This photo was taken of me in 2012, while I was still living with and being gaslighted to death by my narc. At the time he used my daughter as one of his flying monkeys. They had me convinced I was the self centered narcissist and Michael would always set things up so he looked like the victim. A combination of triangulation, projection and gaslighting turned me into this sad, blah looking person you see here. As you can tell, I wasn’t taking care of myself–I was about 30 pounds heavier and wore just any old rag I could find around the house. I never wore makeup. My expression here looks depressed. I hid in my room with the door locked most of the time against my personal wicked demon and his flying monkeys trying to distort my reality and doubt my own perceptions.
Me during the time I was being mentally and emotionally tormented and suffering from severe PTSD, depression, and debilitating anxiety and paranoid ideation (some of which was based in reality) Although my health hadn’t started to go yet, it would have soon. If I’d stayed in this hellish mindfucking environment, I think I would have eventually become very ill, and maybe even died. I thought about suicide a lot.
These next two photos were taken by me about a month ago. Even in the nonsmiling, pensive one, I look a lot better and a lot younger. I think I look much more relaxed too in both the photos.
I’m in good shape now and managed to lose about 30 lbs. so I am a healthy weight now. My hair also looks better and I have no idea why since I haven’t really done anything different with it. It just seems fuller and, well, happier?
A year ago, I didn’t want anyone to take my picture (because I thought I looked so fat and ugly); now I’m actually taking selfies!
Improvement in appearance and a more youthful look overall is a wonderful fringe benefit of separating from your abuser. When you start feeling more attractive you actually look more attractive, and will take much better care of your appearance and your health. I’m just naturally eating healthier foods and indulging in things like alcohol less. I’m also drawn to nicer looking clothes and even accessories, something I didn’t bother with for years.
I still haven’t managed to quit smoking yet. Maybe for Lent.
One of the most pernicious things our narcissists do is violate our boundaries. This can take a number of forms, ranging from physical violations (such as rummaging through your things or physically attacking you) to more subtle mental or emotional violations.
So I’ve devised a checklist of some of the ways narcissists violate our boundaries. They do this to give us less power or make us feel diminished. Don’t allow it. If you see any of these behaviors from your narcissist, if you can’t cut contact with them, be very firm and tell them you will not tolerate it. Do not back down or make excuses. You have every right to protect your boundaries. Your reasons why are really none of their business.
Physical boundary violations:
1. Physical abuse — hitting, pushing, punching, getting “in your face,” cornering you.
2. Forcing you to have sex when you do not want to.
3. Rummaging or going through your personal possessions.
4. Stealing from you. A lock box (these can be cheaply purchased form stores like Walmart) is a good idea. Get one with a combination, not a key.
5. Touching you or sitting/standing too close during conversation, when this is not desired by you.
6. Some somatic narcissists can violate your boundaries by dressing immodestly in front of you. If you object to your narcissist sitting around in his threadbare boxers (or nothing at all), tell him it makes you uncomfortable and that you won’t tolerate it.
7. Making a lot of noise, talking loud, playing loud music, slamming things around to get your attention (my ex was infamous for all these things, especially the loud music).
8. Excessive use of language you disapprove of.
9. Staring at you in a predatory way.
10. Making unreasonable demands (spending money on them, doing favors, running errands for them that go beyond what’s reasonable).
Emotional/Mental boundary violations:
1. Telling you how you feel or accusing you of feeling or thinking something you do not. Taking your inventory.
2. Gaslighting and triangulating against you.
3. Telling you you have no right to feel the way you do, that it’s wrong, stupid, etc.
4. Insults and namecalling.
5. Grilling you about your activities when you are not with them.
6. Spying on you; stalking you online.
7. Not allowing or making it difficult for you to see your friends, family members, etc.
8. Telling you how you should dress, look, etc.
9. Dismissing or putting down your accomplishments or interests
10. Telling you what you feel is crazy, that you are being over-sensitive, etc. (really a form of gaslighting).
11. Interrupting you or not allowing you to speak.
12. Doing other things while you are trying to talk to them, or continually changing the subject.
13. Lying to you.
14. Trying to make you do something illegal or that goes against your morals.
If your narc does any of these things, be firm and tell them you will NOT tolerate these behaviors. Do not be nice about it. Narcissists can only be handled with tough love, if you can’t disconnect. Do not back down no matter how much they object.
They will react with rage, of course–at first. Without narcissistic supply from you, they will eventually stop being mad and either sulk or leave.
Obviously, leaving or going No Contact is the best thing you can do for yourself, but in some situations this isn’t always possible, especially if there are children involved.
A few of you asked me to go into more detail about Molly’s ex Paul and exactly what made me realize he was a malignant psychopathic narcissist. So I am doing that now.
Paul was smoking crack, which is easy to hide because it doesn’t smell that much and a person can still act sort of normal when high on crack. He seemed to have a hair-trigger temper though, which is common in both crackheads (I’ve known a few and they’re all quick to rage) and narcs.
So here we have a crackhead narc, a ticking time bomb. My daughter knew about the crack, but because he continued to give such a nice, mature, intelligent impression (the guy was very intelligent) no one believed her (because she’s had a history of drug use) ; the weird behavior she displayed at his house on Christmas wasn’t her on drugs (which he said it was). Her behavior was because she was scared and depressed and having panic attacks (another thing she suffers from) because of all the mental and borderline physical abuse (he would threaten but didn’t actually hit her) she was undergoing while she lived with him.
I felt so horrible when I realized I’d been turned into a flying monkey against my own kid, who was definitely the victim.
Maybe it was some kind of weird karma, because when she was younger those roles were reversed: she’d been used by my ex as a junior flying monkey against me.
The talk we had cleared everything up.
When I look back at things now, I realize there was something a little “off” about Paul that I couldn’t put my finger on. He seemed perfect: older (38 and mature), good job as a med tech, nice home in a nice neighborhood, good looking, and very nice and friendly. What’s a mom not to love? He told me he loved my daughter — this was 3 weeks after they met. He was moving so fast. She wasn’t comfortable with moving that fast but played along partly because she didn’t want to disappoint me (Hell, I wanted to date him myself!)
But there were so many red flags we both chose to ignore. And I say chose because I did see them.
I did think it was odd that he was 16 years older than her (she’ll be 22 in April) but rationalized that at least it wasn’t some 22 or 23 year old jobless basement dweller playing video games and smoking pot all day (like a couple of her exes were like). I thought he was too old, but thought that might be a good thing.
It would have been fine had he not been a predator. He was actually telling her he wanted her to have his baby! A month after they met. He has two kids right now, ages 9 and 2, he never sees and isn’t allowed to see. He also came to North Carolina suddenly, with no plan. He said some people in Florida (where he moved from) were stalking him. Another red flag. And all he talks about is his son all the time but his baby daughter–it’s as if she doesn’t exist to him. (They had two different mothers). He is apparently not on good terms with either of them.
Also, when he took my daughter down to Florida in November, they stayed two days and made the rounds visiting all HIS friends and family (and making “secret” trips where my daughter would be told to stay in the car and wait–VERY suspicious!) , but when my daughter asked to go see her brother (who was about 5 miles away from where they were staying), the psychopath told my daughter he didn’t have enough gas. He knew full well how much they had been looking forward to seeing each other. She hasn’t seen her brother since last March.
I think Molly’s whole experience of living with a psychopathic narc was meant to teach her something and wake her up from her own descent into narcissism. Before she met him she was very narcissistic and abusing drugs. She was making terrible choices.
Since this experience(which we talked about in the conversation I posted about), she put two and two together. She knows all about narcissism and psychopathy because I talk to her about it a lot, and she herself identified him as a narcissist without my having to tell her. She says she realized she was becoming a narcissist herself because now she’ s been the victim of one and sees how immoral her behavior had been.
I hate to say this, but Molly’s 30 days in jail probably helped too. She had time to read a lot (something she usually won’t choose to do on her own) and think things over. She realized how “bad” she was, and wants to change.
So I think she may be borderline, but may also be at that point I was back in 1985 when my friend’s calling me out and telling me she couldn’t be my friend anymore because of my narcissistic behavior, woke me up and made me stop myself before I slid down the rabbit hole into true narcissism. That ex-friend was actually being the best friend I could have had at that moment, even though I was devastated over her rejection of me. I believe she saved me from developing NPD.
Some things happen because they’re a wake up call from God. Perhaps his purpose was to educate her about herself in a unusual and painful way. It probably took something that dire to save her from herself.
Here are all the red flags we chose to ignore:
1. They met in a mental health facility-a 5 day drug rehab program. Probably not the ideal way to meet a potential suitor. (Both were also diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety–that doesn’t mean he’s not a narc–they often have comorbid mental disorders and addictions).
2. He came to this state without a plan. He said he was escaping people who stalked him in Florida and just kept driving until he found this area and decided this was where he wanted to live. He has no family or friends here. He paid for his house in cash within days of arriving.
3. Taking her to Florida and not allowing her to see her brother
4. Making her wait in the car while he visited people he was “doing business” with.
5. He seemed very easily upset or angered by things, but it took a while for this to show.
6. He seemed a little too perfect.
7. Moving too fast in their relationship, even talking about marriage and children.
8. He wanted my daughter to move in with him, then complained about all the money she was costing him.
9. Told me horrible things about my daughter and got me to believe them.
10. He was insanely jealous and questioned her whenever she spoke to a male friend on Facebook.
11. He has two children by two different women–neither is on good terms with him and he is not allowed to see his son or daughter.
12. Kept talking about the money Molly was going to get from her car accident settlement–and then got me to let him “hold onto” it (I trusted him more than her); the next day the money was gone.
13. Making me jump through hoops to get my cat back. Instead of just dropping her off at my house or letting me come pick her up, he released her into the woods; shelter personnel found her and I had to pay $85 to get her back.
14. He was a pathological liar.
On Thanksgiving, I wrote about the lovely dinner my roommate and I had at my daughter Molly’s boyfriend’s home (which is where she’s living now when she’s out of jail). It’s a pretty big place–an older home, probably built in the ’60s, 2 stories, with a spiral staircase, large open rooms, a living room lined with floor to ceiling windows that face a view of the mountains, and two large decks. It’s really beautiful. My daughter really lucked out.
I also was surprised how intelligent and nice Paul is. We talked a lot, about many things, and he admitted he loved Molly. It’s obvious to me he’s the first boyfriend she’s ever had who really cares about HER, and isn’t just using her. I think this relationship can be great for her, and she’s happy with him too. So what that he’s 38 years old? He’s mature and has a good job and income, wants her to resume her education, and if things work out, they can have a good life together. Hell, I’d much rather her date a 38 year old who has all his shit together than some 22 year old do-nothing meth-head with no goals or prospects living in his parents’ basement or crashing on a friend’s couch because he can’t even keep a job as a gas station attendant. Which is the type of loser she dated before. She actually didn’t think she deserved any better, but she’s finally realizing she deserves so much more.
Meanwhile her MN father, Michael, has been living at the Salvation Army and hasn’t learned jack shit or changed one iota. He’s the same whiney, entitled, obnoxious, demanding, parasitic, gaslighting, narcissistic jerk that he was when he leeched off me for seven years after our divorce. He nearly sucked me dry, financially, mentally, emotionally, and every other way you can think of. Until February this year I didn’t have the guts yet to tell him to get a life and get the hell out of my house.
I understand why Molly feels bad for him (after all, he’s her dad and she loves him), but she shouldn’t feel guilty about his unfortunate circumstances. He’s done it to himself. And yet, he has made her feel like she’s responsible for his well-being. From the time she was 12, he was treating her like his personal therapist and drug buddy, and attempting to use her to triangulate against me. His actions, among all the other obnoxious and evil things he did, damaged her psyche badly. I still can’t quite determine if she has low-spectrum NPD or severe BPD, but she definitely suffers from both bipolar disorder and PTSD.
But she’s getting better. Things have come to a head these past few months, between her squandering her trust fund, her car accident, and now having to serve time in jail for 30 days (she will be out the day before Christmas). She’s learning some hard lessons about consequences.
So what do her N father and her new apparently mentally healthy boyfriend have to do with each other? Well, Michael is moving in with Paul. Paul’s house is large enough that he will have his own floor, and Paul and Molly will be on the downstairs level. This worries me. Michael always seems to luck out. Narcissists usually do. I’m not envious of him (and am sort of glad he’s no longer homeless because I’m not a total heartless bitch), but this development worries me for two reasons:
1. He has an uncanny ability to turn people against me, even people who have been my friends. I know he trashes my character behind my back, projecting his own character flaws onto me, making ME out to be the narcisistic abuser. If he’s living in the house with them, in my dark fantasies I can imagine him turning Molly against me again, and Paul too. I hate the idea of the only family I have in this state turning against me due to my malignant narcissist ex husband who is living with them.
2. When Molly is around him, he has proven to be a bad influence on her. It’s true he has no car and no way to get around or drive her anywhere this time, but in the past he has been involved in buying drugs with her. Paul doesn’t do drugs so there’s probably nothing to worry about. But Michael’s influence is still a negative one, and his constant presence will push Molly’s buttons in ways that will make it more difficult for her to become independent of his malignant influence.
Probably nothing will happen though. Paul’s doing him a favor and he is paying rent (out of his disability). The intention is not for him to stay (but getting rid of him is easier said than done, I should know!) Molly is okay with this arrangement. Michael has his own floor, and will probably stay busy ranting on political forums like Huffington Post and trolling on conservative websites. The rest of the time he’ll be watching the news or blasting his awful music. It’s more likely someone like Paul may tire of his presence and after a while want him out. It’s also possible Michael may just stay to himself and not bother them much.
As a person with Aspergers and an ACON (and one who was bullied both at home and by my peers during most of my childhood), I’m terribly jumpy and hypervigilant, always expecting the worst, never seeing the cup as half full, always expecting everyone will hate me, and worrying myself into a hair-pulling, twitching frenzy over the the most innocuous things. Every day I worry I will hear bad news, that one of my kids will die, that I’ll find out people are saying bad things about me, or even plotting against me.
I could be on the most beautiful, serene beach in the world, and instead of enjoying the sand and sun, I’ll fret about getting skin cancer even though I’m wearing SPF 4587 sunblock on every inch of my body. I could be in a room filled with people I love, and only be able to think about the one person who didn’t say hello and let that ruin my day. That’s where my head is at. The world seems so dangerous and hostile. I’m extremely paranoid. I find it very hard to relax and just enjoy things.
I know I must not worry and try to let this thing go. I think Paul is too smart to allow Michael to convince him I’m a narcissistic bitch even if he trash talks me 24/7, which he will probably do (or maybe not). Paul already knows me and Molly has told him good things about me. Besides, I already warned Paul that Michael will probably tell him all sorts of horrible stories about what a terrible wife and mother I was. Paul laughed and assured me if that happens he will tell him to stop talking that way, because he doesn’t want to get involved in our family drama and wasn’t a witness to it. So I guess I just need to stop worrying and being so hypervigilant and paranoid.
Let go and let God is good advice. I need to get in the habit of trusting my friend God more. Everything will work out. It always does, somehow.