If you’re searching online for information about Narcissists, Narcissism, Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD), Narcissistic parents, being a Child of Narcissists, an ACoN – Adult Child of Narcissists, being in a relationship with a Narcissist, being a Victim of a Narcissist, How to Play the Narcissist’s Game and maybe win, How to Piss a Narcissist Off (which is one of the most popular search terms in my stats), or any other variation on the theme, you will be inundated with results.
The subject of Narcissism is trending, a Hot Topic.
The internet is bursting with information about it, from professionals, experts in the field, and from people like me who are sharing their experiences and working their way through them publicly.
Why share your private story publicly?
If your particular Narcissist has managed to isolate you and surround you with people who are on their side, then the chances are that there is no one with whom you can discuss your situation. The times that you have tried to perhaps open other people’s eyes to what is going on have been met with disdain, disbelief, and dismissal. Maybe you’ve even been accused of being crazy, until you begin to wonder if it is true. You may well feel like you are going crazy, that’s what living in the reality created by a Narcissist can do to a sane mind.
So speaking up and out about your experience is a necessary part of breaking free from the prison of silence of your isolation.
Doing it on the internet can be the best place to do it. You can be anonymous if you choose, you can share things with millions of strangers which you would never share with those in your offline life, and doing it publicly allows you to connect with others who relate to your experience, can share their experience with you too, and can offer support and encouragement.
The internet’s good side is a wonderful community.
There is also a not so good side to it. A land filled with people wearing the mask of anonymity who get their kicks out of being nasty to others in one form or another.
Someone the other day left a comment on one of my Narcissism posts accusing me of being a Narcissist.
The accusation of ‘Narcissist’ is very popular, and you don’t need any qualifications, expertise or proof to use it.
The comment was silly, just someone amusing themselves, however they did have a serious point. I could indeed be a Narcissist. If I had NPD, would I know it? Not only would I probably not know, I’d probably be very adamant that I didn’t have NPD. Chances are I might even be very certain that everyone except me was a Narcissist, and I might even blog about it. I might even consider myself to be an expert on NPD… if I was a Narcissist there would be no ‘might’ about it, no doubt, Narcissists do not know how to doubt themselves, they don’t self-reflect they self-project, and I’d probably think everyone else who wrote about NPD did not know what they were talking about.
For me in particular, being the child of Narcissists (according to me), the issue of whether I am also a Narcissist is always there. Be it a question which I ask myself or which others wonder about me.
Being the child of Narcissists is in some ways like being the child of smokers, alcoholics, or actors. A child learns about being human from those who surround it in its formative years, it absorbs the behaviours, mannerisms, and influence of those in its immediate environment. When you’re exposed to something on a regular basis, you pick it up by osmosis.
However there are other aspects which come to bear upon who you become as you grow up, and we are always in the process of becoming, evolving, changing.
Recently while reading an article about growing up in a Narcissistic Family, I wandered down to the comments section and spotted a question by a mother asking – Am I the one with NPD or is it my daughter who is the Narcissist? I was intrigued by the question, partly because it appeared to be from someone who genuinely was open to perspectives on the matter, who wanted feedback, and was aware of the possibility that the problems which they were having with their adult child might be due to their own behaviour.
But as I read further, as people replied to this comment trying to be helpful and considerate towards the commenter, the mother went from being one who seemed to want to solve a problem, to one who simply wanted sympathy and support for their view of the situation – which was that they were a wonderful mother who had been cursed with a Narcissist for a child. Her words grew more and more critical of her daughter, listing her daughter’s faults, flaws, bad deeds, and crimes against the mother, interspersed with more and more complimentary words towards herself, some completely random and out of context, and others all about how much she had sacrificed and done for her daughter even though she didn’t have to do any of it, all proof that she was a perfect mother with a deeply flawed child.
I have to confess that I wasn’t reading it with impartiality because at some point this mother reminded me of my mother, and the sort of thing she would say about herself and about me. In fact for a second I wondered if it was my mother. It wasn’t but it could have been.
This mother’s adult child had, like me, gone No Contact with their parent. The mother could not understand nor accept this. She wanted to break the barrier and impose her version of reality on her daughter without any respect or regard for her daughter’s version of reality or view. She admitted to hounding the daughter, stalking her on social media, looking for a way to re-establish contact, even though the daughter had made it clear that she did not want contact. She termed all of her own behaviour as being the reasonable actions of a distraught parent of an unreasonable child.
Now I could be completely wrong about this mother and her daughter. I don’t know them or their story. I simply read a small snippet of it… and it stirred my own story which at the moment is quite vivid in my mind due to recent events.
I probably should not do this, but I am open to feedback (although not all types of feedback, I am very human)… and the article is excellent, especially for those of us who grew up in a Narcissistic family – The Narcissistic Family Portrait by Karyl McBride, Ph.D. [Update: This link leads to an error page, here is a new link for the same article – The Narcissistic Family Tree]
I haven’t written about NPD for a while, at least not like I used to. There are several reasons for this. One of them being that I’ve become more aware of how many people with NPD are writing about NPD. Something I read a while back disturbed me… so I retreated into silence, mostly because I was worried what I might say and the consequences of it. If you’ve had a relationship with a Narcissist, you’ll know that fear and how it works. I’m also dealing with the consequences of the main Narcissists in my life which has taken a lot of focus away from other things. I am however putting into practice everything I’ve learned about dealing with Narcissists. It’s working, but it takes a lot of energy, patience, and self-control.
Sometimes I think (when I’m in a more negative frame of mind) that the rise in public awareness of Narcissistic Personality Disorder is more of a problem than the disorder itself. With so many people diagnosing others with it, discussing it, and discussing ways to deal with people who are Narcissists, things have become more complicated rather than less complicated.
Especially now that more Narcissists are writing about Narcissism and Narcissists.
If you want to know how to spot an online Narcissist, I have yet to find any article which tops this one – Online Narcississm: Writers with NPD by Thomas Swan.
CZBZ of The Narcissistic Continuum is also a great source of information for spotting online Narcissists and she relates a deeply personal experience of Narcissists in Forums in this superb post – Part Two Online Narcissists: A case study called PuppyGate. She is very well-versed in the way of the Narcissist, and she learned it the hard way, the way that most of us, unfortunately or maybe fortunately (I’m never sure), seem to have to learn about those with NPD.
For those of you who don’t think that Narcissists ever ‘Play the Victim’… I guess you’ve never met one who does… but when they do, they do it better than real victims, because they play to an audience, and every word and action they use is designed to elicit the sympathy and loyalty of the audience. The audience has been enlisted as heroes to save the Narcissist in distress. Your reward for rallying to their support and rescuing them?… usually you get to victimise their ‘evil villain’ of the moment and you get to help them destroy that person who has for ‘plausible’ reasons been dehumanised. In other words, this person has said ‘No’ to the Narcissist and no one says ‘No’ to a Narcissist, so they need to be destroyed and wiped off the face of the internet and the Earth.
What better way to destroy someone who has annoyed the Narcissist than for the Narcissist to claim they are a victim of a Narcissist and then ask all of us who’ve also been victims of Narcissists to help them to destroy this ‘evil’ person who is a non-person now that they’ve been identified as that super villain known as a Narcissist. Why question the victim and their claims. Let’s just all fight the monster together. Because that monster represents all the monsters in our lives who’ve made us feel powerless, who’ve turned our goodness into badness, who’ve frustrated us, made us homicidal when all we wanted to be was compassionate, who’ve taken advantage of our giving nature and used our empathy and sympathy against us.
Narcissists like to be a part of what is popular, trending, a Hot Topic, what everyone is talking about and paying attention to, and then they take it over and become Captains of the Popular Ship.
They tend to see themselves as experts in the matter, know more than anyone else about the subject, and dismiss or steamroll over others – especially if those others are getting the attention which the Narcissists want for themselves. They also tend to be very certain about what they are saying… which can be viewed by the unsuspecting eye as confidence and expertise. It’s all very black and white to them. And they make it black and white for us too. It’s their way or their way, no other way exists.
Things are getting very confusing – confusion is Narcissistic territory. As long as we’re confused, they have control over us. They can pretend to clear our fog of confusion… yet what they’re actually doing is using it against us and to their advantage.
Putting a label on something can help to clear the confusion. It can turn the unknown into the known. Knowing that someone who has been making your life difficult is a Narcissist can bring what was blurry into sharp focus. Then by researching the subject you can learn how to process what has happened and find ways of dealing with NPD and those who have it, and help yourself to heal your trauma.
But what if the information which you are using to heal yourself comes from someone who is a Narcissist?
Narcissists accuse others of being Narcissists all the time. Narcissists also claim to be victims of Narcissists, which is not necessarily a false claim as birds of a feather often flock together.
Narcissists often partner up. They share many of the same goals, and often share a similar version of reality. If they fall in love with each other, the union can be similar to those portrayed by Hollywood. A meeting of two charismatic beings which emanates the kind of energy that seems magical, fated, and supernatural. While they are caught up in their love for each other everything is blissful. Perfect love. When things go wrong and they fall out of love, the drama is intense.
Narcissists often prefer the drama to the bliss because then they don’t have to share centre stage. And they get to play their favourite role in their favourite story – The Hero versus The Villain. The storyline usually draws a large audience and captivates them. It’s like one of those plays where the actors mingle with the audience and draw them into the drama. The audience participates by cheering the hero on, supporting him or her, and booing the villain, attacking him or her.
Getting other people involved in their drama is a specialty of Narcissists, it is a source of food for them, and supplies them with the energy, attention, and feelings of superiority and importance which they crave and need to keep going.
All of this is something which you will find if you come across the website or blog of a Narcissist who is sharing their experience of being in a relationship with a Narcissist and claiming to be the victim of a Narcissist.
There are other things you will also find therein.
The language and expression of a Narcissist has a distinctive signature.
Male Narcissists tend to be aggressive, extremely confident, and their language is designed for powerful impact. They are the classic Alpha Male and they brandish their maleness with style. They are the Man that all men want to be. They also tend to be misogynistic. They hate women, the hate can be subtle or overt or both. They have a knack for tapping into the frustrations of gender interactions. They play upon the frustrations men feel towards women, and the way other women feel towards women. Women will find them as fascinating as men. Men will often admire them for standing up to women and feminism and so on. And women will often try to please them to become one of those special females which they don’t hate. A misogynist hates all females, but a man with NPD will use your vanity that he doesn’t consider you one of those females he hates to use you… often against other females. They aim to seduce you, whoever you are, whatever gender you are. Sex is power to them and they are superior to everyone regardless of gender.
Female Narcissists tend to be alluring, confident with their power, and their language is designed to seduce both male and females. They use their sex as power. They can be feminists or sirens, or both and so much more. They often blur sexual lines and gender roles in a way which is mesmerising. They flaunt their femininity to the max. They are what women long to be. They also tend to be misandrists. They hate men. They don’t particularly like women either. They see other women as competition for the men who are their pawns, their knights in shining armor to their damsel in distress if they’re playing that part. They will often say something along the lines of – women don’t like me because men like me. However women give good sympathy. So they play upon the way women feel about men, their fears and hopes, and gender frustrations to win them over. They aim to seduce you, whoever you are, whatever gender you are. Sex is power to them and they are superior to everyone regardless of gender.
There is a certainty about them and their claims which has no doubt to it. Since most of us struggle with doubt and all its variations for all of our lives, someone without doubt taps into our desire to be invincible in some way. We wish we could be as confident as they are… we don’t realise the price we have to pay for our wish to come true.
They will come across as being very confident that they are a victim of a Narcissist and that the other person is a Narcissist – and their Narcissist will not just a regular Narcissist, low on the spectrum of the disorder, but they will probably be the worst one ever, off the high end of the spectrum. They are also very sure that they are not to blame for anything and that the Narcissist is to blame for everything.
This taps into our rage, which we often keep suppressed even when we are bold enough to admit to it… we’re always a bit diffident of the power of our anger, fearful of what it might do to us and others if we set it free. So they use our fears to lure us in and give us a safe way to express it… one which may save us from the consequences of unleashing such a powerful emotion. They want that power for themselves, to use it for their own intentions.
Most victims of Narcissists have a lot of self doubt and often blame themselves for what the Narcissist has done to them. A portion of the blame does indeed belong to the victim, this blame can be turned into personal power which can be used to heal and eventually move on. We need to accept that our behaviour may have made us vulnerable to a Narcissist. Perhaps we wear rose-coloured glasses, which isn’t a bad thing unless you’re wearing them while looking at a Narcissist. Sometimes our strengths make us weak, at least where Narcissists are concerned. But we can adjust our vision… as long as we don’t let another Narcissist adjust it for us.
But a portion of the blame also belongs to the Narcissist. And learning to give to the Narcissist what belongs to them, even if they will never accept it, is a necessary part of the healing process.
There is also a portion of the blame which belongs to society – we live in a Narcissistic Society which encourages the Narcissistic side in all of us.
We can all be Narcissistic. Narcissism is a phase of human development. It is natural and healthy. Being Narcissistic and being a Narcissist, having NPD, are very different things. Most people who are Narcissistic, will not be Narcissistic all the time. Narcissists, those with NPD, are Narcissistic all the time.
No one knows how to suffer and profit from their suffering like a Narcissist.
If you’re reading a blog powered by a Narcissist, pay attention to their language, and what they’re seeking from you as the reader.They need you more than you need them… this can be a tempting feeling. This person needs you.
Do they want sympathy, do they want you to feel for them, perhaps even forget about yourself and your problems because theirs are so much worse than yours.
What is the comments section of their post like, do they ignore their commenters, do they only reply to those who butter them up, do they dismiss people who challenge them, do they listen to their commenters and reply accordingly or do they talk about themselves and their problems, moving away from what is shared to what they want to share and what they want.
This isn’t always a sign that the blogger is a Narcissist.
Most victims of Narcissists suffer from varying degrees of PTSD. They may not feel comfortable engaging with others. They may be nervous and scared of the opinion of others, even if those opinions are positive and supportive. They may not be able to tell the difference between a compliment and a criticism – not unlike a Narcissist but for different reasons. Being in a relationship with a Narcissist shatters your confidence, and disrupts your ability to socialise and understand social cues and interaction. A Child of Narcissists is always wary of social situations. We’re used to being criticised and often hear compliments as a prelude to a criticism as when a Narcissist compliments you, it’s always a terrible trap. Accept a compliment from a Narcissist and you end up destroyed and in a personal version of Hell on Earth.
Pay attention to how you react and feel to their writing. Is something off, but you’re not sure what it is so you dismiss it as being your fault and not theirs. Maybe you misunderstood what they were saying. Does their writing style change – Narcissists often plagiarise the work of others, they don’t see it as stealing, they simply take what they want and it becomes theirs – but they do regularly accuse others of stealing from them.
You may also find that the NPD blogger is a part of a clique of other NPD bloggers – it has a very different feel to the support given in the community of bloggers who write about their experiences with those with NPD. It’s a clique and not a community. They’re the Popular group, superior to everyone else. Anyone who disagrees with them is out.
The problem is that when Narcissists write about Narcissists, about their experience of being in a relationship with someone with NPD, is that the people whom they are writing about are not necessarily Narcissists at all. They’re just people who managed to piss off a Narcissist, either by simply saying ‘No’ to them, by refusing to be manipulated or used by them, by rejecting them in some way, going No Contact rather than waiting to be Discarded, perhaps in every way, and who has now become the target of the wrath of a Narcissist’s wounded ego. If you piss off a Narcissist, they will obsess over how to destroy you, you can’t be allowed to exist. You can’t be a witness to their failure… they never fail. They are in control and perfect. They are a superior race.
They are not monsters, they just seem that way… don’t fight them as though they are monsters, it feeds their ego and fantasy. The mythological, supernatural, fairytale world is their territory… the human world is our territory, they are afraid of our world. It’s too ordinary, flawed, imperfect, and real for them. On our ground… they shrink in size and become nothing more than a scared, miserable and distorted child who has never had the courage or the ability to grow up.
If you’re a blogger writing about your experience of Narcissists… you will attract Narcissists to your blog. Some will attack you, some will demand your sympathy. Learn to spot the Narcissist. You’re not fighting them… you’re healing yourself. Take care of yourself.
As for whether I’m a Narcissist blogger… that’s for you to decide.
If I am, don’t bother telling me… I won’t listen and you’ll only be frustrated.
If you’re a Narcissist who wants to tell me everything I have said in my posts is wrong, and you feel the need to also enlighten those who relate to what I write, those you seem to feel the need to call stupid and expect them to appreciate this… don’t bother commenting, I won’t listen and you’ll only be frustrated.
You see… when dealing with a Narcissist, I’ve learned to behave exactly as a Narcissist behaves. If you dish it… I hope you like the taste of your own dish. And yes… I’m dishing it so I’d better like the taste of my own dish!
Update 2017 – I should really go through the links below and update them, but some things are better left as they were. However I have recently come across an excellent blog (which also has a Youtube channel for those who prefer the spoken word, and the author of the blog has written books for those who prefer books).
This is the blog – Knowing the Narcissist
This is his Youtube channel – Knowing the Narcissist – Youtube
The author is a Narcissist – he states this in his bio, but before you run away, pause a minute, many victims of Narcissists have claimed to have found healing and help in their recovery through reading his posts (read the comments on his posts). I find his posts to be informative. In his posts he explains the Narcissist from the perspective of a Narcissist, and the Narcissist’s victims from the perspective of a Narcissist (and he gives detailed information about the different types and levels of Narcissists, including the ‘victim narcissist’) – this is often what is missing for those trying to heal themselves after Narcissistic Abuse.
He is also rather patient, compassionate, and understanding for a Narcissist. Please be respectful – do not go there to bash a Narcissist, he is not your Narcissist.
Everything below this update are old links, some are still active, and maybe one day I’ll re-check them out.
Thank you for visiting. Take care of yourselves. Best wishes.
Articles about NPD:
Maybe It’s Them, Not You: How to Handle a Crazymaker by Kimberly Key
Narcissism Revisited by Paul Lutus
The Vampire’s Bite: Victims of Narcissists Speak out by Leon F. Seltzer, Ph.D.
Selfishness and Narcissism in Family Relationships & The Drama Triangle by Dr. Lynne Namka – different ways to view and understand the effects of growing up with a narcissist, being in a narcissistic (abusive/unhealthy) family or in a relationship with a narcissist.
Honest Science vs. False Friend: A Contrast Study of Temperance Brennan and Angela Montenegro – This is an interesting post examining two characters on a popular TV show, one of which could be perceived as being a Narcissist but isn’t, the other is a Narcissist but may not be perceived as one (because Narcissists are focused on how others perceive them thus they are better able to manipulate their image and control how others view them). Like the person who wrote this, I find the character of Angela Montenegro intensely annoying and distressing (I have been known to shout at the TV when watching this show when her character appears and does her ‘thing’) because she is very narcissistic yet gets away with it, everyone makes excuses for her (including the resident psychologist who is supposed to be very clever) and thinks she’s lovely, very ’empathic’. Episode 6, season 5 was particularly explicit in showing Angela’s Narcissism and I got intensely angry about how it was handled). This episode reminded me of CZBZ’s post of Puppygate.
Blogs about NPD:
Narcissism and the Fruit of Suffering
NPD Recovery – also check out her Youtube – NPDRecovery Youtube
New blogger about NPD who is just venturing into telling their story, please be gentle and supportive – It Started With the Rolling Stones
In the Net! – Stories of Life and Narcissistic Survival
Info on Passive-Aggressive, ‘victim’ playing Narcissists:
Passive-Aggressive Narcissists are Eternal Victims
The Passive-Aggressive Narcissist
Covert Narcissists Play the Martyr Role
Two Types of Narcissists – Vulnerable and Invulnerable
Self-loathing and Narcissism: Are You the Eternal Victim?
Energy Theft: Toxic Forms of Shame and Guilt
Narcissists Who Cry: The Other Side of the Ego
Narcissism – Living Without Feelings
Why People Don’t Heal and How They Can by Caroline Myss
The Line between Victims and Abusers
UPDATE: I just came across this excellent article – Narcissistic Victim Syndrome: What the heck is that? by Christine Louise de Canonville – about a new term – Narcissistic Victim Syndrome (or Narcissistic Abuse Syndrome) – which psychologists are trying to have recognised. It relates to those who are and have been victims of narcissists. It is an in depth look at the traits and behaviours of victims of narcissists and the process of recovery from narcissistic abuse. If you suspect that you may be the victim of a narcissist but are unsure this may help you to figure things out. If you are a victim of a narcissist you may find this article and other articles on this site useful and helpful. If you think you are dealing with a narcissist who claims to be a victim of a narcissist (and who may be accusing you of being a narcissist) this may help to elucidate that complicated scenario. Please check it out, it’s very informative.
I’ll add more later… if you want me to add a link to your site, please use the comments section to do so (please note if your link is accompanied by telling me I’m an idiot, and/or my readers are stupid, I’m very human, and very protective of my readers and commenters, and I’ll just ignore you).
If you want to share your story, please feel free to do so. If this is your first time commenting, the comment will be held by WordPress until I approve it. Don’t worry.
I do reply to most comments. It sometimes takes me a while. Please be patient and try not to take it personally… I’m a bit slow sometimes and often distracted (my default setting).
There are some regular commenters who interact with other commenters (sometimes before I do). They know what they’re talking about and I love them very much. This is a place where we help ourselves and each other at the same time. Relationships flow both ways. Feel free to interact with other commenters if what they have said has touched you in some way (which is not rude).
Please be considerate of others… but also of yourself.
Thank you, and thank you for sharing!
Interesting. After reading the article and then the comments I get the sense that the writer exhibits some narcissistic traits. Ironic
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I wouldn’t say that it was ironic, it’s logical considering that both my parents were very narcissistic. It would be rather strange if I didn’t have narcissistic traits and behaviours.
Please don’t ever give up writing you have such a wonderful gift, you help people heal, you have helped me so much over the past few weeks, we need people like you🙂
Thank you very much 🙂
That’s very kind.
Worth keeping in mind though is that you’re actually helping yourself – this is very important to notice as it shows you that you’re both the healer and the one needing healing from your inner healer.
I’m honoured to be a part of your process, but you are the one doing it for yourself. See your strength and power – that is a great gift you have!
I have never felt more insane than talking repeatedly for many years with my Twin, who is what my Husband called “A Revolving Door”. She just accused me of being “A Narcissists” I actually felt insane. I thought, oh heck, I hope not! Anyway God be merciful let me never be that. I appreciate this Article 🙂 Thank You. To have parents that are both Narcissist’s, is amazing that you are even alive. It just blows me away to think of it. Nar systs are equal to murderers to me, because that is what they do. However, they do it by torture and you just have to get away from them to feel normal, and not upset. And they cause great damage and pass great half truths and evil twists about a good person. I have no words except to say…keep me away! Also My Twin is Manic. We split the disease, I got depression. So of all the damage she has done I ask her One thing just tell me your sorry you had an affair with my Husband. She cannot do it! Also they are never wrong, they either “make poor choices” or blame others…Very roll your eyes way to be.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Being around a narcissist can definitely make you feel like you’re insane. Partly because they keep telling you that you are, sometimes directly (narcissists do seem to love to accuse others of being narcissists, and they do it without the slightest hint of doubt or hesitation) but often indirectly, and if someone says something to you enough times you end up wondering if perhaps what they’re saying is true. It takes awhile to realise that the reason you feel insane is due to being around them and experiencing their version of reality which really messes with the logic of the mind.
In some ways narcissists inadvertently help us to have a stronger sense of who we are. Thanks to their mind games, their complicated dramas, and all the other twisted mess which goes with their disorder they force us to go within and get to know ourselves better in reaction to them making us doubt ourselves, blaming us for all their problems and projecting/transferring themselves onto us. They also make us appreciate those who aren’t narcissists more. There are blessings in the curse, it just takes effort to find them, but it’s worth the effort.
It must be particularly painful and difficult to have a twin who is a narcissist because of the intimate birth bond between the two of you. It sounds like she is envious of everything your are and have, as though she believes that you got all the good stuff in life while she got all the bad stuff, and she wants what you have – hence the affair with your husband. She’ll never apologise for that because in her eyes the fault does not lie with her – it can’t be her fault – narcissists are intensely afraid of taking that kind of responsibility and admitting to having done anything wrong (they’ll only say sorry if they want something from you but that is a false apology and at some point they’ll retract it), their whole world might crumble if they do admit to being in the wrong so they stick to their version of the story and will die rather than ever admit to having made a mess, being human, not being perfect.
Take good care of yourself, and keep doing what you’re doing to recover from what she has done. Be gentle with yourself!
I just wish I had the right word, but I do not. I can say this, you are amazingly in tune with this strange world, that is exactly as you describe. Actually Mom said we bit each other in diapers and she let us do it as long as we did not bite anyone else. Yes, this spirit maybe can come from the womb. My youngest Sister said growing up she could tell my twin was a manipulator and she never saw that in me. Oh could I ever share an amazing story of our lives to you. In every thing you said, hit the nail on the head. I could not even say it as well as you, but I know what I have experienced. No I actually got the difficult life. and I am just glad to not be like her. I was just caught off guard, as she has never accused me of being what she is. I know why she said I was this and then you would wonder how I caved a little. But no, sorry folks I am not even near being like this. I really cannot understand how people can be this way. I cannot even imagine having parents like her. Actually she has 2 grown children and the Daughter hated her growing up and called her a psychopath. She truly has zero empathy, it shows in how she treats people. And the son tried to kill himself 6 times. She takes responsibility for nothing. She will say things like I made poor choices, never has she said, I was wrong, or I am sorry. I begged her to say she was sorry, but she would not. I truly feel ill, thinking both your parents were like this. I get dizzy and feel unbalanced just thinking the thought, right now. I am a 66 year old lady, born-again Christian since age 22. I am just as real as they come. I have gone through the church system..but I was taken out by Christ and it is just me and Him Alone 🙂 I need to read more things that you have said, it really is helping me. God Bless You, Truly!
Thank you 🙂
Narcissists tend to accuse others of being who they are and doing what they do, they project and transfer themselves onto/into others. They have a hard time seeing themselves, don’t have a core sense of self, they can’t self-reflect and need the reflection of others to know who they are. They don’t have healthy boundaries between self and other and therefore tend to see everyone as being a part of themselves. They are particularly prone to splitting themselves into good/bad segments and giving the ‘bad stuff’ to someone else so that they only have all the ‘good stuff’. They shy away from responsibility because it might mean they’ll end up having to be accountable for things which might make them appear in a negative light and they seek to always be seen positively. They’re terrified and their fear controls them – which makes them desperate to control others and how others perceive them. They can’t do ’empathy’ because they can’t see beyond themselves, their minds are taken up with themselves 24/7 and there is no room or time for anyone else, however they do tend to talk up a storm about being ’empathic’ because they think they’re very empathic – they’re hyper-sensitive and they see this as being empathy.
Best article ever about Narcissism is this one – http://energeticsinstitute.com.au/narcissism/ – it is very comprehensive and the part which explains how a child becomes a narcissist is informative.
All humans go through a narcissistic phase of development, we all have narcissistic traits and behaviours – these are healthy for us. A narcissist gets stuck during that stage of development, and to understand them you simply need to take what is natural and normal for all humans and take it to an extreme. All humans have an aversion to pain, narcissists take their aversion to an extreme and because of that they do things like avoid responsibility like it was a plague and blame everyone else for everything, can’t say sorry because that would require admitting they’d done something wrong and that admittance is too painful for them.
They’re basically very twisted and warped children lost in a labyrinth.
Another thing which all humans have is the ability to adapt, to survive and to thrive under adverse circumstances – make the best of a bad situation and come out of it okay. Sometimes having a difficult life inspires rather than damages, or inspires because it damages and the light gets in through those kind of cracks.
Take good care of yourself, and be gentle with your beautiful soul!
Please delete my last comment, I should not have left my phone number so public. I just so appreciated all you said… Is there a way to edit Our Comments? or are they set in stone? 🙂
Don’t worry, I’ve removed your phone number 🙂
I しѺ√乇 ㄚѺŲ ♥ THANKYOU 🙂 Don’t work too hard and waste your life on Comments. If I had money, Your so worth it!
Thank you 🙂
After ending a relationship with a man, who constantly told me “I’m all you have, you need me” I felt completely lost. After some counseling I found out what type of person he actually is. I never heard the word “Narcasist” or “manipulative” before he told me this is what I am. The abuse coming from this relationship was worse than I even knew, and I felt disappointed that I allowed myself to be put into that situation in the first place! How could i be so nieve, I constantly thought.
Speaking with plenty people on this issue and counseling is really a huge help.
Thanks for the read!
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Thank you for sharing 🙂
Sometimes what we put ourselves through after the fact, what we do to ourselves through things like self-blame, can be almost as bad as what we went through with that person and what they did to us. It takes awhile to realise that our recovery needs for us to be gentle with ourselves, cut ourselves slack, rather than picking on ourselves for having been trusting of someone we loved. We learn from experience and grow as we learn.
Everything you’ve learned from this experience will enrich your future experiences.
Take good care of yourself!
I’m sort of in ur situation at the moment although in constant limbo:( well done u though for recognising that u are not to blame!! I’ve realised that and feel much better for it but my housing situation leaves me a bit stuck. I’ve got to say though the lack of blame by itself feels ‘ticklish’ . I say that because even when I get panicky about how I can sort the situation out I find myself smiling randomly at the somewhat ‘weightlessness’. I hope this is what you can focus on xx
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Being in limbo is such a difficult situation to be in. Somehow no matter what you do to try and change things, move out of limbo, nothing seems to work. It can be very frustrating. Sometimes the only way to ‘solve’ limbo is by accepting it as it is, to accept being stuck and see what being stuck offers in and of itself. Limbo kind of forces us to look within and sort ourselves out inside, and going within may be exactly what we need to do to affect what’s outside of us. Simple shifts within ourselves can change how we experience what’s going on outside of us, or at least how we perceive it.
Opting out of the blame game is definitely a relief, it lightens the load and allows for a clearer view of a situation. Sometimes the best way to solve something is by changing how we view it, how we see ourselves and others.
Best wishes in your situation, take good care of yourself!
Thank you for this and your wonderful advice in the comments. For the past few years I’ve been able to recognize narcissist traits in others and in myself. I was raised in a narc environment and I think it’s true that when you’ve been around it that you can recognize it more easily l am always questioning myself though, still, that the problem isn’t me, but others. You see, it seems I attract a lot of narc personalities And I find myself happier when I limit them in my life So I’m always questioning if it’s me and not them because it seems like I’ve isolated from a lot of people because I just can’t handle it when they begin to try to control me or manipulate me or tell me what I should do or act better than me. I get this a lot, even from family members I just try to be myself, do what makes me happy and live my life. Why is that so hard for others to deal with? I’ve been trapped many times of “losing myself” around narc types, but not anymore. I’m in my forties and finally finding myself, so to speak, so I tolerate these people and behaviors but no longer let them control me I have to say that I am happier, but it is a lot lonelier. Is it not? I mean, I do have supporting loving family and a few good friends, in contrast to the others, so I’m not completely alone but standing up for yourself and creating boundaries does cause loneliness. I’m dealing with the rejection (finally seeing that certain people really don’t care) and asking myself over and over if it’s me and not them.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I’m in my 40’s too, and I’ve found this decade to be a rather comfortable one compared to the ones which came before, there is definitely an acceptance of self which comes with it, a sort of finally settling into your own skin. Maybe we don’t get wiser when we get older we just get a bit more understanding of what it means to be human because we’ve experienced so much of it, from ourselves and from others, and are tired after all the battles that life brings with it and want to rest so we cut more slack for ourselves (which may mean cutting less slack for others, although not always).
All humans are narcissistic – this is not always an unhealthy way to be. We’re narcissistic and so are others. Society is narcissistic, this is particularly in evidence in recent times perhaps because we’re all more aware of narcissism and therefore are mindful of the traits and behaviours of it.
One of the things which has helped me is going with – it’s both me and them – rather than trying to figure out if – it’s me or them.
I’m learning to appreciate certain aspects of the narcissistic traits and behaviours which I have. Certain aspects of being self-centred and selfish… are actually healthy for the self. Others may not like that but then again the selfish and self-centred of others tends not to like it when others are being the same way. We can all be a bit hypocritical and it’s not always a bad thing – the grey areas tend to be more logical than the black or white.
When I was younger I feared any sign of narcissism in myself – part of that fear came from growing up with narcissists who didn’t want me to be as selfish as they were (according to my mother I was created to make my parents be less selfish – that worked then!), and needed me to fear my self and its place in my life. They basically wanted to control me so that they could control themselves – the most common reason for people wanting to control you is that they’re trying to control themselves (control their experience of self, reality, the world, etc). They need you to be a certain way to maintain their grip on a certain environment which makes them feel less powerless and less anxious, less fearful. Basically they’re afraid of being human so you have to be less human.
Everyone is lonely and afraid of being lonely – hence people put up with things and people they wish they didn’t have to put up with. It’s a strange dilemma and our solutions for it often make us more lonely in company than if we were physically alone. I don’t have an answer for the loneliness… mainly because I actually like it (not always but mostly).
I was thinking about something along those lines the other day… what I was thinking was that perhaps I should make more of an effort to socialise and then I thought… I’m happier being a hermit. Maybe my hermit-ness comes from growing up with narcissists, maybe I’m a narcissist, maybe… it doesn’t matter who is what and what is what. For me the ultimate loneliness is when you don’t like yourself, your own company. If you do like yourself and your own company… it can be hard finding friends, real ones, because… well, you need to find others who like themselves and their own company. Those who are okay with themselves tend to accept others the way that they are and we all know that getting there can be a long journey through lands where we lose ourselves and don’t like ourselves, and so on.
Keep exploring this new territory you’re in.
You’re not a narcissist, this you know. That’s harder to know about others…
Sometimes it’s us and them and sometimes that’s a good thing 🙂
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Just because someone you hold dear says you are a narcissist doesn’t mean it is true. I have a problem with someone I dearly love who has treated me like am a toxic narcissist for year, yet I spent over a decade in therapy for family of origin issues. The chances a toxic narcissist would spend over a decade of inner work and exploration are pretty much non existent. Yet this person I love won’t listen to reason or go to therapy with me to straighten out the misconceptions. Clinicians say I am not and that simply isn’t enough “proof”. It’s very hurtful. People should be more careful how they treat others and be very careful when labeling someone a narcissist. You could end up damaging a person you simply have had a difficult past with.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
From what you’ve shared:
1 – You know you’re not a narcissist.
2 – The professionals you’ve seen have confirmed that you’re not a narcissist.
3 – There’s this person in your life whom you love who thinks you’re a narcissist, and thinks you’re a ‘toxic narcissist’, and insists that you are a ‘toxic narcissist’ (as though ‘narcissist’ isn’t strong enough a label they need to add ‘toxic’ to it), even though you have ‘proof’ that you’re not and you’re not.
This person is hurting you. They’ve labeled you and won’t remove that label even though it is evident that this is deeply painful to you and is hurting you. They’re being insensitive towards you and seem to lack empathy – would they like it if the situation was flipped around and you were the one doing to them what they are doing to you?
But you obviously would never do to them what they’re doing to you because you know how much something like that hurts. You are trying to understand them, and also trying to work within the very limiting confines they’ve given you to work things out between the two of you because you love them, and still nothing pleases them, they’re dead set on their perspective and opinion of you regardless of whether it is right, wrong, fair or unfair.
Sometimes the people we love… use our love for them against us.
There is a saying – A man convinced against his will is of the same opinion still (man in this statement = woman/man) – it seems this applies to this person. They have their opinion and they’re sticking with it. Their opinion is more important to them than whether it is true or false. And they don’t seem to be willing to budge even though this is hurting you. They seem unwilling to understand you, your story. They’re only interested in maintaining their status quo and version of reality – and in their version of reality you are a ‘toxic narcissist’. Seems to me like they need you to be a ‘toxic narcissist’ for reason of their own identity rather than because this is who you are.
When someone is that entrenched in their view of who you are to them, there is nothing you can do to deter them or convince them otherwise because it’s not about you (even though they’ve made it seem as though it is about you) it is about them (and until they change they won’t change who they’ve decided that you are).
This is immensely sad but also a very human situation.
The important thing is – don’t let their opinion of you determine who you are. You know who you are better than they do – you’ve put in the work to get to know yourself and they haven’t. The professionals you’ve seen know you better than this person does.
So, their insistence that you’re a ‘toxic narcissist’ says more about them than it does about you. They’re the one with the problem, not you – don’t make their problem with you turn into your problem with yourself.
You’re absolutely right that – “People should be more careful how they treat others and be very careful when labeling someone a narcissist.” – unfortunately humans aren’t careful when it comes to doing this kind of thing, although we’re always very sensitive about people doing this with us and we demand care from others which we often don’t give to others.
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Thank you so much! I did not see this until now. It is very comforting. I will save it and reread it. Thank you again!!!
Should I feel bad if after the death of an unborn child something in me snapped when my fiancé laughed in my face because I was crying and I started firing back almost every time he has been cruel or unkind to me or my 11 year old daughter since? I’m a horrible person for calling him names like baby killer. After 11 years he began withholding sex almost 5 years ago. There are many other things but there isn’t enough time for me to type all of it and I’m certain if anyone has lived with or been in a relationship with a very mean man could imagine at least some of what I have experienced. Back to my question, ssssoooo….. Is it ok or Not ok to be mean right back to someone who causes u unbearable pain? Why do I feel so awful to the point where I am disgusted with myself after something I said in a desperate attempt to cause him the same pain I’m feeling after he is mean first?
Thank you for sharing 🙂
My condolences on the death of your child.
In answer to your questions:
1 – Is it ok or Not ok to be mean right back to someone who causes u unbearable pain?
This is not the sort of scenario where someone else can tell you what is okay or not okay for you to do, the okay-ness of it is something which you have to decide for yourself as this is personal to you.
Usually people advise others not to engage in tit-for-tat because it is often a never-ending game which no one ever wins. The hurt just keeps being recycled, and accumulating as it does, hurt piled upon hurt until both people are buried under it. And both sides justify what they’re doing using the other person as an excuse for doing what they say they wouldn’t do if it wasn’t for the other person.
This may be worth reading – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/anger-in-the-age-entitlement/201508/how-end-the-fight-you-cant-remember-why-you-started – however it doesn’t touch upon a deep and painful rift in a relationship caused by such a terrible loss as the death of a child.
It doesn’t sound like your fiance will ever feel the pain that you’re feeling as from what you have shared he seems to lack empathy and is prone to being callous. Being mean may be his main way of relating and interacting, and if you’re doing to him what he does to you he may actually enjoy it more than he suffers because of it as people being mean to each other on a constant basis may be something he considers normal.
Sometimes people who are as callous as your fiance are already miserable which is why they are mean and insensitive, and they can’t really feel anything beyond their own misery which they pass on to others through their meanness.
2 – Why do I feel so awful to the point where I am disgusted with myself after something I said in a desperate attempt to cause him the same pain I’m feeling after he is mean first?
It sounds like you’re doing something which is not normal or natural for you to do. You do not find it easy to be mean and it hurts you more than it hurts him when you do it.
Why are you doing it if it makes you feel so awful and disgusted with yourself?
Why are you still with this man if the relationship is so painful?
It sounds as though the loss of your child caused you to lose yourself too and you’re caught in a world of pain which never ends, you might benefit from seeing a grief counselor or a therapist who can help you to work through your pain and find a way out of this situation which is unbearable for you.
This is a look at how the death of a child affects a relationship – http://www.theravive.com/research/The-Effects-of-the-Death-of-a-Child-on-a-Marriage
Take care of yourself!
I’m writing because I’m in limbo and trying to understand what happened and what I can do about it. I apologize in advance if this ends up being long. I tried to include what I thought was pertinent information without writing about our entire 11 year relationship. I tried to refrain from creating a rambling narrative: sorry if I messed that up. I’m really hoping you can help and/or offer some insight.
I am 42 years old man and married to a 41 year old woman. We have been together for 11 years. I survived an abusive childhood, but have not been diagnosed with any mental health issues. I do suffer from hypervigilence from time to time. My wife has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder. It is my understanding that narcissism is a component to both disorders. She also has ADHD, OCD, and generalized anxiety disorder. We don’t fight about money or sex, but we do fight about disciplinary issues with her oldest son. She has always coddled him and has been convinced since he was 4 years old that he was troubled “just like me”. She began having him medicated for ADHD and bipolar at 5 years old. We had him tested a few years ago and showed indications of being on the autism spectrum…no official diagnosis though. As he has entered his teenage years I have begun to suspect that his issues are more the result of my wife’s nurturing as opposed to nature. She treats him like he is disabled or differently abled, and I try to treat him like any other kid. He has come to rely upon special treatment from almost everyone he deals with now. I can not however have a conversation with my wife about that because she will get very hostile and say things like I don’t understand. I haven’t got the knowledge she does, I don’t talk with the doctors, I never liked him to begin with, and a mother knows.
Seven years into our relationship we had a big argument and she left with both children. She went to her mothers house and stayed there for six months. We didn’t talk for about two weeks, but eventually we got to the point where we were talking everyday. We participated in Counselling, and at the end of the six month period she came home with our children. My wife made it a point to tell me more than once that she never broke up with anybody else before and got back together with them. My response was that I understood that, I appreciated that, but that she had never been married before.
We continued Counselling for a while and stopped when things had been going well for a while. We also had an issue with the therapist, who was a family friend of her mothers; our issues were being shared with her mother and the therapist became pushy and had a bad attitude with me and my wife. Things went well for about two years: we had our ups and downs, but nothing major. Mostly disagreements regarding discipline of the oldest boy.
Two years ago shortly after Halloween my wife had what we originally thought was a stroke, but the doctors are still not sure. They believe she has hemiplegic migraines: a migraine that mimics a stroke. She was hospitalized for a total of three weeks as a result and we almost lost her. During that time I took care of the children and was temporarily a single parent.
She was released to come home after the first week. My mother-in-law brought her home. I gave both of our boys a pep talk before mom got home. I explained that the doctor said she needs peace and quiet and no stress. I confirmed that nobody wanted mom in the hospital and we all agreed. I said to our younger boy (11 at the time) that meant he needed to try to control his anger and not fight with his brother (an issue he still struggles with), and if he couldn’t do that and mom ended up back the hospital it would be partly his fault. I said to our older boy (12 almost 13 at the time) that he needed to not be so clingy with mom, give her some space, and act his age and control his fits (he still to this day throws himself on the floor and wails when he doesn’t get his way), and if he couldn’t do that and mom ended up back the hospital it would be partly his fault. I said that I needed to be more patient with both them and try not to get angry at them when they misbehaved, and if i couldn’t do that and mom ended up back the hospital it would be partly my fault. I pointed out that we all needed to work together and help mom get better. I thought we had an understanding and an agreement. When my wife got home it was clear that she should not have been released. Our older boy talked with grandma and she was insistent that she take both boys to stay with her at her house while I attended to my wife’s needs. Ultimately it was agreed that our older boy who was being home schooled due to alleged bullying could go with her and the younger boy, who was still in public school, would stay with us to help with his mom’s recovery and his education. I ended up taking my wife to a different hospital that night where she was admitted for another two weeks.
I later learned that my mother-in-law had been to the hospital everyday while I had been at work…this hospital was within 5 miles of her home and about 45 miles from our home. I initially thought she was being supportive of her daughter; I couldn’t have been more wrong. I later learned from wife they were brainwashing sessions.
My wife was eventually released and I brought her home. We spent Thanksgiving together, but our oldest boy stayed at grandmas house for reasons I was not entirely clear about at first. My wife said that he was a handful and it would be better for him to stay there so her mom could continue his homeschooling. It made sense and seemed logical at the time. We spent A LOT of money on the kids for Christmas that year, and I insisted that our oldest boy needed to be returned to us for Christmas so we could celebrate as a family. A week before Christmas I returned home from work to find my wife, our younger son, and all the Christmas presents gone. She left a note saying that she had gone to her mothers and she felt it best that we not talk for a few a days. I later learned that our oldest boy had told my mother-in-law that I said it was his fault that his mom was in the hospital when I was finally able to speak with my wife on the phone. I asked her to put the phone on speaker and I talked to our oldest son. He admitted that I had not said what he told grandma I had said. He said he lied because he wanted to stay at grandmas house because he liked her rules better and he didn’t have to do chores. I tried calling our old therapist, moms family friend, only to be yelled at and put down on the phone.
The first time we spoke my wife accused me of trying to control her. I asked her how. She didn’t have an answer. I asked her if I made her do anything she didn’t want to do. She said I made her clean the house. I reminded her that when she stopped working we made a deal that I would work outside the house and she would work inside the house. She agreed that we did. I asked her if she had been keeping up her end, but she said no the house was total mess. She conceded that I was not making her do things she didn’t want to. I asked if I kept her from going places and doing things, but she said no. She said I let her go out whenever she wanted to, and even admitted that she had come home way later than she told me she would on more than one occasion (2-3am). I asked her if I kept her from seeing any of her friends or family she wanted to. She said there was one friend of hers I didn’t like, but otherwise no. I asked her if I ever kept her from spending money. She said she had to get my permission to spend money. I asked her if I spent money without her permission, but she said no. She said we had an agreement that neither one of us would spend money without discussing it with each other first. She then agreed that I was not controlling the money. She eventually said that she was wrong and I was not controlling her. She said “but my mother said…” But never finished it. She then said that it was her mother trying to control her.
I spent Christmas alone that year and did not get to see my children open the presents I had worked so hard to provide for them. My wife had not worked for two years by that time. We spoke frequently on the phone and she ultimately returned home after about 2 months. When my wife told her mother that she was going home with me, her mother threatened to call DCFS and take our boys away because I was an “abuser”. My wife panicked and was visibly shaken. I explained to her that we had done nothing wrong and to let her mother call DCFS. I reassured my wife that an investigation would not show what her mother believed it would and they would not take our children. My wife stood up to her mother and came home with our younger son. Our oldest boy stayed with my mother-in-law for the next year, which was a horrible mistake. My wife did not want to fight with her mother about it and said her recovery would go better with him not in the house.
My wife said that her mother was always manipulative and emotionally abusive towards her since childhood and favored her younger brother. Her younger brother, who was 30 at this time, had just moved out of my mother-in-laws house. My wife and I theorized that her mother wanted a boy around because she was experiencing and “empty nest”. Regardless my mother-in-laws relationship with our sons borders on the inappropriate. Our sons are now 13 and almost 15 and she has them sit on her lap and lay their heads on her bosom. I feel it is inappropriate for boys of that age to be encouraged to behave that way, and I have voiced that to my wife. She doesn’t see a problem with that and says I’m being “too sensitive”.
During the next year things were peaceful in our home. We had planned to go to couples Counselling, but we spent all our spare time and I used all my vacation time taking her to doctors appointments and specialists and disability attorneys. We had one incident over the summer where my wife had a panic attack and rushed over to her mothers house because she had to see our oldest son. This seemed to come out of nowhere. While he was at grandmas house he would not talk to my wife at all despite her efforts to communicate with him and have a relationship with him. He would call when he needed something, such as parental permission for a school field trip (grandma stopped home schooling and enrolled him in public school where she lived), and my wife ended up finally telling him he had to talk to her at least once a week and call her back when she left a message or she was not going to do things for him when he asked her to. They began communicating more regularly, but not as frequently as she liked.
Grandma started calling almost everyday because our oldest son did not want to go to school. She ended up taking him to a counsellor every morning before school to convince him to go, but he would still not go. Then one day, shortly before Thanksgiving last year, grandma called one morning, announced she had enough of our oldest son not going to school like he was supposed to, and she was bringing him home. Within an hour he was home. Things went well at first: he was polite, respectful, and seemed to be going out of his way to be agreeable. Unfortunately our son had gained 50 pounds from eating hot pockets and chips all the time and spending all his free time on the Xbox 360. His total cholesterol was also off the chart: his doctor said if we don’t get it down he could end up having a heart attack before he turns 21.
The peace lasted for a few months and things eventually went back to the way they were before. He had tantrums and fits when he didn’t get his way, he would not do school work or homework unless someone stood over him and helped him. My wife would not really discipline him, which I originally thought was because she was afraid of him wanting to leave again. When he and I would have conflict she was quick to get in the middle of it though and she almost always sided with him. She justified her interference by stating I was being too serious, I was being too sensitive, I was taking it too far, I didn’t understand his condition, I was giving him the attention he was seeking, I was being too hard on him….there seemed to be something I wasn’t doing or needed to do better almost every time. Even when I did it different than the last time. I tried mixing things up. There were 2 maybe 3 occasions where my wife actually complemented me for how I handled a situation with our oldest son.
We would send him to the corner, usually 5 minutes to start and an additional 5 minutes for each offense. We would not start the timer until he stopped having a tantrum, but he would still have to stay in the corner. As an example; I tell him to do something and he doesn’t do it, he now gets 5 minutes in the corner. He stomped his feet all the way to the corner, another 5 minutes. I would let him know he got another 5 minutes for stomping. The tantrum would start immediately. I would remind him I was not starting the timer until he got control of himself. Tantrum gets worse with son professing he can’t control it. I tell him yes he can, he can do anything he sets his mind to, he just needs to decide he wants to do it. Wife looks at me with disapproval and says she doesn’t understand why I have to make it worse. I question why she is judging my methods, methods she already approved of, based on his reaction. Son ultimately calms down and timer starts. He gets aggravated at one point and kicks the wall. Another 5 minutes added to timer. He gets upset, another tantrum, timer stops, he calms down timer starts, more disapproving looks from wife. That’s the general cycle.
For a time we were sending him to his room, but he broke a wooden cross member on his bed, kicked a hole in his bedroom closet wall; and broke several toys while having a tantrum; so I tried not to do that too much. It should be noted that I did the same things with the younger boy and it was rarely met with disapproval from my wife. Our youngest is a bit more even tempered and outgrew tantrums when he was about 5 years old.
Things got a little more crazy within the last 3 months. Our oldest son has a bad habit of antagonizing his little brother. In June the two of them got into a wrestling match, which was not uncommon. When it was over the two stood up and faced each other. Our oldest son then punched his little brother square in the mouth and knocked out his front teeth. There was blood everywhere. I was obviously upset. I looked at our oldest and asked him why in the world would he punch his brother in the mouth, especially when the fight was over at that point. He said he was mad but didn’t mean to hurt him. I asked him how well letting his anger control him worked out. He said not well. I ended up sending him to his room telling him I was very upset and so disappointed in him right now that I couldn’t talk with him right now. He went to his room, surprisingly with no tantrum. Our youngest son was then taken to the dentist where they repaired his teeth…hopefully. There is a possibility he may need caps/crowns as he gets older because he and his teeth are not done growing. My wife did not get involved in this interaction, disapproving or otherwise.
A few weeks later they were at it again. My wife was sitting on the couch facebooking on her phone. Both boys were wrestling, and they both had their hands around the others throats. They were literally strangling each other. They threw each other onto the kitchen table and I jumped up and went over to them while my wife just sat there. I pulled them apart and they went after each other again. I asked my wife if she was going to help out or not. No response. I then took off my belt and swatted each boy once on the bottom. Now I have to admit I was not happy with myself for that; I had never taken a belt to them before and my wife and I agreed when our boys were little that we would not do that. In retrospect I believe that I did overreact, but in the heat of the moment I believed it was necessary to stop the violence and discourage future violence. I was thinking it worked on me and my siblings when were younger. I asked them if they wanted more knocked out teeth or broken bones. I said to both of them that that I didn’t use the belt on them like my parents did to me but if they were going to really hurt each other then this was what was going to happen. Our oldest looked at me and said “that didn’t hurt” to which I replied “I can fix that”. Now all of a sudden my wife is involved. She grabs both children puts them behind her and places herself between me and them. It was very dramatic in hindsight. I told her to move and she refused. She told me I was out of control and I needed to calm down. She asked my why I was so angry. I said because she was making me mad. I said I asked you for help and you didn’t want to get involved, but now you’re going to try to undermine my efforts to handle a problem you didn’t want to handle and try to make me look like the bad guy? We argued back and forth for a few minutes and I eventually backed down. We talked later and she said she didn’t want me hitting them with he belt again. I said I wouldn’t. I also said she needed to be more involved with the discipline. She said she didn’t like that I didn’t have a very good relationship with our oldest son. I pointed out that part of he problem is that she always gets in between us when there is a problem and never lets us work it out together.
On July 24 this year we had another problem. I had been awake for a short time. My wife was on the couch facebooking on her phone again. I don’t remember what started the issue, but our oldest starts raising his voice at me, jumps up, puffs his chest out, and takes a step towards me. Now under normal circumstances I would have looked at him and told him to sit down. Unfortunately I let my ego get in the way. I stood up, puffed my chest out, backed out son up to the couch, where he sat back down. I was yelling at him about being disrespectful to me after all I have done for him and I wasn’t going to tolerate it. Wife still facebooking and not getting involved. I was pointing my finger at my sons face as I was yelling. At one point he raises his arms to cover his face, like he thought I was going to hit him. At this point I think to myself “ok, I’ve taken this too far and I need to bring it down”. So I grab his arm and thump him twice on the shoulder and say “two for flinching dude”. That is something we do and other kids do playing around. My son didn’t respond the way I thought he would; he kicked me hard in the testicles with his left foot. It hurt. More than I let on. I reactively grabbed his foot and pulled him off the couch onto the floor. I asked him what the hell was wrong with him and why would he kick me in the groin when I was trying to deescalate the situation. He’s crying now and saying he didn’t mean to do it. Now the wife is up. She’s telling him to get up off the floor and sit down. He’s taking his time like he’s crawling through molasses. Wife tells him to hurry up, but he’s not listening. I push his butt with my foot, to which the youngest yells ” you don’t kick someone while their down”. I’m standing there like “what the hell?”, with everybody looking at me like I’m the villain. I explain that I didn’t kick him and only pushed him on the butt with my foot. Nobody is hearing it. I end up throwing my hands up, going into the kitchen, getting an ice pack, and putting it on my aching crotch. I told my wife later that I was not happy about how that went down and that he really hurt me. No real discussion after that despite my efforts. Wife just facebooked on her phone.
Noting happened July 25,26, or 27th. I figured the incident had been forgotten and/or forgiven, or we would discuss it with our sons therapist next week. He’s been seeing a counsellor for years. Therapist has said that grandma is an enabler and being with her for a year was the worst thing for him. He also told mom that our son doesn’t like me because I enforce rules, regulations, and behavior and that she needed to support me more and step up to the plate herself.
We had gotten paid on July 27th so my wife paid the car payment, car insurance, and her credit cards before going to bed. July 28th I wake up in the morning, eat breakfast with my wife, shower, and get ready for work. My wife and I shared a small intimate moment before I got in the shower, but nothing too serious. I went to work. I called her from work and we talked a little while. She said she was going to get in the shower and go get prescriptions. I told her to get good and clean and we would finish what we started earlier. She indicated she would like that. We made plans to go to the store for groceries after I got home from work because we were out of food. She texted me at 1pm but I was not able to answer because I was busy at work. At 2pm I texted and called her but got no answer. I called a few more times with no answer. Our youngest son then texts me and says “mom says read the note on the table”. I go home and read the note which says in summary: I can’t do this anymore. I think we shouldn’t talk for a few days until you’re done being angry. We will discuss what to do with our names on the car. The dogs appointment is Monday at 10:30. I hope you can get a ride. Please take care of my birds”
We had just recently financed a new car, but I had to trade in my car to do it leaving us with one car. I had picked out the new car because my wife had promised me after she picked out the last new car that the next one was mine. She is also on disability for her mental and medical conditions and is not supposed to drive. I work full time and have a part time job. She left me without any transportation. Fortunately my employer has allowed me to take a company vehicle home for the time being. I have not worked my part time job in over a month now for obvious reasons.
My wife ended up going to a domestic violence shelter. I asked her why she had done that when I have never raised a hand to her during our entire relationship. She said there are other types of abuse besides physical. I asked her why she left without talking to me: something she promised she would never do again after the last time. She said she was afraid I would yell at her. I said I never yell at you. She said you yelled that one time. I asked which time. She said when I corrected you in front of the children. I said I did do that, but that was one time in 11 years. I asked her who else was there because I felt like she was performing for an audience. She insisted there was no audience.
As for the yelling incident; my wife had developed a bad habit of correcting me over what felt like every little thing. She had been doing a lot more the last few months. It got so bad the kids stared correcting me. I told our boys that mom does it, but she is an adult and they shouldn’t correct adults. I then talked to my wife about correcting me, especially in front of the children. She agreed that it was wrong and hurtful and she wouldn’t do it anymore. Within 5 minutes, literally, she corrects me in front of the children. I’m not proud of myself, but I lost it. I yelled at her pretty bad. I was furious. I felt like the whole conversation we just had, along with my feelings, was meaningless to her. I was very hurt and didn’t respond well. I apologized to my wife afterwards. I said I was sorry and I shouldn’t have reacted the way I did. I pointed out to her that it felt like she didn’t care about my feelings. She said she was sorry i felt that way, but reassured me she did care about how I felt.
As far as domestic violence goes I have never laid a hand on my wife. In the last 6 months she has gotten physical with me twice. The first time she woke me up at 3am hitting me and yelling at me. I asked her what was going on. She held up my phone and said she had gone through it and found I had been texting with a woman. She then the the phone at my face striking the bridge of my nose. I asked her if she read the text, pointing out the woman I had texted was a married coworker and the text was work related. She looked at the text and started to cry. She said she was sorry for getting so crazy, but I was everything to her and she couldn’t live without me. The second time she was screaming at the oldest boy. He dropped something and she was screaming “pick it up” repeatedly in his face. She backed him into a corner and he ended up urinating his pants. I pointed out that he wet himself and she needed to back down. She screamed at him to go upstairs and clean himself up. I tried to get her to calm down but she wouldn’t. I said “baby, just breathe”. She started punching my chest and telling me not to tell her what to do. I hugged her tight and said “I love you” and “breathe”. She eventually calmed down. We talked about it later that night. I said to her that I have never put a hand on her and I expected the same respect. I said that was the second time in six months she had hit me, and I was going to call the police if there was a third. She apologized for getting so crazy. My wife knows I have strong feelings about domestic violence: my father beat my mother into a coma in front of me and my siblings when I was younger.
Our oldest son had locked up his younger brothers computer sneaking behind our backs and downloading and watching porn. My wife and I had a disagreement about this in June. I told her my gut was telling me he was watching porn, but she said I was being untrusting and harsh. She said I had to give him the benefit of the doubt. I said no I don’t and reminded her I was a teenage boy once and I was pretty certain he was engaged with pornography. Against my better judgement I trusted my wife’s assessment of the situation and let it go. After the computer lock up incident I told her I was mad at myself for letting her talk me out of checking what our son was doing when my gut was telling me otherwise. She asked why I got so mad at him over it. I reminded her of the tirade she flew into before we got married and she found a box of old playboy magazines of mine in the garage. She went ballistic and threw them all in the garbage after tearing them up. She said there would be no pornography allowed in our home. I said I was trying to reinforce that with our son and questioned why she was more angry at a grown man legally able to buy and possess it than her own 14 year old son lying and sneaking behind our backs and bringing pornography into our home. I also pointed out that it was going to cost us at least $150 to fix the computer, money we didn’t have. Our oldest son was grounded from online games and activities until he earned our trust back. He had been grounded for about two weeks when she left. He has been online almost every night since she left with them.
It has now been 4 weeks that she has been gone with the car and 3 weeks since we have spoken. I have texted her but she almost never responds. It seems like she is doing the same thing to me that our oldest son did to her when he was staying at grandmas. She asked me not to call and I have respected that. She also promised to get the car back to me, but has so far failed to do so far. She originally acknowledged she should not be driving with her condition (medical and all the pills she has to take-about 18 different ones a day), but has recently said she is feeling better. Not cured, but feeling better. I offered to let her stay at our home with he children so they could go to school and I would stay at my moms, but she declined. She has not been to an attorney and she has not filed for divorce. She has been spending money out of our joint account but had her disability money sent somewhere else. In the first two weeks she was gone she spent $500 from her account and $350 from my/our joint account. One day she spent $115 in less than an hour and, on the advise of a friend who is an attorney, I took the remainder of the money out of the account so I would have enough to pay the bills. She texted me a few days later very angry that I had emptied the account. I reminded her that the last two times she did this we still talked almost every day and we definitely communicated about money. She agreed and said she would let me know if she was going to spend any money. She wanted to make sure I was paying all the bills though; specifically the car payment and car insurance. I told her I had contacted the car loan company and the insurance people and would take care of it. I asked about our relationship and offered to do Counselling. I had also sent her an email earlier where I made the offer for her to stay at our home and said I would do Counselling. At the end of that email I said I didn’t need an answer but would at least like to know she received it because she hadn’t responded to anything I had sent in over a week. Obviously I did not get a confirmation she got that email until she texted about the money.
I am still getting the silent treatment though. She has communicated with me more since I took money out of the account, but it’s very impersonal. I ask how she is doing and I get “ok”. The last text was essentially “spending money on school supplies. Doing ok. You?” Told her is was eating before work and would try to make sure there was at least $100 in the account for her and the kids for emergencies. Her response was “thank you”. She agreed that she wouldn’t spend any money without letting me know. That ended today when she spent $45 in gas and didn’t let me know. She also hasn’t paid the electric and Internet/cable bill which are both in her name…yet she expects me to pay the car loan and car insurance. It feels like she wants all the benefits of being married (someone to pay the bills, clean the house, and hold down the fort) without the responsibilities (actually communicating with me and moving the relationship forward or actually having a “relationship”). I think I forgot to mention that she had let the house go and it was a disaster this time and the two other times she left; I am cleaning and have cleaned it up to almost spotless condition each time. Not quite there yet though.
Now I have learned that she has allegedly been telling people that I am a narcissistic emotional abuser. She has allegedly been telling mutual friends that they don’t know the real me and they don’t know what goes on behind closed doors. She tells of the incidents between me and the oldest boy but leaves out all the pertinent details; nothing about the oldest having a violent streak, nothing about knocked out teeth, nothing about them choking each other, nothing about me getting kicked in the groin. I haven’t really talked to anyone about all of this. I don’t Facebook at all because she doesn’t want me to out of fear some woman from my past will look me up. I feel like she is trying to destroy my name and my reputation with people who know me and look up to me. I’ve been stranded at home alone with the dog and her birds praying that she will talk to me and come to some kind of resolution to our marriage problems. I love my wife deeply and I want our marriage to work. We have been together 11 years and I have a strong faith in God and don’t believe in divorce. If she follows her established patterns she will be home eventually.
The few people close to me think she is doing this to punish me or to get me in a more agreeable state of mind. They also pointed out the condition of the house and that I’ve cleaned it all by myself the last few times and I’m cleaning it now. It takes a month or two by myself in my spare time. A friend said that narcissists go through phases: over-valuation, devaluation, and discarding. Then the cycle starts over again. He said that is what she is doing to me. The people close to me think I’m being abused by my wife. I don’t think it’s her, I think it’s her disorders. I have also not been the best husband or father that I could have been, as highlighted above. I feel that I am more to blame for our marriage troubles because I do not suffer from mental illness. I would expect those close to me to take my side, but would also hope they would be honest with me if I was wrong. The bad part is that I don’t have as many friends as I used to have before we got together. She is extremely jealous of me spending time with anyone else besides her on my off time. She would get angry when my friends would stop by or call during “our time”, so my friends stopped calling and coming around. I don’t really mind it when we are together, a husbands place is being attentive to his wife, but it’s pretty bad when she’s not here. It my understanding that is part of her borderline. This silent treatment is really painful, especially since we have children I haven’t seen or spoken to in over a month, a home, mutual bills, and other responsibilities that require both of our attention. I think I forgot to mention that both our boys are not biologically mine, but I have been the only real dad they have ever known (oldest boy is 14 years old and youngest turns 13 next week…we have been together exactly 11 years on September first). About 2 months before she left I had saved my money and took her out for her birthday to a Broadway show, one her favorites, and she said it was the most magical night of her life and nobody had ever done anything this special for her and she had never been more in love with me than she was right at that moment….and now she won’t even talk to me.
I guess ultimately the questions I have are: am I really a narcissist? If I am is there anything I can do to change? Is she the narcissist? Are both of us narcissists? Am I an abuser, emotional or otherwise? Is she an abuser? Am I being abused right now? What can I do to help my situation? Have you ever heard of anything like this happening to anyone else? If I wait this out long enough will she most likely come home? Any insight you can give would be appreciated.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Going by what you’ve shared I would strongly suggest that you seek professional advice for your own peace of mind and protection, both from legal advisor (such as your friend who is an attorney) and from a psychologist (one not connected to your wife’s family).
Legal advice is imperative as it sounds like your wife is building up a case against you – with her as a ‘victim’ and you as a ‘victimiser.
Many of the things you’ve said about your wife’s recent behaviour and how they have affected you are concerning, and definitely fall into the category of ‘red flags’. This part in particular is worrying:
“My wife ended up going to a domestic violence shelter. I asked her why she had done that when I have never raised a hand to her during our entire relationship. She said there are other types of abuse besides physical. I asked her why she left without talking to me: something she promised she would never do again after the last time. She said she was afraid I would yell at her. I said I never yell at you. She said you yelled that one time. I asked which time. She said when I corrected you in front of the children. I said I did do that, but that was one time in 11 years. I asked her who else was there because I felt like she was performing for an audience. She insisted there was no audience.”
Why did she go to a domestic violence shelter when she could have gone to her mother’s house? This was a calculated move on her part and to gain shelter she would have to meet the terms and conditions of a place like that.
And the fact that you felt that there was an ‘audience’ – chances are there probably was an audience and she may have been following some protocol designed to help women who are being abused gather proof against their abuser.
It sounds like she’s gathering evidence, setting up a story and preparing the ground for a move she is planning to make – telling people that you are ‘a narcissistic emotional abuser’ is not something that someone does if they love you and want to sort things out with you.
Whether she’s doing this because she truly believes that you’ve abused her or whether she’s doing this for other reasons, perhaps due to her conditions, or perhaps because she has been influenced by her mother (from your story – if anyone is being controlling over your wife it’s your mother-in-law. She herself said as much when she stated that her mother was visiting her in hospital every day to conduct ‘brainwashing’ sessions) to do so, is unclear. If she has both bipolar disorder and borderline personality disorder she may not be clear within herself about her own situation (which would make her unclear about her relationship with you, and what you are doing or not doing to her). Her physical illness would have aggravated her existing conditions. It sounds as though she is going through a particularly tough depressive state – the inability to clean the house often accompanies depression, and viewing cleaning the house as a burden which you’re imposing on her suggests that she feels overwhelmed by everything and everyone.
If I was in your shoes my alarm bells would be ringing non-stop and I would prepare for the worst rather than hope for the best. This is the relative calm before a storm hits.
The reason I suggested that you seek the advice of a psychologist is because many of the things which you have said are classic things which victims of abuse often say in defense of their abuser. If you grew up in an abusive environment you may be prone to not noticing when you’re being abused, of seeing abusive behaviour as ‘normal’, and of blaming yourself for what someone else is doing to you.
This in particular stood out – “The people close to me think I’m being abused by my wife. I don’t think it’s her, I think it’s her disorders. I have also not been the best husband or father that I could have been, as highlighted above. I feel that I am more to blame for our marriage troubles because I do not suffer from mental illness.”
Her bipolar and BPD does not excuse her from the consequences and effects of her behaviour and treatment of others. It may explain some of how she is and what she does, and may help those close to her understand her, but it does not excuse it. She is not exempt from accountability and responsibility. She’s been diagnosed professionally therefore she is aware of her own conditions, both of which have treatments which help with the impact of them on the person who has them and on those who are close to them. Bipolar is a very difficult condition to have and to treat, and requires that the person who has it understands how it affects them and their relationships. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy and other similar therapies are usually recommended for BPD.
For more info – http://www.borderlinepersonalitydisorder.com/what-is-bpd/treating-bpd/
You do have anger issues, and hitting your children with a belt or in any manner is not acceptable. This is physical abuse. However there were extenuating circumstances during the incident where you used physical abuse – you were in fear of the boys hurting each other and possibly killing each other, and reacted out of instinct (instinct which stems from your own childhood where you were physically abused). From the sounds of it you were emotionally and mentally exhausted and reacted in the only way a very tired person could think of doing at the time. You’re fully aware that this was not the best option, you also know the path which this kind of option leads to as you’ve lived it when you were a child.
There is a lot of anger in your family unit which needs to be addressed and resolved – you’re aware of that and have tried to deal with it through counseling and through working with everyone in your immediate family, however you can’t resolve something on your own if everyone else is not participating in the resolution. It sounds as though your wife and the eldest child do not support you in maintaining the peace and in creating an unified family unit, they actually seem to undermine any efforts made to bring peace and unity to the family. The eldest son in particular is uncooperative – but he is a teenager.
Your wife seems to use passive-aggression quite a bit – this can actually cause others to act out her own suppressed and repressed anger for her while she remains the one who doesn’t ‘get angry’ and can pretend the anger is everyone else’s problem.
Your mother-in-law interferes far too much and her interference is definitely unhealthy for your family unit. Ideally your wife should impose boundaries on her mother’s interference – the fact that she hasn’t even though she has pointed out that her mother is not an ally for her is not a good sign. It sounds like your wife and her mother have an unhealthy relationship which leaks into all other relationships. What happened to your wife’s father? What happened to the father of the boys? Is your wife repeating a pattern? Is your mother-in-law encouraging your wife to repeat this pattern?
Overall, going by your story and what you’ve shared – you do not come across as a narcissist. A narcissist would have presented this story very differently (unless they’d done lots of research on how to present themselves and tell their story in the least ‘narcissist’ manner possible). Your wife does sound narcissistic however those with bipolar and BPD do have narcissistic behaviours and traits. She actually comes across more as being the child of a narcissist who has not dealt with the fallout of being a child of a narcissist. It sounds as though she is doing to her eldest child what her mother did to her son – she’s repeating her own childhood story.
I wouldn’t say that you fit the classic profile of an abuser – you fit the profile of someone who has been abused in childhood. Those who have been abused in childhood may become abusers when they are adults, but I wouldn’t say this is what has happened in your case. Your family unit has intensely high stress levels for you and for everyone else – you’re all reacting to the intense levels of stress and therefore it is hard to label what is going on. A professional’s point of view is needed for all of those involved – however you can’t make your wife, her mother, the children (even though they are underage) accept the help of a professional (especially if they think the problem is you and not them). It sounds like you’re the ‘scapegoat’ at the moment and the best thing a scapegoated person can do is stop worrying about everyone else and start taking care of themselves. You can seek the help of a professional should you choose to do so for yourself – they might answer all your questions for you or help you to answer them for yourself (be sure to find someone who is good at what they do, genuinely wants to help you help yourself).
Society has become increasingly sensitive to abuse, which has both positive and negative aspects to it. These days the focus is on ‘narcissistic abuse’ and other subtler forms of abuse – psychological and emotional abuse – which are often hard to define and to prove. Jumping to the conclusion that someone is being abusive is rather prevalent, and accusing someone of being a narcissist and of narcissistic abuse has become rather popular due to information on the subject being a trending hot topic. Just as it can be hard to prove that someone is a narcissist and/or is being a narcissistic abuser, it can be hard to prove that you’re not either of those once someone accuses you of being a narcissist and/or of narcissistic abuse.
All humans can be narcissistic and can be abusive – context and circumstances need to be assessed. Being human also needs to be factored in.
While your story is unique and individual to you, there are similar stories happening all the time and I have had people share ones very similar to yours on my blog. When men are the ones being abused they tend to be far more reluctant to call what they are experiencing at the hands of their ‘loved one’ abuse.
If your friends think you’re being abused by your wife – I’d take their perspective into consideration. Sometimes those outside of our relationship see our relationship more clearly than we do, but they don’t always say anything because they don’t want to interfere or incur our displeasure and annoyance, so when they do say something it means they feel that staying silent is worse than speaking out.
Your last question – “If I wait this out long enough will she most likely come home?” – is worrying considering everything else you have shared about what your wife has done recently and how this has impacted and affected you. I realise that you want to work things out with her, but does she want to work things out with you. Frankly it sounds like she’s ganging up on you and trying to get you to help her do it, and at some point she’s going to hit you out of left field with a curve ball that will knock you flat and out of the game.
Please be very careful and definitely get your lawyer friend to weigh in a bit more in on what’s going on, what measures you need to take to protect yourself, and if your lawyer friend or any other friend knows of a good therapist – go and see one and tell them your story. You should not be dealing with things alone. You’re very capable and strong, but you need support of a practical kind.
Just about a month ago, after yet another unexplainable episode of my mother manipulating me, I tried looking up some info on Google to help me deal with her. I came across this site: http://daughtersofnarcissisticmothers.com. I highly recommend it. While resding, I found that every word depicted the experiences of my life. It was like reading a horoscope that is spot on, but in the most traumatic and frighteningly accurate way. My engulfing NPD mother used all of the big tools: triangulation, manipulation, infantalization, invalidation, critisizing, parentification, and even gaslighting. I also have been conveniently made into the entire family’s scapegoat, while my sister is their Golden Child. I was convinced by age 12 that I was crazy and she conveinently convinced a psychiatrist to falsely diagnose me with bipolar disorder and put me through a series of medication cocktails that made my emotions and entire life intolerable for the next 10 years of my life. Fortunately, I was able to find out once and for all that I do not have bipolar or NPD, but I do have BPD (as a result of the emotional and psychological abuses from my family). Since then have gotten off medications and have been working hard to regain strength and order in my life through practices like DBT. With the discovery that my mother has NPD, it made her actions (as subtle and detructive as they are) to become more and more predictable for both me and my husband. Nevertheless, after over 20 years of being groomed to react to her ploys, it was still challenging to withhold my emotional responses and pain. After a lot of thought, we’ve chosen to pursue no contact with her. I fear the future of my families health depends on removing the firm grasp she still has on my emotional triggers. So far, no contact has been rewarding. Understanding the factors in my upbringing that were part of my mother’s NPD are helping me make healthy plans for when I become a parent. Things I thought were normal and even positive are being exposed as forms of infantalization and more. Hopefully identifying the patterns will help me be a better person and a good parent.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I also came across that site and recommend it for those who have narcissistic mothers. It is spot on! However children of narcissist mothers still have to figure out how to deal with their mothers on their own, as you have.
I went NC with my mother but only after having a sharp shock which made me realise that if I wanted a healthy relationship with my partner my mother had to go. I was so used to allowing her to treat me like shit that I kind of didn’t notice until the pain she inflicted on me hurt others through me. It can take us awhile to realise that what is ‘normal’ for us isn’t normal. And then we have to work through all that comes up form that.
This author and his work helped me a lot – http://andywhiteblog.com/ – his book “Going Mad to Stay Sane” gave me insight into my own psychology.
Important things to keep in mind – don’t set yourself up to fail (the way your mother probably did with you and then made you do with yourself), let yourself make mistakes, be a mess, be imperfect, be human – it’s good to want to be a better person and good parent but keep an eye on the parameters you’re using as ‘good parent’ and ‘better person’. Children of narcissists tend to have high standards for themselves which are impossible to reach – cut yourself a lot of slack and enjoy just being you doing what you do.
One of the best things I’ve learned to do which has also been the hardest to do is to just accept myself as I am (and stop thinking that somehow me as I am is always awful).
Be careful of comparisons with others… other people are a mess too they just seem to be better because we only see the surface of them (and children of narcissists are used to other people being used as weapons to hurt us – look how great so and so is, pity you’re not so and so!)
Enjoy your newfound freedom and just chill with it – enjoy you being you without her.
I’ve never left a comment anywhere, but right now I’m feeling the need. I am in a long drawn out divorce in a foreignen country. relationship has completely detoriated. I was one of those who were completely desperate to maintain our dying relationship, of 25 years. I was willing to turn a blind eye to his affair, as of course it’s very “normal” for men to have a crisis at 40, right??? But of course it’s normal that he starts taking care of himself and his body, right? And so busy with his musical career, networking and need to express his inner artist. I lost all my dignity, and was absolutely pathetic. How he must of laughed at me, after so many years of marriage, to do degrading things so as not to lose him. I use to scratch my head wondering why he wasn’t doing all that he could to help regain my trust? Maybe that psycologist he saw who said he was a narcissist was right???
As I am writing this I now feel overwhelmed and unable to write and relive all that has happened and all that I have regurgetated in my mind for the last 8 years. I am soooo tired. So confused. Our 4 kids are now a mess. He kenived to keep all the money, so he could enjoy his new 13 years younger supply and have precious time to himself, but he got something he didn’t bargain on, the kids. Long boring story short, he kept everything, kids, money, family, friends and stripped me of everything, and still I wonder is it me?????? I am sooo sick of being a victim, I want it over before I seriously lose it. He bullies me to talk to him, I have teachers, the kids psychologists, and his family and our mutual friends all thinking I have abandoned the kids, after he led a double life….and still I wonder if it’s me! My family live far away in another hemisphere, and I have no infrastructure, support and soon no where to live, after two years of living with a friend, who has put up with me, and my crazy situation every second weekend and visits with my kids, plus my self medicating alcohol abuse and multiple autoimmune disease, did I mention he was bipolar? Sounds like a crazy movie that even I wouldn’t want to watch, as I can only handle comedies now. Today has been a hard day, he hasn’t picked up the kids after the visit and I don’t know if he will, and after dedicating 17 years to motherhood (17- 6 year old), I have no credible skills and am a fantastic role model of what not to do.
I re-read this and I know I am self indulgent in my victimism, how pathetic! Maybe he is right, maybe I am borderline, or worse, narcissistic and borderline.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Don’t be too hard on yourself, which I know is difficult to do especially when your life is in chaos and pain is doing the thinking and feeling for you. I have yet to meet anyone who hasn’t gone through a period of being self-indulgent in their victimhood. There are times in life when the earth opens up and swallows us and the only thing we have to cling to to stop us from sinking into an abyss is the flotsam of our own suffering. Sometimes that’s exactly what we need to do and indulging in self-pity is necessary because we need to connect to our own pain and feel it, understand it, really get to grips with it.
Being caught up in your own suffering and sense of being a victim does not make you necessarily borderline or a narcissist, it does not equal having a disorder, it simply means you’re human.
Frankly after 25 years of being in a relationship, 17 years of being a mother to 4 children to have your life partner decide that he’s had enough and it’s over… which is fine for him because he’s already got his next step all planned and prepared which he did not give you a heads up about, and during the time which you devoted to looking after him and your children he’s been busy with his career so this change isn’t much of a change for him, it’s one he’s willingly open to because he opened that door to it, and since he instigated it he’s prepared himself for it, while not giving you any advance warning or help, support, to deal with an enormous life change for you… if you weren’t self-indulging in your victimhood it would be far stranger than that you are. You’re not pathetic, you’re actually being logical. This is one hell of a wrecking ball coming out of left field which has wrecked the building of your life. Going off the deep end emotionally and psychologically makes sense and is a perfectly acceptable reaction and response. The fact that you’re so level-headed about it shows an enormous reservoir of strength.
If anyone expects you to be calm, cool and collected about this… then those people are crazy and are expecting you to be a sociopath.
You certainly can’t take his word about your condition as he seems to be less than trustworthy or clear about the issues at hand. And you can’t trust anyone who is connected to him and who sees their best interests as being fed by sticking with him and going against you.
It’s convenient for him to label you as crazy and/or disordered because then he can justify his own behaviour using you as his excuse. He’s using his version of you to create his own identity – which doesn’t actually confirm anything other than that he’s not a particularly reliable source of information.
You actually do have very credible skills, being a wife and mother for as long as you have been comes with the need to develop intensely useful and practical skills… unfortunately society and the workplace still does not recognise the skill set which comes from being a wife and mother. Even feminism hasn’t helped in this department, in many ways it has caused more problems. But while society may not appreciate the skills which you have (because society is an a-hole) you can appreciate them – maybe you can’t get a job with those skills but those skills can be used to deal with this situation once you give yourself the time to pause, breathe and collect yourself.
For instance – you know more about your ex than he would ever want anyone to know about him, which may be part of why he has been so defensive and offensive in his tactics towards you. He’s scared of what you know about him. You could use his fear to soften and sweeten things for you.
If he is a narcissist – then use your experience of looking after children to deal with him. Narcissists are children disguised as adults and the way to work with them is similar to how you would work with a child.
The fact that he has behaved as aggressively as he has with you tells you that he’s afraid of you – that kind of fear means you have more power than you realise over him and the situation.
But to claim your power you need to sort through your emotions, feelings, and thoughts about the matter – this may take awhile and may involve indulging in being a victim.
For a phoenix to rise from its ashes it must first accept that the past has been burned to the ground and must sort through the ashes for what is of value, and let go of what is no longer of value.
You’re far stronger, wiser, worthy and powerful than you give yourself credit for being… this is part of the process, to be blind to the self, hitting rock bottom is how you see what you’re made of and what you actually have within.
You’re at rock bottom… now rebuild from here. You’re stronger than you know – time to recognise it.
Take care of yourself!
this is a great piece of writing.
Thank you 🙂
Please help me. It feels narcissistic to want him back and I’m not sure if he is the narcissist or I am. I made a lot of mistakes and just want to let go, but I miss him and hurt terribly. Having said that I did get in a relationship with him (that only lasted maybe 6 months with lots of drama and breaking up) after having been in a relationship with someone for 5 yrs that I found out was sexually abusing my child (of 10). I’m so confused and lost and hurt and do t even know if it’s because I’m so damaged and messed up. I read and read articles and still don’t know. I want to be a good person but I’m humanly flawed and gave trust issues. I just want to cry and wake up a decent me.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Neither of you are necessarily narcissists – being a narcissist and behaving narcissistically aren’t necessarily the same thing. All humans can behave and be narcissistic without being a narcissist.
All humans are flawed, messed up and make mistakes.
If we’re in pain, going through a painful period in our lives we may be more prone to being lost, hurt, confused and latching onto someone else hoping that they’ll make things better for us.
Intense pain also makes us more prone to being narcissistic.
Going by what you’ve shared – finding out that the person with whom you were in a long relationship was sexually abusing your child is deeply disturbing and would cause deep and impacting trauma both for your child and for you.
This would definitely cause trust issues – and having trust issues after this is logical.
Have you been to see a professional therapist to work through this traumatic event? It sounds like you need time in a therapeutic environment which is supportive of you and what you’ve been through to sort through what has happened in your previous relationship. Moving on to a new relationship before you’ve sorted out what happened in your previous one will cause problems for the new one.
It sounds as though you need to focus on your relationship with yourself, focus on taking care of yourself, being gentle with yourself, and taking time to heal your hurt.
Hi ‘Ursula’, and thank you for this fantastic article! I just recently came to the conclusion of being an ACoN myself and it is tearing me apart, so I’m writing this more as a katartic moment than anything else, but I would love to hear your thoughts… My name is Laura and I live in Australia, but I was born and raised in Italy. All my family of origin is in Italy… I don’t even know where to start, every time I think of the situation (which is very often) I feel fear, confusion mixed up to anger and resentment… I’m trying to find out if there is a way I can get through to my mum and my brother, and help their ‘pain body’ to heal rather than feeding it with my sense of guilt… On the other hand I’m also trying to find a way to deal with my own pain body and found that talking to them on the phone every 2 days, like they want to, it wasn’t helping me or them, it was only deepening the hurt and the damage on both sides. So about two weeks ago I wrote my brother an email where I explained that I couldn’t deal with their anger and blame and that I needed some thinking space… I asked him to write me an email too as I think that it would be easier to deal with than a phone call… No reply, no email, last night he tried to ring me on the phone and I decided not to answer but I was shaking with fear and guilt and my own anger at the fact that he hadn’t respected my request for no contact on the phone… I feel terrible but I’m working on myself with meditation and EFT, and it seems to be working… until the thought comes back in my head again…!
Once again, thanks for sharing your experience and thoughts… Looking forward to any comments from you or any other readers that can help me make peace with myself and them…
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Feeling terrible because you aren’t doing what the narcissists in your life want you to do, feeling guilty because you stood up for yourself and asked them to do something for you and they’re refusing to do it, putting pressure on your to keep doing things their way (because ‘poor’ them and ‘mean’ you), feeling afraid of what will happen (either what they will do to you, to themselves and then blame you for being the cause of it, or what you will do if pushed to an extreme)… is unfortunately par for the course.
Narcissists, especially close family narcissists, always make you feel awful about yourself no matter what… because this is how they are feeling underneath all their facades. You end up feeling bad because they feel bad and they’re passing the bad feeling on to you. They’re wounded and passing their wound on. They’re the misery which desperately needs company.
My mother could never relax so no one around her was ever allowed to relax. My father was always angry so everyone around him had to be angry. If I relaxed around my mother some drama would hit and the relaxation would be well and truly over (and somehow the drama was my fault for relaxing – if I’d stayed tensed to the max it wouldn’t have happened). If I wasn’t angry but feeling loving towards people and the world, some drama would hit which demanded anger (just to show me that being angry at everything and everyone is the only way to be).
My dad’s Italian, from Calabria, so being angry all the time is totally normal. Screaming and shouting are typical and part of a regular conversation. And ‘mamma’ rules the family in a smothering manner. Although my mother is a Pom.
Trying to break free from an Italian family… is similar to trying to break free from a narcissistic family. It’s hard, they’ll make it as difficult as they can for you, laying on thick the emotional blackmail, and just when you think you’re out they find a way to pull you back in.
Watch out for the ‘illness’ tactic – which may be as simple as your mother making a big deal about the fact that you won’t talk to her on the phone and how it is making her miserable, why won’t you talk to her, she loves you, blah blah blah, (your whole email me instead thing will be obliterated) and so every family member and friend of the family is contacting you to get you to talk to her on the phone because she is so sick with worry and hurt, to something more complicated – my mother used to injure herself physically whenever I became too independent (she didn’t actually do it deliberately, but the timing on her physical injuries was eerie and invariably curtailed my bid for independence because there was no one else to look after her when she was sick).
Prepare yourself for an onslaught of guilt-trips, emotional blackmail, dramas, ignoring and denial of your rights and boundaries – narcissists (and Italian families) want what they want and things have to be as they want them and as they have always been!
What you want is always trumped by what they want – they always know what’s best.
So, gird your loins and set your jaw in grim determination mode. If your health relies on doing what you’re doing then do it, but know that you won’t be supported by them in any way, shape or form. They will try to wear you down and will use whatever means possible to do it. You will be battered by their drama storms so be a reed and bend so you don’t break but bend your way and not their way.
Learn to work with your guilt, terrible feelings, fear, self-doubt, anger, grinding inner urgings, make friends with the parts of yourself which need your friendship the most. Get to know the darkness and shine a light on it. Get to know yourself in a way which makes everything that seems like an enemy within become an ally.
Within each thing such as guilt, fear, awful gut reaction, etc, is something worth knowing that will strengthen you.
This is an interesting article I came across on ACoNs and healing – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-legacy-distorted-love/201205/it-s-all-about-me-recovery-adult-children-narcissist
This is a forum for ACoNs – https://www.reddit.com/r/raisedbynarcissists/
The biggest challenge you face is one you already know – trusting yourself and sticking with what you know you need to do for yourself. Keep doing what you are doing and exploring the path which leads where you want to go.
What you’re up against is going to fight you every step of the way, more so because you’re trying to get away – keep going!
Thank you so much for your thoughts, support and for sharing with me your own story… When I was reading your reply I thought that somewhat you had had a look into my mind and read it all… I can definitively relate to everything you said and to the Italian family thing… The illness tactic has been implemented already as well as other family members trying to convince me to call my brother and my mum… The article about recovery is very very interesting and I guess because I believe in reincarnation, I try to see this particular situation as something that is not me, my mum and my brother, but rather an experience that we choose to have in this life, with a lesson for everybody… You are right, it is going to be a difficult journey, but it was difficult up to here too to a certain extent. it is just a different type of difficult and hopefully one with a better outcome… Thank you so much again for being there and for putting yourself into the open. I’m sure that just like me, many more people find support and relief in knowing we are not alone and we are not crazy!
Thank you 🙂
I also found the theory of reincarnation to be useful in dealing with having narcissists as part of the family environment. I went to a regression therapist once and although I’m not sure that what I experienced was my past lives, the stories which came up were helpful in understanding what was going on in my own psyche and how I experienced the relationship with my parents. I use astrology for a similar purpose.
The most important thing is to find your own way of processing and dealing with your story because this increases self-reliance and creates a stronger bond within yourself. The more you understand yourself, the more all the different parts of you can communicate with each other and feel supported from within the more you build your inner confidence in being able to deal with what life and the narcissists in your life throw at you. Challenges become something the team of you work together to handle 🙂
Take good care of yourself, your relationship with yourself is the longest and deepest relationship you have and affects all your other relationships!
I think hatred for supposed narcissists is baloney People should just more honest about the problem. You are in a relationship with someone who hurts you. People love to diagnose narcissists in everyone else but themselves. My dog is a narcissist. I am dating a narcissist. Maybe I am really the narcissist. It doesn’t matter. What matters is whether or not the person is hurting you or not and whether or not you enjoy the relationship. I used to care if I was raised by a narcissist. It doesn’t matter. My mother has a right to frame her reality in relationship to herself as do you and I and everyone else.
After years of living with abuse, lovers telling me that they will kill me if I leave, addicts, ect, I do not believe narcissistic personality disorder exists. What exists is trauma to someone’s self-esteem that has caused him or her to build a sense of self that the person him or herself can live with. People are not narcissists because they want to harm the world. People are narcissistic as a means to develop a story about the self that makes the person feel good. I have nothing view, and people can be offended or not, but people have a right to do so if they are hurt and don’t feel well about themselves.
Bad people do not exists. They do not exist. What exists is responses to trauma. You don’t have a right to judge someone else’s trauma and say your response to trauma is the right one. If you have PTSD, you are sick. I know. I have it and a hurt people with PTSD just as badly as any narcissist.
Other things about, people are not universally nice. People do experience jealousy. People do hurt other people out of envy. That isn’t a narcissist who thinks that. That may actually be happening to someone who is attractive. It happens all the time to pretty girls. Men do hurt pretty women. They rape them too. If someone does have sexual style like Avril, they are envied. It doesn’t make them narcissists. It just means that human beings envy sexual power and charisma in women and they do not like people who have that quality some of the time. That is true. Narcissist are angry about being treated like so? Anyone would be angry about people being mean to them. The reason you aren’t is because you, yourself are not sexually magnetic. It isn’t the person at all. It is your own envy, such as the narcissist described.
If someone uses others, they do so because they have poor ethics. Women do not see men as pawns because they are narcissists. They see men as pawns because they are attracting men who have identically poor sexual ethics to themselves. It is not using others as much as attracting your own crowd. The reason why you do not get on with such a person is just because you are a higher manifestation of being. And you attract them much as a teacher attracts a student. If you got a student, teach the student and stop whining about narcissists. Just teach and drop the hate for other trauma victims. If I have PTSD, I am a good trauma victim. I you have narcissism, you are a bad one. If you are an addict, you are a bad one. There is just trauma victims, and the sooner you figure out there aren’t any boogy men, the sooner your own personally obsession with narcissism ends.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Yes indeed. In time, one can generally tell when a Narcissist gets to writing 🙂
I had to create a blog account to make my post… It’s worth it.
I am speaking as the child of a narcissist that didn’t know what narcissism was until she started researching the treatment she was receiving in her marriage… That at first was totally triggering something primal in her taking her back to her childhood anxiety… but she didn’t understand it at first and felt like she was going crazy… and the crazy maker almost seemed to like that…
I have since started putting the pieces together of a life that has been filled with narcissistic abuse from covert narcissists. A light has been turned on and I see the behavior for what it is now. It’s hard to say what that means for my marriage because I no longer allow myself to be triggered, as hard as that is and as hard as he tries to trigger me. I feel like I am playing poker now and that I can see some of the cards. I hate it, but it is also very comforting when the gas lighting and wounded suffering hero tactics are used I am able to deflect them much easier. But I no longer cower like I used to… And that drives him crazy.
Yeah I wonder if I’m a narcissist too sometimes. I know I have hurt others and caused them pain because of my selfishness and impatience… But, i want to repent, I want to improve I want to say I’m sorry… a narc can’t do that.
Thank you for sharing and taking the time to write. it helps me to be able to sit and search for others who have experienced the same kind of abuse and understand… And I think that’s how you know the real victims because they UNDERSTAND and all the words ring true. I still feel guilty for calling it abuse, like I’m a bad person for speaking the truth. I am trying to working through this.. my husband has agreed to go to counseling. I almost feel like I’m an observer in all of this, so I am interested to see how this will go, others have said don’t go to counseling with a narc they will use it against you and seduce the therapist. I’m curious to see how that’s going to happen… am I CRAZY?…
Thank you for helping me to find the humor in it as well… It helps;)
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I don’t think you’re crazy for wanting to see what happens when you and your husband go to counseling together, in fact I would say that is the opposite of crazy – you want the truth and the only way to get it is by doing things which will expose it for you. You’re going into it with eyes open – that is logical and brave – but for some being willing to try things out which may entail taking a risk is considered madness simply because you might get hurt and people tend to avoid pain even when that pain can free them.
As a child of narcissists you can’t go by what other people tell you because you grew up with parents who lied and insisted that their lies were the truth. Even people who have no vested interest in lying to you may be passing on misinformation or information which only applies to them and their experience of life, narcissists, etc – you have to see and experience things for yourself and draw your own conclusions. One of the most empowering experiences for a child of narcissists is to think for themselves and to trust their own perception.
Like you I find it difficult to call it ‘abuse’ (at least where I’m concerned, when I’m thinking or talking about my own experience of my parents). When I was growing up abuse = physical abuse of the violent and/or sexual kind. Emotional and psychological abuse was not considered abuse in the mainstream unless it was a part of torture, extreme, and even then the physical part of torture was always more stressed than the mental and emotional kind because it leaves very visible ‘proof’.
Just as PTSD was something that only soldiers and people who had been through war or some other terrible calamity could suffer from. I still hesitate to call what my parents did to me ‘abuse’ and to consider my symptoms, like hypervigilance and paranoia, part of PTSD even though society now considers emotional and psychological abuse as valid as physical abuse.
I also tend to feel guilty, ashamed, because others have had it harder than I have – that’s actually something which both of my parents used to stress to me whenever I complained, argued with them, stood up for myself – narcissists always belittle your experience and often do so in a manner which leaves you accepting their version over yours. And yet narcissists themselves will claim they’re being abused if they don’t get ice cream when they want it.
The most important thing for you is to follow your own path in figuring things out – this is vital because children of narcissists are prone to deferring to others, especially if others are expressing their opinion in a forceful manner. It’s not that we’re ‘weak’ willed, it’s simply that we’ve learned to accept rather than to argue because it saves time and trouble. We’re self-effacing when someone with a loud ego is in our proximity. However our silence does not mean we aren’t as strong as adamantine, on the contrary.
I think what you’re doing is awesome. Who knows, maybe your husband will surprise you by not being a typical narcissist and/or your therapist will prove to be not easily ‘seduced’. It’s definitely worth having this experience. You’re interested to see how it goes and that’s all you need to know to do it. Other people aren’t you so their opinion and advice is ‘noted but not something to necessarily live by’.
Keep doing what you’re doing, what helps you, and take good care of yourself. Give yourself the time and space and experiences which you need!
This is a topic I’ve seen so much. I have seen very respected “leaders” in the Narc community say, “These stories are true, no one would take the time to write them if they weren’t”. Yes. They will. In fact, it’s what they do best. I have seen someone(s) spend YEARS writing about my life, my activities, my “narcissism”… Ages can be changed, variations of my name, number of children I have… I know because I was there. These people are self-proclaimed experts. In going back through my experience, my exN told me step by step what he was doing. Online and “Facebook Rehab” were two of them. Because I know there was someone other than him in the picture dealing out their sabotage add him and his “jedi mind tricks” in which he was so very proud, when we broke up a friend came and stayed the weekend. I was technically in a much more difficultthat I spot the last time I has seen her which was the beginning of the relationship with him… She said, “you are so much more scatterbrained that you used to be”. Looking back, she was so right. I had been an unknowing puppet on a string for years. I had no idea wtf happened. My brother could always tell… He called it my “black cloud”. It wasn’t a black cloud. It was when a desired result was needed in the narcs world. I was growing as a person. This was not the desired effect. My exN knew how much I wanted to be “healthy” and self-reflect and all of that. That was what we were both trying to achieve together… Ha ha. I was exhausted on that end from the ups and downs of nothing ever being worked on or materializing. A few of my friends knew certain frustrations. They had opinions that I disregarded. Did I air his deepest secrets that I “knew”? No. This completely screwed me. I wouldn’t change it. To say everyone isn’t f***** up is insane. To say that everyone is jealous, manipulative, and will do harm to others out of spite or gain are two very different things. If you love someone, watching them suffer HURTS. They don’t know this. He knows me to my core. He was only able to ruin me by knowing my values and my strengths. He played on my weakness which was my desire for this “man upping” he APPEARED to be doing. That was his show in our last and final place we moved as a couple. As I have been able to piece so many things together, I am absolutely doing what I hate… Looking like a bitter woman. I hate “man bashing”. I always have. I got to listen to plenty of it growing up and I was typically on the man’s side. To be honest, some of those men would probably agree… extended family. Have I had a decent self esteem? Yes. Do I know I excel at certain things? Yes. Do I genuinely try and help others? Yep. Whoever was watching the messages on the message portion of Facebook knows this. Doing “out loud” has a reason. Reaching out in private says something else. It was my public reaction that everyone was banking on. I’m very opinionated and can take up for myself. I can actually do these things to the face of who I have an issue with. Everyone knows that. If the truth was wanted, the key people involved would have asked. They don’t want the truth. Here is the truth… If I am the biggest bitch on Earth, you have the right to eliminate me from your life. You do not have the right to cause actual harm. You do not have any right to steal my things. You do not have the right to impersonate me. You do not have the right to harm my child. The list goes on. I made a choice to be “off the grid” three years ago. Someone is fueling a fire that isn’t there. My exN has built his story off of my suffering. That was the turning point. Defending myself looks a lot like man bashing. Everyone who saw “the texts”… I’ll bet he never told anyone they were him. He was messaging me from everyone elses account. He tells others that I “fell in love with someone else”. Nope. It was him. Over and over. A big part of me was so hopeful there was some sensible reason to all of this. No man who loves a woman will allow another man to sexually assault her. No man makes up a story for himself that was not true btw to say that “I deserved being sexually assaulted because he warned me about one “dangerous” person”. He did NOT ever warn me. The difference between an empath and narc is “talking shit” (defending yourself) hurts. You cry real tears. You stayed on his side as you always had hoping like hell he couldn’t have done it. Yes. He did. Yes. He and his lunatic squad have several sites dealing with this topic. Not a one is a victim of jack s***.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
There may be people in the narc community saying that no one would make up these stories if they weren’t true, but there are also people in the narc community pointing out that there are narcissists in the narc community who use the narc community for their own dramas.
CZBZ of The Narcissistic Continuum – http://n-continuum.blogspot.co.uk/ – has discussed this in several posts and has dealt with it on her forum. She’s one of the first people to write about narcissists, long before it was a hot trending topic online, and has had a lot of experience both personally and online with narcissists and the drama games they play.
Those who have dealt with real narcissists know that narcissists often make up stories that aren’t true and invest a lot of effort into them – so for those in the narc community to say that someone wouldn’t do that shows a lack of understanding of the basics of what narcissists do. Maybe it’s just wishful thinking that a narcissist wouldn’t trespass on the territory devoted to those who are recovering from a relationship with a narcissist. But everyone knows that narcissists don’t respect boundaries.
If you’re being targeted by a narcissist inventing all sorts of stories about you then CZBZ’s blog is worth reading, she shares lots of resources and advice. There are several other blogs and forums which have discussed the problem of narcissists hijacking the narc community for their own purposes however the topic usually gets ignored as most people don’t want to think that a narcissist would do that because those places offer a haven and to think that a haven could be crashed by narcissists makes people uncomfortable so they’d rather believe it didn’t happen.
We’re all a bit in denial of the extent that narcissists go to – we keep hoping they’ll be logical and show some empathy and consideration for others the way they demand it for themselves.
Taking yourself offline to mitigate what this person is doing is a good idea, especially if they’ve got others helping them do it. Fighting your narcissist is one thing, fighting your narcissist and their army is another – you’ll always be outnumbered. Removing yourself from the drama is often worth doing when the other person is obsessed and determined to make their version of events the only side of the story which others hear. However it does limit you and make things difficult for you, and isn’t fair – but narcissists don’t play fair they play to win whatever they think the game is.
The best thing for you right now is to focus on yourself and what you need to heal from this experience. Focusing on them and what they’re doing will drain you, depress you, and leave you stuck in anger at the injustice of it all – they don’t care how this affects you, if they did they wouldn’t do it. Ignore them as much as you can, don’t get sucked into their drama – others will get bored of them eventually, dramas like this only last as long as you keep fueling them. You’re right to take yourself out of it and use it to find out who your real friends are – those who care will ask you for your side and will listen. Those who prefer to believe him aren’t people for you.
He said he wanted to be healthy – he’s chosen this path to do that which doesn’t sound healthy but who knows maybe it is for him.
This is not the healthy path for you – follow the one that is and do your best to slowly at your own pace let go of him and his path and find what is healthy for you. It will take time, it will hurt, you obviously had a very close bond and relationship. But you’re strong and brave and you will prevail – take care of yourself and leave him to his own destiny.
This has made me cry. Thank you.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
This is all new to me but here goes…
my bf seems to have bipolar and/or narcissistic tendencies. He promised to get help after our worst fight (which became physical and he threatened my life), but that was obviously just telling me what I needed to hear after all of the horrible things he said and did. I have tried to leave him and the sucker that I am always goes back to his bs. The hardest part is that I am an extremely empathetic person, and he seems to have just about no empathy. He tells me that I am just hyper sensitive. I have been reading many articles and blogs that have really helped to open my eyes, but I still have trouble accepting that there is little to no hope for him. I know that I cannot change him or “fix” him, but it is so hard for me to turn my back on him and leave, even when he is slowly sucking the life out of me, making me question my own self worth, and basically just beating me down emotionally. So many times now I have been so tempted to just give up. One can only handle so much pain and coldness, constantly being put down and belittled, and called every horrible name in the book,..compared to all the other women who have screwed him over, and manipulated in so many ways
I think I may just be a magnet to these types of people, though of course they never ever seem that way in the beginning. I suppose at this point it is my own fault for staying. Doesn’t help that we both work for one of my family members. I find myself so depressed and distraught that I don’t even want to leave the house most days. I have fibromyalsia as well as some other health issues that are a constant day to day battle in themselves, so this additional emotional abuse is just too much. I can’t really talk to friends and family and then stay with him. They only see the amazing, charismatic happy guy I fell in love with and would not believe the truth of the matter. I am trying to find the strength and will power to seek therapy for my own issues, (depression, social anxieties, ptsd, etc.) which have been made so much worse from all of this. I promised myself that I would not be in an abusive relationship again. I don’t even fight back anymore. What’s the point. When someone has put you down so much and made you out to be such a failure as a person, you tend to eventually start really doubting yourself, and questioning everything.at least it is all becoming clearer now I just need to find the strength and confidence to take my life back. It is all so confusing and I am so sick of this rollercoaster. Thank you all for your comments it has given clarity to the situation. Good luck to you all
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I recently added a new link to this post – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/ – to an article which explores in depth what it is like to be the victim of a narcissist. The article is long and discusses the issue from the standpoint of a therapist and the professional side of the matter, but it also gives insight into the recovery process needed for those who have experienced narcissistic abuse.
One of the things which stood out in what you shared was this sentence – I promised myself that I would not be in an abusive relationship again. – it echoes a promise I made to myself many years ago when I realised that the narcissists in my life (my parents) had screwed me up so much that I would most likely end up in an abusive relationship as an adult, either as the abuser or as the abused, or both, perpetuating the pattern of passing on the narcissistic wounding, doing to others what my parents had done to me or being a receptacle for the passing on of the wound by someone else (as I had been with my parents, particularly my mother). I made a pact with myself not to get involved in a relationship until I had sorted myself out. But sometimes we can’t figure things out from a distance and need to be inside of the problem to understand it and see the pattern while it is active.
This excerpt from the linked article tackles that aspect of it:
“Once a person has become a victim of a narcissist (whether it happened in childhood or later on in life), the victims are already unconsciously primed to enter the narcissist’s “convoluted dance” that opens them up to further abuse. It is necessary for the therapist to gently shine a light on what they are doing in the dance that makes them a victim.
Once again, a “Narcissistic Victim” is any person who is harmed, injured or killed by a person who displays pathological narcissism (which can occur on a spectrum of severity).
The victim needs to understand that this “dance” of codependency requires two people: the pleaser/fixer (victim), and the taker/controller (narcissist/addict), together both partners dance beautifully in perfect step, and the madness begins.
The consequences for the victim not understanding the intricacy of the dance, is that, no matter how often they try to avoid “unhealthy” partners, they will find themselves habitually returning to the same dance floor; the only thing that will change is that they will find themselves dancing to a different tune, but always the personality of the dance partner remains the same.”
This is not saying that you’re doomed to end up with an abuser, nor does it say that being abused is your fault – on the contrary, it is saying that you have the power to change the pattern, but you need to see the pattern to take hold of your personal power and break free from the dance.
The following excerpt explains a bit more about this:
“Clients who have suffered narcissistic abused are likely to demonstrate feelings of shame, and humiliation, this is partly due to the narcissistic abuser projecting their shame on to them.
They also tend to be over responsible, and apt to self-blame, this is because they learned to take responsible for the narcissists behaviour.
Whenever the narcissist’s rage is triggered, without any doubt the victim is told it is their fault (i.e “It’s your fault, you should have known that was going to upset me, now look what you have done”) They may act inferior or powerless, and feel great guilt when talking about their perpetrator, even to the point of wanting to protect them. They will often act with disgust at themselves, thinking they are not good enough, smart enough, pretty enough etc.
Victims often find themselves being victimized by more than one person. They may talk of a second relationship that mirrored the same experience as with their first perpetrator.
Quite often the first narcissistic injury is experienced in childhood. It may have been a parent, grandparent, sibling, friend of the victim etc. Having been re-victimized they often internalize that there is something wrong with them, and that they deserve this kind of abuse, and resign themselves to that fate.
It may become apparent that they may not have reached their potential in their personal life, or their professional life, this is partly due to the fact that they always had to stand in the shadow of the aggressor, and not upstage them.
They learn to live in the shadows without really knowing why.”
Another thing which stood out in what you said was this – I can’t really talk to friends and family and then stay with him. They only see the amazing, charismatic happy guy I fell in love with and would not believe the truth of the matter. – talking to anyone about your story of being abused by a narcissist can be a hard challenge for many reasons.
If the people you talk to haven’t experienced narcissistic abuse themselves then they may think you’re crazy, exaggerating, a drama queen, or some such equally dismissive judgment, when you relate your story. If they have no understanding or knowledge of narcissists then they have no personal point of reference to empathise, sympathise or accept what you’re telling them, and what you’re saying could cause cognitive dissonance for them – to understand their rejection you need to remember how confusing this all is for you, for them it is even more confusing because it isn’t as real to them as it is for you, they have no experience of it to help them not reject what confuses them. Because it confuses them they reject it, and when they reject it they reject you and your truth.
If the people you talk to happen to know your narcissist but have only seen the public persona of the narcissist (whose purpose it is to please an audience with charm, smiles, an idealised image that others like and applaud, and ‘Like’ on social media) then they will inadvertently become pawns, accomplices (otherwise known as ‘flying monkeys’ in ‘narc speak’), and end up aiding and abetting the narcissist in the abuse they inflict on you. Part of narcissistic abuse is to isolate and censor their victim. This situation where your family and friends think your abuser is a great guy keeps you silenced and isolated. You can’t talk to them, can’t get support, don’t have allies in your nearest and dearest, because they won’t believe you and/or they’ll blame you, see you as the problem, think you’re crazy because he’s such a great guy. You’re his hostage and they’re helping him keep you hostage without realising that they’re helping him (they’d be horrified and mortified if they knew and could see past the ‘glamour’ of his public persona).
Your inability to talk to those closest to you means you’re unable to do one of the most important things for your own well-being – tell your story and have it validated.
“Like all clients coming into therapy, they have a story to tell; therefore they need someone to become an active listener, and to validate what has happened to them.
To my mind, it is the validation of the person’s experience that is vital from the very beginning.
These clients are not mad, however, frequently they appear highly strung or nervous, and their levels of fear may be high, while their level of self-esteem is low.”
Without being able to talk about it, tell your story, get it out into the open and light of day, your narrative gets stuck inside of you, hidden in darkness within, swirling around in a repetitive cycle which may end up with negative self talk, where you blame yourself, feed your doubts, undermine your knowledge, and exhaust yourself mentally, emotionally, which adds to physical exhaustion. All of this can make it very hard to leave an abusive relationship because you’re too tired on a deep level to muster the strength to do it.
It took me ages to go No Contact with my parents – it took a big personal shock to my system before I cut them out of my life for good. So it’s not easy to get out of an abusive relationship, don’t beat yourself up for still being in it. Be gentle with yourself – treat yourself as you would a friend who was in a similar scenario. Self compassion is nourishing for a very exhausted soul!
Find a safe place to share your story – therapist, support group (locally or online), personal blog (quite a few people have found this to be therapeutic – hence so many blogs about narcissists written by victims of narcissists). You need to release yourself from the bonds which make you feel trapped in this situation.
You are a strong person – putting up with all you have, dealing with it all by yourself, keeping going when all you want to do is give up = great inner strength. It also shows self-confidence, although not the kind of self-confidence we usually consider to be self-confidence.
Take good care of yourself, be gentle with yourself, give yourself the time and space you need to deal with your situation and story. Don’t push yourself to do what you aren’t ready to do, just be supportive of yourself and guide yourself step by step to where you want to eventually be.
When my adult child said I was a narcissist, I was out, fully accepted and respected no contact. Whatever the reason, if your.child wants no contact, you have to respect that.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
It must be heartbreaking to have your child accuse you of being a narcissist and decide to go no contact. Your reaction shows the kind of respect for another human being, and the kind love and understanding of your child, which is absent from parents and people who are actually narcissists.
If you were a narcissist you’d have reacted differently and your comment on this post would have most likely included reasons why your adult child is wrong and would not have shown respect for them and their decision.
If you were a narcissist chances are your child would have probably not felt able to tell you directly that they thought you were a narcissist and wanted to go no contact with you. Children of narcissists tend to be fearful of their parents even when they are adults (for more on this – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/understanding-the-phenomenon-of-infantile-regression-in-relation-to-narcissistic-victim-syndrome/), and confronting a narcissist parent is usually something a child wants to avoid as this normally results in the kind of drama, tantrum, counter-accusations and manipulations, emotional blackmail, and much more which are painful, hurtful and traumatic. No contact was designed to offer a means to protect a victim of a narcissist from further abuse and trauma. Most adult children of narcissists find it incredibly difficult to actually go no contact from their narcissist parent/s for many reasons, one of which is that a narcissist does not respect anyone and certainly would not accept no contact unless they were doing it.
I hope things work out with your child.
My husband of 21 years is absolutely a narcissist individual. No question . Has been diagnosed, not by me, but the therapists and physc analysts he has seen.
Recently he accused me of being a narcissist person. I am intrigued by this, and if anything, I look out for the needs and comfort of others before I take care of me. I enjoy people, socializing, and genuinely care for others.
I was shocked when he called me this.
When asked for an example, it was that I take pride in my looks and shouldn’t be so interested in personal hygiene. ????
At his urging several years ago I had a facelift. Used my inheiritence to do so, and very happy with results. Does this make me narcissist?
We all need to take pride in something. My body is a gift, and to take optimum care seems like common sense.
I am actually hurt by his comment, as I always felt like it was a compliment to him to have an a wife aware of appearance.
I rarely wear makeup, do color my hair.
Believe in good skin care.
Please comment on this accusation and I will really listen to your response.
I may be missing a point, and always care what others think of me. Admittedly, may be to much.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
There are several ways of looking at the accusation which your husband made.
One of which is that the term ‘Narcissist’ has more than one meaning. If you look it up in a dictionary you will get two main results:
1. a person who is overly self-involved, and often vain and selfish.
2. Psychoanalysis. a person who suffers from narcissism, deriving erotic gratification from admiration of his or her own physical or mental attributes.
definition via – http://www.dictionary.com/browse/narcissist
Before the term was used as it is more commonly used nowadays (definition #2) to mean someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, it was used more commonly to mean that someone is vain (definition #1). It was previously mainly used as a way of saying – You’re so vain. So being called a Narcissist not so long ago simply meant that whoever was calling you a Narcissist thought you were in love with your own reflection in the mirror, were overly preoccupied with the way that you look, were ‘up yourself’.
Maybe your husband used the accusation in the ‘old fashioned’ way, and meant definition #1. He was basically accusing you of being vain.
Being accused of being vain isn’t really something to worry about, it’s basically an accusation which reflects the bias and issues of the accuser more than it says anything about the accused. As you pointed out there is nothing wrong with wanting to look good, with taking care of your appearance and with taking pride in your body. It’s actually something which society encourages and physical appearances are often admired and valued in society, they are often used to define you and your status.
The first thing which is important to do when someone accuses you of something is to pause before you take it personally and react to it and consider why the person accusing you of something is accusing you. What is their purpose for making the accusation?
When someone accuses you of something, especially in situations where the accusation is a personal attack on your character, a comment on your way of being, it usually says far more about the accuser than it does of you, the accused. So it is generally a good idea to look at why this person feels the need to accuse you of something. What are their motives, intentions. What are their personal reasons, ambitions and goals for accusing you. What does their accusation say about them?
It’s also a good idea to take into account the context, scenario, and moment of the accusation – what were the extenuating circumstances, what happened before the accusation was made, what was going on in your communication and interaction when this accusation occurred.
I think the most pertinent point is that your husband has been diagnosed by professionals as being a Narcissist. There are several things which Narcissists do to others which would explain his accusation:
1 – A Narcissist often accuses others of being what they are. Narcissists are always accusing others of being Narcissists, the accusation just rolls off their tongue, they lick that label and stick it on anyone who they feel like sticking it on – usually when they’re annoyed with someone, hurt due to being overly sensitive, or want to manipulate them or others (if they accuse you of something in front of others, they’re playing to an audience). If you say ‘No’ to a Narcissist when they wanted a ‘Yes’ they might call you a Narcissist and make other accusations too because they’re not getting what they want and want to get what they want using any means available.
2 – A Narcissist likes to push people’s buttons. Poke them where they hurt, especially when the Narcissist is hurting – their misery loves company. One of the ways they find out where to poke others, what buttons to push, is by making lots of accusations until they find the one which a person reacts to, which causes the person distress, which shocks them, which hits a place that is vulnerable, which gets under your skin. They push all your buttons and wait for one of those buttons to cause an alarm to ring. Once they’ve found which button causes the alarm to ring, they keep pushing it.
3 – A Narcissist feels empowered by stealing the power of others. They feel right by making others wrong. They get a kick out of kicking others. They feel less flawed when they point out the flaws of others. They feel superior when they make others inferior.
4 – A Narcissist is full of contradictions – one minute they say one thing and the next minute they say the exact opposite. They’re often oblivious to the contradictions – sometimes deliberately and sometimes they really just aren’t listening to anything they’re saying, they’re just talking because talking is akin to breathing for them, they love the sound of their voice pontificating, spouting opinions, saying stuff (they seem to be afraid of silence – even during the silent treatment they’re talking to someone somewhere).
Chances are if you hadn’t had a facelift when he pressured you to have one he’d now be accusing you of not being vain enough, and he’d be criticising you for not taking care of your looks.
You can never ‘win’ with a Narcissist.
The scenario you mentioned regarding the facelift is typical of a Narcissist. You mention that – “At his urging several years ago I had a facelift.” – by ‘at his urging’ I imagine it was more ‘after he had nagged me for what seemed like forever’ because when a Narcissist wants someone to do something they nag you until you give up and give in. Their nagging includes constant jabs, barbs, remarks which undermine your self-image, self-confidence, sense of self, causing you intense self-doubt. He also got you to spend your inheritance on it – which means he got you to spend your money on something he wanted you to do, thereby making sure you used up your money (which he didn’t like you having as it made you independent of him) and did what he wanted you to do to your face for his benefit. Your getting a facelift showed him how much power he has over you – he liked that the most about that scenario.
However you getting a facelift now seems to be a threat to him – your facelift has given you power too and that may be worrying him.
His accusation reveals a couple of things:
1 – He thinks you look great. Maybe he thinks you look too great. Narcissists love to admire others, but their admiration is prone to becoming envy in the blink of an eye. You know how great you look and this is bothering him – perhaps because he hasn’t had a facelift? He’s feeling old maybe – Narcissists are afraid of aging. Why is he trying to undermine how you feel and think about the way that you look? Is he afraid you’ll leave him for someone else – Narcissists tend to have a fear of abandonment, especially due to them not being good enough. They’re fiercely competitive in the ‘good enough’ department.
The way that you look, the care which you take of your looks, the attention you’re giving to yourself – he feels threatened by that.
2 – He wanted to hurt you. Which means he probably thinks you hurt him. What did you say to him before he accused you of being a Narcissist – check the conversation which led up to the accusation for an explanation of the accusation. Narcissists often retaliate against a perceived offense.
3 – He hit a sore spot for you. So your self-examination is a good idea. Why does it really bother you that he called you a narcissist? – the answer to that is something for you to consider privately. Review what you have said in your comment here – what stands out in your words for you? What was it that really shocked you?
Often those who are in a relationship with a Narcissist don’t realise how much of themselves they’ve sacrificed to make the Narcissist ‘happy’. Shocks to the system caused by the Narcissist lashing out in a nonsensical manner are often clues pointing to something within that needs to be faced.
Did you really want the facelift when you had it? Did you really think you needed it? Were you frightened to do it but did it anyway and were relieved that it went well, hoped he would be ‘happy’ that you’d done it, but now that he’s accused you of looking too good and taking too much care and pride in yourself… do you feel that everything you’ve done for him is never going to be enough, he’s never going to be happy? And perhaps that inheritance money, you had other plans for it, ones which you put aside for him and his ambitions for you.
After everything you’ve done for him – this is your reward, him accusing you of being a Narcissist?
Focus on what this has opened up for you within yourself as a personal conversation and revelation. It may be that you’ve reached a turning point in your relationship with him and with yourself.
Take care of yourself!
Thank you. I am thrilled to get a timely reply, – my concerns are never ending.
Feel totally heard by you.
I am really needing some answers if anyone out there can help me, please? I have been going back and forth on this for 3 months. I was with my husband for 6 years… Married for 1 year. Married in August of last year & he leaves me August of this year. This is my story..
Over the years I have felt like something wasn’t going quite right in our relationship. We seemed to have fun, laugh, joke around, but then there was much of the time he just sat there. He would watch TV or be on his phone. I had talked to him over & over again about communication. It wasn’t happening. He never would open up. He would get onto my daughter’s about every little thing, nothing major ,but turned really bad towards the end. I should say it escalated. He had a cell phone that was password protected & always with him. I did question if he was having an affair ( he denied).3 months after getting married I started an overnight job and he was constantly telling me I was cheating. I never understood that as he knows how much I brought in. He started telling my girls who are soon to be 18 & 16 that their Mom was going crazy & I needed meds. I will admit that after everything that I have found over the years.. deleted calls, messages, sexual conversation with ex wives,paying for dating websites online… I do admit my anger was coming out towards him. I said things I wish I never would have & I am feeling that I may have narcissistic traits or was it BC of everything that I was going through? Fast forward… After this, he mentions he wants to buy a home away from here. I thought. Wow! Where did this come from? We decided to go ahead and get it. He stayed with us for 5 days, abandons us in a town we know no one, and 2 days later walking the fair with another woman. The town we just moved from. Of course, I have lived here for years and many people were telling me. He hasn’t contacted me since he left. I was calling and texting. Trying to reconcile & figure out what to do BC everything was in his name. He wouldn’t respond & he went to put a restraining order on me for 1 year. Judge granted it BC he told me that the minute he left, I had no business contacting him. I guess marriage means nothing anymore. I’ve apologized to him. He said it will take months to forgive me & I have never heard him apologize to me once. Is he narcissistic? Am I because I did start verbally abusing at the end? It wasn’t the right thing and I did apologize. I’m so hurt over all this. Thank you for reading.
I sent a blog a little while ago & failed to mention that my husband had been lying to me about his life. He said he served in the Army for 10 years & a family member told me he never made it out of boot camp. I heard so much & I have no idea who I married. He is also afraid of getting old. The past couple years he would lift weights, drink all kinds of protein shakes, & dye his hair/ beard. He got physically abuse with me twice & each time he would smirk at me. When he pushed my buttons enough & I got verbally abusive he would smirk. I will say that the day I was nice to take him his clothes( BC he took absolutely nothing) he looked demonic. Red eyes & breathing hard. He looked at me and said…. “I hate you. I do not want you. You are scum.” The night before he loved me. Never had an argument or fight before he left. I wish I could understand. Can you please put this with my original post? Thank you.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Your two comments were merged as you requested.
First off I’m going to give you links to three blogs which you might find informative and helpful:
http://letmereach.com/ – this is a site run by a blogger who was married to a narcissist and has turned her experience into an advice hub. She offers coaching for those who are breaking up with a narcissist, but she does charge for it.
https://divorcinganarcissistblog.com/ – this is also run by a blogger who was married to a narcissist, she shares her personal experience and has clear insights into how being with a narcissist affects you personally.
http://n-continuum.blogspot.co.uk/ – this is one of the best and oldest blogs about narcissists, also run by a blogger who was married to a narcissist, who turned her experience and her search for information and understanding into a resource for others.
And this is a link to a professional site which gives lots of information about narcissists, but most importantly it explains what it is like to be a victim of narcissistic abuse – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/
The main reason I’m giving you these links is that when you’re confused and asking questions like – Am I narcissistic or is the other person narcissistic? – it is usually a good idea to explore your questions by researching and gathering information, reading the stories of others and seeing how it correlates to your own. While this won’t necessarily answer your questions, it may give you a better understanding which may help you to clarify your confusion and doubts.
Ideally you should see a therapist as a professional will be able to help you piece together the puzzle of your relationship story and give you a safe and private place to work through your questions and discover your personal answers. But not everyone is comfortable with doing that or able to do that.
It does sound as though your husband is narcissistic and may be a narcissist. It definitely sounds as though you experience him that way, and it sounds as though his behaviour has influenced your behaviour. If he is a narcissist this would fall under the category of ‘fleas’ in narc speak – whereby you behave narcissistically due to being around a narcissist and due to trying to deal with what they’re doing to you.
When a narcissist pushes your buttons they tend to do so with the intention of getting you to lose your cool and ‘act crazy’. They tend to be relentless in their poking and prodding, and ruthless about hitting you where it hurts. Once you lose your cool and lash out at them they tend to then take on the role of ‘victim’ and accuse you of abusing them. They will also use your moment of losing your cool as ‘blackmail’, reminding you of this incident any time they want to gain some advantage or power over you, and will also tell others about the incident as ‘proof’ that you’re the problem and not them.
They rarely if ever apologise because they don’t tend to think that they have done anything wrong, if they do think they’ve done something wrong they tend to go on the defensive which often means using offensive tactics – attacking you before you attack them (and since most narcissists are paranoid they often see everything as an attack and thus reason for them to attack), and deny everything or admit it but blame you as the cause of it. They usually take a righteous position and see themselves as the one who has been wronged – they can sell this to pretty much anyone when they’re deep into the role.
Many victims of abuse blame themselves for what the abuser does to them, and the abuser encourages this kind of perception of the dynamic.
There used to be a ‘letter’ published online written by a narcissist to his therapist wherein he blamed everyone else for why he was a narcissist and why he continued to be narcissistic. He admitted that he had done some hurtful things to his family, but ultimately it was their fault and not his as he was a narcissist, he had a disorder, and therefore nothing was his fault.
Be careful when judging yourself on your ‘narcissistic’ behaviour – there is such a thing as ‘healthy’ narcissism. Context and situation have to be taken into account. Relationship dynamics need to be considered. If your narcissistic behaviour is a reaction to someone else and this person is behaving narcissistically, then one thing is causing the other, you’re caught in a vicious cycle. If you’re in pain and frustrated, the chances of behaving narcissistically become higher because you’re in pain, feel vulnerable and are trying to protect yourself.
Keep researching and asking questions, there’s a lot of information online, support groups and forums (be careful on those things can get complicated and heated due to triggers) are available, blogs and professionals discussing the issue. Take your time to work your way through things and find what you’re looking for. Pay attention to what strikes a chord for you.
Trust that you’ll figure this out – it will take time and you will need to be gentle and patient with yourself.
You should definitely consult a lawyer to sort out the legal side of things. If your husband is already using the legal system you need to prepare for him to continue to do so and you need to make sure you’ve got legal protection for yourself and your children. If ‘everything is in his name’ you are in a vulnerable position.
Please take care of yourself!
I am a guy. Most of the videos and articles etc out there seem to be assumed at women, and seem to imply, or directly state that in most cases, the men are the narcissists and/or the abusers.
Mine is a case that once upon a time seemed straight forward. It seemed clear that my girlfriend (later wife) was “crazy” and that she did crazy things. I considered myself broken so I thought simply, let’s heal each other.
It always seemed that could never get to my brokenness because in my view, we were always dealing with hers.
Now, 10 years later, she’s left and she’s claiming that she was being abused.
When once upon a time it was clear in my mind that she was doing crazy things and bring abusive, after all the years, I’m not so sure anymore.
Note, when I go online to try and find help to deal with the pain, I feel like a see all these videos and threads who seem to be speaking from her viewpoint; and being adamant that they are the victims.
Now, I’m not so sure. I climb through my mind and examine my everything to see if and when I was, or an indeed a narcissist. Something deep inside know that I’m not. Which got me to type in the Google search, “Can narcissists claim to be victims of narcissists?”
I keep asking my counselor to refer me for a diagnosis so that I know once and for all. She keeps saying that she doesn’t think I need one. But then again, I know she’s biased because she helps military people and send to think we’re all saints because we serve.
I’ve gone a long round about way just to say that I appreciate that you’ve written with an open mind even about yourself. This makes me much more open to receiving your advice; much more so than most of these YouTubers who seem so adamant that they are the victims. Because I know my wife, and how she is a true master is being “the victim,” I cannot believe such people just at face value.
Hi Jay, thank you for sharing 🙂
First off, while your counselor may well be being biased because you’re in the military and for those who aren’t in the military there is a sense of awe about those who are and who do a very difficult job, I think she may also be certain that you’re not a narcissist because you don’t display any of the characteristics of a narcissist and therefore she does not want to refer you because you don’t need to be tested for NPD as you don’t have NPD.
She may be missing the point you’re trying to make with her that you want to be diagnosed to draw a line under an issue which is nagging at you from the inside out (and from the outside in due to your wife and her accusations).
Many professionals don’t have the training or understanding of the issues which someone who has been and is a victim of a narcissist have, and therefore don’t realise the sort of treatment required by the person who has been in a relationship with a narcissist to recover and heal. They don’t don’t see that victims of narcissists often end up believing that they’re the narcissist and that they need for this torturous doubt to be tackled head on.
There’s a great article written by a professional about the problems within the profession concerning narcissists and particularly victims of narcissists – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/ – further along in this article is a fairly concise description of the symptoms and consequences of being in a relationship with a narcissist.
You’re right about there being a tendency towards the perspective of – men are narcissists and women are victims of the men who are narcissists – especially in the material on the subject which you come across online. There are several reasons for this and it’s not because more men are narcissists than women – they’re not, however more women narcissists tend to be ‘Covert’ narcissists and that type of narcissist is much harder to spot, even professionals find the Covert narcissist difficult to discern and confusing to diagnose.
The site I linked you to above has an article about that difficulty and the differences between the Overt and Covert narcissist – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/revealing-the-two-faces-of-narcissism-overt-and-covert-narcissism/ – while it is a good article it and written by a professional, it still struggles to define the Covert Narcissist.
Going by your description of your wife and her effect on you I would suggest that you research Covert Narcissists, and that in your online searches for information you use more specific search terms such as – male victim of covert narcissist female.
While there are more women writing about their experiences with a narcissist man, there are also men writing about their experiences with a narcissist women – they’re just harder to find because of how search engines sort their results and because they’re still in a minority but that is a voice which is growing in strength.
A quick search using – male victim of female narcissist – resulted in this author’s work – https://goodmenproject.com/featured-content/men-are-victims-too-recognizing-and-dealing-with-abuse-wcz/ – on a hub for men. Clicking on the author’s name shows all the articles which he’s written and he seems to be consistent in his work. He makes a pertinent point at the beginning of the article:
“Most men, like myself, are unaware that they are, or have been, abused. Many men have selective memories. They remember the good times, the sex and the moments when their partner told them they were good at fixing doorknobs. Men can be perfect whipping boys. Their greatest strength is endurance in the face of conflict and terror.
They learn, as children and adolescence, to push their bodies well beyond capacity in order to net a soccer ball, or, as men, drive hard into long hours at a desk even though their soul is screaming for reprieve. Tolerance runs sovereign over self-respect.”
Men tend to be more stoic and silent especially about private matters and intimate relationships, hence they are less likely to go online, onto a forum or a blog, to discuss the abuse they’re a victim of from a partner, particularly if that partner is female.
There’s one male blogger I know of who writes about his experience of being married to a narcissist wife – https://apensiveheart.wordpress.com/ – and does so in an insightful, very personal and personable manner.
Society at this time tends to support and encourage women who are victims of abuse to speak out about it, but men who are victims of abuse don’t get similar support or encouragement. We’re getting there but we still have a long way to go for things in this matter to be equal. We’re still only in the early stages of understanding that psychological and emotional abuse are just as damaging as physical abuse, they’re much harder to prove and to notice and therefore harder for those outside of the situation to believe – the victims of psychological and emotional abuse often don’t notice they’re being abused until a lot of damage has been done.
While browsing the results of the search I did on – male victims of female narcissists – I came across an interesting video done by a female vlogger who creates videos about narcissists and narcissistic abuse. She discusses in this video the very issue which you’ve highlighted, she explains her reasons for focusing on female victims of male narcissists (a reason which is probably similar to others who discuss this subject online – they’re coming form their own experience and really haven’t considered things from a perspective other than their own), and she attempts to bridge the gap and while her effort is admirable it lacks personal insight and experience – she’s not a man and she’s not a man who has been in a relationship with a female narcissist.
Here’s her video, it’s definitely worth a listen – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3Xo0GSZetQ0 – if only to understand why there’s so much bias in the info you find online about the subject.
There are other results which might interest you in those which came up when I searched for – male victim of female narcissist. I haven’t checked them out properly, I skim-read a few, and I did notice a couple were from blogs which mainly focus on – female victims of male narcissists – they’ve obviously noticed that they’re alienating half of their possible audience.
I come from an ‘origin story’ of being the child of a male Overt narcissist and a female Covert narcissist. Until recently trying to find information about ‘being the child of narcissists’ was as difficult as finding information about ‘being the male victim of a female narcissist’. But then it became a ‘Hot topic’ online and now there’s almost too much information about it and there’s even an acronym for it. Which is good, it shows awareness is growing, but it can also be confusing when you’re trying to sort out your own story.
This is an author and psychologist whose work helped me a lot, a book he wrote awhile back pretty much nailed my childhood and parents, and my damage and issues perfectly. He’s a he and has had personal experience of narcissists in his life – http://andywhiteblog.com/
If you’re using the internet to help you – it can be a blessing and a curse rolled into one. There’s loads of information out there – but ‘Narcissists’ are a hot trending popular topic so there’s loads of information out there and a part of it is people cashing in on a hot trending popular topic, and that part of it can drown out the really useful and relevant information. Make your searches very specific for your personal situation. Be very careful – I’ve had quite a few men relate their bad experiences on forums for victims of narcissists due to those forums often being populated more by women who have had relationships with men who are narcissists and therefore tend to view ‘men’ as the enemy. The way women and men communicate and express themselves (especially when expressing pain) is different and often causes misunderstandings.
One thing which is worth considering is your military training – you’ve been trained to override your natural instincts, your primal instinct to avoid danger. You’re also most likely to be less wary of the ‘dangers’ at home because home is where you return to relax, it’s supposed to be a ‘safe’ place and place. So noticing ‘red flags’ which point to a problem in those close to you is the last thing you’re going to notice. So be gentle with yourself about all the slack which you cut your wife – she was supposed to be an ally, she was supposed to love you and be on the same side as you.
Be gentle with yourself while working through this. If you notice ‘narcissistic’ behaviour and traits in yourself those are not unusual for humans to have, and can be healthy. You’re not your enemy.
Your wife doing a 180 and deciding that you’re the abuser is typical of covert narcissists – they see themselves as the permanent damsel in distress surrounded by dragons looking for knights in shining armor to save them. Their knight in shining armor may get turned into a dragon at some point in their story.
Keep doing what you’re doing, keep seeking… you will find what you’re looking for!
Take care of yourself!
I feel you Bro. N-Searcher.blogspot.com
I met my partner nearly two years ago. When I met him he had such walls up, I have been patient and stayed resolute in waiting for him to open up. There were some red flags and I wondered if he was a narcissist and nearly walked away. He was cold and distant but there were glimmers of a kind thoughtful man so I persisted.
After getting to know him and the situation with his ex (the mother of his children) I have realised he has and is the victim of a really manipulating covert narcissist. The times I’ve seen. Him cry and ask if it’s his fault she’s like this, he’s told me he was nasty back when she would name call etc. he adores his children and it really upsets him because he cannot see his children so much.
Since he left her she has slandered his name in the community that he lives, at the school the children go to and to the children also. She will tell anyone who will listen that he is abusive yet she was the perpetrator. He says he would have stayed with her for the sake of the children ( they were only together because she got pregnant the first time they had sex and she gave him an ultimatum of staying with her or never seeing his child) but it just got so bad he was falsely accused of violence and got taken away overnight by the police. She tells everyone he did what she accused him of even though no charges were brought as there was no evidence….. wouldn’t be as it was a lie.
She uses the children against him all the time as ways to hurt and extort money from him. He pays maintenance for the kids but we still buy a lot of their clothes etc as she uses the money on herself and what she wants. She has her flying monkeys doing her bidding against him and now me. This has alienated us so much we are to move away. She always says she wants no contact as we are the abusers yet finds reasons to contact us. We just want a quiet life but I don’t think we ever will as she is always causing drama mostly to try and split us up. He is a lovely kind caring man and I love him to bits. It hurts me to see how much she still hurts him and the children. I feel really bad for the kids as she manipulates them to do her bidding, like getting the kids to be mean to me when we take them on holiday. There is nothing we can do but put up with the grief. The worst one is her telling him he has mental health issues when he mentions that her behaviour effects the kids. She’s a nasty piece of work.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
There’s a blogger who occasionally writes about her own personal experience of being married to a man who was previously married to a woman who is a narcissist and with who he had children – she also uses the children to hurt not only her ex-husband but his current wife. Her posts about her own experience may be helpful to you in your situation, you can find them here – https://kimberlyharding.wordpress.com/category/narcissism/ – she also found her husband’s behaviour of concern and wondered about whether perhaps he was a narcissist but then she as you realised her was reacting to being the victim of a narcissist from who he could never separate himself because of the children.
Being the victim of a narcissist can make people behave in strange ways because they’re trying to adapt to the madness which a narcissists creates in their life, and explaining this to people who’ve never encountered a narcissist can be difficult – as you’ve probably found out while trying to explain your situation to others.
A narcissist, particularly one with whom someone shares children, will use those children as pawns in a complex and torturous game of life chess. For a narcissist parent their children aren’t people, beings separate from them who have rights and thoughts, feelings, or anything else of their own, they’re a part of the narcissist parent like a limb, they’re representatives of the narcissist parent, they’re objects, property, which belongs to the narcissist parent and that narcissist parent can use them any way they want to – which is often to hurt the other parent, to control them, manipulate them, make life hell for them (this occurs even if there is no separation or divorce).
For those kids there is no choice, if they don’t do her bidding they might lose their mother’s love – because that’s how a narcissist parent plays it, you as their child are constantly having to prove how much you love them, how loyal you are to them and their version of reality (which is usually delusional), if the kids don’t keep proving their love for their narcissist mother that mother threatens them subtly with the possibility that she’ll stop loving them and may even discard them. This is terrifying for her kids, so they do what they have to to keep on her good side because her bad side is very very bad. They’re also building up a lot of suppressed anger which they can’t express and they make take it out where it is safe to take it out – on those who aren’t the narcissist parent.
There is very little which you can do because everything you do could potentially make things worse, however there are ways to ease certain aspects of the stress and pain – and you’re pretty much already doing that, your understanding of the situation, scenario and dynamic goes a long way even if it seems to do not that much.
Your support for your partner is admirable, your understanding of him is valuable – you give him your strength and you give his children stability which children of narcissists tend to crave because instability is all they get from a narcissist parent.
However you can’t do this all by yourself, be the strong one for everyone – this will exhaust you.
Your partner needs to sort himself out, he needs to get it clear in his head that he’s not the problem, he’s not the one with ‘mental health issues’. This can be a challenging process for a victim of a narcissist because she may be pressing his buttons – buttons which trigger perhaps a childhood trauma or dynamic. Narcissists are adept at finding a person’s weak spot and then bashing it until they make the person weak everywhere.
This article is worth reading – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/ – it explains some of what a victim of a narcissist goes through and what it is like to be a victim of a narcissist. It also gives some advice on what a victim of a narcissist needs to do to strengthen themselves against the narcissist.
Your partner will keep having to deal with his ex, he can’t go no contact because of the children, and she’ll keep being a nasty piece of work, using the kids to get to him and hurt him, so he needs to learn how to feel positive about himself while dealing with her barrage of negative. He’s stronger than he knows – he needs to become aware of that. His kids need him to stop allowing her to wreck him and his self esteem and self image as how he deals with her will help them, it’ll help take a lot of the pressure on them off of them bit by bit.
There are two important factors needed to deal with a narcissist like the one you’re dealing with:
1 – self-knowledge, self-understanding, is imperative. Both you and your partner need to know who you are and know yourselves well because this self-knowledge offers protection against the narcissist who is looking for ways to get under your skin and get you to lose your sense of self – this is part of the ‘narcissistic wound’ which the narcissist has and passes on to others. They have no idea who they are which is why they create this big drama surrounding who they are and why they construct personas.
2 – knowledge about narcissism, narcissists and particularly about your particular narcissist is also important. She’s got chinks in her armor which she’s desperately trying to hide and narcissists often do this using confusion tactics. If they get suddenly very hyper dramatic, have a tantrum – there’s an chink in their armor which has been triggered and if you can figure out what it is you can use it to your advantage and maybe even get them to play nice with you. Study her and her history – she’s far more vulnerable than you or your partner (she’s using her children to fight her battles, only cowards do that). Find her weak spot and then consider carefully how to use it to ‘make peace’. It’ll be a tenuous peace but it’s better than all out war and it’ll give you time and pause to find ways to strengthen your position.
You can get the upper hand but it will take time, patience, persistence and work – especially work on yourselves. The best ‘weapon’ against a narcissist is themselves, and to use them against themselves you need to know yourselves better than they do, you need to be a fortress they can’t breach.
Take good care of yourself!
I have just read this because even though I have been out of my relationship 18 months now I am still plagued by the fact that he “told” me (spat at me more like it – there is an interesting twist to this but it is not something I can disclose online) I suffered from NPD and why during his “rages”. I had noticed a pattern of behaviour that started several years into our relationship and escalated very quickly and eventually after being pointed to a domestic abuse charity within five minutes of discussing with them what was happening to me they told me I was witnessing and suffering the classic patterns of abuse (for me severe mental, emotional and verbal – though in his divorce papers he actually stated I was extremely ontrolling throughout though infact as he would say when we were together I was incredibly laid back, more than most people we knew ) – I got to the point where I could pinpoint exactly when I would experience the next outburst and things that were once treasured things between us became his honeymoon period actions. In the end his pattern of behaviour was escalating so rapidly and becoming verbally and mentally vicious with signs of physical actions on the horizon my outreach planned with me how to get out in such a way that he believed he was the one getting rid of me because that seemed to make things easier and calmer. However, a lot of work was going on in the background as it was certainly myself, professionals, family and friends who were organising and spearheading the process, though I am sure he would argue to this day that that was not the case.
I was by no means a perfect wife though I did try my best and I ended up with health problems early on which meant I found it difficult to do the things I was once able to or to continue in my professional life, but I did and have taken responsibility for my own actions.
By the time I left I had been left with a 24/7 (literally) belief and thought I was evil. For sometime I remember when I left that I just kept thinking “I am evil, I am evil, I am evil” – I can remember days and weeks on end when I could not get this out of my brain along with him telling me one day he was glad they had finally got it through my thick skull – I can’t say who they were though I have my suspicions, funny how that one word has suck as at the time I remember thinking why they and not he… It played out in my mind like a movie on a loop. I became obsessed with finding out about NpD and could see elements of now what is classed as narcissistic behaviour in my own behaviour so I constantly questioned old and new friends if what I did they thought was ordinary behaviour because to me it had always been – like sharing my experiences to let another person know I understood what they were going through which I was told was constantly making myself the centre of attention…. Amongst other so called examples of behaviour which showed I suffered from npd – all of which others have told me are perfectly normal ways of behaviour… Since being told I did that I seem to find myself apologising every time I speak, particularly if what I want to say is a little lengthy because I don’t want people to think I am taking over their life or world – because he told me I made life constantly about me and never about him or anyone else. Yet still I am scared I am the one suffering from the condition and that I cannot escape it and I desperately want to. I have even been told by a mental health practitioner who assessed me for some help for ptsd but couldn’t assist that I don’t have npd because I am so aware of it and scared (literally) that I might and people with npd aren’t aware of it. Yet I still read things and think oh I do that kind of thing or I did that or try to take responsibility for the things that he did that now – even though looking back I can see I wasn’t responsible for – for some reason in my mind I still feel responsible for. I know that sounds so completely unreal or impossible – but it literally has my mind in a spin that sometimes feel likes a never ending tornado.
Now many months on the thoughts of being evil are lessening but being scared I am the one with npd continues in the same way or that I am falsely believing that he has – In some roundabout way I would rather someone tell me it is me and try my best to overcome it and change my behaviour than say/ accuse that it is him – because I can’t stop feeling that the error must be with me and this lead me this evening to googling if people who have npd do infact accuse others of it or if it is infact the person being accused who is the mentally ill person. And this then lead me here.
What is even more confusing is that I had to return to my parents due to lack of money and having to extricate myself from the relationship – I notice more and more each day how like my ex my mother is. I had never noticed it before but it is just like being back in the same boat – even the same words, the same actions, the way I am not allowed to have my own opinions (I took on his because it became easier to agree and have an easy life than to constantly have my own thoughts and beliefs contradicted and negated until in the end I believed we shared the same beliefs – I found out though very quickly when I left this was not the case as my old belief systems started to re-emerge very quickly)
So I wonder if this has happened to me both in my relationship but for many many years (unbeknownst to me until I could spot the signs in my mother that I could finally see in my ex hen I left him) with my mother if surely the problem is me when the two people I was meant to be closest to in the world behaved this way towards me.
So still to this day I am so very very confused if it is me who is the one suffering from npd or him. I don’t know if any of this makes any sense but I am finding it so hard to find any sense in it at all myself.
All I know is that if indeed it is me that suffers from npd then I am an extremely unpleasant indiviual and I don’t know Where to go from there
Thank you for sharing 🙂
First off having narcissistic traits and behaviours is normal and natural for all humans. An article which I read recently discusses the issues which the current raised awareness of ‘Narcissists’ has caused:
“Last winter, a friend told me she was considering a divorce. “I really think my husband is a narcissist!” she said. More recently, over brunch, an acquaintance explained his family dynamics: “My aunt is such a narcissist, we’re not sure why my uncle is with her.”
The term narcissist has been widely deployed to describe not only a passel of difficult relatives and regretted exes, but also both nominees for president and the entire generation known as Millennials. Is narcissism really so widespread or on the rise in the general population?
A growing consensus among psychologists says no, it isn’t. True pathological narcissism has always been rare and remains so: It affects an estimated 1 percent of the population, and that prevalence hasn’t changed demonstrably since clinicians started measuring it. Most (but not all) putative narcissists today are innocent victims of an overused label. They are normal individuals with healthy egos who may also happen to indulge in the occasional selfie and talk about their accomplishments. They may even be a bit vain. But while we’re diagnosing friends, relatives, and our kids’ classmates, true pathological narcissists may be evading detection because most of us don’t understand the many forms the condition may take.
Narcissism is a trait each of us exhibits to a greater or lesser degree. As it has become trait non grata, though, it’s become necessary to add the qualifier “healthy” to specify the socially acceptable type of narcissism. “It is the capacity to see ourselves and others through rose-colored glasses,” says psychologist Craig Malkin, a lecturer at Harvard Medical School and the author of Rethinking Narcissism. That can be beneficial, because it’s helpful for all of us to feel a bit special. It fuels the confidence that allows us to take risks, like seeking a promotion or asking out an attractive stranger. But feeling too special can cause problems.” – excerpt from https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201609/the-real-narcissists by Rebecca Weber
Mostly our ‘healthy’ narcissistic traits and behaviours don’t get our attention because they’re normal and natural and everyone is being and doing something similar. If we’re in pain, suffering, our normally ‘healthy’ narcissism may shift on the narcissistic spectrum from low to a little bit higher than usual, we may express them more negatively, but that still doesn’t make us or anyone else who is being narcissistic in a rather negative manner a ‘Narcissist’ or someone with NPD.
Since you’ve been through a very harrowing relationship experience over the course of many years, and you’ve been on the receiving end of mental, emotional and verbal abuse with the threat of physical abuse hanging over you, you’re most likely suffering from the PTSD which comes from being in an abusive relationship, more specifically you have – Narcissistic Victim Syndrome – which isn’t an ‘officially recognised’ term as yet but a psychotherapist is trying to make it one – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/.
One of the signs of being a victim of a narcissist is thinking you’re the narcissist and ‘abusing’ yourself because you think you’re a narcissist. Calling yourself in your thoughts ‘evil, evil, evil’ is self-abuse, frightening yourself with the possibility that you have NPD and if you do then you’re ‘an extremely unpleasant individual’ is self-abuse. It’s the kind of self-abuse which victims of narcissists tend to do to themselves as they’ve absorbed the abusive language of the narcissist. If you are also the child of a narcissist or very narcissistic parent, self-abuse will be familiar territory and almost easier to do than breathing.
Find yourself a good therapist to give you a proper diagnosis and to guide you through your recovery from having been in a long and arduous relationship with a narcissist. A good therapist will help you figure out your story.
I know you’re afraid of being diagnosed with NPD but wouldn’t you rather know for sure rather than torture yourself with the uncertainty, the doubts and the fear that you might have it, the threat of it – one professional has already told you that they don’t think you have it. Overall I’d reckon you definitely have C-PTSD – http://outofthefog.website/toolbox-1/2015/11/17/complex-post-traumatic-stress-disorder-c-ptsd – but I’m not a professional.
Things to keep in mind:
1 – no one is perfect, all humans are prone to being a-holes sometimes even when they’re usually nice, good people sometimes do bad things (especially if they’re living with a narcissist or have been abused for a long time), all humans can be control freaks particularly when anxious and stressed out, being a ‘good wife’ does not = putting up with your husband’s shit with a smile on your face, just because you’ve been nasty doesn’t mean you’re a nasty person, just because you’ve defended yourself doesn’t mean you’re an aggressor, just because you’re not been a saintly good doesn’t mean you’re an evil bad.
2 – it’s very difficult to stay sane when living with a narcissist, it’s a hostage situation, and if other people think you’re crazy it’s probably because living with a narcissist can make you appear crazy and feel crazy… and the narcissist has probably been coaching everyone to see you as the crazy one.
3 – while it’s a human reflex to listen to what others think of us, and sometimes what others think of us can give us a much needed reality check – there are certain conditions when it is best to ignore what other people think of you and focus on what you think and know of yourself. When a narcissist tells you who you are, the awful truth about yourself – they’re talking about themselves as usual. When people under the influence of a narcissist and their smear campaign tell you who you are – they’re under the influence of the narcissist and can’t see you through the fog of the narcissist’s influence and smear talk.
4 – all humans like to talk about themselves, we relate to others and their stories when we have a similar experience and story, we like to share, sometimes we overshare or take over a conversation, make it all about us – that doesn’t mean we’re a narcissist, it means we’re being typically human. If we’re in pain and talking about our pain, we may overpower and overwhelm others, our pain may trigger their pain, and they may react badly sometimes accusing us of being a ‘narcissist’ of making everything about us. It happens and if you’re aware of it and try not to do it because you heard other peoples’ complaints about it… you’re not a narcissist.
You need to cut yourself a lot of slack – if a friend of yours had been through what you’ve been through how would you treat them? Treat yourself the way you would treat a friend who had been through what you’d been through!
Take care of yourself, you need lots of self-care from yourself right now. Apply TLC!
You’re going to be okay, you’re far stronger, smarter, kinder than you realise at this time – and it will take time to deal with everything you’ve been through. Gently does it – be gentle with yourself!
I believe nearly everyone has some narcissitic tendencies. Some are more normalized than others in our culture. Some narcissism is healthy as it helps boost self-esteem, it’s when it is allowed to run rampant that it is the most dangerous and alienating. Being aware of one’s own narcissistic tendencies does not make someone a narcissist in clinical terms, and doesn’t always mean you are necessarily a bad person even if it annoys people in your life. It does not mean you are unlovable. In my mind, it means you have a chance to regulate it before it becomes a clinical problem. Count yourself lucky for recognizing it in yourself, as there are plenty of people who either cannot or will not. I say this from the heart of an admitted narcissist, who is also not proud of it and terrified of it. Congratulations for making it out of a very difficult situation, I wish you all the best in your journey.
Wow! I posted a comment before reading the above one. Mine was embarrassingly similar, so I hope it doesn’t post because I agree with everything that was said in the previous comment.
If something you say is similar to something someone else has said – this is synchronicity not ’embarrassing’, it’s the collective consciousness working the way it does and there’s nothing wrong with it. It can be rather awesome and fun 🙂
I often wonder if narcissism is coping mechanism from past traumatic experiences or dysfunctional relationships as a child. I worked with young ladies in a group home setting and a large majority had narcissistic behaviors..most of them came from unhealthy families. A few had RAD, Reactive attachment disorder. I noticed that the girls that had those Narcissistic behaviors easily manipulated the girls with RAD. They say a narcissist forms relationships with people in order to get something.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
You might find this article of interest as it offers an in depth look into Narcissistic Personality Disorder and the possible causes for the development of it in an individual – http://energeticsinstitute.com.au/narcissism/ – it has a section titled ‘Narcissists Are Trauma Personalities’.
Overt male narcissist can be a victim of a covert female narcissist. At that point that these two become involved in a relationship. It becomes entirely a power thing often. If the male narc wins through strong boundaries… The relationship continues on but unstable. The male may eventually cheat the relationship may or may not continue. If the female wins through manipulative behavior and boundaries. Then she will probably cheat and end the relationship eventually and end the relationship.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
This is one of the most insightful, albeit tough to read pieces I’ve read on narcissism as relating to personal relationships. You hit the nail on the head and everywhere else in one go. I’m a narcissist in a relationship with another narcissist. We are different types of narcissists, but we seem to effortlessly hand off the baton of who gets to play the victim and who gets to be the abuser. We love to pick each other apart and complain to others about one another for sympathy. Ultimately, we are both victims and abusers. I did not realize I have narcissistic tendencies until I was hospitalized in a mental institution for suicidal behavior some years back while in my first marriage. I’m the kind of narcissist who hates themself for it, and feels awful about how it has impacted the people in my life. I feel like I can be saved because I can still feel remorse and empathy, even if it’s a little skewed at times. I’m a passive, borderline type and it has been very difficult to get a diagnosis because I’m really good at answering test questions to make it look like I’m sane (not even on purpose), and have not had a regular psychiatrist or therapist in my life since I was a pre-teen. My other half is more aggressive, but I can’t speak for what he thinks about himself, because he literally bottles up whenever he feels bad. Biggest problem with us, is that we feed each others’ illness. I know we need some rigorous counseling, but getting him to do more than talk about getting help has been like trying to eat a whale before the gasses build up and it explodes on the beach. There’s always some excuse, so I’m guessing he’s afraid of losing the good parts of himself with the bad. The only good thing about us both being narcissists is I’m able to understand to a point that it is a fear driven mental illness, and so I sort of get where he’s coming from which has helped us settle some of our most nasty disputes. The really bad thing is we have 4 small children who will likely inherit our crap if we don’t get a handle on it. I got my narcissism from my father, and he from his mother. It’s terrifying how easily transmittable it is.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
There is a difference between having narcissistic tendencies (which all humans have to varying degrees, and which often comes with other disorders and may become pronounced when going through a traumatic experience and intense personal pain) and being a narcissist (having NPD). If you haven’t had a professional diagnosis for NPD then I would hold off on labeling yourself as a narcissist (especially nowadays), unless doing so is helpful for you and inspires you to do things for your own good.
There are a lot of aspects of being a human and living a human life which can result in self-hatred and self-destructive behaviour – we’re all a mess, trying to cope with pain, and sometimes we lash out at others because we’re hurting. We can all create drama out of nothing, which is rarely a nothing for us in the moment. We all seek understanding and sympathy and may alter the truth to get it.
Going by what you’ve shared it sounds as though you’re not a narcissist, particularly since you’re very self-reflective and have great insight into your own behaviour, patterns, and narcissistic tendencies. Your concern for the effect you and your other half are having on your children is unusual for a real narcissist – a real narcissist tends to be focused upon the effect their children are having on them, and may blame their children for their problems.
I grew up with narcissists as parents and they consistently saw me, each other, other people as a problem, as the source of all their problems rather than saw themselves as the common denominator for all their problems. This is typical for all types of narcissists.
This part of what you shared stood out – “I’m a passive, borderline type and it has been very difficult to get a diagnosis because I’m really good at answering test questions to make it look like I’m sane (not even on purpose), and have not had a regular psychiatrist or therapist in my life since I was a pre-teen.”
1 – your ability to give the ‘right’ answers to questions to appear ‘sane’ is a natural primal instinct reflex for dealing with social situations (and taking a ‘test’ is a social situation where we may feel ‘threatened’ especially if the results determine our social status. It also shows a high IQ (most of what you’ve stated shows a high IQ – this can be a curse instead of a blessing sometimes as your mind will always be one step ahead of you and probably one step ahead of the minds of others).
2 – If you were taken to a psychiatrist and/or a therapist as a pre-teen – this was probably not a voluntary experience, perhaps forced upon you by those who had ‘authority’ over you and were trying to fix something they saw as broken in you which may not have been broken at all.
This article may be of interest with regards to that – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/promoting-empathy-your-teen/201407/when-parents-blame-their-children
If you’ve had bad experiences in the past with therapists it is normal for you to be hesitant about consulting one. Just because someone has a degree in psychology doesn’t mean they’re good at what they’re supposed to be good at. My godfather was a successful child psychologist who was a complete moron when it came to children (at least when it came to dealing with me as a child – I could play him like a fiddle and I’m not a musician) and he wasn’t perspicacious when it came to adults either (my parents also played him like a fiddle and he obliged with a tune they and he wanted to hear). And yes, if a parent is a narcissist the child absorbs the parent’s ways very easily, so narcissism passes from one to the other – however there are always moments along the path where we can question the path and choose a different way to go – this seems to be where you are, at a point of personal choice about what to do next.
Another thing which stood out was your understanding of your other half and your respect for his personal boundaries – this too is unusual for a narcissist. If you are a narcissist you’re a genius of one and have crafted your comment beautifully to not come across as one while claiming to be one – while this may be something a very adept cerebral narcissist might do, there really isn’t any reason to do it here, no rewards for the effort.
You’re right, you can’t force your other half to do anything, even if you could and he did it… how long would things last, would anything penetrate his defenses and defensiveness, especially if he feels forced. He has to want to change the status quo and usual modus operandi as much as you do. You could influence a change in him simply by a change happening in yourself – real changes within us have a ripple effect, particularly if a relationship is in a rut and for it to stay in that rut it requires that we keep pacing the same sector. If we change our path, it can change the relationship dynamic, but we really have to want to walk a different way – that’s the challenge as old habits can be very ingrained in our psyche.
If you really want things to shift, don’t wait for everyone to be on board or for everything to be perfect, just go for it, see what happens, keep going…
Actually, I was very much in control over whether or not I went to therapy as a preteen. That is because I was primarily raised by my mom, not my Dad. She was never tyrannical with me, and nearly always supportive. She herself required therapy while I was growing up as a result of a rough childhood and subsequent horrible relationships. She was also very open and honest with me about what she was going through, she has said we grew up together. I learned empathy from her. I feel like I should have heeded her warnings about my spouse in the beginning. She saw it coming as if she could smell on him. One of my aunts also warned me about him after her first time meeting him. I was of the mindset that I could handle whatever was thrown my way. So, after nearly 8 years with this, uh, man, I have ended up adopting some unsavory, scary, and sometimes startling behaviors that aren’t typical for me, but there they are. Possibly, or even probably, from all of the gaslighting he’s done. If he’s going to tell me I’m a crazy b****, I might as well make it so. I guess sometimes I stick around just to be as big of a thorn in his butt as he is in mine and make him question his sanity in return. Sort of like revenge for him saying stuff like, “I bet I could push you into killing yourself.” I guess that IS pretty crazy! I just know in my heart that if he wasn’t doing it to me, it would be some other poor girl, and I don’t want that on my conscience. That would bother me more than staying with him, to be honest. I don’t want to watch him tear down another woman, someone who would likely be helping take care of our kids, someone I might even like or see myself in. You know?
I don’t know what I am, I may be becoming a narcissist, but I can’t hold up anymore. I know I am married to one, 16 years, 12 kids, I’m the one he calls “crazy” and on meds for depression, it’s never “us” or “our life” it’s usually him vs me. We have no money but I saved a dog from the street, he tell me he loves me for it, but when I told him I disagreed with him buying another pack of cigarettes when he already had 3 he turned it on me, and I’m “crazy” for making a mountain out of a molehill. I’m always making a mountain out of a molehill and he is “tired” of having to say sorry and being told he’s done something else wrong. He gets completely butthurt and offended everytime I say something to him and I am so tiiired and drained from soothing his ego anymore. I am now shut down from him completely and he’s “begging” me to get back on my meds because, “Your not usually like this”. I am just looping over everything bad and can’t cope.but what meds does he take for his ADHD? What help does he get for his issues. He is the classic ” Im an ass, and how could you love a lug like me” Then he begs me for attention and compassion and the second I open up or let my guard down he starts up again with the insane questions and wonders why I’m shut down again! God I don’t know what to do I am sooo fucking stuck!!!!
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Being stuck in a loop is unfortunately a common experience in life. Humans are creatures of habit, we can turn anything into a habit and any habit can turn from good into a bad habit fairly easily. When we’re stuck in a personal rut and loop it’s hard enough to motivate ourselves to get out of it – as much as we hate our rut, our habits, they offer us a comfort zone and everything outside of that is frightening, unknown, and tends to make us want to return to the safety of the known even if the known is boring us to death. But when we’re stuck in a relationship rut and loop, thus stuck with someone else in the same place doing the same things and the other person seems to be the one keeping us stuck there getting out of the rut, breaking the pattern can seem too big, too challenging and just thinking about it can drain all energy plunging us headlong into an abyss of doom and gloom.
It’s nigh on impossible to get yourself out of a rut and out of being stuck in that rut when you’re depressed, tired, and have given up because you’ve tried everything and nothing works. And yet reaching rock bottom is sometimes exactly where we need to be to get ourselves out – we may need to truly give up and stop struggling to see things, like the way out, clearly. The more we struggle to stop ourselves from reaching rock bottom, the more it make things worse, kicks up dust and obscures the exit.
Sometimes breakdown leads to breakthrough, but for this to happen you need to listen to yourself during the breakdown. When you say that you shut down – that means you’re shutting yourself up inside of yourself. It’s a very intense experience. What conversations do you have within yourself. What do you say to yourself when you’re shut down. Do you focus on what’s wrong with you or on what’s right with you. Or do you focus on what’s wrong with what and who is around you, hoping that everyone and everything will change so that you too can change. What are the looping conversations which you have with yourself and how do these affect your experience of life. What is the story you tell yourself about yourself, and is there any way to tell those stories differently?
He won’t change – it sounds like he’s comfortable with himself as he is (which doesn’t mean he’s happy with himself) and with things as they are (although a smoking habit is often a sign of escaping stress – Never try an force a smoker to quit, you won’t enjoy who they are when they don’t smoke, their cigarettes are their meds) including the negative banter between the two of you. Change terrifies him, his ‘you’re not usually like this’ shows his fear of change. If you change perhaps you won’t love him – and maybe for him your love is what keeps him going, what stops him from plunging into a deep depression.
Men and women process life differently – those differences can make all the difference and cause all sorts of issues in a relationship between a man and a woman. Woman lust for change, for the romance of the unexpected, the excitement of the unpredictable. Men prefer things to stay the same as this allows them to relax their need to constantly be vigilant for threats and dangers. Change for a woman = fun, for a man it = danger.
What would you really like to happen? What would for you be the ideal solution to this problem?
What would happen if you said everything you truly want to say – and what’s stopping you from doing that?
How much of this stuck is caused by you and how much by him? Are you actually working together to keep yourselves stuck? What would happen to both of you if you became unstuck?
What would happen if you bought him cigarettes instead of criticising him for buying them when you can’t afford it? What if you embraced being the ‘crazy’ person he keeps telling you that you are instead of trying to fight it and fight him for calling you that?
These are just questions to play with rather than circling around in the usual negative – if they make you angry, ask yourself why. If they make you sad, ask yourself why. Try getting yourself to talk to yourself differently from how you usually do. Imagine that you don’t know yourself, that you’re a stranger you’ve just met whom you like and would like to get to know – how would you get to know yourself if you didn’t know yourself.
What would you do if you really could become a narcissist? Would this free you?
Who would you like to be and are you sure you’re not who you really want to be?
Explore yourself and explore the internet, there are a lot of people who share how they got themselves out of being fucking stuck, maybe something someone else shares will spark a fire within you and help you get yourself unstuck.
Like this – http://www.mindbodygreen.com/0-18675/7-mental-shifts-to-get-yourself-out-of-a-rut.html
or this – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/tech-support/201403/5-powerful-strategies-get-you-out-rut
There are times when we keep ourselves stuck because we’re not sure we can handle what happens once we let ourselves out of the confines of that stuckness – life beyond the familiar can seem frightening even when the familiar is killing us slowly, and it can make us feel helpless, powerless, useless. When we feel that way we may crawl into ourselves and hide in the dark wishing someone would save us but no one does because they can’t find us since we’ve hidden ourselves well.
Sometimes freedom is taking tiny baby steps in an unknown direction.
A lot of good advice though it’s overwhelming. It’s hard to make changes in your life when the one your with constantly find ways to undermine them and hold you back. I bought him 3 packs of cigarettes to get a deal, save money and last him till a bit till we could get a bit more money. But he “couldnt” find them as always, he constantly loses everything, and I am almost required to help him find things or I’ll pay for it later. As in, if I had helped him look for his cigarettes he already had he wouldn’t have spent the extra money. And there’s the cycle, I chose not to “help” him this time, I told him where they were, he didn’t see them so he gave up because he got up late to work and needed to leave yet he had time to stop and buy another pack. He loses his keys, cigarettes, wallet, and lighters regularly. ADHD. 16 yrs of dealing with ADHD, pride,and anger issues and counseling and back and forth and him thinking he can interpret the therapist and do it on his own and use the rules his way and changing things. We’re so broke I have no insurance, I can’t afford to get my meds, and my coping skills are gone. I’m stuck with either leaving him, with 11 kids in tow, our oldest just turned 18 and moved out, or sticking through it, again, and hoping things get better, even if for a little while. We just filed bankruptcy, we fell so far behind from a major move and our paychecks from our new jobs not panning out at first that we had to borrow from family to cover our first month’s rent. Things look ok budget wise now since we filed but how long till we get here again. I fear for our financial, marital, and emotional futures of our kids as well. I feel I need to do what’s best for me and my kids, focus on improving myself, even if that means leaving him behind eventually. He wants us to be in this together, I don’t believe I can anymore. I’m tired of set backs and being held back. I feel I have to tell him what he wants to hear just to get to a point of peace until I’m ready. My beliefs tell me to help him carry this cross, to hold myself back for the sake of the kids and unity, again but I don’t see him carry mine when I fall, he pushes me down even harder by taking something good I’ve done and holding it down on me. He says he’s sorry, and things get better for a little while. His infidelity in the past is no longer an issue, but the monster he was when he threatened to leave me because I wasn’t good enough for him still exists. When things get hard for him he pulls me down with him, makes me believe he doesn’t love me, and I gave up believing in us because he didn’t want us anymore, and no matter how hard I fought he shoved me away convincing me completely that we were over. I almost flew away from him but I couldn’t leave the kids with that monster. Love doesn’t do that, no matter how hard things are you hold on to what’s good despite the hard, you don’t destroy everything you’ve ever built on and then hope you can rebuild it. I can’t let him destroy me again, I won’t. For him, it’s still him vs me, it’s not us and our life together, so I’m the one still waiting for him to make up his mind, but this time, I think I will be ready. If that makes me a narcissist, so be it, but I won’t be a victim again, and I’m tired of being stuck. Thanks for the advice, it helped to get my thoughts and resolve together.
What you’ve been through, are going through, have yet to go through, and all the logistics of it, the love, the children, the time invested in the relationship, money problems, the versus, life issues, your past, present, future… it is overwhelming. Getting your thoughts together, focusing your resolve… are vital. It can be difficult to do, but you know who you are, even when you’re caught up in confusion and depression – you’re who you say you are not who anyone else says you are, so listen to your self-talk, listen to the wolf within howling at the moon and understand what it is your inner wolf needs!
Thank you soooooo much for this article. It helps me to level with what I have been going through for the last three years. You have literally spelled out everything that I have been up against and continue to be so. I an a “grey rock” to my stalker/peed off narc but that can be very difficult as I run a business that has a lot of presence on the internet which gets attacked all the time, gas-lighting, plagiarism the whole works. Physical stalking also has happened. Narcs really do want to destroy their targets. It will never happen to me I am too stubborn hehe. I have a solicitor and I’m just collecting evidence of attacks for the next level of legal action. Reading your blog has released so much pressure from me. All the things I feel inside wanting to write it down but there was so much chaos in my mind and body. I will read this blog from time to time just to help heal me a little bit when things get too much. THANK YOU. Much love from me.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Stubbornness is a great ability to have when dealing with a narcissist as they are very persistent and relentless. My narcissists used to always criticise my stubbornness, took me awhile to realise it was protecting me against them and that’s why they criticised it. So, pay attention to the subtle details of any personal attacks from your narcissist and learn to spin and flip them around – what they hate about you is also what they admire, envy and fear. They also tend to reveal their own weakness in their attacks, the more personal it is the more they give away about where they have a weak spot. They tend to target others in the areas which are their, the narcissists own, sore spots.
Regularly remind yourself of your own personal power in this situation.
And be aware that the legal system and your solicitor may not fully be prepared for the shenanigans which narcissists get up to – narcissists never think that the law applies to them, they see themselves as above the law and far more clever than it, but they expect it to apply to others. Those who approach them in a logical manner may get confused. Keep your thinking flexible.
You’ve got this, trust yourself and support yourself. It’s tough, it may get tougher, but you can do this… the fact that your narcissist is so obsessed with you means you’re a force to be reckoned with. Don’t forget that even when things get overwhelming and you feel exhausted. Keep going!
Take good care of yourself, and treat yourself when you get a small victory, they add up!
My daughter asked me if i could take care of her dog for one month while she is in one of her residency rotations. I agreed. She flew from connecticut to alabama, stayed at a hotel. She called me while i was at work and left a message on my cell phone requesting a time to meet to drop her dog off. I am a nurse and worked over, i had a pt. Who was passing away and the daughter asked if i could stay a little longer, was sad and exhausted. I had stayed. When i got home i changed clothes and called my daughter. It was about 10:00pm. She had called about, 9:15pm. So i did nt think was that late to call. Told her i was sorry called so late, was attempting to explain why, she loudly told me she was asleep and why was i calling her so late, she had called earlier. I tried to explain, ended up telling her to call in a day or two or whenever she could speak with respect. I checked my messages the next am. No message or call. I was afraid to call her because of her response the night before. So i turned my phone off to charge it while i cleaned the house. Checked for messages, call , none. Went up in my attic to get christmas decorations down to bring to work. I work as a manager at a long term facility, the nurses were going to hang more decorations . I had pink insulation and dust on me . Checked messages and for calls. None. Took quick shower dressed, checked messages again. She called my land line. No message, checked text. I had a wonderful text that apparently was posted on facebook: daughters of nassisistic mothers, group. Stating how she came all the way here for me to take care of her dog, and because she could not talk to me the pm before that i would not answer the phone, when normally i do. And that she had come by my house. Idid not open the door, when i usually do. So that i hadgotten her back a good one. Also that i was the reason for all her relationship problems. REALLY? If i normally always open the door and answer the phone did she ever concider maybe somthing was wrong? She had apparently left my house and went to my mothers. I asked what was going on and was told i purposely did this to get my daughter back. I asked her why she just didnt have her call me from her house and see what was going on. This is impossible! I had not alternative motive. If this is what happens when she is told yes, i would hate to see ,no!.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
It’s all such a minefield! Narcissists claiming to be victims of Narcissists who, in turn, accuse the other of Narcissism. It feels like facing mirrors that reflect endlessly.
Nearly 12 years ago, I was in a short-lived relationship with a man and had a child with him (unplanned pregnancy). It became an awfully combative and deeply unhappy relationship. We broke up when our son was only 2 years old. Since then, the father has re-partnered and lives overseas in a remote location. He rarely contacts our son who he hasn’t seen in years and if, he contacts me, he writes in a very high-brow harshly critical way that circles around itself with riddles and rhetoric, peppered with words like mendacious, fallacious and sociopathic.
Recently I became aware he writes quite a bit about me online describing me as a revolting malicious Narcissist who ruined his life and whose existence continues to cause him untold pain. He claims I am the reason he is stuck in life and suffering terribly.
I was surprised by the heat and volume of his writings as it is almost a decade since I have spoken to him or seen him. When our relationship was unraveling, I said some truly awful things to him like I wished he was dead (in truth, I wished us both dead) and that I hated him and that he was a albatross who had weighed me down (he was long-term unemployed, I was working). In the early days of the breakup, while I did not ever want to get back with him, I did apologise repeatedly for my outbursts. What I said was hurtful and we have a child together who needs his father — and I thought we could amicably co-parent. But he refused my apologies saying he would only accept a specifically-worded apology with certain conditions and undertakings. To me, what he was asking was extreme and I refused to keep apologising, especially as I demanded no apologies from him and his deceitful and hurtful behaviour during our relationship. I figured the pain we caused each other was a by-product of our being ill-suited and getting out of the relationship was the best way forward so that’s what I did.
Fast forward 10 years (a different country, marriage and step children for him) and yet his vicious online writing seems to keep his hurt as fresh and specific as if we were together weeks ago, not years. He belongs to many online NPD survivor groups and posts repeatedly that I am monstrous and am The Eye of Sauron who has wounded him beyond limits and that he is incapable of healing as the scars are so deep. The same language looping around endlessly.
Over the years I have had counselling from the trauma of our relationship and also learning to cope as a sole parent. Life is good and I have moved on – postgrad studies, a new home, working for myself and making a loving home for our son. My memories of this man have dimmed to the point where I struggle to remember what he looked or sounded like. I can accept that my lashing out at him hurt him deeply, but what sort of person keeps their hurt alive, stoking it daily like an ember, so it burns more strongly over time?
Thank you for sharing 🙂
What struck me in your story about your ex was the fact that he’s remarried – and for him to still be obsessed with you to the degree that he is after such a long time – is an incredibly difficult position for him to put his new wife and family.
If the person you love and married because you love them, and with who you had children, spent all of their emotional and intellectual energy, and time (because going online to do what he does takes time – time which he could and should be spending with you and your kid, or on doing things for his new life) obsessing over their ex and everything they claim their ex did to them which they can never ever get over, and if they stated that their ex had hurt and scarred them so deeply they could never heal… that would make the relationship you have… what exactly?
He’s basically making both her and his new children suffer, as well as you and your child suffer, turning his relationship present and his relationship past into ashes in the fire of his fury because he’s decided he can never get over his own suffering.
His suffering is more important than anyone else. His suffering is an intrinsic part of his identity and persona – and he probably gets a lot of support, sympathy, and attention, kudos, for it when he writes about it online and discusses it in NPD forums.
He’s addicted to being a victim of a narcissist, and he really doesn’t think or feel anything for anyone but himself (and even that is debatable).
You know exactly what the answer to this question is – “I can accept that my lashing out at him hurt him deeply, but what sort of person keeps their hurt alive, stoking it daily like an ember, so it burns more strongly over time?” – he’s who he claims that you are.
No one else really exists for a narcissist – everyone else is a mirror, a piece and extension of them, an actor in their lifetime film.
Once they find a story which suits them and their passion, their pain, their wound, and fuels them, burns brightly, they get stuck into it and become a prisoner of it. The more they tell the story, the more it gets embellished, exaggerated, fictionalised. The more they tell it, the more it becomes real. The more they tell it, the more they believe it.
The more distance they have from the actual reality and origin story, the more real it becomes to them because they can make it into whatever they need it to be for them. What he’s telling others about you, as you can see, is not about you at all – it’s all about him.
I’d advise you to stop reading what he says ‘about you’ but I know how weirdly fascinating it can be. It’s a bit like what Hollywood does to a real story – which is use about 2% of the real story, enough to say that ‘it’s based on a true story’, and the rest is the imagination of a creative mind, twisting truth into something which sounds and looks more interesting than truth, and ends up being so far removed from the actual true story that you wonder why they bothered to base it on anything at all.
The hardest part is that you have a child together and the fictions he will tell about his relationship with you, about you, will affect his relationship with your child, even more the fictions he tells about your child will hurt your child. He may claim to love your child greatly but his child’s ‘evil mother’ prevents him from expressing his love for his child and having a relationship with your child. Bet he’s accused you of ‘parental alienation’ and all of the crimes which go with that, while at the same time he probably makes as little effort as is humanly possible to actually have contact with your child and actively have a decent relationship.
One day he will bemoan the fact that all his children hate him and it’s the fault of everyone, their mothers, them, their upbringing (which somehow he didn’t have anything to do with), society, his neighbours, the man on the moon, but him. He’ll believe it when he says it, will keep saying it to make it so, and will never understand how his attachment to his own suffering and how he chose to be obsessed with it ruined his relationships, and will keep doing so.
There’s nothing you can do about him. You can’t stop someone on that kind of a roll, try to stop them and you will be crushed. Try to get them to understand what they don’t want to understand and you will be crushed. Try to bring some normal to the crazy and they will bring their crazy down on your head like a ton of bricks.
The best that you can do is what you’re already doing, and have already done.
Thank you for responding in such detail, Ursula. I really appreciate your take on this. My family and friends all just dismiss him laughingly as mad – and can’t understand how perplexing it can be to still be centre stage in someone’s tragic play after a decade-long absence.
I think what makes it difficult to deal with is that, for most people, victimhood is usually such an enervating experience to want to be attached to. We’ve all been hurt in life yet he draws so much ‘power’ from it, garnering support from disciples around the world. Such a lot of energy, time and effort invested into being hurt and staying that way.
Sporadically he does express undying love for our son – in very flowering almost Shakespearean prose. He hints that dark forces prevent him from being a more present and active father and that when our son is older he will understand how difficult everything has been for him. Of course, he stops short of actually providing support – be it emotionally, physically or financially. My son finds his father’s erratic emails confusing and when we talk about it, I reassure him that he is such a loveable and worthwhile person but that his dad isn’t in a good place in his life and hasn’t been for some time.
I will now disengage.
I found out about the support forums during an idle moment and got sucked down the rabbit hole, reading post after post (some of his posts have been set into memes backgrounded by anguished pictures of suffering). Bizarre.
Thanks again for your sharing your insights; they are helpful x
Unfortunately (or fortunately depending on how you look at it) other people don’t understand what it is like to be on the receiving end of a narcissist’s crazy until it happens to them.
No amount of trying to apply logic to a narcissist, their behaviour, actions, etc, will make them make sense to you or anyone else – they are illogical even to other narcissists (each narcissist lives in their own isolated version of reality and parallel universe).
You’ve been designated as the ‘epic villain’ in your ex’s narrative – all narcissists need an epic villain, an evil foe, the ultimate bad guy, to battle so that they can be the awesome hero. Your villain status has very little to do with you personally – narcissists aren’t interested in other people as people, we’re all actors in their film starring them, and get given the roles they need us to have so that they can stand out as the lead, the star, the legend. We’re basically all extras in a Tom Cruise movie. Who we are according to a narcissist is who they need us to be for them to be who they need to be – if your narcissist is a Covert narcissist then they will be the damsel in permanent distress crying out for a knight in shining armor to save them from a fire-breathing dragon. If a knight presents themselves and tries to save the narcissist all will be well for awhile, but that knight may end up becoming the new dragon if they happen to kill the previous dragon.
The ‘victim’ role when a narcissist is playing it is a powerful one. It gives them great manipulative influence over others, much more so than any other role. These days in particular with so much awareness focused on trauma, PTSD, from psychological abuse… it’s a playground for narcissists to control others by playing the victim. They can excuse pretty much all of their narcissistic behaviour using the terms and conditions of being a ‘victim’. Your ex has found his sweet spot and he’s set up home there.
Your son will be confused, but eventually a penny will drop and the confusion will give way to insight. He’s lucky he has you in his life giving him stability and nobility of character. One day he’ll see his father’s ‘love’ for what it is – narcissistic love which is all about the narcissist talking the talk but never walking the walk. It’ll hurt like hell when that penny drops and he may never get over it but some pains are part of our life to inspire inner depth and strength. It will help him deal with life with a strong inner core guided by wisdom. He is going to be someone who he will be proud of being.
You too are someone who you can be proud of being. Focus on yourself, your son, your life without your narcissist ex – and in those moments when you find yourself wondering and wandering over to the dark side, checking to see what he’s up to, remember that this is something you recognised and escaped. Also worth noting is that narcissists tend to obsess most about those who didn’t accept their BS, who said ‘No’ to them, who didn’t allow themselves to be controlled, dominated and used as a permanent doormat. A portion of his obsession with you is because you are who he can never be – someone who knows who they are, who is real, who has a real grasp of reality, and who respects themselves enough to say ‘No’ to what doesn’t nourish or nurture the real self. Within all his vitriol against you is a compliment – he hates that he admires you for seeing through him and letting him go.
Like I said, narcissists aren’t logical… but within the illogical there is a tiny droplet of logic.
Best wishes, keep being yourself and doing what you’re doing!
I started checking out the whole Narcissist situation due to circumstances in my own life. It’s left me questioning many things, wondering if I am the Narc, victim of a Narc, and so on. I recently cut myself off from the outside world because the chaos, emotional pain, inside me, the confusion, just became to much. I have gone from a relatively happy healthy person, to wishing I would simply go to sleep and never wake up. I have been in a relationship/marriage to a foriegnor for 6 years. I adored him. His family, my three trips to visit. Within 6 months of our marriage he began making vile hurtful comments about my body during our online times. ( This is how we have lived our marriage over the course of the years) Asking me to invite my daughter and girlfriends to join us on cam for sex. Affairs with several other women over the years, that I didn’t know about until he became angry, upset for various reasons, he would then send me the photos. He always request money, yet claims it’s not his motivation. Excusing himself from my life for weeks, days, months at a time, before coming back in contact and within a day or two…Ask for money. He tells other women he was involved with in one form or another all about how much he loves his wife. How I tricked him, used him, hurt him, cheated on him. What he doesn’t tell them is why we had the breakdown in our marriage. So much more I could say, but it’s like writing a book. I don’t know who I am anymore. My health is gone. My ability to work, to function
Thank you for sharing 🙂
It sounds like you’ve lost contact with your self, your core. Just as our body has an immune system so does our psyche. The immune system of the psyche tends to kick in when the mind and emotions and sense of self get overloaded and blow a fuse. Cutting yourself off from the outside world may be your way of giving yourself some much needed ‘self’ time. A time out from everyone else to reconnect with who you are.
When you reach that point of not knowing who you are anymore – you need to take a time out to find yourself again.
Being in a relationship with a narcissist can cause a complete rethink, especially once you realise that who you thought someone else was isn’t who they are. If they aren’t who you thought they were, maybe neither are you who you thought you were. And if you were relying on them in any way for your own sense of self… once you no longer trust them, what you were relying on them for in the way of self reflection also goes, becomes untrustworthy.
He does sounds like a narcissist. He’s accusing you of everything he’s doing, and in accusing you of it he’s excusing himself of it. He’s innocent and you’re guilty – but he’s kind of completely missing the point that by doing this he’s labeling himself as a complete moron, which is typical of a narcissist, they’re so focused on saving their asses that they don’t realise how stupid they sound when doing it.
You’re not a narcissist, but wondering if you are is worth doing as it takes you deeper into your self and you need to go there – going deeper into the self is necessary when you lose the will to live. You need to reconnect with your primal instinct, with your authentic self, with what really moves you and matters to you, you need to care for yourself and somehow you’ve switched that part of you off, or given that job to someone else, like this man, who is not qualified to do that job for you.
Feel the pain, feel the hurt, let it spur you to free yourself from the lies and ties which aren’t healthy for you. Figure out how you got yourself into this mess, but don’t be hard on yourself for it, this is life, this is human, this is what happens when we take a risk – sometimes the rewards for the risk aren’t where we expect them to be.
He’s not worth it, but you are – this loss of ability is just an end to this story, there’s a new story starting right here and now for you, seize it. Write this book!
Thank you so much for this blog post. Although I’ve known for a while that my ex is a narcissist, I am still surprised at how “textbook” his behaviour is. He refers to me as a “villain”. We were married for 9 years and have been separated for 1 year and a half and we have two young children. During most of our marriage I believed his victim stories, I believed he was a victim of his ADHD and anxiety and learning disability. When his verbal abuse became unbearable and when I was managing 100% of both of our lives and our children’s lives and felt I was about to crack I finally told my sister about him, and started seeing things from a different lens. It took me a long time, but I started realizing that his words meant nothing and that only his behaviour mattered. Things are still very difficult. I was able to set up barriers, like supervised access exchanges so that he couldn’t come into physical contact with me, since he would verbally abuse me at every instance in front of the kids. We use Our Family Wizard to communicate but he still sends me 10 page abusive emails. He also tells the kids things like “Mom is a thief – she is stealing you away from me” and other awful things that a 6 yr old can’t comprehend. We are in the court system, and my problem now is that he is trying to make a case for himself for spousal support. Although he worked the whole time we were married, and for 10 months after separation, he is now trying to claim that he lost his job because of me and can’t get another one because he is “unfit to work”, according to a doctor’s note. Of course this is all ridiculous. The kids live with me and see him every second weekend. He says he wants more time but has rejected every offer I have made for more time (which were based on our joint custody recommendation made my a psychologist). He says he’s $30K in debt but will not respond to my offers to buy him out of our house or to settle our finances. When he does respond, my lawyer receives letters of complaint but he offers no alternative suggestion or solution. It’s incredibly frustrating and stressful. I’ve been working, caring for the kids, paying for childcare and a mortgage and sending him clothing and paying for our kids’ activities etc. etc. and yet he is still the victim. What I find most difficult is the “death by a thousand cuts”. His accusations just keep coming. He is continually dropping bombs. He is threatening to “expose” me by making my private emails public and by naming me and all of the horrible things I’ve done. I’m terrified that a judge will believe his stories and say I owe spousal support (which I could not afford). I want/need him out of my life. I want to settle all of our issues asap, even if it means a financial loss for me, but our trial date is a year away. He seems to want to drag everything out. I’m at a loss.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
From the sounds of it you’re dealing with the type of narcissist who has found a position of power within the role of the victim – although this type of narcissist tends to see themselves as heroic martyrs rather than victims.
They are permanent damsels in distress who need everyone else to save them from some dragon (sometimes more than one dragon) that is threatening their quality of life, but trying to save them is an endless quest ending in failure. Any knight in shining armor who defeats one of the narcissist’s dragons usually ends up becoming the dragon which another knight will have to battle on behalf of the narcissist.
At the moment your ex is trying to turn your children into knights in shining armor to battle their dragon of a mother who is threatening their poor heroic martyr of a father. Like most narcissists he’s making his love a prize to be won by those willing to fight his battles and dragons for him, but that love will never be reachable as there will always be a new battle to fight and foe to vanquish on behalf of the narcissist. Once upon a time you were the knight in shining armor who had to save your ex from all his dragons – his ADHD, his anxiety, his learning disabilities, his misunderstood specialness, and anything else he’d find while feeling sorry for himself and feeling that the world didn’t appreciate him and give him what he deserved.
This type of narcissist is most commonly known as a Covert Narcissist, however some psychologists writing on the subject of NPD refer to them as sensitive, introverted, shy or vulnerable narcissists. They are harder to spot than Overt Narcissists as the traits and behaviours associated with NPD are inverted and are hidden beneath a veneer of the opposite of the usual criteria used to identify a narcissist. The arrogance, grandiosity, sense of entitlement, are all there but they are not immediately obvious or in your face.
One of the most common signs of a Covert Narcissist is that they are a ‘help-rejecting complainer’ – if you do a search of this term you will find many articles which describe what your ex has been doing:
“The Help Rejecting Complainer (HRC). This is a term coined by Jerome Frank in 1952 to describe a person who is so invested in being miserable that though she is evidently unable to pull herself out of the hole she’s in, she is also unwilling to let others help pull her out. She complains ad nauseum about whatever miserable, unfortunate or unfair situation she happens to be plagued by while giving a million excuses why seemingly reasonable solutions to her dilemma won’t work for her.” – description via http://www.mckcoaching.com/handle-help-rejecting-complainer/
Also worth reading:
“A need to feel special. You would think that expressing genuine sympathy would be a way out of this trap, but it doesn’t always work like that. People who feel sorry for themselves on a regular basis often want to feel special, and only know how to do it by presenting themselves as the most damaged, mistreated or victimized person they know. My colleague Vicki Wurman and I wrote about this kind of “one downsmanship” – that is, a kind of reverse competitiveness in which the winner is the one who is suffering the most. (I’ve listed the article if you’re interested at the bottom of this blog).” – excerpt via https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/the-couch/201410/whats-the-best-way-deal-help-rejecting-complainers
“Why do people complain then reject help?
The difference between help-rejecting complainers and people who ask for help and work to solve their problems is one of motivation and belief.
Some help-rejecting complainers are afraid of actually solving their problem (or problems) because this requires action and effort on their part. Change requires effort. It isn’t easy to change!
For others, the problem itself has become an essential part of who they are. It defines them, even to a large extent in some cases. Without it they’d feel lost.
Think about it. If being perceived or if viewing one’s self as lacking, a victim, or a “failure”, rewards you (with sympathy, friendships, deferential treatment, perhaps even money), you might become comfortable with this description of self. No, not everyone finds pity or special treatment pleasant, but some people really do.
If you take away the victim-hood, the person has to re-navigate all their relationships. The power balance changes, the special treatment is no more, and the helpless image (my hands are tied, I can’t do anything) dissolves.
This is why rewarding someone for bad behavior or false beliefs is generally a lousy idea, one with both personal and political ramifications.” – from https://blogs.psychcentral.com/therapy-soup/2013/02/how-to-deal-with-a-help-rejecting-complainer/
There are plenty of articles on this subject which you might find worth exploring as information and being informed is power when dealing with a narcissist. The more you can understand their patterns and what motivates them, the more you can learn to deal with their drama and shenanigans.
‘Dragging everything out’ interminably is typical of a narcissist. Your ex does not have the same worldview and goals that you do – you want a conclusion to this situation so that you can draw a line under it and move on. You want to work out a deal which will benefit both of you and most of all your children so that all of you can get on with your lives and get along. You want to be fair, reasonable, logical. None of these things is what a narcissist wants. Your ex loves the drama of this scenario, the more mess, chaos and inability to resolve problems, the better it is for him and his storyline. He is enjoying being the ultimate victim who is the focal point of everyone involved. Every offer you make to solve all the problems he creates and finds will be rejected – this means that you and everyone else will have to keep jumping through hoops for him.
Dealing with a narcissist through the legal system is a nightmare – the law never applies to them, they see themselves as being above it, as being able to make up the rules for it (which usually involves the law applying to everyone except them because they’re special) and everyone else has to adjust and adapt to their version of it. While
My suggestion to you would be to not be as generous as you have been thus far as this hasn’t worked. He does not appreciate how fair you are being and he never will, he will see your generosity through the twisted lens through which he views the world, himself and everyone else, and will continue to think that he’s getting the short straw, will continue to find new complaints and demands to make until he’s bankrupted you and you no longer have anything left to offer him and he’ll then complain about that.
Read up on help-rejecting complainers, and make sure your lawyer and your psychologist are aware that this is his type. Your psychologist might appreciate this article – http://brettnewcomb.com/working-with-the-most-difficult-client-the-health-rejecting-complainer/ – and may be able to offer a way to present things to your ex in a manner which will get him to be more amenable and less obstructionist.
Also, don’t be in a rush to settle the matter ASAP – while I totally get this wish, this may cause you to make rash decisions and to give more than you should be giving just to get this problem and this man to shut up and go away. He’ll use your desire to solve this problem quickly against you. Maybe taking things slowly, like the tortoise and the rabbit, is worth considering.
As for the death by a thousand cuts – as long as his accusations get a rise out of you they’ll keep coming, as long as he feels that he can push your buttons he’ll keep pushing them. His attacks aren’t really about you, nothing is every about anyone else where a narcissist is concerned, it’s all about the narcissist, learn to read between the lines, between the stabs. Where he hits you – that’s where he’s vulnerable. He’s afraid that you’re going to expose him and show the world what a horrible person he is – he’s threatening you with what terrifies him.
Pause, give yourself time to think, and take good care of yourself!
Wow, you hit the nail on the head. 1000x thank yous for your detailed response. Despite all of my research, I had not heard of help rejecting complainers. I read the links you included and it fits my ex to a “T”. He is keen to start mediation, although I think he just wants another platform to air his grievances against me. I now have a new arsenal of questions to ask potential mediators. There is a tiny bit of hope that he will want to settle because he’s so in debt and his employment insurance money will stop soon, but he has a history of making decision that aren’t in his best interest, so I’m not holding my breath. In any case, whether or not we try mediation, this information will help guide me in my next steps. Thanks again.
Yes Jennifer he will drag EVERYTHING out. My freind and I, we are writing a book together about his abuse, is experiencing the same. I think maybe just accept that this is what your narcissist will do. Maybe when you know this is what will happen then you can accept this until he moves on or you find a way to move on, completely. Any legal affairs to sort out only communicate through a lawyer. Avoid direct communication whenever possible. Try to avoid going to court if you can. Your narcissist will punish you by telling horrible lies about you in court. He may even have a sympathetic judge!
I am in a relationship with a narsacist and I managed to escape once. I then got bombarded and so did my mother 1st with weeks of mazty insults. When I answered back with the facts it got worse. The place I was staying was temporary do i had to go back since then she makes sure I have no access to my money. She has a car I don’t I have health issues so im not allowed to work I have disability itzon a card like a debit card she is in possession of that her response “I never know what your gonna do your crazy. She knows I won’t leave without that card course I could report it stolen and get a new one. I have been in the hospital for a week now tonight was the first time they gave me food. She ate it because ” she worked all day while I had i.v’s she then began in began insulting me because I won’t take care of my heath and is hospitalized she is having a chrones flare because I don’t think of her. My life is taking care of her to avoid abuse. Either way she is abusive. I have no family no friends I’m a narsacist dream if I don’t find a way out soon I’ll end up dead. I’m caught on a hamster wheel in hell she never listens whatever I say or do is wrong. I had a business for 27 years with a reputation I worked hard to cultivate some clients I as i had over 10 years she thought I was a joke and made it impossible for me to work I had to let it go my reputation now laughable even among those colleges. In 2 years I’m not Leah. I’m a shell of a woman who lives to avoid avoid abuse witch in reality I can’t. I get to go home tomorrow if I can find a way. I made her so sick she can’t she takes my meds my money and leaves me home with no food and no money. I’m done I’m at the end of my rope my strength is gone she took it all I let her thinking I’d be safer. She lies so much I have no clue what is truth I think 1% alternative facts are her favorite. Any help I’d appreciate because I can’t reach out any more I’m exhausted from her. In her health care provider. She complains we don’t have sex the past year I blame it on my health how do I sleep with the enemy. I can’t with no money I can’t even get a roommate I have money she just takes it. Thanks for letting Mr vent
Thank you for sharing 🙂
When you’re caught in the web of a narcissist who has decided that you belong to them, you need to extract yourself bit by bit. Starting from the inside and working your way to the outside. If you leave them suddenly as you did before, a narcissist goes into ’emergency’ mode and chases after you with everything they have to force you to go back. Don’t worry about the areas where you don’t as yet have power, focus on where you do have power in the situation. And you do have power even if you feel powerless.
You left her once before – this is an important point to keep in mind as it means you have the ability and will to get away. Circumstances forced you to go back, but the experience shows you that even though she has a lot of control over you and the practical side of your life, she doesn’t have total control.
One of the things which will help you in your present situation is to free your mind from her, and one of the ways to do that is to research and gather information about narcissists in general to understand your particular narcissist. For instance her need to have control over your money is because she is terrified of losing you. Controlling your money gives her control over you – her need to control shows her fear and insecurity. She wants to make you completely dependent upon her so that you will never leave her. Narcissists are terrified of being abandoned, rejected, left alone. A lot of what they do is driven by intense fear – the need to control is a fear-based need.
The truth of the matter is that you are the one with more power in this relationship, which is why she spends so much time trying to take the power away from you and make you feel powerless. All her dramas, all her blaming you sessions, all her lies, are signs of her powerlessness. Narcissists tend to pass onto others their own wound, their narcissistic injury. The way we feel around them is often a reflection of how they feel – all interactions with a narcissist are all about the narcissist.
“In order to protect themselves, they invest a lot of energy building up defenses. One of those defenses to is develop a “False Self”; which is a mask of behaviour that allows them to put on a show of being real in public. However, this pretense leaves the narcissist constantly guarding themselves from being “found out”, making them overly sensitive to narcissistic injury. Narcissistic injury is any perceived threat (real or imagined) to the narcissist’s self-esteem or self-worth. So in order to maintain their illusion and protect their false self from any fluctuations of a disappointed ego-ideal, the narcissist demands that they receive perfect mirroring, stroking, and responses from their victims; this attention is known as narcissistic supply.” – excerpt from http://narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/ – This is an article worth reading as it explains what it is like to be the victim of a narcissist. This site also has a lot of information about narcissists.
She may have control over your money, but she doesn’t have control over your mind – and that’s the part of you which you need to focus upon freeing from her.
It’s important for you to understand the dynamic between you and your part in it as you can’t change her and her pattern, but you can change how you respond to her and her pattern. Altering how you respond to her helps to gradually extract you from the relationship bit by bit.
These are useful sites to check out:
This article gives a detailed description of a ‘controlling narcissist’ like the one you’re with – http://lynnenamka.com/narcissism/
” They have a “Don’t question me rule. Do as I say.” Some have a “Jump to it right now” rule. You get the glare, the mean look or the long-suffering sigh of “Look what I have to put up with” if you don’t move immediately to do what they want. If additionally they have perfectionistic tendencies, nothing you do will please them. Your work will not be up to their standards and they will criticize and nitpick at you.
Defensive narcissists can’t stand criticism and get their hackles up when corrected when they’ve done something wrong. They become angry to get you to stop calling them on their stuff. They pick fights with you if you don’t agree with what they say. They are willing to yell louder, distort facts to serve their purpose and fight dirty. You can’t win an argument with someone who KNOWS that they are always right.
Remember, you don’t have to attend every argument that you are invited to. You don’t have to participate in conflict with people who do not listen to what you are saying and who try to convince you that you are wrong. Some people get high on fighting and dominating others. Some are thin-skinned and get upset over petty things that others would ignore. They will hold you hostage and try to make you feel guilty by getting upset often if you let them. One man told me that he liked to keep people off balance because it helped him get what he wanted.” – excerpt from http://lynnenamka.com/narcissism/
This is a site which gives a detailed list of common behaviours and tactics of narcissists, it also has links to online NPD support groups – http://outofthefog.website/personality-disorders-1/2015/12/6/narcissistic-personality-disorder-npd
This is a blog which gives advice on how to leave a narcissist – http://letmereach.com/
This blog has a lot of information on narcissists, resources on the subject and links to other sites – http://n-continuum.blogspot.co.uk/
When dealing with a narcissist it helps to read up about them, both from professionals and from people who share their personal stories, as this can aid in figuring out your own narcissist, and your relationship and story with them.
Take good care of yourself!
Have you thought of writing a book rather than exposing yourself to narcissists on the internet? I can tell you are not a narcissist. You do not have that robotic style of language. I do not know if you understand that comment. I am writing a book about a freind of mine who is a male domestic abuse victim Secrets Of A Male Domestic Abuse Victim. It focuses on notes written by him to support his safety order application and diary entries. I have added educational chapters. We are working together on the book. It is very therapeutic for him. Hopefully it does well when it is published.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
The majority of the people who comment on my blog aren’t narcissists, they’re people who have had a relationship with a narcissist, who share their stories and experiences with me because I share mine, and together we help, support and inform each other.
I may in some ways be exposing myself to narcissists by blogging, but I’m also opening myself up to making contact with a lot of wonderful people, and the non-narcissists in the world far outweigh the narcissists.
The blogging format is an interactive one and I have learned a lot from those who have taken the time to talk with me (and that includes learning from the rare narcissists who have commented on here).
Some risks are very worth taking.
Best wishes on your book!
Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! On my journey I have often found that others can put into words what I simply don’t have the vocabulary for at that stretch. I just recently had the ah ha…. Sadly that means I have a NP and an ex and based on the escalation of his current marriage I would venture to say he found one worse than him and raising another. I just came through, and sure I will occasionally go back to, a phase of, well I am the common denominator, so it must be me. I must be the issue. The truth part of that is since I didn’t have a clue about my NP other than she and I must have never bonded, (The excuse I landed on when everything else hurt too much to believe) I am the common denominator. I left my ex when my therapist said, ‘it makes perfect sense you would recreate your childhood trauma to save your marriage.’. That was just the start of healing. Now almost 10 years later, and by now I mean the ah ha happened last night, I have 4 children who have a grandparent who is an N and a bio dad who is as well as the even more toxic and violent wife of his. So I am tasked with giving my kids the tools I didn’t have and am slowly discovering. They already don’t believe anyone can help because so far any outsiders trying to help end up not seeing it and the kids are left feeling defeated again. I appreciate your article and the genuine and authentic nature of it. I hate we all belong to this group but am glad we are not having to go it alone!
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I also found my story in those told by others, giving me words to explain things, and those precious Ah Ha moments when pieces of the puzzle fall into place, and it helped me on my journey, to see my own story. It’s happened in bursts and spurts along the way, with the most life changing one coming only a few years ago just before my parents resurfaced in my life (I’d been NC for over a decade from them) bringing their usual narc mess with them.
Dealing with the effects of having an NP can take time, and you have to respect your own pace, your journey and needs for healing. There’s a lot to process and figure out. Each Ah Ha can trigger a review of the past, seeing it again through the new perspective with new information. It can be both exhilarating and terrifying. So be gentle with yourself – children of narcissist parents tend to learn early on to be hard on themselves. Be careful of the tendency to see yourself as the root cause of all problems – this is a knock on effect of growing up with an NP who will make their child responsible for their mess, and for solving it – and it’s a hard habit to break.
Give yourself lots of breathing space.
This is an article worth reading – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/ – it explores the effects of being in a relationship with a narcissist. It also shows how far awareness of narcissists has come, and how it is developing. Info about narcissists used to be mainly focused on the narcissists, but now it has shifted onto those who are on the receiving end of a narcissist and their behaviour.
There are many positive benefits in the negative. For instance your children’s experience of finding outsiders unhelpful (and sometimes part of the problem) makes them self-reliant. They, like you, have learned to help themselves, tap into their inner strengths, found their personal power, be their own heroes – which is a valuable experience to have in life.
Being the child of a narcissist has many nightmares connected to it but unlike the narcissist we don’t have to stay stuck in the wound as they are.
Keep doing what you are doing, trust your journey and where it is taking you. Take good care of yourself!
Reblogged this on Laetitia Latham Jones and commented:
Knowledge is power!
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Reblogged this on You think I just don't understand, but I don't believe you..
Thank you very much 🙂
I’m really concerned that I’m a narcissist. I definitely have narcissistic tendencies and I have recently ‘decided’ that my sibling is a narcissist. I have definitely suffered from depression and anxiety as diagnosed by a doctor. I’m just so worried that I’m the one who caused all the issues. My sibling used to say that I was the cause of stress in the house and I didn’t accept it because i felt they were. Now I’m confused and lost
Thank you for sharing 🙂
First off – everyone has narcissistic tendencies, narcissism is a phase of human development which we all go through, and there are positive aspects to it which are needed and healthy.
This article explains the different types of narcissism with a focus on NPD – https://www.psychologytoday.com/articles/201609/the-real-narcissists – it specifies that:
“The term narcissist has been widely deployed to describe not only a passel of difficult relatives and regretted exes, but also both nominees for president and the entire generation known as Millennials. Is narcissism really so widespread or on the rise in the general population?
A growing consensus among psychologists says no, it isn’t. True pathological narcissism has always been rare and remains so: It affects an estimated 1 percent of the population, and that prevalence hasn’t changed demonstrably since clinicians started measuring it. Most (but not all) putative narcissists today are innocent victims of an overused label. They are normal individuals with healthy egos who may also happen to indulge in the occasional selfie and talk about their accomplishments. They may even be a bit vain. But while we’re diagnosing friends, relatives, and our kids’ classmates, true pathological narcissists may be evading detection because most of us don’t understand the many forms the condition may take.”
If you’re truly concerned that you are a narcissist then I would recommend getting a professional diagnosis. I would hazard a guess that you won’t be diagnosed with NPD, and that your narcissistic tendencies are normal for a human being.
As for being ‘the one who caused all the issues’ and your sibling telling you that you were the ’cause of stress in the house’ – this is a matter of perspective, and perspective changes based on where you’re standing when you’re looking at something, and it tends to be biased in favour of the self. Perhaps to your sibling you were a cause of stress, but your sibling was a cause of stress for you, and thus both of you would have seen each other as being the source of issues while not seeing yourselves the way the other saw you. So you’re probably both a bit guilty of causing issues, and share the responsibility in this scenario and dynamic.
Who is at fault and to blame for past issues is less important than what you do now with what you know and understand now. You don’t have to keep doing what you used to do just because that’s what you did before.
This is an article which explores ‘healthy narcissism’ and the positive side of being narcissistic – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/contemporary-psychoanalysis-in-action/201609/what-is-healthy-narcissism – it says that:
“Healthy narcissism is related to self-esteem and self-worth but it is not exactly the same. It’s taking pleasure in one’s beauty, in the workings of one’s mind, in the accomplishment of a tough job well done. It is ecstatic joy in oneself. Although the joy of healthy narcissism can fleeting, it is powerful and sustaining sensation.”
Being human is difficult, it often takes lots of time and trouble, pain and pain-staking self examination, to figure things out, and relationships are always a challenge because it’s not just you, it’s you + someone else with all their human complications and quirks (which may clash with your own).
The hardest part is accepting ourselves as we are, and accepting others as they are – being gentle on ourselves for not being ‘perfect’, for making mistakes, and being a bit of a mess. The gentler we are with ourselves, the easier it is to be gentler with others. The more we understand ourselves, the more we can understand others.
Since you have anxiety and depression I would recommend being careful when it comes to diagnosing yourself, depression tends to make self-judgment harsher and darker (seeing everything wrong as being your fault), and anxiety tends to pick on minor details and make them huge and scary – Don’t turn your natural and normal narcissism and very human narcissistic tendencies into you being a narcissist.
It’s good to self reflect and examine your life and relationships, opening yourself up to others perspective, just do it with care for the self and cut yourself slack.
Take good care of yourself!
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Bravo on this excellent response. This in and of itself should be shared.
Thank you very much for sharing 🙂
Just a big THANKYOU!
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Off my chest,
My ex best friend, call her Jane, might have narcasistic tendencies, but I hate to think that. Other times I worry that it was really me that was the problem.
We had been friends since we were babies, over 20 years. We were pretty much attached at the hip until about 14. I was homeschooled and Jane was public schooled, which before this had never been a problem. She started ignoring me, to hang with the “cooler” friends. I hung onto the friendship and made 90% of the effort. I wish i had let it die back then, but she was like a sister to me. Jane used to compare her friends. She had a history of ditching friendships if she wasn’t the center of attention.
Two examples: One friend’s mother was diagnosed with cancer and died, call this girl Judy. Jane came up with a reason to dump Judy. She did the same when another mutual friend, Kate, became pregnant out of wedlock (Kate and I had both been bridesmaids in Jane’s wedding). In hindsight I feel like a jerk for not calling Jane out and sticking up for Judy and Kate.
My dumping was a slow ghosting process. It started when Jane got angry at me for saying anything about my wedding before her’s was over(we were both engaged), and then she dropped out of the bridal party for my wedding because she couldn’t stand my mother (my mom can be difficult sometimes). When I asked her if she still wanted me in hers, she said yes. Another point I regret not bailing of the friendship, but she was like a sister….
Fast forward, a year a later we are both married and seem to have put everything behind us. I found out I was pregnant, and there was a little more distance. After my son was born. She ghosts me, but stays friends on facebook. I chalk it up to her being busy and forgetting to call back…. so dumb…. After awhile, I realize she ghosted, but I was still struggling with the whole facebook friends thing… I can’t delete her…. she was like family….
Finally after 4 years, I send her a facebook email to, kindly, apologize for whatever I did, but also to officially close the chapter on the friendship. I needed closure. She emailed back and told her she “checked out” the last few years because I talked too much what was going on in my life, and accused me of bragging… She also tells me how much better her current bff is. I again apologized. Afterward, I deleted all contact information and unfriend her.
As first I felt like maybe I was the one with the issue, but after thinking about it I realized this is her issue not mine. This was a few days ago, and I feel like a weight has been lifted!
I have decided I love friends, just not BFF type friends. The cult like “sisterhood” is toxic and should be avoided at all costs. We all have enough responsibilities and expectations without having to be the minions of a queen bee….
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Always trust the way that you feel – if you feel “like a weight has been lifted!” then your assessment of the relationship and situation is correct.
Thank you, this article seems spot on. I was married to an abusive NPD woman for 20+ years. I had no idea what NPD was until she accused me of being the narcissist. Shes told everyone she knows, including my friends that I’m a bi-polar narcissist. My response was to find new friends. Its been a challenge. I’m still struggling to recover and I have some natural tendencies to ruminate on things (which leads to depression if I don’t deal with it of course). Every few months I play this horrible game where I ask myself, “Am I really the narcissist that is perhaps under some strange self-delusion?” So I find another online narcissist test and rank myself and my ex wife. I will mark myself anytime there is even a remote possibility that I may have some narcissistic characteristic, and grant her the benefit of the doubt wherever I can… Even trying to skew the results in her favor the results always tell me she is the narcissist…
Anyhow, I’m sure there are other people playing this horrible game with themselves. Be kind and love yourself.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
Real narcissists tend to have no qualms about diagnosing others as a narcissist (and then telling anyone who will listen, spreading the news) – they will do it in a blink of an eye just because you said ‘no’ to them one too many times, you were busy and couldn’t drop everything to cater to some whim of theirs, they’re angry and want to hurt you, they’re afraid and need to feel powerful, because they needed some drama and being in a relationship with a narcissist is a trendy relationship problem to have, everyone who is anyone is doing it these days, and other narcissistic reasons.
Whereas non-narcissists tend to find it a hard, painful, and difficult process to come to the conclusion that someone they know and care about is a narcissist.
This means that when a narcissist blithely accuses someone they know and supposedly care about of being a narcissist, and that person is not a narcissist, that person will assume that the narcissist who accused them took a long time to come to that conclusion, that it was hard for them to do that and therefore there must be some ‘truth’ to the accusation.
Most non-narcissists who get accused of being a narcissist will take the accusation very seriously, to heart, and will self-reflect, self-examine, and self-analyse to find out if they may be a narcissist.
While that isn’t necessarily a bad thing to do as it can be insightful to check oneself out to see what condition we’re in, it can be problematic since all humans have narcissistic traits and behaviours (as narcissism is normal and natural, a phase of development, a healthy part of a healthy person – which can during painful and stressful times become unhealthy), and these if viewed through a glass darkly can make a non-narcissist think they’re a narcissist, which may lead to much self-torture and self-loathing.
You don’t come across as a narcissist, and underneath all the self-doubt you know that you’re not. This “horrible game you’re playing with yourself” is unfortunately quite common, it’s part of the complex trauma of psychological abuse…
this is an article worth reading – http://narcissisticbehavior.net/narcissistic-victim-syndrome-what-the-heck-is-that/
the flip side of it is that the you’ll eventually get fed up of playing this game (as you already seem to be – the fact that you called it out for what it is means you’re recovering), and replace it with a healthier system of self-relating.
Wanting to give her the benefit of the doubt is normal and natural, you cared for her, loved her, you’re a decent human being and it is never easy to accept that someone we know is a narcissist. Even when you do accept that she’s a narcissist, part of you hopes that you’re wrong, you’d rather find out that you’re the villain in the scenario than have her be it – this in and of itself clearly points to you not being a narcissist. The typical narcissist is quick to make others out to be the villain to protect themselves from ever being bad, wrong, or the villain themselves (they don’t care who they hurt to protect themselves).
You’re going to get through this and come out of it stronger, wiser, and intact. There will be breakdowns leading to breakthroughs. Take your time, explore, inform yourself, go with your own flow – learning to trust yourself, your instincts, again.
Focus on yourself, on what you need to nurture you, and take good care of yourself, be gentle with yourself (and don’t be hard on yourself for being hard on yourself!).
I love your site, I come on every so often, I usually get redirected here when I am doing research. It is always a pleasant surprise, I am just about regaining my confidence again from the last bout of abuse that I have had to overcome! I am still feeling a bit afraid and unsafe, especially online of making my voice heard. Anyway I just wanted to say thanks for all you do, and to let you know that I think your writing is excellent.
Thank you for sharing 🙂
It’s normal to feel afraid and unsafe, especially online when it comes to making your voice heard – the online social media world is full of all sorts of aggressive characters, and there are narcissists in the victims of narcissists community.
If you’re feeling delicate, vulnerable, and are in the process of regaining your confidence, then it is wise to respect your self-protective system. It may sometimes feel as though it’s hindering you, and occasionally it does do that because it’s being overly protective, but when you’re ready, and the time is right, you’ll naturally emerge from your shell. Don’t try to push yourself out if you’re not quite ready, be gentle with yourself.
There’s a blog written by a narcissist – he openly claims to be a narcissist – which may be of interest. He’s actually rather compassionate, kind and helpful for a narcissist. Many victims of narcissists seem to find his writing, his books and his videos (on his youtube channel) helpful for their recovery as it gives them an understanding of the other side of the dynamic. Often what hampers us the most is not knowing or understanding why the abuser is being abusive. Anyway, I’m giving you a link to his blog, but only check it out if it feels right for you to do that – https://narcsite.com
Best wishes, take good care of yourself!
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Thanks for this blog. It shed light on alot. Me personally I don’t know what to do. I feel defeated… like I lost the battle to my x. I feel like I have no energy left to fight though I desperately want to. I really want to win but I don’t know if my cause is selfish. I guess it is. I really just been fighting to save my name, my reputation. I’m really just tired trying to prove to everyone that I’m not the monster. I’m so sad losing its maddening and I fear if I keep fighting him that I will lose my self more or even my sanity. It’s so hard to win with him. Yes I blast him on social media sometimes but it’s only so people will know it’s not me and that it’s him. But I don’t feel like I have anyone convinced because he doesn’t fight to look like the truth teller like I do. He just looks the partt without the fight. I am sad because I feel snared for eternity in that we have a soon 2 yet old son. To make me feel the burn he seldom ever ask to spend time with him and when he does it’s a random out the blue request that comes with a form of demanding disrespect. When i dont give him his son which i can recall only happened three times ever becauae it was random last moment and we had other plans. he blast me and says I’m awful and I won’t let him see the child when he knows i almost always say yes .One time he disnt ask for his son for long time and he had stopped talking with me so id feel the hurt. He was abuaive physically amd emotionally and after i was hating life so much i had to leave him it was hard as he wont let me leave becuae he was so contrcontrolling and abusive. I had to get the law involved and immediately he hated me darkly and deeply. He cut all contact the day we left the court and u put his mother to be th mediator. I was glad because she seemed so much nicer than him etc. I’m no time her switch flipped and she started to take his side etc. Which meant that she too started acting strangely. I always apologized even though I didn’t feel i did anything wrong juatvto keep the peace and so i don’t lose contact with the only connect . I’m no time she was cursing me and blaming me even for stuff she hs once accepted was her sons fault. He support failed and I was left confused again. I broke contact with his mother when I found her to be more toxic than her son and I soon learned she was behind alot of his smearing. Today she wlka around and talks bdky about me to every random person in my neighbourhood till I don’t wanna leve the house. Cause now I can’t shut up I’m always feeling strange when people look at me strangely like I assume she or he told them a bad tale and I always wantvto preserve my reputation. My x was forced to now contact with me again after I broke contact with his mother who I feel strongly against in the most intense way. Because I feel she is to blame for how her son thinks and views women. She is not of noble character and I was new aware in our beginning phase when he smothered me with love that he did not respect her because she has a wild past and present to some extent. Now he aweara ahws the grratest mom aftee he said so much awful things about her. Yeaterday after I’ve been begging him for weeks to spend time with his son… he messaged me and told me i am an evil demon narcissist that’s witholding the child. Why does he or bwtter yet how can he lie to me when he knows I know the truth. I just want it to end. I just want to go back in time. Either that or I need a way out badly. I just want peace. I want the lies and fights to stop. I want my reputation to stop being marred. I want to stop feeling the news to defend myself and clear my name all the time . I want a cave somewhere far away and dark. Where no one can come and judge me or fight against me with lies…. sighhhbhhh
Thank you for sharing 🙂
I’m going to give you a couple of links to posts written by a narcissist who helps victims of narcissists by giving them insight into the narcissist’s mindset and behaviour. He explains narcissists, how they perceive others, why they do what they do, and he gives tips on how to deal with them.
The two links are recent posts.
One of them discusses dealing with a narcissist in a legal setting, which I think is also helpful in any scenario where it has become You versus Your Narcissist, and the Lawyers, Judge and Jury is the public around you, your family, friends, your social circle, your community, etc.
The other one discusses the provocation tactics which narcissists use, and which it sounds like your ex regularly uses on you.
I’m also linking you to a wikipedia page which gives a quick explanation of No Contact and The Grey Rock Method.
Both No Contact (or Low Contact for those like you who have children with a narcissist ex) and The Grey Rock method tend to work better if you understand the patterns of behaviour and the tactics which a narcissist uses – such as Provocation.
The lies and the fights won’t stop because your narcissist values lies and fights. They are fuel (narcissistic supply) for your narcissist, and they are also reflective of your narcissist’s narcissistic wound.
However you can reduce the amount of fighting which you get sucked into by choosing not to react to the provocation – this is hard to do at first because you have to rewrite your own patterns of behaviour. But your exhaustion will work in your favour, and is actually an ally in this situation. Being sick, tired, fed up of the drama is an important incentive for a victim of narcissistic abuse.
You’re not ‘selfish’ to want to win. It’s normal and natural to want to win, especially if you’re fighting for your life, reputation, for your truth, but if the battle is with a narcissist – you are never going to win and your attachment to wanting to win keeps you attached to the narcissist. The only way to win with a narcissist is to not play the game.
Not playing the game is easier said, desired, than it is done, but your experience of fighting with the narcissist, of enduring the games, the abuse, has shown you how strong you are and that strength is priceless when it comes to getting out of the drama, the vicious cycle, the never ending game of cat and mouse.
Things you will need to learn to do:
1. choose your battles wisely – only fight when it is absolutely necessary, don’t sweat the small stuff as the small battles will use up your time, energy and willpower.
2. let go of what isn’t absolutely necessary – things like proving to everyone else that you’re not the monster. You’re not a monster, you know that, you are the only one who needs to know it. Your child knows it. Those who truly care about you and know you, will know it too and won’t need you to prove yourself to them. Everyone else is not worth the effort because if they’re that easily misled they’re unreliable, fickle, and they’re only involved because it’s a soap opera, they love to gossip, and eat popcorn.
3. the best thing which you can do for your reputation is to show people that you are a force to be reckoned with, hold your head high and be dignified – while I totally understand the need to blast your narcissist online, it’s more likely to backfire on you than to achieve what you’re hoping it will achieve.
And your narcissist will use your social media blasting of him to prove his point that you are the monster and he is the victim. If you feel the need to enlighten people using social media to the fact that your ex is a narcissist, there are other ways to do that.
Heed this wise advice – “I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.” ― Maya Angelou
When you blast someone online, those who read it will feel your anger, your upset, afraid of you. Those who know you will worry that if they upset you, you’ll blast them too.
Know your audience – if you want support from those who follow you on social media, post something they can relate to, which will make them feel good about themselves, and thus feel good about you. The good feeling will go a long way to making them less susceptible to your ex’s manipulations. And it will also help you to feel more personally powerful.
Think of someone whom you admire, a powerful woman or man who held their head high when everyone was against them, and won in the end against all odds – that’s who you want to be (it’ll drive your narcissist ex nuts).
As for his mother, she is most likely the reason why your ex is the way he is – so she’s the real problem, the real adversary. He is a pawn in her life chess game. Study her, find out what her weakness is – she may be proud of her standing in the community, or of being a ‘wonderful’ mother, and ‘good’ grandmother. Make note of it. You may need this information if she decides to attack you as a mother to your child. Don’t use her weakness to hurt her, that will only make her more vicious – you do not want to play with narcissists at their own game. But you can sometimes get a narcissist on your side by using their weakness in a positive manner, and narcissists often turn on other narcissists.
Trust your exhaustion. It’s time to take a step back. Pause. Reflect. Review. Gather information. Know your narcissist. Knowledge is power. Know yourself. Self Knowledge is personal power.
Take good care of yourself! Best wishes!
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