Oh, for the love of Christ. Fooled by another f*cking covert narcissist?

Crocodile Tears

This time it’s a damned covert narc.  At least I think that’s what I’m dealing with.  Do I sound mad and upset?  You bet I am.   I hope I’m wrong but I know the red flags when I seee them.  I’ve had enough experience with them.

Hell, about two years ago (as some of you probably remember) I spent many weeks and maybe even months reading and studying everything I could find about all the symptoms and signs of covert NPD because I was so certain I must be one myself.   I probably qualify for an advanced degree in this disorder.  (Happily, I finally realized I am not one, but CPTSD, an earlier diagnosis of BPD, and my narcissistic “fleas” had me fooled.)

You may be aware I live with my daughter, who is 25.   She’s a good girl, hardworking, sweet, empathetic, intelligent, and beautiful (and I don’t just say that because I’m her mom).   Sure, she has her bad, even bitchy, moments, but don’t we all.   She’s overcome a lot due to her father’s abuse, my complicity and enabling, and sexual abuse she suffered at school.  There was a time back during her teens both her therapists and I were afraid she was developing a personality disorder, probably ASPD (antisocial personality disorder) because she had a diagnosis of ODD (oppositional defiant disorder) as a teen.  She could not function in a regular school setting because she was in trouble constantly and suspended several times for things like stealing and fighting.

Finally, she went into residential treatment and was helped immensely (she was very cooperative with the very strict program) and today is a much different young woman. She has a ton of empathy I never knew was there.    I am beyond grateful for that, and today I can say we are the best of friends.   She is also clean and doesn’t do drugs anymore so I am incredibly grateful for that too.

But there’s a downside too.  Over the past several years, she’s been engaging in a dead end lifestyle I can only call serial monogamy.   She gets serious about one guy, they seem serious about her (for a time), and they even start talking about marriage, but things never progress any further.   There’s always something wrong with the guy: he’s too controlling, becomes abusive, or starts to see other people on the side, or she gets tired of them herself.   At least one who seemed too good to be true turned out to be a dangerous psychopath.

All of these relationships end, and then she quickly moves onto the next man (she’s attractive and personable so it’s easy for her to find new lovers).   I’ve talked to her about furthering her education, deciding on a career (she works in a series of dead end service jobs none of which last very long),  and focusing on just herself, but she’s just like I was at that age: she seems to lack the motivation gene or any idea what she wants to do in life (besides find a man she can marry and will support her).  She seems incapable of tolerating being single.   That’s how I was at her age and I will always regret never developing myself to my full potential and not being more serious about finishing a higher education and finding something I’m passionate enough to turn into a career.  She is certainly intelligent enough, but she’s emotionally damaged.  Getting her to go to therapy is futile.  She simply won’t do it.  But that’s a whole other issue I won’t get into here.

It’s painful watching her take the same non-path I took –a road to an adulthood of constant near poverty, frustration, lack of intellectual and creative fulfillment, relentless financial insecurity, and now, for me — a terrible dread of old age without any real safety net.  I may be living on the streets if Medicare and Social Security are abolished, and that is terrifying.  I don’t have a life partner to provide emotional support, since I never knew how to pick one who didn’t turn out to be an abuser.  I  feel like I’m way too old (and still too afraid) to enter the dating scene again (I hate dating with a passion).  I’d rather just stay single and see how things play out.

Getting back to my daughter, her latest paramour is a man 14 years her senior (he is almost 40).  He gives the impression of a very sweet, kind, and sensitive person.  In fact, he appears to be a very emotional person who shed tears easily and is constantly apologizing.   That should have been a red flag.

At first I thought, “oh, how sweet, a sensitive man not afraid of his emotions,” but I actually think he uses tears and emotion to manipulate others to get his way or to get attention.   Using pity is a red flag of a covert narcissist, especially one of the “fragile” or “vulnerable” type.   They’re common (especially in women but can be found among men too).  They’re dangerous because they’re so hard to spot.  We expect narcs to be mean, arrogant, verbally abusive, and never apologize for anything.  But not all of them are like that, even though on th inside, they are all pretty much the same and just as self obsessed and entitled.   No matter whether their style is grandiose or self pitying, there’s always a yawning black hole where their heart ought to be.

covertnarcissism

The reason I came to the conclusion he’s probably a covert narcissist and not just a big softie with a huge heart is the way he appears to string both of us along, causing immense anger and frustration.

He has been promising to get her an engagement ring and propose.  He was supposed to do it on our vacation last week.  We had agreed ahead of time that he would give me  half the money for the hotel, plus half of all expenses (meals, etc.).    The tab came to over $400.   Originally he was supposed to have the cash for me when we got to the hotel and I would pay the whole tab on my credit card.   Well, it turned out his employer made a mistake on his check and he didn’t get paid.  How convenient.

His employer promised they would rectify this on Friday, the day we returned from our trip.    I believed him, sort of.  At least I wanted to believe him.   But there had been one or two other red flags previous to this, that I didn’t think much of at the time, but I suddenly remembered them and began to wonder if he was trying to find a way to get out of paying me, or if he was getting cold feet about the engagement, since without the money, he couldn’t put the final payment down on my daughter’s ring.

I wanted to have a good time, and forget about all this unpleasant business, and so we did.   It seemed worth it, since we all had a great time and he was nothing less than wonderful to both my daughter and me.  Not another sign of narcissism or abusiveness, covert or otherwise.

But after we got home, he called his employer and found out they “forgot” again.  He was promised they would write up a check from petty cash the next day, which was Saturday.  Something felt wrong.

On Saturday he had a sudden “episode” of fainting and an ambulance had to be called.   My daughter went with him to the hospital, which said he would be okay.  It had something to do with heat stroke from too much sun, plus another chronic medical issue he’s been struggling with.   It wasn’t that I wasn’t empathetic or thought he was faking, but the timing of this “emergency” was just really weird.  Of course he could not go get his check, so now it would have to wait until Sunday.    Even my daughter mentioned to me that she was afraid he might be faking so he could put off getting the money.   I have to admit I thought this was a possibility.

I was growing very angry over his failure to pay me back the $400 he had promised me almost a week earlier.    We had never agreed that the vacation would be a gift.  I also considered that this might be his way of getting “cold feet” since his inability to get the money meant he could not finish paying off her ring and therefore there would be no proposal right now, if ever.  What a cowardly way to call off or delay an engagement, if that was what he was actually doing.

Of course, when he got back from the hospital, he was all apologies and tears.   He was hugging both of us and saying “sorry” over and over again.  I felt a little nauseated by this over the top display of emotion because I felt it wasn’t really sincere and was just a way to keep stringing us both along and buying more time.

So last night, he was all happy and excited and told both of us his company had finally issued a check (it was handwritten).  He waved it proudly at both of us.   He wanted me to take today off from work to film him proposing to her (this was supposed to have happened at the beach, but oh well).  I agreed to do this because it seemed important and I didn’t want to miss it.  I had also promised them I’d film the moment.    He said he would cash it first thing in the morning and then he would go get her ring and then we’d all go out somewhere special where he would propose.

Well, guess what.    This morning when I woke up he was gone.  My daughter was in her room mad as hell (not crying, just furious).   I asked her what happened, and she said the check was postdated for next week!   I asked her if he had failed to look at the date and she said, no, he definitely had seen it but chose not to mention it because he was afraid she’d be mad at him and he “couldn’t bear to hurt her again.”    She said she was sick of his lying and game playing so she made him leave until he could get everything fixed and get the money for both her ring and the $400 he owed me.   She said if he failed to do that, she was done with him.   That’s a good decision on her part.   Meanwhile I’ll still be out $400 which he bilked from me to get a free beach vacation, but I guess things could be worse.   He promised her he had a way to get the money today.  We shall see.   I’m skeptical.

Anyway, I’m glad my daughter is beginning to catch on to when she’s being manipulated and abused, because this is abuse, even though this man hasn’t uttered one nasty word, called her any names, or physically abused her.

Abuse comes in many forms.  Covert narcissists (and many borderlines) often use tears, guilt tripping, begging, financial abuse, “stringing you along,” and other underhanded, insidious techniques to get what they want.  Because they are less obviously abusive and can seem so “nice” and even emotionally fragile and needy, they can instill guilt and pity to get their way.  Their marks are empaths who fall for that sort of shit.    If they never deliver on their promises, you can be pretty sure you’re dealing with a person who is never going to be honest with you and will make your life an endless carousel  of frustration and anger that’s difficult to target on that person because they “never mean it.”

So, at this moment, I’m (maybe foolishly?) waiting for him to come back with the money he owes and make good on the promises he’s so far broken.    But I’m not getting my hopes up, that’s for sure.

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How to Spot an Abuser Who Claims to be the Victim

A useful and much needed short article about how to tell the difference between victims and abusers who claim to be victims. This information can be used in personal relationships, or in decoding the character of politicians and other people in powerful positions.

Comments here are disabled.  Please comment on the original post.

A Cry For Justice

(My thanks to Barbara Roberts for her help with this article)

I am sure that you have watched police SWAT teams in action at a hostage situation.  As the hostages emerge, a strange thing happens.  The police treat them as if they were the bad guys.  They have them kneel down, hands in the air, frisk them and handcuff them.  Why?  Because if the police have never actually seen the suspects, they want to be sure that the bad guys aren’t trying to escape in the disguise of one of the hostages.  And that is how we need to handle abuse situations, because it is very, very common for the abuser to claim to be the victim – and his disguise can be pretty ingenious.  Many hostages are thrown in “jail” while the bad guys go free when it comes to how our churches are dealing with abuse…

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I’m thinking about contacting my narcissist ex.

missyouasshole

For the past week or so, I’ve been actually missing my emotionally abusive, narcissistic ex husband.   Don’t get me wrong.  I don’t like him, and I’m not making excuses for him (I still know he’s a narc and know No Contact is best).  I don’t want to be friends with him.  I don’t want to visit him, have lunch with him, or have him over to my house.   I realize the dangers of even having phone conversations with him; it would be a slippery slope into a relapse or very triggering situation (and I’m already triggered enough as it is right now).

But even at the height of his abusive behavior (here’s a semi-funny-but-not-really story about one way he used to manipulate and mentally torture me), there always remained those rare times I actually enjoyed his company.   I enjoyed his intellect.  It was almost as if at certain times, when he could talk about something he actually knew a lot about, he became less narcissistic — or I was able to look past it — or something.  There were certain topics having nothing to do with ourselves or the kids that we could have long, intellectual conversations about without fighting.  Politics was one of them.   We always were on the same page about politics, and we used to get into long, rather enjoyable intellectual discussions, sometimes with a little weed providing a kind of social lubricant.   These conversations never ended badly, unlike almost everything else.

My daughter visits her dad at least once or twice a week, since he lives nearby.   She says all he talks about anymore is the political situation, and how much he hates Trump.    Meanwhile, I have very few — really no — people in real life I can talk to about the political situation, which gets more threatening and scary by the day.    My daughter agrees with my views, but hates talking about it, and my son (who also agrees with me and is gay so he feels very much under threat by the Trump administration’s anti-gay rhetoric) has been escaping into entertainment, movies, games, and work because he doesn’t want to deal with it at all. My daughter’s boyfriend, who I get along with otherwise, does not agree with us about Trump, unfortunately (I thought he was changing his mind, but he never really did).   I really don’t have any other close friends or family I can talk to about this and it’s driving me crazy.

My daughter just went up to see her dad, and I asked her to give him a message.  I told her to tell him I missed our political discussions, and to give him my phone number in case he ever wanted to talk politics.    She said he probably wouldn’t call me, and that’s okay, but I wanted to extend the invitation.   I feel very much alone these days in an increasingly scary country that is about to get a whole lot worse (unless some miracle happens soon) and want a real life person to talk to about this, even if it’s a narc I was married to, because there just really isn’t anyone else.

I’ll provide an update, should he take me up on my offer, but he probably won’t.   I’m pretty much dead to him.

“Free Ride” by Anonymous.

Sometimes I get emails from people relating stories of narcissistic abuse. The other day I received one from a woman living in a large city in Europe, about a covert narcissist who seemed relatively harmless at first, and made all sorts of promises, seemed to be madly in love with her, but soon all kinds of red flags started to appear. She slowly began to realize how predatory he really was, taking over her life and exploiting her goodwill and generosity.

Financial abuse isn’t talked about that much, but it’s a common tactic used by narcissists in abusive relationships, and it’s a primary theme in this post.  My ex exploited me in similar ways, and financial abuse was one of them.   This story is long, but kept me on the edge of my seat. I asked her if I could share it here because of how well written it was.

Free Ride (Part One)
By Anonymous

king_castle

John (not his real name) contacted me via Facebook last October.
As an active member of many fan groups dedicated to music I post quite a lot of stuff every day. He added to one of the groups, saw my postings, liked them and immediately sent me a private message. As a 52 year old childless and separated woman I got a bit curious who this person might be. I said to myself, “Well, you never know…”

John sounded very intelligent, funny, witty and smart, so I decided to continue our conversation.   He asked me to send him a couple of photos and provided me with a few of his.   I saw a quite attractive, handsome, and sporty man of 70, but not looking a day older than 60. He was retired and divorced, living in America, and had adult kids living all over the country.

When I sent him my photos John reacted, “Exactly what I imagined…”
Soon we were chatting on Messenger for three, four, sometimes six hours on a daily basis. I started to become addicted to our chats because they were so incredibly mentally stimulating and creative.

On the fifth day John said he had fallen in love with me. I became his girlfriend Proposed to me on day six. Now I was his “lovely fianceé.” I got very suspicious and cautious. I thought, “How in hell could this guy fall in love with you knowing NOTHING about you??” We could not even meet in person, for he’s in America and I’m in Europe.

John was very smart with words. When he dropped his first L-bomb I said, “Look, I don´t like big words. You know nothing about me and I don´t know much about you.” He replied promptly, “Oh, America is such a big country! We use a lot of big words here.” He always seemed to have the perfect answer to just anything I might doubt or distrust.

In a few days he started showering me with his flattery, affection, attention. “I am here for you 24/7,” he assured me. I thought to myself, ” This guy must be making fun of you”, so I took it lightly and just played the game to see what was going to happen next.

Surprisingly enough, after a short time he made me feel there was a strong connection between us in spite of 8,300 kms of distance; he was always able to sense how I was feeling in that particular moment: sad, excited, upset, happy, depressed. Whenever I was depressed, he immediately phoned to cheer me up. I was impressed. I said to myself, “Wow… if this guy is able to sense how you feel from that huge distance, what might he be able to do if he was here with you?” It was just amazing and … magical!

Soon I was the love of his life. The reason for his life. He loved me more than life itself. He was so crazy in love with me he could not even think straight. He wanted to take care of me, my well-being and my health. He felt simply “over the moon” and blessed with me.

After several days he started being more and more pushy, so I said I loved him back, and when he proposed to me I accepted, actually still taking it all as a joke.

But then, one day I suddenly saw a long post on his Facebook page announcing to all his friends and family he had found “the one ” and “special” woman, was ready to commit to her and relocate to Europe! I could see a lot of comments made by his ex-wife, sons, stepdaughter and friends congratulating him and wishing both of us a lot of good luck. I was so perplexed my mouth almost fell on the floor. Literally. After he had posted his announcement along with a photo of me, his flattery and attention were almost endless, I could hardly come up for air.

I already knew John was divorced and homeless and living in his small car, so I got suspicious he might be just one of those losers who had nothing more to lose, but was trying to gain a lot (two months before we met on Facebook John had moved out from his ex-wife and got rid of practically all his possessions including the majority of his clothing.) He must have sensed what I was thinking because that moment he asked me, “Do you have any doubts about me?” I replied, ” Do you expect me to support you financially ?”. He said no.

I read in one of his earlier posts he did not fancy the idea of paying high amounts for rented rooms or houses, so he decided to live in his car and save up for a motor home. That made sense to me. He was receiving his regular pension, so I was not dealing with a guy with zero income after all.

Our daily chats were still great, but from time to time something strange happened. Every now and then John sounded very childish and immature, as if he was living in a childish fantasy land. Once we were role playing a scenario I was not comfortable with (it involved some graphic sex). I wanted him to stop and said, “Hey, watch out…sorry, a red flag.” He got offended, quit the conversation and went offline. I think any normal person would apologize and promise not to do it again. He did not.

The next day he was not on Messenger, but instead wrote me a long email saying the thing he hated the most was “changing rules in the middle of the playing field”, described how I had “floored him” with my comment the previous night, how he must have misjudged me, wished me good luck, a great life full of joy and happiness in the future and used expressions such as “God bless you “, etc. He told me how he will hold me in his heart, love and cherish me forever. How he hates to have to say goodbye to me, but there is nothing else he could do.

I was reading this message thinking, “WTF? Is he making fun of me, trying to manipulate something, or what? It was just a GAME! We were not negotiating the best strategy for the key military operation in Iraq! Is this guy normal?” I replied explaining I had no idea about his pet peeves (because he never told me) and that I thought his reaction was completely disproportional to the situation. And suddenly I found myself on the defensive end of the conversation apologizing for hurting him! In my reply I also asked if he was sure he was normal and healthy (which I think any average person would find quite offensive, but he did not)
He admitted in his family there had been some mental issues. His mom suffered from schizophrenia, his dad was an alcoholic and his brother had some other kind of mental problem which led to his suicide at the age of 40.

This incident kept me pretty alerted, to tell the truth. All the time I had a feeling there must be something wrong with John, but I just could not put my finger on it.

John never called me his “soulmate.” He did it in a more sophisticated and sneaky way: when we were chatting online, one day he asked, “Baby, can you do one exercise with me?” I said ok.
“Fine, I am going to ask you three questions. You can only answer yes/no. No other options.”
The questions were: “Will you love me unconditionally? Will you be my soulmate? The third question was a sexual one. I thought such questions were ridiculous and weird, especially the last one. But I was amused and said yes to all of them. Now I know that was probably my first big mistake. These questions gave me the general impression of engaging in a business negotiation rather than romantic courting.

Upping the ante.

In November John changed his plans. Instead of buying a motor home he decided to relocate and move in with me. He scheduled his relocation to Europe for September 2016. His plan was to drive and move slowly all across America first for almost a year, visiting his kids, grandkids and relatives to say goodbye to them. In August he expected to reach New York, visit his two sons, sell the car, purchase his flight ticket and leave for Europe permanently. I thought, “Fine, I have one year to get to know him better and decide how to handle this strange relationship.”

In December 2015 John changed his mind again and decided he could no longer live without me. He wanted to relocate as soon as possible and rescheduled his flight for January (without even asking me if it was convenient to me or not). Instead of being happy as a kid on Christmas Day I got really scared. I thought, “Man, this is moving too fast!” I was really alarmed when John added, “I was thinking about where to find the money for my flight ticket because in January and February I will still need to pay some bills in America, and I got a brilliant idea! Who cares about paying some stupid bills! I do not intend to return to America so why should I worry about paying them? I can use the money to be with my baby in just a couple of weeks!”
This message threw me totally off balance. What kind of man just decides to neglect his financial obligations on an impulse?

When I look back I think this was a ruse. I am almost sure he had no bills to pay (he had no property, no car, no assets – so what bills might be waiting for him to pay?) What I suspect is he was trying to make me feel guilty and responsible for his arrival and spending so much money on his flight ticket (only for me of course!) so that I would feel grateful, obliged and indebted to him forever. That way I would not dare ask him to contribute anything when he arrived, or buy food or things for some time, maybe many months.In the meantime he might be putting his pension aside in a secret account for his dream motor home perhaps. Or something else. If I dared to ask him to contribute, he could always pull out his winning card and remind me of his sacrifice and thoughtful gesture: “I spent so much money in January for you only. I would expect you to appreciate it and return the favour”, or something like that.

I said nothing to dissuade him from coming. To be honest, I was still convinced he was making fun of me….Or, that it might be one of those online romance scams. The scenario fit it perfectly well (the scammer pretends to be very interested in visiting his “love” and in the very last moment something unexpected “pops up”: he has a bad accident on the way to airport, he gets mugged or robbed, etc. And then he is in a huge need of money for hospital bills and needs the victim to bail him out.).

John Moves In.

On the day of his scheduled arrival I went to the airport and was waiting in the arrival lounge. And when he suddenly turned up, I got incredibly emotional. I ran up to him, hugged and kissed him saying, ” So you did come! I can´t believe my eyes!” But his reaction was strange. He acted indifferent, only kissed me lightly saying, “Hi, baby” and immediately made his way to the exit. I could see a stupid smile on his face and felt something was…off. I would expect the man who was so CRAZY in love with me to be a lot more emotional and enthusiastic, to hug and kiss “the love of his life” more passionately … but that did not happen.

We were travelling to my place by bus and all the way he was chatting up the people around us and flirting with the women who happened to be sitting close enough. I was now something like a live accessory. Strange.  In my flat the situation was similar. So talkative and funny on Messenger, but here he was and he was barely talking to me.

His reaction when I let him in my flat was ridiculous.  He looked round the room, saw my collection of dog statues ( I have been breeding and showing dogs for 30 years and many breeders and dogs owners have been supplying me with such gifts) and said to no one in particular but within earshot of me, “Uh-huh …obsessive compulsive disorder.”   Next he came up to the cupboard where I have plenty of cups, medals and rosettes from dog shows and started studying them very thoroughly.  When I began to show him things in my flat as I expected he would be interested in everything in his new home, he could hardly keep attention on anything and he seemed unfocused and distracted, not noticing what I was telling him anymore.   He seemed to be impatient and want to move onto the next thing, and then the next.

For the first three days after his arrival, there weren’t any problems.  I went to work and left John alone and when I returned I saw he had bought some groceries, cooked lunch, taken the dogs out and fed them, he had even done some cleaning and fixed broken shelves and things which my ex-husband had not been able to repair for ages. He seemed to be very proud of himself.  And I was really impressed. On day four he probably came to a conclusion he had made a great first impression and that was enough, I was not deserving any more, so he stopped doing things . Perhaps I was not giving him the attention he had expected to get.

In a couple more days he started criticising:

My flat: cold, too small, sub-standard. He said he had seen many bad apartments in America, but none of those places were as bad as this one. He did not understand how I could not afford a better place and had to live within my means or even below them so that I could save some money for rainy days.   But he knew exactly how big my flat was ahead of time and what it looked like because I had described it and shown him pictures.   When he saw the pictures, he had promised to help me renovate and upgrade it.   Now he just said,  “Well…okay, it can be renovated, sure, but it will still remain a very small space.” Just one of the very, very many promises he made and never kept.

The city: ugly, boring, all buildings look the same.  He could not understand why foreign tourists loved it, blah, blah. He could not live in such a sub-standard country, this is not a home to him. We live here like it’s the XIX century. Prices are too high. “How come you earn so little money and have such high prices and you do nothing about it?” he complained.   He had champagne tastes on a beer budget.

My lifestyle: music ” consumes” me. When we were still chatting on Messenger I asked him openly, “Are you ready to accept my lifestyle – taking part in dog shows, going to see concerts of guitar bands in various countries, car meetings, etc.?” He said yes. And now I got blamed for this all because he had left America and everything he loved behind, including his family and friends just for me, but I was not willing to “make any changes in my lifestyle.”

In bed I was too quiet. He wanted me to be loud and talk dirty to him.  He made it clear he must be my # 1 prority, as he had only come here for me (this was repeated several times) and all his time, his devotion and his money were mine now. Anything else – my job, dogs, interests, passions, friends were not to be as important to me as him.  Instead of earning my trust, love and respect, he was demanding and enforcing them.

Soon he was getting offended by everything.  He did not cook anymore.  I took the dogs for their walks.  He either went with me or not, depending on his mood and whether or not my behavior merited his company.  He was becoming moody and easily hurt by little things.  I began to walk on eggshells, never sure what might set him off. Everything he did was “my way or the highway,” no compromises allowed.  I was even afraid of expressing my wishes or dreams.  He was now my boss making all decisions and I was a subordinate who had to listen and obey.

On day six he gave me the cold shoulder and spent the whole evening pretending to watch TV in a language he didn’t even understand just to keep from talking to me.  I ignored him right back.  Because the silent treatment failed to work, the next day John tried out another tactic. When I came back from work I found him lying on the sofa.  He announced very proudly he had not taken the dogs out or fed them. I shrugged my shoulders and said I would do it, no problem.  But I was thinking about the fact that I had looked forward to getting an equal partner and a helping hand, but instead I got a moody, capricious, angry teenager.

(Continued in Part Two)

 

How my ASPD/NPD control freak ex used a dog to gaslight me.

This makes me laugh now, but at the time I was doing anything but laughing.

Lucky Otters Haven

jack_russel_puppy

In 2011, when my parasitic MN/ASPD ex was still living on my couch, he decided he wanted a dog.

We already had a dog, Dexter, who was an awesome black lab mix (he lives with my daughter and her fiance now). The house I live in (and lived in then) is tiny. At the time, we had Dexter and 5 cats. Far too many animals for a two bedroom house, but these were pets I cared about, so I wasn’t too bothered by the overpopulation problem in the house.

But oh no, a dog and five cats wasn’t enough for the Parasite (which is his new name as far as I’m concerned so that’s who he’ll be from now on). No, he had to have his OWN dog, one that HE picked. I told him we had no room for another pet, and it was already too expensive feeding and…

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Why narcissists and borderlines are drawn to each other.

narc_borderline

I’t’s uncanny how often people with NPD and BPD seem to find each other. Every one of my boyfriends (except for one, who was severely bipolar) and my ex-husband were narcissists. I know a lot of other borderlines who say they have the same problem–they simply are not attracted to a man or woman who is not a narcissist. There are reasons why this happens.

Both BPD and NPD are included in the category of Cluster B personality disorders in the DSM-V (along with Histrionic and Antisocial personality disorders). Cluster B disorders are all characterized at their root by problems establishing an identity early in childhood and integrity of the Self which causes people with these disorders to act out toward themselves or others in destructive ways and to have problems either accessing or developing prosocial emotions like empathy. All are prone to lie excessively and manipulate others.

All Cluster B’s are easily offended and quick to anger, which can be expressed either covertly or overtly. Here’s a quick description of these personality disorders.

Antisocial personality disorder (ASPD or psychopathy) is the most likely to break the law and violate the rights of others (many are in prison), act impulsively, and have no empathy at all. People with ASPD who aren’t lawbreakers will be ruthless in business or their chosen profession, and feel no compunctions about hurting others to succeed and may even take pleasure from it.

Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD) is less likely to break the law (but this is not a given–some narcissists will break the law if they think they can get away with it) due to wanting to present a good image to others, but have little, if any, empathy, and act out toward others and manipulate them to protect the False Self they use in place of their true one which cannot be accessed. They act arrogant, entitled, paranoid and touchy. Think of the most spoiled or brattiest child you know. If you saw that same behavior in an adult, that’s what NPD looks like to others.

Histrionic personality disorder (usually found in women) is a somatic form of narcissism where there is obsession with physical appearance and emotions are expressed dramatically but the emotions themselves are shallow. Histrionics of both sexes are often sexually promiscuous.

Borderline Personality disorder is the most baffling of the four, because it’s a disorder of contradictions. BPD is characterized by black and white thinking, overpowering emotions, impulsivity, self-destructive behavior, and idealization/devaluation of others. People with this disorder oscillate rapidly between opposites–feeling love and hate for others, pushing others away and smothering them, and accepting or rejecting them. They do this because of their fear of abandonment. Unfortunately, borderlines in their desperate attempts to not be abandoned, cause others to abandon them, or are self sabotaging–they may reject others in order to avoid being rejected first. Borderlines, unlike the other Cluster B disorders, are able to feel empathy, but because they can get so overwhelmed by their fear of rejection and their overpowering emotions and drama, they can “forget” others exist. They can feel remorse and guilt when they realize they’ve behaved badly but it sometimes must be pointed out to them.

Borderlines are chameleons who don’t have a False Self per se, but instead adopt whatever “identity” will suit the moment and whatever person they are interacting with–to make the other person accept them. In some borderlines, this rapid switching from one persona to another can appear to others similar to DID (Dissociative Identity Disorder). Not only their behavior, but also their emotions (which they have trouble regulating or controlling), opinions, or even their appearance can change from one moment to the next. This differs from bipolar disorder, where dramatic mood changes oscillate much more slowly.

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Of all the Cluster B disorders, people with BPD have a Self that is the most fragmented and least likely to have integrated into something called an identity (even a narc has a False Self so that’s a kind of identity). As a result BPD’s are the most prone to experience dissociative or even psychotic episodes, where the person loses touch with reality. Ironically, although Borderlines are “sicker” than narcissists, they are more likely to seek therapy (because their disorder is ego-dystonic and most are not happy with the way they behave and feel) and they are also more likely to be cured.

Because borderlines are chameleons,* they make perfect supply for a narcissist. They lack an identity of their own, so they “become” whatever others expect them to be. It’s not really a mask in the same sense as a narcissist, but they can wear a sort of temporary mask that can change from one moment to the next or disappear completely, leaving the borderline in a depressed or near-psychotic emotional state. A borderline can be whatever the narcissist wants them to be, and as a result are easily manipulated and can become very codependent.

Borderlines can be very manipulative themselves, but because their personality is less integrated and and the narcissist appears to have an integrated self (even though it’s a false one), they are no match for a narcissist. Unless the narcissist is very low on the spectrum (or is a covert and vulnerable one), they cannot be overpowered by a borderline and will always get their way over the borderline’s needs.

Borderlines (like narcissists) never felt loved or valued, but the borderline hasn’t shut out their need to be loved and craves it more than anything else. A narcissist (in the beginning of a relationship) can appear to be highly passionate and attentive, promising the borderline all the love he or she needs–and be convincing enough they capture the heart of a borderline, who thinks they’ve met the perfect mate.

Relationships between narcissists and borderlines may be stormy and “unhealthy,” but when they work, they work well, with the narcissist giving the borderline a kind of identity as a codependent to the narcissist, and the borderline giving the narcissist the supply they need.

I think there’s often a familial aspect too. Cluster B disorders tend to occur in families, in varying configurations. If one or more parents is a narcissist (or a borderline), they are far more likely to raise narcissistic or borderline children, because both disorders are due to abuse and Cluster B parents tend to put their own needs ahead of their children’s, even if (in the borderline) their selfishness isn’t intentional. Therefore, borderlines and narcissists who were raised in abusive families tend to be attracted to people who unconsciously remind them of other members of their families, especially the parents. This type of connection is called a trauma bond because the connection is due to shared trauma and a conscious or unconscious willingness to to be abused or to abuse a partner. A relationship between a borderline and a narcissist is not what anyone would call functional, and yet in a way it can work for both of them, if they don’t wind up killing each other first. Some of these trauma bonds are examples of Stockholm Syndrome, where the abused identifies with their abuser.

Going No Contact with a narcissist is the best gift an abused borderline can give herself (or himself), but separating may be especially hard for them and they are likely to be drawn to another narcissist, so they need to stay on guard and be especially vigilant of red flags.

* I think their ability to be emotional chameleons is the reason why the entertainment, film and television industries seem to have a plethora of actors who have BPD.

The Narc from Costa Rica (guest post)

The writer of this post wishes to remain anonymous. Her story of her Costa Rican lover is both sad and funny, so I asked her to write up the story because it’s so colorful. The relationship was doomed because not only was the man in question a narcissist, there was a clash between two different cultures that had no resolution.

My Narcissistic Costa Rican Lover: He hated window screens more than he loved me.
By Anonymous

costa_rican_man

This is about my relationship with my ex boyfriend who was from Costa Rica.

To start off, I’d have to say that he was extremely good looking. He looked like an all American milk and cookies guy. He had perfect teeth and smile and dark hair. He was happy go lucky. His name is “Julio.” I worked part time in a local truck stop with him. He was the head cook, and everyone called him Joe. That’s what they do in diners. They take their migrated names away and call them by a nickname. He did look like a Joe too. He was also a damned good cook. That guy could cook egg after egg and he rarely broke a yolk. If he did break one you’d know all about it. He didn’t know much English but he knew how to swear when he broke the yolk of an egg.

I remember the one time when we were working together during a blizzard. It was just me and him. Then at around 3 AM all the snow plough workers piled in. All 50 of them walked in one after the other and Joe started swearing in the back of the kitchen. I started putting orders up for Joe. Around 20 orders at the same time. Joe couldn’t take the heat in the kitchen and he started throwing the buttered toast out the little window where the food comes out and he rings the bell when its ready. We were so overwhelmed by the 50 snow plough guys that my regular customer jumped in the back of the kitchen and made the toast and helped me serve the coffee.

I also remember that Joe would wig out if you messed with his bread. On one shelf Joe had 20 loaves of bread with the wrappers all twisted in the right direction. Loaves of white, wheat and rye. If you twisted the wrapper to the left Joe went crazy. It took me a while to figure out what was wrong with Joe. We had a language barrier and it took me a while to understand it was an OCD problem he had.

Eventually Joe got tired of the USA and he flew back out to Costa Rica knowing he would not be able to fly back in. Joe original got here by crossing over the border of Mexico. So in a few months I decided to live in Costa Rica with him. Life over there was different. It was laid back and very family oriented. To an extreme. Wherever you went the family came along. A night out included the family. Grocery shopping included the family. All meals included the family.

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I used to help his mother wash the clothes. I lived in rural costa Rica in a town called Perez Zeledon and we hand washed most of our clothes and then put the heavy jeans through a spinning machine. The children were adorable and well behaved. They didn’t eat much candy. One day I bought bags of candy and the 3 little girls I played with everyday kept asking me for more candy. Then Joe started laughing and he pointed out the window. I saw lots and lots of children outside and I realized I was feeding the whole neighborhood.

The children didn’t have many toys. One of the little girls use to play with chicken feet. They raised chickens and butchered them. It was a rural farming community and if you owned lots of cattle you were considered rich. At night the guys all played soccer in a big field and they woke up at the crack of dawn. At the crack of dawn the roosters would crow and Joe’s brothers would yell at us to wake up in our window. I was definitely not in sync with Costa Rican life. I’m not an early riser.

I did not like the bugs in Costa Rica. The bugs were horrific. And huge. Crickets as big as a tablespoon. Dragonflies with wingspans of a foot. Moths so huge they looked like bats. Giant ants you could hear walking on the ground. In the rural part of Costa Rica window screens were not vogue. None of the native people minded the bugs. I managed to keep the bugs away by turning the porch light on and keeping a fan on me all night with a sheet over me. The bugs were attracted to the porch. In the morning Joe’s sister would wake up and sweep the bugs out. They took pride in their daily chores. Everyday they tore the entire house apart and scrubbed it from top to bottom. They had beautiful ceramic tiles and big huge ceramic sinks.

I asked Joe to please put window screens on the windows to keep out the giant bugs that flew in constantly. He got angry and refused to do it, saying it wasn’t part of his culture and that window screens were “ugly.” He lacked empathy for my concerns about the huge flying insects. I started to think things were not going to work out because he refused to consider my feelings.

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I liked Joe’s mom a lot and she loved me. Even though we didn’t speak the same language, I had no problem communicating with her. She was an emotional woman and we always knew what was on each other’s minds.

After 3 months of Costa Rican life I left because my Visa was about to expire over there and because of Joe’s self-centered and sexist behavior. I loved him but I couldn’t live in a country with a man who refused to put screens on the window, got angry so easily, and treated me like a plaything.

I remember the last day I saw Joe in Costa Rica. I was sad. I thought we may never see each other again due to the strict immigration laws. I looked at him and I thought…I’m going to miss him and I also thought I’m so glad I’m leaving these bugs.

Eventually Joe missed me and he crossed through the border of Mexico again. We stayed together for 9 years but I broke up with him eventually because of the immigration laws and he was 12 years younger than me and because our cultural differences were too great.

Joe was devastated. But he had a double standard when it came to love. Culturally its acceptable for Costa Rican men to run around and do whatever they want. Worse that he was such a narcissist too. That just doesn’t work for an American girl, especially one who’s a feminist.

Going insane: how I got diagnosed with BPD

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I thought I should explain how I got diagnosed with BPD. Although my out of control behaviors in 1995-1996 were due to prolonged emotional and mental (and some physical) abuse at the hands of my ex (on top of having been a victim of narcissistic abuse growing up), the focus of this article isn’t on narcissistic abuse or the way my ex behaved, but rather on my reactions and how out of touch with reality I actually became.

My memory of this time is sketchy and fragmented, almost dreamlike, so what I’m about to write may not flow together well. I believe my fuzzy memories of these two years were due to 3 things: (1) intermittent substance abuse, including alcohol; (2) being so out of touch with reality; and (3) I may have blocked out some of these incidents or partially blocked them out so they seem sort of grey when I think about them now, like a dream.

In 1995 my ex’s mother could no longer live alone so she came to live with us. At first things went smoothly, but she had Alzheimers and was deteriorating fast, and soon her care was left entirely to me. At the same time I was the stay at home mom to a 2 and 4 year old. My ex had started drinking a lot during this time, and said it was because he hated his mother (a malignant narcissist herself) and his behavior toward her was very abusive. He justified his abuse by saying she deserved it because of the way she had treated him. My children saw this behavior but in my emotionally weakened state due to his constant gaslighting, projecting and triangulating (he had turned most of our friends against me) as well as isolating me from those who could help me, I began to collude in his abusive behavior toward his mother. I didn’t physically attack her (he did) but in my frustration with things like her wetting the bed I would yell at her whenever he did and sometimes even when he wasn’t there. I also didn’t try to stop him when he used to spank her like a naughty child.

My ex was drinking heavily and smoking a lot of pot, and I joined him. At night, after the kids were asleep, we would often both be drunk and high. Sometimes his friends came over, who were all younger than we were (my ex’s friends were always younger than him). Sometimes things got wild. I was no longer attracted to my ex by this time due to his constant emotional abuse, so when I was drunk I openly flirted with his friends. I was unfaithful too, but so was he (I am definitely not proud of any of this, especially because I had young children at the time).

We fought constantly. One night, drunk, he threatened me with a gun. I ran down the street screaming and went and hid in a grove of trees for hours in the freezing cold. On several occasions I called the police and they would show up to fund us both drunk and didn’t know who to believe so they would leave and tell us to sober up. At this time I had no control over my reactions or my emotions. I acted more immature than my own kids sometimes.

I used to sleep during the day and wasn’t as good a mother as I could have been. I was testy, impatient and neglectful. I loved my kids dearly, but just didn’t have the emotional stamina or energy to deal with them more effectively or lovingly. (I tried to make up for that later).

Soon the dissociative episodes began. Sometimes things looked weird. People looked like they weren’t real and they seemed demonic. I began to have delusions of reference. I had the weird sensation of unrelated events or conversations somehow referencing exactly what I was thinking. I felt like I was outside my body a lot, as if I was watching the events of my life unfold instead of being in them. This began to happen when I started distancing myself from my emotions into a “comfortable numbness.” (This is common in PTSD and BPD). But it wasn’t comfortable–it was horrifying. I think I was unconsciously protecting myself from feeling too much emotional pain. The abnormal had become normal, the insane had become sane, the evil had become good. I walked through my days in a sort of fog, but not all the time. Occasionally, when triggered, I would come back into myself and “go off” on my ex and experience a tidal wave of unbelievably painful and intense emotions. Instead of spending my evenings doing quiet things with my family, I spent that time on the computer in chat rooms, talking to men. I imagined I fell in love with one or two of them. My emotional reactions to these online entities I had never met were as intense as if they were actual relationships, but all of it was fantasy. To me it felt real.

I couldn’t sleep at night, but would sleep most of the day away. I didn’t take care of the house and only did the rudimentary necessities for the kids, in between taking care of my ex’s mother’s almost constant needs. I lost patience with both her and the kids easily. We ate cereal and yogurt most nights for dinner because I didn’t have the energy or wherewithal to cook anything.

I started a job after awhile at a hotel. I had a short affair with the disc jockey/maintenance man there. I wasn’t in love with him but I enjoyed the kindness he showed me, that my husband wasn’t giving me. One night he confronted me about it and I confessed everything. He didn’t seem upset but admitted he was having an affair too. Strangely, we did not fight about this. I really didn’t care whether he loved me anymore; I was convinced he hated my guts.

I quit my job on a whim even though we needed the extra income, because my ex had squandered over $100K we got from the sale of his mother’s house. One day I just decided not to go in anymore. I didn’t even bother to call, which normally is out of character for me. I started doing really crazy things. One night after a really bad fight I went into the closet in the master bedroom and sat on the floor crying for what seemed like hours. My ex didn’t seem concerned and went out instead. I don’t know why I was doing this; I felt like I had lost my mind and there was no reason for doing this. I had no idea what I was doing; I was just reacting to my pain like a wounded animal. The episodes of dissociation and delusions of reference became worse. I imagined everything–even voices on TV or songs on the radio–were coded messages that referenced something in my life. This is impossible to explain if you haven’t experienced it but it was very strange and disorienting.

delusions_reference

One day shortly after the closet incident, I left the kids in the house with him and decided to go driving. I had no idea where I was going or what I was doing, but I suddenly thought it would be a good idea to drive at 90 mph (the speed limit was 65 mph). Normally I’m a very cautious driver but during this time I had thrown all caution to the wind. I wasn’t suicidal in the sense of making a conscious effort to kill myself and I didn’t even contemplate suicide, but I was taking huge risks with my life. Miraculously, nothing happened, not even a pullover by police. I returned home feeling exhilarated from my crazy drive, but immediately that feeling disappeared and I was hit with the horror of my reality and started screaming irrationally and throwing things against the wall just to hear them break. I don’t even know what set this tantrum off–probably nothing at all, but I had this overwhelming desire to act out my excruciating emotional pain. I had no control over myself at all. When I thought about my behavior later on, I was horrified. I wasn’t even drinking anymore by now, so I wasn’t drunk. I was just insane.

My ex told me I was crazy. He always did anyway. But I really was crazy. He told me I should commit myself to a mental institution–or he would. To his surprise (and mine) I agreed. In that moment of clarity, I realized how crazy I had become (due to his emotional abuse of me, but that didn’t make me any less crazy). I allowed him to drive me to the mental hospital, which turned out to have an excellent program and engaging activities. I felt relief in entering that hospital and spent the next three months there. My Axis 1 diagnosis was Major Depression and anxiety, and my Axis 2 diagnosis was BPD, as well as substance abuse. I was also diagnosed with PTSD. I received daily therapy–both individual and group, as well as DBT classes–and I was put on Depakote (a mood stabilizer), Prozac (for the depression) and Klonopin (for anxiety). I stabilized during my stay but I wasn’t as committed to using the DBT tools I learned there as I became later on. I remember calling my mother from the hospital and telling her what was wrong with me, and her attitude was like, “so what? You need to be a mother to your children.” She didn’t even know I was in the hospital. So much for maternal support.

I had mixed feelings about returning home. I was overjoyed to see my children, but wasn’t too happy to see my husband at all. I really just wanted to stay in that hospital for the rest of my life. I didn’t want to face reality.

Fortunately, my mental state never got that bad again, but his abuse was to get much worse. He used my descent into the madness of severe BPD and major depression as an excuse to punish me for “having gone batshit insane” when I should have been a better mother and wife to him.

I still have a lot of guilt and shame over the way I neglected my children when they were so young and helpless. I wonder sometimes how much my not being there for them may have damaged them.

When I look back even earlier at my life, I can remember similar incidents of being totally unable to control my emotional reactions to stressors and triggers, with periods of almost robotic numbness and dissociative episodes in between outbursts. It was a pattern I was familiar with, but it reached its pinnacle in 1995-1996. I had a relapse in 1997 and spent a week in the psych ward at the regular hospital, and got the same exact diagnosis as the year before. Over the next several years, while I was still married to my ex, I spent most of my time in a state of emotional numbness, living on “automatic pilot.” It wasn’t until I finally got the POS out of my life that I felt safe enough to begin to let myself feel emotions again–but this time with mindfulness and acceptance instead of allowing my emotions to control me. I still have a long way to go.

All my narcissistic lovers.

johann_heinrich

Not long ago, when I started studying narcissism in depth for this blog, I came to a shocking and disturbing realization: Every single one of the men I had relationships with or fell in love with were narcissists. It’s because I was trained by my family to be Narcissistic Supply, and as a Borderline, these relationships tended to be stormy.

Having BPD means I’m not the ideal codependent doormat, and when I felt violated–even though I’d allow the abuse to continue because after all, I was trained that way–I’d still try to fight back, at least for awhile. This led to lots of drama and some truly terrible fights with narcissistic men who I could never fix, no matter how hard I tried. I sure wish I knew then what I know now.

I have always been attracted to narcissistic men and they have always been attracted to me. I’m easily taken in by their elaborate displays of romance and promises in the beginning–there’s no one more romantic than a narcissist trying to procure you as supply. It’s fun while it lasts, but as soon as they know they have conquered you, the abuse begins. One red flag to watch out for: a man who moves in too fast, or starts talking about a permanent commitment or marriage only weeks after you met them.

Here’s a list of the narcissists I was seriously involved with (or married to). Only one wasn’t a narcissist, but he was severely bi-polar. The names are made up.

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Steve P: my first serious boyfriend in high school. Steve called constantly (like 8-10 times a day at first), wanted to be with me all the time, regularly sent flowers, was very passionate and loving at first. He actually would cry because he “loved me so much.” After a while he became physically and mentally abusive, insulting me, questioning me about other boys, what I was doing when he wasn’t around, calling me names, and finally becoming physically abusive. One day, with absolutely no warning, he called me and told me he was dumping me because he met someone else. I was enraged at the nerve of this but actually relieved to be rid of him finally.

Mark S: my second serious lover during my college years. Mark was very cool–knew everything there was to know about art, music, theater, and he had offbeat, interesting friends. He used to take me to the East Village in New York City where we’d attend all the punk and new wave clubs and shop in funky vintage clothing and record stores. We had a lot of fun. But he was also an intellectual snob and looked down on my “pedestrian” tastes in music, movies, etc. He looked down on my friends, whose intellectual abilities he felt were beneath him. Mark saw himself as a rogue and a cultural rebel, and after awhile his constant put downs became annoying and we’d fight. He also never wanted to have sex (he was a cerebral narcissist), thinking it was a huge waste of time that could be better spent feeding his mind with new cultural experiences. After about a year, he told me I was too boring and my tastes too commercial and pedestrian, and he dumped me for a woman who looked exactly like me but was apparently much more hip and “in the know” about what was cool and cutting edge than I was. He wound up marrying her.

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David B: David was not a narcissist; he was bipolar and suffered from severe depressions and substance abuse. He drank heavily to self-medicate and was always in and out of the psychiatric ward. He regarded me as a sort of mother figure and I liked the idea of being needed so much. But his neediness and clinginess became cloying and suffocating, he was constantly drunk, so eventually I left him, not without a little guilt in doing so. But he was really driving me crazy.

Michael B: The malignant narcissist I married. He is actually a psychopath. Michael acted very much like Steven in the beginning–showering constant attention and gifts on me, moving in very fast, talking about marriage just three months after we met. Being that I was in my mid-20s, I was open to marriage and he seemed perfect. I should have seen one HUGE red flag: the expensive engagement ring he insisted I have was purchased with my own credit card, because he had already maxed all his out. He always lived way above his means. He’d take me to expensive restaurants and insist I pay (and of course, he would pay me back later, but he never did). The rest of our story can be found in the articles under “My Story” in the header. Let’s just say the man is a psychopathic monster with serious substance abuse issues and a parasitic monster at that.

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Daniel S: The only lover I’ve had since the divorce. Well, okay, we were actually still married. (I’m not proud of this). But my marriage was already long over and I was desperate and miserable and not thinking straight (not that it’s an excuse to cheat). Daniel was actually a worse malignant narcissist than my ex, if that can be believed. He had that intense predatory stare, which I took to mean sexual and romantic interest, but was really his way of sizing up me as his prey. Of course I found him irresistably attractive. Unfortunately Daniel was another cerebral who had very little interest in sex. After a huge show of ardent romance and all that goes with it, he started the abuse, which included insulting me and comparing me (unfavorably) with his past lovers and what he saw as an “ideal woman.” He said he wanted babies with me but constantly criticized my parenting skills (as if he could know, since he never met my kids). He raged a lot although he never actually became physically abusive. He sulked and gave me the silent treatment when I didn’t do things his way or wanted to spend time with my family. He was stingy and although he had a lot more money than I did, he always made me pay my own way on dates. He obsessed about money. He would buy me things and constantly remind me how much those things cost him. He also would give me gifts and then ask for them back later, telling me he was only letting me “borrow” them. I am serious about this. After I ended our relationship (due to guilt at least as much as his abusive treatment), he still continued to call me constantly “as a friend.” After several of these phone calls, I finally worked up the guts to tell him to bug off and blocked his number.

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I have not had one lover or husband who was a just a nice regular guy. There have been a few of these men who seemed interested in me, but I always found them boring and rejected their attentions because I didn’t feel any “chemistry” with them.

I think it’s time to change all this. I want to start dating again soon. I know what red flags to look out for now so I think I can avoid the narcs, but can I fall in love with a normal man who will treat me well?

Lies my narcissists told me.

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

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

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

Lies I was told growing up.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You are more talented than they are.”

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

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

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

It doesn’t stop when you go No Contact.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“She will never achieve anything.”

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

“She has mental problems.”

“She is sick in the head.”

Ad nauseam…

Conflicting messages as Scapegoat/Golden Child

ConflictingMessages

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

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

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

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

Lies my psychopathic narcissist ex-husband told me.

gaslighting

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

“You are selfish/self-centered.”

“You always overreact to everything.”

“You never listen to me”

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

“You have no empathy for me.”

“You are narcissistic.”

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

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

“You are a b**ch, c*nt, Tw*t, whore.”

“You are stupid.”

“You have no common sense.”

“You’re insane.”

“There’s something wrong with you.”

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

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

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