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ex's parents/friends think I have NPD. Confused & need to sort my head out.

(40 Posts)
Anna1976 Wed 24-Apr-13 01:39:06

Split with partner of 7 years last year, moved out, got back together at Christmas, then split for good and moved away. However we have remained friends and miss each other. We still have the capacity to shock and hurt each other too though.

Phonecall this evening: apparently the reason his sister/friends/parents never liked me, thought I was a selfish bitch, was because it was always all about me, my career, my problems, my dislikes, my hobbies, my enthusiasms. They think I am selfish, narcissistic and manipulative, have no insight into what others think of me and show a shocking level of not caring about other people.

Looking back, I was absorbed in my career (partly because it was an escape from my frankly pretty horrible family), then I was really worried because my career had burnt out and I had no idea what to do next. When ex's family and friends saw me, they saw me "back home" when I was being harrassed by my family. So I would have appeared self-absorbed, with little to talk about other than my own career or interests, because I shared little in common with ex's family and friends, had no gossip to relate, and had no interest in discussing my own circumstances other than career stuff.

I already knew some of ex's friends loathed me because they thought I was a "barren selfish bitch" for not "giving" him children. I never bothered relating to these people that it was because the relationship wasn't in a good enough state. Some of them knew I didn't want children because i was terrified of repeating my own miserable childhood. And that was why I was relatively hands-off with their kids - not active dislike, just wariness.

But does that make me manipulative? NPD?
Ex knows there is a difference between "tied up in busy work schedule and trying to escape unhappiness" and "selfish manipulative narcissist". So I wonder what other behaviours I have unwittingly managed to use to demonstrate that I am a fruitloop.

Anyone able to help me clear my head?

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Wed 24-Apr-13 01:44:44

ex is trying to hurt you and has succeeded. he's not your friend.

Iheartpasties Wed 24-Apr-13 01:49:07

yes, he does not sound like a friend at all.

Anna1976 Wed 24-Apr-13 01:50:11

that was my initial thought. But it's not his style - he's never been vindictive. More thoughtlessly revealing what he really thinks and then unable to see why it's a problem. And everything is backed up by evidence, always, so it's not just cos he's read a Guardian column on personality disorders or something.

But it may be that his dear mother has made the decision and convinced him. Who knows.

But if I am in need of changing my behaviour I'd rather know.

Anna1976 Wed 24-Apr-13 01:59:48

ps am somewhat aware of irony of saying "ooh people, give me attention! strangers, come and diagnose me over the internet, am I self-absorbed, do you think?"

I guess I'm asking if anyone has experience of distinguishing between ASD (which I have had diagnosed, though increasingly think some of it is learnt behaviour in my case), busy career person with boring life and poor social skills, unhappy person trying to work out how to behave in the world in a way that doesn't involve all the dysfunction of the past, and selfish narcissist with personality disorder.

Obviously it all overlaps. If I can change for the better I'd like to. I don't have anyone here to talk to about any of it though. And I don't really have any friends (left colleagues behind in the UK, last year; they didn't keep in touch), or any family I can talk to.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Wed 24-Apr-13 02:15:35

what about a spot of therapy, can you afford that? we really can't diagnose you, you seem smart enough to know that. it sounds like you had a tough time growing up and that has affected you, so a spot of housekeeping on that front can't do any harm. but remember, he may be a nice enough fellow, however sisters and mothers are W E I R D and if he's quoting them post breakup, well, who ever knows at that stage? they may never have liked you, for a million reasons, some of which might very well just have been their own shit to deal with.

Mimishimi Wed 24-Apr-13 07:37:27

It's hard to say. In some families though, especially where there is an only son, no girl is good enough for the sisters and mother. From the post though, it does come across a teeny bit "me,me,me". You were in a relationship for seven years and you still felt it wasn't stable enough to have kids? Not that you should feel forced to of course but maybe your ex did and felt that if you couldn't work through your childhood issues by now, you might never do. Did you ask him what they thought of you or fid he just volunteer that information?

Dahlen Wed 24-Apr-13 08:00:59

If you had NPD I very much doubt you'd be on here admitting it and asking for advice. While NPD sufferers have a tendency to 'make it all about them' it's extremely unusual for them to admit to things being their fault - especially with the degree of willingness you are showing.

think about it logically. Birds of a feather and all that. Your X's friends will share similar outlooks on life to him. To some extent, their attitudes about you are an extension of his. They validate his need to feel hard-done-by and to make everything your fault. Anyone who considers a woman a "barren bitch" for not "giving" a man a child is not someone whose opinion you should be giving any thought to whatsoever.

Thoughtless to repeat this? I think not. I think it's deliberate but that you've got in a mindset of not seeing this sort of deliberately manipulative and cruel behaviour for what it is.

Well done you for leaving this relationship is all I can say.

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 08:31:04

Oh, hello Anna. Hope you're doing OK. Was the final break-up a relief in the end?

In my (pretty ignorant) understanding, characteristics of narcissism include grandiosity and a hysterical disbelieving reaction to criticism. You don't display either of those, but clearly you do spend quite a lot of time agonising about yourself and your life, and maybe you do come across as a little self-absorbed. So do lots of people who are having a hard time, so don't beat yourself up about it.

How is your life now? Any chance of therapy or similar?

bleedingheart Wed 24-Apr-13 08:46:21

How many of these criticisms have come directly from the people supposed to have said them?

I find it hard to believe friends would call you a barren bitch to your partner.

A 'friend' of mine used to tell her partner I'd said things about him and his behaviour which I had not said. They were her fears and concerns but she was too scared to 'own' them. Led to me being ostracised by our half of our social group without knowing why. I wonder if your ex is as kind as you think.

bleedingheart Wed 24-Apr-13 08:49:39

I do remember some of your other threads and I know it is bad form to mention them but I do feel you are almost looking to blame yourself for everything that goes wrong for you. I think therapy would be a really good idea. And no contact with your ex. If he still cared he would never have said all this to you. You need to stop accepting that what other people saying must be the truth and you are wrong.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Apr-13 09:17:18

I don't think you need therapy. I think you need to block calls from your ex who is emphatically NOT your friend. When you're trying to make a new life for yourself and find happiness what is the point of talking to someone who calls you up to say 'you're shit'?

Trust yourself, cut this man out of your life and be with people who actually like you.... not people who want to piss on your bonfire.

Anna1976 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:22:12

H2O12 grin I do like the assessment of mothers and sisters. I think I agree.

Mimishimi & Mooncup smile (Hello Mooncup) you're right that I am (here, in particular) coming across as very self-absorbed and agonising. So while I had other stuff to discuss in social situations, all this did taint it.
Since I moved I have been focusing on not mentioning problems or family business or anything in social situations. Have been trying to follow the model of being a cheerful, outward-looking good "friend" to others (though I don't know them well enough to call them friends really here). Meanwhile this is all eating me from the inside somewhat sad

Bleedingheart & Dahlen you may well be right. The barren comment was said to my face and said about me in front of me, and many other criticisms, so this wasn't reporting by exP. In last night's phonecall, I think i brought the critical reporting on myself by agonising too much about why things hadn't worked.

Well at least therapy in a foreign language will improve my language skills pretty quickly...

Anna1976 Wed 24-Apr-13 09:23:52

Cogito - crosspost - I think that was mostly my fault.

But you are right that I should do more exercise, go to more museums, meet more colleagues for coffee on the weekend, and be too busy to phone the ex.

CogitoErgoSometimes Wed 24-Apr-13 09:28:15

Definitely drop contact. He's like a little devil on your shoulder whispering crap.... 'You're shit. My family think you're shit. My friends think you're shit'... drip-feed someone that kind of brainwashing rubbish long enough and they'll start to believe it.

You don't need him. Tell him to piss off.

bleedingheart Wed 24-Apr-13 09:33:33

If he has 'friends' like that you don't want anything to do with him or his family.

harrietspy Wed 24-Apr-13 09:38:31

Hello. I know someone with NPD and the way you come across is nothing like him. My ex IL & extended family love nothing more than to sit round the table 'analysing' the flaws of anyone who's not in the room. Toxic gossip can be dressed up as helpful reflection and 'advice', but it's actually just bitching and has hatred at its core.

Even if you do have NPD (which seems very unlikely) their ideas about you aren't helpful. These people are hardly neutral observers and they do not have your interests at heart.

MooncupGoddess Wed 24-Apr-13 09:39:12

I'm absolutely appalled that anyone would describe you as 'barren' to your face. That's unforgiveable.

I do wonder if your low self-esteem and issues from your childhood led you into a relationship with someone who wasn't actually very nice.

bigbuttons Wed 24-Apr-13 09:42:21

People with NPD don't worry that they have NPD! People with NPD think that they are right, full stop. Therefore it is highly unlikely that you have NPD. You might have other things you could could work on of course, but don't we all?!

C4ro Wed 24-Apr-13 09:55:29

He sounds like he is ex for a reason! He is trying to absolve himself from any blame and paint it all onto you for the end of the relationship. I would break contact if you can.

Also try not to dwell/ agonise/ disect it too much. Sounds like a rough year on the emotional rollercoaster and you're trying to get to know a new place. Spend all your energy getting to know your new city (whereabouts are you? I'm in Vienna). I've made a couple of Europe moves and it took me at least 3-6 months to settle each time. Don't underestimate that you're in a new place, possibly with a language hurdle and working out from the baseline how things work- which shops sell paracetamol/ wine here? Let alone the paperwork! Don't beat yourself up about it. The people that fail on international moves in my experience have expected that it's just like moving up the road in <town they came from>, that it will take them only 2 weeks to settle and it isn't like that. Loads of minor things needing to adjust becomes quite a big problem all together.

Loulybelle Wed 24-Apr-13 10:02:10

People NPD, NEVER admit to having an issue, so its not NPD, and your ex really didnt need to tell you that stuff.

Meid Wed 24-Apr-13 10:07:40

My SIL has NPD (diagnosed by myself though). My DD said to her once "all you do is talk about yourself" to which she replied, laughing "kids eh, couldn't be further from the truth as I'm the best listener I know".

Now, that, IMO is a typical NPD reaction. Really, really not seeing the criticism.

Not the reaction to ask on the internet for advice.

However, I do agree with suggestions that you should consider therapy.

Best of luck.

Branleuse Wed 24-Apr-13 10:07:54

Any of the things they are saying, can be perfectly explained by the issues you were facing at the time, especially with a diagnosis of autistic spectrum.

It sounds to me like theyre spending a lot of time discussing your flaws, when they should be thinking about their own.

FWIW everyone has narcissistic traits here and there, but a few traits, does not a narcissist make.

They are trying to bully you. Try and keep away as best you can xx

NicknameTaken Wed 24-Apr-13 10:08:47

My ex was very fond of telling me what his friends and allies allegedly said about me. No idea if they said those things, but given that they hadn't actually met me for more than a minute or two, it's unlikely it was a very informed analysis.

You don't sound NPD to me - the fact that you picked up the irony of asking people to come and discuss whether you are self-absorbed sounds very unNPD like, though obviously I'm not an expert.

I think you should tell your ex mournfully "Yes, I am damaged and I must stay away from you for YOUR sake". Do a full dramatic renunciation. Then get the hell out of dodge city, have a good laugh as the silly old drama queen, and never have contact with him again. Who cares what label you pin on it, he's clearly not good for you.

Anna1976 Wed 24-Apr-13 10:16:38

Cogito, bleedingheart, Mooncup, harrietspy, C4ro - yes, it makes sense to break it off. Time to see if I can destroy a pair of running shoes in a few weeks, like i did late last year when I moved out. Exhaustion is the only undamaging way through this I think (with some therapy).

harrietspy - are you named after that american children's book? I loved that, had forgotten it existed.

C4ro - you are totally right about what it's like to move overseas (and the rollercoaster bit too). Last time I did it (Australia-UK at the start of uni) it was with all the help available at an elite university that is used to welcoming foreigners. This time round, it's without help, and I'm constantly reminded that I have no real idea how things work in the rest of Europe, I'm in a city famed for its unfriendliness to foreigners, in a country famed for its red tape, and that I thought I was good at [insert foreign language] 18 years ago, but actually I'm not that fluent at all...

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