Child roles in dysfunctional families.

dysfunctional-family
Credit: Artist unknown.

 

Wikipedia has an excellent, detailed article about dysfunctional family dynamics. Here I am just going to talk about the roles various family members play, and the kinds of families that become dysfunctional. If you’d like to read the whole article, click on this link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dysfunctional_family

Dysfunctional families are usually of two types:

1. One or more of the parents are active alcoholics or addicted to drugs.
2. One or more of the parents have a Cluster B disorder, usually Narcissistic Personality Disorder but sometimes Borderline Personality Disorder, Antisocial Personality Disorder, or Histrionic Personality Disorder (or a combination of any of these).

The Cluster B Connection.

Outside of alcoholics and drug addicts, dysfunctional family dynamics are most prevalent when one or both of the partners suffer from a Cluster B disorder, especially Narcissistic Personality Disorder or Malignant Narcissism.    After NPD, BPD is the most common disorder seen in the head of a dysfunctional family, though because it’s more common in women and Borderlines have more empathy than narcissists, BPD is most often seen in the codependent, passive partner.

ASPD (psychopathy or sociopathy) rarely appears by itself in dysfunctional families, as antisocial people and psychopaths tend to not be raising children at all (either because they’re incarcerated, their children have already been removed from the home, or they simply have no interest in raising children,) but a parent could have Malignant Narcissism, which is a combination of NPD and ASPD.   Also, people with pure ASPD, though more likely to be criminals or involved in illegal activities, tend to be less emotionally abusive than people with NPD or even BPD. They are merely selfish and lack empathy, and they are manipulative to get what they want, but they don’t care about getting emotional supply from others so they don’t engage in mind games like gaslighting, triangulating, projecting, and scapegoating (unless there is a material reward involved or they are trying to avoid culpability). However, some people with ASPD are sadistic and enjoy tormenting family members for fun.

Of all the Cluster B disorders, HPD is probably the least toxic (Histrionics are shallow, attention seeking, and dramatic, but not usually that abusive), but HPD is usually comorbid with another Cluster B disorder, such as NPD.

cluster_b_chart

In some cases, a non-Cluster B mental illness (such as Bipolar disorder) that causes abusive acting-out behavior may be the culprit, but it’s less common because most other mental disorders are less easily hidden from others and the person appears “crazier.” Non-Cluster B disorders are also more easily treated with drugs or therapy, and except for psychotic disorders such as Schizophrenia, the afflicted person knows they have a problem and are more likely to seek help.

Cluster B and addictive disorders. 

Parents of dysfunctional families can also be both mentally ill and addicted to drugs or alcohol. The two often go together. In fact, alcoholism and drug addiction are extremely common in people with Cluster B disorders. Alcohol and drugs are their attempt to fill the emptiness they feel inside themselves.

Even if an alcoholic or drug addict doesn’t have an underlying Cluster B disorder, the behavior of an active addict/alcoholic is very similar to someone who has NPD. The only difference in the behavior of a narcissist and someone with active alcoholism is that for the narcissist, the “fix” is emotional; for the alcoholic, it’s chemical. A non-Cluster B active addict or alcoholic can be every bit as emotionally abusive, self-centered, and manipulative as someone with NPD. Only getting their next fix is important. (As an aside, it’s interesting to me that the 12 steps of AA and other 12-step programs almost all address the problem of narcissism by encouraging humility, responsibility, and amend-making. A person on a so-called “dry drunk” is basically a sober person acting out in narcissistic ways, which may be their nature).

The Codependent Partner.

Sometimes only one partner has a mental disorder or addiction, but the non-afflicted parent is always going to be codependent to them. The codependent parent, whether they have a disorder or not, almost always suffers from PTSD or Complex PTSD. If both parents have a Cluster B disorder (which I think is usually the case), the one who has NPD or Malignant Narcissism is almost always going to call all the shots and dominate the other family members. If a Borderline is paired up with a Narcissist, the Borderline is almost always going to be codependent to the Narcissist, colluding in the abuse but also being abused themselves. Similarly, if a Covert Narcissist is paired up with an Overt Narcissist, the Covert one is going to be codependent to them and possibly abused. Such a scenario can lead to the Borderline or Covert Narcissist developing Stockholm Syndrome (identifying with and colluding with their abuser). Non-Cluster B codependents can also develop Stockholm Syndrome, because it’s a complication of C-PTSD. The codependent parent often (but not always) has a high degree of empathy, which is what drew them to the narcissist in the first place, in a misguided belief that they could “fix” them or they were led to believe that the narcissist could “rescue” them.

The Roles of the Children.

In the ACON community, there’s a lot of talk about Scapegoats and Golden Children, but there are other roles children can play in a family that are rarely addressed. In a two child family, most likely there will be a scapegoat and a golden child, but in larger families, there can also be a Lost Child, a Clown, and a Rescuer (codependent). It’s unhealthy for a child to be in any of these roles, but the Scapegoat and Golden Child role are probably the most dangerous to a child’s mental and emotional health, for different reasons. Even in a two-child family, the roles can shift back and forth (according to the Wikipedia article, families in which the children’s roles change and shift are called Balkanized families–this alludes to the constantly shifting loyalties and borders of the Balkan countries in Eastern Europe).

1. The Scapegoat.

scapegoat

Both this and the Golden Child role are the soul-killing roles, but for different reasons. The Scapegoat is the child who is targeted by the narcissistic (or alcoholic) parent. The parent often is able to get the rest of the family to serve as flying monkeys and gang up on that child, projecting anything they don’t want to “own” onto them. Like the sacrificial goats described in the Bible who were banished to the wilderness and tormented by villagers, the Scapegoated child carries all the shame the rest of the family doesn’t want to confront or deal with. All the unwanted emotions and bad qualities are unloaded and projected onto them, so the abusers don’t have to confront or deal with these problems in themselves.

Usually it’s the most sensitive child of the family who becomes the Scapegoat, because that child tends to be the Truth Teller, the only family member who can see the dysfunction and may even react against it. The most sensitive child, being the child who shows the most emotion, is also a threat to the narcissists in the family because emotional expression is such a frightening thing to them. In many, if not most dysfunctional families, the expression of emotion is not allowed. So the most emotional or sensitive child becomes the scapegoat, especially if they rebel against the dysfunction or criticize it.

The Scapegoat may be assigned the role of Bad Child, the Loser, the Stupid One, the Ugly One, the Crazy One, the Weak One, or any combination of these. No matter what they do, they cannot please the parents (or the siblings who have been turned against them). Scapegoat Children usually develop severe C-PTSD or possibly another mental disorder, and having been trained to be victims and never given the emotional, financial or other tools to succeed in life, tend to fulfill their families’ predictions of being “losers,” so then their families can say to others, “See? This child really is worthless.”

Scapegoated children also tend to attract other abusers throughout their lives and are at risk for being targeted for bullying even as adults and for entering into abusive relationships. If the adult child doesn’t go No Contact, the abuse continues, usually through some form of isolation, silent treatment, or exclusion. Scapegoated adults are talked badly about by the family and not invited to family functions. They are given no emotional or financial support, even though other members of the family are given these things. It’s not unusual for a scapegoated adult child to be living in poverty, even if their families are wealthy–not only because they were denied financial support when they needed it, but also because their self esteem took such a terrible beating that they have no confidence at all and never take any risks that could improve their lives. Severe C-PTSD can also cause a person to have an inability to focus or concentrate or set realistic goals.

A Scapegoat isn’t always a child. It can also be a parent, in which the children are turned against that parent by the abusive one.

2. The Golden Child.

girl with a gold medal and cups.

The Golden Child, often (but not always) the eldest child, is the parent’s trophy, pride and joy. The parents may seem to love that child, but being incapable of real love, their “love” is conditional and is based on their fantasy of what they want that child to be, not on who the child really is. The child is assigned to be a Mini Me of the narcissistic parent.

The Golden Child, basking in constant approval, showered with toys and gifts, never held accountable for any wrongdoing (which may be projected onto the Scapegoat), and often recruited as a co-abuser in the abuse of the Scapegoat, grows up entitled, grandiose, and spoiled. Because their Real Self has never been appropriately mirrored and their less than perfect traits are ignored or projected onto someone else, and because they were rewarded for playing a the role of the Perfect One, a Golden Child in a family is the most likely to develop NPD and become a clone of the abusive parent. In this way their souls are destroyed even more than the Scapegoat’s. To continue to be the parent’s favorite, they had to play a role which became internalized. This becomes their False Self. After awhile, they are no longer able to access their Real Self at all. Golden Children who have become narcissistic continue their entitled, bullying, manipulative, grandiose behavior into adulthood and are likely to head dysfunctional families themselves, continuing the cycle.

A non-Golden Child, even a Scapegoat, can become a narcissist too (usually the covert form of NPD), for self-protection, but Golden Children tend to develop the grandiose, malignant form of narcissism and as such, are the least likely to ever seek help for their disorder or admit they have become abusers themselves.

3. The Lost Child.

lostchild

In larger families (three or more children), one child is likely to be ignored and treated as if they don’t exist. This isn’t a form of silent treatment; it’s as if the parents don’t notice the child is there at all. The Lost Child isn’t victimized like the Scapegoat, but they aren’t spoiled either. They may or may not be recruited to assist in the abuse of the Scapegoat, but they won’t necessarily be punished if they don’t cooperate; they will simply be ignored. The Lost Child tends to be quiet and shy, and not make any waves. They are probably aware of the family dysfunction and may sympathize with the scapegoat (but don’t let anyone know this). As they grow older, they may crave attention or develop addictions, or they may remain shy and retiring throughout their lives. They tend to avoid confrontation and drama, and may become extremely introverted.

4. The Clown/Mascot.

classclown

The Clown/Mascot attempts to divert attention away from the family dysfunction (and also get attention for themselves) by making light of everything. Everything becomes a joke to them, and they even use their own families as sources for humor. Clowns can be disruptive in class as children, to get attention, but because of their ability to see the humor in things, they tend to be outgoing and develop a large circle of friends during adolescence and adulthood (even if they are never taken very seriously). Family Mascots are almost never scapegoated, because they entertain everyone and take the focus off the family problems.

David Sedaris, a writer and humorist, is a good example of this dynamic at play.  Several writers in the ACON community (and even outside that community) were outraged by Sedaris’ callous essay (“Now We Are Five,” which appeared in the New Yorker after his younger sister, Tiffany, committed suicide).   Tiffany was clearly the family scapegoat and had evidently gone No Contact with the rest of the family. At the time of her death, she was living in poverty and only had, as her father put it, “two lousy boxes” of belongings. I don’t know all the details, but it seems as if she was offered no support, either emotionally or financially, in spite of the family’s wealth and Sedaris’ success as a writer. She was probably mentally ill, but her mental illness may have been due to being the family reject.

In a candid interview Sedaris gave for Vice, he describes Tiffany and her relationship with the rest of the family. His words are very telling.

Even as a child I looked at my sister and wondered what that would be like, not to feel the warmth of my mother’s love. Tiffany didn’t. There was always a nervous quality about her, a tentativeness, a desperate urge to be in your good graces. While the rest of us had eyes in the front of our heads, she had eyes on the sides, like a rabbit or a deer, like prey, always on the lookout for danger. Even when there wasn’t any danger. You’d see her trembling and think, You want danger? I’ll give you some danger

It’s been suggested that David Sedaris is himself a narcissist (possibly the golden child) and that could certainly be true, but I also suspect he served a secondary role as the family Clown/Mascot. His callousness toward Tiffany in his famous essay (and grandiosity about how great the rest of the Sedaris family was–it’s very common for narcissists who were golden children to hold their dysfunctional families up as paragons of perfection) seemed to be drawn both from narcissism and from a need to hide his anger and pain behind a wall of humor. Here’s a link to his essay (it’s heartbreaking and may be triggering):

Now We Are Five

The accompanying photo is interesting. Tiffany, the second to youngest child in a family of six children, sits in the bottom right hand corner. Her hair is cut short and unkempt, and she looks very unhappy. David, wearing the glasses, stands above her. Actually, none of the kids look very happy. Not a smile in the bunch.  Something’s definitely not right about this family.  It’s common to see family portraits where no one is smiling in the 18th or 19th centuries,  but not in the late 1960s, when this photo was taken.   Here’s another photo, from the Vice interview, where only Tiffany (again in the bottom right hand spot) looks desperately unhappy and disconnected from her siblings.

tiffany_sedaris
Credit: Vice.com / Left to right: Amy, David, Gretchen, Paul, Lisa, and Tiffany

I used to enjoy Sedaris’ writings and looked forward to his books and essays, but after this essay, I just can’t read him anymore. (Augusten Burroughs is a better alternative and doesn’t seem to be a narcissist).

In spite of their raucous and jovial manner, Clowns are likely to be depressed because they have never learned to confront or deal with their true feelings.  They hide behind a wall of laughter.  Their sense of humor is really just a cover for their pain. Many Clowns become addicted to drugs or alcohol, and a few become suicidal. Many of our great comedians served the Clown role in their families. I don’t think it’s a coincidence that so many of them had drug issues or killed themselves.

5. The Rescuer.

superman_child

This is the codependent child who attempts to “fix” the family dysfunction by being obedient, always good, non-confrontational, overly generous, and self-sacrificing. The Rescuer may be highly empathic. The Rescuer tries to serve all the needs of the narcissistic/addicted parent, which of course is not possible. They will never argue with or criticize the narcissistic parent, and are always trying to get everyone to get along, which also is not possible. They may be the only family member who doesn’t abuse the Scapegoat, but they might if they feel like it’s required. However, even if they do collude in the Scapegoat’s abuse, they will be less abusive than the other family members, tending to take a back seat or even sympathize with the Scapegoat in private. In trying to please everyone, they please no one, and grow up feeling impotent and helpless. It’s a no-win situation.

When Rescuers become adults, they tend to unconsciously look for other abusers to “rescue,” having failed to do so in their families of origin. Like Scapegoats, Rescuers are likely to become abused themselves as adults, but it’s hard for them to leave an abuser because of their high level of empathy which keeps them tied to the abuser in their attempt to want to “help” them. They also tend to fall for an abuser’s promises to change and are easily “hoovered” back into a codependent relationship.

Shifting Roles.

In Balkanized families, the child roles can shift. The most common situation is a Golden Child becoming a Scapegoat, often upon reaching adulthood, if they fail to fulfill the unrealistic expectations put on them. (“You were such a disappointment to me!”) If a Scapegoat goes No Contact or leaves the family for some other reason, another child, possibly the Lost Child, becomes the new Scapegoat. Someone has to carry all the family shame.  If the family only has two children, the Golden Child may find themselves suddenly scapegoated or serving both roles.

Children who serve as both Scapegoats and Golden Children (very common in only children)  often develop Borderline Personality Disorder as well as severe C-PTSD and possibly other mental disorders like Dissociative Identity Disorder (almost always the result of severe emotional abuse).

Serving as both a Scapegoat and Golden Child is the ultimate mindf*ck because there isn’t even any consistency. The child never knows if they will be punished or rewarded from one minute to the next. Their only advantage (if they are an only child) is that they don’t have siblings who have been turned into flying monkeys who collude in the abuse.

If the family ever develops a need for a new Scapegoat (if the Scapegoat goes No Contact, dies, or disappears), the Lost Child is usually picked as a replacement, due to their non-confrontational, malleable temperament and lack of any real pre-existing role in the family.

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“Doctor shopping”? Oh, PLEASE!

Not long ago, I wrote about my housemate, a woman several years older than me who lives with chronic, unrelenting, severe pain due to a number of chronic medical conditions. I ranted about how none of the doctors will prescribe this woman any pain medicine, because of the dumb drug laws in this state, which are very strict. But IMHO, they’ve gone way too far. If you’re wealthy, of course, you can pay a doctor to give you pain medicine, but because this woman is on SSDI and gets Medicare, she doesn’t have much choice in who she can see. Now she is being accused of “doctor shopping” and is required to attend an evaluation for substance abuse before anyone can prescribe her anything. As far as I know, this woman has never been addicted to drugs! Oh, but she might *get* addicted. *eyeroll*  She might even be distributing, even though she is 60 years old, can barely walk, and doesn’t know anyone here anyway.  So I guess she’s just supposed to LIVE with the pain?  If it were me, you’d better believe I’d be “doctor shopping.”

She’s supposed to be having surgery (knee and shoulder replacement), but they keep putting it off and in the meantime, are doing NOTHING to help her.

I wouldn’t normally get involved in something like this, because under normal circumstances it would violate my boundaries (and probably hers too), but I wrote this letter of my own accord, because I am at my wit’s end and my boundaries are being violated anyway, by this woman’s constant pain I must deal with.  I will not toss her on the streets (although I could and may have to if things don’t get better or she gets much worse) but it’s very, very difficult to live with someone in severe, chronic pain who talks about nothing else, even if it’s a close relative like your mother, but this is a woman I didn’t know from Adam until last October. I don’t know how much this letter is going to help (it’s probably more useful as a rant to get things off my own chest); she probably needs to get an advocate (I know they’re out there), but I have no idea how she would go about getting one.   The behavior of the so-called “medical profession” toward people like my housemate is appalling, in my opinion. So I ranted off in this letter, which I hope you can read. You may need to click on the photos to make them large enough to read.

letter_1

letter_2

DMT, healing, spirituality and ego death.

dmt_trip
Example of the type of visuals you might see in the beginning of a DMT trip.

Disclaimer: I do not recommend or condone taking illegal drugs, nor do I recommend tampering with occult or new age practices such as attempting to open the Third Eye (which really does exist as far as I’m concerned) since I do think it could potentially open doors for evil spirits to gain access to your soul. Still, the intensely psychedelic chemical known as DMT (dimethyltryptamine), which is produced naturally by the human pineal gland (and is present in almost all plants and animals), has fascinating implications for treating or curing personality disorders, including NPD. So read on, even if (like me) you never want to mess with it.

I’m an obsessive kind of person who gets intensely interested in certain topics and reads as much as I can about them while my intense interest lasts (another reason I thought I was an Aspie for so long).
Over the past week or so, I’ve been reading up a lot about DMT (dimethyltryptamine), a naturally produced hallucinogen that has several unique properties: (1) it’s naturally produced in the human brain (by the pineal gland, which corresponds to the “third eye”) during birth, death (and accounts for NDE’s), and while we dream; (2) it occurs in almost all living things, including ourselves, and therefore is widely available although it’s hard to extract and synthesize and is also the most illegal drug there is (except in places where it is sanctioned for shamanic use, such as Peru, where it’s drank in ayahuasca tea); (3) In almost all “trip reports” of DMT users report “coming back” feeling completely humbled and with a renewed appreciation for life and our connection with the universe and with others; and (4) the trip lasts only about 10 minutes! It’s also been known to cure drug addiction (!) and alcoholism. DMT itself is non addictive, as are all psychedelics.
DMT is the most intense psychedelic known.

dmt_molecule
The DMT molecule.

Unlike most other psychedelics, you do not lose your sense of judgment and rationality during the experience. Although you’re completely out of touch with reality (as we know it) and you won’t remember you’ve taken a drug at all, your cognitive functioning remains intact so you are able to learn from the experience–if you can remember it.

Is DMT really a drug at all? I’m not so sure after reading what I have on Erowid.org and watching a number of videos and reading articles and trip reports. I think it’s a chemical that causes you to become aware of other dimensions and realities, and the “hallucinations” are actually quite real–ways of seeing the universe with the Third Eye (the pineal gland) rather than the physical eyes.
I’ve always been fascinated by trip reports for some reason, even though the only drug I’ve ever taken regularly (besides alcohol) is weed.

I’m not encouraging anyone to take illegal drugs, and personally, while one part of me longs for this experience, I doubt I could handle it. I just know I’d be one of those people who’d totally freak out. From everything I’ve read, the trip is INCREDIBLY intense–much more so than with any other hallucinogen. Even with LSD (which I really disliked the one time I took it) you still have some tenuous grip on reality and some ability to ground yourself/control the trip. You don’t forget the fact that you are tripping, and can usually remind yourself of that to avoid a really bad trip.

But with DMT (which is usually smoked) you are completely out of control and find yourself so out of touch with 3-dimensional reality you don’t even remember you have taken a drug, and believe things have always been this way and always will be, and what you’re seeing is your new reality. You can’t remember who you are, where you are, what your name is, or even what you are. Yet your cognitive abilities remain intact!

dmt_crystals
Delicate DMT crystals.

What a DMT trip is like.
From my readings, it seems the entire experience goes something like this for almost everyone who’s tried it.

1. you smoke about 2-3 hits which is enough to get the full effect; 3 if you want to “break through” (which I’ll explain in a minute). Usually you can’t smoke more because the trip comes on so rapidly and by the time you’d be ready for a 4th hit you are in hyperspace and have no idea what you just did or where you came from or who you are.

2. almost immediately you start seeing intricate, colorful, geometric patterns, fractals, grids, and other psychedelia constantly moving and shifting into new configurations. Some of the visuals you see are impossible in 3 dimensional reality because they are showing you other dimensions. Sometimes you can get a similar effect during hypnagogic hallucinations that happen just as you fall asleep. But we rarely remember those and they’re fleeting. Apparently (though it’s not proven), DMT is released by the brain when we dream, and we only remember the dreams that are most like reality (usually, the ones that happen toward the morning) but actually most of the dreams we have earlier in the night or in deep REM sleep are very similar to a DMT trip. Also, like a dream, it’s very difficult to remember the trip after “coming to”–it fades or dissolves very similar to a dream. DMT is also released during near death experiences (NDE’s).

3. Early in the trip, if you have smoked enough, you pass through a kind of membrane that is similar to a lotus flower. Once you “break through” you will be in a place where impossible things happen and time and space don’t exist the same way they do in the physical world. Time either stops, or the person feels like they spend years or even eons in this place. Most people report a feeling of familiarity, as if they have been there many times before (maybe remembering their own birth or time spent in dreams?) Objects have more than three dimensions and almost everyone reports a feeling of meeting other entities who communicate with them. They could be demons, angels, or aliens, or sometimes are disembodied entities who don’t actually speak at all, but the user feels like someone or something is communicating with them. Sometimes these entities offer gifts–objects so incredibly intricate and beautiful they defy the imagination and can’t possibly exist in our own 3 dimensions. Profound insights are revealed. You are warned to not allow your astonishment (and you will be astonished) to keep you from paying attention to what you are being shown. At some point the user is told their time is limited and they begin to slowly feel reality come back.

There is no way to ground yourself in any way during these experiences; you must completely give into it and in fact you have no other choice. If you go into such a trip with any trepidation, the experience could be the most terrifying thing that ever happened to you.

other_realities

But even when the experience is terrifying, most people say later they’re glad they experienced it, because they were able to take away some realization of unbelievable profundity and say theywere humbled by the experience and see life and their relationships in a completely new way after returning. People have been cured of PTSD, drug addictions, and other psychological disorders by using DMT only one time. Some people are also able to recall long-forgotten childhood memories during the trip.

The stories I’ve read are so similar in nature (although each person receives a different insight or message or communicates with different entities) that I think the trip is to an actual place, not just something created by the mind. Shamans in South America and Mexico have been using it for ages and many people come to these shamanic healing sessions and leave a changed person.

During the intense trip, there is often a cleansing of both body and soul. Participants have reported severe nausea and vomiting (which could be due to slight poisoning) followed by diarrhea, but there is also emotional cleansing and catharsis with participants screaming and crying as they shed their egos and forget who or what they are. Sometimes spontaneous orgasm is even reported. Almost all these participants, although they appear to have suffered severely during the trip, feel great the next day, as if they’ve been reborn. Some say they are forever changed for the better, and the one experience they had doesn’t lead to a desire to do it again, because there’s simply no need to anymore.

To get a small idea of what a DMT trip is like, here’s an excellent simulation that includes commentary by Terence McKenna.

As one commenter who’s tried DMT under the video pointed out, this simulation is accurate but only about .000000001% what the real experience is like! I don’t think I want to try it! 😮

Implications for healing NPD and other personality disorders.
Since DMT has been effective on people with PTSD and other physical and psychological disorders and addictions to drugs and alchohol, I wonder if it could be effective on someone with NPD, even deeply ingrained or malignant NPD. NPD is itself a type of addiction and in many respects it does resemble addiction to a drug, the drug being narcissistic supply.

On DMT a person experiences complete ego death, to the point they don’t even know if they exist or what they are or where they come from. But even with a bad experience, the user (if they don’t go psychotic) is changed for the better. People who were overly concerned with acquisition or materialism or money before their experience come back with different priorities, and more caring for themselves and others. They realize there is much more to the universe than themselves or their image, or the material things they can attain. They realize how insignificant they are and yet at the same time how much power they have (but power in a truly confident sense, not a narcissistic one). They feel more connected to the spiritual. Some atheists have suddenly come to believe in God. People emerging from the DMT trip are able to see beauty and goodness in the world and in others for the first time since early childhood, and sometimes memories of early childhood are aroused and purged during the trip. Some people report they suddenly can feel empathy and caring for others they never felt before.

shaman_ayahuasca
South American shaman offering cup of ayahuasca.

For anyone interested in the implications of the beneficial uses for DMT, I highly recommend reading the FAQ and trip reports for DMT over at Erowid.org. There is a book called “DMT: The Spirit Molecule” by Dr. Richard Strassman. A man called Terence McKenna also has many interesting Youtube videos where he describes his own trips and the properties of DMT. He doesn’t seem any the worse for wear.

Why is it illegal?
DMT is a Class 1 drug in the United States (and most other countries), which means it’s highly illegal and carries severe charges for possession, distribution, or synthesis. There’s a reason why this drug is illegal even though it occurs naturally in all of us–it’s intense and otherworldly beyond anyone’s wildest imagination and probably would cure many disorders instantaneously (well, within the 10-15 minutes the trip takes) and the pharmaceutical companies would lose money on their synthetic antidepressants and sedative drugs that don’t cure but simply maintain a person so they can function. If made legal, unconventional therapists or practitioners of alternative medicine might use it on a patient during a session and the drug companies would go out of business! (So would traditional therapists, for that matter.)

Again, I’m not recommending that anyone do illegal drugs or take something so intense as DMT. It’s very hard to obtain in smokable form or extract yourself anyway. But I think the implications here are fascinating and possibly earth-shattering for people with NPD and other personality disorders.

The dark side of DMT.

bad_trip

There are several drawbacks to using DMT (besides the severe nausea and vomiting some people report). People with NPD and a few other personality disorders (such as Schizoid or Obsessive Compulsive PD) might have a more unpleasant trip than the non-disordered, due to how closed off from themselves and unwilling to “let go” they are. But in the end, that unpleasantness could actually be a good thing. Long term psychodynamic therapy for people with NPD is extremely unpleasant too. There’s no way around it–the cure is going to be unpleasant, whether it’s in the form of 10 years of therapy, or a ten minute DMT trip.

DMT/ayahuasca aren’t drugs that should EVER be used for recreational purposes, if at all. They aren’t fun drugs so you and your buddies can “get high.” They may have healing, religious, or shamanic purposes if used responsibly, and preferably under supervision or at least with a responsible trip sitter. They have had some success not only with people with certain physical and mental illnesses such as PTSD, but with the terminally ill to help them come to terms with impending death and what the experience of dying will be like. Terminally ill patients given DMT usually become less afraid of death and dying. DMT is a serious drug meant only for sacred or teaching purposes and should never be used for recreation.

They can also open you up to evil or malicious entities who take advantage of the psychic door that’s opened during a trip. There are ways you can protect yourself. Here’s a very good article about the darker side of using DMT/ayahuasca (and other psychedelics) and how to avoid encountering dark spirits who might want to take something from you.

I read on one Christian website about a born again Christian who claims he was actually saved during a DMT trip, and still uses it occasionally to communicate directly with Jesus/God, but only with his sober pastor present, who apparently condones his use. I can’t say what my own faith’s stance is on using psychedelic substances for enlightenment, but as far as I know, it’s not condemned anywhere in the Bible. Of course, Adam and Eve’s “Tree of Knowledge” could well have been a psychedelic plant and their ingestion led to the Fall…so who knows? Deliberately ingesting psychedelic drugs could also be considered a form of sorcery, so if you have religious misgivings about it, you should probably stay away, even if only to avoid a bad trip caused by your fear of having one! Suggestibility while on any psychedelic substance is high, so if you believe you will run into demons or evil entities, then that’s what you’ll probably see.

DMT won’t kill you, but there’s always the small possibility of developing PTSD or even psychotic conditions due to suffering a particularly intense bad trip. There is no sure way to say for sure you won’t be a casualty. I can’t stress enough how potent this drug is.

A dream journal as an alternative.
One way around having to obtain or take DMT could be to keep a dream diary and begin to record and pay attention to your dreams and what they are telling you. Wake yourself up earlier in the night, when the dreams are of the more intense, DMT-type variety that are probably blocked off by the conscious mind to protect yourself. It’s been speculated the reason both DMT trips and dreams are so easily forgotten when we wake up or “come to” is because both stir up repressed memories and buried information in the unconscious mind that would freak the person out if they became conscious of it, or cause a severe depression. A person with NPD is especially cut off from their unconscious mind and repressed memories.
At some point I’ll be writing a longer post about dreams and how keeping a dream journal and recording dreams can help people with personality disorders and PTSD.

Courtney Love, murderous psychopath?

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DISCLAIMER: THE FOLLOWING ARE THE OPINIONS OF THE AUTHOR. THESE ARE NOT FACTS AND THERE HAS BEEN NO PROOF OF FOUL PLAY.

The two-decade long question of whether or not Kurt Cobain really committed suicide came up between myself and my friend today. It’s been bandied about for years, but it seems no one has ever bothered to take it seriously or re-open the case to further investigate Cobain’s death.

Even though Kurt may have been prone to depressions and shied away from the stardom he achieved as both an early pioneer of the Grunge movement and The Poster Child of Generation X, I never believed he really killed himself. Why would he? He had everything–talent, success as the frontman of Nirvana, a bestselling record, a baby daughter, and a…ahem…new wife who everyone believed was in love with him.

It’s his wife, Courtney Love, we need to take a closer look at here. Most people just take it on faith that Kurt killed himself because his music was dark and depressing and his poetry was dark and depressing, and because he rarely smiled. He had also come from an abusive home and suffered from lifelong depressions and severe stomach problems. Stories of his addiction to heroin abounded in publications like People and Rolling Stone, and on MTV, VH-1, and the nightly news.

But it was also said that he was getting clean when his girlfriend and fellow musician, Courtney Love, became pregnant. He didn’t want to be a drug-addicted new dad. Things looked rosy for awhile. He had several relapses and stints in rehab but heroin isn’t what killed him. If he was depressed, I doubt it was really due to the commercial success of Nirvana’s album Nevermind.

I think Love was gaslighting Cobain, which exacerbated his depression and drug problems. According to Wikipedia,

On March 18, 1994, Love phoned the Seattle police informing them that Cobain was suicidal and had locked himself in a room with a gun. Police arrived and confiscated several guns and a bottle of pills from Cobain, who insisted that he was not suicidal and had locked himself in the room to hide from Love. [italics mine] When questioned by police, Love said that Cobain had never mentioned that he was suicidal and that she had not seen him with a gun.

This is an interesting quote. The first thing that stands out to me is that Cobain felt he needed to hide from Love. Why would he tell police that if it wasn’t true? Sure, he could have been gaslighting her as the crazy one, but something feels off about that to me. Because in this same paragraph we can see that Love is a liar. She tells two different stories to the police: first, that Cobain had locked himself in a room with a gun, and second, denying that she ever said that and insisting Cobain had never said he was suicidal at all! Why would she change her story?

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Kurt was found dead in his Seattle home on April 8, 1994, when his daughter, Frances Bean, was less than two years old. He had been shot in the head. Investigations found he had been dead for three days. There was a note, addressed to his childhood friend “Boddah” stating that Cobain wasn’t feeling the excitement of listening to and creating music anymore.

Although there was a note, it seems unlikely to me a suicide would be performed by such means, especially by a man who had easy access to heroin and other drugs and could easily have OD’d and died in a more peaceful manner. Also, why didn’t Love report his death? How could a newly married man with a child not be discovered by his wife for three days? Surely she must have known something.

On the tenth anniversary of Cobain’s death, in 2004, Love and Death: The Murder of Kurt Cobain, was published. Its authors believe Kurt’s death could not have been a suicide and argued that the case should be reopened. According to the entry about the book on Wikipedia:

The book is based on 30 hours of revealing audiotaped conversations, exclusively obtained by the authors, between Courtney Love’s private investigator, Tom Grant, and her entertainment attorney, who both dispute the official finding of suicide and believe Cobain was in fact murdered.

The lawyer says on the tapes that she believes the so-called suicide note was “forged or traced.” The authors also interview Cobain’s grandfather, who believes Kurt was the victim of foul play, and Courtney’s father, who also believes he was murdered. In the book, a prominent forensic pathologist examines the known autopsy evidence and claims that the official suicide scenario was “impossible.” She claims that there is compelling and authoritative evidence that Cobain was murdered.

So even Courtney’s own father believes Kurt was murdered! Hank Harrison (Love’s father) couldn’t stand his own daughter (which was documented in the 1998 documentary Kurt and Courtney) and told RadarOnline:

I can’t prove she pulled the trigger, but I can prove her involvement to a high degree of certainty. […]She’s a psychopath, she has a sociopathic personality like I do.

Later, he published his book, Love Kills: The Assassination of Kurt Cobain, which argued that Kurt did not commit suicide but that his own daughter killed him.

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According to Wikipedia, Nick Broomfield (the filmmaker who made Kurt and Courtney) decided to investigate Tom Grant’s claim that Cobain was murdered and had his film crew interview people associated with the couple, including Love’s father Hank Harrison, Kurt’s aunt, a former nanny for the couple’s daughter Frances Bean, and several others associated with the couple, including a bandleader named Eldon “El Duce” Hoke, who claimed he had been offered $50,000 by Love to kill her husband.

It’s also telling that Courtney’s overnight rise to fame occurred immediately after her husband’s death. She appeared at the funeral and interviews playing the part of the grieving widow quite well, but how suspicious is it that her band, Hole, released their bestselling album Live Through This FOUR DAYS after Kurt’s death?

Love’s public persona is very narcissistic and she seems to crave attention and adulation even more than most celebrities. She also appears to be emotionally unstable, although in recent years she seems less so. Perhaps her instability was due to drug abuse, but I think that in itself coupled with her unpredictable and prima-donna like behavior points to a personality disordered woman. Based on the way Love acts, I believe her father’s claim that she is sociopathic and that she probably killed her husband.

Kurt-Cobain-Frances-Bean-Cobain

What would have been Love’s motive though? In my opinion, I think Love was pathologically envious of Kurt’s success, and wanted his fame (which she probably felt he didn’t appreciate) for herself. She hated playing second fiddle. She also knew that the death of a major rock star (at the age of 27 too–Kurt’s entry into the “27 Club” was probably not lost on her) was the best publicity stunt for herself she could pull off. She could play the grieving widowed new mom, garner pity, and ride on the coattails of that to sell her new album.

Tell me Courtney Love isn’t a sociopathic murderer and I’ll tell you Elvis is going to run for President.

Why isn’t there a 12-step program for narcissists?

narcissistsanonymous

…and I’m not talking about this either. 😉

A commenter on this post wondered why there aren’t any 12-step programs for people with NPD, and that got me thinking — well, why aren’t there?

About a month ago, my friend Mary Pranzatelli and I were having a conversation about this very same thing on Facebook.

There’s a lot of good reasons why a 12-step program might be helpful to a narcissist. After all, narcissism and addictive disorders like alcoholism have a lot in common. This isn’t an idea I just dreamed up. Sam Vaknin also wrote about the similarities, as well as others like psychologist Tian Dayton.

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Here’s a quick list of things both narcissists and people addicted to substances have in common:

1. They are often in denial about their disorder. When a narcissist or an addict realizes they have a disorder they may want to get help. (This is actually the first step of programs like AA or NA.)
2. In some ways, both addiction and narcissism is a choice, even if it was made unconsciously (although there is likely to be a genetic component too that at least gives one a predisposition toward these disorders).
3. The narcissist’s drug of choice is narcissistic supply, which gives the narcissist an adrenalin rush. When it’s lacking or in short supply, they will crash and burn. The addict will also crash and burn without their fix.
4. Once a narcissist or an alcoholic (or drug addict), always a narcissist or an addict. You can stop drinking and using (or stop acting so narcissistic), but the underlying disorder is unlikely to ever be cured.
5. Treatments like CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy) work much like the 12 steps of AA–they change behaviors but not the underlying disorder. The person must make a conscious effort to replace the old behaviors with the new ones.
6. High possibility of relapse or “slipping” back into the addictive or narcissistic behavior patterns if the program isn’t strictly followed (or even if it is).
7. An addict or narcissist without their fix (or supply) can both act in antisocial, selfish and narcissistic ways until their fix (or supply) is procured.

and finally…

8. Because narcissism (and addictive disorders) have a spiritual component, admitting that God or a Higher Power can help you is an integral part of all 12-step programs.

addicts

True, a 12-step program wouldn’t cure narcissism (just as AA doesn’t cure alcoholism), but I think such a program could help a narcissist who is self-aware and wants to change their attitudes and the way they treat others.

So why isn’t there a 12-step program for NPD?

NPD is like a drug addiction.

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It’s been said that people on hard drugs like cocaine, heroin, or methamphetamine can act like narcissists, even if they do not have NPD. That’s because as the addict’s body begins to crave the substance, they will do ANYTHING to get it, because to not get it will cause them unbearable agony. Even if they know it’s better for them to go through withdrawals than continue their addiction, they will still beg, steal, hurt others and even kill to get their fix. Empathy, remorse, and consideration for other’s boundaries and rights flies out the window. The only important thing is getting that drug. It doesn’t matter if the addict is the most compassionate and loving person in the world when they’re clean; when they’re jonesing for a fix to ward off the agony, they become psychopaths.

When a person becomes a narcissist (usually early in childhood due to abuse but sometimes later, even in adulthood), they become an addict too–their drug of choice is narcissistic supply, which feeds their sense of entitlement and specialness. It mirrors and validates the false self they have erected for themselves, a self they need because if it was ever lost or shattered, they would be forced to face their own emptiness.

Maintaining the mask takes enormous effort and causes stress. Narcissists live in constant fear of the mask being revealed as the fake self it really is and they live in mortal terror of the mask being destroyed or harmed (either through loss of supply or perceived insults or threats) because if that happens their protective armor would be damaged or lost. So if they perceive any attack on themselves, no matter how minor, they will react badly. That’s why narcissists are so paranoid and so quick to anger and so easily offended. It’s why they overreact to slights. There’s simply no room for a sense of humor or self-deprecation.

unmasked

What some narcissists (probably most) may not realize consciously is they really erected this elaborate defense mechanism as a way to protect and hide the scared and hurt child that was lost to themselves through abuse or neglect. Most can only see the emptiness if they “get clean” (lose their sources of narcissistic supply) and like a person suffering from drug withdrawal, if a narcissist loses their “drug” they undergo a narcissistic crisis (something they avoid avoid at all costs) and will suffer as badly as anyone withdrawing from hard drugs.

Narcissists with no insight (probably most of them) can’t recognize the hurt, lost true self hiding in terror behind the protective but always pissed-off-at-the-world mask of NPD. But for those who can, meeting that lost self (if they can see through the empty blackness that hides him or her) is agonizing because of the regret of knowing what they have done to their true self when their minds erected the defensive mask that was ironically meant to protect the true self. Then they suffer unbearable guilt and shame. This is the reason why most people with NPD cannot be cured. Like a drug addict, maintaining a mask to hide the emptiness (which itself hides the hurt child they once were who was never allowed to grow into a person) becomes the most important thing, even if it means they must beg, steal, hurt or even kill someone to obtain their fix of narcissistic supply or defend their protective walls of barriers.

Some insightful narcissists actually don’t want their disorder but they still can’t escape from its clutches because their desire for a fix becomes too strong. These are the most tortured narcissists and the ones most prone to black depressions and other serious mental disorders. They can undergo a psychotic break. Constant war is being waged within them, between the person’s desire to be a real person and react in normal, human ways, and their overpowering desire for narcissistic supply and having to harm others to get it and/or defend themselves from narcissistic injury.

This is why a few insightful narcissists may be nice at first. It could be a mask but it could also be a real effort to try to act more human. But sooner or later, if someone they’ve been nice to insults them (or they perceive an insult due to their own paranoia), their desire to repair the damage they feel was done to their false self (which is important because it’s all they have to hide behind) becomes overpowering and they will turn mean and strike you out of the blue like a rattlesnake. Some might even feel guilt after the fact, but they just can’t stop doing it. It’s an overpowering addiction, like a drug so powerful you can never free yourself from it.

A drug addict will do almost anything to get his drug of choice, even if he wants to be clean. A narcissist will do almost anything to keep his masks intact, even if he wants to be human.

They key to a cure then, would be to find a way to wean a narcissist off his need for a fix of supply and somehow make him willing to to work through the ensuing narcissistic crisis (withdrawals) and confront the emptiness that hides his or her hidden, neglected true self that lives in darkness and silence inside the vacuum.

***
Due to a comment I received on another thread this morning, from now on I am putting a link to my Disclaimer after every post where I write about mental conditions and disorders outside of personal anecdotes, obvious opinion pieces, and journals.
Disclaimer: https://luckyottershaven.com/disclaimer/

Scrambled eggs for brains.

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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.

Infected by evil: putting the pieces together

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This is one of the most difficult posts I have ever had to write, but I can’t rest until I do. Because everything is making sense to me now.

In having several long talks with Paul, Molly’s ex, I am ever more convinced than ever my ex-husband Michael was a monster, someone who wasn’t even human. He has told me some incredible things that happened during the short time he lived there in his house. He is convinced as I am that Michael is a monster.

And I am realizing that everything that’s happened lately was preparing me for a mindblowing and chilling realization, and now everything that’s happened is making a lot more sense. God really does work in strange and mysterious ways. I must have been ready for God to be revealing the truth to me the way he is now. Not so much before. I could not have emotionally handled knowing the truth.

In going back in my mind over my marriage and in particular what has happened to my daughter starting about ten years ago, when she was about 12, I realized the timing of things has been uncanny, with a lot of foreshadowing and signs that gave me bits of whatever truths I could handle at the time. Now all the truth is finally being revealed.

My ex is a monster, evil to the core. He is one of the most evil human beings I have ever met, and I hesitate to even call him human. It’s not hatred of him making me say these things; in fact I feel quite sorry for him. It’s just a truth: he is one of the most malignant narcissists and evil psychopaths I have ever known.

I mentioned in an early post how I saw the opaque, black alienlike eyes on him once when he was angry and drunk. What I failed to mention was that I saw those eyes while we were having sex. And they were accompanied by an expression I can only describe as hatred so profound it sent chills throughout my body. I felt violated and pushed him off me, and made some excuse. I was chilled to the bone.

I was never able to have sex with him again after seeing those eyes. I knew what I saw was real. I knew if I had ever sex with him again I could be infected with his evil.

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“The Nightmare” by Johann Heinrich, 1783

Around the same time (and I think I talked about this too once), my father talked to him on the phone, and told me later he swore he heard a gutteral, inhuman voice coming from my ex. It only lasted a second, but I totally believe it was not his imagination. There is nothing wrong with my father’s mind. What he heard was real, even though I never heard it myself. But I had seen those eyes. It was all coming from the same place–a core of pure evil and malevolence.

Shortly after this, in about 2005, we divorced. Lack of sexual relations was only one of the reasons. In fact, it wasn’t even the primary reason. I just knew this was someone who hated me and who could not be trusted and was dangerous to our children and to me.

I did not go No Contact with him. I had never heard of No Contact back then. I was very emotionally and mentally weak and beaten down, and only a step away from developing Stockholm Syndrome, which would have fully put me under his thrall and turned me evil too. I was afraid of him because he was so spiteful and I felt powerless against it.

My daughter Molly, just 12 at the time, did not want to live with me. She had always felt closer to her father, who used her as his sounding board and treated her more like a buddy than a parent. Up until this time, she was the perfect child–straight A’s, lots of friends, extracurricular activities, did her homework, helpful around the house, very empathic, loved animals, athletic. Her father always favored her over his son, who was treated as his scapegoat and was much closer to me. Molly was his golden child. I had no idea at the time of the extent of his evil and how it would infect his daughter. I didn’t want Molly to hate me so during the custody hearings, it was agreed Ethan would live with me and Molly would stay with her father, with unlimited visitation on both sides. Essentially we both had joint custody and decided to let the kids live with the parent they chose.

I know now I should have been stronger and fought for her to live with me, as much as she preferred her father. If I had, Molly may have not developed the very serious and dangerous problems she has now. She may not have developed NPD of the malignant variety or addiction to the worst drug on the planet today–methamphetamine. But I was so afraid of her hating me and at the time, I didn’t see the danger of her living with him. He had a new girlfriend who seemed stable and very friendly and seemed to like Molly very much. Oh, there was so much I didn’t know back then.

My son never liked going over to their place. He said the atmosphere there was creepy, the house was old and rundown (it was), and it smelled (they had 8 dogs), and the girlfriend (let’s call her Heather) was very much involved in the occult. He said she had weird symbols everywhere like pentagrams and gargoyle-like figurines. He was telling the truth. Once when I had to go there to pick the kids up, I noticed a wall hanging depicting two demon lovers hanging over their bed.

Around this time, my father sent me M. Scott Peck’s book “People of the Lie,” with a note attached. In the note he explained he never had believed in evil or evil people before, but after having read the book, he recognized my ex, Michael, as a Person of the Lie. He told me to be very careful about allowing Ethan and Molly near him, and to watch out for myself as well.

I read the book with fascination, and definitely recognized Michael as evil, but was not yet ready to internalize these lessons, and was still in denial and very much under Michael’s thrall, so I did nothing about it at the time. I made excuses to myself that maybe he really wasn’t that evil, but in my heart I knew he was.

A seed had been planted though–A seed that would flower and bloom and grow into a mental clarity that has brought me courage–courage to kick him to the curb a year ago, courage to start this blog, courage to face the truth even at its most ugly and disgusting, and a willingness to fight against the scourge of malignant narcissism in my family and in general. I now know, through writing in this journal, exactly how the mechanics of evil have worked in my family. Had I been able to internalize what I had read in that book in 2005, I may have been able to keep Molly from experiencing what was about to happen to her. Make no mistake: codependence and fear are as deadly as narcissism itself.

Heather (my ex’s girlfriend) was addicted to pain pills and (I found out later after it was too late) often took my 12 year old daughter to parties where there were hard drugs and alcohol present. She allowed Molly to try pain pills. Ethan had stopped going there and Molly never told me about this so I had no idea what was really going on. I was probably also in denial. My ex was usually so drunk he couldn’t drive Molly to school. I remember Molly being upset by that–at the time she still loved school and learning. But there were no school buses out there where they lived in Leicester, NC, which is a remote and rural outpost of Asheville. So her attendance and grades suffered, through no fault of her own.

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My ex, through Heather, began to dabble heavily into the occult and bought himself sets of Tarot cards and taught himself to do readings. Sometimes they held seances in their home and sometimes Molly participated, though it didn’t really interest her much.

But when I saw Molly she was still the sweet, studious girl I always knew. She seemed a little resentful at being in my company though. There was also something far away about her look, like she was deep in thought about something. I chalked it up to preteen angst and moodiness and didn’t worry about it much.

A few months after Molly turned 12 (I can’t remember the date, but it was sometime in the late summer), something happened that changed Molly’s entire personality. She crossed a line over into evil. I have written articles before about how a good person can become evil: they can be found here and here. Though normally a choice is made where the person crosses a line into evil, sometimes the transformation is not through a conscious choice, as in the example of some war veterans forced to commit atrocities against their will. They return from war having lost their ability to feel empathy and love. In Molly’s case, it was also not a conscious choice, but something done to her by her own father, a dangerous malignant narcissist and psychopath.

All children becoming adolescents go through a rebellious phase, which is a normal part of growing up and separating from one’s parents, but it’s nearly always a gradual process and eventually abates as the child finally becomes independent or moves out of the home. But for Molly it was different. She literally turned into a different person overnight, like Jekyll and Hyde.

On that fateful night in late July or August 2005, Molly was raped by her father. She thinks it may have happened twice that night but she is not sure. She may have blocked out most of it, was drugged beforehand, or she has so much shame that she cannot talk about it.

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I never knew about this until this past Christmas night. All I had heard before was that Heather had kicked Michael out of the house that night, because she found Molly and Michael sleeping in the same bed. As bad as Heather was, at least she had the decency to get rid of him.

Molly had to come home with me, but her personality had changed drastically. From that time on, she was in constant trouble at school, did drugs, and was sexually promiscuous. Her grades went from As to Fs. Her behavior got increasingly worse over the years and didn’t improve as she reached her 20s. Today she is a hardcore drug addict and a malignant narcissist herself.

An investigation had been done by social services but was inconclusive because Molly couldn’t remember what had happened or if anything had happened at all. There was no indication of sperm present but that doesn’t mean she wasn’t raped or molested.

The truth came out on Christmas night after she had a few drinks and sometimes that can act as a truth serum.
Molly had begun to cry, sobbing, “I’m a terrible person. I make everyone so unhappy. I cause you and Mommy and my friends so much misery and pain. But I keep doing it. I don’t know how to stop!” Tears flooded her face. I didn’t know it at the time, but she was facing her lost self and emptiness without the masks on. As Sam Vaknin explains, a narcissist without their masks or has lost their narcissistic supply falls to pieces.
Paul and I went over and held her and told her she was not a bad person, just a person with a lot of problems and a bad drug addiction. We told her we loved her and everything would be okay. She kept crying, and then blurted out, “My father made me like this. He made me bad.” She sounded like a tiny girl. She sounded like her lost true self.
“What do you mean?” I asked, terrified to hear the answer.
She wiped her eyes angrily and said, “the night he raped me.”
“He raped you?”
“Remember when Heather found him in bed with me? He wasn’t sleeping. He raped me. I saw his eyes. They were black. He looked like the devil. I couldn’t look away. I was scared but I couldn’t look away. I felt like I was under some kind of spell.”
I stared at her, dumbfounded, my heart pounding like a hammer in my chest. I couldn’t form words. I could barely breathe. Paul told me I looked like I saw a ghost.
Molly continued, “That’s when I went bad. Something happened to me. I don’t want to be like this. I hurt everyone. I lie to everybody. But I can’t change.”
This didn’t last long. Soon she was asleep and the next day, the drama started where she and Paul fought and she went off in a van with her methhead friends.

Last I heard she’s living in a meth cooker’s house. I have no idea where it is. I don’t have a way to contact her. I have had to let her go. I have to, for my own sanity. She can’t live with me anymore. I can’t help her anymore. I am praying constantly for her salvation from the disease of malignant narcissism her own father infected her with when he raped her nearly ten years ago.

And yet, I have faith somehow everything will work out. I think…THINK…I have the courage now to face anything that happens.

I don’t think Molly is 100% evil like her father because she had that moment of clarity on Christmas (I have never seen Michael be anything but evil or under the guise of a mask). She’s had other moments that give me glimpses of the brilliant, empathic, sensitive girl she used to be. I know deep in her soul she is screaming for help. I hope she gets it. I hope she’s one of the very few narcissists who can get better. The fact she’s still young is to her benefit. Getting off drugs will make it easier for her.

She may not have hit her bottom yet. Once she gets as low as she can go (with God’s grace avoiding death), she may be ready to rid herself of the chemicals that obscure what she has become from herself. It’s going to be a hard road for her to face, a hard road for everyone. But I can’t give up hope yet. She is my daughter.

I must be strong.

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Here’s the latest development in this tragic saga.
Now it seems my daughter is using her MN father to attempt to triangulate against me and gaslight me. She has told him lies about both me and Paul, and now they are both trying to convince me I am an unloving, unsympathetic mother just because I won’t take back my unemployable, narcissistic, pathologically lying, drug addicted drama queen of a daughter. He also told me Paul told him I was a bitch and hated me (I know for a fact this is a lie).

I told that lying MN mooching scumbag I was only going by what I observed while in their home, and that our daughter is in serious need of long term psychiatric care and drug rehab, and there is nothing more I can do to help her. I have seen this pattern in her time and again, and I will not under any circumstances have this unstable young woman with no job or any prospects run off my roommate, who has been nothing but reliable, pays her rent on time, and keeps the house clean. I told the psychopath his daughter has nothing but contempt for any rules or advice I would give her anyway and her staying with me would not help her and only cause a world of trouble for me.

He taught her his games well. She is doing exactly what he always did, and now using HIM as a flying monkey, rather than the other way around. Fine, they can both hate my guts. I must stay strong. This blog is keeping me strong. I won’t back down, no matter what, even if it means I need to get a restraining order against her too.

By the way, she sold the $60.00 bag I bought her in exchange for money to buy drugs. I will never buy her another gift. She appreciates nothing. She has respect for no one’s possessions. She stole Paul’s antique rosary beads to sell for drugs. Like all narcissists, she never learns from her mistakes. Ever.

I love my daughter, but I know enough about malignant narcissism now to know what the red flags are and the evil mind games they play. I’m not going to let them make a fool of me.
She always did love her dad best.

I refuse to be the Cowardly Lion anymore.
cowardlylion

Things I’ve learned lately

In writing this blog I’ve learned a lot about myself and my FOO and how it has affected my life and relationships. In reading back over this blog and thinking about narcissism so much, I’m shifting my views on some things. Not all of these discoveries are easy to swallow and I’ve been in denial about a few of them.

— My mother is by far the most malignant narcissist in my family with the most profound effect on me and others who have had the misfortune to be in a close relationship with her. She has managed to recruit almost all of her extended family and even some on my father’s side to do her bidding as her flying monkeys. I am her prime target, although not the only one. She is a powerful psychopath without a soul. If she could get away with murder, I think she would.

— My ex, asshat and parasitic loser though he may be, is a drug addict and alcoholic and though definitely a narcissist, is less malignant than I had thought (or at least not as bad as my mother). I’m not making excuses for him because there is no reason to, but being at a safe distance now, I can see him as a sort of hybrid of a narcissist and a mentally ill victim of one (is this possible?) This realization is based on some of his behaviors that do not indicate narcissism but rather, plain old mental illness and addiction (although narcissists are likely to become drug addicts and alcoholics). One thing that definitely doesn’t fit the narc profile is the fact he has always sought therapy (although his motives for doing so might have to do with narcissism). His diagnosis of PTSD and Bipolar aren’t entirely off base. His mother was a malignant narcissist though, and he learned a lot of those behaviors from her. I’ll write a longer post about him at a later time.

— My father is also on the narcissist spectrum, and he has always been in thrall to malignant narcissist women. At times he has been their victim, but mostly he enables and makes excuses for what they do. I feel sorry for him.

— I was set up to fail.

— I am pretty sure my daughter is on the narcissist spectrum but she is also an intractable drug addict. It really hurts to realize her “conscience” may be fake and she really doesn’t care about anyone but herself, because I love her so much, but I can’t hide from what some of her behaviors point to. Drug addiction can cause a person to act in narcissistic ways, too, especially if they’re desperate for a fix. I’ll write more about this another time. It’s pretty hard to deal with.

— I wasn’t a very good mother. I put my own needs first a lot of the time, and always treated my son like the golden child, and still do. Of course, he is making better choices than my daughter, so I don’t have to worry about him as much. Ten years ago I was much less self aware and more self-involved than I am now. I think that was because I was under my ex’s thrall (even though he’s not as high on the spectrum as I had thought).

— I have a lot of narcissistic tendencies, but I used to be worse. Envy is something I have struggled with my entire life. But even though I may envy people who seem to have more life blessings and sometimes (secretly) feel bitter about feeling so deprived in comparison, it’s never occurred to me to sabotage them or try to take what they have from them. I’m not proud of having this character flaw. Narcissists don’t feel shame about being envious, and think nothing of trying to take away what others have. I also deal with feelings of guilt and shame a lot in general so that reassures me I’m not on the spectrum.

— I find it hard to be 100% candid about my feelings on this blog. I’ve noticed I write in an intellectual way and seem to avoid emoting on this blog too much. Some of my posts sound like I’m writing about someone else. Distancing myself and intellectualizing everything is how I’ve managed to remain fairly sane. This isn’t really a good thing though because it blocks me from digging deeper to the source of my pain and in so doing, keeps me trapped in a state of numbness and ineffectuality. Multiple Personality Disorder and other dissociative disorders are just more extreme ways of distancing from “I.” This probably indicates PTSD. I’ve become too good at hiding my sensitivity behind a mask of detachment. When I was younger, everyone said I was too sensitive, now no one does. Even my mother has gone from calling me “too sensitive” to calling me much worse (and I always hear about this second hand from her flying monkeys and other family members she has “confided” in). In real life, I don’t trust anyone and am painfully shy. Hardly anyone knows anything about me. I hardly ever cry and smiling doesn’t come naturally either. I blend into the scenery because I’m so quiet and people assume I’m just not very friendly. Some people think I am stupid because I never have much to say and because I’m too afraid to take a side in any argument and also because I get so lost in my head I don’t always seem to be aware of what’s going on. I long to reach out, but my Aspergers, PTSD and lack of trust combine to make me almost mute in social situations.

–I took the Myers-Briggs test online on two websites and came out as INFJ on one, INTJ on another. Both of these seem to fit. But I think inside I’m definitely leaning more to (F)eeling but use (T)hinking as a mask.