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"N"'s is there really such a thing? for garfield!
January 23, 2007
8:20 pm
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I'm starting this after seeing some posts on shepherds "sorting abuser from abusee" thread.

I've read sam vaknin's work...I must admit that I first read his work years ago after having problems with my mum. It was an aunt of mine who printed of some of Sam's writings and when I read it...some of mums traits were definitly there.

But...then I found myself back there again after my ex and I broke up...and lo and behold...HE fit the bill too....kind of. But then when you look at the DSM for NPD it talks about the all important trait of "grandiosity".

Now...my ex is by no means "gradniose" in fact I would say, he is the opposite...although its hard to tell until you really get to know him...he absolutely hates himself...he compares himself to even the lowest of the low and STILL finds he comes up short. So...although when I read sam's stuff it makes my hair stand on end at the similarities...the grandiosity...the all important factor...just doesn't fit.

And here is another reason why I have my doubts about NPD...or Sam's take on it.
My mother definitly fit the bill of NPD, including the grandiosity...but in the last few years her and I found common grounf (I miscarried twice, as she had done when she was younger) I found after that happened she became my rock. I honestly don't think I would be here today were it not for the way she has helped me. The real changes occured within her when my aunt her sister died. They had been very close, so so close, but when she died, my mum hadn't spoken to her in years.
Having thought about all that happened...we all took my dad's side when they started to have problems...but its only now...that I can see, truly see, that my Dad wasn't perfect either, he was quite cold toward her...when we were born she was no longer the love of his life we were...that must have stung. To see this man who was so useless at affection all through their courtship being so so affectionate and loving with the children she gave him must have hurt...it made her bitter. And so, it all changed when my aunt died...she suddenly started to show a caring side, a gentle side.

One day last year when I was going through the worst of the aftermath of my relationship and the miscarriages, I decided quite calmly that I was going to go visit my parent and afterwards, go to the local chemist, buy a family pack of paracetamol and go up the dublin mountains with them and a bottle of lucozade to wash them down with. I was basically in the throes of a nervous breakdown. But when I went to visit them they knew something was deeply wrong and I admitted what I was going to do. I understand now that they were deeply distressed and could not think of what they could do...they believed (as all parents do) that they somehow could fix me...and so their solution was to shout at me and scold me...alternating it with "What do you want us to DO". And I was saying "listen" I just want you to "listen". It got through...and now, thats what she does, she just listens and listens...and we've become so close. Before I hated her so much I found it hard to send a christmas card, this year, I bought her an extra present, just to say thanks for all she had done. She's like a different person.

And then there is my ex...yeh, he does have a lot of traits...I'm not going to go into the whole long winded story...but I've kind of come to the conclusion that he couldn't be an N because he has low self-esteem not high...although the strange thing is this. I think he actually doesn't have an opinion of his own...and his mother tries to make him have this high self-esteem, so its like as if he pretends to be healthy and have high self-esteem but its only on the outside. I dunno, hard to explain. Anyway, point is, I don't think he's N...I think he has some sort of problem. He was definitly very abusive verbally, physically, emotional the whole lot. But, I actually didn't see that until we were broke up about 6 months...and I didn't see the physical abuse (pushing, spitting, punching wall, throwing things) until my therapist pointed out that thats what it was. I still only today spoke to my therapist about the struggle I have with the idea that he was abusive, because, he was so adamant, that I brought this out in him...and he still portrays himself as the "victim" to anyone who will listen. So, if he believes it so much and I am still unsure...then hey...whats the truth here? I dunno...N or not N...something is up.

I read your excerpt from Sams site on the other thread...the bit about why we stay...I could relate. I stayed because I believed honestly believed that I could fix this...that I had somehow made a terrible mistake at the start of the relationship by making him believe I was a bad person, and if I could only let him see I wasn't then it would all be ok. Until finally he said he could take no more of my badness and had to "cut me loose". I spent all of our time together trying to be as good as good can be...trying so hard to please him, that I completely lost myself...I dunno garfield, maybe you can identify with this, maybe not...but I still have a problem fitting the word "N" to him...because he isn't grandiose on any level.


January 23, 2007
10:13 pm
red blonde
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I looked at Sam Vaknin's website...and clicked on the FAQs under Inverted Narcissists and scrolled down the page when I came across this:

"The DSM-IV-TR uses 9 criteria to define the Narcissistic Personality Disorder (NPD). It is sufficient to show signs of 5 of them to be diagnosed as a Narcissist. Thus, theoretically, it is possible to have NPD without being grandiose."

January 24, 2007
6:02 am
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hhmmmm...I dunno...without "grandiosity" though then how could they be defined as "narcissistic".

I mean, narcissus was a little guy who was so entranced by his own beauty that he wasted away looking at his own reflection....now, my ex wasn't the best looking and he knew it...he hated that fact...but he still knew it.

I always thought narcissists were like the beautiful people...my mum was beautiful, so she more fit the criteria...but my ex...well, he actually wanted me in the first place, because he thought I was this popular, bubbly kind of girl, and in a way he thought if he was with me that it would rub off on him (well..thats what my therapist, and some of his friends, and others think).

I dunno.

January 24, 2007
1:24 pm
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hi Rev

unfortunately discovered your thread only now. Its late already. Have lots to discuss with you.

I am going to try to cut and paste (from the professionals list) the information that i think would be of value to you.

Low Selfesteem is part and parcel of a N. Some just mask it better. My dad a N also had NO sexdrive. He had my mom waiting for him while he fell asleep watching t.v.

He prevered to masturbate than to have sex. Loving himself in that respect and giving himself pleasure was more inportant.

He could not have sex as this ment he had to be intimate. He was not capable of this unless he had a couple of peinkillers in. To numb himself.

Will talk more when i have time



January 24, 2007
1:31 pm
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Hi Rev

here is the information from Sam's site

Its FLIPPEN long, so please print it out. Hope you find something for yourself in it


"The Narcissism Book of Quotes" was assembled by femfree, a member of the
Suite101 Narcissistic Personality Disorder community

The concept of the Inverted Narcissist was first proposed by Alice Ratzlaff.

---- Original Message -----

Dear Dr. Sam Vaknin,

Please find enclosed a paper which I wrote for a conference about Emotional
and Psychological Abuse held in October 2002 in St. Julians, Malta. You may
circulate it freely as long as my particulars are included.

I wish to thank you for providing me with much of the material which helped
me make sense of my experience with clients in this situation.

I hope we can together be of help.

Mary Ann Borg Cunen , M.A. Counselling Psychology (Baltimore, U.S.A.)


Echo No Longer; The Recovery Process of the Partner of the Person Suffering
from a Narcissistically Impaired Personality.

Mary Ann Borg Cunen, M.A. Counselling Psychology (Baltimore, U.S.A.)

October 2002

In the past few years I have come across an increasing number of persons
suffering from NPD and also an increasing number of individuals whose
partners seem to be narcissistically disordered. Through my practice I have
met clients at the various stages of this process and each stage has its
characteristics as regards both the state of the relationship, and the
emotional state of the partner. I have also followed the correspondence of
an international Internet based support group called "narcissisticabuse"
coordinated by S. Vaknin. Many of the comments I will be using to illustrate
my presentation are taken from there, and from the 'Book of Quotes'
collected by the same author. I will be using the masculine pronoun, as most
Ns are male.

Narcissism is usually described by a list of behaviours most of which
involve the individual himself. Here I will focus more of the way narcissism
interferes with relationships. I believe that there is no better way to
diagnosis a narcissist than to look at his relationships and at how his
Narcissistic Abuse Study List ex partners have been effected by him.

In describing the victims of narcissists Patrick Hurst's has suggested the
diagnosis of EPD, Echo Dependent Personality to describe type of person who
is so good at reflecting and affirming another but is lacking in a solid
sense of self. "Echo has been captivated by the voice of another of which
she is a mere reflection. Echo and Narcissus fit together perfectly; neither
is able to initiate and sustain dialogue".

A characteristic predisposing background of EPD involves individuals being
parented by caretakers who are themselves self-absorbed, narcissistic, or
overly punitive. In the words of Joanna Ashmun : "Narcissists are so much
trouble that only people with prior training (i.e. who were raised by
narcissists) get seriously involved with them." In this kind of environment
the child learns that asserting one's 'true self' will be met with (often
serial) rejection, to which the child responds by substituting 'compliant'
behaviour in place of true selfhood. Such compliant behaviour can then be
witnessed as a stable feature throughout the child's growing-up years, with
other school children, and within the family. These may feel "at home" who
takes control, belittles and is emotionally cut off. (Hurst, 1998).

Types of "Echo"

In the introduction to commentaries about the story from Greek mythology we
find the appropriate warning: "It is important to note that Narcissus had
many lovers, both men and women, so this treatment of Echo is not meant to
be a description of every person who has had a relationship with a
narcissist. Echo can be seen as just one of a myriad of different
personalities who found herself caught within the spell of Narcissus."

Some persons may find themselves drawn to one N after another, perhaps
unable to learn from the experience, or alternatively needing to work
something out intrapersonally through being with an N. Having been parented
by an N. often predisposes an individual to seek this dynamic again with a

S. Vaknin and other theorists assert that many partners are 'inverted Ns'.
people who live out their Narcissism through their chosen N. A famous,
highly visible N or one with undeniable potential may gather a following of
inspiring minor Ns.

A complicated combination, but one often found, is that of an N. in
relationship with person suffering from borderline personality disorder.

(See J. Lachkar's book entitled "the Narcissistic/Borderline Couple; A
Psychoanalytic Perspective on Martial Therapy). With the Ns need for
detachment and distance and the BPD 's need not to feel abandoned this
relationship causes major stress and conflict.

I have also met many altruistic, empathic rescuers in this situation. While
some of these can be seen as suffering from EPD others are well defined
individuals; I believe these get in touch intuitively with N need for love
and self-acceptance, and think they can heal this person if they only love
them enough. The implication of this, of course, is that if he does not
improve it is their fault. So they try even harder.

The need for someone to idealize, admire, look to for guidance is perhaps an
especially. dangerous one. When these persons are let down by their Ns they
may sink into a loss of hope wider than pain of the abusive relationship

However I wish to emphasize very strongly that being in relationship with an
N changes a person (momentarily) and it is easy to become dependent,
insecure and clinging. I recommend that counselors and psychotherapists
withhold diagnosis of a person in this situation unless they knew her before
or until they have seen the "freed" version of the individual. The contrast
is sometimes striking. I have seen spirited, assertive, self-assured young
women fall under this spell.

"I became this dependent, fearful, insecure person about one year into my
relationship with my N. I did not trust my thoughts, my feelings, and my
intuition. I shut off all of these so I could fit in with my N. and become
what he wanted of me. Just a year before I had been this confident,
self-directed, independent woman. None of my friends would ever have
described me as dependent."

I will now describe the seven phases I have observed whilst working with
this type of client and reading the support group contributions.

Phase 1: Flying to the stars

The attraction to the N. is easy to understand. They are often competent,
energetic, persons in positions of responsibility. They put themselves
across as knowledgeable, interesting, and well connected. The N may be
intimidating, mesmerizing, and even larger then life. Or they may be haughty
but quiet. But have many skills which are minor manifestations of their
disorder: An ability to see things in a new way, a freedom of thought;
creativity even, a way of looking at things from a distance.seeing the whole
picture instead of getting lost in the details, or in emotions. Their need
for control has often led them into positions of leadership. This same need
for control makes them question the usual status quo and many are rebels or
freethinkers. But all secretly seek acclaim and recognition.

These are some of the comments made about the relationship with the N. in
the initial stage:

"When I met my N I thought I had just met the most wonderful person ever
born! Nice, kind, talented, intelligent, even caring and concerned.

"In the beginning he was treating me like a Queen. He acts like I am 'the
one', the 'kindred friend' that he's never had before."

" At first the relationship with the N was too good to be true".

At this stage it all looks like a fairy tale come true. Both the N. and the
partner are idealizing the other, as is the case in most new relationships.

They have made each other gods.the answer to all their searching for the
perfect mate.

"My heart was his and I was overwhelmed by loving feelings. He seemed the
same expressing his emotions and feelings and making me feel I belong ever
so much."

Using other people as her "blood bank" or as Sam Vaknin refers to as
"narcissistic supply" (N.S.) requires that the narcissist be a human
emotional radar. He must be psychologically astute and shrewd so that he can
"size up" everyone he encounters for his or her potential to be his
'blood-donor'; the one who provides adoration and admiration in vast,
unconditional amounts. Often this involves making the partner feel that she
has unusual qualities that make her irresistible to the N; e.g. that they
are soul mates, uniquely able to understand and support him. This feeds on
the narcissism of the partner as she wishes to be like the esteemed loved

Cynically using other people also requires that the narcissist be lacking in
empathy. A test suggested by Maria Hsia Chang is to withhold approval and
compliments from the N. She predicts that "You will discover that,
overnight, the narcissist has lost her/his kindness and even simple
civility. Do not be fooled by her simulations at empathy."

More than to lure people into his web, the narcissist's mask also conceals
the false self from scrutiny. Concealment requires secrecy, evasion,
dishonesty, and lying. The main method of concealment used at this stage is
"not saying the whole truth" and evasion of questions about his past.

From my experience this stage will last as long as the uncritical admiration
on the part of the partner continues. However others (e.g. J. A. Ashmun,
1998) have commented that to bring this stage to an end, it is enough for
the victim to become devoted to the N and to declare her love. This will
make the N. feel he can now drop energy draining pretences." And if you
object to being treated like an appliance then they will say that obviously
you don't really love them or else you'd let them do whatever they want with

Two years after a partner wrote of her experience:

"It is clear to me [now] how I had been the one to offer unconditionally all
that he needed to fuel his false self!!

Phase 2

Becoming a Satellite

The next stage is a bewildering one. The N seems to absorb their partner
into their intrapsychic world. Some partners find themselves practically
mesmerized by the N. The Ns are mirror hungry and they cause the other to be
their idealizing mirror. The focus on himself that the N. forces is very
seductive. She fades into the background. She is only there to help the N.
to express himself, to admire him, and to support him.

One of the features of this world is indifference to social norms.

Being grandiose and superior, the narcissist refuses to subscribe to
society's moral rules and ethical standards. Instead, morality is
subjective: "Nobody can judge me." ; another characteristic of modern
western society.

"They think they are untouchable, inhabitants of a special world, one
parallel to ours but never touching. Outlandish behaviour is the N's
hallmark. They can draw other unsuspecting, and usually respectable, people
into their criminal or pseudo-criminal activities."

The partner of Ns. find themselves also adapting their lifestyle to the
wishes of the N. Many loose contact with friends. Friends may see through
the N. more clearly from a distance and warn the partner.to no avail).

Lost in a cloud

The partner is in fact losing contact with herself. But she does not realize
this yet. In the words of an ex-victim:

"The asymmetry is visible only when you're out though ... my experience
whilst in the 'fog' was of something weird but boundary-less, maybe even a
bit mystical. What an illusion! The illusion of mutuality, I call it!!"

My guess is that there are some types of personality that do not allow this
to happen and they move away from the relationship at this stage.with only a
sense of having met a weird guy, but others remain seduced, trapped in the

The next point is made by a support group member reply to another:

"What you are saying here is SO important -- how your energy became enmeshed
with his until you could not tell whose feelings you were feeling, his or
yours. I used to work on this same thing every single day, but it made me
feel like I was insane. After all, do "normal" people not know whose
feelings they're feeling?? Once or twice, I tried to explain it to my sister
or to a friend, but when you say it out loud, they look at you like they
haven't a clue what you're talking about and you have just maybe gone off
the deep end! I don't think I've ever gotten enmeshed like this before in
any other relationship, to the point where I didn't know where I ended and
the other person began, have you? I think you're right. A lot of the misery
and unhappiness and guilt I felt were the N's projections onto me. What
amazes me is how totally open and receptive I was to that. I was like a
sponge. I just sucked it right up and thought it was ME. Or was it me?"

The blurring of personal boundaries that happens to a certain extent in all
relationships happens here in a lop-sided manner with partner of the N.
identifying too fully with the Ns world.

"Ns install a mental filter in our heads a little bit at a time. Before we
know it, everything we do, say, or think, goes through this filter. 'Will he
get upset if I do/say/think this? Will he approve/disapprove? Will he feel
hurt by this?' Until we can uninstall the N-filter, our actions are
controlled by N to some degree."

"It was the losing of myself that caused me the most anguish. I could feel
it, like a brain washing, like a vampire, and he claimed he didn't know
anything was wrong, didn't know what I meant when I said I was sad all the
time and couldn't trust a word he said."

Some partners of Ns. sense the hidden vulnerability of the N. and wish to
heal the wound that they intuit. This again is very seductive for some and
is one of the main reasons for the difficulty in getting free from the

"I know "now" helping them the best I can is a big part of my life mission.
They are like autistic children. They stare at you blankly, don't appear to
understand emotions, have conversations that make no sense, and are

"The point is, I was getting sick and mad, was losing weight and
concentration at work. I'm the typical co-dependent, I know. and I really
thought the power of love would help."

One manifestation of this inability to accept themselves is an inability to
talk openly about themselves. As S.Vaknin observed one can discuss all the
aspects of the intimate life of a narcissist, "providing the discourse is
not 'emotionally tinted'. If asked to relate directly to his emotions, he
will, probably, intellectualize, rationalize, speak about himself in the
third person and in a detached "scientific" tone or write a short story with
a fictitious character in it, suspiciously autobiographical." It is
notoriously difficult to get the N to talk about his painful past
experiences, as long as the N does not sense that if he does it will
increase his N.S. This can be understood by a sensitive, responsive partner
as an invitation to coax the N. to befriend himself more and be more "in
touch" with himself. She may see herself as uniquely capable of this. Thus
the web is wrapped ever more tightly.

The combination of the previous two points leads to the next one: made by a
wise support group member:

"I also think a good portion of your feeling wounded might possibly really
belong to him, meaning you are feeling his woundedness, not to say that
"you" aren't wounded too, For myself, what I have experienced is a sense of
dooming that my ex dumped on me, in a sense I was feeling his longing and
neediness more then my own for a long time. I went through a time where I
was so confused about what I was feeling period, his stuff or mine. It's
taken time and learning to calm down with in myself. I took on his

This phenomenon is what we sometimes refer to as projective identification.

" One partner wants to get rid of or destroy in the other, what the one
partner does not like in the self and sees in the other" Lochkar, 1991) e.g.
dependency needs. The N does not know himself, and knows his weaknesses even
less. Instead of the insecurities of normal human beings, the narcissist
exhibits an impassive and uncritical acceptance of himself. And projects
much of his real self onto his partner. The partner is receptive.for
whatever reason.

"It's like the N's are vampires, feeding off our souls. They cannot
acknowledge that they are wrong just as a vampire cannot face the sunlight.
It would destroy them."

"One thing I do have to remind myself of all the time is this. They are
always looking for who they are in someone else."

Phase 3: Confusion Reigns;

Riding the Roller Coaster


From my experience many of the victims of Ns are decent, trusting, caring
individuals.who are perhaps a little naive about the worse sides of human
nature. They are in for a shock when they try talking thing over openly with
an N:

From the support group:

"I believed that if truthful words are spoken, written, shared, they will be
heard, and they will be answered. Not with a narcissist. You get
sucker-punched in trying to explain something. There is no response to what
is said. Words are deflected, twisted, questions answered with questions,
non sequitors abound."

"Some Ns like to be MYSTERIOUS because it keeps them in control while you're
dancing to FIGURE them out."

Trying to engage a narcissist in serious dialogue is a disconcerting
experience because nothing he says makes sense. The N. will often talk in
cryptic and confusing messages in order to remain vague and ambiguous. The
latest: e.g. of this I heard is of a N. telling his latest victim who has
just confessed her love for him "I cannot be in love but I love" and he
would not explain further. "The inability or unwillingness to be
introspective, in turn, results in cognitive dissonance, cognitive gaps, and
non sequiturs." (S. Vaknin).

Sudden shifts between sadism and altruism, abuse and 'love', ignoring and
caring, abandoning and clinging, viciousness and remorse, the harsh and the
tender produce in people around the narcissist emotional insecurity, an
eroded sense of self worth, fear, stress, and anxiety , the feeling of
'walking on eggshells' (S.Vaknin).

A male support group member replies to another:

"That's exactly how it was! Vagueness, lack of commitment, rejection, hope,
abandonment --- a crazy, uncertain roller coaster ride. I never knew where I
stood, but when I was so rude as to ASK, I got only disgust and anger and
blame. I was supposed to be some kind of perfect smiling plastic person who
had no needs and made no demands. It wore me down so much. I kept trying,
though --- trying to be perfect and sweet and uncomplaining, even when hurt
and dumped and blamed. Isn't it right and normal and even healthy of me to
want to shake her and scream at her and demand that she SEE what she has put
me through."

On the other hand:

"When I don't go back and "oblige" everything is O.K."

"I went back to him a dozen times, each time somehow thinking it was
different, that maybe now that we had addressed all the issues and brought
everything into the open, and he admitted he had treated me badly. it would
change. And it WOULD go back to (almost) how it had been, but each time that
honeymoon period would last a shorter and shorter amount of time. It
absolutely wrecked me - my self esteem has never been lower than during my
years with him."


The relationship is changing. The leopard is starting to show his spots.

Nothing is equal in the relationship. He expects the partner to submit. It
becomes slowly obvious that he cannot conceive of a "we". He gets very
annoyed , even rageful at a lot of things the partner does or thinks. This
he would vigorously deny if asked...to the great confusion of the partner. A
very controlling aspect is starting to emerge, but again the N. is unaware
of it and talks of himself in a way that portrays a very different person.

"It wasn't until a few months had passed that I began to feel something wasn
't right and I was confused. I felt like I was on the verge of a nervous
breakdown but couldn't put my finger on the problem (because I thought it
was me) until I came here'.

"My life depends on how he is feeling, if he is in a good or bad mood. I am
in constant fear."

"Judgmental behaviour began to appear all too soon though and with hindsight
it should have been clear that my partner was not ready to accept views that
were different from his own even on minor matters. A clear controlling
aspect began to emerge".

"If it makes him feel better about himself to belittle you, he will do that,
but the ultimate goal isn't to make you feel bad, the goal is perpetuate the
myth of his own perfection and simultaneously control you. If by hurting you
it gets you in check, makes you take on his failings as your own, and make
you work twice as hard for his approval, it's a bonus for him. If he doesn't
need to employ cruelty in order to accomplish either of the above goals, he
won't. It's that simple."


The N often picks victims who have to keep the relationship secret because,
for example, it is an extra-martial relationship. This provides them with a
double advantage. They will not have to commit.thus they will avoid being
controlled in that way, and secondly they will have more power in the
relationship. A person having an extra-marital relationship or a
relationship with someone who is not available e.g. a catholic priest, is
very vulnerable. She cannot speak out about the abuse she is experiencing.

She cannot get advice and an outside perspective on the relationship from
her friends and family. She has to look happy and "normal all the time at
home causing her great psychological stress. And her isolation means only
the Ns. Influence will prevail.

"N's count on our shame to keep their secrets. They know that exposing them
means exposing our own failings. That's what makes them so powerful. They
manipulate us into these situations then sit back and watch us squirm
between protecting ourselves or blowing the whistle."

Issues of Fidelity

One thing that often jolts the P into facing the situation is the discovery
of repeated infidelity.

"He would tell women he loved them all at the same time, keeping each woman
separate from the others."

"He will have a new female N supplier ASAP and you can bet he'll be parading
her in front of you too."

Narcissist's sexual infidelity is notorious. Flirting and using their sexual
attractiveness is a wonderful way of getting what they need most.admiration
and devotion. And a secondary gain will be putting the present partner in
her place.

It is not because they value sex that much. In fact many can go without sex
for months or even years without problems. They also can tease and frustrate
their partners with this aspect of a relationship. Often they withhold
sexually and relationally as a way of asserting their power and inflict

Hated and Envy

Theorists say that Ns harbor a hated for women which is only thinly veiled.

They also become envious and destructive of anything good that another has.

So if their partner is feeling secure and satisfied he will feel compelled
to change that. His affairs may be secret and he will deny their existence
very convincingly.but he'll make sure you find out about them.

"Yes I told him exactly what I think of him, his lies, his deceit, his lack
of emotions, he is just an image not a real person . and I realize that not
only did this not bother him, it actually made him feel great! He knows that
he has a dramatic impact on my feelings and since he won't let me love him
anymore, now he makes me hate him. This must really make him feel like he's
one damn special and unforgettable person!"

N. prefer to be notorious then to be ignored and hated..If they have many
enemies, if they are feared and avoided, they take a preserve pleasure in
this. Besides they can tell themselves that no one can understand them as no
one can reach their level, thus taking pride in being different and

"Only the most discerning individuals can know my worth and value."

By this time the partner of the N. has noticed that something is amiss in
the relationship! But nothing is clear.

Phase 4: Hitting the dust-the change in the narcissist is too obvious to
take all the blame for

If she expresses this as a complaint, a request for something different or
especially as a criticism she is in for trouble. This will probably set off
the Ns's worst self. He will suddenly feel exposed.seen for who he really
feels he is deep with in himself. It may provoke the deflation of the
grandiosity.or set off efforts at warding off the threat of a more accurate
view of the self. Whichever way it goes he will devalue the partner and
start treating her like an enemy.

"He was mad at "me" for wanting something I had every right to want from him
considering the time factor of our relationship and the closeness he led me
onto. I was the bad person because I was scared to death about my future
since he wasn't giving me anything to really hang onto that I could trust.
And he hated me for laying the rope down on the line about commitment, no
matter how many times I pleaded and tried to explain to him that I needed to
have a future too."

"The most you can do is just accept that they blame you for things. It's one
of the easiest things N's do, "blame". You're going to have to know that you
are NOT to blame!"

The N. when he "changes" does so often suddenly and dramatically. In the
words of a client: ".

"From being totally in love with me one day this person could just drop me
the next, belittle me and put all blame on me over one episode where I
disagreed with a decision (which involved both of us), he took on his own

"I suddenly realized that I wasn't as stupid as I had grown to believe."

From the point of view of the N. his sense of pride or integrity has been
wounded. This N. rage is a response to personal injury, a statement like
"Here I've tried so hard and you make me look like a fool! You never
appreciate all the things that I have done for you." At this moment they are
expelled from their womb of self love and plunged into a free fall of
destructive and uncontrollable impulses, awash in long repressed insecurity.

They quickly recover however, defenses coming to the rescue, helped along by
their next N.S.

Narcissists are likely to treat people inconsistently because they are
susceptible to "splitting", or projecting everything good on some people and
everything bad on others. In other words, narcissists "divide the world into
famous, rich, worthy and great people on the one hand, and the despicable,
worthless 'mediocrity' on the other. They quickly pass a person from the
"in" category to the " out" one, this especially in intimate relationships.

The false self must be impervious, which requires the narcissist to resist
self-examination and introspection. Doing so would open the narcissist to
reality-based assessment--a dangerous undertaking because the false self is,
by definition, unreal. As a consequence, instead of the insecurities of
normal human beings, the narcissist exhibits an impassive and uncritical
acceptance of himself.

The maintenance and protection of the false self also requires constant
vigilance against attack. This is why the narcissist overreacts with rage
and humiliation to any perceived criticism, no matter how minor or justified

(S. Vaknin)

Taking the blame

"And finding fault constantly, excessively and yes, making me out to be the
one with the unforgivable faults and the one who isn't normal. All my
efforts to do things properly were in vain."

This feeling that as a partner we have done something unforgivable is very
common. Many partners of Ns. at this stage would do anything to return to
how they were. They will take the blame for anything and everything.if only
the N would love them as he did in the beginning. There is no way out of the
narcissistic catch: the narcissist despises, in equal measures, the
submissive and the independent, the strong (who constitute a threat) and the
weak (who are, by definition, despicable). No one will measure up to his
standards .and if they do they would threaten him. Ns seem to prefer those
inferior to him.to make his self-aggrandizement easier, but then he despises
her as she puts him in a bad light."this is the only partner that you can
attract," says an unconscious nagging doubt. If she is his equal he will try
and destroy her even faster, to show his superiority.

"As I got to know him, the uneasiness shifted to a feeling of walking on
eggshells since I never knew what action or word I might do would trip over
one of his innumerable emotional landmines."

Trust betrayed

"I can recall so vividly his change, like a blade cutting sharply through
me, like meeting another self!!!"

It often comes as a shock, a trauma the realization that the one the partner
loved so much can be so feelingless, so cruel, so detached. It may become
obvious that he does not consider the partner at all when important
decision-making is concerned. And he does not seem to understand why that
bothers her. He may suddenly disappear from her life.one of the most
powerfully painful experience ever. It is a though he has exclaims as in the
myth; ""Hands Off!" Embrace me not! May I die before I give you power o'er

"And then I feel there is a time of confusion, maybe for me that was the
beginning of breaking the illusory shell, and then the space of
non-understanding, of not being able to make it."

"I suddenly realized that I wasn't as stupid as I had grown to believe."


The realization that the relationship is over because the N has devalued the
partner is often experienced as a trauma. Partners often remark that this
final realization came suddenly and as a consequence the partner of the N
has many symptoms of PTSD including sleepless nights, flash backs, startle
reflexes, and uncontrollable crying fits. These symptoms may last for

"The brutal change in him was all the more shocking because of what he had
appeared to be. The devaluation was indescribable, unnerving, frightening.

His N rages used to burst forth several times a day. I found I was married
to a total stranger, a Jekyll and Hyde who sometimes looked at me as if he
didn't even know me. Exhausting is an understatement - it was like clinging
to the edge of a cliff 24 hours a day."

Difficulty in explaining what happened

One painful fact is that when the experience is shared with friends or
sometimes-even counsellors, it is difficult to communicate what has
happened. The confusion that the P experiences make it difficult to recount
things clearly. The P. is still emotionally connected to the N, thus
protecting him and accusing him alternatively. Many Ps will not name their
Ns. to counsellors or other helpers, thus protecting their identity. The
hook, which the N has implanted in their heart, is hard to remove.

Also the break up is more painful then an ordinary one. Friends may find
this difficult to understand. There is something devastating about the
aftermaths of a relationship with an N.

Phase 5: Breaking the Spell: Run Trying Not to Look Back

Feeling the power he still has over her some Ns. will keep on pursuing their
partner after she has left him, as illustrated below. He may feel she still
has a soft spot for him and that she will take him back. He exploits this,
maybe to exercise his power. Maybe he also misses the early moments of
"Flying to the Stars" and hopes his ex will again provide that magic mirror.

or the reasons may be more utilitarian e.g. a place to stay. Whatever the
reason the effect is an increased confusion and ambivalence in the ex
partner. The personal boundaries of the partner were often not strong before
the relationship started...and are weaker still after some years of
self-confidence erosion.

"I stayed far away from him. But he would not leave me alone. I was
extremely violated by this person and it took 7 years of intensive therapy
to overcome the injuries I suffered because of him."

"It's a very good thing to be scared sometimes, especially when tempted to
N-dip. It's not only our emotional well being at stake here. It can be our
physical (health included) safety as well."

"My self esteem has never been lower than during my years with him".

The greatest temptation at this stage is to give him another chance. I have
met partners of N who are cyclically hoping that he will see the light and
change his ways. The power of their early experience with the N, when he was
warm, perceptive, caring and protective prove to be a powerful hook; one
that is very difficult to remove from one's heart.

"He was so convincing in his gentle, opened sensitive "mode". I still can't
quite believe that that is not the real him, not the devil I have met in the
later years. He seemed so sincere, so genuine.like a hurt but hopeful pure
being. I cannot give up hope.."

When 'Trying' is not successful

Others, for whatever reason, choose not to leave the relationship but
continue to struggle within it. I received this feedback from a close friend
in this situation when I was drafting this paper:

"Struggling to break the spell" This has certainly been my experience:
struggling to not only see the reality of my husband (which I do only too
well) but also, I guess, I have struggled to make him see himself as I see
him- which is not something that has helped the relationship of course!"

A question which keeps on coming up both in the support group and from my
clients is: "If I tell him that he has a disorder will he accept it, will he
change, go to therapy, work to change the way he relates to me". The sad
answer is that Ns will not recognize themselves and will deny what you show
them about themselves. They will, most likely, make the partner think that
there is something wrong in her, that her perception has been distorted,
that she, moreover, has betrayed their unique understanding.

Phase 6: Picking up the Pieces: Trying to make Sense of the Experience and
Coping with the Loss and Anger

Making sense is pretty complicated emotionally but can be summarized in one
sentence rationally: In the words of an experienced partner:

"NPD is actually quite simple. When they want supply (adoration/veneration)
they put on the whole show to obtain that supply. As the supply wanes,
because no one can sustain all the time that high-octane adoration the N
requires, then the N begins to get uneasy and devaluation sets in, followed
by confusion and bewilderment on the part of the spouse/partner, who thinks
s/he has done everything 'right'."

"The key for you is to learn as much as you can as fast as you can, and
protect yourself financially and emotionally. Not too many people survive
the devastation of a tornado. The N will not change, you must absolutely
keep this before your mind."

"I know it is hard for you right now.... But, with this time you can
concentrate on getting back to You! Focus on all your good points, you inner
strength and beauty. It will come back. I think it's something we all are
struggling with, trying to figure out just who we really are. It's our inner
light that keeps us strong."

"It is excruciating pain. It is the pain of separation, the pain of loss,
the pain of dreams and expectations unrealized. It is the loss and death of
a mirage."

Anger at what is finally Named as Abuse

At last the anger can be released...as the hope of getting back the "Garden
of Eden" days fades. With distance the Ns games and manipulative ways can be
seen more clearly.

"Maybe it is bad for me to wish her unfortunate times, but that is what she
deserves I have never met anyone more evil than she is. It's the kind of
evil that masquerades as good. I swear I met the devil."

"If you want something to cry about, cry for the N's new victim(s), the
innocent, unmarked, un-inoculated prey. The victims are carefully chosen,
and I feel sad for them."

"About every three months I'd hear about some treachery he was inflicting on
someone, somewhere. This helps remind me NEVER to go back"

The key, as in all break ups, is to avoid contact. This physical distance is
especially important in break-ups with an N as psychological distance and
freedom is very difficult to achieve.

It's important not to blame yourself but get on with detaching both
physically and mentally. Not easy and not pleasant."

Anger towards herself

Anger is not only felt towards the N but perhaps felt in equal measures
towards one's self. The partner sees herself as an idiot for having fallen
for the N, and for not having seen through him earlier. She is angry and
disappointed with herself for having done things, even become a person, who
she did not want to become.though the N's influence. She experiences a great
loss of self, a loss of boundaries, and a loss of self-trust. The re-finding
of herself has to begin.

"And when the crack is too big to keep holding with an elastoplast stick,
then came the shame and humiliation for the victim (me!) and then the
self-addressed anger- how stupid could I have been to trust!!"


Exhausted by years of self-doubt, emotion abuse, confusion and perhaps
indecision the partner sees herself as a fool. She sees the ways that she
has denied reality to herself; the ways she has ignored her 'inner small
voice of wisdom' and allowed herself to be taken over by a sick person, and
the self-blame can precipitate her into depression.

"I am worried that I am the kind of person who will always end up in a
relationship like the one I had with Peter. I gravitate towards that type of
person, I can see it now...all the men who attract me were Ns. I feel
powerless to do anything about it."

When the anger cannot be expressed, as is often the case in this type of
situation, the energy attached to the experience remains locked up and can
become self destructive.

Phase 7: Moving on, without closure

To come back to the ever-seductive pull of the N, the partner finds she has
to do all the work of putting an end to the relationship herself. The N will
always want to keep it open-ended, to keep his hold on the partner.

"When you try to break off, then, it's like they have a way of keeping you
locked in their gaze. In fact, I think the image of the gaze is appropriate.
You're locked and you cannot be freed. And when you force yourself to look
away, for a time, until the hope ends, it's like you know you're somehow
still present in that gaze, that somehow you still are obsessed with him,
and it is only when you can break it off, sharply, that you can be free. But
he will keep looking!!!"

"I am ready to move on, but some things are proving harder for me to cope
with than others. One thing is knowing that N has always blamed me, is
blaming me now, and will continue to blame me silently, from a distance,
even if I never see her again, for EVERYTHING that ever happened. This
haunts me. I want to find her, shake her, make her realize and admit that
she DID do some destructive things that made our relationship impossible,
and she IS responsible for doing those things. Everything was not my fault!"

"Closure is something that is foreign to us here (in the support group); I
doubt that any of us really feel that there was ever true closure when
dealing with our N's. This wish for closure just keeps this person in your

"I feel like I have extricated myself from a cult."

The support of friends and especially sharing with people who have
experienced the same thing that allows the partner to keep a sense of sanity
and of hope. This is why I refer all my client to support groups.either the
on-line variety or face-to-face versions. The dynamics of this type of
relationship are unique and to see another pass through what you have lived
is a uniquely liberating experience.

There is uniquely strong sense, after a partner has detached herself from
the N., of having met evil personified. Scott Peck in his book "The People
of the Lie" also talked of some types of narcissism as being an expression
of evil. I think that this is because the N. first portrays himself in such
a good light.and then reveals himself as being someone so damaging and
ruthless that we get the sense of our goodness, and belief in goodness being
threatened to the core.. thus the sense of 'evil being made visible'. Also I
believe, the lack of empathy of the N. so injures our social bonds that the
N. is by nature an outcast and an aberration.


For some this experience of having been "taken over" by a N. can lead to a
self-questioning which in turn can lead to deeper self-knowledge and
understanding. The ex-partner of the N can start the process of
re-integrated the part of herself that she disowned, and needed the N. to
express for her. This could be the more dynamic, more confident part. Or the
part that wants to be seen and recognized. The possibilities are many. But
through this experience she can re-integrate "shadow" aspects of her
personality. She may realize that she is drawn to an N. because it is a
familiar role.one which she adopted as a child with her father or mother.

She may want to learn how to put better boundaries so that con men can no
longer impress her and invade her world. This work cannot be done till all
the above phases have been worked through and she can take a certain
distance from the trauma.

"I didn't honour my intuition, gut feelings and instinct. The truth is that
I had almost no experience setting healthy boundaries."

"Remember, the trip through the pain will bring the emergence of a stronger
you who will have acquired a self-awareness you never dreamed possible!!!

"Through my self-education I've experienced opposite ends of emotion. On one
hand it's been enlightening, cleansing, joyous, and uplifting. On the other
hand it's been revolting, heart-achingly painful, gut-wrenchingly toxic, and
horribly embarrassing."

Tasting a different kind of relationship

The overwhelming relief felt when a partner of an N enters into a different
type of relationship is in striking contrast. It may not be so exciting, the
non-N may not take his partner to the stars.but what a relief to be able to
be yourself, not be constantly on guard, unafraid of doing something wrong.

Gone are the fears of being unworthy of the great man, doing something
unknowingly that will earn you months of detached disdain.. and will leave
you feeling worse then shit.

Alternatively the partner may remain crushed and shattered by her experience
with the N. She may have lost her self-esteem to such an extent that she
becomes self destructive through relationships or otherwise. Or she may fear
all relationships fearing that all men are wolves in sheep's clothing. A
person who has been a victim for many years will have, in all probability,
lost all sense of herself and be simply a bitter extension of the N.


The intervention one makes as a therapist is always influenced by the
readiness or psychological state of the client. This is perhaps especially
true in this type of situation. If the client is in phase 1 or 2 nothing
will be clear enough, in the client's mind, to communicate to the therapist
that the person she is taking about is an N.

In stage 3 on the awareness might be greater but very mixed. The client is
likely to go from thinking something about the way he interacts with me is
unacceptable..."to I have to find a way to get back into his good books.he
is right I should not have asked where he is going that night three months

I have found that giving the partner a very tentative indication that she
may be in relationship with someone who has personality difficulties opens a
door. At times I give the client (those in the middle stages of such a
relationship) a handout that describes the feelings and experiences of the
partner of an N. I ask her to check if she can identify with any. If she
does I may give her the address of the support group so she can further
compare her experiences with those of the members there. Whether or not she
does it is often a matter of accompanying and supporting the process. This
often includes witnessing the partner's return to the relationship with the
N. These clients need to be sure that what they saw at the beginning (the
prefect partner) is no longer there.and be sure they cannot somehow make
that state re-happen. A lot of the rest is helping rebuild the
self-confidence and self-respect of the individual . and later to understand
why this attraction took place. This involves rebuilding appropriate
boundaries and recognizing, and resisting the inner temptation to give over
control of one's world to a narcissist

As a psychiatrist was once heard saying " Ns. are the bread and butter of
the therapeutic enterprise, not because they so often seek professional
help-they are too impressed with themselves to ever think they have a
problem-but because they drive so many people around them crazy.

January 24, 2007
1:47 pm
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Just one more thing before i go. Grandiosity you asked about it. Here is information for you. From Sam's site as usual

"Narcissists are either cerebral or somatic. In other words, they either generate their Narcissistic Supply by applying their bodies or by applying their minds.

The somatic narcissist flaunts his sexual conquests, parades his possessions, exhibits his muscles, brags about his physical aesthetics or sexual prowess or exploits, is often a health freak and a hypochondriac. The cerebral narcissist is a know-it-all, haughty and intelligent "computer". He uses his awesome intellect, or knowledge (real or pretended) to secure adoration, adulation and admiration. To him, his body and its maintenance are a burden and a distraction.

Both types are auto-erotic (psychosexually in love with themselves, with their bodies and with their brain). Both types prefer masturbation to adult, mature, interactive, multi-dimensional and emotion-laden sex.

The cerebral narcissist is often celibate (even when he has a girlfriend or a spouse). He prefers pornography and sexual auto-stimulation to the real thing. The cerebral narcissist is sometimes a latent (hidden, not yet outed) homosexual.

The somatic narcissist uses other people's bodies to masturbate. Sex with him - pyrotechnics and acrobatics aside - is likely to be an impersonal and emotionally alienating and draining experience. The partner is often treated as an object, an extension of the somatic narcissist, a toy, a warm and pulsating vibrator.

It is a mistake to assume type-constancy. In other words, all narcissists are BOTH cerebral and somatic. In each narcissist, one of the types is dominant. So, the narcissist is either OVERWHELMINGLY cerebral - or DOMINANTLY somatic. But the other type, the recessive (manifested less frequently) type, is there. It is lurking, waiting to erupt.

The narcissist swings between his dominant type and his recessive type. The latter is expressed mainly as a result of a major narcissistic injury or life crisis.

I can give you hundreds of examples from my correspondence but, instead, let's talk about me (of course...:o))

(continued below)

January 24, 2007
3:51 pm
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what is grandoisity mean?

January 25, 2007
5:54 am
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Garfield....I'm printing it out.

It could almost be the story of my relationship...the whole thing. Was it the same for you?

If I thought that there were like lots and lots of people out there who believed that what is written above is basically word for word their last relationship, then...then...I don't know, I suppose I'd have to admit that there is something in all of this NPD.

The only thing that doesn't add up is the description of somatic and cerbral, the ex doesn't fit any of those.

He isn't succesful in life and was never popular with women. He's not very good looking, although he looks after himself and keeps himself clean, his teeth are rotten and he's just not that good-looking.

The sex thing is definitly spot on, he prefers porn to sex and there is no intamacy when having sex its all about showing off his technique.

He's not successful in life, he's a musician, but at 36 has never made it big, he's been in a few wedding bands, but can't ever stick in one band as his need to control causes rows and animosity and he usually gets kicked out.

But everything else....that bit about stuff he said not making sense, and how hard it is to explain that to other people...that was one of the first things that I noticed...and the vagueness about talking about feelings...and well everything...al the stuff about friends, and the whole pattern of being on a pedestel one minute and then being devalued...just all of it...it just fits.

And, you know, I spent a sleepless night last night...I have get an anxiety attack everytime I think of this girl he's seeing now...I really really more than anything else would hate to see anyone else going through what I did...I don't even know this girl, but she looks as if she could be quite needy...she had that fearful look about her...fragile...I am afraid for her but there is nothing I can do.


January 26, 2007
2:29 pm
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You said it could almost be the story of your relationship..

Well I guess that its the same with most of us. We need information to understand ourselves and to understand why we got involved with the person we are with or a ex.

This is the essence. What we see as 'normal' is NOT 'normal'

We only realise this when we are out of the relationship.

Only you will know if your ex has N traits by reading the information.

You said he is not interested in sex and there is no intimacy. This is were you get used as an object. He could not be intimate thats why he chose porn. When watching porn you do not need to expose yourself to another human being.

Its you and only you. Satifying yourself without having to expose yourself emotionally.

You said sex to him was all about showing off his techniques. So he likes to show off. This is a N trait. It doesn't mean he needs to stand infront of a mirror to show of.

You also mentioned him being on a pedestal the one minute and then being devalued. This is very narcissistic Rev.

Can you see how on a suttle way he puts himself on a pedestal infront of others and then devalues? N

You also said you spend a sleepless night last night having anxiety attacks thinking of the girl his with now. You feel sorry for her.

I think seeing this girl is a reflection of yourself. You can see your own neediness as how you used to be at the beginning of this relationship. I meen Rev, you do not even know her.

Now with all your new found wisdom and the way you have matured you can see that she is just the prey for him. He is going to use her and she is going to have a relationship from hell with him.

You said you are affraid for her but there is nothing you can do...

I think you are affraid for yourself. The old tapes of abandoning playing over in your mind. The thoughts of if she is happy with him then something is wrong with me. just a thought here.

What is the reality?

The reality is that you have grown emotionally. That you have taken the first steps in the right direction to heal yourself of a abusive relationship. This is real.



January 26, 2007
3:05 pm
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I am going to respond to your first thread.

You said that you started to read Sam work years ago after having problems with your mum. You said your ex and your mum have some traits.

This is what happens. We grow up with parents that themselves are wounded. We except there behaviour as 'normal' and go on in life to marry or get involved with a person that resemblance them emotionally.

You said your mother fit the bill for NPD, including the grandiosity. She changed after her sister died.

This can happen Rev. Its like a BIG reality check on yourself. She was there for you when you miscarried and it must of been wonderful to have the feeling of a mother's surport.

I need to ask or show you to something you said.

you said

"They had been very close, so so close, but when she died, my mum hadn't spoken to her in years"

Read what you said here. Was your mother really close to her sister?

Look at what is the reality. This is a tipical excample of ambibalent emotions.

You said that you all took your dad's side when they started to have problems. What do you mean here? Please explain a little bit more if you can.

Then your eyes opened to what your dad was and that he was cold towards your mom. That she was no longer the love of his life. That must of had a great impact on her. Can you see the relationship between your feelings now and that of your mom then?


You said

"To see this man who was so useless at affection all through their courtship being so.... it made her bitter"

These could of been your words describing your ex. Do you agree?

You spoke of some day last year when you nearly committed suicide.

You were in the throes of a nervous breakdown. I think you went to your parents for emotional surport.

They shouted and scolded at you and you justified this behaviour. That why when in a relationship with somebody that shouts at you, you will also justify it.

This is what you will see as love. This is not love Rev. This is called immature behaviour. Sorry to be so frank here.

They shouted at you

"What do you want us to DO"

This could of been the reaction of a 5 year old, but definately not that of parents.
You wanted them to listen. Something they are not capable of. You needed to nearly end your life. Screaming out to them that you need support from them.

Seems like your mom has changed and I just hope you do not just justify her to feel better about yourself. I did this for years Rev.



January 26, 2007
3:17 pm
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I need to respond when I have time. So here is my last thread.

In one reply you said

but my ex...well, he actually wanted me in the first place, because he thought I was this popular, bubbly kind of girl, and in a way he thought if he was with me that it would rub off on him (well..thats what my therapist, and some of his friends, and others think). "


Will post you information on this


January 26, 2007
3:22 pm
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Here is the information.

Sam's site

I. Compensatory Stability ("Classic") Narcissists

These narcissists isolate one or more (but never most) aspects of their lives and "make these aspect/s stable". They do not really invest themselves in it. The stability is maintained by artificial means: money, celebrity, power, fear. A typical example is a narcissist who changes numerous workplaces, a few careers, a myriad of hobbies, value systems or faiths. At the same time, he maintains (preserves) a relationship with a single woman (and even remains faithful to her). She is his "island of stability". To fulfil this role, she just needs to be there physically.

The narcissist is dependent upon "his" woman to maintain the stability lacking in all other areas of his life (=to compensate for his instability). Yet, emotional closeness is bound to threaten the narcissist. Thus, he is likely to distance himself from her and to remain detached and indifferent to most of her needs. Despite this cruel emotional treatment, the narcissist considers her to be a point of exit, a form of sustenance, a fountain of empowerment. This mismatch between what he wishes to receive and what he is able to give, the narcissist prefers to deny, repress and bury deep in his unconscious. This is why he is always shocked and devastated to learn of his wife's estrangement, infidelity, or divorce intentions. Possessed of no emotional depth, being completely one track minded – he cannot fathom the needs of others. In other words, he cannot empathise.

January 26, 2007
4:58 pm
this is off....be on this forum for years....not just since last year..we can email each other Now? that Nappy is long gone....
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Thanks Garfield and Revelation for the reminder and I have used your print- out for afreshing up course...I am living proof that a classic N is capable of all these things...I fit to a T here..I was his co-dependant..Thanks again.horsefly

January 26, 2007
8:33 pm
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Garfield, How are you doing? I know you understand this Narcissist .I know you have lived it ..I would love to hear from you,, I am sure you have some experience,strenght, and hope .. When you get time I am here...horsefly

January 26, 2007
8:53 pm
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Ya gotta remember--a lot of Sam's material is just stuff that he made up.

I think once you have identified an Abusive Relationship you really needn't bother with any kind of psychiatric. "diagnosis."

The most important diagnosis would be:

"Diagnosis: Abuser."

January 26, 2007
9:23 pm
this is off....be on this forum for years....not just since last year..we can email each other Now? that Nappy is long gone....
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Worried Dad, that is sotrue ,but it is really freaky when I think about everything it hits to close to my home here. I bo belieive I am a clasic example of a N.- now versus Co type. And I just said today to my people here I am staying with." It doesn't matter what he is he is a abuser'" thank you Worried Dad,,,,The world needs more people like you...horsefly

January 26, 2007
11:26 pm
this is off....be on this forum for years....not just since last year..we can email each other Now? that Nappy is long gone....
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Worried Dad, I have read everything this Sam V. has too offer. I feel like he is correct, maybe just too correct( He opened my eyes)...therefore I don't have anymore time to waste. An abuser is an an abuser, that's all that matters . Thanks ,horsefly

January 26, 2007
11:57 pm
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Hi Rev and Garfield: I've been reading along and gaining so much from what you've written.

We've chatted before about our N Mothers and this is still good for me to read. My Mom died in Sept and I never got to ask her why she was always so mean to me, why she hated me. But I have come to think that she was Codependent also- I think she resented the fact she had been adopted and felt abandoned in a sense, and as a result took it out on my family. the result of that is that *I* felt abandoned, never having a loving nurturing mother, and the cycle continued.

After she died, I learned that she sold family heirlooms last year, because she didn't want my sister or myself to ever have them. So even after she has died, she is still taking stabs at me. But now I understand it, and it doesn't hurt AS MUCH as it used to. But it still smarts.

Thanks, you guys, for the discussion.


January 27, 2007
1:01 am
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"I am living proof that a classic N is capable of all these things...I fit to a T here..I was his co-dependant.."

The same goes for me. For years I have struggled to get answers. The information has changed me. I felt like I won the lotto the day I discovered all of this.

You asked how I were doing?

For now I can say things are pretty much sorted in my life. i have my ups and downs. This board has helped me soo much in understanding myself.

Thanks for asking and enjoy your week end



January 27, 2007
1:09 am
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You said

"I think once you have identified an Abusive Relationship you really needn't bother with any kind of psychiatric. "diagnosis."

The most important diagnosis would be:

"Diagnosis: Abuser."

I agree that the bottom line is to realise that you have been in a abusive relationship. BUT then you need to find out why you got involved.

What inside you was unhealthy to except this behaviour.

I merged soo much with my mother and father to try and sort out their lives, that I had to discover whom they are in order to know who I am.

This was the only way for me. The articles on all the N stuff hit me much more than your usual emotional abuse articles.

Thanks for you reply


January 27, 2007
1:24 am
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How are you? Long time no see. Its very early in the morning. Everybody is still asleep. Time to catch up before the day takes me..

"My Mom died in Sept and I never got to ask her why she was always so mean to me, why she hated me. "

Sorry to hear about your mom sdesigns. I think you never made time to ask her as you knew the asnwer and this is just too painfull to stomach.

"I think she resented the fact she had been adopted and felt abandoned in a sense, and as a result took it out on my family. the result of that is that *I* felt abandoned, never having a loving nurturing mother, and the cycle continued"

I agree with you. I think anybody who has been adopted feels abandoned in some ways. Its a pity they refuse therapy most of the time and just do soo much damaged themselves.

"After she died, I learned that she sold family heirlooms last year, because she didn't want my sister or myself to ever have them"

Its painful to even read this sdesign. Another rejection by your mother and that after she died. GOSH

I think by disinheriting you and your sister she is trying to orphan you, the same she was. Get what I am trying to say here.

The emotional hole of never really having a mother never goes away. I think we just learn to cope better and let these emotions channel threw our adult part and not our child.

Like I said I had to learn from society as to what 'normal' is.

Enjoy the week-end.



January 27, 2007
11:22 am
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"I think by disinheriting you and your sister she is trying to orphan you, the same she was. Get what I am trying to say here."

I get very well what you are saying. You very succinctly put into words what has been swirling around in my head. Thats it exactly.

I've been putting all of this on the back burner for a few months, just trying to move forward. At least now thats she's gone, hopefully she can't do anything else to me.

I thought of starting a thread but was too messed up to verbalize anything. Maybe soon.

Thank you Garfield once again for your brillance, your love, and support.



January 27, 2007
1:22 pm
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Not much time to respond. Garfield, I wanna answer all your questions, but just haven't had the time this weekend with college and all...but I will come back and do that, I want to continue this.

WD, yes, you are correct...but for me its like this....I know in my head that it was abusive...it fits all the books and documents I've read about abuse. My current therapist, and the one before that, also a psycholigist, and all of my close family all say its "abuse". But there is something stopping me from believing it...I'm not saying my gut doesn't say it...or my heart doesn't say it "abuse"...it does...but sometimes, It doesn't. Sometimes I doubt myself. Thats my issue, my own self-esteem.

When I am feeling unhealthy I doubt that it was abusive...I go back to blaming me again.

My mother I spent the first 18 years of my life with...and although she did to a certain extent brain-wash me into believing certain things...by the time I was about 25, I could see it all clearly I could see and believe how wrong she was...she no longer had any control over me...I no longer had any doubts that she was right and I was wrong. According to her she was always right and everyone else was always wrong...but maybe because I wasn't the only victim, my siblings and I drew strength from each other and it was easier to believe that she was the one with the problem and not I.

Yet I spent a much shorter period of a couple of years with the ex...but he did such a brain-washing number on me....10 times more devious and hard to spot than mother was. And although we spent such a short time together...he really really pounded it into me that I was to blame. I was the abuser.

He even went as far as to accuse me of beating him up on one occasion. And....this is how bad I was...I actually whole heartedly believed that I had beaten him up. I apologised and hated myself and thought I had actually gone so insane that I was capable of lashing out and beating someone and not even realising it. That was actually the straw that broke the camels back for me...after I "believed" that, my spirit had well and truly been torn to shreds. I was a shell....it was the beginning of a nervous break-down. When one's self-image is so completely disputed by another in such a vehement and insistant way...well, I think that only for the mercy of god, It would have destroyed me.
It was only about 6 months after we broke up, that I realised, I hadn't beaten him up at all...he physically squared up to me and I had pushed him away...thats what happened...but, and not for the first time in his life, he had made up a completely different scenario in his head...pure fantasy...but the vehemence with which he pronounced that HE was telling the truth and I was the crazy one...and that combined with my dependency on him...my neediness...made me just swallow it whole. It was without doubt the most soul-destroying moment of my entire life.

So...you see, its very difficult sometimes for me, specially when my self-esteem is feeling low, because of stress or tiredness or loneliness perhaps...not to blame myself again.
And now, that he's in another relationship, which I assume is happy...I doubt myself even more. If he is capable of a happy stable relationship with someone else...and to be honest I know nothing of the girl or the nature of the relationship...but if its happy and stable...then...surely, I must be the unhealthy one.

Thats what I can't get past.

Garfield, I will answer your questions I promise! And thanks so much for all this documentation!


January 27, 2007
1:58 pm
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When you are ready, start the thread.

I will be there to support you.


i also do not have time now.

Thanks for the reply so far and we will speak soon hopefully.

Love to all


January 27, 2007
2:35 pm
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Rev, sdesign and horsefly

My husband is watching some golf so i had time to send this message.

What is a bausive mother?


"If the mother did not feel adequately loved, safe, secure, protected, appreciated, valued, accepted and respected before giving birth, she will, in all likelihood, attempt to use the child (and later the teen) to fill these needs. If she did not feel adequately in control of her own life as a child and teen, she can be expected to try to control her son or daughter as compensation. This is the recipe for emotional abuse.

To fill her unmet need for respect, a mother might try to demand that her daughter "respect" her. To fill her unmet need to feel loved, the mother might try to manipulate the son into performing what she perceives as acts of love. To fill her unmet need to feel appreciated, the mother might try to spoil her daughter or she might constantly remind the daughter of all the things she does for her and all the sacrifices she makes for her.

Mothers are particularly adept at emotional manipulation. They are skilled in setting up their sons and daughters to fill their unmet emotional needs left over from childhood and adolescence. Ultimately, though, this arrangement fails. It is impossible for a son or daughter to fully meet the unmet childhood and adolescent emotional needs of the parent. A child or teen can not be the filler of someone else's needs when they have their own needs. This is a clear case of role reversal, the consequences of which are very serious.

A child in this situation feels overwhelmed, facing an impossible burden yet still trying his or her best to do the impossible. The child will necessarily feel inadequate as he fails to do the impossible. By the time the child is a teen, he will feel not only inadequate, but drained and empty. He will feel insecure and afraid of failure, disapproval, rejection and abandonment. The implicit, if not explicit, message has always been "if you don't fill Mother's needs, she will reject or abandon you."

The teenager will have also learned that it is is impossible to make mother happy. No matter what the teen has done to try to make her happy it is never enough. So the teenager starts to feel like a failure, or "failful" as opposed to successful. This shatters his or her self-esteem.

This, briefly, is the danger of the emotionally needy, and therefore, emotionally abusive mother.

Giving non-explanations such as "because it is wrong" or "because it is inappropriate" or "because it is a sin"

Slapping (see below)



One clear sign of an emotionally abusive mother is slapping the son or daughter in the face. I call slapping is emotional abuse because it is intended to intimidate more than to physically hurt. It leaves an emotional scar, not a physical one. It is usually designed to oppress unwanted opposition. It is, therefore, oppressive. Typically, a mother slaps her son/daughter in the face in response to their spoken words. Here is one example:


Vicky told me her mother slapped her around age 17. They were arguing about religion. Vicky was questioning things too strongly and her mother could no longer give answers, so she slapped Vicky in order to stop the pain of her questions. Perhaps the pain came from the fear that the her whole belief system might be based on myths and lies rather than science and truth. Whatever the case, Vicky's mother did not want Vicky to continue using her mind to question things and to search for real answers.

Vicky is an intelligent woman and has a large need for understanding and to have her own voice and opinions heard. The mother, though, was too insecure with her belief system to help Vicky fill those needs. Had the mother been more secure, she could have listened to Vicky without feeling threatened. More than that, she could have helped her in her search for understanding. She also could have helped fill her needs to feel admired and approved of with a simple statement such as, "I don't know the answers to your questions. And honestly, I feel a little threatened by them and a little defensive. But they are good questions and I admire you for asking them. Keep asking questions, honey. It is the best way to learn, and to find out who feels secure enough to either give you real answers or admit that they don't know."

When we are insecure we feel a need to be in control. Vicky's mother felt out of control. She wanted the questions to stop. She needed them to stop. She felt desperate that they stop. And they did… once she slapped her daughter across the face. Clearly, it was her needs, not Vicky's, that took priority.

In this incident, we see how the mother's need to feel in control (and safe in terms of her religious beliefs) was not yet filled. The mother was using Vicky to try to fill her own unmet childhood/adolescent emotional needs at the expense of her Vicky's need for understanding and need to be heard. This is what makes this slap in the face emotional abuse.

("Vicky" is actually Vicky Haberski, or Vicki Haberski, or Victoria Haberski, of Woodstock, New York. I am hoping she finds this one day and writes me, or someone who knows her finds this and writes me, because I have lost touch with her. I met Vicky when she was 17 in Key West, Florida. She was there with her older sister. Vicky was trying to hard to create her own identity, seperate from her parents, that she had started calling herself Lilly, so I gave her the nickname VTL, for Vickly Turned Lilly and after that she used to sign her letters, VTL. We had a very special connection for a while. But it has been years since I have heard from her. We met around 1995.) If you know Vicky, please write me.

Some abusive mothers will call slapping "discipline" or "correcting wrong behavior." Here is an actual story from my travels.

Does Slapping Teach Respect?

I just talked to a mother and father from Ireland. I said, "Since you are parents, I have a question for you about raising children. I just got this email from a friend of mine who is 18. She said her mother slapped her last week. She asked me what gives her mother the right to do this. She said that if she were not happy with someone at the store, she would not be able to reach out and slap the sales clerk. She said this would be illegal. It would be assault. What do you think about this?"

The mother answered by saying, "Well, you need to be able to correct your children." I then said, "I agree, but it seems to me that 18 is a bit old to still be slapping your child. What do you think?"

She said, "Well, yes, I suppose it is. If you haven't been able to teach your child respect by that age then there is probably something wrong."

I then said, "But is it really respect you are teaching, or fear? For example, if you respect me and I ask you to pass me the sugar, you probably will. But if I have been treating you disrespectfully, without respect for your feelings or needs, then you might tell me to get lost. You might even pull the sugar away from me so I can't reach it. On the other hand if I point a gun at you and say, "Will you please pass me the sugar?" you will probably pass me the sugar. But is this because you respect me or because you are afraid of me?"

She seemed to see my point, but said "I suppose you think it is never necessary to slap a child." I said, "I don't know. I don't have children myself." She then said, "Well, you have to teach them right from wrong."

Her teenage daughter was sitting there in silence the entire time. The look on her face told me she was too afraid to even look up from her meal. I suspected that of the things she had been "taught" by the mother, was never to voice her own opinion. To do so would be "wrong" and deserving of a slap to the face. In this way the daughter had indeed learned right from wrong, at least according to her mother.

See my page on respect for a discussion of respect vs. fear

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