Pot…kettle…karma!

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In 1996 and again in 1997 I was hospitalized for episodes of clinical depression and near-psychotic, self destructive behavior.   For several years I’d had severe mood swings, shifting from near-mania to near-catatonic depression.  During these depressions I’d sleep all day, not even bothering to eat some days.   I was sure I had Bipolar Disorder, but it turned out I didn’t have that.    The first hospital stay was where I first got my BPD diagnosis.  I was also diagnosed with Major Depression, alcohol abuse (not alcoholism), and PTSD.

My sociopathic MN ex loved to use these diagnoses against me, especially the BPD one.  I guess he already knew BPD had a terrible reputation.   He used this diagnosis to demean me and discount anything I said, and also used it to turn our friends against me.   He’d always say things like:

“No one will take you seriously because you’re certifiably crazy, even the doctors say you are crazy!”

“You have BPD and we all know all Borderlines lie and can’t tell the truth more than they can tell their mouth from their a-hole”

“You’re a Borderline which means everything you say is a delusion and a lie.”

“No one believes you because you’re batshit crazy and even have the BPD diagnosis to prove it.”

Years later, after being arrested for domestic violence and public drunkenness (he had a pillhead girlfriend at this time), he was diagnosed with both NPD and ASPD, which makes him a certified Malignant Narcissist.   I find the irony of that pretty funny.  I wouldn’t trade my BPD diagnosis for his in a million years.

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Marriage counseling is another weapon a narcissist can use against you.

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If you’re still with your narcissist, you may be tempted to insist they attend marriage or family counseling with you. It’s a common error to believe and hope the counselor or family therapist can help the narcissist understand your point of view and, seeing the light, stop their abuse of you or the children.

This is a mistake. Don’t do it. Don’t drag a narcissist to a marriage counselor or family therapist. I have my own horror story about this, and I’ve heard many similar stories to mine.

My ex, “Michael” (not his real name) and I had not been getting along for some time. I won’t go into the details in this article, because I’ve documented his abuse elsewhere in this blog. Whenever a malignant narcissist (in his case, full-blown ASPD!) pairs up with a Borderline or a low spectrum covert narcissist (I believe I am both), the Borderline or covert N is almost always going to be in the supplicating, codependent, people-pleasing victim role. They will be gaslighted, projected onto, triangulated against, given the silent treatment, insulted, used, taken advantage of, stolen from, lied to, and possibly physically abused as well. A Borderline will rage and lose their composure under such treatment, while a covert N will try to “fight back” using more underhanded means such as passive aggression or the silent treatment. If you’re not disordered, staying around someone who’s doing those things to you long enough, you can actually become a narcissist yourself, or at least pick up a lot of narcissistic traits as well as severe PTSD.

Enraged by Michael’s constant insults, disrespect, and gaslighting using the children as flying monkeys, I’d react by giving him the silent treatment or make sarcastic remarks. Neither of these weak weapons made a dent in the impenetrable armor of this professional malignant narcissist, and the abuse just escalated. As a BPD, another thing I’d do was rage. I’d hold in my anger for days, and finally explode into a mighty dish-smashing, profanity spewing temper tantrum. Of course it was then that Michael told everyone–including our young children–that I was an insane c__t and bitch who should be locked up and the key thrown away.

Sure, we were both disordered, but in that relationship I was definitely the victim. I remember a couple of friends even told me on meeting him that they got “bad vibes” and thought there was something “evil” about him and to be very careful.

At one point I suggested we see a marriage counselor. At first Michael resisted, but he finally relented when a friend of his told him he should go just to get me to STFU. So he agreed to go, on the condition that HE got to pick the therapist we’d be seeing. The therapist he chose was a woman and she did seem very nice. I actually felt comfortable with her, which surprised me.

One of the issues we’d been having was the volume at which Michael played his music. He listened to music I did not enjoy–mostly death metal, thrash, and riot girl punk/metal (this was in the late 1990s). Now I’m an eclectic and open minded music lover, but those particular genres acted like assault weapons on my ears. He also liked to blast this noise late at night when the kids and I were trying to sleep. But whenever I asked him to turn the music down, he’d tell me to shut up and deliberately increase the volume.

So this was one of the topics that came up in marriage counseling. I was the one who brought it up. Michael always seemed calm and reasonable on the surface (he had a lot of charm back in those days which he never showed me when we were alone together) while I always seemed stressed, on edge, a raw nerve about to snap like a violin string (this was in fact the case–his manipulations and cruelty to both me and the kids were systematically driving me insane). After I told the therapist about how loud he played his music whenever we were trying to sleep and refused to turn it down when asked, Michael turned on the charm, smiling and in a very reasonable and calm tone of voice explaining to her that I was a “control freak” and hated music in general. He told her I never let him play anything, even during the day, which was a lie.

The therapist turned to me and told me I needed to stop trying to control my husband and allow him to pursue his interests. I looked over at Michael, wearing his most smug, self-satisfied grin. I wanted to walk over and smack him hard upside the head. I started to shake with rage. I couldn’t hide my frustration and anger the way he could. It took everything I had not to throw something at him or throttle him. I looked down at my clenched fists and my knuckles were so white their bones seemed to have popped through my skin.

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Back in those days, my BPD symptoms were in full force, and so to the therapist, I probably did seem a little crazy. Michael, in contrast, had the composure of an attorney (I always used to tell him he should have been a lawyer because he always won every argument).

Other things came up too. But it always came back to the same thing–that I was trying to control HIM and he was just a reasonable man confused by my emotional instability and craziness. Michael had that therapist wrapped around his little finger. Once I tried to explain to her the way he acted in our sessions was not the way he acted at home, that he wasn’t showing her his cruel, callous and disrespectful nature. Of course he called me a liar, telling the therapist I had “mental issues.” Once again I got scolded by the therapist for trying to control him and making up stories to make him seem worse than he was. She asked me if I had delusions often.

Finally, sick of the two of them ganging up on me and blaming me for everything wrong in our marriage, I walked out in the middle of a session, which only convinced that therapist I wasn’t “serious about counseling” and should seek psychotherapy for myself (this is what Michael told me later).

I’ve heard this sort of thing happening to so many victims of narcissistic abuse. They go to marriage or family counseling, thinking it might help, and instead, the therapist gets turned into a flying monkey siding with the abuser and joining in the gaslighting and projection against the abused.

Malignant narcissists and psychopaths like Michael are good at convincing people they are perfectly sane and they will lie very convincingly. The real victim, probably suffering from PTSD and high stress levels, is more likely to “lose it” or act out, making it seem as if they are the one causing the problems with the relationship.

Based on this experience and those I’ve heard from others, I don’t recommend marriage counseling if your spouse or partner is a narcissist. But if you do decide to try it, make sure YOU choose the therapist, and pick one who has a background in Cluster B personality disorders and has a working knowledge of the way narcissists operate.

Even better, if it’s at all possible, lose the narc who’s making your life such a hell.

For more on this subject, please read my article, Narcs Who Use Therapy to Gaslight Their Victims.

For another blatant example of the type of gaslighting my ex liked to use against me (and get his way at the same time), see my article How My ASPD Control Freak Ex Used a Dog to Gaslight Me

“An Open Letter to My Abusive Husband”

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A very courageous woman named Samantha wrote this “open letter” to her abusive, narcissistic husband which appears on her blog The Narcissist’s Wife, which I recommend for anyone trying to divorce or leave a narcissist.

Her “open letter” had me on the edge of my seat because it’s so triggering and fits right in with the article I just posted about “Daniel.” Narcissists all follow the same rulebook: Idealization and promising you the world, followed by The Devaluation and finally straight up abuse.

I am only posting the first part; to read the whole article there is a link to read the rest on her blog.

An Open Letter To My Abusive Husband…
By Samantha Matthews / July 22, 2015

Things were bad right from the start, but I was too young and naive to see it. That’s why you picked me, isn’t it? I was so trusting, and innocent. I had no idea you were broken, no idea our relationship wasn’t normal. I believed you when you told me I was messing up, and I didn’t question you. You could control me, keep me at arms length, and enjoy all the effort I gave into making our “relationship” a success.

And then, one day, I started to notice. Notice how controlling you are, how you turned everything I had issues with back on me, and how you never admitted you were wrong. I notice how you never listened to me on anything, and would later tell me the same truth after you heard it from another source. I noticed how you discounted my opinions and called me a hypochondriac whenever I felt sick. I noticed how you kept me separate from your friends and your social life, and resisted any efforts on my part to make couple friends we could hang out with together.

I noticed how you left me to grieve my grandfathers death alone, and didn’t give me so much as a hug. I noticed how you hid my engagement ring and let me search frantically for an hour before you told me you had it, and how you thought that was funny even though I was in tears.

I noticed how you lied to your friends, your boss, and your family, easily and without a good reason, just because you didn’t feel like doing something. I noticed when you told me about the drugs you did for the entire time we were dating/engaged, how you changed when you stopped doing them. I noticed that I never even knew you had been lying to me then. And how you thought that that revelation shouldn’t change a single thing in our marriage.

I noticed when you complained about how boring the hospital is while I was recovering from having our first child and pushed me to rush us home, and how you discounted all my pain and discomfort during my second pregnancy even while I was working 6 days a week at our business and taking care of a four year old.

I noticed how you never helped me in our business, even as you yelled and raged at me for how poorly things were being run (in your opinion) and how I needed to do more at the shop. I noticed how even when you committed to doing something, I ended up being the one to take care of it. And I noticed how you took and took and took money without contributing at all. To the extent that we ended up having to close the doors. I noticed how you blamed me for that too.

I noticed how you have discounted, dismissed, and mocked all of my accomplishments over the last 13 years. How you tell me the things I’ve done don’t count because they weren’t as good as what someone else did. You tell me I don’t follow through with anything, but you sabotage my efforts and make me feel horrible, and then throw it in my face if I do anything different than what you would do.

I notice how you talk about people behind their backs and say horrible, judgmental things about them. And I checked your phone, I saw how you say those same things about me too. How you mock me and only refer to me as the wife, as though I am not anything more. I notice how you put me down in public and deliberately humiliate me in front of our friends, in order to tell a story or try and make yourself look good.

Read the rest of her article here:
http://www.narcissistswife.com/an-open-letter-to-my-abusive-husband/

Godzilla and the gazelle.

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The other day I was cleaning the home of one of my regular customers. I speak to this woman casually, but she loves to talk and always does the bulk of the talking while I mostly remain quiet and make polite noises where I think they need to be.

I can tell this woman, Heidi, is terribly lonely and desperate for someone–anyone–to talk to. I’m not the best person to engage in small talk with, but I try to for her sake, because she seems to need adult companionship even more than she needs her house cleaned (which, truth be told, doesn’t seem to be her #1 priority).

When I first met Heidi, she screamed Victim. Not in a bad, manipulative way, but there was a strange sadness about her that I recognized right away. She seemed so desperate for love and acceptance. She’d ramble on about her religion (she’s a biblical Christian) and her love for birds. She purchases bags and bags of bird food to give to the outdoor birds that populate the thick grove of trees that surround her home.

She is also a hoarder. She had no furniture to speak of, but never throws anything away and keeps ordering stuff from QVC or wherever she orders from–useless things no one needs that she is always trying to give away. She loves to make herbal remedies herself at home using various herbs, and there are bottles and jars of strange concoctions all over her house.

There is a sadness in Heidi’s eyes that her smile and cheerful manner can’t hide. So I wasn’t surprised when she told me that she was divorced and in hiding from her abusive ex husband, who she told me was abusive in every way it’s possible to be abusive. He had left her with nothing, but he continues to stalk her. He drinks heavily. They never had children.

Heidi’s demeanor is sweet, almost naive, although she’s seen more than anyone should ever see, and experienced abuse so horrendous she could have been a war veteran. She even has scars to prove it. Once she showed me the weltlike scars on her back and chest from when he had beat her repeatedly.

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I noticed on her small bookshelf are books about PTSD and major depression; the rest are religious books, books of daily affirmations, and several Bibles. She said she was never religious until after her divorce, when she realized how evil the man she had been married to was. Jesus was her only comfort.

Heidi only has a few pictures gracing her plain white walls. The one that takes center stage, placed lovingly in the middle of her living room mantel in a gold-toned embossed frame, both mesmerized and disturbed me. It showed her as a younger woman (but not looking much different) at her wedding. Her smile is radiant and her blue eyes are glistening with happy tears. She was the bride every man dreams of marrying, the bride every mother dreams that her daughter will become. She trusted the man who faced her. She loved him. She looked into a future that promised happiness, security, comfort and a family.

She got none of those things.

I could tell immediately the man in the picture, the man who became her husband, was at the very least a malignant narcissist and very possibly a psychopath. It was his face and body language that gave him away. He too gazed into his wife’s face, and he held her arm, but the odd thing was the way he held his body at a distance from hers. As Heidi leaned forward, he almost seemed to be recoiling from the love she was feeling. He looked stiff, as if he was playing a role. But even more telling was the man’s face. There was no love in his eyes, no warmth, not even liking for Heidi. His eyes appeared cold and dead–small pinpoints of glittering gray-blue that were as absent of emotion as a doll’s eyes. And his smile–if it could be called that–was a smirk. The overall feeling I absorbed from looking at the two of them was a predator who had just captured his prey and was preparing to rip his kill to shreds to be consumed the way a lion rips apart a gazelle he intends to eat.

trapped

Although the picture was taken years ago and she is safely away from that man, I felt afraid for her looking at that photo. My heart felt as if someone had packed it in ice cubes.

Even sadder is that Heidi still appears to be in love with that evil POS, keeping their wedding photo on the living room mantel with two vases of flowers on each side of it, as if it’s a shrine to what they never had.

Looking at that photo made me realize just what the vulnerable of this world–people like Heidi–are up against when they fall in love with narcissistic predators. I hope one day she can move on emotionally and stop loving a man who nearly destroyed her mind and soul, and caused her so much suffering.

The point of no return.

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Last night Fivehundredpoundpeep disagreed with a post I wrote, saying that people who chose narcissism reach a point of no return when become thoroughly evil. She has religious reasons for this view (“reprobate” is a religious term that means the person even while still alive is destined for hell because God has turned his back on them due to their bad choices). While I don’t share her literal biblical beliefs in certain damnation for some (I believe this is from Calvinist thought), I agree with her that most narcissists do get worse with age and many reach a point of no return, where they become so hardened they have no hope of changing-and I do agree this change is due to a total selling out of whatever conscience they may have had, if they ever had any. I have seen this up close and personal with my ex, who is a frightening example of someone who completely sold his soul, for lack of a better phrase, to the devil. All Cluster B personality disorders have a spiritual as well as a mental component, but narcissism is a slippery slope into inescapable darkness and misery.

When I married my ex in 1986, he was definitely a narcissist but lower on the spectrum than he is today. While still being abusive and extremely manipulative, he did have moments where he showed what I believed was genuine goodness. He was actually a good father to our two children–at first. In fact, he was more patient with them as babies than I was. It was later that he began to scapegoat our son (who like me, is highly sensitive and able to see through his father) and started to use our daughter as a sounding board for his own problems when she was still just a child as well as a junior flying monkey against me and her brother.

I’m not entirely sure when he crossed the “point of no return” but it seemed to be between 1997 and 2001, during the time his mother lived with us before entering a nursing home. This is when I believe he became thoroughly evil and it was because of the way he treated his ailing mother.

His mother was a thoroughly malignant narcissist who was very abusive to my ex while he was growing up. She too became worse with age, but in the late 1990s, she developed Alzheimers and could no longer live alone, so we brought her to our home where an eye could be kept on her. As malignant as she was, she was losing her faculties and her mind and it would have been inhumane not to try to help her.

Most of her care fell on my shoulders, a difficult thing because my kids were still very young and I was trying to raise them too. I was also suffering from severe depressions during this time due to my ex’s increasing abusive behavior as well as his heavy drinking and drug taking, for which I had to be hospitalized twice. So you can imagine I wasn’t the most patient caregiver, especially because his mom could still be so unlikeable. It was hard for me to not become angry with her. I tried to control this, but found it so hard, especially when she began losing control of her bowel and bladder. Every day I was confronted with messy bedding because she kept pulling off her diaper and would fight me or start crying whenever I went to change her. I was never cut out to be a nurse, but this was too much and there were those times I’d yell at her in frustration.

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Unknown artist.

My ex hated his mother, but did not want to put her in a nursing home due to the expense. Of course anything I had to say about the matter fell on deaf ears. He had actually made her sell her house when she moved in with us and obtained a power of attorney so the money from the sale was in his name (the money was gone within one year). I never felt this was right but admit I enjoyed having more money, so I never said anything to him about it being wrong. While what he did wasn’t illegal, it was extremely unethical and selfish. While his mother’s immediate needs were taken care of, he had complete control of the money and most of it did not go for her care and went for luxuries for us instead. I always felt badly about this and for years felt like my sin of overlooking this would never be forgiven. (Recently I repented and know I have been forgiven but it still bothers me sometimes).

But enough about that. My ex was increasingly abusive to her while she lived with us, and reached a point where he became physically abusive and would spank her like a bad child–IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN! As awful a mother as she was to him, she did not deserve this. Whenever I brought up how wrong his behavior was, he said he had a right to treat her that way because she was such a horrible mother. He said it was karma. Not once did he ever admit he was wrong. After a while, my bad case of narc “fleas” became so bad I began to join in the abuse–not hitting her, but I stopped trying to defend her and began to think maybe his spanking her wasn’t really wrong. After all, she did act like a naughty three year old. I didn’t know it, but I was suffering a form of Stockholm Syndrome, where a victim begins to identify with their abuser and make excuses for their bad behavior. Still, I begged him to put her in a nursing home but he still refused.

It was during this time he began to grow pot in our outbuilding, and his immoral behavior ramped up a few notches. He recruited our 8 year old daughter to water the plants and watch out for cops! I couldn’t believe he would do this, but I said nothing because nothing I said ever was taken seriously or I’d be belittled for bringing it up. He also started to hit my son, and berate and belittle him constantly. All this was new for him. Before his mother had moved in he had never been physically abusive to our children and stayed away from alcohol and drugs. Now he was drunk or high most nights and began to change into a person I was becoming extremely afraid of. His look became harder and colder, and he was rarely affectionate anymore. His eyes became very cold, almost demonic at times. Both of us had affairs (I’m not proud of this either because I was actually worse than him). I was mentally ill myself due to the abuse but this doesn’t excuse the part I played in this whole mess of a marriage.

In 2000 his mother developed cancer and after her hospitalization, finally entered a nursing home. We hardly visited her at all but whenever we did, he would tell the kids how stupid and horrible his mother was and encourage them to insult and demean her. He told them she deserved the way he treated her because of the way she had treated him.

She died in January of 2002 and to this day, my ex never went to pick up her ashes.

It was during these five years from 1997-2001 that I saw my ex change from a person who could sometimes be nice and was often a lot of fun into a monster who appeared to have no emotions at all or any empathy for anyone else. Looking back, I think it was because he crossed a line from “mere” malignant narcissism into full blown psychopathy brought on by continual abuse of his helpless mother. Yes, his mother was a highly malignant narcissist herself and his hatred of her was understandable, but no one with a conscience would have treated her the way he did when she became ill. It scares me to think how close I came to becoming evil myself, because of my collusion with him in this horrible abuse. For the past few days I have been struggling with the evil I see in myself, and as a borderline, I’m so close to being a narcissist anyway. There were so many times while I was with him that I flirted with turning my back on everything good and right. I’m having a rough time accepting this and forgiving myself. But that’s for another post.

From 2002-2004 our marriage continued to worsen and the psychological abuse grew worse (not the physical, because he stopped drinking and he was only physical when he was drunk). We obtained a divorce but in 2006 I made the mistake of allowing him to move in with me. By this time he was parasitic and refused to work. I’ve written about this elsewhere.

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Today I see no goodness in him at all. I’ve never seen a person so filled with hate and rage. His conversation is always sarcastic, biting, and negative. He never has anything positive to say and spends most of his time trolling political websites and getting high. He’s not out there committing violent crimes, but he’s a person who seems to have no soul. The rare times I do see him (I avoid this as much as possible), I can’t even look him in the eyes because they’re so dead and empty. I’m afraid just looking into them can infect me with his evil. Our daughter unfortunately is still in thrall to him, and I pray all the time she will be okay. I’m afraid further close contact with him can destroy her soul the way it almost destroyed mine, and she’s halfway there already, showing a number of narcissistic traits. Like me, she has a really bad case of “fleas.” I can’t keep her from seeing her father though. She is an adult and I have to accept that I can’t make her choices for her.

While it’s very sad to see a person so thoroughly gutted spiritually, I have no sympathy for my ex. I do have sympathy for the little boy he used to be, but he died a long time ago.

My son, who was scapegoated by his father, seems to be the most mentally healthy person in the immediate family. He does have some anger and self esteem issues (don’t we all?) but he is strong and determined to escape the fallout of the family illness. I am so proud of the man he’s becoming.

All my narcissistic lovers.

johann_heinrich

Not long ago, when I started studying narcissism in depth for this blog, I came to a shocking and disturbing realization: Every single one of the men I had relationships with or fell in love with were narcissists. It’s because I was trained by my family to be Narcissistic Supply, and as a Borderline, these relationships tended to be stormy.

Having BPD means I’m not the ideal codependent doormat, and when I felt violated–even though I’d allow the abuse to continue because after all, I was trained that way–I’d still try to fight back, at least for awhile. This led to lots of drama and some truly terrible fights with narcissistic men who I could never fix, no matter how hard I tried. I sure wish I knew then what I know now.

I have always been attracted to narcissistic men and they have always been attracted to me. I’m easily taken in by their elaborate displays of romance and promises in the beginning–there’s no one more romantic than a narcissist trying to procure you as supply. It’s fun while it lasts, but as soon as they know they have conquered you, the abuse begins. One red flag to watch out for: a man who moves in too fast, or starts talking about a permanent commitment or marriage only weeks after you met them.

Here’s a list of the narcissists I was seriously involved with (or married to). Only one wasn’t a narcissist, but he was severely bi-polar. The names are made up.

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Steve P: my first serious boyfriend in high school. Steve called constantly (like 8-10 times a day at first), wanted to be with me all the time, regularly sent flowers, was very passionate and loving at first. He actually would cry because he “loved me so much.” After a while he became physically and mentally abusive, insulting me, questioning me about other boys, what I was doing when he wasn’t around, calling me names, and finally becoming physically abusive. One day, with absolutely no warning, he called me and told me he was dumping me because he met someone else. I was enraged at the nerve of this but actually relieved to be rid of him finally.

Mark S: my second serious lover during my college years. Mark was very cool–knew everything there was to know about art, music, theater, and he had offbeat, interesting friends. He used to take me to the East Village in New York City where we’d attend all the punk and new wave clubs and shop in funky vintage clothing and record stores. We had a lot of fun. But he was also an intellectual snob and looked down on my “pedestrian” tastes in music, movies, etc. He looked down on my friends, whose intellectual abilities he felt were beneath him. Mark saw himself as a rogue and a cultural rebel, and after awhile his constant put downs became annoying and we’d fight. He also never wanted to have sex (he was a cerebral narcissist), thinking it was a huge waste of time that could be better spent feeding his mind with new cultural experiences. After about a year, he told me I was too boring and my tastes too commercial and pedestrian, and he dumped me for a woman who looked exactly like me but was apparently much more hip and “in the know” about what was cool and cutting edge than I was. He wound up marrying her.

new_wave_guy

David B: David was not a narcissist; he was bipolar and suffered from severe depressions and substance abuse. He drank heavily to self-medicate and was always in and out of the psychiatric ward. He regarded me as a sort of mother figure and I liked the idea of being needed so much. But his neediness and clinginess became cloying and suffocating, he was constantly drunk, so eventually I left him, not without a little guilt in doing so. But he was really driving me crazy.

Michael B: The malignant narcissist I married. He is actually a psychopath. Michael acted very much like Steven in the beginning–showering constant attention and gifts on me, moving in very fast, talking about marriage just three months after we met. Being that I was in my mid-20s, I was open to marriage and he seemed perfect. I should have seen one HUGE red flag: the expensive engagement ring he insisted I have was purchased with my own credit card, because he had already maxed all his out. He always lived way above his means. He’d take me to expensive restaurants and insist I pay (and of course, he would pay me back later, but he never did). The rest of our story can be found in the articles under “My Story” in the header. Let’s just say the man is a psychopathic monster with serious substance abuse issues and a parasitic monster at that.

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Daniel S: The only lover I’ve had since the divorce. Well, okay, we were actually still married. (I’m not proud of this). But my marriage was already long over and I was desperate and miserable and not thinking straight (not that it’s an excuse to cheat). Daniel was actually a worse malignant narcissist than my ex, if that can be believed. He had that intense predatory stare, which I took to mean sexual and romantic interest, but was really his way of sizing up me as his prey. Of course I found him irresistably attractive. Unfortunately Daniel was another cerebral who had very little interest in sex. After a huge show of ardent romance and all that goes with it, he started the abuse, which included insulting me and comparing me (unfavorably) with his past lovers and what he saw as an “ideal woman.” He said he wanted babies with me but constantly criticized my parenting skills (as if he could know, since he never met my kids). He raged a lot although he never actually became physically abusive. He sulked and gave me the silent treatment when I didn’t do things his way or wanted to spend time with my family. He was stingy and although he had a lot more money than I did, he always made me pay my own way on dates. He obsessed about money. He would buy me things and constantly remind me how much those things cost him. He also would give me gifts and then ask for them back later, telling me he was only letting me “borrow” them. I am serious about this. After I ended our relationship (due to guilt at least as much as his abusive treatment), he still continued to call me constantly “as a friend.” After several of these phone calls, I finally worked up the guts to tell him to bug off and blocked his number.

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I have not had one lover or husband who was a just a nice regular guy. There have been a few of these men who seemed interested in me, but I always found them boring and rejected their attentions because I didn’t feel any “chemistry” with them.

I think it’s time to change all this. I want to start dating again soon. I know what red flags to look out for now so I think I can avoid the narcs, but can I fall in love with a normal man who will treat me well?

Lies my narcissists told me.

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I was told many lies about myself while growing up within my my FOO (family of origin). I have no doubt this had everything to do with my developing Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD), Avoidant Personality Disorder (AvPD), and lifelong severe anxiety.

Why personality disorders are so difficult to cure.
Personality disorders (PD’s) are formed very early in life, normally before the age of six–which is the reason they are so hard to cure. Because the child’s personality is still in a malleable state (meaning it hasn’t fully formed) until around age 5, PD’s become an integral part of the personality and therefore can be extremely difficult to eradicate because they were formed so early the child doesn’t believe it’s a problem, just the way things are. Their misery seems normal to them. They know nothing else.

Of course some PD’s are more amenable to treatment than others, and sufferers of some PD’s, such as Avoidant, Dependent, and sometimes Borderline, are much more likely to seek treatment than those with, say, ASPD (antisocial personality disorder), NPD (narcissism), or Schizoid PD.

Lies I was told growing up.

sensitive_people
As the family Scapegoat (and occasional Golden Child which I’ll explain later in this article), here are some of the lies I was told while I was growing up:

“You’re too sensitive!” — This one’s the Big Kahuna for many of us ACONs, especially if we’re also HSPs (highly sensitive people) by nature. “You’re too sensitive” isn’t so much a lie as it is a verbal twisting of a wonderful gift and ability to see the Truth into something…more resembling an embarrassing defect. Narcissistic lies sometimes appear in the form of turning something good into something shameful and bad, and vice versa.

“You have no sense of humor.” (see above)

“You don’t really want that.” (the parent is telling the child what they really think–this will just cause confusion and identity issues for the child)

“No one wants to know how you feel.” (so we learn to swallow our pain and lock up our emotions)

“You cry too much.” (I had to unlearn this–unfortunately I unlearned it too well and now find it difficult to cry even when I know I need to)

“You don’t know what you’re talking about.” (invalidation and devaluation)

“You know you don’t really think that.” (massive mindfuckery)

“You don’t really want to join the swim team. You know you don’t like competition.” (see above–the real message here being “you are a weak, pathetic, scared loser” to really drive the message home)

“You’re too fat/heavy/even ‘obese’ (I was never more than 120 lbs at 5’4” as a teenager)

“They don’t like you because you’re always so unpleasant to be around.” (Real nice)

“You never smile and it makes your face look unpleasant.” (Fake Narc smiles look even more ‘unpleasant’)

“You read too much.” (okay…would it be better if I snorted Smarties instead or went around throwing rocks through the neighbors’ windows?)

“You know you’re not really good at that.” (whenever I wanted to try something I hadn’t tried before)

“You know you can’t do that, let me do it.” (I wanted to wash the dishes when I was 6)

“You’re too idealistic” (mmmkay…and that’s a bad thing?)

Because I was raised as an only child (I had half-siblings who did not live with us), I also served as the Golden Child. So I also heard lies like,

“They’re just jealous of you because you’re prettier than they are.” (even as a first grader, I knew this was bullshit).

child_on_pedestal

“They’re just jealous of you because you’re smarter than they are.” (my grades weren’t much above average, in spite of having a high IQ)

“You are more talented than they are.”

“We have better genes than those other people.” (Narc genes?)

“You come from a better family than your friends do.” (I call bullshit on that.)

You were the best dancer in the school play.” (I have two left feet and even my dog would have known that was an outrageous lie).

It doesn’t stop when you go No Contact.

flying_monkeys

These are some of the lies told about me by my mother to her sycophants (the ones I’m aware of):

“She’s a loser just like her ex-husband” (Nice.)

“She always makes such terrible choices.” (True, but there were extenuating circumstances at those times she would never understand)

“If only she had done what I told her.” (If only I had had the courage to take a few risks-I am extremely risk-averse)

“If only she had listened to me.” (Again, if only I had taken a few risks and not been so afraid of my own shadow)

“She’s a nothing.” (I guess that’s why people tend to always talk over me, look through me, and never hear what I have to say in group or social settings–where I FEEL like a nothing)

“She was ruined by her ex” (this is a half-truth…but RUINED? Really? Let’s tone down the hyperbole, shall we?)

“She will always be poor.” (and the poor are always with us, right?)

“She will never achieve anything.”

“She can never stick with anything.” (This has actually been true but has gotten a lot better)

“She has mental problems.”

“She is sick in the head.”

Ad nauseam…

Conflicting messages as Scapegoat/Golden Child

ConflictingMessages

Black-and-white thinking (idealizing/devaluing) and outrageous contradictions prevailed in my FOO.
As both Scapegoat and Golden Child, I was receiving two sets of messages (sometimes both at the same time), such as, “You know you don’t really want that, because you’re too sensitive, you hate competition and you are smarter than they are.”
I think you get the idea.

Being raised with conflicting sets of messages and being treated as beloved/rejected child at once was incredibly crazymaking.

Borderline Personality Disorder (or even narcissism!) and Avoidant Personality Disorder (I have both BPD and AvPD) both seem like logical, almost sane reactions to having been raised with two conflicting sets of messages–I was either all bad or all good, with no in between.

And finally, it doesn’t end there. Raised by narcissists, I married one even worse. A narcissist so malignant he made my parents look like empathic light beings in comparison. I was trained to be Supply and was WAY too good a student. If awards were given for Learning How to Be Narcissistic Supply, I would have been valedictorian.

Lies my psychopathic narcissist ex-husband told me.

gaslighting

Following are the lies my malignant narcissist sperm donor told me about myself and also told all the flying monkeys he had succeeded in turning against me (some of who included my friends) over 28 years. This led to my PTSD and clinical depression (where I had to be hospitalized for suicidal ideation). Most of these were projections of his own character flaws onto me.

“You are selfish/self-centered.”

“You always overreact to everything.”

“You never listen to me”

“You don’t care about me or my problems.”

“You have no empathy for me.”

“You are narcissistic.”

“You are becoming just like one of them” (he was referring to Republicans, who he hates)

“Oh, so now you’re living the high life?” (when I took in a roommate while he was homeless)

“You are a b**ch, c*nt, Tw*t, whore.”

“You are stupid.”

“You have no common sense.”

“You’re insane.”

“There’s something wrong with you.”

“You’re just like your family–all crazy.”

…as well as a constant barrage of hateful sarcasm at my expense, whether there were people present or not. If I objected to this mean spirited “humor,” I was told–WHAT ELSE???–I was “too sensitive” or “have no sense of humor.”

Because of having grown up in the midst of a labyrinthine web of lies, and then marrying into another one, I have always valued Truth. That’s why I put a premium on complete honesty, at least in my writing.
Not that I don’t ever lie–we all do, it’s part of the human condition. But I am very aware of dishonesty when I see it and won’t hesitate to call it out in others.

If you choose to stay with your narcissist…

velveteen_rabbit

Lidija Rangelovska (Sam Vaknin’s wife) recently wrote about staying with her narcissistic husband and how she handles him.

My view, my principle…
People, unconsciously, but more often intentionally, complicate their lives in order to make some sense of their existence and to justify their actions. Me included. We are all, as my FB friend put it: “personal strength junkies”, who try so hard to be accepted and to belong. It comes from our upbringing, our unstable environment, and the fear of being alone. So, when we find a person that loves us or shows us affection, we are “hooked” and we won’t give up on that person. But we also don’t want to compromise, we want to keep our freedom and to have control over the other. And what now? It’s simple: we have to adapt to the changes and find a new meaning in life!
For me personally freedom is the most important. So, I assume that it is the same with all others and I do give people space… where their selves emerge and grow. If there is a person who has common sense and similar views of life to mine, there is a solid and healthy ground on which to develop the relationship.
But we should learn to communicate, share experiences and emotions, be honest and truthful… not be afraid and manipulative. We should learn to trust in order to understand and accept the other. We should build safe grounds for unconditional love to grow on. And isn’t this all that matters in life?

And later…

…my mother tongue is “narcissist”, literally. I was raised by malignant narcissists and HAD to learn how to communicate with them. And I wouldn’t name it as such, because it’s not the “language” of the narcissist, but of the abused. The “language” consists of understanding the abuse that occurred in the narcissist’s early childhood owing to which s/he adopted the False Self later in the adolescence. It is the ONLY self that the narcissist is aware of and if you can’t accept it, you won’t be able to understand her/him.

My advice would be to not even try to go there, as I call it, the “twilight zone”… it’s the “unknown and forbidden” to some people. For me that zone was my natural habitat. I was there… growing up in an emotionally and physically abusive family. I became codependent and was raised to be a good Source of Supply. I honestly don’t wish that on anyone!

So, then, why am I with Sam?
We are both emotionally damaged and we do understand each other’s pain. It’s in a space and at a time where we fulfill each other’s our unique psychodynamic needs. Where conditions don’t exist and there isn’t a room for any – that is where unconditional love exists… at least, where I found it.

[Anonymous] explained this dynamic […] in a very subtle way. “Personal strength junkies” is her term, not mine…

I’m glad there are people who really want to explore their and other people’s nature/character driven by their curiosity to learn more about themselves in order to relate to their significant others. Indeed, a person has to have the courage to do so… they’re the real heroes, not the ones that deny their existence and adopted the “go with the flow” principle… that’s selfish.

Then she posted the beautiful quote above from the children’s book “The Velveteen Rabbit.” It’s amazing how profound certain books for children can be but there’s a wonderful message about unconditional love for adults too.

Several other people who are married to or in relationships with narcissists discussed how they are able to cope with staying with them without losing themselves or developing mental disorders like PTSD. Without exception, the narcissistic spouses (all male) have insight into their disorder and their wives have learned how to “speak narcissist.” There seem to be two primary requirements (besides the patience of a saint): (1) a strong maternal instinct, and (2) an unflappable sense of humor. Under these unusual circumstances, a relationship with a narcissist may actually work for both partners. Some may think of this as an unequal, codependent and even abusive partnership, but if framed as a kind of eternal mother/child relationship, it doesn’t have to be pathological.

elizabeth_bowen

As for myself, I could never work things out with my malignant narcissist ex-husband and I went No Contact early last year (it’s actually Low Contact because we have children, so being completely No Contact isn’t really a possibility.) He had zero insight and denied he was a narcissist at all (instead, he projected his narcissism onto me and made himself out to be the victim and me the abuser). I think when a narcissist has no capacity for insight (which is probably most of them) and is in denial, No Contact (or Low Contact) is the best way to go to avoid psychological damage to ourselves. Even insightful narcissists who are not in denial about their disorder are highly dangerous people and should be handled with extreme caution. They are ticking time bombs.

What [Anonymous] and Lidija have shared provide hope that for SOME narcissists, there may be a way to stay with them and nurture them while not allowing them to obliterate our psyches–and in some cases even benefit from the relationship. It would take someone with a LOT of empathy and even more patience but I believe it can be done in some cases. Having a strong maternal instinct is of utmost importance because essentially, a narcissist is an emotional infant, unable to see others as separate from them. You must accept the fact they are probably never going to get “better.”

As for reproducing with them? Having children with a narcissist you are voluntarily and mindfully nurturing would be disastrous because to the narcissist, a child would be competition and have demands that would need to be met before theirs. This would enrage them in the same way a new brother or sister enrages a three year old. If you are married to or in a relationship with a narcissist and wish to stay with them and nurture them instead of going No Contact, they must be your ONLY “child.” When you choose to be with a narcissist, you are adopting an eternal infant. You would have to accept the fact they will most likely never grow up. Obviously, this choice wouldn’t be for everyone.

Second to a strong desire to “mother” your narcissist would be the ability to laugh at their antics and not take things too seriously. In one woman’s case, she said her narcissistic husband laughs WITH her, even though she admits the joke is usually on her.

I’m happy to hear there are people who can actually make things work with a narcissist. It requires a great deal of unconditional love and the ability to always put your own needs in a distant second place. I don’t recommend it for most people though.

ETA: I would recommend another requirement to making a relationship with a narcissist work: establish FIRM and VERY CLEAR boundaries, early in the relationship. Lidija clearly does this– I remember her saying in “I, Psychopath” when asked who made the rules she said she did. You would have to! Part of the maternal relationship requires the ability to provide discipline when it’s needed too. A narcissist who respects you because you established boundaries and can laugh with them and speak to them in their language won’t have a problem following your rules but may need to be reminded sometimes. 😉

Making love last with a narcissist: the rules

Old Couple

In summary, here are the cardinal rules for keeping your sanity intact while in a relationship or marriage to a narcissist:

1. Be a high empathy person with a strong maternal instinct.

2. Accept the fact they will probably never be cured.

3. Establish FIRM boundaries as early as possible and don’t be afraid to remind them of the rules when they balk or disobey. Remember you are dealing with an emotional toddler.

4. Be willing to always be in their shadow and not steal the show from them

5. Be able to LAUGH and not take what they do and say too personally.   It’s not about you.

6. Do not have children with your narcissist.  He/she is your child. (I used to joke that my MN ex husband was my “other child.” How true that was, and in some ways I wish I had known some of these rules back then, which might have made my life a little easier while still with him.)

The narcissist has to fulfill a requirement too. He or she must be insightful enough to recognize they are narcissists and mentally ill.

He still lives in my dreams: the story of my abortion.

childs_dream

Although I’m becoming Catholic in less than two weeks, my views on abortion are still more or less pro-choice, depending on the situation (such as rape or incest), but this post isn’t about my political or moral stance on abortion. It’s about something much closer to my heart than my views on political/religious issues.

It’s about the abortion I had in July of 1998, right at the 12th week, which is the deadline for first trimester, uncomplicated abortions.

I made my first confession tonight in preparation for receiving the sacraments of Communion and Confirmation at the Easter mass. A few days ago, Father C. told me to think about what I wanted to talk about in confession. Even though my abortion and infidelity while I was still married to my narcissist are in the distant past now, those were the things I wanted most to confess, because lately both have been weighing on my mind heavily, especially the abortion.

I won’t get into the whole sordid and sad story of my marriage to Michael, as it’s already been written about under “My Story” (links to that are in the header), but the short version is he was a terrible malignant narcissist in every way imaginable–abusive mentally, emotionally and sometimes physically (when he was drinking). I was miserable during the last years of our marriage and wasn’t in the best of mental health, having been hospitalized twice during the late 1990s for major depression and PTSD.

Michael had his own sins to contend with (but he probably never will because of his narcissism), but I was no saint either. As a Borderline–and at that time not yet knowing how to monitor and control my borderline tendencies (I learned those tools during my first psychiatric hospitalization in 1996)–I tended to act out in impulsive, dramatic and inadvertently selfish ways.

As my husband’s primary source of narcissistic supply and his #1 victim, I was frantic, scared, frustrated, depressed and lonely, and longed for love, tenderness and physical affection. I didn’t want to hurt anyone, but simply didn’t think of the needs of others, even my own two children, when there was something I wanted to do, like get together with a new lover. In a person with BPD, this self-centeredness is due more to obliviousness to the feelings of others rather than not caring how they feel. Borderlines also have abandonment issues–that is their greatest fear. I was already emotionally abandoned by my narc husband and had always felt abandoned by my parents, and I longed for connection and affection.

I never made a conscious decision to have an affair, but it happened because I didn’t resist the temptation and once underway, I felt that this illicit relationship was something I needed.

At the hotel where I worked as a banquet server, I met a maintenance man there I’ll call Ryan. He was about 8 years younger than me. We got to be friends and talked a lot during our breaks. I felt very comfortable with him. I found out he was also a deejay at the hotel where we both worked. At many of the events and parties I served, Ryan spun discs when it was time for the guests to dance. At those times I’d go up and join him at the booth where he sat, and we’d talk while the guests danced and the music played.

Soon our friendship developed a sexual element. We realized we were both attracted to each other, though love was never part of the equation.

lovers

Michael and I had not had sex (after the love-bombing honeymoon phase of our relationship was over, I would not say what we did together in bed was making love) for several months by the time I met Ryan. About a month after we first met, in April 1998, he invited me to his house and we spent the entire night with our bodies wrapped around each other in his bed. We made love several times that night.

I called my kids and Michael but I didn’t go home that night. I made up some lie about staying with a girlfriend whose mother was ill. I was getting almost as good as Michael with the lying.

Ryan and I continued to see each other when we could. I was already neglecting my children who needed their mother, not to mention leaving them alone with their narc father. I still feel bad about that to this day and try to make it up by being overprotective now when they’re in their 20s and over-protectiveness is the last thing they need or want.

In August or September of that year I realized I’d missed my period and took a home pregnancy test one afternoon when I was home alone. It was positive.

I panicked. It wasn’t my husband’s child because the last time we’d had sex was months before I became pregnant. There was no way I could tell him I was carrying another man’s child–I couldn’t even imagine the abuse that would be inflicted on him or her. He was already abusive to his flesh and blood son, and he had told me he didn’t want any more children. I knew that if I went through with the pregnancy and had the child, both the child and I would be punished and I couldn’t allow that to happen.

I thought about adoption, but again, I would be subject to Michael’s abuse during the pregnancy especially once I started to show, as it would be a constant reminder to him I was pregnant with another man’s child. Then there was the matter of giving up the baby when it was born. I had no idea how I would explain to people how I could give up mine and Michael’s third child (I wouldn’t have dared tell anyone the child was not his).

I couldn’t decide what to do. But I had to make a decision quick–because I was closing in on 11 weeks and after the 12th week, you enter the second trimester and abortion becomes far more dangerous and medically complicated, not to mention more emotionally harrowing.

I have always been iffy about abortion, but at the time, I really didn’t see any other option. So I picked up the phone and called the local abortion clinic. They didn’t have an appointment for a week, which meant I would be right at 12 weeks–almost three months pregnant. I thought my belly was already showing a hint of a bump.

When the day came, I sat down with a nurse who was very friendly and sympathetic. She told me they had to take an ultrasound so they would know the location of the fetus in my womb before going in to remove it.

After the ultrasound, I surprised myself by asking the nurse if I could see it. She looked at me oddly, then shrugged and turned the screen facing me. I saw my baby there, glowing blue-white and floating in what looked like the darkness of space. I could see the little spine through the thin fetal skin, and it was perfect–it looked like a string of tiny seed pearls. I felt hot tears burn behind my eyelids but I didn’t cry. I swallowed hard and asked if she could tell the sex.

ultrasound

She looked at me sympathetically and then looked back at the screen to study it. She told me it was early, but she believed it was male. I just nodded and thought about that. My third child would have been a boy.

“Are you sure you still want to go through with this?” she asked, placing a soft motherly hand on my forearm.
“Yes,” I said.

The procedure itself wasn’t that awful. I was put in a twilight sleep and could barely tell what was going on. It wasn’t until afterwards, when Ryan was driving me home, that I suddenly began to feel sick. I ordered Ryan to pull over, stumbled out of the car, and threw up into the weeds by the side of the road. Even after my stomach emptied itself, I kept dry heaving. I was bleeding (which is normal) and crying from the pain. Ryan was concerned and came over to me (we were still friends after all this). I screamed at him to go away and leave me alone. Total borderline on my part.

At the time, even though I felt guilty about what I did, it didn’t bother me too much. I thought I had done the only thing I could have done. It wasn’t that I didn’t want this child, but that I couldn’t. The only future I could see for him was a childhood filled with abuse and pain meted out by his stepfather, my husband. He would punish me by punishing my child.

I didn’t think terminating that pregnancy bothered me that much, but on some level it must have, because every May, the month he would have been born, I find myself wishing him a happy birthday and telling him how sorry I am. I have done this every year since May of 2000.

In my dreams, I have watched him grow up into the almost 16 year old he would be right now. I always see him at the age he would have been at the time of the dream and he is always running away, fading into dream-space. I keep losing track of him. He always ignores my presence. I’m just some strange woman to him.

Even though this boy grew inside my body for three months, it weighs heavily on my heart that I don’t know him either. I don’t know one thing about him. I don’t know what he likes or dislikes, or what his interests or hobbies are. I don’t know what his personality is like. In my dreams he never talks to me, even if I try to talk to him. He always runs or turns away or dissolves into the dream space. One thing I can tell is that he is hurt and angry. He doesn’t know I’m his mother, but he does know he was inflicted with the ultimate betrayal–not having been allowed to have a life. I know instinctively his hurt and anger is because of this.

gate

There is a metaphysical wall I can never get past. I cannot know his spirit. I know what he looks like, or would have looked like because he always looks like the same person in my dreams. He changes because he’s growing up in dream-time but his face is always the same. He looks like a male version of me when I was young but his hair is much darker than mine.

I never gave him a name. Although I know God has forgiven me, I still regret never having been a mother to this boy, this third child who would have been my two older children’s little brother.

He lives on in my dreams. Maybe one day I will see him in heaven and he will have forgiven me.

My MN ex’s weird attitude to his son.

bad_father

My malignant narcissist ex bullied our son without mercy through most of his childhood. I wrote about that in this article and a few others, so I won’t rehash it again here.

My son is 23 now and lives in Florida. He moved there, in part, to escape from his father and our dysfunctional, sick relationship. He always hated our almost constant fights. He lived in Illinois before he moved to Florida. He hasn’t lived in North Carolina since 2010, when he was still 18. I only see him once a year, if that. I try not to let the huge distance between us bother me, because he is doing so well, has many wonderful friends, and is involved in so many activities that make him happy.

Financially, my son is doing better than I am because of his drive and ambition and he’s doing light years better than his helpless narcissistic bum of a father, who still lives at the Salvation Army, even though he gets disability now and could get a small apartment if he got himself put on the list for available apartments. Once I asked him why he didn’t do this, and he actually said he would rather live in a shelter than in the projects. He said he thought he was too good to live in the projects. As if the Salvation Army is any better! I think the real reason he refuses to do what he needs to do to get an apartment is because he’d rather be homeless so everyone can feel sorry for him. Other people’s pity gives him an excuse to act entitled and needy. He takes a perverse pride in acting as pitiful and helpless as it’s possible to be.

None of his immediate family feels sorry for him anymore. Not even his daughter, who was his only defender for a long time. He has lost her too.

My ex has a weird attitude about children. He says he hates kids, which isn’t such a terrible thing (lots of people don’t like kids–I’m not even overly fond of them) but I remember him getting annoyed when I put up the kids’ baby photos and photos of them as children around the house. It angered him. He also got upset when I would talk about something the kids did when they were younger. He accused me of being too sentimental and living in the past. I thought his reaction was strange. I just thought wanting to put family photos up around the house was the normal sort of thing any mother would do. He always hated any displays of sentimentality or nostalgia. The only thing he told me when I questioned him about his strange attitude was that he hated thinking about the past because of his own painful childhood.

I have noticed many narcissists have a bizarre aversion to sentimentality. My mother is the same way. She hated displaying family photos around the house (except in bedrooms) because she considered family photos in public areas tacky. She actually said she threw away most of the family photos, when I recently asked her if I could have some. She might be lying or she might have actually thrown hem away. I would not put something like that past my cold fish of a mother.

greek-nostalgia
Maybe this explains it.

When I was living with my ex, I remember his strange Jekyll-and-Hyde attitude about his estranged son. Most of the time he acted like he didn’t care about him. He never seemed interested in his activities, watching his Youtube videos (which are very good), and would change the subject if I talked about how well he was doing in college or in his job. It seemed as if he was envious of his son for being more successful than him, instead of proud of him. He really just never wanted to talk about him at all, except to make inappropriate and sometime lewd jokes about him being gay (he always insisted it didn’t bother him Ethan was gay).

He never seems to really miss him, and almost never calls him. Once Ethan left the state, to my ex it was almost as if he never existed. If Ethan had died, I doubt Michael would have cared much. He cried more when our dog Daisy died than I think he would if something had happened to one of our children, especially our son.

One time when they did speak on the phone, Ethan said something Michael didn’t like–he disagreed with him about something political (Michael spent most of his time ranting on political websites against anyone who disagreed with his views and trolling conservative websites). For months after that, Michael refused to talk to him at all. Ethan tried to call him a few times, but was always hung up on rudely. When I asked Michael why he did this, he just said his son was an “asshole who doesn’t deserve the time of day because he doesn’t agree with me.” True story.

But occasionally Michael could get all maudlin and weepy. Many narcissists do that. It’s weird. Usually it’s when they’re drunk. In Michael’s case, it happened when he was stoned (his main goal in life seems to be procuring weed). These tearful, sentimental moods came randomly, for no reason.

crocodiletears2

One day I came home to find the news channel he always watched off (for a change). I found Michael standing in front of the bathroom mirror, sobbing in an exaggerated way like the baby he is. Crying uncontrollably to the point he was actually choking and gagging. I asked him why he was crying. He told me he needed a hug. I complied but felt repelled and held my body stiff. I did not feel empathy or much concern, mostly just disgust and annoyance. At this point I hated him so much after years of his abuse and constant gaslighting that touching him, especially touching him when he was this vulnerable, with snot and tears all over his prematurely aged face, made me feel a little sick to my stomach.

He never told me what was bothering him. He probably didn’t even know. He went into a diatribe about how he wanted to buy Ethan the best camera he could find and it made him feel terrible that he was unemployable and so poor he couldn’t buy him even a cheap camera. I reminded him that Ethan already owned several cameras that he either bought or his grandfather had bought him. Michael continued mopping at his eyes and interrupted me, talking about the brands of cameras he would buy Ethan if he could.

I don’t think that’s what was bothering him. But he did get maudlin like that occasionally and it was always strange and disturbing and just happened out of left field most of the time.

I’ve noticed that about narcs. Most of the time they look down their noses at normal displays of sentimentality or the normal expressions and feelings of love parents have for their children or other family members, but when under the influence of alcohol or drugs they get maudlin and weepy to a disgusting level over inconsequential things that really don’t matter. I always felt myself recoiling at these over the top and inappropriate displays of emotion.

Michael wasn’t actually an emotional person at all but used emotional displays to get attention and pity, or to hoover me after he’d been abusive. When we were first dating and “in love,” he would frequently become all teary eyed when he told me how much he loved and needed me. He cried when he asked me to marry him. He cried when we were having sex. At the time I was incredibly moved and overwhelmed by feelings of love when he did this. I thought it meant he was a big sensitive softie with a huge heart. I loved his “vulnerability.” God, I was so naive. I read somewhere that some narcissist men act like this when wooing a woman trapping their prey.

Why are narcs so creepy?