming you for it.

          Not all narcissists are aware of the games that they play. They are not usually self aware, however they are quite adept at being aware of others and how to manipulate them. They can do it without knowing they are doing it. Very few people with NPD know they have it. They usually think they are great and the problem is everyone else.

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  6. thank you ursula, this is excellent food for thought. in my situation though, my absent and engulfing father was sisde by side my devouring mother but with a different feature: they never critized each other, they were invasive and disruptive just with us, who bothered their heaven.That’s to say their N blossomed with us, with people outside the family but never taint their “perfect ” relationship. In any case i do agree with you that psychology hasn’t carried out any interesting research on the N victim;reading your post is the very first place where I acknowledge my emotions outside myself and I can share them:I accused myself all my life of being mad but now i might see also my sanity!

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    1. Ah yes, the perfect relationship fantasy of two Narcissists in ‘love’. My mother did that with my father before I was born, but by the time I was born my father wasn’t playing the perfect relationship game anymore – which is why I was created. I was supposed to save the marriage. That was my mission and purpose. I failed, so then I was blamed for all the problems in their marriage.

      Analysing your parents relationship and also how you perceived it and were made to perceive it should reveal some interesting insights for you. It may explain and answers some of your relationship questions. That will help you create your own criteria for what you seek and would like in a relationship.

      I love that you share and express yourself on my blog. You have an insiders view of NPD which is valuable and offers much knowledge to me, and to others who read the comments on my posts. Thank you very much 😀

      And I am very glad that it is helping you because you are a beautiful soul!

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      1. i am the one who owes you a lot, and i have to thank you for all your patience and support. i feel so lucky to be in contact with you and to tell you the truth i didn’t think i could offer something with my comments, i thought i was the one to receive(but this is part of my emotional disorder, thank you mum!): when i was a child i was always invited here and there, which pissed off my mother, therefore she used to call in the middle of the afternoon to check if i was a nuisance or was behaving properly!!!!!
        So thank you so much, you touch my heart and as long as i am not a N, everything is fine! Write more tomorrow. bonne nuit, s.

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        1. Merci beaucoup 😀 It’s too late to say sogni d’oro… for that night but for coming nights… may you have sogni d’oro!

          All relationships, the ones which aren’t with Narcissists, flow both ways, and you have given to me and to those who read your words as much as you have received and that is a beautiful thing!

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          1. Wow! These lines summed up so much for me, “When the mother is confronted… not something the child does very often due to the way she reacts, but should the child be bold enough to do so, the mother blames the father, thus blaming the child…” I understand. This was my life. I usually don’t blog about this topic and I’m not an expert in this area, but I posted about it today. https://triciabarkernde.com/2016/12/14/narcissists-at-work-in-love-and-as-parents-how-empaths-fail-to-recognize-them/

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            1. Thank you very much for sharing 🙂

              Great post, insightful perspective, very warmly written!

              It’s not an easy subject to blog about, particularly if you identify as an empath – posts about narcissists often attract a lot of people who share their stories in the comments and it can be impacting for someone who absorbs the worlds within others. Narcissists leave a lot of suffering and damage in their wake, and healing takes time, going through phases similar to those Elisabeth Kubler-Ross associated with grief.

              Best wishes for your Memoir!

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              1. Thank you so much. I agree….It is a form of grief to accept and heal from these interactions with narcissists. I teach Creative Writing, so I find it interesting how many writers feel drawn to express their grief about these types of relationships. Community can make it easier. Thanks again for your comment.

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