Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Welcome to the Narcissist's World - Part 3

Welcome yet again to the narcissist's world - the wonderland Alice found herself in when she fell down a rabbit hole on a psychedelic trip. This is the third and last post in a series that gives a simple example of the games narcissists play.

Part 1
Part 2

Our hypothetical malignant narcissist is a woman named Jean. Jean exploits her interactions with a friend solely for attention. That is, she milks all the attention she can get during her phone chats with you, trying to deny you any of her attention in return. In other words, she's gotta have it all. And you are nothing but source for this tick to tap for it.

She uses you as a mirror to admire her reflection in. She views these interactions with you – these phone conversations – as nothing but material for the work of fiction about her life that her whole life amounts to an act of composing.

Now, in Part 3 here, let's consider how these chats themselves become part of the story.

My experience, and what I've heard from others about their narcissists, makes me think that narcissists try to conceal from you what they are making out of these chats. But sooner or later, their delusion will leak through in something they say. For example, though she always calls you, she may talk as though you are the one calling her and warn you that she will be too busy for you tommorrow morning, so please don't try to call her then.

When Jean does let something bizarre like this slip, giving you evidence that she is halucinating, you will be shocked. You will have to pinch yourself. You will surely wonder which of you is crazy. For, you will discover that in the Jean's version of these chats, YOU are the one calling HER all the time, SHE is the one who can't get a word in edgewise, and YOU are the one who "needs someone to talk to."

How magnanimous of her to "be there for you."

See how that is just more of the same old same old? She is thus using these chats themselves as material in which to carve out a false image of herself - to fight off self-awareness of her own neediness. In other words, she's projecting her neediness off onto you and misappropriating to herself your gracious tolerance of her four-hour-long readings of My Life by Jean.

Even if she hasn't yet let the fiction going on in her head slip to you, you can check it out. Investigate. Find out from others what Jean says to them about her "relationship" with you. You'll discover that your phone chats with her are part of the work of fiction Jean composes as My Life by editing reality on the fly. In her story, you will be a rather pathetic character, a mere caricature of yourself, some poor wretch "who needs someone to talk to" that Jean so graciously listens to for hours on end.

Jean doesn't care what she does to your good name in falsifying hers. What's it to her?

The consequences to you are no consideration in her conduct, because she thinks that's what other people are there for – for her to use as one would use a mere object, like a tick uses a deer, a bee uses a flower, a wolf uses a sheep, a human uses livestock.

She can do that because she doesn't identify with human beings. She is a god who doesn't view us inferior beings as of her kind. How could she? She doesn't view herself as human. She doesn't identify with her true self. She identifies with a fictional character instead. A mere figment of the imagination, a mere reflection in the mirrors of people's faces. She desperately fights off any awareness of her true self and any empathy for you.

To pretend that you are the one who "needs someone to talk to," Jean game-plays to manipulate you into calling her. If necessary, she will initiate contact, showering attentions and flattery on you. But when she succeeds in getting you to call her regularly, she will suddenly stop calling you. The next thing you know, you sense the game-playing. She is denying you even the tiny bit of ego gratification that would come from HER ever condescending to call YOU.

Nonetheless, when you call her, you don't even get out your first sentence to state the reason for your call before she butts in and, assuming that it was just to hear all about her, Jean launches into the latest four-hour-long installment of My Life by Jean.

Jean is not your friend. Friendly relationships are mutual in that both parties to the relationship benefit. Your relationship isn't even commensal, in which the freeloader benefits but the host is unharmed. It is a wholly parasitic relationship, in which the parasite benefits at the host's expense.

That is why contact with narcissists (after they're done cultivating you as a source of narcissistic supply) makes you feel bad. You get no gratification, no gratification at all, ever, because a narcissist has gotta have it all and will compete to the death with you for every last drop of it.

And you can talk to them till you're blue in the face: they will NEVER give in and cut it out. Why? Because imagine what having to do that would do to their precious delusions. It would be an unbearably humiliating come-down for such gods as these. They'd rather die. Because narcissists are mental three-year-olds, thoroughly spoiled ones who will just "block the kick" by throwing a temper tantrum at you to have their way.

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At 7:52 PM, Blogger Holy Water Salt said...

Mine called me all the time and STILL said I was their charity....

The lies they told about me, they were awful.

I hope to get past these feelings, but identifying their disorder and behaviors helps so much.

I don't feel like dirt- though I admit I still hurt and wonder why someone would treat anyone like that- I mean just ignore me, don't try and convince me I am insane and pathetic.

That's the key I didn't get why they called, visited.. when they acted like they detested me. I think they got-off on torture.

I think it's that simple. They even chuckled, laughed when I was at a loss to why they were saying such cruel things.

At 8:31 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

I've seen that too. I know what you mean. For what it's worth, I think they rev up their engines into sadistic gear as a way of fighting off the truth when their abuse escalates to extremes simply because the victim takes it and keeps trying to appeal to the N's (dead) heart.

At 1:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

An article by a neurologist on self-deception that might be of interest to you. http://psych.utoronto.ca/users/peterson/psy430s2001/Ramachandran%20VS%20Evolution%20of%20self-deception%20Med%20Hypoth%201996.pdf

At 9:57 AM, Anonymous Troubled Family said...

I want to thank you for all the information you offer. I've been browsing your site and blog for a few days now. I found you by doing a search on Narcissists and Borderlines. I (and other family members) are quite sure that our brother is one or the other, possibly both. What exactly would the difference be? He seems to fit every single criteria of each.

I just read all three parts of "Welcome to the Narcissists World". I can see all of this in his behavior. He is almost 40 and continually leeches off of our parents... living with them, not working, they pay all his bills, etc. What amazes and angers me most is that he truly believes he's doing THEM a favor. To hear him talk about them they are nothing more than ignorant invalids who would be nothing without him. He TELLS us (his siblings) this. How he thinks we would ever believe his lies is the most confusing part of it. We see and talk with our parents all the time, we know they're fine and supporting him, not the other way around. And God forbid you call him out. The second you tell him he's wrong he EXPLODES and you suddenly become his biggest enemy.

For years I would just nod and say "uh-huh" to everything he'd say simply to avoid his violent temper, until last year. I simply couldn't take it anymore and called him out on one of his lies. During his outburst he screamed that he'd never wanted to talk, see or ever think of me again. I'd heard this from him multiple times throughout our lives and quite frankly had had enough. I did exactly what he demanded. It's been a year now since we've spoken and it's been one of the most peaceful, drama free years of my life.

He has a wicked temper, is quick to temper, always HAS to be better than everyone (no matter what you've done, he's done it better), lies CONSTANTLY, blames everyone for everything ("It's YOUR fault" is his favorite phrase), can be charming to those who don't know him well, has never known any boundaries of any kind, molested me as a child and had raped his own daughter (only served a year and a half in prison for it), physically and verbally abusive to women and children, acts as if the world owes him something, feels the world is out to get him, demands attention at family events and will throw a temper tantrum and leave if he doesn't get it, calls himself a Christian yet in the same sentence will tell you he's not afraid of God because he is his equal, will tell you how much he hates you then act hurt if he's not invited over, projects his problems on others (always accuses other people of being liars or sociopaths), has never been accountable for any of his actions, has never apologized for any of his actions (except for the blanket "I sorry IF I did something wrong"), has no emapathy or compassion for others, etc. I could go on for hours about his issues.

My problem however is that the rest of my family must (or chooses to) still deal with him, and my poor parents who should be retired are still supporting him. His mother (my step-mother) is his enabler and it's obvious to most that they are co-dependant, so convincing her to stop making excuses for him and cut the cord will sadly never happen. He will turn 40 soon and we're hoping that what we've read is true about hitting the middle age and mellowing out a bit, but I've noticed his behavior getting worse over the years.... more delusional and more violent. Any suggestions?

At 1:06 PM, Anonymous holy water salt said...

He raped his daughter - and they support him?

I think it's time to rething what family means to you.

I have felons in my family, unrepetentant, I said goodbye and never looked back.

Why not bond with his daughter and be done with those who support him?

I know they are your parents, but they are harboring a monster and expecting you to deal with it.

Kathy I know they asked you- I guess I am just full of advice.

I understand if you don't post this.

At 5:09 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

By all means - that's fine with me. I'm no authority, and I don't always have time to reply right away.

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

Is there a chance of helping a N to change ? and if so, how ? can you elaborate on your earlier blog dealing with punishment/redemption and give me some examples ?

The N I know is a somatic N who uses sex to get his daily fix. He is extremely & shockingly promiscuous and has no morals, values or boundaries to speak of. He is extreme in his sexual tastes and is a sadist in the bedroom, as far as I know, he is getting worse.

I had broken up with him. He is in contact with me again, professing 'love' for me, all the while going online several times a day to get his sexual fix.

His emails to me are carefully worded, and he is trying to project this image of a remorseful lonely person , and he will prove to me that I am wrong about him - ie, that he will change. Ofcourse I know better what he is really up to everyday.

He is a widower and he seems genuinely lost still from having lost his wife (even though he cheated on her when she was alive). He seems occasionally to be sincere when he says he feels ashamed or embarrassed by his past behaviour with her.

I am just wondering - is there a way to help this N ? to modify his behaviour - or is it a lost cause ???? Please respond - I would appreciate it.

At 11:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I once dated a guy who invited me over just so he could ignore me. Unbelievable!

This was only the third date and the next time he saw me, he acted confused when I told him without any small talk that I no longer wanted to date him. I refused to spend any time debating him over the subject, nor justifying myself. Before I closed my door, I told him never to call me, nor visit me again. He then flipped it over and called out to me that I wasn't to call him, nor visit him. I replied, "oh, you won't have to worry about that," as my door slammed.


At 6:48 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

"Is there a chance of helping a N to change?"

I don't think so.

But remember that I am no authority. And even if I were, that wouldn't make me infallible. This is just the voice of experience talking. That plus reading on the subject (which isn't exhaustive) and comparing notes with others who have had long experience with narcissists is what my opinion is based on.

How much weight that gives my opionion is for you to judge, and for your own sake, you should try to judge it as objectively as possible.

I must be honest though in saying that I believe Ns are a lost cause, because I know that my own refusal to face that fact caused me a world of harm and grief. I don't want to encourage others down that destructive, dead-end path, so I don't say what everyone would dearly love to believe - instead I say what I really think.

That said, I suppose that everyone must come to this conclusion on their own. But, for what it's worth, this is my experience.

I really tried to get through to two narcissists. I stubbornly kept trying in the face of increasingly violent blowback. When I campare the experience to that of being down the rabbit hole, I'm not kidding. It's like you are trying to embrace them with your love in hopes that this will win them from the demon inside, but, before your incredulous eyes, they react as though to an ATTACK. Before you know it they are swinging at you with all their might as though that, by trying to reach them with the supposedly powerful things called "love" and "reason," you are trying to kill them!

I guess you are. You are trying to kill the demon inside, the false self, the thing that ate the real person and took over his or her house long ago.

The harder you try, the stronger their psychological defenses get. In other words, everything backfires.

In one case, it was inconceivable that I couldn't get through to an N, because he was being preyed upon by another N, and I was the only person on the planet in a position to protect him. Result? It was just CRAZY!!! That pervert fled from the arms of his savior right into the maw of Jaws.

Time to get out of that rabbit hole before it drove ME crazy. All my efforts bore fruit ONLY in more harm to ME. I didn't start to know happiness again until I wrote these perverts out of my life. They were like a disease infecting it.

Afterwards, I could see why all efforts are doomed to failure. The only thing that motivates an N is getting what he wants. And what he wants you can't offer. (Unless you think you'd look good hanging on a cross for those buzzards.) Love? He fears it as though it were Godzilla. The same with reason. He is what he is because he rejects love and reason as threatening to his delusions. How can he dare to love people he just wants to eat? He would starve if he let himself feel anything for them. How can he stop being anti-rational? Reason would destroy the house of cards that is his crazy mixed-up mind. He'd rather die.

I do hold out some hope that a simple program of positive and negative reinforcement might help break the vicious cycle, especially with young narcissists. But this is the kind of thing that must be done by professionals during a during a long period of in-patient treatment in prison or a psych ward. (I have heard of something like it being used on young people with eating disorders.) Family members the N has any leverage over can't do it. They don't even dare to just stop enabling the N, because if they do, he will throw a never-ending fit. It's either enable the big brat to treat you like you're nothing or fight with him all the time and put up with his temper tantrums over your refusal to give him what he wants.

I know what I know. And what I know has convinced me of this. So, that's my opinion, for what it's worth.

At 7:32 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

I see that I neglected one thing. I don't find it unusual that a narcissist revisits old sources of narcissistic supply and cultivates them by trying to get them to believe that he is sincere, that he has changed or is willing to change.

I fell for that about 99 times.

Remember that you are dealing with a pathological liar, someone whose interactions with others are always 100% manipulative. A con artist.

See "The essense of Narcissism" on the main site. They are never expressing themselves to you: they are always just posing before a mirror, saying what they say FOR EFFECT to get the reflection from you that they want.

What does truth matter to such a person? If they want a smile, they say whatever they think it will take to get one.

I know one narcissist who just cannot face the fact that I stopped falling for her "changed" act years ago. She still periodically approaches as though I'm so stupid I'll never catch on.

When they are alone and in need of mirrors, they tend to revisit old sources of narcissistic supply, trying to sucker us into thinking that it really will be different this time.

But in my experience, it never is.

And since Ns make-believe their own lies, they can seem genuine. For the moment. Their cognitive flexibility means that they know they are just conning you one minute and unknow that the next. So, the question of their sincerity is meaningless. Appearances mean nothing about narcissists.

Only their TRACK RECORD can be trusted. Judge by their TRACK RECORD, their TRACK RECORD, their TRACK RECORD of ACTUAL CONDUCT, not their put-on faces and phony words. Judge by nothing but their CONDUCT in the dark. Does it add up to any reason to trust this person?

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

Hi TroubledFamily,

I think that conventional wisdom about narcissists mellowing at middle age is incorrect. I've seen the opposite and in the extreme. I also note that Joaanna Ashumun says likewise on her site - that they get worse with age.

So, it can go either way. Why?

Age isn't the determining factor, obviously. What does happen is that narcissists behave better or worse depending on the CIRCUMSTANCES, which change over time.

That hypothesis DOES hold up in all cases that I know of.

And it is one reason why I am convinced that the only rein on their behavior is what they think they can get away with.

For example, this is why many have observed that narcissists go wild and get shockingly more abusive after the death of a parent who exerted some inhibiting control over them. Also, the more they get away with, the headier they get, and the further they push the envelope.

This leads us to ask how bad any narcissit would be if he became President for Life like Saddam Hussein? Give any malignant narcissist that much power and I think he or she would get just as bad.

Yes, I could be wrong. But i didn't adopt this opinion because it's the one I preferred or because it's politically correct: I came to it by focussing relentlessy on observable FACTS. I suggest that everyone judge that way.

So, it doesn't look like they become more or less sick in the head: it's that circumstances change, enabling them less or more.

This is why I suspect that the "severity of NPD" is a misnomer, and that a person either is, or is not, a malignant narcissist.

How dangerous he is depends on what he can get away with - today. And that may change tommorrow.

Often middle age does come with reins. As a narcissit loses personal good looks and the advantages of youth, he or she may have to pull in their horns a bit at middle age. But again, age isn't the cause of that - the freedom to trample others without adverse consequences is what has changed.

What happens when one or both your parents die? Are they exerting an inhibiting influence on him now? If so, what happens when their power over him is gone?

I wish I had advice for you. But to be perfectly honest, the first thing I thought was, "Oh-oh, if they don't want to hand over their inheretance to this parasite, they should get a lawyer now and start documenting things." Like, the ways he has been coming between you and your parents, turning them against you, making them afraid of you, because if you wish to fight back, you may have to contest the will.

If he is a malignant narcissist, he is someone who twists EVERYTHING. In that case, he almost certainly has convinced himself that their property, like everything, all belongs to him and that the rest of you are undeserving. He almost certainly views YOU as the one with their eye on stuff that rightfully belongs to someone else = poor, little innocent him who deserves it all because he did your parents such a favor by sucking them for 40 years.

But you may prefer to just walk away and let the brat have what he's grasping at. I wish I had more helpful advice to give, but I just don't.

At 9:09 AM, Anonymous troubled family said...

Thanks so much for your quick replies. I can't tell you what it means to me to find others that UNDERSTAND. I've been grinning like a Cheshire Cat since I found this Blog.

Holy Water said "He raped his daughter - and they support him?" That is EXACTLY what I've been trying to figure out. And I have no real answer as to why. I know my brother plays our Mom like a fiddle and I can only imagine what he says to her. Our father simply goes along with whatever Mom tells him too. I do know that "something" happened between my brother and mother prior to her marrying my father (in 1980, I was eight when they married and the brother I speak of was 12 at the time). Nobody knows what happened or what he has to hold over her. Whatever it was has her riddled with guilt. Not that that is an excuse, but it's a reason I suppose. Or perhaps it's just that she feels responsible for the monster she's created. She is the on who has never made him stand accountable for any of his actions..... like I said before, she is his enabler. But I think they are co-dependent. She NEEDS him to NEED her.

My niece (his daughter) and I are very close. I have been there for her in every way I can since that horrible event took place. At the time this happened she was 13, she's now 22. It goes without saying that she is still dealing with it.

They are my parents, and yes I love them very much. I feel like they too are his victims which is why I can't bring myself to abandon them no matter how wrong I feel they are. And you're absolutely correct in saying that we (my siblings, their wives, and myself) are just expected to deal with it.

~sigh~ I suppose that's what I'm seeking..... advice on what it is that I can do, or rather shouldn't do. Or, as I'm quickly finding out, if there is actually anything that can be done.

I love my family very much, and I just want my parents to be happy. It kills them that we all don't just get along. What a mess huh? I'm also a practicing Christian and just can't seem to let go of the idea that he could change somehow, someday. So I guess my heart is longing for one thing while my logic is telling me the complete opposite. It's just so hard to let it go. When he was in prison our family was sooooo wonderful. It was exactly what we'd all always dreamed of. We all spent every Sunday together with our parents and children. Once he was released from prison it all just fell apart again.

Just so you know..... I am very guarded with my children. They are not to be anywhere near him for I fear everything he says and does. Plus I don't want my children to EVER think they could trust him. So my children rarely see their grandparents anymore because their uncle is ALWAYS around. It just breaks my heart.

Kathy, excellent advice! His track record and current ACTIONS instead of his words are exactly what I've focused on the last few years. I think that is the reason I was able to cut myself and children out of the situation without much guilt. He would always swear he'd changed, "I've given my life to God" he would say. LOL! His actions tell a very different story, but he knows that as Christians the rest of us feel obligated to forgive him and try again. It's a never ending cycle.

So how do I get through to my parents? I've broken the cycle he and I had, I am no longer one he feeds off of, but I don't like the idea of leaving my parents to fend for themselves. UGH! HELP!

At 9:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Kathy,
Re: can you change a N ?

You are a godsend. Thank you for your insightful comments and wisdom.
Well, his track record is that he is a pathological liar and a sadist who would stop at nothing to hurt and humiliate women - to this day, I still don't really know what the truth was/is. So no, there is no reason to trust him at all.
But why do we become attached to the Ns ? I don't know if other people go through this - but after having no contact for a year and now hearing from him again, I return to being almost obsessed wtih him. Checking my emails, waiting to see if he would call etc. Its really quite demeaning and awful. An otherwise highly educated and intelligent woman , with lots of love to give and empathy for others...and here I am, thinking about this lost cause, still...sigh...
I wrote him a letter asking him to list for me his values and asking him to think about how his wife must have felt all those years, with him cheating on her everyday etc. Well, I got no reply and I don't expect I will again. I believe he is discarding me once again. And he claims he 'loves' me,...what possible 'effect' is he looking for purporting to 'love' me ? I guess just hoping to get some supply.
It still hurts, after all this time and to have him resurrect this pain again and then disappear on me.
I really need to knock it into my head and heart that this is a lost cause - why does it take so long for our heart and emotions to catch up with what we know to be true in our heads ?
I can't thank you enough, for your comments and for your site - I will keep reading your posts, always. Thank you for sharing and helping...

At 9:54 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

And also, Re: "He is what he is because he rejects love and reason as threatening to his delusions."

That explains why what I have been trying to do to help him fails always. I express unconditional love and kindness, and yet he seems wounded my loving and endearing words. He recently wrote back saying there was no reason for me to be so condescending and humiliate him like that. Kathy, I just said loving words to him !

And , I've been trying to reason with him..trying to help him see why his behaviour is depriving him of the very thing that he truly needs etc etc. Its no use, you are right - he argued and argued, and twisted things around, he got all agitated...then now the latest from him is that I am 'irrational'.
Yes, its a lost cause...

At 10:03 AM, Anonymous troubled family said...

WOW Kathy! You hit the nail dead square on the head!!!!!!

He DOES think he owns all that belongs to our parents. He has made the comment "I'm going to be rich someday, Mom and Dad won't live forever". AND he's accused ME of wanting him out of their will, which has NEVER been said. My brother has also made the comment multiple times that our parents home is HIS house. How did you know all that??? That's amazing. I suppose that leaves little doubt that we are in fact dealing with a malignant narcissist huh?

I hate to say this, but I think when our parents to go to meet our maker he may actually get better, not worse. They (or rather his mother with my father in tow)enable him 100%. Hand him money hand over fist, make excuses for his behavior, ALLOW him to leech off of them, never hold him accountable for his actions. I don't even want to think about how much of a war we'll be facing over their will.

So what do you think will happen when our parents leave this world? Will he suddenly HAVE to get better with his biggest enabler gone or will he just SNAP? I have to be honest..... While I've no qualms about protecting myself and children by any means I must, and my husband would never let him attack us, I do fear his violent side.

At 10:08 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

First, a caveat: You can lead a horse to water but not make him drink. I have seen the non-narcissistic parent refuse to face facts about husband and daughter, becoming her daughter's victim in the end. At times, however, she did show signs of guilt, signs of knowing how the other daughter was being plundered by this parasite who never left the nest. For example, she tried to leave some money to the other. But you can just imagine how living with 2 narcissists - in denial - affected her own mental health. You couldn't tell that woman ANYTHING she didn't want to know. ANYTHING.

Nonetheless, if your parents are not narcissists, getting through to them is worth a try. Especially your father.

But if you just have a talk with him in which you try to convince him, he is more likely to deny the truth and withdraw from you. That would play right into the narcissist's hands.

So, the first thing I'd do is try the "other" approach - try to get your father to reveal his thoughts about all this to you. He may be more aware than you think. He may just need to feel it is safe to get some things off his chest to you.

That would break the ice and open an honest dialog.

He needs your stepmother. He doesn't want to lose his happy home. That's what's motivating him, so keep that in mind and see if there's anything you can do to change the situation so that he gets the courage to incur his wife's wrath if necessary.

Sometimes a whole family can do an "intervention" to get through to a family member, but I don't know if that's feasible in cases like this. The rest of the family often doesn't want to know the truth either. There is no motivation making it necessary for them to.

Others may have more suggestions.

At 10:30 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

"How did you know all that???"

Well, let's just say that it isn't because I have ESP ;-)

At 10:49 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

"I really need to knock it into my head and heart that this is a lost cause - why does it take so long for our heart and emotions to catch up with what we know to be true in our heads?"

Join the club of people asking ourselves this question.

I think one big reason is the confusion of identities in a narcissist. We love (or at least once loved) an illusion. We identify with the vestige of a human being inside, not the monster that ate him or her and now inhabits the house. Our own goodwill betrays us, therefore, making us loathe to give up. Having been a lifeguard, the analogy is the same as when you have blown a rescue and now are faced with a terrible choice: let him go? You must...but you can't...but you must...but you can't.

It's just because you are basically a decent person.

I think another big reason isn't so admirable, though it is quite understandable. It's because admitting the truth forces us to face the fact that we were played for a fool and mean nothing to the narcissist and never did. That is a degrading value judgement on us, one our ego naturally rebels against because it naturally avoids pain. In other words, giving up on the narcissist is admitting something that deeply wounds us. It is humiliating. We each need to feel important to someone. It hurts bad to admit that you were nothing but a bug that narcissist casually stepped on in passing - after you loved him or her so much.

I found that the pain of admitting this was tolerable. It is better than the alternative. And I think that the victims of narcissists should see that their difficulty in letting go is nothing to be ashamed of. It is no pathology in them. It in no way justifies how the narcissist exploits it. Yes, we do have to eventually wise up and stop, but there is no reason to feel guilty about having a heart.

At 12:13 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi. I'm a member of "Troubled Family" by marriage. I can say without hesitation that many of us would LOVE an intervention, siblings and mates included. The fact is that we are terrified- as Troubled family mentioned- that his mother would not respond, choose him over everyone else and the parents would be left totally defenseless against him. The mother has consistently taken great pains to speak on his behalf every time he has been confronted by one of his siblings. She has excused his behavior and has accused the rest of us including myself, of purposely instigating him. I personally am beyond tired of walking on eggshells at family events. We do see the truth and it is ugly.

So, you can see, that an intervention would be wonderful, in theory. If the mother can't or won't bring herself to reality, what else can we do? As they
( mother and son) see it we all have the problem not him. If assaulting his own child didn't open her eyes, would anything?

At 2:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re: "giving up on the narcissist is admitting something that deeply wounds us. It is humiliating. We each need to feel important to someone. It hurts bad to admit that you were nothing but a bug that narcissist casually stepped on in passing - after you loved him or her so much.:

Kathy, you are incredibly insightful and you hit bulls eye here...I have to tell you, your words sent chills down my back, because they hit home - they are so true to what is happening inside me. After I read your response, I almost feel a sense of release, my shoulders relaxed (finally) and I took a deep breath.

All week I've been wondering what it is that I am really clinging onto - now I know - I have been clinging onto self-preservation...a need to protect myself from the humiliation of admitting that I am nothing to the N. I want to remain in the delusion that I mean something to him. And yet, to keep trying to protect myself by deluding myself further will only serve to extend the pain. To continue to be his narcissistic supply will cause me more humiliation. In other words, the only way to get out of this humiliation is to disengage myself from the N, totally and completely - there is to be no hope whatsoever of ever changing him - I have to give up all hope in order to be free from this pain.

And thank you so much for saying 'there is no reason to feel guilty for having a heart'. Somedays its more than guilt, I think I feel shame....

Now, I suspect the next step is to have the courage to keep our hearts open, remain vulnerable to our emotions and not be hardened by our experience with the inhuman cold-heartedness of Ns.

At 4:20 PM, Blogger So, what IS in a heart? said...

To troubled family,

Yikes! That is scary. If you're parents can't seem to admit that there's a problem, then I don't think there's much of anything you can do. Sad, I know.

This is one of the reasons why "over 30 and still living at home" tends to be a huge red flag to many people.

What worries is that when they die, he might get worse. If he "gets it all", he might not be content to have just that. A lot of Malignant N's tend to leave people in the "backburner" and aren't always content with leaving family members and ex's alone. This is especially true with those who lack the confidence to get new "sources of supply".

"While I've no qualms about protecting myself and children by any means I must, and my husband would never let him attack us, I do fear his violent side."

I can see why. I wish there were easy answers to this, but there's not. Personally, I'd like to say that all you can do is stay away. If the parents can't/won't do anything, then there's not a whole lot you can do.

As for the will, what about talking to an estate lawyer about it?

At 5:18 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The hurting is hugh. But once you overcome that, without losing that very good heart of yourselves, you will come to termes with yourselves and this N.

That means be very much aware of what Kathy said, and I agree totally.. an N. never, never, ever changes.... So one can only set very strict bounderies, for oneself and therefore the N. Never, ever become weak in that. If one is in a splitt second, the next damage will be done by an N. Don't give him/her the space to enter in your life ever again. Because in the end you are paying an even higher bill....

The way I, in the meantime, deal with my children and their N. dad, is not to tell them about what he is etc. I did that at start, but they went into deniel and defence for their dad, although he hurts them, time after time...

Nowadays, if they tell me something, (and I here the N. talking) what they think about someone or something. I ask them very simpel what experience with this or that make them say this? I leave the question in their minds. They need to get awareness of their OWN feelings etc. The one(s) who will be like their dad, will not pick it up. The one(s) (and hopefully non of them are, but...) who are non-N. will in the end rewind themselves over the years. So I mirror them. Never saying a single negatif word about N.-dad, in fact I avoid talking about him, or call his name at all. So far it's progressing and working.

If one of them try to rage (learned or within themselves?) I cut it off, inmediately telling them that I don't want to be spoken at me, not in this tone, nor in such a way. I will hang up the phone, walk out the room, or change subject and talk to someone else if possible. I never get angry anymore!!! This... so far works better.

Everyone around an N. needs to get awareness of the own judgement on things. I think that in the end, is the strongest defense-chain one can built around an N. and minimize the impact on all...

May-be anyone else has other ideas?


At 10:19 AM, Anonymous troubled family said...

I want to give a big "Thank You" to everyone who took their to offer us advice. I passed this blog onto some of my family (I noticed one of my sis-in-laws already posted :0).

We are just full of questions having just made this "discovery". I suppose you could say we just always thought he was nothing more than spoiled brat and a world class a$$. LOL!

I'm making this blog a daily read, and thank you so much Kathy for shedding light on this whole mess.

I'm still not sure what I need to do exactly, I do know my decision to walk away from my brother was the right thing to do, but I still want that relationship with my parents more than anything. So far it's been working out well.... example; yesterday evening I was able to spend some time with my parents and other siblings without the "N" being present. I simply called ahead to make sure the "coast was clear". It was so enjoyable. :)

I could really care less about wills or what belongs to whom. I've honestly never really cared much about that..... I just want to have a relationship with my parents without having to have one with the "N". I have three other brothers who won't let the "N" get away with too much. Perhaps after they read up on all of this and discover that we have few options on how to deal with the "N" things will get healthier for our family. Finger crossed, prayers being said!

Thanks again everyone.... you've no idea how much this helps to get this out to people who "get it".

~ jen

At 12:58 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"why does it take so long for our heart and emotions to catch up with what we know to be true in our heads ?"

Because it is "unbelievable".....

One can't "believe" a person can "truly" be like that.

At 1:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"I think another big reason isn't so admirable, though it is quite understandable. It's because admitting the truth forces us to face the fact that we were played for a fool and mean nothing to the narcissist and never did. That is a degrading value judgement on us, one our ego naturally rebels against because it naturally avoids pain. In other words, giving up on the narcissist is admitting something that deeply wounds us. It is humiliating. We each need to feel important to someone. It hurts bad to admit that you were nothing but a bug that narcissist casually stepped on in passing - after you loved him or her so much."

I read somewhere that Ns look for "Supply" in the "Supermodel etc" (symbolically speaking) or "Admirer" league.... As one is a mirror, and they want the best supply for themselves, one can atleast see that one has something they don't have, something good or admirable or envy-inducing etc, so I don't think one is "just a bug" to them, they are a bug to themselves and jealous of what they have to.... steal.... from us. They hate to have to steal it, it humiliates them, and so they have to humiliate us too to makebelieve we are not worthy and it is their "right" to "have" it.....

Sad, especially when you like the person underneath all the bullshit.
The soft person they reject.

At 7:44 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"Sad, especially when you like the person underneath all the bullshit.
The soft person they reject."

I, too, see the 'soft' person underneath and like it...the N I know seems to me to be so damaged inside, so vulnerable sometimes...

but... I am beginning to wonder if that is the N's true self or not. I am beginning to wonder if we perhaps fell for the false person they pretended to be, ie. was it all just an act afterall????

The true self of an N - is it empty and hollow ? they don't seem to have any awareness of it being empty - they are convinced of their own grandeur and superior qualities.

At 8:33 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

I think that if you have known a narcissists for a very long time (like since childhood) you may have had glimpses of the real person inside. In the narcissist I knew this long that real person is inaccessible though, but a vestage of person. As for the other personas, it can be enlightening to see the person the N becomes to other people in other places. Like check out who he is in church vs in a bar, at work vs at home, during the honeymoon vs after it is over. Eye-opening. And seeing is believing.

At 6:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

kathy, you spoke about the fact that when parents are dying, the N. gets an outburst.

What I see, is that since I left him, the N. came out big time in a way I never saw during my marriage.
What triggered this? Is it so that a partner can hold an N. within bounderies instead of parents? It is amazing to see and strange. My N. lost totall control after I left him.

Further, an N. is in the bottom line, I feel, very soft, no back-bone and very lost somehow. But one cannot affort helping them, because it will back-fire. And yes, one sees several times the real disorientated person, but that, in the end, will not help you, that will destroy you. It's never enough. It will be a never ending story. So what do you want? Get destroyed as well? Or, and thats better I think, get a life of your own. You will never win the battle, it is lost energy and you're life is going down under. Is that worth it?

jt B

At 6:50 PM, Blogger Kathy said...

"Is it so that a partner can hold an N. within bounderies instead of parents? It is amazing to see and strange. My N. lost totall control after I left him."

I see no reason why not - if the the N needs you (cannot easily replace you) and must behave better to keep you. But you can see why parents are most in this position. The special place a parent has with us enables them to exert some psychological control over us all our lives, and Ns aren't immune to that - especially if they are after the inheritance and out to be that parent's favorite.

At 7:59 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

To Troubled Family,
Sounds like we must be related. Your brother is the same sh*t as mine. I would advise you to get down to the county clerks office and check the deed to your parents home. I did and found out that he had his name put on it. These N's are truly treacherous creatures that will stop at nothing to get what they want. My sister will no longer acknowledge him as 'brother'. I have had almost no contact with him for a year now. It's been much better without him around.
Unfortunately we were in business together and are locked in a court battle. More about that some other time.

At 8:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Sorry I made a post before reading all the posts. Kathy is confirming what I'm saying. Your N will rob and pillage your family for his own benefit,and justify it as, "he's the only one who's taking care of them"...(your parent(s)).
meanwhile he's the one who has picked their pockets his whole life and will continue to pick them when they are in their waning days. Despicable.

At 10:03 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jen of TroubledFamily,

I am sorry to hear about your family troubles and I wish you all the best in resolving them and I can totally relate to your relief at finally being understood!

I was/still am lucky to have an aunt that loves and cherishes me and it made a huge difference to me.

to Anonymous,

Re: can you change a malignant narcissist?

Perhaps it may be possible in theory and even the so called experts warn that "the prognosis is not good."

Independently and after much heart ache, I came to the conclusion that life was too short and some people are just incorrigible emotional pests. Furthermore, being related to or having some past relationship to me doesn't automatically entitle that person to see me. After all, I am responsible for my own well being, including my emotional health.

Since then, I have heard many, many people who have come to very similar conclusions.

Even if it was possible for an N to change, who has all that time and energy?

I have also found that being around parasitical/manipulative people affected my judgement in an insidious way. Also that cutting these people out as much as I am able to has had positive effects in ways that I must have been too oppressed to notice before. I have not been able to express exactly what I mean here, can anyone else relate to this?

I also believe that the longer one behaves like an N, the harder it is to come back; false self slowly kills true self.



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