Narcissist Week in Review

When I started this series on what narcissists teach us, what I’ve learned from the ones in my life, I had an idea of how I was going to do it… but… that flew out the window.

It is very windy around here… open a window and you’re more likely to get sucked out and blown away than let fresh air into the house.

What air does flow in just moves dust around.

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SONY DSC
SONY DSC

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I haven’t been a particularly good housekeeper these last few years, that is not something anyone else expects of me, it just bothers me as it informs me that I’m off kilter… I know I am. My mind has been caught up in this thing which brought both my parents and their chaos crashing back into my life…

It’s kind of funny really, the moment I finally stopped fearing that they would track me down and ruin everything for me. Just when I thought my life finally belonged to me and not to them, and I could start learning how to be ‘normal’… is the very moment they returned. Goodbye normalcy… as if you were ever here, still wish you were here… wish I could pretend that such a thing was possible for me, I almost had you… but you were just an illusion.

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When you go No Contact… sometimes that’s a solution, sometimes it’s a different kind of problem. Going NC with narcissists, when the narcissists are your parents, can trigger a very different kind of fear from the one which you have when they’re still in your life. As long as they’re in your life, your focus is on coping with them, surviving them, it’s always all about them. Take them out of the equation and there’s a big void… suddenly your focus doesn’t know what to focus upon.

You’re adrift… and very vulnerable because of it. It’s incredibly easy to end up latching onto another narcissist during that time.

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You’re not used to focusing upon yourself… it feels wrong to do that because no one has ever taught you that such a thing is actually healthy, in fact you’ve been taught that focusing on yourself is not only the epitome of unhealthy but the worst crime you can commit.

When you finally do focus on yourself… there’s such a mess inside. You’re basically faced with a house that was destroyed by a tornado… but you can’t just leave because that house is you. It’s been that way for a while… you just never looked at it because you were too busy distracted by the narcissist who needed your help to move their garden furniture around once again by an inch this way and that.

Other people need you… the narcissist needs you… don’t say no to their request, that’s worse than saying yes to it… or is it?

…so you put yourself on hold… say yes to everyone else, say no to yourself… without realising what that’s doing to you.

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the tidal wave of need

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If you try to get help from ‘normal’ people during this time, that can sometimes make things worse for you because they just can’t fathom why you can’t function as they do. Why the things which they think are really simple seem like complex puzzles to you. They don’t get why even asking for their help is a mammoth task for you and sometimes sucks the last bit of energy from your system.

The slightest hint of rejection from them can send you reeling. They see you as too sensitive, too over the top in your reactions – WTF is wrong with you!?!

Or they react in a crazy way to what seems like a small ask for you…

Even professional help can let you down because if the professional doesn’t have the experience you’ve had, or has never come across a case like yours, has never studied this in textbooks (and even then…), they may not be able to compute, they may suffer from cognitive dissonance, lack empathy, and dismiss what their mind can’t assimilate.

Even if they have a grasp of NPD and narcissists, they may not understand the other side of the issue – how narcissists, those with NPD, affect others, especially their children, spouses, those who’ve had a close relationship with them.

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Frantz Fanon

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More and more of those in the profession of mental health are aware of what is now termed C-PTSD, and that a relationship with a narcissist can cause this, and that this can have debilitating effects which make it hard to function ‘normally’.

Awareness and understanding is growing, yet still those with C-PTSD may get misdiagnosed and even end up being told that they have NPD.

The increased public knowledge of NPD has helped many people to recognise that they may be in a relationship with a narcissist and has allowed them to research it, confirm it, figure things out… but narcissists have access to the same research, and while you are hesitating, doubting yourself, hoping that your loved one isn’t a narcissist, that you’re wrong about them… they don’t suffer from that kind of human ‘weakness’ and they may get in first with the finger-pointing. Once they do that… you’re the narcissist and they’re your victim… and they now have you where they’ve always had you – confused, doubting yourself, and tied up in knots.

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goethe

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My parents never accused me of being a narcissist, simply because that kind of accusation wasn’t ‘in vogue’ at the time. Had it been available to them, they’d have used it.

The years I wasted thinking that I was a terrible person because they told me I was, that I sucked as a child to them, that, poor them, they had to put up with me, were burdened by having such a child… if only I would kill myself, then they could live happily ever after, as they had been before I came along (that the reason I was born was to fix their intense unhappiness… that detail is irrelevant as I failed to do what I was supposed to do), but I was too selfish, as usual, to do that, to set them free.

My godfather/uncle was a child psychologist and he agreed with them – they were great parents, pity they had such an awful child. It wasn’t their fault, their nurture (or lack of it) was not the problem, I was just born defective even though they were so perfect, their DNA/genes were so special, how could they possibly give birth to such a deviant!?! Must be something in the water… something in the food… radiation… alien abduction?

With narcissists… it’s never their fault, but everyone and everything else can be blamed, and is at fault.

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narcissistic writing promptever wonder what inspired someone to study psychology?

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And if you grow up in their version of reality, surrounded by their peeps – those people who are fooled by them, who help them gang up on us, and serve them without realising what they’re doing – they mostly don’t, and it takes a while to realise that the ‘flying monkeys’ as they are sometimes called are just as much of a victim as we are… we sometimes are the ‘flying monkeys’… that’s hard to swallow… but you do need to swallow that pill if you truly want to understand and unravel, untangle yourself from their web.

You’re not completely blameless when it comes to a relationship with a narcissist. If you want to be completely blameless… you’ll end up being as powerless as the narcissist really is behind the facade of total power and control, because you need others to shoulder the responsibility.

This can be one of the hardest hurdles to surmount on the road to recovery. You have to face some ugly truths for the truth to set you free. You have to confront the unhealthy side of your attachment to a narcissist.

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truth

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This can be very tricky, especially if you’re still in that zone of accepting all the blame for everything… the blame needs to be balanced, but first you need to go through that phase of blaming them for everything after having blamed yourself for everything, then… wait for the pendulum to settle after such a wild swing from one extreme to another.

First I blamed myself for everything… and everyone, my parents and their peeps, agreed it was all my fault… so it must be, right? Society in general agreed too because society prefers to blame the child rather than the parent, as we’re all taught that we must honour our parents no matter what they do… respect your elders. Many cultures and religions confirm this. Science, which tries hard to be neutral, does too in some ways when there is cultural, religious and societal pressure, bias, put upon the results – someone is paying for the studies being done, who is that someone and what is their goal?

And even going off into weird territory doesn’t offer sanctuary for the blame-keepers. Karma, even in its New Age form, says – you brought all of this onto yourself to learn some kind of lesson. And be careful when you ask karma to pay others back for what they’ve done to you – you may be accruing bad karma by doing that… and how do you know what they did to you isn’t karma paying you back?

Maybe karma got you today… like you want it to get them someday!

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Karma

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Somewhere along the way… I got to that point where blaming everything on myself switched to blaming everything on everyone else – Society, my parents, their peeps, those who had nothing to do with anything, just… it’s all everyone’s fault but mine! I’m fed up of shouldering this so I’m shrugging it all off and running around screaming ‘you’re it!’ and ‘catch me if you can… no, that doesn’t count, try again, no, still doesn’t count…’.

I’m rubber, you’re glue…

That was nice for a while… nice to be free. Nothing is my fault… oh, shit… I’ve basically become a narcissist by doing that… oh, wow, now I get why they do it… damn!!!

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denial

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When it’s all your fault… you feel totally powerless, and yet… if you were a fictional character that would make you the one with all the power, pity you don’t feel that way, think that way, realise it… or are really the one with all the power, like a Bond villain or otherwise.

When nothing is your fault… you’re a hero who has to battle the forces of evil, the villain, yet… you’re still totally powerless. So, when narcissists blame everyone else for all their problems, they’re not as all powerful or as heroic (or villainous) as the impression they give to us. That’s just another facade they’ve created because… shit… they’re actually powerless – that’s a realisation which is a game changer if you grab it.

If it’s not all your fault, and not all not your fault… if you want to find that middle ground which has some real power to it… then you need to understand that either extreme is not the answer for anyone, especially not you. Some of it is your fault, some of it isn’t. But which is which and how do you work with this?

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If you have time to watch this mini film… it’s worth it… maybe…

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There are many methods available to recover from a narcissist, to learn to cope with being human – find the one which works for you. Try them all if need be until you click, hit the right spot, scratch that itch and find relief, and things fall into place.

These days the hot promise land of healing techniques is called – Mindfulness. Once upon a time it was called something else, like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy), or spiritual awareness, or being self reflective, introspective, or… whatever… it’s basically just being a bit more tuned into the human in you, getting to know yourself and cutting yourself some slack along the way of self knowing, cutting others some slack because if you’re human and you know it… so are others, human, like you… maybe they know it, maybe they don’t… but once you do…

We can all be narcissistic, and shitty about it… damn!

The most common search terms which lead people to my blog from search engines… they aren’t pretty:

  • How to piss off a narcissist
  • How to get revenge on a narcissist
  • How to hurt a narcissist who hurt you
  • Capricorns are evil
  • How to piss off a Capricorn woman

and that’s just today’s search terms…

When we’re hurting, in pain, angry, frustrated… our pretty can be ugly…

We may still be the hero in our story, the heroic one fighting evil, villains in our lives, monsters…

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monsters - nietzsche

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The lines can get blurred and we can lose ourselves along the way… our mindfulness is overwhelmed by our emotionalness… and stuff…

Shiiit!!!!

I was going to be methodical about this series… but I seem to be doing a different methodical from what I had intended. I’m really just purging… which in some ways is good. There’s a lot of pent up stuff… it sort of needs to be pent up, but it also needs to get out of the house sometimes.

Sometimes I just feel too mentally, emotionally and physically tired all the time to lift a finger (except to type a whirlwind of words).

I’ve blown off course with this post… of course I have, that’s what I do… start here and end up over there, but not the there I was headed to, and how I got there from here… I don’t know… I could retrace my steps… if I had the energy to do that.

Letting myself blow off course can be insightful.

Telling your story, allowing yourself to vent, can clear your mind and sometimes it shows you what you’ve been missing, it can help you make connections between disparate things, or it can reveal what you’re truly thinking, feeling…

I sometimes have trouble with that, knowing what I’m feeling because I’m good at switching my emotions off. Living with narcissists… you learn to do that and.. that can be useful, but it can also be a problem.

When it comes to narcissists, writing about your story with them… it can show you where you’re the one being the narcissist… ugh… shiiit!… but it can also show you where you’re not being that way… oh…

A lot of people worry about this, so check this out:

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It’s actually quite accurate for something which is supposed to be humorous… if you have a sense of humour, especially about being human, you’re probably not a narcissist.

And a sense of humour is helpful in healing from being involved with a narcissist… sometimes it can be the only thing which keeps you sane…

and may be one of the reasons I bought this book…

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Andy White bookAndy White book and blog

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which helped me a lot in making sense of nonsense… of my story… it was the thing which clicked for me and helped the puzzles pieces fall into place…

We find our way even when it is very twisty and full of detours…

Don’t give up, keep going…

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going+through+hell.

… you really don’t want to retrace your steps…

and don’t expect anyone else to save you… has it ever occurred to you that they’re worse off than you are or if not worse off… just as confused as you?

They may appear to be ‘normal’, have it all together but… maybe that’s just a facade, a coping mechanism… for this crazy thing called life, human style!

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madman story

 

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16 thoughts on “Narcissist Week in Review

  1. I am thrilled, and relieved to finally have access about this subject. I searched far and wide to find someone to talk to. Now I don’t feel like the Lone Ranger. Thank you so much for the website.

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  2. Catching up a little on your posts. 🙂

    I’ve thought a lot about what narcissism can teach us and have written about it some, as well. This post really gets to the meat of that fascinating, stomach-turning, stunning exploration, though.

    Great post. 🙂

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  3. I want to thank you again for these articals you write on narcissism.Over past year my husband and friend of 35 years showed a side to him that shocked me.He was angry and dismissed me as if I was a servant.He was working and all of a sudden it was all his money.He became controlling and lied to family about my spending habits.When I would ask for proof he would just repeat the same lie again.I would get bank statements to show him he was wrong but he seemed to truly believe he was right and would tear up the statements without looking at them.He was working and it was his money to spend.I look back over the years and I can see where I definitely contributed to this grandeous behavior.Trying at all times to keep him happy.But now I am unsure of the severity of the problem and when he is caught at doing something he has denied, his rage at me is scary and he will threaten me before ever admitting his wrong.So I am choosing to leave because as you say I look at myself and I am an emotional wreck.I don’t trust him to protect or care for me as he has proven that in his actions.But I wanted to thank you for giving me the insight into this disorder.I can’t help him if he doesn’t think he has a problem!
    Maggie

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Sorry it took me so long to reply, your comment accidentally ended up in the blog’s spam folder due to a technical glitch.

      Something to keep in mind is – Was he always this way or is this behaviour out of character for him?

      If he has always been this way then there is nothing you can do about him or for him, it is not your fault or responsibility, and he will probably never see that he has a problem which is affecting others, he will think that his problem is the fault of everyone else but him, and that it is everyone else who has the problem.

      It is best to focus on yourself and what you need for your own well being. Yes, you may have contributed to his behaviour as a way to appease him, this happens as part of a relationship with a narcissist. If he is a narcissist then this is the way they are whether we encourage them or not. Grandiosity is an intrinsic part of a narcissist, it can get worse over time, but that is not due to you or others, as narcissists get older their narcissism tends to get worse and more pronounced.

      If this is out of character for him and he has not always been this way, if he is not a narcissist, and his narcissistic behaviour is recent and unusual, then perhaps something has happened recently in his life which set him off, and he may be aware of what it is but not be ready to discuss it or admit that he has a problem. However he may come around at some point. People who are not narcissists can go through a spell of behaving narcissistically. Rage may be a reaction to fear. Did anything traumatic happen in his life, did he have a big disappointment, perhaps in his career as his issue seems to be fixated on finances. It is up to him to figure things out for himself, and if he isn’t open to working things out with you, then there is nothing you can do for him at this time. Perhaps your leaving may be a wake up call for him to admit he has a problem and do something about it.

      Whatever the case may be, you need to take good care of yourself and do what is best for you. Best wishes!

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  4. Quite confusing but makes a lot of sense, You have far more experience than others I’ve found online, so I respect your opinion and posts most. Thank you again for sharing.

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  5. Another incredible post! You know, it’s funny but I always loved Tainted Love until the first time I heard it after the “whole narcissist debacle”…and then I realised it was the song that was forever going to be associated in my mind with him. I had always loved the lyrics but had never “lived” them until I had my sorry story with the narc. Anyway, sorry for rambling, great post 🙂

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Exploring your relationship with a narcissist through music and song can be insightful in many ways. Especially reviewing the songs they told you were their favourites – that can tell you a lot about their view of reality and love. It can bring a new perspective to the dynamic.

      Tainted Love was one of the first songs which ushered me into adolescence. I listened to it repeatedly – it spoke of my teeanage angst about love, and figuring that kind of thing out. Later on it took on a different meaning, especially once I realised that my view of love was tainted by my parents view of it. It’s intriguing to revisit things with hindsight.

      When we share our story, we give others a new view of their story. Sharing is a very healing experience 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Reading this was like…. you took my crazy bizarro life and my muddled jumbled thoughts and made brilliant sense out of it.

    Fear no truth ~ that’s my motto. Truth can sometimes hurt like you’re being killed, but the only way to effectively deal with reality is to suck it up and face it.

    Which is pretty much what you said, only in a better way. 🙂

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Life is crazy enough as it is without the narcissist factor, add that and we’re all living in – The Adventures of Baron Munchausen – have you ever seen that film, it’s quite a good one to watch for those who’ve known narcissists.

      Truth is a knife whose sharpness can hurt, but is much appreciated (eventually) when trying to cut the ties which bind you to the crazy of a narcissist.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Life is crazy enough without the narcissist factor — indeed.

        I haven’t seen that film, but will look for it. I haven’t seen most of the movies that have been made since 2000, which is when I was going through my last divorce and temporarily lost the ability to follow a movie or even a half hour tv sitcom. When I finally regained the capacity to pay attention to stories outside my own head, I dived back into books, my first escapism love, but never got back into tv or movies very much, other than the occasional sitcom rerun.

        About four or five years ago, when I discovered narcissism, I began reading everything I could get my hands on, especially about narc mothers. That was when my “Fear No Truth” motto was severely tested. As I read about the various ways that mothers can screw up their children for life…… whew. No wonder my grown sons and daughter behave as though they missed out on Life 101. I have a son who will turn 44 next month, a 40 year old daughter, and a 34 year old son. Their lives are in almost constant turmoil. And that is on me. I was so horrifically broken by my insane childhood that when I was 14, in 1967 — long before PTSD was known — I was diagnosed schizophrenic. Although another psychiatrist determined two years later that I wasn’t schizophrenic at all, I was in fact severely traumatized (he was way before his time), I should never have attempted to be a mother.

        Now I am trying to make up to my kids for the sane loving parenting they missed out on, but… too little, too late, I fear.

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        1. Thank you for sharing 🙂

          The film was released in 1988. It’s directed by Terry Gilliam. It’s a rather lovely one, lots of mythical and imaginary things going on, tall tales, skewed reality… I didn’t think of it as having a narcissistic element until later on, in retrospect.

          Don’t be too hard on yourself about your role as a mother, it’s one of the hardest jobs in life to be a parent, it never comes with instructions and all we have is what our parents did with us as a guide… and if they messed things up, then we may do it too, either by being like them or by trying not to be like them, or some other formula. Sure you could read all the ‘good parenting’ manuals ever written, but who is writing those? And the advice in those things changes from decade to decade, often with the next decade arguing that the previous decade’s advice was abusive.

          My mother was given a pamphlet by the hospital where she gave birth advising her to ignore her baby’s cries – which suited my mother and her upbringing. But what if she hadn’t been inclined to do that, what if she had wanted to respond to her baby’s cries, but here was an official pamphlet for good parenting advising her not to do it.

          You could have been the most perfect human and mother ever and still end up feeling that you’d got it all wrong. Each child is different as each human is, and what affects one negatively affects another positively.

          There are stories of kids having ‘normal’ parents (and not just superficially ‘normal’ ones like narcissists) who still end up messed up or thinking they’ve been messed up by their parents. Most kids think that at some point, perhaps it’s part of human development to do that.

          Life for all of us, whether we had good childhoods, bad ones, or something in between, loving parents or not, etc, is in constant turmoil, its a human experience of life, especially these days when the slightest flap of butterfly wings travels around the world with tremendous speed, blowing all of us over. The information age has made us more aware of the slightest thing which happens elsewhere – sometimes this is good, sometimes it tips over into something else.

          My uncle was diagnosed as schizophrenic. He wasn’t, he suffered a breakdown due to too much stress caused by a series of traumatic events which started by being displaced as a child due to WWII – a period of human history which shows us just how effed up we all are, yet can still thrive even when everything and everyone is crazy. But he was given electroshock therapy anyway because that was the ‘miracle’ cure for all ailments at the time. Had he had his breakdown a decade or so later, the ‘miracle’ cure would have been ‘quaaludes’. These days he’d probably have been diagnosed with PTSD, and given anti-depressants or anti-anxiety meds plus some non-invasive therapy.

          You know, even with everything I’m aware of about my parents, the history between us, perhaps because of it, if today my mother owned up to her shit and genuinely tried to make amends, I’d be open to it. But she just keeps denying that anything is her fault, keeps blaming everyone else, and most of all keeps making even more chaos. She just keeps doing the same old shit.

          My father made some amends at the end of his life – he basically admitted to effing up as a father. Kind of almost made me like him, even though he was one determined sob.

          Even when your parents eff you up… once you become an adult, you play a part in it continuing to be a problem, or figuring out a solution. If your parents didn’t mean to eff you up, and they’re genuinely sorry things happened the way they did, then things can always be worked out and understood. Stories can be shared, each side can be heard by the other, acknowledged, empathically understood. Being human is hard for everyone. This human world is a mess.

          You genuinely care for your kids, and understand the situation, your story, their story, how the stories intertwined and the results of that. It’s never too late to make a difference in the present, can’t change the past but the past can be explained and understood in context. Knowing your side of the story will help them, and knowing that you understand will help them to understand.

          There’s a lot of power to a deeply heartfelt interaction, to owning the truth, facing it, and its ripples. Sometimes it takes a while for the effects to make a difference, but they always make a difference.

          The smallest thing can have the greatest ripples.

          Be gentle with yourself 🙂

          Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      Take good care of yourself. Even with all your experience and your deeply understanding heart, things can get difficult – be very gentle with yourself.

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