Thursday, August 10, 2006

Narcissism in Wonderland

One of my favorite websites on narcissism is by Joanna Ashmun. In fact, hers is what inspired me to do one.

Here's what she writes about the way a narcissist edits reality on the fly.

The most telling thing that narcissists do is contradict themselves. They will do this virtually in the same sentence, without even stopping to take a breath. It can be trivial (e.g., about what they want for lunch) or it can be serious (e.g., about whether or not they love you). When you ask them which one they mean, they'll deny ever saying the first one, though it may literally have been only seconds since they said it -- really, how could you think they'd ever have said that? You need to have your head examined! They will contradict FACTS. They will lie to you about things that you did together. They will misquote you to yourself. If you disagree with them, they'll say you're lying, making stuff up, or are crazy. [At this point, if you're like me, you sort of panic and want to talk to anyone who will listen about what is going on: this is a healthy reaction; it's a reality check ("who's the crazy one here?"); that you're confused by the narcissist's contrariness, that you turn to another person to help you keep your bearings, that you know something is seriously wrong and worry that it might be you are all signs that you are not a narcissist]. NOTE: Normal people can behave irrationally under emotional stress -- be confused, deny things they know, get sort of paranoid, want to be babied when they're in pain. But normal people recover pretty much within an hour or two or a day or two, and, with normal people, your expressions of love and concern for their welfare will be taken to heart. They will be stabilized by your emotional and moral support. Not so with narcissists -- the surest way I know of to get a crushing blow to your heart is to tell a narcissist you love her or him. They will respond with a nasty power move, such as telling you to do things entirely their way or else be banished from them for ever.

Because their lying is so bizarre, and unlike normal lying (by people who actually want you to believe what they're saying), the pathological lying of a narcissist is one of the biggest complaints about them.

They don't want you believe their lies: they just want you ACT (for them) as though their lies are true. In other words, they don't want you to do anything contradictory to their fantasy, for that could trigger AWARENESS that its a fantasy. They must keep all knowledge of unwanted truth repressed, and they don't want you doing anything that triggers memory of it.

As for what you think though, they couldn't care less. You are just an object to them, a chess piece. Caring what you think makes no more sense to them than caring what a chess piece "thinks" would make to us.
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At 3:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Right on. I've often gotten the sense that my mother never really cared what I thought about anything, as long as I gave the appearance of a loving, admiring daughter.
In fact, she said something to me once that suggests she believes if she wills herself to act in a certain way, her external actions reflect the truth. As if people (including herself) couldn't have a separate internal truth. Bizzare.

At 12:40 AM, Blogger Fighter said...

As always, Kathy - MASTERFUL post. I remember 3 years ago when my relationship with an N exploded. He didn't realize that three of his victims were talking while he was spin-doctoring all of us. Trying to change time, change place and change REALITY with mere words. We were having a real WTF moment with it all. When he found out we all talked (I told him I was tired of him trying to bend the time-space continuum) the narcissist rage was awful.

The one aspect of it though, and I have heard about this from other victims - is the compartmentalizing they do. How do they do it? How do they keep those little realities for all their separate victims going? How do they remember?

If only they'd use their powers for good! LOL

At 5:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i was researching mythology and found the root of the word narcissism and accidently discovered NPD about an hour ago. im really scared but i think i am a complete narcissist and have been raised in part by one. what do i do i feel like ive been living a lie.

although i must say i feel quite a but of empathy for everyone and do not abuse people, outside my mother.

hers is so deeply engrained into her that she is the only on who can reveal my fanstasy to me. shes so good at that horrible game.

At 8:56 AM, Blogger Kathy K said...

anonymous 2,

It seems to me that you are jumping to a conclusion if you discovered NPD but an hour ago.

People suffering from NPD do NOT have empathy for ANY other living being. It's unclear whether they cannot or will not, but they just DON'T.

I do not understand what you are saying about fantasy, but I do know that this is not where you will find the answers you need. You need to seek professional counselling.

If you are student start at school. Your school counsellor will help you.

If you have a mental health problem, you may find that it is something much less serious than NPD, so do not be afraid.

At 4:38 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

When I first discovered that my mom had NPD I was certain that I was also a narcissist. I exhibited the same behavior! I later learned in therapy that a true narcissist would never think that they had a problem (my mom didn't think so either). But I did exhibit narcsissitic traits. Through therapy I was able to recognize these tendancies and change my behavior. It makes sense because my mother was my role model growing up. What separates the narcissist from the tendancies is empathy, however, when I first started this journey I even questioned that. It has been nearly four years since we had a "relationship" and I finally feel like my old self again, and much better I might add. Being in that environment was insanity. They say narcissism breeds narcissism. I was always going back time and time again expecting different results. As if after 45 years my mother would all of a sudden change. It was just a fantasy of mine. I can look back at my life and I can see where my mother used me as a object. She didn't care what I thought, what I did, she didn't care about her grandchildren. Our conversations were all about her. Accepting that reality is painful but well worth the struggle in the end.


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