On Strategies for Dealing with Narcissists in Family and Social Circles

I find I’m getting regular private messages now from people who see a Narcissist in their lives, and want to know where to go, and what to read, to figure out how to deal with them. It has made me realize, this site may give excellent info on how to deal with Narcissists in the political world, and in public debate within that world, but terrible info on how to deal with them in the personal world. So here are some comments and questions I have heard, and thoughts on them.

My Narcissist is only a moderate version of what you describe…..

Maybe, maybe not. Narcissists are like deep cover CIA operatives, only more so, because they don’t remember a time when they weren’t operating under a cover identity – it is second nature to them, and they often will even convince themselves that their cover identity is real. They really are nice, selfless, discriminated against, victimized, etc. See that Narcissist who just shot up his office? He really believed he had been victimized, when his boss fired him for raging at his coworkers every day, and threatening to kill them. It was the boss’s fault.

When the Narcissist was a child, and they let their noxious personality range free and unfettered, their peers recognized them as defective in some regard, and tormented them. They quickly realized they needed to pretend to be normal, and they did. Every time they transgressed as a child, by letting their real personality out, they were punished with ostracization. As a result, they ended up conditioned from their earliest years, like a child prodigy, to never allow anyone to know what they are, or how they think. Combined with their neural wiring, designed to believe whatever makes them feel good, they ended up being like evil secret agents who believed their own noble cover. It’s very difficult to read a person easily, when they probably can’t read themselves.

Their ability to manipulate is enhanced because they see others around them who are so different – people bound by human urges the Narcissist views as patently ridiculous. Highlighted by their perceived anomaly, these “human” urges quickly become an easy means of manipulating their peers, further allowing them to conceal their motives and behavioral drives. You do something nice, once, to earn loyalty, and then you harken back to it every time you screw your victim, so they feel you are loyal, and you aren’t screwing them purposely. In the Narcissist’s mind, it is ridiculously simple, and you are stupid for not seeing it. In your mind, “Why would he screw me when we have a loyal relationship, and I would go to bat for him?”

As young Narcissists, these individuals will have been molded relentlessly by these circumstances, to be Mozarts of the Machiavellian world, playing the people around them like fine musical instruments. They have been rigorously trained, from the earliest ages, and being young will have more than enough cognitive capacity to mask their noxious natures behind facades which appear all too real. As they get older, they lose cognitive capacity, and the mask will begin to slip. Additional stresses, like advancing age, reduced attractiveness, and others around them who are young and have their whole lives ahead of them, will all coalesce into a psychic stress which will further erode cognitive capacity. At this point, they will become much easier to spot. But when young, and on top of the world, they can be very difficult to understand.

I can spot Narcissists over 50 very quickly – and I view that as quite good. Their facial expressions, mannerisms, and patterns of speech are astonishingly predictable and consistent to me. But show me a 22 year old, beautiful fashion model with malignant narcissism, and I can easily miss it. She will smile a dazzlingly beautiful, practiced smile at all the right moments, say the right things, and act the right way.

The bottom line is, if you have noticed something moderately wrong, especially in a young Narcissist, you have just out-composed Mozart, in a music composing competition – even though you know nothing of music composition. Even if you only won by a hair, Mozart must have been under one hell of a handicap, and your Narcissist may be hiding one hell of a problem.

I would assume the worst – that I was facing an astonishingly human-like machine, programmed to screw me over at every turn, while trying to look normal, and hide all of this from me. That way, I may be pleasantly surprised to be off in my prediction, but I wouldn’t be caught sleeping.

What do you mean “caught Sleeping?”

Watch any TV show about some person who let another person into their life, and ended up missing or dead. 48 Hours is a good one, as is Dateline. None of the victims saw it coming, or they wouldn’t be dead now. Narcissists operate by different rules – to the point that they are, on one level, baffled by your humanity, and on another, amused by its illogical nature – but it is more than that. They are damaged, in a way that they become panicked if they do not do certain things – regardless of whether those things are logical. So they are driven to hurt others by an envy which will destroy them if they do not yield to its whim. Then they see normal people, not so driven, and tell themselves that they are not damaged, but rather the other people are stupid to not try to advance their own position by screwing others.

In the end, you have a person who thinks they can do anything to you, is driven to screw you by an unrelenting envy and illogical anger at trifles, views you as deserving it due to your inferiority, and in whom all of this coalesces into a psychic force which they cannot ignore, and which they must satisfy.

Now you may not end up dead, but you must understand, it is all a scale. Maybe they contaminate your water bottles with something to try to give you cancer, after you get a big job promotion. Maybe they poison your dog with something to make it sick, so you won’t be so happy all the time. Maybe they just break your stuff, so you have less stuff, and they don’t feel like you are doing so well compared to them. Or maybe they put a bomb under your car, or fill your house with Carbon Monoxide (Two real examples from the TV Shows I spoke about). You can get caught sleeping, because you won’t see just how defective they are, until you realize they are going to kill you, and it is too late to stop them.

If you don’t understand how they operate, and how they think, you will not see these things. You just got cancer – I mean the alternative was someone in your circle gave it to you, and that is ridiculous. Your dog must have picked up a stomach bug somewhere – I mean, the alternative is that someone poisoned your dog, but who would do that? Yeah, Larry broke your stuff, but it must have been an accident – The alternative is, he did it on purpose, but you two are friends/family/whatever – why would he destroy that loyal relationship? Or, all of a sudden, it’s “Holy crap, I’m being killed by this nutjob, and am about to die!”

In short, if you don’t understand how differently they think, you can get caught sleeping, and end up enduring bad circumstances you should not be enduring.

Can you point me to websites or books which will tell me how to deal with one on a regular basis.

Yes, and no. You need to understand the malady better, so that you realize how badly you need to break free from any relationship with a Narcissist.

Good websites on them are this one, this one, and this one.

These sites will explain how weird and destructive these individuals are. But you will not find a lot on coping with them, because there is no dealing with them on a long-term basis.

If we were talking about a child, I would explain it like this. You have a Terminator robot, which looks about 16 years old. It was sent back from the future, and it is programmed to kill you as soon as possible. But it is also programmed to be stealthy and charming, so your wife decided to adopt it as a child, and it is now living in a bedroom in your basement. Is there a way to deal with this Terminator robot on a daily basis, which will make it easier to interact with?

Only in real life, your Terminator is a biological robot designed to make you miserable, destroy any happy moments you may enjoy, and get progressively worse if you try to stop this. (Once in established relationships, Narcissists hate the sight of happy people, and will act out passive/aggressively or aggressively to destroy the happiness. It is what they do. And it will only get worse. The longer you stay around them, the more they think you have to stay, and the less they try to hide what they are, by being nice.)

How do you deal with it? There are three ways. Pacify through appeasement, insult the Narcissist by being angry, or Escape and Evade.

If you pacify through appeasement, the Narcissist will quickly begin to feel omnipotent. They will increasingly lash out, and when appeased, feel ever more powerful themselves, and be ever more contemptuous of you. They aren’t designed to be benign dictators under these circumstances. They are designed to pacify their amygdala in ever-increasing amounts, by reinforcing their own self-perception of their omnipotence. They will do that by grinding you into the ground ever harder, without suffering consequence.

So one day you get angry, and lash back out at them. Suddenly they are nice. How weird. You were nice, and they were mean, now you are mean, and they are nice. It makes no sense.

To the Narcissist, you are a tool, to be manipulated to satisfy them. If you lash out, your utility is in jeopardy, so they appease you. But again, it is the facade appeasing you, not them. Inside, they have made note of what a prick you are for lashing out at them. Though smiling, they have made a note to get back at you later, probably behind your back. Their amygdala will force them to. This is why they are often referred to as “grievance accumulators.” They accumulate grievances deep within the recesses of their minds, until their amygdala is so overloaded by their perceived victimization, that they are forced to take action.

You can’t predict where that point will come, or how it will manifest. Will you notice your 18 year Single Malt tastes funny, and then you get mildly sick for a day or two? Does he accidentally knock over your wife’s favorite vase and break it? Are you suddenly taking cover behind the engine block of your car, as the bullets rain down on your position? Or does the Narcissist never take action, and die an angry, festering POS? You can’t tell ahead of time how it will play out, because they are deep cover operatives, hiding who they truly are.

Should I use the Touching the Raw Amygdala stuff on them?

I advise against this in family situations, just because that battlefield can be so complicated. Narcissists are deep cover operatives, with a lifetime of experience socially manipulating others. Let’s say you lash out, and do a number on him. He may be able to use that to turn the family against you. Worse, let’s say he is your wife’s dad, and she is daddy’s little girl.

His move will almost certainly be to out-group you in the family. He will begin by trying to provoke you at every get together, but in a way he can deny was provocative. He will carefully plan these interactions weeks in advance, preparing a flawless delivery. If you take him down, as you easily could, he will portray the discord as coming from you, and portray himself as the victim of an angry, bitter, mental defective. “Why is he such a mean person to me?,” he will ask everyone innocently.

Over time, he can create a theme, and then give his daughter the ultimatum. Or he can just focus on trying to make her think you are disloyal, cheating etc. Let a girl who is ignorant of a Narcissist’s ways hear from daddy that you were spotted out at lunch with a hot blonde, matching the description of your secretary, sucking your face like a lamprey, and you have problems. If he is proven to be wrong, he can always claim he was mistaken, but if he can’t be proven wrong, now the seed is planted.

For a psychology which grew up manipulating everyone around them and deceiving at every opportunity, this is just normal behavior, and they will be good at it. There are no rules. They could poison themselves and go to the ER, after creating the theme of you as unbalanced and hostile towards them, and then hide a bottle of the poison in your bedroom. Now your wife is wondering. “I mean surely he wouldn’t poison himself. Somebody did it, and you are the only one he has problems with. Oh, my God, you are so sick you poisoned my Dad?

You could end up divorced, stripped from your children, or worse. So open confrontation is a dubious proposition, if family is involved. You won’t know how bad your Narcissist is, until he has shown you by doing something crazy. Until then, you can’t predict how far he will go.

If you want to play the game, you need to shift focus from traumatizing the Narcissist, (or even make every effort not to), and focus on in-grouping yourself, and out-grouping them, below the radar. That means deploying the Heartiste arsenal of cocky-funny, and out-come indifferent about everything, being the guy everybody loves, and occasionally dropping asides and innuendo designed to turn the group against the relative, below the radar, of course. Point out to the Narcissist how much better his other Son-in-Law has it than he does, and send him in that direction. When confrontation opens up, tell everyone behind the scenes it is the Narcissist who is wrong, and in-group the other Son-in-Law, below the radar. Trip his switch with dog whistles to make him rage, while you are always happy-go-lucky with everybody. Make it clear the anger is always from him. Make sure you can’t be accused of infidelity, or child molestation, or any transgression.

But even this is dangerous. You are a normal human being going up against a target who has done nothing but manipulate others every moment of his life, from the earliest social interactions he had. You are an individual who is driven by your amygdala to follow rules, and you are going up against someone who is driven by his amygdala to break rules. You will be disadvantaged.

Een worse, by the very fact that you are playing his game, you are being deceptive, and that could be turned against you if it comes out, especially if your relatives are normal people. Let your wife find out you were bad-mouthing her Daddy behind his back, and fomenting discord, and suddenly you are playing defense again.

It is for this reason, you should either evade and escape, or patiently wait until the Narcissist grows old enough that he can no longer hide what he is, and everyone comes to see the true him. One thing about these characters, when they operate within a group. Eventually everyone in the group notices something is wrong, and one day one comment turns into a flood of note-comparisons, and suddenly everyone sees the Narcissist for what they are. It is very much like the old Sun Tzu adage, “Sit by the river long enough, and the bodies of your enemies will float by.”

But never forget, they are dangerous in many ways if you approach them recklessly, before the crowd has figured them out.

What if my Narcissist is my Boss, Son, Daughter, Father, Neighbor, Employee, etc.

Again, I can’t comment in a way which will help you without knowing the exact scenario – in a way which would really require me to be there. What is the power dynamic? Does the Narcissist need you, or do you need him? How have you known him, and for how long? If you grew up together you will have a specific dynamic to your relationship which was forged in childhood, and which will be unchangeable (Narcissists do not adapt behavior well, preferring to shoehorn everyone into simple cubbyholes of classification). Does your Narcissist associate you with someone he knew in childhood. If you are his wife, but he views his relationship to you in terms of the relationship he had with his mother, then many of his behaviors will only be understandable and predictable in that context. For more See the book Games People Play, by Eric Berne.

When you factor in the variation in Narcissist types, the different degrees of the disorder, the social terrain of the family’s different relationship bonds, the differing amounts of access the Narcissist has to various aspects of your life and property, and the different personalities and social dynamics in your social web, it is too complicated to comment on without a lot of personal information. Even then, if one detail is missed, or your execution of the strategy is off in any way, you can have a real problem.

I can’t emphasize enough, life is so much better without these jackasses in it. There is a cost to being around them. If you don’t accept this, then you have been around your’s so long you have forgotten how great life is. I wouldn’t even be surprised that you are lamenting your low energy levels, and/or reduced health, and the difficulty of realizing all of your potential. Get away, by any means necessary, and never look back. And never, ever, feel you owe the Narcissist anything. They are sub-human, and deserve nothing. Best of all, by doing this you will preserve your relationships with the people you care about, while they gradually figure out who the Narcissist is, and break from him themselves.

I really feel bad for people who have to deal with this. If I can help I will, but I want people to recognize that the Narcissist can be dangerous, especially if they are under 40 years old. If I give you advice, and I miss the smallest detail, that advice could work out badly, and that is something I want to avoid at all costs.

Can you go into more detail?

The above material was expanded upon, into a book. This is a link to an old blog post on the book. The Kindle version of the book is usually made free on the same days as the political book on this site, so if you can’t afford it and can wait, go to http://www.anonymousconservative.com, and sign up to be notified when the political book is made free, and then just download the narcissist book on that day. As of this writing we have used all our free days, so the next free day will probably be around late September, whenever the new Kindle release period begins. If you are liberal, and hate conservatives, you will not like the book due to some political material, so you are probably best served not downloading it. However, it is a good accumulation of insight and tactics which many should find useful.

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219 Responses to On Strategies for Dealing with Narcissists in Family and Social Circles

  1. Susan says:

    I was “friends” with people I perceived were genuine, for over ten years, I took their youngest son to school, they supported me throughout a very bad time with two sets of bad neighbours, THEN, the property next door to me became vacant, their middle son and his partner moved in, I was so happy, I had never had a cross word with this son and they have a lovely daughter, I went over to see his parents (the friends?) and was greeted with a torrent of abuse, just because I said how nice it was going to be to have nice neighbours after 5 years of hell, the real ugly narc showed its horns, she, (his mother) said right, Im telling you now, start all that S**T with my son that you have with your other neighbours and you will have ME to deal with! I will buy your house from under you, you are giving him to high expectations to live with, rant rave, threat after threat. I sat there with my mouth open, tried to deal with it, and got nowhere, and promptly left their house, never to return. Things have not been good since, although I have tried my best to ignore them, they continue to try to goad me into any kind of interaction, and just seem to want to start a fight, it has been worse since I decided to cut them out of my life, but when the mother and father live across the road and I live next door to the son, you can imagine its very difficult, they are all textbook narcs as they think they are all clever beautiful and talented, everyone else are stupid, and scumbags! You are right. Cutting of their life sucking supply is the ONLY way to go, all I can hope is that they turn there attention elsewhere, but for the meantime, I am being tormented, and moving is not an option.

    • You just have to not deal with them, and if you do, never let them feel potent or successful. Every interaction needs to be a loss, so they avoid you. Good luck.

      • Susan says:

        Thank you for replying, Unfortunately things have not improved, as even though they wanted distance from me ( I have given them that) this has made them even more determined to try and wind me up? Now if I make the slightest noise in my house, they mirror whatever they hear and try to do it longer and louder, along with running their clothes dryer (very noisy) until 11.30pm, situated right under my bedroom. (sigh) I have to admit Its really getting to me, making me ill, and I am suffering now with tinnitus, due to the buzzing of this machine constantly. I have taken everything you have said onboard, but what else could I try to do, as giving them what they want seems to have made them angrier? Thanks so much, Susan.

        • What is making them angry is that they are not seeing you miserable and cannot revel firsthand at the sight of you tortured. This is why I recommend a break in contact. If you reduce their ability to irritate you, but don’t get out of their sphere of influence, they will only freak out more at your happiness, and the situation will get worse.

          I have never found a good way to live around these people. You’d have to become like them, act out back at them, and learn to enjoy screwing with their heads as much as they enjoy screwing with your’s. But who wants to waste time on these losers?

          On mirroring noise in the house, you could try to find music you like, and keep it playing whenever possible so they can’t hear anything, but that could make them angrier. On the washing machine, can you get earphones with white noise generation, and a relaxing sounds CD, so you can’t hear the machine?

          You really need to find a way to get away, though. Everything else is a temporary solution.

  2. Marianne says:

    You mentioned you could spot a narcissist over 50 easily. Could you expand on that statement. I am now out of a marriage with my ex narcissist ( just turned 60) and at the end he did some very scary things to me. It’s been 3 years now and people are beginning to see the real person behind his façade but he still acts like he owns the world.

    Curious…….. Everything I’ve read confirms his narcissism but every once in awhile I wonder. Is someone else going to make him happy? Just my heart feels that sometimes, not my head. Crazy to still be thinking about this but I am trying so hard to let go completely.

    Hope you can help.

    Thank you

    • It is tough to explain, but older Narcissists have a sort of panicked expression, which lays beneath every other expression they make. The effect of it is to make their smiles seem plastic – kind of like they are making a face, but not feeling the emotion behind it. I think when they are young, they can lose most of their unhappiness, and make a passibly normal smile. But as they get older, they become more aware of how other people are younger and happier, and it bothers them so much that they can’t smile effectively. They are people who are crushed by defeat, and as they get older, defeat becomes mor ever present, and their unhappiness is ever harder to hide.

      Nobody will make him happy, but if he can find a suitable abuse sponge, and make them feel like crap, he may not feel as bad about his own situation, though he will have to abuse ever more as he gets older, to assuage his increasing agony.

      Your problem is, you keep projecting your sanity on him. If he’s a Narc, inside, he is profoundly, irreparably, damaged, in a way that cannot be repaired. Just keep him from doing damage to you, and know he would only be happy if you let him ruin your life. If you don’t think like them, it can be tough. Good luck.

    • Jolly Wombat says:

      So I was just wondering if when you typed “Their ability to manipulate is enhanced because they see others around them who are so different – people bound by human urges the Narcissist views as patently ridiculous. Highlighted by their perceived anomaly, these “human” urges quickly become an easy means of manipulating their peers” you were in fact perfectly describing yourself? I can only hope the irony wasn’t wasted, to be honest I almost mistook this entire page for satire by the time I got to that line. Your ridiculous attempts to dehumanize half the human race using half baked medical explanations remind me quite a bit of the end of Django unchained, where DiCaprio is explaining that slave’s brains are designed specifically to take orders. It’s amusing to think there will always be fools like you perverting the honesty of science in an effort to lend credibility to your ridiculous political notions. I can only hope we evolve beyond such conceited attempts at slander, some day. You really are quite fucked in the head.

      • I love this comment.

        First of all, this is a non-partisan page of the site, and I never use the word Liberal, but reading the description of Narcs, you immediately make the connection, and assume that is what I am describing, so you get all defensive. Of course I believe there is a connection between Liberalism and Narcissism. Both are designed to help an organism, in an environment of copious resource availability, to selfishly and hedonistically out-consume and out-reproduce their peers. It is nice to see that you see the psychological connections from your side as well. Of course, you will notice that you also show some of the traits

        “…to be honest I almost mistook this entire page for satire….”

        Narcs view themselves as experts in everything, and expect that others will view their pronouncements as dispositive, even on subjects they know nothing about. If you read the comments here, you will find that the non-partisan guests who drift here from google searches on Narcissism think this information is useful. There is even a Lib comment somewhere on this site saying my Narc stuff is good, but I should not attach it to politics, because it will impede Liberals who could benefit from my Narc material. But by all means, feel free to view yourself as the expert, if it makes you feel better.

        “Your ridiculous attempts to dehumanize half the human race…”

        My goal is not to dehumanize Liberals, but to show that we cannot get along, or live together. There is no middle ground. At some point, we will either need to separate ourselves, or one side will have to deal with the other. I would assume we can agree on that point?

        “It’s amusing to think there will always be fools like you perverting the honesty of science in an effort to lend credibility to your ridiculous political notions.”

        If you read the work here, you will notice, I don’t do much beyond point to established studies and sources, and say, “Look how similar these things are.” I didn’t make up r/K, or reproductive strategies. My description of politics is drawn from the sources I cite, which have been characterizing it for some time now. That they seem so similar, is a product of the reality that they are probably the same thing. I didn’t do the work showing Liberals have smaller amygdalae, nor did I write the studies which indicate that smaller amygdalae indicate functional deficit. I didn’t show amygdala deficit produces Kluver Bucy Syndrome, with all the traits of r, nor did I do the monkey studies showing amygdala lesions produce docility, hypersexuality, inability to judge threat, selfish consumption, and lower-investment parenting.

        That it all fits together so well, (ie. – A structure which deals with threat is used less and thereby less developed when resources are free, and this likely yields every facet of an r-strategy that is essentially the same as Liberalism, which shows volumetric deficiency in the structure on MRI. Meanwhile, when resources are restricted, the same structure is used often, develops, and the developed structure is known to produce all of the traits of K, which mirror Conservatism), that is all just because it is probably correct.

        So if you have a beef with the material on this site, you need to petition the journals which published the studies, or go after the researchers who did them. I am just the guy highlighting all the work which says the same thing.

        “I can only hope we evolve beyond such conceited attempts at slander, some day.”

        You do understand, evolution works by killing off a phenotype? So basically you are hoping the world will kill off the people who disagree with you.

        Again, I’d like to point out, the Narcissist expects a world in which everyone and everything does everything for them, and everything just happens the way they want it. Here, you hope the world will conspire in such a way that the actual forces of evolution will cull people who hold views you don’t like, for your pleasure. Wanting it would be bad enough, but you don’t even have the gumption to do it yourself. You pray to the spirits of evolution, that it may be done for you somewhere, somehow, so you can be happy, and not have to stumble upon a conflicting opinion once in a while.

        This is why I associate Liberalism and Narcissism in other areas of this site. If you look at the modern Liberal, they hate the Tea Party with a passion, and like you, wish evolution would cull it for them. Why?

        Tea Partiers aren’t even Social Conservatives. They have one issue. They want to be left alone, to enter into volitional relationships with other free people. But to a Liberal, every single person not cheerfully doing what the Liberal wants is a sin worthy of any punishment, even Darwinian culling. If the Tea Party doesn’t want to cheerfully give all their earned money to the Liberal’s big government for redistribution, they deserve to die. If they won’t cheerfully surrender the gun they use to protect their family, they are horrid people who deserve anything. If they won’t give up their present healthcare which works, and suffer under the fucked up mess of a system the Liberal has created in every other National Healthcare System, they should die. If every person who is strong in some way doesn’t make themselves weak with a smile, to assuage the Liberal’s insecurity at their own cowardice and weakness, they deserve to die. If everyone won’t tell the Liberals how wonderful they are, all the time, they deserve to be culled.

        Of course the kicker is, the Liberal wants them to be culled by evolution because they don’t have the balls to hoist a gun themselves, the conviction to assume the risks which go with that, or the selflessness of an individual willing to put it all on the lines for their convictions. Liberals just know the whole world should do it for them, while they sit poolside with a mojito and a smile. Yep, nothing like the Narc.

        If you’ve ever seen the impotent, raging temper tantrum a Narcissist throws when reality tells them to go fuck, you know what is coming for the Liberals in the world. Resources are about to snap back soon. When they do, you are going to find out that the world isn’t exactly designed to just give you what you want. Unless you are willing to fight and die for it, it isn’t going to happen.

  3. christine says:

    You have no idea how right you are. Great article. I was unfortunate enough to marry and divorce one. I had children with him and he is now digging up the divorce. The great thing about throwing a bag full of shit at a ceiling fan is usually some of it falls on the person throwing it. My personal advice, attack their reasoning. Make your faults known publicly and they will quickly run out of gas. Know why you did things the way you did so you are not putting on the “uh…I don’t know” face in court or social situations. If you have to talk to one face to face or on the phone, have someone there with you or be on three way. Its harder for them to treat you like crap when they are being held accountable in real time. Do not respond to any allegation or comment they make with excuses, its not their place to invade your life. Instead appear shocked that they would even say such things and leave immediately. Let them know its their fault for leaving the conversation and you are not discussing it with them. Be ready to leave them at all times. Do not get stuck with one. The more they know about you the more they can destroy you. What you two talk about may seem innocent and basic but to them they are always gathering evidence to damn you later. Do not do favors for them. Do not overly praise their efforts. Show little emotion. Screw it…just run! Run for the hills.

    • Excellent advice. I’m glad you got free, and learned the lesson.

    • Nana says:

      OMG I just wish I knew all of this before. How on earth this type of people does even exist? But I’m happy because I couldn’t understand the X and father of my daughter life inconsistencies and instability as he thinks something, says something, and than does something completely different. Not mentioning the falseness, all smiley in front, and backstabbing as soon as you left. Oh and also the fake altruism, it’s all about how people perceive them, they are 2 different people, behind closed doors (where they can treat you like crap) and in front of everyone (where you are the princess of the world).
      I think the best way for to deal with them, is to bring the whole puzzle pieces together and throw an ultimate Shame Strategy so everyone know the actual person, not what they try to pretend to be.

  4. C says:

    I Need Help in the worst possible way. You see I am the victim of a Narc. she is my Aunt , My Motheres sister. I am only 5 years younger so I grew up with her. I Really believed we were very close..we even double dated together. I have no memories of childhood or any time in my life she was not in . She is Now 65 and 5 years ago she got a divorce and she has turned against me so much I can not describe it. I was warned years ago but always said the same thing Oh that just her way. Now she has so much hate so much venom against me and anyone I associate with. She even made passes at my husband and now is working to discredit both of us. not only in the family but also our church and any one she thinks may know us even remotely. She got so devilish with me she was insulting me to my face, but usually with no witnesses. I finally Had to change my phone number and the locks on my doors, because she had a key to them.
    Now that’s really made her mad and she is so full of hate towards us it’s plain scary.
    I love this woman, can’t help it. She has always been in my life. Now all the people that’s ever been in my life , she is convincing them I am the Bad one, with outlandish Lies .

    We have a very Large extended family she is around all the time. now it’s so bad I can,t go around most of them because they are believing this. Why ? I have no Idea…They won’t even ask me for my side. I did not want to go and start telling my side because I thought it was wrong and now it’s just too late. they seemed to have fallen under her spell or something.

    I can’t seem to rest or sleep , my mind is in so much turmoil . she has ruined us and my whole world it seems and there is nothing I can do. I have not seen or spoken with her for 10 months, we were talking nearly very day before she made the last pass at my husband . there were Three and I just had to do what I have done.
    Is there anything at all I can do?

    • These things are tougher to maneuver yourself, than they are to imagine maneuvering. I can give you advice, but the truth is what you need to do is very difficult, so it may seem like I am giving impossible advice. I will give it anyway, because there really aren’t any alternatives for you.

      First, is you have to stop caring about what the rest of your family thinks, and what everyone esle thinks. Narcs are manipulators, and sometimes they are good at it, and you can’t win that game. In this situation, you should have priorities, and what people outside of your husband think, should be down on the list. At the top of the list is that you find a way to never see the Narc. Cut off all ties, and if that means drifting from family who is associated with her, so be it. Just get away from her. I can hear the stress in your writing, and that is bad, becasue the Narc will know she is having that effect, and gain strength from it. When you come back here with a, “who gives a fuck what that dumb bitch does!” attitude, your Narc will be crushed, and will look for someone else to attack.

      Once you divorce yourself from that environment, the Narc will begin to focus on someone else in that circle. It is what they do. She’s getting older, she is seeing others who are younger and having fun, and she can’t take it- she needs to make someone else more stressed than she is. If you leave that social circle, she will gradually attack others in it, and eventually, they will see her for what she is. Then you can go back, and everyone will marvel that they didn’t see it sooner. For now, just treat them decent, and imply your beef with the Narc is a personal disagreement, unrelated to your relationship with them. If somebody brings it up, downplay it, and say it is a disagreement between you and the Narc, and you are aghast she is dragging others into it (implying you would never be so rude as to disrupt a friend’s social life by involving them in a fight with someone else.) Compartmentalize the problem, and make it clear it does not involve anyone else, nor do you want it to, and imply the friends should compartmentalize you and the Narc. Make it clear they don’t have to pick sides, and can be friends with both of you as far as you are concerned. If a lie comes up, refute it, but just shake your head in exasperation, and lament, “How can she just lie like that?” Then drop it, because it isn’t your friend’s problem, nor do you want it to be.

      Once you are free, recognize that every fond memory you have of the Narc is an illusion. It is fucked up, I know. But they are pretenders, and she was always wearing a mask – she was always like this, she just hid it from you, and fooled you into thinking she was another person. As they get older, they stop caring if you see behind the mask, and just let out what was inside all along. But she was always like this. Now you know what she is. It won’t settle in, you will feel sorry for her, view her as sick, a victim of her illness, etc. That’s natural, but don’t give in to it. Eventually though, you will recognize she is pure evil, and that will be your closure. You treated her better than she deserved, and now you know, and she is fucked and you are free.

      The big thing is, recognize her goal is to engage with you, even through relatives, and then try to get you stressed. Your goal is to disengage, and have nothing to do with her. If you want to screw with her, have a relative pass a story to her about some great vacation you took to the Bahamas, and how much fun you had. Otherwise, cut her out, completely, and make sure you never see her again. If it means missing family functions, do it, and tell your family, she is just too angry around you, you don’t want to risk a scene.

      I wish I could tell you it is easy, but it won’t be. I can tell you, it will get better, as you cut her out of your life. You’re in the trough right now, but a peak is coming, if you stick with the plan, and cut her out completely.

      Good luck.

      PS – If you are wondering what changed, it was the divorce. Before, she was using her husband as the abuse sponge – fucking him over to feel better about herself. Once he figured it out and bailed, she needed another sponge, and you just happened to be closest (plus you were happily married, which made her envious and angry given how she was just dumped – that’s why she targeted your husband. Narcs are weired that way.). That is how screwed up she is.

      Get away from her, and she will proceed to go through every relative you have in common, starting with the most happily married. After she’s tried to bang a few more husbands, she will have a reputation, and you will reap sympathy, as everyone realizes how screwed up she is. On the bright side, you will get some interesting stories from the others, once the dust clears. Just don’t get invovled, until she has fully outed herself.

      Now, go pour yourself an ice cold lemoncello, and enjoy a sunset.

      • Molly says:

        I cannot believe how utterly awesome, informative and wise this piece is! You know Narcisists through and through! I feel like I could tell you my specific situation and you would know exactly how to deal with it. In my case – my family and friendship circle is Full of them. They love me as I seem to be the type they thrive on in order to build up their power & ego. I know what you mean about how the narcissists are eventually flushed out when they get older. It’s happening! And as I’m researching & noticing criteria, I am distancing myself and putting in boundaries and they hate me for it- and use social rejection and isolation to try to kill my identity & smear my character- yet they have needed me. You are right… They ARE very dangerous and seek to destroy- they use social groups, subtle nasty remarks laced with smiles and “I knew you wouldn’t

        Thankyou for sharing such valuable information about these bastards that need to all be deported to an island and just turn on each other until their species is completely wiped out for good!

        • Personally, I would prefer a wild-ass pogrom, but putting them all on an island would work too.

          I’m am very sorry you have a Narcissist problem, and even sorrier it is an aging Narcissist problem.
          On knowing how to deal with them, I should be clear – even understanding them is of limited value. Dealing with a Narc is like getting kicked in the groin. All the knowledge and training in the world won’t make it much easier. In the end, you are still taking a shot to the groin.

          The ultimate answer is to structure a plan to get free, no matter how long it takes, and then look forward to the day you can get up in the morning, and just deal with nice people all day long. Until then, don’t give them access to your food or drink so they won’t be able to poison/infect you, and be very suspicious if they suddenly get nice, or things just seem a little off. That little indice could be indicative of a much larger problem coming. Even if you know how bad they are, they can still surprise you.

          Above all, be grateful you have survived. There are some who deal with them, who only reach your level of understanding as they are laying on their back, looking up at the Narc who is, surprisingly, killing them. No matter how bad it is or was, there are those who have had it much, much worse. Never forget how lucky you are.

          God bess. I hope you enjoy your freedom in good health and happiness.

          • sandmaninverted says:

            I fell asleep on the couch the night before the breakup of a 14 month relationship with an ex girlfriend narc (a few clicks over 40 and cracking) and woke to her standing over me with both hands covering my mouth and nose in a suffocation attempt. She had been working the new sucker for a few months and asked me earlier to “disappear.” I was catching on by then but wasn’t giving in because I’m mildly sadistic and I have to admit, although a real and present danger to my health (all), it was entertaining. The best advice is to cut and run. Actually if you know someone you’d like to obliterate, you can turn them on to your narc and save yourself from being stalked.
            I wouldn’t be too horribly awful if they didn’t have to get violent and commit felonies an homicide. Can’t we just all get along? Very helpful article.

      • Kim says:

        I love this! I am getting pretty good at dealing with the Narcissits in my life after 20 years, but I needed this refresher. Disengage!

  5. karen says:

    thank you x all of the above makes sense to me after 21 years and a daughter with problems,

  6. C says:

    Thank you so much for taking time to respond with such honesty. I appreciate it very much. I have separated myself from this Narc. But am suffering for it. family Members seem to be believing her and of course feel so sorry for her. I feel sorry for her, but not that way..I feel sorry that anyone has to live in such a terrible state.
    I want to know , since she has moved closer to the bulk of family, and seems to be starting some of this behavior with another relative, Could she be dangerous? I mean in the Physicial sense? could She really do bodily Harm?
    thank you again This is eye opening!

    • Yes, she could be dangerous. But not in a radical, mass-shooter way. If she’s the type or Narc to be dangerous, she would put something in someone’s food, and then commiserate with them when they got sick. Narcs will often even end up killing those who support them, thereby destroying their own lives. When the urge to lash out is there, it doesn’t factor in how such an act can screw up their own lives, which is why you won’t see it coming. It’s why people in those cases so often say, “Why would they do this, when it destroyed their life more than anyone else’s?” The illogical nature is actually a shield from detection.

      Just keep your distance, if you think she’s the type.

  7. Judy says:

    Thanks so much for the insight – I just spent a few days away from home visiting my family and I am all hurt, confused and trying to understand what part of what is happening is my fault – what sin is mine to confess. It as always been like this when I visit my family. But three years ago my sister went too far – she really hurt me – I felt it through my heart and my gut and I have to say that it is not even something I can repeat it is that ugly. Of course she has done this over the years and I have done my best to protect myself – up until then, as she is a little sister, and I had always forgiven her – I need to add here that never did she ever ask for forgiveness – it is as if she feels she has lisence to discredite, undermine, and spin negativity with even the brightess of light. Since the last major incident, three years ago, I have been determined to keep her out of my life – I say as little as possible to her as I can about my life. Now I have our other sister and our mom determined to have me make peace with her. I have become the problem, apparently, as our family no longer has the illusion of a big happy family. I am not angry with her, I forgave her but I feel I am the fool if I keep putting myself in harms way – I am doing my best to keep her away to protect myself from further pain. I have tried all of the other strategies to deal with her – nothing works – somewhere along the line she started being in competition with me – a game she is playing by herself. Thank you again, I have a better understanding of what is happening and I am more sure than ever that what I feel I need to do is the right thing. Stay away from her.

  8. Anonymous says:

    You mentioned… If I am involved with a narcissist, the best option is to evade and never look back. What if this person (the N) is the father of my child? It’s not so easy to escape… And I DO NOT want to “appease” him or show anger. What can I do? Do you have info on where I can seek help? We were never married, nor is there a parenting plan. In my state, him and I have equal rights right now. I’m lucky that he is gone in another
    State for the next year for career purposes, and my child will have a normal life with me until then (she isn’t even a year old yet)…. But I’m so fearful for what’s to come in the future. He is smart, handsome, and capable.. only 26 years old and has the world fooled.. aside from me i think. i dont want to start pointing fingers now, then I look like the crazy one… He hasn’t really made a scene or made himself known to anyone… But I know. I lived with him for almost 3 years… I just know.. But I have no proof so I can’t say or do anything. I feel very stuck. Any advice or any source that I can get in touch with would help tremendously.

    -jc

    • It is difficult to offer advice, because there are different types of Narcissists. Some are just focused on pleasing themselves, and avoiding personal pain and anxiety at all costs. They screw others over, but it is secondary to their pursuit of their own happiness. Others are Malignant, and they actually drive everyone around them down, rather than seek to lift themselves up. They are dangerous, because they can do things you wouldn’t expect, like spike food to make others sick, or even kill, if they get panicked enough.

      You might be best served consulting with a psychiatrist specializing in Narcissism. They can query you, develop a rough diagnosis of his unique characteristics (without talking to him – just off your experiences and perceptions), and assess what kind of risk he poses. I know many say even a Narcissist parent is better than no parent, and you should preserve the relationship at all costs, but I am quite certain some relationships should be minimized, or terminated. Whether yours is one, I cannot say from here with any degree of certainty.

      Just know you should keep all doors open, and preserve hope. A lot can happen in a year, and he will always do what is best for himself. Maybe he will find a job on the other side of the country, or maybe someone will recommend him for a job on the other side of the country.

      Good luck with your daughter, and know, these things always work out. Probably the worst outcome is she will go into the world knowing the bad which is out there, which isn’t so bad itself. Just keep her safe, and you will both be alright.

      • Nana says:

        I can so much relate here because I’m in the same situation, the narcissist is my daughter’s father, I went through horrible, inhuman situations, but still tried to keep a peaceful relationship, but the nicer I was the worst he was, he would literally seat on top of my head and never appreciate anything, I think too him I was stupid by being nice, so I than implemented the Avoid him strategy but still every now and then he will reappear and tell me how bad I’m, and that i’ve deprived him from seeing his daughter, yes he wants to see her but doesn’t pay a penny toward her while his yearly income is about £500 000 and he pays a monthly mortgage of 3600£/m. I took him through CSA (Child Support Agency) and than to my surprise his official income is 4000£/m!!!! an absolute joke, he always have a way to be calculative, and try to make you feel in a weak position. He would have a non sense logic, or shall I say a logic of his own. anyway now since i know I can’t escape, I need to face him, and as T.Roosevelt said, “The unforgivable crime is soft hitting. Do not hit at all if it can be avoided; but never hit softly.”, therefore I’ve put in place a BANG strategy that will let him face his responsibility or be ashamed the whole of his life as I’ll put him nude in public by highlighting his inconsistencies, falseness, and destructive attitude all backed up with written evidence so he has no way out, no excuse, no possibility to call me a liar!!! He will have to face his acts.

  9. D says:

    This is by far the best article I have read on dealing with a narcissist. I have an unusual situation which I will try to explain briefly. My narc is my former professor. He is in his 50s…but I am in my 40s, and we hit it off SO WELL in the beginning…and that was only when I took his online courses. We had occassion to meet in person at an event…and there was instant chemistry — I honestly “felt” the spark. We are both married — he for over 30 years…me for over 20 years…and I have 7 children. Anyway…he initiated an email “relationship” – ? – with me over time. Eventually he offered me a directed study (he is a history prof, and I am majoring in history, which was one of the reasons we “clicked”). After I took an entire year’s worth of his online courses, I signed up for his on campus class (he only teaches one..and at that, he co-teaches with a female prof who has a very bold and independent personality), and during that semester, the emails back and forth numbered in the hundreds, and at all hours of the day and night. They were long, and honestly, they were kind and supportive and intelligent, and for the most part they were on-topic (history and world cultures related), but occassionally they would divert to personal issues, but nothing that was inappropriate. The bottom line: I fell in love with this guy. I used to hear from other profs, “Wow – D. really likes you…” My daughter was on the same campus as I and knew him, and whenever he saw her on campus, he would rave about me, my daughter would come home telling me…she thought it was strange.

    He had offered the directed study to me a year in advance…now that I think about it, he was probably securing narc. supply for the future. But anyway, when the time came for the directed study, he completely sabotaged it. He continually switched the track of the study (it was on the Middle East…a zillion different directions and a very broad topic), and at this point, the emails STOPPED almost cold. He would not disucss anything with me via email related to the study at all, and almost never responded to any email, or if he did, it was unrelated to the question and had no relevance to the course. Before the study, though, I honestly thought he was my best friend. I was coming out of a difficult life circumstance, which he knew about, and was extremely supportive. Then the communication stopped. Then, at the end of the semester, he almost seemed to be…acting more “normal”? After I graduated – just a couple weeks ago, he sent me a a few long emails, just like “before”. But here is the clincher. I am receiving a scholarship at a ceremony next Friday. He will be there — he nominated me for the scholarship along with a group of other people (he is the director of the honors program at the college) in the honors program, and I am sure they are all women. I am honestly afraid to go to this ceremony. It has only been in the past couple of weeks, through a lot of research and reading, that I have determined he is narcissist, probably a cerebral narcissist, and I am dreading interacting with him at this upcoming event. He has never been outwardly mean…of course, who could accuse him of being mean after offering me a directed study and recommending me for a scholarship?? He also wrote me a recommendation for another scholarship I received earlier in the year, and came to that ceremony, where I was subjected to the “narcissist stare” while receiving my award up at the podium. I have moved on (this was a community college) to a local university, where he is also an adjunct professor…and out of the blue the other day, he emailed me – very short – just to “keep in touch”– from his home email address to my new email address at my new university.

    I’m relaying all this because although I have been going to a therapist, she seems unaccquainted with how dangerous and how addictive this guy is/can be, and I really don’t know how to proceed from here. He displays all the classic signs, the over-valuation, the devaluation, the shunning, the intermittent reinforcement, the mixed messages…(whenever he used to mention his wife in email or in conversation was when I also felt that he was the most attracted to me, or trying to make me attracted to him, as weird as that sounds…though “attracted” is a relevant term with a narc.).

    Your thoughts and advice welcome, please! I don’t know how to break free of him, and have noticed that a few other profs (all female) who I had been close to at the community college now have nothing to do with me…and am afraid for my future at my new school, where he has access to my current profs.

    Thanks….
    “D”

  10. D says:

    One more thing! I had thought of going to the administration with all of his emails…I wasn’t sure if he would give me a good grade for my directed study (he did…an A.). But — he just got a national award for being an engaged professor. No one will believe me…I feel like I am the only one who has experienced him this way. Most people don’t have him for 4 consecutive semesters…only 1 or 2. Is it possible for someone to be a “situational narcissist”?? I have really felt like I am losing my mind, and he takes over my thoughts almost completely.

  11. Bea says:

    Thank you, your article is very insightful, very real and incisive.
    I really look forward to your advice on a very difficult personal situation:

    For the last few years I have been in a troubled marriage. The serious problems started when my husband’s parents got involved in our relationship. After lots of reading, I hv no doubt at all that my father-in-law is a very serious case of NPD and my husband seems to be his co-dependent. My father-in-law was apparently not happy with our marriage, mainly since I belong to a different community,  and the son committed to me without their approval. Further I became a serious threat to him because i could see thru his manipulative pressure tactics and protested to my fiance/husband against his father’s obsession to control my life and our relationship (unlike many family members who are tolerating his tyranny silently being dependent on him). Ever since he got involved, my father-in-law has left no stone unturned in creating conflicts and misunderstandings between me and my husband, as well as him and my family. My husband shockingly seems hypnotised by his parents – he seems under a SPELL. Even though he knows I hv been trying my best to keep peace, he becomes devilish under their influence and emotional blackmail — he ridiculously blames me, insults me and my family, and pressurises me in various ways to make me fall in line with his parents’ wishes. Most of the time,  I am left proving my innocence to false accusations made at me. I have been patient with him and hv been trying to maintain peace. When I point out the two-faced manipulations of his parents, he refuses to accept them and rationalises their behaviour as justified in some way. Moreover,  he becomes furious and aggressive towards me. Unfortunately his father seems to be doing well professionally (no surprise, knowing his eerie power to control people, changing colours like a chameleon) — his success makes his son and family feel even more enthralled by him, allowing him to act even more dictatorially. His wife totally tows his line.

    His parents influence seems increasing and I am scared because I sometimes see my husband mirroring his father’s feudal mindset and manipulating/controlling tactics. In the last year, i am noticing that his shameless behaviour is increasing and he is acting opportunistically like his father, being nice to me when he wants something done, and then reverting to his tantrums when his purpose is fulfilled. But at other times, he behaves very lovingly with me and pleads and cries asking me to stay with him. Every time i soften and get taken in…..and carry on with the marriage.But he treats me like a doormat when influenced by his parents, including repeated divorce threats and turning me out of the house. Later he comes and apologises profusely and emotionally, but reverts to misbehaviour within a few hours/days/weeks……this has been going on for over 3 years, and I hv now lost all trust in his assurances. I wonder whether he will improve…. 

    For over 2 years, I and my family maintained interaction with his parents and tried our best to bring harmony in relations. But my father-in-law used the interactions to misbehave with or ridicule us, throw false blames, or throw temper tantrums to frighten me and make me fall in line with his dictat. What is most frustrating is that by acting sweetly, showing false concern in front of others and giving me gifts on some occasions, he has convinced his son and many people around that he is actually very loving and concerned abt me,  while I am the non-flexible beast. He tries to impress people in our circle with his fake behaviour and flattery, while they spread lies about me and my family. In the process, he projects himself as a demi-God oozing with kindness and love, who is so ‘stressed’ because of a ‘bad’ daughter-in-law. I am unable to clarify the truth to people for fear of my husband — if he got to know that I was talking to ppl about his parents. 

    After abt 2.5 yrs, communication between me and my parents-in-law broke down after a conflict. But I think soon they repented it because they no longer had the chance to manipulate me. Then they started pressurising my husband to make me interact/ meet them again, which I refused — I couldn’t spend the rest of my life fighting a narcissist’s manipulations, especially when I had realised that I couldnt trust my husband to stand by me. My husband has now been driving me and my family mad, insisting that I resume interaction with his parents otherwise he would continue to aggress against me and my family. He has been throwing tantrums and making absurd,  hurtful and abusive allegations.

    Things are turning more and more ugly and I am now reaching the end of patience since my husband is not showing any signs of improvement. Moreover, lately he has broken off communication with me. Also, i must mention that my husband has also been suffering from stress/ anxiety disorder and has been on anti-depressants for 4 years (since before our relationship problems started) — but he blames me for his bad health and supposedly suicidal thoughts. He refuses to seek CBT which has been advised to him for his stress issues…..I think he is afraid that the counsellor might point out to him the same harsh reality abt his parents and himself that he wants to stay blind to.

    Q.1) I would really appreciate your view on this situation.
    Especially: my husband seemed like a simple, very emotional and caring person. It’s difficult to accept his untrustworthy insensitive aggressive behaviour. Do you think he could be bad and unworthy of carrying on with, or is he just spellbound by his parents??

    Q.2) With your experience, do you think there is any hope for our marriage?  (I am afraid to carry on and hv children, as that would make life far more complicated) Will my husband ever change and if he does, could there be a relapse after 1-2 yrs, like after we hv children? ?

    Q.3) My husband acts like a  codependent with his father. But is it possible for a codependent to behave like a narcissist with other people (e.g. with me) under pressure?

    Q.4) Even if my husband does apologise and plead me to come back to him, should I resume interaction with his parents? (I’m afraid I’ll land myself in quicksand again and their next blow could be dreadful and fatal).

    Please help! :( :(

  12. Bea says:

    Sorry, I just want to add that my husband has told me several times in the past that his parents are no.1 for him and hv stood by him always (how ironical :-/) and that I shouldn’t even dream to take their place. Also all his financial matters are controlled by his father, and my husband is really happy abt it. He thinks his father is a demi-God and everything he does is right. He also shares stuff abt my life with them. Bottomline: I see NO SIGNS at all of him even doubting his parents’ intentions or character. Everything is justified, even their lying.

    I really await your advice :( I and my family has been going thru a lot of misery. The marriage is on the rocks now, and something concrete may happen in the next few weeks. So this is an extremely crucial time. Sometimes, I cant help but wonder whether I will let my narc father-in-law win, if we go ahead with divorce :(

    • First off, you should get a therapist who specializes in NPD, and go over this with them. They will know more than me, because they will see hundreds, if not thousands of different cases, and all the variations that can arise.

      Plus, I know far too little, from this distance, to comment intelligently on what will be a life changing decision. That said, I’ll offer a few thoughts.

      “My husband shockingly seems hypnotised by his parents – he seems under a SPELL.”

      All his life it’s been, oppose the Narcissist, get a shock. That can be conditioning, in ways he may not even aware of. Subconscious conditioning can produce surreal results. Just look at any cult.

      “Especially: my husband seemed like a simple, very emotional and caring person. It’s difficult to accept his untrustworthy insensitive aggressive behaviour. Do you think he could be bad and unworthy of carrying on with, or is he just spellbound by his parents??”

      This is why you need a professional. I see red flags which indicate you are heading into very dangerous territory.

      Note, as a rule, behavior DOESN’T GET BETTER WITH AGE. Old happy people, were young, very happy people. Young, unstable, periodically angry people become old, perpetually angry, possibly homicidal people. The antidepressant use is another flag. You need to talk this through with a professional, because you could, literally end up dead one day if this guy is a psycho.

      Even worse, nice people don’t try to look crazy/angry/unstable/manipulative, but crazy/angry/unstable/manipulative people do try to look nice. Usually, you get one or the other. Which are you dealing with?

      “With your experience, do you think there is any hope for our marriage? (I am afraid to carry on and hv children, as that would make life far more complicated) Will my husband ever change and if he does, could there be a relapse after 1-2 yrs, like after we hv children? ?”

      Do NOT HAVE KIDS, until you have had multiple long sit-downs with a professional, who can go over your whole story. A good professional can read your husband through you, but it requires personal interaction, and lots of experience.

      Note, Narcs are awesome at being normal, when they are young. As they get older, or if they think they can get away with it because you are trapped, the mask comes off, and they say, “fuck it!” What you see then is the real them, and it is awful. If this is what you are dealing with you need to figure it out now.

      “ My husband acts like a codependent with his father. But is it possible for a codependent to behave like a narcissist with other people (e.g. with me) under pressure?”

      It is common for one Narcissist to idolize another, if that other is not in competition with them, and lends them some advantage, be it money, authority, or even just approval. Also, many do believe NPD is genetic. Again, you need to talk to a pro. If you fuck this up, you could end up with an old, bitter, decrepit Narcissist father in law living with your old, bitter, Narcissist husband, and several Narcissist children, all under the same roof with you. YOU NEED A PRO.

      “Even if my husband does apologise and plead me to come back to him, should I resume interaction with his parents? (I’m afraid I’ll land myself in quicksand again and their next blow could be dreadful and fatal).”

      You have got huge problems, and from my perspective you may be on the edge of making a decision you will regret for the rest of your life. I sympathize, and would help if I could, but you need to talk to someone with years or decades of experience, who can get a good read on you, and then take in your whole story for hours. Your situation is way to big to take to an anonymous website.

      “Sometimes, I cant help but wonder whether I will let my narc father-in-law win, if we go ahead with divorce.”

      Narcs win when they fuck up your life. If you want to screw over a Narc, get away from them, and enjoy life. It will kill them to picture you happy, while they are miserable. Here’s a crazy fact you will realize if you ever manage to eject all of them from your life – life should be effortless, drama-free, and fun. The people around you shouldn’t be yelling, or freaking out about anything. Life, by default, is happy. The world, by default is beautiful. The people around you should get happy when you are happy, and you all should spend your time making each other happy. Things usually only get fucked up when someone in the circle is actively trying to fuck them up. It is almost never an accident.

      I wish I could just give you an order and tell you what to do, but you need a pro to do a professional assessment, and offer you a personalized plan.

      Good luck. I wish you well.

      AC

  13. greg says:

    This article is spot on. I’m sole caretaker of my late 80′s father and he’s getting more and more ugly by the day. I’ll be getting away soon. In the meantime I just give him his way in everything (what to cook, watching TV, whatever). I sometimes question myself, but seeing articles like this helps me to see that it’s not my problem, but his. He does try to make me the bad guy at every turn, but I simply don’t care anymore. Before I realized what I was dealing with I made a subconscious attempt at suicide. Thankfully I’m now fully aware of his behavior and have no expectations of any changes. Truly he is a P.O.S. and I hope to be able to write a book about all that I’ve been through. I’ve read the “Gulag Archipelago” and the similarities are very apparent, with the exception that the inmates have friends among themselves. As he is my father I have no ill will toward him, but I refuse to feel guilty about leaving him to his own devices. Even though it’ll probably lead to his death, due to his inability to deal with all of life’s requirements (for instance, he refuses to use a cane even though he has fallen more times than I can count). How he’ll cope after I’m gone I have no idea. His older brother is also a narcissist and has driven off his children also. So I’m looking forward to getting out of here.

    • Good luck, but be careful on the way out. Narcs can be the most unpredictable just as their supply is about to break free. I guarantee you your narc will panic at the thought of you heading out and enjoying your life, as he wastes away and dies. That panic can drive anything, from a little poison in your coffee to make you too sick to leave, to sabotaging your new job and life somehow so you can’t leave, to killing you by cutting your break lines or filling your house with Carbon Monoxide gas.

      Keep an eye on your six until you are free. In the cases where people got killed, it was always because they underestimated the crazy they were dealing with.

      Enjoy your life.

  14. Amanda says:

    Hi, I was hoping someone could give me some advice on how to deal with a narcissist who is my future husbands child’s mother. They just recently went through a parenting plan and she lied and manipulated the whole situation in court that they got 50/50 custody even though if she didn’t know how to talk and screw people over in a social setting she wouldn’t have gotten more than every other weekend. Anyways, we have to deal with her every week and the things she says that are completely contradicting of herself and so hypocritical it is extremely hard when having to respond to not freak out! I have done it before and it is completely pointless. I just need advice on what to say back, if anything at all, and how to deal with my frustrations after because she gets me so worked up. Please somebody help! :/

    • Anyone who doesn’t know a Narcissist won’t understand this, as you know. What I think you do not understand is that she isn’t just mindlessly being a jackass, and it is irritating you. She is very carefully trying to manipulate you into an agitated state. It is the whole purpose of exactly what she says. When you get agitated, she will get happy, because she will be able to see you as stupid, easily manipulated, etc.

      Here is what I want you to do. Find a way to watch the NBC TV Show Hannibal. In it, actor Mads Mickelson plays Dr Hannibal Lector, a high functioning psychopath. His portrayal (and the writing) is brilliant. Watch Hannibal’s unemotional mein. No matter what happens, his emotional state, is little more than amused interest and curiosity.

      He just broke his own patient’s neck, and the body is lying at his feet? His emotional expression after it is passive curiosity at how the other guy in the room will respond to this murder.

      Another Serial Killer drops his jacket, and prepares to kill Lector by letting a cello string unravel from his hand, as he begins swinging it like a whip? Lector’s expression is saying, “Hmmn, I’ve never seen this before.” It is almost amusement at something out of the ordinary finally happening.

      Internalize Lector’s psychopathy, and inability to be riled by anything. Internalize his view of everything he sees as an intellectual exercise in interested observation, and nothing more. When you run into your Narc, view yourself as Lector, and show exactly the same uncaring, unemotional facial expression of superiority and control, mixed with emotional diffidence at any outcome.

      When you most want to kill your narc, muster an amused smile, and laugh in their face at how damaged they are, as if they don’t matter to you in the least, and their antics amuse you. They will escalate emotionally (just as they wanted you to), and freak out. Don’t take the bait, and continue to channel Hannibal. You find her antics little more than passively amusing.

      If you can do this a few times, your narc’s rapidly escalating, crazy reaction will open your eyes to what the Narc wants you to do when they pull this shit, and how they will freak out inside if you don’t play your role and lose it emotionally yourself.

      Once you realize you can torture them this way, let your natural sadism take hold, and go at it. As you do, it will be easier to maintain your state when dealing with them. One thing I am still amazed by is how easy it is to really hurt them mentally, especially given their “superior” façade. If you learn to pull this off, your narc will spend several days licking the mental wounds you lay on her, by replaying this in her head, and ruminating on how mean you were to laugh at her. Eventually, she will not even want to deal with you. I know, I have done this to this point on two hardcore narcs, both of whom will no longer even talk to me. It is worth the effort.

      Good luck.

  15. Bby says:

    Wow, I can’t believe what I am reading here!!! I have a friend that was in a relationship for many years (5 of which were married) and they are in the midst of a very NASTY divorce. She is the poster child for narcisism, but my friend is only now coming to understand that his soon to be ex-wife is a narcisist. She comes from a wealthy family (all of which are narcisists) who hold high status around the world and married my friend who had a few bucks of his own. For the first year, things were “great”, the remainder, very abusive, both mentally and physically. Their divorce is now going into the first year and some things that he is starting to find about her are very scary to say the least. He is now understanding the whole “spoiled little girl” behaviour. But is there some kind of sexual deviation that goes along with being a narcisist? This woman has crossed many boundaries, not only to live out her crazy sexual fantasies, but to actually video tape them. These actions would be considered those of a sexual predator, manipulating both humans and NON-humans. Now my friend just wants all the madness to stop and has been willing to walk away from the divorce with a very scad amount of what their worth is, but on the other hand wants to expose this person for what she is…..I’m with him on the other hand, expose her and put her behind bars where she belongs; and take that family status and they can shove it where the sun don’t shine. What do you think the odds are of that happening lol?? But it’s worth a try!!!!

    • Narcs can be sexually deviant, but in my experience, it would be just an additional pathology on top of the Narcissism.

      One problem is if you engage with a Narcissist, even to screw them over, you can feed their energy levels. If you ignore them and disappear, they tend to get depressed, probably from not having anything to distract them, and looking at themselves, and realizing what they are. But if you screw them, they focus on you, lose sight of their own pathiety, and they get energized as the depression lifts and they go on the attack. Then you can have real headaches.

      It is a strange counterintuitive psychology, where just leaving it be can be more hurtful than actively screwing it over. Weigh your options carefully, and decide if you really want to go the nuclear path. If so, line everything up beforehand, so you can drop the bombs, and yet be fully insulated from any potential counterattacks. An out-grouping attack, consisting of publicizing behavior that their social circle would find abhorrent, would tend to be particularly devastating.

      Still, I would recommend a consult with a therapist who knows narcs, and coordinate with a lawyer to make sure you don’t cross any legal boundary which would facilitate a counter-attack.

      Good luck.

  16. Amy says:

    Thanks for the article.

    I am in the same situation like many others and i have decided to move on in my life leaving my narc husband behind.
    For those who are in such situation, trust the malignant ones are untreatable. Its like stage 4 cancer..you have to remove that part of your body to make you healthy and functional.

  17. Amy says:

    Hi

    I need some help. I have been with a narc husband for the past 9 months and now it seems to be over. Reading your’s and many other post made me realize that i was dealing with a malignant case. My self esteem is completely gone and i do feel useless many times. I thank God to bless me with the most supportive parents and friends and are my constant source of courage. I belong to a society where there is a stigma associated with divorce.
    I can deal with all the issues but i feel somehow i am still emotionally attached to my husband. I do need some help on this . I know this will go with time but i do want to stand strong and have ‘ care less’ attitude.
    Never realized that dealing with narc can have such deterimental effect on me.
    I strongly urge those who are dealing with narcs to go away and be on their own.

    • My recommendation is to take a vacation away from your narc, even if just for a few days. Find a friend or two, and go somewhere vacation-y, maybe with a beach, an ocean, and some drinks with little umbrellas in them. view the vacation as part of the process. Then, begin spending weekends with family, away from him. As time goes on, you will find yourself increasingly amazed at the difference between your poisoned narc-life, and your relaxed, narc-free life. As you begin to see the difference, your decision should become clear. Eventually, you will not want to leave the narc-free environment, and you will be ready for the clean break.

      Just be careful on your way out. Narcs can have hidden panic reflexes which can drive them to try and kill any Narcissistic supplies who try to break free. Maybe your’s isn’t that bad, maybe he is. But better safe than sorry. Good luck, and don’t worry about the stigma. Those who would judge are betraying their cluelessness. Anybody who understands, would recognize you have no choice.

      • Amy says:

        Pertaining to your replies earlier. I would like my husband to be exposed. He has ruined my life but i dont want anyone else to suffer. Atleast that i could try to do on my part. I will be dealing with divorce issues in the future and i know my life is gonna be hell. These days he is on my ignore list which is bothering him as he is trying to hack my emails and facebook accounts. He isnt contacting me directly but he is using whatever he could do to know the latest in my life. His sympathy seeking game has started as he is telling everyone that what a saint he has been and his wife was so ungrateful.
        Please tell me how to protect myself yet deal with him in a way that doesnt affect me anymore mentally and physically?

        Thanks

        • The only answer is to break off all contact. When you do that, he has nothing to distract him, and he begins to focus on what a loser he is, how much more exciting everyone else’s life is, how you have screwed him, etc. He may get angry, and try to find a way into your facebook or email, but that is a desperate attempt to diminish the depression which is keeping him relatively inactive, and passive. He wants into your life, so he won’t have to look at himself, and what a loser he is (something which bothers narcs immensely). The moment you engage him, or screw him, suddenly his life is interesting, he can focus on you, and he won’t feel like such a loser. The depression will lift as he is distracted from his own patheity by you, and he will become an order of magnitude bigger pain in the ass. You could get nails in your tires, cut break lines, poisoned pets, the works.

          Tell friends he was awful, but spare them the details, and say you don’t want to involve them in your problems. That way you aren’t making any trouble for them, and they will appreciate it.

          Most of all, enjoy your time away from him.

          Good luck.

  18. Julie L*********** says:

    In light of the fact that my narcissistic sister is hosting a family reunion, I have been bolstering my “no contact” rule by reading excellent post such as these. The pressure I am receiving from other family members to attend can be emotionally draining. My N sister does not let up on the abuse to myself and another sister. We both live quite close to her unlike other family members, so have had the bad luck to be her targets for abuse, manipulation, lies, vindictiveness, etc. The whole nine yards. I started no contact with her 4 years ago after a particular boundary breach that had me fuming and vowing to finally get her out of my life and head. But she convinced a younger sister, I will call her P, to come live with her in order to get her life together after years of being incarcerated. My N sister envisions herself to be a family life saver. This is not the first sibling she has “adopted” as her own personal mission. I got back into the N zone because P needed my help. She was being abused, her SSI handled very badly and every time P did something N did not like, N threatened her that she would send her back to jail. That she would find a way to do that.

    Well, things finally got so bad that P left her house and went into a sort of mental health independent living housing an hour from the N’s house. I was finally able to help P in a way I couldn’t when she was staying at N’s house. (N was so jealous of any contact with P, it would start new wars, so I stayed away.)

    6 months later, N is NOT allowed contact with P. She has caused so much turmoil at the MH living facility P is at and has abused and threatened the staff there. She is not allowed on the property.

    We both have been practicing no contact, but continually get left nasty and threatening phone messages by N. P is counseled regularly and has a great support system, but it has taken a lot of time for her to heal from the abuse.

    2 months ago, N went to California and brought back my brother, who is suffering from dementia to live with him. Here we go again. I had not seen him in 40 years because he always was a hermit type and never stayed in touch with family. Apparently, he had been evicted from an apt and a Social worker looked up family for him. Of course, N jumped at the chance to have another victim, so she flew out to California and had him on a plane with in 2 days.. with no transition plan except to try to manipulate P’s mental health facility to accept him as a resident. That did not happen because after talking to his social workers and doctor’s in California, they said he was not right for their program and recommended assisted living instead. That’s all it took for N to blame P on the decision, altho she had nothing to do with the decision. All hell has broken loose on P and N has been trying to get the director of the program fired. This has all been going on in the last few weeks.

    The newest thing is, N has decided to have a family reunion. She calls it a “cousin reunion” and has invited all the cousins in the family to her lake house in July. She has 3 daughters she gave up at birth who were raised by their dads. She just got custody of 1, who is 17. How that happened I will never know, but it did. So she decided to try to get all her girls together. Fine. I support that. And that is where it should end. These kids have a lot of anger, a hole that needs to be filled and other family members need to take a back seat to that and let that happen. But no, N has rented a large lake cabin and proceeded to manipulate and lie to get people to come, using some very creative lies to get their attention Really hasn’t worked.. So far only one brother and his wife are going. And they are only going to provide support to N 3 daughters, as they have kept in touch with them over the years. ( I never knew where they were). 2 of my daughters are going altho they had had their own issues with N. But they want to see their cousins and they are strong women and I feel can handle her ok.

    I will not go. P will not go. We both have been getting pleas from N’s 3 daughter’s to go. They have never met us. But we can’t. And since I won’t trash their mom to them, they try to understand but are disappointed. It’s sad. Any other family member having a reunion, I would jump right in. But my stomach clenches at the thought of putting myself in her target zone. She does the backhanded compliment thing in public everytime I am around her. I can’t do it. But I am standing strong and grateful to P’s MH counselors for forbidding her to have contact as well, because she fluctuates still. P has been getting phone messages from N to pressure her to go. That she will pay her if she comes and cleans her house and cooks before the reunion. P insulted and does not respond.

    I guess I just wanted some support here for my decision to ignore all the pressure and have P at my house and we have our own fun in the days covering the reunion. We will get trashed, I am sure by the N to any one there, but i am pretty sure they are all on to her tactics. Even the daughters she abandoned. It has taken the 20+ years to even agree to meet and heal a bit. I hope it all works out. I have promised them “a no conflict” reunion time, and that means me and my armor stay away. It hurts I have to do this. P hurts we have to do this. I feel we are disappointing our nieces. But us being there would hurt more than hinder an already volatile situation. We are making the right decision and anyone else out there who is pressured to attend a family function where you just don’t want to go.. where the thought brings up emotions of fear and trepidation and even anger… just don’t go. You have to take care of you.

    Thanks for listening.

    • Absolutely dead on. It is amazing the chaos Narcs can create. On the bright side, you do know how wonderful and peaceful life can be without them. By all means, enjoy it. Eventually the others will see you were right, and you really had no choice but to make the decision you made.

    • Anonymous says:

      I have been following the advice given here and I believe very word. It been nearly a year since I stopped having anything to do with my Narc and it’s still amazing what she( my aunt) is coming up with. what I did not realize is the amount of pain , hurt even guilt feeling I still experience. I know I have not one thing to feel guilty about, ( other than being so completely stupid to have took it so long) but still those feeling persist. I still have sleepless nights and very time I think of our past it is so surreal .
      But I just know deep down My, really all of us here , have only one chance at peace. That’s to stay totally away and that means forever. sad But true.
      hang in there!

  19. x says:

    my 53 year-old female boss is a narcissist, pathological liar, sociopath and an ephebophilia.
    some of my aunts and uncles and their children from my mom’s and dad’s side are also narcs but i only stopped communication with them 3 years ago because we have been close as relatives since young. you bet for me to cut off my relations with them i had so many fights with my parents and siblings for 3 years. my parents are decent people but they love their siblings too much to realize what devilish people some of their siblings are.

    not to mention one of my neighbor that moved in

    my parents used to say that i am the one who is problematic because i keep quarreling with other people but my mom realized later the neighbur is indeed the type you won’t want to deal with. of the truth is i didn’t even realise this type of people exist, literally everywhere, from your workplace, relatives to neighbours. honestly what kind of world is this? thank God i am not dependent on the job i am having now even though the boss is a 53 year-old female tuition instructor who has sexual desire for 17-years old boys, younger than her youngest son.

    my simple English is due to it being a second language

    one last thing, why narcs never stop existing in my life, one comes after another, even a few at a same time?

    i find some of the googling results below useful.

    http://www.ask.com/answers/287672821/how-do-you-know-if-someone-is-lying-to-you

    http://www.wikihow.com/Spot-a-Pathological-Liar

  20. Pete says:

    I (unwittingly) crossed a narcs path when, very early on in my career, I defended a narc victim. I didn’t think much of it at the time, and could never have in my wildest nightmares imagined that anyone would, and the NASTY repercussions of my actions. I say nightmares because this narc would go on to undermine my career by spreading rumours that I had fabricated all my work. But logic doesn’t seem to matter – even amongst seemingly rational people. Such is the manipulation skills of a narc. In fact that was only one of the many outrageous accusations that would be thinly disguised character assassination. I worked exceedingly hard to salvage my career and reputation, which I did to a small extent before leaving and moving to another institution. My problem is that it didn’t end there, and after some time the narc infiltrated and found a way to poison my workplace with the same lies and with the same effect. As you can imagine, I have become a social pariah. I don’t even have the opportunity to defend myself. How on earth do you turn this around? I’ve kinda just come to live with it like a crook leg. It makes me seethe and bewildered that “rational” people who you’ve known for years, if not decades, will accept his irrational lies despite their own first hand experience over a very long period of time. His aim is clearly destruction. Where do you go from here? I’ve never talked about it, because I didn’t want to incite him further and figured it might go away. But it hasn’t and I can’t find an effective strategy against this formidable opponent.

    • This is why I advise not engaging with them, when dealing with it in a family environment. Ironically, part of their camouflage is their craziness. Normal people will not easily believe they could be that crazy, or construct such blatant lies. When presented with a choice, such as either believing you once met a deadline by dry-labbing some results, or believing that the Narc is a totally deranged lunatic, it is easier to believe you committed a work-related transgression under stress, than it is to believe that the Narc is basically Satan incarnate, with absolutely no morals or decency. It is funny. If they weren’t so crazy they would be less believable.

      You have one advantage. Narcs deteriorate over time. As they deteriorate, they gradually begin fucking over everyone around them. I just watched one a while back hit that point, and in the space of a few months, they burned every bridge with every relative and associate they had. It happens fast, and it happens best when they have a high degree of constant amygdala stimulation. Aging, and facing death does that to them. I suspect sooner or later your’s will screw up with somebody, panic, make things worse, and then begin the slide. It is fairly common, eventually.

      I can’t really give you good advice on turning it around now, from where I am, especially since I have no idea if you even still see this narc on a regular basis. A good therapist familiar with Narcs might offer interesting insights, since they see a lot of these cases. If you find one who grasps that they are the face of evil, it can be like taking a privately tutored course in the psychology, and have a expert in their behavior at your disposal, which can help you better plot strategy (I have heard some therapists are sympathetic towards narcs – obviously they would be less than useless).

      The problem is your behavior will always be bounded by decency. Even if you could break that bond, and venture into the indecent, it is unfamiliar territory to you, and you would most assuredly be fighting on your enemy’s turf. It is the nuclear option, and once put into practice, it heralds a point of no return.

      You can try playing the social game, and looking for opportunities to out-group your narc, turn others against them, and place them in uncomfortable social situations. Combined with focusing on in-grouping yourself, by doing favors for your colleagues, making yourself the indispensable go-to guy for help, and learning how to follow Heartiste’s rules of social dynamics, you could go a long way to fixing the damage.

      If you have to deal with the Narc on a regular basis, you can go the route of continuous amygdala stimulation with dogwhistles, bad two-fers, backhanded compliments, and super-subtle insults and status-denigrations. Those can be fun to do, and over time, you can drive them batshit crazy, but then you will face a crazy enemy at their wit’s end – which can be dangerous as well. If you go that route, you must also pick your battles, and never let the narc feel the joy of victory in engaging you, or they will be back for more. Every engagement must end with total depression and emotional devastation for the narc. If you aren’t sure you can win, immediately pick another battle you will win, and attack there. The Narc wants you miserable. Never let them win, and if they do, dismiss its importance to you (since you being bothered is the only way they win).

      One thing which does fuck with them is bringing things out in the open. When a college at your new job introduces you to him, don’t just say, “Oh yeah, we met already.” Say, in a completely unemotional way, “Yeah I know this asshole. He has horrible psychological problems, though he hides them impeccably. He lied about me to others, behind my back, saying I falsified results at my previous job, just because he was pissed at me for stopping him from tormenting some poor young kid once. Trust me, sooner or later, you’ll see behind his mask, and you’ll shit yourself at what you’ve missed. I thought he was normal, and now I can’t believe what I missed.”

      That is a nuclear amygdala hijack to a narc, because suddenly, they aren’t effectively hiding and striking out at you from a protected position. Suddenly they are out in the open, everyone is looking at them, and in their head everyone knows the deep dark secret that the narc knows deep down – just how defective they are inside. If he protests, and tries to rile you into an emotional argument, just unemotionally tell him, “Look, you and I are way past the argument stage Bob. I know, and worse, I know that you know.” Your lack of emotion, and “just the facts” mein is what sells it to observers. Of course again, that is a nuclear option, and you better have excellent frame control, and be able to remain wholly unemotional as you press their buttons in front of the crowd. They will come back at you, and try to provoke an emotional response. Getting the fact you are enemies out in the open helps though, especially when the narc tries to spread rumors. If people think you two are cordial, it lets the narc couch his lie as an honest admission to a colleague’s failing, rather than a spiteful attack on an enemy. If they know you are enemies, then people will take it with a grain of salt.

      I wish I could be more help, but you face an enemy who has no morals and no behavioral boundaries. I was fortunate, in that I was able to just make mine so stressed around me he could no longer deal with me, and so he went away. Manipulating them long term while continuing a relationship, is a much more difficult affair.

      Good luck.

      • Pete says:

        Thanks for your reply. Much appreciated. I began to make a lot of traction, socially and workwise by never complaining (I’d have lost and only made a nuisance of myself), and working hard. His lies became a blessing, because they would contradict reality. He knew this and stopped. I had left by that stage, and life became normal for a while, and I continued advancing. After a litany of misdeeds/complaints/lack of performance issues, he was let go. This is when his rage kicked in, and the carpet bombing of propaganda came in waves. The first time we clashed all those years ago, he was the aggressor and I was the underdog. I guess I garnered some sympathy. This time, he is now the victim!! Apparently it’s all my fault he is out of work, even though I never complained to anyone and simply wore it. I haven’t seen him in 8 years! This has garnered enormous sympathy and coupled with his original stories, has somehow made them more appealing and credible. What’s more, his latest target audience – my colleagues – barely know him or his history. But he is such a “credible authority” that I can’t seem to win from here. Some who do know him have come to my defence. But he is such a dirty player that few will stick their neck out for fear of being entangled. I know exactly what you mean by nuclear. Problem is I don’t want collateral. I love my profession, colleagues and institution. And I don’t want to win at the expense of their wellbeing. Playing the social game is hard from behind the 8ball. People are suspicious of you and your motives. I feel I have no choice but to put my head down and continue. But if I lose my job over it, I may feel very differently. I’m coping a lot better with it this time, though it’s still tuff. I’ve come to realise how hard I’ve really become. I’m used to people whom you’ve had great relationships for years just turn on a dime. I simply pretend they no longer exist and that I never knew them. I refuse to accept their misguided righteous condemnation. It makes me angry. If it teaches you something about people, it’s that their self-interests rule when shit comes to shove, and the decency they have always professed seems to vanish. It’s fear driven. There are great people too. People who support you no matter what. I’ve faced a lot of hurdles in life, and surmounting them made me who I am. But I could never have imagined this!

        • The only other option, and again it would fall under nuclear, would be to threaten legal action over slander. I’m not a lawyer, but I’m pretty sure if you lost your job due to malicious lies spread by the Narc, you would have justifiction to sue, and that would give you the ability to subpeona everyone the narc talked to, document the lies he told them under oath, and then put the Narc under oath, and see if he would admit to the lies, or purjure himself. Narcs are still kind of like children in adult bodies. Whereas you or I in that situation, getting a letter from a lawyer, or even a subpeona, would say to ourselves, “Aw geez. Not this shit,” the narc will see it differently. To him, the adults in his child-world would be coming in to punish him. It is traumatic. Emphasize the subpeona power, the fact it will document his trangressions, the fact he will be helpless once you join with authority and use it’s power againt him, the fact that everyone will know what he is, and the fact authority will punish him. He will freak out.

          Of course, as I always say, it is best if you can just stay away from him, and let him peter out. I think the way you are handling it is probably for the best.

          One thing which comes from the narc environment is a realization of just what weak sheep the majority of people are, how few are genuinely principled and loyal, and how few are really aware of the truth behind the world around them, or even aware of how shallow their own level of insight into the world is. The perspective is really freeing, espeially if you previously viewed others as your moral and intellectual equals, and were willing to bow to them out of politeness. It can be a blessing.

          Good luck.

  21. J says:

    I am married to a narc and I have two narc sons and a mild narc daughter. The o,dest son is the biggest problem and nas been raging out of control since he was 13. Later he got crooked and hooked by a bigger narc than he is.

    Our daughter has been very close to us but not since the daughter-in-law has been dangling carrots to her (with the grandchildren) in order to put me (she calls the “monster-in-law) out of the family. Unfortunately my son supports his wife and also uses the grandchildren as pawns to manipulate my husband and I. His in-laws are also narcs who are loving all the time they get to have with their grandchildren. It seems to me that we are not far from the Hatfields and the McCoys.

    Fortunately my other son has been seeing a wellness doctor and has made so much progress—he use to be one you really couldn’t have a real conversation (without him blowing up). But now I can talk about anything to him and he can hear the hard things. Yesterday I sent him an article in a message on FB about having a Narristic Father. He read it and then responded back that according to the 10 point checklist that he himself was a narc. We have been talking back and forth about this new discovery he has in himself. What a blessing!!! I have one on the road to recovery .

    I just don’t know how to deal with the other son, his wife, and in-laws. She tries to dangle the carrot to us in order to control us and bribe us for money (of course my son believes her story and is controlled by her). And our daughter has been a loose link in providing sister-in-law with info and our money to get to see the kids. The thing is…..this couple will not stop short of winning. In order for that to happen someone has to loose….and it always seems to be me….the one who is trying to hold the family together. My husband has written them off but being the invincible bull that he is…her whole family does not know who they are dealing with and what he is capable of.

    • A dad says:

      So sorry and sad for your situation. I am trying to figure out how to live my life with a possibly narcissistic grown child (from my ex, who is an N), and thus I am reading here. Your situation is more complicated. How do we love our children but not be doormats? Kudos that your one son is self-aware!

  22. Set Free says:

    Thanks for this post.

    I was just contacted by someone who I haven’t talked to in over 15 years. We had a relationship in our 20′s. There were warning signs that I ignored and there was a lot of damage before it was all over.

    They contacted me a little earlier. I gave them a terse three word response and that was the end of it.

    I got another message yesterday, and I think I made a serious mistake in responding. I thought I was being kind. But I made a reference in my comment that wasn’t in line with their version of events (I hadn’t talked to them in years, I had no idea the alternate reality they had in their head.) They totally took offense to that and went off on me.

    I made a second serious mistake when in response to their assertion that I still had resentment and had a “hole that couldn’t be filled,” I said I had forgiven them for wharf actually happened and listed it (mistake #3) and had complete peace about the situation.

    I have received one vicious message after another, I actually got notification about another one as I’m writing this. It is amazing to me that they can actually write these things in the same conversation that they say they care about me.

    You’d think they would notice the contradiction. It’s right there in black and white.

    I could cave and say you’re right just to get them off my case, but I really have an issue giving in to abusive a-holes.

    I could block them (this is on Facebook,) but even that seems like more of a reaction than I want to give.

    I guess I’ll try just continuing to mute the conversations and hopefully they will drop it.

    • What you have to understand is that each reply you give is rewarding to him, and will make him want to provoke you more. Someone once said Narcissists want to be able to view themselves as the lead actor in the movie of their life, with everyone around them as supporting actors. They don’t care if that movie is a tradgedy, a comedy, an action movie, or a drama. They want to feel like everyone is focused on them, no matter the reason. Each reply you send him feeds that need because he knows you are focused on him.

      I’d just ignore his messages, and be grateful it is that easy to get him out of your life.

      “I could cave and say you’re right just to get them off my case, but I really have an issue giving in to abusive a-holes.”

      Even worse. If you become the one who validates his false reality, even once, you will be like a free crack machine would be, to infamous crack addict Tyrome Biggums. He’ll never go away.

      Best of luck.

      AC

  23. Alyssa says:

    OK…..here is my current situation. My exhusband (who is adhd un diagnosed and untreated) married a narrsissit…..both under 40. My ex and I have two boys (10, 6) both of whom are diagnosed and are being treated for ADHD. Right now I’m running into the problem where my exhusbands’ wife wants to control everything I do. Down to what I feed my kids and how my routine at home should be or look like. I’m currently engaged and will be married in a month …and beginning of this year I gave notice to my ex and his wife that I want to relocate with my children. In the beginning they opposed…then they were for it…but while they were all for me moving with the children they never wrote anything in email nor text…they would call (usually his wife not him) and was always nice and saying they’d like to give me all the clothes they have for the boys with me. Needless to say this was a diversion to what they were really planning. To buy time and not have anything in writting so now I’m going to have to move without my boys because I’m too trusting of a person because I do go by what people say ( I should know better by now as this was not the first nor second time I’ve been burnt by them). I’ll have to fly back for court which is scheduled. I’m at the predicament where I feel if I win and take my boys with me to our new location….am I constantly going to be attacked by my ex and his wife, always on my back about what is going on with the boys because they were humiliated and didn’t win in court. Or do I just let have the children, leave them to their own demise and make sure I secure my time with my children for all vacations and holiday to keep my relationship strong with my children and always keep my home open to them if they wish to live with me when they at the age they are allowed to decide for themselves. My ex’s wife is exactly what you have explained….down to the “practiced smile”…which I’ve always noticed is strange…she needs to talk about how see is a smart person and considers herself a world traveller…she has over stepped her boundaries with me and my role as my childrens mother. But going thru I have picked my battles and understand that there are somethings she just can’t help but want or need to have control in order for her to feel that her world isn’t crashing down around her. If she wants to coordinate the boys extra cirricular activities ….have at er…as long as its what the boys would like to do. Any time I have told her and said “i’m just going to be honest and not trying to hurt your feelings but your overwhelming” , or “I don’t need you to tell me what to do in my house”….I get a tongue lashing from her. Lately how I’ve dealt with it and I nod my head say thats a good idea and go on with my life they way I want to do it. But figuring out these next steps with moving with my kids, without my kids….how far do I go to fight? Will I hurt myself emotionally, mentally and exhaust myself by trying to fight…or do I just let them have what they like move on with my life knowing that my kids are their own individuals and can be with me anytime they like. Soooo many questions…how to deal? And there is no trying to talk openly and being honest with them and putting everything on the table….they will just say one this and do another and stab you in the back. I’m working on now not to trust either of them…its though when they share my boys with me. How do you just let people look after your kids whom you don’t trust? Ugh

    • One good point this brings up is that if you are going to have any type of legal battle with a Narcissist, record everything that can be recorded legally. If you can, record telephone conversations. If you can’t record them, keep a journal, and write everything down immediately following the conversation, with a witness signing it. That will be admissible in a court of law as a record of events. Record conversations in person using a cellphone’s record feature. Push as much communication to texting and email as possible, to get it all in written form.

      Those unfamiliar with narcs will find it odd, but they are so noxious that the tendency is to deal with them, get it over with quickly, and then change the topic in your mind, and move on to something else. Don’t do that. Record as much as possible.

      On your situation, again, I’d recommend consulting a therapist familiar with narcs, even if just for one visit. Lay out everything you can to them, so they get a picture of this woman and the environment your kids will be in, as well as an idea of what your kids are like, and see what their opinion is on what is best for the kids. Even though my gut instinct would be to fight to the death, and get the kids, I hate giving advice in these situations, because there is so much I don’t know, and I don’t want to screw anything up because of my own ignorance. These kids might be tough, and knowing a narc who isn’t a relative for a few years could give them valuable experience which will help them later in life, and make them appreciate you all the more. Or they might not be able to cope well, in which case they could end up with a low level anxiety the rest of their lives, or even end up with some degree of delinquency on their record. I just don’t know.

      Personally, I’d like to erase the Narc I knew from my history. They really just put bad times in your life. Yet I have to acknowledge that at the same time, I have a vastly larger degree of control over my life today, am much more capable in a couple of areas than I probably would have been, and I am much more savvy in dealing with people, all because I knew him. I suspect everyone will run into a narc at some point or other. Sometimes the experience, at the right time in your life, can immunize you against them in the future, as awful as it is.

      I’m sorry for your situation, but if it helps, kids tend to be tough and resilient, and if you have their backs at the end of the day, I’m sure they’ll be fine no matter the course you choose. A lot of times, they may not even register the narcissism, due to being unable to register it. I would consider their feelings in the decision, however. If they indicate something in that house is freaking them out, or they have any sort of health problems emerge (even if it seems unrelated), then try to get them out as quickly as you can.

      One other thought:

      “… am I constantly going to be attacked by my ex and his wife, always on my back about what is going on with the boys because they were humiliated and didn’t win in court… I have picked my battles and understand that there are some things she just can’t help but want or need to have control in order for her to feel that her world isn’t crashing down around her.”

      This seems bad to you. But the truth is, you have to put yourself in the narc’s shoes. If they are yelling, then they are panicked and freaked out inside, in a way you can’t imagine. I am at the point where a narc yelling is cause to excitedly look for something to bother them, and make them yell more. If you win this, view it from the narc’s perspective. They were humiliated, and crushed by the power of the court’s authority, that you used to level them in front of everyone else. That is agony to a narc. Make every interaction with you like that, and eventually, they will not be able to deal with you.

      I followed this plan, and in one of my last interactions with my favorite Narc, he ended it looking at the floor, with wide open eyes, shaking his head, and mumbling, “I can’t do this face to face stuff with you… I’m going to write you a letter!” He literally couldn’t face me, because every time we interacted, I freaked him out, and stimulated his amygdala/ACC. Each time your Narc freaks out, and you calmly take it in, and smile to yourself inside, enjoying their agony, that is money in the bank when it comes time to get them out of your life. They are learning to not want to deal with you in the future. They are learning to fear you.

      Now if your boys are staying with her (or if she has access to them on a regular basis), you might not want to put her on the edge of a breakdown. But if you want her out of your life, and she can’t get at you by hurting your kids, then you must learn to love the sound of her screaming.

      • Alyssa says:

        I’m curious to hear why the concern over “If they indicate something in that house is freaking them out, or they have any sort of health problems emerge (even if it seems unrelated), then try to get them out as quickly as you can.

        Reason why I’m asking is the narc step mom his constantly setting up allergist appointments and other health appointments for the boys. I just found out that my boys (ages 10 and 6) have been going to a chiropractor regularly when they with their dad and step mom (the narc). She has also been pushing holistic views etc…which is not a big deal but on top of pushing the food issue with me to the point where she would email me what she gave the boys for the week, including the amount of water they drank, she would send me meal menus. Her and my ex did not like that sometimes I would make my boys hotdogs or mac and cheese for dinner….being a single mom with a full time career doesn’t give me time to prepare meals from scratch. But she also has them on quite a few different suppliments. (I’d say based on the list of suppliments she sent me saying I “need” to give to the boys because the holistic nutritionist said so…they are probably swallowing 10 pills a day) but the newest “health” issue that has been brought up is that the boys are having problems hearing. But its total BS….myself and anyone I know that has spent time with me and the boys say they don’t have hearing problems. They are young boys with ADHD….yes they hear what and when they want….or are just flat out distracted. I had their hearing checked last year and it was fine. But with the hearing issue they they feel the boys have…the holistic allergist has added yet another suppliment…some natural anti-histamine saying allergies are causing inflamation etc. Sometimes I feel like I could write a book on all the crap that has happened. Staying on topic with my questions….is it just a concern that you brought that up….that perhaps is an illness should arise that it could be just the child is under stress or should there be other things I should be aware of with a narcissists being around children?

        • Joana Mashun wrote how weirdly competitive Narcissists are. One example is the the narc finding out what shampoo their victim wore, and then insisting on having the same shampoo, and never using a house brand. To the Narc, something as stupid as using a good shampoo is a competition, and their amygdala will freak them out if they use something “less” than what others are using.

          The problem arises in that Narcs tend to also see competition in matters of health. They want to be the healthy one, who enjoys life while everyone else is screwed up. This can work two ways. The first is the worst. They can actively try to screw up the health of those around them. Most assume Munchhausen by Proxy, where the mother poisons the child and then seeks medical help, is an attempt by the mother to fix attention on herself as a martyr of sorts, serving a sick child selflessly. Maybe in some cases it is. However I suspect a lot of the cases are a Narc trying to create a script to the movie of their life where they are the healthy one, and everyone else is screwed up and miserable. Imagine if you were screwed over somehow. Think about how much you know your Narc would enjoy it. Well, they enjoy it almost as much when anyone is screwed over, and sometimes they will try to cleverly help things along in that direction. Sadly, children can be the most opportune victims to play this game on.

          The second way this can play out may be the way it seems to be playing out in your case (again, I am almost wholly ignorant of your case, and if you want real advice, I urge you to go to a professional therapist who is familiar with NPD, and run everything by them). In this second type of case, the Narc may not poison the children, but they will tell themselves the children are sick, magnify any possible symptom the child may have, shuttle them to doctors, and create a belief system, or false reality for themselves, in which the children are screwed up, while they themselves are enjoying excellent health. Believing that will assuage their panic at any thought of not being fully in control, and superior to all those around them. This is probably somewhat harmless (though I do wonder whether some cases could turn into a reverse placebo effect, just by focusing children on symptoms, and developing their amygdala’s tendency to flag a minor symptom that most would ignore as a major one, and make them feel small problems as much bigger than they are.)

          The final thing is, Narcs are by nature stressful. I knew a guy whose sister was a raging narc. I spotted her within literally seconds of meeting her for the first time. Jumpy manner, invasions of space, weird eye contact, touchy, irritating subjects of conversation, forced smile – she had it all. He, out of the blue one day, told me he couldn’t eat around her. He said her presence was so stressful, he would get diarrhea just from sitting at a table with her for an hour. This guy was an ex-soldier, about six feet, 200lbs, and had both arms sleeved in tattoos. He was a bad dude, and yet her weird, stessful crap just broke him up physically.

          That kind of stress can hit anyone, and wear on health. Kids tend to absorb it well, mainly because when you don’t know the difference between good and bad due to lack of experience, you just roll with the bad better because you don’t know it is bad. But it still can have an effect over long periods. Narcs explode and yell at unpredictable intervals, over things you wouldn’t think they’d explode over. They do things designed to irritate or anger you, and do them in such a way that the effect of the action is maximized. Even at their best, they are strangly unnerving. Over time, that can cause your brain and body to produce all sorts of stress, and that can wear you down, and open the door to all sorts of maladies.

          I was in a group once, and the subject turned to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. One guy pooh pooh’d all of it. Another jumped in, saying a woman down the street from him had it, and was always in bed. One time, she had to go home to her parents house for a week to take care of something, and it abated. She returned home to her husband, and it returned. She took him to Mom and Dad’s, and it stayed. Sent him home, it left. Eventually she got divorced, and was cured. I immediately thought he must be a Narcissist.

          My point with the kids was, however it happens, Narcs can screw up health, and that is serious. It may begin with the kids being freaked out emotionally about going back to the narc’s house, or it may begin with weird symptoms, seemingly unrelated to the narc. In that case, the Narc exposure may be moving from a good experience to help them recognize evil as adults, to something harmful, and you should probably make every effort to consult with professionals and remove them from the environment legally.

          Again, it is all based on my experience and observations as an amateur with experience in this, and you should always consult with a professional who is trained in these matters. On the bright side, as I have said, kids are resilient, so if you have their back, and they always know they have a sanctuary to go to, they will be fine. I think the thing which would make this harmful is if they were alone in the environment, and had no safe place to escape to, and no safe person to count on.

          Finally, you say the kids have no symptoms. Is it possible they do have symptoms when they are with the Narc, but the symptoms abate when they are with you? I would find that concerning. Also, it might help in any legal proceedings, if you can show official doctor’s records from your visits with the kids to your own GP showing that the kids are healthy and symptom-free with you, as well as subpoena’d doctor’s records from the Narc’s doctor documenting that some weird allergy/autoimmune malady is stalking them whenever they are in that environment. I’m pretty sure that would seal a custody case for any judge, and quickly. Plus it would fuck up the Narc’s head epically. Either argue the kids are actually healthy at their place, and she has some weird Munchhausen thing going on, or admit that the kids are sicker with them, and would, therefore be better off with you. That is a high-grade bad-two-fer amygdala hijack that would burn out any Narc in open court.

          Food for thought. Just recognize you are in a war, and if you chase after that option, OPSEC is paramount, so don’t even clue the kids in to what you are doing. “Let your plans be dark as night, and when you move, fall like a thunderbolt.

          Good luck.

          • Alyssa says:

            Thankyou so much for your input. Over the last few weeks and reading up on narc I’ve had so many “ah-ha” moments. So many experiences and dealings with the narc are making sense now when they didn’t before. Likes things didn’t add up or I thought “yeah maybe I am being unreasonable”….not anymore. I’m sure I’ll have to give myself constant reminders…but those close to me know what I’m dealing with so they should be a good support system for me. Another question has come to mind,…I have an actual psychological evaluation that my sons step mom (narc) had done because I argued her having my boys while their dad was working out of town. I didn’t see the need for them to be away from a biological parent if they didn’t need to be (if that makes sense). So her and my ex got the evaluation done…..in there they psychologist did point out in the test terms(MCMI-III) that she scored extremely high on scales four, five and seven. Which, from my research are histrionic, narcissist and compulsive. Is there any harm, now if things were to escalate whether verbal, msgs, email or friends and family, to actually point out that she is in fact a narcissist and specifically point out the characteristics that she is displaying at that time that are very manipulative and are traits of a narcissist….or would that back fire on me?

          • “so many “ah-ha” moments… things didn’t add up or I thought “yeah maybe I am being unreasonable”….”

            LOL. Brings back memories. You store all the wierd stuff that didn’t fit, and drip by drip it suddenly pops out here and there with its solution, once you have a context in which to view it.

            I hesitate to give advice, because if you want good advice you should talk to a professional about it, and he should take a detailed history to get an idea of her idiosyncrasies and the specifics of the case.

            That said, bringing up that she tested defective is an amygdala hijack on her. It will create a very emotional state, in which she will not be able to easily apply logic. She will, instead, madly lash out in every direction to counter what you just said to her, and seek to escape the horror of an unbiased assessment of her own defectiveness.

            There are times when this is advantageous. Specifically, if she is an immovable object, in the way of you doing something good for your boys that they need, traumatizing her into submission, and making her want to run away may be a good thing. But know she will hold it against you, and it may have a cost later.

            Conversely, if you can manipulate her into thinking that doing what you want will prove her own superiority somehow, or assuage her amygdala and insecurity, she will do it for you. That can be just as useful. In this case, she won’t hold anything against you later, however, building a Narcissist’s sense of worth up sets a baseline sense of worth she will insist on in the future, possibly making her less able to be dealt with. Additionally, she will probably see you as more stupid, and more easily manipulated, so she will expect more of that from you in the future. In essence, once you submit once and fuel her ego, she will expect you to be a good little submissive inferior in the future, and will become more difficult/emotional if you don’t give her that.

            It is a tricky balance, and I can’t say I ever found a way to make seeking such a balance easy. The bottom line is that you will not find an easy solution. Whatever happens, you can console yourself that it was always going to be bad, and you really can’t screw it up any more than it was going to be screwed up anyway.

            You may get off easy however. Narcissists are fun in the early part of the relationship. They create an image in their head of how caring they are, how doting they are, how perfect they are, and they try to live it. It is only as time goes on that they screw up here and there in the relationship, begin to blame the partner for not being good enough to keep them good, and then devolve into the face of Satan as they blame the partner for everything wrong with their life. Sooner or later it would not surprise me if he makes a mad dash to the exit, all of a sudden.

            Usually people can control if they have to work out of town, or not. The fact he is already working in a field which takes him away from home makes me wonder if there isn’t a subtle sense in him that away from home suits him, and is nice, and peaceful. As an example, if you really loved your family, you would try to stay around them, and navigate your way to a job where you could. If you didn’t enjoy being around them, then that job out of town wouldn’t be so bad….

            Good luck.

  24. Diana says:

    This is so very interesting, I was married to a narc and have a 16 yr old daughter who is a narc. I have learned so much by dealing with the ex, but my child has really thrown me for a loop, what I have read has put things in perspective, I truly enjoy learning how to deal with a narc and even how to fend them off, this is wonderful information.
    My new phrase with my daughter will be, it’s not my problem, it’s your problem and I will turn away from her. I have now learned to just laugh and walk away. Since I do not think like her I couldn’t figure out a way to deal with her, thank you for your insight, I already feel hope and some peace of mind. Again I Thank you.

    • I am glad to have helped. What you have to grasp is that what the narc says, or the subject they raise, is immaterial to what they are doing with you. The Narc isn’t logical or seeking any sort of solution to the problem they raise. The Narc is trying to provoke you into an unstable state, plain and simple, so that they can look at you, all flustered and upset, and feel in control. Simply acting as if you don’t care, is enormously upsetting to them. If you present an unconcerned, or even and amused posture to them, it upsets and flusters them, leaving them with a situation where you are in control, they are upset and bothered, and they feel helpless and frustrated.

      Good Luck.

  25. Anon says:

    I had this one narc employer that after a year of moving out of the city decided to phone my residence out of nowhere to apologize for his unwarranted “rude” behavior. I found this to be very strange action for a narc to undertake as I would never possibly have contact with again. Obviously I question the sincerity and it wasn’t me that this narc contacted directly but it was my parents who knew him so I didn’t catch the tone of his voice or what he said in specific.
    Is this simply a part of a narc’s behavior to do so? I think it wasn’t sincere in the least but what was the purpose of it? Or is there no purpose to any of it? There is no manipulative value to it and I didn’t think a narcissist would have any sort of empathy to even recognize his wrong doings.

    I figure something went wrong with him like maybe karma dealt a blow and he somehow relapsed momentarily into humanity only just for a second. That’s probably an optimistic delusion though. I’m just having some problems fitting pieces together.

    • It’s impossible to know without getting closer, which would obviously be a bad idea. Evenif he just heard you were askng around about him, it would rebuild the bridge in his head, and you’d have to go about burning it down all over again.

      I would wonder if he was trying to contact all his old contacts because he was about to get laid off in the new economy, and he needed a job lead or reference, maybe. The funny thing with Narcs is that they believe everyone else is stupid, and easily manipulatable. Even after you figure them out, they think one gesture, like buying you a trinket of some kind, will suck you back into owing them loyalty, and once they get that, they can screw you over again, just like they used to.

      Be grateful he is out of your world. It is so great to be Narc-free.

      • Anon says:

        Thank you for your insights.

        I have no intention of getting near him but at the same time he isn’t particularity a bright narc. He’s relatively young but you can detect his foul narc odor from a mile away. There really isn’t anything he could gain from contacting my family but then again he probably doesn’t even know that. I guess I projected my own humanity and sense onto him which obviously was a mistake.

        I forgot about him for some time but after I read this article I felt like I needed to share this. Narcs are just odd people indeed.

  26. Rod Peters says:

    I am in a difficult situation. My mother in law has NPD. She claims to be part of some royal family, and wiser than anyone else. Any of my accomplishments she claims to have done it and done it well. She claims everyone loves her and praises her but always seems to be alone. My wife just seems to sweep it under the rug and say that’s how mom is. Doesn’t seem to matter what the topic is she’s an expert on the matter. She has a way of pretending she’s talking about someone else but really she’s talking about you. She claims to be friends with celebrities and lies about how much money she makes. I’ve tried to distance myself but somehow always get pulled back in. I literally don’t believe ANYTHING she has to say. I usually just ignore her but I think she just takes that as me complying to her bullshit. I’ve told my wife I’m fed up with all the BS we stay away for a little while then she pulls out the “poor me” card. I also believe if I “cross her” she badmouths me to others and we live in a tight nit community.

    • There are not a lot of good answers, when an individual is demanding everyone accept an imaginary reality that everyone else knows is fantasy.

      Again, you should spent a couple of hundred dollars to talk this situation over with a professional, to brainstorm strategies. They will be much more help than I could be.

      That said, when I was around her, I would be non-confrontational, and hide any irritation. Then I would casually set about focusing her on everyone else, and how they have it better than her. Compliment her younger sister over how she never seems to age, and stays so pretty all of the time. The Narc will rage inside, and focus on how angry she is at the sister. Say, in front of everyone, what a nice handbag/watch/etc. another person has, and how you never see such a pretty styling in stores, yourself. The Narc will seethe with jealousy. Talk about the big financial gain the guy down the street made, and the big trip he and his wife are going to make throughout all the countries of Europe.

      This will simultaneously focus her away from you and your family, and stir jealousy and anger in her over how much better all of these people have it than she does. If I were in your place, I’d spend a minimum of one week immersed in my own thoughts at every opportunity, prior to every encounter with her, dreaming up headfucks comparing her inferiority to someone else’s superiority, in a passive aggressive, indirect manner.

      The key is, couch every one as if it is just an extemporaneous outburst, celebrating someone else’s good fortune, and trying to get everyone to join you, in your happiness for them. She will not carry anger towards you as much, but you can still screw with her head, and make her less active in ruining everyone’s good time.

      The Narc won’t show anger, but as the night wears on, they should begin to exhibit a mildly depressed mood, an a withdrawn manner, probably hidden by a weakened, phony smile. Over time, they will not want to deal with you as much, because you will be robbing them of Narcissistic supply in each encounter. To the Narc, they want to be around a group they can screw up emotionally/mood-wise, while they focus everyone on how great they have it comparitively. Deny them that, and they notice, and will eventually avoid you.

      Sadly, that is as good as you probably can do.

      Good luck.

  27. Linda says:

    What can I do if I am the target of my narcissistic brother since I had control of my parents health and property though guardianship , making me the ultimate target of his anger and threats. Now the narc is the executor of the will…so I cannot avoid him.
    How can I control my emotions and my fear of him?

    • I’ll begin with my standard recommendation to find a psychologist or psychiatrist who is familiar with Narcissists, and talk your specific case over with them. They may see things they recognize from the thousands of cases they have seen, which will give you epic insight into your specific Narcissist, and how they can be manipulated. They may also see warning signs for violence, or red flags in other areas you should know about. Professional help can be invaluable, if it is the right professional.

      Now, first, if possible, bring a friend when you have to deal with him, preferably someone he wants to appear “nice” in front of, or someone he doesn’t know. Narcissists are extraordinarily image conscious, and will try to appear nice and normal in front of strangers. This can be a quick and dirty, temporary shield, from the Narcissist’s normal bullshit.

      Second, you are in the middle of a legal proceeding, so you should, if legally possible, record everything. Laws can vary by state, but if you can legally record phone calls and meetings, do so to create a record. run as much as you can through email and texting, if possible. Check your local laws. If you can’t record, then bring a friend who can testify to what happened. Keep a journal, and date and record things when they happen, as this will be legally admissible as a record, should you ever have a problem later. Narcissists fear reality, so they fear a record of reality which they can’t mold. I would also get a lawyer if possible, to review all proceedings, and protect my interests. This is not just about the money or property. You need every interaction with the Narcissist to be a loss for them, so they are conditioned to not fuck with you. If he manages to use a lawyer to screw you on this, he will get a burst of pleasurable dopamine from that, it will become a memory that he will call up to assuage the horror of his life, and he may come back to screw you again in the future, looking for another burst of dopamine and another memory. You need him to, at least, never win against you in any way he might like.

      Third, understand the Narcissist’s game, and familiarize yourself with their ploys. His goal is to stimulate your amygdala, focusing it on irritating stimuli, thereby pressing your “irritated” brain buttons.

      So suppose he has discovered that you don’t like to be accused of creating the horrible dissension in your family, that he produced. He will yell at you, “You always started the fights in this family!,” and then bang on the table. If you view him as a normal person, you get flustered, and look for something in your memory that is concrete to throw in his face, showing he caused the dissension. He has just focused your amygdala on remembering something irritating he used to do, that really pissed you off, while he is being irritating now, and pissing you off. It is a double whammy of irritation, pressing your “irritated” buttons. I don’t know how they know to do this, given how damaged they are, but they do.

      When he yells, you have to ignore what he says. Focus on how emotionally unstable he is instead, and see that he is trying to irritate you, and focus you on irritating stuff. Look at his facial expression. How are his cheeks stretched out? How inhuman do his eyes look? Then, view him as a horribly damaged, miserable loser, focus your amygdala on how inferior and subhuman he is, how bad he has it in life compared to you, and just shake your head sorrowfully, and say, “I can’t understand how you function in life, without a grasp of reality, and so over emotional.” Then look at him puzzled, and shake your head slowly and quizzically. His response will likely be to either laugh, and say, “I’m over emotional? You’re the one that [irritating memory]!,” or he will yell even louder, saying something about not being emotional or his emotions being normal and you being the psycho. You need to double down on the calm, and just shake your head and marvel at it.

      The Narcissist gains his power, when you care. I know you probably have decades of conditioning, and a lot of these responses are out of your control. But if you can make your way to that first little insight into how easy it is to get power over the Narcissist by not caring, you can gain the first bit of confidence that you are superior, and he is really living a nightmare. Everything he does to you, is something he fears. Everything which hits you with X amount of strength is something which will hit him with 100X amount of strength. He is weaker, and only your ignorance of that is holding you back.

      One thing I also notice is a lot of Narcissists try to laugh when you really hit a button of theirs. It is a reflexive defense, borne of the fact that if someone laughs at them, they will freak out, so they assume the same of you, and thus they try to laugh at you when you say something they fear. They use this, because it works on them. If he begins to irritate you, think about how ridiculous it is that you are having a competition with such a mentally damaged, mental defective, and then look to the sky and laugh, as if you can’t believe it. He will probably get more emotional, which should only make you laugh more. It is a good beginner’s technique for trying to get a feel for how vulnerable Narcs are to this illogical, stupid stuff. It is very effective after highlighting how ridiculously screwed up the narc is – as if their malady amuses you.

      That said, I hate dealing with these people. It is never fun, because even if you could stroke one out in every interaction, who wants to live like that? If you are normal, you will prefer a happy environment of positivity to the Narcissist world of perpetual anger and hatred. Narcs seem to fill the very air around them with a thick atmosphere of angst and anger. So know what you are about to deal with will be miserable – it is supposed to be, because you are normal. That is good, because it means you can get away from the Narcissist, and enjoy life.

      So view dealing with him as the last leg in a horrible marathon. You just have little longer to go, and then you ca eject him from your life, and emerge into a peaceful world of love and happiness. Then cut him off.

      Of course, I always worry that maybe the Narcissist a reader is talking about is one of the few who can do violence, so read some of my blog posts there, and keep in the back of your head that if something feels strange, it may be that your Narcissist is snapping. Be careful. I don’t want to freak you out, violence is rare, but violence is not unheard with these people, so you do need to be reasonably vigilant. That you say threats is mildly bothersome. If he suddenly stops the threats, and plays nice for no reason, be careful.

      Finally, really defeating narcs takes a lot of quiet introspection. Think back to bad interactions. What was he saying – exactly. This not only helps you to understand how he is attacking you. Narcissists tell you a lot about what they fear, by how they attack. Does he try to shame you over who you are inside? That may be a button in him you can use. Does he try to get others to abandon you? He may have abandonment issues. Does he laugh at you? He may hate being laughed at. The Narcissist is a mirror, and views everyone as being as damaged as he is, in the same way. The way he approaches you will tell you a lot about how he views himself.

      But as I have said, in the end there is no living with Narcissists. There is only surviving, until you can get away, to a Narc-free environment, where you can enjoy some of the magical world around you. I never understood what people meant when they said, “The grass becomes greener, the sky becomes bluer, the sun becomes brighter, and the breeze becomes nicer.” Your brain turns off, and you don’t even know it. Get away, and eject the Narc from your life, and you will understand that phrase, in a way I cannot communicate on this page. There is a beautiful world out there, all for your taking.

      Good luck.

  28. Lilly says:

    Hi! Thank you for this article. I am living with narcissist in laws. They have been manipulating and destroying relationships right from day 1 that I have been married. They are absolutely over bearing and trying to create issues in my life. I was under severe depression for one year until I started realising that I am not the wrong one here. It is them. I started distancing myself from them and they started harassing my husband now. They are so selfish and so inhuman it’s not even funny. They don’t deserve to be around human beings. They are infant worse than a wild animal. I still have to put up with them twice in a week and this is just something we will have to do because otherwise they are quite capable of crossing all boundaries. In a way it’s fear that they have built in my husband and are feeding on it. They are so antisocial, they have no friends, no relatives, no one at all. No one wants to be around such nasty beasts. I am trying to cope with them which is very tough. I am slowly trying to get my husband to see through them. They are such psychos. Is there a way I can reveal their true selves to the world. Please help me otherwise they will ruin our lives.

    • Hi Lilly,

      As I always say, going to a psychological professional familiar with Narcissists, explaining everything to them, and seeing if they have any useful strategies is worth every penny it will cost. They will have all sorts of strategies you can use to wrangle your Narcissist, based on decades of experience and thousands of cases. I have experience with a handful of weird Narcissists, and there is no guarantee my experiences will yield effective strategies for your unique situation.

      That said, it sounds like they have already exposed themselves, if they have no real acquaintances. As for your husband, one problem you may run into is that I have read that children of Narcissists have to be between 35-40 years old before they see their parents were Narcissists. When they are raised by Narcissists, they need something in the brain to become active, before they can see it in their parent. I have no idea if this is always true, or even if that fact was supported by any studies, or was just conjecture on the part of the writer. The implication was that someone raised by normal people sees normal as normal from a young age, and can therefore see Narcissists as weird much earlier.

      Whatever the case, your husband will see them as weird one day. For now, you have to understand that he was raised with weird behavior, and so he doesn’t see it as weird yet. He also has decades of conditioning, where when he irritated them even slightly, they foisted abuse on him reflexively. So he has likely developed a reflexive tendency to satisfy them just to keep the peace, and avoid the acrimony which he subconsciously knows will come if he displeases them. Likely, he just views it as easier to give them whatever they want. That will be difficult to get rid of, until he comes to view them as enemies, and grows angry enough he decides keeping the peace is no longer what he wants.

      But it will be tough. As a son he is probably loyal to them, he thinks they are loyal to him (something based in logical reasoning running along the lines of, “Why would they throw away his diehard loyalty by betraying him?”), and thus he views all of their behavior as accidental, or unintentional. So long as he thinks that they have even a shred of loyalty to him, he will bear their abuse, and view it as a loyal duty to disadvantaged peers who are loyal to him. If you try to separate him from them, he will view it as you attempting to make him do something immoral, which violates his loyal principles. Even worse, since the principle is loyalty, it may make him question your’s. Narcissists twist reality all around them, this is just another example.

      I can’t give you concrete advice with this level of information, though. For example, if I tell you how to get a war going, and he works for them in the family business, I might only make things worse. Plus, I am unclear on a lot, and don’t want to jump to conclusions. For example, you say you are living with them, but only see them twice a week. I assume by “living with,” you mean coping with them while living in a different residence, but I don’t want to make such assumptions, and then give bad advice.

      If you want your husband to see what they are faster, take him on vacations somewhere nice (where the narc can’t possibly show up), and be sure to remind him how nice and relaxing it is. The more of a contrast you create between his narc-inhabited world, and his narc-free world, the more he will tend to realize he needs a world without Narcs in it. Once he makes that step, he may begin to look at the narc critically, wondering why there is such a difference, and that is the first loose thread that will unravel everything.

      Since I don’t want to make things worse, I will only say that time reveals all with these psychos, and you will win in the end. For now just focus on minimizing your interactions with them, and letting their behavior speak for itself. Also, focus on not caring around the narc.

      When you are around them, assume a body posture and facial expression of someone who couldn’t give a shit about anything (Science hows assuming such a body posture and facial expression can actually alter your brain into actually not giving a shit). Maintaining this posture will also focus your amygdala on the act, and away from the Narc’s attempts to irritate you. Try to spot the games the narc is playing, and the ulterior motives in their behavior. Turn them into a puzzle to solve, and you will simultaneously dehumanize them into a puzzle, and distract yourself from what the narc is trying to focus you on. Always remember, the narc’s game is to create a negative stimuli, and focus you on it. It may be them yelling, it may be a sad story, it may be some chain of event they set in motion to screw up something you care about. But they only win if you care.

      I’m sorry you have to deal with it, but know you’re not alone. Many before you have been where you are, and have made the jump to a narc-free life. You can to, and if you bide your time and play the game right, you will. And it will be beautiful.

      Good luck

  29. Lilly says:

    Thank you so much for replying. To answer your question, my husband and I live by ourselves an hours drive from their house. My MIL has made rules to meet twice in a week and if her children don’t obey her she will make their lives a living hell. But I guess they just don’t see it. They call me in the absence of my husband and say real nasty things but not directly so I cannot hold them for it. They conveniently say that I am the one with the negative mind. I had a massive show down once with my Narc MIL and she has turned the whole family against me. It’s the vicious triangle, where I am the victim, mil is the perpetrator and hubby is the rescuer. It’s a never ending saga. I am starting to get tired of it and just want to get rid of them permanently. We will eventually start a family and under no circumstances I want my children to be around them. They keep forcing my husband to buy a house close to them. I will die but never let that happen, I don’t know how to convince my husband against it. She calls my husband and completely disturbs him. She knows how to play her cards and is always looking to destroy happiness and love wherever she sees it. I feel like informing the cops about it, it’s come to that. I am reading up everyday on this type and trying to help myself. But I need a permanent solution and my husband won’t let me take therapy. I don’t know what to do.

    • I know what you are going through, and I am so sorry. I can’t really offer any concrete advice, without knowing more than I could learn here, and even then, I likely wouldn’t be much help. As I see it, you have a few options, but none are really good.

      Buckle down, and keep going as you are going.

      Find a way to precipitate a family move, maybe by discovering a wonderful opportunity that is too good for your family to pass up, somewhere far away.

      Find a job which takes you out of town a lot, and bide your time until nature takes its course.

      Get your husband hooked on some hobby which requires a move, like boating or jet-skiing requiring a move to the ocean.

      Leave the whole family, and divorce your husband. Not good at first glance, but I have no idea how bad the rest of them are.

      Find a way to minimize your exposure to them, and/or minimize the effects they have on you. This could be by altering your perceptions when dealing with them, or altering their behavior in some way, so they aren’t as noxious. I never really found a way to get that last one to work, though – it seems like whatever you do, they are always awful.

      Form a tight circle of friends in some social club outside your family, and always have some can’t-be-missed date with them, when your husband has to deal with Mom and Dad. If one of my friends was in this situation, I’d love to schedule a bowling night for him every time his wife had to see her parents. This offers the advantage of forcing your husband to endure them alone. Presently, I get the impression he is being at least partly shielded by you, so he has a limited incentive to fix things. If you leave the picture whenever they have to be dealt with, he would end up enduring the full brunt of them. He might just come home one night, kneel in front of you, and beg you to let him move far, far away.

      Finally, why would your husband care if you want to see a therapist? Tell him it is for you, because you are feeling overwhelmed, and need help finding techniques to manage your stress levels at work. Or tell him you want some hypnosis to lose weight/sleep better/stop smoking.

      Is it possible to find one who will see you socially over drinks, as a “girlfriend,” and pay her in accumulated pocket cash? You could even say you are going to dinner with her, then sit at he bar and talk, and pay her with what you would have spent on dinner. Sometimes a therapist might be willing to accommodate a client in difficult circumstances. I assume like lawyers, most will talk on the phone with you before scheduling an appointment, so there is no harm in asking.

      Joanna Mashun spoke of how important it is to have someone sane who you can talk to about all the details of your experience, just to keep you from adapting to the weirdness. Narcs bend the reality around them, and create strange vortexes of bizarreness, to the point that weirdness becomes normal. Look close enough, and I will bet you will see your husband not even thinking about weird stuff he does to pacify the Narc.

      A therapist familiar with the disorder, and bound by professional rules of secrecy can be worth their weight in gold when it comes to not letting you get conditioned to the weirdness. Even better, they can help you see strategies you might otherwise miss to blunt the Narc’s effects, and stifle their games. If that isn’t possible, you need a loyal friend who knows you, and who can help you focus better on the weirdness.

      I’m sorry I can’t be of more help, but I really am amateur in this, and I could screw your situation up worse if I try to go beyond discussing basic problems I have seen crop up, an into the realm of customized advice.

      Good luck.

  30. Sylvia says:

    I have always known my father has NPD but just figured out my identical twin sis is the same as he is. She has put me through nothing short of H… The only blessing is we moved over a 1000 miles away from each other. I feel so sorry for her husband and children (that have special needs). She is a miserable piece of work. I keep thinking someday she will get it, but she is so good at manipulation I just wonder WHEN?? She loves to make me look like a devil and I keep all my long term friendships away from her because she will try to dissolve any decent relationship I have due to hating me. I remember seeing an old movie with Jane Seymour I think played a twin where another twin tried to kill her sister. That is my narcissistic twin sister, evil to the core.

  31. Manalowska says:

    My Narcissit is my older sister.
    I do not remember the time when she was NOT so greedy and cunning all the description above applies to her she so pathetic she can do anything to get attention of course all the folks in the family see her as charming and good hearted lol now since i was the only one in our family who saw her for what she really is i pulled free from her.The tension increased when she moved to our house(Im a student and live with my parents)i use some of the tactics in this article as to ignore her completely but she cant help but interferring with my life so i had a fight with my other brother the other day and she with whome i havent’ spoken for a year showed up to defend me.I dont know what that psycho said to him so he laughs at me now and over look me!

  32. Manalowska says:

    I also have to see her on daily basis-though not speaking(and that is okey for her as long as i don’t speak to anyone else as well)which make it difficult for me to stay in peace.She tries to know everything about me-using her little daughters or letting my mom tell her willingly,of course.If i was having a good company with anyone she will be frantic untill she becomes the centre of attention.You said in this article they deteriorate as they get older but from what i see my Narc is getting more noxious and calm in her ways,which bothers me to see how everybody is hypnotised by her while she’s making fun of them.Sorry for my chaotic writing life is no longer normal when you encounter such demons any help please as to how to deal if at all with her?
    Thanks in advance

    • I understand the chaos. I actually expect people in close contact with Narcisssits to write like this. I will never forget, back in the day, running into somebody who knew my Narc, Bob. The second he found out I knew Bob too, he began talking about all the bad things Bob had done to him, and as he talked faster and faster, it was like listening to a waterfall of bad experiences, surging out of him faster and faster, all at once. He needed to get rid of it, and once he started, it really came pouring out fast.

      Real deterioration in them begins around age 50, which is when they begin to realize that they won’t live forever, and that other younger people may be having more fun than them. All of a sudden, they have it crappy, and they think other people don’t. By 60 it is accelerating, and by 70, they are getting really noxious, and their focus shifts to making everyone around them as miserable as they are.

      There is no good way to deal with them, at any age. My feeling is, you simply need to get away, and minimize contact, wherever possible. I wish I could give better advice. But you might benefit from talking it over with a therapist who specializes in Narcs, if that is an option. They can tell you much more about your specific narc than I can, and outline strategies to thwart the narc’s efforts to screw you.

      But regardless of what you think, your family will eventually figure out what she is. I just wouldn’t wait for that, if I could get away before then. For now, focus on your studies, and try to set yourself up to be in control of your own destiny, so you can find your happiness wherever you want it, some day. Then, when that day comes, seize it. On the bright side, I’ve found having known a narc makes life much more enjoyable, once you get away. When freedom finaly comes for you, it will be magical.

      Good luck.

  33. lynette says:

    i am in a trap. i cannot.move its checkmate i would go to checkout but i have a responsibility to the children. i had all i needed that was a home my little family and i worked hard.text thong i know ten yrs goes by and I’ve been robbed humiliated degraded gaslghted to the point of insanity.Im penniless without friends and I’ve veena unwell so that my looks have all gone.my hair is on the floor my teeth in the bin and my once radiant skin is mottled and scabby . i have lost almost everything a human could lose in terms of hope and live inside a dark cave waiting on the next cycle of trauma coming but nobody ever sees or hears the
    truth..people walk by and look at me as though in Im a problem person.i had no idea what it was all about until a few weeks ago i read an article in it was my scenario.still in shock and reeling from the facts i will use the info to my advantage but Im now scared to go anywhere much and go out at night.

    • I’m sorry you got caught by your narc. Narcs in romantic relationships are a nightmare, because the partner ignores the signs out of loyalty, and ends up suddenly awaking to a reality which they can’t believe could happen.

      The good news is you have made the first step, which is the biggest, which is realizing your predicament, and seeing what the Narcissist is. From here, you need to get as far away as legally possible, and rebuild your life. It may seem daunting but it can be done. Life is a path. You were pushed off your path, but the path is still out there with the same destination, you just need to find it and put in the effort to get back on it.

      I know it sounds impossible to you, but that is just because you have entered uncharted waters, and have no experience here. I urge you to avail yourself of any help you can, to find your way back to your path. There are a lot of people out there who specialize in helping people in your circumstances find their way back, from therapists to job counselors, to advocacy groups, to support groups online. People who have experience being where you are, and finding their way back will see more rapidly how to get you to where you want to be. In your country, there is an extensive array of people who provide such services free, from shelters for battered women and their families, to churches filled with people dedicated to helping people such as yourself.

      In short, if you want to help your kids, you need to reach out to these groups, and see who can help. In the process, you will benefit from their assistance yourself, greatly. Never think you know what the future holds. Life paths are unpredictable, and can turn on a dime. But you need a team to help you.

      Good luck.

    • Pete says:

      Yeah, many of us around here understand your situation completely and greatly empathise with you. I know it must be heart breaking for you right now. You have been given great advice by the web host, and it helps to know you are not alone. As stated, you must believe that you will recover well from this. The sooner you accept this as truth the better. Refuse the victim mentality. It’s not an option for you. You must also look after your health and get sleep – vital. The best way for your brain to accept/cope with your situation is to view this as a cosmic/spiritual challenge. We all have them. Just that a narc will make sure you achieve black belt dan 6, rather than yellow belt. No one will mess with you no more. You will come out of this a better or worse person – choice is yours. Take yourself out of your mind. A narc has the skill to use your mind against you. Don’t let him! Keep busy doing things that will help you. A bit of personal growth work helps. And you’d better develop a thick skin. Don’t give people (especially the narcs foot soldiers) power by reacting to them. They must react to you! Keep your head up, and be careful you don’t slip into depression. Its sneeks up on you without you being aware. Seek medication and/or councilling if you need it. Don’t do anything stupid/wrong/illegal out of anger and spite. The narc WILL trip you up. Sorry for the disjointed thoughts. There is lots of very good advice on this website. I wish you well on your journey. May the force be with you.

  34. Scott says:

    I wouldn’t even be surprised that you are lamenting your low energy levels, and/or reduced health, and the difficulty of realising all of your potential.
    Reading this almost made me cry – I have been trying to cope with some people in my life who have through manipulative and vindictive behaviour brought me into a depressive funk that I am struggling to cope with – they are not friends so much as people who share the same interest as me but who I have to share time with when I pursue my hobby – they are behaving in ways you describe in this article – one even tried to get me excluded from a holiday I had arranged away from them – he wrote to the organiser and actually got them to question my inclusion – they have managed to place me on the outskirts of what was a nice warm collaborative group – I now dread being near them and find I am missing days to avoid them… I am not sure how to move on but reading this feels like a start – gaining a framework of understanding – even being able to dehumanise them calling them a narcissist feels like a start – many thanks for creating this piece…

    • I’m sorry for what you are going through. The first step is to view them as machines to be manipulated. I would also cruise over to Heartiste in the sidebar, and begin looking into game, and social manipulation strategies. Figure out how to be the alpha of the group, and how to internalize the concepts of game, and you will be able to hold much greater control. I would even consider finding a wingman, and going out to practice the techniques. Much of dominating Narcs is not letting them know that they have any effect on you. Heartiste calls it aloof alpha, or cocky funny, and always seeing yourself as the awesome one. It really fucks with Narcs when they play their games, and you seemingly don’t care on the outside.

      Also, analyze, analyze, analyze. Nothing which happens will be an accident. Go over everything they say and do, and try to use it to better understand how they think and strategize. Narcs tell you all about themselves. What do they use to attack you? That is what would devastate them. What do they say to you? It is what they’re most insecure about. You might even want to keep notes, to force yourself to think about it.

      Finally, decide if you really want to deal with them. As you know, there is a huge cost, and maybe they just aren’t worth it. There are lots of groups, and lots of hobbies, many of which are Narc-free.

      Best of luck, and know a lot of people today are slogging through the same morass you are. I can tell you from experience, you can get away from them, and life is magical once you do. Pure joy is out there waiting for you too. You just need to navigate a path to it.

  35. Bill says:

    I was raised by a Narc who was borderline sociopath. Fun times! I realized that
    Through out my life I kept on trying to have friend ships with these people just like
    I tried having a relationship with my father. What painful years of my life repeating
    This process. Few years back after some great therapy, I said goodbye to them all. What a great decision. What freedom!!! They suck way to much oxygen from the room and I no longer have to fight to survive in these relationships! It is so nice to have finally come to the realization it’s their problem, not a deficiency in me!!

    • Congratulations. I hope you enjoy every moment in this beautiful world.

    • Anonymous says:

      I am extremely worried about this for my child. I ignored some minor red flags, and once I had my baby the ugliness really started. I am now in a custody battle with my ex, he is trying to ruin me financially and emotionally. He has brought up traumas from my childhood and forced me to talk about them in counseling (relationship counseling he dug up every little thing I ever told him and made it all about me). He is trying to humiliate me and has been using the court system to terrorize me.

      I don’t know how to make this stop. If he gets a “win” (which he did in our 1st hearing) it only empowers him to keep pursuing…if I attempt to push back on anything he attacks with a full arsenal. I feel like there is no one who can help me.

      • Hello,

        Unfortunately you are in the tunnel, which is the dark period you will go through as you eject this jackass from your life. Almost everyone goes through it, with the small exception of those lucky souls whose Narcissists have heart attacks, or accidents, or some other lethal event occur suddenly, to remove them from the picture. It is always the worst place, because as your permanent separation approaches, the Narcissist begins to panic at the thought of you free and enjoying yourself, so they amp up their noxiousness, and go all out to make you as miserable as possible. Things will get much better, once you reach the end of the tunnel, and conclude your break from him.

        The first thing you need to do is read the blog post on Narcissism and the Fractured Amygdala. Then read everything on here about the amygdala hijack. Your Narcissist operates with a profound mental weakness – it is what drives his disorder. This weakness means, you can hurt them whenever you want. The bluster and force he applies is a desperate attempt to keep you from attacking his weakness, and hurting him. Begin to understand how his brain works, and how to press his buttons, and you can make interactions with you so noxious that he will be desperate to stay away from you.

        Second, begin recording everything, especially his lies and attacks. Keep a dated journal, and record everything bad that he does in it. Funnel as much of your communications through emails, saved texts, and phone calls, which should be taped, if legally possible (consult a lawyer). A dated journal, recordings, and any other evidence of his malfeasance that you can acquire will all be needed as you travel this legal path. Acquire them at every opportunity. There is nothing as traumatizing to him as to be caught in a lie, or seeing his malfeasance documented in front of an authority figure, like the court.

        Third, you are correct that you should deny him any wins. If that is not possible, never let him know that any win he acquires was important to you. Never show emotion, or caring – they feed off of it. If he scores a win on something, that something must instantly become a fight you never cared about to begin with. Narcissists don’t care about the win – they want you miserable. If they score the biggest win, but you don’t care, it is almost as demoralizing as a loss to them. They will stand there with a look which says, “What did I waste all that effort on that win for, if she doesn’t even care?” You should also minimize any appearance of concern about him discussing your past. What he wants, is to see you distraught over him discussing it. Instead, appear uncaring, or even bored about it. The degree to which they define everything by how miserable they have made the people around them is astounding.

        Know you are not the first to travel this path, and you aren’t alone. Know that whatever happens, however things go, you can be glad you are not him, because every moment of his life, from now to the day he dies, will be horrific. He can never win – he can only try to make you slightly miserable, so his horror doesn’t seem quite as bad as it would if you were happy.

        Good luck, and congratulations on beginning your sprint away from the Narcissist.

  36. Mish says:

    Hi AC

    A few years ago I stumbled across NPD and aha, that’s what was wrong with dad the bastard!

    Told my family about it, and to my surprise, they don’t want to know. Ignorance is bliss… or rather, having me as scapegoat was very convenient for them.

    Since then I’ve had many narcissists in my life, some very vicious people – and I keep moving ‘em out. What’s the point of one sided relationships?

    • That is absolutely the only way to do it. Congratulations on finding one of the keys to happiness and good health.

      • Isabelle says:

        We recently became the targets of our N neighbour from next door. Obviously we tried to counter this by speaking to the real estate agent and calling the cops for intimidation and deliberate noise threats. It all failed with her turning this around in her favour and we eventually thought it too much to deal with and have started to look for another place. The question that keeps running through my mind is whether we could have turned this situation around? Is it possible to become their target and get her to stop abusing/terrorizing us on a daily basis? Would she get bored and target someone else altogether? Its an issue because at our last place of residence a similar sort of thing happened and we had to move. Now this is happening again I neee to find out how to avoid becoming targeted at our next place of residence? Thanks in advance for the replies.

        • First, understand Narcs can get pissed just due to seeing you happy. Don’t think you will necessarily understand the reason. Jealosy, confusion/conflation of you with someone in their past, or just a need to vent their perpetual frustration could all be causes. They are crazy.

          There are a few ways to get a Narc to abandon screwing with you. First, they can never win. They must lose every encounter. Pick your fights, and only engage if you will win. No dragging them through court or calling the cops to just bust their balls. If you do lose, make it seem as if you never cared to begin with. Act as if that was not a batle you were concerned with, and then find one you will win, and win it. Revel in the win. Laugh at their loss, in their face.

          Second, videotape everything. Narcs are alergic to reality, so codify it in a permanant form of living, breathing video. Videotape interactions, videotape outbursts, videotape them when they are acting bad. Do it in compliance with all laws, but know that there is nothing like outgrouping them with the police they just called, by rolling out a tape which shows conclusively that they are a liar, and are playing the cops.

          Amygdala hijack them at every opportunity. Play on their insecurities. Highligth their failures, and competitive losses. Outgroup them in front of others. Rejoice and revel in life, in front of them. Laugh at them. Make every interaction with you as miserable as possible for them.

          Finally, know there is a cost to dealing with them. Yes, you can focus your life on screwing them over, but why? Make your next move to a place where neighbors don’t interact much, if at all possible. Get an acre of land, plant hedges, and then live your life free of them. I firmly beleive it is not worth the cost.

          Good luck.

      • Isabelle says:

        Does that mean every time you become targeted by an N you have to move on though? Whether its at work or home… It’s exhausting no? Having established yourself at a place and then have to move on again and again… What’s the secret to not being targeted then? We never even had any contact with this person until they started making a tremendous amount of noise wanting to annoy us to do/say something. When we did she went on the warpath… If we didn’t do/say something she was already targeting us… You mentioned that you had managed to get a fee Ns to leave you alone… How did you do that after they started to target you?

        • >Does that mean every time you become targeted by an N you have to move on though?

          No, but I’ve kicked Narc ass, and I’ve gotten up from bed in the morning knowing that I wouldn’t have to deal with one. Not dealing with them is much more pleasant.

          >Having established yourself at a place and then have to move on again and again… What’s the secret to not being targeted then?

          Don’t engage predictably, first of all. Your Narc was anxious, and miserable. When they are in that state, they are absolutely miserable. Their amygdala is firing off, making them want relief from those emotions like a drug addict. She played the noise to precipitate a fight, so she could act out and get relief, by making you miserable. That was her end-game. If I knew she was a Narc, I’d have not given her the fight, and later laughed at her in front of others, befoe breaking contact, and ending it there. In that case, she’d stay miserable, and end up having to look for someone else who would fight with her, and give her relief.

          Your error is in looking at it, as being motivated by a search for pleasure in fighting with you. She’s actually looking for relief from an intense brain-mediated agony, and if she gets it, she will be back. Deny her relief by not playing her game, and she will need to go somewhere else. Make her agony worse with amygdala hijacks, and she will run somewhere else.

          It comes down to this. The Narc is a narc becasue they are trying to assauge a panic or rage response, with an action which vents that emotional agony. The panic and rage cost them, though, and there is nothing as bad as not getting relief from it, and just stewing, frustrated and anxious.

          The key is to figure out where the panic and rage come from, and how what they are doing alleviates it. Then introduce more stimuli to precipitate panic or rage, and withdraw any ability of the narc to assuage the panic and/or rage. You would actually want to do more of what made her target you, and less of what she wants you to do, in confronting her, and giving her an outlet to relieve the emotions. It is however, a high-stakes chess game and you had better not let her get relief off of you.

          I had an advantage with my main narc. I knew his family, and was able to get key intel on what precipitated his rage and panic, and I had known him long enough to see how he acted out to alleviate it. I then precipitated more of it, and denied him any outlet to relieve it. Done over time, it can actually break them down physically, if you do it right. They will have no choice but to stop dealing with you, and they will know it.

          Now I can’t give you a step by step plan for your’s. To get that plan, you have to look at this like a puzzle. You have to examine everything you can remember about what she has seen, what she has heard, and when she has been most off her rocker. What precipitated her anxiety – her motivation to target you. That is her achilles heel. What fun thing did you do in the front yard, around the time she began acting out? Did you buy a new car? Could word have reached her that your career was taking off, and she just got laid off? Is your house nicer? Do you look hotter, and you wore a hot outfit? Are you happily married, and she is washed up, with no man willing to commit? What did she see which made her feel you were superior, and which triggered her feelings of jealosy, anger, resentment, and inferiority?

          Finally I should point out, this is a woman who didn’t know you, and felt rage towards you for nothing. It is possible if you effectively turn the tables, and leave her with pent-up rage and anxiety she can’t relieve passive-aggressively, she could go off the deep end, and even get violent.

          Be Careful.

  37. Manalowska says:

    Okay so im secretely planning my escape !Since im totally dependent financially on my family,who has lately cut off every supply from me-obeying my Narc Mom im thinking of a way to MAKE HER give me what i need.She actually asked me to leave after she consumed every possible way to srew me up and failed.Please i want to know what is the best way to ask her money? ? she is dying to see me weak.

    Thanks

    • That will be complicated, difficult to pull off, and I can’t give a good answer from this distance. If it were me, and those were the rules, I would try to induce misery in the Narcissist when I was around, and lead them to associate relief with when I was away, all while maintaining the pretense of a loyal relationship which they would be embarrassed to violate. But I would be doubtful it would work, and cognizant that it could push the Narc over the edge into poisoning me, or killing me, both of which would be easier and cheaper for them, from their perspective.

      If I tried it, first I would focus on subtle hijacks whenever I was around, like the Narc uses. Be depressing, criticize, highlight failures and inferiorities constantly, be demanding, and just generally depress, without ever allowing it to progress to a fight or explosion. Try to keep them busy, hyper-stimulated, and occupied when you are around, to tire them out if possible, the way parenting a special-needs kid might exhaust them. You want them to need a vacation from you. Then leave for a period, such as to visit a friend in a boarding school like college, and highlight to the Narc how much you hate being away, how awful the place was, and how miserable you are when you are gone, and how much you would be devastated by leaving more permanently. If possible, make it nice and relaxing while you are gone in some way, so the Narc grows to crave your absence. Repeat the leaving a few times, so the Narc notices how nice it is with you gone. Then you have to make it look like the narc is forcing you out in some clever fashion. Mayeb let them trick you into going to college to do a lot of miserable work and get a degree.

      Honestly, I doubt this can be done, though. I leveled my Narc, to the point he couldn’t deal with me and had to leave me alone, which is much different. Plus we weren’t tied together like family. I don’t think I could have gotten him to pay for me to leave his house. Though when I think about it, he was terrified of being amygdala hijacked at the end. Still, even if it could be done, that would be an exhausting path, which would probably wear me out.

      I guess the key is, the Narc would have to feel that they were boxed in, that I was enjoying torturing them, and that the only way they could deny me the enjoyment and save themselves, would be to force me, or cleverly manipulate me, out. But that is the key. They would have to feel that they were hurting me, and saving themselves, but even then I think they would find a way to do it which genuinely screwed me, before they would pay for me to do something I could tolerate, or even benefit from.

      Can you just get a job somewhere far away, even if it is in a poorer area, and make the leap? Can you get a scholarship and take out student loans to go to school somewhere? Can you find a government agency where you are, which facilitates employment? You have the internet, with a world of possibilities at your fingertips. I would set to plotting a course which didn’t require Narc intervention or support, if at all possible. Get a degree, move to an oilfield area where there aren’t enough workers, or even move to a homeless shelter, with the idea, that that is your bottom, and you are going to claw your way up, from new job to new job, until you have a successful life.

      I’d love to give you a step by step, but I think you need something more personalized than I can give you here.

      Good luck.

      • Manalowska says:

        Thank you so much,that sums it all up without any personalized details.She has gave up on Ego-boxing with me for a quite period of time now,it’s just when i talked about money the other day she felt like a winner(I once threatend her that i will work a shameful part time job and tell her acquaintance about it-but this didn’t work this time lol)Living 18 years with a Co-Narc family-i venture to say,has made me stronger.Im not going to depend on or even have any contact with them after my leaving it’s just i don’t want to stay around them any longer.
        I thought,perhaps i can act out the unstable state she wishes to see me in and promise her-indirectly, for more without boosting her sadistic spirits,provided she gives what i need !:|
        Thank you dear Anonymous
        Blessings~

        • Good luck.

          Never forget, there is a beautiful world out there, with turqoise blue water, sand, and palm trees, or whatever you love, and there is a path from where you are, to it. You get unlimited tries to find the path to get there, and you can fail as many times as you need to. Just try a lot, don’t quit, and the laws of statistics will eventually give you a success, and take you there. Learn from your mistakes, take chances, and work hard, and you can find paradise that much sooner.

          And believe me, life without Narcs in it is paradise all by itself.

          God bless.

          • Isabelle says:

            I just wanted to thank you again for this blog and the effort you have put in to answer our questions. It’s truly harrowing rereading some of these stories. Since we moved away from our N neighbour last month I am back to my happy self again. I just wanted to thank you for your support during that time. Your advice was very much appreciated. Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a wonderful New Years! Take care AC.

          • These are the best posts to read. Isn’t it nice out there, with all the peace and happiness?

            I hope anyone who stumbles on this site realizes, that beautiful, peaceful, happy world is out there, and you can find your way to it. You just have to commit to finding your way to ridding yourself of the parasite infecting your life, and not let any failures here and there discourage you. Once you get rid of the Narc, and your brain relaxes, you notice all sorts of beauty all around you. Green grass, little beetles crawling on tree trunks, fuzzy snow-white clouds on a royal blue sky, puppies with wagging tails at the park feigning play attacks on each other, the faint smell of some flower, or just a breeze of air that smells extra fresh. It is all there, all around you. And you will notice it.

            Isabelle, thank you for the update. I hope you never run into another Narc, and that feeling lasts forever. Now that you know the reality, it easily can last forever. God bless and happiness.

            AC

  38. Andrea says:

    I have recently discovered that my mother is a narc, and perhaps my father as well. I have been reading ‘will I ever be good enough’ by Dr. Karyl McBride and it is helping me to disconnect emotionally.

    I am trying to set boundaries now – my mom calls at all hours of the day, and I only call her back in the evening. The behaviour is subsequently escalating.

    We are taking a trip abroad, and she disapproves. I started loudly agreeing with everything she said “You’re right, I am a terrible mother. Yes, I am stupid. Yep, I should be drug out and shot.” She hated it. It was great to loudly acknowledge the crap she was feeding me.

    In retaliation, she called my husband, and lied about a travel advisory in order to trigger a fight between us. I refused to return her calls for a couple of days, and decided to stick with one message – ‘Do not call my husband at work.’

    She exploded. She told me she would never speak to me again (relief!). Then my father called my husband and chanted ‘whiny little baby’ at him over and over like a child. Then my mother called to tell me she had no daughter. I remained calm and agreeable.

    She texted me a long winded thing about how she still thinks of me as her little girl and only wants to protect me. I have called a two week hiatus.

    Then I go to visit my grandmother and who happens to visit? She has told my grandmother that we have disagreed about the vacation. I don’t want to stress out my elderly grandmother so I don’t push it.

    I still want my extended family in my life, but I sure as hell don’t need to listen to this nonsense every day, it is wearing me down. My ideal goal would be to have a civil, unemotional relationship with her and this latest fight where I was disowned might be my window for change. Any ideas for setting boundaries with these nightmares?

    • I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. Narcissists are chaos generating machines, and I can feel that chaos in your post. I once ran into someone who knew Bob. We talked calmly, until Bob came up in conversation. Bob had been doing the same types of annoyances to this person, and as he began to recount them, it was like a waterfall of irritations began to just pour out of him. Once you get away from it, that level of irritation is obvious in unbelievable ways.

      First, you can’t really maintain a relationship with a Narc. It will always devolve into them trying to do this type of stuff to you. My advice is, cut off contact, and avoid. On those occasions when you can’t avoid, be civil, but ignore. Make excuses if you need to for your avoidance, and always be ready to bail from any family function for a preplanned emergency, even if it requires your husband fake-ring you.

      I wish I could tell you something better, but I know of no way to attenuate the urge to annoy in Narcs, or to maintain any form of relationship which won’t substantially detract from your life-enjoyment. If you fight their crap actively, it is stressful, and if you give in, they will raise the volume on their annoyance until it is just as bothersome, and you have to fight it. The only solution I found was to make dealing with me so miserable for them that they had to leave. Had I not discovered how vulnerable they are to amygdala hijack, I am sure my main one would have continued to show up unannounced everywhere.

      Once you get free, though, life is beautiful. Don’t let the events ear you down. Heaven on earth is out there.

      Good luck.

    • I’m so sorry you are dealing with this. Narcissists are chaos generating machines, and I can feel that chaos in your post. I once ran into someone who knew Bob. We talked calmly, until Bob came up in conversation. Bob had been doing the same types of annoyances to this person, and as he began to recount them, it was like a waterfall of irritations began to just pour out of him. Once you get away from it, that level of irritation is obvious in unbelievable ways.

      First, you can’t really maintain a relationship with a Narc. It will always devolve into them trying to do this type of stuff to you. My advice is, cut off contact, and avoid. On those occasions when you can’t avoid, be civil, but ignore. Make excuses if you need to for your avoidance, and always be ready to bail from any family function for a preplanned emergency, even if it requires your husband fake-ring you.

      I wish I could tell you something better, but I know of no way to attenuate the urge to annoy in Narcs, or to maintain any form of relationship which won’t substantially detract from your life-enjoyment. If you fight their crap actively, it is stressful, and if you give in, they will raise the volume on their annoyance until it is just as bothersome, and you have to fight it. The only solution I found was to make dealing with me so miserable for them that they had to leave. Had I not discovered how vulnerable they are to amygdala hijack, I am sure my main one would have continued to show up unannounced everywhere.

      Once you get free, though, life is beautiful. Don’t let the events ear you down. Heaven on earth is out there.

      Good luck.

  39. Anonymous says:

    This is an interesting article, though disturbing. If you believe narcissism lies behind some liberal thought, then what about the New Age movement? The latter has become mainstream: witness Oprah flogging “The Secret,” the book that promises our wishes come true! Looks and smells like narcissism to me.

    I have an interest in this subject because my parents were narcissists, and I was the family scapegoat. My husband’s ex-wife is definitely a narcissist. I feel sad that I spent so much time with the children, my stepchildren. Yup, the ex-wife blackmailed my husband and dumped major childcare duties on me, while undermining me behind my back and colluding with dysfunctional behaviors. The stepchildren are adults now. I’ve just finished talking to the eldest long-distance, and she too fits your narcissist description. I like to think people change and grow up, but at this point, I just feel played and used by a 30-year old.

    I try to accept people as they are and appreciate the good in them. But in the case of the narcissists in my life, I reluctantly have learned to set boundaries and protect myself. It’s up to them to change themselves, not anyone else.

  40. Anonymous says:

    I posted yesterday and see my comment hasn’t come up yet. Well, it can be deleted! I was still trying…I emailed the N in my life early this morning and oh boy. Thank you, thank you for the sanity of your article, which I’ve reread. The N turns everything around: she’s “exhausted” at having to be someone she’s not. She’s not who I want her to be. Okay! Reasonable expectations are too much for the N. The N can’t grasp the difference between feelings and behavior, the former rationalizing the latter in the N’s mind. There’s just no discussing things, no saying how I feel. My feelings and rights (what?) don’t count. The N doesn’t understand the concepts of honest love, sincere apologies, taking responsibility, choosing behaviors…all that adult stuff people get by the time they’re 30, right? (Wrong, if it’s an N in question.) Then again, this N once tried to kill me (or did a good imitation of it) and has assaulted me several times, only stopping her physical abuse when I threatened her with the police. Still can’t trust her on the lying and stealing fronts. She really doesn’t have inner brakes (unless her well-being is threatened) or a sense of healthy shame. Shame on me for being fooled so many times. The weird thing is, the more I accept the way things are, the freer and happier I feel. I’m beginning to look forward to the rest of my life.

  41. Connie H. says:

    this is an update on my situation..My earlier post was under C in May of 2013.
    well its been 17 months since I completely cut this Narc out of my life. It is a understatement to say its been the worst time of my life. You all must understand , (evidently) there are different degrees of Narcs and I just happened to be connected to the worst type. she has consistently degraded my name and caused so much discontent within our extended family..So Very sad especially at this time of year. her oldest sister is my Mother , which make the narc just 5 years older than me..That’s why we were so cLose. Almost all the family has even turned thier back on her since she lives with me and my husband. she does not understand and I don’t want to stress her , since she has a bad heart.
    What I want these folks to understand is..when you make to decision to disconnect you had better be prepared for some of the roughest times of your lives. it is not an easy thing to do and I tell the truth if I had not have had to do this I probably would just kept being the lap dog for the rest of my life..Yes So sad!! But I cannot stress how evil these people can be. I feel I have been raised under the spell of a demon. I am so serious!
    Keep hoping she will show her true colors ..she is 66 now. but she does have a good supply of family near her.
    I can only Hope and pray that someday the people I love so dear will see and know the truth.
    This whole thing sure has taken a toll on me and I sure do not understand why I have to suffer so bad, but in all I am glad I don’t have to see her and That’s something.

  42. melinda l. says:

    everything you said is so true
    my mother and son are narcissist
    my daughter and me have been shot at by them. more than once.we cut all ties 3 years ago they still stalk us backstab turned the family against us. took both to court and they lied in court. they have no friends anymore. i do believe they belong to the devil! its very inportant to stay away from these freaks.

    • God bless you Melinda, and be careful. If they have crossed the shooting Rubicon, you are in dagerous territory. Your big advantage sounds like they have so many enemies they will ave trouble focusing on you, so that is good. Keep your head down, and know paradise is out there, and you can make it to it.

  43. XYZ says:

    AC, you should definitely look here:
    - http://www.ponerology.com – A book on psychopaths as well as related mentally disturbed individuals in the context of politics, written by a polish clinical psychologist during the Soviet occupation
    - http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum – Discussion about psychopaths, narcissists and similarly damaged individuals and their influence on society in theory as well as real cases

  44. XYZ says:

    Sorry, forgot, hadn’t read some of the comments here:

    People who are or have been victims of narcissists/sociopaths/psychopaths should definitely head to the Cassiopaea forum at http://www.cassiopaea.org/forum.
    There is lots of enlightening material posted by people who are or have been in such a situation – the gist of it is that to deal with such characters as described in this article one MUST procure the knowledge on what to do and one MUST network with other people.

    Best luck.

  45. happyeverafter says:

    Thanks for sharing all that important info with us.
    My big brother is a Narc and it took me until my 30s to discover it.
    All my life I was wondering and seeing all his strange behavior as a puzzle to solve.
    Right now his move was to out-group me in the family.
    My mother is totally spellbound by him, and now my parents want to inherit their
    company to him.
    My father (I suppose he has also a NPD but not as bad) and my brother always hated each other.
    Now that my brother who was unemployed for the last year has the chance
    to overtake the company and gain a lot of power.
    So he is of course playing the charming son inventing all kind of lies of me.
    All the things I told him before I knew about his disorder he now uses
    against me.
    Im living in Germany and its not easy to find a pro in this topic.
    But after a year of heavy depression and almost becoming an alcoholic
    I started a therapy.
    I read the book :Stalking the Soul from Marie-France Hirigoyen
    that helped a lot to understand in what dilemma I am.
    My husband and me refurbished the old house of my grandparents
    what my mother told us to do
    which took us besides work almost 3 years and a lot of money and pain in the
    ass. Everything was alright until my brother appeared on the scene.
    As my brother saw how beautifully we made the house and how happy my husband and me are he was convincing my mother getting us out of the house
    or paying an irrational rent …
    I called my father and told him that I will consult a lawyer so my husband and me
    can maybe get some of the money back we put in the house.
    Now my father wants to mediate in this case.
    Its really hard for me after all this work getting confronted with only anger
    greed and hate.
    My husband and me found a nice apartment in the city … but still
    we did not leave the house fully
    I understand the game my Narc brother is playing but I can’t understand the
    behavior of my mother
    Only to think about it makes me sick and very sad.
    What can we do ?

    • I hesitate to give specific advice or counsel, for fear I will screw up someone’s situation by commenting without knowing enough about it. But I will offer you a guess on your mom’s behavior.

      Narcissists can condition the people who interact with them. Many of Bob’s relatives would quickly supplicate to him when he made demands a certain way, because it was obvious that if he didn’t get what he would want, he would explode and begin vomiting rage on everyone around. One relative once said, “Oh shit, just give him what he wants and shut him up!” Narcs are noxious, and that can eventually get people to just give them what they want to keep the peace. Over time, that conditioning can get weird. If the Narc is noxious enough, people may give him anything, just to avoid the explosion and rage vomiting they do so well. To an outside observer it can seem strange, but the mind often does things without thinking, and usually such people are not aware of their reflexive capitulation to evil. If they ever get that spark of insight which lets them see what is happening, they may even be shocked at their own behavior.

      If possible, you and your wife could offer to take your mom and two or three of her friends on a pleasurable vacation somewhere relaxing and beautiful on hr next birthday, as sort of “girl’s vacation.” Let her unwind, and drop subtle comments about how nice it is away from all the turmoil of normal life. If you can, walk her towards seeing how the Narc is the turmoil, and how she should strive to stay away from it, so she can enjoy the beautiful world out there. Point out how she can’t enjoy the world as much with the Narc in it.

      I can’t really tell you whether fighting your brother is wise, or how to do it. Honestly, I’m not even sure that given all the information I could pull could pull off a win, given how complex a battle would get with multiple innocent family members around who are still blind to the Narcissist. There are just always so many unpredictable events, and the Narc is so sociopathic about it, they tend to have the advantage.

      One piece of advice, try to never take on a battle which they will ultimately win. Don’t try to drag them through the trenches, by fighting a battle that will cost them, but which they will ultimately win. If they ever do win, immediately act like that battle didn’t matter to you, and find one you will win. The Narc gets strength off of beating you at something you care about. If you don’t care, it makes their victory actually frustrating to them, because all they will focus on is what they think you want to win, which they haven’t beaten you at.

      If your dad tries to mediate, also remember, don’t argue to him about how you are factually in the right. Argue to him in such a way as to point out how if he opposes your position, he will look unreasonable to outsiders, and the rest of the family. If your dad is a mild Narc, he will not care about right or wrong, but rather about everyone’s opinion of him. He will want to make a decision which makes him look good. Point out to him how taking your side will make him look good to everyone. (ie, Who will ever do favors for anyone in our family, if you let me get screwed over for being nice to grandma, and fixing her house? People will think we are all just fine with screwing over the nice people, and nobody will ever try to help us!)If you can out-group your brother in your dad’s eyes, and show how the family will view him as unreasonable and unfair, you will also help your cause.

      Best of Luck.

  46. Anonomous says:

    I just read this article, along with every single comment. My innards were twisted up in knots just reading your Narc Nightmare stories b/c I can greatly emphasize with each one of you. The pain of absolute betrayal and malice seeps deeply into our soul’s very being. They truly are crazy as a fox, yet in total control. You give me hope, though, that with time and age they will reveal themselves. I can also confirm that fake, creepy smile that they usually acquire over time. It’s of the cartoonish-psycho hybrid variety. No smiling from the eyes/soul at all. Their lips clenched over teeth too tightly. There are give always but while under their spell, all the signs and red flags will be lost until their masks starts to slip in front of you.

    I have been no contact with my whole family (including extended other than one sister who left 9 years before me) over two years. I began to wake up in 1996 after going thru a major betrayal, then witnessed how everyone swept it under the carpet as if it didn’t happen, and I became one with the problem. My whole identity was wrapped into my big family and loyalty. They slowly began taking all means of outside support away. This was a preemptive strike. In fact, this isolation started in childhood, first from my Nmom manipulating my father. We didn’t have a conversation until I was 19 years old. And guess who stood in the background the whole time, making sure we didn’t connect dots. She also filled my head with horrible lies about my father too, but my heart was too tender to hate him. My father, in return, acted with disgust and rejection. God only knows what he was told about me.

    He died of bladder cancer. I was told by several doctors that the cause is by being exposed to toxins. My NM used to hint, plant seeds, to me and other siblings in childhood that my dad had poisoned his first wife, who died of cancer. She also refuses to eat out at restaurants, and seems obsessed about people putting stuff in her food. We all know, at least now, that Narcs project who and what they are on to their targets. Her behavior was so odd the day he died, and preceding, that I still have a hard time processing what I witnessed.

    She had keys to my house, we eventually changed them and moved far away. My beloved dog who was well taken care of, and spent a lot of time with her after my father’s death (I knew something was off put could not connect the dots). At 9, my dog who was like a child to me, got cancer. After spending thousands on surgery and chemo, we finally had to put her to sleep b/c of her suffering.

    You are right to warn people here of their propensity for revenge, even by poisoning. Like you said, it’s so sick and crazy that no one will believe you. Also, Narcs invest heavily in preserving their false persona, it would make you look crazy unless you get them on tape like the girl did in the movie The Sixth Sense.

    I wonder how many of you were warned in your dreams? I had several dreams that almost felt like warnings. As I saught God more in my life, the more discernment/intuition grew, and the dreams. Six months before moving away, I cried to God in the way that a broken person does….my whole body shook from the years of stress I lived under with a NMom and NSister who with their charm and manipulation run the family show. In my tears, I asked God to move us if it was His will. Out of the blue five months later, my husband, who was not looking for a job, got recruited by an executive headhunter, and it was a perfect match.

    Today, I’m in my 30′s and had a cardiac ablation two years ago for rapid heart beat, and in August I was diagnosed with a serious gut problem that can kill me. The surgeon wants to remove 40 percent of my colon – called a resection. Getting a second opinion. All the docs who see my CT scans are very concerned. This is a disease that statistically strikes 60 plus crowd. I am living proof that these Narcs are very dangerous, especially if they are in your family and well-hidden. You can always get another job, dump a friend (but still expect revenge complications in they are Narcs). It’s much harder when they are your mother, father, child and sibling. Society looks to the child leaving as the one with the problem.

  47. Anonomous says:

    One last thing:

    I have read People of the Lie, The Sociopath Next Door, Without Conscience, tons of blogs, and out all these resources on the subject, your piece here along with your comment responses nail the Narc to the wall more than anything I’ve read out there to date, and without the psycho babble too. And we all know nailing a Narc to the wall is like nailing jello. You can’t.

    Your repeated warnings about poisoning, slow murder should not go unheeded. Your responses about channelling the calm, amusing reactions of Lector, although unorthodox, is brilliant advice. Narcs truly feed on pushing our emotive buttons. All the more when they have an audience, those who they’ve been smearing you to behind your back. Then after the set-up, they say, “See, she’s crazy” and play the long suffering victim. This creates a false reality for the enablers. In time, when Narc’s seeds are planted, there will be a harvest. That harvest is having those you love unknow you. It’s likened to a total wipe-out of your existence. Due to this, I subconsciously developed a Rainman-like autobiographical memory (total recall on dates, times, total conversation recall – memory like film. Now I realize, it was for my very survival, kind of like anchoring in a Narc-storm. That acquired, good memory protected me from total breakdown.

    I think of murderer Jodi Arias and victim Travis Alexander when you give your warning about Narcs/Sociopaths. He knew something was wrong with her, and even called her a sociopath in one of his writings, and yet she still disarmed him with her beauty and sex appeal long enough to destroy him. Then you got Casey Anthony too. Both cases are TEXTBOOK!

    • I am very sorry for what you have endured, but am happy you have found your way to freedom. On the other hand, I am thankful you now know, and can protect yourself in the future. I look at people who have not had our experiences, and I see nothing but vulnerability and danger. I can not imagine traversing the world without the knowledge we share.

      Just as the writings and stories here touched you, your’s hit on many buttons deep within me. I urge any reader to pour over that post again, because it is filled with wisdom and experience.

      I don’t talk much about God here, because I was once purely scientific of mind – the world was a simple clockwork mechanism. I know firsthand, when you see the world that way, it takes an almost supernatural experience to shock you into accepting that this world could have been created by a sentient Consciousness, that such a Consciousness might be what we perceive as good, It might be aware of what goes on within Its creation, It might love Its creations just as we love our own children, and every so often, It might actually intervene in Its creation to help out one of Its children who is in over their head. I don’t raise the subject, because I know everyone needs to walk their own path to God. I have made the journey, however, from pure mechanist to believer, something I could not possibly have believed I would have, just ten or twelve years ago. The world is a lot more magical and special than I would ever have believed.

      On poisoning, your advice is spot on, and I urge anyone who reads this to be on guard. Narcissists see others as being exactly like them. If you know someone who thinks others would poison them or poison other people, it is highly likely they think that way becasue they are potential poisoners themselves. If you are here, looking into this, you are at risk. Don’t find out too late that you should have taken precautions.

      Please pursue your medical treatment as aggressively and quickly as possible, and get as many opinions as you need to feel you are on the right path. (There is a book called Top Doctor by Castle Connolly (Link Here), which aggregates the names of the more respected physicians in each specialty. It is not foolproof – some may get in due to political skill as much as medical skill, but it can help to find the most respected doctors possible in whatever specialty you require. Get the best doctor, and you will get the best cure rate and the best cure.)

      That medical battle is your Narcissist’s last stand. Defeat them there by getting cured, and you will have won. I’m looking forward to you making that last visit to the doctor to get the good news that you are done – so should you.

      Finally, thank you for contributing your data to this page, and in doing so, helping others who happen on it. We are in a war, and it is us vs them. I appreciate the contribution to the battle.

      God bless you, and do not waste any time getting out and enjoying the beauty of this world. I am looking forward to passing you on a sunny beach somewhere some day. Don’t let me down.

      • Isabelle says:

        This post was very emotionally triggering for me. I found myself crying over your words. Like the previous poster, I also became very sick from my years dealing with my NMon and my Ex. I just got away by sheer dint of will. Almost losing my sanity, health and soul in the process. I wrote recently regarding the crazy sociopath neighbour and found your words a real comfort. But I felt I hadn’t won the bigger battle with my health declining over the years. Now finally, I feel I am on the path of recovery and reading others experiences’ is just harrowing. Its taken almost as long (5 years) to recover from a 5 years relationship with a N. Put together that’s 10 years of my life gone – that’s half a life sentence. I don’t know how anyone could stay with an N without getting sick. Thank you once again for your kind words and wishing you a very Merry Christmas!

        • I know how you feel, we’ve walked the same path, and both paid for it. It is important to understand how many come in contact with a Narcissist and never recover, though. Some spend their whole life under the spell, wasting every precious moment. Some are even killed outright, and die without ever having a chance to know that freedom and happiness even exist. Know that you are lucky to have managed to fight your way to freedom, and that someone somewhere may even be looking out for you, given how lucky you are.

          Regarding health, the effects produced by narcissists may be fairly susceptible to the treatment modalities offered by doctors of Traditional Chinese Medicine, oddly enough. TCM actually incorporates into it’s diagnosis a study of emotional imbalances the patient has experienced, and if you find a good doctor, he will often have a surprising number of ways, that were developed over the past 6000 years, to combat the exhausting after-effects of the Narcissist. Although the use of herbs and acupuncture, as well as their theoretical constructs may seem more primitive, there is nothing in modern medicine which seems to address the types of subtle imbalances in the immunological, neurological, and even the GI biota Narcs produce in exactly the same way.

          I was very privileged to know a bonafide expert in TCM once, saw his handiwork on several individuals firsthand, and was amazed at how he could take relatively non-specific complaints which would be meaningless to a western doctor, and address them effectively. The only catch is, you have to find a practitioner who possesses excellent training, fairly extensive experience, and even something of a gift for it. There are many who don’t really know what they are doing, for each true master. Masters of the art are out there however, and I encourage you to try and find one if you still have any health after-effects. Their treatments can seem almost miraculous.

          God Bless and Merry Christmas to you. You’ve earned it.

  48. Anonomous says:

    Coming to the truth of these “secret under cover agents” aka Narcs is like waking up from The Matrix. You are like the black-leather clad, kick-some-ass Trinity who is directing the newly awakened to follow the white rabbit….some make it out, some don’t. Watch that film from the perspective of Narcs and you will see a lot of similarities. “Mr Anderson”.

    I’ve been so deeply traumatized by Nmom, Nsis, and their enablers that I haven’t been able to form one caring, authentic friendship. I do have an amazing husband and two beautiful children, own two homes and successful. But the problem is I was primed for prey. You mention that we grow up thinking weird is normal and reject normal, healthy relationships. Thankfully, males in my life were more enabling than narc, but females were the narcs. Hence, I gravitated to alpha, narc girlfriends who felt like home to me, and rejected the kind, boring girls. Now that I have two precious daughters, I’m trying to stop this cycle. One thing I do is validate them. Yes, even a toddler. I validate their feelings of frustration instead of punishing or shaming. Validation is powerful. Our home is filled with love and acceptance of Who they are, their authentic souls. I want them to know what normal is, and when around Narcs, their radar will go off and run. They need to know the red flags.

    Today, I’m über conscious when Narcs come around. There is a different energy. One of the signs I’ve experienced is that they immediately begin to treat you as lesser than right off the bat. They ask a lot of nosy questions while not revealing much about themselves in regards to their rapid-fire questions. At least, that’s a sign of insincerity. The stare – I actually witnessed a woman’s eyes turn color (darker/black almost). All flow of information comes from her only – “the neighborhood is having a luncheon etc.” without getting an invite or hearing anything from others. They have a pristine rep and use that to alienate you. Also, their husbands act submissive is a big sign. Now, try to imagine meeting these Narc bitchy bully’s over and over again from the cradle to a neighbor. What is it about me that keeps me in their crosshairs?!?! Do they know I can see them now for who? Why am I the pariah everywhere I go, and can’t connect with any women – from church to neighborhood to play groups? Something about me feels otherworldly after going thru my nightmare.

    Will you write more on this subject in your blog?

    Merry Christmas!

    • One thing about Narcs is that they recognize each other. To Bob, the world was divided into the people who understood how it worked, and those ignorant idiots who couldn’t figure it out.

      To Bob, almost everyone was like him. Everybody was a manipulative, hurtful, evil individual, trying to screw over everyone they happened across. Occasionally, they pretended to be nice and loyal, but those were acts, designed to serve an end.

      This is sort of the inverse of what normal people see when they first meet Narcissists. Normal people project their own goodness on everyone around them. When I knew Bob, I assumed he would be loyal and decent, so I assumed when he did the manipulative stuff like feigning loyalty and kindness, that was the real him, and when he did the hurtful stuff, that was an aberration, or a mistake. Narcs are the opposite. They assume everyone is hurtful like them, and the nice stuff those people do is an aberration or manipulation.

      Bob still knew there were nice people though, but he felt their numbers were small, and he viewed them as hopeless idiots (I was well in that camp, before I figured him out). Idiots don’t like arguments or fights. They actually believe in loyalty and kindness. They enjoy helping all the evil people (who in the Narc’s head are everywhere), because they are too stupid to realize that everyone is evil. Idiots are hopelessly naïve and transparent, and they exist to be used and abused for pleasure.

      To a Narc, the relationships with these idiots are to be cultured, like mushrooms, for harvest whenever the Narc wants to screw someone to feel better about their own situation. The idiots are a commodity, and Narcs are on the lookout for them. The smart people, (ie Narcissists), who realize everyone is to be used and abused, are respected by the Narcissist, but the Narcissist also realizes that there is nothing of value to the Narcissist in dealing with them. They are left alone, because they know how the game is played.

      In your case, I am guessing you still don’t hate Narcissists enough, deep down inside. Eventually you will probably get to that point, and when you do, you will drip with loathing when you encounter a Narc. Once that happens, Narcs you meet will view you as a hurtful fellow traveler, and they will leave you alone. Until then, you will be like a Narcissist magnet whenever you enter a room, and they will try to draw you in.

      The real key is better understanding the Narcissist, and sadly that can only occur through getting screwed personally. There is no text you can read that will produce the hate that comes from realizing some asshole would poison your dog, just to make it sick so it would fuck with your head. Encounter a Narc after that, and they will feel your hatred and leave you alone. But reading it on a computer screen is weak medicine.

      On fitting in, I think the single best thing you can do is keep the Narc girlfriends away from you, and avoid trying to be everyone’s friend. People are weird – they really like when the people around them don’t talk, and don’t try to be friends overtly. Beyond that, if you have a family that loves you, be grateful, and view anything else as gravy.

  49. DMW says:

    Hello, I have read every word of the comments above many times and have felt much saner for it. Thank you so very much. My mother is a narcissist and my father is – I can only describe it as her enabler and defender. I am an only child, now 56. I have a great husband of 30 years and 2 great sons. The crushing persistent emotional abuse I have suffered has gone on all my life and still continues. The belittling of me compared to the ‘golden child’ cousin I have and his 2 ‘golden sons’ is still an ever present tool she uses. My cousin and his sons are lovely people. Everyone in the family just tolerates her, and do not stand up to her. My parents have lost many of their friends over the years – and they cut people out also. My extended family are nice people – they say to me that I have been a terrific daughter, and my parents are so lucky to have a great son in law too. You are so right when you say that you can spot a Narcissist as they get older. She is not so cute anymore. So many more frequent verbally rabid attacks of me – and my husband – where she is literally foaming at the mouth. Gone are the clever veiled comments and endless presuppositions that confused me and tied me in knots. I am employing all of your advise. I have restricted contact. I am polite and calm when we meet them. I stand up to her calmly and I tell her when she is being offensive and that that is unacceptable, and I move on. The fact that she is not getting a rise out of me and that I do not get angry, and never get upset now drives her crazy. I have stopped buying her random gifts and and taking her out – because nothing I ever did was enough and she always found something – many things to moan about. She drowns you in moaning and negativity. However, the backlash has started now – and we don’t know where it will go next. We bought a house, second home, 50 miles away. My parents stopped speaking to us after they told us what they thought of our selfish behaviour in ‘moving so far away’, (we still have a flat 6 miles from them). My mother told me she had cancelled Christmas – she was adamant. After 3 weeks they called us to come around, ‘things were very bad there’. We guessed it was for an argument. It was. But we didn’t argue. We were calm and reasonable. My mother ranted on. Only for 2 hours, she is 88 now. I replied calmly to all of it. I have walked out before – but this time I thought we would sit it out, although both my parents were so angry I thought they may have strokes. This made her worse. She finished by telling us they were going to the ‘golden people’ for Christmas day. (I knew they had been invited). My husband and I spent Christmas alone – and very peaceful it was too!
    So, I and my husband have followed all your advise and clearly my parents are reeling from this new approach. But they are in their late 80s now. I want to be the good attentive daughter I was, back when my mother was mostly just bearable. I want to support them like I always have – but my mother’s behaviour has got so much worse throughout this year and my father defending her – even saying that because she is my mother she has every right to say what she likes to me – with my husband saying no-one can speak to another person this way, it is very wrong. I know logic, good sense, reasonableness et al have no place in dealing with a narcissist but the strength and long periods of mental peace I have gained by quietly defending myself and stating what is unacceptable behaviour from her is battling in my head with my need to be kind, caring and useful to my elderly parents. (I know – well tough, hey and their loss!). It is just I have always believed people can change – I have seen it and believe in positivism and all that matters is what you do next in life. But I don’t believe she will change. I don’t believe she is sane. I wish this would stop, but it won’t, will it?

  50. DMW says:

    Sorry, my previous comment asks a daft question that I know the answer to. Narcissists cannot change. My mother will always be a Narcissist. The thing is I, like most people have grown and changed. Hence I politely stand up for myself now. It is the success of this new way I have found to behave that has revealed to me how appalling her behaviour was and continues to be. I suppose what I haven’t got a clue about now is just how to talk to her, or endure her. I have no love for her, I am not bitter against her because I am sane, strong and came through all the. I am going to still see her on a restricted basis – but she knows that my politeness and talking about nothing in particular is different and she knows that I know about her. I find this quite chilling – what is she going to back at me with next? Again, I thank you and everyone who has contributed on this page, such wise words, and shared strories have really helped me.

    • I would love to offer clear advice to you, but I am not sure exactly how being raised by a Narcissist, and forming those first bonds with them, will alter an individual’s worldview and psychology. I am good with my own specific case, but I am also aware that I am likely ignorant of the exact nature of many cases I encounter here, so I want to be careful when giving advice, and I want to urge others to be cautious in using my advice. In my case, Bob was a transient in my life, so I could cast him out easily, but in your case, my guess is you have a deep bond which you want to satisfy by having a relationship with them, and I am not sure exactly what to say to help you adjust to that emotional drive. It is possible, or even likely, that a professional therapist, with a specialty in Narcs and lots of experience, could talk to you for an hour or so, and you would end up gleefully maneuvering through your relationship with no guilt to sorrow. You might want to consider seeking that out, just for your own peace of mind.

      That said, I spent a week or so, after kicking Bob out, feeling guilty myself. Narcs are damaged, and they aren’t in control. But what I always focused on was that the damage they had, programmed them to enjoy seeing others miserable – it programmed them to hurt people for no reason. That is totally different from a normal psychology. When your Mom invites you over, I suspect she has thought through several setups for arguments, and crafted each to be maximally upsetting to you. Looking back, I can think of several times I caught Bob sparking mini-arguments with people in the run-up to social gatherings. I am certain he was field testing strategies that he had carefully thought up to upset everyone at the family gathering. In one case, he tested a technique on a family member of mine, and the family member told me about what he said with the shock still fresh on their face. A few weeks later, Bob basically recited the same exact script which was related to me, at a big gathering, and then put on this clueless, innocent, oblivious facial expression. For almost two seconds you could hear a pin drop, and then the arguments and yelling began, and the whole mood was ruined.

      As much as you go back, and want to see your mom as human, and want to ascribe kind and loyal motives to some of the things she did, you need to grasp that it is highly likely she always wanted to hurt you, always derived pleasure in your pain, and the respites when she didn’t try to screw you were merely the times when she coldly judged it advantageous to her manipulative ends to act nice, to keep you trusting and naive. Today, with her age constantly making her feel inferior, and her realization she can no longer fool you into accepting her abuse, to make herself feel better, she is dangerous. You are not to blame for enjoying your freedom from her, or giving yourself a vacation from her madness.

      If it helps, she will be miserable wherever she is. There is nothing you could do to stop that. No matter what you did, she would always bitch, and be bitter and angry. The only difference now is that you can carve out a small niche of happiness for yourself. Please don’t feel guilty for doing so.

  51. DMW says:

    Yes! Gosh all you say really resonates with me and I recognise it all!
    ‘she has thought through several setups for arguments’ – totally! my husband and I find ourselves pre-empting and anticipating the crazy arguments/moans/complaints she will make when we get there. Well, that is truly potty and a colossal waste of our lives – but this nonsense just fills your head.
    and…
    ‘she always wanted to hurt you, always derived pleasure in your pain, and the respites when she didn’t try to screw you were merely the times when she coldly judged it advantageous to her manipulative ends to act nice, to keep you trusting and naive’. This is vile, and so very correct. I have thousands of instances I have born over the years. As I said the hard part is my parents age now and their need in the the coming years for my support, but I am wrestling with sticking around just to be kicked around (verbally) with her increasing rampant nastiness, and nothing I do will be appreciated/right/good enough for her anyway. I grieve for my father in this because this strong, intelligent, witty man is her creature, a masochistic defender of her appalling behaviour towards me, their only daughter. (I have of course tried to reason with him about her, as have others, but he doesn’t want to hear it).
    I appreciate you recommending a therapist, but it isn’t for me because I would grudge the time to tell this to another person – just more hours of my life gone I won’t get back!
    This web-site has been enough to sort my head out, reassure me, and give me strength. I now know there will be no epiphany for her, no redemption, no reconciliation, no genuine remorse; and that realisation was the most liberating and empowering thing for me. I have stopped waiting and hoping, I am done.
    You are right, and you cannot say it often enough – get clear of these damaged broken half people, find peace and find the happiness you, me and everyone deserves.
    I wish you a very happy New Year.

    • Whenever you feel bothered, tell yourself one thing. No matter what you did, she would always be unhappy. There is nothing you can do to make her feel happy. If you bent over backwards, and did everything you could, she would just make you feel like crap, and still be unhappy. By going your own way, you do nothing bad to her – she feels just as bitter and pissed off as she would have if you had buckled to her. The only difference is, you can get a moment of peace and happiness. If she loved you, she would want that for you.

      Good luck.

      • DMW says:

        Again, my heartfelt thanks to you!
        Earlier I valued your reticence to offer advise, I appreciate you being careful there – because it starts as a tiny idea that one is contemplating the unconscionable, for me – namely walking away from my mother. But this is my decision to make and not something I have rushed into, well I am 56! I was wary of only reading what I wanted to read and disregarding the rest, to totally mangle a Paul Simon lyric. I have given myself a really hard time examining and questioning my motives here, and the consequences of doing this. I am doing the right thing. My husband says ‘about bloody time, hurrah!’ (in a good way!)
        I am a mother myself and our sons have given us interesting and testing times! Now we have all come through that as adults and we love each other. Because all of that was just life and stuff and just their ‘bumps in the road’.
        It is starting to sink in now, what I am doing. It is a good feeling when one decides that being a victim is over. Just not sure yet how I will answer the questions from family about why I don’t see her anymore. I don’t want to bad-mouth her and I positively do not want to moan about her anymore, enough! I expect I will find the words. I wish whoever in the family who inherits well! I don’t care about that. I care about those who care about me, my husband, sons, family members and a few v good friends. I am most fortunate. My best wishes to you.

        • The good messages from people who found peace and closure are the best on here. They give others still in dark places hope that the light is coming.

          On your relatives, just tell them how busy you are, and how your kids are keeping you jumping. Nobody will think it weird.

          Good luck, and enjoy the peacefulness.

  52. Sorrowful Mom says:

    And, how does one walk away from your “child”? After many, many years of cruelties, more than a decade ago my daughter informed me she wanted no further contact with me. I don’t know the reason. I followed the advice of a counselor and my spiritual leader and sent occasional emails or phone messages, sent gifts on holidays, but a year later, on Mother’s Day, she called to coldly and bruskly tell me to stop, she wanted absolutely no contact, saying she” had a happy childhood, but, you and Daddy did not know how to deal with teens!” I have no way to even know is she is alive or dead, or if she is well or sick. It is so unnatural and so foreign to me. It is beyond my imagination how a daughter could do such a thing. I wish I could convince myself that it is the absolute best think for me and for her. But, I think it would still break my heart still. I believe she is narcissistic, and/or possibly Bi-Polar. Do you have special advice when it is an adult child in their 40s?

    • I’m sorry for your situation. I’m not sure I am qualified to help though, because my knowledge is centered around individuals who won’t leave you alone, and who enjoy tortured interactions. In the sense it is discussed here, Narcissism isn’t so much about putting one’s own interests first, as it is about assuaging a cognitive pain by actively hurting others, to distract oneself from one’s own situation, and relieve one’s own cognitive agony. Your daughter’s behavior sounds different to me.

      I would suggest you see a therapist who is familiar with a wide range of personality disorders and mental illnesses, and lay out your situation as fully as possible, including all of the other players in the case, from your husband, to brothers and sisters, to provide as full a picture as possible. Most people think of psychologists and psychiatrists as offering services to sick people, but in your case, one might give you a crystal clear idea of what is going on inside your daughter’s thoughts and perceptions, and how to best go about interacting with her without triggering what appears to be some type of amygdala response.

      I wish I could help more, but I don’t really know what to recommend if she doesn’t even want a gift. A professional, with a detailed idea of the whole story, would likely be much more help than I could ever be.

      Good luck.

      • Sorrowful Mom says:

        Thank you for the kindness of a response. I went to an excellent cousnelor for years, which helped me when my discomfort for extremely acute. I think I have reached the point of stasis, or nearly so, but it is the type of situation in which there is no “solution” or “resolution,” or “closure.” The best one can hope for is an inner peace that defies logic, but involves a hard won acceptance, and faith …God, destiny, and the sureness that one was dedicated to raising the healthiest, happiest children within your ability. Once they have reached their majority, it is their responiblity to finish growing up and behave in a mature adult manner. In my attempt to cope with the incredible pain, I learned that this is a phenomena more common than anyone would imagine in this generation. Again, thanks!

  53. SJGB says:

    Greetings, why isn’t there more to read for the specific problem of “Mothers of Narcissistic Daughters”? Every other combination seems a given. Allowing for the possibility all mothers are guilty of creating the monster, which is hogwash, I guess no one will believe another factor was involved? Regardless, any advice you have for this situation of 30 years plus and any good reads would be appreciated. She is an avid reader but the info will need to be consumed by myself and then she might accidentally find specific reads on my coffee table. Don’t hold out hope for her, but I am devouring this notion that I can be released from my codependent hell and go back to being quite okay with the choices I made as an independent woman and proud mother.

    • This site is based on personal experience, rather than extensive training, and thus is fairly narrow in scope. Regarding mothers of Narcissistic daughters, that is way beyond the area of expertise here. If you are dealing with a Narcisssit, I don’t need to tell you, the consequences to your life could be quite severe, so every effort is made here, to not cause people to make mistakes, and suffer those consequences, due to bad information.

      The truth is, there is no substitute for seeing a competent, well-trained psychologist or psychiatrist, who specilizes in Narcissists, and asking them for insight into the psychology, and counsel on how best to move forward. In your case, where you want to leave reading to try and change her, that might be your only option. Having a wide enough familiarity with all of the reading material on the subject, as well as a detailed knowledge of what among that reading material might alter your daughter’s cognitive function, should she happen on it accidently, is something far beyond me. I could see a professional having that kind of data and skill, though.

      Just to offer limitied advice, from my experience, Narcissists can’t really be easily dealt with, ever. I know as a mom you want to fix her, and protect her, and then have a wonderful relationship, but from my experience, the chances of pulling that off, even with a professional behind you, is unlikely. If she is a Narcissist, she is on a path she will probably not be able to change. As much as I hate to say it, you may have to decide if the stress and angst is worth the cost in health and happiness.

      Good luck.

  54. rich lightner says:

    Here’s an article that looks at how narcissistic behavior becomes a terrible habit. We all act like one when we are threatened. http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/evolution-the-self/201110/the-narcissists-dilemma-they-can-dish-it-out

  55. Breezy says:

    Hi, I found your insights very helpful& informative. I am in desperate need of help on how to deal with my sister. The situation is rather unique & I’m very anxious not knowing what to do & constantly have to be on my guard. The short version is she’s extremely manipulative, selfish, violent & more.2 yrs ago I ended up with custody of her 2 very young children. She didn’t show up for most of the court hearings or do any of what the judge told her to do if she wanted to retain custody, a few mos later she moved to the other side of the country without a word to me or a goodbye to her kids. However she demands that I go out of my way for her to see her kids whenever she flies out here. Legally I have no obligation to this & I do not trust her, the reasons why are so many I could write for a week & still wouldn’t be done.I would very much appreciate an email from you so that I can explain a little more & ask your advice on how to handle a most uncomfortable situation! Thank you!

  56. Peggy McCarty says:

    I knew something was wrong with my brother-in-law for years, but couldn’t put my finger on it, I now know he is narcissistic. He is the oldest son and my husband is the youngest child of nine. As time has went on the others has lost confidence in things he says. My husband is a minister and although the youngest has become the one his siblings turn to for advice and such. My husband had the nerve to disagree with him and was called a liar , this happened on the phone as they live miles apart. My husband called him a few days later , and explained how he was hurt and wanted an apology. He was called a liar again . They have not met face to face , but this summer they will meet probably at a family reunion. I am afraid about some kind of blow up. He doesn’t listen and goes off half cocked about everything, then when he realizes he was wrong he calls the person who told him a liar, I know he is jealous of my husband and has been for years. How should my husband deal with him if confronted at the reunion, without just leaving and missing out on all the fun.

    • Yeah, the lying thing is his false reality. His shield is he tells himself he can deny anything, but it does expose to you that he has at least one weakness.

      The goal of the Narcissist will be to make you miserable. In demolitions, it is recognized that it is much easier to take a building down, than to build one up, and sadly, destroying a happy family reunion is much the same. It is easy for the Narcissist to destroy it, and not so easy for you to stop him.

      You have one option, in my experience. If he tries to destroy the reunion, your husband has to exert laser-like focus on showing everyone else, how it is the brother who is actively trying to destroy the reunion, and it is he who is trying to save it by being non-confrontational. You Narcissist’s ideal goal would be to destroy the reunion, and have the destruction blamed on your husband. His worst fear would be to have everyone realize what a psycho he is.

      What I would do, is have your husband bring a video camera to the reunion, and volunteer to record the reunion for posterity, and promise to send everyone a tape afterward of the event. (Don’t say it is for facebook or public posting, as that might irritate some people due to privacy concerns.) Be sure to encourage everyone to ham it up for the camera, and have a lot of fun and laughs together. Use the video camera to create fun.

      If the brother acts up, your husband should then turn the camera on him, and video the brother trying to start a fight, as he tries to defuse it. He will instinctively realize he won’t be able to use the lying ruse to deny his assholery. I would almost make it like play acting, with your husband overly acting like the innocent, good guy, as his brother acts like the asshole nobody will like. The Brother in Law will probably try to tell him to turn the camera off, so he should be ready to ask why, evade the demand, and keep video-ing. I would personally escalate it to the point that I would say, “If you’re going to be an asshole, I am fucking-A going to capture it on video, so I can post it on Youtube, and show the world what an asshole you are! If you don’t want it video’d don’t fuck up this gathering, and we’ll get into this ourselves another time!” Of course, you might not be willing to break a champagne bottle over his head if it came to that, so that option might not be for you.

      The threat of being outed as an asshole, on an inarguable video that you can then post online to show everyone what an asshole he is, should cow your brother in law, and curtail his willingness to act like an asshole. Although it will be frustrating for him to have to act nice, and constrain his inner urges, he will probably feel he has to.

      Just be warned, this all will be an amygdala stimulant, and your brother in law could pop and freak out, maybe even escalating it to a fistfight. Also, since none of these characters are wound too tightly, I always like to warn that they could go off the deep end. Document him being wildly asshole-y enough, and he might freak out so much over the impending world-wide exposure that he would feel his only recourse would be to come back with a gun and start shooting.

      Good luck.

  57. Angela says:

    I am married to a man who is “off the charts” for narcissism and likely to suffer from rage according to his personality test that he took to disprove that he was bipolar. His dad and sister are both bipolar which I found out after we were married and expecting our first child and he had break about 18 months ago. Three different doctors diagnosed him as having a psychotic break and he was put on an antipsychotic that he took for 3 days before taking himself off the medication. He subsequently called the police on me and told them I was a neglectful mother and a drug addict and that I purchased marijuana with children in the car, which was a total lie. He attempted, the week before, to get me to buy pot from his friend’s son and admitted at the psychiatrist office that it was an attempt to set me up. I did not do this of course & that just made him more upset. I finally took out a restraining order against him for using the children as a pawn against me and having me investigated by child protective services as a weapon. I reluctantly drop the restraining order after a small whisper of “take him back” played my head. He had lost his temper with my daughter while brushing her teeth and grabbed her arm pretty hard and jabbed her with the toothbrush as well as spanked my son and hit his back instead of his butt but other than that did not show any sort of physical abuse potential. Fast forward to today and I am dealing with him on the verge of another manic episode. I overheard him tell his friend on the phone Saturday morning that if I ever did anything like that again the SWAT team would be called out to our house. Last night he asked my 3 year old son if he was happy to be alive? My only conclusion is that if I had not told him to come back home and drop that restraining order that we would all be dead now. Now I have to figure out what to do because hiding from him is probably impossible. I really have no proof that he was planning to kill us other than what I overheard and I am terrified that if I do ask him for a divorce that he will kill us. He is a master of deception and everyone in the community thinks very highly of him and he is very involved in our church and has been working the same job for many years. He oversees many minimum wage workers at the hospital laundry and therefore his issues with anger management aren’t addressed in front of other professionals. He has an abnormal desire to never call in sick and to be very punctual and work tons of hours because it adds to his persona of perfection. We coexist ok as long as I don’t disagree with him, have my own opinions, or withhold sex from him. I told my dad that I feel fairly safe as long as I’m playing the game but living under the same roof with someone that you know was getting ready to kill you and your kids is so nauseating & hard. I’m so desperate for answers, please help!!

    • Lynnette says:

      Great article. Wow, I thought I was going crazy. At least that’s what my mom the N wanted me to believe. I’ve been through it all with my mom. Due to some unfortunate circumstances I had to live with my brother and guess what? Mom lives with brother too. And the abuse was unbelievable, she almost KILLED me and YES that was her goal. I can see the hate in her eyes, she doesn’t cover it up as well as she used to. narcissist do get exposed as they get older, I found that out.

      Mom has always been this way, I just couldn’t except it before. Mom does all the typical narcissistic behavior, but I couldn’t admit it to myself. Admitting it means she doesn’t love me AND she doesn’t. She HATES me. I don’t know how much longer I will be stuck here, but when I leave, I’m never looking back. I just can’t do it anymore, my sister is one to and they are always plotting against me. Not sure why I was chose as the target. I think my mom views my sis as an extension of her while I’m the opposite. (Thank God)

      She is evil, I honestly don’t know what else you would call it. It would take an entire page to explain what’s she’s done to me and my brother. My fight or flight response has been on since I moved in, I can’t turn it off. narcissists are dangerous to your health. I feel like I have PTSD, every time she opens her mouth with that loud, obnoxious voice all the memories since I was a child come flooding back. You can’t change them, they don’t care to change. GET AWAY and never return. For me the greatest peace came from reading the Bible and just being thankful I’m not like my mom. I wish all the best and hope you find peace and a way out. If anyone needs to talk, I’m here.

      • Thank you for being willing to help others. If I had to guess, that one trait is probably the real reason your mom hates you. People don’t realize it, but it really is a battle between good and evil.

        God Bless, and I hope you find full freedom soon. Until then, watch your back.

    • Angela – First, I understand the normalcy bias you have, and you should too. Things are bad, but they got that way gradually, and you’ve seen them that way for so long that the almost unthinkably bad is fully tolerable, if miserable. From what you wrote, it seems that you are living with a guy who lays hands on your kids, and who could plausibly kill you. Understand, if you knew of the real world outside this hell you are in, where there are nice people who want everyone around them happy, where friends and family lift you up instead of terrorize you, and where you can enjoy the beauty of the world, or the quietness of a peaceful moment, without your mind quickly drifting to the evil you need to confront constantly, you would not view your current conditions as tolerable. You need to get to that nice spot, and you need your kids to get to that nice spot. Psychosis is horrible for children to experience, and being a very unpredictable psychological motivator, it is also highly dangerous to have present around you.

      This problem is really so complex, of such a magnitude, and so important, I would beg you to hire some sort of professional trained and qualified to deal with it, be it a professional Security Company, Private Investigator with extensive Police Experience, or just an excellent and ruthless Lawyer with the resources to help. Even just a therapist who is familiar with your husband’s problems would be a help, and you could tell your husband you need to see him to help you with “your” psychological problems. You need someone clever, who is not hip deep in your problem, who is present on site, and can see it first hand, and who can give you unbiased advice from a place of calm assessment. As much as I want to tell you a way out of all of that, I just can’t do it.

      If you can’t hire such an individual, I would ask if it is possible, as a short term fix, to have one of your parents fake a serious illness, and request you move in with them temporarily, to care for them. Bring the kids, so they can “help” too. Any father would fake an illness for his daughter without thought.

      If your Dad had a pretend “accident,” and faked debilitating back pain, and your mom asked you to move in to help care for him, you might be able to temporarily get out from under the same roof as this guy, without triggering a violent episode. You would just have to all play the role consistently, so nobody outside the family knew you were faking, so there was no chance of your husband finding out. I would tell the kids that Gramps is ill, and then keep them away from him, so they could not slip up and tell your husband he wasn’t ill. That also means no day trips, or happy times outside the walls of your house, until you find a way to make it all permanant. I would also recommend complaining constantly to hubby, about all the demeaning aspects of having to do it, like changing your dad’s bedpan, bathing him, etc. (Even though you wouldn’t be doing that.) as well as how hard it is on you emotionally to deal with your Dad’s new debility.

      If your husband believes that you are utterly miserable, he will probably not freak out over your absence (weigh all of this against your understandings – I am really not fully aware of the circumstances). That said, in my experience, these characters want you present with them, so they can torment you and make you miserable. If you are being tormented elsewhere, (and especially if they feel as if them, being there themselves, would be unpleasant for them), they will be much less disturbed about not having you immediately under their thumb. They may even view it as a vacation from having to torment you.

      From what I can hear, it sounds as if you need to ultimately get away from him, but if you choose that path, that has to be done with the utmost care and careful planning. I feel totally inadequate to offer advice on a web forum, for what is such a tremendously important event in your life. I know almost nothing of the situation, or the players in it, and God forbid I make some mistake in such a vitally important situation.

      Also, although I would never recommend violence as anything but a last-ditch, desperate effort to stop him from hurting you or the children, if he did lose control and try to hurt all of you, you should have given prior thought to what you would do, from knowing what windows you could all go out, what doors could be locked behind you to give you time to escape, to where you would go for safety once outside, to what items in the house could be used as improvised weapons to open a chance for escape, and how. Are there scissors in the study? Do you stab for the neck, or the femoral artery? Is a kitchen knife best used by a woman to stab at the chest, or to fall, grab a leg, and slash through the tendons in the back of the knee, where he doesn’t expect an attack and won’t defend? A security professional could help you with that, and prepare you to deal with that if it came to it.

      But although prudent to contemplate, that really is not a viable option for anything but a desperate, last ditch grasp to stop the unthinkable should it happen. Before it gets to that, you need to gently get yourself out the door, and to a secure environment, without freaking him out, or stimulating his amygdala. I would make copious sue of deception to keep him copacetic, such as by finding a way to make him feel that he is better off screwing you over by leaving, but again, I know nothing of the situation so that could be wrong.

      If you can get physically removed, you should then begin viewing how to best position yourself to confront the legal system. If he has already had a documented psychotic break, you are already on good footing. It might pay to take a quick look at whether you can pinpoint anything which precipitated that break – if you could recreate a “breaking stimulus” in court, along the lines of an amygdala hijack, and break him in front of the judge, it would do wonders for your case.

      You should also start keeping a diary, for legal purposes, and record everything that occurs, with the date it happened. If possible, keep it at work, or have your mom or dad keep it, and dictate it to them over the phone each day, so he can’t find it. (Narcissists go through everything, and will find anything you have, even if carefully hidden.) If that is not possible, keep it hidden, write about other stuff besides him so it isn’t just a record of his misdeeds, and if he finds it, have a story ready for why you are keeping it, like you have felt unable to cope emotionally, and writing things down has helped you to handle the stresses in your life better.

      A dated journal of events, written as they happen, is an invaluable legal instrument to establish an official timeline of events. Courts give it a much greater weight than any spur-of-the-moment testimony of memories, given on a stand. Since it appears you will be heading to court, you should begin to establish the events which are occurring, so the court will have an idea of what you are facing.

      Now, some thoughts. It is possible the phone conversation where he spoke of hurting you was faked, and his friend wasn’t on the phone. Narcissists are incredibly manipulative, and they rarely trust people with information which could screw them. They are out to screw everyone, and they seem to assume everyone is out to screw them. Giving that info to an outsider seems slightly off to me, although he is also psychotic, so I could easily be wrong. On the other hand, if he thought you were likely to listen to a phone conversation, a Narcissist might fake such a conversation, to try and scare you into being submissive without risking being outed by a third party. Obviously, you need to operate as if he meant it, and you still need to find a way out, but you might also consider that he is trying to gaslight you, as well. Figuring out what reality is, is half the battle with Narcissists.

      If you do manage to move out and separate yourself from him, once you are free, please take a firearms course, acquire a firearm, and prepare yourself mentally to use it to take his life. God willing, it will never come to that, but if it does, and he tries to harm you or your kids, you need to know exactly what you are going to do, to not seek half measures, to be ready to do it, and to pull it all off without even stopping to think about it. Although I would encourage you to get the order of protection, seek police protection, liaise with family for strength in numbers, install a security system at your residence, seek his involuntary commitment, pursue every legal avenue, maintain situational awareness when out, and flee if you saw danger approaching, I would also want you to have the ability to swiftly deal lethal force to protect yourself and your loved ones, as a last resort – and to be mentally prepared to do it quickly, ruthlessly, and without remorse or hesitation.

      Good luck and God Bless.

  58. If you do manage to move out and separate yourself from him, once you are free, please take a firearms course, acquire a firearm, and prepare yourself mentally to use it to take his life. God willing, it will never come to that, but if it does, and he tries to harm you or your kids, you need to know exactly what you are going to do, to not seek half measures, to be ready to do it, and to pull it all off without even stopping to think about it.

    Angela, it comes down to having a survival mindset.

    You have to imagine him coming for you and your kids. You must resist your natural human urge to avoid horror, and imagine the worst. Then, you must consider how you’d be forced to react if you had advance warning and nobody to help. Visualize stopping him from killing you and stopping him from killing your kids. It will be painful to do, but it will be less painful each time. If you burn the last-ditch response into your mind, then you can react appropriately if he ever forces you into that corner.

    It’s extremely unpleasant, and it’s horribly unfair to a nice and peaceful person, but he’s evil and he’s boxed you in. You must become a mother grizzly bear defending her cubs from a rogue male. Prepare to defend your children.

    You have my prayers that God will protect you.

  59. B. H. says:

    My husband was a narcissist and so is my daughter. I came from an abused home, so being treated badly was normal for me. I’ve grown and changed a lot over the years, and I don’t want this life anymore. My npd daughter is cruel, condescending, grandiose, fake, and an expert about spreading lies to get everyone on her side. I was at the point last summer where she almost destroyed me. Here I am, 8 months later, and I am trying to find a future with no contact. It’s very hard. I feel like she dealt me the death blow — I can’t seem to find a reason to live and make a future when I have lost my children and grandchildren — which to me is almost everything. I’m planning a new life; a quiet life. I have a pet bunny and I enjoy gardening and travel, and am newly retired. I hope I can find the spark to live again.

    • Here’s what I would recommend. You like travel? Head to the British Virgin Islands, or a vacation destination in Florida with a reef nearby amenable to snorkeling. Hire a local ecotour guide to get you on the best water, don your mask, snorkle, and fins, and get into it. Then hire out a jetski, and spend a day zipping around. Then try snowmobiling, learn to ski, and seek out other fun activities.

      Your amygdala has been fully under load for a while, bearing stress, and trying to guage when an attack is coming. That is all it knows how to do now. You have to retrain it. The way to do that is to give it something mind-blowingly beautiful to focus on and be absorbed with, like a reef filled with amazing fish, (stop and check out the small details, at each piece of coral. Some of the small stuff going on in the micro-worlds in the coral can be as beautiful as the big stuff, from littel fish and crabs in the coral to little fan-like-filter-feeding worms at the base of the coral.). Or focus your amygdala on the rush of fun from driving a jetski, or snowmobiling some of the scenic snowmobile trials out west, or even skiing or snowboarding a bunny trail at the top of a beautiful mountain as the sun rises.

      Your amygdala is worn out, because it has spent years or decades only trying to alert you to the next piece of noxiousness, and that is all it knows how to do, so now it is still spending its day scanning for noxiousness somewhere, and you don’t get happy. You need to retrain it to look for beauty and fun, and guide you to where it will be best found. It’s a process, but it will happen, if you give it a chance.

      Now go out and soak up some fun and beauty in that amygdala.

      Good luck.

    • Pete says:

      Yup. Just get away. If you make your happiness a conscious priority in your life, then so it shall be. Just don’t let their mind tricks into your headspace. Good luck.

  60. August and Everything After says:

    The first tool you need in the Narc toolbox is the ability to connect-the-dots without being paranoid. If you are dealing with an N/charismatic sociopath a.k.a someone like Frances from House of Cards, then they will leave trails of inconsistencies along the way. It took me years to connect the dots, not because I was not bright. I was, and YOU are too! The lag time is caused by the disturbing picture that emerges of our N’s, that we slide back into self-doubt mode as default. If you were raised by one, and raised in the Christian faith as I was, you have two strikes against you, and will have to overcome years of grooming in addition to padling thru religious dogma that a child, big or small, has to honor thy parents, abusive or not.

    Another tool: Know the difference between perception and truth/reality. Shakespeare’s To thine own self be true. So if you are a hot mess from this insideous abuse, own it, then try to climb out of Plato’s cave of shadows. N’s operate best in the world of perception. When my grandmother died, my sister accidentally sent me a glossy email about her; that she was the person she was because of her, and hero worship this woman. She even pulled the words my cousin wrote on his blog about our grandmother. He had absolute authority to write about her b/c they truly were close.The truth: when my NM left Catholicism it put a huge rift in our FOO. We didn’t see our relatives for a while. My GC sister got married at 19 and lived far away till this day. She never mentioned my grandmother ever, and even said some mean things about her. But perception is King. She realized my grandmother was reverred by many and changed her tune. Suddenly as if overnight, she had become her mentor and they were so close. Then grandmother became the catalyst for a new business venture, where proceeds would go to her cause (no fruition). It was nausciating, but this is how the “game” is played in my family. They ALL do it. I did not go to my Grandmother’s funeral b/c I was semi-estranged from them all at this point, and afraid I would have an anxiety attack graveside. But to my FOO, I’m a disgrace and my NS is embraced. So be prepared to be disturbed by how inauthentic they are, and what they are allowed to get away with. You have to be OK looking like the bad guy or gal, knowing the true reality of the situation. If you self-doubt like me, and had your whole being slandered by these folks, it takes incredible strength to bear the pressure. There are good and bad days. Whenever I hear someone has taken their life, I wonder if an N is in the middle of it. Recently, Julia Roberts’ sister, Nancy Motes, took her life. After reading about the situation, it sounds like she was emotionally and psychologically abused in her celebrity family. Nancy Motes was terrible at playing “the game” and was utterly broken.

    Find something to stabilize you in the N chaos that they create to eventually blame and shame you. For me, I developed an excellent memory. This came in handy when the N gaslights and re-writes history, YOU know the truth, and as Jesus said, “It will set you free.” One of the last conversations a I had with NS was her denying an incident ever happened. I told her the date, time, what she was wearing, what what said and done, and she denied everything. Something forever changed in that moment. There was a no going back after that call.

    • Pete says:

      “it takes incredible strength to bear the pressure. [to have had your whole being slandered by these folks]”
      >No shit.

      “You have to be OK looking like the bad guy or gal, knowing the true reality of the situation.”
      > Just how do you cope with being the bad guy and fielding the dirtiest looks on the planet. In my community, I have gone from one of the most popular, to the scum of the earth. Knowing the true reality of the situation is small consolation compared to the true perception. Perception is everything. Truth appears to mater little. People are amazed I walk with my head held high. I know who I am and I ain’t gonna bow to no-one. Period. I always do (or at least try) to do the right thing. But the downward spiral is so unforgiving….

      • Pete, you need a new in-group of good people. If you find a martial arts club, or gun club, or other in-group to join and share common cause with, it will get immensely easier to ignore the old community. Plus if it is the right group, you can learn something interesting, fun, and useful. Don’t try to endure being in-group-less as a Warrior. Ronin had it rough for a very real reason inhernet to the psychologies of Warriors.

      • Pete, you need a new in-group of good people. If you find a martial arts club, or gun club, or other in-group to join and share common cause with, it will get immensely easier to ignore the old community. Plus if it is the right group, you can learn something interesting, fun, and useful. Don’t try to endure being in-group-less as a Warrior. Ronin had it rough for a very real reason inherenet to the psychologies of Warriors.

      • Pete, you need a new in-group of good people. If you find a martial arts club, or gun club, or other in-group to join and share common cause with, it will get immensely easier to ignore the old community. Plus if it is the right group, you can learn something interesting, fun, and useful. Don’t try to endure being in-group-less as a Warrior. Ronin had it rough for a very real reason inherent to the psychologies of Warriors.

    • FOO? GC? NM? NS? What are these acronyms?

      • I just looked them up. Family Of Origin, Golden Child, Narcissistic Mother, Narcissistic Sister. It seems a lot of the disorder seems to cluster in families. I didn’t know it was such a huge community online, with its own lingo.

  61. August and Everything After says:

    One last thing about connecting the dots….N’s are good at keeping people apart, usually employing lies and innuendo, triangulation. They create fierce, blind loyalty in their enablers. I think their love-ability and charisma are a factor. They are first to help. So do not expect their supporters or those who have something to gain from their relationship with N to come to you and tell you the real deal, to help you connect-the-dots, to help you gain freedom from abuse. To quote Guy Fierri, that’s like beating a piñata full of shit. Really messy. You are solo.

  62. C says:

    I am writing to try and warn those of you that are sitting there thinking the Ns in your life would not do the worst!!..You may think they are capable of many bad things to hurt you but surely not KILL..Well I am just now seeing Just how bad it can get.
    My Earlier Post does explain my N.
    Since then she has moved But that has not helped much. She is now after the one relative in my life that she could not get to believe her lies and convince her of deeds that My Husband and I could just Never do.
    This One Aunt of mine does not bother her or have anything to do with her But when the N has tried to get her over on her side she flatly refuses to listen. Which has made her just furious.
    She has been having really strange events happening and all we can figure is it her behind them.
    Now the kicker here is they( she and her enablers) has started rumors that my Aunt ( The good one) has tied to commit suicide and other things. her phone was being tapped and yes it is surprisingly easy , so finally she contacted the police, signed a form saying she would prosecute who ever it’s was. But when they caught her they swept it under the rug since some of our Family is in Law enforcement and favors were done. Yes we do know this for sure it happened so Now Guess what?…The good aunt has no where to turn!! Now what..Just wait for the ax to fall. HER only recourse is to sell her home and move away. but you and I both know that will take time and she is not in good health at all.
    She talked to me today and told me , IF they find me with what looks like a suicide you will never believe them will you and you Will tell my children I would never do that. I reassured her best I could. But what I want people to realize is THis is Real , people are being harassed and murdered Just because of a N!! If they want it it WILL be.
    I am scared for her I am scared for my family and we live 3 hrs away..Yet I know with certain connections , these people can litterly get away with more than the average person knows.
    BE aware of your surroundings is what I want to leave people here with and NEVER underestimate what they (Ns and there loyal enablers)are Really Capable of!!
    they are truly eaten up with EVIL!!!
    YES I am very worried. But be not deceived I am not paranoid or making more of this. It’s been brewing now for over 2 years. So don’t think for a second this woman is dreaming up stuff. If You pray , please do so for us.

    • I do believe you! They are very very dangerous! There nothing but wild animals! My daughter and me have been shot at slandered you name it by these two monsters that was my mother and my son. They have run us off the road torn our property up. Took them to court and they lied about everything. The judge put a restraining order on them but they still stalk me at work and drive by my house and do the same at my daughters house.The police department would not help me so I called the state troopers and they did try to help me.But I have the flying monkeys to watch out for too!

      • Why does it seem like everyone who knows one says they do covert drive by’s? What does the Narcissist get from looking at the outside of a house as they drive by? I would think it would remind them of a defeat. Very puzzling behavior.

    • Lynnette says:

      C I am praying for you and your family. I have recently started documenting anything and everything that happens with my N. I think it might be good for future use in case of an attack or obtaining a restraining order. Keep track off what they said and to whom, don’t delete messages, text, etc. When my N makes me feel like I’m the one who’s crazy I reflect back to the documentation.

      I’ve also been reading a lot of blogs and it helps to know I’m not alone. Others have experienced the same. Sometimes it’s still hard for me to actually believe people act in such a horrible manor. Prayers to all.
      Here are some terms I found online that are frequently used on other sites.
      N = Narcissist/Narcissistic
      ACoN = Adult Child of Narcissist(s)
      SoNM = Son of Narcissistic Mother
      DoNF = Daughter of Narcissistic Father
      NMiL = Narcissistic Mother-In-Law
      GC = Golden Child
      SG = Scapegoat
      NC = No Contact
      LC = Low Contact
      FOO = Family of Origin

      FOC = Family of Choice

    • I thought I replied to this, but now see my reply never made it to the site for some reason. I apologize.

      First, is it possible to consolidate your forces under one roof? There is strength in numbers, and all of you together might be too dangerous a target for attack, especially to a Narcissist, who is about the easy win. Also you could maybe keep someone in your house at all times.

      Second, in today’s forensic’s driven world, a suicide would require a compliant victim to avoid bruises, and indications of a struggle, which would probably require drugging food. If this were me, I would take that threat seriously, mainly because you say her phone was tapped. If her phone was tapped, your Narcissist has that sense of entitlement that means she has probably been in your aunt’s house, looking around to gather intel. I would not be surprised such a threat of suicide, whether it was carried out or not, arose form the Narcissist being inside her house, and visualizing a specific scenario, maybe involving food contamination.

      My recommendation would be that your Aunt should use rechargeable Nanny-cams with built in DVRs to monitor common traffic areas of the house, and food supplies. It sounds crazy, but if a Narcissist knows you will be out of the house, it takes nothing to remove the molding holding a pane of glass in place, get access to the house through it, and then replace the molding. They will do it if their panic is driving them enough, and it sounds like your aunt’s Narcissist may be that crazy, from the phone bugging.

      Rechargeable nannycams are cheap today, they can’t be killed by throwing the electric company’s breaker at the pole, they come pre-disguised as clocks, teddy bears, sodacans, etc, they will often shoot low-light/night-vision shots, and they can be set to motion record. When she goes out, she turns them on, when she comes back she kills them, and if they don’t have anything recorded on them, then she knows nobody was in her house. If they do record something, she has a heads up on what they were doing, and if they were near her food. I would also cut the alcohol consumption, as many forms of alcohol are an excellent vector for things which taste odd, and I would never eat or drink anything given to me by that relative, especially if it is offered as a peace-gesture.

      It is possible that the threat about suicide is just gaslighting, though you obviously have to act as if it isn’t, since she has violated boundaries before. Ideally, I would recommend you consolidate forces, and then secure your area with video surveillance outside, and rechargable nanny-cams inside.

      You and your aunt have my prayers.

      • C says:

        I. Want you to know how much I really appreciate all of your advice and I read every word over and over to try and really get some understanding of how these people operate. You know most people just say oh your getting paranoid. I just say there is a huge difference in being paranoid and just trying to watch your back. I decried it more like..Not everything is er black and white, especially with these people.. thre is a place in the middle and you must watch that gray area or you can be caught in that place so very easy.
        It’s mind games for sure. And they love to know your upset by those. but if you take your eye off the real goal of theirs ( that is to totally distroy you both mind and body) Then they win. I can see them. Laughing like the devil himself by just driving by they know you get nervous that gives them so much joy. It Is so sick but all a game to them.
        they want you to squirm like a bug under thier finger nail and they really believe they have the right to have you there and they and only they have the right to push down when ever they wish.
        I have shared your advice with My aunt and she said well that explains why she (N) has been out spreading that she must be crazy or suicidal be cause she rarely leaves her house anymore. she just has a feeling not to leave since it is very isolated and the N lives so close One way in and one way out
        I am sure she will take your advice to heart, because she is at her wits end.
        thanks again.
        You just can not imagine how these posts keep us sane and knowing we are not alone.
        I will keep you updated and I urge all those that have written to do the same. we are in this battle together.

  63. Kavenna says:

    I just tried to post a comment and it didn’t show – is it waiting for moderation and approval before being published?

    • Comments are moderated, due to several hudnred spams per day that need to be taken out. THat said, I don’t see your previous comment, so it may have been eaten by teh server. Strangly enough, I just posted this answer, and though it should have gone through, it didn’t show up. I apologize for the inconvenience.

  64. Bob Wallace says:

    I strongly advise people to check out Sam Vaknin, his books and website. He is a narcissist, knows it, but is aware of what he is. Not surprisingly, he spent time in prison.

  65. Peter Smurda says:

    You nailed it.My brother is 53 and my family is finally figuring him out. Great advice. Thanks.

  66. jackie says:

    I’m at a loss as to what to say to people. The narc is a close relative, we are a large family, many friends. I stumble to explain why I don’t want this person in my life. I’d rather say nothing, but it never fails someone tells me how great the narc is, or extends an invite to include them. And naturally he works the charm offensive with those closest to me.

    • C says:

      Same thing with me..what I think is that was thier way of getting back in with you. it gives them great joy to treat those they know has figgered them out, to watch them squirm..almost as if your a bug to play with.
      don’t fall for it..if you try you will be just a yo-yo or a puppet for just thier enjoyment.
      I tried many years cause I just thought it was the right thing to do. believe me it just gets worse..Listen to your gut..oH yes I know it tells you things are just not right.
      good Luck and always be on the look out because these folks hate for someone to see thru them.

      • jackie says:

        Thank you so much “C”. I have decided to post my story below as a way to clarify to myself what has occurred, and also to help other recognize a few narc traits.

  67. Mike says:

    I was diagnosed as having some narcissitic features by a phsyciatrist I really trusted, only to have his opinion overturned by a different physyciatrist I trusted more. The fact is that I do recognize many narc features in my personality, and after 47 years of troubled relationships, including two failed marriages, I would be insane to deny the existence of certain evidence.

    Many throughout this thread provide examples of multiple narcs existing within family units, social circles, and at work. AC also discusses examples of narcs interacting together, and even offers tools to deal with narcs using their own patented methods of abuse and deception.

    My question is, doesn’t it stand to reason that there are various grades of narcs within society, and this isn’t a question of “narc” or “not narc.” This discussion seems to make it black and white, but is that possible in nature really? Isn’t it possible that many of the people complaining about the narcs in their life are in fact narcs themselves?

    I can tell you this, the pain a narc feels is immeasurable and real; such that nobody would choose to behave in such ways voluntarily.

    • Some say it’s a trait that varies from person to person.

    • Pete says:

      “I can tell you this, the pain a narc feels is immeasurable and real; such that nobody would choose to behave in such ways voluntarily.”

      Could you explain this further. Also how is your pain related to how you behave?

    • You are correct, exhibiting Narcissistic traits is a scale. I assume almost everyone exhibits some degree of Narcissist traits. That said, noticing a Narcissist in your life, and understanding that they are different, in a fundamental way, is not something easily performed by normal people. Speaking from experience, it is almost impossible to actually process that even the worst Narcissists are something different than a normal person. So on this site, I assume if somebody has found their way here, they are dealing with the worst grade of total Narcissist. If anyone makes that realization, and comes here, I assume they have a bad one on their hands, so I don’t expend effort shading things.

      You are here for a different reason – self discovery, so this site may not be written well for you – it actually never crossed my radar that someone would come here looking to understand themselves. However, just your seeking therapy, and accepting that your brain may be functioning differently would indicate that you are not strongly Narcissistic, or perhaps your pain is being engendered in your brain somewhat differently than a true Narcissist. Most real Narcissists would seem to have their cognitive pathways short-circuited by the pain long before they reach the point of accepting something in their brain may have gotten mis-wired somewhere.

      If you can perform that honest self-analysis, something is different, and I would assume it is fixable, with the right professional to help you rewire it. Also, your post is somewhat inconsistent with what I have seen and experienced from Narcissists. It is somewhat compassionate for victims, self-aware, questioning, and doesn’t have the reflexive invective I would expect.

      “Isn’t it possible that many of the people complaining about the narcs in their life are in fact narcs themselves?”

      Yes, though I am pretty certain most are not. There is an agitated quality Narcissists create in their victims, and I see it here fairly often in the writing. When I would encounter other people I knew, who knew my Narcissist, it was often like a dam bursting. Mention the Narcissist, and they would, all at once, release a torrent of bad experiences their minds had built up. They were agitated and jumpy, and there was an exasperated, exhausted quality they would exhibit, as it all came out in minute detail, all at once. I never saw my Narcissist Bob complain about others that way – it would have required too much analysis and thought about a situation that, by the nature of his disorder, he was prone to dismiss in short, sharp-edged, generic denigrations, so as to avoid looking at it for too long.

      That said, I assume some here will be Narcissists trying to project their disorder on their victims, but they will tend to be hateful, pity-me types.

      “I can tell you this, the pain a narc feels is immeasurable and real; such that nobody would choose to behave in such ways voluntarily.”

      I fully believe this is true. But I am not sure you are experiencing the same thing as a Narcissist, given your differences. Can you explain what you feel specifically, and how the behaviors it produces allay the feeling? Is it anger, and the behavior satisfies it? Is it more of a physical pain, and the behavior alleviates the sensation? What stimulus makes you feel the pain, and why can’t you ignore it, or contextualize it in a way so as to make it productive by using it to motivate positive change that benefits everyone?

      Also, one phenomenon which repeatedly comes up, which is exceedingly puzzling, is Narcissists covertly driving by the houses of victims who have escaped, but not interacting in any other way. Do you have any insight into why Narcissists do that?

      Thank you for the post, and I hope your condition allows you to successfully work with a specialist to reprogram your brain so as to eliminate the pain you experience.

  68. Missy says:

    I’ve had a friend/manager at my workplace for about 12 years. She was my manager until just recently, when a re-org was completed. Everything is usually ok if I assume the role of “retarded step-sister”, which in the beginning was easier but now I can no longer play that part. She recently tried to do some “scape-goating” on a project we mutually worked on. She, at a manager level, was having to account for some of the project difficulties, which she immediately found me and my group to blame. I brought in my new manager and some reinforcements on a conf call, and it was discovered that the problems were actually not from my area at all. I fear her power and ability to lay blame at whomever her target is for the week (which in that instance was me). She has this peculiar statement she’s always saying, “everybody always wants a peice of me”. She says this all the time. It’s strange, because whenever men would stop by her office, it seems as though that’s all she was interested in doing was charming them in, kind of “aphrodite” effect. So that statement always puzzled me. I’m trying to lay low and do my job. Hoping since the re-org and with my moving to a different group will help alleviate. I still care about her, even through this madness, but am beginning to understand that this could be part of the ongoing problem. Have to cut the ties and feel guilt in doing so.

    • It weird, I know. I don’t know your specific situation, or how bad she is. But generally, by the time someone’s behavior is off enough that their victim finds themselves here, their Narcissist is pretty bad. If that is the case, you should grasp that guilt is initially part of the process, since you have filled in a lot of the blank spots the Narcissist left in their personality with the most optimistic assessments of their possible goodness. As you work through the guilt, you will gradually ruminate until you reach a point where you realize what the Narcissist really was, at which point you will regret giving them as much as you did.

      If they were really good, they would not be so noxious that you are left with no choice but to endure the guilt of splitting away. Don’t feel bad.

      • Anonymous says:

        I can’t believe how much your description of NOD makes sense to me, my mother in law is exactly like this, and my husband and I maintain very limited contact with her because of her behaviour. She is very angry about this, she wants to see us more often And everytime we do see her we leave feeling drained and exhausted after she has criticised everyone she knows whilst pointing out how great she is and how cruel we are not to spend more time with her (this is done very subtly, she never says anything outright that we can contradict, it’s all implied). I used to feel like I was going mad, whenever I got upset about the things she said to undermine and criticize me she acted confused like I’d misinterpreted it, like I was oversensitive and neurotic. The problem now is that she’s got cancer (completely treatable, she’s been told she’ll

  69. Ichi says:

    Ann Conser. –

    I have enjoyed reading every post on this page and strongly feel that you should have a site dedicated to this topic. Perhaps a message board? Your posts are incredibly insightful and it is rare to find someone with such a thorough understanding of this topic. I am hoping to get your opinion on what to do.

    About a year and a half ago I went NC with my husband’s parents. I believe they are both Ns (though divorced). I also believe husband’s two sisters are possibly also N (or extremely controlled by parents).

    Many things had happened in the preceding 4 years to convince me that they viewed me as a sort of cat toy to be played with instead of as a person. After I went NC, they attempted to isolate my husband to convince him I was mentally unstable and strip me of financial rights in our marriage. After that occurred, husband finally saw the light and also went NC.

    The problem is that despite my attempts to educate husband on the fact that you cannot cure Ns or reason with them he thinks they have learned a lesson through their year-long punishment. He has decided to resume contact with his parents. He has done this after a year of NC. He is seeing them on a limited basis.

    I have made it very clear that I do not wish to have any type of relationship with them. Despite this they are escalating their attempts to get access to me and our marriage. He is their only son and I believe that they cannot take the social humiliation of not having him at “events” or in “photographs” at fancy events. Also, one of the N sisters is now engaged. I believe their son’s absence from the wedding would be a huge N injury that they are desperately seeking to avoid.

    I am concerned that any level of engagement with them whatsoever will expose me to substantial risk. At this point they do not know our current address and husband see’s them at his convenience. I have asked him not to share any information about me, besides stating I am fine if they ask. However, I am sure the sister’s wedding will be a huge trigger for their aggressiveness to increase.

    The mother purportedly has been in therapy for a year. She wrote a letter of apology – however it neither stated what she was apologizing for exactly or that she was wrong. Merely that it was very painful for her to be punished and that she wanted out of the situation. She wants to be a “good mother in law” to me now… :/ The fact that she went into therapy and stayed did not seem like an N trait, but the content of the “apology” seemed concerning. Further, I feel she only wants access to her son and our possible future children (again I believe am merely an obstacle in the way to getting what she wants).

    The father is more scary to me. He is quite literally rich and powerful. Has never apologized for being extremely cold and unwelcoming. At times he has seem to enjoy putting me down in front of important people. (We are both in the same profession and he seems unhappy about this) He expressed anger to my husband for not talking to him – and never acknowledged that he had ever done anything wrong. Now suddenly he is sending invitations to my husband asking that I join him to events.

    Husband is adamant that he believes they have learned their lesson and will “behave.” My concern is that they would “behave” but secretly plot and wait for an opportunity to injure me. When I was extremely amenable to them and went out of my way to be gracious and kind they still treated me badly. Now that I’ve dared to stand up to them and call them out – I could only imagine them being more underhanded and vicious.

    Husband believes we could have a pleasant limited contact relationship – and that is what he wants me to participate in. Go to holidays and big events, but not discuss personal issues. I think no amount of interaction is “safe.” Am I being overly controlling?

    Is it possible the mother isn’t an N? Is there actually a way to interact with select people but not others.

    [I believe my own mother is an N and my biological father to be a sociopath. Unfortunately I think this has made it harder for me to understand how off kilter my husband's family was until after we were married and am now afraid to have kids if it means engaging with his parents. My husband himself is extremely caring and supportive... nothing like his parents.]

    • You are in a difficult situation. I knew my main narcissist as a child, and that imbued me with memories in which I just assumed that he was motivated by the good will I thought everyone felt towards others. Your husband has a whole childhood filled with ascribing his parent’s behavior to the good will he naturally feels for others. It programs you, and it takes a big shock to snap you out of it. Even after I left my main Narcissist, I felt bad for him, for a while, before the truth really set in.

      For now, understand where your husband is, and where he will end up. Know the narcissists will get worse, and they will do something to him, to make him want to get away from them – that is inevitable. But keep an eye on where you want to end up, and see if opportunities won’t crop up that will allow you to get there. I don’t really feel like I know enough about the situation of offer better advice, but a need to move for job-related reasons, or experiencing a magical place, and deciding to get away to there could be good excuses to radically limit your narcissist interaction.

      Some other thoughts :

      “At this point they do not know our current address and husband see’s them at his convenience.”
      I can’t believe they would stand for that for long – that lack fo control is an amygdala stimulant. They will try to find that out somehow, so prepare yourself for them knowing. One thing you will need to do is act like you don’t care, when they try to amygdala shock you with a casually dropped revelation that they know the address.

      “At times he has seem to enjoy putting me down in front of important people. (We are both in the same profession and he seems unhappy about this)”

      He is insecure about his own standing in that field, and your skill level may make him uneasy, and feel as if he will be exposed as inferior in some regard. A deep seated inferiority is fundamental to NPD.

      “The fact that she went into therapy and stayed did not seem like an N trait, but the content of the “apology” seemed concerning.”

      She could go into therapy viewing ti as a necessary manipulation of her inferiors. She’d tell herself she is smarter, for doing this stupid thing, and making you all then do what she wants. The apology would make me cautious. She didn’t want to touch any amygdala triggers, so she probably will deny them in the future.

      “My concern is that they would “behave” but secretly plot and wait for an opportunity to injure me. When I was extremely amenable to them and went out of my way to be gracious and kind they still treated me badly. Now that I’ve dared to stand up to them and call them out – I could only imagine them being more underhanded and vicious.”

      Tell your husband that you are worried they may still have mental problems, and dealing with them makes you very uncomfortable, so you would like to avoid it at all costs. Work with him to come up with excuses for why you can’t make events, and make every effort to help him avoid the battle. join clubs that have events, so you have real excuses.

      “Husband believes we could have a pleasant limited contact relationship – and that is what he wants me to participate in. Go to holidays and big events, but not discuss personal issues. I think no amount of interaction is “safe.” Am I being overly controlling?”

      No, but I also think he will need to find that out himself. Coming to terms with evil is a process for the good – it is just too unimaginable to easily comprehend. I would not worry too much though. Your husband has the seed. He knows there is something wrong there, which is huge step for a narcissist’s child. Now it just needs to grow on its own pace, as he realizes how completely that evil infects their psyche. He will figure it out.

      Good luck.

  70. Really helpful!! I have been through the crazy rollercoaster ride for 23years with a narcissist husband. This article has nailed every bit of him . He is above 40 and picks his battles but rest assured he hates seeing me happy . Its hard to be so calculated and on and watch everything I say . I separated from him 5years ago but have to deal with him coz of financial dependence (got four kids with him) but we try not to share any of our happiness with him. Its hard to comprehend how difficult it is to live a man who isnt happy for anyone but himself. Who lives within families yet perceives them as means to their end. Im just grateful for getting a break for not having to deal with him 24/7and only for the kids. Ive avoided him by avoiding all relationships and so called friendships but atleast I have my kids. Ive made my choice and find peace with it. Id rather have peace within my family that is kids versus social and extended family. I do feel and live with malicious energy from him and his connections . He plants someone or the other in my life who does his job but im more aware of normal and abnormal at this stage in my life and more equipped and in control of myself verses falling to peices. Its hard , energy draining and sad but it is what it is. God help us help ourselves against such forces..
    Thank you
    Malleeka

    • I would really appreciate insights which makes it easier for me to navigate unscathed by him. I yet have to learn to do that. Help would be appreciated. Thx

      • That is very difficult. It is like learning to live with a vicious animal, and not getting bit. One good piece of advice, is to grasp that he thrives when you are bothered. If you can learn to enjoy bothering him, by not letting him make you angry/unhappy/whatever, you could learn to enjoy his tests. Just try to ignore his little attacks, learn to look for his irritation, and focus on that. With time, you can learn to focus on him, and his petty little torments won’t bother you so much.

  71. Jay says:

    Anonymous Conservative, I really appreciate your blog. You clearly have great insight into how these people work, and it’s utterly chilling how I have over the last several days seen your descriptions enacted in my family, particularly in my mom. It’s really upsetting actually. But where does that leave me? Somewhere in here you talked about 3 options — leaving/evading, fighting or appeasing. I have tried all but the first. I always thought “our family loves each other too much” or “it is not so bad.” But now the dominoes are all falling into place (is that the right metaphor?) and it is shocking. I have a newborn son, 2 months old, and it makes me sick to watch her fawn over him (vampire him) and then leave him to cry while she brags to someone on the phone about him! I just got a feeling and went back in the house where she had practically coerced me to leave him with her and found him crying as she happily bragged on the phone.

    Of course I could go on forever. But I wonder about this email in particular, your advice. It’s totally run of the mill for this type of post amygdala hijack thing, where she’s trying to get me back. But now, where this made me feel awful five years ago, it still makes me feel awful but i also note: guilting, denial, martyring, accusations, and even aggression. I think the aggression about not even calling my sister back (who was acting as a total “flying monkey,” trying desperately to assuage my mom) is actually the mask slipping: She saves that aggressive voice for my family members to complain about me as my other sister says she was raging about me last night… before also raging about my grandmother and uncle who I spent more time with than her this weekend, until in my sister’s words “dad took the bait” and started a huge fight “world war iii” while one sister left and the other stayed to try to help calm things down. It’s totally insane. But I have known that a long time. Now I just wonder if and how I should “leave.”

    I would be greatly appreciative of any perspective you all can give on my issue. The background in short is that I didn’t show up for a family photo yesterday because everyone planned it without telling (asking??) me and besides the photo is an annual lie my parents love to show the world how we are all so happy together when half of us are addicts and the others are codependent or just tortured.

    Do you see a hurting mother here or a sick twisted narcissist? I feel selfish myself when I speak so cynically about these words but I have been kicked in the teeth so many times and I don’t know how to live like this and raise my son. The costs, which I’ve always ignored, are not negligible — just days and hours i worry about this, the physical symptoms of anxiety, you know the drill. PS – just read your comment about the pain narcs feel being real.. but I still can’t deny how they hurt m e.

    also this! “I can’t believe they would stand for that for long – that lack fo control is an amygdala stimulant.” That’s why it drove her crazy when I didn’t show up and then ignored calls for several hours. She was picking fights with everyone by 6, and I started ignoring calls at 2.

    Thanks so much.

    [She addresses me with a pet name from childhood that my parents still use], 

    I don’t know what to think about yesterday.  I would call you to talk, but you haven’t responded to my phone calls.  I don’t want to be a pest.  But I don’t know whether you’re mad, or hurt, or just unconscious of the pain you’re causing.  So I’m trying this way of reaching out to you.  I don’t know what else to do.

    Because no one has been able to talk with you, we can only guess what you’re thinking or feeling.  My best guess is that you weren’t consulted about the family photo and you were miffed by that.  I don’t blame you.  I wasn’t consulted either–just informed in a voice message from your dad that it had been decided that it would be last evening.  Because the voice message was sent while you all were at [a tourist attraction], I thought you all had discussed it and made that decision.  If you were surprised by the plan, though, I would have thought you would simply have picked up the phone to let us know that it didn’t work for you.

    As you know, several of us tried calling you, and left messages, yesterday to confirm that the time would work for you and [your wife].  When we didn’t hear back from you, I became worried that something must have happened to you.  An overreaction, no doubt, but now that you are a parent maybe you will understand how frightening it is to believe that your child might be in danger.  We never get over that, no matter how old our children.  I feared that you were in some kind of difficulty because it simply never occurred to me that you were blowing us all off.   So we all sat and waited two hours for you to appear, after having altered our daily plans to be sure we all were here for the photo.  When you finally responded to [your sister]—by text, not even the courtesy of a phone call–it was a relief that you were safe.  But it also was deeply hurtful that you had so little regard for all of us.

    I hope you and [your wife] are discovering that being a parent is one of the greatest blessings in life.  Parenthood is full of joy, but also fear and sometimes heartache.  I felt heartache last night, because parenthood comes with profound responsibilities, not just to clothe and feed and scrape up tuition money, but to love the best person your child can be into reality.  It comes with responsibility to teach not just skills with balls or musical instruments or academics, but to teach, as best we know how, about matters of the heart.  I feel that I must have failed you in that regard. I hope I am wrong, but for reasons I don’t understand, what I have been feeling from you lately is anger, disregard and rejection.  Your family loves you beyond measure, but it feels as though  you barely can tolerate our presence in your life.

    I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill.  I truly hope I’m wrong about all of this.  I would love to hear from you about it, instead of guessing or feeling like I’m intruding in your life whenever I hope to spend time with you or share the joy of your precious son.  Will you please share with me how you feel?

    I love you very much.

    Mom  

    • Sorry this is late, I have been really swamped. You will have to break contact, but that is a process. A vital part is staying until it is so bad that you have no doubts about what you need to do. Only then, can your leaving be totally guilt-free. Otherwise, if it doesn’t go where it is going, you will always have doubts about whether you were justified, and feel bad. It’s crazy, but to be maximally happy in the end, a good person may need to hang in there until you know there is no other way but to leave. Now for the letter.

      I don’t know what to think about yesterday. I would call you to talk, but you haven’t responded to my phone calls. I don’t want to be a pest. But I don’t know whether you’re mad, or hurt, or just unconscious of the pain you’re causing. So I’m trying this way of reaching out to you. I don’t know what else to do.

      I don’t know what is going on, but this is all your fault, and I am perfect. It is as much her telling herself this to assuage her own amygdala, as it is her fucking with your head. She may also be writing the letter instead fo phoning or talking face to face because her head is so fucked up from the loss of control that she is unable to face you, or any potential resistance to her false reality.

      Because no one has been able to talk with you, we can only guess what you’re thinking or feeling.

      Out grouping. Everyone has turned on you, and now it is you alone, against everyone.

      My best guess is that you weren’t consulted about the family photo and you were miffed by that.

      You over-reacted in a petty fashion.

      I don’t blame you. I wasn’t consulted either–just informed in a voice message from your dad that it had been decided that it would be last evening.

      Don’t hold any of this against me, though – between us I got screwed too, so it is us against them. Just don’t tell them, since they all hate you. Oh, and I was more mature than you because I didn’t over-react.

      When we didn’t hear back from you, I became worried that something must have happened to you. An overreaction, no doubt, but now that you are a parent maybe you will understand how frightening it is to believe that your child might be in danger. We never get over that, no matter how old our children. I feared that you were in some kind of difficulty because it simply never occurred to me that you were blowing us all off. So we all sat and waited two hours for you to appear, after having altered our daily plans to be sure we all were here for the photo. When you finally responded to [your sister]—by text, not even the courtesy of a phone call–it was a relief that you were safe. But it also was deeply hurtful that you had so little regard for all of us.

      She’s looking for some way to fuck with your head, happens on the idea that she thought you were hurt, and then runs with that on a wild tangent, just to try and guilt trip you. You can almost see that cognitive spark light, and watch as she kindles it with logic to try and fuck with you, and asuage her own shame.

      I hope you and [your wife] are discovering that being a parent is one of the greatest blessings in life. Parenthood is full of joy, but also fear and sometimes heartache. I felt heartache last night, because parenthood comes with profound responsibilities, not just to clothe and feed and scrape up tuition money, but to love the best person your child can be into reality.

      You’re a bad person. Feel bad about yourself, and how you failed me. Also – think how panicked you will be when someday your child doesn’t let you screw them (imagining how panicked that idea would make her).

      It comes with responsibility to teach not just skills with balls or musical instruments or academics, but to teach, as best we know how, about matters of the heart. I feel that I must have failed you in that regard. I hope I am wrong, but for reasons I don’t understand, what I have been feeling from you lately is anger, disregard and rejection. Your family loves you beyond measure, but it feels as though you barely can tolerate our presence in your life.

      Again, out-grouping. It is us against you.

      I don’t want to make a mountain out of a molehill. I truly hope I’m wrong about all of this.

      Capitualte and supplicate, and I will let you escape all this pain I just foisted on you. Don’t you feel lucky?

      The Executive Summary? Head fuck, head fuck, self-adoration, guilt trip, head fuck, out-grouping, head fuck, self-adoration, outgrouping, guilt trip, guilt trip, head fuck, magnanamous head fuck. She is literally crafting her perception of reality right before our eyes, from scratch, in such a way that it will optimally assuage her insecuirty, and maximize the misery of everyone else around her.
      I can’t imagine how I ever dealt with this regularly, let alone was blind to it.

      Narcissists writing extemporaneoulsy will have a specific style, where they throw out ideas which assuage their own amygdalae and/or fuck with your head, and the ones which “feel” good/effective to them on paper then get focused on and elaborated on, because doing that assuages their insecurity and angst, and makes them feel good about how bad they will make you feel. By the end of the letter, no matter what they did, they will feel as if they were the noble inncoent one who you are vicitmizing, and that this letter is the tangible proof of that.

      You will need to break away, and it will happen. Until then, know in your heart that you will leave, and view every interaction as further evidence that what is coming is not only right, it is the only option you can take, for both you and your child. Then, when it feels right, and you don’t feel guilty over it, do it.

      And no, you are not the crazy one. I can see it in the letter as clear as day.

      Have faith, and God bless. Freedom is coming.

  72. M says:

    Hi
    I have had several ugly relationships with narcs – been a bit of a magnet!

    I learned to have no expectations from my NPD father but still maintained a relationship which I felt OK with. An NPD sister and I have no contact – her decision. Good! And various friendships have died (once I realised what was going on and said “no” to them, just once!) or I’ve relegated the narc to an acquaintance.

    It’s been mind blowing learning about narcissism and I find it easier to spot them now. They seem pretty common… I work in fashion. I’ve noticed they’re often very well presented and will openly say they are attractive. Others go on and on about themselves and their problems, so are pretty easy to spot when you can’t get a word in!

    What gets me is that when I’ve tried to tell “normal” people about narcs, ie family members or non narc friends, they are quite resistant. They don’t want to think about it, perhaps… and sometimes they “shoot the messenger.”

    So I’m not going to bother anymore.

    Thanks for your page.

  73. Charl says:

    I think my elder brother by five years may be a narcissist, it’s the only explanation I can think of for why he is the way he is – my dad (who has a lot of narcissistic tendencies himself, but there seems to be a bit of human being under there somewhere) is very harsh, distant and disciplinarian and my mother completely overcompensated with him in the other direction, and still does.

    There were three of us growing up, myself, him and my younger brother. He treated my younger brother fairly well but I was annexed out for the bullying and the bad treatment. There’s too many incidents to list, he is very aggressive but the threat of violence and general messing with my head more so than physical violence, although he often throttled me – which to be honest summed up growing up with him (suffocating).

    Every fight would then be followed by vengance later, usually on my belongings – blasting music out of the stereo system when I’m home in bed with the flu (he rarely works) but finding all my CD’s snapped if I played music quietly on my little portable CD player. Wrapping the telephone wire around my neck because I want 5 minutes to say bye to my friend instead of getting off right NOW.. leaving the key in the door so I can’t get in, many other things for no reason at all..

    He also gets kicks from humiliating or attempting to humiliate me – I was once punched and throttled for refusing to lick his shoes (I am not kidding he was genuinely angry about this!) And for a period of a few months when I was aged around 6 he began sexually abusing me, I have no doubt at all that he would have continued to do this indefinitely but he had begun trying to escalate it to things that even at that age I knew from more than just my gut feeling were wrong, and he wouldn’t stop increasing the pressure so I threatened to tell on him. Until much later I never did.

    Although a great deal of this happens and has happened when he is alone with me my family have witnessed a lot and apart from when he is trying to screw with my head and try make me look crazy, the painful thing is they see it and refuse to step in. I can see this makes him feel invincible. I feel a bit damned if I do damned if I don’t, as when I was very young and tried to appease him it did me no favours with him, and growing older and finally seeing that it would have to be me fighting my own corner I have now provided my family with an excuse to say ‘you’re just as bad as each other.’

    We no longer live together although he has the support of my family and I don’t, my stepfather drunkenly confessed to me once that he hates him and my stepbrother and father believe me about the abuse. Nobody has or will speak out for me though, he still goes to family functions etc instead of me as I can’t be around him.

    I’m glad to have found this page and know that I’m not alone and I’m not crazy.

    • Nope, he is that screwed up, your relatives are that stupid and weak, and you aren’t crazy. Be grateful you have the strength and wisdom to bail on the whole lot of them. Your relatives will suffer, just by having him around, because his next step will be to look for one of them to take his rage out on. These guys don’t just become nice because the person they were screwing with took off. He still has that rage, and it needs to go somewhere.

      I’m sorry for what you went through, but the key is to recognize that first, you aren’t alone. A lot of people walk that bizarre path, and find their heads spinning too, and all of them will view you as a brother in arms. Second, realize that the world was always beautiful, and still is. There is a ton of happiness and pleasure to be had in it. You just need to get away from the chaos and insanity, and find a part of the world which hasn’t been infected by that.

      Then, never look back. Trust me, you won’t miss anything worth anything.

      Good luck and God bless.

  74. Lil says:

    Really interesting reading, and wow, there seems to be a lot of narcissism out there. I have been trying to find a scenario through these comments which might help me save my marriage from being affected by the narcissism of my husband’s sister. I am quite happy to keep my distance from her as much as possible, and have recently discovered (through pure desperation for self-preservation) that avoidance and indifference actually really helps me to feel like I have a full cup, after years of feeling exhausted and used after being around her. My concern, however, is about my relationship with my husband, who has always had a great relationship with her, and at this point in time, is still oblivious to her narcissism as far as I can tell. A few incidences lately have brought everything to the surface, in terms of my feelings about her, and her affect on me, and it has caused my husband and I to argue and fight and otherwise create a miserable atmosphere in my household, where we normally have a happy one. We have young children and I am worried that this issue is destroying me, like a dark cloud has come over our home. I fear that I am appearing like ‘the one who has the problem’, but yet, these are real feelings, and real reactions and I can’t seem to figure out how to stop feeling like my husband is continually being ‘roped in’ by her charm and manipulation, and away from me. I don’t trust her one bit, and I feel like I am alone in this. I don’t want her in my life, she has already tried to humiliate me with the rest of the family, and did nothing but denied, attacked, then blamed and cried her way out of responsibility for her hurtful actions. She even tried to bring my young daughter into the picture and use her as weaponry against me. I have been her narc supply at times for a decade, but I’m very much clued in now to her manipulative behaviour and at the moment, I’m in ‘ignore’ mode. As in, ‘hello’ ‘goodbye’ in social occasions and that’s it. But it is very obvious that this is forced by me, as I’m usually the type to keep a conversation going. It doesn’t sit well having to pretend that I don’t give a toss, but seriously, it is the only way to cope. Back to hubby. I could quite easily explain all of this to him, but I think he will go on the defense for his sister’s sake. What to do? Any advice or even how someone has dealt with a similar situation would be much appreciated. Thanks in advance.

    • Narcissists only know two scenarios. Either everyone else is calm and happy, and their amygdala is wracking their brain with rage, envy, fear, panic, and worry (becasue they fear everyone is about to turn on them), or they are calm, in control, and making everyone else’s amygdala wrack their brains with those emotions, to enhance their feeling of control (and the relaxation control allows).

      Your Narcissist is purposely trying to structure your environment to elicit all of that in you. The angrier, sadder, unhappier, and more miserable you get, the better they feel. The more you ignore them, and get happy, the more they will freak out (even though they will hide the freak-out from you).

      You need to calmly explain to your husband that whatever the cause, you have come to the conclusion that it is best you minimize all interactions with his sister. Then avoid any contact with even the idea of her. If your husband mentions her, smile, shake your head, and calmly tell him, “I love you, but I really don’t even want to think about her. She is the one person on the planet who just creeps me out to the point I can’t think about her.

      “We have young children and I am worried that this issue is destroying me, like a dark cloud has come over our home. I fear that I am appearing like ‘the one who has the problem’, but yet, these are real feelings, and real reactions and I can’t seem to figure out how to stop feeling like my husband is continually being ‘roped in’ by her charm and manipulation, and away from me.”

      This is her goal. It is in part, a violation of expectation amygdala hijack. You know reality. You know what should happen. She is scum, and people should see it. But she is rewriting an unreal reality which is triggering your Anterior Cingulate Cortex’s error-monitoring function, and that is making you hyper-sensitive to her negative activities. The best answer is to excise her from your life, but to do that, you need to explain to your husband that whatever the cause the chemistry just isn’t right between you and her, and if her loves you, and wants everyone in his family happy, he will just need to keep the two of you apart.

      Don’t try to separate him from her – it will just create tension between you two that she will detect and exploit. Once you deny her access to you, she will have to find someone else to fuck over in the family, and she will. It’s her nature – she needs someone miserable. Once she alienates someone else, you can either use that to out-group her, or sit back as she out-groups herself. She will get worse, her relationships with everyone will deteriorate, and the more you excise her from your life and find yourself happy, the faster it will happen.

      It is tough, but for your kid’s sake, you will need to dissect not only everything she does, and understand it fully, but also look within yourself, to understand mechanistically how what she is doing is affecting your brain. If you are ignorant of your own cognitive processes, you will just get swept away on the currents of emotion she triggers. But if you look at what she does mechanistically, and say to yourself, “That was an attempt to trigger my ACC through an error detection, to magnify the Aversive Stimulus elicited by my amygdala in response to her eye contact and diminution of stature hijack,” it will prove much easier to control the subsequent emotion produced, at least in my experience. You may even be able to turn it around, and do it back to her.

      The Kindle on this will be free in late September. Pick up a copy, download the free reader from Amazon, and check out the amygdala hijack section. I think it will help.

  75. Lil says:

    Thank you for this insight. I have been doing some more reading about amygdala hijacking and the ACC error-monitoring function and it is so very true. I have found over the years that her actions aren’t in accordance with what I see as ‘normal, healthy behaviour’, being almost delusional at times, and for the most part, I find myself constantly trying to ‘figure her out’.

    I’ve researched energy vampires and narcissism a lot lately, and have often choked at how textbook her behaviour is, wondering how on earth she can be so shamelessly grandiose about herself in public without commensurate achievements or any real credentials, how superior she seems to feel and how blatantly exploitative she can be of her friends and family. This is someone who says things like “I don’t like being a waitress because I shouldn’t be serving people, I feel like they should be serving me…” to advertising herself as a private singing teacher (she has been singing for 2 years) without actually being able to read music or ever having had a single lesson in her life, to visiting high schools and giving talks to students on how to be a big success in the music industry (???). It goes on.

    I have been thinking a lot about their childhood and their parents (broken home, disconnected bipolar mother, manipulative father) and whether this need for love and attention and this manufactured sense of self is the fallout from a loveless or disconnected childhood. Without going into details, the family seems to be wrought with some kind of emotional instability or toxicity. No matter what you put in, it’s never enough and now it seems you can never quite trust them to be emotional mature and handle issues that arise, which has been shown lately. I don’t know if I’m ‘out-grouping’ them by saying this, but I guess I am, so that my own family isn’t drawn into their volatility-behind-smiles.

    My husband and I don’t talk about the family much these days, and I think he has realised that the moment we start talking about them, even if it’s just ‘family news’, it brings a bad vibe and one which we both want to avoid. Things are getting harder, because they live not far away, she is having her first child, and I wish the relationship was better so that I could enjoy and support her. But honestly, I feel she has taken enough, any attention even just because of the baby is ‘supplying’ her and I don’t want to give that energy to her. It completely sucks, I’m still trying to work it all out with all the reading and thinking, and I really do appreciate the advice and links to more information. I think I will just have to come to some sort of place where I don’t feel like I have to play along with the bullshit anymore, and that I don’t have to have some sort of ideallic relationship with the family, just because ‘they’re family’. That’s ultimately the pressure I feel at the moment. Thanks for your help AC.

  76. Mary says:

    I feel so helpless when I see how my D treats my GD (14 yr old) – they moved about 8 hours away with new husband a few years ago. After reading these comments, I know what I was dealing with in my MIL and I know my D is the same way – I started typing the story, but there is soooo much. Dad is in same town as me, but his main concern has always been their 13 yr. old daughter, who moved back last year to get away from mom and is doing good. The older one supposedly is going to counseling for eating disorder, her grades went from A and B to D and F last semester and she became sexually involved with boys. According to D, all the problems are the GD’s because there’s nothing wrong with her (D). I’ve seen D in action with GD and it is so cruel.

    I spoke up last year, so am receiving limited amt. of info on GD and limited contact with GD. I don’t know what I can do – I just try to build up GD when I talk to her (her step dad let her use his phone because she don’t have one) – terrible situation and I feel so helpless. I did try to report M’s behavior, which ended up with me being made out to be the liar and crazy one for making things up, not to mention the repercussions to GD – for that I feel so bad – don’t know what I can do.

  77. Jay says:

    Anonymous Conservative, your response to my mother’s letter made my day, and I’ve had a really good day. Thank you! The executive summary section was particularly amazing. I am doing just as you said, it turns out: Just trying to keep contact and watch closely to see if it’s all in my head or not. So far it’s not. It’s messed up. Thanks again.

  78. Laura says:

    Do you have any advice on how to get a victim of a narcissist to see the truth? My cousin who I grew up with and is my everything has fallen in love with one. They were married within 2 months of meeting and pregnant within 6. She is due in a few months. Our relationship has been strained from the start of theirs. I knew who he was from having been with one for 5 years. I tried to tell her and we had some ups and downs. Then she reached out to me when he threatened to leave her. He left but came home that night while I was staying with her. He put his hands on her and I got involved and called the cops. Now she has cut me out of her life telling me that I’m playing the victim and I’ve hurt her and down all of these things wrong. She doesn’t want me in her life if I can’t accept him.
    How do I get her to see? Is there anything I can do?

    • First, I dislike giving advice because in my experience, it is difficult to plot a path forward if you are there, and know everything. If you don’t know every variable, then your advice is exceedingly likely to make things worse. But you asked, so I will offer some answers – just keep in mind, you need to weigh it all against your instincts, which will be much more capable of plotting a way forward, being in the thick of it, and knowing the psychology yourself. I am also not certain what the best path forward for that child is. That he hit her makes me think the kid will be better off without him, but you should probably weigh that as well, because I don’t know enough for a clear verdict myself.

      You’re narcissist has, for now, been outplaying you, and that is not uncommon. I think the reason why is that they, due to their defect, distill interactions down to the base mechanistic facets, and take away all of the emotion, which is what drives normal people. They don’t have the brainpower to think complexly, like you, but that is actually advantageous, since it focuses them logically on manipulating emotions.

      The first thing you need to do is view it mechanistically yourself. He has managed to put a framework of thought in her head, probably through a mixture of game and couching your behavior, such that her amygdala is stimulated to dislike the thoughts of your behavior, and attach negativity to you, while disregarding his bad behavior.

      You need to attach negativity to him, while minimizing the negativity attached to you. That mean no arguing with her, no presenting negativity to her, and making her happy whenever possible. First, above all else, you must maintain access, and that means when she gets irritated with you, you need to defuse that by any means.

      Then gather intelligence. When they argued, to the point he split, what did they argue about? That was an amygdala trigger that when she thought about it, set her off – it is negativity attached to him. What about him embarrasses her? What is there about him that she sees as negative, and tenses up when she thinks about? What makes her uneasy? What made him hit her? What is there, which will make him become objectionable in front of her? If you can trigger him into doing things she doesn’t like, you can manipulate matters from that direction as well, and attach further negativity to him.

      In short, you need to distill matters down the way the narcissist does, and simplify it so as to focus yourself solely on the ultimate goal, and ignore what feels “right” or “good” to you. You want negativity attached to him, and only positivity attached to you. You should also maintain the relationship no matter what happens, because as you know, she will have some dark days ahead of her, and she will need you badly. Having one safe spot in the world will be vital for her, when she is ready to leave the darkness.

      You will also need to go over to Heartiste, pour through his archives, and begin to understand why she may grow more attached to a guy who treats her badly. There are women who get treated badly, and then feel an attraction to the guy which is programmed into them. Incorporating a full understanding of that trait would be vital for your success. My understanding is a shadow of Heartiste’s, but from what little I’ve absorbed, you will need to stimulate embarrassment or shame at being seen with him. That is probably best done by diminishing his value through emotionally unbalancing him in front of her, while making it look as if that is not what you are doing, so he can’t play the victim. Making association with him an embarrassment in your social circle would probably also help.

      Complicating things will be that pregnancy. She will not want to raise that child alone, and she will become much more likely to justify keeping him around, making her more open to his interpretations of events. Sometimes you need to let these things reach their own conclusion, based on their own natural progression. If that is the case, be there for her,and know that eventually it will end. I suspect, based on how quickly they married, it will be sooner rather than later.

      I’m out of free days at Amazon on the kindle version of the book, but they will refresh in late September, and I’ll let it go again then, so keep an eye out.

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  80. Ella says:

    Can you please give me some advice on how to deal with my Narcissistic sister in-law? She could also be Borderline Personality Disorder… anyways, she’s somewhere within the cluster B personalities. She is the wife of my husbands brother. When I first met her (almost 10 years ago) she was weird and cold. she didn’t act like she wanted to welcome me into the family at all. Then her way of “warming” up to me was that she bragged to me about how she manipulated her husband in different ways. I thought she was really weird…
    After my hubby and I got married, she got pregnant like as soon as she possibly could. When I got pregnant, she got pregnant AGAIN as soon as she possibly could. Then I noticed her nasty side, she was rude, mean and extremely competitive. They bought a TV a computer right after we did. She tried to decorate her living room like mine. She copied ideas. But she never complimented anything I had or did, she just went out and bought it or did like it was all her ideas in the first place. It felt like identity theft. I told her about it too, and told her to stop. I think I may have called her narcissist (and this was like 8 years ago) She never said she was sorry, said I copied and was in competition with her because I was jealous of her. I didn’t want to have anything to do with her after that but since we were family I decided to try to forgive and forget. Since that fight we’ve had a few others- there have been times we’ve gone 1 1/2 to 2 years at a time no contact. She is very controlling of her hubby and if she and I don’t talk, then our husbands can’t talk. BUT we moved out of state, and guess what…they moved to the same state and live in the same town I do. Our kids go to the same school.

    She hasn’t been extremely nasty or mean in a while because I think she knows I won’t put up with her. BUT she is copying me… my style of dress, the tries to buy her kids similar styles of clothes as mine, she doesn’t cook and suddenly she loves to cook, she even mirrors me when we are talking and uses the same words I do. It’s so creepy- like “single white female” creepy. I have caught her in lies, and she manipulates her way right out of them. There is always someone else to blame but her.

    My hubby and I have tried to strengthen our relationship with them by inviting them places and they usually come up with excuses. If we do end up spending time together I ALWAYS have to be the one to engage with her first, and talk to her. She never asks me anything and she doesn’t seem like she wants to give me much personal info when I ask her stuff but then when I don’t talk to her enough she gets agitated and asks me if anything is wrong- I’m so confused!

    I really don’t need her, the only reason I am putting up her is because they live in my town, her SIX children and my children get along, and so that my husband can have a relationship with his brother. So what I really want to know is do you think she knows she is practically trying to steal my identity? Is she intentionally trying to make me mad? Can I have a civil relationship with her? Is there anything I can do so that she won’t want to copy me anymore? I feel like she should knows the competition and trying to clone me bothers me since I already told her about it. I feel like she is using me for my ideas, and creativity (not that i’m all that amazing) but that’s just how it feels. Anyways, any advice you can give me would be appreciated!

    • Yeah, you’ve got something weird going on. Tough to say if it is NPD or some other conditioning thing from her childhood. Try to see if you can put her behavior in the context of a childhood dynamic. Did she have a sister who she was jealous of, and who she felt in competition with? Could that have created a framework of emotions and urges which you have triggered somehow? If you can deduce where the urges were imbued, and how they were conditioned, you can understand the mechanism which can give you enough of a feeling of control to relax in its presence.

      >So what I really want to know is do you think she knows she is practically trying to steal my identity?

      It is tough to say, because a lot of these characters lie to themselves, and then believe their own lies to calm their own anxiety. Truth and knowledge becomes a strange gray zone.

      >Is she intentionally trying to make me mad?

      Possibly, but maybe not. She probably sees you with something nice, and suddenly feels an uncontrollable need to get it. It feels like the type of sudden, uncontrollable emotional drive which would arise from a sibling rivalry, but with so little data to go on, it is tough to say for sure. That type of competitiveness does usually accompany a lot of behaviors that are very stressful to be around though, mainly because in trying to get “one-up” on you, it is a small step to the realization that actively fucking you over can yield just as good a result as doing better than you.

      >Can I have a civil relationship with her?

      I’d say stay away as much as possible, and be civil when you can’t. Being around here will tend to be stressful. Join a club somewhere, doing stuff you like, and find friends who you will actually like.

      >Is there anything I can do so that she won’t want to copy me anymore?

      Probably not. I suspect she is seeing in you something which reminds her of somebody she envied as a child, maybe a sister. As a result, she reflexively wants to “keep up” with you, because that urge was imbued in her just as strongly as an aversion to touching tarantulas is imbued in you. If she doesn’t copy something nice you have, she will see what you have, realize it is better than her situation, and feel just as bothered as you would poking a big tarantula in the face with your index finger, and letting it chomp down on you.

      >I feel like she should know the competition and trying to clone me bothers me since I already told her about it.

      Maybe she is doing it to bother you, or maybe she is just uncontrollably bothered if she doesn’t. Its tough to say.

      Now dealing with it. First, change how you think. Right now, you’re reasonable, adaptable, and if someone explained something to you logically, you could take in that data and alter your behavior accordingly. The problem is you are programmed to expect that in other people since that is all you know. You need that in the people around you so you can feel as if you understand things, and have some measure of control. You base your understanding of the world on that expectation. When you run into somebody who is more reflexive and conditioned, and resistant to logic or reason, it violates your expectation, makes you feel out of control (since you try to interact logically, and it fails), and you get bothered by it.

      The thing is your sister-in-law is a robot, and a weird, defective one at that. Accept that she is way different from normal, and to restore control, unravel her programming, and get an understanding of why she is like that and how to operate around this weird machine.

      From what you say, I’d guess you will never change her behavior or the urges which drive it. So to function around her (which you feel you have to) you will have to adapt from your end. First, try to condition yourself to not feel your way through interactions. Your feeling are meant for normal people, and if you run with them around her, they will just leave you feeling uncomfortable.

      There was a scene in the old sitcom Seinfeld. Jerry bumps into Joe Devola, a crazy, mentally ill guy. The meeting has a long awkward pause, and Jerry gets uncomfortable and wants desperately to fill the empty space, as Devola stares at him with a crazy, blank smile. As Jerry blurts out something to fill in the void, Devola, with the unchanging crazy smile cuts him off by saying, “You don’t have to say anything!” He then returned to staring blankly at Jerry with that crazed smile, perpetuating the awkward pause.

      The thing is, Devola liked the awkward pause. So fuck it, mirror what she does. Just stand there and stare back with the same, glossy eye’d empty smile, and learn to enjoy it. When I deal with people like this, I have a conversation with them in my head. I say to myself (silently), “Boy you are crazy. Look at you. You enjoy this awkward pause. I can’t believe you are this nuts. How long will it last? Lets see if we can go ten seconds. One Mississippi, Two Mississippi, … Wow, you’re actually going to do it. Man are you bonkers. Three Mississippi. Four …….” and so on. By the time I make it to fifty or sixty Mississippi I am almost laughing at how crazy they are, and most importantly, I am not bothered. If they ask, “Is something wrong?,” I look bemused, and say, “No, why do you ask?” The toughest part is not laughing.

      The thing is, she can’t kill you. And she is totally bonkers, to the point it can be funny, if you look at it that way. So go with it. Learn that when you are around her, you are being given a little vacation from the normal, and you are allowed to act crazy, as you mirror her. Learn to laugh at how nuts she is, as you imitate the crazy shit she does. And just reflect happiness at her.

      Now I’ve dealt with these characters, and I know as this goes on, she will get irritated at the fact you are not bothered. She probably isn’t just fully randomly nutty, she wants you unhappy, and part of this is in furtherance of that goal. And she will try to alter her strategy to make it happen, as time goes on, and she sees you unbothered. That is why you should keep interactions to a minimum. See if your hubby would enjoy joining a shooting range, and going out for a weekly shoot with his brother. That gives them alone time, and shields you from her. Or find something like that – a guy’s activity they can enjoy which will keep you away from miss nutso.

      As for her copying you, ignore it. She has a deep void in her life which makes her thoroughly miserable all of the time. The one break she gets is the little respite she gets from acquiring something similar to what you have, and feeling like you for a moment. In some ways, it is to be pitied, if you grasp that she isn’t copying you, and feeling like a million bucks.

      It is like Patrick Bateman in the movie American Psycho, which was one of the best portrayals of a Narcissist out there. While in a friend’s apartment (after just having killed the friend) the voice-over says, “There is a moment of sheer panic when I realize that Paul’s apartment overlooks the park… and is obviously more expensive than mine.” In another scene, he sees a friend’s business card, and says to himself, “Look at that subtle off-white coloring. The tasteful thickness of it. Oh, my God. It even has a watermark.” His response is to totally freak out, to the point he breaks out in a sweat from panic.

      That is literally the exact psychology you face. That is the panic she is trying to assuage, by getting the things that you have. Feel bad for it. Living life like that is the ultimate horror. But don’t feel bad to the point you let it screw you over. Feel bad from a safe distance, preferably with two or three people between you and her.

      • Ella says:

        Thank you so much for responding. What you’ve said makes so much sense and has helped me out a lot.

        Yes she just one sibling, an older sister. I don’t know much about her sister except that she can’t have children and my sister in law has six.. and she was a surrogate with twins… and she’s getting ready to go through another surrogacy. She’s only in her early thirties. She’s older than me and the breadwinner in her family, and I’m a stay at home mom. I have quite a few friends and she doesn’t really have any. I would never introduce her to my friends, though she wanted me too and one time. I would love for my hubby to spend time with his brother but she doesn’t let him go out and do anything without her. Ever. Not even with his brother. She’s very controlling but she hides it well.

        I’m definitely going to keep our interactions to a minimum. I’m generally a happy person and she has poisoned it by making me so irritated. Yes I need to change the way I think, and try not to be bothered by her. I will ignore her weird behavior and try to be amused by our interactions other than annoyed.

  81. Anonymous says:

    I sympathise, when young home was a battleground. thanks to my sisters constant rowing with my parents.

    I figured she was just misunderstood, until realising that I too had been on the receiving end.

    Several broken relationships and friendships later I noticed the common factor as my sister. Any aspect of my life she becomes aware of seems to mysteriously go downhill fast, through rumours, odd events etc

    Also when she babysat (twice) my son had unexplained injuries.

    Then we thought we had a stalker as things would appear in the garden or plants got damaged. Mysterious night happenings. Amazingly my sister always arrived in the most confused moments. Coincidental? After the wierd happenings she offered to move in if I wanted to live somewhere else.

    I have tried to reconnect with her a couple of times, before realising that with her it is always about her and her alone. Its always suprising that she seemd to have, “prepped,” any friends of hers who I meet by saying I had problems etc.

    In hindsight I knew she was jealous of me but naively I didnt appreciate the lengths she would go to to cause me upset.

    Instead of telling me she needed a chat or a coffee she would sabotage a relationship instead

    For a while I was upset but it just makes me sad and sympathetic now that I understand it a bit – but the damage is all ready done and it’s not damage that can be easily amended.

    • Seeing the narcissist fully does allow you to recognize how pathetic their plight is. Still, your’s was the wisest choice. There is no helping them, and they are programmed to destroy you if you try. You just need to create distance and get away.

  82. Kerri Kaye Sharp says:

    Omg…you know exactly what hell im living.my narcissist is my mother. Oh please email me…im 43 yrs old. Im looking forward to DEATH!! CAUSE I AM CONSTANTLY MISERABLE

    • K, you need to break off contact. Life shouldn’t be like that. You are alive in a beautiful world. The sun shines warm, the clouds are white and fluffy, the cool breeze will invigorate you, there is a plethora of wonderful smells, and beautiful flowers, and fish, and corals to look at in awe. You need, at all costs, to negotiate an escape.

      If you feel you have no other option, recognize that you have the internet. Find a job, any job, somewhere far away, find living arrangements you will be able to afford in that job, and make your escape. Once you get free, and can function, look to work your way up. But don’t put it off. Find a way out now, and never look back. Narcissists poison your life. You need to get free of them.

      Good Luck.

  83. Carrie says:

    This is by far the best post I have seen on narcissists (aside from my own of course LOL that was meant to be a joke). I have a blog of my experiences in a relationship with a narcissist for 10 yrs. in hopes of saving someone else the devastation they cause. I didn’t have a clue about narcissists when I was with him, and if you don’t, you think you are going crazy. They are masters at twisting your words, reinventing history, smoke and mirrors, and they are relentless.
    You are so right when you say they will get their revenge, but usually when you aren’t looking. I can remember thinking he was going to be pissed about something and he would be just fine, smiling. I knew he would get me somehow, usually it would be to destroy something of mine. After 10 years I had absolutely nothing, all my clothes were stolen 2x’s, all my jewelry gone, furniture thrown in a field and driven over, antifreeze poured on photos, every vehicle I had developed some sort of problem that only he could fix, even mementos like my son’s baby teeth disappeared. My brake line wore through 3 times, the lug nuts on my wheels loosened, I know he had something to do with a tire blowing on the freeway going 110km with 3 tons on a flat deck. He text messaged about 20 minutes prior to say “be careful out there today”. As soon as he did that I braced myself, what was he up to? But you see he would think it was my own fault for not being a better driver if I would have crashed, but I managed to keep it on the road. If I would have died, he would have milked that for all the sympathy he could. He actually told me he had life insurance payable to me and I should take out a policy in his name. Haha good try, I don’t think so.
    He would injure himself if we had a big fight and he thought I might leave, he even lied about being given 6 months to live.
    If you don’t react to their abuse, lying, infidelity they just ramp it up until you do, they have to have a reaction, there is no getting along with them.
    Then after I left with $5, my sick dog, and broken down truck and $10,000 in debt he slandered me and tried to get me fired and evicted. AND encouraged me to kill myself because no man would ever want a paranoid, psycho bitch like me and I made his life hell for 10 years. He had found the woman for him and she was nothing like me. My only response was “Give her 10 years and get back to me.”
    The problem with them is; even when they are done with you they want to destroy you. The thought that you might ever find happiness is not acceptable. If they did their job right you should be a puddle of incoherent emotion on the floor, forever pining away for them and at their beck and call should they need you in the future.
    Evil beyond description.
    But you have done an excellent job here. Thank you for spreading the word! I do have a free download on my blog for a Safety Plan while with or when you have left a narcissist. No guarantees it will save a life but it give a person a chance. 70% of domestic homicides happen either just before or up to 2 years after the victim leaves the relationship. My blog is http://www.ladywithatruck.com
    ( I hope you don’t mind me putting my blog addy feel free to remove it)

    • Thank you for the link, I stopped by your site and it is quite a compliment. I’ll add it to my blogroll.

      Your post was a trip down memory lane. On the tire blowout, he probably screwed a very short, 1/2 inch long, fat, stubby bolt into your tire fully so it would just penetrate the tire fully, then he backed it out until it would just stay in, and not pop out due to the air pressure. It was probably put in a groove between the treads, and the top of the bolt was even, height-wise, with the tread of the tire once it was backed out, or maybe even a little below it. So long as you weren’t driving, or you were driving slowly, the air pressure alone wouldn’t be enough to pop it out. But once you hit highway speeds, the centripetal force acting on the bolt due to the spinning of the tire would combine with the pressure behind it to pop it out, and if the bolt was thick enough, the tire would suddenly deflate.

      Now, how would I know all that? I swear, they are practically popped out of a mold, they are all so similar.

      I saw the bolt just by chance before it got me. When I grabbed it with pliers to pull it out, it looked like it would take a real pull to get it out (I assumed it was a 2″ long, 1/2 inch diameter bolt I drove over). Instead I grabbed it, and it just practically fell out, with almost no effort, since it was just barely in. The second it came out, the air rushed out of the tire, which was puzzling because it didn’t look like it was in deep enough to puncture the tire. He had driven it all the way in, and then backed it out.

      Your guy likely felt so clever about figuring all that out, that he couldn’t contain himself, and just had to call you to tell you to be careful. How giddy they can be, if they are about to see someone who is loyal to them about to be screwed over.

      I even had the brake failure too, due to the damaged lines. Good times!

      I’m sorry you had to deal with it, but very pleased you finally got your freedom. Life truly is indescribably wonderful once you stop banging your head against that wall.

      Take care, and God bless.

      PS, How to Deal With Narcissists is free in Kindle form Nov 25th, 2014 if you’re interested. Amazon has a free reader program, which lets you read it on the computer, too, so it is no cost.

      • Carrie says:

        I thought I had replied to your reply. Thank you for putting the pieces together for me about the tire. I knew it had to be him, his sister was with me at the time and when he sent the “be careful” text she said, “Oh my God watch the front wheel fall off or something.” she was close. When that tire blew it took out my brake line, fender and crinkled my driver’s door. Picked the truck up and literally moved me to the left 4-5 feet. There was a severe drop off there but I held it on the road. His sister and I just looked at each other and she said, “I don’t have to tell you what I am thinking do I?”
        She is the one I credit with saving my life, she was my sanity and my proof I was not crazy. She played detective and was my witness. She told me that she was afraid to be in my company because she was sure he was going to kill me.
        I look back now and it seems like a bad movie, so happy to be out and looking forward to another dramaless Christmas.
        hoping you have a great Christmas and wonderful New Year

  84. Carrie says:

    btw, I have added your link to my sidebar. You are the only site I have a link to, so consider it quite a compliment. Good job spreading the word.

  85. Anon says:

    I have something my ex Narc wants so bad ….. Her most precious possession and this was one thing that is not a lie. This is her life…. Now do I give her them back and risk having nothing over her – there are things I need her to sign over to me – will she behave because I have this possession or should I give it back? I am in a lucky positioning a way but. Am terrified.
    Thank you

  86. narc hater says:

    I am currently in a very bad situation after trying the get angry and insult them approach for the last 20 years. I wouldn’t recommend doing that, it has hurt my life tremendously. I grew up in a narcisstic family that scapegoated me horribly. I obviously couldn’t escape or evade as I was a child. But when I got older I found myself attracted to people like this and was still too young to know why. I ended up with a group of narcisstic “friends” who ended up scapegoating me. Then ended up with a woman who does the same, she even joins in with my family. Its funny they always end up trying to talk about me like I’m the narcissist behind my back. I have spent years trying to teach these people how selfish they are. Same reaction every time. They ignore, then attempt to outgroup me. I have seen this over and over again my entire life. I started to realize that I am hyper sensitive or codependent and these people literally flock to me to feed, its unbelievable. I had a teacher in school that would pick on me almost everyday in class in very heinous ways. Things he could’ve easily been fired for if I really wanted to do something about it. You should’ve seen the tirade that came out of him after I started throwing his selfish thinking in his face. He couldn’t stop. His plan was to make me look crazy and would do whatever it took. I ended up giving him what he wanted, and ended up paying for it dearly emotionally for the last 15 years. It wasn’t worth it for my life, but I definitely can say I tried to fix a part of this epidemic problem. I believe about 20% of all people suffer from this. It is ruining the world no doubt. It is prevalent in the workplace especially the financial world. Companies are centered around operating this way as opportunism now rules, and will only become more so as the bar of competition continues to be raised. He who has the gold makes the rules, whatever happened to the golden rule.

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