Someone recently asked me to write a post to share my perspective on how to find a measure of balance in life, love, and relationships when you have a narcissist in your environment.
In part 1 of How to Live with a Narcissist in your Environment, I shared a little bit of my own experience of living with narcissists to give my perspective context, and mentioned that one of the most useful things you can do for yourself is to figure out what type of narcissist your particular narcissist is.
Researching the different types of narcissist and different experts’ perspectives on narcissism can at times be confusing, overwhelming, give you a case of information overload, and it can be scary – either because the expert is focusing on the type of narcissist at the extreme end of the narcissism spectrum (sometimes referred to as a Malignant narcissist) and their description is painting a picture of a monster who is out to destroy everyone in their life, or because you recognise traits and behaviours which you have yourself and you end up wondering if perhaps you’re the narcissist.
Here’s an online – Narcissistic personality disorder test – please read the intro and make note of their caveat lector which includes these statements: 1 – This narcissistic personality disorder test cannot be used as a diagnostic tool. Please reach out to a professional in case you would like to be diagnosed properly. 2 – This Narcissistic personality disorder test focuses on both the malignant and positive narcissism traits.
Narcissism is a phase of human development which we all go through (the relevant point is that we all go ‘through’ it, narcissists get stuck there – like being stuck in ‘jail’ on a Monopoly board, unable to progress further, pass ‘Go’, etc), therefore we all have narcissistic tendencies, traits and behaviours. Your own narcissism, particularly the unhealthier/negative expressions of it, is actually helpful in understanding narcissists (although you will have to imagine your own narcissism distorted, intensified, isolated, and exaggerated to really get an understanding of the mindset of a narcissist).
Not all experts agree about there being such a thing as normal/healthy/positive narcissism. If you’re worried that you might be a narcissist it’s worth exploring the concept – Narcissistic Personality Disorder vs. Normal Narcissism
There are benefits to wondering if you might be a narcissist, and of exploring more about narcissism from that perspective because of that concern.
If you can suspect yourself of being a narcissist, perhaps someone else in your life whom you suspect of being a narcissist isn’t a narcissist either. They could be being very narcissistic – their normal narcissism could have become unhealthy/negative to the point of making them appear to be a narcissist, but they may not have Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD).
This person may have a personality disorder which includes narcissistic tendencies, traits and behaviours. I once had a discussion with someone online who said they didn’t care if the person they had decided was a narcissist had NPD or ASPD (Antisocial Personality Disorder) – while there are similarities, there are significant differences, and if your narcissist is actually a sociopath/psychopath then using tactics suggested for dealing with narcissists may prove to be dangerous. Someone with NPD may fantasise about killing you, may threaten to kill you, may drive you to kill yourself, may wind others up to kill you in an extreme version of Let’s You and Him Fight, may think they’d be justified in killing you since you’re the villain in their story and it would be self-defense, but they’ll usually draw the line there because of how it would make them appear, what others would think of them, how it would affect them and their persona, facade, their public image, their social status, etc – their strong sense of self-preservation can inadvertently act as what protects you from them crossing that line. Someone with ASPD will kill you if it suits them to do so.
For an expert view on ASPD and NPD – 8 Differences Between a Narcissist and an Antisocial Personality
This person may have a condition which is causing them to be or makes them appear to be narcissistic – anxiety, depression, grief, illness, stress can all cause a person to become unhealthily narcissistic or appear that way to others. My Complex PTSD made me a difficult person who behaved narcissistically, and yet I tried so hard not to bother anyone or be a problem for them (I failed – trying not to bother others or be a problem for them sometimes makes you exactly that).
This person may be going through a difficult experience and time in their life and their efforts to cope or their inability to cope are causing them to act out narcissistically.
Maybe this person has a narcissist in their life. When you or someone else is under the influence of a narcissist, you or someone else can end up behaving very narcissistically.
As a child of narcissists I grew up in a hostile environment which made me hostile.
For more on the effects of being a child of narcissists – 13 Ways Being Raised by a Narcissist Can Affect You – and – 11 More Ways Being Raised by a Narcissistic Parent Can Affect You – by the same author.
I was told that the world was a frightening place full of horribly selfish monsters – the social circle around my parents did nothing to disprove that, and since I grew up during the 70’s and 80’s when global nuclear war was a constant threat, that view of the world seemed correct. By the time I could escape (but didn’t) from the hellish isolation of my family, the ‘Greed is Good’ period of consumerism and capitalism had been set in motion and it just felt as though the only way to protect yourself and survive was to be a narcissistic a-hole. The Type A personality was ‘in’ and what you had to be to thrive.
For more on the – Type A personality
I wasn’t a Type A personality. I didn’t want to be a narcissistic a-hole – I hated myself when I was being that way, it left me with a lot of remorse, guilt, shame, etc. I didn’t like the way my parents behaved, I didn’t like how they treated people – I knew how it felt to be on the receiving end of that treatment and behaviour, and it felt awful. I didn’t want to do to others what had been done to me, if I didn’t like it – Why would anyone else like it? And it was crazy to expect others to respect and like me if I treated them and behaved that way, right? Yet narcissists like my parents often think they’ll get respect and be liked if they behave and treat people that way. Huh!?!
I didn’t like their version of reality. But trying to find a different version of reality, attempting to choose a different path of being, relating, etc, made me more of a target than I already was for the hostility of others. I was lost and alone. A lot of my time, energy, and attention went into trying to protect myself from a world which seemed hell-bent on crushing me, my heart, my soul, my spirit, my will, my self… which made me angry, exhausted, depressed, self-destructive, suicidal, reactionary, lashing out at everything and everyone or retreating into a painful, wounded beast, anxious, hypervigilant cocoon.
“Beware that, when fighting monsters, you yourself do not become a monster… for when you gaze long into the abyss. The abyss gazes also into you.”― Friedrich W. Nietzsche
Let’s rewind a little bit, back to you wondering if perhaps you’re a narcissist. Most narcissists wouldn’t wonder that = self-reflect like that.
For a more in depth look into self-reflection, what it is, what it can be, and what you can do with it – Performing Therapy On Yourself: Self-Knowledge and Self-Realization
The fact that you’re wondering if you’re a narcissist and concerned about that means = the chances of you being a narcissist are nil. Although some narcissists will fake it because they have done their homework, they’ve researched what narcissists do and don’t do, read up on what others think and believe narcissists do and don’t do, and if – a narcissist would never wonder if they’re a narcissist – is something they’ve come across then all they have to do is fake-wonder if they’re a narcissist in front of an audience/witnesses to prove that they’re not a narcissist to themselves and to others.
What should you do if a person whom you are certain or suspect is a narcissist asks you if you think they’re a narcissist? Should you use it as an opportunity to confront them with your belief/suspicions about them? Should you tell a narcissist that you think they’re a narcissist?
If my father had asked me if I thought he was a narcissist… I could have said ‘Yes’ without worrying too much about the consequences. Since my father was a cerebral overt narcissist, he wouldn’t have asked me a question like that if he wasn’t prepared in advance for all possible answers. An overt narcissist is less likely to give a shit if you think they’re a narcissist, they may want you to think they are because it’s ‘funny’ how little they care that you do. Watcha gonna do about it!?! You thinking they’re a narcissist will supply them with an ego boost.
If my mother had asked me if I thought she was a narcissist… I could only have answered “No, of course not, you’re the last person on earth who could ever be considered a narcissist!” and even that would have probably been the wrong answer if she wanted to have a meltdown to release stress build up in her system. She often sought me out when she needed to have a tantrum. If I’d said ‘Yes’ or anything remotely heard as a ‘Yes’ by her, after a long and winding journey through her emotional sturm und drang, she’d have twisted it all around to conclude that I was a narcissist, and not just any narcissist but the worst of the worst which explained why her life was a misery ever since I was born.
When you’re dealing with a narcissist, you have to consider the consequences of what you say and do in their company (and in the company of anyone who repeats what you said to them about the narcissist to the narcissist). You have to be at least 3 moves ahead of them and also aware of the moves they took to get where they are now – in your company asking you a question. If they ask you a question – it’s often a loaded question. If it is a question which is about what you think of them – it’s loaded, and their trigger finger is temperamental. If they ask you a question – always pause to consider the question, why they asked it – the motive will be in the wording of the question and/or in the preamble to asking the question. Eg. I was browsing the internet last night because I couldn’t sleep, you know how overworked/anxious I’ve been lately… long story about some villain in their life… and one thing lead to another and I ended up on this article about narcissists, and it made me wonder if I was a narcissist – Do you think I’m a narcissist? If your gut squeezes painfully as though they’ve grasped it tightly with their hands like a toothpaste tube and are attempting to get the ‘right’ answer from you – should you give them the ‘right’ answer which will probably be wrong anyway or take this chance to say what you really want to say? Here’s where knowing yourself comes in – How well do you know yourself? How well do you want to get to know yourself?
One of the reasons I started blogging about narcissists was due to someone I knew telling me that they had been wondering if they were a narcissist and asking me if I thought they were a narcissist. Tbh, it hadn’t occurred to me that they were a narcissist… until after I had answered them and felt uncomfortable about my answer. Why was I uncomfortable about my answer? It kept bothering me afterwards, and it made me look at them differently. Were they a narcissist? Had I once again attracted a narcissist/been attracted to a narcissist? Was I once again repeating old patterns and getting myself embroiled in the kind of relationship I had tried so hard to avoid (causing me to avoid possibly good relationships with good people, and/or eff up good relationships with good people due to my terror) because I knew how hard it was to extricate myself from it?
Long story short – they became a muse for me, a sort of negative muse which pushes all your buttons, triggers and releases you from your own self-imposed prison, breaks your silence, and whose negativity eventually helps you to get at some form of positivity and healing. I still don’t know if they were a narcissist, our relationship ended in the same way it began – suddenly – but seeing them that way, as a narcissist who reminded me so much of my mother that I began to confuse the two, was helpful to me as it coincided with my finding out that my father had died, my mother resurfaced in my life because my father had died, chaos ensued and everything which I had thought was dead and buried was dug up and alive again.
I’ve been through many phases of blogging about narcissists. The ranting phase is probably the most addictive, kinda fun if you’ve been keeping it all in through thick and thin, keeping it secret, protecting your narcissists because that’s what you’ve been trained to do at your own expense, or you’ve given up because no one can handle the truth especially those who proclaim to want it, and have finally given yourself permission to shout and let it all out – when I was deeply stuck with my parents, I used to get such painful sore throats, and I wondered if that had something to do with keeping all my rage in, I could feel myself trapping it in when it rose up and constricting my throat, burning it. I used to compare myself to one of those volcanoes which doesn’t regularly let off steam and lava, but which is capped and all these poisonous gasses build up inside until one day – Krakatoa.
The rants you write about narcissists will attract a lot of traffic to your blog – there’s a lot of pissed off people in this world, there’s a lot of reasons for people to be pissed off, there’s a lot of pissed of people in this world who keep their pissed-offness suppressed, repressed, because they’re trying to be good people, they want to not be pissed off, and they love to read a rant, especially if it taps into what’s pissing them off and describes the sort of people who piss them off.
For a cursory look at some of the people who piss people off – 7 Types of Toxic People and How to Spot Them – a narcissist usually tends to be all of these 7 types rolled into one.
You may attract narcissists when you rant about narcissists – narcissists also love a good rant about narcissists. It’s never about them, it’s always about those others who are the source of all their problems. Narcissists usually find it incredibly easy to call, to label, to accuse someone else of being a ‘narcissist’. You can become a narcissist’s ‘narcissist’ just by saying ‘No’ to them and refusing to change that ‘No’ into a ‘Yes’ (especially after they’ve cajoled, been nice to you – being nice to you means you owe them your allegiance otherwise being nice was a waste of their time, badgered, bullied, threatened, blackmailed, thrown a tantrum, etc, = explained to you in a reasonable manner why you should say ‘Yes’).
Sometimes the narcissist really does have another narcissist in their life – it’s not unusual for two narcissists to get involved with each other, usually one is the ‘alpha’ narcissist and the other is the ‘beta’ narcissist, but they both will think they’re the ‘alpha’.
Sometimes a narcissist has decided to label someone in their life as a narcissist, perhaps as a part of their smear campaign. One of the frequent search terms which leads people to my blog is – when a narcissist accuses you of being a narcissist.
What do you do if a narcissist accuses you of being a narcissist? Take a page out of an cerebral overt narcissist’s book and find it ‘funny’ – if you don’t laugh about it, it will drive you crazy. Laughing is addictive, and laughing at an accusation may inspire others to laugh at it too (just don’t laugh too maniacally). Reacting in an unexpected way (a way the narcissist hasn’t predicted based on your usual MO) – such as not at all – to something a narcissist does or says can derail their plans and sometimes make them rethink what they’re doing to you. Yes, this accusation could ruin your reputation, however how you handle the accusation could also give your reputation a boost and ruin the accuser’s reputation instead (especially if they’re a ‘boy who cries wolf’, someone who accuses others of being narcissists on a regular basis). What would James Bond do? In other words think of someone who is cool in the face of adversity and be cool like them. People who buy into a narcissist’s accusations sometimes are doing it because they’re afraid of being a target – show them how to handle being a target with a cool, calm, and collected approach and they may abandon the narcissist to be on your team because you’ll protect them from the narcissist. Some things to consider – Who accused you and why did they accuse you? What’s their motive for accusing you? What do they gain from it… what do they stand to lose? Are they really a narcissist or just someone who looks that way? Have they spread the word or is this just between the two of you? Have you been ‘narcissistic’ with them recently, or do they believe that you have? Is there a quick way of resolving the issue – like an apology, an explanation, a way of clearing up a misunderstanding which doesn’t require putting them down, making them feel bad, telling them they’re wrong – can you both come out of it well, saving face, with intact egos, and with a better understanding of each other and your relationship? If someone else was accused of being a narcissist, what could they do to convince you that they’re not – try doing that.
A narcissist can accuse someone of being a narcissist, spend a huge amount of effort running a smear campaign against their ‘narcissist’, and then do a complete U-turn and decide that their ‘narcissist’ isn’t a narcissist at all but their best friend in the entire universe and all those people who bought into the smear campaign they ran will suddenly become monsters, evil, and narcissists.
A narcissist often behaves like a toddler who never grows up. One minute they love love love, the next they hate hate hate, then they love love love, then they hate hate hate the same thing or person. To a narcissist a person is a thing, an object, a toy.
One of the ‘red flags’ which is a giveaway that you may have a narcissist in your life is when you feel as though you’re an object or an objective – such as the ‘object’ of someone’s affection – rather than a living, breathing, individual.
If someone says to you – you’re the best ‘thing’ that’s ever happened to me – and instead of feeling all warm and fuzzy you feel a bit huh!?! and wonder if perhaps they’re mistaking you for a pair of sheepskin slippers, or instant ramen, or Alexa… it’s good to take a pause for thought even if you know what they mean.
It’s time to take a pause…
This series… which I didn’t originally intend to be a series… is in some ways my drawing a line between my past and my present blogging about narcissists. My past phases of blogging about it have helped me to change my approach to the subject. It helped to highlight where I needed to change…
Change is a complex experience.
If you have a narcissist in your life – the experience will change you, for the worse, for the better, for the better because you took a trip into the worst, and many variations in between. You may lose your ability to tell what is worse and what is better… you may have to wipe the slate clean and start from scratch.
What, most likely, won’t change is your narcissist… although they may appear to change as you change, and as your attention shifts, as you notice things about them which you hadn’t noticed before (were those always there?).
I’ll discuss my perspective of that in the next post.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask. Feel free to share your own experiences and perspectives. Don’t worry if you’d rather keep quiet and just watch me talk to myself – that is mainly what my blog posts are, a conversation with myself.
Actually in light of this last week, we should look at accusations, realizing the impact they have, and yet, not all are true, and yet some are….
The last 8 or 9 years of my life have been unending torture, yet I do have a good husband and a wonderful son for that I am grateful. I had a mother that I spent a birthday with in 2011 in Sedona, AZ who claimed I deserved a leg bite on my leg, all the while telling me how she was a great mother, prior to that reminding me of this money she had for each kid as she always would and to please make sure that my older brother got his share as there was chaos between my sister and my brother. She was a good mom, it was what caused me to move in with my dad when I was 16, the leg bite, shortly after my sister wanted to move in with my dad, my dad said no to her request and yes to me- perhaps jealousy over that, I don’t know.., I eventually moved home when my sister needed rent money and my mom needed no salt food, I packed her fridge full of no salt plates, pizza’s I remembered she loved the most. When my mom came home from the hospital from a no salt diet she had been put on by a sibling, she was hypothyroid and it took awhile for her to get back on her feet, she was hospitalized my senior year of school for about 6 months. My mom at that time made us a deal my sister would pay for her life insurance and buy groceries and I would pay rent weekly, she asked several times if I’d like to pay on the life insurance as my sister would often scold my mother that my brother was out of the house now, and did not need to be on this million dollar policy, my mom would cry and ask if I would pay on it, and I would tell her just don’t take him off if you want him on there, or sure if you really need me to… If I could not pay rent by weeks end she, my sister would beat me. If I ate any of the groceries she would beat me, I limited my calories to 600 a day and was becoming an anorexic in my opinion. I loved my mom, but my dad was a manipulative man and is accused of being a child predator and was a wife abuser, therefore it was hard for me to say she was a great mother when we visited in Sedona in 2011, as we had witnessed so much as children more than anyone should ever see, yet we endured or dealt with it, my siblings took the worst of it, so perhaps there is underlying jealousy of the one who was not harmed as much? Again not sure, yet I saw quite a bit of trauma, Shortly after my odd visit for my birthday I asked my mom to apologize for saying I deserved the leg bite as I could never do to my child what was done to me when I was 16. She then said she liked my sister’s “story” better than what had actually happened and thought it best to believe my sisters story. So, I asked, what might her story be? She claimed my sister was with us the night she bit me, but that I had bit myself. Well, we both remembered on several occasions how my sister showed up the next morning and was living with her boyfriend at that time, which was one of the reasons she had wanted to live at my dads too, her boyfriend gave her visible bruises, all it would be was for him to show up at our house and they were back together, so it was a life we had learned when we were young, with counseling I divorced twice over an abusive husband and felt lucky not to have that in my life any longer as that was what we saw growing up, and have a good husband now, the father to my son, again, it made it hard for me to tell my mom in 2011, that she was a great mom. Although I did love her, I just knew that I have done everything I could to live a life where that kind of abuse is not present for my child . The lie about me biting my own leg went on, my mom finally agreed to see Dr. Irwin as a Dr. Sperber gave his professional opinion on the scar on my leg, but he was retiring, so he told her to get a bite template made. She did, I have it, although she did not want me to have it while she was alive, it was in her home when I helped clean it out, along with my younger brothers diary that he made during counseling, My older brother never harmed my younger brother, I can assure you of this with 100 percent proof, I can prove that, he maybe held him underwater as an antic, thinking it was funny, but that was all that was dangerous or bad, yes but not what my sister was accusing him of. I took the bite template of my mothers and and now I have a professional opinion about the bite on my leg, that my sister made up a story about, along with two other highly respected dds, and endodontists, no surprise to me as I never questioned what took place, and well it is not my bite on my leg. And, honestly this was 38 years ago, who really cares, accept it was the one thing she could triangulate with my mother in law over, as well as needing to send my husband’s daughter to a college where she had no scholarship vs. the one she had a full scholarship at, so many lies, one she claimed my cousin had raped her and I had friended him, yes, oh and my uncle…and aunt….. yes all of these accusations are true….but I know them all to be false, she tried to say a picture of my son was pornographic, when my friend took a pic of my son and her children playing in the river- but that lie didn’t stick, there have been so many, one about me not being supportive of my younger brother’s military career, and he still thanks me, even the last time we spoke for all the letter and things I sent him, but anything she can get my mother in law to believe, she tried to involve both mothers in a social services call but they social services found nothing wrong, she I’m sure has called my child’s school as that was what she use to do to my older brother casting shame and doubt on him and making trouble for him and his first wife, oh and his employer, she’s not well and needs help. In 2013 My older brother I found at my Aunt’s home and he was in a wheelchair, and had not walked for quite sometime, and one of his legs was so week he had tremors, and atrophy it was a bad sign, I told him about the Rec center where I live and the therapy whirlpool, with my Aunt’s help we got him a 5th wheel, and for the next 7 months I took him to the Rec Center and he had a surgery as well, of course I was sad that my sister would not let my mom go to my brother during his life threatening surgery because she had created a lie about him raping her in 1992, and my younger brother for 35 years at that point. I pleaded with my mom to please be there for him as the surgery it was a hours drive away. Before I helped my older brother, and asked him out to my home, I uncovered a lie. I called my younger brother in 2013 and several times in 2014 asked if the “rape” really happened as I had dodged about 16 lies she kept throwing my way, only to find out it never happened, What???? Something I had believed for 30 years had never happened? I asked if he had been raped by my older brother, only to find out that something I believed since just after high school was not true. When I asked my younger brother several times to be honest with my mom, as she spends her days and nights feeling guilty over the rape that took place between both brother and my sister, he mentioned that my sister claimed it would not benefit him, and he stood to benefit quite a bit when my mom passed away. When I asked my older brother, to be honest with my mom, he said why bother she was a piece of “trash” and he stood to gain much more with my Aunt? When my sister filed a restraining order in 2014, which I have learned can be a tool to get rid of an honest person, and make others think she is the victim, my younger brother was outside, he asked if I could stay for dinner, I could not, he asked if we could spend time together, I could not, he gave me a stick of gum, and zooming in from the other side of the room was my sister who asked if she too could have a stick of gum, which the judge first thing was appalled she was chewing in her court room, I took mine out prior to entering. In the court she claimed my younger brother who outside was hugging me and begging me to go to dinner or stay had to change his number because I call him too often???? She forgot to tell my brother as he was begging me to spend time with him. I thought it odd, is she really jealous over a stick of gum? I then asked my younger brother, what will happen to you if the judge asks you to tell the truth, he said he would but he really would not want to tell the truth because the lie benefits him accodring to my sister. At that point I told him I can have nothing to do with him if he can not tell my mom the truth as he is baring false witness against my brother. Sadly, I even asked him at my mom’s funeral if he ever let my mom know the truth, and no he did not as he stands to gain quite a bit he said this in 2017. So sad…. really. After 6 or 7 months of helping my older brother here in Durango in 2014, and I mean HELPING him, shop, go to appointments, drive him to Social Security, take him to the Dr. pick him up every day so he could walk the whirlpool, bring him breakfast, find him a bike with my friend from adaptive, Finally he was able to take the buses with his tricycle. I got him a walker several times, United Airlines broke his wheel chair, I got them to fix it by leaning on my ex-husband to call united, he’s a medical attorney. I’d pick him up an hour away if he missed a bus, it got to the point where I just felt it was a full time job, as he eventually but slowly recovered I set him up a few times he was a bit needy in that department, eventually got a match.com account set up and flirted for him, as he claimed he did not even know how to use the site, arranged his first date. He was married a short time after and I retired as care taker, once a gal came into his life, I was thankful for her. He got married right away, moved to Peoria just two weeks before my mom arrived. in 2015 my mom was sent by my sister to offer me 46K to admit that I bit my own leg, this was money my mom explained she was pressured to cash in by my sister, her life insurance converted to Merrill Lynch Kroeger stock when she retired, and it was close to 186K when it was cashed, My mom came to me in CO after driving all day to ask if I would take the 46K, it was important to my sister that I admit to biting my leg, and then when I explained Dr. Sperber, is not mistaken here is his professional opinion, she asked if I could admit to my neighbor biting my leg, when I asked which one, well I couldn’t do it, but told her she might need her retirement money, but she could say anyone did it if it was really that important, but I just couldn’t lie about it… she then told me I’d receive the money when she died some day. She did say well let’s go to AZ and see if your brother is not so honest (which made me think maybe, just maybe she knew the truth as well). So, we then went to my brother in Peoria, my mom got a brief night sleep, with my sister calling almost every 1/2 hour. When we got to Peoria, my sister had my mom in tears over my not lying, so I called Sperber and he referred me to a Dr. Piakus Phoenix crime, at that point my mom acknowledged what she had done, but explained it was really important to my sister that I lie for the money. My brother called stating he was not going to meet with us, and didn’t care about the 46K, he was newly married and did not want any part of this insanity. Yet in January of 2016, my brother claimed he needed money for an in-ground swimming pool and someone who often lent money to him said no, and I sure didn’t have that kind of money he was looking for, and he thought it was funny because he would call and see if he could get that 46K. Then he called me a couple days later laughing about the subject, well topic in his case “rape” he had decided after talking to my sister he would admit to it. She, I was told was able to avoid “false accusations” damages by getting to admit, it must of really spooked her that she lied to a judge. Supposedly a family member told him to “take the fools” money. Then a month and a half before memorial day, he called me with his wife in the background telling him exactly what to say, as if she was being told by someone what to say, and the context was that he was going to say he no longer remembered why I moved to my dad’s when I was 16 (It was his testimony about the leg bite- he now had no memory of what he remembered for most of his life.) I laughed at the time, so Ok?. He got a share of the stock money I was suppose to receive that day, I was informed he got it on that day denying that he remembered what he always knew to be true, there was also a question as to where I would spend the fourth of July— which had to do with another phony accusation about family. I thought he was simply on his medications but I was curious if it had to do with the 46K, I called my mom who was staying at my sisters, she sent her love, reminded me of “the money” which I never worried about, as she always seemed to talk about it, and told me she also had a metal detector for my son and she would send it to me, but please don’t call her while she was staying with my sister because she (my sister) gets angry when I call. So, of course I felt sad and did not call much after that. I sent flowers for mothers day, I did hear she received them so that was nice as she sent a thank you card.
So here is my situation, I know my mom was making over $5000. a month doing clinical trials that my sister signed her up for in 2014, as she told me and my brother that money would be in our inheritance, and my older brother would jokingly say, “well how do I get that money”, again he had been exiled from my mom’s life for 35 years by my sister at that point. Sadly that account was not even listed by the executor on the final summary of accounts, the account ending in 3100. My sister had my younger brother cash in that account after my mom died, just 2 days after and oddly very little money was in there so obviously someone took the money out, and the death benefit my younger brother received again on that account not on the summary of accounts, nor the small amount of money. I know 1/4 to each child was in my mom’s will, for accounts, stocks, death benefits, I know she was tricked by believing my sibling wasn’t making it in 2014, and she cashed in her stocks to give us each that money (which I never received as my sister was always jealous of me for some reason, or just hated me???). My sister manipulated my mom for years, held over her head the guilt of her having been (not) raped by my brother, and claimed he also raped (but didn’t) my younger brother. She made communications very difficult between me and my mom the last 8 years of my mom’s life. I miss my mom, but she was always so sadly brain washed and confused. My mom flatlined two weeks prior to her death, I received an email only on the day she died, but only when she went incoherent. I have two attorneys telling me this is a text book case of elder abuse and very provable with all the voice messages from my older brother and my mom, emails, phone calls. I know my sister is also holding back a cemetery plot that is in my grandfather’s name, also property not mentioned in the final summary. My younger brothers name is the same as my grandfather, I am so concerned for him that she has her name as beneficiary on his life insurance, as that is her thing, she had told me so many times that she was upset her father in law remarried as his new wife will inherit all of his belongings, weird but this was at a family dinner once and both of his children were present. So, her thing sadly is all about people dying and obsessing over their death and has been since just after high school. Do I spend a fortune to point out how awful they tricked and treated my mom? Or, do I just shrug my shoulders let them deceive and walk away? As I write this, it reminds me of when I was 3, and the two of them ran around grabbing Easter eggs, before my mom even called that the hunt was on. I went to look for the eggs, and they were all gone. She shamed them, and told them that it was wrong and so awful, she’s not here now, and yet, I do believe this is so horrific that they must feel immense guilt over how all 3 of them tricked her. I saw them both older siblings at a memorial recently, and they got up and ran out the door, my poor older brother walked around in circles outside lost for 10 minutes, like a lost pigeon until she called. Funny how guilt makes people act, as we watched him, he literally was walking in circles outside the church.
So, my question…. do I just shrug my shoulders and continue to be determined to live a better life than these knuckle heads who stole not just from me, but from my family. And, she has not just stole money and items via my mom and mother in law from me, but stole my relationship with my mother in law, and my mother…. she somehow has an elevated relationship with my husbands mother in law who has admitted how close she is with my sister, and she even admitted to helping my sister have me served, and yet the mother in law has denied every under handed thing she has done to me since that time when her husband and son are around, and yet admits to me she had done these things, but even my mother called me screaming about my sister and my mother in law, who had shared a post where I admittedly mentioned my family dysfunctional, yet, I thought it was very polite considering how sick all of this is.
I must realize that all of these people that do these horrible things go to church more than I do, and I wonder, why bother guys, but that is me judging. I can hope that what I learned at a young age rubs off on them, I can hope what I learned at my Christian schools they will learn.
So at this point do I waste a fortune on an attorney to prove their greed in court, and prove what lengths they went to take money that she wanted me to have, do I expose what a horrific life my mom must have lived and shame them for it, or do I just continue to live a blessed life, as God has blessed me. I never wanted my mom’s clinical trials money anyway and I did warn her against it, but I did want the money that she made me promise that I would make certain, no matter what that my older brother would get his 1/4 of, never would I have guessed with all that I had done for him, he would not stand up for me as I did for him once I revealed the lie. And, it all makes me so sad for my mom what she had to go through, not just lied to and manipulated by my father, but then by three out of four children. What life did she really live, but to be an example to me as to how I will not live.
I’m not sure that fighting evil is in me. I did send an olive branch letter, asking for the money mom throughout my life wanted me to have, I’ve been the best sister to all, I am certain they could not and would not ever return any favor I have given to them as the guilt over the money has caused each not to talk to me mostly.
I need to investigate my moms local 324 account, the one ending in 3100 was not on the summary of benefits. I believe it’s possible my mom was paying on life insurance with the death benefit account and they my sister and brother were getting tired of paying on it too.
How can I investigate that account that she omitted?
Can anyone help me, with a family law attorney in CA that is not too expensive?
Thank you for sharing 🙂
You asked two questions which are similar and which contain the answer from you to yourself within them:
So, my question…. do I just shrug my shoulders and continue to be determined to live a better life than these knuckle heads who stole not just from me, but from my family.
So at this point do I waste a fortune on an attorney to prove their greed in court, and prove what lengths they went to take money that she wanted me to have, do I expose what a horrific life my mom must have lived and shame them for it, or do I just continue to live a blessed life, as God has blessed me.
At the beginning of your comment you said: The last 8 or 9 years of my life have been unending torture, yet I do have a good husband and a wonderful son for that I am grateful.
It sounds as though you’ve done your best to keep your promise to your mother, and you’ve tried very hard to resolve the issue with your family. As you have discovered the intensely painful way, fights over money, especially in a family over an inheritance, can go on forever, can get very vicious, can become increasingly complicated, and can end up wreaking havoc and devastation, costing more than they’re worth. Their greed will end up eating you alive, as it is already trying to do.
It sounds like you know that you have to make the hard decision to break your promise to your mother to save yourself from further torture. It sounds as though you are telling yourself to cut your losses, let them have what they want, win this fight by giving it up and getting out of it, and focus yourself on the true wealth which is having a blessed life, a good husband and a wonderful son. Would your mother truly want for your own life, your health and happiness, to be sacrificed to keep your promise to her?
The situation reminds me of the Judgement of Solomon – the baby in this case is your mother’s money.
Trust in the good in you to guide you. You deserve to live well, and enjoy the blessings in your life.
Take good care of yourself.
[…] the end of part 2 of How to Live with a Narcissist in your Environment, I said that the experience of having a narcissist in your life will change you, for the worse, for […]
I like what you have said about how this series is your “drawing a line between [your] past and [your] present blogging about narcissists.” Yes, change IS a very complex experience. I see it as a sort of layering. If I tunnel enough, I will find the old Lynette, but the old Lynette is shoring up all that learning, all the other stuff that wouldn’t exist otherwise. Maybe it’s more like a circle. 🙂
Thank you, Lynette 🙂
I agree, there is a cyclical side to it. It’s a circle, a spiral, and all the other shapes which are a part of nature’s constructs.
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Thank you for these posts about living with a narc, they are amazing. Forgive me for not reading them when you wrote them some time ago, I was immersed in your blog, I love your blog. I feel like you are making insinuations about me having NPD and my sister not having it but it is probably just me thinking that the post is “all about me”. Thank you for writing. Are you okay? Is everything in your life going the way you want it to? I would love to have a gift like you. I feel like my sister does have NPD because everything just seems to fit so well and I am currently living with my mother after a traumatic even that happened years ago and I have done EMDR on our relationship and my Complex PTSD, which has helped immensely. I face my mother and I see through my sister when they gaslight me and it does not work the same as before. I used to go into some kind of freeze mode mentally speaking because no one seemed to care about what the truth was. I made me read philosophy and search what can be seen as the “TRUTH”. I would immerse myself in everything that seemed to be more true, try to surround myself with intelligent people in order to try to ensure that I was “in the truth” and not surrounded by people who just did not care about facts. This was a persistent passion.
I asked my mother if I could move in to her huge home some time ago and she refused to let me take in my boxes once I came, everything has been rotting in the basement instead. I am allowed no friends in the home and she keeps cooking really greasy and sweet things although I keep complaining that I am suffering from a trauma and cannot cook myself all the time (it makes me gain weight and suffer from depressions). She also recently sold my clothes and stuff that was in a my boxes at a local flee market and when I asked her what she was doing, she COMPLETELY refused to acknowledge it and insistently called me a liar no matter how I would twist and turn it to make her understand she has no right to do it. I did get a very high score on the personality test you posted a link to and I feel worried. I know that when I am in “my right own mind”, or feel like I am, or am my own usual self, I want to surpass everybody. It motivates me insanely to become better than people at stuff they do. Like I recently got in trouble with the law for the first time in my life and now I want to become a lawyer, I want to become it in a shorter time than it usually takes and I want to know the law by heart and never have problems with it again and just sew people and win at everything. I have always felt and have been seen (by people who know me well) as elitist. I don’t know if that is NPD but I think that it could be. People have told me I am really talented and knowing you are the same, how do you cope with that? Does it make you feel narcissistic? Do you feel that the fact that you are bright, psychologically amazing, artistically talented, graceful, inspired and soo inspiring is a problem. I keep feeling like I wish I could write and “give” people things but I feel like no one wants my stuff.
It doesn’t matter, I just felt like writing you. Please don’t feel like you have to go through a great length to answer me. I know you do that all the time and you are so generous. I just felt like posting a little comment. Love you and your blog! You ARE A-MAZE-ZING!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thank you, Meg 🙂
This series of posts was just me writing about my experiences and thoughts on the subject. Your question was used as a prompt to write, but I didn’t make you the subject of the posts. I wasn’t insinuating that you had NPD and your sister didn’t. I don’t know either of you personally. I only have a loose impression of you based on what you share with me about yourself, your life and your family in your comments.
I think it is important to understand that all humans are narcissistic because narcissism is a part of human development. It helps to explore the whole narcissistic spectrum and read up on the positive side of narcissism, how it works for you, how it supports identity and individuality, and aids in the pursuit of goals, ambitions and realising dreams. Narcissistic behaviour, traits and tendencies are not solely negative, nor are they necessarily signs and symptoms of NPD.
This is a great article which touches upon all of that – https://www.thisisinsider.com/narcissism-vs-narcissist-2018-11
It’s written by a mental health professional and discusses the both the normal aspects of narcissistic behaviour and the more extreme aspects which go with NPD.
If you’re very talented then you’re very talented. Other people telling you that they view you as very talented is helpful and generous of them (they don’t have to tell you anything, so the fact that they do is always a gift from them to you) as it confirms your self-perception and means that you’re not being delusional about it. Knowing that you are something that you are is logical.
Thinking that your being very talented makes you better than everyone else is narcissistic, but that does not mean you have NPD. Lots of the great talents of our times shared their talents because of the belief they had that their talent was superior to that of others. Their perspective of their talent being better pushed them to share their talent and succeed. It made them compete stronger and harder, to never give up on their dreams. That is positive narcissism at work.
Thinking that you’re very talented when you’re not and that you’re superior to everyone even though there is no proof of that – that’s negative narcissism and potentially a symptom of NPD, but it could be other things as well.
The next time someone tells you how very talented they think you are, thank them for their gift to you, and listen to what they’re saying – they’re confirming to you that you are as talented as you think you are so enjoy your talents and share them, pursue your ambitions for yourself, stop worrying so much about appearing narcissistic, use the natural and normal narcissism positively in your life.
Best wishes for 2019 🙂
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