Wednesday, January 03, 2007

Narcissists are Amazingly Manipulative

The Main Website is taking shape. There are many minor revisions and one new section entitled The Manipulator:

To say that narcissists and psychopaths are manipulative is an understatement. They are frightfully manipulative.

How manipulative are they?

They are so manipulative that they even routinely con and manipulate mental healthcare clinicians — people trained to be on the lookout for attempts to manipulate them. For example, therapists evaluating violent offenders get it exactly backwards: though the psychopathic offenders misbehave much worse during the treatment program and after release than the non-psychopathic offenders, clinicians report just as high a rate of improvement among them, promote as many within the program, and recommend as many for release. In other words, these mental healthcare professionals are getting conned and in a way that even blinds them to the facts.

But, narcissists and psychopaths aren't necessarily all that smart. And manipulating others isn't just a hobby of theirs. It's part of the disease. It's inherent in the disease. It's an aspect of the way they interact with you.

Read the rest here.

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At 9:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy,

My thoughts are still upon mirrors as I spent some time with my sister as she pulled out her little black velvet bag (my imagination) of God and Guilt mirrors and spent a good deal of time distorting the truth in an effort to convince me to take responsbility for wrong doing that she has in fact commited herself. I am still wretching from the experience but was able to stand quite firmly in the truth and facts of the matter and did not decend into the maze of religiobable that usually undoes me when dealing with her, her husband, and my dad. She is a highly intellegent narcissist as is her husband and very, very good at what they do. I'm angry right now and that is cathargic tomorrow, I will probably feel sad for as my sister matures the more my sister completely fades away as she is consumed by her own smoke and mirrors, that house of mirrors that she lives in and perhaps, that true person has become truly evil. I know that which she practices is truly evil and perhaps it has consumed her to the point of truly being evil herself. My dad always behaved in a much more overtly brutal fashion as he is not a really very smart and on the inside he is a frightened coward and his favorite tool was to reflect back to us our own greatest fears, dramatizing them as only a true actor can. Then he'd take us sailing to the isle of denial where any wrong doing on his part was buried and forgotten. My sister and my parents now can enjoy that isle on a daily basis and I'm free!

I can sum up the reality of my 50 years as having been born into a family of scorpions. I always knew I was different and thought there was something wrong with me for many years but I also knew what went on in my home was wrong even if I couldn't name it for a long time. I rebelled against that nameless evil and I'm so thankful that I did. I'm also thankful to have been the odd one out and even for all the years that I mistakenly thought that I needed fixing. If I hadn't thought that way about myself, I never would have taken the right road in finding the right name for that horrible and all consuming nameless evil that has always ruled my life. Today I'm free and they'd better guard all of those nasty little mirrors they use because it is surely music to my ears to hear them shatter.

Thanks again for giving me this place where the reality of my life makes sense. I'm also thankful for a place to vent as I don't want to be an angry and bitter person.


At 10:08 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

That's what it's here for. For our own self respect, we have to have answered. But you can't get through a narcissist's fog horn to be even be heard. So, this is as good a place as any. At least here people understand what's going on.

At 9:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And the understanding here also produces knowledge and knowledge is power.

It is interesting that my conversation with my sister began with my stating that I refused to play Simeon Legree to her White Charger in the moving of my parents. She tried everything she could for a year and a half not to take them and when I remained insistent, she began a smear campaign, thus my confrontational comment. That led to the smoke and mirrors and the distortion of every factual thing I tried to present in the matter. As I laid down last night a light bulb went off and I realized that all she wants now is that White Charger and she doesn't care what it costs me for her to have that brief, bright moment in the sun. If she can manipulate me into telling a lie about myself and accepting her own misbehavior as my own, then that makes the prize even more dazzling.

Their behavior is so simplistic and shallow that to the rest of us, it can seem extremely complicated. It's complication is in what they desire because it is so foreign to someone with compassion who desires truth and love from other people rather than momentary applause and a kind of cult worship. They mimic life rather than truly participating in it and the 'pay' for their performance is is the attention they get for their portrayal of the role they have played out. There is no morality involved at all unless they choose to portray the role of a moral character and even then, it is only a prop.

Anyway, I'm learning many helpful things here.


At 11:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The are manipulative enough to make me think I am the crazy one, enough to make me second guess things that I know are true, enough to make me sorry for having feelings. I like the comment about you can't get through a narcissists fog horn there is just no getting through.

At 12:33 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Pam, I feel like a 41 year old version of you in regards to our sisters...knowing about NPD and the role we play in their lives and they in ours DOES help acceptance tremendously!

We're sane - they are NOT. (Note how I said "sane" not "normal"! Haha!) Having a sense of humor, even self-deprecating, is a sign of being HUMAN. And laughing, showing kindness and compassion and enjoying life are other signs of our humanity.

If you can safely do it without fear of discovery, keep a journal- even if it's a protected word document or an anonymous blog only you can read. It helped me ALOT, to be able to vent openly and dig back into all 39 years of Lil Sis' life and now her death.

She was an RN and fooled EVERYONE- the grief counselors, her nursing friends (about 5 or 6 past co-workers have contacted me via emails the past 3 weeks), her various doctors as she "shopped" for more Darvocet.

But I was the "crazy, dillusional" one...because "there wasn't anything wrong with her. How dare Louise say these things about ME? What's wrong with HER?" And our parents BOUGHT that crap until the day after she died, when I finally set them straight.

And then, of course, they asked why I hadn't told THEM so they could stop this...

At 10:05 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Thanks for the advice. You are on my heart and mind and I pray for you. It would be easier if we really could stop loving them, wouldn't it? It is the impossibility of never being able to resolve things that makes it so maddening.

My sister can have horrible things going on in her life but her illness and her husbands even greater illness requires that they hide any imperfection in their lives and at any cost. I know her well enough to know why she's acting the way she is and often, I just want to be able to listen to her problems and love and comfort her but I can't; and the older she gets, the more she is consumed by her magical thinking and there is no penetrating that fantasy.

Right now, I've just given up because every thing I say, is used against me. I don't know if we'll talk again.

Now I'm witnessing it take hold in a third and the beginnings of a fourth generation of my family and the first of those was my own son. We spent some night-mare years with him during his teens and early twenties and it nearly destroyed us but we now have a clear picture of the problem. We've all had therapy because it is a disease that affects the entire family and I know now, that you don't have to be one to pass it down through learned behaviors that must be unlearned. My son has problems still but he knows what it is and he knows that we know what it is and he may never be fully well, but I've seen a lot of improvement. The rest of my family hasn't a clue and there is no way to enlighten them.

With my son, we concentrate on reinforcing that we love him just because he is our son and he is in the world. We don't allow his manipulations to the point of having him arrested for his scare tactics. He spent a year and one half on probation for the last time he terrorized me, and that has been several years ago. We also constantly remind him of what he needs to do for others and of the importance of giving. He has also had the upclose example of his grandfather who disgusts him and he certainly doesn't want to end that way.

I just know that it isn't hopeless and that its cause is a combination of things and by catching it early, unwinding the causes, and the entire family taking responsiblity for each member's recovery, it can be at least, made manageable.

Your sis is out of her misery now. Turn your thoughts to your own recovery and may God strengthen you and return to you and the rest of your loved ones to full health.:0)



At 10:14 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

p.s. louise,

You couldn't have stopped what is not within your control. Be good to yourself and as they say, let go and let God.

You know, I've come to think that the heart of the disease is magical thinking. My sister has no memories of the things my dad did and even can't remember what the house we grew up in looks like. My dad was a terrorists who seldom left bruises but made our home a mine field. I remember how my sister always seemed not to be present during those traumatic moments. The coping mechanism that is of her nature is to pull inward in an effort to control what is uncontrollable. I think it is that inborn coping mechanism in some, that can for various reasons, abuse among them, to run amok. They simply take up residence upon another planet. I love my little sister and I always will but I've no rocket ship to reach her, so I have to let her go.

Your sister was taken from you by a disease and diseases just happen. Hang on to the little sis that you love and let the disease go.


At 8:28 PM, Blogger Louise said...

Pam, you bring up perhaps one of the most important points that an n will NEVER grasp- that Life is NOT perfect, that we ARE all flawed in one way or another. No one has the "perfect life"; it's not possible or realistic. AND THAT'S OKAY.

Our kids know that no one and no life is perfect; we don't expect that from them or for them. Yet we are all currently in the same livingroom, happily together yet playing on separate computers/toys and watching football playoffs (I love football). Gabbing and telling stories- no stress, all content. Even cat and pug relaxed- "family" is sometimes about happy little moments like this. And boy, does that help right now.

A favorite of mine- did you ever see the movie "Pleasantville"? The characters didn't know they were in a classic B&W made-up TV world and resisted the idea that life could be more than the "perfect" world they had always known. Eventually they ALL learned that life is more beautiful because of the emotions one can feel when one is REAL. The knowledge and enlightenment of that caused them to change from B&W to color.

Hang in there...

At 1:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Louise,

The black and white imagery fits my current circumstance to a 'T'. In my sister's mind, I once stood upon the white side of life and now in her mind, I'm am totally on the black side of life. Nothing I say can change her view because everything I say or write is heard and read through her black lens.

I have such a hard time not continuing to reach out and try to work out our difference. Every time I try, I'm met with frustration and resolve to let it go but then a few days later, I think of another approach and bat my head against the brick while for another round. After fifty years, I guess it is as hard for me to quit my learned behaviors as it is her own. I know I need to listen to my head and not my heart but it is difficult for me. I am hanging in there though.:0)


At 3:38 PM, Blogger Kathy said...


I don't know about you, but I have always found that it really helps to be like you are being - completely honest yet fair with yourself. Then you can see the mistake you're making without shame pulling your strings. You can be understanding of yourself and cut yourself some slack.

More often than not, it's your GOOD qualities that you are being manipulated by. That's certanily nothing to be ashamed of. And decades of habits are hard to break.

Narcissists can't ever sympathize with themselves, but we can. I sometimes think this is our greatest advantage. In our eyes, it's okay to be human and err now and then, having a hard time breaking old patterns of behavior.

That's what enables us to succeed. In fact, that's what enables us to really want to change those patterns. Which makes us forgivable and thus enables us to forgive ourselves for playing into a narcissist's hands.

Plus, nobody can expect to change lifelong behavior patterns overnight just because we see the light. The realization of what's going on with a narcissist changes EVERYTHING. It's like changing from being an atheist to a believer in God, or vice versa. That changes your whole world view. It alters the very framework of the mind.

For example, an atheist will tell you that afterwards they will habitually continue certain habits of the old world view, such as praying in a moment of crisis, "Dear God, help me and don't let this happen!"

This is because the old world view planted a lot of assumptions in your head. They no longer make sense. But it takes awhile for all of them to surface so you can get rid of them. That's "deprogramming."

The same thing happens when a person undergoes a radical political re-think.

And the same thing happens when you realize that the character you see a narcissist present to you is a straw man. That it isn't real. That it's just an act to manipulate you.

Plus, this is someone you loved. It isn't easy to give them up even though you know you must.

At 4:54 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Kathy,

Thanks for the encouragement and I know what you say is true. It is just going to take awhile to learn how to live with this sick feeling in my stomach every time that I realize that my sister was really nothing more than an imaginary friend. I've spent the last three years or so in total confusion over it and have mourned the loss I felt. Now is the harshness of realizing that there was nothing there to mourn. I think the realization that so many of my family members are like this has made me feel not unlike someone who loses their entire family in a fell swoop. This whole discovery process has been going on so long and when I first started reading about malignant narcissism about five years ago, there was so much that was true that I could only stomach it in very small amounts. It filled me with such utter hopelessness. Now that I know so much more and things are much clearer, I'm no longer nauseated but empowered yet, I'm still sad when I see true hopelessness for my sister. I never thought I'd live to see then day when I counted my insecure nature and my constant thinking that I needed to be fixed as a blessing. If I had not had that insecurity, I would never have found healing for myself and the family that my husband and I have created. I could easily be like my sister and eventually, like my dad is now. Though they do much evil they do suffer in their own childish and self-centered way and they suffer utterly alone in a distant land they have themselves created where no one can touch them.

I am finding my way to leaving them there and remain at peace with myself.



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