This is a really great article about the way psychopaths can manipulate others by inducing a “shared psychosis” with their victim(s) — otherwise known as trauma bonding or Stockholm Syndrome. Psychopaths are way too far gone to ever be cured. Don’t try to help one; you can’t. This well written article really drives home the evil and creepiness of psychopathy–and most are not even criminals. They achieve their desire to completely destroy another person or group of people (such as the followers of a cult leader) using perfectly legal means. No Contact is the only way to handle a psychopath (NC here could be expanded to to include malignant narcissists who are just under psychopaths on the narcissism spectrum, most garden variety narcissists, and yes, even a few very sick borderlines too).
In the late 1990s, poet, musician and activist Henry Rollins recorded his alternative rock hit “Liar,” which probably describes the evil of the psychopath/malignant narcissist more eloquently than any other song I’ve heard about narcissism. I posted about it here.
The lyrics describe what these human bags of dogsh*t do so well I’m going to pick the song apart by sections and talk about the way malignant narcissists and psychopaths attempt to destroy your soul and turn you into one of them.
You think you’re gonna to live your life alone
Yeah I know
You’ve been out there
Tried to mix with those animals
And it just left you full of humiliated confusion
So you stagger back home
And wait for nothing
But the solitary refinement of your room spits you back out onto the street
And now you’re desperate
And in need of human contact
A potential victim is at their most vulnerable to narcissistic abuse when they have been abandoned, hurt or are down on their luck. A malignant narcissist, using “cold empathy,” knows exactly what you’re thinking, and knows how lonely you are and how much you’ve been hurt by past abuse. They smell vulnerability like a wolf smells blood and will make a beeline toward you.
You meet me
And you whole world changes
Because everything I say is everything you’ve ever wanted to hear
So you drop all your defenses and you drop all your fears
And you trust me completely
In every way
Cause I make you feel so strong and so powerful inside
You feel so lucky
When you meet the psychopathic narcissist, he or she will pretend to understand you and be sympathetic. If the narc is a good actor, you may be duped into thinking this is the most empathetic, understanding person you have ever met. You cannot resist their charms and attention and you trust them enough to tell them your darkest and most intimate secrets. Make no mistake–they will use this against you. This love bombing phase is really just the narc’s way of finding out where your buttons are and knowing where to hit you later on where it’s going to hurt the most.
But your ego obscures reality
And you never bother to wonder why
Things are going so well
Bingo. The malignant POS is lying to you and thinks you’re a blithering idiot for believing their lies. “Things going well” is just temporary. They are fattening you up for the kill like a Thanksgiving turkey. Gobble, gobble!
You wanna know why?
Cause I’m a liar
Yeah I’m a liar
I’ll tear your mind out
I’ll burn your soul
I’ll turn you into me
I’ll turn you into me
Cause I’m a liar, a liar
A liar, a liar
They tear your mind out by cruelly playing with your head using the whole bag of narcissist tricks: gaslighting, projecting, lying, projecting their faults onto you, triangulating, hoovering, blame-shifting, invading your mental, emotional and physical boundaries and generally making you doubt your own reality. Constant gaslighting in particular can drive a person to think they’re insane, and it’s possible that actual insanity could be the end result.
In your weakened emotional and mental state, you may suffer Stockholm Syndrome and begin to identify with your abuser. You may begin to do things that go against your morals and ethics in order to please them. They may force you to engage in illegal or immoral acts, and because you dare not disobey them and you doubt your own reality, you will go along with what they want.
Many victims of abuse have been arrested for heinous acts they were coerced into by their abuser. Going against one’s own morals eventually will turn a person evil. See my post Stephen’s Story (“The Choice”) for a description of how a victimized person can turn evil when attempting to pacify evil people. M. Scott Peck also described this phenomenon in his book, “People of the Lie.”
I’ll hide behind a smile
And understanding eyes
And I’ll tell you things that you already know
So you can say
I really identify with you, so much
And all the time that you’re needing me
Is just the time that I’m bleeding you
Malignant narcissists don’t really have any of their own thoughts or feelings. They learn to feign emotion. What you think of as empathy and understanding is really just the narcissist reflecting back to you what you want to hear. They are very good at knowing exactly what you are thinking and what you want. They can parrot things you have already told them in a different way so you think what they said is insightful and original. It isn’t. It’s just a paraphrasing of what you have already told them or what they have figured out about you.
Don’t you get it yet?
They hold you in contempt for your stupidity for believing them. Of course you are not stupid, and are understandably confused, but they are contemptuous of the trust you have handed over to them. They will work on destroying it and at the same time, destroy your trust in others, by using them as flying monkeys against you. Eventually you will trust no one and when this happens, you may do anything to earn back their “love,” even things you are morally against. There are so many victims of abuse who have done things for their psychopathic lovers like lie on tax returns, steal for them, buy drugs for them, and even kill for them. In most “killer couple” partnerships, one of the couple (usually the woman but not always) is a long-term victim of a psychopath and has become evil by association.
In 1978, there was science fiction/horror movie called “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” It became a huge hit. Malignant narcissists and psychopaths are real life body snatchers. Your continued association with one of these creatures is dangerous because they can infect you with their evil and your soul can be lost, just like the harpie-like body snatchers that retained only their human physique in the movie.
I’ll come to you like an affliction
And I’ll leave you like an addiction
You’ll never forget me
You wanna know why?
A relationship with a psychopathic malignant narcissist is an affliction, even if at first it feels like the greatest thing ever. Even after they have nearly destroyed you with their abuse, you may still believe you need your narcissist and feel lost without them. That’s the way they want you–helpless and adrift. That’s because having you that way makes it easier for them to hoover you back in later on with love bombing and fake apologies, or if they are very sadistic and have no intention of returning, it makes them happy to see you alone and miserable without them.
Cause I’m a liar
Yeah I’m a liar
I’ll rip your mind out
I’ll burn your soul
I’ll turn you into me
I’ll turn you into me
Cause I’m a liar, a liar
Liar, liar, liar, liar
I don’t know why I feel the need to lie
And cause you so much pain
Maybe it’s something inside
Maybe it’s something I can’t explain
Cause all I do
Is mess you up and lie to you
I’m a liar
Oh, I am a liar
They may know there’s something very wrong with their minds and souls, but they don’t care. They know they’re messing with your mind but again, they don’t care.
If you’ll give me one more chance
I swear that I will never lie to you again
Because now I see the destructive power of a lie
They’re stronger than truth
I can’t believe I ever hurt you
I will never to you lie again, please
Just give me one more chance
I will never lie to you again
That I will never tell a lie
I will never tell a lie
The psychopathic malignant narc is using fake apologies, lies and love bombing in their attempt to hoover you, their mark, back in for more abuse.
Ha ha ha ha ha hah haa haa haa haaa
I am a liar
Yeah, I am a liar
Yeah I like it
I feel good
Ohh I am a liar
Oh, I lie
Oh I lie
Ohhh I’m a liar
I like it
I feel good
I’ll lie again
I’ll lie again and again
And I’ll keep lying
They love doing what they do because it makes them feel powerful and in control. Their “fix” of abusing you makes them feel good. There is no intention on their part to change because it’s you who suffers, not them.
Probably the only promise they’ll ever keep.
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!
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.
I found another blog today written by a survivor of a sick family of psychopaths and sociopaths (I’ve added the site to my list of resources under the “Info and Support” tab in the green bar in the header. I know I’ve written about this before, but this is one of the best lists of the traits of potential targets and victims of psychopaths I have seen yet. I have just about every single one of these traits, unfortunately. From an early age, I was trained to be a doormat. I learned that lesson too well.
BEFORE: TRAITS of a Potential TARGET
Below are the traits most commonly attributed to a sociopath’s target. Every person is inherently different, and that includes each target and the traits that are most pronounced in the individual. An individual would definitely not need any of these traits to be preyed upon.
This is not an attempt to diagnose anyone.
A lack of self confidence
Wanting to please
A belief that if you love enough the person will change
A belief that if you love enough the relationship will succeed
Difficulty establishing and maintaining boundaries
Not being able to say no
Being easily influenced by others
Wanting to be rescued from your life situation
Wanting to rescue others from their distress
Being over nurturing particularly when not asked
Feelings of shame and self doubt
A lack of memories about childhood or periods of adulthood
A lack of motivation from within and being motivated by others
AFTER: SYMPTOMS of a Relentlessly Abused VICTIM
This is a very accurate list of symptoms experienced by someone who has had their psyche brutally victimized by a sociopath. With that said, this list is not all-inclusive, nor is it intended to be part of any diagnostic function, whatsoever. These symptoms can also be triggered by many other conditions or events.
The source of this data is from ongoing research, but the majority of the data is derived and confirmed from personal experience … the key word being “majority” There are some symptoms listed here that I have not experienced at all, though they have been mentioned enough for me to accept them as potentially common.
If you, or someone you know, has experienced even a few of these symptoms, seek professional help. Keep in mind, though, that not all “help” is equal. If the professional you choose does not seem to relate to your needs as you would expect or desire, keep looking.
PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder)
Suicidal thoughts or actions (indirect homicide)
Loss of interest in life
Loss of energy
Depression or Severe Depression
Numbing of feelings
Disinterest in having a relationship
Increased anxiety from being alone
Increased anxiety from being in crowds
Source: sociopathicstyle.com [confirmed by personal experience (50+ years)]
Last night I read a blog post by another survivor of narcissistic parents , and was astounded by how similar her parents’ values were to mine.
She writes that her father criticized her for being too idealistic. Now that would normally be a compliment, but because her family valued nothing but money, class and image, it was meant to be an insult. My father (who I don’t think is a narcissist, but has always been a huge narcissist apologist and enabler), said exactly the same thing to me.
We live in a narcissistic and materialistic society, that increasingly values traits that are narcissistic and exalt the individual over the community. In fact, studies have shown that a high percentage of CEOs, top executives, Wall Street tycoons, and others of the “One Percent” have narcissistic personality disorder. It’s a disorder that is very adaptive in modern society and whose traits are rewarded with money and material goods. Especially since the 1980s, with its “Greed is Good” ethos, we reward those who act in their own self interest over those who act in the interests of the community and want to help the less fortunate. There’s even a meme that’s become especially popular with narcissistic Baby Boomers: “I’m spending my children’s inheritance,” as though this is something to be proud of.
My family bought right into this ethos. Image was everything to my parents, especially my mother. My parents looked down on our blue-collar neighbors and relatives, and my mother in particular constantly made jokes at their expense and talked about how much better we were because we had nicer things and my father had a better (meaning white collar) job in the city. Appearance mattered, and our clothes had to come from the best department stores, never Sears. We had to live in the most exclusive neighborhoods. To not have a college degree was considered a mortal sin, and even then, it was far better to be successful in the cold-hearted business world than to be a successful teacher, social worker or a nurse. Such things were regarded as jobs for those who couldn’t do anything else, and of course they required a level of idealism that my parents just couldn’t relate to. When my parents split up when I was 14, my extremely image-conscious mother took up public relations as a career, which is all about image. She had so many face-lifts that today her face looks like a mask.
Whenever my parents, my mother in particular, complimented someone else, it was always on their visible, tangible qualities–things like their appearance, home decor, financial status, and taste in clothes. Table manners were of utmost importance, but being a good person was not. I can’t remember a time when my mother ever complimented anyone for qualities such as sweetness, generosity, friendliness and altruism. I do remember her putting down others for having these qualities, calling them “insipid” or accusing them of having no backbone.
My values never matched those of my immediate family, and when I became poor as an adult (because I was never given the tools and self esteem that would have led me to make better choices) I was shunned and rejected by them. I don’t think it’s any accident that when narcissistic parents choose a scapegoat, they usually choose the most sensitive child–the one most likely to be empathetic and have idealistic values. To a narcissist, idealism and empathy are weaknesses. They truly believe that the poor deserve to be poor, and they make no exception for their own child. The child with traits that cause them to become a scapegoat (and who all too often are also bullied at school) would probably become successful if they were raised in a loving, nurturing home, but in a narcissistic home, having these traits is a curse because that child is led to believe they are worthless and this leads to cowardly, “safe” choices that are more likely to lead to poverty. They are constantly told they will fail, that nothing they do is good enough, and then are usually “tossed out to the wolves” at a young age, with no family financial or emotional support to help them get a foothold in the larger world. I have read so many blogs by the scapegoated children of narcissistic families, who were forced to make their own way in the world with no family support, even if their parents could have afforded to help them, and even when other children in the family (who were not scapegoated) did receive support when they entered adulthood.
What is so ironic about all this is we scapegoats are rejected and hated for the very traits that were instilled in us as children! Scapegoated children are not encouraged to think independently or have ideas of their own. In fact, having a mind of one’s own is reason for punishment and abuse. We were trained to be deferent and obedient–and very much afraid. Deference, obedience and fear are not traits that lead to success in modern life. I think this training is deliberate, in that an evil narcissistic parent needs and wants someone they can use as the family trashcan–someone who can take and absorb all the family pathology and carry its burden. This child is then blamed for everything that goes wrong both within the family and in their own lives. When a scapegoated child becomes an adult, their low self esteem and fear almost inevitably leads to a life of material and financial lack, and this gives the narcissist parents an excuse for rejecting that child and refusing to help–for “violating” their materialistic, self-centered values. I think another reason narcissistic parents train HSP (highly sensitive) children to be scapegoats is because they know an HSP child must be silenced: this is a child who sees through their lies and can use the light of truth to blow the whistle on them. If they are encouraged to think and act independently, they might “out” the narcissistic parent and that is a prospect that terrifies them.
Of course, the best revenge for a scapegoated child is to become successful in spite of their upbringing–and of course there are those who have. Even then, narcissistic parents will find reasons to put that child’s accomplishments down as somehow not “good enough.” The few times in my adult life where I had some legitimate tangible success, I was never praised for it, but given some sort of left-handed compliment or told why it didn’t really count. I was also always compared with my more financially successful older half-siblings, who of course never had been designated the family scapegoat.
Narcissistic parents also don’t care if you have a mental disability. I’m a self-diagnosed Aspie (this was later confirmed by a psychiatrist) and suffer from intermittent major depression, but when I tried to tell my parents these were the reasons why I had so much trouble making the social connections necessary to become financially successful, these diagnoses were dismissed. I was told I was “making excuses.” Both my parents are convinced my poverty is my own fault because of the stupid choices I made. While I don’t deny having made dumb choices, these choices were based on the way I had been raised–to be afraid of taking any risks or challenging myself.
The only way to break the narcissist/scapegoat family dynamic (and it is probably the most toxic parent-child combination imaginable) is by cutting off contact with the abusive parent, because as long as you keep trying to please them, they will continue to attempt to break you down and make you feel insignificant. Nothing will ever please them, even if you dare to become more successful than they are. And if you somehow manage to do this without sacrificing your idealistic and empathetic values, that’s the biggest threat to them of all.
Make no mistake: your narcissistic parent doesn’t love you and never will, but it isn’t your fault. They hate you because they envy those qualities you have–empathy and humanity–that elude them. Be a good parent to yourself. Love yourself. You deserve it.
I didn’t blog about it, but this weekend my daughter was admitted to the psychiatric ward due to major depression. I was concerned because she hadn’t gotten out of bed or eaten anything in 4 days. Her father who is a psychopath and a narcissist, seemed concerned as well and met me at the hospital where we waited several hours for her to be admitted. He was actually pleasant for a change, and while I didn’t allow his charm to lure me into giving away too much information or convince me he wasn’t really that bad, I thought maybe…just maybe…he might be changing. After all, he did seem to care about his daughter’s well-being (even if it was to ensure he could continue to manipulate her after she gets out).
Boy, was I wrong.
After that meeting, he won’t stop texting me, and last night it was getting so annoying I finally just stopped answering his constant texts (mostly to ask for things of his he needed that I have in my house–as always, it’s all about him). I guess that pissed him off, because first thing this morning, he texted me again, and these texts quickly turned nasty. Here’s the conversation. I’ll let it speak for itself.
Michael: please when you bring the computer and black backpack, please please bring a tube of BIOFREZE…I have serious strain in my left bicep, it’s killing me. It’s in the cabinet in the bathroom.
Michael: today is one of the only days you can go to work knowing that Molly is safe, and you won’t come home to find her dead. Rejoice!
Me: That’s a shitty thing to say esp first thing in the morning
Michael: Re read it
Me: If a joke that’s pretty fucked up
Michael: you are reading it wrong. Or is English a second language for you?
Me: How the fck am I reading it wrong? I also don’t appreciate the little dig there on my intelligence
Michael: you told me every day you worry u would come home and find her dead [this is true]. well you do not have to worry today cause she is safe. I cannot help it that you are an idiot.
Me: U want me to stop talking to you? Then keep it up. I’m not a fucking idiot.
Michael: Done. no need to talk. I need that puter and biofreze and do not give away my clothes [he is homeless] Let me know what day you get around to it
Me: I cannot do it until the weekend. No money for gas to get downtown to meet you
Michael: do it on the way home
Me: Do not order me around. I said it would be on the weekend. I already told you I won’t forget as long as I find these things. I cannot do it today, sorry
Me: Tell u what. I’ll call if I can bring them sooner. Now drop it please, I need to get ready for work.
Michael: Feeling Bipolar today I see talk to me when you become rational again. have a nice date. [not sure if this was a deliberate misspelling or not]
I was tempted to hurl an insult back but decided to just ignore him after that last dig. He has not changed. He will never change. I’m glad, however, that my daughter is in a safe place for now and cannot hurt herself.
I promise this will be the last of these narcissist conversations. I think everyone probably gets the idea, but this is the way he operates.
Those of us in an active relationship with a psychopath usually either don’t see or choose to ignore how purely evil these characters are–and that they are set out to destroy the relationship, the victimized person, and even the children if there are any involved. Many times a victim feels like they can’t leave, especially if they don’t have financial resources (which is often the case when a person is enmeshed with a psychopath, who may have made any funds impossible to access), a supportive family to help them escape, or there are children involved.
Like most women (and men) enmeshed in a marriage or relationship with a psychopath, I waited far too long to leave my abuser. My son, although scapegoated by his father through most of his childhood, escaped relatively unscathed (although he has some anger and self esteem issues), but my daughter is another story. She was deeply damaged by her father’s manipulations and by having to play the role of his junior “flying monkey” and participate in his triangulation and gaslighting games when she was just a child and young teenager, not to mention being introduced to things a youngster should not have to deal with: drugs, alcohol, family violence (and even possible sexual abuse, though this has never been proven). She’s taken on a few of his narcissistic traits (she’s good at manipulation and isn’t always honest), although narcissism is to some extent genetic and her symptoms don’t seem to be too severe. She is also bipolar and suffers from C-PTSD, as I do.
For many years, I didn’t even see that he was an abuser. He wasn’t usually physically violent (except when drinking); his method of abuse was much more subtle–and more diabolical than that. I didn’t know what hit me and like most abused spouses, learned to blame myself and came to believe the discord was MY problem, because I “overreacted to everything” and was “crazy and unstable.” Having to spend time in a mental facility in the late 1990s was “proof” that I was the one with the mental problems–and in fact I did have serious mental problems, but they were brought on by my mind being played like a violin by a very evil man. He was a virtuoso crazymaker.
Other people saw how evil he was and couldn’t understand why I couldn’t see it too. I remember a friend of mine from work came over once with another friend when Michael was home, and while he was pleasant enough to them, neither of these friends ever wanted to come to my home again. When I asked Holly (one of the friends) why not, she said, “I don’t like your husband and neither does Teresa. He gave us the creeps, there’s just something not very nice about him.”
Parents of two of my daughter’s friends had met Michael, and would not allow their children to come to my home because of him. Oh, he was always on his best behavior with adult visitors, but one of the mothers told me, “he seems perfectly polite, but I just don’t feel comfortable around him and don’t want my daughter around him. I’m very sorry.”
I saw the evil in him on one occasion while we were still married–and what I saw scared the shit out of me. It was one night when he was very drunk, we had been fighting all night and ended it by having sex. The sex was rough and angry though, and suddenly I looked up and saw a totally expressionless face. There was no love there, just pure hatred. I could feel the hate emanating from him. But worse than that was his eyes. Normally a steely gray-blue, they had turned solid black, very similar to the solid black eyes demons in horror movies have. I know I wasn’t imagining this–what I was seeing was what he really was but kept hidden. No, not a demon, but something worse–a person with no self, a person who had sold his soul or never had one. There was nothing there, and nothingness is what evil actually is. That’s why malignant narcissists and psychopaths need to wear masks, to cover up what isn’t there.
Michael knew I had seen it, and knew I knew, because he immediately ended the intimacy, pulled on his clothes, and left the house, but not before giving me the most hateful sneer I had ever seen.
My father had talked to him one night during one of our many fights. Now my father has never been a particularly religious man and never believed in Satan or hell, so he didn’t say anything about this to me at the time, but years later, after Michael and I separated, he confessed that night he had heard Michael speaking in a low, gutteral, demonic voice. It scared him so much he decided to read M. Scott Peck’s book,”People of the Lie,” and after he was done he sent me the book. I was riveted by the book and also shocked and scared to death. That was the first time I began to realize that I had been dealing with a malignant narcissist who was dead set on destroying me and my children and almost succeeded.
People outside the relationship–casual friends, mothers of my children’s friends, and my father had all seen immediately what he was, but because I was enmeshed and had young children, I couldn’t see it–or refused to. It gives me chills to this day to think I spent 28 years in the presence of pure evil, but that’s what it was. I’m lucky to be alive today and even luckier that I didn’t completely lose my soul. My children are lucky too, although my poor daughter is the most deeply damaged by him and may never fully recover.
If you are in a relationship and others are wary or uncomfortable around them and can’t explain why, or you see the countenance of pure hatred and evil that I did (and also the solid black eyes), run away as fast as you can. If there are kids, take them with you. You may think you can’t, but even if you don’t have a supportive family or are financially unable to find another place to live, most towns and cities have services and even shelters for abused women and their children. The shelter I stayed at with my kids was very nice, and the counselors were wonderful (I went back though). If you are a man, it may be more difficult to find this kind of help, and you might have to dig a little deeper or even move to another area to find services, but they do exist. Take advantage of the government programs that still exist–food stamps, Medicaid for the kids, in some communities even housing vouchers. Churches and other charitable organizations have limited funds, but may be able to provide some food, help with bills, or other services. Seek counseling–many communities have free or low cost mental health services for abused parents and their children. Don’t worry that you have to move out of that big house you bought together, or that your kids will be without their father (or mother). This is life or death–don’t think about what you’ll be losing because at the end of the day, it won’t be much. Just get the hell out.
Writing has always been what I’ve excelled at more than anything else, but because of the emotional and mental damage done to me by my psychopaths throughout my life, I never pursued it seriously and always felt I didn’t know what I should be or do. At an early age I started to believe I wasn’t much good at anything anyway.
These are the lies and half lies that were told about and to me by the various psychopaths who got to control me (some are based on half truths):
1. Suzanne is smart, but will never excel at anything because she doesn’t apply herself (true, but I didn’t apply myself because I was told I couldn’t do anything).
2. She is too sensitive to make it in this world (you can be sensitive and be successful).
3. She doesn’t make friends easily because she has a terrible personality (I am shy and not very social but I do not have a terrible personality).
4. She’s negative and lives on the pity pot so she will never achieve anything (this has been true at times).
5. She’s lazy and unmotivated and always gives up (see # 1).
6. She doesn’t stick with anything long enough to get really good at anything (see #1).
7. No one wants to be around Suzanne because she’s such a Debbie downer (depression and PTSD caused by being abused by psychopaths).
8. She isn’t any good at office politics (This is true).
9. She should have become a nurse or a teacher because then she’d always have a good job. (I am totally unsuited for nursing and teaching).
10. If Suzanne was thinner she would be more successful and get better jobs (I have never been seriously overweight so this is a lie).
11. If Suzanne smiled more people would like her better (probably true, but smiling doesn’t come second nature to me–I am working on that).
12. She’s stupid and has no common sense (I am not stupid but it’s true I can be a bit of the “absentminded professor”)
13. She’s insane (insanity implies someone who isn’t aware of their own actions or motives or is deluded–I suffer and have suffered from major depression, C-PTSD, autism and avoidant personality disorder. These are not “insane” diagnoses).
You get the idea.
The closest I ever came to having a writing career were my two jobs as an editor–I was a technical writer and editor back in the late 1980s, then became a copy editor and later associate editor for a medical journal from 1989-1991. My job included writing a one page regular column, and I also used to write freelance reviews for self help and pop psychology books. These were all good jobs but none paid well. But honestly, I didn’t really like what I was doing (except for writing the book reviews). It was a very corporate environment and there was a lot of office politics so I was never 100% comfortable there.
After moving to North Carolina in 1993 after my second child was born, I never again had a job even remotely related to publishing or writing, and I thought I never would again.
I wrote a novel in 2003 but it was rejected by several publishers (and my narcissist mother said she hated it and I wasn’t ready to write a novel) so I put it in a box in the back of my closet and never looked at it again. It embarrassed me. So from then on I limited my writing to posts on forums or comments on other people’s blogs. I believed I had forgotten how to write, and even worse, I thought I lost my creativity. I never seemed to be able to come up with ideas anymore. What was really happening was I was so terrified of failure (and so brainwashed by my abusers that I always would fail) that it was just safer to never try anything new or take any risks. If I never tried anything, then I couldn’t really fail, could I? Why have ideas if you’re never going to act on them?
That’s faulty logic though, because if you never try anything new, accept a challenge, or take a risk, you may not fail at any activity but you will fail at life, and that’s a lot worse.
One of the benefits of freeing myself from the psychopaths in my life is occasional unexpected bursts of inspiration, and that’s how this blog came to be. Now that I write something every day, my creative muscle is strengthening and I feel like new ideas pop into my head several times a day now. I thought I’d have trouble even coming up with one post a day, but most days I have ideas for two or three. Blogging is something I should have started years ago; it might have led to something bigger and maybe even become a career.
But you know what? There’s no reason why it still can’t. I feel like I finally found my purpose after so many years of feeling like a lost ship without a rudder. I have a good feeling about it.
Two of the hottest psychological topics on the Internet right now address two personality types that are virtually on opposite ends of the behavioral spectrum: narcissism/psychopathy (or more specifically, NPD), and HSPs (highly sensitive people). I think there’s some significance to this. For reasons no one seems to understand, Highly Sensitive People seem to be thrown together with Narcissists more than you would expect by chance alone.
Neither personality type is especially common: people with Malignant Narcissism (NPD) comprise approximately 4% of the population in the United States; HSPs comprise about 20% making them somewhat more common–though they may seem less common than they really are because they’re often hiding in the shadows and rarely call attention to themselves. Many HSP persons have learned to stuff their sensitivity and emotions because (besides having been shamed for it), high sensitivity doesn’t work very well in the narcissistic and materialistic society we are currently living in–a society where qualities like aggression, social gregariousness, bluntness, impatience, and indifference to the suffering of others are far more valued than qualities like civility, deference, intuition, shyness, and empathy. Aggression and gregariousness are especially valued in the worlds of business and politics. Face it, you’re not going to find a great job (or any job at all) if you call attention to the second group of qualities and may well be regarded as weak and ineffective. Politicians who appear too empathetic, tolerant, gentle, or soft spoken rarely win elections. That’s why liberals keep losing elections. It’s my observation that those with more liberal ideologies are usually better educated, but also by nature are more empathetic and care more about the plight of the less fortunate. Let’s face it: narcissism wins elections, and that’s why the country’s in such a huge mess.
But this isn’t about politics, and I don’t care what your ideology is. I don’t want to stereotype political ideologies based on personality, because there are conservatives who are also sensitive, and liberals who are anything but. I’m referring more to the people in powerful political positions, not the people who vote for them.
Highly Sensitive People have a number of characteristics that make them vulnerable, especially to people with NPD, and all too often HSPs find themselves either being raised by psychopaths, or married or otherwise in serious relationships or friendships with them.
You may be an HSP if…
1. You were bullied in school; the bullying may have become a pattern throughout your entire schooling. Maybe even as an adult, people like to “mess with you” to see if they can get a rise out of you.
2. You had imaginary friends or spent a lot of time in “imaginary worlds” of your own making, or you were often accused of daydreaming by your teachers.
3. As a child and perhaps later into life you cried easily and often. You may have been a “difficult” or sickly baby or toddler. HSPs do seem more prone to serious allergies and childhood illnesses more than other people.
4. You never were “popular” but prefer to have deep friendships with one or two like-minded people who may also be HSPs.
5. You dislike crowds and may not really like parties or other large social gatherings.
6. You’re a deep thinker and enjoy reading and studying about whatever interests you
7. You may prefer to spend time alone over social activities
8. Family is important to you, insofar as you have a workable relationship with your family.
9. You are very easily hurt and sometimes can’t let a cruel joke or comment roll off your back the way others can
10. You dislike negative or chaotic environments because you feel like you can pick up on the negative emotions of others around you.
11. Your own family may not understand you, thinking of you as a black sheep or a failure. They may even reject or bully you if there are Narcs in your family who have chosen you as the family scapegoat.
12. You feel overwhelmed easily when you’re forced to deal with others, especially negative people.
13. You may feel you relate better to animals than to people and that they even understand you better than most people.
14. If bullied or scapegoated by Narcs, you may approach life with a hypervigilance that may border on paranoia.
15. Because of your giving, empathetic nature, you find yourself attracted to those who abuse you or use you.
16. You put the needs of others before your own, and may sabotage your own happiness or success in the process.
17. You get very upset when you hear or read news stories about children, animals or adults who have been abused or killed.
18. You may have decided to stay away from reading or listening to the news because so much of it is negative and upsets you.
19. You may have reached the point where you feel no one can be trusted (but it’s in your nature to still want to trust others and give them the benefit of the doubt).
20. You are prone to deep depressions and feelings of despair (sometimes this manifests as irritability and grouchiness), sometimes these depressions are not explainable by any personal situation; you also have the ability to feel the heights of pure joy when you feel in balance with the world around you or with those who truly care for you and love you unconditionally.
21. You may be attracted to the performing or visual arts, or to poetry or creative writing.You may well have a talent in these endeavors. You also may have a strong interest in spiritual and metaphysical matters.
22. You may have an intuition so strong it borders on psychic ability–you may be able to “read” the emotions of people you have never even met before, or even deduce what type of situation they are facing in their lives.
23. You may feel you can detect the presence of the supernatural
24. You may feel strongly you do not fit in the world very well and that you have poor survival instincts.
25. Most importantly, when dealing with a narcissist, you may have the ability to hone in on their true nature, and see how horrifying it really is, both to the Narc and to others.
I want to extrapolate more on #25, because it’s at the core of why Narcissists (the natural bullies of the world) are so attracted to HSPs (the natural empaths) and why they so often wind up in their unholy psychological death dance together.
It’s a Love/Hate dichotomy.
Narcissists have a love/hate relationship with the HSP. What the narcissist sees in the HSP is a person who wants to trust, is easily manipulated (because they always like to give the benefit of the doubt), easily taken advantage of, and shows their hurt when wronged. They see a person who has insight into why other people tick, and are self-aware and introspective. More than other people, they can easily be coerced into blaming themselves if things go wrong because they can be shamed or embarrassed so easily. They are unlikely to attack the narcissist (at least at first) and they crave love and acceptance.
What the HSP sees in the Narcissist is a person who seems strong and in control of things; at first this may make the HSP feel safe and validated when the Narcissist is love bombing them to woo them into a relationship. Since Narcissists are usually quite aggressive when trying to rope in the HSP into commitment, making all sort of promises to the HSP that sound wonderful at the time. Soon, the HSP falls in love with the Narc and the match from hell is conceived.
The dynamics in a family with an HSP child raised by a narcissistic parent are different, because no love-bombing phase is required (except when the child is an adult and threatens to leave or go No Contact with the Narc parent). Shortly after a HSP child is born, the Narc parent quickly realizes this child is vulnerable and can be used as their narcissistic supply to boost themselves up at the expense of that child. Often, the Narc parent will coerce other family members (often siblings of the HSP) to act as “flying monkeys” in the bullying of that child. Unfortunately, such children are so sensitive they are often bullied at school as well, and the child may feel there is no safe place of their own. As a result, they may turn inward, creating imaginary friends or worlds in which they can escape. My mother hated it when I went inside my head into my imaginary worlds, and punished me for acting “spooky.” I couldn’t help it though: it was the only “place” where she could not get to me.
Narcissists live in terror of being exposed.
Narcs hone in on high sensitivity and are both attracted to it and despise it. The vulnerability of an HSP and the Narc’s ability to bully them temporarily makes them feel better about themselves (the only way they can feel good about themselves is by putting others down because they know they have no “true self”–more on this later), but they also hate it and envy it, because it’s this very quality of high sensitivity and empathy they know they do not possess, and worse yet, they know it’s possible the HSP could one day use that quality to expose the narcissist. Narcissists do not feel anxiety the way most people do, but the prospect of being “outed” one day for the monsters they actually are behind their mask of normality and sanity is incredibly terrifying to them.
But why is the psychopathic narcissist living in such terror of being exposed? After all, they think they’re better than everyone else, so why would it bother them?
The answer is horrifying. If they are exposed or “outed,” they are forced to look into the mirror–and what looks back at them in that mirror is not a monster, not an ideal self, not a demon, but something worse: a black, endless void of nothingness. There is nothing there, under the mask they wear. In effect, the masks they wear are what they have become, because inside they don’t exist. And yes they are evil. Evil isn’t badness; it isn’t the opposite of good. Evil is the opposite of somethingness; evil is pure black nothingness. In their desperate attempts to fill the void, they take on superficial behaviors and attitudes they think they “should” show the world–but they are fake. There is no real self there. Ergo, everything they think they are and everything they say is a lie. They are the People of the lie.
Are Narcissists born that way, were they made that way, or did they choose their path?
I don’t believe psychopathic narcissists were born this way. I don’t believe in “bad seeds,” like the demon child Damien in “The Omen.” In fact, I think all children start out as blank slates with the potential to become good (or bad). I think Narcs often have abusive or neglectful parents who fail to mirror the child in a positive way when they are very young, and as a result, not being able to mirror the parent in return, they don’t develop a true self and spend their lives trying to mirror the people they come in contact with and HSPs make this mirroring easier for them. Unfortunately by this point it’s far too late for them to internalize the mirroring of the other person, and so it never infiltrates beyond the surface. This explains why the Narc will act like they are the most understanding and caring person in the world when the HSP first meets them, but since they never internalized the behavior, it’s not really part of them and they quickly move on to abusing the HSP because deep inside they envy and hate the same behaviors they have so recently “mirrored.” Narcs cannot be helped in traditional therapy because in order to reach them, there has to be a self there to be reached, but Narcs have lost their true self, or it’s become so deeply buried it can never be accessed in any normal way, if ever.
There’s another way a person can become a psychopath. Some people cross a line at some point in life, a line where they seriously violate some inner (but maybe not fully developed) moral code. For example, in “People of the Lie,” Dr. Peck talks about a man who almost became evil. The man, who was by all accounts a good man, a devoted husband and father, suffered terrible panic attacks when crossing certain bridges as a requirement of his job. To help alleviate his anxiety attacks, the man made a deal with the Devil: he told the Devil if he could make it across the bridge without a panic attack, then he’d give the Devil permission to allow something terrible to happen to his son. The man said he didn’t really believe in the Devil, so he knew nothing would actually happen and therefore really wasn’t that bad a thing. But it’s still a deal with the devil, and Peck was horrified. The fact the man felt remorse and shame (and confessed his “sin” to Dr. Peck) saved him from crossing the line into becoming evil himself.
We have all heard stories of group violence, situations where people who otherwise would never partake in violent crime by themselves, enthusiastically take part in looting, mass violence and killing when part of a large group. In a way these people have also sold out to evil and have crossed a moral line. Soldiers in wars are obliged to kill innocent victims, sometimes women and children, and the deep guilt and shame they feel after doing something so alien to their own moral code could be a big reason why so many of them become mentally ill or suffer from the more severe forms of PTSD.
As an HSP (and also Aspie) child raised by a Narcissist mother, I was at a huge disadvantage. I suffered the whole gamut of psychic insults visited on the hypersensitive: bullied in school, bullied at home (and sometimes filled the role of the Golden Child too, since I was an “only”), and bullied by most of my serious boyfriends and finally my ex-husband.
Into the void.
I could see “through” my mother at an early age, and knew her occasional professions of “love” were utter bullshit. When I was about 6, I remember a very vivid dream that she came into my room, and instead of a loving face, all I could see was solid black eyes–the kind of demon eyes seen in horror movies, coupled with a sneer so full of hate that I felt like I turned to ice inside. Even after I awoke, I couldn’t shake the feeling that my mother was evil, and I acted especially “spooky” that day, something my mother hated and punished me for, because she knew my “spooky” moods meant she knew that I knew what she really was, and it scared her to death.
I had the same experience with my husband years later–same sneer, same opaque black eyes.
It sounds crazy I know, but I have no doubt I actually saw this–and know that what I saw was what they really were. The blackness in their eyes was not a manifestation of a demon inside them–it was a mirror that reflected back the nothingness inside. An endless, black hole where nothing can enter, nothing can be reflected back, and nothing can escape, not even the light of truth. Around a narcissist, just as around a real black hole, all reality becomes distorted and eventually sucked into its depths to become something…else.
If psychopathic narcissists were ever confronted with what they really are–a fake “person” without a true self–I believe it would drive them insane or even to suicide. They would not be able to face the horror of knowing in a sense they really are dead. They are vampires who must stay alive by sucking the lifeblood from the living. HSPs, by feeling everything as deeply as they do, and having the ability to tap into the life force and zero in on the inexplicable like a psychic laser beam, are extremely “alive” and thereby more powerful than the narcissist. The malignant narcissist hates that. He wants those abilities and powers for himself–so badly he is willing to destroy those qualities in those who have them, even slowly killing people they observe possess these coveted qualities they both envy and know may expose and destroy them.
It’s also why narcissists in positions of power (and they are all too often in positions of great power) denigrate, hate, and fear scientific research, critical thinking, the arts, and spirituality (as opposed to dogmatic religion). These are things that, just like the HSP’s intuitive powers, can hone in on Truth and expose the lies narcissists like to tell to keep their subjects under their control.
Can Narcissists ever be cured?
Probably not, because they either no longer possess a true self (and in a real sense are really soulless) or it’s so deeply buried and obscured it can never be accessed and brought to light. If there is a self there, I suspect it’s greatly diminished or nearly destroyed. It may sound woowoo, but I believe in the chakra system–those 7 points of concentrated energy that run down the spine and that correspond closely with the physical endocrine system. Most if not all of us suffer from imbalanced chakras or chakras that are weak (or too strong), but I think in the psychopath, while their chakras exist (if they didn’t they would be dead), they are almost nonfunctional and disconnected from each other instead of working together the way they should. I also think if you could see the aura of a psychopath it would be thin and dark, probably almost black.
But even the most evil psychopath is not entirely hopeless. We are all children of God or a Higher Power (or however you choose to understand him), and as long as their is life, there is hope. I believe even the most psychopathic, narcissistic soul-murderer has rare moments of truth and clarity, where they become aware of what they really are, and feel great shame and horror when they do. Unfortunately these moments of clarity are so frightening and painful for them that they almost always escape back into their narcissistic ways and deny the truth. If they are to ever be helped, it must be during these rare moments of clarity, and only God can help them, and only if they are willing to submit to His power. We can pray for the psychopaths, but we can never change them. They must make the decision to change on their own, and unfortunately that isn’t something we can count on happening very often.
The psychopathic narcissist is really a pretty weak and pathetic character, and as easy as it is for us to hate them, we can also pity them for the lost souls they really are.
ETA: Please see my latest article, “My Son’s Father Turned from a Loving Dad into a Monster” for the story of how my highly sensitive son became his malignant narcissist’s father’s scapegoat once his father realized my son could “see through” his mask.
So after 28 years of narcissistic abuse I finally felt free. Before, even though there were periods where we hadn’t lived together, I never felt completely free of Michael’s toxic influence. But my daughter Molly and I were quite literally survivors and both of us had psychic wounds that ran deep and would take years to heal, if they could ever be healed at all.
My job (which I still have) doesn’t provide health insurance so I couldn’t afford to pay for a trauma therapist, but I started reading everything I could about NPD and PTSD/C-PTSD (the type of PTSD that’s associated with abuse). Molly still didn’t want to go to therapy but was still getting her meds for Bipolar and she was in a fairly stable relationship and was no longer getting into trouble the way she used to. She was also beginning to understand why I did some of the things I did and acted the way I had, and I learned she too had a lot of anger toward Michael.
But things were not perfect between us either and we did continue to argue from time to time, and when she was angry, she liked to bring up the fact I had given up custody of her to DSS even though at other times she says she understood it was the only thing I could do at the time and it did save her life. So I don’t let those occasional attacks bother me too much. I know it’s manipulation. Sometimes I think she may have NPD herself, but she does have a conscience and empathy so more likely she just has narcissistic traits which are common people with Borderline PD.
So in March I had to go to court and testify against Michael in order to obtain a permanent restraining order (the one that was issued at the magistrate was good for only 1 month). I was working with an organization that helps abused women and their families, and they counseled me on what to say in court. It was ridiculous I had to jump through all these hoops just to obtain a piece of paper to keep a man I wasn’t married to anyway away from me and my property, but it was what it was.
I knew I had a good case and no reason to be worried but I was still terrified of having to face him in court. Michael is very glib and has a lot of charm when he wants something. He can make himself sound like a victim and make the other person sound like the devil himself. He managed to be surviving pretty well in the men’s shelter, although he told Molly when he saw her how much he hated it and wanted to come back. He also made her go buy him things, which she would do. She felt guilty and caught in the middle between the two of us. It wasn’t fair to her.
Ethan came to visit in early March (on his way from Illinois to his new apartment in Florida–he graduated college in January and is is seeking work in film editing or something related). He wanted to make sure Michael was not going to show up. I assured him he wouldn’t. We had a fantastic time, but he said when he tried to call his father, Michael didn’t want to see him. For some reason he thinks Ethan was the one who convince me to kick him out of the house. No matter how much he’s told Ethan had nothing to do with it, he still blames him for brainwashing me. Huh? Talk about blame-shifting.
I had to write everything I wanted to say in court because I knew my mind would go blank when I had to get up at the stand and talk about why the restraining order should be extended. The big day was in mid-March. Several other cases were heard first and I avoided looking behind me because I knew he was there. I could feel his eyes burning holes into my neck. Finally I was called to the stand and presented my case. I didn’t cry (because it’s really hard for me to cry anymore) but I was trembling and my voice was shaking from fear. The judge had to keep asking me to speak up. I studied her expression but it gave nothing away.
Michael was called up after me and gave a ridiculous story about how Molly had hit him first and he gave her a black eye in self defense (which is total BS because he didn’t have one mark on him). He gave some other lame
“reasons” why he needed to move back but since he really didn’t have a good reason, they didn’t fly with the judge. In fact, he was almost laughable and seeing the manipulation from more of a distance now, he seemed so transparent. Although I hated him, I almost felt sorry for him.
I won my case and the restraining order was extended for one year. The counselor from the women’s organization that had been working with me gave me a validating hug. I went home feeling lighter than I had in a long, long time.
Michael wasn’t done with me yet, but since I was no longer supplying his narcissistic goodies, his attempts at revenge were rather lame. He did things like trashing me on Facebook, saying what a horrible wife and mother I was and how he wished he never met me. He threatened suicide over and over again. I was kind of embarrassed for him, but because of it I stopped using Facebook, which I wasn’t using much anymore anyway because my mother and other family members had found me there (even though I had changed my first name a little to throw them off).
I had to adjust to my new life. For several months I just tried to take things easy, not get involved in too many new things. I read a lot of books, mostly about NPD, malignant narcissism and personality disorders in general. I read a lot of other books too, and started researching all these disorders online and reading a lot of blogs and forums.
I started making glass, mirror and ceramic suncatchers on weekends and have tried to sell some of them. Mostly I just make them for pleasure though. They also make great gifts. I have several of them on my porch and I love watching the way they catch the light and send colored prisms everywhere.
But writing has always been the one thing I know I’m best at, yet somehow I couldn’t bring myself to write anything beyond a forum post. It just seemed like too much work, and I was afraid I’d forgotten how. I feared I was no longer as smart as I used to be. I didn’t realize at first these numb and dumb feelings were symptomatic of C-PTSD. I knew if I ever did write again it would be to tell my story, but I had no idea where to begin. It all just seemed overwhelming. I thought about blogging but I was afraid it would be complicated and technical, and I still didn’t know what to write about or where to begin.
I re-read M. Scott Peck’s book “People of the Lie,” which I have reviewed in this blog, and realized Michael was not just narcissistic, but was truly evil. Despite it’s medieval connotations, I believe evil and evil people really do exist, and I was very lucky that I survived and both children survived. While most evil people don’t usually murder (they want to maintain their benign appearance), they are murderous and often drive others to suicide or self-destruction. They lie about everything.
I joined a gym and got back in shape. My job is also physical and that keeps me in shape too. I started liking what I saw in the mirror again. I also started meditating, something I started back in the ’90s and then stopped.
About a month ago I revisited the idea of blogging, inspired by some blogs I had seen by other survivors through my readings. On a whim I decided to start one. There’s been no looking back. At first it was meant to be self-therapy, a sort of online journaling, but now it’s turning into so much more and a few people have even said they feel inspired and it’s helping them too. And that makes me feel good. It makes me feel like I still have a purpose in this world and am not just marking time until I die. I want to think that everything that happened to me happened for a reason and that something good can come out of this.
I still have a long way to go, and as soon as I can I want to start seeing a trauma therapist. In the meantime life isn’t unbearable anymore. It’s getting better.
About a month ago Michael was kicked out of the apartment an organization called OctoberRoad was providing for its mental patients. My daughter allowed him to live in her car. He left the windows open during a rainstorm one night and the car was nearly destroyed. She took the car keys away and she hasn’t heard from Michael since, which is very odd, since he would call her up to 10 times a day to demand things.
She has no idea where he is. We think he may have killed himself. She wouldn’t have been notified because she had his wallet in her car and there’d be no way anyone could identify him.
Michael was having his mail sent to the house, which I did allow. After three previous rejections, Michael’s SSI finally came through — and that includes several years of back payments, so he is getting a check for about $30K.
If he is dead, how ironic that it happened just as he finally had a means to be independent and no longer had anyone he could use and abuse. Maybe that was the only reason he stuck around so long–as long as he could use up and destroy others. With that opportunity taken away, and with no real self to fall back on, there was no longer any reason for him to live. Or maybe he was finally forced to look in the mirror and all he could see was an endless black void, and that was just too much to handle. What he has been reduced to is just a shell of what he used to be, but was there ever really anything there?