Projection, anger, and emotional distancing.

6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About (Psychology Today)

Interesting article about the lesser-known indicators of narcissism from Psychology Today. Contrary to popular opinion, narcissists do not love themselves, only their image.
I agree with Dr. Seltzer that these six traits should be added to the official diagnostic criteria for NPD.

6 Signs of Narcissism You May Not Know About: How can you recognize the fragility behind the narcissist’s grandiosity?
Post published by Leon F Seltzer Ph.D.

narc_lovers

The recently published 5th edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM) lists precisely the same nine criteria for narcissistic personality disorder (NPD) as did the previous version, published 19 years earlier. So these longstanding diagnostic yardsticks are by now quite familiar—not only to professionals but to interested laypeople as well. Because only the extreme, or “classic,” narcissist fits all of these criteria, DSM specifies that an individual need meet only five of them (barely more than half) to warrant this unflattering label.

As a starting point, I’ll reiterate these selected criteria—before, that is, adding six important ones of my own, which either complement or extend these “official” yardsticks. My particular measures for identifying pathological narcissists are based not only on my exposure to the voluminous writings on this character disorder, but also on 30+ years of clinical experience. This experience includes doing personal, couples, and family counseling with such troublesome individuals. But it also involves working independently with those involved with narcissists—whether their distressed children, spouses, parents, friends, or business associates—who repeatedly express enormous frustration in trying to cope with them.

To begin, however, here are DSM’s requirements (link is external) (slightly condensed, and with minor bracketed amendments) for “earning” the unenviable diagnosis of Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

1. Has a grandiose sense of self-importance.
2. Is preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success, power, brilliance, beauty, or ideal love.
3. Believes that he or she is “special” and unique and can only be understood by, or should associate with, other special or high-status people (or institutions).
4. Requires excessive admiration [regularly fishes for compliments, and is highly susceptible to flattery].
5. Has a sense of entitlement.
6. Is interpersonally exploitative.
7. Lacks empathy: is unwilling [or, I would add, unable] to recognize or identify with the feelings and needs of others.
8. Is often envious of others or believes that others are envious of him or her.
9. Shows arrogant, haughty [rude and abusive] behaviors or attitudes.

So what’s left out here? Actually, as regards identifying descriptors, quite a bit. And I’ve no doubt that other therapists could add further to the six additional characteristics I’ll provide here—features that, although regrettably minimized or omitted from DSM, I‘ve routinely seen displayed by the many dysfunctional narcissists I’ve worked with. So, to enumerate them, such individuals:

1. Are highly reactive to criticism.

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Or anything they assume or interpret as negatively evaluating their personality or performance. This is why if they’re asked a question that might oblige them to admit some vulnerability, deficiency, or culpability, they’re apt to falsify the evidence (i.e., lie—yet without really acknowledging such prevarication to themselves), hastily change the subject, or respond as though they’d been asked something entirely different. Earlier for Psychology Today I wrote a post highlighting this supercharged sensitivity called “The Narcissist’s Dilemma: They Can Dish It Out, But . . . ”. And this aspect of their disturbance underscores that their ego—oversized, or rather artificially “inflated”—can hardly be viewed as strong or resilient. On the contrary, it’s very easily punctured. (And note here another related piece of mine, “Our Egos: Do They Need Strengthening—or Shrinking?”). What these characteristics suggest is that, at bottom and despite all their egotistic grandiosity, they…

2. Have low self-esteem.

narcissists_hate_themselves

This facet of their psyche is complicated, because superficially their self-regard would appear to be higher and more assured than just about anyone else’s. Additionally, given their customary “drivenness,” it’s not uncommon for them to rise to positions of power and influence, as well as amass a fortune (and see here my post “Narcissism: Why It’s So Rampant in Politics”). But if we examine what’s beneath the surface of such elevated social, political, or economic stature—or their accomplishments generally—what typically can be inferred is a degree of insecurity vastly beyond anything they might be willing to avow.

That is, in various ways they’re constantly driven to prove themselves, both to others and to their not-so-confident “inner child” self. This is the self-doubting, recessive part of their being that, though well hidden from sight, is nonetheless afflicted with feelings and fears of inferiority. Inasmuch as their elaborate defense system effectively wards off their having to face what their bravado masks, they’re highly skilled at exhibiting, or “posturing,” exceptionally high self-esteem. But their deeper insecurities are yet discernible in their so often fishing for compliments and their penchant for bragging and boasting about their (frequently exaggerated) achievements. That is, they’re experts at complimenting themselves! And when—despite all their self-aggrandizement— others are critical of them, they…

3. Can be inordinately self-righteous and defensive.

right_wrong

Needing so much to protect their overblown but fragile ego, their ever-vigilant defense system can be extraordinarily easy to set off. I’ve already mentioned how reactive they typically are to criticism, but in fact anything said or done that they perceive as questioning their competence can activate their robust self-protective mechanisms. Which is why so many non-narcissists I’ve worked with have shared how difficult it is to get through to them in situations of conflict. For in challenging circumstances it’s almost as though their very survival depends on being right or justified, whereas flat out (or humbly) admitting a mistake—or, for that matter, uttering the words “I’m sorry” for some transgression—seem difficult to impossible for them.

Further, their “my way or the highway” attitude in decision-making—their stubborn.competitive insistence that their point of view prevail—betrays (even as it endeavors to conceal) their underlying doubts about not being good, strong, or smart enough. And the more their pretentious, privileged, exaggeratedly puffed-up self-image feels endangered by another’s position, the more likely they are to…

4. React to contrary viewpoints with anger or rage.

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In fact, this characteristic is so common in narcissists that it’s always surprised me that DSM doesn’t specifically refer to it among its nine criteria. Repeatedly, writers have noted that angry outbursts are almost intrinsic to both narcissistic and borderline personality disorders. And although (unlike the borderline) it’s not particular fears of abandonment that bring out their so-called “narcissistic rage,” both personality disorders generally react with heated emotion when others bring their deepest insecurities too close to the surface.

The reason that feelings of anger and rage are so typically expressed by them is that in the moment they externalize the far more painful anxiety- or shame-related emotions hiding just beneath them. When they’re on the verge of feeling—or re-feeling—some hurt or humiliation from their past, their consequent rage conveniently “transfers” these unwanted feelings to another (and see here my PT post “Anger—How We Transfer Feelings of Guilt, Hurt, and Fear”).

The accompanying message that gets communicated through such antagonistic emotions is “I’m not bad (wrong, stupid, mean, etc.), you are!” Or, it could even be: “I’m not narcissistic, or borderline! You are!” (Or, in slightly milder version, “If I’m narcissistic, or borderline, then so are you!”) And if the mentally healthier individual has no clue as to what provoked their outburst in the first place, such a sudden explosion is likely to make them feel not only baffled but hurt, and maybe even frightened. But what cannot be overemphasized here is that narcissists…

5. Project onto others qualities, traits, and behaviors they can’t—or won’t—accept in themselves.

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Because they’re compelled from deep within to conceal deficits or weaknesses in their self-image, they habitually redirect any unfavorable appraisal of themselves outwards, unconsciously trusting that doing so will forever keep at bay their deepest suspicions about themselves. Getting anywhere close to being obliged to confront the darkness at their innermost core can be very scary, for in reality their emotional resources are woefully underdeveloped.

Broadly recognized as narcissists by their fundamental lack of self-insight, very few of them (depending, of course, on how far out they are on the narcissistic continuum) can achieve such interior knowledge. For in a variety of ways their rigid, unyielding defenses can be seen as more or less defining their whole personality. And that’s why one of the most reliable ways for them to feel good about themselves—and “safe” in the world they’re essentially so alienated from—is to invalidate, devalue, or denigrate others. So they’ll focus on others’ flaws (whether or not they really exist) rather than acknowledge, and come to terms with, their own. And in many curious ways this habit causes them to…

6. Have poor interpersonal boundaries.

space_invasion
Space invasion!

It’s been said about narcissists that they can’t tell where they end and the other person begins. Unconsciously viewing others as “extensions” of themselves, they regard them as existing primarily to serve their own needs—just as they routinely put their needs before everyone else’s (frequently, even their own children). Since others are regarded (if they’re regarded at all!) as what in the literature is often called “narcissistic supplies”—that is, existing chiefly to cater to their personal desires—they generally don’t think about others independently of how they might “use” them to their own advantage. Whatever narcissists seek to give themselves, they generally expect to get from others, too (which is yet another dimension of their famous—or infamous—sense of entitlement).

Even beyond this, their porous boundaries and unevenly developed interpersonal skills may prompt them to inappropriately dominate conversations and share with others intimate details about their life (though some narcissists, it should be noted, can display an extraordinary, however Machiavellian, social savvy). Such private information would probably focus on disclosing facts others would be apt to withhold. But having (at least consciously) much less of a sense of shame, they’re likely to share things they’ve said or done that most of us would be too embarrassed or humiliated to admit. Still, with an at times gross insensitivity to how others might react to their words, they’re likely to blurt out things, or even boast about them, that others can’t help but view as tasteless, demeaning, insulting, or otherwise offensive.

They might, for instance, share—and with considerable pride!—how they “chewed” someone out, and expect the other person to be impressed by their courage or cleverness, when in fact the listener may be appalled by their lack of kindness, tact, or restraint. Additionally, they may ask others questions that are far too personal or intimate—again unwittingly irritating or upsetting them. And such a situation can be particularly difficult for the other person if the narcissist is in a position of authority over them so that not responding could, practically, put them in some jeopardy.

To conclude, I can only hope that these additional characterizations of the pathological narcissist (vs. those with less pronounced narcissistic qualities) may be helpful in enabling you to identify them before their “malignancy” does a number on you. And if you’ve already been duped by their machinations or manipulations, perhaps this piece will be a “heads up” for you to prevent them from wreaking any further havoc in your life.

NOTE 1: I’d be remiss if I didn’t point out that the narcissism addressed here centers on its most maladaptive, or “toxic,” forms. Unlike DSM (the standard diagnostic reference tool for mental health professionals), the Psychodynamic Diagnostic Manual (link is external)(PDM, 2006)—respected, but much less well known than this official volume—explicitly notes that the disorder exists “along a continuum of severity, from the border with neurotic personality disorders to the more severely disturbed levels.” And additionally, that “toward the neurotic end [these] narcissistic individuals may be socially appropriate, personally successful, charming and, although somewhat deficient in the capacity for intimacy, reasonably well adapted to their family circumstances, work, and interests.”

Who’s “too sensitive”?

sensitive_jason

“You’re too sensitive!”

This seems to be a phrase many ACONs have heard their entire lives. And yes, many of us are more sensitive than the average person, which is why we were targeted, scapegoated, and bullied in the first place.

Narcissists know being sensitive means we can see the truth about things, that we can see through bullshit and lies. They don’t like that because it exposes them for what they really are, so they turn a quality that gives us intuition and insight into something that makes us seem weak and defenseless.

If our parents were narcissists, we were trained to be ashamed of this quality and turn it against ourselves, rather than learn to refine it and develop it into the powerful gift it really is. Society doesn’t help much with that either. Sensitivity is generally thought of as a weakness rather than a strength. It’s not something you would want to admit on a job interview when the interviewer asks you what your “worst quality” is. I actually did that once, and was shown the door. They want to hear “I’m too impatient” or “I’m too greedy,” or “I obsess too much about power and control,” not “I’m too sensitive.”

sensitive_quote

I think narcissists also like to pull out the “you’re too sensitive” card because they’re projecting what they see as a fault in themselves onto us. They’re good at that. Narcissists are incredibly hyper-sensitive–but only about themselves; no one else ever benefits from their hypersensitivity.

It’s my opinion that narcissists, before they adopted narcissism as a defense mechanism, started out life as extremely sensitive children and in some cases even had the potential to be empaths. Abuse and neglect turned them into narcissists. Narcissism is an elaborate defense mechanism that obscures, buries and eventually can nearly destroy the sensitive true self. It almost would take an act of God for a narcissist to ever shed their swagger and their “I’m a big mean unfeeling badass” mask and let their sensitive true self come to light. Most of them couldn’t do it even if they wanted to.

But narcissists can’t hide from themselves–not completely. Most of them have exquisitely tender feelings and are easily hurt. It’s very easy to insult a narcissist. They have no sense of humor about themselves and are unable to take a joke at their own expense. They are big crybabies who will whine, sulk and complain loudly should you hurt their feelings (and it’s almost impossible not to). Most will show their hurt as rage–because raging makes them seem big and tough, something they really aren’t but wish they were. Or they will retaliate by ignoring you, abandoning you, cutting you off, or giving you the silent treatment–because those things make it look as if they don’t care. You’d be wrong though. They care alright, and when you have caused them narcissistic injury they are off licking their wounds in silence where you can’t see. Or loudly complaining to others about how
mean and narcissistic YOU are.

sensitive_people

They call us too sensitive because they’re unable to own their own hypersensitivity. They turn it into a bad thing because they know they have lost that part of their sensitivity that would have made them able to feel for others and empathize. They’re crippled people. They can’t ever feel sorry for someone else–but as far as self-pity goes, no one can beat them at that.

Lies my narcissists told me.

lies_honesty

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

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

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

Lies I was told growing up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

child_on_pedestal

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

“You are more talented than they are.”

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

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

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

It doesn’t stop when you go No Contact.

flying_monkeys

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She will never achieve anything.”

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

“She has mental problems.”

“She is sick in the head.”

Ad nauseam…

Conflicting messages as Scapegoat/Golden Child

ConflictingMessages

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

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

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

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

Lies my psychopathic narcissist ex-husband told me.

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

“You are selfish/self-centered.”

“You always overreact to everything.”

“You never listen to me”

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

“You have no empathy for me.”

“You are narcissistic.”

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

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

“You are a b**ch, c*nt, Tw*t, whore.”

“You are stupid.”

“You have no common sense.”

“You’re insane.”

“There’s something wrong with you.”

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

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

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

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.

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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.

Beware of N’s who use mental illness as an excuse to abuse

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I think those of us ACONs and survivors of narcissistic abuse who post on public blogs that are accessible to anyone need to be very vigilant and careful. I will never make my blog private or require you to sign in first, but due to that decision, I realize I am going to attract MNs and psychopaths whose only desire is to bully, make incendiary and false remarks, and play “divide and conquer” games within the community. I am willing to take that chance because I want this blog to remain as accessible as it is. I want people to feel welcome without having to be “approved” first or having to sign in, because I hate having to sign into any website myself and will usually bypass any site that requires me to do that.

If you’ve been following my posts, I wrote two articles about some drama that was going on between me and another blogger who allegedly suffers from dissociative identity disorder (DID). I provided links to the nasty, character-assassinating articles that were written about me and my commenters and followers on their blog. I was quoted extensively in their rant (as well as several of the people who commented on those two articles) and was practically accused of being MN myself. The things they said were hurtful, but I also knew they were lies and intended to upset me. If this person is a narc, they were projecting their own disorder onto me. And that’s just so wrong, but it’s what they do.

I am letting that go and do not wish to further antagonize this blogger and will just delete or not approve any further abusive comments from them. But in thinking it over, I realized that there are going to be people on the Internet who use their own mental illness as an excuse to be able to abuse and be nasty to other people. That doesn’t mean they don’t have a mental illness, but it’s possible to be mentally ill and also a malignant narcissist who wants to hurt those who speak the truth. I also think there are some N’s (I’m not saying it’s this blogger) who feign mental illness because that gives them an excuse to abuse. We need to be very careful of anyone who says they have a mental illness but then make abusive remarks based on no real information. N’s are out there, lurking our sites and reading.

Not all N’s are going to be abusive to us. Some actually are honest and want to seek help or educate us about their NPD. Those are the ones with insight into their disorder.

But there are others, who may feign another mental disorder (or sometimes actually have it but use it as an excuse to be nasty and mean), who can become trollish and try to destroy our communities with their vitriol or make us fear their wrath. I refuse to let people like that make me afraid to post what I want and keep journaling about myself honestly and openly. I refuse to let them squelch or discourage me in my desire to heal and help others. I am made of tougher stuff than that now, and I know God is behind me, protecting me from the bullies and trolls who may want to attack me and this blog and keep me from speaking my truth.

Scrambled eggs for brains.

eggs
This is my brain on drugs psychopathic mindfuckery.

I am not going to make this long. Frankly, I’m tired of writing about the saga of my daughter’s recent troubles. And more than a little exhausted. But I owe it to my readers to fill them in on the final chapter of this horrible saga.

My daughter is fine. The other day I posted a request for prayers because I thought (well, I was told by her recent boyfriend who she is no longer with) that she got addicted to meth in jail and was taken off in a van by methheads and heroin addicts and was living in a meth cooker’s house.

All of this turned out to be a colossal and evil lie, told by a man who I was duped into trusting, who my daughter was duped into trusting, a man who gave a very good first impression, seemed like a nice down to earth guy, and lived in a nice house, had a good job, and money.

Due to my daughter’s past escapades with men far beneath her (intellectually challenged basement dwellers who spend all their free time smoking pot and playing video games), I really wanted this relationship to work. So did she.

Oh, there were red flags, alright. Plenty of them. In retrospect I can’t believe I could have been so ignorant or stupid to dismiss them. But when dealing with psychopaths or very malignant narcissists, especially those who are skilled at the charm and putting on a good appearance, we still want to trust them. We want to give them the benefit of the doubt. And because he would have been so perfect for my daughter (had he not been a raging psychopath), I ignored all the red flags.

Here were just some of these red flags that I missed or ignored:
— Moving very fast in a new relationship: Paul was talking about marriage less than one month into their relationship. This is a typical narcissist/psychopathic ploy to trap their prey.
— Wined, dined and gave her gifts until she moved in with him, then that suddenly stopped and he started complaining how much she was costing him.
— When they went to Tampa, Florida prior to her 30 day jail sentence, he refused to let her visit her brother, who lived the next town over (and she hasn’t seen in 8 months). She was very upset about this, but he kept saying he didn’t have the gas money but went to see all his friends and family.
— Extreme jealousy of any of her male friends, ex boyfriends, and even female friends. He wanted her to delete all her Facebook contacts. Because some of her friends *do* have drug problems, and by speaking so “reasonably” to me about this, he was able to convince me that abiding by his wishes would be in her best interests.
— Impatience with her needs or requests. Easily irritated when she wanted something from him, but would also get irritated and annoyed when she didn’t immediately give in to his wishes.
— Leaving the house at odd hours–3 or 4 in the morning and coming back an hour later. My daughter told me he was smoking crack and once she found out about it, he started to become openly abusive toward her, including physically.
— When I was there over Christmas, he acted fine toward me at first, but then began ‘confiding” in me about Molly’s fictional meth addiction and that’s why she was acting so “crazy.” Actually she was acting crazy because she was scared to death of him and no one believed her, not even me. Because she isn’t the most trustworthy person and has had drug problems, and because he did not seem high on anything (crack highs don’t always show), I believed him. I did notice he seemed to have a hair trigger temper though and that concerned me.

Even Molly’s father had problems with him. Of course he’s a psychopath himself, but a much less “charming” one and therefore probably less dangerous than Paul because his illness is more obvious. He has other mental problems too which make people avoid him. Two psychopaths living in the same house are going to wind up hating each other’s guts. Paul’s complaints to me about Michael were probably all true (not washing the dishes, lying on the couch doing nothing all day) because I had experienced all that with him myself. Interesting dynamic there, no?

When Molly left (in a van filled with methheads, according to Paul), he stopped being nice to me and started texting me what a horrible, evil drug addict my daughter was, and that I owed him $200 for Molly breaking his door (he broke the door himself when she tried to leave).

Molly had brought Babycat (who I talked about in an earlier post, “Saying Goodbye to Babycat”) to live with them, and Paul seemed to like the cat fine the few times I was over there, but after Molly left, he texted me that I needed to come get my cat immediately. I told him it would have to be after work, or could he bring the cat to me (since he had a carrier and I didn’t). I didn’t hear back from him and he never answered any of my texts for the rest of the day.

The next day, he finally texted me an address the cat was at–no phone number, no name, just an address. I looked it up online and found out this was an animal shelter. I called the shelter and they said they put the animals to sleep in 2 days. In a panic, I had to arrange to leave work early to go pick Babycat up, but when I called she wasn’t there. I texted Paul and asked where Babycat was. He said he didn’t have time to take her and left her in the woods (AFTER he lied and told me she was already taken to the shelter).

The shelter personnel were kind enough to find her, and within one hour of her “incarceration” at the shelter, Babycat was returned to me–but I had to pay them $85.00 to get her back. Paul was just making me jump through hoops and jeopardizing Babycat’s life because he could. Because he’s a damn psychopath who wants to see others suffer. Of course, it would have been much easier for him to just return her to me, but psychopaths always have to make sure they do things in such a way to make things difficult for everyone, because they get off on it.

Worst of all, he convinced me to hand over $1,600 of my daughter’s settlement from her car accident to HIM–because she was so untrustworthy with money (which she is, but he turned out to be FAR worse). I should have just held onto it. Because neither Molly or I will ever see that money again. He said he didn’t have it when she left, but she remembers him leaving the house shortly after I gave him the envelope of cash, and she thinks he bought crack with it.

He still has the Christmas gifts she received from me at his house as well as all her clothing, because he wouldn’t allow her to take anything with her (he was trying to keep her from leaving). But he tells ME she took everything and there is nothing of hers at his house. He is lying. I told Molly to have the police escort her to his house to retrieve her things. If he hasn’t thrown them away or sold them already.

So I’m supposed to be this big expert on psychopathic malignant narcissists and yet, I was taken in by one again–and believed him over my own daughter!

flyingmonkey

I should have paid attention to the red flags–because they were all there, waving right in my face the whole time, but my wishful thinking and denial made me ignore them and hurt my daughter and my cat in the process.

My daughter was not staying with a meth cooker–she was staying with the parents of one of her girlfriends. She was picked up in a van by some guys she knew, but all they did was drive her to her friend’s house. She didn’t have any other way to get there.

Molly had a date last night with an old boyfriend of hers–a nice guy who works as an auto mechanic. No, he’s not the sharpest knife in the drawer, but he’s honest and doesn’t do drugs or drink, and he’s always been good to my daughter. They stopped by today and Molly cried when she saw Babycat, who ran to her. I apologized for not believing her, and believing a malignant psychopath instead, but she admitted she could understand why I would. She was duped by him too. This guy is good. Not a good person, just a very good psychopath with a Ted Bundy charm.

On Saturday we’re going out to eat and will discuss the possibility of her moving back in with me for awhile–but there are going to be some strict rules this time if she does. The tough love caveat still stands. I thank God she is alright. She said she wants to go to church with me on Sunday. That made my heart sing.

For two days I haven’t written about this, because this whole incredible mindfuck made me so confused and off balance I felt like my brains had been scrambled like a pan full of eggs. When you’re dealing with a daughter who may be a narcissist (or BPD with narc tendencies, at least) AND a malignant psychopath with a lot of charm and intelligence, it’s hard to know what or who to believe. Add in a psychopathic father and you feel like you’re in some demonic house of mirrors. My daughter and I seem to attract the narcs and the paths like shit attracts flies. For the love of God, WHY?

Paul’s triangulation, gaslighting, lies and projections of his own character flaws onto Molly were off the charts. AND I BELIEVED HIM. She is not NEARLY that bad, and I take back everything I said about her being a MALIGNANT narcissist. (I will leave that post though, so people reading the whole insane saga can get an idea of the kind of mindfuckery that was being conducted on me). HE ALMOST SUCCEEDED IN TURNING ME INTO A GODDAMNED FLYING MONKEY AGAINST MY OWN DAUGHTER!

She just texted me, “Mom, I just know 2015 is going to be a much better year for both of us.”
And you know what? I agree.

Moral of this story: NEVER, EVER IGNORE RED FLAGS. If you see them, RUN.