Wednesday, May 02, 2007

The Responsibility of Familiy Members Who Know

If you are a member of a narcissist's immediate family, what are your responsibilities to other potential victims?

Some things to think about.

In some jobs, a narcissist can do an awful lot of damage. For example, as a teacher or a police officer, or President-for-Life.

In nearly any job, a narcissist will trash the character and job performance of their betters. That lifelong trail of destruction in a narcissist's wake is populated mostly with lives he or she ruined outside their immediate family. They get people fired. And even blackballed. They create such awful rumors that the victim ends up a divorced pariah, whom no one wants anything to do with.

And they climb.

Is it your responsibility to make it your business to know what they're doing at work?

And if they do climb to top by tearing others down, can you justly reap the rewards of their ill-got gain?

In fact, this is the actual context of the remark Jesus of Nazareth made when he said that lewd conduct was a special case, calling for separation/divorce despite Jewish law.

Many brothers, sisters, and spouses of narcissists think the narcissist won't do it to them - that he or she won't destroy THEIR whole life and career. When the narcissist then does, they wish they hadn't looked the other way while he did it to others.


Technorati Tags:
AddThis Social Bookmark Button

31 Comments:

At 3:01 PM, Blogger nina said...

I tell, I do nothide it, but the question is....

if they are ready to know....

 
At 3:13 PM, Anonymous GH said...

So true, Nina. Narcissists are masters of the game and while exposing them may be well-intentioned, it's not always easy or productive. How quickly the narcissist will spin what you tell to make you look paranoid/vindictive/crazy.

 
At 9:06 PM, Anonymous Barbara said...

wow!! Again Kathy --- soooooo true. I have heard of family members of Ns and Ps saying to victims "well, he/she was always this way" or "yeah he/she has done that before" to which the victim replies "WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME!"

In Judaism the cries of "Loshan Hara" or 'bad speech which is true' is used about 97% of the time to shut up friends and family members. The whole COMMUNITY turns on them if they tell...

Then of course the N and N-rage against anyone ex-friend or family member, scares the crap out of the faint of heart. The N seems to have BOUNDLESS energy to smear or to shut down the truth.

And some wives are just in massive denial about philandering or abusive N husbands... they don't want to be a statistic.

Sad but a good post as always and a call to action.

 
At 8:19 AM, Blogger JL said...

Can someone provide me their experience on how the average family member might react to either finding out for the first time their family member has NPD ** OR ** how they might react if an outsider has apprised them of the situation?

I'm confused by the complete silence of my N's family with regard to me "sticking my neck out" by telling them what I have gleaned about their family member. If it were a family member of mine, I would at least listen (closely) and/or say something to the person who has brought the information to my attention.

JL

 
At 8:25 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

i am no longer in denial.
and the rages are beginning.
triggers have been activated.
"sides" are being established.
keeping peace and "maintaining" with an N seems and actually is very tentative and extremely time consuming. not until a battle ensues do you realize how well you were "holding things together." so...maybe it is possible? to (i cautiously use this word) "control" the N- by "allowing" a certain amount of their crap- but then they take too much liberty with it and force you to clarify your boundaries. i don't know if they are aware the whole time that that is what is going on, i don't know if it is deliberate and calculated on their part, i don't know if it's just an inevitable course of events...- but when they catch on that we are on to something- watch out. they will try other approaches- but each time they don't succeed- unless they bail on you- the retaliation gets scary. sometimes they are so paranoid and so "protective of THEIR RIGHT to be who they want to be" if they feel threatened in any way that someone is going to expose them WHEN THEY DON"T WANT TO be found out, they WILL fight to "protect themselves".if they don't want to change but they sense they might HAVE to...if they catch on they're not getting along with people... if they (finally) sense their audience getting restless!...
i still truly don't know what to expect day to day anymore. if he NO when he hits the fan again i feel like i'll just have to scoop up whoever i can that doesn't resist and whisk them off to safety and if anyone hesitates and looks back they'll turn into a pillar of salt.
it's really true that you can't make people see what they are not ready to see.
it's also true that some people need to learn the hard way which really means they just often don't learn until too late.
i feel so sad and weary that people disbelieve me and after it all i will only be able to reply "I TRIED to tell you." jt

 
At 8:39 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kathy- thankyou soooo much for your graciousness at acknowledging links to other sites. there is an absolutely terrific article on the sanctuary for the abused website (WHICH IS an EXCELLENT PLACE FOR MUCH INFORMATION) 10 Rules for Engagement May 02,07. highly recommended reading all ! love jt
interestingly enough the prior article Hate the Abuser, not the Abused was helpful to my relationship, both for my N and for me.(i mean I can apply it to us each).
and i even got some insight from the article for may 4,07 Porn Addictions...Accountability- just take out the word porn if it distracts you and insert a different addiction or behavior and it can translate across.
keepin' the peace--no wait-- sharin' the life ring, jt

 
At 9:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

at sanctuary of the abused there is a LOOOOOONG list of links (WE ARE NOT ALONE!!!) i can't spot it now on the list but one link goes to http:www.narcissisticabuse.com . i don't have time to thoroughly read it right now but it deals w the subject of divorce and custody difficulties and reiterates the advise to learn as much as possible about personality disorders (especially before taking action) (i think of ANY kind with them)
i've been reading the sanctuary site as well as this one for a while and find them to be beautifully complimentary. thankyou (AGain and always) kathy for your efforts. jt

 
At 1:59 PM, Anonymous dandelion said...

jl--

A couple of reasons why family members might not respond: (1) you're not close enough with them to have established a connection of trust/credibility on other deep topics; (2) what you're telling them is not readily understandable because it is so complex and contradictory, so they'd rather not complicate their lives by trying to figure it out. So much of it is subtlety and nuance. It can take years to make the connections of what went on in certain interactions. It seems easier to just accept "a few character flaws" than to confront a truth that they can sense will turn the relationship upside down. As for why this would make them ignore you, it's possible they feel pressured to act by what you sent, regardless of how diplomatically you've worded it, and would rather just avoid the whole thing (an immature response).

I educated myself about personality disorders as well as autistic spectrum disorders while trying to figure out my relationship with my mother. Little things kept popping up that reminded me of my husband, and I was aware of them, but pushed them to the side because it was too much to process at the time.

This stuff does not go down easy, even if you've been on the receiving end, and even if you're looking for answers.


jt--

I can see from your entries over time that you have days where you feel strong and days where it seems depressing and hopeless. This was part of the process for me, too. Keep your chin up.

 
At 5:32 PM, Blogger JL said...

jl--

A couple of reasons why family members might not respond: (1) you're not close enough with them to have established a connection of trust/credibility on other deep topics;

***
Understood. Why not ask me? I only talked to her sister's husband - I never talked to sis directly). He asked:

"What did she do to you?" implying they know something is up. This was unsolicited.

As well, when I asked him if he knew anything about narcissism, he said "a little".

Anytime I asked for his input on things, all he kept saying was "keep talking". He never interacted in any way other than asking for the 2 psychologists names I found who might treat it as well as MY phone number.




(2) what you're telling them is not readily understandable because it is so complex and contradictory, so they'd rather not complicate their lives by trying to figure it out. So much of it is subtlety and nuance. It can take years to make the connections of what went on in certain interactions. It seems easier to just accept "a few character flaws" than to confront a truth that they can sense will turn the relationship upside down.

***
Understood. I think differently about this. IOW, if someone called me about one of my family members (out of the blue, risking something of themselves to make contact), I would at least listen.





As for why this would make them ignore you, it's possible they feel pressured to act by what you sent, regardless of how diplomatically you've worded it, and would rather just avoid the whole thing (an immature response).

***
In an email to her sister, I gave them my armchair analysis as well as was clear to say that I would help in any way. I also explained SOME of the connection and why I am so invested in this situation. IOW, I harbored no ill will towards any one but was simply doing my "altruistic" duty by informing them of this should they not know.




I educated myself about personality disorders as well as autistic spectrum disorders while trying to figure out my relationship with my mother. Little things kept popping up that reminded me of my husband, and I was aware of them, but pushed them to the side because it was too much to process at the time.

This stuff does not go down easy, even if you've been on the receiving end, and even if you're looking for answers.

***
Understood.




jt--

I can see from your entries over time that you have days where you feel strong and days where it seems depressing and hopeless. This was part of the process for me, too. Keep your chin up.

***
I can NOT let go of this. I've been looking for a woman my whole life who has just 4 measly traits (that in combination are VERY rare surprisingly). Add in the idealization factor for me and this is impossible to walk away from.

I'd go to all lengths to help her simply in the hopes of having her as a (platonic) friend. IOW, NO! guarantees at all. If she could get "fixed" 'enough' to make a somewhat UNdistorted decision about our friendship. That's how strongly I feel about her and my personality-based connection (i.e. irrespective of NPD).

I'll miss someone who's thinking is so synergistic with my own. It's off the charts.

Thanks for offering your advice. I'll listen to anyone, any time about this.

JL'

 
At 8:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jl- in all kindness- can it be asked of you if perhaps you were at a particular need stage and want so badly to have it filled that perhaps that is why you can't let go.are you really seeing her or are you really caught in the hopes of filling your own expectations. again- with kindness

 
At 9:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

thanks dandelion, i do have the ups and downs- because living with one is so tiring and discouraging. but i'm lifted back up by being able to "speak" here and by being open to learning all i can. the more i read the more i feel equipped to cope and the better i am able to handle the stress - the more information i gather the less the anxiety. when you live w one, once you gain some verification, the dynamics are bound to shift and since we obviously and inevitably play off each other both sides sense a shifting of power if you will and it creates stress for all involved. it has been a scary house to live in this week. something triggered a definite rage. and sure enough he seems to feel a little better cuz he got to purge. i feel a little shell shocked but i'm in recovery.the thing to note is that i copied his behavior (raged right back)i didn't plan on it but it was like an automatic reaction and now it's like nothing even happened. like the gas bubble got passed and the immediate pressure got released. it is depressing though to know that it's going to happen again in the future. like the battle is over but not the war.i still gotta stay focused and on guard . thanks for the encouragement. jt

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger JL said...

jl- in all kindness- can it be asked of you if perhaps you were at a particular need stage and want so badly to have it filled that perhaps that is why you can't let go.

***
Very good question. Remember, 10 years ago, when I met her I was married and the experience back then was life-altering. We talked by phone twice before meeting and I could tell on the phone that something was clearly, clearly different here. And, obviously, since I was married at the time, it was on a context where I wasn't looking. Although, one could argue that my marriage wasn't a good "fit", thus my subconscious had its antennae up.

As I said, half a dozen anomalous experiences for me have occurred any time I interact with her. People's jaws drop when I explain them all. Many dismiss them as "can't happen". Only 1 psychologist DID understand what I was experiencing.




are you really seeing her or are you really caught in the hopes of filling your own expectations. again- with kindness

***
I'm 100% SURE (and I rarely ever am 100% sure of anything), because of the exact same experience occurring 10 years apart (remember, the 2nd reconnection occurred when we didn't even recognize each other and had no idea we were emailing each other), that this is exactly what I "need" (or want). I'm also keenly aware of the many negatives ("simple" personality issues irrespective of NPD) that are unappealing.

In essence, I think we are each other's true "peers" (including massively low self-esteem, psychological makeup, intellect, wit, humor and sarcasm).

It is an inescapable conclusion for me. I've tried to rationalize this away 10 years ago and I could never shake what transpired between us within the first 5 minutes of meeting. It's the type of experience that makes your knees buckle (and it's simply a conversation occurring).

Thanks for asking such appropriate questions. Believe me, I've looked at this 6 ways to Sunday for 10 years and it simply won't go away.

JL'

 
At 12:14 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think it is nearly impossible to warn someone and have them heed the warning for just the reasons that Dandelion stated. NPD can't be understood in one conversation, it takes a lifetime.

I'm thankful that I can come here and be understood because I don't find that in real life except in my eldest son and husband. On many levels, it still baffles even us when we live with it on a daily basis.

Pam

 
At 8:10 PM, Blogger JL said...

Anon said:

I think it is nearly impossible to warn someone and have them heed the warning for just the reasons that Dandelion stated. NPD can't be understood in one conversation, it takes a lifetime.

***
Good point. Let me ask the group (posters) this:

If you were the N's sister, if a guy you don't know contacts you out of the blue after 2 dates with your sister and says your sister has NPD, I can understand the first reaction being disbelief and/or "what's this nut doing/saying?"

However, might she eventually ask herself:

"To go to so much trouble to contact me and stick his neck out making a psychological 'diagnosis', SOMETHING must be up."

IOW, if I DO really have quite a bit of fondness (which I CLEARLY stated by reiterating a question an NPD psych. asked me when I talked to her), the LAST thing I would do to try to "win her back" would be to make an "accusation" like this.

Does anyone follow? No matter what question you ask yourself about what MY motivation is, ultimately, it would be completely ILlogical for me to do what I'm doing unless I'm damn sure. Damn sure.

JL'

 
At 8:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

jl in kindness--what do you want out of pursuing her and how do you picture the future?

 
At 2:04 PM, Anonymous dandelion said...

jl-

I can sympathize with the elation of finding someone who seems to be so compatible with what you've been looking for. But there are some worrisome indicators in your comments.

Primarily, your own description of yourself as having massively low-self esteem. This is not a good foundation for a healthy relationship. Regardless of how she treats you, eventually (or even now) you will have unreasonable expectations that she would help make you whole (the idealization thing), because you feel so good around her. But from your comments about her having NPD, these expectations are not based on reality (would she provide emotional support while you work on yourself?), but on the feel-good biochemicals of being in-sync with somebody.

While you may have some core personality characteristics in common, do remember the N's ability to tap into others' discontent and mirror their body language. This is a strategy to draw people in that's been talked about in previous posts here. It can be very powerful, maybe leading to the "weak-kneed" responses you felt.

Another thing that might be related to the low self-esteem is how bothered you are by the relatives' non-response. If you wanted to provide information out of altruistic reasons, you've done so. Perhaps you were looking for thanks or affirmation, which is perfectly understandable. But the lower your self-esteem, the harder a time you will have if you don't get it.

As someone who has struggled with self-esteem issues also, I wish you the best of luck. But don't stay in the world of low self-esteem, and don't look for others to complete you. You have to do the work yourself.

 
At 8:09 PM, Blogger JL said...

I can sympathize with the elation of finding someone who seems to be so compatible with what you've been looking for. But there are some worrisome indicators in your comments.

Primarily, your own description of yourself as having massively low-self esteem.

***
I should have been clearer. Summer of 2006, as I started counseling, I was surprised to find out I had incredibly low self-esteem (let's say a 1 on a scale of 1 to 10). Now, 6 months later, I'm done with counseling and am a new person. My self-esteem hovers around a 4 or maybe a 5.




This is not a good foundation for a healthy relationship.

***
Correct. My marriage lasted 16 years of which the last 10 were impacted by my low self-esteem (but also because I met my "N" at that time).




Regardless of how she treats you, eventually (or even now) you will have unreasonable expectations that she would help make you whole (the idealization thing), because you feel so good around her.

***
I don't need to be made whole. I'm OK now as a person. Maybe better than OK. Certainly better than I've ever been as a human.

In fact, the proof is that when I initially saw her on a dating website pre-counseling, I would never have been able to email her (way, way too attractive and had her act together - seemingly to me). 6 months later, I run into her on said dating website again and this time I CAN email her. I'm a new person. Counseling WORKED.




But from your comments about her having NPD, these expectations are not based on reality (would she provide emotional support while you work on yourself?), but on the feel-good biochemicals of being in-sync with somebody.

***
See above. I'm pretty much out of the woods. I do have some outstanding problems but they are all solved in one fell swoop by her (by me being with an idealized person, I idealize MYSELF to be able to "interact" with her). It's perfect (but still flawed). I'm very sure that I don't care if it's flawed. If being flawed but getting to experience what I get to isn't ideal, I don't care (for the first time in my life I'm being ultra-pragmatic).




While you may have some core personality characteristics in common, do remember the N's ability to tap into others' discontent and mirror their body language. This is a strategy to draw people in that's been talked about in previous posts here.

***
I understand but I don't understand. The connection with her was evident during 2 phone calls and then VERY evident upon the first 5 minutes together. The conversation was the best I'd ever had.




It can be very powerful, maybe leading to the "weak-kneed" responses you felt.

***
Semi-agreed. What I've done is analyze the interactions (10 years to and recent events) to strip away all NPD influence. What I'm left with (personality to personality) pretty much IS the whole ball of wax for me. IOW, during our emails recently when we reconnected but didn't recognize each other, the SAME thing occurred that occurred 10 years ago. A double-blind test so to speak.




Another thing that might be related to the low self-esteem is how bothered you are by the relatives' non-response. If you wanted to provide information out of altruistic reasons, you've done so.

***
I also said in the email to her sister that this was the first time (honestly) that I am actually looking out for myself. IOW, I have to be honest and say that I AM hoping I MIGHT benefit should she ever get "fixed" enough.




Perhaps you were looking for thanks or affirmation, which is perfectly understandable. But the lower your self-esteem, the harder a time you will have if you don't get it.

***
Understood. It just seems that knowing someone has NPD and not really, really trying to help them, everyone loses (the NPD, those they interact with, etc.).





As someone who has struggled with self-esteem issues also, I wish you the best of luck. But don't stay in the world of low self-esteem, and don't look for others to complete you.

***
I understand what you're saying, but I don't understand this "complete you" term I've heard many times. Don't we all "feed" off others during our interactions and that adds to who we are?

IOW, I'm "complete" all by myself. I just enjoy some interactions with some people 100x more than others.




You have to do the work yourself.

***
And, it's all done (see above).

JL'

 
At 10:29 PM, Blogger JL said...

jl in kindness--what do you want out of pursuing her and how do you picture the future?

***
Damn good question.

I want the answer to either of the 2 questions below (i.e. post-counseling such that NPD has LESS of an influence on her thinking/actions).

1) do I appeal enough to you (personality, looks, whatever) such that you would attempt a full, complete relationship?

2) do I appeal enough to you to be a platonic friend?

I'd like one of those questions answered LESS encumbered by NPD.

I picture my future as very bleak with regards to any non-platonic interactions with any women. After 25 years as an adult and meeting countless women, this interactions dwarfs all others by a long shot. This I am sure of.
Very sure.

Everything I say is intellectually understood by her. She gets it all (based on her replies to complex topics/subjects, etc.). Every piece of wit or sarcasm I deliver is 100% gotten by her. Vice versa. She can deliver all the above on an equal level with me. That's what I've been waiting for my whole life. When I become exposed to it, I start to become SO alive it's like an alligator sunning himself motionless, and then seeing prey and coming to life.

As another aside. On our first day at work together 10 years ago, our mutual friend (who brought us both into the company) went out to lunch (she drove) with us. As he sat in the back seat he said this:

"I'm in the car with the 2 wittiest people I've ever met. I'm going to sit here and not say anything."

Even he got it.

JL'

 
At 8:07 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

so what do you want from hanging on this site?

 
At 9:53 AM, Anonymous dandelion said...

jl-

Okay, I understand a bit better. You are your own, whole person and would be okay on your own. She enriches your life because you connect through the witty banter and intellectual discussions, and you want to continue a relationship of some sort, but you're sure she has NPD, and want to "help."

What are the traits she's exhibited? Has she devalued you yet? If she has NPD, it's only a matter of time. Maybe you're willing to weather the devaluing, and maybe you can if you're prepared and can convince yourself it's not about you. Have you sensed any insight or conscience on her part after she abuses someone? The hardest part for me has been that my N's don't acknowledge the abuse. Are you prepared for distorted, angry outbursts directed at you if you knew she would never reflect on their effect on you? This also means no remorse or inclination to change on her part.

You may work really hard to "help" her with the NPD, but come away with no change (or make it worse). Are you prepared for that? If you've read people's comments about trying to change or heal their N's, you know that it's one of the most futile acts there is.

I guess if you have your eyes open going in, and feel confident enough not to take her abuse (or your likely failure to "help" her with it) personally, go for it. In my experience, however, having to keep someone at arm's length in order for a relationship to survive has a certain draining emptiness to it.

 
At 4:06 PM, Blogger JL said...

Okay, I understand a bit better. You are your own, whole person and would be okay on your own. She enriches your life because you connect through the witty banter and intellectual discussions,

***
Major understatement. Yes. To the exclusion of all other women I've ever known in any way. Picture a cross between Bonnie Hunt (about as witty as a woman can get) with a cerebral Jodie Foster (well-read) type.

Remember, this is as close to "pure" love as I've experienced as there's no real hint of any physical intimacy of any kind (we are 2 peas in a pod that way). It's an incredibly heightened sense of emotional investment in another person coupled with a comfort level that is completely anomalous.

During our first date, Mr. ex-low self-esteem (me, for those keeping score) looked her IN the eye for 4 hrs and 30 minutes of a 4 hr and 45 minute date. This has NEVER happened ever to me. I was at home for the first time in my life. How could I possibly be THIS comforable with a woman who is FULLY idealized (in my view). It's shocking to experience and even more shocking in that it felt MORE natural than my previous low self-esteem M.O. I practiced my whoel life. How can that be? Can you imagine what it feels like to go from very low (but now manageable) self-esteem to utter elation? This ALSO occurred 10 years ago when I DID have virtually zero self-esteem. Only in retrospect, do I now understand what happened 10 years ago.

For example, regarding her Histrionic Personality Disorder (co-morbid). I'd be lying if I said I didn't LIKE the overly exaggerated flirting and touching and attention, etc. However, when I FIRST saw her 10 years ago, it was sans HPD because she was just standing there waiting in the lobby. Yet, I still reacted within a nanosecond of seeing her with: "oh, God, I hope that's not her". I knew my life had just changed (but didn't fully appreciate why at the time).





and you want to continue a relationship of some sort,

***
If it were only a platonic date every other week, I'd be good for life.




but you're sure she has NPD, and want to "help."

***
Correct.




What are the traits she's exhibited?

***
She's a compensatory narcissist, NOT a classic. This is what I couldn't quite understand early on in my research.

http://www.ptypes.com/compensatory-narpd.html

From this list, about half of them. She seems a "high order" functioning narc because she's still VERY subdued rather than "me, me, me". IOW, no exaggeration, no boasting, no ridiculing of others, her work was always without peer, etc.




Has she devalued you yet?

***
Yep. Wednesday, February 14th (don't ask - LOL!) around 4 PM. I sensed the change then.

I provided her a copy of this poem written by a friend:


Some people fit together like flowers in a vase. They can go with all sorts of other people and things can be real loose and undefined.

Some people fit together like ingredients in a recipe. They can go well with several people also, but some better and easier than others.

Some people are like pieces of a puzzle. Much harder to fit, maybe they can only fit one or two other people but if they find a match, it's perfect. If you are putting together a puzzle and you fit two pieces together do you say, "Gee, that fits! Now I think I'll ditch this piece and try another piece to see if that one fits, too!"?
Of course not.


***
FTR, the above-poem has explained more about my place in life than anything I've ever heard or read prior. My friend who wrote this is brilliant. I finally understand my role in life now.

I saw the devaluation in person (fully within a narcissistic rage) Friday February 23rd around 5 PM.

She then filed a police report to make sure I never try to contact her again (and I was called by her local police department). This occurred AFTER I called her sister. The assumption is her sister must have mentioned it to her setting off this ultra-narcissistic rage.




If she has NPD, it's only a matter of time.

***
Yep.




Maybe you're willing to weather the devaluing, and maybe you can if you're prepared and can convince yourself it's not about you.

***
I was shocked when I saw it since I "thought" we were still in the approach/avoidance repetition cycle. I miscalculated. My bad.

However, now that I know what it is, it doesn't bother "me" at all since I know it's 100% her. As an INTP, I practice complete objectification of never using emotions to filter incoming data (take nothing personally unless you're sure it's you).

And, in fact, since I was devalued so quickly after reconnecting, I assume I must have been doing a "good job" to have her react so quickly and sharply.

FTR, when we met 10 years ago, since I was ready to quit my job within the first 5 minutes of meeting her, I couldn't come up with an excuse to quit my job and be able to be honest with my wife. So, I did what I'm good at (also). I devalued her by becoming so abrasive she never acknowledged me again (or at least only in the context of work-related stuff). Worked like a charm. So, from a devaluation standpoint, the score is 1 to 1. LOL!

But after my devaluation, there was a very curious incident that I would have attributed to Histrionic Personality Disorder. But I ended up noticing something that few people would have noticed in the situation (my mind is a video recorder and little gets past it). Thus, this incident leads me to STRONGLY believe, underneath the NPD/HPD is a large kernal of reality regarding her affinity for me. I'll save the details for later if need be. This haunts me because I keep leaning towards this diagnosis of the situation:

She does have affinity for me like no one else, but since she has NPD, she ASSUMES that she must mega-overcompensate since I could never like her. Remember, only in the last 3 months have I realized why I had low self-esteem as it relates to women. Because I idealize women, I figured there'd be no way ANY woman would idealize ME (since I assumed EVERYONE idealized the person they were looking for). So, we have THAT in common also. However, I realize from my own self-esteem struggles, when someone DOES compliment you, the cognitive dissonance is so strong, the natural inclination is to RUN the other way. I can only imagine how it is for her. So, while she's not my "100%" ideal, she's AS close as I've ever come (by a long shot).





Have you sensed any insight or conscience on her part after she abuses someone?

***
No. If I could have talked to her sister I would have at least got some inkling of how this goes with her, but I called too quickly when her sister was out of town and only talked to her husband.




The hardest part for me has been that my N's don't acknowledge the abuse. Are you prepared for distorted, angry outbursts directed at you if you knew she would never reflect on their effect on you?

***
This is where I stop. I would only involve myself in a friendship with her IF she is in counseling and I do NOT provide her narcissistic supply (in the classic sense). IOW, I would act exactly as I did during our previous dates and would NOT be goaded into providing compliments, or doing anything to verify her projected false image UNLESS I deemed it objectively true (I can say something like: you have the best sense of sarcasm I've ever seen, or I've never met anyone with as much intellectual prowess as you).




This also means no remorse or inclination to change on her part.

***
See above.




You may work really hard to "help" her with the NPD, but come away with no change (or make it worse). Are you prepared for that?

***
If I don't try, the odds are 0 out of whatever. If I do try, they are 1 out of whatever. I'm completely prepared for nothing in the end.

I'm also aware of counseling making a BETTER predator. From what I've learned here on this blog/website there is an interesting solution to this.




If you've read people's comments about trying to change or heal their N's, you know that it's one of the most futile acts there is.

***
I understand that. As an INTP I love solving problems. And since I've been to the near-zero self-esteem valley myself for my whole life I have some decent insight into what she's thinking.

My N is an ESTJ/ENTJ personality. Thus, she filters, primarily, by intellect and NOT emotions exactly as I do (this is the BIG reason we connect so well). Thus, I am semi-convinced that the intellectual rapport we have (I've NEVER had this level of intellectual rapport with any other woman - no, I'm NOT a narcissist!) would allow me to explain things in a way that can possibly cut through the distortional logic surrounding everything.




I guess if you have your eyes open going in, and feel confident enough not to take her abuse (or your likely failure to "help" her with it) personally, go for it.

***
Since the police report stands in the way of contact, my only real choice is to write a long letter to her sister outlining everything I can think of.

For example, I would mention things like:

- as an NPD sufferer, she can NEVER be happy in her current state. Think about the utter hopelessness of that situation.

- if you don't provide an ultimatum and NEVER provide her narcissistic supply, you are sentencing her and every other person she will ever interact with to UNhappiness

- I strongly think that we are better for each other (being together) than we are without each other. Why sentence us BOTH to being apart by not really, really aggressively attacking this problem?





In my experience, however, having to keep someone at arm's length in order for a relationship to survive has a certain draining emptiness to it.

***
Understood.

Thanks for your expertise, insight, and concern. I'm indebted.

JL'

 
At 9:10 PM, Blogger JL said...

My previous (long) blog comment post didn't go through. I hope it wasn't because my post wasn't topical, etc. If it was the case, I apologize in advance. I didn't save it so I can't retype it.

After much more thought on my situation, I have come to the conclusion that my NPD had the SAME off-the-charts experience that I had/have when we are together. I am even able to remove all the histrionic personality disorder affects from the equation and can see that even the HPD parts don't affect "reality". It finally dawned on me how I can tell that what I experienced is untainted by her disorders.

For starters, as time goes on, I am LESS worried about my N not having had a similar emotional experience (i.e. what I would deem "similar" or "normal"). This seems to me to be the opposite of what I would expect to happen (i.e. denial should be LESS and acceptance of myself as having been an interchangeable object should INCREASE as I accept reality). Prior to reconnecting with her, I was always on the fence as to gauging her interest in me. I would swing from being sure it was mutual to being sure I am delusional and not interpreting things correctly.



OPINION FOLLOWS

Here is my thinking (this may be because my N is compensatory vs. classic).

There are moderately UNdistorted perceptions by an N of another person. IOW, will an N go after just ANY potential "partner" (or does there have to be the same "level" of interest as a non-N would have when gauging potential partners)? I would say no, because it seems they want to only associate with the cream of the crop (typical N M.O.).

The affect that NPD has (again, just in my case) has to do with how to PROCEED or affects the MOTIVES to continue the narc. supply. For example, if my N fessed up and said "I'm at the level emotionally of a 5-yr old child", I would say "I like you just as you are" (obviously excluding the NPD pieces). Thus, even with no ego and a false self I'm aware of is false, I STILL want to be with her to the exclusion of all other people (and I can enjoy our interaction knowing which pieces are untainted by NPD/HPD).

So, could it be that my N, in her case, is acting as low self-esteem people do: OVERcompensating thinking they HAVE to present this "false self" when in reality, the person on the other end would be HAPPY with their virtually zero self-esteem REAL self? IOW, in her case she doesn't have to overcompensate for ANYthing and the RESULT would be the same (for me).

IOW, if I subtract all the obvious false-self attributes (anything on the DSM NPD or HPD list), it changes NOTHING for me.

Yes, I realize this doesn't change anything, but at least I can come closER to closure.

JL'

 
At 1:45 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

JL, Things you say make me think you just don't get it. Are you sure this woman has NPD? As far as her being "compensatory," as I've said before, I am among the great majority in thinking that all Ns are compensatory. Vaknin himself never talks as though they aren't. They hate themselves. All of them do. The superiority act is just that - an act to dissimulate the truth. That is what makes them malignant. It's because they feel inferior that they must lay others low. Somebody with nothing but inflated self esteem doesn't have to do that. Only somebody with deflated self esteem does.

You seem to think the regular N really does have inflated self esteem. Wrong. A person with inflated self esteem may be an ass, but he or she has no personality disorder and doesn't have tear others down off pedestals like a rapist to feel good about himself.

You speak of her interest in you. If she is an N, she has no interest in you. Her only interest is in whatever ego gratification she can get out of you. You seem unwilling to admit that.

Join the club. We all have done that, refused to face that fact. Who wants to face it and admit that you are worth absolute zero to someone you would die for one sweet caress from? It's terribly disappointing AND degrading because it disregards your human worth.

I don't care who you are. You could be the most famous, most eligible, most wealthy, and most lovable man in the world. She would want you, all right, but not because you mean anything to her. It ain't ABOUT you. It's all about her. If she does have NPD.

It is a personality dosorder, not pieces of a personality that you can scrape off. It corrupts virtually every human interaction.

 
At 9:41 AM, Blogger JL said...

JL, Things you say make me think you just don't get it.

***
Believe me I do. However, I'm analyzing my situation to death (10 years ago and present) because she is compensatory and NOT classic. Because of my memory recall, I've been able to sift this every way to Sunday to TRY figure out what's what.




Are you sure this woman has NPD?

***
100% sure. No doubt whatsover. Not Borderline. Not antisocial or avoidant. Not schizoid. Guaranteed NPD. But from the COMPENSATORY list (most of them), and not the classic list.




As far as her being "compensatory," as I've said before, I am among the great majority in thinking that all Ns are compensatory.

***
Again, I'm using the LABEL compensatory. Yes, NPD is a compensatory coping mechanism for those who never left the primary narcissistic stage from childhood.

I just watched an Otto Kernberg video presentation and another one from another psychologist that explains child developmental stages as it pertains to narcissism (primary).




Vaknin himself never talks as though they aren't. They hate themselves. All of them do.

***
Correct. She devalued me for multiple reasons. Firstly, I did something against her omniscient, pre-planned role for me in her life (binary swing from idealization to devaluation). Guaranteed. Secondly, she ALSO does this to herself because of her sadistic superego state (i.e. prevent her from having what she DOES want and does value and does derive pleasure from). She wants to punish HERSELF also by rejecting me. Remember she DOES get tremendous benefit from our interactions (can be proven per above discussion about something as simple as a discussion). But, this benefit does not outweigh the NS drug search.




The superiority act is just that - an act to dissimulate the truth.

***
Very obviously yes.




That is what makes them malignant. It's because they feel inferior that they must lay others low. Somebody with nothing but inflated self esteem doesn't have to do that. Only somebody with deflated self esteem does.

***
Correct. Remember, I've had extremely, extremely low self-esteem my whole life. I'm very aware of her M.O.s such as "forcing rejection" (see above). However, her forcing of rejection is 2-layered (see above).





You seem to think the regular N really does have inflated self esteem.

***
I have no idea what gave you that idea. She is a 5-yr old child.




Wrong. A person with inflated self esteem may be an ass, but he or she has no personality disorder and doesn't have tear others down off pedestals like a rapist to feel good about himself.

***
Correct.





You speak of her interest in you. If she is an N, she has no interest in you.

***
Slow down here. She does have an interest in me as it relates to parts of her that are UNtainted by HPD/NPD.

Again, I asked: "does an N desire NS from ANY average "joe?". IOW, even IF NPD is the driving force as to her liking really smart guys who are successful (financially), etc. (as any typical N would shoot for in a partner), is that ANY different of a "motivation" than the traits/attributes I myself look for in a partner? IOW, you can't label someone ELSE'S "desires in a partner" as "not as valid as yours".




Her only interest is in whatever ego gratification she can get out of you.

***
Not the case, IMO (my OPINION).

That's the overriding factor to NS, but it's not the ONLY one. For example, I can go through and list her traits that are false-self and those that are NOT (very easy to do, right?). If she's REALLY sarcastic and ENJOYS sarcastic banter, NPD completely unaffects that ability. But, there is still pleasure derived from that but it's MOOT whether SHE thinks it's NS because in reality this trait is NOT narcissistic-based. Sure, you could argue, underneath, NS is involved but in this case for THIS attribute, it's NOT part of the false-self since intelligence is intelligence.




You seem unwilling to admit that.

***
I have come to the conclusion that she experiences the same thing I do. And we both experience it because we both idealize (heavily) our partner and when you are interacting with your idealize partner the high is indescribable. This is the first time in my life I've experienced this and, in an amazing coincidence, the other person is experiencing the same (i.e. NPD methodology).





Join the club. We all have done that, refused to face that fact. Who wants to face it and admit that you are worth absolute zero to someone you would die for one sweet caress from?

***
It is maddening much more than it is emotionall upsetting (I'm an INTP personality type and we've OBJective about everything). We don't take things in through an emotional lens.




It's terribly disappointing AND degrading because it disregards your human worth.

***
Yes, that is the kicker. I could be 100% wrong in my analysis, but the longer I think about it, the more I have come to some conclusions about NPD as it relates to HER.




I don't care who you are. You could be the most famous, most eligible, most wealthy, and most lovable man in the world. She would want you, all right, but not because you mean anything to her. It ain't ABOUT you. It's all about her. If she does have NPD.

***
I agree. However, if I provide NO NS or false-self feedback and she continues to interact with me, at least I'm "minimally" feeding her NPD.





It is a personality dosorder, not pieces of a personality that you can scrape off.

***
Yes you can. That's the whole point. Again, I'm only discussing MY case as this is clearly the ONLY NPD person I've ever encountered with a long enough interaction to make that determination.

What I value in a woman she has. What I value is UNtainted by NPD or HPD. It is the essence of HER whether she has NPD or not.




It corrupts virtually every human interaction.

***
Can it corrupt an intellectual discussion? For example, let's say she and I talk about politics. Does NPD corrupt what she KNOWS about politics and what she THINKS (opinions) about politics? Nope.

Let's say we discuss a movie we both enjoy. Does NPD affect WHY she likes that movie? Possibly but I wouldn't be able to label that for her as anything "inferior" to why I might like a given movie. She can't really derive NS from liking a certain movie.

In summary, NPD has do do with TANGENTIAL (but still large) things surrounding human interactions. The MOVITATIONS as to WHY to remain in a friendship or movitations as to how to HANDLE said friendship.

NPD affects how I am TREATED (i.e. the MOTIVATIONS surrounding how she will continue to extract NS from me). If I don't provide any false-self feedback, she gets little NS from me. And it is easy to see what's real and what isn't.

I'd sure like to IM you (or anyone else lurking) about all the little pieces of this that I keep going over trying to figure out what could be real underneath and what definitely isn't. It is this minutiae that is confusing me.

JL'

 
At 12:16 PM, Blogger JL said...

I thought of another way to attack this discussion, Kathy.

When an NPD is in the midst of the approach/avoidance repetition cycle (complex), when they are doing the approach part, is there even an IOTA of untainted "emotion" about who they are approaching at that given instant?

Or, again, since all people ARE objects to an N, are they 100%interchangeable!! objects? That wouldn't make sense or wouldn't an N simply pony up to any person who crossed their path?

Or, during the approach part, does there have to "truly" be something there for the N just as there is something "there" for every other person when they initially involve themselves with someone else.

JL'

 
At 8:29 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

the human dance of approach and connect is a natural occurrence all day long every day for everyone unless you NEVER leave your house. approaching people on a sidewalk or roadway you are scoping and gaging who will yield to let you through or who will try to block you and the dynamic is constant. when it comes to interpersonal play that becomes heightened. but when someone is skittish (wounded and defensive) and paranoid they are looking out for the the next attack that might be directed at them. when people are on the prowl they are in a whole nother mode. jl at times you almost sound like you are bordering on stalking her. it seems that you sense she could fill your need to the point of almost sounding predatory yourself. like you are circling her trying to maintain your "in." you seem to entertain the idea that she is circling back. like it's a contest of sorts. it's sounding pretty unhealthy to me. it's like one of you any minute is going to shout "Busted" like you so have each other figured out, but then what?

 
At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

another thing - about the subject of sarcasm. i'm deep in thought on that one so excuse me for not having this fully baked yet. but sarcasm is complicated. it's a very messy loaded means of connecting/disconnecting. and it can morph so much in such subtle ways that the regular joe doesn't even catch it which fuels the twisted intellect even more because then it throws it into that whole other orbit where very few get to enter.and it becomes that coveted membership into the honorary world of uber intellect. it's a club for people who are in extraordinary pain. and none of us know how to better deal with it. it turns into an intellectual thing that we can circle around and poke at to see what happens and we can kick at it and jab at it, attack it and retreat if we don't like the reaction. but we keep it at arms link so we can do with it whatever we want. and it becomes the tool and the challenge. and we take the fire from the center of it and light our torches and go out and burn other people with it.it's sick (sarcasm) we all know it. we capitalize on it all over the place. but when it reaches these levels- it's an unhealthy- it's a harmful weapon. it is destructive. it creates a sense of order- there is a hierarchy in it (when it reaches these intense levels) it turns into a very dangerous game.it turns into a power struggle/power rush that conveniently fills those needy voids but that wages destruction where nurturing would be much more beneficial to good self esteem. but hey then it also levels the playing field because then everyone is connected because they have been hurt and then the poor me's aren't alone anymore. but then WE ALL are so fricking lonely and wounded and we're all on the bottom circling each other again but so much lower then we were before.

 
At 10:09 AM, Blogger JL said...

jl at times you almost sound like you are bordering on stalking her.

***
Unfortunately, from the outside, that is a likely perception by people. As an INTP personality type (pathetically unaggressive and a complete sheep), our intensity can be confused as "aggressive" from people who primarily filter by emotion (--F- personality types).




it seems that you sense she could fill your need to the point of almost sounding predatory yourself.

***
I don't follow that all. We can fill each other's needs (intellectual, wit, humor and sarcasm) like no one I've ever met (and because of the exact same reconnection occuring 10 years later I can come to no other conclusion that it is mutual).




like you are circling her trying to maintain your "in."

***
Not following that either. Can you clarify?



you seem to entertain the idea that she is circling back.

***
As an NPD, no way in this lifetime will she ever come back. Unless a miracle of introspection occurs (highly unlikely).




like it's a contest of sorts. it's sounding pretty unhealthy to me.

***
Pretty much everyone I've talked to says it does sound unhealthy. However, I'm no different a person thana I was 6 months ago and I can still deal with daily life.




it's like one of you any minute is going to shout "Busted" like you so have each other figured out, but then what?

***
We don't have each other figured out with respect to where this would have gone, etc. We do have each other figured out in that we both know the combination listed above that we each bring to the table is IT.

JL'

 
At 10:32 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

I was impressed by the mention of sarcasm as a desirable quality, too. Maybe sarcasm isn't what was really meant. Maybe just a sense of irony. Even sardonic wit, about things, rather than people, can be very funny and delightful. But I don't see how real sarcasm ever is. Coming from a home in which sarcasm was the only thing that passed for humor, I used to think it was funny. My friends in college taught me otherwise, firmly and kindly (when they saw that I honestly didn't know any better). I have often said since then that I am grateful to them for speaking up about it. If they hadn't taught me that lesson soon after I left home, I should have been obnoxious all these years. I did it because, in my experience, that was the only way to hold your own with people. I expected everyone to be as competitive as my family were. I was wrong.

What a delightful thing to be wrong about.

So, I don't know what's going on, but sarcasm, as I understand it, is an intellectual put down. The teeter totter game.

 
At 10:43 AM, Blogger JL said...

Kathy, your description of sarcasm is very thorough. I would term our use of it as ironic, sardonic, witty or day and usually self-effacing (i.e. said to our own self and said to the other person in a "teasing" way).

We talked about this and she said that's why she used the word "irreverant" in her profile text to soften the sarcasm blow.

Here's an example from our exchange:

(my very first email to her, very 1st sentence - from memory)

While nothing in your profile particularly piques my interest, I am writing to you because I see you have sarcasm listed as a turn-on (very rare, and a dealbreaker for 99% of the women on here)...



When I finally asked our her out (in an email), her reply was this (1st sentence - from memory):

Well, your first email was pretty dismissive.



Absolutely golden. No accenting of words. IOW, I myself might have bold/italicized the word 'was' to make sure it was received correctly. The sarcasm must be mined she was so good at it.

She was so good at it, I MISSED a dozen of them in emails. I had to be very careful on all my replies to make sure I caught every one. Even in conversation I missed some upon first hearing, but caught them as my brain caught up a few seconds later. Wickedly well-done on her part. Shockingly so.

As I mentioned previously, our mutual work friend said he viewed us as the two wittiest people he'd ever met. And, unfortunately, it's true (and it has ended). The interplay is gone forever (and it is this interplay that was what caused her to reveal her email address). You could cut it with a knife it was so palpable.

JL'

 
At 9:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

precisely. look up the definition of sarcasm in merriam webster.

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home

craig class janesville