Advanced search

Mumsnet has not checked the qualifications of anyone posting here. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

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

(130 Posts)

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

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

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

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

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

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

Any help would be much appreciated.


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Just link them, I think.

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

Sam Vaknin? You can link grin

He wouldn't have it any other way.

tipsytrifle Thu 07-Feb-13 19:54:38

garlic - thanks and yes!! lol

CharlotteCollinsislost Thu 07-Feb-13 22:10:05

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

paulapantsdown Sat 09-Feb-13 19:18:17

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

paulapantsdown Sat 09-Feb-13 20:11:35

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

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

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

Hahahah! Yes!!

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

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

paulapantsdown Sat 09-Feb-13 20:16:34

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

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

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

really feel for you op.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

paulapantsdown Sat 09-Feb-13 20:54:00

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

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, watch threads, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now »

Already registered? Log in with: