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Has anyone, ever, managed to explain to a narcissist what a narcissist is ...and to accept that they are one?

(130 Posts)

Trouble in my family is brewing again, and I am being called upon to help and advise my siblings and their partners about dealing with our npd mother.

I have had very low contact with my npd mother for many, many years now, can't remember if it is 12, or 13 years, but a good long time. I have posted on here before about this, spent much time on the Stately Homes thread, and am quite happy most of the time with the boundaries between me and my m.

But my siblings are still suffering and want my help. One has written to our mother to tell her what is wrong and how he would like to change things, and has asked for my comments on what he has written to her. I have explained as much as I can, about dis-engaging, FOG, etc. and the fact that it is pointless to explain things as she won't see it in the same way. But, he doesn't want to cut her off. He wants things to change.

I feel sad that he is going to be very upset when she responds in a hideous way to what he has written, as she invariably will. I feel sad that I can't think of a way of him changing things without getting done over by her. He is and tries to be a loving son and is bewildered by how nasty she can be. He puts so much effort in, to no avail.

I just want to know, from anyone who has good knowledge on this subject <waits for Attilla and others> if there has ever been a narcissist who knows they are one, and whether if so, there is anything such a person can do to get help to be less of one IYSWIM?

Or does the very nature of narcissism mean that there is no way such a person could be made to recognise the disorder in themselves?

Any help would be much appreciated.

Thanks.

noddyholder Thu 07-Feb-13 13:32:26

From my experience they don't even recognise the word!

Middy86 Thu 07-Feb-13 13:33:47

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

In answer to your question I am sorry to tell you that in my experience of them the answer is no. Narcissists do not do very well in therapy even if they do attend any such sessions in the first place (which they are unlikely to do because they do not think they are doing anything wrong in the first place).

I feel very sorry for your sibling as mentioned in your third paragraph and I also think any letter he writes to his mother will come back to bite him hard. The best thing to do with such a letter is to write it and destroy it afterwards.

Thanks for responding so fast, noddy and middy.

It would also be interesting to know what causes it. Could it be bad treatment in childhood? Or is it something chemical in the brain? or a combination of factors?

Thanks Attila. He has written it to tell her what he finds difficult (eg. her turning up at his house and causing mayhem whenever she likes and unannounced), and what his solution is (for him to visit her instead).

I too feel very sorry for him as he is trying his best, and I think he still believes he will get somewhere. But he has written because he now needs to take some action to protect his dw and their dcs.

noddyholder Thu 07-Feb-13 13:51:36

I sent a letter to my mother and the response was very very harsh and I no longer see her. I was quite gentle in my approach as I was literally her last friend(and was trying to reach out to her and explain that she needed to change in order to maintain any sort of relationship with her) she has fallen out with every other family member and friend although still has some contact with one of us.

A book he may find useful to read is "Children of the Self Absorbed" written by Nina W Brown.

Am not surprised he has written but he will in he end have to decide whether to go low contact or no contact over her.

If he has sent the letter I would be fully prepared for her to go ballistic over what she would see as an unwarranted attack on her. She will likely be vicious in her response if she chooses to respond. I cannot emphasise enough the narc's complete lack of empathy.

I do not think there is one single thing that causes narcissism but a combination of factors genetic and environmental. To my mind I think both ILs directly caused BILs narcissism; he was enabled, protected and spoilt from a young age (particularly by his overbearing narc mother) and thus developed a huge sense of entitlement along with a complete lack of empathy.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Thu 07-Feb-13 14:01:15

Or does the very nature of narcissism mean that there is no way such a person could be made to recognise the disorder in themselves?

That.

The only hope is if they recognise it themselves, on their own. But you certainly can't make them.

garlicblocks Thu 07-Feb-13 14:04:34

You seem to have informed yourself well on the subject, Scarlet, and are doing your best for your brother. Maybe the knock-back will prompt him to consider your ideas.

My mum agrees she's a narcissist. I've found ways of getting along with her; a mixture of firm boundaries and working with her need to look good. There's no hope with another close family member. I think some shit will hit some fans in the future, then we'll see whether this person wants to review their game plan.

I know two Mumsnetters whose narcissistic husbands have taken their views on board and got themselves diagnosed. One is still married, doing therapy in parallel and together; it seems to be working very well for them. The other, I believe, is waiting for their decree nisi. I also know another woman who thinks she's doing the same as the first couple I mentioned: along with everyone else, I think she's fooling herself and getting more enmeshed.

In my opinion it's not worth all the hassle. You can name the problem as you see it - narcissists do have 'moments of insight', which upset them a lot, and there's a chance they will consider your opinion at that time. You also get people who love the thought of the diagnosis, and will milk it for all it's worth - leading therapists a merry dance, using it to guilt-trip those around them and so on.

Your brother probably has all this still to learn. At least he's got you looking out for him smile

noddyholder Thu 07-Feb-13 14:12:18

My mother would LOVE a label even though she would refute it

LesBOFerables Thu 07-Feb-13 14:22:39

I think you will meet with limited success.

I know one who will actually AGREE if you say you are fed up with people who make everything about them, and reply by saying stuff along the lines of 'yes, I know someone who does that- it really frustrates me and sets off my <insert various psychosomatic illnesses here>.' Then you are invited to sympathise with them, or at least be reminded that if you ever upset them by saying they are pissing you off, they will take to their bed and lay it at your door to all who will listen.

There is no WAY they would accept they were a narcissist- they are only ever victims of the rest of the world.

Thank you all so much. As I feared.

I have told him to prepare for the fallout from all this.Though I do agree with him that he couldn't let the situation continue as it was, as it was having a big impact on his dw, and I agreed with him that putting his dw before his m was now necessary.

Garlic, that is so interesting that your mother agrees!

Sadly, I have been through what my db is about to go through and is going through now, so I am further down the line than he is.

His going through it now has confirmed to me that I will not go back to the pandering and therefore can never have a meaningful relationship with her. She has not done anything bad to me for many years now, so sometimes I waver and soften, and wonder if i should....etc. But actually hearing from my db about what she's been putting him through has strengthened my resolve and has also made me dislike her intensely. I am quite maternal about my dbs who are younger than me, and someone who hurts them in this way is no friend of mine.

sad

There is no WAY they would accept they were a narcissist- they are only ever victims of the rest of the world.

Yes, Lesbo, this is so true and as I feared. Think I was trying to clutch at straws with this line of thinking.

schmoodles Thu 07-Feb-13 14:30:05

grin@ lesbo

brilliant

sorry op

schmoodles Thu 07-Feb-13 14:30:50

time to name change anyway bof. its bloody terrible

LesBOFerables Thu 07-Feb-13 14:31:58

grin

Like it.

I may change to LESBOferables. But then I'd have to stop dreaming about Enjolras [sadface]

grin

Noddy - talking of labels, I actually think npd is just one of the mental disorders my mother has (this is only my diagnosis by the way). I often wonder about borderline personality too, though am not a psychologist, so not sure.

Sorry LesBOF, about the name failure thing grin

Abitwobblynow Thu 07-Feb-13 16:07:25

The thing about narcissists is that they have so much shame and self-hatred that they HAVE to cling onto self-absorbtion.

They are literally empty. They can't reflect, or take someone else's experience on board, because they have nothing to support that.

My H's two absolutely predictable statements: 1. no, I am not/no, it isn't 2. well, you.... (twisting it round onto me).

I have learned there is absolutely no point in engaging with him at all on any level, ever. My solution is to completely ignore him as I get on developing my own life and friends (separate support group), and as I have no interest at all in a romantic friendship right now, and he is a good father and we are united as parents, it functions at the moment.

But accepting that he really is this shallow/selfish/empty... took a very long time. Because it isn't quite human is it?

garlicblocks Thu 07-Feb-13 16:19:47

It's human, Jim, but not quite as we know it ...

I meditate. My mother doesn't, but she can sit perfectly calm and still for hours if necessary. I asked what she's doing/thinking/feeling during this time, as it looks to me like meditation. She enjoyed being asked. She sinks, as she put it, deep into her 'core'. What do you find there? I asked. Nothing, she said; it's empty and peaceful and ... nothing.

Lottapianos Thu 07-Feb-13 16:29:41

'My H's two absolutely predictable statements: 1. no, I am not/no, it isn't 2. well, you.... (twisting it round onto me).'

God I recognise this so much abitwobblynow. Both my parents are NPD. Whenever I share a thought or an opinion, the first thing out of my parents' mouths is something that starts with 'no.....'. That or they ignore me and act like I haven't spoken. It makes me so so very very angry angry I'm working on it all in therapy. You've hit the nail on the head.

Lottapianos Thu 07-Feb-13 16:30:53

'Because it isn't quite human is it? '

It's very weird and unsettling if I think about it for too long. Sometimes I can actually laugh about it, sometimes I get the rage. But I'm mostly just working very hard at disengaging. I'm sorry you are living with this every day sad

Miggsie Thu 07-Feb-13 16:34:08

No - it is always some one else's fault - they are, by definition, perfect. To themselves.

My gran rewrote history faster than a Holocaust revisionist.

She never ever did anything wrong - it was always someone else. And if she did admit anything, next time you saw her, she had done a complete flip and denied the conversation ever took place.

They suck you dry.

The thing about narcissists is that they have so much shame and self-hatred that they HAVE to cling onto self-absorbtion.

It's very sad isn't it? there seems no way out and no solution

Lovingfreedom Thu 07-Feb-13 19:19:14

I found a poem by my ex...it goes...'I am, I am, I am, I am, I am, am I?' This is not a joke. He also told me he feels he is the central character in a film and everyone else playing roles in his narrative. I'd say he knows at some level....but he also presents himself as misunderstood, a victim, under valued etc as well as very special and great.

tipsytrifle Thu 07-Feb-13 19:19:23

Just to say that I'm in total agreement with what's already been said.

I knew someone who was banished from his family's life for xyz that all revolved around extreme Narcissism. His long lost daughter wrote to him recently wanting to meet and talk but expressing her fear of him because he has a temper. His response was to fire off a vitriolic response about her betrayal as a 5yr old who left him for her mother and how dare she suggest he had a temper and never to contact him again. He told me he was heartbroken at her loss from his life but but but ... she'd been brainwashed by her evil mother/how dare she think he had a temper/challenge him like that ... *sigh

This adds nothing to the excellent comments already made, just an anecdote that seemed horrifically appropriate to prepare for any backlash .... sorry

tipsytrifle Thu 07-Feb-13 19:30:38

There's an amazing series of vids on you-tube written and presented by a Narcissist of the highest order ... am I allowed to link to them here or should I just give clues as to how to find?

*memo to self .... find and read guidelines ....

BOF Thu 07-Feb-13 19:34:24

Just link them, I think.

garlicblocks Thu 07-Feb-13 19:34:42

Sam Vaknin? You can link grin

He wouldn't have it any other way.

tipsytrifle Thu 07-Feb-13 19:54:38
CharlotteCollinsislost Thu 07-Feb-13 22:10:05

Yes, there's your example of someone who's owned up to being a narcissist... but still you'd get nowhere trying to cure him - he just goes out of his way to show he's the best narcissist possible! hmm grin

HotDAMNlifeisgood Fri 08-Feb-13 08:04:34

Sam Vaknin gives me the creeps. Watched a video of him before I knew he was a self-confessed Narcissist, and he just set off all my "creep, run away!" alarm bells.

CharlotteCollinsislost Fri 08-Feb-13 09:29:10

Hey, I need some of those alarm bells... grin actually, I wonder if N STBXH is installing them right at the moment... hmm

Abitwobblynow Sat 09-Feb-13 15:22:44

HotDamn, could you sell some of those? I could do with some!

What SV said about the narcissist and sex was just awful. I will have to steel myself and watch again.

Dothraki Sat 09-Feb-13 15:37:26

Scarlet there are some good items on mn about narcisism. 2 articles which totally defined one of my relatives. They really are the centre of the universe - I've cut all ties, after they spread vicious lies about my dh - and then blamed it all on me. It might be worth showing your brother them, so he sees that most narcs are so full of themselves and their own importance that its the rest of the world who is in the wrong always.

Thanks. I think he has got to the stage where he is able to see what she is and how narcs are etc. I think he's in an impossible position though, and doesn't really know how to stop it in its tracks. He hasn't got to the stage yet where he's prepared to accept that he won't be able to solve it.

Dealing with my narc Dad over the last eight years especially has driven me to the very brink of a nervous breakdown. I won't go on tot he details here as to why I could not cut contact, but finally being able to put a name to why he has treated me the way he has has been a revelation to me. I have MN mainly to thank for that, and it has brought me much peace.

My Dad is in the end stages of cancer, and is going to die very soon. He has driven everyone away and caused so much unhappiness. I am looking after him because I would not leave anyone to suffer, but even now, he genuinely thinks that I am around because he is such a great Dad. He is totally at peace with his upcoming death as he feels his life has been a wonderful success ....
He drove my younger brother away and he has grown up to become a very damaged person.
He drove my mother to an early death with the strain he put her under.
He has not one true friendship, just people who he bullies and pressurises into being around him.
Etc etc

But anyway, my point is that he has reached the end if his life with absolutely NO self awareness. It is pointless to even try.

Dothraki Sat 09-Feb-13 19:20:58

And thats the sadness, it cant be solved. Its so easy on here to say - cut x out of your life, but it is so painfully sad, and to pile on more irony - the narc won't be sad, after all - in their eyes I am the one losing out on not having them in my life...... the pain and damage they have caused, they simply do not see it, or understand it. I actually wrote down some of their shite - in case one day I forget the pain, and have a stupid notion that things could be reconcilled. Ours still has everyone else at their beck and call - they snap their fingers and everyone comes running, its like everyone does everything in their power to please them, people are taken in by their false image. They say their marriage is perfect, so why do they never smile. People first assume this person is shy, no just will not speak to people as they are all beneath them, as for manipulating ..........well I imagine you have had all that too.

Dothraki Sat 09-Feb-13 19:54:06

Paula sorry to hear about your situation. Like you mn has helped me see what the person is - and thats not pretty, and although I would prefer never to see them again - I will not let it destroy other relationships, so unfortunately I know I will probably have to see them (even just thinking about that makes me feel sick).

MerlotAndMe Sat 09-Feb-13 19:59:39

They never see it. two years after i left i could see thi.gs very detached. i told my x that the relationship met nobe of my needs and he wascverbally, financially, emotionally and physically abusive. he could remember a single occasion where he had ever been abusive. right. i told him that he used to telk me what i thought and get angry with me over what he had decided i thought. he used to twist my words and give them a different meaning to the one id intended. i felt i gave him the explanation he demanded (to the question "why did u leave?"). he wouldnt couldnt doesnt wont see it. he is the victim in all of this.

garlicblocks Sat 09-Feb-13 20:10:11

I can't overstress the value of having words to categorise the behaviours. This might not be true for everyone. I know it is for many. Once you've named the narcissism, you can use sites like outofthefog.net to learn about the patterns of behaviour, and name them too.
It also helps me to think of it as a disability. That way, I don't expect change and I've got a reasonable idea of where to set boundaries.

I feel so sorry for all of you here that have these ongoing 'relationships' with your narcs. I would never say this to anyone in RL, as it would make people think that i am the monster, but I can see my freedom coming soon. I can feel my life (at 44 years old, and married with 2 kids!), is about to finally begin.

garlicblocks Sat 09-Feb-13 20:12:08

He used to tell me what I thought and get angry with me over what he had decided I thought.

Hahahah! Yes!!

garlicblocks Sat 09-Feb-13 20:13:47

(mind-reading, defining and probably projection, btw)

dothraki I know what you mean about the very thought of seeing them makes you feel sick, it is the brains defence mechanism I think .... Fight or flight, but you can't for whatever reason.

I am sitting at my Fathers deathbed, and all I want to do is run from the room. It is making me very ill at the moment, but I can see an end, literally. I hate myself for thinking this way.

onepieceoflollipop Sat 09-Feb-13 20:29:48

really feel for you op.

Some really helpful advice here. My dh is going through similar, his mother (in my limited experience) has npd.

We are meeting with her, fil and a "neutral party" next week to try and talk things through. In my heart I know it is absolutely and utterly pointless. I have only agreed to it for dh so he can "show" he has tried.He can't let it go, can't accept how emotionally abusive she is.

It is starting to impact on our dds now so I have taken action. Without going on about my own situation we had to report her for something and she was furious we had damaged her "reputation"

onepieceoflollipop Sat 09-Feb-13 20:32:11

yes, nodding my head in recognition re the sick feelings, the fight/flight syndrome. And the sheer frustration that acquaintances and even friends/other family can't even see what is going on. Sometimes I shake with anger, literally shake physically at what she is trying to do to our marriage and children.

garlicblocks Sat 09-Feb-13 20:34:00

My advice (not that you asked for it), Paula, is to accept these thoughts while you've got the chance. That is, don't hate yourself but recognise the logic in feeling this way. Not everyone is sad when people die, not by a long chalk.

When my dad died suddenly, my first and overwhelming thought was "Oh, thank GOD, it's OVER for GOOD!" I was unprepared for the massive shock of his looming influence being gone from my life, and didn't know how to handle the fact I wasn't sad as I "should" be at the death of a parent. While you've got the chance, it'd be a good idea to prepare yourself by organising your thoughts around his coming death, and embracing your perfectly reasonable feelings.

Thank you garlick' and sorry for hijacking OP. My kind and patient DH keeps saying to me, "this is the last time he will make you feel this way, this is the last time you are going to have to tolerate this". God, it's sooo flicked up!

Fucked up even!!!!

CailinDana Sat 09-Feb-13 22:09:53

I think my older sister has features of NPD, and could have full blown NPD, I'm not sure. The thing that finally put paid to my repeated, exhausting attempts to develop a relationship with her was when I was getting married and I invited her to look at wedding dresses with me. She said there would be no point as I wouldn't like anything she picked out because we have very different taste. I replied that obviously she would look for things that she knows I would like, which totally baffled her. She couldn't understand that at all - why would she pick things that I like? No matter how much I talked to her about it (and it was a calm, reasonable conversation) she absolutely and honestly could not understand the idea of picking out something for someone else, that might not fit your own taste but that would suit the other person. Her complete bafflement told me that there was never going to be a point where she could actually relate to me in any meaningful way, she just doesn't have the capacity to understand other people. The only viewpoint that matters in her eyes is her own viewpoint, it's almost as if she doesn't believe other people have independent thoughts and feelings.

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sat 09-Feb-13 22:10:34

Wow, followed the YouTube link and then ended up on the documentary about him, I,Psychopath. Was very thought provoking.

HotDAMNlifeisgood Sat 09-Feb-13 22:11:25

link?

DoubleLifeIsALifeHalved Sat 09-Feb-13 23:09:06

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jKvhKI6Kxew&feature=youtube_gdata_player

It's in 8 parts. It's not a particularly good documentary but very revealing in parts, it's like the director really couldn't get his head around it - which is the problem with psychopaths/ narcissists... They don't make sense as long as you believe theyre essentially the same as a 'normal person'

Thanks all, I'm still reading. No worries about hijacks either, it's all valuable and helpful stuff smile

I'm going to be where you are one day Paula and I'm not looking forward to it. Sorry it's so hard.

Dothraki Sun 10-Feb-13 00:12:02

Paula you are in my thoughts, I hope for your sake it is quick, and that your dh is right -
<did laugh at flicked up, I will steal that, and of course - flicked off !>
Cailin - I'll help you choose a dress (even though I'm a bit crap at that kind of thing).
Scarlet- I too am finding all of this helpful, because of other peoples perspectives - so instead of just me dealing with mine - I can see the effect on sisters, brothers, mothers etc.so when we are trying to deal with other family members it is giving me a better overview, because there is no cure and its soooo fucking irritating that they do not see the pain they are causing.

EclecticWorkInProgress Sun 10-Feb-13 02:06:41

Narc sister in my life. I'm in counseling and am making wonderful progress toward no contact. Actually, I'm there, but it is being tested. My older sister is in limited contact with the narc. She can do that because she distanced herself emotionally from her at a much earlier age and didn't become nearly as enmeshed in the dynamic as I had become.

Paula-good luck to you in not having a too long detox period following your dad's imminent passing. It is good that you are clear in being there because it is who you are to do that, as opposed to being there hoping, wishing for a glimpse of change and an epithany of truth about himself, even a moment of that self awareness. Thank you for saying they won't ever change. I need to hear that.

My narc sis has survived breast cancer and now has skin cancer. I believe her health is beginning to decline (she is 53) and it is/has been a point of struggle for me to process. But someone on Stately Homes said to me: just because the narc is sick, doesn't change who (or what) they are. So I am determined to not let illness, even if terminal, become a license for her to abuse me again.

Just one anecdote: A note on her breast cancer...it was caught very very early and she had surgery/18 rounds of radiation. About the same time, an old college friend (a distance buffer wink) called her to invite her to her own Free of Breast Cancer Celebration Party. Sis askes her about it and friend said she had to have surgery/39 radiation treatments...sis announces that she only had to have 18. Who one-ups people over breast cancer?! And she told me this like I was supposed to be in awe of her superiority, or proud of her?!

They won't ever change.

Scarlet, I'm glad you have established your boundaries. Everyone is different and has different experiences/perspectives even within the same family. Some can do limited contact successfuly. Your brother is right in realizing that he needs to put his dw & dc first/protect them. That is a big step to take and may lead him to an operational understanding of the kinds of boundaries that are necessary to preserve his/dw/dc mental health.

Thanks eclectic

Abitwobblynow Sun 10-Feb-13 07:06:55

The other, awful thing about narcissists, it that everything you do is futile - even when you are doing the right thing.

I have worked very hard on staying detached (actually an important thing for me to learn in its own right) and not adding any toxins to the mix. So I stay calm, kind, I start topics of conversation, I ask him about his day, I care about him.
It makes no difference whatsoever - but that is fine, my job is to stay detached.

But one thing I have to do, is calmly call him on stuff he does (the abuse). He put me down in a gathering AGAIN, the very next gathering after the one I called him on before. I said to him 'I find it very hard when you put me down in public, please don't' - [and I had at the time shown assertive non-verbal behaviour whilst he was doing it, calmly holding his gaze and challenging his projection in public - huge strides for me, before I would have shrivelled in shame and hoped it all went away/nobody noticed].

His immediate response: NO I DIDN'T! etc. 'Please don't tell me how I feel' NO I'M NOT! etc.

It makes you feel terrible. But you have to keep on doing it.

Lueji Sun 10-Feb-13 07:49:27

The other, awful thing about narcissists, it that everything you do is futile - even when you are doing the right thing.

It makes you feel terrible. But you have to keep on doing it.

Not really, you just walk away, thereby removing their power.

Saying "'I find it very hard when you put me down in public, please don't' " is giving him power, because you are telling him how you are feeling, and you are asking him not to. You are asking him to empathise with you. He won't.
Much better to say "It's sad that you need an ego boost by trying to put me down", then walk away. Or, carry on with "in fact, I'm..." and big yourself up.

Abitwibblynow,

What Lueji wrote earlier,in its entireity.

I was shaking my head at your second and third paragraphs and inwardly winced, you walked right into the narcissistic trap!. (I have three narcs in my family all of whom I see as little as humanely possible because it is not possible to have any sort of relationship with them).

It's very hard to have a simple, uncomplicated good time with a narcissist.

Except for odd spells of heady euphoria unrelated to anything you can see, their affective range is mediocre-fake-normal to hell-on-Earth. They will sometimes lie low and be quiet, actually passive and dependent -- this is as good as it gets with narcissists. They are incapable of loving conduct towards anyone or anything, so they do not have the capacity for simple pleasure, beyond the satisfaction of bodily needs.

There is only one way to please a narcissist (and it won't please you): that is to indulge their every whim, cater to their tiniest impulses, bend to their views on every little thing. There's only one way to get decent treatment from narcissists: keep your distance. They can be pretty nice, even charming, flirtatious, and seductive, to strangers, and will flatter you shamelessly if they want something from you. When you attempt to get close to them in a normal way, they feel you are putting emotional pressure on them and they withdraw because you're too demanding. They can be positively fawning and solicitous as long as they're afraid of you, which is not most people's idea of a real fun relationship.

Run for cover when they start acting normal, maybe expressing a becoming self-doubt or even acknowledging some little fault of their own, such as saying they now realize that they haven't treated you right or that they took advantage of you before. They're just softening you up for something really nasty. These people are geniuses of "Come closer so I can slap you." Except that's not the way they think about it, if they think about it -- no, they're thinking, "Well, maybe you do really care about me, and, if you really care about me, then maybe you'll help me with this," only by "help" they mean do the whole thing, take total responsibility for it, including protecting and defending them and cleaning up the mess they've already made of it (which they will neglect to fill you in on because they haven't really been paying attention, have they, so how would they know??). They will not have considered for one second how much of your time it will take, how much trouble it may get you into in their behalf, that they will owe you BIG for this -- no, you're just going to do it all out of the goodness of your heart, which they are delighted to exploit yet again, and your virtue will be its own reward: it's supposed to just tickle you pink to be offered this generous opportunity of showing how much you love them and/or how lucky you are to be the servant of such a luminous personage. No lie -- they think other people do stuff for the same reason they do: to show off, to perform for an audience. That's one of the reasons they make outrageous demands, put you on the spot and create scenes in public: they're being generous -- they're trying to share the spotlight with you by giving you the chance to show off how absolutely stunningly devoted-to-them you are. It means that they love you; that's why they're hurt and bewildered when you angrily reject this invitation.

Attila and Lue,you are spot on! I tell you something, I have spent YEARS of my life thinking that I just had an eccentric Dad, who could be a bit difficult, when infant he was causing torment and wreckage everywhere he went!

The way my Dad shows what he thinks is love is through money. After his most recent extreme mistreatment of me he handed me a huge cheque. I declined it, sating that I would prefer an apology for the hurt he had caused thanks. He was totally flabbergasted and bemused by this, and said "you always make it so hard for me to do the right thing". I thought about it for a few days, and came to the realisation that this was the nearest approximation he could make to normal loving behaviour .... So I took the money and spent it! It felt like payment for having to endure him!

Still reading, and so appreciative of all of your replies, thank you. The more I read, the more I understand, the more I can hopefully pass on to my brothers.

Thanks Attila , you're always so helpful with the reminders.

Abit , it sounds like you are still embroiled sad it's all so very exhausting when one is still trying to 'manage' some kind of relationship with a narc, it uses up so much mental energy that would be better spent elsewhere. As you pointed out, whatever you do it makes no difference anyway. It such a pointless waste of time isn't it?

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 12:20:08

Wow, Cailin, you couldn't ask for a more definitive proof than that, could you?! It must have been a very strange conversation.

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 12:28:09

Brilliant post this morning, Attila.

Wobbly - What Lueji and Attila said!

EclecticWorkInProgress Sun 10-Feb-13 14:06:36

Sorry this post is so long, it is about the evolution of the dynamic with my NPD sister.
Attila The Excellent Meerkat, smile thanks from here too.
On pleasing the narcissist, it was my experience that "tranquility of environment" was achieved only if I managed it by "changing gears" when I was around her. It was akin to walking on eggshells. But give an inch...

Never crossing her, "catering to her every whim" (ie: she doesn't take no for an answer), for which she was generous financially, was fun at first-going places, doing things- of course what she wanted...even down to where people sat when dining. As time passed, time with her began to be dreaded, unexplainably so (no vocabulary, insight to personality disorders). Coming away from events with her was like: well, that was fun...on the surface; but what is the nagging feeling of unrest in my soul? It is hard to get your head around it.

Then I found the word dormancy...that's it, I'd go dormant when ever I was with her. Talk about enmeshment. Check my brain at the door and that worked a treat! For her anyway...I was a puppet, a two dimensional cardboard cutout fullfilling my part in her script. Contact is temporary, I told myself, it is how I cope.

But dormancy is really self-induced depression- I was pressing myself down. And that is dangerous to one's mental health because it has a nasty way of "sticking". I found that I needed a period of recovery after contact with the narcissist. And that period got longer and longer. "It just isn't mentally healthy for you to be around her" two different counsellors have told me.

That is how I arrived at the No Contact policy. When she contacts me, I am brief and civil but I will not initiate contact.

She recently wrote in my birthday card: "Can we get past this? I truly apologize for whatever I said or did." Along with it, she sent DVD copies of our childhood home movies. (This was the letter she told my other sister she was agonizing over writing. hmm )

I sent it all back to her with the note:
Thanks for the DVDs but please don't send anymore. I am just not interested in them. Your apology for "whatever" is an exercise in dismissiveness. So that's a no thank you.

RobotLover68 Sun 10-Feb-13 14:14:33

Paula - my narc mother died last year - I felt nothing - my narc father was physically pushing me to hold her hand and tell her I loved her (the woman who had never told me she loved me my whole life) - I told him I wanted time alone to say what I wanted to say, he thought he knew what I was going to say - how wrong he was, I sat there alone just talking about mindless stuff - there was no way I was going to sit there and say what he wanted me to say - I didn't even cry at the funeral - I had no tears left, I'd used them all up in counselling to get past their awful behaviour

It's 6 months on now and I can honestly say I've never felt better - the current stumbling block is him rewriting history about how well they brought us up and how proud he is of them - he also writes poetry which makes me go hmm it is all so far from the truth it is laughable

My point is Paula, don't feel guilty for your feelings - anyone who has a narc parent will understand, anyone who doesn't will never get it

Eclectic your description was so well expressed. It is so hard when they get in contact trying to be nice. So hard to know how to respond.

I found this recently when I decided not to attend my m's birthday dinner and she sent me a text saying she only wished I was there because she missed me. I ended up saying we could perhaps see each other when I was in the area (live about five hours away). Now, I regret saying this, since hearing my brother's recent experiences, which have a) reminded me what she is actually like and why I don't see her and b) made me cross with her for doing this stuff to him. So now I have no intention of us seeing each other. Really, what is the point? It could never be real between us.

CailinDana Sun 10-Feb-13 16:39:01

Garlic - it was weird but it was also liberating as finally she herself was articulating why I couldn't manage to get along with her. We fought constantly as teenagers but I was hoping that once I had left home we would start to see eye to eye and become closer. I had tried and tried to make it happen (and to be fair, she had put some effort in herself) but it just wasn't working and I was driving myself mad with it. Having that insight into her thinking helped me to finally see that my belief that she was totally self-centred wasn't just me being a nasty sister, it was actually true and she had provided solid evidence of it off her own bat. It made it much easier for me to let go of any hope of being proper friends with her. It still makes me sad in a way but really it's just the way she is - she can't manage to have a proper relationship with another person, it's not within her capability. Knowing that means I don't feel anger towards her, I mainly feel sorry for her because she sees other people getting married, having children etc and wonders why it isn't happening for her. It's obvious to me why, but she wouldn't listen if I told her, plus what would be the point? I don't think she'll ever get any better. Maybe she'll meet a man like her some day. I pity their poor children though.

EclecticWorkInProgress Sun 10-Feb-13 17:13:08

Scarlet, my sister would call on [insert holiday] Thanksgiving because "she wanted to be sure to wish me a Happy Thanksgiving" (so I said Happy Thanksgiving to you too=the parrot back at you technique wink). But this was about sister fulfilling her duty, so she could check off her 'things to do today' list; it really had nothing to do about me and whether or not I was happy on Thanksgiving.

In the same vein, your mother had her wish based on what she felt. Her statement rendered you invisible...it was all about her. Pity the "only wish", guilt trip on you...she missed you. But they usually do miss their favorite targets don't they? <<meow...me/ow wink >>

If sister said she missed me, to me, I really could not parrot that one back! "Well, that's too bad" comes to mind. I've been schooled in dismissiveness, so she may have to take some of what she's dished out over the years. (And we all know that they can dish it out, but can never take it.)

Has your brother decided to go ahead with the confrontation?

Abitwobblynow Sun 10-Feb-13 20:27:43

Hi Leuji and Attila,

thank you for your comments which I will think about carefully -
'I was shaking my head at your second and third paragraphs and inwardly winced, you walked right into the narcissistic trap!."

I just wanted to make two observations, and that is 1. when dealing with a narcissist, you must NEVER sink to their level because what that confirms to them is that their reality is correct (and you have been sucked into their overwhelming boundaries). So when I talk about being pleasant to him, it is with no investment (or hope of a different outcome) but because it is what I would do courteously to any human being - hello, how are you, would you like a cup of tea? - because I am and must be a decent human being.
The second thing is, the need to challenge the crossing of boundaries. If you say nothing, you are then agreeing with your treatment. So, when he puts me down in public, when he gives me the silent treatment I MUST challenge it. Whatever he does (and he did not like it last night - TOUGH), because that is me stating my boundaries and sense of self. It is not dependent on any outcome, it is the need for me to say 'putting me down is wrong. Stop it. Or, 'giving me the silent treatment is disrespectful to me, and I want you to stop.

When you are born to narcissists, you get to believe that you are invisible and your needs are unimportant. You live invisible and not knowing when you are being abused. So the above is important and must happen whether I am married, divorced or separated. That is immaterial (and doesn't solve the problem). He is not a malignant narcissist, we are united as parents and he does have a ££££ sense of fairness. So me flouncing off without working myself would be - flouncing off. The 'me' work has to happen regardless (and boy is it starting to give me results). How many people 'leave the problem' and then end up in the same boat with a new face, same issue?

JaceyBee Sun 10-Feb-13 20:58:15

In my work I have come across people with a dx of NPD (an actual dx from two different psychiatrists/psychologists as is required for a disorder as controversial as this one, not merely an Internet dx from an armchair psychologist) who post-therapy have an incredible insight/awareness of their condition, and actually no longer meet criteria for the disorder. CAT is shown to be particularly effective.

It can be hard to get them to engage in therapy, yes. Particularly as like someone said above, they don't always have the awareness to see that they have a problem, instead blaming the rest of the world! But no two are the same, just as no two people with aspergers/bipolar/whatever are the same.

I don't want to offend anyone and I know how hard it can be to have someone with this as a family member but I always find the attitude on these threads depressing. These people weren't born this way, they were made through no fault of their own. And they're usually deeply, deeply unhappy.

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 21:10:53

Wobbly, those posts made me think hard about what I have learned.
I'm putting it to you, not as a shining example of the 'right' approach but as part of the discussion.

Saying "I find it very hard when you put me down in public, please don't" is giving him power, because you are telling him how you are feeling

I would plainly contradict what he'd said, if it was contradictable.
eg: "Garlic you never know which wine to choose"
me: "That's untrue, I have a good knowledge of wines."

With a more oblique insult, I'd respond directly to the intent.
eg: "Give me the wine list, Garlic."
me: "Don't be so rude, I'm choosing a wine."

With very oblique attacks, I've done this:
N: "I know why you're staring at the sommelier."
me: "Oh? Why?"
N: "You want to get the wine list first!"
me: "I do want to choose a wine. What's the problem?"
N: "You think you know about wine ..."
me: "I know enough. Why shouldn't I choose the wine?"
N: "You always want to go one better than me ..."
me: "What, you feel threatened by my wanting the wine list??"
N: "It's not that, it's that you ... [bluster bluster]" <makes twat of self>
me: <tries not to look smug> wink

At no point have I admitted any weakness, hurt feelings or emotional engagement of any sort. The advice about "I feel ..." is for couples who have sufficient empathy to care about how the other feels. This is not the case in your relationship; the advice is inappropriate.

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 21:12:35

The 'me' work has to happen regardless (and boy is it starting to give me results).

I meant to add how much I enjoy reading your updates, Wobbly, as this is clealry true smile Respect!

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 21:24:33

they're usually deeply, deeply unhappy. I think it has been acknowledged more than once on this thread, JCB. Sympathy won't go any way to improving the relationship, though, we still need to figure out and share functional responses.

I have wondered, along with others, whether all Narcissists are deeply unhappy? Or might it be that only the unhappy ones undertake therapy?

My mum says she's not unhappy inside. She's "empty". She's at peace with that.
She doesn't have a dx, by the way. Two psychiatrists, having met her, took unusual steps to get me away from her for my mental health. And she tells me she thinks she's narcissistic.

JaceyBee Sun 10-Feb-13 21:39:42

Yeah I take your point garlic. I just get a bit uneasy about some of the language used on here to describe people who through no fault of there own have a pretty debilitating mental disorder. 'Half human freaks' is one that particularly stood out. Nice!

It's an interesting question as to whether they're all unhappy. I suppose not but I think mostly they are. It must be incredibly isolating. And obviously there is a difference between having narcissistic traits and actual NPD. Your mum may have it, or she may not. Without presenting to medical or forensic professionals she wouldn't have been given a dx though.

CharlotteCollinsislost Sun 10-Feb-13 21:45:50

Can they be unhappy? How do they notice and acknowledge a feeling like that? Isn't it a sign of weakness?

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 22:10:28

I don't think it works like that, Charlotte. You know how some compulsive eaters eat to fill a 'hole' they feel inside them? And some self-harmers cut in order to 'feel'? Well, I get the impression that narcissistic supply is the food, and narcissistic rage is the blade.

One who despises weakness in others would also despise it in himself. A person who despises himself must be unhappy.

CharlotteCollinsislost Sun 10-Feb-13 22:10:59

JCB, since you work with Ns, can I ask a question? Abusers are supposed to live away from their spouses while on an abuser program. Would there be a similar requirement for Ns in specialist therapy?

JaceyBee Sun 10-Feb-13 22:13:56

Of course they can acknowledge feelings. In themselves anyway. They're not robots. They just struggle to care much about other people's sometimes. In the way that toddlers or teenagers might.

CharlotteCollinsislost Sun 10-Feb-13 22:15:46

Garlic, I kinda get what you're saying. The whole thing is very confusing. The book I'm reading at the moment seems to say that if a N sees something in himself (or herself) that he can't accept, he'll project it onto himself, so that he is whole and perfect again. I have no idea whether unhappiness would be one of those things, though. These are rather new ideas to grapple with.

CharlotteCollinsislost Sun 10-Feb-13 22:18:51

Actually, I've just come off the phone to H, who is "depressed" because he was lonely last week, so I know what I'm saying is bollocks if I think about it. I guess I just struggle to believe there's much depth to that emotion. He seems at times as if he IS a robot, imitating real emotion, having observed it closely in humans...

JaceyBee Sun 10-Feb-13 22:19:40

Charlotte, not as a requirement from a therapist no. Only as a probation condition. Although I guess it could be helpful, part of therapy is learning how to relate to others in a different way so it's helpful if they bring real examples of interpersonal difficulties etc to sessions, so the therapist can help them reframe them. Not always easy though of course!

JaceyBee Sun 10-Feb-13 22:23:22

Charlotte one of the terms used to describe sociopaths is 'they know the words but not the music' meaning they do a good job of pretending to experience the world like other people, but they don't understand the emotions behind it.

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 22:25:45

if a N sees something in himself (or herself) that he can't accept, he'll project it onto himself, so that he is whole and perfect again.

Isn't this projecting onto others rather than the self? Or do you mean a reframing of the imperfection, so as to cast it in a flattering light?

If the latter, I'd say we all do that grin
Projecting their own faults onto others, though, is something we're familiar with on these threads.

My moment of realisation was when my ex took it a step too far: he raged that I never do anything for charity. Since this was 100% true for him and 100% false for me, I was forced to recognise that he was not all right in the head. And thus began this ongoing voyage of discovery ...!

EclecticWorkInProgress Sun 10-Feb-13 22:28:32

JaceyBee, I understand your point of view. I understand that my sister is unhappy. But that is not going to give her license to further abuse me, or to manipulate me into putting myself back into depression to put up with her behavior, iyswim.

The purpose of these threads is for support for the victims/suvivors of people who have had to be involved with the ones whose behavior is so damaging it is nothing less than emotional abuse. Imho, at this point, a dx is irrelevant; requiring authorization to use the term about an anonymous person on an anonymous forum may be, perhaps, juat a little pedantic and would hinder the flow of conversation/support.

There are lots of types of emotional abuse. The "NPD", narcissistic label here, is for the people to zero in on exactly the type of abuse that they are encountering. It is not easy to talk about, to understand, to deal with or to recover from the effects of it.

The folks with narcissistic personality disorder, narcissistic traits, borderline traits, borderline personality disorder, anger management issues, bipolar disorder, bipolar traits, control issues, permanent/chronic immaturity disorder (I made that one up), or people who are just plain mean, can have their own support threads.

hth

garlicblocks Sun 10-Feb-13 22:38:21

You have put that really well, Eclectic. Thank you.

We need the labels. As both linguists and psychologists know, humans can't actualise a concept without vocabulary. Discovering the language of personality disorders (as wittily enumerated above!) casts a sudden, clear light on our confusing experience and empowers us to discuss it. Formal diagnosis is irrelevant - though you'd be surprised how often an OP's problem person does, indeed, get one several months after 'internet diagnosis' on here.

Now you've covered that so nicely I can go to sleep!
imgs.xkcd.com/comics/duty_calls.png <<= me wink

CharlotteCollinsislost Sun 10-Feb-13 23:12:04

Isn't this projecting onto others?

Oops. Yes!

EclecticWorkInProgress Sun 10-Feb-13 23:37:15

smile Thanks garlic.

Abitwobblynow Mon 11-Feb-13 06:13:02

JCB loved your contribution and you are quite right.

My H has been Dx by two psychologists - and they both make the point he is not malignant but a frightened little boy.
He was absolutely made by his family and background. And my contribution is that I have been trained to see narcissism as normal (the bit I have to work on).

They are deeply unhappy. Your point about toddlers/teenagers is EXCELLENT. It is exactly that, that complete inability to imagine anyone else. My H said to me a long time ago (during OW time when he was unravelling) 'I feel empty inside'. It is such a pity he won't do the work, but this is who he is.

The other point I wanted to make, is that these people are not just one thing and we must work to incorporate the whole. So in my case, good father/awful husband/successful executive/frightened little boy all at once, and hold those contradictions with compassion, instead of reacting.

That is what I am working towards and it's a lot cheaper than divorce. WHEN I don't react is when I know I am free (and healed). Then? I can choose freely. LTB isn't always the only option, but all the options are shit. (This is why I hate self-help books. They never acknowledge that all the options are shit). This is such a sad scenario, isn't it.

CharlotteCollinsislost Mon 11-Feb-13 07:00:21

How on earth did you get him to the psychologists, wobbly? (Not that I'm so interested in getting my H a diagnosis any more.)

CleopatrasAsp Mon 11-Feb-13 07:06:34

Abitwobblynow you sound lovely but it makes me sad that you are living the type of life you've described, it sounds awful. It may be sad for your DH and he may be all the things you describe without it being his 'fault' but life is very short and it's not your fault either so why should you have to live a life numbing yourself to the behaviour of someone who is supposed to love and cherish you? Forget about his needs/fears etc for a moment, you deserve to be happy too.

JaceyBee Mon 11-Feb-13 07:38:16

Thanks wobbly smile
I have followed your story with respect and admiration for you, what a compassionate and empathic person you must be. I do hope that you are managing to keep yourself safe and considering your own needs as well as considering your dh though.

Abitwobblynow Mon 11-Feb-13 07:39:27

Thanks Cleopatra I agree, but I am not going to kid myself that I don't have work to do as well. And the whole finding myself in a bedsit thing doesn't appeal to me at all.
One of the hooks that ties a person to a narcissist is waiting/hoping/expecting them to change. This is a VERY hard think to unhook - they SHOULD be human and normal!! But as Les Carter says 'expecting a narcissist to be non-narcissistic is an exercise in futility'.
So it really is one of my lessons (and it has taken THREE YEARS to start getting it) to truly accept 'he really is like this, he is this empty' in order to start to let go. I wouldn't get it in a bedsit would I? I would just be setting myself up for the next one...
So I live as though I am alone. When I am impervious to his sulks and covert digs, ie they do not affect my sense of self and my equilibrium or my purpose in life, then I will know that finally, after 50 years of narcissism, I am healed.

I have a lot of faults too! Charlotte, remember the psychologists said he wasn't a malignant narcissist? He checked himself into IC because he wanted to be a better person.
that lasted as long as he discovered that it would involved hard emoitional work and self reflection He hardly goes now. I go faithfully every week. I really do want to live the second half of my life with more fulfilment and inner peace than the first half. He said it, but I'm working on it.

CailinDana Mon 11-Feb-13 07:50:09

Sorry if you've talked about all this already and I've missed it abitwobbly, but why would it be necessary for you to live in a bedsit?

Lueji Mon 11-Feb-13 08:04:05

My comment earlier was because you recognise that your H is like, but you are still falling into the same traps of opening yourself emotionally to him.
Leaving can both be a physical and emotional process.

I'm not sure I agree that you'd fall into the same traps if you left him.
I don't think people with normal emotions can ever deal full time with someone like him.
It seems to me that you have found a good excuse to maintain your current lifestyle, but at the same time having a huge burden on you.
I'm worried that you may end up shutting your emotions at some point, or end up miserable because it becomes too late for you to leave.

Abitwobblynow Mon 11-Feb-13 08:10:49

CallinDana - because all the research points to women and children being made significantly poorer by divorce whilst men recover economically within 7 years.

So it is in my interests to transform from being a SAHM of 20 years to professionally qualified and squirrelling away so that I truly am standing on my own two feet. He is not physically, verbally or financially abusive and our marriage functions.

Wobbly is many things, but stupid isn't one of them.

Leuji, did you read my comment about professional training and case study? I would be NO different, have no more insight, if I was currently separated, sheesh! PLEASE do believe that I know what I am doing. This is an active stance, not a victim one.

CailinDana Mon 11-Feb-13 08:16:54

To stay and carry on being treated badly by him seems a much tougher choice to me than just leaving and making your own way, albeit with less money. The reason I feel that way is because I find poor treatment extremely stressful and I think over time it would wear me down to nothing, no matter how much I was trying to not let it get to me. I would worry about my sanity to be honest - the effort it would take to withstand that sort of treatment would wear me out mentally.

That's just my take on it, you seem to be coping. I worry though that over time you will run out of steam.

Hi again, this is all most interesting. Thanks for everyone's comments and for keeping this discussion going.

In answer to an earlier question, my brother says he can't bring himself to send it and unleash the chaos. In one way, this is good as maybe he's starting to see that telling her what she's doing wrong and asking her not to do it, is not going to end well.

But, how is he going to get her to stop going round unannounced, talking about his wife to others, judging and criticising him and his wife on every possible subject, bitching about other people and family members in front of his children, making flippant comments about how lavishly she used to spend money, when he and my other brother now have to find huge amounts of money each month to pay for her financial disaster? How can he stop the rages, the tears, the dramas, the threats, the constant attempts to undermine him, his wife his children. How can he stop her?

I so wish I could help him.

He says he's working on a shorter email and will send it to me to see what I think.

In fact he could get it so short it was one sentence, and it would still make her kick off. Basically if you don't indulge her at every turn, she turns and is hateful.

Lueji Mon 11-Feb-13 08:18:55

If you say so. smile

Your reply to him in the outing doesn't suggest it's working that well, though.

CailinDana Mon 11-Feb-13 08:23:00

Scarlet, this is something I'm sort of battling with at the moment. My mother is definitely not NPD but has strong NPD traits. It's more that she's emotionally immature and isn't really cut out to be a parent. The damage she does comes more from a genuine lack of understanding as to how to manage emotional situations than any egotism (far from it - she has zero self esteem and is the first to put herself down). My younger sister left home for the first time in September and since getting some distance between her and my mother (and sister) she has started questioning their treatment of her a lot more. I fear I have been a bit more open with her about how I feel than I think I should have been. She is still in the frame of mind of "she's my mum and will look out for me" when in fact that's not true. I feel bad bursting that bubble, but I do wonder if it's better that that happens now than when she really does need my mother and discovers that she'll be ignored or told to stop talking about it. I feel I'm challenging a lot of her ideas about my parents and making her see a much harsher reality and I feel really bad about it - in a way I'd like her to retain the illusion that our parents actually care.

It's a tough one.

I wonder if having a narcissistic parent makes us more protective as siblings.

CailinDana Mon 11-Feb-13 08:34:27

One thing I know for sure is that I was much more of a mother to my younger sister than my mother ever was (she's 7 years younger than I). We have much more of a mother/daughter relationship than a sisterly one. Something that really brought that home to me recently was when DSis, mother and I were talking about getting pregnant by accident and my mum was doing her oh-so-hilarious "Don't come running to me if it happens to you" speech to my DSis (we always had this growing up - the constant "joking" message was "I won't help you") and I just said, "If it ever did happen, you wouldn't ever have to worry I would look after you." I meant it too. It sounds like nothing but it was a really weird moment - my sister looked relieved, and my mother looked forlorn. It was like she suddenly realised that her "joking" wasn't actually appropriate and that as a parent she should have said what I said (it was a serious conversation). DSis is starting to see that more and more too.

steadythebuffs Mon 11-Feb-13 09:00:52

abit, how long are you going to develop/prepare yourself for life without your H? AT the moment, he is, because you have to change your natural personality to survive with him, maintaining a hold over you;you may tire of not being your true self, of having to put on a front, of shutting down your emotions, of not receiving any real love and affection back, of wasting your life on him. It's good that you now know what you are dealing with though.

Abitwobblynow Mon 11-Feb-13 09:18:37

50 years from birth, born to not one but two narcissists successfully 'broken in' by, hmmmm, 4, and marrying a narcissist - how long do you think it will take, Buffs?

If change was that easy, we would all change! and why I think self-help books are pants

Abitwobblynow Mon 11-Feb-13 09:20:54

And - how long does it take to get a degree, and do enough volunteering to get the hours in to get someone to offer you a permanent job? I am getting there, but it takes TIME.

How nice that you live in Star Trek and can get to warp speed, but I live in RL.

steadythebuffs Mon 11-Feb-13 09:47:14

abit I'm glad you've realised that an important thing to learn from narcissists is to be more selfish yourself and look after yourself because they are neglectful and being married to one can be soul destroying and exhausting when you have to be on your guard to protect yourself emotionally and shut down your natural personality to cope with the coldness.

garlicblocks Mon 11-Feb-13 09:51:00

You didn't have to be so rude to steadythebuffs, Wobbly. You gave a very prickly response to someone showing concerned interest in your process. You do that a lot, ime. Perhaps it's worth considering this in your ongoing life review.

Coming from a PD hotbed gave me 'fleas'. I'm still working to overcome some of them. My fleas led me into relationships with narcissists and psychopaths - doing what I knew best sad

Of course it sets you up for abuse & manipulation; it's not as if you've got an alternative, healthy background to call upon, is it? I've turned my back on a lot of nice, well-balanced people; I simply didn't get them. The repair work takes a long time and is a lot of effort. I really don't blame others who choose not to do it (looking at some of my siblings!)

Dothraki Mon 11-Feb-13 09:56:36

Eclectic thanks for your post last night. In the last year my narc has nearly destroyed me and my dh - does she care - no. Still her other family members don't see it (mind you I think several of them have issues) she has actaully got the rest of the family to phone us and critise us - for not dancing to her tune. The pain we have gone has been unbearable, and I have decided for my own mental health the only way to go is no contact. I have never felt such anger. No one forced her to spread lies about us. She seems to be quite successfully manipulating everyone into believing everything is my fault. These threads are invaluable as dh struggles to talk about it - I know its breaking his heart. Totally agree - narcs can start their own thread.

garlicblocks Mon 11-Feb-13 09:56:36

Btw - if anybody's interested - my scapegoat role has become all-consuming, from my siblings' perspective - since making progress in myself and in my relationship with Mum. I was the surrogate parent (am the eldest) and they seem angry/confused that I'm now showing a lot of weakness, not to mention stepping back from the traditional family games.

It's a lonely road. I'm bloody glad of my recovery friends online; thank you Mumsnet grin

garlicblocks Mon 11-Feb-13 09:58:10

Dothraki, have you shown any of these threads to DH? Does he want to understand, or prefer to look away? (I suspect the latter might be wiser!!)

steadythebuffs Mon 11-Feb-13 10:11:50

garlic, the reality is having to then heal and repair the damage suffered as a consequence of being in a relationship with a narcissistic person. But at least your eyes are wide open. My post came across too bluntly because it's so familiar and hindsight is a great thing.

garlicblocks Mon 11-Feb-13 10:12:54

Umm, that's not what I said wink

Dothraki Mon 11-Feb-13 10:14:25

Garlic - I read him the "goodness verus niceness" thread - as this was what actually made me realize exactly what she is. You are right - he'd rather look away. For a long time I had said I was concerned about her - I genuinely was, I thought she was depressed, she never smiled, never talked - except to make snide remarks. I though her husband was controlling her. Dh tried to talk to her, and other family members expressing our concerns. Then all of a sudden these vitriolic outbursts started. Then vile texts, and lies on fb. Then I think I read something on the stately homes thread which lead me to the one I've just mentioned. I nearly cried when I read it - it totally defined her. So no she hasn't got a dx - why would she, she is perfect, she is beautiful and I am the vile evil ugly bitch that is destoying her life hmm
It really helps to know I am not making the wrong decision here because I really cannot cope with her in my life.

steadythebuffs Mon 11-Feb-13 10:46:37

wobbly. Counsellor told me that I could only truly work on myself when I was no longer in the relationship. Like you, I made progress still in it but it's only when you're removed from it that you know how twisted and manipulative and disabling their effect is on you to be yourself. How did he see a professional? That is unusual.

Abitwobblynow Mon 11-Feb-13 14:36:23

Buffs, there are degrees of everything. My H is not overtly abusive, and as long as I truly understand that he is only capable of functioning within limited parameters - well that took a long time. I mean, how can someone be empty inside?! How can someone not be able to think about other people's thoughts? But he can't.

He went to IC because he had some remorse. But as soon as he found out what hard work was required, he stopped going!!!

garlicblocks Mon 11-Feb-13 15:20:10

Thanks for your reply, Dothraki. It must have been horrible for you when the outbursts started - it's natural (for us 'non's) to wonder what we did wrong; how can we fix it. Then there's the confusion; disbelief ... and you know the rest.

Wobbly - How can someone not be able to think about other people's thoughts?

My poor mum struggles with this! She wants to. But she either takes people too much at face value or assumes overly negative motives in what they do or say. If she'd married a decent bloke, I think she'd have got away with appearing rather vain, selfish and naive. Inevitably, though, she married a psychopath who twisted everything to the dark side - so the person she turned to for insight (as much as she could manage) complicated things still further.

I wish I could swap my background for a 'normal' one! grin Who needs to know all this stuff? Not Mr Dothraki, anyhow!

Dothraki Mon 11-Feb-13 15:42:57

True - but he will have to accept it.
I think its just broken his heart. I looked at him one night in the pub, he looked broken and sad. We very rarely argue, but this hit fever pitch. I think it was my frustration - I have never had such anger. I think its easier for me - I am not conflicted. I hate her for what she has done. I will never forgive her. I never have to. He is conflicted - that is his burden. He loves her - but he can see the devastation she has caused me, and him. I hope her lies can no longer hurt me, but the lies about him have cut him to the core. I think he would like to think stuff just didn't happen, but it did.
Thanks Garlick - I guess me & Mr Dothraki need to talk - tonight

peachcake Wed 13-Feb-13 14:35:59

Does a Mum who always tells relative strangers ie, shop assistants her woes, health problems and indeed sometimes life story fit into the catergory of narcissism? I find it so totally embarassing. She will also phone me and rattle on for 20 mins about herself, what she bought for tea, what her friends are up to etc etc without even asking how me or the kids are???

Are these the traits of a narcissistic person?

Please advise x

Dothraki Wed 13-Feb-13 18:04:39

Er - she sounds a bit lonely, but you can read up on narcissism. I found the "Goodness versus nicesness" thread very informative, as are other links on this thread, and the "But we took you to stately homes" thread.

My db has decided not to send the email. He says he doesn't want to unleash the chaos it will cause. I completely understood his urge and need to tell her all this stuff, but I also thought it wouldn't get him anywhere, so I think he has made the right decision about this.

He has simply arranged a date to go with the dcs and see her (he wanted to stop her coming to his house all the time and causing mayhem with all her nastiness and narc nonsense), and says he will wait and see how this goes.

hmm

So frustrating that there is no satisfactory solution to this.

Dothraki Wed 13-Feb-13 18:44:08

At least he is understanding what is happening, so thats a good thing. We are still at the stage where most people think the sun shines out of her arse, and I am the trouble maker hmm

Oh god, dothraki, sounds difficult. Are you and your dh her only targets or does she treat others badly too?

Dothraki Wed 13-Feb-13 23:49:44

Scarlet - I know she has been very offensive about others, but they chose to ignore it. Master manipulator has them all eating out of the palm of her hand. As I said before I thought her problems were different, controlling dh, depression - but I think it was because I did not worship at her altar (which everyone else in her life always has done) I think she found a need to eliminate me -her other relatives have come out with lies about me i.e. she has told them shite about me & dh and they believe her. I know her strength is growing, she is becoming more brazen. I have one person who does see it all - thank goodness. But dh needs to recognise the full impact of this - and what he is going to do - I want him to challenge certain things - or yet again I will be seen as controlling - YIKES !

Bloody hell! These narcissists just wreck everything don't they? I am many years down the line with mine, but it has not been easy. Mine also does lots of talking about family members in a judgmental and derogatory and fantastical way, to other family members. Tries to divide everyone, set them against each other. Luckily my brothers and I don't fall out over it, but she especially tries to cause trouble with their wives and get one of them to discuss the other etc. total nightmare!

Meant many years minimal contact

Dothraki Thu 14-Feb-13 00:54:26

Thanks Scarlet - thats what she does - but I wont do her bidding. It was" I hate X" (this was before I understood what was going on) - did she want me to cause trouble between x and y ? Sadly we didnt challenge the earliest remarks, or the next few years...... I just wish I'd been aware earlier - but realistically nothing would be different, I am convinced this has gone on for many, many years, all the remarks about what a wonderful person,mother (heaven forbid) and its only us that seem to be hurting, I feel so sorry for her children but there is nothing I can do about that. Then the reality hits home, evil stinky bitch - now I need to concentrate on my sanity. I've had toput up with shit like we all do in life - but nothing compares to this - malicious immature vile bollocks.

Are you my sister in law dothraki? grin

Dothraki Thu 14-Feb-13 09:25:44

Ha - sadly no - as we could join forces grin

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