Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Keep the Examples Coming

Just a reminder that everyday examples of narcissistic behavior are more than welcome in the comments. These examples "illustrate" what's going on in your relationship with a narcissist better than any amount of verbiage can. So, don't hesitate to offer your example, even if it would seem to be an exception to some rule of thumb or to contradict others' observations.

Usually that just serves as a reminder not to get intellectually lazy and start to think that a narcissist is just "somebody who does this or that." We see this in the difference between the narcissist who ignores his child and the one who dotes on that child 24-7 or the difference between the one who refuses to get her child medical medical care and the one who makes that child sick and takes him or her to doctors constantly. Different tactics to the same narcissistic end.

Often commentors say, "Your N does that too?" in utter amazement. Then they give their own example of a narcissist pulling the same stunt. As a result, we are all constantly amazed at how alike and predictable malignant narcissists are.

You learn a little and find out that you aren't the only one this happens to, that you aren't the only one with someone in your life who says and does such bizarre and unbelievable things. The anecdotal information you give adds to the body of knowledge about Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

The naivete of the average person makes us assume that we are dealing with merely scarred people of goodwill and thereby makes us dead meat for these predators. That has got to change.

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At 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: "you aren't the only one with someone in your life who says and does such bizarre and unbelievable things. "

The ironic thing is that the N I know believes that he is so "special", so different - he thinks he is truly unique - "THE" ONE AND ONLY one in this world who thinks and behaves the way he does.

And he got me believing that too at first - not having met a N before in my life...now I am finding out that he behaves just like all the other Ns - even says EXACTLY the same things. One of the things he likes to say is something to the effect of : 'I don't go by anyone else's rules, I make my own rules'- anyone else knows a N who likes to say that ?

Now I go online to read about the Ns and I can pretty well predict what my N will do next. I last wrote him something that he didn't like to hear about himself - ie, I told him one small truth about him - and yes, its D & D time (devalue and discard). Haven't heard from him in weeks now, after he supposedly said he 'loves' me - so predictable...

At 5:57 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

"The ironic thing is that the N I know believes that he is so "special", so different - he thinks he is truly unique - "THE" ONE AND ONLY one in this world who thinks and behaves the way he does."

Yes! isn't that a hoot? I bet they think nobody else is smart enough to be like them, and the truth is that people like that are a dime-a-dozen. Anybody would be that good at the games they play if he or she played them all the time from childhood on. By simple trial-and-error they eventually learn what works to get them what they want. So it ain't rocket science.

And, as you say, they are not at all unique.

At 6:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, Kathy, it IS a hoot - their lives are one big joke on themselves and they don't even see it -

You know what I said to the N that made him go away this time ? all I said was 3 words : "you are so common !"... lol - that did it !

The day I can start laughing about the N behaviour is the day that I can start seeing N for who he really is - You're right, it IS a HOOT - the more I say this, the better it feels !!!! We just can't keep letting the Ns hurt our feelings...

At 6:50 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And re: "the truth is that people like that are a dime-a-dozen."

Yes, I am finding that out too - the statistics in the medical journals can't be right - it must be higher than the reported 2 or 3 % of the population, or whatever the figure was. My guess is most walk amongst us undiagnosed - as it is part of their disorder that they do not think there is anything wrong with them. The N I know is exactly like that - 'why would I need to go see a psychiatrist or psychologist ' he said, ' there's nothing wrong with me." Then he added with an evil smirk on his face, half jeering at me ' why would I need any doctor when I have someone like you in my life' - oh, he hated me, now I know that - and he hates women - he has such contempt for women - all women are just sexual objects to him.

At 7:49 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm curious to see if anyone else has dealt with N's who I call, "all style and no substance".Example: They will bring a giant stuffed animal or some other outrageous gift to a kids Birthday but never even call or come over to play with the child all year.But if there's going to be an audience, well they make sure that they make themselves look grand, don't they? This is how depraved they are that they would try to turn a child's birthday party into a chance to be on stage. Most of their actions are just empty gestures to make themselves look good.

At 8:10 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

Oh yes. In fact here's an unusual example. Lee Harvey Oswald was supposed to be a Marxist, right? He defected to the Soviet Union, and Soviet authorities got his number, so they didn't use him and just sent him to stay out of trouble in Minsk. His friends there were interviewed about him around 1990. They said he had a big bookshelf full of books on Marxism and socialism and communism but that it gradually became evident that he had never read them and knew nothing in them. He avoided the subject - which is very strange for a Marxist, who will talk your head off about Marxist philosphy. When asked, he couldn't even compare the system here in the US to their own and always avoided the subject. He was a perfect example of zero substance. I think he called himself a Marxist just to get attention.

Narcissists in general are all show. There's another example here of how a narcissist exploited her mother's illness to put on a phony show.

At 10:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Absolutely devastating Kathy, (the link to "Case study in dissimulation").
I can identify with so much of what's in the story. The phony airs put on in public and the snarling, scowling, angry sc*mbag behind closed doors. This is when the real person comes out. The false self is quickly put in a box like a Halloween costume, only to be taken out again for the right audience.

At 11:31 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I don't know about you, but after having seen so much of this stuff with my own eyes, and having heard it from others in accounts that no one could possibly invent - and then to hear the academic authorities on NPD be so OBLIVIOUS to the diabolical nature of such conduct, so OBLIVIOUS to the malevolance in it ... to hear them keep confusing this manifest malignance with mere arrogance and portraying the malignant narcissist as an innocent suffering victim who doesn't mean to hurt others ... well, let's just say that I get pretty disgusted with how little the so-called "authorities" really know about what they are talking about.

Malignant narcissists probably are not responsible for their temptations (predatory urges), but they do know what they're doing, they know it's wrong, they CAN control themselves, and they are NOT people of goodwill.

And the lying about that should stop. It's indefensible, because that's what suckers their victims into getting (or staying) too close to these predators.

At 4:18 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re Anonymous 6:50pm, Yes, my N spouse sounds just like your N (my condolences). I too have realized how much he hates women and despises them, especially me. He takes great delight in humiliating me, in every way possible. Now, he has left, but still works madly to manipulate. He also was "perfect" while I had all the "problems" (like wanting a real relationship with communication, not being a puppet stuck on a spike in the corner). And for Abel, I have seen the displays of nobility for attention too, even at wakes. He competed for being the most sympathetic, using it as an excuse to control and berate me (e.g., he snaps, then says it is because he is upset for the bereaved, repeat). It was confusing at the time - now I see what he was doing. "jewel"

At 5:38 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Kathy,
Don't know if this site has been mentioned before but it has tons of quotes:

At 10:48 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"'I don't go by anyone else's rules, I make my own rules'- anyone else knows a N who likes to say that ?"

Ns aren't the only ones who say that. People in the Schizo spectrum tend to have the same mindset. The difference is that the Schizo/Schizotypes don't need others for an ego boost, so they're not as predatory, if they are at all.

But, it's not uncommon for "Otherkin/Otakukin/Furries/Certain Fandom members to claim that they are "special" and "unique" when it's often more of the same thing, just not as common as a Casanova type. They may not have NPD, but a warped kind of Narcissism plays a HUGE hand in it.

"I last wrote him something that he didn't like to hear about himself - ie, I told him one small truth about him - and yes, its D & D time (devalue and discard). Haven't heard from him in weeks now, after he supposedly said he 'loves' me - so predictable..."

WOW! Awesome, and yes, quite predictable. That's one way to get rid of a suspected N. Plus, his behavior is an obvious red flag anyway.

At 2:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The N I know believes he is "special" too, but even worse is that his family all suffer a similar megalomania.

Theirs is geared to making the N a complete Cult of Personality. The dynamics are difficult to sort out. Did he demand this behavior from them over time, or did they independently become members of his sick entourage?

At 3:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy, I have only read and heard about the so-called experts on NPD.They obviously are clueless when it comes to this syndrome.(if that's an appropriate term) A common thread running through most of these posts is that the N knows when to turn it on(their viciousness) and turn it off. They are well aware of right and wrong and throttle it accordingly. For anyone to suggest they are poor sorry souls who can't help themselves is doing a diservice all who don't know any better.
P.S. I got a kick out of the L.H. Oswald 'books to impress' story because I have one of my own. A mutual aquaintance of my N brother and I gave me a paperback book to give to him. "He told me that he loves to read" this person told me. I laughed to myself and forwarded the book to my N. Two weeks later I asked him how was the book? He replied, "oh, very good, very interesting. Now it was time to have some fun. I asked him,"so what's it about"? The look of dread on his face was priceless.
"Well I haven't finished it yet" and he reached for his cellphone looking at the screen as if someone was calling him. Mercifully, I left it at that.

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Writer in Washington said...

Hi, Kathy:

Have you found that children often become N's by choosing that parent over the non-N parent? We had that happen with two of my husband's three children. They all lived with us when we first married but the oldest (his daughter) started e-mailing his family, friends and even my family and trying to portray herself as Cinderella. She made up all sorts of things about my daughter, like she was trying to supplant her in her own family. (Worked to a degree). Finally, my husband had enough and told her she had three months to straighten up. She chose to move in with her mother and that is when things got 100x worse.

She went to work on both of her brothers, along with Mom, to manipulate them into moving in with Mom. She was financed by Mom's parents who bought her a brand new car, paid much of her tuition to college, gave her a "private" bank account. This was given added impetus by my husband's niece who is a professional victim. She had lived with my husband for a while and had undue influence with his kids.

Then his youngest son was coerced into moving in with Mom so she could sue us for child support. Of course, she never contributed one cent to us while they all lived with us. Anyway, long story short, the middle son absolutely refused to play Mom's game which he's had to pay for in many ways, but the youngest one did. Our middle son isn't close to them because he joined the military right away and got away from her. That distance helped him to sort out a lot of the garbage and to realize how twisted his Mom and her household really are.

We paid support for the youngest boy until he graduated from HS. He was getting "A's" when he lived with us but graduated this past spring with barely a "C". The sad thing is he is now "religious" and he had told outrageous lies about his Dad (who is a former pastor), our daughter (my husband adopted my child) and me. He sent his Dad an e-mail at Christmas the year he went to live with his mom telling him that he never wanted to see him again. Apparently, his mother is the only one who really loved him. The truth is, he stole some of my wedding photos, put Nair in my daughter's shampoo, acted out in other ways against our daughter and has said and done so many other horrible things that he is not welcome in our home or lives.

So--we've cut off contact with him and his older sister. We send them an e-card at Christmas but otherwise, we've learned to live without them.

The former wife has tried in every way to become me. She had her hair cut like mine was when we were married, every time she sees us anywhere she goes out and tries to have her hair done exactly like mine, had her mother try to prevent our marriage, has lied viciously about us to everyone she can, married a poor loser who was nearly 50 and had never been married before (you guessed it, He's Momma's little boy), has now gotten religion and the story goes on and on.

We've become almost socially isolated because of all this, we don't trust anyone because they've managed to subvert so many of our former friends and even some family. Any advice? BTW, we've been married almost 8 years. She got married again (after she was dumped by her live-in) almost 7 years ago.

At 3:27 PM, Blogger Writer in Washington said...

Sorry for so long a post.

At 3:58 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Been away for a while and see much clear and interesting post is added.
I like to add another example which I think can show another part of NPD-behaviour that is underestimated maybe.
It's about how dangereous it can be if you realy start asking questions and confront them with their behaviour; with who they realy are.
They may fight this off by all 'legal' means available and they can be very creative in this.
No trick and lie are too low not to use.
It can get you in serious problems I found out..

After my ex-N stopped our relation with an e-mail on my mothers funeral I was in shock.
I couldn't underdstand and wanted anwsers. A natural reaction I suppose. She wouldn't give any and the more pain I showed in this asking to help me understand the more vicious she got. She then even started threatening me with violence. It was so weird and painfull..realy unbelieveble that this was the same person I was with for two years.
Suddenly she would call me or send me an e-mail or sms with fage messages asif she wanted to talk and restore some of the harm done. But when I hopefully reacted on these the same shit started again.
Meanwhile she kept showing up in the places she knew I hang out. Just to get reactions and see my pain I felt.
I decided this had to stop and I first asked her politely to stop this. She just laughed and continued even crueler.
I started to confront her and we had some fearce e-mail and sms-contact that time. I never threatened her I have to say for what is coming later.
All I wanted to achieve is not to see her anymore for a long time at least and tell her in the process what I thought of her now.
It was a mental fight not knowing that I dealt with a narcissist. She couldn't let herself lose I know now and used every trick and lie possible to fight me off. And I thought I had won..She didn't show up anymore and it became quiet on the front. I also decided to delete all our E-mail and sms which turned out to be a stupid thing to do (so, be warned..)

Suddenly 5 months later I got a phonecall by the police. I was lying in bed recovering from a car accident already for 3 months..
She had made an official statement of me stalking and threatening her.
I was asked to come over and explaine myself.
I told the officer about the car accident and that it would be difficult to come over. Explaining her that it was ridiculous and asking her were her statement was based on. She could only show me at the office she told me.
So, with my healing broken bones I went there. Not knowing what to expect.
There the officer showed me a compilation of printed e-mails and sms-messages and let me read it. It was unbelieveble. She all saved them and had used parts of messages, left the context out, mixed some up and the result was a kind of -if you wanted to read that- threatening tone.
I explained this and told my story, also that I deleted all my E-mail and sms with her, so I could not proof it was all fake and a setup.
Happely she agreed that there was nowhere a real threat in them and she was affected by the story I told, what all had happened and how she behaved.
She showed a lot of understanding and it ended with the officer confronting my ex with my story and asking her to stop this and show more understanding for me.
It was a terrible event after all she allready did to me but now I knew for certain how sick she was and how dangerous.
I was lucky to deal with this officer also. It easely could have turned out different I know now.

If you want to fight them you have to think like them and if you are not like them this is a dangerous game cause they use means and methods you cann't. Hearing the truth is the most treathening of all to them and will set them in a fighting-mode that never stops unless you stop every contact.
And even then you have to be carefull as you can see in my case.


n.b. Kathy, I cann't obtain your book via internet cause I donn't have a creditcard. Is it possible to send you or the publisher money and send it to me by post?

At 4:32 PM, Blogger Writer in Washington said...


One comment on the e-mails used against you. When my husband's ex-wife sued us in court for child support she used "altered" e-mails as part of her evidence that WE were dysfunctional. Fortunately, we had kept all of her e-mail communications and were able to correct this to a degree. What we couldn't show was that we had call block put on our phone because she phoned us at home over 75x in a two-week period. My husband lost his job at a car dealership because of her incessant phone calls to him at work. Of course, she denied this in court and said it was because of an accident he'd had. That accident had occurred before they were even divorced but was her way of rewriting history. Yeah, they are very good at doing stuff like that.

At 5:46 PM, Blogger So, what IS in a heart? said...

If someone breaks up with you for no reason, it's generally best to stay silent, avoid all contact, and vary your routine, so it's harder for them to get to you. Put it this way, normal people will give reasons without you asking. A future abuser won't. So, you have to do it early. Sort of like the key to cancer: Early detection.

Beyond that, avoid all contact, lay low and remain detached should you encounter them. Also, seek help early on, so you get through it better and in case something happens. Like should they decide to stalk you. Not likely since they dropped YOU, but you never know.

Easier said than done, but like I said, when someone "drops" you for no reason or does it viciously, then you're dealing with someone who wasn't worthwhile anyway.

At 6:54 PM, Blogger Kathy said...


Email me (through my profile on the main page) for details. Not for the print edition, but the downloadable PDF ebook can be paid for in any you want through Share-It. It is printible and at high resolution, so you can print it yourself or have a print shop do it.

At 11:06 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


You are not familiar witj me but what you write, my kids,my husband and bible are the very things that have helped me through the ordeal of the last year.

I am a 30 year old neuroscientist , medical student admother of twins, been married to a nice, simple man for the past 10 years.

My husband had a couple of students he taught English to and one of them hit on me consistently. He was a victim of divorce and looked broken and in need of love and care.He encouraged me to get a divorce if I am not happy.I did not know I was unhappy till he pointed it out to me.

He hit on me on numerous ocassions he found out the smallest detalis about me and my life with my husband.

He would complete my sentences and fell for him hard,never loved like that before.

I asked him if he wanted a relationship with me and he told me yes. IWe kissed I gave him a hand job,after which seconds later he proceeded to tell me that this meant nothing. I told him this wasnt nothing and I had just cheated on my husband ...it was not nothing. Immediately after,he told him that divorce would ruin my life, and ruined his too.He would not let me touch him after the fact.
I finally for the first time realized who he was in the dark, a scared monster paranoid, that did not hold his end of the deal.I avoided him for 4 months did not see him,he waited for me till 10 oclock one night and we talked...I thought maybe he made a mistake.He told me we would be together but I did not love him or respect him enough.After that he completely dissapered...4 weeks later he was holding hands with a girl on the streets.

I confessed to my husband that I fell for him, kicked him out of our lives and have been no contact since May.

I believe this was Satans game on my marriage...and I deeply repent my adultery, I was however so decieved...unbelievable...when you have time respond.

At 3:17 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

"Have you found that children often become N's by choosing that parent over the non-N parent?"

I have always wondered about this, but I haven't seen enough to make me sure. In the families I know of, most of the children did not become narcissists.

But what you say is quite possible. People see what succeeds and copy it. Or at least get on the winning side. We see an example of this with jihad. The more successful the jihadists seem, the greater their numbers become. You destroy them by making it absolutely clear to their potentional adherants that your side WILL win.

I have often wondered if the narcissist didn't become one simply by choosing to emulate the narcissistic parent. After all, that parent dominated. That parent was the glorifieded one, the one who didn't have to live up standards, who had a carte blanche to do anything he or she felt like doing with the blame always going to the victim.

The twisted thinking then is just the fruit of psychological defense mechanisms to deal with the shame and guilt of all the cruel and mean things they've done. A vicious cycle of bad behavior.

At 3:35 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

"I believe this was Satans game on my marriage...and I deeply repent my adultery, I was however so decieved...unbelievable...when you have time respond."

Though I don't literally share your religious beliefs, that seems an apt way to describe what this N was up to.

My guess is that he envied your husband. Teaching him English put your husband in a superior position with respect to the learner N. And no N is going to let that "attack" (on his delusions of grandeur) go unpunished. If this is correct, you may have meant nothing to him = he just wanted to take away what your husband had because he doesn't have it.

That's what the DSM means when it says that a narcissist "exploits" people. He just used you. So cruelly. With zero empathy. Human beings are nothing but tools to narcissists, objects for them to exploit with nothing but anti-regard for the pain and suffering they cause. They have no more concern for what they do to a human being than you have for a bug you stepped on and half squished.

To show his utter disregard for your feelings, he wins you, then rejects you - what a narcissistic high. I can hear him thumping his chest and giving a Tarzan yell now.

His spying into the details of your life is common. Ns do this to discover information that they can use against you or to con you.

Be fair with yourself. Do remember that Ns have practiced conning people since childhood. That is essentially all they are ever doing in interarctions with others. So they get very good at it. They routinely fool professionals and law enforcement too.

At 9:16 PM, Blogger So, what IS in a heart? said...

"Or at least get on the winning side."

Kind of like Peter Pettigrew from Harry Potter. I always believed that he only went with what he thought would "win".

"A vicious cycle of bad behavior."

Yup, but isn't it true that people are becoming more and more aware of it? Thanks to sites like this one? And because of it, people are more able to recognize the signs, always choose to have a spine/savvy, and then BAIL. And sadly(or maybe not), the abuser won't understand why people are bailing faster than they did years ago when people didn't necessarily know better.

At 2:54 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Yes. And for those who say how awful it is that narcissists are finding themselves abandonned and shunned, I say "That is the best thing that could happen to them." They do everything for results, period. And when they don't get the results they want, they change strategy. Shunning (and other forms of punishing consequences) are the only thing that can make them even consider changing.

Simple lesson: if you behave like a predator, others will shun you, so get control of yourself, or else.

In a way, this is analagous to what often happens to a non-malignant narcissist. Something happens to explode his delusions of grandeur and bring him crashing back down to earth. Painful, but the best thing that could have happened to him.

At 12:55 PM, Blogger So, what IS in a heart? said...

"Simple lesson: if you behave like a predator, others will shun you, so get control of yourself, or else."

Unless, they're psychopaths, in which case, all bets are off. IMO, psychopaths would be the exception to many things. Yikes.

'Yes. And for those who say how awful it is that narcissists are finding themselves abandonned and shunned, I say "That is the best thing that could happen to them." "

True. It actually feeds the sickness by sticking around.


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