Wednesday, January 28, 2009

The True Relationship

Another view that has the simple and practical ring of truth, though probably controversial. Sometimes, things are really that simple. I witnessed a narcissist fall apart when her support system crumbled after her lies and deceit were exposed. (Unfortunately, she has recently rallied, on the wings of a new flock of innocents.)

And, indeed, I found that I was in love with my own reflection; but apart from the fantastical aspects, in hindsight, I realise that there was a lot in me to love. ~ Invicta, MA, 2008

Misconceptions about the Narcissist

There is much written about the narcissist on the internet and, so I believe, much of it is wrong.

There is the opinion that the narcissist needs narcissistic supply. Well, this is quite possibly the fact which is most wrong.

What the narcissist needs most, is support and that is mostly on a material level. So, if you notice that you end up helping a partner constantly and that nothing or little comes back in return, well this is the most important symptom and can be recognized easily as well. If you feel, you are stretching your resources financially and physically, this ought to be the most important alarm sign.

The narcissist, is simply a person who cannot do much for him/herself and expects others to run around for him or her. This fact coincides with the knowledge that narcissists are generally people who have been spoiled as children and expect this pattern to continue. The idea that narcissists are abused children, appears wrong when looked at it from a cognitive point of view. An abused child knows that (s)he cannot demand. It is not even a concept (s)he has been able to form. Only a spoilt child develops the concept that (s)he can demand. An abused child might turn into a fighter or psychopath but not into a narcissist.

Narcissists are only as successful as long as they receive support from a support network. In fact, it is part of the psychological description of a narcissist: Not to be self-sufficient.

Well, as can be imagined, this support network is shrinking in time, and the answer appears to be more and more to find a partner who can be made believe that because of love (s)he has to do everything for the narcissist. (The parents of a narcissist would be just too happy if the narcissist found a new partner because it takes the strain away from the parents the narcissist puts on them). Of course, children are one other support for the narcissist and hence, a narcissist might want to cling on to a child or even a grand child. (This is actually quite an archaic thing, to expect children to help a parent in old age and hence it is deep seated in our psyche.) Narcissists are ruthless when it comes to obtaining resources.

There is this big question: Why is the beginning of narcissistic relationship so grand? This again, is actually - well in hindsight - an easy question. The beginning is just as grand as you make it, because you do most of the running around. The sex life is as good, as you are. The fun is as much fun as you are. The conversations are just as good as you can be. It is all centered around you, and the narcissist just watches and goes along with everything.

This is unfortunately very dangerous. Not only that you burn yourself out, but because you are so much in the center, the narcissist prepares you for the emotional attacks later. This is why you end up doubting yourself, because there seems to have been an element of narcissistic behavior on your side at the beginning. This is of the kind: It was all me, hence it was all for myself. Quite some tricky logic, but it works.

Why is it that you love the narcissist so much? Again, in hindsight, this is an easy question and has some almost sinister answer to it. The narcissist reflects you back to yourself and you actually love this reflection which is your own. So, this brings now the biggest confusion about: In the classical sense, you are actually turning into a narcissist (loving your reflection) but in the psychological sense the other person is the narcissist and you are the victim.

Another twist: Because, the narcissist has been reflecting you back to yourself, you are ready for manipulation. Everything the narcissist says seems to have become your self-reflection and that is when all turns crazy. Who is who - am I me or am I this reflection.

Are there any successful narcissists out there? Well, as mentioned, the narcissist is as successful as the support network. There might be some strange cases where the support system stays with the narcissist, but this must surely be the exception. Hence, it is much more likely, that the narcissist will end up in ruins - emotionally, physically and materially. Step by step, their world falls apart.

If the so called Sam Vaknin is a narcissist, then he is only successful because of the network around him. However, it appears to me that he is just a very good business man now and a lame cult leader who keeps regurgitating his own nonsense.

Does the narcissist want you to be weak and destroyed? This is a good question and the answer is not quite that simple: Ideally, you are supposed to run around for the narcissist. You cannot do this, if you are too weak. This is the reason why the narcissist cannot stand it when you are ill. If you are too ill, the narcissist will run away. The narcissist will certainly not help you under such circumstances. The narcissist does not want you to be too strong either, because then you would run away instead of running around the narcissist. So, the narcissist tries to keep the balance. When the narcissist thinks you are too strong, you get bashed, and if the narcissist thinks you are too weak, the narcissist withdraws.

Is there some good advice: Yes: Love yourself and not your reflection. And: There are a lot of nice people out there. Don't accept just any nasty piece of work because (s)he might be the only one you'll ever find.


Anonymous said...

This is a HUGE revelation and is quite key in my scenario. A big thank you for posting this!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

yes thank you :') rly great

Anonymous said...

Thanks to this article I'm starting to think my Mother is a N. She relied on my Dad for resources, used her kids for emotional support, then left my dad to run off with another man. When this didn't work out, she moved in with my sister, where she still is. She has a new man who is wealthy and good looking. He has proposed, but she doesn't want to 'be controlled' and wants to stay where she is, with her 'secure base' at my sisters. She contributes little to the household, and comes and goes like a teenager.
Mum has been diagnosed with depression and was given CBT. When the therapist suggested making changes, she stopped going. Her depression and various illnesses are not so debilitating that she can't go on holiday with her man 4 times a year, or hike up mountains.
She won't do anything if she isn't going to be the Belle of the ball/in the top 10% looks or ability wise. (In fact, she actually changed her name to Belle - how telling!)

She is obsessed with looks and in her youth was considered to be extremely beautiful. My Dad was insecure about his looks and felt like Mum was out of his league. I wonder if N's are generally very attractive as well? That they get by on their good looks, without having to develop any other human qualities?

She is now 60 years old and is thrilled that people say she looks 40; her whole life revolves around image and appearances, and how thinks 'look' as opposed to how they are.

She also insists that she's an artist, and as such, can't function in the harsh 'real' world. Is it possible that N's are particularly common among artists? Because in reading this, and applying it to other people I've known, I think so.

The one thing that I'm struggling to digest, is that N's have generally not been abused, but have been spoilt - I find that quite shocking, as I've always thought the opposite. My Mum says she was abused at home and by my dad - which is why we've all tolerated her actions. Also, she genuinely seems incapable of doing certain things - like phoning to deal with officials about anything at all - yet, she has no problem asserting herself in the home/with her children, which I could never understand.

Thank you so much for this radical information. I'll look forward to hearing your thoughts.

Kathy said...

In response to Ann, June 3. I think that there is something to N being abused. I think it is a form of survival and the entitlement is a way that they have found to compensate for their abuse and to get their needs met. I think they have learned to force others to provide when they were not provided for. I do think that it has a "spoiled" feel to it. Maybe they have learned that this N technique works and they do get everything they want, just as a spoiled child does. The charm, the manipulation etc has all worked for them. Maybe they just learned this spoiled pattern through a different path.

SSIWENDY said...

W0W, quite an eye opener. I recognized the truth in this as i read seeing my own reflection. I thought I was seeing someone of like mind. Quite the opposite.
I don't know if my ex N was spoilt. What he told me is he hates his brother (won't say why) and although he doesn't like his parents, he spends many of his days off at their home. (to avoid being alone, which he detests)


Anonymous said...

If we get too weak/sick, they run? OK, I just had a cancer scare, but yesterday was told II'm OK. If I told him it is cancer and need treatments, etc.yada, yada,and am too weak to do everything for him (like he was spoiled by mother and big sisters) will I get rid of him? When I asked for a divorce he got angry, verbally attacked me, then raged in a tantrum like a 3 yr old yr old and threatened suicide.

Him running out on me would be much easier!

Anonymous said...

Just remwmbered: He claims when his former wife became ill and gained a lot of weight, needed surgeries, etc., he stayed with her until she died of a heart attack while he was at work. He says it was never a great marriage, but he loved her because she was a good person.

I'm torn over deciding if he's N, but he shows lots of those characteristics to me.
Came on like the love of my life, slowly withdrew all the sweet things he did for me, became critical, controlling, tantrums when he doesn't get what he wants.

And I think he wanted me for my good credit so I could buy us a house in an area he wanted to live.

I'm confused, because there are many good, but also bad things about him. I don't know if he really loves me or not, and I can only take so much more of the correcting my ideas, finding ways to make me feel stupid and prove his superiority, while I'm the one with several degrees (and money he doesn't know about, but suspects).

How do I find out for sure if he's N and will never treat me better?

Anonymous said...

I have read most of the pages with great interest and here I don't understand the generalization that the N needs a material support system.

I do, however subscribe to the notion that they need Narcissistic supply in form of constant praise and attention. I have been with those kind of men who had all the N characteristics but were doctors (need worship) and another was a businessman. Both were providers and both were abusive vampires.

Genericuserprofile said...

Lots of great advice on this site. One thing I would like to comment on...there was another site about narcisstic behavior I wish I could remember what it was...but they thought that narcism could be caused by both being spoiled and also by being overly criticized as a child. Their thought was that some children would just shut down and not believe anything negative they were told about themselvesif they were subject to a lot of criticism at a young age. I really believe this is sound thinking as I know someone who was in this position and they are quite the narcissist. This is also where the abuse link could come in. I am not sure I agree that all narcissists are just spoiled childrean all grown up.

But that said, I have found so much sound and helpful advice in dealing with the narcissist in my life. Thanks for such an informative site!!!!!

Anonymous said...

This is maybe the best article I have read on what it's like to be in a relationship with a narcissist, ever. Thank you.

Anonymous said...

This is an amazing resourse and everything descibed is what i have been through with my ex.
Started great, he seemed caring and open (though later i realise the personal things he told me didn't mean anything to him and the things that were difficult he would never talk about or deal with, including a child he had with an ex girlfriend who he said was so horrible that he couldn't deal with her so therefore couldn't have a relationship with the child - he has used this excuse for 10 years)and seemed interesed in me but things slowly became difficult. I was constantly confussed because all his friends told me he was a nice guy but i started to see all the lies and even when confronted with them he would deny them or withdraw (ignore me for days and only talk to me when other people were around)and would then never dicuss or want to resolve what the problem was.
He needed constant praise for being a struggling musician (likily he had me to support him) and lived for performing and the praise it would get him from people.
Basically after cheating on me, lying to me and making me question myself over everything he dumped me horribly.
I look back now and realise that i was manipulated every step of the way and i am truely thankful that he thought i wasn't good enough for him. i am upset that many of his friends have seemingly taken his side (who knows what he has said to them as he has never spoken to me again) walked away from me and the friendship i thought i had with them but happy that i now have my sanity back.
Like everyone else who has had a relationship with someone like this, i hope now that i will see the signs and get out much earlier before i start questioning and loosing myself. I deserve better.

Donnacht said...

I ended a relationship with someone when i finally found a name for all the cluster of her behaviours. Vanda started out as a friend i worked with, we got closer through her telling stories about herself which extacted sympathy and attention. She said she felt wary of men, no interest in sex until she met me. this is called 'inflation' and its beguiling and also if smeone says something like that to you then you feel obliged to say something equally positive back and feed their narcistic supply needs- which is all you are to them.
Ridiculous lies followed, she contradicted herself and then denied it. She claimed to have only ever had sex with one man, her husband, yet had told people at work about other men including cheating on her husband (we worked together and i have friends there- one of who warned me about her but you never listen!) and she told people different versions of events.
In terms of manipulation she said she was barely eating because she was so stressed i didn't stay with her every night of the week. then she developed type 2 diabetes so it was really important she ate properly but could because she was so stressed etc- she never lost any weight over the many weeks of this! and type 2 is caused by chlorestorol in the liver which she couldn't have had if she was starving herself. Found out afterwards from former colleagues she was eating fine at work. She turned me and friend against eachother- editing text messages from our mutual friend and then sent them to me- i fell for it because you don't think anyone over the age of 10 would do such a things and i loved her and then claimed she couldn't see me for lunch toward the end as this former friend was bullying her and making her do joint visits. She was undertaking four hour visits- which was what we used to do when we first started seeing eachother- in other words you do a quick visit then go off somewhere so you can guess the reality of what was really going on.
Although she claimed her husband was a violent, possessive paranoid man she would spend time alone with him under various guises so either he wasn't what she claimed him to be or she was saying she was with him so i would worry about her as punishment for not being with her that night. Most nights i wasn't with her something would happen that would get me worrying about her and ruin my night.
When i ended it she said she was gong back to a life of hell with her husband to try and get me to go back- needless to say she didn't end up going back. We ended previously and i only went back because she said she said she was going to move to london and start her life all over again. When her emotional blackmail failed, she told people i was threatening and harassing her and that i was controlling and abusive- typically as a defense againt a course of action that is not in accordance with their view that they are special they will deny it so she must have inferred that she ended it. Fortunately at the same time she was telling people this she was trying to get me back and using inflation again by telling how much i meant to her and all the wonderful things i brought into her life. All completely false but i took my phone to a solicitor who then sent a letter warning i would take action for slander if she continued. My last contact with her was, ironically on april fools day which was when i found out what she had been saying (three weeks after we ended) warned her firmly i would pursue a harassment case if she ever contacted me again and i haven't heard anything since. I still feel i have to carry a copy of my solicitors letter with me at all times and i saved her text messages from that period as i continue to feel wary about going out and someone confronting me.
If they seem perfect they are the opposite, if they use such grandiose flattery at the outset its false and if you are feeling low do not enter into a relationship full stop.

Anonymous said...

I found this to be very helpful because one of the problems I am having concerning the "N"'s leaving is the why...and how come I am so completely devasted, angry and yet long to have hime back. I myself have some personal things inside me that wanted this fact I am selfish, having spent my money, my time, gave up parts of myself, ignored my friends and family..HE did not make me do these things..I wanted to show them that I didn't need them anymore...that HE supplied with attention, love and a family that I always longed for...I got took by my own selfishness and greed...but also HE gave..I ended up with his car, furniture and many household goods..he bought me many who am I to be angry because I didn't keep the perfect balance neccesary to keep him with me. What and eye opening revelation compared to all this crying, self pitying etc., I have engaging in.

Anonymous said...

I LOVE what you've written. I need to read it through, a few times, to let it sink in. So much of what you've said fits and yet, so much of what Sam V. says also fits. It all works! There CANNOT be just one description that works for everyone with Narcissism. Anyone who comes to these, different, sites needs to pick and choose. You do bring up some things and I WILL read and reread this! LOVE IT! Thanks!

Anonymous said...

My ex was a preemie and became a sickly child and was raised by the most evil "mother" known to man, who will blame him for the things she missed out on in life because she had a sick needy child. I've actually heard her say these things. Interstingly enough, when I met her there was an immediate and mutual dislike between us, however being in her company, she did make some true and revealing statements about him, and I dismissed them, because I only focused on her and her evil ways, the evil woman spoke the truth about her son. I came to see everything she said about him reveal itself during our relationship. I won't ever make that mistake again.

Interesting as well how I used to feel like I worked for this man as opposed to feeling like I was in a relationship as a equal. When I woke up, I had a laundry list of errands that I was to run for him, my every minute was determined and orchestrated by him, and when I was finished, I was expected to be in the house, if I wanted to do something for myself and by myself, it was a problem and I was accused of wanting time to go cheat. I am so happy to be out of that relationship, although we have a child together and unfortunately must remain in contact with each other, my "servitude" is over, although he tries to suck me back into his emotional web, by asking me for his help, I simply refuse. Forget him.