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A reader “took me to task” this week. They felt was not being supportive enough of new readers who were breaking No Contact. This is my response. After I read what had just flowed from my fingers, I figured, hey, why not, make it a post.

I am sorry if you see my (or others) comments to readers as being a ‘smartass.’

Nothing about a relationship with a Narcissist is cute. Having been in a “frieNdship” with an N is not a clique that I Ever want to join again, believe me.

When I went into “remission” from the N, years ago, I read everything I could get my hands on from a site at MSN. It was a web site with a multitude of resources and even had (live) chat with people that were in similar situations and those who had recovered fully, especially by using a technique called “No Contact.”

No where, was I ever encouraged to seek out the N again after “Devalue and Discard”, I was strongly discouraged against contacting him, but I didn’t listen, and HOW sorry I was for not listening to those much wiser than I. The worse thing I ever did was try to ‘fix’ the ‘breakup’ with the N. It only made things worse, horribly worse.

If you were hoping that you would receive advice about how to recify, fix, heal, resume, mend, your broken relationship with the N, you will not find that here. The thing that we do not realize until many years down the path to recovery, is that the relationship / friendship with the N….was already broken from Day One. We were simply blind to that fact.

Yes, it is horribly tragic and it is a pity that any human being is subjected to this inhuman treatment from the N.

I hope that you are able to get many days of No Contact in a row. Honestly, you will find that the more days of No Contact you have the more the desire to have anything to do with the N will fade. Really, I’m not lying.

Contact me again, and let me know how you are doing. To quote AA: “One Day at a time.”

All the very best to you.
ES

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Once in a great while, I get a comment on one of my blog posts that is so well written and pertinent to readers needs, that I ask permission of the writer and I make it an actual blog post all on its own. Let’s face it, a comment is not always going to be seen when it’s “Comment #142” on a particular post. In this case, I tried to contact the writer, but they used an invalid email address. Perhaps they will contact me again after seeing their comment as an actual post. Hope so.

I have a question which nobody ever seems to be able to answer effectively, but which is very important!

Before asking the question, a little info …

1) WHAT HAPPENED: I survived a most traumatic relationship with a narcissist.

2) WHY?: I was too naive, young and immature to understand who I was trying to relate to, plus I am an empath. (not Pollyanna though) I was wrongly taught that being patient and forgiving is natural and rational, because ‘nobody’s perfect.’

3) PTSD: I was deeply affected by him and, as a result, a year after the discard, I was still so messed up that, for the first (and only) time in my life, I even experienced one episode of dissociation, when subjected to further abuse in the working environment. I guess I just could not take any more of that, I just paralyzed there and then, unnaturally calm though, feeling nothing except my body!
I also kept dreaming about him.

4) CONSEQUENCES: I reacted by becoming the exact opposite of what I was: From TOTALLY naive to TOTALLY suspicious and terrified of people, always wondering about their words, “WHAT and WHY are they saying THIS to me? What do they expect my reaction will be?”

I even started obsessing about my own EYES and about keeping in check with an absolute blank non revealing stare HOW others are watching ME through their eyes, to instantly notice IF they are
getting my emotions and if they are making subtle sadistic smirks or smiles as a result of possibly detecting ANY kind of weak emotion, like fear, on my part; also new to me. I now can get terrible rages if I even get the feeling somebody is treating me like my exN did.

So it’s like I feel a part of him is inside me, I don’t know how else to describe it!
But still, the apparently contradictory thing is that I am enormously more empathic than I used to be, like my empathy got enhanced somehow, not lessened.

For example: I sense other people’s pain immensely to the point that I feel pain too if I see others sad. Trust me, I experienced some remarkable situations where it was like I FELT all the pain the other person was feeling, instantly, to the point that I would start crying and sobbing and feeling desperate all of a sudden just looking through their eyes! Now I feel absolutely very protective and even more totally respectful and loving towards people who suffer, more than any other time before in my life.

POSITIVE ASPECTS ABOUT the N-experience:
1) I now sincerely understand that being alone CAN be a blessing indeed, and that ANYTHING is better than being with a Narcissist, given that you RECOGNISE that you are dealing with one.

2) I now understand that my personal (human AND therefore NORMAL) fears, which all normal people have (loneliness, emptiness, finity, fear itself, sadness, not being worthy …), CAN be artfully used by others against me, and by means of myself (in other words: Ns let others be ruled by their own fears, … and when N-supply (this is what I was for him, an object) ultimately finds out, we have the additional self-blame and shame for letting Ns do this to us by our own selves!)

3) I now understand that there are people with NO EMPATHY … believe it or not! Understand it/accept it or not.

4) I am now humble, and will NEVER ever again say “it could not happen to me!” Instead I don’t judge, I shut up and think “Unless you lived through that, you cannot understand what it feels like!”

QUESTION:
Since I want to stay away as far as possible from Narcissists … here is the question:

“When I first meet somebody, how do I know: … … if I am talking to a Narcissist …. (not again please!”)

But, what I really mean is, how would I know… for sure (no doubts, and excluding other
pathologies, if there are other pathologies which are similar or easily mistaken for N)… from the start (possibly just after a few weeks or months from meeting somebody.)

COROLLARY TO THE QUESTION:
IF you answered that only a very good psychiatrist can know, and that there is no way for me to know …would you be implying that I am condemned to either:

1) Isolate myself from ANYBODY else…

2) Or subject myself to possible Ns and ultimately find out / find out only when it is too late for me to avoid feeling abused again?

THE QUESTION IS IMPORTANT because:

1) The urge to TRUST somebody can be strong, and makes us biased when objectivity is required, … We all look for love and care, it’s human nature!

2) The ability of Ns to conceal how UNCARING, MEAN, and FALSE they are is truly excellent … and one always wonders and wonders and wonders…”Is he? isn’t he? Is he? isn’t he? … to the point of self-torture!

3) Giving a list of narcissistic traits is not useful, we who were once traumatized know only too well the traits … especially when very visible at last!

PLEASE help with some useful answer!

P.S. I understand that you are not a doctor Elisse, but maybe some doctor reading the post could try to answer; or maybe there’s someone who might know one who could ask him/her for an opinion ….

Dear Karen:
As I said above, I tried to answer your comment by email, but your email address was not valid. I am working on getting an answer for your from a professional, but while we wait for their answer, here are some thoughts from me…not a dr. and I don’t even play one on TV. (It’s a very old commercial.)

There are many wildly waving “Red Flags” that could be a clue for you (and anyone else) when you meet someone new. I am going to post these as they come to mind, so check back.

While I am driving my youngest here and there, I have ‘fabulous’ thoughts/ideas that come to mind and I can’t always stop and write them down. I also don’t mean to sound sarcastic or humorous, but my answers might come out that way. Sorry.

1. If a grown man/woman (women can be N’s too) wants to jump into a new relationship like a lovesick high school freshman, texts you constantly, shows up unexpectedly, makes you feel like you are being smothered…they could be an N or they have some other seriously, unhealthy relationship issues.

2. After being with this new person, do you feel exhausted? Ask your self this honestly and not based on the excitement of going out with a new guy/girl. I was exhausted after spending ANY amount time with the N. Very much the same way you might be feeling after being with a needy but intelligent toddler for several hours. I also felt like I had “emotional whiplash” after listening to his “double talk” for any amount of time. He’d say one thing and then say the exact opposite 5 minutes later – and then deny having said the first comment. (Gaslighting.)

3. Do you feel icky when you are with this person? Do you feel like you are being smothered? Do you feel like you are dealing with an emo teenager in an adult’s body?

4. Have you met the new person by being introduced by a friend? Ask this person what they REALLY think of the new guy/girl. Ask them why (if they are not already dating, would they date the person.) What does your family think? Listen to what they think.

5. Have you ever watched ‘The Bachelor?’ (The best season of it was the year that it was Ryan & Trista and that had a very happy ending with a wedding and so far two babies.) In the show, the guy takes a couple of girls home to met his parents. I recall seeing where the family members really let the bachelor know what they think of the prospective brides.

6. Listen to your gut. Some people don’t believe in ‘intuition’ but I do.

7. I can’t help but direct you to a post from Dr. Joseph Carver, a psychologist from Ohio. He allowed something that he wrote called “Warning Signs You’re Dating a Loser” to be freely used on the Internet. In fact, I think I have posted it during the past several years on my blog.

Check out what he wrote. You can read it as though he is giving you pre-relationship advice. It is quite long. I would advise printing it out and grabbing my favorite tool…that yellow highlighter.

http://www.drjoecarver.com/clients/49355/File/IdentifyingLosers.html

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I was cleaning out my desk and I came across this bookmark from AA.  Not sure if it came from a convention or some seminar I went to for work – but in any case the AA advice is good for those of us recovering from the torment of being in a so-called “relatioNship” with a narcissist.

“Detachment”

Detachment is neither kind nor unkind. It does not imply judgement or condemnation of the person or situation from which we are detaching.  Separating ourselves from the adverse effects of another person’s alcoholism (mental illness/narcissism) can be a means of detaching: this does not necessarily require physical separation (From the N, it does require NC/Physical Distance).  Detachment can help us look at our situation realistically and objectively.
Alcoholism is a family disease.  Living with the effects of someone else’s drinking is too devastating for most people to bear without help. In Al-Anon we lean nothing we say or do can cause or stop someone else’s drinking.  We are not responsible for another person’s disease or recovery from it.  (We are not responsible for another person’s narcissistic behavior.  It is about them, not us.)

Detachment allows us to let go of our obsession with another’s behavior and begin to lead happier and more manageable lives, lives with dignity and rights, lives guided by a Power greater than ourselves.  We can still love the person without liking the behavior.  (With the N, however, we need to renounce him or her from our lives – we might love the person we thought we knew, but we must realize that they are “dead to us.”)

In Al-Anon they learn:
Not to suffer because of the actions or reactions of other people.
Not to allow ourselves to be used or abused by others in the interest of another’s recovery.
Not to do for others what they can do for themselves.
Not to manipulate situations so others will eat, go to bed, get up, pay bills, not drink, or behave as we see fit.
Not to cover up for another’s mistakes or misdeeds.
Not to create a crisis.
Not to prevent a crisis if it is in the natural course of events.

Very good advice for those in the early stages of detaching from a Narcissist.

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“Don’t Cry
       Because It’s Over,
Smile Because It
                         Happened. ”  Dr. Seuss

I am fairly certain that Dr. Seuss was NOT referring to a Narcissist when the quote above was attributed to him….
Am I a better person for having been in a realatioNship with the N?  I’m not sure.
Am I grateful to have survived the experience?  Yes!
Can I smile because it happened? Hell no.
But after two years being totally No Contact – I can smile because he’s Gone! 

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Sometimes I get my ideas for a post by using the search engine terms.  One of my friends pointed this part of the dashboard out to me when I first started blogging.  She said, “Look to see the search engine phrases people use to find your blog…”  I call these my FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions.

“What does it mean if the Narcissist contacts me every few days?”

It means that you are answering his calls, email, or texts – STOP IT!
If you ever want to get rid the narcissist – you have to stop all communication with him or her.

It also means that the N is “Hoovering” – he’s trying to suck you back in, yet again.
So, I guess the question is:  Are you going to fall for it again? Don’t!
I know, he’s acting all nicey nice, all attentive – but just watch – the D & D is going to happen again.  It was my experience that the Devalue and Discard got worse each time.
Do you want to go through that again?  You thought that time was going to be different – but just like that little white mouse in the maze that gets a shock or some other sort of painful stimulus – you finally learn as the little mouse does – to go the other way.

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Sometimes I get my ideas for a post by using the search engine terms.  One of my friends pointed this part of the dashboard out to me when I first started blogging.  She said, “Look to see the search engine phrases people use to find your blog…”  I call these my FAQ’s – Frequently Asked Questions.

Deja vu:  I wrote this nearly three years ago and it describes so well the frequently asked question I receive at least once a week from people trying to understand the N in their life.  I’ve dug up this dinosaur and brought it into 2011. 

A pink spoon means one thing…Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors.  I’ve had my favorite flavors since childhood, & I have a drawer full of those pink spoons at home.  It’s not because we go out for ice cream very often, but because I save the spoons.  They are very useful.  I use them for all sorts of projects, rubber stamping, mixing paint, even for serving the cat’s dinner.  When at my wit’s end, I’ve even used them for getting that reluctant child to try some new kind of food…even a bite of some dreaded vegetable tastes good on a pink spoon.  (Don’t worry, it’s not the one I used for the cats.)

So – You might be asking yourself what does a pink spoon have to do with NPD?  A Narcissist views people as disposable; they are ‘pink spoons’.  To a N, people are things, not friends, family or lovers.  He will use people (aka his victims/targets) as long as they serve a purpose for him, as long as they make him look good, as long as they agree with him.

People provide the N with what is called “Narcissistic Supply”  (NS).  Relationships mean nothing to the N; he is incapable of loving anyone let alone even showing one iota of concern for someone.  He can NEVER be emotionally involved with another person.  A Narcissist will use someone for whatever reason, for whatever purpose, as long as they are a good source of NS for him.  Break his rules & suffer the consequences.  This ‘devaluing’ is repeated over and over again.

It’s not hard to break the N’s rules.  They are varied and change sometimes daily.  What makes him rage one day, might make him smirk another.  Question his decision?  Ask him to repeat what he just told you?  Chances are you will get so much ‘Word Salad’ that you will wish you ordered something else on the menu.  You quickly learn to be quiet.  You don’t question anything, especially his statements that deep down you know are lies.  Most importantly, you have to agree with everything he says.

One might think to themselves, what kind of pansy stays in this kind of a relationship?  Obviously, I asked my self that same question.  The only thing that I can tell you is that there was a pathology going on that I still do not understand.  I am trying to understand why I was a target for an individual like this.  (I can’t bring my self to call him a person, my cats have more humanity than he does.)

It was very grievous for me when I realized that I was just a ‘pink spoon’ to The N.  I was only a thing.  How could someone who was my friend suddenly stop, do an about face, and treat me like dog s**t on his shoe?  After having been idolized, I was consistently devalued over time, and then, finally, abruptly discarded.  I was dumbfounded.  I had no clue what my crime was that deserved this punishment  I was something that he threw in the trash along with the used Kleenex & dental floss, without a moment’s hesitation. (I was going to say condom, but I doubt that he could get past the “first courtesy date” to need one….)

While The N discards his NS when he is done with them, I appreciate the richness of quality that people bring to my life.  They are important; like pink plastic spoons, they are useful, they are valuable, they are worthy, not something to be used once and then cast aside.

 

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