Unfortunately, I don’t have the time to get back to all the questions I receive every day. Here’s a few great ones from this past month that I’m sure others can relate to. I’ve changed the names, places and descriptions to protect the author’s identity, as well, I’ve edited down the original text for spacial purposes.
Q. I have read your blog for a while now. The reason why I am reaching out to you is because the girl of my dreams just married a narcissist, who she has been engaged to for the past year. I know this is going to sound insane, but I have known for a while now that I wanted to marry her. I have only met her a few times before she met this narc, although nothing ever came of it. I do know from the pit of my soul that her relationship with this guy is toxic and that ultimately things will end in divorce. What I would like to know is when that time does come, how can I reach out to her and help her to heal (I know she will need time) from this awful situation? I just want to know what I can expect to see and when they finally split, what can I do?
A. What can you do? Well, I hope this doesn’t sound disrespectful, because that is not my intention, but I would suggest that you stop living in fantasy land and start living in reality. You’ve only met her a few times and look at all the time and energy you have invested into something that doesn’t exist. You don’t know her. She could be a horrible person. She decided to marry someone – that is not you – that’s all you need to walk away – she chose someone else. Period – that’s the end. You’re waiting for her to get divorced, so you can move in, make your move and if all goes as planned, you’ll come to her rescue and she’ll fall madly in love with you. That’s madness, not to mention manipulative. You’re waiting and hoping for a divorce that may never come. What a colossal waste of your time and energy. Your dream is that she will step in and take the starring role in your life and then your life will be complete. What you’re not grasping is that you’re looking for your happiness…your life… outside of yourself. She can’t make you feel complete, only you can do that. You need to step up and take the starring role in your own life and forget about this fantasy relationship, because that’s what it is. Codependents are massively empathetic and other person focused – both of these traits, you, no doubt, seem to posses. My suggestion to you is to read up on codependency, learn how to focus on you and become the star of your own life and let go of this.
Q. Just came across your posts when doing a little more research on BPD. I became interested in it when a psychologist suggested that the behaviour of my former partner was indicative of one who suffered from BPD, with possible traits of co-morbid Narcissism. She displayed many behaviours associated with BPD – low self-esteem, extreme sensitivity, delusional jealousy – a significant problem related to her unfounded belief that I was having affairs with other women – her real infidelity, mood swings, including giving me the “silent treatment”, sudden and inexplicable explosive rages over inconsequential things, problems making friends and maintaining relationships etc… The notable exception of BPD behaviour was significant self-harming behaviour, suicide threats, or attempts and she was able to successfully maintain employment. She fits the category of high-functioning BPD. Our marriage failed and she blamed me for its failure subjecting me to weeks of abuse before abruptly leaving with no warning. I was able to pick up the pieces although, as I found much later, the damage lingered on. But the reason I have for writing to you is that many of the blogs you have written about Narcissists and their behaviour could, also be applied to people with traits of BPD. I have read several of your blogs, including the comments and I kept on saying, “Yes, yes, yes, that is exactly what I experienced.” I wondered if you’ve written about BPD and what what your thoughts are on how it relates to NPD?
A.This is a great question. Thanks for reaching out. All the cluster B personality disorders: Borderline, Histrionic, Narcissism and Anti-Social Personality Disorder, do have over-lapping traits and behaviors. If one meets the the DSM criteria for more than one disorder, it is possible to be considered to suffer from both, i.e. the term comorbidity, which you mentioned. Some of my readers have created the word narco-path to describe their partner, who exhibits both NPD (narc) and APD (psychopath) behaviors. You will find in much of the reading about Narcissists, that it is a disorder that affects more men than women and that BPD affects more women than men. There are some distinct differences, for instance BPD’s can be self-harming and/or suicidal. You generally don’t see that behavior in Narcissists. Narcissists can be very arrogant, attention seeking, manipulative and vindictive and you don’t often see that in someone with BPD. I haven’t written on it specifically, but I’m sure I will in the future.
Q. I’m going through a very difficult time. I never saw this coming, although I’ve always known something was off, I just couldn’t figure it out. I questioned many things he did and said and was always met with anger. I’ve been very hard on myself since discovering what he is, mainly because I allowed myself to be taken advantage of. I sent a very nice text message stating I needed to move on. That was 4 weeks ago and of course, I never heard back. I’ve done extensive reading in that time and have many questions, but I’ll just ask just one. We live in the same area and we have managed not to run into each other and I’m certain he has found new “supply”, I have blocked his email and number, but if “hoovering” happens and No Contact makes them angry and they want to discredit or get back at you by trying the “nice, sweet act” he has not done that. If I were to run into him I don’t know how I should act. I don’t want to give him anymore than he’s already taken from me. The thought alone that he took so much from me and is out there happy, living his life, feeding off another while all the while really hating me, knowing that every word and action was a lie, that I was completely manipulated, that I only served a purpose and was never loved or cared for is the most devastating experience I’ve ever had. When does he get to experience unhappiness if he always is able to obtain new “supply”? I cannot get past that part of it. Thank you for your time.
A. Some Narcissists just discard and that’s it. They don’t bother ever coming back. Some will boomerang back and forth, if enough time has gone by, (so that the sting of their most recent indiscretion has lessened) and they have a need and believe that you are still willing to fulfill that need. How should you act? Indifferent. If he says, “Hi,” you can nod and acknowledge his presence, but nothing more. Acting hostile, angry or upset gives him supply, publicly ignoring him gives him supply, acting nice and friendly and striking up a conversation, gives him supply and lets him know that you are still available. You want to give him nothing – no indication that his presence effects you in the least. You can be civil, but that’s it. Narcissists are really only capable of having very superficial feelings. No one means much to them. Their behavior isn’t about you. It’s about them and their disorder. He didn’t do this because there was something wrong with you, or because you were unlovable. He did this because he is sick. That’s the reason. They need supply like they need air. That means that sometimes they step on people to get it, whether they meant to hurt that person or not. Please make sure you understand the difference. When does he experience unhappiness? Every day. It’s no picnic being a Narcissist. They suffer from extreme anxiety, cripplingly, low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, they cannot regulate their own self-esteem, so they must constantly seek out other people to obtain it from. That’s exhausting. And they have to do all of this while wearing a mask, that’s supposed to show that everything is completely awesome in their world. They live a lie every day. Their default emotions are anger, contempt, envy and jealousy. Would you like to live like that every day? Just being with someone does not equal happiness. People are a means to an end for them. There’s nothing to envy about that.
If you have a question for me and don’t mind sharing, please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org with the title ASK SAV. Please make sure all questions are under 350 characters.
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