Thursday, December 15, 2005

How I found out about NPD

Believe it or not, I found out about narcisssism on a television drama. It was years ago on an episode of Law & Order. The story was about prosecutors trying to convict a guy of murder.

Here's the storyline, though I no longer remember all the details:

This guy's gay lover was dead, and he claimed the lover committed suicide. (Don't get off on the wrong scent: the story has nothing to do with homosexuality.) He said the lover stabbed himself with a kitchen knife, in their kitchen, right before his eyes. Suspicious of course, law enforcement nevertheless concluded from the evidence that his story was true and that no charges should be brought.

But then he OFFERED them information that lead them to discover that a previous lover of his had similarly "committed suicide." Go figure!

The details are a bit foggy, but if I remember correctly, the way he tipped off the investigators was by revealing that he had lived elsewhere under a different name. Naturally the police checked out his record under that name and found that he had been tried and acquitted for murder of that other lover.

Lightning strikes twice? Nah.

So, they prosecuted him for the murder of this lover. But, of course, we and the invesitigators are plagued by a nagging question: This doesn't make sense. It was suicidal for him to volunteer that information about his former identity, so why on earth did he do it? He had to know that it would get him charged with murder!

This is the point in the show where I sat up straight in my chair thinking, "That's just like ___. There can't be two people in the world like that!"

No, the person I had in mind hadn't murdered anybody as far as I knew and wasn't gay. But her bizarre behavior struck you the same way -- as just out of this world, but from the same planet as this guy's on the TV show. I couldn't even put my finger on what was the same about his behavior and hers, but I instinctively recognized it as the same -- basically backwards, flying in the face of human nature.

In fact, wanting to know why on earth he'd draw suspicion on himself is the only thing that made me stay up late to watch the show.

He was so smart and cunning a liar that he was beating the wrap again!

But finally one of the prosecutors had an attack of the Aha! Syndrome and realized what kind of person she was dealing with -- right there in courtroom while she had him on the witness stand. Boom -- it dawned on her that he was a narcissist.

Now she knew he wasn't acting on normal human premises, but rather on narcissistic ones. So, she knew exactly how to push his buttons to get him to spill his guts.

End of story. It turns out that he wasn't so smart after all -- just so weird that everything he did blind-sided everybody.

What had happened? Actually, he had not murdered his most recent lover. He had just abused that lover to drive him to suicide.

In despair, that lover plotted revenge. He knew about the previous lover and logically concluded that, with that skeleton in the closet, he could frame his abusive lover by making his suicide look like murder. So, he told acquantainces that he was going to leave and that he feared this guy might try to kill him rather than let him go. Then, when he killed himself, he deliberately did it in a way that made it look like murder. He called the guy into the kitchen and taunted him that this was his way of "winning" for once ... and then stabbed himself.

That enraged the narcissist. HE had to "win." And by "win" I mean "win" = triumph, rise as victor over his dead lover -- not just luck out by default because no charges were brought. It was the narcissist's way of grinding his heel into his abused lover's chest one last time to prove that he was powerless and that the narcissist was God Almighty. He had to prove that nothing this worm could do would affect God Almighty. Even if he had to pursue the worm beyond the grave to have the last word in this matter.

Narcissists cannot help it: they must always win. So, this one had to win by beating the wrap. In other words, he wanted to face trial for murder, because he needed to defeat his dead lover's purpose by lying his head off (as usual) to fool everybody with his angel-face and get himself acquitted. How crazy is that? But that's exactly the way a narcissist thinks.

So, when no charges were brought, he tipped off the investigators about his former identity to insure that a murder charge would be brought -- just so he could quash his dead lover's dying taunts and thereby WIN.

The end of the story? Yes he was acquitted in this case. But on the witness stand he had given new evidence against himself for the murder of his previous lover -- which he was indeed guilty of -- and would be re-tried and convicted for it.

The next day, I looked up narcisissmm on the Internet and was astounded at what I found. The malignant woman with an angel-face who bewildered me wasn't unique at all. She was one of a kind of people like this who are all too common. A kind of people who feed on the rest of us like vampires and who are so predictable they are practically machinelike in their behavior.

If you are recently reeling from this discovery, another Website I recommend for getting a good, non-technical explanation is Joanna Ashmunn's How to Recognise a Narcissist. It too is written by a writer who has had to deal with narcissists = someone with your point of view.

Not that you shouldn't also get information from professionals and even perhaps read the accounts of narcissists who tell about narcissism on the Internet. But, especially at first, you need to see that you're not the only one this has happened to, and you need a reality check from someone who's actually been there and felt the pain and seen what unbelievable things these angel-faces do behind closed doors. Then what the professionals say will be easier to understand and learn from.

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At 1:03 PM, Anonymous SpecialK said...

Thanks for your revelation Kathy. I too discovered the trait by watching a series of old "black and whites." I no not wish to offend anyone who has been traumatized by one, but may I suggest for the purpose of the exhibited behavior and characteristics these movies:
Queen Bee (Joan Crawford)
Leave Her To Heaven (Gene Tierney)
Bad Seed (Patty McCormick)

They are extremely revealing of Ns from childhood up. Although they never mention the psychiactric term, it will be evident to you. Caution: even though these films were made way ahead of their time, the subject matter may be very difficult to digest.

At 4:40 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

One of my favorite books illustrates a narcissistic family structure without naming it: Jane Austen's Persuasion.

At 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"beating the rap". Rap, not wrap. From rap, meaning a criminal charge, in police slang.

PS love your site, it has helped me tremendously in understanding my narcissistic mother.

At 2:47 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Another good movie that depicts life with a narcissist is Serendipity. I could relate, all too well.


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