We all have a vague idea of a narcissist as self-centered to the extreme.
Yet it is a real personality disorder, with a definition and diagnosing guidelines in DSMIV.
I have had an incredible "a ha" moment today.
I've been struggling to understand the WHY underlying my sister-in-law's Macchiavellian manipulations, power/money lust, and unquenchable need to squash her brother and mother (and me).
It does help to understand the nature of her illness. It's called Narcissist Personality Disorder (NPD).
There's a lot of information out there on it. None of it very encouraging in terms of rehabilitation. Some ideas on how to protect yourself (it's a bit late in our case).
Have any of you run up against a "real" narcissist?
Anyone fought and won? Or fought and escaped with their sanity and finances intact?
I had no idea that there was anyone else on the planet who had dealt or was dealing with the same level of craziness as my family has been dealing with... I usually don't talk about my sister to strangers, simply because as I told you earlier, it sounds too unreal and I always thought that if I sometimes had trouble believing that it all happened, what would someone who hadn't lived it think? Though I feel horrible for anyone else who might be dealing with this type of thing, I also feel a slight sense of vindication that there are others out there that are just like my family and I. Which leads me to wonder exactly how many other are out there in the same situation?
There are probably a lot more of us than we realize, sadly.
I have discovered through my hubs on the most egregious of her actions -- trying to steal the family trust -- that there are a LOT of siblings (and adult children) facing that most 'in your face' family betrayal.
My husband calls it an INFAMILIA.
So most of my focus the last 2 years has been on this one overt manifestation of her disease.
It's only now, 2.5 years after we got her off the trust as successor trustee, that she has reared her ugly head in any real way.
We had been able to more or less keep her at a distance.
But it has obviously all been a "false" distance and we had no idea she was still so full of vengeance and spite.
And still so deluded and entitled that she will use any excuse to attack her brother some more.
It's like her sickness has gotten worse (even though I have not read about Narcissism being progressive).
The best hope we have here is once my mother-in-law dies there will be zero leverage on her part. She will have no excuse to torture us anymore.
For any/all struggling to identify, deal with, or free yourself from a narcissist, I highly recommend this blog:
There are dozens of posts on every conceivable aspect of the narcisist in the family, in business, parents and children, daughters -- you name it, this blog covers it.
This revelation for me is very recent. I probably will be hubbing about my experience in the future.
Meantime, it's really great to have met you brave women who are struggling with the same horrible mental illness in your lives.
Thank you for posting your experiences!
to answer your questions: Yes. No. and No. there are pills, but you can never convince a real narcissist that they're the ones who should be taking them. It is so common that I swear, 90% of my friends when I was growing up had mothers who were narcissistic. We just never realized at the time that this wasn't the way things should be. I have known a couple men who were - and it is definitely even more of a tragedy with them, because they are even more upset by having a personality disorder - with women narcissists you can get them to go to therapy cause the attention they get there, being in a room with a trained professional and getting to talk about themselves ALL THE TIME, is like heaven! but with men, not so much, because I guess they get that there must be something wrong with them.
OK. I have to confess, I am a bit like this myself, but I've learned not to be mean about it. I just am not going to let anybody else talk until I've had at least three glasses of wine and get kind of sleepy.
and I know this wasn't supposed to be a funny thread, necessarily, but I'm having one of those days. Sorry. and just realized that the first one to respond on this thread would be one! haha! fell right into that!
You threw me with the new avatar photo! Me likes!
I appreciate your candor.
I've heard nothing good really about positive therapy outcomes. They simply don't work.
The best strategy is to just stay the hell away. Easier done if it's a love relationship. But it's a family member in our case.
Working hard on extricating ourselves from her evil clutches.
Now that we FINALLY have a name for the self-centered to the extreme and outrageously anti-family behavior.
Hope you get your three glasses of wine
I have the unfortunate experience of having had to live with one for way too much of my life. In my case, it is a relative, and she has spent most of her life bent on hurting or destroying, first me, and then later my husband, and eventually even my children.
My father and I once convinced her to go to therapy, she emerged from therapy having either convinced the therapist that WE were the problem, or more likely, twisting the therapists words around in her head until she had convinced herself that the therapist said that my dad and I were the problem.
She has put my family through things that unless you have lived them, you would never believe, because even I, who have lived it, sometimes cannot fathom it.
The problem with people with this disorder is that they cannot, and I do not mean that they will not, I mean that they cannot empathize with other people. They really and truly cannot. It is this lack of conscience that allows them to continue to trample everyone and everything in their path in order to get what it is they are after. They don't care who they hurt, because they cannot see that they are hurting anyone at all.
My best advice to you and your husband is to just stay away, keep her at arms length, it is without a doubt the only way to survive the hurricane..
Thanks for the confirmation that this is real. Because so much of what is perpetrated occurs in a stealth fashion, no one believes that it really happened. Like you, there have been times when I have questioned the veracity of a situation, even though I have lived it!!
We are trying to stay away. That is the only thing we can do. Get her out of our lives. That is what we thought we had done in our mediation in 2009. Now she has reared her UGLY head (and I do mean vicious and awful) and is back in full force. With renewed vigor of vengeance against my mother-in-law, her brother, and me.
I have scoured the web looking for any kind of information on how to protect yourself legally once the fight is already on a legal battlefield. Which this one is.
When you are up against a force of nature that will not rest until the perceived enemy is DESTROYED you really don't have a lot of power.
Just hoping for a David v. Goliath victory here.
Thanks again for your helpful insights! MM
My daughter has narcissistic personality disorder. It's not a pretty thing. She always thinks that everything is about her, and that people are always talking about her like she's the center of the universe. In high school, she said she was too good to take out the garbage or clean. Even now, without conscience, she comes across things in my home (of personal sentimental value to me) that she wants (usually to sell), and takes them silently with her when she leaves, leaving me to discover them gone at a later date. She seems able to do it without a conscience. She has little concern for others well-being or difficulties because it always has to be about her. Before she was 18, she was diagnosed with "pre-narcisstic personality disorder", and doctors said that after age 18, they would diagnose her with the full blown adult variety of the disorder. She is now almost 22. She also has several other co-existing disorders, which compound the problem. Sometimes, she seems very logical and lucid, and at other times, she is extremely unreasonable and unrealistic. After an emergency room-worthy psycho rant by her on December 18 that left both my son and I who were in the car with her, crying, I have had to keep her at arm's length for my own sanity, but of course, I love her very much.
Thank you for sharing your story, ExoticHippieQueen.
I'm really sorry for your daughter's mental illnesses.
I was going to say for her "pain" but I've read narcissists don't feel pain.
Just rage when their supply runs low.
I've also been reading that the best strategy -- painful as it is to admit to yourself or others that you cannot be around her -- is to keep your distance.
It's such a fascinating thing. But only if you look at it dispassionately. Which, of course, it's impossible to do on so many levels, when it's your own family member.
I will pray for your daughter. And mostly, for you.
I feel for you ExoticHippieQueen, I used to think that it started with my sister when she was in her twenties, but in hindsight, when I look back, I can see the tell-tale signs long before that, (my mom actually caught her blackmailing me for my toys and the money in my piggy-bank when she was only three or four years old). My sister is forty years old now, and has spent the better part of her life torturing me with psycho-worthy rants like the one you describe. She also helps herself to whatever her heart desires, including stealing from my children. She is the angriest human being on the planet, and she thinks that the world owes her something for all of the "pain" that it has put her through... It took me years to stop trying to save her from herself, because I didn't know that there was a disorder, and actually believed that she was just really screwed up after my mom's death when she was nine. My step-mother and I both have PTSD from living with her, and neither of us has lived with her for at least ten years. I was in my thirties before I finally realized that she can turn the tears on and off at command, I was forty before I finally gave in and admitted that there was no cure for her and that even if there was, she didn't want it anyway. Now we have as little communication with her as possible.
Your daughter is still young, I hope that it works out better for her and for you than it has for us. I too will add you to my prayer list..
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