Dangerous Innocence

Can we start over? – asked the spider of the fly.

The fly wrapped up in fine silk, spun around and looked at the spider. Was the spider crazy!?! What did it mean by ‘starting over’?

The spider had captured the fly, wrestled with it, injected it with poison, wrapped it up, and left it to slowly die while its insides turned into that sweet soup which is the only thing a spider can digest because it has such a special and delicate system, and very specific nourishment requirements.

Yes, being captured was the fly’s fault. We all make mistakes, and this one had been fatal.

Except, now the spider was suggesting that a fatal flaw did not have to be fatal.

The slate could be wiped clean.

Was the spider just messing with the fly, all part of its enjoyment of its meal, an appetising game, a teaser, an amuse bouche, to get the appetite ready to devour what was left of the fly.

The fly had reached that desperate point, teetering on the edge of the precipice into acceptance of the inevitable, yet still holding on by a thread of hope to the web of the possibility of a miracle, a chance to escape a fate which was to be the death of it.

The fly searched the spider’s face for confirmation of its worst fears or greatest hope…

.

Innocence en DangerInnocence en Danger

.

The image above is from a campaign, by Innocence en Danger, designed to bring greater awareness to parents of the dangers their children may encounter online. It’s basically reminding parents not to be innocent of the dangers their children’s innocence might get them into with people who are anything but innocent.

The campaign ads take emojis and turn them into rather creepy human faces.

Emojis are cute, but is the person behind the emoji they are using as cute as the language in which they’re speaking, are they a child or an adult, are they male or female, are they really who they claim to be, or are they a predator using cuteness as a lure, pretending to be whoever they need to be to attract those who are their preferred prey.

Children are not the only ones who are vulnerable to online predators. The innocence which may place them in danger, the willingness to trust that others are who they say they are, who they present themselves as being, is also common amongst adults.

.

K. Hosseini

.

We could avoid online predators by staying off the internet.

However staying off the internet doesn’t guarantee that a child or an adult does not become the target of a person with bad intentions, who may not be who they say they are, who may be pretending to be cute when they are anything but cute.

Some of these people may even believe the persona they are wearing and sharing with others – in the way that narcissists tend to do.

There are those who are certain that narcissists are fully aware of their deception, their false persona, their manipulative games, and everything else that they do.

Sometimes they are aware of what they are doing, however the awareness of a person with NPD is rarely exactly as people think it should be and must be – we’re judging their awareness based on our own, our own which is now aware of narcissists, their traits and behaviours, which has researched, gained information and learned both by experience and otherwise, but which wasn’t always aware of such a classification and disorder.

Once people have figured out that they’re dealing with a narcissist they decide that no one could possibly not be aware of just how damaging, manipulative, demented, and awful their behaviour is, they conclude that the narcissist must know they’re a narcissist and must be doing it deliberately.Β  They can’t handle the possibility that narcissists are dangerously innocent to their own narcissism.

Sometimes the awareness of a narcissist is not focused on being aware of themselves as much as it is focused on being aware of others – narcissists may be doing to you what they think you’re doing to them, tit for tat, as narcissists often think other people are the narcissists.

Please be aware that others, including your narcissist, have the same access to online information that you do – and NPD, narcissists, and personality disorders are a hot topic on the world wide web.

For many narcissists, their awareness is on you, what you’re doing and saying, not doing and not saying, what is wrong with you, and what they have to do to deal with you and all your problems. It’s your fault they’re behaving this way.

.

Godard

.

They may actually be more aware of you than you are of yourself, because you are important to them – their identity may rely on you. But their awareness of you isn’t necessarily the same as your awareness of yourself, and your awareness of yourself may not be the same as their awareness of themselves.

And…

Sometimes their awareness, of self, of others, is completely lacking as they are as innocent as a child, only they’re even more innocent than children naturally are, and their kind of innocence is more dangerous to others than it is for them.

They chase after pipe dreams, and their magical thinking is so stubborn that they refuse to believe what they refuse to believe and insist on believing what they insist on believing.

As they run amok, they get themselves into trouble, but it’s always someone else who ends up paying for it.

Help! Help! they cry as once again their bubble burst and they fell into a pit full of vipers. You rush to their rescue, hold out a helping hand, they grab on, dig their nails into your flesh, fighting your rescue attempt, then they drag you into the pit, climb on top of you, which gives them the boost they need, to get out, and while you get fanged to death by vipers, they’re at the top of the pit whining and moaning about having ruined their dress, mussed their hair, or scratched their delicate skin – Look at what you’ve done, you could have been more careful! They didn’t need your stupid help anyway!

But, it’s okay, not all hope is lost…

Just as they were despairing that they’d never dream again, a unicorn runs by and they chase after it, happy again. Forgetting all about you and the mess you made, how you almost ruined their life, but they killed that monster! They’re a hero!

.

Waking nightmare

.

Today’s Daily Post prompt asks:

.

Delayed Contact

How would you get along with your sibling(s), parent(s), or any other person you’ve known for a long time β€” if you only met them for the first time today?

.

My mind immediately thought about my mother, and the typical Jekyll and Hyde transformations which narcissists do on a regular basis once you’ve been trapped in their web for a while.

She’d be lovely, the epitome of a nice person, being understanding, sympathetic, empathic and helpful especially to lesser beings who needed her random acts of selfless kindness.

Then something would go wrong, usually someone would not be grateful enough, or, worse still, someone would be condescending… storm clouds would gather. Brewing, brewing, heavy weather looming.

Suddenly the storm would break. She be ranting, raving, and spitting fire like a very angry dragon, burning me to a cinder, laying waste to entire villages and whatever else lay in her path of destruction.

Then it would be over.

She’d storm off for a while.

Maybe a spell of silent treatment would ensue during which she sulked, licked her wounds, and wasn’t silent at all – she might be silent with me, but she’d be bending someone else’s ear out of shape with a flood of words about how she’d been done wrong, and how it wasn’t her fault, she’d been pushed to her limit, reached her wits’ end. Blah, blah, blah… that’s the other side of the silent treatment, the side you don’t get to see if you’re being silent-treatmented, but someone else has to hear about it.

.

Innocence en Danger 2Innocence en Danger

.

Once that phase was over… she’d be back all smiley-faced, happy-happy-joy-joy, best friends forever again. As though nothing had happened because… nothing had happened!!!

And she’d be lovely, the epitome of a nice person, being understanding, sympathetic, empathic and helpful especially to lesser beings who needed her random acts of selfless kindness.

This is normal for narcissists. One minute they love you very much, and then they hate you very much, then they love you very much, then they hate you very much. When they love you it’s because they’re a loving person, when they hate you it’s because you’re a hateful person and they’re a loving person who has been deeply hurt by you. You made them have a sad 😦

I have to confess that I have an irrational reaction to the sad face emoji – when I see one I want to punch it.

I had a friend, who I am fairly certain is a narcissist (that idea entered my awareness when they asked me if I thought they were a narcissist because their therapist had brought it up in a session – up until then I hadn’t considered it, because I tend to, perhaps dangerously innocently, assume most people are not narcissists), who favoured that emoji.

They regularly used that emoji in their communications with me, because I was that person they went to when they’d had a falling out with someone else (were giving someone else the silent treatment), or a pipe in their dream bubble had burst.

And it was all:

.

.

And they were inconsolable… until a unicorn galloped by, and then they were alright, and why was I bothering them, bringing them down with my negativity when they were the soul of positivity who had dreams to chase!

That is normal for a narcissist.

They need you when they need you, and when they don’t need you they don’t need you. They never need you, it’s all in your mind!

If you’re a child of a narcissist, or if you’ve been in a long relationship with a narcissist… meeting them over and over again and again for the first time is a common experience.

They are Reset Artists.

A reset artist is someone who reinvents themselves, changes personas, masks, identities, faces and personality, as though such things were fashion trends.

And they may well change who they are based on what is trending. They like to be ‘In’ and hate being ‘Out’.

Their changes are sometimes very impressive. I’ve found myself at times thinking – Kudos, I did not see that coming, and that is truly very clever!

.

WOW

.

I also tend to then wonder how long it will last, because their new inventions tend to run out of steam fairly quickly. They get bored when it doesn’t get them the results they were hoping for… or they get angry at the world as the world is just not always ready for their very special kind of unique snowflake genius.

Sometimes it is just the same old over and over again and again – rewind, press play, repeat… ad infinitum, ad nauseum. But they experience it as a new song… and will be disappointed with you if you don’t experience it as new too.

What is wrong with you…!?!

.

sad face emoji.

 

Advertisements

56 thoughts on “Dangerous Innocence

  1. upturned soul, this is supposed to be a response to your aug. 21st response. for some reason, there was no ‘reply’ button beneath it.

    thanks for the compliment:)

    you’re right. your insight is really on point. i have always lived in my head. intellect is highly valued in my family (until it begins to lead you away from the family system, that is). it is probably the only thing anyone in my family valued about me. as you know, i certainly wasn’t valued for looks, or anything. my family is also very, very religious. my father is a minister. hardcore, mainline christianity is very good for teaching you to live in your head. you’re supposed to make your body submit to your will…you’re supposed to overcome your body’s feelings…all that stuff. it’s funny because alexander lowen actually describes the state of living in your head and not in your body as insanity. yet, that’s exactly what hardline christianity teaches you to do.

    i have a lot of anxiety, and i dissociate a lot. when i’m stressed, i have a tendency to neglect (ignore) myself and my environment. i know this behavior stems from my childhood and trying to survive it. but, of course, i am not in the situation anymore, so this behavior is no longer beneficial.

    the idea of living bodily and not in my head is both exciting and scary to me. it’s like, i’ve always lived this way, plus, i’m almost 40, how do i change now? i definitely have a case of the what-do-i-do-nows in that sense. i’ve been trying, though. i try to take small steps each day toward change. lately, i’ve been working on keeping my environment in order, no matter how i’m feeling. doing this has put me back in touch with the orderly person that i really am. i enjoy organization (i’m a virgo, for crying out loud), but, i lost that somewhere along the way. it’s like, i’m afraid to let myself have the things i enjoy. it’s like, living in the middle of a mess–that’s what i deserve. but, as you said, it’s the gradual, gentle, attempt to NOT live that way any longer, that puts you in touch with those hidden thoughts.

    yeah…that people of the lie book was wayyyyy out there. i couldn’t believe the way it just started off with a story about a man who sold his soul to the devil. just, right off the top. man, that was not the book to read first! he made some good points about scapegoating and about how narcissism is opposed to life, though. that is, if you could navigate through all the religion-speak. i’ve found trapped in the mirror, and drama of the gifted child to be the most helpful. alexander lowen’s book was good, too. fiction and memoirs can be even more helpful when it comes to just showing what a relationship with an n looks like. white oleander is great, and so is loverboy by victoria redel. i think you would really like loverboy (if you haven’t already read it). i think you’d really enjoy her writing style. don’t know how you feel about memoirs in graphic novel form, but, alison bechdel has written two of them. both her parents were narcissists. fun home is about her father. are you my mother? is about her mother. weirdly enough, fun home has actually been made into a musical. those are all the books that really helped me. i plan to read sanity and the family by laing. i’m waiting excitedly for andy white’s books. his blog is amazing.

    your blog is too, of course!

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      Thank you for saying that about my blog, much appreciated ❀ I just want to add… I may be wrong but I sensed a bit of concern about offending me, my ego… no worries about that, okay. I can be a narcissistic twat at times, it happens, I know that, but that's part of my issues and blogging helps me figure that kind of stuff out (rather publicly), so – it's okay to say other blogs are amazing – I totally agree about Andy White's blog – and there are so many awesome blogs and websites online which are wonderful resources for NPD and all sorts.

      I keep intending to add an NPD resources page to my blog… but I'm just too distracted to do it at this time. All help and sharing is appreciated. If you want to share links on my blog to other blogs, books, videos, etc, which you find amazing, helpful, healing, etc, please do so.

      Many of the readers of this blog read the comments (and are more interested in the comments than my posts – How very dare they! πŸ˜‰ – that's a reference to a funny Brit TV comedy show – Little Britain) and look for other blogs and sites and information sources which are recommended.

      When we share our stories others benefit as we do because of the sharing, we know we're not alone. The more we share, the more we can help ourselves and others, help others to help themselves, who have an experience similar to our own. Anything which you want to share, please share it. Please don't feel any pressure to cater to my ego, that is my responsibility. Focus on what you need for yourself.

      Re: comments – WordPress only allows a certain number of replies in a comment thread. It's a technical issue, don't worry about it, just do what you did. As a WP blogger I get all comments in one place all smushed together, but each comment tells me which post it is on, and I can figure things out from there. I have quite a good memory even though I'm a scatterbrain airhead.

      I haven't read White Oleander but I did see the film based upon it and I had an immediate – oh, shit, narc mother – reaction to it. I agree that memoirs and fiction can be as valuable as anything else – stories are stories whatever form they take, and we need to be guided by our own story to find what is right for us, what helps us, what reveals that for which we are searching. My all time favourite book is The Count of Monte Cristo. I read it when I was a teen, and I have never reacted as viscerally to a story as I did with that one. I knew then why it impacted me that way, but it took me ages to understand the why's behind the why of that.

      Are you turning 40 this Virgo Birthday season? Happy Birthday, btw!

      Virgo has Pisces as its opposite and sort of complementary sign – Pisces rules mess, untidiness, and many other things. Astrologically there are some interesting aspects to be explored in what you've discussed about mess versus tidy. A Virgo must learn to embrace mess as part of the Yin Yang of opposing signs synthesis and stuff (that's so badly explained, sorry about that).

      I've been in my 40's for a few years now and it is, according to my experience of it, a frigging awesome decade of age to be! I love the 40's more than any other decade of age I've been throough. Midlife crisis for me has been a very healing and liberating experience.

      The 40's are a threshold of natural change… it's change central, it's when we feel most compelled to review our life and ask ourselves who is running our life. It's when we come face to face with the reality of our mortality, and that prompts us to take charge of our mortal lives. Are we living our life for ourselves or for others? Are we doing what we want to be doing or… what someone else wants us to do? It's when all the probing questions get stirred up and it's up to us to answer them. Midlife is… what we make of it. For a child of narcissists it seems to be the most propitious time to acknowledge that we're children of narcissists and to figure out what that means.

      Turning 40 can be traumatic… but it's the kind of traumatic that can resolve past traumas for us. It's up to us to decide what to make of it, we won't always be at the wheel of this vehicle, but we can guide many aspects of it until we're ready to take the wheel of ourselves, our life, as much as is humanely possible.

      I've found astrology useful during this time, but it's just one of many ways to approach ourselves, our lives – find what works for you and work with it. This time is your time, to do things your way, make your own mistakes and find your own solutions. What everyone else is doing is what everyone else is doing – do your own thing!

      You – discover you!

      Best wishes, and be gentle with yourself, remember that you've been through a lot, to hell and now you're finding your way through it to somewhere else.

      Like

      1. nope. that was a genuine compliment!

        i am turning 40 this virgo season! thanks for the bday wishes! i definitely feel more like a pisces, sometimes. and thanks for everything you said about turning 40. i’m never around anyone else my age, so, i never know if what i’m going through is what everyone else is going through. i never get to “compare notes”.

        white oleander the book is muuuch better than the movie. august: osage county is another good one. it does not have the hollywood ending. it has the ending it should have. i will check out count of monte christo. i never knew it had an n-ish thread to it.

        thanks again, and take care!

        Like

        1. Cool, thank you πŸ™‚

          I think one of the very first books I read which spoke to me of the experience of narcissism in its unhealthy form, and what it was like to grow up with N parents, was Flowers in the Attic by V C Andrews.

          Have you ever read Women Who Run With Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes. It’s a big old book, but it’s a great read. It’s sort of marketed as being a book to help women embrace their Wild Woman within, not sure if it had that effect on me since I’ve always been rather internally feral, but I found it helpful for seeing the plot within a story, the stories behind a story.

          Books are usually better than the film versions of them. I squirm at all the attempts which have been done to make the Count of Monte Cristo work onscreen, they tend to make it all about the love story. However LOTR was awesome, almost as stunning as the books.

          One of the weird things which happened when I turned 40 was that I stopped reading the way that I used to. I used to devour books, was always reading like a hungry maniac, but I just stopped… and then I started writing like a maniac instead. It’s an age of adventure and self discovery. Oh, and Jupiter is in Virgo for a year, which is super lucky for Virgos. Your time is now!

          Like

          1. i will definitely check out those books.

            michelle pfeiffer did really do a good job in white oleander, though, imo. perfect casting. robin wright, too.

            really hope you are right about 40 and virgo. i need lots of luck. have been running into some barriers with the nc. i know i’m doing the right thing, though.

            Like

            1. This is quite an interesting take on Virgo and Jupiter’s transit of the sign – http://tdjacobs.com/blog/blog/2015/08/11/jupiter-enters-virgopluto-in-virgo-group-announcement/ – I like the way it approaches the luck angle, how Jupiter’s luck is about creatively working with life experience, and that in Virgo the luck comes from assimilating, understanding and letting what you have learned from your journey through life be the creator of your own luck and opportunity.

              NC is difficult, so much can be stirred up by doing it, it brings its own set of problems one of which is the way it affects the narcissists. However it is worth it and you are doing the right thing for yourself – that is in some ways one of its hardest challenges for a child of narcissists. You’ve been taught that doing things for yourself is a crime against the narcissists, a sinful thing to do. And if you grew up in a very religious family, that will be felt tenfold because narcissists use religion as they use everything else, to justify their version of reality, and force you to be and do what they want you to be and do for their sake.

              This is going to be a challenging time for you, but you’ve got this, the time is right for you to live life for yourself, to nourish and nurture your being.

              Like

              1. thanks for the link. great article.

                you’re very right about being taught that doing things for myself is wrong, and about religion being a tool for narcissists to reinforce this teaching. that has been a whole different, difficult battle for me; getting all of my parents’ ideas about god and religion out of my head, and coming to my own conclusions about these things. i won’t even get started on what it was like when i realized my orientation.

                nc gets easier with every day. was pleasantly surprised the other day, when i stopped and realized that i felt at peace, and that the reason for that is because my parents haven’t been around. my mother did try to contact me on my bday, though. as if nothing ever happened. i ignored the message. it was so completely strategic on her part. nothing for months, and then suddenly, on my birthday…other people in my family were contacting me to wish me a happy birthday, and she just couldn’t be left out. it had nothing to do with wanting to talk to me. it was strictly a “well, let me see if she will talk to me” move. it’s really a shame. all that strategy and maneuvering just to talk to her daughter. you were right. all this time she has totally been playing chicken with me. and i knew, too. i just wasn’t sure anymore if i knew from years of being gaslighted. you were right when you said that i know narcissism because i was brought up in it. my mother’s current actions are bringing back the familiarity of it all. it’s like, “oh yeah…i remember this game…i know how you think…i was raised this way…” the space and peace of nc are helping with that as well. it’s like, once you begin to clear the cobwebs from your brain, you remember the game. i’m remembering what i was beginning to know about her as a child, before she cast her scapegoat spell on me and made me forget. reminds me of lotr, when gandalf breaks the spell wormtongue had spun on the king. people poke fun at the fantasy/sci-fi genre, but, it can really be some deep shit.

                she thinks she’s so clever, but, she is (and has always been) giving away her own game. i know it won’t always be easy, but, i’m slowly, but surely, getting my bearings back. getting away is imperative. it’s the only way to clear all their shit out of your head, so you can remember what you’ve always known.

                Like

                1. Thank you πŸ™‚

                  You might find this post interesting – https://thenarcissistsson.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/hi-stephen-its-your-mother/ – it’s an excellent write up about NM’s and birthdays.

                  NC can be an amazing experience of finally being free to just be yourself. It does come with a lot of remembering and seeing things as they actually were, which can be harrowing at times because you realise just how much you put up with for so many years, and what you did to yourself to put up with it. I still kick myself sometimes, but they’re useful reminders these days more than anything else.

                  There is a whole period of my life I’ve blanked out, every now and then I get a glimpse of that time and groan. It was a very dark time when I was completely submerged in my parents’ nightmare, both of them had gone off the deep end of crazy in their war with each other. I had very few moments to myself. One of those moments came from volunteering at a hospital. The problem with that was that I’d come back looking genuinely happy. My mother couldn’t stand that, especially as part of the reason I was happy was because the people I worked with liked me, the volunteer supervisor wanted to hire me and that got back to my mother who did not take it well. Eventually I couldn’t stand the routine she did every time I returned, so I forced her to volunteer too. That was stupid on my part but it was one of those rock and a hard place scenarios. My sanctuary was invaded and taken over. I quit volunteering. Yet again I sacrificed something which meant something to me to the god of NPD. My mother quit too shortly afterwards because she’d got what she wanted from it, and she didn’t like being around sick people even though she was Florence Nightingale.

                  You’re absolutely right about fantasy/sci-fi being deep, and when it comes to NPD it can be deeply insightful into the disorder because living with narcissists is Mordor.

                  One of the many great things which comes from recuperating your inner knowledge is that it has such amazing ripples inside and out, past, present, and future. When you acknowledge what you’ve always known, you do more than allow yourself to see clearly, you also nourish your self-esteem, and all those parts of you which starved and now can grow and prosper.

                  Best wishes on your continued journey!

                  Like

                  1. if i may ask, is it possible that you are too hard on yourself? i’m aware that only you completely know your whole story. that being said, when does the narcissist’s behavior become their own fault? when does blaming yourself and kicking yourself begin to slide into victim blaming? i know that i’m responsible for my own life NOW, having learned what i’ve learned, but, before i knew what was happening, how could i have had any defense for it? i think this is especially true if your parents are narcissists, and you grow up in it. BOTH of your parents, even. blaming ourselves is what we’ve always been doing, for their benefit. maybe it’s time to stop blaming yourself? maybe it’s time to let them have the blame. i know that my parents are disordered, but, they’re also seventy years old. they’ve had ample time in their lives to notice how their behavior affects others. it’s not as if they’re autistic, and can’t read people’s body language, facial expressions, etc. it’s not as if they don’t notice that they drive people away. it’s not as if they’re very young narcissists who have not yet been told how obnoxious they are. either a person cares about the way his behavior affects others, or, he doesn’t. again, i know i don’t know your whole story, and i know you didn’t ask for it, but, that’s my two cents:)

                    Like

                    1. man. thanks for that link. i don’t even have words. all i can say is, “yup”. that periodic, guilt-inducing interjection of christian-speak. yup.

                      Like

                    2. Yes, you’re right, I do suffer from too-hard-on-myself-itis. I’m sometimes hard on myself about that πŸ˜‰

                      I don’t think it’s a blame issue, not anymore anyway, I hold my parents responsible for their side of the matter and when I finally did that, it was an amazing relief and release. Admitting they were at fault, which was something I was never allowed to do, was frigging awesome! I did go a bit overboard and spent a while blaming them for everything, which was a fun indulgence, and I needed to do that to redress the balance, but it eventually left me as powerless as blaming myself for everything.

                      Being hard on myself, is just something I do. It’s even in my astrology chart. I’m aware of it and try to ease up on it, especially as it can annoy people who aren’t used to it. I’m used to it so… I often tell hard-on-myself me to STFU.

                      I don’t consider it victim-blaming, although I can see how it might come across that way. I simply want to be aware of the things I do which are under my control, are my responsibility, which are in my power to change, which might make me attractive to people who are looking for a target for their arrows, or which might make me prone to tossing arrows at a target, any target just as long as I have one.

                      It’s something I do which overall these days is healthier than it is unhealthy, but it still needs some work. TY for mentioning it, I need reminders and always appreciate input!

                      Like

  2. Hi anupturnedsoul, guess what I also wanted to join the forces, but husband no. 1 got in the way of that. I sometimes wonder, not with regret, as I got my son out of no. 1 marriage, but sometimes wonder what my life would have been like if I had taken that “door”. When I look at my life, I realise that I have chosen loving and being loved over any great adventures, for me I realise it is what I needed most. I believe people who were given great confidence from their parents, and not torn down at every turn, have the confidence to give anything a go. I have a friend who is one of the bravest people I know, she never says no to anything, house sits alone all over the world, travels wherever and whenever she wants, has a regular gig singing, is currently learning the piano right now, is 70 years old and very young at heart, but so am I, but she had one failed marriage and that was that for her, she chose her freedom, independence over sharing her life! I see her a being sometimes all about her and a bit self-indulged, was she always like that or has she become that way with only needing to please herself? I know in some ways she envies what I have and in some ways I envy her freedom. I am in no way a wallflower, but I would still chose my life.

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      Wow! I worry sometimes about making connections where ACoNs are concerned. I wonder how many other daughters of NM’s or NF’s considered joining or joined the forces.

      The reason I didn’t join was partly because in practical terms it would be complicated, but overall it mainly had to do with me questioning my reason for wanting to join the forces. I pretty much asked myself if what I wanted to do was either kill other people or get myself killed. The answer to that was disturbing so I opted for another option – trying to sort the mess inside out.

      The path we choose to take should be respected by ourselves, which can be hard when there’s a narc family background that is always prompting us to view our choices as being wrong somehow.

      You chose right for yourself, the proof of that is in who you are now.

      As for your friend, I’m guessing if she ever settled down long enough to tell her story, everything would make sense. Maybe she just had enough of living for others and decided to live for herself, and hasn’t looked back.

      She admires you for what you have done and have, as you admire her – we often meet people who take the path we didn’t take and a part of us admires it and makes us feel a twinge for taking the path we did take. It’s okay, that’s part of being human.

      I think it was the Richard Bach book – One – which explored the concept of meeting the other you’s who took the path you didn’t take when you made a life choice at a crossroads, and how ultimately every path we take has good and bad, and that’s okay. None of the different versions of ourselves whom we could be is better than who we are, they’re just a bit different.

      The life we choose is the one we’re meant to experience, and part of that experience is wondering about the life we didn’t choose, while still appreciating the life we did choose. There’s always time to add thing, make a few new choices… it ain’t over ’til it’s over πŸ™‚

      Like

  3. Every comment has a pearl of wisdom to add that is certainly welcome as in knowing we are not alone in these struggles. I still struggle somewhat with the “do they really know what they are doing or not” question. I know that he has lied about things that there was absolutely no reason to even bring up the subject so me thinks he does it simply for the pleasure of lying?) It is crazy to think of this? But I recently have taken a little bit different thought about this, by accident actually, as I attempt to help (oh NO- helping again) my son deal with the anger he has inside himself. So I was researching being the child of a narcissist or other personality disordered person (because my suitcase has it’s fair share of “baggage” inside as well) and I thought about being a kid, growing up in a loving yet emotionally deprived in many ways FOO. How I felt, never getting my emotional needs met sufficiently met so I found ways to fill the need by becoming a giver, do for others and they will love you. And how did that work out for me? Not so good OBVIOUSLY- but here’s the thing……..
    …… I thought about what it must have been like to be a little boy growing up in HIS family of origin- a loving, two parent who did the normal things families did during the 60’s, yet was still emotionally neglectful place to grow up. In actuality much worse than mine in as far as in a narcissistic family- that want to be PERFECT, show the world how wonderful and perfect they are – yes in a N family everyone learns to wear the mask, especially husband being youngest. You know the youngest tend to be the spoiled ones in many families. However Dad was and a rigid parent. Expected to do everything perfectly to show their value to this family. Never allowed to express his own thoughts or opinions. So as long as he kept the “mask on” he could do and go what/where he wanted to. And then the day you graduate from High School they pack up and move to the mountains to get away from it all- you have plans right son? And he makes some and vows to never let anyone control himlike that again. Never would he, say/not say, what he thought again, allow being forced to wear the mask, the facade of it all. Nope now he wears it because it was handed down as the unwanted gift that keeps giving. He simply cannot see how his behavior is hurtful, after all his Dad treated his Mom this way and they are married 45 years this fall. They travel A LOT, and have many nice material things. So I have to understand this – why wouldn’t he not know how hurtful his behavior can be?. Because his role model appears happy, successful fulfilled in his life (at least what he shows to others and has reaped many spoils in his life. Of course he is going to think that his behavior is fine because his role model APPEARS to be handling everything perfectly well and has everything he wants in life. So as much as he (to a certain extent) admired and emulated his Father yet despised the emotional neglect, he has carried on the legacy of handing mask wearing down to his own sons. That is why I must speak up to save my sons from repeating this toxic love from taking our oxygen away. Yes he is, was, has been abusive to the three of us. But I don’t think it started with a conscience thought, he was just repeating what appeared to be a successful, loving family. I understand a little better now. Doesn’t excuse the CRAP but it helps me understand wear that fucking mask came from. Sorry so long winded it always happens when I haven’posted in a while. hugs to all-chely

    Like

    1. Thank you very much for sharing πŸ™‚

      It’s true that we can end up feeling very alone in our struggles, because our struggles push us further and further into ourselves, and when a narcissist is involved, they isolate us in many ways.

      The question of whether a narcissist knows what they’re doing or not is very complex to answer. One of the problems we face in trying to answer it is that we don’t think as they do, and we try to understand their thinking using our thinking.

      So, for instance, when we’re trying to figure out if they know they’re lying we use ourselves as a reference point, and we reason that if we were telling the sort of lies which they are telling, we’d know we were lying, therefore they must know that they’re lying. But a narcissist’s mind doesn’t work the way that a non-narcissist’s mind works. They’re the classic case of – if you want to make someone else believe a lie, then you have to believe it yourself. That’s why narcissists are so convincing, when they’re lying they often believe what they are saying is a truth.

      It depends on the type of lie as to whether they allow themselves to know they’re lying or not. Sometimes they do know they’re lying, however even when they know they are lying, they may slowly begin to believe their own lies as they tell them.

      Many of the lies they tell are for themselves, not for others. They are trying to convince themselves of something they want to believe. If they repeat a lie enough times, adding to it each time they tell it, it gradually becomes a truth.

      Narcissists often go on and on about how important the truth is to them – if they catch you out in a lie, or something they have decided is a lie you’re telling (which is often a truth they do not want to hear), they will give you hell about it. You have betrayed their trust and they can never forgive you. They are usually oblivious to the hypocrisy, and if you point out their hypocrisy, their lies, they will deny with gusto and believe themselves while doing it.

      If they do admit to lying, they will most often blame you for making them lie to you because you can’t handle the truth. Since everything they say and do is all about them, for them, them telling you they’re lying to you because you can’t handle the truth = they can’t handle the truth, a truth which doesn’t suit them and their need to believe whatever fantasy version of themselves and life, and you, they need to be true.

      Many narcissists will at some point state that they couldn’t lie to save their own skin because they are too honest to do that, and in the next sentence they may tell you a story about a clever lie they told which fooled a bunch of people. If you point out to them that in one breath they claimed they could never lie and in the next breath they said they had lied, they’ll get angry with you for being mean to them and stuff like that. Their reality is constantly shifting.

      This is an episode of Catfish worth watching to see how someone can lie and know they’re lying but also not know they’re lying because they want to believe their own lies – http://www.channelguidemagblog.com/index.php/2015/08/05/catfish-season-4-episode-16-recap-the-decade-long-catfish-story/

      What you’re doing, researching the history of your narcissist, is a very helpful process in understanding your experience. By seeing how they may have become the way that they are, you can begin to see why they do a lot of what they do, and that it isn’t about you, it is all about this hellish nightmare going on inside of them and their attempts to escape it, escape from being themselves and having to own their own story. The pretense, persona, lying, for them is all about creating their ideal self as they often have no idea who their real self is, and when they look in that place where the self is supposed to be it’s a dark and frightening space.

      Understanding a narcissist’s story, inside and out, definitely doesn’t excuse them, it explains them for you, and the more you understand about them, the more you understand your relationship with them, and in your case, the more you’ll be able to help your son deal with the issues which a child of a narcissist unfortunately has to face – the intense anger frightens your son, and he’s lucky to have you help him learn to deal with it in a way which will make it less frightening. The anger of a narcissist’s child is sometimes what protects them from being engulfed by the narcissist parent, it’s how they hold onto their real self – that anger is a survival mechanism which is fighting the narcissist’s invasion and denial of the child’s right to be who they are. A narcissist parent needs the child to be who they need them to be – the anger is a the child’s self saying ‘NO! I have a right to be me!’.

      We all have our baggage and sometimes the greatest gift we can give ourselves is the freedom to unpack it when we’re ready to do it, and if we ignore some of it, that’s fine too… sometimes unpacking the baggage of others can help us understand our own. The more we know about others, the more we know about ourselves. You’re very good at understanding others, be sure to be understanding towards yourself too. Be gentle with yourself, take good care of your beautiful self!

      Like

      1. Thank-you very much for sharing your wisdom and thoughts on dealing with the narcissist in one’s life. Lord knows this is one the most difficult struggles life has thrown my way. Obviously there are things still needed to be learned about myself (and interactions with others) and accepting that can be difficult. But I realize that I have been ignoring the lesson I needed to learn from this time in my life that is why I have struggled so. Opening my eyes and heart to this lesson and accepting that there is no other choice but to just accept it and begin to grow. God must think that i’m stronger than I think I am as he gives me the toughest lessons with the most homework to set me on the right path. I like the saying “half of being smart, is knowing what your dumb at”. It is a life long journey no doubt. hugs to you–chely

        Like

        1. Thank you πŸ™‚

          There are times when I get stuck seeing things from a narrow perspective and I miss the bigger picture or alternatives. I had that recently when my father died and it brought my mother back into my life. All the chaos of narcissists came with it, all the stuff I’d left behind when I went NC. Just before that happened I had been making progress towards a new experience of myself and life, things seemed to be taking a positive turn and I was just beginning to feel safe enough to expand into new territory, then wham, this hit and I found myself tumbling down a hole of why-is-this-happening-to-me-again. I threw myself an enormous pity party, wanted to crawl into a hole and hide until I died. It felt as though I was trapped forever in this mess and no matter how hard I tried to get out, move on, change myself to change my life, nothing worked.

          It took me a while to realise that although this was the same life lesson I’d been learning all my life, it was also an opportunity to see what I had learned throughout the years, to put into practice my understanding of NPD, its effect on me, to put what I had learned into action. It also came with the chance to view an old lesson differently, get a new perspective on it all, particularly on myself. My view of myself had always been too narrow when dealing with my parents and their cronies.

          As you so rightly said, it was time to embrace the lesson, accept it fully, and realise that I could handle it. I’ve done some major growing up in the past couple of years, I’ve allowed myself to be a grown up. Even if my mother still sees me as that stupid child who must do her bidding and be who she wants me to be, that she can treat me however she pleases because I don’t matter unless she needs something from me, etc, I don’t have to put up with that, I don’t have to revert to the way I used to be when dealing with her, or any other people from my past. I don’t need to let fear be the thing which guides my actions and behaviour. It never worked in the past and so why would it work now.

          It can be very scary, especially when it overwhelms. The biggest challenge for me has actually been admitting when I do know something because for most of my life I’ve seen myself as someone who knows nothing. That has caused me problems because I end up doubting what I know and letting others make decisions on issues which don’t affect them as much as they affect me, and I end up paying for the mistakes which get made. That life lesson was a major feature recently.

          Every one of us has personal power, strength, ability, we just don’t always know that and life lessons show us that, they reveal to us what we’re made of, what we’re capable of, but we have to be willing to look, and facing ourselves can be daunting, but very worth it.

          You know that saying about how humans only use a relatively small portion of their brain, well it applies to more than just our brain, we kind of think we’re smaller than we are and tough experiences force us to find new parts of ourselves, discover how much bigger we are that what we thought. When a life lesson seems to be crushing us, it’s actually pushing us out of our comfort zone of self into other areas of ourselves to reveal untapped resources within.

          So, yes, you definitely have the strength needed to deal with this, feeling vulnerable allows you to see your own strength, experience it deeply. You can do this, it’s time to accept your own personal power and see just how amazing you are. ❀

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Oh yes, that a narcissistic rage. It caught me off guard every time. And that magical thinking… a few years ago, on that one day that was supposed to be the end of the Mayan calendar and these three different cataclysmic events were supposed to take place, it was on a Thursday. I remember because I told my narcissist that I would stay with her that night.

    We were just dating, we lived separately. Her complete and total belief in this event was actually a bit disconcerting. But I took her out for some live music and the next morning we woke up and I said to her well here we are still. We didn’t speak much more of it after that.

    And that “reset”. Oh man, oh man. That turned out to be the end of it all. What she went out and did was the s********, nastiest thing a woman could ever do. The damage from that remains with me. And I will say this one last thing… all of this knowledge of narcissism that some of us carry around, for me it makes for a lonely life. Knowledge I wish I never had.
    N-Searcher

    Like

    1. The narcissistic rage tends to appear to happen suddenly, one minute they seem to be a clear blue sky and the next minute you get struck by their lightning and find yourself in the middle of a massive thunderstorm.

      Although if you’re used to the rhythms of the narcissist you can feel it approaching, you can see the storm clouds gathering, and you know they’re a hair trigger away from exploding, but you just can’t always predict what will set them off. The storm can loom for days, sometimes weeks, hanging in the air heavily, weighing you down, crushing you, and there are times when you actually look forward to the rage because at least you don’t have to live in anxious anticipation of it. And once it’s over they’re fine, unless they didn’t get all the internal pressure out of their system, but even then they may go off and sulk, and it may be a while before they repeat the cycle.

      Yes, they have their version of reality and if they get fixated on something there is no reasoning with them. Their version of reality is reality as far as they are concerned, if you try to show them that there are other versions of reality they tend to think you’re deluded.

      My guess is that there may have been a part of her who wanted the world to end, and when it didn’t it flipped a switch inside of her and she decided to create her own version of the end of the world.

      I also have had many times when I wish I didn’t know what I know up close and personal about narcissists. That wish is actually an insight into why narcissists reset themselves. They tend to reset themselves most often when something bad happens which threatens their view of reality, when they are faced with something they don’t want to know – unlike non-narcissists who accept that we have to deal with the bad things in life, narcissists simply reset and deny that anything bad happened.

      Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      Like

  5. That’s quite amazing, isn’t it – a little bit from here, a bigger bit from there – the brain in all its majesty, working and making connections even when we’re not quite aware of it, and then we suddenly wake up to it. It also likes to put things away. As you said, you had gone NC with your parents and then also began to lose contact with the nuances of narcissistic behaviour. It’s almost like childbirth, where you forget the pain and are willing to do it again.

    I recently reviewed the e-mails from my ex-N that he sent while we were divorcing (as part of my recent review of the divorce file from my lawyer) and as I said before, doing that sent me back there emotionally. But now that a few days have passed, I can see how time and distance were protecting me and allowing me to move on. It’s rather a conumdrum. In order to be vigilant where narcissism is concerned one needs to remember the details, and yet doing so is also a viper’s pit. His emails were by turns vicious, threatening (I went to the police about one of them in particular, had a security system installed in my house and an enhanced one in my car – he had threatened me with a car bomb – and also had to inform my employer), confused, rambling, illogical and fequently interpersed with protestations of love and adoration. For about a year afterwards, I always checked out my car before getting in it. He was head-snappingly difficult to keep track of but I had to to it because my safety and the safety of those in my life depended on it. But we can’t maintain that level of high alert indefinitely. We have to be able to move on, otherwise we will be trapped.

    However, I’ve also been putting together this experience with my childhood experiences and now realize that my mother was also likely a narcissist. As you say, everything has a way of connecting. πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Reading letters and emails which narcissists write, especially if you have a collection that show their shifts and changes, can be very eye-opening. It’s a record of what they usually do in conversation, but when the words hit the air they vanish, and because they do that whole thing of – I didn’t say that – and they insist upon it, making us doubt what we heard, it all gets muddled. But in a letter or email, they can still say they didn’t say that and that we’re the ones who are wrong, or lying, or crazy, but we have proof that they did indeed say that.

      I was watching an episode of Catfish last night and this women kept saying things then saying she hadn’t said what she’d just said, and Max (one of the presenters of the show) got more and more exasperated because they were filming what she was saying thus they had a record of it, proof she’d said it, and somehow she didn’t get that, and he couldn’t get why she couldn’t get it. He also had a moment of doubting the other person, the one who had asked the show to help her find out if she was being Catfished, which she was and had been for ten years, and he was angry that he’d allowed himself to doubt her, that he had for a moment believed someone who was a compulsive liar.

      I’m not surprised that once the immediate threat died down you wanted to forget as much of the experience as possible and move on from it. It sounds as though it was incredibly terrifying – the mind can only handle that kind of situation for so long, and survival instincts kick in which often require blanking things out once you no longer need to be aware of the danger.

      You’re made of some amazingly strong stuff! Perhaps your experience with your mother helped in some way with your experience with your ex. You seemed to have handled the bomb threat with great poise!

      Like

      1. Oh Ursula, I didn’t feel poised at all, but thanks for the compliment :). I felt more like a wet dirty old mop flopping around. I think that both my experience with my mother and my military experience helped. I was posted to Cyprus as a peacekeeper (yeah, right, it was a war); one of the first women sent into combat (in my country, anyway). One of the things I took away from that situation is an ability to just focus on the core of a situation. That’s still with me. I think my experience with my mother produced a similar result. I remember thinking from quite a young age that if I just focused on the other side of her tirades, I could get through it. Any kind of fear or other emotional reaction would just add fuel to her fire.

        I hadn’t heard of Catfish until you wrote about it and then I looked it up. Interesting show! It’s amazing how the presenter almost got turned around, and this is someone who is aware of what’s going on. I never cease to be amazed by what the narcissist can accomplish.

        I’ve enjoyed reading the other comments and your responses. πŸ™‚

        Like

        1. Thank you πŸ™‚

          That’s very intriguing. I considered joining the forces when I was younger, and I know another woman with an NM who, like you, joined up. I don’t know if there is a connection between having an NM and joining (or wanting to join) the forces, or if it’s just one of those coincidences. You do get certain training from dealing with an NM which definitely would work well in a combat zone, and in the military. And a peacekeeper (which is v. cool btw)… being a keeper of the peace is something you learn to do when you grow up with narcissists. Their rages, and all the other stuff does feel like a combat zone to a child, and to an adult, and victims of narcissists more often than not develop PTSD.

          The flow of one thing into another, of one experience leading into another, is intensely fascinating. Sometimes I see it as the need to experience the same situation again and again in different forms as a way to really learn whatever it is that it is teaching us, for whatever purpose it has for us. History needs us to repeat it so that we can evolve it, so that it can evolve as we evolve, something like that.

          Like

  6. Thank you. I REALLY needed to read this right now. I’ve been NC with my NPD(ex) parents for two months now. I’m really not ok (I’m 45, married for 23 years). I’m seeing my life in a different way–it’s them not me!–but it still hurts. And as I was cleaning out my email BAM there was an email from my NPDM. And though I could see all the tricks and mirrors and manipulation, it hurt. I hear it gets easier. I’m losing hope because there are grandchildren involved. (Who are old enough to despise them for what they did but they will never believe that–surely we brainwashed them!) I’m sorry you know what this all feels like. I appreciate you reaching out to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      When you go NC from your narcissist parents it can be as devastating as keeping them in your life, sometimes more so because the past comes crashing down on you with this added awareness of the horror of the pain, hurt and utter lack of real love, and the PTSD kicks very hard. You basically give yourself permission to feel and think everything you’ve had to put on hold, and it can be overwhelming.

      When I finally went completely NC from my parents, it coincided with me getting very physically ill. I was worn out and it affected my immune system, which made me even more worn out, making me vulnerable to, of all things, chicken pox. A disease which we’re supposed to catch in childhood, but I avoided many of those childhood ailments as I was always hyper alert and I guess so was my immune system… it was like I was finally allowing myself to be the child in me who had never been allowed to be a child – going NC triggered that in a strange way.

      I was even more of a mess after going NC than I was when my parents were creating endless chaos in my life. You relax in a way, and that’s when things hit you.

      If you haven’t already, please check out the info about PTSD in connection with relationships with narcissists which is available online. Kim over at Let Me Reach did a post about it – http://letmereach.com/2014/02/01/ptsd-in-the-aftermath-of-narcissistic-abuse/

      It does get easier, but first it gets harder – which is really the last thing you need as it was hard enough to finally go NC, usually to do that you were pushed to breaking point and broke, and narcissist parents make that decision ten times worse because they don’t accept it or respect it. How dare you!!! – is all what they tend to make of it.

      Non-narcissist parents would be genuinely shocked if their child went NC with them, they’d probably bend over backwards to understand, make amends, work things out – narcissist parents do something else entirely. They’re the victims and you’re the victimiser, and they milk that for all it is worth. They may even get friends and other family members to try to shame you into breaking your NC. They’re passive-aggressive bullies who make everything out to be your fault, you’re the one with the problem as far as they are concerned – and yes, they’ll use grandchildren as pawns.

      Focus as much as you can on taking care of yourself, validating, respecting and acknowledging your truth. It’s tough, will hurt like hell, but at some point it will begin to reap some awesome rewards – you just have to keep going to get there! You deserve to have some peace, but sometimes peace only comes after a war.

      “Never, never, never give up. If you’re going through hell, keep going. Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.” – Winston Churchill

      You can do this, you’ve been through hell already, but this time going through hell is very worth it, and leads to somewhere else, somewhere worth getting to!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. So validating Kat…me too..I just got sicker..had to have kidney surgery due to kidney stones…and one stone being stuck in the urethra tube… ( in energy speak…I was immensely “pissed off” lol….) but seriously…I became so ill and depressed and raging mad and imbalanced…wellness was a far away shot in the dark. Yes PTSD kicked in big time.I also had a very serious abdominal hernia that was so big, my muscle was falling through it as well as other tissue and in energy speak…this was the immense hole in my soul…the hernia being located at the sacral Chakra space…where our security or lack of shows up…when we are treated ” less than ” In our life from the very people that we depended on as children…..this lack of love and security dwells and fester in this Chakra first. I am so grateful to you for the sharing of your journey…I am immensely grateful for being led to your blog. Sincere blessings from my heart to yours. Peace and comfort, from my home to yours…. Namaste’

        Like

        1. Hi SOULSPEAK2013, I have not studied your religion or the Chakra, but strange you should tell me this area can be affected by ongoing sorrow or unresolved issues, I know I have heard this previously, before I had my health issues, but had forgotten. Five years ago, I started having severe pain in that area, right in the middle of my chest, finally diagnosed, I had a diseased gall bladder full of large stones, had it removed about 15 months ago, pain gone, but still issues with digestion to this day. Have very recently returned to a healthier diet, avoiding the food triggers and intend to address being overweight, feel though that more work is needed on my soul (though I have already done heaps to make sure I love myself more) I know this is what I need. All my best wishes to you also. Kat

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Yes, that is the Solar Plexus Chakra or Core Chakra related to Core Self, and is where the gall bladder is located and this has all attachment to self worth, self esteem, and gut instincts. An imbalanced or closed chakra here will produce fire gut, digestion problems, and affect all organs in this area, as we can not digest this toxic truth, and organs in this area do indeed flair up to show us this. Amber and Topaz crystals are excellent for balancing this chakra. Aromatherapy oils excellent for aiding the cleansing of this chakra is grapefruit, orange, and rosemary.this chakra helps us to connect to our inner authority. Imbalance in this chakra comes from guilt and lack of our inner authority. When we give our power away to be what others want us to be, this creates the ” weight we carry”.
            I am a Karuna and Usui Reiki Master and Sound and Breath healer. I am ICRT certified as well as a natural born breath healer. Kat, I offer my services for free. I never charge a penny for what I do. If ever you would like a distance session, I am happy to extend my services. I do this via email instructions or Skype. The offer is always open to you dear fellow traveler πŸ’œπŸŒž

            Like

  7. Oh man. I find myself nodding my head. I’ve experienced these in my current boyfriend, whom I’m trying my darnest to leave, recently. He also sees me as a narissist to him. I honestly don’t care anymore what he does or says to me to try and get to me. I may be purposely being a narissist now, but that’s only because I feel as though I am doing all I can to secure my education and my boys education and not let him get me down by name calling or verbal abuse of all kinds. I am putting my foot down and not taking his hot and cold behaviour or arguments about our past because, again I am beyond our relationship.
    I can see how I am with him now and how i was in the past. Definitely a little narissist in me, but only because he threatened me, emotionally or mentally hurt me and manipulated me into being complacent just to make him happy again. I would react with fear and anxiety or even utter despair, and he would let me act that way and make it worse to a point of suicidal intent. When I say let me act that way I am talking about panic attacks or depression and the like till he was in a good mood again to say he was wrong or just a simple sorry and back to the i-love-you attitude. And only after I’ve had my cry, or panic attack and crying subsided. Definitely too much emotional and mental stress to fool myself in continuing a relationship with him. Even if we had kids together.

    Like

    1. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      You’re in that double bind which often happens in a relationship with a narcissist, especially now that narcissists know about ‘narcissists’ and use that as an accusation when someone isn’t who they want them to be and isn’t doing what they want them to do.

      Basically you’re a narcissist to the narcissist because you aren’t accepting his rules. Bet you stood up for yourself, stood up to him, and that’s what made him call you a narcissist. If he didn’t use that word, he’d be using another because narcissists are quick to name-call when they aren’t getting what they want and when things aren’t going their way. They even do it when they get what they want and things go their way – they are compulsive labellers of others and it tends to be a criticism even when it’s a compliment. They love giving backhanded compliments.

      And in some twisted way, if a narcissist calls you a narcissist, it’s a compliment.

      I totally get that attitude of not caring anymore and just wanting out. It’s actually a good sign, even if it feels a bit like the butt end of a cigarette.

      And sometimes the only way to deal with a narcissist is by doing to them what they do to you – it’s a language they understand. They really don’t understand why we’re so different from them, so when we behave like they do, they get it, and it can sometimes get us what we want from them – which is to be free of their drama and complications.

      Actually, if he thinks you’re a narcissist and has accused you of being one – he’s given you carte blanche to not do what he wants you to do, and do what you want to do.

      When you have children with a narcissist it makes the relationship much more complicated, and it makes it harder to break free. Be gentle with yourself, don’t add to the pressure. You’re in a complex situation and it takes time to figure things out and find your way to freedom and safety. A narcissist will use anything and anyone to keep you attached to them – your children, even if he genuinely loves them, will be used to keep you stuck with him, or used against you if you try to escape and he doesn’t want to let you go.

      Your panic attacks, crying, fear, anxiety, and suicidal intent sound like PTSD. Have you explored this, there is a lot of information about it online, and it is common for those who have been in a relationship with a narcissist to develop it. It is very real and can be crippling at times, sometimes it causes us to stay with the narcissist when we know we should go. Kim from Let Me Reach wrote a post about it – http://letmereach.com/2014/02/01/ptsd-in-the-aftermath-of-narcissistic-abuse/

      Give yourself the time you need to do things right for yourself, take care of yourself and don’t worry if you find a little narcissist within you – we all have that, and sometimes it is healthy for us, and when we’re with a narcissist it is normal to experience it in ourselves. It may be part of our survival mechanism.

      Take good care of yourself!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thank you for the website. I’ll have to check it out.
        I’ve tried to mimic his behaviours and way of talking or pushing me around verbally. Still ended badly. Also, felt so cruel and just not a good feeling after. I can’t keep it up, besides I think he likes my confrontations to his confrontations. Right now I listen and call him out on his contradictions, and hot and cold behaviour. Along with doing what I want to do and should have been doing all along. Hah. I maybe forcing him to have all three kids sometimes, but I also make a point to have them with me away from home in a park or library. (I have to nag him to spend time with his kids, rarely works.) Thank you so much for replying, and for the link again.

        Like

        1. It’s worth experimenting with ideas, trying things out, there are tactics which work some of the time but which don’t work all of the time, depends on whatever is going on with the narcissists in the moment, they’re like shifting sand.

          I find that dealing with them as though I was dealing with a tired and angry child helps, as narcissists are basically children in adult bodies.

          This is quite an interesting read – http://www.psytalk.info/articles/narcissist.html – it give tips on how to talk to a narcissist particularly when you want to encourage them to do something like spend time with their children, as they don’t do, feel or think what normal parents do where their children are concerned unless they are getting narcissistic supply from it, and they always expect to be applauded and rewarded for doing normal and ordinary things.

          Make sure you take care of yourself, keep doing what you want to do and nourishing yourself. Sometimes that is the best way of dealing with a narcissist, ignore them and focus on yourself πŸ™‚

          Liked by 1 person

  8. Some of your comments, made me remember the present giving events. Where the narcissist would have to be the one to give her, bigger and more expensive (she could afford it) than anyone else’s present, last. so she could eclipse every “silly little” present that was given before. The times, I spent hours shopping for a gift which I put a lot of love in the choosing, often paying more than I could afford I guess to maybe try and buy her love?, to hear “do you think that is me do you?” or hear afterwards, how it was, “too small for the task, too scratchy, not what she wanted” and so on and yet if you were to even think of making such a comment or complain about anything she “had done for me”, or bought for me (which I was never rude enough to do) all hell would break loose, yes the epic tantrum to beat all tantrums, the whole family and world would hear about it, “how dare she criticize me, the perfect mother/person”. When I gave up and took control at 50 after deciding that only people who had manners, treated me with respect and love, could now have any of my valued time, did I finally feel as if I had “escaped the spider”

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Kat I’m sorry she treated you like that. I appreciate you sharing, because I felt stupid that here I am at 45, and just finally seeing them as the mean nasty people they have been my whole life. I feel like I’ve wasted so much of my life catering to them and it’s too late to change some things. But hearing others like you who have held out hope for a long time helps me feel not do alone. My best to you.

      Like

    2. Thank you for sharing πŸ™‚

      Oh, yes, yes, yes!!! The nightmare conundrum of present giving and present getting!!!

      You can never win that game because for narcissists it is a competition.

      You know how sometimes people ask you what your phobia is – mine is an irrational fear of being given gifts. That’s invariably my answer and people think I’m joking. I’m not joking. This has caused quite a few problems in my relationships with non-narcissists, and is difficult to explain to people who have never been involved with a narcissist.

      The friend I mentioned in this post once decided that they wanted to give me a very special gift for X-mas. They went on and on and on about it even though when they first mentioned it I said – Don’t give me anything, I have a phobia about being given gifts and if you really have to give me something make it abstract such as give me your understanding that I really don’t want or need a physical gift because it makes me break out in irrational terror. But of course her gift was going to be so special that I would be eternally in awe and grateful. It would be a miracle cure for my phobia. X-mas came and went, and there was no gift, just the silent nights and days treatment – basically they had talked a lot of talk but when it came to walking the talk they went to bed and feel asleep. I didn’t say anything because I was relieved that their much promised gift did not happen, but the issue did not go away – they eventually got mad at me out of the blue about it, and told me that I had to understand how difficult times were for them. I knew that which was also why I didn’t want a special gift from them, but… being used to that kind of thing, I just sighed.

      They did give me a very special gift, they reminded me of what it was like to have narcissists in my life… my relationship with them ended very badly as I finally decided to confront them, but that was the beginning of my blogging about narcissists and that has helped me a lot.

      When we tell our story, that’s a gift we give to ourselves, one which has usually been a long time coming.

      Keep escaping that spider by giving yourself the gifts of respect and love!

      Like

      1. Thanks anupturnedsoul, yes it’s getting better, getting better all the ti..ime, as that great Beatles song goes!

        Like

  9. i agree with lynette…i’m freaked out by some of the things you post about your mother. very similar to my mother. love you very much, then, hate you very much. that entire section about your mother…you described it so well! that’s exactly how it is! “…storm clouds would gather…” exactly! as a child, that’s exactly how you experience it. then, your mind starts racing…retracing your steps…”oh, no. what did i do?! what did i say?!” and, of course, you can’t remember what you did or said because you didn’t do or say anything. not anything that warranted this response. your post about the cruise you and your parents went on reminded me of my mother as well. slip into an awful mood, for no apparent reason, and ruin the trip for everyone else. totally something my mother has done.

    i really liked this post. the whole “do they know what they’re doing” thing has really been a challenge for me to understand. some explanations i’ve come across are way too demonizing, while others almost seem to be blaming me for feeling anger, or any kind of negative feeling, for the narcissists in my life. that part about they’re being even more innocent then a child naturally would be…wow. that was super deep. but, as you said, it’s such a very bad thing for everyone else involved. but, they’re always telling you to grow up!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i’ve SEEN this in my father. this dangerous innocence. it’s like, part of you wants to pity it, while, the other part of you is completely unsettled and almost disgusted by it. the dark side of innocence. this is how innocence becomes way twisted and completely f’ed up. as i said, this is really one of the best descriptions i’ve come across. i will be reading this over and over.

    light, of light’s house, also answers the “do they know what they’re doing” question really well on his site. he says they know what they’re doing is wrong, but, they can’t feel that it’s wrong. they know you’re hurt, but, they can’t feel why you’re hurt. their minds just can’t allow any information that tells them they’re wrong, so they spin it into something else.

    really helpful post. thank you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you very much πŸ™‚

      I don’t think I’ve come across Light’s House before, thank you for the heads up, looks like a really great site for ACoNs.

      I think the question about a narcissist’s awareness is a complex one to answer because there are many threads attached to it, which can confuse matters. It is difficult to gauge someone else’s level of awareness, especially when it isn’t like our own. A narcissist’s awareness works differently from a non-narcissist’s, so when we try to apply our understanding of what it means to be aware to a narcissist we may end up tying our own awareness up in knots.

      Much of our quest to understand how aware a narcissist is goes hand in hand with changes in our own awareness. There is also the matter of our interpretation of what awareness is, and that changes as our perception changes.

      There is also the issue of cognitive dissonance to contend with, and this can sometimes cause us to make a judgment to appease our confusion. Sometimes when we realise someone is a narcissist and read up about it, we overload our mind with too much information, and to ease the stress, to help us sort through our confusion and distress we make black and white decisions, therefore the narcissist is either completely aware of what they’re doing or they’re not – and since we’re now aware of what the narcissist is doing, and since the more we think about it, the more it becomes obvious, we may decide that it is utterly impossible for them to not know what they’re doing – we’re basically projecting our awareness into them.

      To add to the confusion – sometimes narcissists seem to be aware of what they’re doing, sometimes they are, but their awareness of their actions may not be what we think it is (as you said Light’s House pointed out) and should be if we were doing what they are doing.

      One of the most tricky aspects of figuring out your story with a narcissist is that humans tend to do the – if I was you – version of empathy as part of relating and understanding others. If we were them we’d know what we were doing, and we probably wouldn’t do it because of our awareness. Narcissists also do the – if I were you – thing, only they don’t do it the way that non-narcissists do. They think we think the way that they do, and some of what they do is because of what they think we are doing. Narcissists can be very paranoid, and they spend a lot of time trying to figure out what we’re really saying or why we did something, or why we didn’t say or do something. They tend to assume the worst about us, and this prompts them to do and say things which make no sense to us because we’re not thinking or feeling what they think we’re thinking and feeling.

      For instance if you forget a narcissist’s birthday, they don’t think that it was an accident, for them you were making a statement, trying to hurt them, deliberately ignoring them (because they do that). So they then have to do something to you for what you did to them. They may lash out at you or give you the silent treatment and you may have no idea why.

      When I had to deal with my parents, I had to learn to figure out what they thought I was thinking and feeling to then figure out WTF was going on.

      With my parents, my mother was and still is completely oblivious of what she does. There was a book – Five Red Herrings by Dorothy L. Sayers – where the main character says something about another character who managed to get someone to kill someone else along the lines of – there is nothing more dangerous to others than a stupid woman. When I read that line I instantly recognised my mother. Her innocence is dangerous, but mostly for others, she tends to get away without a scratch. She once gave my name and contact details to a very strange stranger because he put her on the spot, she didn’t want him to have her name and contact details, and so she tried to make one up but the first name she thought of was mine – so she pretended she was me. Luckily that strange stranger was not a predator. She told me all of this in great detail and was proud of herself for having been clever not to have given her name to someone who made her uneasy, when I reacted with shock at the fact that she’d given my name to someone who made her uneasy… she was a bit perplexed, then a bit upset with me for being upset with her, then for a split second she had an inkling of what she had done, and she did her wheedling routine. Poor her, she was under pressure and… then she did her ultimate get out – she made as if the whole thing was a funny joke and I had to see the funny side of it or I was a boring bore rotten egg.

      My father on the other hand – he had awareness, and if you called him out on certain things, he’d admit it, he was often proud of it, and grudgingly respected you for not being fooled, but his awareness took strange twists and turns due to his paranoia, and he too could be dangerously innocent but this usually backfired on him as he tended to do that with his career choices.

      The way I approach the – do they know what they’re doing – question is to assume they don’t even if they do, because even when they do they don’t. They really don’t get non-narcissists, and the lack of that awareness is a real mess for them and for us.

      If you come across a person or article which denies you your right to be angry, the problem is theirs not yours, they may be someone who is afraid of anger. Being angry and allowing yourself to be angry is a healthy element of recovering from the crazy of a narcissist. It can become unhealthy if we get stuck in our anger, but we made need to be stuck in it for a while because we were denied the right to feel that way for so long. Things have a way of balancing themselves if we let ourselves feel what we feel, get it out of our system and honour our process.

      For me healing from my relationship with narcissists has been a similar process to going through the five stages of grief. I keep having to cycle through it, but the cycle is a spiral πŸ™‚

      Like

      1. yeah, they’re not mentally together enough to be so cunning and for their actions to be so pre-planned. much of what they do is knee-jerk reacting to imagined slights that they’re projecting on to us, as you said. they believe that, deep down, everyone is really just like them, they’re just pretending they’re not. i do believe that they are much more aware of the things they do to cover up their actions, though. that’s when our cognitive dissonance sort of comes in handy to them. that’s when they sort of rely on, and use our confusion for their own benefit.

        do you ever wonder if your mother has any borderline traits? i’ve wondered this about my own mother. sometimes, i think she might even be a little more bpd than npd.

        Like

        1. I agree πŸ™‚

          I’ve wondered a lot of things about my mother… and have questioned my diagnosis of both of my parents, as well as my view of myself, because it sort of makes sense to do that rather than be rigid about it.

          I read an interesting series of articles about the similarities between BPD and NPD.

          Hang on… just seeing if I still have it in my bookmarks and if it is still there at the end of the link if I do have it… sounds of virtual footsteps going into a virtual library, sorting through virtual books. Sounds of curses at mess in virtual library… sounds of being squashed by virtual books toppling over in virtual library.

          This is a link to it – https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/stop-walking-eggshells/201112/black-and-white-thinking-is-both-bpd-and-npd-trait – it’s divided into parts.

          My mother fits NPD better than BPD, although her NPD has a certain Histrionic personality disorder to it which could perhaps be similar to BPD, but overall she’s more NPD. Her emotions were very controlled until they were not, and even then there was a certain controlled unleashing, and when they were not controlled it was triggered by the sort of thing which triggers a narcissistic tantrum.

          Those with BPD are more likely to enter therapy because they know something needs sorting out within them. Those with NPD are certain that everyone else needs therapy, they’re fine – that’s my mother.

          It’s a good idea to keep our view of them flexible, for ourselves more than for them. It helps to figure things out.

          Like

          1. thanks for the link to the great articles. it’s still so confusing, though. it’s funny…one of those articles mentioned that there are instances when an n’s behavior can be planned. usually when they’re trying to humiliate you for something you’ve done. trying to reestablish their superiority over you. the behavior probably still isn’t “planned” the way we think of “planned” though. who knows???

            i tried to find articles on what it looks like when someone has both npd and bpd. didn’t really find any that were any good. found one source that said borderlines who never get help often develop npd. the npd then helps the person to deny their bpd. these borderlines are higher functioning than “conventional” borderlines.

            are you familiar with the book understanding the borderline mother? she came up with four archetypes of the borderline mother. one of them is “the queen”, which sounds exactly like my mother. however, it also sounds exactly like someone with npd.

            “Those with BPD are more likely to enter therapy because they know something needs sorting out within them. Those with NPD are certain that everyone else needs therapy, they’re fine – that’s my mother.”

            my mother has told me on two separate occasions that she wishes she had gotten therapy long ago. on one of those occasions, she even broke down into tears and said to me, “i might be crazy, but, i’m the only mother you have.” i have never known what to make of these incidents. don’t know if they were momentary instances of clarity, or, ploys to lure me into sympathizing with her. on both occasions i was angry about something she did, and was confronting her about her behavior. doesn’t seem very npd to admit to needing therapy, but then, it could have been a trick. but, would an npd go THAT far for a trick? to actually admit to wanting/needing therapy?

            maybe she is a borderline who never got help, then developed npd. maybe she has picked up npd-ish denial from my father. there is just this certain instability to her self that makes me wonder. confusing and intriguing.

            Like

            1. My father was aware of a lot of what he did, he planned and thought his manipulations out, he openly discussed them sometimes, he would tell people he was manipulative, he was quite proud of it, and if you confronted him when he was messing with you, he’d get this look which said – You got me! – then it was game on, like playing verbal/emotional chess. He was very adept at finding a person’s weak spot, and he might even point it out to them, and warn them, before he poked it.

              What he wasn’t aware of was why he was the way he was, or why he felt compelled to behave that way. Many of his manipulations were due to him doing to others what he thought they were doing to him, or about to do to him, or they were retaliation for what he thought they’d done to him. His emotional landscape was a mess. He was not as in control as he thought he was, and most of the suffering he caused was to make others feel his pain. It was more often than not a case of you hurt me or screwed me first (whether they had or not) so now you have to pay for it.

              My mother did not have a clue about how manipulative she was, in her mind she didn’t have a manipulative bone in her body – she actually said that repeatedly and she believed herself. And she often said that she wished she could be as manipulative as other people were, but she was too virtuous and honest for that.

              When I was going through my New Age/Self Help phase, my mother was all over it doing it too. Everything I did, she had to do too. She did every now and then realise she had an issue, but she never really owned those issues, they were hers but not hers, and I was responsible for fixing the issue – so it was the usual damsel in distress routine. Mostly what she learned from all the Self Help/New Age things was to bring a new language to her usual routine. If she’s still doing any of it, which I doubt as her interest in exploring the psyche was reliant upon my interest in it, then she’d be calling herself a Highly Sensitive Person or an Empath, because that’s the lingo of today, and she’d be blaming her sensitivity for why everything is always everyone else’s fault.

              The awareness of a narcissist is narcissistic. They like knowing things, it makes them look good, but they don’t really know them. They can know things without knowing them at all. It’s intellect without understanding. Sometimes it can be very keen but at the same time it can be dull. They can make observations about themselves and be oblivious of the observation they made. They can’t self-reflect. So when they say something about themselves it’s more about saying it to the person to whom they are saying it and seeing what that person reflects back at them rather than them thinking about it and reflecting on it internally.

              Their awareness, their scheming, their observations about themselves are childlike. So they can be very cunning, as children often are, but at the same time they can be naive about their own cunning, not really realising just how cunning they’ve been. They can get make an observation about themselves which is spot on, honest, true, and forget it in the next minute as though it never happened. They can be mean, then be nice, then be mean, then be nice, without it registering that they’re switching from one to the other. One moment they tell you they love you and in the next moment they tell you they hate you, and both are true when they say it.

              The psychology of narcissists is similar to that of prepubescent children.

              This is an article about something called ‘inattentional blindness’, it’s about children but some aspects of it fit narcissists – http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-27538195

              I can’t recall if we discussed this, but have you ever read Alice Miller, especially The Drama of the Gifted Child. It’s an excellent read.

              Like

              1. my father is much more covert. he is very slyly manipulative (he thinks so, anyway). he tries to influence others subliminally. he won’t come right out and say what he wants someone to do, he’ll just, sort of, plant the idea in the person’s mind. he’ll make a ‘suggestion’, or, he’ll dance around what he means until you get what he means. sometimes when he’s doing this, he has a very unsettling, penetrating stare. he would never cop to being manipulative, though. he thinks he’s just a really good communicator. when i was a teen, and in my early twenties, i constantly fought with my mother. my father would always ‘mediate’. many times, he would look straight into my eyes, with that stare, and say to me, “why are you always so angry?” he would slowly enunciate each word. his purpose was to make me feel guilty about being angry so i would stop being angry. nevermind whatever completely insane thing my mother had done.

                earlier this year, before my parents and i had our falling out, my mother had OFFERED me help with a situation i was in. of course, when i called her about accepting the help, she attached strings to it. one of the strings was that i had to go over to their house and have a ‘talk’ with them. this is something my parents have always done (don’t know why i fell for it again). ‘talk’ actually means, i go over to their house and sit there, while they lay into me about all the things i have done since our last ‘talk’ to upset them. this includes insulting me, dredging up things that happened years ago, telling me about all the ways in which i am a horrible human being, blah, blah, blah. my father starts off with his grievances about the way i’d been speaking to them (i.e., i had been standing up for myself and they wanted me to stop). my father says to me, “you can’t speak to us any old way. we’re not your friends at school.” i graduated from high school twenty-two years ago. i sat there for a few seconds in utter disbelief, waiting for him to catch himself, or correct himself. he doesn’t. finally, i say, “i haven’t been in school for twenty-two years!” he says, “i meant the people that you used to go to school with.” i was stunned. i am still. even if he was really referring to the people i used to go to school with, it was so long ago, why even mention school??? maybe it was a mistake (pretty big mistake, though), he is getting older. maybe it was a freudian slip. or, maybe it was an (subconscious) attempt to put me in the mindset of a little child. an attempt to communicate to me, “this growing up you’re doing, this separating yourself from us…stop. we don’t like it.” with him, you never know.

                your last two above paragraphs are brilliant. that’s exactly it. i keep forgetting that when they’re talking to me, they’re not really talking to me. i’m just holding up the mirror. and that they can’t self-reflect. if they could, they wouldn’t be narcissists.

                i have read the drama of the gifted child. it’s one of my favorite books. i’ve also read for your own good by alice miller, which was also excellent. kind of depressing and triggering, though.

                that was a good article. thanks for the link.

                hope you’re having a great evening:)

                Like

                1. Thank you πŸ™‚

                  I know you know why I call my teenage self stupid for telling my mother about the compliment my friend’s mother gave me. Because narcissists always make us end up feeling stupid, or something along those lines, for just being normal humans who want to share our lives, relate things which have happened to us, etc, with others, especially those others who should be interested in us and often give the impression that they are not only interested but care about what’s up with us… and we keep forgetting that the narcissists in our lives aren’t human like we are or other humans are.

                  They just don’t get it, and they never will get it, they can’t. Everything is always about them, and everything about us is about them in some way or another, even more so when the narcissists in our lives are our parents.

                  Your parents can’t see you – you as a person, an individual, as an adult or even as a child, separate from them. Your identity is constantly shifting when you’re with them to suit whatever identity they are embodying. So one minute they’ll talk to you as an adult, then the next you’re a child, then you’re a stranger, then you’re the closest person to them – but none of that is about you, it’s all about them and their constantly shifting personas. Since they have no core sense of self, one minute they’re your parent, next they’re your best friend, next they’re your enemy, next they’re your child, next they’re your victim, next they’re your victimiser (who sees themselves as a victim fighting back at their victimiser – you). It changes from minute to minute, and they talk a blue streak and don’t listen to a word they say – talking is compulsive for them and they say absolutely anything and everything, but rarely if ever listen to themselves (because it’s too much talk to listen to).

                  As I see it (and I could be wrong, but in this case if I am wrong it’s a wrong which works as a right for me personally) the awareness of narcissists, overt or covert, is still not what I would classify as being aware of self. They have awareness but it’s fleeting and superficial, and changes with what they’re focused on, which changes quite quickly even when they’re obsessed with someone or something. Whatever awareness they have can be lost easily, and never seems to penetrate into a deeper layer.

                  They’re constantly escaping the deeper layers of being (that stuff terrifies them because they don’t know what’s there, or if anything is there), so even if they have a moment of seeing what lies within, they don’t stay there long enough to understand it – thus their awareness is intellect without understanding.

                  So, they may have a moment of seeing that they’re being manipulative, but they don’t understand the deeper issues of what that means. What they may be aware of is that they made an excuse for why they didn’t do their homework, they said the dog ate it, part of them may even believe that’s what happened so it’s not their fault their homework didn’t get done. If they know they’re lying, they won’t understand the deeper ramifications of lying or how it may affect others or even them – if we don’t do our homework we may not learn something, may not get a grade therefore may not pass a class, etc. They’re only aware of the fact that their teacher has put them on the spot, caught them in the act, and they’re doing their best to get out of being caught and being in the hot spot. Their lie, if they’re allowing themselves to be aware of it, isn’t a lie so much as a stroke of genius which got them out of a situation, saved their skin, which involved someone trying to make them responsible for something for which they do not want to be responsible.

                  There are narcissist who ask – Am I a narcissist? A small segment of them may go – Oh, I’m a narcissist – but most of them is wondering if this is a good thing to be or not, is this a persona which will work for them or not, what’s the advantage in this identity? But much of that is awareness that is narcissistic so it doesn’t penetrate to a place where they self-reflect, and not only self-reflect but reflect upon how who they are works with who others are – because others are not real people, they’re just cast members of a narcissist’s version of reality.

                  So, you pointing out that you’re not a child, that you’re not in school anymore, and any other logical fact you may know… none of that makes any difference to a narcissist other than letting them know they made an error which they will fix one way or another but as far as they are concerned – they don’t care, they can’t care, they’re only focused on themselves, and anything goes to protect their asses from other realities seeping into their version of reality.

                  It’s a mind-eff for others, for them… their minds are in constant mind-eff mode, but to them that is normal, and it’s everyone else who is mind-effed.

                  Whatever you do – do what is right for you. Narcissists taught us to do that because that is what they do (except they taught us not to do it with them) – in some ways that’s a good tactic, especially when dealing with a narcissist.

                  All you really need to understand about your parents is – they’re narcissists. They’ll never understand you, they can’t even if hell froze. BUT, you can understand yourself, and you can understand them, and realise that understanding them requires understanding their inability to understand you or anyone, anything, else. They’re in a narc-warp. When you’re with them you get sucked into the narc-warp. But you aren’t stuck there, you can get out, they can’t.

                  Hope that makes sense.

                  Like

                  1. makes total sense. up until now, i have never had such an understanding of the “do they know what they’re doing” thing. it’s like, that was the last area that was still so confusing. but, i get it now. it’s been important for me to get, because it was keeping me tied to them. now that i know for sure there’s nothing i can do, it’s freeing. it’s all just such a shock. all my life, they’ve been trying so hard to convince me that i’m such a faulty being, and it’s been them this whole time. these people that i used to be so frightened of, so confused by, who seemed so right and perfect while i was just so wrong…they were mentally ill. they’ve been mentally ill this whole time. it’s like, “wow”. it’s bewildering, infuriating, and freeing, all at once. it doesn’t seem like my life. it seems like i’m watching something really weird on tv, or something. but, good news is, i can really work on moving on now.

                    thanks so much for your explanations. it was like, i was getting it, but, i wasn’t really getting it. it’s so helpful to hear it from someone who’s been through it, and knows how to explain it. i feel stronger now. i feel bigger. i feel like i can do this nc thing.

                    your grasp of this stuff is just unbelievable. you are super intelligent. how old were you when you started learning about narcissism? (if you don’t mind my asking.)

                    Like

                    1. I’m glad it made sense πŸ™‚ I’m never sure if I’m making sense because things makes sense in my head, but my head is kind of topsy turvy, and I think quite a bit in visual imagery and sensations more than words, so expressing my thoughts is different from thinking them. It’s one of the reasons I like blogging because I can use music, images, quotes from others… my thinking basically looks like one of my posts (only my thinking has more spelling mistakes).

                      Thank you for saying I’m super intelligent (that is definitely going to my head and blowing it up like a balloon) πŸ˜‰ I’ve always wanted to be a polymath, but I’m too much of a scatterbrain for that, forget stuff seconds after I’ve learned it, and I often get facts jumbled up – which is in some ways useful for getting new perspectives, but at other times it’s just a mess.

                      You too have an excellent grasp of all things narcissist, and you have a beautiful curiosity, a desire to know and figure things out for yourself, to think for yourself, which is essential in learning and understanding.

                      Knowing something intellectually is useful but for many things the knowledge has to go much deeper, it has to be living knowledge which is what eventually becomes wisdom. There was a section in Noam Chomsky’s Understanding Power where he spoke about the need for knowledge to come from the experience of living, rather than for living to come from our intellect. He was discussing activists, and mentioned that sometimes they get caught up in an ideal and don’t test it out by living it to see if it is a viable way to live, they decide everyone must live up to their ideal whether the ideal is practical or not.

                      That’s a good book for insight into societal narcissism. There are a couple of stories in there which show collective narcissism at work, which is very interesting for understanding why a narcissist can get so many people to be on their side against someone else.

                      For a child of narcissists it is essential to bring intellect to bear upon our living experience of narcissists. If you think about it you’ve been studying NPD all your life, living and breathing it, soaking it up through the pores of your skin, absorbing it through all your senses. You’ve basically majored in NPD since preschool. But to graduate (and get the eff out of the school of NPD) you need to understand what you know until you give yourself the piece of paper which says – You’ve passed!

                      There is a certain fear about graduating because if you’ve spent all your life in the school of NPD… what do you do once you’re no longer in it? It’s a bit like being one of those people who never leave college, who keep taking a new course so they never have to leave the safety of what is familiar. Going NC is a bit like that, and when I did it I definitely had a huge case of the What-do-I-do-now’s.

                      Who are we without the narcissists in our life? Haven’t they always told us that we’re nobody without them?

                      So be gentle with yourself as you move from one territory into another. Don’t try to push yourself if you’re not ready to jump, respect your own rhythm, trust your own knowledge of yourself – that is an important part of the process because building a bond of trust within is essential. Remember that a part of the experience of being a child of narcissists is the self-betrayal we have to live with, so it takes time to build up our trust in ourselves, and it has to be done gradually, gently.

                      I was trying to recall when I first came across Narcissistic Personality Disorder. I think it may have been in The People of The Lie by M. Scott Peck, but I’m not sure. I didn’t like that book, it was one of several Self Help books which put me off reading those kinds of books. I began to doubt their helpfulness, and began to wonder who was actually helping themselves through them, especially after I met a couple of the authors in informal settings.

                      I moved from Self Help into reading psychology books. My main focus for reading was to figure myself out, to sort out the mess inside, rather than figure my parents out, so I was more interested in books which spoke to me about me. I enjoyed Transactional Analysis and Games People Play by Eric Berne. Also found the work of R. D. Laing insightful. Alice Miller was brilliant. Somewhere along the way I ended up reading a book on NPD. I don’t think it was Alexander Lowen’s, I think his came later when I realised that NPD described my parents. Then I came across Andy White’s book and many pennies dropped. For some reason which I think had to do with the secondhand bookshop I mostly went to, after Andy’s book I took a break from psychology and started reading Sociology.

                      Then I got better internet access and started exploring online, came across a blog by a daughter of a narcissist mother and recognised my story in hers, and did more research after that online… but in those days not that long ago there wasn’t as much available on NPD, so that stalled after a while until a few years ago when something happened which made things in my mind go click. And it’s been clickety-click since then trying to refine things in my mind. It has helped that my parents returned with a bang into my life with all their chaos – made things vivid again as I’d kind of forgotten a lot of their crazy.

                      Sometimes we need quiet time alone to figure things out and sometimes we need loud chaos.

                      Ultimately though, you know everything you need to know, you just need to figure out how to access what you know and know it intellectually as well as viscerally. Or something like that.

                      You’ve got it, you have always had it, you just needed time to be ready to know it and have it!

                      Like

  10. The experience you describe with your mother is very familiar to me. There would be some sort of unexplained explosion where she also ranted, raved and often, threw things or tried to hit. Once I was older, I was able to restrain her from hitting and she stopped trying. It was a tantrum, pure and simple. It would somehow enter her head that life was being unfair to her (again) even though she had worked her fingers to the bone; they were all bloody and chewed up from slaving away for everyone else, and no one appreciated it, and her life was awful and it was my fault or my father’s fault. Then the silent treatment, then sunshine. She could be a real wingnut.

    I love the term you use – reset artist. It’s a perfect description. That’s what they do with everything, all the time. And the viper pit? Also an excellent (and visceral, for me, anyway) description of N behaviour.

    Well done – good post. πŸ™‚

    Like

    1. Thank you very much πŸ™‚

      I came across the term on an astrology blog I used to read regularly. The blogger was going through a period of writing about psychic vampires, hungry ghosts and other types of people. They used the term – reset people – to describe someone who enters your life and resets you – https://mysticmedusa.com/2012/11/the-reset-people/

      I took the term and adjusted it as it hit a nail on the head for me about a reset person I had recently met, who happened to be the friend I mentioned in this post. The experience of that friendship is what helped pieces of my puzzle fall into place, and is also what got me started blogging about narcissists.

      I found myself confusing this friend with my mother because they had so many similarities, and when they asked me if I thought they were a narcissist… it was like a switch got turned on.

      I knew my parents were narcissists by then, however due to the NC I had with them, I had forgotten many of the nuances, behaviours, traits, and so on, but this friend reminded me of all of those, although they weren’t as bad as my parents, they were on the lower end of the spectrum. They kept reinventing themselves online, and I watched them do this several times which enabled me to see the pattern of the cycle.

      They even once asked me to help them write their new bio for a new persona – that was an insightful moment because they had written the bio in third person, and I thought that was weird as it was for a personal blog not a professional website. It was very grandiose and I made the suggestion that they just be themselves, write the bio in first person, and talk to the reader as an equal rather than from a lofty pedestal. They were obsessed with an artist friend of theirs and were trying to emulate that artist’s blog which was very popular – because they’re a talented and professional artist. Their friendship with this artist was always blowing hot and cold, one minute they loved the artist and found them inspiring, and then suddenly they couldn’t put up with them because the artist was too negative and was bringing them down. Once, the artist invited them to participate in a project, and although at first they were ecstatic, it then devolved into a drama wherein they accused the artist friend (behind their back) of smothering them (but it was actually the other way around).

      That friendship was like a condensed history of my relationship with my mother and I suddenly saw what went on behind the scenes of a lot of my mother’s behaviour. This friend had a thing for snakes, and saw the serpent as one of their totem animals.

      However the viper pit came partly from a story Gerald Durrell told in one of his books about his time in Africa. He fell into a Gaboon viper pit, the story is here – http://www.lookandlearn.com/blog/25370/gerald-durrell-the-naturalist-films-a-snake-pit-for-the-bbc/

      I also really like Le Noeud de Viperes by Francois Mauriac – http://www.enotes.com/topics/vipers-tangle – I remember reading it years ago and it explained my parents in so many ways.

      There was this incident with my mother years ago, it was kin of banal compared to other incidents but maybe that’s why it hit me so hard, where I basically felt as though she’d done what I described in that viper pit story. That incident highlighted something she did regularly but which I had never noticed in that way before.

      Everything has a way of connecting, and the pieces come together and we figure our story out!

      Like

Comments are closed.

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: