The point of no return.

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Last night Fivehundredpoundpeep disagreed with a post I wrote, saying that people who chose narcissism reach a point of no return when become thoroughly evil. She has religious reasons for this view (“reprobate” is a religious term that means the person even while still alive is destined for hell because God has turned his back on them due to their bad choices). While I don’t share her literal biblical beliefs in certain damnation for some (I believe this is from Calvinist thought), I agree with her that most narcissists do get worse with age and many reach a point of no return, where they become so hardened they have no hope of changing-and I do agree this change is due to a total selling out of whatever conscience they may have had, if they ever had any. I have seen this up close and personal with my ex, who is a frightening example of someone who completely sold his soul, for lack of a better phrase, to the devil. All Cluster B personality disorders have a spiritual as well as a mental component, but narcissism is a slippery slope into inescapable darkness and misery.

When I married my ex in 1986, he was definitely a narcissist but lower on the spectrum than he is today. While still being abusive and extremely manipulative, he did have moments where he showed what I believed was genuine goodness. He was actually a good father to our two children–at first. In fact, he was more patient with them as babies than I was. It was later that he began to scapegoat our son (who like me, is highly sensitive and able to see through his father) and started to use our daughter as a sounding board for his own problems when she was still just a child as well as a junior flying monkey against me and her brother.

I’m not entirely sure when he crossed the “point of no return” but it seemed to be between 1997 and 2001, during the time his mother lived with us before entering a nursing home. This is when I believe he became thoroughly evil and it was because of the way he treated his ailing mother.

His mother was a thoroughly malignant narcissist who was very abusive to my ex while he was growing up. She too became worse with age, but in the late 1990s, she developed Alzheimers and could no longer live alone, so we brought her to our home where an eye could be kept on her. As malignant as she was, she was losing her faculties and her mind and it would have been inhumane not to try to help her.

Most of her care fell on my shoulders, a difficult thing because my kids were still very young and I was trying to raise them too. I was also suffering from severe depressions during this time due to my ex’s increasing abusive behavior as well as his heavy drinking and drug taking, for which I had to be hospitalized twice. So you can imagine I wasn’t the most patient caregiver, especially because his mom could still be so unlikeable. It was hard for me to not become angry with her. I tried to control this, but found it so hard, especially when she began losing control of her bowel and bladder. Every day I was confronted with messy bedding because she kept pulling off her diaper and would fight me or start crying whenever I went to change her. I was never cut out to be a nurse, but this was too much and there were those times I’d yell at her in frustration.

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Unknown artist.

My ex hated his mother, but did not want to put her in a nursing home due to the expense. Of course anything I had to say about the matter fell on deaf ears. He had actually made her sell her house when she moved in with us and obtained a power of attorney so the money from the sale was in his name (the money was gone within one year). I never felt this was right but admit I enjoyed having more money, so I never said anything to him about it being wrong. While what he did wasn’t illegal, it was extremely unethical and selfish. While his mother’s immediate needs were taken care of, he had complete control of the money and most of it did not go for her care and went for luxuries for us instead. I always felt badly about this and for years felt like my sin of overlooking this would never be forgiven. (Recently I repented and know I have been forgiven but it still bothers me sometimes).

But enough about that. My ex was increasingly abusive to her while she lived with us, and reached a point where he became physically abusive and would spank her like a bad child–IN FRONT OF MY CHILDREN! As awful a mother as she was to him, she did not deserve this. Whenever I brought up how wrong his behavior was, he said he had a right to treat her that way because she was such a horrible mother. He said it was karma. Not once did he ever admit he was wrong. After a while, my bad case of narc “fleas” became so bad I began to join in the abuse–not hitting her, but I stopped trying to defend her and began to think maybe his spanking her wasn’t really wrong. After all, she did act like a naughty three year old. I didn’t know it, but I was suffering a form of Stockholm Syndrome, where a victim begins to identify with their abuser and make excuses for their bad behavior. Still, I begged him to put her in a nursing home but he still refused.

It was during this time he began to grow pot in our outbuilding, and his immoral behavior ramped up a few notches. He recruited our 8 year old daughter to water the plants and watch out for cops! I couldn’t believe he would do this, but I said nothing because nothing I said ever was taken seriously or I’d be belittled for bringing it up. He also started to hit my son, and berate and belittle him constantly. All this was new for him. Before his mother had moved in he had never been physically abusive to our children and stayed away from alcohol and drugs. Now he was drunk or high most nights and began to change into a person I was becoming extremely afraid of. His look became harder and colder, and he was rarely affectionate anymore. His eyes became very cold, almost demonic at times. Both of us had affairs (I’m not proud of this either because I was actually worse than him). I was mentally ill myself due to the abuse but this doesn’t excuse the part I played in this whole mess of a marriage.

In 2000 his mother developed cancer and after her hospitalization, finally entered a nursing home. We hardly visited her at all but whenever we did, he would tell the kids how stupid and horrible his mother was and encourage them to insult and demean her. He told them she deserved the way he treated her because of the way she had treated him.

She died in January of 2002 and to this day, my ex never went to pick up her ashes.

It was during these five years from 1997-2001 that I saw my ex change from a person who could sometimes be nice and was often a lot of fun into a monster who appeared to have no emotions at all or any empathy for anyone else. Looking back, I think it was because he crossed a line from “mere” malignant narcissism into full blown psychopathy brought on by continual abuse of his helpless mother. Yes, his mother was a highly malignant narcissist herself and his hatred of her was understandable, but no one with a conscience would have treated her the way he did when she became ill. It scares me to think how close I came to becoming evil myself, because of my collusion with him in this horrible abuse. For the past few days I have been struggling with the evil I see in myself, and as a borderline, I’m so close to being a narcissist anyway. There were so many times while I was with him that I flirted with turning my back on everything good and right. I’m having a rough time accepting this and forgiving myself. But that’s for another post.

From 2002-2004 our marriage continued to worsen and the psychological abuse grew worse (not the physical, because he stopped drinking and he was only physical when he was drunk). We obtained a divorce but in 2006 I made the mistake of allowing him to move in with me. By this time he was parasitic and refused to work. I’ve written about this elsewhere.

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Today I see no goodness in him at all. I’ve never seen a person so filled with hate and rage. His conversation is always sarcastic, biting, and negative. He never has anything positive to say and spends most of his time trolling political websites and getting high. He’s not out there committing violent crimes, but he’s a person who seems to have no soul. The rare times I do see him (I avoid this as much as possible), I can’t even look him in the eyes because they’re so dead and empty. I’m afraid just looking into them can infect me with his evil. Our daughter unfortunately is still in thrall to him, and I pray all the time she will be okay. I’m afraid further close contact with him can destroy her soul the way it almost destroyed mine, and she’s halfway there already, showing a number of narcissistic traits. Like me, she has a really bad case of “fleas.” I can’t keep her from seeing her father though. She is an adult and I have to accept that I can’t make her choices for her.

While it’s very sad to see a person so thoroughly gutted spiritually, I have no sympathy for my ex. I do have sympathy for the little boy he used to be, but he died a long time ago.

My son, who was scapegoated by his father, seems to be the most mentally healthy person in the immediate family. He does have some anger and self esteem issues (don’t we all?) but he is strong and determined to escape the fallout of the family illness. I am so proud of the man he’s becoming.

Do narcissists have a spiritual purpose we can’t understand?

darknessintolight

This fascinating topic was raised in the comments section under The Man You Love to Hate…or Hate to Love.

The implications raised here are bound to be controversial to some, but I think Joan and CheriSunday may be onto something. In fact, I’ve sometimes wondered myself if narcissists exist for a good reason that only God can understand, but I always thought it sounded too crazy to write about and it was hard to formulate those feelings into words. I’m glad other people have had the same thoughts. It makes me feel less crazy. And it actually makes a type of sense.

CheriSunday says:
January 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm

As you wrote quote “Maybe when one chooses to become a narcissist…..you are drawn into darkness, and once you’ve entered you can’t ever escape.”
My response: I live in a darkness, however I know light shines through my being.
Why feel sorry, we like to suffer, for some , sufferance becomes their friend, that’s how we make peace with the darkness.
CheriSunday

Joan S says:
January 26, 2015 at 8:45 pm

That is very wow. I actually think that aware narcissists like Mr. Vaknin might be a gift. We can’t interpret that gift yet, but will remain till we can.

I like your point though that some like to suffer that it brings comfort. I just can’t believe that darkness can overcome the light though, that is impossible. Maybe if you felt that light long enough it will bring about the deliverance. They just have to want that deliverance. Have to want it. And that is where narcissists are stopped. JMHO of course. I like insightful things.

luckyotter says:
January 26, 2015 at 11:59 pm

Joan,
we don’t know what God’s reasons are or what his plan is. I have thought myself, that narcs may have been put here for a reason that only God knows. Maybe they are here to teach us valuable lessons about human nature and spirituality in general.

In thinking so much about narcissism, because it’s a mental disorder that most likely has a spiritual component, I have been brought much closer to God in the process and have found some semblance of joy and peace for the first time in my life. I have never been happier than I am now. So looking at it this way, narcissists may help us in our own spiritual journey.

I don’t think narcs are demons, I think they’re here for a reason and that reason is a teaching one, even if the lessons we learn from them are painful. Even Satan himself, was created by God and was initially God’s most beloved angel, and his purpose was to test our faith. His original name, Lucifer, means “light bringer.” He became too narcissistic for Heaven because he began to think he was greater than God so he couldn’t stay. (I don’t know whether or not this is a literal story or there is or ever was an entity called “Satan,” but it’s worth bringing it up in the context of this topic).

This doesn’t mean we have to (or should) associate with a known narc. But the ones we haven’t been able to escape from or those who raised us, at the end of the day (when we can finally see the forest for the trees), can make us stronger; their darkness can put our own light into sharp relief.

And in atypical narcissists like Sam, who have contributed so much good to the world (even if his motives were self serving), it could be that he (and those like him, if there are any others) are a special kind of gift, and that his darkness may be a necessary thing, both for himself and for us. We don’t know the reasons, but he may know, and although he suffers, he may have accepted this suffering as part of whatever his own mission on this earth is. He may not need deliverance, or maybe the deliverance will come at a later time or upon his death. We just don’t know. Only God does.

“What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” — Kelly Clarkson

luckyotter says:
January 26, 2015 at 11:43 pm

CheriSunday, first of all, welcome to this blog! 🙂 I love to see new “faces” around here.

If you know light shines through your being, you are not hopeless. Maybe there are some people who need to suffer. We don’t know the reasons. In a way I can relate. I flirted with darkness for many years, out of choice. Fortunately I’m coming to a place of more light but there are still dark days. I accept them for what they are, and realize those dark days may have some enlightening lessons in them. “Without darkness, there can be no light.”

I am curious, though, since you say you choose suffering and you have never posted here before, are you an NPD sufferer or have another disorder, like BPD or depression? Forgive my presumptuousness, but because of the nature of this topic and this blog, I don’t think it’s stepping on your boundaries to ask. I hope you don’t mind.

I also think most narcissists have an inner light that does shine through sometimes, except maybe MNs and psychopaths/sociopaths. There is a lot of light in Sam and that’s why I think he is still able to help people and victims looks up to him even though he is exactly the sort of person we’re trying to get away from. I hope that makes sense.