Do narcissists cry?

crocodiletears

This is a revision of the Jan. 1, 2015 article.  It’s one of my most popular posts, so I figured I’d post it again, with a few changes.

Do narcissists cry?  Sure, they do. Of course they do. And the histrionic, somatic types will cry conspicuously and loudly and convulsively and make sure everyone notices.  Think of Joan Crawford’s over the top histrionics in he movie Mommie Dearest.  The attention they get from this show of dramatics (which you cannot ignore) elicits lots of narcissistic supply for them and gets them the sympathy they crave.  Remember, positive attention isn’t necessary to serve as supply to a narcissist.  Any sort of attention–even disgust and anger–will do.

Self-serving crying and fake empathy.
Narcissists cry for themselves, never for you. They *might*cry when they see a sad movie, if they experience themselves through that character. Movies are a safe way to shed tears, even for those who don’t cry easily (and that includes non-narcs too). But narcissists aren’t really crying for the characters in the movie. They are really crying for themselves.

Some narcissists who are good actors can pretend to cry for others–these are dangerous narcissists able to feign empathy but show their true colors after they’ve charmed you and duped you into thinking they’re the nicest, most sympathetic person in the world. But it’s all fake. Those “empathetic tears” are crocodile tears. A narcissist can never cry for anyone but themselves.

Narcissists are just big babies.
Kim Saeed, a writer who has an excellent and extremely popular blog here at WordPress about narcissistic abuse, wrote an insightful article about what makes a narcissist cry (basically, self pity and attention getting). It’s a good read. Narcissists cry the way an infant cries–to have their immediate needs met. Whether they admit it or not, they need a mother–and most likely never got adequate mothering, so they’re still trying to get it. Like an infant, they are incapable of separating themselves from others and can feel no empathy for anyone else.

babycrying
Here’s who your narcissist really is.

While some narcissists take pride in their appearance, professional accomplishments, athletic prowess, or outstanding intelligence, there are some narcissists (the covert type) who take a perverse pride in being as pitiful and pathetic as it’s possible to be. These are what I call “needy narcissists” (Kim Saeed refers to them as “extreme narcissists”).  Many of our mothers (not mine–my mother was overt and aggressive) fall into this category.  They guilt-trip you and constantly whine about how badly you’ve treated them.  They remind you of all the wonderful things they’ve done for you.   They are emotional, financial and spiritual vampires who will suck you dry if given half a chance. They tend to attract empaths and HSPs and codependent types of people who are willing to give them the pity and sympathy they crave. And they use tears to elicit those things. Tears are powerful and contagious and get babies what they want–why not narcissists? Hey, if it works, use it.

Can a narcissist ever cry non-self serving tears?

A narcissist crying for reasons other than self-serving ones is rare.   But if one ever enters therapy or gets to a point where they recognize their own narcissism and is able to grieve for their lost true self, it’s possible.  Don’t get your hopes up though.    That being said, I read an article by Sam Vaknin about the way he cries in his dreams, which I thought was pretty interesting.   If something like this can happen, maybe it could be used as a catalyst to healing.  Maybe.  (Sam is not cured of NPD and probably never will be.  It’s his livelihood).

Dreaming and “lucid” dreaming: a possible key to healing?
Dreams open us up to the subconscious mind, so remembering dreams is useful in therapy.  For a narcissist, dreams have the potential of tapping into the atrophied and depressed true self–the self that dissociated and went into hiding during early childhood to protect itself from abuse by caregivers. Sam Vaknin writes about this phenomenon in this journal entry, in which he describes two nightmares that briefly brought him in contact with his true lost self, at least until he woke up.

He writes:

I dream of my childhood. And in my dreams we are again one big unhappy family. I sob in my dreams, I never do when I am awake. When I am awake, I am dry, I am hollow, mechanically bent upon the maximization of Narcissistic Supply. When asleep, I am sad. The all-pervasive, engulfing melancholy of somnolence. I wake up sinking, converging on a black hole of screams and pain. I withdraw in horror. I don’t want to go there. I cannot go there.

One’s narcissism stands in direct relation to the seething abyss and the devouring vacuum that one harbors in one’s True Self.

I know it’s there . I catch glimpses of it when I am tired, when I hear music, when reminded of an old friend, a scene, a sight, a smell. I know it is awake when I am asleep. I know that it subsists of pain – diffuse and inescapable. I know my sadness. I have lived with it and I have encountered it full force.

Perhaps I choose narcissism, as I have been “accused”. And if I do, it is a rational choice of self-preservation and survival. The paradox is that being a self-loathing narcissist may be the only act of self-love I have ever committed.

cryingofthestoneangel
Crying of the Stone Angel by Eternal Dream Art at Deviantart.com

Can a narcissist’s true self ever see the light of day?

The true self is there in hiding, sometimes peeking out in dreams.  A narcissist without insight (which is almost all of them) would not be able to write the post quoted above.   Even if they were aware of having such a vulnerable inner self, they would never admit it.   They’re so walled off from their true feelings they can’t access it even in dreams.   Instead, they shore up a fake self that takes the place of the true one–but it’s not sustainable and will fall apart without a constant source of narcissistic supply that keeps it inflated like a balloon.  The constant inflation keeps their false self alive and as long as it’s there, they never have to face the black emptiness inside where the atrophied child-self exists.  If they fall into such a depression, they may go insane.  Suicide is not unheard of.

Sadness and tears that could arise from being able to encounter one’s true self, even if only briefly in a dream, could be the key to healing.  If only anyone really could figure out how to harness this and keep it accessible long enough for the narcissist to start doing some difficult internal work before they slap that mask back on.   Harnessing any brief moments of emotional nakedness is like trying to hold onto a dream while awake–most of the time, it dissolves and fragments like soap bubbles before being  swept away in the the river of day to day reality.   It’s still there, buried in the narcissist’s unconscious the way a clam buries itself deep in the wet sand near the shore after the waves recede.  But in all likelihood, the narcissist will die a narcissist, and no one (including themselves) will ever know what could have been.   I think most of them choose to remain living in the darkness because it’s a whole lot “safer.”  Maybe “lucid dreaming” (a skill that can be learned) could be one way to capture the true self when it emerges in a dream, and keep it there long enough to work with.

Most people don’t believe narcissists can be cured (and in most cases, they can’t be and are perfectly fine with being the way they are).  That being said,   I like to remain optimistic.   I can’t believe there are people walking on this earth who have completely lost their souls.  Unless a person has consciously chosen evil and has become sociopathic, I don’t think most narcissists are that far gone. The challenge is catching them when their guard is down, which is almost never.  I don’t recommend you try  doing this yourself.  Leave it to the professionals or to God.   You cannot fix a narcissist.   All you can really do is stop giving them supply, so stay (or go) No Contact.

Advertisements

Narc attack!

Shark attack

Sigh.
I can’t get rid of them.
Today I thought I died and went to narc hell.

My narcissist sperm donor has finally moved into his own place. I’d been storing a lot of his crap in my house (for no charge) since I kicked him out over a year ago. Many times I felt like just hauling it all to Goodwill but he kept begging me not to so I didn’t. Of course any attempts to collect financial compensation for storing his crap were met with deaf ears or excuses.

So anyway, today he came over to pick up his stuff. I had most of it packed in bags and boxes for him so he wouldn’t have to stay long rummaging through my house. I didn’t want him to invade my boundaries, but of course asking a narc not to invade your boundaries is like asking a mosquito not to bite you. They are every bit as annoying as a mosquito too.

mosquito
He kept walking from one room to the next, trying to take things that weren’t his or that had been both of ours but I wanted to keep. I had to negotiate with him over at least 20 items, including the little bit of wall art that I have, and the few decorative items in the living room. He kept trying to take my little white Buddha that sits next to my bamboo plant in the kitchen. I finally convinced him why I needed to have it (“it makes my plant grow”–it really does!) He wanted to take my geodes off the kitchen sill. I wouldn’t let him have them.

He was here for two hours, wanting to go through EVERYTHING, opening every drawer, rummaging in the closets for things I might have missed (there was nothing of his left), even pawing through all the stuff in the medicine cabinet, the cabinet over the toilet, and the kitchen. I couldn’t get rid of him fast enough.

But no, this wasn’t all. I didn’t just have one narc following me around the house going through my stuff–I had TWO! My annoying narcissistic roommate was following us around too. Any time I have company she is ALWAYS out of her room, making sure she’s noticed and hijacking the conversation with her inane blabber. She followed us from room to room, talking nonstop about nothing as usual and asking an awful lot of questions that were none of her business. I finally told her I was stressed and I would prefer she didn’t follow us around asking questions, so she went back in her room (sulking, of course), but 5 minutes later was out again, saying she was “just getting some air.” The nonstop talking resumed. I just tried to ignore her but it was hard.

tired

The ex didn’t take much besides what I had packed, but dealing with him being here and pawing through my belongings felt like a huge violation of my boundaries. Meanwhile being yabbered at nonstop by my idiot narcissist roommate was another type of boundary violation. Even my ex was getting irritated with her.

Can you imagine being in your own home followed around by two narcissists, one who wants to rummage through (and possibly take) your belongings, and another who never shuts the hell up?
After he left (finally!) I was so exhausted I had to take a long nap. They just suck everything out of you. Like vampires.

At least my house feels like mine again and I have a lot more room for my OWN stuff now.

Narcissists are so %$&# annoying.

annoying_narcs

I can’t deny it anymore. My roommate, a woman I found on Craigslist back in September to share my house with me and help pay the bills, is another G.D. narcissist. She is one of he most annoying people I’ve ever known, outside my ex who was probably a little more so.

At first she seemed very nice. She gave a good impression. She has some health issues, including near-deafness, so she receives disability. She has one cat who gets along well with mine. She seemed almost too helpful and accommodating in the beginning. She actually wanted to pay me more than the rent I was asking, and kept offering to buy me things or do me favors I didn’t need or want.

She’s still paying her rent on time and hasn’t done anything really horrible, like set fires to the curtains or steal my things, so for now I’m allowing her to stay, until I figure out what else I can do to earn enough money to not have to share my home (which I would prefer), or find another roommate (who could be worse than she is, especially if I find them on Craiglist).

But she’s become almost intolerable to live with. Her personality repels me. I’m at the point where I just want to leave the room if she’s in it. Her voice and even looking at her annoys me.

That is precisely the way I felt about my ex husband before I kicked him out a year ago. I couldn’t stand the sight of him and his voice and everything he did was like nails on a chalkboard. Even the sound of his breathing bothered me. And listening to him eat made me want to puke.

I hated him and everything he did so much there were times I could completely understand how someone could be driven to kill. I never entertained that thought of course, but I could understand why some people could. I also realized I no longer even cared what happened to him. In fact, I kind of wanted him to die, if truth be told. I feel like I’m a horrible person for ever feeling that way, but it’s the truth.

It’s a bad sign when you’re having these kinds of ugly thoughts and feelings about someone you’re living with. The thing about narcs is they turn you just as mean as they are eventually. During the last months I lived with my ex, I was downright nasty to him. It wasn’t right, but it felt like some sort of justice before I worked up the courage to make him leave.

My roommate has gradually shed the “nice” act–that was just the love bombing phase. I knew there was something a little fishy about her over the top displays of affection and insistence on doing things for me I didn’t need or want. I should have paid attention to those red flags.

After awhile, she started guilt tripping me if I didn’t profusely thank her for these unasked-for favors. For instance she liked to clean the house, which I appreciated, since she doesn’t work and really doesn’t do anything all day. I’m too tired when I get home to clean anything and just want to write. I certainly wasn’t going to tell her not to do it (and she probably would have been insulted if I had).

gaslighting_poster

She’s very needy and entitled. She accused me of not being appreciative enough: “I spent all day cleaning the house FOR YOU (emphasis mine) even with my bad back. I didn’t have to do this FOR YOU, all I want is a little gratitude.” I’d already THANKED HER about ten times, for the love of God. Every time she does me a favor, no matter how small, or buys me something (which I don’t ask for), she gets all angry and butthurt if I don’t act like she’s Jesus Christ Incarnate for doing it. She keeps repeating herself over and over, announcing all the wonderful and kind things she does, to make sure you notice how perfect and wonderful she is.

Lately she’s been attempting to triangulate and gaslight using my daughter. But my daughter tells me everything, has read this blog (and knows a lot about narcissists now) and she told me what my roommate has been saying to her. The games aren’t working, and my roommmate’s getting mad. My daughter even told me she thought we were dealing with a narcissist. I was proud of her for that.

Two weeks ago my roommate’s car broke down. A couple weeks before that, she had allowed me to drive her car for two days while my transmission was being rebuilt. That was because she was too tired and sick to drive me to work (I never asked to borrow her car, although I preferred that to having to ride with her). Now she’s acting pissy and hateful because I won’t drive her all over town, even at night (I don’t see well on the road at night). A few days ago, she actually had the gall to suggest I call in late to work so I could take her to the doctor. I refused to do it. I don’t let narcs push me around anymore. I told her about the bus lines, but of course she made excuses why she couldn’t take a bus.

She is getting more hateful, telling my daughter how selfish I am. It’s almost funny, how obvious it is that she’s projecting her own narcissism on to me. It really creeps me out that my ex behaved THIS EXACT SAME WAY and said THE VERY SAME THING. She’s gaslighting me and attempting to use my daughter as a flying monkey. It’s really incredible. It’s like they all read from the same script. They probably do.

She whines nonstop about how generous and kind she was to me when she let me drive her car for two days (when she herself didn’t want to drive me), implying that I never do anything for HER.

She’s extremely nosy and butts into conversations I am having with my daughter or other people, as well as asking me constantly what I’m doing online. Like it’s any of her business. She needs constant attention and validation.

narcs_everywhere

If I buy takeout for myself and my daughter, my narc roommate gets upset that we didn’t get anything for HER. She’s 52 years old, but she acts like she’s 3. She also whines constantly that no one likes her here, and we aren’t nice to her, which is a total lie. But it’s becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy. I no longer like this woman, and neither does my daughter.

Last night we finally got into it. She said I wasn’t a nice person. I reminded her that I have only been as nice to her as she’s been to me, and furthermore that she ought to not act so entitled because I was giving her a really good deal with the very cheap rent I am charging. I challenged her to try and find something as cheap as the room I rent to her somewhere else. Asheville and Buncombe County in general is expensive. I guarantee she won’t be able to find as sweet a deal.

She started crying because she thought I was kicking her out. Complete with rubbing her eyes with her fists like a three year old who dropped her lollipop. I tried to be nice and not roll my eyes or sigh in frustration. (It’s getting harder to be nice.) I assured her I was not kicking her out but just letting her know how I felt–how entitled I think she acts, and that her gaslighting, triangulating, projecting, whining, wheedling self pity, negativity, nosiness, and absolute absence of any respect for anyone’s boundaries was annoying and crazymaking.

She makes fun of things I like. She puts down my interests (she has never seen this blog, as far as I know and probably wouldn’t read it, even as nosy as she is). I told her one time I was going out to buy orange juice and for some odd reason she found this extremely funny, and to this day keeps making jokes about my “obsession” with orange juice. It’s not funny. It’s damned annoying. I can’t explain it, but it’s that nails on a chalkboard thing, like the way I felt about my ex’s breathing and eating sounds.

living_with_u

I know this can’t turn out good. I know at some point I will have to ask her to leave, but right now I really need the money and don’t feel like taking out another damn ad in the paper. I’ve had worse roommates than her in the past–at least she pays her rent on time and doesn’t do hard drugs (as far as I know).

I know it must be difficult for her to be disabled and have a car that isn’t running (she can’t afford to have it fixed) and be pretty much housebound. That would drive me crazy too. So I can understand a little grumpiness or depression.

But what I’m seeing isn’t just a bored and stir crazy person taking out their frustrations and anger on me. What I’m seeing is pure, unadulterated, 100% genuine, 200 proof NARC.

This post is intended to open a discussion about narcissists and narcissistic roommates, etc. I don’t want or need advice to get rid of her. I already know that. I’m willing to wait things out for awhile because the extra income is worth it–for the moment.

If I ever feel like she’s starting to have a negative effect on my growth or my healing, then she’s out. If she starts finding reasons not to pay her rent, she’s out. For now, she’s just incredibly annoying. Narcs can irritate the living shit out of you.
But I can live with that, at least for now.

Why do they always find me? They’re only 1% of the population, but it seems like they’re everywhere.

Are narcissists ever abuse victims?

blackwedgeoflove
Black Wedge of Love / rawcandor.com

Here I’m not going to talk about the popular theory that most narcissists were probably neglected or abused as children. In this article, I’m focusing on the question of whether someone who is already a narcissist can become a victim of narcissistic abuse.

Yes, they can–and more often than you might think.

Of course, not all narcissists are abuse victims, and the more malignant they are, the more likely they are to cause suffering rather than suffer themselves. Psychopaths and malignant narcissists wield Svengali-like power over their subjects and are often found in the highest echelons of business, politics, religious organizations, and other positions of great power and influence. They do not allow themselves to be in a position of subservience to someone else, and take great pride in the fact most people fear them. In fact, they would much rather be feared than liked. The smartest ones are cunning enough to be invulnerable to a total loss of narcissistic supply, which would send them crashing into a deep depression (and opens a window to healing, as I’ve discussed in previous posts). They know how to get others to trust them, which is part of their charm and one of the ways they climb to the top and stay there.

But other narcissists (not “benign” narcissists, because they do have a conscience and even some empathy)–those who still have NPD but are not as high on the spectrum as a malignant psychopath, can and do become victims to “stronger” narcissists.

An unholy alliance.
These relationships actually work in their twisted, sick kind of way, with the weaker narcissist falling under the thrall of the stronger, malignant narcissist. Because they are both still narcissists and the weaker one basically identifies with their abuser (known as Stockholm Syndrome, which is also a defense mechanism seen in victimized people with PTSD), they form a symbiotic relationship, with the weaker person willingly taking on a masochistic role and the stronger one the sadistic role. Their sexual relationship may indeed include elements of S&M, but the sadomasochistic relationship isn’t limited to just sex.

The stronger narcissist will treat the weaker one badly and abusively, but because the weaker partner identifies with their abuser, they actually “enjoy” the abuse they get. It validates them and gives them the narcissistic supply they need (and way deep inside, maybe they feel like they deserve punishment).

Unlike normal people, a narcissist prefers negative attention over no attention, and their abuser is seen as their savior–the one person in the world who can give them the attention they so crave. M. Scott Peck, in his book “People of the Lie,” described such a relationship. Harley was a weak man in thrall to his evil, mean wife Sarah, who constantly berated and belittled him and ordered him around, while Harley just whined pitifully about how badly Sarah treated him but seemed to do nothing about it or have any real desire to stop her abuse. He had no intention of leaving her. He told Dr. Peck he “needed” Sarah. Of course he did–Sarah was his sole source of narcissistic supply (because she had made sure he was cut off from anyone else). Dr. Peck speculated that Harley, although complaining incessantly about his wife’s abuse, actually seemed to want it, and he wondered if he might have been a little “evil” himself, which was what might have attracted him to someone like Sarah in the first place.

I see this same situation in my father, who has always been codependent on MN women, and allows these women to make all his decisions for him. He has always been weaker and more codependent than the domineering, controlling women he married.

Needy narcissists.
A friend of mine, a survivor of narcissistic abuse who also has a blog, tells the story of an aunt of hers, living in abject poverty, who was scapegoated and belittled by every other family member, most of them highly malignant narcissists. She was tolerated at family events but outside of that, no one would have anything to do with her. You feel sorry for this impoverished, lonely, maltreated aunt–until you keep reading and find out that she is a malignant narcissist herself–of the “needy” variety.

Businessman begging with cardboard sign

Most people think of narcissists as cagey, cunning, selfish sociopaths who get everything they want by ruthlessly stomping all over others to reach the pinnacles of financial and professional success, even if that involves a life of crime. But there are many narcissists who are not successful, and in fact are dirt poor. These are what I call “needy narcissists”–people who mooch off of others, using others’ goodwill and generosity without ever giving anything back in return. They whine to anyone who will listen about how their sorry circumstances are everyone’s fault but their own. They demand pity and constant attention. They act entitled. They cry and try to elicit your guilt. They might steal from you. They’ll start a smear campaign against you if you don’t give in to their demands. Sometimes they find ways to get government assistance–such as disability–by faking or exaggerating a disorder so they don’t have to take responsibility for themselves.

They are financial and emotional vampires, feeding off others’ altruism until their providers are sucked dry emotionally, spiritually, mentally and sometimes financially. My ex-husband falls into this category. These narcissists are only less dangerous because they lack power and money, but make no mistake: they are just as dangerous on a personal level as materially “successful” narcissists, and they play all the same evil mindgames to get their way. They take pride in how pathetic they are rather than in what a perfect specimen of beauty, intelligence, success, or charm they are. They still think they’re entitled to be treated as if they’re gods.

“Covert” and “inverted” narcissism isn’t narcissism at all.
There is also something I’ve read about called “covert narcissism” or “inverted narcissism,” which actually has been used to describe people with low self esteem, avoidant traits, hypervigilance, and high sensitivity. Which means that according to that definition, I am a narcissist.

I don’t buy it though, because people with these traits are usually very empathic and if anything, their conscience is too well developed for their own good. They not only worry they won’t be liked, they worry that they may have hurt someone or have done something wrong. They struggle with guilt and shame. They may self-sabotage, but they never set out to hurt other people, and when they do they feel terrible. Real narcissists may be hypersensitive (about themselves) and paranoid, but they never worry about hurting others; at best they just don’t care.

Of course an “inverted” or “covert” narcissist is likely to be abused, because they fit all the traits of someone likely to be bullied and victimized. They are us!

The weak narcissist in thrall to an MN is not an “inverted” narcissist–they are true blue narcissists who just lack the cunning, intelligence, charm or Svengali-like traits their abuser possesses. Or they’re just not as evil as the MN. Within the relationship, they are just abuse victims, but outside of it, they treat others as badly as any other narcissist. Just because they’re abuse victims doesn’t mean they’re nice people. (It doesn’t mean they don’t deserve help either). Obviously, the best thing for a narcissist in an abusive relationship to do would be to go No Contact, but due to their craving of (negative) narcissistic supply, they are not likely to ever leave the relationship.

narcissist

Can a malignant narcissist become an abuse victim?
Other than in childhood (before they became narcissists), I would say no. Because two high-spectrum, completely malignant narcissists are likely to hate each other. One MN won’t give up their power to the other and sees another MN as a huge threat.

Think of two predatory animals like wildcats, encountering each other in a forest. Both are alpha males of their own group so neither is a weak animal. Would these two cats become allies? No. They will fix their gaze at each other, never taking their eyes away, and slowly start to circle around each other, sizing up the other animal. At some point, one of the cats will launch a surprise attack, or one will flee before that happens.

knifefight

In a similar manner, two predatory humans in the same room will be very cautious around each other, sizing each other up, but will almost always intensely dislike each other. They may fight, or they may never speak to each other, but they will not become friends. They are of no use to each other whatsoever. A malignant narcissist will always choose a weaker victim he can use and manipulate, and sometimes that victim will be another narcissist who identifies with their abuser but is no match for them.