Sunday, October 08, 2006


Dissimulation. It's an unusal word, but I think it's the only word that exactly describes the narcissist's tactic to con people. He or she dis-simulates their true self. They act like the antithesis of what they are.

At Sanctuary for the Abused, we get an example of what I mean in the child molester:

Some tell people they think child molesters should be shot, while others work very hard to present themselves as a concerned citizen and pillar of the community.

Which reminds me of a wise man (Jesus of Nazareth) who said that people who perform good works to be seen doing them deserve no credit for them.

Why do child molesters do this? To Block the Kick in case any child tells on them.

How better to dissmulate a child molester than to make sure everyone hears you expressing outrage about "those people" who molest children? Better yet, put it on thick by becoming an activist against child abuse in your community. Yell a lot about how you think child molesters should be shot.

Laughing up your sleeve the whole time.

Indeed, what better disguise is there for a child molester than the habit of a priest who gets to be called "father"?

Dissimulation. It isn't brilliant: a six-year-old is smart enough to think of and play this trick. It's just so low that it comes in under most people's radar.

I give another example of dissimulation in this account of the narcissist who put on an extravangant show of love for her dying mother -- only to show her true colors when nobody was around to see how she treated her dying mother.

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At 11:00 AM, Blogger La Diabla said...

Frankly, on the issue of child molestation I DO think molesters should be shot. Simply because they're cowardly scum. Guaranteed, I'm not dissimulating anything. ;-)

Kathy K says: "Dissimulation. It isn't brilliant: a six-year-old is smart enough to think of and play this trick. It's just so low that it comes in under most people's radar."

I think it comes in under the radar because most of us initially assume we are dealing with other adults and can expect adult behavior.

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Louise said...

I have thought about this for DAYS. It explains too much about LS- how she has treated everyone who has ever cared her and why she seems to "burn" through people. The second example gave me chills- first, the way the mother was treated and secondly, that an N who says she is "scared" of her victim is in actuality plotting evil in one form or another.

I completely agree with La Diabla; it missed our radar entirely. But in retrospect, with the knowledge I now have, it was crystal clear for years.

At 6:10 PM, Blogger Kathy K said...

I think that is a very good way to put it: it was crystal clear for years but way below our radar.

I know that Ns flatter themselves that we're stupid, but we're just not cynics is all. They rid of of our illisions about people.

At 8:08 PM, Blogger La Diabla said...

I agree with you both. Louise, I think I "saw" things for years also. But without the proper tools (knowledge, terminology) I don't think I realized that what I was seeing really was what I was seeing. After all, these people kept telling me I was too sensitive, crazy, emotionally unstable...They must be right. Right?

It wasn't until my counselor told me a couple months ago that I attract Ns that I started really looking into it. I had read about it before and saw things that tipped me off. But that was my Aha! moment. My counselor made it real. And the only reason I went to see him was to find out how to cope with my N ex-husband who is a stalker. He counselled my ex at one point so he knows what he's talking about.

Kathy, I agree with you too. I was not typically cynical about most things. I could be at times, but I tried not to make a habit of it. But I think the realization (after two months worth of reading) of all I'd been through, put up with and was destined to keep putting up with if I didn't get my head out of my arse hit me hard. It stripped away the foggy lenses I had been looking through all my life and plunked a pair of binoculars in my lap.

I'm glad I found this site. It's good to know we aren't alone - which is what Ns would have us believe. Kathy, I've been trying to read all your blogs, but haven't quite gotten to them all. Thank you for this place.

At 8:15 PM, Blogger La Diabla said...

I was just reading someone else's blog and they had a bunch of pretty funny quotes. I found the perfect one for Ns and thought you might enjoy it.

"He is a self-made man and worships his creator." -- John Bright

At 10:23 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i posted at 3:18 on9/25/06 and have been hoping to join back in(finally have a word verification to copy again, it was blank for a while!) i have been learning a lot and now things from the past are replaying in my mind. Things that registered then but i didn't understand.Now when i apply this new knowledge (about NPD) I realize i had radar all along and was indeed picking up on stuff. I have conferred with some of our kids.very delicate manuevering- scary and tiring, trying not to allienate or offend anyone. They know something's not right too. At first it was validating, but now I have to be careful not to move too fast in my haste to rescue everyone. You see, our N has been in low gear for a long time. Very subtle, very covert, undetectable to outsiders.( I found a link describing verbal abuse that was painfully enlightening. I put checkmarks by almost everything not ever having known some of this stuff counted as abuse, even though i was (only vaguely)aware of the hurt it caused. I used to call them sniper attacks because you never knew where one was gonna come from or when.) Anyway, my whole quest has been trying to establish if my N is getting worse. My burning question has been do they get worse with age? I read they escalate their behavior when they feel threatened. I'm not sure if he is getting weirder or if I'm just getting smarter.

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous dandelion said...

I think that's right--it's when they feel threatened that the s**t hits the fan. What they feel threatened about can vary quite a bit, depending on what other tendencies they have. For example, my mother has a histrionic streak and would feel threatened anytime she didn't feel total and unconditional love and appreciation from me for everything she's done. My husband has a passive-aggressive streak and becomes most threatened when I point out that he ignores or evades me when I want something from him (God forbid if I insist that he does anything).

There's also length of time in the relationship that is a factor. When you first fall in love, even the N is "into" their new hobby of "you," honing their abilities to catch you up in their illusions of perfect love, and revelling in the lengths they can get you to go for them. This level of attentiveness can't be maintained even by normal couples--they fall out of love but might progress to some form of intimate friendship. I think when this reality of what naturally happens to long-term relationship hits the N, they have a much harder fall--they can't deal with the reality and adapt, and then, or course they become threatened (and likely blame all of it on their partner for changing).

They may eventually get over the loss of the being "in love" part of the relationship. However, they also stop working on the illusion of the perfect relationship, and the underlying variation that is part of their personality comes out into the open for good. As for many situations in life, it's really the same process that everybody goes through, but it's made so much worse with a narcissist.

At 7:04 PM, Blogger La Diabla said...

Anonymous, my radar worked fine too! But, I think, when you've been isolated from others like I was you have no one to bounce things off of. Not to mention the farther back in time we go the less resources we had.

I don't know if they get worse with age or not. I'm going to see if I can find something on it. I'm very curious.

Dandelion, you brought up an interesting point. I recently dated a guy for two months that was making my warning bells ring so loudly I should've been deaf. The thing is I couldn't put my finger on anything. He was a perfect gentleman, etc. on the outside. He was actually SO complimentary of me I had to ask him twice to not compliment me so much because it made me uncomfortable. It was so excessive it truly weirded me out! The whole situation was just wacky. At any rate about the time I was tiring of all this is when my counselor mentioned N-ism. And the more I have read the more I found that what you're right on target. They will act like they're "totally into" you, laying it on super thick, trying to do whatever it is they do. I still don't understand all of it. Maybe because I'm not a Narcissist.

At 7:38 PM, Blogger Kathy K said...

First, I must say that this blog is a pleasure. The comments are excellent. I agree with all but a few, but even those few I don't completely agree with make sense and are reasonable and thought provoking. I really appreciate the atmosphere, and I learn from the comments, so I figure most everyone does.

I have heard it both ways: that narcissists get worse with age and that they get better with age.

My guess is that the twisted thinking patterns become so deeply ingrained over time that mentally narcissists get worse. For one thing, they have been calling things what they ain't for so long that they lose track of what words mean. I myself have written that I bet all old narcissists have effectively made themselves stupid, without becoming senile in the common way.

So, that would tend to make them worse with age. More apt to go off. I knew one old narcissist who had become so automatic in his habit of abusing anyone he needed fear no retaliation from that in old age that he would go off at almost anybody anywhere (except cops and priests and other authority figures of course).

Worse, right?

But, there is something else going on with age that some say makes narcissists better after middle age. You know -- it's "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" syndrome. (Now there's a novel narcissist!) After their prime, narcissists often lose some of the power they had held over others. For example, a man may not be able to physically intimidate his grown sons any longer. They may protect their mother. Old men cannot physically intimidate even their grown daughters anymore. People living outside the home are not vulnerable to getting thrown out by a narcissistic sibling or parent.

In short, much of what a narcissist glories in leaves him or her as they age -- beauty, strength, power over others, and so forth. They literally become to weak to bully many people anymore. Which makes them pull in their horns.

Also, when they see that you're on to them, they see they can't get away with as much. I am convinced that that is the only rein on their conduct. If they fear retaliation or the law, they will behave.

Up to a point, because like Lee Harvey Oswald, they can get desperate for NS. Then they're dangerous and more likely to push the envelope, doing something stupid that they would get caught for doing.

So, I think you've got forces acting in both directions on them as they age. If they're desperate, it's hard to predict what they'll do. I think that's when Ns commit crimes, like murdering someone.

So, I think it's probably best to stand firm and let them know they can't abuse you BUT leave them an out they can save face with. They don't need much of an excuse to persuade themselves they won. They'll imagine THAT no matter what happens.

So, in a situation where he or she has no "out" look out. For example, I'd never tell them you're going to call the police. Just call them on the sly. I know of two women who moved out on an N on the sly, while he was away at work. He came home to a big surprise.

At 8:23 PM, Blogger La Diabla said...

This is all I could find on N-ism and aging. Taken from this site:

A Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a systemic, all-pervasive condition, very much like pregnancy: either you have it or you don't. Once you have it, you have it day and night, it is an inseparable part of the personality, a recurrent set of behaviour patterns....One bit of good news: no one knows why, but, in certain, rare, cases, with age (in one's forties), the disorder seems to decay and, finally, stay on in the form of a subdued mutation of itself. This does not universally occur, though.

OMG Kathy, I started to write earlier about how I left my ex while he was at work and then I deleted it and now you wrote about it. LOL These women and I did one of two major things Ns hate: expose them and take away their control. In this case, leaving them, we took away their control. Of course, mine took up stalking as a way to assauge his hurt feelings.

I had everything line up that day, movers, everything. The movers and I went out the back entrance to the sub 15 minutes or less from him coming in the front. I know, because I had a lookout.

I'm also semi-convinced N men are mama's boys. At least that's been my experience. So, when you talk about things (those very rare things) that rein them in, i.e. the law, might I suggest their mothers?

A month or so ago I got fed up with seeing my ex in my neighborhood and at work so I looked at it like this: if he's going to act like a kid then I'm going to act like a kid. And what would any self-respecting kid do if they were in my shoes? They'd call his mom and rat him out! So, that's what I did. She didn't believe a word I said, of course, and I didn't expect anything else. Complete denial. But I looked at it like "it's out there". She can deny it all she wants, but it's going to be in her head now. AND she's going to tell him. He's going to be afraid to lose his mother's adoration, that symbiotic denial thing they have goin' on. Well, yes and no. He also knows on some level she'd probably lie to save his butt if it came to that.

Anyway, it's out there, she's going to tell him I called...and he's suddenly exposed again. Mom's are more terrifying than the law, let's face it. I tell ya, he hasn't disappeared completely but he left me alone for about a month and has only just started resurfacing, albeit more slowly than usual.

I figure my ex-N isn't afraid of the law. He's been successful in flying under their radar as well by carefully managing to stay just above the law. So, I have to find other, more creative ways to deal with him. Mostly because of the stalking issue. I can't break the law either or I lose my "case".

And you're right, we don't know if/when they'll become dangerous. That's what I worry about since mine took up stalking as a hobby.

I think I'm rambling. LOL The N stuff and my particular stalking issue become intertwined easily. So, I apologize if I got off-topic.

At 9:06 AM, Anonymous GH said...

It's funny what La Diabla adds about mothers. The N's I've had the most trouble with have had a strange sort of love/hate relationship with their mothers -- on the one hand, the faults of the moms are the root of all evil in the world. On the other hand, these guys are (like Kathy so persistently points out) like little kids jumping up and down for Mom's attention, "Hey, look at me, look at me!" I suspect the root of these guys' narcissism does, in fact, lie in their mothers' own narcissistic (or otherwise) inability to have given these little boys the attention a growing child needs to develop healthily.

A psychiatrist friend of mine once told me that most of us go through our lives trying to recreate our troubled relationships in an effort to "fix" them. Thus, a child of an N picks an N for a partner -- thinking "I'll convince this one that I really am a human being with independent worth; I'll get through this time." The N is just that perpetual little boy (or girl, but mostly boy in my world) still thinking, "I can get her attention, I can get her to see how marvelous I am." It's a fine line, I suppose, and I still wonder how some children of Ns develop empathy and don't develop narcissism and others don't. But La Diabla nails it -- the ones who become Ns seem excessively fixated on Mom.

At 6:02 PM, Blogger La Diabla said...

I was just thinking...something that had occurred to me before but I'd forgotten.

When speaking of mamas boys or N men being fixated on their mothers, has anyone noticed the apparent misogyny that goes hand in hand with it? Or is it my imagination? Or is it just an extension of the "treat everybody like an object" trait?

In my mind, I see them treating everyone equally in terms of treating them like objects. However, it seems the men I've come across have a decidedly negative view of women in particular. I'm talking actual hatred, or at the very least instense dislike.

It's one thing to not care about someone, to objectify them. It's something completely different to harbor hatred against a particular group.

What do you guys think?

At 7:57 AM, Blogger Louise said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

At 9:02 AM, Blogger Anne B. said...

Kathy - thanks for reading my blog - I read yours religiously - you rule!

At 5:24 AM, Blogger Louise said...

If you take the examples here of an N trying to "prove" themselves or looking to create approval, I think that might start to explain why Ns gravitate towards children. They don't really care about the kids; they want to be able to be adored, admired, adulated- and when that doesn't work, they can then bully the kids.

This is just my piecing together what I've read over and over; been trying to understand WHY my kids have held such an overnight and overwhelming fascination for my Nsis. Yet it's also obvious that they aren't "human" to her. The NC and WPP are for them more than me at this point.

At 8:41 AM, Blogger La Diabla said...

Louise, I think you're on to something! My N ex is much older than I am so his children were grown when we married. I do remember telling his eldest daughter that he needed their adoration. I had no clue about Ns at the time.

In fact, he'll outright buy their love. Money, material items, "helping" them with things (i.e. a handyman type). All it is is a way to keep them submissive. You make a person reliant on you for long enough and they won't know how to function without you.

And if he'd been doing this since they were very young, then they wouldn't know any different. They think Daddy "loves" them.

I believe in the old days (10 - 20 years ago) of psychology they called this a "symbiotic" relationship and/or being "enmeshed". I call it emotional incest. Kind of sickening, really.

At 10:27 AM, Blogger Louise said...

This "buying off the kids" is EXACTLY what my Nsis tried to do with ours. Supposedly she's very rich now and kept saying she had boxes of gifts to send the girls; after NC, she said there was also a letter inside apologizing for the strife she has caused me and my husband since her return last spring.

Time and again, she mentioned this box. Even used our mother as a means of "getting the box" to the kids, when I went NC. Mom would call and ask if the girls could have the gifts from Aunt Nsis if they were sent to her house. HOPEFULLY I have now stomped THAT idea out as well; Mom was acting as Nsis' agent as a means of trying to be peacemaker. Not gonna happen.

Here we are, 6 months later and surprise! She never sent it. I am sure it was all a ploy to see if we could be bought off and I also have no doubt it never existed, as she never said what specifically was in the magic box, and she would have sent it for the girls' birthdays months ago.

I don't care if it were filled with crisp $100 bills. She abandoned her family, including her only nieces, for almost a decade. They were babies when she last sw them. No measure of material possessions can make us all suddenly trust this flake or want her near our children; in fact we have taken every step to prevent it. Other cousins have warned their wives to beware Nsis if she contacts them, trying to get an in-road with THEIR kids. She's alreay tried that once! Thank goodness she has no kids of her own...

At 6:56 PM, Blogger La Diabla said...

Seems I read somewhere (was it here?) about the exact problem you're talking about. Promising and never delivering. All the promises to give you what you want, but at every turn denying you that very thing.

My ex did that to me. Made me a promise and every time I asked him to deliver...he started a fight! I see how The Game was played now. Do whatever you can to create chaos. It serves two purposes: 1) to deflect the victim's attention from the real topic at hand and 2) to keep the N in control (which probably somehow feeds that N supply).

I'm with you. I also doubt the box existed.

At 7:26 AM, Anonymous Barbara said...

thanks for the link to my site. I notice so many Ns, like child molesters - go to great lengths to pretend to be something they are not. Exhibitionist who pretends to be modest?

Like a spoonful of sugar to help the b.s. go down.

Currently I am thinking a lot about Ns who tell different victims different stories, compartmentalize their thinking and so it. Astounding feat!! Just still boggles my mind.

Great work!


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