My MN ex always had to have what he wanted, right that second. During those seven years he freeloaded off me and refused to work (AFTER the divorce), he’d interrupt me at the most incredibly inconvenient times to take care of some minor need, and he’d become very petulant or even angry when you refused to jump when he said jump. He used to wake me up in the middle of the night, knowing I had work in a few hours, saying he needed a pack of cigarettes. Or when I’d go shopping, if I didn’t get him exactly what HE wanted (remember, he didn’t work and I paid for all the groceries myself) he’d rage and hurl insults at me until I went back to the store to get him what he wanted. He never even thanked me for going out of my way for him. He assumed this was his due and that I existed to carry out his bidding. Boundaries meant nothing to him–unless they were HIS boundaries (woe be to you for crossing over THOSE!). He’d never return the favor if you wanted something from HIM. He just kept taking and taking and taking, draining me of my sanity, my money, and even my looks and my health. If I hadn’t kicked him to the curb in early 2014, it probably would have killed me. He was like a giant baby living on my couch, only not at all cute or funny. Maybe more like a giant cancerous tumor attached to my couch and wallet would be a better description.
My mother, also a narcissist, used to call me at any old time. You were not allowed to refuse. You were supposed to drop whatever you were doing. When I’d tell her I was in the middle of work, or busy, or on another call and could I please call her back later, she’d pour on the guilt: “I’m your MOTHER, you can certainly spare a few minutes to talk to me!” followed with an ultimatum: “Tell them you’ll call back later.” How DARE I have priorities over taking a call from her? How DARE I make her wait? She wanted what she wanted when she wanted it, and did NOT want to wait. No narcissist does, because waiting for something requires a degree of empathy–that the person you want something from may have needs at the moment that override your own.
Instant gratification isn’t something that’s usually associated with Narcissistic Personality Disorder; more often it’s associated with Antisocial Personality Disorder. I think for a narcissist, the inability to wait for anything is part the entitlement problem they have. To make a narcissist wait means you’re not putting them FIRST, which means they’re just not important enough to you otherwise you’d jump when they tell you to. To make one wait is a narcissistic injury. A baby can’t wait when it’s hungry; he cries and screams until Mom comes to feed him–that’s because he doesn’t realize yet that Mom is a separate person. To the baby, they are one, and Mom exists only to serve him.
A narcissist is an overgrown adult baby. They never learned to differentiate other people from themselves. Due to something going terribly wrong during their early childhood when they were supposed to be learning that they existed separately from others, they are stuck at a pre-verbal level of emotional development, where other people exist only to serve their needs. If their immediate needs aren’t gratified, and you don’t put yours on the back burner or sacrifice your needs completely, to the narcissist it’s tantamount to annihilation. They feel as if they don’t exist. Hence, they must punish you–their rages and abuse are the equivalent of a two year old’s temper tantrum when they can’t have their ice cream RIGHT NOW.
Don’t enable a narcissist by letting them invade your boundaries this way. If you can’t go No Contact, stick to your guns and let them get mad–and get away as soon as you are able.
Thanks to My Child Within for the idea for this post, which arose from a conversation in the comments.