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Posts Tagged ‘Narcissists’

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I just read a great article on line entitled “10 Ways to Spot a Narcissist.”
Hope I don’t get in trouble for sharing the link here. Take the quiz at the bottom of the article. I got a 6.
Narcissists score over 20.

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/health-fitness/mental-health/10-ways-to-spot-a-narcissist?page=all

ps…If this counts as a post, it is my first one in a very long time.

ES

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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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Grinch's heart size

I noticed this question was used today in a search engine to find my blog.

Why are narcissists so mean?

Perhaps, like the Grinch, it is because their hearts are two sizes too small……..
I’m not sticking around to see if the N’s heart might grow three sizes one day…..

ES

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I’ve had several readers ask me off site – Which is worse a male N or a female N?

While I had experiences with a male N, many of you were targets of a female N.  I have taken the liberty to copy and paste the answer to this question posed to Sam Vankin at “Suite 101.” Sam gets all the credit for the passage below.  I don’t want anyone to have “twisty ears.”

Many of you maybe aware that Sam is a narcissist and believe it or not he gets his Narcissistic Supply by helping other human beings who are the victims of narcissists.  Go figure.
Sam uses “Seventy-five cent” words so you may (I know I do) have to read through his writings slowly to grasp his intent.
ES

Frequently Asked Question # 34

The psychodynamics of male and female narcissists are the same.

Women narcissists differ only in the choice of sources of narcissistic supply which often conforms to traditional gender roles and in the willingness to attend therapy

Question:

Are female narcissists any different? You seem to talk only about male narcissists!

Answer:

I keep using the male third person singular because most narcissists (75%) are males and more so because there is little difference between the male and female narcissists.

In the manifestation of their narcissism, female and male narcissists, inevitably, do tend to differ. They emphasise different things. They transform different elements of their personalities and of their lives into the cornerstones of their disorder.

Women concentrate on their body (many also suffer from eating disorders: Anorexia Nervosa and Bulimia Nervosa). They flaunt and exploit their physical charms, their sexuality, their socially and culturally determined “femininity”. They secure their Narcissistic Supply through their more traditional gender role: the home, children, suitable careers, their husbands (“the wife of…”), their feminine traits, their role in society, etc.

It is no wonder than narcissists – both men and women – are chauvinistic and conservative. They depend to such an extent on the opinions of people around them – that, with time, they are transformed into ultra-sensitive seismographs of public opinion, barometers of prevailing social fashions, and guardians of conformity. The narcissist cannot afford to seriously alienate his “constituency”, those people who reflect his False Self back to him. The very proper and on-going functioning of the narcissist’s Ego depends on the goodwill and the collaboration of his human environment.

True, besieged and consumed by pernicious guilt feelings – many a narcissist finally seek to be punished. The self-destructive narcissist then plays the role of the “bad guy” (or “bad girl”). But even then it is within the traditional socially allocated roles. To ensure social opprobrium (read: attention), the narcissist exaggerates these roles to a caricature.

A woman is likely to label herself a “whore” and a male narcissist to self-style himself a “vicious, unrepentant criminal”. Yet, these again are traditional social roles. Men are likely to emphasise intellect, power, aggression, money, or social status. Women are likely to emphasise body, looks, charm, sexuality, feminine “traits”, homemaking, children and child rearing – even as they seek their masochistic punishment.

Another difference is in the way the genders react to treatment. Women are more likely to resort to therapy because they are more likely to admit to psychological problems. But while men may be less inclined to DISCLOSE or to expose their problems to others (the macho-man factor) – it does not necessarily imply that they are less prone to admit it to themselves. Women are also more likely to ask for help than men.

Yet, the prime rule of narcissism must never be forgotten: the narcissist uses everything around him or her to obtain his (or her) Narcissistic Supply. Children happen to be more attached to the female narcissist due to the way our society is still structured and to the fact that women are the ones to give birth. It is easier for a woman to think of her children as her extensions because they once indeed were her physical extensions and because her ongoing interaction with them is both more intensive and more extensive.

This means that the male narcissist is more likely to regard his children as a nuisance than as a source of rewarding Narcissist Supply – especially as they grow older and become autonomous. Devoid of the diversity of alternatives available to men – the narcissistic woman fights to maintain her most reliable Source of Supply: her children. Through insidious indoctrination, guilt formation, emotional sanctions, deprivation and other psychological mechanisms, she tries to induce in them a dependence, which cannot be easily unravelled

But, there is no psychodynamic difference between children, money, or intellect, as Sources of Narcissistic Supply. So, there is no psychodynamic difference between male and female narcissist. The only difference is in their choices of Sources of Narcissistic Supply.

There are mental disorders, which afflict a specific sex more often. This has to do with hormonal or other physiological dispositions, with social and cultural conditioning through the socialization process, and with role assignment through the gender differentiation process. None of these seem to be strongly correlated to the formation of malignant narcissism. The Narcissistic Personality Disorder (as opposed, for instance, to the Borderline or the Histrionic Personality Disorders, which afflict women more than men) seems to conform to social mores and to the prevailing ethos of capitalism. Social thinkers like Lasch speculated that modern American culture – a narcissistic, self-centred one – increases the rate of incidence of the Narcissistic Personality Disorder. As Kernberg observed:

“The most I would be willing to say is that society can make serious psychological abnormalities, which already exist in some percentage of the population, seem to be at least superficially appropriate.”

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**The names and events were changed to protect the innocent.

I was speaking with a young woman this week caught up in a situation of abuse, stalking and a horrific custody battle for her young child.  She had left the abuser, very likely a narcissist, when the baby was under a year of age.  That time it was a violent confrontation…..that left her bruised and bloodied.

Supported by her family, however dysfunctional it is, supported nonetheless, she was out of direct contact with the N, with the exception of arranged visitation.  Her ex was making it clear to the court that he, the ex, was beyond “jerk” definition.  The baby, while confused by all the shuttling back and forth was thriving, being away from the fighting and abuse from the “father.”

Those of you with personal experience know what is coming next.

The N became contrite and apologetic – he asked her to come back, promised that it would never happen again and the young woman wishing for a normal, happy family life for she &  her child, agreed. Yes, for about 6 months life was “normal”.

There is no need for me to describe what happened after six months.  Suffice to say, it involved many police, sheriff, state and local agencies……..CPS, lawyers, court representatives, lawyers, judges, the morgue/medical examiners office and two families who are bound together by strands stronger than a spider’s web.

There were unbeliveable events that have lead to the young woman finally now being at the point in recovery where she is berating herself for going back to the N.  Unable to publicly voice that while this was not the outcome she prayed or hoped for – it was ultimately in the hands of One Greater than herself.

Her self-esteem is low, trying to provide for her child. She thinks that it has been a year since she left the N (the first time since the baby was born.) Wishing that she had not gone back, knowing that she and her baby are lucky to be alive.

Here is the point where she can choose to wallow in the mire or start to reclaim her identity and begin to slowly build a new life for herself and her young child.  Let us all pray that she chooses, wisely.

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