Tuesday, July 17, 2007

So narcissists can't control themselves, eh?

Update: revised and moved for inclusion in the book.

Narcissist walks into a room. There is a young, unmarried female colleague or his wife. He takes a quick glance around and sees that no one else is there. Then he abuses the woman.

Several hours later, he enters the same room. There she is again. But this time a half-dozen other people are present as well. He goes up to her and accosts her in the friendliest tone, complimenting her on something and just really gobbing the make-up on his image.

Now what was that about narcissists being unable to control themselves? What was that about them not "meaning" to hurt people?


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At 11:29 AM, Anonymous Anne said...

I agree, Ns do whatever they can get away with. The one and only guideline Ns have is, if you can get away with it, then do it!! I have seen it in action and as my N ex-husband actually told me "I waited until you were stuck with kids to be my real self." How's that for an insider's view into what they are thinking? Once he knew he could get away with more because I had small children with him, then he didn't even need to hide the fact that he was going to treat me beadly because he could (and of course because he wanted too!). I think that is the hard part for us, we think the way normal people do, which is, if he loved me, why wouldn't he want to treat me nicely? They don't. they don't love you and they actually want to treat you like garbage. I really believe my ex was jealous of me because I was normal and people liked me. He wanted to destroy that and make me as miserable as him. I am out, I am free, somewhat, the two kids keep me in his miserable orbit, but man it is great to not be married to him or to live with him anymore!!!!

At 12:47 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

You know, I really do think that a lack of confidence in the fact that "humans choose" is just about the most pervasive and insidious thing to have gotten into our collective consciousness lately. The ability to choose, and the fact of choosing - this is what makes a human a human. We do choose. We are culpable. That's just the fact, and I wonder ...

It is perhaps ... hm ... try this on for size, Kathy. What do you think? It is perhaps a very interesting way for us to hide from our own culpabilities when we choose to deny the culpability of others. The N couldn't help himself - so ... we can't either? We have "no choice" about the situation?

I'm starting to think so -- and the reason I'm starting to think that is because I can see what happens in the thinking of people who start to take responsibility for their own stuff (they become less willing to say anyone else "can't help it") as opposed to people who keep insisting that others can't help it (they let themselves off the hook with increasing frequency and for increasingly outrageous behavior).

Think so?

At 1:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

These NS are good actors. I have an uncle who has been abusive to the family for years. But he is very careful around alluring men such as my husband. I have been married for my husband for 22 yrs and he does not believe that my uncle was that bad. One time his response was maybe you and your sisters had it coming.

I know that if my husband got a glimps of my uncle's tirades he would be SHOCKED!! My aunt is willing to take the abuse because she lives an upper class life style. My grandmother says he is family and we must love him and forgive him.

When I was 15 yrs old that same uncle want to SHOW me the facts of life. When I got away from him and said NO, he told me I was no good and selfish. No man would ever want anything to do with a cold bitch like me.

When I tried to tell my parents about it they response was abominable. My mom said "Oh he is just an uncle", my father said "be grateful some man even bothered to look at you".

Some family I have. Back in the early 70's I did not have the law or womans organizations behind me to give me support. Because I was not so attractive and overweight I did not have the circle of friends and family to give me the support and protection I needed.

Anne is right they know they can get away with it because of idiots like my parents and others. Why don't parents protect their children?

At 2:06 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I agree, Stephanie. Anonymous, for whatever comfort it may be, I have become convinced that this kind of thing happens in a lot more homes than anyone suspects. I know of one case where the perp was a priest. Or when the kid is getting bullied. It's abhorrent, just bottomless. Sheer black cowardice keeps people from protecting even their child.

At 3:22 PM, Blogger Stephanie said...

Well, you know what that means, Kathy? It means that the path away from the Narcissist is paved with good clear self-knowledge and the taking of personal responsibility! In other words, if we are "stuck" with a Narcissist person in our lives, then we first have to get clear about what WE don't want to be dealing with.

I think every bullying personality makes a wonderful escape hatch for the meeker types who wouldn't want to go public with their own malfunctions.

Okay, so what do you have to say with the Narcissists who are always full of "advice" and "help" (to the point of employing family and friends)? I say that's control. Control taken for the purpose of making a world safe enough to live in. In other words, only a very small scared person would need that much control.

At 3:31 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I said something about that in "The Children of Narcissists." They learn that lesson. You will cease to exist as a person if you let the narcissit posess you by making all your choices for you. They learn to be the Little Piggie Whose House Was Made of Brick." Ns swoop down on a person in need like men swoop down on a woman in distress. It's almost hilarious once you have their number and see them jumping at an opportunity to do this to someone. They're just setting up a source of Narcissistic Supply. They take care of everything for the mark, training the her or him to dependency on them. Then, look out.

There's a lot of safety in just being mature and responsible for taking care of yourself.

At 5:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

anon at 1:05 - i groaned out loud when i read what you wrote about "be grateful some man even..." i am so sorry that got said to you about anything, let alone why!!! that was sooooo wrong and cruel and absolutely the most dunderheaded thing i've heard. i wish there was some way to take that away. i'm just so sorry.love jt

At 10:23 PM, Anonymous Fighter said...

You are gonna love this Kathy - goes right to the heart of everything you've said here:


At 6:56 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

Another story situation for you.

N father is going out, daughter wants to come too, she's almost 4, she needs her shoes and socks on. N father offers to put them on, she's sitting quietly waiting for him to help her. After fitting 1 sock and 1 shoe he's already losing his patience. Through gritted teeth he starts 'growling' about staying still etc., Normal Mother intervenes and finishes off the job, N walks away to get keys. (Meanwhile Mother reassures child she's done nothing wrong and was in fact very good.)

N father's got keys ready to go out the door. Daughter now wants to take dolly and pusher and a whole gammut of her little friends. N father grits teeth again and says, "no, no, no, no" in an impatient manner and starts huffing and puffing and rolling eyes. Anger is about to erupt with yelling.

Normal Mother again intervenes telling N to calm down or else go out on his own. N is firmly told to STOP IT and it's a pleasure to take out such a beautiful child (within earshot of such child now) and confirms for all to hear that she is a well behaved young lady and if he can't act like he wants to take her then he has no right to do so!

Next day. Family dinner out at restaurant. (my birthday). Little daughter starts to get a bit bored at the restaurant so climbs onto her N fathers lap. She spills his drink, pokes him in tummy, eats his fish and chips, smears tartare sauce in his beard, wiggles on him, touches him with ice, pokes greasy fingers on his clothes. N reacts with ALL the patience in the world. For 3 hours he's the 'perfect' patient, loving father for everybody to see. Couldn't fault his body language, his voice, his caresses, his patience. For everyone watching him he's such a *wonderful* father! So good with his child.......

So yep, on again, off again behaviour. It's enough to make you sick.

And for those other posters who's parent didn't step in and rescue you, I'm so so so sorry to hear it. That is so unfair. But I hope my story has given you some renewed hope in the human race that there are some Mum's out there that will stand up to ANYTHING to protect the self-esteem of their child. I am one of them. He NEVER gets away with anything, not since I've learned of the malignant Narc, now I know what I'm up against, I'm armed to the hilt.

At 9:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

656am i did that sort of stuff all the time. now my children are older. not sure whats actually going on-but they are starting to question some of it- one says i was always putting dad down and always pointing out the bad stuff- I THOUGHT and intended to heal some of the injury of the time- the grit teeth stuff rang throughout even the good times. i spent so much time 'keeping a lid on him'.now i feel like i spend my efforts explaining it to them. i prequalify a statement with 'im not putting him down but...'not sure if its working for or against me. tough judgement call especially that they are now TRULY in a position to 'pick sides' because one of us IS unhealthy and one of us is trying to GET healthy. i have to constantly listen for what might be going on...but ultimately they have to decide for themselves. its hard. jt

At 11:37 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy,

As a matter of fact, God Almighty is their favorite authority figure to point to for justification...

My sister and husband have now tired of the white charger they pranced upon in 'rescuing' my parents from me so now they are pushing their responsibility for their care off on their kids. You know...God is Sovereign and what will be will be, they're just too busy to run them to the emergency room...

I can't tell you the disgusting things they are doing and I really don't know what to do. Part of me thinks that it is manipulation to get me to fear for my parents well-being and swoop in and take back responsibility for thier care. The thing is, I can't, I'm too sick to care for them now. I have problems with my parents too but I am not the kind of person who can stand by and see them neglected so. Then on the other hand, I know this is my old pattern, filling the void of empathy and normal consern in my family with my overabundance of empathy. Help! Just when I think my head is safely above water, I start to sink again...


At 2:38 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

JT, thank you. I hear what you are saying, I really do. I'm hoping that by the time my child is old enough to be able to say something like that, our relationship is long over.

Take care.


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