Thursday, October 11, 2007

How Narcissists Get So Good at Manipulation

It's a known fact that narcissists and psychopaths have amazing powers to sucker and manipulate people. Your typical street con artist is a good example. Authorities warn us not to laugh at the victim and think that we ourselves would never be stupid enough to fall for a con artist's scheme. Indeed, people en masse often fall for one to elect that guy President for Life. Psychopaths routinely sucker even their therapists. Even while still teenagers, they are expert enough at manipulation to do so.

When you are outside the con job's sphere of influence, you see clearly. You wonder what the heck the conned person is thinking. To you it couldn't be more obvious that this is a con job - the warning sirens are blaring. But the mark is oblivious. You wonder what "got into" him or her. (I love that phrase.) They seem under a spell. You see them doing things like automatons, remotely controlled by the manipulator. All he need do is drop hints to control through the mere power of suggestion and - BOOM - the conned person is thinking or doing exactly what the manipulator wants. The victim might as well be a hand or foot of his.

This is truly spooky. How does it happen?

I studied etymology, and what I learned from the archaic root meanings of words convinced me that the mythology of darkness and magic gradually evolved from a lexicon of language struggling to deal with this seemingly magical power some people have.

But it isn't magic.

The problem is that we have no idea how good at manipulation some people are. They are so good at it, that when we find out how good they are, it blows our mind. How do they get so good at it?

Are these narcissists just brilliant, with astronomical IQs? Well, the more intelligent they are, the more dangerous they are, of course. But, no, they aren't all intelligent. They don't have to be.

It's just a simple matter of "practice makes perfect."

You too would be that good a manipulator if you practiced manipulating people 24-7-365 for a lifetime.

When we interact with others, we are usually trying to communicate. Only rarely are we trying to make an impression instead. Narcissists and psychopaths are always trying to make an impression. They are never trying to communicate. In fact, they block attempts to communicate.

Remember when you were a teenager and met that cool guy or gal? In that situation, we are so busy trying to make a good impression that we do embarrassing things. We are so busy trying to SOUND clever that we say the stupidest things. Our mouths get ahead of our brains.

While we are putting on this star-studded performance, we aren't listening to him or her. We are interested only in the KIND of thing they say and the tone of voice they say it in. Their gestures and body language - we don't miss a beat. We aren't interested in their face, only the expression on it. Why? Because we are studying their continuing reaction to our actions: Ah! a smile! Oh-oh, a frown! OK - there - I got the smile back again. Oh good, s/he stepped closer to me.

See what I'm getting at? When we are operating in this mode, everything we say and do is for effect. We observe the effects and tune our behavior to win the kind of reaction we want. In other words, we are PLAYING that person for the reaction we want. We are trying to manipulate him or her. We are manipulating that smile from him or her. If one thing we say or do doesn't win it, we just try something else and keep trying things till we hit upon what impresses that person as something to smile at. Hence, if we blow it and get a frown instead, in our haste to transform it to a smile we can contradict ourselves in two seconds flat.

We are not being ourselves when we do this. We are quite literally being someone else. We are putting on an act. Our true character doesn't come through, because we are acting out the part of an idealized version of ourselves, an impressive idealized version of ourselves, a purely fictitious character. All because our aim isn't to communicate - it's simply to make an impression.

We can laugh about this rite of passage into sexual adulthood now. It's so awkward. We prefer the company of people we can be ourselves with. But even in adulthood people occasionally go into this mode. In a job interview, for example. Or when meeting a famous or important person.

We never get good at manipulating people though, because we seldom get into this mode where we try to.

Now imagine if you were in this mode all the time with everyone your whole life. That's a lot of practice. Through sheer trial and error, you will become an expert at what produces a smile in another person, or a frown or a look of fear or dejection or shame or anger or whatever you want. You will become an expert at what makes them get mad at some third party you are talking about. You will become an expert at what pushes people's buttons to do a whole list of things you want in various situations. You will be an expert at controlling people this way.

That's what narcissists are psychopaths are - experts, because they are in this mode all the time with everyone their whole life. Is it even possible for them to cut it out? I doubt it. They don't even know what normal human interaction is. They are always just trying to make an impression. They are never trying to communicate. They block communication. They don't want you to know them. The real them, that is. It's their deepest, darkest secret.

Being in this mode explains why they contradict themselves so fast and furiously when you lock horns with them. Why they are a nervous blur and never hear what you say. Why they don't later recognize your face or remember your name. They aren't paying attention to any of that in a conversation. They are just studying facial EXPRESSIONS, body language, tone of voice, and gestures. What you are saying and what they are saying gets tuned out because it doesn't matter to them. Neither does the matter you are discussing. They will say the sky is purple if they think it will draw the reaction from you that they want.

That's a lifetime of 24-7-365 practice at conning and manipulation. Practice makes perfect. So, never, never, never underestimate their powers of con artistry and manipulation. They can and will fool ANYONE.

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18 Comments:

At 6:59 AM, Blogger groupThink said...

An outstanding explanation. Perhaps in a future post you can mention the ways in which they manipulate people and how to counter or avoid their techniques ?

 
At 8:39 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

I can give some examples. But there's no way to counter it. You just have to know that this is what's going on in their heads the whole time they are interacting with you. It's never real. You never really connect with a person doing that.

Like the old Q&A: "How do you know So-and-So is lying? His lips are moving." Same here: if the lips are moving (or even if they're not), by his words and actions he's manipulating you for whatever reaction he wants. You can't get him to cut it out and listen for a minute even if the sky is falling and both your lives depend on working together.

I just pay attention to whatever I'm being tempted or pressured to do and do something else instead.

The only way to avoid it is to avoid the narc.

 
At 10:04 AM, Blogger Stephanie said...

The trick for me is to see it coming ... know what I mean? For me, to "avoid" is to anticipate, but I have to do it without assuming that everyone's narcissistic until proven normal. Being always on watch makes me into a crazy person who's paying too much attention to sickness.

See, what I finally figured out is that there are degrees of this behavior, and that nobody's not on the litmus paper. Humans all behave in self-interested ways. It's healthy if it's on the one end of the spectrum. As it creeps across it becomes more malignant to the bystanders ... and ultimately it becomes completely consuming full blown Narcissism. (And I think it might be near impossible to go backwards on the spectrum after a certain point.)

I think one reason the target (targets aren't necessarily victims) of a Narcissist can so easily slip into feeling "guilty" about the whole relationship is because we're all on the spectrum. The N says, "see? you're one too" -- and we admit that it's true -- so we feel guilty.

But that's like saying, "see? You're hitting the ball too," and calling that the same thing as a ball hit out of bounds.

For me, refusing the thinking and accusations and over-identification with a Narcissist is a willingness to say, "out" if it's out. I'm still in the game. I'm not going to flinch at well-hit balls because you're not taking the game away from me. But I'm going to say "out" when it's out.

And the flash of pure malice that flashes when someone is willing to say "out" is the tell I look for. Normal people might flush or look embarrassed or laugh a little or look annoyed ... but that flash of malice that shows and then gets instantly covered up again - that's the tell. If I see that, I won't play with that person again. No second chances on that one.

 
At 10:17 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

That was an absolutely wonderful,insightful, concise and informative post!! AMEN!

This is how we get sucked in by NOT KNOWING that it's ALL a manipulation to begin with and when we suspect part of it is or might be we start to try and get clarity with them. NO!

You have to get your head around the bald FACT that you have never communicated in any way with a narcissist. The real self is not there. Every single thing they say and do is for the EFFECT it will have so they can get the reaction they want.

Do you know I once jokingly sent the ex N a photograph of a girl that looked similar to me an JOKINGLY said "Here I am!" or something. She was much prettier than I am and it was a JOKE that any other person would've seen straight away. I think I might have even said "I WISH!" or something similar to that.

MIND YOU he had seen me many times before and in ALL seriousness he thought it actually was me! I was stunned!! Back then I had no idea how that could happen. I was miffed that he didn't seem to know the difference. I had to get clarification. It was one of those shocking moments where they do something that just floors you to the point you don't know quite what to say or do.

It's very scary looking back and figuring all this out. You very literally ARE interchangeable. It was as if I had changed my outfit but, nothing else was different. This man had known me about a year already. But see it's nothing to do with you or me. You are not real to them but, rather you are playing a CHARACTER they are doing a dance with.

When you know all this about the manipulations, the act, and the way they are always ON that way you can see how trying to have any discussion with them is simply nonsensical. They won't remember what you said later. They will simply make an attempt to get the situation right where they want it every time. It's exhausting for a normal person to interact with them because we are speaking English or some other HUMANE language and they are constructing a manipulation.

It's posts like this one that make oh so very clear exactly how sick they are. *shudder* this is really interesting and enlightening too. It sure makes if VERY clear that the best thing to do for yourself is stay AWAY from these people.

 
At 2:31 PM, Blogger groupThink said...

Great observations everyone, very helpful to me and many others I'm sure. Dealing with these fools definitely helps me appreciate the real people in my life.

 
At 2:46 PM, Anonymous Marisol said...

Kathy, you wrote: I studied etymology, and what I learned from the archaic root meanings of words convinced me that the mythology of darkness and magic gradually evolved from a lexicon of language struggling to deal with this seemingly magical power some people have.

I would love to hear more about this. Or is this in the book? (My goal was to read it on my PDA, but my PDA has a weird OS and no reader came with it. I finally found a reader that would work, but I haven't quite got it running smoothly yet.)

What were some of the root meanings of words that suggested to you that the mythology of darkness and magic "evolved from a lexicon of language struggling to deal with this seemingly magical power some people have"? By the way, what kind of things do you mean by the "mythology of darkness"? I like etymology too, and word history. I used to like sitting around and reading the Compact OED for entertainment until something happened to mine.

 
At 4:03 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Marisol, Most of it came from the back of the American Heritage Dictionary. I have a little Latin and a Latin dictionary in which I'd compare the Latin roots of words on the subject. At the time I was doing research on the Inquisition, reading documents and comparing the Latin, Old English and Old French transcripts. It's amazing what comes through. And you'd be surprised what you can find in an old Catholic missal. I studied Shakespeare as well, and he was one of those authors who always used words in a sense very close to the original meaning of their Latin roots. So the explanations of his language provide a wealth of further clues.

You know..."evil spirit" = ill wind = bad breath = breath of the voice, as in "the spirit in which things are said."

Then there's mideval art like some sculptures on the facade of the Cathedral of Notre Dame in Paris. The Devil with a long, long, long, long, snakelike you-know-what. Guess what he's raping? People's heads. It shows him sticking it in their ears. You know the saying, "what's gotten into him or her" - that could be it.

Like Shakepeare's favorite murder weapon of poison dropped in the ears while the victim is asleep.

It's all there. Even in the Bible. You'd be surprised what comes of comparing translations there too.

It seems to me that over time people just started somehow taking it all literally.

The formulas. Magic formulas. Every kind of prayer has a formula. There's a formula for a prayer of thanksgiving and one for a prayer of praise, and so forth. The fomula specifies what KIND of thing you say first, then next, then next, and so on. Magic formulas for use on God?

Well I have seen narcs use formulas too. They work the same way. To push a certain button, the narcissist always says a certain kind of thing or reacts to a certain kind of thing in a certain way. The first time I noticed this a narc had reacted in a peculiar way to something I said that took me aback. Then I saw him react to someone else with the same type of reaction to the same type of thing. I heard the echo and searched for a common denominator, because his reactions weren't what one would expect and one wouldn't expect the same reaction in both cases. I realized that he always reacted that way to a certain of thing you say - just to shock and intimidate people. The old temper tantrum is another example of a formula: the moment you depart from their script - BOOM - temper tantrum time. It's how they manipulate. They play off what you do or say with reactions specified to their magic formulas to manipulate people with, formulas they have learned by trial-and-error over time.

I know a narcissist who bitterly accuses her best friend of "being one of those people who tries to get into your head." Projection. Narcs try to get into your head. They want to possess you, control you. You are just an object for them to amuse themselves with.

 
At 4:05 PM, Blogger FIGHTER2 said...

You don't even need to be face to face with many of them:

LURES OF THE ONLINE PREDATOR

 
At 7:11 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fighter2, I met the N online and no you don't have to be face to face. This is someone that a ton of my other friends had known for over three years and who they vouched for without question too. These are not stupid people. And I did check him out. He had them all bedazzled.

 
At 2:39 PM, Anonymous Marisol said...

Kathy,
I love those connections you made. I wish there were enough people who liked those things for you to have a whole second blog about that :) Not that you'd have the time. I wonder if any of our etymology safaris dovetailed anywhere. I got all excited at one point about (my memory of these safaris is not really clear, but it was something like this) the history of the word hypocrisy. Somewhere around--early 17th century maybe?--it picked up an additional sense. Reading the quotes on the changing usage in the OED was what interested me. Then I chased down some other words...I remember reading about 'self-deception,' the date of its first use, the quotes, and some of the explanations of the 'self-' combinations and their history (self-sufficient, self-interested), and the order that the various 'self-' combinations were first used. Somehow, next thing I knew, I was reading old Renaissance texts and trying to figure out what was going on behind the scenes when alchemy and science were doing their little dance. (Can't quite remember what the connection was, there.) I was comparing Bibles too at some point, but I got excited by an annotated Puritan one. I was interested in 'self-deception,' and in something--I just remember my shorthand for it was 'the power'--I don't recall exactly what that was, I think it was in the ballpark of mindreading and something not known with the traditional senses. References to this, tracing back sources on it. And somehow I thought it connected with this 'self-deception' history. Anyway, that was fun, I just wish I remember what kind of question I was chasing. Whatever it was, I didn't find it, I got interrupted and lost my train of thought.

I really like your ideas about formulas. I'm completely uninformed about praying. Where can I read about the formulas for praying?

I have yet to dig into Shakespeare very much. I did go through Spenser, The Faerie Queene pretty closely. I can see what you're saying from there on some of what you mentioned! I forgot all my Latin, darn it. I like what you say about the sculpture too! It reminds me of something I was poring over at some point. Unfortunately my memory of that is even dimmer than of the etymology safaris but it was something like this: In an old English law book or a book about old English law, there was something (this was possibly related to an old case about sleepwalking--someone killed someone 'while sleepwalking' and maybe someone was trying a sort of 'devil made me do it' or 'something got into me' defense) about how the devil got into a person's head and what powers he did and didn't have. I think it went that: The devil can't read your thoughts (only
God can know your thoughts) so the devil only can know what you're thinking if you speak aloud. And then (here my memory is even dimmer) I think it might have said that the devil had strategies therefore to get people to give away their thoughts. Like--there was something about dreams--I might be getting some of this mixed up with Milton, Eve and the snake, which your sculpture/tail was also reminding me of--but it might have been that the devil tries to implant dreams or whisper in your ear to prompt dreams and then listen when you talk in your sleep? Yeah, some of this has got to be that Milton scene in my head but there was something in that law book too. It was interesting, anyway, and these old laws were taking this stuff seriously too, if I remember correctly. I have the notes in storage somewhere.

Trying to think of your n connections here--Maybe the devil can't read people's thoughts because the n's don't have empathy? If people were trying to figure out how to cope with n's, I'm sure they were thrilled when they discovered there was something n's 'couldn't' do, maybe they tried to make the most of it! :) Makes sense that n's would have to get around that problem by tricking people into 'telling' their thoughts or otherwise getting them out there to an area where the n can see them. Interesting about the narc you know who hates people trying to 'get into your head.' My n parents sure tried to 'get into my head,' with all their attempts to control my unconscious and make me cough up whatever was going on in my subconscious, lol. But they had no empathy whatsoever. Besides, I think my subconscious got a whiff of their creepiness and just hid deeper, and just left a sort of 'fake' subconscious visible to placate the murderous little trolls. (I hope that didn't make me fake and n-like though.) Anyway...I wonder if your n friend is jealous of people who can 'get into other people's heads'? An n can try to compensate for that missing sense or missing ability, by using the ways you describe in your book, by watching that 'feedback loop' (I'm loving the book, by the way) but I'm intrigued by the old law book's focus on what the devil COULDN'T do.

The sad thing is, I bet I can't do it either. But at least I'm trying to get it. I hope I have some humanity and am not totally narcissistic, coming from that n family. Eek, though, because I remember an old boyfriend asking me 'How do you always know what people are thinking so well?' and me saying honestly (the way I always answer stuff because I was raised not to keep stuff from my parents), 'I don't. I just watch how they react and after a while I can put it together.' Sigh! Hopefully that was just a self defense thing I learned from the n parents. I'm not good at manipulating or defending against manipulating, anyway. Hopefully that's a good sign, and doesn't just mean I'm an n with a birth defect, some kind of tone deafness that prevents me from being a successful n. By the way, do you think there's a relationship between the autistic spectrum, like Asperger's, and narcissism? I don't remember hearing one way or the other.

...Ow...it hurts to type long comments while my back is healing. Which I know a blessing in not very deep disguise for you, considering how long a couple of my comments have been anyway. Anyway, I'm glad you got me remembering those etymology safaris and ideas though. I'll have to dig out my notes and see if any of them might shed light on n's. By the way, I'm sure I was interested in self-deception because I wanted to know if either of my n parents was coldly, knowingly doing some of this stuff they did, or if they were unaware of it in some guilt-mitigating way. But the more I dug up on self-d, the more it seemed fake and like a scam, like the kind of knot you leave a loophole in so you can pull it out anytime with a little jerk. I started to get the idea that at least with some people, if you just looked at them squarely and said 'Oh, quit it. I can see you know what you're doing,' their very light trance of self-deception would fly off, since they were only using it to hide stuff from YOU, anyway.

I suppose I was hoping to uncover some universal truths about how Freud was a big troublemaker, since my parents used his name to n-abuse, but I was really just trying to understand n's. Hey, are you looking to publish your book with one of the big presses also, or do you want to keep it as an e-book only? It's really good. It's generous of you to reach out, to make that much of an effort to communicate this. Especially since no one else could do it if they wanted to. Is it tiring?

 
At 4:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"By the way, do you think there's a relationship between the autistic spectrum, like Asperger's, and narcissism? I don't remember hearing one way or the other."

Merisol, I know you are asking this of Kathy but, I am going to tell you what I think since my son has NLD which is very nearly identical to Aspergers. The only differences being that kids with NLD have problems with visual spatial tasks that Aspergers kids dont' seem to have AND that kids with NLD do not seem to do the repetitive behaviors . Their lack of ability to read others facial expressions, and to read ANY non verbal ques or language at all is exactly the same.

In fact remediation for both disorders is grouped together and is also exactly the same. So here is my take on this.

I have lived for the last seventeen years with an autism spectrum disordrer AND I have been involved with a narcissist who is on the far end of that scale to say the least.

NO. I know this theory has been bandied about. But I do not believe narcissists are like people who have an autism disorder or that the two disorders are really that similar at ALL. Especially NOT Aspergers and NLD!

People with Aspergers and NLD cannot read non verbal language and therefore they are missing up to 65 percent of all communication going on around them. They are often very gullible and very, very often misunderstood. They are at extremely high risk for depression and other anxiety disorders from having been so misunderstood precisely because they ARE very capable of understanding others emotions and having empathy for them.Many are OVERLY sensitive about misunderstanding and being misunderstood. My son in fact seems overly preoccupied with others feelings even though he cannot always interpret what they are correctly. He is almost TOO concerned.

They cannot communicate this in a timely or appropriate way many times. If someone is very literal with them and explains what they MEAN in WORDS they DO emotionally "get it" In fact they will feel WORSE because they didn't "get it" to begin with, and will realize they sounded insensitive, and are horribly HARD on themselves! They are perfectionists in expecting themselves to be GOOD and RIGHT about how they do things. They are acutely aware that they are always getting it "wrong" and they are often misjudged. It's very hard on them. They get so overwrought about this that they are at a much higher risk of depressive disorders and suicide simply because they are often treated AS IF they don't care when nothing is further from the truth to paraphrase one expert on these two disorders, Sue Thompson.

UNLIKE a narcissist who does not have any ability to empathsize at all. I believe they have trained themselves and have chosen NOT to have empathy. They fully aware of what they are doing. They actually desire to suck the life out of you. It's really very different but, on the surface it can SEEM as if someone with aspergers is crass and uncaring because they are missing so many cuses of facial expression, tone of voice and body language. For instance, if I say to you "NICE GOING!" I might mean it sarcastically, or be paying you a compliment. A person with Aspergers doesn't know the difference and has no way to know it. They very likely will respond with a remark that makes perfect sense to THEM but, which sounds disrespectful or rude. They have NO IDEA what was meant unless it is explicitly spelled out.

Here is another example. In grade two we were having a school gardening day with my sons class. The teacher asks him "B. would you like to plant your flowers now?" To which he repied in all sincerity "No, not really." It sounded rude! BUT she quickly caught what had happened and said "But would you be willing to anyway?" so that things were rephrased to make more sense to him. He replied "Ok, yes!"

NLD and Aspergers are dysfunctions of misunderstanding communication. Not having a lack of feelings or empathy for others.

It's a right brained dysfunction. They get totally misunderstood so much they are often bullied. This causes them no end of angst. They want to please others and keenly feel this lack of ability to do so.

A narcissist doesn't care one way or the other if you are pleased or happy with them unless it's for some personal gain of theirs.

There has been some research that says both a lack of empathy and a lack of ability to read non verbal language might come from the same dysfunction of the brain but, a lot of that hasn't been any where near proven out yet I have seen this brought up a few times. From my perspective it really doesn't make sense.I think it was SamV. where i first saw it suggested and I think I almost laughed at the idea having a better idea of the two disorders.

And btw. The n is not my sons dad so there is no connection with that in case anyone would assume so.

A narcissist I do believe KNOWS they are doing wrong and does not care at all. It's a CHOICE they make. I believe their lack of empathy is CULTIVATED ON PURPOSE over a long period of time. Do they have perhaps a predisposition through environment or birth to behave this way? Probably there is truth in that. BUT brain changes CAN and DO happen based on nothing more than repeated behavior. In other words just because something can be imaged with MRI does not mean it was always there! It has been proven that when someone creates certain states of mind or does something over and over that will show up on MRI and that you can similarly CHANGE it by modifying the behavior and thoughts! In the case of narcissists, I do not think their disorder of moral character is related to autism disorders.

It's only on the very surface that the two might LOOK similar but, the way individuals function who have these disorders is totally different.

One actually FEELS things as acutely as you or I once they UNDERSTAND the language presented to them so they "get it" You MUST spell out everything with WORDS to them so they can process the information for understanding. THAT is Aspergers and NLD.

The other, it doesn't matter HOW you explain or tell them anything they use all information to exploit. It's been described as a moral disorder for very good reason. It simply IS that.

I for one really hate to see researchers going down that road because I firmly believe they are going to find NO CONNECTION between those two disorders and interestingly enough most of the experts on NLD and Aspergers who work with these kids and adults directly and have a good WORKING KNOWLEDGE Of them would never engage in such folly.

 
At 8:30 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Anonymous at 4:24, thank you for that comment. You know much more about it than I.

This came up once before. I myself had noticed the superficial similarity in how narcissists and people with autism seem to miss (filter out) a lot of information, remaining in their own little world. Truly, when you realize how much a narcissist doesn't hear or see (one cannot recognize his own adult daughter on the street, another cannot ever learn her students' names, yet another cannot focus on what you're saying enough to know whether you want him to bring home red wine or white) - when you realize this, you naturally think of autism.

But at that time another poster commented, revealing the great difference in attitude between people with autism and malignant narcissists. The difference is as night and day. You can bring up those posts by searching this blog for "autism".

Therefore, I wholeheartedly agree with you. The superficial similarity means nothing. Narcissism and autism are not at all the same. Frankly, I find it hard to believe to researchers don't respect that vast difference. (They don't respect the vast difference between nonmalignant [acquired situational] narcissism and malignant narcisism either.) They are sometimes reckless with their hypotheses in pursuit of press and grant money for research to nowhere.

Narcissists empathize only when it suits their purpose. That is, they empathize only when calculating how manipulate people. As the narcissist Bill Tilden wrote (ostensibly about psychological warfare tactics in tennis), you have to imagine the same thing being done to you and study how it would make you feel. That's the only time narcissists and psychopaths empathize = in calculating how to psychologically hurt others. They prove that by maximizing the hurt = sadism.

 
At 11:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy, thank you. I feel those who would go down that road of seeking a similarity are just misunderstanding these OVERLY perfectionist and responsible kids and adults yet AGAIN. It's more of the same and more of what they don't need!

Also, it might be an opening for narcissists to use, to claim they are damaged in some way they are not. I would not like to see them getting in line to exploit this too.

Those with Aspergers and NLD deserve far better. I had to wonder the first time this was brought up to me what the motive was. Sorry but, I know quite a bit about Aspergers and NLD being head of a organization that advocates for these kids I've had to do my homework over the last fifteen years and believe me, there is just NO comparison. The downfall of most kids with NLD and Aspergers IS precisely being mistaken for not caring when they are so overly sensitive it causes depression, panic disorder and OCD in them. My own kid is on meds for these issues for JUST the reason of having been so OVERLY concerned and misunderstood. And there are others I have seen this happen to. The homework is there, we KNOW why they are at high risk for these co morbid diagnosis.


Narcissists, are what they are but, it certainly is NOT anything but, a disorder of character.

This disturbs me because the people I've known in life who had the MOST admirable character were those with Aspergers and NLD. And those who had the LEAST were narcissists.

Aspergers, and NLD are a dysfunction of the RIGHT brain, while the LEFT brain function is usually a strength for them. My son's I.Q. is 140 but, he cannot show what he knows or communicate it very well except verbally, literally. He appears disinterested when people try to communicate emotion only to him. He just can't process it in his brain till someone literally spells it out. That's ALL there is to it. It's not motivated by bad intent. These people are VERY emotional and overly concerned with how you feel, and how they come across. They are constantly berated, apologizing, and feeling horrid that they missed all the information and got in "trouble" yet again.

Narcissists will eat you alive on purpose and could care less! I have been shocked that research of the two disorders being connected was even undertaken to begin with! If a little digging and research before the research had been done the funds for such things would not have been wasted.

The world is an extremely confusing and scary place to navigate every day when you are missing 65 percent of all communication around you. Add to that, you cannot visually spatially navigate your environment well. AND you have a left brained strength that is very comfortable for you. YOU will retreat into your own interests. It's safe there. You are not misunderstood thinking about your own "subjects" and hard FACTS. You "get it" This makes these people APPEAR all the more self absorbed and disinterested. It's not disinterest so much as it is a survival, a way to be in the world that isn't so confusing. So blaming and where they know they will not fail repeatedly as they do when they try to be "social"

Narcissists learn to navigate the world to exploit others for their own gain. They protect an image, a persona. They destroy purposely if that's what it takes. There is NO emotion about the victim. They HAVE victims. That alone is a HUGE difference. A red flag of sorts that there IS no connection.

I will look up that other post and thanks for pointing it out to me!

 
At 2:48 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

I'm so glad the anonymous poster clarified so much for us. Kathy, you are building a strong fellowship with all the knowledgeable people here, not only about narcissism but abuse and now the wonderful person with the autism perspective too. Well done.

My N partner has several nieces and nephews and 2 nephews from different families (one the son of his younger sister, the other a son of his younger brother) have recently been diagnosed with Aspergers. This sends my narc off in a tail spin trying to prove that his 'anti-social' behaviours or problems are now firmly planted in the Aspergers field.

Sometimes I wish bleedin' researchers would 'prove' their claims before making their research public as the last things that kin of narcs need is yet another avenue the narc can go down to explain away his despicable behaviour. NOt to mention insulting those people with Aspergers!

Thank you for more great informative stuff....keep it coming.

 
At 1:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely amazing. I am just figuring out that I have been married to an N for 19 years. No, I'm not an idiot. He was/is disabled. On alot of pain meds. In a haze. I've read most of what is on this site. I had another word for it, but, the correct one would be narcissist. We are divorcing. How in the H--- do I combat one of these in court? You know what he's doing. The lies, the pity, manipulation, deceit, demonizing me. The one who took care of him and 4 children. He is no longer disabled by the way. Amazing. Any suggestions?

 
At 2:42 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Get yourself a very, very good lawyer and stay away from him as much as possible.

The xN has everyone around him totally convinced that it's me who is a horrible person trying to "ruin" his life. Whose life is ruined here?? Amazing indeed, the bystanders will even in the face of FACTS believe their bullshit. And because we are so hurt and trying to have a side at ALL we come off as over wrought and they look down their noses in pity at us WITH the new bystanders.

It's a real mess. It's the most unjust situation on god's earth.

I'm the one broke because of him, I'm the one in emotional turmoil and physically ill and yet HE is believed. His life is better. Not worse. They get around facts by telling half truths and playing PITIFUL!!

I tell you I am glad I did not marry mine. Five years of that mind twisting was more, than enough. I don't know how you did it!! I literally would not BE HERE if I'd stayed any longer at all.

I'm glad to know you are getting out. I would ONLY have contact through the lawyer. Document EVERYTHING. Every conversation, every time he contacts you because they will pull ANYTHING to try and make themselves look innocent and harm you. Be safe!!

I wish I'd kept a journal and records of things at the end.

Does your lawyer know what he is like? Get recommendations maybe through a women's shelter. Lawyers who have worked for women in abusive situations in the past will be more familiar with their tactics. Good luck.

 
At 3:57 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am married to one for 28 years now. I never knew it or rather what "it" was until I had a great therapist recently who shed light on the whole thing for me. To say its devastating, wouldn't even begin to cover it as those who have been through it, know. For the first 10 years of marriage, we both worked and had careers, I just thought he was emotionally unavailable. When we had children, he's been a great dad, provider, etc., except for the lack of feelings, complete absence of empathy, etc. Now, I am in an empty nest and been trying to get through one day at a time, wondering why sometimes. I am stuck with him in a cabin in the woods of maine....he has not worked for 3 years now and has total control of everything--money, been living off our retirement savings while he strives to start yet "another" company. When he works, he is a great provider, and with that, it was easier for me to make up the lack of emotional connection with my kids, friends, reading, shopping to fill in the spaces. In the empty nest situation and rapidly running out of money fast, not even know where the accounts are, or whats left in them, its unreal. I feel like I'm living in a bad dream. Do you know also that many people that live with narcissists are diagnosed with PTSD? Yes, I was. I've been on depression meds for so many years now, and really believed him that it was "all me". Now, thanks to a great therapist, I know better. I cannot tell you how much your book and website help me too. Except I feel I am at the bottom of the well and I cant even see the light anymore. Tomorrow, I am going to start working at a local part-time minimum wage job, just to get some $$ and get the hell away from him to try and maintain some semblance of sanity. I can't leave. I have nowhere to go, and no money to get there. How the ???? do you get a lawyer who KNOWS what this does to you and really can see "their" manipulation tactics. Due to $$ I had to stop therapy now. I am so greatful to have found your site as well.

I haven't figured out how to deal with his "crazymaking" yet, but I do realize the more time away the better....

Thank you so much for all of your incredible information here. I am so grateful.

 
At 8:30 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I cant believe how cunning these people are. I actually had a friendship with a person who I thought was my best friend and she was the nicest person (I thought) ever! I actually grew feelings for her and she manipulated me in so many ways that my husband and I almost split up! Now that I am away fro her I can see clearly and I still cant believe the power she held over me. I was not myself, I have never felt such a force towards someone that anything they said had an effect on me. I still cant help but wonder if she felt anything for me because she sure acted like I was her soulmate and someone really important to her. She told me countless lies (I have no proof but I just know) about her illnesses and her mother getting skin cancer near the end of our friendship, it was like she needed to try keep me in her web as she felt me breaking away from it. I cant believe how bad she affected me and I was not myself anymore. Could you please post on something to do with how these freaks can turn you away from your family? I thank God and my therapist for making me see she had NPD and my husband for standing by me and seeing through this whole charade and loving me no matter what. She has truly hurt me. Thanks alot, I love reading your posts.

 

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