December 09, 2011

Feel like Spilling your Guts to the Narcissist?



Are you reading self-help books telling you to spill your guts and Save Your Relationship? If so: the Royal Narcissist does a happy dance because YOU'RE finally admitting you're a mess! 

<-----------Please note: King Baby's royal finger is pointing at YOU! 

Keep your self-examination PRIVATE. Do not tell your spouse. Do not send him or her a letter of apology, listing your many flaws and faults. Many of us make that mistake before learning about pathological narcissism. There is a huge distinction between normal narcissism and pathological and one of the differences is introspection. When people who naturally introspect realize they have contributed to problems in the relationship, they take responsibility for themselves and alter their behavior. 

In a normal relationship, both people recognize their 'shadow side': the things we do unconsciously that disturb us and confuse a partner. We see it and we change it and we grow as a result. We assume our relationship with a narcissist works the same way--that once we admit we were selfish or self-centered, they will do likewise. 

Have you noticed how healing an argument can be when both people take a hard look at themselves, admit their flaws, and apologize? When people apologize, I've noticed that other people are quick to forgive because they also realize that despite their best efforts to love someone, they ALSO make mistakes. With the narcissist however, admitting your flaws LETS THEM OFF THE HOOK. What happens afterwards is that during another altercation, the narcissist USES every intimacy you revealed about yourself to justify WHY they did what they did. You feel like a failure and the narcissist is off the hook....AGAIN. As long as we admit to having contributed to 'the problem', the narcissist will AVOID (deny) his or her responsibility! 

This is counter-intuitive for people who are NOT narcissists. So we apologize again, hoping the narcissist will mirror our behavior by doing likewise and they DO NOT. In fact, they will build on your humble admission of fault as a character trait. For example: everyone does things that are 'selfish' (insert whatever 'trait' you want here). You say, "I am so sorry for only thinking of myself!" and you expect this admission to trigger a similar response from your partner. Instead, each time you are taking responsibility for your behavior, the narcissist accuses you of being selfish. He or she doesn't say, "I feel neglected when you do such-and-such". No. Why not? Because "I feel neglected" is self-revelatory. Instead, the narcissist says, "You are a Selfish person. Even YOU admit it."

Most people who have written about their break-up with a narcissist, have learned to introspect and take responsibility for their part in the fiasco. Most people also learn over time, that the narcissist will use any excuse, ANY EXCUSE AT ALL, to avoid taking responsibility. Your short list of defects, mistakes, flaws, and weaknesses become the reason WHY the narcissist acted the way they did.

It may appear to others that we're pointing accusatory fingers at narcissists without examining ourselves. This is simply NOT true. We have learned, even if we aren't conscious of it, that our admission of personal weakness will be used against us.

In a normal relationship, people are LOATH to bring up any intimacy someone has revealed about themselves. They respect the person's willingness to be honest about their problems. They empathize with how it feels when your weaknesses are used like weapons of humiliation. There's an invisible line that we do not cross, even if we are angry and defensive. We do not use someone's painful revelations against them.

Most people have been taking responsibility throughout the relationship, catching themselves in the act and apologizing. They didn't realize the narcissist was gathering ammunition instead of examining him or herself. The narcissist may cry or weep or appear to be suffering when you apologize but sad to say, it's not real. You'll know that the next time you've done something really swell and the narcissist says, "You may have excelled at that project, sweetie, but that's because you are so incredibly SELFISH. Even YOU said so!"

During my divorce, I read a recommended book titled "Spiritual Divorce" and dutifully listed my mistakes, flaws, ignroance, blah-blah-blah and tried to have a 'closure' conversation with my spouse. I did not know about narcissism at the time. Do Not Do This if you believe your partner is narcissistic. It releases them from whatever introspection they are capable of and increases your VULNERABILITY. It's humiliating when your tender admissions, offered in 'good faith', used against you. Or shared with the narcissist's new rescuer.

You must be cautious when sorting through self-help books that are NOT recommended for pathological relationships. YOU, the non-N, may end up being humiliated, degraded, and your most spiritual aspects of yourself brutalized. If you want (or feel a need) to self-deprecate, please post to a support group that allows you to express your feelings whatever they may be. For some reason, most people WANT to admit the things they did 'wrong'. We need to purge and confess to being flawed. That's the good and the bad about having a conscience.

Remember: Pointing fingers at narcissists is difficult for Non-Ns. We want to be fair. We want to be honest. For every finger pointed at the N, we have three pointed back towards ourselves. So in order to feel good about ourselves, we can admit to having flaws, shadows and defects, too. But we CANNOT, SHOULD NOT, DO NOT need to admit this to the narcissist. It's not good for YOU and it's definitely NOT good for the narcissist.

When narcissists feel threatened, they cannot stop themselves from using whatever ammunition they have to defend themselves. Some narcissists regret their behavior afterwards but not nearly as much as we regret having trusted them.

Hugs,
CZ




41 comments:

  1. Wise words, my friend. Very wise words.

    I noticed it at work the other day -- someone who has taken over one of my areas of purview as I'm leaving definitely has N traits (and you wondered why I was leaving?) anyway, I mentioned something that was overlooked in what they had advised a staff to do and their response was... (even though they have taken ownership of this area) I left it to XXX to do that and thought as it was sent out every year it would be just fine. (even though they had signed off on it prior to it going out) -- now, reality is, for an N -- there is no such thing as, the buck stops here. Because... no matter what happens, It's Never My Fault -- it's always SOMEONE ELSE's fault. Always.

    Hugs :)

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  2. Sorry Louise! I had no idea you had stress of any kind in your life. :P At least you knew enough about “Ns” to get yourself out of the line of fire.

    The problem, as you well know, is that most people do not realize they are dealing with "a narcissist" until they are being thrown under the bus, pushed down the elevator shaft, betrayed and humiliated, demoted to promote the N.

    If you can spot narcissistic traits, you can better protect yourself, which might mean changing jobs. That's a sad thing to say but sometimes it's best to walk away. Untangling yourself from their constant undermining and projected blame is time-consuming and exhausting. Who wants to be 'on the alert' all the time?

    At least you realized it was time to move on and you had the courage to do it.


    Love,
    CZ

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  3. I agree..just the very fact of having to be around a narcissist all the time, to walk on eggshells...well, it's exhausting.

    When we are able to identify the behaviors of narcissists, we have a choice: it's not always a good choice in the immediate sense, perhaps it puts us in a financial bind, but the abuse of narcissists is soul-killing.

    They are vampires.

    I had a boss, a woman, who demanded that I give her neck rubs....no, I am not a massage therapist, I was an office worker....and she was so into power, to deny her was to feel her revenge...she was one who, looking back on, was a terrible narcissist, and I QUIT. But it took 5 years of continuing and mounting abuse before I got wise.

    CZ, you always have the ability to say something new and contemplative on Narcissism. You need to write a book!!!

    Lady Nyo

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  4. Dear Ladynyo,

    Thank you for your kindness...both you and Louise are amazing and sensitive writers so I feel very touched that you appreciate my 'work'.

    Who knows, maybe a book is in the works one day. Maybe I need another narcissist in my life to keep me focused on writing. ha!

    My potters wheel and kiln have been calling my name lately. I need to dig my hands in a bag of clay and do something completely unrelated to abuse, narcissism, psychopathy, continuums and syndromes.

    As a sidenote, it's interesting that both you and Louise are artists. I have so enjoyed seeing your beautiful artwork!

    One day (promise) I'll post pictures of my pottery.


    Hugs,
    CZ

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  5. Would LOVE to see your pix of pottery!

    No, you don't need another narcissist in your life to keep you focused for a book.

    you need distance from any narcissist!

    Life is so much better without them. We are only diminished when we indulge them.

    Hugs,

    Lady Nyo

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  6. OMG! I grew up with a MNmother and I wanna tell you, please take these "Self-Help" (self-promotion, basically) publications and donate them-somewhere.
    Self-disclosure to a Narc?! You might better take a sharp knife and slit your throat now because I can assure you a narc will be doin' the same to you metaphorically if not immediately some where down the road. Those little "tid-bits" of yourself will be a blood-spattered mess on the floor (right along with every bit of self-esteem, self-respect and dignity you may have once possessed) and the narc will ORDER YOU to "Clean up YOUR mess-NOW!"
    I learned as a Little One at MN's knee (as it conveniently found it's way to connect to any part of my conveniently located little body) to not EVER disclose who you are, what you REALLY think, feel etc. A recipe for yet MORE narc abuse.

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  7. Sigh....I think I am beginning to understand this stuff...about revealing any sort of humaness we have to surrounding narcissists.

    It's even dangerous in a way to write about narcissism...to tell an unknown public what you think about these things, and what you are doing for a solution and abatement to the abuse and pain.

    Tonight I got this comment about a post I wrote a while ago.."The Peace that Surpasses All Understanding"...about going No Contact with my mother.

    This 'man' took me to task: saying that I had made no attempt to 'understand' the narcissist, and other vile things, and that my solution revealed that I was the narcissist.

    I think the vast majority of us who have had a life time of abuse and 'attention' from narcissists understand them very, very well. In fact, we have walked through the fire to get out of the flames....

    The only abatement to all of this suffering is NOT to try to sympathize with the narcissist's history, but to run like Hell.

    Regardless of the appeal, the wiring is all wrong, and they don't hear you. They never could, but it's not our duty to yell louder.

    When we come to a place where we have a certain understanding of these issues, we are bound to act upon them, not just stroke them and mark time.

    Life is a beautiful thing, and too short. Narcissists are vampires afterall. And vampires shorten everything good in life, and life itself.

    Lady Nyo

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  8. "I learned as a Little One at MN's knee (as it conveniently found it's way to connect to any part of my conveniently located little body) to not EVER disclose who you are, what you REALLY think, feel etc. A recipe for yet MORE narc abuse."


    Isn't it sad that a child learns to distrust his or her parents? They only figure it out after having been hurt many times--enough times to give up on being seen, valued and loved exactly as they are.

    I hope, really hope, that our efforts to write about narcissism as openly and candidly as we do on blogs and websites, will make a difference for our kids and theirs and theirs, too.

    As you experienced, anon, you can't even imagine that someone would be so heartless as to use your tender intimacies against you! Our natural reaction is to "open up more" when the relationship goes awry. In the case of the narcissistic relationship though, we're only setting ourselves up for more pain and suffering.

    As research is proving with narcissists: vulnerability increases their aggression. Isn't that a mind-bender?


    Hugs,
    CZ

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  9. Yep, that hit me too....

    "I learned as a Little One at MN's knee (as it conveniently found it's way to connect to any part of my conveniently located little body) to not EVER disclose who you are, what you REALLY think, feel etc. A recipe for yet MORE narc abuse."

    It is normal and natural for a child to open up to their parents...not knowing the danger and the vulnerability they place themselves in.

    How sorrowful it is when those that should love and protect us don't and won't.

    And as to their aggression increasing when presented with a vulnerable person: this is just evil. It is nothing of the goodness of humanity. To me, it's just evil. No horns or pitchfork need apply.

    Lady Nyo

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  10. Dear Lady Nyo,

    You may be interested in this post: http://n-continuum.blogspot.com/2008/10/characterological-predispositions.html

    "Contrary to what most of us experience in the presence of human suffering, current research on pathological narcissism suggests malignant aggression increases in the presence of vulnerability. A fragile victim does not trigger compassion, nor does vulnerability engage the screeching brakes of moral conscience. This is a reversal of what we assume to be humankind’s natural response to suffering." (link: Characterological Predispositions & Conscience)

    When I read research suggesting narcissist's opposite reaction to someone's vulnerability, all the pieces fell together. In my personal relationship, being vulnerable, willing and humble, INCREASED the N's animosity and vengeance. Seriously! It did!

    for most people in normal relationship, vulnerability, willingness and humility FOSTER communication and intimacy. These qualities encourage reciprocity, caregiving, connection. This is how normal relationships work and so we expect narcissists to behave the same way and they do not.

    This is one reason why writing on blogs or forums is an act of courage because our vulnerability and insecurity is met with aggression! It may not make sense to you and it will set you back at first. But you cannot silence yourself to stop the pain because silence comes at a great price too.

    So I say, "Poop on 'em" those ridiculously arrogant and spiteful narcissists who kick people when they're down. What cowards. What BULLIES, ya know? What kind of person takes pot shots at unarmed people? O yea...narcissists.


    Hugs,
    CZ

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  11. This is an awesome post! Thank-you. I've read it several times and can only say, I learned this the hard way. I've aplogized to narcissists for raising my voice when they (metaphorically) jammed a knife in my heart. I said "sorry" for crying-out in pain... but did the narcissists ever apologize for jamming that knife in me? Hell no! Our apologies only make their sordid victories of abuse that much sweeter. No horns or pitchforks needed indeed.

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  12. You are right about our apologies sweetening their sordid victories. The first time I apologized to a narcissist expecting her to respond in kind, I was greeted with a smirk and self-righteous grin---the likes of which make you wanna slap 'em but you don't of course because you are a lady but mostly you don't do it because you know they can slap harder than you and they're willing to do it.

    It took me awhile to catch on to what was happening, so out of the ordinary it was. If other people have been confused by the same behavior, I hope my explanation will help them avoid additional confusion and pain.

    Apologize if you must but don't be confused when the narcissist doesn't reciprocate. And don't be surprised when your apology is used against you, to prove you are deserving of their insults, rejection and punishment.

    This is very confusing stuff for the average person to contend with. People do not realize how crazy-making the narcissistic relationship can be!


    Hugs,
    CZ

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  13. You said a mouthful, CZ!

    I am still reeling from this 'news' that vulnerability makes for more aggression in a narcissist. One of the worst pieces of human tissue I ever came across was a sadist: a supreme narcissist, and he demanded submission and denial of self: I thought for a while that this would make me be able to fly under his radar, but it made him just more...unbearable. You know who I am talking about, CZ. When I stood up on my hind legs, he was even worse, if possible, but there was no 'winning' here in any case: I was seen as 'subhuman' by this ratbazard. And this is what I belive strongly how narcissists (and my experience with a family member brings this full around)see others:

    As prey for their mauling. Their wiring is so twisted that a mewing kitten would not spark any compassion.

    I will read this post you recommend later, am trying to get my little head around this latest research news about their reaction to weakness, vulnerability, etc.

    This news is truly amazing....at least it gives credibility to what we have suffered from the hands and mouth of a narcissist. Truly crazy making.

    You are soooo right about silence brings its own measure of pain. The only way I see is to cut out any narcissist in your life that you can. I have a mother who is all the above, and though she is 91, they seem to be able to maintain the same amount of venom and energy even at this advanced age. The only solution for me,...to take myself out of the line of fire was to go totally 'no contact'. It saved my sanity, and probably my life...what remains of it at 64.

    Truly people don't know or undertand how crazy-making any contact with a narcissist makes possible. You have to spend a lot of time (and money in therapy) to come to some real understanding and then you are fighting an uphill battle with common people who don't have any real knowledge of this terrible dyfunction.

    Thank you, CZ, for these articles...for your hard work and writing to bring a bit of the public to some understanding.

    Lady Nyo

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  14. Thank you for validating my stores and articles, my sense of humor. :-)

    There is a research article or two in the 'pathology library' on the forum (WebofNarcissism.com) if you want to run a search. If I remember to do that later this evening, I'll post a link for you. I remember how clarifying it was for me because the narcissist's reaction to 'vulnerability' is exactly the opposite of most people's reactions!

    When someone is vulnerable (crying, shocked, etc.) we become MORE compassionate and sympathetic. That's how we get hurt by narcissists becasue we ASSUME that by telling them how we are feeling, that they will understand us better. Or back off.

    Wrong.

    If I can't find a post on my blog here, I'll get one written because this is very important for people to understand!

    Hugs,
    CZ

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  15. Oh my goodness CZ, Huntherdan pushed me down our steps and I dislocated my knee when I screamed at him for ruining my home by having sex in it with his affair partner. My knee is a mess and that was 7 years ago. It is unstable now. I fell a couple of months ago, wearing comfortable, but extremely deadly, Crocs and I had asphalt in it. I walked a whole bunch last weekend and I have been in great discomfort since. My husband picked up a sweeper and slammed it into my arm when the knee injury didn't shut me up. This note doesn't even begin to describe the physical abuse by my very own narcissist. I stayed with him until May 8, 2011 when I kicked him out for good.

    I always drop my jaw when concentrating on peeling potatoes or something precise and Huntherdan would snap my jaw shut, resulting in much dental work in the form of repairing cracked teeth and my dentist even asked if it was husband doing it. I said no out of shame for him and for me for putting up with it.

    How about the honeymoon phase? My husband slapped me across the face and jerked my ponytail snapping my neck violently. Why was he justified in doing that? I didn't want to be baptised as an adult. I never have. So I stayed for another 31 years after that lesson.

    I am definitely divorcing a narcissist and he will do anything to destroy me. I know my post has nothing to do with following your extremely enlightening blog entry, but I had to share.

    This week a cat ran out in front of my car. My husband always hit me if I were to swerve and so
    I have been taught well. But I slam on my brakes. And someone else hit the cat. And i started crying my eyes out and a police officer passed me and he helped with the crying kitty, and I cried so hard for all the animals that have suffered at his hands. Huntherdan hates cats as much as he hates me and he would always try to hit any passing cat. He shot them with bows, and he even landed in the news one year as the police were looking for the killer of a cat found with an arrow in it. My husband had instructed our 14 year old son to kill the cat after it walked on his truck. I found out this week that our then elderly neighbours confronted Huntherdan, but he denied it. Our son will be 31. Those are the memories my son has.

    In any event, I didn't understand until now that it was always hopeless. Being Huntherdan's wife that is. I am glad we are scorching the earth. We will never be at any of our daughters' weddings together, funerals, nothing. Ever. Forgiveness for him, yes, but togetherness, never, ever, ever.

    I cried so hard for the poor crying cat that the officer got a vet there in 10 minutes. I am still crying about it. Everyone was so kind to the sobbing middle aged woman and I could tell they wanted to all hug me. I cried harder. Because there are good people in the world. The cat did die, mercifully.

    I feel like the character in Deliverance. When at the end of the movie they are eating dinner like normal human beings. The man sits down and someone passes him the peas and the potatoes and he breaks down. I feel like breaking down all the time by the kindnesses I am shown daily and the connections I have with people and all the love I once took for granted.

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    Replies
    1. Dear Huntherdan,

      Your post has me sobbing. Big, sad, real tears for all the pain and suffering inflicted on those who love. And love deeply.

      Bless you, dear good woman for the indignities you have suffered and your children have suffered at the hands of an unrepentant, remorseless, prideful narcissist.

      Love,
      CZ

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  16. Thank you so much for your post.....I was contemplating telling my narcissistic ex my innermost thoughts and feelings about our recent split......but now I realise I must steer well clear.....thank you for saving me !

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    1. Please be careful, anonymous. Many of us made this mistake. It's important to exercise healthy boundaries around your sacred space. You are not obligated to tell the narcissist everything, even if he or she complains that you are 'closed off'.

      We are fully within our healthy right to protect our spiritual self: our innermost thoughts and feelings.

      If you have been with your ex for several years, you may want to learn as much as you can about boundaries. Even if we had 'good enough' boundaries when we met the narcissist, they will have eroded over time. Why? Because that is what narcissists do.

      Too many people have written to me about the tragic experiences they went through after they BARED ALL in the hopes of creating intimacy.

      It is akin to handing him or her an arsenal of ammunition to use against you. I am sorry to write that...truly.


      Hugs,
      CZ

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  17. Thank you CZ, luckily I didn't go out with him for years, I sensed something wasn't 'quite right' very early on. I gave a lot in the relationship and received nothing in return. When we had our first disagreement it was like trying to talk to a defensive nine year old....very odd. He said "I love you" a lot.....too much infact...what seemed like hundreds of times a day....and if I didn't reply with the same he would tell me....."I said I loved you ...and you didn't reply to it seven times today" like it was used to keep score. He was very softly spoken, but passive aggressive, he couldn't or wouldn't interact with people....only via twitter and facebook, which he was addicted to because he received/receives adulation from the many thousands of followers he has on there, he is promoting himself as a advocate of present awareness and even wrote a blog about our split, in which he claimed I'd done something that I hadn't. So I'm very, very glad I read your post, you have saved me from even more pain and embarrassment.

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    1. If I have saved you from more pain and embarrassment then YAYA and Hallelujah!! That's exactly what this article meant to do! I wish someone had told me to stiffen up my boundaries and stop apologizing for his affair. hehehe

      There's quite a few articles about narcissism and Facebook. As you can see by his reaction, Facebook can be used by narcissists to regulate their self-esteem. If they need a 'fluffing', they start 'puffing' on Facebook.

      I am struck by your comment about his 'addiction' to Facebook, though. One research article I read recently suggested that the attention and adoration narcissists seek IS an addiction. An addiction to "narcissistic supply."

      It sounds like you've gotten yourself out of the relationship. If you need support---you know where to find us: WebOfNarcissism.com

      We love meeting new people and sharing our experiences!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  18. OMG! (Insert unhinged jaw) Where do I even begin? I am so shocked, mortified, relieved, and validated by reading this blog. My situation began in 1984 when I met a friend in bootcamp. We continued our friend through letters and cards (no email back then) for months. She was 20 and seemed to have her life in great order, was cool, made friends easily..she was everything I wasn't and it uplifted me just to spend time w/her. I was 18, and one who really didn't have a good grasp of friendships due to the numerous times of moving during my childhood. So I saw her as a friend I never had: we laughed alot, enjoyed being active and liked to go shopping. I noticed 3 months into the friendship that she was the one who called all the shots. And you know, that didn't bother me much. I chalked it up to her being interested in what we did, when we did it and it involved me driving to her duty station for visits...she did not have a car. Throughout the friendship I remember several times she would toss me biting comments about my appearance, how I drove, my speech, just about anything I said or did or what I failed to do, was chance for a put-down towards me. I remember thinking "Does she even like me as a person?" Then of course, she would do something totally loveable towards me, and I'd feel guilty even questioning like that. I also remember times I would do something benign, or careless, sometimes without thought but absolutely no malice, and her comment towards me would be "See how you are?"

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  19. Part Two:
    However, there was a secret in our friendship. I was gay and I couldn't bring myself to tell her...someone I considered a best friend. From the moment I came out to myself, I lied by omission. She had no idea. I secretly had a small crush on her, but overall, I loved her as a friend...she was straight after all. So it was my feelings I had to adjust and be more appropriate. And with time they did. We ended up stationed together for 3 months, where we enjoyed the best days of our friendship doing all sorts of things a 21 and 19 year old would do...we were kids and had a great time learning about life and what there was out there in California. However, her comments were turning into judgments and the cuts were becoming deeper...this comes with 2 people knowing each other better now, and knowing which buttons they can push. We were like sisters in that regard. On my last day at that station, as we are saying our goodbyes, her last words to me "Don't do anything you can't tell me about, ok?" Those words have haunted me since 1985. I never did tell her, but I think she found out I was gay through someone else, and wanted me to tell her somehow someway. But I couldn't. I wasn't ready to hear her comments, opinions and judgments. I was afraid to lose her friendship. I remember feeling as though she'd walk away. In fact I witnessed a few of her friendship fall apart because of "something they did". So I knew she was capable of ending friendships quite easily. I didn't want to be her latest. We had a huge fight. I lashed out in a letter. We never fought ever, but this was over her telling the Coast Guard I was gay. Absence from one another did damage. My feelings of guilt of not being honest with her in the first place did some. And my seasickness and other maladies did even more damage as I was very, very ill. I made poor choices during this time and our fight occurred during this time as well. I felt terrible about the whole thing and I called her a few weeks after the letter to perhaps sort out things, ended with her hanging up on me. She's in Calif. and I'm in Boston. We're a mess at this point. A year would go by before I would write her and explain to her EVERYTHING. Yup, spilling my guts to a narcissist. And I would apologize for years, trying to explain my seasickness, physical illnesses, etc. Every letter I ever wrote, has gone unanswered. I carried such a load of guilt -- it was sad -- and for the length of time is atrocious. 27 years. Wow. She had more than one opportunity to write back and say, "I forgive you my friend." By reading this blog, I learned that those very words are a foreign language to her. I learned that my letters of apology, admission of my guilt, explaining my shortcomings and miscues during that awful time at sea, are nothing more than ammunition towards me. How stupid could I have been?! Apparently I didn't think I was in a friendship w/ a narcissist. It is by reading this blog, that I'm fully realizing the depth of her own illness. And for the first time in 28 years, I feel sorry for her. And I can say now, with the knowledge and insight this blog has given me in one day's time..."yes Joanne, I see how you are."

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    1. Dear Anonymous,

      Narcissists are interesting people. They react completely opposite to what we experience with other people. We assume our apology will be met with an apology because this IS what generally happens between friends.

      For example: when you wrote to her and spilled your guts. You assumed she would reciprocate. People are usually ready to forgive IF they hear an honest apology.

      BUT narcissists do NOT value relationships to the same degree as ourselves. They enjoy relationships with other people---they even value those relationships as long as they're getting what they want with little concern about the other person's wants and needs. A narcissist values his/her self. Friendship pales in comparison to what really satisfies the narcissist: him or her self.

      So while you are grieving the loss of your friendship, she isn't. Not to the same degree. People often make the mistake of assuming the narcissist is as lonely, sad, nostalgic as themselves. Not True. WE grieve because we value relationships...if you didn't value relationships, you'd just Move On.

      I wanted to add one more thing for you to consider. Narcissists have a one-sided expectation for partners to tell them EVERYTHING. If you don't, they take it as an insult.

      Choosing not to tell her that you were gay, probably insulted her. I wondered if that was the motive behind informing the Coast Guard? A kind of revenge or retaliation for your sin of omission.

      I am sorry to hear that your friendship didn't last...it sounds like you were willing to take it to a deeper level. Narcissists are shallow folks who are fun to hang out with but miserable to live with. We usually run in to trouble if we're looking for a lifelong relationship with them.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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    2. Thank you for your reply and insights. You hit squarely on numerous points ~ especially taking my lack of disclosure as an insult!! I remember that day as if it was yesterday. And I will say, yes, I do believe she was very insulted. The tone and body language now that I reflect more, there was a superiority to her. I couldn't put my finger on it, as I was consumed at that moment with my own guilt of not telling her the truth about myself. Where you said, I'm grieving but she isn't hurts to the point I needed to hear this 27 years ago. Meaning, I would have NEVER invested the energy I did in apologizing. What a waste of time I'm discovering. And you know, it was a blast hanging out with her! OMG did we ever laugh! I've got stories that will last a lifetime...and that only happens when a non-narc is fully invested emotionally. I have zero regrets! Thank you again for having this blog and allowing me the time and space to work out a 27 year old issue. Peace! Former Coasty

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  20. This post saved me in the nick of time. Thank you so much.

    Like another commenter, I, too, was contemplating calling my exN boyfriend of 5 years so that I can apologize to him about my contribution to the demise of the relationship (our last conversation since I went no contact 3 months ago didn't go very well as I was so angry). I was going to tell him that maybe he was right in saying that my lack of trust in him drove him to cheat on me and my unwillingness to invest my money in his latest earth-shatteringly magnificent start-up showed my lack of commitment to the relationship.

    But you know what? Now that I think about it. That's all bullshit. My lack of trust came from being lied to repeatedly, and my unwillingness to invest in his project came from seeing how he'd abandoned so many projects in the past.

    Narcs are so good at making us question our wisdom and insight, aren't they? It's almost like they're afraid that if we become too smart then we'll know what they're really up to.

    "You always thought that I'd cheat, that's why I finally did it." -- bullshit. I'm not apologizing for any of that. My heart still hurts like hell. But it will heal.

    Another factor that makes it pointless to have a final, cleansing talk with a Narc is that you really can't have a meaningful conversation with them. They're liars. They lie about things. They lie about people. They lie about events. Most importantly, they lie about their feelings. You could say nice, kind, compassionate, honest things to them hoping they'll grow a heart and reciprocate. Most won't. But even if they did, you'd still be left wondering if they meant anything of it. So it's all pointless.

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  21. Thank you for your very supportive and informative post. What really resonated with me were your words:"You must be cautious when sorting through self-help books that are NOT recommended for pathological relationships. YOU, the non-N, may end up being humiliated, degraded, and your most spiritual aspects of yourself brutalized."

    As a coach and an ex-social worker, my 'religion' is empathy, compassion, genuineness and unconditional positive regard. The more problems I had with the N, the more of these I gave... to my own detriment. Today I was reflecting on this and realized that as a co-narcissist, I am different to normal people (I already have too much empathy, compassion and such characteristics). All the advice from self-help books applied to this pathological relationship are self-destructive. Even developing skills and qualities like resilience and strength, when used to fix and stay with the N, always back-fires.

    I also noticed many comments about apologizing. Long before I realized this narcissist was truly a narcissist and not just me making things up, I would say to friends and family:" this man never apologizes, he never says please and he never says sorry". I also realized that my 'attachment' and responsibility that inspires me to say please, thank you, I'm sorry was seen as pure vulnerability and weakness by him and he became even more aggressive. I now see this as a narcissistic injury to the acts of gratitude and forgiveness and am working to heal these experiences.

    When the N did apologize, all of 3 times in 15 years, you knew it was to cover up something way bigger. I also came to realize very early on, that insisting on a please, sorry, or thank you will create resentment, the N hunts for revenge opportunities and passive aggressiveness increased.

    Thank you again for your sharing. I look forward to reading some of your other posts.

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  22. Is narcissism genetic? My boyfriend has been described by countless people in forms just like this one. He's a classic narcissist. It explains all the off-ness and wierdness. His strange reactions or lack of them.

    I had never heard or NPD until I googled 'why does my boyfriend turn every discussion or arguement into something about him?' I thought his behavior so strange. He always wanted to know how anything I said affected him. Even stuff that didn't, like 'my ice maker isn't working' He would respond angerly 'so you're saying you don't want to go out with me anymore!' Huh??? It happened all the time with any discussion. I didn't get it. Now I do. He's irrationally self focused. And, it's limiting.

    And, you really can't trust them.

    I found out the hard way. He lavished attention on me, told me he loved me 20 or more times a day, send cards and flowers weekly for months. I felt addicted to him early on in the relationship and I told him so. I also told him it bothered me to feel this way because it made me feel so out of control. He told me it was normal, perfectly OK to feel this way. It was a good thing. He felt the same way. Well, it turned out it was not such a good thing for me. More like soul, mojo, life stealing poison.

    He ultimately cheated on me with others. I never saw it coming. I was still a trusting person, believing he was my partner. He told our coworker and cheatmates about how I felt. I was shocked he'd share such intimate feelings especially since he know how much it bothered me to feel the way I did.

    You can't trust them with anything. They can't partner with anyone but themselves. There's no room anywhere in them for someone else. They will suck the life out of you and when you can't sing their praises anymore (becuse you know them too well, the really ugly, selfish side), they will walk away without so much as a backward glance and find someone else to cannibalize.

    I used to care that he never seemed able to bond with another person. He has no concept of an 'us'. And, he never will. With anyone.

    Now, I realize, you can't save someone who doesn't even know they are drowning. I'm going to save myself and seek out descent, normal people. I'll still carry extra water wings incase someone needs help, wants help. But, I'm not going to force them onto someone who is happy to drown in themselves ever again.

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  23. *sigh... I sent three letters of that kind long before I knew about narcissism and how it had overruled my whole life... I was fully *fogged up*. Bad thing is that those letters were written to the two worst people in my life, NM und father of my now grown up son. Both ☣ very toxic bio hazards... Well, can't take them back, have to live with the fact that I gave the least trustworthy people information like I did... Something more on my list to forgive myself...

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    1. Hi anonymous! Forgive yourself. Be kind to yourself. We're all on a huge learning curve about pathological narcissism. Things we used to believe about what it meant to be 'human', are now in question. Some people are softened by another person's admissions. Some people abuse them for it. Now that people are talking to each other all over the world, we're learning about narcissistic behaviors/thoughts/feelings.

      That knowledge will protect people from following advice that was not intended for pathological relationships. How could you have known? We're only beginning to understand the narcissistic personality.

      Thanks for your validation, though.....you and I learned this the hard way, it sounds like!

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  24. These narc slimebags desperately need to be DRAGGED into the light, so the world of normal fallible human beings can see them for exactly what they are - EVIL. i seriously wonder if malinant narcs are as vile, if not more so, than demons. So glad your blog is on the net and getting read. Yayyy :)

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    1. Hi Sue! My blog covers several years of writing which means some articles are angrier than others. We write as we learn in the blogging world. I hope my entries help other people separate themselves from a destructive relationship.

      I don't use the word "evil" very often, considering the historical usage resulted in witch burnings. No doubt I'd have been burnt at the stake since narcissists are quick to spot "evil" in others but never in themselves! The word "evil" leaves me with mixed feelings considering I've been on both ends of the continuum---as the accuser and as the accused!!

      But it's entirely fair to say the the narcissistic relationship "feels" demonic, as if our souls have been stalked, robbed and sucked dry. The image of the vampire is a common archetype describing the pathological relationship because the victim is completely unaware that s/he's being used by a parasite. Her very life-blood being drained away while she yields her will to the vampire. People use metaphors to express what they cannot say in words.

      Thanks for stopping by and reading. I appreciate your comments very much.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  25. Thank you for this blog, it feels like you've put out an view on narcissist which is more open. I keep questioning myself with am I a narcissist or am I a victim? But this post describes exactly how I feel. 1,5 year ago I ended a long-term relationship which is still changing my life. I'm constantly going from self-doubt into self-blaming and feeling guilty and being angry towards my ex and accusing him of being the narcissist. But after a while I start accusing myself, looking back on how I was in this relationship and comparing it with all of this info about narcissism. I think and say to myself, no I am the narcissist. I'm the one who is pulling the no-contact-card. I'm the one who was needy, afraid of everything, clinging on to him, hiding behind him, getting nervous when he invited friends over, feeling jealous if he received all of the attention. I have the urge to apologize about all the times I haven't been there for him when he needed me. Apologizing about how I see now that the cptsd I'm struggeling with came to live when we started living together. Apologizing about how I was so caught up in my own pain and not seeing his or not asking about his. I always felt like I was a bad girlfriend. He could say things to me which made me feel like I was not good enough to meet his needs. I'm worried that writing this down makes me a narcissist. I was so angry at him when we broke up I have talked bad about him and calling him a narcissist and only concerned about my pain. I honestly believed he didn't care about me, but this was not true. The last time I saw him, I ignored him because I do not know how to respond to him in a proper way. The times after we broke up I saw him and spoke to him I made myself tiny, pathetic and needy. I sometimes find myself talking bad about him and telling other people the stuff he could say to me. I feel bad when I have done this and I tell myself I should think positive about him. It feels less energy draining to be positive about him. And then I read about the no-contact attitude but I definitely do not feel better about myself doing this. It feels like I'm punishing him but when I do keep it open he will send me pictures of rabbits he has seen in the park, because they are my favourite animals. And I will seek his company and start re-living the old relational habits. I always felt like I was holding him back to grow as a person because of my personal problems. In the end I started to talk back and he mentioned that he feared what I had to say and I actually do not like this, it makes me feel weird as if I am controlling him. Before that it was the other way around. I do feel like I should not apologize to him because it gives him more ammo about me, but overall he is very positive about me. But on the other hand I think I should, letting him know that I see my stupid blind flaws. That I'm really sorry about stuff I said. I still do not want contact because I just find it so damn hard to deal with the break-up. It feels like I can't move on. Or maybe this is one of my narcissistic moves that I'm not aware about, I don't know anymore. Because I'm the one who is alone all of the time and he is making a lot of new friends. I was even so stupid to sleep with him after we broke up, I wanted his attention so badly, his approval. Sometimes I feel so messed up and other times I'm allright and I think to myself: What am I worrying about, who cares what other people think. Just take your time and don't tell yourself you are crazy, because you are not. I'm constantly doubting myself if the way he could talk to me was real, maybe I did the same thing to him in a way. I do believe he is different now and that I'm the one who is holding on to the past. But I haven't seen him in a while, I also have this thing in the back of my head saying don't talk too much about him, because he has more friends then you. I am the one who will look bad.
    Grz,M

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    1. Eeeh, sorry for the long story...

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    2. I hope you don't mind if I wait to reply tomorrow morning. Thank you for reading and posting and never ever apologize for a long post. Once we open the floodgates, that's just how it is (for most of us, anyway!)

      Hugs,
      CZ

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    3. Many of the things you've mentioned, are typical of the narcissistic relationship. You aren't likely to be "a narcissist" if you have to hold yourself back from apologizing; experience guilt about speaking honestly about your relationship; feel remorse for the mistakes you made in the relationship; blame yourself for being angry when he was not committed to you and didn't have "space" for your difficulties. This is how people feel when they are NOT narcissists.

      What I mean by "narcissist" is someone who has an almost to be admired, to feel special. Lots of new friends can fill that need which is why narcissists are generally well-liked when they first meet a group of people. That attention often fades (as studies prove) overtime, unlike people who are NOT narcissists. What I also mean by "narcissists" is that they score high on the NPI or the NSS. You can find both tests at the following links:

      NSS (Narcissism Spectrum Scale)
      http://www.drcraigmalkin.com/the-narcissism-test

      NPI (Narcissistic Personality Disorder)
      http://psychcentral.com/quizzes/narcissistic.htm

      That said, there's a distinction between pathological narcissism and healthy-to-unhealthy narcissism. But just because someone isn't a full-fledged malignant narcissist, that doesn't mean the relationship will be easy. Narcissistic traits in the extreme, complicate and even ruin relationships without being "pathological."

      Mainly, I hope you know that when you are hurt, your attention is focused on yourself. We can't help it! That's normal. While you are grieving the loss of a relationship that was obviously important to you, you will be more attentive to yourself. And also (this is hard for partners of Ns and ACoNs), if you weren't angry at some point, you wouldn't be healthy! Your anger has fueled your journey, kept you moving towards a healthier space and this is healthy. What isn't healthy is staying angry for the rest of our lives so if you're feeling some guilt (and shame perhaps?) about calling your ex a narcissist, well...that's healthy too! I've also dealt with guilt and remorse for being so open about my experiences. In most families, we are taught to be silent and never say anything about our families that doesn't put them in the finest of lights. Breaking the No Talk Rule is far more difficult than most people realize. I cheer each time someone is able to shatter that "abusive" standard.

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  26. Thank you very much for your reply, sometimes I feel like I'm going crazy. And you are right about breaking the No Talk Rule. It is very hard. I have broken it a few months ago and I feel ashamed about it. I have 2 very good friends who know me from before the relationship with him and they keep me sane when I'm in doubt.

    I am telling myself that I'm fine just the way I am and the only thing I need to do is stay close to my heart, because it is the safest spot on the planet. It's very hard to believe he is like this. And I think it has a lot to do with the feeling of not feeling good enough, because I have felt this way before I met him but it wasn't that strong. It just became worse when I was having a relationship with him. I know he feels like this and it is really a horrible feeling, I don't wish for anyone to feel this way. I understand the need of someone to fill that empty feeling up. Because it does feel like I have been standing in his shoes and trying to not feel that empty feeling with whatever.

    The last time I saw him he brought up again that he has been on a date, I immediatly tell him to stop continuing his story. He replies with, well the other times I brought it up was because you asked about it yourself. When I think back, this is like half the truth. He brings up the date-stories, I continu to ask more about it and end up getting hurt. But it hurts when he tells me that it was so nice to hug someone again. I don't understand why someone wants to tell something like that, like I'm a friend he just met. Anyway, when I tell him to stop continuing his story, he just keeps talking about the date. Saying, yeah well it stayed with only one date. It didn't work out.

    And he told me he felt so connected to people, he loved being around others. It was almost like he was blissfull. I do sense I am afraid of him. He never really yelled at me, has never been physically abusing. He was always positive but at the same time he critized me? I've been reading about gaslighting and it does sound familiar but I think he used it very subtle and by reading about it I have done it myself as well.

    I can say, I'm happy I am having this experience. It's making me grow up. Stay true to myself, speak my own truth and not someone elses. Even I am doubting myself a lot and my own perception of things, where it almost feels like it's easier to blame myself for everything so then I know I can change it or do something about it. Acknowledging the problems and feelings I've had instead of doubting myself the whole time and not really knowing this really happened. Because he does seem like a nice guy and maybe I'm just the crazy bitch. Because looking back, I did became weird and scared about everything.

    Thank you for reading and replying.

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    1. By the way, thank you for pointing out the normal behaviour, that is very helpful.

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    2. Hi M! It sounds like you are right in the thick of the misery, trying to sort things out. You've probably read this elsewhere but it is a very normal and healthy trait to ask for advice, to seek information. Narcissists are less likely to ask for help because they value self-reliance over interdependence. So that's another good sign for mental health and resiliency!

      I know the feeling of "crazy". It happens when our assumptions are challenged by reality and we don't know what to believe. If someone has been nice, kind, helpful, generous (all good traits drawing us towards deeper intimacy with that person), then how can they be so cruel as to talk about "other" relationships? Such cruelty (reality) challenges our assumptions about that person and it literally feels as though our minds are breaking!! It's called "cognitive dissonance", a terribly painful experience that destabilizes our sense of self. We don't know what to believe! Part of us wants to believe in the Nice Guy but another part of us knows that Nice Guys don't talk about their girlfriends.

      I experienced the same thing. At first, I asked questions about my ex's affair partner because it didn't make sense that he would do such a thing. He had been, after all, my best friend. Someone I trusted to be honest and kind and to have my best interests at heart (as I had his!). Then suddenly, he's telling me things that break my heart and make me feel like doggie poop by comparison. Because yes, there's always a comparison and WE come up short. It doesn't take long for interactions like this, to destroy our self-confidence and esteem. You can't let him talk like this to you even though it makes HIM feel superior to do so. He builds his confidence on making YOU feel bad, so let your feelings protect you. anything he says that makes you feel terrible, just get up and leave. Don't Let Him. He's "getting off" on diminishing you to a worm state. I hate to be so blunt because it doesn't even seem possible that someone we loved and trusted could be so cruel. But they can be and they are. This REALITY will take time to sink in to your heart but at some point, you will realize that people can be brutish AND kind. Generous AND mercenary. Narcissists are not one or the other---they are both.

      I hope this helps...just know that this process takes time. If we deeply trusted the person we loved, then it will take time for our minds to adjust to a bitter reality: they are willing to hurt us. Even if we were imperfect flunkies, there's no excuse for hurting someone who loved them. Even a flunkie-someone. (and I'm sure you are NOT a flunkie! Neither am I!)

      Hugs,
      CZ

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  27. Thank you for replying, it is all very helpful.

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  28. Dear CZ: Your blog popped up on my blog and I came here and reread yours. I am also in tears about that kitty cat. I love animals, and especially cats. For the last 6 years I have been feeding a pod of strays up the street every 2 days and have tried to adopt as many as possible. over the years, I have 8 healthy kitties, mostly from that pod. The people there are ignorant and selfish....complaining that they can't feed these cats (theirs) but they eat expensive barbeque takeout every week ...a couple of times a week. But it doesn't matter....these babies come to the sound of my car and get fed.

    One thing that is standard with narcissists: they are cruel to everything, human and animal. My pathological mother (at 96) has proved that over and over. Why do the good die young and the evil stretch it out?>???

    Love to you, and hope the summer is kind....and don't forget to leave a water pan out just in case a stray puppy or kitty passes by. our humanity might be shattered by the humans we know, but the animal kingdom will restore us to a better humanity.

    Love, jane

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    1. Hi Jane! I haven't been posting on my blog for a year now and because of that, I'm slightly deranged. Writing keeps me sane. I hope to have time to start writing and keeping up with my friend's lives! It's been wonderful having friends-on-the-net and I miss the camaraderie.

      My daughter has fallen in love with birds this year. She keeps her window open so she can hear them chirping in the mornings. A quail and her little babies have taken roost near my daughter's window--this is the second year we've seen a string of ten chicks bobbing through the flowers. ha! Seeing the animal world around us, reminds us we are part of a much large system and this is comforting, in a way. We can be so filled with self-importance, can't we? I think animals exercise our compassion while reminding us we're "not as important" we think we are. ha!

      Love to you,
      CZ

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