Dealing with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder?

Day to day with Narcissistic Personality Disorder

So, what, specifically are people with narcissistic personality disorder like? In general they are extremely self centered, enjoy, no demand positive attention and acknowledgement from others, are considered entitled, self focused, have trouble empathizing with others or understanding what another person may feel like. They are often grandiose, self important and judgemental, seeing themselves as better than those around them, while at the same time being extremely sensitive to rejection - implied, perceived or real from others and may react with displays of aggression, threats or temper tantrums when denied. They tend to fall within what I affectionately call the 'yeller/screamer" category. Their view on life tends to be that the sooner everyone gets with the program and does what they want, the sooner things will get done, the right way, their way - and the easier it will be for everyone.

As long as people do what they need to do, which is obey immediately and ensure that nothing ruptures their worldview, things generally remain calm and narcissists can be as nice as the next fellow. The description "walking on eggshells" is commonly used by the families of people with narcissistic personality disorder and they are often considered difficult to treat due to their difficulty with empathy, extreme sensitivity and rejection of change. It doesn't mean they can't change, it just takes a while, after all, these are pretty ingrained habits - which may beg the question - why don't we spend more energy focusing on the signs which emerge in childhood when they might be easier to treat, but that's a complicated, political and social question beyond the scope of this article.

But back to what it's like for someone with a narcissistic personality disorder to face a threat. It may help to understand a little of where this comes from. Remember that people with narcissistic personality disorder view the world a little differently - not through rose colored glasses exactly, more like one's with the wrong prescription - things are kind of fuzzy, out of focus, distorted, flat becomes round, your head spins and you feel a little queezy, so imagine spending your life with badly fitted, out of focus glasses - you reach for the cup, but your vision is distorted so you miss, you misjudge the distance to the door and walk right into it, you try to walk over to someone and you trip and fall because the ground feels wobbly and is moving and undulating in a most disturbing manner.So, psychologically, these people are starting off at a distinct disadvantage.

The other thing, and the underlying reason for much of the mocking, the rage, the sarcasm, put downs and copious tears, is that for these people, much of what most of us would consider inconsequential is tantamount to a life or death struggle, psychologically. For these people, anything that threatens their world immediately threatens their very self - and that's the core of narcissism, it's a reaction (and none of this is conscious, by the way) to a deep seated fear that underneath all that bravado, boasting and general obnoxiousness that accompanies severe personality disorders that they will be unmasked as someone so unspeakably horrible that they will instantly be shunned and denounced by all who know and love them. It is this deep seated insecurity, self doubt and longing for unconditional attention that provokes the intensity of the reactions many of these people display. Something as minor as a disagreement about an outfit or movie choice can provoke this fear, in fact any questioning at all is threatening in the extreme because to these people, if there's a crack in the dam wall, catastrophe is imminent and certain (and what's more, it's probably because of something they've done or not done).

Obviously not all people with narcissistic personality disorder are this severe and certainly not all the time, but when they are triggered, their attacks can be biting and vicious and frequently guilt ladened. People with narcissistic personality disorder are so uncertain that they will be loved and cared for for themselves, that they frequently use manipulation, especially guilt to get what they want - and it works! People often comply, partly because of their own guilt being activated, but also because they know from experience that they are never going to win, and if by chance they do, there will be hell to pay.

One of the central deficits in narcissistic personality disorder is in the ability for empathy or being able to imagine oneself in another's situation and imagine what they would feel like. How would it be to try to imagine someone else's experience if you don't know how to. It's like telling someone with no art experience to reproduce a Monet with a screwdriver, at best you'd get a crude approximation.

Dealing a Narcissistic Personality Disorder

Well, where to start....

What exactly are personality disorders? Basically a personality disorder is a set of personality traits or characteristics that are both rigid and chronic. Generally personality disorders are not diagnosed in people under 18 as children's character or personality traits are assumed to still be somewhat flexible. Children may show characteristics of these disorders earlier than 18, but their essence is chronicity and inflexibility - and we have to get a little older for that.

Personality disorders are most often diagnosed by a mental health professional. Comprehensive interviews, information from the person's family, questionnaires and projective instruments like the Thematic Apperception Test and the Rorschach are all commonly used in the diagnosis of personality disorders.

What differentiates personality disorders from the rest of us? Like many mental health symptoms, personality disorders are the extreme manifestations of common characteristics. In the same way that everyone feels sad, but clinical depression significantly impacts day to day functioning, people with personality disorders (and those around them) are significantly affected by the person's personality style and despite these difficulties, the person is unable to change these characteristics. They continue to respond in the same way to everyone and every situation. They're the prototypical "when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail" type.

Most of us consider our personalities pretty stable, we know if we tend to be introverted or outgoing, the people we like and the activities we enjoy. Although our internal base remains, we change ourselves subtly from day to day and in different situations. While a "hey bud, what's up?" may be fine for a friend, few of us would walk into a job interview saying that, and even fewer would be surprised by a negative result. But people with personality disorders are different, not only are they unable to make those essential changes, but they are often deeply confused, hurt and offended when their actions are not well received. Many of these disorders are also externally focused, in other words, it's everyone else's fault, which is part of what makes these people often very difficult to deal with, real "my way or the highway" people who don't generally play well with others.

The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual for Mental Disorders lists the following as general personality disorder criteria: An ongoing, chronic pattern of understanding the world and one's own experiences which deviates markedly from the expectations of the individual's culture. This is often expressed in cognitive or thought patterns (i.e., ways of perceiving and interpreting self, other people, and events) and in emotions (i.e., the range, intensity, lability, and appropriateness of emotional response). Interpersonal functioning is also affected and there are generally some problems with impulse control.

These patterns must occur over a significant period of time, in multiple situations and with multiple people. It's not just an occasional bad day, it can't be due to drugs or alcohol and other disorders need to be ruled out. While many people come to therapy because they feel bad, often people with personality disorders are dragged to therapy or are there because of an ultimatum, because other people can't deal with their behavior.

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The big problem comes in that despite these invisible impediments, people with narcissistic personality disorder are expected to live, work and interact with the rest of us in the world - and this poses 2 problems - they have to live with us and we have to live with them - and unlike many disorders which are temporary or intermittent, by definition, these are ongoing difficulties. Furthermore, the areas in which these people have deficits - self soothing, empathy and perspective are all areas which society generally attributes to personality, which is fair enough, but more specifically, we treat them as volitional. People with narcissistic personality disorder struggle with things that most of us take for granted and certainly things that many of us do reflexively. They don't know how to calm down, feel less anxious, angry etc. they don't know how to restore their fragile, wounded ego's and they have no innate sense of themselves as kind, loving etc, which they certainly can be.

Knowing some of these things can be helpful in alleviating the guilt that people in families of those with narcissistic personality disorder often feel - and some that those with the disorder feel too. On the whole, people don't like being uncomfortable or unhappy and tend to avoid it if they can. People with this disorder show definite deficits in skills, some of which can be taught. Although it can be difficult for people with narcissistic personality disorder to enter therapy, there can be significant changes with perseverance and practice by both the person with the disorder and their families.

So, in dealing with these people, try to have a sense that actions which seem spiteful and malevolent are actually their attempts at coping because they feel so bad and don't know how to do things differently. This often helps feel less angry towards the person and can help with problem solving. Also, look at your priorities and which things are worth fighting over, remember for them it probably feels a lot more personal so they'll put a lot of effort into it - is it worth it?

Now on important things it's different and here you might want to try stating what you need to say as neutrally as possible, if you're giving feedback focus on your feelings only, use "I statements" say something like "I feel that I'm not able to communicate with you right now because you are yelling, so I'm going to take some space for a few minutes", and yes, mostly you will have to take the high road and don't get lured back in with "so you think it's my fault" or any digs - the idea is to get out quick.

Living with a person with narcissistic personality disorder can be a little like being a meteorologist - and if it looks like rain take an umbrella, so be prepared with prepared things to say, no matter how silly you think it sounds, remember this technique is not just for you, it's for them too, the idea is you take the lead and show them better ways of dealing with things by how you interact with them. Over time, if you do things like self time outs or taking space, which quite honestly is the best way to sneak some undisturbed time, sooner or later, you'll be in the beginning of a conflict and you'll hear "I'm taking space for 10 minutes" instead of the escalating cycle.

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Comments 249 comments

K.D. Clement profile image

K.D. Clement 7 years ago from USA

So what do you think of the "no contact" dogma? The things I have read about dealing with a narcissist always say to stay far, far away and go no contact if you can. It always seemed a bit inhumane to me. Do you agree?


cazcat profile image

cazcat 7 years ago

absolutely, no contact may make it easier for the other person, as they get to put the blame on someone else, but it's truly not helpful in any other way. Dealing with someone with narcissistic personality disorder can be tough, but they are still people & we need to find ways to help them and ourselves in dealing with them. Thanks for your comment.


Hurt 7 years ago

i have recently been looking at my own behavior as my girlfriend is sick of it , im very worried as i show almost all the signs of narcissistic personality disorder, im worried that she wont understand and would leave me , this is true enough to what is been said above about fear or abandoment, thing is i still have the ability to empthasise, though i rarely do anymore, im willing to change and is hard as it is im willing to execpt the blame myself, any small argument seems huge to me , my girlfriend stops showing me affection for 1 second and i start to get angry ,

i managed to keep my cool yesterday with her , she has been very patiencet with em and understandble has got none or little left, she gets angry when an argument is brewing and now instead of fightin back tooth and nail i actually calm down first, i no longer give her the 'my way or high way' choice and i feel better slightly however im still terrified that she will meet someone else that she likes and that is not mentaly f***** up like me and simply leave with him


dr c profile image

dr c 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi-

 

Thank you for taking the time to write. You have 2 very positive factors in your favor - firstly - you're insightful enough to be concerned about your own behavior and secondly - you're trying to do something about it, which puts you ahead of about 50% of the population.

I would highly recommend that you get in touch with a therapist who has experience dealing with your type of issues (don't be afraid to interview a couple until you find someone who fits for you). The fact that you recognize where some of your issues lie is great, but you can't do it alone, you need a comprehensive treatment plan and someone guiding you along the way. You are very courageous, I wish you the best on your journey!


Amy 7 years ago

I've been reading up on Narcissistic Personality Disorder and it really did strike me how well my boyfriend fits into that category.There's so little information or support online for the loved ones of the person affected, so this website has been very helpful. I'm not sure therapy would be ideal for him, he mistrusts professionals. And he is very fragile emotionally and had abused drugs for many years before meeting me, I don't want things to go downhill. Sometimes I'm delibarately feeding his ego because I see it makes him happy... I'm just at a complete loss here, I don't know what to do.


A McKay 7 years ago

Thank you for this site. It has been really helpful as I suspect I am dealing with someone with this personality disorder and want to know how to cope in a positive manner when subjected to these behaviours. I am curious however ....and I pose the question...."If this is the mother with these behaviours how do I distinguish that the daughter who is a teenager (16) who also shows some behaviours is just going through the self centred, angry, teenage stage and not sharing the same disorder. Is there a chance of inheritance, or is it all due to development during childhood? "

I think she does show signs of empathy, however it is a divorce situation and I realize lots of variables come into play such as anger, abandonment, loss and manipulation. Having mom's behaviour as the example has also possibly set the tone for what is okay acceptable behaviour for her. Any insight would greatly be appreciated as I know I will be dealing with this situation on a long term basis and want to keep the drama as limited as possible for all parties involved and not add to it.

Thank You in advance

A McKay


Juanita Richards 7 years ago

I was married to someone with this disorder and they are very dangerous people, NPD being a part of psyhcopathy, or anti-social personality disorder. Watching Clayton Weatherston on the stand it is clear he has this disorder. He reminds me of my ex and it is scary to watch, bringing back traumatic memories for me.


dr c profile image

dr c 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi-

I'd like to respond to both comments individually (and also apologize for the length of time it has taken me to respond). Regarding A McKay's comments : You bring up one of the most commonly asked questions, namely how do you differentiate adolescent, (often egocentric and selfish) thinking and actions from those of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Firstly, personality disorders are not generally diagnosed until the age of 18. The reason being that children and adolescents are still forming their characters, testing out roles and ways to be in the world. A personality disorder is a long standing pattern of interacting with people that leads to significantly impaired relationships or impact's a person's ability to function in the world (ie people who cannot hold a job as they can never get on with colleagues). While teenagers often show behavior that seems selfish or self centered, this is a developmentally normal process which heralds the transition from being a child to being an adult. During adolescence there is an increased focus on defining the self - and you need to think about yourself a fair amount to define yourself. Empathy, or the lack thereof, to jump to Juanita's comment for a moment, is more a characteristic of antisocial personality disorder. This disorder is characterized by a significant disregard for generally accepted social rules and major infringements on the rights of others (ie major assault, not just hurting someone' s feelings.) One of the key differences between narcissistic personality disorder and antisocial personality disorder is that narcissists are characterized by extreme concern for self and need for positive recognition, their disregard of others tends to be related to their extreme self focus (there just isn't enough room for you & them in their psychic world). Antisocial disregard for others stems from a primary deficit in the ability to put oneself in another's shoes, which is the building block of empathy. So, narcissists may disregard you because they feel so internally vulnerable that they need to remain the center of attention to feel okay, antisocials disregard you because they genuinely don't understand how their actions impact others. They regard people more as objects and so are not as moved by the pain & suffering of others, they relate to others more in terms of what that person can do for them or what they can get, so when don't need you anymore, they just move on, the same way you might disgard a dress that had shrunk (because we all know dresses do that!). Teenagers, narcissists and anti social personality disorders are all tough to live with and may show similar behaviors, but understanding the source of these may make it easier to deal with them. To address A. McKay once more, children learn what they live with and act as they see acted (yup, for better or worse, they soak it all up). A child with a parent with narcissistic tendencies may also show some of these tendencies as this is the only way they know people act. Kids do what their parent's do because parents shape and define kid's world's. Often the best way of dealing with narcissists is to deal with the underlying issue - need for positive attention, if you are able to acknowledge the other person's point of view (you don't have to agree with it), then they tend to feel heard and are more likely to listen. Going head to head will probable inflame the situation. What narcissists, and all of us really want is to be heard and acknowledged (they just need it a little, okay a lot more than most). The same strategy works with aggressive kids, (or adults) - if you engage you fuel the fire, step back & try to really listen to what they have to say and you've won half the battle - it's harder to fight with someone who is trying to listen. I would also encourage you to be clear in your boundaries and role expectations as this lessens the chance of misunderstandings & hurt feelings. Lastly, if you can keep in mind (and it can be hard) that, as obnoxious as the behaviors may be, they are really not coming from spite, but from fear and it's really not about you, it's what you've triggered in them, it can make it a little easier not to take things to personally - and not to write the other person off, but to acknowledge their difficulties and figure out the best way to work with them. Again, my apologies for the delayed response and thank you for your comments.


tassa 7 years ago

My brother and his wife (we suspect she has NPD) have just divorced. We are worried if she is a threat, physically, to the kids? Emotionally we can already see some damage. Any information on this would be greatly appreciated.


dr c profile image

dr c 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Having a parent with narcissistic personality disorder can be very painful as a child as their needs are often superceded by those of the parent. Part of the way in which narcissistic personality disorder is damaging is due to the fact that these people really struggle to take another's perspective and therefore may struggle to read children's emotional cues and needs. This can lead to intense frustration and a feeling of not ever being good or important enough or being too needy, so that children begin to feel guilty about their needs.

Another factor is that children learn the world through their parent's eyes; they learn how to interact with others, they learn how to be in relationships and they learn what behavior is acceptable or unacceptable from a parent's actions, not from their words. So, potentially some unhealthy interpersonal patterns are replicated and the child does not get an accurate sense of the world around them and how to be in it.

The best way to counteract this is with exposure to alternatives. If the relationship is civil enough & you have access to the kids then show them (by your behavior, don't knock their mom!) that there are different ways of being in the world and that you see them for who they are and recognize their needs. All parents live vicariously through their kids to a certain extent. We boast to our co-workers when our child wins a race or earns a prize, and that's good, we should be proud of our kids, it helps them develop a sense of self esteem. Parents who are narcissistic, however may be unable to see that their children are similar, but different from them and that this is not a bad thing. These parents may tend to push their children to live out roles they wish they could fulfill - the classic example is the parent who insists that a child with no natural desire or ability continue with piano lessons because they, themselves always wanted to be a good piano player. The biggest problem with this, is that children naturally try to play out the roles adults, and particularly their parents set up for them - and when a child is playing out a parent's life, they are unable to create their own.

A primary task of childhood is to develop and discover who we are. Children of narcissistic parents are often very adult like, perfectionistic and responsible, yet are frequently plagued with self esteem issues as ultimately when we make ourselves into someone else's image, we lose touch with ourselves.

Contrary to popular belief, most mentally ill people are not violent and generally previous behavior is the best predictor of future behavior. Where you are likely to encounter most difficulties with this lady is if you threaten her sense of self or question her actions too much. Underlying narcissism is a deep and undying fear of not being good enough. The narcissism is essentially a defense against this, so if you directly question her parenting skills she will probably become defensive and not listen to you, become more set in her ways, or do the opposite of what you want. It is important to acknowledge her ideas, even if you do not agree with them, before she will be able to listen to your ideas. People with narcissistic personality disorder can be tough to deal with, but if you keep in mind that their behavior comes from fear and insecurity rather than maliciousness, you may be better able to respond. I hope this was helpful and thank you for your comment.


ClaudetteK profile image

ClaudetteK 7 years ago

That Clayton Weatherston will never be any good, you could never reabilitate him, I watched him on N.Z T.v while on a visit to be honest I couldn't believe what I was seeing. Best shot just give him a lethal injection. Google him and you will agree.


dr c profile image

dr c 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Well, maybe not, I pretty much never agree with the death penalty. I read a few news clippings and while the crime sounds abhorrent and the defense of provocation weak, I'm not sure that he is narcissistic or unable to be rehabilitated.

The crime sounds very impulse based (I mean stabbing his girlfriend 216 times certainly suggests a massive loss of control). This suggests that it was somewhat situationally and interpersonally based- meaning she was the target because of his emotional involvement with her, not that it was her fault in any way.

The people you really need to watch out for are less emotional, they are detached,cold and lack the ability to empathize and/or imagine another's pain. These people are controlled, planned and thoughtful in their choosing of a victim, a time, place and manner of killing and often enjoy torturing or extending their victim's pain. These people are true psychopaths, significantly more severe and dangerous than narcissistic personality disorder.

Although psychopaths are genuinely dangerous, I still believe that they deserve humane treatment. They need to be kept away from society, that is clear, but they too are suffering from a biological brain based disorder, albeit one with most horrendous consequences. I don't think that because we are currently unable to successfully treat these people, we should kill them. There are many medical conditions which we cannot yet treat (luckily, none with such terrible consequences for those around them), but we continue to search for cures. Even those who are true psychopaths would not have chosen that path, would you? Not to dismiss their behavior or suggest that you can just say I'm sick, I can't help it, even people who are sick retain responsibility for their behaviors.

In my experience, however the death penalty is more about a misguided sense of revenge and hope for closure on the family's part. Unfortunately, it's not that easy. Whether the offender is there or not, it doesn't bring the victims back & it actually doesn't make it any easier for the families. I've found that people place their hopes in something like the death penalty, thinking that they'll feel better when "justice is done", but justice is never done- the crime still occurred and can never be undone - it's about the other person's anger, frustration and hurt. The death penalty is simply not an effective deterrent, as the current research shows (if these people had the wherewithall to think of the consequences, or how it would make others feel, they probably would not have committed the crime). I'm not justifying the crimes or saying that there shouldn't be consequences, but state sanctioned murder in response to murder/some other vicious crime is not a solution.

Thank you for your comment and your opinion.


mkk 7 years ago

i have just realised that though i had a very normal childhood i still am a narcissist i cannot empathise with anybody i am scared that my husband will realize that i am really a horrible person which i am begining to think i really am and leave me i want a cure for this


bfd 7 years ago

My wife has been diagnosed with this problem; the problem is that I have Aspergers so it is very hard for me to help her through this. What would be the best way to get sucha person to therapy when they are constnatly miserable aobut how noone understnads them or treats them right (and they are very intelligent).


Noni 7 years ago

My mother-in-law is Narcissistic. I have been living with her in a joint family since 4 and a half years. The first 3 years were like hell because I used to live with her in the same portion. Things don't seem to change and my husband doesn't seem to get me an indepenedent place. Apart from having typical mother-in-law-VS-daughter-in-law problems with her, I have suffered from her extreme Narcissism and I am still not stable because I am a house wife and have almost no distractions all day. I mainly take care of my two kids.

I have unresolved feelings from the past. She gave me the toughest time because of her jealousy towards me. She has never digested the fact that I am the mother of her grandchildren, whom she is abnormally possessive about. I fear that she'll never "forgive" for being the mother of "her" kids and life isn't going to change. Plus, in an oriental culture like our, where elders and in-laws are treated like gods, I fear I'll never lead a happy life, God forbid. Please, help me out!


dr c profile image

dr c 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thank you all so much for taking the time to read this piece and write to me. I shall try to address your issues individually and highlight some commonalities in your experiences, as well as trying to provide some concrete techniques, so forgive me if this is lengthy.

MKK, you are courageous in scrutinizing yourself, but I would hesititate to jump to conclusions. Narcissistic Personality Disorder is a very severe, long standing, maladaptive way of interacting with others. Difficulty empathizing with others is just one symptom and can occur in many disorders including mood and anxiety disorders.

One of the central features of many, but not all personality disorders is that the person suffering from the disorder is generally unconcerned about their symptoms, it is usually the people around them who are having trouble dealing with the narcissist.

Those with narcissistic personality disorder, while they may genuinely wish for a less chaotic and confrontive existance, often have trouble recognizing or acknowledging that their interpersonal style is what wreaks havoc in their lives.

I would strongly advise that you discuss your concerns with a mental health professional, who should be able to clarify the nature of your symptoms and help you deal with these. Thank you again for writing.

BFD, wow, a tough situation. Again, I would highly recommend a consultation with a mental health professional. You and your wife both have significant illnesses and I would not expect anyone in your situation to do it alone.

Try to become informed about both your illnesses so that you both get to recognize what makes things difficult for you both. If you can, write down the times when things get rough in as much detail as possible, noting dates, day, time and any events immediately before or after the event. Going over these with each other and with a therapist and problemsolving can give you some good tools as you will begin to recognize certain behaviors in each other and intervene.

Get as much support as you can from agencies, support groups, family, friends etc. This is going to be an ongoing process, and you will need people to help you along the way.

I would imagine that you are both intelligent - this is part of the reason other people have trouble recognizing that you both have significant disabilities and may blame you for some of your behaviors. Become your own research subject, the more you can analyse and review tough times in your life, the more knowledge you have to prevent future episodes - and become your own advocate - share information about your conditions with your friends and family and tell them about interventions that work and what makes things worse. Most people want to understand and help, they just don't know how.

-And now, to Noni - another very tough situation - and you have the additional complication of a culture which discourages standing up to elders and often places a new wife in a lower position, from which she is expected to both endure hardship and gain the respect of her in laws.

Often mothers have some resentment at no longer being the most important woman in their son's life. They fear that they will be displaced and so feel the need to criticize and harangue a new bride. I would suggest that you initially tread softly and acknowledge the importance of your mother in law - make sure on mother's day she gets flowers/a card from you saying how much you appreciate her for bringing your husband up and for the suggestions you give her. A surprise card or small gift always makes people feel appreciated, and the more she feels appreciated the less she will feel the need to criticize.

I understand that this won't be easy, especially initially, but people respond to the way they are treated, so if you are treating her well, any mean behavior clearly comes from her. Ask her advice about things, but remain firm when it comes to raising your kids. You need to communicate that while you respect her opinion and are pleased that she is sharing information with you -but bottom line - you are the mom and these are your children and you are entitled to raise them as you wish.

As hard as it is, try not to take things she says too personally - many mean comments arise from insecurity not maliciousness. I would also ask your husband for some support. He too, needs to stand up to his mom and, with the utmost respect, at times disagree with her and take another path, and it is very important that he support you. He chose to marry you and you are now the most important woman in his life and he needs to communicate that to his mom.

Be clear that you love her and value her input, but that you will take her advice under consideration, and will make your own decision. I realize this is a lot harder to do than it sounds, but persistence will pay off and make your life a little easier.

Lastly, try to feel confident in yourself - you are a competent, courageous mom, or you would not be trying to change things, you know what to do, and if you make mistakes - that's how we all learn and you are entitled to make your own. I wish you much luck and thank you for writing.


messyjessie207 profile image

messyjessie207 7 years ago from Thomaston, Maine

Thank you so much for offering a solution other than no contact in dealing with someone with NPD. I've been looking for ways to deal with the person in my life with NPD, and lately I have just been as calm and rational as I can be when arguing with them. This seems to be the best approach, and now that I know what the problem is I can be amused by her antics instead of horrified. I know now that I am not crazy, I am not overly sensitive, I do not have an overactive imagination, and that the memories I have are real, not the bullshit she feeds me.

Thank you so much for writing this article and now I know that I dont have to sever ties, I just need to be patient and take the high road.


Dawn 7 years ago

Dr C...I appreciate that you respond to your comments. My husband and I have recently started counseling. My husband has been given this diagnosis...and is now fighting it. As I read (and my therapist said I was NOT to do the information gathering) it becomes clear that this fits my husband to a T. He is NOT violent, but he definetly shows signs of each of the other signs, althoug to verying degrees.

My question is this...We are married for 17 years...and I don't see that there is much of a futur for us. If I had understood this earlier in our marriage, maybe I would have had a better understanding of how to deal with the symptoms...but, after all these years, they have taken their toll...I am broken myself, and it seems that there is no real hope that WE will be able to have a loving happy relationship in the future. I can, and have, put up with a lot of the crap that this disorder causes...BUT, I do NOT want to live the rest of my life knowing that my partner will possibley never have any empathy for me, or stop doubting me or being jelous...

Is there hope? How would I know? He was told to gather as much information and understanding of the disorder...but so far as I can tell, he's spent one whole evening looking into it...There is no proactive effort to healing on his part, and I don't think I can be the glue for this relationship indefinetly...Sometimes, I need a rock too!!

Any insite you have would be greatly appreciated.

Dawn


advisor4qb profile image

advisor4qb 7 years ago from On New Footing

My husband has NPD, but he is undiagnosed. He would not go to counseling except for "family counseling," which I was warned by an LCSW that would be used against me. The one time I went to counseling with him, he acted like a totally different person, which made me mad, so I looked bad in comparison to Mr. Wonderful.

I left him nine months ago. In the beginning, he acted like I did this terrible thing to hurt him. I couldn't take his belligerent abuse anymore, and he was also drinking everyday (he was ENTITLED to that, you know...). After a few months, he tried to get me to take him back. When I refused, he decided that I was not worth the trouble. Now he tries to devalue me by ignoring me when we exchange or are forced to talk about the children. He claimed he was going to give me a simple divorce, but I will believe that when I see it. Wow, you wrote a nice hub that covered many bases that mine miss! Thanks!


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stricktlydating 7 years ago from Australia

I almost got stung, but I actually Googled Narcissism at a friends suggestion. She knew before me. I had just been perplexed. I realised well and true that my boyfriend was a Narcissist. What I read, word for word was a perfect description of him. Once I knew about it, I understood the situation I was in, and I no longer felt confused about his behaviour. He was different. His world was different to mine, and most other peoples. I saw it as a mental illness (which could not be cured). And, it might sound strange, but I could notice it in his eyes. It was as if part of him wasn't really there (or sincere/genuine). After I ended our relationship I did not return his calls, so he came knocking, twice. But I locked the house and pretended I wasn't home. I've never seen him again, but know that six months later he was married to someone he'd only recently met. I know the way he would have 'swept her off her feet'. I worry for her, because she obviously hasn't realised. I would hate to be in her situation.


dr c profile image

dr c 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Advisor4qb: Thank you for your comment. As you say, relationships with someone who has a Narcissistic personality disorder are tough, but you seem to have a good sense of what is your stuff and what is theirs, which will help you take things a little less personally, not that it doesn't hurt - especially when kids are involved. i'm glad the hub was helpful to you.


Tom Cornett profile image

Tom Cornett 7 years ago from Ohio

My wife's ex would fit most of your description. The children were HIS by blood and he was furious when they began to call me dad. My wife and I constantly tried to make peace with him for the sake of the kids but to no avail. He was constantly in trouble through abusing drugs and alcohol.

The children are grown now and have their own kids. They haven't spoken to him in years.

You wrote a great hub here. It explains much about personality disorders. Thanks.


cookie 7 years ago

I am currently working with someone whose narcissistic and cleverly abusive behavior makes the working place miserable. I am stunned to recognize that she appears to have all of the symptoms for NPD. Any recommendations for how to handle such a personality in the workplace? Avoidance is currently not a possibility.


Stevie  7 years ago

I just realized that my husband ex girlfriend is narcissistic. They have not been in a relationship for over 5 years and she obviously thinks it is time to get him back. She has left an anonymous voicemail at my work and mailed me an anonymous letter both stating that my husband is have an affair with her. When my husband called her to ask that she stop it angered her enough to have letters hand delivered my home personally attacking me and going on in detail about this fictitious affair that they have been having, she even went as far as having me followed one weekend just so she could intimidate me at a store.....or she thought! I know my husband and she is a closed chapter in his life so I know what she says is not true but it angers me that she felt entitlement to enter our relationship without an invitation. What she said in this letter definitely shows her narcissistic nature and with all of this it has left me uncomfortable with her actions. I have not reacted or responded to her as I feel it might feed her ego and encourage more attacks. How do I get her to stop this?


dr c profile image

dr c 7 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi Stevie and Cookie-

Thanks for your comments. You both have really tough situations so I'll try to respond to each individually.

Stevie: I believe that the best way to deal with difficult people is to try and understand why they behave the way they do. In the case of a narcissist, much of their behavior stems from deep feelings of inadequacy and an almost continual unease and fear that they may be unmasked as being inefficient, stupid, weak. They often feel as if their behaviors are part of themselves and so any hint of criticism is not about the behavior for them, it's a dagger to their very core. A critique of some work may be felt as an aggressive attack on themselves and what they are about. So, for them, the world is a highly critical, dangerous place where you continually have to defend against being unmasked as being inferior. Narcissists feel as though they have little control over things, the things they do well, they do well by chance (although they will verbalize the exact opposite)Being critical of others is often a defensive strategy for the narcissists. Having an understanding of this doesn't make their behavior any pleasanter, but it makes it more understandable and helps us avoid things like power struggles (don't bother), excessive criticism and taking their behavior personally. When you do have to criticize or offer feedback, try to begin with something validating before you criticize, and make an effort to separate their behavior from themselves (much like we do with kids - we make sure they know stealing cookies is not okay, but it doesn't mean they are a bad kid.) Also try to keep in mind that their criticism and controlling behaviors are really about them and try to minimize situations where they would feel the need to do this. Our natural reaction to someone being controlling or micromanaging is to try to avoid them, which actually fuels a narcissists fear. I hope that this is helpful.


NPD Lover 7 years ago

I found your blog filled with wonderful information. Thank you!!

My boyfriend of 3 years fits almost every one of these items. Finding this site has helped me understand why he is the way he is.

I love this man very much but am not sure I can be in a relationship with someone who lack empathy and can not recognize my feelings.

When I give my boyfriend what he wants, fluff his ego and listen to his constant issues... he is happy.

But when he pulls his guilt trips on me we have major fights. He doesn't want me to have any other friends, interests or hobbies. If I am unavailable to him he gets angry and sometimes cruel.

Everyone I know thinks I should dump him. And I have broken things off many times over the years.

But I love him, respect his intelligence and perspectives. I wish he would get better so I could be happy.

Is there any hope? Or should I get out now before it is too late?

Thank You

NPD Lover


clarendonmom 6 years ago

My son is in kindergarten and I connected with another mom in our class before school began. We had 3 playdates, but she said some fairly competitive, "superior" things (either about being a mom, our kids and even my choice of husband). I came away from our interactions feeling like I'd received a "zinger" each time. I decided to avoid her when school began, because she continued to say thoughtless things when my son was struggling with his first days at school, even going so far as to brag that her son was dealing so wonderfully, is so mellow and laid back and has no problems etc.

I would still say hello, but I just naturally gravitated to other parents in the class who were not abrasive and were simply friendly. After a few weeks, I began to notice this mother pointedly avoiding me, to the degree that she'd see me and purposely walk away. I was concerned that in my efforts to avoid being hurt by her comments, I had inadvertently hurt in feelings in return. I didn't mean to do that.

So I began a quest to re-establish a connection: calling, emailing a kind note, and hugging her warmly at our church potluck last week. I have been utterly distraught to find that despite my efforts to reconnect, she responds very coldly and can barely bring herself to look at me. It got even worse after the Christmas hug - she now outright ignores me if I say hello. I find myself repeating my hello until she responds (ridiculous, I know) and when she finally responds, she looks away as she says it, like she doesn't want to acknowledge that I exist.

I found myself being filled with rage and fury after that episode (that happened this morning), planning how I would be just as rude to her in the future etc, which I don't want to do. I realized to do so would just justify her poor behavior and give her the pleasure of hating me even more.

THEN, it occurred to me that I'm being pulled down into this negative vortex where I feel compelled to act angrily and meanly, in other words, where I'm being controlled and manipulated into being someone I don't want to be. I've been there before: with my father-in-law who I'm convinced has NPD. I now believe that this mother has the same traits.

I want to behave in a respectful and kind manner to this woman and not be manipulated into feeling guilty, angry and frustrated. I don't want to turn into a cold, dismissive invdiviual just to function around her. Please advise me as how best to manage my interactions/contact with her.

We are both at-home moms and are heavily involved in our kids' classrooms. There is only a handful of moms in this position and so it's difficult to have minimal contact with her - we're in the same room at least 3 times a week.

Please tell me how to be around this woman so that I can stay compassionate but not be victimized by her actions. PS: I grew up in an alcoholic home and have codependent issues.

Thank you so, so much for reading this and for your help.


clarendonmom 6 years ago

ps: ever since having these struggles with this mom, I've been obsessed with why she's being so spiteful and has basically written me off, for something so minor and despite my efforts to make amends. So I've spent four months or so telling myself it's my fault for being so insensitive to her in the beginning, or that I'm overly sensistive. In other words, I've felt pretty crazy since being around her. I want to add that I'm no angel...I've gossiped about her with friends (who don't know her), venting my frustrations about my dealings withher. But at the heart of it, I'm struggling to treat her kindly and respectfully and and I feel so resentful towards her every time we interact. Again - I feel like I'm being manipulated into being as angry at her as she seems to be at me. That's what I hope to change.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi NPDlover and clarendonmom,

Thanks for writing. I think both your posts nicely illustrate the complex push-pull dynamic often involved in relationships with someone who has NPD - and the frustration, guilt and self recrimination that often follows. As you have both discovered, wounding someone with a narcissistic personality disorder, whether intentional or not, can have dramatic consequences.

For you, NPDlover, when you are not available to meet your boyfriend's needs he becomes cruel and angry. For clarendonmom, the child's mother has become cold, distant and rude. This is because slights of any sort are dramatically magnified for someone with NPD. For them, it's never just a little thing, it feels as though someone is exposing, ridiculing and rejecting their inner core, criticism or feedback often feels as though others are deliberately trying to expose them, showing the world what they most fear; that they are incompetent, unlovable, undeserving human beings.

People with NPD feel little control over the world and so often try to tightly control and regulate their lives. They often tend to be somewhat black and white in their thinking so basically "if your not for me, you must be against me" dominates their thinking. The world is a perilous place for these people who feel they must constantly be on guard against others and live in dread at being exposed for the terrible people they feel they are. Consequently, these people often have a "my way or the highway" mentality and struggle with anything less than a reflection of themselves as perfect from others.

For most people, if someone has a different opinion from yours, it's just that - a different opinion. For someone with NPD, it is often proof that they need to defend themselves, so even questioning them about a subject can elicit significant anger. Keeping this in mind may make it easier for both of you to be less affected by the emotional swings you encounter.

I like the picture of the kitten staring in the mirror and seeing a lion. That's how people with NPD present - as great roaring lions, when underneath they are frightened little kittens. Think of the way that a cat or dog responds when they are frightened - they puff up, growl or hiss and try to look intimidating. People are often just the same, so if you can respond to the frightened underneath part, you may be able to side step some of the growls and hisses.

Another important point brought up by clarendonmom is the response she feels to the woman's rudeness. What you feel is a mirror image of what this woman is feeling. One of the common defenses of those with NPD is projection - or placing your feelings onto someone else. This is not at all conscious or deliberate, but unconsciously when emotions become too overwhelming or uncomfortable they become assigned to someone else, which reduces that person's anxiety - and often allows then to feel righteously indignant. I know that's somewhat esoteric, so let me give you an example - Someone with NPD is being given feedback by their boss, most of us don't necessarily like that, but we don't feel that if we get one negative evaluation it means were bad at everything. For someone with NPD, it is difficult to get this perspective. So, they get a critique on a project with some suggestions for improvement. First there's the feeling of " I knew it, I suck, I don't know why I even try, I'll never be any good, I have to redo the entire project" these feelings build, getting more and more uncomfortable until our defense mechanisms kick in - then there's the little voice that says "I bet he/she's just jealous because you did a better job than they could of - what kind of suggestions are these? ridiculous, I bet they're just trying to get even with me because I did better at x than they did" which makes that person feel much better "yeah, that's it - they're jealous of me", which probably leads to an angry or dismissive response which evokes in the other person exactly those emotions they were trying to get rid of. It's really kind of a handy psychological sleight of hand our brains do for us, but as you can see, like most things too much can be a bad thing.

Recognizing these feelings in yourself can often give you a clue as to how the other person is feeling underneath the growls and hisses, and generally recognizing these and naming them, can significantly diminish their power. You can't change that person, but you can change how you react to them.

For NPDlover, I would suggest you sit down and make a list of the pros and cons of the relationship and also isolate where you have the most trouble. Then decide on some ground rules as to what is acceptable, how much energy are you willing to put into the relationship in the absence of any from him? When you clarify your needs in a relationship, and what is keeping you there you should be better able to evaluate whether this relationship will work for you. Being cruel for example has to go, it doesn't matter how upset or angry someone is there is no excuse for cruelty, if they are that angry they need to find better alternatives like taking a walk or writing everything down and then shredding it. Putting up with cruelty in a relationship is not a sign of devotion, it's a sign that you feel you don't deserve better and you do.

For clarendonmom: Given that you have to be in contact so regularly and that this is affecting you so deeply, you may want to approach this mom and ask if you can talk with her. Ask her for coffee in some neutral setting and think carefully through what you want to say. Let her know that you've noticed a change and wonder if you've offended her in some way. That gives her an opening, now take a deep breath, you may not like what you hear, but try to keep in mind how she feels underneath and use your own feelings as an indicator. Try to remember that it's not personal, as much as it may feel like it - and that this woman probably anticipates a negative response. Be as clear and concise as possible, try to use I statements "I feel x when you ignore me because it hurts my feelings etc" so that you focus on what you feel. Also, if you have a behavior you'd like her to stop, suggest a replacement - just like with kids. "I feel sad when you ignore me when I speak to you because I feel dismissed. I'd really appreciate it if you would wave or acknowledge me when I talk to you". Placing the emphasis on how you feel will minimize some of her defensiveness.

If she is not responsive to any of these interventions, then you probably need to start looking at damage control for yourself. Let her know that you're available whenever she feels able to reconnect and that until that time you'll be cordial and wave, or whatever you decide. This way, the onus still rests with her and it's important that she feels in control of the situation. For yourself then, I would suggest minimizing contact where possible and then taking care of yourself. If you say hi and she ignores you, just leave it and move on - soon enough it'll get awkward for her. Try to keep a sense of what are you issues and what are hers.

Growing up in an alcoholic family makes this extremely difficult, but it's important for your mental health. The only person's behavior you can control is your own. Once you become less invested in others behavior it's much easier to let things go and not become embroiled in a dynamic that is familiar. It's important for you to not get stuck with her as it really does repeat issues for you. Having a friend to just blow off steam with is also highly underrated - and as long as they don't spread it, it can be a great release.

Although this is probably going to be tough for a while, I'm impressed at how much effort you are willing to put in for your child. Define your boundaries and what is acceptable to you - it doesn't matter what anyone else thinks - and always keep a place in your heart for yourself - that's the best protection against being victimized by others.

Well, a long post, but I hope this is helpful for you.


clarendonmom 6 years ago

Dear Dr C - thank you with all my heart for responding to my post. I really, really needed to read what you posted. To be completely honest, the idea of having coffee and a meaningful talk with this mom fills me with abject terror, because even my small efforts to bridge the gap with her have either been ignored or have inflamed her more. She oozes rage at me right now and I feel way too fragile and vulnerable to talk with her about the situation.

I feel in my heart that, at least for now, the best thing to do is to minimize contact with her. I really value your suggestion to say hi once and then move on. It never occurred to me to simply walk away if she's being rude or dismissive. In fact, I like the idea of creating as much space between her and me as I possibly can just to protect my own heart. I realize I have to keep my hopes and expectations pretty low with this person, just as a way of taking care of myself. At this point, I'd be happy if we could at least interact neutrally. Of course, I'd prefer we be somewhat friendly with each other, but I'm starting to get the picture that it might not be possible with her.

And thank you for your kind words about me helping my son at school. I love being able to do it and I won't let this mom stand in the way of that. Hopefully, after reading your response, I can learn a better way to be around her.

Thank you so much. Your blog is brilliant.


Yvonne 6 years ago

Dear Dr C,

Thank you for this wonderful article. After reading it, I feel my sister has NPD and need your help. She is married to a nice man and has 2 beautiful children and has a very good relationship with them. But since the day of her marriage to this person, who happens to be rich, she has always looked down upon us (my father, mother, me and my brother).

My brother and my sister never got along well, perhaps because of her behaviour. Since the last 2 years, he has totally distanced from her and this has hurt her very much and just cannot accept it and let go.

My father suffered from cancer for 2 years, and my sister was hardly there for the family during the difficult times. But since my father's death over a year ago, she is nearly cruel to my mother. She verbally abuses and puts her down and constantly accuses her of taking sides with my brother. She finds faults with anything and everything my mother does. My mother is still grieving my father's death, and doesn't argue back for fear of hurting my sister's ego and flaring up her anger more. My sister has an extremely high sense of self-righteousness and thinks of herself and her family as the nicest possible people.

The only outlet for my mother's feelings is me, as she doesn't share it with my brother for the fear of increasing the enmity between him and my sister. As I live overseas, all I can do is listen to her on the phone.

My sister's husband doesn't see any fault in my sister and shares the sense of self-righteousness. Apart from her husband and kids, I am the only person that my sister talks to in a dignified way, but only as long as I agree with her.The only one time in my life that I disagreed, she had stopped talking to me for years.

I want to tell my sister how I feel about her behaviour and to stop treating my mother badly, but am scared to do so. Plese advise how I should approach her. Many, many thanks in advance.


qbee1963 6 years ago

Thank you Dr C for the article and replies. I feel that my husband has NPD.We have been married for 27 years and I realize now that I have enabled this behavior in the most extreme way. Recent events have just about pushed me over the edge and I am considering divorce. I do not want to divorce him, but I feel like I cannot take anymore. I doubt very seriously that he would ever believe that there is ANYTHING wrong with him. Do you have any suggestions of how I could bring it up without him feeling threatened; which only leads to belittling and blaming of me. Also, what, do you think would be the chances of someone with extreme symptoms and years of my enabling would have at recovery or even realization of the problem? Thanks in advance for your reply. At the moment, I am devastated emotionally; I don't want to break up our family.


donotfear profile image

donotfear 6 years ago from The Boondocks

I'd like to point out that some individuals may have a few of the NPD traits, but not be actually fully narcissistic. Those in this category are hard to spot! You'll be in a converstation with them, then later think, "did she mean what I thought she meant?...that was totally tasteless!" They can also manipulate & twist someone without you being aware of it until after the fact when you say, "Did I really let that happen?" Truly incredible tactics, for sure. My guess is the manipulation is some sort of defense mechanism built in since childhood to shield them from feeling inferior. I suppose..


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Thank you all for writing.

Yvonne: you are in a tough situation as you're the one that gets the fall out from your sister in terms of helping your mother, and sometimes an ear to listen can do as much as any intervention. Part of the problem, however, is that you & your family are playing out unconsciously determined roles.

Your sister passes her judgments, or makes comments which your mother is afraid to address, and then you receive the blow by blows, along with everyone's frustration - but where does that leave you? with a whole lot of bad feelings and nowhere to put them.

Basically the only way to change someone else's behavior is to change the way you react to them. The cycle continues because it's easier that way (not that I'm suggesting change is a piece of cake).

If the situation is to shift you will have to take several risks - one, with your mother. Everyone complains about someone else from time to time, but you seem to have been placed in this role often - what happens (unconsciously) is that your mom feels bad at the way your sister treats her, but it's too anxiety provoking to say something directly because of her past reactions, so she holds back (kind of like psychologically biting one's tongue) until she's in a safer place - with you, where she is able to discharge, but doesn't have to confront the problem directly. You take on her frustrations through listening to her and she feels much better - and what's more, you're overseas, so you're not likely to bump into your sister and spill the beans.

Please understand that this is unlikely to be deliberate in any way on your mom's part, she's just dealing with the situation the best way she knows how - but it leaves you in a not so great place.

So, you can change the dynamic by intervening with your mom and not being in that listening role, and/or you can talk directly to your sister. Easy options? no, but change is not always fun.

If you decide to talk with your sister (& it's hard in a phone call where she can hang up) - try to stick to I statements " I feel x when you do x behavior because x" i.e: I feel frustrated when you tell me about my sister's negative behavior because the information is third hand and I feel I can't address it directly. Be sure to begin with some acknowledgments of the positive things your sister has done - she has a good relationship with her kids, perhaps you could approach the subject by saying something like " I notice what a good mother you are and how well you communicate with your kids. I would really like us to communicate that well. How do you think we could achieve that? - this way she will feel less threatened and feel that she still has some control of the situation.

You also need to realize that, despite your best efforts, she may not be ready to hear feedback from you (to hear feedback requires that you admit that you are imperfect - very hard for someone with narcissistic tendencies) - and she may discontinue contact for a while.

The most important thing to remember in this situation is what is your stuff and what is hers - and sometimes people need to do things their way before they cycle round. Protect yourself, you are making an attempt to connect - if she rejects it, it doesn't reflect on you: let her know that you love her and you're available when and if she decides she would like to resume contact.

I can certainly understand that neither of these scenario's sound that great, but neither is what's happening right now. All tough choices, but if you try to focus on yourself and your needs in a positive way (regardless of what anyone else says), you are most likely to make yourself happy, and that's really what counts.

Thank you for reading this hub and taking the time to write, I hope this is helpful.


Yvonne 6 years ago

Dear Dr C.

Many, many thanks for your understanding and suggestions. I am going home for a few months and perhaps will talk to my sister then. In the meantime, I shall really try to focus on myself and not worry about things beyond my control.


Yvonne 6 years ago

Dear Dr C,

In relation to the earlier post, I am also placed in the same listener position by my sister. Every time I call her, she gives me her version of events. Partially due to me agreeing with her viewpoint, and partially due to her NPD behaviour, I end up supporting her. The opposite happens when I listen to my mother when she pours out her frustrations to me. Also, my brother does happen to be my mother's favourite child, about which I don't have any problems, but my sister does.

After much thought, I feel that I don't want to be a listener to both of them. I go through a rollercoaster of emotions when they talk to me about their conflicts and I feel deeply affected by it all. But if I tell them that, they may make me feel guilty that the least I can do is to "listen" to other's problems, if not solve them. What should I be telling myself to get rid of my guilty feeling? I realise this is probably moving towards a non-NPD problem, but would really appreciate your advice. This is the first time I am sharing these feelings with anyone or in any forum. I haven't spoken about this even to my husband or my closest friends as I feel uncomfortable doing it.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi and thank you for your comments, qbee1963 and yvonne. I'll try to address each comment separately.

Qbee1963: 27 years is a long time and it is unlikely that any patterns which are that established will shift without professional intervention. This doesn't mean that you can't try to broach the issues - just that you'll probably need some additional support and assistance.

When approaching anyone with NPD or similar characteristics, try to keep in mind how sensitive and afraid they are underneath all the bravado and cutting comments. It's not easy - but remember that puffed up kitten? if you can keep that in mind, it can make the cutting comments a little less personal.

Anxiety and anger are powerful emotions which significantly distort our perceptions - nobody thinks straight when they are angry or anxious, it doesn't matter how smart you are. That said, try to think out what you want to say - make notes if you need to, you'll need to stay focused and on task. Read what you want to say out loud a few times and try to see how someone else might hear it (especially if they are anticipating criticism). It's generally best to begin by noting something positive about the person first as it reduces defensiveness. Try to focus on what you feel and remember no-one makes you feel things - saying something like " you make me feel bad when you do x" just sounds blaming and makes the other person defensive. If you say something to the effect of " I feel x when you do x because x" it feels less blaming as you are taking responsibility for your feelings. It's also always best to include some examples of what you would like the person to do instead (try to include options so they feel some control). For example " I feel belittled when you say things like "you never do the dishes" because I feel all the positive things I do are disregarded. If you want to remind me about the dishes, please say " ....."

Again, I really feel that you both will need some additional support and a safe place for you to bring up these feelings. Please don't feel afraid to interview mental health professionals until you find someone who you feel fits for you. It may be beneficial, if at all possible for you to get both individual and marriage counseling so that you can define your needs before making any major changes.

I rarely feel situations are completely unchangeable, but it does take work from both parties. You can effect a certain amount of change by changing your behaviors, but that only takes you so far. Working in individual therapy will help you clarify what you want in life, what you want to change and what you can live with.

Things don't change overnight, but sometimes small shift can precipitate much larger ones. I wish you all the best.

Thank you for reading this hub.

P.S. It's also important to take care of yourself - if your husband becomes overly defensive or really nasty - you don't need to stay in the conversation. Say something like " it doesn't seem that we can continue this conversation right now, so I'm going to take a break, if you want to continue, I'll be available at this time at this place" & leave. Don't get drawn into " so you're just leaving?, I'm not the one who's angry, you brought this up etc" - just state that you are taking a time out and will be ready again in a certain amount of time. Go to another room, take a walk, get an ice cream, whatever you need to do (you can't reason with an angry person - you or him, so take charge & return to the situation at a more conducive time - sometimes discretion really is the better part of valor!)


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi-

I wanted to acknowledge the post by donotfear as it raises some very valid points. It is true that many people have subclinical symptoms of NPD - essentially we all have times where we are self centered, ungracious, defensive, hostile to feedback and where we lash out.

Personality disorders are extreme, fixed versions of commonly found personality traits. The difference really comes in the level of impairment and the level of flexibility the person has.

People with NPD genuinely do suffer and may become bitter, hostile people, convinced that they live in an unjust world which is ill suited to recognize their talents (and part of that may be true, however, living effectively in the world sometimes means being gracious when you don't feel like it, having other people be acknowledged when you know you would do a better job and being able to be happy when others do well, as well as being able to examine your own ideas and sometimes change them.) While none of these things are easy for any of us, it's all part of living in an imperfect world, but for someone with NPD, these daily challenges can be excruciating.

You are correct in assuming that these are largely defensive, although unconscious tactics, which is part of what makes changing them challenging. Defenses are important, even when dysfunctional, they help people function - so you can't just destroy them without providing some coping skills in their place.

Thank you for your comment.


bman 6 years ago

" If you loved me you would know what I am thinking and do whatever I want " Quote my wife. I have no control over money or influence over household affairs. She has thrown away many of my beloved objects from the past and insists that I hurt her constantly in ways I am totally unaware of. Sometimes she will just glare a me with a pinched face and say nothing waiting for me to figure out what I did to offend her. Is this NPD?


bman 6 years ago

A little more info. These are things I have never discussed before and I am a bit confused even thinking about the subject. When conflict arises my point of view is almost always dismissed with a " You don't understand ". And when she gets into a it's all your fault mode she will go to anyplace to hurt me. She will bring something boneheaded I did do 10 years ago and use that as reason for her anger. Our kids are hers not ours. She will spend lavishly on the children at the holidays( shopping sprees, new computers etc) and then go into a " We have to get divorced and sell the house " as a solution to our budget problems.

I hope you can see how dizzy my life can get. This a creative, beautiful, smart person. I know I must be mad to stay but I love my kids and there is no other family that I have. Sorry about the whining but this site just brought this all up. Any comments?


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi-

I'd wanted to get back to yvonne & comment on bman's post as separate issues with a common thread.

Yvonne: I would imagine that you may end up agreeing with both your mom and your sister as a kind of self preservation strategy - because you know from experience what the fall out would be like if you don't. It also sounds as though you are the 'go to' person in your family, and while that certainly says something about your capacity to empathize with others, you've run across a common problem. That sometimes there are people who don't know when to stop taking from you - and that's one area which can be shifted by changes in the way you respond.

When one of your family member's calls you to complain about the other one (which is called triangulation)you need to clarify the role you are willing to take (and probably more than once).

You could try using active listening strategies where you summarize and repeat what the person has said. It generally makes people feel pretty validated, they know you were listening and paying attention. You don't need to agree with the person to do this - you are just reflecting back what they have said to you.

For example: Your mom calls you to tell you that your sister did xyz, isn't that awful, how could she do that? Instead of getting pulled into feeling that you have to say " I know, isn't she a silly cow" You can try something like "It sounds like (sister) really hurt your feelings and made you feel taken for granted when she did xyz." This way you've heard her, she knows you've understood her and you've kind of pulled things together a bit for her. Now, this is probably not going to be super comfortable for either one of you, as you've been engaged in a well worn dance step for sometime, but stand your ground.

If she continues with "Isn't she terrible or see, I knew you'd agree with me" you need to clarify your role. It could be something to the effect of "Mom, I appreciate that you want to talk to me & ask my advice, but this seems to be an issue between you & x, so I'm happy to listen to you, but this is not my issue" - and you'll probably have to say that more than once - to yourself and them.

As soon as you refuse to play the role that they've been used to having you in, you set in motion a series of shifts in the family - remember the effect of a butterfly's wings, or a ripple in a pond - the impact is often down the road, but it's there.

You may want to write down some of the things you want to say so you can stay focused and remember what you want to say when you are anxious.

If you have a girlfriend, spouse, neighbor who is willing to role play, it will make it much easier and you'll better be able to anticipate the roadblocks which will be thrown up. Have someone to decompress with after a conversation with your mother/sister and to give you a reality check that you are not a terrible, horrible person for not getting sucked into the role they want you to play.

None of this is easy or instant, but it does work. I wish you all the best. Thanks for writing.

Bman: some complex issues which I'd like to address more fully in a separate post. Thanks for writing.


Yvonne 6 years ago

Dear Dr C.

Many, many thanks. What you have written is what exactly is happening with me. I am truly grateful for you advice. I will starting working on this.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi-

I'd wanted to respond to bman & thank you for writing.

Some of the behaviors you describe often occur in NPD, but they also occur in many of us in our own narcissistic moments.

The primary way of differentiating less than stellar behavior from personality disorders is based on the level of severity and degree of impact. In other words, we all do these things from time to time, but when they become long standing, rigid patterns of dealing with the world AND have negative life consequences for the person doing the action, you are more likely to be dealing with a disorder involving personality functioning.

Sometimes we also only show certain behaviors to certain groups of people - and that's more a function of the relationship dynamic. If these behaviors occur only with you, then it is more likely that there is something in the relationship that is driving and maintaining the behaviors.

As I've said before, the only person's behavior you can control is your own. That said, the best way to shift another person's behavior is to shift your own. So you need to make some tough decisions for yourself about what you want and what you are willing to do to get it. Write down these things and read them aloud to yourself. Then comes the hard part, when you start getting into that familiar cycle - you have to shift your behavior - and it'll feel counter intuitive at first, but state your request, explain the behaviors impact on you and provide a few alternate behaviors. For example " I feel excluded and frustrated when you don't involve me in decisions regarding the kids because it makes me feel that I'm a less valued part of this family. I'd really like it if you could talk with me first before making decisions regarding the kids. Lets make a time where we can get together each week and make sure we're on the same page"

It can also make people less defensive if you are willing to change a behavior they don't like. Again, write your contract on paper & stick it on your fridge or somewhere you can see it to remind yourself. Then once a day, check in for a few minutes as to how you each have done that day. This will increase the chance that the changes last for more than a day or two.

Significant change can be possible, but it does take work from both parties, you can, however start the ball rolling. Working with a mental health professional on communication issues, role definitions and expectations would be important too and also increase the likelihood of long term change.

I really appreciate you writing and hope that you find this helpful.


Ann Z 6 years ago

Thank you for this wonderful site! I have been dating a man (long distance) for 3 years. I have wondered for the past 2 years if he is NPD or possibly Aspbergers. The traits (some) have a very fine line.

He is robotic in the emotional departement. When he hugs me, he pats my back (like a buddy does guy to guy). He has cheated on me, twice. I always had that 'gut instinct' something was wrong. I would ask him, he would say it was my insecurities or something from my past that made me feel this way. Only to find out months later, that I was right.

I feel like he only sees me for my looks. We are not young, I am in my 40's he in his 50's. He will look at me, I will ask "what are you thinking", he always says, "I like wwhat I see". He does tell me he loves me, but I think that is only because he has been 'programmed' to do so by my comments about him not saying it (primarily because I wonder if he really does). He tells me, I am the best he has ever had (sexually). When I am upset or stressed, he barely acknowledges what I have said. No empathy.

We live 5 hours apart. I have been so lost when he left from visits or vice versa. I missed him. He acts like its not a big deal. Never says how much he misses me. How much he wished I was there. Nothing. Very confusing when this is suppose to be someone who is "in love with me". The only time he has said it, is when I say how much I miss him. One time (only once) when I was leaving his place and we were saying our good-byes, I said "I hate leaving you" his reply "I hate being left."

When I have brought up a future with us together, he gets irritated. He says he wants it but "this is our reality (being long distance) he will take this over nothing". I would move heaven and earth to be with him (or I would have months or a year ago).

am starting to feel like I have become an N like him. I was a very loving (still am) person, felt my partners pain (have shut that down), wanted to see a future with my partner (not sure anymore), was compassionate (not towards him). Can one become like the N? Can we eventually shut down certain parts of us because we are not getting that from our partner? I don't want to be like him. I want a healthy, loving, relationship.

Each time I have broken up with him (three times, over three years) it was because my needs were not being met, I felt I was giving everything while he was giving nothing, and that he had cheated on me.

He has always sucked me back in. He would wait a couple weeks to a couple days and email me asking, "do you miss me as much as I miss you?" Of course I did, I was devasted. He would promise this change and that change only to go back to the 'old him'. He does communicate much more now than he did in the past. He tells me he loves me more now than ever. But I have to wonder, is because he knows I 'need/want to hear it?' or because he really means it.

He has told me that he has loved no other like he loves me. Yet, there is no talk of a future. He is about to lose his job. He can barely afford his own bills. He has always said, he can't take on me and my kids because he can't afford it. I bought it. I have many male friends who have said, come hell or high water, if I am in love with a woman, I will move heaven and earth to be with her/living with her". I have never seen that from him. He never says to me how much he wants to be with me/living with me. The only time he indicates a future with me is when he talks about winnig the lotto and what our house would look like and what kind of life we could have, traveling, seeing the world, retired, no worries of bills, etc.

I feel like I am crazy, going crazy trying to figure this out, figure him out. Love should not be like this. I should not be questioning his love, intensions, or our relationship.

I know all that I have read. Walk away, no contact, etc. I don't know how to end this or if I am even correct in my own diagnosis of NPD. It could be aspergers. Please help me! I want to seek therapy, but I can't afford it. I want a happy healthy relationship. I deserve it. I am a good person who has so much to offer and I don't want to waste my time on a relationship that is going nowhere or that will crumble if it ever got there. I have given this man three years of my life. With ups and downs, love and pain, wrong doings and forgiving. I don't want to make a bad decision or 'label' him incorrectly. I just can't help but thinking he is NPD. He has so many of the signs/characteristics I have read about.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Ann Z, thank you for writing,

Well, the good news is that it's unlikely that you have NPD. Personality disorders are long standing, rigid, dysfunctional and often painful ways of interacting with others which seriously impact the person's life (unable to keep a job, loses friends, burns bridges etc). The funny thing is that, usually, the person with NPD is not concerned with changing, despite the fact that this interpersonal style gets them into trouble. It's the people around them that they drive nuts, and who desperately want change.

Part of the problem is that people with NPD have limited coping skills and - when you're a hammer, everything looks like a nail. So, they use the same response in multiple situations, when, to function successfully we need to subtlety alter our behavior to suit the situation.

Now, the not so great news is that, regardless of whether your partner meets the criteria for NPD, the only person's behavior you can change is yours.

Your boyfriend certainly sounds self absorbed and lacking in empathy. The real question is whether you want to stay in a relationship with someone like that and if so - why? It sounds like the long distance relationship work fine for your boyfriend - but the relationship meets his needs, not yours. You need to do some serious thinking about what you really want from a relationship - and what makes you accept anything less from a relationship.

Many people also have a lot of trouble leaving - whether the relationship is good or bad - but its familiar, and human beings like stability and continuity. Where this becomes sticky is when we feel that we need to accept poor behavior from others because we think the alternative would be worse. In reality, it rarely is, and it's usually so much better (once the initial pain had subsided, and that you unfortunately just have to go through).

It's mostly our anticipatory anxiety that paralyzes us. Who were you before this relationship? Do you still see your friends and do the things you used to enjoy? If not, start again - when you learn to live for your self, you'll better be able to judge whether you can live with the relationship like this - and if not, you'll attract people who respect and love you, because you respect and love yourself and expect that behavior from others.

It's not easy to delve within ourselves to find the reasons we do things, but it is important to help us grow. You also may try some of your local non profits and universities and some teaching hospitals run low fee clinics. Choose your therapist carefully, you'll be doing important work, also many clinicians in private practice offer sliding scales.

You have a journey with some hard choices ahead, but use yourself as a guide, do what's good for you and you'll make it through the tough time to feel better about yourself.


Terra M. 6 years ago

I believe that the guy I have been in love with for the past few years and am currently friends with has NPD. Initially when we met he was so much nicer, but then I realized at the time I would excessively give him compliments and be nice to him, while he never complimented me and would make sarcastic mean comments to me constantly that would hurt my feelings. He also is intelligent, but he would act overly smart, and saying things people clearly did not know or understand purposely. He went out of his way to act like he was more intelligent than everyone else and would create lies and stories to make himself seem better than everyone. At one point I had no idea what were lies and truths. He even knew I loved him and did not return it, but continually wanted me to say it to him and intentionally led me on so I would keep acting crazily in love with him. Now I am a successful woman and attractive and I noticed that as time went by I was moving up, while he was at a standstill. I dated other people trying to move on from this guy, and considering that he supposedly didn’t even like me, I didn’t think he would care. During this time he would start to be incredibly hateful towards me. He would never ask about anything in my life, unless it involved something negative about myself, he would take one flaw of mine and constantly nag about it to me and to others behind my back, he would even criticize the men I was dating, and personally attack me and at one point even pushed me. He would repeatedly tell me how much he doesn’t care about me. Whenever I called him out on it, he would just say that I am the one with the problem, and that I am crazy. The situation got worse since he only did this with me. After reading this blog I realize that it may have gotten out of hand with me because I am the one person in his life that is doing really well and it probably doesn’t help that he knows I care about him immensely, and probably was a person who really bulked up his ego.

I want to know what to do about this? I tried to cut him off before, for over a year and we still ended up talking. The one time he has ever apologized to me is when I decided to be indifferent to everything he was saying and doing. We ended up being friends again, and he still never asked about my life or said occasionally very rude and hurtful things. He actually for the first time that I have known him opened up to me very recently. I could tell it was extremely difficult but he cried, told me he was very insecure, said that he thinks people abandon him once they get to know him, told me how he didn’t know how to control his actions and could not understand why he was so mean to me and how he feels differently but his actions aren’t how he feels, and why he continually pushes away people he cares about. He told me he felt he was a terrible person. Immediately after that he closed up entirely. He wont talk to me like that anymore, ignores it happened, and whenever I bring it up, he snaps at me and makes very hurtful comments and tells me it meant nothing, that I mean nothing, and that he’ll never talk to me like that again because of how I am reacting to it. Then he tries to still get my attention by bringing up uncomfortable topics such as why I loved him, why I want to be his friend, and basically seeking compliments from me. I just don’t understand how to handle this. Again, I don’t want to cut him off. I am not great at analyzing people but I feel like ignoring him would only cause more damage especially since he opened up to me like that. I want to help him, I really care so much about him, he is just making this difficult and it doesn’t help that when I try to talk to him, he says that I am the one with the issues and basically makes me feel like I am the one who is crazy. So two questions: how to cope with this, and how to help him?

Thank you so much for any help. As you can imagine, this whole thing has been distressing, especially since I actually really do care about this guy.


Residual4Income profile image

Residual4Income 6 years ago from Phoenix, Arizona, USA

Reading your post and some of the comments from others, Ive discovered that my X-husband is not the only Narcissist around. For 21 years of marriage I DID walk on those egg shells, hoping and praying that tomorrow would be a better day and I would do the 'right' thing. He was not sympathetic or empathetic, only said 'sorry' to express that he was sorry "I didn't get it' When I had my miscarriage, laying on the bathroom floor, passed out from blood loss, he brought me the phone to call and talk to the nurse-where I'd be going the next morning for the D&C anyway. I could share many other events like these, but Im sure you have heard most of them.

I was freed from my frog-in-the-pot trace I was in 2 years after my second child was born. I was sinking farther into baby blues-I thought and went for some counseling. I went on Paxil and had a few sessions with the counselor and the dr.

That was the first time I had put 2+2 together--everything was NOT my fault and he was unhappy in his life before we were married. I was introduced to the term 'malcontent'

My counselor told me that as I got better, he would NOT like the changes in me--she was right! I asked him to come with me so he could hear about what I was going through-he answered back "Why should I go? there is nothing wrong with me." THAT spoke volumes.

I have been divorced for 5 yrs now-and remarried in Dec '07 to a wonderful man that went through a similar situation with his wife. We learn & grow together every day-remembering the lessons learned from our first marriages.

My biggest concern now is my 16 yo son that has chosen to live w/his dad full time--and he is beginning to behave like his dad. It is causing trouble in school and a few teachers have mentioned that he seems depressed. He is not keen on going to counseling, but I think it would be a good idea.

Right now he is angry with me and rebelling. I think he really wants acceptance from his dad because he already has it from me. I am giving him time, I still offer to include him in family stuff, BUT he is in the stage w/ behaviors that his sister and 4 step siblings dont enjoy being around him. It makes me really sad. I don't know how much I should push or insist that he spend time with us.

Any suggestions? Thank you for your time.

~Wendy


arnold 6 years ago

Is there any way of treating someone who has come to terms with exhibiting many of the behavioural flaws which are associated with NPD.... I mean if I say I believe that there is something wrong with me, is there a way of fixing myself?


arnold 6 years ago

Also I have a question. I have read that one of the symptoms of NPD is an inabaility to show empathy. However, I dont't undertsand how someone can have a talent for mainpulation without possessing empathy. This is one of the few if not the only symptom I do not carry. Isn't one of the main strengths of someone who knows how to mainpulate, undertsanding other's emotions?


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

firstly, my apologies for taking so long to answer. You have many good questions, so I'll try to deal with each individually. Firstly, TerraM - again my apologies for the delayed response and thanks for writing.

Wow, two tough questions. There are several issues here, so I'll try to tease them out. The first regards you. You are talented and successful women who continues in a relationship with someone who is critical and cold and at times abusive. Why is that? On the surface you get nothing out of the relationship, but, as you mention, you get drawn in anyway. You need to deeply and honestly look at the relationship to try and tease out why you stay - a feeling of obligation?, a fantasy that you can fix this person, guilt at rejecting someone so obviously in need, a feeling that you're the only one who understands how special this person is? - there are many, many reasons - and usually more than one at a time. If you can begin to clarify this for yourself, you'll have taken an important step.

The second issue is how much you are willing to put up with, how much is this relationship worth and how much negative will it take to outweigh the positive for you. Only you can answer this. Whether you stay or leave, you are in a precarious situation and you'll need to take some risks and change some behaviors. What do you want from a relationship? If he'll your friend would he really be there if you needed him or is he too lost in his own stuff. You cannot change long standing personality characteristics in someone else, you can only change your behavior and responses to them.

Another thing stands out in that you say that he behaves only with you this way? Why is that? What have others said? If you want his behavior to change you need to be very clear in yourself about what you want and need - make a list, ask a friend etc. Then put it out there with him and let him decide whether he wants to continue with the new rules. These should include things like: no abusive behavior - and define this concretely and behaviorally so there is no confusion. Stand firm on your basic rules - if he can't be respectful, then he is not a friend. Granted this is not going to be easy and he will likely counter with a multitude of reasons why it's impossible for him to comply. That's why it's so important to be really sure of what you want - no negotiations on the basics.

Let him know that he is welcome to define his wants and needs and propose these to you too. Much like a child, people with these characteristics often get drawn into negotiating in order to try and regain the power in the relationship. The ironic thing is that, despite the fact that he will likely vehemently protest, the fact that you are able to draw firm boundaries will actually be immensely comforting for him.

You are correct in connecting his disclosures and subsequent difficult behavior.For him you have passed the initial test, but each disclosure brings with it tremendous anxiety and he tries to back peddle by being dismissive or derisive.

You have important choices ahead of you, so take your time and be clear in what you want and you will begin to draw others with those characteristics to you.

I hope this has been useful and thanks again for reading and writing in.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Residual4income: Thanks for writing and well done for getting out of a destructive relationship. As you have experienced, if you change the behaviors you will accept from others, you begin to meet people whose behaviors are more acceptable.

Dealing with a teenager can be tough, especially when divorce is involved. Something, likely more than one thing, is troubling your son and is showing in his behavior. First you need to be clear that you are not contributing to his troubles by bad mouthing your ex or undermining his rules (even if he does not do the same). Talk honestly with your son, let him know that you see that something is up and that you are concerned about him. If he won't talk to you, is there a friend, counselor or teacher he trusts?

When children, even adolescents try to keep down difficult feelings, they often show increased behavioral problems. Make sure you co-ordinate with your child's school to ensure that there is no learning difficulty contributing to his behaviors. A fair amount of narcissism is both inevitable and developmentally appropriate for adolescents. They actually are the center of the world, in that they are taking control for the first time and trying out ways to be in the world.

Children from split families often feel more pressure at this time, particularly if the divorce is not amicable as they become embroiled in loyalty conflicts. Your son, despite your best intentions may feel excluded from the family, particularly if step siblings are involved and may feel that he has to be angry towards you in order to support his dad. Of course, modeling also plays a huge role in the behaviors that children display and your son may be learning behaviors from his father.

Being an adolescent, he is also bound to feel a close attachment to his father and may feel that in rejecting your husband, you reject him. Many of these conflicts may not be conscious and I'm definitely not suggesting that his difficult behavior is deliberate, but that it is likely to be multifaceted. If these behaviors are getting to the level where they are negatively impacting your son's life, a consultation with a mental health professional may be very beneficial.

In the meantime, it's important that you continue to let your son know that you care about and value him and that you will always be available should he need you. You may want to schedule special times, just you and him where you can pay him all the attention he needs and let him know that even with a new family structure he is still important to you.

You will likely require much strength and patience in the months to come, but these will pave the way for reconnecting with your son.


Thursdays 6 years ago

I have a very troubling case on my hands. I'm more sure than ever that my ex bf of 4 years has NPD. He constantly lies about everything, and will even say that someone told him something about me, accusing me of threatening to get revenge on him (we broke up when i walked in on him cheating, and not too long after another girl contacted me to ask if I had been seeing him, as she had been years since high school, every 3-4 months when he flew home for a "music gig"). But I've learned that this is a control issue, a defensive tool that he is projecting onto me, to make me feel bad about something that HE is actually paranoid about. Even the constant cheating, while I had my time to deal with the hurt it caused me, and will still be healing from it for a long time, I know now it's a projection of his own feeling of worthlessness. These last few weeks, we have been chatting online, and I really would like to be his friend and help him out, but I'm concerned that because of my past regressions to have him out of my life, he is so scared that I will run away again, and leave him hurt and ego bruised. I know he has friends around him that he has told that I'm just a crazy girl in love with him, and that they don't want me around, so he is constructing his little "bubble" world that I might pose a threat to take down. Because he knows, that out of all these people, I am the only one who REALLY knows him, and what's going on with him, and I think that scares the hell out of him! All these other friends, he's known for a little more than a year, but I'm the only one he's known since we both moved here around the same time.

His case, makes more sense everyday, and it's also the reason why I feel I can't just throw away our friendship. He confided in me when we first started talking about sex (I was a virgin at the time, and said that I couldn't jump into a sexual relationship) that he was raped as a child. Of course I was shocked and sympathized, but didn't know what else to say or do at the time. Eventually we did enter a sexual relationship, as I grew to love him very dearly, and wanted him to know that. After our relationship ended, and lies upon lies started coming out, along with infidelities with these 2 other girls AND a prostitute in Europe, I questioned if therapy ever really occurred, that maybe it was another deception to get me to sleep with him. I would be inclined to write it off as such, but I do remember one night he was drunk with a friend he accidentally let out that he was "screwed by a priest." I think I was the only one who really caught it, and the 5 second look of somberness on his face, as they started to joke around again, and both admittedly have little memory of that booze-filled night, but I was the DD. On top of that, his father is an alcoholic, and I'm sure both he and his sister are too. They grew up in a home where their father would physically abuse their mother, go to jail, be in and out of their lives constantly, and still to this day their mother is still married to him. Oh, and one more thing, he was the only boy born to the family's generation for many years, and even his older sister admits that when he was young, all the cousins, all girls, used to exclude him and call him a "fag" and "gay" and that she remembers him crying a lot.

All of this, just makes me so incredibly sad, because here I thought this was a terrible, bad man, but in reality, he was a scared little abused boy who just desperately wanted to be loved and accepted. He never had a fighting chance, he developed this disorder to cope with his surroundings! All the lies, the cheating, the selfish mannerisms, and arrogant nature he was projecting was his way of trying to protect himself. I really, really hope that there is a solution out there that will help treat his NPD, and I hope that if he actually decides to go to therapy, he will heal not only from his narcissism, but from the trauma I'm sure started it. Very rarely did I see him have emotional struggles, but they did exist, twice after we started talking again for the first time and I started crying, I saw him biting his lip to hold it together. it makes me think that there is hope for him, that he is fighting his emotions because he thinks he needs to to survive. Since he's in his late 20's, and he seems to have these emotions, although buried, and a horrible traumatic upbringing, does therapy have more of a hope with him? Will dealing with these issues that might have caused the NPD in turn make coping with it easier in his life? I love him so much, and know that this is not a relationship I want romantically, nor can I "save" him, but I want to help him as much as I can! I want to effectively communicate to him that I do care and want his happiness. I cannot turn my back on him, it will be a long tough road ahead, but I want to help him there.


carole kealy 6 years ago

hi doctor, it is now 2am and iv just read all the letters, my problem is my daughter, im so worried, she is narcissistic for sure, when she was younger she had opisitional defience, and all through her years it has been obvious to me that there is a lot different about her, i find it so hard to be around her although i love her very much, i get the put downs, lack of empathy, feelings of entitlement but doesent earn, everybody elses fault,and a whole lot more, i just dont know how to deal with it, if you truly are out there you will answer this mail,im desperate, i have feeling of guilt also as i wonder what part i had in instigating this diorder. please help me, i can give more information.also her bursts of rage aand anger when she cannot have her own way. is there any help for parents, i simply dont have the choice to walk away


firemanphil 6 years ago

Hi Dr C. There is probably nothing worse than being 'diagnosed' with a problem, but that is what I did for my loving partner of 5 years recently. I have read much about NPD over the last few weeks and find so many compelling traits and behaviours of NPD that are as if they were written about my partner.

She is a highly intelligent, successful and strong-minded woman, who is financially secure, has all the trappings of success, and is very attractive. She has almost no ability to empathise with anything i say. She constantly tells me she has no need to change any of her ways, and has no intention of doing so. She says very insensitive things without any thought for those who are on the receiving end, avoids getting involved in conversations of a personal and intimate nature, does everything she can to avoid talking about anything emotional about us, will not compromise on a single issue unless I put up a fight for it, is incredibly self-centered (and is proud to be that way and has no intention of changing that), says she is uncomfortable with my friends and family, limits the relationships we have with others, is very much into power and control, has perfectionistic behaviours and thinking, is obsessed about her looks and what she is wearing, will only admit responsibility under 'sentence of death', seldom laughs at my jokes, is only comfortable with people she deems intelligent, interesting or of her social group, is very critical of others who do not match her high standards of dress, behaviour etc, has consistent double standards - expects people to have manners, behave a certain way etc, while she does differently (has poor manners etc), criticizes me for pushing her boundaries yet she constantly pushes mine.

She flatly refuses to acknowledge that she has any narcissistic behaviours and says that her behaviours are part of the 'normal spectrum' of what people do. She tells me that i am the problem and that she needs a partner who will accept her for all her faults. I am constantly made to feel that I have let her down, am overly critical (which I can be as i have struggled to try to understand why we have so much trouble) and that i over-analyse everything.

She says that she has never loved someone as deeply as she does me, that she could never meet a partner who she feels so in love with etc, but she is intent on leaving me.

I love her deeply and want nothing more than to be with her. She has an incredible hold over me. I am unsure whether this hold is because of my guilt for letting her down, or that i have been a poor partner to her, or for many other reasons. I am at my wits end because she is so pig-headed and so difficult to talk to about us. She always sets time limits because she is so busy, and our talks don't happen when i want, only when she is ready, and under her terms.

Based on what i have said, what is your thoughts on her behaviour. I am suffering so deeply because she doubts all my conclusions (which are based on many experiences with her over the last five years). I do feel very tired, very low, and very confused.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi and thank you to everyone who wrote in. I'll try to deal with the questions in the order received.

Arnold: NPD is a significant diagnosis, while we all do things from time to time that are narcissistic, NPD is a very specific syndrome. The fact that you are writing in, wanting to change suggests to me that, while you may have features of the syndrome, it is unlikely that you have NPD. Generally, those with personality disorders show little insight and have no real motivation to change, mostly because they really don't see their behavior as a problem. They pretty much have the attitude that if others just did things the way they feel they should be done, everyone's life would be a lot easier.

If you are concerned that you have these traits to an extent that they are significantly negatively impacting your life (trouble with relationships, holding jobs, legal trouble etc), I would strongly suggest a consultation with a mental health professional well versed in personality disorders - and it's okay to ask what experience your therapist has, and if you're not satisfied, find someone else. This is important, difficult work and you need someone you have confidence in.

So, to answer your question, is there treatment? absolutely yes and will it be tough at times? - most definitely, but if you put the work in you will likely reap significant benefits. To answer your other question, there is a subtle difference between being able to read someone's emotions and empathizing. People without empathy have trouble imagining what an experience must feel like from another's point of view, which is why they can, at times be so callous. As you note, they often have excellent abilities to read emotions, detect vulnerabilities and predict behavior.

The real difference is that most people who notice someone's vulnerabilities do their best to help people in those areas, not exploit them. People without empathy don't see why it's wrong to hurt someone because they genuinely cannot imagine themselves in that situation. Extreme callousness and lack of remorse generally indicate a more antisocial personality.

People with NPD often hurt others because they are so self centered that they just don't consider other's emotions. If it doesn't relate directly to them it's clearly not that important. I hope this clarifies things a little bit. Thanks for writing in.


confused 6 years ago

help! i am very confused. i have been with my boyfriend for over 5 years, off and on. i don't even know where to begin. we recently started dating again after breaking up and i poured everything in to the relationship. the pattern has always been, however, that when i am very open emotionally and giving and loving to the best of my ability, he is just not there...then when i back off out of self-preservation he tries to woo me back. it always works, obviously. he was very charming when we first met...we had what i thought was a wonderful relationship for almost two years. now his life is currently in a poor state due to various financial issues dealing with prior addiction (the reason i left). as such he has been depressed, but i note that it is a 'weird' type of depression. he is more concerned that his car is damaged from a car accident because he flatly stated it 'reflects poorly' on him. i cannot understand why he should care so much about what everyone thinks of him, but he does. it seems excessive and is always related to his possessions or things he owns -- in fact, the car he bought is a sporty, flashy car that he now regrets buying due to expenses, but he had to have it to promote this image of himself. i am not wowed by things like that and never have been and i often feel this bothers him, he tries to 'instruct' me on the fact that 'this is just how society works', when i tell him that my opinion is that stuff like that is just stuff, it doesn't matter ultimately - he gets very upset with this and tells me flatly i just 'dont get it.' his house is also very important to him and he often makes disparaging comments about the neighbors messy yard; again, he said, this reflects badly on him. they are his neighbors! lately, he has blamed his lack of being able to 'give' anything to me (emotionally) on his 'depression.' his behavior has been the worst toward me since i've ever known him, and he isn't even using drugs: there are times i think he actually hates me, such is the contempt and criticism in his voice for all the things i don't do (which makes me feel TERRIBLE, because i came back in to this making a concerted effort to give all i could and meet his needs the best way i knew how)...he has raised his voice at me; he shuts down all attempts at discussion in the relationship, says that he just needs me to 'be fun' to be around and everything would be fine in the relationship and his life; he has even called me names; he never did that before, at least not to this extent...it is so much worse. he first claims depression then tells me he just doesn't 'feel the same' about me as he used to. when i cry, he sometimes makes a show of caring that i am crying, and i usually believe it at the time; but he never apologizes for the act of what he said or did, he apologizes typically like, "i'm sorry if i hurt your feelings." or, he will tell me, very often, that he just forgets that i am hypersensitive, and thinks he can take shots at me because he believes i have thick skin (absolutely no one else thinks this of me!). he also said that because i've been with other people since we broke up, i am no longer as special and 'priceless' as i used to be, similar to a diamond that has been 'passed around.' i took all that very defensively since he was also with others and i felt as if he were attacking my character and worth. i don't know what i've done to deserve any of this; i do know i have my faults and flaws but i know i try to work on them. lately the theme has been that i am 'selfish' and 'inconsiderate.' the basis for this is that i do not always do the dishes when i stay at his house (i do not live there) or make dinner the way he was raised, the way he was shown a good "housewife" does (except i'm not a housewife!) he claims this is how he knows he is loved, and i do try to do these things sincerely - i know for a fact i do give to him the way i feel he wants...it just never quite measures up, somehow? however i also remind him that it is not an obligation or duty on my end, and that it makes me feel unappreciated for the positives when he focuses on negatives. at this point i don't know if he truly loves me, or if i am the one who is screwed up. i know intellectually that all the things i listed would make most people run away...the thing is, the next day he'll wake up and act like none of the above ever happened, that i wasn't crying all night, whatever the case. and he'll be extra sweet - make breakfast, etc. and i think, oh, it must be in my head...and if i try to bring it up, he just shuts the conversation down or manages to derail it completely. rarely he will admit to a behavior but typically only in direct reaction to something i have done...i 'made' him do it, he didn't 'mean' to hurt me or do anything wrong. this has been going on the last few months, along with his 'depression' over the state he got himself in. he told me all that would be necessary to lift his depression was to get his car fixed and the weather to change. (remember that it was also placed on me: if i was just 'more fun' to be around he would feel better...so which is it? i can never tell) and all of a sudden, his mood did change. he said he had 'more to give.' like a light switch...when for weeks i begged and pleaded and became generally neurotic and a basketcase and he remained absolutely unmoved and implacable to ANYTHING i said; it was like he did not care whatsoever. it seemed more than depression...and true depression isn't lifted magically like that (i've been depressed). at this point, he said he only hopes it isn't 'too late.' then i feel guilty...guilty for not supporting him the way i feel i should...guilty for thinking these things. personally i don't feel i am more inconsiderate or selfish than the average person, but maybe i am deluding myself? i feel like i used to be so strong a few months ago...i didn't question myself as much. is this representative of npd, or just a basic personality composition of someone who used drugs? or just narcisstic traits? is there anything i can do to better set boundaries? and why do i feel like he is the one who is deliberately pushing my buttons...and then just sitting back, watching me go off, to justify that i'm not worth it anyway and neither is the relationship? then i'll swing to feeling like it really is all me, my fault, etc. another factor is that he had another relationship prior to us dating again, and he flat out compared me to her recently. she can do no wrong in his mind, she has lent him a few thousand dollars to help his debt and apparently was good at doing dishes and cooking dinner. however he broke it off with her to be with me -- stating he never loved her (they dated very briefly). this hurts, too. i just don't understand...and i don't know what to do. it seems like sometimes he gets that he has things to work on and change, and then once i think he gets it, there is rarely follow through of any consistency. counseling has been mentioned as he does actually tell me he wants to marry me one day...sorry for the rambling nature of this! any advice would be greatly appreciated.


confused 6 years ago

i also should point out that all of the attitudes about possessions/house/etc have been present for years. he is very critical of others and of himself and highly perfectionistic - he holds himself to high standards and constantly needs to achieve to feel good about himself. he typically works 2 jobs and goes to school as well as involving himself in creative pursuits; without these, he gets bored and restless. he admits he has a hard time relaxing and feels he is wasting his time. he is seemingly very goal oriented and this always struck me as very positive, but it takes a toll on his personal life and relationships. he has no time for himself or others and when he does, he feels empty.

what has changed is his contemptuous, at times derisive attitude toward me. he blames it on my past behavior toward him (though we both initially made a commitment to move forward in the relationship, acknowledging where we both went wrong). he says it makes it 'easier' to treat me the way he does. i can feel that he doesn't feel the same about me, anymore. i did spend significant time away from him (over a year) -- he tried to get me back incessantly during that time until he found someone else. then when i decided to come back he dumped her for me in a very cold manner.

i just realized it sounded like all of this was sudden...and it isn't. just the nastiness is...that was present toward me while he was using and lying about it, but he isn't doing that anymore and hasn't for a year. so now this feels very personal. i attributed his changed behavior toward his addiction before; now that the addiction isn't present, i thought the behavior would change. i should mention he is not involved in any counseling or 12 step programs currently.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi-

To respond to Thursdays. Yes you have a difficult situation on your hands and you certainly have noble intentions. My first concern is this: your friend sounds very troubled, for multiple reasons. You have been patient and kind to him - often at your own expense, but the bottomline is, you are his friend, not his therapist and the dynamics that are going on are too complex to be dealt with by someone without significant mental health training and experience.

Part of the difficulty is that he has trusted you and you seem to feel that this means you need to stand by him at all costs - even when he is rude, unfeeling and nasty to you. Part of your work will be teasing out why you feel that you are the one that needs to save him, regardless of the cost to you. You are just as important as he is and a horrible past does not mean you get to take it out on the rest of the world.

I don't mean to suggest that you can't be his friend. You can be supportive, but think about where your boundaries are and what's acceptable to you because in a way he's doing what was done to him to you - unconsciously, but that's not okay - and he needs to learn how to act differently too.

You are too close to the situation to be able to help him sort it out. I would strongly advise that you both consult a mental health professional who may be able to help him and give you some advice as to how best to support your friend.

Again, your motives are noble, but you cannot be the one to help your friend figure this stuff out, it really sounds enormously complex and will take time. By being supportive, but holding your boundaries you are modelling for him a healthy relationship, which he is not familiar with. Even though it may seem harsh, showing him that you care, but that you will not let him be nasty and that he cannot expect that his needs outweight yours, will provide him with the template for a new way of relating - and that's part of what he needs to learn.

You can be of great help to your friend, but you need to take care of yourself - he doesn't know how to do that, so he needs to learn from you, but let a therapist that he feels comfortable with guide him through the other parts. It'll take some time, so evaluate whether you want to be in for the long haul - and it'll be tough because to help him you will have to make some personal changes.

Many decisions, I wish you the best and hope this was helpful.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

To carole kealy:

I know you were feeling desperate and I hope this information will still be of use to you. Without much information, it's hard to tell if NPD would be the correct diagnosis for your daughter so the first thing I would suggest (and it sounds like you've been to a few doc's) is to get an appointment with a psychiatrist you both trust - and it's okay to shop around until you find someone that works.

It must be a psychiatrist, not a general practitioner, so you may need a referral, but your daughter needs a comprehensive psychiatric evaluation to clarify the diagnosis and to see whether medication may be useful as the symptoms you mentioned are found in several different disorders. If warranted, some psychological testing may be beneficial. You don't give your daughter's age, but this would obviously be more difficult if she is over 18 as you cannot make any decisions for her. If she is at school, however and she does not have an IEP, you may want to request an assessment for Special Education from your school district. You will need to do this in writing, but there are many templates available on the web.

There are also many organizations which help parents of children with emotional and behavioral difficulties. They vary somewhat depending on area, but MATRIX, Parents Helping Parents, PCAN, NAMI and, a personal favorite because I like the name - Mothers from Hell. Many of these organizations are staffed by people whose children have difficulties themselves so they are really familiar with life in the trenches, they are also often very knowledgeable about Special Education resources and can help you with writing letters, attending IEP's for you, translating the legal stuff into English. I'm a really big fan of these organizations, systems can be tough to deal with and you generally face them when you have the fewest resources - so, advocate up, it can only help.

There are also some parenting stretegies you can use and many of these organizations run courses on dealing with kids with difficult behaviors. I have some hubs on dealing with oppositional kids and behavioral interventions. parenting programs like 123 magic and positive parenting may really help you.

Your daughter sounds very troubled, but she needs treatment, not to be allowed to be abusive to you. Yes, she feels horrible and out of control at times, but she needs to get some anger management and coping skills, so that she doesn't think it can work that way in the real world. You need to model good boundaries for her as she is clearly struggling with her own - and that includes setting - and sticking to limits consistently - there are many sites that can help you with this.

I would also highly recommend that you both seek a consultation with a mental health professional. She is going to need some skills and coping mechanisms and you will need to get your own support so that you can be firm in your boundaries - you can't set limits when you feel bad about yourself.

There are many good resources out there NAMI and NIMH are excellent starting points and likely have some groups in your area. You can really make a difference in you and your daughter's life by getting a correct diagnosis, getting into treatment, really learning about her disorder and how you can respond in ways to help her and ensuring that she develops good coping skills so that she is able to make good decisions for herself in the future.

I wish you both all the best on your journey.


iowamaggie 6 years ago

Dear Dr C. My boyfriend a recovering alchoholic stopped drinking when I broke up with him for the second or thrid time last fall. At the time he finally stopped and got help from a 10 week program we was upset that I was "not there for him" I had tried to be there for over 3 years but reached a point where I had to take care of myself. I took his phone calls during this time but had broke up with him as I could not put myself through it any longer and felt that if he did finally stay clean and sober and I wanted that for him I could not be a part of his treatment. We got back together in February , after we were together a few weeks I learned that I have breast cancer. I have some treatments and health issues of my own now to resolve and he is resentful as he says because i was not there when he needed me the most. He is having a hard time seeing any difference in the two situations. I can't explain it to him, he wonders if he is here for me now, will I be there for him next time he needs me or will I not be like as he puts it I was not there for me when he needed me. How do I explain this to him ? He truly can not see the difference. Can you ?


iowamaggie 6 years ago

Hi there , me again. Not sure if I asked the question correctly in my last post.... How do I relate the difference between alcholism and cancer . He can not seem to get past his resentment for his being alone an d me not being there for him when he was trying to stop drinking.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

to firemanphil -

Apologies for the delay in responding.

To start with the diagnosis, well getting a diagnosis can be a relief, a confirmation, or an assault on one's sense of self. Generally speaking, it's not best to diagnose one's partner, and less so to share it with them if you do.

I certainly hear your frustration with your partner's behavior, but right now, the more salient question may be why you choose to stay with someone who caues you such emotional stress and pain, regardless of diagnosis.

You mention that your partner says that she has never loved anyone like you - and those are powerful and heady words, but without the associated behaviors, it's just words. Putting someone down feels just as bad whether you say it or imply it, sometimes worse when it's not overtly stated.

You also seem very invested in the relationship, perhaps because of glimpses of high points in the relationship - and these may be worth fighting for, but write it down, what are the good and bad aspects of the relationship and see if you'd invest if it was a financial decision.

-And invest in yourself - go to therapy, find someone who you really connect with in a positive way and try and sort this stuff out. You obviously have many strengths, but you are allowing someone else to dictate what and how you do things. If you can identify why this is, you are in a much better position to make changes - or not, but you have the information.

Also, and this may be difficult, but make a list of the things you would like to be different - and give an example of what you would like to see. Not just, stop criticizing, but instead of being critical: leave the room until you can say something helpful, write down feedback etc. If you want people to change their behaviors, you need to identify the behavior needing to be changed, very, very specifically - and then give the person a choice of a few replacement behaviors - and then reinforce, reinforce, reinforce when you see an effort to make changes.

You do, indeed have a complex situation and I would strongly suggest that you consult with a mental health professional and, if your partner is willing, begin some couples counseling. As a baseline - if you're spending more time talking, thinking, planning about a relationship in a not so good way, than actually being in the relationship you may want to start looking at other options. That said, there are also plenty of ways to shift the dynamics in a relationship and a mental health professional should be able to give some suggestions.

Thank you for writing in and reading this hub.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Dear confused-

Thank you for writing in. To begin, while your partner sounds fairly disturbed and may/may not be NPD, what is of major concern to me is that this sound like an abusive relationship (he verbally abuses you, treats you with distain, has doubles standards, puts you down for the same behavior he engaged in, tells you it is your fault that he has issues/is angry/depressed etc and is generally ungrateful in the extreme.

Your partner should absolutely be evaluated by a psychiatrist - and you are going to need to make some hard choices about how you want your life to be in the future. You mentioned that you'd been depressed - did you take it out on everyone else? sure, sometimes probably, but by and large, I would guess you tried to be as pleasant as possible.

If he's depressed, he needs to get treatment. Depression sucks, but it is not an excuse to make those around you suffer too. I would also suggest that you get some mental health consultation - no, not because you are weak, because you are strong - and you refuse to be defeated by depression, your partner, or any other situation.

Talking with a mental health professional can help you clear your thoughts, define your goals, role play those situations you avoid and provide support and suggestions for dealing with things in your life. As your partner needs to deal with his emotional issues, you do too.

I'm under no illusions that this will be easy, but the rewards of being in charge and happy in your own life are pretty cool.

Again, a very complex situation and definitely not one that can be resolved in a single reply, but there are many support systems out there - and more who have been where you are than you know.

In finding yourself, you find your power - best wishes to you.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi Iowamaggie-

Thanks for writing in.

Both cancer and alcoholism are serious disorders with both physical and psychological aspects to them, and both require much additional external support in addition to treatment for the most success. That said, however, they are also very different disorders requiring very different treatment approaches (which is why we don't go to the dentist for heart problems).

Working through a treatment program for alcoholism requires a significant amount of inner work, which can only be done by the person themselves. Those on the sidelines can support as much as they like, but only that person can decide not to have a drink, and there will come a time where support is not available and they will have to make that decision for themselves only. It takes a great amount of personal determination and humility. Many programs require you to inventory your life and make amends to those you've hurt. The treatment program was only 10 weeks (although I'm sure it felt longer for him) - to undo a life time of ingrained habits and responses! that's not very long.

Treatment programs are also just the beginning step for alcohol treatment. 10 weeks is long enough to medically detox someone, stabilize them, begin some rudimentary treatment and help develop some coping skills. Many people don't realize this, but rehab is just the first step - the rest of his life is up to him. If he feels resentful towards you, the program should have helped him to develop some ways to let you know this, state his current needs and move on.

He should also absolutely be in a support group of some type, AA/NA are the most easily available and work for many, but not all people and alternative groups are available. It may also be helpful to you to explore groups for loved ones of alcoholics as some people retain the associated behaviors, even when not abusing the substance.

Also, and this is, I believe a very central difference, your boyfriend's primary support for his sobriety should not be you. This is very important, he should have a sponsor/friend/counselor etc who he goes to when he is struggling - not you. In this situation you are too close and too likely to be drawn into behaviors which help him justify using. You can certainly be of support - and it sounds as though you are - just not his primary go to person. In cancer, this is a little different - the type of support you are seeking is different and so it's appropriate that your primary caretaker be your primary relationship if you so choose. Often people closest to you know more about your medical history, can attend doctors appointments with you, drive you places, bring you meals and comfort you. I hope you are establishing a suitable support system for yourself too.

Although there are psychological aspects to cancer and most definitely things you can do to help you through - from getting some supportive therapy, using cognitive behavioral strategies, relaxation techniques, pain management, meditation and mindfulness to name just a few, your primary and ongoing treatment needs to be physical in nature with psychological augmentation, whereas alcohol treatment is largely psychological with some physical augmentation such as medical detox, replacement narcotics etc.

So, I guess that's a little long winded, but that's how I would draw the distinction. I hope this is helpful to you and I wish you both the best.


Rob 6 years ago

Hi

I am trying to come to grips with a painful breakup and have found a lot of these posts very comforting.

My ex-girlfriend is a high functioning alcoholic, she has admitted it a couple of times when she is drunk but will not contemplate it being the cause of our problems when we argue.

Whenever we did argue she would either walk out on me or kick me out of her house and I would have to spend days trying to get her to see reason by email or phone. She would not answer mostly for a day or two and then she would answer in this very cold and superior tone blaming me for everything.

I had tried to tell her when we were trying to resolve things later about the language she uses. I have mentioned the massive amount of contempt she reacts with to any criticism, the disdain, the name calling. She has so many of the symptoms of NPD it is frightening to read them all. Not willing to talk about her feelings, no empathy for mine, her logic is ridiculous and she puts words in my mouth, always has to be right, I have no right to ask for anything in this relationship and she does not apologise for her poor behaviour (anymore) just blames me.

She has destroyed my reputation with her “friends” by telling them one sided stories. Two are single women with no lives (one is her sister) who both tell her what she wants to hear, the other is a much younger attractive girl that makes my ex feel like she is still in her twenties.

They all sit and drink with her.

We are both early forties by the way.

The sad thing is we have a 4 year old daughter who she doesn’t show much affection to also unless she is drunk. She is just a little doll to be shown off at social occasions. Without even reading about NPD I knew if we didn’t make it as a couple that my daughter was going to be in a tough situation. My ex is well off and has a nice house and cars so it is only the lack of love I was concerned about. I sometimes think she thinks I want her house, nothing is further from the truth. I have my own place although a bit more modest.

What I need to ask is something about the way our situation is different.

She has broken up with me a few times and I have always tried to get her to see reason by email and she has always softened up eventually and come back to me. I am unfortunately very much in love with who I thought she was.

This time she did not do it after a fight she did it coldly over the phone while I was home cooking for her.

I knew something was different this time. She has flown her mother in to stay for a couple of months and has surrounded herself with her “friends” and family. I know this is to ensure that she doesn’t have a weak moment and call me when she is drunk.

I wrote her an email telling her straight what I think our problems were the day after the break up in a tone that I would have previously been too afraid to use with her for fear of her telling me to F-Off!

The booze, the name calling, the lack of sober affection, the broken promises. She only makes promises when she is drunk so I don’t even know if they count as broken if she doesn’t remember them. I sent another apologising the next day and in both emails I said I loved her.

Now she won’t let me see my daughter because she is angry now.

She came into my work drunk (I work in a club) a few weeks after the emails

and kissed me on the cheek in a most humiliating way in front of all her “friends” and my workmates who know my feelings. I felt like it was control and not the environment I wanted to see her in considering she hadn’t contacted me in the light of day about our daughter. I asked her not to come to my work in another email and have a heart for my feelings, this has incensed her once again and now she has cut all contact with me.

The thing is at first when we started having problems she would apologise and a couple of times when she was starting to rant I asked her to stop and she did thus avoiding a fight.

I think she was trying. We had been together as a couple once before our daughter was born and we knew some of the signs.

She can also cry if I play her sad classical music and she cries in movies as I do so I think she must have feelings of some sort.

I have cried since mostly because she has told me so many wonderful things and made promises then treats me so cruelly by not answering my emails (I sent more over the course of the past 2 months trying to make friends) with any more than silence or insults and threats to call the police.

I know that once her mother leaves and she is home alone drinking that she will call me in the middle of the night if she doesn’t find someone else soon. I’m also pretty sure that she will not carry on with this no contact with my daughter for too long, as time has always softened her resentment towards me..

What am I to do? If she rings and tells me she is still unhappy and wants to admit to being an alcoholic I would have considered trying to fix this, I love her, but what I have read about NPD just makes me shiver.

I would even put up with some things for the sake of my daughter.

I think life is full of ups and downs and towards the end of our relationship I was not even reacting with much anger to her insults as I knew they would be forgotten in the morning and was devising ways to avoid these arguments.

What am I going to do?


liana 6 years ago

when does being self-centered become a disorder?


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi-

I'd like to try and address both liana and rob's issues, but I'll begin with liana, because I think that this is a very relevant question. We all show characteristics of personality disorders from time to time, and some more than others, but mostly poor behavior is just that - poor behavior. Where a personality disorder differs is that this is the only way the person has of relating, they are rigid in their approach and their interpersonal style has led to and is currently causing clinically significant distress. This person's style has disrupted relationships, jobs, study, pretty much every aspect of that person's life. It is a pervasive and chronic problem, not an occasional poor judgement. Having a personality disorder is a significant and serious mental health issue - and the main defining criteria are the pervasiveness and significantly negative effects these behavior have for the person themselves. I hope this clarifies liana's question a little. Back to Rob in just a moment.


JWestCattle profile image

JWestCattle 6 years ago from Texas

". . .that they will be unmasked as someone so unspeakably horrible that they will instantly be shunned and denounced by all who know and love them."

Really informative hub, and the quotation above is what generally happens eventually for at least the intimate family members of the sociopathic narcissists -- they come to see them, know them, oftentimes only accepting of the reality after another family member is destroyed by them.


clayjuggler 6 years ago

I grew up with a father with NPD and a mother with some kind of personality disorder(maybe NPD). I highly recommend therapy and Al Anon/ACOA /Alateen for children/adults who grow up in these circumstances.Childhood survival strategies do not translate well into adulthood! This article really nails it on the head. My now 88y.o. father continues with the exact same behaviors that he had as a young man. They are very consistent and persistent. We are now having a lot of difficulty keeping him safe and getting him the proper care. He is fighting us every step of the way. He is very vulnerable to sweetheart scams because of the flattery involved and very resistant to real help since he sees it as an insult. If you are thinking about having children with someone who you suspect has NPD please think twice and then think again. It leaves a long legacy. I'm in my fifties and still cleaning up the mess. Maybe they can change however I wouldn't count on it. If you have the option, go find love elsewhere.


vivadixie 6 years ago

I am pretty sure that my ex-girlfriend has NPD. We have recently broken up and she has behaved appalingly. She is refusing to let me see our small child and it looks really likely that I will have to take her to court to get to see him. Everything I have read about NPD chimes with her behaviour. What I want to know is how do I deal with her from now on as we need to co-parent together for at least the next 16 years? How can one effectively co-parent with a person with NPD? IS it even possible? She has main care of our child right now.

I am able to recognise that behaviour that I had thought was utter spite and vindictiveness a few months ago may be due to her own feelings of inadequacy but I am really struggling not to feel deeply angry towards her when she has blocked all contact between me and my child for the last 3 months. I was his primary carer so it hurts especially badly. I would not dream of showing my anger towards her to her as I know it would only rile her further and possibly provoke yet more appaling behaviour. What I want to know is a) how do I deal with her generally and b) how do I learn to let go of my anger which I have every justification for feeling as she has treated me, and our child, dreadfully. I feel at a total loss for how to handle her now that we are no longer in a relationship and she is behaving as though I hate her and lashes out at every turn.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi, and thank you all for writing in.

JWestCattle: great quote, I would, however suggest that this quote also describes a narcissist's basic fear. When we believe something about ourselves, good or bad, we tend to behave in line with that assumption, so someone who feels unlovable often acts that way too. This is, indeed what underlies much of a narcissist's defensive grandiosity and some of the hurtful things they do.

I appreciate your comment and quote, thanks for writing in.


concernedPARENT 6 years ago

My 22 year old daughter has been in a tumultuous relationship w/her boyfriend of 2 years. He is handsome & was charming and flattering to her in the beginning but as soon as my husband & I met him we knew something was 'off'. We chalked it up to immaturity but after this past year are certain that there are Narcissistic qualities in him. To complicate the situation even more our daughter has been struggling for the past 3-4 years with confidence issues - most likely what drew her to him - and thankfully has been seeing a psychologist to help her through these insecurities and his mistreatment on her.

He punishes her whenever she challenges his behavior by giving her the cold shoulder or 'needing space', he becomes insulted whenever you question his cockamamie ideas, he usually decides if & when they see each other, it appears the relationship is all about his wants and desires - hers are inconsequential - and it seems as long as he feels she is insecure about his feelings towards her he has the upper hand. My feeling is that she's constantly trying to hold the relationship together and not do something that he'll 'punish' her for. She recently confided in me that she told him that she feels more invested in the relationship than he does but of course he denied that. Thankfully she has been retreating home when she is insecure about their relationship and we are welcoming any opportunity to get her to see the reality about her fella.

She is graduating w/an undergraduate degree from a prestigious university next month and he is a college dropout (working paycheck to paycheck - I think he thinks some magically epiphany is going to be bestowed on him because he is different). Her career direction has been shelved (most likely per his influence) so we are thrilled that she plans to return home (at least through the summer) and re-evaluate her career plans. I think the break will be a good one for her to reassess her life.

My husband & I continue to keep the lines of communication open without being overbearing. I feel she needs to make the decision, on her own, to sever her ties with him otherwise she'll continually lack confidence in her decisions. We increasingly try to get her to see the 'problems' w/this guy are not going to go away anytime soon but I think she feels if it didn't work out she was the 'problem' not him. I think she would benefit from some psychology courses but convincing her of this wouldn't be easy.

Any recommendations on how we can give her the confidence to make sensible decisions would be appreciated.


Neet8 6 years ago

I will be enforcing the No contact with someone who suffers with NPD. This is necessary for mental health reasons. It has taken me a long time to make this decision, but the time has come to put my own mental health first. Thanks for the hub.


violetsdgirl 6 years ago

Hi, Dr. C:

What advice do you have for successful (or at least acceptable)conflict resolution with an NPD husband? It's not as cut-and-dry as breaking up with a boyfriend, and I plan on trying my best to stay for the long haul. But at the moment I'm feeling beat up and would like some survival tools.Thanks.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Clayjugger: You correctly point out that a parent with NPD can leave lasting scars on their children due to their emotional unavailability, difficulty with empathy and extreme neediness, which they feel driven to fill, often at the expense of others. I would also agree that both AlAnon and ACA groups can be enormously helpful, but they are really targeted at substance abuse and it's fallout. While there are similar behaviors between addicts and narcissists, the reasons for their actions is often vastly different and so treatment is quite different. Having said that, I'm a firm believer in finding what works for you and if that works best for you, then it's best for you. Thanks for reading and commenting.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

To concernedPARENT:

A tough situation to deal with and certainly one which requires delicate handling. I have to say that you are really doing a very good job by encouraging your daughter to make her own decisions.

Where I would recommend a shift would be in your pointing out her boyfriend's flaws. She knows them, believe me. Sometimes for kids there is some embarrassment in admitting that you've made a poor choice. Even if she is, it's tough to admit mom was right. By pointing out her boyfriend's flaws, from her perspective, may feel like you're saying "gee, you made a bad choice" to her over and over. She knows this relationship is not good, what she's struggling with is finding a way out. This is where you come in.

You need to function as a consultant to her - you'll give your opinion when asked and only then. You are there to help her sort this issue out without any judgement - and it's important she knows that. Let her know that you know she'll make the right choice and if she'd like any advice or, better still - help with problem solving, you are always available.

Use active listening and reflecting her feelings(try rephrasing what she has said to make sure you understand it and make sure you understand how she feels about the situation.) You want to encourage her to elaborate, try being open ended in your questions - how do you feel about that, what was that like for you?, tell me more about that etc.

Encourage her to problem solve - what would happen if you did this?, what would happen if you did that?, how would you feel about that? She's trying to figure her life out, so ask her, is this something that fits into your life plan - and why?

Help her make a list of all the things she values in a person, if there was an ideal person, what would that look like - don't draw the comparison for her, she'll do that just fine - and when she's ready - why is it that you think you continue to do x/not do x when that's not part of your life plan. It's not pretend anymore, she is a grown up, she is in charge of her life and she shouldn't be putting things into her life that she doesn't really want.

Explore the positive side of her boyfriend with her, as much as you may hate to. You need to know what things attracted her to him, she'll start doing the math about ideal vs real, but she needs to know from you that she has unconditional support and that you'll be there whether she makes a good or bad choice and if she makes a bad one, you'll be there to help her figure out what she could have done differently. Help her see that this relationship is part of a life learning experience and sometimes finding out what we don't want is as valuable as finding out what you do. What would she want to be different in her next relationships - and what should she look out for based on this experience.

It is clear that your daughter trusts you, so you've done a good job, being supportive and non judgmental is going to be key for the future with her - and knowing that you have confidence in her and her decisions will be a big confidence booster and encourage her to keep making good choices.

I wish you all the best. Thanks for reading and I hope this is helpful to you.


concernedPARENT 6 years ago

dr C,

Thank you for your valuable input.

My husband seems to have much more patience (than I do) in listening to the issues so I tend to let him 'counsel' her more. I have been getting better at listening (but I have to bite my lip a lot) and encouraging her to elaborate without voicing my opinion. I feel like the more she talks about the 'problems' with her boyfriend the more she listens to her inner voice. The most difficult part in all this is how much control I feel her guy has over her and how easily she forgives him. Since this is her first serious relationship it appears as though she feels the relationship is what she envisions it to be but not reality.

Again, thank you, I will continue to try to do the best from my end. It is the most painful thing I've ever gone through and consumes every ounce of my happiness. As parents, we want only the best for our children and it's so hard to not correct when we see danger.


Alyssa  6 years ago

okay so i read your article, and many others and they say to stay away from these people. but about 6 months ago i fiqured out that my boyfriend is narcissistic. and his dad also is, and i was reading your article and almost every word described him and how he acts towards me. Being with him has lowered my self confidence and he always picks out my flaws when honestly i am doing nothing wrong... i dont want to break up with him but i can not get him to stop being so protective and get him to know that he does things wrong too not just me... Do you have any advicec on what to do?


rider341 6 years ago

Dr. C

Thanks for your commitment to helping those afflicted. It is another night of trying to figure out what to do about my mother with NPD. I have not been talking to her for 6 months since her latest visit to the east coast ended in disaster with her insulting my wife in front of my 4 year old. She has become a perpetual disappointment and I have been unable to come up with a solution that fits. After our another incident two years ago, I went to see a therapist and tried my mother's suggestion of reading books about relationship interdynamics and conflict resolution. The therapy helped me but the books and discussions went nowhere (she stopped reading the books). There were some excellent posts on your blog about similar situations and your explanation of the disorder was all too familiar however I can no longer cope and need her to get help. She has asked for help but expects it to come from me. I am tired of the emails asking me to forgive and forget and how we all need to just try and be more loving. I would like to write her a letter and demand she seek psycho therapy as a condition to re engage in communication with her son. She lives in the east bay and I was hopeful you could provide some suggestions of specialists I might pass along to her. I realize that she has to want to seek help from within and do the hard work which she is loathe to do (she doesn't want to go through the feeling bad before she will feel good) but I am at wit's end and do not want to destroy my own family for the sake of my last living parent and her NPD. Thanks for your help Dr. C


violetsdgirl 6 years ago

Hi, Dr. C.:

I had asked for some advice regarding tools for spouses of NPD. I look forward to your reply on that...but in the mean time I thought of another question. Is it typical for NPD spouses to maintain unnaturally close relationships with ex-spouses, even if they have not had a child with those ex's? It appears that my spouse and his ex are quite co-dependent, much more so than I ever imagined prior to our wedding.It seems very important to him to keep this "friendship", to the point where he will protect it over his relationship with me. He sees nothing wrong with this - actually feels it is noble on his part. Could it be the NPD need to be liked and admired?


engaged to an NPD 6 years ago

Dear Dr. C, I'm very glad to find this website and read all the valuable information you are giving.

I met this guy, fell in love and got engaged very quickly, he knew how to make me love him, he seemed to be very nice, outgoing, he told me many things about him self and later I realized they were just lies. He knew what would make me love him, he is like a chameleon.. He studied my personality very well, but by time I realized that he is not the nice person he seemed, I discovered all his lies and he keeps doing that with all his friends and family and closest people to him!!! He is a perfect lier! For example, when he meets new people he tells them stories about his success, while he is simply someone without a job or a degree!!

He doesnt care about my emotions, I tried to break up with him thousands of times but he never lets me do that. I know that he loves me, but I feel trapped!!

My problem is that I love him so deeply, he is the love of my life, I know that underneath this personality there is a good heart that would change sooner or later. Dont u think so?

My problem is that im very optimistic in everything, I always feel that all people have a good side and that we should search for this good side on them and try to help them to show it! I'm a very successful girl, im only 25 and made huge success in my career.

By the way he is the first love of my live, I've been always waiting for my prince, when I met him I felt he is the one of my dreams, but when I read the disorders of an NPD, I feel that im reading his personality, he has anger problems, he shouts at me if I discuss any small and stupid problem, he gets crazy when someone says "You are WRONG".

I dont know what to do? I cant just simply leave him, I hate to fail. FAIL doesnt exist in my life, thats one of the reasons why I dont want to break up with him, but at the same time im tired of him!!!!!! I want him to change, I want him to be the same person I fell in love with. What can I do? should I consider visiting a psychologist? would that help me? I really need your advice and I cant wait to read your comment!! looking forward for your answer and thanks a lot for all what you are doing!!


cb10 6 years ago

I have been reading about NPD and need some advice as to how to deal with my mother. My father died 2 months ago and I left my husband and 2 children to go help my parents while he was sick. I was away from home for 7 weeks while he was in the hospital and eventually died. I was 6 months pregnant as well at the time. My mother wanted to come to my home to help with the new baby, I am due in a few weeks. But she has been so demanding and difficult over the phone about what she wants in her room etc. and I have been spending money and running around for her when I should be more focused on myself and unborn child right now. I had a huge fight with her and she is demanding I decide 'how I'm going to treat her' before she comes to help. I honestly don't want her to come, I feel we could handle everything ourselves even though I am having a C-section. I would rather she not disturb our peace. She is making me feel guilty but I cannot give or do anymore for her at this point. I am feeling bad for her she is all alone without my father and friends for her are few and far between. She desperately needs therapy but has tried and failed twice and she insists I'm the one who needs it. Any advice would be helpful.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi-

Thank you everyone for your comments, there are several, so I'll do my best to give you each feedback.

I'd like to respond to concernedPARENT and apologize to violetsdgirl, as I think I may have skipped you the last time I responded.

To concernedPARENT, I truly commend you for your flexibility and desire to help your daughter. Biting your lip is hard, I know and when you're watching someone you love heading into an obvious disaster, not helping can be the hardest thing, but it is also your greatest gift of love as it shows you accept her and her decisions as an adult.

As hard as it is, she will probably come out of this episode with a little ego bruising, but she'll have learned multiple lessons for life, and ultimately that's what we are training and parenting kids for - so that they'll be able to make good choices when we're not around.

As children when we learn to walk or ride a bike we fall, it's inevitable and while no one wants a child to get hurt, sometimes getting hurt is a valuable lesson in itself and without that feedback that "oops, that didn't work well", we'd never learn, because we wouldn't know how to correct ourselves.

What you are doing is now metaphorically watching your daughter learn to walk in the real world - and there'll be some stumbles, but your gift to her is that she'll know that you support her and respect her choices as an adult.

You've been and are a good parent, she knows what to do, and sometimes what we learn with the heart stays with us longer than what we learn with the head.

I wish you well and encourage you to give yourself a break. Your daughter wouldn't be the great kid she is without you. The key is being able to shift your role from mom of a kid to mom of a young woman who may have her own kids someday. Always more difficult said than done, but your openness and caring will be great assets for you.


engaged to an NPD 6 years ago

There is an update! he is leaving this country for 1 year at least, he couldnt make any success in his life here, he is a foreigner, so he decided to go back home and stay with his family and start building his life once again. I'm sure it will be much easier for him to build his life as he has his family's support. I always wished he would do that, because he is not making any progress here, and he had so many problems that made him very sad. I'm very happy with his decision. We've always had this decision to get married in his country and live there, but we were planning to do that after he finishes university, but he couldnt study well, he didnt get a job, he decided to go back and in the next year we would have our wedding there.

He asked me if its ok? if I want to continue with him? I asked him: do you want to continue with me? he said you are the most person I loved in my life, I want you to be always with me and continue our lives together. I said me too!!

I know we will keep in touch every day and all the time, but I'm a very jealous person. I'm afraid that his NPD will make him unfaithful!!!!!!!!!!!! specially that we will be far for 1 year :-( any advices on long distance relationship with an NPD? I cant imagine life without him even if I faced many difficulties because of him. I love him!!


engaged to an NPD 6 years ago

There is an update! he is leaving this country for 1 year at least, he couldnt make any success in his life here, he is a foreigner, so he decided to go back home and stay with his family and start building his life once again. I'm sure it will be much easier for him to build his life as he has his family's support. I always wished he would do that, because he is not making any progress here, and he had so many problems that made him very sad. I'm very happy with his decision. We've always had this decision to get married in his country and live there, but we were planning to do that after he finishes university, but he couldnt study well, he didnt get a job, he decided to go back and in the next year we would have our wedding there.

He asked me if its ok? if I want to continue with him? I asked him: do you want to continue with me? he said you are the most person I loved in my life, I want you to be always with me and continue our lives together. I said me too!!

I know we will keep in touch every day and all the time, but I'm a very jealous person. I'm afraid that his NPD will make him unfaithful!!!!!!!!!!!! specially that we will be far for 1 year :-( any advices on long distance relationship with an NPD? I cant imagine life without him even if I faced many difficulties because of him. I love him!!


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi violetsdgirl, thank you for your posts and your patience. Having an ex who is narcissistic can be tough, and as you correctly surmise, when kids enter the picture it becomes more difficult still. The essence of any co-parenting, in part is repeating the mantra "it's not about me" - regarding both the barbs thrown your way and your parenting style. From now on your focus has to be exclusively what is best for the child. Taking the personalization out of encounters with exes is tough, but if you can maintain your neutrality and remain civil, each time they bring something up you say (to yourself)"it's not about me" and with them you just keep directing the topic back to the kids. If he brings up some real or imagined transgression on your part, remind him that your task right now, is to figure out a way to parent the child/children in the best possible manner.

You are also correct that people with NPD crave positive attention, so in a forum with others - and it may help to have initial co parenting meetings with others present. Your ex is not going to want to lose face and be the one who isn't being the good parent.

As hard as this is in the face of direct attack, the less you give, the less there is to use to up the ante. It's really the same with kids, you need to mold his behavior towards you with your responses. Don't give him any ammunition. As with kids, teasing is only fun if the other party responds. You give clear, short answers with as little emotional content as possible, don't get into bantering back and forward, if you can't agree on an issue, move on you'll come back to it, set a time limit on each persons speaking time, write down questions and put every agreement in writing and make sure you both have a copy you can refer back to.

Regarding your spouse being somewhat enmeshed with a previous spouse, sometimes people with NPD completely burn their bridges, but if they can find someone for whom their egocentrism works, they would definitely want to keep this as a self esteem booster.

It's almost as if people with NPD are not able to refill their self esteem tank and their tank is full of holes - no matter how much positive feedback you put in, it can't be retained and so they need to constantly top up, kind of like hummingbirds.

You definitely have some potential rough spots ahead, but understanding that narcissism is driven by an intense, overwhelming feeling of being a horrible human being and that the grandiosity is often a defense, may make it a little easier to tolerate. Best wishes.


violetsdgirl 6 years ago

Thanks very much for your feedback, Dr. C. I apologize if I was unclear in my post, but my husband and his ex-wife do not have any children.

I hear what you're saying about grandiosity being a defense. When he begins an abusive argument with me (on an average of every other day), it is best to retreat, or to stand up for myself in a calm manner?

Additionally, what is the best way to address his lying, and his lack of remorse for lying when caught?


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi-

I'd like to respond to violetsdgirl briefly before addressing the rest of the questions.

My apologies for the mix up. The good news is that no kids certainly makes things a little easier.

Regarding responding to your ex - unfortunately there is only one grown up in this situation and it has to be you. To deal effectively with someone with NPD, fair essentially has to go out the window, it's more a matter of making it through the psychic minefield of your ex's issues. It's not fair that you have to do the majority of the work, be the adult and anticipate their responses and meet their needs, but it will save you a lot of stress and aggravation.

Often the best approach to a direct attack is what I call the 'El Toro trick'. If you have a bull running towards you (as a bullfighter, please don't try this at home) - you ascertain the direction, speed, angle etc of the attack - and most importantly, you hold the big 'ol red flag next to you, not in front of you and you sidestep the bull.

I would recommend that you establish a specific contact schedule with your ex, you talk when you need to, for just as long as you need to about just what you need to talk about and no more. Just as in co-parenting, it is often helpful to have someone - a neutral party- present who can help keep you guys on track and perhaps take notes which you each get a copy of at the end of the meeting, review, agree to the content and sign.

The key is structure, keep everything tightly scheduled so there is no room for nasty comments. If he calls at a time not on the agenda, if you choose to take the call, be pleasant and ask him to write down whatever the issue is and bring it to the next meeting. That's it, thank you for calling, I'll see you again on x date at x time.

Don't get into power struggles, he will be way more invested than you, so try to be flexible around things like scheduling, but not meeting format. Sometimes meeting in a quiet restaurant, again with a third party can make the atmosphere less tense.

It's important to be very clear and direct in all communications. When he tries to start a fight, if you're on the phone, make a polite excuse and leave otherwise try to redirect to the goal at hand. You might say something like " I can see that xyz is bothering you, but that's not really what we're meeting about right now so, if you'd like to discuss it further let's put it on the agenda and discuss it at that time. (preferably the next meeting by which time it may not even be an issue any more).

If it has to be discussed right then, take control of the situation and say something like " I really don't feel ready/able to discuss this right now with you so I'm going to take a short time out and I'll see you in 10 minutes". This way you have an out, a chance to regroup and prepare your strategy (remember the bull fighter). Also, he has time to cool down - and sometimes when you put a gripe in writing, it really does seem silly.

Now sometimes when the bullfighter pulls the red flag away the bull gets kinda cranky, 'cos basically it's mad and wants to fight, so the first few times you do these things, your ex will probably not like it at all as it takes away his spotlight. Just like with kids however, consistency is key and what you are doing is slowly training him to respond to you in a different way based on the way you respond to him.

Now, back to the bullfight, it's not a fun process, it's strenuous, hard work , but humans are creatures of pattern and when you set up and consistently reinforce a particular set of behaviors, people repeat them.

So, first you want to limit the range of possible behaviors (by structuring the setting), then make it more worthwhile to show positive behaviors than negative ones- shut down negative behaviors (by refocusing, time outs etc) and praise, praise, praise even the smallest positive attempts. It's important your ex get positive feedback for any behavior you want to see repeated, because that's what he's really after, that's what we're all really after.

Regarding lying, again choose your battles if it's not essential leave it, it becomes attention for negative behavior. For important things write every agreement down, with a copy for both of you. As far as the lack of remorse, it's probably best to do nothing, that won't shift without significant intervention and you'll probably just have to bite your tongue and let it go for your own mental health.

I hope this is helpful and more to the point. Thank you for reading and for your comments.


DealingwithX 6 years ago

This is a great blog. Very helpful.

Right now, we're dealing with my SO's X. She fits this description of NPD to a T. It's scary, but enlightening. The problem is we're dealing with custody issues and everything is all about what we're doing wrong. Nothing is about her.

One of the biggest concerns though is his kids. They have to live with it. The older one (13) feels badly a lot and is depressed when at his mom's. He's not with us. She makes it sound that he's 'severely depressed' and we're just ignoring it. Not the case.

The daughter, 7, acts like a baby mostly because she said her mom loved her more that way. So she acts like she's about 4 most of the time.

For whatever reason, all the court proceedings keep going her way because she pulls outrageous things out of her butt. She lies with such fluency that I'm blown away. She projects everything negative and really believes that all would be fine if we would just stop questioning her.

How do we deal with that and how can we best help his kids?


izettl profile image

izettl 6 years ago from The Great Northwest

court systems don't take much into account concerning mental disorders. my husband's ex gets eveything she wants in court and she has bi-polar and has pulled a knife on her kids, driven in the middle of the night across states with the children,been in mental insitutions, but she still has custody- go figure.

dealing with x~ can I say something to you. You probably will never win with the ex bcause people with personality disorders have two distinct traits- they ALWAYS win and they are geniuses at mainpulation- manipulation is not a game to get what they want, to them it is a survival mecahnism. make the best of your situation and not try to control it or change it.

I no longer have contact with my dad after too many years of putting up with his narcissism. Last visit to see him my 2 yr old had a tantrum in public and he said she needs psychological help- the incident embarrassed him so he went for juggular to get to me- that was the last straw.

Somebody said "they are people too" well so are the rest of us and we all deserve to be treated as such. When somebody, disorder or not, doesn't treat me like a decent human being I do not need to deal with them at all or make a speical exception because they are narcissistic- that's why people end up walking on eggshells and enabling these people to be like this. I no longer talk to my dad and I was the last in the family to keep putting up with him. He is now alone.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi, and thank you to all for your comments, I realize I'm a little behind, but I'll do my best to comment on each post.

Alyssa: you are right, living with someone with traits of NPD can be extremely difficult. I think one important question for you to think about is what you get out of the relationship vs what you would like from the relationship, why it is that you accept these behaviors and why you don't feel that you deserve someone who treats you well, supports you and takes you into consideration.

Obviously there are good parts to the relationship and those are important to look at too, do these aspects outweigh the others? If you had to design your ideal relationship, what would it look like - and how close is this one? No relationship is perfect, but it's also important to look at whether the differences from your ideal are minor (like you really hate that he leaves the top off the toothpaste) or major. You can only really change your own behavior, so are these behaviors going to be okay in your future? what if you have kids? You mention that his father has similar traits and some of his actions may stem from learned behaviors, but if these are not corrected, what will that teach your own children (if that's where your relationship is headed).

In terms of day to day dealing with someone with NPD, try to be as clear, direct and unambiguous as possible. If you want to discuss something, think it through, make notes and an agenda - and stick to it! It is often helpful to have a third party mediate if that's acceptable to both of you. State clearly what your issue is, how it affects you, and provide an alternative behavior you would like to see. Really reinforce any attempts towards the behavior you would like to see.

Receiving feedback/criticism to someone with NPD is extremely threatening and he is likely to counter with justifications and examples of your past or present 'transgressions'. Ask him to refocus on the topic at hand, he can write down his concerns and these can be discussed at the end of the meeting (this is where a third party helps too). If things get derailed or heated, take a short break and reconvene when everyone feels a little better. The bottomline, however is that you are really only in charge of your own behavior and if these behaviors work for him, or he doesn't know any alternatives, he'll probably keep doing the same thing.Iit's that old " you can take a horse to water" thing.

Getting some of your own consultation with a mental health professional may be useful in sorting out your thoughts, expectations and goals for this relationship and often an outside perspective gives you insight you can't get on your own (it's kind of like blind spots in a car mirror - you can't see your own blind spots because they're just that - blind spots!).

I wish you much luck in your journey, and thanks for writing.


thegirlgonegood 6 years ago

this blog is really helpful.

me and my partner are in such a similar postition in dealing with his stbx wife. she fits all traits to a t for npd its scary.

it was comforting to finally armchair diagnos her however, it meant a lot of the endless nights, frustration and the constant wondering of WHY??? is the woman the way she is kind of got labelled and with that we can answer things now.

we are mainly concered about his children.

his eldest who is 11 has expressed that he would like to come and live with us on more than a few occasssions however has also said that he is sure 'mummy wouldnt be happy about it' Exactly what was said above, that the child will sacrifice their own feelings for that of the parent.

the otehr issue we have is that there is sufficient assets and housing to go around in the divorce, they own more than one and my partner is going to suggest a straight split of assets and debts, slightly more in her favour.

this was suggested to her by a friend who is an attorney as well. however she is telling anyone who will listen that she is scared of being 'homeless' and that my partner is going to try and 'take her for everything' and has been creating a victim mentality for herself even tho the situation is pretty straightforward.

Its gotten bad in that he collects his children from the grandparents house now as she 'refuses to see him' and they are horrific to him as well now.

The LAST thing he wants to do is put his kids out on the street but she is deadset on playing up the hard done by ex wife here we are unsure of the motive.

Is it to create a 'battle' in her mind that she can feel she has 'won'? as that is the only NPD-ish explanation I can put on it??!


Myquest 6 years ago

Hi Doctor,

We are an Indian family. My sister-in-law is married since one and a half yrs and living with her husband and widow MIL. I need advise regarding the problem she is facing.

From the history and symptoms, it seems her MIL is suffering from Narcisstic PD. She does not have insight; and consulting a therapist is, in the typical Indian Relationship Hierarchy,near to impossible.

To worsen the situation my SIL's husband does not react towards his mother's situation and my SIL is playing a lonely battle.

One of the many issues the MIL has, is that she wants my SIL to leave her job and stay at home as there is enough money from the income of SIL's husband. Also she has to be always there with my SIl and her husband whenever they go out. if not, she gets angry and sulks a lot. In her own life she parties 5-6 hrs of the each day , going out with her female friends on kitty parties and playing card games.

My SIL has to handle all the responsibility of the house, but has to take MIL's permission or suggestion for even small things like the menu at meals. And even with that there is no end to fault finding. also issues like making up stories against the DIL, lying and boasting to relatives that she is the one who is taking care of monthly groceries and bills, is routine.

As a result my SIL ends up having feelings as if its not actually her house. She is ready to compromise and does a lot, but the total lack of space suffocates her. She is an educated professional and has a reputed job. But at home, things are like this.

My SIL is handling it sometimes by quarreling, at other times by ignoring and still other times by being gentle with her MIL. Till now it has not helped, and my SIL strongly wants to separate from her MIL which her husband is completely against.

the relationship between the husband and wife is also degrading as the husband does not take a consistent strong stand to protect his wife from his mother's unjust behavior.

Our family ( her father, mother and my husband)tries to tell her to endure the situation and handle it tactfully as she and her husband cant separate from MIL due to cultural pressure. But no one has any clue as to how to?

I need advise from you about what is it that my SIL can do in this situation ? and at what point a separation from MIL should be stronly recommended ?

Thank you so much


Dana 6 years ago

Been in a realtionship for over 10yrs with someone who i believe has NPD. Yea i saw

all the red flags in the beginning but had i'd known what i know now...im sure

yall know the rest. After years of feeling something wasn't right and getting

tired of being blamed for every single issue between us, I finally did some

searching on controlling behavior and boom there was my life in a text book.

Talk about feeling like such a fool! All these years of arguing and not

understanding...they had a name for it...finally! It took several traumatic

experiences to come to this realization and I had diarrhea for 2 days after I

took it all in. This was just over 2 months ago and i decided I should seek

professional help knowing this has taken on toll on me. Actually I'm basically

broke down from years of NPD abuse and i don't even know where to begin to pick

myself back up. I think about it everyday that I need help and shouldn't do it

alone like i have been but i am even having trouble finding the courage to even

contact a professional. The only thing thats keeping me sane is that we haven't

had a blowout (big fight) since i found out about NPD. My reaction is different

with an emotional boundary in place and although i feel like i could crack at

any moment because he still does the same heartless crap and then sucks me back

in again because its hard to distinguish what is real and what is not. Im just

trying to hang on to whats left of me and get the rest back. Lucky I have 2

great friends who understand what im going through. One has an abusive father and the other

has a abusive mother. My mother is supportive (she said my her mom, my gramma probly had

every disorder under the sun and she was determined to break the cycle..thank

god she did). My sister is also supportive too and believes her hubby is has NPD

also...why us? I call these my life lines they are the only ones who understand.

Mr Wonderful has such an image and always an airtight alibi and will lie with

charm his way out of anything! I'm ALWAYS the blame. I asked so many around us,

how can everything always be my fault? impossible right? My partner can be so

intimidating that he is like the elephant in the room that nobody want to

address. I have made the decision that no matter what...NO MORE ABUSE and his

can be so calculated and subtle its sickening and he can be extremely violent

from an escalated argument over something trivial. I don't want to be ran out of

my habitant for further devastation without planning. Right now I'm just trying

to focusing on myslef taking it one day at a time and I feel better already know

i have identified the problem...

> > However there is another problem i see in all of this. He has 3 children from a

previous relationship. And it has been a rough time since they seem to all have emotional problems. They came to live with us about 5 yrs ago (Their

mother said she couldnt handle them and several family memebers from thier

mothers side including the kids and her own mother says she has mental problems

and "something is wrong with her" being so emotionally unstable)and the 2nd

oldest(who was diagnosed with an identity disorder and severe emotional problems

when he was 12)moved out after about a year and a half. Him and his father didnt get

along, his father said he act too much like a girl (sissy, punk etc,). The oldest

dropped out of 12th grade and moved back in with mom about 2 years ago after he

made a mistake and was afraid to tell his father. Them two are basically on thier own

now but his daughter (the golden child) is still with us and i can tell that she

is really miserable. She stays in her room ALL the time, I don't think she can

get more isolated and withdrawn than she is now. She also has poor social skills

and its no wonder. She can be around the same group of people over and over and

barely will make progress with being a little social. Its to the point where her father

said she wont be invited to hardly anymore functions becuase she dont know how

to act. She is 16 and very responsible, gets A's in school but hates being home

to point where it seems very depressing. Her father says she just bored when I say

it looks like something is bothering her. I'm at the end of my rope with these

issues due to me being the fall guy. Since I have to be the blame for daddy

behavior. And as much as I have remained consistent with huge efforts to make

his children feel as comfortable as possible, i feel im only as good as my last

deed, going by the shitty attitudes i get from them. MyN doesnt care and says i

shouldnt worry about it. I was also advised by a one of my life lines not to

worry about her either and there is nothing i can do and to just focus on myself

and not to try and help anyone...only myself! I understand that and I dont even

know what I should do really. I just try to be normal. Any insight im sure would

be helpful Thanks in advance.

Dana


George 6 years ago

Hi Doctor

I am a divorced 39 year old father of two childs living in Mexico. I found your blog very interesting and i hope you can help me (sorry if my english is not that good). At the end of last year I started to go out with a girl 13 years younger and we got in a relationship. At mid January she told me she was pregnant with my child and i trusted her as we were not very safe and we party a lot. At first i was very mad with her and with myself of course because i was not prepared for it and our relationship was not formal. After a few weeks and without going with her one single time to the doctor i told her to take a pregnancy test and it turn out positive so i resigned to the fact that i was going to have another child. Her attitude in the last months has been very upseting for me and i started looking into the internet for any clues and came up with NPD information and she fits perfectly into the characteristics of this type of personality. Let me explain what she has done... I have a very good relation with my ex and we are constantly talking by phone and e-mail about our kids in order to have them go through the divorce stage as good as we can. This girl does not want me to have any contact with my ex and she talks of her very bad and agresively, refering to her as a whore, a bad mother and other very agresive adjectives. But that is not all, she also wants me to have the less contact with my children which is something i do not and will not approve never. She also calls them names, wishes them the worse which has been getting us in very bad fights and yelling. She also tells me that that she hates everything that sorrounds me (family, cousins, friends, work, etc.) as she fears that someone that loves me will manage to get me out of the relation. I must say that i am with her because of the unborn child and nothing else, i do not have any feelings for her. I know that what i am going to say is not good and can have a lot of interpretations, but in the last five months I've never been in a single ginecologyst appointment because she does not want me to. She tells me that until I prove that i am willing to meet all her demands I will not be a part of her life. So, when i tell her ok," i will move apart so you can go on with your life" she gets crazy, aggresive and insults me with every worst thing that can be said. She lacks completly of empathy and does not care if my kids, work, etc falls apart, she just wants to get what she needs when she needs it. When my ex father in law died in January she didn't care the close relation i had with him and the sad i was because of his loss (he died of cancer). For her he was only my ex father in law and anything that had to do with her she hates it. According to my calculations she is in the 25th week of pregnancy and she has no phisycal signs that prove pregnancy. I want to help her but is very difficult to make her understand that she has a problem. The last few weeks i have been very nice with her and i have been doing almost everything she wants in order not to get into discussions or physical agresion which she has done by the way to me. I want her to be confortable so i can convince her that we need to go to the doctor and see how the baby is doing so i can be calm. This of course is to find out if she is really pregnant and how long she has been pregnant. She has also been lying in a lot of things and inventing strong headaches, anxiety attacks and a various of things to get me close with her. Her jealousy is also alarming and does not want me to get in contact with any girl i know. Although i have plans on gettiing this into a legal matter if she does not accept to go to the doctor with me, what do you think is going on and what should i do?

Thanks in advance,

George


nausika 6 years ago

I am new at this site but I really need smb read my post and help me with an advise.

I live in an eastern country in Europe. I am 28 , have a good job for my country standards and I can say that I am a women than can live by her own…this until I meat Him 1 and ½ year ago.

I did not trusted to no one and I was wondering How this man could fall in love with me for 2 weeks. But he came to me telling all his life, how it has been so unfair with him, how his finance dumped him after 10 years they have lived together because he had no more money. How he wanted a long relationship and was looking for a girl that will understand him and love him. He was kind, sweet and called me every 3 hours with the sweetest words of the world

I thought that I have met finally the man who tells the truth and I felt comfortable with this strong beautiful man who takes care of me.

One month ( May 2009 ) after we were date-ing , we took me and showed me his FB and I found out that he was talking to other girls saying them the same worlds that was saying me, I get furious and I reacted as betrayed. He was the one who was offended and accused me that I did not understand him.

Than I talked him about my pas life and for the first time I told with loud voice that I have been broken hearted and I have fight to get back my self –esteem. I was sincere to him and trusted that he will understand how I feel. He sad that I has been a fool and my ex has used me. I felt alone but I thought he was jealous.

Than, in July, he started a business which I know from the beginning that was not going to be successful ( he had around him people who does not care for what he was fighting for, and the business was not thought so good). I tried to told him my point of view but he run sad that was not my business and he knows what he was doing.

I stayed near him every day, and every day that was coming become more and more difficult, I realized that he drinks, is not that sweet and he began to talk very bad to me, If we had any discussion he attacked me with the worst words ever. He began to have financial problems, I helped him with money and I found myself paying everything, the drinks the places we go and give him money for cigarettes and drinks.

He start to say that no one understand him, that I was very possessive and that I was only able to make him nervous and make only fights. At my point of view I was trying to understand him , because to me it doesn’t seems normal the phone calls of other “female friends” during the time he was with me in bed. And I did not understand this need of him to talk with all this people. He sad that I had imaginations and I was not a quite person

All this time we began to frequent my friend and his and we become a couple, and everyone thought we were happy.( Ironic)

I give up my old life and I began to live only his life, I had no more friends, at work I found my self thinking only about him and what was doing he at that moment. If I had any work dinner his calls were every 30 minutes asking me if I was “doing anyone” and how a bitch I was that I have left him alone.

I was not anymore the person that only laugh and that seems a sunny world.

In November I was going mad, I was feeling that something was very wrong but he still was saying that was all my imagination, than I checked his mobile phone and I found different SMS from other females and take notes of the numbers

He got very anger and told that he was living me, than I asked him not to do it ( I really have fallen in love and did not want to lose him).Than in December We were together in our bad room and he received a phone call were a girl asking him why he was not talking to her anymore, I was shocked. I spoke to her and said that he was with another women. He explained to me that “ she was someone who did not understand that he did not want to stay with her and he had done nothing” .

I tried to make him tell me the truth, I told him to say me the truth that I will understand him but he sad that the truth was only one, he loved me, and this girls was an idiot.

I had my heart so broken that I lose sleep, but I couldn’t go away from him, I felt power less.

Than his business failed and he lost his job, I was near him again. The phone began to ring again and than I called the girls and asked who she was: She told me that she has slept with him twice and he had told her that wants to have kids from her.

I called him and said that I talked with his “girlfriend”. He asked me to meet. I meet him and I told him I was living him. He sad that he made this terrible thing to me but we has lost his mind from the other problems, I had to understand him, he loved me, he had no excuse for what he had done but HE DID NOT WANT TO LOSE ME.

I get back to him cause I loved Him.

HE began to work and I thought that our troubles will disappear. I decided to trust him and everything seemed to be ok, but he was still the same person, drinking, saying that the world did not understand him, that he was so humble but the other were wrong to him, how the other are so stupid and does not know for what they live .He was always unhappy. Me TOO!

Than on MAY in one day he told that he was living me because I did not understand him. My world crashed down. I tried to talk to him , and he told me that this decision was the best one for both of us, That he is a failed person that can not give me a future. He has no money and does not see any light in owner country. He did not feel anything , and he did not love even himself.

Than he called me and told me that he loved me, we did love, and than he again told me that was better we separate. I began to accept the situation but I wanted the truth. What happened that he dumped me so suddenly?

Than I found him talking at the phone for an hour , I waited him and asked a simple question: To whom are you talking? He told me that smb form his family has introduced to him a girls who lives in USA and he is going to marry her for the green card. He has token his decision and will live the country.

And about me? I asked him. “You go on with your life, you are still young and you have your place in this reality, I do not feel that I can make a life here and I want to go away to start smth new with people I do not know “ – was his answer.

I feel terribly bad. I think that he was a cheater, that drinks a lot, that he lies to me and my future was not so shiny with this man, but my heart miss him and wonder if he has loved me any moment we were together.

I am trying to be strong, and my question is: Is this person normal, does the poverty make you make this choose or he is a NPD????

I have written a lot but the details are very few because I do not want you to get tired of reading how fool I am.

I still meet him, trying to understand what is going one. He tells me he loves me more that I can imagine and to try to understand why he is doing this. That if it makes me feel better I can hate him.

I am reacting very positive ( in his eyes) saying that I understand him and I want only his good. I do not want to make him nervous.

Please give me an opinion, Am I mad or this person is ????nausika

Sorry for my english


Complexity 6 years ago

Dear Dr. C,

I am seeking advice regarding "no contact" with a former partner. My story is very complex and I will try to summarize as best I can. I am a successful woman with an excellent career, a lovely daughter and a husband who is my best friend (we are separated but still live together for financial reasons). My mother has been under the care of mental health professionals on and off during her lifetime and while I am not aware of a formal diagnosis, I suspect that she has Borderline Personality Disorder. My father committed suicide three years ago. He had an extreme utilitarian philosophy and after being diagnosed with emphesyma at the age of 69, decided that he was no longer useful. I suspect that my Dad tended toward an anti-social personality however 45 years of walking on eggshells with my mom certainly didn't help his desire to live or give him the will to attempt any sort of therapy, physical or mental. I was raised to be an extremely dutiful, responsible, supportive person who was expected to take care of everything for everyone and put my needs second, especially to my mother's. My husband and I have been married for almost 12 years and we have an 8 year old daughter. He is 13 years older than I am (I am 42). I am athletic, active, energetic and your typical "Type A" over-achiever. My husband is disabled. He has Chronic Daily Migraine - he has had a migraine for 16 years. He cannot work outside the home, cannot watch television, cannot drive at night, cannot read, cannot go to the movies and cannot have sex. Our marriage has been platonic for 9 years. We were married in 1998 and our intimate relationship came to a halt in 2001 when he began experiencing ED. He was too embarrassed to discuss it and couldn't tolerate medications because they worsened his headaches. So sex became a taboo topic between us and because I had been programmed to be overly empathetic and put my needs behind those of others, I didn't speak up. I bottled everything up and denied my own pain and sense of abandonment.

About six years ago, I met someone at work. I'll call him Jeb. I was attracted to him right from the start but didn't really think much about it until three years ago. He and I worked very closely together and had a lot in common. We always got a long well although I never sensed anything beyond a mutual respect. I kept my hidden attraction to myself and did nothing about it. Then, he resigned from our company. He told management that I would be a good replacement for his managerial position and I was promoted based on his recommendation. During the two weeks that he served out his notice, he and I worked very closely together in order for me to learn the job. At the time, he was married and he told everyone that he was resigning so he could relocate with his wife to her home state in order for her to have a baby and be closer to her mom. It was during the two weeks of our working closely together that I became consciously aware of a very strong attraction to him and I also sensed that perhaps he had a little bit of a crush on me.

Jeb is a smoker, addicted to caffeine (drinks more than 20 cups per day), and also a daily pot smoker. He is the classic "artistic type" - dark, complex, moody and addicted. Despite appearances, we had a lot in common and our parents had similar personality issues. I suspect that some of his anti-social leanings appealed not only to the rebel in me that never comes out, but also reminded me of my Dad and in a way comforted me. Circumstances arose in which Jeb came back to our company early last year as an independent contractor. By that time, my husband and I were experiecing significant problems in our marriage. I had told him months earlier that I was unhappy and while we agreed to work on our marriage, he did nothing to make things better. It was all up to me and since there was so little flexibility in what could be done due to the constraints that the migraine introduced, nothing got better.

At about this time, Jeb started an e-mail dialogue with me in which he inquired into the state of my marriage and let me know that if I ever wanted to talk, he would be there for me. By this time, he was divorced. I sought counseling and after a time, my husband and I decided to separate. He wanted me to be happy and he knew that he couldn't provide the sort of intimate marriage I needed. Soon after, Jeb and I began a romantic relationship. On our second date, he told me that he was bi-polar. In addition, he also suffered from an underlying chronic depression even when manic. He was hospitalized twice as a teenager (aged 16 and 17) for mania. And he alluded to having OCD. He told me that to treat these conditions, he has smoked pot almost every day for 15 years. He did not believe in prescribed medications nor did he believe that he required any sort of professional therapy. I made it clear before we became involved that there were two things that I wouldn't bend on and one thing that was out of my control that he would have to accept. Those were that I am a mother, that I would always provide support (monetary and emotional) to my husband whether he stayed my husband or not, and that I was infertile. I gave him the out at the start of the relationship and told him if any of those things made him uncomfortable, we could stick to being friends and colleagues with no hard feelings. He said that on the contrary, he admired and respected my dedication to my family and that he was ambivalent about having children so the fact that I was infertile wasn't a big deal. He said that he was very impressed about how open and honest I was with everyone in my life and he expected me to be the same way with him. He said that none of those "barriers" were enough to prevent him from taking a "shot" at a relationship with me and that if both of us concluded that our needs were too different, he knew that it would be a conclusion we had reached together after open and honest communication which he said was the "hallmark of a healthy relationship."

We had a four-month whirlwind romance. There were little red flags along the way, particularly in the work environment, but not in our intimate relationship. However they weren't so severe as to alarm me. An interesting side note is that I was managing the team (all male) that he used to manage and he was in the interesting position of now being "in bed" with his former subordinates' boss. We came out as a couple at work and he told several of his confidants, including his mother and ex-wife, about our relationship and how happy he was with me. While we were working together, he was also trying to convince me to "screw the machine", by quitting my job, and going out on my own as an independent contractor to work with him at another company. I seriously considered it becasue I saw it as a sign that he wanted to build a life with me. At the same time, our intimate relationship was getting stronger. He knocked my socks off and made me feel like a million bucks. He spoke in superlatives - I was the best lover he had ever had (and I was number 10), he had never met anyone, male or female, who understood him as well as I did, I was the best manager he's ever worked with, I was fascinating, he even said that his dog was fascinated by me more than he was by any other human being. We traveled together and had a wonderful time. He took me to my father's grave and told me how proud my Dad would be of me and he told me that he wanted to take me to his home state to visit his Dad's grave. He did everything to ensure that I would fall in love with him, including asking me to "go steady" and he suggested that sometime soon perhaps he and I could do something fun together with my daughter.

Everything was going swimmingly. One Sunday after a typical weekend together, he wrote to me that I had brought out feelings in him that he wasn't sure he'd ever feel again. He said that his feelings for me had consistently surpassed anything he had ever felt for anyone before. Then, the following Tuesday, he took me on a dinner date and all


Complexity 6 years ago

To finish the story (sorry it's so long!)

Everything was going swimmingly. One Sunday after a typical weekend together, he wrote to me that I had brought out feelings in him that he wasn't sure he'd ever feel again. He said that his feelings for me had consistently surpassed anything he had ever felt for anyone before. Then, the following Tuesday, he took me on a dinner date and all of a sudden, I was looking into the eyes of a snake and I was the recipient of a coldness and meanness I had never experienced before. In the five years I had known him, he had never raised his voice at me, he had never looked at me with anything but kindness and he was always warm and supportive. On that night, I felt like I was looking in to the eyes of a cold-blooded murderer. He complained about the company we worked for and he implied that I had roped him into working at a place that he hated. He swore at me in public. I was completely blindsided and didn't know at all how to react other than to cry. We exchanged some heated e-mails that evening and he told me that he hated his job but that he would try to stick it out for a few more months since he made my job easier. I wrote back that he didn't make my job easier, he made the job of my team easier. And I knew when I saw him the next morning that I would never be forgiven for writing that he didn't make my job easier. Then, that evening, he called me and became hysterical. Out of the blue, he told me that he couldn't deal with the fact that I was a mother and that he wanted nothing to do with socializing with a little girl. I was completely dumbfounded. The next evening, we went out for coffe and it got worse. When I asked him how he felt for me, he refused to answer and said that he wouldn't be manipulated into telling me how he felt about a mother. He screamed this into my face. He then said our relationship had reached a crossroads and a decision was going to be made. I wasn't even aware up until that point that there was a decision on the table and when I asked him if we could talk about what we could do to make it better, he said that he didn't think so but he wanted me to come to his house the next evening.

So I did. And that's when the dumping occurred. Only he didn't even have the decency to come right out and dump me. In fact, he didn't even really tell me what was wrong other than to say something nebulous about not being comfortable being with a mother and that he was ending it for my daughter's sake. Then, it got worse. He started to lose control, one minute he screamed at me after I called him out for the duplicitousness of his behavior and then next minute he was crying uncontrollable pleading with me not to abandon him. We were clinging to each other. Then, he stopped crying, almost on a dime, and told me that I had to understand something about him - he has many different personalities but at his core is a cold, analytical personality always doing math and looking at the endgame. And he said an endgame with me that included my daughter wasn't something he wanted. He said he wanted me to be the queen of his castle and he didn't want to share me with anyone else but that he was overwhelmed with guilt for feeling that way so he had to let me go. I told him that I loved him (for the first time) and that I couldn't fathom how I could let him go. And he said, "I love you too, and that's what makes this so hard." He said that if I truly loved him, I would put aside my feelings and be his best friend. He also said that he still wanted me to quit my job and go work with him as an independent contractor. I wanted so badly to leave his house that night because I felt trapped but I also felt that since he had finally said he loved me, that there was still a chance. So I stayed. And I slept on the couch and I had to go into his room in the morning and wake him out of his caffeine-withdrawn stupor. And he got up and fell in to my arms and cried uncontrollably again. But he never apologized. He told me again that he loved me. And that he wanted me to be in his life forever.

After I left that morning, he wrote me a letter in which he said that the root cause of the demise of our relationship was the fact that he didn't want to have a child, but that I had a child, and if he spent time with my child, he might fall in love with her and want a child of his own, and since I couldn't give him a biological child, he didn't want to be with me. He said he wasn't willing to invest further in our intimiate relationship but that he wanted me in his life forever. When I asked him what about ten years from now when my daughter is grown - I asked if we were both single then, would he want to have a relationship with me and he said, "of course, because I do love you and care about you." We continued to work together for two months after. And that's when his manipulative behavior became almost unbearable. He handled the work environment very unprofessionally. And he kept saying that he wanted me to decide to be his best friend. He did the same thing to his ex-wife - he dumped her in a very similar fashion, over the issue of having a baby, but she is now his "best friend" even though he calls her the "psycho bitch". He said he knew that in order for me to be his best friend, he had to repair the trust that he had damaged, but then he continued to do mean, manipulative things that further eroded my trust in him. He finally left work the day before Christmas after delcaring that we needed a three month time out. He said I needed time off to get over him and to find peace so that I could be his friend and we could travel together again.

After two months of lots of introspection and reading and educating myself about what I then suspected was NPD, I decided to institue a no-contact rule. I wrote him a very disarming, non-accusatory e-mail in which I praised him but also made it clear that I needed to sever our connection because a platonic friendship with him wasn't something that was going to make me happy. That was four months ago. And the reason I'm writing to this hub and asking for advice is because I'm not sure that it helped me. We have not had contact since. And my head is more than well-aware that Jeb was absolutely the wrong person for me and that it was best for me and for my family to have him out of my life. Despite all of that, I still love him. I cannot get over being in love with him. And I have to wonder why. And I wonder if actually no contact was a mistake for me. Because perhaps I needed to continue to see and feel examples of his bad behavior in order to grow apathetic toward him. No one has ever stirred so much intensity and emotion in me which I guess is part of the Narcissist's modus operandi. Would I have been better off to have daily proof of his shoddy behavior in order to grow out of love with him? Was no contact a bad idea for me?

Thanks


Baileybear 6 years ago

excellent hub. will link to my hub about getting fired from narcissist organisation - I called them the gilded prison


numbers_girl 6 years ago

Dr. C

Great hub – this is my situation:

My daughter (J) and son-in-law have a 3 yr old son (D) with autism. He was recently removed from their home and temporary guardianship has been given to my husband and me (they requested us a guardians and we agreed w/ out hesitation). Factitious disorder is suspected and they will be evaluated later this week for a diagnosis.

My grandson is doing great and is a joy – healthy, eating well, sleeping well (thank goodness-we both work full time) and is adjusting to a new environment and routine. We supervise visitation in our home (2 x so far) and I have them follow our schedule and feed him, bathe him, take him for a walk, put him to bed and do his laundry. These visits have gone fine, but communication with my daughter otherwise always seems to breakdown. I feel she may also be diagnosed with NPD.

Everything is someone else’s fault; she balks about how she is talked to, made to feel, etc. Says that whatever we are going through, it is harder for her – I know it is hard for her, but what my husband and I are doing is completely marginalized by her even though she trusted us most of all. As soon as someone says something she doesn’t like, she’ll say “I guess I’m just a horrible person”, but then she will say that she was mislead by Dr.s and that is why all of this happened.

I spoke with her today about things concerning her son and she turned the conversation on to her 18 yr old sister (R). During J’s last visit to our home she arrived early, before my grandson got home from daycare. She didn’t like how her sister looked at her and felt R was barely speaking to her (this is a way she has learned to deal w/ J). She said from now on she will only come when D is home from daycare. I said that was fine – it’s her choice. She got very upset with me. She was hurt that I would not do something about R and solve the problem for her that way. She said no one cares about her and what she is going through and everyone takes R’s side. This has always been a pattern of hers – she acts w/ a specific reaction from others in mind, and when the reaction isn’t what she expects, she lashes out.

She says that she can’t wait to go to therapy and tell her therapist x,y or z. I think she believes he will tell her what she wants to hear and when that doesn’t happen – I don’t want to think about the outcome of that.

I can tell that she is struggling with many things – loss of control, a little embarrassment, disappointment, the change in relationships, fear … but I don’t know the best way to deal with her during this limbo.


numbers_girl 6 years ago

I also want to make clear that my daughter and son-in-law love their son. He has been w/ us for a week now, and has been happy, but he lit up like a Christmas tree when he saw them. They are 26 & 27 yrs old and are overwhelmed by his challenges as well as the problems inherent to rushing into marriage and parenthood.

I want to do what is best for all of us in this time period between action and results.


numbers_girl 6 years ago

sorry for all of the add'l posts - I want to let you know that there has been no harming of my grandson by my daughter and son-in-law. There was growing concern about the # of Dr. visits, changing Dr. frequently, visiting the ER with fevers, diarreaha, vomiting... things that any other parent would just deal with. All involved felt this behaviour was unhealthy and that they should work things out w/ out D in the home.


Sparkster  6 years ago

Thanks for such a great hub and helping to bring awareness of this personality disorder to the general public. Anyone looking for further information regarding NPD is encouraged to check out my hubs.


rider341 6 years ago

Greetings Dr. C

I wrote a couple months back about my attempt to deal with a perpetually disappointing mother whom I suspect suffers from NPD. I still have not spoken since our last breakdown over 9 months ago and was planning on reaching out via a letter. I wanted to gain some perspective from you about how to present my request for her to seek therapy before we begin to rebuild our relationship. My wife no longer wants to attempt to have a relationship with my mother after so many failed attempts and does not want our 4 year old involved with her either. As much as I realize forcing an NPD to seek help is an implausible request I seem to have exhausted all else. Please let me know what, if any,further information I could provide to you. Thanks Dr. C


Holly 6 years ago

Hi

You say we should have empathy, but the narcissit has tried to ruin everything I work for, turn my family against me, has physically impaired me with Chronic fatigue and lied about GBH charge and his fatherless child and I'm too show empathy? He abuses he hurts, he lies and he's nasty, he's rude obnoxious and an attention seeker. We have all tried and he doesn't ECM know or admit to his illness. It's either I avoid him or I'm forever ill. If he isn't willing to change and believe me I've seen gratification when he's hurt us then I need to protect myself and my inborn child. I would help him, but I want to live my life and not deal with the constant bullying and pain 'what next' syndrome p.s it's my brother on law I'm talking about., plus his loud voice and height of 6ft 1 doesn't help matters he bullies everyone he's unmissable. Help. Surely we need to worry about itup to a certain point we only live once and he's killing my spirit. He stalks me and ignores my hello messages, I've tried forgiving but he kicks me in the teeth. I don't think it's healthy to mix with these people, it's dangerous.


Amy 6 years ago

No contact is the only way to go. Get out sooner rather than later


JJK 6 years ago

I just recently ended an 8 year friendship with someone who i strongly think has NPD.... I feel like i just got out of an abusive relationship. This person started off being soooo nice and fun. They seemed to like everything i did and feel the same as i.... Over the years i started to realize that what she portrayed on the outside was entirely different than what she thought. When she felt someone was against her.. she would fly into fury saying awful malicious thingsabout the person.I brushed alot of it off thinking she was just insecure but after i moved in with her all the layers started to peel away.

She had NO friends when i met her and her bf (who was a highschool friend of mine) asked me to befriend her b/c all her friends had ditched her. As i became friends with her he soon after dumped her..... leaving her to me. Then when i had to move (i was 24..) her parents offered to move out of their house and have me and another roomate move in while they lived 4 hours away... i never really thought anything of it but then i realized they had DUMPED her on me!!!

I have always had a lot of friends, socially busy and had a a budding career that started at 17. I started to realize that she was feeling that she deserved my life and i did not. I have recently found out of alot of things she had done behind my back and tried to poison me against all my friends. I seriously never thought anything like this could happen in real life. Only in movies.

After a slew of 4 people came and went living in the house a friend of hers from college moved in. I was told later how she told the friend "always remember.. you're MY friend" and so on... I couldn't believe she would say that.. especially after i had let her in to my circle of friends... who by the way were resistant.. but i kept saying "she's really nice once u get to know her.. she's shy" They all thought she was snobby and that there was something just not right. But over time they let her in.

Soon after i had realized she had started to say little things about me to my friends... "venting" about me... and then it just snowballed from there. Once i got a boyfriend she started to unravel another layer. She HATED him n told everyone lies about him behind my back. She never once told me how she felt... but i could feel the negativity when he would come over. I just always thought she would grow up and changed. Tried to be positive and cheer her on... because everything was a struggle w/her... if it wasn't school. it was her boyfriend, her job, her family, EVERYTHING. She felt everyone was against her.

Im sorry i feel like im just spewing all my feelings and anguish over the last 4 years.. the bad years. but my fingers are taking over!!!

I moved in with a good friend (who actually works with her) and weird things started to happen. I think she freaked because she no longer could keep tabs on me. I found out she would cry over it... kinda weird. but thats when my friend told me little things here and there.... Thats what she was afraid of... that i would find out how she tried to isolate me.

2 years ago her father passed away from cancer. Our friendship was already starting to get rocky. But i was there for her. I know how it feels because my father passed away from cancer when i was 18. So i fully empathized with her. I know how hard it is to move foward over a devastating loss... But i did... life goes on, it doesn't mean u have to have a pity party constantly. But that is what happened. She started to go out getting wasted and would be party party.. then she would flip if she felt we weren't catering to her. She would start crying.. hugging and trying to get consoled by MY boyfriend... yes.. the guy she HATED!!! Then i realized she did that to all the boyfriends and then to random guys. She got time off of work due to greivance and went out alllll the time. but i wasn;t to judge.. I went a lil crazy after my dad died too. She had soon started to meet new friends. I thought this was good. that she would start to become more independant. But later i found out she would just talk about me and my boyfriend to them...I think she tried to separated me from her new friends. Then one of them cornered me in a restroom asking me if she was crazy.. and how all her friends thought something just wasn't right about her. Then she elaborated and said that she actually thought i was nice and didn;t understand why NPD would say things about me.. then turn around introducing me as "the best friend anyone would dream of" I brushed off a lot of things she did excusing them as a way to act out after her dad had died... but then i realized...i never was malicious to anyone or said nasty things after my dad had died... i didn't think she should be void of the consequences... what makes her so special?!?!?! there were alwasy excuses for her but if anyone dared to be flawed she would look down on them and talk shit. She started to voice how she thought some friends and random people would do things just to get a rise out of her.. and when i would tell her i didn't think people did these things to spite her.. she would give me a nasty look. She soon later started to say mean things... like if i was a pant size smaller she would later remark " well ur shaped like a boy.. i have hips" i would do nothing to bring on such a comment... she just would say these things under her breath. anywho i was done with her snotty remarks and when i saw a way out i ran!!!

I know you dont think we should just cut them out... but i did.. is that bad :/ ???

NPD had started to date an old acquantince of mine.. I was beyond thrilled for her.. and for me.. i'm not gonna lie. I knew this guy was just as codependant as her and knew she wouldnt be so suffocating on me. Anyways she had told him a bunch of stuff about my boyfriend and i.. and he started to talk shit on us with my roomate at a social function... then when i showed up he was highfiving my boyfriend and i and started to say how much he liked us....CRAZY!!! anyways my roomate told me that night and said she was done with them. I was upset... but not surprised. SOOOO NPD had invited me out to dinner with her and her bf and it was good... then her bf started to inquire about my guy. What he didn;t know was that i knew what he said behind my back. so i held back my words and then tears started to roll down uncontrollably. I thought NPD would stop him from babbling his mouth... but she all she did was say things about my realtionship... untrue things.. when i said that something wasn;t true she just simply shrugged.... Thats when i realized how manipulated i was... I had to double check if what she said was true?!?! Anyways to make a long post longer... i threw money down and walked hm... of course i bawled my eyes out the whole way!!

After i had told me friends and roomate what happened.. they all started to tell me how they were all over her and were only playing along because i was friends with her. They all thought if they had told me the truth that i wouldn;t believe them and cut them off... She had duped all of us!!!!I just can;t believe that i was fooled for so long and thought she would change. Even though there is ALOT of bad... we did have a lot of good times too... but was that sincere?? was she just acting the whole time and her true colors have shown now? We still have mutual friends though... what do i do when i run into her eventually?!


clinker 6 years ago

Is it common for NPD folks to accuse others of "thinking they're better" and complain of being "treated with disrepect"?


clinker 6 years ago

I'll explain just a bit more. I'm writing about my cousin. Some think she has NPD, and she really does seem to have a pattern of the behavior you describe above. She's got the tone of authority on every subject, she's patronizing even to others in their own fields, she's incredibly alone, and she's also extremely easily offended and accusatory. Unfortunately, her life is in a very bad state right now, and she seems to frame every conflict she has with people (and there are a lot of them) as "disrespectful" (not poor communication, or a misunderstanding, and rarely even hurtful - but she's particularly focused on receiving perceived "respect", getting "mad" and then "confronting" the disrespect). Without going into too much detail, I'll just say that the things that she counts as disrespectful are quite puzzling too. I can't express a single opinion it seems, even on a TV show, without her saying that I think I'm always right or that I'm "better"; I don't run into this feedback in other areas of life, and I honestly think that I consult others' opinions on many things because I certainly don't have all the answers in life. So I'm wondering if these responses are just common defenses on the part of NPD perhaps? I avoid sharing good things in my life, in order not to make her feel bad (sensing her agitation), but it feels like I cannot escape a jealousy that I never wanted. She seems to need some ammunition to bring everyone down in the family, so that she can normalize her own dysfunction and be prepared to discredit us all (the world too). Curious about your perspective. I want to be supportive to this person. It's just hard to know what to make of comments that feel abusive. Do I consider comments like these as "real feedback", or politely change the subject and consider them part of her illness? I really appreciate finding your site because not many sources talk about NPD (just Borderline), and they especially don't give practical advice to those who must deal with it (hopefully successfully). Thanks for your thoughts.


linx727 6 years ago

Hello. I am currently 4 weeks out of a 5 year relationship with an NPD male. This will be the 2nd "I don't want you" that he's stated, the first was 4 years ago. We had a long distance relationship and although it was physically possible for us to see eachother more often than we did, I now realize it wasn't emotionally possible for him. I recall the one time I jumped in my car for an impromtu visit, called him while on the road, and got a less than happy response. He sounded scared to death. All of the classic NPD signs were there , he was hooked on constant adoration and really craved rubbing elbows with the elite. He berated me often but couldn't absorb being berated , even on a very joking scale. He used the crap out of me for money, status, and to get him employment. The one thing I could never figure out was WHAT IS GOING ON ? I absolutely thought it was me and naturally had help from him in that determination. It took me 5 long years ( of course the distance factor had a lot to do with why I couldn't "see" ) to finally figure out what was what. Finally, I created a situation wherein we had to be in close quarters for more than a week - mainly to get close enough to him to observe. And observe I did. He treats everyone with the same emotional push/pull that he did with me. He has no depth of character and 'feeds' off of other peoples emotions. He has no positive opinion of anyone unless they DO stuff for him. Even then, they're "idiots". Oh he was very charismatic and full of fun at the very beginning - that lasted about 4-6 weeks. I was totally smitten and in congruence with what I've read, as soon as I uttered the words "I love you", out came Snidley Whiplash with all of his glory. He started calling and visiting less and abusing more. I attributed the said abuse at that time to his impending divorce, loss of job and housing. Seemed appropriate for him to be on edge during that time. As time marched on, however, he became more and more abusive often manifesting itself as long periods of absence. Then he'd phone and act like he had been gone 5 minutes instead of 5 months. He knew how to confuse me with his words of love and baited wait statements. Pictures that would come to my mind often were of the daisy picker 'he loves me, he loves me not' , and of me as a fish with a hook in my mouth swimming around his boat while he stood in it holding the fishpole. How exhausting!

In short, I lived in constant turmoil. The only thing I knew for sure was that I was unsure of who this man really was. I distrusted him after the first break-up and going back the second time I never really trusted him all the way. I knew what he was capable of. So. I think Dr C is totally correct when he advises the forum to step back ( when dealing with NPD partners ) and ask yourself if you can really handle being berated, lied to, cheated on, unloved and used. Oh sure there are moments of bliss, but they aren't coming from your NPD, they are all you. I just got sick of pouring so much energy and time into a guy who was just not recipricating any of it. So I made a list - of the character and attributes I want my next partner to employ. I am thinking that these are my boundaries and yes I'll allow slippage from time to time, everybody's human, but for the most part if you don't display to me what's in the list, you don't get to be with me. NPD people don't come with a sticker on their forehead labeling them as such. The symtoms are there though, and I am truly much educated by having had this experience.

Good Luck :)


michael 6 years ago

Hi Dr C

My mother has all the sympoms of someone with Narcissistic Personality Disorder. She's made my life a misery about 40% of the time, over the past 20 years (ie since my father divorced her).

The most recent example is a great one. We were on a family outing to the park - myself & my wife, our 3 kids (2 grown and 1 baby), my Mum and our new sis-in-law with her new baby. At lunch, my Mum grabbed a buscuit and rammed it into my baby daughter's mouth. I said "don't shove food into her mouth like that". She barked at me aggressively, so I took her aside to try to explain that I hadn't meant to upset her and cared for her very much.

But about 20 mins later, back at our house, she started yelling at my wife, then at me, then stated she was leaving my home, then told my daughter that I'd "thrown her out of the house and wouldn't come back til I'd apologised" - at which point my daughter started crying and I then did throw her out.

For the past week, she's refused to speak to me & my wife even at family gatherings. We cannot speak to my Brother & sis-in-law because, for the past 20 years, my Mum's not allowed me to see my brother alone for fear of being "left out".

My brother doesn't believe the description of our mother that I paint, believing that fault for our conflicts must be at least 50/50

I have two problems

1) All the advice I've read on dealing with people with NPD say "stay away" - how do you do this with someone you love, esp. when family is 100% a core value of mine (and I don't want to give my kids the example that it's OK to cut your parents out of your life).

2) How do I explain this to my brother? Other advice on NPD says "only speak to them with a witness present, as they are master manipulaters and will twist what you say". I need him to be a witness and a support - but his view is that he'd rather not get involved and that this is something that my mother & I "just have to sort out"... which is clearly impossible.

I feel that my mother's condition has already cost me both a father and a mother. Now it's looking like it will cost me a brother too. It's affected my ability to do and hold down a job, and I'm worried it will create a future where I lose my kids too. What can I do?

Thanks,

Michael


michael 6 years ago

Hi

Reading through the exchanges of emails, I see a really close similarity with Rider341 - but note that none of his issues have been specifically answered by Dr C... I'd really be interested in Dr C's thoughts on this... please have a crack at answering us both!

Thanks, M


VegasRachel 6 years ago

Hi Dr C:

I've been having a "relationship" with someone online. It began in January and was casual at first. It progressed into a working relationship and then became sexual (online).

He made promises saying he'd come here (to my city) to meet me in May or June, but never did. In fact, he made a lot of promises and never followed through on any of them.

To go back a bit, in May we were working on the same project and spent almost all our time together (again, online). It got to the point where he made me feel validated, loved and very content with myself. The thing I didn't see, at the time, was that I was ignoring all my responsibilities offline. Friends, family and house/yard work and I didn't care because he made me feel so good about myself.

In July, he professed his love for me, then withdrew it 5 days later. I was very hurt and felt major rejection. Looking back, I am ashamed that I reciprocated those feelings and we had never met in person (and still haven't).

After the withdrawal of "love", I noticed his change in personality and thought back on certain things he'd said to me over the last several months. Coming up with grand ideas and never following through, unfounded conspiracy theories against him and threats to him and myself, constantly interrupting me, allowing me not to share my thoughts/feelings/day, manipulating what I've said and throwing them back in my face just to cause an argument and then making me feel bad because he had to bring this up (under the guise that he's such a good friend) while using a condescending tone.

August 2nd, he said we should have sex, then he came up with many excuses (headache, tired, stomach flu). On August 18th, he finally wanted to mess around. I made a comment saying I didn't think he wanted to do that anymore. He turned it around on me and accused me of having an issue with him and not mentioning it. He also got very defensive insisting I knew exactly how sick he was (he didn't indicate that to me prior; he only said he wasn't feeling well. How as I to know he had anal leakage?)

He makes me feel very insecure about everything that I say. I feel like I'm walking on eggshells as to not upset him or get into an argument.

HOWEVER, when I voice certain things to him privately, he posts them online as if they're his words. It's almost as if he's showing off to get positive feedback.

I realized about 2 weeks ago and again this past weekend, when he said he needed "me" time, that he was purposely pulling away to punish me.

I was frustrated and thinking 'what was I doing wrong'? I began to google. I felt like I was being emotionally abused. Well, as much as one can receive in an online manner. I came across several articles that talked about Narcissistic Personality Disorder and began researching.

I believe this guy has NPD, but I'm not entirely sure.

Here are some other things that I've noted about him: He is becoming more and more obsessed with his father's image of him (from his physical appearance to his career path). It is at the point where it effects him and his emotions, in turn, he makes poor decisions just to prove his father wrong.

I feel he's never dealt properly with his issues/feelings from his breakup with his fiance 6 years ago. I'm sure he was the reason the relationship ended and he doesn't want to admit it. He needs to realize that HE is the common denominator of his failed relationships (i.e., ex-fiance, ex-friends, failed career).

Lately, he's been obsessed with receiving public acknowledgement and praise. I receive it a lot more than he does. He gets very jealous and he passively-aggressively makes comments to me to make me feel guilty for receiving them.

I feel as though I'm going off on a tangent, so to wrap this up, I feel the need to pull away from him slowly. I've begun to lie about things I'm doing (just so I have an excuse as to why I'm not online spending time with him).

I think he's slowly figuring it out because after 3 days of being scarce, I'm getting text messages saying "I am thankful to have you in my life". I had quite the hearty laugh because this is textbook NPD behaviour.

Two questions. #1 Have I diagnosed him correctly? #2 The 'no contact' advice. How do I do that while working with him? Caveat: I am afraid that he's going to publicly (online) get back at me by embarrassing me; to hurt me so he can feel better about himself.

Thank you.


johnson 6 years ago

What a wonderful web site. My 14 year old daughter lives with her father... now he is the primary residental custodian...I know he is NPD.. all the signs are there... What should I do? I have been the 'pleasing' understaning co-parent for many years.. quite frankly I just got tired of be 'played' and 'understading' his poor and what I beleive to be dangerous parenting style of our daughter.. I have finally, had a sort of a breaking point my self..and years of my frustrations have been pooring out.. I am finding that I can not hold my tough or stuff my feelings of anger towords all that he has done and all the damange he has caused..everything I read tells me this is the absoult wrong thing to do... I am worried for my daughters safty she is 14.. do you think i am making her situation worse? and any advise on some coping skills i might get to control my complete and utter disdain and anger for this person ? I will need to deal with him for a min. of 4 more years.

Thank you,


sick 6 years ago

I asked for help in prison, but was misdiagnosed by shitty docs. I asked for help when I got out, but they sent me home. I cannot function like this much longer, will snap soon, this time no mercy.


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi, and thank you all for writing, I must again apologize for a rather extended delay, but I will do my best to address the issues raised - and thank you to Michael for a little push in that direction.

I would like to first address an important issue before dealing with the comments.

To sick, I am so sorry that you have struggled to find the right treatment and I realize that this is a common and very frustrating experience. Although you've had a bad experience, I would encourage you not to give up and I strongly urge you to find a mental health professional to talk to.

If you are feeling so overwhelmed that you feel you are in danger of hurting yourself or someone else, please contact the Psychiatric Emergency Services in your county - every county has one, go to the nearest hospital or call 911.

Despite your initial difficulties, there are people out there who can help you, please take care of yourself by contacting a mental health professional immediately.

If anyone else out there is feeling hopeless and desperate, please seek help immediately. These are serious symptoms and are not in any way related to character or a lack of trying. These symptoms require immediate professional intervention and each county has a crisis mental health service that anyone can access at any time.

Please take advantage of these services and take care of yourself. In any emergency, you can always call 911 and someone will be able to assist you.


Unhappily Married 6 years ago

I'm wondering if my husband hase NPD. I used to blame his problems on his drinking but he is a now a recovering alcoholic (hasn't drank in over 6 years) and the problems are still there. He's unemployed, has never really held any kind of a job for more than a month or so yet he tells everyone that I would be lost without him and that if it weren't for him, I'd have no place to live. The reality is that I earn $80,000 a year, have always provided for our family and can easily take care of myself. I earn all the money, do all the cooking, shopping, laundry and housework and yet he will look me right in the eye and tell me that he needs a vacation because he works so hard. If I try to mention all of my contributions to our lives together, he puts me down and will say that I don't really work because I work in an office. If I refuse to have sex, he punishes me for days. If I don't do something over the top for his birthday, I'll never hear the end of it yet he has never even bought me a birthday gift. He constantly complains about not having money to buy the things he wants like expensive cars, designer clothes, a vacation home, etc. and really doesn't understand that he is the reason he doesn't have these things. If he would get a job, we would have the extra money but he really believes he deserves things without having to earn them. Instead he blames me and feels like I should provide these things to him. He sleeps all day and stays up all night and rarely showers. He fell at the neighbor's and is now blaming me for being broke because I told him I didn't think he should sue the neighbor. He is constantly telling me I don't care about him because I let him suffer and wouldn't let him go see a doctor when all I told him was that I hope he didn't need surgery because I couldn't really afford it at the time. I found out he cheated on me years ago and when I confronted him about it, he blamed me. I'm afraid to leave him because he does horrible things to me when I try. Is there any hope? Is this truly NPD or does he possibly have brain damage from years of drug and alcohol abuse?


dr c profile image

dr c 6 years ago from San Francisco Bay Area Author

Hi again,

I'd like to try and comment on 2 questions which appear common to many of the posts - that of diagnosis and defenses, and the no contact rule or whether one should completely cut ties with someone who exhibits NPD.

Firstly, I would strongly caution against ever accepting a diagnosis from a mental health professional who has not personally examined the client. Diagnostic checklists are helpful in clarifying clusters of symptoms and in helping direct and develop treatment strategies.

Diagnoses are basically psychological shorthand for a cluster of symptoms conforming to a particular syndrome. While symptom checklists can be helpful, they are vulnerable to several biases: it is easy to skew the results in a certain direction, symptom checklists depend on perceptions so results will likely differ based on reporting source and, most importantly, while they help identify syndromes, they don't provide much information as to the symptom origin or treatment direction.

For example: unhappilymarried states that her husband sleeps all day, doesn't take care of his hygiene, is mean, grumpy, emotionally withholding and punitive. Her post captures this difficulty well as all of these symptoms are commonly found in substance abuse, anxiety and major mood disorders. An increase/decrease or significant disruption in sleep and/or appetite and ability to function in daily life (taking showers, going to work etc) often indicate an underlying mood/anxiety disorder, and many people try to medicate themselves with drugs and or alcohol, which compounds and complicates these symptoms.

When people are in pain, of any kind, they are generally grumpy and often ungracious. NPD involves a long term, chronic pattern of interactions in which the person has difficulty seeing another's point of view, is often inflexible and defensive, requires constant and continual reassurance and is often jealous and insecure. Consequently their behavior is often seen as egocentric, selfish, self focused and/or grandiose and most of their interpersonal difficulties stem from an inability to flexibly adapt to new situations, a tendency towards interpersonal suspicion and paranoia, difficulty considering other's feelings in situations and/or predicting how others will react to their behaviors and a continuous need for reassurance and admiration.

When these type of interactions form a central style, in other words these behaviors are shown to some extent in all relationships AND cause clinically significant levels of distress and/or disruption in basic abilities (vocational, social, interpersonal, self care etc), then the possibility of a personality disorder can be considered, but again, I'd like to stress that this should be done by a qualified mental health professional who is familiar with this area of psychology. Taking symptoms checklists to the appointment and getting collateral information are all part of a good evaluation, but a clinician must personally meet with the client, conduct a mental status exam and take a comprehensive clinical history before a diagnosis is made.


Zack 6 years ago

I enjoyed your article on NPD and has given me a new perspective. I have long suspected that both my father and my sister have (or in my father's case had) NPD.

However I was disturbed by some of your responses to Clayton Weatherston case and for the record need to be clarified - I know the moment has passed but I still wish to say it as I feel that if I family member or friend of the victim read these comments it could be quite hurtful.

Clayton Weatherston was diagnosed with NPD by two independent psychiatrists who work in forensic psychiatry. the stabbing was not an uncontrolled outburst. The couple had well and truly split up. Sophie was preparing to move to another city that night to take up a prestigious job she had won following graduation from her Economics degree. It was her last night in Dunedin and Clayton Weatherston well knew this. The asked to see Sophie to "say goodbye". He must have had the weapon on him prior to entering the house. This is a clear case of premeditated murder and the fact that he conducted the murder in a frenzy does not show an extreme loss of self-control; it only adds to the barbaric nature of the murder.

Clayton Weatherston clearly was extremely Narcissistic. Yes he appears to have psychopathy, showing no empathy for the victim or the family throughout the trial. You can ascribe all sorts of nuances to peoples underlying motives for their disorder but the reality is that personality disorders are not distinct entities as one may like to claim. People often have "symptoms" that that relate to more than one PD. And within NPD there are no doubt many flavours, from the relatively harmless. to people who take the lead in heinous crimes.


Lois 6 years ago

After close to 3 decades of tears, anger and other forms of emotional turmoil my husband and I have regretfully concluded that our oldest daughter, now 28, shows all the signs of NPD. In a way, it's easier, because we can have a little more insight into her rages, insults and hurtful remarks and therefore respond - sometimes - with compassion instead of anger and frustration. I would like the 'sometimes' to become 'always' but we're still working on that and, after all we are human beings with feelings.

I am probably the most hurt, since she has accused me of emotional abuse and of attempting to "terrorize and contain" her which sounds almost funny as I write this but she is dead serious. She has told me that I am like poison to her, that I was never there for her and that I have an "arsenal of negativity". Nothing could be further from the truth. I know that and the rest of the family (I have 3 other children) as well as all my friends know it too. But all the sources I have found say that NPD begins with an abusive childhood; (even if that abuse is being overindulged or given the 'princess treatment'), so I guess she has confirmation of the emotional abuse claim from the psychological community. So now I feel hurt by my daughter AND the experts who make this claim.

My daughter was NOT abused and we didn't have our ego in her accomplishments. She did, however, get quite a bit of our attention because she DEMANDED it, even as a baby. There were also no other crisis aside from the normal stuff. My husband and I were never divorced and we still love each other after 35 years. No one drinks, uses drugs etc. We live in a modest house but my daughter had all her needs met and a little more. We could never afford to indulge her materially. We taught her right from wrong and when at age 9, we were unable to help her see that she could not say hurtful things to her siblings we took her to a child therapist. Nothing helped and now it is so bad we are just about estranged.

So my first problem is that I guess I feel responsible because I am her mother, but I just don't know what I could have done differently. My other 3 kids are perfectly normal and don't like her either, so how could this have been our parenting? I'm pretty sure my older brother has Aspergers and in terms of her coldness, she reminds me of him. He is very formal and doesn't rage, though. She is extremely emotional and uncontrolled when she is upset.

Here are my questions...

1. Where did we go wrong???

2. How can I ever get over the hurt and sense of loss I have when she attacks the very efforts and the sacrifices we have made to give her a good foundation on life.

3. How can I get her to act like a normal human being around us so that we can have some semblance of a family on occassions?

4. How bad is this going to get? I fear that she will have kids one day (she's married) that she will abuse and never permit us to see.

Please help! Everywhere I turn to learn about this disorder I hear about what horrible abusive childhoods this people had (even "Malignanct Self-Love")and I get even more upset. Now I'm on meds and in counseling because of it. I can't imagine ever being happy as long as my own daughter believes that the very core of who I am is an emotionally abusive, sadistic parent. I know it's not true but others just don't seem to understand that it hurts anyway!

Thank you so much!

Lois


Vi 6 years ago

My elderly mother seems to have NPD. It's made my husband and my life especially miserable the past 20 years. We wish we'd taken the advice of no contact, because we would never have been missed or even regarded by her at all if we had. It would have made little difference to her as we are little more than whipping boys and doormats to abuse. A narcissist grandmother does not need to babysit any grandchildren either. We have seen what this can do, and are seeing the same traits in my oldest daughter and one grandson who spent more time with her before we realized just how disordered she is. Fortunately, I spent most of my formative years in daycare, with babysitters, and with normal grandparents and aunts with whom my mother kept her true ways in check. I realized at a young age that there were abnormal expectations, unfounded jealousies, and thoughts about other people with little regard for the feelings and needs of others, but knew nothing about personality disorders. Really seeing the manipulations that a narcissist uses to get their way is shocking. It's very hard to believe that these people are not malicious when seeing how obvious the manipulations and outright lies become along with the yelling and screaming. Walking on eggshells 24/7 is mentally exhausting and these people just suck the life out of everyone that they target.


Lois 6 years ago

I just wrote about our daughter (above) who has all the signs of NPD. My concerns were about how she ended up this way - because I'm quite sure there was no abuse. In fact, others would say, she had a very nice life growing up in our family.

But now I have another question; one that my husband and I often debate. When she rants and insults us, do we just turn a deaf ear and consider it part of her illness? Or do we stand up for ourselves and inform her that we won't tolerate it? If we go the latter route, I'm afraid there is a pretty good chance we won't hear from her ever, or at least for a very long time. But if we just let her scream at us we are sacrificing our self respect...or are we?

I THOUGHT I could do that - just let her nasty words bounce off of me, but then she attacked even harder and I got extremely depressed. Like VERY depressed. (And, by the way, she seemed to love it!) So, either I've got to learn to do a better job of letting it roll off me - or become firmer about not allowing her to insult me that way. The problem is that I go back and forth with these two positions because I can't decide which way to go and then I'm inconsistent which can't be good. Sometimes I just feel sad for her and I'm willing to take whatever she says because I think she must be saying those things out of emotional pain. The last email I wrote to her I told her that I didn't want to hear about her "awful" past EVER again because it was pointless. I haven't heard from her since...

So if she ever calls again, and she starts with her stuff, do I just let her yell - or hang up on her? I know I will do something to upset her - because I always do - and it's always something trivial. Do I go humble and apologize, or do I tell her to stop?

I just want to have a peaceful relationship with my daughter!!!

Thanks again!

Lois


Lois 6 years ago

And one other quick question (sorry, it's Lois AGAIN) - about whether or not to let the nasty insults bounce off of us. My husband says if we allow her to speak to us the way she does, it is empowering her and I am inclined to agree. Sometimes when she starts spewing her insults, it's almost like I can see her chest puffing up on the other end of the phone. She just gets all energized and proud of herself for what she has said and never EVER apologizes. For example, my husband is a hard-working mailman. She considers that beneath her and has said on several occasions that "he is only capable of stuffing papers into little boxes." My husband doesn't need her approval or admiration - but does he let her talk about him like that? And if he does, does it make her even worse by empowering her?

He says he has too much self-respect to allow ANYONE to talk to him like that. But it is the very trait that we have been battling since she could talk, so I doubt very much that this will change.

So the choice is - compromise our self-respect and ignore the insults (which I'm not honestly sure I'm up to) just to have a peaceful (though artificial) relationship with her - or continue to be firm with our boundaries and have the same battles we have always had over and over for the rest of out lives (which depresses me almost unbearably)...Or dump our own daughter so we can have a peaceful life without walking on eggshells. Do I sound confused? You bet!


gtrzanman 6 years ago

Hi,

I need to give some background on myself before asking for advice. I hope you don't mind. I apologize for the length of this.

I am 54 and have a hidden physical disability that often makes personal interactions difficult, especially so when it comes to new relationships. My disability is not readily evident. I have a number of spine issues from an injury I received as a passenger in a high speed pileup on the freeway many years ago. The main disease the injury caused is called "spondylosis" and resulted in a cervical spine reconstruction surgery. Among other things done I had four discs removed, five vertebra fused with a donor bone graft and a titanium plate, and a number of screws now hold my head on. Unfortunately it did not arrest the disease process which has now invaded my entire spine. The neural canal and all peripheral nerve foramina of my cervical spine have severely stenosed post surgery causing severe chronic pain issues upon most any activity and other complications. This is now causing gliosis scarring to my spinal cord and threatens my life. There is no treatment available for these changes. Due to this I must live a very sedentary life to avoid inflammation complications and ending up in a wheelchair for life, flat on my back quadriplegic for life, or; pushing up daisies forever... Chronic pain is very corrosive and difficult to live with. The life changes are immense even after many years of dealing with this. I remain mobile and for the most part "appear to be" relatively normal. Unfortunately that is far from the case. It is a difficult position to be in as others can't see the problem, and the anatomy of it so extensive it is next to impossible to explain to others. I often feel viewed as a malingerer or as someone just sucking off the system by those who refuse to take the time to learn about my condition and or attempt to understand it. (Whew....sorry but it needed to be said. Thanks for listening.)

Recently my sister remarried. We have always been a very close family and I love her dearly, and know the feeling is mutual. Her friendship and support are so important to me. But now there is a wedge being driven between my sister, her children [from her first marriage] and myself by her new husband.

I am fairly certain he is suffering NPD and I need advice. Her new husband (I will call him John)doesn't like me for no apparent reason that I know of. He has made that very clear to me. Many of my friends have noticed this as well. He doesn't care for the fact that my sister and her family and me are close to begin with for some reason, but I think there's more at hand here. I'm not sure how much my disability status plays into this, but it may be part of it.

I was a musician and certified K-8 teacher before my injury and subsequent disability. I used to perform professionally. John her new husband is also a musician, who never played professionally, but plays in their church band and is an avid music lover. I have not heard him play but have been told he is very talented. This may be part of the cause of some of this discourse, as musicians can be competitive and often are anal and egocentric. (I have always tried to be aware of this tendency and done my very best to avoid being that way myself.) That said, I know there is more than this causing his dislike for me, but I just can't make sense of it.

In their two years of marriage John always takes the floor in ANY social gathering and just talks non stop. Its almost always the same kind of subject matter and its always concerning his associations with other "successful people" he has met, who he will then refer to as his "friends". I know these are for fact only brief encounters and associations and that he is not being very truthful about this. For example, he will boast on and on for literally hours about the "rich famous surgeon" he knows from church who "has a 250 thousand dollar car" and how he got to drive it, and how fantastic this surgeons house is, what a nice guy he is etc., etc., etc.. But it doesn't stop there. It will only change subject matter to the next "super successful -- almost famous" person he knows or is supposedly best friends with. Or then it will be about one of his buddies back when he lived in California and how this or that guy is a "marathon bicyclist and holds world records etc., etc., etc.." He will do this for hours on end, and it happens every single time I have ever been around the guy no matter who else is visiting etc.. Its the same drama every time. He has name dropped like this dozens of times naming famous people, which I sincerely doubt he in fact knows. One of these people coincidentally happens to be a friend of mine from my music days (unknown to John) and my friend doesn't remember John in the least. But John has boasted now three times about how he has been "meaning to give him a call" etc., etc.. Its all horse pucky. I tolerate it and go along with it to save face. [Which frankly is getting pretty old after two years. A bag of hot air always sounds the same when released no matter what the setting...]

Its just story after story like this, always trying to impress others with this non sense. If not that then its about one of his exploits or achievements, and its always an overstatement and elaborated on like he's some professional to be recognized with, or what a great thing he did, even if it was something done for their church. No one dare interject, comment, or try and suggest a different topic. If you do you can visually see his displeasure in anyone else taking the floor to comment for a second, let alone speak.

My nephew had a disagreement with him over some small matter a while back when I was there and I could see he was not interested at all in what my nephew had to say, and he basically blew him off. It infuriated my nephew. I left the house feeling very bad for him; he is a very intelligent and thoughtful young man. John was indifferent to him in front of me. [I stayed out of it.]

John did likewise with me a while back; I had tried to discuss what was bothering him about me. I wrote him an honest and kind three page letter telling him my feelings on the matter, and how important it was to me that we get beyond this for the families sake. His response to me? He told me "he didn't believe a word of it". I was just speechless at that. He didn't believe what? That those were my honest feelings? His response was not appropriate. I have to wonder if he read the letter at all?

When he does this story telling my sister is all ears and just enamored with him. Now she joins in having heard many of the same stories over and over and helps reinforce what he says. Its all odd behavior...

There are other oddities. He has this addictive complex thing I have seen before in other people where a person will be just absolutely brainwashed "fanatical" about a certain band, and just go on and on and on about them, even if he knows you don't like the music. He does his best to then try and convince you how wrong you are to not like the music, and how right he is? Its very, very strange to me. He has two bands he does this with, and it gets out of hand. These are not bands many people their age listen to, and frankly they are both "has been" bands who most people forgot about 35 years ago. (They are approaching 60.) This is often one of his "brag" subjects and then hes the self proclaimed "expert" on every bit of worthless trivia on these bands you could ever imagine. It goes on for hours once he's on a roll with this, and you don't dare try to join in or say a word even if in agreement, as even this upsets him, because maybe "you said it first" etc..

He was mad at me one time when I said "well the music they play is not my cup of tea, but yeah, those are really great musicians in that band, yep, etc." trying to be cordial with him on this. I might as well have slapped him in the face for saying that. He was really upset because I said they were not my cup of tea, even when I tried to acknowledge them otherwise. He then got rather insulting over it, insinuating I must be nuts etc


concernedPARENT 6 years ago

Hello Dr. C,

It's been 4 months since our previous correspondence and my daughter, although 'living' home, continues to be involved with her narcissistic boyfriend. Speaking several times a day with him and seeing him on weekends. I am trying to be as patient as I can with her self-realization that he has 'significant' issues but she seems so mesmerized by him that she's unable to concentrate on anything but him. Everything else seems to bring her unhappiness. Her spare time is spent either with him or talking with him which leaves very little time to talk with her about life goals. She's working, but not at a job that could support her, until she decides what she'd like to do next (I think this is an excuse to see what he wants to do next with his life). I continue to try to be patient with her ability to make the 'right' decisions and think tough love would only worsen the situation due to her fragile self confidence.

I am extremely concerned with her emotional well being and now it is becoming an issue for my husband and I because he feels I'm mistrusting my daughter's strength. As I mentioned before, it has been the most challenging parenting issue I've encountered.

I could benefit from additional support on how to most effectively encourage her to have the strength to find happiness in life experiences without him and listen to her head not her heart.

Thank you.


Alexander 6 years ago

Two years ago I broke up with my boyfriend, we lived together for 3 years. Recently I discovered he has NPD, yet 2 yrs later. It now all makes sense and yes he had all the signs and symptoms. He even admitted all these personality traits he has he never liked and he tried to self correct them, but never worked, and I encouraged him to try. Since we split up over circumstances that make no sense I feel I can't trash this guy to the curb. Being he personally admitted he did not like his own peronality, anger, etc I wonder if there is hope for him. He recently broke up with his newest bf after a year, (yes gay)

For two years we have had a few email exchanges for him to pay his bills. I can let this person rip me off, it is dishonest for him to leave his relationship and have no regard to pay his bills? I paid them off without a word of thanks. Because of his dishonorable behavior I have tried several ways to be nice and work out a plan. His I Dont Care personality drives me to the brink of not wanting to be nice any longer.

So, I advised him it will be small claims court not for the little amount but for greater. I told him it is because I love him that this must be done so he will learn you can not steal money from other people. The court will have to make him participate in paying his bills.

But what is more important to me is that since he recognized his bad personality traits and wanted change I hope that this happens. I do like the guy as a friend and I feel bad that his life will be messed up

Does taking him to court drive him further away? I would much rather have peace with him and maybe one day sit down and try to have a conversation to convince him to seek therapy.

So, is forcing him to pay me back (only for principal sake) a good thing? or Bad? I don't want to chase him further away, i'd rather have him some how gain some trust in me that maybe through random conversations I can give him an idea to seek help.

Him being normal to have normal relationships and not terrorize other men I would pay a million dollars for his therapy.

Confused which path to take here.

I already told him if he didnt have a check in the mail by a certain date I will file the court to proceede.

Thanks

Cory


Alexander Cory Donatello 6 years ago

Sorry, Cory is my Middle name, Alexander is first. Maybe I have issues because I like my middle name more than my first. and all my friends call me Cory rather than Alexander. =)


Garypa 6 years ago

I know this is wrong but Im married and met a married woman on line almost ten years ago.

At the time I was very unhappy with my marriage but stayed for my boys.

She lived about 2 hours away.

In the ten years I would drive every week to see her even for just lunch but she only came out to see me 3 maybe 4 times. Mainly she said because of her husband finding out.

It was a rocky relationship since she always would go out with her husband but critisise me for doing things with my wife which were far and in between. I sold my business to look for a job closer to her but couldnt find a thing.

Last year be decided to make the move to get together and leave our spouses. We got a apartment in her town and she moved in. I told her I would move in within a month.

She was there less month and she said she had to go to a party where her husband was going to be, I was upset but the topper was her husband drove her back to our apt because she didnt have a ride according to her.

Well I got pretty upset and blew my top. she moved out within a few weeks. We broke up for almost 6 months and I met someone for just a month or so before we started talking again. The thing that upset her most was that I seen someone else after we broke up and I spent time with her.

It was like I was supposed to greef for ever and not see anyone. The day we got back together she wanted to have sex for old time sake she said. I told her I didn't feel like it. She got really mad saying I didn't want her and wanted to know why.

Ok now with the NPD. She always want her way. She gets totally upset if I say I don't feel like making love saying I don't want her. But if I want something and she has to change her plans she'll make the comment "I can never do what I want" or god forbid I have anytime for myself. She once said to me when we first met that she had great sex with her husband, needless to say I was upset and hurt. She came around and said that I was insensitive to the fact that she finnally had a good time with him. She never tells me that she loves me unless I ask and when I tell her that I love her she says that I better, and I better not ever leave her.

She actually told me that she has trouble loving and showing emotions. Her dad had problems and scamed woman out of money in the past.

Well things blew up again because I finnally got tired of hearing how wonderfull I made her feel and how she hated her husband and wanted me so bad.

I went off the deep end after a big arguement emailed her husband and told him what his wonderful wife was doing. well needless to say she is mad.

What wrong with me loving someone like that and staying around ? She never has time for my problems often telling me to get over it. I alway listen to her.

Now after we got in that big arguement I found a job in her town and moved but she wont have anything to do with me. The one thing I always noticed was that she always was secretive about her home life and seemed to want me to keep my distance. She has had problems with bad debt I found out and she became became defensive..Oh well Im confused.

Thank you, Gary


Garypa 6 years ago

I know this is wrong but Im married and met a married woman on line almost ten years ago.

At the time I was very unhappy with my marriage but stayed for my boys.

She lived about 2 hours away.

In the ten years I would drive every week to see her even for just lunch but she only came out to see me 3 maybe 4 times. Mainly she said because of her husband finding out.

It was a rocky relationship since she always would go out with her husband but critisise me for doing things with my wife which were far and in between. I sold my business to look for a job closer to her but couldnt find a thing.

Last year be decided to make the move to get together and leave our spouses. We got a apartment in her town and she moved in. I told her I would move in within a month.

She was there less month and she said she had to go to a party where her husband was going to be, I was upset but the topper was her husband drove her back to our apt because she didnt have a ride according to her.

Well I got pretty upset and blew my top. she moved out within a few weeks. We broke up for almost 6 months and I met someone for just a month or so before we started talking again. The thing that upset her most was that I seen someone else after we broke up and I spent time with her.

It was like I was supposed to greef for ever and not see anyone. The day we got back together she wanted to have sex for old time sake she said. I told her I didn't feel like it. She got really mad saying I didn't want her and wanted to know why.

Ok now with the NPD. She always want her way. She gets totally upset if I say I don't feel like making love saying I don't want her. But if I want something and she has to change her plans she'll make the comment "I can never do what I want" or god forbid I have anytime for myself. She once said to me when we first met that she had great sex with her husband, needless to say I was upset and hurt. She came around and said that I was insensitive to the fact that she finnally had a good time with him. She never tells me that she loves me unless I ask and when I tell her that I love her she says that I better, and I better not ever leave her.

She actually told me that she has trouble loving and showing emotions. Her dad had problems and scamed woman out of money in the past.

Well things blew up again because I finnally got tired of hearing how wonderfull I made her feel and how she hated her husband and wanted me so bad.

I went off the deep end after a big arguement emailed her husband and told him what his wonderful wife was doing. well needless to say she is mad.

What wrong with me loving someone like that and staying around ? She never has time for my problems often telling me to get over it. I alway listen to her.

Now after we got in that big arguement I found a job in her town and moved but she wont have anything to do with me. The one thing I always noticed was that she always was secretive about her home life and seemed to want me to keep my distance. She has had problems with bad debt I found out and she became became defensive..Oh well Im confused.

Thank you, Gary


psychicchick 6 years ago

Totally agree, but it is very difficult to live with shame that they project on you


Kate 6 years ago

I feel like I'm going crazy..my son acts exactly like his dad, with all the negative meanness, and will not admitt anything is wrong with his behavior. Its breaks my heart to see this in my son, and feeling that I know who he truly is. it seems like he's been brain washed. my son will not do anything for himself to be responsible and i have tryed for the past 1 1/2yrs to help him out because his dad had abused him emotionally, and psychologically. they were suppose to have a business together but that was not the case he didnt teach him anything after 4 yrs. didnt even get medical coverage for his son, but definitely made sure he was covered in all areas with all kinds of insurance. I have always felt there was something wrong with his dad, but he always made me feel I was crazy and that it was all in my head. because of his curelty and subtle meanness, and at unexpected time, I felt like I had been sucker punched all the time but it was "all in my head" or I was too sensitive.He would accuse me of being controlling when I was upset. or didn't like his behavior towards me. It is a scary illness or whatever the heck it is. However I got out of that relationship with him years ago. but what happened with my son recently, had sent it all floading back. I felt like i had post tramatic stress disorder when I found out what my son went through with him. and it was hard to separate my experience from my son's. and I was afraid for my son getting sucked back into his dads NPD. It is so twisted and confusing.. so now my son has reconnected with his dad and now he is behaving like his dad and trying to make me feel like i'm the one with the problem, when I confront him on his snyde behavior. I have stopped trying to help my son gain some more independence because he will try for a little while and just stop, and make no effort to change in healthy ways that only benefit him. he makes a nuasense of himself by expecting things to be done for him and uses almost all of his dad tactics to try and get others to do for him that which he could very well done for himself. Its a sick game to see how much they can get people to do for them. and sit back with a sick smug look of their face. Like they like to take advantage of peoples kindness. Sick!! I have become very angry and have been vocal about it too. Its like coming out of the darkness and seeing the light! I have been angry at myself too for not seeing and it has been a painful and griefing process and just breaks my heart for my son. Because I know for him he wants acceptance and love from his dad, who has admitted that he cant love.. and the sick thing is people feel sorry for him and it just adds to it. feeding his need for attention and pity. which he laps up from the women who fall for this. Prime thing to say for women who love too much. I could go on and on about all the crazy making and lies and deceptive behavior.. when I look back I see now that my sons dad had no feeling, and if he did he made it appear as if he was the one who felt it most or with indignation of the unjustice of it all...with that trail of how guilty everyone was except him!! I am disgust by him and all others like him they don't need pity these bullies they need and good kick in the a--!! That my anger talking I know but for him to infect my son with his crap, has got the mother bear in me up!! thank you so much for listening and for this site.. it blew me away and of course in a way got me thinking about my own behavior and the enabling.. it is a sad, sad way to be. and it hurts so many..the secrecy and because it is hidden and like I said like I've been sucker punched..its awful when you feel you have to be on gaurd with these people because you dont know when its going to happen, I just can't get use to that. Its an ugly way to be..


Mikel 6 years ago

To Dr R

Kate who has written 15Nov 2010 has a situation that worries me for my daughter who has two sons, the eldest is only 6yrs of age, but today was being accessed as probably on the autistic spectrum. Her husband has all the personality traits for NPD but will not admit anything is wrong with his sons behaviour and blames the mum for everything.

She has moved out with the boys to the next village and is trying to go through a divorce, but her main priority is the children, especially trying to help her eldest child who is struggling, especially at night with constant battles as bedtime approaches with a particular fear of going to bed now.

Both boys stay with their father over the weekend every 2nd week which I find worrying, they frequently get injured and bruised, always doing outdoor things the dad needs like cycling and hiking. They recently had 4 days spending hours in cold weather watching him surf with his older sister (who has never wanted a relationship with another man).

The youngest who was nearly 5yrs at the time came back with tonsillitis and 2 days later was rushed to hospital by ambulance with febrile convulsions, my daughter thought she had lost him. The father doesn’t even realise he probably caused this with his personal needs always taking priority.

Before they split up her husband on many occasions suggested he can change but he never had the ability to achieve self correction especially with his inability to empathise.

My daughter gets worn down and needs constant support and respite when possible. She is a qualified OT and wants the children to be able to see there dad who they love, but I fear that her eldest son may learn from his father and eventually start to act more like him (just like Kates situation) having been brain washed with sometimes odd and peculiar ways that he will come to think are normal, he already kicks and punches his mum (not that I can say the father ever did).

I do know the father has the ability to learn common sense from something that you may say and then use it as if he has just thought of it himself, but I have always felt there was something wrong with his sometimes odd conversation. He had the ability to make my daughter feel she was wrong as the husband twisted things around and she began her judgment, so she had to start writing things down so she cpould then ask us was it her or what was normal as he played with her mind as well as also being cruel and explosive with her and the boys. He would also accuse her of being controlling but it was her that had to lock herself and the boys in the bathroom to escape the onslaught.

I am really concerned that my daughter will not be able to sustain the level of support that she gives her children, the controlling husband will always be in her life and the eldest son could develop similar tendencies to the father and the youngest son will be affected by his elder brother and also has to perform for his father needs.


Mikel 6 years ago

Apologies for the bad spelling of assessed (not accessed) and I also missed out the word 'question' within the sentence 'she began to question her judgment'


Steel 5 years ago

Hi Dr C,

My MIL fits NPD, and I have tried the advice you have given. There are two problems though: firstly, I belong to the same oriental culture as Noni where I am judged by society on how I handle my in-laws. The second is a bigger problem. MIL is a famous person in my town. Her social image is different from what she really is. In society she is seen as empathetic, sensitive, sensible and only her closest family members are aware of her narcissistic and histrionic characteristics. If i avoid her (which I usually don't), I am labeled in society as a ruthless DIL. Any suggestions?


Disqusted 5 years ago

I am an older female who lives with her mother of who I am convinced is narcisstic! I moved to the state she lives in, after she divorced so she would have it easier to get around b/c she never drove. While she was getting a divorce and up to the present she has been HELL to live with. About 90% of what I have read for a year about this personality disorder fits her to the letter. My opinion is if you can get away from these people do it sooner than later. I'm convinced that they are pure evil and extremely selfish! May God Bless all of us that has ever had to deal with these kind of people.


U.K. 5 years ago

Honestly, I have been looking NPD up for the past week. I knew of narcissism before but never knew it could be a disorder. I am told by pretty much everyone that I am haughty, and I know from personal relationships that I require constant affection. In fact, all of my relationships have been affected by my narcissism... I "live in a fantasy world", as my mother says and I believe I do. I always am looking for perfection and I am looking for the pefect love, the perfect career and I can barely settle for less. I can be very demanding and exploitive and my friends from school sometimes make jokes at me and how much empathy I lack. I have heard "I'm thirsty, why don't you break a piece of the ice off from your heart and let me drink it.". I don't know but this last relationship of mine was important and still is... Yet no matter what I try and do to sort through it, I can't do it. It seems as if once someone says that they love me or like me or that they care for me, then that is when I am safe with treating them lowly. I have friends who tell me this and argue with me, I can somewhat see my wrong but I can't grasp the situation entirely. Quite frankly, it's getting old.


Sherman 5 years ago

U.K.: Are you afraid of people getting too close to you? Is this a way of you trying to be invulnerable,--but actually backfiring?

Disgusted: Perhaps you need to move farther away from MIL? I think she doesn't need your help--except to left to her own responsibilities, including treating you and I presume other friends and family better. Perhaps she hasn't learned how to manage anger as well as be civil.

Steel: You and Disgusted have similar situtions. I don't envy either of you. How does the rest of the family deal with her?

I have had close relationships with two narcissistic women. You'd think I would have learned from the first go. I didn't. The problem is trying to get them to look away from their own image long enough to get a balanced perspective.


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dotty1 5 years ago from In my world

wow interesting hub..is it a trait of this that the person is never wrong? and controlling ?...


dolly 5 years ago

In my house I do 95% of the housework. If I have to ask my spouse to do a favor he is sure to deliver a critical remark about something I haven't done, or haven't done right.

Since before we were engaged, he always seemed particularly obsessed about talking about the relationship; would skip work to get me to discuss ... I don't know what; I never really knew what it was we were talking about but occasionally it was like we were discussing that I wasn't adoring enough of him.

Now, in our marriage, there is a lot of blame, shame, name-calling coming my way. I am told I have to talk about our problems so often, I feel sick. But talking about our problems means that he criticizes and shames me and then indicates I need to apologize for something and when I finally get tired of fighting him, I do it, and then he says my apologies aren't good enough, and eventually the situation dissolves into me sobbing and him following me around the house and me screaming that I need to go to bed because I have to work tomorrow...and occasionally I have gone to crash at a friends house, called an in-law, tried to sleep in the car, etc. It is incredibly hard to hold down a full-time job and do this at the same time on a bi-weekly basis.

I am trying right now to rent another apartment. I have found the advice and analysis on this thread spot-on.

It is scary. There is a lot of controllingness that has snuck up me during our few years of dating and marriage.

A great person, but emotionally dangerous, at least for me. I'm currently really wanting to go to sleep after a long day but am supposed to go "talk" and I'm scared. I want to call someone but it seems too late and what would they do anyway? I might try an in-law.


dolly 5 years ago

ps After I say, not even scream, just say I want to go to bed and try to go to bed, he'll keep coming in and turning on the light and yelling at me for 2-6 hours.

Try this; it makes life pretty scary and sleepless.


Caren 5 years ago

I am facing a problem with a person who I beleive is narcissitic. Problems started with her some time ago now where she tries to provoke me constantly and I used to ignore her provocations because I though it was better. However lately this has worsened I was away for sometime and she had made up all a story about me with the intent to damage my reputation and harm me emotionally. I heard the story from other people who are very close to me but are her friends as well. Now I would like to let her know that I know what she did and deliver the message that lies do have a short life and she damaged her reputation with her own hands but I would like to avoid any direct confrontation as this will be worse since it wont make her stop attacking me and additionally she will turn this against me as well. Can you please advise on the best way to deal with this person


Jim 5 years ago

I have a relationship with a female friend who I think is displaying a lot of narcissism towards me. I was blinded to it at first because I care about her. However it has become more apparent that her dealings with me are very self-serving. For example, grandiose displays of affection, then becoming distant and unreachable afterwards.

My thoughts are that these displays are for her own reassurance and ego and nothing whatsoever to do with any genuine feelings towards me. Her correspondence, except for saying she hopes I am well, never asks me how I am or what I'm doing.

Am I on the right track here?


jimbob 5 years ago

"So, in dealing with these people, try to have a sense that actions which seem spiteful and malevolent are actually their attempts at coping because they feel so bad and don't know how to do things differently". - I can understand this statement to a degree, but let's get real for a moment, saying the physical, emotional, sexual abuse of a child is becaue they feel bad and don't know any better is laughable and just trivializes human behavior. When people have dodgy mental or emotional programming it causes them to think and feel certain things, but acting on these feelings and behaving a certain way is 100% a choice they make. These people still have free will just like everybody else.


Shane Radburn 5 years ago

Why is it that we bother with our narcisistic partners? I'm not trying to be harsh but don't we deserve better? I'm at the stage that I think I deserve better. My girfriend used to try and "play the narcisistic game" but I shut her down every time, I walked away and ignored her. Wouldn't answer her calls. When she realised I wouldn't play the game she realised she had to use a different approach. She was always devistated that she was rejected and eventually she learnt why it was that she got rejected and started to change her ways. I saw Dr Phil the other month has someone who was anorexic/balemic and he said to the family don't play her game. If she asks if she's fat then tell her she's stupid or being rediculous. He said use the tough love approach. I've used the tough love approach with NPD and it's worked to an extent but now it's evolved to different forms or ways that she is able to do it.

For example the first sign she is doing her thing is that she will make herself a cup of tea. Generally she makes us both a cup of tea with the expectation of gaining gratitude and praise. If she's "losing it" then she will make herself one in the hope that I will hate it and will start a fight. I either ignore it or say to her "are you making yourself a cup of tea honey" This indicates to her that I am aware she is playing the game and I'm not going to play. I think the cup of tea thing is something she used to do for her mother to gain attention over her siblings and to try and get acceptance or love from her mother (who is a terrible person). I saw above another person said that the person does things to push buttons to cause conflict and mine also does the same thing. She will open draws in my office and walk away, turn the air con on and open the front door. After a lot of this ongoing BS I tell you it's hard to keep cool headed. Lately it only gives her reason to try harder to piss me off. We now have a 2 year old daughter but before it wasn't hard to kick her out. Now she knows she at an advantage and I won't kick her our because of our daughter. I tell you what though I'm getting close. I think if people can ignore it or counteract it early they may stand a chance. If the lady who said the hubby will turn on the light and yell at her for hours hasn't left already then she should, it's way too late for change in that relationship and that's way beyond abusive.

Just my opinion anyway.

Shane


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Rafini 5 years ago from Somewhere I can't get away from

Wow, excellent article! The biggest problem with Narcissistic behaviors is when the family denies its existence and consciously engulfs the innocent bystander into the family by claiming - This is normal!


Debbie 5 years ago

My boyfriend of 1 yr is a true Narcissist exhibiting most of the behaviors I've been reading about. He has never openly admitted to being a narcissist, but is very educated on the subject and claims an ex-girlfriend was one. I know he is actually talking about himself and is completely aware of his disorder, though not able to control many of the behaviors. I think he loves me and would like to be able to have a successful long term relationship but doesn't believe it can happen for him. I have not confronted him with what I know, and am not sure if or when is the right time to do so. Or, should I just change the reactions I have to him that feeds into his NPD? I look forward to slowly reading through all of the comments and information I see on here. I am very committed to having a life with him, he is a very special person and I love him with all my heart. I've read so much online about how relationships can never work with someone who has NPD, but I think anything can work if both people care enough to put the effort in.


Gaz 5 years ago

My Mother who is now 73 not only displays NPD my siblings and I suspect she also has munchausens;

are these tied in with each other DrC?

For all our life her ailments abound, heart conditions, skin conditions, breast cancer (a biopsy showed cellular change so she opted for a mastectomy ~ twice) it may sound callous but the display in hospital was of someone in her element she even stated "the nurses think I'm the life and soul of the ward" This was several years ago now. My scynicism stems from her fantasies and down right lies i.e she has a degree (now my sister has achieved her maternity nursing degree) my mother did not even go to university and married and had us kids from the age of 18, the reason she doesn't drive anymore is due to a bad experience (actually she never passed her test), she even implied to my wife that she used to work for MI5!

Now my father has had a stroke and we have concerns for his well being ~ she has taken my (medically trained) sister off of the list of next of kin at the ward (we think so my sister cannot question his medical condition and prognosis) and stated that the doctors have told her he will never walk again, yet the evidence is there contradicting this; the report board shows among others that he can independantly 'get out of bed', and 'walk to the bathroom', albeit with the aid of a zimmer, his arm movement and dexterity have greatly improved along with his grip (something he is proud of) when I pointed this out and suggested that with time and dedication he may be able to throw the zimmer away, she tried to get into a row with me ~ in the middle of a stroke ward containing some very ill people!

As a seasoned 'victim, I calmly stated that I was not being confrontational but was only having a conversation.

My brother has completely fallen out with her after my mother lost it with my brothers wife shouting and screaming at the poor woman (again in the ward) he now will not have anything to do with our mother, I have tried to calm him down and guide him in the art of dealing with her i.e. him being the parent and our mother being the emotional stunted child like person she is and not losing his temper with her.

Our concern for our dad stems from the fact that she seems to want him completely at her mercy and fully reliant and dependant on her and is planning to have a bed installed in the livingroom on display as you walk into the front door (we beleive martyrdom on her behalf) my father has gone along with her all his life (as have we in the past) so now he needs her even more he will not go against any decisions she makes even if it will be to his detriment (the bed she has chosen for him is an ordinary single bed and not adjustable which I would have thought he would need to aid him to sit up and to ensure no pressure sores can form)

My sister and I will try to keep the peace for all concerned and to ensure our father has the care he deserves.

Sorry for the diatribe but this is a stressful time and it is good to talk.


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vocalcoach 5 years ago from Nashville Tn.

A marvelous hub. I linked to your hub. Thank you. vocalcoach


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htodd 5 years ago from United States

Awesome Hub,Thanks for the post


Veronica 5 years ago

My dad has narcisstic personality disorder. But i'm 15 and can't escape. My mum died when I was 12. My brother has depression and signs of the same narcisstic personality disorder. Any help? Please?

I need it.


Andrea 5 years ago

Just found out about NPD and I'm pretty sure my boyfriend is a pathological narcissist. However, I don't see myself trying to tell him, it would probably make things even worse. I don't know what to do, I've been trying to understand his problem for a long, long time and now it's so clear, but it's really scary at the same time. Don't want to lose him, but it's so hard to deal with this type of personality... "Walking on eggshells", yap, that's pretty much my life at this point. Even worse, when trying to explain what they're doing wrong, they don't even try to correct the behaviour and just keep hurting everyone around them. Drives me insane.


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gramarye 5 years ago from Adelaide - Australia

Thanks, I finally have a name for his problem. Yes, I walk on eggshells full time - never know when he's going to blow! This has been a helpful insight! Thanks :-)


victoria 5 years ago

Hi. I'm 49 and have come to realize my mother is a full blown NPD. I have been No Contact since April of this year. I only talk to my sister, and she has begged me to contact my folks as my dad has parkinson disease and because of the stress I have done with the no contact - he has heart problems. Personnally I have such strong reactions to even seeing their phone number displayed on my phone and break out in a sweat, get all upset and cry. When I drive to her house before I get their my guts get tight and I cry and feel like I'm going to throw up. My life with my hubby and son is wonderful. I have peace and love here but my family is chaos always never stops. My mother says horrible things to me then with a smile on her lips says something to leave and I'm balling in my room. I deal with depression and believe that I need help with leaving them - they don't want me to leave. I am scared and have strong reactions to my mother at 49. She is 78.


HBMM 5 years ago

Dear Dr. C,

Thank you for your article. I believe my mother-in-law has NPD although she has not been formally diagnosed. She is extremely jealous of me and my family- I believe she feels this way because of my economic background.

Over the years she has both overtly and passive-aggressively insulted, offended, and been extremely mean and inappropriate towards me and my parents. For a long time I tried all the coping techniques you've mentioned- not escalating, staying calm, using "I feel..." statements, etc. My husband and I are at a point where we feel like nothing helps and there is just no way to deal with her that does not result in negativity and stress to our life. At this point, even though she only lives 10 minutes away, we only see her at family functions/ holidays and I do not communicate with her outside of these occasions. (My husband still talks on the phone with her).

So I guess we are using the "no contact" approach and I know she blames me for this even though it's just as much my husbands choice. He is not willing to put our marriage or children at risk because she is not able to "play nice" with me and my family. Even when I do see her now, she only speaks to me in a condescending, rude way.

I consider myself a patient and kind person. I understand that people with NPD are still people and the rest of us should take the "high road" etc. But I feel like I've come to a point where contact with this person is so damaging and negative to me and my family (my husband and I also have 2 children who she shows zero interest in) that I have to protect myself and my family and just stay away.

I guess my questions are: at what point does self-preservation prevail over the needs of the person with NPD? Is this a common situation that you've come across? I'd love to hear any other strategies you think I could use at this point, I just fear we are beyond any kind of reconciliation.

Thank you very much :)


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Nat Amaral 5 years ago from BC Canada

A truly informative piece. I knew too many people that were like this (or used to). Sometimes one can only deal with so much. It's doubtful that these people mean to be like that, but little do that know that it's this kind of attitude that will push their loved ones away.


Victor 5 years ago

Dr. C,

I really want to extend my appreciation and applause for this article as it goes to great extent to illustrate “NPD” in a thoughtful and informing attitude. While I have known of Narcissists for some time I have always misunderstood them to be “bundled”, if you will, with other disorder types and/or psychosis. This is particularly true, it would seem, in regards to the growing trend of people with sociopathic personalities which can be found in almost all walks of life and careers. However, set aside as its own “PD”, is something I have not encountered before.

My only concern regarding the article, and maybe some of you can help me to understand this better, is the lack of attention to the varied other components of living with such an individual. While the article states that “NPD” can lead to angry outbursts and manipulative agendas it seems to stop there, reminding us that they are people too and to just take a “time out”. However, in my own personal experience with my mother, simply taking a time out is an unrealistic option. The more often, at least in my experience, outcome has been physical in the form of “claw” marks across my chest (something my wife was very livid about!), slaps, tackles, and biting on one occasion. Additionally, and in the absence of the “knock-down-drag-outs” we’ve had, she has followed me (when I lived with her), repeated and incessant phone calls, e-mails, and showing up on my front door. Once, after I moved out on her command and I refused to tell her where I had moved to, due to a fluke that revealed my location, I came home to her driving around in my complex looking for my vehicle! Thankfully, this behavior has ceased and the most I endure nowadays is repeated phone calls for “mine and her welfare” and hostile over-the-phone arguments whenever I ask her to not stop a certain behavior – such as peppering me with seven or more calls within an hour because I am not home when a thunderstorm happens to show up.

In my experience, and I suspect in many other’s, taking a time out and mentioning a few disengaging comments in an almost “la-ti-da” manner are as counter-productive as fighting off a tank with a tooth pick! My above example of my experiences do not include the many manipulations and “guilt trips” over my unavailability to her due to work or personal preference due to the above hyper-reactions. Those manipulations are as countless as the sands of a beach with the majority of which being designed to orchestrate our moving back in together – an issue I nearly lost my wife over, my sanity and my own apartment on a previous occasion.

Obviously I am not a Psychologist and am not intending to diagnose those like my mother but do realize that there is a lot of components within “NPD” that fit such people to a “tee”. Either my reading of this article displays character traits that are either lessened to instill an empathy for those who suffer this, or my experiences with those like my mother, to include her, is something other than “NPD”. Perhaps something which appears as “NPD” or has that as a component? To date, and this literally shocks me and makes me wonder if I am not the one falling down the proverbial rabbit hole, but my father has displayed similar traits as my mother, as has my grandmother, my grandfather, wife’s father and sister, and at least two friends of ours their mothers, and one friend’s grandmother. The one aspect that gives me some assurance that I am not the one sitting at the Mad Hatter’s table is that I am not the only one expressing these observances.

So all in all, great article and very informative; however, I am concerned about my mother and those like her that possess such hostile and aggressive behaviors in addition to the “manipulativeness” of it all. I am left, at least in regards to my mother, in a quandary. Because of this hostility, would it not be better for me to simply distance myself from her? I am left then with the fact that she has no one else in her life, is now handicapped, and living on extremely limited benefits (which now may be reduced beyond realistic live-ability thanks to our recent Political Debt Ceiling issues and the cuts they propose). Psychological steps are out of the question as she simply walks out on sessions whenever the Doctor states something she disagrees with, not to mention our inability to afford it. Is this issue regarding her simply an “NPD” issue or something different?


L76 5 years ago

I have been married for 12 years and have 3 children. My husband was diagnosed with Narcissistic Tendencies 8 years ago and I until now didn't know what that meant. It has been absolutely painful these past 12 years. His behavior has been worse since our first sone was born. When I was pregnant I had complications with Preeclampsia and he did not care that I had to be kept calm. He would fight and argue just the same if I was not pregnant. I begged for mercy for a little bit of compassion but it didn't matter. Thankfully my son and I were fine but it was not the life moment I'd been dreaming . about. The fights continued as I fought to stand up for myself but it didn't matter....I was always wrong. Two children later and now with my father terminally Ill and also with me suffering anticipatory grief I've finally had enough. The straw that broke the camels back was his latest comment to me about my dying father after a sudden decline, he said "Its not my fault your fathers dying, so stop putting your stress onto me" I realized that something was TERRIBLY wrong... So I started researching and It all started to make sense...he is terribly Narcissistic. I don't know what to do now. I'm getting in contact with a psychologist who deals with this type of disorder so if nothing else can help me and our children... I am just so sad right now...


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Terishere 5 years ago

My ex was narcissistic and an extreme control freak!! I left before I was damaged emotionally and mentally by the control tactic that were used.

I'm all for those with NPD getting help, but not so much about loved ones staying and putting up with the abuse. A separation would be better, and if the one with NPD won't get help, the other partner should not be expected to stay in the relationship.


Solaire 5 years ago

This is long, but it's hard to find someone to vent to about this hehe. My father-in-law is a textbook case of a low functioning narcissist. Last year his 3rd wife left him, he lost his job, and went bankrupt. My husband, feeling a need to please his father, most likely stemming from his own dysfunctional upbringing, let his father live with us till he could get back on his feet. Within the first 2 days I knew what I was dealing with, but I had no idea how bad it would be. He got and quit 5 jobs in 6 months, all were "not good enough" for him or the employees/bosses were "idiots". He sat in our living room all day, complaining and criticizing everyone and everything, eating peanuts and watching "How it's Made" all day, every day. Other than dinner, which he gorged himself on, he only ate peanuts and caffeinated drinks, swearing a person could live solely on them.

And this is not the worst of it...I have a 10 year old son. He was constantly putting my son down, calling him a wimp who will grow up fat and friendless (my son is very sociable, gifted, heh and thin, maybe it was jealousy) He was always competing with my son too. He actually once said "I bet I can ride your bike better than you can"! Really! He said that!

Needless to say, he stayed for a year when my husband finally suggested he would pay for a cheap apartment for him. His fear of being alone caused him to find another family member to mooch off. So, within that year, I pretty much lived in my bedroom and became a complete emotional wreck. My son eventually joined me in the room, feeling so worthless and angry that he couldn't stand to continue trying to forge a relationship with his only living grandpa.

He left, 4 months ago, and we recently got an email from those currently living with him...a desperate email pleading for help to deal with him, to make him get a job, and even to take him back. My husband doesn't seem to want to accept the fact that his father is a narcissist, and keeps falling back into the trap of trying to please him by any means. He says he was never this bad and maybe he's going senile. But, they've hardly had a close relationship since I've known him. I try to explain that the best way to get him to take responsibility for his own life is to stop offering to help him.

If he comes back, I don't know what I'll do. I have threatened to leave. All I feel is anger towards him, for how he treated my son, and how he expected me to be his own personal idiot slave. But because of my own problems with needing to please everyone, I was unable to say anything to him. I feel angry at my husband for not standing up for us and trying to protect our emotional well-being. I think I'll end up in a rubber room if he returns. I don't know how to get through to my husband that it would detrimental to this family if he allows his father to return.


shawn 5 years ago

As far as I am concerned one should get as far away as fast as possible from these types of people. In all my experiences with that personality type there has been nothing but trouble. Even appologies become grandiose plots to manipulate and overthrow another. Not worth my time, but hopefully there are others out there a bit more compassionate in regard to people with this disorder.


Alexandra 5 years ago

I have been in a relationship with Narcissist for 11 years. She was amazing for the first 6 months and I fell deeply in love with her. Then it all changed...she became a Chameleon. I am regularly yelled and screamed at for the most minor things. Her recently most favourite reason is that I am not following her instructions. While I am still reeling from these verbal assaults her mood swings back to my loving partner like nothing happend. If I try and point out what just happend it is all minimsed and I am making it into something it is not. She is very good at using humour to detract from her outbursts/tantrums. She uses personal things that I have told her against me when she is angry..hurts like hell. She has alienated my family who all have had a taste of her dark side. While they want contact with me they don't want to spend time with her. I am very close to her family. We spend a lot of time together and she is very dedicated to them. For the most she is an amazing daughter/auntly, sister, sister in law. She is always wanted at family events becauese she is so funny, family orientated, hardworking and loyale. Her family know what she is like and at times we all walk on egg shells together. But on the other hand she does the most amazing things to show that she loves me like planning elaborate trips or suprises. She is talented and amazingly funny - people who don't really know her think that she is wonderful. I don't trust her emotionally and have at times fantasised about physically hurting her..i would never! (I am very honest with her and have told her all of this but she appears to brush it off). Talk about disfunctional! She has been to counselling when I said I wanted to leave her but it did not work as she thought all the counsellor wanted to do was to hit on her. I don't want to go to couple counselling as she is very good at presenting a good front. I need to find a way to get out but know that she is going to make it incredibley hard. I am a very peaceful and easy going person which she has taken full advantage of and I have allowed her to do so...What does it say about me for staying so long? I do feel very alone and my self esteem is shot. I need to find my backbone of steel. I do not want to wast any more of my precious years.


Harriet 5 years ago

Yes, yes yes ... this article is spot on. Awful as it sounds though ... I would have to say "run for the hills", "stay far far away" and "escape while you can" because if you don't love yourself enough to get away from such abuse ... you will slowly but surely loose any sense of self worth and self efficacy, and you'll never even see it happening until it's too late and you're half the person you were when you first met your narcissist. Goodness knows they will not give you one bit of empathy, credit or consideration as they devour you.


Rachel B 5 years ago

My sister-in-law seems to have NPD. Family events have been unbearable. There are 14 people in the family but the conversation must revolve around her. We only talk about her job, her friends, her sisters, etc. She must always one-up everyone. I brought it up with my mom that we should have more balanced discussions at family events. This seems to have gotten back to NPD and has enraged her and now she seems to want to ruin my relationships with members of my family. My other sister-in-law seems to have borderline personality disorder and they have joined forces. I am a quiet person and don't really know what to do except for disengage. Do you have any suggestions? I am tired of always having to feed their egos.


Kate 5 years ago

With all due respect, you come off as sympathetic to people with NPD, which simply isn't warranted. In fairness, I didn't finish reading the article. Between your apparent stance or perspective that their actions are not conscious and the lack of proofreading, I wasn't inclined to continue. However, I can't help but think that you've not been consistently exposed to someone with NPD, in the context of a close relationship. If I'm mistaken, my apologies. I just can't fathom how you cannot ascribe ill will to an N. They are cold, calculating and ruthless, elevating manipulation to an art form. They are often abusive as well, sometimes violently so. In essence, they're the worst kinds of bullies, unleashing hell on their victims because of their own insecurities. They drain, damage and discard without a second thought and they do this with well planned precision. When you use someone in every possible way, turn on them, gaslight them, disparage them and throw them away, there's only one word for that, evil and it's absolutely deliberate. The only sympathy should be for anyone who is taken in and summarily destroyed by a person with NPD.


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Nat Amaral 5 years ago from BC Canada

Thank you so much for writing something like this. I have dealt with two different people in my past with this disorder, but I learned my lesson enough to keep my distance from the second one. You have described the both of them to a tee. This one girl is also a constant liar and a manipulator. I'm only sorry for the people who she has hurt.


Sg 5 years ago

Curious, my husband, when angry, usually over something such as I didn't answer his question correctly, or I left a drawer open a bit, will have imaginary boundary lines when he is mad. Such as put the shampoo bottles I use on my half of the shower, make up his side of the bed only, put my things in areas that are used more by me, things become "his" or "mine" and not "ours" - if I touch something of his, I'm to ask permission or hell is to be paid. Is this a NPD issue?


XNPDwife 5 years ago

HI,

I have read through some of these stories and I found myself nodding my head in agreement because I too have dealt with many of the episodes and behaviors that come with having a relationship with an NPD. My concern is my children at this point but my story in short, well short a possible :)

I just learned about six months ago that my X is an NPD and it came out of the blue. I have been seeing a therapist for a long time in regards to issues I'd been having at my work and of course we'd talk about things at home as well. The topic of my X would come up often. She had also met my X on three occassions within six months. We had been using her to help us with trying to work out our difficulty in communicating in our joint custody with our children. He came to these unwillingly and with a HUGE bunch of requirements such as we can't talk about "us" and we can't talk about the marriage and we can't talk about the past ie our childhood. It was such a long list it was really frustrating. But even during the first meeting I got so frustrated with his lack of concern and coldness and subtle blaming of me. The counselor called ME on it which made me more mad. But we talked later about it and she explained that per her ethics she had to do it that way.

So about 3 months after our last meeting with him together I was complaining about something he'd done yet again that I felt like I had NO control over. She had once before mentioned to me what a narcissist was very briefly and that was was that. But on this particular day she paused and said "Have I ever told you I think that X is a narcissist?" I remembered what she'd described one as being like and took in a few other things that she'd mentioned over time and right then and there, just like in the movies, time stopped and there was this HUGE silence in the room but in my head ALL the pieces came flying together. All the puzzle pieces I'd collected over nearly 20 years of knowing this man feel into place and damn it every one of them fit, perfectly. I finally, FINALLY had an answer. I had been married to a narcissist and also dealing with one in a divorce and trying to have child custody with one as well. Wow. It took three days for the shock to wear off.

So I've been learning everything I can on the subject. So far the best book I've read is: The Wizard of Oz and other Narcissists. It gets into it very deeply and it not only looks at the NPD's role but it gives insight about the "codependent".

But as I said I am worried about my children. I was married to this man for 12 years. We dated for 10 months before we got married, which he initiated. Even before we got married I knew something was amiss but I couldn't even tell you what it was. I was going on instinct. Wish I'd listened to it. After 12 years of him abusing me emotionally and pyschologcially, and me gaining nearly 80lbs and my self esteem being reduced to virtually being non existent, and I starting to have similar behaviors to his HE asked me for a divorce. Which now knowing what I do find it incredible that he asked for one but I think it was his way of trying to stay in control of me because I wasa getting a bit out of hand by loosing weight and socializing with people that I would go workout with..instead of being at home catering to his every need. After he served me papers (he'd moved out 2 or 3 days before) he came by and says to me "you don't really want the divorce do you?" in a very charming way and when I said yes I did it devastated him because I essentially told him I didn't want him, that he wasn't good enough. This is where the real narcissism came into play. During the year and a half that it took to finalize the divorce he went from saying "Oh I want to pay child support and I want x, y and z because it's the right thing to do" to "why do I have to pay child support AND alimony?" That's too much, I can't afford that!" to making every thing we did in the settlement to have to be changed to make it so that HE liked it - and later I figured out so that he'd have the most control over me. Custody and visitation was the biggest problem. Looking back now I really wish I hadn't agreed to everything I did. We agreed to joint custody which has proven to be very hard because what HE thinks is best - and often times it's not- and what I think is best is never the same, ever.

And prior to his filing for divorce he spend MINIMAL time with our three children. I was doing everything! Feeding the kids, getting them to school plus taking care of my nephews at the time in the mornings and afternoons, laundry, grocery shopping, staying at home with our youngest, dinner, I fixed the kids lunches for school every day, keeping the house cleaned, bathing and putting the kids to bed, reading them bedtime stories. I taught all three of them how to ride their bikes. I was also starting a new career at the time as well. And his interaction with the kids involved saying hi to them when he got home, telling them good night and saying goodbye in the mornings. If he did more I don't remember. So immediately following the separation he asked for them 50% of the time! I was like what the hell??? My kids were 10,5 and 3 at the time. And what they told me was that when they were with dad at their aunt and uncles house, aunt and uncle took care of them, not dad.

IN our agreement we've changed the schedule several times for various reasons, most of which are so that I can work. I have a job that changes on me periodically so I have to adjust my schedule likewise or work less and get paid less. X thinks by now I should be totally self supporting but gets upset when I take on more hours. Crazy. So he only agrees to any schedule change if HE gets something out of it. I have always advocated for the kids to live with me full time and he have visitation but in the state of CA 50/50 is the law and he's "entitled" to it so he feels he gets it no matter the cost to the kids.

And one time we had a schedule that I liked, the kids liked it and he seemed ok with it. We were trying to make a few adjustments and we asked the kids how they felt about it and I found it very interesting that the older ones had little to say about it, I now know that they were afraid of how their dad would react if they said they wanted to change. Well literally out of the blue the next day he took the kids out of school and the told me flat out that we were going back to the original agreement...with a few minor modifications that HE made and when I tried to protest that didn't go well. And I'v been fighting it since then.

We have in our agreement right now that he has them on the weekends and they come back to me at different times alternating weekends. BUT if I want to have them for a full weekend or if he does, we have to make a request of the other and we have to do it 10 days in advance. Well if I don't follow the rules to a T he gets very pissed of and will refuse my request and makes threats that if I should deny HIS request I will find it problematic the next time I make a request to him. And most recently I've made several requests and he's denied all of them except one because it was for a special occasion. I tell him he's controlling and I protest and he says I'm not seeing things clearly and it's working and no changes need to be made and I'm the only one that's unhappy.

The kids, who are really doing a marvelous job on the outside ie to the public, are well behaved, have good grades -for the most part - have friends, are involved in activities. All of the lawyer and judges say because they are doing well that there's no concern. And even their dad says they're fine. I know better because when the are with me it's very stressful. My oldest mimics alot of X's behaviors and is very condesending to me. We've had a rocky relationship since she turned 10 or 11. She's the oldest and had pretty much understood the whole thing with the divorce and she's had to grow up a bit because of it. She's 18 now, a legal adult..She's in college locally because I am unable to afford college for her and her dad refuses to help pay saying he d


mychildcomesfirst 5 years ago

I have been with my husband for 8 years now. When we met, I knew (so I thought) he was perfect and the one. We both lived in a state other than the one we grew up in and wanted to go back to where we were raised. He was romanitic, understanding and (at the time) was cool, calm and collective (under stress is what impressed me most). Two months after we met, he went on to find us a place to live (already had a job) in the state we both grew up in. One month later, we (oh, I had a two year old at the time) joined him. I know, crazy to move so fast when you have a child. But you should have seen him then. Yes, it was only two months. Only a couple of crumpiness times. But not what I was used to with past relationships. He was great with my son. Everyting you would want.

Two months or so after moving was the first episode. Although at the time I believed it to be from drinking. Time goes on... jealousy, drunkeness, verbaly abusive behavious were pretty frequent, wouldnt allow me to get too close, just close enough. I was catching him in lies.. the list goes on. When my son was 6, a certain episode finally (unfortunately ) was with my son. Nothing major, but I did intervene. Good move, bad move? I actually know the answer to that. Just retorical.(s/p)

Anyway, after time, I started loosing myself. Manipulation people with this disorder deal out is very intense. I would try to defend my self (quite frequently) and would forget things, loose my train of thought, think maybe I was crazy... the list goes on. I did leave him a couple of times. He would always beg me to come home and would be perfect! For a little while.

After years of hearing how he was only married to his first wife because he wanted to help her girls and never cared for her and how crazy she was and how if it were not for the girls he would be gone. Then being kept out of the loop on everything that had to do with us, ie. banking, money, bills, him... you name it, he wanted me to know nothing.

One night my son and I followed him to his sisters three hours away at night. All over the road and scared me to death. That night when I confronted him about it, I was called multiple bad names and told it was none of my business and that I would be in a good mood the next day with his family. He didn't even remember this conversation the next morning. Didn't seem to believe it happened. These are very few of the numerus circumstances I dealt with for six year. Not even the major ones. I alway thought it was the drinking. We now live in another state where we moved to after I left him the last time. His family finally is concerned because apparantly (now I know) this has been his behavior for many many years. I am only glad I was not his first wife from what I have learned over the last year. I have been manipulated, treated like I was crazy, defended myself over things that never happened, been loved one minute and hated the next, watched him flirt with other women in front of me, believe to this day he is unfaithful, the list goes on and on. And honestly, I could deal with it. I would make up excuses to everyone for his behaviour especially to our son. I forgot to mention, he did adopt him. He loves him like he is his own. One of the reasons I fell in love with him is because of how he felt about his step kids from the privious marriage. I think of them as his therefore mine.

However, the last year, it is not just directed towards me. My friend told me a couple of months ago that it may have a lot to do with his sleep deprivation then add drinking on top of stess this day and age. I have been doing lots of research over the last month which is how I came to this website and many others. I truly believe that he has this disorder. And as much as I want to be patient and stand by him, I think my rapidly fraying rope has come to its end.

I did confront him about his drinking, then the sleep deprivation thing, now I read this. They all seem to coinside with each other and that is not a good thing.

If he would admit that he had a problem and tried to at least help himself, I would possibly try.

However, the last six months or so, my son is feeling the ramifications too. He is seeing the mood swings and feeling the ramifications himself. I can't cover up for my husband to my son anymore, obviously, either. He knows what is going on and is frustrated and hurt himself. I have seen a lot of differnce in him (my son) the last year and I don't like it. Plus, trying to stay in the middle of my son and my husband to keep peace and make sure things are at least somewhat ok while trying to not set off my husband is gettin old. My son told me the other day his dads grumpiness is getting old.

Too late for long story short, but, my son will always come first to me. Am I wrong to say that either my husband quits blaming everyone else and realize he is a jerk with a problem and try to help himself, or I am ejecting my son from the environment.

On another note, I have his family behind me. I know that can't be good for his mind set.

I want to get back to me and get back to good before it is too late for my son.

Lots more before and now but my fingers hurt and it is late. Any advice or help is greatly appreciated.

p.s. I just started to go back and check for typos and realized how long this is. Sorry for the length and any typos. Thanks again!


Jay 5 years ago

Wow! I read this and its EVERYTHING my ex boyfriend was. He broke up with me three months ago, I am still very, very heartbroken and have made the mistake of calling him a lot and trying to work out why, but knowing I deserve to be treated better.. everything I read is him and it’s helped me feel less guilty about the end of our relationship, as apparently everything was my fault. (Hes 38 and I am 35, we moved to his home country together, so it was serious)

I suggested we see a therapist quite early on in our relationship because of the way things were not being talked discussed and his totally lack of empathy, I felt like I was walking on eggshells all the time and he would say I always said the same thing, "why can't you try to see it from my point of view" all the time.. it was the most upsetting relationship ever because I saw in him something I have never seen in anyone else.. I fell in love and though I know that’s not enough, I just wish, I wish so badly that I could help him see a few things... maybe we would not of ended.. His blame on me is too much to bare sometimes.

I miss the guy he was when we were first together. It makes me so incredibly sad! I am almost temped to send him this article, but every time I have tried to talk to him, confront him I am shut down. I appreciate that no one wants to be told of their negative traits, but what does one do in a situation like this? give up I guess?!


mel 5 years ago

Hi, I've been dealing with this all my life, but didn't realize it wasn't my fault till recently. As the scapegoat child of a mom with NPD, it has been extremely hard for me to live a normal life. All my successes have always been something I have had to be content on not sharing with my mother. As a mother myself, I cannot even imagine doing this same stuff to my children. I feel blessed for not going down the wrong path in life. I was always an overachiever, now I understand why. My only question.... I feel like my sister is going down the same path i.e. she sees the world only through how it relates to her, and manipulates every situation to her advantage (with mom's blessing of course. She is the golden child). Does NPD run in the family? Do I go no contact with them?


Frances 5 years ago

Ugh. My life has just been destroyed by a NPD monster. Run for the hills. The man punched me in the head, and then said two seconds later, "I didn't punch you in the head." He made me drive him to the police station, so I could tell the police that Mr. NPD "didn't make those bruises covering my arms". The police were incredulous, but that is the nature of NPD...he just assumed everyone would believe anything he told them.

He even filed a restraining order on me after I had already moved out in desperation, and told me he had gotten the restraining order, so "he could take my house, take my job, and put me and my children out on the street to starve."

Then, after he got the restraining order, he was shocked that I was actually happy to stay away from him! He then proceeded to stalk, harrass and hold me hostage until I finally filed my own restraining order....

The final straw came when he looked me in the eyes, and said, "I am a very evil person, and I enjoy making people suffer."

Goodness gracious. Get out while you can. I've been privy to the private thoughts of this type of person, and it is the ugliest mindset imaginable.


Shanti 5 years ago

Hello, thank you for your advice and the others for their posts and life stories. I am in a difficult situation. I got hurt by my narcissistic husband and, even though I stayed by him was not aware of his problem until I've left him. I have been away from him for a month and educated myself on this disorder. In the meantime, I filled for divorce and he was served few days ago. I feel horrible and caught in a dilemma. Now that i have better understanding of his condition, I feel that I can weather it and continue the marriage. There were many good times and good things from this marriage and I don't want to abandon the commitment to us now that I have a clear understanding. he doe not want to recognize he has any problems, but maybe we can work things out in different ways. i used to critize him and blame him for the hurts he caused, also, used to leave the house for few days and even for longer periods of time. I am severely depressed and anxious, especially after an episode in which he was physically abusive towards me. I understand he was drunk and was willing to work with him, us, and marriage therapy, but didn't work that well. This said, my second worry is that if I want to reconcile with him now, it might be too late. I became his enemy and I abandoned him. I did the worst thing in his eyes, left the house and filled for divorce. He is aloof and strong in his silence treatment. He doesn't show emotions and


shanti 5 years ago

Sorry, I didn't finish my story. we have a friend in common who would like to be our mediator(neutral) to open a channel of communication. To do this, he would like for me to stop the complain for divorce and the restrain order I have against him. I don't know if I can trust him to be good. I will continue to leave in another city and establish a life of my own. I know he can be devious and revengeful. don't know what to do, please share your thoughts and observations. I am afradi to fall back into patterns of confusion and depression and abusive behavior. Will he turn on me if I stop the divorce and how to protect myself if I do?

Thank you.

shanti


RDCgo 5 years ago

HI Doc,

I needed to really share some first hand experience with my GF, which I am not sure I should call an EX yet, cos i am still in touch with her. I met this girl, which I am not very sure, if she is suffering from NPD because coming from an oriental Indian society it is something which is not very openly discussed.

I met her about 3 yrs ago, when I was pretty fresh and out of a very healthy relationship with this girl which had to leave the country for there was no future with her. I met this new girl when I started a new Job and so did she, and we were suppose to be with a group of aboout 200 ppl for about 1 year in a row. She was in a relationship earlier which she gave up after about 4 months and after we had gone for a group vacation in which we came closer. She was initially very reluctant to get into the relationship, which i accepted and gave her space. But suddenly she started demanding more from me, and when i gave her assurance she broke up with her BF and started going around with me. But when i was observing and trying to open myself up, I felt I was not very comfortable with her behaviours. I got the feeling that she is in a deep need of attenntion, always doing things to stay in the centre of attraction. She had intimacy issues. And invariably for a very loong time that we were there and after that it was a push pull relationship, which I was not very comfortable with cos it lacked a great sense of intimacy, devotion and collective thought. I had to leave that initial training and so had to she and we were posted at different places. She kept asking me to marry her for a year, which i resisted for a long time as I was not sure about myself and her too. but being away I started missing her and thought of marrying her and agreed for it. the Drama started here, when her interfering dad, which I myself feel has been suffering from some deep rooted issues refused for the marriages on some social, caste lines. When the girl insisted again and again, he asked for about a year time and told with some reasons that he will be OK after a year or so. I was OK, as I wa snot in a hurry. here is where he tested me really badly where he openly refused for marriage or any contact with me, infact he was OK with me, as long as he didnt know anout my interests in her daughter, But after knowing it, he turned totally against and nebver talked to me. the girl tried for some time befoore the deadline, but to no avail. Though I also doubt her convincing methods. She has been a very dependent person and the father knowng it used to emotionally black mail her against me. What happened after the dealine really shook me. the girl from being really pushy and always trying to be in control sudddenly started drifting away for reasons best known to her, but often telling me that she will neer be happy loosing her family because of me. She started flirting w ith some othe rguys distancing herself from me. Professionally she took steps which would further take us away. In all this time, she was moving close than away. As we were in a long dstance, when ever we would meet. it was interesting for a bit, but after a day or two, when i would insist at setting things right cos i could not tolerate the relationshio to be broken at her fathers behest, she would get weak and move away. Her father would never happily let her dependent daughters charge and responsibilty be given to me cos of certain societal situation prevailing in my country, where he would feel it would not be accepted n his kin or his circle. But the problem doesnt stop here, whicih is one issue I had to face and so did she. Remembering my parents have been very supportive of me and her in all thiis.She could not get out of this confusion and after many deadlines which I myself could not keep and kept going back, she also never let me completely go off, always calling me back or meeting up with swings of closeness and then going far. But never being able to give me committment. I tested and pushed her to her core by distancing my self, coming close. the unique thisng I observed was that whenever I would go away, she would try to pull me back. and whenever I would come close and try to be intimate, she would distance herself. this cycle often repeated many times. When once I decided to give her a last chance befor I move on to this new girl which I had known for a very short time, and she again distanced herself when i came close. Thats when I decided I cant cope with it and I will move on in life, which she often suggested me. I even told her about this that I am tired of all this and want a peaceful life. She at once put me close but then told me that I can go and be in relationship or marry anyone else I want. I committed to this new relationship, which also happened very fast as I wanted to get out of this emotional mess I had gone. After couple of meetings, we decided to marry. And when she was told about this, she got really berserk. Initally she shouted screamed at me. Called me names for being a philanderer. Then she suddenly, became a but calmer and often jealous of this new girl in my life. Said sorry but i am not sure if its just a controlling attitude to get me back. when i tried to talk to her, she offered me some solutions to some practical issues we had. But despite my constant attempts at discussing emotional issues and what I feel, she would show complete empathy and accuse me that I believe only in talking and no actiions for her. She only wants me back but i feel a need to resolve and convince her of my emotional needs and behaviour i expect from her. I generally feel that she lacks the understanding of wha I really want. often threatening me of me committing a mistake of my life by leaving her. Thats when she herself pushed me away. I am amused and perplexed by her sudden change of stance without much change in her emotional and feelings part towards the relationship. As a person, I feel my emotional and stability needs are not met. And at the root of it is also that there is a general lack of trust I have developed where I only see this also as a manipulative behaviour by her. For once I tried to move away from her with someone else, she came back vociferously and she does so only AT THE bhest when she sees a challenge in the form of a new giel in my life. If i am away alone, she doesnt bother or care much of me. But start using me as a resrve and takes me for granted. This time I have been very genuinly trying to move away from her and she has sensed it and that makes her all the more demanding.


RDC 5 years ago

She is now setting me deadlines to marry her which is disturbing to me. I told her about her NPD before I moved on, and she was being very violent at it. Now she is taking an excuse in being NPD and insenstitve and accepting she took me for granted is feigning i dont know wether genuine or shallow sorry for all that she haorderd done. and wants me back. I am not sure I want to go back. But knwoing she is suffering from this disorder, doesnt makes me angry at her, but it frustirates me at her lack of empathy and intimacy. I as a person feels thaat I am a lil passive when it comes to it and have not been very actively assertive in my needs which let her to go even further away from me. She says that she needs a dominating and controlling husband for her, which she sees in me , but only when I am moving away from her. I think i stems from overly indulhent father and somewhat indifferent mom who herself doesnt have much say in family either by the father or others sisters in her fanily. Idont kknow what to do and being unable to make up my mind any suggesrions


SJ 5 years ago

I have known for a long time my husband wasn't normal. For years, he has been controlling, he makes a big deal over small things, flies off the handle in a rage, has gotten mad and broke things belonging to me, busted my ceramic tiles smashing things down on them in anger. He has listened in on my conversations with my daughter by my previous marriage whom I am close to, and conversations with my dad. When he would leave on a road trip, he would write the miles down off my odometer before I left. We have had a business we have been running for 23 years. He just woke up one day and decided he wasn't going to do that anymore. He has junked up the surrounding land around our house with all kinds of junk and scrap, and even parks trailers in our driveway even after I asked him not to. I had to have a root canal tooth pulled a year ago because the tooth split. My husband said he didn't have the money for a bridge. I wouldn't really care except the tooth is on the front side of my mouth, you can see the hole when I smile. I really don't want to go through the rest of my life like that. He spends all kinds of money buying junk and scrap but can't pay for me a bridge. I didn't understand all this til I started reading about narcissistic personality behavior. He flies into a rage if you disagree with anything he says. I would like to know what I need to do with my situation. How do you deal with a person like this? 9 years ago, he got in an argument with my son about doing his homework and it being late at night, they ended up in a physical fight in his bedroom, my husband reached for a bottle that had sand art in it, and smashed it over my son's leg, cutting it, had to go to emergency room, had to have knee surgery and therapy. Said he didn't even remember reaching for it. Then blames me and said it was my fault for telling him to go in there and get him to do his homework. I don't have any money, I have been working in our business for all these years free of charge doing "my part" to help out. I don't have hardly any family or friends, no one to help me. I feel like a mouse stuck in a glue trap. I'm trying to hang on to my sanity as best as I can. I don't know what to do. If I ever did try to leave, he'd probably kill me. Nobody knows how hard it is to live with someone like this.


SJ 5 years ago

I have known for a long time my husband wasn't normal. For years, he has been controlling, he makes a big deal over small things, flies off the handle in a rage, has gotten mad and broke things belonging to me, busted my ceramic tiles smashing things down on them in anger. He has listened in on my conversations with my daughter by my previous marriage whom I am close to, and conversations with my dad. When he would leave on a road trip, he would write the miles down off my odometer before I left. We have had a business we have been running for 23 years. He just woke up one day and decided he wasn't going to do that anymore. He has junked up the surrounding land around our house with all kinds of junk and scrap, and even parks trailers in our driveway even after I asked him not to. I had to have a root canal tooth pulled a year ago because the tooth split. My husband said he didn't have the money for a bridge. I wouldn't really care except the tooth is on the front side of my mouth, you can see the hole when I smile. I really don't want to go through the rest of my life like that. He spends all kinds of money buying junk and scrap but can't pay for me a bridge. I didn't understand all this til I started reading about narcissistic personality behavior. He flies into a rage if you disagree with anything he says. I would like to know what I need to do with my situation. How do you deal with a person like this? 9 years ago, he got in an argument with my son about doing his homework and it being late at night, they ended up in a physical fight in his bedroom, my husband reached for a bottle that had sand art in it, and smashed it over my son's leg, cutting it, had to go to emergency room, had to have knee surgery and therapy. Said he didn't even remember reaching for it. Then blames me and said it was my fault for telling him to go in there and get him to do his homework. I don't have any money, I have been working in our business for all these years free of charge doing "my part" to help out. I don't have hardly any family or friends, no one to help me. I feel like a mouse stuck in a glue trap. I'm trying to hang on to my sanity as best as I can. I don't know what to do. If I ever did try to leave, he'd probably kill me. Nobody knows how hard it is to live with someone like this.


terrified 5 years ago

I have been dealing with two family members that I strongly believe have this disorder. There is no talking to them about anything, it is exhausting!!! They never say their sorry and always point the finger at others, as if they are the BAD GUY... It's a waste of your time, because if you want them to see where you are coming from in a situation... THEY WILL NEVER SEE IT... THEY ARE NEVER WRONG...If you are looking for any comfort from them.. FORGET IT... it's always about them and always will be. I am in a very, very hard situation with both my Mother (whom is divorced from my dad) and his new partner. My father was diagnosed with cancer and the person he is now with, pushes everyone away with all the games she plays, it makes it very hard for any family member to be around her, except the other person with the same disorder... they can and are very hard to deal with.


Lady Annie 5 years ago

My boyfriend, well ex as I had to ask him to leave, is displaying all of the symptoms of NPD.

He was sweet and charming and kind to begin with, I then discovered all the lies... (about his job, employment status, where he'd travelled, what his parents had done for a living, his education)... I suddenly no longer knew him and this is when all of the unpleasant personality traits started to appear. Firstly he is argumentative and will always put across a conflicting statement for no other reason than to gain attention. He will elevate himself into a "demi-god-like" status. He didn't want me to put the heating on in my house, citing that it was "childish" to feel the cold. He said that because he had done the "mathematics" on the economy he forecasted the recession and that everyone in the world was an "idiot" for not seeing it coming. He will have a view or opinion on a subject that he has no experience of what so ever, and when challenged will start shouting and ranting like he's on the receiving end of a personal attack, he is incredibly patronising in his delivery of this also. And he will address experts, (his Dr. for example) like he knew nothing. He sulks and skulks around the house for days trying to get attention, he sucks all my energy and positivity. It's like walking on eggshells constantly. I have to watch what I say, do.... Another example is that he uses this stropping and sulking to try to control my emotions or make me guilty over things that I enjoy. For example: I go to work, he is not employed, I return to a look and act of utter rejection which is "how could you leave me in the house all day on my own". I go to the gym a couple of times a week, he brandished this as "selfish" and "excessive". He won't do anything for himself. He refuses to get a job. All conversations have to be at length and about only things that he is interested in. It's absolutely exhausting and he is totally unacknowledging and unrepentant for his wrong doing (the lies that I mentioned. He entered into our relationship under a total falsehood ie: told me he was a scientist; he has never had a job. Said he had a Masters in Geophysics: he has only basic education up to the age of 16... see where I'm going with this?).

I am worried because he is so grandiose and impossible to deal with he makes my anger go through the roof.

I have an additional situation, which is that I am 12 weeks pregnant. Based on the stress, upset and deliberate damage he causes to things that I value/treasure I have asked him not to be around. To leave. His reaction to this was to laugh and jeer in my face, like I would never throw him of all people out. He was wrong. I did. (This person deliberately lost my dog, as he felt that the dog was loved more than he was, in a rage, he broke my washing maching. He has been totally unreasonable and violent towards me, so there is no way on earth I have having him around while I am pregnant or if there is a small infant about - he is certainly not going to be left unsupervised with the baby/child as it grows and develops).

Even now, I want nothing to do with him and he won't accept it is over. The only way I can deal with him is to cut him out completeley.... and even now, from his communications it is all about how he looks, how he feels... not "Hey, I'm sorry, I've hurt you. How are you?"

I'm sorry, I feel like I'm banging on. I realise that ignoring him and cutting him out totally (especially in my current situation) is not the best treatment for him, but I just can't cope with him.

I tried to give him a chance to start over and get to know him again after all the lies came out but his personality is overbearing and so unpleasant, I cannot find anything at all to like about him.


Noni 5 years ago

Thank You very much Dr. C. I just visited this site after two years and was syrprised to see my own comment. :) Sorry for being so late in coming back to this site. :) God bless you!


Noni 5 years ago

Well, now I am finally living independently by the grace of God. I have read your suggestions, but they don't befit my situation as my situation was too complex. My mother-in-law was not just being mean, she was harrassing and abusive: She used to snatch my kids away from my lap and declare to me that she had raised her sons only for herself and had married them off just to have grandchildren; now my job was over and I had to leave the family because her family was completed and she would raise my kids too. She wasn't that simple! She defmaed me and poisoned people against me. She never let me sleep in both my pregnancies and ruined everything I did. She was intrusive and controlling. She had a highly volatile ego and not going according to her wishes even in the routine matters would spark a fit of anger in her. Her husband was reinforcing her narcissism by succumbing to her narcissistic authority. Her children had issues with her too. My husband is emotionally co-depenedent on her. He had a disempowered childhood and fell into "love/flirting addiction" in his teens. He started flirting ten years before my marriage and continued it through the 6 years of our marital life. He has deep psychological problems, which I am obviously not responsible for; and my mother-in-law will always blame me FOR NOT BEING A GOOD-ENOUGH WIFE TO HAVE KEPT HER SON HAPPY; that's why, according to her, her son (my husband) still flirts, when in fact, I am the one whom they owe a lot. She always pampered him like a thumb-sucking baby when he was found to have some affair just to corner me. She used to make him feel like the "victim" when I had a confrontation with him over those extra-marital affairs. She even used to encourage him to sleep with her rather than me and my husband did. Any woman in my place would have walked out of the relationship right in the beginnig, but since I am living in a oriental culture, I have to sacrifice. Also, I have to patch up and compromise for the sake of my two kids. Please, help me out! Now, I am not concerned about my mother-in-law as I am not living with her. I am just concerned about my husband's addiction because otherwise he's a good husband and his addiction is just limited to "internet and telephonic flirting". I read about "love addiction" on the internet and he had all the symptoms of it. He's like a loser who goes after women who are avoidant, abusive and repulsive, which is abnormal to me because I am lovinig and faithful.


Bella12 5 years ago

People who say that you can deal with these people, never had to deal with them. I strongly believe that no person has to deal with this negative energy. Keep it away; by the time you realise it, you have been robbed of all of your energy and blood. Try to bring positivity in your own life and whatch how your life changes. Again; you DO NOT have to deal with these people. They know they have a condition and refuse to deal with it, because the gain from it. And people who chose to interact/deal with them are their biggest problem. As long as you keep feeding drugs to an addict; they will stay on it. And your energy whether positive or negative is their drug. It is not your battle and they would rather lose you than combat their issues. Doesn't that tell you something??


Cheryl 5 years ago

My brother and 2 sisters have narcissistic personality disorder. I do not have contact with them because they are dangerous. They have harassed me (over the phone and online)and they threaten to hurt me (psychically). My brother used to be drug addict and alcoholic (probably still is), he see's me as a bitch lol. My older sister moved out at 17 to live with a man in his 30's who lived off of his grandparents. Now she is in her mid 30's she left the guy who she hooked up with at 17 he is 51 now. She is now with a 52 year old guy. I think she has body issues and could be an alcoholic. My younger sister is a sex freak and a neglectful mother. She has 2 sons, her older son has fetal alcohol syndrome and his dad is not in his life. Her other son is healthy and does have his father in his life. She treats the healthy son better. Anyway all my life it's been about them and for once I'm putting myself fist they don't like it that's OK cause I'm not living my life to please them :)


Michelle 5 years ago

I believe my brother has this condition. He believes he is descended from god and has healing abilities. In the last five years he has slowly become worse and has alienated most of his family and friends. When we confront him he accuses us of being non believers in his greatness and has delusions of grandeur. We need help desperately but he would never go to therapy as there is nothing wrong with him what shall we do where can we turn to. From the reading I have seen it appears that this is permanent. He had a business dealing that went wrong and hit the papers and I believe that this was the trigger so he has to make up these stories to make himself look better.


Michelle 5 years ago

Hi it's me again. Would an intervention work. How do we get my brother to have therapy.


Julia 5 years ago

Very insightful article. It explained alot of my mother in law's behaviour and characteristics. I was quite shocked to actually realise this is why I have found it so difficult to be around her. Her constant put downs, words of devaluation, mocking and making jokes about me were a cause of narcissistic disorder! For years I have been tormented by this woman's spiteful putdowns - that I was not intelligent because my earlobes were not attached to the side of my face, laughed about me being teary when I took my marriage vows and mocked me in front of others and then proceeded to laugh and joke about it. She is threatened by my mother who holds a corporate position and and when she first asked what my mother did (and I said what it was) she replied with, "what's she trying to prove!". I was pretty shocked at this. She tells me constantly that I'm fat (I'm a size 10), compares her daughter to my sister (both have learning disorders) and says that her daughter is more literate and well spoken then my sister. Laughs about my sister's disability but constantly is defensive of her daughter, even though nobody else says or puts her daughter down for this. Competes with everybody around her and tries to outdo others. My mother buys investment properties and so now my mother-in-law has begun looking at multi million dollar properties to out-do my mother. This is done by her wnating me to drive to the latest building estate and pointing out the most biggest and expensive house. Is always talking about price tags,what she bought, how much it cost, her new jewelery and how much it cost, etc. Looking at the latest Audi A6 and how much it cost. Bottom line - always boasting!! My son recently spent an afternoon with her and he came home and complained that she was telling people at the cafe, and a couple of stores whe went into where she was from (an exclusive suburb). She is quite vain, and always makes comments on men making passes at her. She shows photos of herself (wedding and teenage photos)to people and talks about how attractive she was. Also wants your opinion of what you think of the photos. I was horrified once when she told me that she had gone to her local Myer Department Store and the young girl behind the counter wasn't very attractive and that her daughter was far more attractive and should be working there. I could not believe this comment and confirmed to me that she really was very shallow. Apart from being highly obnoxious she always wants people to empathsise with her and see everything from her point of view. She never listens to anything anyone says, and has a blank look on her face and then shortly after goes of into a theatrical story (always about someone's misfortune or inabilities) to which she then expects everyone to participate in mockery and laughter of this person or people. I avoid this woman like the plague as I find her spitefulness irreverant and downright. On two occassions I had come to find out that my mother-in-law's spiteful rampage about her 10 year old son's school friend was because he had confused her daughter's sexuality. And this was the reason why she was mocking him and putting him down. She was mocking the way he spoke and the way he acted. She portrayed him like he was "simple" and expected us all to laugh about it. She acts like a woman scorned and goes on the war path with anyone who doesn't agree with her. She is judgemental of eveyone around her and obnoxious if nobody sees her point of view. I've learnt not to share my views, along with my husband, father in law and her mother. We realise that if any of us say anything, there are severe consequences and we only will end up being put down. My husband says he learnt not to say anything back to his mother a long time ago and to just let her go along with her self-importance rather then cop her tirades of aggression. "Growing up with her,was like walking on eggshells!" I always thought she was just extremely insecure, but now I realise just exactly what it is.


MBC 5 years ago

Dear Dr..that was a wonderful article. I am married to someone with NPD. I realize this now on reading your article. We have 2 kids together and though I have been verbally n Physically abused, I cannot leave. I come from a very conservative society and my parents (who are fairly old) would not be able to survive it. So, I silently suffer for the sake of my kids. I even contemplated ending my life, but then I look at my kids and I know I cannot take this extreme measure. I only live my life of them...I live like the walking dead....He keeps belittling me all the time. Though I am very well qualified who had a higher paying job than him before the kids came by....I am currently at home taking care of the kids which was his decision. I don't ask him for anything material....in fact the only only time he interacts with me is when he wants to get physically intimate...else he is always abusive. I do not react or say anything...but often wonder how long will this go on....and how much more I need to give. He is too proud to accept the fact that he has a psychological disorder....and therapy for him is no option at all...please advice...thank you ever so much!!


steve19675 5 years ago

this is exactly me. I try hard not to lose control. With me its all to do with an enormous fear of physical pain.


Anonymous 4 years ago

Some of the comments in this article strike me as being more wishful thinking than reality. For instance, the idea that NPD is an "ingrained habit" that can be changed. Really? I don't think so! Anybody who has ever lived with a narcissist knows this isn't true. If it's even remotely possible, it would be more a case of repression rather than reinvention, and would therefore be just as unacceptable.

Also, to say they can be "kind and loving" is pure nonsense. People with NPD are ethically and emotionally bankrupt. They are capable of going through the motions of being loving and caring because they are smart--indeed, sometimes brilliant--and they know it's expected of them. But their kind of "love" is like receiving a gift-wrapped box that has nothing in it. Instead of transparency, total commitment, and honest emotion, you will get lip service, secrecy, and lies. Beware of the narcissist in your life, and be wary of the so-called experts who don't completely understand what they're dealing with.


4 years ago

Extremely helpful, thank you so much for writing this!


robyugo 4 years ago

Yeah, looking at all these comments has reminding me of my ex-girlfriend. Her dad and stepmom have been trying to figure out whats wrong with her for years. It wasn't until after I kicked her out that I did research and saw that she has a severe case of text-book NPD to the nth degree. With her "me and I" constantly come out of her mouth, she brags about herself al the time, turns ANY converssation into how it relates to her, never says she's sorry unless its in her own best interests, and so forth. We've had a lot of recent contact and I'm afraid she is going to try and reenter my life. Her hubris has pretty much ruined her once promising life and she now has to rely on other men to somewhat support her. She pretty much out of options and I'm afraid she'll be coming back and telling me she has no place to go (her dad can't live with her or take her in) and if I don't take her in that terrible things will happen to her as they have in the past. I recently asked her if she thought This may sound crazy but I really do love this person. She's also drinking herself to death and probablly has less than 5-10 years left to live if she continues at this rate. Furthermore, I feel responsible for her wellbeing. Things have only gotten worse since I kicked her out. Is there help for these people especialy when substance abuse is involved???


majorcrisis 4 years ago

Sorry you do-gooders above. You could not have been raised by a pathological narcissist and think of these people as human. I am firmly convinced certain deviations of behavior and personality make one constitutionally incompatible with communal human life. Alcoholism, Narcissistic PD, repeat murders, rapists, drug users and violent crimes offenders have stepped into a realm of deviation that is inconsistent with human life. Their privilege to continued communal life is forfit. Life imprisonment if merited or termination are the only appropriate treatments for the problem.


Junev 4 years ago

My best friend has had a friend that she has known 50+ yrs. They got along OK for the most part. She's 75 now and I realize she is a NPD. Her mother and grandmother babied her as she grew up and until they both died. This worman (say her name is Paula) is so beligerent and controlling. My friend is 71 and hasn't been able to retire from being a caregiver. Paula is rude, lies and most of the people she rents to talk about her because Paula is so needy. All they have to do is not let her tell them what to do or say Not Now. They always come to her and do what she wants, even if it's during the night. She calls them late a night and if they don't answer, she keeps calling until they do. It doesn't matter to Paula that they may be in the shower. My friend shops for her. My friend, Tilly has always shopped for miles around to get what Paula wants. She thinks she's saving money! We live in a large city and Paula requires her to shop in the North, South, East and West. Paula used to give Tilly a full tank of gas once a month. But, when Paula gets mad at her, she stops giving her gas. Paula asks for things to be done and everyone Jumps to be right away. They anticipate what she needs before she even asks. Paula doesn't like me because I won't do things for her like the others do. She's always falling (because she says she's dizzy.) The doctor said she needed to get a brain Cat Scan. Done! We're anxiously awaiting the results. Tilly is aware of Paula's behaviors and has stopped arguing with her, much to Paula's unhappiness. I like in the 14 story Sr. building and want Tilly to come here too. Tilly is supposed to enherit Paula's real estate and money when she passes away. But Tilly is getting to the point where she just doesn't care very much any more.

Thanks for listening as I get this off my mind.


Jeanxrhys 4 years ago

I ama 5o year old woman. I have a brother who very obviously has Asperger's Syndrome (he's obsessed with buses, for one thing). I saw it in him and gradually saw it in myself. I got a formal diagnosis a few years ago.

A couple of years ago I met a man who I came to believe also had AS. He was obsessed with a couple of subjects, he went on and on about his hobbies and his worries, boring people, he had odd eye contact, he had rages - all very Aspie.

We became friends, and talked a lot on Facebook. Then one day, he failed to turn up for an arranged outing. His apology for this was late, and very brief. I questioned this. He got colder and colder. I fought to be rational, but the curt nastiness of his answers hurt me so much I lost my temper. I apologised. He said he accepted it: but he was unpleasant to me when I saw him again.

Then he started playing nasty games - blanking me, speaking to others if I spoke to him, going into rages about irrelevent subjects when I spoke to him. When I asked him about it, finally, he said he didn't want to speak to me at all. Then the glaring began. Knives in his eyes. And whenever he was nearby, he'd mention topics he knew would insult me (I can see now he was trying to provoke me to rage).

When he went too far, and was forced to apologise to me, he said he's been angry because he's just found out that 20 years ago (ten years before we met) I upset a friend of his. So he managed to say, really, that his obscene outburst was my fault.

He obviously has NPD, I can see that now. The more I read about it, the clearer it seems. I have had a few relationships with people like him, following the same pattern. So (a) I am depressed because it's such a useless waste of time. And (b), far worse, I've begun to wonder if I am Aspie, or is I too have NPD. I rage at people in shops on bad days, for instance. I have cut people out of my life for (in retrospect) little reason. And (c) as I have done this before, how can I be sure that anyone I trust isn't just my latest partner in this futile dance?

I want to say, "He's bad and I'm good," but I can't. Certainly, No Contact is essential with this one - someone who carried a masive grudge for over a year is greatly to be avoided. I have to avoid any tenderness which would make me feel as if I was being dragged back into his orbit. I do feel furious, too. No, I can't believe I ever behave that horribly to anyone else. But maybe I do!

This is all horrible.


Jackie 4 years ago

You just described my husband who left me yesterday for a new source of ego stroking, a sister whom he has not seen in 30 years and just found her on Facebook 2 months ago. He asked me how long I was going to be, and then timed his departure. He has told her that I am aggressive and I threaten him. He said that he thought I would change my ways but haven't. This is a lie! She has blocked me from calling and he wont return calls. I'm glad he's gone. I'm just going to have to make money quick to take care of me for a change.


astroboy 4 years ago

I believe my mother has NPD. She lives her life through her kids and focuses on some as living the kind of life she wants to live.

She is always saying unkind and derogatory things to me and it takes me a long time to get over them.

I'm not sure of the best way to deal with this so I tend to avoid.

She also is very envious and delights in the downfall of those she is envious of, including me.


jontxu 4 years ago

Thank you for this hub, I haven't yet read all the posts, but I have seen enough to more or less convince me that I have had someone with NPD in my life for the last 18 years. Only recently have I begun to think about naming what's wrong with my ex-partner, with whom I still work occasionally 10 years after separating as a couple.

What others me mostly right now are strategies for me to cope. I've read some of your answers to others' similar queries, but I have found that any show of'adult behaviour' on my part only acts as another trigger for her rage. It seems that it is impossible to 'teach' someone with NPD better behaviour, in my experience. I have tried evry strategy I know, and none have worked: engaging emotionally, seting limits, assurances that I will always be a friend, using reason, and so on.

is it possible for NPDs to learn? or should i just concentrate on learning more how I can stay sane?


Natalia 4 years ago

I am almost certain my father has npd and i have no idea how to deal with it . He has been this way for over 30 years and I know he wiuld not ente treatment since he has no insight to his disorder. What could me and my family possibly do? Life is unbearable


tryingtogetit 4 years ago

Dr. C

I just recently left my husband with NPD because of abuse. The Social Services apparently called the police and they came to my house and literally took me out of there. Now Im trying to get on Benefits and Housing in the UK. I came from the USA originally.

Anyway I was probably going to be homeless soon, and my son in law (my abusive husband's son)felt sorry for me because he knew how his Dad is, and asked if I'd come to live temporarily with he and his girlfriend and their 2 year old, so I said yes and moved in with them. I have been here 3 months now, and still waiting for the Housing and Benefits to come through.

Anyway, to my surprise it appears to me that my son in law's girlfriend has NPD and severely. She is constantly screaming at their 2 year old son, yet spoils him rotten. When I first came here, I had a cold because my abusive husband was depriving me of heat in the winter. So I of course was coughing alot. Well she blamed me for her 2 year old coughing, claiming I gave him my cold. It turns out he coughs ALL the time, at night. And that even in winter she dresses him as if it were summertime with a T-shirt some times and no socks, etc in the house, on a hardwood floor. She herself will wear just a sleeveless undershirt and pants when its freezing cold. So when I went to the doctor's soon after I got here, and got some anti-biotics, my cold went away. But her son keeps coughing, my son in law said he has done that since he was a baby... hes got a continuous cold. I started noticing that when I would put my toothbrush downstairs on top of the dishwasher where they'd put their toothbrushes, that I would make it a point to try and put mind way apart from theres, and the next morning I would come to find my toothbrush right up next to someone elses' bristles together and I started realizing someone must be purposely doing that to try and give me a cold again. Ive gotten 3 colds since being here and only been here 3 months.I of course think his girlfriend is doing this to me.

She does really weird things, it appears she is envious of me and always trying to make me look bad to my son in law. Things like when I first got here, they said I went to the toilet alot. Well then I noticed, there would be alot of toilet paper, much of it I myself bought from the nearby shop to try and 'pitch in' with expenses. Well I would look and the current roll of toilet paper would be almost gone, then I would look in the cupboard and there would be another entire roll left. But suddenly when she would leave to go somewhere, the last roll would be missing. This is like 10 minutes later! So I would be accused of using all the toilet paper. One time, after they had said something about me going to the toilet alot, he was at work and her 2 year old had a full roll of toilet paper playing with it, and unravelling it in the living room, and I tried to take it from him and tell him No its not a toy. She tells me its alright she told him he could use it. He unravels yards of it and was using it to put across his toy train set's tracks. And sometimes at night I go to bed, there will be an entire roll of toilet paper left out on the kitchen countertop, and she keeps the cat and kitten locked in the kitchen at night. She knows the kitten will get ahold of the toilet paper and tear it up but she leave it there anyway. I end up having to keep buying toilet paper, and it keeps on being missing and I have to go without. I personally believe shes purposely doing this so she can make her boyfriend think that I am using up all the toilet paper. I have spent over $500 in the last 3 months just giving him a little money, to help out with expenses, and walking to the nearby shop to buy milk, coffee, french fries, kitty litter, cheese etc... But it seems like Im not being credited with any of that but only being accused of using up things, which is not true at all, in fact I have only been eating one or two meals a day.

One of the latest things she had started doing is keeping on asking to use my kitty litter, I have a cat Im keeping in the room upstairs, my cat who I brought with me. I noticed, she had a brand new cat litter tray, unusued, then the next morning it was totally wiped out all wet. She said if she keeps the cat in at night she wees all in the litter. Well there had been plenty of times the cat stayed in, and the litter was just 'normal' the next day. Also when I got up, there was an empty water bottle upside-down in the kitty litter tray... I think she purposely poured a bunch of water into the litter to make it seem like the cat had wee-d in it. Then of course she goes wanting to borrow mine. She knows I dont have much money at all. My son in law told me he gives her about £50 a week but she spends it on wine.

Whats really troubling me now is last night I went downstairs to make a microwave meal and coffee and a bread roll. The entire pack of rolls was there with only one missing. I only used 1 with my meal. This morning... none left! Not only that but my microwave meal tasted like it has wine in it last night, I had taken my coffee upstairs while leaveing the microwave meal on the kitchen countertop, then I came back to get my meal and took that upstairs. Today I made the exact same microwave dinner and it didnt taste like wine at all. This of course makes me wonder if she poured some wine into it while I was upstairs and I worry what else she may have put in it.

The other night, during the Christmas holidays... his brother and girlfriend and another of his brothers came over for a visit. When they left and also my son in law left to go somewhere, I came down stairs and soon as I hit the bottom step she walks towards me and carrying her wine glass told me Can you help me look for my wine? I wondered... because she had her glass in her hand. I turned the corner to go to the kithcen, I was taking a plate into the kitchen sink that I had eaten from. There was a wine bottle right there in plain sight by the front door so I asked her Is this what you were looking for? She started accusing her boyfriend (my son in law) of putting it there. The she said he does little tricks to her, like putting a clip on the end of the tea kettle, and she showed it to me. Well my son in law walks in the house just then and she starts accusing him of these things and tells him that I was right here with her (to make it seem as if I was in on the accusation of him).... I think she did this to try and make a rift between me and my son in law and I think that she herself put the wine bottle there, etc.

To make things almost worse, one minute she will be giving me the silent treatment for no reason whatsoever, and the next day she will be sweet as can be to me. Which, any time she is nice to me now, I wonder what shes cooking up next to try and use against me.

Anyway this really puts me in a bind of course since if I dont have this place to live in, I will be homeless. I have talked a little bit to my son in law and he seems to be just anticipating her leaving because she keeps threatening she is going to leave. He said she has been doing this before I even got here. I think she feels threatened by me, even though Im twice her age. He told me shes like dealing with a child. I am not sure how much to tell him about all of this. One reason is I know he is afraid she will run off with his 2 year old son.I know when push comes to shove that she has the upper hand and not me. But this possibly missing something into my food has really got me concerned now. I just want this Benefits and Housing thing to go through. When the police who came and removed me from my abusive husband's house, I was angry because I had not much money at all, no family or friends, no transportation and on top of that I am disabled... not in a wheel chair but enough to where I cant get a job. Only online work that is very unreliable for money. Its like I went from one nightmare to another.

How do I handle this woman? I have been just trying my best to be "nice"... buying alot of stuff to contribute. Trying to make nice conversation with her, but staying upstairs in my room.


tryingtogetit 4 years ago

Dr C

I forgot to say that my son in law said he keeps getting involved with this type of woman. I think its because his own Dad has NPD. My Mother had NPD and I have kept ending up getting involved with this type of man.

I think its because when you are a child and have a parent like that, that you are forced to learn how to deal with that kind of a person, how to tolerate it.

Then I think these people with NPD actually go trolling for someone like me or my son in law, because they know you will put up with them. While nobody else would. And I think we both need to realize this and break out of this cycle.

Whats scary is I believe she is turning their own son into one of these kind of people. The poor child has to be confused. One minute she is screaming at him, like she's demon-possessed or something, and the next minute she is giving him everything he wants... its unbelievable. She never follows through with her threats, she allows him to get whatever it is he is throwing a fit about. Making him think he is entitled automatically to everything. I feel like Im watching a nightmare... the making of a person who will have NPD when he gets older.


tryingtogetit 4 years ago

Dr C

When I first got here, my son in law's girlfriend would use as a 'threat' to her little 2 year old... "If you dont behave, I will leave you here with ____ (me) and she will GET YOU!" As if she were just trying to make him think I was a monster or something. And I have done nothing at all in the least to hurt this child or to be mean or unkind to him in any way whatsoever. One day after saying that to him, she turned to me and said, "Im just telling him this because that way he will at least be afraid of SOMEONE... and be scared to disobey you" (or something like that, I cant recall her exact words. But she tried to excuse it away like that.

I dont think she can stand it, because the 2 year old likes me, and he is always doing little things to play around with me. One day recently, I heard her telling him, "Oh (my name, my name, my name inserted here)... thats all I hear from you". As if she were actually envious just because the child likes me. He is often saying my name. I went to the Shop down the street not long ago and when I was about to go out, he said, "(My name inserted here)... be careful!" and she told her friends that he doesnt even say that to HER... (as if she were jealous). The other day he said "I love you" to me, and she acte jealous of that too. Im just saying that I think she is envious of her son in law liking me, and her child too, so she is doing all sorts of little things to try to undermine me with both of them. I have never seen anyone so childish in my whole life. I am almost afraid to do ANYTHING now... walking around on eggshells, so to speak.

This makes things really difficult, because I of course need to do things to help the relationship between me and my son in law, since this is the only place Ive got to live, or else I am homeless. Besides, thats just the way I am, anyway. I feel like to get her to stop this, I would have to be crappy towards him, so that she'd stop being envious of me or feeling threatened by me.

Im sorry that I created 3 posts but I just forgot to include the rest. But I am all done now.


Leigha72 4 years ago

As someone who truggles as the scapeoat in a severe NP family- I read this article to learn more and understand this illness. I have to say, any advice to those dealing with an extreme N in a primary role must take care of themselves first and foremost. You may have been reared to beleive it is your duty to fix and solve. In my family, the web is so tightly woven (the enabler, the golden-child, the scapegoat) that the mere mention that a personality disorder is at root- is an intolerable suggestion. The difficuty is, most NP are not going to seek help. In their eyes, they are not the ones to blame. Freedom for me has only begun in the form of understanding (which includes in time- forgiveness) but a journey to put myself back together is fundamental. I am lucky to have a sibling and partner who recognizes and supports me. As well as travelling this path in their own roles. It has only begun. I do know that coming to terms with a NP mother means letting go. I would be there in a haertbeat if it were different. But, this is a very complex and far-from "cookie cutter" disorder in terms of the wide-spread damage that takes place. Learning to be healthy and move forward is key. For those of you struggling- find our faith.


Ataloss 4 years ago

Hello, I hope you can help me determine if my lover is a narcissist or something else altogether, I will try to keep it short.

I've had an affair with my married colleague for over a year, it was very intense, he charmed me for a year before that by building up lots of commonalities, staring deeply, following me around and being by my side constantly, brushing his hands and arms along mine, my back, etc.

He has always seemed to gain an erection without me having to touch him, or even kiss him, so (hypersexual?)

However, on trying to make love, he can't keep an erection without the use of medication, and even then he has trouble having what I would call a proper orgasm.

He has always said he looked upon me as a goddess, too good for him, I'm beautiful, stunning, etc. A bit over the top for me, but the compliments were always like this from him.

He was obsessive right from the beginning, after the first time we kissed, he would text me up to forty times a day some days, and wanted to see as much of me as possible.

Then without any warning he stopped asking me to meet him, saying he had other things he had to do, but would still text, and want to talk on the phone.(this was after three months)

When I asked why, he seemed to blame me, saying I just don't see enough of you, but yet he wasn't asking!

I also started to notice he was giving another woman the same attention, and his texts started to change in the routine, times, etc, but never in their content.

After a few weeks of this, he then started to ask to see me again. We did for a while, and then it seemd to go back to the I'm really busy thing.

But all the time while at work, he would not let me out of his sight, and wanted to be right next to me every moment possible.

then I came across some proof of the other woman, I confronted him, and his reaction was so overboard that I almost laughed!!I felt as though I was watching a well rehearsed play!! But you can probably guess, I fell for it, he was so convincing that I ended up being the bad one and I had wronged him for even thinking he would break our commitment to each other!!

She meant nothing to him, never had and never would, how could I even think it, etc, etc!! I was the one he was in love with!! (his words)

He then said he was moving to another job soon and that it would make things easier for us.

Things started to not add up over and over, I could time his texts by the other womans routine, he started to get us both mixed up, every time I intereacted with the other woman, I would get a reaction or big drama, or massive lie from him before the end of the day, but only by text.

The lies and contradictions were becoming so apparent, but when I confonted him or pulled him up, he would make another one up even bigger, such a convincing story. I was beginning to feel I was being over paranoid, and yet, my gut instinct was in overdrive all the time, I wasn't eating or sleeping and the weight fell off me.

He still kept texting all the love talk to me, wanted to know my whereabouts every minute of the day, telling me what he was doing, where he was, he couldn't stop thinking of me, needed me, wanted me, etc.

After he left for his new job, it then started to feel a bit less intense as he wasn't in front of me all the time but, he still text, not so often, but still with all the love talk. He would 'fit me in' for ten or fifteen minutes, he needed to talk to me, missed me, but whenever I suggested a proper meeting, he had an excuse, his wife was questioning him, he had things to do, etc. and that has gone on for three months now!

I know he is in contact with the other one, he has told me so many times that he can't let me go, he loves me too deeply and since all the bother, his feelings have got even stronger for me, he feels a ddep connection.

He continues to deny that he is in contact with her to this day.

But his actions are not showing any of it!

we made arrangements to meet just before Christmas, and I just knew there would be an excuse or a drama, and I was right, he created a massive drama so that there was no way we could meet, he could not text me and I was to wait until he contacted me!

This lasted a few days, and then he came back with all the love talk and more as though nothing had happened, he had missed me so much, loved me more than life itself, still with no request to meet him.

this went on for two weeks and then,,,,,,,,,,,,,, the same drama, involving his wife, but even worse, he does not know when he can next contact me.

I have had snippets from him, I have hinted that I know what is going on, he will never be honest with me.

He is evasive,

secretive,

lies, decieves,

creates dramas,

changes the subject,

invades privacy,

Takes things I say the wrong way and then sulks for a few days,

is obsessive

self opinionated

Answers for me

tells me my own traits often, pushing the nice ones

Holds a vacant stare, sometimes I feel he is miles away when he is with me

Asks me all the time do you really love me?

did you ever see me as your perfect man?

Am I good enough for you, you are stunning?

everything is ME, myself, and I, even in my texts, My love, My beautiful lady,my gorgeous lover etc.

Blames me or others for his mistakes.

It was someone else's fault that I found out about the other woman, and someone is just slandering him, to spoil what we have.

I have read sites on these traits, but I'm not sure if he is borderline (he doesn't self harm)

Sociopathic (He has rifled through my things for months, given my colleagues the impresion I was a crazy stalker)

Or Narcissistic with bullying tactics.

He even drives past me, lets me know he has seen me, but does not stop to talk, or even wave sometimes, and then texts later as though nothing has happened.

I love this man so much, I would love to be able to help him and be there for him, I would never do anything to harm him.

I have spent all this time trying to believe that he is the way he is becasue he is insecure, about my motives, but I think I'm fooling myself now.

I have always told him I only want honesty, he promises that he is honest with me, would never hurt me, but he doesn't even seem to realise that I am hurting.

I am so depressed, confused, hurt and down, I went into this thinking he was the light at the end of my tunnel, but I am just so confused.

I haven't heard from him in two days again, because I answerd his text with a joke, he will be trying to work out if I meant it in a nice or bad way, he is so paranoid about MY motives!!!!!!

Please can someone give me an answer.

Anything would help.


Paul 4 years ago

I have narcisisstic personality disorder. Should I hospitaize myself?


Dannielle 4 years ago

whats with the masive debate its not that important im gessing your all geeks!!!


Tina 4 years ago

Hello - I need help in dealing with my 25 year old daughter who I have now realized has these narcissistic traits. They seem to have developed once she left for college and was away from the family. She is an accomplished young lady who has done well for herself but she has no true friends and is an extremely unhappy person. She seems to have finally realized that she is selfish, stubborn, envious of others and uses lies and manipulation to get her way but she doesn't behave like she wants to change this. She is in therapy but it is for grief as her fiance finally had enough and left.She completely fell apart when that happened. That was the trigger that made her finally realize what she had been doing so I hope there is a window for healing. I would like to know the best way to help her. If she truly does recognize that she has these negative traits and wants to change them will she be able to? I cannot discuss anything with her as she seems to hold me responsible for all that has gone wrong for her. So how do I help her "see" what she truly is and get her to share this with her therapist so she can get the help she needs? I am learning not to be pulled into her antics anymore. Before I would beg to be let back into her good graces and do whatever I could to keep peace in our family. I know my "baby" is in there - I just want her back. Please help me.


Mental Health Worker 4 years ago

I have an interesting story to tell.

I always knew something was very wrong with my mother. I did not have a father- he was an alcoholic and left us. My mother did not drink or date around. I fought with her a great deal due to the put downs, envy and guilt. I then read self help books and tried my very best to make healthy choices and be a decent person.

I liked psychology and was in my masters program when I feel in love with a very intelligent successful man. We had natural chemistry. I had been seeing a therapist- psychoanalytic- for 2 years by the time I meet this man. He was very good at hiding who he really was.

About eight months into the relationship, I had walked away from him and gone home twice when he was acting bizarre. Both times he shaved his body- self harm. He lied about it and I was suspicious but had never seen anyone act this way. He lacked a sense of reality and his emotions where far too intense for the minor infraction at hand. He started to make mountains out of mole hills.

Unfortunately, my therapist started to tell me he was abused as a child and I needed to be more “relational”. I became the identified patient and kept this to myself. My friends became very worried about me as I lost my personality and isolated. This man was a millionaire and my therapist then decided she needed to raise her hourly price by three times and I was being undermined by her as well as my boyfriend- in the middle of getting my masters degree. Two years later- I was able to leave both of them after having a serious plan to commit suicide. I had never done that in my whole life.

I then started to work as a social work intern. Unfortunately, the college I went to did not teach us about personality disorders. The college taught basics psych history and cognitive behavior therapy skills.

After working in mental health through the county I learned everything about personality disorders. My mother was a narcissist, as was my father; my x is narcissistic and borderline. I have tried to avoid dysfunction in my life and remain as stable as possible but I now see that I forgot to do that in the job I chose and am now surrounded by personality disorders- mostly borderline and narcissistic.

The last ten years have been quit an eye opener- to say the least. I have been happily married to an awesome man (with a wonderful family I love) for the last five years.

My point is, not knowing about personality disorders was incredibly destructive to me. I had some deficits and vulnerabilities due to my childhood and was not able to see as clearly as someone from a more functional family. I had a therapist take complete advantage of me and then admit later she knew my boyfriend was borderline. She brushed it off but that knowledge would have set both him and me free. I have sense told him and he has done a lot of work and reading about it. It was healing for us to know this information and he apologized for how he treated ma and was disgusted by the way my therapist took advantage of us both. I turned her into the BBS and nothing was done. She had told me another family had turned her in for something else she had done. She is a very dangerous narcissist.

I now have a private practice and avoid personality disorders as I had my fill working for the county. I look back and wonder why personality disorders are not explained in high schools.

And what did not kill me has not made me stronger.


Ready to walk! 4 years ago

I sympathise with 'atalos'

I too find this way of life soul destroying.

My girlfriend bless her has indicated to me I have now become comfortable with similar behaviour as 'ataloss' and I now fear speaking FREELY to either defend, justify or express my feelings.

I can easily repeat all of the above in 'ataloss' comments.

My partner does not tell me he loves me unless I do first, this was different in the beginning (2 years ago)

TRAITS

Secretive

He is evasive

secretive

lies, decieves,

Scoots around the subject and avoids the question

Rude on his phone texting while in the company of my friends or family situations

Lack empathy (big style)

Is offended with constructive critisism or suggestion, is not able to cope at all if you suggest a different approach or style

I may walk into the room after shopping or out for work and not a word spoken to me while I am in the same room for hours

Holds a vacant stear for hours as if he is somewhere else.

Does not initiate conversation or rarely does (says he will talk if there is something constructive to talk about)

Considers himself as a good listener and if asks a question and the conversation steers in different directions then he smirks and comments that while he asked me a question I end up talking about other stuff! So what I call that conversation' as I am the only one talking anyway

Does not respond to my conversations, comments in general NOTHING no comment or physical response at all

Communicates with his friend’s about family and general

Stuff, I then find out through them, he does not talk to me

If I challenge or try to discuss other options in life generally or for the business, I mostly get shot down or my idea or suggestion is dismissed or suggested not a good one

If away on holiday or camping he can quite easily be in the company of 6 people and not and hardly speak unless his children turn up to join us then the personality changes

Walks away from a group of people and will sit in the back ground unless it is with his family or friends

Does not feel my pain if I am in physical pain or hurt myself, just looks at me or ignores me. (This is not often)

His mother has openly told me after I noticed she was ignoring me or snapping at me or making sarcastic remarks to me that I am not good enough for her son and he could so much better! While this change the course of my partner’s relationship with his parents and in particular his mother he has no idea how this affected me

Never asks about how I feel or apologetic for his parent’s treatment towards me.

Never ask about my family, my son who lives away OS

No longer is interested in intimate dinners or time with me, suggest I arrange it! All of these were the reasons he left his wife because she would not do anything with him!

WHEN I CHALLENGE OR QUESTION

Responds poorly to questions, says there is stuff he knows about and I shouldn't question him 'WHAT'

I say white he says black

Becomes aggressive and shouts if I challenge or speak freely about how I feel or suggest I don't agree with what he says

Then continues to say what a thick dumb stupid bad person he must be

Is not able to get over things very well, holds anything that may suggest what he did or said is not appropriate or acceptable. Blows up and storms off in a rage

Then it’s like walking on egg shells for days

Texting in a dance concert, I mentioned he should go out and that was ok with me if he was bored.... suggested it 3 times and asked him to stay out during the second half and stormed off, exactly what he wanted. The next day he suggested I wanted to pick a fight and I loved drama... he didn't see anything inappropriate in his behaviour and I was being unreasonable. We were asked to turn our phones off.

After spending time and enthusiasm decorating and preparing meals for a large number of people for 2 dinner situations for him with his friends and his family he had nothing to say. I had to ask if everything was ok and did the room look nice. His response was impressive! That was it..

He did tell his friends what a good job I did but not to me.

I feel this condition is driven by his arrogance, lack of empathy

THE POSITIVE SIDE

Stays fit (physically in good shape & will not compromise his fitness to look and feel good for anything)

Is involved in school committees (finance & council)

Is always involved with his kids sports

Is always available for his kids

Does anything for them

Helpful for anyone who asks for help

Nothing is too much trouble and will be available for anyone who NEEDS him

Is supportive towards certain situations with me, when a friend comes to stay or family member with disability

Helpful if I need him to do anything (generally)

Has maintained professional positions until the last year which is when he started a business working from home

HELP.. I am ready to walk out.. I have suggested counselling and he suggested I organise it and he will attend. I feel sends signals of the person he wants people to see but for some reason is different towards his partners.


jag216 4 years ago

The NC 'no contact' dogma is useful but open to abuse because you don't want to engage the silent treatment carelessly. This process is tied to deep emotional surivival instincts and becomes addictive to the user and devastating for the recipient. Instead, firm and fair conditions for contact need to be established and adhered to. It helps to have a third party discuss the boundaries you are proposing to see if it seems fair. Generally speaking, you want to reserve your emotional energy and limit contact to prevent yourself from being run down all the time. You don't want to encourage irrational speculation, fear, paranoia and pain on the part of the other person. That doesn't mean that your reasonable boundaries won't be seen as hostile or unfair - but it does mean that the other person has had to choose their path, and cannot blame you for arbitrarily not contacting them.


Oh Margaret 4 years ago

I have a mil and sil that fall in the NPD. Problem is I have checked out of the family and I worry I will lose my marriage over these two manipulative women. SIL is s case book study of the disorder. SIL attacks my speech patterns, compares our looks, style, challenges me on every word and belief and will go up and change if I am wearing what she perceives a better outfit then what she is wearing. She becomes hateful if a smidgen of attention falls my way. I have never heard her allow for anyone to finish a story without her adding her twist to it. She and her husband are like two warriors fighting over every detail and she pouts and sulks like a young child if her plans are not kept. I hate traveling with them. SIL even went as far as trying to accuse me of stealing our MILs jewelry on a family trip. Sil "found it" after a third attempt of finding the "lost" item. It was then I decided to check out of my husbands family. He still has commit and contact with his family and I would never ask him to stop. I told him once how I felt and never talk about it again. He goes without me and I stay happily home. We both are aware we can only control our own actions. So far he respects my action. Even understands it. We both realized how damaging Sil NPD can be. It took over nine years of abuse for me to leave. I still feel guilty for cutting them off and I still worry I will put a wedge between my husband and I, yet, I just can't being myself to spend one day with them. Even a phone call is painful. I try to be empathic of what they both went through to get to this stage. Understanding why they act the way they do- does not allow them the right to be their verbal punching bag anymore- nor does it take away the sting. My question is why do I feel childish and wrong for allowing them that power and with drawing from the situation? I am still falling for the NPD power? Or am I a little NPD myself?


titties 4 years ago

I have a point person at my job with this problem. It is hard not only because he has the ear of my boss but also believes that everyone ELSE is the problem and that he can somehow "fix" THEM. The saddest part is that I think the part about him finding out that there is actually something terribily wrong with him is actually true. He's got real mental problems!


bill 4 years ago

my son is very intellegent, he is 31 years old and even as a child he would manipulate me and my wife to get what he wants. he uses his intellegents to get what he wants from everyone even his freinds. he does not work, instead he uses his intellegence to plan and get everything in life given to him. he has a very violent temper and nobody around him will speak up in fear of violence. his wife and child must act as he wants them to act and speak like he wants them to speak. if we get in a conversation with him then he must always win with the last word. He shows no sympathy except after he loses his temper but I feel that this is only to get things back to his normal. He thinks that the whole world owes him and he acts like he has worked hard all his life and that he is the elder. His ego is so big that he beleives that he is always right. he can be charming and seem nice but I feel that this is only for himself to feel somewhat normal. rather than work he makes his wife work while he sits at home and rules the nest afraid that someone might come and disrupt his self-built empire. please help, I am at my wits end.


Bill 4 years ago

I might add that my son has not hardly worked in his lifetime. in the past he has had runins with the law and has managed to convince them through manipulation that someone else is to blame for his crimes. He can take on the law, government, or anyone else with authority and come out on top. He has told me on several occasions that he is aware of his manipulation of others but he shows no remorse. He lies and steals, he has stole from my wife and I all of his life. He had a job awhile back and does not ever want to work his way up in a company, instead he uses his intellegnce to manipulate his way to the top and feed off other people to make himself look good. once at the top he refuses for his boss or anyone else to tell him what to do, after a short while at the job he gets enough and will punch out his boss, I mean physically beat him up.


Troubled 4 years ago

Thanks so much for this website. But I think I still need some help. I have got a father in law who is narsisstic. To add to this he visits prostitution a lot and gotten STDs which he spread to my mother in law. I am living with them with my husband and three kids. My mother in law is very considerate and does not share food with my kids or us. However my father in law sometimes bites the food and offers it to my kids. My two bigger ones are ok since I told them to reject the food nicely. However my youngest is a 1month baby who will take whatever food anyone offers her. This is causing me a lot of stress other than his normal narsisstic character. He also always uses our toilet, all of which he thinks we are at fault and if we makes any comments, the next few weeks of us life will be a torture. What can I do? I thought of leaving my husband but he is really a very doting loving husband, please, can someone help me please..


Overseas 4 years ago

Hello, what an interesting site.I really could do with some solemn advice. I' ve been in a relationship for 23 years with someone who is now a doctor. I admit to having put him through trouble in the beginning as I expected him to react to an overbearing, almost vicious mother and a low-profile father, due to the fact that I had idealistic views as to how relationships should be in order for the world to be a better place. But, to my defence, I was fully aware that all views need to be constantly reassesed and amended through thought processsing and communication so that we don' t become rigid. He was in constant "fear" of me as he admitted very often, because I was a thinker and insisted on self-knowledge. He avoided me with all sorts of excuses mainly his parents' health and then their death and work. The first years of our relationship were very intense in a good way as I inspired him to be a philanthropist which he enjoyed and thought of as a worthwhile objective. But to my dismay, though he became a very caring doctor, while I was in constant retreat, communication was gradually breaking down as he started yielding dangerously to family propaganda which had involved persistent lying even when there was no reason, double standards, false criticism of others, and narcissistic behaviour. He even cheated on me which was inconceivable once upon a time. After 10 years of marriage where I've been trying to figure things out, it dawned on me that afterall he must be a narcissist, but what made it difficult to nail down was the fact that he really is a caring person and doctor especially when emergencies arise and he isn't at all snobbish with everyday people as one might expect. So the "lack of empathy" characteristic of NPD just isn't there except when he needs to understand his own behaviour which involves temper tantrums, avoidance, insults towards me and paranoid ideas in repetition of what mother used to say.It just doesn't make sense. It almost looks as if this seemingly circumstantial personality disorder or whatever it is, is the price he has to pay in order to feel as an accepted member of his family. So, what's in it for me ? Apart from my wanting to "save" the good that I knew was in him, I've invested so much time, energy, brainpower, meaning and emotion in this relationship that I feel I need to see it through 'til at least we make head and tail of it and really understand what has happened.


Hayley 4 years ago

Do you think nlp or hypnosis can help people who have npd ?


DrSleep 4 years ago

I have been diagnosed with narcissistic personality disorder, histrionic, borderline and anti-social.

I've always known I have had these problems. I'm going through a child access battle (uk) and am terrified that my Mental health will be used as a Tool against me.

The facts are, I've never been violent or hurt anyone. And I love my son, more than anyone. I'm no threat to anyone, I can hold down a job, I did have a stable life until a break down of my marriage which was faults on both sides. Now I'm having this access battle. I have my son on sundays but supervised. Will the courts see me as dangerous to my son? Should I give up? What can I expect? I mean, if people with personality disorders can't have kids, why not people with Aspergers, Bipolar etc. I'm terrified I'm going to lose my son. I'm actively seeking Psychotherapy.

Anything you can give me would be appreciated. thank you.


Bomber 4 years ago

i find the easiest way to deal with people who are Narcissistic is to bag the living crap out of them, pick out there flaws and bag them for all there faults (big or small), they think there better and that they know everything so you have to show them that there just crap on the bottom of your shoe, they can dish it but by all means CANNOT take it, never let them get the last word in. i dealt with a friend by shutting down his Ego and shutting it down hard, he was that bad he got jumped and beaten to a pulp, few weeks later he thinks hes the tuffest guy in the world so i told him he's a weakling and a pussy who runs away from fights...easy done, now he keeps his tuff guy comments to himself (only when im around)


Kat 4 years ago

I have a real problem here with my mother's ex girlfriend! She is dead on to EVERYTHING said, as if everybody is posting about her, as if they know her! Very scary! I want to start out by saying that I'm truly sorry for everybody dealing with somebody with NPD it's been one of the hardest things in my life and I know it's been hard for everybody here!

There are two small adopted children thrown in the mess of this person (3yrs and 1yr) I can't tell you how much I worry about these two! I'm 30 and I play a HUGE role in the life of my two little siblings, for almost 2 years I have been a stay at home sister for the two of them (by choice I quit my career and switched my focus to them) my reason for such a drastic change in my life was because of there behavior of the person. Adoption was everything this person ever wanted and when she got the first child he was kicked aside on day 3 of his life. I watched by the sideline for 1 full year watching him get tossed from one care taker to the next, within the first year of his life her had 6 care takers. Not to mention that this woman didn't really work, her business was getting closer and closer to failing and never once stepped in to take care of her son (I hate to say "her son" because it's the saddest excuse for a mother that I have EVER seen) my mother works full time and gives ever second of her life otherwise to both children, no to mention that she already raised two children, myself 30 and mt elder brother 32

I could go on and on about the behavior of the woman but I won't because it would be no different than everybody else's story, it seems like a very black and white disorder.

What I would really like to know is if there is any way to notify someone outside of the family of the danger that this person posses. There has been one incident where she has almost broken down a locked door from pounding on it with her fists and kicking. she has made many threats to my mother of taking the children from her and has previously hurt both the children in sneaky ways: examples knowingly allowed the older one to be electrocuted by a light socket repeatedly...allowed the older one to fall out of her truck off the front seat hitting his head on the footstep so hard that he flipped over and landed flat on his back and head on the pavement (she told me that this happen in a public parking lot)... Pulling off oxygen tube from second baby's nose WHILE IN THE HOSPITAL, nurses told my mother this and told her to talk to her and tell her not to do that because the baby needs the oxygen (baby was in hospital due to labored breathing) when my mother told her not to take the oxygen off she told my mom "she doesn't want the baby to become dependent on the oxygen and the sooner the baby can breath by herself the soon they can go home" baby was in hospital for 1 week, it would have only been 4 days but the doctor spoke with my mother telling her that she was concerned who would be taking care of the baby and the two of them ( dr and my mother) cancelled the discharge until the weekend so that she would be home to to take care of the baby too. One week later this woman ripped off the baby's umbilical cord cause it to bleed and develop umbilical granuloma... One day my mother came home from work and the older child was limping (2yrs) she told my mom she didn't have a clue what happen and several hours later after my mother kept on it she said "I don't know maybe somebody stepped on him"

The latest is now she is trying to make my mother re-appoint her full decision maker on her life insurance policy in the event that something happen to my mother, shes even gone as far as doing the research and telling my mother that she needs to have her home go to her as well as a portion of my mothers family business...."because of the kids"

So basically I know this woman is ill, the whole family knows this woman is ill, when my mother first met her she had been going to therapy for 10 years and my mother found anti depressants in her bathroom but she denies that.. My mother has told her story to an attorney but there was no concern at all from her, so I'm asking at this point what can be done, because so far I have only been told that no action can be taken until something happens.

I'm very worried for the safety of my mother and my little brother and sister.

Please help me to figure out a way to make things right before something terrible happens.

Thank you!


Tara 4 years ago

Hello, i am Tara

Last month, it was my birthday, and a time when I experienced another loss in my family. I was in total depression also because the gentleman I had been seeing for nearly a year decided to cut ties with me. All this happened at the same time, and my heart was broken. Then I found Dr Ijebu online, and all my luck turned around – especially because the master did a wonderful spell of Love for me and my dearest companion, who decided he had made a terrible mistake by leaving me. We even took a much-needed vacation. It meant the world to me, and I have you to thank ancientijebudespelltemple@gmail.com


revelation 4 years ago

People with what modern psychology defines as "narcissistic personality disorder" are simply BAD AND EVIL people. There is no way to make anything work with them and if you ever get involved with one, you are best to run away as fast and as quickly as possibly because they are DANGEROUS and will drain you while making your life a living hell and ESPECIALLY if they suspect that you want to leave them. I have recently come out of a very turbulent relationship with one and despite other previous relationships I have had, this one was purely a WASTE of three years of life, money and valuables lost, and, more importantly, sanity and self-esteem damage. Their personalities are ruthless and their actions are criminal so the sooner you get away the better, bearing in mind that you will always lose, but better to lose a lot rather than everything. Dictators throughout history have NPD and many have literally lost their lives being at their mercy when they were in power. A narcissit will abuse their positions of power to the maximum and there is NO resolution, mid-way or compromise for what they do.


Re: revelation 4 years ago

I have NPD and I can tell you, you sound like you're deserving of a good draining. When you suffer from this, yeah sure you can be on your best behavior and bite the tongue around the people that matter (through aging wisdom).. but eventually you are going to need a stranglehold over someone for release.

It sounds to me like you were a willing participant, and that is your fault for being so weak, no one elses. Slap, sorry, slap, sorry.. If you eventually meet someone who doesn't treat you like this, it's not b/c they're more together or mature; it's b/c they are also weak. Inevitable weak offspring.. Jeremy Kyle-esque show 1-2 generations down the line. You have no one to blame but yourself (maybe your parents).


notsurewhattodo 4 years ago

Hi I am married to a man with strong Narcissistic personality traits and for the first time in reading all of this I feel like I am not crazy or insane in fact I am quite normal. I have been trying to place his behaviour in the wrong category as I have never understood why he would react the way he does. I have been with him for 11 years and probably sad for much of it, clinging to the hope that he would have to 'get how he talks to me' one day. He has been the one in the drivers seat for most of it as we have had some bad financial luck, through his choice to invest in the stock market, but you would never hear him admit it and I never at the time put it on him that his decision which over rides mine was the cause of our discomfort, I simply got on with the job of staying up night after night working with two small children to earn our losses back. He is a doctor himself so is in the best position for a narcissistic personality...everyone goes to him for advice to fix their problems so he is always in a position where he feels like he is indispensable because he receives so much praise from his patients. During the early years of our marriage, actually many years if I would disagree with him we would call him the master debater because you could never win a discussion ever. You could say the sky was blue and he would say 'where is your evidence for that' or 'no its not' even if you were just making conversation his way was to bring it into a debate to show how smart he is. His Father died when he was a teenager and his mother has always admired text book intelligence. He has always had a problem with other women, and what i used to say a 'desperate need for sexual attention and validation' particularly if I seemed like I was not pandering to flattering him at every turn at home listening to hours upon hours of different things that would go beyond emotional support of a partner. He has not physically cheated yet I feel emotionally he has and I can pretty much predict that what ever challenge he has in his life, and I mean it can be far removed from anything to do with me will always come back to a sentence starting with 'well I behaved that way because of you, or we are here because of you, or its because of you'. We would go out to a function and I could see him eyeing up other women and trying to catch their attention, I would be humiliated, and the thing is he was not interested in taking this beyond that because it was not about emotional attachment, I used to say he wanted to just get this zap of attention then he was done with them, and they sometimes would get the wrong idea because of this behaviour and think he was available, send him emails or call him and he then would be totally dismissive to them and claim he had no idea what gave them that idea. I would say then I must not be crazy if the woman in question and I both thought the same thing. He had one good lesson, he played this game with someone he worked with and she then started emailing him and calling him and sent an email to me. I have never seen anyone run so fast as when she returned his flirtation he had already gotten his fix of attention and had not intended for it to go further, and i know it did not. We had a conversation about this need, this desperate need and from that point he seemed not engage in it and that was years ago. I would dread going out with him because I would feel like I was just there as Plan B because he would have to command the spotlight, to the point I would just leave him at the door and go off and be social all night long to turn the tables, I never exhibited the same need or bahaviour but just wanted to see how he reacted and he did not like it one bit, so yes that seemed to stop, but in the back of my mind I am yet to be put in a situation where there are women around him like that to see how he behaves, and actually nor do I care as much about it because it just played into a feeling that I must not be good enough. Despite the fact he is a very good doctor and people love him and he seems to be able to totally empathise with his patients when he is in the position of control, he lacks total awareness of his own behaviour in private. I have always said he will fight to the death to always be the good guy but being the good guy means someone else always has to be the bad guy. Consequently he rarely argues with anyone outside of his family, and right now he is off on a 1,000 km charity bike ride that he has been training for for the last few months which he has blasted all over Facebook and aside from being a good thing to do, his motives are no different to everything else he does, he constantly needs attention and is very critical of me, I can never feel like I can do anything where he will even praise me because he is on the look out for a failure and lord help me when life throws me a curve ball because although he thinks by being here is support he will then go about making it emotionally torturous. I went through a very nasty court case where I went into business with someone that I was introduced too and to cut a long story short, them being a large corporation, saw it as a golden egg and tried to steal the idea and cut me out of my own business. I later found out the same guy did this to his own company and his own major share holders tried to dump him as the Director. I was completely broken down by this but instead of support I received abuse and verbal tirades about how I obviously did not do my research, and I will get a list as long as my arm of a history of what he considers past failings. Of course it leaves you emotionally devastated as I could never understand how he could be so caring and emotional with his patients and to me the complete opposite. He even told us at a dinner party he was giving counselling to some patients on their relationships in practice. I was floored, I asked him how he could think he could be doing this later on when his own relationship was not given the same respect and attention and he did none of what he was advocating for in his own relationship. I found it almost sickening that he was being such a hypocrite. Of course he sees not the hypocrisy. The thing that hurts the most is yes his total lack of empathy. I hit rock bottom over the court case and I felt I had his judgement on top of it. I was at a very emotionally fragile state and have been privately on the ground crying, numb and unable to feel like I could move forward when he has come home and seen me and all he did was walk over to me, take my pulse and then walk out without a word. What message I got from that was...well if I did not have a pulse that was his level of care! I was not even looking for him to be there as I had become used to being private about my pain because I knew there would be no emotional support from him, just some kind of lesson. I asked him about this later and he said...well all you have done is cry over the years. This is another thing, he will hear no criticism of himself, there is a zero tolerance there, but he has no problem with loosing it with me. I guess I struggle with how someone can be so far removed from his own behaviour in favour of annihilating someone else's and quite often after he has vented he feels great and I feel shocking. Why stay you say. The thing is outside of the home everyone thinks he is just the most amazing person on the planet, and he will do everything he can to cultivate it. He is highly intelligent and very physically good looking so has always had mountains of praise and of course women chasing him. He has actually acknowledged in the past that he has had a need for sexual attention as a way of validation and that the behaviour has been damaging to us, but that was then. If you asked him now, instead of saying this he would tell you I have been jealous of any other woman that even comes near him. The thing is I have always been very secure, happy and driven and confident but somehow he has stripped all this away and turned it around to excusing his behaviour by making it all about me again. He ups and goes away a lot with his work, we are not


hurtfulsoul 4 years ago

well people its like this when I first me this Man I was a virgin and he was my first in everything, I trusted this Man and gave him my all that it caused me to fall in love with him. in the begging everything was on point he was the perfect gentlemen and in a couple of months he used to ask me were am I going, and who i'm with and what time i'm gig to be back,,, I didn't think anything of it I thought it was cute that he was a little jealous but when the pushing, slapping, choking, bitting and all other things such as sexual abuse came thats when the tears and fears would come out towards him... the first time when I had a gun to my head and he pulling the trigger I thought of my god i'm gonna die and I thank God that the bullet that was in the chamber did not shoot me or him in the frrekin head, or getting stabbed in the leg and almost dies after an infection not knowing that I should have went to the doctor...

or the first time when he beat me down in my house of outside when the MBTA bus stopped looked and kept on going I felt so little that the abuse won't stop... I have so many more stories about my abusive life that it can't fit on this page... but here I am today wanting to end the abusive relationship and he won't let me break up with him...

he is threading me more, hitting me more, and sexually abusing me more... when I tell I don't want to have sex or stop he ignores me and tells me he can't stop and during that time of sex he makes me orgasm wither I want to or not... just the other day he took an extenuation cord and rapped it around my neck and choked me I freaked out and he said calm the fuck down i'm just playing or the other time when he put a plastic bag over my head while I was trying to fight him off of me...

so today i'm afraid to be seen with other guys, or start another relationship, I feel like all of this is my fault, I feel shamed, embarrassed, guilty, confused, and at most times worried about my life is he capable of seriously hurting me, or putting me in the hospital or even wind up dead one day,,, I have loved this man for more then 15 years and still NO FREEDOM after all these years he just told me if you leave me i'll kill you or someone in your family how can u tell someone something like that when you think they love you?

thank you for reading please send me your comments cause your comment do count take care and God Bless :)


nuria 4 years ago

My heart goes out to all of you - those, who currently suffer and those, who found their way out. I can not say, I am healed (and I still have to deal with the devil, as my son is forced to continue to visit), but I know for certain: I am not crazy. None of you are!

Seriously, there is no cure, there is no "trying", nor getting them to "understand you" - there only is: PACK YOUR BAGS AND RUN!


Liz-Abeth 4 years ago

I have been in a relationship with a man of 53 years of age for over three years. We cannot get through even one day with out him saying something extremely hurtful and accussatory to me. Each day is a fight, but each fight he says is my fault. I have read all the information about Narcassistic Personality Disorder above and he fits completely into all of the criteria for it. He has been through two divorces and has a history of all women he has had relationships with not being able to remain with him. If they did not get along with him under his demands then he cronically takes on a new girlfriend who does not yet know how cruel he will become. I met him while he was married to his last wife. He pretended to be a single man with a house and a car and a normal life. None of it was true. He also gambles to an extreme on top of his personality problems. I will give just one example of what I go through every day. I can pick up a paper he has written a to do list for the day on and just look at it. Soon he will say something like - Why are you looking at it there is NO WOMENS NAME OR NUMBER ON IT. When I ask him why he would say anything like that, he will reply with an insult like I always accuse him and every thing I look at is to find proof about other women. Now this is every day, every place we are, every thing we do. I am kind to him, considerate, patient. But always the same from him. With in minutes I am being called a whore, ugly, he hopes I would die. And it is always my fault. No matter what he has said or done, it is my fault at all times.


Christine Louis de Canonville 4 years ago

To nuria..... sadly I tend to agree with you. Unfortunately before the victim realizes that they are dealing with a narcissist, so often they have been stripped bare of self-esteem, and sucked dry. They often end up so confused by the gaslighting behaviour that they cannot even trust their own decision making. This makes it very hard to get out.

To Liz-Abeth, I would say that your man is "Gaslighting" you.... this is a very destructive behaviour on the victim. During the process of gaslighting, the victim will find themselves going through emotional and psychological states of mind.

I am a therapist that works with victims of narcissistic abuse. I have written some articles on the subject that you may like to read. I shall put a link to my site.

During the process of gaslighting, the victim will find themselves going through emotional and psychological states of mind that leave them drained.

http://narcissisticbehavior.net/category/the-effec...


Sharon H. 4 years ago

I have been married to a man for 22 years. I have been going through hell with his personality and the light bulb went on yesterday. He is narcissist. I have taken the time out approach and things sometimes get better, but it has taken a toll on me. I'm in a difficult time in my life because I am taking care of my 96y/o mother. I want to run away but can't. To his family he is the best thing since sliced bread, to me he is horrible. I dont know how much more I can take.


get real 4 years ago

Hmm....NPD, just one of a group of PD`s essentially made up by society and the medical fraternity to explain what is essentially just bad behaviour from people who enjoy behaving badly, now that you are classed as having a "disorder" and therefore somehow ill means that you get "treatment" for your excesses of behaviour instead of suitable sanctions being brought to bear (by this I mean punishment). Why does medicine perpetuate this nonsense?, well an auto mechanic needs broken engines to work on or no income, even if they are simply made up faults....


beachgirl4 4 years ago

I am emotionally distraught today. Although my sister has not officially been diagnosed, it is clear she has a narcissistic personality and perhaps other mental issues. She is 9 years older than I. Growing up she has always had a strange control over me and my parents. I was taught to "not get her angry" or "let the argument pass" and "not to be so sensitive and deal with it" when it came to coping with the erratic motions of my sister's personality. We all walked on egg shells with her and my parents continue to do so to this day...although my mother finally seems to have had enough. I am now married and have an 10 year old son. I feel fortunate to have found a wonderful husband and live out of state from my family. Living at a distance has been a great help in coping with our very dysfunctional family. My sister is married and as a 9 year old daughter. I have always been stressed over her behavior to my parents and her husband...very bossy, controlling,rude to strangers, volital, nothing is ever her fault, etc. Now that we both have children, I have become very disturbed at her verbal abuse not only with her husband, but more importantly with my neice. Not to mention my son witnesses her alarming behavior. I feel a responsibility to report her to child protective services for my niece's sake. Her husband seems to have had enough and has confided to me that he is looking at moving out but is afraid to leave his daughter in her care. We all know she will go into a rage if any of us try to recommend the need for professional help. It is a loose/loose situation. She has threatened that he will never see his daughter again and end up with nothing if he leaves but she continues to pick at his every move and controls every aspect of his life. It is far worst for my niece who is home schooled...ugh! She will not even allow him to keep in contact with his family. I feel this has all come to a head at a recent visit. My son and I endured many verbal abusive arguments upon her daugher and husband. We all know if we stand up for each other the fight will explode into a big screaming match and I don't want to do that in front of my son, so we all just let her go into a frenzy and wait for the storm to pass. I ended up leaving our visit earlier than planned because of all the turmoil and she took it personally saying I was incensitive to her feelings and I did not appreciate all she did to have us over. She now sends hateful text messages and emails trying to manipulate me but does not see what drives everyone away. She has lost many friends and other family members distance themselves. I am so disgusted with her that I wish to never speak wit her again...especially since I see this verbal abuse has escalated to where I am frightened for my niece. I know confronting my sister will just bring on a storm of arguments for my brother-in-law and niece. Should I push her husband to seek assistance from a child and family service or just get the ball rolling with child protective services?


Nuria 4 years ago

To beachgirl4...It deeply saddens me to hear about your niece, as I am forced to let my ex-husband continue his path of destruction with our daughter.

First and foremost, I am committed to protecting my child. (Unfortunately, there is no reasoning with these individuals, so you will never get them to seek "treatment" for their own sake or those, involved - in my belief, they are not even "treatable" - they are like sociopaths...).

Maybe this helps making your decision easier: My daughter sees a therapist that deals

exclusively with Narcissism - and I know, in your case, it's difficult, since it is her mother, which will never agree to that.

I am in the same position: anything, related to our daughter, has to be agreed upon by both my ex-husband and I.

I did not ask his permission (violating court orders - I don't care).

I just have her see the therapist - protecting my child - building a "case".

I am currently petitioning the family court, presenting evidence and hoping that, eventually, the court will listen to me and my daughter (at age 13, they have a right to be heard before the judge).

The tricky part of the whole issue is the fact that the abuse is not "visible" - it is "just" abuse - not physical - therefore not enforceable / punishable.

Having endured extreme narcissistic behaviour for over 12 years myself and having a child that still does endure it: If I knew of a child that is exposed to a narcissist, I would (without hesitation) involve CPS.


austin 0203 4 years ago

Thank you for the article. I am having a difficult time with my sister who now has cut me off from her life for the second time. This is her way of punishing me. She blamed our mother for years and now including the father. Yes, our parents have their faults like we all human do. But she wants their validation that she is right. She can go on hours on what other people do wrong but if say three phrases she makes feel like a worst person in the world and start badgering with a list of my faults. She feels that it is her obligation to tell me my faults because no one else does. The last time we started to talk to each other was when we found out she had breast cancer and the family supported both financially and emotionally. Then she says she will be famouse through this ordeal and will be writing a book and then then into a movie. So many people helped her. Now three years later... she is back to everyone's fault again. She seems to have bipolar because she has very highs and lows. But also everything is about her either good or bad. She has definate ideas of how parents should be to her and how her sibling should be to her. But she never think twice about how she should to be rest of us. Other people thinks she is a victim. Other people sees her as a happy go lucky. I don't know what to do. Yes, I feel guilty because I always feel like maybe I ddin't do enough. Now she only speaks to two members of the family because they have college degrees. minds you she doesn't have it either. Please help me understand and how can I have a healthy relationship with her. Of course we don't have any right now because she has cut me off..


Lookingtunderstand 4 years ago

Help. I have dated a woman for about 9 months and spent 5 more trying to be friends with/be in a relationship/escape completely. I recently read up on this disorder by putting in signs and after reading as much as I could told her that it sounded like her. I spent 3 days straight refusing to accept that she Nos sees that she is depressed..watched her cycle from realizing, accepting, being sorry, blaming then attacking me over and over. I kept my strength. Cried my eyes out but in hoping she sought help was my goal. I didn't want to mask the situation and go. Mack because I already attempted to take my own life once. I have started seeing another woman casually but intimately in an attempt to make the possibility of going back impossible. Less than 9 hours after this admission I was devastated to be told that my ex-girlfriend posted on a very social/public website that she was abused by me verbally, physically and emotionally. There were some partial truths in the comment section and for me made her accusations sound accurate. I am devastated by this. I don't know what to do. I have to admit that there were times when I lashed out calling names etc. trying to get her to leave me alone...but by no means was I abusive. I was trying to protect myself. I realize I shouldn't respond etc. but I almost feel like ignoring it..she will do it to someone else. I made an attempt on my own life because I had been made to believe I was less than the scum of the earth. I don't want anyone else to go thru what I did. Please help.


Hurt and Confused 4 years ago

I 'm gay and hurt. I met a guy on twitter. Didn't know he was gay was just being friendly with him and followed because he had a sense of humor similar in some ways to my own. He didn't follow me back but idc(I didn't care) because it was just for his wit. After several weeks of exchanges of jokes or replies to his jokes, he started responding back. Score! A friend I thought. Soon, we'd started trading barbs with each other. Again, it was fun not flirting from what I thought. Last year before father's day he had a freak out about his dad coming to visit and wanted to take him to do things in LA where he lived and asked with great fear for things to do. Me being his playful joker gave him several suggestions with a comedic twist but useable ideas. He laughed and told me thanks. A few days later I was feeling down and idk how he saw my tweets because he wasn't following me but told me to cheer up I was always there for him and he was glad to have me as a friend. This came to a shock to me becaus he had only been the person I just joked with. Shortly after he followed me and I thought that would be the end of it. About a week later he started tweeting me on a daily basis. Before, I had tweeted maybe every other day, but this must just be him being nice. I didn't respond everyday at first but later this became an issue so I did and felt I had to. He started telling me that he liked me and that I was the combination of sweet and sexy, he had met no one like me and he wanted to get to know me. This was a shock to me, Idk he was gay, had never noticed or seen anything to make me think he was. My followers didn't know I was gay, I had not felt comfortable to say it to them so the tweets between us became epic to my followers. some were supportive others unfollowed...even though I never officially said I'm gay.

I tried to slow things down with him, like where is this coming from? Why did you think I was gay? Answers of which I still don't have. At first 3 months after him telling me this, I was just his friend like I had been before. I wasn't one of those online romance types. But after telling me all these sweet nothings for that length of time, I came to like him somewhat. He quickly started Direct messaging me saying why he liked me and how he thinks of me all day, he swept me off my feet. When I told him I was shy and nervous ,scared he seemed ok with taking things slow but would tell me he need more affection from me and to tell him how I fell about him. I did.

Then he said he needed it in public. He knew I wasn't out so I tried to give him all the attention publically he wanted. This mind you is all online he lives in Cali me in the south. So I gave him the attention. Then he would say privately in Direct messages, that I was treating him coldly and he wasn't sure if I liked him and he wanted me to be more warm not short and sweet but long and with more warmth, he suggested I look at his tweets when he tweets me and to respond back to them sooner. Since he tweeted everyday, I tweeted back every day. whatever sadness I felt he'd cheer me up in Direct messages We had so many DM that At one point I knew we'd exchange email and telephone nmbers. He didn't then.

By Thanksgiving he was my entire world..sweet and caring and nice publically flirting. I was getting ready to come out for him.

It wasnt' until this new year he started acting even more strange getting distant. He'd say he needed me to tell him funny things what I was up to,tell him what I was thinking about him because he couldn't tell if i was being funny, snarky or sarcastic. I told him what I felt my heart was his. He then out of the blue became very distant. He wouldn't tweet me and stopped Dm. I asked if anything was wrong and he was like no. I am made of steel my emotions are real I'm a professional I don't put up with bullshit. His exact words. I told him. Now I know you're mad at me, but what did I do? say? I was in love for him. He was like nothing.

A few weeks go by and by the end of January he Dms me saying that I'm too private, and that unless I can share more affection for him publically that I'm not worth anything than the occasional flirt. he then unfollowed me and didn't tweet me. Now again..I was not out. and I had been careful to walk the line of being with him when you unfollow someone on twitter you can't send them direct messages. so I begged him to follow me to see what was going on..out of the blue. He told me he just needed more from me and when I tried to get what he needed so I could give it to him, he basically argued with me and broke up and unfollowed me again. The only way to tell him how I'd feel was public. Scared as I was to do it, I did.

By now it was leading up to Valentines, and since we talked every day since june/july until January I thought he liked me still..I know.. I thought I can win him back I'll give him the attention he wants. I sent him tweets and Valentine msgs and wished him a Happy Birthday which he was happy to get but after the thanks would just ignore me.

This left me crushed. I began to think maybe I had done something wrong?What'? Why had he dumped me after he persued me and dumped me without as much as a real closure? So I left twitter for a while to collect myself. When I came back I wasn't over him, but I felt, he's not into me get over it. I said well I'll be the bigger person, I can show him, how to be friends with an ex even if it's an online ex. i was nice respectful, no ribs or jokes like before just things I'd tweet normally.

I included him in music listings and sent him mass group news tweets normal stuff. One day out of the blue he tweeted me and said he missed me. This was weird because he had dumped me 2 months prior and didn't tweet or talk to me unless I initiated it so what was there to miss? I simply replied I missed him too, becuase I did.

After that no contact for about a month. Idk this was a pattern or that he was just checking my feelings I thought he was being sincere. So Again not over him but moving on I tweeted like usual and a month later, he tweeted me saying he missed me a lot. And that it would make him very happy if I'd tell him or tweet him anything, something nice, funny, silly, if I was sad, or just thoughts on my mind. I told him, it that would bring him some happiness then yhea I would. I just thought it was weird. So that weekend I told him my plans he was happy just like he was before when we were together, but we were not together and then he followed me again. He sent me a DM saying that this was his number and I should call him. Well in all the time we were online courting as he called it he never gave me his number. This made me feel insane. Why give me your number now? What did he want? I figured I would try to get the closure to us breaking up by calling him, I called 2 days later after I checked my feelings to what I needed to say and feel. When I called I got voicemail, so I left him a msg a nice short one saying Have a nice day, please call me back and giving him my number.

Midnight he dm saying thanks for calling he was out with his buddies and couldn't take the call. Thanks for making a move to show interest. Now I wasn't making a move for us I was making a move for closure to the break up and to be friends and move on as friends. weeks went by he never called. I told him I needed to speak to him please call. He made up excuses he was tired, sleepy, the time zone diff. But he would call. A month went by no call and I followed through on tweeting him like he asked. He would tweet back things like he's going out with his exboyfriend, or how he was playing the dutiful husband for his roomate, he would post pics of guys and tweet about guys trying to kiss him or flirt with him or he could have sex with. seemed like he was trying to make me jealous but I was seriously trying to close our "love" to be friends. That was 2 months ago. Now he gives me the silent treatment. If I Dm him now, I'm sure he'd answer & if I tweet him he'll reply, but at this point idk what to do? Why does he do this? Should I just unfollow No Contact?& Why do I hurt? He's the 1 being mean?


Broken23 4 years ago

Hi. Two Years ago I learned the hard way that a high school friend was actually a narcissist. We reconnected through our kids attending the same elementary school. Almost every weekend her husband and her, along with me and my husband would play cards, go to dinner or a movie or just get together to visit. She painted her husband as unsupportive, uncaring, uninvolved with the children, etc. my husband has always been very supportive of people and tried to encourage and help her whenever possible. About 7 months into our renewed friendship, she sent him a text, unknown to me, that said "I'm crushing on you". My husband says he thought since she was considering divorce he just thought she thought he was nice. Really? Next thing he knows they are texting and talking on the phone behind my back. He says it was just normal stuff. All the while the four of us are still getting together for fun. I learned later that she was planting seeds telling him he must not be happy with me, she can tell we aren't happy, I'm not as good to him as she would be, I don't take care of him like she would, they are soul mates, they shouldn't miss this opportunity because there's a reason they "found" each other again. She even planted seeds with me by asking me once how I would deal with my husband having an affair. Which when I discovered the affair she was quick to remind me of what I had said. Almost 9 months after reconnecting she convinced him to have phone sex with her. He says he doesn't know why he agreed because he was never looking for sex. I know people will think I'm stupid for believing this but i do. He was depressed and I believe she knew this, thru our visits with them. The more time we spent together as couples the more seeds she was able to plant and the more evidence she was able to gather to make him believe we were destined for divorce. My husband says she always had him feeling confused, put words in his mouth and referred back to stuff he never really said. He tried to disconnect with her after phone sex but she convinced him they were in way to deep to turn back now. It's very hurtful to think that someone I considered a friend could try to steal my husband. She was even trying to buy my children gifts to make herself look good prior to the exposure of the affair,

My husband is a good man. I consider us lucky that God led me to discover the affair, which ended the secrecy. He did end up moving out for 8 weeks. He says he always knew something was wrong, and that he knew he loved me but that she convinced him too much had happened. And, afterall, right in front of both of them I had said I would never forgive an affair. She let her true colors show the first week he moved out, and I fought for him. Hard. Like my life counted on it. She pushed him to cuts ties with me and be with her 24/7. Something clicked with him luckily. He cut all ties and never looked back. He said something told him no contact was the only way out.

We are still trying to recover after nearly two years. I never knew narcissists existed before this experience. I just can't believe someone would actually become friends with another person with the intent of manipulating their husband away. We are much stronger now.


Broken23 4 years ago

Was just directed to an article through here about gas lighting. I guess that about hit the nail on the head. And by the way, my husband didn't start out calling her a narcissist, nor did he blame her. He was initially convinced he failed as a husband by not shutting her down. I discovered that through affair blogs then quizzed him on things she said and how she reacted. I know it's easy for the wife to blame the "other" woman but in this case I don't consider her a woman. More like the devil.


Cdub3060 4 years ago

I have a close friend who has just recently been diagnosed with NDP and is currently in a psych ward. Is there medication that can help it and do they go back to the person they were before the personality took over?

I really hope so as I still have feelings for him...


mimi 4 years ago

Hi,

I have read this article twice already and I believe my boyfriend is a narcissist. My mom has mentioned it and even my family members. I have been dating his for a year and as the months passed the worse the arguments got. He always gets upset about foolish things and blames it on me. He always says relationships are 50/50 which I completely disagree because a relationship to me is to have someone that fills you in as a person and to be able to grow together. I tried walking away but he says its disrespectful of me, when really I want us to have space to cool off and think about the issue. I just do not know what to do anymore or how to talk to him without him being an asshole or impolite towards me. Any advice?


Ochya 4 years ago

I have a friend who is narcissistic. She was my roommate last year in college and it was terrible. We were friends at first because we share many interests. We're even minoring in the same thing, which was great because we could study together. But it soon became obvious that she had major self-esteem and control issues. She would be offended by the slightest thing and would flare up. She twisted conversations so they seemed like a personal insult. She can be incredibly competitive and childish.

I wasn't sure what to make of this for a long time and I just tried to deal with it. Honestly, I just thought she had really low self-esteem and needed a friend. But finally she crossed the line and did something selfish that effected out entire Japanese class. Long story short, the class had to be rescheduled to a new time and she didn't want it at the new time that was decided so she said she had class then. When I discovered that she didn't (because I was her roommate. How did she think I wouldn't find out?) She got very angry and we had a fight. I admit I yelled, which was the wrong thing to do, but afterwards she threw a tantrum and screamed and kicked (not me, just furniture) and then refused to talk to me. This really shocked me as she is 20 years old!

For the longest time I felt like I had done something horribly wrong and blamed myself. I thought maybe I overreacted. But then I talked to my friends and other people who know her and I realized she was being really selfish and narcissistic.

But the story doesn't end there, sadly. We are in the same study abroad program and there are only three people from my college (including us) that are going. Not only will I have to sit next to her on a plane for 15 hours, but we will be in Japan together for a year! I would love to avoid her but I don't think that's possible. What should I do?


Samantha 4 years ago

Stay away from someone with NPD....stay far far far away.


Tara 4 years ago

I recently ( within the last 10 months) got with my boyfriend, he is an admitted narcasist. I would really like to know how best to deal with him and perhaps get him to go to counseling with me?


bj 4 years ago

wow, so glad to find your site! how do i deal with a daughter who has totally devastated her father, who previously was her "hero"? i figured out quite awhile ago she was narcissistic when all her chats were about herself and her dramas and problems, but she never answered my comments or asked about us or any of the other family members. i do not even want to talk to her as i feel nothing i say will make her understand what she has done to him.


Christina 4 years ago

You do realize that NPD is considered non-treatable and that there is not a single case of treated NPD in all the times of history of humanity, right? I believe that the advice of trying to help persons with NPD is potentially harmful to people who have feelings for them, especially when it is a family issue. I also believe that the part in a comment where you say "despite the common belief, they are not violent", is completely coming out of a pink cloud. When their concept of self-perfection is threatened they can get very violent, if they are sure they will get away with it. In order to not be violent, you need to have empathy, to realize how it feels to others what you do to them. Well, they don't have any empathy by default. And in the definition of violence, you completely scrap this way the part that answers to what psychological violence is. Guilt tripping, manipulating and lacking love and empathy ARE psychological violence.

I grew up with an NPD mother who used to beat me up until I spitted blood. She used to tell me that I am very ugly and therefore I had to study only because noone would ever want to marry me. She forced me to wear her old clothes and she would always say that I am really fat because I wear at age 10 what she was wearing at age 25. I once got in an abusive relationship and she called the guy and congratulated him for beating me up cause "I needed to learn discipline". I ended up in therapy for several years while she is being a drama queen for what a martyr she is to be standing by me through all this - although she didn't even visit me all these years and she was clear that if I want therapy, she will not waste her money "just because I am crazy".When I told her I got engaged she laughed and said "since you found someone who can tolerate you, marry him as soon as possible before he can see who you really are and leaves you".

On what grounds would you advice me to try to help a person like this? And if I listen to you and I do try to be all compassionate and understanding, do you realize into what potentials of furthermore trauma your advice pushes me?

If anyone here, struggling with an NPD person in their lives, has the slightest bit of self-survival insticts, please listen: NPD is NOT treatable and it is sear malice. Save your souls before it is too late. NPD people are predators feeding off your pain. Sticking around them means two choices: more trauma or even more trauma. You are responsible for one person only: yourselves. You cannot change the world. Just save yourselves. And as hardcore as it may be, leaving is your best choice. There are other options too, but don't go through them without the sturdy presence of a therapist in your lives. YOUR therapist, not for the people with NPD. You need real help and support, not internet advice from unknown sources. Noone deserves to go through the pain an NPD person can cause. And noone with such behavior to you deserves your compassion - they will only take advantage of it to hurt you further.

Seek help with a therapist. Don't think because you read something you can also do it. If you had a broken leg you would go to an orthopedic doctor. Now you have a broken soul, go to a psychologist. This moment. Not tomorrow. Be well and I hope you find your peace.


Winnow 4 years ago

First thanks for your help in this matter. I just realized that I am married to a narcissistic women. At this time we are separated, we have been married for 3 years and have a beautiful little girl of 19 months old. I love my wife with all my heart and just found out that the love she had for me was fake. She has been very verbal and physical abusive to me. (I don't want to seem like I am whining) but the things I have read say that she is text book narcissist. She doesn't want anything to do with me other then when I get to see my little girl. I stopped talking to her, trying to get back together for my little family. I offered for us to go to marriage counseling or some other help but she doesn't want no part of it. I realize she has problems now , for a time I didn't know what I was dealing with. I guess my question is how do I get my wife back and get help that we need?


EmpatheticG 3 years ago

OH MY - totally agree - the person who has a narcissistic personality disorder IS a DANGEROUS and difficult person. Much in this blog and many of the responses are simply enabling behaviors. Alnon had me passifying and enabling my EX husbands behaviors until after 13 years of marriage, afraid for my life every single day, he picked up my 10 year old son by the shoulders and smashed him against the wall for "looking like your mother." I thought he had killed my son, luckily he was OK, but I filed for divorce the next day for inhumane treatment. Now, as an adult my daughter seems to have the exact same thing and, though I raised my grandson for his first 5 1/2 years, she now has him and, at age 8 is twisting the confused boy into the beginnings of some of her behaviors. As her father did years ago when she was young, she has full-force, VERY diligently, been trying to teach my grandson "allianation of affection" towards me (I had to go to court soon after she took him from my house just to get grandparent rights, which, of course, infuriated her and allowed her to manipulate the system to the point that she continued to play with his head) It is a nightmare!!!

1. So, is it possible for an overpowering parent to "teach" a child to become this. I definitely KNOW they can teach a child to be rude, unfair, and callous to the other parent - I've seen this now for 2 generations. But, especially with my grandson, still young, and generally a very intelligent, empathetic boy (my daughter was a sweet young child once too but in hind-view, always seemed to have difficulty with empathy until teenagehood when she seemed to not ever be empathetic to a clinical point- and now - do you know how sad it is when a mother is completely devoid of the ability to empathetize with her young son - EVER) Could she actually warp his brain and soul into becoming like her and her father? What could I do to help stop the repeating of history and give this child a chance in life? At some points, people actually asked me if she has been diagnosed as a socio-path. At this point , sadly, but honestly, I can say that my concerns are for my young grandson now. My Ex, and now my daughter, has beaten me down so hard and so strong, they have drained my feelings for them. My daughter thinks that EVERYTHING is my fault, that if there were an earthquake in China, then that would be my fault. She can be extremely cruel and is very passive aggressive. She has been in rehab and detox several times and I was told that they just couldn't help her because she refuses to "follow any other program than her own private one." She has a terrible memory - do to some very bad health issues - that are "other people's fault", too! She takes ownership of NOTHING and ONLY her own immediate satisfactions have any priority what-so-ever. All of this seems to me SUCH a dangerous milieu to raise a young child in - particularly for his psychological balance. She has COMPLETELY NO empathy for her child and can actually torture him psychologically with threats, guilt, trying to get him to do whatever she wants, etc - or else, he'll pay for it! She is absolutely incapable of thinking about the child's welfare/education/nutrition/future/pleasure/well being/etc. much less any thoughts or desires he may have. And of course CPS ONLY cares about 1) if there is food in the refrigerator and 2)if there is any physical abuse. My daughter, when she was a teen ager, would do things like empty my bank account out or steal my things to let her various boyfriends hock them for drug money. At that time I was very aware that she could easily slip into my room and stab me to death or get one of her jailbird guy friends to do it (the combination of no empathy, and not ever being able to think ahead, and just having to have her immediate desire satisfied at all cost with no connective thought to other's feelings/thoughts/or even life or health) but GENERALLY she is more of a master cold-hearted manipulator and very passive aggressive than simply aggressive (thank God she didn't get that trait from her very aggressive father). So physical abuse of her son is not that much of a worry - only the emotional and psychological abuse of him gives me nightmares every night. SO HOW TO PROTECT THE CHILD??!! I used to think that with my example, he will be more able to pick his path in the future. But she works diligently on trying him to discount/not love/disrespect/dismiss me.

I can say - GET AWAY FROM THAT BOYFRIEND YOU SEE THIS IN!!! Don't enable him, walk on egg shells, put up with, be subservient, etc. But what do you do to help the victim child in this mess???


Gail Meyers profile image

Gail Meyers 3 years ago from United States

Wow, I am going to add this to my Narcissist Personality Disorder Mother Facebook resource page.


honeytrap99 3 years ago

I's be careful of Gail Meyers, she is a narcissist and goes around reporting all blogs using pages as resources with the link clearly stated as source. So no copyright what so ever and clearly a RESOURCE and to help others!!!! Yet now she wants to use this as a source??? I think my lawyer can sort her out.


Heather Mcdougall profile image

Heather Mcdougall 3 years ago

Reading many of the comments here, rings so many bells, and I feel my own recent agony just revisted. It's just all so familiar to those of us who have been in long-term relationships with the most extreme, toxic and malignant of narcissits. I think there are small degrees of marcissism - some worse some slightly better,but all totally toxic to those who live with them.


Johne296 2 years ago

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