January 24, 2014

22 Signs of Online Destructive Narcissists in Forums & Blogging Communities

Honoré Daumier

I've thoroughly enjoyed finding new bloggers through the Slayer Award and reading their stories and personal insights. Ursula, the author of An Upturned Soul, posted an excellent article asking her readers an intriguing question: Online Narcissists--Does the blog you follow belong to a narcissist? 

She asks: "What if you are following the blog of a Narcissist? Does it matter? Does it affect you? Do you even notice? After all, bloggers are supposed to write about themselves, about their lives, and share their thoughts and feelings, and do so in a way which is creative and perhaps even exaggerated for effect and entertainment purposes...I think if you've never been in a relationship with someone who has Narcissistic Personality Disorder, then Following the blog of a Narcissist, won’t make any difference to you. It’ll inspire and entertain and that’s that. But what if you’re recovering from a relationship with a Narcissist and you follow a blog which is powered by Narcissistic Personality Disorder?" ~An Upturned Soul

There's a distinction between trait narcissism as measured in social network studies and the "destructive narcissism" we discuss on blogs about pathology (clinical disorders). How normal narcissists affect readers and society is fascinating, too; but for today, my focus is on the impact destructive-to-pathological narcissists have on others and how we might inform ourselves before we're harmed. So my answer to Ursula's question is that yes, it can be dangerous if vulnerable people are "following" someone with a Narcissistic Personality Disorder.

My short answer is this: narcissist's unstable self-esteem and grandiosity is hyper-sensitive to ego threats. Narcissists are more willing to use aggression than non-narcissists. (Bushman) Narcissists are particularly likely to displace their aggression on innocent bystanders. (Buffardi) Good people serve as scapegoats because they limit the degree of harm they're willing to inflict on others. Their private emails may be posted publicly, private pictures may be circulated on the net, hate blogs may be written---all in the narcissist's attempt to regulate self-esteem by destroying others. If you have befriended an online narcissist, you will eventually say something perceived to be an insult and you may be treated more cruelly than you were by the narcissist propelling you to the Internet.

And my long answer is the following. Pack a lunch. This is complicated. 

Most of us are reeling from cognitive dissonance and low self-esteem when we join blogs and forums about narcissism. We are suggestible, confused and hurt when browsing the Internet for a safe place to land. We are vulnerable. Even psychologists have valid concerns about secondary trauma when people misplace trust in anonymous bloggers and forums that may not be safe. Why? Because "anonymity may make narcissists particularly prone to becoming cyber-bullies." (Buffardi) In addition to this alarming concern, narcissistic leaders lack the essential emotional intelligence and impulse control needed to respect readers' fragility as a sacred trust. Vulnerable people are hurt by people promoting themselves as experts, yet lacking tolerance for the powerfully negative emotions arising in every recovery community. Without compassion and empathy (something narcissists struggle to have, even in small doses), participants will be hurt, especially by groups promoting an eye-for-an-eye vengeance.

The bad news is that narcissists present as strong leaders and we like them instantly. Wounded people feel powerless, thus drawn to people who appear to be powerful.  We may even feel safe; but their charismatic charm erodes with a kerplunk after engaging with them for awhile. Keith Campbell writes, "Narcissists may be confident, exciting, or charming at first, but their likability may fade over time as their grandiosity becomes apparent." (Campbell 2002) Pathological narcissism manifests in social interactions, how that person relates to others. You may not see the pathology until there's a conflict. Vulnerable people may be irreparably harmed when the person with a narcissistic personality turns on them, abusing their dignity and self-respect. This has happened over and over.  I'm grateful to have a chance to talk about it because I was such a victim, having trusted the wrong people who appeared to be safe. The pain of a secondary character assassination so close to the shock of my divorce, was psychologically traumatic. I don't write that to be dramatic. If only someone had offered me a guideline! The fact that I'm still here is testament to my healthy narcissism. The fact that I trusted the wrong people is testament to my unhealthy narcissism. yikes.

The recovery community (which is different from a see-me-blog or a writer's forum) is pockmarked with self-promoting narcissists who cause inestimable misery. This article is a reflection of my online experiences, the missed signs, my botched attempts to resolve problems only making matters worse because of my ignorance. I assumed anyone joining a forum and writing a blog was like myself. I hope my experiences will help people avoid the pitfalls and traps I've miserably fallen into and slowly drug my bedraggled arse out of.
"Narcissists will go where they can get an audience. There may be generational delays in the adoption of certain tools, they may become harder to spot as we all become more obsessed with ourselves...But as the road of technological progress goes ever on and on, narcissists will follow it. “If there’s an opportunity to look good, get attention, to appear attractive and to gather followers, it’s going to draw narcissists,” Campbell says, “whether it’s politics, media or social media.” ~Julie Beck, How to Spot a Narcissist Online
Most of the research about online narcissists focuses on Facebook and Twitter. Spotting a narcissist on Facebook isn't that difficult and besides, this research describes trait narcissism, not the narcissistic disorder. Research suggests the average person is a pretty darn good spotter even without studying narcissism. But normal narcissism is w-a-y different from pathological and I don't believe we can spot pathological narcissism by the updates to their profile, the number of "selfies" on their sites, or their happy-happy-joy-joy positivism bordering on the Magical Kingdom. Blogs can be healthily self-validating for people who are not narcissistic. So the problem for "followers" is not the self-promoting narcissist whose arrogance fairly struts off the page. The problem is destructive or pathological narcissism because it's not that easy to spot. Pathological narcissists "mask" their grandiosity which is why bloggers may naively support someone with a more pathological degree of narcissism than the arrogant-oblivious narcissist in their home.

I think the reason why online narcissists are dangerous to their followers is because pathological narcissism is realized in the social interactions, after we have engaged with them and most likely, given them ammunition to use against us. Narcissists may construct websites with all the right links and emotionally evocative imagery attracting a supportive audience; but they cannot sustain long-term relationships that aren't punctuated by unpredictability. Inevitably, a disaster is in the making. Or as Sandra Brown has written, "Inevitable harm." This can be crippling to those who've risked opening their hearts and their lives to online experts, bloggers and forum friends. Anonymity won't protect us from feeling shamed, silenced and betrayed by online people with whom we've developed a rapport.

Honoré Daumier
If we're blogging about pathology, at some point we'll face a critic, an accuser. This can be a bewildering mess if we assume s/he will listen to reason. If we defend ourselves, the ante will be upped. If we over-explain ourselves, s/he declares victory, becoming increasingly strident with the reward of attention and sympathy. As preposterous as we believe the conflict to be, other people (whom we wish would step in or step out, argh) are persuaded by the accuser's certainty and willingness to use aggression because:
1-they were friends with the narcissist
2-they weren't friends with you
3-they don't want to BE you; or the next in line when you're roadkill
4-they don't like your FACE or the way you capitalize random words
5-they have ptsd and cannot deal with additional STRESS
6-they deny and dissociate pretending this mess isn't happening
7-they perceive the narcissist as the victim, triggering their Inner Rescuer
8-they always thought you were a bit uppity
9-they secretly like it when uppity people are taken down a notch or two
10-they don't know what to do. That's why they read your blog and joined your forum
I moderated a NPD forum in 2003 and worked with several friends creating the Web of Narcissism in 2005. A decade of daily interaction is the experiential base from which my conclusions are drawn. As a reminder: I am not a psychologist and don't identify as a writer. I am a friend to many and that is the hallmark of my healthy recovery. I also study theoretical books about narcissism because I feel a responsibility to the people who've given me their trust. AND, I am devoted to tea in Grand Halls where we share the complexities of our lives because we all have them. Complexes, I mean.

Social Media 2014

We are lucky to live in a time when social media beckons the emergence of our True Self. 12-step groups have facilitated recovery for millions of people through the promise of anonymity; however, cyber-anonymity is even better. We should take advantage of this opportunity while keeping in mind that online recovery groups are not without risks. Some of our cyber-friends may attack us over a perceived slight so small only a narcissistic flea could see it.  Listen, I know how easy it is to see slights when you're frightened; however, normal people extend good will toward others, even when we're afraid. Being of good will and generous of spirit will keep you out of the pathology category. Being of mutual good will means any misunderstanding can be resolved because each person places a high value on relationship. And, they are willing to limit their aggression. With narcissistic people, even precious little snowflakes are pounded into bullet-hard snowballs, destabilizing the person reeling from their displaced rage. When a scapegoat is selected and archaic rage is unleashed, appealing to reason escalates the conflict. Maybe I should repeat that: When archaic rage is unleashed, appealing to reason escalates the conflict. When the pleasure of destroying another human being supersedes moral reasoning, you are witnessing destructive, pathological narcissism. 

Because screennames are easily reduced to objects, online conflicts can be ruthlessly vicious.  Do face-to-face relationships encourage us to restrain our aggressive instincts? I believe so. And this is why joining, following and participating in groups led by people with narcissistic personalities, can be dangerous to your mental health and spiritual integrity. We may find ourselves doing things we'd never have done had our cyber-friends not happily fanned the flames of the worst that is in each of us. In this case, remember that "Birds of a feather flock together". In other words: don't hang out with vultures if you don't want to get eaten.

Because of the numerous online conflicts I've either witnessed, caused or participated in, my number one top-of-the-list most detrimental narcissistic trait to watch for online is: unreasonableness.

If you don't have time to read Part Two, skip to the bottom for the Short Version. 

The Online Destructive Narcissist Continuum 
with mildly annoying to potentially dangerous traits

Honoré Daumier
To be respectful of everyone's sensitivity to this list which I fear might increase people's uncertainty, it's not one or two items that defines destructive narcissism. It's a mix of traits, patterns, reactions, and a matter of degree. I'll admit (since plenty of people have watched me fail time and time again) I've done some stupid things myself! We are each learning how to use this wonderful tool called the Internet, bringing us together and driving us apart. 

1) Unreasonableness: The State of Being Unreasonable & Disagreeable
There's an online conflict. What do we do? We try appealing to reason and we're accused of saying they're irrational or crazy. We appeal to common decency and we're accused of calling them indecent. Appeal to the betterment of the group, and they'll type, "Heil Hitler!" All three things have happened during my reign of terror over a free and non-profit forum. Unreasonable and uncompromising are indicative of a narcissistic personality because any concession is an admission of failure, of fault. 
TIP: There is no compromise when the choice is Right-Or-Wrong, Win-Or-Lose. 
2) A Hostile Display of  Ill Will 
When someone's "ill will" exceeds your comfort levels, back off. Save your integrity. Don't try to convince the narcissist to be kinder. Your suggestion will be perceived as an insult. Even offering a reasonable counter to an online dispute is a betrayal. The "ill will" that was satisfying when they were writing about narcissists, is now focused on you. And it's not very satisfying anymore. In fact, it might be traumatizing. If you have ptsd (c-ptsd), please treat yourself well and stay away from anyone displaying ill will.
TIP: There is no extension of good will extended to others; but good will is expected from others. 
3) Uses Aggression 
An unquenchable desire for revenge. In other words, you insulted me, so "off with your head!" Pathological narcissists have a talionic impulse to punish. This can be scary because there's no appeasing their lust for blood. You probably supported their attacks on other people but assumed (as we all do) that "other people" warranted such wrath. Notice that narcissistic people demand unreasonable compensation for the simplest of slights--such as asking them to follow the same rules as the rest of God's chilluns. 
Narcissists demand punishment for perceived wrongs, perceived criticisms, perceived slights. The qualifier being "perceived." In other words, the insult is in the eye of the beheader...ahem, beholder. 
Narcissists turn to authority figures to punish the perceived wrong-doer. Appealing to the group, calling child services, calling the cops, anyone with authority to punish. This includes calling on supernatural powers because who knows more about God's wishes than God's special little ear drum? What God wants, or so they tell us, is for them to punish you. "May a plague of locusts and frogs croak in your throat forevermore as fire and brimstone cleanse the earth of your unholy stench." Narcissists align themselves with authority figures, especially supernatural ones who are of course, on the narcissist's side. The short of this supernatural tale is this: their punishment far exceeds your perceived crimes. Let's just say that pathological narcissists believe in a scorched earth policy.  
TIP:  Eye-for-an-eye vengeance appeals to our inner avenger but know this---when there is no mercy for others, there is no mercy for you. 
4) Splitting: Good or Evil; Black or White
The inability to integrate a holistic view of reality, leads to injustices when narcissists perceive the self as good or righteous, and the other as bad or evil. You can tell when someone's splitting by the nonstop vitriol: verbal diarrhea. They may be perfectly sane and reasonable one second, yet the minute their grandiosity is insulted (a narcissistic injury), they turn into hateful inquisitors. The problem, and it isn't written about often enough, is that religious people are drawn into the situation without knowing that person is experiencing a psychological disorder. Splitting is typical of personality disorders---especially narcissism. 
TIP: When someone insists another human being is evil, get out your psych dictionary. Don't be caught up in the hellish world of the splitter who interprets his/her feelings as facts. Turning a saint into a sinner may seem reasonable depending on what that sinner did; but you could be a target when they feel badly about something you said or did, too. Once again, unreasonable is the standard measure of crazy, to me. (I know calling someone a "splitter" isn't very nice but it's much nicer than being called Satan's handmaiden. I wouldn't even date Satan for heavensakes!) 
5) Self-Anointed Delusions of Grandeur 
The use of astrology, past-life regression, or a spiritual experience to produce a delusion of grandeur regarding one's potential or certain superiority." ~Thomas Swan
Thomas Swan's comment deserves to stand on its own and if I could leap on a soapbox and shout, I'd grab a megaphone. Watch for bloggers/forum leader's self-deification (the Aren't-I-special-syndrome) because it is rampant on the web. Once a spiritual mystery is invoked and they convince us they are "special", we suspend our disbelief allowing critical thinking to fly out the window. Then we become sitting ducks for delusional quackery. They are so convinced of their own story that we're convinced, too. No doubt some of those quackers actually know what they're doing. Others are seduced by their own narcissism. Be cautious. Be careful. If anyone tells you a supernatural power told them to lead others out of darkness, lace up your combat boots, put on your thinking cap, and walk the other direction. no wait. run. 
TIP: Watch the cult videos on our forum's cinema. Know that all human beings (yes, you too!) are vulnerable to cults when we desperately want to believe; desperately want to find meaning in our lives. In a crisis, we are particularly vulnerable to bullshit. 
6) Unwilling to Empathize 
Some narcissists are selective empathizers. When they want to identify with someone because it's relevant to themselves, they empathize well enough. When they do not want to empathize, they don't. They can, but they won't. This has been corroborated by psychologists (see resources) and fits my experience! Once you've made the critical mistake of slighting the narcissist, you will receive no more benefit of his/her doubt, no good will, and no extension of empathy for your situation. It's a new twist on the D&D: once Devalued, empathy is Discarded. 
TIP: Don't expect the narcissist to care that you were up to your elbows in alligators and tomato sauce when s/he needed your attention and you couldn't answer her email. Pay attention when someone is unable (or unwilling) to put themselves in your shoes.   
7) Lacks Insight to the Impact of their Behavior on Others
I am sure many of you have been astounded by the narcissist's obliviousness to the way his/her behavior contributed to the problems they're railing against. You can try to reason with them, explaining why their unpredictable aggression has repelled people. The only thing that matters is how people treated them, lacking insight as to how their behavior led up to an eventual conflict. When someone rips someone a new one yet can't understand why people would be upset, the following TIP comes in handy. Memorize it:
TIP: If they can't understand it without an explanation, they won't understand it with an explanation. ~Haruki Murakami 
8) No Apology Offered 
Apologies are an admission of fault so you won't get an apology from a narcissist. Not even a tiny concession that maybe they overreacted and misinterpreted what they thought you really meant deep down inside where your inner bitch resides, when you merely wrote back, "I liked your message."
"Oh yea? What do you MEAN by that? Are you insulting my intelligence? Are you making fun of me? You are, aren't you! Don't think I can't read between the lines!"
TIP: This person is not a safe friend.  
9) Apologies Demanded from Everyone Else
On bended knee. With a lashing. Think Inquisition. Think Entitlement.
10) An Apology Does Not Elicit Mutual Accountability
You can apologize in the spirit of good will, but you will reap not what you sowed. Contrary to "normal" relationships, an apology does not lead to mutual remorse. The narcissist focuses on your admission of culpability but it won't stop there. In their minds, not only did you admit to being wrong but you intentionally tried to destroy her/him. That means you are a threat. And you are a narcissist. 
TIP: Apologies soften relationships. Apologies facilitate deeper connections. Accepting responsibility for ourselves facilitates personal growth and intimacy. 
 11) The Grandiosity Gap. Mind it
It is appropriate for people to create blogging communities based on shared learning. It is appropriate for people to study research and write about the way it applies to their situation. It is appropriate to question research after having dug deeper than a YouTube video. If someone claims to be a leader, check their bibliography and make sure they continue to do their homework. I can say this because I was so certain myself in the beginning, but I wasn't creating a healing plan for traumatized people! As they say, a little bit of knowledge is a dangerous thing. It leads to narcissistic bloggers and forum managers diagnosing everyone as narcissists IF they disagree with his/her majesty. 
TIP: If someone is writing about  narcissism and professes to know more than professional psychologists, consider their NPD website  to be an autobiography. 
12) Non Self-Disclosing 
Narcissists are defined by their propensity to talk about themselves. Pay attention though. Narcissists do not talk about things that could be used against them. Things like their innermost secrets, their imperfections, their unbearable shame. Destructive narcissists are distrusting souls, expecting people to take advantage of their revealed weaknesses. They are secretive about their behavior and thoughts whilst expecting others to open up, revealing all. That's because narcissistic people collect information, using it to demean another person if and when the time comes. And they know it will. Because in their minds, people are not to be trusted. And that is why narcissists may talk a lot but you never get to know them. This can be a warning sign for recovery communities when leaders shroud themselves in mystery, encouraging people to "transfer" their beliefs onto the leader. Transparency. Transparency. How well do your know the person you are following?
TIP: Spotting narcissists by counting first-person pronouns is a fallacy on recovery forums and blogs. Traumatized/abused people have a fragmented self. They aren't sure who they are, or what they think having survived an invalidating environment where their individuality was perceived to be a threat. The capital "I" is an excellent way to Know Ourselves, assert our worth, and admit to having an unabashed big, fat opinion. If people are not using "I" in recovery communities, they aren't doing their self-work!  
TIP: "We predicted that narcissistic people who used relatively few first-person singular pronouns (e.g., ‘‘I,’’ and ‘‘me’’) would display more self-promoting and sexy images of themselves on their Facebook.com profile pages...and would use more profane and aggressive words in an online self-descriptive task...Both studies supported this hypothesis." ~DeWall (see resources)
13) No Credit. No Validation. You Do Not Exist  
In contrast to the generous spirit, stingy spirits are always in competition with others. To maintain one's superiority and deny their envy is to act as if other people don't exist. Narcissistic bloggers pretend they're unique. Professionals have done a similar thing. Layfolk have been talking about narcissism for more than a decade when a psychologist comes along claiming our terms as his own. Why not credit the lay community for dedicating enormous amounts of time and effort into helping themselves? To me (and maybe this is my narcissism talking), professionals who downplay the incredible work that's been done and is being done by laypeople, should question the degree their arrogance might play in their dismissive attitude towards laypeople. 
TIP: Check their resources. Look for a blogger's lists of friends, the people they're learning with. There may be a different purpose for blogging such as marketing a book in which case they should STILL list the people contributing to their education and recovery! If they don't have an honest list of links or have obviously appropriated other people's work, I don't read them. It's that simple. No (wo)man is an island; unless s/he is an oblivious, ungrateful, and competitive narcissist. 
14) Appropriates Credibility 
Narcissistic people feel entitled to exploit other people's work. It's on the web. It's easy. It's theirs for the taking. In fact, if they read it more than once, they believe it IS theirs for the taking. So ask yourself how much time has this author invested in his/her blog? How much of their site has been reproduced? Don't dismiss the value of websites collating articles, though. Many readers don't have enough time to browse the Internet for useful articles. What is completely ludicrous however are websites comprised of other people's articles yet plastered with copyright warnings. How can someone who has copied 99.9% of the articles on their blog, threaten legal action should anyone copy her copied blog that was copied from other people's websites. Somebody 'splain that one to me, please. If that's not narcissism, I'll eat my keyboard. 
TIP: Look for original content. Reblogging is more and more common so a mix of both is normal. However, if someone regularly posts other people's work, be careful you don't transfer the authority of the article to the person who did NOT write it. Think exploitation.

15) Accuses Others of Stealing THEIR Ideas and Thoughts
In online communities, new ideas are universally realized in a thousand different places in the world at the same time. This topic comes up frequently when blogger X claims to have originated an idea that blogger Z was writing about five years ago. Another example: a forum manager was accused of stealing a member's idea for a word game that yes, had been played on sites longer than than the member had been potty-trained. People with narcissistic personalities are paranoid someone will benefit from their efforts. They are loath to share, reluctant to collaborate, and frighteningly territorial. Their copyright notice will be underscored with legal action and you may even see threatening logos plastered on their sites. Sharing is not a narcissistic trait. They may delete everything they've written in fear someone will benefit from their ideas.  
Their inordinate fear of being taken advantage of might even lead to threatening close friends with lawsuits if she perceives any similarities of style. Not that I'd know anything about that particular scenario.......
TIP: Even close friendships are expendable with territorial (delusional) narcissists. 
Honoré Daumier
16) Shit stirrers (provocative people)
If someone enjoys being a horse's ass and adding to the stress and misery people are dealing with, they're shit stirrers, plain and simple. 
Narcissists divide groups into "camps", spoiling camaraderie and mutual trust. They message people privately and even if they don't criticize whomever the poor authority figure might be, they covertly undermine his/her authority. This threatens people's faith and trust in the group. Narcissists divide-and-conquer communities, pitting people against one another, forging destructive alliances with Rescuers and peacekeepers.  
Drama is fun for shit-stirrers and besides,  it breaks the monotony and boredom. It might even be fun for others too, because a little schadenfreude can perk up everyone's day. But the chaos that makes narcissists feel alive and "in control" kills the community spirit for non-narcissists. Non-narcissists end up feeling guilty and ashamed of themselves because "fun is fun. And done is done." 
TIP: When the fun is done and it's time to clean up the mess, you can be sure the narcissist won't be holding the bucket. 
TIP: Triangulation is deadly to community so watch for cliques that may turn into bully brigades. Don't participate in groups that justify behavior they deem contemptible for narcissists, but NOT for themselves.    
17) The Hyper-Sensitive
Misreading people's words is a common problem for narcissistic people who don't question their perceptions. All of us have moments when we're more sensitive than usual, but the healthy difference is our ability to extend good will, our ability to forgive. If someone tells us they weren't referring to us per se when they wrote about jackasses, we accept them at their word. If they apologize for being rude, we forgive.  No one in a recovery community is a full-time angel. But don't be surprised when years later, a hyper-sensitive person brings up the jackass comment on their shitlist. They haven't gotten over it and never will. We're extra sensitive during crisis so while we are stabilizing ourselves emotionally and restoring our self-esteem, we need to remember that We Will Make Mistakes. And that is a-ok if you're surrounded by people of good will.
TIP: The extension of good will and apologies will hold us steady while we restore our equilibrium. If you do not see these pro-social behaviors in an online community or blog, don't join. 
18) Image Managers Delete and Edit Texts 
It's challenging writing a narrative and feeling so exposed, so uncertain of what we've written that we delete our text. We jokingly called this "The Deletes" because so many "newbies" have done this. They write about the unspeakable and then chicken-out and delete what they've written. I totally understand it! The Deletes still serve as a perfectly fine method for "sneaking up on the truth." However, what makes someone narcissistic is when they REVISE reality by changing the context of the text after readers have commented. A revision of the original post make readers look wackadoo when the triggering paragraph disappears. For most people, editing content is not a narcissistic trait. It's more likely to be insecurity with a yuckily low self-esteem. When the revisions continue to happen, it's Image Management. 
TIP: If you see this happening on a regular basis and your comments aren't in sync with the article, you aren't going crazy. That blogger isn't quite yet ready for prime time.  
19) Altruism is Not a Narcissistic Trait
Altruists don't hold people hostage because they wrote an article that benefited the group and now they want their Pay Back. Narcissists GIVE to GET. Watch how much time and energy people invest in others without demanding something back. You will know people were Giving To Get when you hear this: "After ALL I've done for you and you dare disagree?" You will also know the true altruist from the fake by what they get other people to do for them. And boy do I have stories about that! Just call me little Ms. Fetch-and-Do-It! 
TIP: Mutual reciprocity is key to healthy relationships, being able to receive as well as give.
20) Idealizes Agentic Traits; Devalues Communal Traits  
Narcissistic people place high value on individuality. Their status as a unique individual will always be more important than the effect of their behavior on others. Being tough-minded, ambitious, self-reliant, and independent trumps communal values like mutuality, loyalty, compassion, interdependence and forgiveness. You won't hear narcissists say, "Isn't it terrible that my x-wife calls me a domineering rat bazturd!" To the agentic, independent and dominant narcissist, that's strength! He's a winner! 
TIP: When agentic traits are valued disproportionately to communal traits, appeals to the common good carry no weight in settling disputes.  
21) DARVO: Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim & Offender
When narcissistic people are caught red-handed and held accountable for their misdeeds, they "turn the tables" by attacking their accuser(s). They claim to be the real victim being persecuted by an offender. They accomplish this amazing feat with: 1) overstated denial and self-righteousness; 2) ad hominem attacks; 3) secondary arguments and derailing; 5) blame-shifting; 6) gaslighting; 7) high-intensity emotional reactions. 
Narcissists are persuasive blamers (Bill Eddy) which means they are highly adept at garnering support. "It didn't happen, but if it did, it wasn't that bad" or "It rarely happens, but when it does it isn't harmful." ~"What is Darvo" by Jenifer Freyd
22) Nice Does Not Mean Weak or Stupid 
It also doesn't mean FAKE. Nice means lots of things: kindness, caring, supportive, validating, spiritual; i.e.: the gentle people. The type of people we call "genuine". But a sad number of people believe strength lies in a display of dominance, aggression, cynicism and rudeness. Why wouldn't they think that? Narcissistic societies revere agentic traits, downplaying niceness and agreeableness as weaknesses. In fact, this research articles says "...individuals may actually be repelled by non-narcissists. Occasionally, for example, in participants’ narrative accounts, non-narcissists were described as too nice." (Campbell, Foster and Finkel) 
I have another thought about "niceness" repelling people because the truth is that narcissists appeared to be "nice," too. Above nice--as in too good to be true nice. Until they weren't. So perhaps one reason people don't trust "nice" people, is because they were duped by a narcissist disarming them with niceness.
TIP: My 21st sign of online destructive narcissists is that they are not nice people. They appear to be tough-minded, hard-nosed, uncompromising and strong, powerful to the powerless. Such displays of domination are agentic traits they value because this is what society values. Underneath that tough veneer is an insecure person who cannot bear even the perception of a slight without self-destructing. It may be entertaining (certainly distracting) when a tough-talking loud-walking leader tears another person down. But only when it's another person. Only when it's not you. 

Whew! That was quite a list! And believe it or not, this article was cut in half. Part Three will be A Case Study based on a prime time real time online conflict. I think it'll be titled: "What not to do."

For those who want the Short Version

Watch for the following traits and/or behaviors in any online blogging community or forum: 

hostility and aggression (ill will)
rage and anger, especially displaced aggression (bullying)
excessive need for attention and admiration (shit stirrers) 
superiority (expects special treatment)
grandiosity incommensurate to abilities and achievements
envy (if you can't beat 'em, pretend they don't exist)
inability or unwillingness to empathize
hypersensitivity and extreme reactions to criticism and failure 
distrust, suspicion, unforgiving, punishing (retaliation)
the inability to resolve conflict
the inability to resolve conflict
the inability to resolve conflict

Good luck. Safe Surfing. May the Force Be With You!

Part Two:  Online Narcissists: A Case Study Called PuppyGate

Part Three: Cyber-Trolls and Trolling: just doin' it for the lulz!


Take the The Narcissistic Personality Inventory

Buffardi. "Narcissism and the World Wide Web." The Handbook of Narcissism and the Narcissistic Personality Disorder by Campbell and Miller. (page 376)

Bushman and Baumeister. Threatened Egotism, Narcissism, Self-Esteem, and Direct and Displaced
Aggression: Does Self-Love or Self-Hate Lead to Violence?

Elsa Ronningstam. Empathy and NPD

Julie Beck. The Atlantic. How to Spot a Narcissist Online 

Laura E. Buffardi and W. Keith Campbell. Social Networking Web Sites


  1. It's fucking classic that a bunch of bloggers who give themselves awards for being the most brilliant bloggers in history are writing about bloggers who are narcissists.

    Doesn't get more hypocritical than that.

    1. And right on cue! Anonymous, demonstrating exactly what CZ is talking about! gotta love it.

    2. >Doesn't get more hypocritical than that.

  2. Dear CZ,
    Wow. What a piece of work this is. An incredible guide, resource, set of reflections, and superbly written and thought through. I'll have more to say later; but "the short version" now: brava. I know you hate it when I say this, but this is the work of a someone who has mastered her craft, by years of work, research, trial and error, refining, experience, rethinking, learning, growing. What a gift to offer this to your readers. I will admit to being blown away and I don't care who thinks I'm sucking up! Thank you for writing this, for all of us, and thank you for the gift of your strong, eloquent, honest ethical voice. love CS

    1. Hi CS! I couldn't decide which comment to keep since you wrote two, not realizing I'm screening comments before they get posted. I switched to moderated comments after a ridiculous spam business posted a dozen comments a day, selling some African Doctor's magic love potions. I'll make those spammers a "free" love potion and they'll be seeing stars for months after my Habenero Sauce hits their colons. It's so irritating isn't it?!!

      Aside from spammers, thank you for reading through my article and recognizing how much time I put into writing something that will hopefully help people avoid bloggers like the first commenter on my post. ;-P My dear daughter listened to my reasoning for this article and watched me skip dinner to finish writing it last night. So when the first comment came in, she read it and said, "Hey anonymous. Welcome to the point!"

      If I had five cents for every time someone has called me a narcissist, I wouldn't have to budget my heat bill. Most people don't call me a psychopath which is a relief, although there was one time.......but that's another post!

      I have so many stories it could be a book and I'm serious. But to all those reading this post and wondering if you want to expose yourself to harassment by unknown, unsigned, anonymous people, I have met the most remarkable people one could hope to meet in their lifetime. I have become good face-to-face friends with many people I met online but I'm thinking maybe that first poster won't be one of them. But hey, you never know!

      We had a huge altercation in cyberspace back in 2005 and danged if some of the people didn't become longlasting friends once the shit-stirrers had shown their true colors and disappeared---leaving others to clean up the mess, of course.

      And as usual, signing off with love. CZ

    2. ps CZ: is there an award for "most brilliant bloggers in history"? Because we only got Slayer nominations; if there's an award for "most brilliant in history," we wiz robbed--better get on that, stat!

    3. It's been such a lovely experience validating the hard work people have done with the "Slayer Award." I don't think most of us expect to be recognized for the effort we've put into our websites. We just do it because it needs to be done and who better to help people understand pathology?

      I have loved being part of this validating group of bloggers who not only recognize each other's hard work, they're strong enough to validate each other! It amazes me what's happened on the web the past ten years.

  3. You are a good writer, you know. Thanks for this plethora of knowledge and study. I am just learning all the nuances that is pathological narcissism; there are many. I have had many narcissists in my life, but I have never felt as though I were a victim of their narcissism. That has been fortunate for me. I just had a great deal of trouble identifying the problem, because these people all looked so different so I thought they were different. I love your blog and you obviously put a great deal of work into it. I will be revisiting this post to take in all the information you have so generously supplied. Thank you! Warmly, Valda

    1. Hello Valda! How nice to meet you! Especially since you complimented me. I like that. Who doesn't?Would you like some home canned salsa? Now THERE'S something I'm really good at! ha!

      Narcissism is such a huge topic, you can't read enough to satisfy your questions. We started out talking about the NPD and from there, we've moved onto normal narcissism. It's been a learning curve for everyone, even professionals. And all along the way, people have generously written about their personal experiences, offering suggestions about what worked and what didn't. The lay-public has been phenomenal in dealing with NPD based on very little information and in my view, we all deserve to stand up and "take a bow" for contributing whatever we could to the common good.

      I still maintain relationships with narcissistic people but when you understand the limitations they live with everyday, it's easier to deal with the conflicts. The most dangerous problem in society is when people do not understand pathology and assume the narcissist operates in the same reality as themselves. My X used to tell me all the time that he wished he lived in my world because to him, it was Disneyland compared to the jungle in his mind (Eat or Be Eaten). It has taken ten years for me to grasp the meaning of his words.

      Please visit anytime. I'd love to hear from you again!


  4. Thanks so much for sharing this CZ. It is an incredible resource, and the list applies as much to "off-line" life ;) I truly appreciate the amount of work it must have taking you to compile such a comprehensive list. This will be a very valuable tool to refer to time and time again. It brings things into great clarity when you can see it all written down like that.
    Dealing with the behaviour you describe in the post has been a learning experience for me which, although challenging at first, ultimately, it gave me more confidence when it came to deal with the Narcissistic behaviours of FOO, friends and acquaintances. I guess "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger", hey.
    Kara xx

    1. Forgot to say, that I really loved the paintings you used for illustration. They're so fitting.

    2. What Kara said. LOVE Daumier (and Kruikshank). Daumier is perfect for this post.

    3. Hi Kara! I knew you'd chime in and thank you for being a good friend, always there to support me and others. ;-) Blogging can be a healthy tool for self-understanding and as I mentioned in my article: self-affirming. Self-validating. I don't know about other people but even though I resisted creating a blog (cuz most of my recovery work was in forums), I'm beginning to understand myself more and more through the topics I've felt compelled to write about. After writing this article, it dawned on me that some people blog to be "seen" and some people blog to "see" themselves.

      You have been a kind and supportive friend and I am so grateful we've come to know one another's true character. Love you, CZ

      p.s. Daumier was perfect for this article. I really love scanning art galleries for just the right' picture! AND, I'm becoming familiar with "the masters", another positive thing about blogging!

  5. It is good I read all the comments before I write mine. I wanted to say something to you CZ, but Calibans Sister has already said it all! So I just say I agree with CS.
    This article is exactly what I needed right now. I was pounding about writing back to you that your replies to my story have helped me understand my situation better. But I think my partner can sense it and I think he feels really uncomfortable with this, because he changes almost every few hours in his behavior. This distracts me a lot from more important things. So I understood more traits, but not quite yet. So long story short; I went back to this forum to find out more in my desperation and here is this remarkable, factual explanation of every narcissistic trait and most of all 'why`. This takes me 10 steps forward. That doesn't mean I have learned yet to respond to him in the correct manner though, but that is a matter of practice in combination with self-knowledge I think. I still have to get that book you recommended to me.
    This is the best article about narcissism ever written! Yes, your writing is brilliant (this is not only a compliment, it is a fact)! Thank you again CZ .

    S Anonymous

    1. Hello dear "S". I recognize you from other comments. You've put so much energy into understanding NPD and finding ways to cope with a narcissistic partner. It's not easy even when our hearts are committed to 'saving' the relationship.

      You don't have to decide overnight (nor will he change overnight) so take it slow. Recognize your own feelings, how you are "hooked" by him. This period of your life can be a valuable self-awareness experience, too.

      And thank you, I'm grateful to have written something that helps you understand what you're up against so you can take good care of YOU. Confusion about someone's behavior keeps us stuck---information liberates us. Your curiosity and willingness to learn will keep you on the right track. Hopefully, your partner will be willing to follow suit!


  6. "The most dangerous problem in society is when people do not understand pathology and assume the narcissist operates in the same reality as themselves. My X used to tell me all the time that he wished he lived in my world because to him, it was Disneyland compared to the jungle in his mind (Eat or Be Eaten). "
    CZ, this article is enlightening and helpful. But this comment above really struck a chord with me. This seems to be at the crux of my relationships with my narcs. I've been trying to maintain relationships with people that live in parallel but completely different realities from the one I live in. And my narcs, unfortunately, do not have enough insight to realize that I live in a different reality. They assume that I operate in exactly the same way as them. And this in congruency makes any sort of real relationship impossible.

    1. Hi Jessie! It's lovely to hear from you. <3

      A great book for understanding narcissism is "Disarming the Narcissist" by Wendy T. Behary. She practices Schema Therapy and her insights can be particularly helpful for those of us seeking understanding. If we are dealing with a hostile malignant narcissist, maybe not; but the majority of us are not dealing with that degree of pathology. There are no malignant narcissists in my life today which allows me to be less defensive and more compassionate with narcissistic people. When a malignant narcissist is destroying your life, about the only thing people can do to protect themselves is "no contact."

      I wonder if you could talk casually about schemas with the narcissists in your life? Not focusing on their schemas of course, but yours. This is how conversations with my X began, when I was in therapy and openly discussing my beliefs. Such as my response to Einstein's question (supposedly): "Is the universe friendly or not?" My X could not believe i didn't see life as "Eat or Be Eaten." This was the first realization we had that our perceptions were polar opposites. He said the universe was predatory and I said it was nice. We were both wrong. hahaha

      What this helped me do as his wife (not that it changed the outcome) is recognize his fear which I had 'mocked' to some degree because I didn't understand. The level of fear he lived with day in and day out (fear of failure; the need to WIN at all costs) softened my heart. But I lacked the Rest Of The Story such as the inability to bond to people, etc.

      There isn't anything WE can do to change the schema in someone else's head but we can prevent conflicts from escalating because we 'understand.' As I mentioned though, ending the relationship may be the only option if that person is unreasonable. You simply cannot expose yourself to hostility without losing your joy and your self-respect. It wears people down bit-by-bit and even as TERRIFIC as their boundaries may be, NO ONE can live with that degree of insult.

      IF someone believes the world is Predator-Prey without allowing for alternative views, no matter what you say, no matter how you explain yourself, they will NOT believe you. They will think (as I mentioned on #21), that YOU are pretending so they'll let their guard down AND then, you'll GET 'EM. You can't work with that mentality and if someone is thoroughly convinced their perceptions are right, there is NOTHING you can do to convince them you have a kind heart and would never intentionally hurt them. As you wrote, "the incongruency makes any sort of real relationship impossible."


  7. Have you heard of Melissa McEwan of Shakeville? It's a abusive blog posing as a safe space. I see many of her characteristics in your list.


    1. I have not heard of McEwan's forum. Did you participate in her forum and if so, what tipped you off that she was taking advantage of forum members? Usually, people are so grateful for the counsel and support they've been given, that they want to GIVE back. This is what destructive narcissists know about people and they take full advantage of it.

      I will most definitely read the link you provided. Thank you!

    2. well............I thought the name was familiar and yes, indeed, I have heard of Melissa McEwan. Someone I respect sent me her link as a good resource for learning about feminism. Looks like its time for me to dig a little deeper. :-) Any other links or information to share? I can be reached here: wonmanagers@yahoo.com

    3. Hi CZBZ. I sent you some links. :) It's a hushmail.com address.

    4. ETA: I used to comment there, but I became disgusted at the abuse, and afraid to comment for fear of drawing their wrath. I started poking around, and it was the SF_Drama post at LiveJournal that cinched it for me.

  8. I know this is about Narc blogs, but reminds me of my ex best friend...Lis often threatens and see's any slightly different oppinion as a threat. She'll be nice when encouraging you too donate, but not nice when you come to her for help. THESE days. Lis also shit stirs against other feminists, she threw one of her own under the bus when they told her to not change her name. He ill will is that all Criticism is Bad Faith, and she made her blog a "safe space".

    1. My article applies to any blog or website where a community forms. How people relate to one another is key and we should pay attention to not only the 21 Signs above---but Our Guts. Our Intuition. Usually people say they "knew" something wasn't right about the group or leader. They didn't have any knowledge as to why, so they couldn't ACT on their intuition.

      Now we have useful information to make sense of the bizarre or 'cult-like' behaviors people experience with narcissistic leaders. I hope everyone reading this article will use the information to help themselves avoid hostile groups/communities. No space is SAFE if people are not allowed to disagree without threat of rejection, banning, expulsion from the group. Let me add though: disagreement must be civil.

      I experienced the tyrannical control of a forum leader who banned without explanation or warning. This replicates the dynamics of the narcissistic family, initiating a sort of "repetition compulsion" to repeat the same dysfunctional behaviors we learned as children (ACoNs). We have to be careful we aren't falling into the same roles we played in a narcissistic family.

      It's tempting to be attracted to the drama. In recovery groups, drama distracts us from ourselves, our situations. This can be a relief for a short time but its not something to be emulated if we want healthy relationships with others and ourselves. I know that some leaders write intentionally provocative articles and comments because they get attention. Their 'views' increase and their blog/website attracts more traffic. A pretty insensitive thing to do---especially on sites where 'traumatized' people seek support and information.

  9. Thunk. That's my head hitting the desk. Ouch. This is so brilliant, CZ. You have covered all the bases in my opinion.

    i do know that any 'success' that a writer, etc, has, always comes under attack by some people. Usually family who are the nest of vipers...ah...narcissists. This has been my short experience. The longer experience was that we are unbalanced, thrown off, by the attacks of narcissists..some posing as 'friends', mentors, advisors, and even therapists. All this has happened to me. However, 6 years ago a real patho up in Montreal (CZ, you read his blog once at my request) did the most damage...because I didn't yet know really the ins and outs of pathological narcissism. It almost cost me my life. That isn't drama queen me talking....I was so convinced (by him) that my life had no sense of worth or being that suicide was the only possible way of stopping this pain. Never mind the destruction of my marriage....My life was in the balance. The gun was loaded and I was ready to die. His readers (some of them...many of them actually) chimed in and followed me to my blog and continued his work. I was determined NOT to shut down my writer/poetry blog, which was his endgame for me bolting from his dominance over my life. The damage was so extreme that I still haven't been able to talk to my therapist for all these years about what happened.

    Bullying comes in many shapes. 15 years ago I wrote a comment, a query on M.Scott Peck's website about my mother...and my dumb as a cow sisterinlaw (whom I had never met) copied it and sent it to my mother. You can imagine what happened. We have been alienated for those years, but in that time I have learned about narcissism...destructive and pathological.

    I have no answers, but keeping on. Wrap yourself in your abilities and talents. Have the Courage to Create. Read, read, read. In fact, Rollo May wrote a book called "Courage to Create". This helped. Narcissists, like the ones I have experienced....mother and this psycho in Montreal....suck you dry because they have no real creative courage. They only have destructiveness at their core. They are broken and only fill themselves with the pain of others because they enjoy it so much. It is fuel to them.

    Love, Lady Nyo


    1. Hi Lady Nyo,

      I remember reading his blog and the hostility you dealt with as a result of 'trusting' an online narcissist. It was vicious and when you were reeling from the attack, they did not back down as "normal" people do.The aggression increased by enlisting recruits, the folks we call "Flying Monkeys". But you did not back down nor give up and its good to know your marriage survived, too! It is very hard to explain to other people, how traumatic cyber-bullying can be.

      I thought of #22 that is not on the list but will be soon: DARVO. That stands for Deny, Attack, Reverse Victim Order. Online bullies justify their behavior by accusing their victim (scapegoat) of "victimizing them." That may not have happened in your case since I wasn't there for the initial onslaught and can't remember.

      I also appreciate your comment about Familial Bullying. Can we come up with a clever name for that behavior? What absolutely STUNS me about your sisterinlaw finding your comment on Peck's website is that she'd GIVE IT to your mother!! Kinda like what happened to me, eh?

      If I were to find one of my siblings writing about family dysfunction, doing their best to come to grips with it and move forward, I certainly wouldn't "stir the shit". Whenever something like that happens, it puts me in the mind of "cult" behavior when people Turn Their Neighbors In to the leader. Do they do this out of a sick kind of loyalty? The need to punish? As a means to make themselves look better, be of higher status? I don't know, I just know it's not what I consider to be normal behavior. If what someone has written would be hurtful, why repeat it?

      What lousy boundaries, too. If the author of the comment wanted to confront the person she was writing about, that would be her right and her decision. To take it upon oneself to "report in" to the family is not only a violation of boundaries, it's sadistic. It also reminds me of the games children play, tattletelling on their schoolmates.

      You have made several comments about 'creativity'---Matthew Fox as I recall and now Rollo May. Did they inspire you to start writing or have you always been a writer? Did you find that creative endeavors increased your self-esteem and improved your sense of worth? That's always such a problem for people raised in narcissistic families or partnered with narcissists.


    2. Man, I agree with both of you. Sick behavior, finding your comments/posts and "turning them over" to the family narcs. Twisted. Triangulation is the hallmark of bullying, and dysfunctional FOOs (including FOO in-laws). I can't believe Lady N that you were driven to the point of seriously considering suicide by such bullying. thank GOD you toughed it out. No one should ever have that kind of power over someone else. love CS

  10. I wrote obsessively for 7 years. It was like something was chasing me. Now I know what it was: it was the voices of my family who said that "I would never be published" that I was no writer, that I basically was nothing. (I was the scapegoat). It was the contempt of co-workers, 'friends', etc...other poets/writers. I had to prove something to myself. I shaped myself into a form of 'success'. I don't think that this is the best way to go about it. I lost myself in writing novels, short stories, poetry and 'proved' myself (?????) in publishing 4 books in 5 years. This isn't good. It takes the pleasure out of writing. You are trying to quiet the voices of others who say you are nothing and will never amount to anything. But! Along the way, these creative endeavors did go a long way to establish a ( very broken )self-esteem and to find a sense of worth.

    But I am angry now. I am angry that anyone has to work so damn hard to just feel a sense of self worth. This isn't healthy. I may be productive, and I am....with two more books to be published later this year, but we shouldn't feel that we are failures by the rejection of family narcissists and all the others out there. This unbalance within ourselves, ACONs is the real poisoned fruit of Narcissism. We carry wounds that bleed with insults, injuries to the psyche and with malicious behavior by others.

    At first, I hated Matthew Fox because he is such a deep Christian. With the fundamentalism by my brothers and sisterinlaws....I couldn't see the forest of Fox from the rotted saplings of my family. Or something like that. Now? I can relax and embrace what he says about creativity and where it comes from. Everyone (maybe) is given talents, but creativity is our Encounter with opposition, and what we can fashion from this. Talents and creativitgy isn't the same thing. One is passive and one is very active. Fundamentalism, whether religious or academic, etc...is the death of creativity. It is powered by Fear. And creativity is Courage, not fear. I backed into creativity. It was my attempts to claim myself. I have been a painter for over 30 years, and now I move into writing. There are NO CHINESE WALLS between disciplines...all feed into each other. But we have to learn this by finding courage to investigate. Rollo May and Otto Rank and Fox are three great writers on creativity and courage. I think they speak directly to the woundedness that we all carry as children from narcissistic families.

    At the same time, we have to find a balance and not always be on 'go' with our attempts towards a constant creativity. We have to have down periods....time....that Via Negativa....to sit and ponder and attempt to make sense of the journey.

    Love, Lady Nyo

    1. Lady Nyo: "You are trying to quiet the voices of others who say you are nothing and will never amount to anything. But! Along the way, these creative endeavors did go a long way to establish a ( very broken )self-esteem and to find a sense of worth. "

      I always fess up to not identifying as a writer because it isn't something I aspired to be/do. It is something however, that I fell in to after discovering an NPD forum and receiving validation from fellow board members. But since I am extremely hard on myself, setting expectations far too high to ever achieve, and diminishing my successes the way dutiful women of my era were supposed to do, I shy away from calling myself a writer. I know without any doubt that you SEE me. And you won't let me do that because you understand from whence this self-criticism comes and I thank you for your generous persistence urging me stop clinging to the wall where I've bloomed for several years.

      I have believed my greatest creativity was keeping the family together each time it fell apart. Then the destroyer was eliminated and there was lots of free time to devote to other creative adventures, like the web. Like running a forum, something that has connected me to the world in ways I've yet to see or understand. So writing, whether I call myself a writer or not, has been my salvation. It has been a blessing to have the talent to put my experiences and observations into words.

      As you wrote in the quote I clipped above, writing to people on the web silences the voice of my X who mocked me, suggesting I could work at McDonalds after three decades of supporting his career. Improving on my ability to articulate the intricacies of narcissistic abuse in a way that alleviates other people's "silence" too, has raised my self-esteem and confidence. We can't do that by ourselves. We must have an environment allowing us to converse with other people and when we start putting our experiences and feelings in to words, it's a relief and it's terrifying at the same time.

      I have always been creative (you should see my home) and you make an excellent point about there being NO CHINESE WALLS between disciplines. Thank you for that.

      Love, CZ

    2. Jesus, CZ. Your X suggested McDonald's? Well where is he now? Fishing himself to death, and oh, drinking? You are an extraordinary writer because a) you're talented and b) you're honest. Same with you, Lady N. I believe that without honesty, self-honesty and honesty about others, there is no such thing as good writing. Both of you have that ability to face the pain and write it, in one way or another. Not mask it or pretty it up, but actually shape it. That's creativity and talent. That's genuine writing. xo CS

  11. One other point: Isolation. Enjoy it. You can't create when you have a family that is constantly putting you down. You have to cultivate a space that is not violated by anyone. I went No Contact with my mother three years ago because I finally, after 6 decades realized that things would never get better. She is 93 and like people here have said: Narcissists don't improve with age. LOL! You don't want to develop a 'thick skin' you want to be open to the Universe, other people, the great gifts of life, but you have to choose wisely. ACONs don't choose wisely until we are forced to learn to do so. Within that space of Isolation, it is sacred. You develop confidence and self-worth through the wonderful things you find you can create. Be kind to others, listen, sympathize, but cherish your energies and space. This leads to a fertile ground for your creativity.

    Lady Nyo

    1. You have faced your inner and outer critic with great courage and rather than backing down and silencing yourself, you've published your voice to the world. I can hear the poem you recently published on your blog in this comment. About something warm beneath the ice...a haunting poem that lingers in my imagination terrifying as well as comforting me.

  12. Hi CZ,
    This is a great post with a lot of insight into narcissism evolving with technology. As mentioned above, this list is applicable to the offline world. With the online world there comes the advantages and disadvantages of new channels of developing connections. Online connections are connections - which have not been developed in the traditional way man knows of - but still cause the same grief, shame and hurt, etc. With any connection (even with its lacking certain elements) the same amount of thought needs to go into it. And the disadvantage comes from the illusion that whats lacking is a gain in something else - when that isn't really case.

    Thank you so much for sharing this and putting it together, this is very helpful for any kind of online writer.

    Hugs, TR

    1. Hi TR! I hope this article will serve as a guideline for people seeking "connections" on the web. Internet communication is challenging. We will tick someone off, say the wrong thing at the wrong time and end up insulting people without meaning to. If there's no generosity of spirit or empathy for the challenges people face conversing online, then we're in trubblesville. If that person has a narcissistic personality, we'll probably have a Hate Blog written about us. YIKES I've met some crazy people in cyberspace.

      And face-to-face. But at least face-to-face relationships stifle bonfires and hold people accountable for carrying matches. Being the object of someone's disaffection is a traumatic experience and I've suffered through some nasty stuff online. Not that I didn't deserve to be criticized for the way I mishandled a few situations (its a learning process!); but the punishment was an attempt to utterly destroy me and my work on the web. That is much much too easy to do in cyberspace. At this point, there isn't much any one can do when someone attacks us in cyberspace making it the perfect place for narcissistic people to Act On their rage.

      It might be interesting to think about how people are affected by the normalization of narcissism on the web, too! Thanks for stopping by and for reading!

      Hugs back,

    2. Hi CZ,
      So true, face to face has more accountability, while online helps us open up in ways we couldn't face to face. That self regulation with regard to accountability plays that role in distinguishing destructive narcissism - #8. It doesn't happen online either.

      Your experience and knowledge has been so helpful. xx TR
      PS It is a learning process, indeed!

  13. I'm with TR! She has it right, the advantages of the internet, and of course, the pitfalls, too.

    But! I never aspired to be a writer, or a poet, or anything except a woman who could paint a little. But life, as you know, CZ...doesn't give us these self-limitaitons. Something deep calls from within, regardless the trauma, the present circumstance, the trolls around us that don't want any success for their particular scapegoat. Obviously something very deep (and healthy!) was within YOU, and you answered the call not of yourself, but of all the other woman (and some men) who were struggling with this very deep issue of narcissism. I can't think of any pathology that has more 'fingers' in the pie of life except this. It just goes on and on, expanding our knowledge.

    The thing that has bothered me over the last few years, when I became conscious of it, is that we can get stuck at a particular stage of knowledge. We can become 'experts' on this narcissism subject, can follow the strings ...connect the dots. But the recovery? Where and how is that obtained? The destruction of the self...which is the 'fruit' of the narcissist...parent or spouse, can leave us without a forward push. It can leave us too long in the darkness of our experience. How do we actualize ourselves, to use a too common phrase? It's different for all of us, I believe, but I do think that we have to find the courage to extract ourselves. And this isn't a passive or easy thing to do. Creativity comes from our encounter with opposition. That it isn't formed in a vacuum...our healing. It's an active thing. YOu have proved that very much over the past 10 years, CZ. And you are also too hard on yourself, as am I. I see this Creativity as the bread crumbs out of the scary woods of our lives. LOL!

    Yeah, and my ex also said that I was only worth what money I could bring in. He hadn't worked (perpetual student) for the last 10 years of our 13 year marriage. So, we have a lot to get over...literally climb over.

    Regardless what you think, CZ....you ARE a writer..and more so, you have taken all of us to a higher plane in your struggle to make something 'sane' about this narcissism issue. Those voices that are in our past....as long as we keep them there...and that is hard...will fade. We go on to better things. Life is just that way.

    Hugs, LN

    1. Even as a young child, there was something curiously wrong with people who didn't care about the impact they had on others...the people we now call "narcissists." When I first began learning about narcissism, it was as if God pointed his finger my way and said, "Let There be Light." And there was.

      Recognizing narcissism as pathological, illuminated my entire life! What do you think of that? I realize people dislike "labels" and are concerned about armchair psychological diagnoses berating, punishing and rejecting other people. Or even hurting themselves if they're diagnosed with NPD. But for myself, this knowledge restored my self-esteem and my self-confidence because it cleared up my confusion. This sounds a bit ridiculous but it made me feel sane. I could sort through the confusing experiences I'd had as a child and adult when people I cared about were narcissistic. And I could better protect myself in knowing their projections were theirs, not mine to own, fix or cure.

      So when you talk about creativity as the bread crumbs out of the scary woods, the WoN Forum was my divine inspiration---the desire to create connections after disconnection. When when we don't understand our experience, we feel isolated and perhaps self-loathing. I am so grateful for the Internet that I practically skip to my computer desk each day. ha! And THAT is a sight to see when you're 62 years old and not exactly light as a feather.

      I have been ruminating on your recent comments on my blog and your patience with my resistance to call myself a writer. I guess I am because I write every single day, reaching out to people and making connections that are far more important than anything I might say! I didn't realize how fundamental "connection" was to mental health and spiritual welfare until my idea-of-family fell apart. And so, I learned to type. ha!

      As far as my X goes, I've pretty much worked through his ridiculousness and his contempt. It's like telling a story when I write about him now, with only an occasional moment of sorrow and almost no self-blame. I know that writing about my thoughts, feelings and experiences was "healing" for me...it may not be for everyone although through the past decade, people have experienced the same relief, the same healthy process through writing. But then again, people who are not drawn towards writing-as-a-process, probably aren't on forums or blogs.

      Because opening ourselves to other people online is part of the healing process, we need guidelines for choosing which groups will allow us to be vulnerable; and which groups are increasing (or maintaining) our defenses. I hope my contributions about online narcissists will inform people BEFORE they get hurt.

      Love CZ

    2. Amen to all the above. Learning about NPD, and realizing that so many children had parents like this, literally made me feel like my world made sense. YOu were a big part of that CZ. xo

  14. The single most important thing I think we can do is learn about the pathological aspects of narcissism. And you have. And many of us have now. It's not a benign 'disease'. And what is further interesting....is that its boundaries, its playing field is much, much broader today than ever before.

    Kohut, Kernberg, etc...didn't live in a world with the internet. And it certainly is a double-edged sword. We need to understand its influence and benefits in our lives. But when we can step over the trolls, etc....we make those necessary connections with understanding what has happened to us in our lives, and we make the necessary connections with health and recovery.

    So many of those people in our past are dismissive and contemptious, but~ they are also envious of our abilities not to remain in the muck of darkness. I choose more wisely now...online and off...and I have unburdened myself from those people who will pop up as narcissists...because they have a certain 'smell' about them now! LOL! I can identify it...most times.

    You keep on doing exactly what you are doing, darling. Your contributions to people who have suffered so much is a healing balm and puts them on the right road. You did for me.

    Love, LN.

    1. Love you back, LN. Thanks for your support and friendship.

  15. this is so much a description of my last year of abuse by a loser narcissist - I fell into all the traps - tried reasoning - tried appology - made appeals to the group for help - suffered private character assasination - have been very efficiently ostrasised - something the wider group respects which is the part I understand the least - its been exhausting - its had me depressed and stressed - its a total nightmare - the ongoing devision - not knowing what the group are up to this is the worst thing - I find out third hand - am looked at when I meet people with looks of pity.... your post is a strong affirmation that I am not insane and making it up... thank you very much indeed for that little window into understanding.... thank you a lot

    1. You are so welcome, silkred! When people have been devalued by a narcissist, it's not a one-to-one conflict. Narcissists are notorious for their Smear Campaigns. (I've written a few articles about this if you run a search). That means they will convince other people that you have victimized them in some way and believe me, their arguments can be so preposterous that you almost believe them yourself. They are so convinced of their own perceptions and judgement that other people believe them, too.

      That makes it very hard for the 'victim' to recover. Ostracism is a powerful tool for destroying/punishing offenders into conforming. When you've been rejected by a group, such as you mentioned, daily life can feel excruciating. Especially if you see your former friends each day. It's so taxing that people feel like they're breaking down so I do hope you are taking good care of yourself. Shunning is about as cruel as it gets in a "civilized" society so don't underestimate the negative effect it has on your well-being.

      Find another group. Talk to a counselor if you need it or start feeling depressed. Go about each day restoring your normal routine but seek new relationships to replace the old. If it helps to read about narcissism, join a group or blog. Creating new social support and friendships will restore your self-esteem and keep you on a healthy path for healing.


  16. I don't know what I'd do without you and you're a (as we say where I come from) a smart cookie and a good soul. Well done for standing strong. I'm not so strong yet but I'm trying...once i get over the confusion. After over thirty years with a narcissistic partner, if that's what he is...could be a psychopath, i just want peace...y'know, my own little roof over my head and no enemy within. I've a lot of stuff to sort out and i'm so angry sometimes i have to admit i've been abusive myself...shouting, grabbing and drama...maybe I'm the narc...that's what he tells me cos' I've spilled me guts to him and he's using it against me. I'm so frickin' tired. I look at my children and they've paid the price. They do give me incentive tho' and recently I've started to pull myself together but I have real anxiety, butterflies in my stomach and sleep won't come easy. The last woman my partner romped with is a caked in makeup, up her own ass, dyed in the wool manipulative big fat fake! Thousands of photographs of her big dial on facebook and her spoutin' new age crap ( just like that fake I married) "follow your bliss etc. my husband would smirk and talk about detachment when I was doing a merry dance in front of him. Aye, detachment is easy when you're not attached in the first place. So I've met many manipulative women in this new age crapola...with their long swishy skirts, organic goat, scratchy jumpers and their babies..heck the last one had five babies and describes herself as an earth mama! She wasn't no earth mama when she was in the back of the my husbands car with him...the thought that my youngest child sat where she did while they...!!! My husband acted as if he was the most honorable man..I thought he was until I found out when I was fifty years old that he's ...well I suppose he can't help it...or can he? I don't know and I hate that gleeful greedy stare he gets when he knows I'm suffering. I want to stop suffering, for me and those children of mine who I wish I'd taken away when they were younger...I'da done better myself. I might be pathetic but I was never attracted to cheats and he's cheated the whole way through. I hate fakes and I hate manipulaters....and I do my best these days to see any inappropriate behaviours in myself and I had a good kind mother who taught me a lot of good stuff...my father was abusive too..same old same old! I didn't mean to go on but it just came pouring out. I've never met you but I've read and seen enough self serving rubbish to know that it's not in your site. Thank you for your wise words...if it wasn't for you, and my dear dear children I think I'd be gone, just for the peace. Now...I'm off to make the dinner and as they also say in my neck of the woods...don't let the baswards get you down. Humour! Horray! I might just be alright.
    Thank you from the bottom of my heart.

    1. Been there, darling...and feel your pain...and don';t these narcisisstic men try to turn the tables and make you feel that YOU have the problem?

      Hell, of course we do...we have problems just like any normal woman...and abnormal ones, too. Yes, a little roof over your head and your children around you. Sometimes, a lot of times.men just ain't worth the bother...at least some men. I thnk you are stronger than you know, and just keep putting one foot in front of the other and don't trip over any 13 sized manfoot. New age crap is just that: new age crap.

      Best and love to you. Lady Nyo

    2. Hi Anonymous!

      New Age Crap, indeed! How many women (and men) have had their lives turned upside-down with the ridiculous idea of a holy annointed soulmate? Narcissists will use ANYTHING they can to "Get What They Want" and justify their behavior. They don't want to destroy their Good guy image, so instead of owning up to being a cheating scallawag, they claim the mantle of HONORABLE MAN and blame their deficiencies on other people. Like the wife who is so judgmental she won't accept "the other woman" as her best friend. Yea, another little piece of my history.

      I'm assuming that you're responding to Number Five: Self-Anointed Delusions of Grandeur? That's when narcissists are seduced by their own narcissism. The "soulmate" excuse is wearing thin as more and more partners-of-N find their voices and speak up. For awhile there, those Peter Pipers selling books about NewAge Soulmates appearing as 'teachers' in the Earth School, had a monopoly. That's because people like myself had to lift our jaws from off the floor and lace up our combat boots.

      It is INSANE to suggest a lifelong partner should not be invested in protecting her children and keeping a roof over their heads and instead, thank the Universe for delivering her husband a proper soulmate. Awe, aren't they lucky? Imagine the entire galaxy combining forces to align in such a way that soulmates show up in office cubicles, the backs of vans, in the classroom.......and we should bow down to their superior specialness? There is no spiritual plan on earth or in heaven that justifies LOSING a family to FIND ourselves.

      It is crazy what's happened with the newage bullshit underscoring and justifying stone age behavior. They spin reality backwards with their antisocial behaviors pretending to be evolved. Don't let anyone confuse you by saying they're on a higher plane of consciousness when their pants are crumbled around their ankles.

      Keep learning, anonymous. It isn't that hard to create a peaceful home when the man who continually abuses you with his infidelities, is no longer there. You CAN create a loving family without a man; but you cannot create one with an abuser.


    3. ...
      Hello CZ,
      I’m anonymous from yesterday, the angry one who talked about “new age crap”. My name is Marian and I am sorry if I was overwhelming in my anger or rage rather than anger.
      Thank you for your reply and perspective.
      When everything exploded in my face 4 years ago the shock nearly killed me. I was full of grief because, detached as he was, I thought my husband loved and I was absolutely sure that he loved our children. After the grief came the anger, especially at the lack of love for our children (he was talking about starting a brand new spanking family) and the anger felt better than the grief. It all fell through not because he saw the light, he told me that he wanted to be friends with her and that I should allow it- “why can’t I love both of you”- “we have made a commitment to be in each other’s lives” blah blah blah. Yeah , they’re unbelievable. After 5 or 6 weeks of no sleep for me while he slept like a baby and walked around in the waking hours with a smug look on his face, I thought I must give up now and go. I’m sure he would have left if she had left her husband but she also wanted the best of both worlds, the two of them at the main table at the banquet while the rest of us got the crumbs. When he realised I was going he dropped her like a hot potato...where did that big important love go then? He begged me for forgiveness and at that time he told me about the others, almost as if he wanted to purge himself of all the lies. He told me he hadn’t seen himself as a liar and a cheat. He cut his whole family off years ago and he hasn’t got one close friend so I thought he valued us when in reality he valued no one. The new age stuff was right up his street and there were a group of women who knew about the affair and sanctioned it, even passing gifts between the lovers ( I found them hidden in our home) because the smear campaign was thorough. I’ve been with one man in my whole life ( small town catholic girl mentality) yet the word was passed around that I was a cheat and whatever else they were told because I’ll never know, and my poor husband deserved better. Not one of them came and asked me to my face. It still doesn’t excuse their shoddy behaviour. I tried getting on with these women but all I ever got was one word answers and sidelong glances. To be honest I didn’t really care but I wondered why and felt awkward around them. My husband got their smiles and inclusion- now I know why. I never would or could be part of that group.(more o follow)

    4. . But even the women he was involved with were only temporary fixes and were discarded with no problem. At that time it was if someone stuck a pin into him and the false image popped like a balloon-for the first time he looked older than his age he looked almost wizened. I saw the fear alive in him and my heart went out to him. Underneath it all he wasn’t the big strong man he pretended to be and my hopeful heart believed we would now have a good relationship. In the middle of my own shock and grief I was amazed at the difference in him and I was delighted at how involved he was. I’d lived without it for so long and I was hungry for it and the hope was alive in me, and I thought our children needed their father around. I also thought that real love means forgiving so I was trying hard. Then a year ago he got a phone call from new age girl (in reality a middle aged woman) and even though he told her where to go that look came back into his eyes. In the absence of any internal work on his issues he was wide open to the ego fix he got from her trying to start things up again. To cut a long story short, I know now that a neverending temporary fix is all there is, back and forward around the same old ground forever and I can’t pretend anymore. I’ve been angry for too long, really it’s been a rage, and keeping the anger past it’s time of usefulness means that the anger is eating me alive. I have allowed it to twist me into a woman I don’t even like. It renders me useless. It taints everything, stops anything good from coming in and for what-a poor soul who can’t process shame ( I didn’t know what that meant before) and grow. The cheating wasn’t the only hurt in our marriage- he treated me like dirt the entire time and even though I protested, I still stayed and that’s down to me.
      Last night I went to bed and once again after dozing off for a few minutes I woke up with my heart pounding out of my chest. I started to cry hard, the tears ran into my ears and I begged for help. Even though I’m not a practicing catholic anymore I begged the holy mother for help. I begged my dead mother for help. Something shifted in me and I slept for a long time- the healing sleep. I feel good today and I know the hope I feel for a better life is in the work I must do on myself. I have many problems but I always believed in the goodness of people and have not liked what has happened to me and how untrusting I have become. It has affected my health and rendered me a useless mother. I would not have got here without your help. In the amazing work you’ve done on yourself and the way you have put together that journey and into something that helps others . That didn’t come without work I know but it gives me hope that I can recover and grow. Echoing what others have said, you are an amazing writer in the way you put experience into words to show the way. ( I’m not buttering you up , honest lol) The mixture of wisdom, toughness and compassion makes your site a safe place. No joking CZ- your light shines out for others lost in the dark.
      Bless you and with thanks,

    5. Dear Marian,

      You have an incredible story AND you've done your homework understanding the narcissistic personality. You've informed yourself about the Smear Campaign, the Devalue and Discard, the enticing "magical thinking" that leads your husband into serial infidelity, the Honeymoon cycle after his tearful pleas for forgiveness, his obnoxious arrogance when another woman is buttering up his narcissism and the CONTEMPT that he has for you.

      That other women "packed together" to participate in his secret affair, makes his cruelty doubly delicious for him--and painfully malicious for you. It must have made you feel even more isolated and "ganged up" on. My X had a similar possee of double-stoopid women who thought his affair with his office assistant was "so romantic." That he was still married to me and I didn't have a clue when we attended business functions as man-and-wife, was terribly terribly shaming to me afterwards. I had to learn to swallow my pride and take comfort in my ability to trust my husband without question. Those women who said that it was my fault if my husband was plucking someone else, will have some hard lessons to learn themselves. We are all expendable commodities, we women of a certain age---especially over fifty. It sickens me that society makes up preposterous love stories and theories preventing men from taking on the full mantle of humanity and staying stuck in their adolescent entitlement and male privilege.

      O boy. You got me going, Marian! I should take a couple of hours and write this out...maybe a blog post on Midlife Sole-mates. "Sole" as in the bottom of one's shoe mucking through the horseshit." ha!

      much love,

    6. Oh CZ, once again thankyou. I feel great. If I was capable of doin' cartwheels I'd do them around the whole house.... and the garden....and up and down the road! Hope springs eternal! YIPPEE!!

  17. Oh Boy....I come here because over the past 48 hours I have fallen into a nest of destructive narcissists. About 30 of them. There is a website in my n'hood that is called Capitol View Smart Asses...thought it would be a productive website and something where people would get things done? Hah.

    I am almost shell shocked. Had a meeting with one woman about getting an investigative reporter on the butt of our very corrupt council woman. Then talked to one other women in the n'hood and she distorted the discussion to text another woman on this website that the two of us (not her, though) were 'closely watching them (three women) for their very heavy drug usage'. Good God. The woman I met with disappeared ("this neighborhood has finally broken me and don't contact me anymore") and the woman who texted with a made up lie? She is mentally ill.

    But the firestorm of nasty, vile emails I have gotten over the past night and day has really made me think of the relationship between bullying (we are talking about adults here) and narcissism. It doesn't help that everyone who did these nasty, vile emails is a heavy drug user. And of course, they are not so much denying it, but making jokes. And when I say heavy drugs, I am not talking about weed. My experience with real narcissists is that they usually have some addiction or usage of alcohol. I don't know what the relationship is between substance abuse and narcissism, but it's there. These people acted like a pack of howling jackals towards me, and except for a few, have never met me...but this is mob mentality. I got up at 3am today and read these messages, and wondered IF I really was 'a puss-soaked, vile, vindictive, backstabbing bitch and this woman hoped that I would find an early death"....(from a former friend who is a heavy drug user and also neurotic and probably borderline something....and I dropped because of her behavior) Even though this woman who texted this 'false' message just as a huge joke (????) it went over like a lead balloon. These people jumped to attack. I'm still trying to stop the wounds.

    So...perhaps drugs/alcohol put the destructive in narcissism? Well, just a thought, but I have never seen such a pack of pitbulls. I did end my answer to them saying that 'lynch mob doesn't go well on their resumes'. But I think bullying and narcissism have close, close links. Perhaps when I get my head back on my shoulders from the floor...I can write more and better, and clearer on this.

    Lady Nyo

    1. What is going on??!! Did you fall in a nest of vipers? Can't you stomp on those suckers with your big red shoes? ;-P

      My first bit of advice is: Always beware of people who are proud of being ASSES. Or Rat Bazturds. You can't appeal to a common sense of decency or ethics if they're crawling belly-down in the muck of narcissism and proud of it! Our society seems to glorify rebels without a cause or even with a cause, considering it the height of dominance to be called an ASS.

      You're correct about drug usage and narcissism. Why narcissists are drawn to drug use is a matter of debate---some believe they're soothing their inner emptiness. If that image makes you feel sorry for them and give them the benefit of your doubt, consider drug use to be caused by their superiority: "I'm Above the Rules, so don't even TRY to hold me accountable." Research connects the dots between the narcissistic personality and addictions so you're absolutely correct about that. Just a quick google should pull up several links. The majority of people writing to me about NPD, also mention substance abuse.

      How are you coping with the Hate Mail today? "Hate" has a searing impact on the brain when we "read" bullying words, maybe even worse than verbal abuse "in person." For some reason, cyber-bullying is magnified beyond what it would be "in person." We keep seeing their nasty words go round and round in our heads and maybe that makes it even more hurtful?

      Perhaps we transfer our early experiences with narcissistic parents who criticized and raged, sometimes making outrageous and indefensible allegations. So cyber-mobbing "might" have a more powerful impact on people who were subjected to abusive treatment in childhood. It's a thought anyway.

      If you could see a substance abusing big-talking bully calling you a "puss soaked bitch", you wouldn't be as susceptible to cyber-transference---putting your mother's face to the insults. That might not be happening to you because you sound very clear about who the bullies are. If I'm reading you correctly, these folks live in your city? Are you using 'real names'? (I'm guessing you are).

      Hugs (cuz you need them)

    2. Hello Lady Nyo,
      I am sorry I didn't get back sooner because you helped me yesterday with your lovely words of encouragement and how did you know it was size 13 feet? I have been locked, selfishly, in my own pain when there are others within their own pain and confusion. I have just typed a long long reply to CZ and I'm shaking like a leaf... y'know the bit that we type in to prove we're not a robot, well I had to do it several times and then I get shaky. At this point all I can say is thank you, thank you. xx

    3. Bless your heart, Marian! If you can't get through the 'robot' detection filter, you can always write on the forum. Our url is here: webofnarcissism.com

      You are always always welcome to post on my blog if you prefer!


  18. THANK YOU~!~~ Oh, this is such a horrible situation. I was aligning with two women who have a rough time...or so I thought. One actually is a spoiled whiner, I just met her but she seemed to want to do somehting about this council bully. Nope, she wanted to dump it in my lap when the shit flew. The other poor soul is bi-polar...or so it seems to me (and others who know her better).

    Ah God....I really drew them this time!~ It's part of the syndrome of ACONs where we feel that we are supposed to help, even when we probably would be safer and saner sitting down with our hands in our laps. LOL!

    And this women who made the complaint that she was a drug dealer, user, whatever this bi-polar woman said (and I have not her text but an email 'explaining herself'...) well, everyone says she's a really nice person, young wth a 4 year old daughter....but she is allowing this original post of "Hey Smart Asses! I am being accused by TWO members of this site in being...etc". You know what she is implying. There was no defense after that: people wanted to see blood, and they did. Mine. I even got up the courage to say: Ok, Smart Asses....blah blah, And...being part of a lynch mob doesn't look good on your resume." Of course everyone ignores my posts and 'likes' everyone elses. LOL! It's this incredible bullying by SA adults....as bad as teens but worse because they hve more experience in doing it.

    I have spent 12 hours deleting hurtful, piss-filled emails. But! People have left this site because they said it was mean. Why am I the last to find out? LOL!~ these folks live in MY neighborhood...too close for comfort. Yeah, real names otherwise we wouldn't know who to insult. LOL! I'll take those hugs....thank you.....LN. running out of steam.

    1. That compulsion to 'leap in with both feet and an open heart'! Ah yes, I know the compulsion well! Understanding who to trust and when to help out will be a comedy of errors for awhile. Although I don't figure you're laughing, yet. Especially since these folks are so arrogant and narcissistic that they don't even mind using their real names! That's what I meant about calling themselves "asses". They do so with PRIDE because they value "power over" and "dominance." So don't go appealing to their inner 'rabbit' because there isn't one and don't appeal to their conscience because that'll get you nowhere either.

      Delete their emails and never let 'em know you sweat. The more vulnerable you are, the more aggressive they'll become---that rings true for narcissistic people with a psychopathic bent. They sound like a dangerous group without any brakes on bad behavior---kinda like teenagers without chaperones. You don't want to be a chaperone. Get out of their car and let 'em ride over the cliff without you.

      I hope you'll post more about your reflections once the emotional sting is over. It's so destabilizing for awhile. Then we review our behavior and look for signs and avoid a second traumatization (hopefully!) and write about the experience to our friends so they can avoid a similar experience!

      p.s. Did you keep copies of the emails or do you feel better just getting rid of them?

  19. Oh, dearheart, I deleted them...except this one...from a former friend....Laurel. In the fall of 2012 my husband got her husband a job. He was supposed to be a welder. My husband went out on a limb to hire him...and he lasted only 1 month. He wasn't much of a welder, and other welders had to redo his work...most of it...after hours. She was furious at us when he was laid off..She was waiting for a year to say this crap to me. Her husband's interest were only, porn/smoking dope/ham radio. He couldn't hold a job for long. This is the milieu that draws this websitel

    Her is her email to the group about ME:

    I'm actually GLAD I'm in florida for my brother-in-law's funeral. Now i find even less reason to come back to our shit hole neighborhood. I bust my ass for 15 years and all i get for it is so many back stabbings that I'm dying from blood loss. Damn you mean spirited, hateful, vindictive, puss-filled meanies. Damn you all to hell. (this was probably also directed to Kim...the woman who dropped this venom in my lap)

    Well, I am thinking of this link of mean girls/bully boys. There is something pathological about this when it's also exhibited by ADULTS in their 30's to 50's. Laurel is 52. What a mouth...but worse...what a mentality.

    I want to post something here, and I know it's not a poetry website, but I have such a sadness in my heart and a bad taste in my mouth (probably my meatballs...) that I would like to give this poem to this very loving and supportive group. All this above...this cruelty, this narrowness of spirit and pure meanness I don't want to end tonight with. So please accept this poem because I think it defines the REAL issues that we as humans should turn our hearts and hands towards. On the advice of CS, I sent it into The New Yorker...we will see. And, this is why I write, CZ...to cleanse the meanness that we come into daily contact.

    Love, Jane

    The Children of Aleppo

    There is no childhood in Aleppo.
    There are little martyrs-in-the-making
    Where 5 year olds and 8 year olds
    Wish for a ‘family death’
    Where they can die together
    With their parents
    Where they live in peace in Heaven
    Never tasting the fruits of peace on Earth.

    There is no childhood in Aleppo.
    The children haunt the abandoned dwellings
    Of friends who have fled the city.
    There they find abandoned teddy bears
    While looking for guns for the rebels, their fathers.

    “Oh, the poor thing!”
    A dead canary in his cage
    Abandoned by its owners
    They flee the rockets, bombs
    And mortars.
    In the face of daily death
    The sight of this bird
    Evokes a child’s sorrow.
    But the gunfire outside continues
    (They are used to the noise)
    And huddle in the pockmarked
    Halls until safe to scatter.

    The children of Aleppo
    Have no teachers, doctors.
    These have fled the cities, schools
    But they still pine for ice cream,
    For music in the streets,
    For curtains not torn by violence,
    For books and toys
    And gardens and flowers,
    For friends that have not died
    Innocent blood splattering
    The dirty cobble stones
    At their feet.

    The children of Aleppo
    Are free and children again
    Only in their dreams,
    And perhaps, if you believe so,
    After death.

    How do you put back the brains
    Of a child in the cup of the shattered skull?
    How do you soothe the howls of the mothers
    The groans of the fathers in grief?
    How do you comfort the left-alive siblings?

    The children of Aleppo
    Have no future as children.
    Suffer the little children here,
    They are the sacrifice of parents
    And factions,
    And politicians
    All with the blood of
    10,000 children
    Who have died
    In a country torn
    By immeasurable violence.

    The beautiful children of Aleppo
    Like children everywhere
    Still want to chase each other
    In the gardens, on playgrounds,
    Want to dance in the streets,
    Want to pluck flowers for their mothers
    And they still pine for ice cream.

    Jane Kohut-Bartels
    Copyrighted, 2014

  20. I just posted this above poem on the Capitol View Smart Asses website. Probably will be deleted by the powers that be over there, but I just wanted to stick it in their mean faces.....


  21. What. The. Fuck.

    Beautiful poem, truly, but why are you posting it in a group with the words "Smart Ass" in its description? I kept waiting for the punch line. I thought, "how is she gonna pull off a joke after the brains and shattered skull thing", and THERE'S NO JOKE! It was just...thoughtful. Yech!

    Beautiful poem though, truly.

    This was the comment on that Smart Ass website from some man called Liam something. He is a father of two young children. I did this to see what kind of responses this poem would draw from these people. I really believe that this site is loaded with borderline or worse people. 54 of them and none of them are better than the other. Mean girls and bully boys. Some probably psychopaths.

    This was an experiment. Since they have tried to make me a scapegoat (calling mother!) , a laughing stock on this website these 48 hours, I am pulling my own 'dominance' ...intellectual , poetic dominance, just to confuse and befuddle these inglorious bastards. See, I feel when you throw something creative and emotional into the midst of these people, they will reveal a lot of their psychology. It's something I think that can show possibly the level of psychopathic behavior in these very disturbed (in my estimation) people. Will see if this does reap any results.

    Lady Nyo...and sorry for taking so much of the comment space CZ. thank you.

    1. Hi LadyNyo! I had to leave yesterday and couldn't reply until this morning, sorry about that! As much as I hate online conflicts, picking the process apart to better understand the dynamics is useful. Much appreciation to you for taking the time to write about this 'mobbing' as it unfolded. And appreciation for being so honest about your reactions---including the very normal desire to "remind" people to exercise their higher instincts such as compassion and moral responsibility.

      In the situations I've witnessed, reminders of morality are received as insults, inviting even ruder and nastier responses from people who aren't interested in being conscientious. Their inner adolescent feels reprimanded and you may end up with a whole string of "school marm" jokes about your attempt to control them. BUT what's interesting is that you and I and even CS tried to intervene in similar ways before each of our conflicts escalated. We appealed to people's conscience and it did NOT work.

      As you said in your comment: "throw in something creative and emotional...reveals a lot of their psychology." I might add "spiritual" to creative and emotional and yes, some people would read that poem and immediately withdraw from the conflict.

      Don't worry about taking comment space. What you're experiencing is exactly the substance of this post---how to get LadyNyo out of an online conflict with Smart Asses before they set her house on fire.

  22. No I'm NOT sorry for taking up so much space here! LOL! It's 4am and I have had a few hours sleep, but more, I've gotten out of that damn, dangerous group. But I watched who read it and who didn't. This whole situation over the past 60??? hours has been a real learning experience about Narcissism, and all the dangerous things that go with it.

    The women??? 13 read the poem, but only One left a slight comment. And these women who said that they would never come back to this site, it had 'broken' them? Hah. There they were. Now what I have realized is this: The men function in one way...dominant, snarly, Jesus God, like Narcissists everywhere....pompous, very secure in their swinging an axe, etc. The women? Well, this is much more interesting. They have an interesting pack mentality. There are weak ones in there....(Kim, etc...Jenny, etc...) and there are the 'leaders of the woman pack! Laurel, Ami, who are straight out sociopaths. There is NO independent ability of these women to think for themselves. It's like they are submissive to the stronger women in this pack. I have never seen the likes of this...it's mean-girl behaivor that you see in high school, but these women are 26 - 52. Yikes. And, they are rather cannabalistic...I know that they will break apart and reform, break apart and reform over and over...where these women with developing or developed narcissistic tendencies jockey for power in the group. They are rather rigid, though...the men are more fluid. And the women probably have all their cycles together. LOL~! They are dangerous because they are like wolves on the prowl. This SMART ASS title is nothing but Narcissism in the face, you are so right.

    And since I was the (again) scapegoat, the marginalized (by their manipulation and lies and silence to my emails....) I felt backed into the corner...and I was. And these are the neighbors that I am supposed to embrace? These are bitches that are anti-social and all other nasty things.

    Well, I figured out how to get out of the group. And did. But! It also gave me a great chance to do some psychological profiles...individually, and the collective group. I call them not Smart Asses, but Breeding Better Nazis. People said to me who either left the group or never joined, that they were 'mean' and 'stupid'. No, they are socially dangerous. And these are the suppossedly intellectuals in the area. I'm thinking Brown Shirts.

    Lady Nyo...thank ful that she has escaped, and thankful for the posters here. Don't want to play with the Devil anymore.

    1. Hi Lady N, I'm going to echo our dear friend CZ and say that you should just pull out of that group and act like they live a thousand miles away from you. Because they do, spiritually, intellectually. People, real people, grown ups, who write that kind of crap about you, you need to steer way clear of them. I'm starting to think that when people hang a "Smart Ass" tag on themselves, it's a bad sign (no pun intended. or maybe intended). Like "Ungrateful Little Bastards"--they have a collective persona to maintain and egg each other on. I think the "Smart Ass" persona waters and feeds the inner adolescent, and is entirely regressive.

    2. "Don't want to play with the Devil anymore." ~LadyNyo

      Phew! Thank god! You cannot impact people who won't allow you to impact them. You can join 'em and howl at the moon too; or you can walk away while you can still walk away with your heart in your chest---rather than on the floor.

      Even though we know cognitively that they are bullies and the things they write are immature and vicious, we still "HEAR" those words in our heads and hearts. Being attacked and mocked and used as a community scapegoat will haunt you. That's why you must extricate yourself and stay away from the malicious things they've written.

      I'm grateful you stuck around long enough to observe women's "pack mentality." Very very astute. It fits with my experiences, too. This is the "relational aggression" of mean girls who fail to empower themselves as adult women. They don't attack on their own---they unite to take down their victim. The Alpha Female in this pack is probably the snarkiest, the more aggressive, the biggest smart ass, right? The women who submit to her dominance might feel 'safe' with her AS LONG AS she remains aggressive and brutish. Thus the unhealthy relationship between leader & followers. She knows that if she doesn't play her part, they'll turn on her. It's a feeding frenzy.

      Do you think they saw you as a threat to the Alpha female and thus banded together to eliminate you from the group? (Using "alpha" in reference to your "Pack of wolves" description). I would imagine that the lone male enjoys watching women attack each other, getting their claws dirty so he doesn't have to. Sounds pretty darn 'sick and twisted", LN. Hope you're feeling some relief after getting away.


  23. Hi CS and CZ....you are both right! CS...I have to act like they don't exist on the same planet...otherwise, I will be looking over my shoulder in fear. Yeah, that sobriet of
    Smart Ass is a badge of distinction to them...in so many ways....it elevates them above the mob...like what the Brown Shirts did before WWII....but they WERE the mob, and in fact they were the bottom feeders empowered for the first time of their lives....the 'lumpen' German for broken. God! How history repeats itself.

    CZ....Yeah this Laurel ahs been waiting for over a year to hurt me. Her husband was a lousy welder that my husband got hired on his place of work. This guy only was interested in porn/drugs/ham radio. And that is what his wife (Laurel) said. Yikes. So Laurel blames us for Billy Boy getting fired. Talk about not being in reality land.

    Yep, again, CZ...Laurel is 53, tall and does bootcamp. She's strong and very dominant...and LOUD. she's alpha female, and her sidekick, Ami...absolutely another sociopath, is also dominant. These two keep it going. threats intimination, and treats of violence actually. Nice girls here.

    I think that my being older, and also being a belly dancer?? well, this didn't sit well with Laurel or others. I think perhaps they just didn't understand the basic feminism of belly dancers. We can kick our own ass...and usually do. LOL@ No, belly dancers are strong and fast..most of us...not me anymore but the flamenco definitely empowers. Take those red shoes with nails in the heels and toes off and beat someone over the head! A double threat. LOL!

    They banded together because they didn't want to acknowledge that I was right about their drug usage. Or that they lied about everything...that is what hurts....unfortunately I talked about the drugs in this community (which certainly included them) to this woman who is mentally ill in some way...don't know if she is actually bi-polar...she just seems totally depressed all the time and almost catatonic. Yikes. But I am so much older than these 'women'....and I think this also isolates me. Though they better take care, because I can spray pepper spray with the best of them!
    The title of this new blog piece next week will be "Smart Asses or Breeding Better Nazis".

    Love, LN

  24. I had written this article addressing these women and this group but I found that even writing about it was painful...and the abusive shit that happened over the course of only a few days was knocking me backwards. So I decided that part of the problem for ACONs is that we are at times mired in the swamp of narcissist's making and it's not that they will change their behavior...It's wasted energy on our part to try to explain or to elaborate on these things. I saw that that article was disjointed, and it was this because I couldn't get my head together on these things. Yes, I knew that what had happened was a product of a bunch of women who were not teens, and just a mob mentality, but it began to seem like an exercise of futility. They won't change, and they are just loving that they drove a woman. one that most of them never knew...away. High School stuff.

    It triggered a lot a crap in me...and at 66, I need to put these bitches in perspective. I am better off away from toxins and this group certainly were toxic. The only solace here is a few people either left or refused to join...but they have their own issues. And I am not close to them for various reasons. One is a gay man who is naturally cynical, but that is because he has felt rejection all his life. I can understand this, but the cynicism is something I don't want to be around. Sarcasm and cynicism is exactly what this group was all about. And this doesn't lead to much independent thought: it seems that above just keeps moving in circles.
    Finally, I realized that as a poet and a writer, like many here, we all face opposition, and I try to remember what Rollo May said...sorta: That creativity comes with our Encounter with Opposition, and perhaps this very disturbing situation will flesh out something positive and creative. Thank you for your emails of concern and I am trying not be overwhelmed about this. In fact, these people, showing the moral courage of toilet tissue...are not the people I would want as friends. Too bad that it's not possible ahead of time, before you involve yourself with people like this to know what they are. I have to remember that the world is big, and there will be better people to know as friends. I am thankful for the friendship on this site.

    Love, LN

    1. I am thankful for your friendship, too. The world is full people of good will and isn't that comforting when you've encountered a group of "ill will" folks? You have to let those people go and shrug it off, recognizing all the good souls in your life who love and care about you.

      I think it's really hard for women to be "disliked" which makes us sitting ducks for relational aggression. We keep trying even after people have proven time and time again, that they don't care about hurting someone's feelings. In fact, they enjoy KNOWING they've "got to you." They enjoy knowing they're bullies to be feared. They'll protect that turf with every foul thing they can say or do which is why it's better to cut our losses and get out earlier rather than later!

  25. You know what? This was a very sharp learning curve...lessons galore. One thing I did learn...the difference between the way men fight and women.

    Men usually fight one on one..."Come out to the alley, bastard, and put them up." They fight and then it's over.....and grudges are held differently than with women.

    Women? These harpies fly at you together....pack mentality. My husband always said that women were much, much more dangerous in a brawl. They went for the jugular. I never understood this because I have never been in a fight. My stomach crawled up into my rib cage over this stuff.

    I was literally shaking. My mouth went dry, and I felt sick to my stomach. I couldn't understand how Women could be so...savage. This Laurel and Ami are both sociopaths...and the 'leaders' of the pack of these women on this site. .I have felt this for a long time. And their husbands?? Violent men both. We aren't talking about the lumpen proletariat..roving street gangs....these are educated men. But power like this goes to their heads...and that is what happened with the Brown Shirts in Germany in the 20's and 30's. These inferior men were given power over the masses, the Jews, and we know what happened. So, power in the hands of these people, espeically these women evoke a savage response that just keeps going on and on.

    I had to stop trying to write this article for the blog: "CVSmart Asses or Breeding Better Nazis" because it is too fresh, and triggering too much. The sense of betrayal is so strong that I look out my door before I now go out. I don't put past some of these women to do something either to my property or me. That is the hatred that I experienced in two short days before I left.

    The power of Narcissists and psychosis is something else. Narcissistic Rage is like an out of control locomotive. There are no brakes on the sensibilities of bullys. Perhaps it's better to say that there are no sensibilities with these people. They will attack at any point where there is a suspected Narcissistic injury.

    However, I also realize the inferiority of these people. The majority of these women hide behind the 'leader'. Mob behavior will...in time....in some....I think will make them rethink and be ashamed. At least I hope so.

    The strength we have as women lays in our ability towards compassion and empathy. Besides our obviously superior brains and our evolution farther than men. LOL!

    If it were only so!.. Thank you to everyone here who walked this path with me over the past days. You helped me so much.

    LN...and Anon??? I have the same problem proving I'm not a robot too~ Some days it takes me more than 3 times to post something....LOL!

    I do think that there is something that triggers violence when mixed with drugs. I guess that is a no brainer.

    1. Hi dear friend! Sorry about my absence but I just couldn't get back to this thread. <3

      It's so painful going through an online conflict; we need friends to hold us steady; to offer perspective and counsel. A more objective view can dispel the hurtful energy...especially if that person has gone through a similar FreakShow. Or as my daughter says, "ShitShow."

      Take some time away from the altercation and don't even try writing about it until you've restored your equilibrium. Don't push yourself to analyze the event too quickly. It takes time and distance. I have been through this with several other online friends and it doesn't matter how old that person might be, or what their occupation and status might be---online conflicts are destabilizing!

      When you said you checked outside your door when leaving your house, I had to smile (or grimace maybe) because I was so terrified one time that my daughter slept with me. I even kept a wooden spoon with a long handle on the nightstand 'cuz you know I can wield that sucker like a weapon of mass destruction. I barely slept a wink as my fears found safe harbor in my imagination. You probably aren't as paranoid but my experience allows me to better understand the traumatic impact of online bullies.

      I hope you are feeling better today!



    You with a wooden spoon! LOL! Well, we gets 'em where we gets em'. LOL!

    Yah....you are right...but life goes on. I was too damn close to the situation, and writing that out usually is good for me ....as a writer, but damn...this just drew me into it further...there was no peace. However, I did see a program Sunday Morning...about how our brains light up with anger, tragedy, etc...these negative stuff. If only my Video component worked I would watch all my "Monty Python" videos...LOL! But I tried that last year and found that they were just ...silly. I had grown beyond them, but I did watch some at videos on Youtube. LOL!

    I have to laugh. You with your wooden spoon and daughter asleep besides you...(my husband is stuck in DC with cancelled planes and a snow storm, and won't be back until late tonight...hopefullly, so I have been without his lump in the bed since Wed...).

    Well, my solace came a different way. I went down to a thrift shop, Darleen's....The Treasure Shop...where I have gone many, many times to talk and buy stuff. I joke to her that my house is the house that Darleen built...and it is. SHe has given me such beautiful furniture for almost pennies....well, there, she was talking on the phone, and I was wandering around and found TWO samurai swords. A long one and a short one. I sat down in a comfortable chair and told her the shit that had happened over the past week....and we laughed about it. She was BETTER than Monty Python. I also bought the short sword for 10.00. LOL! We both thought it would bring....something, I don't know what. But I used to be a Quaker, and I have to laugh...me with a sword.

    But! It is beautifully balanced, though the scabbard is ebony wood and cracked, but the metal blade is stainless steel and unmarked. And I. who have no idea what a samurai sword is supposed to feel like in the hand (except what I think it does writing about these things...lol..pure imagination...) well, it feels ...GOOD. I can swish it around...and I am sure that 'swish' isn't the 'proper' word for this sword, but it's what I am doing. LOL! I am sure that long dead Samurais are looking down from Shinto Heaven or up from their Hell and rolling their eyes! LOL!~

    Anyway, I told my husband still stuck in DC about the sword and he's begging me not to cut off my foot. LOL! But the tide is turning here, and I feel ...well, dangerous.

    Which is so much better than pathetic, neh?

    Lady Nyo

    1. You with a sword, and me with a wooden spoon. Let's get together and make pizza!

      Look at you now---the real LadyNyo is back in full force, sharing with people, making jokes, and buying Samurai swords. Put on some Star Wars music and practice your swishing skills and like your husband said, Don't Cut Off Your Foot. Are you sure you aren't interested in wooden spoons? I have one that's about 28" long and it packs a helluva wallop should any of my cyber-enemies dare to pay visit. ;-P

      I think the tide has turned, definitely. It's shocking that a bully-brigade can destabilize a grown adult. Imagine what a young child would feel/experience??!! This is why we must find ways to protect people from online bullies---the consequences of doing nothing can be severe, even tragic.


  27. Yep...let's get together and make a mean pizza!~ That is about the only thing that 'mean' is applicable after this week!

    Yes, this issue of bullying ..what happened is minor to a child that is subject to this day after day. I was as a child, but it was mostly from one girl...Lauren. I think she might be dead now, but she figures large in "Memories of a Rotten Childhood". LOL! (about my shitty family)

    Bullying here in Georgia has driven boys and especially girls to suicide of late. The schools and parents of these young Nazis should be held in responsibility, but there seems to be a lot of slippage around on this issue. Some of these bullies are just young sociopaths in the making.

    I am so much more sympathetic now to these kids who fear to go to school...even hop on a school bus. We have definitely gone wrong in our society. Something is going to break and it seems it's beyond hearts.

    I'll take any 28 inch wooden spoon. Wow....that would be a formitable weapon. We can turn off the computer, but unfortunately, the abuse and abusers still play tapes in our heads.


    1. "Some of these bullies are just young sociopaths in the making." ~LadyNyo

      Yes, I think that is true. Recently an article about online trolls highlighted their "Machiavellian" values, their sociopathic behavior and their sadism. They get enjoyment out of frightening and hurting other people. Maybe you've read it? This is the title and a url. It's been copied on numerous websites.

      The Study is titled, "Trolls Just Want to Have Fun":


      ABSTRACT "In two online studies (total N = 1215), respondents completed personality inventories and a survey of their Internet commenting styles. Overall, strong positive associations emerged among online commenting frequency, trolling enjoyment, and troll identity, pointing to a common construct underlying the measures. Both studies revealed similar patterns of relations between trolling and the Dark Tetrad of personality: trolling correlated positively with sadism, psychopathy, and Machiavellianism, using both enjoyment ratings and identity scores. Of all personality measures, sadism showed the most robust associations with trolling and, importantly, the relationship was specific to trolling behavior. Enjoyment of other online activities, such as chatting and debating, was unrelated to sadism. Thus cyber-trolling appears to be an Internet manifestation of everyday sadism."

      John Grohol's PsychCentral article:


      "They scored significantly higher on traits of Machiavellianism, psychopathy, narcissism, extraversion and sadism. They also scored lower on agreeableness (meaning they were, from a personality standpoint, more disagreeable)." ~Grohol's article

      And a really good Slate.com article:


      "But study author Buckels actually isn’t sure that fix is a realistic one. “Because the behaviors are intrinsically motivating for sadists, comment moderators will likely have a difficult time curbing trolling with punishments (e.g., banning users),” she said by email. “Ultimately, the allure of trolling may be too strong for sadists, who presumably have limited opportunities to express their sadistic interests in a socially-desirable manner.”"~Slate article

      * * *

      I hope to write a separate blog post about this study which fits very closely to my experiences with online bullies (yours, too!). Maybe I'll have time to do that tomorrow! What a coincidence that my online articles would be posted at about the very same time as these articles!


  28. Wow...these articles are remarkable and so damn timely. Yes, it's quite a coincidence here...but perhaps not. The explosion in acknowledgement on bullying, in press and tv is astounding. Perhaps our society is becoming more alarmed. Hopefully.

    Sadism. I have had some direct experience with a sadist, (and a sexual sadist)...CZ you know who I am referring to. (or is it whom? I get confused) and have had to do some studies on sadism because it pops up all the time. My mother's behavior is tied to what I call 'emotional sadism'....and it was confusing for years until I read Fromm and Peck. That gave a bit of understanding on this issue, but it is more prevalent than I think we know.

    I'll read these articles above this week. Thank you.

    On another issue, something that I have been talking with other ACONs, some who post here, and others who don't: Is it really possible to heal from the constant behaviors of a chief narcissist in our childhood? Somewhere I read someone saying that the pervasive behavior of a parental narcissist actually can change the wiring of the child and the damage is so deep that we never really heal.

    I do know that we are always 'on guard' once we become aware of narcissists and what they do in our lives. This also means the narcissists that we divorce, etc.

    If this query is inappropriate right here...please delete. But! this issue has been brought up and I can't stop thinking of it. Do we ever really fully recover? Or do we just 'cope' in some way?

    I do know that as we become more conscious about the effects of narcissism on us and around us, it seems to deepen into layers, the damn gift that keeps on giving. Talking with women, there seems to be a real issue of constant depression, suppressed anger, (I got that in spades! Even got the sword that goes with it~lol) and a feeling of sadness and self-doubt. Accomplishments and validation through friendship with other recovering ACONs helps, but is there ever a end to all of this 'journey'? Just asking.


    1. Your question isn't inappropriate. The comment section isn't conducive to a thorough discussion so I'll put your question on a word document and post a few thoughts. Hopefully other people will feel comfortable adding to a discussion that's very "sensitive."

      Is there an end to this journey? Well my initial response is no. Never. It's life-long. That doesn't mean the pain and confusion is life-long. There are certain "resting points" in the journey that make it easier to go forward afterwards. To tie in with this particular blog about "online narcissists", even that experience has the potential to birth insight into ourselves--how we think, behave, believe.

      I appreciate our conversation about your current online conflict. Its given me a lot to think about and inspired me to write another post about "Trolls", people who dangle fishing rods in the deep blue cyber-seas, hoping to get a "bite." We don't see that very often on blogs about narcissism but the basic idea can be applied to conflicts that "push and push" the target/scapegoat until s/he reacts. And in hoping this makes you feel better, LadyNyo, ANYONE would try to defend their character and intent in 'reactive' ways. It's easy to say "Ignore the bullies! Ignore the trolls!" but it's not that easy for people to "let go"---especially when the women live in your city! That you tried to resolve the conflict speaks of your "good will" but at a certain point in the harassment, good will is withdrawn because it isn't reciprocated. Maybe there is a parallel in the length of time it takes ACoNs to recognize their extension of "good will" is not being met in equal measure by the N-pareNt.


  29. Thank you, CZ. I know that plenty of us await what you are going to write about this above. And yes, it never ends. I think we just do 'damage control' our entire life. If we had Nparents, we know the root of the issue, it's branded on us from early childhood. This is not to say that we live in a state of depression/self-doubt/anxiety, but for long stretches we do. And these trolls? These people who push and push until they get a reaction? I don't know, but what this latest round of cyber-real bullies has taught me is this: We need to pick who we siddle up to much more carefully. We need to consider the field we are about to enter, whether it is a website or a community group. We need to cherish ourselves and not throw ourselves to the wolves, especially when we see them beginning to growl. Pack like mentality is one of the most primitive behaviors possible and everyone of us are at risk at sometime in our llives. The point is to lessen this. I have found that ACONs are some of the most charitable people to a fault. This is in part because of what we have suffered, and we don't know or realize our necessary boundaries. But we certainly can learn.

    Further, we are 'sensitive'. We have had to measure our steps, our words, our very presence in the light of rejection and sometimes violence. But in doing so we have become intensely conscious.of our surroundings and of ourselves. The positive is that we have become 'awake'. And we have awakened our subconscious, too. In doing so, we have more tools to navigate life. We can build upon this and become more fully human. We can also lessen the pain with better choices.

    Lady Nyo

    1. ACoNs can be incredibly empathetic, compassionate, generous and loving. They can also be well...awful. ;-P I guess it's exactly what that native american fable says: "It depends on which wolf you feed." The one thing that seems to be most true about ACoNs are our shitty boundaries. We don't know when we're in dangerous territory because many ACoNs "numb" their fear and when we do that, we can't hear our intuition or even loud clanging warning bells. Unmelting our feelings, getting those emotions going, is how we recognize dangerous territory (and groups/people) before we've been hurt. This general idea is from Gavin deBecker's book, "Gift of Fear."

      Treating ourselves kindly means choosing friends who are kind. If we want to have peace in our lives, then we must hang out with peaceful people. I've been giving this a lot of thought after reading about "mirror neurons" because without even realizing we're copying people, we find ourselves doing-as-they-are-doing.

      I liked your comment about the Pack Mentality being one of the most primitive behaviors. It fits right in with some of my other thoughts about the importance and value of "civility." Anyone can act like a hound dog. Take my X for example. ;-P


    2. I love how this whole long thread is full of empathy and self-disclosure, sharing pain and giving support, with new voices joining in too. But what REALLY makes me love it is the fact that the first comment in came from a hateful, nasty-assed troll, one of the cyberbullies. Ya gots to love it. The thread just irons that tiny little bump out, duzznit?

  30. Yep, CS....funny how this thread started out with a bully casting mud. LOL!

    Boundaries. I have been talking with other ACONs about this very lately. In my experience, personally and many that I know, boundaries are something we never put in place. In fact we weren't allowed boundaries with narcissistic parents....or exs. I think this is one of the greastest stumbling blocks for women especially. When we don't learn that we CAN set boundaries early on in our lives, we don't later. Until we are hurt and wounded again and again. I do know that I thought, for the longest time...that setting boundaries was almost 'elitist'. No, it just made me food for slaughter. By not setting boundaries we open ourselves to all sorts of abuse...and self-abuse. I came to the concept of boundaries very late in life. I still struggle with it. But I am seeing the necessity of boundaries for self-preservation. And....not setting boundaries isn't being empathetic. It's intellectual and emotional suicide.

    Lady Nyo....just some thoughts....

  31. These are excellent articles. Thank you. Two blogs that immediately come to my mind are judgybitch who at least gives a very accurate warning in her blog title and chumplady whose traumatized, cult-like following refer to themselves "Chump Nation" and who exhibit extreme hostility is their one dimensional view is challenged.

    1. There seems to be a "snarky" attitude people find entertaining until they're the ones caught in the cross-hairs. Funny how we never think we'll be the scapegoat.

      Out of curiosity, I'll read through the links you posted and see how people interact with one another. Self-selection is always fascinating, isn't it? Thanks!

      By the way:

      I watched a timely video the other day by Phil Plait titled, "Don't Be a Dick". This is a link to the article and video if anyone is interested: http://blogs.discovermagazine.com/badastronomy/2010/08/17/dont-be-a-dick-part-1-the-video/#.U3waHvlkSDk

      Plait writes: "In other words, being a dick not only usually doesn't work, it almost always works against the bigger goal of swaying the most people we can."

      But nice people don't get much press. And nice people don't rank high in search engines because nice isn't very entertaining, is it?


  32. I just wanted to say you do such phenomenal work CZBZ. While I've taken a more casual infrequent approach to the work on the peer support/blogging side as of late due to my recovery and the need to explore other horizons, I can identify and relate with everything you have shared. It is spot on. I am very much looking forward to reading Part II of this. As a blogger covering this issue as well, there are a few people I list in terms of resources, but for the same reasons you outlined, sometimes I am concerned about leading people to places I cannot personally vet. It is a catch 22 for me, because even those I have listed I can't say 100 percent I can vet; however, I have not experienced any shenanigans. I wholeheartedly agree use of an alias is wise, and if I can offer anything to the discussion and in support of all you've shared, my best advice - one red flag - and it's one I've encountered...sites which manipulate visitors into disclosing their identity under the guise of questioning or challenging their 'true victimhood'. Don't fall for it...question THEM...or better yet, RUN!...Thank you for this post it is very much needed advice for those who are new to this.

    1. Hello Betty! Thanks for reading and commenting! I love it when a person feels compelled to give back however they can and for some of us, that means writing about our experience and our knowledge.

      If you read Part II (PuppyGate), be sure you pack a lunch and get a soft blanket before you settle in for a l-o-n-g read! I wasn't sure if people would be interested but so far, the response has been positive. That made it worth wading through (literally) thousands of messages. Our forum was incredibly busy "back in the day" when there was little information about narcissism other than Sam Vaknin. (I learned to manage message boards on a NPD forum featuring Vaknin. Assistant managers earned their stripes in that place).

      I am unfamiliar with websites asking members to use their real names. Seriously? It might reduce the "shenanigans" but it also reduces self-disclosure.I don't browse other message boards that often and have never heard of this. I think it's a terrible and dangerous idea to use 'real names' that can be googled and Facebooked and tracked. If you could email me about those sites, I'd really appreciate it: wonmanagers@yahoo.com. When most people join forums and blogs, they are hurting, suffering, not thinking as critically as they should. They tend to be naive and "too" trusting. As long as they protect their anonymity from other members AND forum managers, they'll be okay. If things get ugly, they can leave without residual concerns about privacy.

      If the forum is discussing gardening, then hey, okay, use your real name. If the forum is discussing mental health and personality disorders, people will be putting themselves in jeopardy should "the narcissist" track their messages. I've witnessed some terrifying cyber harassment when people used their real names.

      Also, I was reading your blog about your medical situation and am so sorry to learn of your health problems! A few months ago, my daughter who lives with me was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis. Neither of us understood the challenges people face when they have lifelong diseases. Finances are a major source of anxiety because people who've always worked hard, are suddenly unable to work. Maybe they can work one day out of the week but who's gonna hire them?

      We are crossing our fingers that she'll regain her eyesight and balance, and that the fatigue with diminish enough to work a desk job. (she ran a Starbucks store which is too physically demanding now). I hope you have family support. Family has been crucial for my daughter because there are days when she cannot prepare her own food and doesn't have enough energy to use a remote. She went to bed feeling tired and woke up the next morning unable to see, walk or hear out of one ear. MS is an odd disease and no two people are affected the same way. Bless you, BettyLaLuna...my heart goes out to you. Prayers for both our families. <3


  33. reading it again, still so reminds me of my emotional vampire ex bestie!

  34. This is a fabulous article. It's as if you read my mind and know EXACTLY what has been going on with me and several bloggers. I know you wrote this long before I ran in with them, but you may be referring to the same crew. They display every single trait you have mentioned. I was beginning to wonder if I was in fact the narcissist due to all the gaslighting and blame shifting that has been done recently, but no...these clowns fit these descriptions to a T, including the accusations of theft (when all I did was share a link). After some of the dust settles, CZ, I want to reblog this article on my site because others deserve to be warned about people like this. Unfortunately these types of people are usually admired and popular, at least until they're exposed as the frauds they really are (I've seen that happen too). They are good at getting people to side with them because they seem so strong and people admire their willingness to use aggression and mean spirited humor to mock others openly on their sites. Our society loves that sh*t. This article made my day, seriously. Thank you.

    1. Well, thank you! I write what I know and I know what I've been through!

      There were a few terrible experiences long before this article was even a thought in my head. If you can imagine, one cyber-friend called people on the phone to tell them I was a lying psychopath. And even harder to believe is that some folks believed her! One cyber-friend was so scared, she thought about moving. Fear and paranoia run rampant in "healing forums"---it doesn't take much to set off a fire.

      Cyber-bullying is common enough that many people have experienced it---either as a victim or a witness. Some of my favorite feminist writers are currently being "run off the web" by people who misinterpret their words, make shit up, etc. and all because they FELT INSULTED. Widdle hurt feewings are used as justification for BIG MEAN BULLYING and this behavior appears to be on the increase. All it takes is one word and an entire brigade joins forces to take someone down. The intent is to destroy whomever they perceive to have insulted them and the awful thing is that they enjoy hurting their preferred target-of-the-day.

      The inability to tolerate even the perception of insult/disagreement is an indication of narcissism.

      People seem to be more thin-skinned than ever and I wonder if "internet anonymity" encourages people to remain stuck in their own muck. I don't believe face-to-face discourse would result in immediate umbrage and hostile attacks.

      People are drawn to angry blogs. As mentioned in my article, angry people make powerless people feel powerful. Blogs and forums can help people get better but they can also make people worse. We must exercise caution when joining sites discussing pathology because more often than not, people get stuck in the abyss they're staring into.

      I'd love it if you'd link my blog!


    2. Hugs to you too, CZ. You have been so encouraging as I am going through this experience with those aggressive and narcissistic bullies that call themselves narcissism bloggers. Clearly projecting their own narcissism and the lies they tell! They'd be funny if they weren't so sad. I emailed you about this already (I prefer not to identify myself here). I agree aggressive people can use the anonymity of the web to act out their sadistic urges where they may not do so IRL. They are really sad little people, and their horrible childhoods made them this way. Not that it's an excuse. And they're bashing me for having empathy for some narcs but that's exactly what they are.
      Lots of people think that just becaue someone is going around hating on narcissists on their blog, it must follow they are not narcissists. In fact, the ones who are the most angry are very likely to be narcissists themselves and are just projecting. I understand their anger but they refuse to let it go. The attacks on me (and digging up old dirt on a good friend of mine) started because I dared to suggest chronic hatred was not a good permanent state of mind because it destroys your own soul. You already know this.

      I did link to this blog. My blog roll is in my header under Info and Support rather than as a sidebar as on most blogs. It's been there awhile in fact. I recently removed two blogs that were there that belong to two of these toxic bloggers. I no longer wish to associate with them in any way.

  35. Brilliant article...entertaining and so well researched and informative. Yes the narcs have infiltrated the healing websites and fortunately the legitimate healers know who they are. We have healed right? However, many have not and are vulnerable. These are the same concerns I relayed to the narcs who announce they are narcs and start healing pages and communicate this false specialness or call themselves "recovering narcissists." For the love of....And yes, they are so predictable. Confront them on their foolery and they send their shame masking aggressive weak entourage of flying monkeys after you in the hopes that you will respond. I think not. The point is that there ARE legitimate healers out there who want to help. Articles like this help raise awareness as the level of depravity of evil. However, if they feed off of their young what makes us think that they would not continue feeding off of the healing energies of those they sucked their soul's energy from.

    1. "what makes us think that they would not continue feeding off of the healing energies of those they sucked their soul's energy from"

      Exactly. And what makes us think "we" will never be hurt by another narcissistic relationship again? There are signs; there are red flags; there are personality traits and behaviors that "suggest" narcissism. Until we have a urine test proving someone's narcissistic however, we'll need to take better care of ourselves by setting healthier boundaries. Narcissists disrespect and even resent other people's boundaries because it means they can't have whatever they want. Better for people to find that out in the beginning than years later...

      I maintained relationship with an online "expert" who called himself a "recovering narcissist". It was tricky, however. We bumped heads a few times but his reactions didn't surprise me. Changed behaviors on my part reduced the animosity that could have occurred. Still, if there's a power imbalance (such as exists between "members" and "leaders"), it's probably best to find another group before things spin out of control.

      The dangerous thing for anyone offending the group is that narcissistic leaders attract narcissistic "monkeys" who will go to the ends of the Earth to please their master. "Flying monkeys" go to extreme lengths to avenge their leader--doing things they never would have done prior to feeling "soooo special".

      Nonetheless, there are many wonderful people with huge hearts who want to "give back" and help people! Altruism is lovely and true about human nature.



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