Should you ever try to out-narc your narc?

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DISCLAIMER:

I don’t recommend trying to out-narc a narc unless you feel up to playing such wretched games, or if there’s no other choice.   If you can’t go No Contact right away, a technique known as grey rocking is better and won’t violate your conscience or morals .   But grey rocking works best with people you aren’t that intimate with.   In a very intimate relationship, such as a marriage, out-narcing the narc could prove more effective.   Always keep in mind you are not as skilled a player as the narcissist in your life.   You’ll know if it isn’t working.  Then STOP.    

 

Out-narcing my narc.

After years of codependency to my MN sociopath ex, always skulking around like a frightened church mouse and not daring to defy him (but inwardly seething the whole while)– and about a year before I finally got a restraining order and finally made him leave–I started to get mean. In other words, I had learned his games (hey, I had the best teacher!) and decided to use them against him.

I think when our rage rises to a certain level, or has been building up over a long time, there’s a pressure cooker effect, and you either explode–or if you can keep a measure of control, you can mirror the narcissist in the most negative way possible — by reflecting back to them the nasty and evil things they have been doing to you.  In other words, you can “out-narc” the narc.

It can be hard for abuse victims to out-narc the narc,  because we don’t have as many allies (they’ve all been turned against us), and anyway, we don’t recruit flying monkeys to make sure our commands are carried out. We also have a stronger conscience and some empathy, maybe a lot of empathy. If we’re really empathic, we might be much more prone to try to “rescue” the narcissist from themselves rather than give them “tough love”–forcing them to taste their own nasty medicine. poison.    If we have compassion and especially if we still love the narcissist, we don’t want to see them suffer at our hands.   If you don’t feel comfortable doing this or it goes against your morals then you shouldn’t.   Grey rocking is a nicer alternative.

But if you get mad enough, the anger might override your compassion temporarily.  It did for me, for about a year, until he as served the restraining order. Mostly I gaslighted him (told him coldly he was imagining things when he accused me of something I didn’t do, etc.), verbally abused (insulted him), using what I knew were his buttons (things he was sensitive about) against him, and most of all, I gave him the silent treatment.  (If you’re not all that skilled in narc tactics, the silent treatment is one of the easiest to use).  I don’t recommend using insults–they’re not very effective (they will be turned against you) and likely will enrage the narc.  So try not to use them, unless they’re very subtle or you have the ability to be sweetly sarcastic. Then, if he picks up on it, you can tell him, “oh, you must have been imagining things!”

I hated to be this way to anyone–it just isn’t me–but my survival at the end depended on it.  The narc had zero sense of boundaries, and my seething  rage and fear with no way to vent it was destroying me.   Out-narcing him for a short time made me feel stronger and readied me to do the (at he time) unthinkable: kick him the hell out.   While rage shouldn’t become a permanent place to live (in fact, it’s downright dangerous to you if you can never move past it), righteous anger when you’re going no contact is perfectly justified.

My narc-mirroring definitely turned my ex a lot colder toward me, but it also made him stop trying to suck the lifeblood out of me and stomp all over my boundaries 24/7.  He learned, and rather quickly, that I wasn’t having it anymore, and I also think he recognized himself in the way I treated him.  It didn’t make him remorseful or ashamed and it didn’t bring self-awareness either, but it made him STFU and leave me alone until I had the courage to file a restraining order on his sorry ass.

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Finally...

If you do decide to a out-narc your narc, don’t do it for an extended length of time because after too long,  it will take a toll on your spiritual and emotional integrity.   It should only be used for the short term, when you simply can no longer tolerate the N’s behavior, but going No Contact isn’t possible yet (but will be–start saving money now if you have no place to go).

Further reading:

Grey Rocking: If You Can’t Go No Contact

 

 

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Narcissists and Sex.

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I can’t believe I’ve never written a post before about narcissists and sex, but sex is one of the biggest ways they manipulate and control the rest of us.

Many people mistakenly believe narcissists love sex. Actually, that isn’t true. They’re not even especially promiscuous. In fact, many narcissists are downright prudish. People with Borderline or Histrionic Personality Disorder are much more likely to be promiscuous, because in their minds, sexual attention is equated with love and acceptance.

Narcissists don’t love sex. Sex is merely a tool they can use to get what they want or to control or manipulate their victim. There are two kinds of narcissists: cerebral and somatic. While very different on the surface, at heart they really aren’t very different at all. Neither has any empathy and neither has any desire to emotionally connect to another person and will go to great lengths to avoid it. This means neither a cerebral or somatic narcissist is capable of making love to another person because making love implies an emotional connection to someone else.

Cerebral narcissists.

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Cerebral narcissists are the pretentious, insufferable intellectuals and achievers of the world. They think they’re smarter or more successful than everyone else and go to great lengths to be adulated and admired for their “intellectual superiority” or “successful lifestyle.” Cerebral narcissists often hate sex and avoid it. They may even be prudish, especially if religiously-bent (many of them are, because religion gives them “permission” to be hateful and judgmental toward others).

Cerebral narcissists suffer the deepest narcissistic injury when their intellectual prowess or success in the material world is threatened, someone else is deemed smarter or more successful than they are, or they are exposed as being of only average intelligence or ability. Because they aren’t normally promiscuous, they may be either asexual, or (to maintain the image of normality which benefits their lifestyle, or to fend off loneliness), they may desire to attract a spouse, which means sex is used to draw a potential mate to them and/or maintain a loveless marriage. Sex is never an expression of love or emotional connection, because love and genuine emotional connection are things all narcissists avoid like the plague and are incapable of anyway.

Sex with a cerebral narcissist is likely to be cold, machine-like, and lacking in spontaneity and emotional expression. The other partner is bound to feel frustrated and unfulfilled–and of course the narcissist could care less. A cerebral narcissist may also withhold sex as “punishment” or to control their partner. While not usually promiscuous, some male cerebral narcissists may go outside their marriage (such as to a prostitute) to fulfill their physical needs, since to them, sex with someone they don’t know or have a responsibility to is preferable because there’s no risk of emotional complications or demands from the sex partner.

Somatic narcissists.

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Somatic narcissists are concerned with their body image, health, or physical appearance. They believe themselves to be the most handsome, beautiful, or sexiest person in any given room. They go to great lengths to maintain and embellish their most prized possessions–their own bodies. They may use sex as a way to woo potential partners because they know they can. But they don’t genuinely enjoy sex; it’s merely a tool to get them the attention and praise they want. As with the cerebral narcissist, they’re incapable of making love–that is, feeling emotionally connected to another human being through the sex act.

Some somatic narcissists may be promiscuous, but unlike a Borderline, sex isn’t a “replacement” for love. It’s a tool that is used to control and manipulate a potential victim. A woman with somatic narcissism who has maintained an attractive body and style knows her sexual attributes are most likely to win her a potential mate. She knows she can bewitch a man with her body and doesn’t hesitate to use it for that purpose. But once she has won him over, she’s likely to begin to devalue and eventually discard him. If he has attributes she thinks she needs (money or success), she may even marry him because it benefits her lifestyle. But she’s likely to get bored and be unfaithful. It’s a game to her; sex is just the advantage she knows she has to win the game. Lest anyone think I’m being sexist here, there are plenty of somatic narcissist men who act the exact same way, and the women they attract mean nothing to them except a means to an end.

A few narcissists who have become sociopathic may even use sex as a means to control and terrorize their victims. In their minds, it has become equated with violence and rage. Some serial killers like Ted Bundy (diagnosed with NPD) use sex this way, to dehumanize and destroy their victims. Even some who aren’t murderers may use sex this way, like the abusive husband who mercilessly rapes his wife while he beats her.

What is good sex really? And why aren’t narcissists capable of it?

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Good sex is fun. It can be an incredible physical release. But without genuine emotional connection, it’s really no better than a drug–a temporary “fix” that might make you feel good for a little while, but doesn’t last and is ultimately unsatisfying.

Although being emotionally committed to another person isn’t all fun and games, and can be hard and sometimes painful work, sex between two people who genuinely love and care for each other transcends its physical boundaries and becomes a spiritual thing that only human beings are capable of. It leaves the realm of the animalistic and physical and becomes something that transforms both partners and connects them to the divine. Lovemaking requires complete vulnerability–it’s one of the only times in life (outside of childbirth and breast-feeding) that a person is both physically and emotionally naked with another person, leaving nothing hidden.

Such utter vulnerability makes lovemaking scary to many people. And it’s more scary to a narcissist than to anyone, because they’re so terrified of ever appearing vulnerable to someone else. It requires a level of trust they simply aren’t capable of. Even non-narcissists often find it difficult to connect with another person on such a profound level, and I think that’s what’s behind the shame and embarrassment people have when the “S” word is mentioned. It’s also what’s behind the almost universal corruption of a God-given act of love into something sordid, base, and shallow–almost the polar opposite of what it was intended to be.

A word about limerence.

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Most narcissists are entirely capable of limerence, a feeling of strong infatuation that is often mistaken for love.   It’s not a bad thing in itself.  Indeed, many long lasting relationships and marriages begin with limerence or “falling in love.” To make the transition to a healthy long term relationship, limerence must become replaced or be transformed into genuine attachment and feelings of deep caring about the other person. Limerence isn’t love and it doesn’t last. You can become limerent about a celebrity but you certainly don’t “love” them since you don’t know them at all. It probably evolved as a way humans could attach to someone else long enough to bear a child and see it through the first year of life, when an infant is at its most vulnerable and needs two parents. Research suggests that intelligent mammals, such as dogs, cats and monkeys, may feel the entire range of “human” emotions, and this includes feelings akin to limerence as well.

Limerence is actually very narcissistic. It’s common for two people who have just met and are “falling in love” to say things like, “I can see myself in your eyes,” or “I feel like we’re one person.”  Popular music is filled with such sentiments.  The person you’re limerent about becomes a kind of mirror. You aren’t seeing them as they actually are; you are projecting your own needs onto them and imbuing them with qualities you desire but they don’t necessarily actually have (if they do, it’s a happy coincidence-and that could become the basis for genuine love).  A narcissist in limerence can SEEM vulnerable and loving, and in the beginning of a relationship with one, no one can act more romantic.  You’ll be wined and dined and woo’d with flowers and candy until you develop diabetes. But all these gifts and promises of undying love aren’t about you at all–it’s all about them and what they think they see in you that can give them what they want and need. Once you reveal that you’re only human and can never be all things to them, the D&D will begin and they will think nothing of tossing you in the trash like an old broken mirror, as if they never knew you at all.

Guest post #9: You are beautiful and loveable no matter what the narc says.

Mel (Hippo 256) writes a blog called The Enability Blog about living with a number of disabilities, including PTSD. I’ll just let Mel’s About Page speak for itself:

Hi there, thank you for reading my blog. I really appreciate you’re taking the time. I’m a female and 21 years old. I love languages and study (amongst other things) English, Dutch, German and French (want to do Spanish someday too). I’ve got a couple of chronic diseases and disabilities, but you’ll find out more about that when you’re reading my blog. It’s too many to just sum up, but I can give away that I have chronic pain, chronic fatigue, rheumatism (fibromyalgia) and some other physical diseases and disabilities. I also have been diagnosed with PTSD.

I live together with my boyfriend/partner (my fellow Hippo), who’s also physically disabled, including a couple chronic diseases and a recurring depression. He supports me a lot, because he can really understand what I’m feeling. Together we tackle life’s challenges and hopefully enjoy life too (I can tell you, I often do enjoy life). We are both studying, but do this in a slightly different way. We can’t follow the regular pace, but that doesn’t matter. I also enjoy sports, photography (sadly, I can’t place my own photos here because of my anonymity), doing nice things with friends, travelling, animals etc.

Please visit Mel’s blog when you get the chance.
https://enabilityblog.wordpress.com

YOU ARE BEAUTIFUL AND LOVEABLE NO MATTER WHAT THE NARC AND HIS ‘PEOPLE’ SAY!

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I’ve been doubting if I should write a post about narcissistic abuse. Not because I don’t want to help other people and I’m also very grateful for this opportunity. I was hesitant because of two reasons:

(1) You ‘just’ don’t talk about a subject like this. There’s a huge stigma on it. A lot of people seem unwilling to think about it and therefore put it away as ‘nonsense’. And people can be misunderstanding or harsh about a topic so sensitive. I learned my lessons and usually evade it. (2). I don’t think I’m good enough. I’m not a writer or a blogger, I just type whatever comes into my head, without really thinking about it.

But here I am, happy that I took this wonderful opportunity. Because:

(1) I find the people in this blogging community to be so understanding and willing to listen. I want to battle the stigma and help others. I wish I had read all these posts about narcissistic abuse and PTSD so much earlier, it would have saved me a lot of self-doubt.
(2) That idea, that feeling of mine that I’m not good enough (I never am) is one of those thoughts ‘implanted’ in me because of narcissistic abuse. I couldn’t think of a better way to ‘challenge’ one of the thoughts the narcissists had about me.

Both my partner and I have been abused by narcissists. But I feel the urge to talk about a very specific one, one I can’t talk about with anyone except with my partner. I’ve been mentally, physically and sexually abused by one “man” for about 6 months. I’ve never written about this before, so this post will be like an “introduction” to my story.

Love Bombing.
At first glance I knew: ‘I have to stay away from him’. We went to the same school together, I was 18 and he was 21. At first he didn’t seem interested in me, to the contrary. I was clearly not good enough to be allowed to communicate with him (he would happily let everyone know). Luckily, I didn’t want to have anything to do with him either. I really don’t like ‘those kind’ of people. At the time, I was still in a very difficult situation. I was already abused many times before and didn’t have anyone at the time. I was looking for support. And narcissists know that. One day, he started preying on me. Immediately I knew, I felt it. But I am strong and had nothing to fear, so I thought. This wasn’t about me, it was about him. He always got what he wanted and he wanted me, I was suddenly ‘pretty’ or ‘sexy’ or ‘interesting’. He would follow me after school, get my contact information through his many channels and he kept cornering me. I told him many times that I wasn’t interested in a relationship, which was not what he wanted to hear. But then one time his reaction and whole attitude changed. He seemed concerned, caring. He would tell me that I deserved to be in a relationship with someone who wanted to help me. I felt anxious and somehow said I was sexual abused before and therefore didn’t want a relationship or intimacy. That made him go all loose on the ‘caring act’. He wasn’t like that, he wanted to help me, truly. I could trust him. Why wouldn’t we just try it out? I could always say no to things and he would listen to that. I was so anxious and confused that eventually I said yes. Now I know that these are all common tricks for narcissists.

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The Narc’s True Colors Come Out.
What followed was 2.5 months of ‘relationship’. He played so many (mind) games with me. And I actually knew. So soon I knew that this wasn’t right at all. It felt so wrong and I was so confused. Even though he would keep saying things like ‘it’s to help you’. Or he would be angry because I clearly didn’t love him enough (otherwise I would do that for him, even though that would cross my border). He would threaten me, or hurt me. I couldn’t escape. He had people everywhere (seriously, he did). Eventually I found the strength to break up and thought I was over his horrible abuse. But I wasn’t. He told me that I was nothing and that I should have been happy that he made me something: I was his slave (yes he would call me this, amongst other things). Which made me worth more than I was before. Those kind of sick things he would say. He abused me about 4 months straight after we ‘broke up’. “Friends with benefits” he would call it. I wasn’t a prostitute he said, you know why? I didn’t get paid, so that shows how bad I was. He wouldn’t pay for me, he never paid for anyone. I wasn’t the first “girlfriend” he had. All girls without (good) sexual experiences, so he could mold them, ‘train’ them. But he never kept anyone for long.
Eventually, I met my partner at (the same) school. I had a panic attack and he reached out to me. Because of his support and protection, I could eventually stop my abuser. The abuser has visited my school and the place where I lived a few times. To threaten me. But now, it’s all so much better.

Aftermath.
Going no contact with the abuser was very difficult for me. I found it very surprising, but now I know it is a common reaction amongst survivors. Once in a while I would get ‘urges’ to send him a message again. I kept hoping he would understand that he did awful, horrible, unspeakable and bad things to me. I hoped he would stop telling everyone what a liar I was and that we just loved doing S&M together (massive lie). He never acknowledged it. Now I know he never will. Narcissists don’t feel for others or think about others.

You Are Not Alone!
I want you all to know that you’re not alone. You’re not ‘stupid’ if these kind of things happened to you or ‘easy to get’. And there still is love, even for you. I often call my partner my saviour. He has helped me tremendously in my healing progress. Explained all these thoughts the abuser planted in my head, all the false things I believed. I wish everyone can find this kind of support. We all deserve that. Blogs can help us with that too.

After the abuse ended, this one thought kept appearing: How could I have let this happen? Now I know that’s not fair, I fought incredibly hard. I should never blame myself for this. Maybe I fought too hard, since it only caused me so much more pain and trouble (because of punishments and angering the abuser). This whole situation is incredibly complicated, so a lot of people misunderstand. Especially because I kept a mask on to the outside world (as I was forced to). But it is so important to know that a narcissistic relationship isn’t your fault. It can happen to anyone, really. And not going to the police, doesn’t make your story not true, or if you went to the police but the abuser was never officially found guilty. The justice system isn’t made to catch rapists and abusers. Believe in yourself. Somewhere, deep inside, you know when something doesn’t quite feel right. I know I always did, but would often ignore my core feelings. After doing research on the internet (mainly reading blogs) and talking with my partner, I also understand the things I did a lot more. There were signs everywhere.

I would like to end this blogpost with something important to me. Another thought I refuse to believe any longer. I am NOT a whore. And you aren’t either. We deserve to be loved, including by ourselves. Be kind for yourself please, your body and mind need you.”

– Mel (Hippo256)
Enability Blog, 2016

Fight with a narcissist? Yeah, right!

Don’t waste your time fighting with a narcissist. You lose even when you win. They will never admit defeat. Read on.

Grace for my Heart

It’s Narcissist Friday!    

(I am aware that this blog continually attracts new readers.  With somewhere around two hundred posts on narcissism and narcissistic relationships, it can be challenging for anyone to really use this material.  The search function works very well, if you know what to ask for.  Otherwise, we will all have to wait as the blog posts are sorted and categorized in preparation for a new (and exciting!) website.  So for the next few weeks, I want to dig back into the archives to pull out some of the posts that seemed most helpful over the last few years.  Please feel free to comment.)

In my recent post on living with a narcissist, I suggested that you must be prepared to fight.  What I meant was that the conflict doesn’t seem to end.  It isn’t “knock-down, drag-out” fighting as much as it is a constant barrage…

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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

Narcissists *can* love…but run!

This article by psychotherapist Ross Rosenberg makes a surprising claim about non-pathological narcissists (those who are not malignant or psychopathic, which means high spectrum Ns having ASPD traits)–they CAN love. But the “love” is shortlived because it’s really intense infatuation (limerence) and depends on the other person fulfilling the idealized image of the person the narcissist has formed in their mind, and such a relationship is doomed to fail.

Narcissists Can Love–But Run! Understanding Narcissistic Codependent Love
By Ross Rosenberg, M.Ed., LCPC, CADC, CSAT

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Considering Narcissists have hurt and damaged the lives of so many people, it makes a great deal of sense why there is a proliferation of information, advice, articles and books on the subject of narcissism. There seems to be a surplus of people on Facebook, YouTube and other social networking sites who are making it their life’s mission to vilify narcissists, while making themselves out to be specialists (or even experts) on the subject. Those who contribute are often victims of narcissistic abuse and want to help others avoid their mistakes. I am thankful for their efforts, especially since it is connected to codependency recovery, which is where I spend a great deal of my personal and professional effort. It seems to be one of the biggest psychological movements I have seen in recent years.

And there are well-researched and experienced experts in the area who have and are making valuable contributions to the understanding of narcissism. Sam Vaknin is one such expert on narcissism who, just by his own efforts, has almost made the term “Malignant Narcissist” a household term. But even with his contributions, and perhaps because of them, there has been a backlash of misunderstanding on the subject. By focusing on Malignant Narcissism (which happens to be the condition he purports to have), he has accidentally and unintentionally given the impression that “Malignant Narcissism” is the same clinical condition or psychopathology as Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). The truth of the matter is Malignant Narcissism is a subcategory of NPD. Moreover, those with NPD, or what I call “garden variety narcissists,” do not display many of the same characteristics as those with Malignant Narcissism.

One common mistake about Narcissism, which I see frequently on the Internet, about which there is now a deluge of articles, posts and blogs is that those with NPD cannot love and do not have empathy. This subject was discussed in detail in a recent YouTube collaboration video with me and Sam Vaknin entitled, “Can Narcissists Love and Do They Have Empathy?” Although Vaknin and I agreed it was a complicated question that has an equally complicated answer, we agreed for the most part that narcissists can, in fact, feel and express love and can be empathetic.

We also mostly agreed that Malignant Narcissists and those with Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD or Sociopaths) cannot feel or experience love. Because Malignant Narcissism is often confused with ASPD, it is necessary to simply define it as a subcategory of NPD, which is not only a pathologically narcissistic disorder, but also combines traits of Paranoid Personality Disorder and Antisocial Personality Disorder. For more information on Malignant Narcissism, consider reading Vaknin’s book, “Malignant Self-Love: Narcissism Revisited” (2015). It is, therefore, correct to assume that Malignant Narc’s and ASPD’s cannot love as it is understood in our general culture. But it is incorrect to make that same leap for those with Narcissistic Personality Disorder, which will henceforth be referred to as “narcissists.”

Please read the rest of Dr. Rosenberg’s article here:
http://humanmagnetsyndrome.com/narcissists-can-love-but-run-understanding-narcissistic-codependent-love/

I told my ASPD ex he was a narcissist, and…

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I woke up this morning feeling good. I’ve been feeling somehow…changed since my epiphany a week ago. I have been a little more grandiose acting, which I think is partly due to the outer mask of inferiority and worthlessness falling off during my trip down the rabbit hole.

In church I prayed for humility and asked God to not let me become too full of myself and to keep things real. Because I know grandiosity will be my defeat in the long run and the things I have planned ahead could be ruined by that. I never saw my grandiosity before, but then again I kept it hidden, even from myself, under an emotionally self-flagellating, almost masochistic social mask.

I was excited about my daughter’s big news. She wanted my malignant narcissist ex (her father) there also, so I knew it had to be pretty big.

Her boyfriend (well, fiance!), Ryan, asked to speak to us alone, separately, and actually asked each of our permission to marry our daughter. How chivalrous and old school and gentlemanly that was, and of course I said yes. I think he’ll actually get down on his knees and propose formally once she picks out a ring (they’re at the mall tonight). Anyway, I like the guy. He’s humble and quiet and financially stable. My ex also gave his blessing.

I found myself mouthing corny old cliches like, “I’m not losing a daughter, I’m gaining a son” and “never go to bed mad at each other!” (I said the same thing to my ex when we married but of course we always went to bed mad). So I had to laugh at myself for that. Suddenly the bustling, fussy mother-of-the-bride mode took over and I started spouting all kinds of ideas for the wedding. It’s going to be small and informal, possibly outdoors, most likely in April, right after her 23rd birthday.

Knowing what their news was in advance (mothers always know), I had brought over the tea-length informal wedding dress I wore when I married her father in 1986 (actually I found it in the prom department and it was a lot cheaper than similar dresses found in the bridal department). I made her try it on; it fits her almost perfectly . It’s a little loose in the bust but she can wear padding or have it taken in, depending on whether she wants to go fuller on top or not). She’s an inch shorter than me too, so the dress is slightly longer on her but that’s okay and actually looks better a little longer.

The first picture shows what the dress looks like on her.
The second shows the same dress on me at my own wedding 29 years ago. She wasn’t interested in the ridiculous 1980s headpiece I;m wearing, but I can’t say I blame her for that. 😀
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I was feeling expansive and loving everyone after the wine I had and the announcement, and I started thinking how nice it would be if there could healing in this family, if there wasn’t always so much drama and animosity. So in my tipsy state, I decided to approach my ex and tell him I thought we were both narcissists, and then apologize for my part in the mess our marriage became.

I told him I was a covert narcissist (and explained what that was because he didn’t know), he did two surprising things. First, he told me he didn’t think I was a narcissist (after gaslighting me for years telling me I WAS one!)
I told him why he was wrong, because covert narcissists don’t act like grandiose ones. I explained a little about the mechanics of the narcissistic mind, and about the false and the true self.
Then I told him (gently) that I thought he was a narcissist too, that in fact I knew he was, but I didn’t hate him for it.

He said that based on what I’d said (he trusts my opinions about psychology since I majored in it and always impressed him with that line of knowledge) he knows he may be a narcissist. But then he told me he had something even worse–Antisocial Personality Disorder (ASPD)–an actual diagnosis, which he’d known about for months. It came around the time I wrote this rant about his being rewarded for being a potentially homicidal psychopath. Obviously, my BPD rage was coming out in that article but it makes me laugh now. I can’t believe how much I’ve changed since I wrote that. It’s kind of embarrassing to read it now, even though I had every right to be mad as a caged hyena.

He still was able to gaslight me a little though, and said I was “manic” and “bipolar” about my excitement about both the wedding and my plans for my two blogs down the line and a possible book (an idea’s finally forming in my mind about what the book will be about but I’m not saying anything yet). I realized (with more than a little embarrassment) I was being a little grandiose (since my epiphany, I’ve become VERY aware of my narcissistic behaviors when they come out and have to catch and stop myself sometimes), but here he was calling me “manic.”

But at least he isn’t denying he’s a narc. Although we will never again be friends and I still avoid him as much as I can (low contact), I can tell he’s mulling the idea that he’s a narcissist in his mind and somehow I think that could lead to a kind of understanding, which would be nice with our daughter’s wedding coming up sometime early next year.

Also please see my article, 5 Reasons Why You Should Never Tell a Narcissist They’re a Narcissist

The narcissistic lover’s playbook.

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It looks like today is “Narcissistic Lovers and Spouses Day,” because this is the third article about that subject I’m posting today. But it occurred to me that narcissistic men (and probably women too, even though I have no personal experience with my own gender) follow the same rulebook when pursuing narcissistic supply and use all these ploys in pretty much the order I’m posting here.

I thought it might help those of you still in abusive relationships to be able to identify the telltale pattern of narcissistic abuse–which they ALL seem to follow. It’s a pattern of progressing abuse, and if you pass one “test”, they up the ante for the next “test.” In other words, if you tolerate a low level of abuse (such as verbal insults), the narcissist is empowered to move on to the next level of abuse, which could be triangulating against you or eventually, physical abuse.

They may not even be aware they are following this pattern because it’s such a core part of their personality they truly can’t stop themselves. You can stop them by ending the relationship at the first sign of abuse, but never try to fix a narcissist yourself. You won’t help them and will only hurt yourself.

First, a word about commitment-phobes.
It’s important to remember that this pattern does NOT apply to the commitment phobe type of narcissist, which some narcissists are. (They get their supply from other sources–relationships are too scary to them). A commitment-phobe will never love-bomb you or tell you they love you. Instead, they’ll run like hell if you try to get one to further commit or if you tell them you love them. But this article does not apply to that type of narcissist.

Stages of a relationship with a narcissist.

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1. Lovebombing/idealization.
During this heady phase that follows meeting your narcissist lover (who chose you because they see you as an easy “mark” to get narcissistic supply), you feel swept off your feet by their ardor and the speed at which they seem to want to get to know you and then take things to “the next level.” This phase includes idealization of you, intense, almost constant sex and the most romantic things you could imagine hearing anyone say. You feel beautiful, sexy and your self esteem soars. Life seems perfect. This is how they get you to fall under their spell so they can continue to “work” on you as a primary source of narcissistic supply. It will not last.

2. Declarations of permanency.
Your narcissistic lover will declare their undying love for you or even propose marriage or talk about having a family with you within weeks or a few months of meeting you. (This is a test to find out how committed you are and helps them guage how much abuse you will tolerate/supply you can provide).

If they actually follow through on their commitment (some will), it’s because they have decided you are perfect source of supply (you make them look good) they can keep tapping into on a permanent basis like a backyard well. Only unlike the well, you won’t keep refilling with water, but will eventually be sucked dry emotionally, mentally or even spiritually. A narcissist’s desire to marry or commit permanently to you has nothing to do with “love.”

3. Boredom and irritation.
Suddenly, for no explainable reason, your narcissist starts acting bored, distracted or vaguely annoyed. If you try to ask them about it, they will deny it, insist nothing is wrong, or act annoyed that you asked.

4. Badmouthing others.
At around the same time you start to notice their boredom and irritation, you will notice your narcissist seems easily annoyed in general, and starts badmouthing other people–his (or her) boss or employees, family members, other drivers on the road, but they save the worst badmouthing for their ex lovers or spouses, who were ALWAYS at fault for whatever went wrong.

5. Decrease or changes in sexual desire.
If your lover is a cerebral narc, they suddenly stop wanting to have sex with you and may resort to pornography or masturbation instead. If a somatic, the sex may become less personal and romantic and more “kinky”–for example they may say they want to try new things in bed to “spice things up” but being more romantic or tender isn’t one of them. They will no longer look at you when you make love.

6. Stinginess.
This formerly generous person who showered you with gifts of candy, roses and clothing suddenly stops buying you gifts or telling you they cost too much, or starts to complain about how much you are costing them in general.

7. Emotional/verbal abuse.
The verbal and emotional abuse starts. We all know the many forms that can take, since this whole blog is about that.

Some narcissists will, at this point, Devalue and Discard. This simply means they no longer need you as a source of narcissistic supply (they may have found a replacement) so they completely devalue and leave you. If they don’t leave, their abuse will keep growing worse. But whether they leave or not, they are still devaluing you.

8. Physical abuse.
Eventually, some malignant narcissists may begin the physical abuse, and again this can start with something as innocuous as a “push” or a single slap. If this happens, expect the abuse to increase in intensity if you stay in the relationship. Even if your narcissist never touches you physically, the emotional abuse will continue to increase until your self esteem is destroyed. In some ways it can be even worse, because there are no telltale bruises or scars, and your narcissist can easily tell others who could be of help to you that you are crazy or making it all up.

What if you decide to call their bluff and leave?

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If you decide to call their bluff and leave, there are four ways a narcissist will react:

1. They will try to “hoover” you back in through lovebombing similar to what they showed when you first met, make fake but sincere-sounding apologies and promises to change. Don’t fall for it.

2. They will act like splitting up was their idea all along because you were “too needy,” “too crazy,” “too high maintenance,” etc.

3. They will act like nothing happened and even have the chutzpah to keep calling you or texting you and act as if they’re your best friend. They may tell you all about their new lovers or dates, as if there was never anything between you at all. You can be sure that behind your back, they are trashing you to their new conquests–the same way they talked trash about their ex lovers to you.

4. Jilted malignant narcissists are likely to try to enact revenge, usually through badmouthing you to others, including possibly your friends, but their vindictiveness could take on more dangerous forms too.

Narcissist man in love.

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One of my narcissistic lovers was a man I’ll call Daniel. I met him during my divorce proceedings. It was a short lived but intense relationship. As short lived as it was (it lasted all of 3 months), I decided to go into more detail about this particular relationship because of all my narcissistic lovers, Daniel was the most classic (and possibly the most malignant) textbook example of the course of a typical relationship with one.

Daniel was actually as bad a malignant narcissist as my ex, but of course I didn’t know it at the time. I met him while I was still married but the marriage was, for all intents and purposes, already over and we were separated. Daniel had that intense predatory stare, which I took to mean sexual and romantic interest, but it was really his way of sizing up me as prey.

I met Daniel at work. He was several years younger than me. I had been training him, and our eyes kept drifting to each other. He wasn’t the fastest learner but he seemed very friendly and always pulled his chair as close to mine during training as he could. Because I found him so attractive with his large liquid brown eyes, long eyelashes, and curly dark hair with its hints of gray, I didn’t mind the close physical proximity. I still remember the way he smelled–clean, like soap and shampoo, with a hint of muskiness.

Daniel became irresistably attractive to me. Narcs have a way of doing that to people like me. Although not all that intelligent, Daniel was actually a cerebral narcissist who had very little interest in sex after the initial physical passion of the first month or so. He thought of himself as very smart and after a while his know-it-allness became all too apparent.

Not long after meeting, Daniel approached me on break and told me he found me beautiful and kind and he’d like to take me out to dinner. Of course I said yes. That evening I went home walking on air and found my sexiest dress to wear. He picked me up on time, armed with a bouquet of red roses. We had a nice dinner and Daniel was attentive and romantic, gazing into my eyes, holding my hand across the candlelit table, and constantly telling me how beautiful I was and that he couldn’t believe my husband didn’t appreciate me more.

After dinner we went back to his apartment and he just held me and kept gazing into my eyes and telling me over and over how beautiful I was. He closed his eyes when kissing me. He didn’t push for sex and even said he wanted to wait until I was ready. He was perfect! I felt sexy and needed. At times when declaring his undying love for me, his eyes even got a little damp which I took to mean he was overcome with emotion and his feelings for me. This “vulnerability” I perceived made me fall harder for him. I couldn’t believe anyone could love me this much. He made me feel so special. I didn’t know it yet but I was falling into a yet another narcissistic predator’s trap. I should have suspected something fishy when he didn’t bat an eyelash when I told him I was still legally married, even though separated from my husband at the time.

We made love on our 3rd or 4th date and he told me he loved me and then held me all night as we drifted into sleep. For about two weeks I thought I’d died and gone to heaven. We couldn’t get enough of each other and would spend every free moment making love. It was all so magical I hadn’t even noticed he’d stopped taking me out or spending money on me. His abuse had already started but was so well-camouflaged by his physical ardor that I couldn’t see it.

love_bombing

Two weeks after we started dating he told me he wanted to marry me. He didn’t have a ring to give me, but promised he would get one later, when he had the money. (He had the money–the guy was living on a trust fund left him by his wealthy parents and had bought his expensive apartment and he was always buying himself expensive toys). The funny thing was that I never actually said yes to his proposal. I told him I’d have to think about it, although a part of me wanted to scream “YES” from the rooftops. Something–I wasn’t sure what–was holding me back from accepting his proposal. He kept talking about how he wanted to make me pregnant (I was 42 years old) and how beautiful our children would be. He even told me he wanted to see me give birth. But I noticed whenever we were in public together, he seemed annoyed by any children who happened to be around and complained about parents who “couldn’t discipline their children properly.” He also criticized my parenting skills, telling me I let my kids “control me,” even though he’d never met them or seen me interact with them.

Daniel complained about his ex lovers, and although in his late thirties, he had never been married. He told me terrible stories about the women he had dated and how they had all been cheating whores, heartless Jezebels, or how unattractive, stupid, or crazy they were. He told me the most intimate details about them–one woman had a “smelly vagina” and another had acne all over her backside. Another had been in a mental hospital and embarrassed him in public with her crazy outbursts. I didn’t want to hear these details but he assured me I was perfect and different from all those other women.

After a few more weeks I noticed Daniel seemed to be easily bored and prone to fits of unreasonable rage. His rage toward others around us began to turn toward me, and he started to become very critical and controlling. He had stopped buying me things, but one day told me he was taking me to Victoria’s Secret to buy some new lingerie because he thought mine looked frayed and ill-fitting. Of course I was thrilled to be taken shopping, and when in the store, began to pick items I liked. I found a black satin teddy with lace trim and he grabbed it from my hands and put it back, saying “I don’t like that color on you. It makes you look too pale.” He seemed to be getting impatient with me in the store and disapproved of anything I pulled from the rack. Finally he made his own choice, and insisted on buying that for me, even though I wasn’t impressed with his choice. We drove back to his apartment in silence. He seemed so angry but I couldn’t figure out why. I noticed his road rage too–he seemed to get impatient with other drivers easily but was constantly cutting off and tailgating people himself. If I told him to take it easy with his driving, he would get even madder and tell me I was trying to control him.

The night after the shopping spree, he said he didn’t want to have sex because he was too tired. I took this at face value and figured he was just in a bad mood and would be over it the next day. But he had changed. Or actually, he hadn’t changed–but was now beginning to show his true colors. Whenever I tried to initiate lovemaking or even touching, he began to pull away, making excuses that he didn’t feel well or was too tired. When we did have sex, it felt rushed, as if he wanted to get it over with. He stopped telling me he loved me.

One night he received a phone call from an old girlfriend and spent two hours on the phone with her while I pretended to read. I wasn’t really jealous, but was annoyed and found it strange that this was the same woman he had told me was crazy. I asked him about that and he got enraged, telling me to mind my own f–ing business.

Daniel liked to travel around the country and never once asked me if I wanted to go. He’d always announce these trips a day or two before he was set to leave. He’d always return with shopping bags full of goodies–for himself. His idea of “gifts” to me were the freebies they give out in hotels–tiny bars of soap, shampoo, or dollar keychains or even hotel “Do Not Disturb” signs. Once he brought back some homemade fudge and I asked him for a piece of it. He said no.

The silent treatments and verbal abuse became nearly constant. I felt like I was walking on eggshells and it seemed I could do nothing right. Once I asked him why he never wanted to kiss me anymore and he said it was because of my breath. (No one had ever accused me of having bad breath and I even tested it by blowing on my daughter’s face and she said it was fine). I remembered the woman he’d dated who had a “smelly vagina” and realized that he would be telling some future lover (because at this point I wanted to break up with him) about my horrible, stinky breath and “controlling” ways.

He seemed to hate me, but also became upset and angry when I told him I wanted to spend time with my kids (who were living with their father for a short time during the divorce proceedings). He told me they were spoiled brats who would grow up to be criminals because I always gave into their wishes. I know now he was jealous of them. He always wanted me around, but was always so mean. I was always short on cash because I didn’t earn that much but he didn’t seem to care. Once I needed some gas money and he said no, even though he had stacks of $100 bills all over his apartment and in drawers.

We broke up on my birthday. He had come to my house late, and his gift to me was a “Toonces the Driving Cat” coffee mug. Although he obviously didn’t pay much for it, I thought it was a thoughtful gift (for him) because he knew I loved that old skit from Saturday Night Live. He took me out to dinner, which had become a rarity. He was very rude to the wait staff, but he always had been (that’s another red flag to look for–narcissists are notoriously rude to service personnel).

Shortly after we got back to my house, we got into an argument and he shoved me so I fell onto the couch. That was the first time his abuse had become physical. I knew it was a matter of time before he would start hitting me. I told him I would not tolerate physical violence and he started making fun of me for being such a baby about a “little push.” We kept arguing. He told me to give him back the mug he gave me. I told him no, because it was a gift and I liked it. He insisted.

I went and fetched the mug from the kitchen, and brought it to him, sweetly saying “here,” before smashing it on the floor as he reached for it. He stood there staring at the shattered remnants on the floor and then looked up at me with his mouth hanging open, said “You’re too crazy and too violent for me,” and stormed out the door, slamming it behind him. Me? Violent? I didn’t realize he was projecting his own violent tendencies onto me.

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A week later I found out I was pregnant. I called him to tell him I needed money for an abortion. He said he would not help because there was no way it was his! This from the man who a month earlier had told me he wanted to watch me give birth.

Fortunately, I never had to have an abortion because a week after that I miscarried. Daniel kept calling me, acting as if nothing had happened, and would tell me all about his life, never asking how mine was going. He acted like we were best friends. He even told me about a woman he was dating who was “perfect for him,” with no thought given to my feelings about this. Of course I really didn’t care and just felt sorry for the poor woman who didn’t know what she was in for yet. I wondered what he was telling her about me. Probably that I was insane, violent and a bad mother who had terrible breath.

I’d listen patiently to Daniel ramble on and then tell him I had to go. After about six months of his weekly phone calls, I finally worked up the courage to tell him to leave me alone and never call me again. I also blocked his number. That was the best choice I made in that relationship.

The incredible shrinking world of the narcissist’s victim.

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When I was still with my ex, I became a recluse, holed up in my small room when I wasn’t at work, never venturing out even into the living room or kitchen. This was because he had taken over the whole house to the point I dreaded leaving the safety of my room, because of how obnoxious, loud, abusive and demanding he was.

He was sleeping on the living room couch (I was “nice” enough to let the parasitic loser crash there for almost 7 years–but that’s a whole ‘nother story) and he was extremely messy, loud and dirty–overflowing ashtrays, trash all over the table, plates left crusted with food or day old coffee, crumbs on the furniture and floor, and he never, ever cleaned anything. His idea of washing the dishes was letting them soak in soapy water and they’d sit there until they began to stink or someone else (usually me) washed them. He also talked loud, discussed inappropriate things with my daughter’s young friends (she was living here too at that time), and blasted his death metal and riot girl music (which he knew I couldn’t stand) just because he knew it would piss me off. Whenever I complained or even politely asked him to stop or turn the music down, he told me (in front of his friends and my daughter and her friends) that I was “crazy.” He’d announce to everyone things like, “oh, well you know Lauren’s a BORDERLINE, so that’s why she acts that way.” He also was deliberately loud when I needed to sleep. I was the only one working at the time, and had to be up early. You think he cared? Ha! Not when he yelled at me for being “emotionally unstable” or “selfish” because I wanted quiet at night when I was trying to sleep.

I couldn’t stand leaving my room because he seemed to be everywhere in that small house. I was too depressed to go out, and didn’t have anyplace to go anyway. See, another thing that happens when you live with a narcissist is that you may not have any money. Some narcissists hide all the money from you, keeping it tucked away in their bank accounts where you don’t have access to it. If you work, they may demand you hand over most or all of your paycheck. Or they simply grind down your confidence in your abilities to the point where you only take jobs that are far beneath your actual ability. Or, in some cases, the narcissist simply refuses to work, while racking up the bills and then expects others to pay. This last type was what my ex was.

For seven years he didn’t work, but freeloaded off my good will and codependency. He was the worst kind of parasite. Yes, I enabled him so that was my fault. But in me, he saw an easy “mark,” someone who was a people-pleaser who could be easily taken advantage of. In the winter, he’d turned the heat register to the highest temperature, so the living room felt like an oven. If I tried to call him on that and remind him that I couldn’t afford to pay a high electric bill, he’d deny it was him. He’d blame his daughter, or even say I was turning the heat up myself and didn’t remember (this was gaslighting of course). I knew he was lying but couldn’t prove he was, because he’d crank up the heat when I wasn’t around. Another thing he did was order movies, sometimes porn, without my knowing and these charges sometimes almost doubled the cable bill. Of course I wound up having to scrape together the money to pay it. When I confronted him about the movies he’d ordered, he denied responsibility, saying it must have been our daughter (she was never home and barely watched TV at all so I knew he was lying).

He did get food stamps, but that was the only way he contributed, and the amount he was getting wasn’t very much. He’d complain about the groceries I bought because they didn’t include expensive steaks, legs of lamb, and condiments that he needed “for his diabetes.” I was trying to stretch the budget, and that meant buying inexpensive foods. These were not to his high standards though. You get the idea.

My job was low paying (and still is). So of course after taking care of all his needs and paying gigantic electric bills thanks to him, and never having anything to eat because he’d eat all the food himself, there was never any money. So I couldn’t go anywhere. Hell, I couldn’t even afford a movie or the $3.00 fee for the community pool, never mind ever being able to get away for the weekend to the beach.

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I also had no friends. He’d convinced me I was so unlikeable and socially inept that I had stopped even trying to make friends. People who approached me in friendship I kept at arms’ length and never accepted their invitations or phone calls. I was afraid if they got to know me, they wouldn’t like me. Being avoidant and terribly shy anyway, socializing was never something that came naturally to me. So any fun activities or getaways I might have gotten involved with through a friend just didn’t happen, because I didn’t allow myself to have friends. I was also too embarrassed to let anyone come to the house because of its filthy and disheveled condition (thanks to him) and the fact there was never any food to eat, not to mention the certainty that this parasitic loser would say something embarrassing or inappropriate in front of any friend I might have brought over. Also, never having enough money to do anything fun, made getting together with friends difficult. I certainly couldn’t expect them to always pay my way!

Some narcissists won’t let their victims have friends. They either forbid it, or manage to turn the victims’ friends against them with their charming triangulating. Mine never actually forbade it, but just made it so uncomfortable and impossible for me to have friends that I gave up on having any.

At age 45, i noticed I was living like an 80 year old, pretty much confined to the house, and dutifully going to my job (which I hated) every day. I had no life at all, no interests, no hobbies, no money, no friends. All I had was TV, my computer and books. So I holed myself up in my little room and read and slept a lot. I didn’t even have the motivation to do something creative, like start a blog. I just vegetated in there, pigging out on junk food and snacks and growing fatter every day. I slept a lot during the day. Not long ago I posted a photo of what I used to look like. I can’t believe the difference–I don’t look like the same person.

That’s what living with a narcissist will do to you: destroy your looks, your motivation, your self esteem, your interest in anything, your pride in your own body and mind, eventually your sanity. I actually thought I had lost all my creativity and intelligence. I thought I had nothing left to offer to anyone, and my sole purpose in life was having to put up with the narc in the house who was sucking me dry like a vampire. He reminded me every day it was his right, and that I had no choice because if I tried to make him leave, he would kill himself and possibly take me with him. I was terrified of that possibility, but I now know he was full of doggy doodoo and just said that to manipulate me because he knew I’d fall for it. That man would never kill himself. That I know. If he was going to, he already would have.

Oh, there was more, so much more, but I’ll stop here before this turns into a book.

Don’t let a narcissist shrink your world and reduce you to living in a self-imposed prison. You deserve better than that. I know if I hadn’t gone No Contact with him last year, I would very likely be dead or very ill by now. They may not kill bodies, but they kill souls, and you die a slow and painful death which could eventually destroy your body too.