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Narcissists and their rages

(309 Posts)
garlicbaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 16:04:43

For a number of reasons, I thought it might be a good idea to share our stories. I'll post one after this.

About 1 in 10 people have mental disorders, of a type that renders them incapable of seeing the world as others do. For them, all the world really is a stage: the men, women and children merely props for the drama going on in their heads. They can't see that things go on without their influence, or accept that other human beings feel & think independently. It's like the way young children think - and may well be caused by arrested emotional development.

For them, your every word and deed is scripted, by them. It's impossible to know exactly what your 'script' says. If you know them well, you can make a good guess but they will always surprise you by introducing another plot twist. (And anyway, who wants to live as a figment of somebody else's imagination?) When you step out of your appointed character - by having a thought or feeling of your own, for instance, or not being exactly where they wanted - they get terribly cross. It absolutely shakes their world; it's very distressing for them so they blame you for wrecking the world, like a temperamental director ranting at an opinionated actor.

The rage, the blame, the insults are never about you. Never. If you can manage to listen quietly, what you'll hear is this: "I wrote, cast and directed this scene. You're spoiling it for me!" You will also hear them tell you their insecurities - what they most dislike and fear about themselves, projected as if they were your faults, not theirs.

They usually forget what they said, or that they raged at all.
Please, do, share your stories of 'stepping out of character' and the Narcy rage that followed. You never know how many lightbulbs you might switch on wink

garlicbaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 16:13:28

Despite the many rages throughout my childhood, working life and marriages, the one I recall most clearly came from a stranger. I was driving a friend's DD to school. There was an almighty snarl-up on a junction. For reasons unknown, a woman three or four cars behind me decided I was the cause. She dashed out of her car, came to my window and started. I wound down the window, told DD to stay quiet and time her (!) then listened. I was an idiot who doesn't know how to drive, selfish, self-important ... and then a whole bunch of other stuff, personal things about my appearance, my home life and relationships. Never having seen this woman before, I knew she was ranting about her own fears and felt sympathetic. I distracted myself by admiring her hair, which was the most perfect blow-dry you could imagine.

When she stopped, I said "Is that it?" She tossed her hair and went. I asked DD how long she'd raged - eleven minutes! DD was gobsmacked that I hadn't interrupted or answered her back, so I explained pretty much what I wrote in my OP. I hope it will serve her well smile

Golddigger Sat 07-Dec-13 16:13:49

I dont think I know any narcs, but I think that that is a lovely insightful post.

garlicbaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 16:17:54

Thank you! I'm sure I'll remember more ... I bet loads of others will, too smile

mouseymummy Sat 07-Dec-13 16:36:18

The worst rage was from my mother. I'd had the gall the get pg with dd2. Dd1 is her golden gdc and is "the one who can do no wrong" dd1 was ecstatic to find out and I let her tell people. She told my mum who faked excitement until later.c

She rang me that night and despite me knowing what dd1 had said (me being in the room was forgotten) she told me "dd1 is terribly hurt you are pg and thinks she is getting pushed out. She told me that you have said you'll let her live with me and I've agreed" confused I could hear my step father in the back ground asking why he hasn't been informed of this (bless, he hasn't quite got the grasp of not speaking unless spoken to yet. Tbh, hes lasted a lot longer than I thought he would though)

She's predictably not bothered with dd2 and has said her health issues are "fully deserved" to family members and questioned if I'm "back on the drugs for her kid to be so fucked" I've never been on drugs!! Dd2 has problems with gaining weight and has a few issues with her eyes and ankles. Yet to strangers, dd2 is very high on her priorities list... She's only met her 3 times in 14 months!

She's recently been asking my family for my mobile number... To congratulate me on ds's birth apparently...I ddon't believe it!!

ProfessorDent Sat 07-Dec-13 16:36:39

I do find the whole narcissistic thing quite interesting, I only came across the word in the context of an agony aunt letter this year. It doesn't seem to figure in everyday awareness however, I think this is because people think of it as self-love, and many think some kind of self-esteem isn't such a bad thing anyway, or else vanity, and many want to look good about themselves if they can, dress well and look cute and so on. Of course, narcissism, along with being very hard to spell, is not like that at all, so the trait flies under the radar, it tends to go unrecognised.

Also, it does seem as if the last 100 years is quite unique, in that folk go the cinema and identify with the main protagonist, fuelling the whole narc phenomona (another hard word to spell). Sure, you get leading heroes in books, but I think cinema is a more potent drug. Only now is there the sense that to be a leading character you have to be screwed up on some level to compensate, like those new Marvel films, or Wolverine or something; there's that Lady GaGa thing going on. You wouldn't want to swap places with them. Until recently it was normal for the main guy to be some kind of supreme, flawless being, and you get to step into that role for two hours.

Ironically, two hours is about the correct amount of time for dealing with a narc. They can be charming characters for that time, but the sheer relentlessness of it wears you down after a while. And it is quite hard to build any kind of relationship with such a person. They simply cannot adapt themselves to another, they remain 'iconic', whereas a relationship means you evolve in relation to another person, they bring something out in you and vice versa.

The whole celeb culture that sprang up after World War II, along with a decline in community, helps bring about the narc attitude. It can also prompt a narc attitude in turn, after a while of this self-aborbed chatter you want to go to a quite place to reconnect with your own thoughts, thoughts which often enough involve you being the interviewee in a celeb talk show, or a movie star or something.

It is possible for narcissism to go hand in hand with other stuff however, the Dianne Athill book After a Funeral is required reading for those involved with neurotics, the kind who struggle to go along with anyone else (you find you always have to go along with them).

Pawprint Sat 07-Dec-13 16:42:41

I've known a few narcs - two ex-bosses and one ex-boyfriend. All of them sadistic, impulsive, selfish, egotistical, vain and bullying.

I confronted one boss and he was stunned that someone had actually stood up to him.

I left the other boss in the lurch after her behaviour became so bad I had no choice but to resign.

The boyfriend - left him after he told me I would never be important to him and I was just a 'convenience' to him. Charmer, eh?

garlicbaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 22:24:50

I probably shouldn't, mousey, but I laughed out loud at your imaginary drug habit! Classic!

wonderingagain Sat 07-Dec-13 22:59:49

I do that 'watch the clock' thing actually to protect myself when speaking to narcs. They don't let you get a word in edgeways and blame you of ranting and 'going on and on'. I check the clock and I usually get around 2 minutes before I get interjections and craziness.

peachysnail Sat 07-Dec-13 23:07:50

My dm has definite narcissistic tendencies. When I'm in a good mood I sometimes work out the ratio of a phone call eg she talks about herself for 11 mins and I tell about myself for 2 only to then be told, anyway back to ... Sometimes funny but actually makes me feel motherless at times

deepfriedsage Sat 07-Dec-13 23:12:24

Once you work out they are talking about themselves rather than others or you, it gets interesting.

wonderingagain Sat 07-Dec-13 23:18:52

Do people with bi-polar have a tendency to narcsm or is that different?

garlicbaubles Sat 07-Dec-13 23:35:37

Different ... though I know what you mean, I think. A bi-polar sufferer in the 'god complex' phase of mania behaves pretty much like a Narcissist. Plus, Narcs can have bi-polar too. That's quite an alarming thought.

CCTVmum Sun 08-Dec-13 02:59:05

Garlic this is the only type of thread I can really engage on within 'relationships'. It is an excellant post and your examples are clear to see.

Narcissism is more common with Antisocial Personality Disorder (aka Psychopath). A Psychopath with Narcassim is the most danderous of all Psychopaths as their conitious wanting to seek revenge and the fast rage they cannot control the impulse to attack which gets more violent in time.

My first experience of Narcissitic Rage I was 5 months pregnant.

My partner at the time was super amzing up to this point except I noticed he liked to control me and get annoyed if I did not ie answer his texts or emails striaght away or eat what he cooked for me, I was not allowed to use the telephone when he was home either to call family or friends. These all small red flags I could not see as swept off my feet up till this point.

It was gone midnight and I woke up and he was still on computer in other room on 3rd bottle of wine. He had to drive in less than 7 hours 40 miles to work. I grabbed the wine and poured it down the sink telling him his drinking was getting worse and he was risking everything drinking to excess.

He turned like a wild animal, his eyes I remember the most. This because he had lovely blue eyes, but they seemed to turn black! It was the pupils getting bigger I guess but his voice changed, he changed this once loving partner seethed hatred and he had his fist in my face screaming and he seamed to be getting bigger? Or I was shrinking in fear? He was dribbling as he screamed in my face. He never dribbled before and spitting in my face as he screamed right close. he seethed with evil? He threated to throw me down the stairs I was terrified for my unborn baby and I was silent trying to back off but darnt turn my back on him for fear of him attacking me suddenly.

He punched the wall full force and then locked himself in the room still screaming I heard a lot of banging in the room. I went back to bed shaken up! This was not the person I knew!

The next mornning he said he was suicidal and left. He never came back. His mask slipped and his true rage came out. I blamed myself for the split as he often said it was my fault. He accused me of having an affair all projection of his own affairs I only found out about after!

The blaming me for anything in his life going wrong had become a cognitive loop of Bad situation = my fault. He blamed me when he split with his wife (the one he met whilst I was pregnant). Blaming me was an easy way for ex to do something in revenge. I was an easy target on my own.

The first attack was when I was in hospital for 5 days after giving birth to my ds. I arrived home and found a dent in corner of front door where it opens. I brushed it off as kids doing it. It was only 6 years later when ex was attacking house on regular basis, one night at 4am in Febuary he tried to force the door open with I suspect a screw driver as he unscrewed letter box too trying to gain access. He forced the door in the exactly same spot when the door was damaged 6 years ago. You would not notice the small dent in tge corner of the door and with no lights etc most people would not 'hit the same spot' in the dark. It was only after this I realised he started his revenge attacks 3 years earlier to this. I had my doorbell ripped off and my car registration was ripped off another time all previous to this. I always thought it was kids! Also someone would ring me and not talk on the other end.

I still don't know if my ex is still around. The CCTV I was given by the law for mine and ds protection has limited his behaviours, which was stalking but .i stopped checking the CCTV as it was making me ill! I hope his ehaviours have changed but the research shows that they often for many years continue to stalk, threaten, intimidate victim they have vendetta against...all delusional and projection of blame! After all a Narc is never wrong!

AnandaTimeIn Sun 08-Dec-13 03:44:35

Lots of good info on this site...

ZingSweetPea Sun 08-Dec-13 04:22:52

interesting thread

Homebird8 Sun 08-Dec-13 05:02:57

Garlic, you mean all those things she said were about her?

Some days you get up as normal and the middle of the day holds a revelation. I'm pretty sure, from what I've read, in her case it was OCPD. It never occurred to me that the rages were a way to tell me about her. I already knew that they weren't about me when she seemed to be on a different planet with an altered version of events and reality.

Off now to cogitate on this new chain of thought. Thank you.

wonderingagain Sun 08-Dec-13 09:41:55

There are raging narcs the manic ones that talk AT you and there are quiet manipulative narcs, those that have a plan that has to go just so, and if anyone doesn't fit in with the plan they are manipulated out.

When the two come together it is interesting. I think I prefer the ragers, at least they are open about it.

roadwalker Sun 08-Dec-13 09:48:05

What do you think causes the person to be narcissistic?

garlicbaubles Sun 08-Dec-13 13:49:52

Roadwalker, there's now persuasive evidence that people with Personality Disorders have differently-configured brains from others. What isn't clear is whether this has happened as a result of their character style, or was genetic. Some studies have found possible gene switches for some PDs. The same switches, however, are found in people with 'normal' personalities. It's likely to be a combination of nature + nurture or, rather, the wrong kind of 'nurture'. Incidence of childhood trauma is very high. When you think about it, parents with a genetic predisposition to a certain type of PD are more likely to give their own children a disordered upbringing, so the two factors are liable to go hand in hand.

and treatments

Some links about causes

garlicbaubles Sun 08-Dec-13 13:50:39

Sorry, I messed up the first link - Basics & treatments]].

garlicbaubles Sun 08-Dec-13 13:51:05
garlicbaubles Sun 08-Dec-13 14:11:26

XH2 had a very reticent mother - nice, but uncommunicative. I think she might have Asperger's. His dad, by contrast, was a life-and-soul party-going type. By the time I met him, FIL was terminally ill, though still very jolly. Apparently there had been a lot of rows in XH2's childhood, when his dad would stay out late drinking. XH2 had gone to boarding school from 8-13. No-one in the family ever referred to this, and he didn't tell me anything except some stuff about difficulty making friends when he returned home to day school. As a teenager and young man, he engaged in a lot of thievery - some of it serious - and other risky activities.

As soon as we got married (I mean from our wedding day!) he started acting like a man who just wanted to get away from a controlling wife. He lied about where he was, what he was doing while out, and went crazy when I asked him for details. It took me about a year to grasp what he was doing - he started the rows by kicking off about my questions, then I'd try to defend myself and ask why he was so reluctant to let me in on his life. I remember saying, often, that he seemed to be married to some other wife, but I ended up behaving like the suspicious and insecure woman he'd cast for me. The only way I could get him to divorce was by letting him petition me for my controlling, snooping ways hmm

Since then, I've seen Mumsnetters say the same kind of thing in their threads - "It's like he can't see the real me, only this other person he thinks I am." Now I know they are exactly right: their partners can't see the real them, because they're actually incapable of it.

CCTV, it's lovely to see you on this thread! YYY to all you wrote shock XH1 used to do the black eyes thing. XH2 had bright blue eyes and, when he was about to rage, the pupils would shrink to pinpoints so I was looking at blank blue plates, then enlarge as he got into full rant.

garlicbaubles Sun 08-Dec-13 14:20:51

Oh, I meant to add this important thing about XH2 and his not very suspicious wife. After gaining enough distance, I was able to look back on some events that had seemed like amazing coincidences at the time ... and realised that he followed me! He was accusing me of being insecure, controlling and suspicious, where in fact he didn't trust me, to the extent that he'd been stalking me. Projection. Weird.

CCTVmum Sun 08-Dec-13 22:53:04

Hi Garlic[waves] hehe the paranoia a Narc has thinking you would do what they would and theirfore ie if stalking you then believes you are stalking them.

For me projection was the biggest symptom. Ex reported me to Social Services when ds was 3 yrs old. From 6 yrs old when ds could talk he started to disclose the physical abuse from the pigsad

I was labelled by ex as the one having the affair when it was him.

Gas lighting was another biggie. When he had the narc rages and would attack the house he would plan to do it when no one was at home only me and ds. Considering ds had tutors 6 days a week at home he must have done a lot of stalking to emsure they were not their! After the 15th attack he started to get a bit covky as he made mistakes and was spotted on several occassions by the tutotrs.

Considering most people would think it and calm down and then not carry out an act of violence...ex wiuld travel 12 hours to get to my home to attack. Normal people would have turned back after 2 hours but no his rage and impulse to attack was to great!

Life is an act for ex he doesnt let his super charming persona slip unless you piss him off and then he is unforgiving forever and revengeful for how long I dont know but hope he has moved on or forgiven me for how he feels about meconfused

Lack of eye contact with the mother stops synapses developing n the brain. Their mothers have a lot to answer for re nurture and their df nature/gene. It can go either way but if nature and nurture both bad then it isnt a good outcome.

Theoldhag Sun 08-Dec-13 23:04:23

My poor brother was married to one, he says in hindsight he should have known as many symptoms she exhibited such as cycling of friendships, not having anything good to say about her family, alienating him from his family, not taking any responsibility for her actions (ie the fault always lays at another's feet), created drama in order to be centre of attention. He is learning post separation how to best deal with her, it has been a long hard slog for him and their son. He finds by not engaging, only communicating when it pertains to their child and then keeping that short and sweet. I'd say it has taken him a good couple of years to get to the point where her actions do not hurt him, he has I am proud to say been amazingly cordial towards her.

deepfriedsage Sun 08-Dec-13 23:37:50

One thing I note from these types of threads is all the focus on the narc people. One thing I wanted to look at was why was a narc interested in me. I went to see a psychologist, I didn't get any answers as part way through I got dc with a plethora of physical health conditions, now I have my answers. If your not ill, then there must be something going on with you too? I have a neurological condition which gives brain fog as a symptom which makes gaslighting easy, I don't understand why a rational, well person would get involved in that? Even ill as I was I knew things weren't right, if I had a fully functional brain I would have run forthe hills.

wonderingagain Sun 08-Dec-13 23:58:33

I met someone the other day who told me he always ended up with bi-polar women - when he described them they sounded just like narcs. I know other men who regularly ended up in relationships with narcs too, and the ones I've met are diagnosed as bi-polar but nearly always manic and hugely narcissistic. Narcissistic to the point of not looking after their children properly because life is all about them.

I don't understand why people put up with it tbh and it's not helpful to the ill person either. If I went loopy loo I would want people to tell me about it, not smile and pretend everything's normal. I think the response to a narc should be to get them to see perspective.

I do think the psychoanalysis thing doesn't help a narc either. Spending years blaming other people for your problems, enabled by a professional who never contradicts. I think it's the psychosis of the slightly privileged.

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 00:03:50

I agree, sage. My case was perfectly ordinary - disordered parents, abuse, resultant adaptation to PD relationships and no idea of how 'normal' ones work. I've spent 13 years - so far! - filling in the gaps left by my childhood, and overwriting the lessons learned from my birth family. My (now extensive) experience is that this is nearly always the case.

Yours sounds unusual, and I can certainly see how such a condition could make you vulnerable. That said, many like me end up with neurological symptoms from long-term PTSD, particularly certain types of hyper-vigilance ... our perceptions aren't 'normal' and probably never will be.

Plenty of emotionally sound people from sane, well-balanced families get drawn in too. Like any other loving person, they make allowances and continue to expect the best from their 'eccentric' partner. I think that having come from a dysfunctional family can make us hang in longer & try harder. But even Ms Sensible's values can be altered by a persistent sociopath, nothing having prepared her for the weirdness.

wonderingagain Mon 09-Dec-13 00:15:12

I asked this man why he got involved with one particular woman, who he said was a bit wild and a heroin addict - he said 'I just really fancied her'.


garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 00:17:06

I'd certainly dispute your 'slightly privileged' remark, wa - you can't have hung around as many sink estates as I have grin It's true that most Narcs can easily fool most psychotherapists, not least because a lot of psychiatrists & psychologist are very narcissistic. I believe there are some practitioners who can fix some Narcs. Most will never seek treatment, anyway, as they're perfect; it's everyone else who's wrong!

You can't get a sociopath to "see perspective", that's the nature of the problem. By mixing up bi-polar with personality disorders, you're potentially offending a lot of people with various diagnoses. Some conditions, like bi-polar, can show grandiosity as a symptom. Some are characterised by it; these are not cases of "going loopy-loo", they are permanent states.

NearTheWindmill Mon 09-Dec-13 00:20:53

. I will come back.

Mellowandfruitful Mon 09-Dec-13 00:35:43

Don't have time to post much now but this is a very interesting thread. Makes me think of a particular relative of mine. And for them it's everyone else who is wrong. They are never, ever wrong; they are, oddly enough, continually wronged by other people while being blameless themselves.

deepfriedsage Mon 09-Dec-13 00:56:35

We'll the expert in the primary condition said officially 1 in 5000-15000 has it, he thinks the number is more likely 1 in 100 and 75% have the associated secondary conditions, so maybe not that unusual that the 1 in 10 group found me.

I am left tonight questioning the dm linked thread. A man knew his personality disordered dp ten years had a child, now is whining about contact, and false allegations, just allegations unproven in court. I wonder if he had a psychiatric evaluation too?

CCTVmum Mon 09-Dec-13 00:57:59

I saw an advert up explaining this situation it read like a dating advert something like

Male seeks attractive, intelligent, independant female with own home, excellant career, close family and lots of friends. I will treat you like a goddess, and swipe you off your feet until you have fallen for me. Then my challenge begins. I will break your self confidence isolate you from friends and family, drain you emotionally and finacially and drain the last drop of self esteem out of you. When I have gotten everything I will drop you like a flick of a switch all my feelings turned off cold and move on for my next challenge.

A clever psychopath can convince the most experienced psychiatrists...from Dr Bob aka Psychopathic checklist!

The gaslighting, aggression, and projection started after the relationship ended in my case...although yes I did misread the control for wow why is he so intense? silly me thought it was original and yep swept with the speed of everything...hed pratically moved in after 4 weeks wanting to be with me all the time! My blame was being swept off my feet so fast I never had time to stop and think!

I had never been in a relationship before with anyone who was like this. I had nothing to compare it too. Maybe he saw my vulnerability of inexperience of this type of person? Who knows?

I know the flags to well now! Shame it was not earlier or bumped into Garlic back then!

wonderingagain Mon 09-Dec-13 00:59:31

OK so there's narc and bi-polar and they are different things, sorry if I've offended anyone, I haven't a clue about bi-polar other than personal experience and the only women I know that have it consistently display narcissistic behaviour.

Garlic I'm not sure what you mean by 'persistent state' as mental illness is rarely persistent. It's a state that the patients can't actually change themselves, obviously - is that what you mean? Narcissistic isn't always a personality disorder - there is one, but as you said it's a trait or a symptom.

I think it's (NPD) the symptom of someone who was never heard or never felt listened to - someone who has no understanding of the impact their behaviour or their words have because their words were always ignored. Perhaps that's why I persist with responding and reacting to these people.

For example - I met a schizophrenic (outdated label?) today, I have known her for years. I told her she should give up smoking, she laughed. I told her I will always tell her to give up smoking because I care. She knows this and it is quite funny, she has a wicked sense of humour and we always have a laugh. I know that she will never give up smoking but I think she needs to see that other people notice that she's destroying herself and are prepared to put themselves out for her. This is what I mean by showing people perspective. I remember being told once that the worst thing you can do with people who are mentally ill is change your own behaviour.

MummyBeerestCupOfCheerest Mon 09-Dec-13 01:44:36

Im fairly certain that narcissism is like brown eyes in my family. ..everyone has it.

I have been advised by counselors not to have prolonged contact with them as their rage is inevitable and has caused me a great deal of anxiety.

Now that I have a daughter, I refuse to take chances.

Question-are you a narcissist if you're worried you are one?

sporktacular Mon 09-Dec-13 01:56:00

Marking place, thanks for OP. This affects me in ways that I may or may not choose to share later... but sure helps to hear others discussing it in ways that I can relate to, thanks!

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 02:36:52

Personality Disorders are not mental illnesses, wa. They are unusually rigid personality styles. I have carefully avoided using labels like NPD, partly because they're outdated and also because we're discussing a spectrum of disorders rather than a strict pathology.

Narcissism is a normal, healthy & necessary trait in humans (all primates.) Disordered, it takes self-importance to extremes, seeing other people as tools or toys. In my childhood, people with this kind of disorder were called megalomaniacs, egotists, or said to have a superiority complex. I don't suppose it matters which terms are in current use; people with such character limitations have been recognised throughout history, in every culture.

Question-are you a narcissist if you're worried you are one? - Ooh, MummyBeerest, I bet we've all asked that question! I don't know how to answer it, but am pretty sure the self-doubt & empathy involved in the asking mean that you're not. Being the only non-Narc in the family would be incredibly painful. How are you coping with the fallout?

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 02:37:39

smile Hope to see you later, spork.

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 02:50:15

Your 'dating advert' sums it up pretty well, CCTV sad

I think part of the appeal is the underlying sadness - would you agree? You have this person who's wild about you, seems to really get you (thanks to all the mirroring,) physically and emotionally ... and you sense this loneliness/sadness within them. "I can fix that!" you think ... big mistake.

MummyBeerestCupOfCheerest Mon 09-Dec-13 05:59:52

It's. ..not awesome.

I honestly feel like I'm taking crazy pills. I know their dynamics aren't healthy and yet, when they tell me that it's all me fault things are a mess, I feel like the majority can't be wrong.

And, if I'm being totally honest, sometimes the lack of dysfunction gets lonely. Chaos is all I know. SometimesI need tthe absurdity and hysterics in order to make sense of things. Taking to normal, non-judgemental people leaves too much room for interpretation. Whereas with the craziness, I know what's right and what's wrong. Functional people with objective points of view leave me with a seeming grey matter.

Wow, tangent. ..sorry all. blush

amazingness Mon 09-Dec-13 06:40:42

Marking place - mother is a narc. Intelligent thread, thanks Garlic

castlesintheair Mon 09-Dec-13 09:30:52

MummyBeerest, I have been thinking similar thoughts all weekend. The last member of my family who was on my side so to speak has turned. I haven't been in contact with her for 3 years then got an email at the weekend. In my mind I have been chronicling my soundness but a little voice has been asking me, "Can everyone else be wrong?"

I am so pleased to have found this thread. I hope it helps bring me back from planet irrational where I have been orbiting this weekend. Thank you Garlic for starting it.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 09-Dec-13 09:41:05

My teenage daughter is a narc. Like her dad who I've divorced now. It's awful. But how can you go no-contact with your own child?

FrauMoose Mon 09-Dec-13 09:50:39

This thread seems to be about the 'other' people, usually men, who get angry.

I get enraged and distressed and say upsetting things to my partner. Surely I'm not the only woman who does this

Like most people he does irritating and daft things sometimes, while being an essentially decent person. I had a 'rage episode' on Saturday, and have been trying to work out why.

He'd messed up something I had asked him to do. I had been working for the first part of the day, in a role where I need to be polite and customer focused. The task I'd asked him to do was about buying a Christmas present for my mother. I have a deteriorating relationship for my mother and childhood Christmases hold many bad memories. My husband is on the threshold of retirement which means a lot of changes in our relationship and also in our finances. There is strain to do with looking after his increasingly daft/forgetful/demented father in law.

For me the combination of stress in the present, and triggers that bring up a very unhappy past can bring about these outbreaks of huge anger.

However I'm really not sure that a trip to the GP - or placing some 'label' on myself - would do an awful lot to help.

but a little voice has been asking me, "Can everyone else be wrong?"

I used to ask myself this constantly. Until reading different threads on here and taking some time out from my family (6 months NC last year) made me see that it was all orchestrated by my mother.

My grandmother died when my aunt was 12, and my mother being 7 years older and having a family of her own, became a second mother. This dynamic has created a monster in my mother. Its now All About Her and my aunt would hate to let her down. I used to be the same until I had my own kids and realised there was a different way to parent.

But having two women and their husbands tell me its me, its my fault, I should be more polite, I should think of others, I should forgive and forget for the sake of the kids, I did start to doubt.

Now I just let them get on with their little drama. I don't play the part she wants me to anymore, but she is more subtle in her manipulation now, I think she is scared she will tip me into NC again.

I don't even know if this post makes sense. But its the best way I know how to describe it. Very insightful thread!

castlesintheair Mon 09-Dec-13 10:43:15

Thank you wannabe. That makes perfect sense to me. I have been NC for 3 years with my narc mother and the rest of my dysfunctional family. 6 years with my "golden child" sibling (his wife's decision certainly not mine). Recently I have been thinking about getting in contact. DH had a long talk with me at the weekend (where would I be without him and MN?) and wisely said "Just because it's Christmas don't do anything stupid". I will keep reading.

wonderingagain Mon 09-Dec-13 10:46:17

My mother labelled my brother as being a narc/egotist/megalomaniac. He so wasn't. He was completely misunderstood. I won't go into it now though.

I do think that accusing someone else of being a narc (where there is a relationship) is sometimes a symptom of being one. Questioning whether you are a narc is the opposite and indicates healthy self-reflection as you say Garlic.

I also don't believe that people are born narcissistic and it tends to be a result of rejection in childhood etc. You do see children sometimes who are self-absorbed and lack empathy - or sometimes over-confident and showy offy - but I don't believe that needs to turn into narc behaviour. I tend to see narcissistic behaviour as abusive behaviour, where it turns into acts of emotional harm in order to maintain the narc's control of their fragile constructed world. That can be prevented in childhood through love and acceptance.

A friend of mine has an actress daughter. From the age of 3 she wanted to sing, dance, perform. No reason behind it, her Mum was just bemused and surprised and went along with it. Her daughter is happy and acting and completely normal and lovely however if she had been seen as a child as narcissistic or egotistical it would have damaged her. Acting is often seen as the ultimate egotistical career when it actually involves a huge amount of empathy and humility.

I am very interested in bi-polar and narc traits within that as I have some people like that encroaching on my life and need to know how to deal with them. Perhaps that's another thread though.

Yes castles, I agree with your DH. And I also find that its my DP who I turn to for reassurance that what they are telling me is the opposite of the truth.

I made contact again after DD2 was born. I was emotional and hormonal. Somedays I think maybe I shouldn't have, but here were are and I am coping. Just. I found that after being NC my mother wanted to know why I did it, but she didn't ask directly, and she is still of the opinion that I am too dramatic and too self obsessed and that none of it could possibly be her fault. I have asked others if I am these things and I am assured I am not.

3 years is a long time, long enough to dilute their behaviours in your head, for you to think it wasn't that bad. But you wouldn't have taken the drastic step to go nc if it wasn't bad!

BertieBowtiesAreCool Mon 09-Dec-13 11:50:48

The eye thing is so creepy, I can't describe what happened with XP's eyes as it wasn't as obvious as the pupils shrinking or enlarging but he would just stare, as though he couldn't focus, as though there was a literal red mist clouding his view. It was terrifying and I once came into contact with a group of women who had met in a refuge and every one of them shuddered at the mention of the eyes because they had all experienced it.

wonderingagain Mon 09-Dec-13 12:51:52

OK I've read up about bipolar and narcissism, it seems my friend has both, as a result of (I think) having mental health problems very young. She has developed NPD as a way to deal with the responses to her illness. In those days, MH treatment was fairly dire and the attitude to it was even worse. It is likely that her family and friends rejected her and narcissism is her defence mechanism. The bipolar is ongoing and she is manic most of the time, exacerbated by the NPD.

WynkenBlynkenandNod Mon 09-Dec-13 13:18:54

My Mum claims my Dad is narcissistic and had a long list of things he is supposed to have done which I think now with the benefit of hindsight is pretty much a load of rubbish. It's only now I've realised that I've told Dad what she said and heard the other side. It's been hard for both of us but we have a much more honest relationship after all these years and cutting out my Mum's influence.

Now she has developed Dementia so a lot of the symptoms she shows are vastly exacerbated by that. My Brother is the Golden Child in his own words. I feel i am the scapegoat. There was a big falling out this summer and we're only just restablishing contact. It seems she has been playing each other off for years but it's taken outsiders to notice.

When it all went wrong this summer Mum thought I was evil, plotting against her and didn't want me involved in her care. My Brothet said he no longer considered me to be his sister, that I only had my Best Interests at heart, was financially motivated, sacked me and said he was cutting DH down to two days a week. I'm delighted to see the back of 2013 shortly and will never put myself back in that position .

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 13:45:14

You found a good article there, wa smile Glad it helped.

Moose, I've stopped raging (except if I need to do it on purpose!) but I used to. It didn't mean my emotional range was abnormally limited, it was a learned response from my background. Having learned maladaptive responses growing up, I naturally gravitated to other maladapted people - so rage was a normal part of my life. It took one week of therapy to lose it for good!

It's clear you're going through an exceptionally stressful time; it's not surprising you feel like exploding. This must be very hurtful to your husband, though. Also - and this is important - rage is a loss of consciousness, in a way. It's a hell of a lot more useful to get properly in touch with your feelings, so you can express them more clearly and work towards solutions instead of causing a stand-off. How would you feel about that?

Wynken, it's horrid when you're forced to recognise the depth of dysfunction in your birth family. Did you get some support on here?

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 13:53:40

sometimes the lack of dysfunction gets lonely. Chaos is all I know. - Hah, MummyBeerest, I really recognise that! I haven't yet fixed my tendency to create chaos, all by myself, in my own life blush I'm also addicted to East Enders, which was a conscious decision to experience some of the relationships drama in a safe way!!

In phases where I succeed in doing things appropriately, on time, crisis-free ... I absolutely love it. I'm happy. This should serve as a reminder to myself: more of that, please, Me!

hiddenhome Mon 09-Dec-13 16:34:37

My ex partner is narcissistic.

He went into a meltdown when I told him I hated him and wanted rid. He just couldn't comprehend that I could possibly feel that way about him shock He turned everything round and blamed me. The more he went on, the more I realised he was actually ranting about his own faults, so I got quite a good insight into the workings of his mind.

He would try to wear me down by ranting and raving for hours on end. Sometimes, he'd wake me up and rant at me. He tried and tried to wear me down, but I had plenty of experience dealing with personality disordered people because my mother is a diagnosed psychopath (very nasty one) and I managed to deal with ex partner pretty effectively really. My mind and ego remained intact - although I was a bit emotionally battered and bruised from it all.

He tried to run rings round me in court over our ds, but I'm cleverer than him and I turned it on its head and he ended up with the worse deal tbh.

AMyrryChristmasToAllMumsnet (MNHQ) Mon 09-Dec-13 17:18:13

Hi everyone,

Thanks for your reports. We understand this thread is a helpful discussion for many people, but we do feel that negatively generalising about people with mental health diagnoses is disablist.

We're happy for people to share their own personal relationships and experiences with people with personality disorders, but we ask that you could steer clear of suggesting that everyone with a certain type of disorder will behave in exactly the same way.


Golddigger Mon 09-Dec-13 17:53:14

I hope it is ok for me to post on this thread, as I have just mere curiosity?
NotSuchASmugMarriedNow. Do you think that your teenage daughter was born being a narc? And at what age did you suspect that she might be?
Your question about going no contact has been bothering me all day. I dont have the answer. What is her realationship like with you?
Dont answer any of this lot if you dont want to.

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 18:01:49

Thank you for your tactful title edit, MNHQ smile

spanky2 Mon 09-Dec-13 19:28:57

Mouseymummy your story is very like my mum with ds2. She was openly aggressive to him. We are now nc .

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 09-Dec-13 21:28:37

Golddigger. I think I noticed when she was around 4 years of age. But back then, I couldn't have named it. I just put it down to a forceful personality. she is a twin and her twin is totally different so yes, I do think it's genetic, not nurture.

It was only about 2 years ago that I realised what she was and it scares the fucking crap out of me sad because it's exactly why I divorced her abusive father. My relationship with her is awful, her siblings don't like her much either.

Shes obsessed with me. Well, all my failings anyway, and anything I purchase for myself. Wish she would focus on herself. Always reporting me to the police and social services for the most minor demeanors. Once even totally fabricated a story.

margerybruce Mon 09-Dec-13 21:35:21

What an odd edit MNHQ

Personality Disorders by their very nature are classified by the BEHAVIOUR of the person who is unfortunate enough to be suffering from one (or more).

The different types of PD are grouped into Clusters dependent on the BEHAVIOUR of the sufferer.

PDed people obviously don't all act in EXACTLY the same way - but their patterns of fixed behaviour are remarkably similar within each disorder - hence how they are diagnosed.

I have extensive personal knowledge of PDed people and I can tell you they all fit into one or more BEHAVIOUR patterns described in the following link -

Describing these behaviours is not disablist - it's fact.

In fact it is possible to predict exactly how these people will behave in situations BECAUSE THEY HAVE FIXED PERSONALITIES - which is what a personality disorder is!

It is difficult if not impossible to change these people or treat then - despite what some would have you believe - indeed the current way is to elicit sympathy for the sufferer of the PD - when actually the people needing all the sympathy are the real sufferers - the people who have to deal with the PDed person.

Some of us have been driven to suicidal attempts and had our lives ruined by PDed people - so don't come and tell us we are disablist.

Disclaimer - in no way does the above apply to BPD.

Golddigger Mon 09-Dec-13 21:36:56

whoa. So sorry. That was even a more difficult answer than I was expecting. I wish I knew the answer.

From your daughter's point of view, it probably doesnt help that she has a twin. If they are anything like my twins, they can be competitive and compare themselves to each other. Still do even though they are old enough to work and live many miles apart from each other.

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 21:59:47

Thanks for that, margery. There was a badly-chosen word in my title, which I assume prompted the report(s). But, yes, the whole point of PDs is that they are limited, predictable patterns of thought, feeling & behaviour. While no two individuals are exactly the same, two sufferers of the same PD display the same abnormalities - that's how the disorders are identified, if they ever go for diagnosis - and they ALL feature emotional dysregulation, with associated rage. Some PDs are more amenable to treatment than others.

I would no more apologise for saying this than for saying all hypothyroid people get tired a lot.

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 22:03:08

NotSuch, how incredibly sad for you. I'm sorry too.

NotSuchASmugMarriedNow Mon 09-Dec-13 22:17:52

That you garlicbaubles. I have developed a sort of coping strategy whereby I have detached emotionally and try not to spend too many hours with her and it kind of just goes smoothly whilst I do that.

It is sad, yes, but there are limits to what I can do so I need to try to understand the condition which is why I hone in on threads like these.

SimLondon Mon 09-Dec-13 22:32:23

Wow interesting and at times scary thread. I believe my mother is Narcissistic - but on top of that and not so long ago she was sectioned, not for being narcissistic - but for severe paranoid delusions with anxiety, sectioning really was a last resort. But the narcissism was never really considered during this process so I'm guessing it's not treated as a mental health problem? It's difficult for me to understand.

garlicbaubles Mon 09-Dec-13 23:14:58

That must have been frightening for all concerned, Sim. Is she always exceptionally paranoid or suspicious, or was this a blip? There is a paranoid personality disorder and, if your mother's long-term behaviours seem to fit that description, it could be worth telling her doctor about it. (If she has it, of course, she'll suspect your motives but there are some treatments that might make her life feel more manageable.)

I don't know what's up with my mother - she seems either narcissistic or histrionic, and she does rage uncontrollably - but we have a better relationship now, following some very tough boundary setting. The hardest part, for me, was letting go of the idea of "my mother" and coming to terms with the woman she is. It's been a weird process.

Garlicbaubles dear, how are you?

Cleorapter Mon 09-Dec-13 23:26:48

One of my mother's best narcissistic rants consisted of telling me about all the bad things 'I had done to her' all lies, but I sat there and listened to her go on I realised everything she was saying was about herself. She was describing her own personality while trying to Assassinate my character. It was quite jaw dropping. Since then I have completely disengaged from everything she says to me. And have the phrase running through my head 'projection is perception!'

I was the scapegoat of the family, massively. And would be bullied by everyone else as they all agreed with what she said (anything to not be the object of her wrath I suppose) I could never have a birthday without her ruining it or not even acknowledging it. Days out I had planned she would cause arguments and make sure I either couldn't go or if I did I would turn up with a puffy face from all the crying. Both of my daughter's births she destroyed by causing arguments and worse.

Narcs are such a delight aren't they?

SimLondon Mon 09-Dec-13 23:37:28

Thank-you Garlic, in terms of my mothers illness it was the 'delusions' that was the main problem in terms of why she was sectioned but that was after several months of the crisis teams working intensively with her.

Garlic is truly amazingly insightful.

She never gets cross or nothing.

Garlic, are you ok love?

The Compassion thing ended on a bum note and you flounced.

Sorry to see you still trying to analyse the Narc stuff and hope you can find peace.

MummyBeerestCupOfCheerest Tue 10-Dec-13 00:17:43

"Projection is perception."

I'd like that embroided on a pillow.

It took me years of therapy and several different counselors to conclude that not everything my mother thought of me was true. Or rather, what she told me she'd thought of me at the time.

I really had a turning point once I had my DD. I didn't want her to feel the way I did as a child. Then I came to realize that in order to save her from it, I had to protect myself too.

We have ver

MummyBeerestCupOfCheerest Tue 10-Dec-13 00:19:46

Shit, sorry...

We have very little contact now. She knows why, I'm sure. But she pretends not to. All of a sudden she's this loving martyr woman who's being pushed away by her daughter.

wonderingagain Tue 10-Dec-13 00:19:55

Wynken I am in a similar position to you. Looking back, DM has always set us up against each other. I had been told for years that DB had been given lots of money over the years. Following my father's death we had a talk and it turns out he had been told the same about me. We worked it out to be a few hundred quid - and I had actually given them more money than I had taken! But now the golden boy trap has been set and he is enjoying basking in DM's newfound 'respect' of him (given him access to her bank account, thereby taking on role of DF). He is again quite content to see me as the trouble maker and ensure I am distanced from the family.

It's sad because she is generally a very kind person, sympathetic, wise, understanding of children etc. But she doesn't seem to like the thought that we get along fine without her. It's really as though she doesn't trust me - and only trusts him because she knows he will always agree with her. I've never thought of her as narcissistic because although she looks after herself well, she does not seek adoration or attention. She has just never managed to accept any kind of humility or vulnerability - she has to be on top, in charge and in control.

She had the most traumatic childhood you can imagine so there is reason for her behaviour, but it's extremely hard to find out after so many years that she has almost no understanding of or sympathy towards her own children.

bunchoffives Tue 10-Dec-13 00:19:59

Describing these behaviours is not disablist - it's fact.

In fact it is possible to predict exactly how these people will behave in situations BECAUSE THEY HAVE FIXED PERSONALITIES - which is what a personality disorder is!

I'm not sure I'd go along with this Margery - the MIND link you posted says that some psychiatrists don't accept the validity of diagnoses of personality disorders not just because they are potentially unhelpful and stigmatising (like labels such as 'schizophrenia'), but also because they are quite subjective assessments and possibly exist on a spectrum from acute to tendency (normative)?

I think these sorts of behaviours are very confusing. I grew up in a dysfunctional family, full of daily dramas and histrionics. They leave you in a sort of adrenaline-addictive state that you have to 'come down' from when you try to establish a different dynamic. They also become very familiar and the 'default' behaviour when under extreme stress. It's very very hard to shake off dysfunctional behaviours learnt at your mother's or father's knee.

I'm not sure where I'm going with my post, except to say your initial OP is a very interesting way of regarding a histrionic outburst/rage, garlic and will certainly be helpful in achieving some detachment I think smile

wonderingagain Tue 10-Dec-13 00:27:06

I think sometimes it helps to read about normal healthy relationships, check in on how other families function. In the same way that it's helpful to read about what a normal relationship is with a man if yours is abusive, it's probably good to read about what healthy parent / sibling relationships are like.

bunchoffives Tue 10-Dec-13 00:30:53

Where would you find that sort of info Wondering?

Jackthebodiless Tue 10-Dec-13 00:34:58

Just spent a week with my narc relative, the longest I've spent with her in years. The comments started gradually then built up as she got no reaction. Criticised my hair, shape, weight, surname (??) and wrinkles - she's 20 years older and twice as big and wrinkly as me. A couple of my more perceptive friends both said, "she's projecting".
This is a very very interesting thread, garlic, thank you.
PS I finally blew up on the last day!

garlicbaubles Tue 10-Dec-13 00:44:23

Good to hear it, thanks! I think we need to use the labels as invaluable ANTHROPOLOGICAL tools. They describe dysfunctionally rigid character types, which have been known & recognised throughout history, with greater accuracy than ever before. It really doesn't matter what a specialist would say if diagnosing the people we call Narcs, OCPD, or whatever; the point is that we can clearly identify the behaviours. Perhaps, with that, we might go some little way further to understanding them and also their impact on us. We won't get anywhere if we can't name them.

I really empathise with what you said about your dramatic family, bunchoffives. I do find myself feeling at sea sometimes: I want a stable, minimum-fuss, emotionally honest life but still haven't got all the tools for it, psychologically speaking. Otoh I loathe being around my siblings when they act out and am 100% sure I ain't going back that way! I'll get somewhere in the end wink And, if nothing else, I am fantastic in a crisis!

I'm OK, thanks, UA.

Jackthebodiless Tue 10-Dec-13 01:01:24

My narc is the opposite of what wondering said about not being listened to. She was the youngest of a very large family and totally ruined and over-indulged by all of them plus two husbands. I've always thought this could be the reason for her NPD but am not an expert so could be wrong.

garlicbaubles Tue 10-Dec-13 01:40:07

Afaik, most experts think the spoiled child is most likely to become narcissistic. If they're the golden child of a pd parent, they'll have had the particular pleasure of being abused with favouritism. That must leave any kid feeling confused about who they are.

wonderingagain Tue 10-Dec-13 08:28:37

I find it very sad that the 'favourite' is blamed for things quite a lot - when as children they feel their sibling's neglect or abuse and suffer from witnessing that. They play the parent's narc game out of fear of ending up like the less favoured sib.

In my case it all came back as DM got older and felt more vulnerable. It is an interesting time.

margerybruce Tue 10-Dec-13 08:33:57

bunchoffives- the way to shake it off is to go and have psychotherapy for years.

I play a little game with my PDers - just to test them now and again - first to make sure that I wasn't imagining it all - and second to make sure they really are predictable.

I say or do something and predict their reaction to it - in other words I predict their behaviour. It never fails.

The new thinking would probably say I am being cruel to the poor defenceless souls and we should all feel sorry for them. But I went and did something about my sanity and behaviour so that I don't upset others and repeat shocking parenting I was subjected to.

They never have. They all just carry on their merry ways and their fixed thinking, projecting all their inner conflict onto me.

The psychotherapy I had put me in groups with some PDed people - they even disrupted those groups.

Anyway - to answer the OP re narc rages - the biggest one I have witnessed is my exH who started raging the day I left him and is till raging now nearly seven years later. This manifests itself mainly through dragging me through very expensive court cases and not speaking to one of our children. Pathetic.

wonderingagain Tue 10-Dec-13 09:17:48

Margery - that's a good trick, to test them. When I'm being blamed for stuff or gaslighted in the family that's exactly what I suggest to others - to test the narc that's blaming me and turning sibs against me in order to see whether I'm really at fault in the problem.

Of course this is preceded by lots of self-doubt and thinking I've surely done or said the wrong thing.

Like the 'watch the clock' trick it really helps to give you confidence about your own thoughts and behaviour - although that is more useful with the manic phases of bipolar. The narcs in my own experience have never raged, just carefully manipulated or excluded/ignored and then gaslighted when I have responded to that. This is when it becomes tricky to see who is the perpetrator and who is the victim.

Meerka Tue 10-Dec-13 09:28:48

The trouble is that there's a lot of amateur diagnoses go on and there's a lot of (very understandable) dislike.

That dislike comes over rather strongly in some cases.

I'm glad Mumsnet just gently nudged things into at least some sort of neutrality.

Meerka Tue 10-Dec-13 09:48:04

By definition, people with any diagnosis have a number of traits or similarities in common, no matter the diagnosis.

But that doesn't alter the fact that it's better to respond to an individual as an individual and not as one of a mass diagnosis. There's a great deal of variation in even diagnoses of PD, and a great deal of variation in prognosis.

Mostly change comes about if the people have the -will- for it. Sadly lacking in some cases, not in others.

SaucyJack Tue 10-Dec-13 10:45:33

I have an acquaintance (NOT friend) who is a textbook extrovert narc.

She will literally talk at you for hours about herself and her wonderful body, and her interests and imagined achievements (she's long-term unemployed but considers herself to be a professional artist), and her plans for her future.

If and when she ever runs out things to say about herself, she will turn the conversation to you but she will start telling you things (her perceptions) about yourself instead of allowing you to talk.

She's also incredibly jealous and paranoid to the point of borderline psychosis, and will respond with aggression if she feels threatened.

JugglingUnwiselyWithBaubles Tue 10-Dec-13 10:57:56

Thanks for this thread garlic
- There are several people in my life that this relates too, DH is the one who has affected me the most, closely followed by DF throughout childhood. DM as well finds it hard to really listen to others experiences and views - talks a lot about her/their stuff.
DH recently seems to have made some improvements I'm glad to say, and I can see there's a clear link to stressful situations.
Your post has made me see more clearly why this might be the case ...
Things not going according to their script ....
That's something of a light-bulb moment for me so thanks for that thanks

wonderingagain Tue 10-Dec-13 12:05:22

Ah, the artist. I used to maintain that you have to have a big ego to be an artist - you have to be able to put your needs/desires before everything else. You can't have self-doubt and lack of confidence. Until I learned to draw and paint and it's like anything else - if you don't have self-doubt you can't learn and you certainly can't reflect.

I do however think we need to make allowances for creatives, even the narc ones - if everyone was behaviourally perfect the world would be very dull.

ProfessorDent Tue 10-Dec-13 13:11:26

Bloody hell, that's mad. Of course not all narcs are like that on the spectrum. Some can just be noisy drum.

It's odd, I did know a guy who was a paranoid schitzophrenic. He had pills for it and seemed a nice middle class lad, you didn't want to be prejudiced. But one you settled into the friendship, boy, he did not stop talking. It is hard to call out, as in a way you can go along with it, there are no akward silences. It seems okay but it drains you. He too had that thing however when a new person would appear on the scene, he would drop this eccentric behaviour and be quite urbane. If anything, he would try to make out like YOU were the fool, you would be wrongfooted. Like, you were watching his back and he would stick a knife in yours. There is a film called The Servant which seemed appropriate to me at the time, I have to say I wasn't aware of the whole narc thing, and perhaps one should be wary of creating links, I mean at the time I attributed it in part to his starsign, as the relationship seemed similar to that of another guy with a similar sign.

He had this little boy lost schtick, so you wanted to be a good bloke and help him. Later it kind of shocked me, he simply would not take any advice you gave him, he would get quite petulant. You got conned because, listening to his problems ad nauseum you falsely felt you had some say in things and could dish out advice. Not at all!

The problem is that there becomes a reason why you can't easily check out of the friendship, these types to sort of 'bed in', it's hard to find a break in the chatter where you can just say, actually, let's leave it. I did feel the bloke might top himself too, we were working on some business-style arty project together, you wind up feeling responsible. The more you leave it the more difficult it becomes.

The only suggestion I have is becoming a bit vague and useless so they want to dump you.

I do wonder if there is a type to attracts all these, that said it can be a case of once you've got the T-shirt, that's it. One problem is that, as I suggested, you can't easily ditch them given a particular circumstance.

garlicbaubles Tue 10-Dec-13 13:48:12

Meerka, I think it helps if you read posts as people reflecting on their experience, rather than attempting diagnosis or treatment ... I'm staunchly in favour of shorthand terms for effective discussion. We're in a conversational setting, not a clinical one, and these words are useful. All syndromes are defined by their common features - PDs included. Of course individuals have individualities (!) but the commonalities are what guide us to a helpful understanding.

Bringing this back to a personal level, I couldn't have re-shaped my relationship with my mother before understanding the extreme nature of her self-absorption. I couldn't have understood it without some knowledge of PDs, because she doesn't advertise it. And if I'd understood the insides of other people's heads - the husbands, the boss, the flatmate - then I would not have made the sacrifices I did. Regarding the boss, the team had a habit of saying "You are not dealing with a normal, rational human being!" To me, it was amusing and comforting, but had no real meaning. Turns out it was a quote from my predecessor's therapist, who had given him some insight into how the boss's mind worked. With labels, we can aim to help each other like that.

I'm just wondering if anyone thinks it's possible for a narc to change?

Perhaps with a shock, coupled with smaller evidence they were wrong over a period of time?

FolkGirl Tue 10-Dec-13 14:03:11

Yes, my mother's script always had me written as The Bad Guy. It meant that no matter what I did, I would always be wrong/acting out of malice.

My best story is this:

My mother, let me call her Jan, has the same name as her great uncle's sister in law. After she and my dad divorced, my dad and her great uncle remained friends. My mother was most angry about this.

My mother had a big thing about being the first to know about important family events to the point where she had decreed that all important news (such as births/marriages/deaths) should be announced by text/email to everyone all at once. That way, no favouritism had been shown in the order in which people were told and it was the responsibility of individuals to check their texts/emails regularly. If they missed an update it was their own fault. This complete ignored the fact that people generally want to tell people important information in person!

So back to the story.

My (now stbx) h proposed to me, had bought a ring and it was all lovely. I phoned my mother to tell her. I didn't want my engagement announcement to be via text, or to be the source of a problem by not telling her first.

The following day my grandmother was admitted to hospital. My mother phoned her great uncle to tell him and during the phone call (it later transpired) had told him that I was engaged.

It would appear that he had gone to visit my grandmother in hospital and when my grandmother told him that I was engaged he said "I know, Jan told me". That would be Jan, my mother who I had told the previous day.

My grandmother got on the phone to my mother and (my mother later told me) spent most of the evening bitching about me. About how I had lied about telling my mother about my engagement first and how it was obvious I'd actually told my dad first, who had (somehow and for some reason) told my great uncle's sister in law (also called Jan, remember?) who had then told my great uncle and that was the Jan to whom my uncle was referring when he said, "I know, Jan told me". So it was obvious that I hadn't told my mother first afterall, I'd actually told my dad first, but more than that, he'd told my mother's distant family before I'd had chance to tell her... (following?)

My mother then, laughingly, revealed that she and my grandmother had been calling me all the things under the sun until "I then realised that my name is also Jan."

And that, dear reader, is why she was not invited to my wedding!

FolkGirl Tue 10-Dec-13 14:04:27

Sorry, it's not my mother's great uncle, he's my great uncle and her uncle.

We never see him or any other member of her family because she has alienated everyone with her fucking oddball behaviour.

SaucyJack Tue 10-Dec-13 14:30:08


I didn't say she was an artist or an objectively talented person- just that she considers herself to be such because it sounds better than admitting she's on the dole

This is the major difference between a narcissist and someone who just has high self-esteem. A true narcissist will believe that they are talented or entitled to special treatment regardless of the realities of their status or achievements.

Anyone can quit their job and sit around colouring in all day. Doesn't make you the new Michaelangelo.

And yes, I know I'm bitchy but I don't care. She brings out the worst in me.

wonderingagain Tue 10-Dec-13 14:58:41

Well if you are the kind of person that doesn't fit in anywhere else I guess you have to create the world around you, so being an artist (or claiming it as your day job) can be a convenient label / excuse to continue your dysfunctional behaviour with your head held high. It's not such a bad thing, at least they are self-contained and not inflicting their narcissim on others.

It's in the charity sector I find the worst kind of narcs. Bloody terrifying some of them. Volunteers with zero accountability, responsibility that has been taken rather than earned, delusions of grandeur all fitting into the perfect package of 'helping' the disadvantaged and thereby wielding a lot of power over people when they really shouldn't be anywhere near them.

lookatmybutt Tue 10-Dec-13 15:38:22

XMale seeks attractive, intelligent, independant female with own home, excellant career, close family and lots of friends. I will treat you like a goddess, and swipe you off your feet until you have fallen for me. Then my challenge begins. I will break your self confidence isolate you from friends and family, drain you emotionally and finacially and drain the last drop of self esteem out of you. When I have gotten everything I will drop you like a flick of a switch all my feelings turned off cold and move on for my next challenge.

This could be my ex boyfriend.

My relationship with my ex boyfriend was a rollercoaster of shit. When we first met he was quite quiet, very handsome, a little quirky and moody at times but then everyone can be right?

Thing is, the closer I got to him the more the cracks started to show until I went from being the Most Awesome Lady Ever to someone he wouldn't piss on if I was on fire.

Here are some things he did:

Say I'm the sexiest ever.

Then resent me for being sexy. He started withholding sex from me, because it was my fault he got excited and it was annoying (wtf?).

He likes older ladies.

Then I'm too old to be seen in public with him and he's ashamed of me.

He asked me to teach him [a sport] because I've taught a couple of people before. He then decided to ask someone else who can't actually do this sport, because it would be less shameful for him to be seen with her rather than me.

Oh, and I'm too fat (I wasn't).

No hugs any more. Only young people hug each other.

I got screamed at for not waking him up when he needed to get home.

I got screamed at for waking him up because he'd obviously changed his mind. In his sleep. Literally.

I got screamed at for offering him something to eat or drink. HE CAN GET IT FOR HIMSELF, DON'T YOU KNOW.

I'm very rude for not offering him any food or drink. That screaming fit lasted for about an hour.

And the lying. His father is dead, then he wasn't, his sister was a psycho (she wasn't), his evening job was at a supermarket, stupid Butt - didn't I know he worked at a factory?

Calling a woman a bitch is NOT ON (unless it's me).

Being spiteful to people is bad unless it's him doing it and he doesn't get caught: so-and-so's a fat whore, these people are so stupid they deserve to die. HOW DARE YOU CRITICISE DEBBIE'S CHOICE OF TIGHTS, BUTT, YOU ARE SUCH A NASTY BITCH.

He's the officially the best at [sport] in the entire country.

He hates brown people. He is mixed race (he IS actually mixed race and doesn't hide it).

Drinking and driving is fun.

Obviously, there's more to it than this, but it might ID me.


In the end I was lucky when he unceremoniously dumped me. I managed to retain my self esteem but very little of my sanity.

For the benefit of the couple who seemed to be insinuating people were stupid for falling for all of this: you think people deliberately choose this sort of treatment? It can be very insidious at first.

He was handsome, charming and quiet outwardly. I am confident and brash outwardly.

He could be very sweet and considerate until you got to know him better, then you uncover the vitriol, abuse and self-hatred that he takes out on the rest of the world - whether they know it or not.

Nobody believed me, because I'm the 'loud' one, the confident one.

spanky2 Tue 10-Dec-13 16:13:31

Garlic it was the original title that made me read this thread! grin

ProfessorDent Tue 10-Dec-13 16:43:36

Hmm, sorry my post wasn't aimed at wanderingagain... for some reason I read the first page of a thread without realising there are other pages and the chat has moved on. Seems to be a thing on mumsnet, the way it is presented.

castlesintheair Tue 10-Dec-13 16:52:27

sparky2/garlic, same here grin

Meerka Tue 10-Dec-13 17:41:41

garlic just for the record, I do (unfortunately) know what people with PD are like, I've had a lot more experience than I want with people who've been clinically diagnosed and in some cases given specialist in patient treatment. Some have been able to change, some not.

Also had someone in the family with ... well god, I don't know what it was at the end, started out with severe BPD (again, clinically assessed) and by the time of her death 40 years later I truly believe it was narcissist, histrionic and BPD ... along with, im afraid, a good dose of sheer wickedness.

Her rages were terrifying.

It's the over-generalizations and a lot of amateur diagnoses that I find rather annoying.

having said that I really, really understand directly how people feel who've gone thru hell with someone with a PD or else who are sheerly behaving in an evil way. Sometimes people call thigns PD when they actually mean plain wicked behaviour, I think

No way am I minimizing people's experience .. or just how manipulative some folk are.

Blurry29 Tue 10-Dec-13 18:11:23

Oh my just described my dad hmm

garlicbaubles Tue 10-Dec-13 18:20:16

YY, thanks for that, Meerka. As it happens, I don't believe in 'evil' or 'wicked'. There are degrees of self-centredness, is all, and misguided thoughts. Some people can't help their world view being markedly different from the norm, and are unable feel their emotions 'normally'. Some PDs are disabling, others lead to power & adulation.

The diagnosis is irrelevant in everyday life - when I win a client who displays narcy tendencies, I'm not asking myself how to get him to a psychiatrist for evaluation! I want to get a picture of the drama in his head asap, so as to decide whether I can work with him. For occasions like this, it helps to know the patterns of thought & behaviour associated with various types of personality dysfunction. Were I to relate to him as an emotionally rounded adult I'd be wrong, he would rage and I'd lose money (has happened, I'm not that smart!)

Similarly, if a bloke chats me up and seems a little off-kilter in ways that I now associate with a PD, I quit. It's not my duty to determine whether he's clinically disordered; my duty is to myself.

Castles & sparky - grin and blush

Meerka Tue 10-Dec-13 18:26:30

nods I guess having some clue as to how people tick is really useful if you have to work closely with them as clients!

and yes to the bloke, heh. Funny how out bullshit detectors only seem to really develop to high level of sensitivity once we've had to put up with way too much. Wish we were born with them, it would save SO much trouble

garlicbaubles Tue 10-Dec-13 18:35:20

Oh, wouldn't it!

KingRollo Tue 10-Dec-13 18:54:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Meerka Tue 10-Dec-13 19:11:54

I woudl say it's certainly jerk behaviour. Its nearly impossible to say if theres a PD involved or not, and honestly, please leave it for the professionals to decide!

The key to a personality disorder is a number of inflexible and maladaptive behaviours, long lasting. Which particular behaviours decide which particular diagnosis the person's given. The depth of the behaviours is, as far as I can see, what makes the difference between a normal-range personality trait and a mild, moderate or severe PD.

I really think a lot of people just choose to behave like arses though. They -could- change but won't. Maybe your ex is one of these.

Even some people with PDs can change, though the popular perceptoin is that they can't. The key is two fold: firstly the will to change and after that, the support and ability.

Narcissists seem to generally lack the first. Some people with other PDs lack the second. Various coping strategies can help but only if they're willing to try them :/

Your bloke sounds, on the face of it, simply to be chronically immature and spoiled.

bunchoffives Wed 11-Dec-13 00:15:08

It's in the charity sector I find the worst kind of narcs. Bloody terrifying some of them. Volunteers with zero accountability, responsibility that has been taken rather than earned, delusions of grandeur all fitting into the perfect package of 'helping' the disadvantaged and thereby wielding a lot of power over people when they really shouldn't be anywhere near them.

Wondering That's the first time I've come across someone saying that, but blimey I couldn't agree more. I had the misfortune to go on one of these charity wish trips and I have never seen so many little hitlers jostling for power and dominance, insisting you followed their plans, schedules and rhetorical scripts to the letter - even to the extent of telling parents how they felt about their offspring having the benefit of their wonderful charitable efforts and congratulating themselves to the parents Quite funny once you've escaped.

AndTheBandPlayedOn Wed 11-Dec-13 00:24:28

Narcissists in church...<<shudders>>

annielewis Wed 11-Dec-13 00:33:29

Marking place as have narc MIL and need to read this to remind myself of the reality...

wonderingagain Wed 11-Dec-13 00:56:04

bunchoffives I refuse to work with a charity / voluntary group now unless it has a clear structure that doesn't enable egos to get too big. It is very frustrating when you are fighting for something important and someone waltzes in and does a bad job. Most people just want to sell a few crafts and do a sponsored walk, or actually help the beneficiaries of the charity but these people seem to find a community group an ideal opportunity to boss people about, use divisive tactics with people and can really ruin working relationships and everyone just gives up and moves on. Sometimes they can achieve great things, but quite often they are slightly off-kilter and can be quite damaging to the group. People like a leader that's the trouble, most people don't have the time or energy to contradict.

I used to interject but found the conflict far too stressful. Now I just walk away and join another group that's more democratic.

happytalk13 Fri 13-Dec-13 15:53:27

Question: I realise this is just one statement and only provides a snapshot but what do people think of my mother saying to me: "It's been clear from a very young age that you have not loved and respected me. There's the door." This was in response to me answering her question about how I truly felt about my childhood (upshot of my response was that I often felt like I was nothing but an annoying burden to her and I often couldn't predict what would set off one of her annoyed episodes with me and it left me feeling unloved because it could be literally anything that would set her off - I could breathe the wrong way and she's be annoyed)

What do I make of that? We're NC now - she rang me up a couple of days later to tell me she was going NC with me. Or maybe I'm the Narc/disordered individual here....

spanky2 Fri 13-Dec-13 16:04:55

My childhood too happytalk . I got into huge trouble for drinking my water too loudly hmm . A level of constant fear of upsetting my mum. She has an awful temper.

happytalk13 Fri 13-Dec-13 16:10:08

Were you a "difficult child" too, spanky? hmm

Meerka Fri 13-Dec-13 16:38:53

happytalk, I'm going to take your last comment seriously.

In truth its a good thing to question yourself in a good (not self-beating-up) sort of way. When you don't know if you can trust your own perceptions about yoruself, it really, really helps to have a couple of sensible, good- hearted but honest friends whom you can actually ask. It's a difficult question and certainly not one to ask just anyone. But if you do have some pragmatic, honest and perceptive friends, then ask two. If they both say the same-ish, then you can probably be fairly sure of what they say.

Then, of course, you probably have to do something about what they say - either try to accept that you're more ok than you thought :D or try to work on some of the aspects of yourself that could, in the long term, become destructive.

Because if there's one thing the kids of destructive parents don't want, it's to walk the same road. And it can be a danger. Not necessarily -is- a danger, but can be. It is a question worth considering, maybe only to dismiss it.

As to what I think of your mother's comment - I think that no very small children 'do not love or respect their mother'. But I also think that it sounds like there is a gigantic past history between you (well duh, I suppose, naturally there is). I think you yourself will know the truth better than anyone outside, and that you are posting here shows that you've lived with a huge amount of pain from the relationship with her.

happytalk13 Fri 13-Dec-13 16:53:43

Thanks Meerka - I have asked a couple of friends before (both who have witnessed altercations between me and my mother) and they both say she's messed up...but still, I'm never quite certain. Some would say that my uncertainty is about my conditioning.

Not loving and respecting her from an early age - I don't actually have any nice memories early on, not really. My memories mainly consist of fights between her and my dad, me being blamed for upsetting her/causing her embarrassment/ruining my parents' relationship/asking her what I'd done wrong and her expecting me to know/daring to say something to someone about some aspect of my family life. If you ask her she can reel off hundreds of times where she showed me love and did things for me - I remember very little. The nice occasions that stick in my mind either happened when other people were around to witness it or when I was sick with stomach bugs - she was an excellent mum then - and she was always ok with friends coming to the house to play with me. But that's really it - I don't remember the feeling of closeness or safety - I just remember feeling that I was a bad child who was thoughtless and selfish. I remember thinking I must be a bad child because people were so often cross with me and giving me very angry looks or stomping around me or ignoring me or telling me how ungrateful I was. It makes me sad.

Meerka Fri 13-Dec-13 17:04:13

Its very very possible that your uncertainty is from her conditioning of you. That's one of the worst of toxic folk, they get you doubting yourself to the core. How can you tell what's really the situation then?! Hence why a reality check from outside from sensible perceptive people really helps.

It sounds such a sad situation and childhood happytalk. I'm so sorry and hope you can find love within yourself and outside yourself too. flowers

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 13-Dec-13 19:11:27

I was unfortunate enough to get between two narcissists who carried on a public argument over a period of years. One of them ran the voluntary group I was involved in, the other did his best to destroy it because it differed from his opinion and also Narc1 got more public exposure.

It ended in court, where Narc1 displayed PA cowardice and Narc2 utterly failed to comprehend the workings of justice, in particular admitting to serious offences in front of a live mike.

Once the case was over, I resigned and Narc1 took immediate steps to turn me into a non-person. Fine by me.

What isn't fine is that the .org (which does important charitable work) has been offered serious funding but Narc1 won't take it because the donor wants a proper management structure.

And it's only by reading Stately Homes and this thread that I've realised I threw 10 years and a fair bit of money away to no purpose. Bugger.

passedgo Fri 13-Dec-13 19:30:09

@chromosomes - What's PA cowardice?

Happytalk - what you have done through your childhood is tread on eggshells. It's what abusive men do to their families and results in the victim living in a state of perpetual stress. Did this come from both your parents or just your mother?

happytalk13 Fri 13-Dec-13 20:04:06

My mum...with my dad being the one to try to smooth it all over.

I suppose the biggest tantrum I've ever experienced is a toss up between two but I'll just go with one.

I was 20 and pregnant to a person I knew I would not continue a relationship with because he was an abusive dick. I lived away form home. I'd organised a termination. things came to a head with abusive dick and I had to go home, thus had to tell my parents. My mother was more concerned about what the neighbours would think and the fact that I'd told my best friend and it would get all over town. I tried to tell her how much that hurt me and that she'd in her usual way made me feel defective and dirty and she threw a massive tantrum over that and made herself into the victim, enlisting Dad's help at her anguish of being accused of thinking more about herself than what I was going through. Day of the termination came and I told her I didn't want her going with me. Another tantrum ensued with her getting almost hysterical that I wouldn't let her go with me and I was denying her supporting me - she again enlisted my dad who told me I was being a monster to her. I've never forgiven her for that. She denies it all though.

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 13-Dec-13 22:13:18

PA cowardice: once the case was under way Narc1 started backpedalling because it would mean an end to drama. The rest of the .org made it plain that it was a collective problem. Narc1 was told NOT to speak to Narc2, and actually grovelled to him when we lost the case. Narc2 of course started gloating. He soon shut up when I told him he had admitted fraud and impersonation.

The thing I now realise is that both of them were running on internal scripts that didn't mesh with reality. Narc1 was the perpetual victim of conspiracies, Narc2 was a lunatic whose 5 minute meeting with a junior minister had made him an industry spokesperson.

I really feel for those with narc families; at least I could dump my "friend".

DisgraceToTheYChromosome Fri 13-Dec-13 22:14:31

Sorry, PA = passive aggressive.

Upcycled Fri 13-Dec-13 23:11:16

I think my exH is one
Marking my place for when I feel the need to talk about it ( hopefully never).

Awesome thread.

That's the MN I like.

garlicbaubles Fri 13-Dec-13 23:31:00

Don't take this too seriously, folks ... there's a couple of fun quizzes here:

My friend's husband scored 76%. On that basis, I'd say it could even be quite accurate for a pop quiz shock

Thosecrazyinlaws Sat 14-Dec-13 00:05:08

I have lots of examples about my MIL, but have been thinking lots about my grandma, and am going to share one episode in particular.

My poor mum was most definitely the scapegoat of the family, she was kept off school by my grandma to do the cleaning and look after her siblings and she had to stay at home while her sister got took to dance classes and for trips out. She has always as long as I've been aware of it been scared of her mum, has pandered to her mood swings and just generally let her mother rule her life even when she had a family of her own.

I remember this particular rage so vividly, I was at college and had a Saturday job in a place around 3/4 of an hour from home. My mum would often pick me up after work to save me getting the bus and we would sometimes go shopping or for a bite to eat. This particular day my mum was worried because she was giving her mum a lift to the pub, she was rushing me and it was winding me up so I pushed her on it and instead of rushing round I insisted we take our time.

When we got to my grandma's about 15 minutes after she was due to be picked up she flew out to the car, got in and immediately set on my mum. How she had ruined her night, 'her' table at the pub would be gone now, there was no point in going. I kept interjecting, calmly, on my mum's behalf (winding her up no end I realise now) about how we weren't very late, mum was entitled to enjoy herself every now and then and was good enough to be giving her a lift. She was raging 'it's nothing to do with you, I'm not talking to you, tell her to shut up'. Then I mentioned again my grandma should be grateful, that my mum did more for her than all her feckless sons did put together and she swung around in the car seat, and it was the same furious eyes others have described.

Before that day I had her card marked as an extremely selfish woman, but it made me see her in a whole new light. I was shocked she could get that overwrought about something so seemingly trivial. She had not got her way, I was daring to talk back, she could not control the situation and she just lost all sense of perspective. I didn't have any contact with her for months after.

middleclassdystopia Sat 14-Dec-13 00:09:08

My adoptive father would glaze over, get this dead look in his eyes and just rant.

One time he shouted "you're just a fake and a phoney and the only reason you've got friends is because they don't know the real you!"


Thosecrazyinlaws Sat 14-Dec-13 00:21:08

middleclass My MIL does that to my partner sad. If people knew what he was really like they would have nothing to do with him, that I won't put up with him and will leave him because he is so hard to live with.

garlicbaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 01:02:09

he shouted "you're just a fake and a phoney and the only reason you've got friends is because they don't know the real you!" - Pound to a penny that was projection, middleclass. He's talking about himself.

So sorry your partner hears it from his mother, too, crazy. I hope he has enough detachment, now, to see it for what it is - it can be very hard to achieve, but a life-saver when you do. Your story about your mother & grandmother was incredibly vivid. Your poor mum!

garlicbaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 01:11:30

Happytalk, what a dreadful experience for you.

I recognise this very clearly: her anguish of being accused of thinking more about herself than what I was going through ... I was denying her supporting me - in fact, are you my sister?! My mother cares so intensely about how much she cares about me that psychiatrists have TWICE acted to get me out of her tender loving care clutches! I know it genuinely does make her happy to help, but have to be ever so careful about how far I let her in. It's not a thing you can discuss that often, is it? "My mum cares so much, it makes me mentally ill ..." hmm

halfwayupthehill Sat 14-Dec-13 02:16:14

Glad to have come across this thread and some interesting insights. A therapist told me a few years ago that my dm was a narc. I wasn't sure but wd be interested to hear your views as yesterday she embarked on an amazing rant which i will share after some background. Dm unhappy childhood, rejected by father. Married young, unhappy marriage, though was devoted to me and dsis. Eventually after 40 yrs df got fed up of being ignored, moved abroad. I moved abroad for work and my previously good relationship with dm began to founder...she began to cut me out. Df filed for divorce and she became very vindictive, lied to the court, got a settlement which left df in poverty and broke his health while she and new boyfriend lived life of riley. I don't blame her for wanting to be free of df but the way she divorced him was horrific. I stayed neutral but as i didn't take her side, she turned against me more. When i had dc1 she took offence because i held the christening where we lived abroad. I tried to repair relationship due to dc1 but it was v strained. I moved back to uk. I then had dc2. It was a home birth and dm was looking after dc1 upstairs. It went wrong, i had a postpartum hemmorage and was rushed to hospital. Where i spent a day while dm looked after dc1 at home and did a great job of clearing up the blood with her boyfriend. I was suffering ptsd which i did not know at the time. Dm collected me and dc2 from hospital and took us home. She then went to get dc1 from neighbour. I went upstairs with dc2, they all came back, dc1 came upstairs to my bedroom. I shut the door so i could enjoy being reunited with dc1 and enjoy her seeing dc2 for first time. One minute later, dm and boyfriend crashed through the door. I didn't want dc1 to be distracted from this special moment so put my hand up to indicate they shd wait. Five mins later, i went down and they left because i had caused such great offence. They then did not speak to me for 18 months even when i handdelivered a letter trying to explain the situation and apologise.
Relations warmed up to cool but cordial. I invited dm and partner over for xmas, xmas or boxing day whichever suited. Vague nonresponse. She then invited me for boxing day and I then found out that the rest of the family were spending xmas ten mins away at dsis. This follows me and dc not being invited to dnephew's first bday despite her always having been invited to my kids.
I followed up my boxing day invite to dm and she said i should go to hers because then dsis wd be there and the cousins cd be together. I did not say that the cousins cd be together if we had been invited by dsis on xmas day. Dsis usually spends xmas with ils hence i had not invited her to mine. But i said to dm I was happy to invite dsis to me for boxing day with dm.
She then accused me of being difficult. I said, how? I wasn't the one excluding people. I said i had found the divorce had made things strained between us at first but i was hoping things wd continue to improve. I said it was hard because df was dying and then the rant started:
- SHE was dying (not true)
- i had been terrible in motioning her away after she came into my bedroom after i came out of hospital. I tried to explain that i had wanted a few mins alone with the children, that i had nearly died, had ptsd etc not to mention had just given birth and her response was that she and her boyfriend had had a hard weekend when i had given birth. So i said she was making it all about her and the rant went on and i never accepted her invites..which ones? One for a family lunch when i had already accepted an invite to a friend-s 70th ("so that's where yout priorities lie!") and one on boxing day..she ignored the fact that I had invited her to me that day six weeks previously.
Anyway, some themes upthread were interesting. I am being made a scapegoat, also the whole family system is dysfunctional, my mother clearly has issues around rejection and will become incensed when she perceives she is rejected eg when df filed for divorce (even though she had been unhappy for years); or when i move abroad for work or want 5 mins alone postpartum.
It is hard to go nc because of the kids but at the same time i honestly think she is mentally ill as she is so unable to see another's point of view. She flings wild generalisations around, gaslights and has never ever admitted she might be wrong in some way.

halfwayupthehill Sat 14-Dec-13 02:29:37

She has often called me selfish and during her rant accused me of calling her selfish which i hadn't. Such a lot of projection.

garlicbaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 12:40:07

I think you are absolutely right: your mother clearly has issues around rejection and will become incensed when she perceives she is rejected. The fact that she becomes terminally ill when you mention your father's illness shows how essential it is for her to be the adored star of any show - please excuse my referring to this tragic event as a 'show'; I'm thinking of your mother's psychological pov.

She's probably not mentally ill, so much as mentally disrupted. As you say, she's unable to see any other point of view - and enhances her personal viewpoint with fabrications. It's awfully sad that a lifetime of rejection has done this to her, but there's no hope of undoing it while she is locked in her fantasy. I imagine you can find ways of pandering safely to her needs, but I'd advise caution regarding your children's relationships with her. Teenagers can usually grasp the nature of such dysfunctions, at least enough to make their own choices about the relationship, but younger kids are easily manipulated and haven't got the tools to handle complex adult emotions. She was devoted to you & your sister, but now you're her scapegoat - who had this role while you were growing up? Will she be as lovely to your DC while you are the scapegoat, and is this a scenario you can support?

frumpypigskin Sat 14-Dec-13 13:03:15

As far as I know I've only come across one person who may have been narcissistic. I had never heard of the term before meeting her but she seemed to label everyone she came up against as narcissistic i.e. her mother, our boss, other people in the workplace who challenged her.

Is this a narcissistic trait or does this sound like a different mental health issue? she was incredibly hard work and couldn't seem to see the world in the same way as the people around her and would feel very personally attacked when challenged. She would get very angry and feel she had to fight to be vindicated. She took our boss to a tribunal (which she lost) and when she became ill she said 'maybe (our boss) will see she should have been nicer to me' which I thought was very odd.

I am sure there was a mental health issue but have never come across anyone like her before. Does this sound like narcissism?

Meerka Sat 14-Dec-13 13:09:19

not as such, from what I know (have a look here or at the MIND website). There is not really enough information to tell.

It does sound like she had some pretty serious problems. Assuming everyone you meet is narcissistic / has MH problems if they disagree with you is a fairly suspicious trait in the first place. So is taking everything personally. I see that more as an insecurity thing actually. Also trying to gain the moral high ground by saying her boss should have been nicer. Not seeing things the same way tends to indicate more of a perception problem, which could be a PD thing or aspergers traits perhaps ... there are some people who do simply see things differently though.

Clearly something was wrong, but hard to say exactly what.

Meerka Sat 14-Dec-13 13:12:23

halfwayupthehill's mother sounds more narcissitic .. specially if a good therapist suspected that.

Not saying your work colleague was -not- narcissistic but from what you say it doesn't jump out as that particular disorder

happytalk13 Sat 14-Dec-13 13:28:07

Garlic - I would have loved a sibling! smile

CCTVmum Sat 14-Dec-13 14:19:14

Nassicism in pure form is rarer than as a trait of other disorders.

My ex is a psychopath with narcisstic traits esp the rage.

He was raised by his nan from 6 months old whilst his mum went back to work. The nan a paranoid schizophrenic would convince ex the water was poisoned and radio waves were Being used by aliens, this must have effected him? Then he was made to call his mum Mrs ..... at 4 yrs old when she was his class teacher...she still spoke to him like a 5 yr old when in his 30s no wonder ex was so fragile...makes me kinda feel very sorry for him and not blame him as his childhood was not his fault! Nor the genes as definitly Aspergers too like ds.

CCTVmum Sat 14-Dec-13 14:38:02

halfway your mum sounds so demanding and draining. Do you know anything about her childhood that could have contributed to her behaviours?

Have you read this blog ? This man has NPD. A rareity as usually the person does no recognise any problems they have. I found it very helpful.

Garlic I learn so much when you restart these threads as we get interesting discussions going!

MNHQ was it the people with NPD who protested on MN? Because same thing happened when they removed NPD from DSM-V huge protests from Narcs as they were losing their status! That was not a joke btw! Very passionate and devoted to their disorder!

UA lovely to see one of your you doing?

passedgo Sat 14-Dec-13 15:27:00

So what do you do about a narc in a position of power, eg in a voluntary organisation, pushing themselves forward and chewing up everyone in their path? And what if they put on a very good disguise and get everyone on side (their tenacity is far stronger and they seem to be quite smart)?

I seem to come across this all the time.

Meerka Sat 14-Dec-13 15:50:59

Very sadly, Im not sure there is much you can do. The only thing that -maybe- you can do is go to the top boss or the board of directors, if they have one, and bring it up.

But you are very unlikely to get anywhere.

sadly, and I hate to say it, the best option is to either squeeze them out in the very early days if you detect them, or put your energies elsewhere.


garlicbaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 18:25:29

I managed to get my textbook-narc boss fired. But I lost more than he did. I don't consider it was worth the battle; I should have left while I still had confidence and a good reputation.

You're right about the protests from people diagnosed with NPD, when it was removed from the DSM, CCTV! I'd forgotten that! How very narcissistic of them ... wink Now they're just sociopaths with narcissistic traits. Poor them.

Meerka Sat 14-Dec-13 18:44:58

Therés one thing about it garlic, at least the people in your company won't be suffering any more.

Very insightfull post op x

lollerskates Sat 14-Dec-13 19:10:54

I had no idea how much loathing there is for people with bipolar disorder. Eye opening thread.

lollerskates Sat 14-Dec-13 19:13:11

I am blown away that a thread for posters to slag off people with a disability has been allowed to stand this long. Amazing.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Sat 14-Dec-13 19:17:31

Bipolar isn't the same thing as narcissism.

Golddigger Sat 14-Dec-13 19:22:01

Are people with narc classed as having a disability?

FolkGirl Sat 14-Dec-13 19:24:17

loller You've clearly never been on the receiving end then...

lollerskates Sat 14-Dec-13 19:31:25

Bipolar isn't the same thing as narcissism.

I know that. Some PP apparently do not.

garlicbaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 19:32:48

Loller, one poster was confused about bipolar, read some stuff and resolved her confusion. The conditions we're discussing - Personality Disorders - can be disabling but can also lead to riches, power and adulation. If you know someone who's been classed as disabled due to extreme narcissism, I'd be fascinated to hear about it. I'm always learning.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Sat 14-Dec-13 19:37:14

Hmm. It's a shame if that has been the case, because I know a few people with bipolar and while it is a horrible disorder that they really struggle with, it in no way makes them a bad person.

Narcissm, on the other hand... I am loathe to say that people with narcisissm are "bad people" just because I feel that's unfair, but the disorder does seem to cause sufferers to act in ways which are hugely damaging to those around them, and for that reason I can totally see why a support thread is relevant.

I have not read every post but I believe that BPD on its own hasn't been spoken about negatively, only that BPD in conjunction with NPD is a pretty disastrous mix, much as, for example, NPD and alcoholism is a disastrous mix.

lollerskates Sat 14-Dec-13 19:42:14

You've clearly never been on the receiving end then...

You're right, Folk, I haven't. But being treated badly by someone with a psychiatric condition does not, in my opinion, give anyone the right to be openly hostile about every individual with that diagnosis. I might feel differently if I had been raised by/married to a narc though, I do understand that.

lollerskates Sat 14-Dec-13 19:43:00

If you know someone who's been classed as disabled due to extreme narcissism, I'd be fascinated to hear about it. I'm always learning.

You come across as very passive aggressive - are you aware of that?

lollerskates Sat 14-Dec-13 19:43:42

And by my understanding, disability status of NPD is dependent on severity and on comorbidity.

lollerskates Sat 14-Dec-13 19:46:27

the disorder does seem to cause sufferers to act in ways which are hugely damaging to those around them, and for that reason I can totally see why a support thread is relevant

Not only relevant but vital. Of course people should be able to compare experiences and feel the sense of relief that comes with realising that "I'm not the only one - it's not just me." But to me, snide comments are a step too far.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Sat 14-Dec-13 19:48:08

I think if you knew garlic it would be clearer that the post wasn't meant to be PA - she genuinely is interested in narcisissm and is interested in new information on the topic. I've been "around" on these boards for about five years and she was one of the first people to introduce it to me. I don't think it was meant as a jibe.

garlicbaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 19:55:45

Thank you, Bertie. Lollerskates, I'm sorry that you can't read an honest comment without seeing malice. And that wasn't passive-aggressive either. Sometimes words mean what they say.

Meerka Sat 14-Dec-13 20:01:29

actually there is (understandably) a tone of loathing for people with PDs. Similar to the tone that's been used against gay people / mentally ill people in the past (there's some argument as to whether PDs are mental illness or not but for most intents they're treated the same way).

It is understandable, but that undercurrent has been there.

garlicbaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 20:15:17

Have I come across that way, Meerka? <worried>

AmberLeaf Sat 14-Dec-13 20:28:29

Was about to post, then pressed refresh to see that others have commented in the same vein...

It was this post upthread that prompted me [though others too];

It is difficult if not impossible to change these people or treat then - despite what some would have you believe - indeed the current way is to elicit sympathy for the sufferer of the PD - when actually the people needing all the sympathy are the real sufferers - the people who have to deal with the PDed person

Some of us have been driven to suicidal attempts and had our lives ruined by PDed people - so don't come and tell us we are disablist

While I do understand the impact on those around a person with a PD, I can't think of anything else where the sufferer has so much blame and scorn heaped upon them.

They have no control over it any more than someone with type1 diabetes would have, is it because the 'symptoms' aren't nice for others that they get this attitude towards them with no/little understanding or sympathy?

Whether they are born or 'made' Im not sure, but if 'made' then I presume it is at an early age when they have no personal influence?

Are people assuming that someone with a PD is so self absorbed that they won't care anyway?

I just thinks it's odd and not congruent with modern attitudes of understanding towards MH issues.

Meerka I have been nodding at lots of your posts.

Meerka Sat 14-Dec-13 20:30:41

You've come across as being on a voyage of discovery over the sometimes very polluted sea of PDs (yes Im probably being unfair there to people with PDs as well! ) I would actually say the dislike has been around less since you happened to start posting. The dislike did leap out at me more the first couple of pages on this thrread. I think you've spoken your mind and you've been willing to actually discuss matters.


Again, it is very understandable why people develop such intense dislike. You suffer badly at the hands of someone, next person you meet with the same traits, you are going to have negative reactions.

I want to make it clear that I too am tired to the back teeth of dealing with family / others with PDs. But some people are willing to try to change and for those, I have more time .... though from a distance. I just don't want to be on the receiving end of rages, someone telling me I've got the traits that somehow seem waaaaay more appropriate to them themselves, and general meannesses. Even people who are really trying hard can be bloody hard work.

The trouble with general loathing of a whole class of people is that then the individual is lost.

Meerka Sat 14-Dec-13 20:39:08

amber I like your post a lot.

I would just say myself though that I do think a lot of people with PDs have some choice. Sometimes over the smallest of things within themselves. Mostly (if I've read it right) actually these PDs tend to develop in adolescence and early adulthood when people have reached the age of some reason.

In the early stages there is, I believe, the choice to manipulate or not manipulate. If the manipulation is rewarded with success, hello, they do it again. As time goes on and the pattern continues, it becomes harder to change until the point does come that they simply can't.

But someone posted that their mother, who literally threw herself on the floor in a temper tantrum and her husband believed she couldn't control herself, suddenly managed to avoid doing it again when someone said they'd film it and post it on You-tube. Now my female relative could not have controlled herself for long. But she did manage some self-control for a short time when I was around becuase she knew that I'd leave. Over the years though, as no one else stood up to her, she got worse and worse and worse. Given enough reason, some, perhaps most, people with PDs can manage something, but they desperately need the boundaries that perhaps they fight so hard against.

garlicbaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 20:40:00

Yes - nodding like mad at your post, Meerka. Amber, I think there were a few posters early on who had some misconceptions.

It has taken fucking forever, and a fortune I daren't total in therapist fees, to figure out what went on in my life and what do about it. I'm not done yet, either - and can't afford any more professional guidance! Mumsnet provided a powerful force for change, and source of knowledge. I'd hate to think this resource might censor itself out of existence.

Golddigger Sat 14-Dec-13 20:41:01

I have more or less just been an observer to this thread.
I think, and I could well be wrong, that narcs never know they have it? And therefore cannot be bothered by this thread?
But the people affected by it are massively affected by it.
Again, I could be wrong, but I thought that this thread was merely swapping stories.
Much like a thread on the Mental Health board which asks for help in living with a spouse or partner with depression?

lollerskates Sat 14-Dec-13 20:52:57

Golddigger - yes you're right.

I was thinking about this thread while I was cooking, and I need to apologise. I have no idea what it's like to live with a narc - I've never even encountered one (not knowingly anyway). I was looking at it from the POV that NPD is a recognised psychiatric disorder and nobody would choose to have a personality disorder, so... I don't know. I wasn't advocating sympathy, exactly; and obviously nobody in their right mind would condemn anyone in a relationship with someone with NPD for leaving and getting as far away as they could.

FGS. I'm making a pig's ear of this, so I'll just say I'm sorry.

GimmeDaBoobehz Sat 14-Dec-13 20:59:53

How do you know if someone is a narc?

I think my sister must be one, although apparently she is borderline schizophrenic I am pretty sure this isn't the case, it just doesn't fit with her personality at all.

CCTVmum Sat 14-Dec-13 21:11:13

Do you mean Garlic do they qualify for DLA as in disabled Garlic? I would not think so?
NPD is a very celeb type disorder as you usually are very good looking and get lots of attention....I can see why in USA they did not want to lose this and be relabelled sociopath with NPD it makes them sound dangerous....trouble is a sociopath without NPD traits isnt really always dangerous! It is the impulsive behaviours and rage that makes the sociopath dangerous that is Narc traits. I think they should have kept NPD seperate too! It is a big enough problem on its own! Unless you are automatically a sociopath/psychopath to have Narc traits? This to me says Narc is far far worse than all the others!?

I cant remember which top writer it was but they talked about all the different types of ASPDs ie paranoid, schizoid etc but they said the Narcissitic psychopath was far the most dangerous. Wish I could remember where I read it as would thread it! Garlic did you have it and sent it to me ages ago? Does that ring a bell?

Meerka if their is a tone and in my case yes it is directed at my ex from years of being the revenge victim where I was constantly blamed and attacked (home, cyber). Though after 10 years the CCTV has now halted his behaviour! I dread to think what would have happened without getting CCTV mind you!

Does anyone else think though that to gaslight the person has to have very good cognitive skills to think up such fruitful experiences...I mean they dont just read a book on it and learn is something they just do! I could not dream up such situations I have experienced or heard on here and other places!

garlicbaubles Sat 14-Dec-13 21:23:36

Graceful post, loller, thanks smile

CCTV, I don't know what it was you read ... I've read so much stuff on it! You have really, really suffered with your ex; he isn't anybody's idea of normal. I agree, there's a lot of creative power going to waste in disordered minds. I used to tell XH2 he was very creative - I meant it properly, but he got really annoyed! I guess 'creative' wasn't in his fantasy version of himself confused

AmberLeaf Sat 14-Dec-13 21:25:53

Thanks Meerka.

Good point and one that I agree with re elements of choice/control. I wonder how much of that is influenced by environment [family etc]? like if certain behaviors are challenged or indulged.

garlic, yeah I know most comments were early on, Ive only just read the whole thread though, so sorry for raking it up again! I do think that there is a tendency for those attitudes generally though.

I don't think that discussion should be censored, I know it is helpful, but I do think people should be aware of how it can come across.

I'm glad you said that you don't 'believe' in evil and wickedness, I don't either. But they are terms that are used often in such discussions, they imply intent and choice. Is that correct? Not necessarily IMO.

I do think that narcissism is over 'diagnosed' [by people in no way qualified] typically when exiting a damaging relationship, or when examining a dysfunctional childhood/parental relationship. IMO most people given that 'diagnosis' probably aren't narcissistic, but just following a pattern of dysfunction passed down from their family. This sort of analysis is positive though I think, as it can break the pattern.

When I read these threads I see lots of things that I recognise in my EX, I don't think he is a narc though, although his superiority complex has made me wonder. Mainly though I think he is the way he is due to his relationship with his mother and her neglect of him in some ways [he would protest that fiercely though] particularly emotionally.

He was/is emotionally cold/incapable and untrusting [especially of women] and I think that is due to the above and a deep sense of insecurity.

He would project and gaslight, but it was always so obvious to me! [hope that doesn't sound like I think I'm really clever/superior-it just was really obvious] it drove me to distraction sometimes, but I knew it wasn't ever really about me

I could easily convince myself he is a narc though, but I would be ignoring the obvious if I did.

Hope that makes sense, had to keep stopping to think as Ive got a cold and I feel dizzy!

MrRected Sat 14-Dec-13 21:39:35

My dad veils his narcissistic tendencies with a show for outsiders. He is generous to a fault and by the way he talks you'd think he was the father of the year.

When he talks to me on the phone, I can hear him thinking about what to say next. He doesn't hear or see me. He never did.

The clever facade makes me feel like I am mad. Is the true nature of a narcissist one of pride in their self centredness or can they be highly passive aggressive and manipulative?

MrRected Sat 14-Dec-13 21:40:46

The talking on the phone observation was just a metaphor btw.

CCTVmum Sat 14-Dec-13 21:43:21

GimmedeB how dou know if someone is a narc?

this thread here page 9 explains the criteria the person needs to have to meet the diagnosis of Narc.

halfwayupthehill Sun 15-Dec-13 04:42:57

my df was the scapegoat all my childhood for ruining her life. Their marriage was v unhappy but when he filed for divorce she could not tolerate it and was v vindictive. I am now the scapegoat...if there are tensions in the family she always blames me. Good point re my kids. I don't care if i am excluded but when my kids are by extension, it is v upsetting. Otoh, i don't want them caught up in this. On the showy aspect, dm cares most about creating set piece family dinners rather than just spending time with me or the kids. She was complaining that there were particular named shows she wanted to take dd to but i also wanted to take dd to. I was getting all the special moments. I said we could go together. That silenced her.
Someone else asked about dm's childhood. Her df left the family when she was born and went on to have a 2nd family in much more comfortable circumstances so she literally was the poor relation. She ran away from her dm's home to her df's home when she was 15 and he called the police rather than take her in, even for a night. So she has reasons for her behaviour.
As to the discussion re disablist or whatever. I found it really helpful to understand i was on the receiving end of someone with pd because her modus was to make it seem like iwbu etc.

skolastica Sun 15-Dec-13 09:58:40

Logged in to say thank you for this fascinating and insightful discussion - for me the bit about the eyes was very useful, as I had this 'treatment' - could only be described as evil - from a member of my local community earlier this year and it left me feeling more than a little violated. Seeing her with fresh eyes as someone with a personality disorder has helped me to detach from this.

Meerka Sun 15-Dec-13 10:09:28

Just my opinion but I actually think there is such a thing as 'evil' and 'wicked'. I don't think everyone who behaves appallingly is ill; some are, defintiely, but some of them know what they are doing is wrong and can choose differently and don't.

I think it's actually more comforting to us on the receiving end to think they are 'ill' rather than wicked. It's remarkably uncomfortable to realise that some people simply don't give a shit how much they hurt us.

FolkGirl Sun 15-Dec-13 11:01:14

loller My mother doesn't have a diagnosis because, of course, it's everyone else around her that's the problem - she told me I'm ugly because I am, she told me I'm fat because I am, she told me I'm unloveable because I am, she told me no one would ever love me because they won't, she told me I can't cook because I can't, she told me I'm a crap mother because I am...

Maybe she doesn't have NPD (although she ticks the majority of the boxes) but she has made my life so unbearably miserable. I have no confidence; no self esteem; it's affected my ability to form and maintain relationships - not just romantic but friendships too; I've underachieved at work; I've been on ADs to treat anxiety since I was 17... etc... all because I'd grown up believing that I wasn't fit to inhabit the same planet as everyone else. She told me when I was in my early 20s that she wished my brother and I had been born disabled because then we would have been deserving of her love (and she thought people would feel sorry for her and she'd get lots of lovely attention).

She is the centre of the universe. She completely lacks any empathy. When my son's father had an affair when I was pregnant with him (just one of the LTR I had with an EA man who didn't love me because it was all I'd ever known) and I found myself homeless, jobless and completely abandoned and I really needed her to be a mother for the first time ever she arranged for me to go into a hostel whilst I was in hospital having him because it was inconvenient to her to have me at her home for any length of time (she wouldn't be able to bring random men home) and because she was worried about what people would think about her. She also got signed off work for 6 weeks to help her cope with the stress and the shame of it all even though she had nothing to do with me/us.

I've spent years trying to uncover what was "wrong" with me, because she's been telling me since I was 9 that there was "something wrong" with me. I've had assessments after assessments and when they all come back with "you're fine - there's nothing wrong with you", I've withdrawn further and cut off lines of support because I thought I was so fucked up that I couldn't give anyone (including a Clinical Psychologist in one case) honest enough answers for them to work it out.

I fantasise about self harming (never done it though) to remove the most hideously offensive parts of myself (my face which isn't pretty enough/as pretty as my mother's; my hips/bum which is too big/bigger than my mother's; my breasts which are too small/less attractive/smaller than my mothers when in fact she was always a 34b and I'm a 34dd)

I've treated other people badly in the past because I felt so insignificant it genuinely didn't occur to me that might have the capacity to hurt others by my words/actions or because I haven't believed anyone could like me, or because I married someone who didn't love me because I thought so little of myself (hence inability to maintain relationships).

So whilst I haven't made snide comments about her on here, I say plenty about her in real life. And she deserves every single one of them. I didn't ask for any of it, I didn't deserve any of it.

FolkGirl Sun 15-Dec-13 11:26:28

On my graduation day, when I had achieved a first class degree as a single parent and commuting daily to another city with a toddler, she insisted that we also celebrated her NVQ level 2 that she had achieved a few months earlier and that we had already been out to celebrate.

When I pointed this out to her she accused me of being selfish and said, "anyone would think this day is about you"

When she was diagnosed with breast cancer, she was upset because I wouldn't tell my 6 year old son. I said it would only worry him and he didn't need to know until he needed to know. I'd made the same decision with my dad's cancer 4 years earlier and he was happy with it and agreed with it. Whereas my mother said I was being cruel by not telling him and accused me of denying him the opportunity to offer her sympathy and hugs to make her feel better.

When it turned out that her latest partner was someone who had convictions against children she said that she didn't consider that to be a good enough reason to not go out with him or introduce him to her family because it "didn't affect" her. Her only deal breaker is cheating on her.

She only ever understands anyone else's situation in terms of how it affects her. So if it does affect her, she feels motivated to change it or support them (or put them in a hostel). If it doesn't affect her, she will just say "I'm not interested."

mousmous Sun 15-Dec-13 11:36:46

just unlurking, because I stumbled onto 'psychopath night' on channel 5 yesterday. was very interesting with examples given in films.

garlicbaubles Sun 15-Dec-13 11:58:58

I haven't seen it yet, Mous - it's definitely on my playlist!

FolkGirl, you've described very well the pain & damage caused by a PD parent. I also empathise with what you said about causing damage yourself, because you didn't grasp that you had any power to hurt others. I certainly suffered from various "FLEAS" throughout most of my life. If anybody paid me a compliment, I reacted as if they'd insulted me ... because, naturally, they were being sarcastic & picking on my insecurities blush I raged, because rage was part of my normal. I've bitched, gossiped and used people because nothing I said or did mattered - or so I believed.

These, and more, are outcomes of having been the child of adults who cannot understand that others have existences of their own. This incapacity is what gives rise to 'evil' and 'wicked'. In the disordered mind, only that mind is real. The rest of us are props, cutouts, tools or reflective surfaces. I don't see them as evil, in the same way I don't see a lion as evil. It may chase me, torture me for amusement, kill me and eat me, but not out of what humans call malice. It neither knows nor cares that I am a sentient being like itself; it just does what lions do.

passedgo Sun 15-Dec-13 12:31:36

The psychopath programme ties right in with our discussions (although lightened up for tv). It does describe the wild look when they have their rages, too.

What you say about not understanding the effect of your actions is interesting, probably a large component of narcs' behaviour is actually a result, not of being attacked, but of being ignored.

It may also explain in part why the parents of some psychopaths are nice normal people- children don't need nice, they need unconditional love, and feedback.

GoldfishCrackers Sun 15-Dec-13 12:33:46

I am so god damn weary of dealing with people with PDs. Like Garlic I can't count how much I've spent on therapy talking about the effect one in particular (my abusive ex) has had on my life. But I have so much compassion for him because I know his grotesque parents, and I could weep for the little boy he was, who experienced sustained abuse at their hands. I've heard PDs described as PTSD for sufferers of child abuse. It makes a lot of sense to me. But it doesn't change the fact that my only wish is for him to disappear out of my life, and more importantly, out of the lives of our DCs. I don't waste my time hoping he'll change - he refuses to believe there's anything wrong with him, reads a document from his psychologist (describing his deficits) as being a criticism of me confused.

Meerka Sun 15-Dec-13 12:48:05

sums it up so well goldfish .. could weep for the little boys and girls they were, who could have been so different if things had gone better. But the end result of is someone that is at best difficult and at worst, to be avoided like Sarin gas.

Meerka Sun 15-Dec-13 12:50:03

Sorry that was too strong of me. Not everyone with a PD is like that. And a lot of them go through and live with a huge amount of pain inside.

passedgo Sun 15-Dec-13 12:59:21

FLEAS is interesting, mine is about reading my level of connection with people. Disbelieving when anyone is interested in me and clingy if I know they like me. It is an unbalanced experience of personal relationships. I have had to learn to cope with neutral friendships but found social networks invaluable for this, seeing that everyone has a life outside my relationship with them, and aspects that I might not like at all, but that doesn't mean we can't be friends. Connection is a much deeper thing and very rarely found, but sadly lacking in my childhood.

garlicbaubles Sun 15-Dec-13 13:53:02

What an insightful post, passedgo. I understand this is one of the reasons BPD is gradually falling out of use - people from distressed childhoods often have difficulty regulating their emotions, and understanding the gradations of friendship/connection. Basically, it's hard to tell whether an emotionally dysregulated adult has 'FLEAS' or a fundamental disorder. Practitioners need to see whether the person is able to adapt to cultural norms with treatment.

FolkGirl Sun 15-Dec-13 14:22:51

Yes, the eyes thing. My brother and I used to say she had "wild flashing eyes" when we were younger.

FolkGirl Sun 15-Dec-13 14:52:21

Yes, that FLEAS link is really interesting. I definitely have FLEAS!!

I also take compliments as insults and 'feedback' is always negative. I'm terrified of being "told off". I've had an email this morning from a man I've started seeing. I sent him a couple of photos of myself because he asked and I don't want to look like I have ishooos. He's replied saying, "Thank you, FolkGirl, you look beautiful. xxx" I don't look beautiful. I didn't want him to say that. Now I feel like he's being sarcastic/taking the piss/saying it because he's a lovely polite man and he thinks it's the right thing to do. Because there's not a cat in hell's chance he actually means it! I must be getting better, because I just feel sad and a bit stupid, whereas in the past I would have felt rage and disgust at someone saying that. Now I just quietly dismiss it. I smile and keep the disgust well hidden.

What saddens me the most is that I spent so long living with this, it shaped the person I am and who I became so much, I would have to completely relearn myself and start from scratch to change it. And I don't know if I could. or what person I'd be at the end of it. Would I even recognise myself?

The sky is blue. I know the sky is blue. We could start calling that colour green tomorrow. Eventually, I would learn and I would remember to call it green, but in my heart it would always be blue. And that's how I feel about this. I've been using the same analogy since I was about 12 years old.

Actually, what saddens me the most is this, I think that 39 years ago, a baby girl was born and she was just like any other baby girl. She had the same capacity for experiencing life and love just as any other little girl born that day, before or since. But because of the way her mother was, she is unloveable now. Not because she was born that way, but because she was shaped and raised that way. It's not what she was destined to be but it's what she's become.

I feel pretty broken. I can sometimes recognise unhelpful and unhealthy patterns of behaviour in myself, but I believe that they are 'right' for me. I don't know how to do it differently, or how to think differently, or how to interpret or receive other people differently. I have great difficulty in recognising what is 'normal'. I'm trying to learn, to teach myself, to observe and listen to others...

But I don't know when I'm right or not. Which could make me very vulnerable.

garlicbaubles Sun 15-Dec-13 15:07:26

I'd be crying for you, FolkGirl, if I could cry. I'll have passed another milestone when that comes back.

Like some other Mumsnetters I know of, I'm on a search for 'good' input that started way back in my teens, but is now something of an obsession since finding out what was wrong with me. I am incredibly grateful to all those who model it, share it and feed it back honestly with me ... you know who you are, I think smile

Affirmations are a good start, Folk, and a very useful ongoing tool.

MatildaWhispers Sun 15-Dec-13 15:46:30

This is a very interesting thread, with lots on here that I recognise. When I posted about my ex on MN I was told he sounded like a narc, and I was a bit anti armchair psychology at the time and didn't really read up on it (perhaps partly because I think I would have scared myself at the time anyway, had I read more about it).

I have seen the eyes thing too, in my ex's case it was lovely charming sparkly eyes that could switch so that they looked very cold and somehow blank. Everything could be switched in a disagreement so that it was about my faults, to the point where I would not raise any issues that might lead to disagreements. I was often confused by his arguments/rationales for doing certain things, it was like I could not keep track of where his mind was going, couldn't say the right thing for fear of being criticised, so in the end I just shut up.

The bit in the OP about the dangers of stepping out of your appointed character really rings a bell. A big issue for me was the number of children we would have (he saw himself with a large family, I wanted children but not as many children as he did) and he could not accept that I didn't want as many as he did. In the end, he did at one point say to me that maybe we would not have another child, but it wasn't because he had in any way come around to seeing things from my perspective, or indeed that he seemed to appreciate that I had a perspective really. Instead his reasoning was that the economic outlook meant that perhaps another child would not be a good idea!

passedgo Sun 15-Dec-13 15:46:42

Garlic I can't do affirmations - at least the 'love yourself' kind of self-talk if that's what you mean. It feels phoney and stupid. I probably find most positive feelings when I have a positive impact that's tangible or measurable, so helping someone or changing something important, looking at a piece of work (that I think is rubbish while i'm working on it) when it's finished and surprising myself. Hell will freeze over when I actually believe someone that compliments me.

Folkgirl I think the medical model of healthcare over the past few decades (especially mental health) has resulted in these inadequate treatments, with diagnosis, treatment with drugs or prescribed programmes, even talking therapy involving time limits, or targets and very little learning, either amongst the professionals or between professional and patient. But this is what we are doing on this thread - learning - and I think it's a sign that we are capable of change.

I would agree that to change your response when someone says you're beautiful would be superficial but the way I see it is that one day something will fall into place to enable you/me to believe the person that says it.

Meerka Sun 15-Dec-13 16:21:30

I find the same, I can't do affirmations. It just doesn't ring true and I simply can't believe them. If one happens to come by from outside, unlooked for, from someone who reallyl knows me, the good and the bad, then it means much more.

Also as time has gone on, I find it harder and harder to make friends. There's a sense that somehow I've walked a different path in life from many people and there's somehow a gulf between us of experience and sadness that makes it harder to talk. That plus difficulty trusting and difficulty really believing that people like me do make it difficult.

Oddly, having a really solid partner and mother in law have helped in so many ways but not the ability to make friends thing.

garlicbaubles Sun 15-Dec-13 16:26:28

Yes, therapists are keen on "acting as if" because it helps us create new synapses. Bear with me, I'm going to do some more simplified psychology:-

Synapses are the 'folds' in your brain, which form shortcuts for repeated behaviour. It's very clever - instead of having to travel all the way round different parts of your brain, impulse sequences that we often use create quick routes. The ones for stuff like walking & talking are so deep they are visible; also the ones for things like your route to work, which is why you don't have to look at a map every morning grin

We create synapses for all our repeated patterns of thought & behaviour. When we change a pattern, the redundant synapse gets smoothed away over time and a new one is made. It's obviously difficult to make the initial change - it's like driving off an A-road into a field. When we keep doing it, though, we beat a path through the field and, with regular use, it becomes a road. Affirmations are a good way of carving new thoughts; "acting as if" reinforces the new thoughts with behaviour.

Many of my affirmations, especially in the early years, weren't so much positive as anti-negative. For instance, I had "Emotional is not an insult, emotions are worthwhile," and "Good enough really is good enough".

I still don't tell myself I'm beautiful, because objectively I am not. I'm fairly pretty ... more importantly, I find myself attractive just as I am smile

Golddigger Sun 15-Dec-13 16:26:57

Some bookds that might help are written by Dr David Burns?

Not specifically for people living with narcissistic people, but helpful books to some people generally.

MatildaWhispers Sun 15-Dec-13 16:40:03

garlic hope you don't mind me asking how long it took you to be able to believe affirmations/feel that they were helping you in some way? Or did you just happen to find that they worked for you from the start?

<asking this as I also don't find they work, I just feel a bit silly and do not believe myself>

garlicbaubles Sun 15-Dec-13 17:01:53

Thanks for asking, Matilda. The answer's variable! Some work quickly, some still haven't properly worked, there are lots I need to revisit regularly. Sometimes I have them all over the walls ... funnily enough, everybody gets it! I used to feel embarrassed about other people seeing them, but it turns out my ishoos are fairly universal.

I write my own to feel right for me, at the time. Usually to challenge a persistently unhelpful thought, so very little of the "I am wonderful" variety. I'm currently working on "It's OK to be wrong." I know this intellectually, but still panic at the thought of being 'wrong'. I will prevail! grin

garlicbaubles Sun 15-Dec-13 17:02:41

YY to David Burns, Golddigger.

Meerka Sun 15-Dec-13 17:24:10

Many of my affirmations, especially in the early years, weren't so much positive as anti-negative. For instance, I had "Emotional is not an insult, emotions are worthwhile," and "Good enough really is good enough".

now that's a nice idea. a half-way thing that seems more possible, for me at least

garlicbaubles Sun 15-Dec-13 17:43:01

smile We want plausible! Had enough of the other stuff wink

passedgo Sun 15-Dec-13 17:47:48

My dd has LDs and I was told by an educational psychologist when she was about 10 that because she didn't have the educational intervention at the right stage she has created new routes which make it hard for her to learn other things - a gap in learning has an impact on other aspects so it can be a big problem over time. What she didn't say was that new roads can be built to get her back on the motorway. I was on the verge of suing the school for institutional neglect.

Since she has gone to secondary school though she has come on in leaps and bounds probably because they are just more persistent and have high expectations of her. She no longer learns by trial and error as before, she learns by working things out. Probably because of the expectations and no-nonsense attitude of the school. That and the detentions, merits, awards etc that applies to all children regardless of their disability.

Admittedly, other aspects of her development have caught up alongside - co-ordination, sensory, attention, memory. It has been fascinating and a joy to see her change from being really very behind in most aspects of development, to capable and willing to try, knowing that she is more likely to succeed at a new task than to fail it.

Sorry if i've gone off at a tangent here.

CranberrySaucyJack Sun 15-Dec-13 22:02:52

I would imagine true NPD would count as a disability in the same way that other Axis II mental disorders are. I know for a fact that Borderline PD is anyway.

The irony being though, that a true narcissist would never accept there was a problem and seek help in the first place tho.

Narcs. are either overt types who genuinely believe they are entitled to treat other people the way they do because they are "special", or they are covert types who manipulate and control instinctively without really being aware they're doing it. Neither would ever admit they were the porblem.

CCTVmum Sun 15-Dec-13 23:24:21

Might interest some on this thread, just turned to Channel 5 and a documentary called Psychopath Night is on, information says delves into the minds and lives of these people!

FolkGirl Sun 15-Dec-13 23:47:15

I agree cranberry. I would say that, if my mother is a true narc, then she would fall into the latter group.

BerlinerBelle Sun 15-Dec-13 23:53:02

Really interesting thread Garlic.

H didn't have 'rages' as such, but he did a great line of 'you're so secretive' and 'you don't tell me anything'. Funnily enough, it's not something any of my other boyfriends had ever complained about - or my friends. In fact, I'd say I'm pretty open and easy-going, and if anything my 'wearing my heart on sleeve' attitude is a bit of a weakness. However, after a few years with H, he'd convinced me that I was closed and secretive.

Now, of course, I've found out that he is a pathological liar/cheat with a double life - it all makes sense. At the time, when I was a 'DW' trying to make the best out of her marriage, I bent and twisted myself double trying to be more 'open' and wondering why I was alienating my husband. Any little thing he 'found out' during conversation with others that I hadn't already revealed was evidence that I was so. i.e. you didn't tell me you were interested in e.g. stargazing - therefore, you have been deliberately concealing the fact and are a difficult/secretive wife.

I'd never truly understood 'self-esteem' before. I'd always (and still do) considered myself confident. My H made me doubt my own rationale, judgement, self-belief. He told me black was white and because I loved him and could not imagine that he did not hold me in the regard that I held him, I had to believe him. It was a horrible, destructive time in my life.

I really wish I could protect others from what I went through.

middleclassdystopia Mon 16-Dec-13 05:02:05

So if someone is a psychopath, are we not allowed to hate and scorn?

The point is abuse is abuse. An abuser knows what they do is wrong. I would be mightily upset to be chastised for labelling or lacking in sympathy for my father's 'traits'.

The manipulation, sense of entitlement and bullying that made my life hell at times.

My birth mum had schizophrenia. A horrible illness she couldn't help. Beyond the illness she was a sweet and kind person.

I don't know if the abusers in my life had PDs or not. If that was the reason they were dysfunctional but if they did well no I didn't like it at all.

I try to take everyone as individual regardless of their mental health status. But if someone was diagnosed psychopath or NPD I would be wary yes.

Bob Hare is the leadibg expert on psychopathy and warns they can be very dangerous because they lack empathy. It's not disablist, I think people with such traits can cause a lot of damage.

passedgo Mon 16-Dec-13 09:03:11

My dsil has problems to the extent that she lost residence of her dcs. I don't know what her diagnosis is, but the symptoms have been very severe and she has upset a lot of very vulnerable people. However the consensus of everyone involved in her ds care arrangements is that it's ok for him to spend a week at a time with her in the holidays. I am the only person who disagrees and thinks it is too much pressure for him. She is extremely manic and demanding, narcissistic but highly intelligent. There is often an argument with someone when they go out. I have very little say in any of this it's a SS matter but I do wonder what damage is being caused through those long stays. Fortunately db and his partner are very good with him, but I do wonder why he is expected to cope when most adults can only handle a few minutes with her.

springythatlldofornow Mon 16-Dec-13 09:11:52

Wo, what's going on with this thread? I'm feeling very uncomfortable with the categorising. yy I appreciate that being on the end of a narc tilts ones world, and we need to get some clarity about what happened, what goes on, how we were done over. But there comes a point when we have to let it go into the ether, or they'll make us as mad as them.

How old was that kid in the car, g? S/he may not have had the same equanimity about that 11 minute incident, could well have been traumatised by it.

Like NotSuchASmugMarriedNow, I also, by the looks of things, have a dd who is very probably a narc. I have to battle the ignorance of others assuming erroneous stuff about that, viewing me with suspicion; while I'm trying to come to terms with the truly agonising reality that my dear, dear daughter is probably a monster (like her father). The grief of that truly fills the universe if I let it.

Unlike with my XH, I can't categorise her and file her away, smugly looking down on her, treating her to removed, pseudo 'loving'. I have to go the route of tremendous loss and grief. Love costs, I find.

passedgo Mon 16-Dec-13 09:20:47

Springy have you read the FLEAS article previously posted?

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 09:48:05

But there comes a point when we have to let it go into the ether

Let what go into the ether though?

It distorts your world view so much that you don't know what's 'normal' and right and what's not.

If you've grown up with someone like that, it's not like you developed 'normally' but there are a couple of blips that you recognise as such and that just live alongside you, but that you feel slightly aggrieved about. The damage permeates every aspect of yourself. You can't just cut it out, put it in a box and forget about it. It underpins the very essence of who you are.

I think it's reasonable to assume that being the parent, partner, or child of someone like this are three very distinct and different experiences.

That's not to say you couldn't improve, and I also agree that you can make a choice about whether you change things or not and choose to indulge it, but it's not as simple as just letting it go. For one thing, you've got to recognise the dysfunction for what it is and realise that there is a problem. In my case, I'm 39 and it's only since cutting my mother out a couple of years ago that I've even begun to question how I felt about/saw myself. Until then the way she regarded me was just who I was. I had no reason to question it.

For example, I can remember being about 16 and sitting on the wall outside the shop around the corner from my house with my friend on the way home from school and saying to her, "if my own parents don't love me how on earth is anyone else going to?" I just believed that I was unloveable so I've never thought of myself or behaved as though I was loveable, and so have never been loved. I've known I wasn't loved since I was a very young child. It's only occurred to me in the last 2 years that this might not have been an intrinsic part of me, but the fault of someone else. It means I have to unlearn 37 years of 'knowing' myself. That's not something I can just 'let go'.

To continue that example, I don't think I ever will be loved now. I think I can recognise the absence of unkindness, violence and obvious abuse. But would I recognise love? No.

stooshe Mon 16-Dec-13 10:06:00

@Lookatmybutt. You had a covert narc just like I did. He hid his fuckery behind my "brashness", too. What I was confident of was that I couldn't possibly be the only person to think that he was/is "off". I knew that he was gaslighting me (I've read a LOT of American feminism and the therm "gaslighting" is common over there) and I was sure that he was projecting. I established a pattern of behaviour (he likes to leave a woman to go with somebody that he "knew" before her. He feels no way in upping sticks and "starting all over again" with a new woman. He likes women with children as "they are not jitterbugs", meaning that these women, once he has charmed their children may be reluctant to cut off a relationship with him as "the children like him".
My ex is dark skinned black man and "accepts" it, but doesn't like it. he once asked an ex to have an abortion as she was dark like him too. He didn't want a dark child! He always went on about "past glories" and how he is a family man. Well, he has no relationship with his three children. he lied about his brother for his mother dying. Of course said non dead brother had to die in his arms! Meanwhile, he never told me about the death of one of his brothers for his father...and he was with me at the time, showing me photos of a woman on face book who was supposedly his brother's fiancee...when she wasn't!
I describe his condition as "Reckless Rigidity". Just by "thinking like him", I have managed to predict his moves, to the point that when one of my friends saw him sitting in a park near to where I live, I knew that I would "bump" into him very soon. I did. By then I had been studying NPD every day for a year. I knew not to interject, finish sentences, only ask questions that I knew the answers to.
Anybody who says that we are stupid for falling for this, beware; the condition is more common than noted. Psychologists find it hard to treat. We are living in times where people with NPD can "fit in"more as we accept moral relativity more and more. Furthermore, it is hard to tackle people who feel no way in lying ...lying by omission, white lies, big lies, being a fantasist. They always start off insidiously. They don't come looking like the bogeyman.

passedgo Mon 16-Dec-13 10:07:11

I don't think there is a right or wrong response, but I do think it helps everyone to confront the behaviour or it becomes normalised. Ignoring it probably makes it more likely to continue, it just won't be in your 'ether'.

cherryblossom3 Mon 16-Dec-13 10:08:28

Thank you garlic for such an interesting and enlightening thread.
I for so long have felt like I'm drowning in a sea of narcissism, my only goal in life seems to be self preservation.
I grew up feeling like something wasn't right within my family, my Df being a narcissist and my Db being the golden child, me being the scapegoat, no what I did it was always wrong, if I stood up for myself I was the trouble maker.
I then inadvertently married a man who's mother is also a covert narcissist. The whole world revolves around her. my Df passed away some years ago and my Db came out of his shell, revealing a malignant narcissist who now has complete control of my family, very vindictive, manipulating everyone, extremely egotistic. my role in his life has been cast as the trouble maker. when two narcissistic familys meet it isn't pretty. my only goal is to try to sheild my children from these people. both me and dh carry many fleas!!
only yesterday mil had a very dramatic breakdown in front of grandchildren about how stressful her lifes been this week cause fil had an accident. Her only concern is how it's affected her.
It's extremely lonely and soul destroying being part of someone with NPD's life and unless you are living it, it can't be possible to truly understand qhat these people are capable of. sad

stooshe Mon 16-Dec-13 10:23:13

Sorry, I can't get with the "narcissists have no control over their behaviour", malarkey. That's the thing, they are very controlled....control is their middle name. They get a kick from manipulation. That is why there is debate as to whether it is a mental illness. Just because it is a "disordered" way of thinking , doesn't mean that they are "ill". I've yet to hear of the narc who is nice, sweet and gentle. Their cylinders are ALWAYS clicking. Maybe I'm just an Class A bitch, but if I was to wake up and find out that ALL adult narcs had disappeared tomorrow, I would heave a sigh of relief. The chaos that even one can cause on an infinite amount of people is appalling. They KNOW what they do is shady. hence the lengths and the lies that they go to...only to get dumped or cut and run when "things get to sticky". Funny how they always have somewhere to run to. Funny as they are so "mentally ill" they can sort out new partners and new digs seemingly on the flip of a coin.
Having ONE of these people in a "nuclear family" can set off a generational curse. There mist be millions of adult children out there living and being people that they are really not because of roles put upon them by narc parents.
Imagine a world without narc parents, at the very least. I wonder out of the tossers that run too many countries, how many of them or their parents are narcs? NPD is like the elephant in the room. Now I have to sympathise as well as empathise with them? Kiss my teeth.

Golddigger Mon 16-Dec-13 10:39:39

Would be interesting to know if anyone knows anyone who has managed to change behaviour?

Mystuff Mon 16-Dec-13 11:03:44

My mum is a narcissist, but she is an introvert and was trained through her childhood not to express negative emotion, so she does not have rages as such, she cries if people step out of line. Ultimately, she does not want other people to express any needs, so her own needs are always the priority.
It is breathtaking how the world revolves around her and every situation is seen from her perspective.

When I was pregnant with dc2 my parents said they would look after ds1 when I went to the hospital to give birth. Dc2 had the audacity to be a week late - I had dm on the phone every night asking if I was having him that night so they knew if they could drink or not....
She also kept telling me how stressed out it was making her, not knowing when he would be born, because they didn't know when they could go on holiday.....

I've had a difficult relationship with my dm my whole life, she has never been able to provide any emotional support about anything and I was trained not to express anything of my own wants or needs. But, the hardest thing to come to terms with has been the disinterest in my own children. Ultimately, whatever age you are, it is very hard to accept that your own parents do not love you...

Meerka Mon 16-Dec-13 11:07:10

Golddigger, talking of people with Borderline Personality Disorder. Yes. Some. Some with quite severe BPD too (clinically assessed). It depends on firstly the will to change and secondly the ability.

I have heard of (a few) people with psychopathy PD who try hard to keep within societal norms. There is something missing in them but not to the point that they are destructive. However, that's 2nd hand and not personal experience.

cherryblossom3 Mon 16-Dec-13 11:22:31

I would love to go NC with the narcissists in my life and wouldn't miss them one bit, but unfortunately my Dm is elderly and not mentally with it anymore and feel that if I went NC with my Db then it would be lile throwing a lamb to the wolves. I knpw what he's capable of and I couldn't live knowing that if his negative attention wasn't on me he could turn on her. Because I feel like I can't cut Db put of our lives yet, Dh refuses to do anything about mil.
I too find it hard to understand how they are not suppose to know what their doing is wrong and hurtful, I think they do know they just lack any empathy to caresad

springythatlldofornow Mon 16-Dec-13 11:29:50

Once we've done the (extensive) work, found out what is going on, how they work, what they're doing, what they did; grieved our (considerable) losses, counted the cost.... then let it go and get on with our life . Not ignore it, but accept: that's how it went for us. Grief doesn't really end, we just aquire more skills to handle it. We may be, to some extent, 'disabled' by being subjected to primary narc abuse - but press on, face life as we are. Yes, it's often (very) painful but that was the hand we were dealt. It's not fair, it's often vile, but there we are: we're alive, get on with it.

I do wonder if there is an inherent myth here that we can tidy up life, tie up loose ends, peace reigns. Not so - imo it is unusual to tidy things up and neatly tie up ends. Often we just have to face that we don't really understand - but that's ok, keep going, enjoy our life; or enjoy what you are left with, anyway: your lot.

I read the other day of a young man who lost his sight as a soldier. He raged and raged for at least a good 2 years, unable to accept it (many top themselves because they can't face life with their injuries, and that's understandable). But then he finally did accept it and, as much as he longs for his sight back, he accepts he isn't going to get it. He said he could never be glad he had lost his sight, but that he recognised it had given him a depth he never would have had without it, which he highly prized.

I appreciate that eg losing your sight is immediately recognisable, unlike being chewed up by a narc, which takes extensive work to reach even a vaguely stable footing, mind and heart. Us injured sorts may be a bit unusual (ie unusual characteristics) but so what, get on and enjoy.

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 11:32:54

Oh I agree with that springy I've no intention of being a 'victim'. I suppose I'm just at the start of the long journey. It sounds like you're approaching the end smile

springythatlldofornow Mon 16-Dec-13 11:46:06

My post was in reply to FolkGirl's 'Let what go into the ether though?'

I am not being dismissive. I just want to live, choose life; I don't want my (so far) narc-infested life to be the final word.

springythatlldofornow Mon 16-Dec-13 11:49:40

x-post FolkGirl.

I think 'being a victim' is part of this very painful journey, nothing to be ashamed of. I just don't want to end there.

I was coming to the end, FolkGirl, but have come full circle as the vile thing appears to be propelling through the generations re my girl. I can't be as black and white about it because I love her and always will, so that heart-tie will never be broken.

Meerka Mon 16-Dec-13 11:55:08

springythat'lldo, really good post. Made a lot of sense to me.

springythatlldofornow Mon 16-Dec-13 12:14:50

Nope, not getting any joy finding the FLEAS article upthread - could someone re-post the link please? Thanks fsmile

FolkGirl Mon 16-Dec-13 12:42:51

I so agree springy I tend to follow that line from Shawshank Redemption about how you can choose to get busy living or get busy dying.

I remembered that about 12 months ago when my world bottomed out and it's made such a difference.

But it's not easy. Getting over my marriage breakdown/stbxh's affair is small fry compared to the other stuff!

Abitannoyedatthis Mon 16-Dec-13 12:52:17

Does anyone know of a narc who has accepted treatment and managed to overcome it? My mum is a narc- I haven't seen her for 3 years - I feel sorry for her as she drives people away but I could no longer cope with abuse being screamed at me.

Does it run in families? I think my grandmother was also one, one of my aunts (though she is also bi-polar) and possibly my niece. I think my own children are not, thankfully.

garlicbaubles Mon 16-Dec-13 13:25:55

I have to take a break from thinking about sociopaths today, and deal with a few 'fleas' fwink

Just quickly, then: Stooshe, it's not about lacking control in the way a schizophrenic might lack it, for example. I meant the sufferer can't significantly alter their world construct, therefore it's pointless to try & influence that. Neither can they help the emotional dysregulation, which is part & parcel of their limited range ... the emotions are all in there but, lacking a full set of tools for expression, tend to come out in uncontrolled ways.

I've said before that it helps me to think of PD people as I think of various wild animals. I may love & admire certain of their qualities, fear others, and dislike some. I form relationships with them. But I expect their interactions with me to be limited by their incapacity to 'get' my unique existence as a sentient human being, with all that entails. On a personal level, I feel that this is how I got the 'fleas' ... I needed my family relationships, so I adapted myself to their limited range of understanding.

I have known diagnosed psychopaths, through therapy, who are acutely self-aware and well adapted to normal life. Their incapacity for empathy is not a sadness to them, because they lack the ability to understand why it means so much to the rest of us! Like the psychopathic lawyer in 'Psychopath Night', they avoid intimate relationships because they know they will hurt the other person ... actually, the ones I've known said they'd like to find a compatible psychopathic partner. No idea whether that could work in practice.

Springy - in my opinion, I defused the ranting mother with the perfect hair. I don't know what else you would have had me do?

"We are living in times where people with NPD can 'fit in' more as we accept moral relativity more and more. ... They always start off insidiously. They don't come looking like the bogeyman." - Absolutely true, Stooshe, and I think the critics of this thread misunderstand the issue.

I really appreciate the posts here. Thanks to all! I hope we're learning from one another, and perhaps helping some readers currently stuck in situations they don't understand.

garlicbaubles Mon 16-Dec-13 13:34:22
springythatlldofornow Mon 16-Dec-13 14:00:54

Sorry, g, I don't know how the situation went - eg could you have driven away? - but I am concerned that a child was subjected to that, and it is likely that that child would not have had the skills to bear it. To witness abuse is (often) to be a victim of abuse. Could you have got away somehow? From how you've written it, it looks like you were 'enjoying' an almost anthropolgical experience - and with your extensive knowledge and experience, you have the skills to see beyond what she did. But the kid in your car possibly doesn't have all that knowledge and experience (and also may not live in a disordered home) and an experience like that can be alarming, traumatising, frightening. I would have been looking at ways to cut the rant short. But I wasnt there and don't know how it went.

Great FLEAS article. Not sure how it relates to my child possibly being a narc though?

Meerka Mon 16-Dec-13 14:05:49

abitannoyed, the way it's been described to me by a specialist psychiatrist in the field is that that it varies wildly where it comes from, but that likely there's both a genetic and an environmental element.

He did clearly say also that the current thought is that if the growing psyche is put under intolerable pressure, then people tend to get very ill and that illness can express itself one of three ways; psychotic illness, neurotic illness and personality disorder. Each category can be mild, moderate or severe; he called it high functioning and low functioning.

Mind you seeing as we usually grow up learning how to interact with the world based along the guidelines our parents exhibit, it would be surprising if the children of narcissists did not have a greater chance of becoming narcissist. it would be interesting to see what percentage of children brought up by non-biological parents go on to develop PDs and in what circumstances.

From what he said though, and as I say he is an experienced professional, the growing psyche had to be put under a great deal of pressure to become seriously ill with a PD or other mental illness.

garlicbaubles Mon 16-Dec-13 14:37:09

From how you've written it, it looks like you were 'enjoying' an almost anthropological experience - I'm surprised you got that from it hmm
Since the whole thing arose due to a traffic jam in which the driver of a car several behind mine was able to leave her vehicle & spend 11 minutes ranting, I thought it was obvious I couldn't have driven away.
A situation arose, I dealt with it as undramatically as I could.
I don't even know why you're implying I may have caused trauma to my friend's DD?

springythatlldofornow Mon 16-Dec-13 17:14:24

I'm not sure you're hearing me right, garlic. You didn't cause trauma to your friend's dd, but your friend's dd was there ie witnessed the whole awful episode. If this woman had been hitting you, would you/friend's dd have been so sanguine? What the woman was doing was equivalent to hitting you.

It wasn't clear from your account what the situation was, only that you had managed to 'tune out' to some extent eg was able to notice her coiffed hair. I doubt friend's dd was able to tune out, however. It was probably a very difficult experience for her - or for anyone was was a witness. You included.

garlicbaubles Mon 16-Dec-13 18:58:24

It was shocking, yes. Luckily she wasn't violent or screaming. I asked DD to time her so she'd feel in control of something, and talked her through it afterwards. All I could do, really.

longtallsally2 Tue 17-Dec-13 05:40:11

Popping in to mark my place on this thread - hugely interesting, thank you garlic. I may say more about my journey at another time.

(Springy it sounds as if the car incident garlic described, is triggering something for you, which is clearly very painful.

Garlic, it sounds as if you handled it brilliantly being trapped in that situation. I agree that giving your friends dd the task of timing was very quick thinking - it would give her a detatchment from what was being said - and hopefully your friend was able to talk to her further to ensure that she could sort out her feelings about this. Unfortunate incident, but one which you managed for her.

passedgo Tue 17-Dec-13 08:59:07

Springy the FLEAS essay is relevant to your Dd because that might be her problem. Perhaps she isn't a narc, and has just adopted those behaviours. If that is the case there is hope that she can change.

My random post earlier about my LD daughter was relevant to this thread, sorry I didn't explain. Dd's experience showed that the pathways that a developing child maps out because it made their life easier, are able to be re-routed back to the motorway. That change is possible in a neurological sense, even when it seems there is long term adaptive behaviour.

One of the reasons we should steer clear of labels.

springythatlldofornow Tue 17-Dec-13 09:11:05

From whom? Who has she adapted those behaviours from? Her father was a narc but we split when she was little.

My point is that the dd was also trapped in that situation - a child (even if a teen). Perhaps you could have shut the windows and not looked at her? It doesn't trigger anything for me - the kid was subjected to something alarming and frightening for 11 minutes . That is a very long time.

Abitannoyedatthis Tue 17-Dec-13 09:17:10

Meerka - thank you. My mum had quite a stressful and abusive childhood and I think got used to being the centre of attention due to striking good looks. She seems the type to seek out abusive relationships and I think those exercebated it.

My sister is the type who will pretend to choke or start crying for a trivial reason if she is not the centre of attention but she doesn't of the scripting thin and I wouldn't say she was a narc though definite traits..

Her daughter, my niece still a child has been brought up to to be the centre of attention and will sit at the table screaming (age 11)if we have a conversation about old acquaintances she doesn't know etc. her parents ensure she "wins" any game she plays with my own children who are a bit older. My sister is also insanely jealous of any successes my own children have, especially in show biz type things which her daughter is bring prepared for a career in - with my children it is just a hobby. She does try her best to hide it though.

Meerka Tue 17-Dec-13 10:21:59

yeeeesh what a nightmare ... lucky you have been able to escape some of it, abitannoyed ... at least you're not walking down the same path. Hard to handle though with your sister and her daughter :s

A note about FLEAS: just my view, but there's the old phrase 'fake it til you make it'. If someone acts in the characteristic patterns of narcissism, I wonder if or perhaps how long it is before that can harden into their personality and they actually become narcissistic? Over years / decades?

lifestory Tue 17-Dec-13 11:03:07

my daughter was married to a total amazing wonderful smiling man, he was so "wonderful" and "loved " her so much, he joked when he brought her a compass so he "would never lose her".20 years later, her life was destroyed, financially- she worked so hard, wanting to appease his "needs" and keep him happy (he could never "find the job most suited to his high level abilities?)he managed to isolate her and my grandchildren ,brought to her knees mentally and physically , he certainly was too good to be true. be aware. a true narcissist will NEVER accept that they are wrong, only the rest of the world. live by their rules or vengeance will be a mile, there is no treatment for them.

passedgo Tue 17-Dec-13 12:48:27

Springy, just out of interest, are you saying your daughter was born a narcissist and there has been nothing that pushed her in that direction?

passedgo Tue 17-Dec-13 13:04:22

lifestory I am sorry, it must have been awful to watch this happen to your daughter. I hope you can both find some peace now.

Meerka I think the 'if you don't feel it fake it' is part of therapy and does work. The affirmations will stick but my belief is that the behaviours and responses can change if you want them to, regardess of age or experience. However if you don't see your faults or want to change you can't. Trouble with narcs is that they don't want to see their own behaviour. This can happen where people have other disordered thought processes such as autism or learning difficulties. I'm definitely of the opinion that anyone can change if they want to. Ever the optimist, me...

passedgo Tue 17-Dec-13 13:09:30

I must say I find it almost impossible to tolerate children who are pushy and spoilt - I always end up being quite snippy with them and am surprised at adults that just let it happen and put it down to 'personality'. Surely you have to teach your children the effect of their behaviour on others?

ProfessorDent Tue 17-Dec-13 13:23:02

A special mention on this thread to the passing of Joan Fontaine, who starred in the Hitchcock thriller Gaslight, from which the term 'gaslighting' got its name.

Meerka Tue 17-Dec-13 13:51:40

Surely you have to teach your children the effect of their behaviour on others? totally agree here !! Suspect most of the problem with people who are entitled is that they are not taught this

garlicbaubles Tue 17-Dec-13 14:21:33

Hmm. I reckon it's nowhere near as simple as teaching children. When we were little, my brother and I tried pulling the legs off some frogs to see what happens. An adult told us why we shouldn't do that. I stopped it. He carried on. Throughout childhood he was the charming little boy who always made money, who had to be pulled off one of the younger kids while strangling them, and who committed burglaries from about 15yo. He got away with everything. He's now well-off and influential. He's my brother; I'm aware of his many loveable qualities, but I wouldn't want to be involved with him either romantically or financially.

garlicbaubles Tue 17-Dec-13 14:28:31

... but, yes, of course we do have to help children develop empathy. Starting with teaching them to share & not hit other kids, we keep on doing that until theory of mind is fully developed, which isn't complete until the early twenties. Some kids will only partially learn it; some will learn it intellectually, never feeling it; some parents don't even try to teach their kids.

I am not sure that a child who wasn't taught empathy would go on to be a sociopath. They might be selfish and overbearing, etc, but they'd still have the mental capacity for empathy and would, I presume, be able to catch up when they realised why they were unpopular. Or they might choose not to!

passedgo Tue 17-Dec-13 14:44:55

Professor Dent - that film came out in 1944. How chilling that this has gone on almost unnoticed for 70 years.

Meerka Tue 17-Dec-13 14:52:31

agreed garlic that every child is different and sometimes teaching does not stick. But without teaching, it's less likely that kids develop empathy, surely. Some will, but fewer.

mind you, talking kids within normal range here.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Tue 17-Dec-13 15:09:35

Empathy is a luxury which comes after survival. I don't think it matters if you are taught it or not, but if you're actively taught not to have it, that survival depends on rejecting empathy, then of course you are more likely to squash it down. But I know of more than one person who grew up in a neglectful and/or abusive household and yet have empathy as adults - I think it's something that is either there or not, and thankfully I think that the majority of people do have it.

The more I look into development the less impact I am convinced that parents actually have on their offspring. That's quite a worrying thought, as a parent!

BertieBowtiesAreCool Tue 17-Dec-13 15:09:59

Outside of abuse, I mean, because of course this impacts hugely on children.

garlicbaubles Tue 17-Dec-13 15:25:25

Agreed, Bertie. According to my reading, what we call empathy is a late development, in terms of evolution, which is why it completes quite slowly. Empathy is necessary for the survival of a community. In a world of psychopaths, everybody would be too busy getting one over on everybody else to actually create much. Since humans are pretty poor animals physically, we achieve strength by working in large groups. Mutual care is necessary for the success of the group.

Compassion goes along with that, but is probably a slightly different thing since other creatures - most mammals, anyway - display compassion. My brother can feel compassion for people's hurt, but it doesn't give him any sleepless nights. People who hurt are weak & despicable. My dad - who was more open about his thought processes - certainly felt compassion AND enjoyed causing pain. You simply can't evaluate a sociopath according to 'normal' values.

In some ways, it's like insisting a person with a faulty heart could get fit if they trained - that's only true if the heart works properly; the damaged one will get overloaded. You can't train a person with faulty brain wiring to think or feel what they aren't equipped for.

LostInWales Wed 18-Dec-13 09:47:32

I tried to post this yesterday but Mumsnet vanished for a while then I couldn't find you all again.

Thank you, thank you, thank you garlic for this thread. I clicked on it because my mother is a total narc and I am used to that now, thanks to MN, and although it saddens me, I can understand it and her. BUT from your early posts my father is a worse one and I don't know how I have never seen that, he is controlling beyond belief and if I don't follow 'the script' his rage is astonishing. If I don't give them the amount of adulation and contact they need I get phone calls along the lines of 'your mother and I have decided you don't love us anymore' or a text telling me that I have not come up to scratch and it is 'a very bad day for the Lost family'. It has been a proper watershed moment in my life, everything has suddenly come into focus, I've thought for a long time that I am basically unloveable, not good enough but now I can see that it is them not me. I am not bad and wrong, I will never come up to scratch no matter how hard I try so I can just let go and enjoy my lovely little family. What a gift, thank you so much again.

Classic moment from my dad (I see that now) when my then BF phoned up to ask him for my hand in marriage (he was a brave boy to do that!) my dad hung up on him and phoned me in a rage, this was not what he was expecting from his evening, he had other plans, how dare he be phoned and asked that. He was not giving me to anyone. When he had been talked down and calmed he finally (three hours later) phoned my BF back and said 'I suppose so but I'd recommend trying to live with her first to make sure you aren't making a mistake, she's very hard to live with'. grin That was 20 years ago btw, I don't think he was making a mistake at all.

passedgo Wed 18-Dec-13 11:37:32

Wow Lost, it is amazing how we go through these dysfunctional lives and accept it as normal.

What you say about understanding your mother was narc but not your father - I see that quite a lot on here.

That's why I found the FLEAS thing interesting - it explains how people that live with narcs end up taking on their behaviours. I'm sure there are many mothers out there being blamed for their husbands bad behaviour.

In my opinion it is highly unlikely that one narc will choose another as their life partner - so the non-narc partner has almost invariably adapted her behaviour as a survival technique. I say her because it is usually the woman but not always.

My mother was blamed for years by my brothers. Yes she's difficult but it's a kind of adaptive narc she has, it's not destructive but just a bit sad. She had to do everything for him and had to prioritise him over us - over the years our bonds broke, she knew it wasn't her fault and continued on as though she didn't care. She did, but in order to protect herself she has had to 'neutralise' the pain by being distant and above all, not having any expectations of others - being completely independent emotionally. When she met him she was fairly strong and independent out of necessity but not narcissistic - a helpful child, empathic, always supporting the disabled child in the class, refusing to go to the Hitler youth groups out of sympathy for the people they verbally attacked and belittled, playing music to the soldiers in the hospital. She wasn't a narc then but could easily be described as one now.

Sadly we tend to care more about our mothers behaviour than our fathers' - there is more emotional investment, if my dad has a sulk I don't care, but if Mum does it really concerns me. Dad shouts and stomps, it's 'what Dad does', Mum does it - well she doesn't - but if she did it would be extremely concerning, or offensive depending on your personal response. Either way it would have a much greater impact.

This is how we quite often can't see the wood for the trees. It is very sad for our mothers.

xmaspudnpies Wed 18-Dec-13 11:52:02

Can someone tell me where to get de-FLEAd? I definitely have FLEAS. I look at how I give acted in the past, especially in high emotional situations, I hear my Dad saying "You're just like your mother." and I cringe and then start blaming myself and thinking Im the mess up one.

Meerka Wed 18-Dec-13 11:56:20

Mindfulness is a good start.

It's a trick of always thinking about what you are doing before you do it. It gives you that split second to decide to try to handle something differently. Once you try to do things differently thne it takes time and mistakes to get the hang of it, but you -can- do it. As someone said upthread, you start laying down different pathways in the brain that, with practise, become stronger and stronger.

With years of bad example it can take a lot of effort to recognise your own patterns of response and where they come from. It could be worth trying good counselling or therapy, perhaps with cognitive behaviour therapy concentrating on how to do things differently

CrispyHedgehogHoHoHoFucker Wed 18-Dec-13 12:22:14

I believe my daughter may be a narc.. will post more later but it's a fucking nightmare sad

garlicbaubles Wed 18-Dec-13 12:29:45

Sound advice, imo, Meerka smile I did make the most significant changes within my first couple of months' therapy - now I know about mindfulness, this is what they were teaching me. I guess you can get faster results with an expert giving precise directions! Now, long term, I'm committed to compassion focused therapy and will be following it for life. It not only explains why the disordered are that way, but teaches us to develop the parts of our own psyche that suffer from living in a sociopathic world ... my words, not Gilbert's!

"I've thought for a long time that I am basically unloveable, not good enough but now I can see that it is them not me. I am not bad and wrong ... I can just let go and enjoy my lovely little family."

Oh, Lost, how unspeakably sad that you thought this way about yourself - and how WONDERFUL that you've now realised the truth! You really have given me a gift in return fsmile Thank you, and thanks to everyone on this thread! fsmile fsmile

passedgo Wed 18-Dec-13 12:36:16

What do you mean faster results when you say an expert giving you precise directions?

I have found most talking therapy lacking or impossibly expensive but I can keep trying!

Meerka Wed 18-Dec-13 12:53:38

passedgo you need a good therapist who will either lead you gently to realise some of your deeper seated patterns of behaviour / thought, or else challenge you to realise the same, when you'd not be able to see them otherwise. Frankly there's quite a few mediocre counsellors out there as well as some outstandingly good ones.

It is a good idea to at least explore the whole tangled legacy and your own reactions a couple of times with a professionally trained person just to figure out if they can help, because if you can't see your own reactions clearly then the outside perspective is invaluable.

But also, it's possible that actually you are pretty well aware of them yourself and simply don't need help to figure it out.

Different people work in different ways and different approaches can be needed, sometimes. But if you're not getting anywhere then stop the expensive therapy =)

if you're in a good partnership, or have a couple of really good honest, solid friends, they can also be invaluable in calmly letting you know when you are reacting in an unconstructive way

garlicbaubles Wed 18-Dec-13 12:57:44

If I'd been trying to address my rages through DIY mindfulness, I might have meditated on my feelings to process them more honestly, learned to stay quiet instead of kicking off, and in time have come to my own resolution on how to express myself strongly without rage.

Over three sessions in one week, my therapist:
Taught me how to recognise my buttons being pushed;
Gave me some 'protective' visualisations so I wouldn't feel attacked;
Gave me permission to make people wait while I breathed out & counted;
Taught me how to appraise my feelings & decide whether they were helpful;
Helped me find my angry voice;
Taught me how to hear what was really being said by others.

Basically, she gave me tools for detachment and taught me how to value my own feelings. Obviously I've built on and around this over the years - but I have never lost my temper since that week.

I'm running massively late for something now, but as a memo to self - or anybody else who's willing to fill in! - my tools were (in no particular order):-
Invisible shield
Breathe & count
All feelings are valid; all feelings pass
Emotions: Relevant | Appropriate | Helpful
Roll emotions down to pelvis before expression
OK to ask "What do you mean?" & similar
Is this person talking about me or something else?

garlicbaubles Wed 18-Dec-13 12:58:50

xpost again, Meerka smile

Can't overstate how helpful Mumsnet has been, either.

Meerka Wed 18-Dec-13 13:00:51

<grins> we're doing quite well aren't we? <offers a virtual glass of wine>

LostInWales Wed 18-Dec-13 13:59:15

passedgo, YES. What you write strikes so many chords. Getting lots of memories of the way he speaks to her now, so controlling and cold at times. Wow, total rethink going on now. My mum has a real problem with empathizing and if I cry she just totally freaks but 'adaptive narc', that's a brilliant phrase. You are right as well, we do live these lives of dysfunction accepting it is normal. For me it has been spending a lot more time with DH's family and seeing how loving and accepting of each other they are, unconditional love is an amazing thing, so sad that many of us grew up without knowing it.

I am going to go and do some de-fleaing grin

This is the best thread ever, MN has an amazing power to bring people together so they can share experience and help.

RadioSilenceGirl Wed 18-Dec-13 18:22:13

Amazing thread, thank you.

Alwayscheerful Thu 19-Dec-13 10:13:28

Brilliant thread.

passedgo Thu 19-Dec-13 16:54:47

Adaptive narc is just something I made up, there is probably a technical word for it. I was thinking about how plants adapt to their environment. We are social animals and our instinct is to get on with each other so if there isn't enough love or care or empathy from someone we trust or have a commitment to we try to make it work by changing our behaviour.

garlicbaubles Thu 19-Dec-13 17:04:08

I think your made-up diagnosis is really helpful, passedgo! If we add "depend on" to your précis above - which we would, for children - you've provided a good explanation of how Stockholm Syndrome gets started, as well.

CranberrySaucyJack Thu 19-Dec-13 18:41:48

You can't train a person with faulty brain wiring to think or feel what they aren't equipped for.

Actually, in terms of personality disorders, this is completely untrue.

I have/had borderline personality disorder and I've undergone an intensive CBT therapy programme spoecifically designed to re-train the BPD brain to respond more appropriately to emotional stimuli.

And it does work.

Golddigger Thu 19-Dec-13 18:50:35

I have seen another poster on here say the same thing for bpd [though it is possible that you are the same poster but have name changed]

ZingChoirsOfAngels Thu 19-Dec-13 19:47:55

Can anyone tell me if threads in this topic stay or do they disappear after a few months (like Chat?)

jannaofthejungle Thu 19-Dec-13 20:23:37

Cranberry - I agree with you. It has worked for me,and I teach this programme in my work (am mh prac )
I don't believe in the faulty wiring theory. I think trauma is the "cause".If the trauma is experienced very early in development (in utero? ) it may cause damage which is very unlikely to respond to retraining ,simply because it is experienced as innate. Possibly, this "innate" anxiety may become an inherited or passed down trait - through biology or learnt response?
I remain hopeful that it is possible for anyone to make changes if they wish to,and if they have the support ,strength and courage needed.

For some people,this will not ever be likely.

garlic - the tools you describe as helpful to you ,are very similar to the ones I teach,and which continue to be so helpful to me.

Mindfulness is the best thing ever,but takes constant practice .

The most liberating and hopeful thing I ever learnt was that I was not born bad.But it has taken me 45 years to really get it.

I agree with garlic, compassion focussed therapy is where I am at,too.

Brilliant thread.Lovely people

garlicbaubles Thu 19-Dec-13 21:13:29

Yep, these threads stay around, Zing. I love your festive name!

BPD has been so extensively over-diagnosed, especially in young women from dysfunctional families, that many UK professionals no longer use the term. If you were presenting for assessment now, you'd be more likely to receive a diagnosis of 'emotionally dysregulated' with or without possible bi-polar, depending on your symptoms and your professional. There's fierce debate about whether BPD even is a personality disorder. Some people dx with BPD might actually have a PD with, say, schizotypal or dependent traits. The fifth DSM is a big step forward, imho, by virtue of its flexibility compared to previous versions, allowing the patient's combination of pathological traits to define their disorder. In that respect, it's closer to the original intention of the panel which first defined PDs for the DSM.

Any personality disorder can be treated, but none can be cured - except BPD, which may not be a PD. Personality disorders feature an incapacity for what we call empathy ... there's an inability to understand that other humans are independent, fully sentient, and of equal value to the subject. It can't be fixed, any more than autism can. (Note! There's a strong similarity, but significant differences, between autism and PD.)

If you've been reading the last few pages, discussing 'FLEAS' and acquired/adaptive PD, you'll see a strong line of thought that growing up around pathologically disordered people can force you to adopt a compatible mindset. Should this happen to a child, she will develop a limited emotional range and her expressive lexicon will be smaller than average. She will have sophisticated, but disordered, relationship skills appropriate to surviving within her birth family, but lack the skills to form meaningful relationships with 'normal' people. Having lived the scripts of others, she will not understand how to live without scripts. Her thinking, feeling, and behaviour will be personality-disordered.

I would say the above applied to me. I could easily have been diagnosed with BPD in my twenties. I gravitated to superficial, emotionally volatile professions; I married a Narcissist; I assessed my own worth entirely by others' criteria. Crucially, I didn't 'see' normal, sane, emotionally balanced people. They were like another species to me; I couldn't relate to balanced people except by trying to draw them into a drama.

... But ... I always had the capacity to understand. Other people were real to me. My world was not populated by myself alone. I populated other people's film sets, running alongside them, holding up whichever mirror they preferred. I wasn't comfortable in PDWorld or SaneWorld. I just knew what to do in PDWorld, and all the self-worth I had was tied up in doing it well. It could be that my 'non-PD-ness' marked me out for my family role of scapegoat cum parental parent. It could also be what prompted my father to share more of his inner thoughts with me than with anyone else bar his mother. All I knew was that I was an emotionally volatile misfit. And 'psychic', haha. That was a PDWorld survivor's hypervigilance, not mystical powers!

I could have written this post a whole lot better. Sorry for the brain dump.

garlicbaubles Thu 19-Dec-13 21:22:09

I look as if I'm disagreeing with you, janna. I'm not - I'm just figuring out my own take on it as I type.

And if inherited fear, and/or fear in utero, can damage those circuits of the brain ... Is it not the same, literally, as being born with it? Can a brain acquire a whole new functional system, more than a few months post birth?

Erm - well, this does sometimes happen with major head trauma, doesn't it? So perhaps it can ... <confuses self further>


happytalk13 Thu 19-Dec-13 21:29:34

Garlic - your PP really hit a chord with me. You've basically described the process I went through and am going through (minus the therapy)

I still feel I have a limited range at times, and I'm hyper aware of it.

With regards to BPD are we referring to Bi-polar or Borderline?

happytalk13 Thu 19-Dec-13 21:33:48

"Populted other peoples' film sets" strikes an even bigger chord. It's funny but my abusive Ex pointed this out to me - how I would embroil myself in other people's dramas (though he suggested it was because I was running from myself because I'm such an awful person how could I live with me?) and when I examine it closer what role did I play when I allowed myself to be a part of these sets? The Fall Guy. Funny that, because I'm the black sheep of my family....

garlicbaubles Thu 19-Dec-13 21:35:04

Borderline. And THANK YOU for your post, happy! I know we're not alone but, hell, it's good to have company!

happytalk13 Thu 19-Dec-13 21:36:49

I'm having a bit of a cry now because my often traumatic and wasted late teens and 20's suddenly completely make sense...sorry, bit self-indulgent.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 19-Dec-13 21:43:46

Zing Older thread from 2009 here

^ That thread probably in all likelihood saved my life. It certainly saved my sanity at exactly the right time. I read all of it (it was probably about 500 posts at the time) immediately before I went on holiday with my now ex who has striking similarities with the descriptions of NPD. The holiday was weird, it was like I was disconnected. I could suddenly see everything he was doing, it all made sense, just as I was thinking I was going insane. Very, very eye opening.

One of his friends came on the holiday with us and towards the end we had a conversation where the friend expressed how confusing and almost other-world logic XP's decisions and thought processes seemed to be. Again, it helped. Somebody understood how I couldn't talk to anybody about his behaviour or him in general because everybody would assume that my "interpretation" (ie, my actual, real experience) was a mistake or a misunderstanding, because no person acts like that. EXACTLY!! Nobody acts like that. That's why it's so hard to get your head around and so hard to talk to anybody about a suspected N because they don't GET IT. And quite often when they don't understand, their brain can't process it so they just refuse to believe you. So totally, totally isolating and crazy-making.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 19-Dec-13 21:44:57


It's like a bomb going off in your world, isn't it? brew

happytalk13 Thu 19-Dec-13 21:57:06

Yes. But a good bomb!? I've known for a long time that it wasn't just me and that I made bad choices with people and that it was connected to NPD type stuff BUT I didn't make the connection about me almost mirroring them in my behaviour as a survival mechanism and I didn't get that I was drawn to drama, co-dependency and allowing myself to be the scapegoat (to protect people) because it's a script I knew and played so well. And I also behaved extremely badly at times as I brought the bad behaviours I'd seen work time and time again into play - but I forgive myself because I can see they were and are bad and wrong and more often than not I would apologise for them (however, more often than not I was apologising to selfish, manipulative, controlling narcs who took great delight in me taking it all on my shoulders nd I was the one who was badly behaved) But, I forgive myself because I am different, I am not that because I see it and I hate it and I know what it feels to have to live with a narc and I'm damned if I'm going to allow their control to shape me anymore.

You know what? The utterly shitty way my Ex deserted me was a God-send because that was my real wake up call...I now think I could spot a narc from 10 miles.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 19-Dec-13 22:05:33

Oh yes! Maybe more of a firework? A TNT clearing out all that old junk and fog of confusion? grin

And yes. I can spot them. It's unnerving. And quite frightening how common they are and yet most people seem totally oblivious to it - I know at least three or four, and that's not counting my ex. They are not people I am close to, but more people I have known at various times.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 19-Dec-13 22:14:36

And I am glad that we are able to talk about "being drawn to it" and playing out scripts. I get tired when people don't like those discussions and call them victim blaming. It doesn't describe all victims, but you are DEFINITELY more vulnerable to an abuser, or a narc, if you are drawn to drama and power play and if you have the "narc script" somewhere. I inherited it from my mother, who was trained fully in the narc behaviour acceptance by her brother.

I am in a totally healthy, fantastic, normal relationship now and yet I still find myself wanting to play out some of those behaviours. I get annoyed with myself when I get annoyed with DP for something stupid and small like leaving bits of food in the sink after he's done ALL of the washing up. I mean, how petty can you get? And yet I have to go and stew in another room about it because I feel all hard done by that we don't get to have a screaming argument about it. He would never have a screaming argument - he's not the screaming type. And I welcome it, I am SO glad of this, really, but sometimes I just want to be mean and ruthless and say all of those things that you can never get away with with a narc, you know. But of course I don't want to hurt him!

Similarly though we've been together 3 years and I still get jumpy if I perceive he's annoyed/mad about something. I can't accept that he's just feeling mad/annoyed right now and he knows it's not a big deal and he will move on and not be annoyed any more. I get really paranoid and jumpy that he's plotting some elaborate long winded punishment and it's going to come out later and I end up doing loads and being nice to him to make up for it even though I don't have anything to make up for, and then he gets annoyed about me flapping and trying to make it better, so instead I just hide on the computer and worry silently. It's getting better, though. I've stopped running off to cry secretly in the bathroom! He knows my ex was a dick and I have still-existent issues from the relationship, but he doesn't really know about NPD and would probably say I'm overthinking if I tried to explain it to him. But he is calm and patient and he is teaching me that it's OK to be mad for a little while and that is how normal people deal with things grin

garlicbaubles Thu 19-Dec-13 22:22:56

Bertie, I just woke up the cat, shouting "YES!" at the screen where I read "I can spot them. It's unnerving. And quite frightening how common they are and yet most people seem totally oblivious to it" grin

Whenever I read about your current relationship, I feel all happy & warm - but sad, too, because I wish I'd had one like it! It's not as if there's even an outside chance at the moment, plus I'm committed to my relationship with myself ... and the cat. Who's gone back to sleep.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 19-Dec-13 22:31:28

I know we're not supposed to say we are lucky if we're in a relationship with a good man, but I am - we got together 9 months after I split with XP and, seriously, it could have been disastrous. Then he moved in too soon as well and it all started to go a bit weird. I like to joke that we've done everything backwards grin he ended up moving out and abroad (!) so we did long distance for over a year, got engaged during that even though I said I wasn't sure, moved back in together, in the new country, now getting married in four weeks! Which was decided last weekend. We won't have a honeymoon, and we won't have a proper "wedding" - we'll probably do those things later.

Sometimes a relationship is a hassle, though. I don't always want to clean but he makes me. He points out when I need a shower and not always so tactfully grin It works for me, it's not critical like my ex always was. But I moan and grump in my head that he makes me make healthy choices and not just sit around in my own fog all the time, which I am still in, quite a lot of the time. Sometimes I worry that I will lose the fog and then he won't seem as great any more, but then he does something nice or something big happens and the doubt goes away. But we're both pretty quiet in the evenings, for example.

Sorry. I am not sure why I'm rambling so much tonight. In some ways I feel more clear-headed posting and reading about this subject than I do most of the time.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 19-Dec-13 22:33:26

In fact, it's not three or four narcs that I know (of) at all, it's more like double that shock especially if I count "potential" ones, ie ones I have a suspicion about but don't know well enough to judge.

garlicbaubles Thu 19-Dec-13 22:40:20

Quiet congratulations on your quiet engagement!

BertieBowtiesAreCool Thu 19-Dec-13 22:47:15

Thank you! smile We've actually been engaged for about a year, it's just the wedding which is a bit sudden. Good, though. We get more money here when we're married and it will be nice to catch up with everyone - got a lot more family coming than I thought. Plus I am all luffed up.

Anyway sorry to derail the thread blush

Meerka Fri 20-Dec-13 08:57:02

congrats, bertie smile I hope it is a beautiful day. And stress free! smile

Got a lump in my throat reading the convo between you two. Some apt and even beautiful posts.

Yay for survivors =)

passedgo Fri 20-Dec-13 09:50:05

Congratulations Bertie, not sure about that he 'makes me do the cleaning' ...

Unless of course it's not his cleaning, or he does some as well. Or is that what you want him to do?

My dp doesn't make me clean but I know he hates it when I don't but he won't say which is worse. He won't tell me what he wants or expects of me, which is part of our problem. I am on the road to self-destruction (aware of it though) and still he won't chivvy me into getting my act together. I want him to do this because it will mean that he cares, that we are a partnership rather than a collection of individuals. I won't do it 'for myself' while in a relationship with him as he is too obstructive, eg buying chocolate when I'm trying to lose weight, messing up bedtimes when I'm trying to get the dcs into a routine, not letting me use the computer when I'm trying to get homework done. Not encouraging me to get my work done or even showing an interest - that's what you do with people you care about isn't it?

But he will use my personal dysfunction against me in a row and tell me what he really thinks of it.

goneanonymous Fri 20-Dec-13 10:56:22

This thread has been running in a loop around my head all week, this may be a garbled post but my head has never felt more 'right' in all my long years. (I have changed from my normal nn btw as I'm probably fairly 'recognizable' in RL with that one).

YES to being able to spot a narc now, I have had fabulous little 'firework' moments replaying scenes with my parents but also other aspects of life and laughing out loud when behaviors that have baffled me suddenly make so much sense. It's made me giggle out loud at times.

Also YES to nit picking on little things DH does and being unaccountably angry, he cleans the kitchen spotlessly and I obsess that he left water in the sink with the plug in because he knows how much I hate that. That's stopping right now. Plus if I feel I have upset someone (and I can worry in circles about that for looong periods of time) I feel awful and fear for ages that it will be held against me and I will never be able to make it right. GONE, because most normal people aren't like that are they, only my father will give me the silent treatment then a vicious horrible text out of the blue.

Poor, lovely, DH has had me nattering giddily for days now and has been very patient. He is a good man (although a tiny bit cowardly about confrontation and argument) and wouldn't say a bad thing about anyone really but I can see his relief that I can see that my fathers behavior is not normal or nice. He said last night 'he's just like that man in the advert about abuse they've just made' (Hollyoaks actors, very clever) and that was brilliant, he totally is. The years of 'I am doing this for your own good, I am saying this because I love you and want to protect you'. HA, not normal.

As for the poster who said they don't think narcs marry other narcs I don't know. My mother is the most self obsessed person I know, she doesn't have empathy or an ability to tell the truth about anything, she is very like her own mother so what parts of her are learned and what are truly her I don't know. I feel sorry for her though because I can see now that she is quite bullied and dominated.

Best of all though 'the script', that just jumped out at me and made me grin as all the pieces started falling into place. I have said for a long time that I feel like I am just an actor who is expected to be waiting in position for the lead characters to swan in and then I have to do my roll to perfection. I act differently, dress differently, everything changes when they come in, I beat myself up ahead of seeing them for what it is that will be picked up on as wrong and after thay have gone I HATE myself for not being perfect, not loving them enough, not being a good enough daughter. That's it, it ends here, NO MORE. I said to DH last night, I can feel that my father is winding himself up into a tantrum about something, the little digs are there, the tone of voice changes. He will get a shock, because I don't care.

thanks grin thanks grin thanks <--- and I don't 'do' flowers, so that really means a lot. Thank you for this thread, you may well have changed my life forever.

<dithers> <post is all me me me > <dithers> <thank you for reading if you got through all that self obsessed chatter> <posts>

garlicbaubles Fri 20-Dec-13 12:03:05

"I don't care." - Now, that is powerful grin
flowers back atcha!

passedgo Fri 20-Dec-13 13:10:45

gone - thanks

You have been through a lot of really shoddy treatment by people who are supposed to care for you. How dare anyone make you feel like that for dressing differently or not 'performing' to the script. I'm angry for you, but anger is not the emotion that will help you - indifference will. How fantastic that you have a good person by your side now.

garlicbaubles Fri 20-Dec-13 13:45:46

Is this a good time to re-post the 'Bill of Assertive Rights' from When I Say No, I Feel Guilty?

• You have the right to judge your own behaviour, thoughts, and emotions, and to take the responsibility for their initiation and consequences upon yourself.

• You have the right to offer no reasons or excuses for justifying your behaviour.

• You have the right to judge if you are responsible for finding solutions to other people's problems.

• You have the right to change your mind.

• You have the right to make mistakes - and be responsible for them.

• You have the right to say, 'I don't know'.

• You have the right to be independent of the goodwill of others before coping with them.

• You have the right to be illogical in making decisions.

• You have the right to say, 'I don't understand'.

• You have the right to say, 'I don't care'.

Copied from my favourite Assertiveness primer smile

garlicbaubles Fri 20-Dec-13 13:55:06

I've just realised that the right to make mistakes is a still a biggie for me. Something's been trying to filter through my fucked-up head for a while now ... it's fear of failure which, despite my 'knowing' better, paralyses me and gives me severe physical symptoms very regularly. Not surprising, I used to get beaten up for failing exams - well, actually, for not getting a A. Hah. Permission to fail? Maybe it's time at last?

When I first chose to leave PDWorld, I did not acknowledge a single one of those rights for myself. For other people, yes - and I ran around picking up their pieces. See how each of the rights brings its own responsibility? 'Adapted Me' afforded other people all of the rights, while taking their responsibilities on myself. No wonder I broke down hmm

goneanonymous Fri 20-Dec-13 14:20:30

Don't call it a fucked-up head garlic, it seems like a pretty good one to me. Failure is scary though isn't it. Although the prospect of living in a world where we can fail and that's fine, well that sounds like a great place to live. I'm submitting my visa application right now.

You know what, for the first time in my life, where I do all the things you say, I run around trying to 'save' everyone never thinking about how that affects me and my mental (and consequently physical) health. I quit that, right now, me first. Goodness, I feel POWERFUL. I am going to be happy because I can do that, I'm not going to hang that happiness on the say so of people who have shown again and again that I am not much of a priority for them. Time and again I have heard 'you can't change people you can only change how you react to them' and I have fully agreed with that but now I understand what it means too.

amistillpregnant Sat 21-Dec-13 13:38:07

Absolutely fantastic thread, garlic

happy, your experience with your mum , when you were 20 & pregnant, sounds very similar to what I experienced.

I was fostered at 4 months old. The general consensus that that my birth mum did not want me. In come my 'Madonna'style parents, you know, plucking the poor child from poverty hmm

Grrowing up, my dad was great with me, my mum not so. I had other fostered/adopted siblings within the house. What I did notice was that they treated my elder foster sister appallingly. She got beaten on a daily basis. Usually for being rude. Years later, my fostermum always said that they were harsh with her because she was racist towards me. Neither my sister or I can recall this. We were very close and race was certainly not a factor in the childish arguments we had. It was usually more to do with the fact that she had nicked my Barbie.

Anyway, she was the 'nightmare' of the family and everyone treated her accordingly. Christmas time growing up was really an excuse for parents and older foster siblings to take the piss out of her and make her cry, usually resulting in her 'spoiling' Christmas and getting hit and sent to bed.

The final straw was when my foster sister was being raped in our field and my foster dad was walking the dog. My mum called her the equivalent of a whore, my dad hit her and my sister moved out of home soon after that. God, I missed her so much sad But in my childish head thought it was because she was so 'naughty'.

Every year, we had an annual review, where SS would come around and ask us if we were happy etc. I remember weeks before this review, mum would be in tears, saying she loved us all so much (my sister never got beaten the weeks before this) and I would always put a poem on the review sheet, saying how wonderful they are and how I didn't want to be anywhere else. My sister told the SS (truthfully) that she was being hit. Parents managed to wriggle out of it, saying she was difficult and after the SS went, my sister told me years later, that another foster sister had put her in a headlock and called her a trouble stirring bitch for trying to get mum and dad into trouble.

There is so much more and I will post again later. As you can imagine, my sister and I are the black sheep of the family. Hell, we even go to our foster parents to celebrate Christmas on boxing day. My foster parents celebrate Christmas with their 'good 'children on the day itself.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Sat 21-Dec-13 13:42:53

grin passed he does 90% of the cleaning. And yes I am moaning that he "makes" me do 10% of it. Sorry, probably not a great joke to make on mumsnet... it was more in the context that before he moved in my house looked like something off Hoarders Anonymous blush

BertieBowtiesAreCool Sat 21-Dec-13 13:44:16

sad AmI that is horrendous. Your poor foster sister.

BertieBowtiesAreCool Sat 21-Dec-13 13:54:20

Garlic I remember on a thread years ago somebody posted the Women's Aid bill of rights (which is similar to that) and it made me feel really overwhelmed. I can look at it now with no feeling at all but at the time I didn't think I had most of those rights so it was a massive deal.

Gone After I left my ex he had another child with somebody who I don't know if she's a narc but she has major problems and possibly a personality disorder of some kind. The relationship started off as "perfect" "fairytale" "incredible", by the end there were reports that they had both physically assaulted the other in front of children, they were screaming abuse at each other, it sounded fucking horrendous. Poor kids sad I felt sorry for her when they first got together but the more I learnt about her I started to realise that she's actually probably more messed up than he is - she has form for accosting people (who she knows) randomly in the street as well and screaming abuse and lies at them and making things up to cause trouble.

I would imagine that a relationship between two narcs couldn't really work because they're both such big personalities that it is necessary for a successful relationship for one to totally take over. And the other has to reflect which with another narc is unlikely to happen - like an ever-repeating mirror reflecting itself!

musicismylife Sat 21-Dec-13 14:02:29

Yeah, berti, it was awful for her

passedgo Sun 22-Dec-13 10:25:03

Ami your sister should see a solicitor about getting some justice for her treatment, either from SS who have failed her or from her parents. The process might make everyone wake up and coffee.

It is really sad when these crap parents divide the siblings in this way, I tend to advocate for siblings to do what they can and make contact outside the parents, even if it's stressful and uncomfortable. Imagine how your parents would respond if you were to tell them you were all meeting up - without them. A good, normal parent would respond to that with pride and support. A bad parent tries to keep all family contact 'in-house'.

But these narcs do choose their vocations don't they? Fostering and adopting is an ideal way to achieve instant power and control if that's they way you want your family life. As is teaching, especially in a boarding school or being a doctor, surgeon or someone with responsibility for someone's physical health.

GarlicReturns Sat 04-Jan-14 17:42:33

Hello again, and welcome to what looks to be an interesting year wink

It's time for the post-Christmas fallout of relationships taking a sudden turn for the worse, family weirdnesses in high relief, and resolutions of one sort and another. I thought it might be worth bumping this thread.

I kept the festivities down to a barely-perceptible minimum. I maintained Zen-like equilibrium through the family gatherings, letting everybody do their disorderly thing without reaction. It was okay, but knackering! New Year, for me, triggers memories of millenium eve. XH2 was being an absolute arse; I was still in denial but acted out badly. Glad that's all over, though sorry I missed the celebration of a lifetime.

How was yours?

AndTheBandPlayedOn Sat 04-Jan-14 22:39:18

Hi garlic, glad you made it through ok.

Dh recovered from jet lag more quickly than expected due to another business I said "do you still not want to go to your folks' house?" He paused and said it was interesting how I asked that, but it was still a 'no'. grin The road there goes through the mountains and he does not like stressing about winter weather on the 500+ mile drive, so I may be in the clear for Christmas/New Years indefinitely! <<tries not to giggle with glee too much as to jinx my luck>>

We had the most laid back, relaxed was nice. Just us, no visitors. So what the gingerbread house didn't get made and the Christmas roast ended up being beef tips over was still all good.

passedgo Sun 05-Jan-14 02:09:28

Our Mike Leigh christmas loomed, and I dreaded the family do. Mum was ill so I had to tell everyone to keep it short. She spent a while upstairs I thought on the loo but now realise she was probably crying for the lost ones, there are quite a few now. Regretted not checking up on her. Our broken maternal Christmas eve event has been marred in recent years by manic woman but she turned up late, this gave me time to bond with the nice family members. Two jealous sils didn't cross my path thisyear thank god. The assertiveness has paid off, the narcs have slunk away, cursing and trying to discredit me but at least we had a good chat and a bit of a laugh. Dp said I ignored him. No, I just talk to nice people now. Christmas day I gave up wooing people round, same for new years and it was just us with the obligatory phonecall to the mil clan.

GarlicReturns Tue 07-Jan-14 23:23:18

Sounds like a very good outcome, AndTheBand! Who needs all that stressful driving, when you can lie on your own sofa and eat spare ribs?!

"Mike Leigh Christmas" - perfect, passedgo grin He was the absolute master of dysfunctional British relationships, wasn't he? Not quite so amusing when you're in the middle of it, however ... And THE ASSERTIVENESS PAID OFF! YAY!!! Congratulations!

Maybe you can stick a spruce tree up DP's arse next year and cover him with glitter?

bishboschone Tue 07-Jan-14 23:30:15

My mil is a classic narc.. Favours first borns , not interested in second borns.. Rants on phone after smiling to your face the same day then will deny it if called up on it.. She hates me but is always telling me I'm beautiful and slim .. She believes and tells everyone she is a fabulous parent and grandparent .. She is soooo not .. Forgot ds ( second born ) birthday and when we called to check she was ok she blamed us for telling her the wrong date .. I could go on !!!! She has no idea she is like this and plays the victim to anyone who will listen as both her dc have given up on her ( justifiably ) and she tells everyone thy are evil and she has done nothing wrong!!

GarlicReturns Thu 09-Jan-14 02:06:24

It is sad, isn't it, bish? To lose her family's trust & goodwill, all because her mind's running on the wrong track & she simply cannot see it. Horrible for everyone around her, of course sad Whereabouts does your DH come in her pecking order?

My family scapegoats the first-borns! Seen it in three generations now, and no indication it's going to change. We, the eldest, are the family 'sin eaters' and only we can see what this does to us! I foresee my dotage as unpaid counsellor to all the first-born great-nieces & nephews ...

bishboschone Thu 09-Jan-14 07:41:15

We don't have contact now , my dh has given up .. I have always tried to stick up for her but the final straw was when my dad died in June we called to tell her ( we have been together 20 years and all live in the. Same village .. She knew him every very well) I was listening for condolences .. They didn't come , she said oh well he did drink too much !!!!!!! For me that is unforgivable so because I haven't encouraged him he hasn't contacted her ... Game for her she has 5 fc and has lost it all through her own behaviour which she just doesn't know ..... Also her second husband I think is a narc too and feeds her crazy ideas ..

bishboschone Thu 09-Jan-14 07:42:19

Shame not game and dgc not fc! Stupid phone .

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