Why don’t you love me? After everything I’ve done – how could you not love me?
At some point, everyone that has been involved with a Narcissist has wondered these same thoughts. That someone, promised you the moon and the stars and delivered nothing, and then discarded you like a bad habit, is so hard to come to terms with. A Narcissist’s behavior defies reason. It doesn’t make sense, because it’s not logical. Instead, it’s cruel, harmful and unnecessary. It causes us so much turmoil, because we never saw it coming (at least not the first time). It wasn’t even on our radar, because that kind of thinking and behavior is so foreign to the rest of us.
There are thousands and thousands of stories from victims of Narcissistic abuse that are absolutely horrific and heart wrenching and it leaves us shaking our heads, wondering, ‘How could somebody do that?’ Many, when they discover that their partner has a problem, become expert detectives and scientists to try and learn all they can about it. They want to keep their mate so badly that they will go to any lengths to do so.
We know that deep at the heart of every Narcissist is an insatiable need for attention and admiration. Feeding it, is a Narcissist’s main objective, all other things are secondary. From a detached, clinical perspective, a Narcissists behavior makes perfect sense. When a Narcissist sees what they want, they will move heaven and earth to get it, once they have taken all they can, they discard it. And because it is necessary to their survival, they have become incredibly efficient at learning all the right moves, to get what they need, and in the shortest amount of time.
Why Are They Like This?
Their behavior hits us hard, because we know that we would never do that to someone. We know that behavior isn’t normal, that it’s unnecessarily cruel and lacking in compassion and it can seem downright evil. And for most of the kind hearted, altruistic victims they acquire, the question of – Where does this come from? Why do they behave like this and how can we fix it? – becomes exceedingly significant.
The answer isn’t so simple. There is no consensus among researches as to the cause of NPD. Some are firmly on the camp of Nature and some, on the side of Nurture. I contend that in some cases, it is nature (a biological component) and in some cases, it’s nurture (neglect, abuse) and in other cases, it’s both. I don’t think there has to be a one size fits all recipe, for how and why the impairment comes to exist. The story of my former long-term cerebral Narcissist is a good example.
He described a childhood filled with abuse. At the age of 7 he knew there was something seriously wrong with his father and tried to convince his mother to leave her husband. His father was a Narcissist and demeaned and belittled his wife and sons cruelly and at every opportunity. His father was angry and a rage lived inside of him, that his family tip toed around and feared. As a young teenager, my ex became defiant, and a hatred between father and son climaxed to the point, where the father claimed, he slept with one eye open, fearing his son would murder him in his sleep. Conversely, he had a mother that over compensated and overly praised her son’s minutest accomplishments.
There were two sons. One son became a people pleaser, sensitive and emotionally fragile, the other, a Narcissist, with OCD, filled with feelings of entitlement, hatred and rage. Why did one son become a gentle, overly-caring soul and the other a cruel self-centered ego-maniac?
In this example we see two children with similar DNA, similar childhood – yet different outcomes. Was my ex the unlucky brother who won the Narcissist DNA contest, or did perhaps birth order play a roll (my Narcissist was the youngest). Did perhaps the older child get more nurturing, because he was the first and the younger child experienced more neglect?
We know that children of abuse and neglect have 3 possible outcomes 1. They will have severely low-self-esteem, become emotionally fragile, people pleasers, door mats, unstable…take your pick. 2. There is the small possibility that they will suffer no effects and will turn out emotionally normal and 3. They will become abuser’s themselves. Why one of these three things happens in a particular case and not the other is a mystery.
There have also been findings that point to the possibility that inappropriate praise can also play a role, where one parent is highly abusive, and the other tries to over compensate with improper amounts of praise for insignificant and minor tasks. Thus, creating a confused, emotional template within the child’s psyche, of self and ability.
Another theory that has been bantered around is that of Attachment Disorder. One emotional element that all Narcissists have in common is an inability to form normal, healthy attachment bonds to others. They are largely disconnected from their emotions and from others and many believe that Narcissism and Psychopathy comes about, through a break in the bonding between a child and its primary caregiver, usually the mother.
In a normal bond, a baby cries and its mother picks it up and tends to its needs. In a broken bond, a baby cries and is either seldomly attended to, or sporadically tended to. In either case, the child’s ability to trust and to form normal attachment bonds never develops.
There have also been cases, where infants are completely indifferent, right from birth, to any attempts, by the parents, to form an attachment bond. Which would definitely point to a biological component.
The type of bonding you experience as an infant sets the standard for all future adult relationships. It is the blue print for how one will connect and relate to others in adulthood. Children who don’t develop this early bond, will become adults that are disconnected from their emotions, have difficulty communicating in their relationships, have difficulty relating to, or being empathetic towards others and they will have great difficulty sustaining a healthy relationship.
The why’s and the how’s of NPD are varied and complex and not fully understood. If you are involved with a Narcissist, the how’s and why’s really are irrelevant, despite your need to understand and fix the problem. No amount of your suffering is going to change things. No amount of your giving is going to change things and no amount of your love and endless devotion is going to change things.
Trying to fix someone is a futile endeavor, no matter how much you may want to. When it comes to relationships and people, you really only have two choices, you can accept them as they are, or you leave.
Being involved with a Narcissist is painful and damaging to your well-being. Don’t try to be a martyr and stay because you believe you can help, or that they need you. All people are deserving of our understanding and compassion, but when it comes to a Narcissist, do it from afar. Because while you may feel a strong connection and attachment, know that they do not share the same feelings, at least not in the same way.
Although they are very good at saying the right words and feigning a connection, when it suits them, anyone who is involved with a Narcissist knows that something is off. Normal healthy relationships develop into a trust and evolve into intimacy, where there is respect and reciprocity. A relationship with a Narcissist will never grow, will never evolve – there will never be trust – there will never be respect – and it will always be all about them.
You deserve better. Stop looking for answers to solve their problems and look inside of you instead. Heal your own hurts, and give up the need to build somebody else up. Know that these emotional Vampires walk among us. They can blend in and act like us, but they’re not like us. Learn how to spot them and get away before the life gets sucked out of you and you are the one left walking around like a zombie. Always remember what they are. I know that the need to understand and fix is extremely high in many of us, but know that your efforts to bring life to these monsters is wasted, unless of course you’re Dr Frankenstein, but then again, it didn’t work out so well for him either.
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I guess i was lucky. Onky wasted 4 months with my N. He came into my life and i thought this guy is wonderful. ..all the love bombing., after 3 months of a wonderful courtship, the strangeness started to add up. I guess i am lucky that my career as an environmental investigator helped me to put the puzzle pieces together. I am a smart, pretty, financially set gal, i have empathy for others and probably give people too many chances. Well, he had so many grandiose ideas, he was charming, funny, smart, financially good, had a good career, handsome man. He catered to me in the beginning. But then, as i watched him, saw his list of strange things pile up. He had no real friends, he complained that his friends didnt pan out, it was their fault, . He retired from a 30 year job, and no friends from work, no goodbye luncheon for him. I thought very strange. ..he of course, was the smartest guy there. He always bragged how smart he was. He was the best athlete of everything. ..according to him. He was the best cook, according to him, and he was a good cook, but not great!! He was the most immaculate guy ive ever seen in the bathroom, so many special creams, i didn’t know how he could know more than a girl, lol.. He was so concerned about looks, clothes matching…his home, everything perfect. He lived 4 hours away from me, it was a distance relationship. I had a steady job, with government for 11 years. I am a divorced woman, had a 22 year marriage. A grown son, 27 years old. I have a million dollar home. I can see he wanted what i have, beautiful home, pretty smart hard working woman, good cook, funny, empathetic, caretaker type. He used to say, we were twins in most everything. ..very quickly in the relationship he wanted me to meet his mom…i did not, as i had started a new job, and had to learn new stuff, classes, etc. Luckily, i held boundaries with things, he did not like that. He wanted me to quit my job, sell my million dollar house and move to his cookie cutter house in the sticks…Luckily, i wouldn’t do that…he had said he could live anywhere, he just retired, he had money. He got a new jib, where he could work out of anywhere. Even in my area, but all of a sudden, reality hit him..he was not going to move. It was never his plan, he wanted me to give up everything and move. He started telling me what to wear, and the clothes were not what i liked, they were matronly, he told me what to eat…told me whatever he thought i was doing wrong…he started to belittle me. He wanted complete control, even in bed. He even said i prayed wrong…he started blaming and tried to shame me…well, i do like to please people, but, enough is enough i told him. I am a rebel at heart, and that bothered him. I do not like to be told what and how to do things…i held on to my boundaries and he did not like that…then he gave me the silent treatment, and seemed to distance himself…the motor mouth became very silent, he could not discuss anything. I noticed he had real intimacy issues. His sex, was very good, but it was a performance. He was a great actor. He did have anxiety and sleep problems. Anyway, he seemed to disappear, dropped me like a hot potato. ..it was very strange to me..i was so hurt, how could ur lover do this?? I did not understand. ..all of his promises, poof gone…then after a short time…he said. Impress me…do these things…his list…and we could have our relationship again…i thought this guy is crazy…he thinks he can treat me like that!! No way. He wants me to drop my life, and be his slave….forget it. He had moved the goldpost over and over….it was all about him. I felt like i was duped. He i did see was like a bucket with holes in it. Always needing me to continually fill it up, making me tired. Stroking him, he was like a vampire sucking everything out of me and trying to control me. Even telling me how to take my coffee…i started to google the qualities he had, and narcissistic romantic came up…i read the stuff, and then all the puzzle pieces came together. I even saw that he was having an affair with another girl, very similar in looks, and qualities like me. I told him that he was a narcissistic man via text. I told him i knew about the other women, i knew about all his lies, and i knew his plans on using me and her the same way. He was love bombing her now….poor girl, she will see his controlling ways soon enough. I told him he was a monster, a real sick pup. And he hid behind religion and God…what a hypocrite. He was so angry, he cursed me out and slithered away onto his next pray like the predator he is….well i was lucky, i got out quickly, 4 months isnt bad…i read all and everything i could on narcissistic behavior. ..i found out, that i have been in relationships with them my whole life…i found out my mother is one…i finally figured out so much…i now see that my empathetic nature puts me in harms way with them, but i reach a point with all of them where enough is enough. But now i know…and now i will see the red flags. And not get involved with these monsters anymore!!! Now i know what their love bombing is. And if i see them heading my way i will stop, look, listen, and run. No narcs i did feel sorry for him, but he is in reality a monster, he had his plan, all along, he prayed upon me, he tried to suck the life force out of me and make me a slave nd then discard me with blame and shame….well shame on him!!! I see him now as ugly and despicable! He is from the darkside. I am now free. He did teach me a life lesson. ..o am thankful for that and now my energy and power is back. He is after all his next victims, i forgive the sick man. But there is good and evil in the world. And i thank God goodness prevailed for me! Thank you God!!
Wow. These blogs AND comments seem to have come straight from my experiences! In the 2 year relationship I had with my Narc, I have gone from an administrative government position, owning my own home, a car, etc., to being homeless, unemployed, wrecked my car, and have been injured and on bed rest the last 6 months, got pregnant (by my narc), gave the baby up for adoption, and am now in the discharge stage of the narc cycle. I even lost custody of my 2 teenage children, as I was sacrificing all of my money, time, and attention to this man to keep him happy. I am 36 years old and living with my parents due to my accident. All of these events occurred within a 2 year span, all because of my narc’s lies and manipulation. I refused to believe he would lie to me, and bought into every dream he tried to sell me. I have been absolutely destroyed inside and out by this man. I lost who I was, all of my possessions, even my family to this monster. STILL, after all of that, I struggle not to try to justify staying “friends”, or reasons I still love him! A relationship with a narc is almost like being addicted to crack. even if you manage to detox, it’s a daily struggle not to relapse. There should be a “rehab” for narc victims! One thing I would like to point out, is that in my situation, the most damaging, painful part of all of this is the complete confusion. This man had me feeling all these different and intense emotions I had never felt in a relationship before, so I was convinced it was true love. That’s why I stayed for so long. Don’t mistake those mixed emotions with love! Those emotions are actually your brain’s way of telling you to RUN! I do wish there were a treatment program for narc’s, because I honestly don’t think he WANTS or LIKES himself with these traits. It took me literally losing EVERYTHING I had, including myself, to see I needed to get out. And it is so hard to do.
i was left shell shocked after my 2.5 year marriage ended and that was 5 years ago. I still am recovering to my former self. When your family and friends tell you that you changed and and not for the better, that you lost your joy, sense of humor, self confidence and self esteem since you met him that is such a hard bitter pill to swallow. But they are right.
I searched and read so many articles on his behaviors and everyone of them led me to NP
D. Regarding how he was raised, it was by an unhappy mother whose husband felt superior to her, cheated on her, was mentally cruel to her and basically treated her like a doormat. She, in turn, turned toward my ex as a surrogate friend/ companion as a replacement for her husband.
Father treated my ex poorly, as told by her, and she rarely had anything nice to say about her dead husband. She told me that my ex doesn’t want to remember how poorly he was treated by his father….he shuts it out. I believe this as he would hardly ever talk to me about hid dad other than what he did and how he obtained his degrees from prestigious universities after having a really rough childhood. When trying to get him to open up about his dad, he said he wasn’t drunk enough and would get angry anytime the subject was brought up.
My ex always called his mother by her first name, and some of the conversations they had were in appropriate and embarrassing to me. He told me that when his mother does that it was really going to be bad… Referring to his drinking.
My ex is a very intelligent, well educated , well salaried attorney with his own practice. He not only exhibits many of the traits of NPD , but is an alcoholic as well. One is bad enough to deal with, but having the chemical abuse issue added to the problems. One fed off the other. And as usual, everything was my fault.
His mother , who likes to drink too, thinks that just because her son spends money and buys gifts, then he isn’t as harmful as her husband. She has turned a blind eye to the 3 failed marriages and his 3 children with drug and alcohol abuse issues, preferring to do what my ex does,…. Blame the mothers of the children. As long as her son calls her and buys her gifts it doesn’t matter that he has thrown away wives and children, has been to rehab twice, 3 drunk driving convictions with other alcohol related driving offenses . Her husband was a jerk but her son is Mr. Wonderful.
I also know his father acted superior over his mother. She is a high school graduate, where he obtained degrees from Harvard. My ex would brag about this all of the time. I know my exes father was very controlling and verbally and mentally abusive to my former mother in law. My ex copied this pattern with me. Although I am college educated, it was never going to match him, and he told me this numerous times.
I realize now what probably happened while he was growing up. Cold distant superior cheating demanding critical invalidating husband and father created someone who treats women and wives the same way. If it was good enough for Mom, and she stayed, it’s good enough for you. He learned his lessons well. And will be bestowing these upon future women and/ or wives..
You made me laugh with the comparison on how it didn’t work out for Dr. Frankenstein either. It is so true. We are a lot stronger and smarter than we realize but we tend to cloud our judgement by desperately trying to recapture that person who never existed. Their behavior becomes so bizzare and they get sloppy, the lies less believable. that we become despondent and back away to preserve our sanity, self esteem and self worth. They will never again be how we had perceived them but at the same time will never be the ones to cut us off so we are on a merry go round of never catching the ring. It’s a nervous, unforfilling demeaning feeling.
How I see my ex’s childhood: Mummy wanted him to be her father/husband, caring for her, listening to her, nurturing her. Daddy wanted him to be this tough little man, scared of nothing, wild, unfeeling. So I think under the pressure of both he burrowed deep into himself. layer after layer: On top, a really great guy, the sort you can take your worries to. Next level: psychopathic levels of rage and aggression (and pain). Under that, deep down – who knows? Whatever he could once have been. He still lives with his parents, though he’s middle aged. What will happen to him when they die? I can imagine a few things, none of them good. And none of them involving me.
I was just dumped by a lying, cheating N. We dated for over a year. She became unavailable for the last few weeks of our relationship ?
Must admit I never trusted her. But we had such a good time together, and really never saw it coming. Did so much for her, all to be tossed away like garbage. Very, very painful.
Savannah, my ex N’s family sounded a lot like the experience you wrote about and gives me so much insight. He was adopted into a family with an N father and a mother who wouldn’t leave him. WHen the ex talks about his childhood, he tells me his father told him “women are w*ores and dirty. He also talked about the fact that if his mother had taken them out of the home, his life may be different. Although it doesn’t matter now, I cant help but question if he had an idea he may be an N? He is a cerebral N , very intelligent and seemed to almost try and explain to me the “issues” he had with being intimate etc. Just curious.
My ex is 50 – has never left his parents for more than a few months. He is really married to his mother (who he hates) – was, emotionally, her husband. I was the same in my family – emotionally, I was Dad’s wife. So I crave after cold, distant men who use me for emotional support but never return it – like if I did enough for them they’d love me, finally. And as for my ex, he spends his life going from woman to woman (with periods alone inbetween) recreating that sick dynamic with his mother – the adored, cosseted child who is leaned on for moral support: who is her hero and yet at the same time a failure. Every girlfriend becomes his mother. Enraged, he runs back to his actual mother. Then after a while he deserts her for a girlfriend. It’s a perfect match, him and me: narcissist and codependent. He is paranoid, and this paranoia strangles every attempt to get insight: anyone who tries to reach him becomes “part of the conspiracy.”
His brother left home at 15, having been horribly bullied by their father. I would guess the father was a nasty piece of work in his day – he’s elderly and frail now, and I sense a performance of Happy Families was put on for me when I went there.
The trouble is he can always go home and be adored. So he has no incentive to stay with someone, face his problems, gain insight and work it out. No, he can flounce out and go and tell his mother What She Did This Time (just as he often came here enraged about what his mother had done).
He is in essence a spoilt child: over-indulged, but also leeched on by parents who should have used each other for support.
He only ever sees glimpses of this, and it gets entangled also in his rage and misogyny (all women are whores).
What I cannot understand is this: I have sought and sought an answer to why I am drawn to such awful relationships, and have been forced to face how my own personality plays into this. I can see where I go wrong, and I worry that I don’t know how to get off those tram-tracks. But I am grateful that I know. He, however, will blame anything and everything else. Why? Why, in general, do people play games in relationships, rather than face the truth? Seems like such a waste of time to me.
But the truth is, this lifestyle works for him. He lives this way because he is allowed to. He will only change when his home situation changes (and then, probably, he will recreate some kind of shadow version of it). And the deeper, harder truth is: Although it fascinates me, it’s none of my business. He’s out of my life now. His affair, not mine.
I see so many sites about people with NPD exes which are screams of rage at the betrayal. I go in and out of that state. Yes, it is essential, because if you aren’t angry, you might go back. But you must also see your own role in it.
Anyway. I am 22 days NC now, and nearly 7 weeks since the break-up. It’s going well.
I’ve been trying to find ways on how to help my friend that has qualities of a N but after reading your blogs, I realized that I’m wasting my time.
I met him about 4 yrs ago and being in a relationship with him is like being on a roller coaster ride. I felt that he needed me to help him in finally being free from his past. He told me bits and pieces of information about his traumatic childhood experiences. He was 7 when he was sexually abused by his uncle and he told me his own mother doesn’t love him. He might have been given up for adoption. And he is a rags to riches story. He also attempted suicide 3x , been in an abusive relationship and that’s part of the reason why he is afraid of emotions. He even told me that he cares about me only to a certain point and that he doesn’t love anybody. We would have arguments when he pulls away for days to a week after I feel that he’s finally getting closer to me emotionally. We both have very busy work schedules so we tend to see each other only once a week or so. But he calls me everyday maybe even a few times a day. When we get into fights he always make it seem like its my fault. Also, I learned that lately, he’s trying to lower my self esteem by making personal attacks and even criticizing me professionally. All this stemmed out of me telling him to stop thinking he’s perfect. And that he’s not always right. My approach during arguments or fights is not always the best but he is still around because he cares. Part of me wants to stick around because I feel that he is crying out for help. Why else would I be the first person he’s ever told about being sexually abused? At times, he will ask me if I think he needs professional help? I tell him YES every time. He’ll tell me exaggeration of his accomplishments but he will also tell me some disturbing things about him that I believe are just lies. Lies told to test how much I I really care. He once told me that he gives me just enough information about himself to not make me runaway from him. He has trust issues and is very paranoid. All from past experiences. I’m struggling with a decision to stay and keep fighting for him or just walk away because it is mentally draining me.
Being addicted to this site for the last while, I regularly re-read some of the articles and comments. This thread is got a lot about mother influence or creation of a Narc son. So if my Narc husband is a biological father of my teenage son chances are that I am bringing up another Narc. Narcissism, within its healthy limits, is a component of any personality make up. We actually are supposed to be a bit narcisstic ourselves otherwise it’s hard to be assertive and not to become a doormat. Teenagers are very narcisstic. Gees! I wish there were a prescription recipe how to bake a healthy human being!!!!
Cactus there is a possibility that if your child’s father is a Narc that your child will also be a Narc – not a certainty. There is a big difference between regular teenage self-centeredness and Narcissistic Personality Disorder.
I just got out of a terrible relationship/longest break-up with an N. While I could write a novel on the details of our 6 year relationship and 7 month break-up, what I just read about attatchment disorder struck me hard. You see my N was given up for adoption at birth, then his mother got him back at 1-2 months. He never knew his real father. The only reason I know about the adoption is because his mother told me, when I brought it up to him he said he never knew about it. I feel like my N is not to be helped. His issues started so young and he has had a life time of not dealing with issues. Could this be the root cause?
Ginger in answer to your question an emphatic and simple – yes…
My wife and I are about 18 months post infidelity discovery, and now having done some reading on this and other sites, the focus of my exploration about how we got to that has been on her narcissistic tendencies. From what I have read, I should leave, leave quickly, and don’t look back. But we have a 10 year old, and of coure, my 18 years of marriage demand I be very carefull in not jumping to conclusions.
Some of the behaviours, not in any particular order that I have experienced, if you can confirm for me that these are serious issues, I would be grateful for your reponse.
– Narcissitic saviour complex. She devotes an enormous amount of her energy to solving other people’s problems. I suspect (as the cause, not that she did this) this even included entering into an affair (before she met me) with an older man whose wife was suffering through cancer.
She told me that she and her affair partner (my marriage) – an unattached divorced man – both said that they “saved each other” that this was the glue to their “love”
– blaming me for her affair. Claiming I wasn’t meeting her needs.
(Our marriage was just fine).
Self confessed need for affirmation (lots of it) and to be a leader among her peers.
She explained that the reason she “loved” this AP was that he worshipped her, her body, knew how to say things that made her feel wanted, needed, loved.
During about 15 years of our marriage she sat back and watched while her sisters (a class act in themselves) insulted me, ridiculed me, demeaned our relationship, but none the less wanted me around so that they could be with our daughter. My wife did absolutely nothing about this. Even sometimes agreeing with them that I was “the problem”.
During our recovery this past year, she refused to tell me the truth about what went on, (I understand this on one level) but even after understanding that a lie subsequently discovered was going to kill our chances of reconciling, she continued to lie. Now Im not talking about her telling me about the sex she was having 3 times a week with her AP, Im talking about “When and where did you first kiss.” She kept this in the dark for 9 months, convincing me (and I think at some point even herself) that it was when her AP asked her down to his office (co-workers) for a hug and a kiss. 9 months later I learned it was in fact a week before that, and she invited him to his office. The 9 month lie to keep from me her “role” in the pursuit.
My wife has been using “attachment parenting” for about 10 years. This has been a huge point of conflict between us. I felt it should have ended at LEAST 5 years ago.
About a month ago, because her affair was work based, I asked that she not agree to take on a special project. The reasons were obvious. She still works in the same place where her exAP is, and the people involved in the project are all very good friends of his, and although he is not involved, her friends are continuing on socially as if nothing has happened. Also, I made what I thought was the fair argument that we should be working on the special project called marriage, not even more time at work. This discussion went on for weeks. As someone who had decided that I needed to stop telling my wayward spouse how to behave, I left it for her to decide. She went ahead and took the project, and is the project leader.
It was this last event that made me explode and start to question what was going on in her head. How could someone who seemed to show so much remorse about a year long affair not be able to meet her betrayed husband’s needs? I know she loves these projects, they give her power, they giver her a team to lead, they give her public reputation… But I had only asked that she take ONE YEAR OFF and focus her energies on our family.
– the need to be the centre of a conversation. She constantly cuts off conversations that she didnt start or that do not interest her, regardless of who is talking.
– whenever we ask an “expert” into our home to advise us, she is always cutting him off at the begining of their explanations to say things even though she knows ZERO about what she is talking
– she has hypochondriac tendencies. She is constantly looking for cures and therapies and treatments. And when she discovers one she likes, she immediately feels the need to not only share this, but INSIST that the next person with an ailment use the EXACT SAME TREATMENT (If doesn’t matter if its a tea, a psychologist, hypnosis, a physiotherapist, a book… everyone must follow her road to cure-dom!
– A lot of the times when my daughter and I are conversing, she gets jealous of our relationship and makes snide or put down remarks AS IF we were deliberately excluding her. I cannot count the number of times I use the phrase “my daughter” and she takes this to mean “MY daughter”, and angrily reminds me that “it’s her daughter too”. Of course this excludes the 7 or 8 months she was chasing her affair partner at work and abandoned us and the home completely, only to come home, get on the computer, and take her daughter to bed.
Probably I have said enough.
Am I screwed? Is there hope for me? Am I wrong? Could any of these behaviors / beliefs be typical even of non-narcissists? We seem to be at an impasse. She says she wants to fix things, but she only reacts to my issues when she gets it that I want to separate. She has yet to show that she can “do the right thing” without my intervention.
Seaviews: It’s impossible to tell from a few behaviors whether or not she has NPD. I would say the more important questions are – are you being treated in a loving, respectful way? Does she constantly demean, insult and blame you for everything? Does she make the marriage and you a priority? Are you constantly walking on egg shells? Are your emotions all over the place? Are you happy? If you’ve said no to all or most of these you need to ask yourself what you are hanging on to in this marriage.
I can’t tell you what to do, but I will say this – you can’t change other people, the only person you have any control over is yourself. If you are waiting for her to change and she actually does have NPD you are in for an awful long wait. The fact that she doesn’t behave herself until you threaten to leave should tell you something and even then I’m sure she only treats you well just long enough to ensure that you aren’t going anywhere and then it’s back to her old behavior. I understand and commend you for not wanting to shake up the world of your child. An additional concern I would also have is what behavior are you modeling for her? Children aren’t stupid, and you can bet that she knows what’s going on and by you tolerating bad behavior you are showing her that it’s normal and acceptable to be treated without respect in a marriage.
The reasons most sites tell you to leave quickly is because Narcissists don’t change. Dr Phil always says you can’t change what you don’t acknowledge – to a Narcissist they don’t accept responsibility for their actions – it’s all everyone else’s fault. If you stay with someone who is constantly beating you down that will become normal to you, you will begin to feel worthless and you will internalize their insults and become a shell of who you once were. Natalie Lue says – If you have to choose between a relationship and you – always choose you. That sounds like good advice. Good luck.
Sometimes the monster’s we should fear most are not sleeping under our beds but right beside us…
A poem I found today written by John Howell
A Narcissist Love Letter
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the way I feel when I’m with you. I love myself through you. I love seeing myself through your eyes. I love seeing myself through my eyes imagining how I look through your eyes. I love having someone new to tell my stories to, to express my opinions, and to share my profound theories and beliefs about the important things in life. I love hearing myself say these things as I imagine how they sound to you, and how enthralled with me I imagine you are.
When I say I’m in love with you, I love having someone beautiful to wear, like a new outfit. I love the way you feel on me. I love the way I feel about me when you are with me.
When I say I’m in love with you, I love not being alone. I love not being that tree falling in the forest. I love having a full-time, personal audience.
When I say I’m in love with you I mean I love being your mystery, your riddle, being what keeps you up at night, your obsession. I love being your altar, your sacrament, your icon, your miracle. I love being your answer. I love being the object of your sacrifice. I love being your pain.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I’m in love with being your sun, monopolizing your orbit, being your gravity, keeping you drawn back to me no matter how hard you try to jump or fly, keeping you down. Keeping you mine.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I’m in love with breathing your air, sucking your blood, eating your dreams. I’m in love with being your drug, your dagger, your suicide note.
When I say I’m in love with you, I mean I love the story I can tell to my next lover, about my ex-lover, about how beautiful things were, how intense, how storybook, what a couple we were, and how you gradually, inexplicably, painfully, bit by bit, disappeared.
This will be the longest post in the history of your site. And that record will likely stand.
I got turned onto your site yesterday. The title of this particular post resonates w me more than you can understand. Everything I’ve read on this site has and has given me some relief.
I got involved with an N 3 years ago. I was put into contact w her through her friend who I happened to meet while I was at a dinner (which I almost declined going to…funny how the most seemingly casual decisions alter your entire life). When I saw her picture-she was the most gorgeous human being I’d ever seen-and her friend told me she was single, into working out, and we would “hit it off”. I sent her a facebook message.
We had a 10 hour first date. Connection like I’ve never felt and was told the same. Here is this Playboy bunny type woman who was also funny, smart, shared the same interests and witty. I called my friend on the way home just over the moon at how perfect she was and how I had not felt this hopeful about anything in years (I was a year out of a divorce…another N). There was a 2nd date 2 days later and another all day situation and we had a blast. Told my friends we hung out with how “into me” she was. At the last bar of the day we were snuggled up in front of fire and she told me “You are the one…just don’t cheat on me.” I thought this was a fairy tale love in 48 hours deal.
Then I felt a slight “arm at length feeling”. She told me within days, despite my over the moon high hopes, maybe we’d do better as friends. I was crushed.
I let that be and just started dating around again and hanging out with my friends but she always kept me in the loop just enough even though she had reconciled with her ex (which she then discarded like trash). Then she took a new job (which I think was a lie), and then got laid off 2 weeks after. I was genuinely concerned, thought she would be a fit for my business as a trainer in the fitness industry, and told her I would feed her new clients and teach her.
She came on board. I was also training her for free as she was a fitness competitor. I fed her clients. Let her bring in her own clients and never charged her rent. We had deep discussions, would text morning, noon and night, even though she was still with a the same guy (living at his place half the week until she got her two kids…with two different dads…back for the other half).
She would text me while she was out with her guy saying she couldn’t stop thinking about me. She broke up with him for a couple days, came to my family’s house on the 4th of July, kissed me, said she adored me and was ready to do this. Until the next day. When she said she tried to have a conversation with him and it didn’t go well (because he was addicted too and pleaded not to have it end). Said she needed some time. I respected that. She continued to work at my business. For free.
She eventually did fully break up with him. She came to my family’s house again on Christmas, told me she adored me and we ended up having sex for the first time Christmas night. Shortly after that, she said she needed to take a step back and within a couple days I saw a picture of her with another guy skiing with her kids. She assured me I didn’t know what I was talking about and they had known each other for years and ran into one another at the ski hill.
Two days later, another picture on facebook at dinner with the same guy. Infuriated, and totally devastated, I text her angrily and she told me I had zero to worry about.
Couple weeks go by, she went on a trip with him, and then she texts me on Valentine’s Day (and I was still being the nice people pleaser I am) and tells me she “loves me…let’s do this.” By the following Monday she assured me she did love me but then told me she needed to take a step back again. I still just rolled w it.
She always made me feel guilty when she backed off. Said she heard things about me (most were true but only because I was single and was told by her we were not together) that worried her and she just had reservations.
After a lot of this on again off again, making me feel like I was the impeding this and not her, we finally started dating as a committed couple. There was still constant reminders of her reservations, bringing up personality problems, going through years of facebook posts and pictures and then making me feel like she was on the verge of walking because of the smallest thing (“you were always at a bar with your friends in these pictures and there were always girls around…I just don’t know about this).
Of course, I would assure her, beg and plead. She stayed at my apartment (which I miss very much) half the week and lived with her mother the other half where she took her kids when she had them (another red flag). She would brow beat me and always have me in a panic, call into question my whereabouts, lifestyle, etc. I always felt a nervous current running through me.
She eventually-through the $ she earned at my gym-was able to rent a house. She asked me to move in. Of course, I paid her rent (as well my own because I was in a lease). I showered her and her kids with gifts. Did every errand. Cooked every dinner. Ran every chore. Drove her kids 30 miles 3 times per week to school or to their dad’s house. While trying to run a business. I bought her a car for her birthday.
What next? Of course, after more brow beating and telling me she heard I was seen drinking, she told me I couldn’t stay anymore. I started living at my apartment again with the occasional night with her for a few weeks there. Then she “took me back in” and scolded me and told me this was my “last chance” (there have been 75 of those).
What next? Of course, I bought her an engagement ring. Then a house. Then expanded my business because that’s what she wanted (and contributed next to nothing). More showering her and her kids with gifts. More chores. More errands. More carting people around (she would never drive).
And there was always something I wasn’t doing right. I didn’t know how to communicate and was boring. I showed no affection. I was an inadequate lover. My stress level, anxiety and “patterns” were unhealthy and she deserved more. She told me all my generosity and devotion was just “something everyone does in a committed relationship and that I shouldn’t get special recognition or use it as justification for not fulfilling her other needs”. It shouldn’t “give me the right” to be angry if she pointed out my flaws.
This went on and on. Our arguments and the tension became more and more intense. I could no longer perform in bed because I was so shaken with being with her. But she made it point to tell me that was my fault, there was something wrong w me, my anxiety was out of control and she had never experienced this type of unsatisfactory sexual situation with anyone else (mind you I had numerous-and I mean numerous-lovers in the prior years w no trouble).
I was always at fault. Made me feel like my past, my ex wife, and my time spent single caused all the problems and made her paranoid. I stopped going out with and cut out all of my friends (some for 20+ years), because she made me feel like a drunk or a frat boy if I tried to do something with them. Told me it was indicative of my same patterns and she didn’t want anything to do with that type of guy.
In the end, I finally blew up and lost it. Yes, after one too many drinks and another beat down from her, I laid into her for about 2 hours. I told her all I felt. I went too far but, but, in retrospect, calling her a narcissist with fake hair, boobs, skin and tan was the truth. Telling her that because the most significant male in her life (her dad) abandon her and sister and mother and had a double life with a 2nd family in another city, made her want to control, manipulate and discard men as she saw fit was not a lie. It was hard to hear-and regret plenty more I said that night- I’m sure but true nonetheless.
After my outburst, she moved out, took every piece of furniture (which she saw as hers despite me paying every business and personal expense for years), took equipment out of my gym, sold her 20k engagement ring and left me with an additional car payment.
After 3 months of constant text battles, anger, going back and forth, insisting that I needed help and had to show her I was going to be different, I had had enough. I told her I needed a commitment from her to get back together or I couldn’t keep doing this. I needed a clean break if she couldn’t. True to form, she told me in the most cavalier manner you can imagine “ok, see ya”. Within 5 minutes she was at my house balling, telling me I couldn’t give her an ultimatum after all I had put her through and her kids through. Of course, I decided to continue on in this destructive cycle. We spent that weekend together at her place. It was if we were all a family again. Intimacy, I cleaned up her one boy’s puke in the middle of the night and took the sheets to my house to clean them and then came back the same night. There was all this “I love you”, “babe”, “So glad to have you back in my bed” bullshit.
Then she found some other reason to blow me off. Then I got overly angry. I started seeking the help of friends and my ex-wife who knew me better than anyone and who was concerned, as she was told from my mother what was going on and that “PJ has not been right since he got involved with this girl”. They pulled me out of it. I had the right mindset again of just moving on. She showed up at my house multiple times telling me we needed to “cut out everyone else and go to therapy”. This was just manipulation as she hated seeing I was talking to my ex wife as friends. I wouldn’t do it. I told her there was no reason to cut out a friend who has been so supportive. She was infuriated (and now I see why).
I ultimately decided to visit my ex in FL (again, it was established this was not a “get back together” situation). She found out and was infuriated, told me “thanks, this gives me the peace to move on”. The day my flight left to come home she told me she “needed to talk and to call when I landed”. I refused.
What next? Of course, within a week, she had pulled me back in. Left me a blocked voicemail telling me how I meant the world to her, this was the saddest thing ever, and that she wished it could end differently. I didn’t respond. That night, she started sending me pictures of her and I, with her kids, and then sending sexual-overly sexual-pictures, which she knew would get me, telling me how I could do this and that to her, film her, how she wanted to take care of “her man”, etc.
I got roped in. She asked me come for dinner the next night. Wine, champagne (and she insisted a main reason she left was because I had a drinking problem yet she made it a point to tell me she was going to get wine). We had a big conversation, she told me all the right things, made me feel like we had some big understanding and “got each other”, what each one needed. We then had sex for 3 days, went to plays, went to extravagant dinners, I spent $800 on NBA playoff tickets for us. There were all these “I love you’s” flying around, she cried in bed and said she was sorry, was regretful for selling the ring.
Then if got even more manipulative on her end. She started talking about whether we should keep our old house (the one I was still living in and bought for her) and remodel it or sell and get something new. She talked about how great her new job is (and it is) and how she was going to contribute (and had convinced me she had always tried before but that I never accepted and would refuse) and how we could afford “X” number of dollars per month on a mortgage. She talked about financial goals.
Then within in a few days she distanced herself. Her invitations to come over fell off. Of course, I’d pick up on it and worry and get manic about it even though I was trying to “take it slow”. Which then would give her fuel to say I was having unrealistic expectations and that she didn’t want to spend all her free time with me.
She had a trip planned to California prior to us somewhat reconciling that night she invited me for dinner. By the end of that “marvelous” weekend, she explained she had to go there for work and that the guy she was staying with-an “industry guy”-did have feelings for her and she may have considered being with him if she and I didn’t work out and probably gave him that impression (as I found out, more than you can imagine) that they could be. I was trying to be cool and knew this had transpired while we were not talking, I understood, and that I trusted her. She seemed somewhat miffed I told her I was ok with her going. But I wanted this time around to be a trust worthy, “no drama” situation. She told me I had zero to worry about though. She told me a couple days prior to leaving “I don’t want to go. And you are going to find a girlfriend while I’m there.” Total manipulation.
So I drove her the airport that day. That morning I asked her not to go but she said “You told me to go”. I took her, but the conversation we had on the way there was the same person I had heard and seen before: demeaning, un-emphatic, putting the blame on me for why we were in the position we were in…a guy driving his ex-fiance to the airport to see another guy. She told me she went from not wanting to go to not being able to wait to get there. And told me I went to see my ex so I couldn’t be mad.
Despite that, as hard as it was, I just let her be. I wanted and did trust her. I knew if I acted over the top and over bearing and ruined her weekend, it would just give her more justification. So I let her be. She text a few times saying she was homesick and may cut the weekend short. I offered to fly her home early. She said she “didn’t want to bail”. I booked a 5k vacation to napa while she was there as a way to show her how devoted I was. Ordered her gifts. She freely accepted and acted very happy about it.
I felt good at that point as though nothing had happened. I picked her up, with flowers, she seemed very happy to see me, we had dinner and then sex immediately. Felt very secure.
The next week was pretty good. I was helping her with everything: her work (which I did 50% of all the time), cleaning her house, cooking, laundry and folding laundry, etc.). At this point I was over the top in my gift giving. Louis Vuitton everything: sunglasses, bags, shoes. Thousands and thousands of dollars’ worth. Lululemon. All of it. The worst thing (cringing): she wanted new “tits”, told me how it was making her unconfident and why she would never get on top (mind you she already had fake tits). Of course, I went ahead and told her I would get her those, which I did. And took care of her after her surgery for 3 days.
Then she had a work trip for a conference. Again, I’m faced with this horrible feeling that she is going to be out of town and I just don’t know what’s going on. She was texting me all day long every day she was there. I made it a priority to sit in the house (and watched our dog which she also took when she left) and turned down numerous chances to socialize, be with friends, and have fun. Because I didn’t want to “f up”. And I thought to myself “God she’s been telling me all these wonderful things, she let me pay for her cosmetic surgery (think about that “let me” mindset), I mean…she’s in!”.
Look, I could write 5000 more words on what happened after. Anyone who has been with an N knows. She looked for any opportunity she could find within the next week or two to “end it” again, make me feel as though I was some fatally flawed individual, despite my pleading with her to understand my perspective or mind set (they never do or will).
After something she felt I should have disclosed to her, which I didn’t need to because it was a personal health choice and problem (and she said over and over she was not committed yet despite leading me on), she “ended it” again. She, in her parasitic nature, had milked me, once again, for all I could give her. She made me feel like I was flawed, was being “shady”, was disloyal, and displaying all my “same patterns”.
I was dumbfounded. Thought this was MY 2ND chance (when in reality, I didn’t need one). I was devastated. She ignored me for an entire week. Dismissed me. Told me SHE was hurt. Pissed. Told me she was too busy to talk. Would promise to “talk later” but never would follow through. If I went ahead and tried to live my life, wouldn’t contact her a few hours, she would text me and make me feel as though I wasn’t trying. Beat me down for being out with friends and displaying the “same patterns” (if I never hear that word again I will rest peacefully). She would tell me things like “Well, I was GONNA ask you to come over, but not now”. She convinced me our little reconciliation was just us ignoring all the issues which got us here, we had not made any progress, and I had not followed through. These people do a wonderful job of making you doubt yourself and making you feel as though you f’d everything up. Again. And again. And that you “should have just known what to do and what I wanted but you didn’t and just showed me the same things and guy I left because of”.
This kept on going. I begged and pleaded. And then I got mad again. Overly emotional. I felt used. Led on. And I let her know it. And she, of course, made me look as if though I was the same rage filled maniac I’ve always been. She felt fine moving on because I was the same guy. And I got more desperate.
Then, and this is where we are present date, I just knew I wasn’t this nuts. I knew, despite the “moral dominatix”, impeccable character front she put on…she was full of shit. And she was.
I set up a drop box account for her weeks before because she complained her phone storage-due to 4000 photos…most selfies…-was full. I’m a problem solver and pleaser so I went ahead and bought her $100 worth of storage so she could transfer her photos.
And then I uncovered all of it. And I got peace. All of things she had beat me down for for years…she was doing the same thing and worse. I found out she was human…and a N will make you feel as though they are on an entirely different level than you or I. She wasn’t. She started a relationship with someone else while she was still living in my home after my outburst and “had not decided yet” if she was done with me. She told me she had a friend she was staying with a couple nights a week to get peace, and that they were only friends, but the texts I got ahold of revealed all of her bullshit. She was calling him “babe”. Told him “I miss you more”, talking about rings, talking about her getting new tits (months before I bought them). . I caught them on a date (again, living in my house still) and she assured me it wasn’t a date and that it was just “a bunch of friends going out for the day.” She asked that day, for me to leave her alone for the day to think, and I found her car at his house because I knew where he lived. When I text her about it, she just went with the story they were not on a date, but with a bunch of people hanging out. Then she made me feel completely unjustified to accuse her.
Then she did the same thing to this guy: brought him in, gave him hope, and discarded. I have the text screen shots. Started accusing him of seeing someone else. He pleaded and back tracked and tried to explain. Done with him.
Then she was on to the next one, a guy she met when we were still engaged, although nothing happened at that time (I’m sure it did but have no proof). This was the guy in California I discussed earlier. The “industry guy” who wanted more and who she may have given the same indication to but that “I had nothing to worry about” after our reconciliation. She had sex with him that weekend. After telling me that wouldn’t happen. And then had sex with me that same day. Never said a word. Of course, it was because “I didn’t ask”. She “would have told me” if I had asked”. But I got more beatings for things-same things- I did when we were not “fully committed” than you’ll ever know. Different for an N.
After confronting her about all of this, getting ridiculously full of rage and angry, she, per usual, told me she had done nothing wrong. Nothing like what I had done. And then made me feel like I was a lunatic who needed help. This is after she cut into me about my sexual performance, inability to satisfy her for years, how she faked every orgasm, and why she was forced to have sex with him despite us reconciling: I just wasn’t “doing it for her” and it was “just sex but I loved you and not him”
After all of this, I got turned onto this blog by my mother. And now I feel ok with “no contact”. I won’t fuel it. My friends and family have watched this go on and have told me repeatedly I was a shadow of my former self, to have some self respect, and that they were all throwing up their hands. I never listened. I am now. We all know dealing with an N is an addiction and there is nothing rationale about it. I’ve tried to explain this to those who have been left shaking their head. It you are not actually going through it, you don’t know. It’s hard to get out. But I’ve had that “a ha” moment and have gotten clarity.
Good luck to all of you.
@PJ – I read your post. Every single word.
I’m a woman, and I hate certain misogynistic words that are commonly used to put women down. But when reading your story, every possible expletive, including the dreaded “B” and “C” word, came to my mind when reading what your ex did to you.
I am relieved and happy to see that you finally had your aha moment. I hope that you are no longer stuck in this.
My experience was similar. I totally get it. The first red flag that appeared to me in your story was how your ex said “You’re the one, don’t cheat on me.” After 48 freaking hours.
My ex — he also had model-level good looks — said something very similar when we first met and when he was smitten by me. Instead of leaving him then and there, I stayed for two years and suffered a similar fate. I financially supported that piece of shit and allowed him to isolate me from my friends. I was also constantly defending myself because he was ALWAYS questioning my whereabouts like he was a cop.
Ns have their own special way of twisting stories, externalizing blame, making you feel crazy and drawing you into their bullshit. I wouldn’t (and don’t) tolerate this kind of behavior from anyone else, not even from my boss (being interrogated). I can’t quite articulate it, but Ns have this way of backing you into a corner, putting you on the defense and getting you to fight when you don’t want to.
I hope you know that your ex will never be happy. She is a shell of a human being, is incapable of supporting herself and incapable of connecting with anyone. She is a vapid, empty vessel. She will never experience love.
They are energy stealers, psychic vampires.
Didn’t you just feel DRAINED being around her? I’ve learned that feeling this way when being around or after seeing someone means that they are sucking the life out of you.
To me, the kind of life that Ns lead sounds worse than any notion of a hell that any religion could conjure up.
I really hope we all walk away from our experiences finally knowing what we are worth. That normal, healthy people do not say such things (make ridiculous, fairy tale platitudes) when meeting someone.
We all WILL get over this!
I can’t stop reading all of your articles and finally all the pieces come into one. You gave me the strength to really walk away from the person I can’t help and instead help myself.
Thank you so much!
You articulate the disorder beautifully. Again, beautifully explained.
Finding your Esteemolgy site has been a lifesaver and life changer. Thank you so much for all the wisdom contained in your brilliant articles. I have been involved with a N for over 16 years which is off and on and which is not satisfying or good for me but just reflects my own sickness of low self esteem etc etc. we are now separated and today I was missing him and then I forget why I needed out. Then I read today’s article and I was so pleased I am maintaining the No Contact rule. Thank for reminding me that I have to stop playing detective on his life and his sickness and just put one foot in front of the other to heal me bec that is the only power I have. Thank you again for the wisdom, hope and love that you send out
Excellent piece of writing– married to a ‘narc’ for 42 years always knew something was not right– thought it was my imagination until the day he put a note on the door and ran off to a ‘skank’ in Florida– only explanation I got was that I was too smart and that he wasn’t happy because he was a perfectionist. Learning about NP D has helped me understand — I worked ivory hard to please him and make him happy but in the end he still left. Needless to say I was destroyed, now I am learning to put my life back together. Thank you for your insightful writings.
i wonder if it was the same skank in Fl that preyed on my narc
Rightly said that they tend to paint themselves as the perfect person. I have to not care what others think, how many people wonder, “Why did she leave him?” I left him to save myself. I know that. And no one else has to understand. And, yes, by the way, his father was mean and his mother was doting. Fortunately for our daughter, he was not mean to her till she became a teenager and after a couple of years of that I pulled the plug. My daughter seems to be doing well, so I’m always hoping that I raised her with firm lovingness; at any rate, I did the best I could and she seems stable.
My N has a similar story.
His dad was a total deadbeat, drug addict and abusive toward his mother. His mother got a divorce when he and his older brother were small children. The dad never paid child support, nor helped her and the family financially. Sounds like he wasn’t around much and involved in his sons’ lives.
When I met my N’s mom, something about their relationship and interaction gave me the creeps. I couldn’t put my finger on it, but the attachment and interaction was bizarre and just not normal to me. She was overly doting with my N and his brother, consistently praising them for their alleged “abilities” that they have (when neither of them have accomplished much in life) and their looks. She would make remarks about how handsome my N and his brother were, and it made my skin crawl. It was not the way a mother talks to her son. …. it was almost the way that pageant moms talk about their children, like objects. What made it even weirder to me is that they both look EXACTLY like their father.
She was overly critical of me, my N’s brother’s ex wife and any new woman who dated him, as though we were not good enough for her sons, when really, it is her sons who have NOTHING to bring to the table in a relationship.
Both my N and his brother have no ambition or desire to work and they are in their mid-30s. Mom has paid for everything. Cars. Debts. Expenses for her grandchildren (the brother’s children). They cannot and do not know how to support themselves. In their relationships, they both seek out women with low self-esteem who will support them. It’s been a point of contention for the mother in her new marriage – her husband is a no-nonsense, self-made man who works very hard, and they fight all the time whenever she gives her sons money, helps them out, etc.
In a very candid conversation I had with my N’s stepfather, he told me that the mother was clearly overcompensating for their real dad not being around, but in the end had raised two “mama’s boys.” She bought them whatever they wanted when they were little. In high school, they were never disciplined and ran the household. As teenage boys, they had girls over at the house and were always drinking and smoking weed. In front of her. And she let them. She talked to them like a friend, not like a parent that is to be feared.
Coming from a strict household, this blows my mind. My parents (and I’m sure many of yours), never would have tolerated such behavior.
I don’t think their mother intended to raise two monsters and leeches. She went without, for a very long time, to give her sons everything she could. I can’t imagine how hard it is raise two boys alone. She managed to never say anything bad about their father, and was always positive and diplomatic. But to this day, she enables them. She continues to bail them out and makes them feel entitled, all the while telling them how “amazing” they are, when they really need a swift kick in the you-know-what.
Now when I’m out and about, especially at a restaurant, and see a child misbehaving horribly in public and the parent being overly doting and not doing anything to correct the child, it makes we wonder if I’m seeing a narcissist in the making.
It’s emotional incest between the mother and sons.
In my experience in gathering stories from dozens of women with bad husbands, the number one reason a man remains arrested in his emotional / psychological development is the inordinate mother/son tie.
It’s a worse impediment to growing up than physical abuse by the father, witnessing the father abuse the mother throughout childhood, and even worse than male on male childhood sexual abuse – 3 other things that cause deep harm to a developing persona and cause arrested development.
However, as Savannah says, it’s a mixed bag on how a lifelong malignant narcissist is brewed. And, it’s impossible to unfurl nature from nurture.
Here’s an example of cultural quicksand: In just recent times, what was a way we were advised on how to tell if a man would be a good husband? Answer: Look at how he treats his mother. If he treats her well, then he’ll be a good husband.
Wrong-o! (When the mother/son relationship is too close. Falls under the principle: A good thing, taken too far, becomes bad.)
When the son treats his mother like his emotional wife, he has little to no room to emotionally bond to his actual wife. His mother makes it too easy for him to run back to love and comfort, when his actual wife starts asking for some reciprocation.
It takes a miracle for that emotional boy in a man’s body to decide to grow up when he’s getting love elsewhere, regardless of how poorly he treats his actual wife and children.
You make some good points Danna, but I don’t entirely agree with you. If we are talking about an emotionally stunted man, or even just a mama’s boy, then you have definitely hit the mark. but if we’re talking about how Narcissism develops, an inappropriate relationship with a parent is part of the equation, not the whole equation. And I definitely wouldn’t say that it is worse than physical or sexual abuse. Some Narcissists hate their mother entirely and some have this strange attachment – I would never call it a mother/son bond per se because Narcissists don’t form attachment bonds to anyone, but I would say that a Narcissist’s mother is an excellent and never ending source of supply and for the inverted Narcissists out there, a good source of financial support as well.
Savannah,were we married to the same guy? My ex’s childhood mirrored your ex’s. I am now dealing with a 19 year old son who believes everything his dad says and I am the monster. Do you have any advice?
That’s a tough one Edee. Your son is an adult free to make his own decisions. Narcissists don’t play fair and need everyone on their side. When my ex left me he actually went to my friend’s house to explain his decision – it was so bizarre. They have a pathological need to be right and perceived as the good guy. He doesn’t care what bad mouthing you will do to the relationship you have with your son. The only thing I can suggest to you is that you talk it out with your son. Explain everything as best you can and allow him to make his own choices.
This article is ALIVE! I have been reading and learning over the past few months and you, Miss Gray have been so very THERAPEUTIC for my life!!!! I have learned a hard lesson on NPD, but I now know what I don’t need or want in my life. I know that I have ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO WITH THIS!!!!!!!THE NARC I WAS INVOLVED WITH is just a very sick person…. funny thing, I’ve been dating this guy recently, I’m running Away!!!!!!!!!!!! He is a Narc, I see it all over him, lol!!!! Anyway, Thank you Savannah, you’re FABULOUS:)
@Shay Shay — Oh no, the new guy is a narc, too?
Thank you Savannah brilliant article. I seem to be surrounded by them and attract them. I may also have had tendancies when younger. I think because I am empathic I attract them. I have been left a few times & see very ego centric, narcisstic, psychopathic people all the time. Also manipulators as well as lots of jealousy so I def have trust issues.