Saturday, March 22, 2008

The Obduracy of Malignant Narcissism

Narcissistic personality disorder is aptly characterized as a "disorder of the self." That's because the narcissist can't stand his or her self. But instead of reforming the true self, narcissists cheat. They just project a false image of their self.

And the first person they tell this lie to is themselves. It's just a stupid mental game (of self-delusion) that anyone could play. They believe the false image in the mirror; they IDENTIFY with it.

The mental problem this twisted thinking creates is twofold:

A. When you deny your true self's very existence, it doesn't matter how depraved you let it become. That doesn't count = you are totally amoral. No conscience.

B. Since your false image is just a phantom, there is no limit to how grandiose you can make it with nothing but smoke and mirrors.

Result of both A and B? You'll stoop to anything to make others look bad in order to make your false self look grandiose by comparison.

And what about the guilt and shame you incur in the process? You must project it off onto a scapegoat, preferably the very victim. Now your perversity is perfect.

And then there's even more guilt and shame to smear off on someone else.

See what's happening? Every smear just produces more to smear.

This is why malignant narcissism is a runaway freight-train ride from childhood on, a vicious cycle of bad behavior that soon passes a point of no return - when you do something so evil that you'll never be able to get real and face your true self in a mirror.

The things you do to trample others ("glorify" yourself) this way are abhorrent. People would abhor you if they knew. Indeed, you would abhor yourself if you faced facts about what you have become.

So, don't expect an adult narcissist to change. It ain't gonna happen.

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16 Comments:

At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Kathy, the way you write it down..so clear and all justice to the victims.
This Malignant Narcissicm is really a must bigger problem than society knows.
I think many M.N's are in control somewhere and they do everything to keep it this way.
The way you put it contributes hopefully to the awareness of society and I think it does.
By people like you at least the victims get aware and when they are they can spread the news and fight this people on their evil road.
It's really a complicated problem cause this evil hides behind good.
It's thereby the ultimate evil I think.
It's killing the soul of the N. but much worse it's killing the souls (and more then people may believe; their body's with it) of many in their wake.
I just want to thank you again to make such an effort in such an uncomprommising way with knowledge and insight for the victims of these people.
Cause one thing I think we must accept; we all are victims.
And there's nothing wrong with that.
We should regard it as a compliment, cause it proofs you have normal feelings that can be hurt. It proofs you have a normal set of human values. It proofs you believe you want to settle conflicts and disagrement on an equal level, with respect for eachother. That's sane, healthy and human.
But exactly this 'being a normal sensitive human' is what N's prey on. They killed it in themselves and want to kill it in you. To get rid of their shame and guild and keep their 'perfect image' alive.
The moment we get aware the spell gets broken.
We are not ill, we were never ill; they made us ill.
But when you are in the middle of the storm you wonn't feel this way, I know. You are full of pain, sorrow and doubt.
Like you say to victims Kathy to comfort them; hold on it will pass. Go through your feelings. You've been there allready so you can bear them. The worst part was the part with the N.
After this; hold on I like to say too. There was nothing wrong with you. Even probebly the opposit; your qualities triggerd her/him even more.
I think victims of N's better admit they are victims, like victims who are mugged in a park.
But, like them, nothing is wrong with you.
You just proof you are human the way you react on such treatment.

Gerard

 
At 2:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hello Kathy, the way you write it down..so clear and all justice to the victims.
This Malignant Narcissicm is really a must bigger problem than society knows.
I think many M.N's are in control somewhere and they do everything to keep it this way.
The way you put it contributes hopefully to the awareness of society and I think it does.
By people like you at least the victims get aware and when they are they can spread the news and fight this people on their evil road.
It's really a complicated problem cause this evil hides behind good.
It's thereby the ultimate evil I think.
It's killing the soul of the N. but much worse it's killing the souls (and more then people may believe; their body's with it) of many in their wake.
I just want to thank you again to make such an effort in such an uncomprommising way with knowledge and insight for the victims of these people.
Cause one thing I think we must accept; we all are victims.
And there's nothing wrong with that.
We should regard it as a compliment, cause it proofs you have normal feelings that can be hurt. It proofs you have a normal set of human values. It proofs you believe you want to settle conflicts and disagrement on an equal level, with respect for eachother. That's sane, healthy and human.
But exactly this 'being a normal sensitive human' is what N's prey on. They killed it in themselves and want to kill it in you. To get rid of their shame and guild and keep their 'perfect image' alive.
The moment we get aware the spell gets broken.
We are not ill, we were never ill; they made us ill.
But when you are in the middle of the storm you wonn't feel this way, I know. You are full of pain, sorrow and doubt.
Like you say to victims Kathy to comfort them; hold on it will pass. Go through your feelings. You've been there allready so you can bear them. The worst part was the part with the N.
After this; hold on I like to say too. There was nothing wrong with you. Even probebly the opposit; your qualities triggerd her/him even more.
I think victims of N's better admit they are victims, like victims who are mugged in a park.
But, like them, nothing is wrong with you.
You just proof you are human the way you react on such treatment.

Gerard

 
At 3:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Something went wrong with the buttons I guess, so my comment is doubled..

Nice reason to adjust a small thing in my comment:"they made us 'ill'", should offcourse be between the dots.

I know I was 'ill' back then in the way you become 'ill' if you are physicly abused; you're body has to recover and depending on the severity of the abuse it takes more or less time.
'Ill' from mental abuse I regard the same; your soul has been battered and has to recover.
It sadly only often takes much more time; greeving, searching, learning and so on.
And be lucky enough to find sites like yours!

Gerard

 
At 3:19 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yes, an adult narcissist is not going to change. I think if the dicission is not made during puberty, it's already a lost battle, but still a chance that it might change by some event..... If they are in their 20's by that time there are already so many lies, it increased difficulty on the path of return. During that time, if they look good and sometimes very good and charming, the notice that their malice is paying of for them, so they are incouraged to go on. If they become older and like my ex N. now almost 50, they are clinging on to the delusion, because he would be lost and above all they would kill themselves if they would allow the thruth. Therefore as goodlooking, charm etc. fades by aging, they will, I think, become even more vicious and mean, because they can't bear the fact that new generations are passing them. The jalousy is in the end inmens.

How angry are they by the time there really old? I'am glad I will not be around anymore to find out!
The same goes for my mam, oh I'am so happy that I don't have any contact with her either. Can do without.

JT B

 
At 6:08 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

one of my kids is starting to behave and communicate like his n father. the other kids dont like it and call him on it (they dont reference their father-they dont 'know yet' that hes an n) but when they call him on it i see it just increasing the behavior. its like his head is twisting in the same n pattern perhaps, the input goes down crooked compared to the other kids interactions. as the mom how can i step in and be effective in altering things before 'it gets too late...'

 
At 7:40 AM, Blogger Kathy said...

"as the mom how can i step in and be effective in altering things before 'it gets too late...'"

I don't pretend to have anything near a complete answer, but I do know some common pitfalls to avoid.

First, if this child is exploring down that one-way road to NPD, the ONLY way to influence him is punishment (or reward) for doing so. If it gets him what he wants, he will do it more. If it gets his hand burned, he will stop. It's as simple as that. Moralizing will do no good at all. Having "a talk" with him when he abuses the other kids will do more harm than good.

Second, do not take away their right to defend themselves from the other children.

He will pick a fight with another kid on the sly. You won't know what's going on till that the other kid is thoroughly outraged and yells. Then if you jump in and yell at him for what amounts to defending himself, you have fallen for the trick. It would have been better if you'd stood by and watched them duke it out.

Never believe anything he says about the other kids. Always check it out. Take the time to sort out what really happened whenever you interfere.

And, depending on their relative ages, it may not always necessary to interefere. Sometimes you could just let the other kid snarl back. No big deal really. It keeps you from being used as a proxy.

Like I said, this is no complete answer, but it does mention some common pitfalls to avoid.

 
At 10:04 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy,

I just wanted to let you know that I am ordering a SECOND copy of your book -

The first I delivered yesterday to my N, who thought he could lure me back into his madness. No chance.

But I didn't leave the book with him thinking he would read it and transform into a human being.

I think, like Hitler, he'll burn it.

Sorry.

But before he throws it into the flames, I know him.

He can't resist taking a look. Just the words...withholding..pathological lies...the picture of the scorpion...the mirrors...he will see them all.

His pea brain will absorb some of it, and it will haunt him from now on. He knows what he does, and now he knows I know what he does.

He will twist it, turn it, chew it, spin it on its ear, but your book will haunt him because he knows it is true.

Toto pulled the curtain back and from this day forward, he will be haunted.

It will be way harder to play pretend now, and not so much fun. The voice of truth is inside his head, nagging him to death.

Someone - you and now me - figured out his game. He must be losing his touch. It's not so easy any more.

So thanks for the Easter present. Way better than a chocolate bunny.

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At 11:35 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"as the mom how can i step in and be effective in altering things before 'it gets too late...'"

In addition to the words of Kathy.
Bounderies! Set you're bounderies, he will try to twist you as well!

Hopefully he is only trying to copy, what he sees from his N. father!

My oldest son did that for a while, so I was wondering, he in the end, now and adult, turned out to be ok! It took a few years though.

The others have similair behaviour at times. What you see, is how you act, I guess, but I don't accept that behaviour and shut it down the moment it happens, whether it is on the phone, in front of me or via computer.

Well I have to wait and see what will become stronger, my education and way of life or the N.

Time will tell!

JT B

 
At 8:24 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

My sister is a N and hides behind religion. I've begun to realize that many N's do this, including the so-called pastors of churches. It's odious and disgusting. I've found another blogsite that discusses how people use religion to further emotional abuse and I highly recommend it as a complement to this great site:

http://truth-makes-freedom.blogspot.com/

Thanks Kathy for all you're doing to help people see this evil amongst us for what it truly is.

 
At 9:11 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

While on the subject of children, I noticed something w/my N husband and wondered if anyone else had experienced anything similar.

He has 2 teenage children (from a previous marriage). After treating his daughter or I badly he shows very little remorse, if we are lucky we will get an insincere “sorry”, but after treating his son badly, he truly “acts” sorry and goes out of his way to comfort his son and apologize etc.

I just find it odd he only does this with his son. It seems he can empathize with him more I have to guess because he is a male and can somewhat put himself in his shoes……

 
At 4:05 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Kathy, I'm sure you are right about this. I think my N passed that point of no return with the things he did to humiliate me at the end. I've wondered whether he is running from his misdeeds, and will have to keep running. He acts like he has done nothing wrong, but I think he knows it somewhere. He looks like it is eating him inside. Will he treat his next person better? Isn't it impossible to go back, once you've let slip loose the chains on yourself? And what was inside was vindictive and immoral? "jewel"

 
At 6:44 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I couldn’t agree more, Kathy, that narcissists hate themselves. My N brother can’t bear the thought of being alone, even for an hour. He always makes sure he has someone on the phone before he leaves the house, just so he can stick on the headset and have someone to talk to the whole time he is alone in his car. Before there were cell phones, he would go crazy on the rare occasion that his wife would leave him alone for an afternoon to attend a baby shower or whatever. He would call me beforehand, claiming that he didn’t want to be “bored,” literally begging me to come over. The cheapskate would even offer to buy dinner, anything to not be alone. His tone was always one of near-panic when I would try to decline.

The worst night of his life was one he spent in jail, all alone in his cell. Sometimes I think that the worst torture one could devise for these freaks would be to lock them in a room all alone for about three days. After about an hour, they would probably have their socks on their hands like puppets, just to have someone to lie to.

 
At 5:36 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For Anonymous 6:41pm (if Kathy allows): Your sock puppet line actually made me laugh out loud! That might be the first time I have found anything remotely humorous about the abuse I endured from N spouse for nearly 20 yrs. I am just beginning to realize how much of those years he must have been lying to me relentlessly, arrogantly, and constantly. Your joke helps me think of him as pathetically funny, instead of terrifying as I sometimes find him. Thank you! "jewel"

 
At 11:47 PM, Anonymous Little said...

Hi, thanks for this site. I am 35 years old, mother to a great husband and have 2 awesome little boys. However, I am crippled with my new realization that my dad is a narcissist and my mom is the malignant type- the very mean one. She still abuses me to this day and I think I finally have had enough, I could fill a mountain of examples, really I am not sure if I have had one non mean/rude/subtle/slamming/brutal exchange with her ever, but this last one while not by ANY means the worst, made me not talk to her now for 2 weeks

I stay at home with the 2 little ones so its very hard for me to be "sick" (note that my mother never allowed me to be sick or get much attention, she rolled her eyes and would be so frustrated at it, not sure why..) anyway, here I am at 35, she who is not working (and has recently moved to my hometown) to be next to the grandkids..... husband asks her to please watch the kids while I go the doctor,

since I am there for 1.5 hours she is calling me ( I honestly feel to ask me how much longer I would be...), but I am so sick I don't hear it

I had a 104 temperature and climbing, dr heard a heart murmur- ordered a EKG just to be safe and etc. I had strict orders to be in bed period and not be around the young kids. (it was a fever induced heart murmur)

I get home and she is like "I gotta go" me "what? ken (husband) called you and asked you to stay?"

mom " yea well he choose to go to work ya know...... and I gotta go.... I am looking for a job ya know........." (note my mom has significant $ savings and her not ever working again is really not a problem financially.....)

then I told her how sick I was and she put her hands to her face in disgust (like oh gross don't give that to ME) and since I am feeling so poorly, I just said "whatever- just go , I am not in the mood for this"

then started the normal assualt, the "I always have to walk on egg shells with you-nothing is ever good enough for you-whatever , whatever, whatever......"

and then stands up and I go "ya know, I am feeling horrible- please go I know you do NOT want to be here, so just go..." (I have not yet picked up all my medication and could barely walk and was sitting stunned on the couch)

she picks up her keys and says to me over her shoulder "well I am sorry i have to find a job--- I guess I will look forward to you helping me pay 1/2 the rent since I cant find anything........hope you feel better......" (its like she threw that last line in so that if my husband confronted me, she would go "WHAT? I told her I hope she feels better... she twists everything out of proportion, that is NOT what happened" (this has happened so much I just know this would have happened!)

door slam. Gone. Home with 2 young children under 3 years of age, had a fever induced heart murmur- no medication and no one at home with me............

That is when I drew the line, I saw her after that- she came over I ran to the car and I ran away in the car......

why did I do that, I cannot even look at her because I have done this research in the past few weeks and I am scared.

I am 35 and the idea of running into her, of her throwing me under the bus to whomever would listen... to her filling me with that negative void of everything that is "wrong" in her life and etc etc.... I feel like I have some kind of post traumatic thing happening

where do I go from here- how do I recover- I have always profoundly missed having a mother- I just never have one, I still cry to think I can maybe cling on to that hope that I will magically have that loving mother relationship...

how long and how do you get over the realization that your mother is this way. Can anyone help me please. I feel very alone and I am exhausted, I can barely move.
Thank You
K

 
At 5:56 AM, Blogger Lynn said...

To K (little) I suggest you buy or borrow the book, Children of the Self Absorbed by Nina Brown. It has some great techniques for adult children to do about distancing yourself from the destructive N parent. It's the only way. At the moment, it sounds like you are enmeshed in with her, if you weren't you or your hubby would never have called her to help with the kids while you are sick, you would have known it would never have worked out to your benefit. Interactions like you have with N's is always all about them. As for assistance with the kids when you're sick, you've gotta have a Plan B, your mother is Plan A and you must set yourself up so that you NEVER have to utilise Plan A. This way you are not disappointed, or left out in the cold.

The more you can distance yourself (psych and emotional needs) from your mother, the better off you are going to be......believe me.

My Mum and my Dad show some traits of Narcissism, my Dad more than my Mum, but at age 45, I've figured out how to NEVER rely on them for practically anything. If I ask them for something they can help with, I listen for the distinct 'tone' in their voice that alerts me to the fact that they are going to let me down, so I don't continue with relying on them, I set up a Plan B and bring it into action, call them back, and say I've changed my plans, I don't need their assistance anymore. That way I'm not set up for disappointment. The book will give you some real-life techniques on how to achieve this.

Do it, it could save your relationship with your mother who I'm not surprised has moved closer to you using the grandkids as an excuse. She's using you for supply and the sooner you can acknowledge that, put in your boundaries, the better off your whole family will be.

Good luck.

 
At 7:22 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"You'll stoop to anything to make others look bad in order to make your false self look grandiose by comparison."

God, I should have that quote put on a T-shirt.
It made me think of a situation a few years ago with my now ex N friend. His birthday was coming up and he really, really wanted collapsable baskets for his bike, AND he wanted my husband to put them on for him.

So we bought them, brought them over to his house on his birthday, he was delighted. My husband said, "Where's your bike, I'll put them on, it'll take five minutes." N replied, "Oh, you can do that the next time you visit-I'm starving, let's go to the restaurant now." On our next visit, my husband offered again and was turned down, this time the excuse was that he lost his screwdriver. The third time, my husband came prepared, he had brought his own screwdriver. N made up a lame excuse about how the bike was in his basement, and it was messy down there, blah, blah, blah. My husband said, "When you're ready to have me put the baskets on for you, let me know" and left it at that.

Three months later, N was complaining about walking to the grocery store, and how heavy the bags were that he had to carry all the way home. When I asked him why he didn't take his bike, he growled "Because your husband couldn't be bothered to put the baskets on for me." That's when I realized that he never really wanted the baskets, he rarely rode his bike. I also thought it odd when he asked for them, with the stipulation that he wanted my husband to put them on, a task so simple a ten year old child could do it. He had orchestrated this whole thing to find fault with my husband, to make him look bad. Amazing.

 

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