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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

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!

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